Sounding alarm on childhood literacy

Full story: Lowell Sun 9
An alarming number of third-graders continue to read below their grade level despite Massachusetts leading the nation on standardized reading assessments, according to a new report. Read more
Sandra

Lawrence, MA

#1 Jun 11, 2010
I'm glad that the article mentioned forming a partnership with families. We had a very important meeting at my school and only 8 parents showed up! Eight for a school of almost 500 children. Most of them don't even work. So where's their excuse? The teachers are expected to be held accountable. Why aren't parents? At the last report card night, I had 11 out of 24 parents show up. There are some parents that I haven't even met yet. Yet, they can take their children out of school for weeks at a time to fly Peurto Rico or the Dominican Republic for vacations during the school year. Some students have missed over 20 days of school. That's a month worth of learning..gone. Maybe this could be a reason why our children are reading below grade level. So by all means..keep blaming and firing the teachers. Maybe if these parents were brought up on educational neglect charges, maybe then they would take an interest in their child's education? Something needs to be done about getting the parents to also shoulder some of the responsibility. I'm tired of being blamed for everything and for my tax dollars paying for extended vacations.
Wondering

Westford, MA

#2 Jun 11, 2010
How many of these children come from homes that speak English as their first language should be asked?

There are so many immigrants that don't speak English, that i'm not surprised.

Throwing more money at teachers,money,etc. will not improve the problem.
David

Burlington, MA

#3 Jun 11, 2010
I used to live in Florida where we always heard how bad the school systems were, and how much better Massachusetts were. Now the tables seem to be turned, as 72 percent of Florida's third graders are reading at grade level while Massachusetts has barely half of its third graders reading at grade level. And, Florida did it with less money per student, larger class sizes, and more minorities.
Football Dad

Tewksbury, MA

#4 Jun 11, 2010
Keep in mind, the MCAS test for third grade is at a 7th grade readability level. No other state in the country has higher standards than MA, consequently, when students cannot perform at that high a level the proficiency rates appear lower. On National tests, MA is at the top of the list every time.
The Real Common Sense

Gardner, MA

#5 Jun 11, 2010
Sandra,

As I stated on two other boards:

I agree that parents can be a part of the problem, but that's really more due to the fact that parents are discouraged from being in control of/responsible for their own children's upbringing. Schools- and state- keep taking over the roles of parents (and, ironically, this new "study" will only cause state to make even more rules and regulations to try to take over the role of parents- even though the more state and school-based control that there is, the worse it seems to be getting). What do you expect, if parents are constantly told that their input is not wanted or is sub-par- unless it is to help raise money for the local schools? You can't blame parents for what they literally are not allowed to make any decisions about... that's NOT using "common sense". To face reality, people need to understand that throwing more money at a failed system is not going to do anything more than waste money. As with many things, schools need to have healthy competition- and allow children and parents choices that fit the different types of families (and parents the freedom to make those choices)- or the schools will just keep taking and spending money in ways that may not acutally impove the situation. Many parents homeschool due to this reason, and most homeschooling children I know generally test better than schooled (certainly public-schooled) children, and they also enjoy learning, or at least understand the connection between learning and the rest of their life. Many times schooleed children only see education- schooling- as a short-term goal of getting a "good grade" or "passing" from one pointless level to another. There is no real and meaningful point or goal to learning. My own children- whom I homeschool- are in the 95-100% each and every year (we are not required to test, but we do, because it often helps them gain awards and join groups that value testing... I actually could care less, but I figure we can get some good things out of doing so). My children previously went to school, and after the first year or so after I pulled them out, they scored much lower. It was only after they had been homeschooled for a few years- and started enjoying learning for the sake of learning, and saw a real reason to care- that they then shot up to where they are. Their reading was also horrible, and it took years of re-teaching them to fix the horrible job their school has done with teaching them reading. The school believed in "whole language", so I had to reteach them using phonics. Phonics takes more effort for the teacher- and is harder, initially, for the child than the rote memorization of words- but it pays out much better in the end, when the child isn't dependance on Teacher or Parent to tell them how to pronouce each new word. I have tons more for examples, but the point is that most children could probably improve within a few years, if they were pulled out of school and taught by parents or tutors who could give them more personal attention, based on their interests and abilities, and not just random state (or Federal, as is sometimes the case) "standards".
had been

Housatonic, MA

#6 Jun 11, 2010
And how many "parents" find the time to read to their children?

How many of them know what a joy, informative and expanding reading can be?

