Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ooh, Lord...

I've got my work cut out for me. The Times-Picayune published all of the New Orleans schools' LEAP scores* today, and only nine percent of my school's fourth-graders got "basic" in math,** the second lowest in the city (which is saying something).

I'd say I'm shocked, except I'm not. When I was at John McDonogh High this summer, which has roughly analogous scores, many of the kids were completely derailed by even basic arithmetic which Louise, ten years their junior, has mastered. (In comparison, at Louise's school—the highest-scoring public school in the city—ninety-eight percent of the fourth-graders scored "basic" or above.)

We have a new administration and a largely new faculty, all fully committed to turning around a failing situation, but we've got some serious teaching to do. Onward and upward.

* Note: This is the associated article. The full listing was included in the print edition, but I can't find it anywhere on the (nightmarishly convoluted) website. But if you actually want the nitty-gritty, you can find it here.

** LEAP is Louisiana's implementation of the No Child Left Behind high-stakes testing mandate. Kids are tested at fourth and eighth grades and again prior to graduation, and they can't proceed without scoring at least "basic" in English or Math and "approaching basic" in the other subject.


  1. Anonymous3:56 PM

    A little something to take your mind off that portrait of failure (rassa-frassa!): I think I read somewhere on here you’re not much of the sports fan, but NPR has a weekly radio show called It’s Only a Game, which seems to regularly feature stories that involve kids, or would be interesting to kids. (Apologies if you’re already in the know.) Make sure to check out this week’s very excellent story on Fantasy Football.

    Good luck, Mister O.

  2. Anonymous7:10 PM

    So, my curiosity about the Fantasy Football story had me searching out this Dan Flockhart guy, and after reading some more I was rather bowled over by the results of his program. (Once again, apologies if this is already in your bag of "slick tricks".)

    Like, wow.
    Have you heard about this?

  3. I was thinking of you when I read that article. But you know, those poor children didn't have Mistah-Oh as their math teacher.
    You have taken on a mighty herculean challenge here. We're all rooting for you. And of course, for them.
    I'll be curious to hear about what techniques you devise on the spot to make their minds connect with math.