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Author Topic: Fixing Education  (Read 4108 times)

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Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2012, 02:50:51 PM »
Oniya, as a parent (though other viewpoints on this are welcome), I'd love your perspective: are there lots of things which can be picked up like videos and computer programs and all which help teach this stuff?

I realize that getting kids to actually use the stuff is another matter entirely (my ADD-riddled self was always so seriously drained after 8 hours of school that I'd never have used them) but do they even exist in any seriously helpful and useful form?  Or is it all just textbooks and elementary-school videos?

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2012, 03:18:04 PM »
There are computer programs out there, educational sites (like coolmath.com) - it takes some looking to find them, and of course, I've been primarily looking for elementary to middle-school stuff.  Schoolhouse Rock was instrumental in teaching the little Oni multiplication and grammar, and a little bit of history as well.  You can find most of those on YouTube.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2012, 03:20:19 PM »
I'm going to take another view of this and the point I want to make is: does Education need to be fixed?

I was looking over our state FCAT scores for reading, writing and mathematics and a typical students needs a 3 on a 1 to 5 scale in these or a average score to pass with the number at grade level and for mathematics a 50. If under that at a 2 you can still pass but need help and a 1 is a failure. Similar requirements are for mathematics on that scale.

In High School the new requirements are higher a bit for obligated classes but that is another matter to me I'll look at just what my point is going to be. How many citizens by the time they reach eighteen are fully illiterate or unable to function in society they have a poor grasp of daily mathematics or cannot understand civics enough to vote which from my experience is pretty low.

And I will note international test scores place us at the mid-range of peer nations that is the top 50 nations we have average performing students this is not the same as being unable in these in fact in one we are over some EU nations and performing well over many other nations.

So what is there to fix our youth in the majority I would say nine out of ten are able to read and write English well enough, can do mathematics well enough, understand civics and other things well enough or knows how to look information up to get along well enough. So isn't the real issue employers demanding a diploma when it may not be necessary, lack of low skilled jobs that pay well enough (classic factory work) and a lack of options to work to get skills (I think the minimum wage is oddly hurting the poor and hard to employ in this case) none of which are related to education proper?

Education can matter if we assume this percent of students are at risk ,say 20%, we can assume they won't graduate so have something else for them like vocational skills training so they have something going for them but that would be secondary to the major issues to me. But I would say this is a matter of going to the persons level and where they are in order to see to their education needs.

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2012, 03:28:14 PM »
Ruby, you've made it patently obvious that you don't care about anything higher than basic education.  Those of us who do are trying to come up with constructive input here.

As for this bit here:

And I will note international test scores place us at the mid-range of peer nations that is the top 50 nations we have average performing students this is not the same as being unable in these in fact in one we are over some EU nations and performing well over many other nations.

How do you explain the fact that:

U.S. students rank 32nd in mathematics and 17th in reading. (More behind the link on how the researchers did this.)

Offline Maiz

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2012, 03:36:38 PM »
To help fix education I would change tenure so that the bad teachers (who don't teach, who are abusive to students, etc) are easily booted, and good teachers have incentive to stay. I would change the curriculum to include nation wide standards, including comprehensive sex ed, and an have a rewrite of the canon that students are exposed to in literature. I would also make sure that history is isn't simply told from the point of view of white men.

I would also change the reaction to students misbehaving a la:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-jascz/empathy-and-understanding_b_1498041.html
which would keep students from dropping out, hopefully, and help their mental/emotional health at the same time.

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2012, 03:46:30 PM »
I would also make sure that history is isn't simply told from the point of view of white men.

History got much more interesting when I made the jump from 'colonial-centric' (Nothing existed before 1492!) even just to Western-centric (countries existing for thousands of years!).  I can only imagine what a leap to global-centric (is that an oxymoron?) could do.

Offline Maiz

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2012, 03:51:33 PM »
History got much more interesting when I made the jump from 'colonial-centric' (Nothing existed before 1492!) even just to Western-centric (countries existing for thousands of years!).  I can only imagine what a leap to global-centric (is that an oxymoron?) could do.

Yes! Also, I think it's good for students of color, and white students as well, to learn history where they aren't being colonized. It's empowering.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2012, 03:55:06 PM »
I'll answer that RubySlippers..

