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Old 03-10-2015, 09:48 PM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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There seems to be a lot of rumblings lately about the education system..well, there has been forever but I'm sure social media is propelling it further. Videos and articles disavowing conventional education.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you could poof a magic wand and change it?
How was your education? What about home schooling vs private school vs public?
Should there be different subjects on school, more emphasis on "common knowledge" type stuff, less on abstract math or specifics about history, etc? Should kids be able to study what they are interested in vs a wide general base?
What do you think about homework? Standardized tests?
What do you think about the traditional classroom setting? What about higher education, college courses?

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Old 03-10-2015, 11:36 PM
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PerformanceDog PerformanceDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazedACD View Post
There seems to be a lot of rumblings lately about the education system..well, there has been forever but I'm sure social media is propelling it further. Videos and articles disavowing conventional education.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you could poof a magic wand and change it?
How was your education? What about home schooling vs private school vs public?
Should there be different subjects on school, more emphasis on "common knowledge" type stuff, less on abstract math or specifics about history, etc? Should kids be able to study what they are interested in vs a wide general base?
What do you think about homework? Standardized tests?
What do you think about the traditional classroom setting? What about higher education, college courses?

Go crazy
1. I would make it free! Or at least up until high school graduation and community college free. Not sure how the schools would be funded, we were just looking at agency budgets last week in class and a middle school, or maybe it was a high school, was 7 million dollars in debt. Our professor said this was very common with schools.

I would make it more individualized. Ditch the "no student left behind" thinking as that holds the top of the class people back, getting more teens into free college courses during their high school education if they are ready. More programs or teachers/tutors to help those who are having difficulty.

2. I liked my education for the most part, my Eagan schools were further ahead than Burnsville, so when I transferred in 8th grade I just sat around for about the first 2 years listening to things I already learned about.

I have not really thought too much about the public vs. private vs. home school. I worry that home schooled students will have to much of a permissive style of teaching and won't learn valuable things and will miss many of the positives you get from social aspects. Private schools you probably learn more, but it also seems to divide the rich from the middle class. I was recently accepted into a private college, but it was my last choice and I would much rather go to the public schools I got accepted to.

3. Less standard classes, with having students have options each semester for different electives throughout schooling. So allowing for a more individualized plan for schooling. Probably making at least one elective be in a subject they have never taken before (so they can have a wide variety of experiences, but also having some electives if they wanted to continue learning something else).

4. No homework, or minimal homework. It is not needed. I think standardized tests are fine in order to determine where children are at and they should never influence grades. Just more of an assessment.

5. Smaller class sizes, maximum of 30 students per class, even in college. I think college courses are fine. Maybe a little less homework. But you typically aren't in class as long throughout the week, so you have more time for homework.

I really like the degrees that require internships as so many jobs say you need this degree and 2 years experience. And it seems impossible to have that experience without the internships.

However, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that students have to pay a lot of money to have internships, and then not be paid a dime for their work. I think students should get at least minimum wage for internships.

Right now, my degree requires a 32 hour/wk internship, most people have to work a little longer than that and you spend all the money on gas, food, paying for the internship, and you don't get paid at all for your work there.

Many classmates are working part or full time on top of this 32 hour/week internship, so they are working like 100 hours a week. It is ridiculous and our professors were laughing at the beginning of the semester saying how our final semester is pretty funny to watch what we look like throughout the semester (saying we look more and more like zombies the later into the semester we get, because we are over worked and not getting sleep).
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Old 03-11-2015, 10:29 AM
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sparks19 sparks19 is offline
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I have a headache and havent' finished my first coffee yet so... keep that in mind as I answer haha

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you could poof a magic wand and change it?
Honestly, I don't know that there is a perfect one size fits all solution. It seems if you don't fit into the perfect little "average" box, you are either totally bored in school and not living up to your potential or you are just passed along to the next grade when you are still stuck on material from two grades back. I wish there was more ability for teachers to really TEACH instead of just have to follow a manual so the kids can pass the test.

How was your education? What about home schooling vs private school vs public?

I left public school in 11th grade and started homeschooling myself after that. School was a very frustrating place for me and eventually just became a place to hang out with my friends and then in highschool it was so easy to skip classes that I just skipped more and more until I eventually just stopped going all together. I struggled greatly with math, especially in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. I didn't fit neatly into the "average" box and in the town we lived in, there weren't a lot of options for outside help so I just sat at my dining room table every single night crying over my homework because I just didn't understand it. HORRIBLE feeling. I really began to resent "learning".

