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What High School Has Become - From a High School Teacher

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posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 04:41 AM
a reply to: stdscf12

My Brother-in-law just recently quit his teaching job; a job that he studied for years to get certifications and proper education.

Let's just say he's quite disillusioned with where the USA is headed...

Atlas held the world on his shoulders... and then one day he shrugged...

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 06:28 AM
a reply to: stdscf12

I have a bit of an inner grammar geek that leads me to almost involuntarily critique the writing of others as I read it. This is especially true when it comes to anyone who I know has a higher education degree, and most particularly of all... educators.

I'm pleased to observe that you have a good grasp of proper writing. I'm especially pleased -- a little shocked, actually -- to see that you grasp proper semicolon usage; not many people use those correctly.

That being said, please consider burdening yourself with learning which side of a quotation mark that the ending punctuation goes on in sentences that end in a quotation mark. When I first noticed this little flaw in your writing, I hoped that it was just a trivial oversight; we all make occasional little mistakes, after all. My heart sank a little though when I noticed you repeat the mistake a handful of additional times in your writing -- the telltale sign that you don't know the correct way.

Hopefully the above doesn't come across disrespectfully. My thinking is only that you're such a good writer already, why not clear up this one recurring flaw in your writing that is the proverbial rotten apple ruining the bunch?

More on topic to your discussion:

originally posted by: stdscf12
If I had one take-away from my span in education it is this: 90% of the time, children are a direct reflection of their home-life.

I agree with your statement and believe that, more often than not, healthy, safe, stable home lives produce healthy, safe, stable human beings. I just wish that, in the case of those who grow up with home lives which contribute little to nothing positive to their psychological health and maturity, that there be some other means available to help these people as adults besides just various forms of punishment for their failings; e.g. the shunning of their peers, jail time, etc.

From my perception, there are a lot of adults, both younger and older adults alike, who are, figuratively speaking, just stumbling along through their lives as predominantly self-destructive, dysfunctional individuals who lack basic life skills. They've tried and continue to try their best on their own to understand how exactly to peacefully exist and be successful in a world seemingly designed for their failure. Sadly, many have never been taught, neither directly or by positive example, basic personal skills -- how to co-exist peacefully with others, how to adopt healthy thinking patterns and stress management techniques; how to respect themselves, others, and foster positive relationships that are mutually beneficial; how to do their part to develop and maintain a healthy and productive romantic relationship and/or marriage, and how to maturely go about dissolving relationships that become intolerable for any number of reasons... etc., and so forth.

Adults in our society are frankly just expected to have a full understanding of many or all the things mentioned in the above paragraph, and there is a certain intolerance for those who don't. People carry with them the constant pressures and burdens of knowing what society fully expects them to be, but knowing that they lack the skill set necessary to be anything other than a struggling, largely dysfunctional, mess of a person who is desperately trying to find their way.

Children may be met with a degree of patience and understanding, but young adults and particularly older adults will often meet with stern intolerance for their shortcomings. Despite having few to no personal resources to help them understand how to essentially be a healthy, well rounded, contributing, functional member of society... the struggling adult who didn't acquire what she or he needed growing up will likely be met with punishment in the form of social rejection and outcasting, and even incarceration.

Suffice it to say that we live in a society which, in a seemingly endless plethora of ways, punishes those who don't understand how to be healthy, stable, productive adults; and yet, this same society offers little to no instruction or teaching in this regard. If you're lucky, then you grow up with positive and proactive influences who will get involved in your life to guide you in the way that you should go. Everyone else will go through their lives continuously fumbling along and struggling to try and figure things out, all while being punished for not being what they do not understand how to be.

The condition of things is indeed very sad.

I absolutely and emphatically do believe that instruction on the personal level is equally important to instruction on the academic level, and many people do not receive this -- neither at home nor at school. The desperate need for attention to this dilemma in society couldn't possibly be more obvious, and yet this seems to be one of the most persistently ignored problems in the world.

