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Old 07-06-2008, 08:11 PM   #26
Kelly
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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Originally Posted by Zen View Post
I have to do some more personal research on this.

going by just what you have posted. all i like about John McCains offerring is the emphasis on tutorship and fitting seniors in there.

Obama's offering seems much more comprehensive and substance oriented. I tend to shy away from prayer and intelligent design debates. i think we have to work with bigger structural issues first.

i would say education has become my number 2 issue.

i put it above healthcare.

Energy
Education
Healthcare
Warin Iraq....
Etc.

I dont work in the educational field yet. but i think we need more teachers so as to have smaller classrooms that can be more laser guilded on teaching and not so much on crowd controll. my lil brother is in a class with 30 kids

i just think thats kind of insane.

my classes were 15 kids.

i think their should be a bigger emphasis on educating teachers in child behavioral science. around here the policy is to "medicate" everyone who doesnt fit an established mold, an acceptable mold.
This is already happening within our professional development....
As far as our school district we follow the Ruby Payne framework. This is predominantly geared toward children of poverty, but the framework includes child behavior, since the two coorespond in many instances.

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back in the day i would have been medicated, but my teacher had salt. she knew how to deal with me. she wasn't some lost soul who couldnt figure out what to do with her life....and she became a teacher. she was skilled, wise and set me straight in a way that worked. A lot of teachers who are getting out of college, tell me they fell back on teaching cause they failed at what they wanted to do. its sad. i think we should emphasize some of the behavioral sciences to combat this paradigm.
What you will find with many teachers today, myself included, is that our minors usually will fall in the sociology and psychology realm. I have a double minor in both.

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I am wary about rewarding teachers for performance. i dont want teachers to become automatons and just pound test taking skills into kids rather than some serious substance and tutelage. but as a future educator its tempting to swing to the reward side because, i like getting paid... id like to get paid more for doing well. but i dont want to waste class time with practice tests and diagnostic nonsense.
Why not reward teachers for a job well done, in most of your other occupations out there, there is some type of merit system in place. Why should teaching be any different. I work my ass off in the classroom, and during the summer. YES, as a department head I get paid more, but when my department ranks above the state and national average in test scores, I think my teachers should be rewarded for that.

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After school programs are important. Obama has highlighted this to some extent... i think having productive outlets for energy, and stimulating activities available after school... is a great tool for keeping kids on a track to success.
After school programs are what got me into theatre and sports, which later in my education, kept me in school because in order to do what I loved, I had to attend and make the grade. So yeah, I agree they are very important, and actually pretty easy to achieve. Hell, at my school you have open gym for our kiddos and they will COME. LOL

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what i am stumped with is how to get and keep parents involved.

i dont know how i would support or suggest legislating that. Parents these days are ripe with excuses on why its hard. i hear that. but i also know a generation of americans that on average worked much harder and kept the complaints to themselves, and instead focused on getting the job done. people are ripe with a lack of critical thinking skills... which they should have learned, and persued how to use in school. instead they have families without thinking about what size they should bear... "Joey needs a brother or a sister" beats out "mom and dad will become depressed, mediocre custodians for both children."
This is the area that is the most challenging for schools at the secondary level. For some reason, parents are all about supporting their kids at the primary level, but as soon as the kid can drive, they are on their own. In many cases, the parents just have no idea how to support their kids at the secondary level. If schools will give them more opportunities to help, I think many parents would. How do you legislate that? You can't.

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i digress...

but families are so complicated. its hard to say how you could get in there and help. short of advocating family counseling. should that job fall on the school?

part of me thinks. screw it... natural selection! let the cream rise to the top. but its the kids who are getting screwed so i cant completely come to terms with thinking that way. and as the rest of the world begins to pass us by in education, im not sure we can afford to think this way anymore.
We need to get out of the frame of mind that student's will get their true education when they go to college......that is one of the main problems of our education system today IMO.
There are so many factors as to why other countries are surpassing us. I think we have hit a generation that no longer desires to work for what they get. I even see it in the new teachers coming in. As far as my school is concerned, the thing that will get you canned in your first through third year of teaching is to have an attitude that says, you deserve to be given your paycheck just because you get to school on time and leave at 3:00.

