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YardleyLabs
01-15-2009, 08:27 PM
As requested by Marvin, I'm posting this in a new thread following up on the thread at http://www.retrievertraining.net/forums/showthread.php?t=34781.


For secondary students too much emphasis is placed on non-academic activities (sports, jobs, social activities) and too little on academic work. When I graduated from high school, where I was a good but not stellar student, I had 32 credits including 18 credits in lab sciences. I took advanced placement classes in six subjects. This compares with US norms of 18 credits in total with limited opportunities for advanced placement classes.

The difference was that I went to school from 8 AM - 4 PM every day with virtually no free periods, taking 8 classes. Homework took an average of 4 hours/night with an occasional (2-3 times/month) all nighter to catch up. That was a "normal" schedule for European schools at that time. While I followed an "American" track in my studies, the European norm was also to complete 13 years of grade school before attending university. A reason for this was that a higher percentage of students did not attend college and the secondary schools were designed to provide a more complete educational foundation, somewhat comparable to what we do through junior colleges. In France and Switzerland, graduation was tied to passing a national proficiency examination covering a broad range of subjects including foreign languages, science, history, primary language, literature, and philosophy. Think how much more could be done in American high schools by adding 2-3 hours to the daily class schedule and by defining proficiency to include a little more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

Jeff - I'm sure you have the computer skills - would you transfer what I have hilited to a separate education thread on POTUS where we can have an education discussion? I hate to see comment's like Lisa's lost in another topic.


We will be relegated to following other countries instead of being the leaders in innovation, so long as we, as a society, continue to view being intelligent as "uncool". It is very, very difficult to get young people interested in a career in the sciences or technology (unless it is writing gaming programs). Some of this (maybe a large part) has to do with how intelligent people are portrayed on television. Think of any of a number of popular TV shows, and the most intelligent characters are almost always portrayed as socially awkward, unintelligible, and badly dressed. In short, nothing any self-respecting teenager ever wants to be within a hundred miles of! Is it any wonder that our mathematics, science, and technology schools are increasingly attended by foreign nationals, and less and less by US citizens?

Lisa

I couldn't agree more. When I was little my mother worked hard to have resources included in the school budget for children with special needs (we're talking 1950's). Once she succeeded, she then lobbied to have a good portion of those funds allocated for gifted children. She received a lot of support for remedial services. However, she ran into obstacles for gifted programs because it was viewed as being somehow undemocratic to offer additional resources for those who were most gifted. With my own son I ran into a similar problem. He qualified for "special education" because he had (actually still has:)) an IQ in the 150+ range. However, no services were provided. He had the highest GPA in the entire school district and was completely bored. When I would complain, I received a stunned reaction since he was obviously doing well and didn't need anything more. I finally pulled him out of public school altogether and put him in a Quaker school where he was always pushed to be the best he could be without allowing him to fall into the trap of feeling that he was somehow superior because of his intelligence or being made to feel "less cool".

Marvin S
01-15-2009, 09:54 PM
Thank You, Jeff - though we may be at each other's throat at some other time I truly appreciate this & the fact that I didn't have to name the thread, which you managed to do quite well.

Before we start - I'll lay out my credentials - 6 1/2 years on a School Board. !st member of the Maternal side of the family to graduate from college. 7 Aunts & an Uncle on my Father's side were teachers & principals. 3 of my sons graduated as an Attorney, BS in Dairy Manufacturing & Construction Management. Each parlayed that into their own business, BTW, they all paid for their college education with an occasional care package from their parents.

It is my belief, that while longer class days may benefit some, there are social interactions in other areas that are just as beneficial to the overall health of our nation. I oppose the longer days - homework for all mentality as I believe there is more to the school experience than learning what the system wants you to learn. The system has the children for a specified period of time, they should be limited to providing their input to that time period. The skills of communication go beyond the the 3 R's.

What I believe is needed is a system that ensures a youngster has a solid foundation in life skills - mainly the 3 r's - at that point they be encouraged to explore other areas & the resources be provided for that exploration.

This would create havoc with the education establishment with their cookie cutter approach & it would create an itinerant work force, but I believe that & school choice would be very beneficial to the upgrading of educational accomplishment within our country.

This will not be my only post on this thread - as education is an interest of mine - I'd like to see people express their own opinions rather than quotes - unless something other than IMO is available - there are many experts but the system is still failing many of the children.

JDogger
01-16-2009, 02:00 AM
I agree with Jeff's model of education in France and Switzerland.

As the son of a State Department career Foreign Sevice Officer in the 50's and 60's, being deployed to a number of duty stations, I attended a variety of schools. USAF, International, Private and US Public schools.

My education was broad and scattered. Air Force schools, at the begining of my education, were little more than baby-sitting. The teachers were mostly unqualified wives of Officers, recruited to watch over us.
I then had the opportunity to attend International schools and private schools.

This was the bulk of my intermediate education. The curriculum was intensive and diverse, and fortunate also, because on my return to the states as a high school sophmore there was only one question asked of me as I entered public high school in Fairfax County VA, that fall, "what team ya playin' on boy?"

I decided to be a wrestler. So for the next two years I threw sweaty guys around on a mat, rather than join the math, science, or chess club. Like LVL says, "Ya gotta be cool."

I was successful at wrestling, but my academic pursuits suffered. When we moved again in my senior year, I had a lot to make up for, but I took a double class load, and graduated from high school on time.

I started college, but let it lapse, and the next spring the US Army grabbed me up on April 1st. (Fool's day of course) But that's another story.

JD

PS ...and yeah, Marvin, I guess some kids are just cut out to pump gas. But isn't that what we all do for ourselves now?

