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Old 03-02-2010, 08:56 AM
 
2,180 posts, read 3,254,430 times
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Former 'No Child Left Behind' Advocate Turns Critic : NPR
"I've looked at the evidence and I've concluded they're wrong. They've put us on the wrong track. I feel passionately about the improvement of public education and I don't think any of this is going to improve public education."
Too little, too late? Perhaps.

Better late than never? Yes, I suppose so.

Ravitch is and was one of the leading scholars of education history. Her voice was a strong and clear one in support of these unbenighted policies - it is good to see reason return to her.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
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I fear there might be some ideological reasons for her statements. In my field, Ravitch does not have much of a reputation. She's a charlatan.

I routinely refer to that law as Every Child Left Behind. For one who teaches college undergraduates, I've noticed that the ones exposed to the ECLB for longer periods are suffering because of it. Students get worse and worse every year in terms of basic things like writing. No telling how many times in my classes, I've heard students ask questions such as "what's a verb?" "what's a subject?" "what's a predicate?" "how do subjects and verbs agree?" "why can't we just pay our money and get our degree?"

ECLB is hastening the coming Idiocracy. Our political leaders want this because the dumber people are, the fewer voters turn out to the polls.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
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Way, way too little, way, way too late. NCLB has done so much harm, including widening the achievement gap, and dumbing down the curriculum in most states. I completely agree with the previous poster's comment about our leaders making people dumber.
It will be interesting to see how much worse the new administration's "Race To The Top" can make things.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,466 posts, read 5,131,816 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eresh View Post
Way, way too little, way, way too late. NCLB has done so much harm, including widening the achievement gap, and dumbing down the curriculum in most states. I completely agree with the previous poster's comment about our leaders making people dumber.
It will be interesting to see how much worse the new administration's "Race To The Top" can make things.
I agree. NCLB and Race To The Top are not the answer. The answer lies with honestly addressing our social/societal problems which includes reworking a seriously-flawed social welfare structure.

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Old 03-02-2010, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
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I think the main problem with public ed in this country has more to do with the "cartel" comprised of the Department of Education, the teachers unions, the National Education Association, and the Schools of Education at universities and colleges across the nation.

At my university, I routinely pass by classrooms in which education classes are in session. I don't see much going on in there that could be construed as educating future teachers. Mostly I see young girls with their legs propped up on tables, some are eating, the instructor or professor is sitting at a desk looking at a laptop computer, and in some classes they are building things with popsicle sticks and glue (one class I passed by recently was playing some kind of game in which students, one by one, got up from their tables, ran to the front of class, rang a bell, and then ran quickly back to their seat).

I guess I was lucky growing up. My mother, and later my father, taught at a Jesuit-run school where every teacher had at least a master's degree in the subject they taught (and I attended for free). My English teachers, for example, had at least an M.A. in English...so forth and so on.

By comparison, the average public high school English teacher has maybe taken 15 hours of English classes at a university. That doesn't give one nearly the expertise they need to be teaching high school English classes. It's no wonder my freshmen students today can't tell me what a predicate is.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:53 PM
 
6,561 posts, read 12,872,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiogenesofJackson View Post
I think the main problem with public ed in this country has more to do with the "cartel" comprised of the Department of Education, the teachers unions, the National Education Association, and the Schools of Education at universities and colleges across the nation.

At my university, I routinely pass by classrooms in which education classes are in session. I don't see much going on in there that could be construed as educating future teachers. Mostly I see young girls with their legs propped up on tables, some are eating, the instructor or professor is sitting at a desk looking at a laptop computer, and in some classes they are building things with popsicle sticks and glue (one class I passed by recently was playing some kind of game in which students, one by one, got up from their tables, ran to the front of class, rang a bell, and then ran quickly back to their seat).

I guess I was lucky growing up. My mother, and later my father, taught at a Jesuit-run school where every teacher had at least a master's degree in the subject they taught (and I attended for free). My English teachers, for example, had at least an M.A. in English...so forth and so on.

By comparison, the average public high school English teacher has maybe taken 15 hours of English classes at a university. That doesn't give one nearly the expertise they need to be teaching high school English classes. It's no wonder my freshmen students today can't tell me what a predicate is.
Well, let me give MY brief dissertation on the matter.

I believe that NCLB failed us because it dried up all creativity in the classroom and consequently stifled student interest in schooling.

Elementary and Secondary education are about the basics and developing those basics. Yes, science and history are important for some of the data, but they are MORE valuable at this level as supplements to English and Math skills....

Back when I was in secondary in the 80's, the art of "hobby teaching" was still widely practiced. The teachers were VERY creative with their lessons, they taught with a passion for their subjects because they were given the leeway to focus on what they thought important or interesting. What that may have been wasn't the important thing. The important thing is that the kids fed off the energy and ate it up....

NCLB has painted teachers into a corner and got them worried about one thing: Students passing one damned test.... It has consequently killed the art of teaching IMO and our children are suffering because of it...

