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Why our Public School System is getting an F

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posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 09:54 PM

Why our Public School System is getting an F

* Between 1960 and 1995, average per-pupil spending in U.S. public schools rose 212% in inflation-adjusted dollars.

* Between 1960 and 1995, the student/teacher ratio has dropped by 35% -- from approximately 26 students for every one U.S. public school teacher to only 17.

* Between 1960 and 1995, the average salary of U.S. public school teachers jumped 45% in inflation-adjusted dollars.

* In 1994, fewer than 50% of the personnel employed by U.S. public schools were teachers.

* American 12th graders rank 19th out of 21 industrialized countries in mathematics achievement and 16th out of 21 nations in science.

* In fourth grade, 77% of children in urban high-poverty schools are reading "below basic" levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests.

* Since 1983, over 10 million public school students have reached the 12th grade level without learning to read at the basic level.

* Since 1983, more than 20 million students have reached the 12th grade unable to do basic math.

* Since 1983, more than 25 million students have reached the 12th grade not knowing the essentials of U.S. history.

* In 1995, nearly 30% of first-time college freshmen enrolled in at least one remedial course to compensate for a sub-standard high school education.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 09:54 PM
This story isn't really news. However, I haven't seen many threads regarding this, and being a high school senior, I feel this should be addressed.

Our public school is failing our youth. We are currently putting more money than any other country in the world, and we are behind. We aren't even in the top 5 at that matter. I have spent the last 13 years of my life in the public school system, and had I not done anything to educate myself, I would be left in the cold.
I have always read into topics and done a lot to round myself as an individual. However, I am one of VERY few. Now, I live in a small midwestern town, and there are only roughly 200 people who attend my high school. From my experience, 90% of these people don't learn anything from high school. Here are some examples:

-A lot of my fellow peers and classmates often times get grades due to "sucking up" to the teachers. All they take away from this is that if they agree with people, that positive things will come of it.

-When I go to school I don't hear about what things people learned about in Chemistry of American Issues, I hear about who is wearing the same outfit as who. Kids are thinking skin deep, and telling themselves that life is about friends. (You can make this argument, however to me, it's about advancing and making our world a better place.)

-While recently reading Hamlet, which can be tough to read at times, my classmates didn't know words that should be part of one's vocabulary. People are making it to the 12th grade, reading at a 5th grade level.

-I was talking with some of my coworkers, who attend a nearby high school of 2,000, regarding current events and U.S. history. They didn't know that "jihad" meant holy warrior, or that we had a trade embargo with Cuba. Many couldn't tell me what President was involved with Watergate, or that our current President is the son of a former one. Some didn't even know who the members of the axis were during WWII.

-Many teachers are simply under-qualified as well. Many of these teachers just say, "Here is your chapter packet, do the assignments and take notes." It is left up to the student to do the reading and work. Teachers need to teach.

In conclusion, I would say I've done a pretty good job educating myself, and taking in as much as possible. I scored the second highest on the ACT (27, retaking in a few weeks) out of my entire class (a whopping size of 43). However, I would like to hear everyone's thoughts and opinions on the matter. Obviously the most staggering fact is the fact that we put more money into our system than anyone else and yield poor results.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:07 PM
Good for you educating yourself.
You are correct in your assessment of the school system in America.
Read "The Dumbing down of America."
In the early 1900 the school had one teacher and students from first through eight grades. In one room. To have an education was a premium goal.
Now days, it is a big social sport complex with emphasis on fashion and frolic not study and knowledge.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:20 PM
Good post coming from one of our youth.

According to your statistics the education should be better with a teacher only having to teach 17 students instead of 26.

You can blame it on the education system being a huge government bureaucracy, Teachers Unions, and too many chiefs not enough Indians.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:44 PM
reply to post by prestonposthuma

I don't disagree with anything you said. I spent most of my life in the business world, eventually founding and running my own corporation. As a CEO, I frequently heard from other CEO's that todays colleges are not providing students with the skills that they need to survive in the business world. When I retired from the business world, I decided to teach at the college level. Within a year, it became obvious to me why our colleges are failing.
I've posted the reasons on other threads. Let me just take some of the points that I made there, and summarize them here.

