Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stats, Poverty, and Not So Smartness

Interesting discussion for lay people and those who haven't taken stats for a while about the statistics behind a recent study about the relationship between poverty and memory capacity.

How can we talk about this better and make "information" like this less destructive to poor kids (who are always affected in concrete ways by expectations created by reports about their (in)ability to learn by those who are supposed to teach them)?

Betting on the poor boy: Whorf strikes back

via Boing Boing

4 comments:

teacher said...

Education makes man perfect.Really, In this era without education,no one become successful.
http://www.teacherlane.com

Skyline College said...

Great post.like to read more..
bba

Leroy's Mom said...

I've blogged about how I work this out in my own mind (http://mizmercer.edublogs.org/2009/11/19/no-excuses-for-drain-bamage/). I may be misreading the stats, but I like to explain that each child is an individual, and while they may be more likely to suffer these effects than their middle-class peers, that doesn't mean they all do (and not all the middle-class kids are "perfect" either). What I find is that you have more kids with "issues" in your classroom at a high poverty school, but unless you are working in Special Ed or a Behavior Disorder class, you're still going to have a large number that are pretty "normal". With a language learner population, they will test low, but just like their EO (English Only) peers, many will not have any issues outside of this, and given time and resources, should learn, and acquire language fluency/proficiency.

Art said...

How can we talk about this better and make "information" like this less destructive to poor kids (who are always affected in concrete ways by expectations created by reports about their (in)ability to learn by those who are supposed to teach them)?
_____________________________________
Remember the scorn heaped upon President Bush by some liberals and progressives after he criticized the "soft bigotry of low expectations" that exists within public education?

I doubt talking will do much good but it seems to me that ed schools could do enormous good refocusing themselves on sending forth teachers with the expectation that they will try new things when students aren't progressing and with the skills to identify worthwhile things to try andways of doing them.

At the policy level, I think we should hold on to the same high standards for all children, commit to support schools that serve large numbers of poor children, and intervene in them when necessary.