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View Diary: How Common Core is Depressing America's Intellect! Not Making It Brighter! (353 comments)

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  •  We've killed education. (76+ / 0-)

    I'm really afraid we'll have a lost generation or two until enough people realize we've killed the ability to enjoy narrative, context, and the meaning of life beyond struggling to survive.

    Maybe we'll need to do underground schools, the way the women and girls learn in Afghanistan, just so our kids can have the chance to be exposed to literature.

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:25:45 PM PST

    •  There is a reason why secular homeschooling (64+ / 0-)

      Is now 50/50 with religious homeschooling. Much as we'd like to use the public schools, there is NO WAY our kids are going to be stunted this way, if we have any option at all to give them a better education. For many of us, since we can't afford private school, we opt to teach our kids.

    •  revsue - many "communities" in the US (16+ / 0-)

      have had a focus on supplemental teaching when they thought the public schools were lacking. The most common one in my area were the Asian children who would attend math classes every Saturday morning. There doesn't need to be an "underground" character to supplemental education and the more open it is the better chance it would have to influence local educational policy. A one evening a week, or Saturday morning, literature class could make a real difference. Another option is finding an online literature class and "home schooling" one subject as a supplement to the public school English curriculum.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:42:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  Nance - that's certainly true (9+ / 0-)

          But Asians in the freshmen class at UC Berkeley and UCLA are overrepresented by 3X compared to their percentage of the number of high school students in California.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:06:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yippee! (17+ / 0-)

            Let's all go to school 6 days a week because our local public school can't manage to prepare us if we only go 5 days a week and that's what life is, kids, competing to get that slot at college.

            Gad. What a sad way to live.

            •  speaking as the parent of a half asian (7+ / 0-)

              and one who worked in schools in Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Laos, they too feel sorry for you.   And your kids.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:33:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Nance - given your experience in home schooling (7+ / 0-)

              Parents could supplement classroom work with home schooling modules in subjects like literature. Most kids have an extra hour or so a day for an enrichment activity.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:50:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not after the homework is done... (12+ / 0-)

                Which is actually a separate problem, that some kids don't have time to do enough reading for pleasure.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:31:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My children are now adults (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wader, Lujane, JerryNA, Larin, Linda Wood

                  but it seems as though teens have an inordinate amount of time to be on the phone talking or texting or being in front of a TV or computer screen not working on homework. Being a parent before all teenagers had cell phones and PCs hadn't overwhelmed our life was easier. My children (all girls) were involved in sports after school until dinner and for a portion of most Saturdays and Sundays. They still had time to do their homework and read for pleasure. It's really about the priorities each family sets and how time is managed.  

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:58:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Then you are unfamiliar with how much high (12+ / 0-)

                    school has changed in the last few years.  My daughter is a senior in high school. She has increasingly found it difficult to meet with friends because of their schedules.  An extra trip their orchestra is taking is having a large number of them saying they don't have the time (or the money) to go. At this rate they may have to cancel the date.

                    Suggest you seek out "Race to Nowhere" to get an idea how much things have changed.

                    Also, I live in a school district that is a mix of white, East Asian, and South Asian, with a bit of Mexican/Central American.  There's a constant push/pull between one set of families asking for less busywork and another asking for more.  I'm sure you can imagine who is asking for what.  In the elementary school district there are four alternative programs. The "learning by doing" program, which is a little like Waldorf, is the whitest one of the 20 elementaries.  The most Asian (both East and South) is the "back-to-basics" that does drill, drill, drill, and then more drill.  They have repeatedly scored a perfect 1000 on the state API tests.  The whole SCHOOL.

                    While the district has so far resisted this corporate takeover of the curriculum, there is still the teaching to the test issue (the drill school is that in spades) so Common Core is the trickle down of that mentality to the district level.  We have to fight this, and we're up against a lot of very wealthy people.  This is what Gates and some of the other foundations run by even more right-wing jerks have done: they've trained a bunch of people in this thinking and then they get placed as school administrators and bring in this shit.  And we need to call it the shit it is.

                    It turns learning into drone work, teaching into an assembly-line, and schools into factories.  

                    And this is part of why I hate charter schools so much.  Because when the school districts resist these "reforms," they do an end-run around and destroy them.

