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bdmazur
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I recently started a masters program in Education and have already learned so much about the ways education COULD be if our society would A) be willing to pay for it and B) come to an understanding about the PURPOSE of schooling.

With all the debates about violence/guns, bullying, mental health, racism, classism, sexism, etc., it ultimately all comes down to the way our kids are learning (and how their teachers are modeling) emotional and social behaviors.

We need to stop caring exclusively about how much information is downloaded into kids' heads and instead give them room to react to it. Kids need to be able to experience what it is they are learning. Teens especially need to learn responsibility not through just menial homework assignments but through actual self-planned project design where they can make choices based on personal interests. Students of all ages need to learn what it means to be a part of a community and to operate as such, where personal accomplishment is celebrated while at the same time understanding that when we let one person fail, we all fail. They need to learn how to both give and receive care, regardless of who it goes to and who it comes from.

I loved the student walkout yesterday, not because of my views on guns but because 1 million teens across the country EXPERIENCED what it is like to be a part of a movement and to express their voice. It gives me confidence that the incoming generation of young adults will be drastically more active in society than my peer group of Xennials were. Some are trying to squash out their newfound voices, calling them immature or rebellious, when really what they are doing is mirroring the example set by adults who have felt disenfranchised or ignored. If we don't take the time to teach them purpose, context, and articulation, then we set them up for failure.

Schools teach (and adults preach) the virtue of democracy, but other than prisons no institutional model is more authoritarian than schools. How do we expect children to grow up to function as part of a democratic society if they don't have practice or experience along the way?

3/15/2018 7:53:44 PM

skokiaan
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Do t we already spend more on education than other countries per student? Why?

It’s nky like healthcare where drug companies and hospitals are holding us hostage with our lives

3/15/2018 8:05:27 PM

bdmazur
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The money is being spent and distributed in a lot of the wrong ways. And if teachers were paid the way doctors are, you'd have more of a point.

3/15/2018 8:11:02 PM

tulsigabbard
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Are you at UCSB? I worked with some of the faculty on a post-masters capstone. Had them come into my classroom for a unit. Much of what was evaluated was pretty much this topic. I visited a school in Finland and their system was truly a masterpiece with no homework and only one test at the end of the year.

The Next generation science standards are well-equipped to address what you are talking about. I don't know about other subjects or common core, but I assume they are as well. Secondary science takes the lead on this because the skills you are talking about are inherently required for science and engineering.

The main problem is assessment and specifically the dilemma with trying to apply traditional assessment methods to something that cannot be assessed with a traditional test. It shouldn't be a question, but society wants students to have a numerical grade we can judge them by and the state wants to "measure" learning in a quantitative way. A lot of the money is being spent on assessments and preparing for assessments and maximizing scores. Thats where all of the focus is being put in the public sector.

The solution is to rethink how we assess but that is where the entire thing grinds to a hault and meets resistance from parents and lawmakers who don't have masters in education. Theres a real disconnect because people generally believe the way they were taught and tested is the correct way because it was done for them and they obviously came out alright.

I wasn't against the idea of devos because I think we need to give schools and teachers more autonomy to work---within clear standards. We need to train teachers properly and then trust them to do their job. We shouldn't have to use frequent testing of students as a way of holding teachers accountable.

Its an uphill battle and the only reason why I left public school. Now, some states have adopted and progressive states are starting to implement real change and the private schools are falling behind.

3/15/2018 9:03:49 PM

bdmazur
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^I'm doing a program through a school in LA that's part online (lots and lots of calls and small group discussions through video chats) and part visiting schools and campuses across the country (one weekend trip each semester, 2 full week seminars during summer and winter breaks). My wife is in a PhD program at UCSB so we talk pedagogy on a daily basis.

I've been reading a lot of John Dewey and Noel Noddings the past couple of weeks. Seems like once every 20 years someone new says the same thing and yet nothing changes. And I'd bet everything in my wallet that Betsy DeVos hasn't read any of them.