Marvin S
01-16-2009, 08:35 AM
PS ...and yeah, Marvin, I guess some kids are just cut out to pump gas. But isn't that what we all do for ourselves now?

Shouldn't that be a conscious choice a young person is allowed to make, rather than having the system make it for them by not allowing opportunity? BTW, You don't pump your own gas in OR, that state has created opportunity at the lowest level for those they fail to stimulate.

Pete
01-16-2009, 10:10 AM
Not all people are able to handle lots of thinking . I would like to see a top Ceo or scientist try to hold a job down pumpimg gas. See how long that lasts.
All work is honerable and vital to an economy

Personally I hold more respect for a person who gets up every morning to clean toilets or pump gas and struggles keeping his family together than I do for a CEO or a polititian who can't keep a company together dealling with billions of dollars.


In some situations the guy pumping gas would do a better job at running a large corperation or a country for that matter. Its obvious they can do no worse anyway.

Scolastics is certainly not a magic condom for success,,,,temperament of the individual is.
They come in all different colors and sizes.

I believe the job of our education system is to turn out well rounded people who have the skills to legally survive in the real world,,,Whether that means going on to being the best doctor or being the best toilet cleaner/janitor

You see the best doctors cannot do their job without the best janitors

One cannot live a communtable life without the other.
Pete

Lisa Van Loo
01-16-2009, 10:22 AM
One of the problems with our society today is that "success" in life is often measured by the number of dollars one makes, rather than by the personal goals one achieves. There is nothing wrong with working on an assembly line, being a farmer, pumping gas. If you are the best dam assembler, farmer, or gas station attendant you can be, then you have reason to be proud. If you are caring for your family, putting food on the table and clothes on the backs of your children, a good work ethic, no matter what your role in life, is the best lesson you can teach them.

This, I think, is part of where our system is broken. Many young people believe that unless they are a CEO and flying around in a Lear jet, their work is meaningless. I see very little pride in one's work anymore, even among people who are doing a very, very good job at what they do. Because they are not millionaires, they feel like failures.

Young people today believe that in order to be successful in life, they must become a doctor, a lwayer, an MBA. When they discover they lack the skill sets to become a doctor, lawyer or MBA, they just give up.

What a shame.

I agree with Marvin; the education system should focus on a broad, solid foundation. Good literacy skills, mathematics, at least one foreign language (stimulates a part of the brain not stimulated by other putrsuits), physical and biological sciences (basic chemistry, basic biology), a social studies course of some kind. With this kind of basic education, and enough free time to dream, a child will usually find their passion by the late middle school years. Unfortunately, with the current emphasis on doing, rather than being, children rarely find their passion, so fall back on pop culture or the educational system to make their choices for them.

Lisa

twall
01-16-2009, 11:26 AM
I think our public schools are graduating a significant number of students who are not prepared to succeed in life with the education they have. Regardless of what they choose to do after HS. I think the biggest problem is that parents have completely abdicated their childrens education to the government schools. Our society has placed teachers in a revered position even when so many schools systems are failing miserably. Our society has also made a college degree as the key to future sucess.

The pursuit of knowledge has become the standard for our education system now. "We" have relenquished control to the "professionals" and dare not question them, let alone hold them accountable for what they do. Ultimately, we as parents have let our children down by abdicating our roles in their lives to others who do not love them nor have their best interests at heart, as we do.

The best way to educate your child today is to homeschool them.

Tom

Lisa Van Loo
01-16-2009, 11:50 AM
The best way to educate your child today is to homeschool them.

Tom


Most working people don't have that option. or do not have enough of a grasp of subject matter to do a good job.

Better still, just stay plugged into your child's life! Pay attention to what is being taught, and how. Staying involved is the key.

Something else that bugs me; all the afterschool "activities" that children attend in order to have "well-rounded" lives. When do they ever have time to do homework? Chores around the house? When I was in school, we had one period each day for sports, and one for "electives", which could be an art class, band, chorus, whatever. If you were good, you could try out for a team, or marching band, or the school musical. Thst is, of course, if you were able to get your chores and homework done first. Otherwise, forget it!

Nowadays, it is almost the norm for children to be expected to attend various classes or participate in sports wholly outside the school realm. I suspect that at least some of this multi-tasking, overscheduling of our children's lives is yet another "acceptable" means of dumping our children on others to deal with. Abdicating our roles, as Tom points out.

Lisa

twall
01-16-2009, 12:43 PM
Most working people don't have that option. or do not have enough of a grasp of subject matter to do a good job.

Better still, just stay plugged into your child's life! Pay attention to what is being taught, and how. Staying involved is the key.

Lisa,

It is surprisingly easy to homeschool your children today. There are a number or resources from curriculum to online classes. The hardest part is the true commitment to your children. It is much easier to put your children on a school bus and then have both parents march off to their jobs so they can pay for their kids to have everything they didn't growing up. Ultimately, what are children want and need is us! It is kind of like the story of the kid who opens an expensive christmas present and then spends the rest of the day playing with the empty box.

How many people do you know that wish their parents could have bought them more things instead of spending more time with them? The most precious resource we have is the brief years our children are with us.

How can we think our society is advanced when we think it is a better use of a parents time to work for some company while an unknown person making minimum wage at a daycare is raising their child? The hard part of homeschooling your children is coming to the realization you are the best teacher they can ever have and you can live a comfortable life on one income. When they are grown our children won't remmeber all the things we bought for them. But, they will remember the time we did or didn't spend with them.

As far as all the activities kids are doing today many have become human doings instead of human beings.

Tom

Marvin S
01-17-2009, 10:43 PM
I agree with Jeff's model of education in France and Switzerland.

