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Old 07-05-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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If you read any book on the history of education in the United States, you will find that there has never, ever been a time where public schools were widely regarded favorably. This idea there was some golden age of US education is a myth.

But this modern era of "we're being outperformed by the world!" panic probably started in the 60s, then got kickstarted again in the 80s by the Regan administration.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Schools used to help teach social skills, responsibility, citizenship, how to work individually and in large groups. Parents teach their children to read, swim, to have manners, ...Schools are a business and billions of dollars are spent on schools. Kids live better when they find their passion or gift and then do it. Most of us did well in some academic areas, most of us did poorly in some academic areas. I wonder what happens to the kid who memorized everything and got straight A's on those multiple choice tests. I haven't taken a multiple choice test since I got out of school except a written driving test. I hope parents stop letting the schools and the government scare them when they them their kid doesn't test well. Beware of letting them put your kid is special education. This is a hugh money maker for school districts and job preservation.
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:13 PM
 
16,083 posts, read 17,876,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbill View Post
Schools used to help teach social skills, responsibility, citizenship, how to work individually and in large groups. Parents teach their children to read, swim, to have manners, ...Schools are a business and billions of dollars are spent on schools. Kids live better when they find their passion or gift and then do it. Most of us did well in some academic areas, most of us did poorly in some academic areas. I wonder what happens to the kid who memorized everything and got straight A's on those multiple choice tests. I haven't taken a multiple choice test since I got out of school except a written driving test. I hope parents stop letting the schools and the government scare them when they them their kid doesn't test well. Beware of letting them put your kid is special education. This is a hugh money maker for school districts and job preservation.
I wish people would get over this lie about special education being a money maker for schools. It is NOT. What the money buys is services that special education children need.

Learning Disabilities and autism require special teaching and this requires teachers who are trained in the kinds of learning our kids need. People don't seem to be upset when the disability is physical, but it costs money to provide wheelchair ramps or elevators or braille readers or microphone systems for students who need help to hear. Learning disabilities require help as well.

Special Education usually does serve the poor badly because the parents of poor children do not know how to get the services they need and often get badly trained teachers who don't know any better than the parents. But they should get real help. The average shelf life of special ed teachers is three years and this is especially true in schools with high poverty rates.

I will admit that IDEA needs to be reformed, but to assume that special education is a cash cow is simply not true to reality.
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
Look at international test scores. The US is falling lower on the list each year.

As far as math goes, I'm looking at the U.S. ranked #9 out of 48 on the TIMMS. We are also ranked fourth in raising test scores out of 20 countries from 1995 to 2007. The international average for those scoring "advanced" was 5% and the U.S. scored 10%.

In science we had 10% also score advanced compared to an international average of 3%.

A few brief quotes about our results from the TIMMS website include:
  • U.S. fourth-graders scored 529, on average, in mathematics, which was higher than the TIMSS scale average of 500 (table 1).
  • The average mathematics score of U.S. fourth-graders was higher than those in 23 of the 35 other countries, lower than in 8 countries (all 8 were in Asia or Europe), and not measurably different from the average scores of students in the remaining 4 countries.
  • U.S. eighth-graders scored 508, on average, in mathematics, which was higher than the TIMSS scale average of 500 (table 1).
  • The average mathematics score of U.S. eighth-graders was higher than those in 37 of the 47 other countries, lower than in 5 countries (all of them in Asia), and not measurably different from the average scores of students in the remaining 5 countries.
Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) - Mathematics Achievement of Fourth- and Eighth-Graders in 2007

I think the fabrication that U.S. education is failing is a media creation. It is more exciting to hear about us being behind other countries than actually being quite competitive. The other thing to consider is that a few of those countries beating us are very small populations. If you isolated some wealthier states in the U.S. and used only those, we would be outscoring the isolated populations some of the countries are using. Many times when you read the news article about us being behind they are sensationalizing the story. You will also see very little reporting when we do well on international tests and 100 times more news stories when we score average. Of course the reporter will twist the story around when we score average to make it sound like the U.S. is losing it's place in the global society.

The next thing is that we don't have any earlier testing data than the TIMMS, so everyone saying that the U.S used to be so competitive and now is not is just making it up. I don't know of any international testing that is openly reported before the 1990's.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:08 AM
 
817 posts, read 1,430,215 times
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Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
If you read any book on the history of education in the United States, you will find that there has never, ever been a time where public schools were widely regarded favorably. This idea there was some golden age of US education is a myth.

But this modern era of "we're being outperformed by the world!" panic probably started in the 60s, then got kickstarted again in the 80s by the Regan administration.

Though it is off-topic here, a funny thing is that the obesity scare has been going on since at least the 1950's. The media was saying that everyone was getting fat and lazy since the war was over. Now we look back at that time period as when the U.S. population was healthy. Not that I think we aren't getting fatter, but the problem is that journalists control and present our information instead of scientists. The journalist's main goal is not to inform people, but to capture attention to their story.

Since there are so many people on the education is bad badwagon in the U.S., writing a story about how we are going down the tube is going to draw a lot of attention.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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Default Phonics

Why is it that foreign countries teach phonics when they teach English but we don't? The reason our literacy rate is falling is because we don't teach phonics anymore. Phonics is the code of the English language. You can't construct an essay if you don't know the code.

In place of phonics is whole language learning.

The old 1895 exam for the 8th grade is a good indication of how far America has fallen.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:17 PM
 
16,083 posts, read 17,876,536 times
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Originally Posted by koolair View Post
Why is it that foreign countries teach phonics when they teach English but we don't? The reason our literacy rate is falling is because we don't teach phonics anymore. Phonics is the code of the English language. You can't construct an essay if you don't know the code.

In place of phonics is whole language learning.

The old 1895 exam for the 8th grade is a good indication of how far America has fallen.
No, that exam has nothing to do with anything.

snopes.com: 1895 Exam

My usenet education group has taken that exam apart several times. It does NOT show a decline in educational standards, but it shows that different kinds of knowledge was required in 1895 than is required today. It's in no way basic knowledge for anyone today. Most people never learned what the units of measure used in this test are because we are NOT farmers.

We no longer have these rules for teachers either:
RULES FOR TEACHERS
1872

Quote:
1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.
Smoky Valley Genealogical Society>

Phonics is making a comeback in US schools as well and it should. However, that does not mean that we should go back to a single approach. I learned to read before I ever came to school and did not learn using phonics, I just picked up words because I wanted to. I suspect that some children are not auditory learners, so we need a combination of methods.

Phonics in USA - Phonics in USA - Home Page
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Phonics has been back for years and it is no panacea. It is just one part of a balanced approach to literacy instruction.The English language is too aberrant to rely on phonics alone.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,460,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXRunner View Post

I think the fabrication that U.S. education is failing is a media creation.
2009 International results:

U.S. Teens Lag Behind Global Peers in Math - WSJ.com
PISA 2009 Results
Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) - Mathematics Literacy Performance of 15-year-olds
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Virginia
8,113 posts, read 12,677,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koolair View Post
Why is it that foreign countries teach phonics when they teach English but we don't? The reason our literacy rate is falling is because we don't teach phonics anymore. Phonics is the code of the English language. You can't construct an essay if you don't know the code.

In place of phonics is whole language learning.

The old 1895 exam for the 8th grade is a good indication of how far America has fallen.

Whole Language? I started teaching in 1993 and that was on it's way out at that point, 18 years ago! While we still utilize some concepts, it's now more of a "balanced literacy" approach, which is just a fancy way to say, "Let's use a little bit of everything".
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