College Ready…Or Something Like That

9 07 2012

Lewis Place

There is so much wrong with this article.  I’ll just blockquote the LOL moments.


St. Louis charter school finds formula for success


The stakes are high at Shearwater, and the pressure intense. Although most of the students have transcripts placing them in high school, nearly all come in at elementary school levels in reading and math. The school’s staff of 12 set out to prepare them for college and careers.

If you start high school with an elementary school reading level, college really shouldn’t be an option.  But wait until you find out what they mean by “college.”

The graduates include Ashleigh Roseman, 21. After she was expelled from McCluer North for fighting and was arrested, Roseman gave up on graduating. “I was like, forget school,” she recalled. “I guess I’m just going to be one of those people who doesn’t do anything.”

Roseman was one of the school’s first students, but in January, after her mother died unexpectedly, she stopped coming to school. The Shearwater staff pulled her back in, and she “pushed through,” Roseman said. They even drove her to St. Charles so she could continue meeting with a counselor who had previously helped her.

This fall, Roseman will attend Regency Beauty School, and she dreams of someday owning a salon.

Yep, she graduated from “high school” at the age of 21 (isn’t that a little late?) and had the steam to get into beauty school.

Located on the campus of Ranken Technical College, the school’s goal is not just to arm students with diplomas, but also to prepare them to succeed in college and in life.

Ranken is a pretty good voc/tech school.  But how much do you want to stake on some of this school’s graduates going to Ranken?

The school typically has 60 to 80 students enrolled, with a waiting list. It has an annual budget of about $1.3 million, which comes from a mix of federal grants, state money and private donations.

That figures to anywhere between $16,250 and $21,667 per student per year.  They better work miracles.

Shearwater is a competency-based school, meaning students advance when they show what they know. The students wear uniforms, but there are no seat-time requirements, or hours of class they must attend to earn credits.

“When they show what they know.”  As opposed to what?  Isn’t that the way school works?  “…no seat time requirements or hours of class they must attend…”  Wait until they try to transvert that act to the real world.

To graduate, the students must know “21 by 21” — a strong knowledge in 21 subject areas by the time they are age 21. The requirements are aligned to national and state standards in science, reading, writing and math, but also speaking, listening and life skills such as good health and job searches.

Just a hunch, but I bet I mastered these twenty-one subject areas by the age of twelve.

The first name pulled in a lottery for one of 90 spots when Shearwater opened was Da’Jah Dale. But she was homeless then, and the agency that referred her and the school couldn’t get in touch with her until the day before the deadline.

I’m glad to hear they could help Da’Jah out.  I can only imagine what she’ll name her own kids.

Staff members have taken students’ clothes home to launder.

I suppose one of the “21 subject areas” for the 21-year olds doesn’t include laundry.  Again, something I mastered at the age of twelve.

The job takes grit, and the turnover is high. None of the original teachers will be there in the coming school year. But the school will have its first principal; Shearwater has hired Mike Hylen, who previously led the alternative high school in the Rockwood School District.

Sounds like Can’t Teach for America dingbats.  If the school is doing so great without a principal, why hire one and incur all those extra expenses?

For every 100 kids who apply, about 50 make it through orientation, and of those, only 25 typically continue with classes.

There’s the secret to their “success,” such as it is.  The orientation attrition (orientation is probably a tedious process by design) weeds out the lazy slugs before they even get into the school, and then in turn half of those wash out not long after the starting gun goes off.  Similar to KIPP.  In fact, to the extent that any charter skoo for charter foos is “successful,” that’s the secret.  They say they have “open admission” in theory, but in reality, they construct so many pre-lottery abstract hurdles to weed out the lazy and the stupid that they might as well have admissions standards.  Meanwhile, public schools must take everyone.

She stopped going to school as a teenager growing up in New Jersey because of problems with alcohol and at home. She would go on to work with Teach for America and earn graduate degrees in education and social work.

Didn’t someone just talk about Can’t Teach for America?

