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Author Topic: Fixing Education  (Read 4109 times)

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Offline AndyZTopic starter

Fixing Education
« on: May 26, 2012, 10:07:29 AM »
I want this thread to be about policy, not politics.  Most of these threads rapidly fill up with ad hominem arguments, talking about political parties rather than actually discussing the issues in question.  I ask people not to do that this time.

Example:

Talking about No Child Left Behind is fine.  Pointing out that Bush started it isn't strictly forbidden, but becomes a distraction.  Adding that Bush is an idiot isn't really necessary.  Saying that all Republicans hate education doesn't solve anything.  Adding that nothing will ever be fixed is likewise pointless; let's talk about how we'd fix things if we could.  Following a realistic budget would be ideal, but if no realistic budget can solve the problem, explain why.

If you have nothing constructive to post, please don't post at all.




We know the American education system is broken.  How do we fix it?

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 11:08:33 AM »
No problem. I would keep fixing it simple go back to what worked in the earlier times updated for today. In short track students since not all students are the same their education plans need to fit better. So here is what I would consider:

K-8th Grade should be for general education the breadth of core knowledge and no testing done save for identifying the childs abilities in language and mathematics, teach one added language and test in that but these will not lead to retention just determine where needs are. Students doing well and more likely to be college bound will get added options the rest would get career exploration focused activities. They should leave with the goal of being well rounded citizens with essential core knowledge.

High school would be then this two years of general education with some non-commited electives and further testing for a final determination before 11th grade, then track into pre-college or career preparation (options for community college/trade school transition or directly into working.

Those in pre-college education would get a focus on that, simple.

Those ,most likely the majority say 70%, could choose from many options focused on on a core area business/retail, technical trades, health care, child care, creative arts or transitional (joint programs to track these students into a two year college program in a career area or a trade school or apprenticeships with unions or professionals). Those students would then get applied language and mathematics, general area skills and training one on area of work. An example might be a young woman wanting to go into the business/retail they would get general classes and might take a focus in retail sales so might have four semesters of required classes and practical experience at job sites in that. When done she would get a diploma and a certification in retail sales, with references and general skills suited to work in that area. A transition option would add some options but lead into an associated degree in perhaps retail management with a semester or two taken off.

I think this would be both far more practical, allow low income students to get into the workforce with no debts and if they have the aptitudes would not exclude them from college.


Offline Darius

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 06:54:44 PM »
I have a number of friends who are teachers and every last one of them says the same thing. "If you want to improve education, get the kids off TV and get the parents involved."

In my state and city they just announced that they're laying off almost a thousand teachers after this year ends. Class sizes will increase immensely next year.

Today after my workout at the gym I sat in the jacuzzi for a bit listening to some people complain about the high wages that teachers are getting and I kept wondering, just how much is enough to be paying for one of the people who may well spend more time with your child than you do? And, who has such a huge impact on their development? I had to ask them what they did for a living, they were valets. Which means in this city they probably make more than double what the average teacher makes in a year.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 07:17:21 PM »
First off. Stop laying off teachers. Class rooms have gone from 20 kids when I was in first grade to something like 40 or so where I went to high school. Do proper budgeting rather than this crap with 'vouchers'. Revamp the core curriculum to focus on skills like math, reading, grammar, basic logic and use that as a basic to build on.

Things like civics, history, and languages can be added to it (6th to 8th grade) and then build an idea of the students aptitude. Not everyone is going to college but you can prepare them for jobs better than flipping burgers. Technical skills are just as helpful as a degree. you can train the next generation of workers, be it the excutives, teachers, pipe fitters or a/c repairmen.

And we need to break the 'those who can't, teach' bullshit. Teachers do a LOT of work, and have to have a unique skillset that has to be cultivated and grown. 

Offline Exelion

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 09:38:08 PM »
Two core things that NEED to be done before thinking about curriculum, or testing methods, or whatever.

1) Increase our education budget. I think we can stave a billion or two off our immense defense budget for that.

2) Get parents off their asses and involved in their children's education. Too many parents view school as a form of day care- toss the kid in, they're out of my hair until supper. It needs to change.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 09:49:49 PM »
I have been teaching for 29 years. It is one of the few professions that the people doing the work are not asked how to improve the system. You would never have people outside the medical field dictate how a doctor would improve the health of his or her patients.

A few things can be done that have already been said. Get the parents involved. Most students reflect the attitude of their parents when they come into a class. Make sure the elementary levels have good teachers and not people that just couldn't get a degree in something else. That would mean raising the pay of the teachers to recruit the best. How important is this? Some research shows if a student has two years with a bad math teacher their math skills will not recover.