The family framework has broken down completely here in the US which I believe is part of the problem. It is apparent that in other countries this is not the case, and I believe that is a hugh factor. Do I think the school needs to become the family? Oh hell no.........but I do sometimes get called mom on accident...lol

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also Kel, whats your take on school vouchers? i havnt formed an opinion on them yet. id appreciate an educators opinion on them.
I have no problem with public schools having competition. Why should private schools only be for the rich? Bring the competition on......it will only make us in the public forum better. BUT, they have to be held to the same standards that my students are held to, and that I'm held to. Let me compete with private schools on the same playing field, with the same rules.

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Old 07-06-2008, 08:24 PM   #27
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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Kel as an educator which candidates plan do you think would be the most effective? And why?

Actually, they are both rather similar.

Education will not be the breaking factor for me witht these candidates.

BUT, I do believe that Obama has his hand more firmly on the pulse of America in the area of education. AND, I think he would make it more of a priority than McCain.

Honestly, the Senate has to get its head out of its ass and get something done. It won't matter what the President thinks about education if the Senate doesn't make it a priority as well.

I am not a fan of NCLB.......and it doesn't look like either candidate is going to scrap it. Not that it totally needs to be scrapped mind you, but it does need some heavy work, and both candidates seem to have an idea of where the problem areas are.

I would like to see one of the candidates really look at reforming our Middle School areas of education.

We drop the ball at the 6th-8th grade level. We compete with the rest of the world up until 6th grade. There is a problem in our Junior Highs. It's a freaking time in a teenagers life, and the schools administration, teachers, parents are not able to cope. We need to pay alot of attention to this area.

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Old 07-06-2008, 08:26 PM   #28
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

Yes, education needs reform. But I'm not the man smart enough to come up with what should be done. (And neither is anyone that says prayer in school is needed)

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Old 07-06-2008, 08:28 PM   #29
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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Yes, education needs reform. But I'm not the man smart enough to come up with what should be done. (And neither is anyone that says prayer in school is needed)
lol, prayer is still in school, it never left...........I just can't lead my kiddos in a time of prayer before their tests....

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Old 07-07-2008, 05:45 PM   #30
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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lol, prayer is still in school, it never left...........I just can't lead my kiddos in a time of prayer before their tests....
And that is how it should be. After all, you might lead them to pray to the wrong God. And then they might fail. And then whose fault would that be?

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Old 07-07-2008, 06:24 PM   #31
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

I think the biggest thing that needs reform is the rigidity of the system. I think it is absurd that we think one schedule will fit the needs of every child and the ability of every educator. Every working member of society has to know at least basic algebra, but not every child needs to, or even can, learn basic algebra when it is taught for half an hour each day at nine in the morning. Some would be fair better having an hour long session once every other day at around three in the afternoon. The problem is we want our schools to not only educate, but to babysit our children. The schedule stays rigid because we want to able to drop our kids off, go to work, and pick them up and hope that what happens in between that time imparts knowledge onto them. For some kids, it works. For others it fails miserably.

When it comes to math and science, the insistence of the Teachers Union that all teachers be paid the same wage, while a nice sentiment, carries a lot of the blame. The people most qualified to teach math and science tend to realize they could get much better pay in R&D or industry, and if not there then at least at universities.

So here's a thought, hire more part time teachers, and look outside of the realm of certified teachers or people with degrees in education. You need more qualified biology/physiology teachers? Look to the pharmacists. Chemistry? There are 170 major industrial chemical companies in the U.S. and many other lesser ones. Industrial chemists are not hard to find. Mathematics? Engineers. Sure, we couldn't afford to employ these people full time, but if they wanted to make more money on the side teaching a class or two, then that's great. With enough of them you have the ability to hold a math class with a qualified teacher at the time that best fits the student and the administration is happy because they have less people working for tenure to worry about. Hell, given the economy, a lot of these very qualified people have been forced to retire and are still looking for jobs.

