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FCAT failure rate is `scary'
Miami Herald ^ | May 23, 2002 | BY DANIEL A. GRECH dgrech@herald.com

Posted on 05/23/2002 4:02:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Passing the FCAT is one of several graduation requirements, including a minimum qualifying grade point average and community service. Tenth-graders who fail the FCAT are offered extra tutoring and can retake the test at least five times before their graduation date. ''It's not like all these kids don't get high school diplomas,'' Toural said.

More than half the 10th-graders in Miami-Dade County and about 40 percent in Broward County failed to meet the state's tougher new graduation standards on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and will have to retake the test.

About 13,600 sophomores in Miami-Dade and 5,500 in Broward failed the reading and/or math sections of the FCAT this year. Last year, about 10,400 in Miami-Dade and 4,200 in Broward flunked.

''The failure rate is scary,'' said Mercedes Toural, associate superintendent for education in Miami-Dade schools, the nation's fourth-largest school district. ``It's disheartening for the kids and teachers who work so hard. We would like our kids to do well.''

Passing the FCAT is one of several graduation requirements, including a minimum qualifying grade point average and community service. Tenth-graders who fail the FCAT are offered extra tutoring and can retake the test at least five times before their graduation date.

''It's not like all these kids don't get high school diplomas,'' Toural said.

In October, about a third of the 11th-graders in Miami-Dade and about half in Broward passed the test on their second try.

Officials in both districts said that while the state's raised graduation standards were a major factor in the high number of failures, they can't identify other reasons until the state releases individual student scores in a couple of weeks. School average scores were released last week.

''This is a totally different group of kids from last year, and every group looks different,'' said Anne Dilgen, director of student assessment for Broward schools. ``We haven't been able to analyze the changes from this year to last. We need to wait for more drilled-down data.''

This year, high school sophomores have to earn 300 of 500 possible points in reading and math to qualify for a state diploma. Last year, students needed 287 in reading and 295 in math. The state recently decided not to apply this year's higher standards to 11th-graders retaking the test.

Students who fail to pass receive only a ''certificate of completion'' at graduation.

Student scores on math and reading -- along with writing, which doesn't apply toward the graduation requirement -- will determine the school performance grades that the state plans to release in mid-June.

The FCAT replaced the less difficult High School Competency Test as a graduation requirement last year. The old exam, used since 1976, tested basic knowledge while the FCAT tests higher-order critical thinking and problem solving.

''The FCAT is significantly more difficult,'' said Natalie Roca, executive director of student assessment and educational testing in Miami-Dade. ``Students now have to meet a more rigorous standard than previous classmates.''

Still, attaining the new FCAT minimums show only that students have ''limited success with the challenging content.'' Former Education Commissioner Tom Gallagher, now the state insurance commissioner, once called the FCAT minimums ''embarrassing'' and suggested raising them to 315 for math and 327 for reading.

As in years past, sophomores in Miami-Dade failed the FCAT at a much higher rate than other students in the state.

This year, 56 percent of the 24,300 10th-graders in Miami-Dade failed the reading section and 42 percent failed math. In Broward, about 40 percent of the 13,800 10th-graders failed reading and 28 percent failed math, mirroring state averages.

Miami-Dade wasn't alone in struggling with the new tougher standards. Thousands more 10th-graders across the state failed this year than last year.

The state has not yet released the exact number of students who failed at least one section of the test, so it is unclear how many South Florida sophomores will need to retake the test.

Miami-Dade school officials said the county's high poverty rate and large population of students still learning English factored into its high failure rate.

''We have bright kids who are new arrivals who really study and pass courses and have a good GPA,'' Toural said. ``But it's another thing to sit down and take a test designed for speakers of English. That's like you and I taking a test in German.''

Though specific breakdowns by race are not yet available, the higher graduation standards are expected to particularly impact minority students, officials said.

''We don't want to ask [that] standards be watered down for minorities, because there's a danger in that,'' Toural said. ``So how do you balance high standards for all with the special needs of minorities? That's the challenge our teachers face every day.''


