Feedback: Castle Learning

Your scores for the two batches of Castle Learning exercises that closed on Monday, June 3, are now on Infinite Campus. Here are the exercises and dates assigned:

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Jerry Jesness, “Why Johnny Can’t Fail”

In 1999, a public school teacher named Jerry Jesness took to the pages of Reason magazine to discuss one of the most insidious problems in American public education:

The floating standard shields the status quo and guarantees the reign of mediocrity. If standards are set high but students lack the skills or motivation to meet them, the standards will inevitably drop. If many students in a given class take part-time jobs, homework will be reduced. If drugs sweep through a school, lower standards will compensate for the lack of mental clarity. Americans want quality education, but when lower grades and higher failure rates reach their own children’s classes, they rebel and schools relent. Americans hate public education because standards are low but love their local schools because their children perform so well there..

With the full article under your belt, you can begin to respond to it. Use to comments section of this post to earn more adversarial points by doing any or all of the following:

  • Develop your own position in response to Jesness
  • Tell anecdotes about your experience in and out of Brewster High School
  • Examine some of the strategies we highlighted in the essay

Whatever you talk about, use the text. Quote Jesness directly or paraphrase his ideas. The more text-driven your comments are, the more points you’ll earn; we’re after a conversation built around Jesness, not one that ignores him. (That means that those of you who didn’t finish reading are going to struggle, of course.)

One other thing about this conversation: Be specific, but be respectful. Don’t use teachers’ names, and don’t disparage anyone. Failure to follow this rule will get your comments deleted and you banned from the conversation.

Second Quarter Grades

First, a reminder: Your argument revisions are due through Google Drive on Monday, January 28. The full assignment was given in class and is archived online here. You must have a copy of this revision to do Monday’s assignment; if you arrive empty-handed, you will not be able to complete the day’s lesson.

Grades for your first drafts have been entered and can be checked through the Portal. You can use those to help focus your revisions, but you must remember that you do not need the grade to revise; you should have prepared a revision by using your notes, your study of the example papers, and the work done in class from 1/14 to 1/18. If you have any last-minute questions, email me. Otherwise, arrive on Monday ready to discuss how you revised.

Now we must discuss grades.

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