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sarongsong
2005-Feb-27, 01:19 AM
February 27, 2005 (http://asia.news.yahoo.com/050227/ap/d88gh7do0.html)
"...America's high schools are obsolete," [Bill] Gates said. "By obsolete, I don't just mean that they're broken, flawed or underfunded...I mean our high schools---even when they're working as designed---cannot teach all our students what they need to know today..."
You go, Bill!

Candy
2005-Feb-27, 01:34 AM
Once in college, one in four students at four-year universities must take at least one remedial course to master what they should have learned in high school, government figures show.
Why do I think this is much higher? :-k

Gillianren
2005-Feb-27, 04:14 AM
since Bill Gates isn't an educator, he's not exactly the first person I'd ask to tell me about the state of American high schools.

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-27, 04:37 AM
Rule #1 of CLUE: distrust anything said by anyone who does not have a clue what they are talking about. If you follow the clueless, it follows that you are clueless! ;)

As for the state of our high schools... It's not the schools that are broken, it's the kids. The accelerated and AP classes seem fine to me at any rate... The college classes need a bit of fixing, I'd say, the homework needs to be tweaked (there should be less busy-work and more stuff that actually requires you to think)... And of course, stupidity on part of the teachers - not looking at homework assignments (or even not collecting them! :o ) before grading them, turning a blind eye to harassment, actual harassment and insults directed at students, etc. - should not be tolerated at all.

But the kids are the real problem... You see, a lot of them just aren't interested in learning, and can't seem to help but try to interfere with other peoples' learning as well. These dolts will goof off in class, shout insults in the hallways, and work all name of mischief in the cafeteria; some, if given the opportunity, will even become physically violent, often with no provocation at all. As long as this sort of crap is tolerated, our schools will be compromised.

W.F. Tomba
2005-Feb-27, 04:46 AM
Can we really make any meaningful statements about what's wrong with "America's schools"? There are some very good public schools in America and some very bad ones. There are urban schools, rural schools, and suburban schools. There are some schools where all the kids are white, some where all the kids are black, some where many of the kids don't speak English. The educational standards vary by the district. I think anybody who claims to be able to boil down "what's wrong with America's schools" into a one-sentence formula is blathering---even if he's the richest man in the world.

archman
2005-Feb-27, 05:19 AM
Once in college, one in four students at four-year universities must take at least one remedial course to master what they should have learned in high school, government figures show.

Ha ha, my best friend (a marine engineer and army lieutenant) falls under this category, albeit in a ridiculous way. Nobody could read his handwriting, so the state required him to take "remedial english". Turns out he'd used word processors since their inception, and had rarely used pen and ink. The state of Texas considered him "english-deficient".

Personally, I can't write in cursive. Fortunately I tested out of college english, so the "handwriting issue" never came up. Who knows, maybe I would have been in the "remedial group" too.

Candy
2005-Feb-27, 02:03 PM
I went to McCutcheon High School, a 'rural' H.S., in Tippecanoe County (Home of Purdue University). Harrison H.S. fell into this same category. You'd think the 'rural' schools would have leaned more toward a college prep high school based on their location.

They didn't. I was so bored in school, that I taught myself to write upside down and in cursive just to make the homework more challenging. My English teacher found it entertaining.

West Lafayette High School, Lafayette Jefferson, and Catholic Central prepped students for PSAT's and SAT's. I believe they even had courses where the credits would transfer to Purdue, and/or you could take college courses while still in H.S.

I can't blame the choice of school on my parents, because they didn't know any better. They went as far as graduating from a 'rural' H.S., too.

Oh well, I've caught up now. :D

Gillianren
2005-Feb-27, 10:40 PM
I think it varies from school to school even w/in districts. I went to the poor stepchild high school of my district. we were the only school w/out a music department--well, in good years, we had a jazz band. it was harder for students at my high school to get into college than students at any other school in the district. the year I graduated, three students took the AP English exam. true, the graduating class was only 120, but that's still pretty bad.

on the other hand, we had the only Academic Decathlon team in the district. sure, we never actually won, but that's because we were in LA County, and the teams that did win (we competed against roughly 70 other schools) didn't get to have lives. they did, generally, get a pretty decent shot at winning at the National level. we consistently had teams in Future Problem Solving that made it to states, and often individuals that made it to worlds. I was on the Odyssey of the Mind team that went to worlds.

why the difference? well, in short, Mrs. Nicholson. she coached all three of the abovementioned academic competitions. she was head of the social studies department. she taught world history and California history, and she wrote her own curriculum for both.

as long as there are teachers like Mrs. Nicholson, the schools will not be irrevocably broken. she even got the disruptive kids to learn, which seemed like an act of God at the time. but even she wouldn't have had those successes w/out students like, well, me, who were willing to go above and beyond mere school work in the pursuit of education.

not every teacher really wants to teach. not every student really wants to learn. but as long as the teachers who love teaching get to interact w/the students that love learning, the system helps somebody.

Ilya
2005-Feb-27, 11:02 PM
I read the original article, and I think you are being unfair to Bill Gates. All he was saying is that high school education is insufficient to succeed in the modern economy -- and he is right.

tlbs101
2005-Feb-27, 11:13 PM
What Mr. Gates really means is that there aren't enough kids in the US that are smart enough to continue to develop his software, into the future.

If he has to port writing code off-shore, then he risks losing control of it, and Microsoft, itself, would be in jeopardy.

Nicolas
2005-Feb-27, 11:29 PM
What Mr. Gates really means is that there aren't enough kids in the US that are smart enough to continue to develop his software, into the future.

If he has to port writing code off-shore, then he risks losing control of it, and Microsoft, itself, would be in jeopardy.

reference? :)

Couldn't it be that the man is just concerned about education?

8-[

Candy
2005-Feb-28, 12:24 AM
I read the original article, and I think you are being unfair to Bill Gates. All he was saying is that high school education is insufficient to succeed in the modern economy -- and he is right.
I think Bill Gates is right, too. 8)

Computers should be accessible to all students at the earliest stage possible, perhaps grade school.

Why not just do what my college does, and build the computer into the desk? The teacher has remote access, so they can monitor what the student is doing at any given time.

I often pop in my USB and take notes. Plus, we have a designated website for each class called IOptimize (eCollege). By accessing the website, I can download this weeks lecture notes, and then make additional notes.

IOptimize gives the student access to Webliography for library databases (free), Doc Sharing, Email addresses of other students, etc.

The computers have XP. The school provides each student with a package of software as part of their tuition. I think this should be free. We also have a huge computer lab. I wish the computer lab was 24/7 for the students that don’t have home PC’s.

I take advantage of these services; because this is the way my company works. I’ve only worked with computers for the past 7 years, and I am surprised at how far I have come with the technology. My family still has no clue about computers, and all the fascinating work that can be done like simple household budgeting or paying bills online.

I see students struggle with computers, because this is the first time they are exposed to its technology.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Feb-28, 08:07 AM
Once in college, one in four students at four-year universities must take at least one remedial course to master what they should have learned in high school, government figures show.

Ha ha, my best friend (a marine engineer and army lieutenant) falls under this category, albeit in a ridiculous way. Nobody could read his handwriting, so the state required him to take "remedial english". Turns out he'd used word processors since their inception, and had rarely used pen and ink. The state of Texas considered him "english-deficient".

Personally, I can't write in cursive. Fortunately I tested out of college english, so the "handwriting issue" never came up. Who knows, maybe I would have been in the "remedial group" too.
The new SAT, which debuts in March, has a 25 minutes writing session that has the student read a prompt, form an outline on scratch paper, and write a two page essay by hand. It's scored from 1 to 6 holistically by two graders, and the student's score is the sum of their two scores--unless they differ by more than 1 point, in which case a supergrader does another evaluation, and the student's score is twice the supergrader score.

archman
2005-Feb-28, 09:30 AM
Once in college, one in four students at four-year universities must take at least one remedial course to master what they should have learned in high school, government figures show.

Ha ha, my best friend (a marine engineer and army lieutenant) falls under this category, albeit in a ridiculous way. Nobody could read his handwriting, so the state required him to take "remedial english". Turns out he'd used word processors since their inception, and had rarely used pen and ink. The state of Texas considered him "english-deficient".

Personally, I can't write in cursive. Fortunately I tested out of college english, so the "handwriting issue" never came up. Who knows, maybe I would have been in the "remedial group" too.
The new SAT, which debuts in March, has a 25 minutes writing session that has the student read a prompt, form an outline on scratch paper, and write a two page essay by hand. It's scored from 1 to 6 holistically by two graders, and the student's score is the sum of their two scores--unless they differ by more than 1 point, in which case a supergrader does another evaluation, and the student's score is twice the supergrader score.

Yeah, my friend had to write his essay by hand too, as did I. But the grader couldn't read any of his work, so summarily flunked him and tossed him into remedial english. He later lobbied to type his essay out on a computer, and did just fine. But he still has a semester of remedial english on his college transcript.

So now I'm wondering what these SAT-grader's do when they can't read the handwriting of the test-takers. Fast-track 'em to med school perhaps? :D

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-28, 12:05 PM
What Mr. Gates really means is that there aren't enough kids in the US that are smart enough to continue to develop his software, into the future.

If he has to port writing code off-shore, then he risks losing control of it, and Microsoft, itself, would be in jeopardy.
Reading the article I'm not sure about that. I'll see if I can find the entire speech.

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-28, 12:11 PM
I checked the website for the Education Summit (http://www.2005summit.org/) along with the National Governors Association (www.nga.org) and the speech isn't available yet. I did find an additional quote from Gates' speech though:


"When I compare our high schools with what I see when I'm traveling abroad," he added, "I am terrified for our work force of tomorrow."

Looks like he's more concerned about the state of US education in general, not just in terms of computer science.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-28, 04:51 PM
Perhaps a link here. (The pre-internet type of link that is the joining of ideas, not a keystroke-saving device).

We are the only industrialized nation with a majority of the population still believing in Creation as the way humans entered the world. And more and more school districts are being pressured into allowing it to be taught as an alternative to Evolution; and giving in. With this as just an example, is there any real question about whether or not something is wrong with our system in general?

But answering to specifically what is the problem is much tougher. IMO, somewhere in the last 20 years or so the schools lost their balance. It used to be that schools were formally about academics first, and if behavioral problems arose, they would deal with them as needed. It now seems that the schools have been charged with the cultural-laden burden of teaching values, with academics taking a back seat. I resent their interfering in what I consider the role of the family, and with their relegation of academics to secondary status.

I tnink Gates is dead on, and am so glad to hear someone calling attention to it that I don't care what their motivation is. And before discounting him because he is not an educator; that's a big part of the problem. The "Educators" think they have some sort of monoploy on smarts. Between the momentum generated by their sheer size, and the tenure system, they are one of the biggest and most slow to change bureacracies in the world.

The Titanic was designed, built, and sailed by the best of the best. But it was also a disaster waiting to happen. That's how I feel about America's public schools.

The kids who are well-prepared can get a lot of good from it, though that is not guaranteed. And an expert educator can rescue kids that might have otherwise fallen by the wayside, but they can not save them all.

iFire
2005-Feb-28, 04:58 PM
*Looks around the class he is currently in* Its not the high schools that are obsolete, its the students. :-?

Doodler
2005-Feb-28, 05:05 PM
Once in college, one in four students at four-year universities must take at least one remedial course to master what they should have learned in high school, government figures show.

Ha ha, my best friend (a marine engineer and army lieutenant) falls under this category, albeit in a ridiculous way. Nobody could read his handwriting, so the state required him to take "remedial english". Turns out he'd used word processors since their inception, and had rarely used pen and ink. The state of Texas considered him "english-deficient".

Personally, I can't write in cursive. Fortunately I tested out of college english, so the "handwriting issue" never came up. Who knows, maybe I would have been in the "remedial group" too.


I deal with this myself. I have incredibly poor handwriting due to carpal tunnel syndrome and for several years didn't write more than my signature. Even now that the effects have mitigated enough that I can type comfortably, my hand hurts horribly after writing more than a handful of words on a permit application.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-28, 05:20 PM
I'm not ready to blame the students. Certainly they have become more difficult to keep on track, but they did not just wake up one morning and decide as a group - What the heck, let's all become a bit more cantankerous!

They learned something somewhere that has led them to believe their behavior is OK. Yes, they are individuals, but they are gaining exposure as a mass to things for which they are not ready. Personally, I think they get way too much exposure to way too many things before they have anything near the wisdom it takes to deal with the topic. The exposure usually is totally unrealistic and includes the attributes of hero worship, sensationalism, insensitivity, etc. Instead of being allowed to grow up and grow wise at a nice reasonable pace, they get mass murder, serial killings, serial rape, genocide, and everything else dumped in their lap way too soon.

