The Kids Aren't All Right
Last summer was great. Remember? I do. Many of you don't have hour-specific jobs (or jobs you care too much about), and we'd brunch in the middle of the day, play basketball, sit in bars and laugh because we're not the only ones sucking down whiskeys and PBRs in the middle of a no-time Wednesday. Remember how hanging out on Thursday was no problem? Mondays too. Man, that was good. Remember how I frequently came up with new ideas, new projects, fun things to do in the city because I had time and energy? That was neat. Remember how I initiated conversation with you, even though I didn't know you, because I was feeling good, un-tired, and not weighed down with the responsibility of impacting life outcomes for 60 or so low-SES immigrant kids from East 408? That was cool. Remember how I was cheerful and upbeat and like, smiled a lot? Those were the days.
Those days are gone.
Maybe we can squeeze a Saturday night in here and there, but I'll be pretty tired from teaching the sixth day in a row. Fridays are out. Sundays I grade papers and plan, but maybe we can sit across from each other at a hipster cafe and do work and not talk. That'd be neat. I hope we can keep in touch through email, voicemails I won't return in a timely fashion, and the ubiquitous myspace.
In the meantime, I'll be a little busy. You see, the kids aren't all right.
- 20% of my students earned a zero percent on my parts of speech diagnostic (Ex: write the definition of a noun; which of the following is a verb, etc.) 100% failed.
- 35% of students earned below ten percent on a writing diagnostic assessing specific writing skills that, according to a Board of Trustees presentation I recently attended, are being taught in classrooms across the District. 100% earned a D or below.
- The average independent reading level is 2.5 -- that's second grade, fifth month, for those scoring at home. (If only we used Open Court and Reading First...)
- The average fluency score is 83 words per minute, nearly 100 words below benchmark.
- 33% of students failed the alphabet quiz, which asks students to print each letter in capital and lowercase letters, and then circle the vowels.
- Then there's this, from a student who's been in the U.S. four years, responding to the persuasive essay diagnostic about lengthening the school day: "I tenk the es net god to go in the dark. I cot get hor en yu ren gen the en mi opor non of os to get or. vi car cut hat os en the dark en mor es uy pas the estuits."
So maybe we can hang out again sometime next summer. I think I'd like that.