What is going on in our schools?

Oh yea, no one else has to deal with stuff like that. Boo hoo hoo. Boo hoo hoo for you… Grow up. Teaching is a job. I’m sorry that the NEA and their politicians have told you otherwise. If they had been honest from the start perhaps you would have chosen a different career. Maybe not. But at least you could have made an honest decision.

I have no doubt that schools need more money. But I hardly think basic knowledge of “reading, writing, and 'rithmatic” are miracles. You have hostile students only because you (or the school district) have shown weakness and a willingness to give in. Children are immeasurablly resiliant and adaptive and will repsond to any challenge given to them. To think that they won’t is to degrade them to simple cattle.

Standardized testing, that’s who.

** Sincerely, I’m sure everybody here has raised great kids who value education and are the bright shining faces who remind me how teaching is supposed to work. Your sweeties are in classrooms with an entire system that manages by crises-- not because they want to, but because our society as a whole has very clearly stated it doesn’t want to accept any responsibility and wants the easiest, fastest ‘solution,’ not the best.[\b][\quote]

Its everyone else’s fauly isn’t it? Society won’t accept any resposibilty? Well, step on up. How much are you, or the NEA, willing to accept?

Yes it should be and yes it can be. Of course, schools should not be factories on the line of those found in “The Wall”, but to send our children to an institution whose sole purpose is to educate them and we get out folks who can “read, write, or 'rithmatic” the system and everyone party to it has failed.

When I asked LilMiss’ s teacher about the curriculum, he told me that the children would be spending the majority of the time prepping for standardized tests.
Third grade is really sucking rotten eggs for her.

They did learn the basics of cursive writing (through worksheets only). Now they are learning the basics of geography (reading maps and learning topography).

Science? No time.
History? In middle school.
Grammar? HA!

They take “practice” standardized tests every week, in addition to their math tests, spelling tests, and timed reading tests.

Where’s the exploration? The interaction? The experimentation? I have asked if they play at learning. Nope. It’s almost all deskwork.

Thanks to our government and that horrid word “accountability”, our kids are being taught to simply spew math facts, learn to simply select the salient points in a paragraph and regurgitate them a manner that allows them to ‘pass’ government muster, and tow the line.

At our fall conference, I was asked why LilMiss questions so many things. Beeeeccccaaauuuussseeeee she’s a child, and children are curious? Because being told “I’m the teacher” is not a valid answer? Because she knows when she is being pandered to?

I was (briefly) an elementary teacher. I couldn’t do it, so I left the profession. The stress is amazing, if you are dedicated to the children.

BTW, I realize while that post was lengthy, it was “fluffy”.
I do have a point (other than my noggin) which I will post in a bit, but I must run.

Yeah, I know- y’all will be waiting with bated breath, won’t ya?

Well seeing that she didn’t drive til she was a senior and had world historyand geography in the eighth grade…I would hope not.

And also the main reason I ended up in a private School was because my parents took a day to go to school with me, In fact my Father took a week and went with me everyday before they pulled me out.

I am beginning to thank my lucky stars that my parents did what they had to do to make sure I got a good education, my school cost alot of money and they both worked full time to make sure that I made it through.
Actually whether it was a private school or not prob did not make a difference but every single one of my teachers was a good one, even the bad ones were good ones.

I went to a private Catholic school, and while some things were better, some things were horrible. NO support for learning disabled-we were sent to guidance counselors to talk about our “feelings.” Yeah, that really helps me get a C in math. Then there was the time I was too slow in finishing my math worksheet and the teacher and the entire class egged me on so we could have a free period. Bitch.

But I’m not bitter.

My god. I remember thinking that Africa was one country, too. I think I was in the first grade. Maybe second? I distinctly recall going home and telling my mom that there were lots of countries in Africa!

I never had a geography class, although we had to do various geography units in different classes. I am aware how fortunate I am in that my parents were interested in making sure I was well-educated. I don’t know how many parents are so dedicated to their childrens’ education. Y’all remind me to send cards to my parents on Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day.