A good example of the principle is what happens to many pro athletes. They do not have any point of reference, no compass whatsoever in how to deal with fame and fortune. Suddenly they have millions of dollars in their pocket and huge numbers of fans hanging on their every move. It's a wonder they don't all end up wacked out.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Feb-28, 05:45 PM
So now I'm wondering what these SAT-grader's do when they can't read the handwriting of the test-takers. Fast-track 'em to med school perhaps? :D
I think we'll hear a lot about it around March, early or late. :)

tlbs101
2005-Feb-28, 06:19 PM
What Mr. Gates really means is that there aren't enough kids in the US that are smart enough to continue to develop his software, into the future.

If he has to port writing code off-shore, then he risks losing control of it, and Microsoft, itself, would be in jeopardy.


reference?

Couldn't it be that the man is just concerned about education?



I was just being somewhat cynical.

While Bill's motives may be somewhat altruistic, I still have to believe he has Ol' Microsoft's best interest at heart more than the state of high schools in the US.

Even with that said, I agree with him to a certain point, but I think the solution is not a wholesale change in every HS. Instead we might consider adding alot more vocational-technical secondary schools to the system.

mythrealwriter
2005-Feb-28, 06:36 PM
I agree that high schools on a whole are obsolete, not only in that they can't educate America's teens adiquitely but they cannot properly prepare them for what the real word is like. Highschools are now functioning like social warehouses. The kids aren't there to learn, they're there to socialize and keep out of their parents and elders way. Its babysitting on taxpayers money. I was homeschooled and am better off for it. These days Highschool is now a social gathering five days a week where teens can get dressed up, bicker and pick on those less able to defend themselves and cope with social situations. Personally, I think Highschools are going to either go the way of the Dodo or get worse.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-28, 06:39 PM
Very good point. More applicable knowledge for those that only want that. We seem to think everyone must go to college, with the result that a lot of kids go with no real design or intention. I think this corrupted system of watered down degrees stems from an overly literal interpretation of all men are created equal.

England has 2 universities, and it really, really means something to go there. We have hundreds, with most being places the average person can coast thru if they so desire.

A viable alternative would be technical and vocational training. Though they have a tendency to become full of themselves too. The local county Vo-Tech by us has recently been renamed a Community College. It's just a matter of time before they offer some watered down liberal science curriculum and hang out the University shingle.

ngc3314
2005-Feb-28, 06:44 PM
England has 2 universities, and it really, really means something to go there.


????? So the others would be like Durham Community College, Sussex State Technical Institute, Leicester Vocational School, Imperial High School of Science and Technology, and Non-University College London?

Also, one shouldn't estimate the power of competition for employment. If most candidates have college degrees, you'll eventually figure you need one (whether you "actually" did or not).

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-28, 06:49 PM
Don't know what they are called. I spent a school year there in the early 80's and was amazed to find they had just the 2 universities, and that it was quite a process to get in them. I met and became friends with an elementary school teacher and he filled me in on the different levels (I think they were called that) and everything, but I've forgotten.

I notice a lot of posters from the UK. Any help on describing the system?

Gillianren
2005-Mar-01, 12:00 AM
I went to Deukmajian-era public schools in California as a child. you know, the schools that couldn't afford pencils? the ones that couldn't afford new textbooks? in point of fact, the California history textbook the district expected us to use in high school didn't, as I recall, know how the Korean War ended, and I took California history in 1992. how were we supposed to have computers in every classroom?

computers are not a solution. yes, it's important to be computer literate, but it's far more important to be just plain old literate. putting a computer in every desk will not instantly make students more educated.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Mar-01, 02:53 PM
Huzzah to that Gillianren.

Too much reliance on technology only serves to exist in the world without really experiencing it. I know it sounds old school, but people should really learn how to do things without all the technological assistance before they do it with all the latest cutting-edge tools. It imparts historical context (a form of wisdom).

Candy
2005-Mar-01, 02:59 PM
Huzzah to that Gillianren.

Too much reliance on technology only serves to exist in the world without really experiencing it. I know it sounds old school, but people should really learn how to do things without all the technological assistance before they do it with all the latest cutting-edge tools. It imparts historical context (a form of wisdom).
Like milking the cows or churning butter? :wink:

Gillianren
2005-Mar-01, 06:07 PM
all the higher math I learned, I learned on a calculator. since I don't have a TI-82 anymore, I can't do that math.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Mar-01, 06:16 PM
Sure, milking cows and churning butter are great examples. Planting a small garden is perfect. Learning to write might sound like a rather cynical example, but if it is going to go down the same path as arithmetic; we are probably already on the way - based on the trends in test scores.

In college, even though we had access to all the latest CAD stuff, the first class in cartography involved making maps the old-fashioned way - with pen, ink, pencil, paper, mylar, transfers, etc. (I didn't say you had to go all the way back to the Dark Ages, just far enough to know what led to where you are and what is behind the technology that makes our lives so easy).

Sam5
2005-Mar-01, 06:19 PM
computers are not a solution. yes, it's important to be computer literate, but it's far more important to be just plain old literate. putting a computer in every desk will not instantly make students more educated.

I agree with that. What teachers do in New Mexico is use computers to “teach”, and the teachers then goof off during the class. Kids are supposed to get the info off a computer disk, while the teacher plays on her computer, probably posting messages on internet message boards while the kids try to figure out how to use the disk.

Many teachers expect the kids to have computers at home, since when they do their homework, they have no textbook. They are supposed to get the answers to the questions off the internet. Consequently, since I have the one computer nearest to a house where a 13 year old lives, so I’m now back in the 6th grade helping the kid look up answers to his homework questions.

This is not a teaching system, this is a welfare system whereby out of work women are given “jobs” and are called “teachers”, while the computers and the disk programs, and neighbors like me, are supposed to do the actual educating of the kids.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-Apr-02, 04:18 PM
It takes a village [bad word deleted] to raise a child

Candy
2005-Apr-02, 06:36 PM
It takes a village [bad word deleted] to raise a child :o

frogesque
2005-Apr-02, 07:47 PM
farmerjumperdon wrote:


...
England has 2 universities, and it really, really means something to go there. We have hundreds, with most being places the average person can coast thru if they so desire.
...

:o Hrumph! ....

Site map: UK Universities & HE Colleges (http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/ukinfo/uk.map.html)

And no coasting allowed. :lol:

The real role of primary (4-11 year olds) and secondary schools (12-16 year olds) with higher courses thereafter are to teach children and young adults how to think, learn and cope with the world around them. Commuication is all important. If children only learn point and click skills coupled with dummed down syntax of texting how will they ever be able to analyse abstract concepts in art and science? Perhaps it is not so relevent these days to be able to write perfectly formed cursive script with a dip pen and scratch nib but it is necessary to be able to comunicate, both orally and in writting, with words and ideas that are carefully chosen for their meaning.

I think one thing kids have to get straight is this: we are not all equal! Work ethic starts young, both in the home and in the school. Excellence has to be fought for and is hard won whatever the level of intelligence or aptitude. There is no easy route regardless of background and if the West doesn't wake up to that then we will be swept backwards to third rate also-rans by developing countries that have dragged themselves from poverty and inequality to surpass us.

America has no more right to remain technical masters of the world in the 21st. century than Great Britain had at the end of the 19th. century.

Here endeth the lesson. [-(

Candy
2005-Apr-02, 08:10 PM
I think one thing kids have to get straight is this: we are not all equal! Work ethic starts young, both in the home and in the school. Excellence has to be fought for and is hard won whatever the level of intelligence or aptitude. There is no easy route regardless of background and if the West doesn't wake up to that then we will be swept backwards to third rate also-rans by developing countries that have dragged themselves from poverty and inequality to surpass us.
I agree 100%. I wasn't raised that way, but I eventually learned that in order to get ahead in life, I'd have to adapt myself to working very hard. I'm one of those rare exceptions that had great teachers to show me the way. Great teachers that took me aside and actually worked with me. They didn't have to do this, but they did. I learned more from school than from family. This strikes me as being backwards for some reason.

Izunya
2005-Apr-03, 06:18 AM
This is not a teaching system, this is a welfare system whereby out of work women are given “jobs” and are called “teachers”, while the computers and the disk programs, and neighbors like me, are supposed to do the actual educating of the kids.

I'm afraid I have a few problems with that statement. Fairly serious problems, in fact.

First of all, not all teachers are women, so that generalization is wrong.

Second, I can't help but be absolutely furious at the way you put quotes around "job." I am a teacher. It is work. I am sick of the snide remarks about June, July, and August. I am enraged enough to cry every time I hear that vicious little gem about "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." I've stopped getting my local newspaper--can't afford it anymore--but I used to dread Letters to the Editor that even mentioned education. I have read the local screeds that say a teacher's license is just glorified welfare, that teaching is a profession for those women too stupid or unpleasant to fit into any other workplace. I have been told to my face that because I actually like middle schoolers, and think teenagers are interesting people, I am plainly incapable of relating to mature individuals--I have been told that I must be in the field because I am too incompetent or lazy to get a real job, one that I can make money at--and you know what? I am tired of it.

Now, I did have a computer for work, it's true. (It died recently because I put screen savers on it--but that's a whole other meltdown. :evil: ) But I didn't have it to play games on, I had it to write IEPs. The situation you describe, with the computer and the incompetent teacher, is shocking--and not all of us are like that. For one thing, that's clearly a school system with the budget to stock each classroom with computers. Many counties in this country aren't like that. I don't have a classroom; I use cafeterias, auditoriums, the counsellor's office, wherever I can set up shop. I carry my materials with me, or drag them in a cart behind me, so that they won't disappear. People want to know what the problem is with the schools in this country? Well, let me tell you, every school system in America has its own unique little knot of disfunctional politics, policies, backstabbing over budget or great gobs of money that get applied in the stupidest of places, standardized testing being designed or applied by brain-damaged Australeopithicans--there is no "the problem with schools in this country." There's lots. And it all depends on where you are.

And none of the problems--none of them--can be solved by saying that teachers are welfare queens, or the rejects too lazy or stupid to make it elsewhere, or what-have-you. It's not true. It may be true of certain teachers, in certain places, but it's a bad generalization. I do not think it is helpful. I'm afraid it may be harmful. And I am absolutely certain that it's unfair.

Izunya

frogesque
2005-Apr-03, 07:57 AM
...

And none of the problems--none of them--can be solved by saying that teachers are welfare queens, or the rejects too lazy or stupid to make it elsewhere, or what-have-you. It's not true. It may be true of certain teachers, in certain places, but it's a bad generalization. I do not think it is helpful. I'm afraid it may be harmful. And I am absolutely certain that it's unfair.

Izunya

Spoken from the heart and shot from the hip! =D> =D> =D>

Fram
2005-Apr-04, 10:30 AM
Izunya, never mind Sam5. He's very good at false generalizations and insulting remarks. Check out some of the other threads he has posted on (the Imax one for example) and you'll see a pattern emerge. Basic rule is, when you're insulted by Sam5, you're probably doing allright.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-05, 08:12 PM
Izunya, ditto on what fram said. I am all over the fact that there are problems endemic to the system, but one of them is not the teachers. If anything, teachers are holding it together despite all the problems.

I do volunteer work about 20 to 30 hours per year with teens. I find them to be very interesting if you are "real" to them. Lecture them in a childish manner and of course they shut you out; relate to them in a meaningful way and they eat it up.

Kudos to you for spending your life in such an honorable way. I often say there are 3 levels of any activity:

1 - Learning
2 - Doing
3 - Teaching

To teach something is the pinnacle of any activity.

Sam5
2005-Apr-05, 09:35 PM
I'm afraid I have a few problems with that statement. Fairly serious problems, in fact.

First of all, not all teachers are women, so that generalization is wrong.

Hi. I was speaking specifically about a New Mexico school system with which I’m familiar, which I made clear and specific in my posts above. I wasn’t talking about all schools. The word “This” that you quoted referred to “this” specific system where quite a lot of the local teachers let their classroom computers do the “teaching”. Kids often go home at night with no textbooks because their only “textbook” is their school computer, and they have no computer at home.

I was speaking specifically about some of the schools out here. I don’t know anything about the schools in Tennessee. You sound like a very good teacher. I wish you would come out here and teach.

Tensor
2005-Apr-05, 09:39 PM
Basic rule is, when you're insulted by Sam5, you're probably doing allright.


