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Old 09-09-2013, 08:04 AM
2,040 posts, read 2,415,784 times
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Originally Posted by Kreutz View Post
Well, of course I don't. I have no interest in aeronautical engineering; why would I pursue the requisite skills?
But aren't you glad that those doing those jobs got the basic math in school that made it possible for them to build upon? You said you glazed over those basics. Obviously, those building planes didn't and we are safer and happier for it.


By this logic because there are cardiologists performing many cardiac caths every day we should all have learned to calculate the fractional flow reserve of coronary arteries.

I don't think some of you understand the concepts of field-specific advanced education.

By all means lets have every high school graduate excel in everything from aviation to zoology, when they graduate at age 94 we should have an excellent and competitive workforce of cadavers.
Yes "many" such as math, spelling, grammar, etc.

Those are basic building blocks that field specific education builds upon.

If you never had basic math, for example, you can't get algebra, trigonometry, and geometry.

If you don't have those basics, there's no field specific education that can be built upon them.

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Last edited by Bludy-L; 09-09-2013 at 08:58 AM..
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:15 AM
9 posts, read 14,739 times
Reputation: 100
Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
I think what's being missed here is that the OP is talking about the lack of spelling tests in THE FIRST GRADE. As I said earlier, it is not uncommon today for spelling tests to start in the 2nd or 3rd grade. This school may teach spelling, but teach it in the later grades or teach it along with learning vocabulary words. She also said that it's a school with a great reputation, considered one of the best in her area, so I doubt they are ignoring spelling altogether. If nothing else the students have been doing well on those stupid standardized tests, on which believe it or it you'd have to be able to spell at least decently to score high.

The other thing to note is that the OP is complaining that the teacher isn't customizing lessons for her gifted son. One thing to realize there is that it is fairly early in the school year, most teachers are still trying to get a handle on all the different ability levels in their classrooms. Customizing comes a little later usually, after a month or so. Also, the principal is probably right that true giftedness becomes more apparent around the 3rd grade (and older). Some bright kids get ahead in the early years but by the then it evens out more as more kids catch up. The OP's son may actually be gifted, or he may just be really bright. There nothing wrong with being a smart kid but not every smart kid truly needs a special school.

Anyway, the first grade has changed a lot from what it used to be. A lot of the old curriculum has moved to kindergarten, while other things have been pushed to the second grade. Now they do a good deal of teaching and reinforcing of concepts in the first grade, so that kids understand more of the logic behind things before they get to the memorization of hard facts in the later grades.

I have nothing against homeschooling and the OP may very well be making the best decision for her family, but I did want to put out there that the situation may be more ambiguous than it seems.
Most of your assumptions are incorrect, and contradict what is explained in the article. You haven't understood my main complaint because you didn't read the article.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:52 AM
6,127 posts, read 6,672,912 times
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Originally Posted by Momzuki View Post
Most of your assumptions are incorrect, and contradict what is explained in the article. You haven't understood my main complaint because you didn't read the article.

1. I did read that article. That's not really an "article", its an entry in the Psychology Today blog that quotes verbatim from a letter from you. Lots of people have blogs on that site and they are not edited, it's kind of a free for all. Which is not to say the guy doesn't know what he's talking about, just saying I always give those blogs the side eye. LOL

2. I was responding to the assumptions about modern education as a whole that other posters were making... that spelling is not taught anymore in public schools (not necessarily true), and I was also explaining that 1st grade curricula tend be a lot different now than people remember.

3. Of course there is debate about different methods.. but teaching spelling a way you don't like does not mean they are not teaching spelling. What is SUPPOSED to happen with that method cited (that not everyone uses BTW, like I said my kid's public school actually has spelling tests starting second grade which is a common approach) is that the students learn a lot of words and word theory sorta (self discovered), then do a lot of activities where they are required to use the words, and the words are corrected when the kids make spelling mistakes. Now, sometimes it is not done WELL, but that is a different story. You can handle irregularly spelled words on your own if you want. You should be familiar with what they are. But ideally they would get covered later on.

4. I can give you a ton of articles on the flaws inherent in a lot of education research that focuses on "effectiveness", so I would actually read any studies before I take it them so seriously.

5. Everything I said about giftedness is true. They were not lying when they said there would be a better picture of what is actually going on with your son around the third grade. It is also no uncommon for administrators to be really brisque with parents who insist their kids are special because SO MANY parents insist their kids are special. You being a former teacher isn't really going to make a difference to them. Teachers wouldn't have time to teach if they really were customizing lessons for every kid whose parents were absolutely positive they were different than the others. Once again, you may be getting the party line until the teacher gets a chance to figure out what she needs to do with him on her own. Or not.

6. Your principal sounds like a dunderhead who is seriously in need of some customer service skills. And once again, he or she may actually know very little about curriculum theory or why certain things are being taught the way they are. He's likely speaking out of his ass. LOL

7. I said you may be making the best decision for you son, you are actually in the situation and I'm not. But honestly I've heard this story so many times before that it was worth putting out the potential other side, to me anyway. Feel free to ignore.

Last edited by Tinawina; 09-09-2013 at 09:13 AM..
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:57 AM
Location: Great State of Texas
86,052 posts, read 83,265,176 times
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At one school where I sub 3 students withdrew (middle school).
These 3 were in the GT program.
The parents are homeschooling.

