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Article: 2 in 5 High Schools Don't Offer Physics

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Not the case for several schools, Wharton (UPenn) and Cornell come to mind (I am not 100% sure though).

From what I have briefly seen here is engineering departments ask for you to declare major as you apply, so they admit from a different pool of kids. I think liberal arts majors don't have to do this.

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However, I find it an unwise use of taxpayer money to have college classes taught in high schools. I am fine with free DE for students to take college classes at college. If a school is not offering Physics C due to low enrollment, I don't think that the taxpayers have to step in and provide a state-subsidized class for it. I think it's fine if the equivalent of Physics C is taught in college. It's not actually a high-school class. Kids can DE it or wait until college.

 

In our state, students get free DE classes (the state allocates a certain number of credits, which can vary each year depending on funding and applications). I am fine with that. But regarding classes that high schools are not offering due to low enrollment, I honestly don't think that taxpayers should have to foot the bill so that a few high school students get to take high-level college classes in their high schools. It's a better use of resources to have those students take those classes at colleges.

 

But in many states, there is no free DE. I don't care where they get to take the classes - if they take them on a college campus while in high school, fine. I do, however, not consider it OK to limit the opportunity to take coursework at the appropriate level to students whose parents have the financial ability to pay $1,500 in college tuition for a class that not offered at the high school. I think that is disgraceful.

 

"Kids can DE or wait until college". Hm. So the taxpayer is not required to educate students who have reached this level by, say, the end of 9th grade? Should they be graduated at age 14 so parents can pick up the tab for the education? Should they be required to stay in high school and waste the remaining years on basket weaving? Should the tax payer only found a mediocre high school education that is appropriate for the lower 50%? If you are smart and your parents can't pay, bad luck?

Not my idea of what public schools should be about.

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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But in many states, there is no free DE.

I know. I think there should be.

 

"Kids can DE or wait until college". Hm. So the taxpayer is not required to educate students who have reached this level by, say, the end of 9th grade? Should they be graduated at age 14 so parents can pick up the tab for the education? Should they be required to waste the remaining years of high school on basket weaving?

I find that very snobby. A standard college-prep education is not basket-weaving.

 

There are few kids who are ready for AP Physics C in 9th grade. I don't think it's a wise use of taxpayer money to duplicate college-level classes in high school if there a few kids who would benefit from them.

 

I think free DE should be available for those exceptional students. I think free DE should be available for any kid who wants it. I also think that there should be less spending on the war industrial complex so that we actually have enough money to give every student an excellent education. But we don't, so not every public-school student can get an individualized education. With limited resources, I think that money should be spent on kids with disabilities and kids who struggle before it is spent providing college classes in high school. I understand that's not perfect. But smart kids have advantages that disabled and struggling students don't, and in the current political and financial climate, we make choices.

 

Ideally, that wouldn't be the case.

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I find that very snobby. A standard college-prep education is not basket-weaving.

 

 

I was talking about gifted students. For a student who would  be ready for college classes at age 14, there would be nothing left but basket weave in high school, because they would have already learned what passes at high school level class.

There are few kids who are ready for AP Physics C in 9th grade. I don't think it's a wise use of taxpayer money to duplicate college-level classes in high school if there a few kids who would benefit from them.

 

I think free DE should be available for those exceptional students. I think free DE should be available for any kid who wants it. I also think that there should be less spending on the war industrial complex so that we actually have enough money to give every student an excellent education. But we don't, so not every public-school student can get an individualized education. 

 

We can agree on the bolded.

 

With limited resources, I think that money should be spent on kids with disabilities and kids who struggle before it is spent providing college classes in high school. I understand that's not perfect. But smart kids have advantages that disabled and struggling students don't, and in the current political and financial climate, we make choices.

 

Which large portions of the budget are spent on.

 

Smart kids from financially secure families will end up doing OK, despite crappy schools.

Smart kids from poor families will fall through the cracks; exactly the opposite of what Jefferson envisioned as the purpose of public schools.

 

And what the tendency does overall is to lower the educational level provided in this country, with huge economic consequences. It is not in the best long term interest of a society to have students march in lock step to the beat of the slowest drummer.

If other countries can manage differentiation, why can't the US?

Edited by regentrude
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Smart kids from financially secure families will end up doing OK, despite crappy schools.

Smart kids from poor families will fall through the cracks; exactly the opposite of what Jefferson envisioned as the purpose of public schools.

 

And what the tendency does overall is to lower the educational level provided in this country, with huge economic consequences. It is not in the best long term interest of a society to have students march in lock step to the beat of the slowest drummer.

If other countries can manage differentiation, why can't the US?

 

This drives me crazy.  Our district used to have a discussion forum for anyone who wanted to talk about the schools.  I can't tell you how many times I encountered the attitude of why should we spend money on programs that not everyone can access (AKA gifted programming, accelerated, college level, etc.).  Of course these people also don't mind that we spend a ton of money on varsity sports.  Most kids will never play varsity sports. 

