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Ed Harrow
12-14-2002, 08:44 PM
"OK guys here we go again. Long Dingo like story . I live in a town on the cusp
between old timers and new young families like ourselves. The old-timers are a
cantankerous bunch a little backwoods but I never had a problem with them. Until yesterday
seems there was this local referendum to be passed regarding our K-12 school. Essentially
the school needs to be expanded and upgraded it the same old school that it was 50 years
ago. The old-timers were adamant and down rite hostile towards the expansion calling all of
us carpet baggers and the such. Typical small town stuff. My wife and I handed out YES
buttons and stickers at the polls yesterday and endured the wrath of the old-timers. We
were a bit down last night thinking that we loosed due to the overwhelming negative
response we got at the polls. But then at 9:00 last night we got the news WE WON !!! NEW
SCHOOL AND ATHLETIC FIELD TO BE BUILT...."

Bricks and mortar are also known to be useful in building prisons...

Greenberg: The `reform' recipe for educational
disaster

By Dan Greenberg / Guest Columnist
Friday, December 13, 2002

I am haunted by the image of an educational system going berserk. As
the second year of the new millennium draws to a close, the signs are
everywhere that our country has lost touch with reality when it comes to
providing an environment for our children to grow up to be effective adults
in the 21st century.

The most glaring example of what has gone wrong is the increasing
wave of standardized tests that has inundated our schools - national
tests, state tests, and privately administered tests. The notorious MCAS
examinations in Massachusetts are only a sampling of what our children
face by way of standardized testing during their years at school. These
tests, as a group, are steadily eroding every last vestige of initiative and
variety in our schools, and guaranteeing the robotization of teaching from
K through 12.

It is worth recounting why universal schooling was established in this
country - which, by the way, was the first country to do so, and thereby
became the world's premier industrial nation. In the mid-19th century,
over 150 years ago, the leading thinkers in America came to the
realization that an urbanized industrial economy required a huge army of
workers who possessed three cardinal properties: (1) the ability to
perform repetitive, boring, routine work for long hours at a stretch; (2) the
willingness to obey orders of their bosses without rebelling; and (3) the
knowledge to perform the simple tasks required by the industrial
machine, both on the plant floor and in the factory office. To obtain an
adult population with these traits, it was understood that society would
have to begin with children from an early age, and train them vigorously
until they were ready to enter the workforce.

From these three requirements emerged the design of our public school system. The basic curriculum, the
"three 'R's", fulfilled the third requirement; the strict rules of the classroom, enforced by corporal punishment
and by harsh disciplinary measures, created the setting for the second requirement; and the mind-numbing
repetitive primers, workbooks, and textbooks used in the basic curriculum prepared children to fulfill the first
requirement. For over a hundred years, the system worked, driven primarily by economic necessity: Everyone
knew that in order to survive, they had to get jobs, and in order to hold jobs, they had to conform to the program
set forth by the schools.

The sad, horrible, and infuriating fact is that the country's educational system has remained fundamentally
unchanged to this day as far as its three underlying design features are concerned, while the social and
economic conditions of the country - indeed, of the entire world - have undergone fundamental change. For
over a generation, the Information Age has been replacing the Industrial Age in every facet of our lives, with
new requirements for a new reality. Indeed, NOT ONE of the three requirements that have underpinned our
schools from their inception is a valid basis for designing an environment in which children today can grow up
and develop into effective citizens for our times.

Mindless, boring, repetitive tasks are no longer the hallmark of the new economy. On the contrary, a
successful breadwinner these days is a person who can take new initiatives, who can deal with rapid change,
and who can learn from his/her mistakes. Submissive, obedient, unquestioning employees are no longer
looked for by modern businesses, whether they be large corporations, small businesses, non-profit
organizations, professional partnerships, or educational institutions. Quite the opposite is being sought:
employees who use their minds creatively, who contribute to innovation and progress in their work. Adults who
have had some pre-selected body of facts drilled into them by teacher-taskmasters are not needed any longer
in the post-Industrial Age. Rather, what is needed are adults who know how to learn on their own, who have
the ability to solve problems without being led by others, and who can seek out for themselves the knowledge
and skills they need in order to pursue their interests.

What is happening to our children in our schools today is criminal - yes, criminal. The entire adult society -
political leaders, educational leaders, and parents - are joining hands to force children to conform to a system
that is obsolete, useless, and indeed destructive of their native skills and talents. And the system is getting
progressively worse year by year as the adult world responds to its failures by piling on more and more of the
same practices that have led nowhere in the past.

Look around you. Open your eyes and see what is actually happening, what desperate measures are being
taken to try to keep the sinking ship of industrial-era education from sinking:

- Year after year, we are pouring more of our tax dollars into the system, bankrupting our towns and states and
drawing ever more heavily on federal funds as well. We hire more teachers, more specialists, more
counselors, and pay them higher salaries to attract them to jobs that have lost the intrinsic rewards that
mentoring once offered idealistic teachers. We build obscenely elaborate school structures that become
outdated at a rate unmatched in any other domain of our economy.

- Year after year, we are "discovering" new categories of "disabilities" in our children. We are medicating these
allegedly "learning- disabled" in startling numbers, we are telling them that they are somehow unfit, we are
humiliating them and destroying their self-confidence - in short, we are offering up more and more children
every year on the altar of conformity to standard models of human behavior that are figments of the
imagination of academic theoreticians.

- Year after year, in the name of "educational reform," we are trying to drill an ever greater body of static facts
and skills into our hapless youth - facts and skills that for the most part will never be of any use to them as
adults. The result is the opposite of what is supposed to happen in school: We get graduates for whom the joy
of learning is replaced by the hatred of anything intellectual, since they have become accustomed to
associating intellectual pursuits with force-fed teaching and testing.

What a disaster we have brought upon ourselves! What a shame, that a country founded on principles of
freedom, diversity, and the pursuit of individual happiness, should deny to our children throughout their
childhood all the conditions that are necessary for the realization of our ideals. It is long past time to stop the
madness.

Dan Greenberg's column appears on alternate Fridays.

I find it interesting that private schools, some of the cream of the crop private schools, hold classes in buildings over 100 years old...

Why is that?

[ 12-14-2002, 08:45 PM: Message edited by: Ed Harrow ]

ishmael
12-14-2002, 09:07 PM
Good column Ed.

I think much of it comes back to a strange materialism. If it isn't new, and the "best" then strangely, we believe kids can't learn.

I think back to my school days, and the only classes that taught me something were those with dynamic "professors", and I went to an older public school. I don't recall the lack of glory of the physical plant (within reasonable bounds of decrepitude to be sure) or state of the athletic fields, or the auditorium having much to do with it.

I would disagree slightly with the author in that I think basic skills, and the habit of how to learn them, are vital. Memorization, and rote exercise, builds intangible connections in the mind. Surely not all that needs building these days, but not to be discarded altogether.

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 09:18 PM
Squeak Squeak << Sound of can opener opening a very large can of worms >>

Ed this can turn into a very, VERY long educational thread but since it was directed towards me allow me to state OUR particular case. NY State has mandated educational guidelines that a 50 year old k-12 school could not meet. This is a legal issue and there needed to be physical improvements in the structure of the school to meet these legal state educational mandates. The Townies answer to the question was a temporary and costly Band-Aid. They have been putting up temporary trailers for students to study in. There is no science lab the library was split in half to make room for more classroom space. The 100 year old private schools are 100 year old school with state of the art T-3 computer connections and 4 students per teacher ratios the outer building is the only thing out of date in these schools. The educational process has come a long way from the initial structured educational system put in place during the industrial revolution. That system WAS developed for mindless repetitive studies. Current curriculum is far more advanced with accelerated programs with the schools who are willing to pay having advanced science and computer labs. Our daughter has already been exposed to alternative schooling from an early age by attending the local Montessori school in town. In the end its parental involvement in schooling of children that matters most, weather its lobbying and voting for an improved school building or just being there to fully explain why the sky is blue. There is obviously a lot more to this issue but that was our situation.

[ 12-14-2002, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Meerkat
12-14-2002, 09:36 PM
A thought (or two):
The plutocrats send their kids to private schools where independence, initiative and scholarship are fostered and students are closely mentored to ensure that they achive a high standard of achievement (exceptions of course: rotten apples fall from even the highest trees). Result: the plutokids are well armed to go out and join plutosociety and lord it over: The public school kids who are treated like **** and so turn out to be **** (exceptions of course, primarily where the student's parent(s) takes on the role of mentoring or the student is smart enough and driven enough to do it for themselves). What makes a ****ty student: standardized tests, rote memorization, inadequate supervision and a drive towards the least common denominator of underachievement - aka "conformity".

