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Old 09-18-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streetsmart View Post
I absolutely don't understand this. The environment of the school and classroom basically determine what is taught and how it is taught, and in my mind these are the things that you should be focusing on MORE than academics.
Will the kids get the bare bones of the curriculum and a test, or will they have the opportunity to do experiments, group work, presentations, etc.? That all depends on the environment in the classroom and the make-up of the students in the class. The skill of the teacher comes into play, yes, but sometimes even the best teacher can have their hands tied by a terrible administration, assinine rules, and things outside of their control.
As I already posted, I can afford to choose between buying a home in a reknowned school district or to send kids to private school. Things like "environment" are already secondary once you get to that point. I'll put it another way. Suppose I choose to live in Queens, where the taxes are lower but schools are overcrowded. Then I'll send kids to private school. So there's no need for me to focus on "environment".

Quote:
Originally Posted by streetsmart View Post
If you are debating between the top Westchester school districts and the various private schools in the area, I don't really think you can go wrong. Visit potential schools and get a feel for their "culture" and the administration. If it's a private school, ask for their curriculum. Go from there. But your singular focus on academics is very short-sighted in my opinion.
What I'd like to know is if the top Westchester schools are at par with the various private schools, not which is better. For if they are truly at par (at least when it comes to academics), then the public schools become a better and more financially attractive alternative. I've already attended various private school open houses (and attended private schools myself), so I have quite a bit of information about them. It's the public schools I don't know much about except for the stats available online and handouts from realtors. I would also like to get more color on those comments from parents who live in good school districts but sent kids to private schools out of disappointment with their public schools, and public comments that the level of academics in some well-to-do districts is not as challenging as it was perceived to be.

And having a singular focus on academics is not short sighted; not to me at least. I know my children won't be attending ghetto schools whatever path I choose. Anything else beyond that's outside the classroom, I can take care of myself. It's what goes on inside the classroom (between reputable school districts or private schools) that I can't control.
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lan3 View Post
DMA- Of course primary instruction is the teacher's responsibility. I just meant that many bright kids benefit from working with peers at a different level. A person understands skills best when they are able to teach others. There is a lot of opportunity for that in heterogenous classrooms. I think kids benefit from helping each other in the classroom. I don't think all academic groups should be homogenous in terms of ability. I have triplets at completely different levels and they learn so much from each other almost as much as they learn from me.
I see. So mixing students of different abilities is actually done on purpose (and for this purpose) by the schools, am I right with my understanding. Would you know which schools use this approach or is this done everywhere?
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:18 AM
 
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FH Dad,
I work in the city and I know that is how it is done in many NYC schools. We use a TC (Columbia) model for teaching reading that is based on heterogenous classes where kids are assessed by their teacher for reading level. The teacher will level the class library so the kids can read books that are right for them. The teacher will conference individually with kids on their level. There are also mini-lessons of whole class instruction but it is not the set-up when I was in school. When I was in school, we were grouped by ability and the teacher taught a lesson while we sat in rows and learned nothing from each other.

Tracking has been debated forever. There is definite research that can be cited on both sides especially for gifted kids. There is a lot of research that says that separating out gifted kids helps them achieve more. Often, the best resources and teachers go to the gifted groups with discriminatory practices. I have kids that range from disabled to gifted and I would not want a homogenous group because I want my kids to each be able to have the same opportunities. Besides, my son is gifted academically is not nearly as talented musically as his sister. and my son with autism can do things physically way beyond my other two. I personally want my kids to realize everyone is gifted in different ways. When I went to school, I never got to meet the kids that was not as academic but was an amazing musician and I missed out.

If you want your child to be with similar ability kids, I believe you have to go private where kids are picked and chosen based on ability. Public schools are inherently different by nature.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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Finally, I was able to dig up a comment from Chappaqua teacher Tom Corwin that was published. Although this was made in 1990, he allegedly made similar statements in a New York Times commentary around 2007. Are these supposed difficulties more attributed to teachers' ability than to the schools' policies?

Here it is:

**************************

S.A.T. Scores Are In, and All of Education Is Judged
By WILLIAM CELIS 3d
Published: September 9, 1990
IDEAS and TRENDS - IDEAS and TRENDS - S.A.T. Scores Are In, and All of Education Is Judged - NYTimes.com

It is not only poor students who are being held to lower standards. At Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y., an affluent New York City suburb, Thomas Corwin, who teaches history, said he has trimmed the reading assignments and lowered the difficulty of the vocabulary in his American and European history courses because his largely white classes cannot keep pace.

Mr. Corwin no longer assigns the full text of Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address. Instead, Lincoln's four-page speech has become one page, with Mr. Corwin simplifying the work even further by including definitions of polysyllabic words.

''It's very frustrating,'' he said. ''You don't want to water down things, but what do you do?''
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
I admit I'm not familiar with this approach. But shouldn't the instruction of students in school be exclusively a teacher's job? What is it that a teacher can't teach in class that they have to delegate this to students? And which schools practice this?



I'm surprised this is so. I thought that the point of well-off suburban schools paying high teacher salaries and benefits (funded by high taxes) was to recruit highly skilled teachers. Maybe I'm wrong though.
I think you should definitely encourage students to teach each other. Kids who articulate what they have learned are better able to retain what they have learned and form complex thoughts about what they learned.

You are definitely familiar with this approach. How many times have you asked your child the same questions? Like what their name is, how old they are, to count their fingers, count x number of of objects. There is no doubt that your child knows the answers, but the more they articulate the answers the better they learn it. Then they start asking questions, like how old you are and the complex ideas of age difference start forming in their minds. So definitely encourage your child to teach other students!
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:09 AM
 
Location: New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
I haven't watched the film so I don't know the entire context. In general though, I find it sad if someone would call the pursuit of academic excellence a "race to nowhere".
See the film, then make a judgement on the name of the film.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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/\/\

I don't want to make a judgement on the name of the film. But it's still sad (and pathetic) to call the pursuit of academic excellence a "race to nowhere".
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,488 posts, read 3,949,999 times
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I can't speak to the film because I haven't seen it, but as a country we have increased our per-pupil spending by over 100% since the 70's, reduced class sizes significantly, and yet haven't made any progress in test scores at all.

We rank 5th in spending on education, and something like 25th or below on test scores. Seems like an appropriate name to me. If the public school system in this country wasn't inherently broken, many would opt to stay in the city vs. moving to the suburbs.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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Default Best schoold in Westchester County

Quote:
Originally Posted by babybluepumpkin View Post
Hi,
We are relocating to either CT, NY or NJ. I am wondering what towns have the best public schools in Westchester county. Also, would love a nice walkable downtown. Please help!
Thanks!

Hands down: Scarsdale, Edgemont, Bronxville
Prices to match.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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Check out White Plains these days. Scarsdale, Edgement and Bronxville are great and so is Armonk, Irvington and Hastings. But White Plains has great schools and great range of housing prices. Those others are in the stratosphere.
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