If all children can read on grade level by the third-grader they’ll have a chance to succeed

When I was in elementary school back in the early 1960’s I knew a kid in my third grade that couldn’t read at grade level. He struggled with with everything from History, Science and even Math where reading was required. This kid just drifted off and spend most of the day daydreaming. One day at recess we were sitting on a hill playing with our Matchbox cars. I asked him if his mother or father read to him or helped him with his reading. He said, no! I asked why? He said they both worked late each day and were too tired! I said, what about your older brothers and sisters? He said, they were too busy.

Folks, we’ve seen so much early intervention in k-3 and the test data reveals, intervention helps. However, once students hit middle school many fall between the so-called cracks. I am sorry to say, without a strong reading foundation all other subject matters will be useless to teach.

There are many students who go home and have no one to help reinforce their reading. Blame parents all you want. However, no all parents work 8-4 or 9-5! No all children are raised by parents! Many poor children are raised by a grandparent!

Common Core Standards and the Smart Balance Assessment don’t mean shit if a student can’t read! Odds are at the core of the testing data is STUDENT CAN’T READ! Don’t you honestly think a student will ace a science test if he can’t read! What we need is, the federal government out of our schools and folks the likes of Jack Markell and RODEL out of our schools.

  

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24 responses to “If all children can read on grade level by the third-grader they’ll have a chance to succeed

  1. lastDEconservative

    Kilroy opined, “What we need is, the federal government out of our schools and folks the likes of Jack Markell and RODEL out of our schools.”

    I’ll support you, Kilroy, as soon as you recognize and call for the lower levels of the government schooling (not education) leviathan to eschew the most devastating of the federal policies, the punishing of the able and willing. Of course, then I’ll attempt to move you on to removing the NEXT level of government from the destruction of our most valuable and most vulnerable, but one day at a time, one day at a time. 😉

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  2. lastDEconservative

    “Common Core Standards and the Smart Balance Assessment don’t mean shit if a student can’t read! Odds are at the core of the testing data is STUDENT CAN’T READ!”

    DUH !!

    So why don’t we just buck up and tell the parents/grands/caretakers/YMCA hall monitors that this kid can’t read? Why don’t we put the kids where they can ( *gasp* must ) learn? At least suspend their self-esteem-in-lieu-of-learning until they can read? Why don’t we make the teachers teach them to read? Oh wait, I forgot, teachers don’t get enough OJT, and their graduation credentials aren’t sufficient. No fault of their own, of course.

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  3. lDEc, gosh, you really have no idea what you’re talking about. And ignorance truly is bliss.

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    • Publius e decere

      John,

      Go back a few days on Kilroy and find my queries to you about what to do with 8th graders who arrive with 3rd grade skills. Please weigh in with a response.

      publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      About as substantial a response as would be expected of you, John. If the shoe fits …

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    • John, I think you’re missing the underlying message here. The more you (meaning society) try and burden the educational system with solving societal ills, the more you will be disappointed by the results. Educators are not parents. Educators cannot replace parents. The government cannot be parents. The government can’t funnel enough resources into low income groups to offset their dysfunctional and self destructive cyclical behavior. (violence, unruly behavior, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, theft, drug use) Distributing the dysfunctional behavior to larger portions of society via twisted, socio-economically manipulated feeder patterns, doesn’t make the rest of society improve the dysfunctional, it simply spreads the dysfunctional behavior by exposure. Minority leadership in particular, has been unsuccessful in stopping the decline of the family structure and other dysfunctional behaviors and it is these behaviors that are now being spread via our schools because schools don’t parent. They can’t parent. They house children, feed them, and try to educate them but they do not instill ethics, morals, and responsibility. No amount of educational training, No amount of higher salaries to educators, no amount of teaching aides, no amount of State redistribution will make the unwilling / dysfunctional change to behaviors that are productive and responsible.

      Any “creative ideas” the educational system has come up with to address the academic gaps has not raised the bar. The bar, for a larger portion of our youth, has declined because the root problem is not access to education or educators. Our TPS are PREVENTED from providing grade level appropriate or higher level education because student behavior and student responsibility is not enforced. Until education is allowed to hold students accountable for behavior and minimum competency, the efforts to steal academic opportunities and resources from one group and give them to another without accountability, will yield very little improvement for ANY group. The saying; Robbing Peter to pay Paul is quite appropriate.