:D

Sam5
2005-Apr-05, 09:44 PM
It may be true of certain teachers, in certain places, but it's a bad generalization.

It wasn’t a “generalization”. Go back and read my post. I was speaking about out here. I was responding to Gillianren’s statement about computers in classrooms. I’ve had specific personal experience with this, out here. I specifically mentioned New Mexico. My neighbors often come to me so I can look something up for their kid on the internet, because he has no textbook, because his “textbook” is on a computer disk at the school. So when the kid has to do homework, and he has no textbook, I help him by looking stuff up on the internet for him.

Regarding the “welfare” remark, the kid’s parents received a formal letter from the school, saying that such and such a teacher was “unqualified” to be a teacher, and the letter had to go out to the parents because of some federal “No Child Left Behind” law. So, did they fire the teacher? No, she legally changed her name and told her students to start calling her by the new name. This way her new name was not on the form letter the school sent out.

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-05, 10:48 PM
There is a problem with the public schools right now. And it's not the lack of money, as some seem to think. It's the way the money is used and who the teachers and administrators focuses their attention to. I don't have the statistics to back it up, but I'm pretty sure the USA spends more money on education than the average nation.

The problem is that public schools don't understand that education does not come through a good educational system. It comes from a realization that either learning is necessary or that it is fun and exciting.

Lets say a student is getting F's in every subject but doesn't care. He/she thinks that school is worthless and that education isn't necessary to succeed. Strictly speaking, this is true (people can succeed with minimal education), but in modern society, education obviously increases the likelihood of success. When they realize that a good education is beneficial and that their chances of success are higher with one, they may try harder in school. Until they find out, its pointless trying to push them when their heart is not in it. It is a complete waste of resources.

I don't think there's anything really wrong. There have always been only a small percentage of people who are interested in learning, and it's probably always going to stay like that.

Overall, I don't even agree with the fact that qualifications should be based on educational level. I think the ability to work with people, skills in logical and problem solving, and common sense are much more important qualities.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-05, 11:07 PM
Brady, don't you see the cost of an uneducated, or under-educated, population? Look at what it costs our society to help care for those that don't care for themselves. I do not have studies in front of me, but I would give you whatever odds you want that there is a positive correlation between education level and subsidized housing, education level and WIK benefits, education level and medicaid (under 65), and so on and so forth. The very idea that there are people who think they "don't need no education" is a problem. If not for themselves, then for the people that will be carrying their load the rest of their lives.

In a truly free society I would agree that people could drop out when they want from what they want - as long as they committed to not be a burden to others. A compassionate society does not let that happen of course; so instead we have things like mandatory education. Imagine what a mess we'd have if we told all kids they could drop out at will, as long as they just sign this form committing to never utilizing any form of welfare.

Kids do not have the exposure, experience, or wisdom to understand the consequences of dropping out of school or society. That's not a putdown, it's just the state of being for a human in the juvenille stages of their life.

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-05, 11:15 PM
Brady, don't you see the cost of an uneducated, or under-educated, population? Look at what it costs our society to help care for those that don't care for themselves. I do not have studies in front of me, but I would give you whatever odds you want that there is a positive correlation between education level and subsidized housing, education level and WIK benefits, education level and medicaid (under 65), and so on and so forth. The very idea that there are people who think they "don't need no education" is a problem. If not for themselves, then for the people that will be carrying their load the rest of their lives.

In a truly free society I would agree that people could drop out when they want from what they want - as long as they committed to not be a burden to others. A compassionate society does not let that happen of course; so instead we have things like mandatory education. Imagine what a mess we'd have if we told all kids they could drop out at will, as long as they just sign this form committing to never utilizing any form of welfare.

Kids do not have the exposure, experience, or wisdom to understand the consequences of dropping out of school or society. That's not a putdown, it's just the state of being for a human in the juvenille stages of their life.

Why is education even necessary for some jobs? Professional jobs I understand, but simple jobs like construction or cleaning don't need that much education, yet are extremely important to the continuation of society.

I'm definitely not elitist, but I think it's silly to spend money for people who think learning is useless. Being on welfare for life is another matter altogether...

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-05, 11:46 PM
I think you miss my main point. That is that kids of high school age or younger do not have the wisdom or experience necessary to make an informed decision to end their education. Heck, I'd guess half the college sophomores still aren't really sure of what they want to do for a livelihood. And how many people get a degree and still end up changing gears? My point is that it is totally irresponsible for a family or the community to allow a 14 year old to opt out of getting educated.

My secondary point is that I think it takes more education than you are assuming to become a socially functioning citizen. The ability to contribute to society rather than be a burden to those that do (IMO) requires more than an 8th grade education. If it did not, then why are drop-outs so disproportionately represented in the rolls of people that can not support themselves, much less contribute to society.

I'm open to the possibility that those 2 things (lack of education and lack of financial independence) could be the coexisting manifestations of some deeper problem; but for now my opinion is that the former causes the later.

Andromeda321
2005-Apr-06, 01:02 AM
I think you miss my main point. That is that kids of high school age or younger do not have the wisdom or experience necessary to make an informed decision to end their education. Heck, I'd guess half the college sophomores still aren't really sure of what they want to do for a livelihood. And how many people get a degree and still end up changing gears? My point is that it is totally irresponsible for a family or the community to allow a 14 year old to opt out of getting educated.
I find this interesting because in many parts of the world this is the age where a kid decides to go to, essentially, a trade high school or a college preperatory high school. Wonder what would happen if we had a serious shift like that here, but all told I doubt it would make that much a difference. Most kids in the US think they're going to college for a very long time, and there are a lot who go to college who probably shouldn't, even.

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-06, 01:08 AM
I think I went too far... farmerjumperdon, you have a good point. Kids don't always know what's good for them.

Whenever I try to make my point, someone always has a rebuttal that makes me disagree with what I said.

:x

But I still don't agree with how education is merely a tool for getting a job. We tend to only measure a person's qualifications by their education level. Education is becoming nothing more than a mean to an end, for example, learning chemistry when it will never be used.

If education was valued for its own sake, that would make sense, but today, education is only to determine who gets the job and who doesn't.

I don't agree with that, but there's nothing to do besides go with the flow.

Izunya
2005-Apr-06, 04:43 AM
It may be true of certain teachers, in certain places, but it's a bad generalization.

It wasn’t a “generalization”. Go back and read my post. I was speaking about out here. I was responding to Gillianren’s statement about computers in classrooms. I’ve had specific personal experience with this, out here. I specifically mentioned New Mexico. My neighbors often come to me so I can look something up for their kid on the internet, because he has no textbook, because his “textbook” is on a computer disk at the school. So when the kid has to do homework, and he has no textbook, I help him by looking stuff up on the internet for him.

Regarding the “welfare” remark, the kid’s parents received a formal letter from the school, saying that such and such a teacher was “unqualified” to be a teacher, and the letter had to go out to the parents because of some federal “No Child Left Behind” law. So, did they fire the teacher? No, she legally changed her name and told her students to start calling her by the new name. This way her new name was not on the form letter the school sent out.

Well, this whole subject is a little bit of a sore spot for me--can you tell? I apologize if I ranted at you for any opinion that you don't hold. I happen to agree with the main idea of your post: that the best technology in the world won't promote learning if it is used in stupid ways.

I will point out that your observations probably don't even apply to all of New Mexico; in my experience, school systems vary vastly from county to county. Schools within a county often vary a great deal as well. In Tennessee, the divides are, I think, even larger than elsewhere, because we have no state income tax. The school system where I work feels like an entirely different universe than Oak Ridge High School, which I graduated from. (For those of you out west, who don't know from Oak Ridge, it's basically Los Alamos with trees. :) ) These days, I work in a rural, low-income county--and the differences from my own upbringing sometimes stagger me.

No Child Left Behind--is a bit of a stickier issue. So is qualification. I can tell you that as it stands today, becoming "highly qualified" is a mess. My mother, also a teacher, was told that she could not become highly qualified without repeating her Masters degree, because it was too far in the past or some such. This was despite the fact that she recently picked up an Ed.S., which is one step shy of a doctorate. Your high school CDC teacher, or Extended Resource or whatever they call it in your area, is in even worse shape. They have to be highly qualified in all four core areas, despite the fact that their curriculum is primarily focused on basic living skills. The sad fact is that very, very few schools have a staff formally and officially qualified in everything they teach; if my school system slipped below that magic testing number, some of my schools would have to send out letters about me. (Yes, I'm a county-wide teacher, serving five schools at once. Yes, gas prices are killing me.)

As for No Child Left Behind, I'm not sure how much I should say about it, since politics are forbidden on this board. I do not feel that it is a well-written law in some places. Once again, the Extended Resource people get shafted; there are no more provisions for testing a student on his or her developmental age rather than his/her physical age. And there are other points, some of them only applying to very specific needs, but all of them adding up.

So, yes, the teacher's conduct was fishy. But (especially without seeing exactly what the letter said), I can't tell whether "unqualified" actually means anything. If this is the same teacher who was attempting to "teach" by computer, then yes, I would say she's unqualified--but not because of what the beauracracy says. I would say she's unqualified because she doesn't understand what teaching means and why learning happens (or doesn't).

Izunya

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-06, 01:06 PM
Right on Brady. Education is not a tool to get a job, it is a tool for life. Effective people are always open to learning, and it does not matter what they do for a living, how old they are, or how much money they have. It is one of the things that attracted me to this board - people open learning.

I'm always amazed at the high level of frequency in which people judge a person first by what they do as a means of livelihood. The standard "What do you do?" Then you get to watch how what you tell them, and how you tell them, sets into motion all kinds of behaviors.

I was as proud of how well I washed dishes, delivered pizzas, and shoveled dung as I am about the way I . . .

That would be telling. :)

Gmann
2005-Apr-06, 02:20 PM
Lessons learned in High School, whether they seem useless at the time, may come in handy later. I built a fence in my yard a few years ago. I needed to have a 90 deg. angle at one point. Since I was laying it out with string, and stakes, a carpenters square would not work. Enter 10th grade Geometry class, A^2 + B^2 = C^2. Set the first leg of the fence with string, wrap it around a stake at the location of the pole that will serve as the corner. Run the string out along a line at what looks like a 90 deg, angle. Measure 3 feet from the center of the stake down the first leg of the fence and make a mark. Measure 4 feet down the other leg and make a mark. Adjust the second leg foreward or backward until the marks on both legs are exactly 5 feet apart.

A^2 + B^2 = C^2
3^2 + 4^2 = 5^2
9 +16 = 25
25 = 25

That process will give you a 90 deg. angle every time. Another example would be falling for some woo^2 idea because it sounds good. A well balanced education is priceless, regardless of which career path you choose.

Sam5
2005-Apr-06, 10:19 PM
Well, this whole subject is a little bit of a sore spot for me--can you tell?
Izunya
Hi. No problem at all. I want to study your posts some more and I’ll get back to you later. In the meantime I would like to know what you think could be done to educate the “low end” students, the ones who need to get good jobs when they get out of school, but they are the ones who can’t keep up with all the kids who will eventually become our doctors and lawyers. Frankly, I would like to see my auto mechanic and roofer and plumber as well educated in their fields as the doctors and lawyers are.

Oak Ridge? Isn’t that where the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is located? Hm, we have something in common. I live not far from Los Alamos, and a lot of my old science books came from the libraries of old and retired Los Alamos scientists. Albuquerque has a lot of used book stores and a lot of used science books because of Los Alamos.

Thanks for the information about the NCLBehind law and the requirement of re-doing a masters degree to become “qualified”. I wonder what kind of government person in DC sets around thinking up this kind of stuff?

dgruss23
2005-Apr-07, 01:58 AM
Well, this whole subject is a little bit of a sore spot for me--can you tell?
Izunya
Hi. No problem at all. I want to study your posts some more and I’ll get back to you later. In the meantime I would like to know what you think could be done to educate the “low end” students, the ones who need to get good jobs when they get out of school, but they are the ones who can’t keep up with all the kids who will eventually become our doctors and lawyers. Frankly, I would like to see my auto mechanic and roofer and plumber as well educated in their fields as the doctors and lawyers are.

One important thing that must be done is to eliminate the one size fits all thinking among educational "theorists". Its a nice theory to think that everyone can be put in the classroom and reach the same achievement level. Reality is quite different. Its more feasible to meet the needs of students if the students are grouped by ability. This an area of significant debate in education. There has been a major anti-tracking movement the last few decades.

Tracking is not without its flaws and if not carefully thought out can hold back lower ability students. However the solution is not the latest education buzz-word - "differentiated instruction". The idea is that students of all ability levels from gifted to those that need remedial help are put in the same classroom. Then the teacher is supposed to make individualized lessons for each student - or for students with similar ability levels. In other words - tracking - but now inside the same classroom rather than by grouping students by ability level into separate classrooms.