The students were coming in, with poor skills in all areas. Instead of being able to teach new material, the first 4 or 5 weeks were spent just getting the basics down. You are right- they don't know how to research or think on their own. I had several of them tell me that when their teachers reviewed for a test, they gave them the questions and the answers! No research needed, no thinking, just memorize the information for a day or two, spit it out, and forget it as soon as it's over.

A tool I would use to encourage research, was the give them a general question that was going to be on the test. It would force them to do some research, and UNDERSTAND the issue. They also knew that there would be multiple versions of each question, and the questions required relatively long answers, which involved explaining WHY they gave the answer they did. I also spent a good deal of time in class discussions, to encourage the thought process. For many topics, I would break them into groups of 3 or 4, to encourage teamwork. I found that worked very well. It is certainly more work on the teachers' part, and several of my colleagues told me they wouldn't do it, because it was too much work. My answer to them, was that if they felt that way, they shouldn't be teaching. Many of them gave scantron tests, and had machines grade them. God, how can you get to know your students that way?!
I detest government programs that base everything on standardized tests. All it does is encourage some teachers (not all) to "teach to the test".

One of the encouraging things that I experienced, though, was how eager students were to learn, once they were given the tools, and a chance to really learn, not memorize. I used to take current items from the news(not just politics, but items like new technologies, business items, etc), items that at first glance, they would not think had any impact on their lives. I would then make the connections to their lives, and show them how such things really DID affect them. After awhile, they caught on, and then it became fun. They actually looked forward to discussing current events, especially when they knew they affected them. The next step was getting them to take action to CHANGE those things that they didn't like. I never told them what to believe. I think that professors that do that, again, are doing a disservice to the students. Students need to think on their own. I did tell them how to contact their congressional representatives, how to lodge a consumer complaint,and how to register to vote. I never consciously told them how I felt about politics, although I'm sure that some of them could deduce that, but that's ok, because again, that means that they are learning to think on their own.
Again, student reaction was very positive. Many of my "colleagues" however, had a different view, namely that since the students were telling them how much "FUN" my classes were, I was just playing games. I would respond by telling them that people(including students!) learn more when they are enjoying it. No one said that learning should be drudgery. By the way, I don't think that my techniques were great, they were just common sense, something unfortunately that many educators have in short supply.

I guess that it is rather obvious how I feel about who bears the greatest responsibility for the dismal shape of education in our country today. There are certainly a lot of great teachers and professors out there, but there are also many that fall far short of what is needed to turn this thing around.

Memories should be for family, spouse, children, nice times, not memorizing dates. Why should students have to memorize dates, when they can look them up. Why should people have to memorize facts and figures, when we have world almanacs? What they should know how to do, is WHERE to find the answers.

