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Old 08-07-2005, 12:23 AM   #31
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There are more problems than standardized tests in the American education system.

When I was in school, I never had a geography class. Whatever I learned of the shape of the world, the nations, the mountain ranges, rivers, oceans and deserts, I learned on my own time from PBS and the local library.

Children today have a wide spread attitude that learning is terribly uncool. It's lame to learn. That doesn't make it any easier to get them to learn anything.

I've read an account of Richard Feynman's work with a textbook review board. I'm not going to go dig it out right now, but sheesh...if that's the standard of textbooks in use in schools, it's no wonder we're in trouble. And that's down to school boards ordering the first thing off the list, or the book shilled by the salesman with the best expense account, or who has the best sales speech even if he has the worst book. In one case that Feynman recounted, a salesman presented for consideration a book with blank pages. It hadn't actually been fully compiled and printed yet.

Parents expect that teachers and schools should do it all; not only teach, but install a work ethic, discipline and thirst for knowledge. Good luck. Teachers are overworked and underpaid. And besides, there are some things kids learn better from their parents than from strangers, however professional and well-meaning the strangers are.

A kid goes to school. Teacher says, "Work hard, learn as much as you can, and you'll have a better life."
The kid goes home. Mom and Dad sit in front of the tv all evening; they mention homework only in passing. They do not send the child from the tv to do homework. They do not check the child's homework. Do you think the kid is really going to take school work seriously? (And yes, I understand that not all parents are like that; but some are.)

At this point, the problems faced by American educators are too far-reaching and too wide-spread to be fixed simply or very quickly.

And I think we really ought to budget pay raises for every teacher in the country; long overdue.
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:11 AM   #32
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Originally posted by peacepandemic


If you disagree with me, take it up with my friend. He teaches every day and I have a flawless memory for the stories he relates to me. Now if you are disagreeing with me because you dont want to believe it, thats for you to sort out.
I disagree because I have been a teacher for ten years. My wife has been a teacher for eleven years.

Sorry, but SOCIAL PROMOTION started long before President Bush came into office.

[Q]Sharp, Mauro split on Bush education plan

Democrats differ on social promotion issue
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN -- Democratic lieutenant governor candidate John Sharp continued his move to the political right Wednesday as he split with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Garry Mauro over social promotion in public schools.

At almost the same time, Mauro was in Dallas criticizing Republican Gov. George W. Bush's plan to end social promotion as punitive, Sharp was in Austin heaping praise on Bush's education plan.
[/Q]

http://www.chron.com/content/chronic...mauro.2-0.html


[Q]End the soft bigotry of low expectations in our schools
Too many American children are segregated into schools without standards, shuffled from grade-to-grade because of their age, regardless of their knowledge. This is discrimination, pure and simple -- the soft bigotry of low expectations. And our nation should treat it like other forms of discrimination: We should end it.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000 [/Q]


[Q]Bush’s Texas proposals included making sure all Texas children read by the third grade; helping students who fail with in-school, after-school or summer programs; and ending automatic social promotion of students.
Source: Michael Holmes, AP Mar 2, 1999 [/Q]

http://www.issues2000.org/George_W__Bush_Education.htm

[Q]In fact, his major education accomplishment as Governor is his recently-passed prohibition on "social promotion" (SB4) and his insistence that promotion be based on passing a newly designed TAAS test. (SB103). [/Q]
http://bushwatch.org/bushed.htm

[Q]Her working relationship with Bush dates back to his 1994 Texas gubernatorial race, when she served as a political adviser and later as chief education adviser on his staff.

In Austin, Spellings helped promote Bush's agenda to limit the role of federal and state government in public education and to end "social promotion" by forbidding schools to let third-graders go on to fourth grade if they repeatedly failed to meet academic standards.

It was the philosophical foundations of the No Child Left Behind agenda, which seeks to reward achievement, sanction failure and discourage "social promotion."

[/Q]

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Inaug...=263257&page=1
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:19 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by echo0001
I've read an account of Richard Feynman's work with a textbook review board. I'm not going to go dig it out right now, but sheesh...if that's the standard of textbooks in use in schools, it's no wonder we're in trouble. And that's down to school boards ordering the first thing off the list, or the book shilled by the salesman with the best expense account, or who has the best sales speech even if he has the worst book. In one case that Feynman recounted, a salesman presented for consideration a book with blank pages. It hadn't actually been fully compiled and printed yet.
Textbooks are dominated by the state of Texas and California. The textbook companies design their textbooks based on the State Board of Educations in these states. This is one of the frustrating things about being a teacher in MA. ABout 8 years ago the State decided that Ancient Civilization should be taught in the fourth grade. For three years we taught ancient civ with NO...ZERO textbooks at all. Why? There were no materials designed by any company to use in the classroom because we were not in line with the two big states.


