Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

October 12, 2011

How can educators deal with the poverty and culture gaps that have such a devastating effect on standardized test scores?

#Edchat 10 – 4 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

This edchat topic was always going to be  a tough one and it aroused a lot of passion among the participants. I cannot think of a better edchatter to write this summary than LaRon Carter and he has produced a fantastic post which gets right to the heart of this topic. He poses more questions than answers and these are exactly what we discovered when we tried to tackle this massive issue. LaRon has shared some great videos to give you further food for thought and I encourage you to follow him and check out the web links in his bio at the end of the post. Thank you LaRon for a post that gives us all so much food for thought!

The foundation of a question searching for answers that connect solutions to challenges faced when crossing the bridge of standardized test scores sounds academic. Factor in hauling a backpack loaded with cultural differences and the pains of poverty and educators are as overwhelmed as the students taking the test.  This EdChat topic solicits feedback from educators on how to deal with it.  The conversation was only able to scratch the surface of solutions offering temporary relief to a much bigger set of systemic issues.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
  • Worrying about poverty because of the tests is a bit horrifying
  • Correcting poverty is a moral thing to do
  • Teaching as a culturally sensitive pedagogic method
  • Success happens when teamwork happens between all stakeholders
  • Home visits promote healthy relationships early on
  • Teaching to the test is just plain bad practice
  • No food – No learning – Stressed teachers teaching test prep – No Learning – No win
  • Do you save all of a few or a tiny fraction of all?
Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

@davidwees: The topic for today assumes that we should be dealing with gaps in poverty & culture BECAUSE of tests, which is absolutely false. #edchat

@leahmacvie: #edchat fun fact: Finland got rid of state-mandated tests and replaced them with highly trained teachers+ problem solving assessments.

@TeacherSabrina: Part of prob is that tests are designed by people good at taking them. Will always favor their learning styles/ways of performing. #edchat

@harrelldewayne: @davidwees #edchat the word “test” will never show “true education,” it enables a school & person 2 feel a since of accomplishment

@ericconti: A start would be to provide high quality early childhood education for all children. #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: Programs like AVID for 1st gen college bound students are supporting these students. We need more support for these students #edchat

@teachingwthsoul: My whole teaching/admin career based in schools w/high poverty & ELL Ss. Our scores soared! Worked as a team w/ all stakeholders. #edchat

@jessievaz12: RT @TeacherSabrina: .@davidwees @drdouggreen If a test consistently shows cultural diffs, it’s testing culture not academics. Throw it out & start over! #edchat

@kstansberry: Big question for educators: do we try to change culture or help students assimilate to dominant culture #edchat

@drdouggreen: @davidwees I think we should focus on opportunities for poor kids. The war on poverty started in the 60’s and hasn’t worked so well. #edchat

@TeacherSabrina: @drdouggreen @davidwees Actually it was working well until its gains began to be reversed under Reagan. #edchat Our greatest success w/ +

@ICTwiz: @cybraryman1 But standardised tests benefit ONLY a certain type of pupil. More formative assessments need to happen #edchat

@tomwhitby: If we recognize Poverty as a critical element in a failing education system, why is this not at the forefront of reform? #edchat

@ShackKyle: RT @tomwhitby: If poverty is a prime force in edu failure, how will any teachers feel supported when their rating/job depends on test scores? #Edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: More we break down barriers between students = more likely they are to communicate, collaborate & engage w/each other RT @rliberni: #edchat

@Kerry_EasyBib: @tomwhitby Poverty isn’t at the forefront of edreform b/c its the 1 issue even more seemingly insurmountable than edreform #edchat

@jessievaz12: For me, culture seems to be less of an issue bc we support international minded view. Looking at all cultures & perspectives. #edchat

@tomwhitby: If the culture within poverty areas is also counter to Edu that magnifies the problem freezing some schools in the failing zone. #Edchat

@teachingwthsoul: In high poverty schools, must meet the families where they are. Then build! Home visits/out reach were powerful tools. Care,support. #edchat

@cybraryman1: RT @weisburghm: School leadership is *so* important in driving achievement in schools serving poverty areas #edchat

@jgmac1106: It would also help if the teachers in high poverty schools looked like and shared experiences of their students #noteasy… On more macro level high poverty schools need to become community centers with open libraries, breakfast, TESOL adult ed, health #edchat

@CTuckerEnglish: I use my online discussions to present release questions then have students discuss them & brainstorm strategies for solving. #edchat

@rliberni: @jgmac1106 many schools here serve breakfast to kids some parents go to work very early #edchat

@weisburghm: Let’s develop more Ss as peer leaders, and let them teach and lead as part of their education #edchat

@TJwolfe_:  @teacherdebra Would be great to have more, split up responsibility between Admin and teachers, and visit more students at home #edchat

@38rg: When students aren’t engaged,can we honestly say they’re learning?

@jessievaz12: AMEN SISTER!=>RT @prlowe91: There is no need for teaching to the test if students are taught how to think & question. #edchat

@prlowe91: @weisburghm Totally get that single moms have it tough. We need to find a way to connect. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here
As ever, there were some great links shared:

 The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future (Multicultural Education) via @leahmacvie http://www.amazon.com/Flat-World-Education-Commitment-Multicultural/dp/0807749621/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317944684&sr=8-1

 One thing citizens must do his take our voice to the poles and hold our politicians accountable. #edchat http://t.co/p8d4zYt5  via @laroncarter


Shared my thoughts on good education & the importance of diversity in thought here: http://t.co/ikKcZVd1  Have to go, but great #edchat-ting! Via @TeacherSabrina         



http://laroncarter.com LaRon Carter creator of http://twitter.com/K12Live is an education behavioural strategist and author of Stop Crying in the Restroom [it ain’t that deep]: A Guide to Your Best Year Teaching With Smart K12 Goal Setting Methods.  Follow Carter “The Guest Teacher” @laroncarter http://twitter.com/laroncarter on Twitter


New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!


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