Christmas break of 2001 my (then) 11 year old niece came to live with me because her mother was in jail for the 3ed time for NOT SENDING her to school. The poor kid could not read Cat in the Hat without a LOT of help. The child was in the forth grade then but SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN!!! Since kindergarden she had missed an average of 100 days per school year and was late or pulled out early over half of the remaining days. She was very withdrawen in class when she was there. Because she was so quiet and Mom “promised” to do better they would bump her along to the next year, with the idea she would go to “special-ed” classes a few hours each week to help her along. :dubious:

We were granted full guardenship. We went to her school and requested a meeting with all her teachers, the Principle, her social worker and the guidence counc. found out what we needed to do to help her and set up a home routine. And set up help for her at school as well (not just a few hours of special-ed here and there) Everything became centered around her education (and still is) I began by buying books to help me help her, (english class was not my best subject but I can help her with aid of the books :wink: )We started reading for at least 15 mins before school. Anything that could be spelled, read, added, subtracted ect was used. We played math bingo, made her be the banker in board games, and taught her the computer and found tons of learning sites that were fun for her. Over the summer I got her hooked on phonics (wounderfull tool) (she now is redoing them “just for fun”) She says school is “retarted” but she is always ready to go, never (well not often) fights doing her homework (as long as I am right there to help her, she is still lacking in confidance a bit) and I actually caught her READING a book the other day :smiley:

In little more than a years time she is reading at a 3ed-4th grade level, same with math. English is slower but not by much and the rest of the work (science, history, health, ect) she does with her class (with help). She is a bright kid, who just was never given a chance to bloom before now. It was a real mile-stone the day that her teacher called me to tell me my niece had gotten her name put up on the board for talking in class. (Name goes on the board when you are being disruptive add 2 check marks and its detention) Her teacher was so happy that she was coming out of her shell!

side note This years school picture was the FIRST picture she smiled in since she was 3 or so…she is now a happy well rounded boy crazy pre-teen (dam that hormone fairy! :stuck_out_tongue: )

All it takes is the parent to be involved, for your childs sake do more than ask if they have homework, you can’t think only of today that is what her mother did, think about the CHILDS tomorrows.

Some of you might recall this thread from a few months back:

Where in the world are we? Americans don’t know.

I was shocked by some of the posts there (principally the ones that said “why should we know where other countries are; other countries are far away and don’t count”). I don’t have any easy answers to the OP, but at least it may be some consolation to know that this problem is not unique to the USA.

If the results of the report mentioned in that thread are any guide, standards in public education in this country seem to have fallen since I was at school. The influence of parents over their own children’s attitude to learning is important too. Maybe I was just lucky to have parents who encouraged me and provided study materials at home.

But surely learning geography doesn’t end when you leave school? Most of the world geography that we need to know should come from the news. Papers and TV reports here always show maps of countries the international stories relate to. Presumably kids don’t watch the news or read papers?

Sports news is also a good source of information about basic geography, or at least it does if your favourite sports are played internationally as mine are. Maybe that puts American kids at a disadvatage compared to ours?

The attitude of a country’s citizens to their place in the world and how much they feel the need to study other countries is also crucial. It may surprise you to learn that our weather reports sometimes include a detailed summary of the weather in the USA (and other countries), and not only when the weather itself is a news item such as during the hurricane season. Several people on the SDMB have suggested that there is so much local news for Americans to study that there’s no time left for international news. But if America is to lead the free world (as we’re often told it does), and if it is a democracy, then it’s essential for Americans to know something about the world they lead.

There is also plenty of criticism here of the British education system becoming overly reliant on testing and suspicious-looking league tables. After all, you don’t fatten pigs by weighing them. But having been educated to degree standard entirely within the state sector* I am certain that children can be taught everything they need to know without relying on the private sector. I’m also told that if you send your kids to a private school in many far eastern countries it is generally presumed that they aren’t bright enough to keep up with the other kids.

*Actually I went to Catholic schools too, but they were publicly financed and had the standard curriculum apart from religious education

What is that supposed to mean? Don’t all kids have the right to a good education? Maybe I’m completely off base, but it just comes off sounding like there’s a certain class of people you’re afraid your kids will be tainted by.

“We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” -George W. Bush, at a news conference in Europe, June 14, 2001
Was his teacher shown the door?

Don’t make the assumption that all private schools are better than all public schools. I’ve gone to private school all my life. From 1st to 5th grade, I wasn’t challenged at all. At all. I just sat there, paid attention about half the time, and got all A’s. I had the good fortune to go to a different school for 6th to 12th grade, and got the challenge that I needed to be the best student I could be. Not all schools are created equal, and public vs. private isn’t always the only criterion.

Oh yeah, and I’m 18. So this post has some relevance. :wink:

:wink: = :wink: Can I get an edit function?

everton, I don’t know if you have spent a lot (or any!) of time in the US, or have very much exposure to the US news media, but our media is a fucking joke. And not just in the “why is this being reported as news?” way that I know is very popular in the UK too, but in the “this didn’t happen in the US? Must not be very important” way. When you say that newspapers would have to show maps when discussing events in other countries, you’re assuming that newspapers even print international stories.

