Critical Reading

My studies taught me to be a critical writer. Just because it is in print does not mean it is to be trusted. Who would have thought of the access to print that we now have on the Internet back when I learned that?

Today I read a report from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) titled Getting Students Ready for College-preparatory/Honors English: What Middle Grade Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do. In it was the following sentence:

The achievement gap will continue to grow if less is expected of some students while more is required of others.

The biases of the SREB is clear in that sentence. As has been complained about since No Child Left Behind became law, students in gifted programs are receiving fewer and fewer services as districts funnel time and money into raising the scores of the partially-proficient students. There has been a narrowing of the achievement gap in doing this.

It doesn’t make it right. And it probably isn’t sustainable given how I see some of the remediation implemented. But it has happened. The achievement gap has closed because we expect less from our gifted students (how else would you phrase removing services?). That directly contradicts the statement in SREB.

Then again, most gifted programs are no such thing. Gifted is usually reserved for the top 1.5% of a population, but let’s roll it all the way out to 5%. In a school with five classrooms in a specific grade of 20 students each (four of 25, however you want to determine it), that means five students will receive gifted services. That entire classes of 20 or so students are created from such a population indicates giftedness is not the criteria for inclusion. Nevertheless, the criticism of the removal of services remains.

Being a critical reader/listener makes it so it is difficult to accept much since this type of flaw is commonplace. I need to save the baby from the bath water more often methinks.

Also blogged on this date . . .

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