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Old 05-17-2015, 02:55 PM
 
28,055 posts, read 19,725,054 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownbagg View Post
but then parents would be more involved with their children education instead of using it has a babysitting services
How?

Parents who don't value education when its free certainly won't value it enough to pay for it.

Parents who value education do so even though its free.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,785,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownbagg View Post
but then parents would be more involved with their children education instead of using it has a babysitting services
No they wouldn't be. Their kids would just be uneducated AND unsupervised.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,785,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
1. A very punitive idea

2. I have discussed this many times on this forum, on P&OC, and on parenting. Kids will not learn something that is totally irrelevant to them, e.g. elementary kids learning about 401Ks, etc. Things change too. If we had had such a subject, no one would have taught 401Ks b/c they didn't exist! In fact, they didn't exist for the first 16 years of my career! They came into being in 1986. http://www.ebri.org/pdf/publications...0205fact.a.pdf And just whose values are you going to teach-the person who thinks "to have credit you have to use credit", and encourages the inappropriate use of credit just to build up a credit rating; the person who encourages you to put it all in a shoebox under the bed; something in-between? It may be appropriate to bring up some of these topics in late HS, especially as many colleges (e.g. CU) basically kick kids out of the dorms sophomore year and kids have to learn how to deal with landlords, the utility companies, etc. But elementary school or even middle school? Too early-will go right over their heads. Investing? Most 20somethings don't have money to invest, let alone middle school students. What little money they own can be better put to current needs.

3. I like the idea of the federal govt feeling education is important enough to be a cabinet level concern. I do not agree with everything the DOE does.

4. What would college profs know about teaching kindergarten, unless they were kindergarten ed profs? Or even middle school? Maybe by HS they might have some useful ideas. But teaching adults is way different than teaching kids. And yeah, to those who are probably not even waiting to finish reading this post before they hop on their keyboards to say "what's the difference between a 17 yo and an 18 yo?" I say, not much, but a little bit. The real issue is what is the difference between a 14 yo and a 22 yo. Lots.

....
ITA with the bolded underlined statement. You ask 1st grade teachers what should be taught in kindergarten. 2nd and 3rd grade teachers what should be taught in 1st grade. Middle school teachers what should be covered by the time kids leave elementary school and high school teachers what should be taught in middle school and the classes that are prerequisites for the classes they teach.

As a chemistry and physics teacher I really wish that they hadn't lobbed off vectors from geometry. Kids don't see them anywhere else and I don't have time to teach them properly and my own content. It would be so much easier to teach students about molecular polarity, intermolecular attractions and forces in general if they understood vectors. Someone decided long ago that something had to go BECAUSE WE SPEND WEEKS REVIEWING ALGEBRA... ... in geometry and they chose vectors because they didn't talk to the teachers in higher classes. Now if my geometry students knew algebra before they walked through the door I could reclaim about 4 weeks of my year and teach vectors and a couple of other things. I can't because I have to review algebra at the beginning of the year, before the mid term and again before the final or it's algebra that determines my grade curve. Either that or make the problems so simplistic that you can do them without thinking.

I'm lucky in that I work for a district that is actively working to vertically align the curriculum. We meet in middle/high and elementary/middle teams and talk about when things are taught and who is responsible for teaching, reteaching and reviewing and who should be able to just assume kids know the material. We're a few years off from the first wave of kids hitting high school where we passed some things down and pushed others up. We're hoping that the extra time spent on topics earlier will mean less review and more time for new content at the high school level. Yes some of that new content is stuff that used to be taught in the middle school. For example, I told the middle school not to bother with naming compounds. We have too many advanced students who skip the class it's taught in at that level so I have to teach it in chemistry so I teach it all. They now have room to spend more time on making and interpreting graphs (something I need them to know walking through the door that the advanced students who skip the classes in question don't struggle with) and things like the states of matter. I shouldn't have to teach 11th graders the physical differences between solids, liquids and gases. I should be able to jump right into the molecular forces that make them what they are.

You need teachers working collectively to make this happen. I know what I need my kids to know walking through the door and I know what I will teach in enough detail that it's ok if they never saw it before. I don't care if my kids don't know an ion from a molecular compound walking through the door but I do care that they understand the concept of conservation of mass (can balance a chemical equation). They don't have to be good at it walking through my door but I teach all of atomic structure up front so I teach radioactive decay with ions and isotopes. They have to understand that the particle counts and masses must be the same on each side of the equation and the charges must total the same on each side of the equation. I know the teachers below me can't teach everything but they need input from me before they just start cutting content. Cutting some content creates problems later. I'm not sure I need feedback from college profs because I'm a former chemical engineer. I took so many science classes in college that I'm well aware of what helps and what doesn't. There are topics I insist on teaching even though the other teachers don't like them because of this. (Hess' law for one - the idea that enthalpy is a state function) There are other topics I gloss over because I know they will be taught in detail in college like real gasses. I only talk about the differences between real and ideal gases conceptually. I never even show my students the real gas equation. I tell them a corrected equation will be used in college.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:05 PM
 
2,778 posts, read 1,349,406 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
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.
Part of the reason that kids can't reach those levels is because they're labelled early on and never escape the labels. I'm not saying everyone is born equal, but tracking, at least early on, is horrible for a student's self-efficacy. When someone is figuring out who they are and how they fit into society, they are constantly looking for cues-- and if you give them cues that suggest they are less competent, then that is how they will see themselves-- and from then on, the whole 'not as good as others' narrative becomes part of their identity. Teachers won't necessarily notice it because they will interpret it as natural instead of socialized behavior. Is it just a coincidence that poverty coincides with poorer academic performance? Try answering that question without resorting to the just world fallacy.