What the differentiated instruction crowd fails to recognize is that if you put students of all abilities into a single classroom, then the range of ability becomes too great to productively meet the needs of any of the ability levels as well as should be done.

But that's ok - the educational theorist has another answer. The highest ability students can help teach the lower ability students. Isn't that great. :evil: Rather than challenge the limits of their abilities by putting them in a separate higher level, faster paced, more in-depth course - we'll use their abilities so that we can "differentiate" instruction.

And the word "use" is exactly what it is. Education is a field where development of "theory" should be banned because all these new pet theories are simply recycled older education theories that didn't work, were forgotten, and now are being re-invented to find out yet again that they don't work.

It drives me nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (in case you hadn't figured that out). :)

Sam5
2005-Apr-07, 02:11 AM
It drives me nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (in case you hadn't figured that out). :)


Yep, me too. I think we need at least two separate levels of schooling, one for the A and B students, and another for all the rest. All the rest will become a lot of people we buy goods and services from, such as small store owners, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, oil field workers, power plant workers, miners, and a whole lot of people. In fact, I think maybe the majority of people whose goods and services we use.

I think we should have regular classes for the A and B students, as we have now, and then slower-paced classes for all the rest. No “English Literature” for all the rest. No “Shakespeare” or “Longfellow” forced upon the auto mechanics, welders, and roofers. 12 years of simple basic math for them. 12 years of learning how to open checking and savings accounts, how to buy cars and houses at the best prices, how to not get cheated in life by all the A and B students. Etc., etc.

The schools today are set up like ALL the students are going to be top doctors, lawyers, and scientists, and the C, D, and F students just can’t keep up with all that stuff. The best thing I learned in 12 years of school, for my own professional career, was typing and a little English. The Shakespeare in Junior High and High School did nothing to advance my career or my income.

Izunya
2005-Apr-07, 04:07 AM
It drives me nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (in case you hadn't figured that out). :)


Yep, me too. I think we need at least two separate levels of schooling, one for the A and B students, and another for all the rest. All the rest will become a lot of people we buy goods and services from, such as small store owners, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, oil field workers, power plant workers, miners, and a whole lot of people. In fact, I think maybe the majority of people whose goods and services we use.

I think we should have regular classes for the A and B students, as we have now, and then slower-paced classes for all the rest. No “English Literature” for all the rest. No “Shakespeare” or “Longfellow” forced upon the auto mechanics, welders, and roofers. 12 years of simple basic math for them. 12 years of learning how to open checking and savings accounts, how to buy cars and houses at the best prices, how to not get cheated in life by all the A and B students. Etc., etc.

While I'm all in favor of technical education, I think that tracking/leveling/whatever the buzzword is should be applied with care, and with adequate resources for a student who wants or needs to switch tracks. Kids have bad grading periods, or bad years, and fall behind for a number of reasons. Not to mention the teachers who grade down the gifted kids because they cause trouble--because they're bored. (This is a real pet peeve of mine.)

As for the question you asked about "low-end" students--it's complicated, and I may not be the best person to go into it. I'm a special ed teacher, but I don't actually work with that population; I work with the gifted and with high-functioning students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. (And although I have different programs for the different groups, you'd be surprised at the things they have in common. Unholy screaming perfectionism, for starters. :) )

But I have worked on the other end of things, so here are some thoughts on the matter, worth roughly what you payed for them . . .

There are at least four different kinds of students who will not prosper in your typical college-bound track, as I see it. First is the student who knows her own mind perfectly well, and knows she wants to run the family restaurant. (Note: I'm going to switch pronouns at random, here, because it's easier than he-or-she all the time.) This student will usually prosper in school if they have a technical track that meets her interests. If the school is too small, they should design some kind of job-training internship so that she can shadow various professionals, and find out, for example, exactly what a health inspector is for and why it's important. There is some of this out there now. I think there should be far more.

Second--these are in no particular order, by the way--and a bit different, are your students with learning disabilities, health impairments, autism, etc. Note that these guys have normal intelligence, and can even be very bright, but there is something in their life that impairs them and requires work-arounds. This is what puts the "special" in special ed; you usually have to sort out these issues on a one-to-one basis.

The important thing for these students, at least in terms of career planning, is to play to their strengths. I had a student once who repaired his cousins' four-wheelers for kicks (often after disassembling them to see the look on said cousins' faces). If it had an internal combustion engine, he got along with it. Now, since his reading, writing, and arithmetic were close to nonexistent, he will probably never own his own business. But whoever gets him as a mechanic will thank their chosen deities with tears of joy. And his high school programming should reflect that. Get enough math into him so that he understands his checkbook, even if he has to use a calculator to add it up. Make sure he can read enough to get his driver's license. And then set him loose on the cars.

The problem with this, at least as far as the schools are concerned, are two. First, the minimum requirement is sometimes, quite honestly, set higher than these kids can manage. (NCLB and its standardized test mania hasn't helped, I'm afraid. Ask me to rant on the Gateway test sometime, if you have an old computer and you want to watch it catch on fire.) Second, special ed students often go through a lengthy period of failure, self-doubt and self-hatred, which they tend to resolve (quite reasonably, IMO) by deciding that school is so much gastrointestinal byproducts. Back when I worked in the Resource classroom, I had to outright ban the phrase, "I can't do that, I'm a retard," along with any words like stupid, dumb, retarded, idiot, etc.

(Also testes. The Appalachian dialect is such that some students assume that the plural of test is . . . well, you get the idea. I spoke to them about it as tactfully as I could, and I did get through, in a way. By the end of the year, whenever anyone asked that question, there was one boy who would always explain, in his best foghorn-like tones, "No, that ain't right. Them's your private parts." Anyhow . . .)

I believe that one thing the school can do for these students is identify them at a younger age. I've known some students who were reading on a second grade level, by the Woodcock Johnson at least, when they got into sixth grade. And yes, I do believe that they should be leveled--to some extent--in order to give them the help they need. I do not think they neccesarily need to be shunted toward the technical path. A couple of my autistic boys, in particular, are very good academically--once they figure out what the teacher actually wants from them--and are on a college track. Without fear of giving away any confidential information, I can tell you that one of them plans to move to California and work in the computer industry, where he will quite likely discover a lot of people like himself.

The third group of students is one I've never had that much connection with, being on a modified rather than comprehensive license; it's also where the push for total inclusion comes from. These are the students who end up in CDC (comprehensive development classroom). These are the MR, low-functioning autistic, and multihandicapped kids.

With these students, again, it is neccesary to play to their strengths. It is also neccesary to figure out exactly what those strengths are, and adjust expectations accordingly. A proper CDC program teaches self-care (extremely important) household skills, basic job skills, money counting and reading if possible, and social skills. The last one is often under-addressed, and it is the reason for the total inclusion movement in this country. The thing is, these students often learn inappropriate social behaviors from eachother. If you have an autistic boy who has regular screaming spitting meltdowns, and a retarded girl who takes it all in like a sponge, you will shortly have a hhhuuuuggeee problem on your hands. Parents, especially, wanted their children interacting with the rest of society, learning appropriate conduct from those outside their little world, and teaching young people that they oughtn't be afraid or disgusted by people who are different than they are--even considerably different.

This is an excellent goal, but the place for it is not math class. Add to this the fact that CDC programs are sometimes run as glorified babysitting services, as behavior management classes (which they are not) and that they have a hard time finding qualified teachers, due to some of the qualification problems--mix in the trouble of getting a good aide (and CDC needs a good aide) when they get paid like WalMart greeters . . . and you have a big, big problem.

The fourth catagory of students is kids from poverty, or equally rotten situations. The problem here is that all the other problems in their life completely overshadow school. I had a student at one point who came to school every day in the same camo jacket, wife-beater T-shirt, and cargo pants, which were technically not allowed by the dress code. I let it slide, because I knew something of his situation. I eventually had to give him the deoderant talk (when you teach sixth grade, you will eventually end up doing the deoderant talk) as his T-shirt went from dirty to grimy to funky to an independent life-form. Turned out, his family had recently become homeless and he was sleeping in a cousin's car port. Everything he owned was in those cargo pants. It wasn't Resource policy to assign homework, but in this case I knew for sure it would never get done--I mean, if you were an eleven-year-old coping with that kind of stuff, would you care about math?

This is a problem that bugs me, but I honestly don't know what to do about it. Except to be there for my students, and be honest with them, and try to understand. Ultimately, you know, I'm not a policy maker and I don't have a plan to change the world, or even improve America. I'm a teacher. That means I'm sometimes a therapist or a surrogate mother or a drill sergeant, but ultimately it means that I try to improve things on a very small level. One student and one lesson at a time.

Izunya

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-07, 01:09 PM
You have done an excellent job of pointing out some real dilemmas Izunya. I do not teach, but have coached several kids sports as well as done volunteer work in the classroom - both with mainstream (normal) kids and troubled teens - for several years.

I acknowledge that the typical path doesn't work for all, but my observation is that it does work for most. There is a need for specialized instruction, but wholesale grouping of the A and B students seems drastic. I think it would create a false division that doesn't exist as such a nice neat line. At what age would you start segregating? By what criteria?

Just because a kid does not get A's and B's do they get shuttled off to the educational siding where they only need to learn to balance a checkbook? I would have been on the border for being a candidate for the technical track - which is crazy considering the changes I went through during middle school, high school, and especially college.

Which brings me to my last point (a reiteration of earlier comments): Other than relatively few cases, there is no way to tell where the majority of kids will end up. They don't know, theri teachers don't know, and their parents don't know. I know honor students that never got past working in the drive-thru and I know cast-offs that blossomed into true leaders. Kids change. Putting them on a siding at an early age is the equivalent of giving up.

Special instruction for the few that have real learning disabilities is OK, but for most it is the mixing with people not like them that adds real value, regardless of what academic subject is on the blackboard at any given moment. They need to be able to function socially and vocationally with all kinds of people. They need to be able to accomplish things outside of their social and financial strata. Applying a different standard to anything but truly learning disabled kids is narrowing their options for the future at way too early of an age.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting something, but stratification of kids that get C's (like me) would seem to be downright elitist.

Sam5
2005-Apr-07, 03:19 PM
The important thing for these students, at least in terms of career planning, is to play to their strengths. I had a student once who repaired his cousins' four-wheelers for kicks (often after disassembling them to see the look on said cousins' faces...

Izunya


I agree.

My belief is that there are plenty of these types of kids. As it stands now, they are taught higher math levels in higher grades, and they remain perpetually behind. I think they should be in slower math classes and during the course of 12 years they should be able to learn how to do basic math, especially with a calculator. No need to advance them to algebra if they never learned how to do basic math.

I don’t see these kids as having a “disability”. I see them as having “abilities” that are not along the lines of becoming doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, or scientists.

For example, out where I live there are a lot of Indians (Native Americans) who have artistic talents and a lot of the adults make a living making jewelry. Their schools went through the basic math so fast and then went on to the high math, these people never learned the basic math. Instead of the schools teaching them biology, physics, and chemistry, algebra, trig, and fraction multiplication, I think they should have taught them more along the lines of “vocational” training. Basic English for 12 years, basic math for 12 years, and a little about business. I think by the 3rd or 4th grade the teachers can tell which kids will NOT become the doctors, lawyers, and scientists. So there is no need to pretend for the next 8 years that some miracle will happen and they will become doctors, lawyers, and scientists.

To help the kids specialize in their own best fields, the schools can have them work on outside projects, such as the repair of 4-wheelers. For an English project the kid could write a brief story about how he repaired the vehicle. Correct his spelling errors, but don’t fail the paper merely on spelling errors. The most prolific professional screen writer in Hollywood has never been able to spell, and he’s now a millionaire. He hires spelling checkers to go over his scripts before they are submitted to the studios.

All kids like to do something outside of school, and I’ve seen a lot of kids work on great and complicated projects, while failing in school. For example, have you ever seen a kid take an empty cigar box and make a movie camera out of it? Add the gears, the motor, the reciprocating shutter, the rollers, etc, etc., so that it actually made movies on 16 mm film, and the kid won science fair ribbons for it in physics/engineering yet he NEVER got a good grade in school for it? There are kids out here who can make world-class jewelry, stuff as complex as like the King Tut jewelry, stuff they sell for a lot of money, but they never get any credit in schools for it, yet this will eventually become their main business in life. While the schools try for 12 years to teach them to become doctors, lawyers, and scientists.