I think everyone knows my views on homeschooling since that is our method of choice with Hannah's education. I honestly can't say enough good things about it. Sure, it can be done incorrectly and I'm sure there are people that do it that just don't care at all but the VAST majority of homeschoolers are very dedicated to their children and their education! There are SOOOOOOO many options and resources for homeschoolers. It's incredible. I hear people ask all the time "what about learning another language"... Oh yeah, we've got that covered, no worries. "What about when they get older and they need microscopes and need to dissect animals?" We've got that covered, too. "What about super advanced math?" We've got this... don't you worry. The resources are ENDLESS!!!! Especially in this area where we have a HUGE homeschooling community

Right now, Hannah is learning about Prokaryotic cells vs Eukaryotic cells in her human body study in Science and we are doing an in depth study of Ancient Greece right now for History. Last year, she struggled greatly in math but this year, we've found a method that works better for her and she's progressed leaps and bounds!

Socialization is not a issue at all. At least, not for us or the friends we've made in the homeschooling community. I feel the socialization is more diverse... people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, etc rather than "forced association" with 30 kids. In school, kids very rarely interact with kids outside of their class. Our homeschool co op has over 150 kids in it (our co op is just one of dozens in the area) and while the classes are by grade, we have many activities where all the kids are together and play and interact. Field trips, park days, etc, etc. That's just one of the places where Hannah "socializes" every week.

Should there be different subjects on school, more emphasis on "common knowledge" type stuff, less on abstract math or specifics about history, etc?

I do wish schools taught more general "life skill" type things. When I was in school (long time ago now lol) we pretty much just had parenting and home ec (looking around my house right now... I probably should have paid more attention in home ec LOL)


Should kids be able to study what they are interested in vs a wide general base?

Yes, to a degree. I mean, there are things that should be mandatory learning like basic math, reading and writing, etc. You know... the stuff that you HAVE to know how to do just for basic life. BUT if a child has a real interest in something, they should be able to pursue it in their education.


What do you think about homework? Standardized tests?

Homework... it's too much. Kids are in school ALLLLL day long and then they come home and have hours of homework to do. When are they allowed to be kids? When does family time take priority? Like I said earlier, I would come home with all this homework and I would just cry at the dining room table. I've heard people say that it prepares them for the working world. Ok... well why does little Timmy in 4th grade have to be prepared for the working world already? It seems we've forgotten the importance of FAMILY and letting kids BE kids and play and just BE. Instead, they go to school all day, come home to mountains of homework and then we are rushing them off to sports, music and 10 other extra curriculars and then home to bed. It's nuts!

Standardized tests... mmm I have a love/hate relationship with those. I think it's good in that it helps to know a kids strengths and weaknesses and where they need a little extra help. However, it seems to have become a tool for funding and performance.

What do you think about the traditional classroom setting? What about higher education, college courses?

We seem stuck on this idea that kids have to know "this, this and this" by "this grade" and they have to check off this box and that box by the time they are whatever age. I say, teach them HOW to learn and instill in them a love of learning rather than force feeding information for memorization. Learning should never truly end so why force it so hard. Education is important but it means nothing if they can't apply it or if they resent it. We have our entire lives to learn. Why does a kid of 18 need to go right into college and decide right then what they want to do for the rest of their life?

If they DO know what they want to do at that age... GREAT. If not, give them some time to figure it out rather than wasting all that time and money on an education they aren't going to use. How many adults end up going back to school? TONS. Maybe if we didn't rush kids to plan their entire lives by 18 and gave them some time to go out into the world and gain EXPERIENCE, we'd have a better and more meaningful college experience.

I also don't think we need to be forcing everyone into college or university. It's why we have so many philosophy majors with no job skills lol. We have a local orthodontists office that rarely takes kids out of school. Instead, they bring in people who are excited about the field and train them in house! I think that's AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!

I'm all for more specialized higher education.

WOW I think I went way off on a rabbit trail there. My bad. I probably didn't answer a single question, did I? lol
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2015, 10:43 AM
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What are your thoughts? What would you do if you could poof a magic wand and change it?
I honestly haven't given it much thought, as at all possible I'm really hoping to send my child to a private school. But, we'll see, I guess. Will depend on a lot of things.

