Education in America

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by The1, Sep 5, 2002.

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  1. The1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2001
    star 1
    I know this is a huge concern for parents and politicians but is it a concern for us, the young population of the U.S? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on our declining education. Its scary to think that almost 2/3 of our population cant read well.
  2. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Every fall I see the same thing, students who didn't have to study to pass high school failing freshmen college classes. One of my colleagues had a student tell him that she couldn't be failing his class as she was valedictorian of her high school class. She failed because she never had to open a book during her time in public school.

    I am also sad to see the skill of reading comprehension dwindling. Students on a large scale, if they read at all, can not tell you what they read immediately afterward. The basic skills that need to be learned prior to entering college are not being taught. It seems that each high school class prepares their students with the minimum amount of information necessary to pass the class. Then, they are not the school's problem anymore. Their done, graduated, and shipped out the door without any real practical knowledge.

    I know this is true, for in my last semester in highschool, I switched from honors classes to regular classes due to not being able to graduate with an honors cord (We had National Honor Society cloaks for that group and supposedly gold honors cords for students who graduated with honors. When I was told that only NHS members got the gold cords, I decided I didn't need to take anymore honors classes). The difference was astounding. I had no homework, just fill in the blank essays (yes, that is correct) that I got to use a book while completing. It was a joke! A complete waste of my time.


    Another thing that I see as a problem is the massive amounts of students who get tested for a learning disability which forces the professor to make allowances for them in their classes. Granted, this is a real predicament for those who truely have this problem, but those are few and far between.

    When it is common knowledge that taking a test that is supposedly able to determine if you cannot concentrate will help you in your college career, there is a problem. It seems, in my opinion, that the psychologists/psychiatrists who administer the test do not bother with determining if the student actually has the problem or is just looking for an easy way our of college. They are not concerned with ending the problem, or even teaching them how to counteract it. Sometimes when they do anything, they prescribe a drug.

    When I was growing up, I was hyperactive, what we would no call Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. My mother worked with me constantly until I was able to grasp control of myself and overcome this problem. I realize I still have it today, but I never used it as an excuse as students do all of the time.

    I wonder what will happen when they enter the real world and their boss asks them if they did the report he told them to write the week before and they answer "Couldn't do it, I'm ADD, I need about three more weeks."

    They'll be fired, and the reason will be because public schools and highschools did not prepare them to be successful in real life.
  3. tenorjedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2000
    star 5
    There's a real debate in public schools wether their job is to fill kids brains with knowledge or prepare children for the real world. I think we need that question answered before you can say "yes we need to make school difficult so kids learn their lesson about life" or "no we need to help the children, even if it means holding their hands so they learn the core information"

    I made a thread about this before, and I think we stop holding the kids hands because they are allowed to coast through H.S. and if things go wrong there's always extra credit, or some sap of a teacher giving them a second and third and fourth chance. Just so long as the graduation ratio is higher, that's all that matters.
  4. saerah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 13, 1999
    star 7
    Where I live in Western MD, it is disturbing to see the quality (or lack of) of education kids are recieving. I graduated high school in Florida, and I compare where I was to where my cousin, who is 16 and in the 10th grade, and she would have flunked out ages ago. I would never send my children to the public schools here (if I were to have children.)

    Maybe it is because we are rural?
  5. Aanix_Durray Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2001
    star 4
    Maybe it is because we are rural?

    I don't think so. I live in an ecletic area, and have visited several surrounding places where the atmosphere changes from anything from rural to near-royal, and they all have crap for education.

    The Public School system needs to be torn down and completely rebuilt. It's dilapidated and on the verge of socialism with a lot of the practices it and govenment programs behind it perform.

    I wrote an essay on this a few quarters ago, and I wish I had it to post or something, it explains the above information/theory much more effectively.

    ~~Aanix
  6. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
  7. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    'ehh....in my school we just didn't care. This is coming from a flunky. I failed the 9th grade because of my attitude, not because of my teachers. My teachers were great, but I was not. I thought I knew it all. And if I didn't, I'd learn it somewhere else, and not school. I learned a lot that year. A lot about myself and a lot about why school is important. So I repeat the 9th grade and my grades shoot up 100%. I still had great teachers. Plus I had Mr.Callas my 10th grade year. If any of you care he's one of the BEST teachers around.

    The rest of my high school life was great, marked with high's and low's added to that that I did in fact know most of what the teachers were talking about. It's not a question of whether kids work hard enough or that they study. I NEVER studied I didn't need to. There was no point. What I'am getting at is that it's not the teachers, it's the material coupled with the student's inability to listen. You can teach anything, but only if you make it interesting enough for someone to want to learn it.


