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Old 09-12-2006, 08:09 PM   #61
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Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
Right. Like I need you to copy and past a wikipedia link for me.
It was not necessarily meant for you. It was meant for anyone reading this thread and doesn't understand what I'm referring to. My apologies if you misunderstood my gesture.

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Wow. I'm glad you think people with learning disabilities are stupid. That shows a lot about your character.
Why are people with "learning disabilities" in the same classroom with people who could be "honors students"? I'm sorry, but if "Johnny" can't read at an eighth grade level in the eighth grade, maybe he needs to be in a special program that will help him catch up. I don't know what wisdom states that everyone else should have to be held back for the learning disabled.

We don't tell student athletes to slow down for those who are less athletic, and we certainly don't call them "elitist" for excelling at what they do. In fact, go to any small town in America, and they've got a whole damn newspaper section dedicated to them. But the minute we have the possibility that some kids have a higher aptitude than others, we immediately do all we can to slow them down and belittle their achievements.

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Elitist bullshit. Maybe anyone with a learning disability should be institutionalized, because god forbid, some kid doesn't want to take an honors class and they are stuck with the "stupid" kids in a regular class.
I make absolutely no apologies for my education. I had several honors and AP courses, and when I went to undergrad, I entered the honors college and was able to take a course load suitable for my intellectual capacity.

Frankly, who do you think you are to tell me or any other kid with a similar aptitude that we should learn less in school? I have my sympathies for those with learning disabilities, but school is meant to be a place for learning--and, like it or not, children learn at different levels, just as adults do.

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Old 09-12-2006, 08:17 PM   #62
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Originally posted by melon
I've come up with solutions, but you can't solve problems when people aren't interested in solutions
My key word was realistic. Your "solutions" are usually based on your uninformed ideas about classroom teaching, educational law, childhood growth and development, educational politics, and the realities facing all those guilty players you so despise. Like your posts above this one that rail against equal educational opportunity and frankly harken back to the days of institutionalizing the disabled, your solutions to educational problems are naive and mean-spirited.
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Old 09-12-2006, 08:22 PM   #63
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i'm a proud public school graduate, and i remember well the assumption on behalf of many private school students especially when i got to college that, of course, education was better in a private school.

not always true.
May I ask how wealthy your public school district was? You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

Speaking solely for myself, I grew up the furthest from well-off, and the public school I would have been forced to go to was a shithole with an abysmal record on education. The wealthier neighborhoods about 30 minutes to the north, in contrast, had wonderful facilities and great test scores. Those schools were not an option for me.

My parents made many sacrifices to be able to afford for me to escape that environment, and that's why I get so fired up on this issue. I am not about to tell people with my socioeconomic background that they have to "just settle" for what's given to them.

For what it's worth, yes, I think every student needs a quality education, but our public school systems, for the most part, are failures. Sure, we have our isolated wealthy public school districts, but let's look at the kind of schools that poor rural and urban districts have to deal with. I'm sure as hell not about to forgive these monstrosities for failing America's children, and I'm not about to tell poor parents that they cannot send their children to charter schools, because "it just won't be fair to everyone else." Fuck that. I say we cut loose our public school system completely and unleash so many charter schools as to bankrupt our failed public schools. A little competition certainly never hurt, and, indeed, our entire economy is built on that premise. Why public schools should be exempt from supply and demand is beyond me.

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Old 09-12-2006, 08:32 PM   #64
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Originally posted by melon


May I ask how wealthy your public school district was? You don't have to answer if you don't want to.


i would have to look it up, but i believe we were one of the 20 wealthiest towns in CT, but we ranked somewhere in the 90s when it came to spending per student (from what i can recall from town meetings 15 years ago).

we actually didn't have wonderful facilities because the town drew it's tax base from property taxes almost exclusively; there was very little business to draw from, and this was why many people chose to live there -- idyllic new england doesn't come cheap.

and this underscores the point that it isn't about money, but it's about the expectations of parents and students. 90% of my graduating class went to a 2 or 4 year college. most of my friends were at ivy-level institutions. most of the honors classes were on par with any university level courses. many of the teachers i had in my public school took advantage of a group of 20-30 highly motivated, generally very bright students and conducted classes on an extremely high level -- most of us got 5's on our AP classes.

it's about environment, not money, or at least not only money.