Let the educators make decisions for what is best with the school systems. School systems where you have buy in from all stake holders, parents, teachers, community, and administration work better. Make schools, especially high schools smaller, schools with a population between 600-900 show the most increase in student achievement.

That is just a start. Someone else's turn.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2012, 10:10:59 PM »
A lot to think about here, and thanks everyone for their thoughts and notes.

One thing that puzzles me a little bit, though:

1) Increase our education budget. I think we can stave a billion or two off our immense defense budget for that.

When it started out in 1980, the Education budget was $14,011,052.  Running this into http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_calculators/inflation_rate_calculator.asp it came out as $39,122,970.  Now, we have over 70 billion (billion, even though it started at million) being spent for the Department of Education, and students seem to be getting worse, not better.

I would absolutely love for someone to explain that to me.  Even taking inflation into account, you're approaching a 2,000 times magnification.  It's easy to say to just throw more money at it, but that really doesn't seem to work.



I would also adore knowing any recommendations on methods for getting the parents more involved.  It may not be possible, but hey, it's more fun to try to come up with ways, right?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2012, 11:01:46 PM »
A lot to think about here, and thanks everyone for their thoughts and notes.

One thing that puzzles me a little bit, though:

When it started out in 1980, the Education budget was $14,011,052.  Running this into http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_calculators/inflation_rate_calculator.asp it came out as $39,122,970.  Now, we have over 70 billion (billion, even though it started at million) being spent for the Department of Education, and students seem to be getting worse, not better.

I would absolutely love for someone to explain that to me.  Even taking inflation into account, you're approaching a 2,000 times magnification.  It's easy to say to just throw more money at it, but that really doesn't seem to work.



I would also adore knowing any recommendations on methods for getting the parents more involved.  It may not be possible, but hey, it's more fun to try to come up with ways, right?

You can thank 'No Child Left Behind' and things like school voucher programs for part of that decay in performance. And aside from pulling funding the Department of Education has little they can Directly do to effect a school system. Ditto with the DoD funds, I know at least on school system out in California tried to keep their DoD funds after kicking recruiters off campus.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2012, 07:22:59 AM »
So what exactly is wrong with them?  Should we just do away with them entirely?

Offline Exelion

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2012, 07:38:39 AM »
A lot to think about here, and thanks everyone for their thoughts and notes.

One thing that puzzles me a little bit, though:

When it started out in 1980, the Education budget was $14,011,052.  Running this into http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_calculators/inflation_rate_calculator.asp it came out as $39,122,970.  Now, we have over 70 billion (billion, even though it started at million) being spent for the Department of Education, and students seem to be getting worse, not better.

I would absolutely love for someone to explain that to me.  Even taking inflation into account, you're approaching a 2,000 times magnification.  It's easy to say to just throw more money at it, but that really doesn't seem to work.



I would also adore knowing any recommendations on methods for getting the parents more involved.  It may not be possible, but hey, it's more fun to try to come up with ways, right?

Teacher salaries are among the worst in the nation for the education level required. Benefits are also generally poor. It's not uncommon for schools to lack the funding to get the materials they need.

While you are right, and our edu budget has gone WAY up, the cost of everything else has too.

Offline Lilias

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2012, 08:13:16 AM »
The education budget, like that for any other industry, should be directed more towards maintaining staff than equipment. State of the art gadgets without people to use them are just props gathering dust.

It seems that the more indispensable a profession is, the nearest to a calling, if you will, the less respect, moral and financial, it commands. Teachers of all levels, like most healthcare workers (nurses, midwives, health visitors) towards the bottom of the payscale. Riddle me this. ::)

Curriculum-wise, we need a return to the humanities as the base. People can no longer afford to be just functionally literate, nor to ignore the rest of the world. Allowing one's horizons to shrink to what they can see around them and what they can remember happening is effectively returning them to the Dark Ages.

Above all, kids need to be reintroduced to the F-word: failure. There must be some minimal standard, if we don't want the adult world flooded with more generations of self-entitled twerps.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2012, 08:42:07 AM »
Teacher salaries are among the worst in the nation for the education level required. Benefits are also generally poor. It's not uncommon for schools to lack the funding to get the materials they need.

While you are right, and our edu budget has gone WAY up, the cost of everything else has too.