    EDIT: Most new teachers when they're new go by the book. That is probably why the perception is that they can't teach.
  8. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    As far as I'm concerned, high school was a complete waste of my time. I breezed through 9th and 10th grades doing maybe a weeks' worth of homework over the course of each year. For me, the determiner of grades is not the difficulty of the course, but whether I care. English, History, a few other courses -- straight As. Bible, Jewish Studies, Foreign Languages -- I didn't give a crap, and so I didn't get the grades. The thing is, though, that I didn't learn a damn thing -- knowledge-wise, or about "how to live in the real world," in high school. In English I was a better writer than my teacher was most of the time. In history they wasted my time trying to teach me to use note cards to write papers. Well, sorry, bub, but note cards don't work for me, and I get better grades when I *don't* use them. Math was always a cinch. High school did not provide a helpful atmosphere, academically or socially. As a result, in college, I'm able to do the coursework well not because high school prepared me, but because I'm a voracious reader anyway, and I actually know how to write. I end up proofreading the work of many of my friends, and I'm *astounded* at how badly many of them write. Which is a pain for me, y'know, because I want to help them, but I don't want to tear their papers apart so badly that they get pissed at *me*. I think I've gone off-topic here.

    The short and long of it is, the school system doesn't work. It should be restructured. It has a dual purpose which doesn't work very well. There should be a period of the day for school, where there are uniforms or at least a dress-code, in which they don't teach you facts, but rather teach you how to think and to learn. There should be another period of the day, in or out of the school, for social interaction.

    As to the whole "disability" thing, it drives me nuts. I have a friend who is probably smarter than I am, but he has a minor spelling problem (he can read and comprehend just fine, he just misspells words when writing sometimes), which somehow qualified him for untimed testing. Little brats, pains in the ass, are allowed to get away with murder because it seems 4 in 5 people have ADD or bipolar or something. Give me a break. Give them some discipline. Jeez.
  9. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    There should be a period of the day for school, where there are uniforms or at least a dress-code, in which they don't teach you facts, but rather teach you how to think and to learn.

    Thinking and learning aren't taught. They're natural occurances. Also, school uniforms don't work. It's completely stupid to think such a thing would work. IMO
  10. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Thinking and learning aren't taught. They're natural occurances.

    People will naturally think, and naturally learn. But you can be tought to think better, more logically, more analytically. You can be taught to think and learn in a way that will be beneficial to your life.


    Also, school uniforms don't work. It's completely stupid to think such a thing would work.

    Well, I guess whether or not they "work" depends on what you think their purpose is. A strict dress code or a uniform has a twofold purpose:

    1) It removes one social barrier. A kid who wears hand-me downs or cheap clothes can take a lot of crap from those who can afford better clothes.

    2) It preserves modesty and therefore keeps the whole "raging hormone" factor down. I'm not a prude, and am all for comfort wear in most circumstances, but in school it's damned hard to concentrate on learning when girls are showing up in extraordinarily abbreviated clothing and minimal underwear.

    Also, having to wear "decent" clothes is good preparation for later in life when you may well have to wear *gasp* a suit on a regular basis.
  11. Kit' Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 1999
    star 5
    Having gone to both uniformed and free-dress schools, let me tell you that uniform schools work!

    Uniforms help break down class barriers. They don't eliminate them, but at least now they don't show as much between the kid in hand-me-downs and the kid in Colorado and Gucci. It also cuts down on the stress of having to be 'cool' by having the latest fashions. However, that is for a different thread entirely.

    It really does sound like American schools need an overhaul, but I don't think you'll get it anytime soon. Overhauling education systems (it happens fairly regularly down here) takes a lot of time and work. There are always complaints from parents worried that their child is going to be disadvantaged and from teachers who disagree with the new policy (let alone the students!!!)

    As for classes where they teach you stuff about real-life, trust me it isn't the same as actually doing it. I had one of these classes at school, basically it turned into how to get a job (they taught the worst resume skills I have EVER seen) and how to write letters thanking them for afternoon tea (I walked out half-way through that one I was so disgusted). Then after highschool I moved out of home. It was probably the steepest learning curve I've ever encountered as I suddenly had to do everything myself. Now don't get me wrong, my parents made sure I was very self-sufficent at a very young age, but it didn't mean anything once I got out into the 'real' world.

    Hmm, but I'm getting sidetracked.

    Back on target!!!

