Skip to comments.13 Things Your Child's Teacher Won't Tell You(look at THIS BS)!
Posted on 09/08/2010 9:35:24 AM PDT by US Navy Vet
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Touche! Nice return volley!! :-)
As a home school mother/teacher, I never taught to the test. I didn’t have access to nor did I know what would be on the standardized tests. I taught a well rounded rigorous curriculum and my child was top of the charts every year.
;^) Take care...
That's probably generally true in the suburban areas. BUT - and it's a big but - I don't think that's generally true in the urban areas. The level of incompetence and disinterest that's exhibited by a great many of our teachers in the big-city districts, is really quite astonishing.
As far as testing goes, it's really the only objective means to dole out federal money. And yes, I understand you don't want to dole out federal money. Neither do I. But, that's the practical reality we're in. School districts, especially in the urban areas are HIGHLY dependent on federal monies to keep them going. If they're going to continue to suckle on the public teat - at they will - I'd much rather have some idea how effective they are, even if that measuring mechanism is less than ideal.
So you don’t see anything wrong with taking the better part of a month to teach kids how to pass a test to the detriment of everything else they could be learning?? The problem is that the standardized tests are NOT ALIGNED with district curriculum. That’s the problem!!!
Teachers literally STOP teaching their regular curriculum, begin teaching the kids what is on the test and how to pass the test. Yes, I have a huge issue with that!
When I taught, it used to be a joke that our students thought American history ended with WWII because that’s as far as we ever got, year after year. Enormous amounts of history and science content, in particular, are lost when 2-3 months of a school year are spent trying to get kids to pass a test.
It’s nice to think that a standardized test given to millions of kids across the nation will be aligned with each district’s curriculum, but that isn’t even logical or reasonable. That’s why they all stop what they’re doing and focus on the test. They KNOW better.
Now, whether or not the test has value depends on the test. In Arizona we have had horrific “standardized” state tests in the past, and I’m sure our state isn’t unique.
I don’t happen to have much faith in standardized tests as an absolute measure of student learning or achievement. If a school district REALLY wanted an accurate measurement of student achievement using a standardized test, they would just announce to the kids on a Monday, “This week we’ll have two hours of tests each morning,” and see what happens.
When money and prestige are tied in with results, you can bet principals and teachers will do everything they can to get the right numbers, no matter what.
Are parochial schools still surviving in this chaos?
Sadly, far too many parochial schools have fallen to the 'voucher' trap. Many inner city and old surburb parochial schools have to rely on 'vouchers' to maintain an adequate student enrollment. Then the vicious cycle commences:-- dependent on vouchers, the schools lower their previous exacting teaching/lesson standards
-- with lower standards, parents that were previously thrilled with parochial standards are now aghast at the lower standards/discipline/progression
-- these parochial schools then experienced a drop in enrollment
-- consequently only low performing 'voucher' students remain and even future 'voucher' students may not apply
-- and the school is then precariously close to closing.
I agree with every thing you've said, and want to underscore this last paragraph. Yes, ideally that is absolutely what we as taxpayers should want for our schools. Unfortunately, the schools that are most deeply in crisis, are precisely the same schools that have the strongest teacher's unions that make it impossible to examine the individual teacher.
This is the danger with the collective bargaining process in any public/government union. The collective protects the individual. Until the unions are reigned in, America's public education system will continue its death spiral, unabated.
“Were sick of standardized testing and having to teach to the test.”
Why on earth would you be? If your lesson plans have any value at all, you should be able to accommodate the test easily. The key is to go beyond the basics.
“2-3 months of a school year are spent trying to get kids to pass a test.”
Ma’am, I teach and with all due respect if they did their job the other 7-8 months they wouldn’t be spending the last 2-3 catching up.
I can see this argument wrt to the sciences, but history?! Wow. I can see devoting a week to the test prep, but beyond that?
