Why Education is Failing

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Hobbit, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    There's a big stink about education around the country. School kids are dumber than they used to be. Test scores are lower. While some students still manage to excel, many others fall through the cracks. As always, the government uses the only solution to everything, throw money at it. The schools are getting more money so they can afford better facilities and more faculty, but is that the problem. As with most things, no, lack of funding was a problem, but a relatively minor one. The No Child Left Behind Act was a good-spirited law meant to clean up the schools, but is still attacking from the wrong angle and is too "cookie cutter" to fit even a sizable portion of troubled schools. The angle to attack education is always how well the kids are being taught. However, how well the teachers are being taught is not the equivalent of how well they are learning. It's logically the first place to look, but not the only place. Here, in this post, I'll present what I think are the failing factors in education. As the son of an insider (teacher), I've got a pretty good perspective, and unlike the mummies in Washington, I know that money can't be the solution to everything. In my opinion, it all boils down to three areas.

    1. Political Correctness Indoctrination - This is one of the biggest problems facing education today. All classes must be edited, cropped, and altered until fact is obscured by a watered down version that is guaranteed not to offend anybody except those who actually put stock in facts and learning. This "sensitive" material contains nothing that could possibly be considered offensive to blacks, hispanics, women, gays, or any other group that isn't Christian white males. The Civil Rights Movement gets ten times more attention than World War II, the greatest conflict in the history of mankind. Communism is marginalized while racism is portrayed as a larger blight than the Black Plague.

    On the other side of this politically correct spectrum is how the classes are taught. Students may no longer be seperated by ability. High achievers can no longer be put into "honors" classes to move at a faster pace and slow students can no longer be put into special ed to teach them in way that better suits their needs. Instead, all students must be put in the same class so nobody feels inferior. I was stuck in an English class with a guy who didn't speak English. My mom has a retarded kid in her 4th period class, which must be co-taught by a special ed teacher who is stone deaf, requiring a translator. She's a crappy teacher, to boot.

    Then there's all the time focusing on taking away a child's innocence to make sure that sex is taught as a safe and natural, perfectly acceptable activity as long as it's with a condom before the evil conservatives can move in and make it something sacred.

    With all the political correctness taught, there's no time to fit in actual curriculum.

    2. Culture - 20+ years ago, culture propped up astronauts and scientists as heroes. These guys were getting us into space. Smart people were regarded as people worth modeling your life after. If you worked hard enough and got a good education, you could be like one of these guys. Now, the heroes are 'gangstas,' rappers, athletes, and several other knuckleheads who have no education, are dumb as a stump, and glorify similar careers that lead mostly to ruin. With people like these guys as heroes, children just aren't interested in education. They don't think they'll ever use it, and won't care until it's too late and they realize that college is out of reach and the only career they'll have involves french fries, because the careers they thought would lead to riches and fame are very exclusive and available only to a handful of people.

    Then comes the entitlement culture. It's the same reason service is so bad now. Everybody thinks that showing up is all that's needed. They punch in, punch out, and want a paycheck, regardless of the in-between. Now, they punch in, punch out, and want their grade. That's all they should have to do. You have to give them everything else, because it's not your place to withold it. Hard work has no value in today's society, because everybody seems to have an attitude that the world owes them and that they shouldn't have to work for it.

    3. Parents - Parents are ruining more children every day than even KKKarl Rove's hurricane factory could hope to do in a year. Instead of pressuring their kids to excel at what they do, they instead yell and gripe every time the kids get in trouble or make a bad grade. They take the attitude that their children are perfect, so if they get in trouble or get a bad mark, it must be that the teacher has it out for them, or is racist, or is mean, or whatever. What they do is teach their kids that they can do whatever they want, because mommy and daddy will always make it all better. Are mommy and daddy still gonna bail them out when they get sent to jail for 20 years because the only job the kid could get is drug-dealer?

    No amount of money thrown at schools can get these problems fixed. The "No Child Left Behind Act" puts everything on the teachers, but it's rarely the teacher's fault, since most of the kids simply don't want to learn. When this legislation was introduced, somebody came to my mom's school to explain it. When shown the fact that the kids would have to pass tests for the teachers to get credit for doing a good job, somebody asked why that was. The guy said, "Well, I used to make grape jelly for a reason, but I couldn't just make jelly. It had to be good jelly or I could never sell it. It's just like that here. Your product is students who know the subject. You have to turn this product out in order to succeed in this business, just like any other." The next question was, "What would happen if you got a shipment of sour grapes from the produce truck?" The obvious reply was, "Oh, I'd tell the produce guy I wouldn't take them. I can't work with sour grapes." You know, the teachers cannot simply refuse bad students, so why are we concentrating on them when the real problem lies in the students? Everything else possible is being blamed for education, but the real fault lies on the students. The sooner we realize this, the better, because PC, lawsuit-controlled indoctrination centers are turning out total idiots with high self-esteem and no way to handle criticism.
     