    Kithera
  12. ADMIRALSPUZZUM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2002
    star 4
    I wonder what will happen when they enter the real world and their boss asks them if they did the report he told them to write the week before and they answer "Couldn't do it, I'm ADD, I need about three more weeks."

    Maveric, that is so true it scares me.

  13. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    Yup, I'm severly ADD, but I still get by.






    Anyways-- education in America is unsatisfactory, just look at Vietnam/Japan/China and compare it to us-- sorry guys, but we suck!
  14. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Well, i dont know what causes high drop out rates, bad schools or 'none to bright' kids. I got through high school barely opening a book, and given how easy it was, I cant see how kids can fail unless they actually tried.

    Probably both though. When it is so easy that kids dont try, then they get to a thing here or there that they have to try on, they wont...

    Schools should be harder. I took (almost) all honors, and I still had next to no work to do.

    I also have a spelling problem (made elementry and middle school [spelling tests] heck for me) and I qualified for unlimited test time. I didnt take it. I didnt need it. If i dont know how to spell a word, then i cant spell a word, just do well with everything else.

    Remember that incedent last year where the teacher failed most of her students for plagerising, and she was ordered to change the grades after the parrents whinned? Yes, we need a big change in our schools.
  15. ADMIRALSPUZZUM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, North America is a little behind.

    A Taiwanese friend of mine told me that high school starts at 6AM and goes till 10AM. And then you have homework.

    Then again, I like our school system the way it is [face_plain]
  16. chibiangi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 4
  17. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Then again, I like our school system the way it is


    Same here. Then again I graduated in 2001 so I have little to worry about.
  18. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Remember that incedent last year where the teacher failed most of her students for plagerising, and she was ordered to change the grades after the parrents whinned? Yes, we need a big change in our schools.


    After that incident, the teacher in question quit. I would too. If a school is going to give in to parent's desires, when those desires run contrary to the mission of the school, there is indeed a severe problem.
  19. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    I was never big on school in the early years. I think I ditched and partied with my friends more than anything. It wasn't until I went to college that learning became important to me. I think you earn what you get in the United States, however, in the age of computers you'd think kids were learning a lot today.
  20. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Not when they can buy their term papers online.


    That's why I require all essay tests.
  21. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    It's quite interesting to read about foreign school systems and this thread cleared up some confusion about why kids easily get such an high grade while here it's so damned hard...

    My school days last from 10.30am to 5pm if anyone is interested... (full day is 8.45am untill 5.45pm)
  22. MynDonos Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2002
    star 3
    I dont know about anywhere else, but I do know that here in Florida, all of our education problems have something to do with the FCAT, or "Florida Comprehensive Assesment Test."

    I posted a huge synopsis about all the educational problems in schools in an old thread, maybe the one entitled "standardized testing." If someone could dig it up I'd be glad to re-post my comment on the FCAT.
  23. Jedi Greg Maddux Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 1999
    star 6
    A Taiwanese friend of mine told me that high school starts at 6AM and goes till 10AM. And then you have homework.

    14 hours of school?

    Umm, that's four hours by my count, and even if 10PM was meant, that's still 16 hours. [face_plain]

    I went to school in Iowa, where good education is stressed. It's usually among the top 5 states literacy-wise and it's probably the best thing the state has going for it.

    I was a top-notch student until junior high where I stopped caring and thought that it would be all downhill from there. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.

    I had a 2.6 (yes, 2.6!) GPA after my first year of HS, but I buckled down and got a 3.4 out of the whole deal, so HS wasn't a total waste. And I took many advanced courses so I probably would have gotten a 3.6 or so if I took regular, non honor/college preparatory classes.

    GO 'CLONES!
  24. ADMIRALSPUZZUM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2002
    star 4
    Yes, I realize that might not be correct, we had that conversation a while ago, so don't take my word as fact!

    My school is from 8:30 to 2:45.

    Edit: OOOPS! yeah that's supposed to be PM [face_laugh]
  25. obaona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 4
    I think that schools as a whole should be controlled by communities and not the government - by this I mean the federal government. Schools should be controlled by local governments, if that, and leave the lawyers out of it (no more suing if your kid failed 2nd grade cause he/she couldn't do the most basic of things) We were doing just fine without the government interferring with each and every little thing and now look at the schools . . .

    An added note, I am homeschooled. I have very hard curriculums meant to prepare me for college and I get in trouble if I get a C. :) I'll probably be one of the few who won't be taking remedial classes in college.

    Thank God for my parents. :)
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