                    •  madhause - thank you for a very informative (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      elfling, Larin, Steve Canella, kyril

                      and thoughtful comment. I don't doubt for a minute that times have changed in a significant way. My grandchildren are still toddlers so school hasn't become an issue in their lives yet. There is no doubt that parenting continues to be more challenging for each generation.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:14:18 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, who will thrive? (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      FG, Steve Canella, kyril, Linda Wood

                      It turns learning into drone work, teaching into an assembly-line, and schools into factories.  

                      I would guess that controlling for economic background, the "back to basics" school with its "drill, drill, drill" focus will end up the most successful.

                      A few kids from the Waldorf-style school might go on to get into better colleges and have better/sexier jobs, but most of that was probably due to the social class advantages of the parents.

                      Not having a trust fund to fall back on, I will cast my lot with the "drill, drill, drill" school which is obviously producing amazing results.

                      •  It depends what you mean by successful (6+ / 0-)

                        Test scores are one measure but not the only one.

                        Singapore gets higher test scores, but how many Nobel prizes do they have?

                        The United States has never been a leader in international test scores... and yet we've done OK for ourselves.

                        What makes workers great and economies successful is the ability to synthesize combinations that no one else thought to try before. Drilling on facts and rules doesn't create that.

                        The right education includes a mix of facts, problem solving, and the ability to find facts when needed. These days, the ability to find and discern the right fact - when so much more knowledge is instantly available but where sources can be wrong - is probably more important than it used to be.

                        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                        by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:30:25 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Certain things are difficult. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Steve Canella, kyril, Linda Wood

                          In my experience, a lot of things in math and science and language don't lend themselves to osmosis. Rather, it takes a lot of hard work to master those concepts, and a lot of time spent doing "drill and kill." Rich kids at the Waldorf-type schools will do fine: their scores and grades might not be the highest, but they can take advantage of legacy admissions to college and find a good job through family connections. But without that, you have to rely on raw mastery of the material which these intense back-to-basics schools teach and the families most intensely focused on academic and professional achievement prefer. The other students' families tend to be more focused on natural talent and figure "they will do fine." But if you want to matter the most difficult material possible as quickly as possible, you will be drawn to these more intense schools.

                          •  Waldorf type schools are very popular in Silicon (3+ / 0-)

                            Valley. The parents there aren't choosing them because they think they'll get legacy university admissions.

                            Note your emphasis on "quickly." What is the advantage for "quickly" in education?

                            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:59:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't know a lot about Waldorf (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Larin, mahakali overdrive, Linda Wood

                            but this study suggests that their graduates do well in college and are successful in a wide variety of fields including the sciences.

                            Standing-Out without Standing Alone: Profile of Waldorf School Graduates

                            The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

                            by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:51:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Knitting is good for math skills (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mr Robert

                            but hard to test on a bubble test.

                            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:54:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, yes (0+ / 0-)

                            Fortunately, I attended schools at a time when my teacher's assessment of my progress counted a lot more than some test.

                            The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

                            by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:45:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am sure they do fine (0+ / 0-)

                            Waldorf type schools are very popular in Silicon Valley

                            Since most parents will be unlikely to be a wealthy Silicon Valley parent raising my children in the wealthiest part of the USA, I am not sure the experience of any children I send to school will be directly comparable to theirs. As I said, I am sure Waldorf students do fine considering what kind of socio-economic background they come from. But I suspect that their success is more due to the "Silicon Valley parents" part than the "Waldorf" part.

                          •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Mr Robert

                            but these are people who are highly technical and who for the most part value skills that will make them valuable to a high technology world. You might ask yourself why those parents, people who are experts in technology and a technological workforce, aren't choosing drill-based instruction or flocking to schools with big homework loads. They're picking schools that value skills like knitting.

                            It may be that different parents, though, need different schools to complement their parental strengths and weaknesses. That's something that in general we need to consider in schooling.

                            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                            by elfling on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:52:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

                            Speaking as a graduate of a small rural Waldorf school I can tell you that while Waldorf schools in more affluent areas may perform better due to more funds, by no means is it even close to the absolute dichotomy that exists between say Los Gatos High School and Berkeley High School. Those schools may as well be on different planets for all intents and purposes.

                            The Waldorf theory and curriculum is vastly superior to those of public schools or even overpriced private religious schools. It teaches kids to be independent critical thinkers and actually encourages artistic development instead of stifling it. Public school graduates have to find artistic fulfillment through other means and are ridiculed by both students and teachers for wanting more out of life than material possessions.