This is a small rural school and the 3 leaving is a big deal as the GT program is not large.
The demographics of this school has changed over the past 3 years and not for the better.
Texas also just changed its entire curriculum around (due to common core) and this year is going to be pretty bumpy because Texas gave schools one year to transition.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:07 AM
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Just a suggestion here....

I didn't feel qualified, nor did we have the time (both me and Wife have full time jobs) to home school our kids although we certainly felt the public school system was a travesty.

Now, I don't know if it's an option, but our two youngest switched to a cyber-charter school. It didn't cost us a penny as the school district paid for it.

It turned out to be awesome for them! Things were individualized. Tutoring if needed was free and automatically available. Exam feedback was instantaneous. The school provided everything: laptop, printer/fax/scanner, headset with mic, and a virtual blackboard.

People said they wouldn't get into good schools, but my Daughter went to Vet School (she's now interning at a Vet hospital) and my Son is very close to finishing his Doctorate at Washington University at St Louis after graduating valedictorian in his department at PITT University. So much for the naysayers!

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Old 09-09-2013, 11:11 AM
Location: Long Island
9,531 posts, read 15,525,070 times
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I feel it should still be a focus. I remember when I transferred from a city school to a town school (supposedly better), my penmanship was so much better than other kids and I even got an "award" for it in 4th grade. They had no focus on it at my new school. Like grammar, spelling plays an important role especially when others are judging you for your education level or how detail-oriented you may be - like at an interview, for example. What if you had to write something during an interview? Could be disastrous.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:15 AM
4,538 posts, read 6,286,882 times
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Originally Posted by Momzuki View Post
I am so frustrated because we moved to an area that is supposed to have great public schools. Kindergarten was great and the teacher was willing to let me son work on his level, at least enough to keep him from going crazy. This year was a different story, and I'm glad I found out at the beginning of the year. I tried to work with the school but I was totally shut down.

My biggest clue that there was a HUGE problem was when the teacher said there would not be any spelling lists or spelling tests. In first grade! Even prior to this, I suspected something might be a problem because of the poor quality of work that was coming home. Very different from last year.

I delved a little deeper into the spelling issue and the principal told me that kids didn't need to learn how to spell because they can just use spellcheck! He said spelling isn't even important enough to be on the report card in the upper grades. He also told me that public school cannot meet the needs of a gifted child, and that my son is ahead so I should not worry and everything would "even out by third grade."

The teacher, principal, assistant principal, and curriculum director all assured me that "word study" would teach conventional spelling of irregular words. Because I am a former teacher, I knew that it would not. I found an author who also was concerned about spelling not being explicitly taught, and I voiced my concerns. He wrote an article about us and our decision to homeschool:


Spelling was just the tip that led to opening the whole thing up. Reading and math were not ok, either. As I asked questions I kept getting more and more dismayed.
problem is kids need to learn how to learn and how to work in groups and get along with others. Home school kids tend not to work well in groups as adults. Look at Tim Tebow!!!! Also school you get exposed to people of different races and religions. Most kids are set up for failure in workplace who are home school. Also most parents home schooling are doing it for religious reasons, personal reasons and usually are not qualified. I have a masters, my wife has a masters. Am I qualified to teach my kid science, math, reading, computers, NOOOO My kids have Art teachers, music teachers, gym teachers, drama teachers, etc. Also teaching is grade specific and it is a long day. Any parent or stay at home mom who thinks she can teach multiple kids at multiple age levels better than a teacher should do brain surgery on herself.

BTW my daughter and I never practice spelling. I have no clue how much spelling she does. In Fourth grade she was enrolled in a spelling contest and almost made it to the National Championship ship on TV. Guess what I found out she likes looking up how words are spelled on her own and is pretty good at it at school. I guess if I home schooled her and he did good on spelling I could write a paper and say it was because of home schooling.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:21 AM
4,538 posts, read 6,286,882 times
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BTW Japanese students are extremely good at spelling and math. They have incredible work ethics, study hard and are great workers.

However, once I had a team of 40 of them working for me as adults. They were amazing at stuff like memorizing tax laws, memorizing regulations, actuary, You name it. But horrible at thinking. The Japanese can make amazing high quality light bulbs, cars, phones, PCs, airplanes and rocketships. But they dont promote free thinking in a non-structured environment. I did a project where I used team that was great to come up with new ideas blank paper white board type things they just cant do it. Spelling a great thing but it is useless beyond college
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:30 AM
Location: Buckeye, AZ
38,935 posts, read 23,269,779 times
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School boards have been saying this forever. I remember hear my parents were told this when I had issues with spelling prior to being mainstreamed in 1994. 1994, computers were FINALLY becoming devices that most American families had access to (not internet yet but just personal computers.) I was always bad at spelling and when teachers would ask my parents about it at parent-teacher conferences, my mom would throw it back at the school. I am glad you stood up to this.
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:14 PM
Location: North Texas
24,564 posts, read 39,539,789 times
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Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
Spelling is not on the standardized tests therefore it's not important.
I say it tongue in cheek but it's the truth.

Teach to the test, nothing more.
Pretty much. I went to private schools and we were taught spelling all the way through 8th grade. Spelling counted all through high school.
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