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I thought this article shed so much light on child development and academic success.

 

http://preventdisease.com/news/12/102912_Shocking-Scans-Show-The-Real-Impact-of-Love-on-a-Childs-Brain.shtml

 

This shows that our school systems can't do it all. Millions of tax dollars are spent every year trying to level the playing field for all children, and as long as we have parents who neglect their children and don't really love them, it can never be such. It's a shame that teachers are fearing losing their jobs over student performance when the children are faced with these kinds of disadvantages.

 

The system ends up focusing somewhat on the gifted and spending so much money, time, and effort on the lowest performing students, and who gets left out are all those 70% or so in the middle who will be the backbone of this country. I think the money would be better spend on major parenting intervention for the youngest in our country to give the children a chance to have the right kind of brain when they get to school.

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I don't think it's quite so straightforward. Children can come from very loving homes but race and poverty have remained stubborn corollaries to poor school performance.

 

There's no doubt that the brains of neglected and abused children develop abnormally, but abuse can take place even in well-to-do households.

 

I would argue that the uneven playing field among students stems from weak language and literary exposure in the home. Betty Hart (who recently passed away) studied language exposure children receive in households of various incomes. Children in families on welfare received exposure to 2/3 fewer words than a professional family. By the time they enter school they're at a deficit of 10s of millions of words.

 

They've also done studies showing a link between the number of books in a household and academic achievement. The more books a child's household, the better they tend to do in school.

 

Yet a child can come from a low income, bookless household that is very nurturing and full of love. So in terms of academic achievement I don't think it's so clear cut. To assume that most children not doing well in school are that way due to neglect and abuse is presumptuous, since many poor children come from homes where they're cared for and loved.

 

Honestly I don't think pouring money into giving the children the right kind of brain is going to work. Are professionals going to start stepping in to "fix" things when the baby's an infant? It smacks of the schools native american children were sent to to "civilize" them.

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That definitely has not been my experience at all.

 

My kids are not in public school, but at the high school my dh taught in (failing school with lots of kids from poverty), the AP classes were very important and were the only classes where students were even issued a textbook. All of the local public schools have gifted programs where those kids are exposed to much more critical thinking and problem solving than the rest of the kids (from knowing teachers in the schools and seeing some of the materials used in the gifted classes).

 

I don't think it's nearly the emphasis that is put on the failing kids, though. At his high school, he wasn't even allowed to give zeros, and he was expected to make sure that kids who were out did the makeup work. It was his responsibility to go to them, not the other way around.

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I don't think it's quite so straightforward. Children can come from very loving homes but race and poverty have remained stubborn corollaries to poor school performance.

 

There's no doubt that the brains of neglected and abused children develop abnormally, but abuse can take place even in well-to-do households.

 

I would argue that the uneven playing field among students stems from weak language and literary exposure in the home. Betty Hart (who recently passed away) studied language exposure children receive in households of various incomes. Children in families on welfare received exposure to 2/3 fewer words than a professional family. By the time they enter school they're at a deficit of 10s of millions of words.

 

They've also done studies showing a link between the number of books in a household and academic achievement. The more books a child's household, the better they tend to do in school.

 

Yet a child can come from a low income, bookless household that is very nurturing and full of love. So in terms of academic achievement I don't think it's so clear cut. To assume that most children not doing well in school are that way due to neglect and abuse is presumptuous, since many poor children come from homes where they're cared for and loved.

 

Honestly I don't think pouring money into giving the children the right kind of brain is going to work. Are professionals going to start stepping in to "fix" things when the baby's an infant? It smacks of the schools native american children were sent to to "civilize" them.

 

 

Oh, I do agree that it is much more involved than just the neglect, although, what you are talking about is neglect as well. I think this should just be one more reason that teacher's jobs shouldn't depend on child performance. Why should a teacher's well-being and economic support be pulled out from under him/her because of parents' neglect, both emotional and academic?

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Richard Davidson's book The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live -- And How You Can Change Them explains how the brain physically responds to stimuli or lack thereof and what can be done to change the six major circuits Davidson has observed. Davidson is a pioneer in brain imaging who has overseen numerous brain studies. In a nutshell, the brain is not unchangeable and much can be done to help individuals live better lives.

 

Another pioneer in this area is Michael Merzenich.

