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#16482 - 04/28/02 10:53 AM Re: Kids and school
bikermom Offline
journeyman

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 96
Loc: Ohio, USA
Thanks Sparteye for the nice welcome. I have not been out in the cold, but actually doing my part and plus in the school system where my sons attend.

Yes, Sparteye, I too, have no complaints because I stay involved. I also agree that a foreign language should be taught in 3 or 4th grade. They do this in Europe, I know, because I also host Exchange Students. This is our 3rd year. Our community in very small, so I feel that if the academics aren't there, I can bring the academics to our family, by hosting a student, this peer interaction has been achieved.
2 graduated last year and this year one is about to go from grade school to high school. And I have been tutoring many students both in school and at home. That is why I see so many kids, while eager to learn, are starving, not because of lack of food, but because of the lack of someone who truly cares about their academic acheivments. but perhaps it is because I live in Appalacia, and also one of the poorest counties in the state, and also the United States, and perhaps it is because I grew up in one of the Upper class States that enables me to see these differences.
We are again all people with the same basic needs and wants--and something to think about----Why were the kids who grew up with 5 or more siblings in a one bathroom house 100 years ago, happier than the kids who have 1, 2, or no siblings and a 3 or more bathroom house??? We have kids in our area who still have an outhouse, and they are excellent readers and A students, with a mom who cares deeply, but does not dictate to the teachers on how and what to teach, and threaten to pull their child out---why--because they do not have the resources or the prestige to do so.
Sorry if I got off the issue of your post---I have to type what comes to mind and I could continue on this



Anyway, thanks for the nice welcome.

enthusiast
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#16483 - 04/28/02 06:18 PM Post deleted by ewein
ewein Offline
member

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 184
Loc: USA

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#16484 - 04/28/02 06:46 PM Re: A divided society
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Seperation of church and state is true in all states. and while we here tend to be a self selected group, and tend to value educations. (well, i think we do.. and i do) it is not true that parents will always select the best qualified teachers.. if they value religion more than science -- they might well chose to send their kids to sub rate religious schools, rather than top notch public ones. (and yes, i have seen it happen. there are lots of sub rate catholic schools in NY.. there are some great ones too, but the schools vary greatly in quality.)-- and No, state can not enforce the same standards for teachers in catholic schools as in public. NYC public school teacher must have BA/BS to start, and must get masters by year 5 of teaching. they must also pass a licencing test. Catholic schools are exempt from those requirements. Have i personally known catholic school teachers who held PH.D's? yes, and i have also known catholic school teachers who only had a junior college degree (2 years of college.)

many catholic HS, agree, volunteraly, to meet state standards, (it makes it easier for college admissions) but they are not required to.

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#16485 - 04/29/02 02:59 AM Re: Competition
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>re: competiton
jmh, my comment about more competition meant that the schools (not the students) would have to compete. That is, in the US the school system is rather like our mail system: Whatever the outcome, the schools continue. If schools had to compete, perhaps the outcome would improve.


Yes, I did get your point. In the UK, schools do compete. Parents have a lot of choice in selecting the school for their child, whether in the state sector or the independent (private) sector, for those who choose and can afford to pay. In rural areas there may be less schools within reach of home, in urban areas there wll be more. There is a limit to each school's intake and popular, successful schools tend to be over-subscribed. All schools results are displayed in league tables, where exam results (but no other qualitative assessment of pupil's success such as increase in self-esteem) are available for all to see.

Last year's results are here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/newsid_953000/953191.stm but they are likely to be unintelligible to anyone outside (and to many inside) the UK.

In addition there are school inspection reports, available on-line http://www.ofsted.gov.uk(for England) which go into more detail about the perceived quality of teaching.

Whilst there are claims that the league tables and other measures (such as a literacy hour and numeracy hour in England) have improved standards. It is very clear that many parents who can, are willing to move house into areas with successful state schools to increase their likelihood of gaining a place. Other parents are willing to drive their children huge distances to school.