Another classic example of having government fix a simple problem personal neglect. If you don't have the time to instill self improvement with your children, well then, maybe you shoudn't be allowed to keep them.

There's a government program for you!
Andrew

Pittsfield, MA

#7 Jun 11, 2010
had been wrote:
And how many "parents" find the time to read to their children?
How many of them know what a joy, informative and expanding reading can be?
Another classic example of having government fix a simple problem personal neglect. If you don't have the time to instill self improvement with your children, well then, maybe you shoudn't be allowed to keep them.
There's a government program for you!
Personally, I absolutely LOVE reading to my girls; our nightly story time right before bed, as well as any other time we can set aside for a book, is one of the things I love best about my family. How some people simply can't be bothered to read to their children is just beyond me!
Wont go there

Dracut, MA

#8 Jun 11, 2010
The Real Common Sense wrote:
Sandra,
As I stated on two other boards:
I agree that parents can be a part of the problem, but that's really more due to the fact that parents are discouraged from being in control of/responsible for their own children's upbringing. Schools- and state- keep taking over the roles of parents (and, ironically, this new "study" will only cause state to make even more rules and regulations to try to take over the role of parents- even though the more state and school-based control that there is, the worse it seems to be getting). What do you expect, if parents are constantly told that their input is not wanted or is sub-par- unless it is to help raise money for the local schools? You can't blame parents for what they literally are not allowed to make any decisions about... that's NOT using "common sense". To face reality, people need to understand that throwing more money at a failed system is not going to do anything more than waste money. As with many things, schools need to have healthy competition- and allow children and parents choices that fit the different types of families (and parents the freedom to make those choices)- or the schools will just keep taking and spending money in ways that may not acutally impove the situation. Many parents homeschool due to this reason, and most homeschooling children I know generally test better than schooled (certainly public-schooled) children, and they also enjoy learning, or at least understand the connection between learning and the rest of their life. Many times schooleed children only see education- schooling- as a short-term goal of getting a "good grade" or "passing" from one pointless level to another. There is no real and meaningful point or goal to learning. My own children- whom I homeschool- are in the 95-100% each and every year (we are not required to test, but we do, because it often helps them gain awards and join groups that value testing... I actually could care less, but I figure we can get some good things out of doing so). My children previously went to school, and after the first year or so after I pulled them out, they scored much lower. It was only after they had been homeschooled for a few years- and started enjoying learning for the sake of learning, and saw a real reason to care- that they then shot up to where they are. Their reading was also horrible, and it took years of re-teaching them to fix the horrible job their school has done with teaching them reading. The school believed in "whole language", so I had to reteach them using phonics. Phonics takes more effort for the teacher- and is harder, initially, for the child than the rote memorization of words- but it pays out much better in the end, when the child isn't dependance on Teacher or Parent to tell them how to pronouce each new word. I have tons more for examples, but the point is that most children could probably improve within a few years, if they were pulled out of school and taught by parents or tutors who could give them more personal attention, based on their interests and abilities, and not just random state (or Federal, as is sometimes the case) "standards".
Well put!!! As a parent of a public school child, I have spent thousands on tutors, advocates, and testing for my child to get the education he should have been getting right from the start. He should have been getting more in the class than he was, I have been educating him myself for years. I should send the **** town a bill for all the hours I spent doing their job!!!
If you can swing it Home School or send your child to a Private School, it is the best way to go at least in my town it is.
The Patriot

Boston, MA

#9 Jun 13, 2010
Wondering wrote:
How many of these children come from homes that speak English as their first language should be asked?
There are so many immigrants that don't speak English, that i'm not surprised.
Throwing more money at teachers,money,etc. will not improve the problem.
You hit the nail right on the head.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Harvard Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Kariel swanfeldt (Apr '14) Mar 7 What 10
News Slick roads, towering snowbanks create 'perfect... Feb 27 Missed it 1
Nashboa Valley Home & Garden Show - March 14-15 Feb 27 Northern Shows 1
News 2 arrested on drug charges - Sentinel & Enterprise (Mar '09) Feb 27 Tommy 25
Ayer Open Space and Recreation Plan Update - Co... Feb '15 chendershot 1
where is Jennifer Wade (Camas)at these days? Feb '15 Jessica 3
Political Correct Hollywood is Leading the War ... (Sep '14) Sep '14 Culture Auditor 1
Harvard Dating
Find my Match
More from around the web

Harvard People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE

Personal Finance

Mortgages [ See current mortgage rates ]