Let me let you in on a dirty little secret. It's the Curriculum Committee. People wonder why schools teach what they do. The answer is that a group of professors on the Curriculum Committee decide on what the curriculum should contain, then put it up to a vote of the department faculty. Majority wins. You think the democrats and republicans have smoke-filled back rooms? You should see the curriculum process!
First of all, some of the professors are just down-right lazy. They want to do as little work as possible with their classes, so that they can spend their precious time writing research papers. If they can find textbook vendors that supply all of the material that they need- such as powerpoint presentations, tests, answers , grading software, that's a sure way to make it into the curriculum. That way, they don't even need to UNDERSTAND what they're teaching! And we expect the STUDENTS to understand.
Next, there is the trading of a left-handed pitcher for a centerfielder, or more appropriately "I'll support your new class, if you support mine". Never mind if the class is something like "The sexlife of the spotted slug".
Then there is the "You can't put your class in there because there aren't many other schools teaching it". One of the things you have to understand is that most academics are FOLLOWERS, not LEADERS. When they develop a new curriculum, the first thing they do is google other similar institutional curricula, and try to copy whatever they do,as a start.
Now that's a sure way to make sure that the colleges stay about 10 years BEHIND the curve! Furthermore, these are the SAME professors that will charge students with PLAGIARISM! I wonder where the students learned how to plagiarize?
Then there is the obsession with Bloom's taxonomy. For those not in academia, a quick summary-
When classes are devised, there are a list outcomes or competencies that a given class must produce, such as "Be able to understand a business plan"
or "Be able to construct a business plan".
Most people understand that the first item requires less skill than the second. The competencies involve verbs (understand and construct) and nouns (business plan). Blooms taxonomy assigns "levels" to each major verb- typically 100, 200, 300 and 400 levels. 100 level (typically freshmen )courses should have competencies that are mostly 100, etc. In theory, that makes sense, and the spirit of the taxonomy, I have no problem with. Unfortunately, many times, the focus becomes the verbs themselves, and the material doesn't really reflect the level of skill. In other words, they may REALLY be teaching a 100 competency in a 400 level course, but they've fooled the committee by cleverly using a 400 level verb.Again, with the "buddy" system they use, committee members wink and pass the course, knowing that the outsiders that enforce the rules of curriculum development, don't have a clue as to the technical meaning of the competencies.

On unions:
The problem is that we get shut down by the unions. Unions want all teachers and professors(yes, there are many state colleges that have unions- I was at one) to be dependent on them. That means that those of us who tried to go beyond the "union level" were making "it bad for the rest of the members". If we tried to do more in class, then we were breaking union rules. I did anyway, but it was not easy. I made many enemies, and had to constantly watch my back.

self-directed projects:
In fact, many of the junior and senior classes that I ran, went along those lines. Students would create projects that were self-directed, and my job would be to guide them and encourage them. By the way, my students had no problem getting very good paying, rewarding jobs, because of the contacts that I maintained in the business world, prior to teaching. The reservation (in my up to a point) is that unfortunately, firms want people with degrees. Now before you jump, understand that I don't believe that a degree means anything, unless you look at the student and the curriculum, and the LACK of a degree does not mean that the person would not be a great worker. The sad reality is that most firms prefer the degree, because it allows them to convince themselves that they just made a "good hire". I would take a great worker WITHOUT a degree over a mediocre worker with 3

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:48 PM
i agree with you OP

when i was growing up, i ended up for the most part just giving up in school. i was always asking questions and always trying to learn as much as i could and the teachers began to get angry with me simply because i wanted to understand. they were content to rake in a paycheck and instead of actually explaining anything they would just give me the answer and try to move along.

i got so sick of it. i wanted to learn while everyone else was playing around and goofing off but a lot of the teachers just goofed off with the cool kids and expected the book to teach the class. there was a whole year that i didn't do anything except for in my english and biology class and i still made A's and B's lol

there is no strictness in our education system anymore and now is a time in history when above all else, we need to be growing and learning and reaching for better than any generation before us has ever known. no one takes pride in education and sadly, it will slip away before we know it.

i'm just afraid that because of it we'll one day see 9 year old kids doing manual labor and being specialized into one job they do their entire life that pays a little bit of nothing. there's too much of a concern with appearance anymore while we rot beneath the surface but i don't know what it would take to make people see the truth.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:49 PM
parent involvement:

1.) Get involved with the education of your sons and daughters. Many of you already are, and that is fantastic.

2.) At all levels, DEMAND a better quality of education. Don't be afraid to question the administrations and faculty. They're no better than you are, in fact, in many cases, you have much more wisdom than them. If all they're doing is giving memorization tests, and multiple choice, ask them WHY?

3.) When and if you go look at colleges, understand one thing. Colleges and Universities like for you to see their grounds and buildings and cafeterias. Look past them. In fact, if those facilities are fantastic, it probably means that they're spending your tuition money on the WRONG THINGS. Look for more classrooms, with SMALLER size. Talk to the professors. In fact, ask the school if you or your child can SIT IN on a class. Many will allow that. It will give you a good idea of the TYPE of education that the student gets. Don't be impressed by the campus tours. They're MEANINGLESS.