      The WEIC efforts for Wilmington are noble but taking resources from low poverty schools to provide them to high poverty schools (which don’t have reasonable levels of local tax support) is nothing more than redistribution in the “HOPES” of equal outcomes. Unfortunately, “Hope” isn’t a verifiable result and redistribution is no guarantee of success for any group.

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  4. What to do with 8th graders who read on the 3rd grade level. I would suggest special education. I would suggest smaller classrooms. What I wouldn’t suggest is telling an 8th grade teacher she is a failure because she has trouble teaching 8th grade students who can’t read anywhere near grade level. That isn’t her fault. Give her the tools necessary to help those kids. NCLB is about blame. Those kids need solutions.

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    • An eighth grade teacher with 3rd grade readers in the 8th grade ISN’T the 8th grade teacher’s “fault” but the teachers granting passage to each grade have an ethical responsibility to insure the student is prepared for the next grade.
      It’s the educational system that absorbs millions of dollars of revenue and has an ever escalating budget’s fault for allowing an 8th grader to the 8th grade with a 3rd grade reading level. The Union complacently has not demanded that the schools insure the students are competent for the grade their in. If they were truly protecting teachers, they should be jumping up and down to insure students are grade level ready before entering each school year. There are no tools in the teachers wheel house OR that could be given to teachers to remedy that scenario. It doesn’t matter how much you pay or train them. This is the fallacy of demanding more resources (i.e.: redistributed money) to the high needs schools. When there wasn’t FRL, that’s what the educator’s said we needed. When there weren’t housing subsidies, that is what was said was needed to improve education, when there wasn’t special ed, that was what was said was needed, when student supplies were the reason, community supplies were provided, when IEP’s and 504’s (and the staff to accommodate and supplant the regular staff) were the reason schools couldn’t improve, they were supplied, when laundering services are needed to provide clean clothes, we’re providing some of that. All these things, by and large are not bad things and for those who utilize them, they help…. some.

      These “kids need solutions” has been the mantra to demand reallocation of all sorts of resources but the solutions they need aren’t going to come from a teacher or government official. That’s the fallacy. At least not until their parents are deemed unfit, and we start requiring licenses and training courses to have children.
      “They are up against a tidal wave of challenges that the current system doesn’t support.” AND WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SUPPORT WITH EVERYONE ELSE’S RESOURCES. Is it really the belief that the Nanny state can satisfy and offset all these challenges? That’s one tall order.

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  5. My comment earlier was based on your remark, “why don’t we make the teachers teach them to read?” Your ignorance is that you think teachers don’t do that. They do, with every tool, resource, strategy under the sun. It isn’t working. They are up against a tidal wave of challenges that the current system doesn’t support. It cracks me up where this conversation is going (as they nearly all do…)….replace the teachers. You know, as far as I know…and what do I know…but the last time I checked, there aren’t thousands of unemployed excellent teachers who are unable to find employment because of union hiring rules. Replace all the “bad” teachers with whom? Where are these angels who are going to swoop in and make all the problems go away? They don’t exist.

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    • lastDEconservative

      ” … you think teachers don’t do that. They do, with every tool, resource, strategy under the sun. It isn’t working.”

      So we don’t penalize (*gasp* – evaluate) any eight grade teachers whose charges can’t read. Fine. Who then? Those in front of the 7th grade class? Sixth? Third? FIRST? According to the Fred and all her cohort across the nation, NO! Granted, teachers are but one failed link in a long chain of failed links, but to say they bear NO responsibility is union-speak claptrap.

      But wait. You say they have all the tools. What are they doing with them?
      Does Johnny’s mother’s failure to read to him when he was 5 cause Ms. McGillicutty’s teaching to wither after planting at age 6, 7, 11, 13? Or is Ms. McGillicutty simply not getting it done? My general point may have been missed — given an 8th grader reading at 3d grade level, inexcusable though it may be, STOP teaching math, science, self esteem, gender identification tolerance, America’s evil history, etc., UNTIL the child is taught to read. Q.E.D.

