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The state of education

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6711414/

U.S. eighth-grade students are improving in science and math compared with international peers, but the nation’s fourth-graders have stagnant scores and are slipping behind in both subjects ...

2003 international results show some promise for the United States, including a shrinking achievement gap between black and white students, a federal priority.

Yet several countries, particularly in Asia, continue to outperform the United States in science and math, fields at the heart of research, innovation and economic competitiveness.

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So in your opinion what do you think is the state of education? There is a sort of attack on science education (http://www.aclu.org/ReligiousLiberty...ID=17207&c=139) but most of these involve students in a rural and often poorer area and teaching science is kind of expensive (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6699542/site/newsweek/) so while it may be tough luck for those students whose education got caught up in politics, on the whole it should not have a significant impact on the overall results.

Yet on the other hand people claim that this is ultimately something based on tests and that Asian culture seem to ensure that their students score well on tests but Western culture seem to promote greater creativity. But then of course no matter how creative one is, one still need the basic knowledge and a large number and a large part (about half) of science and engineering graduates are foreign born. (http://www.cincypost.com/2004/11/30/editb113004.html)

So what do you think about the state of education?
post #2 of 27
Personally I wasn't impressed with the education I got in elementary through highschool and from everything I've seen and heard it's only gone down since then. Hopefully when I have kids, I'll be able to home school them as I believe that's the only way they're going to get a decent education in this country.
post #3 of 27
The State of Education? Isn't that the 47th state of the Union?
post #4 of 27
The 2003 PISA results were worse than those from 2000 http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/PISA...ts.asp?Quest=2
for the United States, so I'd have to say education there, except for at the university level, is pretty mediocre, and slipping. Unlike Canada, which consistently gets high scores, along with Finland and many Asian countries.
post #5 of 27
And let's not forget that the United States is one of few countries that educates (or attempts to) everyone. I work for the 10th largest public school system in the U.S., and standards in our state are being raised continually. I also keep a close eye on the curriculum my children are receiving. In many ways it is better than what I received, and I consider the school system that I went through to be excellent. I get sick and tired of the school system being bashed. Teachers work far more hours than they can ever hope to be paid for with a smaller salary, and far fewer resources to reach children who are behind the 8 ball from day 1. As for homeschooling, I am staunchly against it.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
And let's not forget that the United States is one of few countries that educates (or attempts to) everyone. I work for the 10th largest public school system in the U.S., and standards in our state are being raised continually. I also keep a close eye on the curriculum my children are receiving. In many ways it is better than what I received, and I consider the school system that I went through to be excellent. I get sick and tired of the school system being bashed. Teachers work far more hours than they can ever hope to be paid for with a smaller salary, and far fewer resources to reach children who are behind the 8 ball from day 1. As for homeschooling, I am staunchly against it.
I agree, teachers work very hard for little monetary reward. I went to public schools in the US and did okay. I can read and write and mostly do arithmetic.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
And let's not forget that the United States is one of few countries that educates (or attempts to) everyone. I work for the 10th largest public school system in the U.S., and standards in our state are being raised continually. I also keep a close eye on the curriculum my children are receiving. In many ways it is better than what I received, and I consider the school system that I went through to be excellent. I get sick and tired of the school system being bashed. Teachers work far more hours than they can ever hope to be paid for with a smaller salary, and far fewer resources to reach children who are behind the 8 ball from day 1. As for homeschooling, I am staunchly against it.
Tell 'em, Deb! I agree about homeschooling, but not about the U.S. being one of the "few countries that educates (or attempts to) everyone". I would say that the U.S. is one of the few countries that attempts to have all pupils complete kindergarten plus twelve years. A great many countries also have some sort of intermediate school-leaving certificate for less academically inclined kids. I'm in favor of the comprehensive schools with different focuses and "tracks" (streams) which are the norm in the U.S..
Deb, do you happen to know whether private prep or parochial schools in the U.S. participated in the PISA study? There's an interesting article about charter schools in today's Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2004Dec15.html
post #8 of 27
Tricia,

