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Public Education creating social classes.

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posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:08 AM

In our school district we have an advanced program, which gives children that excel in school opportunities not afforded to other children.

Last year was the first year they did this for Kindergarten, allowing the "gifted" kids to have full day kindergarten. Ok, so I understand that these kids should be in a different class and given an opportunity to excel. My own daughter took the test to see if she was eligible for the program (which she missed by one point because she couldn't name what kind of snake was in the picture.) I found out that certain parents were given the questions in advance of the test.

Anyways, my daughter ended up in half day regular kindergarten, where she is so far ahead of the other kids that I had to request that she be given additional homework (such as they give to the advanced kids and first graders) just to keep her interested in school.

My daughters class has a 25 to 1 teacher to student ratio

The advanced program has a 5 to 1 teacher/aide to student ratio

This infuriates me, as I see a class of gifted students with 5 aides, yet my daughters class which is larger, has no aides to help the ones that are struggling.

Recently I we got a letter from my daughters teacher saying that she recommended my daughter for the advanced program in 1st grade. So for the third time, I went to a meeting where parents of those children being considered for the first grade advanced program were told what to expect if the child was accepted. This meeting included the parents of those children already in the advanced K program.

At this meeting, it was explained to us the purpose and importance of the advanced school program for these children. Here is what I learned.

1. The advanced program is given grants from the state that nearly matches what is given to the entire school program.

2. They are given "donations" from various groups and people, in order to give these children more opportunities to excel. (my question is, why don't the other kids have an opportunity to excel)

3. The structure within the classroom is structured toward creative thinking, and each child is put into a group based on what they excel in.

4. The classrooms themselves are designed for creativity, and the ability to be creative and think outside the box. I visited the kindergarten classroom once, and it is 3 times the size of my daughters, complete with lofts, couches, beanbag chairs, rugs, large desks for each student, and a treehouse, plus all of the standard learning tools kids have.

My daughters classroom: standard desks, a dry erase board, and a bookshelf with a good selection of books.

5. The children in the advanced program learn Mandarin Chinese as part of the curriculum.

6. State funded college Scholarships going to Taylor toward these "advanced" children in the future and the probability that these kids are afforded certain scholarships are far higher than that of the other children.

7. The children are free to learn at there own pace and the group atmosphere is designed around each child's needs.

8. The ratio of teacher/aide is between about 5 to 1 giving the child more of an opportunity to have their education uniquely there own.

You know, I am hopeful my daughter gets into this program. I am not holding my breath however, as the children currently in the program have already been taught things they teach children in second grade, and though we have asked repeatedly for a copy of the material given to the advanced children (in order to both challenge our daughter, and get her up to speed in the case she does get in), we have yet to get the material. My fear is that the children will be tested based on that material and since my daughter didn't get the opportunity to learn it, she won't know it. So we have gone to the internet and found 1st and second grade material to teach her.

My problem here isn't my daughter though. My problem is that certain children are given far more opportunities to succeed in life than others.

It seems to me that this type of system along with the "voucher program" here in Indiana (which gives state money to "random" (more like certain "approved" children), is going to create an atmosphere where some will succeed, while others are being setup for failure.

Ok, I get it, school systems are strapped for money, but why give so much money to help the "advanced" children, but the other children are not given the same opportunity to have their education designed to help them excel too?

Why have a staff to student ratio of 5 to 1 for the gifted students, but for those that aren't "gifted" have a 25 (or more) to 1 classroom, which is structured the same tor all children, no matter what you need. And for those that struggle in class, they are sent away to another classroom with a "special education" teacher to help them in there struggles.

Here is the problem with doing it this way, I was in special education growing up. My needs were very minor, and to be honest had to do a lot with the school structure in general. I am a doer and thinker, I get bored easily with repetition. I had a hard time reading outloud (though can read to myself with no problem). because of this, they seemed to think I needed special help with tests and things. There was a time, early in my education where I was a little behind the other kids. I eventually caught up to the others (and in some cases surpassed them). But the problem was that I had the "special education" stigma put on me until I graduated. Throughout much of middle school and high school, I never took a "special" class, and excelled in my studies, but every teacher knew that I was in special education earlier in life. I was labeled, and even though I never took a single special ed class, nor even used the resources, I had to have yearly meetings with the special education teacher (whom I didn't even know) and my parents to keep up with my progress.