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Absolutely the best resources go to IB, AP, Honors Courses here. I saw it when my oldest was in high school. One reason I pulled her out of public school in grade school was that her second grade teacher only worked with the Zoom reading group (the six best kids) and parent helpers worked with the other kids. When people say that children need the help of a professional to work with reading problems I suppose I get a smirk on my face, because that is not my experience.

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The system ends up focusing somewhat on the gifted and spending so much money, time, and effort on the lowest performing students, and who gets left out are all those 70% or so in the middle who will be the backbone of this country.

 

In our area, there is decent effort ($$) placed with underperforming and average students, with virtually none for the other end.

 

You might want to read Genuis Denied by Jan and Bob Davidson and the Templeton Report: A Nation Deceived before you come to any further conclusions on the plight of the gifted.

 

:iagree:

 

 

 

And I think that there is the possibility that AP classes are being confused with gifted classes. AP classes are NOT, NOT, intended to be classes for gifted students. They may be intended for a high achieving student, but that is definitely not the same thing. In our district, one high school only offers AP classes to kids who are "qualified" to take them, and it is a competitive process to enroll. The high school dd would have attended has them open-enroll. ANY student who wants to challenge him/herself can take an AP class.

 

At least in our area most of the high schools offer up to a basic calculus class with it being called AP or Dual-enroll, so our students would be lucky if there were qualified teachers to teach them... :/

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That definitely has not been my experience at all.

 

:iagree: Motivated and willing to jump through hoops? Maybe in some high schools. I don't think all schools/districts prioritize AP/IB programs the same way.

 

My gifted kid went to 2 years of PS (K and 1st). It was really awful for him.

 

You might want to read Genuis Denied by Jan and Bob Davidson and the Templeton Report: A Nation Deceived before you come to any further conclusions on the plight of the gifted. Or read on this board.

 

:iagree:

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I thought this article shed so much light on child development and academic success.

 

http://preventdisease.com/news/12/102912_Shocking-Scans-Show-The-Real-Impact-of-Love-on-a-Childs-Brain.shtml

 

 

This is why it upsets me when people are so sympathetic to abused and disadvantaged young children, yet unsympathetic when they grow up to be troubled adults.

 

Once the damage is done, age doesn't "fix" them.

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You might want to read Genuis Denied by Jan and Bob Davidson and the Templeton Report: A Nation Deceived before you come to any further conclusions on the plight of the gifted. Or read on this board.

:iagree:

 

The system ends up focusing somewhat on the gifted

This has not been my experience, at all.

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This is why it upsets me when people are so sympathetic to abused and disadvantaged young children, yet unsympathetic when they grow up to be troubled adults.

 

Once the damage is done, age doesn't "fix" them.

I think the sympathy gives out at about age 10 or around the time they stop looking cute and/or small. Almost no one feels more than passing sympathy (if that) for most teenagers, in my experience. Smoking? Drinking? Pants sagging? Bra strap showing? Promiscuous? You're a lost cause, as far as most people are concerned.

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I thought this article shed so much light on child development and academic success.

 

http://preventdisease.com/news/12/102912_Shocking-Scans-Show-The-Real-Impact-of-Love-on-a-Childs-Brain.shtml

 

This shows that our school systems can't do it all. Millions of tax dollars are spent every year trying to level the playing field for all children, and as long as we have parents who neglect their children and don't really love them, it can never be such. It's a shame that teachers are fearing losing their jobs over student performance when the children are faced with these kinds of disadvantages.

 

The system ends up focusing somewhat on the gifted and spending so much money, time, and effort on the lowest performing students, and who gets left out are all those 70% or so in the middle who will be the backbone of this country. I think the money would be better spend on major parenting intervention for the youngest in our country to give the children a chance to have the right kind of brain when they get to school.

 

From my scientific psychological standpoint, I am a total "believer" in the effects of altered brain chemistry and development. I will never be surprised when science confirms that trauma changes things.

 

However, the article depicted the brain in EXTREME neglect. While one is to many, in actuality, this does not represent the significant percentage of failed children at school or teachers losing their jobs.

 

I agree with starting LONG before the child gets to school, however. I believe in educating and training the parents before conception. And it's going to take generations to correct the problem, if we start today.

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I have a child who has lots of issues because of how her first year of life went. I don't believe she was abused, but I believe she was neglected by US standards. Not to the extent they are talking about in that article.

