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This is what's wrong with the nation's schools.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Skoorb, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Red pens are mean!
    Should a kid feel good for an F?

    This sort of nonsense is symbolic of the problem that schools readily embrace. Some argue it's teachers' salaries, but the private school I went to paid them less than the public school counterparts. The reason our education was better was because the atmosphere in the school was catered more towards learning and less towards avoiding a little deserved discomfort for a job poorly done.

    I know of one school that gives high school certificates to grade 12 students who are functionally illiterate - so they receive no diploma, but they get a 'certificate'. Afterall, it would just kill their self-esteem to fail them, even though _they're in grade 12 and they can't bloody well read_.

    Such pampering is why there is a marked increase in spoiled brats who grow into adulthood with a false sense of entitlement and such an aversion to negativity.

    Such is also why we'll be sending our kids to either private school or moving to a high end suburb, where the public school education will still be sufficiently intense.
     
  2. supirman

    supirman Well-Known Member

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    Though I don't doubt such situations in some schools, I went to a small rural public school which consistently ranks at the top of our tri county area. Our teachers are one of the lowest paid around too, but we excel in athletics and adademics - and they're certainly not afraid to fail people.

    I do agree though that the pampering needs to stop. If you are in 12th grade and can't read... there's something seriously wrong!
     
  3. RMe

    RMe Well-Known Member

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    Wow, you hit the nail on the head. I think this is a joke as well. My wife is a teacher and when I found out that kids these days with D's and F's can still pass I was floored. I was in elementary school about 20 years ago and I remember things to be different. I was also in GT at the time, but I know some now advocate that it is unfair to make some of the students feel dumb (ridiculous). If you fail then you should not be allowed to proceed until you have mastered the requirements of the grade level. This especially hurts when testing grades are given children that did not learn the curriculum from the previous grade. Ultimately, the kids suffer b/c they are just shoved through the system. This is just another part of the PC Utopian world we live in these days. Hopefully, ideas like this will fall by the wayside and common sense will prevail. After all, ideals like the one mentioned in the article do nothing to teach kids the meaning of overcoming failure even through adverse situations. Failure is not an option and I don't want my kids to learn that in red or purple ink.
     
  4. badgolfer

    badgolfer Well-Known Member

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    The intentions are good but this is the type of thinking that is over the top. If you get As on all your papers what pen do they use to write that big A with. A black one,green one, blue one? Of course not. They use the same red pen to write an A that they use to write an F. That A makes you feel great no matter what pen its in just as the F will make you feel bad no matter what pen its in.
     
  5. PeteBDawg

    PeteBDawg Well-Known Member

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    There's a bigger reason why kids with F's are being pampered.

    In most states in this country, children are constitutionally guaranteed an education. This is good and important.

    When a child fails in school or has disciplinary problems, normally, the child is held back. But the schools are overloaded and understaffed, so they can't take the extra load of problem kids every year. So, in the end, a lot of kids get expelled from school.

    However, the state guarantees an education, so these kids have to go somewhere. Generally, they go to private schools financed by the government that operate outside of municipal education systems. My mother was a social worker at one of these schools for two years. It's half Juvie, half special ed, and they have to give a lot of individual attention to all the kids, not just because it's for their own good, but because the kids are disproportionally dangerous, and if you gave a class of 20 of them to a single teacher, there'd probably be violence. So the classes are really small.

    Even though the teachers at these schools are private school teachers, and are thus payed much less than public school teachers on average, this is still an expensive proposition, and it gets cut in order to give tax breaks.

    In fact, all of education is constantly cut to give tax breaks, and to fund pork-barrel programs and wars, which is retarded, and needs to stop if this country has any hope of competing with countries that actually fund education ahead of the curve, like South Korea. Of course, it won't stop, which is why the United States will be surpassed by the Asian economies in the next century.

    But forget about that for a second. Look at it this way.

    A bunch of kids fail. The school can't afford to keep them back, because it has no money. The second chance school can't afford to take them all, because it has no money. There is only one option left - deny these kids an education. And the only constitutional way to do that is to hire a bunch of incompetent teachers, pay them very little, and pass the kids when they don't deserve it.

    "No Child Left Behind" accelerates this process by punishing schools that don't force the problem kids through the system. Under "No Child Left Behind," if your kids are having trouble and aren't getting passed through the system quickly, your school is penalized, your budget is cut, you are publicly labeled a "failure," and your kids get sent to a school that will pass them even if they can't read (certain "charter schools" have been established for this purpose - they underperform public schools even in the poorest neighborhoods by a large margin according to this year's figures). One of my good friends teaches in inner city Baltimore, and her job has gotten a lot harder since "No Child Left Behind," because she has to send away the kids who need extra attention, or the whole school will be punished by the federal government.

    The problem is funding. Why is this so hard to see? You have people who work in this system the way they do because it's the only way to run a national education system on the half-a-shoestring that is left after the budget is cut every year for three decades. Sure, the people cause the problems, but if you structured the incentives differently, different people would run the schools, and the problems would be less bad. And that's my side of the story.
     
  6. slush_puppy

    slush_puppy Well-Known Member

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    Please don't forget that all of those kids who graduate functionally illiterate or are "socially promoted" have parents as well. I'm tired of hearing blame placed on the teachers for poorly performing kids. How much respect do you have for a parent who knows their kid is graduating but can't read? How about parents that don't even know that their kids can't read? Don't blame the teachers for kids academic failings... I see much more responsibility needing to be shifted to parents who couldn't give a rat's butt what their kids are or aren't learning in school.

