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  #41  
Old 03-17-2010, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Frenzy View Post
How's this for stupid...

I live in a school district that is "Basic Aid." In California that means that the propoerty tax base is above a certain level, so instead of the state giving ~$6,000 per student, the State gives the basic level of $120 and the district gets to keep it's property tax money.

Well, two years ago the State said they weren't giving the $120 per student anymore to Basic Aid districts. That money was needed to patch holes in the State budget somewhere.

Well, last year the State said that Basic Aid districts had to pay their "fair share," which meant that not only did they not get their $120 per kid they had to pay the state a per-kid rate.

This year, that "fair share" rate is going up. It's going to go us next year too.

i have no friggin' clue how this is legal.
50% +1 Californians said it was legal?
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  #42  
Old 03-17-2010, 02:21 AM
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50% +1 Californians said it was legal?
i'm pretty sure it's the equivalent of the Federal Government saying it's not giving the State any federal income tax money collected from the state, and the State has to give the Feds it's State income taxes to plug holes in budgets in other states.

If it smells like bullshit and looks like bullshit and is warm & squishy like bullshit, it sure as shit isn't "fair share." Yet who do I voice my complaint to, my state representative? The same legislative body that's taking the money from the school district? i'm sure they'd be more that happy to right this wrong.
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  #43  
Old 03-17-2010, 04:58 AM
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Sue McDonalds. That is the standard solution in your part of the world for this kind of conundrum, isn't it?
  #44  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:31 AM
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  #45  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:36 AM
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How did I get in this handbasket and why is it so damned hot?
You live in Texas...its always hot there.
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  #46  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:12 PM
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I think he'll get that job regardless of whether we pay a couple hundred thousand on Special Ed teachers adn assistants in lieu of having a Gifted program.
It's never as simple as throwing money at the problem, you should know that. Teaching gifted students requires innovative, bright, and dedicated teachers. Ask a teacher in this environment and they'll tell you that such a teacher is hard to come by. I have friends and family who teach all over the country, and while my opinion is based on a combination of their views, I don't pretend to speak for all teachers across the country. I'm just pointing out that what you're asking for is a lot more involved than just having more money and resources available to gifted students.

And if you really want to open a can of worms, I could point out that there are options for gifted students outside of public schools. PSEO, CLEP, and AP classes get gifted students access to college credits, and private schools offer students a chance to more specifically guide their own education. Maybe it's unrealistic to expect a public school system to cater to special needs students as well as gifted students, and the answer is separating the two groups. Maybe public schools should be for kids in the middle 2/3 of a normal bell curve: both fringes get separated, and everyone is happy.
  #47  
Old 03-17-2010, 11:50 PM
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Do we want everyone to get the same opportunity or do we actually want to advance as a society?

Focusing tons of resources ona a DS kid so that they can maybe get a job as a Wal-Mart greeter one day is a waste of resources IMHO.
I'm not really sure what you mean by "advance as a society". I assume you mean technologically or scientifically rather than morally or whatever (morally might not be the best word there, I'm sure you can see what I'm getting at)
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  #48  
Old 03-18-2010, 01:24 AM
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And when we as parents (those that don't live in Texas) finally start standing up and saying no, we don't like this? Don't buy these books.

Parents have finally got to start getting engaged with their local school boards and let their voices and concerns be heard.

If we don't, then we have no one to blame but ourselves for how the textbooks are written.

And why have we not seen a national group get together and say "hey wait a minute". why are you publishers making and marketing these books that are being bought country wide based upon the thoughts of 12 individuals from Texas?

Why is there not a delegation from each state on your board to make these decisions?

Is the Texas Board of Education the standard for which should decide upon what our children are being taught?

Who made the Texas BOE the stnadard for all American school text books?
  #49  
Old 03-18-2010, 05:37 AM
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I wonder if that's why so many Americans are turning to homeschooling?
I have yet to meet a homeschooler that wasn't f'd up in some way. True story.
One of the worst things a parent can do, IMO. Not a single one that I have known personally has been prepared even to the (rather low) minimal standard of the public high school system. That's not even talking about the fact that none of them have been quite right socially. They've either exploded when they got into college or folded in on themselves.