 

This is a very complex problem and the solutions are also very complex. There is not nearly enough interest in / support of the types of therapies that help children like mine. If I didn't have the money to pay out of pocket, she would be a statistic.

 

I don't know how realistic it is to address these issues with parents who beat, terrorize, and starve their children. These are not the type of parents who will seek out or even begin to understand complex treatment plans. These are the people who punch the crap out of their kids for peeing themselves.

 

Taking kids away from parents creates its own problems. Aside from the trauma of disruption, some of the worst abuse and neglect takes place after removal from the home. Residential treatment also has its own issues.

 

I am not sure there is a realistic solution to this problem, honestly.

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I have a child who has lots of issues because of how her first year of life went. I don't believe she was abused, but I believe she was neglected by US standards. Not to the extent they are talking about in that article.

 

This is a very complex problem and the solutions are also very complex. There is not nearly enough interest in / support of the types of therapies that help children like mine. If I didn't have the money to pay out of pocket, she would be a statistic.

 

I don't know how realistic it is to address these issues with parents who beat, terrorize, and starve their children. These are not the type of parents who will seek out or even begin to understand complex treatment plans. These are the people who punch the crap out of their kids for peeing themselves.

 

Taking kids away from parents creates its own problems. Aside from the trauma of disruption, some of the worst abuse and neglect takes place after removal from the home. Residential treatment also has its own issues.

 

I am not sure there is a realistic solution to this problem, honestly.

 

:iagree: It's very sad. The ones who suffer extreme neglect will probably never be a part of any study. I have friends who adopted children at birth and they will never be mentally whole and healthy, just because of their prenatal environment. I know for a fact they got intense love and tenderness from their first day of life, but just what happened in the womb was enough to cause them enough problems to have a very difficult life (I'm talking about severe behavioral issues that show up down the road, learning problems, etc) I'm sure that is the case for many children as well. It's so depressing.

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This is a very complex problem and the solutions are also very complex. There is not nearly enough interest in / support of the types of therapies that help children like mine. If I didn't have the money to pay out of pocket, she would be a statistic.

 

 

I completely agree that there isn't enough interest and support for therapies like that. My son was neglected until he joined our family at age 2.5. Not extremely neglected, but basically left in his crib "because he was quiet and safe there." He thankfully did begin some early intervention at age 18 months, at the advice of the pediatrician. His birthmom took well to this and was very open to all the information they gave her. I think that such interventions are a key component for families.

 

There's also studies showing the efficacy of visiting moms or nurses, who visit a new mom for the first year of her child's life.

 

I think all parents want to do right by their children, and for whatever reason, many fall short. Very short. And it's hard hard HARD to parent their children.

 

I'm not surprised by the results of the study, since we see it every day in our home.

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I have a child who has lots of issues because of how her first year of life went. I don't believe she was abused, but I believe she was neglected by US standards. Not to the extent they are talking about in that article.

 

This is a very complex problem and the solutions are also very complex. There is not nearly enough interest in / support of the types of therapies that help children like mine. If I didn't have the money to pay out of pocket, she would be a statistic.

 

I don't know how realistic it is to address these issues with parents who beat, terrorize, and starve their children. These are not the type of parents who will seek out or even begin to understand complex treatment plans. These are the people who punch the crap out of their kids for peeing themselves.

 

Taking kids away from parents creates its own problems. Aside from the trauma of disruption, some of the worst abuse and neglect takes place after removal from the home. Residential treatment also has its own issues.

 

I am not sure there is a realistic solution to this problem, honestly.

 

:iagree: I wish there was a realistic solution, but utopia does not exist and there will always be very sad outliers who were not given a healthy opportunity in life, even before they were born.

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I would argue that the uneven playing field among students stems from weak language and literary exposure in the home.

 

Don't forget genes. Dull parents who don't care to read at all, let alone read to children, pass those genes on. Neglectful parents may be lacking in the genetic department, use drugs during gestation, have pathological personalities, etc.

 

I knew a lovely pair who adopted two kids from non-horrible back-grounds. Much enrichment and tutoring. One child grew up to repair scanners at check out lanes, and the other sells cars. Nice people, but not ambitious like their yuppie adoptive parents, and IQs around 100. (The parents were not unhappy by the way, just reflective about how it made them grow and change their attitudes.)

