5th Grade Rocks!

When I went into the reading coordinators office yesterday to discuss my current (third) quarter’s reading class with her, she thought I was there to complain. I wasn’t.  I only needed more supplies, but she greeted me with, “Listen, I know we always give you the low kids, and we always give you too many of them, but you move your kids. You’re the best chance they have to reach grade level.” I suppose she says that to everybody she thinks is about to complain, but I am going to take the praise anyway — especially since she backed it up with testing results.

At the beginning of last (second) quarter I was given twenty-four 5th grade readers who were reading on a 3rd grade level. Fourteen of those children just tested at grade level– not bad for just 45 days worth of work.

Fifth grade as a whole started the year with less than 33% of our students reading at grade level. We are now approaching 60%, with the better part of another semester to go before the big, ugly, NCLB benchmark test — in our case the CRT.

[Excuse me, State of Nevada, your teachers need a raise …]

Re-educating Squirrels

And when you finally get off the wheel, you sip from the chrome nipple, grab a kibble and snuggle down in your bed of wood shavings …

That was a comment on the post beneath this from a friend whose intent, I’m certain, was to entertain me after a long and hectic day of teaching. Unfortunately after reading it, I read the news article just below and the two mingled together in my mind, triggering my ever increasing sense of futility.

Nevada Near The Bottom In Education Survey
01-04-2007 4:41 AM

(Reno, NV) — Nevada ranks near the bottom in a new national report on education. The “Quality Counts” report by “Education Week” magazine ranks Nevada 44th out of the 50 states when it comes to such issues as student proficiency in math and reading, and for relatively low graduation rates. Nevada also ranks low when it comes to a student’s chance of going through school and college on the way to a good-paying job. But state education officials say Nevada’s results are skewed by the fact that the Las Vegas Valley makes up nearly 80 percent of the state’s student body. The Clark County School District is the fifth-largest in the nation, and is dealing with such issues as tremendous growth and a rising non-English student population.

Copyright 2007 Metro Networks Communications Inc., A Westwood One Company

Research in second language learners tells us that it takes students an average of five years to consistantly comprehend a casual conversation in English. Research further indicates that it takes another two years to for the second language learner to be able to wholly comprehend academic language. Despite reams of research gathered over the past couple of decades, our esteemed government, lead by our Fearful Leader, Dubya, passed the No Child Left Behind Act, demanding that every child in a U.S. school be fully competent in English within three years of enrolling in the system.

On one hand, I suppose I should be pleased that my government has so much faith in my ability to teach. Unfortunately I can’t enjoy that delusion because I know where the real learning difficulty lies, and I don’t have access to the Oval Office.

If you are interested in reading more on this topic read:

No Child Left Behind, One Teacher’s Perspective

and/or

FP Update: Must Be Spring, The Teachers Are Leaving