September 28, 2009

"Old school" school solutions actually work!

Ben Chavis, principal of the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, CA, seems to have it right:

What the educational establishment really hates about Chavis is that he has achieved this success by exploding nearly every liberal myth about education. His approach to education is strictly old-school, and based on proven, effective methods. The only thing innovative about what he’s doing is that he’s doing it in the face of decades of “progressive” education. A few core tenets of his educational philosophy are:
  • Requiring near-perfect attendance.

  • Maximizing the amount of class time and number of school days. (Summer school is required, and teachers are expected to assign a minimum of two hours of homework each day.)

  • Heavily weighting the curriculum toward language arts and math. (Chavis’s schools spend twice as much time on those subjects as most other California schools.)

  • Liberally handing out disciplinary actions such as detention, and otherwise ensuring that order is maintained.

  • Setting and enforcing standards — e.g., every eighth-grader must pass Algebra I. (In many California high schools, it’s possible to graduate with just “General Math.”)

  • Making a big public point of not setting lower standards for minority students. (Too many educational institutions indulge in the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” as President Bush memorably put it.)

Wow! Who thought it could be that simple? Making -- and enforcing -- standards and discipline? No mealy-mouthed edu-babble? No politically correct multi-culti jibberish?

If only such common sense was more universally adopted.

Meanwhile, Joanne Jacobs reports that discipline hassles in the classroom ain't just an American problem.

Posted by Hube at September 28, 2009 10:34 AM | TrackBack

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