I have to agree that the standards in WA State are high, at least in our school district (I am in the Seattle suburb area). My high school kid will graduate with a solid knowledge of science and math (including calculus) and a very good grasp of social sciences as well. Yes, he is not a great writer, but that is due to his limitations (I can't write either) not the teachers. We have homeschooled my youngest daughter for 1 ½ years. We are now trying high school with her again. We are working with her teachers to hopefully make her successful. However, it is not the teacher’s job to ensure that she is successful when they have 40 other students in each period to educate. It takes an unbelievable amount of work to make every kid successful. Most parents are not even willing to check homework every night, but happily complain when their kid gets low grades. It is a two-way street and if you as a parent don’t show you care, why should the teacher?
All the “teacher performance” requirement and standardized testing takes away from good teaching that inspire kids. We are not all going to be Einstein and we are not all going to be able to do literature analysis or trig. Teachers are forced to teach a certain way and if kids don’t fit in the box, too bad. That is why we homeschooled my daughter. However, it is not the teacher’s fault that she did not fit in the box. She will never fit into any type of container, she is just that kind of a kid.
Our public education is in a sad state. The crazy part is that when comparing the tax income per student received by our local district with what we pay in private tution per kid, our public schools are better funded. Yet they can't seem to get their sh*t together and raise the standard of their product. The parental involvement factor, while significant in the success of the indivual student, is no excuse for why the curriculum has been so watered down across the board. And it's definitely watered down.
One of the differences is that private schools only enroll those children that fit their demographic model. Public schools have to teach everybody that lives in that district.
I know that parts of this may come across as non-PC and I apologize for that.
When I was in school we had a special education class. These were for the higher functioning mentally challenged students. They had separate classes for things like reading, math, social sciences but for art, music, gym they were integrated with other students. Quite frankly I am not sure where the other lower functioning student were educated.
Now public schools have mainstreamed and integrated those students into many more of the classrooms. Additionally there are students that are low to moderately functionally mentally challenged individuals that are now integrated into public school classes. This is frequently done with the use of dedicated paid aides.
In public schools they have to educate those students that are extremely disruptive to the learning environment.
The public school has to fund their vo-tech type classes. I would think that the supplies for carpentry, culinary arts, electronic repairs, metal working, etc... costs more to fund than the average books or even laptop for an academic student.
It is unlilkely that a private school would enroll and dedicate the resources to those students that are profoundly to moderately intellectually challenged. They likely do not have vo-tech type program to fund. They have the option to expell a student whose behavior negatively impacts the other students. These differences make comparing a public school to a private school more difficult.
Private schools by default are going to get students whose parents feel that education is important or they would not have bothered to enroll them in private schools. Therefore there is a higher chance of parental involvement in the private student's education. The public school is stuck with many students that the parents don't value education and don't or can't provide a home life that is conduncive to learning. As a result private schools only have to provide educational resources for a much narrower band of educational needs than a public school. This impacts the cost per student.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
Funny about the parents complaining about "too much homework". My daughter's up and out of the house by 6 a.m., teaches all day, has been using her planning block to help the other math teachers, has her after school help blocks, gets home around 5:30 p.m. Has about an hour to decompress, cooks dinner and then has about 3 hours of "homework", grading tests, quizzes and other handouts. She doesn't have "fill in the bubble" tests, she actually has to go through all their computations so they get partial credit for otherwise wrong answers.
Can you tell I have a lot of admiration for my daughter?
The sample test was really about rote memory work, not about practical application of information in an analytical manner. All you have to do is regurgitate what you have memorized. It's comparable to multiple choice in my mind.
As for the incentive -- pass the test or do farm work -- I think a number of other factors came into play. First and foremost was if your family could spare your labor. By ages 12 and 14, farm kids could do a great deal of farm work. Second, if you are going to make a living farming in the 1890's, how much did you really have to know to have a successful career?
I agree that our education system can always use improvement. However, I am not nostolgic for the education system of almost 120 years ago either.
I attended school in the Caribbean from ages 9-12. Did one year in an "international school" with both ex-pats and locals, small class sizes, independently run. That school didn't have a high enough grade level to accommodate me after that, so I attended a public school for the next two years.
