Sunday, February 23, 2014

NYC Blending Program and Statement Analysis

If you picture Statement Analysis as a lens to put a statement in focus, there are times when you must step back, and get a larger picture.  As Avinoam Sapir teaches:  'If you need a microscope to find deception, there is no deception.'

But what of the butchering of the English language?  Can Statement Analysis be used in such cases?

The answer is "yes."

Move back with the presupposition that the subject intends to be understood.  Communication is the goal of speech, which, in the case of a double negative, should not be taken literally.

Remember, the adjustment is with building blocks of clay, not hardened cement.

The reference point changes:

*for emails

*for tweets

*for ignorance of the rules of grammar

Here, the teens were asked to defend the program.

Fasten your seatbelt.

Teens defend ‘fail factory’ high school in error-filled letters

These kids should learn write from wrong.
Earlier this month, The Post exposed a scheme at Manhattan’s Murry Bergtraum HS for Business Careers in which failing students could get full credit without attending class, but instead watch video lessons and take tests online. One social-studies teacher had a roster of 475 students in all grades and subjects.
Red-faced administrators encouraged a student letter-writing campaign to attack The Post and defend its “blended learning” program. Eighteen kids e-mailed to argue that their alma mater got a bad rap.
Almost every letter was filled with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
A junior wrote: “What do you get of giving false accusations im one of the students that has blended learning I had a course of English and I passed and and it helped a lot you’re a reported your support to get truth information other than starting rumors . . .”
Another wrote: “To deeply criticize a program that has helped many students especially seniors to graduate I should not see no complaints.”
One student said the online system beats the classroom because “you can digest in the information at your own paste.”
“Us as New York City Students deserve respect and encouragement,” one letter read. “We are the future of New York City and for some students, The future of the country.”
A Murry Bergtraum teacher said, “I am embarrassed that the school will graduate students who write this poorly.”
Two blocks from City Hall, Murry Bergtraum, graded “F” by the Department of Education, had a dismal 51.2 percent graduation rate last year. Hundreds of students are over-age and behind schedule.
The “blended learning” program, started last year, helps them load up on credits quickly.
The DOE said 444 students are taking “one or two” such courses, but The Post found that some take up to eight at a time.
The program may violate state rules requiring “substantive interaction” between the student and a teacher certified in the subject.
The school lacks enough teachers to satisfy those needs, but does boast a staffer who specializes in public relations.
The school’s $52,332-a-year “community coordinator,” Kian Brown — also a private “branding” consultant — encouraged kids to write letters to The Post praising Principal Lottie Almonte and her program. Copies went to Chancellor Carmen FariƱa.
Some students defended the lack of reading material and live teachers. “After many years of learning with textbooks in every class, some students eventually get restless with that same learning strategy,” one wrote.
Another argued, “It it wasn’t for blended learning course, some of us we wouldn’t be learning at all.”
A junior wrote that the program “made it less challenging and more understandable. We watched a video, answer a few questions, and took an online quiz/test. It was simple, and reasonable.” This helped him score 85 in chemistry, he said.
But professors at CUNY — where nearly 80 percent of New York City grads who attend must take remedial classes in math, reading or writing — said online instruction often leaves students ill-prepared.
“These kids feel strongly, but unfortunately they’re not making a good case about the success of their school,” said Jessica Siegel, a former city high-school teacher celebrated in the book “Small Victories.” She now teaches journalism and the teaching of writing at Brooklyn College.
Failing kids “need more intensive work instead of sitting in front of a video,” Siegel said. “They need a good teacher to get at what they don’t understand, and to work in small classes so they get more attention.”
Brooklyn College education professor ­David Bloomfield noted how many letters emphasized passing more than proficiency.
In one e-mail, a student argued the easy credits were necessary because “we need to move on with our lives.”
“That’s exactly the problem with credit ­recovery and other academic shortcuts,” Bloomfield said.


LC said...

