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Elementary School Kids Elementary School Kids

What do you think is the problem with the U.S. education system/student

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Comparatively speaking, the United States does not starve its education system of revenue. The U.S. is one of the leaders in spending on Education, and yet it's schools are rated "average" by international bodies.

The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.

Worse, out of 34 OECD countries, only 8 have a lower high school graduation rate. The United States' education outcomes most resemble Poland's, a nation that spends less than half on education than the U.S.


The U.S. spent an average of $10,615 per student in 2010.  Some districts spent over $18,000 (D.C., NY).  Obviously, we can't throw money at a problem like this. 

So what is the real issue here?

Update:  This post just blew up today.  It's going to take me a while to read all of this.

by on Sep. 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Replies (241-250):
WesternNYmom
by Bronze Member on Sep. 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I agree. Our district moved away from the grading system that was established under no child left behind, but they still use standardized test in math, reading, and science to evaluate the district's performance. Overall, the students here did pretty well, but I hate how the teacher are required to spend the majority of the school year preparing for these tests. I also noticed that the amount of time being spent on Social Studies, and Language Arts is limited, and the kids only get outside for recess if the teacher gets through the material she needs to get though in the day.  I don't blame the teachers for this, as they have a  strict curriculum that they have to follow, and if they don't follow the State's curriculum, they will be terminated.  I miss the old days when school was about the 3 Rs, and you learned history, geography, and science.  I also miss the days when the schools felt that getting outside for 30mins a day was important.  I can only imagine how boring it must be for these kids to have to sit at a desk for 6 hours a day.  The only break for class work my kids get is when they go to PE, art, or music, or once a week, when they go to the school's library or computer lab.  I am also annoyed that my kids only get 20mins to eat lunch. This isn't too bad when they pack a lunch, but when they decide to buy, the kids spent almost 10mins of  their lunch time waiting in line, and they end up with only 10mins to scarf down their lunch, and then it is time to bring up their trays. No wonder kids have lousy table manners today. My kids used to have great table manners before they started going to school full time. Now, they inhale their meals in under 10mins,  and I am constantly reminding them to slow down, take the time to chew, and to eat with their mouth's closed.  It is driving me crazy.

Quoting sakpoints:

 

Quoting WesternNYmom:

I agree.  Up here the standardized tests are used to determine how much funding from the state each district receives the following year. Unfortunately that means, school who's student perform poorly on these exams get less funding than districts with better scores.  I have hated the  No Child Left Behind Act from the day it was written.  I was so happy when our district announce that it was moving away from it last  year. The reason I don't like it is because, under the Act, students are divided up into categories (African-American, Latino, Developmentally Disabled etc).  Each group is then evaluated seperately by how well they performed on the exam.  The overall performance then determines the amount of state funding the district gets. Districts who show lower test scores get less funding while districts with better scores receive and increase in funding.  It makes no sense to me. The only thing this is doing is punishing the students. There are several districts in this area that  can't afford to purchase updated equipment (computers, science lab equipment etc.) and some teachers are forced to teach history classes with outdated textbooks. The sad part is this was happening when I was in school. I remember in my 9th grade world civilization class, our textbooks were 20 years out of date, and my history teacher had to print out handouts from her textbook for the rest of what we needed to learn. Our school could not afford to purchase updated books that year. It was a mess.  That was in 1991, and the sad part is more students are being forced to learn this way. Sorry to rant, but it makes me mad.  

 

 

Quoting banana-bear:

Too many things to list out but the biggest issue I have is with standardized testing.

 I wish our school could move away from the tests.  Our school performed well over all but we did not meet the mark for reading in the 'lower economic level' students which caused our scool to fail AYP.  Since this was the second year in a row they had to send a letter home notifying parents and ask surrounding schools if they would be able to take any of our students at our districts transportation expense.  First I think our school does a great job and the children struggling are most likely from families that do not help their children at home. I would much rather the district using their money for something other than busing our kids to other districts that sadly would not do any better with the kids that are struggling.