I'm not sure when or if you went to teacher's college, but times have changed and they've moved on from Piaget's learning theories and adopted Vygotsky. Older teachers who went to college in the 80s or even the 90s wouldn't have learned about it and are probably objecting to the new standards based on outdated theories, so there would be a conflict between Vygotsky-based policies and Piaget-based teaching styles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
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.
First of all, I didn't say that students don't buy their own textbooks or laptops, I was stating that I think this practice should continue under a 'free tuition' system. However there would be grants and scholarships for students who couldn't afford these things.

And as for the larger expenses, my reasoning is this:

Private companies need competent employees to compete. The way it is now, those future employees (the students) pay for their own training. The companies then pick the best or the most connected, and the rest are SOL with a huge tuition debt.

What I'm proposing isn't taxation... companies wouldn't be forced to fund employee training, however it would make sense for them to assure that their potential future employees are competent. It's basically putting private business in the same financial position that university students are in now, with the benefit being that they can afford it-- charitable donations are already tax deductible.

And I'm not sure why that is somehow less fair than expecting arts students to pay more than their fair share so that corporations don't have to waste money on their own future. Businesses investing in people instead of people investing in businesses would solve SO many social problems.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Northern Appalachia
4,730 posts, read 5,873,007 times
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After 131 posts, we have very few suggestions for changing the education system that would make any kind of difference. Many have suggested that a return to tracking and less involvement from the Federal Dept. of Education would help. A few others have suggested that discipline is a problem and must be corrected for education to take place. We can agree that computers in education are here to stay. It is up to teachers to figure out how to use them to enhance education as opposed to the distractions they currently cause.

The reality is that changing school lunches, eliminating school sports, adding more vocational classes, firing two-thirds of education administrators, going to cloud computing and eliminating the Federal Dept. of Education are not changes that will make substantial improvements to the level of public school education in the U.S.

Ivorytickler has made some excellent comments on issues with teaching math and science. She has addressed issues with having to reteach topics that students previously learned, exit exams, computers and issues regarding teaching breadth vs depth, and holding students accountable. I agree that all of these are issues that need to be addressed. The question is how?

Pennsylvania has adopted a series of graduation requirement tests called the Keystone Exams. The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Literature, and Biology. Other subjects are planned but have not been released. The PA Dept. of Education published the first state scores on their website in 2011 and have not posted any more recent results. Districts have been give their results through 2014 and they are used in a statewide school rating system. One school district posted their Keystone Exam results and the state results on their website. This is the link: http://www.northernpolarbears.com/fi...tent_areas.pdf

As you can see, the results for the state are not good. Students must score proficient or above to graduate. They can retest several times, and if they don't pass one or more exams, they must do a state approved project to graduate.

Statewide results for Spring 2014

Algebra 1: 40.1% of students scored Proficient or Advanced
203,357 total students tested 81,470 students PASSED 121,887 students to RE-TEST

Biology: 41.4% of students scored Proficient or Advanced
164,757 total students tested 68,215 students PASSED 96,532 students to RE-TEST

Literature: 52.4% of students scored Proficient or Advanced
111,612 total students tested 75,076 students PASSED 68,222 students to RE-TEST

Statewide results for RE-TESTERS (students who tested 1 or more times already). The students below who did not pass will re-test AGAIN and/or take a remedial class and the Project Based Assessment:

Algebra 1
80,591 students re-tested and 21.8% passed
63,035 students to re-test AGAIN

Biology
47,615 students re-tested and 11.7% passed
42,061 students to re-test AGAIN

Literature
31,686 students re-tested and 20.2% passed
25,273 students to re-test AGAIN

So if we just take biology and look at the results we see that 58.6% of students failed the test on the first take, and only 11.7% of those who failed the first time, attended remediation classes and retook the test, passed the second or third time they took the test.

So the questions are:
1. Is the test too hard?
2. Should the test be made easier so that at least 70% of students pass it the first time?
3. Do Pennsylvania biology teachers do a poor job of teaching the material?
4. Should all students be expected to take biology and pass an end of course test?
5. Should students who do not pass the Keystone Exams be allowed to graduate, but with an asterisk on their diploma that says they did not pass one or more Keystone Exams?

