Basically I think standardized testing is one of the worst things to be utilized in public schools. For people like me who memorize easily, it made school a joke. All the time I was in public school I always scored highest on all multiple choice test. The answer is there, all you have to do is remember which one it is. This doesn't mean that I was smarter than my classmates, and in some areas, I definately wasn't. But because I was getting 100% percent on everything, it allowed me to basically sleep through class.
Also, here in NC the current policy is this: If the students at your school do badly on the statewide tests, we cut your funding. This is the worst policy I could think of to implement. It is completely counter-productive.
With poison running through your veins, and death marching solemnly towards you, heroic acts become more of a necessity as you see your time dwindling.
Vanquishing your enemies, making amends to those you have wronged, and leaving words of love and kindness for those around you become second nature as your own mortality looms
However, true strength lies not in these last desperate acts, but in the actions of one who has to get out of bed the next day and face the consequences of doing that which you believe is right.
Man, reading things like this make me glad that I went to private schools before college.
I can give a horror story. My best friend was a math teacher at a high school in Riverside, CA. He could not flunk kids (California requires social promotion). It was his first year of finals, and he asked me to help grade them. 90% of these kids could not do simple algebra after a full year of teaching. It was disgusting. And when I asked him what he could do, he said there was nothing he could do. The parents didn't care, the students didn't care, and, most importantly, the other teachers didn't care.
"Ensign Kodos, set coordinates for the obscure, T-shirt producing planet of Earth. We are going to visit... MY DAUGHTER!" -- Kang
Just to follow up on what bash, Iceman and mountainman are saying:
Yes it is a notorious problem that college students today cannot write worth squat, and I am currently going through this with my first class as an instructor. You just do your best, and hand out the grade you think the student should have, and that's it. You warn them ahead of time that writing, spelling, grammar, etc. will be graded so that there are no surprises. And you mark-up their papers with corrections so they should KNOW WHAT TO DO for future assignments. But it is frustrating that these people may eek by and get a college degree without knowing how to write one single, clear sentence.
On grading: I am at a private college which is supposed to be more strict on applying standards. I wrote on the bottom of a particular assignment that NO LATE PAPER would be accepted. Lo and behold, one is handed in to me late, and I tell the student I will not grade it. Student complains to administration, and because they need students to be happy in order to collect their money, I was literally FORCED to grade the assignment. So it is not just public schools that give in to various kinds of pressure. You may think that is too strict to not grade an assignment at all if it's late, but hey, if that is the standard then the students should be expected to follow it. Too often students and parents will be able to complain and make administrators buckle. So yes, I agree that part of the blame for the state of education today does rest with administrators.
On students not caring: Of course they aren't going to want to learn, they are young children who need to be FORCED to learn. That is what secondary education is all about. But I agree that teachers do have to fight a culture which tells kids to just hang out and watch MTV and screw their homework. It's been like that for years and it may be getting worse, I don't know. But as a teacher you just have to draw a line in the sand and "fight the good fight," if you will. That is just part of being a teacher today.
(edited by DMC on 21.11.02 1527) "Well I'm here to tell ya, that as you go out into the world you're gonna find, that you're not gonna amount to JACK...SQUAT!!!" -Matt Foley, motivational speaker
Speaking from experience in high school, I actually had teachers that seemed to care about their job, which was especially impressive, considering the school system currently sports the lowest paid teachers in the state (and among the lowest in the nation). Now, realizing this, I figure that I got a pretty good education - one of the best I could've gotten at public schools.
Now that I've reached college, I've read papers from other students that would've made me ashamed to write if I was in the 9th grade. DMC, you're unfortunately all too right, and I'm also clueless as to what can be done.
I can recall many a time in high school when the administration would step in with a "tough new policy" that "would be enforced", and we'd all just wait around a couple of weeks until they forgot about it, then go back to what we always did. It's pitiful, really.
To those few who do care about the system, I salute you. To those that don't, I'd rather have nothing at all - if I want a babysitter, I'll pay for one. I basically equate the teachers that don't teach and don't care to babysitters - after all, there's not much difference, only the ages of the kids. Neither really does much of anything except ensure that the child stays out of trouble. They don't do anything to prepare them for the real world.
*sigh* If I got into students not caring, I could be here for another hour.... another argument, another time...
Originally posted by Bizzle Izzle>When public schools are so busy with teaching political correctness and revisionist history and their "rainbow" agenda, how can they find the time to teach geography?.