3/15/2018 9:18:54 PM

rjrumfel
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There's no need to even mention her name here. She knows nothing about pedagogy, hell she probably doesn't even know what that word means. It is currently a good thing that we haven't given the federal Dep of Ed power over state education.

3/15/2018 9:39:14 PM

tulsigabbard
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The only reason I mention it is because the voucher idea is an idea i think is inherently good. The problem is that its likely republicans would only use it to try and cut cost. If all they did was take current money spent per pupil and attached it to each kid, things could get a lot better as teachers and schools could have more autonomy to be effective and parents and students could choose the school that is right for them.

I think devos and co want vouchers as a way to help use government money to pay for expensive private schools while squeezing money out of educating the poor. You would also need some sort of penalty for schools who charge more than the voucher (today's private schools) or incentive for schools who charge only the voucher price.

3/15/2018 11:19:43 PM

TreeTwista10
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So I think the walkouts are good as well as far as preparing kids for the real world and whatnot, but I also think they can't complain about getting detention (oh the horror) for participating.

3/16/2018 12:04:11 AM

0EPII1
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Quote :
"We need to stop caring exclusively about how much information is downloaded into kids' heads and instead give them room to react to it. Kids need to be able to experience what it is they are learning. Teens especially need to learn responsibility not through just menial homework assignments but through actual self-planned project design where they can make choices based on personal interests. Students of all ages need to learn what it means to be a part of a community and to operate as such, where personal accomplishment is celebrated while at the same time understanding that when we let one person fail, we all fail. They need to learn how to both give and receive care, regardless of who it goes to and who it comes from."


The answer to that is a child-centered education system, as opposed to the teacher-led traditional system -- the solution for the world's problems, from poverty to hunger, from corporate greed to crime, from hate to wars, and from lack of empathy to just plain general mental and emotional malaise in the world, which results in so much death and destruction.

A famous one is the Montessori method. Another is the Reggio Emilia approach, also from Italy. There is also the Sudbury model from MA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student-centred_learning

Check out these; for those who don't have time, just read the linked anchors below, and be amazed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_school#Underlying_beliefs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach#Philosophy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_education#Montessori_education_theory

3/16/2018 12:18:32 AM

tulsigabbard
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Maybe its a thing in liberal areas, but all of the schools I know of organized the walkouts and students essentially had to do it. I think that minimizes the meaning of the protest when the school sanctions it and teachers all plan for it and say "ok kids, its time to walk out now"

I know a lot of the kids are truly for it but some of the kids haven't thought about it at all and say they are all for it just because they are out of school. Its essentially a live version of a facebook filter or thoughts and prayers because they don't have anything on the line for doing it.

The real protesters are the kids who don't know if there will be consequences and do it anyway. I think schools should have given students a way to make up work without penalty, planned for it, but allowed students to choose if they wanted to lose that class time or spend it doing work that would otherwise become homework. That would be an example of the school giving the students room to protest with proper accommodations without taking away its meaning.

3/16/2018 12:24:00 AM

rjrumfel
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Back to the OP.

bdmazur, you talk about giving teenagers more choice in their education, but you assume that these teens will actually want to make a choice. You've basically got three groups in high school. Those that are going to be successful no matter what school/environment they go to/come from. You've got the middling crowd where some choice along with some guidance would do them well. And then you've got the crowd that just don't want to be there.

Your idea of choice I think would definitely help the middle group. These are probably the folks that, for a majority, would do well skipping college and getting into some type of trade. Letting them pick what they want to do would be a good thing.

Is there a model that you are studying from another country or from some school district here that shows success?

You also forget, university education in this country is an industry all to itself. Lots of people including lawmakers are getting rich from it. Our school system is set up to feed universities and prisons, to fuel both industries. That isn't going to change until you get rid of lobbyists.

Or provide free college tuition (see lobbyist comment from above).