      The corruption of the whole statist system is obvious, yet largely unseen (as in hidden, very carefully hidden). The cronyism of the state, via the elected and their appointed, with the (reliably voting employees of the) union screams out for market solutions. Check again for more than plenty able teachers kept out by the union, which is sanctioned by the administrative state, which is enabled by the corrupt elected elites; a never ending circle of adult centric, self preserving misery whose sufferers are our most valuable and most vulnerable.

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    • “Where are these angels who are going to swoop in and make all the problems go away? They don’t exist.”
      Agreed. These problems aren’t educational in nature. Which is why the call for more teachers and more resources and more administration and more programs is a Trojan horse.

      I wouldn’t advocate a teacher witch hunt but regardless of the industry, dead wood does accumulate and in the private sector there are means to clear some of it out. In education through the government, there is not, and in fact it is perpetuated even after the teachers and educational staff leave for retirement. With no effective method to trim costs (labor being the largest cost) or identify ineffective teachers and admins, the public is left to have to accept the ineffective and hear the call for ever more resources. Hardly efficient or productive.
      “The cronyism of the state, via the elected and their appointed, with the (reliably voting employees of the) union screams out for market solutions.” THIS.

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  6. John is there anything else you would do with that 8th grader? Besides special education and smaller classes. What if that doesn’t work? Would you pass to 9th grade? What baffles me is how any given 8th grader who reads at a 3rd grade level could get passed not only by the 4th grade teacher, but then by the 5th grade teacher, then by the 6th grade teacher, then by the 7th grade teacher. Sadly, everyone in the building can most likely pinpoint that kid as high risk for dropping out, or at the very least, being unemployable when they ‘graduate’. Are teachers being told they aren’t allowed to hold students back or something? How does it happen on such a large scale?

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    • Publius e decere

      John,

      How about this? A teacher decides which students are “ready” for the next grade and then only those “ready” students are tested for proficiency. Those who are declared by the teacher as “not ready” get held back. No exceptions. Those determined by the teacher as ready will be assessed for proficiency by the state. If there is a huge gap between what the teacher thought was proficient and what the standards determined to be proficient, then we can more confidently assign accountability to that teacher and its administration. Yes, and its administration. The administrationds get dragged into this accountability also. So they had better collectively get it right on advancement or be held accountable.

      Right?

      Now, if you disagree with the premise that a teacher’s or administrator’s designation of individual student promotability must be assessed, then what exactly do you think those professionals’ accountability should be? To nothing? To the individual whims of individual teachers? Please tell us.

      Said differently, if a student gets to 8th grade with a 3rd grade proficiency level, then SOMEONE should be accountable. Who? Please tell us.

      Publius

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  7. For the 8th grader in question LDC would suggest work camp, PM would say keep him in 3rd grade forever, John special ed (probably already is), he establishment would pass him on and say ‘try to catch him up and oh BTW teach him the next years content as well. I think there needs to be an honest discussion, for whatever reason (poor teachers, poverty, shitty environment at home, wasn’t ready coming out of wound..whatever) this discussion should include (much to the chagrin of the now concerned parents)- this kid has no shot in hell of going to college, graduating high school and his options are limited…so here it is a manual labor vocation of sorts, dig some ditches or something kid….if you choose to look for a better life you can do it through education that you pay for…or something like that. LDC..that’s work camp with a heart….after all it’s the Christmas season and even Ebanezer came around

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    • Publius e decere

      Having a heart is everyone’s point. The question is what it means. If the system in all of its esteem-preserving naivete results in a 8th grade enrollee only having a 3rd grade proficiency then the system has failed miserably. Even the misplace 8th grader knows it, so there goes the self esteem argument.

      Ignoring the pejorative accusation of “3rd grade forever” it should be an imperative of the employees in the system to educate and make-ready such students — with increasing urgency — if they are out of their age cohort. So don’t promote if proficiency lacks, but then step up the teaching intensity to get a held-back student back on track. The holding back is the wakeup call for the student, the family, and the teacher. There should be constructive penalties for these failures. The remedy to move that student back on track is the remedy which society needs.