 


xxshelbyxxx
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM
I agree that its probably a lot to do with these parents. I did good in school, my parents helped me as much as I needed it. My male cousin did horrible because his parents let him play video games from age 4 to this day, age 21, and he couldnt read for shit and failed half the classes and his parents blamed the teacher, switched him to MY school where he still Did bad. Theres either yuppie parents who spend loads of money on their kids but pay no attention to actual needs, then theres hillbilly ass parents like my boyfriends who can't spell or do math so they never thought it neccesary to help their son through school either and he cheated his way to passing. But you know what A LOT of it is in the OLDER grades? Drugs like heroin and meth are taking over and you guys wouldn't even ever guess it cuz your kids aren't old enough and they dont broadcast it to media BUT heroin is hurting over 72 million people nationwide. Most ages 13-21.
momofemy
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Well, how can so many kids get A's, when we're just an average country?  It seems inherently wrong.

0123456
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 9:53 PM

We expect every child of the same age to be at the same level. That's not realistic. We need to teach the child, not the age.

Also, teachers have had their hands tied behind their backs in regards to any kind of discipline. Kids get away with far too much with little to no consequences.

Enjoying education is not considered cool. We have glorified the slackers and called the achievers nerds. Even teachers are guilty of calling readers nerds and thinking it's cute. It's not. I read a post on a teacher board the other day that said, "Oh, I love my little nerds! I asked my seventh period class to get out their books and read, and they did. They were so quiet and good. I love nerds!" Seriously!!!!!? That's a teacher!

Inclusion classes are difficult to manage. They drag down the top and frustrate the bottom. Teachers must spend so much extra time with the kids that have difficulties that the top kids are often left to their own devices because teachers know that those kids will be fine on the test with or without education at their own level.

Bring back leveled classes and small special-ed classes. It is just common sense that a class full of kids at the top will go further if they are in a class full of other kids at the top. It won't be such an easy goal to be at the top of the class, so they'll have to put in extra effort, which will, in turn, take them further in their education.

A class full of lower kids should, of course, be smaller. Those kids can get more individualized attention and not face the embarassment of being at the bottom. Some will even get the confidence-boosting joy of being at the top. I had a student who clearly acted out when he felt dumb. He would instantly refuse to do the work because he knew it was difficult. If he was in a class of people that thought it was difficult, the teacher could spend more time on that topic, and he wouldn't have been so self-conscious.

We are so concerned about little Johnny finding out that he's in the bottom group that we just guaranteed he'll stay there by not providing the education that he needs. What sense does that make?

Also, there is an erosion of trust between parents and schools. This causes parents not to be as supportive when they are confronted with an issue because they truly don't know if they are getting the full and accurate story. There could be a child in your child's class that throws desks and makes the rest of the class have to vacate the room, but the parent is powerless in this situation. We are spending far too much time protecing the problem kids while our non-problem kids are paying a hefty price.

Yes, I have great sympathy for parents whose child has difficulties and cannot learn at the same rate or behave appropriately. That does not mean that the other 20 kids should be deprived of a proper education, yet that is exactly what is happening in today's schools.


Amac29
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 11:06 PM
What European countries do not require high school? Name them please. They may not call it high school but it's comparable in terms of going to age 17-18ish.

If charter schools are your answer consider that to get a child into a charter he must apply and there are always more applicants than spots so guess what happens, the charter can pick the creme de la creme of applicants and if the kid effs up, screw him, he goes back to his regular zoned school and the charter doesn't have to deal with him. And guess what else, you remove all the "good" kids from the regular school and then you lose all the models to strive for. Twenty years ago teachers were aggravated they had to endorse mediocrity and now??? Yup, mediocrity looks pretty damn appealing.

Tracking kids by ability is stupid. Put all kids with equal levels in the same room and any person with any sense will tell you compettition ceases, dialogue stagnates and students become complacent. Read any study on grouping by ability and you'll get it.

If schools lost kids, then they'd perform. Well there's a brilliant fea brainiac. And where will they go? Oh, that new high shool just built? With what funds? Property owners already bitch about a penny raised on their property taxes in the same sentence they say we need more money to fix the schools. Stop bitching on bond issues numbnuts and you'll see improvement. Get No Child Left Behind erased and let teachers teach the whole student and not the 30 multiple choice questions and how to decode them so the results can then decide how effective you are and if you are fit to serve as a test taker strategist instead of a sentient being wanting to take Johnny to the next level an show him learning occurs everywhere and sometimes, most times, a faceless score can't measure the capabilities of a heart that loves and a mind that questions.

