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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:19 AM
Original message
WP: "Did no one teach these kids basic English?"
Writing Off Reading
By Michael Skube
Sunday, August 20, 2006; Page B03

....As freshmen start showing up for classes this month, colleges will have a new influx of high school graduates with gilded GPAs, and it won't be long before one professor whispers to another: Did no one teach these kids basic English? The unhappy truth is that many students are hard-pressed to string together coherent sentences, to tell a pronoun from a preposition, even to distinguish between "then" and "than." Yet they got A's.

How does one explain the inability of college students to read or write at even a high school level? One explanation, which owes as much to the culture as to the schools, is that kids don't read for pleasure. And because they don't read, they are less able to navigate the language. If words are the coin of their thought, they're working with little more than pocket change....

***

Exit exams have become almost a necessity because the GPA is not to be trusted. In my experience, a high SAT score is far more reliable than a high GPA -- more indicative of quickness and acuity, and more reflective of familiarity with language and ideas. College admissions specialists are of a different view and are apt to label the student with high SAT scores but mediocre grades unmotivated, even lazy.

I'll take that student any day. I've known such students. They may have been bored in high school but they read widely and without prodding from a parent. And they could have nominated a few favorite writers besides Dan Brown -- even if they thoroughly enjoyed "The DaVinci Code."...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. How does one explain the inability of our president to speak English?
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I don't know -- he went to, and graduated from, some of our best schools!
n/t
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. I wonder what his Sat score was or would be....
:shrug:
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many a good man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #8
21. 1260
I only remember that because I was shocked to see it was the exact same score I got, albeit about 15 years later. In 1979 it was in the 93rd percentile. He must have fried it really badly with all the coke and booze.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. According to his Yale transcript, 1206 - 566 verbal, 640 scores. Scores
certainly FAR below those of the typical Ivy League student. But Georgie was part of the "Ivy League's affirmative-action program for alumni brats", as Weisberg puts it.
http://www.slate.com/id/1003943 /

I find it hard to believe he even got a 1206 - maybe he had someone else take it for him (which was much easier to do back in those days).
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #22
31. the one person never named in the BFEE body count is the person who
used to take junior's tests for him--including the TANG one.
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agentkgb Donating Member (37 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #22
88. Favorite Book
I've heard that Bush named "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" his favorite childhood book. That's pretty odd, since it wasn't published until he was an adult.
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. he doesn't read...
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 10:27 AM by notadmblnd
sorry pretzeldent.. audio books don't get it. I agree with the article, one has to be an avid reader in order to be able to write. The problem also isn't limited to young people coming out of highschool. Almost no one I know in my day to day life, personal and professional reads for recreation and it shows in their writing.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
98. This is a professor at Elon College in NC who advocates Bush NCLB Program!
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 09:02 PM by KoKo01
Elon is a fine school in many ways for the Southeastern US, but has a deeply religious component in their student body. I don't know if this professor is a Fundie or sincerely concerned ...but I hardly think that he's the total AUTHORITY on kids in all parts of the USA..today. And since in the middle of the article (which most of you all didn't read in the total from the link) he praises Bush's "No Child Left Behind Program!"

I would agree that most folks today don't speak proper grammar but then look at the TV Media and listen to their mangled syntax and our P-Resident.

I'm just not going to compare this professor at Elon College in NC's experience with his own students and ACCEPT that this is the NORM all over the USA. Methinks this was a "planted article in WaPo." Even though the guy just might be really concerned about his own regional students it doesn't translate to every high school student.
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City Lights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. You can lead a chimp to school, but you can't make him learn.
:evilgrin:
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
44. I'm a lousy speaker.
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 12:18 PM by igil
Yet I'm quite good at languages. As long as I don't have to speak them.

ABD in Slavic linguistics, a freelance Russian translator that has been spontaneously offered staff positions; I've been paid to translate from Czech and Slovak; I've done simultaneous Spanish-English conference interpretation at a conference, and my MA thesis compared Cervantes' works with those of a Russian satirist; I've volunteer translated Ukrainian and Serbian; I helped my wife learn enough Bulgarian to pass her reading exam for her grad program; I've read Sartre and Camus, Mallarme and Balzac, in the original in upper-level literature classes. I'm working on Turkish now; I have forgotten my Lithuanian and Hittite.

Even my native language, English, gets garbled. "He" and "she" get confused in English, even though I keep grammatical gender straight in other languages (but *not* referential pronouns!), reflexives are generally reduced to simple pronouns, and I stumble over words and constructions--and that's when I'm merely reading out loud. When I speak impromptu, it's worse. It's not too bad if I'm giving a prepared lecture to a class, or talking one-on-one, but if I'm talking to a group without preparation ... it's not a pretty sight.

Not nearly as bad as *. But I've heard tapes of myself speaking, and it's acutely embarrassing. All the remedial languages classes I took in elementary school and junior high helped my pronunciation, but nothing else.

