Globally our schools test at around in the top 25% and in that among the top 50% is average, depending on the study so our schools overall are adequate. My position is the legal guardian(s) aka the parent(s) are obligated to see their child is a productive adult since they are expected by law to provide for them in all other areas if they can (housing, food, medical care, emotional support and such) - unless I'm wrong on that but the law and seems to apply that way.
So if the child is struggling in High School and the standards are likely to prevent graduation or are not good schools, not unlikely in a smaller percentage of students in the system, then the legal party should take advantage of other options to go around the schools with a Plan B.
The thing is Ruby..given the sheer amount of cash we are pouring into the education system we should be in the top five. We're not.. and we're going DOWN. 'No Child Left Behind' is an awful thing and I am so tired of the 'Standardized tests'. I literally saw the same five questions on one test 3 years running. (I got a fairly good memory) and it hasn't changed.. my nephew said the same thing when he got into high school six years ago. You got school boards putting out cookie cutter lesson plans that aren't designed to educate but to indoctrinate. They aren't TEACHING kids how to survive in the real world, they are teaching them how to survive a god damn test. JUST the test. And if you do bad enough consistently.. some administrators transfer or expel them.
Standardized testing DOES NOT work for all kids. I know a LOT of smart techs who literally had to fight their way into the rating they worked in the navy..why? Because the ASVAB was for a bit the beginning and ending of all that defined what you were eligible for in military service. Luckily the Navy is still a 'hands on' training group and I have had airmen who EXCEL in the work place but who have to spend weeks preparing for their advancement. Luckily the tests are curve, with your work performance helping a lot in how you score. If we operated on the NCLB foundation at least a 1/3rd of the airmen I mentored in the 15 years of service would never have made rank, achieved a rating and my Navy would have suffered for it. (At least 2 of them are now Chief Petty Officers and one is a Lt. and a Pilot.)
We need to renovate the education system. The arts, athletics and anything 'non-test critical' have been taking hits. We need to EXPAND the circulumn not shrink it. I personally think basic accounting, critical thinking and what is candidly called 'domestic arts' (cooking, housekeeping and nutritional planning) all need to be taught to kids in Jr. High. Not college in the case of accounting and critical thinking.
Now don't get me wrong.. by accounting I mean.. be able to balance a basic bank account and understand how to build a basic budget and understand the formula behind a loan or credit card offer. Basic and essential math. With implications in the real world.
Critical thinking is a skill I don't see some groups wanting their children learning.. but it's needed.
One of the reasons that I have totally washed my hands of the Tea Party was their 'We need to reform the system for the modern work force' and then they totally gutted it.
And to make it a clear and salient point on how we, Americans, regard the education system can be summed up in the following phrase. "Those who can't.. teach."
Which is UTTER BULLSHIT. We've turned our teachers into non-performers in so many ways, gutted their ability to protect and discipline our children. Rendered their most important skills, challenging out children and making them think, a bad thing. The move to privatize education is not the right move, and it's going to wind up disenfranchising a generation of kids before we pull our collective head out of our asses.
I was an AWFUL student at first. I was restless, inattentive and hard to teach. By the fourth grade, I was reading at maybe a 2nd grade level and worse at math. The letters didn't make sense and the numbers never lined up. I got put in the corner of my class room (behind the teacher's desk and partition where I could literally only see a 10 foot length of blackboard if I leaned forward and craned my neck. Not the best conditions for the fourth grade. FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. I never left the room on time, I never got recess and the only times I interacted with my classmates was during lunch.
The second time I went thru that grade I lucked out. The teacher figured out I wasn't the disruptive element, I was the victim of three class bullies (like the year before) and moved me. Then spotted my reading problems and got me into a pilot program for reading. I admit I was less than eager at first. The councellor worked with me though.. and it was like.. click. The letters started to make sense and by the time the program was shut down at the end of the year I was rapidly moving up in reading level. I read Jack London that summer while I was at the pool, and by the time I arrived in Ireland the next school year, I was trying out Bradbury, Tolkien and Heinlein. When I got back to the states 2 1/2 years later I was reading at a 600+ wpm reading rate with 90% comprehension rate. Not bad for a kid that my first 4th grade teacher told my folks that I was functionally illiterate and unteachable. (I shant tell you what my mom thought of that)
When I got introduced to the Irish education system it was a shock. I had gone from a class of 35 kids in one grade to a small one room school house with 3 grades in my class room. The kids I went to school with were already doing math problems in their head that I had to work through long hand. Long and slow. The teacher, Master Palmer, challenged us in our studies. I learned about history, literature (Patrick Peirce was one of my favorites from that time.. ) math and a strong introduction to the realities of the world. I learned quite a bit. Ironically my grammar was a problem for years... for some reason I spelled some words 'wrong' when I got back to the states (like color as 'colour').
In many ways he taught critical thinking. Occasionally cuffing one of the local kids, or me or the travellers that came by seasonally, by the ear when we did something stupid. My desk was old.. as in it still had an ink well old.
"Everyone has a spin on how they see things, boys, you have to look at what you're given and see how someone says something.. feel what the truth of their words." He told us. He talked with me when I hid in the classroom, being an American kid of Scotch Protestant decent in an Irish Catholic school wasn't always fun, and made me want to understand things. I went out and studied 'The Troubles' and let me tell you.. for a kid my age..that was educational.
By the time I moved back to the states I was a much different kid from when I left. Most of the kids I went to school with in North Carolina hadn't read up on current events or studied history. Most of the classes I had in history in the US was .. high school.
We USED to have vocational training to prepare folks for jobs that didn't require a college education. Not stupid people training.. but actual training. Perhaps we should accept that college isn't needed for everyone. Training in things like electrical or mechanical maintenance isnt' always a bad thing. If I had gone through the vocational track in high school, I could have taken a job with my great-uncle Earl and by the time I finally found my path at 26 with the Navy I'd have been running the refrigeration company that he ran with my great-grandfather. Pulling in 6 digits working in the sandbelt of SC doing maintenance on refrigerators in the chain groceries.
I had bought into the 'needs college' bs by then though.