                            Speak to some actual Waldorf graduates, then speak to some public school graduates and see the difference.

                            Don't send your kids to public schools! Our broken education system is one of the chief reasons our nation has so many problems, and our colleges are no better. If we don't find a way to create a more informed and better educated citizenry soon, the world will leave us in the dust. Period.

                          •  quickly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Linda Wood

                            What is the advantage for "quickly" in education?

                            You start school at the age of 5. You have precisely 8 years to prepare for high school and then 4 years after that. You need to demonstrate mastery of a lot of concepts very soon in order to prepare yourself for admission to college, and that includes calculus, the sciences, a foreign language, and a large corpus of literature. Math and science in particular are very difficult to master and take a lot of time to figure out-- like learning a musical instrument, it depends on practice, practice, practice. "Drill, drill, drill" is like boot camp for the mind: it gets it "in shape."

                            I am sure if you are particularly wealthy and charismatic, you can distinguish yourself in the classroom on the basis of your charm. But some people are going to have to distinguish themselves on the basis on their test scores and demonstration of mastery of the material.

                          •  Learning is not strictly linear, though (0+ / 0-)

                            and maturity is part of learning. I see this in sports as well as in reading or math or science. If you introduce a skill too early, it won't necessarily be mastered earlier.

                            There are some optimal times in brain formation for certain skills, and there is a real importance in foundations as well. For example, when my mom taught math, she found that kids had a hard time learning algebra because they were hardwired to feel that the answer is always on the right. That's why today math starting in kindergarten puts the "answer" spot everywhere it could be - left, right, in the middle, as in 4 + ? = 6.

                            There's a movement within education to make kindergarten more and more academic, expecting kids to read and do math by the end of K. Parents are responding... that is, wealthy parents who can afford to ... by keeping their kids out of kindergarten until a year later. There's no evidence that suggests those more academic kindergartens are creating more kids who get to calculus.

                            Now foreign language... that's maybe something that all our kindergarteners should probably have.

                            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                            by elfling on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:58:55 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I could not disagree more (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassandra Waites, Nance, Larin

                            with your point about drill and kill. I hated math in high school, an did not realize that I was geared for it until I got into college. Had an amazing prof who had the ability to put things into a bigger context, not just a series of small tasks.

                            The way math is taught in high school makes people hate it. It is forced down throats, rather than offered up as a way to make sense of the universe.

                            We need more Carl Sagans and Richard Feynmans, and less Sgt. Hartmans.

                            Small varmints, if you will.

                            by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:59:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dr. Feynman on drill-and-kill (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Eowyn9, aztecraingod

                            This is from a sabbatical he took in Brazil.

                            I discovered a very strange phenomenon: I could ask a question, which the students would answer immediately. But the next time I would ask the question – the same subject, and the same question, as far as I could tell – they couldn’t answer it at all! For instance, one time I was talking about polarized light, and I gave them all some strips of polaroid.

                            Polaroid passes only light whose electric vector is in a certain direction, so I explained how you could tell which way the light is polarized from whether the polaroid is dark or light.
                            We first took two strips of polaroid and rotated them until they let the most light through. From doing that we could tell that the two strips were now admitting light polarized in the same direction – what passed through one piece of polaroid could also pass through the other. But then I asked them how one could tell the absolute direction of polarization, for a single piece of polaroid.

                            They hadn’t any idea.

                            I knew this took a certain amount of ingenuity, so I gave them a hint: “Look at the light reflected from the bay outside.”

                            Nobody said anything.

                            Then I said, “Have you ever heard of Brewster’s Angle?”
                            “Yes, sir! Brewster’s Angle is the angle at which light reflected from a medium with an index of refraction is completely polarized.”

                            “And which way is the light polarized when it’s reflected?”
                            “The light is polarized perpendicular to the plane of reflection, sir.” Even now, I have to think about it; they knew it cold! They even knew the tangent of the angle equals the index!
                            I said, “Well?”

                            Still nothing. They had just told me that light reflected from a medium with an index, such as the bay outside, was polarized; they had even told me which way it was polarized.
                            I said, “Look at the bay outside, through the polaroid. Now turn the polaroid.”

                            “Ooh, it’s polarized!” they said.