    That being said, my daughter is now in third grade and in an average public elementary school. Elementary school is a different place than when we were kids. In kindergarten, we sang songs around the piano and played with toys. On my daughter's first day of kindergarten, she brought home their science and math cirriculum. In third grade, she is already past multiplication and up to learning division. I didn't hit multiplication until fourth grade. The reading they do is also well beyond what I could do when I was her age. Schools are advanced and the tools are there for kids who take advantage of them.

    My daughter is tops in her class, but there's not a single night where she does homework that's not checked over by my wife or me. We spend time and help her correct what she didn't get right. There's kids in her class who's parents obviously don't care. They're easy to spot. I don't want the teacher's time taken away from my daughter to overcompensate for the academic attention that the other kids aren't getting at home. Don't just blame the teachers, they're doing their job... it's the parents who need to be ultimately held responsible for the success of their kids.
     
  7. RMe

    RMe Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if Skoorb will respond, but I don't think the comments were directed at the teachers. I could be wrong on his views. I have said it on other threads, personally parents are the difference in good schools and great schools. If you look at successful school systems there is always one underlying theme "Parental involvment". I commend you for taking care of your children and fostering their education slush_puppy. You are part of the solution.

    General thoughts......
    I think the problem doesn't lie in funding or teachers. We have too much administration. Hell, there are adminstrators administering administrators and certain districts in my area are just bloated with extra costs for administration. Our largest school district is way to big and they get more money every year from property tax increases. Where is it going?

    On more funding:
    It isn't cut and dry as there are underlying issues which are complex, but there is no direct correlation between tax dollars spent per student and state rank for public education. Some of the highest spending states have the lowest test scores and vice versa. There are issues like fund raising for schools that aren't involved in those numbers. Obviously, wealthier schools can have an advantage since some parents may not work and can devote more time to the schools. This isn't always the case. I think slush_puppy has it right, it has a lot to do with the parents.
     
  8. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Really it was directed at anybody who perpetuates the nonsense about student self-esteem and artificially elevating it. The people with the highest self-esteem are those who've overcome adversity, not those who have never had it questioned at all. Those who are congratulated even on a poor job, or one that they didn't try at, are merely confused and lack direction. Whether it's a teacher, administration, or parent pushing this idea of not disciplining poor performance, they're wrong to do it.

    People thrive more on positive reinforcement than bad, but both should be balanced and performance will be sub par if either method is too heavily emphasized.

    One thing's for sure and that it's that somebody has to care about the child's education. Ideally it's both parents and teachers. If neither care, the child suffers. I know people who have come from average schools and excelled because their parents expected it of them and helped them along. Probably parents are more important, because even a caring teacher isn't likely to care as much as a caring parent, and in either case the teacher doesn't have as much time for that one student. A good parent can more than make up for a mediocre school if they want to: starting reading early, working with their child with homework, fostering an environment that prizes knowledge and learning, etc.
     
  9. GM Enthusiast

    GM Enthusiast Well-Known Member

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    What is wrong with the schools today? They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. They are creating yet another generation of good little consumers. Free thinking has no place in our society today. People are trained to accept what they see, read and hear in mass media, and go out and spend money. Encouraging kids to try harder might cause them to start thinking for themselves, and we can't have that. Where would capitalism be today if there wasn't a sucker born every minute? Of course the truth is a sucker is NOT born every minute, but modern society makes them into suckers.

    Ok before I get off too far onto that tangent... I'm sure many of you get the idea of how I look at the situation. I consider myself lucky that my parents worked their butts off to put me through a private school at least through 8th grade. Its not that the education itself was different, it was about the environment. I'm somewhat of a slacker when it came to school. In a public school I would easily have been pushed off into a corner. At a private school, however, I was not. I had to work at a certain level or there would be consequences - both from the school as well as from my parents - because they ALWAYS knew how I was doing in school.

    I'm not going to be any different towards my son. I'd like for him to go to a private school, but it is tough to say if that will be possible. Regardless, I expect to always know how he is doing - both to help him, and to make sure he doesn't get pushed off as yet another kid that is destined to be below average (aka a good little consumer). I EXPECT his papers to be graded in red ink. I expect the teachers to teach the way they always have. If it was ok 50 years ago, it is certainly ok now.
     
  10. joecan

    joecan Well-Known Member

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    There are so many problems in education today that they can't all be addressed here.
    Everyone is talking about private schools and how great they are. The basic difference between private and public schols, is that private schools get to select who they allow in their school. If you can freely chose or exclude who you want, the atmosphere, learning, everything will be better.
    Another problem is that too many requirements are being put on schools from both the federal and state governments without providing any finances for the programs.
    Teacher's salary and benefits also play a part. In Texas, I believe that our average salary is 34th in the nation. The state provides money one year to help with the cost of insurance and then takes the money away the next year.
    A major area of concern is parents. Today you have students in elementary school that very disrespectful. I am not talking about making noises, etc., I am talking about cussing teachers out, yelling at teachers when told to do something, etc. When the parents are notified, far to many of them turn the blame on the teacher and the school. These kids are not disciplined at home and this shows at school. They are allowed to do what ever they want at home and do not believe that anyone can tell them what to do.
     

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