Textbook errors are fairly common. Half of the Social Studies texts we ordered for fourth grade about nine years ago place Mount Washington in Maine. The other half put it in NH.

Last summer I screened a textbook, that said the first Battle of the Revolutionary war was Bunker Hill. I guess Lexington and Concord never occured.
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Old 08-07-2005, 06:45 AM   #34
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When I was in school, I never had a geography class. Whatever I learned of the shape of the world, the nations, the mountain ranges, rivers, oceans and deserts, I learned on my own time from PBS and the local library.
I don't understand why schools are dropping geography, especially in the world we live in now. Having students take cultural geography classes could go far in terms of enlightenment as well as an understanding for national security.

Knowing who you are dealing with, regardless if they are enemies or friends, is always a good thing.
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Old 08-07-2005, 12:22 PM   #35
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Originally posted by melon
I don't like standardized tests, and I know enough perfectly intelligent people who plain don't test well.

On the other hand, I agree that social promotion is not a good idea, but whether someone passes or fails should be determined by the year's coursework and studies, not some generic state dot test.

Melon
Agreed .

Also, regarding geography...a discussion my family was having yesterday suddenly made me remember that there were parts of the world I can't remember us ever really talking about in my entire schooling career thus far. We talked about Europe, and we talked about North America-those were the big ones. Then the next biggest discussion bits were about Africa and Asia. And then we had a little bit of discussion about South America, and I don't remember any discussion about Australia. Which seems a bit odd to me.

Angela
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Old 08-07-2005, 12:41 PM   #36
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I would agree with Melon's statement too....except for one thing.

It is wrong to call the testing implimented as a fill in the bubble standardized test.

I strongly disagree with calling the test here in MA a standardized test. It is not a basic skills test, and to label it as such is wrong.


It includes Long Composition, Short Response, and Open Response Math questions in addition to the Multiple choice portion.

http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/testitems.html
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Old 08-07-2005, 08:06 PM   #37
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There are several teachers here and I would like to ask a question that I've wondered about for a long time.

When my mother was in school (waaay back in the 1920s and 30s), they did a lot of rote learning. She can still name all the continents and oceans, all the presidents including the more recent ones, all fifty states, the counties and county seats of West Virginia (where she went to school), and she knows reams of poetry off by heart. She can do math in her head, tell you where the latest war is, and tell you who was king of England in 1720. If you ask her how she knows all that stuff, she'll tell you she learned it in school.

In the opinion of the teachers here, could reintroducing and encouraging rote learning (for some subjects, especially where basic facts are concerned) improve grades and performance for students? As in, "Here's the list, you will memorized it and recite it in front of the class--several times."

I've gathered that the approach was largely abandoned in favor of other methods at some point; would it really be so terrible to bring it back?
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Old 08-07-2005, 08:22 PM   #38
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I am more traditionalist in this area. I required the memorization of multiplication facts. In doing that, I made a conscious investment of in school class time to achieve this. In my opinion, the invested time was time well spent. I saw more kids able to handle division, estimation, word problems, area, volume, and fractions.
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Old 08-07-2005, 08:28 PM   #39
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Originally posted by echo0001

I've gathered that the approach was largely abandoned in favor of other methods at some point; would it really be so terrible to bring it back?
I want to clarify my other post.

Other teaching methods are necessary. Not all children learn the same way, and other methods need to be employed to help students remember things they learn.

For example, some kids helped make up rhymes and other pneumonic devices to rember their facts.

8 * 8 went to the store to buy Nintendo64.
7*8=5678

I also use Multiplication Rap, Country, and POP...where they memorize a song and sing their facts.
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Old 08-07-2005, 08:39 PM   #40
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Originally posted by Dreadsox


I want to clarify my other post.

Other teaching methods are necessary. Not all children learn the same way, and other methods need to be employed to help students remember things they learn.

For example, some kids helped make up rhymes and other pneumonic devices to rember their facts.

8 * 8 went to the store to buy Nintendo64.
7*8=5678

I also use Multiplication Rap, Country, and POP...where they memorize a song and sing their facts.
I suspect some of those kids were yanking your chain (but that's besides the point--and please note I did NOT say all of them).

That's very good; I was never made to memorize the multiplication tables, and I felt it was a major weakness. I eventually (when I was about 19) memorized them just for my own good.

In fact, I remember that starting in my teen years, I was a little miffed at the third grade teacher who let me get away with making hash marks to figure out multiplication problems (one row of six marks, two rows of six marks, three rows of six marks, then count them all). At the time I thought it was an easy out; it didn't require the effort of memorization.

I couldn't, and can't, help feeling that she would have done me more good if she'd taken my scratch paper away and said "Knock it off."

Because you know it wasn't that I couldn't memorize the multiplication table; I was just being a lazy kid.
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