                            After a lot of investigation, I finally figured out that the students had memorized everything, but they didn’t know what anything meant. When they heard “light that is reflected from a medium with an index,” they didn’t know that it meant a material such as water. They didn’t know that the “direction of the light” is the direction in which you see something when you’re looking at it, and so on. Everything was entirely memorized, yet nothing had been translated into meaningful words. So if I asked, “What is Brewster’s Angle?” I’m going into the computer with the right keywords. But if I say, “Look at the water,” nothing happens – they don’t have anything under “Look at the water”!

                            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:14:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By the way, I would say that the goals of common (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Linda Wood


                            are to avoid this problem he encountered in Brazil, to ensure that kids have more hands on and more application of the material they learn. Whether or not that is how it will be implemented remains to be seen.

                            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                            by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:16:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  How it is implemented may be (0+ / 0-)

                            the entire point of this diary, as the Common Core is implemented differently by districts all over the country.

                            Some states and districts may develop beneficial and effective curricula, while others may design curricula aimed at preparing students to place cans on shelves at Walmart.

                          •  Making sense of the universe is great! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Linda Wood

                            It is! But calculus is a lot of effort. I think the problem is that people approach a field and realize, "this is hard. I guess I don't have a natural talent for it" and give up. But that's the point: even if you are "talented", material takes a lot of time and work to master. Learning a language is a lot of effort. Figuring out physics is tough-- you have to do it over and over again until you "get it." But teachers don't like to teach that way and only a subset of parents consider those skills valuable.

                        •  What is not taught, and whether it is (4+ / 0-)

                          purposeful or not, is critical thinking.  The most basic skills are in the textbook 'systems' we teachers are given, approved by the state, and are made by textbook monopolies like Houghton-Mifflin, which has pretty much gobbled up all competition.  Yes, the way it is expected of us, we really are supposed to turn out semiskilled temp workers who question nothing and work with mindless precision on dull, repetitious tasks.  

                          But being an admirer of the late Professor Carl Sagan, I have found that whether it is part of the curriculum or not, I can teach critical thinking skills simply by modelling them for my their role-model, my third grade class looks to me for guidance.  I teach them to question authority, to refuse to accept on faith any information offered them without proof, even from me: doubt the claims of television commercials, the praise of 'them' for the latest popular music, films, or games... I tell them, "What do YOU think about it?  Don't ask ME what I think of it, what do YOU think?"  Remember, these are eight and nine year old children, and the sense of empowerment they get at being able to challenge suspect information from adults is amazing.  Of course, the flip side of this is that they also get taught by me to accept verified proof as fact.  No questioning something you have found to be undeniably true, even if it conflicts with your own opinions or previously-held beliefs.

                          To sum up:  Until they install cameras or armed guards in my classroom, NO ONE is forcing me to mis-educate the priceless little people in my room.  I'll practice what amounts to civil disobedience in there, regardless of test scores, until they run me out of town.

                          "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell

                          by HamilcarBarca on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:26:21 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  today's Village Voice takes a good look at these (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ubertar, Mr Robert

                      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                      by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:29:35 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  My kid doesn't have a cell phone (14+ / 0-)

                    and very typically has 2-3 hours of homework in an evening. She is in Jr. High.

                    I won't say that her time is 100% productive, but it's not spent texting or doing something else. That's only counting time staring at a book or worksheet.

                    When I was a kid, I didn't have any homework until high school. My daughter has had homework since kindergarten.

                    By the time she gets home, she is tired. It's not optimal for trying to do productive learning. I know I am not the only parent in my school who has been dismayed to discover that weeknight dinners at the grandparents will mean that my child can't finish her homework that night without staying up far past bedtime.

                    There is a sense that "more is better" and has been a lot of pressure on teachers to add homework. I am not sure it is actually improving learning (and this has been an ongoing discussion with the school). It's hard, though, to be brave enough to make a commitment to less homework, as a parent, teacher, or administrator. No one will fault you if too much homework makes the test scores go down.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:09:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Bedtime reading (9+ / 0-)

                  My mother loved great literature and read to me every night.  We did the complete works of O. Henry, Mark Twain, Shirley Jackson, E. M. Forster, H. H. Munro, James Joyce, Kafka etc.  This cemented my great love of reading and literature.

                •  AND they are expected to volunteer for (6+ / 0-)

                  community service, and now they are saying having a job looks good too.

                  Give me a break.

