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Old 05-16-2015, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,717,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownbagg View Post
let the parent pay for it, out of pocket ,without tax money
Then we'd have a HUGE uneducated population. That would not be good for society.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,717,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLN View Post
1. Go to cloud computing for the entire national school system
2. One or two techs at district level
3. Techs in school
4. Rotate administrators back to classroom every 5 years
5. Require every administrator to take a three year course in macro and micro economics
6. Require every administrator to spend a two year practicum in a successful for profit business
7. Rigid tracking by ability and conduct
8. Achievement "gates" every two years
9. Promotion based on achievement, and if a gate is not passed, then out of school system to varying levels of menial track
10. Zero tolerance for any disruption in the classroom
11. Make principal responsible for both ranking/grading teachers and paying teachers
12. Eliminate most district personal and dramatically reduce state dept of education
13. Provide each student a computer and if required internet access (money coming from huge savings in reduction of district and state personnel)
14. For problem children, before they are mustered out, a sixmonth "after hours course" with parent as final chance to remain in education system
15. One 100 question test, per grade, all subjects. One.
Hmmmm.... I have 143 CCE's I'm supposed to teach in a year just in one class. How are you going to test everything that is supposed to be learned in a year with 100 questions? Choose them randomly? Oh yeah, THAT's what they do NOW.

I do like the idea of rotating admins into the classroom in fact I think the entire school board should have to be in the classroom.

Nix the computer. Computers are not an answer. In fact they're more of a distraction. You see there's what you can do with a computer and what humans actually do with computers. I'd actually go the opposite route and unplug kids. Make them read a book and figure things out instead of googling, write a paper instead of copying and pasting, plot a graph instead of typing in numbers and then copying the graph for 30 friends.... One change I made in my chemistry classrooms is I no longer use the computer lab. I make my students bring in their printed sources outline and write in class. I get original writing this way. I used to get cut, paste, shake and edit. I only have about half a dozen papers zinged by the plagiarism checker since I forced my students to write by hand before they can type it in a word processer. I used to have half of them not make it through the scan. We are raising a generation that does not think because they can google. This is not good.

What would the techs at the school do?
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:24 PM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
4,912 posts, read 8,360,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Hmmmm.... I have 143 CCE's I'm supposed to teach in a year just in one class. How are you going to test everything that is supposed to be learned in a year with 100 questions? Choose them randomly? Oh yeah, THAT's what they do NOW.

I do like the idea of rotating admins into the classroom in fact I think the entire school board should have to be in the classroom.

Nix the computer. Computers are not an answer. In fact they're more of a distraction. You see there's what you can do with a computer and what humans actually do with computers. I'd actually go the opposite route and unplug kids. Make them read a book and figure things out instead of googling, write a paper instead of copying and pasting, plot a graph instead of typing in numbers and then copying the graph for 30 friends.... One change I made in my chemistry classrooms is I no longer use the computer lab. I make my students bring in their printed sources outline and write in class. I get original writing this way. I used to get cut, paste, shake and edit. I only have about half a dozen papers zinged by the plagiarism checker since I forced my students to write by hand before they can type it in a word processer. I used to have half of them not make it through the scan. We are raising a generation that does not think because they can google. This is not good.

What would the techs at the school do?
Perhaps you are spread too thin. Depth trumps breadth in every endeavor.

Computers don't teach. A common misconception of the uninformed. They simply provide the means to deliver and collect. The teacher teaches, but with notes on the server, they are available to everyone. No one, informed would think to use computers in school as they are in business. Ey have a separate and distinct role..

Techs would keep the computers running. We have same number of techs, now 500+ computers when we had 45. Limitless ineptness in staffing.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
8,435 posts, read 8,389,248 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katie1215 View Post
What changes would you make if you could?
Add a nutrition program for the cafeteria because I would also add a nutrition class required in each grade. We are fueled by the foods we eat so why is this a neglected subject in our schools! Also, I would implement a garden system for kids to tend, like the ones here. The Tower Gardens seems like a great choice because it saves space and takes very little maintenance so schools can focus on the plant and not waste time and energy on other things. However, any garden at school (which they then use in the cafeteria) would be so beneficial. Not only to the education and health of the kids but also reduce costs as well!
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:19 PM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
4,912 posts, read 8,360,413 times
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Here is an inconvenient truth. No one ever got fat eating school lunch.