Beyond that, IMO, an English teacher having only 15 credit hours or a Master's doesn't make that big of a difference at this level. Remember we are talking about a percentage of these kids being virtually illiterate at this point. Do you think a Masters is going to make any difference here? It's about the strategies used to break through to the kids in the current environment.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
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I understand what you're saying here. I'm biased because my 8th grade English teacher through 12th grade (different teachers in each grade) taught me well. They taught me how to write. They taught me how to analyze a piece of literature. They taught me the basic evolution of the language, and this was only in the English dept. (my physics teacher had a PhD in physics, my biology teacher had an M.S. in Biology, my history teachers had MAs and PhDs). In other words, these teachers prepared me for college and instilled in me a love for learning. Even between my high school and college years, I found myself looking for reading material to keep my mind occupied. I discovered rather quickly that I was leaps and bounds more prepared for college than were my peers. I'm not brilliant, but just well-prepped to the point that I found undergrad rather easy (especially the first two years).

When I run into friends from high school, they agree that our Jesuit education prepared us for the rigors of the world in more ways than we realized at the time. Even those friends who left high school and didn't go on for grad degrees claim they're active readers. They still value what was instilled in us so long ago.

I agree with you to the extent that the Every Child Left Behind Act is focused on teachers. It could aptly be called Screw Every Teacher in the Behind Act. But based on what I see from education students at my university, I will never allow my kid to go to a public school.

So 15 hours of English concentration for a B.S. in education from my university (or is this a B.A.?) is only one portion of their college work. What else are they doing for the other 45 hours needed for the degree? Why do I see so many education students doing arts and crafts? What's that all about?

We share classrooms at my university. Once several semesters ago I went into a classroom to teach my freshmen history students. An education professor and her students had just finished their class and left the room. On the board were several things the prof had written. I found that she still used racially antiquated terms to describe "minority" students, i.e. "Afro," "Oriental", "Arab", etc. I thought this underscored her stupidity more than anything. On the board it said add "American" after these designators to "make students feel included."

Before I went to grad school, I had one date with a high school English teacher. We got into a discussion about the efficacy of the current gulf war. I pointed out some commonplace theories on the war and what it means for American society. She asked how I knew these things. I told her that I read. She said: "honey, I don't read anything unless I have to."

Moreover, in my freshmen-level history classes, we must take roll and keep up with absences. This policy comes from up top. Of my 100 students each semester, a handful are upper classmen, trying to satisfy a requirement. Among these who are in the school of education, they generally have the worst attendance rate of any other student. Their grades are rather poor as well (strangely enough, chemistry majors do the best in freshmen history surveys). Again, more anecdotes, but I think you get my drift that education students at my state supported university are not very impressive.

I know these are anecdotes and nothing more, but my uncle has an EdD and his hypercritical of schools of education as well as the "cartel" I described in my earlier post. He's never worked in a school; claims he "knows better." He's military retired and develops software for a defense contractor.

I agree on curricula and how outdated much of it is (all of this info is available online in my state). No wonder why kids dropout. If I were a student at a public high school today, as soon as I reached 16 I'd dropout and get my GED. It's the same thing with less propaganda involved.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:31 AM
 
6,561 posts, read 12,872,114 times
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No, I think these are more than mere anecdotes. Your perspective is really valuable in this discussion.

I guess there are those who treat the teaching profession as a "fall back" or the thing to do when you don't know what else to do... Your experiences with education students makes me shake my head. I just hope it's more the exception than the norm.

I guess my point on a Bachelor's vs. a Master's is more on the level of a TRUE lover of one's subject will enhance their own education on relevent topics on their own without the need to drop another $25K for a piece of paper saying they learned some more.... Understand that in some ways I have to feel this way, as I'm currently going through a six-month program to become a teacher in a subject that I didn't even major in.... On paper I would look like a desperation hire for a school that just needed a warm body to fill a high-needs area classroom, but I guarantee you that I will be better than many that have attained the full-blown Master's Level education...

This is kind of the thing to me. It starts with finding teachers that actually WANT to teach. I've worked in another capacity for school systems for over 10 years, and there is nothing more infuriating to watch than some of these teachers that mail it in every day; Having their kids take notes while they're checking their stocks or ebay or something on the net. Or those that are close to retirement and are simply coasting for the last 4 or 5 years.... (I really hope they gave their all during the other 25 or so years, but sometimes have my doubts...).

Anyway, your thoughts are more than welcomed in my book. Keep 'em coming!!!
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,362,914 times
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2-3 years of data under NCLB compared to that pre-NCLB should have been enough to convince them.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,572,866 times
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I think that everyone on this thread should agree to refer to it as "ECLB." Perhaps if enough people start calling it that, then the yahoos passing such inept and counter-productive legislation might be embarrassed enough to change it. It is certainly worth a shot, as 2-3 years of data hasn't moved them to make any kind of change.
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