3/16/2018 7:31:55 AM

bdmazur
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Quote :
"Maybe its a thing in liberal areas, but all of the schools I know of organized the walkouts and students essentially had to do it. I think that minimizes the meaning of the protest when the school sanctions it and teachers all plan for it and say "ok kids, its time to walk out now" "


That was only kind of the case in Santa Barbara. The schools endorsed the walkout and encouraged students to participate. My interpretation is that it was half motivated by the walk being in the political interest of the school (especially San Marcos High School which had a major gun threat a couple of weeks ago and the principal got fired when it turned out he didn't act on it), and half motivated by knowing most of the students were going to do it anyway, so might as well help them do it in a safe, observed, and contained manner.

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"Is there a model that you are studying from another country or from some school district here that shows success?"


Right now I'm reading a case study from a school in Harlam from the 80's. A teacher approached a high school curriculum with the same objectives in mind as a kindergarten class (where the classroom is interesting, engaging, and based on social interactions more than it is on learning any concrete information). If there was more of this earlier in education, specifically in 4th and 5th grade where students tend to slide into those three groups you mentioned, then learning would become inherently more enjoyable. As soon as a kid decides they don't like school, you are likely to lose them and not get them back no matter how good the teachers are later. One bad teacher or class experience can ruin the kid for good. But get 8 year olds to really love learning and coming to school, there would be so many fewer in that third group by the time they get to high school.

3/16/2018 2:50:05 PM

tulsigabbard
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/no-grades-no-timetable-berlin-school-turns-teaching-upside-down?CMP=share_btn_link

Its similar to the program in Finland that inspired me down this path. I've only implemented this in single classes or 2-week intensive courses but it would be cool to have an entire school like this.

3/19/2018 12:22:12 PM

bdmazur
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I'm reading more about what else can be affected by smaller class sizes, and the topic of personal tragedy came up (such as a student losing a loved one or going through a tough family situation like a divorce). In a school with 2000+ students, individual tragedies can happen on an almost daily basis and the school community has to numb itself to these instances, otherwise the daily functioning of the school would constantly be disrupted. But in smaller schools where everyone gets to know everyone on a deeper level, care and compassion become a natural aspect of daily school life and find their way into the subject material.

Students would be less likely to want to harm each other in an environment where they are accustomed to feeling each other's pain.

3/19/2018 1:31:24 PM

rjrumfel
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But schools are like roads, we're always a decade behind the necessary infrastructure. Small class sizes means more schools. More schools means more teachers, more teachers means more money spent (on top of the millions it costs to build the schools). More money spent means more taxes.

And Betsy DeVos wants to take some of that money and give it to private schools.

I'm all about smaller class sizes. Even at the university level. I think teaching physics - the basis for which most engineering degrees rest, to 200 students at a time is bullshit. I paid good money to be more than just a result of a standardized physics test.

3/19/2018 1:43:34 PM

UJustWait84
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I've been doing the "no grades/contract grading" system for the past few semesters. It has mixed results, but my students seem to like it. In reality, students who are motivated and dedicated tend to do well, no matter who's teaching them, but this is a decent way to help borderline B/C students to learn how to take advantage of resources and take the initiative to work harder.

3/19/2018 1:58:46 PM

bdmazur
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"Small class sizes means more schools"


Not necessarily, a school building designed to hold 2000 students could be used to hold 4 different school programs of 500 students each that share facilities and equipment. Schools would have to be added to in order to create more classrooms (or inside walls reconstructed to create more, smaller rooms), but there wouldn't be a definite need to build completely new buildings to accommodate.

This would also make it possible for students with special interests (music, theater, sports, etc) could engage in those programs together while having smaller (and more intimate communities) in which to learn and experience science, math, etc.

3/19/2018 2:44:22 PM

UJustWait84
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Yeah I was going to point that out. Malcom Gladwell actually writes about the "ideal" class size in David and Goliath and there's actually a point when too small of a class actually makes it less conducive to learning. 16-22 is usually a good range for certain classes that require lots of feedback and discussion.

Also, the idea that we have to spend tons more money on education is bullshit too. We need to spend our money on things that would improve training and teacher quality, but until we actually accept the fact that our entire model out education (ie. teaching to the test, waiting way too long to teach foreign language, etc) is outdated, nothing really will change.