4.) Also PLEASE understand that students can get a great education at most colleges, but it takes work on the students' part to find the good professors. By good, I mean those that go beyond, not those that just give good grades. Some students, unfortunately just want an "Easy A". Then when they get out in the real world, they have no real education or skill, and they're stuck in some dead end job.

On colleges as a BUSINESS:
You hit a nail on the head with this one. Don't let ANYONE tell you that school ISN'T a business. My colleagues would have a hissy-fit when I would tell them that it SHOULD be run like a business. The problem is that most academics DON'T know how to run a business. So here's what they would do- they'd sit around and ask each other what classes they could bring into the curriculum to draw in new students. When they couldn't think of anything, they would then ask other colleges what they think.(The blind leading the blind). I suggested that they should ASK the businesses and the organizations WHAT THEY THOUGHT should be taught. You know my colleagues answer? -WHAT DO BUSINESSES KNOW ABOUT EDUCATION?
Gee, they're ONLY the people who are HIRING the graduates. You think maybe they know best what they need?

ANY BUSINESS THAT NEEDS TO SUCCEED MUST PROVIDE VALUE FOR THE CUSTOMER. THE STUDENT IS THE CUSTOMER. SIMPLE. So simple, that many academics just don't get it. After all, they reason, we have PhDs. Why should we listen to those people that don't.

When I ran my corporation, I would constantly ask other execs why colleges aren't providing us with graduates that can hit the ground running, right out of college. After teaching for almost a decade, I finally got the picture, and it is not nice. There are great teachers that have the same philosophy that I had, but in many places, there are more that do not, and as I said earlier, the votes count when it comes to curriculum.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:59 PM
Some will disagree but I find k-12 just tax payer funded day care. Why try to hide it by calling it education? At daycares, don't they have little toys and books that the children play with? Same deal in public school. If you hope to be getting an education in k-12 you are sorely mistaking. Any person should realize that after public school, you have to spend time to unlearn all the crap they fill you with. No one even wants to be there, so how are the kids going to get smart? They don't, hence why it is daycare for the most part.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:02 PM
I agree with you completely. I would agree that Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade is just a daycare. Kids learn the same thing both places. Kids are taught how to share, and that naptime comes after a story. Sad, they should be taught actual knowledge at a young age in order to maximize their potential as human beings.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:12 PM
Another good point is while the number of high school graduates that move on to college is on the rise, this statistic is a HUGE illusion. Young adults are moving on to colleges and universities to buy themselves four more years of putting off their life. They just want more time to go out and party over learning for four more years, setting up a career, and going out into the world to make a difference.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:15 PM
The only statistic in the original post to surprise me is that less than 50% of school personnel are teachers.

That is THE number one problem, easily. Time to clean some #in' house on the leeches!

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:18 PM
I'm glad you posted this topic. First, I would like to say that your intellectual curiosity is admirable. When I was in 12th grade, I would have just passed off a site like this as a bunch of lunatics. I would have looked at people self educating as douchebags. I realize now the err of my ways and realize it was me who was the douchebag. For me, I got most of my education after I left school, and I am still educating myself today.

The reason I wanted to respond to this topic is earlier this evening my son who is 8 and 3/4 ... actually he will be 9 next Friday, was talking to me about the Presidential election. We talked for a while about some things he was curious about. I then asked him if they talked about the election a lot in school. He said yes. They have two posters up in their school. One says, "Vote Republican" with a picture of John McCain, and the other says "Vote Democrat" with a picture of Barack Obama. I ask if there were any other posters of other candidates or if anyone had talked to them about other candidates or other political parties. He said no. This really made me upset. He knows that I tend to classify myself as a Libertarian. I thought about it for a second and I realized this is presenting kids with the idea that if you aren't for a democrat or a republican you don't matter or you aren't "normal." This school is supposed to be providing a full education to our kids. Yet our kids are unaware there are other political parties. My son had to have wondered why I have talked to him about my Libertarian ideas and his school acts like it doesn't exist or is completely irrelevant.