As the son of a State Department career Foreign Sevice Officer in the 50's and 60's, being deployed to a number of duty stations, I attended a variety of schools. USAF, International, Private and US Public schools.

My education was broad and scattered. Air Force schools, at the begining of my education, were little more than baby-sitting. The teachers were mostly unqualified wives of Officers, recruited to watch over us.
I then had the opportunity to attend International schools and private schools.

This was the bulk of my intermediate education. The curriculum was intensive and diverse, and fortunate also, because on my return to the states as a high school sophmore there was only one question asked of me as I entered public high school in Fairfax County VA, that fall, "what team ya playin' on boy?"

I decided to be a wrestler. So for the next two years I threw sweaty guys around on a mat, rather than join the math, science, or chess club. Like LVL says, "Ya gotta be cool."

I was successful at wrestling, but my academic pursuits suffered. When we moved again in my senior year, I had a lot to make up for, but I took a double class load, and graduated from high school on time.

I started college, but let it lapse, and the next spring the US Army grabbed me up on April 1st. (Fool's day of course) But that's another story. JD

I find it interesting that both you & Jeff were in international schools & make up a goodly portion of the resident lefties on this forum. But one thing I notice in both your posts is that you had conscious choices & opportunities extended because of those choices.

I grew up in SD during the depression - the little kid who walked 2 miles in 20 below weather to school, which I actually did. Had we lived on the other side of a dirt road I would have gone to a different school, still 2 miles. Our teachers were the local high school girls who were bright, went to normal school the 1st year out of high school for 12 weeks, 3 other 6 week periods during the next 5 summers & they were certificated elementary school teachers. It would be a blessing to today's educational environment if we were able to duplicate their efforts.

The country schools had 15-25 children, all grades, & the students studied while the others were receiving instruction. Many times the brightest among us would watch the older kids, prepared to answer the questions they could not. One interesting sidelight is those of us that were in the 4th grade together, 3 boys, all became Engineers, 1 PHD in Geological, 1 Civil & 1 Mining. We never held spelling bees as I was the resident County champion from the 3rd grade on. I thank my teacher, Goldie Lee, for carting me all over so I could compete. We were taught from a lesson plan prepared in the county superintendent's office. One year I lived with an aunt in a different town school area, the rest of my 1-6 years were spent with my Grandparents, who raised me until I was 12, as my parents were not capable. I was unwanted & a burden in their separate lives. My grandmother died when I was in the 6th grade & for the 7th grade I was carted off to my mothers & the big city school environment of Sioux Falls, SD. For the next 4 years I never went to the same school from year to year, it was only through the efforts of my HS BB coach, Bruce Crockett, that I was able to attend the HS I graduated from for 2 straight years. While times were simpler, I am able to empathize with the trials many youngsters go through today. The best thing I received throughout all those travails was NO sympathy. I believe we extend the hardship moniker to easily today & some are foolish enough to fall for it. But I do remember those in the SF school system that were contemptuous of this bright little skinny kid in the Good Will hand me downs. Someday I'll tell the story of the comic book & Ms Porter or the Valentine & Ms Hansen.

From the 7th through the 12th grades I absorbed most of what was presented, which was little, but still managed to ace the statewide aptitude test given during our Senior year. It was quite a blow to the aces of the class when the person who finished in the middle was the object of most college recruiters interest. I chose a school in the North Central conference (my HS Physics teacher offered to contact MIT for me, but I was interested in being a Coach at the time) so I could play BB but found them to be an extension of what I had received in HS, so did a stint in the AF, but that's a subject for a separate thread on Higher Education.

I only present this as I believe it to be the exact opposite of Jeff & JD's educational opportunities & I do not feel shorted because of what happened.

luvalab
01-18-2009, 02:15 AM
Well, I teach high school. Nice school, nice kids, relatively decent education, vast majority go to college, most of those who go stay and graduate. I love my job.

I will tell you that if I REALLY want a written assignment done by 100 percent of the class--with no plagiarism or cheating or group-think or BS half-done crap--I have to do all the instruction in class (no written instruction sent home), allow most of the reading time in class (if they are responding to literature), have them do the thinking and planning in class, and when it comes time to actually produce, make the written portion silent in-class work and make it due before they leave class. If I send it home with them, the vast majority simply don't have the time or motivation to follow through with any seriousness.

I teach some wonderful kids, and I don't do this for every assignment, but if I want that 100 percent participation with maximum effort from all, this is what I generally have to do.

The mostly-suburban teens I teach simply don't have the time, parental support and parental discipline, and internal motivation to follow through on an assignment. Once that final bell rings, they are at work or at practice. They are working because they need to help pay for their insurance because they have to have a car so that they can drive themselves to sports practice and work, and since they have a car they also get to drive little brother or sister to sports and activities. They are practicing all year round because there is no such thing as a single season anymore--if they are excellent at one sport, they generally play that sport year-round intensively at the club level, because otherwise they just can't cut it when the season comes around, OR they play complementary sports for the same reason--or to keep themselves visible to the rest of the community and the coaches, so their name is still at the top of everyone's thoughts when their season does roll around.

There are actually punitive (I mean, "conditioning") measures for the few students in one sport. Players end up having to participate in extended pre-seasons before their sport rolls around--if they play club, they are exempt.

I'm not against sports, either. I'm just telling it like I see it. And if it's not sports, it's something else that is "their thing" that's not schoolwork. I teach a remarkable number of kids who dance 20 hours a week--I'm surprised Columbus, Ohio isn't known as the hotbed of American ballet talent!