A new phenom of the end of the 20th century? Not really: Robert Heinlein wrote a book back in 1958 called "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" wherein the (HS student) hero was admonished by his father about the poverty of the curriculum and pushed him (the kid) to do extra study and rewarded him for achievement. Heinlein was noted for putting current social comentary into his books, so I would guess that this reflects his opinions about HS curricula in the mid-50's.
(Aside: although one of his "juveniles", it's a great read!)

It's only gotten worse in the last 50 years.

ishmael
12-14-2002, 10:02 PM
I'm not up on this issue, 'cause I haint got no kids. But I will note: My oldest brother and I attended the same public schools, twelve years apart. He was required to learn either Latin or Greek (a subject, like any other language, that requires extensive memorization and rote), as are many private school children today. I wasn't, and I think my education was much poorer for it. Why, because the use of language is central to any good education, and Latin, especially, is a vital root.

I don't know why publics have declined in the last half century. I find myself sympathetic to Joe's dilema of needing better facilities because many rural schools have declined, but Latin or Greek can be taught anywhere it is over fifty degrees F. and not raining. Finding a teacher of it however...

But, the very notion of learning such basics wherein Western culture is understood at its roots, has become almost anathema. Better the kids have a smattering of various cultures, good computer skills, and a certain distaste for American roots, than that they be well and truly educated in anything Western.

But Meer is right. In addition to the "wide" curriculum, private school kids are still learning about Greece and Rome, and European and American fine literature and history. It clearly represents a gap that has widened, ever more, between when my brother was in school and I was...and today's children.

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 10:10 PM
hi my name is Tess and I am 4

ishmael
12-14-2002, 10:14 PM
Joe,

There is consensus, Tess is at a perfect age to learn language -- any language.

Memphis Mike
12-14-2002, 10:15 PM
Ed, I totally agree with the notion
our nations children are not getting the
education they want or need under the
current system.

Quality work can never be extracted from a
group of children or individuals that are
forced to do things and learn things they don't
want to learn or do.

I sent this column to my brother and his wife.
Both educators in the Northern Va. Public
School System for 33 years. Because of their
response, I no longer place the blame on the
those that are involved directly with the education of our children. And your column
implies just that.

The hands of those that educate are tied. They're
expected to be the teacher, the babysitter,
the psychologist, the mother, the father and
everything else that the absence of parents
bestows on the school system.

If people want their children to have a good
education, then they should take a more active
role in insuring this takes place.

The schools are not a "dumping ground" for
your child during the day.

Ed, sorry about the references to "this
column" but it reads exactly as the one you
sent me several months ago. It projects
an identical thought anyhow.

[ 12-14-2002, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: Memphis Mike ]

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 10:25 PM
mei nomen calcar Joe etiam vos XXXVIII antiquus

ishmael
12-14-2002, 10:29 PM
See, Joe went to a prep. school! ;)

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 10:40 PM
Nope Catholic School and altar boy in the Bronx in the late 60's early 70's when your neighborhood was know by its parish - ( St. Johns ) and mass was still performed partially in Latin smile.gif I'm a graduate of NYC parochial and public school system as well and rural NJ and still made it to the Ivy Leagues only to drop out after one semester to finish my education at School of Visual Art in NYC majoring in sculpture - go figure :eek:

ishmael
12-14-2002, 10:48 PM
Joe,

Here's one for ya.

I visited Charleston SC a few years back. Wandering the lovely center of the old city, my girl and I came across a monument to the Confederate dead of Charleston. We, along with the rest of the tourists, stood around looking at the names, and the statue. At the bottom was an inscription in Latin. I was truly amazed that my training in biology made me the translator, and correctly and quickly (that really amazing).

"Fortuna non mutat genus"

It's not that tough, but I liked being able to know what it meant. I wished my translation skills were real.

I'm still working on yours.

jack

[ 12-14-2002, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Dennis Marshall
12-14-2002, 10:52 PM
Latinam est linguam non qualecumque, sed linguam spirans amorem!

Dennis

Memphis Mike
12-14-2002, 10:59 PM
Ya cahtah capoose a ta soona!

ishmael
12-14-2002, 11:03 PM
Latin is not a language to, er, measure, it is a language to inspire love?

[ 12-14-2002, 11:05 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Dennis Marshall
12-14-2002, 11:08 PM
Latin is not just any language, but the language breathing love!

Dennis

Memphis Mike
12-14-2002, 11:09 PM
Yah bah fung goo.... soona tah bung!

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 11:11 PM
FORTUNA NON MUTAT GENUS.
IN MEMORY OF
ALEX B. COURTENAY,
BORN
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA,
4TH OF MARCH 1833.
A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER,
KILLED 10TH OF AUGUST, 1861,
AT WILSON'S CREEK.
HIS REMAINS REINTERRED HERE,
HIS GRAVE UNKNOWN.
1900.

Literal translation - Fortune does not change the race

Implied meening -Though you strut proud of your money, yet fortune has not changed your birth

Latin has a wonderful way of condensing language to its essential meaning. I guess that's why its a root language :D

Mrleft8
12-14-2002, 11:17 PM
All I can really say is..... Why don't people stay in the towns they were raised in, and screw them up? why do they need to come to otherwise perfectly screwed up towns and screw them up worse?
My town was perfectly dysfunctional until all the yuppie scum moved in, now it's imperfectly screwed up....

Dennis Marshall
12-14-2002, 11:21 PM
Translation of Memphis Mike's Post:

"Pizza soup gives me gas."? :eek:

Dennis

ishmael
12-14-2002, 11:21 PM
Interesting Joe, so you know this as a particular epitaph?

I translated, more generally I suppose, because it was a monument to all the Confederate dead of Charleston: "Fortune does not change birth"

Clearly implying, as late 19th century monuments in the South will, that it was a noble cause, no matter how one was born, or the outcome.

Dennis can correct on this, I'm sure. smile.gif

Dennis Marshall
12-14-2002, 11:26 PM
Jack, yes, I think you are right. But Joe's interpretation gives the same basic sense. The difficulty in translation is that moving from Latin to the English can be so fluid. When I saw the word "genus" myself, I immediately interpreted it as "family" which would bear more closely to the translation of "birth" or origins.

Dennis

Dennis Marshall
12-14-2002, 11:32 PM
Joe, what is the irregular verb "calcar?" I have the sense of your post but need to be edicated on that word.

Dennis

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 11:36 PM
As part of the yuppie New Springers in my small town I take offense (but not in a big way) Because were making the town better for all.

The VOTE as it came to be known was broken down demography this way

Home Owners with young children - Us - generally a home owner with a young child would be a fairly new resident of the town last 5-10 years

Young renters with no children (the smallest portion of the demographics so of no consequence)

Older home owners without children - concerned about ANY tax increases the average tax increase for the referendum was $175 per family annually - They had an organized effort to get out and vote NO with bus and shuttle service

Home owners with children in High School who would not benefits of the new structure and who were probably most bitter

Weekenders true yuppies with no children in the school system yet still have to pay property taxes - swing vote if they were in town Voting day

The end result we are going to get an improved school building for my child, my property taxes will go up, my home value will go way up - another thing the Old Springers were opposed to because there kids could not afford to move back to the town. The Old Springers would rather we turn the clock back 15 - 20 years when this was a racist (There are still elements of that) economically depressed river town with 3/4 of main street shops boarded up. I personally think the town is getting better.

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 11:39 PM
Originally posted by Dennis Marshall:
Joe, what is the irregular verb "calcar?" I have the sense of your post but need to be edicated on that word.

Denniscalcar I believe is a spur of the word
IS but I'm not 100% talk about being rusty someone get out the oil can on this tin man :D

ishmael
12-14-2002, 11:40 PM
Latin is not just any tongue , but a tongue breathing love?

You know how them Latins are! :D

And calcar stuck me too. It seems a hardening.

[ 12-14-2002, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Joe (SoCal)
12-14-2002, 11:48 PM
Ish I'm no Latin scholar you being in seminary would have a better grasp and I think your interpretation is probably more appropriate to the situation but the phrase can be used in a negative sense as I used it. Words are dangerous things if used in the wrong hands - Hun ?

Dennis Marshall
12-14-2002, 11:53 PM
Jack, that sounds rather, er, well, er, downright crass when you put it that way! :D

My son would have translated it like this:

"Well, like, latin, is like, like, latin is like for like lovers, dude!"

BTW -- simply borrowed the cadence from St. Thomas Aquinas. The original goes -- "Filius est verbum non qualecumque, sed spirans amorem." A good mantra in the postmodern flux. Much more poetic than them latin tongues breathing love. :eek:

I think you are right about "calcar" being a barbarism. I've never seen that brute before.