Little more connection between ability as a speaker and intelligence than there is between being smart and being able to spell. (I dated a brilliant dyslexic before I started grad school; she couldn't consistently spell her own name right.)
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. most kids aren't going to read for pleasure
if they don't see their parents doing so.
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keroro gunsou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. why bother.
when you've got the internet, video games, etc... reading for pleasure is a lost pleasure.

still most younger kids, the potheads... i mean Harry Potter fans know a good read when they see it...
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. we have a shit culture.
I'm not going to knock HP books by any means - even my hardcore city kids will voluntarily at least give them a shot - but by and large, the whole thing works against children while pretending to be all about them.

I read Island of the Blue Dolphins to my kids two years ago, kids from the ghetto. It was the one thing I knew all year long would make them sit down and listen. They loved it.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. What you say is true, if a parent doesn't read, a kid won't read. But...
I have four girls and one boy. I always have at least one book going at a time, sometimes two. Anyway, all of my girls are avid readers. They read books that are enlightening and education, they read frivolous stuff as well. It is a big form of entertainment for us.

My son will not read no matter how much I try. I try to talk to him, I try to cajole and bribe him, I threaten him, I try to tell him what a bleak future anyone has who can't/won't read because they're at a disadvantage (and believe me, his grades show it).

We had this argument again last night.

I am afraid that I am partially guilty because I haven't taken his 'toys' away from him permanently. But when I have tried to do that before, I've found that he'll just go do something like draw for hours on end. I do not know what to do. And neither have his teachers.

I bought him glasses like they recommended. I grounded him like they recommended. I've withheld privleges like they recommended. I am totally at a loss as to what to do next.

I have him read to me. It's almost painful. He can read, but it is just a sloooooowwwwww, painful process. Like pulling teeth. Telling him he will never master the skill without constant practice just goes in one ear and out the other.

I suspect there are tens of thousands of kids like this.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #15
25. Have you tried comic books or how-to books for your son?
Your son sounds like my little brother. He never wanted to read even though everyone in the house had a book in front of their face. He was big into drawing and painting but wouldn't ever read. Then one day he discovered my older brother's comic books and was entranced. At a young age he slowly worked himself up to adult Science Fiction and drawing/painting how-to books. It was amazing what he painted after reading a how-to book. I think he found the visual medium of comic books very stimulating and eventually got caught up in the words.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. A good point - sometimes non-fiction is more appealing than fiction for
reluctant readers.
In addition to the resources in my post below, you might check out "Great Books About Things Kids Love" by Kathleen Odean and "Eyeopeners" and "Eyeopeners II" by Beverly Kobrin. These last two may be out of print, but your library might have them.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #25
34. No, I've never even thought of trying comic books. And you know what,
he is VERY visual. He's really good at drawing. And you want to read a funny story about the kid? (You have no choice unless you quit reading this post right now.)

One time I had Steely Dan's 'AJA' on the stereo. Hey Nineteen is the song that was playing. His older brother was taking trumpet lessons at this time in school. Patrick was playing on the porch. (Their father was a professional musician) Anyway, all of a sudden we heard trumpet playing along with the song. It was far from good trumpet playing, but you knew what song was being massacred. Their Dad thought it was the older boy and went out to yell at him to tell him that he'd better start practicing more because he was making a mess out of that song. Well funny thing, it was Patrick. And he was only going on 4 at the time.

End of story.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #34
45. Comic books did it for me.
Took me from a low-tracked class with lots of Cs to a high-tracked class with lots of As ... in one year. (2nd to 3rd grade).

Comics did it for two reasons.

It wasn't the drawings; it was accessibility. Drawings for me merely helped provide context for words I had trouble parsing. Comic books also used easier language, my classroom texts had just recently passed my reading skill. Another couple of years I'd have been getting Fs as the readings got harder and I made little improvement.

The other part was interest. You don't read what you're not interested in. But fluency and interest are related. Once I had the technique down, I read books that held less interest for me, since the 'cost' of reading them was lower--and I could read harder things that I hadn't known I was interested in. Science fiction lead seamlessly to Dickens and Hemingway.

Some kids are simply not interested in things that are primarily expressed in the written word. Use things the kid's interested in and likes as bribes ... I'm sorry, as 'rewards': e.g., Johnny gets to take trumpet lessons as long as his reading grades are good.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #34
51. I thought you said you had 4 girls and one boy
where did the older brother come from?

you're secretly tricking us with a reading comprehension test, aren't you?
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #51
75. Ohhhhhh yeah, step brother. Not my kid. Patrick's son from a previous
marriage.