The elephant of all elephants in the room is that people don't know how to be people, and there are few to no resources for them to learn.

edit on 19-9-2015 by AzerothTraveler because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 08:14 AM
I'm not sure how relevant my post will be, as I dropped out due to severe health issues prior to High School, instead having to go into home study. But I'll try to throw my two cents in.

Firstly: thank-you for being a concerned, engaged teacher who takes an active interest in the well being of your students in a passionate, zealous way. I don't agree with you on every point you raised (particularly sexual orientation and gender identity - I do feel accommodations and sensitivity need to be cultivated on those issues, inducing in an academic environment,) however the general premise that schools are being overburdened with the problems of society and bureaucracy at large, and the damage done by parental apathy, I do concur with.

My own limited experience prior to dropping out, for what it's worth:

My elementary school (K - 5 in my case) was once known as an "alternative" school. It was a place that made learning exhilarating. Of course some of that is tinged with artificial rose due to my being younger, but I know that report card assessment and feedback, teacher-parent meetings, teacher-parent communication, and the encouragement of parental engagement, were all cornerstones of how the school was run. And I know that it at one time produced the greatest number of G.A.T.E. and high grade students moving from elementary to Middle School (Junior High for those who use that nomenclature instead) in the city.

Teachers were given a level of freedom with respect to curriculum, and nearly 100% of them found ways to make learning as compelling and engaging as possible, no matter what it took, no matter what a kid's learning style or problems were. And parents were an integral part of this process. They constantly stressed homework, academic work ethic, and parental involvement. Classes were still large - probably too large, but that's an inner city public school for you - but they somehow never felt loud or distracting, because the kids were always engaged. Completely. Somehow the environment and approach just worked, and kids cared about learning.

It was also a place that felt genuinely safe. I grew up with some chaos at home, at that school was my island. Faculty knew what the problems at home were from a mile away as soon as they saw them, and they did not allow them to impact my learning or jeopardize my safety. Yet they also, crucially, did everything possible to keep both my parents engaged and involved even after they separated, without ever vilifying or taking sides.

Once I went to Middle School... wow, the difference was shocking. And not just because of the typical change to structure (suddenly having lockers and combinations to remember, class schedules, and home room; those things are expected in my opinion as preparation for High School.) But the atmosphere. There were some great teachers (two in particular who I will always be grateful to) who had the same level of engagement and insistence upon parental involvement, and didn't let kids slip through the cracks. But most... most seemed numb, beaten down, apathetic, and even scared of their students.

There were constant violent incidents. There were gang related activities on school property. The bathrooms were always a mess. Classes were enormous (up to 50 kids per one teacher in a crowded room.) Students were unruly and learning in that environment was virtually impossible. Teachers were so overwhelmed, they spent 75% of their time simply berating students in a desperate attempt to bring them to order. Sometimes it worked. Usually it didn't.

A best friend of mine ended up dying as a result of gang violence. His parents fluctuated between absolute negligence and apathy, and harsh physical punishment (with no regard to what was actually going on in his life.) That was the primary contributing factor to his joining the gang. It provided the sense of family and structure he needed but lacked at home. Tragically, it cost him his life.

Not surprisingly, I started getting sick constantly, became truant as a result, was sent before the school board, and by 8th grade had to drop out and enter home study or risk being taken away from my parents. I was lucky to find a great home teacher and managed to survive school. But the difference between elementary and Middle School was stark, and terrifying. And my friends who graduated and went on to High School and college later told me even worse horror stories about those phases of their education. It was clear to me then, as it is now, that something was very wrong and that teachers were overwhelmed by whatever it was, despite some of them doing all they could.

Years later, heartbreakingly, I found out that my old Elementary School had been shut down and now stands an abandoned ruin with a parking lot next to it. Why? Well, after I left, apparently its name was changed from "Alternative" to "Academic." Student uniforms were enforced. A shift toward standardized testing was pushed. Grades (predictably, in my view) began to plummet. When you have a successful environment, sometimes the worse thing you can do is monkey with it. The school was heavily censured, lost funding, great teachers were fired for the grades free fall, and it was eventually closed as the new staff never achieved the rebound the district hoped for. To this day I believe it was policy change from higher up that destroyed that beloved place.

