Report: Kids less likely to graduate than parents

  • Thread starter Astronuc
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  • #26
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I think the problem starts at the lowest level of education. I can't find the article but in the NY Times a few weeks ago was an about how 2nd-6th grade school teachers are not required to have high school level algebra skills. The school solution to this was to higher math tutors to come in and help teach the math. It the system seems broken from the bottom up.
No matter how good the system is its always going to be hard to draw kids into school when parents, and popular media are constantly telling them it is its boring and its just something they "have to do" instead of showing school is something they could enjoy instead of endure.
 
  • #27
mathwonk
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teaching to the test is bad, but it cannot be the sole responsibility of the teacher not to engage in it. An enduring memory for me is the scenes in the movie "Dead poets society" contrasting Robin Williams's character having the students tear out from their English books the deadeningly stupid discussion on written analysis, versus his rigid replacement asking students to turn to it and read it.

Then a short while later I read in the news that the outstanding teacher on whom the movie character was based, had been fired. I do not know the reasons for that event, but I do read every year in my city newspaper reports of comparative scores at local schools, and essentially nothing else. If the teacher's salary and tenure are based on test scores, it is a rare teacher who will resist teaching to that test.

The university of Georgia mathematics education department was recently honored for its "exemplary" job of preparing teachers by focusing on student understanding rather than just drilling on following procedures. The bad news is this: UGA was the ONLY exemplary department found in the nation, of the 77 programs examined.
 
  • #28
turbo
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When I was in HS, most kids in my town didn't (couldn't) go to college, and the few that did went to business school or teacher's college. After our junior year of HS, my cousin, another young lady, and another guy and I wanted more math, and we had exhausted the math curriculum of the tiny school. Our math teacher was a young guy a couple of years out of school, and he agreed to set up an advanced math class for our senior year, for just 4 kids. He expected a lot of us and he got it.

I'm pretty proud of that teacher. He agreed to coach the basketball team, and went on to earn 6 straight state class D titles, and achieved a two-year unbeaten streak despite having much larger class C schools in the regular schedule. One year, the team was invited to a special round-robin playoff over the holidays, and they went unbeaten, defeating the eventual Class A champions. Not bad for a school that topped out at 42 kids for the 1970 (baby boom) class that I graduated in.
 
  • #29
Here's a perspective from a high school junior:

First off, I take my education seriously.... I think there is some internal drive to do well, something that makes high achievers ascend even higher and other people just accept 'average'....

There reasons I think much of why we, as high school students, don't accomplish what many people say is 'good education' is because there is such an achievement gap these days between the top 10% and the bottom 10%.... head over to http://talk.collegeconfidential.com" [Broken] and take a look at just how motivated and accomplished some kids are these days... it is incredible.....
 
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  • #30
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The other unfortunate thing is when you "teach to a test," that's usually preparing students to think only in very concrete terms. "This is the question you'll be asked, and this is the answer you should give." It involves a lot of memorization without understanding. If they were better taught to apply critical thinking skills through more open-ended creative questions in the course, they could do very well on the exam even on topics they haven't covered in depth, because they should be able to reason their way through to the right answer. I don't want to see them just able to answer a question based on content they've memorized long enough to take a test and then forget by the time the summer recess is over, I want to see them learn how to think and reason through a problem so even when they encounter a question on something they have not learned, they can figure it out.
My school is adopting the IB program next year and on the one hand, it seems more rigorous and better overall than a typical high school program, but on the other hand I'm starting to get the impression that it's just another test prep style course, at least at the lower levels. Listen to the first sentence of a text I'm looking over: "This book has been written to help you prepare for and pass the Mathematical Studies exam". That worries me.

Anybody here have experience with IB, as a student or a teacher? I have a feeling it's a pretty good program, but I'm getting tired of hearing IB representatives acting like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
 
  • #31
thrill3rnit3
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Maybe it's just me, but damn it, just make the curriculum harder.

Forces the kids to actually study and forces the teachers to actually know the material.

Instead of some watered down bullcrap education we have in the United States. They're trying to water it down to fit the knowledge and capability of the student. Damn, that makes students slack because they know that the teacher would adjust.

But if we actually made the students study, then there wouldn't be any problems. What can make them study? Harder material.

If they still don't want to study, then that's their problem, they should have fun mopping the floor at the nearby McDonalds.
 
  • #32
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Maybe it's just me, but damn it, just make the curriculum harder.

Forces the kids to actually study and forces the teachers to actually know the material.

Instead of some watered down bullcrap education we have in the United States. They're trying to water it down to fit the knowledge and capability of the student. Damn, that makes students slack because they know that the teacher would adjust.

But if we actually made the students study, then there wouldn't be any problems. What can make them study? Harder material.

If they still don't want to study, then that's their problem, they should have fun mopping the floor at the nearby McDonalds.
I think some schools try to make the curriculum harder but the teachers don't do as told. But yeah, I totally agree.
 
  • #33
thrill3rnit3
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Plus kids wanting to get rid of standardized testing is IMO more about them not wanting to prepare for it than them actually figuring out why "it's not a measure of one's true abilities"

puh-leeze. the stuff on the sat is not an 1/8ths as hard as college material.
 

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