Sam5
2005-Apr-07, 03:23 PM
Maybe I'm misinterpreting something, but stratification of kids that get C's (like me) would seem to be downright elitist.

Not stratifying them is downright Marxist. Pretending “all humans are exactly alike.” That’s old-fashioned and wrong. Pretending for 12 years that they are all going to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, and scientists is silly.

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 03:27 PM
Wow, you two are making me realize why school is so important!

Seriously, if it weren't for teachers, I'd be a statistic in the welfare system.

I know this is true, because my older brothers and sister are in those statistics. :(

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 03:34 PM
Wow, you two are making me realize why school is so important!

Seriously, if it weren't for teachers, I'd be a statistic in the welfare system.

I know this is true, because my older brothers and sister are in those statistics. :(
I should add that they were smart kids, until drugs and alcohol factored into the equation. Plus, a single parent who supplied those drugs and alcohol. :evil:

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-07, 05:14 PM
Some of you are not paying attention to detail. I never said they were all exactly alike, nothing even close. You quoted it as if it is something I said. I'm saying you can not know what they will be like in the future to the degree that you are justified in stratifying them so early and so narrowly.

You can not predict what 3rd or 4th graders will choose as an occupation. Well you can, but you will not be accurate anywhere near often enough to justify what you suggest.

Pretty quick to label people Marxist Sam5. So anybody who wants to keep kids that get C's in the same class as kids that get A's and B's is a Marxist? And I never said we should pretend they are the same. Don't recall using sameness at all. My point centers around not being able to predict the future to the point of segregating based on those predictions. In fact, I stated the positive impact of learning to function with people who are different. That is an acknowledgement that they are not the same.

Pretending they are all the same is silly. Pretending they will all take on certain professions is silly. Pretending you can accurately predict their profession by 3rd grade is silly.

I certainly would understand if you do not want to share personal information, but I would like to understand where you are coming from. If you had kids, would you be willing to commit to narrowing their career options as early as 3rd grade? Should we have pre-law and pre-med tracks for 3rd graders?

Stratification that early almost harkens back to the days of arranged marriages and other such archaic practices.

Sam5
2005-Apr-07, 05:31 PM
Pretty quick to label people Marxist
I did not label you a “Marxist.” A common school concept today in the US is that “everyone is exactly the same,” and that comes from the old Marxist concept of the 19th Century, which was spread around among liberals and leftists in various American educational systems in the 1960s-‘90s. This incorrect concept still lingers today and it does a lot of harm to a lot of students. This is opposed to the old American, British, and other European concepts that “some students naturally have more learning abilities than others.” But many schools today pretend that “all students are the same”, and they pretend that all students will grow up to be doctors, lawyers, and scientists, while they pretend that the students who can’t grow up to be doctors, lawyers, and scientists are somehow “mentally ill” or “disabled”. This is idiotic! They are not “mentally ill” or “disabled”, they are just average kids who are incapable of growing up to become doctors, lawyers, and scientists.

How do you think all these kids feel when they are labeled “learning disabled”, “special ed”, and “retarded,” when all they really are are just average kids?

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 06:10 PM
How do you think all these kids feel when they are labeled “learning disabled”, “special ed”, and “retarded,” when all they really are are just average kids?
I didn't like it. :(

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-07, 06:23 PM
Now that I think about it, what else can school be? Pretty much everything is competition, whether you like it or not. Lots of people say cooperation is the way to success, but what they really mean is cooperate until you can seize the opportunity, then comptete and take the prize. I can't always stick to the cooperation thing; when I'm with my friends trying to do a project, it works, but when I am participating in an academic contest or a class, I can't stand being #2.

Like farmerjumperdon said about the comment, "What do you do?" It's not my favorite thing, but I guess things work like that. Whether we like it or not, education is generally nothing more than a tool for the people who want success.

However, I believe that there are two types of intellectual people. One, people who study hard, do well, etc. to get a good job. On the other hand, people who truly have a love for learning and are lifelong learners. It's hard to succeed as the latter these days, but I think that's the essence of humanity.

I know so many people who do well in their classes, get straight A's, etc, but they have no interest in learning whatsoever. When my teachers asks them a question about something, none of them have even the most general knowledge of things. (When did WWII end, who Newton is) If I open a astronomy book in class, they laugh at me and call me a nerd, even when they are doing well in school. Why are they making fun of scientific interest, while at the same time, trying to do well in that class?

Isn't reading and inquiry about the world just as important as doing well in school, and the two usually connected? (Ahh, it's because these people are psedointellectuals!)

If everything I said is **, just tell me. :)

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 06:34 PM
Side note: I didn't like the labels I got growing up, nor, the special classes. I wasn't that kid.

I called my grandmother for help. I needed a two parent home. I needed stability to succeed.

Guess what? What I knew at age 10 got me where I am today. Grandma took me in! I finally had a two parent home with structure.

I will admit, I am still struggling with the maturity part of adulthood.

I'm a very lucky person right now. :D

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 06:38 PM
Side note: I didn't like the labels I got growing up, nor, the special classes. I wasn't that kid.

I called my grandmother for help. I needed a two parent home. I needed stability to succeed.

Guess what? What I knew at age 10 got me where I am today. Grandma took me in! I finally had a two parent home with structure.

I will admit, I am still struggling with the maturity part of adulthood.

I'm a very lucky person right now. :D
I graduated from highschool with honors, and I will finally graduate from college with honors. I just wanted you to know, because I am so proud at how far I have come in this world.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-07, 06:43 PM
You appear to be polarizing the discussion based on the fact that not all kids will go on to careers that require advanced degrees. You cite extremist views, that I do not hold, and that I do not think many people hold, in order to justify your positions. I do not know any teachers who think everyone should be a doctor, lawyer, etc. I do not know anyone who thinks people who do not become these professions is retarded or mentally ill or disabled.

Mandatory education is about aquiring tools for life, and keeping the doors of opportunity open. Of course everyone can't be a doctor. But you never know for certain who will become a doctor, or anything else.

Let me try another angle. What part of the typical grade school cirriculum do you think should not be part of the basic requirements, or that kids should be able to opt out of? I would also ask the same thing about high school. I'd like to hear from some teachers on this, but I can not think of anything in the requirements that I would not consider basic. When I was in high school the requirements were already pretty easy, and from what I've heard they have only gotten easier. We did not have to take anything beyond Intro to Algebra, basic writing, simple anatomy, American History, etc. No one was required to take trig, Shakespeare, Ancient History, etc.

I know standards vary, but I'd bet in most districts kids do not need to take any algebra or English literature to graduate. What requirements are you objecting to, if any? IMO, everyone should be able to do arithmetic, write a cohesive paragraph, etc.; and all but a very small percentage are easily capable of doing so.

Another angle - hobbies. My hobbies are carpentry, skydiving, and astronomy. All 3 require a basic working knowledge of geometry to be enjoyed or practiced with any degree of proficiency (and/or safety). In 3rd grade there was no way I or my parents or teachers knew that these were things I would come to enjoy. I'm so glad I took Algebra and Plane Geometry in high school, despite the fact that they were not all that fun at the time. It ended up being a good investment in ways nobody predicted.

In one of the Alternative Learning centers I help out at, there was a kid just going through the motions. He planned on dropping out as soon as he hit majority age and no one could stop him. The only bright spot is that in this district of about 1000 high school kids, there were only about 40 to 50 in this group. I asked him what he planned on doing for a livelihood. He planned on opening a snowboard shop. I asked how successful he thought he would be at marketing his services, attracting investors, organizing business priorities, and so on and so forth. He had no answers. Somebody got it into this kids head that he did not need basic skills. How unfortunate for him and for those that may end up supporting him the rest of his life.

Sam5
2005-Apr-07, 06:50 PM
Now that I think about it, what else can school be? Pretty much everything is competition, whether you like it or not. Lots of people say cooperation is the way to success, but what they really mean is cooperate until you can seize the opportunity, then comptete and take the prize. I can't always stick to the cooperation thing; when I'm with my friends trying to do a project, it works, but when I am participating in an academic contest or a class, I can't stand being #2.



Yes, everything is “competition”, but everything is NOT “competition to become a doctor, lawyer, or scientist.”

There are such things in this world as Truck Drivers, who can make fortunes driving big rigs for a living and even owning their own trucking company. There are Plumbers who can charge $60 or more an hour for their work. There are Roofers that you might have to hire to do a $5,000 job on your house. There are Oil and Gas field workers, and Welders, and Auto Mechanics, to whom most school for 12 years is totally irrelevant.

Will they ever use Shakespeare in their job? No. Will they ever have to dissect a frog? No. Will they ever have to complex algebraic derivations? No.

These are often the ones that are classified as “learning disabled,” “retarded,” and “special ed” in schools today.

You, Brady, might become a doctor or a scientist, but you will also need your products delivered by truck, your car repaired by a good mechanic, your roof roofed by an expert roofer, your pipes repaired when they leak, your car filled and home heated with oil and gas. Etc., etc.

I think your teachers should not consider you to be “normal” and all the truckers, laborers, and other workers to be “retarded,” “learning disabled”, and “special ed.”

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 06:52 PM
This may sound stupid, but kids know what they need to succeed in life. I did. Most kids, however, give up on the system. Kids are smarter than you think.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-07, 07:48 PM
"Most kids give up on the system." How many is most? Just ballpark it for me. Do you think 90%? What's your criteria for determining that they have given up?

Your comment sounds way over the top to me. It's an obvious gross over-generaliztion, and possibly reflects some level of pain from past events in your life.

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 07:52 PM
"Most kids give up on the system." How many is most? Just ballpark it for me. Do you think 90%? What's your criteria for determining that they have given up?

Your comment sounds way over the top to me. It's an obvious gross over-generaliztion, and possibly reflects some level of pain from past events in your life. Really?

I don't have numbers. You folk sound like all is good in the world according to Teacher Garp. Well, it's not. :roll:

Give me some figures for success.

Candy
2005-Apr-07, 08:03 PM
Oh wait, I have some figures (from reality) ...

sister1 - never graduated from high school and lives on welfare and mother of two ******* children/been in prison for drug related charges.
1st child thinks he is a retard
2nd child to young to think

brother 1 - recently tried to commit suicide, is now in rehab, GED and former soldier of the Army. Father of two - first child is doing well - second child is not.

brother 2 - never graduated from high school, has been stabbed, shot, and whatever. Still alive but wants to die - drinks excessively. Has many children/not sure if children are doing well.

sister2 - finished high school/soon to finish college.

25% success rate or 75% failure rate.

dgruss23
2005-Apr-07, 09:37 PM
"Most kids give up on the system." How many is most? Just ballpark it for me. Do you think 90%? What's your criteria for determining that they have given up?

Your comment sounds way over the top to me. It's an obvious gross over-generaliztion, and possibly reflects some level of pain from past events in your life. Really?

I don't have numbers. You folk sound like all is good in the world according to Teacher Garp. Well, it's not. :roll:

Give me some figures for success.

I can help with this. A great review article came out last year in the AFT's magazine "American Educator". It was titled "Its time to start telling students - Grades in school matter" (or something pretty close to that).

Anyway, the article presented research on the success rates of students that go on to college in earning at least a 2 year degree. The numbers were quite startling when you consider that most school districts claim ~80-90% of their graduates go on to college.

Students with an A average - 63% earn at least a 2 year degree; B -average 37%; C average 14%.

The key of course is study habits - and not just for the lower ability students - for all students. I had an advanced student a few years ago that breezed through high school. He never had to study because all the classes were too easy for him. So when he went off to an Ivy League college he promptly failed out in the first semester.

This is exactly why a certain amount of ability grouping is necessary. You can't properly challenge the top 10-15% of the students by putting them in with the middle 40-60%. So you need advanced level classes for the advanced students, intermediate level classes for the average students, and a few lower level classes for students that need a slower pace of material and more repetition with less content.

Grouping by ability allows you to better meet the needs of all your students. Its not elitist. Right now I'm teaching the most difficult class offered at our high school - AP Chemistry and I'm teaching average to above average students in NYS Regents Chemistry, and I'm teaching average to below average ability students in Environmental Science.

Does anybody actually want to make the case that all of those students should be thrown into AP Chemistry? Or Environmental Science? Would it really do the AP students or the Environmental students any good to be thrown together into the same Regents Chemistry class? - A situation in which the course content would be below the ability of the AP Students and above the ability of many of the Environmental students.

And calling a student "average" is not locking them into a certain "track". Its identifying their performance level. Performance is a combination of ability and work habits.