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I'm not sure about that.  There's a wide variety in the difficulty among the various AP classes.  AP Human Geography is routinely taken by high school freshmen.  If it really were a bona-fide college-level course, would so many 9th graders be successful with it?

 

Foreign Language, Math & Science, are different stories, of course.

 

I don't disagree at all that there are weak AP courses, some of which may not be worth a warm bucket of spit.  That doesn't change the fact that they are nonetheless designed to be, and deemed, college-level by the College Board itself.  Not that I'm a big fan of the CB in general...

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And I just want to add: if I sound bitter, it is because I am.

 

I went to school in a tiny communist country that had very little natural resources and recognized that its only chance is to have an educated population. I have very little good to say about that country, but one thing is certain: the public school education I received was far superior to what even good schools locally provide.

I graduated from high school fluent in two foreign languages which I had been taught for 10 and 8 years, respectively. I had had two years of calculus, and biology, chemistry and physics were taught every year.

Having my kids attend well rated public schools in our district would not have given them a comparable education. Which I find absolutely baffling since this is such a stinking rich country; the standard of living in my childhood country is pathetic compared to here. 

What I learned about K-12 education here as a parent and college instructor is one of my biggest disappointments in this country.

 

Edited by regentrude
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Of course these people also don't mind that we spend a ton of money on varsity sports. Most kids will never play varsity sports.

I don't think the schools should have sports at all. Or if they do, they should be for everyone, not just for a few who make the team.

Edited by Haiku
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I don't think the schools should have sports at all. Or if they do, they should be for everyone, not just for a few who make the team.

 

I'm ok with the sports, but not at the expense of academic programming. 

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I am not ok with compelling students to attend without offering appropriate courses. The fact is that we have many students who can skip Regents science and start with AP, because they have had math at the honors level and they read on grade level or above. Claiming AP is college level is ludicrous...its the level appropriate for the top 25%, and its the level college prep public high school used to be at. Thats too students many to leave behind, and its the reason people are forced in to homeschool and private school.

 

Dolciani math, in my day, was for every student who didnt struggle with prealgebra, about 75% of my cohort in a midwestern rural farm town. Now its labeled 'gifted' and that level of challe ge is only offered in schools with a double accel track. Yet, as Regentrude points out, the rest of the world still offers that level of rigor to their college prep students.

I think every compelled child should be placed according to instructional need. Its a waste of taxpayer money to bus them to school and sit them in study hall while half the cohort receives remediation.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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The problem here in middle (rural) Tennessee is that they can't find teachers who are qualified to teach upper math (trig and calculus). Our local high school doesn't offer "live" AP classes. Students learn online. I teach Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry (and Spanish) at my local homeschool co-op and what I see over and over is that many of the children struggling with chemistry (and I am assuming it would be the same for physics) is that they do not have the basic math skills to do well. I am talking basic Algebra here (+ thinking skills needed to do multiple step problems). There is nothing wrong with the intelligence of these children. Often they have not master Algebra by 10th grade, or they have learned to memorize facts but have not been taught to think.

Many in my homeschool community finish Algebra II (at home, or outsourcing it at local tutorials/co-ops) and then take College Algebra to finish the 4th year of math required to graduate. They never see trig or calculus. I have also noticed that many of the math teachers both at our CC, and state colleges,  are foreign born (I am too). Maybe it is just in my little corner of the world but there seems to be a math phobia going around.

 

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I don't disagree at all that there are weak AP courses, some of which may not be worth a warm bucket of spit.  That doesn't change the fact that they are nonetheless designed to be, and deemed, college-level by the College Board itself.  Not that I'm a big fan of the CB in general...

 

Whether a given course is worthy enough to be granted college credit and thus college-level is a decision that only the college in question can make, and is not up to the College Board.  More and more colleges are not accepting AP scores for replacement college credit, and using these tests and classes only for entrance decisions, making the AP classes de-facto honors level high school.

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The problem here in middle (rural) Tennessee is that they can't find teachers who are qualified to teach upper math (trig and calculus). Our local high school doesn't offer "live" AP classes. Students learn online. I teach Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry (and Spanish) at my local homeschool co-op and what I see over and over is that many of the children struggling with chemistry (and I am assuming it would be the same for physics) is that they do not have the basic math skills to do well. I am talking basic Algebra here (+ thinking skills needed to do multiple step problems). There is nothing wrong with the intelligence of these children. Often they have not master Algebra by 10th grade, or they have learned to memorize facts but have not been taught to think.

Many in my homeschool community finish Algebra II (at home, or outsourcing it at local tutorials/co-ops) and then take College Algebra to finish the 4th year of math required to graduate. They never see trig or calculus. I have also noticed that many of the math teachers both at our CC, and state colleges,  are foreign born (I am too). Maybe it is just in my little corner of the world but there seems to be a math phobia going around.