Yes, because it's federal money. As a practical matter, it would be impossible for the federal government to evaluate individual teachers. So, they evaluate individual schools and school districts.
If the school boards aren't using the information to take corrective action with the schools and the teachers, then that's their fault. But, it's not the fault of the test. So long as the schools take federal money - and they will continue to take federal money - then there should also be some federal accountability. That accountability manifests itself, at least in part, in the test.
“I taught a well rounded rigorous curriculum and my child was top of the charts every year.”
Yep, bravo! That’s really all it takes.
Don't even think about it, Dave. I will hunt you down!
I’ve been a tutor for years. I offer a guarantee, that I’ll get you an A, which means that if that doesn’t happen I don’t get paid.
Spare me the whining about standardised testing. At least with standardised testing I know what the student is going to face. Most of the time I have to try to divine the professor’s mind.
There should be a more standardised method of evaluating teachers as INDIVIDUALS not as a whole, and not at the school level. The market assesses my effectiveness, because if I’m terrible, I make no money. Teachers are insulated from this by the federal funding for schools.
“And the reason for standardized tests is to INSURE that students know and understand basic information. Why is that so hard to understand?”
Exactly. If the standard for grade-x is “US History to x-level,” or “add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions,” what else are they being taught? If having to bring students up to a uniform standard of knowledge is getting in the way of social engineering and putting condoms on cucumbers then I’m all for it.
I think the only homework in elementary school should be 30 minutes of reading. That’s it. If they can’t read, then they their parents can sit and read with them. It also helps with getting them to sleep.
First graders do not need to be writing after school or doing pages of math homework. They also don’t need to be doing projects.
The “regular curriculum” is, in many cases, largely BS and feel-good and self-esteem. The state tests guarantee that the pupils will learn something of what was a few generations ago called education. The real eye-opener for me was when the local district adopted Saxon Math for Elementary school then dropped it after a couple of years because the teachers felt useless because the slightly more motivated students were able to learn the subject solely from the material. The teachers felt cut out of the loop. They went back to the mystification of math that all the other, more “popular” series promote. I have looked closely at a number of Math Series. I could teach myself algebra from Saxon. I could not make anything out of the others. They multiply words and lead students up weird paths and omit information so that the duller teachers will have something to do. Thank God the politicians instituted standard tests and the teachers have to teach to them. The kids have to learn something that is real that might not contribute to the Unions’ fantasies about Self-Esteem and Environmentalism.
For a few talented, perceptive, and motivated teachers the tests can, indeed, be limiting, but for the great majority it is what allows their students to know a little of real academic subjects before they graduate.
But the real puzzler is, if people cared for their children and their futures, the kids would not be in public school at all.
Predictions of just such developments were made by numerous posters on FR when Vouchers were first being debated and promoted.
No government employee should be permitted to join a union. Such unions are Government Unions and contribute mightily to Government Party and the Citizens’ parties. The government party necessarily uses its considerable strength to take money by political meanss from everyone else to give to the government employees. They are a natural constituency for higher taxes and more spending. They are a major force for the division between subjects and the ruling class.
Our Daughter is a budding artist and writer. She attended our local Catholic school up through 8th grade (they don't have a Catholic High School Near us.)
Each year she drew or painted a picture for each teacher and wrote a long letter expressing all the things she liked about the teacher and what she learned in class. (She is an excellent student ranked in the top 5 every year.)
As she got older of course the art got better as well as the writing. Each year every one of her teachers would write a long letter back thanking her for her gifts and thanking her for helping out in class (she would help a couple of students in her classes that had learning disabilities)
Last year she entered public school and at the end of the year did the same thing. Her art work is very good now. (she has taken blue ribbons in several local art shows) out of the seven teacher she gave gifts to last year only one wrote her a letter back (He is the pariah of the school, a conservative who pays his union dues under protest (its the rules here he can't get out of it).
