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Topic: American Education System Going Down the Drain< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 9:56 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I can't believe how quickly our great public education system is eroding into a political junkpile, and how little parents seem to value the best possible education for their children.

I volunteer to tutor First Graders in reading, mostly boys, and none of them get support and supervision for their reading assignments at home.  But they have video games and ipads in place of graduated reading instruction books.

Maybe it will be enough, but I don't think so.

Read it and weep:

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.

Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.


https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2012....-system


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 10:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I made a good choice by not having children, since the only thing most of them will be able to do is work at Walmart.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 11:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 7:42 pm)
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I made a good choice by not having children, since the only thing most of them will be able to do is work at Walmart.

You'd be surprised how much Walmart execs can make!!   :;):

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 11:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ben, I'm more concerned with how much it costs the American taxpayers to subsidize  Walmart's low wages with food stamps and welfare for their poorly paid workers.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2013, 11:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 8:48 pm)
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Ben, I'm more concerned with how much it costs the American taxpayers to subsidize  Walmart's low wages with food stamps and welfare for their poorly paid workers.

And there I was, hinting that your children could've been winners.  :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 12:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks Ben, but it's would have been pretty hard for me to have found a mate to contribute the corporate conformist genes that they would have needed. Plenty of genes for art, science, language, and rebellion; but I lack the killer instinct to have spawned any good capitalists.   :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 11:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You hit on what the main problem is, although in a roundabout way.  And, that is the lack of enough parental involvement at home.  The parents that do follow up on homework and reading at home are the same ones who are always volunteering at the school.  Or attending school events, concerts, sports events.  And, not coincidentally, the ones who probably will some day have one of those bumper stickers that say "Proud parents of an honor student."

As a teacher, I too, hate those "bubble" standardized tests.  They often don't actually test what is taught, or what teachers would like to be taught.  But, they are mandated by politicians (both parties), and we have to use them.  And, in my state, we are going to start being evaluated by them.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 11:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 10:42 pm)
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I made a good choice by not having children

The world thanks you!

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Buggyboo @ Mar. 18 2013, 11:09 am)
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(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 10:42 pm)
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I made a good choice by not having children

The world thanks you!

Easy now.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Going?  

I think the past tense would be more accurate.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 11:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As much as I love teachers that have the best interest of Children in mind (which I know many), these are sad days for this Once Great Country when teachers are now forced to become propaganda & immorality pushers for the NWO & the  bought & paid for Establishment Politicians.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 11:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thankfully my kids have been very successful in school, thus far.  But it hasn't come without a tremendous amount of effort from their parents.  Success comes from the combined efforts of teachers and parents.  

The fact that many Americans choose to demonize or marginalize teachers certainly doesn't bode well for attracting the new teachers we will need for the future of our educational system.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 12:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My qualifying statements...By some studies, Maryland has the best public schools in America and the county I live in has the best schools in the state.  My daughter goes to the second smallest school in the county and it shows in her Kindergarten class with only 13 other kids.  I'd be stunned to find any other state in America where the teacher's unions are stronger than they are in MD.  I have many teachers in my family and dated a few more.

My belief is that some teachers LIKE the test driven model.  It makes their lives simpler as they really do only have to teach to the test.  My cousin teaches 10th grade in a Baltimore City school and likes it because many of the kids she teaches will likely not finish school at all and will put in no effort by the time they reach her.  They've quit on the system and she freely admits that at that stage she has a chance to get them through the tests successfully as long as they know that it's all that will be expected of them that year.

My former fiancee taught AP Calculus in a tough school in Baltimore County.  Her kids were the cream of the crop in an otherwise poor school and she hated wasting time that she felt should have been better spent teaching them math concepts they'd need in college.  My sister teaches 6th grade in a rural system.  She hates it as well because she's catching these kids at that pivotal point where they're deciding how much effort is their education worth.  When they are taught to the test, they are making mental checkmarks that "good enough for the test is good enough for life."

As for me, I think we have to ask a fundamental question of our education system.  Are we training kids to get jobs?  Are we training them in how to think logically?  Are we training them in how to think critically?  Are we training them in how to learn?  What is our goal and what do we expect out of our education system?  I don't think we can have any meaningful reform of a system that's failing by many standards until we agree on exactly what we want in the first place.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 12:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Buggyboo @ Mar. 18 2013, 11:09 am)
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(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 10:42 pm)
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I made a good choice by not having children

The world thanks you!

You have a lot in common with a hemorrhoid.  :p

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 12:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Mar. 18 2013, 9:16 am)
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(Buggyboo @ Mar. 18 2013, 11:09 am)
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(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 10:42 pm)
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I made a good choice by not having children

The world thanks you!

