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Joan in GE

When does your school district start offering foreign languages? & a second?

When and how many foreign languages are offered in your school district?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. When and how many foreign languages are offered in your school district?

    • foreign language offered in Primary school, Jr Hi, and Sr. Hi
      38
    • foreign language offered in Jr. Hi. and Sr. Hi.
      56
    • foreign languages ONLY offered in Sr. Hi.
      45
    • more than one foreign language offered in Primary school
      8
    • more than one foreign language offered in Jr. Hi...
      31


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This is the same as in Switzerland...but here, the failure rate the first year is very high. That is their means of selecting....Do they do that in Germany too?

 

 

Yes. At least, that's what they did before switching to the new bachelor system (I liked the old five year diploma system much better).

Admitting students and then having them drop out via weed out courses is such a waste of time and resources.

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Thanks regentrude!

 

Ok - I see it is the same....

 

I guess they think it is the only way to really make sure that kids have a chance at doing higher studies no matter their background. In some ways it is more egalitarian than in the US, don't you think? Now, it would be interesting to see studies comparing how many students get through higher studies even if their parents didn't in the different countries...

 

About the 5 year diploma - I thought that now it is just broken into two parts....3 years for a Bachelors and 2 more for a Masters....Are you saying that the total amount learned in the 5 years is now different?

 

Joan

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About the 5 year diploma - I thought that now it is just broken into two parts....3 years for a Bachelors and 2 more for a Masters....Are you saying that the total amount learned in the 5 years is now different?

 

 

The structure is different, and I have grave concerns about the learning outcomes. During their bachelor phase, students have to scramble to collect the required credits, and it is very much like school; there is much less academic freedom of study, much less tailoring the course to fit your needs. The necessity to cram everything into the three years means that students' choice of classes is often determined entirely by scheduling concerns, and not, as it would be desirable, by academic interest.

My niece is currently attending a German university under the new system. Back when I went to uni, we had to work extremely hard and had little free time because the material was conceptually hard- but what is happening now is just crazy, because the hectic is driven by checking boxes and filling in credits, not by content.

I have no data to compare the amount learned, but I am concerned about the attitudes and study habits of the students under the new system.

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The structure is different, and I have grave concerns about the learning outcomes. During their bachelor phase, students have to scramble to collect the required credits, and it is very much like school; there is much less academic freedom of study, much less tailoring the course to fit your needs. The necessity to cram everything into the three years means that students' choice of classes is often determined entirely by scheduling concerns, and not, as it would be desirable, by academic interest.

My niece is currently attending a German university under the new system. Back when I went to uni, we had to work extremely hard and had little free time because the material was conceptually hard- but what is happening now is just crazy, because the hectic is driven by checking boxes and filling in credits, not by content.

I have no data to compare the amount learned, but I am concerned about the attitudes and study habits of the students under the new system.

 

That is troubling, especially as my dd has lately decided that she'd really like to attend a German university. (Not sure how realistic this is for a whole host of reasons, but it's what she's thinking of now). If it motivates her to work hard in school (she just started ps high school) and her German studies, I don't want to discourage her at this point!

 

Do you have any idea what the universities in Austria are like?

 

I'm also confused why they're trimming a year off the secondary schooling required before the Abitur.

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I'm also confused why they're trimming a year off the secondary schooling required before the Abitur.

 

Because students in Germany are old, compared to other countries, when they finish the 13 year high school, and because there really was not much learning in 13th grade in the states that have it - it was a lot of wasted time, review, coasting.

The top performing state in Germany, Saxony, has had the Abitur after 12th grade forever (they did it in East Germany where we got a very good education, and just kept the working system). It is perfectly possible to learn all the stuff in 12 years, with a well structured, no-nonsense curriculum. Students do not graduate from the 13 year schools with more knowledge.

 

Just curious: why would your DD want to attend a German university?

For us, the messed up German university system is one of the main factors that make us stay in the US (even though I really would have preferred to live there for the school education through 12th grade)

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Our local school district is fairly pathetic.

 

Spanish and French only are offered. Three years of Spanish or three years of French. They aren't allowed to start foreign language until the sophomore year so that they have an extra hour of "math support" whether or not they need that. This is because Michigan, in its ever increasing demonstration of educational insanity, mandated that ALL students including special ed students MUST have four years of math of which three must be algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2! :001_huh: So, the school had to fire the German teacher, the art teacher, and the choir teacher (her responsibilities were added to the band teacher's work load) in order to hire three math specialists to tutor and instuct special ed classes in these subject areas. Since many of the children struggle with basic arithmetic, there just isn't anyway they can "pass" a legitimate algebra based course. So, as my friend who teaches algebra 2 and pre-calc at this school put it, "Grade inflation and bald-faced lying at it's greatest height!" He can't wait to retire.

 

Off topic - in order to add more remedial classes to the teachers' schedules, they eliminated all AP courses except chemistry and Calc AB and those were kept only because the parents of this year's seniors, who were counting on taking those exams, got UGLY at a school board meeting. It has already been announced that next year NO AP or honors' classes will be offered in order to further increase remedial options to increase the test scores of the underperforming students. I'm not certain what they expect to do with the kids who doodle in the margins of the MEAP exams and give random answers because they don't care. It doesn't seem like there is any way to "remediate" the attitude out of them! :tongue_smilie:

 

Faith

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K-2, all schools offer SOME foreign language. As a once a week 45 minute "give the teacher a break" class. However, only a few offer it in grades 3-6, and those are the ones that have a special grant for K-12 where they'll offer, say, Japanese in K-12 at an elementary school, middle school and high school zoned together, but if a child was zoned into an elementary school without that grant, they won't have the option of Japanese in middle school or high school because the course assumes having had the K-5 background in the language.

