Rockford Public School District still playing the same old song and we still dance

When it comes to educating our children, there appears to be more excuses than results and even though each individual person may have their own interpretation of why one thing is clear.  The Rockford School District is doing the very same thing, the very same way expecting a completely different result.  Now who says that educators are always the brightest bulbs on the tree?

Another school year is about to begin and this same old tired story is resurrected.  Written by Reuben Jones for one of our local TV stations WREX the article titled “RPS 205 looking at expanding year-round schooling” is reported on yet once again.  The article recalls “in just a few weeks Haskell classrooms will fill with students. Haskell is one of the only schools that are open during the summer. Early education to fifth grade students at Haskell Academy get a six week summer followed by two months of school and then a three week vacation in the fall.  Other RPS 205 students typically have 11 weeks off in the summer.  But some say that can lead to a summer slump. "I think every parent, myself included, has the best intentions of saying yes, my child will practice math facts and do 20 minutes of reading every day... but I'm going to be honest with you, neither of my kids read last night because we had a long day," says Haskell Year-Round Academy Principal Loree Leathers. That's why RPS 205 is looking at expanding the year-round model to other schools.  "What we are doing is taking a very close look at their data, comparing it year over year, to see...are the schools improving significantly and can we pinpoint that to the extended year?" says RPS Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Vicki Jacobson.  Right now, preliminary data, including test scores, is good.”

Now make no mistake, I do not pretend to know more than anyone else but I do pay attention and one of the many things that I have noticed is the money comes down to assist us in early education yet the real numbers decreases or simply stays the same.  I’m not talking about the numbers/data that those pushing again this idea wishes you to consider, I am talking about the true results that no one wishes to talk about.  It is said that there is a summer slump and this is what we point to as the lack of increase or excel in test scores.  It is said that early education would help improve the schools which could lead to better test scores.  It is said that the preliminary data is good.  It is said, but is it proven?  Here’s where I come down on this issue.

Whether you start early or late the objective is to reach your goal and if your goal is getting better office equipment or raising teacher’s pay then so be it.  If you objective is to give teachers a year around salary or get kids off the summer streets then so be it but why not just say it because the reasons you are using now is a flat out lie.  As children moves through the Rockford School District system, there is little accountability for them and far too many fall through the cracks.  The effort to bring better education to our children fail when we forget that they are people too and need more than just someone standing in front of the classroom ordering them around.  We fail because we forget that these little people will one day be us and if what we are giving them would never satisfy us, and then we need to stop and re-group.  Pay attention to all of the children being suspended or expelled from our schools and then ask yourself if this is what we intended when we push early education?

Early education is supposed to benefit the students but we all know it does more to bring in more money for the district and helps those teachers with a year around paycheck because if it truly was all about the kids, test scores would be the least of our concern when it comes to figuring out whether it works or not.


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