My point is, school and study are not a priority--activities are. And once they're in an activity, they are IN--I can hear the parents in my head, "He's so talented... he takes 5 lessons a week... She's so dedicated... she's at it until 2 in the morning..." The pressure to do and achieve is astounding. And kids certainly feel pressure to achieve at school--but I'm not sure they understand the importance of actually learning. Learning is such a low priority that most kids don't even know what cheating is--they just do it, because they think the point of an assignment is to get it done and graded--not to learn something. By and large, the parents feel the same way.

I genuinely feel for kids sometimes--it's go-go-go on a multi-tasking agenda that they often have no control over or that has gotten out of all reasonable balance. IMO these kids should be excited by new and interesting things out there to learn--instead, they're mostly just exhausted.

I'm not sure this is an issue that can be solved by reforming "education."

But if I think back hard enough, I was overscheduled and exhausted as a teen, and so was every single one of my friends, and a lot of kids cheated, and the teachers complained that education wasn't a priority... so who knows.

tpaschal30
01-18-2009, 08:01 AM
Here is the real issue in education and crime and the poor parenting usually associated with it.

http://www.kdheks.gov/hci/as/1997/figure15.gif

luvalab
01-18-2009, 09:15 AM
Here is the real issue in education and crime and the poor parenting usually associated with it.

http://www.kdheks.gov/hci/as/1997/figure15.gif

Perhaps at one time, I don't know.

But IMO, today it's irrelevant. Family structures have changed in all demographics. Drugs, poverty, and a culture and subcultures with some serious conflicts about the importance of academics... those things march on.

tpaschal30
01-18-2009, 09:24 AM
Perhaps at one time, I don't know.

But IMO, today it's irrelevant. Family structures have changed in all demographics. Drugs, poverty, and a culture and subcultures with some serious conflicts about the importance of academics... those things march on.

It is hard for me to believe the discounting of the job of parenting. Poor dog training yields poor dog behavior. Poor child training yields poor child and adult behavior, which includes drugs and "culture". Poverty is not an issue

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_L6pDyjqqsvY/SLaxCe2LHHI/AAAAAAAAQHU/-DrJ75hWFZM/s400/poverty+rate+in+us.jpg

luvalab
01-18-2009, 09:46 AM
It is hard for me to believe the discounting of the job of parenting. Poor dog training yields poor dog behavior. Poor child training yields poor child and adult behavior, which includes drugs and "culture". Poverty is not an issue

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_L6pDyjqqsvY/SLaxCe2LHHI/AAAAAAAAQHU/-DrJ75hWFZM/s400/poverty+rate+in+us.jpg

I'm not sure what you're comparing, first of all. Second, whatever statistic you throw at me is not going to convince me that poverty and education success are unrelated--seen too much other evidence, you just can't compete!

And finally, I think the job of parenting is absolutely crucial to a child's success--I just don't happen to think that a context-less statistic about unwed births has anything to do with good parenting in the year 2009--lots of parents who are unmarried parent--often together, co-habitating; lots of single parents parent very effectively; lots of other family members step in to fill parenting roles previously filled in other ways--I think things are in flux.

From my vantage point, I see a good number of unparented teens who have two married parents, and a good number of well-parented teens without a natural parent in sight.

I have my own views on what's right for me and those I hold most dear to me, but my own views don't seem to have anything to do with what I see in the classroom or amongst my friends.

You can tell me I have my head in the sand on the subject--if it is, I might just decide to keep it there, because it keeps me from making assumptions about a huge number of parents and kids I have personal and professional relationships with.

tpaschal30
01-18-2009, 09:58 AM
I'm not sure what you're comparing, first of all. Second, whatever statistic you throw at me is not going to convince me that poverty and education success are unrelated--seen too much other evidence, you just can't compete!

And finally, I think the job of parenting is absolutely crucial to a child's success--I just don't happen to think that a context-less statistic about unwed births has anything to do with good parenting in the year 2009--lots of parents who are unmarried parent--often together, co-habitating; lots of single parents parent very effectively; lots of other family members step in to fill parenting roles previously filled in other ways--I think things are in flux.

From my vantage point, I see a good number of unparented teens who have two married parents, and a good number of well-parented teens without a natural parent in sight.

I have my own views on what's right for me and those I hold most dear to me, but my own views don't seem to have anything to do with what I see in the classroom or amongst my friends.

You can tell me I have my head in the sand on the subject--if it is, I might just decide to keep it there, because it keeps me from making assumptions about a huge number of parents and kids I have personal and professional relationships with.

Overall poverty has remained stable over the last 40 years, while crime has risen and return on education has dropped. The 40 year destruction of the American family directly coincides with rise in crime. I guess you think parenting is half the job it was 40 years ago. I on the other hand think it might be twice the job. I'm no Obama fan but;

"C]hildren living with single mothers are five times more likely to be poor than children in two-parent households. Children in single-parent homes are also more likely to drop out of school and become teen parents, even when income is factored out. And the evidence suggests that on average, children who live with their biological mother and father do better than those who live in stepfamilies or with cohabiting partners.... In light of these facts, policies that strengthen marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are sensible goals to pursue.

--Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope"

luvalab
01-18-2009, 10:42 AM
I guess you think parenting is half the job it was 40 years ago. I on the other hand think it might be twice the job.

Why in the world would you think that's what I think?

In fact, I am inclined to agree with you. And further, I think public policy should encourage the traditional nuclear family (just seems to be a very efficient scheme to me);

I also think that horse is WAY out of the barn, and that it's only practical at this point in time that public policy also be broad enough to support children regardless of family structure (because I see a whole lot of those structures trying to work, and a whole lot of traditional families not working at all). NOTE: I am NOT saying that public policy ought to be intrusive or expensive, in the name of ANY kind of family.

