Do you see inequity at your school?

Sign this Change.org petition and leave your experiences in the comments.

Implement a program promoting Education Equality at Henderson Middle School

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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15 Responses to Do you see inequity at your school?

  1. Bucky Rogers says:

    No argument that children of color are under-represented in both accelerated and gifted courses, but qualification for the gifted program is significantly more nuanced than just “test scores in first grade.” See the state evaluation and eligibility chart here: http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and-Instruction/Documents/Gifted%20Education/Gifted%20Evaluation%20and%20Eligiblity.pdf

    Furthermore, eligibility requirements are determined at the state level and Henderson has little autonomy in this department. What parents can do is request that their children be evaluated for the gifted program; we give the CogAT once a semester for this purpose.

  2. Teachers Matter says:

    Gifted is only a word unless the students’ work products reflect the supposed ability. Sadly, too often that is not the case. In many instances, those not labeled as gifted work harder and do a better job in the classroom.

  3. thedeal2 says:

    How gifted are taught is up to the state, not the superintendent.

  4. The superintendent (and curriculum staff) can change how regular ed classes are taught. This petition is asking for better classroom environments for regular ed – better class sizes and more challenging assignments – similar to the methods used in gifted classes. In fact, when Kittredge was first started, it was supposed to serve as an incubator and training ground for all teachers in all schools. Obviously, that has never happened.

  5. Parents of all races need to stop getting bent out of shape if your child does not get into gifted, aka, Target, or Tag. Neither of my white children ever did and they always scored above 90% on the IOWA tests. One of them even scored in the 99% on Math on the IOWA test. My children have not gotten in gifted classes in both Cobb and Fulton counties. Their individual classroom teachers have told me they are shocked when they have not been accepted to gifted.

    The one who scored the 99% on the IOWA math was actually put in an almost gifted in Cobb, taught by the Gifted teacher for 1/2 a year. Then we received a letter that they had funding cuts and could only offer the pure gifted Target Class, that was in 4th grade. I had her transferred to a different school because she was being bullied for being to smart in 5th. They wouldn’t put her in Target, but surprise, surprise she was one of only 9 5th graders that scored well enough to be chosen as an Obama Presidential Scholar, once again it was her high IOWA scores. Not some locally controlled creativity or motivation score. The next year I moved to Fulton. They also would not put her in Tag claiming she only got a 4% on motivation. My response was how does a child score well over 90% on the IOWA’s and get a 4% on the motivation section. Then I found out that my daughter was being bullied for being smart and refusing to let other kids cheat off of her. I have now moved her to a very small Private school in Cobb county with 4-8 kids per class. At midterm she received a 100 on her pre-algebra midterm, without any bonus or extra credit points. The teacher asked my daughter if that was the highest grade she ever got on a major exam before. She casually replied, well I received a 99% on the Math IOWA tests before and that is the highest you can get. This school has told me my daughter is clearly one of the smartest kids, if not the smartest in the school, she just doesn’t bother to do her homework a lot of the time ( but it is only worth 10% of the grade).

    My oldest was not let into target in 1st grade . The teacher could not believe it. We were told it was her creativity score, yet they were squirlly on creativity. Was it a drawing, my daughter thought it was because she drew a black hole. Then I was told it was writing creatively. This same child in second grade had a writing assignment chosen over all the other students in every grade to go to a Cobb County contest. She later got Natural A’s in all her AP Classes. I moved her to Catholic school in 4 th grade. Most of her other friends who were in target were moved out to other privates by 4th or 5th grade. My daughter was the A student in Private school. Her friends that were in Target were B/C students at Lovett, Galloway, and Woodward. Then in High School my daughter graduated with a higher GPA then all the kids who were in Target in elementary. Now in college my daughter got a 4.0 last semester in a STEM major and has a 3.86 overall. The highest any of the kids who went target have in college is a 3.2 at a small private, several of the former stars have already transferred out of UGA because it is too hard, they have lost HOPE,

    It means nothing in the long run that your kid gets put in Target or Tag in Elementary School. Don’t stress about it. Instead do what I did and do spend time doing homework and review with your kids. Hire private tutors who work at Private schools for $50 hr if you need to. Their is a great SAT/ACT tutor who teaches at Westminster ( Frank ) he chares $70/ hr and only gives your chil

    4-5 one on one session, so they know how to take these tests.

  6. thedeal2 says:

    If they want better classroom conditions for non-gifted, then just say it. Don’t try to make it an us vs. them. The system is set up by the state for gifted and special ed to be treated differently. So either work to change the system on the state level (won’t ever happen) or lobby for better conditions for all without tying it to gifted. They are able to provide that atmosphere for gifted through special funding. It isn’t a magic wand. If all schools received more funding per student, then, yes, they could provide that better atmosphere with smaller classes (or if DeKalb would shift some of its administrator pay to the classroom), but, again, that doesn’t have anything to do with gifted.

  7. Did you read the petition Deal? They are advocating for regular classrooms to emulate the way gifted classrooms are taught. Blaming the poor performance of regular ed students on state guidelines won’t fix anything. DCSS has the money ($1.2+ billion annually in total) and the ability to focus on regular schools and classrooms to improve outcomes. Instead, they pay for more administrators (and their cars) and focus on the high achievers in magnet schools as their only claim to success. (For example, DSA magnet is always #1 for DeKalb on state performance lists – however, Lakeside never makes any kind of high achieving list of schools anymore. There is a very big discrepancy in educational opportunities in DeKalb – and a huge gap in equity.)