my point is not to say that public schools aren't hugely flawed, but to say that private education isn't automatically superior, and that in some public schools, the very brightest (there were 2 kids in my class alone with perfect 1600 SATs, to toss out one measure, however incomplete) can be fully challenged, and the parents in my district actually started complaining that the school was too difficult, there was too much homework, that there was actually grade deflation.

and we didn't get the benefit of the guidence counselors my private school contemporaries had.

i suppose this is why i don't want to abandon public education, i just want it to work better.
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Old 09-12-2006, 08:33 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
My key word was realistic. Your "solutions" are usually based on your uninformed ideas about classroom teaching, educational law, childhood growth and development, educational politics, and the realities facing all those guilty players you so despise. Like your posts above this one that rail against equal educational opportunity and frankly harken back to the days of institutionalizing the disabled, your solutions to educational problems are naive and mean-spirited.
Why does everything have to be so black and white? Tell me where I suggested "institutionalizing the disabled"? Why don't you say that I eat babies while you're at it?

I went to a private school with three levels of education in the same building: honors, regular, and remedial. There were some classes that were so general as to not have honors or remedial subjects, and so we had our moments of integration. But when it came to all the core subjects, we entered according to our intellectual abilities. I wholeheartedly support educational environments like that, because I was able to learn at a pace that was fitting of my abilities.

And apparently, the "remedial" students weren't left behind, because, in my graduating class, all but one student went to, at least, community college.

But at the core of all of this, do you remember when I stated the following:

"I've come up with solutions, but you can't solve problems when people aren't interested in solutions."

I'm aware of all the challenges present in classroom teaching, educational law, politics, etc., and that's why I know that real change is impossible. And that's why our public schools are going to continue to suck to high hell, because we can't sacrifice decades-old sacred cows that don't work.

In NYC, there's a teachers union-run charter school that has been posting impressive results (and obviously pissing off all the conservatives who saw charter schools as a way to bust teachers unions), so if you believe that I'm pointing the blame solely at teachers, I'm not. When I said that every actor involved is to blame, I meant it. I certainly think that our over-bureaucratic educational system is certainly part of the equation as to why they're failing.

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Old 09-12-2006, 10:56 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon




I'm aware of all the challenges present in classroom teaching, educational law, politics, etc., and that's why I know that real change is impossible. And that's why our public schools are going to continue to suck to high hell, because we can't sacrifice decades-old sacred cows that don't work.


Melon
It does not seem that you are fully aware. Inclusion laws are not going to go away. NOONE has the right to deny a child an equal opportunity to learn. Do you know how many students are not reading at grade level? Even in well off areas? It is not as cut and dried as you make it seem. (ie Jonny is in 8th grade but reading at a 5th grade level and therefore should not be placed in a regular ed classroom)

You also seem to be misinformed on current classroom strategies for dealing with mixed ability students. Dumbing down the curriculum isn't one of them. Going "slow" isn't an option either. I will say, there is a right way and a wrong way to de-track; there is no denying that.

For the record, I don't believe charter schools are the answer to the nation's educational problems.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:07 PM   #67
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Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways

For the record, I don't believe charter schools are the answer to the nation's educational problems.
And research will back you up on that. Several studies in California, and the nation I believe, indicate that charter schools consistently have lower test scores than their sucky public counterparts.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:08 PM   #68
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Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
It does not seem that you are fully aware. Inclusion laws are not going to go away. NOONE has the right to deny a child an equal opportunity to learn.
I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, "equal opportunity" is merely an empty buzz phrase. Looking at the public schools around where I'm living, the only "equal opportunity" I see is "equal opportunity" failure.

And, yes, I know that "inclusion laws" probably aren't going away. Our politicians are idiots, after all, and I'm sure that we'd get a bunch of PAC smear ads claiming that changing "inclusion laws" would be the equivalent of putting a remedial student in a straight jacket and castrating him.

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Do you know how many students are not reading at grade level?
Knowing public schools? Probably over half.

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You also seem to be misinformed on current classroom strategies for dealing with mixed ability students. Dumbing down the curriculum isn't one of them. Going "slow" isn't an option either. I will say, there is a right way and a wrong way to de-track; there is no denying that.
Looking at dropout rates, test scores, and overall achievement in many public schools, I would say that the current classroom strategies are not working in many parts of the country. I also don't think that merely slapping on a national testing requirement is going to fix this, as Bush seems to think.