Now children go to class hungry since they can't stomach bland, unseasoned food, or they bring their lunch, filled with carbs and other sugars.

In no area of the vast and ever growing government has the law of unintended consequences reared its ugly head higher than in the nutritious school lunch program.

The hierarchy of needs addresses hunger, not nutrition.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:55 PM
 
5,765 posts, read 3,045,580 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatula City View Post
Standardized testing HAS to go, and teachers need to have more authority.
Agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatula City View Post

I'm divided on tracking... I would support problematic students being removed from the classroom but the idea of labeling kids in that way seems cruel. If they have to spend just one year in a lower level class, they're very likely to end up permanently behind the higher levels. Perhaps if they required the lower levels to do extra work and really push them to catch up, it could be a good thing... but that hasn't been my experience with tracking. It definitely makes teacher's jobs a lot easier, but that's not what education should be about.
The truth about tracking is, they will never catch up because they can't; they don't have the ability. That's why they need to be in a different track to begin with. Each ability grouping is going to be different and there is no reason to expect all to perform to the same level. The only way to get that, which is much of what is happening, is the higher ability groups need to be held back to the ability of the lowest group. Which is simply wrong. For some reason we have no problem recognizing that different people have different athletic ability and we actually set up all our various levels of athletics to allow the best to move up and excel. But in academics, we seem stuck on the notion that everyone can reach the same levels. They can't. And it is the biggest mistake in education to keep trying to force it to happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatula City View Post
I also think higher education should be stripped down completely, and public options should be free with admission based on academic merit. No more swimming pools or trains or exercise gyms or luxuries... just well-equipped classrooms with qualified instructors. Students should provide their own computers for IT, their own textbooks and even chip in for materials in fields that require it, but that's it. The arts students shouldn't expected to fund the STEM's chemistry labs when their entire curriculum consists of photocopied handouts and books they purchase themselves... if anything, private companies should be required to make donations to education for the sake of their own future.
I agree on academic merit, but not the others. Not sure why everyone seems to think colleges are full of luxuries. They aren't. But a college is a community and has to serve the basic needs of that community just like any other. As for the later sentences, you seem to have a big misunderstanding of these topics. Students do buy their own textbooks. They do buy their own laptops. They do pay a fee for their materials in classes that use them. But no student in IT is going to afford a room full of Blade servers, or other racks of IT. Nor can they afford the chem lab infrastructure. Art is probably the only one where the students could afford to buy their own paint and canvas.

Oh, and if private companies are required to make donations, then they aren't donations anymore. They're called taxes.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,717,492 times
Reputation: 14499
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLN View Post
Perhaps you are spread too thin. Depth trumps breadth in every endeavor.

Computers don't teach. A common misconception of the uninformed. They simply provide the means to deliver and collect. The teacher teaches, but with notes on the server, they are available to everyone. No one, informed would think to use computers in school as they are in business. Ey have a separate and distinct role..

Techs would keep the computers running. We have same number of techs, now 500+ computers when we had 45. Limitless ineptness in staffing.
No, I teach chemistry. You cannot go deep until you go wide. Not everything can be taught in isolation of everything else. This is the time of year when we're finally going deep because my students know enough chemistry to go there. If I had it my way I'd teach even more so we could go to other fascinating places but my students can't handle the pace that chemistry was taught at when I was in school or the amount of content. It's sad but it is what it is. I can't change who they are this late in the game. I teach geometry too and there I think we do go deep. Once you get to the individual math classes they're really already there...or would be if we could assume our kids can actually do the math they had before. The problem in the upper grade classes is the sheer amount of material we must repeat over and over and over because the kids don't know it.