The one thing I have thought about and do have experience with is I believe it is absolutely ridiculous that you have to go into hundreds of dollars of debt to get a higher education.

How was your education? What about home schooling vs private school vs public?
I personally went to a public school until the 3rd grade (my brother until the 5th). Due to my brother's failing grades in a public school setting, she pulled us both out and home schooled us until high school. At that time, we went to a small private school. After high school, I attended Purdue University. My younger siblings all went to a private school, no homeschooling.

As for home school vs private vs public, I think it is *so* situational that you can't make broad claims about anything. My mother did a fantastic job homeschooling us (she has a degree in early childhood education). My brother and I were able to move forward at our own pace. For him, without the distractions of a public school setting, that meant he didn't get held back and was able to graduate on time. For me, that meant having an accelerated learning curriculum and going in to high school as a freshman taking sophomore level classes.


Should there be different subjects on school, more emphasis on "common knowledge" type stuff, less on abstract math or specifics about history, etc?
I have no problems with a larger variety of electives, but I don't think less emphasis should be placed on math/history. While I don't think it is the difference between succeeding and failing that I know that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin (why is that something that every child remembers from their history class? LOL), knowing the history of the world, and more importantly, your country is important. As for math, I strongly believe even the abstract maths help you with problem solving ability and works your mind in important ways. (And honestly, I use algebra ALL the time.)

Should kids be able to study what they are interested in vs a wide general base?
I believe a primary education should be generalized. That being said, that would be really neat if there were opportunities in high school (maybe even middle school) where you can focus your interests more towards a certain subject matter via electives. That also being said, to offer such a wide variety would be hard. I mean, while I was at Purdue, I could take whatever elective I wanted to in SOOOO many curriculum areas. But look at the campus size of a university like Purdue vs the typical high school. It just isn't feasible to offer that many options in a high school unless you are able to shuttle students OFF of campus TO a nearby university - and how complicated does that get?

What do you think about homework? Standardized tests?
Homework is important, IMO. When you're in class, you don't always realize you don't understand something until you go past the example problems. Or you may understand it, but it still takes a fair bit of effort to get things all line up in one place. So, you practice with homework. If homework was able to be assigned and completed while in class, that would be even better, but that would mean cutting lecture time short or extended a class period, which would extend the school day (either in the time of day, or days throughout the year - which isn't necessarily a *bad* thing, but it is different).

One of the reasons I liked our private school was that the teachers would communicate and if someone was handing out a hard homework assignment, or they knew a hard test would be the next day, the other teachers would bump back our due dates for homework or not assign as big of a load. We also has a free period (study hall) every day where we would work on our homework at school - SO much more beneficial than doing it at home. I DON'T think a student should be at school for 8 hours, then be at home for the rest of the evening trying to complete their school work for the next day.

In college, because going a full 8 hour day was rare, homework was typically done between classes and you'd still have most of your afternoon/evening free. That was really nice.

Standardized testing...eh. I think tests are important. They give the student motivation to study/learn. If I had never had to take a test in college or highschool, I probably would have zoned out - a LOT - during classes. I don't think they should be timed (within reason - maybe a 4 hour time limit vs the normal 1-2). Not being able to finish because you take longer to read/write/form your thoughts isn't fair.

Things like ISTEP tests and the like? Eh. I remember taking them. It was a huge, drawn out process. We were able to eat in class, I do remember that. And, frankly, I don't remember it either helping or hurting. It was more of an annoyance. And I know colleges wanted to look at your SAT score.

What do you think about the traditional classroom setting? What about higher education, college courses?

I prefer small classroom settings (why I liked our private school so much). You didn't feel stupid for asking a question, the teacher was able to devote more attention, it was more personalized, etc., etc.

At Purdue, a fair number of our classes were actually in smaller groups (20-30), which was really nice. The giant lectures (300+) were really annoying in most cases. You would show up and listen to a power point. In the classes were you could basically self teach, that was fine. In the classes that were much more difficult to grasp (Organic Chemistry, anyone?) it was a nightmare. The professors realized this and offered TA lead review groups once or twice a week and had office hours throughout the week, but let's be honest...how many people really want to take MORE time out of their schedule to go try to understand a subject they hate anyway. Not the entire group of 300, that's for sure.