Yes, that's how inflation works.  If it started at 14 million and jumped up to 39 million over 30 years, that'd be perfectly normal.  It's instead jumped to over 70 billion.  If this phenomenal amount of money doesn't even begin to put a dent in the problem, then perhaps it cannot be solved simply by throwing money at it.

Now, Callie's said that the Department of Education has little that they can actually do to aid schools.  If this is the case, perhaps we should scrap the program altogether, and let that money flow directly into the school systems.



As a note, just because I don't comment on something doesn't mean that I didn't read it.  Often I don't know what to say, and sometimes I don't want to derail the conversation in methods which would inevitably happen if I made certain comments.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2012, 09:36:34 AM »
A lot to think about here, and thanks everyone for their thoughts and notes.

One thing that puzzles me a little bit, though:

When it started out in 1980, the Education budget was $14,011,052.  Running this into http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_calculators/inflation_rate_calculator.asp it came out as $39,122,970.  Now, we have over 70 billion (billion, even though it started at million) being spent for the Department of Education, and students seem to be getting worse, not better.

I would absolutely love for someone to explain that to me.  Even taking inflation into account, you're approaching a 2,000 times magnification.  It's easy to say to just throw more money at it, but that really doesn't seem to work.



I would also adore knowing any recommendations on methods for getting the parents more involved.  It may not be possible, but hey, it's more fun to try to come up with ways, right?

Two major points.  First is that the level of respect that kids have to adults is nearly non-existent.  Because punishing kids is now equated with abuse.  Maybe not legally, but it's there, so kids don't respect their teachers and even their own parents (Not all kids, but a significant majority.)

Secondly, and I've said this before, is that the school system is still the one that we've been using since the 19th century.  Yes, there's more options now, but the basic structure, the basic setup, is still the one designed for pumping out good little factory workers.  And our society and business models have changed.  We have jobs now that require more free thought and imagination, and frankly, most of schooling today is still designed to kill creativity.

The school system needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, and kids need to be reined in.  Will they?  Not likely, we'll just keep throwing money at it, rather than what needs to be done.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2012, 09:47:56 AM »
Two major points.  First is that the level of respect that kids have to adults is nearly non-existent.  Because punishing kids is now equated with abuse.  Maybe not legally, but it's there, so kids don't respect their teachers and even their own parents (Not all kids, but a significant majority.)

Secondly, and I've said this before, is that the school system is still the one that we've been using since the 19th century.  Yes, there's more options now, but the basic structure, the basic setup, is still the one designed for pumping out good little factory workers.  And our society and business models have changed.  We have jobs now that require more free thought and imagination, and frankly, most of schooling today is still designed to kill creativity.

The school system needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, and kids need to be reined in.  Will they?  Not likely, we'll just keep throwing money at it, rather than what needs to be done.

While I don't disagree, I would love to know how to fix these problems.  The first is more of a societal issue and I'm not sure can be convinced by the government (though feel free to prove me wrong ^_^) but what kinds of changes should be made to the school?

I've been planning a futuristic novel where children can be one on one tutored by an artificial intelligence (which seems an ideal method to me, but obviously isn't practical by modern-day standards) but I'd love to see examples of things which can be done.

The only way I can think of would be to segregate by intelligence across topics.  Kids which are smarter in math should be taught in different classes than kids who are slower and have a harder time with it.  Would this work?  What other techniques would work?

Offline Lilias

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2012, 10:25:30 AM »
The only way I can think of would be to segregate by intelligence across topics.  Kids which are smarter in math should be taught in different classes than kids who are slower and have a harder time with it.  Would this work?  What other techniques would work?

That is the system in the UK, with at least three sets (as those ability classes are called) for each main subject. I'm sure it has its disadvantages, and I'll poke our resident British educator to weigh in, but I for one would have preferred that to the mixed-ability classes we had in Greece. It was out of necessity, no doubt (in my time, school still operated in morning and afternoon shifts because there were not enough buildings), but it was still doing an awful disservice to the smart kids, who were held back and bored silly.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2012, 11:03:20 AM »

[/quote]
The only way I can think of would be to segregate by intelligence across topics.  Kids which are smarter in math should be taught in different classes than kids who are slower and have a harder time with it.  Would this work?  What other techniques would work?
[/quote]

We have this system already at the high school. It is called honors/regular/essentials.It does work to an extent as long as the students can move from one to another and be at different levels by subject. For example someone that is in honors math may not be honors in English. Our department requires a B in the previous honors class to stay in the honors system. Students can move up from the regular track with an A in the class and teacher recommendation.