3/19/2018 3:30:31 PM

HCH
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"until we actually accept the fact that our entire model out education (ie. teaching to the test, waiting way too long to teach foreign language, etc) is outdated, nothing really will change."


Haven't we implemented changes in the recent past, like smart start and common core? I am not arguing that those were the right or wrong changes, but I think the majority of Americans would agree that our public education system is bad and needs to be "fixed". The hurdle isnt getting Americans to agree that a change is needed, it's figuring out exactly what change is needed.

I also don't think we need to go to other countries to find examples of good schools. We already have good schools in America. What are they doing that is so impactful that these non-performing schools aren't doing?

Now, we can throw every dime we have and adopt every great idea from around the world, but a good education always starts at home. You want a kid to learn? Make sure he has stability at home.

3/19/2018 4:45:14 PM

UJustWait84
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^ The vast majority of US public schools are based on really archaic models that were either directly tied to the seasons and a far more agrarian society, or industrial factories:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/10/american-schools-are-modeled-after-factories-and-treat-students-like-widgets-right-wrong/?utm_term=.b58b3ce8ddb0

School start/end times are typically not ideal for specific cohorts (especially high schoolers whose brains are wired to be night owls), and subjects tend to be taught in isolation, as opposed to holistically (PE and Music are standalone classes, when they could be easily integrated into basically any type of course). As I mentioned before, most Americans don't start learning a foreign language until they're teenagers, which is a terrible age, given the fact that language acquisition tends to peak around 8-10 years old.

As much as I love my summer breaks, numerous studies show that children tend to regress heavily each summer, so they're stunting their academic/intellectual growth.

While Finland continues to run laps around the US year after year, they're not the only nations that have rocketed past the US. Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong all have much better PISA score than the US, and their methods are really different then what you'd find in Finland (Holistic, curriculum based in critical thinking, little to no standardized testing, etc).

I think it's pathetic that we mostly dismiss and write off the methods/practices of other countries , which continue to beat us every year. American exceptionalism and our undying love of outdated traditions is a huge reason why so little has actually changed.

Also, it's not the US hasn't made improvements in education (we definitely have); it's the fact that the demands of society and the workplace are extremely different today than they were even just a decade ago, and we haven't been able to keep up.

[Edited on March 19, 2018 at 5:15 PM. Reason : .]

3/19/2018 5:14:44 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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"understanding that when we let one person fail, we all fail. They need to learn how to both give and receive care, regardless of who it goes to and who it comes from."


lefty bullshit

3/19/2018 7:58:53 PM

UJustWait84
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I mean it may sound that way, but a society is only as strong as its weakest links. I don't believe that college or a higher education is for everyone, but what do you propose we do with the folks who are either incapable of making it through school (disabilities, lack of financial resources, etc) or those who choose not to and try to make it on their own and fail? If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

[Edited on March 19, 2018 at 8:06 PM. Reason : .]

3/19/2018 8:05:47 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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"a society is only as strong as its weakest links"


more lefty bullshit. that's not true at all. it's just another meaningless statement.

3/19/2018 8:18:36 PM

rjrumfel
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Neuse, throwing out the term "lefty bullshit" doesn't advance this conversation anywhere.

You can't complain about welfare when simultaneously not doing anything to keep people from needing it in the first place. I've never been a big social safety net proponent, but I'm not opposed to putting resources to keeping people from having to go on welfare altogether. Sure the conservative in me believes that some welfare is generational and those folks you can't help. But there are a lot of kids that with the right direction in schools, could end up being a benefit to society rather than a drag on it.

I agree with foreign language being taught too late. By the time we take it in HS, the parts of our brain that learn language have already nearly shut off. And honestly, most of us only take a FL because it is a requirement for college.

3/19/2018 8:45:54 PM

UJustWait84
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more lefty bullshit. that's not true at all. it's just another meaningless statement."


What about it is untrue? Why is it meaningless?