I am not sure about the PISA study.
post #9 of 27
Deb - could you explain why you are against home schooling? I am curious because when I think about home schooling, I don't see how children learn social skills if they are not around other children but the other aspects of home schooling, I don't know a thing. I met a mother who home schooled her 4 children and she was so stressed out all the time, I cannot imagine how you can properly teach your children if you are so stressed out - one of the children is deaf and some people encouraged her to send her son to be around deaf children and she agreed to let him go to school, and last I heard, he was improving a lot in his education and in his social skills, he even is on the chess team.
post #10 of 27
Part of the problem, as I remember it, is that the kids are so undisciplined, that the teacher spend half the class time getting the kids to shut up and listen. I think if kids were more disciplined in this country, a lot of problems would be solved. But most of them are total brats, and now teachers can't even do anything about it -- if you even speak harshly to a kid, you've got a lawsuit on you for verbal abuse, if you fail them, it's emotional abuse. Kids need to toughen up a bit.
post #11 of 27
I think that any regression in today's education system is actually a problem with the parents.. parents have become so all-consumed in their students doing well without placing an effort into their education, and would rather coddle their child then, god forbid, have them learn anything. Teachers are afriad of getting sued, don't get paid enough on salary, work horribly long hours... and are totally disrespected. ..
God I hope I'm not like that with my kids.. these parents today in general make me sick!
post #12 of 27
Considering that children today have to learn a lot more than the previous generation, I would say it is improving. I think the student's difficulty to gain social and learning skills lies in coping with the immense info they are bombarded everyday.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
One criticism of homeschooling is that compared to the other models it is not as effective.

I have this chart which I got from this article on Washington Times. I wish I could find the article again but it shows comparison among 9 modes of education.
1) Direct Instruction
2) Parent Education
3) Behavior Analysis
4) Southwest Labs
5) Bank Street
6) Responsive Education
7) TEEM
8) Cognitive Curriculum
9) Open Education

And they are compared based on 1) Basic Skills 2) Cognitive 3) Affective. I am uncertain what many of these are but the program that beats all of them is the traditional direct instruction.

--

The following is not exactly relevant but there are many people who treat their teachers with respect.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6693989/site/newsweek/
I recall cat sitting for one of my high school teacher for about one month during the summer vacation. Or going to a friend's wedding and seeing the friend invite our teacher. Once in a while I do go and visit my teachers. Memories of school is flooding back. Anyone want to share a story about their teacher or professor?
post #14 of 27
There's a recent (January 2004) and very interesting study of home schooling from Columbia: http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/OP88.pdf
It's a bit long, but well worth reading for anybody considering this option.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwideus
Deb - could you explain why you are against home schooling? I am curious because when I think about home schooling, I don't see how children learn social skills if they are not around other children but the other aspects of home schooling, I don't know a thing. I met a mother who home schooled her 4 children and she was so stressed out all the time, I cannot imagine how you can properly teach your children if you are so stressed out - one of the children is deaf and some people encouraged her to send her son to be around deaf children and she agreed to let him go to school, and last I heard, he was improving a lot in his education and in his social skills, he even is on the chess team.
Kellye:

I am against homeschooling for 2 main reasons. 1) Part of the education that kids receive at school is learning how to manage within society and interact with others. That just does not happen in a homeschool situation. 2) Parents, although well meaning, simply are not trained educators. There is much more to being an educator than the fact that one once attended school himself. The amount of time that a parent would have to invest to homeschool a child properly is literally practically the entire day, everyday. I have too often seen the result of homeschooling. There has been more than one kid who hangs out on this and other sites on the web during the day and inform us that they are being 'homeschooled'. I've had parents come to school to register a child after homeschooling They show up with a couple of half-assed completed workbooks and claim the child has completed a grade level.

I am sorry if I come across as some sort of snob on the subject, but I have completed 2 college degrees and thousands of hours to be a certified professional educator. I am required to continually update my knowledge and skills to retain my certification. It grinds me that people think that it takes little or nothing to to do what I do.
post #16 of 27
Deb- you dont sound like a snob, I was just very interested in your point of view as an educator. Thanks, it makes a whole lot of sense to me!
post #17 of 27
I have to add something to Deb's remarks. In my experience, many, though not all, home-schooled children, once they are in a classroom environment, seem to expect to have the teacher's undivided attention. That, of course, is impossible, and leads to a lot of resentment among the other students.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
I have to add something to Deb's remarks. In my experience, many, though not all, home-schooled children, once they are in a classroom environment, seem to expect to have the teacher's undivided attention. That, of course, is impossible, and leads to a lot of resentment among the other students.
It's expected since home schooled children are used to that kind of attention in the first place.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi
It's expected since home schooled children are used to that kind of attention in the first place.
Yes, but they are often shocked when they are ostracized by the other students because of their behavior. In other words, it often turns them into real outsiders.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
And let's not forget that the United States is one of few countries that educates (or attempts to) everyone. . . I get sick and tired of the school system being bashed. Teachers work far more hours than they can ever hope to be paid for with a smaller salary, and far fewer resources to reach children who are behind the 8 ball from day 1.