Yes, it needs fixing. When I was in school in the US (prior to my living in the Republic of Ireland) I was written off as 'stupid' by a few teachers. Turns out I had a minor dyslexia problem that impeded my ability to read and work though things. As a result I got bored in class when i'd make mistakes. Add in two classmates who were excellent 'stealth bullies' and I spent most of the 5th grade in a walled off corner by myself because the teacher didn't want me distract. I could see the board but not her talking, and the filling cabinets.. that was it. As a result, needless to say, my 3rd grade experience was less than sterling and I wound up repeating it.

The next year I got tapped for one of the first reading assistance programs the school system started.  I went from having problems with some words.. (I, for example, saw words like 'any' as 'ant' and so forth) to reading on an 7th to 8th grade level very quickly once I was able to find what I was doing wrong. The teacher after school was helpful, listened and told me how to work through my problems.

Importantly I wasn't isolated anymore.  I wasn't punished because of what others did to me. I learned that I wasn't stupid. I learned reading was fun. Within 2 years I was reading Tolkien and Heinlein and history books.  High school and intro college books my folks had for their own interests.

Then I went to Ireland. I was blown away about how LITTLE I had been taught about math in American schools. I spent 2 1/2 years feeling like an idiot. By the time I got back I was able to hold my own but knew that I was behind the curve compared to the peers I had just left.

Of course by the time I got back to the states I was reading on a college level and clocking at about 90%+ retention with something like 800 words a minute.

Let me sum it up like this. In Ireland.. my teacher was a respected member of the community and accorded respect. Granted in the small village of Newtownforbes he taught 3 grade levels (there were maybe 25 of us) but I learned to think for myself and he didn't shirk on putting down trouble makers.

In the US ..I returned to classes that were already topping over 40 people. I watched three excellent teachers implode my first year from budget cuts and burnout. By the time I left my hometown in NC, there were a few classes that had to be held in the auditorium because they didn't have enough qualified teachers in math and civics. They had gotten too 'qualified' and the school couldn't afford anyone over a masters degree. Yet the teachers were REQUIRED to continue educating themselves. This happened again in SC where I went to highschool where the local music teacher/band director had to work music classes for SIX GRADE levels to keep his job because he got a doctorate in music. The school board couldn't afford him for JUST highschool.. he had to teach jr. high and highschool.

We put so little into the system. Bush II inflicted the onus of 'No child left behind' which inflicted standardized testing on us as the SOLE critera for success in some districts. You live and die by your ratings. Kids were getting transferred and kicked out because they brought the standard test scores down.

That isn't what we should be teaching. We should be teaching core skills in math, reading, as well as showing the basics of civics, history and critical thinking. building a base to work from. Technical schools are sneered at by so many now but they teach vital skills and abilities.


Offline ExisD

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2012, 04:10:27 PM »
The issue with tenure is that you can't make it easier to kick out the bad teachers without also making it easier for someone to also kick out the good ones. People can't empathize with everyone and enough are vindictive enough that they would try to ruin someone's career just for disagreeing with them or punishing their child that tenure is a very important thing that my friends who are going into teaching wish they had as a protection already. There was an article on ccn about bad parents driving teacher to quit or be fired recently.

I also honestly think we focus on ancient history in general too much and should put much more into current affairs/recent history. Don't eliminate the study of the past completely, but I think we really should focus on teaching children how to be aware of the world they live in. How to find out about what's happening, how to critique your sources, and how to actually get involved in what's happening. I was startled by the number of my peers in college who'd never voted and didn't know how to register to vote.

I also think economics, ethics, and basic law should be required classes for everyone in middle and high school. Being able to manage your money and understand what your government is actually saying are vital skills today. As for why ethics, having different ethical and moral systems explained to people and making them try and think in those systems makes them more able to accept different opinions on issues without reflexive fear and hatred. Though I'll admit my own bias of not believing that many parents are capable of teaching their own child to behave ethically. Even if they could you should have the ability to make your own decisions about what system to follow and deserve to be exposed to as many as possible because of this.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 04:14:10 PM by ExisD »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #34 on: May 30, 2012, 03:08:49 PM »
I'll answer that RubySlippers..