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From my scientific psychological standpoint, I am a total "believer" in the effects of altered brain chemistry and development. I will never be surprised when science confirms that trauma changes things.

 

However, the article depicted the brain in EXTREME neglect. While one is to many, in actuality, this does not represent the significant percentage of failed children at school or teachers losing their jobs.

 

I agree with starting LONG before the child gets to school, however. I believe in educating and training the parents before conception. And it's going to take generations to correct the problem, if we start today.

 

I've always thought that schools are responsible for years they shouldn't be. Parents, if given the tools of nurturing... or somehow acquiring them because of their parents or exposure, should be primarily responsible to find loving care by themselves or others. It's the whole thing about try to change each child, or first start with teaching their parents who can teach their (many) children. I get so ticked off when I see the people from Mexico, who live next door, have their children taken to Headstart. They are home, usually, and they could care for their own children. But, we have shared the lies that their children need to be take from them so that they can be taught by strangers.

I totally believe that Public Education in America should only be mandatory and provided for children from ages 8yrs old through some year. I'm not sure... maybe 16yrs?

If Parents were empowered and required to care for their own children, I believe many things would be for the better. (And hopefully we could spend more money on average, and spend it better, if we did this)

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My main reason for homeschooling my son is because the schools he attended were not able to address his educational needs or challenges as an academically gifted child. So I really have to add to the chorus of folks saying gifted students are not in general well served by public schools. Genius Denied was eye opening for sure.

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The system ends up focusing somewhat on the gifted.

 

Not where I live. There is no gifted program, hasn't been one in 7 years. The high school just cut 40% of the AP and advanced courses. The number of remedial courses has increased though.:confused:

The district also limited the number of dual credit courses student can take.

 

I really wish we had a like button. I 'like' and agree with so much of what pps have written, especially those posts pertaining to the gifted student.

Edited by The Dragon Academy
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Just as an aside - Did anyone else feel the linked article sounded like it was written by a high school student?

 

I have no doubt that neglect has very real effects on the brain. However, sentences like "According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left." (seriously? "research reported by the newspaper"?), the lack of a link to the original study, and the enormous number of ads on the page indicates to me that this is not a source I'd put a lot of trust in.

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Just as an aside - Did anyone else feel the linked article sounded like it was written by a high school student?

 

I have no doubt that neglect has very real effects on the brain. However, sentences like "According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left." (seriously? "research reported by the newspaper"?), the lack of a link to the original study, and the enormous number of ads on the page indicates to me that this is not a source I'd put a lot of trust in.

 

I was mostly irritated by the consistent use of the word "mother" instead of "parent" or "primary caregiver". :glare:

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That definitely has not been my experience at all.

 

Me, either. My dd in kindy, even, had letters sent home telling me to "slow her down" because the other kids felt bad since she was so advanced. Now, my kid is gifted, but no prodigy. Here, gifted means that the teachers enlist you to help tutor the other kids during class. There are no gifted programs and its exceedingly rare for them allow you to skip or do advanced work.

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I've always thought that schools are responsible for years they shouldn't be. Parents, if given the tools of nurturing... or somehow acquiring them because of their parents or exposure, should be primarily responsible to find loving care by themselves or others. It's the whole thing about try to change each child, or first start with teaching their parents who can teach their (many) children. I get so ticked off when I see the people from Mexico, who live next door, have their children taken to Headstart. They are home, usually, and they could care for their own children. But, we have shared the lies that their children need to be take from them so that they can be taught by strangers.

I totally believe that Public Education in America should only be mandatory and provided for children from ages 8yrs old through some year. I'm not sure... maybe 16yrs?

If Parents were empowered and required to care for their own children, I believe many things would be for the better. (And hopefully we could spend more money on average, and spend it better, if we did this)

 

I think you have no clue about how cool, fun, and positively stimulating Headstart programs can be.

 

Brains respond to positive simulation and creative engagement by growing, and shrink when deprived of such things. Mind building activities can/should happen at home with interaction between parents and children, but that does not mean creative activities outside the home in classes, activities, teams, and social groups can't also play an important role in children's intellectual and emotional development.

 

What is wrong is the "better late than early" ideology that neglects children's window of early brain development through creative engagement of their minds. That is a waste. Not Headstart.

 

Bill

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I think you have no clue about how cool, fun, and positively stimulating Headstart programs can be.

 

Brains respond to positive simulation and creative engagement by growing, and shrink when deprived of such things. Mind building activities can/should happen at home with interaction between parents and children, but that does not mean creative activities outside the home in classes, activities, teams, and social groups can't also play an important role in children's intellectual and emotional development.

 

What is wrong is the "better late than early" ideology that neglects children's window of early brain development through creative engagement of their minds. That is a waste. Not Headstart.

 

Bill

 

I agree with you about Headstart (and I *never* would have said so before the last 5 years). Although the advantage offered by it for at risk kids evaporates by late elementary, it does offer a structured, engaging, and appropriate setting. It can be used to compensate or complement.

 

However, "better late than early" in the homeschooling community does not relate to an impoverished learning environment, stimulation, or creativity. It's a delay of *formal* academics. I didn't embrace the model myself, but proponents would be encouraged to have quality interaction, discussion, read alouds, crafts, field trips, etc.

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I agree with Joanne -

 

My impression of "better late than early" in the homeschooling world is that it's about delaying formal academics - that is, "school-y" seat work - and instead doing a wide variety of creative engagement type activities. So you wouldn't do a Saxon math textbook, in a one-lesson-per-day-from-8-till-8:45 way, you'd play with Cuisinaire rods in an interactive, Miquion kind of way, for as long as the child was interested, then you'd go to the library and pick up a totebag-full of great read-alouds to enjoy together. :D

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I think some of y'all have a very rose-colored view of "better late than early" which is very often nothing but a cover for educational neglect and has nothing to do with using Miquon and Cuisenaire Rods with young children.

 

The latter is using age appropriate means to teach young children (a good thing), as young minds are growing (or not growing, depending), but way too many people believe you can "make up" for years of educational neglect when a child turns 8, or 10, or 12, when in fact a critical time of brain development has been lost.

 

Bill

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..way too many people believe you can "make up" for years of educational neglect when a child turns 8, or 10, or 12, when in fact a critical time of brain development has been lost.

 

Bill

 

I think, in our NCLB, testing-and-worksheets world, it's a balance.

 

But for me, "better late than early" is a very specific term, based on the work of Raymond and Dorothy Moore, early homeschooling pioneers. They weren't anti-academic types, nor were they unschoolers. Their "Moore Formula" (involving daily study, service to home or community, and manual work) isn't quite my cup of tea, but it's far from educational neglect. You might enjoy reading Mr. Moore's famous White Paper on "The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion".

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I think, in our NCLB, testing-and-worksheets world, it's a balance.

 

I do not believe that the rational response to one extreme is to replace it with another (even more injurious) extreme. Better to reject both and carve out a third way. To find ways to explore intellectually pursuits with young children that maximize fun and brain development.

 

But for me, "better late than early" is a very specific term, based on the work of Raymond and Dorothy Moore, early homeschooling pioneers. They weren't anti-academic types, nor were they unschoolers. Their "Moore Formula" (involving daily study, service to home or community, and manual work) isn't quite my cup of tea, but it's far from educational neglect. You might enjoy reading Mr. Moore's famous White Paper on "The Ravage of Home Education Through Exclusion By Religion".

 

Not only is it not my cup of tea, I think it has done harm. More-often-than-not this educational ideology gets used as a cover and rationalization for educational neglect in the homeschool world, no matter what the intentions of these self-appointed "senior pioneers" might be. these pioneers induce a lot of people with exceedingly weird ideas.

 

I'm glad to see the Moores broke ranks with the HSDLA, but that should not be considered a fought call as far as I'm concerned. And a lot of the bickering sounds like a squabble over who gets to be the leader of the "movement." I'd pick neither.

 

Bill

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My main reason for homeschooling my son is because the schools he attended were not able to address his educational needs or challenges as an academically gifted child. So I really have to add to the chorus of folks saying gifted students are not in general well served by public schools.

 

:iagree:

I might have written the same about my children.

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I don't know how realistic it is to address these issues with parents who beat, terrorize, and starve their children. These are not the type of parents who will seek out or even begin to understand complex treatment plans. These are the people who punch the crap out of their kids for peeing themselves.

 

Taking kids away from parents creates its own problems. Aside from the trauma of disruption, some of the worst abuse and neglect takes place after removal from the home. Residential treatment also has its own issues.

 

I am not sure there is a realistic solution to this problem, honestly.

 

What I am saying will be unpopular to some, but I'll say it anyway:

A small, first step would be to make sure all people are educated about human reproduction and have knowledge about, and access to, the means of reliable contraception.

In many cases, the neglected child is a child who was not wanted. Preventing unintended pregnancies helps prevent child abuse and neglect.

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What I am saying will be unpopular to some, but I'll say it anyway:

A small, first step would be to make sure all people are educated about human reproduction and have knowledge about, and access to, the means of reliable contraception.

In many cases, the neglected child is a child who was not wanted. Preventing unintended pregnancies helps prevent child abuse and neglect.

 

Yes and no. In many cases the child was conceived in a foolish attempt to get attention, "cement" a relationship, secure government benefits, or even have a real dolly to play with. Reality sets in aka not sleeping, screaming, vomiting, diapers, being tied down, tot wilfulness, being judged, etc., and things get ugly. Very often the abuser is the mom's or dad's next relationship who has no natural connection to the child.

 

Do you know anyone who got pregnant not knowing there were accessible ways to prevent that? I don't.

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Not where I live. There is no gifted program, hasn't been one in 7 years. The high school just cut 40% of the AP and advanced courses. The number of remedial courses has increased though.:confused:

The district also limited the number of dual credit courses student can take.

 

I really wish we had a like button. I 'like' and agree with so much of what pps have written, especially those posts pertaining to the gifted student.

 

 

Our district has two AP's for this year and this is the last year they intend to offer them - physics and calc. ALL honors and AP classes are eliminated for the 2013/2014 school year in favor of moving resources and money to remediation. One of the three foreign language options has been cut, advanced band cut, chess club, debate team, math and science teams, all of it cut - sports received a 20% increase! :glare: AP's and honors classes aren't "gifted", but instead designed to offer a challenge to higher performing students. Now there is nothing. Our 12 year old who will need Calc 2 his junior year, cannot even get such a class within a 1.5 hr. drive of our home.

 

The closest thing they have to "gifted" is that a student can get 30 minutes of enrichment twice per week at the elementary level which is usually a worksheet of math problems from a chapter or two further ahead in the class math text or vocabulary worksheets in science. If the child reads on or ahead of grade level by age 10, they receive no further instruction in reading and practically none in writing so the teachers' time is devoted to working with students who are below 5th grade level. The district has made it their goal in life, at least in my opinion, to bore decent students into quitting high school early or at least into losing all motivation, drive, and curiosity. The superintendent actually said at a public meeting in August, "There aren't any really bright kids in this school district." I jumped up and retorted, "Oh yes there are. You've just never met them because their parents are so sick of the dumbing down of this school district, that they are homeschooling, enroll their children in other school districts using 'Michigan School of Choice' law, or pay for private school."

 

He asked me later why I, as a homeschooler, show up to these meetings and I responded that I care about what happens to the kids in my community. I also told him I homeschool because this school district operates as one giant vacuum cleaner that sucks the life, curiosity, and natural desire to learn out every child it pulls into the vortex.

 

He.was.not.amused. But then, it's been a very long time since this nut has said anything that wasn't appalling, so we have rather dim views of each other.

 

As for the article, the problems are more complex than what can be summed up in a simple stance or philosophy. I am with Joanne on this one! If we started now it will take generations to undo the damage. We didn't get into this mess overnight and we won't dig ourselves out of the rubble quickly.

 

The ACLU wants to sue teachers in Highland Park Schools - known up this direction as "the war zone" - for failure to teach children to read. I'm not certain what the ACLU expects. A huge number of children entering school in that district have the working vocabularies of 24 - 32 month olds. I'm not exactly certain how one teaches children to read when they have not been exposed to enough language or engaged in conversation enough to know what a fish is or a cow is! (Headstart may exist, but the parents actually have to take their children to it and that doesn't happen much in Highland Park Schools.) Many of the are being raised by 8 and 9 year olds while their single parent deals with the fall out of a hopeless future that most of us cannot even begin to imagine.

 

That said, our local school district which is not poverty stricken or affected by violence or wanton neglect is turning out an amazing number of illiterates. So generational poverty, neglect, you name it...that's not all there is to it. In our area, apathy is the single.biggest.issue. We've got a lot of angry parents who dropped out of school at 16, 17, even 18 and right before they would have graduated to get good jobs on the line at GM, Ford, and Chrysler or jobs related to those industries. They didn't need to be good students nor have a high school education much less post-high school job training/vo-tech to get those jobs and they lived well. Now those jobs are gone and they are stuck in a cycle of anger and maybe even depression. Talk to them and they are convinced that at any minute those jobs are going to come running back to America and their kids, failing out of school and making zero effort at gaining skills, will be gainfully employed.

 

You can't explain to them that A. that boat has sailed and B. even if they did come back, jobs have become more technologically advanced even within manufacturing so the good jobs on the line would still go to those with advanced reading skills, solid math skills, the ability to write a memo that others can actually read and comprehend, and the ability to read and digest 9th grade or higher materials such as technical manuals, OSHA regs, etc. They just will not see this. Meanwhile, junior is handed a diploma that means virtually nothing because he/she can only read at the 5th grade level and barely knows any multiplication tables despite a transcript that says someone issued him a D- in algebra 2 (because points are given for turning in homework even if it is completely wrong and for NOT FALLING ASLEEP IN CLASS).

 

No easy solutions.

 

Faith

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I think you have no clue about how cool, fun, and positively stimulating Headstart programs can be.

 

Brains respond to positive simulation and creative engagement by growing, and shrink when deprived of such things. Mind building activities can/should happen at home with interaction between parents and children, but that does not mean creative activities outside the home in classes, activities, teams, and social groups can't also play an important role in children's intellectual and emotional development.

 

 

:iagree:

 

I don't see how Headstart can be anything but positive for most children. I have a cousin who has her children in a very underprivileged environment - 7 kids, 3 fathers (one in jail), welfare, not enough beds for the kids to sleep in, lots of sugary foods, little parental attention, nothing remotely educational at home (none of the kids, including the 11 year-old, had never been to the zoo until my mom took them last year), etc.

 

I encouraged her to put her youngest kids in Headstart. She couldn't be bothered. Two of them started Kindergarten this year (late because they lacked the medical forms and birth certificates), and she immediately removed them because they could not handle even the minimal behavior expectations of a K class. Now they will spend another un-stimulating year at home. This isn't even a severe form of neglect because the kids at least get plenty of food and time to run around outside, and there is no abuse.

 

And I'm saying this as someone who did not put my son in preschool. I realize however, that the world my Kindergartener is experiencing with swim lessons, and zoo trips, and YMCA day camp, and nature clubs, and Kinder music, and group camping trips, and play groups, and... you get the idea :) is really different than what my cousin's K'ers are getting at home, let alone our nation's really underprivileged.

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Do you know anyone who got pregnant not knowing there were accessible ways to prevent that? I don't.

 

Not knowing - no. Not having easy access- yes.

In St Louis, they recently did a pilot program where uninsured poor women were given free contraceptives. As a consequence, the rate of unintended pregnancies dropped significantly (as one would have expected), as measured by the number of teen pregnancies and the number of abortions.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/us/study-finds-free-contraceptives-cut-abortion-rate.html

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The brain is incredibly plastic and can change for the better. It takes work to change it -- sometimes a lot, sometimes not -- that's what neuroscientists like Merzenich and Davidson have been proving.

 

It's true that you can miss windows of opportunity for easily learning subjects like foreign language. It takes more time for most because a foreign language that is learned while learning the first language is stored in the same area as the first. After a certain age, the brain stores the second language in a different area.

 

I agree that the article was poorly written. I'd suggest reading a book or articles written by neuroscientists. I believe Merzenich writes a blog.

 

Personally, if I could do it again, I'd strongly consider a school like the German Forest Schools (Waldkindergärten) for my children. I grew up practically living in the outdoors and feel nature is incredibly beneficial for children of all ages but sorely missing from kids' lives here in the States.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/3357232/Waldkindergarten-the-forest-nurseries-where-children-learn-in-Natures-classroom.html

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Not knowing - no. Not having easy access- yes.

In St Louis, they recently did a pilot program where uninsured poor women were given free contraceptives. As a consequence, the rate of unintended pregnancies dropped significantly (as one would have expected), as measured by the number of teen pregnancies and the number of abortions.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/us/study-finds-free-contraceptives-cut-abortion-rate.html

 

Or, not knowing how well they work/not knowing how to make them work/etc. Frankly, the abstinence-only programs which spend so much time discussing how condoms can fail and implying that they're worthless at preventing pregnancy have done more harm than good.

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