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Old 03-05-2007, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
96 posts, read 702,593 times
Reputation: 58

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I'm curious how fast-paced the curriculum is in California grade schools compared with other states. My son is in first grade and is expected to read a paragraph story book front to back without missing more than 5% of the words by the end of the year. I was suprised by this, and am wondering if it's just California or if it's this way everywhere?

I've heard that Iowa is like this, but that Texas is more slow paced; these are the only two states I've heard anything about. I'm curious what I can expect if and when we move to another state. My son is on the younger end of the scale and, even though he's doing well in math, he's way behind in reading. The school uses a number scale to gauge each student's level of performance in reading. By the end of the school year (mid June), the first-grade students are expected to be at a level 18; right now my son is only at a level 5.

Ever since my son was two years old, my husband and I have read to him every night. I've also made a point of doing flash cards with him regularly, as well as help him to learn how to sound out words and read them in sentences way before he was even in school. So, if I've done all this with him for several years now, why is he so far behind where they say he should be? It does make me question whether or not the level of expectation is just too high for this age.

His teacher was telling me at my parent/teacher conference today that there are several children in his class having trouble keeping up with reading, and my son doesn't seem to have any type of learning disability contributing to it. So, is a state helping children by expecting so much from them so early on, or setting them up for a fall?

I asked about setting him up with an on-campus tutor, but his teacher said that he tests too low to qualify for one because they only accept children who are at least to a certain reading level already so that they can assure a level of 18 by the end of the school year. What?! So, basically, they only take kids who can make their stats look good, and the rest just get screwed, I guess.

On one hand, I like that my son is being pushed to his fullest potential; on the other hand, I don't want him developing self-esteem issues because he has to struggle all through school to keep pace. Any thoughts on this?
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:15 PM
 
Location: USA
29 posts, read 144,363 times
Reputation: 32
wow...that's really amazing! I am soon to be a TX transplant on my way to Cali. And when you said TX was lax in their education system...you ain't joking! My son's in kindergarten and I'm terribly disappointed with the education he's received. The reading skills that he has is because I've taken it upon myself to teach him with an explicit phonics system. The system here is just inadequate. They concentrate on the test scores so much that I don't see where they're doing anything to nurture a well rounded student who may in turn, get a good score. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, you have to do what you can to nurture your child to be the best he can be. Unfortunately, as you can see, everyone doesn't have your best interest at hand. The good thing is there are so many resources available these days you can supplement his schooling to help him with what he needs.

Even though I didn't answer your question, I do understand your frustration. May your son have a bright future ahead of him!!!
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Old 03-05-2007, 07:26 PM
 
3,035 posts, read 13,242,840 times
Reputation: 897
Where in Texas ? Texas ranks much higher in education that CA.

I just moved to Dallas from the Poway School District in San Diego (one of the best in CA) and it is still slightly behind Texas. They dump alot of money into schools. At least it is that way in most of the northern suburbs outside Dallas. I'm not sure about other cities. I do know that Dallas is tops in Texas, so perhaps my view is distorted.

http://www.uschamber.com/icw/reportcard/default
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:41 PM
 
Location: USA
29 posts, read 144,363 times
Reputation: 32
Socketz---I'm here in San Angelo, TX. Thanks for the link! Do you know---between the school, the reading specialist, and the board of education---I talked to 7 people in order to find out whether or not the reading system was using a complete and explicit phonics system and no one could give me a straight answer? A yes or no was all I needed. I'm not a teacher or an expert by any means, but I know a good reading foundation is important and sets the tone for a child's academic career. I just wanted to know what and how they teach so that I'd be prepared to do homework in the same style or adapt it to my child's needs.

I guess I better hold on to my hat and step it up when we get to Travis AFB!
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:26 PM
 
325 posts, read 1,333,096 times
Reputation: 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by alovely1 View Post
They concentrate on the test scores so much that I don't see where they're doing anything to nurture a well rounded student who may in turn, get a good score.
My daughter is in kindergarten in Northern California and I'm very happy with the education she's getting right now. I'm told, however, that first grade is very tough because of the test scores. Apparently everywhere has to "teach to the test" so that they get the scores up to comply with "No Child Left Behind." It seems to be as if it's really, "All Teachers Left Behind" because it's just about the test scores and not about learning.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:50 PM
 
1,742 posts, read 3,987,555 times
Reputation: 1421
California and Texas are Large States with a Large Diverse Population,so it's the Location within each state that determines the Quality of Education students are receiving.

Their are some areas of California that have Excellent or Advanced Education,while others are performing Poorly...It's the same situation in Texas in my opinion.
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Old 03-06-2007, 12:23 AM
 
76 posts, read 255,554 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkeast View Post
I'm curious how fast-paced the curriculum is in California grade schools compared with other states. My son is in first grade and is expected to read a paragraph story book front to back without missing more than 5% of the words by the end of the year. I was suprised by this, and am wondering if it's just California or if it's this way everywhere?

I've heard that Iowa is like this, but that Texas is more slow paced; these are the only two states I've heard anything about. I'm curious what I can expect if and when we move to another state. My son is on the younger end of the scale and, even though he's doing well in math, he's way behind in reading. The school uses a number scale to gauge each student's level of performance in reading. By the end of the school year (mid June), the first-grade students are expected to be at a level 18; right now my son is only at a level 5.

