Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Problems in the school system

Slashdot has an interesting article regarding education. While the headline is questionable, discussion is real. The following are excerpts from discussions, along with my own thoughts; pardon the length, but I need to get my words out.
Smart kids need one-on-one education as much as any other "special needs" class. They just need a really different kind - one that can keep them INTERESTED, one that can call in esoteric specialists to help them pick up whatever path they become fascinated with, and can use this to slide in other curriculum elements outside of their specialty.
I agree with this point. I may not know exactly where I want to go in terms of career, but I do know where I don't, and that should be taken into account.
I didn't act up at school because I knew what would happen when I got home. I didn't want to disappoint my parents, and I also knew there would be consequences for my actions. The parenting I had dictated my actions at school. If parents did real parenting, rather than leave it to the schools, you wouldn't see these problems.
From what I see myself, much of the problem with many people is that their parents are completely uninvolved. Kids need parents to take interest in what they are doing, give them a reason to continue toward a goal.
With the (non-funded) requirements put on schools by "No Child Left Behind", Bush has recreated nationally the same mess he made as Governor of Texas. Kids aren't being taught in school, they're being made to memorize, and they're trained to take a specific test, which hasn't even been proven a valid metric.
I never thought about this, but that makes a lot of sense. For example, my statistics teacher is repeatedly saying that the entire purpose of the class is to prepare us for the AP stats test in the spring. Not often is any class relevant to things that you would do in real life, and less often are teacher able to say why we even need to learn it.
And yet, [private schools] routinely got more qualified instructors -- people who were actual experts in their fields -- and graduated students who went on to be more successful. Why is this? I don't have a totally pat answer for you, but I think that most of their success is because of the institutions themselves: people are willing to go and teach there, even though they're not unionized and the pay is lower, because they're good places to work. Class sizes are smaller, teachers get more freedom to plan lessons and curricula, and the perceived 'quality' of the students (interest, motivation, background education) is higher. [...] In my experience, unions and the job security that they offer don't do much to attract the best talent. If anything, they attract the mediocre, who are seeking a job that it's difficult to get fired from.
Half of the problem that I see from my school is the fact that no teachers are ever fired. Teachers work as long as they feel like it, even if they suck at it. Some teachers teach the way they would twenty years ago. Many don't seem to have a firm knowledge of the material they are teaching. Public schools seem to be filled with under-qualified teachers (but I'm not saying all are so).

Labels: , , ,

7:52 PM | Posted by mike | 0 comments posted below


Post a Comment

Barack Obama for President