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: education
Passing the FCAT is one of several graduation requirements, including a minimum qualifying grade point average and community service. Tenth-graders who fail the FCAT are offered extra tutoring and can retake the test at least five times before their graduation date.

Obviously their grades do not reflect knowledge learned. The basics must be put up front while community service,
along with sex ed and environmental studies, should be squeezed out.

Miami-Dade school officials said the county's high poverty rate and large population of students still learning English factored into its high failure rate.

Dump bilingual education and teach English.

______________________________________________________

News starting to sink in: Many students won't pass***This week's release of scores for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test brought home the hard fact that principals, teachers and many parents have known for weeks: More children than ever will be forced to repeat fourth-grade this year, unless they slip through loopholes that allow them to be promoted.

Although students won't receive their FCAT scores until later this month, school officials have spent weeks and months breaking the news to parents. They have pored over student records, sent letters and met with families.

At Richmond Heights Elementary in southwest Orlando, Principal June Jones scheduled 83 meetings to talk about students who might have to repeat a grade. Some parents showed up, some didn't.

Some parents had no idea their children were having problems with reading. ***

1 posted on 05/23/2002 4:02:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I don't necessarily think the community service is a bad idea. I have no idea why they require it, but it might be because many colleges these days require some community service in order to get any financial aid.

I homeschool my son (age 14), but I still have him participate in community service. He volunteers at the YMCA. I think it helps him to take responsibility and be accountable to other adults just like he would be on a job. Plus it fills some of his free time with constructive activity.

2 posted on 05/23/2002 4:14:59 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: dawn53
Mandatory community service...

It's indistinguishable from slavery.

You must work and will not be paid. It's an abomination that people will bend over and accept with just a little glycerin...

You should serve the remainder of your life performing exactly this sort of mandatory community service just to understand the danger it represents as the requirement incrementally grows for your grandchildren and their children.
3 posted on 05/23/2002 4:18:34 AM PDT by Maelstrom
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
''This is a totally different group of kids from last year, and every group looks different,'' said Anne Dilgen, director of student assessment for Broward schools. ``We haven't been able to analyze the changes from this year to last. We need to wait for more drilled-down data.''

This is clear proof that someone is playing 'experiments' with OPC (other people's children). Is this education manipulation a lot less harmfull than human cloning?

4 posted on 05/23/2002 4:22:32 AM PDT by A Vast RightWing Conspirator
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
More than half the 10th-graders in Miami-Dade County and about 40 percent in Broward County failed to meet the state's tougher new graduation standards on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and will have to retake the test.

Anyone care to do a regression analysis which would compare the failure rate on this test to the percentage of improperly filled out (and thus discarded) ballots in these counties during the 2000 election?

5 posted on 05/23/2002 4:28:06 AM PDT by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: Maelstrom
I'm not addressing mandatory community service, just the value of community service to a young person.

What we have lost in this country is a sense of community, neighbor helping neighbor.

These were values our country had from its inception and for many years following (barn raisings being one example that stands out in my mind.) I think voluntary community service helps to restore this to the community and the individual.

Obviously, my kid, being homeschooled is not required to perform community service, but I see definite positive aspects that he is acquiring from community service.

6 posted on 05/23/2002 4:37:16 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: dawn53
Community service is fine but it doesn't need to be a requirement in public education. The kids can't read or add. That should be the focus.
7 posted on 05/23/2002 4:51:04 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: A Vast RightWing Conspirator
This is clear proof that someone is playing 'experiments' with OPC (other people's children). Is this education manipulation a lot less harmfull than human cloning?

Texas Dem candidate: State write and pub textbooks - schools as labs to improve teaching methods*** Sanchez unveiled the plan while fleshing out his education proposals, which include raising teacher pay to the national average and establishing laboratory schools connected to the state's universities to discover improved teaching methods. He had no price tag for those proposals.***

8 posted on 05/23/2002 4:52:06 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
Anyone care to do a regression analysis which would compare the failure rate on this test to the percentage of improperly filled out (and thus discarded) ballots in these counties during the 2000 election?

