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"Special" Programs for the "Gifted"

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posted on May, 25 2009 @ 04:25 PM
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My participation in the Internationale Baccalaureate or IB program has given me some insights about these programs for the "talented" or "gifted." I will be talking about the purpose of IB and other programs alike. I will also give my own analysis of its positives and negatives.

My high school school is located in a poverty stricken African American neighborhood. There are over 2500 students in the school of which roughly 500 are IB students. IB programs tend to only exist in these areas in the U.S. because it attracts talented students from middle or upper class families. This is why this program is also classified as a "magnet" program.

When these better prepared students enter the program, they are secretly given the objective of achieving high scores on standardized tests to raise money and reputation for the school. As the reputation increases, more of these kids will join the program and the school will receive more economic support from states. My school was ranked 7th in the nation in 2005 all because each student takes an average of 10 IB and AP tests throughout their school year. Now I know that roughly 90% of the non-IB students at my school took neither AP nor IB courses, so each IB student takes roughly 20+ AP and IB tests all to bump up the average.

The courses themselves are above average in my opinion. However, IB is a strict British program, all the curriculum are based on British standards. I remember how we have to use BTU instead of the SI calories and a very small range of books for literary studies. Plagiarism and every form of copyright infringement deserves capital punishment. There are no history courses about Asia and whenever we talk about something bad done to the Asians by Westerners it's always for a good reason. So much for the "international" part.

After a while, I began to open my mind. My conspiratorial senses jumped in to help me realize the close-mindedness offered by these "magnet" programs including IB and AP. Then, Collegeboard, the claimed to be "non-profit" national testing (SAT, AP, ACT) organization earned over $50 million in 2006 off of standardized testing. The creators of the SAT, Princeton, started the Princeton Review to help students score a few points higher on the SAT, ACT, AP, TOEFL, and MCAT for a couple grand in dollars.

I scored a 2100 on the SAT, got mostly 5's on over 15 AP exams (didn't fail on any), but I feel like a failure. Because of all the strenuous work during the years, I was never able to learn any "practical" skills that can help me live. Right now, I am the person that would sit on my ass, telling people how much I know, but never producing.

Thus, I came to the final conclusion that magnet programs, especially IB, and all the AP courses are SCAMS. The narrowness of the curriculum dumbed me down instead of teaching me how to get a job, manage my loans, and continue on a career like in vocational schools. College seems to be the real answer, perhaps graduate school will be the only thing that I wished I should have cared about.

Sometimes I even began to think that I was put into these programs by the elites of society to systematically dumb me down so I can never rise up in the hierarchy while the children of the elites get home-schooled to take the positions of their parents.

Thanks for your time, and reconsider before taking k-12 so seriously.




posted on May, 25 2009 @ 04:32 PM
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That's "schooling" for you, teach you everything except what you actually need for life pass 12th grade. I'll be graduating in about 12 days and what have I learned from my 12 years in school, going to class 180 days a year every day from 8:15 to 3:25? Pretty much nothing that can actually help me in the real world.

I don't need algebra, I don't need geometry, I don't need physics, I don't need calculus, I don't need science, I don't need math, I don't need PE, I don't need AP government, I don't need ANY of that **** they tried to force into my brains.

Well, I guess I showed them, right? I'll be getting my diploma and then trying my best to get all of the useless information out of my brain during the year I'm taking off before going to college.

Wish me luck, 12 years of attempted brainwashing is hard to get rid of.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 04:38 PM
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schools don't get much money for talented and gifted programs.

they do get well compensated for special needs students though.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 04:45 PM
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Funny I was just talking about this today.
Having experienced taking AP courses in high school, I can see where you are coming from. I remember being told by the principal that we (kids in the gifted programs) were the "cream of the crop" "the best pupils in the school" and that we should "not take our intellectual abilities for granted". What I found most disturbing was that these programs and classes were almost always kept hush hush from the majority of students because most are discouraged from taking them (at least at my old high school). I remember having to bend over backwards to get one of my teachers to refer me to an AP course.