SORRY!
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #25
42. you know what's done it for my son? girls... that's right those girls have
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 11:56 AM by notadmblnd
him reading and writing. This is a child that still wasn't reading in the 3rd grade. I got him into an intensive reading program at school and he's finally up to par but until recently... having him sit and read was/is pure torture for him. Now that the girls are interested in him (he's 13), I find him spending time on the computer I'm-ing each other. Imagine my surprise when I found out they are writing little erotic stories with each other. So far it's pretty innocent. It's just been about kissing and holding hands and silly stuff and I thought about nipping it in the bud cause I can see where this could get out of hand.. but hell it's got the boy reading and writing. What's a mother to do?
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #15
26. Here are some resources that might help:
Have you tried "Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read" by Laura Backes
or "Great Books for Boys" by Kathleen Odean
or "How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike" by Esme Raji Codell
or "Valerie & Walter's Best Books for Children: A Lively, Opinionated Guide" by Walter M Mayes and Valerie Lewis
or Jim Trelease's classic "The Read-Aloud Handbook"?
If not, take a look. Lots of very, very good titles in these.

If he doesn't like to read by himself, reading aloud to him could be a VERY big help. It would give him the exposure to language and good writing that he needs, and could very well "hook" him and turn him on to the joy of books. Plus, it's a wonderful way to spend time with your kid. Reading aloud is one of the single best things that parents can do for their children, and even older kids benefit from it - too many parents stop reading aloud when the child learns to read by himself. Jim Trelease's book (and his website) has some very good info and tips about reading aloud. There's so much fantastic children's literature out there! The resources I listed help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

You could also try Googling "books for reluctant readers" for various websites that give lists of books.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #26
35. Thank you. Believe me, more people than myself have tried working
with the kid. Counselors in school, his teachers, and his sisters.

He is very frustrating.
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #15
30. I am assuming that learning disabilities have been ruled out, correct?
all of the suggestions here are excellent. Many children I know who claimed not to like reading got hooked on the harry potter books, once their parents started reading it to them.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #15
50. He draws for hours on end?
That's great. You should encourage that.

And what was said about comic books - good idea. Don't dismiss that. I love James Joyce and Flannery O'Conner but that doesn't stop me from appreciating a good comic book. There a lots of really well written graphic novels too. Maybe the cajoling is actually putting him off reading?
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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
77. Those of us who read for pleasure, relaxation, and/or escape really
have little conception for what it is like for those who don't read well.

If I had to live without books, I would go stark staring crazy.

But I work with kids who don't read well. It is amazing to me how little they know about cultural icons from children's stories. No one read to them and reading is a chore.

When I am reading, I don't see words as words. The story just flows off the page to me as vividly (or more so in my case since I don't much care for television or video) as any movie. Those who have poor reading skills don't really understand the story that unfolds from the words because all they see are the words.

I got a taste of this once when my son kept interrupting me while I was reading. I read the same sentence about six times between interruptions and tried to move on. But my concentration was so broken by that point that all I saw were words and the stroy was lost.

It was not a pleasant feeling.

People who have never had the written word just flow off the page for them simply do not understand the wonder of books.

The consequences of not reading follow in lack of vocabulary, inability to write well, a lack of understanding of basic grammar and punctution.

One way to over come the lack of reading ability is to start young in making books attractive to children. J.K. Rowling touched a nerve in children and made them WANT to read her books. Part of that was the hype that surrounded the books as each new one came out. The latest Harry Potter book became a MUST HAVE for kids from about seven on up. The books themselves were exciting enough and amusing enough to hold their attention once they started reading them.

But there are other books and authors out there that are just as appealing to kids as the Harry Potter books. The kids need to be exposed to them from early on.

Do teachers read to the kids anymore? I haven't seen it beyond first or second grade until very lately. The high school my son attends and the one I am working at now have just instituted a fifteen minute period every morning for teachers to read to their classes. This is high school! And the students are sitting there listening and enjoying that time.

Books that speak to kids must be available from kindergraten on up. And they can be given as rewards.

Today, for most kids, reading is made to feel like a chore rather than a pleasure, so they don't want to do it.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #15
79. How old is your son?
I'm a former teacher. Usually once a kid CAN read, it doesn't take long for them to become competent at it. If he's really struggling, it's likely not from a lack of practice, but because he needs more or better instruction at school -- he might well have a learning disability.

Forcing him to read is going to make him hate it -- I can't believe anyone really suggested PUNISHING your son for not reading!

Obviously, being able to read well is incredibly important, but not everyone reads for fun. I knew a brilliant mathematician -- a professor -- who had honestly never read an entire book of fiction in his life.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #79
81. He's 13, will be 14 in a month. A freshman in high school this year. That
is why this freaks me out so, time is running out. This has played hell with him all during his school years.

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #15
80. Does the school have extra-curricular reading??
My kids had Pizza Hut book-it in elementary school, read so many books, get a pizza. All my kids read and that's why. We moved to a different district and there was a number of books required every quarter, and reading time set aside daily or weekly to meet a portion of the goals. It required reading at home too and if you didn't do the reading, you didn't pass the class. In addition, all the classrooms had reading corners set up, with pillows and such, which also encouraged reading. If your school is primarily advocating discipline measures to get your son to read, then you've got a problem with your school. I also agree with the comic books, sports magazines, outdoor books and magazines that others have suggested. Even finding some fun web sites can help, he'll have to learn to read well to truly navigate the internet.