Yes, it needs fixing. When I was in school in the US (prior to my living in the Republic of Ireland) I was written off as 'stupid' by a few teachers. Turns out I had a minor dyslexia problem that impeded my ability to read and work though things. As a result I got bored in class when i'd make mistakes. Add in two classmates who were excellent 'stealth bullies' and I spent most of the 5th grade in a walled off corner by myself because the teacher didn't want me distract. I could see the board but not her talking, and the filling cabinets.. that was it. As a result, needless to say, my 3rd grade experience was less than sterling and I wound up repeating it.

The next year I got tapped for one of the first reading assistance programs the school system started.  I went from having problems with some words.. (I, for example, saw words like 'any' as 'ant' and so forth) to reading on an 7th to 8th grade level very quickly once I was able to find what I was doing wrong. The teacher after school was helpful, listened and told me how to work through my problems.

Importantly I wasn't isolated anymore.  I wasn't punished because of what others did to me. I learned that I wasn't stupid. I learned reading was fun. Within 2 years I was reading Tolkien and Heinlein and history books.  High school and intro college books my folks had for their own interests.

Then I went to Ireland. I was blown away about how LITTLE I had been taught about math in American schools. I spent 2 1/2 years feeling like an idiot. By the time I got back I was able to hold my own but knew that I was behind the curve compared to the peers I had just left.

Of course by the time I got back to the states I was reading on a college level and clocking at about 90%+ retention with something like 800 words a minute.

Let me sum it up like this. In Ireland.. my teacher was a respected member of the community and accorded respect. Granted in the small village of Newtownforbes he taught 3 grade levels (there were maybe 25 of us) but I learned to think for myself and he didn't shirk on putting down trouble makers.

In the US ..I returned to classes that were already topping over 40 people. I watched three excellent teachers implode my first year from budget cuts and burnout. By the time I left my hometown in NC, there were a few classes that had to be held in the auditorium because they didn't have enough qualified teachers in math and civics. They had gotten too 'qualified' and the school couldn't afford anyone over a masters degree. Yet the teachers were REQUIRED to continue educating themselves. This happened again in SC where I went to highschool where the local music teacher/band director had to work music classes for SIX GRADE levels to keep his job because he got a doctorate in music. The school board couldn't afford him for JUST highschool.. he had to teach jr. high and highschool.

We put so little into the system. Bush II inflicted the onus of 'No child left behind' which inflicted standardized testing on us as the SOLE critera for success in some districts. You live and die by your ratings. Kids were getting transferred and kicked out because they brought the standard test scores down.

That isn't what we should be teaching. We should be teaching core skills in math, reading, as well as showing the basics of civics, history and critical thinking. building a base to work from. Technical schools are sneered at by so many now but they teach vital skills and abilities.

Actually you proved my point you eventually got the help you needed and I would be wondering where your parent or parents were in the early issues. Plus under NCLB you would have been tested at 3rd grade in your state and then they would have likely looked at what was the issues that is were many Florida students get help with reading disabilities. When I was at an Army run school they tested at 3rd grade, they found out I read and wrote poorly and then found out why and corrected matters so I improved. So I would say overall our system is decent with room for improvement but our society has enough people proficient in core skills to get along on most jobs.

If there are areas needing efforts its in skills education for those not cut out for college and an acceptance a minority number of students will not complete High School normally so they need other options.

I will use the report cited okay in that one we place still among the top 50 nations out of 190 nations, and among those not at the bottom in fact in literacy we are above the average and mathematics below the average but still in the top 50! Many nations are not that successful. I checked our literacy rate in the US is over 97%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WorldMapLiteracy2011.png] [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WorldMapLiteracy2011.png [/url]

The main issue is can we have workers compete with other nations and that is more than education this is corporate policy, government regulations, things such as the minimum wage and other factors even labor protection laws based on gender or race can hurt employment options. There is no assurance if we trained 1 million people to do high tech manufacturing work that they would have a job and you all know that.

I think education modestly should prepare each person to be as productive an adult as they can, to understand American society and to provide the blocks to the ability of the person to build them up to be productive. That seems to me all we can do. But this means that some will fall through the system no system can be 100% idea as the poster I'm replying to points out by an example.


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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2012, 03:15:56 PM »
I'm just going to let the distribution of the data on that map speak for itself.


Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #36 on: May 30, 2012, 06:41:59 PM »
Actually you proved my point you eventually got the help you needed and I would be wondering where your parent or parents were in the early issues. Plus under NCLB you would have been tested at 3rd grade in your state and then they would have likely looked at what was the issues that is were many Florida students get help with reading disabilities. When I was at an Army run school they tested at 3rd grade, they found out I read and wrote poorly and then found out why and corrected matters so I improved. So I would say overall our system is decent with room for improvement but our society has enough people proficient in core skills to get along on most jobs.

Oh.. I forgot to mention that the program was killed the next year. There were twelve of us in the school who benefited that year.. and when I got back my mom ran into the counselor that ran the program to thank her. We found out that the program was terminated as 'irrelevant'. Last year my mom ran into her again when she went by my home town and mentioned me again. The next program of that like didn't show up till the late Clinton administration. Twenty years later.

As for NCLB, I don't think it is a 'success'. I see too many cases of 'teaching the test' and every program that ISN'T part of the accountability regs has been reduced, parred down, or removed. Art, Music and Language programs have been cut back by 71% of the school systems to put in more time in English, Math and other NCLB 'skills'. 

We're 'teaching the test' not 'training the future'. There is a difference. There is very little local/state level flexibilty to allow for cultural bias on the tests also.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 06:43:24 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2012, 10:40:54 PM »
Oh.. I forgot to mention that the program was killed the next year. There were twelve of us in the school who benefited that year.. and when I got back my mom ran into the counselor that ran the program to thank her. We found out that the program was terminated as 'irrelevant'. Last year my mom ran into her again when she went by my home town and mentioned me again. The next program of that like didn't show up till the late Clinton administration. Twenty years later.

As for NCLB, I don't think it is a 'success'. I see too many cases of 'teaching the test' and every program that ISN'T part of the accountability regs has been reduced, parred down, or removed. Art, Music and Language programs have been cut back by 71% of the school systems to put in more time in English, Math and other NCLB 'skills'. 

We're 'teaching the test' not 'training the future'. There is a difference. There is very little local/state level flexibilty to allow for cultural bias on the tests also.


As far as the tests are concerned you are absolutely right we do teach to the test. In Illinois the test is the ACT test the first day. The test was never intended to be a general test it is a college placement exam. The second day is something called Work keys which puts out questions related to the trades in all subjects tested. I would prefer to see different tests in the high school based on what the students goals have been for their future. College, trade school, military.


Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2012, 10:35:01 PM »
I never liked high pressure testing in a private school and most are decent ones you have classes and naturally mid-term and then final exams each semester usually in upper level classes term papers or some sort of project. That seems to be enough then the faculty, administrators and parents decide things such as classes and goals based on knowing the student.

I don't see if you have highly trained professionals that is not enough and to trust them to pass students that seems to be what would be the best option.

We did voluntarily take part in the state tests one year because the state asked private schools to do so I know we outdid the public schools, I didn't do that well in mathematics and writing (was two grade levels lower in mathematics and in writing) but in reading I topped off the test at college level (I read a great deal on many topics for years). In history and science I did well but that was from having interests in both. I would say my self-education helped me alot more in fact than school in this area of testing.

They never ask us to test after that I think we shocked the education establishment that we did a better job our school would have ranked in the top 20% of schools if a public school. And we had disabled and learning needs students and they also beat the public schools also.

And before you get ideas it was small class sized many of my classes had 25 students or more, the only ones that didn't was accounting 1 & 2, consumer mathematics and employment skills 1 & 2 (cashiering, office skills in general, use of a computer for work, handling money and the like).

I just think it was better teachers could teach and backed by parents who paid for the education was a built in oversight I as a student was pushed to use this opportunity and they made sure teachers knew they expected us to be taught.


Offline Trieste

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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2012, 04:14:44 PM »
Having handled class sizes anywhere from about 8 students to over 40 students, I do have to say that class size is not the highest determinant for student learning. Granted, my classes didn't exactly come with tests (other than the tests I gave myself, to see what they had retained from the last class) but the main difficulty I ran into was parental support. I've never had parents try to undermine what I was teaching, but what I did experience was amazement. Parents were amazed that their kids could learn about acid/base reactions and electron movements. It seems like the parents of some of my students just assumed their kids weren't old enough or smart enough. So I think part of it is a misconception that complicated things can't be broken down into grade school sized chunks.