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Old 09-12-2006, 11:15 PM   #69
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Originally posted by melon
I'm aware of all the challenges present in classroom teaching, educational law, politics, etc., and that's why I know that real change is impossible.
Which is so convenient for you. You always claim to know what's going on in education, but your posts make it clear that you really have absolutely no idea whatsoever. And you keep claiming that real change is impossible when I doubt you have any grasp of what immense changes have occured ion the last ten years.

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Originally posted by melon
And that's why our public schools are going to continue to suck to high hell,
Maybe the ones in your state suck, but my state is doing pretty well considering the population, funding levels, federal interference, and the insistence in California on allowing referenda to establish educational policy.

I bust my ass to make sure every single one of my students achieves to his or her highest potential, no matter what the disablity, the home language, the home life, or the support of a public that continues to criticize me and my colleagues without knowing jack-fuck about what we do every day, 11 or 12 hours a day.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:16 PM   #70
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Originally posted by melon

Knowing public schools? Probably over half.

Now you're full of shit. At least you're using the word probably here. How generous.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:18 PM   #71
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Originally posted by melon
I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, "equal opportunity" is merely an empty buzz phrase. Looking at the public schools around where I'm living, the only "equal opportunity" I see is "equal opportunity" failure.
Then run for school board and actually do something instead of babbling on about what you would do. Or do you have an excuse for that as well?
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:28 PM   #72
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Originally posted by martha
Which is so convenient for you. You always claim to know what's going on in education, but your posts make it clear that you really have absolutely no idea whatsoever. And you keep claiming that real change is impossible when I doubt you have any grasp of what immense changes have occured in the last ten years.
Oh yes. "Changes." And, yet, with all these "changes," we're still dealing with all the same problems that we had 10 years ago, if not longer.

In the postmodern sense, these kind of "changes" are merely an illusion meant to placate an otherwise irate public. Yet, when push comes to shove, have these "changes" solved *anything* at all?

Instead, all we get are nice little photo ops where politicians pat each other on the back, and nothing at all changes at the micro level.

If there have been any "changes," I'd be pretty hard pressed to see them.

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Maybe the ones in your state suck, but my state is doing pretty well considering the population, funding levels, federal interference, and the insistence in California on allowing referenda to establish educational policy.

I bust my ass to make sure every single one of my students achieves to his or her highest potential, no matter what the disablity, the home language, the home life, or the support of a public that continues to criticize me and my colleagues without knowing jack-fuck about what we do every day, 11 or 12 hours a day.
I'm not about to judge your work, because I don't know how you specifically do it. There are good teachers out there, but there's plenty of bad ones too. Looking at the wide disparity between rich and poor schools, rural/suburban/urban schools, I'd say the whole idea of "equality" is nothing but an illusion. We can cry "inclusion" or "equal opportunity" all we want, but day after day, there are millions of children being failed by our public school systems, which are anything but equal, no matter how many laws try to say otherwise. We can't keep on waiting for 10 years here, 10 years there, because we only get one shot with these kids.

I can't help but be reminded that, had there been a different twist of fate, I might have been another statistic lost in the shuffle within the public school system here. While I was able to get away, I'm tired of the poor always having to settle for "second best" in education. And yet, year after year, that seems to be the case.

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Old 09-12-2006, 11:33 PM   #73
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Originally posted by melon
rich and poor schools, rural/suburban/urban schools,
I agree with most of this post, but you do realize that schools with "poor" children get shitloads of federal money to do with as they please, while a school in a middle-class neighborhood doesn't get a dime of Title 1 funds?
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:34 PM   #74
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Originally posted by martha
Then run for school board and actually do something instead of babbling on about what you would do. Or do you have an excuse for that as well?
What's the point? You and everyone here have already told me that laws aren't going away. These are laws that I'm aware of and have repeatedly admitted stand in the way of any real notion of reform. Please reread what I've stated in here, and you'll see that I've accepted each time that these laws are a fact of life.

If I felt that change was possible within the current system, I would run, yes. However, I believe our system is broken beyond reform.

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Old 09-12-2006, 11:35 PM   #75
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Please tone the rhetoric down a bit, guys. I realize both of you have passionate feelings on this subject for very different reasons, but backbiting isn't going to help move this discussion forward.

martha or WildHoneyAlways, if one of you could perhaps explain a bit about why more public schools are de-tracking, how that's usually managed, and what your feelings are about how it works out, and what the best way to go about doing it is, I would love to hear about it.
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