Just curious if anyone besides David "FIRST!" Scott has noticed this temporary blog. Journalspace is suppose to be up again Tuesday, so I hesitate to start all over here at Typepad. The awful truth about me is I dislike any change to my routine and this has been a big change. And I'm not crazy about the fact that Maia put one of my sister's new headshots as the main thing on my photo album. Meanwhile, if commenters want something to discuss here is what I WOULD have posted on Jspace Friday:
Maia leaves school at lunch every day because she only has morning high school classes this year, and today she was stopped by police on suspicion of truancy. (Usually it's just a new security guard.) They let her go after peering for a few minutes at her class schedule, which she carries around at all times for just these situations, but complained it was hard to figure out.
Now is that really our problem? And is this the best use of police resources? I guess it's not a bad idea to have police checking out that school every day, but Maia doesn't exactly radiate Troublemaker with a capital T. She has been doing a pretty mediocre job with the dishes lately, though. Maybe I could ask the police to have a word with her about that, just in case they feel like stopping her again
Today's National Review column (did that work? probably not) is about "Our School," a new book that chronicles an unusual California public school that's been getting inspiring results with kids who really do have problems with truancy -- or did before they enrolled here (italics because Typepad is unclear about how to do blockquotes):
The typical Our School student starts 9th-grade with 5th-grade reading and math skills, and comes from a home where, as Jacobs reports, “the TV was blaring all day, and nobody ever read a book or had a conversation.” So realistically, high school is probably too late for most to catch up completely, and the Ivy League or a top UC are most likely out of the question.
Still, Our School tells a moving and pretty amazing story, of determined students and teachers who really do transform D and F grades to passing and above—once the students put their minds to it and their parents understand that “F no es fabuloso” (as one actually assumed), and also that they really shouldn’t make their children miss school and finals for month-long trips visiting family in Mexico.
Just what the teachers are up against is revealed in a chapter about how the students learn to analyze and interpret a simple sentence: Why didn’t a star basketball player named Kisha play in the championship game? Some answers: “She found out she was pregnant.” “She was run over the day before.” “She was embarrassed to play in front of her boyfriend.” “Her daughter graduated.” “She punched the coach in the nose.” “She forgot to shave her legs.”
Yet many have a strong work ethic and inherent sense of fairness. Downtown College Prep’s Critical Thinking teacher, for instance, is surprised at her students’ reaction to a social problem she’s asked them to analyze: Should a landlord who hasn’t raised rent in years evict a single-mother tenant who hasn’t paid rent in months? Yes, say the students, the deadbeat tenant should move to a cheaper place and pay at least half the back rent.
The kids also have less sympathy than their teachers about local panhandlers. “Most of San Jose’s poor are working poor: janitors, warehouse workers, laborers, gardeners, fast-food cooks, retail cooks,” Jacobs explains. “DCP students believe everyone should work for a living. They’d like to get enough education to qualify for a decent job.”
The "Our School" school is a charter, and, as Jacobs makes clear, charters can serve a far more important purpose than allowing coddled and insulated types like Lawrence O'Donnell to imagine they're typical public school parents. In cases like Downtown College Prep, they can also rescue failing kids and actually get them into college -- even if it's not one that would impress O'Donnell and friends.