This stigma I was given though out my general educational existence, did have a mental effect on me. I thought low of myself. I was shy, and didn't try to make many friends in school (I had several acquaintance and a couple good friends though), in fear that They would think I was stupid.

All of this could have been avoided, had the school system had a program that was designed similar to that of the advanced program. I didn't need special ed, I needed help in understanding "why" things worked a certain way (I've always been a thinker). maybe had they allowed me to be creative and learn my way, I would have picked it up faster.

Today, I own a tech business, and taught myself everything I know. Most of which you can't even learn in college.

I learned my way, not theirs. I now succeed because I designed my own education for me.

I honestly believe that this type of way of doing things is helping to teach our students (specifically those in the advanced program) that only a few are afforded certain privileged and rights.

The rules are "bent" or "designed" for them, while the rest get stuck with a systematic program designed for mediocrity or even failure.

it in my opinion that this is teaching these kids early what "class" you are in, and what opportunities that status is afforded to you.

Sorry so long, I wanted people to see how things where I see things going from my own experience.
edit on 23-3-2012 by tw0330 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:09 AM
reply to post by tw0330


I live in Indiana, and recently our state started a "voucher" program for "random" children who's parents wish that there child go to a private school instead of a public school.


The cost would be nothing to the parents, and the child would get the education of a private school instead of the failing public school system. of course tax dollars are paying for it.

At first look, it seems like it could give certain children an opportunity they wouldn't normally get. But when you look at it a little closer, it will just make things worse on us.

First: the "private school" is allowed to choose from the list of "random" children.

Second: At first this was only allowed for those kids not currently in the private school system, but it wasn't long before they changed there tune with this, and now anyone can apply for the grant.
Meaning if you make millions and have had your child in private school their whole life, you can just "apply" for the grant, and your child's expensive education is now payed for by the "working class" people.

Third: In the past these schools gave out "scholarships" to certain people based on (usually) sports athleticism. Guess what, I promise you that most of these schools will now find a way to use this to have us pay for an athletic star going to a private school.
This has happened in my town where a small private catholic school recruits from the larger schools in the region, and has created a sports program that wins state titles in just about every sport year in and year out, in class A. There only competition are other small high schools in the state, but are public schools who can't recruit.
This has also made a formally great Class 4A school and turned it into a losing squad, since all of the areas best players are going to the private school.

If you think this "voucher" system isn't going to be more beneficial toward those already in a higher income class and those with power, think again. Knowing how many of these private schools are, I highly doubt they would allow a child who's parents struggle to make ends meat, and the child has to where hand me downs.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:32 AM

Originally posted by tw0330

My problem here isn't my daughter though. My problem is that certain children are given far more opportunities to succeed in life than others.

From what I read (sort of bypassed the list of coolness the advanced kids get), any kid can work their way up with enough focus and practice though.

I support rewarding hard work and natural talent. This may set up a system where dumb people feel a bit dejected, but I think some realism needs to be implemented. A highly intelligent person is generally worth more towards advancing our nation/species/whatever than a person of low intelligence. The East has learned this and is why they are pushing the intellectual merits = privileged lifestyle not only reward those already naturally gifted, but also to shift focus of hard work to smart work and raise the standards of their society by and large.

So...the structure you describe seems to reenforce a few different mindsets. 1) that intelligence is rewarded. 2) being intellectual lazy gives bad outcomes, and 3) to try your hardest to achieve.

If it was a closed class and there is no way to raise up, that would be a problem, but...just passing a you something to word towards.