I believe it's directly linked to the non-education going on in schools. Generations of Floridians and students
graduated from all U.S. public schools are ignorant. They were robbed of their potential.

9 posted on 05/23/2002 4:58:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: summer
Fl eudcation ping
10 posted on 05/23/2002 4:59:36 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
So how do you balance high standards for all with the special needs of minorities?

How about, apply a consistent standard to all - regardless of ethnicity. Anything else would be racist, right?

11 posted on 05/23/2002 5:10:28 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Choco Taco
OOPS! :-D
13 posted on 05/23/2002 5:12:26 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: NittanyLion
[How about, apply a consistent standard to all - regardless of ethnicity. Anything else would be racist, right?]

No! No! No!

''This is a totally different group of kids from last year, and every group looks different,'' said Anne Dilgen, director of student assessment for Broward schools. ``We haven't been able to analyze the changes from this year to last. We need to wait for more drilled-down data.''

They just need time to assess the situation and place blame!

14 posted on 05/23/2002 5:19:36 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I agree, I don't know why they require community service for graduation.

My guess is, that they give some sort of credit for it, i.e. you earn an academic credit by doing it which would be consistent with the "dumbing down" of the educational system.

15 posted on 05/23/2002 5:26:12 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
They just need time to assess the situation and place blame!

When the inevitable failure is exposed, the blame will be on FL for not providing enough funding. That's always the government solution: if I fail, it's because I need MORE $$$. Wish I could convince my boss of that. ;-)

16 posted on 05/23/2002 5:26:52 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Here Locally - Our High School has only a Failure , Maybe because we don't have any Elected Democrats in the PanHandle ??
17 posted on 05/23/2002 5:31:53 AM PDT by scooby321
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To: dawn53
My guess is, that they give some sort of credit for it, i.e. you earn an academic credit by doing it which would be consistent with the "dumbing down" of the educational system.

It's easier than teaching.

18 posted on 05/23/2002 5:39:38 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: NittanyLion
...the blame will be on FL for not providing enough funding. That's always the government solution:...

It's twisted, self-serving thinking. The survival of teacher unions is their paramount concern. By failing to educate generations of Americans, not only have many been denied reaching their potential, but the U.S. has been diminished because we've lost part of the bedrock which ensures our liberty.

19 posted on 05/23/2002 5:46:58 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: scooby321
God bless the Panhandle!
20 posted on 05/23/2002 5:48:31 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: Cincinatus' Wife
Students who fail to pass receive only a ''certificate of completion'' at graduation.

That means they "think" the way they have been brainwashed to think. It's part of the Goals 2000 Socialist training program.
The Goals 2000 program has the elimination of all diplomas. The children are taught to think in a certain way, trained for a specific job, and school records will become resumes. Businesses will have to go to the school to find employees.
It's all part of the cradle to grave agenda, and ultimate mind control of the masses. "Give me the children, and I'll have them for life." --Stalin.
Changing society through the minds of the children comes first, academics are suppose to come after every child has gone through K-12 of the entire brainwash program (but they will work on getting the child from birth. Right now, there's a bill moving through the system to get children 3 yrs. to mandatorily enter the school controled pre-school programs).
So far, homosexuality is just starting to enter the kindergarden class, so it will be awhile before the academics fit in to the NEA program. The program isn't complete yet- parents keep getting in the way. It was suppose to be streamlined by 2000.
It's also important to keep the kids away from the influence of their parents. Before school programs, after school programs, summer programs, day care programs etc. They feed them, have a doctor and psychiatrist for them (if they fail to think in the manner taught at the centers).They care for their sex lives for you, too. Parents must be kept away from the children as much as possible. The Socialist village must be the childs new parent.
Test scores will remain low for quite some time. Goals 2000 isn't ready for academics yet.
All this is why the public schools say the homeschooled children will not be socialy trained to fit into society. What they're really saying is the homeschooled children will not recieve the Socialist training. They're defectors in the new society.
They won't be trained robots like the mass produced public school students. They'll be better educated, moral, and individuals. It's a Socialist disruption. Homeschool kids are escaping the new Socialist indoctrination centers, and the Democrats don't like it.
The number of homeschooling families is on the rise. It's a major threat to those who have their planned society, and all the time and money invested in it.