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Just curious: why would your DD want to attend a German university?

For us, the messed up German university system is one of the main factors that make us stay in the US (even though I really would have preferred to live there for the school education through 12th grade)

 

There's been a lot of talk at her Sat. School about how much cheaper it is to attend university over there, and a lot of the kids there will be going (a lot of German natives, and expatriates only here for a while).

 

Also, she's been to Germany 3 times and thinks it's just so much better than the US (reason 1 being Brötchen). She has plans to leave the US after she graduates and live in Germany, Iceland, England, and all over Scandinavia. I told her she'd better come back to visit!

 

She's currently obsessed with Iceland and working harder on learning Icelandic than either German or Spanish (in which she has classes), but she doesn't think she could get fluent enough by then. Unless she can find an exchange program to Iceland (yeah, she's got that dream too...) Oy.

 

I know how much less hand-holding there is in German universities than here; it gives me pause. I went to Gymnasium for a year after I graduated US high school and then back to US university; that seems like a better plan to me. :tongue_smilie: But we've got a long time till any of this becomes reality, so I'm just riding it out at this point...

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Now Laura - I'm really curious how you came across such an article - and how funny that it happens to be regentrude's home town...

 

Hi, Joan! I read that article when it first came out. I am trying -- valiantly, and when I think of it -- to keep up my German, so I try to read Spiegel online and watch some of their news videos. In my 20s I lived in Austria & Germany and even enrolled at a German uni ... more recently I spent 7 years in the Suisse Romande (as you know!) and so I try to keep up my French by reading L'Hebdo :001_smile: or, from my husband's business trips to France, the latest issue of L'Express or whatever he picks up.

 

Just in the last few months I've become obsessed with *Spanish* and have realized I could do complete immersion here -- *everything* in the stores is in Spanish as well as English, ATMs, library; I hear people speaking it everywhere (and am friends with several native speakers), etc. So ... it's a juggling act, and Korean and Latin are on the back burner, but it's fun! :D

 

My son is taking German 4 through OSU right now, so I do need to keep up my German so I can quiz him. Besides which, I just think German is a fun language :001_smile:

 

Just recently our sleepy little town has acquired many people from Russia, iran, and Afghanistan ... so after I have Spanish down, haha, I would love to take a stab at Russian, Farsi, Arabic ... !!!

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In our school district, Spanish IA is offered in 7th grade and IB in 8th grade, so an incoming high school freshman would take Spanish II.

 

Or the students can wait until high school to start taking Spanish, French, German, or ASL. I think ASL is only available for 3 years, and the others have 4 years, with the last year being an AP class.

 

Two years of the same foreign language is mandatory for TX public school kids to graduate, 3 years if they are graduating under the advanced graduation plan.

 

We're trying to teach Spanish at DH's insistence but I'd prefer not to teach it at all on our own. :glare: IMO that is really a class that needs to be outsourced. DS would prefer to learn ASL so I linked him up and let him learn on his own time.

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During their bachelor phase, students have to scramble to collect the required credits, and it is very much like school; there is much less academic freedom of study, much less tailoring the course to fit your needs.

 

regentrude - thanks for your answer!

 

But how does the 'credit' and box checking differ from the US situation of getting credits?

 

My understanding of the Abitur and Swiss matu is that a student is basically supposed to have their 'liberal arts' exposure during 'high school' and then concentrate on the major in university. So if in a US university one still has to get the 'liberal arts' type exposure, plus get the credits for the 'major', how is it really different in terms of credits for the major?

 

Hi, Joan! I read that article when it first came out. I am trying -- valiantly, and when I think of it -- to keep up my German, so I try to read Spiegel online and watch some of their news videos. In my 20s I lived in Austria & Germany and even enrolled at a German uni ... more recently I spent 7 years in the Suisse Romande (as you know!) and so I try to keep up my French by reading L'Hebdo :001_smile: or, from my husband's business trips to France, the latest issue of L'Express or whatever he picks up.

 

Just in the last few months I've become obsessed with *Spanish* and have realized I could do complete immersion here -- *everything* in the stores is in Spanish as well as English, ATMs, library; I hear people speaking it everywhere (and am friends with several native speakers), etc. So ... it's a juggling act, and Korean and Latin are on the back burner, but it's fun! :D

 

My son is taking German 4 through OSU right now, so I do need to keep up my German so I can quiz him. Besides which, I just think German is a fun language :001_smile:

 

Just recently our sleepy little town has acquired many people from Russia, iran, and Afghanistan ... so after I have Spanish down, haha, I would love to take a stab at Russian, Farsi, Arabic ... !!!

 

Seems like your efforts are bearing fruit - esp in keeping up with what's happening in Germany. :001_smile:

 

It also sounds like you could have some kind of international type of work in the future with all your language interests....

 

Question about OSU German 4....dd is a bit disappointed with year 3 because there aren't videos of grammar explanations like in year 1 and 2...Also she didn't like the text choice of Die Ilse ist weg as the story is pretty meaningless in terms of what she can relate to. I should probably discuss this on a German thread....What texts are you reading in year 4?

 

Thanks!