We had something similar to that when I was going to school (phases...low phases for the idiots, high phases for the brains)..but there was no real pro in going in high phase classes (beyond killing bordom)...a 4.0 in low phases verses a 4.0 in high phases was still just a 4.0 for your, the question was, why bother with high phases and not do as well as someone drooling and barely able to tie their sneakers in low phases getting scholarships. I think the immediate reward for challenging yourself and raising up is a good you a valid reason to enter into the high phase classes.

If you could put your biggest issue into 2 sentences, what would it be? Creating more division in the culture? The test is not perfect?...

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:34 AM
So, at least here in Indiana, I have a big problem excepting the "bull..." that our educational system has no money left to help our kids.

It has nothing to do with lack of money, instead it has everything to do with who get's that money.

How is this not teaching our children what class they belong to?

Not just that, but the system designed by "no child left behind" dooms these kids to failure.

The ones in the advanced program do not have to worry about the "no child left behind" rules, because they have the knowledge already.

The question here is, does the system create the advanced kids by giving the ones initially accepted in Kindergarten (before they truly know a child's ability to learn) a much better way to learn things and an environment based on there learning ability?

I will be very curious to know whether my daughter get's into the program, and what type of questions they ask her. I will be livid if they ask her questions only tailored to those children already in the kindergarten program. (things they teach in that class that normal kindergarten haven't even been given a chance to learn.)

We work with my daughter as much as we can to give her a challenge, but without actually knowing what is in the test it'self, there is no way to know exactly whether they are about what they teach in normal kindergarten, or about the stuff they were taught specifically to the advanced program. I am in the dark as to what to teach my daughter exactly. (it takes maybe a couple explanations at the most for her to get things)

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:39 AM

Originally posted by tw0330

Thats a different matter entirely. Yes, the voucher program is retarded.
Take already strapped for class schools and remove more funding, meanwhile special interest private schools start banking...
result...public schools have even a harder time getting supplies, hiring more teachers for smaller classes, etc...and so more students go to more private schools,

final result will be an all but bankrupt school system and private walmart style schools that are churning out drones.

Just waiting for corporation school systems to get in and teach their version of academics to the kids...nothing like having a mind slave right from the start. There is a few games and movies about this..where ultimately government is dismissed and only a few mega corporations basically runs everything and everyone from birth to death.

Scary prospect. Corporate fascism is here to stay..and sadly, there are very few with a voice that will discuss this broad picture of where this is going. People can't see 100 years, or arguably even 10 years down the road. I am not sure how we have become so short sighted.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:44 AM
Public Education is something thats needed to be changed since I started school back in the 70's.

Just like the changes we need to make in the US government good luck getting people together to agree what action should be taken without greedy and power controling the issue.

Life is unfair and I don't see it letting up anytime soon. I guess get used to being screwed unless your part of the 1%.

If it makes you feel any better just watch them spring breakers that get interviewed and have no clue about anything going on in the news or government. So I really don't understand what education is really teaching our kids other than to only worry about themselves and there own lives. It is shameful and sad to see supposedly well educated kids blowing off so called steam from all the studying and showing that they really don't have a clue.

My daughter is in college majoring in Art Marketing...She enjoys art and I support her but do I really think she's going to find a job and be able to support herself.....

My daughter only knows what she sees on the comedy channel and I bet that goes for the rest of the kids out there. My husband and I try to talk to her about what we believe is going on or not and our concerns. It gets to be too much for her and overwhelms her to the point where she would rather not think about it because it causes her anxiety. So I tell her to just do the best she can. She asks what can she do and I tell her to voice her opinions and put pressure on the community organizations, business owners and local government officials until they hopefully get the message. As well as to continue to stay informed.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:47 AM
reply to post by SaturnFX

Trust me, I have no problem with the advanced kids getting an education designed for higher intellects.

My problem is that so much money is put into this program, and the 5 to 1 teacher student ratio to help the students excel.

There are many children who wish for to understand what they are being taught, and struggle a little, but because of the large class sizes, can not get the help they need.

