Cranky Not Optimistic about Woodville Elementary’s “Reconstitution”

Not only does Woodbridge Elementary (shown in red) have a high percentage of disadvantaged students, it does worse than schools with comparable students.

woodville_elementaryWoodville Elementary School in Richmond is by some measures the poorest-performing school district in the school system. To be sure, the school has one of the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students, but even then, it’s still the worst, as can be seen in the chart above. Performance that bad can’t be blamed on just the students’ socioeconomic status, contends John Butcher over at Cranky’s Blog.

Having flunked accreditation for three years running, the school has applied for “reconstituted” status. The plan calls for adding an administrative dean to the staff, implementing a new reading program, engaging families of students, and reducing suspensions by creating “a more positive climate and environment.”

Butcher does a take-down of the plan: “Never mind the incompetent use of the Mother Tongue by people who purport to teach English to our children. Never mind the confused and vacuous proposals that fail to deal with the incompetent teachers and administrators who sank Woodville into a quagmire of failure.  The application is defective on its face.” Read the whole thing. It’s depressing.

If Cranky is right, nothing fundamental will change. Captive to the platitudes of the educational bureaucracy, Woodville’s leadership is doubling down on the same strategies that failed before. Another cohort of impoverished poor school children, born into economic disadvantage at birth, will fall further behind. One has to ask, is Richmond’s educational system — is Virginia’s educational system — capable of reforming itself, or are poor children just doomed?


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3 responses to “Cranky Not Optimistic about Woodville Elementary’s “Reconstitution””

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    What? No labor unions to blame?

  2. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    As a retired teacher,I am always amused to find that when a school is in trouble all the blame is put on the teachers. Teaching children from poor backgrounds is difficult. If society really wants to solve this problem ,it needs to begin dealing with the intellectual growth of these children at a very young age.I wonder how many kids at this institution had access to a Head Start program. It is also difficult to staff such a school.Many just do not want to deal with these problems.Its a mess but the solutions are difficult and costly.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Les is dead on. First, we have “neighborhood” schools which are more less aligned with demographics like income.

    kids of parents who themselves don’t have a good education and no real cultural affinity for the importance and value of it – are NOT as easy to teach… they are HARD… much harder than kids of parents who have high educations.

    Next – “good” teachers, “veteran” teachers have more choice of where to teach – and most of them – even those dedicated and capable want no part of a “troubled” school where critics are looking to blame the teachers so these schools get staffed by entry level and lower level teachers and yeah you can call them incompetent and “bad” but try to find someone to replace them…

    and I’d include that also in so-called “voucher” schools… where are they going to get competent and qualified teachers to put themselves into harms way when they can go to schools that have “easy” teaching?

    this is the problem with the blamers…. they’re good at blaming… but their “solution” of “voucher schools” is simplistic and totally out of touch with realities..

    if you want GOOD teachers to teach kids who are much harder to teach – you cannot threaten them with career-harming “blame games”. No teacher in their right mind is going to take that assignment especially if it is for the same money and benefits

    the real question is what are real solutions? Do the blamers have any?

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