Dennis

ishmael
12-14-2002, 11:57 PM
Joe,

That's where history enters language. I doubt -- am almost certain not -- the inscribers of that phrase were thinking of "race". Probably because they gave little thought to it at all, being unquestionably at the top of the pyramid at the time. Think of who erected that monument. They were rather proclaiming the nobility of their "birth" in the complex, failed "cause".

A fine distinction to us, but one that was gross and unquestioned to them, I'll wager.

Sam F
12-14-2002, 11:57 PM
A couple of observations based on your comments:

Ishmael said:
"I would disagree slightly with the author in that I think basic skills, and the habit of how to learn them, are vital. Memorization, and rote exercise, builds intangible connections in the mind."

Ish, It's important to remember that every child is unique. Rote memorization works well for some. For others it is poison. The problem with our "education" system is that it is always a one-size-fits-all solution. It doesn't matter what strategy is used. It will inevitably fail many.

If I had my way, I'd bring in the element of choice in education. Now, for most children, if a particular system fails, there are simply no alternatives, unless the parents happen to be rich.

Joe said:
"In the end its parental involvement in schooling of children that matters most."

Absolutely true Joe, but it raises the question: If parental involvement is so crucial what are educators for?
In my wife’s and my case, the local schools were so inadequate and we had to get so involved, that we ended up doing it all ourselves. The school simply became irrelevant.

Mike said:
"…I no longer place the blame on those that are involved directly with the education of our children."

Mike, My wife and I have more teachers in our family than you can shake a stick at. Most of them are/were great. But no matter how great the people are, they can't make a lousy system work.
While I appreciate the sometimes heroic efforts that good teachers put into their calling they are forever fighting an uphill battle that can’t be won. Why? Because our system doesn't work. It can't possibly.

and Mike said: "The schools are not a "dumping ground" for your child during the day."

But in a way they are dumped. So long as it is compulsory to attend a particular school it may as well be a dump. Trash has as much say about its destination as our children have.
Here in VA if your child is a habitual truant you go to jail. Not much choice about that.

The fact is that a child forced, on penalty of law, to attend a school and having no interest in it will learn nothing. He is wasting his own and the teacher's time and taxpayers money. To avoid that waste there must be affordable alternatives available.

Sam F
12-15-2002, 12:08 AM
Meerkat said;

Well there’s no need to quote you Meer… But I think it’s only fair to warn you… Get those nitroglycerine tablets out cause this might precipitate the Big One!

I agree with what you said. :eek:

Joe (SoCal)
12-15-2002, 12:14 AM
Joe said:
"In the end its parental involvement in schooling of children that matters most."
Absolutely true Joe, but it raises the question: If parental involvement is so crucial what are educators for?
In my wife’s and my case, the local schools were so inadequate and we had to get so involved, that we ended up doing it all ourselves. The school simply became irrelevant.Holy Smoke Batman Sam F agrees with me smile.gif
now Sam get yer face and your hoons mug over to Margo's thread so we all can see what ya all look like :D

Home schooling has some sincere merits, but for numerous reasons it is not an option for us. One of the most important to us with an only child is interaction with other children and input from other adult teachers. I think the MIX is as important to us as the education. Hopefully we can fill in the rest. Additionally I fully admit ignorance in certain subjects and would hate to deny Tess' the option to choose her path by not knowing a subject.

ishmael
12-15-2002, 12:21 AM
Sam,

I can only say that rote has always cut across my grain, yet I'm glad I still remember the multiplication tables.

It's true, there is all kind of genius in this world, but a certain testing of the individual is vital to determining genius's location within. Instead of abandoning rote, maybe it needs to be broadened, or incorporated, into a different understanding of intelligence. Maybe we need both the discipline of repetition of certain facts and concepts and a teaching that recognizes when the pupil has moved in different directions?

Instead, as I see it (and I know this will sound harsh) an inordinate amount of time is spent trying to make everyone feel good, at one level. Well guess what, life ain't fair, and not everyone is on the same level.

So-called "mainstreaming" is an example, whereby children who are inherently intellectually deficient are placed with all the other kids, in all classes, in an effort make everyone comfortable with each others peculiarities. I think this philosophy madness. I think it stupid and short-sighted not to segregate kids according to ability -- at least in some ways, through part of the day. It is not only unfair to the bright kids who are held back, it is cruel to the retarded, who will never be on a par, let alone up to calculating trigonometry, or reading Dylan Thomas.

And, I have to add, that most every child has some gift. The problem with many well meaning, highly trained theoreticians, is that they try to make all gifts homogenous. I've known people with Down's sydrome who had a huge leg up on most everyone here when it comes to caring, respect, and genuine affection.

[ 12-15-2002, 01:36 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

htom
12-15-2002, 01:54 AM
Well, they're not learning "reading, writing, and arithmetic" as well as we did in the fifties. I frequently use the text I had in 7th grade for tutoring college juniors.

(And as bad as my handwriting is, it's better than most of theirs, you'd think that they were all doctors!)

Meerkat
12-15-2002, 04:10 AM
MM, you said one thing that I disagree with about forcing kids to learn what they don't want to learn. Sorry, but math, english, history and science may not be popular, but they are necessary. I recall from my own HS days back in the late 60's that (honest truth) Flyfishing was an elective course. I don't think there's a lot of call for professional flyfishers do you?

There's a lot of reasons beyond physical infrastructure that is the cause of decline in acedemics in this country. Among them are poor teacher salaries and perhaps the most pernicious is the "expecting less so getting less so expecting less" cycle that has led to the dumbing down of curricula. "Trig" used to be a HS subject, then it became an advanced placement subject and finally, for most kids, it's a college course.

Kids, like adults, don't perform when they're not challenged and kids aren't being challenged anymore. Some of that can be laid squarely at the feet of parents who don't feel a duty to oversee their kid's education and demand achievement. If parents don't act like schoolwork is important, is the kid going to think it's important? Who's the role model here? Another part of it is that parents (homeowners _and_ renters who pay property taxes indirectly) are not willing to be taxed at a rate that will ensure the kinds of salaries that attract gifted teachers. (Joe, along those lines, find out how much of the education budget goes towards overhead people and how much towards teaching staff. In some places, admin and custodial people take more of the budget and get higher salaries then the people doing the _important_ work!)

If parents take the same sort of disciplined and proactive approach towards their kid's education as they would a work assignment (which, in some cases is begging the question), looked at the child's curriculum and, if necessary (which, it probably is), supplemented that curriculum and assigned extra reading etc. (want to bet a librarian wouldn't love to help with that?) and managed their kid's education and be willing to be the bad guy if necessary (while still remembering that a kid has to be a kid!), that kid is probably going to be a lot better off then if you leave the job to an unmotivated, overworked and poorly paid professional - no matter how dedicated they are.

You get back what you're willing to invest.

Sam, I don't agree with you that schools are irrelevent - among other things, they do provide some structure and important socialization opportunities as Joe mentioned.

(Sam, you can start breathing again now ;) )

[ 12-15-2002, 04:15 AM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

gunnar I am
12-15-2002, 09:16 AM
Ed! Wow! I had to get right home and read this! There I was at Home Depot, drinkin my morning coffee, watchin a guy try and tie 12 sheets of half inch sheet rock to the roof of his car( Hey! So I get my amusement watching the products of our education system.) with bailing twine, when my wife calls on the cell phone and tells me there's a thread I might like to read. Oh, and check out Joe's other thread on findin that Chris Craft. Note placement of cinder blocks. I wonder how many guys died settin em up under their cars in said manner. Like I said before , I wish I dropped out of school earlier so I could start learning sooner.

Joe (SoCal)
12-15-2002, 10:09 AM
gunnar you should teach I would want any child of mine to learn from your rye sense of humor. OOH and I think in a perfect world teachers, cops, firefighters should make as much as TYCO executives or at least pro baseball players. But they don't and that makes there choice of profession that much more noble

Memphis Mike
12-15-2002, 10:26 AM
Posted by MeerKat:
"MM, you said one thing that I disagree with about forcing kids to learn what they don't want to learn. Sorry, but math, english, history and science may not be popular, but they are necessary. I recall from my own HS days back in the late 60's that (honest truth) Flyfishing was an elective course. I don't think there's a lot of call for professional flyfishers do you?"

MeerKat, you missed my point. I agree the basics
should still be taught. Our society dictates
what a child can or cannot learn depending
on the demands of the workplace. Our monetary
system dictates what one can and cannot learn.
Students and the majority of workers in this country no longer do quality work because they are
forced by coersion to study and to perform tasks
they feel are undesirable.

I feel it is also a geographic problem. Take
for instance my own situation. The schools
in Memphis do not offer anything I want to
study. Our economy here is based on the
trucking, warehouse and service industries.
What if I don't want to be a truck driver,
a warehouse manager or work in a service
industry? What if I make a decision to
finish my degree based on what a certain job
may pay?