Joan

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They aren't allowed to start foreign language until the sophomore year so that they have an extra hour of "math support" whether or not they need that. This is because Michigan, in its ever increasing demonstration of educational insanity, mandated that ALL students including special ed students MUST have four years of math of which three must be algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2! :001_huh: So, the school had to fire the German teacher, the art teacher, and the choir teacher (her responsibilities were added to the band teacher's work load) in order to hire three math specialists to tutor and instuct special ed classes in these subject areas. Since many of the children struggle with basic arithmetic, there just isn't anyway they can "pass" a legitimate algebra based course. So, as my friend who teaches algebra 2 and pre-calc at this school put it, "Grade inflation and bald-faced lying at it's greatest height!" He can't wait to retire.

 

Off topic - in order to add more remedial classes to the teachers' schedules, they eliminated all AP courses except chemistry and Calc AB and those were kept only because the parents of this year's seniors, who were counting on taking those exams, got UGLY at a school board meeting. It has already been announced that next year NO AP or honors' classes will be offered in order to further increase remedial options to increase the test scores of the underperforming students. I'm not certain what they expect to do with the kids who doodle in the margins of the MEAP exams and give random answers because they don't care. It doesn't seem like there is any way to "remediate" the attitude out of them! :tongue_smilie:

 

What a story! And that is the worst I've heard so far - starting in the sophomore year!

 

K-2, all schools offer SOME foreign language. As a once a week 45 minute "give the teacher a break" class. However, only a few offer it in grades 3-6, and those are the ones that have a special grant for K-12 where they'll offer, say, Japanese in K-12 at an elementary school, middle school and high school zoned together, but if a child was zoned into an elementary school without that grant, they won't have the option of Japanese in middle school or high school because the course assumes having had the K-5 background in the language.

 

 

 

In our school district, Spanish IA is offered in 7th grade and IB in 8th grade, so an incoming high school freshman would take Spanish II.

 

Or the students can wait until high school to start taking Spanish, French, German, or ASL. I think ASL is only available for 3 years, and the others have 4 years, with the last year being an AP class.

 

Two years of the same foreign language is mandatory for TX public school kids to graduate, 3 years if they are graduating under the advanced graduation plan.

 

We're trying to teach Spanish at DH's insistence but I'd prefer not to teach it at all on our own. :glare: IMO that is really a class that needs to be outsourced. DS would prefer to learn ASL so I linked him up and let him learn on his own time.

 

Thank you both for more descriptions..... I can see there are so many disparities in the 'system'... I had thought that things were difficult for moving 'cantons' in Switzerland in general (patchwork approach like the US - but in terms of levels, not languages), but I see that at least in terms of languages, at least, the situation is quite difficult in the US too....If people move, their options change drastically, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse in terms of language study....

 

I can see how, if a family is not home educating, the move could center around school district choices....

 

Joan

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Off topic - in order to add more remedial classes to the teachers' schedules, they eliminated all AP courses except chemistry and Calc AB and those were kept only because the parents of this year's seniors, who were counting on taking those exams, got UGLY at a school board meeting. It has already been announced that next year NO AP or honors' classes will be offered in order to further increase remedial options to increase the test scores of the underperforming students.

 

Faith

 

Are those students being offered a class instead of AP/honors? I'm wondering what the savings is as the cost to run an honors section is the same as the cost to run a reg. ed. section and less than the cost to run a full inclusion or a remedial section as the latter have add'l certified teachers and aides as well as the head teacher who is in charge of the course.

 

Here, the savings gained from eliminating IB and some of the AP and honors courses were in the IB fees and in the stipend the teacher gets for teaching a fifth period and having multiple preps, as there are usually not 4 sections of AP offered.

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Are those students being offered a class instead of AP/honors? I'm wondering what the savings is as the cost to run an honors section is the same as the cost to run a reg. ed. section and less than the cost to run a full inclusion or a remedial section as the latter have add'l certified teachers and aides as well as the head teacher who is in charge of the course.

 

Here, the savings gained from eliminating IB and some of the AP and honors courses were in the IB fees and in the stipend the teacher gets for teaching a fifth period and having multiple preps, as there are usually not 4 sections of AP offered.

 

No, there will be NOTHING for the more advanced students. They made that very clear, "Smart kids will be okay even if we don't have anything for them." That is a direct quote.

 

They'll take remedial or at best, "average" (whoever that is defined) classes. There is no dual enrollment either because the only community college within close commuting distance is so poor that the credits are not accepted at most of the state uni's...a few regional, non-ranked colleges will take them, but none of the better institutions.

 

So a "smart kid" will be able to get through pre-calc but no calc will be offered. There will be three non-remedial sciences but not considered honors level - biology, chemistry, and physics. In remedial sciences, life science (billed by the teacher as approximately 6th grade level) and general science (also approximately middle school level) and physical science is taught in 8th grade so that is not taught at the senior high.

 

English - remedial or general for four years and one American Literature class which is not labeled honors

 

U.S. History, World History, Geography, Civics/U.S. Government (1/2 credit) and Economics (1/2 credit) none of which is honors, AP, IB, or anything else.

 

Three years of Spanish or three years of French and due to scheduling (aka, thinning out the faculty) students cannot take two languages at once.

 

One year of art, four years of band and choir, one year of woodworking, health, and the option of "work for credit" - these are not internships, but you can get credit for whatever you do so long as your employer rights up a recommendation at the end of the semester.

