Friday, June 27, 2008

Make the Nuns Proud

From today's column by Alicia Colon in the New York Sun ...

A few months ago I met educator Tom Carroll, president of the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability and founder and chairman of the Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys and the Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls. In the recent state exam results, these inner-city schools were ranked no. 1 in the city of Albany for math in third and fourth grade and no. 1 in English in fourth grade. Asked the reason for their success, he said, “Much of the focus in the world of education is on what’s new and novel. In reality, though, much of what works is a throwback to the 1950s parochial schools; high expectations; lots of testing; strict discipline (which would make the nuns proud!); traditional (not fuzzy) math; phonics, and lots of hard work.”

Notice he did not say more money.

My 6-year-old grandson attends Immaculate Conception School in the Stapleton section of Staten Island. Not only can he read just about everything, he astounds me when I hear him talk about compound nouns, the metric system, and click beetles. He’s only in first grade and he’s not even the smartest kid in his class.

His teacher, Miss Helm, is a traditional educator who loves her job and does not believe in social promotion. Students don’t leave her class unless they’ve passed legitimately.

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