In fact, I think probably my third graders grasped the concept of electrostatics better than some of my college classmates. They had no problem imagining that their hair was made up of tiny particles that rubbed off on a balloon. One of my students told me, "It's like germs, but cooler", which made me think she had the concept well enough for the moment. :)

I cannot count how many times, though, that I had to tell a 'slow' student, "You're not dumb, you just have stuff to learn".

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #40 on: June 06, 2012, 12:22:22 PM »
What gets me the most is children have all the power here if they had enough say we are not going to comply, we will come to school and do what we want not causing problems maybe go the library or play baseball or draw or practice an instrument or something else we will do those things. But only attend classes we like. What would the system and parents do you can't force them with violence, you can't lock them into a room or pretty much use any other threat if theydon't care. A teacher lays a hand on a child who is peacefullly resisting its assault. Parents have marginally more options but even there if you ground the child and they decide to leave you can't do much locking them in a room is abusive in most cases criminally so.

If they ever opt to "opt out" of the "game" the education system is going to be in serious trouble.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2012, 12:52:32 PM »
Trieste, I definitely like the idea of teaching things outside the usual speed and would be interested to hear more about your successes there.

Ruby, I'd love to live in your world where a teacher would actually be fired or prosecuted for hurting students.  I've been physically hurt by teachers and it doesn't happen.  Look into unions and tenure and how impossible it is to fire a teacher.

http://www.laweekly.com/2010-02-11/news/lausd-s-dance-of-the-lemons/

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/21/10465939-where-do-problem-teachers-go-las-rubber-room?lite

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2012, 01:12:54 PM »
Trieste, I definitely like the idea of teaching things outside the usual speed and would be interested to hear more about your successes there.

Ruby, I'd love to live in your world where a teacher would actually be fired or prosecuted for hurting students.  I've been physically hurt by teachers and it doesn't happen.  Look into unions and tenure and how impossible it is to fire a teacher.

http://www.laweekly.com/2010-02-11/news/lausd-s-dance-of-the-lemons/

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/21/10465939-where-do-problem-teachers-go-las-rubber-room?lite

I agree that there are some serious problems dealing with tenure but it cuts both ways.

I never got a fair shake in one year of school thanks to a teacher who didn't bother to believe me over two students with a history of trouble making at our prior school (I actually lived across the street from the principal of the school and got my mom to get her to give the school a call). As far as I'm concerned the school year of 1978 was a total waste and had it not been for the pilot program into reading and the year of being restricted to my room for 'failing' that grade working on my math skills I'd have never caught up. As it was I had a few 'bumps' in the road later on.. being taught to spell words in the 'English' way rather than the 'American' way got me a few bugs but the math work I spent a year writing out as 'punishment' did more to teach me the multiplication and division tables up to 20 than that bitch who stuck me in the corner rather than moving me out from between two tag team troublemakers. (In a 1 year period.. I filled about a dozen or so multiple subject notebooks.. with multiplication tables. Years later, apparently she tried to do something similar to another student.. one whose father was a lawyer with ties to the board of education and city council. She didn't get away with it with that kid. I wonder how many kids she did it to before someone with a voice that couldn't be ignored)

Tenure and teacher protection are a delicate balance. On one hand you've got teachers like the lovely domineering/lying bitch that destroyed a year (or two) of my life, putting kids in peril or destroying their will to learn, or the seventy plus math substitute who liked putting up notes in one hand and erasing with the other. (Years later I encountered a college professor who did the same.

On the other hand, you got teachers who don't bow to the hide bound puritanical idiots who go after a woman because she's a Jew, teaches drama and civics. (That was in high school, and thanks to their OTHER efforts, we had NO drama classes in school for two decades but I had an excellent civics teacher because the school board refused to fire her. They had to literally run a referendum to kill the drama program.)

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2012, 02:31:31 PM »
Wasn't actually going to dwell on the issue of tenure, but okay.

In my experience, whenever we find ourselves in an issue of black and white, the true answer tends to be some form of gray which nobody thought of yet.

We end up with the question of having teachers be fired like in any other business, or having it like now where sexual predators are paid not to work, obvious extremes and significantly distant from each other.

Perhaps someone can offer a sort of compromise or better method of dealing with this situation than has been currently considered?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2012, 04:05:37 PM »
Wasn't actually going to dwell on the issue of tenure, but okay.

In my experience, whenever we find ourselves in an issue of black and white, the true answer tends to be some form of gray which nobody thought of yet.

