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What's so bad about Massachusetts anyway?

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:58 AM
Original message
What's so bad about Massachusetts anyway?
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 09:58 AM by TayTay
Mass. students lead nation in reading, math
By Ben Feller, Associated Press | October 19, 2005
http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2005... /

WASHINGTON --The nation's students are getting better at math, but their reading performance is mixed, with slight progress in grade four and a slip backward in grade eight.

The 2005 scores come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal test considered the best measure of how students in every state perform on core subjects.

SNIP

Massachusetts 4th- and 8th-grade students had the highest average math and reading scores in the nation, and Massachusetts also led the country in the percentage of its higher-scoring students.

On reading tests, 83 percent of Massachusetts 8th graders read at "basic" levels or better; only North Dakota had the same percentage. Similarly, 80 percent of 8th graders scored basic or higher in math, tying South Dakota and Montana, according to the report card.

Fourth graders had the highest percentage scoring at those levels, with 91 percent in math and 78 percent in reading.
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whometense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. yay, us! n/t
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. What's kind of scary is how profoundly unsatisfied
people are with the state of Education in MA. I adored the article about the schools in MA offering Engineering as a core science subject and letting kids take this within a science schedule.

I follow this closely. (Education is one of my *issues.*) We need to do so much more. (I agree with Kerry on really getting serious on education and getting our kids ready to compete globaally.)

So, in true MAss form, we get ten seconds for a pat on the back, then get very worried again and have to work harder. This is good, but not good enough.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. What is scary is that MA has the highest scores in the country
Compared to many European countries and their programs in equivalent grades, even Massachusetts levels (and my kids are in a fairly good school system) are not that great.

I have the feeling that the language aspect of the education has way too much importance and the maths/sciences level is much lower than it is in other developed countries.

Last week, my son took his PSAT and I had a look at the math section. I was amazed at the level (low) of an exam that should be taken in XI grade. I have no clue how this would help a college to see whether a kid will be able to follow a high level math teaching.
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whometense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Oh, I agree.
Education is one of my biggest issues as well. I was trained in the Jonathan Kozol early-70's era - open classrooms, child-centered learning, etc. Exactly 180 degree pendulum swing from where we are now. Never satisfied. And we never should be, either.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. child centered learning - how it would be great rather than test-centered
My main complaint with education where I live is that the children are not challenged enough. As long as they are polite in school, teachers settle too quickly with the notion that they are doing their best. But I can understand they dont have the time to learn to know kids when they have 20 + students in one classroom.
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I couldn't agree more.
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 10:32 AM by TayTay
It's so hard to do. The funding from the FEds has dried up. The State is busy trying to distract everyone with, "wow look at the test scores. We are so much better than XXXXX state." So what. Get your act together and fully fund EdReform or get the hell out of office.

And you guys have just proved my point. Thanks! Mass residents are not prone to 'pats on the back.' We look at these and get, not full of ourselves, but very uneasy. This is nice, but it's not very meaningful. We must do better or our kids and our state will just not be able to compete. (I am the worst offender. I didn't even put Education in the thread title. Oops.)

How do people from other states feel about these endless tests? (I hate them. I hate teaching to the tests. I hate the NCLB. It's just awful.)
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whometense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. NCLB just blows.
It's the worst. And, I'm convinced, has nothing to do with educating children.

I was much more in favor of the Massachusetts tests they replaced - I forget what they were called, but they were what my older kids took, and they tested minimal competence in reading, math and writing. They imposed much less of a strain on the curriculum.

I loved working in child-centered classrooms. The best of them hummed with positive activity and quiet industriousness. The problem, of course, is that it's a thousand times more difficult to run a classroom like that well, keeping on top of everything kids are up to.

I also worked in classrooms that were doing integrated curriculum, a kind of compromise, and which were wonderful places to learn and teach. There are very very creative solutions out there to educational problems - and I think a variety of them ought to be used - different kids learn best in different settings - including the old turn-of-the-century desk in rows and faces forward reading writing and arithmetic classrooms. NCLB is like an iron gate imposed from on high. It leaves no room for creative solutions of any kind, and rules from fear rather than inspiration. Always a bad idea.

See what you unleashed, TayTay??? I am a dragon when it comes to educational theory. :grr:
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. It's a terrible idea
It doesn't teach kids how to think. how to work in groups to solve a common problem and it discourages creativity and problem-solving skills.

There are some signs of hope, but we have to get rid of NCLB. (Not just for MA but for the country.) It's designed to be a lie and it's working as such.
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whometense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. That's true.
And one of the prime ideas that came through after all my ed training was basically, you catch more flies with honey - i.e. positive reinforcement works; negative reinforcement doesn't. That goes for school systems and for children alike.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. They are hated in NJ too
They spend a huge amount of time preparing for the 4 th and 8th grade tests. They also have an 11th grade test, but a neighbor told me they were allowing a good score on the PSAT to count as a pass (and allow skipping the test). I hope this is true.

For the entire 8th garde, the kids had a class that had a meaningless name but was really a whole class to prepare for the test! So the 8th grade algebra students spent time in the math section doing problems they were bored with in about 4th grade. The English part was also very simplistic. They had added a writing part that used a very rigid rubric to grade the essays. (So, rigid most of the honors class scored as "average" as they failed to follow the magic guidelines.) This was a total waste of about 12% of their time in school!
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fedupinBushcountry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. Well
my son who is a high school History teacher hates NCLB and the testing. Although he hates it he has received awards evry year for having the highest number pass. You are exactly right TayTay it is teaching the test, no more no less.

He went into teaching because he didn't like the way he was being taught, and I'll tell yeah some of the oldie but goodies don't like his style, but he says screw them it works. He allows his kids to eat in the classroom,(he'll say ask the janitor who has the cleanest classroom) and God forbid he lets them listen to music (this is only if they are doing classwork, not when he is teaching), and to nip in the bud being interrupted over and over agin with "Can I go to the bathroom" God forbid he has a whole class bathroom break, oh they really don't like that. My favorite thing is that he painted a spatula gold, and when his students aren't paying attention, he'll pull that out and say is this what you want to do for the rest of your life.

After his first year of teaching 85 parents called asking for their kids to be put in his class the following year, and that has continued, he is now in his 4th year of teaching, and he loves it. But most importantly his students are learning and that is what counts.
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
11. Bunch of nerds!
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 12:34 PM by rockymountaindem
Go back in the computer lab before me and the rest of the corn-fed midwesterners give you a wedgie!
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whometense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. hahahahahaha
:P
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. But, but, but
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 01:19 PM by TayTay
Don't you obsess about the test scores? Doesn't every state obsess about the test scores? How can you not obsess about this? It's one of the most important functions of govt.
I mean, what if you get beat by some other state. (What if Massachusetts has to wear the dunce cap and sit in the corner? :scared: What would we be then? :scared: I would lose my whole self-image of myself. OMG! It would require a meltdown. :scared: What are you saying man?)

And where would we get wicked, wicked smaht Senators from if we lowered our standards? (I know he wasn't schooled public, but it's that atmosphere that counts.)
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I don't UNDERSTAND YOU!!!
I'm gonna beat up your boyfriend! I'm gonna piss on your windshield! I'm gonna let my big German Shepherd crap on your lawn!

Don't gotta take no crap from nerds!


This is you being nerdy in your basement, nerd!



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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. True. True.
But I am going to figure out a way to junk your car, jam your phones, turn your beer skunky and get you on the Interpol and CIA list of Most-Wanted.

And I won't even leave my computer. Take that you corn-fed bully.

We rule the world. Don't make me bring banking into this. So, help me, I will.
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. I don't KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS...
I... I suppose I lash out because I'm so vulnerable... I have this empty feeling inside that there's more to life than acting like a pompous dick. And it scares me. Deeply :cry:

Sure, society encourages it. My parents tell me I'm great. Coach and the principal say we can do whatever we want... and it's great! I mean, I've slept with the hottest cheerleader with the blondest hair and the biggest boobs... yet I feel empty. I go around with this braggadocio demeanor, taking out my helplessness on people I percieve to be worse of than me. It's an empty existance.

I mean, binge drinking after the game and sleeping with three cheerleaders a week doesn't do it for me. Yet I'm tacitly encouraged by CMT and MTV, not to mention all my cultural icons. When it comes down to it, I'm really just jealous and intimidated by everyone, but I use my physical size and elevated position in youth society to keep them at bay.

I'm so scared. Hold me...

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. It's okay.
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 01:49 PM by TayTay
You had initiated my meltdown sequence. If we aren't smart and no longer obsess about Ed here, then we are just another state with good waterfront property. Without the emphasis on Ed in MA, I might some day be begging GV to send me a Sen as good as hers. (It's the meltdown sequence. What can I say. All sorts of hellish things go through my mind.)

I slink off into a corner and mutter to myself. Now nothing but a Matrix marathon will restore me. I am having a breakdown over heyah. Quick, send cheetos, diet pepsi and Xena tapes. I'm having a moment.

Okay, I'm better now. Thanks for this. I can see a functional breakdown of the self occurring here. I recommend some therapy to bring out latent feelings of hostilty toward your father (and the coach, who is clearly a substitute father figure.)

You need to schedule some 'you' time. Clearly, you inner child has been neglected and needs to freely express himself. Perhaps some playtime.

Now, I'll hug you, if you promise not to give me a wedgie. Deal?



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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. Be careful with that nerd talk
Look at the goofy things that go on in Massachusetts.

From: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

"Did Archimedes really produce a death ray 2,200 years ago? According to Greek and Roman historians, he set Roman warships afire with a polished mirror that focused the suns rays from afar during the siege of Syracuse. Last year the Discovery Channel program "MythBusters" declared the story a myth after failing to reproduce the feat.

The program intrigued David Wallace, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When he presented the death ray as an offbeat project for his class in product development, he said, "only a small number thought it was technically possible."

On Oct. 4 on the roof of M.I.T.s West Garage, the class set up 127 cheap one-square foot mirrors 100 feet from a wooden mock up of the side of a ship. Clouds dogged the experiment, but with just 10 minutes of clear sky, the "ship" burst into flames..."
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