3/19/2018 8:59:23 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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solution's simple. let the parents choose. you send your kids to schools that teach collectivist ideas and others can send theirs to schools that teach personal responsibility.

3/19/2018 9:32:19 PM

GrumpyGOP
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He's right. "A society is only as true as its weakest links" is trite, meaningless nonsense. It is demonstrably untrue even on its own shaky and ill-defined premises. Societies must necessarily share "weakest links" (whatever that means) that are roughly comparable - after all, there's only so low you can go before you're dead, and no society is so perfect as to have done away with all destitution, addiction, or madness. Yet in spite of this "lowest common denominator," societies are manifestly unequal to one another.

I will agree that there is value in strengthening "weak links," and that there are far too many "weak links" in this particular society, and probably many other things besides - but he's right to call the statement, "A society is only as strong as its weakest links," meaningless bullshit.

3/19/2018 9:34:31 PM

UJustWait84
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^^ holy false dilemma

^ so, because it's a platitude, it's not true?

[Edited on March 19, 2018 at 9:39 PM. Reason : .]

3/19/2018 9:39:21 PM

theDuke866
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no, it is not true because it is not true.

it also happens to be a platitude.

3/19/2018 10:02:55 PM

UJustWait84
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Both my parents are dead and I grew up poor and brown. Can someone please Google "bootstraps" for me so I can teach myself personal responsibility? k thnx

3/19/2018 10:18:30 PM

bdmazur
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Quote :
""A society is only as true as its weakest links" is trite, meaningless nonsense."


Good people get hurt when other people do things out of stupidity, weakness, ignorance, or inability (mentally unwell or otherwise handicapped/disabled). We hear it all the time: "don't blame guns, blame people." So if it is a people problem, then we are safer as a society when we take care of the needs of all people.

If it sounds like fortune-cookie words of wisdom then sure it can sound trite, but we're talking about issues with real life applications and implications.

3/20/2018 6:35:26 PM

UJustWait84
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neither one of them has any solutions other than "bootstraps", so you're wasting your time replying to them

[Edited on March 20, 2018 at 8:29 PM. Reason : autocorrect on fiyah]

3/20/2018 8:23:49 PM

NeuseRvrRat
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and you don't have any solutions besides more government

3/20/2018 9:15:45 PM

UJustWait84
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I've actually mentioned few of them in this very thread, but since these solutions weren't proposed by your parents, clearly you're not interested.

3/20/2018 9:18:20 PM

bdmazur
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^^Actually all the things I've said would mean less government and more curriculum building around local values. No common core, no bullshit metrics like no child left behind, not relying on test scores to determine funding. So much more can be done with the money already being spent.

I'm actually in favor of SOME common core, specifically when it comes to US history. After living in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and California, and finding out how little each knows (or cares) about the others is appalling. The notions and stereotypes people have about other states just keeps us more divided. Especially when states like Texas want to skip over slavery and losing the civil war.

3/21/2018 2:13:18 AM

rjrumfel
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^but come on now, you can only cram so many historical facts in a kids head. Expecting them to learn tidbits from every state is a bit much. It should be more of a regional approach.

Also, why do we wait until college to start teaching people how to argue? Now maybe other high schools do have this in their curriculum, but the closest thing that we got to anything like Eng 101 (At NC State, the old Eng 101) was the debate club.

3/21/2018 8:11:27 AM

tulsigabbard
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Quote :
"solution's simple. let the parents choose. you send your kids to schools that teach collectivist ideas and others can send theirs to schools that teach personal responsibility."

I'm in favor of this. More schools and more diversity in school choice all operating under a broad set of standards. Give the educational professionals operating each school freedom to decide how they will reach the end goals and the parents freedom to choose which path is best for their kids. Diversity is great and all but artistic students should be able to experience more art in all of their classes while students who are SJW should be able to look at every subject through a SJW lens and so on. Diversity shouldn't get in the way of student learning.

