A Superintendent Writes… Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game – Part 4

In response to the 7/9/2103 post, “Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game – A Necessary Revision,” a LYS Superintendent writes:

SC,

I find this all interesting. I was thinking of moving a few things around to. How about US History to 9th grade since 8th grade U.S. History should preview the tested content?

Is our only purpose to move tests away from 9th grade?  I would think at least one test in a grade is better than none.

I’ll respond to your answer.

A.P.

SC Response I would argue that the dual purposes of proactive scheduling are to better prepare students for academic success and graduation (primary importance) and to protect the school/district from draconian sanctions that inhibit the ability to teach and lead effectively (secondary importance).  The course offerings I have shared will effectively address both purposes.

Here is why I work to protect 9th graders from high stakes tests…  As you well know, if you randomly select a group of high school students you will find that Fragile Students are overrepresented in the 9th grade. For those of you who need objective proof, this fact manifests itself in when campuses have 500 9th graders and 300 seniors. This isn’t because 200 students graduated early. It is because fragile 9th graders become mired and eventually drown in academic failure.  Your strongest 9th grade students are ONLY dealing with transition issues, social issues, and lack of content experience issues.  Then throw into that mix the students who been previously retained and/or have failed any 8th grade courses. So my challenge is this, “Why would any rational educator subject this group of students to ANY test that has life changing implications and repercussions?”   

Bottom line, I wouldn’t.  I would create a teaching and learning buffer to better prepare ALL of my students for success. This means altering traditional student schedules that grease the rails of a state mandated testing system that in the best-case scenario borders on Social Darwinism.   Let Social Darwinism drive the enrollment / retention practices of private schools (as is their right).  In public schools let’s embrace our sacred, democratic mandate of purposefully increasing opportunities for every student that walks through our doors, not just in word, but in practice.

And the burden of occupying your chair is that you are the one person in the system in best position to make this happen.  Unleash your inner Brezina!

I look forward to your response.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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A Superintendent Writes… A Drop In Scores
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