U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Old 05-08-2010, 08:31 AM
Location: Los Angeles (Hollywood)
174 posts, read 509,722 times
Reputation: 193


I'm just thinking right now. I have no firm convictions on this issue just yet.

Our Union President spoke at our high school recently and told us about Arne Duncan's alleged success in Chicago. It was made on the heels of urban renewal. You bulldoze old buildings, construct middle class housing, wait for the people to move in, AND THEN the standardized tests scores jump up. As most of us know, well prepared, appropriately behaved students will produce rising test scores. That seems like a no-brainer.

My thoughts drifted to what's happening in the LA area at this time. Charters are the big fad. Those of us who have spent time as educators are well versed on the pit-falls of charter schools - eroded safeguards, fewer benefits, etc. They are hardly a magic bullet of success and their records on academic results are not much different from those of regular public schools. Then again, ONE difference with charters is their ability to remove (or counsel out, or strategically de-select, whatever you call it) the students who are disruptive and uncooperative. That has some profound implications.

The students with behavior problems will eventually be tossed down to the bottom rung (regular public) schools which MUST take them no matter what. If things continue in this way certain public schools could end up becoming the place where no kid really wants to be. When that finally happens, we may end up with the missing ingredient of adolescent academic performance - MOTIVATION! We could finally develop something that's disappeared from the educational scene - A REAL THREAT with REAL CONSEQUENCES!

As things exist now in public education, the behavior problems in most schools rule the day and drag EVERYONE down with them. Parents (the source of the problems in most cases) whine and belly ache to admins who find it easiest to punish the teachers who simply try to create some order in their rooms so that learning can take place. A hierarchy of free education could lead us in the direction of "meritocracy" - Okay, I'm getting carried away just a bit. The bottom rung public schools would not be prisons; they would still be places of free public education (for future bed pan changers and enema tube holders ) The majority of students would be free to learn and excel. The ones who are relegated to the bottom rung could possibly be motivated to apply themselves and petition to move up to another school.

What about the teachers at the bottom schools? Give them "battle pay." They should be paid significantly more. It should be understood that a large part of their job is behavior modification.

How about that? What began as just another pity party tactic for youngsters who simply don't want to do anything they consider to be work - another attempt to blame and correct the teachers could end up functioning in a positive way. I'm just day dreaming. Time will tell.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 05-08-2010, 08:44 AM
10,629 posts, read 26,306,926 times
Reputation: 6767
That wouldn't be meritocracy -- it would be the further entrenchment of informal caste systems. I agree that there are kids out there who are probably lost causes, but we as a society owe it to them to do at least give them a fighting chance to succeed. Why would the average poorly performing kid care what school they end up? The kids at the bottom of the rung are already just biding their time to drop out, and often have low expectations for the future, anyway. There are already very real consequences for failing in school, but for many kids just born with the short end of the stick they either don't realize it or don't know or think it's possible to change it. Meritocracy in the United States is a myth. It works for some people, of course, and it IS possible to claw your way up, but the decks are really stacked to begin with. I'm not sure what the answer is, and while I don't want to sacrifice the education of the kids who DO care (as is sometimes the case) while trying to tend to the needs of the kids who don't care or who are so far behind, I also don't think it's in the interest of society (or ethical, for that matter) to just give up on entire groups of kids without doing our best to give them a REAL fighting chance to improve their lot in life. (and these kids are not the ones with parents who complain to the administration -- at least those parents are involved, even if not always in productive ways.)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-08-2010, 01:50 PM
Location: Los Angeles (Hollywood)
174 posts, read 509,722 times
Reputation: 193
I don't think my proposal amounts to giving up on certain kids. I think it might offer some of them some motivation. That's more beneficial for them than social promotion or false self esteem or indulgence. Those things do not comprise a "real fighting chance to improve their lot in life."

Yes, it's true that we do not have "meritocracy" in the U.S. I agree, and that's was why I titled the thread, ".. a step toward meritocracy?" I wonder about the trends for the future of this country. In Los Angeles if you visit a hospital chances are very good that your doctor is going to be from an Indian or far eastern background. Visit any of the U.C. campuses and suddenly the Latinos and Anglos are a minority. I wonder if something close to meritocracy isn't already transpiring, but on a global scale.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2023, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top