Good luck!!
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
61. Actually, I've found the reverse, to some extent.
The internet is lousy for novels - reading for too long off a screen gives most people headaches - and for modern, and hence still in print, work, but if, like me, you like poems or short stories by older writers like Kipling or Chesterton then the internet is a godsend.

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. You're right, ulysses. So many houses are devoid of books. nt
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. it amazes me that people don't get that.
My brother-in-law essentially never reads anything he isn't forced to read, there are literally *no* books in the house, when he's doing something with his kids it's riding dirt bikes (nothing essentially wrong with dirt bikes, but that's pretty much it), yet he's stressing out because the kids have a difficult time in school. The seven year old is still only an emergent reader and getting early intervention services at school.

I grew up in a house full of books (as my son is now) and I could read by age three. Go figure.
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Kickoutthejams23 Donating Member (354 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. I couldn't agree more.
The best habit my father had was reading the Sunday Times at the kitchen table every week. Then doing the magazine crossword (in ink no less). Like wearing seat belts and treating people with respect reading is a habit picked up from parents. Schools can only do so much (and IMHO they try to do way too much). The parents often will instill the love of reading in their children. I know there are exceptions but I find this a pretty common cause and effect.
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #13
27. IIRC, the American Booksellers Association...
....announced a few years ago that the average American bought .85 of a book annually.

Granted there are libraries, and loaners from friends, but that's still pretty sad.

We fretted over illiteracy for generations, only to get mugged by aliteracy.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #27
85. heh.
We fretted over illiteracy for generations, only to get mugged by aliteracy.

Well, and sadly, said.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
10. We've cut funding for schools for decades
And the Washington Post is only now figuring out that the quality of our high school graduates leaves something to be desired in academia? Who read the professors' complaints to Mr. Skube?
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
11. A lot of smart kids hate homework and refuse to do it
Most take-home assignments are the type of rote repetition that is unnecessary to a quick learner. Yet they often count as a large percentage of an overall grade. This is because the average student needs the reinforcement.
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Glorfindel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. "Refuse to do it?" I hope the little snots get "F's"
as they so richly deserve (or whatever is being handed out for failure these days). I'm showing my age, but when I was in school, one did as instructed or failed. No wonder even well-educated people see no difference between "discreet" and "discrete." :puke:
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ReverendDeuce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #16
28. I couldn't DISagree more...
The poster to whom you are replying is absolutely correct. I was bored throughout highschool simply because the swift completion of so-called "busywork" was not my learning style. I'm a hands-on learner. Being taught to memorize and regurgitate facts and figures without any critical analysis or introspection was the order of the day -- and this was just ten years ago.

I remember vividly some of the assignments we were given. Even in the Advanced Placement classes I was enrolled in, we had many assignments that were completely plebeian. I was eighteen and being asked to fill in the dialogue to the word bubbles in a comic-strip version of the diary of Anne Frank where the characters were portrayed by mice. And this was, indeed, an Advanced Placement English class.

I am hoping you can see why you're wrong. Not everybody learns the same way. At the rate the school system is failing and the push for compliance with "No Child", it's not a surprise that high-schools are feeling the pinch to graduate as many students as possible.

This is Ayn Rand thinking at work, folks.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #28
49. In AP history, I quit doing worksheets when I found out that
we were getting assigned the same worksheets as the lowest level history classes, which used completely different books.

If my teacher is too lazy to give us real work, why should I bother with it?

And what meaning does AP have when its the same shit as all other level classes?

Harder tests, harder texts, same assignments? WTF?
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asjr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #16
32. Amen to that! And in my day grammar
was taught. I cringe these days when I hear our youth put a sentence together. And some adults. WORDS--the most important tool we have at our disposal and they don't mean anything anymore.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #16
48. Shit, I didn't do homework. I was a waste of time. Still got A's and B's
Because I knew my shit, did very well on tests and quizzes, and did only homework that was necessary
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #48
64. Back in my day
the 70's and 80's, there was no way you could have done this. A's and B's were simply out of range of a student who had earned zeroes on his homework assignments.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #64
70. back in your day
people couldn't instantly communicate with thousands of other people through a medium such as the one we are using now.

Yet here we are...
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #70
73. Which still doesn't mean that it should be that easy to get
A's and B's. Part of the task of education is to condition people to the fact that, in our lives as workers and even in our domestic lives, we must do things that are hard, or boring, or seemingly pointless. Easy success in high school sets people up for failure, unless it acculturates them to this reality.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #73
74. I could argue that doing well on bullshit assignments
sets people up for failure just as easliy.

In fact, that seems to be the point of the OP.

Meaningless, BS assignments that only ask people to fill in blanks with keywords they skimmed from the text teaches people that they will be rewarded for doing just enough to get by.

