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30.9.14 0102
The W - Current Events & Politics - More Reasons to Damn the US Public Schools part 2
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LastCallHall
Linguica








Since: 21.2.02
From: Raleigh, North Carolina

Since last post: 991 days
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Y!:
#1 Posted on
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Young Americans may soon have to fight a war in Iraq, but most of them can't even find that country on a map, the National Geographic Society said Wednesday.

The society survey found that only about one in seven -- 13 percent -- of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors, could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor.

For the rest of the story, the address is http://www.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/index.html

This is what started the first thread, started by Grimis, and is closed now, but after reading it, which I advise you to do, there were many good points made, I felt like it was to important not to be addressed.

The first thread seemed to debate why the educational system doesn't work as good as it should. Also most of the debate centered around middle school through college education.

I wanted to make another point that I think was not discussed enough in the first thread. There is not enough emphasis on how to learn in the formative years. I'm sure that everyone who has ever taken a psychology class or a class in a foreign language has heard this phrase, "It's much easier to learn when you are younger than when you are older." I feel this is an accurate concept and because of the restrictions placed on teachers they are not able to teach what students need to know to succeed in life.

I think that if it was possible to teach students when they are very young how to study, and what it means to study that we would not have quite the problems we have now. I understand the point that not everyone can learn. Given an adequate foundation though is vital anything you do in life, a relationship, a house, a business, why not education. I feel that if students were able to learn things the first time they were presented to them, such as multiplication, then the teachers in the middle and high school would not have to go back and review at the start of every school year and even after some lessons that they just taught a month ago.

Education can work, but it would take two things specifically to make it work, everyone taking responsibility, parents, teachers, students, and administrators to realize that things could be better, and very simply, more money. Everyone must take responsibility or otherwise it is pointless for anyone to do so. Changing only one variable of the equation for the better will not make the situation better because there will be too many negative forces working against them to make their contribution as effective as it potentially could be. When this will ever happen, is not for me to say, probably never, but if enough people get angry, things can change.

I also know that throwing money at a situation will not necessarily make it any better, but given the greater resources and motivation, perhaps we would lose so many of the great teachers that we've lost due to burnout and fatigue. My point in case, I went to two high schools throughout that period of my life and you could tell the difference dramatically.

Most of my time was spent in Suffolk, VA. There is not as much money in suffolk, and consequently the standardized test scores prove it. There are very few libraries, and even they aren't funded very well. After talking with many of the teachers there many of them have lost their passion to teach because of the students lack of desire and the administrations lack of help. Frankly, I can't blame them. We did not have as many choices as many schools did, only 4 AP classes to choose from, but you can understand when 80% of the kids there don't make it to algebra 2.

Here in Durham, NC, it is a much larger area. There is more funding for the schools, though not by much, and there seems to be a lower ratio of students to teachers. Here they have 18 AP classes, and they start pre-algebra in 6th grade, two years earlier than in suffolk. It also does not hurt that there are two universities here, Duke and North Carolina Central, so people have other places to learn and study from. It is not the best school system in NC, but the differences between the two schools seems huge by comparison.

I don't want this post, though it's quite long, to sound negative. I just want things to get better. Why? Because I know it can. It works really well just 10 or so miles down the road in Orange county. There they don't need to physically disipline the students because you rarely hear that debate. They have sat scores that year in and year out beat the north carolina average by around 100 points and always beats the national average. Maybe someone who is from Chapel Hill (Jaguar I'm looking at you), or maybe went to the schools there could tell you better, and I guess I need to back this up with better facts, but I just know it can work.

Whether you agree with me or not isn't as important as keeping this debate at the forefront so we can find a way to make education work in the United States. I care because I don't want to bring my children up one day in an uncaring world, and I'm sure none of you self-respecting people out there do either. But it will take time and effort to make this happen.

Thanks.
LCH



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Gavintzu
Summer sausage








Since: 2.1.02
From: Calgary ... Alberta Canada

Since last post: 2843 days
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
LastCallHall sez:

    Education can work, but it would take two things specifically to make it work, everyone taking responsibility, parents, teachers, students, and administrators to realize that things could be better, and very simply, more money.

I hope I don't sound too cynical, but throwing money into the educational system isn't going to solve anything. Quite simply, the problem lies in Western culture, not in the schools.