Right now I can tell you that almost every student I have is in the appropriate course for their ability level and work habits. I have one or two Regents Chemistry students that could probably handle AP Chemistry - but they don't want to be in the AP class. Then I have a few students in Environmental Science that have the ability to handle Regents Chemistry - but they don't want to put in the effort. So they took the "easy" route.

That is a big problem in education. I can tell you a big part of the reason why only 14% of C students manage to earn a 2 year degree - work habits. Many C students are fully capable of being B or A students, but they don't study, they don't do homework, and they don't seek help when they find something difficult. They are not developing the skills needed to survive at the college level.

The blame falls on the schools, the parents, and the students for this problem. Every year I have a few students that I know would have an average in the 90's if they were actually working - but instead they have about an 80 average. They've figured out things quite nicely. Any student with a 75+ average is not at risk of failing, so the teachers are less likely to get on their case. If the student does just enough work to manage an 80 average (which bright students can do with little work in most HS classes), then their parents in many cases won't jump on them either.

For average ability students you get the same thing with "passing". "I got a 68 - well at least I passed." Words that are uttered every day in every high school in America. But these students plan on going to college too. What they don't understand is that the effort they're putting in will not be good enough at college. Its the job of the schools and parents to get this message across to students.

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-07, 10:17 PM
"Most kids give up on the system." How many is most? Just ballpark it for me. Do you think 90%? What's your criteria for determining that they have given up?

Your comment sounds way over the top to me. It's an obvious gross over-generaliztion, and possibly reflects some level of pain from past events in your life. Really?

I don't have numbers. You folk sound like all is good in the world according to Teacher Garp. Well, it's not. :roll:

Give me some figures for success.

I can help with this. A great review article came out last year in the AFT's magazine "American Educator". It was titled "Its time to start telling students - Grades in school matter" (or something pretty close to that).

Anyway, the article presented research on the success rates of students that go on to college in earning at least a 2 year degree. The numbers were quite startling when you consider that most school districts claim ~80-90% of their graduates go on to college.

Students with an A average - 63% earn at least a 2 year degree; B -average 37%; C average 14%.

The key of course is study habits - and not just for the lower ability students - for all students. I had an advanced student a few years ago that breezed through high school. He never had to study because all the classes were too easy for him. So when he went off to an Ivy League college he promptly failed out in the first semester.

This is exactly why a certain amount of ability grouping is necessary. You can't properly challenge the top 10-15% of the students by putting them in with the middle 40-60%. So you need advanced level classes for the advanced students, intermediate level classes for the average students, and a few lower level classes for students that need a slower pace of material and more repetition with less content.

Grouping by ability allows you to better meet the needs of all your students. Its not elitist. Right now I'm teaching the most difficult class offered at our high school - AP Chemistry and I'm teaching average to above average students in NYS Regents Chemistry, and I'm teaching average to below average ability students in Environmental Science.

Does anybody actually want to make the case that all of those students should be thrown into AP Chemistry? Or Environmental Science? Would it really do the AP students or the Environmental students any good to be thrown together into the same Regents Chemistry class? - A situation in which the course content would be below the ability of the AP Students and above the ability of many of the Environmental students.

And calling a student "average" is not locking them into a certain "track". Its identifying their performance level. Performance is a combination of ability and work habits.

Right now I can tell you that almost every student I have is in the appropriate course for their ability level and work habits. I have one or two Regents Chemistry students that could probably handle AP Chemistry - but they don't want to be in the AP class. Then I have a few students in Environmental Science that have the ability to handle Regents Chemistry - but they don't want to put in the effort. So they took the "easy" route.

That is a big problem in education. I can tell you a big part of the reason why only 14% of C students manage to earn a 2 year degree - work habits. Many C students are fully capable of being B or A students, but they don't study, they don't do homework, and they don't seek help when they find something difficult. They are not developing the skills needed to survive at the college level.

The blame falls on the schools, the parents, and the students for this problem. Every year I have a few students that I know would have an average in the 90's if they were actually working - but instead they have about an 80 average. They've figured out things quite nicely. Any student with a 75+ average is not at risk of failing, so the teachers are less likely to get on their case. If the student does just enough work to manage an 80 average (which bright students can do with little work in most HS classes), then their parents in many cases won't jump on them either.

For average ability students you get the same thing with "passing". "I got a 68 - well at least I passed." Words that are uttered every day in every high school in America. But these students plan on going to college too. What they don't understand is that the effort they're putting in will not be good enough at college. Its the job of the schools and parents to get this message across to students.

I agree with everything you said; you summed up what I have in mind perfectly.

And I also agree that some people just don't want to be in AP or honors classes. Is it society's problem that they don't want to be in the class? No. I tell friends I know that honors is good and they say they're not smart enough, or that it's too nerdy.

Izunya
2005-Apr-07, 11:29 PM
You have done an excellent job of pointing out some real dilemmas Izunya. I do not teach, but have coached several kids sports as well as done volunteer work in the classroom - both with mainstream (normal) kids and troubled teens - for several years.

I acknowledge that the typical path doesn't work for all, but my observation is that it does work for most. There is a need for specialized instruction, but wholesale grouping of the A and B students seems drastic. I think it would create a false division that doesn't exist as such a nice neat line. At what age would you start segregating? By what criteria?

Just because a kid does not get A's and B's do they get shuttled off to the educational siding where they only need to learn to balance a checkbook? I would have been on the border for being a candidate for the technical track - which is crazy considering the changes I went through during middle school, high school, and especially college.

Which is why I said at the beginning of my post--I probably should have repeated it at the end, in proper essay format--that I think tracking/leveling should be handled with care. It can easily become a way to stratify students, and perhaps to stratify society, rather than a way to play to a student's wants and needs.

Also, I wasn't the one to make the division between A and B students and "the rest of the world." That was Sam5. Sam, as a special educator, I have to point out that the grading scale is not an instrument to measure ability; it measures achievement. And it doesn't even do it as accurately as many instruments. Achievement varies for a host of reasons, and not all of them are going to have a bearing on future performance.

Another point, which may or may not be of interest to those in this discussion. Sam5, you mentioned students being labeled LD or even MR because they can't do the work that is presented to them. Now, LD is a slippery classification, I'll grant you, and it's about to become even more subjective; I've heard that the new law will throw away the discrepancy formula altogether and classify LD simply by how far a child falls behind in school. (This is yet another pet peeve. The discrepancy formula made sense; if your testable IQ is 130 but your standard achievement scores come out to 100, there is plainly something impairing your progress. Waiting until a student starts to fail in school--with all the attendant self-doubt and heartache and . . . grr. :evil: ) But an MR diagnosis is pretty hard to come by. First you need an IQ score two standard deviations or more below the mean. A standard deviation is 15 on all the tests I know about. Then you need to have impaired function in two major life areas--that's not reading and math, but, say, academic and social.

Plus parents generally block an MR classification. It's not the sort of thing a person wants to hear. So the students who get classified MR usually need the help quite a bit; they might have problems understanding abstraction, for instance.

Not that I'm a mind-reader, but I don't think Sam or Don are as polarized on this issue as it would appear on first reading. You both want kids to have all possible opportunties, and you both want to remove the stigma that says "Winners become doctors, losers become truck drivers." The solution lies somewhere between absolute tracking and total inclusion. Or, at least, that's what I think.

In closing--since I don't want to write a novel like I did last night--let me point out that if I start going into something that people here don't understand, just back me up and make me explain it. I've been through enough special ed courses to catch a serious case of CAUS (Compulsive Acronym Use Syndrome). 8)

Izunya

Sam5
2005-Apr-07, 11:57 PM
This is just my opinion. Other opinions might vary.

I would suggest two separate learning levels: Academic, and Vocational.

Academic would be just as a normal school is today with the students who average about A, B, and some Cs in most of their classes.

Vocational would be for the students who can’t progress at a rapid “academic” pace in subjects such as English, math, history, and science.

Many of these "vocational" students will later become the vocational workers of the world, rather than the “academic” type workers. For them we basically spread out the first 8, 9, or 10 years of school to 12 years, and we pay attention to their outside-of-school hobbies, interests, talents, projects, etc. We give them As and ** for the excellent work they do repairing cars, working on plumbing and wiring, making jewelry (like out here among the native Americans), music (if they have music talents), sports (if they have sport talents that can be turned into a profession), for their woodworking projects, their own research projects in topics they are interested in.

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-08, 12:03 AM
This is just my opinion. Other opinions might vary.

I would suggest two separate learning levels: Academic, and Vocational.

Academic would be just as a normal school is today with the students who average about A, B, and some Cs in most of their classes.

Vocational would be for the students who can’t progress at a rapid “academic” pace in subjects such as English, math, history, and science.

Many of these "vocational" students will later become the vocational workers of the world, rather than the “academic” type workers. For them we basically spread out the first 8, 9, or 10 years of school to 12 years, and we pay attention to their outside-of-school hobbies, interests, talents, projects, etc. We give them As and ** for the excellent work they do repairing cars, working on plumbing and wiring, making jewelry (like out here among the native Americans), music (if they have music talents), sports (if they have sport talents that can be turned into a profession), for their woodworking projects, their own research projects in topics they are interested in.

What you say makes sense logically; people in labor jobs are very important as well, but I don't know if it's right to separate the students like that. Now that I think about it, I think our education system isn't bad; compromises have to be made.

If what you said becomes applicable, people should be able to choose which school they go to.

Sam5
2005-Apr-08, 12:07 AM
Another point, which may or may not be of interest to those in this discussion. Sam5, you mentioned students being labeled LD or even MR because they can't do the work that is presented to them. Now, LD is a slippery classification, I'll grant you, and it's about to become even more subjective; I've heard that the new law will throw away the discrepancy formula altogether and classify LD simply by how far a child falls behind in school. Izunya

Ok, this is one of my points. It should NOT be “how far a child falls behind in school”, it should be “how effective are the schools teaching ALL the students” at whatever rates the students can learn. It should be "how much are the schools failing to educate the students in the average functions and abilities in life."

It’s the SCHOOLS and TEACHERS that “fall behind” and “fall down on the job”, not the students.

Here’s the old rule:

The average IQ in the US is 100.

The schools should NOT pretend that the average in their school is 130.

If the average in their school is 85, then they can teach those kids a whole lot about the world during 12 years. A lot of practical stuff, but NOT about dissecting frogs, NOT about Shakespeare, and NOT high algebra.

Anyway, the IQ tests don’t test for sports abilities, car repair abilities, UPS delivery man abilities, jewelry making abilities, music abilities, plumbing abilities, roofing abilities, restaurant owning abilities, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-08, 12:19 AM
Another point, which may or may not be of interest to those in this discussion. Sam5, you mentioned students being labeled LD or even MR because they can't do the work that is presented to them. Now, LD is a slippery classification, I'll grant you, and it's about to become even more subjective; I've heard that the new law will throw away the discrepancy formula altogether and classify LD simply by how far a child falls behind in school. Izunya

Ok, this is one of my points. It should NOT be “how far a child falls behind in school”, it should be “how effective are the schools teaching ALL the students” at whatever rates the students can learn. It should be "how much are the schools failing to educate the students in the average functions and abilities in life."

It’s the SCHOOLS and TEACHERS that “fall behind” and “fall down on the job”, not the students.

Here’s the old rule:

The average IQ in the US is 100.

The schools should NOT pretend that the average in their school is 130.

If the average in their school is 85, then they can teach those kids a whole lot about the world during 12 years. A lot of practical stuff, but NOT about dissecting frogs, NOT about Shakespeare, and NOT high algebra.

Anyway, the IQ tests don’t test for sports abilities, car repair abilities, UPS delivery man abilities, jewelry making abilities, music abilities, plumbing abilities, roofing abilities, restaurant owning abilities, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

I think the whole issue here is that is it fair to put a person is a certain school because of their intelligence, and that are people who do poorly in school affected mainly by their study habits or intelligence.

I don't know what side I'm on...

Sam5
2005-Apr-08, 02:15 AM
I think the whole issue here is that is it fair to put a person is a certain school because of their intelligence, and that are people who do poorly in school affected mainly by their study habits or intelligence.

I don't know what side I'm on...

I would say that you should go to the Academic school, and I will be happy to go to the Vocational school.

I would not like to go to the Academic school and then be classified as “retarded” or “learning disabled”, not any more than you would want to go to the Vocational school and be labeled as “constantly bored”, “really stupid in the vocational trades,” “will make a lousy plumber or carpenter.”