Ever since my son was two years old, my husband and I have read to him every night. I've also made a point of doing flash cards with him regularly, as well as help him to learn how to sound out words and read them in sentences way before he was even in school. So, if I've done all this with him for several years now, why is he so far behind where they say he should be? It does make me question whether or not the level of expectation is just too high for this age.

His teacher was telling me at my parent/teacher conference today that there are several children in his class having trouble keeping up with reading, and my son doesn't seem to have any type of learning disability contributing to it. So, is a state helping children by expecting so much from them so early on, or setting them up for a fall?

I asked about setting him up with an on-campus tutor, but his teacher said that he tests too low to qualify for one because they only accept children who are at least to a certain reading level already so that they can assure a level of 18 by the end of the school year. What?! So, basically, they only take kids who can make their stats look good, and the rest just get screwed, I guess.

On one hand, I like that my son is being pushed to his fullest potential; on the other hand, I don't want him developing self-esteem issues because he has to struggle all through school to keep pace. Any thoughts on this?
bkeast i wish i could help but this is not going on in my sons school. or the last one he went to. he is in the 2nd grade.. both in cali so perhaps this is a district thing instead of a state thing overall. the scale system we dont use so i am not sure how they determine that.
i too taught my son to read and understand letters long before school so he would be ready and he is going along fine considering that we have now learned that he learns better with visual than audible.
as far as the tutor situation that is the most ridiculous thing i have heard. he has to learn more to qualify for assistance ? what sense is that..
i hope your son does great and doesnt get discouraged. the only thing i can think of is keep up the good work at home and follow up with what the school is doing to keep him up with the class or at least with what is expected of him. perhaps you could ask the teacher for extra worksheets for home use. sorry i couldnt be more help. i know the frustration that you feel when you think your child might not measure up or get frustrated later and just want to quit
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:10 AM
 
2,015 posts, read 4,662,450 times
Reputation: 1863
Quote:
Originally Posted by cw68 View Post
My daughter is in kindergarten in Northern California and I'm very happy with the education she's getting right now. I'm told, however, that first grade is very tough because of the test scores. Apparently everywhere has to "teach to the test" so that they get the scores up to comply with "No Child Left Behind." It seems to be as if it's really, "All Teachers Left Behind" because it's just about the test scores and not about learning.
Yes, you are exactly right - every state has to comply with the "No Child Left Behind" law, and teachers ARE teaching to the test. I live in NE OH; it is the same way here. We are parents to 7 children (ages 23 to age 5), and in Ohio, the NCLB law applies to 1-8 grades at this point. High schools are unaffected for now. Our younger children (the two oldest are in college, both education majors), all attend a Catholic parochial school, because the parochial schools (at least in Ohio) are exempt from the NCLB laws. We put our children in the local public schools (which are good in our area), and we were very disappointed at the teaching methodology, which was to teach to the test. We had them back at the parochial schools within 2 weeks.

We have a very dear friend who taught 4th grade for almost 30 years; she left the profession because she could no longer take teaching to the test, and not teaching children. One of my older sons said that this is the year that the NCLB law will be reviewed by educators, and changes might be made. I certainly hope so because as it appears, schools that don't meet the NCLB standards lose funding, losing the necessary auxiliary helpers, teachers, materials, etc. I don't see how punishing schools helps students.

Yes, relocating (which is something I want to do), is difficult because of our children's schooling.

Back to the original question, yes, first grade is a difficult year because the foundation for reading really starts being firmly rooted that year. The teacher has a lot to cover in first grade. This was the case even when our two older kids (now 23 and 21) were in first grade, even before the NCLB laws took force. We've seen the same case through all of our other children as well.

Take care.
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:16 AM
 
2,015 posts, read 4,662,450 times
Reputation: 1863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliguy29 View Post
California and Texas are Large States with a Large Diverse Population,so it's the Location within each state that determines the Quality of Education students are receiving.

Their are some areas of California that have Excellent or Advanced Education,while others are performing Poorly...It's the same situation in Texas in my opinion.

You are right; it IS the location within each state that determines the quality of education students are receiving. I wish that it wasn't the case, but it is. Our area (NE OH) suffers the same fate, and it's not the "large diverse population", it's about poverty, about kids that are not at the same level as some peers because of socioeconomic status.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
96 posts, read 702,593 times
Reputation: 58
Thanks so much for all your comments. Well, it's starting to seem as if the reason my son is expected to be at a certain reading level by the end of the year, but cannot get the extra tutoring he needs to get there, is because the district he's in is trying to keep their stats above a certain point to comply with NCLB law.

So, basically, his teacher knows he needs help and the tutors know he needs help, but their hands are tied because the district won't get anywhere near a case they cannot gaurantee success with; it may cause them to lose funding or not meet certain criteria. It's okay if a few fall through the cracks as long as the ones they carefully select to receive help do well, right?

Wow, I really thought the educational system was better than this. Boy, am I finding out the hard way! I honestly had no idea about the difference of teaching children and teaching to the test. So that's why there are all these rules and regs put on kids now, because they have to pass some test instead of learning at their own pace and ability???

I thought it was the "No Child Left Behind" law. But it's this very law that's leaving my son behind. The same law that was put into effect to protect our children is doing more harm than good for many of them. I wonder what the long-term ramifications of this will be.
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