I think this is a good example of why our public schools are failing. They cant even take the time to teach kids what America is all about in the time of a Presidential election. They are basically saying, you're either democrat, republican or irrelevant. So either fall in line or consider yourself and, in my son's case, your father, less of an American. It made me wonder what other subjects are being short changed. I will be contacting the school to let them know my dissatisfaction with their limited teachings, and I'm pretty sure I will be less than cordial.

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:33 PM

Originally posted by prestonposthuma
A lot of my fellow peers and classmates often times get grades due to "sucking up" to the teachers. All they take away from this is that if they agree with people, that positive things will come of it.

Great post man.

and i LOVE this point...

This is so true, and is the reason WHY i have strayed away from non-science course...

In Math, there is a right answer. Its not debatable...

In a philosophy class, its all up to the teacher.
If you write a paper with a view that disagress with what the teacher is preaching, you fail...

This is why i take physiscs classes, and not philisophy...

I not the person to suck up, im not the person who is going to change thier views, just so someone else can feel good about themselves...

I have no idea why our school are getting worse and worse by the year...

We as a country, have become:
Fiscaly bankrupt
Moraly bankrupt
and WAY less educated then we were 80 years ago.

And, yet, every day:
we go further into debt
Embrace sluts as roles models
and graduate even less educated kids...

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:41 PM
Some of the things you mentioned reminded me of something I posted in another thread, the topic was why people are stupid, and this is the failure of pubic school, it fits so I think I'll post it...

Kids don't exercise nearly as much as they used to, or should. Exercise has been observed to increase grades, and one explanation is that creatine is enhanced for people that exercise and creatine is found in the brain and helps energy production. Brain growth is enhanced also from exercise. Males are particually hit hard by the cage-like mentality of schools. They can't get the exercise that they need, and are forced into being like girls, which are much better at following directions and, basically, sitting still. Males are disinterested in school because it doesn't suit their nature, girls have been doing increasingly better in school since "equality" has been pushed on schools, which indirectly hurts males. This disinterest continues and now it seems like college is largely populated with females. In my science/biology classes, where men once dominated, about 90% are females. Luckly, women are working nowadays otherwise all men would be dependent on their $6.50 an hour job at the Burger Palace.

Schools are very concerned about the students lowest on the Bell curve, but don't care nearly as much about those on top, and end up basically abusing their intellect because of this. The smarter students go along with the ride, while education is directed at those that aren't "conforming" to the schools definitions of success. Maybe this has to do with the above reasons, in which case further education and attention on these disinterested students aren't going to make any difference. So while the wheels are spinning in the mud, the smart ones are left as an after thought. The emphasis isn't on helping the smart, but helping the dumb. An example being how in 8th grade, my school and teacher were very concerned about passing the national reading test (beauocracy, yay!). So the entire english curriculum in 8th grade was based on passing this (arbitrary) test. I take the test thinking before hand how tough it will be, and I was worried as we spent the whole semester studying for it. I take it and I got in the upper 90th percentile and it wasn't from the preparation before hand, I felt like I wasted my time. The school got a big star from the state and federal government for all the students that did pass, but for me it did nothing.

School is purposely made to be not fun. Perhaps people are unintentionally conditioned to avoid learning because of the way it is often forced down our throats in school. Monkeys when presented with art supplies and a canvas will draw fairly involved pictures because they find it fun. As soon as they are rewarded afterwards, they soon focus all their attention from their drawings (creativity) to the reward. So in this case, why should people become smart outside of the class room where they aren't rewarded with a (meaningless) letter grade? The inquisitive nature of children is squelched through this, and through the structured curriculum that tells a student what he/she must learn. College used to be for people of advanced thought, and not a required to succeed in life. Now we go to college to party, induce our own stupidity via alcohol, and the sole reason we go to college is in order to simply "exist" in American society and not at all for advanced thought. (My sister appearently says Bed Bath and Beyond is full to the brim with people with 4-year degrees that can't find jobs elsewhere, case in point) The average intellectual curiosity only goes to the extent that they will somehow be rewarded with a letter. Real intellectual curiosity is gone from all the colleges I've been to. I think I'd have to go to an Ivy league school to basically see anything different.