Has anyone considered the system may not be broken and never has been? In 1920 20% of the students graduated in high school. in the 50's it was around 50%. Today a typical non urban high school graduates more then 90% of its students.

Respect has to be worked on in the school. It needs to be demanded from the students. Too often newer teachers want to be friends first and the authority figure second. Part of this is training but from my experience most students respect a teacher when asked of it.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 03:42:27 PM by itsbeenfun2000 »

Offline Exelion

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2012, 11:31:39 AM »
Has anyone considered the system may not be broken and never has been? In 1920 20% of the students graduated in high school. in the 50's it was around 50%. Today a typical non urban high school graduates more then 90% of its students.

Respect has to be worked on in the school. It needs to be demanded from the students. Too often newer teachers want to be friends first and the authority figure second. Part of this is training but from my experience most students respect a teacher when asked of it.

To the first point..graduation is not an indication of a successful education. It means you met whatever standards were given. And we've constantly lowered our standards in an effort to make sure kids pass no matter what. Just because more kids graduate doesn't mean we have more, better educated kids than 50 years ago.

I will agree with respect. Even in my day (you know you're old when you use that phrase), I couldn't believe things that were said/done to teachers by their students. And I;ve seen far worse examples as time has gone by.

All the same, respect for parents by their children (oh gods I AM old) is a problem too.


Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2012, 11:34:36 AM »
In the 1920's even into the 50's High School was generally not vital to complete you could earlier complete grade school and go into a skilled trade or work in a factory, even in the 1950's you could complete some High School and it was not crippling. High School was a big deal in the early 20th century you earned a diploma it was the way in to skilled work, management paths and college and specialty business colleges. An example in the 1950's my grandfather graduated High School and walked into a machinists job as a helper, but it paid twice the coal mining work did and when he rose up the ranks made a big income far over his relatives. He learned this trade in High School with related classes.

Now High School is not enough and I wonder why? It seems all college prep and nothing is available to do other things a Plan B for those not doing well in these classes focused on college.

I agree parental involvement is a must, more money would be good and based on performance and bad teachers need to be able to be removed and teachers need with administrators to have more control to advance students not commit a test as the main means, but day to day interaction. But in the end if a student is not college material or likely to do well in high skill work (making solar panels and such) then need other options in High School where the career education is practically free.

Offline Exelion

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2012, 11:49:08 AM »
In the 1920's even into the 50's High School was generally not vital to complete you could earlier complete grade school and go into a skilled trade or work in a factory, even in the 1950's you could complete some High School and it was not crippling. High School was a big deal in the early 20th century you earned a diploma it was the way in to skilled work, management paths and college and specialty business colleges. An example in the 1950's my grandfather graduated High School and walked into a machinists job as a helper, but it paid twice the coal mining work did and when he rose up the ranks made a big income far over his relatives. He learned this trade in High School with related classes.

Now High School is not enough and I wonder why? It seems all college prep and nothing is available to do other things a Plan B for those not doing well in these classes focused on college.

I agree parental involvement is a must, more money would be good and based on performance and bad teachers need to be able to be removed and teachers need with administrators to have more control to advance students not commit a test as the main means, but day to day interaction. But in the end if a student is not college material or likely to do well in high skill work (making solar panels and such) then need other options in High School where the career education is practically free.

One thing I will agree with is the shift in how we view post-secondary education and trades. And I blame the economy, as well as to an extent popular belief.

Popular belief states that "trade" jobs like factory worker, carpenter, auto mechanic, what have you pay poorly and can become phased out fast. But, thanks to how we're all led to believe, a college education promises us fantastic high paying jobs with just a few years of effort and a little debt! What's not to love?

Sadly both things are complete falsehoods; I know a guy with 30k still in debt, in his thirties, with a degree, and works at the same place I do for the same pay (I have some college education, but no degree). I know an auto mechanic that makes twice what I do.

High school nowadays seems half college prep, half "You can't manage a job at Mcdonald's without a diploma, so let's find ways to give them diplomas". Very little prep for the real world, very little help in determining what you want to do or your life plan. So you get tons of HS graduates, dropped into college, and no clue what they're doing.

I'll agree more options need to be presented to our students, especially trades- hence why I think we need a better budget. that, and to pay teachers more so that it's an attractive job. I know people that want to teach and could do well at it, but couldn't pay the bills if they did.

Offline BCdan

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2012, 02:02:46 PM »
I think the problems are really fundamental. 
  • The government tends to bring fourth a one size fits all education system.  Historically it has had a very hard time with trying to tailor education to the student.  I think that this is inevitable when you have a large bureaucratic organisation directing education.
  • Funding for education as increased greatly over time, last I heard it has more than doubled sin the 70's and yet we get worse results.  I think incentives need to be fixed and that throwing money at the problem makes it worse.   
  • We need to stop treating teachers as infallible educators who are doing it all for the kids and making incredible sacrifices. I have had great teachers, there are great teachers, but there are also crappy teachers who drag down the average.  I have had some truly great teachers in school, but I have also had some total tyrants who really hurt me as a person. Something needs to be done about this.
  • The National Education system needs to be abolished and replaced with state level education system, or better yet a local level education system. 
  • Schools need to change.  I learned more from Khan academy in 6 months than I learned in all of high school.  I also learned a lot from Kumon, a private after-school program that teaches math.  Because they treated me as a valued customer, I received the politest treatment ever from an education system.
  • Vouchers have worked well in inner city areas where the economics allow for choice in schools.  Washington DC had its voucher system recently stripped of funding, even though they were doing statistically better than the rest of the education system.

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2012, 09:20:19 PM »
And we need to break the 'those who can't, teach' bullshit. Teachers do a LOT of work, and have to have a unique skillset that has to be cultivated and grown.

Everyone who spouts off with 'those who can't, teach' should be strapped to a chair and forced to listen to Taylor Mali's 'What Teachers Make'.  That said, I think that some systems really are broken.  The little Oni's math class had just about every student working on different objectives at any given time.  They had a goal of so-many by the end of so-much-time, but how do you teach a class when you are essentially running a glorified study hall?  There were apparently very few days that he actually went to the whiteboard to demonstrate a concept.  Most of the time, he sat behind his desk and waited for students to come to him when they had trouble.

Offline ExisD

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2012, 03:03:50 AM »
I think the biggest things that need to change for our education system are letting students have more creative input in their classes and using more positive reinforcement in the class room. The most effective teachers that I had in regards to me learning things, in high school I know they were also the ones with the highest performing students on standardized tests, made sure to reward good behavior and gave the students some level of input into the classes.

The biggest personal examples of these ideas that I can think of are  my 4th grade teacher, my 6th grade teacher, high school physics/chemistry teacher, and my law teacher(also in high school). As a note my school was average to slightly below average across the board for my state, which was New York.

My 4th grade teacher taught all of his classes at the rate his students were learning, this very quickly out paced the standard syllabus for even the kids that were bad at math and science, and for those who performed well offered benefits. These benefits were mostly being allowed to come into the class room and play videogames for recess and lunch periods. Th games were something he incorporated into regular classes too, but everyone wanted to beat them and never had the time to in normal class so eventually we had the whole class in there playing these games. All of the videogames were educational games:Math Blaster, Reading Blaster, and the Logical Journey of the Zombeinies.