FTR I find it annoying that people want to apply the phrase "a mile wide and an inch deep" to everything. It doesn't apply to everything. Cutting content is not the solution to everything. That's how we got into this situation where we teach nothing. You cannot go deep in this sense without vertical alignment. People are always parroting this phrase but never talk about vertical alignment. While I do have more content than I can teach it's because my students don't remember what they learned last year. I have to reteach a bunch of stuff before I get to my content. My content (CCE's) start in chapter 5 of the book we use. The first four chapters plus two more later in the book are review material that I should be able to assume my kids know but they don't. This isn't Japan where I can assume my students actually know what they learned before. This is the US where we "spiral" through education and repeat topics ad nausium. What this phrase refers to is a comparison of the way we teach math to Japan. Japan teaches fewer topics per year but they stay on them longer and they review less than we do. By 4th grade their students have not seen as many topics as ours have but by 8th grade our kids can't light a candle to theirs. Going deep means learning a topic in depth so you remember it and can use it later. This will NEVER happen here because we do not hold our students accountable for actually knowing what they were taught. We use a spiraling method where we keep coming back to the same topics over and over and over BECAUSE our kids don't remember them from the past. When we are allowed to hold our kids accountable for knowing what they've learned we can quit being an inch deep and a mile wide. Until that happens there's no point in even using the phrase. We are an inch deep because that's the way our kids learn. They can't handle deep. They cry foul if they're expected to remember what they were taught last year. Their parents cry foul if we expect them to use what they learned last year without reviewing it first.

My students learn ratios in middle school, it's repeated in algebra I and geometry and I still have to review them in chemistry or they have no clue how to handle them. They have to "Cross multiply and divide" because they can't actually think their way through the problem because they never really learned how to problem solve. What they learn is to recognize a pattern and then follow steps. By the time they get to my door they've had 10 years of conditioning that tells them anything they learned in the past that they need again will be repeated so they don't really have to remember it or understand it. They just have to get past the test to get the grade. In Japan kids compete to learn. Here they compete for grades. Apples and oranges.

I don't need techs if I'm not using computers. I'd like to unplug my students. All they do is cheat with technology. They're not using it to enhance learning/thinking. They're using it to avoid learning/thinking. As things are I'd just as soon save the money and rip them out of the building. We could use the storage space.

I used to go to the computer lab to do educational applets but that ends up with my spending my time policing the web sites they are on so now I just show them to them in class. I used to go to the computer lab so they could research topics but "research" means cut, paste and edit so you can get past a plagiarism checker so I don't do that anymore. I've gone old school. My kids hate it but they're learning more and I know it. Before I could ask a student a question that came directly from a paper they "wrote" and they couldn't answer it. Now they're asking me questions about what they're reading because they actually have to read it to get it on the paper now. They can't just highlight, copy and paste without reading it. IMO the only person who needs a computer is the teacher. A computer is a tool that is intended to enhance what you do not replace thinking. You need to learn to use the computer between your ears before one sitting on your desk will be of value beyond just looking stuff up.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 05-16-2015 at 10:09 PM..
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,001 posts, read 98,847,978 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katjonjj View Post
Add a nutrition program for the cafeteria because I would also add a nutrition class required in each grade. We are fueled by the foods we eat so why is this a neglected subject in our schools! Also, I would implement a garden system for kids to tend, like the ones here. The Tower Gardens seems like a great choice because it saves space and takes very little maintenance so schools can focus on the plant and not waste time and energy on other things. However, any garden at school (which they then use in the cafeteria) would be so beneficial. Not only to the education and health of the kids but also reduce costs as well!
Again, it would help if people would check and see what is being taught before making these suggestions. The school lunch program has strict guidelines they have to follow. Have you not heard all the furor over the newest guidelines for more veggies and whole grains. Virtually all health classes incorporate nutrition. I know of some schools with gardens, and I do think they're a neat idea, but save money? I seriously doubt it!
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:29 AM
 
Location: right here >.
6 posts, read 4,370 times
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A good question to begin with, but one I will not answer, is "What is education for?"

Whatever the answer might be to that, there are some problems that I believe need to be addressed.

One I feel strongly about is the way that the place you get educated can make a huge difference. I don't believe it should be such a dramatic difference; a person in NYC should be able to get the same standard of education as a person in Nashville, LA, Detroit, Tallahassee, N. Orleans, WideSpotInRoad, etc. But it doesn't happen. Why is that? is it because the people who make decisions about a school (the school board) aren't all using the same point of reference? I believe so.
Too many people today seem to see education as an opportunity to put their opinions into action and it should not be like that. Let school boards include people who have educational backgrounds and who understand that education isn't a way to indoctrinate or restrict students, but to open their minds and help them learn through the rest of their lives.