Krauss was a graduate student at Washington University when she set out to create a school based on her research into high-risk youths in St. Louis. More than 1,000 people offered advice that would help shape Shearwater.

Oh boy, one of these grad school twits who think they know everything because it sounded so good in their dissertation.  And this is nothing new — Geoffery Canada, the educator who started the Harlem Children’s Zone, said in Waiting for Superman that when he graduated from Ivy League Grad School with an Ed.D. in 1975, he figured that he would have the American education system fixed single-handedly within three years.  Such is the hubris of youth.

Now, a group of her students, after graduating last month, will attend Ranken. One is interested in the military, and another will intern at Shearwater.

Ranken.  What did I tell you?  “Interested in the military,” who will take almost anybody.  “Intern at Shearwater” — Now there’s a good way to plump up your school’s post-secondary stats, by recursive hiring.

One of the new graduates, Jeremy Dickerson, 18, once dreamed of working at Boeing. His family told him he was smart, but school couldn’t keep his interest.

After falling asleep in class at the Construction Careers Center, he assaulted a teacher and never went back. He was out for a year before he heard about Shearwater on the radio.


He will attend St. Louis Community College in the fall. His long-term goal: to study engineering.

Fell asleep at the MoDOT-sponsored construction careers training school in Chocolate City St. Louis, the one that MoDOT started to appease the “minority contractor” rabble, and expected to work at Boeing.  And he still expects to be an engineer, even though he’s starting in junior college.

Let me be the first to break the news gently to him before the real world bitch-slaps him in the face:   He’s not going to be an engineer, not in any way you and I think of the term.

Notice the photos and the captions, especially the second photo, where the twit teacher is lying down with her students, (doesn’t exactly leave me with the best mental picture), and the fourth of the “ubuntu” meeting, and by that, I don’t mean a LUG.  It wasn’t that long ago when I was in high school, and I don’t remember having a teacher under the age of 45.




5 responses

9 07 2012

Jeremy Dickerson, 18, whose family told him he was smart, has a long-term goal of studying engineering and eventually working at Boeing where he will design and build airplanes that will be piloted by Trayvon “St. Skittles” Martin.

I will guess that Jeremy designed the fire truck mobile that Maddox posted a few years back.

There is so much wrong with this article though.

Good news though, in another Jessica Bock article I see that Ranken Technical College and Hickey College are ready to accept all the graduates Covenant House GED holders who were given anonymous scholarships. I am not getting a very good image of Ranken Tech ……

9 07 2012

That fire truck isn’t bad, for a 8-year old.

Ranken is actually a pretty good school, but it started and opened when the wrong part of town it’s currently in was the right part of town, and hasn’t felt the need to move. What they’re doing accepting this genius school’s genius graduates is beyond me.

The big voc/tech college in St. Louis is Vatterott, started by the long time construction industry family in town of the same name, most of them were none too fond of our brethren of color, if you know what I mean. Their purpose is starting the school was to give non-college material whites a path to a real vocation.

But look at what they’re doing to that school now:

The old Vatterotts would be turning over in their graves.

9 07 2012

How many recording engineers do they need in St. Louis?

10 07 2012

There are enough young blacks with laptops to fill our needs for “recording engineers” for the rest of time.

10 07 2012
Techno Dan

No seat time requirements? From what I’ve heard about diversity, they usually show up, but without any homework done, and then go right to a nappin’. Then, when told they’re failing, they scream “Racism!”.

Has anyone noticed the amount of black and brown skin in all these online ads for Phoenix University and Cappella and such? Makes me sick to see how they tout college as being for black women and not for white men, esp. when the black women are probably gettting Affirmative Action degrees. The best Phoenix can do is show a white woman who is so proud of herself that she got a PhD, but I can’t remember many white men in the mix of the rest of the ad, certainly not any white men with PhDs. I guess they have forgotten that it took the best brains of white men over hundreds of years to create the technological society we live in. Some gratitude.

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