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'No Child' law finally catches up with local schools

Original post made on Sep 21, 2009

Schools in Mountain View have cause to both celebrate academic achievement and take action for improvement after the release of this year's progress report by the state Department of Education on Tuesday morning.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (3)

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Posted by Drew Seutter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:15 am

This is a tough story to comment on, but I generally see it as very good news. Good schools are important to me and hopefully are important to many in the community.

I want to recognize the teachers, staff, monetary donors, and volunteers for helping the Mountain View students in achieving these gains in test scores. I am confident that there will be more.

The fear and negative on my end is that resources that could be expended in a way to help all students somewhat equally seem to be slanted towards students on the lower end of the test scoring scale. From an administrative standpoint, this makes sense; there is more ground to make up on the low end, and it is probably easier to recognize a larger score improvement in that area, and thus help the total score. However, beyond the scores improving, the resources do help each and every student, and therefore, a more equitable distribution should be targeted as a goal. I am sure many donors, taxpayers, etc. see this as their goal.

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Posted by Elaine
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

I agree with Drew regarding funding resources. The part that bothers me the most is that the district's administration doesn't have any great plan to use resources to improve curriculum for all the students or assist teaching. Here is one example - look at the "GOAL" Program that is offered at Graham M.S. (it is on their website). The principal took away the concept of honor roll. Now it is a program that rewards all the students that make 4, 3 and even a 2 GPA. It also rewards those that raise their GPA .5 above their previous GPA so in essence, a student can earn an F and raise it to a D+ and receive rewards!

The rewards are in the form of a free tshirt, privileges, prizes, food events and fun field trips (non academic kinds like ice skating, bowling, playing at Shoreline, etc.) There are so many things wrong with this on so many levels!

First, they have now lowered the bar on honors - almost anyone in the school can obtain this recognition with little effort. In fact, I heard that many parents said their kids were demotivated to obtain straight As now since you can get as low as Cs with minimal effort and still qualify for "fun".

There are only a handful of students left at the school when all the students that qualify for the field trip leave - does the humiliation of not qualifying for this program really provide incentive to those kids to improve their grades or does it just cause further resentment?

Secondly, they are rewarding students by taking them out of school for these events. How many times have you heard the district tell us that there aren't enough teaching hours to improve scores?

Can the money be better spent? You bet it could. Last year I heard over 20K was spent on these rewards for the students. How do our tax dollars of this $20K really help our students and improve learning?

And the worst thing is that the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent bless this program. We hear about budget cuts and needing more money and this is what they are using valuable funds for last year. This year the principal is asking the PTA to help fund this program. It is time for parents to question just how the money is being spent for our students and how it really benefits them - in the long run, not just for fun.

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Posted by James
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm

At Landels they rotate kids part of the day, so kids that need help improving from below basic get help, and kids that are advanced get pushed with more advanced instruction.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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