But hey, maybe somewhere it works.
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  #50  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:07 AM
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Parents have finally got to start getting engaged with their local school boards and let their voices and concerns be heard.
Some of them do. Quite a lot of those happen to be hard core Creationists, but hey, you can't have everything.
  #51  
Old 03-18-2010, 06:58 AM
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I have yet to meet a homeschooler that wasn't f'd up in some way. True story.
We just had a big debate about this on Malazan recently. I made a post in that thread that got me more rep than I've even gotten for one post. The total for the post ended up being -1, but I think I got a total of 5 or 6 neg reps for that post, and the pos reps brought it up to -1. (Malazan moved from vbulletin so they no longer have the same rep system as we do.)
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  #52  
Old 03-18-2010, 08:17 AM
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I tend to feel the same way Mato - but at the same time, most of the blogs I read are homeschoolers. I don't know how that came to be, but at least one of them was an East Coaster who moved with her 7 kids to Texas and they made the switch to school then - and are doing just fine, I think.

It has to work for some people...

But what does it say about the system in the US that more and more people are turning to homeschooling in spite of the acknowledged stigma?
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  #53  
Old 03-18-2010, 08:36 AM
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  #54  
Old 03-18-2010, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ishara View Post
I tend to feel the same way Mato - but at the same time, most of the blogs I read are homeschoolers. I don't know how that came to be, but at least one of them was an East Coaster who moved with her 7 kids to Texas and they made the switch to school then - and are doing just fine, I think.

It has to work for some people...

But what does it say about the system in the US that more and more people are turning to homeschooling in spite of the acknowledged stigma?
That we're a weird backwards country that has a significant minority that vastly fears change.
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  #55  
Old 03-18-2010, 08:59 AM
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And if you really want to open a can of worms, I could point out that there are options for gifted students outside of public schools. PSEO, CLEP, and AP classes get gifted students access to college credits, and private schools offer students a chance to more specifically guide their own education.
Yes, but the problem here is $$$. Many gifted students can't afford to go to a private school -- they're stuck in the public system. Now, the public system isn't totally bad at teaching these gifted students, but it's my opinion that the gifted students excel in spite of the system, rather than because of it. In fact, the public school system is skewed against gifted students and in favor of the special needs. The ones that get truly shafted are the mediocre ones (as I said, the gifted ones will learn anyway).

Most school systems have two tracks: advanced and regular. Advanced classes are generally full of the smart and/or hard-working kids. The regular classes are generally full of the lazy kids, the dumb kids, and the special-needs kids (they don't actually have Special Ed classes anymore -- the SPED teachers follow the SPED kids around from class to class, with maybe one or two periods where all the SPED kids are in the same room). Why is this bad? Essentially, when you're teaching in a classroom, you have to teach to the weakest link. That's usually the SPED kid (not always though, interestingly enough). You can't teach over someone's head. You have to make sure everyone moves along at the same rate. This often means slowing down the more proficient while the less proficient catch up.

Quote:
Maybe it's unrealistic to expect a public school system to cater to special needs students as well as gifted students, and the answer is separating the two groups. Maybe public schools should be for kids in the middle 2/3 of a normal bell curve: both fringes get separated, and everyone is happy.
This is the way it should be. Focus on the middle-of-the-road kids. The high end of the curve will learn anyway, and the bottom end of the curve require special treatment anyway.

Honestly, separating SPED from regular kids was a better idea. At least, that's my opinion. (Note: I started teaching after NCLB was enacted, so I don't really have classroom experience with separate classes for SPED kids. I can tell you that my classes with a SPED child in it were much more difficult to teach than my classes with non-SPED children, simply because with a SPED child I had to stop every time I said something and explain it again to the SPED child, or walk him/her through a worksheet that everyone else got intuitively, or whatever.)
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  #56  
Old 03-18-2010, 10:18 AM
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Dav, I would think that it means many are homeschooling because the public system cannor or does not address the needs of their special snowflakes, no?

Or that they think Jefferson (and cases like it) are important enough to pull their kids out and teach themselves.

Sometimes change is not good.

In regards to special and gifted kids, all I can speak to is my own personal exeriences. I was a SPED kid myself (because here, we classify the gifted kids SPED as well) and was put into a class made up entirely of SPED kids. It was bar none, the WORST 3 years of my life. We made our teachers, who were so bright and ebergetic and engaged in making sure we were challenged, cry. A lot. And they were not especially sensitive people. Those years taught us that being smarter was an excuse to not have proper social skills, that being cruel was okay if you were "smart" about it, and that the "dumb" kids in the gifted class were easy game.