 

Sadly, no, it is not just your corner of the world.

Math phobia is rampant, and the most disturbing thing is that it is very prevalent among elementary school teachers.

There was an article recently about how this math phobia is contagious and infects students from a young age who develop a negative attitude towards math because their elementary math teacher was afraid of, and unable to do, math. This affects primarily girls who tend to identify with, and want to please, their mostly female teachers to a larger degree than boys.

 

I have seen math phobia in homeschooling parents, and on this board, often accompanied by the claim that students don't need any math beyond arithmetic anyway. As long as this is the prevalent attitude, change will be difficult.

 

And I completely agree with you about chemistry. They can't do chem because they never understood fractions. 

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And I just want to add: if I sound bitter, it is because I am.

 

I went to school in a tiny communist country that had very little natural resources and recognized that its only chance is to have an educated population. I have very little good to say about that country, but one thing is certain: the public school education I received was far superior to what even good schools locally provide.

I graduated from high school fluent in two foreign languages which I had been taught for 10 and 8 years, respectively. I had had two years of calculus, and biology, chemistry and physics were taught every year.

Having my kids attend well rated public schools in our district would not have given them a comparable education. Which I find absolutely baffling since this is such a stinking rich country; the standard of living in my childhood country is pathetic compared to here.

What I learned about K-12 education here as a parent and college instructor is one of my biggest disappointments in this country.

We can agree on this, and I have a similar background. I think public school education in this country is a scandal and just serves to perpetrate inequality more. I cannot believe how hands off parents are in other countries w/r/t to their kids/school. They can afford to be. I find myself unable to talk about anything else at a dinner party except the respective kids' education and the latest NPR story about it... And I don't even care that much, I mean I am not philosophical about it. I bore myself...
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Whether a given course is worthy enough to be granted college credit and thus college-level is a decision that only the college in question can make, and is not up to the College Board. More and more colleges are not accepting AP scores for replacement college credit, and using these tests and classes only for entrance decisions, making the AP classes de-facto honors level high school.

.

 

That's because they want students to have to pay for credit at their campus. It's why schools have tried to require that all major classes be taken at their campus and not transferred in. It's a money thing. Where I live, state schools are required to accept transfer hours but private schools usually avoid it. My dd wanted to take A&P over the summer from a local U and her school said no. She had to take it on their campus.

 

As AP has become more common and more kids are testing out of college classes, the colleges are clamping down.

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Yet, as Regentrude points out, the rest of the world still offers that level of rigor to their college prep students.

 

"The rest of the world" really doesn't. There are, actually, countries where "college prep" education is far less broad and deep than what we expect kids to master in American schools to be considered college prep. In the public schools in my kids' native country, "college prep" means that after you learn to read and write, you study math and science. Exclusively. That's it. Because such a tiny, tiny percentage of the population could even dream of going to college, they pick the most promising students and teach them nothing but math and science for ten years.

 

American students might be more prepared for college-level math and science if that's how we educated our students. But we don't.

 

In some countries, only a small percentage of the students even go to school at all, and the ones who aren't extremely bright are forced out after achieving basic literacy. So the "college prep" population looks nothing like the general population.

 

I, too, lived in a country that had better public education than the United States. But that does not mean that all the students were acing calculus and and taking advanced physics classes. There were alternatives for students who couldn't or didn't want to take these classes. Just like here in the States, students who didn't excel in these classes or even take them at all were still able to go to college and succeed. My former boyfriend was a math and science disaster. He completed the equivalent of Algebra II after failing both algebra and algebra II once each. He still went university, where he got degrees in linguistics and philosophy. He currently works for the Royal Luxembourg Archives (I did not live in Luxembourg; he moved there about a decade ago). He is fluent in 8 languages but he never took (or had to take) calculus or physics.

 

The main difference I noticed in educational philosophy and implementation when I lived overseas is that people who went through vocational education weren't looked down on. There was funding for vocational and technical education and it was seen simply as a different track for kids with different interests, not as the dumb track for the dumb kids.

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I think parents here are responsible for the dumbing down of curriculum. I have a similar background as Regentrude and Madteaparty, and I will tell you that yes, we had rigorous high school, but unlike American high schools where As and abundant, getting the highest mark wasn't easy. Books where written to the top 25% and hard work was require to get an A. Out of my exceptional class of 35 (exceptional because if was full of kids of academics and upper class), maybe 6 kids had all As. The majority got Cs and Bs. If you designed a curriculum/system here where only the minority got straight As, we would be facing a parent uprising. 

Our teachers would make it clear what was expected to earn each grade. For somebody striving for A, you had to do it all. If you wanted a C, the teacher would tell you absolute necessary minimum to earn that grade in class. 