And it turns them into non-thinking drones.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #73
82. Oh yes. Must condition them to be obedient drones
Is that what school is supposed to create? Personally, I don't have a problem with tasks that are hard, or even boring, so long as there IS a point to them. But the idea that students MUST have an assignment or that adults MUST have something to do, no matter if there is a relevent need for it at the particular time is quite insulting. It's borne of the "idle hands are the devil's workshop" philosophy and it's how those who deem themselves the overclass keep those they deem beneath them in line. As for easy success in high school, the idea of 30 - 40% of your grade being based on the completion of meaningless homework drills would seem to fit that bill nicely.
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #16
68. Right on!
Because when they can get away with it in primary and secondary school, they think they can get away with not handing in assignments in college, and, thankfully, they're wrong, at least in my class. Colleges and universities are our last defense against complete and utter barbarism.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #68
83. Funny, it didn't work that way for me
I was terrible about doing homework all through grade and high school but never missed an assignment in college. The difference being that the papers I did for my college classes were meaningful and expanded upon my learning in the classroom. Meanwhile, many of the good little high school homework-doers struggled with applying analysis and creative thinking to concepts. They would be stunned to get Cs and Ds on papers they thought would be just fine. They were accustomed to getting kudos just for turning stuff in and following directions.
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dkofos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
14. The number of educated citizens is far to high.
We need a highly uneducated class to fill our jails, clean our toilets and mow our lawns.
We can no longer depend on illegal aliens to fill the void.

:sarcasm:
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Glorfindel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. FAR "to" high - you're exactly right
All American citizens should be paid huge salaries for writing memos and reading the newspaper. What could be more tragic than a Master of Fine Arts scrubbing a toilet? :evilgrin:
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
18. I wonder how the kids can be taught basic english when, at least in my
experience, many of the teachers are deficient in that area. I know a number of teachers who cannot spell properly, and whose spoken english leaves a bit to be desired.

it is true that a child needs to have the example of reading. in my home, where four languages were spoken, there were books and newspapers and magazines all the time. My mother took me to the library every week until I was old enough to go by myself. Reading for pleasure, and for information and learning, is a habit that must be inculcated.

The last poster was not far wrong, however. Many years ago, in Signs literary magazine, there was an article about our educational system. The central thesis was that the system is working exactly the way it is designed to work--turning out people who are incapable of critical thought, incapable of garnering information, functional illiterates. After all, one cannot control a society of highly- educated people, but one CAN control a society of the uneducated, unthinking, and totally incurious.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #18
36. For further elaboration on this thesis, check out the writings of John
Taylor Gatto. I especially like "The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher", which is a chapter in his book "Dumbing Us Down" and is widely available on the web. Some of JTG's writings are available on his website. http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/index.htm

An article about JTG, with links to many of his essays/speeches is here:
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/052800.htm
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
19. It's from the top down ,Shrub is a prime example.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
20. Schools don't teach pronouns or prepositions
My kids' high school required reading "for pleasure" and was very strong on writing, the kids supposedly score high on writing in our state tests. But they were never taught basic sentence structure, certainly never diagramed a sentence or even broke down a word. The kinds of routine worksheets that focused on word choice and common grammar mistakes are considered "busy work", and some of the AP kids will challenge the teachers about the "busy work" and refuse to do them. So while my kids can develop an idea and get it on paper, I could see where the silly elementary school mistakes they make would drive a college professor right over the bend.
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senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. Schools DO teach pronouns and prepositions
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 11:16 AM by senseandsensibility
Please do not make blanket statements about our public schools. I am sorry that you have had a bad experience with your public school, but you statement is false. I am a public school teacher and I teach pronouns to second graders. It is part of our very regimented curriculum. I teach in a very poor school district with a majority of English Language Learners. Please, please, do not mislead people. These kinds of statements pop up in every "education" thread I have ever read on DU, and it's just disheartening. Teachers and students in the poorest districts are working incredibly hard against tremendous odds. :-(
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #23
41. Yeah, second graders
Which is why I said "silly elementary school mistakes they make would drive a college professor right over the bend." What one learns about proper sentence structure in second grade is surely not what a college professor is referring to when they ask whether students have been taught basic English. When was the last time you heard anybody agonize over diagraming sentences, or did you ever even have to do it yourself??
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senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #41
58. Personal insults.
Charming. Your ridiculous diatribe does nothing to refute the contents of my post. Your statement was untrue, and it's there for everyone to see. You don't want to admit it, or address it, so you resort to smearing a fellow DUer.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. I did not insult you at all
I asked a question, did you ever have to do sentence diagraming in middle or high school. That's a yes or no answer and can no way be construed to be an insult. Or is that what teachers these days consider a non-cooperative uppity parent - and yes you may construe that as an insult since you decided to insult me.

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senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #59
63. You are not a parent of a student in my class
so your comment is irrelevant, and has nothing to do with how I treat parents. I have never received a complaint from a parent in twenty plus years of teaching. Yes, your comment was rude and insulting, just like your original statement was untrue. I see that you still refuse to address that. You're the first DUer I have put on ignore. Congrats.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #63
67. I asked you a question
How in the world is asking you a question rude and insulting? Why won't you answer it?