                  Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

                  by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:07:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is possible. They could get their doctor to (0+ / 0-)

                    give them Modafinil (which is not a stimulant, btw) which would let them stay up for 5 days straight and then crash on Saturday.  Not even the company that makes it has any idea what that would do long term though it probably isn't anything good.

                    You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                    by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:55:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Our kids read for pleasure (4+ / 0-)

                  in the bathoom, before bedtime, on weekends, etc.

                  When we tell them to turn off the television and computer(s), of course.

                  "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

                  by wader on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:08:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  We had a teacher who seemed to think none of us (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, JerryNA, Steve Canella

                  were taking any other non-elective but hers.

                  Meaning we had kids who were doing homework on the bus to and from school, in the cafeteria at lunch, at the dinner table, and until their parents turned the lights off... and still weren't done. For that one class.

                  And when we complained, because just about everyone was doing one of those and a handful were doing all, we were reminded of how much later our parents were letting us stay up than when we were 5 and how early school let out and how we were honors students and not on athletic teams so certainly we had those multiple hours available every night to do her homework.

                  And then I got an F on the Pygmalion worksheet packet we were given to do over Thanksgiving that I literally ignored the entire family gathering to get done. They just left me alone on the couch with the book once we were done reading and wished me well. She said she couldn't read my handwriting - my hand had been cramping and I was writing fast to simply try to get it over and done with, and I still nearly didn't have it done by Monday.

                  Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                  by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:59:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Not if they are taking AP classes which bog the (6+ / 0-)

                kids down with ridiculous homework. I don't really care if my son is spending his nights writing essays, but I do care that he has his History book open and he is just taking page after page of notes that have to be turned in for credit. Come on, that is not preparing someone for college.

                Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

                by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:07:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That is what prepares them for college (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lujane, FG, Maple Jenny

                  While by the time you get to high school, you should be grading students' notes, college does involve having to absorb and understand voluminous amounts of information in a very short time period, and AP classes prepare students for that level of workload. See how many students get 4s and 5s on the AP exam: if it is most of the class, then the teacher is doing a good job.

                  •  not really (0+ / 0-)

                    My son took AP literature in high school and was bored and resentful. Now at a small liberal arts college where there are no standardized exams to prep for, he is stretching beyond his wildest imaginings. His peers are bright and thoughtful and he's never worked harder in school. Thank goodness there is no drill and kill to be found in this place where he finally has the space to read and think and write.

                    And not all Waldorf-type students are rich or will turn to family connections to get jobs. My son attended a crunchy private K-8 school and then attended a public high school. He has done some entrepreneurial things, all through his own pluck and grit. He learned his times tables without much difficulty. Other applications of drill and kill are suspect.

                    •  AP literature (0+ / 0-)

                      Lots of students would be desperate for an opportunity to take a well-taught AP English Literature class in high school. Sure it would take a lot of work, but that would be a process of preparing oneself for a university-level workload.

                      We had our own version of "drill, drill, drill" in English class for high school: every two weeks, we had to turn in a paper of 800-1200 words. It did us a lot of good because we got a lot of experience in writing that students in other schools never got and were unprepared for when they came to college. That did wonders for me, and to this day, I remember my English teachers the most fondly, even though I am currently a research scientist.

              •  Yes. We call that life. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                It's not on top of 6 or 8 hours of drone work. There is a vast difference between having the time to enjoy a good book -- whether or not it is anyone's idea of literature -- and piling a "module" on top of everything else a schooled kid would have to do.

            •  You don't have to go to school for 6 days a week. (7+ / 0-)

              I feel like the public high school my son attends wastes their time. His home-schooled peers spend less time in a classroom but they are twice as educated because their time is spent more wisely.

              When it is time to compete for space in California's UC campuses homeschooled kids are twice as educated. My son spent a year taking AP US History where the kids took endless notes out of the textbook and crammed for a test that they may or may not pass. It is not accelerated work, it is just more rote work. His homeschooled friend took US History at a community college. He has the college credit in one semester, and can take another class the second semester.

              My opinion of my child's public high school is that even the advanced, honors or accelerated classes are a joke. They do not offer keyboarding or Excel/Word as a requirement anymore, but the kids are forced to take PE for two years. So my kid will graduate without taking a single computers class, but he will have had 4 units of square dancing.

              Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

              by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:06:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree with everything except the PE (4+ / 0-)

                It's trying to instill the idea that exercise is useful and sports can be part of your life. Square dancing is aerobic activity.  And that's better than the bad old days where the least athletic still had to take football and get knocked around.