6 out of 7 young people couldn't find Iraq or Iran on a world map. How many of their parents could find those countries if we asked them? How many kids are going to get PS2 or Gamecube games for Christmas instead of books? How many parents really push their kids to do well in school, and spend the time when they are young to set the foundation for a lifetime of learning, instead of plunking them down in front of a Disney movie on the VCR after dinner?

In North America, school is more a place to socialize than learn now ... this isn't just old fogey bitching either. I have a friend who just finished his practicum as a new teacher, and this is actually part of their training -- social interaction skills are just as important as academic achievement now.

No wonder the Japanese and Korean and Chinese kids in my schools were always at the top of the class -- their parents pushed them and set high expectations, and peer pressure from their friends pushed them too. In our culture, being able to skateboard well is more important than being able to find Iraq on the map, or know which European country colonialized Iraq, when Iraq achieved self-rule, and what repercussions this still has on Iraqis today. This information certainly isn't being pushed by the government, and it isn't being given by CNN or the newspapers.

Expecting elementary school teachers, who have kids six hours a day, to instill a love of books and learning is a bit much when most parents don't seem too interested in doing the job. So those kids grow up ignorant, and the cycle continues.






Wake up the dawn and ask her why, she dreams a dream she never dies;
Wipe that tear away from your eye.
OlFuzzyBastard
Knackwurst








Since: 28.4.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#3 Posted on
The schools are underfunded. Most of the teachers don't give a shit. Most of the parents don't give a shit. And it's somehow cool to be stupid. What else do you expect?



"Every Who down in Who-Ville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived in a cave just north of Who-Ville did not. So, the US sent B-2s to take him out - but, to our suprise, the Whos, who we thought we our allies, snuck the Grinch out inside a hollow Roast Beast. So, all we nabbed were low-level operatives, like the Zizzer Zazzer-Zuzz, who we shipped to Guantanamo Bay (and we have solid leads on the whereabouts of David Donald Doo and his Duck Dog too).

Then we accidenly killed the Cat In The Hat when an unmanned drone mistook him for the Grinch. Frustrated in our hunt, we then threatened to invade the Jungle of Newell unless Horton the Elephant agreed to an UN Arms Inspection.

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...Aw, to hell with it, kid. Go read "Frosty The Snowman" instead"
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Gavintzu
Summer sausage








Since: 2.1.02
From: Calgary ... Alberta Canada

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
Christ, Thefuzzyone just said in 25 words what I took 300 to say. Way to show me up





Wake up the dawn and ask her why, she dreams a dream she never dies;
Wipe that tear away from your eye.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3452 days
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#5 Posted on
"Expecting elementary school teachers, who have kids six hours a day, to instill a love of books and learning is a bit much when most parents don't seem too interested in doing the job. So those kids grow up ignorant, and the cycle continues."

I don't know, some elementary school teachers can do this very well, probably because it is easier to get younger children excited about books and learning. But perhaps too few are doing that nowadays. I still think the problems rest more with high school teachers- they allow student complaints to get to them too easily and dumb things down, probably because *they themselves* are stupid and of a non-academic mind to begin with. But even if you are, it does take a lot of strength and endurance to "fight the good fight" of education, and it can be easy to back down. The scary thing is that the fight is now carrying over into post-secondary education. In my limited experience to date teaching at this level, it seems more difficult to get college students to learn material today.

But you make a good point Gavintzu about buying children *books* for birthdays and Christmas. I have done this a bit with my nephew; I just have to keep it up and hope some of it sinks in. At his age (14), it's more about getting the right kind of books with topics that go right to things he is interested in. Good advice though.

DMC




"There's only two things I can't stand. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures...AND THE DUTCH!" -Michael Caine, Goldmember
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 7 days
Last activity: 5 days
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.02
I think you honestly have to ask the question "what does it matter if you can find Iraq on a map?"

OK, before everyone shoots me, let me explain. Other than making Europeans feel superior (that isn't too hard), what does being behind in georgraphy do? I personally am a georgraphy nut. I could probably find any country you wanted on a map, and have been able to do so since the age of 6. And it got me nothing except beaten up after class

My point is, I think you have to look at what American educational system is good at teaching, and what it isn't isn't, and what really matters.

The one place I really fault Americans is languages. What kind of idiot school system starts teaching languages right AFTER it becomes super easy to learn them? Foreign language should start in first grade. The only thing I've been jealous of Europeans about is that they all (or at least all of the younger generation) speak 2 or 3 or 4 languages. Even the idiots. It's because they start early. And every language you learn makes it easier to learn others.

