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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> For all Americans
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04/12/2006 12:42:48 AM · #1
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Since Alaska includes most of the Aleutian Islands, which cross the 180th Meridian, I believe it qualifies as the northern-most, western-most, and eastern-most state.


Hey, no kidding! I forgot all about them danged islands, sheesh...

R.
04/12/2006 12:25:35 AM · #2
On the other hand, if you want to stand in four states at once, go here.
04/12/2006 12:15:26 AM · #3
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Since Alaska includes most of the Aleutian Islands, which cross the 180th Meridian, I believe it qualifies as the northern-most, western-most, and eastern-most state.


Give that man a gold star - obviously HI is the most southerly.
04/11/2006 11:36:05 PM · #4
Since Alaska includes most of the Aleutian Islands, which cross the 180th Meridian, I believe it qualifies as the northern-most, western-most, and eastern-most state.
04/11/2006 11:14:02 PM · #5
I think something to keep in mind and has been touched on in some of the responses is the ever gaining push (particularly since the "No Child Left Behind" stuff was inacted) to have set standards be met no matter what the cost. Sadly, more and more the cost seems to be a well-rounded education.

While I do believe we need to continue to raise standards, I don't think shoe-horning teachers and students into teaching and learning "to the book" is the answer, unfortunately due to lack of funding, lack of parental involvement, lack of student interest, and a slew of other things, this is the way many school districts are ensuring that they meet these new standards.

Important things like art, social studies and sciences are taking a backseat to reading and math. Being able to read, comprehend, count and show skills in mathematics is absolutely important - they come into use every single day, however without the "elective" courses students get bored, teachers get bored and learning suffers.

Now I am completely biased whenever these discussions come up, I'm the daughter of two teachers, so I have personal experience with what their workload, dedication and experiences are first hand, which many don't. So it pains and angers me when people (and I am not at all implying that anyone who has responded here has done this) lay the blame all at the teacher's door. But anyway that's not the point of this thread, merely an aspect.

I think the number one motivators should be parents. Too many that I have talked to or overheard talking seem to take their child's education for granted and treat it like a daycare more than the one biggest thing that will influence their success in the future. Of course some parents are barely scraping by and find it hard to make time to push their children while they are working 2-3 jobs, so its a tough situation all around.

Here in Oregon I feel badly for the kids that are growing up these days. Portland used to be one of the top school districts in the nation. I shudder to think where we are now.

I feel lucky that I got out of school before the fall-out from our Measure 5 really hit. I think between that measure, poor financial planning on the part of our state government, idiotic decisions made by our school board (particularly in administrative hiring choices) and apathetic parents.. kids are screwed.
04/11/2006 11:00:25 PM · #6
As far as the 4.0 not testing "at level" at the community college -- My experience (having taught middle and high school and currently at the CC level) is that what probably happened wasn't that she couldn't pass the test, she probably "overthought" them and made them more difficult than they really were.

At least, that is what I've seen happen.

Also, as far as comparing American schools to others -- please remember that when we look at American test results, we are seeing the average/mean/insertfavoritestattermhere of all students, from the most severely learning disabled to the most gifted. With other countries that I have looked at (been to, read about), many times it is only the top students that even get to go to school, much less be tested.

I'm not saying that the American Education system is perfect, or even good. Heck, I got out of public education because it was so annoying -- all we did was test and teach for the test. One year, I had one student take over TEN standardized STATE tests in one year. That's gotta be fun.

04/11/2006 10:39:21 PM · #7
Originally posted by kdsprog:

This could easily turn into a rant thread. But, you're comparing a "regular" high school to a "vocational" high school. Most "troubled" teens are directed to a VoTech. Not saying it's right or wrong, but it's pretty common. Since the two schools you compared are spending the same amount per child, I don't believe it's a money allocation problem there.

edit: someone beat me to it.

Just because you see the Vocational in the school name is irrelevant now. Jordan Vocational High School was once the leading school in Columbus. I graduated there in 1984 with a 3.2 GPA. The only reason the school was vocational was the fact it was built in 1936 when labor jobs were all around Columbus. It does not have as many vocational curriculum as it use to. And the fact is while each school may teach different electives the core classes are the same and should be on the same level.

Message edited by author 2006-04-11 22:40:35.
04/11/2006 10:37:57 PM · #8
I cannot speak relative to the state of affairs in the USA, but I find it somewhat perplexing that as a society we seem to lend value almost no value to "Trades", nor have we ever embarked on an "Apprenticeship" Program. For years in Canada, we have had to import qualified personnel from other countries as we did not have an structured program in place to teach the basics of various trades.

Not all individuals are interested in, nor have the capability to become "Academics", and it behooves us to ensure that we provide viable alternatives for our children.

While it is indeed important to have doctors, lawyers and scientists, we need to provide a venue for those aspiring plumbers, electricians and general contractors.

