The New York Story

The New York Story-The Chicago Story-The Baltimore Story-The Detroit Story-Oakland Story-The Los Angeles Story-The New Orleans Story all logically follow The Philadelphia Story. San Salvador-Santo Domingo-San Juan, Mexico City also logically follow the Philadelphia Story.

Question: How many high school students who were not expected to graduate in June 2020 will be dropping out of school with no job and two feet to take them into the streets of our city? Help can be given to all of them now.

And there are small towns throughout America including Alexandria, Louisiana which make the list of cities that need great improvement that are not so well publicized as well as countries, cities, and towns throughout the world.

And things are getting worse in communities as I write. What will happen to the graduation rate in June? How many middle school students also will fall through the cracks as our nation attempts a return to normalcy? How many politicians and communities are willing to learn from the mistakes of the past? These are difficult times and it’s the time to help people with the support that they need.  Now is the time to act.

I just shared this information in a Zoom video conference with CEC 22 in New York City. I learned when the Common Core exams had been completed for the first time in New York State that 75 percent of the test was basic information and that the students failed because they did not know the basics. A deputy commission of education in New York State told me that in Albany at a meeting of New York State practitioners.

I can tell you this important fact. Near the end of my career as a GED teacher in New York City in the South Jamaica Houses a devised a system in which I knew all the weaknesses of all my students based on the practice test. I had that information in front of me every day in the classroom, so I knew how to inject that essential information into my classroom to move the students toward their goal, the early competency to take and pass the GED test.  I can be contacted for more information about that. I was never a teacher who would socially distance himself from his students and I became a highly efficient teaching machine as a result of what I did.

During that Zoom conference I also recommended the math program which had been highly recommended by a very successful elementary school math teacher in Queens and that program is I-XL.  Another person in that Zoom room commented to me how great that program is but it cost some money to obtain it and that these are hard times for money.

One of my previous articles is about helping parents and children at home, particularly those that find it difficult to maintain basic skills or who actually never learned some or many skills due to absence from school.  A tiny aspect of capitalization is used right here.  The reason why capitalization is in GED books is that the companies know that the usage of capital letters is still lacking in a significant segment of our teen and adult population.

I would suggest that all community people check of the cost of the program and make it available district wide so that students can work at home so that they will begin to know much more of the basics and pass state tests.  Our nation’s mayors, governors, and school districts could greatly benefit from the ideas presented.

FYI and of great importance 5 bullet points in bold and additional one at the end about African Americans, in particular, that needs to be addressed

Bernie Sanders spoke out during his recent campaign about not providing federal funds to private charter schools and credited the NAACP

Doug Jones won over Roy Moore in Alabama with the backing of 98 percent of African American women without knowing that the NAACP got arrested in the office of Senator Jeff Sessions before the hearing for Sessions’ appointment as Attorney General and put the word out all over Alabama

Martin Danenberg gave those ideas to the Washington Bureau of the NAACP

Five key campaign positions to produce much greater results in America contradicting Make America Great Again which very quickly became Keep America Great by Trump which often went unnoticed.

1.      The high school equivalency exams are still being underutilized almost two decades after I noticed the pattern.  Making the test free to everyone in the nation would be great as long as the funding matches the demand.  States and local communities have to do much better jobs of keeping the demand great and most states have failed doing that.

2.      Parent involvement is low in Title 1 programs.  Missing meetings hurts the progress of schools and children.  Although parents often do not have paid access to the internet (could be 50 percent in many places), there is lots of free access outside the home that all of US go to when we need it the most.

3.      Children failing state exams (often called “high stakes” exams) is a huge problem in our nation and the problem can be reduced easily enough.  The first thing to know is that a deputy commissioner of education in New York told me when the first results for the Common Core came in that the students tested still did not know the basics and failed.  That test was designed with 75 percent of the material for basics and 25 percent for common core material.  That information was never given to the public, except where I could reveal the truth.

