‘Exemplary’ school taught only reading, math

A Dallas elementary school with “exemplary” math and reading scores taught no science or social studies to third graders, district officials charge. It was all reading and math all the time.  The music teacher taught math instead. Teachers were told to fabricate grades for students in courses they weren’t taught, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Field Elementary principal Roslyn Carter is on paid administrative leave for falsifying grades.

While the investigation has focused on third grade, other grades also may have been affected.

“I do not know of science being taught in 3rd or 4th grade,” school counselor Laura McMillin said in an e-mail to an investigator. “And I am unaware of social studies being taught at all.”

Third- and fifth-grade students who were failing certain classes were assigned to tutoring instead of enrichment classes such as music, art and P.E., the principal admitted. Ninety percent of third graders missed “specials” to prep for the state exam, a math coach said.

Once students had taken the state exam, teachers were allowed teach science, social studies and enrichment classes for the remaining three weeks of the school year.

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  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    If all they’re doing is test prep than this is a sorry story. But, if they’re intensively studying reading and math for a year or two to further develop those foundational skills – good for them, particularly if they have lower performing students, and it appears they do.

    For students and schools that struggle with basic literary and numeracy, going light on science and social studies and other enrichment classes in the elementary years doesn’t seem so tragic. Science and history content is much more accessible to those that have solid reading skills.

    • EVERYTHING is more accessible with solid reading skills.  That’s the one foundation that today’s schools refuse to make solid, and the entire educational edifice built thereon is ruined for the lack of it.

  2. It would be interesting to see if the gains persist for these students, after reverting to a more normal schedule.

  3. I’m a bit with Stacy. Not clear from the brief bit I read, but I wouldn’t be scandalized (other than the grading aspect) if the reading is focused across a spectrum of genres that includes nonfiction.

    I have honestly not been impressed with elementary level science. Social studies could be assimilated in this environment by reading short texts in class and checking reading comprehension or requiring an autobiography book report or summarizing of a newspaper article for current events.

  4. I’ve always thought Elementary School (grades K-4) should be exclusively about reading, writing, and arithmetic. You know, the ‘three R’s’? Then, in Middle School (grades 5-8) you start adding basic Science and Social Studies. Finally, in High School (grades 9-12), you start offering the classes we all know as the ones that prep you for understanding the world you live in, Science/Social Studies wise: US Hisotry, World History, World Geography, Economics, Introductory Physics, Introductory Biology, Introductory Astronomy, etc.

    Trying to teach more than the three R’s in Elementary school is trying to do too much, too soon.

    • I think you’re dead wrong.  Reading is useless and deadly dull unless it is reading about something.  So’s writing.  Arithmetic and other math can be fun for its own sake, but it’s even more fun when it’s about the real world.

      The relevance doesn’t have to be obvious, but if the kids are reading about the adventures of Lewis and Clark, they’ll have a leg up when American history comes their way.