22 posted on 05/23/2002 6:07:14 AM PDT by concerned about politics
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To: concerned about politics
PS...Goals 2000 is also refered to as outcome based education. You can guess the planned outcome.
It's important to rally to eliminate the program. Republicans have tried a number of times, but have failed to kill it.
I vote school choice canidates. Any private school is better for America, religion or not.
23 posted on 05/23/2002 6:12:54 AM PDT by concerned about politics
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To: concerned about politics
(but they will work on getting the child from birth. Right now, there's a bill moving through the system to get children 3 yrs. to mandatorily enter the school controled pre-school programs).

A goal high up on Algore's list! Another plan is to make junior college *free.*

24 posted on 05/23/2002 6:24:25 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: dawn53
The value of community service is completely destroyed when made mandatory.
25 posted on 05/23/2002 6:35:16 AM PDT by Maelstrom
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
''We don't want to ask [that] standards be watered down for minorities, because there's a danger in that,'' Toural said. ``So how do you balance high standards for all with the special needs of minorities? That's the challenge our teachers face every day.''

And isn't that what the job requirement for being a teacher entails? Or do they need government to hold their hand?

26 posted on 05/23/2002 6:40:46 AM PDT by doc30
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
From a young 13 year old homeschooler's interview with Gov. Bush (this student attends FL Virtual High School, an online school which is free for any student in FL, and many homeschoolers utilize its programs):

--------------

AUTUMN: Why do you think it is important to support the Florida Virtual School?

GOV. BUSH: It has the potential of helping to redefine education. It is student-centered and can be used in so many ways . . . remediation, honors-AP (advanced placement) classes for students who can't access them, etc.

AUTUMN: Do you think online learning would have been beneficial when you were growing up, or perhaps would have benefited your children?

GOV. BUSH: Gosh, I am so old I can remember black-and-white televisions! Online learning would have been very useful to me.

AUTUMN: Do you think the Virtual School will be able to issue diplomas to its students in the near future?

GOV. BUSH: I hope so.

AUTUMN: Many critics argue that Florida Virtual School is not an effective educational medium because of the lack of interaction among students and faculty. However, AP scores among Virtual School students exceed the national average by nearly 9 percent. What is your comment about this apparent contradiction?

GOV. BUSH: The Virtual School is not for everyone. But it is a good means to accelerate learning for kids who don't need as much attention.


--------------

To me, the above fact in bold tends to prove one of my own beliefs: students have to put forth more effort and do their part, too. And, students learning online already know that.
27 posted on 05/23/2002 6:46:14 AM PDT by summer
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; Tijeras_Slim
The interview excerpt in my post #27 above is from:

'The Jeb Bush Nobody Knows' -- Part 16: A young FL homeschooler's interview with FL's Fabulous Gov
28 posted on 05/23/2002 6:49:20 AM PDT by summer
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To: summer
lack of interaction among students and faculty.

What they're saying is that the teachers can't use reward and punishment conditioning on the virtual students. Without the ability to control their minds in a classroom, Goals 2000 is useless AND there's less money for the teachers unions to control the politicians.
Kids can wear a straight pride t-shirt while doing their school work! They can be pro-life, and the teachers can't do anything about it! Planned Parenthood has no control over these kids, either! Neither does GLADD, nor Earth Worshipers.

29 posted on 05/23/2002 6:57:03 AM PDT by concerned about politics
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To: summer
Summer... are you any relation to Autumn? LOL
30 posted on 05/23/2002 7:06:24 AM PDT by cibco
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To: concerned about politics
AND there's less money for the teachers unions to control the politicians.