A good number of the kids who are in these programs are rotten, snobby, and often come from privileged backgrounds. I think these programs install a false sense of academic superiority in the students who are involved and it also holds back those students who are not considered "gifted" enough. I never understood why they didn't teach everyone at the AP level or at least encourage students to excel.



posted on May, 25 2009 @ 05:24 PM
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Obviously, it is part of de-mutation program (negative selection)...

It is important to prevent those with intellectual capacity to develop analytical ability of their mind. Instead, they are immersed into statistical thinking which is of no use for anything but for bureaucratic purposes.

They produce confused people, unable to make up their own mind, but excellent servants with enough education to do what they are told to do.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 03:01 PM
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I'm really just pissed off. I spent so much time and effort to find a better life than now but it seems as if those who did not try as hard but had good starting conditions are more successful. I'm a foreigner, and I find that impedes my success as well.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 03:28 PM
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reply to post by die_another_day
 


I posted this a while back on another thread. It is very pertinent here, so I will re-post:




“Reading through the papers of the Rockefeller Foundation’s General Education Board - an endowment rivaled in school policy influence in the first half of the twentieth century only by Andrew Carnegie’s various philanthropies - seven curious elements force themselves on the careful reader:

1. There appears a clear intention to mold people through schooling.
2. There is a clear intention to eliminate tradition and scholarship.
3. The net effect of various projects is to create a strong class system verging on caste.
4. There is a clear intention to reduce mass critical intelligence while supporting infinite specialization.
5. There is clear intention to weaken parental influence.
6. There is clear intention to overthrow accepted custom.
7. There is striking congruency between the cumulative purposes of GEB projects and the utopian precepts of the oddball religious sect, once known as Perfectionism, a secular religion aimed at making the perfection of human nature, not salvation or happiness, the purpose of existence. The agenda of philanthropy, which had so much to do with the schools we got, turns out to contain an intensely political component.”

-John Taylor Gatto, “The Underground History of American Education” (201)





“In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen – of whom we have an ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.” -John D. Rockefeller, General Education Board (1906)





Prior to WWI, in a speech to American businessmen, President Woodrow Wilson admitted similar goals as the Rockefellers: “We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” In 1931, Paul Mantoux, in his foreword to “International Understanding” wrote, “And the builder of this new world must be education.... Plainly, the first step in the case of each country is to train an elite to think, feel, and act internationally.”


I was in a "gifted" program in elementary school. Every day, they would pull me and a few others out of the regular classes in the school for an hour. I found that it only made it more difficult to keep up in the regular class, as I always had to catch up to the lessons that I had missed.

The program provided more of a hindrance to my education.To this day, I can see no purpose to it (except to make more revenue for the school)?

[edit on 5/26/2009 by clay2 baraka]



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 03:58 PM
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I was in the Talented and Gifted Program in a Flint Michigan school for K-6 back in the late 70's long before standardized testing requirements. I loved having a curriculum such as Optics and Lasers, Practical Physics, Astronomy, Geology, Archaeology, etc. For the 5th grade, my class project was to build a Combustion Engine from scratch (and although it worked, it looked nothing like conventional combustion engines!). It broke my heart when my family moved to the West Coast and the T&G Programs here had nothing new to offer me until my last year of High School (Trigonometry and Physics which I had in the 6th grade weren't available to T&G students until the 12th Grade in Oregon). My education stagnated and would have floundered entirely had I not already possessed the skills that allowed me to educate myself.

I scored an almost perfect score on the ASVAB, but not as good on the SAT (2354). I did not prepare for either exam. I frankly didn't care.

However, your inference that standardized testing is a monetary scam I don't think is far from the truth.

I also agree that standardized testing is for such a small subset of skills that it is lacking as a proper gauge of comprehension of the principles that it tests for. Many educational programs cater towards preparing students for these tests, focusing on teaching answers, rather than preparing them to understand the entire field so that they already know the answers by way of deduction.

As far as preparing me for the "real world", I can say that my public education, even in the T&G program, did little other than to prepare me for a life in perpetual academia. College did much of the same. The only thing that prepared me for the daily grind and monotony of a 9 to 5 was going to school 7 to 3 every day for 13 years.