I know how children of a certain intelligence needs a challenge and rapidly get bored with things that don't challenge them. (for instance, I learned that most advanced children hate to color, because of the lack of challenge)

Some children are very creative and intelligent in certain areas but not others. because of this, the system keeps them down, and doesn't allow them to fine tune there skills, because all focus is on what children don't know, versus, what will help them understand.

a 20 or 30 to one teacher student ratio for struggling or average students that still wish to learn is setting them up for failure. If any of these average students were put into a 5/1 teacher student ratio, they would excel as well.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:49 AM

Originally posted by tw0330
My problem here isn't my daughter though. My problem is that certain children are given far more opportunities to succeed in life than others.

WOW! Really wish they'd had some kind of "gifted" program when I was in school in the 50s.

Public school is really a privilege - - we are fortunate our government requires every child to be educated.

However - - its designed for the Mid-Level child.

By the time I reached 2nd grade - - I was so bored - - I did not care and barely got by. I was a philosophical critical type thinker - - - that basically wasted away from no stimulation.

Some say "teach the 3 Rs" - - well "Read - memorize - take a test" - - - doesn't cut it for thinkers.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:54 AM
First, let me state that I am a high school teacher and I teach both on-level and honors classes.

1) Since when do regular or on-level classes set kids up for failure? On-level classes are just that, on level; they are right where they should be. I have plenty of students who are in my on-level classes that I think should be in honors but I don't feel they are being left behind by their advanced peers by being in that class. Some of them go on to do excellent things in life and some of my honors kids go on to do pretty mundane things.
2) There a generally ways you can (as a parent) petition placement into advanced classes if you only miss the cutoff by 1 point or so.
3) Wouldn't you agree that intellectualism needs to be cultivated? Extra opportunities and resources are what help cultivate higher learning.
4)Whether they are in different classrooms or the same classrooms, there will still be 3 classes - the below-average kids, the on-level kids, and the above-average kids. It's just a matter of how you best suit this situation. Your below-average kid's needs are not met by the standard classroom's resources and therefore need more. Your on-level kid's needs are meet by the standard classroom resources and therefore do not need additional resources. Your above-average kid's needs are not meet by the standard classroom's resources and therefore they need more. (The previous paragraph, of course, was on the basis of keeping everything relative)
5) While I think the education system as a whole is completely broken and needs a complete revamp, if we have to make-do with the one we're in, this is the best way to go about it.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:01 PM
reply to post by tw0330

For years it has been okay for the slower kids to drag down the smarter ones. Its sounds to me like you are just mad because your daughter did not qualify for this program.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:06 PM
reply to post by tw0330

Ahh, the 1st grade, good times. In my school there was never any type of advanced programs. I was actually in a speech class for a couple years. I couldn't say the letter R for the longest. I was given the opportunity to go from 1st grade to 3rd grade, but sadly my mother declined

(my question is, why don't the other kids have an opportunity to excel)

It seems like all the students are given equal opportunity to excel. You can take the advanced test almost whenever, and a teacher can make recommendations based on the kid's abilities. However, I don't agree with the time alottment, its a big disadvantage. Setting and resources are one thing, but when you give one group of kids more time to learn than another, you're creating a learning gap.

Is this advanced program pretty new? It sounds like some radical new 'think tank' child focus group ha. I'm actually suspicious of the program itself. Some of the parents knew the answers to the tests, and the school shows some favoritism. Some parents have probably bought their kid's way into the group.

There was this scandal at my highschool where all the rich kids had mommy and daddy paying the coaches for spots on the baseball team. Didn't matter how good you were.

edit on 23-3-2012 by CaptainNemo because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by tw0330

Well thank God that she doesn't feel challenged in school, because as we all know, school is complete indoctrination. I think that the only way to challenge a kid would be to homeschool them. School is a conformity environment, it is not about what you learn. You learn by reading and exploring things that you are interested in, and I personally think you could do that much easier in the comfort of your own home, as opposed to around 25 strangers that you're expected to conform to.