All of this has worked very well for community colleges. Indeed, the CC in my area is renound for educating countless high school drop outs and giving them the knowledge and skills to either find a productive vocation or continue on to higher education. Yet for some reason, we are resistant to putting their successful strategies to work for anybody who is under 18 and hasn't dropped out. It boggles my mind.

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Old 07-07-2008, 08:54 PM   #32
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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I think the biggest thing that needs reform is the rigidity of the system. I think it is absurd that we think one schedule will fit the needs of every child and the ability of every educator. Every working member of society has to know at least basic algebra, but not every child needs to, or even can, learn basic algebra when it is taught for half an hour each day at nine in the morning. Some would be fair better having an hour long session once every other day at around three in the afternoon. The problem is we want our schools to not only educate, but to babysit our children. The schedule stays rigid because we want to able to drop our kids off, go to work, and pick them up and hope that what happens in between that time imparts knowledge onto them. For some kids, it works. For others it fails miserably.

When it comes to math and science, the insistence of the Teachers Union that all teachers be paid the same wage, while a nice sentiment, carries a lot of the blame. The people most qualified to teach math and science tend to realize they could get much better pay in R&D or industry, and if not there then at least at universities.

So here's a thought, hire more part time teachers, and look outside of the realm of certified teachers or people with degrees in education. You need more qualified biology/physiology teachers? Look to the pharmacists. Chemistry? There are 170 major industrial chemical companies in the U.S. and many other lesser ones. Industrial chemists are not hard to find. Mathematics? Engineers. Sure, we couldn't afford to employ these people full time, but if they wanted to make more money on the side teaching a class or two, then that's great. With enough of them you have the ability to hold a math class with a qualified teacher at the time that best fits the student and the administration is happy because they have less people working for tenure to worry about. Hell, given the economy, a lot of these very qualified people have been forced to retire and are still looking for jobs.

All of this has worked very well for community colleges. Indeed, the CC in my area is renound for educating countless high school drop outs and giving them the knowledge and skills to either find a productive vocation or continue on to higher education. Yet for some reason, we are resistant to putting their successful strategies to work for anybody who is under 18 and hasn't dropped out. It boggles my mind.

All that you are talking about is being done across the country.

Community Colleges are now getting involved with not just drop outs, but students that want to go on to college. They are working with regional 4 year universities so that the students can at some point transfer and have all of their grades transfer with them.

Many schools have Alternative Schools available for those that are possible drop out candidates, or have already dropped out, that work with their work hours, children, etc.

Community Colleges and industry in and around school districts across the country are beginning to set up coaching sessions for students that are struggling in the areas of Math and Science.

Teachers today for the most part are not coming out of college with Education degrees. They are coming out of college with degrees in the areas they want to teach. I don't have an education degree, I'm simply certified to teach Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, World and US History, and World Geography and yet my degree is in law. I teach Pre AP World Geography with an emphasis on Politics and Humanitarian studies. A good number of your teachers are coming from the work world. They get into an ACP program where they take their classes like adolescent, or child psychology, etc on Saturdays or after school. They are in the classroom from day one, and they have a mentor. I mentor about 3 teachers per year. They are certified to teach in their subject areas, they do not have education degrees. Most of your universities today work with ACP programs rather than student teaching, because many of their students would rather begin teaching with a paycheck, rather than student teaching for free. These programs are the fastest growing area of education on the teacher's side in the nation.

Changes are happening, maybe not as fast as we would like, but they are happening.

I can't speak about your thoughts on Teacher's Unions, because the State of Texas does not have Teacher's Unions.


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Old 07-07-2008, 09:16 PM   #33
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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lol, prayer is still in school, it never left...........I just can't lead my kiddos in a time of prayer before their tests....
lol when I was in high school, my high school band director still led us in prayer before we entered the field for competition. He would respectfully say that everyone who would like to participate in pray come forward and bow your head.

