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Why High School Sucks

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

For many people high school was horrible, a waste of time, and for the most part miserable to be in.  High school is nothing but a daycare for kids that are too old to go to daycare.  The only thing that high school teaches you is how to survive.  It’s full of kids with their different clicks like the jocks, the cheerleaders, band geeks, book worms, the skaters, the gothic kids, the emo kids, and many more.  High school is all politics you are who you are because who you know, just like when it comes to your grades.  You get good grades because of who you are not how smart you are.  What can you blame for this? Education reform is the main culprit.

What is education reform you might ask?  Well education reform is the differentiation in teaching methods for the purpose of improving educational environments. (ask.com)  education is everywhere in our schools today.  You can’t go into a classroom without finding a little bit of it.  It’s the way teachers teach, it’s the way teachers give test, it’s the way teachers even dumb down there class so kids can pass, and it’s everywhere.  One of the most common uses of this is in dumbing down the classes.  This is the worst thing a teacher could possibly do, but even then most kids still can’t pass.  So then the teachers came up with ways to cheat the system.  They start just handing out grades to all the students.   Giving a’s to the students who did most of the work and b’s to the students who did little to none of the work.  To me this is stupid doing this is making us a dumb America. We are living in an America full of kids that can’t even balance a checkbook.  The kids we are just letting by are going to be tomorrow’s legislator, president, governor do we really want people like this make our one decisions for us people that can’t even locate the United States on a world map.  This is all due to education reform and all the policies passed like no child left behind and standardized testing.  Programs like this are hurting kids in school because the teachers are teaching the bare minimum to get by thus allowing most of the students to pass.  Which accentually this is what the government wants more kids passing and staying in school and school wants the kids to keep coming because the more students they have the more government money they get.  Also when the teachers teach the only teach wheat is going to be expected on the end of the year test because at the end of the day it’s all about the test scores.  Education reform is killing our kids it’s almost better to keep them out of school and teach them yourself because you could do a better job teaching them because the school isn’t.  All they want is to look good at the end of the year.  I went to high school for four years and to be quite honest I learned more on my own talking about what happened in class than I did when the teacher was standing up front preaching that we will need to know this.  All high school is a babysitting service for older kids.  You are not being taught anything I’ve been college for two years now and I’ve learned more in the past years then I learned in the past four I was in high school.

Education reform is the worst thing that has happened to our school in a long time.  It is doing nothing good it is only making us a stupid America full of people who can’t balance a check book locate America on a world map or even write a standard paper.  Is this what we really want a dumb America?  I know I don’t.  At this rate in the near feature these kids will be running our country. If they don’t know where the United States is we could possibly go to war with ourselves, and turn our diploma into nothing but a joke.

Categories: Curriculum Reform

Standardized Testing; Saving Grace or Devil’s Advocate?

December 9, 2010 7 comments

                It may have started out to help out schools, but somehow ended up being something that has teachers skeptical of their jobs.  With no state without rules and regulations for tests, thanks to No Child Left Behind; all students, no matter race, gender, or handicaps must take these tests in order for the state to give their schools more or less funding.  So should funding for our schools be based on test scores or actual grades and participation?   Some of the major problems I see in standardized tests are the curriculum map, the stress it has on our children,  The fact that every child takes the same exact test, the fear installed in our teachers and the monopolization of funding. 

                One of the positive aspects of standardized testing (according to http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/16137.aspx) is it gives teachers guidance to help them determine what to teach students and when to teach it. The net result is less wasted instructional time and a simplified way of timeline management.  However, most of us would see this as a more negative effect.  Because teachers are going by what they should teach, they neglect the many things that are not on the test material, therefore leaving our children further behind in the system. 

                The stress of testing is also a huge impact on today’s students.  Because the results of the tests reflect on teachers and the school, schools have done away with recess.  In most cases this is a student’s only time to unwind and interact with peers.  With this taken away we take the chance of letting our children stress even more about the standardized tests.   