 

Of, the other option is to go to the skill center and take a trades class. Any class that requires the use of numbers in any way - literally (as math teacher friend indicated) if you have to count to 10 on your fingers, you are given a credit of "math elective" for the class.

 

Sigh....and they wonder why I don't send my kids there.

 

Meanwhile, again, I'm pretty certain their are parents using Michigan's "School of Choice" law to transfer out of the district. The law states that you can enroll your child in any school district of choosing as long as the district is accepting transfers and you provide the transportation or arrange to drop your child at an approved bus stop within that district.

 

Faith

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Ok Faith, you're actually winning the "worst ps district" competition. Mine is still subpar IMO and I'm really seeing that now that youngest is a junior there and some of his classes are dismal, but we're not quite that bad.

 

We are working a ton to pull our lower kids up and the lower kids now will barely have any room for any FL (they probably don't have room), but there are still a few offerings for top kids. Those offerings won't prepare them well for top colleges, but it's better than nothing (and a couple of teachers are trying to prepare them a little better).

 

Our state scores also have improved a bit last year though we're still below target and are "on warning." We're at 71% on grade level in math and 65% in reading. But some Keystones start this year... and most consider those tests more difficult. Youngest got Advanced in Bio two years ago when they field tested it. 9% in the state got Advanced. They wouldn't tell me what our school numbers were... they just said, "not quite that much."

 

We haven't dropped anything (yet) in our effort to bring up the lower kids. I hope it stays that way. Classes are larger now that most retiring teachers haven't been replaced, but we still offer options.

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Meanwhile, again, I'm pretty certain their are parents using Michigan's "School of Choice" law to transfer out of the district. The law states that you can enroll your child in any school district of choosing as long as the district is accepting transfers and you provide the transportation or arrange to drop your child at an approved bus stop within that district.

 

Faith

 

Oh, that's not so bad. The honors children aren't being denied access to the courses they need; they are being denied transportation.

 

Here we can transfer our children to any district that will accept them as long as we pay the tuition (it's $6-15k, depending on district, for unclassified students). None of the districts I would consider are accepting transfers; they are all swamped as families are tripling up in apts and houses. I would have to pay $100k more to get the same home/land in a district that offers honors courses in math and science and is within the commute radius.

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Oh, that's not so bad. The honors children aren't being denied access to the courses they need; they are being denied transportation.

 

Here we can transfer our children to any district that will accept them as long as we pay the tuition (it's $6-15k, depending on district, for unclassified students). None of the districts I would consider are accepting transfers; they are all swamped as families are tripling up in apts and houses. I would have to pay $100k more to get the same home/land in a district that offers honors courses in math and science and is within the commute radius.

 

Here (PA) they just started letting students of lower income families transfer out of the bottom percentage schools taking their state money with them. One of those is very near us. The problem? No public school will agree to take the students. They list oodles of reasons, but the main one (only spoken in inner circles) is that they disagree with the law allowing it. If you can't buy in a better district, too bad for you.

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But how does the 'credit' and box checking differ from the US situation of getting credits?

 

It differs from the situation we had before, with the 5 year degree. Now the whole system is geared towards collecting credits and certificates which are done quickly; lots of testing and immediate deleting of the acquired knowledge. (It is the same short term learning I hate in teh US university system).

In contrast, when I went to university, we had comprehensive oral examinations. One exam after five semesters of math, over calc1-3, differential equations, statistics, complex analysis. one exam after six semesters of theoretical physics. Another after six semesters of experimental physics. You were expected to master the material long term and in a cumulative manner and you were tested on it.

(Here, we have exams every month so that the students do not have to remember too much material at one time; many finals are optional, and comprehensive exams after several semesters non-existent.

 

My understanding of the Abitur and Swiss matu is that a student is basically supposed to have their 'liberal arts' exposure during 'high school' and then concentrate on the major in university. So if in a US university one still has to get the 'liberal arts' type exposure, plus get the credits for the 'major', how is it really different in terms of credits for the major?

 

It is not so different; in Germany, the bachelor is only 3 years because of the better high school education. The whole idea of the new system was to make it similar to the American system.

Unfortunately, that has eliminated many of the better features.

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Here (PA) they just started letting students of lower income families transfer out of the bottom percentage schools taking their state money with them. One of those is very near us. The problem? No public school will agree to take the students. They list oodles of reasons, but the main one (only spoken in inner circles) is that they disagree with the law allowing it. If you can't buy in a better district, too bad for you.

 

It is unfair for the kids, but I can kind of understand why the schools feel this way. Put yourself in the shoes of the transferring-to schools: all of a sudden you'd have an influx of new kids who have been taught to a lower (or even just different) standard than you have all these years. Your aggregate test scores are probably going to drop, at least for a few years, making you look bad. You'll probably need to hire a bunch of new teachers, and where will they come from? The bad schools too? You'll have to start a bunch of remedial classes too. That can't look good.

 

As a homeschooler, I can't imagine how hard it would be to start to teach a high-school age student who hadn't been taught very rigorously previously.

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It is unfair for the kids, but I can kind of understand why the schools feel this way. Put yourself in the shoes of the transferring-to schools: all of a sudden you'd have an influx of new kids who have been taught to a lower (or even just different) standard than you have all these years. Your aggregate test scores are probably going to drop, at least for a few years, making you look bad. You'll probably need to hire a bunch of new teachers, and where will they come from? The bad schools too? You'll have to start a bunch of remedial classes too. That can't look good.

 

.