On a side note: I never realized this until I got older and looked back upon my time spent in the T&G program in Flint...

1.) Children were segregated not by race or income level, but by testing scores. Those children who scored highest were placed in the same class. Those who scored lowest were placed in the same class. They were never intermingled and would even have separate lunch times and playground times. The composition of the students in the classes remained the same, and only the teacher would change when we went to the next class.

2.) The highest scoring classes were placed closest to the fire exits on the ground floor. The lowest scoring classes were placed furthest from the fire exits on the third floor.

3.) During the quarterly nuclear bomb drill tests, all classes, with the exception of the highest scoring class, would climb under their desks (a laughable practice dating back to the ignorant 1950's). The highest scoring class was taken to the Bomb Shelter beneath the school. During the hour that we were in the Bomb Shelter, we were played the same film-reel of the Star Trek episode "Miri" where all adults are killed off and the children that survived must rebuild society.

Of course, now, schools are more focused on funding and placement than they were back then, but still it is a little disconcerting to look back on it and realize how surreal the whole experience was.

Still, as we were constantly taught that we were "humanity's last hope" through the years, our education wasn't intentionally dumbed down, but on the contrary we were given an accelerated program so that we could use two rocks and a single star to determine cardinal directions, or a single stone and a string to prove the earth was round and to gauge orbital rotation, or use a prism to determine if water was safe to drink, or to build a telephone, generator, or engine from scrap. Every single one of us grew up as free-thinkers, because we were taught how to think rather than what to think.

Personally, I don't earnestly believe that the Government as a codified whole would specifically and intentionally dumb down education, especially of the Talented and Gifted. However, I do believe that through ineptitude, and certainly through corporate greed, such could happen. Our educational system is only as good as the educators who are designing the curriculum and are charged with instructing them to our children. When the best and the brightest are poached by MIT and Defense Contractors, or wooed by IT & DotCom start-ups, you are left with the mediocre and those considered dull-witted to take up positions in Government, School Boards and to teach. When such happens, the best you can expect them to accomplish together as a bureaucracy is for the children they instruct to achieve mediocrity as well. If we truly want to produce geniuses in school then we need to have geniuses teaching once again, or getting involved in School and Government, but unfortunately, the pay scale simply doesn't compare to the private sector.

Thankfully, all it takes is a rudimentary education in reading, writing, mathematics, logic, and rhetoric to give a child all that they need to educate themselves.

Standardized tests will never gauge aptitude or ability to succeed, and we are foolish to believe that they would. Preparing our children exclusively for placing well on their standardized tests is only setting them up for failure because these tests are not intended as replacement for an understanding of the concepts they were originally meant to gauge. It would serve us all better to equip our children with the necessary skills to unlock the universe for themselves and test them on how far that got them. Still, it is no guarantee that they will ever succeed in the "real world".

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be” - George Sheehan

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” - Calvin Coolidge



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 04:19 PM
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Very interesting and pertinent post OP. S&F.

I have another viewpoint from another perspective.

I was born in a military family that received relocation orders almost every year. I was always the new kid at every school. My grades were perfect even so.

Before I quit school in the 9th grade, I was told that I could not elect a foreign language because they didn't feel that I was bright enough. So from the age of 14 until 24 I believed I wasn't bright enough.

I took the GED prep exam after my second child was born. Before I got home, there was already a message on the machine from the school telling me not to bother with preparation because I had passed with flying colors. Excited and feeling good about myself I enrolled in business college and graduated Magna Cum Laud. Which led to my enlistment in the military where my MOS was signal intelligence with a secondary MOS in Finance & Accounting.

In the years between dropping out and getting my GED, my life was one long sad tale with crisis after crisis and loss after loss. But what I learned can't be taught. Life experience was hard but much better than being led by the nose to slaughter.

I feel for you OP. You are going to be alright. Get creative and believe in yourself. You have more intelligence than worthless knowledge so don't let them get you down!