You have a lot in common with a hemorrhoid.  :p

Haha... so that's why you two keep scratching at each other!  :D  :p

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 1:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Mar. 18 2013, 12:16 pm)
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(Buggyboo @ Mar. 18 2013, 11:09 am)
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(Ecocentric @ Mar. 17 2013, 10:42 pm)
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I made a good choice by not having children

The world thanks you!

You have a lot in common with a hemorrhoid.  :p

Your favorite area to get your information! :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 18 2013, 1:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, by those posters who worked in school, and can actually think and articulate opinions based on fact and experience.

You know who you are!


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Thanks for the thoughtful comments, by those posters who worked in school, and can actually think and articulate opinions based on fact and experience.

You know who you are!

Thanks for myself, and for others.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 5:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was a school teacher over 40 years ago.  I looked what my starting salary was back then and what it would be today keeping up for inflation.  Todays, teachers are not making as much in adjusted dollars as I was back then.  

I keep seeing school budgets getting smaller when schools are given more responsibilities.  We did not have high dollar item equivalent to today’s computers in the classroom and we were not serving the very medical needy students some of which may be on ventilators.    It seems to be a catch 22 schools are not doing what they should partly due to funding and then they are criticized that they are not doing a good job so more funding is taken away.  Money is being drained away and given to charter schools that do not provide the same services such as transportation and service to the medical needy student and those with mental health challenges.   I agree that parents are responsible for some of the problems with our school system.

Solution…… wish I knew.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 6:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Roger @ Mar. 19 2013, 2:49 pm)
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I was a school teacher over 40 years ago.  I looked what my starting salary was back then and what it would be today keeping up for inflation.  Todays, teachers are not making as much in adjusted dollars as I was back then.  

I keep seeing school budgets getting smaller when schools are given more responsibilities.  We did not have high dollar item equivalent to today’s computers in the classroom and we were not serving the very medical needy students some of which may be on ventilators.    It seems to be a catch 22 schools are not doing what they should partly due to funding and then they are criticized that they are not doing a good job so more funding is taken away.  Money is being drained away and given to charter schools that do not provide the same services such as transportation and service to the medical needy student and those with mental health challenges.   I agree that parents are responsible for some of the problems with our school system.

Solution…… wish I knew.

Methinks it would be interesting to compare the number of school administrators / counselors / consultants per student today versus forty years ago...

EDIT:   Forgot to add to the above - security personnel!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 6:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It is certainly true that there are significantly more administrators in our schools today compared to 40-50 years ago.

A lot of them are there to deal with, and document, the many added responsibilitys that have been loaded onto the public schools as parents have withdrawn from taking daily part in the education, feeding and care of their children. and central governments have mandated testing, measuring and record keeping, but have not helped with hands on, individual education one iota.

The added admin is a symptom of the problem, I think, but not a root cause, and certainly not the key to reversing the decline in our education system.

I wish I knew what the key is, beyond having every single parent fully engaged in supporting and fostering the education of every child in America.  That would be a great improvement, but probably not the whole answer.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 6:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here is some grist for the mill.  Certainly a different point of view than I have considered before, and several issues that should be of interest on this forum:

The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known -- if it was known for anything at all -- as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life -- Newsweek ranked it number one last year -- and Finland's national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world.

   ........

Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model -- long hours of exhaustive cramming and rote memorization -- Finland's success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play. All this has led to a continuous stream of foreign delegations making the pilgrimage to Finland to visit schools and talk with the nation's education experts, and constant coverage in the worldwide media marveling at the Finnish miracle.

   ..........

Yet one of the most significant things Sahlberg said passed practically unnoticed. "Oh," he mentioned at one point, "and there are no private schools in Finland."

This notion may seem difficult for an American to digest, but it's true. Only a small number of independent schools exist in Finland, and even they are all publicly financed. None is allowed to charge tuition fees. There are no private universities, either. This means that practically every person in Finland attends public school, whether for pre-K or a Ph.D.

   .....

Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.

* * *

Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.

In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.

In fact, since academic excellence wasn't a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland's students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland -- unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway -- was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.


http://www.theatlantic.com/nationa....4

The whole article is worth a read, IMO.


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I wish I knew what the key is, beyond having every single parent fully engaged in supporting and fostering the education of every child in America.  That would be a great improvement, but probably not the whole answer.

No one solution is ever going to be the answer in a society as complicated as ours.  I'll probably generate a lot of heat for saying this, but I'll say it anyway....

To me, not the only cause but one very important cause is the near-disappearance of the two-parent family where mom stayed at home full time to focus on family and nurturing.

