Principal asks teachers to dumb down classes

Filed under: Day Care & Education

Does economic background influence ability? That is, are poor kids able to accomplish less than their more well-to-do peers? A quick comparison of Einstein and President Bush would seem to indicate not, but one principal in New York has been accused of making that implication recently in a memo to his teaching staff.

"If you are not passing more than 65 percent of your students in a class, then you are not designing your expectations to meet their abilities, and you are setting your students up for failure, which, in turn, limits your success as a professional," wrote Principal Bennett Lieberman. "Most of our students come from the lowest third percentile in academic achievement, have difficult home lives, and struggle with life in general. They DO NOT have a similar upbringing nor a similar school experience to our experiences growing up."

Some -- including the Department of Education -- are worried that Lieberman was asking teachers to lower their standards in order to raise grades. "That's not the way to pass," Richard Palacios, a twelfth-grade-student wisely observed. "That's not the way to get your education, so you're basically cheating yourself."

I agree with Palacios. While a lack of financial resources may mean a less access to educational resources, I don't think it in any way limits intelligence, drive, or ability. In fact, if anything, I would argue the exact opposite. It seems to me that a life of comfort might be more likely to lead to a life of academic complacency while a desire to better one's financial position might provide an incentive to accomplish more.

Either way, lowered educational standards are not the answer, any more than you would tell a plumber to do a shoddy job to cut the cost of a repair. I'm sure a better solution can be found.


Flickr RSS



AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.