Izunya
2005-Apr-08, 04:34 AM
Another point, which may or may not be of interest to those in this discussion. Sam5, you mentioned students being labeled LD or even MR because they can't do the work that is presented to them. Now, LD is a slippery classification, I'll grant you, and it's about to become even more subjective; I've heard that the new law will throw away the discrepancy formula altogether and classify LD simply by how far a child falls behind in school. Izunya

Ok, this is one of my points. It should NOT be “how far a child falls behind in school”, it should be “how effective are the schools teaching ALL the students” at whatever rates the students can learn. It should be "how much are the schools failing to educate the students in the average functions and abilities in life."



Hey, I did say I disagree with the change.

Also, I think there are some common misconceptions about learning disability, and I think the legislators are about to fall for one of them. LD does not mean "does badly in school." It's much more complicated than that--big surprise.

Let's say that I'm a sixth grader, and they give me an IQ test. It comes out a nice, solid 115--that's a single standard deviation from the mean, not enough to make me Einstein, but it should smooth the rough edges off school and give me a nice wide range of options in life.

The next day, the school psychologist whips out his Woodcock Johnson test, which is an achievement test, and gets rather a shock when my Broad Math skill comes out to a standard score of 85. Standard scores are intended to correlate with IQ; if all things were equal (which they never are) you would expect IQ and achievement to line up within a few points. Thirty points of discrepency is troubling.

This is where the special ed teacher gets involved, and goes through a rather involved process that I like to call "ruling out stuff." Can the Broad Math score be explained by a testing anomaly, i.e., did I come down with flu that day? Have I had appropriate education in math, or in general? Is there some illness that would prevent me from achieving my potential in math? (Believe it or not, the "cognitive fog" that accompanies some of your weird immune disorders, like fibromyalgia or CFS, hits math and short-term memory the hardest. No-one knows why.) Is there anything else that anyone can think of? No?

If not--and if a team, including the parent, agrees that I need extra support for my math--I get into special ed with the lovely specific label of Learning Disabled in Mathematics. This still doesn't mean that I'm going to be shunted into a different track, or even put in a special ed math class. What it does mean is that I get a special ed teacher as my case manager, and his job is to see that I get what I need--within reason--to compensate for my still rather ill-defined math difficulties. This can be anything from a special ed math class to extended time on tests. As he works with me, he will gradually figure out more and more about what works for me. Sometimes, the techniques for overcoming a learning disability can be startlingly simple. Some people can't read black text on a white background, but can easily read dark blue text on a light blue background. Solution? Colored plastic.

So, as you can see, a learning disability shouldn't be defined by how well a student does in school--and it shouldn't automatically determine career or school placement, either. Admittedly, the hypothetical sixth grader above is probably not going to be a statistician, or an accountant, unless the solution to her math issues is very simple indeed. But that leaves a very wide world of things to do.


The average IQ in the US is 100.

The schools should NOT pretend that the average in their school is 130.


They don't, really. As a gifted teacher, I can tell you that schools are no better set up for the high-IQ than they are for the low-IQ. The repetition, especially in the earlier grades, drives them absolutely bananas. On average, I've found, there seems to be a gender distinction in how they handle it. The girls sit in class and look at the teacher politely, while their minds are a zillion miles away. The boys--find interesting things to do with their time. I once witnessed a boy, a fifth grader, who had the opportunity to snort quite a bit of pepper just to see what it did . . .


Anyway, the IQ tests don’t test for sports abilities, car repair abilities, UPS delivery man abilities, jewelry making abilities, music abilities, plumbing abilities, roofing abilities, restaurant owning abilities, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

Ah, yes, a true Gardnerian. :) Back when I taught Resource, I found opportunity to present the theory of multiple intelligences--in a simplified form, of course--to my sixth grade class. They were rather surprised, and a bit thoughtful, when I explained that while I had always been smart in most of the school ways, I have next to nothing in the way of athletic ability--so when it came to throwing a ball, they would be the honors students, and I would be special ed. The same with cars, or building something that doesn't fall into a heap. They did stop trying to tell me they were retarded--for the rest of the day, even. :roll:

Izunya

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-08, 04:38 AM
I think the whole issue here is that is it fair to put a person is a certain school because of their intelligence, and that are people who do poorly in school affected mainly by their study habits or intelligence.

I don't know what side I'm on...

I would say that you should go to the Academic school, and I will be happy to go to the Vocational school.

I would not like to go to the Academic school and then be classified as “retarded” or “learning disabled”, not any more than you would want to go to the Vocational school and be labeled as “constantly bored”, “really stupid in the vocational trades,” “will make a lousy plumber or carpenter.”

Side as in opinion, not intelligence level. :P

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-08, 12:48 PM
Haven't figured out how to make the quote thing work, actually, . . . haven't even tried yet. But, . . .

Izunya, I am amazed at how little effort goes into programs for G&T programs. Even though we have legislation in Wisconsin that requires accomodation, our district skirts the intent by going through the motions, having something on paper, but takes no real action. I've gotten the rolling eyes and sarcastic comments about how terrible it must be to have a G&T kid, even from the school principal! It is every bit the challenge dealing with the extreme perfectionist as the learning disabled.

My daughter was placed up a grade and was still bored to tears. She has figured out not to complain much, and definitely not to use the word "boring." She now politely refers to everything as "review." Using the B word sends the teachers into a fit, and they act out by punishing her in subtle ways. Thankfully, now that she is in 3rd grade and gets time each day with her intellectual peers and is once again happy with school. (We open enrolled her to a neighboring district that actually acts out the intent of the law).

The resistance in recognizing her ability is sometimes shocking. I don't know what it is - maybe fear in what someone might think it says about themselves? Even though she scores so high the scores sometimes come back as statistical anomalies, and she handles all classroom work and homework with little more than passing effort; there are teachers who refuse to give her the highest marks on her report card. They sometimes come up with the most vague and downright flaky reasons not to give her the highest mark. It does not escape her that she scores 100% on every math test of the semester, but gets a Displays Proficiency rating instead of Superior Performance (a 2 instead of a 3).

Maybe they are threatened by her, . . . already. Which is ironic because she is already onto the game and sees through their act. Maybe they find that threatening, that they've met a 7 year old they can't fool. If they find her threatening now, just wait a couple years because her intellectual distance from her chronological peers just continues to increase.

It is amazing to watch her progress, but unfortunately I fear for the treatment she is in for as the cliques start to form and she becomes isolated. Just have to do our best to equip her for it.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-08, 02:36 PM
Do I get sidetracked with the C students for not bothering to try the quote thing? Might be a good idea, having a busy day. I need to coast for a while.

Sam5
2005-Apr-08, 03:16 PM
Here is the quote code. Put your quote inbetween these codes:

[quote]


[/quote]

Spacewriter
2005-Apr-08, 03:24 PM
Farmerjumperdon,

Maybe there's just good old-fashioned sexism at play in how your daughter is being graded.

Sam5
2005-Apr-08, 03:32 PM
The resistance in recognizing her ability is sometimes shocking. I don't know what it is - maybe fear in what someone might think it says about themselves? Even though she scores so high the scores sometimes come back as statistical anomalies, and she handles all classroom work and homework with little more than passing effort; there are teachers who refuse to give her the highest marks on her report card. They sometimes come up with the most vague and downright flaky reasons not to give her the highest mark. It does not escape her that she scores 100% on every math test of the semester, but gets a Displays Proficiency rating instead of Superior Performance (a 2 instead of a 3).


I’ve seen things like that out here in New Mexico schools. I think it goes back to the (excuse the expression ) “Marxist” concept of “everybody is just alike”. For them to acknowledge that your daughter is “superior” goes against the Marxist approach.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-08, 03:48 PM
Marxism comment excused. :wink:

I do appreciate everyone's perspectives, even though I take issue with them sometimes. This is a great forum.

Andromeda321
2005-Apr-08, 11:11 PM
Your daughter's life in elementary school sounds quite a lot like mine. :(
I was the bad kid, flat out without question. I think teachers cringed while noticing my name on their roll every year! There was an idea at my elementary school that you should "go at your own pace" which as far as I can figure translates into "sounds cool but in actuality doesn't do much." Basically you took a test at the beginning of the year in which I was usually several months ahead of where I needed to be, then spent those months waiting for everyone else to catch up (the example that comes to mind is basic addition and subtraction in fourth grade to see "how fast you can do it" because some kids still hadn't figured it out). I found rather interesting pastimes to keep myself entertained, but my teachers somehow didn't find them quite as entertaining as I did.
Sixth grade I went to private school where there were actual academics and I morphed from the troublemaker to the "most frustrating student." Which I guess is better then the troublemaker right? :wink:
Interestingly enough we did have a gifted and talented program at my elementary school but I never got tested for it. This was because my sister two years my elder didn't get accepted because she scored 2 IQ points too low in first grade on her test, so out of protest my mom refused to let me and my twin brother get tested (she's as smart as me if not smarter and the sibling dynamics might've gotten screwed up a bit). Ends up my mom made the right descision because most of the kids in G&T were forced in by overagressive parents and shouldn't have been there anyway. :roll:

Brady Yoon
2005-Apr-08, 11:20 PM
Your daughter's life in elementary school sounds quite a lot like mine. :(
I was the bad kid, flat out without question. I think teachers cringed while noticing my name on their roll every year! There was an idea at my elementary school that you should "go at your own pace" which as far as I can figure translates into "sounds cool but in actuality doesn't do much." Basically you took a test at the beginning of the year in which I was usually several months ahead of where I needed to be, then spent those months waiting for everyone else to catch up (the example that comes to mind is basic addition and subtraction in fourth grade to see "how fast you can do it" because some kids still hadn't figured it out). I found rather interesting pastimes to keep myself entertained, but my teachers somehow didn't find them quite as entertaining as I did.
Sixth grade I went to private school where there were actual academics and I morphed from the troublemaker to the "most frustrating student." Which I guess is better then the troublemaker right? :wink:
Interestingly enough we did have a gifted and talented program at my elementary school but I never got tested for it. This was because my sister two years my elder didn't get accepted because she scored 2 IQ points too low in first grade on her test, so out of protest my mom refused to let me and my twin brother get tested (she's as smart as me if not smarter and the sibling dynamics might've gotten screwed up a bit). Ends up my mom made the right descision because most of the kids in G&T were forced in by overagressive parents and shouldn't have been there anyway. :roll:

Sounds a lot like me too! My older sister missed it by a little bit, but she took the test again and got way over the limit...

Gifted and Talented Education was absolutely horrible. The math and science education was horrible, and they never taught me useful English skills. I had to read books on my own so I would actually learn something.

In 6th grade, we were doing algebra with little sticks and blocks that got me confused for a whole year. When I learned it the old fashioned way, I got A+'s in the class... Our Earth Science class covered one unit. I was so frustrated and annoyed... Probably the worst experience of my life.

If my experience means anything, it's just a gimmick.

The only place I'll truly enjoy in terms of school is probably going to be college.

Andromeda321
2005-Apr-09, 05:39 AM
Ah, college. I still remember going to classes my first week last August and thinking "this is where I've wanted to be for the past four or five years of my life." Some annoyances but compared to high school bureaucracy I find it rather trivial. You'll like it Brady I promise. 8)

farmerjumperdon
2005-Apr-09, 03:36 PM
These days good G&T programs in the public schools are hard to come by. Budget cuts seem to be the biggest culprit. Our home district let go of there dedicated staff last year. Technically, they still have a program, but it has absolutely no plan, actionable tactics, staff, resources, nothing.

We are very fortunate to have a neighboring district with a very formal, documented, staffed & actionable program for G&T. Very, very lucky. And we got great news in yesterdays mail that our youngest got accepted to open enroll in the same school. She's won't be in the G&T, but it will be so nice having them in the same school.

Izunya
2005-Apr-09, 04:17 PM
Sigh. I wish I could say that the things you're saying about the gifted program surprise me in the least.

Yes, for the record, "bored in school" is such a common experience among gifted students that it could almost be a diagnostic criterion. About half your gifted students develop the ability to look very attentive in class while ignoring it entirely in favor of what's in their own head. The other half . . . how did Andromeda put it? "Find rather interesting pastimes to keep themselves entertained."

I was sort of split on the issue, as I recall. On the one hand, I invented science fiction serials to run in my head (some of them appallingly bad. I would have benefitted from a good dose of the Evil Overlord list. Anyhow). On the other hand, I still remember getting in a debate with the school principal--in fifth grade--over whether the First Amendment granted students the right to go talk to those students in silent lunch. In fact, I think I made a fairly good case for silent lunch being entirely unconstitutional and the school system being in flagrant violation of the Founding Fathers' wishes--until my mother came along.