The argument I'm trying to make is not that parents don't matter--the argument I'm making is that right now, in the year 2009, looking to statistics like you initially put out there may not be as relevant to parenting success as they may have been in the past.

tpaschal30
01-18-2009, 11:19 AM
Why in the world would you think that's what I think?

In fact, I am inclined to agree with you. And further, I think public policy should encourage the traditional nuclear family (just seems to be a very efficient scheme to me);

I also think that horse is WAY out of the barn, and that it's only practical at this point in time that public policy also be broad enough to support children regardless of family structure (because I see a whole lot of those structures trying to work, and a whole lot of traditional families not working at all). NOTE: I am NOT saying that public policy ought to be intrusive or expensive, in the name of ANY kind of family.

The argument I'm trying to make is not that parents don't matter--the argument I'm making is that right now, in the year 2009, looking to statistics like you initially put out there may not be as relevant to parenting success as they may have been in the past.

Sorry. I was under the impression you thought one was as good as two. In certain situations I'm sure it is, but over an entire population it can't be. The War on Poverty's "man out of the house rule" was the mechanism used to destroy the family. The natural tendency is for the traditional family unit and I think over time the get the "horse back in the barn". We were warned by even liberals like Daniel Patrick Moynihan no less. From wiki;

"Moynihan found data at the Labor Department that showed that even as fewer people were unemployed, more people were joining the welfare rolls — these recipients were families with children, but only one parent (almost invariably the mother). The laws at that time permitted such families to receive welfare payments in certain parts of the United States.

" Despite Moynihan's warnings, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program had the "Man out of the house rule." Critics said that the nation was paying poor women to throw their husbands out of the house. Moynihan supported Richard Nixon's idea of a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI). Daniel Patrick Moynihan had significant discussions concerning a Basic Income Guarantee with Russell B. Long and Louis O. Kelso.

After the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress, Moynihan agreed that something had to be done about the welfare system possibly encouraging women to raise their children without fathers: "The Republicans are saying we have a helluva problem, and we do."[6]"

luvalab
01-18-2009, 11:43 AM
Sorry. I was under the impression you thought one was as good as two. In certain situations I'm sure it is, but over an entire population it can't be.

No need to apologize. And I agree with you on your point--over an entire population, parenting is surely difficult enough that the tag-team approach is going to be more effective in general!

I guess I am just inclined to the idea that wed/unwed may no longer be relevant to whether there are two parents, I think there are also families where another relative steps in as party number two pretty effectively, and there are a lot of situations where parents are absent in some significant way despite being "present" in terms of being married. So, I'm not sure that the wed/unwed statistic is significant at this point in time.

And I'm not touching War on Poverty with a ten-foot internet poll! Trying to argue all the sides there and trying to explain myself and looking for research and so forth would consume me.

Dog training's been cancelled for the day (road conditions), so I'm going to go sit down and read an honest-to-goodness book, with paper and print and consecutive page numbers and everything. Have a good day.

Marvin S
01-18-2009, 01:48 PM
Well, I teach high school. Nice school, nice kids, relatively decent education, vast majority go to college, most of those who go stay and graduate. I love my job.

I will tell you that if I REALLY want a written assignment done by 100 percent of the class--with no plagiarism or cheating or group-think or BS half-done crap--I have to do all the instruction in class (no written instruction sent home), allow most of the reading time in class (if they are responding to literature), have them do the thinking and planning in class, and when it comes time to actually produce, make the written portion silent in-class work and make it due before they leave class. If I send it home with them, the vast majority simply don't have the time or motivation to follow through with any seriousness.

I teach some wonderful kids, and I don't do this for every assignment, but if I want that 100 percent participation with maximum effort from all, this is what I generally have to do.

I would ask - What is wrong with the approach that the system has the children during their scheduled attendance time - they grade on the student's efforts during that time & the educators manage their & the student's time better. Your approach to doing it in school is the way I was taught. We did sports during study hall, as there was only one bus in & one going out. But when I got to where I was living, I had Pigs to feed, Cows to milk by hand & work in the chicken house. That was the income of the people I worked for & that's how they paid me some & boarded me.




I genuinely feel for kids sometimes--it's go-go-go on a multi-tasking agenda that they often have no control over or that has gotten out of all reasonable balance. IMO these kids should be excited by new and interesting things out there to learn--instead, they're mostly just exhausted.

I'm not sure this is an issue that can be solved by reforming "education."

But if I think back hard enough, I was overscheduled and exhausted as a teen, and so was every single one of my friends, and a lot of kids cheated, and the teachers complained that education wasn't a priority... so who knows.

I watch my grandchildren - one especially, practices to swim competitively, does voice & is actually quite good, plays SS on the girls SB team & seems to thrive - did give up piano as there was not a time slot for it.


And I agree with you on your point--over an entire population, parenting is surely difficult enough that the tag-team approach is going to be more effective in general!

I guess I am just inclined to the idea that wed/unwed may no longer be relevant to whether there are two parents, I think there are also families where another relative steps in as party number two pretty effectively, and there are a lot of situations where parents are absent in some significant way despite being "present" in terms of being married. So, I'm not sure that the wed/unwed statistic is significant at this point in time.

Read my previous post - non parent situations were not unique, even in my day. The government being involved where they don't belong is.


And I'm not touching War on Poverty with a ten-foot internet poll! Trying to argue all the sides there and trying to explain myself and looking for research and so forth would consume me.

Rewarding people who cannot control their own lives by paying them to be brood ****** is not a smart move, nor is it compassionate.

luvalab
01-18-2009, 03:00 PM
I would ask - What is wrong with the approach that the system has the children during their scheduled attendance time - they grade on the student's efforts during that time & the educators manage their & the student's time better. Your approach to doing it in school is the way I was taught. We did sports during study hall, as there was only one bus in & one going out. But when I got to where I was living, I had Pigs to feed, Cows to milk by hand & work in the chicken house. That was the income of the people I worked for & that's how they paid me some & boarded me.