The only person that didn't pray was the 1 Jewish kid in the band and by my senior year I join him as I became agnostic (Damn you Bill Maher). In my opinion pray is ok as long as it’s not led by a government official. Student led prayer is ok in my book.

On a side note lol i remember telling a Catholic friend of mine that she was goign to hell because she wasn't Baptist during my freshmen year in highschool.


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Old 07-07-2008, 09:25 PM   #34
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

IMO, dump all standards and let the states manage it.

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Old 07-08-2008, 10:04 AM   #35
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

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IMO, dump all standards and let the states manage it.
In reality the states are managing it. Yes you have National Standards in all subjects, but for the most part each state has their own standards. Ex: The TEKS "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" here in Texas.

IMO, that is one of the problems. You have some states that have no standards at all. Some states that do not hold their teachers to much of anything. There is nothing wrong with the National Standards as a whole. The problem is the people overseeing all of this that are the problem. They have either NEVER been in the classroom, or they are so far removed from the classroom they have no idea what they hell they are talking about.

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Old 07-08-2008, 10:34 AM   #36
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

I wish NCLB would just be jettisoned altogether, but if it's going to be revised I think I like what Obama's thinking of doing with it more than I do what McCain is considering. I also like that Obama's education reform plans are much more comprehensive, making NCLB just one of the aspects of the program rather than making it THE primary aspect of focus. Addressing the students as individuals and giving them each what they need to succeed as much as possible seems to be important to Obama and that's one of my my main rubs against NCLB, in that it marginalizes the more advanced students in favor of the average and even the poor performers. We need to be really grooming our advanced students and giving them opportunities to advance even further. And this fixation on performance testing has got to end. The tests aren't relevant, as Kel pointed out, and tying funding to percentages of students passing them has teachers fixating on just teaching kids to pass these tests instead of actually learning the things that will carry them forward in life and in upper education. I like McCain's take on vouchers, state's rights and the tax free savings accounts but those things, like so much of his education platform, don't seem very fleshed out in any detail as to how he would make them work or even happen.

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Old 07-08-2008, 11:22 AM   #37
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I wish NCLB would just be jettisoned altogether, but if it's going to be revised I think I like what Obama's thinking of doing with it more than I do what McCain is considering. I also like that Obama's education reform plans are much more comprehensive, making NCLB just one of the aspects of the program rather than making it THE primary aspect of focus. Addressing the students as individuals and giving them each what they need to succeed as much as possible seems to be important to Obama and that's one of my my main rubs against NCLB, in that it marginalizes the more advanced students in favor of the average and even the poor performers. We need to be really grooming our advanced students and giving them opportunities to advance even further. And this fixation on performance testing has got to end. The tests aren't relevant, as Kel pointed out, and tying funding to percentages of students passing them has teachers fixating on just teaching kids to pass these tests instead of actually learning the things that will carry them forward in life and in upper education. I like McCain's take on vouchers, state's rights and the tax free savings accounts but those things, like so much of his education platform, don't seem very fleshed out in any detail as to how he would make them work or even happen.

jag
I see where you are coming from jag, I really do.....but we cannot continue to start an education program with every new president. I think that is where some of the problems have come. If you look at the history of education reform in the United States, you see years of changing every 4 to 8 years, or keeping the same crap and just calling it something different. BUT, if you look at classroom reform, we are moving back to the "art" of teaching. It is an art, and not everyone can do it. We now need standards that allow the teacher to teach, that allows the teacher to manage their classroom without being afraid of being sued. Teacher's are scared to death to teach, and that is sad. So as far as NCLB, IMO, the major area that needs to be changed is in the area of teacher accountability, and special services. But to totally trash it would be a step backwards IMO. If we could do it and hit the ground running with something new, then I would be all for it, but you can't.