                Another problem with No Child Left Behind is that every student has to take the same exact standardized test.  This is to promote equality in the classroom, however, it is somewhat discouraging to the disabled and the ethnic.  Although some might be able to, most kids in a special needs classrooms cannot do the same work as one in a regular class.  Therefore, having them take the same test will make the disabled feel somewhat uncomfortable.  The tests are in America, making them given in English.  No matter how many people want to argue that “they came to our country, they can learn our language” is not valid; this is America, a melting pot of culture.  A lot of recently immigrated aliens speak little to no English,consequently, their kids speak none, are they expected to take an exam in complete English and understand what they are doing? This does nothing but intimidate a young child.  I believe they should be given an option in what language they are able to take the test in.  This is bound to improve the scores of states with lots of Hispanic children.

                Teachers have admitted to doing anything to improve the test scores, even resorting to cheating.  With the consequences of low performance on tests, lower salary and competency tests for example, it’s no wonder that teachers feel like they are forced to do something about the scores.  Teachers need to feel secure in their jobs to be able to have a good impact on our children’s education.  With good and bad teachers out there, we assume standardized test grades are the only way to decipher them apart.  I agree we need to get rid of those teachers that lack passion and aren’t good teachers.  But seems to me as if we can see who those are by grades in the class, and students input.  Making all teachers fear for their jobs isn’t a way to improve standardized tests scores. 

                I believe the lack of funding to those schools with lower test scores is somewhat unfair.  First off, it is more likely for a lower income school district to have lower scores rather than a higher income district.  Thus cheating the lower income districts out of much needed funds because they weren’t able to raise their test scores.  In most cases, this turns out to be a continuous cycle in which these districts never get the funding to have a chance at getting their scores up. 

                In general, standardized testing isn’t a bad thing.  It can predict how well the child has progressed in the school year.  And knowing this can help the kids that aren’t doing so well, get more focus from their teachers.  But when the tests become the priority over everything else that the kids need to learn, there’s a problem.  The children should be put first, they should all be given the same equal chance with individual priorities; because everyone is special in their own way.  This is America, and they are our future.