And no complaint in twenty years?? Honey that ought to give you a clue that something is way wrong in your relationship with parents... nobody is perfect.

Ignore?? It's a DU hobby to put me on ignore. What else is new.
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Buns_of_Fire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #67
91. I remember diagramming sentences!
\But
..\I
....\was
......\never
........\very
..........\good
............\at
..............\it

I also learned never to begin sentences with "but." But I've gotten sloppy in my pre-dotage. I remember, though, not to end a sentence with a preposition. That is something up with which I will not put.*



*Paraphrased from Winston Churchill, for those keeping score! :thumbsup:
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
43. Everyone knows better than the actual teachers
It's one of the weaknesses of our profession. Everybody knows better about the nuts and bolts of education than we do, and things were always better when they were kids. Any success you might have in pedagogy is outweighed by your massive failures. I'm surprised you don't know this by now, since we are reminded whenever the question of education comes up that any layperson off the street would be a better teacher than the actual teachers who work in education, and that our entire lives are a sick joke, and that we are ruining the country with our laziness and poor habits. If you really want to know about education, ask a stock broker, or a bus driver, or a stay-at-home mom: they'll invariably know much more about it than we do. See, they went to school at one point (when things were better); we only work in schools all day and study for advanced degrees in the theory and practice of pedagogy. What in hell can we possibly know about it?

:eyes:
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senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #43
60. Thanks. Your post
is insightful and funny. I admire you for dealing with the situation with humor; I hope to be able to do so myself some day. One day, a few years back, limpballs attacked the public schools because they didn't teach Spelling anymore. I was told about this by members of my own family. They chose to believe him rather than their own family member who taught in the public schools. I guess I just imagined giving those Spelling tests every Friday throughout the eighties and nineties, and running off and designing the Spelling homework on my own time.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #43
86. ding!
:D :thumbsup:
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #20
55. I think grammar is still taught in High Schools
I think grammar is still taught in High Schools. Whether the students actually pay attention and retain that information is another story.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #55
57. I check my kids' schoolwork
It is not taught in high schools to the extent it was 30 years ago. I learned most of my grammar and sentence structure in 7th grade by a woman who was ancient then. It's the only class where I ever got intensive grammar lessons. I've been to school, my sisters and cousins and friends, my kids - several schools, several states - they do not teach that kind of grammar anymore. They presume that if kids read a lot they will pick up proper sentence and paragraph structure, it's written right here in this thread. But it's just not true, it has to be taught.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #57
62. They still do in some school districts
We did sentence diagrams at the high school I attended, and this is in dirt-poor Mississippi. Grammar was the staple of the English language curriculum outside of literature at my high school, and I graduated in 2001. Of course, the school could do a lot better if it weren't for lack of public funding and a shortage of qualified teachers, but these problems are found nationwide.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #62
65. That's good to hear
To be sure we're on the same page, do you mean like all of these:

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/diagrams2/one_pa...
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #20
95. I did.
When I taught high school English, I taught all of that. We had Grammar and Free Reading Fridays--half the class was on grammar, and half the class was a free reading time (I didn't care what they read, so long as it had words on the page and they actually read).

I don't teach English anymore, but I'll be helping out at my daughter's elementary this year, probably as a writing tutor. I always cover grammar, so I'm sure I'll be doing it there, too.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
24. An anecdote: Every Halloween...
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 11:25 AM by MindPilot
At least one kid will peer into the house while I'm handing out the candy, notice the bookcase, and ask "is this place a library?"

It really speaks to the idea that there are obviously more than a few homes where having a collection of books is completely foreign.

Edited becuz I cant right goode.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #24
38. Wow -- I don't know why your story surprises me. Sad, isn't it? nt
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #24
40. years ago, a friend of mine asked why I wouldn't go out with him-- I told
him it was because he didn't read--I mean NOTHING. there was not ONE piece of printed material in his house. one time when he was in my house, he looked at my piles of books and magazines, and said, "what do you do with all those books?" I just looked at him and said, "I read them, of course. what do you think I do with them?" sad.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
76. I have a similar anecdote.
Sort of.

I toured with a children's theater company in the early eighties. Our mission was to bring live performance to small-town elementary aged kids. All of these schools had some sort of stage from the lunchroom platform to the more authentic proscenium auditorium. We required that at least four of the students help us set up and strike the set. We encouraged audience partcipation during certain parts of our plays. Afterwards, we stood out front as the students exited and we greeted them. Our company did this because it's tradition but there was a deeper purpose. We wanted to instill in the children that we were real people, portaying storybook characters.

Nevertheless, no matter where we were, regardless of the socio-economics of the town, one of us would meet a child that said this:

"That was a really nice movie."

That was almost 30 years ago and I seriously doubt I would encounter more enlightened children today.

