You Earned a Ticket!

Which school do you want to support?

Lesson 1.5

Wishfulness:
Sure, But My Kid Will Be Fine... Right?

Can the power of denial be measured?

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Most Americans are getting the message, in principle, that there are some real problems in our nation's schools. Gallup, the polling company, reports that public confidence in schools has fallen by half since its peak in 1975.

America's confidence in public schools has fallen dramatically since the 1970's. America's confidence in public schools has fallen dramatically since the 1970's, stabilizing at a far lower level. The values beyond this graph are 31% in 2014 and 30% in 2015.

"I know the system has problems"

Californians, in particular, know that their schools are not doing well enough. In a key annual poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, about half consistently see education as a “big problem.” In 2013 only 13% viewed education as “not a problem.” But beneath this critical view lurks a paradox. The same annual survey consistently finds that “although they are negative about K-12 education in California overall, a strong majority of state residents give their neighborhood schools passing grades" of A (17% in 2012), B (35%), or C (27%). These numbers are very stable from year to year. Public school parents are even more sanguine than residents generally: in 2012 sixty percent gave their neighborhood schools a grade of A or B.

In other words: “The system is broken, but I guess my school is fine.”

"...but my school is OK"

Less than 30% of African American and Latino students qualify to even apply to a four year college

Unfortunately, the data say otherwise. If they finish high school at all, less than 30% of African American and Latino students qualify to even apply to a four year college. Fewer go on to attend, and fewer still actually complete their degree. (California's education data systems make it impossible to provide a good estimate, but it's certainly far less than a third.) In defiance of these odds, about 90% of low-income African American and Latino students say they expect to earn a college degree, and polls of their parents turn up similar numbers.

In other words: “Kids in general aren’t getting the education they need, but I guess mine will be fine.”

It's human nature to hear what you want to hear, and to look at what you want to see. Parents want to believe the best about their kids. It's also human nature (and good manners) to prefer to deliver bad news gently, with an emphasis on the positive. Teachers are no exception. Is it any wonder that parents prefer to draw conclusions about how their kids are doing from report cards and parent-teacher conferences, rather than from their kids' scores on standardized tests? Standardized tests deliver information about your child's learning progress without preamble or excuses. It can be awfully tempting to look away.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) commissioned research about how parents get information about their kids' progress. They found that parents overwhelmingly prefer report cards and conferences, and that Latino families rely on test scores even less than parents in general.

Choice-supportive bias in action

This pattern of wishful thinking (perhaps more accurately choice-supportive bias) does not seem to vary much with results. Communities whose schools have been chronically ineffective nevertheless give their schools passing grades. Over half of students who repeatedly failed the high school exit exam (now defunct) still said in surveys that they expected to go to college. In the movie Waiting for Superman, Davis Guggenheim colorfully points out the huge gap between American students' confidence of their success and the reality of their results.

This disconnect is human nature. Virtually everyone behind the wheel sees him or herself as an above-average driver. Teachers and parents rate themselves as above-average, too, and extend their beliefs about themselves to the students in their care, like a nation of Lake Wobegon kids. Unfortunately for kids, in this case human nature doesn't serve them well.

The next lesson explores some good news: there are reasons to believe that California's school results are getting better.

Review

About 90% of African American and Latino students from low-income families, when surveyed, say they expect to earn a college degree. How many actually go on to do so?

Answer the question correctly and earn a ticket.
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Questions & Comments

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user avatar
davidstephen72 July 13, 2015 at 3:12 pm
In my district, when the SARC results come in, the parents are to be told, "Don't worry...the results are not important and we are just beginning to teach them Common Core!"

This is because it is predicted that the results for our kids will be very, very low.

Problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Think of the psychological impact on the kids!

They surely will not buy into, 'Oh, it doesn't make any difference."

So many little ones had to use the computer for the first time and made so many mistakes nobody will every know if they inputted the right answers or not.

Total waste of public funds and abuse of kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember, that no matter grades in K-12, the California Community Colleges MUST
accept everyone. Additionally, the instructors there are teachers and not researchers as in the case of so many university profs.

By the way, my 9th grade daughter enrolled in Rio Hondo Community College in the summer and also as an 11th grader enrolled again. We had to “fight” the local high school to “allow our little Maria to attend.”

Well, she did and, added to her sparkling performance in both h.s. and college became the valedictorian.

One of my best friends and colleagues–a marvelous teacher of kids by any standard–was told outright in the presence of her dad, ‘I am so sorry, Mr…..but
your daughter is just no college material. She will be unable to survive in college.
Angrily storming out with daughter in hand, he enrolled her in Woodbury University, where she did very, very well.

Expectations of others and our own can be fruitful or damaging and detrimental.

In a one-hour conversation with the celebrated Jaime Escalante of ‘Stand and Deliver Fame,” he told me: “Learning requires hard work, sweat, time, time, time, time, and more time. It’s a matter of believing you can do it no matter what those around, above, or below you opine. You are the master of your destiny and whether you sink, swim, or fail is a matter of your attitude, motivation, and self-belief.

Then, I suggest you find a family member, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, even a caring neighbor, etc. and have that person volunteer to attend the school with your child.

Bullying is illegal and if nothing is done about it, then you have grounds for a winnable lawsuit!