Quote :
"Both my parents are dead and I grew up poor and brown. Can someone please Google "bootstraps" for me so I can teach myself personal responsibility? k thnx"

This person's guardian isn't going to send their kids to a school that teaches personal responsibility.

I hate the "bootstraps" mindset but kids who come from a lot of privilege would benefit from going to a school that puts emphasis on teaching personal responsibility and at the end of the day, sensitivity to social justice issues will come down to personal responsibility so it all connects back in the end.

In an ideal market, Ujustwait and bdmazur might choose to send their kids to the school in the center of the town, while the duke and rjrumfel would send their kids to the school on the right side of town while I would send my kids to the school on the far left side of town.

Quote :
"and you don't have any solutions besides more government"

We need a government-funded education but the government shoulnd't be running education.
Quote :
"I'm actually in favor of SOME common core, specifically when it comes to US history."

I only know about science standards, but the NGSS are excellent and vague enough that students can be taught science skills without having to memorize a bunch of facts. I don't know how history standards are setup, but we should be teaching students HOW to think and not WHAT to think. Therefore, the events in a curriculum should not be important.

http://www.sciencepracticesleadership.com/uploads/1/6/8/7/1687518/8_practices_v4.pdf
There must also be history "practices". In Science, you can potentially swap out content and teach the same practices dozens of ways. The student is still learning the same thing but the set of facts they are operating with change.

As long as they learn how to perceive history and what to do with the information, they can fill in any missing gaps easily after high school.
Quote :
"The notions and stereotypes people have about other states just keeps us more divided. Especially when states like Texas want to skip over slavery and losing the civil war."

I understand the sentiment here and agree but I think its even riskier to let the prescribe decide a set of facts that everyone must learn. These are decisions that should be made as close to the classroom as possible. Ideally, a cohort of history teachers in a school or district would meet to discuss ways to implement the national standards in their classrooms.

My perspective is different because I've taught at all different types of schools all over the country and currently teach at a school that has political views aligned with mine. Conservative students are not fully able to flourish in this environment because the school philosophy and most of its teachers and students are so far to the left. We appreciate diversity of thought but we are in a lot of ways, indoctrinating students that the school's philosophy is the "right way" and

3/21/2018 5:05:16 PM

UJustWait84
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^There is a pretty big difference between a curriculum and an educational model/system and people conflate the two all the time. Before even bothering to address curriculum (and I agree that localized/relevant curricula tend to work 'better' than a nationalized one), we need address the outdated models that allow for curriculum to either flourish, stagnate, or flounder within these systems.

Some of you aren't getting it. The goal of education shouldn't be cramming students' heads with arbitrary information- it should be getting them to become skilled learners and to equip them with critical thinking and problem solving skills.

[Edited on March 21, 2018 at 5:23 PM. Reason : .]

3/21/2018 5:21:13 PM

bdmazur
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Quote :
"but come on now, you can only cram so many historical facts in a kids head. Expecting them to learn tidbits from every state is a bit much. It should be more of a regional approach."


I agree to a point. I never learned about Spanish missionaries who completely destroyed the indigenous people of California until I moved out here, and here it's taught in every school. But these kids don't learn much about the specifics of British colonization other than being able to name the 13 originals. I think "colonization of America" should be a bigger unit, and yes with freedom to change to emphasis based on more localized history, but everyone should know that the British, French, and Spanish were all guilty for the terrible history students aren't being taught right now.

Quote :
"we should be teaching students HOW to think and not WHAT to think"


Yes...and... as much as I disagree with E.D. Hirsch and his curriculum-centered approach, he is right when he says that starting with a common unified set of information gives more students an equal opportunity to grow intellectually. Students should learn through doing...so to learn how to analyze they need to actively practice it...and you can't analyze facts and data until you have facts and data. But all that should come later after the foundation of how to enjoy learning experiences is set...and that comes from connecting teachers to students on a deep level of caring and compassion.

