The Achievement Gap and Middle School Math

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 13 2013

Helping students find and follow their dreams!

Is anyone familiar with the kids’ book The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater?

The main character lives on a very boring, uniform street. One day, a bird drops some paint on the roof of his house. Instead of painting over it, he supplements the Big Orange Splot on his roof with lots of other beautiful artwork all over his house and yard.  His neighbors, one by one, become persuaded to take similar steps to make their own houses “look like all their dreams.”

I think this story provides a useful lens through which to view current efforts at education reform. Here is an allegory of the current education reform movement through the perspective of The Big Orange Splot: The Education System Needs a Seagull Carrying a Bucket of Paint

2 Responses

  1. meghank

    Well, except that in the current “reform” environment, the seagull does not remake the school into something better or more fanciful. He closes the school, fires everyone who works there, and makes the children apply to get in to the new charter (where they will have lost any relationships they made with the old staff, creating yet more instability in their unstable childhoods).

    Not quite as child-friendly as the children’s story.

  2. meghank

    And I do feel sorry for Daniel Pinkwater. First the flap about his story being used as a passage for that ridiculous question on the worthless New York state test ( ), and now this. It’s as if the “reformers” are determined to appropriate his wistful, imaginative stories for their own, very different, means.

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Closing the achievement gap with middle school math

Metro Atlanta
Middle School

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