Inside One of America's Failing Schools

Monday, June 24, 2013

Journalist Ron Berler discusses spending a year at Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut, sitting in on classes, strategy sessions, and even faculty meetings as teachers look for the chance to improve the school’s failing scores on the annual statewide standardized test known as the CMT. In Raising the Curve: A Year Inside one of America’s 45,000 Failing Schools, he looks at why the school is classified as failing—like so many others across the country—and how the faculty is working to turn the school around.


Ron Berler

Comments [9]

Jeanne from Bath

Ron Berler speaks of the lack of parental involvement of so many failing children. I can't agree more. I have two sons, 10 and 7. My eldest was top of his class while my younger was bottom of his. Last summer, I made a concerted effort to improve his reading. We read every day and continued to do so throughout the school year. He is now a thoroughly competent reader on par with the brightest in his class. It is so important to give your child confidence and a love of knowledge.

Jun. 25 2013 07:38 AM
Janet Mandel from West Orange, NJ

Truth and Beauty asks if the tests are given without any prep. Since most states have now passed teacher evaluations based in part on their students' test scores and school rankings based on these scores as well, you can bet that teachers and the administrators who tell them what to do are teaching to the tests. This is also why we have had an explosion in cheating scandals in many states.

Jun. 24 2013 02:19 PM
Dan from San Diego

I thought it was a striking display that Obama elected to put his kids in private school; he could have made a dramatic statement by helping the D.C public school system.

Jun. 24 2013 01:58 PM
M from Brooklyn

What has changed? I think the society has started unraveling at the seams. There is lower emphasis placed on education and on excellence so that as studies show, 3rd generation immigrants perform at normal US levels whereas 1st generation outperform.

Jun. 24 2013 01:56 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Much respect to Ron for not being defensive and recognizing the validity of the caller's concern...Perhaps there needs to be a study done on (amongst other things) parent participation with -- and this is critical -- substantial input/ oversight from the target populations.

Jun. 24 2013 01:56 PM
Samara from brooklyn

Can you speak to the success of some minority populations like Asians in NYC, and also to earlier populations like my grandmother who had no help from her Russian speaking parents but her and her peers on the lower east side were still able to succeed without parental help

Jun. 24 2013 01:56 PM
Mary from Sunnyside

I listen to this show and think of my mother. She was born to non English (Russian) speaking parents. Her parents never attended school meetings as they were embarrassed that they couldn't communicate with her teachers. Her parents obviously couldn't help with homework.

But my mother and 4 of her 5 siblings all attended college.

My mother was born in 1927, so this all took place in the early 1940s.

What has changed?

Jun. 24 2013 01:52 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Have the tests ever been given to students who have NOT had test prep? If so, what were those results?

Jun. 24 2013 01:51 PM
M from Brooklyn

How else will the State be able to determine proficiency but by measurement?? Should we eschew testing and just go by how a teacher feels about the student? Would you like to pick the engineers for a bridge based on that?

Jun. 24 2013 01:49 PM

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