No child should ever be bullied. It’s just not right. It’s unacceptable!

Then it’s time to DEMAND of our legislators that the high cost of college be stopped.

California will spend $87 billion on Governor Brown’s Bullet Train from Nowhere to Nowhere.

That money should be given for college tuition and not wasted on a half-baked,
ridiculous project.
user avatar
wtgoddess May 31, 2015 at 5:48 am
How our teachers treat their students has a major impact on whether or not they choose to go to collage. My son has a couple of LDs. The teachers don't listen....and often hurt the chances of him going to collage. There needs to be accountability for teachers on this level.
user avatar
wtgoddess April 7, 2015 at 5:57 am
There has been bully issues at my kids school. My son unfortunately is "that kid " who gets bullied from k to now 6th grade. Sending our kids to school knowing this is happening and the law requires that they must go is heartbreaking
user avatar
jenzteam February 27, 2015 at 6:48 am
We barely make it financially because we sacrifice everything to ensure our kids have what they need. Because we are white and make what CA colleges deem "enough" money, our oldest daughter receives almost no financial aid and is working multiple jobs and will graduate college with over $100k in debt. We still have three others at home and can barely make bills, so we can't even help her with her tuition. Colleges don't care how much your monthly payments are for braces or your own student loans. It's a numbers game and unless your parent died in 9/11 or you are a minority, or you have a ridiculously high GPA, colleges don't consider you as needing assistance. More kids would go to college if they could afford it. But who wants to walk out of college with that much debt burdening you and whoever you choose to marry? Academic achievement has very little to do with what college accepts you or how much you have to pay.
user avatar
Jeff Camp - Founder February 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm
Information about college debt is included in Lesson 9.9 on "High Hopes and College Loans."
user avatar
Jeff Camp - Founder January 10, 2015 at 10:29 am
Context matters. How parents and students perceive their school varies according to their frame of reference, which can be strongly affected by intentionally-defined school culture. Researcher Martin West shines light on the issue in this examination of schools with a "no excuses" culture. http://educationnext.org/limitations-self-report-measures-non-cognitive-skills/
His net advice: differences in expectations make "attitude" questionnaires a poor tool for comparing schools.
user avatar
celia4pta September 25, 2014 at 9:06 pm
Parents usually like their own schools because they are familiar with the teachers and other employees, and they feel everyone is doing his/her best. In California we have had over 30 years of underfunded schools, so the parents themselves don't even know what a fully equipped, well staffed school looks like.
Twenty years ago my sister in another state was complaining about her daughter's "large" class of 19 when my child was in a class of 35. And it has not exactly gotten better since.
We are trying not to blame our local educators or add to the "Schools Suck Industry" that John Mockler likes to refer to.
It seems like we end up with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If schools are not doing well, then politicians and a certain segment of the population say, "Why throw money at a failing system." If schools are succeeding, why give more resources? The schools are seen as efficient. (See the Orange County Register for calculations on efficient use of school funds.)
Either way, the answer is the same: no additional resources.
Celia
user avatar
Sherry Schnell January 22, 2015 at 9:25 am
Agree!
user avatar
anamendozasantiago February 5, 2015 at 5:27 pm
Word. I visited a gifted public school recently and it seemed they were in a different universe....They had one or more parent aids for every classroom...children were focused and we didn't see one child with a behavioral problem. Teachers were engaged and actually teaching instead of trying to get the students attention...The students had music, chess, sports, robotics, reading programs, mariachi, drama, choir and other academic competitions and programs from 2nd to 6th grade....At our school we only have sports, and after being without a library we finally got a part time librarian and music teacher this year. We were one of the lucky schools.
This gifted school receives around 400 application of qualified students but they only allow 60 students in. What a waste of wonderful, talented minds.
user avatar
Jeff Camp - Founder February 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm
Thanks @anamendozasantiago -- you might also be interested in lesson 6.3, which addresses the topic of selectivity in schools.
user avatar
Brandi Galasso February 7, 2015 at 8:06 pm
I definately agree.
user avatar
Caprice Young March 7, 2011 at 12:41 am
Of course parents insist that their children's schools are good-- to do otherwise would be admitting they are bad parents. However, beyond looking for attentive teachers and a clean, safe facility, most parents don't know how to assess their local schools. Websites like www.greatschools.net can help them compare academic factors and track their school's progress. California schools are required to post report cards that compare their achievement levels to others. The information is available, but you have to know where to look to be able to compare all your educational options.

In some neighborhoods, though, there aren't any good choices. In South Los Angeles, for example, a group of local parents and educators took stock of their local schools and didn't like what they saw. Fifty percent and higher dropout rates for African American students, illiteracy extending into high school, and unsafe school environments, drove them to create the Inner City Education Foundation public schools. ICEF is committed to educating all students to the highest levels, ensure that every one graduates, gets accepted to a top college and is competitive once there. With a 97 percent graduation rate, a 100 percent college going rate, with 90 percent of graduates attending four year colleges and with 90 percent still in school and on track-- ICEF parents are proud of the schools they created.

It may seem extreme to start your own public schools, but if your current choices can't get the job done, parents and educators now have the ability to take matters into their own hands. Getting educated about education as a parent or student is the best way to start holding our schools accountable for ensuring that our kids can compete successfully in the global economy.
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