I have to agree with your first comment, and the rest of what you said, too! I think we need to look at a different standard for comparison. The US educates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country. Doesn't that already put us in front?

The recent focus on education is understandable, because we want our citizens to be well-educated. Unfortunately, measuring that is done in most states by one test given over the course of a few school days. It is the same test for the vast majority of students, that includes immigrants with limited English skills, special education students with reading and/or math learning difficulties. These students receive specialized instruction, but for the test they are supposed to do the same as the "regular" kids. It's setting up certain populations for failure, and it drives me crazy.

I can't think of any other profession where success is based on such narrow data. The effectiveness of a school should be based on what happens every day, not just during testing. In an attempt to improve our system, we are driving good teachers out, because they don't have the opportunity to use their creativity and are stifled by the canned programs many districts force them to use.

I really think the government needs to butt out, and let the teachers do what we've been trained to do. Teach kids.
post #21 of 27
I have taught in the public school system for 22 years. We work so hard! We have very little parental support. Many parents have kids and that's the end of it.
Some parents don't realize that they actually need to work with their child at home.
It is sometimes discouraging, for we do the best we can.
Crack babies and fetal alcohol children will NEVER catch up with the others, but we are expected to make the same gainsd with ALL children.

We cannot make them do homework. We cannot make them care or try or listen in class.


I am a good teacher! I try hard, and I spend much of my own money on my students.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsd
I agree, teachers work very hard for little monetary reward. I went to public schools in the US and did okay. I can read and write and mostly do arithmetic.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Part of the problem, as I remember it, is that the kids are so undisciplined, that the teacher spend half the class time getting the kids to shut up and listen. I think if kids were more disciplined in this country, a lot of problems would be solved. But most of them are total brats, and now teachers can't even do anything about it -- if you even speak harshly to a kid, you've got a lawsuit on you for verbal abuse, if you fail them, it's emotional abuse. Kids need to toughen up a bit.

Yes, I agree with some of your post. I will be getting my teaching certification this June. MANY kids are undisciplined, over-medicated, and over stimulated, and teachers can do LITTLE to change this. Also parents won't take responsibility to help their children learn AT HOME which will help them achieve at school, instead they make excuses and say, "Well my child thinks you are picking on him", and "He is a slow learner" (this coming from a parent of a child who outsmarted me TWICE while I was doing my field study with his class). This "slow learner" used the sympathy bit on me and got away with stuff that his regular teacher was wise to. Slow, my A**!!

BUT: I worked with several teachers in the past couple of years and believe me, several spoke VERY HARSHLY to their students. One teacher got up in his 6th grader's face, pointed a finger at him and said: " XXXXX, DON"T YOU EVER TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME AGAIN!!" (MORE RANTS AFTER). He scared the crap out of ME!! (and this was a very nice teacher with whom I and many of his students had a great rapport with).

Teachers can VERBALLY discipline according to district policy, but they MUST (and without fail) document EVERYTHING (work habits, daily behaviors, corrections administered, conferences with parents, etc.) This teacher was known for his discipline and yes, he had a few irate parents (one even hung up on him) but most were pleased he administered real discipline in his classroom, and the administration purposely sent him troubled kids because he wasn't afraid to keep them in line. He has never had a lawsuit as far as I know either.
post #23 of 27
Find me a profession in the world where there aren't every type of employee in the organization. There are good doctors and bad doctors, good cashiers and bad cashiers, etc. etc. etc., and yes, good teachers and bad teachers.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by catlover67
Yes, I agree with some of your post. I will be getting my teaching certification this June. MANY kids are undisciplined, over-medicated, and over stimulated, and teachers can do LITTLE to change this. Also parents won't take responsibility to help their children learn AT HOME which will help them achieve at school, instead they make excuses and say, "Well my child thinks you are picking on him", and "He is a slow learner" (this coming from a parent of a child who outsmarted me TWICE while I was doing my field study with his class). This "slow learner" used the sympathy bit on me and got away with stuff that his regular teacher was wise to. Slow, my A**!!

BUT: I worked with several teachers in the past couple of years and believe me, several spoke VERY HARSHLY to their students. One teacher got up in his 6th grader's face, pointed a finger at him and said: " XXXXX, DON"T YOU EVER TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME AGAIN!!" (MORE RANTS AFTER). He scared the crap out of ME!! (and this was a very nice teacher with whom I and many of his students had a great rapport with).