Improper use of language and poor grammar are frustrating deterrents to anyone trying to understand blog comments, descriptions of items for sale on marketplace sites or any general informational articles from media sources.
These errors are distracting in all forms of media and interfere with the comprehension of the viewer, reader or listener.

Skeptical said...

Dear God, I hope these people never get a job dispensing medications, mixing fertilizer at a plant, mixing cleansers to clean houses(bleach and ammonia are lethal) work on the planes on which I have to fly, etc., etc.

Unknown said...

You would think the school's 'branding consultant', would proof read the letters he encouraged the students to write, in order to avoid public humiliation and discrediting the curriculum, lol!

Not only should they eliminate this program, they should eliminate the branding consultant's position as well, since he has effectively 'branded' them a school of illiterates with his letter writing campaign.

As the article states, it's not about passing. It's about mastering concepts, and being able to apply them throughout their lives. Downgrading expectations, and lowering the bar so disinterested, or disqualified students can 'pass', only postpones the inevitable ....failure.

deejay said...

These are sad. But IMHO, the best predictor of student success is one or more involved parents armed with carrots and sticks.

Rose said...

These kids cannot write on a 6th grade level. This is why a high school diploma is totally meaningless these days. Ever wonder why so many jobs require a college degree? This is why. A high school diploma should mean that you can write on a 12th grade level, but obviously these days it only means that you have a pulse. One more thing to really stop and think about: these are letters from the motivated kids! I bet the unmotivated ones can't write at all.

Lemon said...

The “blended learning” program is helping someone, unfortunately not the students. Will the politics of embarrassment change the status quo? One hopes so.

wreyeter72 said...

The "Blended Learning" program is a terrible idea, unfortunately necessitated by state and federal regulations on schools that impact their already dwindling finances. Schools across the nation are stuck in a vicious cycle - not enough funds to pay good teachers, not enough good teachers, failing students, and failing reviews causing funding to be lowered. How can they escape the cycle? Graduating as many kids as possible even though they aren't well-educated is just the beginning of school districts' desperate moves to safe themselves. When the government is paying a man more than $85,000 a year to "taste" imported tea and grade it but states only pay teachers $32,000 a year to educate our future leaders, is it any wonder our kids are uneducated? As the old saying goes - you get what you pay for. As to the PR person for that district - I feel sorry for him/her, whichever the case may be. I don't think this fiasco bodes well for the position.

Sella35 said...

I hate the new common core...If a student says 10-7=5 as long as the can explain how they got to that answer, it is correct...really? They are also doing that start from the left to add...instead of from the right and carry-over.../sigh the real dumbing down of America

Red Ryder said...

" Common Core eliminates much of the literature-based reading, requiring 50 percent of reading in elementary and 75 percent in middle school and high school to be “informational” texts. The results: increased behavioral problems (students are bored reading government manuals) and lower grades"
It makes learning materials standard across the US regardless of cultural differences, income levels etc. This is policy driven, federally run education. It will not make for good teachers or for successful students I suspect.

Susan said...

Here are some writing samples that are like the NYC Blending Program. Chelsea Hoffman:

" Or the two of them really did have an open relationship and it's something that she personally struggles with. The latter would be a common phenomenon, and the former is also a possibility. How relevant is this information? I really don't feel it's entirely relevant. However, she does appear to hold animosity toward Heather, but it seems that this came after the point that Terry Elvis and others who are searching for the missing woman have made her feel threatened. So is her behavior normal or abnormal? I'm just not convinced enough of either option."

If something is common it is not a phenomenon. If something is a phenomena, by definition, it is not common, Chelsea!

I also noticed how many qualifiers she uses in her article.

Peter, does this make her technically deceptive? She reminds me of a psychic who, not wishing to be caught, leaves open every possibility so she can be "right" no matter what, even though she is "wrong"!

Like the article, this article from Hoffman was filled with humorous examples of poor writing skill.

Doesn't she have an editor to correct her poor writing?