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by die_another_day
My participation in the Internationale Baccalaureate or IB program has given me some insights about these programs for the "talented" or "gifted."


As an IB graduate, I feel I'm probably the most qualified to speak about these issues you raise.


My high school school is located in a poverty stricken African American neighborhood. There are over 2500 students in the school of which roughly 500 are IB students. IB programs tend to only exist in these areas in the U.S. because it attracts talented students from middle or upper class families.


True, but I'm not sure how this is negative of the program itself. Plenty of neighborhood schools in "White" areas also offer IB programs.


When these better prepared students enter the program, they are secretly given the objective of achieving high scores on standardized tests to raise money and reputation for the school. As the reputation increases, more of these kids will join the program and the school will receive more economic support from states. My school was ranked 7th in the nation in 2005 all because each student takes an average of 10 IB and AP tests throughout their school year. Now I know that roughly 90% of the non-IB students at my school took neither AP nor IB courses, so each IB student takes roughly 20+ AP and IB tests all to bump up the average.


Sadly, this is how schools get noticed. The more AP/IB classes they can offer on paper, the better they are in the minds of many. However, if you can take the classes, I implore you to. Knowledge is power, and those classes far surpass any others you could be taking right now.


The courses themselves are above average in my opinion. However, IB is a strict British program, all the curriculum are based on British standards. I remember how we have to use BTU instead of the SI calories and a very small range of books for literary studies. Plagiarism and every form of copyright infringement deserves capital punishment. There are no history courses about Asia and whenever we talk about something bad done to the Asians by Westerners it's always for a good reason. So much for the "international" part.


Ok, this is where you lose me. The IB program was founded in Geneva, which to the best of my knowledge, isn't in Britain. All the science classes I took, we used SI measurements. In my junior and senior years, I read novels, short stories, and poetry from a wide arrange of authors in varying styles. As for plagarism, if you can't see why that's a bad thing, then I'm not going to even bother.
In my time in the IB program, I took the following history classes
World History
AP European History
AP US History
IB Contemporary History(An indepth look at the 20th/21st centuries)
In this time, we discussed the Opium Wars, the silk road, the US's involvement in Vietnam, the dark hole of Calcutta, and many other not so nice topics involving Western interactions with the far east. We discussed why these events happened, and their ramifications. However, there certainly wasn't any "Good" or "Bad" attached to them.


After a while, I began to open my mind. My conspiratorial senses jumped in to help me realize the close-mindedness offered by these "magnet" programs including IB and AP. Then, Collegeboard, the claimed to be "non-profit" national testing (SAT, AP, ACT) organization earned over $50 million in 2006 off of standardized testing. The creators of the SAT, Princeton, started the Princeton Review to help students score a few points higher on the SAT, ACT, AP, TOEFL, and MCAT for a couple grand in dollars.

Oh, I agree the SAT/ACT are a racket. However, the AP is something different. It's been so overexpanded because, as I said before, it makes school look better when they say they offer 40+ AP programs.


I scored a 2100 on the SAT, got mostly 5's on over 15 AP exams (didn't fail on any), but I feel like a failure. Because of all the strenuous work during the years, I was never able to learn any "practical" skills that can help me live. Right now, I am the person that would sit on my ass, telling people how much I know, but never producing.


I guarantee you you're far ahead of anyone in your peer group. If you really got the scores you claim, then that shows you have a good head on your shoulders. "Practical" skills are learned through life. Anyone can learn how to operate a table saw or work on a car, it takes someone with "It" to learn Calculus at 17.


Thus, I came to the final conclusion that magnet programs, especially IB, and all the AP courses are SCAMS. The narrowness of the curriculum dumbed me down instead of teaching me how to get a job, manage my loans, and continue on a career like in vocational schools. College seems to be the real answer, perhaps graduate school will be the only thing that I wished I should have cared about.

Sometimes I even began to think that I was put into these programs by the elites of society to systematically dumb me down so I can never rise up in the hierarchy while the children of the elites get home-schooled to take the positions of their parents.


Perhaps you need to re-examine your thoughts on the matter. Just out of curiousity, what AP/IB courses have you taken?



