For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Ain't Nobody Be Learnin' Nothin'
The Fraud and the Fix for High-Poverty Schools
  • Caleb Stewart Rossiter
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Ain't Nobody Be Learnin' Nothin'. The Fraud and the Fix for High-Poverty Schools
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America's most challenged families are segregated into high-poverty schools. Despite a 20-year experiment in nationwide school reform, few students make it over the slippery bridge to the middle class. In this book you meet the students, families, teachers, and administrators who struggle inside this failed system, and consider proposals to give them a fighting chance.


About the Author

Caleb Stewart Rossiter had a long career as a public policy analyst and university professor in Washington, DC, before he decided to find out why so few of the city’s African-American students attended his university. He spent three and a half years as a high school math teacher in Washington, DC’s high-poverty public and charter schools – the half year because he resigned when ordered to raise failing grades for students who were six years behind and made little effort to catch up. As an analyst and a teacher he is uniquely qualified to combine classroom realities with policy proposals that can address the heart-breaking failure of our multi-billion dollar effort to build poor children a reliable bridge to the middle class.

About the Book

Using pseudonyms but real stories, Rossiter introduces the reader to fascinating students, families, teachers, and administrators who are caught up in a tragic cycle of poverty, dysfunction, and educational fraud. He shows why and how the...

Using pseudonyms but real stories, Rossiter introduces the reader to fascinating students, families, teachers, and administrators who are caught up in a tragic cycle of poverty, dysfunction, and educational fraud. He shows why and how the result is half of the students dropping out and the other half graduating years behind and helpless before a community college curriculum.

Rossiter then steps back and seeks solutions that would greatly increase the number of students making it to the promised land of the middle class. His solutions come from the same principle used by private schools and schools for wealthy families: build the school around the needs of the students. For high-poverty families, this means addressing the need to remain alive, healthy, and out of parenthood during the teenage years; it means building basic skills and then offering a real choice of college prep or vocational training,; it means separating students based on behavior and effort, so that the strong can achieve without disruption and the weak can received remediation and try again.

Finally, Rossiter reviews efforts to address the underlying legacy of slavery, segregation, and racism that has created the culture of poverty. He offers solutions in this area as well, such as high-wage jobs programs for parents and programs that strengthen young families during pregnancy and then stimulate language development during the crucial first year of life.

Diane Ravitch has analyzed the counter-productive school reform policies that guide today’s public schools (The Death and Life of the Great American School System -- 2010) and public charter schools (Reign of Error -- 2013). Rossiter provides in-person details about the impact of those policies in the high-poverty public and charter high schools at which he taught. He illustrates issues such as fraudulent diplomas, driving away good teachers, the empty search for athletic scholarships, and the family challenges of living in a culture of poverty, by building a chapter for each issue around an actual student, parent, teacher, or administrator. Bringing the voices of the participants directly to the public, Rossiter evokes Jonathan Kozol’s legendary work on high-poverty schools, Death at an Early Age (1967).

He also offers a comprehensive solution that would allow millions more students to walk over the slippery bridge to the middle class.


Excerpt
Washington Examiner - OpEd May 9, 2015

The real racket in high-poverty schools

Eleven Atlanta public school teachers and administrators were sentenced to prison in April for racketeering. Their racket? Changing students' answers on standardized tests to make it look like their high-poverty, open-enrollment schools were...

Washington Examiner - OpEd May 9, 2015

The real racket in high-poverty schools

Eleven Atlanta public school teachers and administrators were sentenced to prison in April for racketeering. Their racket? Changing students' answers on standardized tests to make it look like their high-poverty, open-enrollment schools were effective. The pay-off? Continued employment, big bonuses, and higher salaries.

Outrageous as it was, this local crime merely imitates a fully legal fraud taking place in public and charter schools across the nation, with similar motives. They promote students with phony "credit recovery" courses and inflated grades, regardless of attendance, effort, or achievement.

Why do some think it necessary to cheat on tests, promotion, and graduation in high-poverty schools? Why can't those of us who teach in such schools get the same results by simply applying the same techniques and holding the same high expectations that succeed in middle-class schools?

As a professor at American University last decade, I asked myself this question when I noticed our university's minuscule enrollment of African-American students from D.C. public schools. In 2010, I set out to explore the reasons. I began teaching in the city's high-poverty, open-enrollment public and charter high schools.

There is an answer to my question — one that the education establishment won't address, and the "education reformers," with their mantra of "no excuses" and "ZIP code doesn't matter," refuse to hear. [Read more...]


Reviews
The Washington Post, Part 3 | More »
The Washington Post, Part 2 | More »
The Washington Post, Part 1 | More »
Categories

Pages 264
Year: 2015
BISAC: EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
BISAC: EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / Federal Legislation
BISAC: EDUCATION / Testing & Measurement
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-102-9
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-103-6
Price: USD 32.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-104-3
Price: USD 22.95
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