                Some states require all 4 years of PE.  I think 2 is a good compromise.

                My son is angry at all the busywork in high school and now he is refusing to go at all.

                •  I have no problem with PE but if a kid plays (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, Mr Robert, Larin, Steve Canella

                  a sport they shouldn't have to take it. My son ran cross country, he should have been able to take an elective instead of PE.

                  My son is a Junior and is taking classes at the local university. He has really had his eyes opened about what a waste of time some high school classes are.

                  Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

                  by voracious on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:10:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  My daughter is taking computers now (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mr Robert, Larin, Steve Canella

                We are lucky to have a really terrific computer instructor, someone who is creative and enthusiastic and really excellent.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:32:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  the AP notetaking borders on the ridiculous (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elfling, aztecraingod, JerryNA

                Instead of reading and discussing and analyzing the historical events, they are forced to produce pages and pages of material they are simply copying out of the texts. There may be some retention for those inclined that way--but for others??

                I do understand there is some overhauling of the AP curriculum underway--one can hope that the content shoveling approach is rethought.

                If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

                by livjack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:36:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I say this not half jokingly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mrs M

                  But I've learned more about European history from playing Crusader Kings 2 for a couple of months after work than I did in 2 years of high school history.

                  It's one thing to read a blurb about the causes of the Hundred Years' War, but it's another thing entirely to navigate a succession crisis yourself.

                  Pretty amazing thing, that.

                  Small varmints, if you will.

                  by aztecraingod on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:09:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  has AP curriculum changed? (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't remember having to turn in pages upon pages of notes for credit---this was 13 years ago though...

                  [insert pithy sig line here]

                  by terrypinder on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 04:43:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  at my childrens (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nance, Larin, lurkyloo, Mrs M, Lisa, Linda Wood

                school the PE includes a lot of anatomy, health and first aid.  It is a wonderful class.  I wish they would take 4 years of PE in place of a few AP classes.  I never thought I would say or feel such a thing.  

                My kids have way too much homework.  I have to plead with them to go  to bed at night so they get enough sleep.  Right now I don't care about their grades (they do).  All I care about is their health and the stress on these kids is TOO much.

                Balance is missing.

                •  And people wonder why Ritalin and Adderall (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  are being sold in many schools to kids who would normally never use such drugs.  That's right, kids are now taking amphetamines not for recreational purposes but  for performance enhancement.

                  You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                  by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:58:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Did we ever really have it? (5+ / 0-)

      The poor and disenfranchised never have. Education also threatens the power elite because an educational system that actually turns out the best and brightest operating at full potential will eventually disrupt and replace the existing hierarchy. So I don't think this country has ever fulfilled the mission of educating the public as it should be done.

    •  there is life beyond struggling to survive? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I'm really afraid we'll have a lost generation or two until enough people realize we've killed the ability to enjoy narrative, context, and the meaning of life beyond struggling to survive.
      Maybe for rich people who have the luxury of making their own decisions and then choosing to things on the basis of values and aspirations.

      Something's wrong when the bad guys are the utopian ones.

      by Visceral on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 10:40:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hey! but don't worry! Tom Friedman's got your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vahana, Linda Wood

      back!  Online education --or as I call it, virtual education, is going to save everyone.

      It gets rid of those pesky teachers who always want a raise, and replaces them with online videos of the world's greatest professors.  What could go wrong?

      Well, I work in a technical profession, and I will certify that the difficult subject matter I struggled with during my schooling, and throughout my career, cannot be taught without a flesh and blood classroom experience.  I refer to subjects such as thermodynamics, electromagnetism, even basic calculus.

      These things are bloody hard, and students have to get over serious misconceptions to finally master them, and without interactive guidance and mentoring, it won't be done.  You say the classroom experience is imperfect?  Some teachers aren't great mentors?  Welcome to reality!  On average they have done an amazing job over the past, say, four or five centuries.

      On the other hand, who needs people at the intellectual level of scientists and engineers?  If everyone was as smart as a newspaper columnist, wouldn't that be good enough?  A columnist who never pays a penalty for having given the wrong answer?  Try that out next time you have to build a bridge.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:28:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not "we" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's the right wingers that want everyone to not have the ability to reason things out.

      Oh, and make money doing it.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:39:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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