As far as the "teaching to the test" is correct, BUT.......if the exit test is well aligned to your standards, then if you are teaching the standards you will be teaching to the test, its just automatic. We have to have these standards, because you have teachers that have what we call "love units" and they will spend a freaking 3 months on these things, but they are not truly a part of their class. I mention the word Holocaust, and my students want to spend 2 months on it because their American History teacher the year before spent 3 months on it, and they know alot about it. NEWSFLASH: 8th grade American History only goes up to 1877. Hmmm..........and it is only mentioned as an example of genocide in my class, so because they will talk about it within the standards in their World History class, I discuss Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur in that area. Teachers are notorious for the example I just gave. So the standards have to be there, and a test is a good way to assess if the students have gained at least a portion of the knowledge they should have. NOW, here is where the problem lies as far as the tests.....

EXAMPLE:
The 8th grade TEKS Social Studies test, tests what they should have gotten in 5th, 6th and 7th grade Social Studies (NEWSFLASH: Social Studies is being thrown out in 5th and 6th, because of the Math and Science tests are given then, AND there are no 7th grade TEKS taught at the 8th grade level)
Then in most schools you have 8th grade US History to 1877, then World Geography, then World History, and then US History after 1877. At the 10th grade level they have a TEKS Social Studies test that tests, not only the 10th grade WH TEKS, but also a few of the WG TEKS, and a hell of alot of the 8th Grade TEKS. Guess what, I have no US TEKS in my standards of World Geography that hit on Early American History, yet 30% of the World History test is Early American History. Then they hit the 11th grade TAKS test, which they have to pass in order to graduate. They are again tested on Early American History, of which they haven't seen since 8th grade. Texas in a few years is moving to an EOC (End of Course exam), this exam will test over the TEKS for that grade level. SOOOOOOOOO.......IMO, if you build a solid test, that truly tests what you have taught, or should have taught in the classroom, then teaching to the test is not a big deal. BECAUSE, I have news for ya, you really cannot realistically TEACH TO THE TEST, because it changes. Usually you will have a 50 question test, of which 40 to 45 are actually graded, and then you have 5 to 10 field questions, THAT MIGHT be on a future test. Plus, many of your states are not releasing the tests anymore to keep this from happening as well. We are not allowed to look at the test while proctering. Do some teachers do this, yes, and if they are caught, they are fired. We had a teacher fired for talking with students right after the test to find out what was on it.

If the test truly gives you an idea of what the student knows and doesn't know, then no problem. If it tests them on things that they might have gotten 3 years before, then theres a problem.

Also, schools have their classes in the wrong order, or they do not have in place a class that the student needs. Example, if an 8th grader does well in their 8th grade Science class, then they can skip IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry, use to be Physical Science to you old foggies), and go right into Biology, and then AP Biology, etc. BUT, THERE IS an enormous amount of Chemistry on the 10th and 11th grade Science Exit tests.......when did they get it, they didn't.

EOC's are the key IMO. Test my students on the standards that they learn in my class, I have no problem with that, but don't make me accountable for what the teacher before me didn't teach, nor make me accountable for my special services students (who MAY read at a 4th grade level) to pass a test with the same standards for students that are reading at a 9th grade level.


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Old 07-08-2008, 11:50 AM   #38
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

True, we can't just reboot the system every time there's a new President (a major point of contention for me with Bush because the system wasn't in dire need of a reboot or massive reform when he put NCLB in place to begin with). If there are ways to salvage what we have and make it work for us, then that's fine. I do like that Obama is looking at ways to round out NCLB and put other pieces in place to compliment and complete it where it is lacking, not just reform it all on it's own and call it good. And, yes, you perfectly summed up so much of the problems that come with the way the testing requirements are handled today. It's a mess and a disservice to our kids. As a new parent, I want to see these things resolved before my son starts going to school.

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Old 07-08-2008, 06:25 PM   #39
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Default Re: Is Education Reform needed?

If any of you have a chance and you have HBO, watch the documentary "Hard Times At Douglass High", it is a hard, realistic look at urban high schools.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #40
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Default DISCUSSION: Education

(I looked and didn't see a thread of this topic....so if there was...it was really buried, regardless, time to revisit it.)