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  2. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    Maybe that's the whole point. Stupid people who are indoctrinated to think a certain way and are totally dependent on the government will be so much easier to rule over..... like sheep in a stockade. Also, criticism is a no-no, even better for those who want to rule. If you can't criticize anyone, you can't criticize those who rule, either.
     
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  3. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    BRILLIANT!! Rep points for you. :thup:
     
  4. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    my state spends 50cents for every tax dollar on education, yet the people here still bitch that we need to spend more money.

    how about we get rid of 4 of the 5 secretaries that each the superintendants have? how about making kids more responsible for their own learning? how about not spending money (i have seen as high as $50k on one) on stupid motivational speakers that the kids just mock and make fun of afterward? how about not coddling people who refuse to learn in high school. they are old enough to know that if they don't at least have a hs diploma, they will be hard pressed later in life. how about parents not blaming the teachers for their kids' behavior problems, when everything (nearly) starts at home.
     
  5. Hagbard Celine
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    Hagbard Celine Senior Member

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    When are they going to invent a machine that just puts all the information in your head automatically like in that crappy Scientology movie with John Travolta? I'd buy stock in that!
     
  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    No they aren't. We 'teach' less, because of demands of parents, lack of support by administration, and in many districts an emphasis on tests. There are also the problems of dealing with sexual orientation, parental problems, peer problems, and addiction issues.
    Tests scores are actually mixed. The tests have been dumbed down, but some of that is the result of a drive by business for more 'process teaching' rather than direct instruction. That is problematic though, since kids really don't get the process prior to seeing a broader picture. I can see the argument from the pov of business, for many reasons, kids come out of high school without the basics of what they need. Education, in its infinate ability to screw things up even more, have started emphasizing processes in 3rd grade-8th grade, when there is no groundwork. Go figure. [/quote]
    Minor or non-existant in most good suburban schools. Dire problem in lower income/many city schools-guess who gets the money? Guess who can afford to hire grant writers?
    Actually other than being 'all inclusive', meaning even those with just a brain stem, Down's syndrome, life threatening illnesses, being included in standardized test scores, not a horrible criteria. One other issue is there are no accomodations made for ESL students, they cannot score at the level of US born children-thus lowering the 'ability of especially Hispanics' across the board'.
    I'm kind of confused with where you are going here. Are you speaking of children being taught or what 'education departments' are teaching wannabe teachers?
    Have to agree with you here. All the data backs tracking by ability, from special ed-giftedness. Yet the education community clings to their 'vision' of 'self-esteem' with no data to back it up. In a class of 25, there may be 2-3 'gifted' students; 2-5 with some sort of 'LD' problems, and 1 with a serious BD problem, who may be part of the other 2 groups or not. Three groups, with the BD kid either standing alone or integrated if possible with support, would be much better served than trying to get the high helping the low. The middle kids are always left out now...
    In all honesty, have not seen this in public or parochial schools. In either case, the worst that can be said for 'hero making' is saying that some 'minority' stood up and was blown away as an example.

    As for 'showing up' being enough. More than agree with you here, though you are drifting towards the 3rd point.
    You have no idea how big a problem this is! You would NEVER say your child should get away with doing less than there best, because your family had something to attend to. You would NEVER say that their practice last night should be a reason that their homework should be accepted late, for Full Credit! You would NEVER demand that they should have their work given in advance or that accomodations should be made for time lost, because you want to take them out of school for 3 days-21 days, because YOU cannot fit your vacation within a 3 months summer, 2 weeks at Christmas, excuse me, winter break; or 1 week in the Spring. Your job is just SO difficult.
    Actually there are a lot of really bad teachers. There are way too many that are fixated on one subject in the lower grades, especially reading. They do not seem able to understand that you can teach reading, while teaching science, social studies, geography, math, etc. In the upper grades there are too many teachers unwilling to accomodate for different abilities and interests. I get that with social studies, many are 'turned off', yet they like science or literature. I do know how to use the time periods for grabbing them. In high school, one has to show them what's in it for them.
    I may seem like Miss Nicey, but rarely is it the kids' fault. Parents', yeah. Teachers', yeah. Administration, yeah. Kids? Not really. What I hold the kids accountable for is their behavior and attitude. It may be parochial school, I have my students for 3 years. I let them know me, while I get to know them. I can think of only 2 kids that I felt were so 'problematic' there was little hope for, that I could see. I do hope that they found someone they could look up to...
     
  7. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Well stated. Can't rep you, though. Now, I know I've got skewed perspectives, but I have a small sample size.