One forumite made the statement that "I was
cruising along at half my potential." That
is true. I wonder why? Excuse me, but I want
to be happy in what I'm doing. Hell, the job
I have right now is a hindrance to me furthering
my education.

[ 12-15-2002, 10:34 AM: Message edited by: Memphis Mike ]

Matt J.
12-15-2002, 11:29 AM
Has it occurred to anyone that the situation is so simple? It's neither the system, nor the teachers, who are to blame, but the kids who are a product of poor parenting, that are causing this rotten education system we have?

Parents, and I don't know ANY who don't today, teach their kids that they have a right to be treated well. Not fairly, but well. Teachers aren't better or worse. Parents are worse and so are the kids. I've thought of teaching a math or science class. I'm good at that stuff, and would like to emulate my favorite high school teachers.

The problem is, if a parent or administrator tells me to pass a rotten student, or praise all work regardless of quality, they'll quickly hear where to shove it :mad: . My coworkers blame the teachers for their kids' behavior even at home (that makes for heated discussions). My parents did it with my little brother, our friends all do it now. Parents turn on the idiot box, game system, movies, etc, and give the children what they want to shut them up. Kids go to school and expect more of the same - whatever they want, and that's not some big meanie teacher trying to make them sit and listen. Teachers may not be stellar, but the kids are turning to **** fast. Our neighbors actually told us they had kids because "all [their] friends were." Those two little bastards are about the worst I've ever seen. Better now, since one's on drugs and they both can sit at the computer or video game system :rolleyes: .

Joe, ITO you and the "new springers" pushing for tax increases and benefits to your child - I disagree. You say the benefits are that your child gets a nicer school, your property value goes up, and you're making it better for all who live there. Easy, boy. I don't and won't have kids. I don't give a damn for your problems at school unless you can show me actual abuse by teachers - then I say let 'em swing. Outside that, if your and other parents' children were behaved like they should, what the hell would it matter if there were an extra 10-15 kids in the room. They can all listen, ask questions, and learn from the lecture and Q&A sessions - I did. You're forcing your desires on the rest of the community. Now, your side won, so that's cool - the majority rule is still in effect. But you shouldn't begrudge people's unwillingness to pay for your kid. You had her, not them. You take responsibility. Let the school reinforce what you teach her - don't wait for the school to educate her and teach her about life. You teach by example. First, Joe, start using some punctuation in your writing - it's a bitch to read. ;)

(I'm not saying Tess, a real cute kid BTW, is poorly behaved, I'm stating a generalization I've yet to see proven wrong)

I think what I really learned in 17 years of education, is how to learn. Yeah, I got the concept and some theory, even memorized some history and facts; but I learned to learn. When I started work in a career I had to learn everything about my job. The concepts from college gave a fair foundation, but that's about it. No one taught me to actually do anything.

Anywho, have a good rest-of-the weekend. I'm going out to the boat shed to see if I can't learn anything.
-Matt

[ 12-15-2002, 11:32 AM: Message edited by: Matt Joyce ]

Wild Dingo
12-15-2002, 12:01 PM
Interestin thread this...

Now Im in agreeance with most of yer fellas... both sides have what I thunk is called merit... except the side that reckoned Latin is a language! :rolleyes: its not its a cruelly designed tonguetwistingnonsence that some weird sadistic minded yobbo way back when said... "aaahhh lets get the future suckers sucked in and say Latin is the language of love... they will believe anything"... well its the worst of lingos in my book... but thats just my opinion and no doubt will differ from others... just as well eh? :D

Okay now kids at school... well as one who took absoflaminlutely no interest in school other than the sheilas ;) from grade 5 up to the 2 whole months of high school I did... it was tedious boreing disinteresting and an utter waste of time... for me!... when I left the school system I couldnt read or write... period... not even my own name!... some flamin system! But no it wasnt the teachers fault but rather mine... I was simply not interested school was boring as hell.

Now down the track and Ive got me my own bunch of hoons and one of them is a lad of 15 who has spent the last 3 years at high school and at least 2 years of primary doing exactly what I myself did way back when... didnt matter what the teachers did he wasnt interested in the subjects... didnt matter what we did he just couldnt or wouldnt be bothered with something that didnt move!... stimulous is what my boy needed challenges to his physical as well as mental but he failed to get it as did I... oh he played sport still does but there was no stimulous in the class room! where he needed it!! no challenge that would make him sit up and take notice... narda... boring.

But on the other hand we had the twins who have now left school one completing her High School certificate year 12 level while the other left after 4th year or year 11... passes both but nothing exceptional as by year 11 both had become eager to get out into the world and experience life earn money and be adults instead of "children at school"...

Then there is Tiff who has excelled... top in several of her classes top in several areas in the state asside from her sporting achievement she excelled academically... loves learning simply for her anything new stimulates and challenges her... acedemics is a joy not a challenge

Beth as she heads into high school will be the same... the younger ones who knows? thats yet to come.

What Im saying is that the children who need the challenges or being able to physically understand the teachings of math english etc are not gettin an education...

Books to Aaron are boring as hell... to write a paragraph is not an event he cherishes but the teachers and curriculum demand full page and more essays... but give him a puzzle of doing something that means he is moving around and he zips it...

An example I gave him a set of plans and told him to get the drawing onto the sheet of plastic roll that we use for lofting in the first instance...{interesting sideline here this stuff is brilliant comes in a roll is quite thick and clear takes a permanent marker type ink but nothing else but the plans looks soo cool done on it damned if I know what it is but its good stuff better than paper!... okay back to what I was on about :rolleyes: } its no worries... took the drawings TonyH sent of Coot and a few hours later there it is copied from the copied drawings and the offsets onto the plastic and checked out right on the button! was the same for America Junior... ask him to take the measurement from the book onto the chipboard for the moulds and done no worries just done... ask him to explain it and hes stuffed... give him the keys to a vehicle truck whatever and hes away just natural... but give him the book to read on the road rules and hes stuffed ask him about them and he knows from watching and listening...

He is a bright kid no two ways about it... but school is boring to him... and when a kid gets bored they end up in the ****e which is whats happened with him over the years... so he will leave the school system this year and head into a challenging changing workforce... where his lack of high school education levels will mean he will have a hell of a challenge gettin any job!... I saw a job for a damned labourer the other day "Junior wanted 15 - 17 must be strong and fit must have TEE and police clearance and at least 2 years experience"... 2 years experience as a flamin labourer??? BS!! TEE precludes many kids who have the backs and strength for the job!! what the heck good is a TEE when all the kids gonna be doin is humpin bricks??? sheeesh! anyway thats what Aaron is gonna be fighting against... were actually hoping he will get a taste of working as a labourer and not enjoy it and decide he needs to go to Tafe or college and study something!!

The school system is not for every child and doesnt cater for those who need external stimulous to succeed and understand... exceptionally bright students here have whats called PEAC which is up a few levels from their peers so they are catered for... the mentally challenged are in the classrooms with all the children and have special learning teachers and equipment... but the child that is intellegent and bright but bored out of their gourd by talking and books is totally left isolated... and when they get bored they get into the ****e and the teachers wonder why?

I left school at 13 and I did okay learning to read and to write from an old station hand who gave me a dictionary and spent hours drumming words and squiggles onto endless rolls of toilet paper... cause he knew I was being ripped of in me paypacket by the station manager and I was...

Ive since gone back and gained my High School Certificate and then to Uni and gained a professional degree and am working on deciding if I should go back and do another... or just build some little boats :cool: ... I have no doubt Aaron leaving school at 15 going on 16 will do okay too...

But the system in his case let him down... and these days are not the 60s and 70s when I left school... there are not 10 jobs for every unemployed person available now that there were back then... now hes gonna have to work as hard as hell just to get some backbreaking laboring job... but he will make it... j

Blame the parent??? CRAP!!!... okay some parents dump the kids at school and think its the teachers responsibility... well that happens but there are just as many who take an active interest in their kids schooling... an active interest in their bored kids schooling... Is it the parents fault a child is bored by a tedious curriculum?... is it the parents fault the child is bored by books and writing?... spend hours with children reading to them showing them encouraging them being there for them... and they are still bored ****eless!!!... thats the parents fault??...