I don't think it's wrong--it's why I do it--and, as I noted at the end of my post, it's not so different than my own recollection of high school.

But it sure would be nice a couple times a week to assign 15 minutes of reading and have 40 minutes of everyone being able to participate in the thinking and discussion--or twenty minutes of followup writing after 40 minutes of reading and thinking.

If folks are going to get all worked up about education reform, from a teacher's perspective, having students with the motivation and time to do a bit of "extra-curricular" studying and who don't come to school already exhausted in the morning from non-school activities is a place to start a discussion. There's only so much time in a school day--and I manage mine quite well bell-to-bell, thank you very much--I'm not sure how much more I can teach given that time is fixed here on planet earth.

I watch my grandchildren - one especially, practices to swim competitively, does voice & is actually quite good, plays SS on the girls SB team & seems to thrive - did give up piano as there was not a time slot for it.

I'm sure she's a lovely girl, and you and those who love and care for her think she's thriving, so please don't let anything I say worry you about it, for sure. I've been on this forum for five years, and at no point has your occassional mention of your family struck me as anything but stable, loving, and involved, not that it's my business, but you put it out there.

Read my previous post - non parent situations were not unique, even in my day. The government being involved where they don't belong is.

I read your post. I can only respond to so much. Further support for my argument--not only are wed/unwed statistics irrelevant today, they weren't necessarily all that informative "back in the day." I don't think government should belong in family structure, except to encourage efficient ones and support some very basic general children's needs. I thought what I was aiming for was EXACTLY that government shouldn't be involved where they don't belong.

Rewarding people who cannot control their own lives by paying them to be brood ****** is not a smart move, nor is it compassionate.

Marvin, I'm not quite sure we really disagree all that much.

Except that your final, insulting, vile comment, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said, implies that that's what I think should happen.

Where in the world did that come from? Why are you insulting and attacking my observations to the point that it appears you want me to take it personally?

For heaven's sake. If you didn't refute me on things we mostly agree on and follow up with that comment out of nowhere that you yourself felt was off-putting enough that you "bleeped" the key noun--and instead took a civil moment to cogently point out the areas of difference you find so compelling, maybe you'd win me over to your side...

except wait, I thought I was mostly on your side...

but wait, now I don't really want to be. Too bad--you're an interesting guy.

I suppose, then, you don't think I'm all that worth having on your side. I can accept that.

How's this work for you:

I am now on my own side, and divorced from the dialogue if I can stand it. Go ahead and poke me again, if you want--I may or may not bite back, if that's what you're looking for. But I'm not going to bother adding anything new to the conversation, because it's pretty clear you don't give two hoots about what I ACTUALLY say. Which is too bad--I've got more to say, and so do you, and it could be an interesting and nuanced give and take, but there ya' go. I don't have the energy to defend and further explain any more than what's already out there.

Back to my book, which is lovely. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." Dogs, Wisconsin... So far, so good.

Marvin S
01-18-2009, 04:17 PM
Marvin, I'm not quite sure we really disagree all that much.

We don't, I felt I was adding to your comments. Trust me, all educators? do not have your focus, but unfortunately are kept on board & paid the same as you.


Except that your final, insulting, vile comment, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said, implies that that's what I think should happen.

Where in the world did that come from? Why are you insulting and attacking my observations to the point that it appears you want me to take it personally?

The comment was made in agreement with your assessment, Aid to Dependent Children was anything but. I actually liked Moynihan, NY will go awhile before they experience the likes of him again.


For heaven's sake. If you didn't refute me on things we mostly agree on and follow up with that comment out of nowhere that you yourself felt was off-putting enough that you "bleeped" the key noun--and instead took a civil moment to cogently point out the areas of difference you find so compelling, maybe you'd win me over to your side...

except wait, I thought I was mostly on your side...

but wait, now I don't really want to be. Too bad--you're an interesting guy.

I suppose, then, you don't think I'm all that worth having on your side. I can accept that.

How's this work for you:

I am now on my own side, and divorced from the dialogue if I can stand it. Go ahead and poke me again, if you want--I may or may not bite back, if that's what you're looking for. But I'm not going to bother adding anything new to the conversation, because it's pretty clear you don't give two hoots about what I ACTUALLY say. Which is too bad--I've got more to say, and so do you, and it could be an interesting and nuanced give and take, but there ya' go. I don't have the energy to defend and further explain any more than what's already out there.

Back to my book, which is lovely. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." Dogs, Wisconsin... So far, so good.

If you took what I said as offputting, Please accept my apology, it was not meant to be that way. Sorry!

Enjoy your book. :)

I really do want to see a discussion.

luvalab
01-18-2009, 05:29 PM
We don't, I felt I was adding to your comments. Trust me, all educators? do not have your focus, but unfortunately are kept on board & paid the same as you.



The comment was made in agreement with your assessment, Aid to Dependent Children was anything but. I actually liked Moynihan, NY will go awhile before they experience the likes of him again.



If you took what I said as offputting, Please accept my apology, it was not meant to be that way. Sorry!

Enjoy your book. :)

I really do want to see a discussion.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, Marvin. I guess I got myself all worked up. Not enough fresh air--maybe without realizing it I was itching for a fight. ;)

As for Aid to Dependent Children, it was before my time and I have mixed feelings and few facts and no experience, so it wasn't even on my radar anymore when I read your reply... sorry again.

So in the spirit of dialogue, here's something I'll add--I'd actually like to see LESS education, in some ways.