I believe that the majority of teachers begin with the best intentions. I wonder if some discover that they are bound by certain things that get in the way of education? Yes, I believe there should be some form of standard curriculum at K-12. But I believe that its important to include establishments of higher education in the process of setting one up. Teachers K-12 - the ones at the sharp end - aren't in the right place to decide. But many governmental bodies are not either.

But it's not only about the school boards or teachers, or the curriculum.

At present, too many people see education as a necessary evil that they would prefer to have avoided, as something that has a definite ending at the age of 18 or 24, and college education turns people's minds weird,etc.
There's almost a sense of pride coming from some people who didn't get a college education.
Without a change in the minds of people, nothing much will happen. That itself is the most significant difference I have noticed between the way education is here and how it is in some other countries.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,717,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notyme4soles View Post
A good question to begin with, but one I will not answer, is "What is education for?"

Whatever the answer might be to that, there are some problems that I believe need to be addressed.

One I feel strongly about is the way that the place you get educated can make a huge difference. I don't believe it should be such a dramatic difference; a person in NYC should be able to get the same standard of education as a person in Nashville, LA, Detroit, Tallahassee, N. Orleans, WideSpotInRoad, etc. But it doesn't happen. Why is that? is it because the people who make decisions about a school (the school board) aren't all using the same point of reference? I believe so.
Too many people today seem to see education as an opportunity to put their opinions into action and it should not be like that. Let school boards include people who have educational backgrounds and who understand that education isn't a way to indoctrinate or restrict students, but to open their minds and help them learn through the rest of their lives.

I believe that the majority of teachers begin with the best intentions. I wonder if some discover that they are bound by certain things that get in the way of education? Yes, I believe there should be some form of standard curriculum at K-12. But I believe that its important to include establishments of higher education in the process of setting one up. Teachers K-12 - the ones at the sharp end - aren't in the right place to decide. But many governmental bodies are not either.

But it's not only about the school boards or teachers, or the curriculum.

At present, too many people see education as a necessary evil that they would prefer to have avoided, as something that has a definite ending at the age of 18 or 24, and college education turns people's minds weird,etc.
There's almost a sense of pride coming from some people who didn't get a college education.
Without a change in the minds of people, nothing much will happen. That itself is the most significant difference I have noticed between the way education is here and how it is in some other countries.
This doesn't happen because at the end of the day teachers teach what they want to or think they can. This is something that really bugs me about teaching. As a teacher I should be given a set of standards that is reasonable to teach in a year and then held to teaching them. Go ahead and test my students but test them ON THOSE STANDARDS. As things are now, because we don't have vertical alignment, I cannot assume my students know what they need to learn my content when they walk through the door of my class. I MUST spend much of my time reviewing concepts they should already know. That means I cannot teach all of my content. So I cut things out. Sadly, I don't cut them out so I can go deeper which is the latest band wagon for education. We're not vertically aligned like countries that aren't "A mile wide and an inch deep". Without that alignment we can't go deep without just cutting stuff out and THAT just results in students learning LESS.

I agree with you that education is viewed as a necessary evil. That's one of the problems with it. Our students do not want to learn what we teach. It's hard to force someone who doesn't want to to learn. What our kids are becoming very good at is cheating. I HATE technology in the classroom for this reason. I take kids cell phones when they take tests so the savvy ones have started giving me an old cell phone and use their current one. I'd love a switch I could throw that would render all cell phones useless during tests. If I let kids use the computer lab to do research, I get 20 copies of the same paper with edits to get past a plagiarism checker and they CANNOT answer questions about things they discussed IN THE PAPER. Many of my students put way more effort into cheating than they do learning. Maybe it's always been this way but I never saw this when I was in school. IME very few students cheated and those who were caught were dealt with harshly.

I agree 100% that without a change in thinking NOTHING changes. We can change everything. Fire all the teachers, paint the buildings purple, give each kid a new state of the art lap top, you name it but NOTHING will change because the true problem with education in this country is our attitude about education. They send teachers to seminars where they teach us how to engage Johnny (which is basically entertaining him and tricking him into learning something but it's not much) as if Johnny really wants to learn what we're teaching but he doesn't . He and his parents view school as a necessary evil. Something that is done to them that has penalties for not doing it. Until we change our attitude nothing is going to change. Which brings me to my suggestion. TEST what is intended to be taught and don't let kids pass if they can't pass the test.