Stress, which is dominant in schools, also is not conducive to learning. Whether you are good or bad at handling stress, schools pile it on with abundance. This has short and long term affects on memory. Long term it can damage the hippocampus which is involved in memory. And here I thought school was supposed to add things into your brain, not take them away. In schools, we often have constant sympathetic nerve stimulation which isn't healthy and frankly exhausting.

Conformity in all forms is encouraged. Strict rules are enforced that basically have no justification, like the ability for people to express themselves via hats or other clothes items. Since teachers control the grading process (in other words, which monkeys get the big banana) creative thought and expression is controlled as well. People never do projects for themselves, for their own benefit and creativity, but in order to get the highest grade from the teacher. An example is how people don't write papers for themselves, but often have an invisible teacher over their shoulder when writing a paper. For an assignment in 8th grade, we had to write a letter with our advice to the upcoming 8th graders. I took the liberty, as there were no other directions other than to write a letter, to tell the student not to stress too much over 8th grade, as it wasn't looked at by colleges. Of course this infuriated her, how dare I lower the speed on someone else's treadmill, they should suffer like I did the whole year I'm sorry for being human in a nonhuman system..."

As long as you think within the box, you'll do fine in public school. But to succeed and be useful to society, to critically think, you need to think outside the box. It's a mess frankly, but it won't be changed anytime soon imo. There are more students going to charter and alternative schools, which is encouraging. The students that go to those seem to like it a lot better.

[edit on 15-10-2008 by ghaleon12]

[edit on 15-10-2008 by ghaleon12]

posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 11:55 PM
I am a senior also, and feel the same everyone who posted. If I could, I would not go to school at all as I feel it is endangering my mental health. Outside of school I learn all kinds of things from my experiences and research. At school you do nothing, actually it's not even that because you are so distracted all the time. That's basically what school is-a distraction. I could probably learn more if I got a jail cell all to myself-at least it wouldn't be too distracting.
Today in summary:
1st period, creative writing: I sat in the back row doing my homework for another class ALL period because there was nothing else to do and my teacher was not teaching. This is typical of this crazy teacher.
2nd period, art: worked on drawing that I am behind on. (fave class)
3rd period, Hon. english: read my outside of class reading book (we had a sub)
4th period, Hon. Anatomy and Physiology: Failed a bone test because I didn't study for it (I got an omit one coupon for buying a chocolate covered banana though)
5th period, Adv. Hon. French: Listened to a french story on cd (didn't understand)
6th period, AP biology: failed another quiz I didn't study for and worked on my drawing for art the rest of the period.
I am not taking a math this year. To make a long story short, my Hon. Pre-cal teacher, the cheerleading coach, should stick with cheerleading. Everyone in any of her classes that I talked with hates her. She basically gives you a book and says learn it. I failed because I moved to this school during the year and became lost in this class. I had an A from my old school, moved here, and by the end of the year I was failing. I could have graduated early if it wasn't for her. (and DO NOT give me that line, "Teacher's don't give grades, you earn them." because it is a lie.)

School is a waste of my time. I hate school, I have a 3.5 GPA. I usually make decent grades and am never grounded. Everyone calls me smart and sweet and they don't even know me. I don't even know why my GPA is higher than many student's who actually do their work and study constantly and even those who feel the need to cheat to get the grade. I really am not that smart when it comes to scholastic stuff. That's why I haven't taken the ACT yet.

"I personalie; buleev, that, U.S. Americans..." j.k.

But what I really do believe is that they are training us to become sheeple and are succeeding.

