Who agrees with me on this?

Discussion in 'Education' started by donaldgallinger, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. donaldgallinger
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    donaldgallinger Rookie

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    Dallas Public Schools: New Leaders in Entertainment

    Recently, the Dallas Public School system implemented a new grading policy intended to ensure “fair and credible evaluation of learning—from grade to grade and school to school.” Here are the key points in this plan:

    1. Homework grades should be given only when the grades will “raise a student’s average, not lower it.”


    2. Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.


    3. Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.


    4. Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make “efforts to assist students in completing the work.”


    I don’t teach in Dallas, but I am a public high school teacher of nearly twenty-five years, and I can tell you that similar policies are creeping into school systems across the country. Soon, I believe, these blueprints for teaching students to ignore—or even celebrate—mediocrity and failure will become commonplace practices in our nation’s public schools.

    For the politically naïve (and yes, the shaping of school policy is ultimately political), here is why every student must be forced to “succeed” on paper:

    It’s because public schools can’t tell the truth. And the truth is that as a society, we are becoming incapable of raising children to be responsible adults. The reasons are deep, systemic, and will probably not change for at least a few generations. In the meantime, schools must continue to lie to the public as long as the public keeps lying to itself, because the alternative would be political suicide. We have educated our children to be excellent consumers—and not much else. Soon, we will see the full fruition of these, our true values, as a society. Not only will our kids have neither the skills nor the patience required to run the infrastructure of our country, they will also lack the emotional maturity to understand or learn from their failures.

    So I offer this piece of advice to the Dallas Public School system—and any other school facing similar problems with student failure rates: You’re off to a good start, but keep up the momentum. Inevitably, students who flunk tests will want not just a second chance, but a third and a fourth. Give it to them. Eliminate the grade of “zero” on any assignment. Award academic points on tests for simply showing up at school. Create an “action plan” for each individual student depending solely on his tastes and interests. For example, if a student cannot master simple addition and subtraction, then allow him to draw an impressionistic picture of mathematical operations. If a student doesn’t like reading, let him watch television and then perform an interpretive dance of what he’s seen.

    Lastly (and most importantly), MAKE SURE THAT EVERY STUDENT GRADUATES. Put on a lavish show for the graduation ceremony, the gaudier the better. Parents and kids love graduation. They like to scream and holler and take pictures and videos of the grand event. It means absolutely nothing—or soon will—but that’s not important. What’s important is the appearance of achievement.

    In the end, appearance is all you’ve got to work with. So make it count. You’re in show business now, Dallas Public School system. Give the folks a good show.

    I’ll be retired from public school teaching in less than two years. It’s just as well. I don’t have a flair for tap dancing or the guts to be part of a criminal conspiracy to violate the public’s trust.

    donaldgallinger.com
     
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  2. random3434
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    random3434 Senior Member

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    I love your post!

    Great points, and funny too!


    How did Dallas get away with that? I'm shocked and disappointed. Shame on them for doing that. It's a disservice to the students and the teachers.
     
  3. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Kid should wear orange jumpsuits and pick up trash on the side of the road until they are 18.
     
  4. random3434
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    random3434 Senior Member

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    Chris/Kirk, you have posted that comment on countless threads on here about teens.


    Did a teenager beat you up or something?


    Did your high school girlfriend dump you again?


    What is it with you and teens anyway? Do they scare you that much?
     
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  5. Luissa
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    Luissa Annoying Customer Supporting Member

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    The problem with my generation and the next one is everyone gave us rewards but not punishment. Look at the baby boomers who have a stronger work ethic and they were slapped on the wrists with rulers and whatever else. They have had to restructure they way they treat their employees at corporations. The last place I worked was always giving us some certificate or other rewards half the time for not doing really anything. I got a $25 gift card for pretty much doing what I was suppose to be doing.
     
  6. PeterS
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    PeterS Active Member

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    I was a trustee for DISD in 1989. At the time DISD had two schools ranked in the top 10, public and private, K-12 nationally and probably the best magnet program available. Today DISD will rank just ahead of Washington DC public schools if they are lucky. So what happened? Standardization with accountability.

    It is fine to mock and ridicule DISD, they deserve it, but DISD is simply a look in the mirror and there isn't a single school district nationally that isn't following the same path.
     
  7. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    It's a joke, dude.

    Lighten up.
     
  8. donaldgallinger
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    donaldgallinger Rookie

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    PeterS:

    I think you are absolutely right about the pernicious influence of using standardized tests
    to measure public schools' effectiveness. In general, voters don't understand why this should be a problem. They don't understand how schools must completely change not only their teaching strategies to meet state requirements, but must also change discipline codes, attendance policies, and a host of other rules in order to receive state funding. It all terribly complicated and very political.

    I don't enjoy mocking or ridiculing the Dallas Public Schools. In fact, I agree that we are all headed in the same direction. (Here in New Jersey you can see the "writing on the wall.") Sometimes, however, satire is a good way to direct the public's attention to a serious issue. And what is happening to our schools and our children is very serious indeed.
     
  9. random3434
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    random3434 Senior Member

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    Amen.

    The greatest hope we teachers have is that with a new guard in the White House the NCLB Act will be retooled to be more in tune on educating our children in a realistic way. Teaching to the test is all teachers are allowed to do anymore in a lot of places, and it takes any creativity and joy out of teaching and learning from all involved.


    You should see my students with IQ's of 58-75 take our States Standardized Test. God love them, they try their best, but most of it is Greek to them. Yet, because of NCLB, they have to take it, and we all are held accountable for their scores. We lost AYP last year because of the special ed and ESL scores, yet the gen. ed kids scored the highest for any inner-city school.

    Go figure.
     
  10. donaldgallinger
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    donaldgallinger Rookie

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    Luissa27:

    I'm not sure that "punishment, by itself, will do much to help kids today. I've been teaching high school now for nearly twenty-five years, and I think the problems besetting your generation are the same problems plaguing our greater society. For one thing, there's no particular incentive to "grow up." Adulthood, at least as a state of mind, holds very few rewards according to the popular culture. What can you do as an adult that you can't do now as an adolescent? (I'm not talking about voting or paying taxes or grown-up responsible "stuff.") I can't tell you the number of times that my students have informed me--quite seriously--that they must have fun NOW, because these are the best years of their lives. (Fun for many of them means all sorts of mayhem, much of it illegal or just plain dangerous.) When I tell them that the best years of their lives are ahead of them, or should be, they stare at me with a blank expression. From their perspective, I'm sure they think they're right.

    Really, how have we made adulthood seem attractive to kids? Why would anyone want to leave adolescence for adulthood as those two stages in life are now presented to kids?

    As for getting rewards for just doing your job--that's all part of the extension of childhood, too. Unfortunately, it's the part that assumes that all children are emotionally damaged and must be constantly reassured that they're not worthless.
     

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