The public school was modeled on the British system of about 60 years ago. The teachers were allowed to use the (leather) strap as punishment. There was no rudeness, out-of-turn, disruption tolerated. We called the teachers Sir and Miss. We were 40 pupils to a teacher, on wooden benches/desks, facing the front with a blackboard. There were 7 classes all in the same building with no interior walls. Just blackboards separating us. I think the kids in the back got a bad deal, they couldn't hear or see what was going on at the front.
Those two years were intense. We had a comprehensive test on all material every 3 weeks. It was preparation for the Common Entrance Exam: at age 11-12, every student in the country took a standard test. The numbers were something like, 1300 kids took the test, the top 800 got to go to high school. The rest didn't - most likely went home to farm bananas and plantains and cassava. The teachers took this really seriously and I remember them being so stern and strict with us - I think they hated the thought of any of their pupils only being educated to age 11.
When I returned to Canada in grade 7, I was one to two years ahead in English and math.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
Today, if you reprimand a student, you often get a nasty email or phone call from a parent along the lines of "how dare you talk to my child that way!" Teachers are hamstrung when it comes to controlling the turds in class. I have some real pieces of work this year, but 90% of my kids are intelligent, kind and mostly motivated to do well, with supportive parents. Every year it is different, some groups are awful, some are fun to teach. But...the world and kids are VERY different than even 10 years ago. Technology has taken over their lives, they are losing the ability to read (they watch everything, no one speaks to them in intelligent ways as young children because mom/dad are on the phone texting or they are plopped in front of a dvd player/handed a smart phone. Smart phones do not make the holder smart, oddly enough....
My boyfriend teaches pre-AP and AP physics - the brightest kids in the school! - and he can't get them to do their homework. He's there after school every. day. and will sit there and work through the problems with them. But the only kids that show are the ones who don't need help, or are so far behind (the ones who've missed major projects) they can't possibly do more than just pass. Then there's the whole thing where they DON'T KNOW MATH. The math teachers are great - they students just can't do the math, and without math, you can't do physics.
There's also the whole cheating thing, which has apparently gotten to the level of teachers having tests stolen in his school district. The funniest thing is that cheating in his class leads to lower grades, since they don't bother learning physics. And the year before he started at that school, a teacher was nearly FIRED for FAILING students who CHEATED (copied Wiki, apparently) on a MAJOR PROJECT.
Basically, half his students work, get good grades, and learn physics. The rest of the students don't want to work, and some of them have no sense of honesty or integrity. Those values aren't something teachers can't instill once the student's in high school, they start at home.
Last edited by solara; Nov. 8, 2012 at 01:04 PM.
The short answer is that in 12 years of schooling they only get six years of classroom time (180 days/yr. in most places). And one quarter of the year is "summer vacation."
So, if you want to cut 12 years by 1/4 (or increase learning by 1/4) get rid of "summer vacation." That was a good idea when we were an agrarian society and kids were expected to do real work on the farm. Now it's just a "boondoggle" for the likes of Disney and Universal Studios.
Oh, by the way, since the teachers now have to work 25% more they get a 25% pay raise.
What goes on during the school day is a subject for another thread.
I understand your point but there is more to the story. This one in Snopes is for Kansas but you'll see that questions that are not state specific are almost all the same. Sort of makes you question as to whether this was a real exam and if so, what the actual pass rates really were. It just doesn't sound quite right to me.
I don't have an issue with 12 (or 13) years of schooling. I think of the change in level of maturity for my own son from 9th through 12th grade. He started as a sort of shy quiet kid in 9th grade and graduated a mature, confident young man from 12th. He needed that time to prepare for college.
The title "6th and 8th Grade Final Exams of 1890" is a good clue that this is not an actual exam from 1890. There is no indication of the town or state or district of origin. The snopes link actually does contain the copy of a real exam, but it appears that the exam is for teachers, not for students.
"If you fail it as a 12 year old you are considered unsuitable for school and must do hard work on the farm all day for the next six years without pay."
Umm...I am pretty sure that the majority of farm kids in 1890 worked on the farm no matter what their test scores...
I have two adult boys, neither attended high school and thank goodness for that! It is why they are succeeding beyond most parent's expectations.
It doesn't make sense for the amount of learning that occurs and it doesn't take 12 years to learn what they are asked to learn. Most students go crazy from boredom. That is why we opted out. Completely out of the public school system. That is why my 19 year old homeschooled kid is a junior (really a senior) at Georgia Tech in computer Science, ranked in the top ten schools in the nation.