We end up with the question of having teachers be fired like in any other business, or having it like now where sexual predators are paid not to work, obvious extremes and significantly distant from each other.

Perhaps someone can offer a sort of compromise or better method of dealing with this situation than has been currently considered?

Well the assessment board in your cited articles SEEMS like a better move than tenure, but given the strict partisan attacks on school systems throughout the country I will admit I don't have an idea how to institute a fair and balanced rule set for them. You got folks from both sides demanding teachers and school administrator heads.

I mean you got the religious right demanding on thing while equally radical liberal elements demanding the opposite, I don't see a way to protect students and teachers coming out of things the way they are. 

It would take a wiser man than me when we can't even get folks to agree that we need to return to teaching our children.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2012, 02:34:15 PM »
Okay, I've been putting some thought into this.  We're always going to have people who are more left or more right than others on various issues.  If we leave it up to an assessment board, then it's going to be biased.  As far as I can gather, perhaps the best way is to leave it up to parents, with a caveat: if a large majority of parents want a teacher gone which the assessment board doesn't want gone, we should look into a way to transfer the teacher to another school, and try to make sure that the transfer is accepted before letting go of the teacher.

This means that if the teacher is too far left for a far right community, the school board, Department of Education and all such can look into sending the teacher somewhere which is far left.  It's not a perfect solution, but I think it would be equitable if the teacher was compensated for the move.  Certainly it would be preferable to keeping the teacher somewhere where s/he isn't wanted.

I would prefer a solution where theories are kept as theories, but I don't expect us to reach that point so quickly.  I was often left baffled in my History classes when I'd change semesters and suddenly every President I thought was good was evil and every President I'd been taught was evil was actually great.

Now, if it's not possible to swap the teacher, that's something else entirely.  If nobody wants the teacher because he's been accused of molesting children, that's another issue entirely.  However, letting the teacher go seems preferable to holding him on in a rubber room.  Rubber rooms are just idiotic in my opinion.

Online Oniya

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  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
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Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #46 on: June 18, 2012, 10:50:53 PM »
Over the summer, I've been working with the little Oni on her math skills.  Her teacher 'taught to the test', and those tests (as I said earlier) were 'multiple guess'.  It's really struck Mr. Oniya and myself how much of a disservice that was to her, when we see her getting frustrated because the idea of working the problem to the very end hasn't occurred to her.  Example:  Given a set of ten numbers, determine which are prime, and which aren't.  For the composite numbers, write down the prime factorization.

She encounters '49'.  The text has given handy divisibility tests for 2, 3, and 5.  She knows her times tables up to the 12s.  She still only bothered to check 2, 3, and 5, and wrote down that 49 was 'prime'.  Later on, there was another 'divide by 7' number, that she also marked incorrectly as prime.  I fully admit that the final number, 289, was a challenge, but by that point, she should have grasped the idea of trying and discarding numbers.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2012, 07:36:58 AM »
Quote from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/michelle-apperson-teacher_n_1601015.html
Michelle Apperson, recently awarded the title of "Teacher of the Year" for the Sacramento City Unified School District, has lost her job.

Apperson is one of nearly 400 Sacramento City Unified teachers who received lay-off notices last month due to budget cuts. Neither her nine years at Sutterville Elementary School nor her best-teacher honor could shield her from state law, which carries a "last in, first out" policy, requiring that teachers be laid off by seniority -- starting with the most recently hired.

What the crap is this?  Why would you set up a "last in, first out" policy for cuts?  Is this what tenure has reduced us to?

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2012, 03:01:09 PM »
Our whole educational paradigm needs to be tossed out.  It's a relic of the assembly line Industrial Age.  We now live in the Information Age, with Khan Academy and Wikipedia and Wolfram-Alpha.  We need a new pedagogical model that takes advantage of these resources.  The "everyone sit in nice neat rows and turn to Page 58" is 20th century.

And parents definitely need to get off their asses and get involved in their child's education.  Something as simple as walking your young child home from school and turning the world around them into a learning experience.  There's no substitute for that.  You can't buy it.  You can't legislate it.  All government can do is get in the way of it.

Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Fixing Education
« Reply #49 on: June 23, 2012, 01:57:32 AM »
No argument with the second paragraph, but I need some clarification on the first.  We certainly need to replace it; what do we replace it with?  What does the 21st century model look like?