Americans, in general, are very inward-looking. We are, as a nation, woefully ignorant of anything that happens outside of our borders. It is pathetic. I am not sure if we don’t know shit about international news because the media doesn’t cover it, or if the media doesn’t cover it because we don’t care about it. I sincerely hope it’s the former, because if there’s one thing I personally can’t abide, it’s willful ignorance.

I posted some of this in another thread recently. In my high school geography class each student learned about one foreign country and did a presentation. I picked Denmark. We were supposed to learn about all of the other countries by listening to other students give their presentations. Even if it had worked, we’d only have learned about 30 countries.

My high school American History class did not include the 19th century (except for the Civil War – we learned a little bit about it during Black History Month), World War I, the Spanish American War (still know nothing about that one, not even when it happened), Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the Mexican American War (that’s different from the Spanish American War, right??) In fact, I don’t believe we were ever taught anything about how the Constitution came about. Until I got interested in the subject (thanks to the movie 1776), I thought the Revolution ended with the Declaration of Independence.

My high school World History class covered the French and Russian revolutions, and that’s it.

My Junior year Lit class half of Black Boy, the prologue to the Canturbury Tales, parts of Beowulf, and skipped the entire dream sequence in The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail (the teacher said it was too confusing for us.)

I couldn’t even begin to say what we were lacking in math and science.

My freshman year typing class (in 1995-96) was literally typing – on typewriters.

My freshman year Spanish class used an “experimental” curriculum, which everyone failed.

I graduated with a girl who couldn’t write.

I was class of '99, and the school sold memorabilia that said “Last Class of the Century.” For that matter, one of my high school history teachers didn’t understand the concept of BC/AD.

In the 8th grade I took a writing test – and scored higher than my teacher on the first try. I was not that gifted.

I did take an excellent class on how to essentially cheat on the SATs (or, how to guess the right answers when you haven’t a clue.)

My brother was exempted from standardized testing because of ADHD – despite the fact that he is perfectly capable of taking the tests.

Public schools are in a very sad state.

Um, ADHD can fuck up one’s ability to take standardized tests. Of course, I’m very much skeptical on their value.

I agree. My husband is an instructor at the local university branch. His students are about 50% over 30 years of age, so youth and inexperience cannot be the excuse as to why these people are so determined to leave his class having learned as little as possible.

His tests are simple. He usually gives them to me before administering them to the class, and using logic, I can ususually get a “C,” but still, the fail rates are amazing. Last semester, as an experiment, he used the same exact question on each quiz and exam. It was worded the same way each time, and there were four tests on which it was used. On the last test, about a third of the class still got the answer wrong.

Out of frustration, during the class before the final exam, he told them every question which would be on the exam. About 20% still failed it.

I’ve attended his classes. He’s a great teacher, funny, interesting and clear in his explanations. He’s willing to help any student who asks for it, but few take advantage of this offer. Instead, they skip class, refuse to read the text book, turn in papers late, fail tests miserably, and then become resentful and outraged when they do not pass the course.

You can lead a horse to water, etc . . . . Some people just do not want to learn. Nothing is more difficult than trying to teach sulky people who just want to get a piece of paper, and are utterly uninterested in learning for learning’s sake.

True, Guin, but my brother specifically is capable of taking the test. He took them before getting into high school. The school he goes to uses as many blanket policies as they can to exempt as many “poor performing” students as they can and thus keep their scores high.

Ah. I see. Okay then.

That pretty much confirms my fears, but of course it carries more authority coming from your side of the water.

The posters to these boards are a self-selecting group of better-than-average-educated and unusually well-travelled people, and there are plenty of genuine experts on the culture and history of many countries. I feel reassured when I read opinions like yours – the fact that people getting inadequate information from news media sources is a bad thing. Unfortunately I’ve also had to argue against people who don’t care whether they learn about the world beyond their own city limits, which is very depressing and potentially dangerous.

It’s also a pity that so many historical movies make glaring errors in what may be their audiences’ first or only exposure to stories that shaped our world.

From the perspective of a present high schooler:
The biggest problem with high schools now-a-days, at least in my state, is grade inflation. If a teacher was going to do a normal bell curve on an assignment, the top students would automatically receive As. But, most would get Cs and some would always fail. This is why most teachers I have simply boost everyone’s score on a test or project to where the highest scoring student receives 100%, even if they really got a 79% or some other low score. They can’t leave the grades alone, it would reflect badly on their teaching abilities. So they end up passing a lot of students who do not know anyhting about the material.

It ends up that no one has any idea who knows the material because everyone is getting the same grades. Without any way to measure progress, how can the schools be expected to teach us?