One proposal: Try 5 or 6 periods a day, not 8 or 9, but have those periods focus on core subjects that can be taught both more broadly and deeply, so that "elective" subjects can be explored within a broader context and kids can get a taste of what interests them and why--with some actual understanding of how the world works as an integrated whole. Heck, teach 2 or 3 subjects a day, and bring in specialists and guest lecturers and lab instructors. The kids would love learning on its own schedule instead of learning by the toll of the bell and the trudge to the next class.

Another proposal: There are particularly bright kids out there that really have no business in high school once they are 15 or 16. Give high schools the power to set them free! Encourage colleges to have programs that bring in these bright youngsters, but maybe give them a bit more structure until they're adults. High school is killing them.

Another proposal: If a kid knows he wants to be a world-class chef at age 15 and seems to have all the right stuff, give him 4 hours a day for the next three years to learn how to do it, and throw out the idea of requiring X number of this and Y number of that and proficiency in ABC and Z in the name of being well-rounded--or make proficiency honest-to-goodness profiency instead of thinking every child has to be above average in everything, or aiming for every child to have 30 high school credits distributed over X number of subjects, or whatever. When a kid is proficient in the core subjects give him the opportunity and structure to learn about what interests him, and make sure that when teaching what interests him he continues to be exposed to more sophisticated lessons. Studying to be a chef? Include an appropriate amount of chemistry; have a required project in food history; teach aesthetics in relation to presentation; you get the idea.

State legislatures, in my opinion, are a horror in terms of education reform, but that's the only mechanism anyone thinks about when they talk about reforming education. The problem then is that when people abandon the idea of reform through state legislature, the federal is the next mechanism--but then the federal can and will only give further direction to the state, so the layers of government keep multiplying. No Child Left Behind was terrible for that, for all it's hands-off broad-brush rhetoric (and maybe intention--but the outcome was horrid). But on the local level, schools are often helpless or directionless or resistant to change. So I don't know what the answer is.

My book is quite good, as a matter of fact--had to take a break to make some salsa for a friendly gathering tonight, though, and checked out the web again--glad I did. Anyway, back to the jalapeno dicing.

Friends?

YardleyLabs
01-18-2009, 05:31 PM
Education is not a one size fits all process. However, we will not compete successfully in the world if our brightest students only work on their academic subjects half as much as their counterparts in other countries. Most jobs, and most dramatic innovations and great art, come from a relatively small group of exceptionally talented people. However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- whether in work, sports, business, or intellectual endeavors. However, the lesson now taught to our brightest students is that they should be happy to get good grades with little work and maybe become involved in a sport or get a real job.

To go back to Lisa's comment, I believe this is a recipe for third world status in our future. Does that mean I believe everyone should be pushed to the max academically? No, just as not every kid should be pushed to the level of training expected from the varsity football team. However, we offer almost no resources for developing the skills of our greatest intellectual talents outside the walls of a limited number of private schools and private universities. From an economic development perspective I believe we need to extend those opportunities to the public education system to avoid squandering some of our greatest talent.

luvalab
01-18-2009, 05:38 PM
Education is not a one size fits all process. However, we will not compete successfully in the world if our brightest students only work on their academic subjects half as much as their counterparts in other countries. Most jobs, and most dramatic innovations and great art, come from a relatively small group of exceptionally talented people. However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- whether in work, sports, business, or intellectual endeavors. However, the lesson now taught to our brightest students is that they should be happy to get good grades with little work and maybe become involved in a sport or get a real job.

To go back to Lisa's comment, I believe this is a recipe for third world status in our future. Does that mean I believe everyone should be pushed to the max academically? No, just as not every kid should be pushed to the level of training expected from the varsity football team. However, we offer almost no resources for developing the skills of our greatest intellectual talents outside the walls of a limited number of private schools and private universities. From an economic development perspective I believe we need to extend those opportunities to the public education system to avoid squandering some of our greatest talent.

Nice post.

Before I pry myself away--

"However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- "

I am always a little flummuxed by the number of students who believe they can be great athletes, and the resources that are there to support them in their pursuit, when FACT flies in the face of it.

But not many students believe they can be great intellectuals--it's not even on their radar--and those who want to be great artists don't have much in the way of resources to support them.

Marvin S
01-19-2009, 10:08 PM
So in the spirit of dialogue, here's something I'll add--I'd actually like to see LESS education, in some ways.

One proposal: Try 5 or 6 periods a day, not 8 or 9, but have those periods focus on core subjects that can be taught both more broadly and deeply, so that "elective" subjects can be explored within a broader context and kids can get a taste of what interests them and why--with some actual understanding of how the world works as an integrated whole. Heck, teach 2 or 3 subjects a day, and bring in specialists and guest lecturers and lab instructors. The kids would love learning on its own schedule instead of learning by the toll of the bell and the trudge to the next class.

Another proposal: There are particularly bright kids out there that really have no business in high school once they are 15 or 16. Give high schools the power to set them free! Encourage colleges to have programs that bring in these bright youngsters, but maybe give them a bit more structure until they're adults. High school is killing them.

Another proposal: If a kid knows he wants to be a world-class chef at age 15 and seems to have all the right stuff, give him 4 hours a day for the next three years to learn how to do it, and throw out the idea of requiring X number of this and Y number of that and proficiency in ABC and Z in the name of being well-rounded--or make proficiency honest-to-goodness profiency instead of thinking every child has to be above average in everything, or aiming for every child to have 30 high school credits distributed over X number of subjects, or whatever. When a kid is proficient in the core subjects give him the opportunity and structure to learn about what interests him, and make sure that when teaching what interests him he continues to be exposed to more sophisticated lessons. Studying to be a chef? Include an appropriate amount of chemistry; have a required project in food history; teach aesthetics in relation to presentation; you get the idea.