Theoretically speaking to the people (all ages) at my school who want me to be a sheeple:
1. Could you please close your gaping mouths when I say that I don't have tv.
2. Please stop asking me why I don't come to football games, dances, parties, pep rallies, etc.
3. Next time I wear something that you would not, please go tell your friends about it, not me.
4. In study hall could you please stop yelling conversations while I am like a foot away from you.
5. Please stop talking about things you have no clue about just so you will seem more intelligent, because it really has the opposite effect.
6. Please don't tell me what I should do...I do not want to be like you.
7. Please don't touch me.
8. Please don't ask me for help on anything, because the answer is no.
9. Please stop looking at what I am writing or drawing unless it is in plain view.
10. Please say or do something that is not robotic, childish and/or carnivorous.

I wish I could put my anger into words, but I don't think it is possible.

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 05:22 AM
Here's the same problem from an Aussie perspective. It's indicative of a negative feedback loop, that will just keep on getting worse. It mimics society in general.

Firstly, teaching is not constructive without learning. It is not possible to teach students who do not want to learn. There should be as much focus on student learning, rather than just teacher teaching.

Secondly, parents are increasingly relying on schools to educate their children on basic skills. When there is little encouragment for a child to also learn at home, school is seen as a chore. Parents are far more likely to set their child's study habits and desire to learn - for life!

Thirdly, with slowly declining standards of students, we have slowly declining standards for student-teachers (and future parents). Therefore, weaker teachers (and parents) are entering the profession - there's a teacher shortage, so they're almost guaranteed jobs.

Weaker teachers feedback into the loop, therefore the standard of teaching given to students and the standard of their learning declines.

Governments don't really want to admit to the problem. They'll lower their standards for what constitutes a 'pass' and they'll standardise the hell out of the collective results to ensure that an A+ to E grade band is met.

For example, the 2007 Year 12 Mathematical Methods Exam 1 (Victorian Certificate of Education) statewide results were a farce! The Exam was graded out of a raw-score 40 marks, half marks can not be awarded. Many papers are corrected twice (for verification), so the grade is doubled to 80. The grade out of 80 is the sum of both examiner's results, or one examiner's results being doubled.

To score a grade of 'E', a student needed to obtain a combined score of 1/80. Yeah, that's right - one examiner gave the student a 0, the other examiner gave the student a 1. Effectively 0.5/40 scored an 'E' grade. In case you don't know - there's a grade below 'E' called ungraded 'UG'. A student needed to score 0/80 to obtain a UG.

An 'E+' grade was achieved with a score of 1/40
A 'D' grade = 1.5/40
A 'D+' grade = 2.5/40
A 'C' grade = 5/40
A 'C+' grade = 8.5/40
A 'B' grade = 14/40
A 'B+' grade = 20.5/40
An 'A' grade was achieved with a score of 28/40
Finally, 'A+' was achieved with a score of 34.5/40

I have NEVER seen a statewide examination scaled so much to reward low-scoring students with such an artifical inflation of their ability to complete a one hour exam, by boosting their grades to something that seems 'reasonable'!

Many parents think that a 'C' grade is around average (middle-of-the-road), maybe they could have done better. If they knew the truth, that their child scored possibly 5/40, then how would they react?

Source figures are here as .pdf files

The worst part is that these figures are publicly available on the internet (see link above), but they are rarely, if ever, reported in the mainstream media.

Statewide education is a disgrace and it's getting worse.

The whole system is STUFFED!

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 06:14 AM

Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
For many topics, I would break them into groups of 3 or 4, to encourage teamwork. I found that worked very well. It is certainly more work on the teachers' part, and several of my colleagues told me they wouldn't do it, because it was too much work. My answer to them, was that if they felt that way, they shouldn't be teaching.

Great post, I agree with almost all of what you wrote.

However, the above quote is where I differ from you.

Teachers ARE NOT slaves. Teachers in Victorian schools are paid an annual salary based on 38 hours per week. A standard, top level teacher will earn around $75,000 AUD, thereabouts. Many teachers will spend at least 8 hours per day on campus, following that up with perhaps another 10 hours per week at home doing corrections/preparations. That's already a 50 hour week. In any case, I know that it would be near impossible to get the basic job done without at least spending 40 hours per week on task.