It would have been much better for us ALL if we had been integrated in with the "normal" kids in my opinion. I went back to "normal" classes for highschool, and it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

being special isn't always better...
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  #57  
Old 03-18-2010, 10:48 AM
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Dav, I would think that it means many are homeschooling because the public system cannor or does not address the needs of their special snowflakes, no?
The same problem exists with homeschool as does private schools. Most families don't have the resources to homeschool their children, especially in urban areas. I'm not a fan of homeschooling in general. I think homeschooled children miss out on a lot of the non-academic benefits of being in public schools.

Quote:
Sometimes change is not good.
No, but it usually is. Even if the change isn't a good change, it's a catalyst for further change, which has a greater chance of improving the status quo than if the status quo remains... quo.

Quote:
In regards to special and gifted kids, all I can speak to is my own personal exeriences. I was a SPED kid myself (because here, we classify the gifted kids SPED as well) and was put into a class made up entirely of SPED kids. It was bar none, the WORST 3 years of my life. We made our teachers, who were so bright and ebergetic and engaged in making sure we were challenged, cry. A lot. And they were not especially sensitive people. Those years taught us that being smarter was an excuse to not have proper social skills, that being cruel was okay if you were "smart" about it, and that the "dumb" kids in the gifted class were easy game.
I'm a fan of moderation. Pretty much anything is okay in moderation. I have a friend who ALL she does is homework. She gets home from school, she studies and does homework until she goes to bed, then she goes back to school. She takes all advanced classes and opted to take an extra academic class rather than a P.E. class (she finished her P.E. credits last year).

I don't think this is a necessarily healthy way to go about school. She's missing out on social opportunities and development of social skills that can only be learned from non-academic interaction with her peers. This is one of the deficiencies that I mentioned earlier in the homeschooling program.

But at the same time, pure social interaction is meaningless if you don't have anything worthwhile to say.

Eleanor Roosevelt (I think) said something along the lines of, "Good people talk about people. Great people talk about things. Exceptional people talk about ideas."

It's hard to get to the third set if you lack an education. Not impossible, but hard. Most of my former students fall in the first category. They focused too much on the people around them (i.e. gossip) and not enough about things (i.e. grades, current events, politics, concrete achievements, etc). We're fortunate at TL that most of us are of the second and third categories. We like to talk about the things and the ideas behind them.

I digress, so I'll stop there.
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  #58  
Old 03-18-2010, 01:58 PM
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Camel, I agree with you that gifted students will learn on their own - to a point. But I think that some gifted students, myself included, could have benefited from gentle (or not so gentle) prodding to excel. I was a good student, got into a good school, and now work a good job. My education is a huge part of that, and I worked really hard to achieve the success I've had. But I still wonder how much I could have benefited from an active set of teachers throughout my public school experience (K-12) pushing me and encouraging me to excel. I might have gotten in to a great school. Then again, I might have burned out and become a drug addicted loser. Who knows? I'm not arguing that my life would be substantially better off if I had a different school experience, just that I sometimes wonder.

One thing I was going to post about but didn't is the "chicken and the egg" nature of quality teachers and the relative low pay teachers receive for their jobs. My girlfriend's mom is the principal of a middle school in Wisconsin, and not a rural school in the middle of nowhere. Her district is good-sized, and the middle school itself is also good-sized. She opened up a job posting for a part-time substitute teacher on Monday, and before lunch she had 90 applications waiting for her in her inbox. Before she got to work on Tuesday, that number had more than doubled. By yesterday afternoon, she had over 300 applications for a part time teaching position. The vast majority (~75% in her estimation) were completely unqualified, so that left roughly 75 applications which she needed to at least go through. Assuming 5 minutes per application (which is a low estimate), and she and the assistant principal had almost 7 hours of work to do to review applications for one position.

From my conversations and observations with her and my other friends and relatives who teach, I have come to learn that teaching isn't a 9-5 type job. There's hours of work that go into teaching (building lesson plans, grading papers, the list goes on and on), not to mention faculty meetings, extra curricular responsibilities, and other responsibilities teachers have to the school outside of just teaching. Teachers are expected to put in a lot of work, and the amount of pay they are offered is quite low in comparison. Teachers with advanced degrees (or even who have taken Masters level classes in preparation of a degree) are paid more, which lowers their chances of getting hired. How ironic is that?

I drifted off my main point, which is that the education system needs to be revamped. I don't think reaching gifted students is as simple as putting them in their own classes and letting them go; after all, they are still students and children, and need guidance. I think a perfect system would have gifted students properly monitored and motivated by teachers in small class settings, but that's just not realistic.

I understand this post was a garbled mess, but I'm on my lunch break at work and needed to try and get as many thoughts down as possible.
  #59  
Old 03-18-2010, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdsaf3 View Post
I understand this post was a garbled mess, but I'm on my lunch break at work and needed to try and get as many thoughts down as possible.
Makes sense to me.

Quote:
Camel, I agree with you that gifted students will learn on their own - to a point. But I think that some gifted students, myself included, could have benefited from gentle (or not so gentle) prodding to excel.
Yes, this is true. However, my point wasn't that gifted students don't need classes (they certainly do, as you mentioned). My point was that each classroom must cater to the lowest common denominator, or the weakest link, in that class room.

In a perfect world, every student would have an individualized education, suited to their specific needs. In the real world, we must teach a large number of students at roughly the same pace -- the pace that is dictated by the slowest moderately-hard working student (note: I say that because most teachers won't hesitate to leave behind a child who simply refuses to leanr).

Most school systems have two tracks, as I mentioned earlier: "advanced" and "regular". Advanced classes are optional -- you are not forced to be in an advanced class if you don't want to be.

In one class, we have Ashley and Megan. Ashley is a bright kid, gets everything the first time, does her homework, writes her essays. She listens and she shows up on time. But for whatever reason, she's in the regular class.

Megan is a "special needs" student. She's no idiot, but she has trouble understanding simple directions and often needs prodding to remember to write down homework assignments. She's dyslexic and has ADHD (just assume it's really ADHD, for the sake of argument). She can't sit still for more than a few minutes, and I literally have to stand next to her while I teach and put my finger down on her notebook so that she remembers to write down the next answer in the worksheet. When another student has a question, Megan loses focus while I'm gone. When I come back, she hasn't finished the assignment and the rest of the class is ready to move on.

Megan and other students like her really need to have a separate classroom where they can have a much stronger and omnipresent interaction with a teacher who is knowledgeable about her specific needs and can make sure that she focuses.

When I've got a classroom full of 30 kids, I can't spend 95% of my time on one of them. It's not fair to Ashley and the other kids who can follow my directions.

It's a long example, but the point is that teachers are forced to move as fast as the weakest link -- the slowest kid -- and no faster. Children like Megan used to have their own classrooms, but NCLB decided that wasn't practical and that SPED students needed to be mainstreamed into the regular classes.

Now I'm not saying that you should segregate the Megans from the Ashleys, nor should you segregate the gifted from the regular. As Ishara mentioned a few times, you need the social interaction and social skills that you can get from interacting with your peers. All work and no play is no good. Gotta have some regular stuff thrown in the mix to keep them well-rounded.

What I AM saying is that different skill levels need different routes, and I would rather see gifted students in a "regular" classroom with SPED students in a SPED classroom than the way it is now. Right now, the average (that 2/3rds of the bell curve) is suffering at the expense of the SPED kids.

To refer back to your quote above, the most ideal (yet practical) situation would be to have 3 tracks: advanced (gifted), regular, and remedial/SPED. There are many school systems that do, in fact, have three tracks like this. My first year teaching I actually had four different tracks: advanced, college-prep, regular and remedial.

The problem is that most school systems (in my experience and research) have the budget for only two tracks, which usually get divided up into "advanced" and "regular". This is fine for the gifted kids, but the average ones get the shaft, because they're being held back by the SPED.

I'm repeating myself now, so I'll stop here.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:51 PM
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Basel Gill Basel Gill is offline
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Does anyone think the general effort put into education has declined over a few generations? I don't know if it really has to do with poor teachers or funding at all. A person can make alot out of a little if they know they have to.

My grandfather was one of the smartest men I ever met (or maybe his skill set was just so different from mine that I was impressed) and he has to work in the steel mill while in grade school, got drafted into WWII and barely has a few night classes of college (less than a year's worth). He worked on projects that would almost certainly require a Master's degree now or even a PhD.

My parents were/are smart people but it seems less was expected of them and I know for certain that I did not put in the effort I could have in school and while my parents expected me to perform, I always knew how to just do enough to shut them up.

I guess I mean that a person can "get by" on alot less effort than they used to. My grandfather would have had his ass whipped at school and at home for screwing up academically or socially. My parents some of the same, but maybe less and my generation (the Generation Xers)seemed to be the start of a trend where screwing around and putting in half effort was ok.

That being said, I went to public schools, but they were the ones that seemed to have plenty of funding, so I suppose I am arguing out of some level of ignorance...
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