KDeRosa has a great post up on the latest editorial “Critical Thinking, Not Standardized Tests” over at the Los Angeles Times. He does such a great job, that I am not going to even bother covering the content of the editorial…
Of course, as you may suspect, I am a master googler. Using my awesome skills, I decided to look at the background of the author who would write:
In fact, test scores (on the annual standardized state test) are like the closing prices on the stock exchange. They fluctuate for any number of reasons. A bad breakfast, a case of the jitters or skipping a line and filling in the wrong bubbles can wreak as much havoc as not knowing the difference between "abjure" and "adjure."
Of course our first instinct is to assume that he is making excuses for his students. I mean after all he does work at an elementary school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He probably works in a failing inner city school comprised of Hispanic immigrants and poor African Americans. I am sure his school has no money for field trips or school supplies… right?
WRONG! With a bit of googling this is what I was able to find out.
Jeff Lantos actually works at Marquez Charter Elementary School in Pacific Palisades. Yes… that’s right, Pacific Palisades, enclave to the rich. Its medium house value is $1,759.500, and the average medium income is $133,000.
And of course Jeff Lantos doesn’t worry about standardize test scores. Why worry when your schools scores are well above the national and state averages. His students parents can afford to supplement the liberal education that they are being given.
Oh, I know… how do I know that he provides a liberal education. Well, it is an assumption on my part based on his biography located here at his schools website. To quote:
His teaching philosophy is to reinforce
the reading, writing and math
with as much music, art, drama and
dance as possible. His goal is to
make the classroom a place of delight
and joy; then learning will seem an
extension of that. When learning is a
joy, everyone benefits.
Dance??? He teaches 5th grade… and he supplements math with dance! Maybe they learn algebra while doing the electric slide. Certainly sounds child-centered to me. Yes, it’s easy to ignore the basics when you are teaching privileged rich kids who take field trips to Boston and Big Bear.
Now rich people have a right to education just like everyone else. I am glad that their kids are getting an excellent education, but it’s all too easy for the spoiled teachers who instruct them to take for granted the importence of things that are a given (such as his students test scores). What would his tune be if he worked at Hyde Park Elementary School. It’s all a matter of context. I want success for all students, and I am more likely to take someone serious if they work with average or below average students.
Ironically even his successful high scoring students could probably do a lot better if they had proper instruction. Successful is relative when your in a system full of mediocrity.