Categories: Standardized Testing

Most Deadbeats are unemployed, unless they are teachers…

December 8, 2010 8 comments

The class bell rings, students file into class two, three minutes late. They have no backpacks, no books, and no paper. Their teacher, lazy in dress, idly makes his way to the front of the class. He doesn’t greet the class, he doesn’t take roll because he doesn’t care who is there. The educator then hands out one paper with a few questions, pushes play on the DVD player, and returns to his desk. This is the reality that many of us faced in high school. Remember that one teacher that could care less, most of us had a few we could think of that only knew the bad kids names.  There are many teachers that dislike teaching, dislike school boards, and dislike children.  They demonstrate their dislike of things by doing nothing in the classroom, hurting our children! Our children are stupider than ever before, dropping out at alarming rates to become well-fare leaches and burger flippers.  The graduation rate of U.S. high school students increased from 72 percent in 2002 to 75 percent in 2008, according to the new data. (eschoolnews). The graduation rate is still bad, roughly 1 in 4 kids will not make it through high school to receive a diploma. This is a problem that can be solved with good teachers in the classrooms. Ones that will spend the time with them so they can understand a subject, pass and graduate, and succeed in life. With out a high school diploma a good job is not in your future. Teachers that don’t care however, don’t care about the children’s future. Sadly, these teachers are still employed, and will be employed till they are able to retire. Even though they do nothing, help no one, teachers unions insure their occupation is safe.  One out of every 57 doctors will lose this license to practice medicine, and one out of every 97 lawyers will lose their right to practice law (union exposed). Why? Because we get rid of the bad ones. No one wants to pay thousands for surgery or a lawyer only to get someone who could care less. Yet that’s exactly what we are doing for deadbeat teachers. Every pay check you or I receive has a column that shows how much school tax is taken out. This money is used to fund education, which is supposed to help out children get a education, get a diploma, and have a brighter future. However, this tax is only supporting teachers who do not properly prepare their students. It’s the children, some people will say; the children make current teachers look bad. This is not true at all. A child is in essence a piece of play dough, it is shapeless and undefined until a human interferes. Children have to be molded into successful members of society, ones that are full of knowledge, hopes and dreams. It is the teachers jobs to help mold these students. So if it’s the teachers job to mold how can it be the children’s fault? A study performed by the L.A. Times concluded that, After a single year with teachers who ranked in the top 10% in effectiveness, students scored an average of 17 percentile points higher in English and 25 points higher in math than students whose teachers ranked in the bottom 10%(L.A. Times 1).  This study showed children can and will learn if educated properly, which is what every teacher should strive for. I’ve had excellent teachers who would go the extra mile to help me comprehend the material taught. While at the same time I’ve had some who, even I as a child, I felt needed to be fired. One of my math teachers of instance would allow us to do push ups if we forgot out homework. Which was cool at the time. I could just do push ups and still get full credit just like the smart kids. However now that I’m college math classes, the material I needed to learn I don’t know. Due to a bad teacher letting students still pass the class not knowing the material. When teacher unions were first established, they were a good thing. These laws protected teachers from being fired for no reason, and was seen as a reward for their studies and publishing. However, like most good intention agencies, teacher unions have since fallen into the hands of bad people. People who choose to take advantage and make their living off the system. The L.A. times reported that, Even Oprah Winfrey has joined the fray, demanding to know, “why can’t you just fire bad teachers? ( L.A. Times 2). Teacher unions are in place to make money; they make money off the schools, off teachers, and off the taxpayers. They have created a maze of paperwork that must be filled out and deemed worthy enough to terminate a teacher protected by tenure. According to Education Week, the cost to terminate a teacher protected by tenure in New York City, New York averages $163,142 once everything is said and done (union exposed).  Most school districts cannot afford such costs, and find it easier to wait out the 20 years till said teacher retires. They are saving money, at the expense of our children’s education. Teachers are supposed to help students, learn about them, be seen as a friend or someone they can trust. However, the deadbeats have taken over. Its no wonder kids are dropping out at all time high. No-ones telling them not to. Schools are dreadful places, where children go and are mocked, and told their stupid. Instead of helping students, the deadbeat teachers are pushing them away. Is this the way school should be?

Final Word Count: 976Works Citedhttp://teachersunionexposed.com/protecting.cfm(1) http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/15/local/la-me-teachers-react-20100816(2) http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/07/local/la-me-teachers-unions-20101107/4http://www.eschoolnews.com/2010/11/29/high-school-graduation-rate-is-improving-report-shows/

Won’t you be my neighbor?

December 8, 2010 1 comment

Individually your life is about preference, is it not? However, when it comes to where money goes for education and your preference as an individual is not taken into account. Statistically more money is put into STEM than the humanities such as arts and music each year. Much of this scaling back has to do with the fact that it’s seen as an inefficient career, because it’s very hard to make a great living as an artist or even a musician.

The government has decided to cut back on many of the humanities majors instead fueling the STEM classes because students are more likely to see a higher financial return. While this is true you have to wonder, what are we as people losing as a result?

If we don’t learn about the arts or our history or what separates our culture from another then we have no basis for common knowledge or practical knowledge. However, it now seems like there is much less concern from us as students in the Humanities fields and even if there is the majority of the time the concern does not outweigh the concern for a financially safe future.

It was once said by James Truslow Adams that there are two educations, “One should teach us how to make a living and the how to live.” I think that this holds true we may not want to pursue a career in the humanities fields but education of these things is a necessity and has been for countless years. It is crucial and vital to our understanding of the world. You can’t fathom how a religion of a culture acts without learning about their history and their beliefs. You can’t speak another language without it first being taught to you.

However, I do think one thing is important. You can create art whether it be a painting, a drawing, or something musical without someone to teach you. This is where we truly find out the humans ability to be creative. With or without the knowledge of music or other types of art you can create art, but someone who is trained will most of the time be much more refined and detail oriented than someone who has not. Many times it seems as if someone who is not trained learns to be more spacial and inventive. Not saying that I prefer people who are less trained because that is not the case but I must admit they come up with ideas that may not have been thought of by somebody who has been shown their whole life what is right and what should be done. I really enjoy when someone with training can resemble the perspective of someone who has no formal background and can really open your eyes with a moment of sheer brilliance that hasn’t been thought of and doesn’t look or sound regurgitated.

