Friday, July 6, 2012

Claiborne speaks again but when will he address reality?

Our dear friend, Claiborne Barksdale of the Barksdale Reading Institute and one of the leaders of the Public School Lobby, penned a column in the Clarion-Ledger about education recently.

"Recent commentary might lead one to conclude that the public school system in Mississippi should be abandoned and children scattered to the winds. "Choice, choice," they cry, but, for many who need choice the most, there will be no choices. The hysteria needs to stop. Do many schools need transformation - absolutely. Can they be transformed - yes.

Working since August 2000 in more than 100 under-performing schools in Mississippi, the Barksdale Reading Institute has seen many great teachers and school leaders, but much does need to be done to strengthen weak schools, and we have specific proposals to accomplish this. We also have concerns about various proposals that could harm the public schools and their students, parents and communities.

Three deep changes are essential. First, we need the strongest possible teachers in classrooms. We must implement as rapidly as possible the Mississippi Economic Council's 2011 Blueprint Mississippi education recommendations: increase entry requirements into the schools of education; increase teacher licensure requirements (recently adopted by the state board); make school of education curricula more content-area laden; implement merit-based pay for teachers and administrators with meaningful bonuses for strong results (being tested by MDE); and finally, ramp up significantly Teach for America and Mississippi Teacher Corps to have 1,000 such teachers working in the state annually (the Legislature appropriated $6 million for this in its most recent session).

Second, we must have transformative school leaders. A school is no better than its principal. We do not need managers, we need transformative leaders who will change fundamentally the culture and practices of the school, focus on academic progress, hold staff accountable, and involve parents and the community. BRI has funded the Principal Corps at the University of Mississippi to train principals. Thirty such leaders have been placed into schools. This year nine more will graduate.

Third, Mississippi must implement a quality early childhood system. In 2009-10, BRI administered a nationally normed assessment to 1,000 entering kindergartners with which we were then working. The average child scored in the 17th percentile; out of every 100 children nationally, 82 would have scored higher than the average child assessed. These 5-year-olds are starting school so far behind that it is difficult to catch them up.

All well and good and I have no doubt that a school district that commits to working with the Barksdale Reading Institute will improve if it does so on a large scale. However Mr. Barksdale, what do you do about a school district that rejected your brothers offer to donate money to hire the best superintendent? A school district that only has one middle and one high school at the "successful" level. A school district that blows money on attorneys left and right while teachers wonder if they will have toilet paper in the bathrooms. Schools that have dropout rates more than thirty percent. A district that blows off the parents. A district that can't seem to find qualified superintendents. A district that is losing its accreditation. A district that does not report its unexcused absences to the state so it can pad its attendance figures to get more money. A district supported by a NAACP leader that rejects your institute and methods?

What exactly do you propose to do with such a district, Mr. Barksdale, when they reject every bit of help you offer? What do you do with a district that is hell-bent on committing educational suicide? Does he think charter schools should invade that area? Should the state take over thee district? What do you propose, Mr. Barksdale, when they don't want your help?


Anonymous said...

I think what he is saying is public education is too important to be a "got ya" political issue between the 2 parties.

Anonymous said...

or bloggers

Pugnacious said...

A charismatic leader responds to Claiborne Barksdale on the failure of public education

Anonymous said...

Umm he proposed something. You proposed nothing. He wins.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barksdale is to be commended for all of his work with schools; however, I agree with many who have commented on the CL site...the reasons so many of these kids are starting out so far behind is poor parenting. Until we fix that, there isn't much we can do about the state of our schools.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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