Home By Marquel The Three Rs: Progress, ‘Riting & ‘Rithmatic

The Three Rs: Progress, ‘Riting & ‘Rithmatic

Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores, read Marquel, TPVs NYTimes Dick and Jane and Spot and Puff Section correspondent.

A new analysis, taking into account student demographics, finds the states in third and fourth place, after Massachusetts and New Jersey. There’s a trick to it though the readers in Texas and Florida can’t read all that well. Only three or four words, actually. But the new study measures where they’re coming from, not how they’re reading now, and judges it amazing that these kids even know how to open the books. That’s how we’re going to beat Europe and China.

Marquel went to both Florida and Texas to see how this miracle was performed. At a Texas High School, a senior named Lonnie opened a small primer with the help of a guidance counselor. He read aloud,

“Here Puff! Here Spot!” They all clapped.

So did Marquel, since everyone else did.

The guidance counselor said, “Do you realize that last year he couldn’t read ONE single word? Is that amazing?”

 “And that’s what puts Texas un third place after Massachusetts and New Jersey?” Asked Marquel.
“Certainly. And he’s not the only one!” Said the counselor.
 “And he must be graduating this year.” Said Marquel. There was a diploma on the wall and Marquel pointed Lonnie towards it. “Can you read that big word on top starting with D?” Asked Marquel.
Lonnie stared awhile and said, “D…d…d…d…di…di…dip…dipwad?”
 “Very good Lonnie and what are you going to do when you get your dipwad?” Asked Marquel.
The counselor interrupted, “he’s going to community college now that he can read!”
 Marquel motioned to the counselor and they chatted in the corner. “How can you say that you’re at the same level as Massachusetts where almost all students read at grade level. Here in Texas all you can show me is a high school senior who reads at kindergarten level.” Asked Marquel.
“Because we’ve found it’s more meaningful to measure relative progress than absolute. It is a better indicator of progress.” Said the counselor.
 “But is that what you’re really interested in? Do we want progress or do we want readers? How will that boy function in college? He can’t read.” Said Marquel.
 “But his progress is amazing. It shows we’re good teachers.” He said.
 “You think so.” Was all Marquel could muster.

He traveled to Florida. They brought out a Lonnie with a tan. He read about Puff and Spot.
“Do you know what?” Asked the principal.
 “I know. He couldn’t read last year.” I said.
“How’d you know?” He asked.
 “Basically because he can’t read this year either.” I said.
 “But he just told you of Puff and Spot.” Protested the principal.
 “But a kindergarten student could do that.” I said.
“Not this strapping kindergarten student,” said the principal, pawing the student.
“And that is good because you made progress. How does progress make a reader. Shouldn’t he read to graduate?” I asked.
“No that’s unamerican. He just has to show improvement.”
 “But he can’t read. What will he do in college?” I asked.
“Practically speaking, he’ll take remedial classes.” He said.
 “Remedial as in remedy? A remedy for failure to learn in school?” I asked.
“I thinks that’s unnecessarily harsh. Nothing breeds success like success. This boy is a success,” he said, pawing the student once more.
 “How about his teachers who got him all the way to senior year without knowing how to read?” I asked.
 “Also successes because of the tremendous progress. That puts us right behind Massachusetts.” He said.
 “In Massachusetts they’re reading about Rousseau and Hume in senior year, not Puff and Spot.” I said.
 “Unimportant. Progress is what matters. Nothing breeds success like success.” He said.
 We said good bye. I cancelled my flight back to New York and flew to Logan instead.  I’d had enough of progress.
By MARQUEL: The Three Rs: Progress, ‘Riting & ‘Rithmatic



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