Every school district in my area has this problem as people move out of NYC Public and come to the suburbs and exurbs for the 'better schools'. The schools they move to do not have Title 1 funding, unlike the schools they left, so the districts are hard pressed to come up with remedial instruction for unclassified students. That and the increase in special needs means that unclassified students get squeezed out of electives as well as honors/accel in many areas as the teachers are pulled into offering double period req'd courses and 'math center' and 'science center' which is another name for add'l support. A county wide magnet for AP/IB/honors was proposed here a few years ago...anti-elitism quickly quenched that idea.

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Realized I popped into the middle of this thread and asked my own question and didn't answer the OP...

 

Our schools offer FL starting in grade 6.

 

In 6th, they get a sampler of all four languages that are offered (Spanish, French, Latin, German)

 

In 7th, they choose one and take it for 7th and 8th which combined equal one year of high school credit. Kids start in 9th at Level 2, unless they switch to a new language.

 

I think theoretically they could start a 2nd language in 9th, but practically there really isn't enough elective space to allow that to happen, unless a kid were really focused on FL.

 

School offers AP in all four languages offered.

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It is unfair for the kids, but I can kind of understand why the schools feel this way. Put yourself in the shoes of the transferring-to schools: all of a sudden you'd have an influx of new kids who have been taught to a lower (or even just different) standard than you have all these years. Your aggregate test scores are probably going to drop, at least for a few years, making you look bad. You'll probably need to hire a bunch of new teachers, and where will they come from? The bad schools too? You'll have to start a bunch of remedial classes too. That can't look good.

 

As a homeschooler, I can't imagine how hard it would be to start to teach a high-school age student who hadn't been taught very rigorously previously.

 

All true, but in our situation, since our school is on warning itself, we mainly don't want to have our state dollars moving should they choose to allow our students to leave. ;)

 

The school next to us doesn't have numbers all that different than ours.

 

The good thing is our school IS stepping up efforts to help the lower level kids - before they just shuffled them along (with help, but not intensive help). They are also starting to realize they need to put more depth into classes overall (Keystones and Common Core are seeing to that). Transitioning is slow and comes with many local complaints, but hopefully, the end product (educated students) will be better. It will just take a few years to get there, and, of course, no program will suit all the kids. We need a bit more of an overhaul IMO (allowing kids to be "done" with high school in 10th grade if they go to a trade school), but that's a different thread.

 

So far FL hasn't been dropped. Hopefully it won't be. It is in danger since it's not on any tests...

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It is unfair for the kids, but I can kind of understand why the schools feel this way. Put yourself in the shoes of the transferring-to schools: all of a sudden you'd have an influx of new kids who have been taught to a lower (or even just different) standard than you have all these years. Your aggregate test scores are probably going to drop, at least for a few years, making you look bad. You'll probably need to hire a bunch of new teachers, and where will they come from? The bad schools too? You'll have to start a bunch of remedial classes too. That can't look good.

 

As a homeschooler, I can't imagine how hard it would be to start to teach a high-school age student who hadn't been taught very rigorously previously.

 

 

I can understand that sentiment. However, I can tell you that in our area it is not the lower performing students who are transferring. The students who NEED challenge, crave it, and are motivated to work are the ones transferring out. These are students who want AP's, honors classes, and more rigorous studies and are willing to embrace the hardwork. These are the kids that already do fairly well on standardized tests despite less than stellar instruction. So, what has happened in the past couple of years is that the influx of these students out of our school district has raised scores in the schools they've matriculated to and that has caused lower averages in our school district. Our school district is eliminating all of the challenging classes, while the next district over is adding to their schedules to accomodate these new, motivated students. They may have to hire teachers, but they get the per-head funding to do it and it isn't hurting their budgets, it's helping.

 

I hate to say it, but many of the kids who don't really care and are just floating through high school with no drive to pursue anything well, are coming from homes in which that is the parental attitude about school and those parents AREN'T transferring their kids out because they don't think that any of this is a big deal. At least, that's the attitude presented at the school board meetings anyway. Statistics indicate that the vast majority of kids that are leaving the district are the top performers.

 

Faith

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I can understand that sentiment. However, I can tell you that in our area it is not the lower performing students who are transferring. The students who NEED challenge, crave it, and are motivated to work are the ones transferring out. These are students who want AP's, honors classes, and more rigorous studies and are willing to embrace the hardwork. These are the kids that already do fairly well on standardized tests despite less than stellar instruction. So, what has happened in the past couple of years is that the influx of these students out of our school district has raised scores in the schools they've matriculated to and that has caused lower averages in our school district. Our school district is eliminating all of the challenging classes, while the next district over is adding to their schedules to accomodate these new, motivated students. They may have to hire teachers, but they get the per-head funding to do it and it isn't hurting their budgets, it's helping.

 

I hate to say it, but many of the kids who don't really care and are just floating through high school with no drive to pursue anything well, are coming from homes in which that is the parental attitude about school and those parents AREN'T transferring their kids out because they don't think that any of this is a big deal. At least, that's the attitude presented at the school board meetings anyway. Statistics indicate that the vast majority of kids that are leaving the district are the top performers.

 

Faith

 

This is what I expect will happen here too. The one Catholic private high school is accepting their students last I heard. I doubt they'll get the low end students.

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This is what I expect will happen here too. The one Catholic private high school is accepting their students last I heard. I doubt they'll get the low end students.

 

But they get to say yes or no on a per-student basis. Do the public schools?

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But they get to say yes or no on a per-student basis. Do the public schools?