I was damn good and I left because I wasn't allowed to teach the way I know I can reach students. And how did I know? I was there, with them, listening to them, talking with them, asking them what they thought and cared about, what they believed in and I helped them articulate it without judgement and encouraged them to build from there, grow from there.

What do our schools need to do? Believe in teachers and let them get to know their students as humans and not as their paycheck. Support them. Help them. Volunteer and then vote down legislation and politicians who fuck with this goal.
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0123456
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM


Quoting Amac29:


Tracking kids by ability is stupid. Put all kids with equal levels in the same room and any person with any sense will tell you compettition ceases, dialogue stagnates and students become complacent. Read any study on grouping by ability and you'll get it.


I guarantee you that, for every study you find against tracking, I can find another one that shows evidence of its many benefits. There's no sense in arguing about it. The experts can't agree either. I think you need to use some common sense and facts to come up with your conclusions, and you think I do. So be it.

CheyJacksMom
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 4:51 PM
Oh - I'm jealous. No seriously.

Quoting Jinx-Troublex3:

DD goes to a charter school and goes to"group class" ONE DAY A WEEK. She is homeschooled the other 4 days.

It has kids from 1st ~ 5th grade. At times, the older kids help and mentor the yunger kids who are challenged to work above grade level, and other times they get to do "easy work" which is fun andsimple but reinforces the basics. Kind of like the one room schoolhouses of old.

She LOVES it and the teacher that runs it is FABULOUS.

Beth Nicole


patriotic 

Amac29
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM
I taught for 18 years and still work in the schools. This is better than common sense and hands on, first person testimonial that has formed this opinion. You can do more with a class that has varying levels of abilities and skill sets. Allows for more dynamic, engaging instruction.


Quoting 0123456:



Quoting Amac29:




Tracking kids by ability is stupid. Put all kids with equal levels in the same room and any person with any sense will tell you compettition ceases, dialogue stagnates and students become complacent. Read any study on grouping by ability and you'll get it.




I guarantee you that, for every study you find against tracking, I can find another one that shows evidence of its many benefits. There's no sense in arguing about it. The experts can't agree either. I think you need to use some common sense and facts to come up with your conclusions, and you think I do. So be it.


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0123456
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Opinion is the key word. There are countless others in education (I can think of several that I know personally) who have quite the opposite opinion. I know from my personal experience that you can do FAR less with a mixed class (especially a class with inclusion kids) than you could with a class of gifted or high achievers. Again -- opinion. We could argue about it, but there's no point.

Quoting Amac29:

I taught for 18 years and still work in the schools. This is better than common sense and hands on, first person testimonial that has formed this opinion. You can do more with a class that has varying levels of abilities and skill sets. Allows for more dynamic, engaging instruction.


Quoting 0123456:



Quoting Amac29:




Tracking kids by ability is stupid. Put all kids with equal levels in the same room and any person with any sense will tell you compettition ceases, dialogue stagnates and students become complacent. Read any study on grouping by ability and you'll get it.




I guarantee you that, for every study you find against tracking, I can find another one that shows evidence of its many benefits. There's no sense in arguing about it. The experts can't agree either. I think you need to use some common sense and facts to come up with your conclusions, and you think I do. So be it.



VeronicaTex
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 7:04 PM

In going with the present discussion, I always found I would get less done with the class  that had kids where the discipline was NOT enforced or encouraged in the home.

Those were the kids that robbed my time, not neccesarly the kids that were being "included."

Now matter what a teacher desires for herself, he/she may not always have the class of his/her dreams, the one that makes them feel good about themselves as teachers, the ones that are "easier".

I feel it is how the teacher chooses to deal with the class of the year.  

There is indeed a place for kids of all kinds one classroom.

What I liked about being in the Public School was something a fellow teacher said to me real early:  "If you can get through to these kids: the hardest type of kids to work with, you have really accomplished something." 


One other thing...I am tiring of hearing this term "dumbing down the test".  To someone who taught At Risk kids (Newcomers) in three public school just full of At Risk kids, to me it is insulting to read.


Sincerely,

Veronica



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