Revisionist history like nice Senor Columbus discovering America and Native Americans having fun hanging out at Thanksgiving and what a nice man Woodrow "re-segregate my administration" Wilson was? That sure is quite a rainbow.
There are a lot of people who don't care in public schools, but I went to a great public school. I got into the college I wanted too, and I think I learned a lot too. It also helped that my high school lets people do half days there and half days at the local community college. But, there are big problems in public school too, and I agree about standardized testing. Those suck and don't teach anything.
DMC--Saw your post and couldn't agree more about the generally poor writing ability of college students. I have taught college courses (first at a public, junior college and now at a private university) for the past 7+ years and I think writing skills are getting worse. Basic grammar is often awful and spelling is simply horrendous. Many of the international students who have never lived in the U.S. before college demonstrate a superior grasp of formal, written English than some of my American students. However, the students' writing skills are not as bad as their math skills. I teach economics and any math beyond extremely basic algebra is usually met with blank stares (or, 'Can we use a calculator on the test?')
As far as the lack of support from the administration, you have my sympathy. That was a problem at the junior college but in my current position, the department head has made it clear that the professor's judgement is final and he will not intervene. Luckily, I have not had this tested (at least to my knowledge).
Well, judging from the comments here, I made the right decision. As a recent college graduate/first year elementary school teacher, I was starting to have a case of major self-doubt after a series of evaluations and tests from various people but looking at the "big picture" I'm glad I didn't choose to change my major to secondary ed.
A note to MoeGates, dead on brah. A PhD tells you jack shit about actually dealing with 20+ pre-teens for 8 hours. Even my classes didn't prepare me for it. Only doing it has actually gotten me used to it.
I'm really torn on the issue of standardized testing. As it stands now, it does suck. However, there has to be SOME method of making sure every student in public school has a similar knowledge base. If it were up to me, I'd change the format from multiple choice/true-false to short answer/essay. That would force actual learning of the material as opposed to being rewarded for guessing the right answer.
Two hours later they decided to stop at a diner Because they loved the smell of eggs and coffee I just had to smoke a cigarette and wear a hat By the time that they set off again, the sun was starting to set It made the sky look red like a nuclear ray One of them said "what do you want more than anything in this whole wide world Do you want money, do you want sex, or do you want all that success?" I thought about that one myself (Then they came upon the thing)
From, "The Church of Logic, Sin and Love" by The Men
Originally posted by CorajudoDMC--Saw your post and couldn't agree more about the generally poor writing ability of college students. I have taught college courses (first at a public, junior college and now at a private university) for the past 7+ years and I think writing skills are getting worse. Basic grammar is often awful and spelling is simply horrendous. Many of the international students who have never lived in the U.S. before college demonstrate a superior grasp of formal, written English than some of my American students. However, the students' writing skills are not as bad as their math skills. I teach economics and any math beyond extremely basic algebra is usually met with blank stares (or, 'Can we use a calculator on the test?'
I couldn't agree more. I taught at schools in two communities that had just lost or were in the process of losing a substantial number of factory jobs. At both schools, I had quite a few students who were returning to the classoom for the first time in years. In at least 3 cases, it was over 30 years. Without exception, everyone of my returning students had a better grasp of the English language than all but the most outstanding of the traditional students. Among those of us who taught comm and english classes at one of the schools, it was a running joke that we could predict how close we would be to the traditional bell curve at the end of the semester simply by looking at the number of returning students in class when course rosters were finalized. Generally, we were pretty accurate simply using that method. ESL students were a lot more different to predict because the standard for english proficiency that was allegedly required for admittance into courses apparently was if you could write your name in english, spelling optional, and say the alphabet, you were qualified. I had some ESL students who were great and I had some for whom grammar and spelling were abstract concepts.
As far as math skills, most of my students, who mostly claimed to be pre-business school, were incapable of even simple algebra. Given a rubric of how much each assignment was worth in points, the total points available in the course for the semester, the point value of each letter grade, and the fact that I was required to award final grades on a strict 90-80-70-60 scale with no pluses or minuses, I still found that the majority of my students were unable to calculate their grade for the semester or keep a running projection of where they were in order to decide if they should drop the class because it was going to negatively impact their GPA. Of course, most of them were also incapable of figuring their GPA, but that's a different story.
"Verhoeven's _Starship Troopers_: Based on the back cover of the book by Robert Heinlein."
It's a great day to be from Maryland. At noon, Bob Ehrlich takes office as governor, ending 34 years of Democratic rule and succeding the worst governor in the history of the planet. It is a glorious day; I think I'll do a dance.