Just a thought,

Ray
04/11/2006 10:24:58 PM · #9
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by robs:


An interesting question is: Name the most northerly, southerly, easterly and westerly US states? - Yeah it's a trick question but it shouldn't be - I am not interested in the trivia part of the question but the understanding part that knows why the answer is not 4 different states.


It's an interesting question, in that it raises issues with "expected answers"; most people would automatically try to name 4 states. Hawaii, of course, is bost westernmost and southernmost of the states.

I do a fair amount of online tutoring in "verbal reasoning" to high school/college age students who have literally never been taught HOW to think. They don't have any technique, so to speak, for reasoning out what a question is really asking, for example. These are intelligent kids, and they get terrific science and math scores, but they can't handle the "verbal reasoning" part of standard testing very well.

That's my pet peeve; scools teach facts, but rarely processes themselves. When I went to Brown University, for example, in the 60's, it was required that a student be able to pass a test in symbolic logic, or he had to take a class in it. The whole concept of "debate" or "argument" has taken a beating, too, in modern times. IMO healthy skepticism is the foundation of knowledge and, by extension, civilization, and it has received very short shrift of late in our schools.

There's a lot to be said for a "classical" education, because this is founded on principles of reasoning and deduction as well as "core facts".

Another interesting geographical tidbit: Reno, Nevada is further west than Los Angeles, California :-)

R.


What the Bear says :-)
04/11/2006 10:02:02 PM · #10
Originally posted by alien2thisworld:

I read through quite a few profiles on the site, and it seems that a majority of them likely had/have problems at home. Only a few profiles directly state this, but a lot of the others allude to it (drugs/prison/no self discipline). I wonder if the poor performance in school is more of a consequence of a larger domestic problem, rather than the core of the problem itself. It may or may not be... just an idea.


I think you have something here. If the parents don't give a hoot about school, how can we expect their children to do? That's why I think some kids need educational mentors outside the home to push them to learn and succeed.
04/11/2006 09:59:37 PM · #11
I read through quite a few profiles on the site, and it seems that a majority of them likely had/have problems at home. Only a few profiles directly state this, but a lot of the others illude to it (drugs/prison/no self discipline). I wonder if the poor performance in school is more of a consequence of a larger domestic problem, rather than the core of the problem itself. It may or may not be... just an idea.
04/11/2006 09:56:51 PM · #12
Originally posted by Southern Gentleman:

I agree that most everyone that has posted is correct in one form or another. But like Rex said itís about 1/3 or the students will not graduate. Itís about one school having more recourses than another. I will give you a scenario, here in Columbus, Georgia.

Two school less than three miles apart look at their
State Report Cards


Yeah poverty seems to be the root of most problems from education to terrorism. Maybe we should just focus on poverty and everything else will resolve itself?
04/11/2006 09:55:03 PM · #13
This could easily turn into a rant thread. But, you're comparing a "regular" high school to a "vocational" high school. Most "troubled" teens are directed to a VoTech. Not saying it's right or wrong, but it's pretty common. Since the two schools you compared are spending the same amount per child, I don't believe it's a money allocation problem there.

edit: someone beat me to it.

Message edited by author 2006-04-11 21:55:42.
04/11/2006 09:54:40 PM · #14
Scott you are right with me.

Thank you.

It is about making things equal. Sharing resources............

Half of High School Graduates are NOT prepared for college.

I work with a guy that lives in Japan. They have asked him to stay here for two more years to help get things going. I asked him why don't he bring his family over for two years. He has 2 kids in middle school.

His reply:

His kids would be too far behind if they went to school here for two years because our schools are not up to their standards. They would never be able to catch up.


04/11/2006 09:53:57 PM · #15
Originally posted by Southern Gentleman:

I agree that most everyone that has posted is correct in one form or another. But like Rex said itís about 1/3 or the students will not graduate. Itís about one school having more recourses than another. I will give you a scenario, here in Columbus, Georgia.

Two school less than three miles apart look at their
State Report Cards


I'm not in any way disputing that inequities exist (I know they do) but one of these two is a "vocational high school" and isn't that, by definition, going to enroll mostly students with no intellectual ambitions? This was certainly the case back in my day, when students who had neither desire nor aptitude for "higher learning" went to vocational high schools to get started on practical trades...

R.
04/11/2006 09:48:00 PM · #16
I agree that most everyone that has posted is correct in one form or another. But like Rex said itís about 1/3 or the students will not graduate. Itís about one school having more recourses than another. I will give you a scenario, here in Columbus, Georgia.

Two school less than three miles apart look at their
State Report Cards
04/11/2006 09:28:53 PM · #17
I personally think knowing who the first five Pres. of the US are is not terrbily important

However, a large percentage of college level students will probably not be able to point out Iraq on the map. Similar to the college students who could not find Vietnam on the map during the Vietnam War.