The problem is, as usual, a pretty complex snarl of stuff, starting with the common myth that gifted kids are the "good" kids--meaning that they don't get bored, or disrespect the teacher, or any clearly subversive activity like that. #-o Also, there's a certain lack of imagination in many programs. And last but not least, the eternal cosmic group reproductive activity that is funding. This is actually one area where I think Tennessee has done something right, or at least moderately clever. In our state, Gifted and Talented is served under special ed law. This limits us to fairly ironclad criteria, but it means that unless we provide services, we can be sued under IDEA (the big overarching special ed law). (No, tortured acronyms did not start with the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act. Frankly, I suspect Marvel Comics.)

In conclusion: yes, Brady, you will love college. They treat you pretty much like an adult, they let you (mostly) pick your own classes, and you get to hang out with people who like learning and don't think a large vocabulary is odd. Just watch out for the non-academic pitfalls, which may or may not include campus food, laundry, and roommates.

Izunya

Nicolas
2005-Apr-09, 04:33 PM
In Belgium too I was part of a school system that does not have special "gifted" programs for the first 18 years of my life.

I developed the ability to ignore the teacher up to such a level that I could jsut hear when I didn't knew what he was wsaying, so I could start paying attention. I past time with mainly thinking about everything. If one thing ame from it, it ruined my concentration forever (which is a real pain in University). After a while my teachers reached the phase where they just let me do other things instead of only following the lessons. I always got my exercises finished anyway, so what was the problem? Some (good) teachers even sent me out of class (in a good way) sometimes to let me do jobs at administration (make the school cards for our class and the like) or find which of those 500 keys was the one of that wall closet :).

As long as I can remember, school ran at another pase than I did. In primary school, the teachers did their best to give us education at our level, but of course that's not always and entirely possible in a class where there are "normal" kids as well.

I remember the first time in primary school when the lessons started. The principal gave us our material, and explained how we would use a ruler because "you could never draw a line as straight with your hand alone as you can do with a ruler". Even at the age of 6 this triggered me. I never said anything aloud about it, but I clearly remember thinking for the rest of the hour how he was right in general, like when comparing many lines drawn by hand and those with a ruler, but in the extreme case a line from a ruler was limited in straightness by the imperfections in the ruler's surface, while your hand does not have this limitations so theoretically can draw straighter lines than a ruler. (ok this sentence needed far more points instead of comma's :)). I remember it because it is quite a shock when an authority of knowledge (the principal, who was a teacher as well) tells something which you think is wrong at that age. Somehow I even realised that while my reasoning was right, it wouldn't be appropriate to question him about it, because the point he was trying to make did not go as far as my reasoning.

I guess I wasn't a very "normal" kid. But I always acted "in line" while I let the unbounded thinking run free inside my head.

Anybody know how to stop this process so I can study my finals and limit the number of times I forget important things because my mind is a mess?
(like subscribing for my finals #-o)

Gillianren
2005-Apr-28, 11:01 PM
my sisters and I didn't go to private school because it didn't have a gifted program. (not that the youngest made it into the program . . . .)

remember how I said I grew up in Deukmajian-era CA schools? my elementary school gifted classes held popcorn and pickle sales at lunch on a regular basis to support the program--which wasn't special classes; we just got pulled out of class for a few hours a week for programs intended to keep our brains from exploding w/boredom.

which is why I got Cs a lot--I was bored. I hardly ever did my homework. I didn't necessarily do classwork, either. if you looked strictly at grades, I wouldn't have ended up in gifted classes, which in general would have made my grades drop even lower. heck, using only grades as a determination, I almost certainly would have ended up in special ed!

now, my younger sister is actually dyslexic. it's a learning disability. she got all kinds of help for it, and she did manage to graduate from high school, and last I knew was in school, studying to be a marine biologist. (poor fish.) but because the school wasn't set up to catch it, no one did until she was in fourth grade, wherein the school board learned fear not of God but of my mother.

gifted kids learn differently than normal kids. there've been studies. we get interested in something and take in whatever we need to learn relating to it, and normal kids don't do that. if I had, for instance, been interested in hang gliding, I would've learned about DaVinci, planar geometry, physics, and a whole list of other things all at once. this is how my brain is wired. (well, no--it's not wired to learn the physics, apparently. ah, well.) what's more, I would have found out on my own that that information was what I needed. gifted kids tend to be pretty self-steering.

however, I'm also manic depressive. this means that, even aside from gifted kid boredom, that I have a major follow-through problem. I'm okay as long as I'm manic, but once I stop being manic, I stop doing anything. this probably affected quite a few of my grades before I learned how to, at least in part, work around it.

when I can afford the startup costs, I'll be going back to school for a PhD--not one of your doctors or lawyers or scientists (oh, my!), but an English professor. however, because the assignments bored me so much, I actually failed a semester of English in high school.

no, we're not all alike. but it is not Marxist to think that everyone deserves the chance to discover they're smart after all, even though they do get bad grades. not is it Marxist to think that everyone deserves a shot at learning the wonders of the Universe through biology or astronomy or learning the wonders of the English language through learning Shakespeare or Bradbury.

genebujold
2005-Oct-23, 07:32 PM
Milking cows, churning butter, making soap, clothes, and other ways of living off the land are invaluable.

It's not so much to teach people how to do so, for the vast majority of us will never do so.

Rather, it's to teach others an appreciation for what it takes to live off the land, so they realize the incredibly hard work involved, and are able to make decisions which preserve our ability to live off the land, if required, and at the very least, to ensure they understand modern agriculture techniques, what it takes to sustain them, etc.

Far too many people take our current state of agronomy for granted, when, at best, it's always been in a state of tenuous flux, even more so today given the vast numbers relying on it and the increasing strains on our global ability to produce it.

hewhocaves
2005-Oct-24, 03:48 AM
My mother will disown me if I do not chime into this discussion. So will my step-mother.

My mom has about twenty years of educational esperience, first teaching nursing to adults, then running the adult nursing program and finally beoming an administrator at a 'vocational' high shcool, taking over the science program, nursing program and pre-law program there.

My step mother has been an administrator for the past twenty years in the elementary and junior high school level.

I've tutored in english and geology. I have an english degree (graduated with honors and tested into teaching with further honors) and in the past year substitute taught in history, law, chemistry, graphic arts and for a day, english. The whole time I was trying to get a permanant position teaching HS english in NJ.

Needless to say, I was unsuccesful there. Furhermore, if I have children, there's a good chance I will be home schooling them.

I mention all this not to brag or gloat, just to point out that I'm not talkig out my posterior here.

The education system is VERY broken. I say that having seen a half dozen high schools over the past year, three different colleges in my college career, and as a graduate of St. Peter's Preperatory School in Jersey City NJ (still the most challenging place I've ever learned at).

First, let me dispell a few misconceptions that I used to hold as well.

#1 Vocational school is not just 'auto body' or 'shop'. In NJ where my mom works, you've already seen that it covers Nursing and pre-law. It also covers the computer sciences. Furthermore, the cirriculum is designed that the last year of study's courses are applicable for their first year in college in their intended major.

#2 Vocational school is NOT for people too dumb or slow to deal with the academic world. That is categorically FALSE. It's just as much work, effort and dedication to produce a computer programmer, nurse or pre-law student as it does to produce an astrophysicist. Furthermore, there is nothing about those particular disciplines that are 'easy' or 'remedial' when compared to what a physicist might have to do. It is a comparison of apples and oranges. Nurses and comp programmers don't have years of research and millions of dollars in grant money to play with in their daily jobs. They can't go running to a reference book when confronted with a problem, they have to know and know immediately how to solve that problem, or millions of dollars and lives could be lost.

#3 Vocational people know what they want to do with their lives earlier than most of us - and they get started on it. By the time they are 18 or 20, they're often well along their way to financial stability and personal gratafication.

Ok.. that should quell some of the VoTech rubbish out there. Moving along to the educational system at large and how it's "broke". Most of it falls under one word: politics. Not Marxism, capitalism, solcialism or despotiscm, but simple, stupid politics. People in some capital or another applying band-aid cures to major injuries and letting hemorrhaging continue unchecked. Two summers ago I couldn't get a teaching job because the state of NJ had screwed up its DoE so badly new teachers had about an eleven month waiting period to get their one page certification processed by the state. I was lucky.. it only took me nine months. This in a state that was supposed to be short several thousand teachers for the fall.
Last summer, the market completely dried up for all teachers in NJ because of "No Child Left Behind" (or as I prefer to think of it - all children left behind, equally). The only teachers that were being hired were teh hard sciences and, amazingly enough, music teachers. (again a product of "No child...") I know I was a finalist in one school district and lost to a teacher who had been denied tenure in two other schools (for poor teaching habits) but who could teach English and French (despite the fact that she apparantly had no desire to teach french). Because she looked good on paper she got in - and so whole classes of students will now recieve a substandard eduation in english and (possibly - if they take it) french. I was told very nicely and with heartfelt emotion by the school that they wanted me, but the other teacher made their school look more attractive to parents, the board, etc... Being diplomatic, I did not say what I felt: "that I hope they apologized with as much feeling to every student whose education they have just wasted."

That sort of thing gets repeated in schools across the country. The collorary to this is tenure. Tenure is a very noble sentiment - that educators shuld be immune to political and social pressures (and losing their jobs) and be able to teach correctly, with a free hand.
Unfortunatly, in practice the sentiment has been debased. Tenure has become a refuge for incompetence and laziness. Teachers who couldn't give an expletive about their jobs, their students, their career persist in positions that they not only do not deserve, but are a detriment to the community. As an aside, I noticed an interesting collorary - the classes I subbed usually consisted of those sorts of teachers. (i.e. if a teacher takes days off just for the heck of it.. beware!). Several classes after having me for a week or longer asked if I could stay on permanantly - even after I'd given them tests!!

So that covers the very basics of the problem from the teacher's end. Now we need to address the other problem in the equation - the parents. (Notice I didn't say: the students.)

Yes, the parents. Children are a product of their parents and educators can only do so much to mitigate bad parenting. I have seen firsthand and heard secondhand 'horror' stories about parents who just DO NOT CARE. We're talking about parents who are either too self-abosrbed, too expletived-up, who literally do not care for education, or are just plain inept at parenting (I don't know how to keep my son/daughter in line.. .could you do it for me??) These people ALL exist and the one hour a particular teacher has with a student (among a class of 20+) does little to combat it. There are parents who teach their kids to curse, to be foul, to be rude, to hate their teachers, etc...

Another aside. As a sub you find very quickly that you have two choices. One: just sit there and make sure the classroom doesn't burn down. Two: actually teach. I very quickly picked #2. Believe it or not, the sub is supposed to be given materials to give to the class whenever the regular teacher is out.
After a few trips watching (literally watching) a refridgeratior-repair class watch "the discovery channel" all day (what the heck do I know about refridgerators??), I gave the school a list of subjects that I had a HS level education on and told them to only call me for those subjects. If they wanted someone for another class - they could find another warm body to fill a teacher's chair.
Point being - if you think it's hard to try and get a class under control (especailly one where the regular teacher is one of THOSE with tenure), try doing it as a sub; with the kids knowing that you're going to be gone in a day or a week. My solution? I went to a catholic all-boys Jesuit high school. I taught like they did. If I got thrown out, *shrug* (and you know what? I didn't. Twice I got thrown into classes where they had a permanant change and really, really unruly classes. Both times, I straightened out those kids in under a week so that when the new teacher came in, he or she could actually teach.)

btw, teaching like Jesuits didn't mean rulers and Father Discipline and all that. It meant going through the material in an in-depth format, collecting the homework, GRADING it, retunring it, going over it, and engaging those kids' minds. For $85/day I was putting in an twelve hour day. Do the math. Yeah, I would have gotten the same pay if I'd jsut sat on my posterior.

btw... my favorite was giving tests AND explaining the cheating philosophy: "If I suspsect you are cheating, you have cheated - whether or not you actually have cheated." That was Prep's philosophy. :)

Ok.. I've rambled a little and I havent' mentioned the kids. Teachers will get bad apples and things won't work out. One of the problems in teh VoTech plan is that you've decided your career at age 14 and some people may change their minds or not show an aptitude for the subject. Then they're hosed and shoved back into the local HS and churned though the system. That bugs me and there ought to be a better way. (VoTechs in their own way simply being another band aid.)
But even with that, so much of what kids are are becasue of the vigillance (or lack thereof) of their parents.

Solutions? I don't have any. Nothing that would please the politicians, teachers unions, parents, etc... (i.e. all my solutions involve the acceptance of responsibilty by the above parties). I just wanted to add my own experiences to this discussion. Perhaps it will spark an idea in someone.

John