Expecting a teacher to impinge upon their personal life and family time, by demanding that they do more work is wholly unreasonable. Teachers can not apply for over-time rates, as they are paid by salary, not as an hourly wage-earner.

Teachers are paid a bare minimum, compared to other professions. Other professions often reward extra work with bonuses or over-time payments. Teachers do not have this luxury.

Teachers can only differentiate learning for smaller groups of students when they are provided with the time and resources to do so. Until that happens, it is not unreasonable for a teacher to do the best that they can, given the time they have and the amount of money that they are being paid.

A typical Victorian teacher may have around 100 or so students under his direct care. Do the maths and see exactly how much quality contact time that a teacher can spend with individual students per week...

(No intentions to start an argument with you. You're smart and your points are great. I couldn't let your quote go unchallenged though, as I know how some exceptionally good teachers with young families of their own refuse to be married to their job. Which is how it should be.)

[edit on 16-10-2008 by tezzajw]

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 07:09 AM
What I think is sad are these teachers telling students about their pay problems,my kids say that the teachers whine about not getting paid for this or that,these are kids when it comes to your job keep that info to yourself,lot's of teachers these days are only in it for the money and as far as being underpaid they make over 50k a year,which is about 30k more then they would get in the private sector,and use to be they dealt with problems internally,now they get on phone and call cops,not all but several are terrible role models

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 09:23 AM
I work for a school district. You all can ask me anything (non personal) that you would like, and I will answer it.

Let me give you some info first.

*Standardized testing is one of the culprits. The kids do not learn anything. They memorize what will be on the test, and that passes as "education." Why? Here in Texas, the test is called the TAKS test. They take it in 1st. 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th grades. Except for 1st and 3rd grade, you must pass the test to advance grade levels. The 10th grade test must be passed to exit high school. If a certain amount of kids pass, the school is given money from the state. If a certain amount fail, extracurricular activities are taken away.

*Here in Texas, about 25-30% of the student population are illegal. If you take away that number, the student/teacher ratio would drop significantly. They find every loophole they can to get into he education system. The system helps illegals in as well. The more kids you have, the more money you get from the state.

*Less than 50% of districts are teachers. There are two reasons for this. First, you have to realize that there is support staff. Secretaries, janitors, maintenance, tech support, bus drivers, mechanics, and teacher assistants. Second, the support staff is needed due to the rather large influx of kids (our district went from ~450 kids in the high school level to ~700 kids in about 3 years. My graduating class in 1998 was 101 people. My brothers class 4 years later was 175). All the schools are dealing with this problem. There is a large amount of paperwork that needs to be done throughout the year on each and every student. Most of the paperwork is state mandated BS. Alot of it has to do with the state tests.

*Teachers complain about pay because of the BS they have to go through. It is the same as cops getting low pay. Each department gets a budget to spend. If the teacher needs extra supplies (which they WILL need), it comes out of their own pocket. On teachers wages, it is hard to support your own family while buying school supplies and learning aids for 25 other kids. Then you have parents you complain at every single turn about their "angel" student. Then you have to deal with kids that don't know English. The list goes on and on.

Like I said, any questions, please ask me. I will answer them.

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 09:36 AM
Why are the schools failing? easy enough, they don't pay the teachers crap, so they don't get good teachers. The good teachers go to private schools where they can make enough money to actually eat and have a place to live. That and things like the FCAT. Those of you that are not in florida may not have heard of this. Basically, as it has been told to me by many who have to take it, they put more emphasis on this one little test than actually learning things. That and I have friends that during school were told to not do as good on tests so they had a better average score instead of doing their best and killing the curve.

Also, teachers teach the book and that's it. I remember on many occasions pointing out that the book was wrong due to new breakthroughs or just simply wrong on many levels and was tol "I have to teach the book, please sit down and be a good little sheep" NO, as a teacher, their job is to teach HOW to think, not WHAT to think. do they do that? no. they simply read from a book that is usually flawed, and refuse to try and correct it.

[edit on 10/16/2008 by Finn1916]

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