      Standards per grade should drive this. Then everyone can apply resources and efforts where they are needed. What we have now, with social promotion and passing of the buck, merely leads to dissension and discord with no student-centric solution. Catch it early, and often, and respond urgently. Any system which allows an 8th grade enrollee with a 3rd grade proficiency level should be triaged or closed with all due urgency.

      John, what say ye? Step five orders of magnitude beyond your defensive incremental platitudes and give us some suggestions for host to fix this.

      Publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      Work camp with a heart! That’s the only kind, Break, and is a very fair characterization of my belief system which you (attempt to) comically skewer at every opportunity. Thanks for the (unintentional) bumper sticker, which is about the only way argument with the leviathan and its sycophants can brought. You know, fight fire with fire, bumper stickers with …

      Pub is right on — the question is what does “heart” mean? To me and mine, it means doing what is best for the child and rarely is that coddling or excusing or pampering or doing his laundry or slipping him some crackers from a box out of your own pantry, or sending him up to the next grade with a pat on the head, wholly unable, likely unwilling, and sure to diminish the opportunities OWED to the rest of the urchins in said next grade (as the payment of union dues (aka absence of accountability) permits, via the chain of destruction previously enumerated).

      Read the thoughtful column in the rag today by a thoughtful gentleman and good citizen Bob Elder vis a vis jobs for the failed. It’s unlikely the jobs he refers to are intellectual in nature. Read the Bible (or did you just combust at the thought?) to discover the true standing of (hard) labor in the grand scheme of things. More humans should be attuned and participating, not fewer.

      The “work camp” ethos you decry was a blessing BEFORE the welfare state and the socialists took root creating the mess of today. A man operating a shovel in the ’30s * was proud to be standing on his own two feet; a man leaning on one today is probably one day from heading to or back to the trough, bitching along the way about the lack of justice, the unfairness of it all, and how he “shouldn’t have to do this shit,” to put it in denizen recognizable terminology. The grievance industry sweeps his path to the trough, excuses him, and enables him, and thus themselves. Govt schooling (not education) is but one manifestation of this evil destruction of humanity.

      * Setting aside for another day the fact that a lot of that shovel operating was done on a govt payroll, for work created by the same govt that vaporized the economy and then kept it on the mat with policies meant to “help” instead of letting the marketplace right itself naturally.
      ____________________
      Work Camps With Heart!
      ———————————
      ___________
      Work Houzz!
      ——————
      _______________
      WorkHouseProud!
      ————————-

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  8. So much violence in schools now that some of riots involving 100+ students don’t even make the local news. God help our children’s generation. 😦

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  9. Of course said 8th grader misses an average of 50 school days a year, is unmotivated and has no interest in learning to read…system fail?

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  10. Break, I never said keep them in 3rd grade for five years. Obviously if a kid can’t master 3rd grade after two years, something bigger is going on. If we stopped social passing at a very early age, instead of just lowering the bar, a lot of kids could and most likely would benefit. No not all of them but you could catch and help way more than are being helped now. You don’t want an excess supply over demand for ditch diggers, do you

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    • lastDEconservative

      You know, mom, I wonder if we wouldn’t have this problem now if we had only been wise enough to continue to fund midnight basketball for the 20 years since its brilliant inception. That kept a lot of kids in their seats, right? Right? Helloooo?

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  11. “Something bigger is going on”… Um that’s the point. You know the old saying about leading a horse to water? Well for the most part in schools you are talking about kids like this from impoverished backgrounds who aren’t equipped to learn, uninterested in learning and the values they and their families hold don’t include education. They are a societal burden and damn it we need a bunch of ditches!

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  12. I am not 100% against a form of work houses… I think bill of rights/constitution wise your vision would be a bit tough to pull off. I offer a solution that is more doable… Call it training, call it vocational education or pick something… Gold ol’ fashioned workhouse would never pass the test so to speak. Fact of the matter what you would call ‘the takers’ (I know that’s a favorite of the pointy hat crowd) are a drain on the system…the system is not equipped to handle them nor should it be.

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  13. Did you read about the suspicious package at Stanton middle school? It turned out to be a book bag with books in it for homework! No one ever saw that before there

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