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 08:39 PM
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Well... my school in Florida (cesspool of the US) only offered US history, European History, and History of the Americas. Apparently, we don't have "resources" to learn about the other side of the world. However, my school has 20-30 (20% of total # of students in 11th grade IB) National Merit Semi-Finalists every year.

I took Calc BC when I was 15 and I got a 7 on Math HL that year. Other "dedicated" IB schools have more funding, better teachers, and more access to materials which pretty much makes our IB program look like a joke.

[edit on 5/26/2009 by die_another_day]



posted on May, 27 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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I can't help but think that the "special" programs and "gifted" labels are given to students of AVERAGE and above intelligence, but the fact that our education system has deteriorated so drastically, the only way to keep these kids on track is to make them feel like they are superior so they keep trucking. A bored student can be a troublesome one. I think we would be hard pressed to find anything offered in these "elite" programs that is anything more special than what more educationally advanced countries offer their run-of-the-mill students.



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 03:03 PM
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School trains scientists, not businessmen.

Guess who end up richer (most of the time)? Businessmen.

It is YOUR job to learn other skills in life outside of school.

Also, about non-profit organizations...of course they make money, and not all money donated to them actually goes to what it is supposed to go to.

School teaches you concepts that many people can not. I would be over if I expected my parents to teach me a calculus course.

May I ask you this - what do you WANT to learn in school? Its high school...and you realize that you get to pick about half of your classes? I don't know about you, but my school offers classes on zoology, astronomy, business classes, and much more. What else do you want them to teach you, how to pull up your pants?



posted on May, 30 2009 @ 10:56 PM
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I would have given several body parts to have had those classes when I was in school. You might have been more comfortable and felt it was more worthwhile to take the other classes but for a number of us, being stuck with the rest of the group was an unimaginable nightmare.

As others have said, the onus is on you to take what you are given and do something with it. These schools are not an automatic guarantee of better jobs, immediate entrance to excellent colleges, scholarships, removal of all barriers due to ethnicity or sex or sexual orientation or anything else.

You've been given a better chance than the rest. You *sound* different, you have different skills. But it's up to you. What are YOU going to do with those things you were taught?

You can choose to do nothing. You can choose to acquire those skills you feel others got -- it's never too late. You can refuse to be pushed down and march ahead in spite of the odds (as I did.)

We all have different paths we take. Those courses gave something to some people, and it's better than having nothing there for them at all.



posted on May, 30 2009 @ 11:05 PM
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The gifted programs were bs where i'm from. Take a couple of tests, go to the city for another test, mark other kids work for them. have a couple of free blocks to tutor or whatever. The whole thing seemed fake, like iwas being used. Fie on't.



posted on May, 30 2009 @ 11:08 PM
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reply to post by die_another_day
 


Are you kidding?

I've always been in the Gifted programs starting in 7th grade, although I was in accelerated programs in earlier grades. Why?

- I had tested young with a high IQ
- I had entered kindergarten already able to read
- I was bored in my classes because I did my work before everyone else
- I scored high on all standardized tests.

Later on I did feel like the goal was to make my school look better, but they did not just select average students for these programs. I opted not to take AP classes in High School because I wanted to take alternate courses like Public Speaking, Zoology, Anatomy, Math Modeling, etc. I'm also not competitive and I thought the idea of AP testing was very competitive. I also did not take the SATs, I took the ACTs. And I only applied to one school, which did not require me submitting my score.

I never felt superior, I felt like I COULD NOT learn any other way. Our classes were more fast-paced, organized differently, with less memorization and less bookwork. There was a greater focus on essays and reading. I was bored in the "academic" level classes and I was angry when students who were ranked lower than me could get extra help in Resource, an area of the school where they could easily get answers during tests, and easily get help with assignments.

The Gifted program replaced the general English program. We did all the high school English work in two years, spent the last on philosophy, religion, metaphysics, and mostly non-fiction, and on an independent study. It was more like college- you get due dates for assignments ahead of time, there is no bookwork. It's harder, and even now I write better than most other students in even non-English classes.