In regards to Adams’ statement about two education I believe that in our present economic climate he is quite right, but I don’t think that you can undermine the humanities, something that has existed long before this idea of STEM. Much of our learning in university studies comes from pictures and artwork that interpret history. In many of our textbooks there are visual medias to help illustrate what has happened in the past and to give us an idea of how things were. How can you undermine the importance of humanities when its cohesiveness with STEM is clearly evident. Just take a look around in the field of technology our first telescope may have been primitive but think of the craft that would go into making such a device. Computers don’t build themselves. People with knowledge in math and their technological background apply it to art and construct it. You cannot say that one of these things is more important than the other they should be equally viewed. They can be just as important at different times and for that reason they should both be recognized at any level of education. Just because one can be more profitable and possibly more prolific does not mean we should disregard the other. If we’re concerned about the economy truly, then we should not be trying to do away with humanities education because it provides jobs just as the technological, engineering, and science programs do.

If we don’t embrace the humanities and we push them away then we will be leaving out a crucial part of learning and may leave behind something that is more important than meets the eye. Each should be taught and the individual should decide which is a better fit for them and pursue a career in that field, rather than choosing something they won’t enjoy just because of the financial benefits.

Categories: Education Reform

Classroom Size Matters

December 8, 2010 8 comments

High school is an experience that is different for everybody. While some go to huge public schools where the classroom sizes are large, others go to private schools where they might have a class of ten people. Does this affect how we learn? Should teachers change their teaching styles to adapt to these different scenarios? Will having smaller classroom sizes still prepare students for college? These are all questions that appear when discussing the topic of classroom sizes in educational reform discussions.

I, personally, went to a private high school. The largest class I ever had possibly had twenty-five students which was a great deal when my graduating class only held forty-two students. Classroom size affected how I was able to understand and comprehend things in high school. Throughout high school, my largest class was Politics and my smallest class was AP US History; they were both taught by the same teacher. While Economics was a class that all the seniors were required to take to graduate. While this should have been cake, I had a really difficult time understand a lot of the key concepts and felt like I could not ask questions because the teacher did not have time to answer them and teach the entire class. I started to suffer the consequences. Then in my smallest class of AP US History, there were only ten students. I was never good at history and I have no clue what made me decide to take the AP class but I did. I ended up with a B in the class and even the teacher informed me that I would not have done as well in the regular class because I would not have wanted to ask questions. Class size does matter.

While having larger class sizes can prepare us for the world of college, it seems to affect how students learn especially in high school. While bigger classes means less teachers, it is truly taking away from the education that a student recieves. “Those students whose performance improves the most are those who need the most help: children from poor and minority backgrounds, who experience twice the gains as the average student.  Alan Krueger of Princeton has estimated that reducing class size in the early grades shrinks the achievement gap by about 38%.” (Haimson). You should not feel unable to speak to a teacher because of the size of a class. Teachers sometimes can come off more intimidating in larger classes because of the overwhelming sense of having so many students all in one room. It can be a lot for students to handle. When looking at testing, researchers have seen that class size effects scores. “States that score highest on the SAT on average tend to have lower student-teacher ratios. High-ratio states, however, have scores that hover around the national average.” Ever since high school, teachers have told you how when you get to college that the class sizes are going to be so big in number. The largest gen ed class size that I have had was forty which is not to far off from the number of people I graduated with.

My high school chose the route of smaller classes. However, this may not have been by choice, smaller class sizes have truly helped me be prepared for college. My high school was considered a “college preparatory school” and it truly did that, regardless of class size. Smaller class sizes make a much more student-teacher friendly environment where the students and teachers can engage in a conversation together. Larger classes sizes make the students feel like the teacher is talking at them instead of to them.The teachers will also appreciate this because it will mean more one-on-one time with students in the classroom so they can answer questions in the classroom and less time out of the classroom. It was also mean fewer tests and homework to grade all at one time and make a lessened stress load on the teacher.