    Now, I understand your view of blaming parents instead of students, but I think it lies in both places. Sure, it's the parents' fault the kids weren't raised right, but these kids have been shown how important a degree is, yet the MAJORITY of my mom's English students keep saying stupid crap like, "I don't need to talk good just to get a job," or "My daddy cut pulp wood and my grandaddy cut pulp wood and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me, and I don't need to know all this [deleted] to cut no pulp wood." They show up and they don't pay attention, they do no work, they don't even try to learn anything, and then their parents gripe out my mom when they fail and have to take remidial English over the summer. Most programs attack the teachers. The fault lies on the parents, kids, and idiotic beaurocrats who just don't get it, in that order.
     
  8. rcajun90
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    rcajun90 Member

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    1. Home - Discipline at home today is lacking. How many times in public have you seen a child talking to their mother like a dog? They then take their little monsters and drop them off so they can rest and expect teachers them to do the parenting. Many of today’s adults are nothing more than big kids themselves and they don't support the schools are teachers. I've seen many of them at my son’s schools breaking rules and giggling about it. What a wonderful message to send the children. I don't think this problem can be fixed. It is the way of our society and you can see this in extremes the farther you go down the social ladder. With supportive and stable parents you don't have a very good foundation to build character.

    2. Schools - Why are teachers the only people on earth that are paid if they produce results or not? There are many high trained dedicated teachers that work their tails off but they get paid the same amount as the teacher that pushes worksheets and plays on the computer. There is no free market system but simply a version of communism in schools. After a while many just say the heck with it and push paper and watch the clock.
    Discipline is a major issue. You can't do anything that might upset the little tykes or hurt their self esteem. Basically the only option a teacher has is some sort of timeout system. Also when you do resort to this you better get a lawyer because their parents will come after you. The teacher is not just on the level of the student but in reality below it.

    3. Certification - This is the biggest scam. Do you know that in most states a teacher only needs 12 hours in the subject they plan to teach? That's four classes which hardly makes you a master in the field. I knew math teachers that couldn't do simple Algebra. Let anyone with a degree in the field get in there and try to do their job. If they can't then get rid of them. Teaching is an art that some have and some do not. I firmly believe that certification is only in place to keep the education professors at colleges employed. Ask any certified teacher if they use or even remember the junk they push. Also certification creates an artificial barrier into the profession.

    4. Flavor of the month teaching methods - Education should be fun right? BS. It should be fun if the teacher is good enough and you have a natural aptitude for the subject that you want to know more. I could have had the best Math and English teachers in the world but I would have hated it. I learned Math and English to get through college by countless hours of hard work. Not a bad life lesson. I love some of the things schools have tried like cooperative learning (doing your homework with a buddy) and my all time favorite group testing (taking a test with your buddy). Also they push activities and group projects over lectures and testing. Do you want your airplane pilot to have learned his profession through this method? The kids do have fun with all of this but they don’t really learn anything. Parents love looking at their kids projects so the principal is happy. Everyone is happy but the student didn’t learn very much.

    In short, the attitude at home has to change which I think is impossible. Teachers need to discipline and also be paid on results. Get rid of year long contracts and certification and use good old fashion capitalism. Get discipline methods that actually work (I don’t see what’s wrong with corporal punishment if done right). Go back to the old ways of teaching and stop worrying about if the students are being entertained. Throwing money at the problem will only enrich the school board. You might be able to tell that I use to teach.
    :eek:
     
  9. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    To answer an interesting question cajun posed, I'll paraphrase my mom. Teachers don't get merit-based pay because merit-based pay would have to be based on test scores. Teachers can't be graded on the performance of students because teachers don't get to hand pick their classes. My mom works her butt off every day trying to teach her kids, but most of them simply don't want to learn, resulting in about a 50% pass rate. Down the hall is a worksheet pushing robot who's only been teaching for a couple of years, but has a couple of neato sounding certifications, so she gets nothing but honor students. She gets teacher of the year almost every year. That's why teachers can't be graded on merit, because nobody actually wants to come up with a merit system that's fair to the teachers with bad students.
     
  10. rcajun90
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    There the problem lays with at least teachers. You could have a dedicated good teacher doing their best each day yet if they have a room full of future wards of the state, then their work will have been for not. I don't suggest that a teacher should be paid off of student performance on standardized test but rather on what they do each day. Standardized test are a bit of scam also. I know a teacher that use to give the students or "help" them to get the right answers where her kids always got high grades. Standarized test also might shock you what they actually test. The social studies portion doesn't ask you basic history questions that everyone should know but instead word problems like "if Apu eats a lot of fish and knows how to swim, then little Apu is likely to live near what?" Principals use to walk around and actually see what's going on in the classroom. Pay teachers on what they are actually doing and any improvement that the same group of kids show from one year to the next on achievement tests. I don't know if it would work but someone needs to come up with a system where people like your mom that are working their tails off is paid more than a worksheet pusher.
     

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