My good friend works as Janitor at the school and found two of her pictures in the trash. There are not scribbles but intricate portraits worked in acrylics on canvas one of which won 1st place in a local art show. He brought them to me and I told him I would need to hide them because it would break her heart to know two of her teacher just threw the pictures away. He asked if he could keep them and now they are proudly displayed in his music room in nice frames.
Part of me thinks that the system was set up to take the parenting responsibilities away from parents. The more the state takes on, the less parents feel like they have to step up.
That’s a theory I guess. Fact is, parenting is hard, and there are no tests for it, and no real licensing, not that I would advocate for it.
However, what is now ALSO gone, is the social stigma that comes from being a loser. This country HAS EMBRACED loser. There were just places you didn’t show up to if you couldn’t conduct yourself correctly. If you were a bad parent, you were shunned. The behavior of the children reflected on the parents, and the parents made it a point that their kids knew who they were representing besides themselves.
We went from being a country that asked, “Why?”, to a country that is now asking, “So what?”
Something's seriously amiss here. If the curriculum and the tests were in sync, the teachers should have been teaching the material since September. If the tests evaluate what's taught in the year's curriculum, why is there a panic in March to teach the kids how to take the test?
Aren't the tests supposed to gauge the students' abilities with regard to their grade's subject matter? If not, what is their purpose?
The "history" taught in public schools almost everywhere is the politically correct joke. Much more time is spent teaching far less information than 30 years ago was the case and it declines from year to year. When I was in elementary school in the 50s (a ragged private Calvert System school) I learned more history, world and US, by the time I returned to the States and public school at the end of 4th grade that the schools did not catch up to me until 9th grade. AND THAT WAS MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY AGO!. It is far worse in modern classrooms. And the teachers have no notion how bad it is because their own education was mostly rapidly degrading public school and then there is Teachers' College.... I paid attention when my wife went through that at UF. In the whole time she got about two terms of good practical instruction and the rest was mostly latest fads and educationist fantasies. The only profession more addicted to Fads is Psychology.
We used to allow the states to direct the curriculum for the schools. Then the civil rights movement took decision-making from the states and moved it to federal. There are sound reasons for that, but 40 years later, it seems that it could be re-evaluated.
My observation is federal money involves mostly Title 1 or special education funds (which is most helpful). But, the tail is wagging the dog when school administrators focus on how many students can ‘qualify’ for these federal funds so they can be more.
We have lost the sense of nurturing our children when they can no longer go to a school that is close to their neighborhood. We exist to strive for diversity. Even in very poor neighborhoods with total minority population, the local administrators should be able to decide how best to deliver a “Standardized Curriculum” for the local needs without fear of bias or prejudice. It really SHOULD be all about the children. But not sentiments directed from those housed by the Potomoc.
Does anyone here on Free Republic think that having a parent-teacher conference with any of these so-called "teachers" would be worthwhile?
Answer: COMPLETE **WASTE** OF TIME!!! ( Yes, I am shouting.)
My original post quoted a public school teacher regarding the length of time spent on the whole standardized test experience. You’ll have to address your questions to her.
While our daughter was in Catholic school we went to every parent teacher conference. (She got glowing reviews and the teachers would point out her strong points and suggest she pursue them even more. Art and Writing.)
Last year in public school we got no notice of parent teacher conferences. We called the school and they said we would get a letter.
No letter ever came. Finally we found out the parent teacher conferences had all been held. We were confused so we contacted several of her teachers and they all told us she didn't need a conference those were only for problem students. I told them I wanted one anyway and they said it wasn't necessary and they didn't have time for students who didn't have problems. (Though the one Conservative teacher said we could meet at a local diner and he would answer any questions we had. He was pleased with her progress in English and said we should encourage her writing as much as possible)
I called the school and talked with the Principal told him I wanted to talk with my daughter's teachers at school meetings he said they only allowed so much after school time for teachers because of the rules. He said I should be glad that she didn't need a conference. I asked what rules and he told me the rules in the teachers contracts. See the rules state only some many hours can be devoted to parent teacher conferences at school. even if a teacher wants to meet more hours than the rules state they can't. (I still don't believe its in a contract but several people I've talked to claim it is in there.)
