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HannahLynn Demerson

There is so much going on right now to feel great about, and yet the m

I am good at giving a damn.

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    Want to Work from Home? Ask Your Boss for a Prefab Micro-Office via magazine.good.is

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  • HannahLynn Demerson thinks this is good

    Teach For America Alumni Reflect on Power, Privilege, and the Achievement Gap  via magazine.good.is

    Thoughts?

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  • HannahLynn Demerson replied to a comment by mbrownrigg

    Please Stop Using the Phrase 'Achievement Gap' via magazine.good.is

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    mbrownriggover 1 year ago

    Very well written and I agree, "achievement gap" as presently used is bizarre and probably unhealthy. Are we going to examine the achievement gaps between all groups? It leads to ugly generalizations. That said, what such a phrase is MEANT to do is to create a metric of sorts, which in a way is what No Child Left Behind was meant to do (I know most people reading this are now angry). If we do not measure a student's progress (any student, all students) and if we do not have benchmarks or expectations, then we will leave a lot of good kids behind because we will not know (or care) that they are not achieving their potential. So by all means, let's get rid of the "achievement gap", let's stop testing as frequently, but let's NOT then open up (or exacerbate) the expectations gap. We expect YOU to succeed and will hold you accountable; we are not surprised YOU are failing and indeed we do not even see a need to measure your progress against some standard, who cares. That is much much more pernicious I think.

    HannahLynn Demersonover 1 year ago

    No child left behind whose parents make over $250K/yr. That is the real "
    metric."

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  • HannahLynn Demerson replied to a comment by nolo contendre

    Please Stop Using the Phrase 'Achievement Gap' via magazine.good.is

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    nolo contendreover 1 year ago

    While I can appreciate the offense to having the white establishment dictate to minority and underprivileged school systems how to improve their "achievement," the author is confusing causality with association. Yes, the term "achievement gap" may be frequently associated with racial comparisons, most often, with white superiority, but there is no evidence that the term causes the unfavorable comparison. An opportunity gap frequently does exist, but it's a misnomer for differences in achievement. In many school districts, Asians outperform whites, girls outperform boys - the same terminology applies. Changing the name will not help the real issue here, which is to what standard are we measuring achievement? There is an achievement gap between the performance of various groups in what, for now, is the standard of measurement, namely standardized testing. Any effort in semantics (yes!) only distracts from the work to be done to improve our standards of measurement, and, in fact, close the achievement gap.

    HannahLynn Demersonover 1 year ago

    Thought follows words. You said "white superiority" as though it exists.

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  • HannahLynn Demerson replied to a comment by Through the Looking Glass

    Please Stop Using the Phrase 'Achievement Gap' via magazine.good.is

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    Through the Looking Glassover 1 year ago

    I read this post and your response. As an African-African American mother of two, I applaud your post and mostly agree with you. For a start, I think we should use the term "opportunity gap" because I think it more accurately describes the phenomena. I like that you offer alternative terminology. But I do caution that if people get too focused on the language, they might miss your greater point -- that we should take a closer look at and challenge the standards used in assessing a student's potential. How about this --"If you care about education stop determining the potential or value of students based on assessments that really mostly get at how savvy parents of the student are at working the system or whether the parents of the student have the wherewithal to arrange for test-prep and tutors to enhance opportunity for their child." That practice is detrimental to all children, because it gives some children a false sense of superiority while encouraging a false belief among others (including working class white children) that they cannot excel academically. By focusing on the conditions that create the opportunity gap, we can think of solutions that will eliminate barriers to success. Also, a word of caution re: your statement regarding the removal of black educators. My mother worked for over 25 years in a school district where the teachers, administrators and school board were 95%+ black. Too many of those educators, who were themselves products of institutionalized racism, were poor at their jobs. My mother, an African-American woman who was a product of public housing, had that view from the inside. Another family member works at predominantly immigrant school where she is one of three teachers of color. There are too many white teachers at that school who also do a poor job; they are "cultural insensitive" (and I am being nice) and not too infrequently treat the children with disdain. Another view from the inside. Both of my family members would gladly embrace the removal and replacement of those inadequate teachers with teachers (of any race or ethnicity) who were dedicated, hard-working, professional and culturally sensitive. And I, who am a product of a public school education, can say based on my experience, we need to find more qualified teachers period and encourage teachers of all background who have the ability and commitment to join the profession. Most of my teachers while growing up were white, but I had a number of black teachers as well. Although I did encounter a few white teachers who were "culturally insensitive" (again, I am being generous here), the teachers that made the most lasting positive impact on my life happen to be the white ones. I can't say for certainty that those teachers "understood" my cultural background, but I can say for without a doubt that they respected my personhood. All of this to say, all I want for my children are teachers who teach well, respect my children for who they are and care. I encourage diversity in hiring at all levels, but I will never assume just because a teacher may bring a particular cultural insight to the table, that he or she is good a doing the job.

    HannahLynn Demersonover 1 year ago

    This is a wonderful response, and I would like to thank you for it. I have been teaching for 30 years in public school. I am ready to retire having seen and heard a great deal of nonsense repeated detailing statistics on gaps in performance scores on standardized tests. As long as there are housing inequities and gerrymandered school district lines, as long as the parents in one school come in and say, "Oh, your students don't have computers?" and the next day a shipment of computers arrives - while at the school across town there is no computer lab of any kind (where the Mexican students live), I can't see equity appearing on the horizon any time soon. I can't see how it can be OK to call Asian immigrant students LEPS. I can't see how it can be OK to call students who came here from another language group as FEPPed when they finally meet certain fluency criteria. It just doesn;t sound right. And when it doesn't sound right, it isn't.

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    Please Stop Using the Phrase 'Achievement Gap' via magazine.good.is

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