The readers of this blog know Katie Osgood as a teacher who works with young people in a psychiatric hospital in Chicago. She writes brilliantly, from her experience. Here, she writes a critique of Paul Tough’s new book How Children Succeed.
Coincidentally, Eric Zorn mentions Paul Tough today: http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/10/yes-but-will-they-be-on-the-test.html#comments
To all the readers of this blog: if there is one link you must not miss this year, this is it.
Ms. Katie says concisely and eloquently, in plain English, what so many many others have said before. To put it another way: now that Ms. Katie has made it as plain as the nose on your face, there is no excuse — none at all — for walking around chanting the mantra “poverty is not destiny” as an alternative to doing what needs to be done. If someone reading this still doesn’t get it, then listen up: show some character and perseverance and get the following words to tumble out of your mouth, “From this moment forward I will work for a BETTER EDUCATION FOR ALL.”
Diane, thank you so much for posting this!
What KrazyTA said! This is perhaps the most pointed and eloquent critique of the KIPP philosophy that I have read or heard.
So glad to see Katie’s critique, which is consistent with the concerns I have been expressing about Tough’s notions. He is yet another example of how, when non-educators tell educators what to do, they have virtually no insight on what previously came before them.
Tough should have done more homework. He could have readily located information regarding where we have already been, including Early Childhood Education’s long-standing focus on social-emotional development in addressng the whole child. Research on the effects of stress, including tissue damage due to cortisol and the buffering effects of a nurturing, authoritative adult mentor for promoting resilience, were certainly a major focus of my training, and that’s been in the training I provide to future teachers as well, but no one asks real educators about children and education anymore.
Where’s the acknowledgment of the emphasis on conduct, deportment and citizenship in Elementary and Middle School Education, which were ever present in my public schools in the 50s and 60s?
What about the interventions targeting appropriate self-expression and the development of prosocial skills for internalizers and externalizers in Special Education?
Where was Tough when educators learned to address Emotional Intelligence and Multiple Intelligences with students of virtually all ages?
Is there any mention of the controversies educators previously encountered around providing character education vs moral education? This was a HUGE issue in the 90s.
Holding up KIPP as a model program turns the clock back further and ignores their own students’ characterization of KIPP as the Kids in Prison Program. Even Skinner treated animals with more dignity than is demonstrated in the manipulation of low-income inner city children of color at KIPP charter schools today.
Enough already with all these imposters cashing in on “free market” education with their “new” ideas. Been there, done that.
Instead, let’s emulate for inner city kids what veteran educators provide in schools with less than 10% poverty which rank number 1 in the world on PISA, while simultaneously addressng poverty and the inequities which reinforce that in our society.
Ms. Katie; A fine and well written piece. I enjoy your clear and lucid polemics. You have said what many of us fee. Thank you for the work you do.
Might I also add that in the final section it is suggested that when poorly prepared students have reached college, they can make up what they missed in high school during their freshman year, since all the advantaged freshman are a bunch of party-going druggies and drunks. I was so sad to read about the girl who had long lists of unfamiliar science terms she was struggling to learn. Her strategy was to hit up the professor afterwards and get him to explain. Not sure how long this would work. I surely didn’t spend my freshman year drunk and partying. The expectations for disadvantaged students seem superhuman.
“…it is suggested that when poorly prepared students have reached college, they can make up what they missed in high school during their freshman year”
This is already done at many colleges. Incoming freshmen who don’t pass minimum competency tests in ELA and Math can take non-credit developmental courses. Students can also get help from Student Success Centers.
When it’s a matter of terms, I tell students they should expect to learn new vocabulary and that, when I went to college, I carried around a dictionary and I recommend they do so as well. With a laptop, it’s even easier to look up unfamiliar words and terms while in class these days.
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