My problem with this situation is I want to take my measure of her teachers but apparently contact between parents and teachers is frowned upon in our local public school. This is quite a shock to us because in the Catholic school the obverse is frowned upon.
Also such meetings helped the parents rid the Catholic school of a horrible teacher who was constantly late to class and meetings who didn't manage to get half of her curriculum covered and who stood around in the office discussing her sex life during school hours with anyone who would listen including the priest. (She now teaches at the local public school)
It's your taxes that pay for that school. How about demanding more PT conferences or a permanent webcam in the classroom so you can know just what your child (and the teacher) is doing in there.
The teacher is spot on.
Hah. They are trying to get the security cameras done away with as it is because a teacher in a neighboring school fell and the security camera video ended up on youtube.
So why is your daughter still in that school?
Yeah, I can see that Public School Education is about equal to doe snot . . .
The only other choice is a school that is deemed worse. I was all for homeschooling but the Catholic School teachers told us she would be fine as long as we work with her at home. (We do.) Her former math teacher checks with her each week to make sure she is learning what she needs for college. (Math is her weakest subject.)
It’s the time-wasting that so offends me. You’re basically homeschooling her anyway so why is she in a school with such a toxic atmosphere?
I’m not attacking you; it’s something that genuinely puzzles me when I run across it. Thousands, maybe millions of people are putting up with garbage like that, fixing it on their own time, when the only thing that would really make a huge difference would be to pull out en masse, taking the funding and the teachers’ jobs with them.
I totally agree. I think the evenings should be for family time and not more school work. Like you said, the reading is fine. My oldest son has some learning problems so a little bit of homework for him can easily stretch into a couple of hours. Last night I spent from 6 to 8 helping the middle kid then from 8:30 to 10:00 helping the oldest once he got back from Boy Scouts. Even the kindergartner gets homework though it’s just reading and drawing a picture about the story thank goodness.
I usually give between 15-20 minutes max. homework to my students.
I use it to reinforce the learning of the classroom lesson of the day.
I then use that as a diagnosing tool to see if the kids understood what was taught.
BTW, I would check with your children's teachers. If it is important enough to assign, it is important enough to grade.
I forgot to mention that I teach one subject (Life Science)7th grade.
The rules at our local school are for her to be involved in any extracurriculars she must attend at least one class and by doing so they still get the full funding per student. Also to be eligible for many of the scholarships she must attend a school (Home Schooling doesn't count towards most of the requirements.)
She has already sewn up a 20K private local scholarship because she has met the requirements and they give it out each year to one girl and one boy with the best grades and who went all 9 years to the Catholic school. She is the only girl eligible in her graduating class so all she need do now is get her diploma.
She has a chance at over 70K in local Scholarships besides the one she has sewn up. The teachers of the Catholic school sat down with us and showed all the money available. Most of it requires you attend the Catholic School and get good grades so we grin and bear it and check her work daily. Her former Math teacher tests her every week to make sure she is maintaining her High grades and to make sure the public school teachers are doing what they are supposed to.
The local Catholic teachers are wonderful they will work with any and all former students to make sure they are prepared for college.
One of my daughters has issues also. It’s why we always had to start homework early. It’s not as bad in the spring when it stays light late. They can always go out after dinner from like 7-8.
My kids all go to private school. We even switched private schools for my daughters because it was giving so much homework. The new school is a lot better. Also, the new school seems to explain things better. My daughter just knows what to do and does it.
At the old school, I was having to help with math every day (and she’s good at math). I was literally reteaching the lesson. There was always tons of writing in the other classes. The science teacher (who was also the bad math teacher) was constantly giving them quizzes in addition to lots of homework. Ughh!!! It was a nightmare.
