Showing posts from February, 2019

Grades Do Not Define Who We Are, How We Regard Grades Does

Across the Pacific, a senatorial aspirant claims on a Facebook page to be "one of the first female graduates from an Ivy League School—Princeton University, graduating with honors". The same Facebook  page posted a couple of weeks ago a photo of a letter from Princeton's Class of 1979, to lend support to the claim of the daughter of former president Marcos of being an alumnus of Princeton. Since Princeton includes degrees/honors awarded as well as dates of attendance in a student's "directory information" in its Policy on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, it is possible for the public to know if the claim is true or not. So now we have it in a story published in students' newspaper in Princeton, "Filipino governor, senate candidate falsely claims to have graduated from U.":

The source cited by the students' newspaper is Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss.

Back here in the United States, a former lawyer of United Stat…

Ricardy's Platform: "One Fairfax" Is About Removing Gaps in Opportunity

Anyone who follows basic education in the United States knows that there is an achievement gap that correlates with either socio-economic status or race. What someone may miss is the fact that there are likewise opportunity gaps. We can talk however long we want about how poverty negatively influences education but if we neglect to see that children of privilege are often receiving more opportunities, there is really no hope in reducing the achievement gap. It is really simple. One of the major reasons why there is an achievement gap is that there is likewise a gap in opportunities. On November of 2017, the school board in Fairfax County adopted a resolution called "One Fairfax" which includes "Education that promotes a responsive, caring, and inclusive culture where all feel valued, supported, and hopeful, and that every child is reached, challenged, and prepared for success in school and life." It is a good resolution, but we cannot deny the fact that Fairfax cou…

"The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations"

Jerrold Jensen writes in the Foothills Sun Gazette, "Former President George W. Bush occasionally used the expression “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Interpreted, it means we often look at people or places and an inborn bias causes us to form an unfair expectation of lower results. Studies show that if leaders or instructors have low expectations, the actual results of their followers or students will be lower."  Jensen's commentary comes with data showing that a high school where nearly 80 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced meals, Dinuba High School in Tulare County, California, has 65 percent of its 2018 graduates deemed "college/career ready". This is much higher than the average over the entire state of California, which is 42 percent.  So with this, Jensen remarks, "...Dinuba High School just blew away the competition when measuring college/career readiness. It appears that leadership expectations are especially high—and are b…

"Should Formative Assessments Be Graded?"

The former principal at Mason Crest Elementary School, Brian Butler, sent me a link to an article in Solution Treethat addressed the question, "Should formative assessments be graded?". It was an article written by a former school administrator, Tom Schimmer. I almost did not continue reading the article since it started with this response, "The short answer to this question is no." But I did continue and later in the article Schimmer changed the response to a maybe. Still, the article seemed to dwell unnecessarily on the difference between orthodox and reality. While citing that research had shown the importance of feedback supposedly in the absence of grades, Schimmer was trying to make the point: "With all of that said, classroom teachers don’t live in the orthodoxy of anything, and while there are important lessons and cues research has bestowed upon us, many of us have also learned that assessment is often context-dependent and nuanced." We often mak…

Ricardy’s Platform for Fairfax Schools

RICARDY FOR SCHOOL BOARD·TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2019 Ricardy J. Anderson, Ed.D. To ensure that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers opportunities for and equitably serves all students, I will initially focus on the following priorities: · Strategic Implementation of One Fairfax: I want to make One Fairfax a reality for Mason Kids by equitably equipping our teachers and staff with needed resources to facilitate the delivery of personalized and individualized instruction to students in 21st century facilities. We must stop the practice of asking our PTAs/PTOs to provide funding for essential resources and services to schools. We must establish the expectations that research based and effective strategies will be provided at all schools across the county. · Protect Needs-Based Staffing: We must ensure Title I and other needs-based funding are aligned with Mason District needs. · Teacher and Staff Compensation: Teacher quality significantly impacts student achievement. We must in…

Whom Should We Elect to the School Board? Ricardy Anderson

Electing an individual to the School Board is similar to asking the question "What should funders fund?", a question recently discussed by psychologist Daniel Willingham in his blog Science & Education. Initially, Willingham's "knee-jerk" response to this question is "funders need to stop being idiots". He then explains that what he really means is that nowadays, most programs not directly linked to an improvement in student learning are often funded. He offers the following to explain how we can influence student learning:

Federal à State à District à Principal (Admin) à Teacher à Student Learning

Obviously, the sphere of influence becomes smaller as we go from Federal down to a State, down to a District, down to a Principal, and finally to a teacher, who probably influences the learning of only about 25 students. Naturally, we are then attracted to the level that can bring the biggest impact. A principal, for instance, can influence not just one …

In the Philippines, Some High School Students Cannot Read

The previous Aquino administration in the Philippines had this dream, "Every Child a Reader by Grade 1". Dreams, however, become reality only with correct actions and genuine effort. And in education, such goals can only be reached with adequate resources. For instance, when schools are forced into multiple shifts because of congestion, instructional time is severely compromised. The shortage can be exacerbated by adding more years to basic education and at the same time, imposing a performance merit system based on mass promotion. Years after the introduction of K to 12, Kara David documents a disconcerting situation in one of the high schools in the capital region of the Philippines: Students currently enrolled in seventh grade cannot read.

The documentary shows high school students who are struggling in phonetics in their mother tongue.

One child tells the story of lessons on basic reading being rushed through third grade as the cause of being left way behind. One can th…

Reason for Non-Vaccination: "Mother Was Busy"

Outbreaks of measles are being reported worldwide. Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease so its resurgence can be attributed to "gaps in vaccination coverage". Hundreds of cases of measles have already been confirmed in the Philippines, and some are quick to blame the dengvaxia fiasco as the main culprit behind why a significant number of children have not been vaccinated against measles. It may be true especially in Europe or in the US that parents have been refusing to have their children vaccinated for fear of side effects, but this is not necessarily true in the Philippines. In fact, a much more logical conclusion is the the Philippines' Department of Health not simply doing its job. Indeed, this is the real reason based on data collected by the Department.

The above two figures show that more than two-thirds of measles cases involve individuals who have not been vaccinated and of these two thirds, the primary reasons for non-vaccination are: (1) not eligible for …

We Need to Pay Attention to Details

When something involves several factors, we need to be careful in drawing conclusions. In the physical sciences, experiments are designed to focus on one factor at a time while controlling others when the object of the investigation is multivariate. Basic education is an example of a complex system. For this reason, before we declare that we have found a silver bullet, we need to pay attention to details. Megha Satyanarayana wrote recently an article in the Chemical and Engineering News that shared an apparent successful innovation in chemistry undergraduate education at the Michigan State University. In "Stop. Draw. Discuss: How high school approaches are helping fix undergraduate chemistry", the following comments from a 20-year old student are highlighted:
“It was interactive. We could talk to the people sitting next to us. It’s not like learning facts. It’s more like common sense, or reasoning,”
Helping students to become more engaged with what is being covered inside th…