 

I think physics, biology, chemistry all belong in high school, along with calculus. I have no trouble graduating kids with just algebra/geo and lesser  sciences if we had a vocational track. 

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 It's why schools have tried to require that all major classes be taken at their campus and not transferred in. It's a money thing. 

 

Look, there's all kinds of problems with college level education in this country, but I don't believe you for a second that colleges, especially not-for-profit ones, are scheming, evil-doers, plotting to how best separate students from their money.  I've worked with and known all kinds of folks in colleges, and they all, are genuinely more concerned with their work and their students than they are about profit.  Generally speaking, if they cared more about money, they'd be in the private sector.

 

If you think the only reason major colleges aren't accepting AP classes for credit is money, I'd like to see some strong evidence, please.  It just ain't so.

Edited by GGardner
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Btw, I know that the idea of an "appropriate" education is part of this discussion, and that if kids are ready to study college classes in 9th grade, they are entitled to this. That is actually not the case. A "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE) is guaranteed only to students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There is no law mandating that highly accelerated or gifted students be provided a college-level education in the public schools. I am not making any judgment of whether this is good or bad; I'm just mentioning it as a fact. In discussions of accelerated and gifted students, I see discussion of what is an "appropriate" education for them, and I think sometimes people think that the public schools are legally required to provide anything to any student who would benefit from it.

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Btw, I know that the idea of an "appropriate" education is part of this discussion, and that if kids are ready to study college classes in 9th grade, they are entitled to this. That is actually not the case. A "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE) is guaranteed only to students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There is no law mandating that highly accelerated or gifted students be provided a college-level education in the public schools. I am not making any judgment of whether this is good or bad; I'm just mentioning it as a fact. In discussions of accelerated and gifted students, I see discussion of what is an "appropriate" education for them, and I think sometimes people think that the public schools are legally required to provide anything to any student who would benefit from it.

 

I think the disagreement is what constitutes a high school class. Does physics class belong in high school, or not. I think it does. I had 5 years of physics in an ordinary school. I think American high schoolers deserve at least a year of it. 

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Look, there's all kinds of problems with college level education in this country, but I don't believe you for a second that colleges, especially not-for-profit ones, are scheming, evil-doers, plotting to how best separate students from their money.  I've worked with and known all kinds of folks in colleges, and they all, are genuinely more concerned with their work and their students than they are about profit.  Generally speaking, if they cared more about money, they'd be in the private sector.

 

If you think the only reason major colleges aren't accepting AP classes for credit is money, I'd like to see some strong evidence, please.  It just ain't so.

 

I don't think most people who work at in college-level education are awful people, either. But just like people who work for pharmaceutical companies can be fantastic people (like my sister), the pharmaceutical industry as a whole can still do things that are more skewed to their bottom line than toward the well-being of consumers. I don't honestly see colleges acting differently.

 

I have read several things over the last years and months (as I look ahead to my next child going to college and consider how to structure her high school education) that have discussed the idea that colleges don't accept AP or transfer credit for fiscal reasons. Indeed, that is exactly what my oldest dd's current college told her about the A&P class. 

Edited by Haiku
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I think the disagreement is what constitutes a high school class. Does physics class belong in high school, or not. I think it does. 

 

I agree, and stated as much earlier. I don't agree, however, that a school has to provide classes of any level of rigor that a particular student might need or want, such as another poster's example of (I believe) an 9th grader who was ready for studying college-level classes. 

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Part of the issue with colleges accepting classes taken at other places is that there are often several different levels of a subject.  I have taught/taken at least 3 different levels of college biology.  There was one for pre-med and science research students, one for pre-health science (nursing, audiology, etc) and one for non-majors (a science elective).  In the first, a student learning about glycolysis would learn about specifically which chemical bonds were broken, which enzymes were used, and where each electron went.  In the second, students might learn the names of the intermediates and know that a different enzyme does each.  In the third, students learn that breaking down food is a multistep process, where it occurs, and maybe the beginning and end products.  There are different goals for each class that fit what the students need to know for future classes. 

 

When I was a student 20 years ago, the AP exam was thought to match the first class, but over time most schools decided that AP really didn't cover everything that a year of a very intense college class with a weekly lab could address, so it was changed to let students place out of either of the less-detailed courses - this might have changed with the revamped AP test.  When I taught at a community college, they told us about how now each course had a class number on campus (Bio 101) and also a multi-digit code that was unseen by students - a background course number. This is what colleges use to decide if credits transfer.  Our CC worked hard to keep our course aligned with the local college that most students transferred to.  And, when I taught the lab for pre-nursing students, we often lost 1/3 of the students in the first 3 weeks because they struggled with the algebra involved in doing metric conversions and dosage calculations. 