In middle school, the Gifted program focused on improving vocabulary, which I still use to my advantage today. Earlier on, it gave us more advanced reading to do in addition to our other classes.

Basically if it wasn't for the Gifted program, I would have been so bored, and I wouldn't have progressed academically. I would have ridden the easy slide of memorization, without actually focusing on effort and skill.

*shrug* But most people don't agree with me. That was just my experience. We had to keep our grades up, kids were weeded out, and we couldn't even be accepted into the program if we had a less than satisfactory academic record.

I don't think it helped me get into college. I do think that it helped me on my standardized tests. But given the fact that many students in my grade cannot write a thesis essay, when I have probably written about 30 in the past five years, is kind of an issue. But it's also an issue that kids can go get teachers to write their essays for them if they have a "plan" for ADHD.

Oh, in addition, the Gifted program is part of the Special Education program. That's the same program that coordinates classes for autistic kids.
*shrug*

[edit on 5/30/2009 by ravenshadow13]



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 12:07 AM
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Originally posted by Deus Ex Machina 42

I don't need algebra, I don't need geometry, I don't need physics, I don't need calculus, I don't need science, I don't need math, I don't need PE, I don't need AP government, I don't need ANY of that **** they tried to force into my brains.



Depending on what you do you will use everything except for physics and calculus most likely.

I graduated thinking I didn't need any of that math stuff because I was going to work road construction. How much math do you need to shovel dirt, right?

My first day on the job I quickly learned that I was glad I payed attention in class. Everything I did involved algebra and geometry.

Just because you don't think you won't use it doesn't mean you won't.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 12:51 AM
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reply to post by ravenshadow13
 



did they try to get you to skip grades so you'd be smaller/less threatening which would cause you to keep to yourself and do your work? Boy they tried with me!! lol. One time, i walked into class and my desk had a big cardboard box around it.
Really if we think about it, time and resources should be used for those who aren't"gifted" in the particular field of being "gifted".



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 12:53 AM
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In my elementary school there were advanced classes for math & science which I was in. When I switched cities starting in middle school, my transcript wasn't transferred and they put me in regular classes. I became incredibly bored, and was a bit of a problem child. After the first six weeks report, I had unofficially attained a mark above 100% in Math, never missing a problem & correctly answering all bonus questions. The mistake was cleared and I switched into honors math & sciences. Still math was boring. Incredibly slow, and frustratingly repetitive.

I learned through the next few years that school was nonsense, used mostly to condition people into being "productive members of society". If you fit in you were sane, if not you were abnormal. What I found was most people who did well in school were the most obedient and easily brainwashed. They found a reward in high marks, and rarely questioned the teacher.

There were those who saw through the nonsense. We were labeled freaks back in the 90's. For us, school was a means to control the youth, instill propaganda, promote black & white false reasoning, and deny intuitions. We were the rebellious youth, before it was an accepted group in high school.

I find researching what one is passionate towards to be the best way to educate. Schooling is so incredibly boxed, there's not much applicable life skills which come out of it. I got my GED at 17. Took a few courses in college over the years, and took the practice ASVAB a few months ago. I got a 97 on the practice test, which apparently most people scoring a 93-94 on the practice usually hit a 98 or 99% on the real deal, so I don't think higher education would have made that much of a difference for me. Just constantly reading something or another of interest has kept my mind sharp.

In short, school is for those who like to take the easy route to education. To be force fed what to think about, what not to think about. I'm much more satisfied with the ability to choose which content I'm educated on, and which sources I'd like to use.

Schooling breeds conformity. Rebellion breaks that bond.

[edit on 31-5-2009 by unityemissions]



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 03:37 PM
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I simply hate how what we learn is limited by what is needed to score an A on a test and not based on what is really practical. These programs can do MUCH better at educating the gifted, right now it's undermining their potential.

Florida got screwed over by the Bush brothers and Charlie Crist, it's simple as that. School runs out of paper, ink, staples, textbooks, and other necessities because there is no money. To make money, the school has to enroll low quality teachers and smart students who can do self-study and earn big bucks for the school.



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