3/21/2018 6:59:43 PM

UJustWait84
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Few kids see learning as something that's fun or enjoyable; they've been conditioned to think that 'learning' means passing standardized tests, earning good grades, and/or getting into a competitive college. College and high school are just a series of hoops they have to jump through, and teachers are gatekeepers that are in their way. Compliance, for the most part, matters much more than engagement and critical thought.

Fortunately, I don't have to deal with parents at the the JC/university level, because they are a huge part of the problem. They blame teachers for everything that goes wrong, and fill their kids' heads with unhealthy expectations and place way too much pressure on them to study something "practical" or "high paying". As a result, lots of students are terrified of failing or *GASP* getting anything lower than an 'A' on an assignment. In turn, a lot of students become argumentative, defensive, and even combative when they don't get the grade they 'deserve', and instead of actually wanting to learn the material or improve their performance, they just want to know the easiest path to getting the A. And who can blame them? Things like "ratemyprofessor" have turned higher education into a yelp-style business model, where students feel entitled to good grades, and when they don't get their way, they lash out and write nasty reviews, as if taking a class is the same thing as ordering a meal in a restaurant.

This isn't to say that bad teachers aren't part of the problem. They absolutely are. I have some coworkers that have zero business in the classroom, either because they were never properly trained how to actually teach in the first place, or they're old and burned out, so they don't give a fuck or even try anymore. Classroom observations and student evaluations are essentially a popularity contest, and everyone knows it. Administrators are too busy trying to find ways to cut costs or save money, so most of them have little idea of what's actually going on in the classroom. Overall, a lack of trust amongst students, teachers, parents, and administrators is systemic. So what's the problem with education in this country? Well, it depends on who you side with and who you feel like blaming today.

I'm not trying to be entirely doom and gloom about education, because a lot of really cool and exciting things are happening, but this thread just goes to show where a lot of these problems originate. Some of you think it's an either/or proposition when it comes to education, when it's a lot deeper than that.

3/21/2018 10:42:31 PM

tulsigabbard
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Most of that crap would go away if you got rid of grades.

3/22/2018 3:19:03 AM

GrumpyGOP
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Quote :
"I think "colonization of America" should be a bigger unit, and yes with freedom to change to emphasis based on more localized history, but everyone should know that the British, French, and Spanish were all guilty for the terrible history students aren't being taught right now."


I'm fine with minimizing the state-specific stuff - as I recall, in NC 4th and 8th grades are pretty much devoted to North Carolina history and facts, and while some of those came in handy on Jeopardy they haven't been much use anywhere else. But I disagree that colonization should be a bigger unit.

Here's every history class I ever had until the IB program:

1st Quarter: Indians and Colonization
2nd Quarter: Colonization and Revolutionary War
3rd Quarter: Civil War
4th Quarter: Civil War, Reconstruction, and oh, shit, I guess we'd better cram the entire 20th century into the week before EOG/EOC tests; no time for WWII, let's just play a Martin Luther King speech and call it a day

We spent forever talking about things at the start of this country and barely even alluded to the events of the past 100 years that probably had a lot more direct impact on their lives and futures.

And needless to say, all of this history was 100% focused on the United States. I don't think I had a course with any significant international component until AP/IB European History.

Quote :
"Also, why do we wait until college to start teaching people how to argue?"


Good question. We could ask it about several other subjects as well. And we could ask why some things are never taught at all.

Why are basic life skills/household management not taught?

Why is swimming not taught? Swimming, a potentially life-saving, health-improving skill. My high school had a pool. I never saw it. Neither did anybody who wasn't on the swim team. We spent a year of mandatory gym class playing dodgeball 100 yards from a pool, and I'll bet half my graduating class would drown without floaties.

Why is geography not taught anywhere? If we're always so ashamed when Americans flunk a survey question like "Where is Iraq?" maybe we should teach them where Iraq is.

Why are civics relegated to one convoluted mess of a course in 9th grade? ELPSA, what a joke. Maybe - hopefully - that's changed.

Quote :
"Most of that crap would go away if you got rid of grades."


