Sunday, May 8, 2011

Poverty/schools/charters/Boeing/and American technical dominance

ThumbnailMichael Marder, UTeach in Texas, analyzes a huge Texas base to demonstrate the undeniable correlation between poverty and race and high school success, as measured by attaining a score of 1100 or better on the SAT (24 on the ACT). Part 1: Click here.

Michael Marder, UTeach in Texas, demonstrates that charter schools typically perform far behind regular public schools on these same metrics. Part 2. Click here.

Michael Marder, UTeach in Texas, argues that the American failure to acknowledge the role of poverty in school outcomes threatens to cede American technical dominance in the world in the same way that Britain ceded commercial aircraft dominance to the United States after World War II.  He says the British tried to build the DeHavilland Comet without cracks in the airframe, the accepted conventional wisdom of the time, but the plane still failed.  DeHavilland's theory of failure was wrong. Boeing, on the other hand, with no history of success in commercial flight, decided that you couldn't build airplanes without cracks and that its planes could live with some flaws if the airframe was "tough" enough. Boeing's theory of   failure was correct. 
By analogy, Marder complains that the theory of failure for the current reform environment  is wrong -- more accountability aligned with tough approaches to teachers and charters won't by themselves get the job done.  Until we address the poverty issue, he says, we're going to continue to  blunder around with "school reform."Part 3. Click here

Marder is a physicist and specialist in non-linear dynamics (chaos theory).
Contributed by James Harvey.

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