Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 5, 2007

“Cocky and dumb” versus “unsure and good” – which would you prefer?

Filed under: National,Student Performance — Editor @ 1:06 pm

The article linked below speaks directly to our public school’s effort to increase self-esteem – an effort that trumps actual accomplishment.

 Only 6 percent of Korean eighth-graders expressed confidence in their math skills, compared with 39 percent of eighth-graders in the United States, according to the latest annual study on education by the Brown Center at the Brookings Institution in Washington.The problem is that the surveyed Korean students are better at math than the American students. Their kids are unsure and good, in short, while ours are cocky and dumb — not exactly a good position for the U.S. to occupy in an increasingly competitive global economy. 

Unfortunately, we’re in that position of unskilled self-satisfaction by design. For those in American education with an aversion to competition, an aversion to the thought of winners and losers, the idea of putting self-esteem ahead of academic performance was an easy concept to adopt.


Rather than seeing self-esteem as something that flows from good performance, they made self-esteem the first priority, assuming that good performance would flow from an inflated level of self-satisfaction.

The sad reality is that in our global economy, where any engineering job (and most other jobs) can be done from any computer in the world, our children will be competing with the Koreans for jobs.  At least our children will feel “good” about their failure.

See the entire article here.



  1. How about dumb and unsure?

    Finally catching up on the cable broadcast of the town council meeting. Writing comments as I watch.

    RYSE building currently has 10 classrooms and 9 offices for “53 students”. Pretty nice digs for 53 students. Can we expect Chariho to produce more RYSE students to justify so much space?

    Mr. Ricci once again seems in a cloud as everybody’s numbers are wrong, i.e. Insight’s calculation of cost for RYSE. While everybody else’s numbers are wrong, Mr. Ricci seems not to have any numbers at all.

    Mr. Buck asks about the size of the maintenance building and discovers it is so large because it will include an office for the school’s computer geeks. For the record, I like geeks and think they should be given auditorium size work space.

    Ms. Thompson endorses the bond while expressing reservations. She properly notes the voters should decide, but “endorsement” sounds like she is endorsing the bond?

    Ms. Kenney predictably endorses the bond and credits the building committee, headed by Mr. Kenney, with doing what they were asked to do. She notes that the high school needs to be expanded while not explaining why it needs to be expanded? She mentions 30 portable classrooms with 26 being associated with RYSE. She doesn’t explain the problem with so-called “portable classroom”. As I previous noted, I’ve seen these building, a.k.a. portable classrooms, and they are as well built as my home, so I have problems empathizing or justifying spending a couple million dollars so students and teachers can have nicer accommodations than my family.

    As an aside, I also watched the recent School Committee meeting (partially because it didn’t all tape) and Mr. Ricci seemingly has no clue who works for him. I find it amazing it that we have to pay for a “study” to find out what should be obvious to our administration.
    Ms. Capalbo notes that she has been given only a few days to review a $26,000,000 spending proposal. Apparently, this was plenty of time for the geniuses on the Hopkinton Town Council? I’m with Ms. Capalbo and would never think of endorsing spending of $26,000,000 of someone else’s money if I had less than a week to scrutinize the proposal. I would want to make sure every dime was being well spent.

    Ms. Capalbo then gets into some of the financing issues of the bond. Pretty boring stuff, but I appreciated her attention as it could be something that haunts us in the future.

    Ms. Capalbo goes on to concede that “I know you need spaces”. This need for additional spacing seems to be a common theme, yet I’m still waiting to find out the details of why more expansion is needed? At least Ms. Capalbo touches on some of the potential reasons, such as classroom space has been transferred to other uses like “weight rooms”, and we all know how important it is to get rid of classrooms in favor of weight rooms. Hey, maybe classrooms have been consumed by offices for unnecessary administrators? But really, other then guesses, the question goes unanswered.

    Has enrollment surged? Is it the result of childhood obesity? I’m not ready to buy into the assumption that Chariho needs to be bigger until someone provides taxpayers with a detailed explanation of where all the spaces went?

    Ms. Capalbo makes a concession to RYSE supporting its presence at Chariho. She said she met with a RYSE administrator, but doesn’t tell us why she changed her mind and now believes RYSE does belong at .Chariho. As I trust her honesty, I’d be interested to find out what changed for her? I’m sure many of the RYSE staff are good-hearted and tell a feel good story, but as someone who tries to think logically, I’d prefer specific indications of why RYSE is better for Chariho students? Ms. Capalbo asks the same question…way to go!