  • For his science classes he taught a bit of theory and then had us perform an experiment and show why the theory was correct. For math he went straight into algebra, making us use a variable instead of the blank box that other classes used. So we had 2*x=7 rather than 2*[ ] = 7. This may not sound like a huge deal, but when algebra came up my classmates from that class found it much easier to understand than many from other classes where other teachers had to explain it by saying replace the blank that was used before with x and it took many people time to wrap their minds around it.
    For english we read books that were suggested by our classmates if he approved of them. This mostly resulted in things like Captain Underpants at first, but we also went into the Chronicles of Narnia, books 1 and 2, and Harry Potter as time progressed. We read them as a group in class alternating who was reading by passing the book around the room, with our teacher getting only the first paragraph, and by halfway through year many were reading more outside of class so one of their book might be picked next.
    I think that this man did more for my developing a love of learning than any other teacher I've had and I'm very thankful to him for that.
  • Continuing my 6th grade teacher had a very interesting policy about what lessons she would teach. Before each chapter of the text book, no matter what the subject was, she would give a short test. Anyone who got above a 90, this is prior to having actually been taught the material, was allowed to instead go into a section of the classroom with beanbag chairs and do whatever they wanted so long as it didn't disrupt the class. We still needed to do the homework and take the actual test. If everyone got all of the questions from one part correct, this only happened for basic math(ASMD) and fractions(but not fraction multiplication and division), then she would give a single short lesson as a refresher and we would move on to the next topic quickly, even skipping all of the homework for the part everyone did well on. We were fairly far ahead of the other classes because of this and got to look at more advanced material, 7th grade, at the end of the year as a result.
    Incidentally, she did something similar for book report assignments. You had to submit a short report about why you think a particular book was a good choice and automatically got a 100 for the entire length of the reading->book report process if your recommendation got chosen.
  • For my physics, chemistry, and ap physics teacher the rewards were a fair bit lower, but he also had a much more standardized curriculum that he needed to teach. If you got a 95% or better on a test you were exempt from the review period, which was all of the next class, and he would give you a pass to anywhere in the school that you wanted to go. No one ever abused this so I have no idea what he would do if someone did. Also, if the entire class got a 90% or better then the next class block, we had 1.5 hour classes for high school, would be watching a non-R-rated movie that the class after a small review period where he would only go over questions posed to him and questions a significant number of people got wrong. The movie watching only happened once, but four other students and I were typically going to the library or gym every review session.
    The bigger thing he did though was in ap physics. Rather than assigning labs, we had a lab every other week, we had to give him a lab proposal and if it wasn't good enough he would use one of the standard, boring, labs instead. Because of this policy we got used to making interesting lab ideas, in many cases that were harder than the actual one such as the time we tried to find the acceleration of a ball thrown by a catapult we built based on how far it flew. There were also no right answers because we didn't know exactly what would happen; this aspect of the lab helped me a great deal in college when similar things happened all of the time.
  • Lastly there was my law teacher, his class focused on the aspects of law that mattered to the average person like what your rights are and how to represent yourself in court. The big thing he did was very simple. At the beginning of each class we would have a discussion about a recent court case or bill. He would call on people randomly to give their case. If it met his criteria, which was mostly something that could be either debated or analyzed, then that person would get 2 extra points on the next exam and anyone who participated in the discussion got 1 point. This got more of us paying attention to the news and at some points our entire lesson was a debate; either planned like abortion and capital punishment, or spur of the moment like gun rights, which became a three way debate quickly, and divorce law.
In each of these teacher's classes I found myself much more involved as did many of my friends. Their records also showed the results of their techniques. As an example half of my ap physics c;ass got a 5 on the exam and no one got a 1 or a 2. The next year's class, taught by a different teacher had a single 5 with twice as many students. This alone isn't enough evidence for his abilities, but his classes also scored higher on the regents exams than the other science teachers every year for the 4 years before my class and for mine as well.

Reinforcement has also been proven to be the most reliable method or changing behavior in humans, which I think is something that is commonly taught to teachers now. Given what my friends who are studying teaching say anyway.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 03:06:49 AM by ExisD »

Online Oniya

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2012, 07:55:21 AM »
Oh man, don't get me started on book reports!  The little Oni has never written a book report, despite having (and passing!) a reading requirement.  Instead, there's this list of specific books, and they have a point value.  When the student finishes a book, they take a test on it, and I'm 98% sure that it's a multiple guess choice test (just like her math homework/tests are).  If the book isn't on The List, then it doesn't matter - they can't get credit for it.  We lucked out on the Percy Jackson books, but things like the little physics book we read together, or the book on black holes weren't given any weight on her reading grade.

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2012, 02:37:25 PM »
Oh man, don't get me started on book reports!  The little Oni has never written a book report, despite having (and passing!) a reading requirement.  Instead, there's this list of specific books, and they have a point value.  When the student finishes a book, they take a test on it, and I'm 98% sure that it's a multiple guess choice test (just like her math homework/tests are).  If the book isn't on The List, then it doesn't matter - they can't get credit for it.  We lucked out on the Percy Jackson books, but things like the little physics book we read together, or the book on black holes weren't given any weight on her reading grade.

That's... what, why would someone even put a policy like that in place? I can't think of any use for that besides restricting what children are reading, which isn't a comforting thought at all.

I know that three years after me my sister went through elementary school and all of her math was pushed back a year(multiplication was 4th grade rather than 3rd), but they've hit reading and writing too? Maybe my teachers were able to get away with everything they did because they were all tenured, but I can't see any of the good ones willingly doing something like that.

Suddenly my idea about homeschooling any children I might have until middle school or high school is sounding like a better and better option.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 02:42:27 PM by ExisD »

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2012, 02:47:46 PM »
Well, we read together as a routine (my parents stopped reading to me when they figured out I could do it myself), so we've read a lot of things not on The List.  Our technique is to pick a 'big point' book from The List that we like, read it, and then fill the rest of the quarter with other books.  My guess is that it's faster to computer-score a standardized test than read and mark an essay-style paper.  It doesn't mean I have to like it.

As far as math is concerned, I've picked up a copy of Barron's E-Z Math to work our way through over the summer.  The tests are scanalicious, but the exercises are 'show your work'.