Did we fail Aaron cause he didnt do his school work?... because he became so bored that he became disruptive?... became so angry at being punished for being bored that he missed so many opportunities... because the school system failed to have any methods of helping him available... you know the way they help kids like Aaron around here? time out room... whats that its a small room next to the headmasters office with a desk and a chair in it... the kid sits there till the time out is done! I got a call from the vice principal last week about Aaron he had done something minor in the class and they rang to let me know he was doing time out and could I come down and be there when the principal talks with him... no worries and off I go... now this school is 25 minutes away and this call came at 1.30pm so I got there at roughly 2pm... so in I go and the deputy appears a nice sorta fella no worries he starts explaining what had happen... feet on the desk not doing anything teacher asks him to leave the room he says no teacher removes him he kicks the door... hes in the time out room... what time did this occur I ask out of curiosity... 10am says this goose and Aarons been in time out for how long? since then with a break for lunch!... I mean 4 flamin hours for what???? ...that is how the system handles bored children in this state! Talk to the regional office and "well if your son did that I dont blame them for doing that" For 4 flamin hours??? "well if your child was that disruptive then I should think the headmaster was correct in the punishment they gave your son" 4 FLAMIN HOURS of isolation??? for kickin a door? for being bored? for sayin no to a teacher?... sometimes I think the cane was a better fairer punishment... 6 of the best and done over! no isolation no time out just "whack" over the fingers and done! Someone explain to me what the hell he learnt in those 4 hours of sitting in that room?!! I will tell you what he learnt absoflaminlutely nothing! not one iota! bored out of his gourd...

No I dont think we failed Aaron we were there we did go to the school every time they called and at times when they didnt we both spent days in the class room with him we did all the things we possibly could... in the end he was bored and unchallenged by what the system said he had to learn in the way they demanded he learn it...

Some kids thrive on the format of the teaching that the system demands the teachers use others dont others miss... try not to rumble all kids into the one size fits all... or blame the ruddy parents cause the teachers dont know how to teach kids who require challenges!

Oh and we dont pay tax on our property to fund edumakashun or buildings... but it aint the so called free education system either!

Take it easy
Shane

Don W
12-15-2002, 12:24 PM
- Year after year, we are "discovering" new categories of "disabilities" in our children. We are medicating these
allegedly "learning- disabled" in startling numbers, we are telling them that they are somehow unfit, we are
humiliating them and destroying their self-confidence - in short, we are offering up more and more children
every year on the altar of conformity to standard models of human behavior that are figments of the
imagination of academic theoreticians - Ed Harrow
Yes, more and more disabilities are being discovered that can effect learning. But most go back to LD (learning disabled), MR (mentally retarted), or PD (physically disabled), E.D. (emotionally disabled) or ADHD (attention deficite Hyperactivity disorder). And yes, inclusion is a theme in many schools today. It is still better than the old days when the 'dumb' kids were kept in a seperate room in the basement or in a special school outside of town. Accommodations for disabled students come in two basic forms, 504 plans or I.E.P.'s. (both federal laws). 504 plans are the less complicated of the two, basically if Billy does not hear well, then Billy must be in the front of the class. I.E.P's are more complicated, there is a team that decides if an IEP is the correct solution for the student, and the IEP is reviewed yearly. A student can have an IEP taken from them is they have overcame the deficit. Inclusion has been known in instinces to go haywire. There was a 60 minutes type show a few years back that featured an Down's child, around 2nd grade, who's mother fought to have her child in a regular ed classroom. It was a disaster, everyone knew it would be except for the mother. The child only went backwards. The teacher was ready to jump out the window and yes, the other students did suffer. eventually the Down's student was removed from the setting. That is not the spirit of inclusion, the idea is that if Kid A has reading comprehension levels far below grade levels then Kid A would be in a slower paced or 'special ed' room, but if Kid A is on grade level in math, he/she should be in the appropriate math class. I'll give you that some kids are included that should'nt be but it's still better than the old days, and what kind of a saint would volunteer to teach a self contained special education class five days a week, with a staggering range of disabilities, and start at 25 or 30K.

Memorization, and rote exercise, builds intangible connections in the mind. Surely not all that needs building these days, but not to be discarded altogether. -- Ish

Don W
12-15-2002, 12:37 PM
I hate it when I do that --
Memorization, and rote exercise, builds intangible connections in the mind. Surely not all that needs building these days, but not to be discarded altogether. --- Ish
It's not glamerous but the only way to memorize your math tables is to memorize em. The only way to learn Spanish is to memorize the vocab and the rules, ' Como sa llamo el banos'. Not exiting, but effective.

. In addition to the "wide" curriculum, private school kids are still learning about Greece and Rome, and European and American fine literature and history. It clearly represents a gap that has widened, ever more, between when my brother was in school and I was...and today's children. --Ish
Very true, but private schools pick who they want. Private school parents are involved in their children's education. In my area, private schools are getting 10 - 15K tuition for middle school, more for highschool. These kids are damn bright, and their parents expect a return on their dollar. Do I think public school children need to know the French Revolution - hell Yes, but 30-35 kids in a classroom, heterogeneoulsy grouped, chances are one of the girls are pregnant, chances are one or more kid is living in a car, then there's the old Mom in jail, don't know who the Dad is scenerio. It's tough..every school needs honors classes for the brightest and hardest working.

The hands of those that educate are tied. They're
expected to be the teacher, the babysitter,
the psychologist, the mother, the father and
everything else that the absence of parents
bestows on the school system -- MM

Don W
12-15-2002, 12:56 PM
Damn tab button
The hands of those that educate are tied. They're
expected to be the teacher, the babysitter,
the psychologist, the mother, the father and
everything else that the absence of parents
bestows on the school system-- MM
In my state, like many others, law makers have decided we need a state test. Teachers teach all year to the state test, the plan is for the security of their jobs to ride on the state test, STATE TEST STATE TEST STATE TEST, it's being drilled into schools like nothing ever before. This was a politician's idea - not the teachers, the kids are suffering for it.

The problem with our "education" system is that it is always a one-size-fits-all solution. It doesn't matter what strategy is used. It will inevitably fail many. -- Sam F
True, everyone learns differently. Studies have proved it. Good teachers know this and adjust, bad teachers 'stay the course'.

Absolutely true Joe, but it raises the question: If parental involvement is so crucial what are educators for? Sam F.
Right on brother, parents are (as involvement in education goes) supposed to get the kids ready for school in the morning, this means FEED THEM, DRESS THEM APPROPRIATLY, in the afternoon and evening FEED THEM, MAKE SURE HOMEWORK IS DONE. Last year my wife had a little girl, one of 6 children to an inner city mom, Dad unknown, who was getting up at 4 am to get her siblings ready for their day because mom was just coming in and was too F'd up. My wife found out, arranged transportation for the kid to get to school early, kept milk and cereal for breakfast, found them warm coats, there wound up being 5 or 6 kids in this arrangment before the year was out. If educators are spending time, money, energy on this it takes away from the teaching. This kid was too tired to learn, she was a 11 year old adult.

Students and the majority of workers in this country no longer do quality work because they are
forced by coersion to study and to perform tasks
they feel are undesirable-- MM
That's life. I wish we could all be artists, but there's no money in it and you have to cut your ear off to impress a prostitute tongue.gif .

Done venting - must study for Chem Exam - love, Don.

Roger Stouff
12-15-2002, 01:06 PM
Emphatic agreement with most of the above, particularly Matt's comments.

It's a multi-facetted problem. Here's another part of the whole which I know to be true.

Both my sons were so-called ADHD. My now ex-wife and I rejected that entire notion and the commond cures, and began our own investigation. What we found -- and I'm sure I'm going to be blasted for this by some -- was environmental. Our children suffered from MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities. It took years to "cure" them of it, and the worst of all was fighting against the system that wanted to put them on Ritalin or the like, literally threatening us at times for not doing so.

What we learned was that our kids' behavior and learning abilities were directly proportionate to what they ate. My ex quit working and quit school to stay home and prepare every single meal completely from scratch, doing unimaginable hours of research, and, in short, learning to avoid any and all synthetics in food. It took a few years, but we learned that food dyes and preservatives were directly, indisputably responsible for our kids' outbursts, hyperactivity, failures at school and so forth. When we got their diets under control, I swear to all that is under creation, it was like night and day, like Jekyll and Hyde. Their negative conditions completely faded. My youngest is consistently on the honor roll now, and my oldest, while having been held back a year during our treatment process, is making headway very well.

Other part of the equation is that we were parents who did get proactive, and found the root of the cause, rather than expecting the school system to solve it for us. I raised enough hell to have all mentions of ADHD or the like expunged from their school records, because I refused to allow that myth to follow them for the rest of their lives.

Flame me if you want, but there is no power on earth that can convince me that the stuff our kids eat is a part of the overall problem, in addition to many of those mentioned above. Everytime I see a child on Ritalin eating a big red or blue candy full of BHT and MSG, I just want to scream.

My .02.