National surveys of educators believe that class size reduction is the most effective method to improve the quality of teaching. In a 2008 survey, 76% of first year teachers said that reducing class size would be “a very effective” way of improving teacher quality, and 21% responding that it would be an “effective” method — for a total of 97% — far outstripping every other reform cited.” See? Even the teachers agree. However, some teachers may just be concerned for themselves. “Professors generally do not like teaching huge courses–not because they hate lecturing–but because they hate grading so many tests and term papers. So they ask administrators to cap enrollments, insisting that ‘small classes are better’ (when, in fact, they are simply concerned about their own work load).” Class sizes need to be reduced for the sake of the students. Why should students feel oppressed intellectually in the classroom and afraid to speak out? Making class sizes smaller should be the first priority schools make next school year.

Word Count: 834

Works Cited:

The Benefits of Smaller Classes: What Research Shows — http://www.classsizematters.org/benefits.html

http://flowingdata.com/2009/11/10/do-we-need-more-teachers/

http://greatcollegeadvice.com/class-size-and-student-to-faculty-ratios-what-the-statistics-dont-tell-you/

Categories: Class Size

Class Sizes

December 8, 2010 3 comments

Can you imagine sitting in a classroom of fifty plus students with one teacher and trying to get one on one help? Elementary, middle, and high schools increasing class sizes are absolutely ludicrous. Education is something I thought our country valued; however, increasing class sizes is saying otherwise. Many studies have shown that large class sizes decrease student attendance; lessen student-teacher interaction, and lower standards for classroom etiquette. These students are also not reaching their potential for achievement.

Education is the most important platform in America. It should be taken very seriously. Decreasing the class size is going to increase student attendance. It may not be as prevalent in elementary and middle schools, but high school students will feel more inclined to attend class if they think they will be noticed. In high school, sometimes teachers don’t learn your name for a while, even in an average sized classroom.  In a highly populated classroom, teachers will have a difficult time getting to know their students on a personal basis.  According to, Class Size Matters, studies done in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and elsewhere prove that smaller class sizes in grades K-3rd exhibited improved attendance.  Smaller classroom sizes are very important when it comes to student’s class involvement.

I believe decreased classroom sizes will raise the standards for classroom etiquette. We all know middle school can be a rowdy and rambunctious time for students in a normal classroom setting. Can you imagine an oversized middle school classroom? It seems as though it could become wild and out of control. According to Ivor Pritchard’s article Reducing Class Sizes, What Do We Know? students in larger classes are more likely to misbehave than students who are in smaller classes. In middle school classrooms, there are always students trying to get away with mischief. If there are additional students in the classroom, students will probably think they can get away with things easier and have less accountability. This seems to me a recipe for disaster, and a big distraction to the teacher and students.

When teachers get to know their students on a personal level, it has nothing but positive effects on the students. When students know that a teacher cares about them, it goes a long way. Students will have more positive attitudes, attend class more frequently and strive to do their best when they are working for someone who they believe cares for them. In some cases there are students who do not get enough attention at home and count on the personal interaction they receive when they get to school. For example, students may not receive a daily hug or a daily “have a good day” when they leave in the afternoon with larger classroom sizes.. Ivor Pritchard’s article also states that it is important to have smaller class sizes in the primary grades, such as kindergarten through third grade, because that is when students learn the fundamentals. Studies show that students who had smaller class sizes in their early education achieve at a higher level through out their entire school career.

Reduced class room sizes benefit students across the board, but smaller classes largely increase the achievement of students who are minority and or low-income.  According to the Public School Review, it has been proven that smaller classrooms benefit disadvantage children because of the one to one time with a teacher.  Fewer students in the room also lead to fewer distractions.  There are less discipline problems as well giving teachers more time to teach through out the day.  When it comes to any child who might need a little extra attention, smaller classrooms is the way to go especially at a younger age.