I hate Saxon math. That’s what the private school my daughters attended from 4th-6th used, and I was constantly having to reteach math to one of my daughters. She’s good at math (a year ahead), but she needs repetition to get things down, and Saxon math does not have much repetition. We changed schools last year for 7th. It’s also private, and they use a regular text book. However, the teachers seem to be very good at teaching the concepts. She rarely needed help last year, and her test scores were better.
My other daughter did okay with Saxon math, but she said the teacher didn’t teach anything. She just read the book and understood it. She only needs to see things once, and she gets it. She typically doesn’t miss anything on the math section of the standardized testing, and she’s 2 years ahead (geometry in 8th grade).
Holy cow you are not kidding..... my son came home from a college history class today and said the girl sitting next to him, who was both texting through the class and rubbing up against her boyfriend, questioned the names of the three ships that Columbus sailed to America..... seriously...my son said he wanted to ask her what she was doing in first grade when they taught that the first time.
1)Please don't send your child to school ill. A fever or a green snot covered nose should be a signal that your child needs some rest and possibly drugs. Stay home with your child.
2) I'm sorry to be the only person with the guts to tell you this, but your child is not gifted. She is not precocious. She is not outgoing...Your child is spoiled and rude and accustomed to getting 100% of your attention and as much as I would LOVE to be able to spend the day one-on-one, I have 20-something students who deserve attention too.
3) Your child is really a nice young person who is trying very hard to please you but she isn't applying to Harvard this year, please quit trying to push her to your expected levels of greatness and let her learn and grow at her pace as God intended.
4) Kids fight and argue - that is part of learning and maturing. It doesn't mean they need counseling or anger management classes and you don't need to monitor ever word or action until they can prove to you they can be trusted.
I agree with Olddeckhand - I live outside of Houston and the news stories about theft, drugs, illegal activity in the ranks of the HISD teaching staff is unreal. I have experience with both public schools and homeschooling and have to say when a school has a strong Principal, it is usually a well run decent school - but you get someone with an entitlement mentality in charge and the place is run like a zoo....
Both my kids attended a one-room school k-5. It was the best experience for both of them and for us as parents. Being so small, all the parents helped out, knew all the kids, knew each other, knew the teachers, knew what was going on every day. It was the longest continually operating school in California, opened in the 1850's. Sadly, the school district shut it down at the end of last year after threatening to do it for years.
I also hate saxon math. I teach special ed, and it's horrible and confusing for any student who needs repetion. And their "special education adaptations" really stink!!
From what I heard, they couldnt play on the line next to each other because they would get into fights during the game.
So are mine. They retired years ago but are now in their 70s and teaching online college courses. They seem to live quite comfortably. Not that there is anything wrong with that :-)
I agree with every thing you've said, and want to underscore this last paragraph. Yes, ideally that is absolutely what we as taxpayers should want for our schools. Unfortunately, the schools that are most deeply in crisis, are precisely the same schools that have the strongest teacher's unions that make it impossible to examine the individual teacher.Separating specific examples of both kinds of teachers requires putting down the broad negative brush and closely examining individual cases....the same approach we would want a good teacher to use when his/her students enter the classroom each day.
I went into a union building during a teachers' strike many moons ago, and whatever educational issue was on my mind, they said that the school board meeting scheduled at a certain time on a certain day would discuss that issue. I wasn't the only parent there, by any means - but the chairman of the school board had to dismiss us. He explained that the meeting was explicitly called to discuss negotiating positions in the teachers' strike, and therefore had to be closed to the public! I absorbed that for a moment, and realized that the only reason any of us parents were there was because of a calculated strategy of the union - and thus a calculated lie by the teacher I spoke to - to sow confusion at the board meeting. I bolted upright and led the way out of the meeting, hoping that in that sense my presence there wasn't a total loss.People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices." - Adam SmithA union is "a conspiracy against the public" - nothing more. You may be sure that I never had any respect for that teacher again!