But smaller class size would increase costs, so....*shrugs* No good answers.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:02 AM
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amberdyan amberdyan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazedACD View Post
There seems to be a lot of rumblings lately about the education system..well, there has been forever but I'm sure social media is propelling it further. Videos and articles disavowing conventional education.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you could poof a magic wand and change it?
How was your education? What about home schooling vs private school vs public?
Should there be different subjects on school, more emphasis on "common knowledge" type stuff, less on abstract math or specifics about history, etc? Should kids be able to study what they are interested in vs a wide general base?
What do you think about homework? Standardized tests?
What do you think about the traditional classroom setting? What about higher education, college courses?

Go crazy
haha, this is going to be a long one. I'm a secondary English teacher : p.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if you could poof a magic wand and change it?
The difference in education quality from school to school and even teacher to teacher is astounding. Others in my profession might hate me for saying it, but I think we need more teacher accountability, AS WELL AS more teacher support. I don't know why so many teachers throw a fit as soon as they're asked if someone can observe their class or look at their lesson plans, but a lot of the ones I know do. We've tried to enforce teacher accountability with testing and test scores, but that's totally bogus. You can't see what my kids can do on a test, because I'm preparing them for real life. I'm helping them develop critical thinking, creativity and appropriate social skills. They're doing things in my room you can't test for. Instead, come talk to my kids. Come observe and put down your lap top and participate. Look at my lesson plans.

I would give all schools relatively equal funding, depending on living costs in the city the school is in (a school in western Kansas would get a bit less than a school in New York City). There are so many schools around here that are mediocre and struggle with money, while the school a town over is doing wonderfully. Basing school funding on a the property tax of the area seems smart at first- because you assume those will be the people using the school. All it really does is create schools with no money, surrounded by people who can't afford to supplement their child's education.

Should there be different subjects on school, more emphasis on "common knowledge" type stuff, less on abstract math or specifics about history, etc?
There should definitely be more common knowledge type stuff. I just taught my Juniors how to vote because I found out the History/Government teacher didn't plan on doing it. I'm also toying around with the idea of doing a unit that includes them doing their taxes, but I need to find some Lit to work that into. Frankly, I think there should be a lot more options for classes in high school, and a lot fewer requirements on what you have to take. I know they make everyone take the same core curriculum so that the High School Diploma all "means the same thing" but I think that's silly. Honestly (one of my friends hates that I say this) I've never used any math that I acquired beyond the 7th grade. Why oh why did I have to take Calculus? I knew well before that that math wasn't a strong suit and that I hated it so I wouldn't be going into a career that was heavily involved in math.

I do have to say that I think the history part is important. I'm a big believer in the phrase "those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it" but I do think it should be more varied and involve a lot more reading of texts from different sides in different time periods. I don't want every book these kids are reading about the "discovery" of the Americas to be written be Christopher Effing Columbus.

Should kids be able to study what they are interested in vs a wide general base?
Mostly what they are interested in. You can totally use a kids interest to teach them something else as well. I want you to learn the different points of view. So read a short article about whatever you like. Wanna learn about wolves? Do it. Race cars? Do it.

What do you think about homework? Standardized tests?
There is too much homework. I have had parents tell me their child spends 4 hours a night on homework. A chronic problem with teachers (especially in high school) is the fact that they only think about their own class. It doesn't seem like a big deal to assign an hour of homework, but what happens when every single teacher does that? I assign homework as projects with flexible self-created due dates so students can work on them when they have time. So they actually have time to do other things.

Standardized tests pretty much only test whether or not you're good at standardized tests. I'm great at tests. I'm really good at thinking about the probability of each answer being correct and making good guesses, even if I know little about the subject. I got a 34 on the ACT. Anyone who knows me will tell you the idea that I scored as high in math and science as I did is hilarious. I basically have the math skills of a third grade child.

What do you think about the traditional classroom setting? What about higher education, college courses?
Traditional classroom setting sucks. Get kids up. No one is meant to sit for 7 hours. Move the chairs, change things up, let the kids teach for a day, do projects, etc. Most importantly, DIFFERENTIATE YOUR INSTRUCTION. Having the kids sit while you lecture will work for MAYBE 40% of the class. The rest of the kids won't be able to focus for that long, or they can't follow the method you're using. I try to teach each student as an individual and really push everyone to reach the next level, whether they're beyond where they're "supposed to be", right on target, or below.

TL;DR There's a lot wrong with education. Some of it can be fixed by teachers. None of it is the Common Core that everyone is demonizing.
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