Very telling to me is this: everyone who attended it when I did speaks highly of it, with fond memories. Whereas everyone who attended during its "Academic" phase, remembers fear, chaos, struggling to focus and learn, over-large classes, and overworked, stressed out teachers. To me that says a lot.

Anyhow, again, I'm not sure how pertinent any of this is as I didn't make it to High School per se. But I have known something was wrong for a long time, even if I don't agree on every point.


posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 08:45 AM
The best teachers I had, were the ones who made you think outside of the box, there werent that many, but the ones who were available were pretty balanced, they knew when to impose discipline, to joke and to teach, everyone would respect them, without them having to make you fear them. You could see, they loved what they did, even if you had problems outside of school, they would try to help you, even without getting payed, thats really something.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 09:10 AM
This is not a new thing.

I graduated in 1990, and it was prevalent even then.

Teachers had already began to mentally check out. We had this one teacher in particular, Mr. Clarke, that we called "Monotone Clarke" He taught Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. Watching him teach, and listening to him teach was mind numbing. We learned absolutely NOTHING from him, he had no passion, no fire, no excitement at all for what he was doing, and it definitely was passed on to the students. I often wondered, WHY he was like that. Maybe he felt it was a useless endeavor, because of the absolute lack of discipline.

Parents had already taken up the "Not MY angel!" mentality. Kids were not disciplined at home OR at school. I remember the days of Grade School back in the late 70's when they would still paddle students who got out of line. That went away in the 80's, when mainly Liberal parents were upset that THEIR "Angel" was being corrected, and they were being made to look like fools who couldn't raise a child who knew respect for others, and how to behave in school. It was downhill from there.

A lot of that was because we were starting to bear the fruits of the "sexual revolution". We had young parents who had rebelled against THEIR parents, and were raising their children they way they BELIEVED their parents should have raised them. And that was the beginning of the end IMO. Children who are allowed to run wild at home, will **SHOCKER** run wild everywhere else, including school.

We have brought this on ourselves.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 09:18 AM
a reply to: stdscf12

I think you have a lot of good points but your own perspective is the other side of why parents and teachers are so oppositional. Parents CAN'T be parents anymore without the risk of having their kids taken from them, especially if they are poor and at a disadvantage. While this demographic often has more challenges associated with poverty, such as more drug addiction, and often less time to devote to their kids because of their work loads, most of them are still good parents. Or at least, they would be if they could do more than put their kid in "time out". I'm not saying beat your kids but sometimes something with a little more alacrity than letting a four year explain why he hit someone and then telling him "No that's bad", is needed.

They'll sure let us medicate them though. And I'll tell you what, the most pressure I've ever seen to medicate a child is from the schools themselves (please bear in mind, this hasn't actually happened with either of my kids). And who can blame them really? For those kids that need discipline with a little more weight at home and they don't get it, they are absolute heathens at school. So schools say parents aren't doing their jobs raising their kids (because they can't) and parents are saying that schools aren't doing their jobs educating (because they can't either) and no one is coming together on this.

I get that you're frustrated, but I'm pretty damn frustrated too.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 10:06 AM
a reply to: stdscf12

Teaching high school students can't be easy.

However aiming your scope at 'violent video games' and other so called negative influences does not make for a poor student as many of who played violent games and listened to the devil's music (i.e all music) had poor teachers.

In retrospect I taught myself better than any teacher that has ever taught me, My English teacher? lost for words. My biology teacher? pressed play more often than not. My geography teacher-where in the world was he?

I'm not a teacher but do you think the curriculum is stifling the ability to teach?

edit on 19-9-2015 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 10:10 AM
a reply to: AceWombat04

The 1980s were a turning point, turning a nation away from the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. The "Silent Majority" was to "take back", "take over" America, a nation they felt had left them out socially. The economic effects rippled down to us today, as a govt instituted policies that would put a lid on the roiling 1970s inflation.