 

On another note, I think that the reason students don't take physics is that it seems hard and math-y.  Even though the high school class that I teach is mostly molecular biology and not particularly easy, students are comfortable with the idea of taking biology because they did bits of it when they were younger.  And, depending on where you are, many students take a physical science class in 8th or 9th grade that includes an introduction to basic physics.  In my area, many students choose Physical Science in 9th, and the Bio and Chem in 10th and 11th, with maybe an elective science (Bio II, anatomy, astronomy, etc) if they choose to take a 4th credit.

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Part of the issue with colleges accepting classes taken at other places is that there are often several different levels of a subject. 

 

Yes, I understand that, but if you have two colleges in the same state that both teach an A&P class for biology majors, it's a pretty good assumption that the content will be similar. I'm not talking about someone wanting to transfer bio for non-majors from the CC as a bio-for majors class to the U of Penn.

 

If my dd attended a state school, her school would be required to accept the credit from another state school.

Edited by Haiku

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It's not ideal if it is not offered and not required, but then it's not like there aren't a zillion different ways to learn the information if someone is interested.  Many high schools don't offer any computer programming courses, but lots of people major in computer programming.  They often start off learning on their own.

 

Back in my day learning on one's own was much more difficult.  If you couldn't find some outdated book in the library, then there weren't that many other easy options.  (I realize sometimes an outdated book works just fine though.)  Now the only difficulty is sifting through the mind boggling amount of information. 

 

Although I would consider it pretty lame for a school district to claim they could not find a way.  If they can't afford to hire an instructor, they could possibly look into some sort of on-line or distance learning option for those students who are interested. 

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Yes, I understand that, but if you have two colleges in the same state that both teach an A&P class for biology majors, it's a pretty good assumption that the content will be similar. I'm not talking about someone wanting to transfer bio for non-majors from the CC as a bio-for majors class to the U of Penn.

 

If my dd attended a state school, her school would be required to accept the credit from another state school.

 

See I don't know.  Is there actually any effort to coordinate what is taught?  I mean between high schools and colleges?  I don't get the impression there is.  And how is it students can graduate from high school with high grades, but then need remedial courses once they get to college? 

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Many high schools don't offer any computer programming courses, but lots of people major in computer programming.  

 

Exactly. There are tons of things you can major in that aren't taught in high school, and yet those students somehow manage the major without having taken the equivalents of pre-reqs in high school.

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See I don't know.  Is there actually any effort to coordinate what is taught?  I mean between high schools and colleges? 

 

I'm not sure what you mean. I was talking about my dd being able to transfer A&P (anatomy and physiology) from one (state) college to another (private, non-elite) college.

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I'm not sure what you mean. I was talking about my dd being able to transfer A&P (anatomy and physiology) from one (state) college to another (private, non-elite) college.

 

Oh! Ok...

 

I guess I misread/misunderstood.  That's a weird thing too.  Here where I am there is a lot of effort at the CC to line stuff up so that it's transferable.  When I was a student in another state that was a total joke.  We were told stuff could transfer, but that rarely worked out.  So starting off at a CC wasn't much of a money saver.

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Btw, I know that the idea of an "appropriate" education is part of this discussion, and that if kids are ready to study college classes in 9th grade, they are entitled to this. That is actually not the case. A "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE) is guaranteed only to students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There is no law mandating that highly accelerated or gifted students be provided a college-level education in the public schools. I am not making any judgment of whether this is good or bad; I'm just mentioning it as a fact. In discussions of accelerated and gifted students, I see discussion of what is an "appropriate" education for them, and I think sometimes people think that the public schools are legally required to provide anything to any student who would benefit from it.

 

Gifted students do not just not receive an appropriate education in high school, when that would require extra classes/teachers - they never receive an appropriate education, beginning in elementary school, when that could be easily accomplished using the available resources.

In the six years my DD attended public school, she received no meaningful instruction besides learning to read in kindergarten.

She spent six years reading fiction in class with teachers' permission because they acknowledged they could not teach her anything.

The day I brought her home from school she said: "I am glad I don't have to go to school anymore, I can finally learn something".

 

One could hardly pronounce a more scathing judgment about the public school system.

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I guess I misread/misunderstood.  That's a weird thing too.  Here where I am there is a lot of effort at the CC to line stuff up so that it's transferable.  When I was a student in another state that was a total joke.  We were told stuff could transfer, but that rarely worked out.  So starting off at a CC wasn't much of a money saver.

 

Yeah. Our state recently (within the last 5 years?) standardized all colleges and universities to a semester schedule (maybe it's only all state schools, but I think it's all schools). Part of doing that was coming up with articulation agreements about what can transfer between (state) four-year schools and between (state) two-year and four-year schools. There is a Transfer Module that is available; there are hundreds of classes that will transfer either individually or as part of a two-year gen-ed program.