Regards from the Rez,
R

Joe (SoCal)
12-15-2002, 01:09 PM
Joe, ITO you and the "new springers" pushing for tax increases and benefits to your child - I disagree. You say the benefits are that your child gets a nicer school, your property value goes up, and you're making it better for all who live there. Easy, boy. I don't and won't have kids. I don't give a damn for your problems at school unless you can show me actual abuse by teachers - then I say let 'em swing. Outside that, if your and other parents' children were behaved like they should, what the hell would it matter if there were an extra 10-15 kids in the room. They can all listen, ask questions, and learn from the lecture and Q&A sessions - I did. You're forcing your desires on the rest of the community. Now, your side won, so that's cool - the majority rule is still in effect. But you shouldn't begrudge people's unwillingness to pay for your kid. You had her, not them. You take responsibility. Let the school reinforce what you teach her - don't wait for the school to educate her and teach her about life. You teach by example. First, Joe, start using some punctuation in your writing - it's a bitch to read. Matt what you and people like you are NOT getting is the referendum that passed in OUR town was a STATE MANDATE. NY State has mandated educational guidelines that a 50 year old k-12 school could not meet. This is a legal issue and there needed to be physical improvements in the structure of the school to meet these legal state educational mandates. How these mandates were going to come about was the issue. Do we patch it with temporary trailers as classrooms or create a better campus for the long haul LONG after my child or the OLD SPRINGERS are around. I should note that 80% of the teachers passed there referendum and we do have some great teachers in this community the town fosters rewarding such teachers. As far as my postings being a bitch to read - I'm sorry I do my best to correct most of my grammar. This forum is set up as more of a casual conversational tone. I pick on no ones spelling or grammar on here. If this post is going to disintegrate in to personal attacks on our writing styles as examples of the poor state of our current educational system I'm done.

Don W
12-15-2002, 01:18 PM
Roger, I would'nt doubt what you say for a minute. It's wonderful to see a proactive parent help their children to overcome a challenge and be successful. As far as the chems in food, ever hear of ADHD when our grandparents and great grandparents were kids BEFORE preservatives in food? me neither. Don

Ed Harrow
12-15-2002, 03:47 PM
Jeez, why did I post this... :eek:

Parents important? You bet! What goes on in one's home life sets the stage for all that follows. Parents that watch TV - parents that read books. Makes a difference

Teachers important? You bet! What goes on in the classroom sets the stage for all that follows.

The system important? You bet! When a child learns nothing new in math between the second and the fifth grade, and the system bucks the parents (by system I mean all the players in the school system), to whom does the burden fall? The parents? The child? The teacher?

How does a bored girl act in school? What about a bored boy?

Joe, I understand your frustration - however is what the state is mandating going to improve the education of your child. Based upon what I see in Mass, I am afraid that the answer is no.

If higher teacher salaries are the issue, why do private schools, which typically pay lower wages, seemingly get better results?

If newer building are the answer, why do private schools, often with older buildings and less infrastructure, often get better results?

In Hopkinton, we built a bigger, fancier, Middleschool, and our experience within that system was so bad that, when SWMBO jr said, "That's it, I'm outa here!" We said, "OK, what do you want to do, and where do you want to go?" She ended up at Boston University Academy, an extremely rigorous program where, yes, she was required to take either Latin or Greek. The building? An old Shell office building that dated to the 1920's. The salaries paid? Less than Hopkinton pays.

What then, is the key?

Memphis Mike
12-15-2002, 07:05 PM
Posted by Ed Harrow:

"If higher teacher salaries are the issue, why do private schools, which typically pay lower wages, seemingly get better results?"

"If newer building are the answer, why do private schools, often with older buildings and less infrastructure, often get better results?"

For those of you that are honestly interested
in this topic and would like to find an honest
answer and a different approach read:

The Quality School
William F. Glasser

Matt J.
12-15-2002, 07:43 PM
Ed, I apologize if my comments were out of line or character for your thread. If they prove inflammatory, I will gladly delete them. It's a good topic that warrants discussion.

Joe- obviously you missed the little winkie thing " ;) " in my post. Without that, the statement could easily be offensive. This isn't going to "disintegrate in to personal attacks on our writing styles as examples of the poor state of our current educational system" because I'm 1) not making any statements regarding the relationship of your education and your writing abilities as I believe you sometimes simply don't bother to check the readability of your posts and 2)just giving you a quick jab about the fact that it is sometimes difficult to read your posts because of the run-on nature. I've found in writing (letters or net forums) that punctuation is the difference between verbally making a statement and successfully writing that statement to be read by others. Take it easy.

I find your statement regarding this being a "legal issue and there needed to be physical improvements in the structure of the school to meet these legal state educational mandates" to be chillingly telling. How can your improvements to physical plant meet educational mandates on legal issues? Physical plant improvements for safety or energy efficiency is one thing (anyone else remember trying to test when the air conditioning wasn't turned on yet in the early summer heat?). Educational mandates means parents rearing kids willing -and wanting - to listen and learn. It also means teachers being given necessary tools and appropriate curriculums.

No child left behind is a crock. I won spelling bees, science fairs, art contests, and gym races. And I lost loads more. It was the losses that motivated me. Competition is healthy for kids. Having inept children in the same room as the others doesn't help anyone. The kids who aren't as advanced have no chance. Those that are at the front become bored. Some children will be left behind. They always were and look at the strides made throughout history before people "dumbed down" a curriculum to help the special needs groups.

My parents, particularly my dad (man's a friggin genius, IMOO), pushed (not forced) me to set goals higher than required. I wanted to get the best grades, have the best artwork, run the fastest races. Because I enjoyed (still do) seeing his pride. There are maybe a dozen teachers I remember, the rest are blurs. Those I remember, are those that challenged me. Those that raised the bar as soon as I could clear it. I remember those teachers, and perhaps someday I may emulate them. The ones I don't remember just read the book and asked the questions. All per curriculum. If I followed the standards, I would have felt no great achievement.

Parents need to push their kids. Teachers need to light the way. Everyone must accept the need for recognition of achievement. The kids must simply accept what society has decided. Let's not, as a society, tell the kids that we're not going to challenge them. It starts and ends at home. Whether it's standardized testing, behavioral disorders, or basic intelligence - it starts and ends at home.

"See" you tomorrow. smile.gif
-Matt

htom
12-15-2002, 09:33 PM
Well, yes, there were children with ADD or ADHD when we were kids in the 1940's and 1950's. I was probably one of them. At that time, it was called "minimal brain dysfunction"; I was told in my teens that I would normally be considered to have it, but that I obviously didn't because I was "too smart" to have MBD. Bright kids invented ways to cope with their problems, since we didn't have a bunch of professionals worrying about us and trying to make us equal.

They were not always good ways of coping, however.

Fourty years later, next month I get an official evalulation for it, but I'm not worried about the results. I'm fairly certain, looking back over my life, that I am indeed "afflicted" with ADD (which I prefer to think of as Attention Distraction Distress.) Drugs can help me focus on what I'm supposed to be thinking about. So can a bunch of other things, and a lack of other things. There are good things about ADD, too, for those who are in creative fields.

Roger, some people's ADD (or ADHD or ...) get better if they go through this kind of diet thing, it's true. Others don't. ADD is not a simple problem with a simple solution. If your children are doing well on their diet, I'm happy for all of you. If they start to be not doing well, look into the current literature and find out what else has been discovered. There are other things than drugs that can help -- and there are patients who do not respond well to drugs for ADD, as well.

But knowing you have a problem and that there are ways to cope with it is infinitely better than knowing that people think you're lazy, crazy, or stupid -- and agreeing with them.

Joe (SoCal)
12-15-2002, 11:55 PM
Matt Joyce wrote:
Joe- obviously you missed the little winkie thing " " in my post. Without that, the statement could easily be offensive. This isn't going to "disintegrate in to personal attacks on our writing styles as examples of the poor state of our current educational system" because I'm 1) not making any statements regarding the relationship of your education and your writing abilities as I believe you sometimes simply don't bother to check the readability of your posts and 2)just giving you a quick jab about the fact that it is sometimes difficult to read your posts because of the run-on nature. I've found in writing (letters or net forums) that punctuation is the difference between verbally making a statement and successfully writing that statement to be read by others. Take it easy.
I find your statement regarding this being a "legal issue and there needed to be physical improvements in the structure of the school to meet these legal state educational mandates" to be chillingly telling. How can your improvements to physical plant meet educational mandates on legal issues? Physical plant improvements for safety or energy efficiency is one thing (anyone else remember trying to test when the air conditioning wasn't turned on yet in the early summer heat?). Educational mandates means parents rearing kids willing -and wanting - to listen and learn. It also means teachers being given necessary tools and appropriate curriculums Matt, I'm OK with it, I think I get my point across fine most of the time. I do think I run on. I think fast, type fast and reply fast. In all my writing I have always had to correct run on's, They are my biggest problem. I'm sorry if it makes for difficult reading. Personally I think most of the time I'm amusing and a very easy read, but hey I'm biased smile.gif . Hey I didn't think I did so bad in the Latin section of this thread smile.gif Let me try to elaborate quickly on the physical mandate. The current school has NO Chem Lab, No Computer Lab. These are required by the State for kids to graduate. There was no room physically to retrofit any of these labs in a school that was never designed to teach as many children as they have now. Simply there are more kids and less space. The new space will have classrooms and Lab space not a pool not a sauna. In the end I spent too much energy trying to get this passed for real in my town to RE-ARGUE it here.

