Forward Motion!

I finally feel like this project is moving forward! I spent a lot of time (too much time??) deciding on data/sample parameters that would provide for accurate results. I suppose that is really the most important part. If the design is bad, the whole thing is bad, right?  So, I’m definitely running behind, but at least whatever I get done I will be confident in and be able to defend and stand behind. My intention for this project has always been thoroughness and publication so if it isn’t 100% at the end of U.Discover, I will be able to present some representative findings, but not the “final word” in findings.  Luckily the school library is open about 15 hours a day, so I might actually get back on track 🙂

As for some results, out of 9 schools, the MLK school in the Tuscaloosa City District in Alabama has the lowest test scores in the district.


7 responses to “Forward Motion!

  1. What have you got yourself into Julie? Yeah, if we could somehow figure ALL the challenges that lay ahead upfront, we may never get started on any good thing. I would be interested in knowing what you find out. Never been a fan of naming schools after people (or saints). It’s time they start naming schools after the first registered student in the alphabetical order. Instead, politics and religion seems to drive the motives there, too! When are we ever gonna grow up?

    • Thanks for your comment, Dev! There are some school districts that only allow the schools to be named after the street or area they are in, no people! It does lessen the chance of the school naming process becoming politicized. Since you are my Sri Lanka expert, is school naming politicized in Sri Lanka? Do they name the schools there for people or other kinds of names?

      • Dev Pieris

        I ran the thought in my mind and realized I cannot come up with any school name in Sri Lanka that does not have a religious twist to it. Come to think of it, I am not sure now if it is a decease or habit. I know of some schools there that started off religiously but ended up with a (say) the name of the city it is located (usually) after the management changed. Even, then, it is a case of picking a name that is politically correct?

  2. Its sound like your lengthy project is finally starting to pay off. Congrats!

    I’ve been reading the comments on this post, and was wondering what you would personally recommend when naming schools?

    I don’t necessarily think naming schools after people is a bad idea. I view it more as a way to remember a person that made a difference. For example, when the MLK schools are in poor districts, do you think it might be so those underprivileged students have someone to look up to that made a difference–telling them that they, too, can make a difference in the world?

    It’s just an interesting element to think about. I think your research project is very unique and useful. I would just worry about offending people by “dissing” MLK schools. I know that what you’re doing isn’t offensive–you’re merely plugging in data, but I could see how some people might find it offensive. Be sure to be careful with your wording.

    Good luck with the rest of your data!

    • Thanks for the comment, Katie. I have never even thought about how I would name schools! I like the idea of naming schools after people worth naming a school for, but it does seem to have unintended consequences sometimes. I think you are totally right that the original intention of naming certain schools after inspirational people is to inspire the students. However, I think early on people saw MLK as someone for Blacks to look up to, more than someone for everyone to look up to, and that influenced which schools were named after him. I’m still (very hurriedly!) collecting all the data I need to find out whether MLK schools are underperforming as a whole compared to other schools in their neighborhoods. I’m certain there will be many instances where they are the worst schools, but on the whole, I expect they’ll be on par with the rest of the neighborhood.

      I actually put at total disclaimer in the “about the researcher” and “about the research” sections of my blog about my complete and utter lack of political correctness. I tried to develop a good filter many years ago but it was a miserable failure. I just sorta stuttered and then shut up. I decided I’d rather apologize for saying something stupid than try to stop it from happening. I think I just talk to much to effectively filter, especially since I very rarely realize that I’ve said something offensive. I have managed to get a semi-functional filter going on, but it took 20 years to self-censor as much as I do (which isn’t much compared to most people).

  3. I didn’t see anything wrong with what you’d said thus far! I hope I didn’t offend you. I just meant in the future–like in your paper, especially if you publish it. And I can definitely see your point in how/why schools got their name could definitely differ due to the era it happened in.

  4. Your project is very interesting (and ambitious!). I am looking forward to your presentation. I think it is really beneficial to be able to explain exactly what we are doing rather than the 30 second blurbs we have given earlier in the program. Good luck with the rest of your project.

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