Many kids grow up just fine without dad or mom hovering over them right after school to make sure they start their homework rather than texting friends and watching cartoons.  But there are likely more than just a few kids who really need the extra parental attention.  At least at the younger age, it's harder to join a gang when mom's always home -- and expecting you to be home!

To me, this is the elephant in the room that most people are afraid to talk about!  Who wants to be branded a women hater?  But of course, it would be ridiculous to tell all women with younger children to quit the workforce.  But ignoring the problem of insufficient parental supervision is just as bad.

I really think that if sociologists and just plain ol' people in general will all stand up and face the issue head on -- we can come up with solutions.  If society recognizes the importance of parents in managing their children (and "quality time" alone doesn't seem to be cutting it) -- then maybe society will reprioritize work -- so that parents of both sexes can work half day shifts or telecommute much more.  If a lot of parents work half day shifts -- supply and demand may well mean commensurately higher pay per hour -- and mitigating the fall in overall household income.

Sometimes, I think having both moms and dads working full time -- flooding the workforce if you will -- only serve to dampen everyone's pay -- and thus the reverse may be true as well -- meaning a shift to half days will effectively decrease the workforce and increase pay commensurately.

Wouldn't that be nice?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 6:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, Ben, what do you think of the Finnish experience and their remarkable success in turning their education system around??

Incidentally, I do not agree with you about working mothers being a key to our education problem.  Working parents can be just as engaged, or unengaged, in their children's education as non-working parents.

It is a matter of priorities, a choice between selfish individual activities by the parents, or child oriented family activities, IMO.  

Working mothers of one or two children these days has way more time for parenting activities than my "stay at home" grandmother had with 11 children in a two room homestead shack on the Colorado plains.  Just sayn'.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 7:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't know about the Finnish experience.  Got a link?

If you look at the deterioration of schools as well as juvenile crime and all that -- the biggest social change is women going to work full time.  Do you really believe that quality of time can completely compensate for a massive loss in quantity of parental supervision?

Instead of only women doing the nurturing like 40 years ago -- and then instead of every adult chasing the almighty dollar full time like we do today -- I like to think our society's next quantum progression will be where parents of both sexes can devote both quantity and quality of attention onto their young -- while still maintain our current standard of living.

If this were viable, then given the choice, I reckon both sexes would rather spend four extra hours with their kids than slaving at their workplace.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 1:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I saw a program on PBS more than a year ago that compared and contrasted American education with South Korean and Finnish schools. As a school child, I would be nearly as eager to escape South Korea as North, and based on my experience in our schools, I think that people should be tunneling to Finland. We seek to standardize and at the same time promote individual achievement, while Finland encourages their students to work together with each other, contributing their own talents. Parents are important, computers contribute much the same way our teachers lecture, but in Finland the teachers interact personally with each student (thanks in part to the computer network), but more important, the class works together with the better students helping the slower students to grasp the lessons. They cooperate, with the better students developing teaching skills and empathy with those that need the help.

Teaching for tests does not promote critical thinking.

Teaching is a noble profession. We need to treat it that way in this country.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 6:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's a very interesting article and frankly I'd never heard of the Finnish miracle.  I do have to wonder if Finland's very homogeneous culture might play a role in the ability to pull that off.  I would suspect that it's easier to form cohesive teamwork when so much of your cultural identity is already the same.

http://www.indexmundi.com/finland/demographics_profile.html

(As a pointless aside, I was surprised to find that there's so many Lutherans there.)


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 11:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes, I agree with your point, Jim.  Finland has a great deal of homogenuity as a society and as a culture, in comparison to our hugely complex melting pot of many races, a culture in flux almost from the start of the Republic, and a multi state system where states rights and local control are main values.

It still seems to me that their very effective change has important lessons, and it is especially persuasive when compared to other medium size, homogenous countries which are not having this kind of educational success.

I think that that there are some important lessons to be learned from Finland and their approach, and then applied to our badly broken system.  If I were younger I might think about taking this task on as a third career!!

Here is the link to the Finnish article again, for those who missed it.  You know who you are, Ben!

Oops, that link did not work.  Try this one:

http://www.theatlantic.com/nationa....4


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 1:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(JimInMD @ Mar. 20 2013, 6:36 am)
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(As a pointless aside, I was surprised to find that there's so many Lutherans there.)

It's almost like Rochester, MN.  :D

Seriously though, we have reaped the benefits that the mix of cultures has brought us, now we must deal with the consequences. Cultures are no longer insular in todays world. We share the problems globally even in small towns. We can continue to draw advantages from that, but parents and teachers must work together towards that end. Most kids today don't have nearly the problems with other kids that their parents have with other parents.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 9:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Get rid of the Dept of Education, turning over all the responsibility to the states and local governments.

There is no one size fits all solution. Turn it back over to the laboratory of the 50 states.


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