[ 12-15-2002, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Meerkat
12-16-2002, 05:45 AM
Joe; Tyranus sic non carborundum ;)

LisaS
12-16-2002, 07:56 AM
I tried to stay out of this, but a spell on the soapbox is bubbling to the surface.

Actually, bricks and mortar ARE necessary. Sometimes, the old public schools have been so poorly maintained that in order for them to have decent conditions for them to be able to learn in, they have to be torn down and replaced. Citing that many of the fine old private schools are in buildings that are 100+ years old is great. Those old private school buildings have also been maintained well. Here's just one tiny example... I went to Zach's winter concert the other night at the local middle school. It was, as they say, a dark and stormy night. There was water running down the wall in the band room and pooling on the floor before running out the door and down the aisle in the auditorium. The PTO has been lobbying for 3 years to get a new roof on the school, only to have it shot down time and time again as "unecessary expense". My son's AT classes are held in a room that was a small gym, because the classroom that they had been using was destroyed when the ceiling collapsed due to a water leak last month. Meanwhile, the mayor is now driving a brand new Cadillac Eldorado that we paid for. It gets my goat to see this. It's really hard to keep my son's level of enthusiasm for learning high if he's having to try to concentrate in cold drafty gym rooms or sopping wet rooms. He is one of the high achievers, academically and musically, despite this. My kids are not allowed to play their video games during the school year, except during holiday breaks. They think I'm the wicked witch of the East, but they simply wouldn't do any homework if they had free access to those dumb machines. If they muck up through their own teenaged laziness, they get the "I'm disappointed in you" speech too.

I'm not even going to touch the maintstreaming issue. No no no no no.....

Lisa

Alan D. Hyde
12-16-2002, 10:43 AM
Well, traditional education didn't work for Al Edison, but it did for T. S. Elliot. Different ships; different long splices.

What is universally helpful is a body of general knowledge--- of literature, of history, of basic sciences, and of mathematics. Facts are like velcro for our minds: they help other facts to stick.

The more an individual knows, the more easily he may learn more. A child to whom "1066" triggers thoughts of the Battle of Hastings and Harold with an arrow in his eye, will likely remember his friend's cell phone number ending in "1066" better than someone who has nothing with which to associate it. Memory is a matter of reason and of association.

Learning is a course a process, and the best teachers teach students how to learn for themselves. But knowledge of specific facts, and a certain amount of rote learning, intelligently used, can be an important part of the process.

Our educational system is the last big cartel in this country to be opened to the fresh and invigorating winds of competition. Without widespread competition and choice, we are getting a poor product at a high price. Whether your child attends a public school (as all ours have, and our youngest still does), or a private school, his or her education is still up to you.

Read to your children from birth to age--- as long as they'll stand still for it. From three or four or five, whenever they start reading on their own, give them good books on things they're interested in. One week, wolves or sharks or dinosaurs, the next week, Pilgrims or motorcycles or outer space, whatever feeds their curiosity.

Just as pushups are exercise for the arms, so is reading exercise for the mind. If they read widely and well, and if you let them work by your side fixing the car or boat, or wiring a new outlet, or repairing the roof or plumbing, or whatever it is, then they can tie ideas to actions, and find that nothing's as easy in life as it may seem on paper.

That's worth something, too.

Alan

[ 12-16-2002, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

NormMessinger
12-16-2002, 11:26 AM
Amen, Allan. --Except for the competition part as it it applied by the politicos in regard to education in this particular corner of history.

--Norm

rodcross
12-16-2002, 12:25 PM
Been gone for the weekend. Just read Roger Stouffs post and want to suggest something that may fit with some of the issues regarding parental involvement.

I was luckier than most as we sat at dinner, every evening, and there was no TV. Over the table there were conversations that were too intellectual for me as I was the youngest and dumbest of four, yet language and challenging issues were rolled around the table. What I learned at the table, without even thinking I was learning, is more valuable than anything I learned in school, yet enabled to learn what I needed to comprehend what I was expected to absorb in school.

What if the hours spent by Roger's wife in the kitchen meant nothing more than she was present at home during some critical hours of their childrens' lives; Available for homework questions; Accessable as issues arose? I think their childrens' ADD may have been relieved even if she had colored every meal with Red Dye #2 and poured a tablespoon of salt into each portion.

Roger is intelligent and I expect his wife is as much or more. What if Roger came home after work and spent an hour in the kitchen, helping get dinner ready, talking with her about the day, while the kids were lurking nearby catching snatches of the conversation? How difficult is that kind of parenting?

That, to me is real parenting!

ishmael
12-16-2002, 12:34 PM
I want to hear Lisa's thoughts, pro or con, regarding "mainstreaming". I don't have a dog in this fight, er, child in the classroom, but I think education should concern all of us, parents and non. It's one reason that when I've owned property I've never fallen into grousing about my taxes going to public schools. The ways they go, well that's a different matter.

Mainstreaming, from what I've heard of it, is foolishness. But I'm open to hearing other's, more closely associated, opinions.

NormMessinger
12-16-2002, 03:12 PM
Well, there's mainstreaming and then there's mainstreaming. (I hope I'm not getting to technical here.) I want to hear Sue's views as well but if our daughter-in-laws school I wonder if it is not carried to far. Ivy is an aid, paid to look after one autistic kid. There are several such combinations in the school. Perhaps that is proper. But there is at least one child still in diapers who cannot speak. The aid is responsible for keeping the droole wiped up and the diapers changed. Where does one draw the line? How would Stan and his friends handle the problem. Should the property tax payer be saddled with someone elses genetic flaws?

--Norm

[ 12-16-2002, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: NormMessinger ]

Dave Fleming
12-16-2002, 03:58 PM
This is probably going to really tick off a number of folks but here goes.
We were the parents of 3 boys who in school in the late 1960's through the early 1980's here in California mostly.
It was some time here in la-la land! "Open Classrooms" ie: NO desks but lots of macrame plant hangers and ratty second or third hand sofas, loads of visual arts and weird music with the teachers in Birkenstocks and long shaggy beards on the men and long tyedye skirts on the ladies. Children ( I dislike calling children, kids) wandering around whilst the "teacher' was sitting on the floor with a few attentive ones reading to them and, the others fishing in the fish tanks after what I dunno because the tanks haden't been cleaned in weeks or was it months? No homework, no required reading, no discipline (as far as I am concerned discipline is the first step in teaching and then to learning and I don't mean martinette discipline but adequate control of the situation to be able to lead/direct or command attention). There was very little that could be done. The disease was rampant throughout California. So I decided to do some subtle things on my/OUR own. First was physical activity.
The boys were given opportunities to try various sports, Soccer, Basketball, Swimming but NO football! Within a brief time frame it became clear that Soccer and Swimming were favoured. Swimming probably because SWIMAPAL and I had recounted our past experiences with competetive swimming and had taught the boys how to swim at an early age. Soccer because it is a social sport bye that, in my eyes, you are one of a group a team and interaction amongst team mates is good for future life experience. So it wound up Swimming about 9 months a year and Soccer the balance. Young bodies toned up, growth was good and the energy that had been expended on bickering and the like was no longer there. They were too damn tired to snipe at each other. There is about a 5 year difference between the eldest and the twins, if ya folla.
So that part was under control but, what to do about intellectual stimulation?
We had a early dinner on Sunday about 3:PM was our practice and for some little time after the boys had helped their mother clear the table, we would have a round robin conversation at the table. It has been my limited experience that young people are full of interests and questions and observations based on their growing knowledge of the world around them and interaction with peers. I began a campaign to subtely turn those apre dinner sessions into an 'ask daddy and mommy what you wish times'. It worked! All sorts of questions asked, rapid fire like. Answers were given but not just absolute answers. Partial, enough to satisfy for the moment the inquiry but with the hint that there was much more to learn about the subject bye READING and RESEARCHING for yourself. After about a month or so, when the session would start the boys would go to their rooms and come out armed with a load of books and a list of questions. Some evenings SWIMPAL would have to remind us it was fast approaching bedtime for the boys! We would have been at it for several hours and no one wanted to leave or were they bored bye it at all. It may not have been Algebra 101 but it damn sure gave them many a thing to chew on and the knowledge of how and where to find out a thing on their own and conversationaly how to verbalize their thoughts and questions so that they could be understood bye peers and older folk. This lasted about 2 years until circumstances brought it to an end, sadly.
Just the other night, Saturday, SWIMPAL and I took our eldest out for dinner to celebrate his 40th Birthday and in mealtime chatter he reminisced about those times and how much he enjoyed them etc...