Not suprisingly, this results in a postcode lottery - most of the best state schools are in the more expensive post-code areas which puts up house prices in those areas, which means that less people can afford the houses. So you start off with increased choice and end with decreased choice. The children from Peckham, mentioned in my previous post, are less likely to go to a school with high rating because disruptive, absentee pupils tend not to get good results and the school slides down the league tables. People who are able to make a choice because they have enough money to pay for housing in a better area don't tend to send their children there, so the downward spiral continues. There are some stunning, inner-city schools where children with very little support at home increase their self-esteem but the likelihood of that showing up favourably in the league tables is slim. When I went to school, we sat an exam at 11. Those who passed, were able to go to the grammar school, regardless of post code. Many argued that it was unfair to select children at 11, branding some as failures, and it was scrapped in the seventies for state schools in most (but not all) areas. I suspect that even then, the proportion of children passing the test from primary schools in "better areas" was higher.

So you are left with the age old problem that the simple act of observation changes what you are observing. Parents do not, necessarily, make sophisticated choices about the whole range of things that a school provides, branding some schools as successful schools for successful children and others failing schools for failing children. Schools do not exist in a vacuum.

Perhaps it is better in the USA? Helen says that there is parental choice in New York and that it is possible to match the child to the school. How are schools compared there? How do parents find out about the schools?




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#16486 - 04/29/02 03:17 AM Re: Why do we fund education
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>Public schools are propaganda! they teach the American (or English or Ozzie, or what ever) way of life!

I've been thinking about the fundamental problem with the voucher concept. It comes down to why we fund education at all. We don't fund education, just as an insurance policy so that it is there when we have children and need to make use of schools (for education, socialisation, stimulation, free child-care in term time while we go to work etc). We fund it so that all children get a chance, rather than being sent up a Victorian chimney. We fund it so that, at its best, there are well-educated employees available to make businesses operate well, dentists and doctors to look after our health, train drivers to drive our trains, the list goes on.

If we had a system of withdrawing money from the state to fund the education that we choose, outside the state system, then why shouldn't those people who do not have children withdraw money too, on the basis that they did not make use of the money that would have been available for them, had they had children. The slide down the slippery slope would imply that only those with children would be taxed to provide funds for education, when the whole point is that we are taxed to provide education for all.

Just a thought.


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#16487 - 04/29/02 10:05 AM Re: Kids and school
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
The value to society is not with a public schooled child, but with an educated child, regardless of the source of his education. If that can be done by religious people, it's just the same to me. If the problem is with the qualifications of the teachers, then let's address that. With the failures seen in the public school system, it seems ironic to me that anyone would be going after the private schooled kids. These parents want to use a small portion of the per child allotment to get their children a real education.

The fact that my own children get an adequate schooling under the PS system is utterly irrelevant to those who aren't. (The school system was one of the main factors affecting our move to this area.) The fact that I (and the rest of us probably) can afford computers, etc., is likewise irrelevant. My kids would be educated regardless of what my income is. My kids came to school anxious and ready to learn. They were completely brainwashed into believing that school was a great adventure. (I underplayed the boring parts.)

Again, I use the public school system. The state takes my money (they take whatever they want, might always making right) and they provide whatever it is they provide and I figure I might as well make use of the service, especially since the teachers my kids have seem marginally competent (and the particular teachers right now especially good). However, we did consider private or home-schooling once when the school investigated us without our knowledge. I was pretty irate at the time since they wouldn't tell us who had accused us (the constitution is null and void when it's inconvenient); however, in retrospect the principal saved our family a lot of misery by not immediately turning it over to the jackboots. Still, I'm very glad that I have a choice. We could afford private school, but why pay twice?

Until this year when my health problems became so severe I couldn't ignore them any more, I was a volunteer tutor at a local high school. I spent many, many hours helping kids learn algebra, physics, but mostly geometry. The biggest problem is failure to study - more important to talk on the phone, party, and hang out. I don't have a desire for other people's kids to do badly, no matter how incompetently they raise them. But it would be nice if, were the school system to begin to fail my kids, they not do everything in their power to prevent my kids from achieving. My opinion is that if the people who were complaining about this stuff spent as much time concentrating on education as they did on whining there wouldn't be any education problem.

