KAKM Appearance

While you are listening to my appearance on KAKM's Running I wanted to make some additional comments about the discussion that took place on the show.

Is NCLBA to be blamed for most, if not all educational problems? While the NCLBA has some problems (perhaps most notably, inadequate funding) we need to remember that the NCLBA places responsibility for setting standards and measuring performance under those standards on the states. Let me restate this. Constitutionally education is a matter of State control; our District must comply with State laws adopted voluntarily by the State. In fact, the standards this State has adopted are not extraordinary and should not require extraordinary efforts to manage passage (a 13 year old can pass it - say hello to one who did). The exit exam (HSGQE) is initially administered to Sophomores, students who have yet to complete their second year of high school so contrary to the assertions of Ms. Marsett it would only present a memory problem for those who have already repeatedly failed it. Additionally, since most of our curriculum is helical or spiral, students should be continually reviewing material they already know as the learn new material. The HSGQE sets very basic objectives which should not interfere with curriculum delivery (i.e. there is no reason any teacher should not be covering material far beyond the scope of the HSGQE.) However, because the HSGQE is a high stakes test preparation is appropriate, but students should be provided test preparation instruction in any event to prepare them for ACTs, SATs, and non-academic tests. Where students have failed the HSGQE, additional attention is necessary to ensure that students can demonstrate the mastery needed to obtain a diploma. These is not just test prep, but remediation, and perhaps if our classrooms were of an appropriate size and our teachers all highly qualified we might need less remediation.

Can I work with individuals with whom I argue? Of course, and there are quite a few of your fellow voters happy to say just that. There are those who argue that all communication should be done in a deferential style, but research strongly indicates that such a communication style is least likely to result in solutions to problems. So to successfully address issues we need to communicate assertively, and that means not getting all hot and bothered if some goes, "Boo!" But the point raised to me by the Boo-er to the left was that, faced with the range of severe problems our District experiences, why aren't others speaking up. We appear to be so concerned with avoiding the marginalization that results from speaking one's mind that we may have indeed become a mass of humanity leading lives of quiet desperation, as Emerson warned.

I also know something about school equity. While my wife and I thought it was important for our children to attend schools with broad populations, a colleague of my wife's suggested that we would be negligent as parents if we allowed our daughter to attend Clark. My daughter, who seems to have survived, is doing fine and I am happy to say, well grounded and afraid of no one. Does that mean I was happy with her situation at Clark? Frankly, though she had some great teachers like John Gallup and Lorena Scalph, there were some serious problems; problems that need fixing, not ignoring. While Clark has now been rebuilt a building does not a school make.

    Have I done this that or the other thing?
  • I lived in Nenana for over ten years, subsistence fishing, running sled dogs, sewing my own boots and working with the Traditional Tribal Council, teaching, running for Mayor against Jack Coghill and marrying a woman who graduated from the Nenana City Public Schools.
  • I have worked with at risk students both at Whaley School and at the high school level. I have worked addressing "credit recovery" at West and have worked like mnay teachers 10 and 12 hour days (and Saturdays) to keep students engaged and attending school.
  • I know about education law and services to the disabled and gifted because I have been involved in writing, litigating, providing in-services and training on Special Education, etc for decades (and have an LD child myself)
  • I have experience with the ASD budget process as I've already spend hundreds of hours combing through the budget and requiring ASD staff to defend it.
  • I had ESL students form their own Senate in which they proposed, considered, debated and adopted legislation. Like most teachers in the District I did not receive any award for doing that as it was part of my job.

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This communication was paid for by Marc Grober, 5610 Radcliff Dr. Anchorage, AK 99504