Your daughter needs to know how to read, write, and do basic math. She also needs to know how to think for herself. That's something they don't teach you in school. Although the "advanced" classes are wrapped in a pretty box, you can guarantee it's the same indoctrination that you or I got in school, and then maybe even some extra propaganda thrown in.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:09 PM
It's all relative. I was in the mentally gifted program when they started it up in the 60s. The only thing that remains with me from all that extra attention is speed reading. They taught us to speed-read and now I cannot read slowly. I did get a degree from college but I didn't get it with the goal of making a good living, I just enjoyed higher education. I sit at home, retired early, and play on the internet, while my husband day trades stocks and cusses a lot.

My daughter missed the gifted kindergarten test because she didn't know what a baluster was (it's a part of a staircase, when she had never been in a two-story home before). She went through regular school, she is now fixing to graduate from college in May, magna cum laude with a degree in Information Technology, which she did while being in the Air Force reserve.

My point is, although it is nice to have the extra perks that go with these mentally gifted programs, in the end, the people who succeed do so because they are determined to work hard and do what it takes. Ambition is a big part of the equation. I once read something that stated that the world belongs to people who's IQ is around 110. Any lower, and they just aren't bright enough. Higher, and they see the world for what it is and have trouble assimilating into it. Of course, that is a generalization and not an absolute.

You can open up your child's world outside of school by reading, taking nature walks and talking about what you find, and nurturing your child's interests and imagination. Don't rely 100% on the schools. If your daughter is going to succeed, it is because you believe in her, support her, and encourage in her a thirst for knowledge and a desire to do well.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:12 PM
ok, so your basic argument is not that advanced kids get all sorts of advantages, but that those whom don't pass the test initially seem to be hobbled and it harder for them to raise themselves up once they are set in the box of average.

Its a fair observation. Yes, smaller classes = more focus of course. So, what are some solutions?

Well, I suppose more teachers and tutors can be hired. I think thats a wise investment of tax dollars (Smart kids = smart economy later on). Really, thats it. a chalk board, a I-pad, or just some old paper and a chewed up pen will all work equally in showing a person how to solve a math problem...what is needed is for more people to explain how it works to the students.

I have some ideas, but it would be a restructuring of how classes would run. too wildly different than what we have now...and therefore unlikely to be implemented (perhaps a couple satellite programs)..but, are there any commonsense ideas that don't rewire the entire method of doing things?

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:12 PM
I understand your point, and sympathize. If some parents get the questions in advance that is patently unfair and a disgusting thing to do. My daughter is in our gifted program so I understand the testing process, she certainly didn't get any idea of the questions in advance.

The problem is that the gifted program gets about 10% of what goes to the remedial program (here at least) so there are not sufficient resources for it. The gifted and remedial programs have similar teacher / student ratios. But there are so many who start school without knowing the alphabet or numbers, much less reading or writing that they need to get them up to speed so they will be able to ask "you want fries with that?". Our gifted program is 1 day a week and the regular classroom is the other 4 days and 1 teacher / 27 students.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:17 PM

Originally posted by DavidWillts
reply to post by tw0330

For years it has been okay for the slower kids to drag down the smarter ones.

Yeah - - my brother was reading the newspaper at age 4.

He got expelled from 1st grade for throwing a tantrum and throwing the other kids lunch pails around.

He was bored out of his mind. They offered him nothing.

My mom tried to put him in a private school. They rejected him for being too intelligent.

I wish I could say there was a good outcome as he grew up.

Thankfully there are more opportunities today.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:17 PM
reply to post by relocator

My daughter is in college majoring in Art Marketing...

She enjoys art and I support her but do I really think she's going to find a job and be able to support herself..... My daughter only knows what she sees on the comedy channel and I bet that goes for the rest of the kids out there. My husband and I try to talk to her about what we believe is going on or not and our concerns. It gets to be too much for her and overwhelms her to the point where she would rather not think about it because it causes her anxiety. So I tell her to just do the best she can. She asks what can she do and I tell her to voice her opinions and put pressure on the community organizations, business owners and local government officials until they hopefully get the message. As well as to continue to stay informed.

lol, shoot, my wife is 30 and I even see this in her. I will say, she is learning, but every once in a while I will ask her a basic historical question or even a news question, and she will not know.