Here's a story. I have this neighbor who is a really religious guy. Now, I'm a really, REALLY strong atheist. I just have no use for religions at all. But I get along with this guy. We just don't discuss it. He started a chess program at the elementary school a few years back and he's gotten phenomenal feedback. I was president of the Ft Knox Chess club decades ago and there were only 4 or 5 people who would show up every week. The U of L chess club (of which I was not a member) would have maybe a dozen or so people show up at meetings. This elementary school regularly has 20 to 30 people show up. This guy is really great. So he takes his kids out of PS and his wife starts homeschooling them. I don't know if she has any college, but she's much smarter than most of the teachers at that school. Things go well for them, but HE CONTINUES TO COACH CHESS AT THE SCHOOL. (Bear in mind, he doesn't think he should get a voucher for this, but I very strongly do.) After 9/11 he loses his job. He's out of work for months, but HE CONTINUES TO COACH CHESS AT THE SCHOOL. This is amazing to me. Life has got to be really hard for him, but he's committed to these kids - he's committed to MY kids (my youngest is in the chess club). I mention this as anecdotal evidence against the misimpression that people have that people who homeschool or use private schools are selfish. This applies to some precious few of them, if any.

It's true that having an educated society benefits us all, but I see no value in looking at things in extreme terms - that somehow we have to reach every, single "child." There are plenty of opportunities for most people to succeed if they want to.

As an aside, it struck me some years ago that public school has two purposes. The first is to raise the bar for the worst performers. The second is to lower the bar for the top performers. This became evident to me when the NCTM asked for comments on their Principles and Standards, which they have since adopted. I considered writing them a long note, but I only had a month and that wasn't long enough to craft a serious letter. It was a good thing I didn't waste my time, too, because I saw their responses to the responses they got from others. It turns out that this is more of a social manifesto than a standard. I'm not sure what kind of influence these guys actually have on the PS, but it would be hard to believe they will be ignored.

So long as the PS provides adequately for my kids, I'll keep them there. If they fail, I'll make other arrangements, hopefully including vouchers (which are not unconstitutional).


k



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#16488 - 04/29/02 12:57 PM Re: Kids and school
bikermom Offline
journeyman

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 96
Loc: Ohio, USA
Fallible Friend's post has said it all in perfect plain English.

Fallible Friend is a plus to society and her children will be also. She is Open-minded and it is open minedness that fosters a growing knowledge of learning.

"Where there is a will there is a way" Consider this everyone, my student from Bosnia, Yugoslavia, born in 83, and growing up in a war-torn, 3rd world country, is appalled at the type of teaching that is in our schools. He says the kids are smart. It is the teaching that is way behind.

Yes, the value to society is an educated child--it does not matter how they get their education. And if most of the kids who fail spent as much time studying as they do skipping school, disrupting the class, partying etc then they too, would be one of the top students.
Yes, there are plenty of opportunities available to learn. Children can access these resources themselves or if they are lucky enough to have parents who value their children and edcuation, these resources will be provided or duscussed. In this computer age, there is no excuse for children anymore. Most libraries have computers for use and also many community centers. Parents, please take the time to surf and to supervise your child's rapidly growing computer knowledge--if you don't--you will be left in the dark---and that is when bad things happen-------
And yes, if many of those who complain would actually volunteer in the schools and do something--perhaps the schools would be much improved.
And again, do you think it is easy to teach a class of 25 to 30 kids??? Just imagine how easy it would be to teach and bake cookies with 25 kids who have never done it before, or have some prior knowledge. Or perhaps you think it is easy to teach 25 kids (of any age) to fish, with a rod & reel, hook, and from a boat?
J


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#16489 - 04/29/02 06:53 PM .
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#16490 - 04/30/02 12:01 AM Post deleted by ewein
ewein Offline
member

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 184
Loc: USA

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#16491 - 04/30/02 07:37 AM Re: Kids and school
bikermom Offline
journeyman

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 96
Loc: Ohio, USA
Please accept my sincere apologies, Fallible Friend. Max informed me that you are not a mother, but a father. Anyway, my compliment still stands and it is even more incredible, that your statement comes from a truly dedicated father
Thanks Fallible Friend
And Thanks Max

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