    Some snippets >>

    Currently at Henderson Middle School all Students receive 990 instructional hours, but “Gifted” Students received 225 hours of in-depth instruction; while the “Non-Gifted” students are pushed from subject to subject only having a shallow understanding. My daughter was given a worksheet in science, as a means to introduce a new concept, while her “Gifted” counterparts were given a project. Which Student learned more about that specific subject?

    So my challenge to you Mr. Superintendent, is to:

    1. Implement a County wide program that will help our students increase their test scores, so that they are able to compete on a National stage against the best and brightest across the country. Test taking is a skill on its own and is important enough to teach as an elective at the very least.
    2. Offer ALL students the opportunity to be AWESOME by:

      A. Giving them the same in-depth instruction time that the “Gifted” students are allowed

      B. Reducing Class sizes across the board, creating an environment that is more conducive for learning while causing less street for both the Teachers and Students.

      C. Believing in them and encouraging ALL students to Live, Learn, Grow and Thrive (Gifted or Not).

  8. Per pupil spending reinforces the inequity in DeKalb. We were able to acquire the per pupil cost report via ORR in 2010 which showed an enormous range in PP spending. We have never been able to get an updated report. However, you may download the 2010 report here >> https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/per-pupil-expenditures-general-and-title-i.pdf

    And here is a post about how QBE funding works >> https://dekalbschoolwatch.com/dcss-files/budgets-and-audits/qbe-funding/

    What the Henderson petition states is that these kinds of inequity exist even within the walls of individual schools.

    Further, the 2004 Ernst & Young audit showed an over-spending in the tens of millions on administrators in DCSS. Johnny Brown, the superintendent at the time was promptly fired. The report was quickly purged by Dr. Lewis. It was kept hidden by Ramona Tyson. Tyson finally produced 4 boxes of paperwork regarding the audit and promised a new forensic and salary audit along with a specific timeline. That audit was never done. So in reality, DCSS has never had a public full forensic salary audit conducted by an outside firm. Taxpayers are simply to believe what we are told regarding spending in our schools.

    However, the light was shined when Druid Hills attempted a charter cluster conversion. They ran the state formulas and concluded they were entitled to $11 million more than DCSS was willing to concede. In addition, the current Chamblee Charter renewal is showing similar numbers. DCSS is only allocating about half what schools are entitled to to the classrooms of those schools. It is doubtful we are anywhere near the 65% required by law.

    But yes – shame on the state for allowing the school districts to increase class sizes year after year.

  9. thedeal2 says:

    We are in agreement, DSW. Regular classroom experience needs to improve drastically, and that could be done by cutting useless programs and people from the Palace. There is no need to bring gifted into the discussion because how it is funded and run is set by the state. It is a completely separate discussion from the fact that DCSD does not care about the classroom condition. No one says “we want 3 people in a class like special ed” because it is apples and oranges.

    If in the process of deciding the goal of an improved classroom is to look at the gifted program for creative ideas, then that is fine, but the overall problem is that DCSD does not fund the classrooms appropriately. The only reason special ed and gifted get anything is because they are required. If DCSD could take money from special ed and gifted, believe me, they would. Just like they do for Title I.

  10. Entirely true, Deal. Kittredge (supposedly a gifted magnet program) was originally supposed to serve as an incubator for teaching techniques as well as a training ground for regular classroom teachers around the county. The teaching methods used in the magnet classes for ‘gifted’ students will also translate very well in regular classrooms. Excellent teaching and low class sizes should not be reserved only for those labeled ‘gifted’.

  11. September says:

    The problem with the gifted designation is that it creates a system of haves and have nots. There is extra money to educate gifted students. Gifted students get smaller classes and more stimulating instruction. Their classmates who just missed scoring high enough to qualify remain in regular classes where they have the opportunity to help their less able peers. Students should be sharing their knowledge and helping others when the can, but it is no substitute for a challenging academic experience. Dekalb does not do a good job of challenging their smart but not gifted students. These students sit in large classes with overworked teachers. If they are unlucky enough to have a disruptive classmate they learn even less. Gifted students have access to more resources. My son lost a textbook when he was in school. After he paid for the book an AP taped pieces of two textbooks together so he had a book to use. At the time, a friend’s daughter, a student at Kittredge, had a complete set of textbooks sitting on a shelf at home. She also had a set of books to use at school.

  12. thedeal2 says:

    For what it’s worth, two of my four kids tested into gifted and got no special treatment at our south-central DeKalb elementary school. Not every school treats gifted the same. I didn’t even realize schools still pulled gifted kids into a separate class until I was at a parent council meeting with other school parents.

  13. For Bucky: The Iowa Test of Basic Skills is given each Fall and is used as a one criterion for determining gifted status. The CoGat, which is also used, is given once a year in the Fall but not to all students. I believe it is given to first, third and fifth graders. To qualify for Gifted, a very high Renzulli score is also required. The Renzulli is a subjective test scored in November by the teacher based on classroom observation of certain characteristics such as imagination, perseverance, and ingenuity. Every child must be scored even if the teacher has observed the child is not gifted. Again only done in grades 1, 3, and 5. Parents get reports on the Iowa and CoGat, but not the Renzulli.

  14. HMS Educator says:

    At HMS I teach a gifted class of 33, but no classes over a cap of 34. All students are harmed by large classes, gifted and general Education. There are flaws in how we determine gifted eligibility, but the much bigger issue in this country is class size.

  15. Kittredge is high achievers, not gifted. You need something around a 75%, I believe on the IOWA and the luck of the gods to have your name picked out of a hat. Only one spot per school in DeKalb is guaranteed, so we know people who intentionally make their children suffer in a terrible school for a year in order to apply to Kittredge and hopefully have better odds at getting in because their classmates are from more difficult backgrounds and don’t have parents who do the legwork to fill out the application on the child’s behalf.

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