Maybe it's just because I'm struggling to learn Spanish at the age of 27, while at the age of 7 I could have been fluent in 6 months if our stupid school system knew what it was doing.

In addition, knowing a foreign language is one of those things that could actually come in very handy in everyday life, unlike, say, knowing where Iraq is on a map.

(edited by MoeGates on 21.12.02 1612)


It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Aphrodite, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Hydrogen, Spider-Man, and Boston.
calvinh0560
Boudin rouge








Since: 3.1.02
From: People's Republic of Massachusetts

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
What really gets me is the kids who don't know the basics in Math. Maybe its the Engineer in me but everyone needs to know how to add 1/2 to 1/3. Back in College I took a Micro Economics class and college students did not know how to find a slope of a curve. And don't me started when you go to the store and the cashier needs to make change when the computers is down.
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 7 days
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.02
Back in College I took a Micro Economics class and college students did not know how to find a slope of a curve.

God knows I don't know how to do this. Isn't that calculus?



It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Aphrodite, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Hydrogen, Spider-Man, and Boston.
calvinh0560
Boudin rouge








Since: 3.1.02
From: People's Republic of Massachusetts

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
The teacher would not call it calculus because he was afraid of scaring half the class. He had this long draw out way instead of showing the students how to take a derivative of the line.
kazhayashi81
Potato korv








Since: 17.6.02
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

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#10 Posted on
The biggest problem in the US public schools is that people donīt require you to LEARN the material. These INSANELY STUPID "Leave No Child Behind" programs are helping to insure that things are only getting worse, not better. I also think teachers should be held accountable for the way they teach. If they donīt teach the material, because they want students to get "Easy A's", then fuck them, find new teachers.






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drjayphd
Scrapple
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Since: 22.4.02
From: Long Island

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#11 Posted on
How's about canning forced promotion, for starters? You don't know the material, you shouldn't graduate. My history prof and I were talking about this (over dinner with a couple of classmates), and how she thinks there should be an exit exam of, like, ten basic history and civics questions. Get one wrong, you don't graduate.

But yeah, money is definitely one of the big issues. There's no reason why some schools should have to be in the shape they're in, especially because of budget concerns.



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astrobstrd
Bockwurst








Since: 13.3.02
From: Loveland, OH

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#12 Posted on

    Originally posted by kazhayashi81
    ...If they donīt teach the material, because they want students to get "Easy A's", then fuck them, find new teachers.


That last bit is part of the problem. Teachers are criminally underpaid and there are too few of them in many areas. What's our government's solution? Pay them less and test them a lot. That, or ship 5 or 6 kids in problem schools to get a good (but Jesus-loaded) education, while their classmates fester in failing inner-city or Appalachian schools.
Teaching shouldn't be a six-figure job, but why would anyone with a master's in math but a saint-like samaritan teach at an inner city school for $22,000 a year when there is money to be made on Wall Street?



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Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05

    Originally posted by drjayphd
    How's about canning forced promotion, for starters? You don't know the material, you shouldn't graduate. My history prof and I were talking about this (over dinner with a couple of classmates), and how she thinks there should be an exit exam of, like, ten basic history and civics questions. Get one wrong, you don't graduate.

    But yeah, money is definitely one of the big issues. There's no reason why some schools should have to be in the shape they're in, especially because of budget concerns.



They are trying to do that in Virginia, but it keeps getting stricken down from all fronts...



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R-D-Z
PalpatineW
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Getting Rowdy

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.44

    Originally posted by astrobstrd

      Originally posted by kazhayashi81
      ...If they donīt teach the material, because they want students to get "Easy A's", then fuck them, find new teachers.


    That last bit is part of the problem. Teachers are criminally underpaid and there are too few of them in many areas. What's our government's solution? Pay them less and test them a lot. That, or ship 5 or 6 kids in problem schools to get a good (but Jesus-loaded) education, while their classmates fester in failing inner-city or Appalachian schools.
    Teaching shouldn't be a six-figure job, but why would anyone with a master's in math but a saint-like samaritan teach at an inner city school for $22,000 a year when there is money to be made on Wall Street?



It could well be argued that this is the result of the government monopoly on education. If you want to improve education, get the gov't out of there. Failing that, how about removing the restrictions placed on charter schools? I know here in MA there is a limited amount of licenses that can be granted to people looking to open new schools. Let's have some competition, fer Pete's sake.



