Sunday, August 17, 2008

Improving student achievement in California

O’Connell’s proposal ( below) calls for more sensitivity training for teachers to reduce the achievement gap. There is simply no evidence that sensitivity training for teachers improves student achievement.
What then is needed?
Failure, drop outs, low performance occurs in specific schools – those with large populations of poor and minority students. In these schools, the cde and others should assist to create a positive culture of success for students and teachers. (Teachers working conditions are student learning conditions). The STAR testing does not contribute to creating this culture of success.
Creating successful schools requires adequate resources, effective leadership, and teacher in-service among others. The legislature and the governor have consistently refused for 30 years to provide the needed resources. Tests and standards have not change that. Unfortunately most leadership is currently focused on standards and testing, not upon creating a culture of success for students and teachers.
When the above is initiated, then teachers could benefit from in-service training which might include sensitivity training. I doubt its values. Training in multicultural education and English language learning would be more helpful.
There is much more on what needs to change in my book; Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. (2004) The new edition has been submitted to the publisher.
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