Please don't take this as a theater snob thing. It certainly isn't a grammar thing. To me, this thing speaks to our modern entertainment-choked culture. That box in the living room. This box we're using to read DU. The box in our car that pacifies us as we drive to work. All this visual and audio candy -- who teaches their child to look inside the box?

I'm not telling anyone to shut off the teevee or lock up the Interwebs. I merely wonder if parents take the time to peel back the curtain and let their kids see the ropes and painted backdrops and props. When Vin Diesel goes flying through the air in a bad-ass car, do we remind them that Vin Diesel is an actor and he's not really driving that car? Do we tell them that that stunning ingenue looks that way because of makeup, lighting, costumes and camera angles? Do we tell them that the story ends the way it ends because that's the way the author wrote it?

I love entertainment. I once dedicated my life to the profession. Yet, I wonder if the masses would be so easily swayed by the machinations of carbetbaggers and soap sellers like politicians and the MSM, if we all made the effort to remember that it's always show business.
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misanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #76
97. Easy now...
...not all theater and music is mere entertainment. Some of it is very vital art that changes lives for the better.
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
33. There is a direct correlation in success in life, at all levels, with ...
reading, writing and comprehension.

As in the past, most of our communication skills are based on the oral aspect of communication. This is a necessity in most situations, as most situations defer to an immediate knowledge of what needs to be done in a specific point in time.

Writing preserves a societies culture and ensures that thoughts and conclusions are preserved. Reading, whether for enjoyment or for learning, is an absolute necessity, for through the written word, we are led to a far richer knowledge of that which is not just around us, but from a distance s well. We are opened to thoughts and notions that would go unnoticed in casual conversation.

Often, out language is enhanced with new and interesting words and phrase, but more often, new words and phrases degrade the language and therefore degrade the comprehension of said language. throughout our history, we have seen the pendulum swing both ways; today, we are in a de-constructive phase of the English that Americans speak. What youngsters are hearing today, is what most third graders would consider appropriate. The bastardization of the language is due to many factors, but ignorance is the prime motivator for such changes. Ignorance, under the guise of being "cool", has changed what was once a language of eloquent communication into crude byproduct that enhances ignorance and encumbers discourse.

Slang has its place in the English language, as it does in every language, but slang should not replace the language. Reading anything, helps to alleviate the problem, but it does not eradicate the problem. Quality reading involves comprehension. Readers need to have reference materials as well; dictionaries, a Thesaurus and other individuals to communicate with are essential to learning and comprehension. It begins with parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances...all of which must be dedicated to the learning process.

Eloquence is becoming a lost art...just look at bush... :eyes: But it can be salvaged, it takes work, but the rewards are immense.

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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
37. As one of the people who will be greeting first year students in a college
writing course in a few short weeks, I'll only say "hmmmm."

I won't bother to bring up all the articles with identical content written about incoming Harvard students in the 1890's, since everyone here is too busy waxing indignant about these kids these days, and I'd hate to disabuse all the impeccably educated adults of their precious nostalgia.
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
39. Geography lacking too
National Geographic surveyed young Americans between 18 and 24.

84% could not locate Iraq.
50% could not locate New York State.
11% could not locate the United States.

It's hard to believe that someone could have a high school diploma without knowing that "he" is a pronoun.
It's stunning that half of all young people don't know where New York is.
Simply amazing.


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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
46. I am going to make damn sure my kids know how to diagram a sentence.
If they're not taught that in school (they're 9 & 6 now) I will teach them. We make sure to talk to them about proper English (No, honey, it's not, "Me and Zach did X on recess," it's "Zach and I did X on recess," ... )

I put on the Scholastic Rock video on grammar the other day ("We unpacked our adjectives," "Lolly your adverbs here," "Conjunction Junction, what's your function," etc.) because I think that was an excellent tool for teaching grammar and I learned a lot through those songs in the 70s.

My son is an avid reader and we have to make sure he turns off his light at night and gets enough sleep.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
47. A lot of the straight A students I knew in HS cheated their asses off
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #47
53. i knew a few more in college, too
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #53
56. fraternities and sororities
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
52. Has anyone stopped to think that homework might be the problem?
As in, the kinds of assignments students are given in high school?

Nothing intellectual or challenging. Just pathetic busywork, "skim the chapter, fill in the blank".

And the quizzes and tests? "Memorize these facts for two weeks, then forget them forever."

Even so-called essay tests are graded not on writing skills or coherent, logical order. All teachers do is scan through for five or six key words that the student was supposed to spew back out. I've read some of these essays by other students when i was in High School, they were shit. (And, no, I'm not bitter, I got A's too).

Plus, none of these formats ever really require actual work. The way most assignments and tests are set up only encourages "group work" (aka cheating). One kid gets the answers, everyone else copies it. I've seen it done by celebrated NHS students on a regular basis.


You know what I was doing instead of doing homework? I was reading actual books, discussing them with other friends, working (requiring communication skills), and, yes, occasionally playing video games and going to parties.