 

It's telling to me that most of the private schools have opted out of this. They are not required to accept transfer credit so, on the whole, they don't. And many of these private schools are not elite or ranked any higher than state schools, so it's not like they are saying their classes would be so much more rigorous.

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Gifted students do not just not receive an appropriate education in high school, when that would require extra classes/teachers - they never receive an appropriate education, beginning in elementary school, when that could be easily accomplished using the available resources.

In the six years my DD attended public school, she received no meaningful instruction besides learning to read in kindergarten.

She spent six years reading fiction in class with teachers' permission because they acknowledged they could not teach her anything.

The day I brought her home from school she said: "I am glad I don't have to go to school anymore, I can finally learn something".

 

One could hardly pronounce a more scathing judgment about the public school system.

 

I agree with you that our public school system is poor. I'm simply pointing out that gifted students are not legally entitled to FAPE, even though I see discussions in many places in which people seem to think that they are.

 

Maybe if we quit spending so much money on war, we could provide people with healthcare and education equivalent to their needs.

Edited by Haiku

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Yes, I understand that, but if you have two colleges in the same state that both teach an A&P class for biology majors, it's a pretty good assumption that the content will be similar. 

 

I do not believe that assumption is correct. The content may be similar, the level of mastery required may differ greatly.

I know that physics courses using the same standard textbook can differ widely in difficulty, depending on the school. And courses for majors using different level of book may be a completely different issue - the freshmen problems my DD had in her honors physics course at her school are miles above anything physics majors are doing at our state public four year STEM campus.

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Gifted students do not just not receive an appropriate education in high school, when that would require extra classes/teachers - they never receive an appropriate education, beginning in elementary school, when that could be easily accomplished using the available resources.

In the six years my DD attended public school, she received no meaningful instruction besides learning to read in kindergarten.

She spent six years reading fiction in class with teachers' permission because they acknowledged they could not teach her anything.

The day I brought her home from school she said: "I am glad I don't have to go to school anymore, I can finally learn something".

 

One could hardly pronounce a more scathing judgment about the public school system.

 

Maybe they can just argue that there is no definition of appropriate education, but yeah I agree.  If it doesn't teach or further advance a person, it's not exactly appropriate. 

 

Don't know the regulations in NY, but in CT the rule is they have to test for giftedness, but there is no rule that they have to provide gifted students with anything.  So what is the point of testing them?!

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I do not believe that assumption is correct. The content may be similar, the level of mastery required may differ greatly.

I know that physics courses using the same standard textbook can differ widely in difficulty, depending on the school. And courses for majors using different level of book may be a completely different issue

 

Yet the state schools are required to accept transfer credits from other schools; it's just the private schools that try to bar this or claim that you have to take your major classes on their campus.

 

ETA: I am going to encourage my dd14 to take her major classes at the college she attends. It's probably best that she does. But not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford four years of college tuition. Some people need to start at the CC; some people may need to transfer credits for one reason or another. I think this needs to be available for them, or we trap people into one school or taking more than four years to graduate.

Edited by Haiku

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If you think the only reason major colleges aren't accepting AP classes for credit is money, I'd like to see some strong evidence, please.  It just ain't so.

 

I too doubt money is relevant.  However, most colleges will still allow placement out of many introductory courses with a high-enough grade on the corresponding AP exam even where the college won't grant credit.

 

I also think it's worth noting that the quality of CC/DE courses may vary even more widely than APs, as APs have a nationwide exam.  Some CC/DE courses may be less rigorous than APs while others may be more rigorous.  This is an important question for us right now, as we have two 8th graders attending school, one currently taking alg 2 and one in geometry, and we are trying to decide between (1) rigorous private high school older sibling attends, with many AP choices, also offers calc 3 on site, and if needed, option for DE at the associated 4-yr university, vs (2) current charter's high school where CC courses are taught on-site at the high school by CC instructors, in lieu of APs, with subsequent courses offsite.  I'm still investigating but as far as I can tell right now, school #2 classes might not be AP-approved though of course a student may take the AP exam at the end if they wish.  There might be an intent by the CC to align these courses with AP even if they don't have the AP designation.  If one of the kids should end up at the state flagship, my rough understanding is that they'd get automatic credit for those CC courses.  I'm skeptical about the quality and concerned about CC/DE affecting the college GPA.  sigh...not sure what we will do; probably punt by applying to the private and deciding later.  It is so hard to predict where they will end up for college, though it wouldn't surprise me if one stayed in-state and the other went private out of state.

Edited by wapiti

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I too doubt money is relevant.  However, most colleges will still allow placement out of many introductory courses with a high-enough grade on the corresponding AP exam even where the college won't grant credit.

 

What's the point of allowing students to place out of intro classes but not granting them credit? The public Ivy near us does this. People around here say it's so that you still have to pay for all your credit hours on their campus.