The 1980s made us aware of pervasive drug use, when drug use began to filter into white middle & upper class, no longer seen as belonging to black musicians and college students.

The antidote would be to create a Daddy State, where Father Knew Best to keep his family secure, and to crack down using authoritarian solutions (or, sometimes, foolishly easy solutions, such as "Just say no!"). The antidote would create black and white reactions, no gray areas or areas of compromise, to solve problems. Dissent (as in the 1960s and 70s) was viewed as dangerous and intolerable. And if one still didn't feel "right" or secure about society around them, they would withdraw into essentially tribal areas meant to keep "the others" physically and intangibly away.

Because secondary education (actually, beyond 6th grade) in America historically had been comprehensive, the idea to service ALL students individually in one classroom, although a noble idea, just didn't work. Besides being, again, an easy answer to a problem, it butted up against the reality of economics. Schools also eventually gave in to federal instructional direction with NCLB. There is nothing wrong with standards, but Americans believe that everyone else in the world has an education system or places a value on education in the same way as they do. Not so, and to try to change the system under such false beliefs is not working.

And so we end up....

originally posted by: AceWombat04
Very telling to me is this: everyone who attended it when I did speaks highly of it, with fond memories. Whereas everyone who attended during its "Academic" phase, remembers fear, chaos, struggling to focus and learn, over-large classes, and overworked, stressed out teachers. To me that says a lot.

fear, chaos, struggling, one of many, overworked, stress .... that is where we are today, and not just in education! It seems that "fear, chaos, struggling, one of many, overworked, stress" has embedded itself in the very nature of society. Either we have been tricked into believing that that is what we need to make it all work, or we have suffered from adrenaline addiction.

Either way, I think, Ace, that people are starting to dissent. Each generation has a problem to work on. That is where I see today's struggle for people younger than me. I'll be dead, but Life will go on, and out of this struggle, people will be better off. If I said right now, "There is no hope!", I would die inside. Continue to reach out for the next hand hold. And remember, the hardest part of giving birth is at the end.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 10:14 AM

originally posted by: netbound
a reply to: Reallyfolks
Sorry to give the impression that funding is the root cause of the problems. I don't believe that. I was just saying that it would require funding to implement changes to the current system. Changes to the infrastructure, curriculum, etc. And that, perhaps, there is little interest in a complete overhaul of the existing system.

I think the problems aren't with the teachers, but rather the tools they're given and the rules/protocol they must follow. When I was a kid, the teacher could discipline me if I was out of line. Today teachers have their hands tied and the students have the power. Consequently the students lack respect for authority and do as they please.

I don't have the answers, but I do think the system has lost control and direction.

I always kind of laugh now a days. If I mention seeing a paddle with holes drilled in them if sent to the principals office, I can normally tell by the reaction if you were in school pre or post craziness taking root. I definately understand about the discipline factor

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 10:50 AM
Star and flag and all that stuff.... I couldn't agree more, this is why I put my career on hold for the past 11 years, and will do so for the next 8 or so, to homeschool, and also be an influence for my child friends as well..... it has really gone down the gutter, and I think the parents are 100% the problem.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 10:57 AM
a reply to: AceWombat04

Even with homeschooling there is no freedom with curriculum now.... we have to go by the book, or get threatened with child services. It is a little extreme to say the least.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 11:06 AM
a reply to: stdscf12

The best post I have ever read on ATS, period. You should write a book my friend, seriously you have taken a step back and exposed the root cause issues of not just America but most of the modern world we live in.

You have my utmost respect.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 12:32 PM
a reply to: Substracto


As adults, we all have had bosses, some inspiring, some not, some who did a great job, some who didn't. (If you like the money, you might stay.) We've all met people in our lives, some inspiring, some not, some who get the job done, some who don't (even parents).

I think that years ago, districts staffed classrooms with whomever they could get, placing teachers into any subject (whether or not the teacher wanted to teach it, let alone have a background in that subject). PE teachers taught math, ex. NCLB did require that teachers meet minimum degree qualifications.