State legislatures, in my opinion, are a horror in terms of education reform, but that's the only mechanism anyone thinks about when they talk about reforming education. The problem then is that when people abandon the idea of reform through state legislature, the federal is the next mechanism--but then the federal can and will only give further direction to the state, so the layers of government keep multiplying. No Child Left Behind was terrible for that, for all it's hands-off broad-brush rhetoric (and maybe intention--but the outcome was horrid). But on the local level, schools are often helpless or directionless or resistant to change. So I don't know what the answer is.

All three of your proposals have more than considerable merit - Why doesn't it happen? Think Job Protection & no one in the profession being willing to stand up & say "We need to do a better job of educating children". The NEA & the (name your state) EA control the agenda. They will not allow added pay to answer in a competitive Job Market. While it was not uncommon to have 200 applicants with at least 100 of those qualified for a Language Arts position, any Science of substance &/or Math generally went begging for applicants. We will not be able to write books & poems that sell unless we keep the other part of the equation, mainly our young scientists & engineers in a ongoing highly educated & appropriately compensated supply. There needs to be a balance.

The fact that congress allows importation of those skills to keep the wage level down discourages many from entering the field. There is nothing easy about getting an Engineering &/or Science degree. I've worked in foreign countries & dealt with foreign engineers educated both here & in their home land. Do you know what separates people who live in our great nation & other nations? This is many times with people who on paper were more qualified than the US citizen. Our ability to assess risk & do something about that assessment. While we have respect for our elders in most cases, we do not allow that to stand in the way of a decision that needs to be made. We do not defer to their wisdom when it is meaningless.


Education is not a one size fits all process. However, we will not compete successfully in the world if our brightest students only work on their academic subjects half as much as their counterparts in other countries. Most jobs, and most dramatic innovations and great art, come from a relatively small group of exceptionally talented people. However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- whether in work, sports, business, or intellectual endeavors. However, the lesson now taught to our brightest students is that they should be happy to get good grades with little work and maybe become involved in a sport or get a real job.

To go back to Lisa's comment, I believe this is a recipe for third world status in our future. Does that mean I believe everyone should be pushed to the max academically? No, just as not every kid should be pushed to the level of training expected from the varsity football team. However, we offer almost no resources for developing the skills of our greatest intellectual talents outside the walls of a limited number of private schools and private universities. From an economic development perspective I believe we need to extend those opportunities to the public education system to avoid squandering some of our greatest talent.

I have taken the liberty of hiliting portions of your statements, hope you don't mind. Please notice the portion of my statements I have hilited.

In order to obtain this excellence, we need to have those in charge be highly qualified. Generally, the Math & Science teachers in most Public schools have those subjects secondary on their major, if at all. I've looked at a lot of resumes, so can speak with some knowledge. Because these subject teachers are in short supply it is not uncommon for students to be excluded from participation in these classes. This coupled with the fact that teachers, in general, come from the lower 25 percentile (Source= George Will & Thomas Sowell in separate statements) of those who take the SAT & finish college while Engineers, Scientists, Doctors & most Attorneys come from the upper 15 percentile, creates a huge disparity. It does help if the teacher is smarter than the taught. Even in our little school in SD in the 40's there were at least 6 students in every Math, Chemistry of Physics class brighter than the teacher. Why do you think the great push is on to go away from IQ testing? While I have little issue with someone being paid for what they bring to the table & the results thereof, the more money for Education crowd doesn't see it that way.

YardleyLabs
01-20-2009, 08:22 AM
....

In order to obtain this excellence, we need to have those in charge be highly qualified. Generally, the Math & Science teachers in most Public schools have those subjects secondary on their major, if at all. I've looked at a lot of resumes, so can speak with some knowledge. Because these subject teachers are in short supply it is not uncommon for students to be excluded from participation in these classes. This coupled with the fact that teachers, in general, come from the lower 25 percentile (Source= George Will & Thomas Sowell in separate statements) of those who take the SAT & finish college while Engineers, Scientists, Doctors & most Attorneys come from the upper 15 percentile, creates a huge disparity. It does help if the teacher is smarter than the taught. Even in our little school in SD in the 40's there were at least 6 students in every Math, Chemistry of Physics class brighter than the teacher. Why do you think the great push is on to go away from IQ testing? While I have little issue with someone being paid for what they bring to the table & the results thereof, the more money for Education crowd doesn't see it that way.

Teacher qualifications are an issue, but I don't think they are a decisive issue. I was attending a parents' night presentation at my son's school when he was in 8th grade. The science teacher presented his resume. He had majored in Chemistry and tried getting a job as a chemist but was terminated repeatedly. To get some job security, he entered a Master's program where he took some teaching courses and wrote his thesis "proving" (his word, not mine) that Creationism was the only rational explanation for the order of the world. When he was once again fired from his job, he applied for and was immediately accepted as a teacher in one of the best and most highly compensated school districts in PA (teacher salary of $90 after 13 years, avg teacher salary of $85k.). His presentation was ungrammatical and his handouts had spelling errors.

I was upset that this would be the person teaching my son about science. My son's mom appropriately pointed out that our son would be learning for most of his life from people who were not as smart as he and that he needed to learn how to do that. She also noted that, no matter what, the teacher clearly knew more about science than our son and had lots to teach, and that being challenged by a teacher who firmly believed in Creationism and rejected evolution would give our son perspectives that he would never get at home and that would help him get a better understanding of the slippery nature of truth. She was right and both my son and I ended up learning some valuable lessons. My son thought his teacher was an idiot, and he was right. However, his teacher did succeed in stimulating my son's thinking.