Relevance is subjective, just as what the definition of a good education is

just a thought. Our future lies in the education of children. I hope they get it, whatever a good education is
04/11/2006 09:22:19 PM · #18
If you will all go to this website it is not about teaching useless facts.

It is about 1/3 of Public High School Students WILL NOT graduate.

It is about one school doesn't have the resources it needs while another one 30 miles down the road cost $62 million to build and is a state of the art facility.

It is about a girl that went through High School with a 4.0 GPA and was a full year behind in Math and Science when she got to a Community College.


04/11/2006 08:49:39 PM · #19
Originally posted by robs:


An interesting question is: Name the most northerly, southerly, easterly and westerly US states? - Yeah it's a trick question but it shouldn't be - I am not interested in the trivia part of the question but the understanding part that knows why the answer is not 4 different states.


It's an interesting question, in that it raises issues with "expected answers"; most people would automatically try to name 4 states. Hawaii, of course, is bost westernmost and southernmost of the states.

I do a fair amount of online tutoring in "verbal reasoning" to high school/college age students who have literally never been taught HOW to think. They don't have any technique, so to speak, for reasoning out what a question is really asking, for example. These are intelligent kids, and they get terrific science and math scores, but they can't handle the "verbal reasoning" part of standard testing very well.

That's my pet peeve; scools teach facts, but rarely processes themselves. When I went to Brown University, for example, in the 60's, it was required that a student be able to pass a test in symbolic logic, or he had to take a class in it. The whole concept of "debate" or "argument" has taken a beating, too, in modern times. IMO healthy skepticism is the foundation of knowledge and, by extension, civilization, and it has received very short shrift of late in our schools.

There's a lot to be said for a "classical" education, because this is founded on principles of reasoning and deduction as well as "core facts".

Another interesting geographical tidbit: Reno, Nevada is further west than Los Angeles, California :-)

R.


04/11/2006 08:46:05 PM · #20
Like what others have said, teaching someone how to use their brain is much more important than filling that brain with useless facts. Now more than ever.
04/11/2006 08:34:13 PM · #21
Originally posted by maxj:

Originally posted by rex:

All the US students asked didn't know. Most of them put Abraham Lincoln in there.


A lot of you missed the point of this.

Most US students don't care who the first five presidents are.

Most US students dont care.


Sorry to say, but I don't care either. That particular fact is relevant to exactly nothing in my world, unless I test into Jeopardy.
04/11/2006 08:30:33 PM · #22
I don't think it's that they don't care per se. It's that they need to memorize so many other things. My youngest child is in 1st grade. He has a laptop computer at school. He is currently testing at 3rd grade reading level. Our school system has consistently been in the top of the state yet our community has the lowest price per child. They have a great system where the kids are grouped together according to "how" they learn, not what they know. Every topic is tied together. My daughter graduated last year. She was able to go to an IB middle school and high school based on her test scores. The biggest thing about this school district is how involved they get the parents. It really makes the difference.
04/11/2006 08:19:32 PM · #23
Originally posted by rjkstesch:

The priority has become learning how to think and learn, not memorizing rote facts.


Originally posted by Beagleboy:

Well said. Kids have to be shown how to be free thinkers.


I agree with both, so why don't they attempt to do just that? The words and platitudes (no idea if that is spelt correctly :) are used a lot in techer conferences e.t.c. I have watched my oldest go through 18 months of school (in the US) and changed from a "why" thinker wanting to understand (not facts but understand) into a sit in line while at school thing because it's too much effort for the school to deal with; partly because of class sizes, partly because some kids don't learn much sitting around a table listening and partly due to the linear method these teachers seem to want to employ.

We get the 'He tends not to believe facts that are presented' - which as far as I am concerned is GOOD but they imply this is bad. Schools do badly IMO for the kids that learn by why (the lack of authority types) and how (the pull apart types) but works great for the what (fact types).

An interesting question is: Name the most northerly, southerly, easterly and westerly US states? - Yeah it's a trick question but it shouldn't be - I am not interested in the trivia part of the question but the understanding part that knows why the answer is not 4 different states.
04/11/2006 08:11:16 PM · #24
Originally posted by rex:

All the US students asked didn't know. Most of them put Abraham Lincoln in there.


A lot of you missed the point of this.

Most US students don't care who the first five presidents are.

Most US students dont care.
04/11/2006 07:52:16 PM · #25
The point is that we need a system that allows our children to be flexible. We must have a knowledge base in order to make intelligent decisions. Obviously facts are needed. But we don't need to keep all the facts we ever come across in ready access. We do need to be able to find them and have an awareness of them for the times we do need to use them.

I'm actually a very strong advocate for having strong skills in the basic academic areas (reading, writing, math, reasoning) technology skills, a broad knowledge base in many areas, and areas of passionate interest. In essence - I believe in life-long learning.

When I need to find the 1st 5 presidents, I know right where to find them. ;)

Becky
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