Last edited by villageidiot1; 05-17-2015 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:27 PM
 
5,789 posts, read 3,076,052 times
Reputation: 15207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatula City View Post
Part of the reason that kids can't reach those levels is because they're labelled early on and never escape the labels. I'm not saying everyone is born equal, but tracking, at least early on, is horrible for a student's self-efficacy. When someone is figuring out who they are and how they fit into society, they are constantly looking for cues-- and if you give them cues that suggest they are less competent, then that is how they will see themselves-- and from then on, the whole 'not as good as others' narrative becomes part of their identity.
..
Why is it horrible? Put them into tracks and give them education appropriate to what they can do. So what do you do with the ones who can do while you are repeating the same basic things to kids who can not and never will "get it." What about the "self-efficacy" of the top performers? Is it not important that they reach their potential or do you just assume it will happen? This is one of the most fundamental problems of schools today. Our best are being held back while we worry about the "self-efficacy" of the ones who can't. You're just not helping anyone where, no matter what it may feel like. The best are held back, and the bottom are made to feel stupid because they can't do what the kid next to them does with her eyes closed. The end result is hurting all kids in search of some false ideal of equality that just doesn't exist.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatula City View Post
And as for the larger expenses, my reasoning is this:

Private companies need competent employees to compete. The way it is now, those future employees (the students) pay for their own training. The companies then pick the best or the most connected, and the rest are SOL with a huge tuition debt.

What I'm proposing isn't taxation... companies wouldn't be forced to fund employee training, however it would make sense for them to assure that their potential future employees are competent. It's basically putting private business in the same financial position that university students are in now, with the benefit being that they can afford it-- charitable donations are already tax deductible.

And I'm not sure why that is somehow less fair than expecting arts students to pay more than their fair share so that corporations don't have to waste money on their own future. Businesses investing in people instead of people investing in businesses would solve SO many social problems.
I don't even know what to say here.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:09 PM
 
10,450 posts, read 7,543,469 times
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Lots of posts. I would divide students into groups according to their intellegence. There would be no more "any of you could be brain surgeons". Instead the lower levels would find the perfect trade to make a great honest living. Like we used to do, back when our education system was much closer to the top of the food chain.
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Northern NJ
7,416 posts, read 7,396,626 times
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I agree with this. The "feel good I'm special" approach reinforces fantasy and does not prepare a child for the real world. In the real world I am good at some things, and I suck at others. I am better than others at some things, and worse than others in other things.

A child should be developed to be their best selves. You are what you do, not how "nice" you are or how well you suck up to authority.

There is way too much emphasis on socialization and egalitarianism.

Of course, this is very difficult in a public school, where dumb kids and gifted kids travel on the same medium-speed train.

That is why I view it as functional child abuse to send a gifted or talented kid to public school. They will be smothered and socialized, with their potential squashed and burned in the "race to the middle".
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia Area
1,696 posts, read 1,021,134 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldhag1 View Post
1. Return to tracking.
2. Get rid of the vast majority the standardized testing and all the test prep.
3. Move disruptive kids out of the regular classroom/schools quicker - disability or no disability.
4. Put the ownership for failing back on the student and parent, it is not just the responsibility of the teacher.
5. Bring back meaningful vocational ed.
This is really the biggest change I would like to see.

When you graduate H.S. you should be employable for the vast array of jobs. There should be no need to spend 10's of thousands of dollars on college unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, academic or college professor, a teacher, medical fields or accountant/finance. No one else needs to be in college except for a few more exceptions I may have missed.

If it's not highly specialized there's no reason you can't come out of H.S. and learn on the job and work your way up as you learn more etc...
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:42 PM
 
15,329 posts, read 16,913,308 times
Reputation: 15064
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Why is it horrible? Put them into tracks and give them education appropriate to what they can do. So what do you do with the ones who can do while you are repeating the same basic things to kids who can not and never will "get it." What about the "self-efficacy" of the top performers? Is it not important that they reach their potential or do you just assume it will happen? This is one of the most fundamental problems of schools today. Our best are being held back while we worry about the "self-efficacy" of the ones who can't. You're just not helping anyone where, no matter what it may feel like. The best are held back, and the bottom are made to feel stupid because they can't do what the kid next to them does with her eyes closed. The end result is hurting all kids in search of some false ideal of equality that just doesn't exist.
The problem with tracking for students in the lower tracks is that their achievement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The kids think they can't learn because they know they are being given lower work. The teachers and parents think the kids can't learn because after all, the kids are getting lower grades on lower material.

History of Education: Selected Moments

Quote:
In this study, Rosenthal and Jacobson gave an intelligence test to all of the students at an elementary school at the beginning of the school year. Then, they randomly selected 20 percent of the students - without any relation to their test results - and reported to the teachers that these 20% of 'average' students were showing "unusual potential for intellectual growth" and could be expected to "bloom" in their academic performance by the end of the year. Eight months later, at the end of the academic year, they came back and re-tested all the students. Those labeled as "intelligent" children showed significantly greater increase in the new tests than the other children who were not singled out for the teachers' attention. This means that "the change in the teachers' expectations regarding the intellectual performance of these allegedly 'special' children had led to an actual change in the intellectual performance of these randomly selected children" (p. viii).
While the study focused on positive results, it stands to reason that negative results could also be biased by the way we place students into classrooms and tracks.

It is true that kids have different talents and different abilities, but the key is that often we have no basis on which to judge these and if we wall off kids who we *think* cannot learn, then they probably will not learn because that is what we expect.
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