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It's always a bit weird to me, these discussions, because our system is so different. Dd ( my only child in the school system ) has never done physics, isn't required to take maths past Year 10, and her final year is studying only history, English, religion, and physical education. And she'll still be able to go to uni. Because we don't have prerequisites in the same way. 

 

So, ya know, all kinds of things work. 

 

However, any student in the state whose school doesn't offer physics can do physics through Distance Education. 

 

Idk. Isn't it all a bit like the argument over putting most of the resources into 0-3 high quality care ? Rather than see physics for all, maybe it would be better to have awesome elementary and middle school maths teachers....if most people had a solid foundation in maths, and they liked it, that would do more for overall levels of education than offering physics classes everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

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I can't speak to why a paritcular private school is not accepting a particular credit.  It could be about the money.  It could be that they learned from experience that transfers from certain places don't learn what they're supposed to learn (this was a major concern at my former CC - they checked in regularly with StateU to make sure that our former students weren't underprepared), it could be that they include extra information in a particular class compared to other schools and students in the next class are expected to know it.  I always encourage students place out of electives but take most of their major classes where they intend to graduate if they can because every program has its quirks and its best to have learned what subsequent profs will expect you to know.  Biology is a huge area, and while all courses might cover the same things such that students could all pass a basic knowledge test, different teachers will include different 'extra' information...maybe that school considers the particular 'extra' stuff to be essential? 

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Btw, I know that the idea of an "appropriate" education is part of this discussion, and that if kids are ready to study college classes in 9th grade, they are entitled to this. That is actually not the case. A "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE) is guaranteed only to students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There is no law mandating that highly accelerated or gifted students be provided a college-level education in the public schools. I am not making any judgment of whether this is good or bad; I'm just mentioning it as a fact. In discussions of accelerated and gifted students, I see discussion of what is an "appropriate" education for them, and I think sometimes people think that the public schools are legally required to provide anything to any student who would benefit from it.

What people are objecting to is 1. The idiocy of compelling a child to attend and offering him review or playtime. 2. The racism and classism involved in declaring certain courses 'elitist'. Americans came from the one room schoolhouse, dont waste time idling philosophy. Its abhorrent to be invited to the table, then be told you are too fat, so just sit there and shut up while everyone else eats. We expect all children to learn new material. Anything else is unacceptable and a waste of taxpayer resources. We are done with the blue eyed cookie type of philosophy being espoused. Our resources arent that scarce. It costs no more to offer ap physics than gen ed physics and there is no reason but racism or classism to deny capable students the opportunity to take the more rigorous course. Edited by Heigh Ho
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I oppose compulsory attendance.

 

If I were in charge of education, high schools would look nothing at all like they do now.

 

I don't advocate confining students in institutional schools.

 

I don't hold the opinions I've expressed in this thread because I am racist or classist.

 

I think students should receive an education commensurate with their abilities. I don't see American high schools as the best vehicle to accomplish this.

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I don't get this. Elementary school is pre-req for middle and middle is pre-req for high school, so why shouldn't high school classes be pre-reqs for college? If no prep is required for college than why do we bother teaching any sciences in high school? Or other subjects?

Or are you talking about AP classes?

 

Yes, but does that mean that from Kinder to 5th they should be made to have several teachers throughout the day.  I remember taking the same thing over and over again until I thought WTH is the point.  We are just learning the same thing over and over again.  Even in college you see kids saying why are we still learning the same thing over and over again.  I thought college was supposed to be different. 

 

Just because colleges want something doesn't mean professors are in agreement 

 

 

"Jackie, trust me, as a college calculus professor, I have no idea why all these schools want more students to take calculus in high school. All it amounts to are a whole lot of students *re*-taking calculus in college because they had a superficial treatment of it in high school which was preceded by a rushed and superficial treatment of arithmetic and algebra (to say nothing of most students’ non-existent trig knowledge). So I end up with a lot of students who THINK they have had calculus before, but really haven’t. I’d much rather leave calculus to the gifted programs in high school and the colleges, and let high schools really get these kids rock solid on arithmetic and algebra so that we college people have a better shot at actually teaching something. But then again, the school districts don’t often think to talk to us college folks before they decide what’s going to prepare students best for college…"

 

I've heard and read many say similar about science courses.

Edited by happybeachbum
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But you can still do conceptual or algebra based physics.

I wonder if it's the lack of physics teachers?

UC Scout physics course from physics to AP physics 1, 2 and C (both tracks) are available for free to California public school students. So that is a viable option in California when there are not enough kids for a class or there is no teacher to teach that class.

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I don't hold the opinions I've expressed in this thread because I am racist or classist.

 

.