However, after reading many posts here over the years, just because a teacher is boring doesn't mean one can't still learn. Not all life is entertaining. Deal with it, because you'll only be with that person a short time anyway.

And some young people have had "mean" teachers. Unless that teacher is legally abusive or hateful, tough. Not all bosses are "nice". One could lodge a complaint, but, in the end, one might have to put up with a "mean" person.

And some young people believe the teacher "hates them". Again, is it really true, or is it YOU who are bringing on a certain attitude? Some young people have come to understand that their classroom behavior really was not that admirable.

And some young people complain that teachers aren't "fair". Hell, Life ain't fair. Those young people who do agricultural work summers outdoors in 104 deg temps know life isn't fair. Students who live with parents laid off from jobs understand life isn't fair. Students whose family member is locked up unfairly understand life isn't fair. Life is not some candy machine that constantly dispenses treats. OTOH if you have a legitimate grievance, go through a process to resolve it.

I think that sometimes when teachers tried to teach "outside the box" some in society thought that that was a bit too much. Teaching should be only about "the basics", not all that "warm and fuzzy stuff". Do what others in the world did. Teach "the basics".

Balance. It's all about balance, and some people are just better at it, and the rest of us could learn from them.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 12:34 PM
I'm a junior in college so I'm not that far out high school. That being said, I completely agree with some of the things you addressed. My school was pretty much just like yours at the beginning, we were known as the "rich kid" high school in the area. Getting through high school was a breeze for me, almost a joke at times just because all we had to do was regurgitate info as you said. Even with playing a sport and training year round for it, I hardly opened a book in my four years and got through with a 4.2 GPA. When I got to college I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to study, manage my time or anything along those lines. I'm not blaming the school because I realize it's just as much my fault and it's not that I didn't want to study, it was just that the curriculum was dumbed down so much even in honors and AP classes that I didn't have to. Also, I see where you are coming from with the parenting dilemma, all too often I barely saw any of my friends parents unless there was a problem at school or they didn't make a team they tried out for. Hell, most of my friends had no idea what their parents actually did for a living. I would attribute parenting as to why students tend to act out as opposed to ultra-violent video games and the type of music we are listening to. But, I think you also have to take into account the world we live in today. I know not a lot of you are going to agree with me on this, but the whole "American Dream" thing isn't really a reality for us. There are so many people out there graduating with masters and PhD's and they literally can't find a job. Combine that with the fact that my generation (with the exception of a small percentage) is the most lazy and apathetic generation to date, and you can see why so many idolize those who did very little to rise to success. I'm not saying it's right, just trying to add an insiders approach.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 12:37 PM
#1 it's the parents. That is the major difference between a child focusing on education or something else.

But, I went to school in the 50s. Even then the smart, hard workers were pushed aside for the "middle of the road" kid.

Even in the 50s, THINKING was a detriment to the curriculum.

I look at public school as a privilege. Not every country offers free school. I don't think we should look at it as an expectation.

There does need to be a standard and a way to evaluate it. But, learning to pass a test is hardly useful in the real world.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 12:44 PM
Lots to say and none of this even gets to the OP, which I have to think on longer.

originally posted by: NthOther
What high school has become? State "education" has never been anything but compulsory social indoctrination at the behest of political and, more importantly, economic interests--to create good (obedient and utterly dependent) workers and consumers.

So you want schools that don't teach people how to function like reasonable, responsible, law abiding citizens? That's what indoctrination is, acceptance of the laws and customs of the nation. When you don't teach that you get the situation where students stand on their desks and shout obscenities all class, or join gangs, or act like animals.

originally posted by: Bluntone22
The standardized test results are how schools get funding so that's the main focus now.
Teach for the test and don't worry about the rest.

If you don't teach to the test, what metric or guideline is there to guide what the teacher should be teaching? Do we want to just throw students into a room with teachers and leave it entirely up to the teachers judgment to decide what's appropriate, what they'll need in the future, and what they should already know?

originally posted by: alsace
The ONLY system that works is PRIVATE EDUCATION.