Decreasing classroom sizes should be on the top priority for education reform.  It is a simple way to get students more involved in school and change their school experience.  Schools need to especially decrease classroom sizes in the primary years because that is when it makes the most difference. There are also evolving problems as the classroom sizes get bigger that are affecting all students’ learning.  The bigger the classroom size gets, the more distractions come about and no student is prepared to learn through distractions. This reform is very important to education. We are falling behind, and this is a simple way to get back on track.

Categories: Class Size

The Race for Innovation and its Repercussions

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

What comes to mind when you hear the term innovation? Do you think of art, philosophy, English, or any humanities at all? Or do you think of science, technology, mathematics, and the competition between countries it produces to be the best? When I hear innovation I tend to think of the sciences and technology. Is this because I was taught in school that the future of our country depends on technology? Would one be wrong to assume that innovation in the humanities is just as relevant to our continued success as a society in the future as it is in the present? I don’t believe so. So why is the link between innovation and science to prevalent in our minds?

Before any of these questions can be answered you may need to think about why they are even being asked. One could debate my statement and say that humanities aren’t helping us as a society today, but would this question of which is more important need be asked if they weren’t even moderately equal of importance to our education? The reason we ask questions is because we can’t find an answer ourselves. If this debate of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) vs. humanities had a clear winner I wouldn’t be considering this as a topic of concern for education reform. The fact that these two types of education concentration are being argued and debated assumes the fact that the topics are equal on some levels, showing that one is clearly not any better than the other.

It is very clear what the government and our current president think about this debate. Obama and the Department of Education have put great emphasis on STEM education. One can only assume that it is to keep with foreign competitors. Although I can see why this would be a desired achievement, I don’t understand why it’s ok to disregard all other education. American education in the past tends to be that of the humanities. We have somewhat of a reputation to teach the liberal arts, so why let it dwindle? The word humanities itself should be enough for you to see its importance. The base of the word is “human”; the humanities are simply the study of human conditions through analytical and critical thought. To deny the humanities is to, in a certain sense; deny that we are human beings. And for what? To prove that we are more intelligent than another country? Denying instincts to prove intelligence? Is being number one really worth neglecting the characteristic that separates us from the animals, or disregarding something our country is well known for doing? I don’t see in any logical way how it could be.

The perception of these topics changed drastically over the years. The images we have of kings and many other important figures in history have come from paintings. Portraits of kings were painted just as pictures are taken today; actors and plays were the entertainment, and literature was highly celebrated. King Louis XIV of France even went as far as paying and protecting certain artists and writers.

Attention was also paid to scientists at this and around this time, however not quite as positively. Galileo Galilee who is considered “The Father of Modern Science” was placed on house arrest for supporting views of a heliocentric universe, which in the Catholic Church’s eyes went against the scripture.  How can something that was so celebrated, a mere reflection of true human nature be placed second to a machine, the most inhuman specimen?

Most universities are putting emphasis on STEM education. Almost any program list at a college has more science related degrees available than all other categories combined. Universities tend to be very career centered. Very few, if any, go to college for the sake of education. Most go for “job training”. Many people go to college, get certain degrees and certifications with the intention of entering a specific field, or even specific position. With this situation, and more STEM degrees offered, one could easily put the pieces together and assume that current educational institutions encourage STEM related degrees, possibly for their developmental and/or economical reasons.  But once again, does this make the humanities an inferior school of thought?  Not by any means.

It is all a mere matter of opinion, there is no right and no wrong, and it is well beyond black and white. Anyone who cares about a well rounded education would agree. We should not allow either ideology to surpass one another. They should be taught together in the right proportions.  The idea of using one to aid the other one is also definitely a potential solution. We could utilize our advancements in technology to help teach and even understand the liberal arts. This type of solution would place these two on an even and respectable level. Schools of thought coexisting would be the ideal solution to please everyone.  Neither is, nor ever will be “better” or more important than the other. Every idea on the superiority is all solely based on opinions. No matter the amount of tests, studies, or surveys will ever convince everyone, therefore no absolute answer will ever be given. My solution; stop arguing which is more important, and teach them both equally…

Categories: Education Reform