Ways to correct this problem:

The answer that I gave more than a few years ago was to use technology such as FACEBOOK to help parents and their children at home.  The weaknesses are known since practice tests are evaluated according to the skills that are lacking.  Quick remediation can keep children on track to achieve instead of holding children back.  The Corona Virus has just advanced the cause of that idea since students are not attending class as the internet has replaced the classroom situation.

The issue of “high stakes” testing can be eliminated easily enough by a combination of the first answer with a universal practice test for all students instead of the insistence by government on a statewide test.  The practice test could be selected from the company currently providing the test and/or from other similar companies.

4.      Students who fail to graduate with their class have never been given the best information or choices.  Perhaps the greatest school choice in history would have been to provide parents and children with the option of taking the high school equivalency test instead of sitting in a high school diploma situation where the diploma is not achieved at all or quite late.

Examples where this practice could have been applied consist of the following:

Pregnancy involves important school decisions.  Continue with the high school program, drop out, or take the high school equivalency.  Where one or both young adults involved are in school at the time, they and their parents have to be well informed about the final decision.  Since support of the child may be on the shoulders of the youth involved, earning a diploma quickly may be essential to obtaining a job or better job with a high school equivalency on their resumés.

Students who continue to sit in classes for years until they are 21 years of age must have complete knowledge of their rights as well.  One of the important regulations for taking the high school equivalency is reaching the age of 19 where students do not need either school or parent permission to take the test.  The office of former Governor Jeb Bush told me in 2001 that students could take the test at 16 in Florida just after dropping out of school.

               Important note to everyone:

All students who earn a GED are permitted, if they so desire, to earn a high school diploma later. 

There are students who suffer emotionally from dropping out of school      and can benefit greatly by

               earning a high school diploma after obtaining a high school equivalency. 

5.      The very best that our nation could do for its people also includes taking states’ rights out of high school equivalency testing.  All the companies which include Pearson Vue (GED), McGraw Hill (TASC), and Educational Testing Service (HI-SET) made the mistake of allowing the old practice to continue.

Problems to take note of:

Taxpaying Hispanics in South Carolina who take the test in Spanish cannot obtain a diploma and must accept a transcript because South Carolina will only give diplomas in programs where the study took place in English

.

States may and do require residency for taking the test which holds people back for months or more as they satisfy residency. Those tests are not state tests and should never have had states’ rights attached to them.  The GED was started in 1942 where states’ rights was used to hold minorities back all over the South and probably in many other places.  Even until the last decade or so, states would not test in Spanish and French if they chose not to.  The three languages of the test until 2014 were English, Spanish, and French.  A great idea is to expand the number of languages used for testing to help immigrants quickly. It is not too late for that.

In Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 2, he holds the two tablets as Moses but drops one tablet and pretty much says oops the five commandments.  Instead of 5 things, I am providing one more of my favorite items:

New York State (25 percent of adults in NYC lack a diploma or 1.5 million) has been the lowest in the delivery of GED diplomas to African Americans along with Alabama and Mississippi (and sometimes Connecticut).  This gap is considerable and has remained consistent over the years contributing to White Dominance in America, especially in major cities across America.  It impacted on men and women of color in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina and impacts today in the epicenter of the Corona Virus in New York City, Philadelphia, and other cities.

Add together performance on state tests, GED and other high school equivalency programs, parent involvement, and even performance on college placement tests and it adds up to moderate success but a huge number of people left behind and for many years. 

Over a year ago I had an article published in Jewish Business News in Israel and this is the beginning of that article. 

An Educational Report for Our Nation: Forget Trump’s School Choice

Trump is for School Choice, clearly not my choice and for good reasons. The Success Academies (charter schools) should no longer be compared to a single school or even to an entire district. It is time to wake up and straighten out the mess that has been made.

I also mentioned to the conservative think tank The Manhattan Institute in a phone conversation that the best proof of a charter school success would have been taking over an entire failing school and turning it around to produce the results that has achieved.  I have gone over and beyond the criticism of opinion writers on the subject. 

Failing schools result from failing communities and those failing communities are throughout our land. Alabama has been compared to a third world country and I want to see great change there too. Schools can follow all or most of the key 5 points plus the Mel Brooks point and make things much better.

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