Teachers can VERBALLY discipline according to district policy, but they MUST (and without fail) document EVERYTHING (work habits, daily behaviors, corrections administered, conferences with parents, etc.) This teacher was known for his discipline and yes, he had a few irate parents (one even hung up on him) but most were pleased he administered real discipline in his classroom, and the administration purposely sent him troubled kids because he wasn't afraid to keep them in line. He has never had a lawsuit as far as I know either.
I had to laugh when I read this, because I'm the enforcer/disciplinarian, or whatever you want to call it (b****), at my school, despite being female (our faculty is 50/50) and middle-aged. Oddly enough, I've never had a complaint from a parent. I don't run my classes like boot camp - quite the opposite - but if somebody gives me a rough time, I get right in their face; I've seen too many teachers give up, or other students intimidated, to just be able to ignore bad behavior. Now I'll tell you something shocking - there's a lot more discipline in U.S. schools than there are in German ones. We don't have demerits or detention, and suspensions are rare. Truancy is an incredible problem - new laws are being drafted to combat that problem right now. Kids get up in the middle of class and go to the lavatory without a pass, come a half an hour late, eat and drink in class (that doesn't bother me), throw trash on the floor, etc., etc., etc.. My German nephew had the opportunity to attend a U.S. public high school with my American niece and nephew (10th & 12th grades) in late August/early September, and was actually shocked at the discipline. Keep in mind that I'm describing the situation at the private German schools I've taught at, where kicking out problem students is an option; the public schools are much worse. There have been a lot of incidents in public schools where certain students were physically abused by other students, the abuse videotaped, and put on the Internet for "entertainment".
post #25 of 27
Deb, I have taught for 22 years, and you are so right. We work very hard for little pay, and we sometimes have no support from home. We try to teach crack babies, fetal alcohol syndrom children, children of children (mama had the child when she was 12 or so), etc.

Then, we are expected to reach all children at the same level and produce bright students.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
And let's not forget that the United States is one of few countries that educates (or attempts to) everyone. I work for the 10th largest public school system in the U.S., and standards in our state are being raised continually. I also keep a close eye on the curriculum my children are receiving. In many ways it is better than what I received, and I consider the school system that I went through to be excellent. I get sick and tired of the school system being bashed. Teachers work far more hours than they can ever hope to be paid for with a smaller salary, and far fewer resources to reach children who are behind the 8 ball from day 1. As for homeschooling, I am staunchly against it.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by batgirl2good
Deb, I have taught for 22 years, and you are so right. We work very hard for little pay, and we sometimes have no support from home. We try to teach crack babies, fetal alcohol syndrom children, children of children (mama had the child when she was 12 or so), etc.

Then, we are expected to reach all children at the same level and produce bright students.
The attitude I see here is "teachers have it so easy". Okay, maybe we have more vacation days than other people do, and aren't necessarily at work from "9 to 5", but how often do teachers have an evening, weekend, or vacation when they don't have to work? I'd love to have some time off where I don't have to plan and type up syllabi, prepare lessons, draft tests, etc..
post #27 of 27
I don't know how I missed this thread so long. I agree with Deb, jcat, and Batgirl. This is only my second year teaching and I am already feeling the burnout from this profession. And its because to do I good job I have to put my heart and soul into my work. I come in early, I work from home, I go into school on Sundays, I run into parents at the grocery store and answer questions. Its a never ending job.

I think my biggest problem at my school are over-involved stay at home mothers. I get the parents that want to tell me how to do my job. That think because they've read their parent magazines and child workbooks they can tell me how to do my job better. Parents don't always realize that there are 25 other children in the room that may need something different.

And we are required to educate everyone. I have been blessed with one class this year that has 5 students reading above grade level, 2 students with Mental Retardation, 1 student with Autism, 4 students where English is thier second language, and 19 others of varying ability level. And I am responsible in my day to work with Special Education Teachers, English as a Second Language Teachers, Reading Specialists, and various assistants, to make sure that everyone is recieving an equal education. All of this must be done with little to no down time in my day.

Sorry to ramble, but its no wonder the good teachers are leaving, and it doesn't suprise me that our test scores may be lower than other countries. To me, my profession is not about a test score. But if that is what we are concerned about I think the root of the problem is not the teachers trying their hardest to reach these kids, but its the lack of team effort between families and their schools.
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