That's the bottom line, right there.

31 posted on 05/23/2002 7:21:41 AM PDT by Steve1789
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To: doc30;summer
Btttt
32 posted on 05/23/2002 7:26:39 AM PDT by Unicorn
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Some parents had no idea their children were having problems with reading. ***

While this can be a strong indication of parental apathy; I wouldn't rule out grade inflation and teachers basically lying to the parents at conferences.

Case in point: Last summer my daughter was on a local fastpitch team. There was another girl on that team, a 6th grader, who had just taken a test from the district which she needed to pass to be promoted to the 7th grade.

The girl had not passed the math portion. Her mother was talking to me about this and said she didn't understand what had happened, since Anna had gotten straight A's in math all year. This is not a "minority" school district, but a strong middle to upper-middle class town, yet grade inflation was obviously going on in her daughter's school. These were parents who attended the parent-teacher conferences, who were active in their school with fund-raising. They were not uninvolved parents. But, if the teacher and school lie to you about the child's progress, what then?

I did have the audacity to ask this mother if it wouldn't have been better for everyone if they had been up front in the beginning so that Anna could have gotten some help with math early in the year, instead of having the girl be worrying about not being promoted to the next grade?

33 posted on 05/23/2002 7:42:19 AM PDT by LibertarianLiz
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To: cibco
Re your very clever post #30 - LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And, no, I am not any relation to her.) :)
34 posted on 05/23/2002 8:34:05 AM PDT by summer
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: LibertarianLiz
I wouldn't rule out grade inflation and teachers basically lying to the parents at conferences.

In addition to your valid points above, I also would not rule out that some teachers would like to give parents more accurate feedback on every student, but find it impossible to do so for a variety of reasons -- not enough time to accurately assess individual students, not enough time to analyze the weaknesses of students, more students than that individual teacher can handle, inexperience of the teacher, etc.

Unless a student's weaknesses are glaring, a new teacher of 35 students could easily miss or unintentionally overlook something, and some teachers would feel terrible about it. This does not mean a smaller class size is always the answer, but it does mean that parents need to keep a watchful eye over what is going on. Some teachers really do want to do more -- I know I alway felt that way. But there is literally only so much time in a day, and I am including time after school and evenings.

It is also overwhelming to teachers who have students on every grade level in their classrooms. In FL, with GOv. Bush's new law prohibiting social promotion (and financially punishing school districts that continue to socially promote students), I believe that one important result will be that over time, we'll see more accurate assessments of students by teachers -- because now, for the first time, a 3rd grade teacher may in fact have a class of students reading on a 3rd grade level.

And, consequently, that teacher will certainly be more likely to immediately notice the student who starts falling behind.
36 posted on 05/23/2002 8:42:44 AM PDT by summer
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: sixtycyclehum
Classes can be big. Too big. The class size really depends on a variety of factors -- the school district, the school, the principal, and what s happening with teachers.

Sometimes, for example, you will have a school that has a high turnover rate of teachers, because the school is located in an low income area with little parental support, and even a new teacher will try to leave after a year. In a grade level, it can be that although there are four available classrooms, you only have two teachers on staff -- some principals will then double up the class size until another teacher or two can be hired.

And, there are schools where there are way too many students period. I have taught reading on the middle school level in one school, where the class size was strictly kept to a maximum of fifteen students, and, in another district, where I had OVER THIRTY low level middle school readers, and the program used by that district for reading is terrible. Now, my effectiveness as a teacher is in fact diminished, because I am trying to remediate students, and I have over a hundred such students during each day in that middle school, and, frankly, the program I am required to use is just awful for these students. It is not a mystery why I decided not to stay there the following year. The teacher who replaced me quit mid-year. The principal of that school was nice, the assistant principal was nice, but that particular school district is tone deaf to their teachers, and, so, it is pointless for me to remain.
38 posted on 05/23/2002 8:52:49 AM PDT by summer
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To: sixtycyclehum
And, no, I had NO "helpers" -- no parent help, nothing.
39 posted on 05/23/2002 8:53:25 AM PDT by summer
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To: sixtycyclehum
In fact, FYI, and do not mean to be rude, in addition to teaching duties, teachers at that school were ALSO required to do EVERYTHING the parents in PTA's do at other schools. So, yes, while I personally would prefer to spend more time thinking how to help improve my students' reading, and creating better lessons, sometimes what I instead have to do with my planning time is drive around town buying snacks and junk food for whatever is the current social event at school. This is a drag.
40 posted on 05/23/2002 8:58:18 AM PDT by summer
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To: summer
I meant: and I do not mean to be rude...
41 posted on 05/23/2002 8:59:30 AM PDT by summer
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To: dawn53
What we have lost in this country is a sense of community, neighbor helping neighbor.

These were values our country had from its inception and for many years following (barn raisings being one example that stands out in my mind.) I think voluntary community service helps to restore this to the community and the individual.

IMHO, we lost the willingness to volunteer in our communities right about the time that people realized they were being robbed and then that money was being used to aid community programs and charity. This is why, in too many cases, REAL charity programs (most formerly run by churches and other civic organizations) are now being funding by nanny-government (through FORCED taxation) instead of locally and by folks contributing voluntarily. Ergo, when the government steals the fruits of people's labors, they have less left to voluntarily give where they would like.

42 posted on 05/23/2002 9:07:33 AM PDT by KentuckyWoman
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To: dawn53
My guess is, that they give some sort of credit for it, i.e. you earn an academic credit by doing it which would be consistent with the "dumbing down" of the educational system.

I'll second your sentiment and add that "mandatory" community service is being used to enforce the Communist belief that we have a "duty" to serve our fellow man. Never mind the Constitutional ideas of personal responsibility and initative. These programs are being utilized to groom our children for citizenship in a collectivist/socialist, one-world order society. These programs are also direct decendents from UNESCOs "Rights fo the Child" progroms....

43 posted on 05/23/2002 9:12:04 AM PDT by KentuckyWoman
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: sixtycyclehum
LOL...a newsflash: some public school teachers are not in the union. Some are former union members. :)
45 posted on 05/23/2002 12:42:35 PM PDT by summer
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: LibertarianLiz
The girl had not passed the math portion. Her mother was talking to me about this and said she didn't understand what had happened, since Anna had gotten straight A's in math all year. This is not a "minority" school district, but a strong middle to upper-middle class town, yet grade inflation was obviously going on in her daughter's school. These were parents who attended the parent-teacher conferences, who were active in their school with fund-raising. They were not uninvolved parents. But, if the teacher and school lie to you about the child's progress, what then?

I know this happens. It happened to our daughter, who survived public school grade inflation, graduated and received a business degree from Texas A&M. We too believed she was doing wonderfully in her math studies. All A grades came home in math, until the final Algebra II exam, which she failed. Her 9 week grades kept her from failing, but obviously she knew nothing. After aprox. 8 sessions with a private tutor, she was able to learn geometry, algebra II (she had learned algebra I while we were in Virginia) and pass a summer Calculus class to get into A&M. Her mind is sharp, her high schools education was not.

The teacher was letting them grade each other's papers and call the grades up to him. This followed another teacher who had them take group tests. All this happened in a supposedly "very good school district." Perfectly good minds are being wasted because the schools don't have teachers who can teach or who don't know the subject matter. Too many parents don't know how bad it is because schools are inflating grades to hide it and their unions will do everything to keep them employed and in front of the students. Going to meet with teachers like these does no good, they are the ones inflating the grades and telling parents their children are excellent students!

47 posted on 05/24/2002 2:33:40 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: summer
To me, the above fact in bold tends to prove one of my own beliefs: students have to put forth more effort and do their part, too. And, students learning online already know that.

It's good to have as many tools available as possible!!

48 posted on 05/24/2002 2:37:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Re your post #48 - BTTT! :)
49 posted on 05/24/2002 5:40:02 AM PDT by summer
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