[ 12-16-2002, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

ishmael
12-16-2002, 04:16 PM
So Dave,

What I'm hearing you saying is that your children were defacto home schooled. Ignore all the air fairy nonsence taught by the Birkenstock clad cadre of indoctrinators, here are some real problems, from your intelligent, caring parents, go solve 'em.

Likely a better education than most. It contains one side of this equation we've been bantering, parental involvement.

Schools ought to teach basic mathematical and language skills, a solid overview of history and literature, a good grounding in science, and these days, computers. Beyond that it is the parents responsiblility. Beyond elementary, I think testing ought to inform and hence encourage various students to study mechanics, or art, or literature or quantum physics...or how to be a very good janitor.

devil in the details?

[ 12-16-2002, 04:18 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

NormMessinger
12-16-2002, 05:24 PM
California schools in the late 60's were not like that at all Dave, at least not in El Portal or Oakhurst. As it has ever been and is ever still there are good schools and poor schools, good teachers and not so good. Method may not be the most important.

Are schools really so bad or do we have another case of a few noisy zellots misleading public opinion?

--Norm

Dave Fleming
12-16-2002, 05:43 PM
Jack, not so much home schooled but given some leadership in questioning, researching, learning independently and not depending upon a school system that was in chaos.

Norm this was in Sonoma and Petaluma, CA..

Remember the NEW MATH debacle???

Dave Fleming
12-16-2002, 06:00 PM
OK, lets go back 'into the dark ages'. ;)

I'm in prep school, got 4 count'em 4 years of math in front of me and I am terrified! Every thing was bye rote and I am the worlds worst learning bye rote individual there is or was.
It became so bad that the instructors called my parents and bluntly told them that I had precious little chance to pass the Math part of the College Boards. ***Emergency Bill Robinson***, round up some private tutors, grill the stuff into david's empty head, stuff it and mash it in. Never no mind that david liked to reason a problem out not sit there and memorize a book or books of formula or theorims, liked to read most anything he could get his hands on and was not really interested in going on to Univ.. Hell I wanted to build boats, houses , airplanes anything that used my hands and brain.
The reading I did stood me in good stead for that part of the Boards we got in the 800's if memory serves but the math part? Ha, we squeeked bye probably with a high 400 or just what it takes for some second rate school to look at you and your fathers Dun and Bradstreet rating and open the door a enough for you to slide in, if ya folla?

It was not until I was well into my apprenticeship and HAD to do practical math that things became clear, the fog lifted, the curtain rose over the stage....
I found that I liked math, in fact I went back to college, a private $85 a credit one, to begin math studies all over again. Ayup went from pre-Algebra to Calculus with all the stops inbetween.
I really enjoyed it and fortunately had the same instructor for all my classes, night stuff don'cha know.
What I am getting at is this, even in the so called best schools if the teachers are not aware, not patient, not creative in getting the subject across the blame should not be all on the child. Especailly in my case where class size was about 15 to 18 students.

[ 12-16-2002, 06:04 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

John Gearing
12-16-2002, 07:55 PM
In my humble (no kids) opinion, we need more folks running schools who have the same philosophy as the subject of this article....

http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,5500,750270,00.html

Roger Stouff
12-16-2002, 08:47 PM
Rod,

I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts and you are right that such involvement in the household makes worlds of difference. No debate from me!

However, recall that I said the mythology of ADHD is but a part of the problem. As HTOM pointed out, there are legitimate cases of the condition. My spat is with the sudden epidemic. The epidemic is, IMHO, a result of both environmental factors and social ones, i.e., educational staff often looking for a quick fix, an easy fix, to the problems which are far, far deeper.

I can protest, with all kind regards, that my children may well have partially been cured by the presence of my ex-wife and I in their lives, but I guarantee you in no undertain terms, the food chemicals were a radical, destructive and hazardous contributor to their condition. To verify our theories early on, we actually ran tests on them...withholding chemicals for weeks, then allowing them a snack full of dye or something. I cannot begin to tell you how obvious, indisputable and frightening the effects were. It literally horrified us.

As it happens, this topic comes up at an interesting time. My son broke his wrist two weeks ago at school. My ex and I are enraged at the moment because the teacher did not believe he was seriously injured, and made him wait half an hour before the school secretary happened to walk by and saw the boy was in intense pain. "He was turning green," was what she said to us. Then they finally called his mom and, sure enough, a clean break in his wrist.

Today, he asked to call home because his wrist was paining him badly, and he was refused. The teacher said to him, "You're not going to waste my time." I came unglued, I can tell you. As it turns out, again, the boy was in serious pain and all he needed as a little attention.

There's an attitude here that's turning into a vicious circle: The kids are bad, so they teachers don't trust them, the teachers are frustrated and helpless, and the kids are getting the brunt of their frustrations.

For the record, my child is no saint, but he is consistently on the honor roll, has never had a discipline mark against him, and does not fake illnesses to get out of school. He loves school, and murder to him is having to miss school.

I'll be at the next school board meeting, and heads are going to roll over this. And if I don't get satisfaction from them directly, well, they'll learn what it means to screw with an old school newspaperman. smile.gif

Kind and respectful regards from the Rez,
R

rodcross
12-16-2002, 09:39 PM
I don't tell people this...usually. They don't need to know. And, when they do, most don't get it, or deny it.

Emily is a drug addict! 11 years after she took her last hit, she wakes up looking for her source.

Do you understand what she had to do to get what she wanted? Father?

She was 14.

I failed her because I couldn't destinguish between my problems with her Mom and what I wanted for my children.

Please, don't make my mistakes.

NormMessinger
12-16-2002, 09:55 PM
Go get 'em Roger. But with milk and honey.

--Norm

ishmael
12-16-2002, 09:57 PM
Rod,

The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the
slow drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown grey
and green intertinged,
The animals are pack'd to the sagging mow,

I am there, I help, I came stretch'd atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the cross-beams and seize the
clover and timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.
------------------------------------------------
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it...

WW

And what Roger said, just after.

Let us resolve to embrace and so dissolve this suffering.

You aren't alone. Please write.

Jack

[ 12-16-2002, 11:02 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Roger Stouff
12-16-2002, 10:50 PM
Rod,
I am very sorry. What a traumatic and saddening thing! Of course I understand your feelings and your stance on the debate much better now. Your strength of character is evident.

I can only do what I can do for my son, the best I can. Thankfully, I have no problems with his mother and while we don't agree on everything (obviously!) we do agree on our kids most of the time. If nothing more, the child is getting a good home, father in asbentia notwithstanding, proactive parents who take note and take heart in the hours between 8 and 3 Monday thru Friday, and expect only from the school system a recognition that we are his parents, we do not expect them to be his parents, we are quite willing and able to do the job.

I will say my grandfathers' prayers tonight for you and yours, sir.

Kind regards from the Rez,
R

rodcross
12-18-2002, 12:55 PM
Its been days since I posted to this thread and I've been trying to understand why something in Roger's post about his son's broken wrist pulled a subconscious trigger in me and prompted me to tell a little about Emily. It did not make sense to me, the next day. And then I remembered teachers conferences and my ex-wife and I going to deal with the reports that were, at times, edited by my ex. Events such as the broken wrist and the failure of a school system to be able to react to it would have me enraged; So much so, I was missing some messages the school, and our children, were trying to send us.

I understand the trigger, now. My post had all to do with me and little to do with Roger and his son.

I received some very heartfelt messages following my post. Thank you. Emily is a wonderful woman with a wonderful daughter. She's the one who can put up her own sheet-rock and build rock walls. Thank God!

Alan D. Hyde
12-18-2002, 01:04 PM
Both posts are a credit to you Rod.

Whenever I get depressed about the future of our country, thinking about the strong and resilient goodness of character of so many Americans serves as a counter-balance.

Ad astra per aspera.

Alan

[ 12-18-2002, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

Ed Harrow
06-29-2005, 07:57 PM
Better? Education is one big, deep rat hole. :eek:

I think the key word you used was "discuss." That seldom happens here (the bilge) now, at least for any length of time. Mostly all we get is argue, pontificate, threats, insults, hypocrisy, etc. Maybe what passes for "discussion" here is what you like across "your" (Not meaning Jeff) dinner table, it sure isn't what goes on across ours.

[ 06-29-2005, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: Ed Harrow ]

Con LanAdo
06-29-2005, 09:10 PM
the folks i most like have been Home Schooled & i would strongly recomend any young parent to consider one of these options (i say these 'cause too many single parents need to find an alt.) Or take it as a given - what ever Cold Sore Joe wants for his won't be anygood for the rest of us. Greenland looks better & better everyday. Hey Joe, got any law suits going against any good brothers?