    Ms. Capalbo has a “first”. She actually explained an acronym when she identified A.L.P. as Alternative Learning Program. This was stated as she also noted that the RYSE program consists of only 28 students. Mr. Ricci, in typical fashion, said “28 or 29”. What’s with this guy…can’t he provide concrete numbers for anything? Perhaps one student is 0.6 RYSE and 0.4 ALP? Or perhaps Mr. Ricci is a victim of Investigations curriculum? Somebody give the guy a calculator!

    A RYSE administrator takes the podium and tells Ms. Capalbo that parents cannot “demand” their children be placed in an outside program. There is a hearing process required. Chariho currently has 3 students placed in outside programs. We’re told at a cost $70,000 per student. Not sure where this budget item is located?

    Ms. Capalbo makes a sad but true statement that not all students can be educated to the levels of parents’ expectations. Mr. Ricci responds that he is responsible to educate all students to “their full potential”. Of course, this statement ignores the reality that there are budgetary limits and if spending on RYSE and ALP is unrestrained as we attempt to educate those children to “their full potential”, we are certainly failing to educate mainstream and accelerated students to their full potential.

    I suspect that RYSE and ALP are favored by the administration because these programs justify many more employees than typically mainstream programs justify. Chariho administration seems to have fondness for empire building.

    Ms. Capalbo gives support to maintenance spending in the bond. She then brings up grade configuration and says we should hold up on spending money on the middle school as the issue of bringing pre-teens back to the elementary level is being debated. She brings up the 2004 survey in which parents overwhelmingly support their pre-teen children being educated in elementary schools. Of course, Chariho has ignored this survey and look to conduct another survey. Maybe if we run a survey every year, eventually they’ll get the result they want?

    Mr. Cordone begins by saying he doesn’t have a lot of questions. I guess he’s among the genius’ bloc who fully understands the details of a $26,000,000 spending proposal in less than a week’s time. It would have been nice if he could have spent a few minutes explaining to the rest of us the specifics of the proposal that make him endorse its acceptance by Hopkinton? He says he supports the concept…I support many concepts, but I would never be foolish enough to endorse a concept without exploring the consequences. Mr. Cordone then says voters should become fully informed before voting. He entirely misses the irony as he votes to support the bond while admitting he is not willing to dig into the “nuts and bolts”.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 8, 2007 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  2. Taxpayers speak!

    Ms. Gardiner suggests that spending $26,000,000 of other people’s money should require a business plan so taxpayers will know the what they can expect for their money. Mr. Ricci replies that he provides this type of information to the School Committee on an annual basis. Having just watched the latest School Committee meeting, this answer seems ingenuous as Mr. Ricci seems to have no answers to Mr. Felkner’s questions about administrative head counts and costs.

    Amazingly, upon questioning from Ms. Gardiner, Mr. Ricci admits that the last superindentent pulled the wool over our eyes as it skirted the Chariho Act by leasing the RYSE buildings which effectively bypassed having to get prior approval from the community for implementing the RYSE program in the first place. Now the RYSE program is in place, Chariho is leveraging its existence and looking to have voters fund a permanent structure for RYSE. I can’t believe this is the first I’ve heard of this scam. Whether you support RYSE or not, clearly voters were played by Chariho’s administration!

    I don’t agree with Mr. Hurst’s assessment that bond passage would be “fortutious”, but I do agree with him that this bond leaves us with the imminent problems of the elementary school.

    Ms. Ure nails it when she reinforces Ms. Gardiner’s point that the RYSE program should have been subject to a referendum vote. In my opinion, every taxpayer should be outraged about how this program was brought to Chariho and implemented. Whether a good idea or a bad idea, voters were manipulated. Ms. Ure asks to know if RYSE is a cost effective. She calls for the numbers to be public.

    Ms. Ure then turns her attention to grade configuration. She makes many of the points about the research that we have read here. She correctly emphasizes that the bond ensure that pre-teens will be placed with teenagers permanently. It is a shame that children are currently being harmed by misguided grade configuration. We should not allow this to continue.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 8, 2007 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  3. i think there should only be ALP and no RYSE. we should leave that up to real professionals

    Comment by sonya — May 28, 2010 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: