View Full Version : Problems In Our Schools
04-25-2009, 01:48 PM
Now, my daughter isn't even 2 yet, but I'm already concerned with the schools. I think we as parents should fix these problems before they can affect our children and everyone else.
In high school, my psychology teacher was also the football coach. As soon as you brought up football and engaged him in the conversation, class was done for the day. And this is the reason why I know very little about psychology. I had another teacher, biology, who would talk down to every student. One student would act up and he'd give the whole class a lecture about how if we kept up this behavior we'd amount to nothing and work at Mcdonalds the rest of our lives. I'm sorry but that's not exactly motivational speaking when it's the same lecture 3 times a week. All school year. And it takes up at least 15 minutes of class that we could have used for learning.
Or the infamous "new" or student teachers who can't control their classes to save their lives. I had another science class with this type. I learned nothing, and passed. I once answered a question on a quiz "2 is the square root of pie because the floor is lava." I got an A on the quiz. She didn't go over anything and passed people just to not have to have them in her class again.
Not all teachers are bad, and I'm not saying it's only the teachers that are the problem, but it's one of many. So please, discuss the problems so we can find ways to stop them.
08-21-2009, 03:59 PM
My son is almost 2 1/2, and this will sound dramatic, but I'm terrified of putting him through the traditional school system. I have a whole diatribe regarding this topic, but I'll keep this post short... well, as short as I can lol.
Sadly, education is most loudly discussed by politicians who haven't been in grade school for a good while. Test scores can only measure so much, but it costs too much time and money to assess an individual's progress, and there is only so much time and money to go around.
The focus on having students go to college is also an issue, imho. There's so much emphasis on getting into a school, but there really isn't much talk about what you'll actually need to know when you get there. I worked as a math tutor when I was in college, and I couldn't believe the classes that had to be introduced by the school because the students coming in didn't know past 8th grade math. Well, why not add a class or two-- these students are paying the tuition, right? Ironically, teachers have to go to college for certification, but how often are we looking at the certification process?
Recently, I considered returning to school for early childhood education certification. I asked a professor at a local university if they had adjusted the pedagogy at all to help American students become more competitive in the global community. I was completely blown off. Talking to a student teacher recently, they're sticking to traditional methods which keep kids confined in desks while having information spoon-fed before regurgitation. Not her words, of course, but when inquiring about student-led discovery, I received a blank stare.
If you hadn't guessed by now, I practice "alternative" methods with my toddler. He will be entering a play-based preschool, which we're excited about for social and emotional development. However, as far as our "alternative" methods go, we have fun all day while learning about art, math, language, science, etc. because all of those things are around for him to find. It would be easy for me as the "proud mamma" to write all the things he knows, but that's not what it's about, is it?
Well, the OP requested a discussion of problems... I listed some of the ones on my mind. I know we're not the only ones thinking about this; hopefully this thread won't end here!
08-21-2009, 04:39 PM
I don't blame teachers for the problems in our schools. I blame the administration. They are the people who make and approve the curriculum. They are the people who make and set the school's budget. These people literally are deciding if new text books or new football uniforms are more important (and in alot of schools it's the unforms that win). Change can occur, but you must take action first on your local school level. Make sure the elected members of your school's administration are doing what they were elected to do. You elected these people to represent you - are they truely speaking for you or for what is best for your school. Check it out. School administrators usually have one meeting a month that is open to the public. Attend one, see what it's all about.
BTW - in my school the PTA is really big on getting the kids all those fun extra things they want. Digital camera equipment for art classes, new educational computer games & programs, new books for the school library, etc. So when your kids go to school check out your PTA. They really know what is happening in the school and usually know who to go to if you have a problem that needs fixing.
Time for another mom to get up on the soap box.
08-22-2009, 10:31 AM
I went to college for a degree in biology education which would basically be 6-12 grade science. I graduated with a degree in biology and geology, I completely dropped the education portion. I spent a year as a teacher's assistant in various grade levels (part of my education requirements) and was shocked at what I saw. I found good and bad teachers, but mostly there's an overarching mentality that I took issue with. Our school district has let go over all extra programs such as TAG, OM, debate, orchestra, etc. We have kept all sports though. It is left up to the individual teachers to keep these children challenged at all levels. When I asked teachers and administrators alike how they were accomplishing this the response I received most of the time "If they are really that smart, they don't need teachers." What!!!! These are still children who still need guidance and challenges! No child left behind, my butt! Every child is falling behind!
But it's not just the teachers. We have overcrowded classrooms- at all grade levels. And if a school falls below on their test scores, they lose funding. Which in turn causes scores to fall lower. This cycle continues until the school is shut down (they have closed two in my area so far) and those students are then shuffled into another nearby school that is already overcrowded and teachers stretched thin already. There is high expectations of the teachers, they put in long hard hours, for very little pay. And then we wonder why they aren't excited about teaching our children. We also put so much emphasis on reading and math (mandatory 3 hours each per school day) that we neglect other necessary subjects.
Someone else had mentioned student led learning. My children will never see the inside of a public school classroom. My daughter attended Montessori school preschool-2nd grade and I will start homeschooling her next year. My son is only 1 and I use the same daily natural learning style with him that I used with my daughter (ever ask yourself why you sing the Hokey Pokey?). I intend for him to go to Montessori for preschool and kindergarten and then I will homeschool him as well.
Learning should be an exciting and joyous process. Most children love to learn, until we send them to school. Sorry about the rant, this is a hot topic for me.
08-27-2009, 07:05 PM
Public, and private education, is more time consuming to a parent than ever before. Why is this? Because now we are becoming more informed and educated about what actually takes place in our children's schools. As a PTA member, I am proud to be an advocate for all children. I am thankful that, because of National, State and district ptas, I have the tools in which to learn from to be a better advocate. The time is now to ask, where is the stimulus money budgeted to go to/towards? While one school may be successful, another may be struggling and perhaps forgotten. I just spoke to Metro Council in my city this evening to thank them for their support so my son's elementary school could build a playground. The funds did not come from a school budget, since physical education has been all but forgotten in our schools. The funds were raised by parents who felt a playground was an essential part of their children's day. However, at other schools, they still don't have playgrounds. Or a school has eliminated the arts because it is no longer on the State accountability test. Something has got to change! I have promised all 101,000 students in our school district who attend public school to ask the tough questions with a gentle tone about what the state govt and school board is going to do to make sure that no child is ever left behind.
08-27-2009, 11:16 PM
Working as a literacy and numeracy specialist in an Australian primary school, I provide professional development and guidance for teachers in 'best practice' English and Maths teaching. We have our share of problems here too.
I just wanted to say that changes can be implemented at an administrative level but training on the job is essential if you want anything to improve. Training doesn't change underlying personalities, however... all organisations have a huge range of types of people in them....but if carefully orchestrated it certainly can align a group of teachers in a positive direction. You can also educate yourself about some basic principles of learning so you support your child as well as possible.
It's not that difficult to make a difference yourself.
What is wrong with you women?? Quit with the poor me attitude and open your eyes. The majority of the kids these days are total jerks and where do they learn that?? From their parents. The world doesn't owe you anything, it's up to you to shape your kids into decent individuals, the teachers are not the problem it's the kids.
08-31-2009, 03:21 PM
maybe we can't change all schools and make all teachers perfect...
maybe all parents in the country aren't all perfect, which leads to their kids acting like "jerks".
maybe the problems in our schools can't be fixed, but i know what i need to teach my children before they even reach kindergarten (they are 1.5 years old) (yes, they are twins) ...
i live on an indian reservation in montana, where curriculum and teachers are based on a european point of view that discredits my ancestors and paints a distorted view of this country's history. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't succeed. I can spell, I can read, I can articulate, I can do everything anyone can do. I can pass standardized tests. I can write beautiful essays. If anything, I am a product of my education, not because I had wonderful teachers and positive peer pressure, but because I read a lot of books. When jerkoff peers were disruptive in class and the teacher went off subject, I was reading a book. Basically, I think that most people, whether they are 1 or 90 years old, know what they want to spend their time doing. As good educators and parents, we should encourage that independence and decision making unless it becomes unsafe. (I say that now because I was in trouble a lot for not paying attention) I think if more children and people knew their individual selves, skills, abilities, and history; they would find their own path. Instead of curriculum being focused on what someone should know, it should be more along the lines of building a foundation for a child to succeed and to find their purpose in life. I observed many artistic and creative children cast aside in public school systems not because they were not intelligent, but because their style of learning was different and the teachers didn't want to make an effort. All children need some kind of individualization in their curriculum so that they know they are important and cared about...I worked in a headstart classroom and I often thought that the curriculum was designed in a neat way. Goals are set, observations are made concerning each child's likes/dislikes, skills, and abilities on everything from motor skills, art, math, reading, and social-emotional.
09-10-2009, 05:19 PM
My son is 4 and my daughter is 2 and I am scared to send them to school. What are schools teaching our children? Nothing. My friends 11th grande son is taking general 11th grade English and they are learning how to use proper capitalization and punctuation!!! Shouldn't they have learned this in 1st grade.
How are our kids going to function after high school if they never learn how to read and write beyond a 1st grade level? How are they supose to pass or even get into college? Are these students our future? I thought we were moving forwards, not backwards? These will be our doctors, lawyers, future educators that will be taking care of us in thier old age.
I do not blame the schools or teachers, but do think we as concerned mothers need to ban together and create some legislation that will change this. If anyone has any ideas please let me know. I am willing to jump on any band wagon necessary to secure the future for my children.
09-12-2009, 06:32 PM
I don't have a child in school yet (daycare though) but I am a 6th grade teacher. Unfortunatlly, in many circumstances the teachers hands are tied in what they can and can't do to provide a better learning environment for your children.
As an educator I can advocate that if parents are not involved in their child's education, then it makes it near impossible for him or her to succeed. To many parents, we are seen as babysitters or a free place for their children to go while they are at work. In my particular school, if a student is having trouble in school with an academic area, we offer after school homework help. We also make phone calls, send letters, and make every effort to contact parents, including home visits in some extreme cases. Still, at the end of the year, some of these same parents come in all in a huff wondering why no one told them their child may repeat the grade.
In addition many classrooms are over crowded with children who need special assistance but do not qualify. I have one classroom with 27 students, 13 of which are considered special ed. I do have a coteacher on most days, but when he was pulled last year twice a week to assist a student from a private school that qualified for services that were not provided at his school, I was the sole teacher in the room.
Finally, teachers in public school systems are under extreme pressure both to pass state exams and to pass children socially. The pressure to pass the exams compromises what would be considered best practices in teaching. No child left behind requires that eventually we have 100 percent of students in our schools passing the ISAT or other state exam dispite the fact that we have mentally challenged children who have IEPs stating they need tests read to them and can not have the Reading portion read to them and bilinual students (both legal and illegal) who are no longer allowed to take a test that allows them to take it in another language. Plus, when children are passed dispite failing most classes, they do not have the background knowledge necissary to succeed in their subsiquent classes.
So, will I send my child to public schools? Probably through middle school as long as we are in a good district and I feel she is progressing properly, but not for high school. For high school, she will go to a college prep private school. And this is NOT because I don't have faith in the teachers, but because of the impossible situation that many public schools have been placed in.
09-12-2009, 06:59 PM
OK - I'd love to just sit on my butt and complain, but I am a person who takes action. If there is something wrong with your school, become involved - it's the only way change can happen. I am on the executive board of my local PTA. We work hard, everyday like it was a paying job, to make sure the student's in our school get the best possible education available to them.
Next week I'm attending a school board of eduction meeting along with a few hundered other PTA members to show that we want the board of education to discuss the proposed teacher's contract instead of ignoring it.
So yes, I am involved and maybe I an a jerk and maybe my kids are jerks - but to say that all of us moms here only complain - think again! I personally think the jerks are the people who do nothing to make the situation better, wether they complain or not!
Teachers - I understand how over worked you are, and that your hands are tied in may situations. If there is and organization for parents & teachers at your school, maybe you could join them and work together to make your school better. None of us can do it alone. Together, anything is possible.
09-12-2009, 08:15 PM
Parents like you are NOT the problem. I would love for parents to be this involved in their children's educations! In fact, when a teacher tries to address a problem with the administration, our voices often go unheard, but parents like you who speak up for their children end up helping all students in the long run. My personal biggest obsticle in my school is apathetic students ANd parents. They are an even bigger problem than the BD or ED child in my classroom that I can't get services for.
09-12-2009, 10:23 PM
I guess in many ways I'm very lucky and I realize it more every day as I meet people in forums like this. My school has about 650 students in grades K-6 all in one building. They have 7-12 in a building next door. We are a rural school and have problems like many others, but we also have 350 members in our elementary PTA. That is a parent for more than 1/2 the students and most parents in my area have 2 or 3 kids. I just wish parents would realize how much they can help by just getting up and speaking out. Heck most times you don't even have to speak, like me at the School Board of Ed meetings. I just go there and sit. There is something about a large number of people that makes the Board of Ed take notice.
So parents out there, be a little more vocal, or at least involved, in your child's school. You may be surprised to find out what's really going on!
09-16-2009, 07:41 PM
So here is my issue with nclb and our schools; we are completely focused on math, and reading that important things like how our government works and our own history is not being taught. Before I had kids I thought it was sad that most public school students knew less about their history and government then a person who just got their citizenship. Example: a military spouse I met said that you could not become president if you were not Christian. This is not true you only have to be born on U.S. soil and 35 years old.
Now that I am a parent I am scared of this happening to my kids. My husband had three high school student employees that he quizzed, the prize was going home early on a friday. All three of them are okayed to go on to college according to the nclb test we have. None of them could name one president that was also a general, what right the 5th amendment protected, or who we were fighting in the Civil War (unless Canada was a part of the US back then, I'm pretty sure it wasn't). Now time for the really sad part about all of this. These kids go to school in one of the best school districts in Washington state.
I don't know how to change this in my school district, because when I mention this lack of knowledge I get blown off. I am changing it at home though by adding history books to our library, talking about history and government, and allowing extended televisoin time on the history channel.
09-19-2009, 01:51 AM
I am saddened by the animosity in some of the parents. As a parent to 3, 2 of whom attend public education, and a teacher, who teaches at a district different then my children attend. I can say, I see both sides of the fence. I know what it feels like to receive school work come home and wonder why my child isn't being challenged more. I also know how it feels to receive a phone call home about excessively rough play at recess, and wonder why there weren't more teachers on duty. I also know that I have 28 additions to my family. I know that in my heart, I treat my students as if they were my own. I know what it feels like to work all day, all evening and still bring work home. I know how heartbreaking it is when you are so caught up in your students goals, that you find it hard to meet your own kids'. Listening to these posts, helps me to realize that I need to work harder to instill in my students that they need to be compassionate, understanding citizens who look at a problem and ask "What can I do to help"?
Mother of 3 and
1st Grade Teacher
02-09-2010, 10:29 AM
Here's a revelation! Let's teach our children and consider their differences, whether it be mental, physical capabilities or social economics. I feel like I'm banging my head on a brick wall when speaking to administrators about teaching to the individual child. Specifically I'm talking about "leveling" or "abilities" instruction. I'm told it smacks of discrimination. Where as I believe we're discriminating when the teacher is focused on dragging up the scores of poor performers (because of FCAT) and leaving the others with little attention and rare chances for advancement. So much time is spent with behavioural issues too - it's eating away at instruction time.
Let's stop pointing fingers at a demographic that is struggling or barely parenting their child. It is reasonable to believe that this is a repetitive cycle that WE need to help break. Perhaps you're not part of this problem? How about being part of the solution? I suggest there be classes where there is a behaviorist, psychologist, parent and teacher in the classroom? Perhaps 2 teachers in ALL classrooms to help with the leveling (instruct to ability)?
Sadly, I think most problems in the world require money? As a nation I think we need to agree that EDUCATION is a necessary priority!
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