You know, I agree with this to a certain extent, even if it does sound like hippie feel-good nonsense. Grades have some value in showing how kids are doing, but they've long since turned into an end unto themselves.

It reminds me of high school, by which point I'd realized that the school system (and really the world in general) didn't actually reward consistent hard work. So I quit working hard. Posts on this website aside, I'm a pretty smart guy, so coasting to good grades was not difficult. In particular, I figured out that a lot of smaller assignments could be ignored entirely without having a damning impact on my final grade. There probably needs to be some final metric - how else to assess a student's performance and knowledge? - but I really think it should be through some standardized measure that removes the ability to blame teachers for being unfair.

The problem was that they sent "progress reports" home for signatures, and by the point in the quarter when these came out, pretty much all the assignments had been small, pointless ones that I ignored or half-assed. So on my progress reports, I'd have like a C-/D+. By quarter's end, when the term papers and exams were done, I'd have that up to at least a B+. But that did not matter to my mom, who viewed a D on a progress report like most people would a child sex offense on a criminal record. The D was irrelevant - no college or employer was ever going to see it - but the grade had become the goal, and so I was punished. (Or I would have been, if my friends and I hadn't been experts at forging both progress reports for home and signatures for school - the whole thing basically just taught me petty crime)

3/22/2018 8:39:45 AM

bdmazur
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Quote :
"1st Quarter: Indians and Colonization
2nd Quarter: Colonization and Revolutionary War
3rd Quarter: Civil War
4th Quarter: Civil War, Reconstruction, and oh, shit, I guess we'd better cram the entire 20th century into the week before EOG/EOC tests; no time for WWII, let's just play a Martin Luther King speech and call it a day"


This is why American history needs to be two courses. We have enough history to talk about now that you could have an entire history class from colonization to civil war, and another from reconstruction to 9-11.

World history is a problem, too. Here's some European stuff, here's some Asian stuff, here's some African stuff...but not enough on how they connect to the path of global humanity. Because there's just not enough time.

So instead of cramming it in, let's give in to the fact that there isn't enough time for everything, pick just a few areas of focus and really dive deep into them. Instead of adults who remember nothing about a lot of facts they learned in high school, we'll have adults with a deep understanding of specific parts of it.

3/22/2018 1:07:08 PM

darkone
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How do older countries like the UK handle history? US History covers... what Jamestown on? Maybe some early Spanish colonial stuff? There's a thousand years to cover in the UK and that's just if you start in 1066.

3/22/2018 1:54:13 PM

UJustWait84
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To be fair, American history is pretty brief compared to other countries, especially those which have existed for thousands of years. On top of that, a lot of our history is violent and shameful, so lots of Americans find it boring/depressing. Generally speaking, Americans' knowledge of anything historical outside of their region (let alone the US) is pretty damn pathetic.

3/22/2018 2:14:56 PM

bdmazur
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^^The early American history class at NC State begins in 1190, because the crusades leads to expansion of the spice trade leads to broader world exploration leads to colonies in the Americas leads to worldwide slave trade and so on.

3/22/2018 3:12:42 PM

GrumpyGOP
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That's just about as arbitrary as any other point.

Quote :
"This is why American history needs to be two courses."


But does the average person need much of that earlier history, especially at the expense of other courses? I'd rather them have a civics class with some reference to the historical basis, than see more kids presenting about obscure signers of the Constitution.

3/25/2018 8:32:07 PM

bdmazur
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^The average American absolutely needs to know that our country became what it is through the near-genocide of one continent and the enslaving of another. And they need to know what's in the constitution and WHY.

3/26/2018 3:40:06 AM

GrumpyGOP
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A decent civics class would address the second part.

As to the first - I agree that we need to teach the dark parts of American history, but having an entire second history class to cover it is absurd. There is only so much time in a day and a school year, and there are whole subject areas that kids aren't getting that they should be - no room to double down on something we already teach.

3/26/2018 7:50:23 AM

dtownral
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here is one of the textbooks they should use for US history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_People%27s_History_of_the_United_States

3/26/2018 9:00:16 AM

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