Sorry, but when you advocate offering lower level coursework only, the effect is racist and classist because you offer nothing academically to the children you exclude. The parents of these subgroups are taxed, and their children deserve to learn in k12, not just the children of your favorite subgroups. Edited by Heigh Ho
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Sorry, but when you advocate offering lower level coursework only, the effect is racist and classist because you offer nothing academically to the children you exclude. The parents of these subgroups are taxed, and their children deserve to learn in k12, not just the children of your favorite subgroups.

I said that those students should have state-funded DE. I said that I don't think that duplication of services is the most effective means of handling the situation. I did not propose that certain students should not get the classes they need. I sad that federal law doesn't mandate it.

 

You are reading what you want to read into my statements, not what I actually said.

 

I have lots of issues with how education is handled in the US, how schools are structured, the fact that schools are supposed to be one-size solutions for kids of varying sizes, and the fact that traditional school methods reward a narrow set of skills and capabilities.

 

I think we need to move past the traditional conception of high school, not just start transferring college into high school. You may consider me racist and classist at your pleasure. I'm actually advocating better options for students.

Edited by Haiku
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I said that those students should have state-funded DE. I said that I don't think that duplication of services is the most effective means of handling the situation. I did not propose that certain students should not get the classes they need. I sad that federal law doesn't mandate it.

 

 

Why would taxpayer subsidized DE Calculus 1 from a college (for an example) be preferable to AP Calculus AB in the high school?  

 

You're arguments seem to be based on the current funding situation in your state.

============================================

1)  AP Calculus AB plusses

     a)  topics are mostly standardized across the country - choose from many text books

     b)  covered over 30 weeks versus 15 in a college setting (easier pacing)

     c)  available in the school or online without extra travel by the student

     d) cost to provide the class is reasonable 

    AP Calculus AB minuses

     a)  instructor may not be fully capable of teaching the material - in this case online option is preferred

==========================================

2) DE Calculus 1 at local community college (probably what the state may be willing to fund)

  plusses

   a)  instructor most likely will have advanced degree in Math or similar 

   

  minuses

   a)  may have to transport student to campus if online option not available which could be disruptive to other classes that the student takes

   b) some community colleges are just not very good and course might be weaker versus the AP

   c) cost per student to the taxpayer to provide the class is more likely to be more than AP (based on average CC costs)

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I find it sad that some students don't have the opportunity to take physics. Algebra based physics was required in my high school and I had an amazing, passionate teacher. I am a humanities girl through and through, but physics was one of my absolute favorite classes ever. I remember what I learned and find it useful in teaching my children, 9 and 11.

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The problem here in middle (rural) Tennessee is that they can't find teachers who are qualified to teach upper math (trig and calculus). Our local high school doesn't offer "live" AP classes. Students learn online. I teach Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry (and Spanish) at my local homeschool co-op and what I see over and over is that many of the children struggling with chemistry (and I am assuming it would be the same for physics) is that they do not have the basic math skills to do well. I am talking basic Algebra here (+ thinking skills needed to do multiple step problems). There is nothing wrong with the intelligence of these children. Often they have not master Algebra by 10th grade, or they have learned to memorize facts but have not been taught to think.

Many in my homeschool community finish Algebra II (at home, or outsourcing it at local tutorials/co-ops) and then take College Algebra to finish the 4th year of math required to graduate. They never see trig or calculus. I have also noticed that many of the math teachers both at our CC, and state colleges, are foreign born (I am too). Maybe it is just in my little corner of the world but there seems to be a math phobia going around.

Another issue is that a strong math or hard science graduate can usually get a much better paying job than teaching high school math, physics or chem. So, while there are exceptions (like people who have a reason to stay in a specific community that doesn't have the industry that provides such jobs), most do. You end up with a lot of people teaching math and science who were able to squeak through the minimum number of courses and get a passing score on the certification exam for that subject, but don't have a passion or a really in-depth knowledge of the field. One reason why there are often higher quality humanities courses offered to at least some students at many high schools than STEM ones simply is that there are fewer non-teaching jobs for English or History majors (although schools hiring people as coaches first and then slotting them in as teachers also happens. At my high school, one history teacher was amazing, the other was there to coach football.)

 

FWIW, even urban TN has trouble getting people who are truly qualified to teach high level math/science classes. One reason why my former (elementary) principal had me teach a small group of kids who were beyond elementary math each year was that he had been a high school biology teacher, and, from his experience, believed that there was a really good chance that our students would NOT get algebra once they left us at any reasonable level so, since he had someone qualified to teach it, let's get those 12-13 yr olds who are capable of learning it that background.

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Why would taxpayer subsidized DE Calculus 1 from a college (for an example) be preferable to AP Calculus AB in the high school?  

 

Because the student will get college credit for a DE class but may not for an AP class.

 

Because college professors are likely more qualified to teach the class.

 

Because pulling a college professor into a high school to teach a class comprised only of high schoolers means that the students who pay tuition to the college are losing out on instructor hours dedicated to the college.

 

Among other reasons.

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