If a school is rubbish, no-one will send their kids there and the teachers will lose their jobs. If a school is great, everyone will send their kids there and the teachers will make a packet.

And what of the poor who already aren't paying property taxes? They won't be able to afford good schools, so their kids will go to the bad ones, it restricts upward mobility. Furthermore, how do the poor even afford the schools? Private schools aren't cheap, when I went to a Catholic HS (the best decision my parents ever made for me) it cost something like $20,000 per year, that's more than my college tuition cost. How can we reasonably put that type of financial burden on people? College graduates already come out with loads of debt and it's a serious issue, do we really want to expand that problem and give them 12 years of grade school debt as well?

originally posted by: Reallyfolks
I can understand the funding requests but the last studies I saw were that we spend the 6th most per student in the world and get 28th ranked results in the world. Is funding the real problem here? Not according to the op, seems like we have issues that are not related to funding. Seems funding is always raised, but the op pointed out many non funding issues that money won't solve. So providing more money doesn't seem like it will solve the root issues.

The US has a reasonable average, it's not great but it's not bad either we're at the lower end of developed nations but most developed nations have a very small gap between them. There's a larger gap in test scores between 6 and 7 as between 10 and 30. The problem the US has is that while our average is sort of ok most of our schools don't perform near the average. We have a lot of very good schools like in Connecticut and Massachusetts that if rated as their own countries would be in the top 10 in the world but then we have Florida which is worse than Kazakhstan, we have Kansas that cut the education budget so much they ended the previous school year early due to a lack of funding, we have Louisiana which boasts a mere 66% literacy rate (most of the country is in the 99% range, like other developed countries), and we have Texas that stopped teaching science in favor of religious viewpoints which puts their graduates who go to college into remedial classes.

I agree that more money may not necessarily be the solution, but without seeing the balance sheets and knowing exactly how our money is spent (and this varies by state), I can't comment on what is or isn't reasonable.

originally posted by: Reallyfolks
I always kind of laugh now a days. If I mention seeing a paddle with holes drilled in them if sent to the principals office, I can normally tell by the reaction if you were in school pre or post craziness taking root. I definately understand about the discipline factor

One of the nuns in my high school would hit us with rulers in that special way that only nuns know how to do. The football coach, who also taught history would punish people by making them either holding a push up stance X minutes (usually 10-15) or making them run around the school x times.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 02:59 PM
I know being a teacher is hard work, but sometimes it is with the teacher/school. When I was in 6th grade my Math teacher bullied me so bad I started not wanting to go to school(I loved school, liked learning.) She had me crying in class, belittled me in front of the other students, and when those students started to do the same she laughed with them. She told my parents that I was the worst student she ever had and that I would not amount to anything, and I was sitting right there. The school did nothing, they just shurrged their shoulders, and said that she was retiring and this was her last year. Now, thankfully a LD teacher who was helping out in the classroom told me to start going to her room once it was study time, and if she wouldn't let me go just go and she'd take care of it. Needless to say, she helped me immensly, after 6+ years of school they tested me and put me in the Learning Disabled classes for Math instead of looking the other way like they were for all those years.

My son is 8 and has already switched schools 3 times, once from pre-school to kintergarden, spent one year going to the awesome school down the block, but the building needed to be repaired, and instead of repairing it or building a new one, they closed it.(And then learning that after they closed it the School Board all got raises.
) So now they shipped all the kids to already overcrowded schools. So we go to the assigned school they gave us. It was overcrowded, the principal was non-existant-she sat in her office with the door locked all the time. If your child was being disruptive, or getting in trouble they sent the kids to the library because the principal didn't want to deal with the kids. His grades were horrid, the teacher gave the same homework everynight, and when I tried talking to his teacher she never got back to me. I sometimes thought she was mixing up my son with another child because some of the things she said about him didn't make sense. You walk into the building and the vibe was kinda negative... now I have social anxiety and don't talk much or like crowded places, but not once did anyone say Hi or smile. Everyone was walking around with a scowl on their faces. He didn't talk about school that much whereas the previous year he loved sharing about his day. Also he got bullied really bad. We did school choice for the next year and sent him to a Charter School.... huge huge change in him, he comes home and does his homework right away, he talks about his day and share's the things he's learning. His grades are awesome, and he's not getting bullied because they don't tolerate it at all. The teachers talk to the students and I get the feeling that they focus on the kids, listen to them, take time for them. They also look at learning is not just textbooks & in the classroom, but outside of the classroom, and at home, which is why they stress parent involvement.