 

No one knows... and this is one of the legitimate reasons all public schools have declined to hop on board. The schools do think that the "opt in" aspect will be withdrawn soon since no public school opted in. Time will tell.

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In contrast, when I went to university, we had comprehensive oral examinations. One exam after five semesters of math, over calc1-3, differential equations, statistics, complex analysis. one exam after six semesters of theoretical physics. Another after six semesters of experimental physics. You were expected to master the material long term and in a cumulative manner and you were tested on it.

(Here, we have exams every month so that the students do not have to remember too much material at one time; many finals are optional, and comprehensive exams after several semesters non-existent.

 

That is quite a different system than any in my experience....

 

As a homeschooler, I can't imagine how hard it would be to start to teach a high-school age student who hadn't been taught very rigorously previously.

 

Yes...

 

A county wide magnet for AP/IB/honors was proposed here a few years ago...anti-elitism quickly quenched that idea.

 

I didn't know this existed in the US...I thought it was something that just happened over here......

 

Realized I popped into the middle of this thread and asked my own question and didn't answer the OP...

 

Thanks for answering matroyshka!

 

Joan

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It also sounds like you could have some kind of international type of work in the future with all your language interests....

 

Yes, I've been wondering what I can do with all my languages! The problem is I'm a jack of all trades and master of none ... sure, I know more German, French, etc. than the *average* American, but am nowhere near the fluency needed for professional work. We'll see what comes of this! :001_smile:

 

Question about OSU German 4....dd is a bit disappointed with year 3 because there aren't videos of grammar explanations like in year 1 and 2...Also she didn't like the text choice of Die Ilse ist weg as the story is pretty meaningless in terms of what she can relate to. I should probably discuss this on a German thread....What texts are you reading in year 4?

 

Yes, we were less than pleased with Die Ilse ist weg ... besides the dysfunctional family life, I thought it was too advanced. Your daughter should be happier with the German 4 texts, at least the first one -- Der Fall Schlachter, kind of a murder mystery/detective story. My 15yo son says it's "OK," "better than Ilse" -- which translated means, I think, that he likes it :001_smile:

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But they get to say yes or no on a per-student basis. Do the public schools?

 

 

Yes, the district has the choice to accept students from other districts or not. Now, I suppose that if a lot of lower functioning students were attempting to transfer out, then the neighboring district might opt out. However, that isn't the case. It's the kids who want to succeed and who have parents behind them that are willing to take on the paperwork plus the headache of transport for four years that are transferring so it tends to be a good thing for the receiving school district.

 

Faith

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Sorry to hear about the sorry state of foreign languages.

 

We have 3 immersion programs here-- Spanish, French and Mandarin-- that start in K. There are only a few hundred kids involved and our school system is huge. Many other schools have an afterschool language class for elementary grades but I think those are only taught once a week.

 

Some schools start a second language in grade 6, all start by grade 7. At most schools, middle school students will complete 1-3 years (1-2 credits) of high school level foreign language. They can choose between a number of languages. At the school one of my kids attended, the choice was Spanish or French starting in grade 7. At the school some other of my kids attended, they could start in grade 6 and choose from Spanish, French or Italian. Foreign language is not mandatory in middle school.

 

Starting in 9th, students can begin a 2nd foreign language. My kids' high school had Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and Arabic. Latin is only taught through level 4. Arabic is only taught through level 3. The other languages are taught to AP or IB level. The school system is huge and other languages taught in high schools in the school system are Japanese, Russian and American Sign Language.

 

For high school graduation with a regular (non special ed) diploma, students must have 2 years of a foreign language OR have completed a vocational tech program. Most students complete the foreign language credits.

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Yes, I've been wondering what I can do with all my languages! The problem is I'm a jack of all trades and master of none ... sure, I know more German, French, etc. than the *average* American, but am nowhere near the fluency needed for professional work. We'll see what comes of this! :001_smile:

 

 

 

Yes, we were less than pleased with Die Ilse ist weg ... besides the dysfunctional family life, I thought it was too advanced. Your daughter should be happier with the German 4 texts, at least the first one -- Der Fall Schlachter, kind of a murder mystery/detective story. My 15yo son says it's "OK," "better than Ilse" -- which translated means, I think, that he likes it :001_smile:

 

Hmmm...if you lived in a place with a lot of foreigners moving in, you could work on helping them adjust...

 

Thanks for the update on German IV...

 

Sorry to hear about the sorry state of foreign languages.

 

We have 3 immersion programs here-- Spanish, French and Mandarin-- that start in K. There are only a few hundred kids involved and our school system is huge. Many other schools have an afterschool language class for elementary grades but I think those are only taught once a week.

 

Some schools start a second language in grade 6, all start by grade 7. At most schools, middle school students will complete 1-3 years (1-2 credits) of high school level foreign language. They can choose between a number of languages. At the school one of my kids attended, the choice was Spanish or French starting in grade 7. At the school some other of my kids attended, they could start in grade 6 and choose from Spanish, French or Italian. Foreign language is not mandatory in middle school.

 

Starting in 9th, students can begin a 2nd foreign language. My kids' high school had Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and Arabic. Latin is only taught through level 4. Arabic is only taught through level 3. The other languages are taught to AP or IB level. The school system is huge and other languages taught in high schools in the school system are Japanese, Russian and American Sign Language.

 

For high school graduation with a regular (non special ed) diploma, students must have 2 years of a foreign language OR have completed a vocational tech program. Most students complete the foreign language credits.