Damn your eyes!
Jaguar
Knackwurst








Since: 23.1.02
From: Phoenix, AZ

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#15 Posted on
I don't believe you can take the government out of the school system. If everything is run by competing school corporations, where's the motivation to run schools in rural areas? There aren't that many kids, and the people don't have much money to spend. So at worst, there will be no schools in poor rural areas. At best, there will be small underfunded schools that aren't on par with the rest of the nation, but do make enough money to equal the amount being put in.

Oh, and in the current system, if you granted more licenses for charter schools, you would just have to divert more money to whatever agency keeps track of the charter schools to make sure they're actually doing their jobs.

-Jag



War is when you kill people with no names.
Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
Vouchers should be used as part of a solution when there are no alternatives. Inner-city schools are just ridiculous and the kids are getting a more detailed education in drug-running and street justice then they are the 3 R's, which helps to explain the crime rates.

Nevertheless, we need to start by instituting merit-based pay as opposed to tenure pay. The cream will rise to the top and then we can address the other issues.



What kind of disjointed society do we live in if Merry Christmas is Politically Incorrect?
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 7 days
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.02
Nevertheless, we need to start by instituting merit-based pay as opposed to tenure pay. The cream will rise to the top and then we can address the other issues.


I disagree with this (how the hell do you determine "merit pay" anyway?) but I think we do need one substantial reform in teaching assignments. Right now, becuase of tenure/seniority rules, senior teachers get to choose their assignments. As a result, it's next to impossible to get experienced teachers into bad schools. As a result, you get young, inexperienced teachers thrown to the wolves, leading to enourmous teacher turnover at these schools, and probably driving a lot of real good potential teachers out of the profession.

As far as private or charter or voucher schools go, you have to remember that they have one big BIG difference from public schools: they don't have to take everyone. If any school - public or private - is able to selct only the kids it wanted to teach, it would do a much better job. So what about the kids it rejects?

I think the question becomes: do we have more of an obligation to make sure that bright and good kids are able to get a superior education regardless of ability to pay, or do we have more of an obligation to make sure all kids get a baseline decent education? I'm not sure of the answer myself.



It seems that I am - in no particular order - Zack Morris, John Adams, a Siren, Aphrodite, Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, Amy-Wynn Pastor, Hydrogen, Spider-Man, and Boston.
ICEMAN
Landjager








Since: 23.5.02
From: Nashville,TN

Since last post: 1852 days
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#18 Posted on
I've said it before the kids don't give a fuck. They'd rather use school as social time than learning.


I wasn't that great of a student but at least I cared and knew how to read. I remember being in 10th grade grade and having 15 year old kids stumble over simple words. After that I changed into a HONORS English class.

I like to play video games like everyone else my age but still I read everything I can get my hands on. And for that I was called "stupid" by my stepdad. I didn't say anything but I was thinking "whatever you illiterate bastard".


And the teachers, I respect a lot of teachers because they get paid nothing and work their asses off. And there a lot of teachers that seem like they picked the wrong bubble on the major sheet and are stuck with teaching but the don't seem to last long.


I don't think I could be a teacher, not with the way the kids are today and especially not where I went to school.






I'm a Testicle
asteroidboy
Andouille








Since: 22.1.02
From: Texas

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.95
Schools are geared towards making sure that the slowest kids bog everyone down, not challenging the smart ones.

Plus,

- Districts are petrified of getting sued so they don't punish kids.

- Both parents don't work, so they don't wanna bother raising their kids.

- They stopped paddling kids.



"My brother saw the Undertaker walking through an airport." - Rex
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DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3452 days
Last activity: 3446 days
#20 Posted on
I think you meant both parents work, and again we're back to parental responsibility as one of the major issues that is "damning US public education." I know that when my wife and I decide to have children (BTW as a little aside, I try to never refer to children as "kids" or at least only use it in certain instances--to me it is too demeaning a word, and is often used in a way that makes children sound like livestock commodities, i.e. "Why aren't you home with your KID?") one of us is going to stay home at least half-time and take care of things. We'll cut back whatever we have to in order to survive, but whoever makes the highest salary will work, and the other will be at home. We're not working our asses into the ground only to have nice things and have children who hate us or don't know us.

DMC



"There's only two things I can't stand. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures...AND THE DUTCH!" -Michael Caine, Goldmember
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