I guess what I am trying to say is the education system sucks in some areas, and there are good/great teachers out there, but there are some really rotten teachers as well. Also from what I've noticed, it's all become about $$$, and not educating the kids, not encouraging creativity. The school my son was at that we didn't like had their art & music program cut. I think it's a shame because without music & art, this world would be a dull place and frankly, I think it takes away from learning.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 02:59 PM
a reply to: Aazadan

I think that Americans need to understand this...

originally posted by: Aazadan
We have a lot of very good schools like in Connecticut and Massachusetts that if rated as their own countries would be in the top 10 in the world but then we have Florida which is worse than Kazakhstan, we have Kansas that cut the education budget so much they ended the previous school year early due to a lack of funding, we have Louisiana which boasts a mere 66% literacy rate (most of the country is in the 99% range, like other developed countries), and we have Texas that stopped teaching science in favor of religious viewpoints which puts their graduates who go to college into remedial classes.

Areas such as the Northeast have been at the top, while the South has been at the bottom. ALL schools were not failing, just certain areas! And, when dealing with averages, pockets of higher and lower scores could be found everywhere.

Students coming from homes with abundant physical resources (i.e. higher incomes) tended to do better. That's not to say that all students can't achieve; achievement is not solely a matter of money, although it helps, but where education is valued and students receive parental support for academics helps, too. Students should be achieving to what they're capable of. To do less is criminal, and not a wise investment.

RE testing Teachers have always tested. They taught a curriculum based on what professionals in that field thought was necessary, but teachers had professional leeway to adjust it slightly, for ex. based on professional judgement as to what students needed to know for certain careers, the "real world". Students were given quizzes and tests (criterion referenced) to see what was mastered. Then once a year, schools would administer a federally mandated test to see how well students were achieving against their peers (norm referenced). And, of course, "teaching to the test" was a no-no, because a child might suddenly appear falsely "gifted", along with the teacher.

What changed with NCLB was that the end-year-testing was now criterion referenced. A teacher was told to only teach what was on the test (whether or not there were professional concerns), in order for students to gain points. The curriculum was set not by the professional in the classroom or text author but de facto by the Federal
govt. And, not only was there to be strict adherence to this curriculum, but ALL students were expected to master it. Students with IQs of 70 were to be expected to master college level algebra, for ex.

So IMO testing per say is not bad, but forcing a one-size-fits-all curriculum is. Plus, yes, indeed, there is concern over who "owns" the student's score. Is it solely private, as scores traditionally were, or is it merely Big Data meant to generate sales for remediation services? Big Data is a concern in other areas. For ex, noting one's medical data electronically can generate a host of treatment options, with prescriptions to follow.

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 03:55 PM
a reply to: MacSen191

MacSen, your heartfelt post brought a tear to my eye. You brought up a lot.

Yep, closing a school and shipping away students. Teachers and students made to do more with less. Parents caught in the mess, too. And, while teachers take all the blame, administrators can make or break a school, but they're let off the hook.

Your child is lucky to have you as a parent. Glad you found the better school! Glad to hear things are better!

And you know what, you made my day by bringing up creativity! I agree with you and Einstein. Einstein was also concerned about it....

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

posted on Sep, 19 2015 @ 04:17 PM
a reply to: desert

Exactly, the lessons you teach your students sometimes are learned outside of the school area/space, I still remember those teachers like it was yesterday, very good examples that remind you what teaching is all about.

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