 

Sounds like students have many more options in your district...hmmm...MD - guessing outside DC?

 

Joan

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I voted only in Sr High; honours kids can take Hon Span in gr 8, but that is now at the high school. In some areas gr 8 & 9 are jr high & in some gr 8 is middle school, but I voted Sr. High since that Hon Span class counts for high school GPA.

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I voted only in Sr High; honours kids can take Hon Span in gr 8, but that is now at the high school. In some areas gr 8 & 9 are jr high & in some gr 8 is middle school, but I voted Sr. High since that Hon Span class counts for high school GPA.

 

That's fine. I think that the poll doesn't really give an idea of the percent of kids taking FL so it will even out other votes....

 

Thanks!

Joan

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Our ps offers only Spanish (and the teacher is so bad that the immigrant kids can't understand her) and only 3 years and only in sr. high. The German program, with the overseas trip was cut years ago. However, we have a new football field.

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Our ps offers only Spanish (and the teacher is so bad that the immigrant kids can't understand her) and only 3 years and only in sr. high. The German program, with the overseas trip was cut years ago. However, we have a new football field.

 

:lol:

 

or should I say: :glare: :tongue_smilie: :thumbdown: :angry: :ack2: :(

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Our ps offers only Spanish (and the teacher is so bad that the immigrant kids can't understand her) and only 3 years and only in sr. high. The German program, with the overseas trip was cut years ago. However, we have a new football field.

 

Well, the people in your school district obviously haven't read Until it Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How it Harms Our Kids http://www.amazon.com/Until-It-Hurts-Americas-Obsession/dp/0807021180 !

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Well, the people in your school district obviously haven't read Until it Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How it Harms Our Kids http://www.amazon.com/Until-It-Hurts-Americas-Obsession/dp/0807021180 !

 

That looks like a good book! I hope it makes an impact.

 

However, we have a new football field.

 

How terribly sad!

 

This is one of the enormous differences between Switzerland (is it all of Europe?) and the US....Sports here are not part of the school experience. This makes such a difference in terms of funds not being chewed up for sports that only benefit a few....

 

Joan

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Ds#2's highschool offers Latin, French, & Te Reo Maori only. In year 9 only 1 semester is offered. Years 10-13 they are full year courses, but may need to be taken through the NZ Correspondence School if not enough students sign up for the course.

 

In Primary School (Years 1-8) most schools teach a bit of Te Reo Maori, but unless it is a Kura (Maori Immersion School) cultural understanding rather than language mastery is the object of the study. Any other language study during the primary school years is cultural, rather than mastery based & seldom covered long enough to aquire any real level of understanding IMHO.

 

Foreign language studyis not a requirement of either highschool qualifications or university entrance here in NZ.

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Foreign language study is not a requirement of either highschool qualifications or university entrance here in NZ.

 

Very interesting - I guess your closest neighbors speak English too, so no need for an FL...

 

What do they do with the extra time?

 

Joan

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The high school offers Spanish, French, and Japanese. The Jr. High and elementary schools do not offer any foreign languages. The Jr. High does have Sports History as an elective, though :p

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I answered more than one foreign language in primary school, but just realized that I don't know what the public school here does. DD is in private school. DOH!

 

Her kindergarten class has 14 hours mandatory English weekly and 1 hour a week in a second foreign language (French, German, or Spanish). The two languages continue through high school (with more time given to the second language and possibly less time to English, I can't remember).

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but just realized that I don't know what the public school here does. DD is in private school. DOH!

 

Her kindergarten class has 14 hours mandatory English weekly and 1 hour a week in a second foreign language (French, German, or Spanish).

 

I forgive you :001_smile:. For so much English though - I'm presuming this is because you're in Turkey (if that's what your sig line means)

 

The Jr. High does have Sports History as an elective, though :p

 

Now that really doesn't seem right to use tax payer dollars to teach something you can just read in a book.....

 

Joan

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Very interesting - I guess your closest neighbors speak English too, so no need for an FL...

 

What do they do with the extra time?

 

Joan

 

Primary school in NZ is 9:00-3:00 including 30 min for morning tea & 1 hour for lunch = 4 1/2 hours of time on task. These 4 1/2 hours include roll, library, PE, music, assembly, etc. Teachers are lucky to get 2 hours of academics in daily. On a really good day they may get 3 hours, but on others they may get none due to all school sports, etc. Daily foreign language study just wouldn't fit in. Most schools can't even fit in daily maths :confused:

 

Highschool days are a bit longer (8:45-3:30), but still include 30 minute morning tea break & an hour for lunch. At ds#2's school club meetings & other extracurricular activities take place during these break times, rather than only after school. Ds#2's timetable is set up in a rotating six day timetable of five 60 minute classes each day. School is only five days / week (M-F).

 

In Year 9 (~age 13) students are required to take English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, PE, Technnology (wood or metal), & a term each of Art, Drama, Tikanga Maori, & Health. They get to choose 2 electives (Music, Economics, Graphics, Latin, Classical Studies, French, Horticulture, or Te Reo Maori) that are for a semester each.