By having a high stakes test that includes ALL OF THE STANDARDS intended to be taught AND a requirement that students pass said test three things will happen (not in any order). 1) the standards will get revamped to be reasonable. 2) students will actually have motive to learn what is being taught. 3) kids across the nation will learn the same things in the same class. You will be able to get the same education in Detroit you get in NYC and wherever. There's nothing wrong with teaching to the test if the test is well written and actually tests what should be learned.

I'm a former engineer and one thing I hate about teaching is that we don't take a stance on which standards are important to teach. What happens is we're all handed too many standards to teach and then each teacher decides which ones they'll teach. NO ONE checks to see which ones we're teaching. So chemistry in my school is different from chemistry in my dd's school is different from chemistry in my nieces school. It shouldn't be. We should decide what should be taught in high school chemistry and then write a test or tests that test those concepts to measure how well those standards are being learned. The feedback from these tests can be used by teachers to determine which concepts kids are struggling with. As things are now the test data is useless to teachers. All it's used for is beating us over the head and we have no idea how to make the scores go up. Make this a fair game. Tell me what you're going to test my students on and then get out of my way and let me teach it.

The only way going deep vs being a mile wide and in inch deep works is if I can assume all of my students' past teachers also went deep and taught the topics they were tasked with teaching. If I don't have to reteach how to solve an algebra problem or the structure of the atom or the states of matter or whatever, I can jump right into MY content and have more time for MY content. People like to use the phrase "a mile wide and an inch deep" and call for teaching deeper but they have no clue what they're asking for. You cannot just cut content randomly. Whatever is cut in 1st grade must be taught in 2nd or 3rd. What is cut in 2nd or 3rd must be taught in 4th or 5th or all you end up with is a bunch of holes in kids educations. Going deep in a few random topics will not prepare them for high school and beyond. Like kids in Asia they MUST cover all of the topics by 8th grade no matter which years they were taught in.

IMO this phrase has no business at the high school level where we are teaching separate courses like algebra, geometry and chemistry. We're already going deep by staying on the same subject the entire year. Our problem is we cannot assume our kids actually know what they were supposed to have been taught in earlier years so we have to reteach it. Our kids EXPECT us to reteach it before they have to use it. I've actually had parents argue that it's wrong of me to expect my geometry students to use algebra on tests. Our kids are used to things being dummied down and repeated ad nausium for them so they don't really learn them. Teaching here is like pushing a rope. NOTHING happens until the student picks up the rope and pulls. We need to change their attitude to get them to pull. IMO one way of doing that is making the tests we're judging schools and teachers by high stakes for them. Right now the only person who has no vested interest in the tests we judge teachers and schools on is the person taking the test. Make the test mean something to them. Pin passing or failing to the test. All hell will break loose but at the end of the day the student will FINALLY have some incentive to learn what we teach AND individual teachers will be held to the same standards.

I'm going to disagree with you on who should write the standards. After all, the university of Chicago wrote one of the worst math programs out there. Everyday Mathematics. I think you need long time teachers making these decisions going forward. As a chemistry teacher I know what I need my kids to know walking through the door. Someone should be asking me what knowledge will help me teach better, more and deeper. Those concepts need to be put somewhere and taught well when they are taught. If you ask the teachers above what they need you can trickle down and figure out where to put things. I really don't want to spend 4 weeks reviewing the structure of the atom, how to solve an algebra problem, how to use units in a calculation, the differences between a solid, liquid and a gas, how to write a hypothesis, the scientific method and whatever else I end up reteaching or teaching for the first time before we even start my content at the beginning of the year. I can tell you what I need my students to know walking through the door. Start there. There is no one in better position to tell you what I need them to learn in previous classes than me.

I'll give you an example one of the things that was cut out of geometry in the name of not being a mile wide and an inch deep was vectors. If my students understood vectors they'd have a much easier time understanding bond strength and polarity of molecules in chemistry and forces in physics. No one asked the teachers they were sending these kids to what to cut. You can't just cut to make room to go deep (which really means just taking longer to teach to the depth we've always taught to in the American classroom). You have to cut selectively AND put what you cut somewhere else. If you want to make vectors part of my content, fine, then decide what to cut from my content. It should not be left up to me to decide because that just makes chemistry/physics different in every classroom across the nation as each teacher chooses what they like.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 05-17-2015 at 06:28 AM..
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