But if you ask her the names to all of the band members of some 20 or so bands she likes, she'll tell you their full name, age, where they were born, who they are married to, and any other uninteresting facts about them.

I have always balked at the system, I decided a few years ago to start my own website development company. The problem? I knew nothing about it. So for the next two years I set out to teach myself all I could learn, I began my company, did many websites, only to learn that I didn't know enough, lol. So I am in the process of learning the coding (php, css, java) behind the websites.

Success no matter who you are requires one thing!


The problem is, I have hired people from college who have a degree in website coding, but when I put them to work, I have to retrain them. The schools are usually about 4 years behind in web technology.

I actually don't teach them, I require them to find the answer themselves (this helps them learn). I point them in the right direction, but make them find it. If I gave them the answer, they would not value it as much as if they found it on there own, thus I would be asked the same question over and over again.

The problem: At times it can take months of training in order for them to be up to speed. I pay them for the work they do, but I will not pay them for the time they are training. They are getting free training from me, an education that can cost thousands of dollars.

Sadly: most give up and end up working at Walmart, because they are not willing to put forth the effort now, to satisfy there future. These kids think in the now, and have no concept of there future. Most barely picked up a book in college, and do not know how to learn things on there own.

Most do not have the spirit to be creative or know how to educate themselves. they want to be told everything.

I once spent 6 months training a guy, but he would never look the answers up himself, about some basic things and paid him good too. He eventually decided to quit and start his own company. a few months down the road, he is working at McDonalds flipping burgers, why, he took two clients from me (claiming to still work for me), and offered them a deal to do some work the wanted. Problem is, he didn't know what to do, and in turn couldn't get the job done in time. This caused some legal issues for me, but has been dismissed.

If these kids aren't taught how to learn at there own pace (with a little pressure), then how are they to learn to excel as an adult, where the opportunities for success lie is the ability to learn and teach yourself in an age where technology is doubling ever 5 to 7 years?

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:23 PM
What are the options?

Homeshcooling. Can be difficult to find the time. Especially in single parent or dial income homes. The public hates you for doing it if you can manage it and will attack you with legislation and cries of abuse. Maybe you arent qualified to do it in the first place?

Cookie cutter public curriculum. Caters to the lowest common denominator. "Gifted" students suffer. Dragged down by the rest of the slobs.

Vouchers. Gifted kids who can afford to leave. The rest lose funding and wallow in their own mediocrity.

No public education option. Gifted students or students with competent parents will seek out education. The already poor standards of the lowest common denominator will sink even lower as lack of compulsory education leads to no education.

Either way you slice it there will be classes. The simple truth is that some people are capable of some things and others are not.

That's life. Unless you want Vonnegut's Bergeron to come true. We just all agree on a satisfactory level of mediocrity and artificially boost the lowest of the low up to it and retard the best of the best down to it.

Life is not fair. No matter how hard certain people, groups and governments try to force it to be.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:24 PM
Eh to be honest I wouldnt worry about it, if your kids smart they are going to do well no matter what the school system is like they are in. School doesnt stifle kids, stupid parents do.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 12:30 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

I agree with you.

I would like to point out that this advanced program works on these kids creativity and teaches them to think on there own. Often they will debate about an issue.

They teach these kids (life) problem solving that have no right or wrong answer.

They are encouraged to excel in there ability to succeed.

Seems the other classes (I don't blame the teacher, she has to do it the way the government make her) are designed to teach only what the kids have to know in an effort to get them to the next grade. Some will be determined in life and still succeed.

Others will be lost in the mix, and become part of a system that indoctrinates children to not think outside the box and learn beyond school. yes this is partly their fault, but it's also partly the fault of a system that teaches kids that it isn't ok to think for yourself.

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