 

In Year 10 (~ age 14) students are required to take English, Maths, Social Studies, Science, & PE + a semester of Health. They get to choose 3 full year electives (Art, Music, French, Te Reo Maori, Digital Technology, Electronics, Material Technology (wood & metal), Drama, Classical Studies, Latin, Horticulture, Economics, or Graphics)

 

In Year 11 (~ age 15) students take 6 subjects of which only English & Maths are required. There are 28 subjects to choose from, but most students are limited in what they can choose as they need to take the required classes to meet their career goals (university, trade, or otherwise.) Ds#2 has chosen his subjects for Y11 & he was not able to take all he wanted to because there just was not enough time. For most students FL study just doesn't even get considered as there simply isn't room in the timetable. For some students Y11 is their final year of highschool, so making the best use of their time is very important. The first highschool leaving certificate (NCEA1) is earned in Y11.

 

In Year 12 (~age 16) & Year 13 (~age 17) students are required to take six subjects each year. Many students choose not to continue with maths as only NCEA1 maths is required for University Entrance (UE). NCEA2 English is required for UE, but usually only students aiming for univeristy take English after Y11 as there is no Literacy & Numeracy requirements for NCEA2& NCEA3. It is not unusual for students aiming for STEM careers to take Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Graphics, & a technology course (electronics, engineering, etc.) all at the same time. This leaves only 1 more subject to choose.

 

University study is so specialized that unless you are majoring (or minoring) in a FL you simply do not have the time to take a FL.

 

So to answer your question, there simply isn't any extra time in the timetable for FL for many students. I wish there was as I really value the FL study I had in school & wish my dc had that same opportunity. We've done a bit of FL as part of our HS/ing, but not up to the level of mastery.

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Most schools can't even fit in daily maths

 

No wonder they don't manage FLs...but this must make it easy for home educators to outdo PS counterparts at least in the 'basics'?

 

I can see from all that you've written that the system is pretty different! I guess Europe has gotten competitive with all the different countries being so close together. And NZ is not very close to its neighbors and so they end up doing their own thing?

 

I heard that home educators have a lot of rights and freedoms. Someone was thinking of moving here after the earthquakes and inquiring into the rights that homeschoolers here have....The things she was expecting are completely unheard of here. We're just glad to be able to HE :).

 

Joan

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No wonder they don't manage FLs...but this must make it easy for home educators to outdo PS counterparts at least in the 'basics'?

 

I can see from all that you've written that the system is pretty different! I guess Europe has gotten competitive with all the different countries being so close together. And NZ is not very close to its neighbors and so they end up doing their own thing?

 

I heard that home educators have a lot of rights and freedoms. Someone was thinking of moving here after the earthquakes and inquiring into the rights that homeschoolers here have....The things she was expecting are completely unheard of here. We're just glad to be able to HE :).

 

Joan

 

What's interesting is that dh's Norwegian cousin & his family visited us a summer or two ago, and when their dc get to high school (or he equivalent), they have to choose between continuing to study English or math because they have to start another language at that point that can't be English. I'm not sure if that is true for all of Norway or just their town.

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they have to choose between continuing to study English or math because they have to start another language at that point that can't be English. I'm not sure if that is true for all of Norway or just their town.

 

What a curious choice....

 

When we traveled in Sweden, almost everyone could speak English so well in all the levels of society...

 

For anyone thinking of Masters level studies....lots of them in Europe are in English...I'm not sure if this is driven by textbooks or expertise or both? The English speaking population is so large and in developed countries (compared to the large French-speaking population with lots of people in developing countries so not a lot of money or expertise to develop textbooks and with young populations)

 

Joan

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It's true, scheduling in U.S. schools can be a nightmare ... This year our local ps really messed things up, forcing kids to choose between, say, various AP classes or between an AP class and band or orchestra.

 

I had that problem in high school. I had to choose between AP Physics and Advanced Jazz Band. I chose jazz band, since I was planning to major in music education, plus I really liked jazz band and was 1st chair trombone. I ended up taking what my friends and I called "Bubba Physics" instead, taught by the track coach (not a physics teacher that coaches track, but a track coach that teaches physics). I was so bored in the class that I fell asleep all the time, and during movies, which he showed a LOT, he'd sit at the desk next to mine with a nerf gun trained on me. :lol: Still aced the class, depite sleeping through it. What a joke of a class that was. Just wasn't willing to give up jazz band for AP Physics.

 

And then when I actually went to college, I changed from music education to electrical engineering, so that physics class would have been more beneficial, but oh well. :tongue_smilie:

 

As to the OP... As far as I know, schools around here only offer foreign language in high school still. I took 2 FLs when I was in high school, but not at the same time. I took Spanish for 3 years, then 2 years of German the 4th year (German 1 first semester, German 2 2nd semester... freshman level FL is easy when you've learned another FL already). My state does not require FL for a regular diploma, but they do require 2 years of the same language for an advanced diploma.

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Not required for graduation.... but definitely encouraged for the college-bound. No foreign language in our local elementary school although they might learn a song in Spanish or something - not formal instruction... and although there are two languages offered in junior high and four in high school, it would be uncommon for anyone to take more than one.

 

This is our district as well. Difference is that not all junior highs have foreign language offered, or maybe just one. At the high school level there is now a pre-college track that requires 2 years of foreign language but that doesn't apply to everyone obviously.

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I think the ps here only offers Spanish in high school. Maybe French, too, but i'd have to double check. Same with the schools I went to growing up. There is no elementary or jh foreign language options. I think the Catholic school here offers kindy Spanish, though. I've never come across a school here in IL that offered foreign languages other than Spanish/French for high school only. However, I'm sure they have more opportunities near Chicago or maybe Springfield. The rest of our state is lucky to even afford teachers. We certainly don't have magnet or Charter schools except a small few urban areas-like Cicago, and maybe Champaign.

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