Unless I lived in a fantastic school district, there is no way in hell I would have my kids attend public high school. 1) Learning is minimal at best 2) HS discourages kids in learning HOW to think and 3) the peer group is full of bullying, peer related BS. So many kids are dysfunctional and they have no problems in trying to pass their dysfunctional lifestyle on to yours and mine. I just couldn't imagine being in a building with 3,000 teens, and having to sit for seven hours straight a day with what passes for learning and - for four years in a row and not coming out damaged.
My family had an exchange student from Sweden in the early 2000s, and she attended grade 12 here. She spoke decent English when she arrived, and very good English when she left. She also spoke Spanish, some German and French, and some Finnish.
She was top of her grade 12 English class. How does that even make sense?
She told us that in Sweden they start grade school at age 7.
I lived in Germany 1987-90, grades 3-5. Grade 4 we wrote a massive standardized test that assigned us to a specific school level for grade 5 (from trade school bound to university bound, basically). I went to the Gymnasium (uni-bound level); in grade 5 we had physics, biology, botany, English (2nd language)...
Immigrated to Canada, took a couple yrs to essentially learn English, and when I returned full time to reg class they were still behind the math I did in Germany in 5th grade!
From 8 grade on I was top of my class in English too, all the way through HS. Fucking depressing.
Like it or not, schools serve a very real function and that is day care.
Don't forget 2 free meals a day for many. And those are the reasons many parents make sure their children attend. They are out of their hair 8 hours a day and fed.
There is a large segment of our population that really could care less about education.
Teachers can't be expected to overcome dismal home conditions, apathetic parents, utter lack of manners and accountability and still get their jobs done. God bless the ones that keep trying.
I learned everything I know from a chestnut mare so don't even try me.
I grew up in Europe as well and studied english, german, french and latin in addition to danish. And I was a math/science focused kid. I think one of the differences is also the emphasis on sports (and other extracurricular activities) in schools over here. It is amazing to me that kids are suppose to practice 2-4 hours after school plus games/matches on the weekend if they want to participate. In addition, many schools (colleges too) put athletic capability above academic ability. Where I come from we don't have highschool or college sports teams. Schools are for learning.
Overall, I feel my school has excellent standards for our students. We really push them to try hard and excel. However, many kids at this age are still pretty self-centered. I just had a kid today tell me that Paris is in Italy. He's 16 years old and has been in school for at least 10 years. He's a good kid but no one can make him learn geography. We can teach it and we can test it but we can't make him actually learn it. Students have to take some responsibility for learning by studying and doing the homework.
I'm also offended by some of these posts on here. I'm an educator not a babysitter. My kids are constantly challenged and asked to evaluate and analyze. They are consistently writing persuasive/argumentative pieces in which they have to really apply their knowledge. This isn't just skill and drill or plug and chug. My kids analyze speeches and op-ed pieces so they can learn how to think for themselves and not just believe whatever they are told. My kids read a variety of literature so they can learn about life in other parts of the world. They know about suffering still going on in our world today.
My kids do all of this and then they go home and work on farms. They participate in sports and other clubs at school. They complete community service hours. They help with their churches. They help raise their younger siblings so their parents can work. Is every student going to become a contributing member of society upon graduation? No. But I'm doing my best to make it so as many of them as possible have the tools they need to be successful.
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
Overall, I feel my school has excellent standards for our students. We really push them to try hard and excel. However, many kids at this age are still pretty self-centered. I just had a kid today tell me that Paris is in Italy. He's 16 years old and has been in school for at least 10 years. He's a good kid but no one can make him learn geography. We can teach it and we can test it but we can't make him actually learn it.
Yes, but can you fail him and hold him back a grade?
Yes, but can you fail him and hold him back a grade?
The second part of that question is actually fairly complicated. The first part is easy. I can fail him without question. I had a couple kids fail the first quarter. At our school anything below a 70% is considered an F. Our kids have to pass 3/4 quarters and 1/2 exams to be considered passing. Otherwise they have to retake the course.
Holding them back a grade is a different part. Kids have to have a certain number of credits to pass to the next grade level. With electives, it is possible he could go to the next grade level but still have to pass a previous course. Our kids have to pass four years of English so even if he passed everything else, he would still have to pass my class to graduate. We had a senior in our sophomore social studies class because he hadn't passed it yet. Our school is not afraid to fail kids, however, we do try many interventions first. We currently have about four eighth graders who are repeating the eighth grade. I am currently working with a couple students during our intervention to try and improve their grades.
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma