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Obama's upcoming community college plan


SarahB82
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I think the amount we push elementary kids is average by international standards.  Some countries push harder younger, some allow a slower ramp-up, and some have gentler "schools" but everyone also attends cram school.

 

I do wonder why we seem to go into a holding pattern during middle school nowadays.  I'd rather fix this problem directly than fund CC as a means to remediate it.

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This.

Where elsewhere in the world, they start gently in elementary and then ramp up expectations if 5th grade, here we push the elementary kids very hard and then put the middle schoolers in a holding pattern for three years where they learn barely anything, until some level of actual education resumes in high school.

Mindbogglingly stupid. And I will never understand why educators deem American students "not developmentally ready" for the material same age kids elsewhere in the world are expected to be able to learn.

Like what, specifically?  I never used schools in the early years at all, so I'm curious. 

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I think the amount we push elementary kids is average by international standards.  Some countries push harder younger, some allow a slower ramp-up, and some have gentler "schools" but everyone also attends cram school.

 

I do wonder why we seem to go into a holding pattern during middle school nowadays.  I'd rather fix this problem directly than fund CC as a means to remediate it.

Yeah.  Middle school is awful, and a waste of time.  Not coincidentally, I think, that is when bullying/mean kids are in full force.

Maybe kids need to work so hard in middle school that they don't have time for stupid stuff. 

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Tracking in some cases could be racist but certainly not in all. That doesn't mean that it should be eliminated. Eliminate the racism? Definitely.

 

Our school places kids in one of three tracks for each core subject based on a combination of testing, past performance in the subject, student's interest, teacher input and parental input. It's a flexible system. All students are allowed to move up one track if they and their parents want it but with the understanding that the class material and pace will remain the same. If they can handle it, great. If not, they move down mid-semester. One-half of my son's freshman English class moved down a level before mid-semester; the material was too difficult for them because they were improperly placed by their parents. Conversely, students can also move up mid-semester if they are doing well and that happens, too. If a student has made significant improvements over the summer, a move up is possible then, too. When parents and students have been polled, the results have shown overwhelmingly that they were happy with the tracking system.

 

Kids in the same grade are all over the place academically. It doesn't make sense to not differentiate to some extent.

 

 

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Yeah.  Middle school is awful, and a waste of time.  Not coincidentally, I think, that is when bullying/mean kids are in full force.

Maybe kids need to work so hard in middle school that they don't have time for stupid stuff. 

 

 

In my experience pushing kids hard in middle school does nothing to lessen bullying. Middle school in France was hard-- with exams at the end to get into high school.

 

Bullying was horrendous :(

 

At least the kids were learning something, it just didn't do away with the social mess.

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In my experience pushing kids hard in middle school does nothing to lessen bullying. Middle school in France was hard-- with exams at the end to get into high school.

 

Bullying was horrendous :(

 

At least the kids were learning something, it just didn't do away with the social mess.

Well, that's a shame. 

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I think you live in a very bad district. Crazy.

Maybe it's the same as mine then because this is a serious problem here too.

 

A class is given enough textbooks for a class, but not classes. So a teacher has 28-32 math texts for example. But s/he teaches 4-5 math classes. Thus none of them get a math book they can take home to study or ask for help. And tutoring is a joke bc the buses only run once. So a kid can't stay after school because they won't have a ride home when the tutoring session is over. Or to it before buses drop them off in the morning.

 

And this is considered one of the top school districts in the state iirc.

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Don't parents discuss the lack of resources or problems with these schools? It seems there is a serious communication problem.

 

ETA: In our district, a group of parents who are lawyers banded together to advocate for parents in other districts, mostly in Chicago. Maybe that is what some of these under-resourced schools could use.

 

 

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Like what, specifically?  I never used schools in the early years at all, so I'm curious. 

 

Math.

Typically, students are taught and retaught the same math - arithmetic with integers and fractions - over and over for 3-4 years in 5th through 7th or 8th grade before they are deemed ready for the algebra or geometry Russian, german and Chinese students seem capable of in 6th grade. The argument I hear over and over again is that students are not "developmentally ready". Since I do not believe that American children's brains are inferior to those of children elsewhere, the reason is more likely poor math education in elementary.

 

We pulled our kids out from school because of math: while slightly ahead at the end of 4th grade, they were a full year behind the German math curriculum at the beginning of 6th grade. We wanted to spend a semester in Europe and I went to the US school to talk to the head of the math department; I had translated the German curriculum and wanted to know which of the 6th grade topics they'd cover before Christmas. The math head looked at the list and told me none of those topics would be covered until Junior high and that I would need a tutor. (And our local schools are Blue Ribbon award winning schools in the state... sigh)

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Don't parents discuss the lack of resources or problems with these schools? It seems there is a serious communication problem.

 

ETA: In our district, a group of parents who are lawyers banded together to advocate for parents in other districts, mostly in Chicago. Maybe that is what some of these under-resourced schools could use.

Sure they do. So what? For example speech therapy. Those who scream the loudest and longest or have a severe situation might eventually get a slot, but the hard fact is there aren't enough speech therapist and not enough money to contract more. And good luck passing a bond issue to pay for it bc these districts already feel taxed to death. And when most of the funds are based on property taxes and homes are in the ghetto or being foreclosed on, it's slim pickings.

 

It's not fair bc the school get more money if a kid is classified as SN, but that does not always translate to more services for their SN.

 

And in many cases the school just stops offering a course. For example, some high schools don't offer calculus. There's not enough students capable of doing it, so the 20 who can don't get it. Take it at the CC for 1/2 the price if they dual enrolled they say. But half can easily still be several hundred dollars, plus they need transport. Parents who can't pay or can't provide transport? Their kid even if capable can't get those courses.

 

Personally I think public schooling in America is a failed system that needs to be scrapped.

Truth is Laura Ingalls got a better education with a piece of chalk and 4 books by 6th grade than many students are going to graduate with these days. But there's smart boards in the classrooms and AstroTurf on the football field! Which means exactly nothing. But people sure do like the tech hype and their football. :/

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Sure they do. So what? For example speech therapy. Those who scream the loudest and longest or have a severe situation might eventually get a slot, but the hard fact is there aren't enough speech therapist and not enough money to contract more. And good luck passing a bond issue to pay for it bc these districts already feel taxed to death. And when most of the funds are based on property taxes and homes are in the ghetto or being foreclosed on, it's slim pickings.

 

It's not fair bc the school get more money if a kid is classified as SN, but that does not always translate to more services for their SN.

 

And in many cases the school just stops offering a course. For example, some high schools don't offer calculus. There's not enough students capable of doing it, so the 20 who can don't get it. Take it at the CC for 1/2 the price if they dual enrolled they say. But half can easily still be several hundred dollars, plus they need transport. Parents who can't pay or can't provide transport? Their kid even if capable can't get those courses.

 

Personally I think public schooling in America is a failed system that needs to be scrapped.

Truth is Laura Ingalls got a better education with a piece of chalk and 4 books by 6th grade than many students are going to graduate with these days. But there's smart boards in the classrooms and AstroTurf on the football field! Which means exactly nothing. But people sure do like the tech hype and their football. :/

 

 

In the post of yours that I responded to you were talking about students at your high school not having text books or rides to tutoring. If the kids do not have even text books to use or other resources, then clearly someone is majorly dropping the ball. Tax money should be allotted to text books and basic teaching materials at the very least. We have to buy our own texts, which can be sold back to the school, but funds are always available for those who can't afford them.

 

High schoolers don't need to have taken calculus to get into decent colleges. If the high school doesn't offer it, the colleges consider that it wasn't offered. This was mentioned at several of the college information sessions we attended. Kids don't have to be super advanced. 

 

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I do like this idea, but with reservations. The pressure on professors to inflate grades already is enormous here; I've seen co-workers' contracts not renewed or threatened with non-renewal if their pass rate is low, because, in the eyes of key administrators, maintaining a high student "success rate" is the responsibility of the professors, not the individual students. Our current provost defines passing as a 'C', so poor academic performance would probably still garner a respectable grade here because of that pressure.

 

I could get behind this two years of college for no direct cost if it was funded by a block grant to the states for this (with federal hands-off), and if my state incorporates your ideas, reverses the trend toward grade inflation, and keeps a lid on administrative positions increasing beyond the current percentage of enrollment. I am skeptical that will happen here, though.

 

That could be helped if, instead of making CC free up front, students were reimbursed for tuition (forgive their loans or something) if they successfully graduated from the program. This way, only students who are seriously making the effort benefit from the initiative.

 

 

Back home, students can obtain interest free government loans to help with cost of living (we do not have tuition), and they get rewarded for finishing earlier than the regular duration of study and for finishing top of the class by having parts of their loans forgiven. Such an idea could be translated.

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I think the data on Head Start is more nuanced than works-doesn't work and depends on how far forward in the future you look (I can not remember where I read this, so I am going from memory here). As I recall, looking forward into high school shows the academic differences that existed in early elementary return, with no gain to the Head Start recipient. But....looking forward 30 years (to age 45), showed that Head Start recipients had less incidences of poverty, imprisonment, divorce, and other stats considered unfavorable. So I guess you could say it works in the very long term, but not in the short term, and the benefits are mainly social and not necessarily academic.

 

I had not heard this - do you have a source of data that support this?

 

 

Sadly, I have to agree. I do not think any educational system - short of removing all children from their parents and raising them in institutions - will ever be able to level the differences that are created in the home.

I mean, 25 words vocabulary in non-LD a 5 y/o? That's criminally negligent. (Why do people have kids if they don't care to talk to them?)

 

In our area, we have a Parents As Teachers program that gets very good results.

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The district and school board stonewall, shake their heads yes but act on no, and refuse your requests for simple FOIA documents that prove parents' points until parents threaten legal action to get the documents. Thus happened at DD's school the last year she attended, when well off SAH parents with the energy and resources to fight them spent hours doing so. I can't imagine poverty class folks having the time to do that. Lots of kids were pulled after that year, including DD. I also couldn't imagine doing this for another school when handling our own situation was that time and energy sucking. It was after the FOIA documents were obtained by us parents, and the school district still refused to change their treatment of our school, that I realized the public schools will not change in my child's lifetime and so we left. I've come to believe a critical mass of kids leaving will get more results, and quicker, than working within such a system.

 

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Don't parents discuss the lack of resources or problems with these schools? It seems there is a serious communication problem.

 

ETA: In our district, a group of parents who are lawyers banded together to advocate for parents in other districts, mostly in Chicago. Maybe that is what some of these under-resourced schools could use.

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The district and school board stonewall, shake their heads yes but act on no, and refuse your requests for simple FOIA documents that prove parents' points until parents threaten legal action to get the documents. Thus happened at DD's school the last year she attended, when well off SAH parents with the energy and resources to fight them spent hours doing so. I can't imagine poverty class folks having the time to do that. Lots of kids were pulled after that year, including DD. I also couldn't imagine doing this for another school when handling our own situation was that time and energy sucking. It was after the FOIA documents were obtained by us parents, and the school district still refused to change their treatment of our school, that I realized the public schools will not change in my child's lifetime and so we left. I've come to believe a critical mass of kids leaving will get more results, and quicker, than working within such a system.

 

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This is what I see time and again here. Those who can't leave muddle through. I tell them they should buy the textbook and even the teacher guide if there is one themselves. But many can't afford to do that either.

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I think the data on Head Start is more nuanced than works-doesn't work and depends on how far forward in the future you look (I can not remember where I read this, so I am going from memory here). As I recall, looking forward into high school shows the academic differences that existed in early elementary return, with no gain to the Head Start recipient. But....looking forward 30 years (to age 45), showed that Head Start recipients had less incidences of poverty, imprisonment, divorce, and other stats considered unfavorable. So I guess you could say it works in the very long term, but not in the short term, and the benefits are mainly social and not necessarily academic.

 

 

 

You are talking about the Perry Preschool Project. Back in the 1960s a group of children were placed in preschool with the intent to increase their IQ. It didn't work. At age 10, their IQs were the same as other kids who did not enter preschool. However, when the same students were analyzed 40 years later, they noticed big differences between the Perry kids and others with similar backgrounds who did not attend preschool. Much less crime, more education and employment, greater earnings. The preschool helped by developing persistence and self-control.

 

For every dollar that had been invested in the Perry Project, a rate of return of 6 - 10% per annum was realized.

 

Here's a short interview of James Heckman talking about the Perry Project:

 

http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/how-nobel-prize-winning-economist-became-advocate-preschool

 

If you look through this thread, I posted some links to Heckman's research on preschools including Head Start. Some Head Starts are based on the Perry Project while others are not. Some are good, others are really bad. The early years are important, though.

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