OK...we have problems with Education. I know Kel, who is a Teacher, can give you some points.

I see a number of problems and ways to get them solved, at least partially.

1) Remove the Fed from the equation
Take the Federal Government out of the Education business. Instead of having them mandate things and force the states to do it, follow the way it was originally designed. States Rights. Let the states handle it. The Fed and give the States funding, and let it end there. As part of it, get rid of the Sec of Education position, unless you have that position to help each state communicate with other states.

When you have each state working its own solution, you will have unique innovations. The Federal Government stifles innovation thru policies and the like. Without the Fed involved, each state is able to try different unique ways to get the job done. This is what I want. This will then allow each state to make adjustments.

2) Un-handcuff the teachers
Let the teachers teach the subject, not the test. I think performing number 1, will start to allow this.

Those are the first things I came up with...I am sure more will come.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:19 PM   #41
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Default Re: DISCUSSION: Education

Add competition to the Equation. Just like any other business, People follow the Money, if one school is doing better, parents will want their kids there. Why dumb down all kids to make it even?

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:20 PM   #42
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I think every public school should have equal footing....there is a high school in an affluent neighborhood that has new equipment and even a small television station....drive 20 minutes away and you have a school that has overcrowded classes and has trouble keeping textbooks for the current decade

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:21 PM   #43
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Add competition to the Equation. Just like any other business, People follow the Money, if one school is doing better, parents will want their kids there. Why dumb down all kids to make it even?
I agree...
The dumbing down of classes because of a few kids, hurts the majority.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:23 PM   #44
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I think every public school should have equal footing....there is a high school in an affluent neighborhood that has new equipment and even a small television station....drive 20 minutes away and you have a school that has overcrowded classes and has trouble keeping textbooks for the current decade
Equal footing is fine.
But a school in rich area....has better stuff why.
The people there pay massive amounts of money in taxes.

The low end school...doesnt support those taxes.

I get it, I want kids to get an education too.
But I dont want to be Robin hood and steal money from the "rich neighborhood" and give to the "poor neighborhood" and tell the rich parents, sorry, but your property taxes are going to go up 10% because the poor school cant afford it.

We have to have an equilibrium here

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:30 PM   #45
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Ask the question "What are we eductaing these kids for"?

Are we educating to be productive members of society that can contribute to the economy? Or are schools largely just trying to engineer a future electorate for the party supported by the NEA?

If we want more productive memebers of the community, then why not focus more on learning trades, teaching for jobs, technical schools and colleges rather than the liberal arts leaning in most schools? Who cares if a group understands impressionism if they contribute nothing to society?

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:49 PM   #46
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I think parents should choose which school their children go to. I love the voucher idea, allowing a child's parent to decide where the federal money we already spend per child goes to.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:49 PM   #47
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The NEA needs to go.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:52 PM   #48
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Personally, I dont believe that is a darn thing that the government or the schools can do to improve education in this country. You cant legislate a kid to learn the ABC's. It begins at home. Get the kid away from the TV, the computer and the video games and make them read a book.

When I was a kid, my parents sat me down at night and we went over my spelling, math facts and other assignments. It wasnt fun and it was frustrating for all involved but it made me invested in school because I knew that it must be important if my parents were this concerned about my classes.

When I started college, I studied to be a teacher and Malice is 100% right. The bar needs to be raised, not lowered. The prof made it a point to say so. I never went along with the idea that "the minimum of a subject should be taught because thats all the class will remember anyway." I remember facts from the 6th grade that are beyond what is the minimum. On a side note, an American history prof once mentioned that a high school education earned in 1900 would be the equivalent of a masters degree today, for the sheer amount of information covered. Thats how far we've fallen.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:57 PM   #49
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Too much dumbing down because teachers don't want to make little Billy feel dumb when he can't get anythign right. Don't use red ink, you'll give them a complex. Don't pass out F's, you'll stifle their creativity.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:58 PM   #50
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We need to re-introduce shame and failure back into schools

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