And I still managed to graduate with a good GPA and get into the colleges to which I applied.


And I like to think that my ability to write and communicate on a collegiate level is up to par.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #52
84. That was my experience as well.
The only class I was ever in in high school where most of the students could write not only understandably but well was AP compostion. In most of the other classes the vast majority of the students (and in more than one case, the instructor) couldn't produce comprehensible writing. The problem was generally structure of the overall work rather than sentance structure, with paragraph breaks thrown in with no real relationship to the flow of the writing and no organization of the thoughts conveyed.

I think a large part of the problem was that most classes other than English required at most three papers a year and they were very leniently graded. It's hard to get people to take learning to write seriously if the only incentive they have to do so is the rather unlikely possibility that someday they may have an English teacher who grades thier work on it's merits. That's if they even understand that they are mangling the language, which many appeared not to, probably due to teachers who had either given up or simply didn't have the time to explain that you start a new paragraph when you change ideas or speakers, let alone to introduce a simple structural concept like the five paragraph essay.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
54. Are these kids alowed in "English Only Spoken Here" establishments?
I suppose if these kids are allowed in "English Only Spoken Here" establishments, it'll adverstise the shopkeeper's veiled attempts at racism for what it really is.

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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
66. I find it hard to believe it could be that bad.
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #66
90. you may find it hard to believe, but it really IS that bad. check out how
many colleges offer remedial english courses. LISTEN to kids and the way they communicate, or try to read some of their english assignments. I have a young friend, product of the florida (we're 49th) school system, who couldn't write a comprehensible sentence to save her life her first year in college. I ended up proofreading all of her written assignments. her younger sister was in even worse shape, but, fortunately, got into a somewhat decent school system.

and there is that strain of anti-intellectualism that runs through this society. I have been criticized, and called elitist (as though that were the ultimate insult) for actually using the language correctly.
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #90
93. How many offer basic English is not the issue
How many are placed into basic English, or what you're calling a remedial course? How many have historically placed into basic English since its real emergence alongside open admissions policies in the 1960's? Since I have worked in composition administration, I know. Since my advanced degrees are in the history of composition pedagogy, I know. I'm guessing that A) you don't work in the field of language instruction, and B) you haven't studied the history of this complex field, so I'm assuming that you don't know the answer to either of these questions. But feel free to pontificate. We all know what opinions are like...
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dollydew Donating Member (127 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
69. Basic English
What is a verb, adverb , noun, pronoun? Start there at a young age. Make it fun. I was always an avid reader. What some don't understand that in some communities this gets you branded as thinking you're better than everyone else. I read Greek mythology in elementary school (for fun). I was considered strange. Until our society showers as much respect on intellectuals as they do on sports figures, forget it.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #69
71. I think you're right, make people want to know
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
72. It's called the boob tube
because it turns you into a boob.

I really don't blame primary and secondary school teachers or administrators. The fault lies with the parents, and with the televisual lifestyle of Americans today.

A friend of mine has a theory about knowledge, which is that common knowledge isn't common, that most of it is known only to a few, and even the best-educated will occasionally be wrong. I once met a Ph.D. student, for example, who was unfamiliar with the heliocentric model of the solar system (she thought the sun rotated around the earth once a day, and I had to convince her that the earth rotating on its axis would also produce the same effect, from our point of view.) One person can be wrong about one particular fact, even something as important as the question of whether the sun rotates around the earth or vice versa, and it doesn't matter. The real danger inheres in the loss of our love of learning and the devaluation of the activity of education.

Far too many kids, and parents, see the attainment of a degree as a necessary credential for securing a certain lifestyle. That being the case, cheating becomes understandable, though no less repugnant. I agree with the comments on the prevalence of cheating; it has made me wish I had the authority to revoke the high school diplomas of certain students.
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Fountain79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
78. Some points I think have summed it up well here...
I think people have lost the love of learning for learning's sake. I think grades have become the most important thing for some and I think teachers sometimes are pressured to not give so many D and F's.(grade inflation) Rather than college being a reward for hard work, it is now seen as mandotary and almost a given for anyone when honestly it's not meant for everyone. I think some people honestly are better suited for trade schools and/or junior colleges. That's not a put-down, it's to say that they can do better and be more successful in those places.
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KitSileya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
87. I go with Mr. Heinlein on this one.
If you want a good education, it is most certainly possible to get one - especially at university level, but you have to work for it. You can certainly coast along and get good grades anyway, if you have a modicum of intelligence.


I teach vocational high school, and I've noticed a trend where kids expect lavish praise for doing things like homework or assigned tasks, to a much greater extent than my peers and I (and I graduated HS just 12 years ago.) They're no longer as used to having to do things they consider boring or pointless, and if they do do these things they expect the teacher to go out of their way to notice it, no matter how poorly done it is. I think especially the segment of the population where the kids can afford to go to college is setting their kids up for a fall - the parents (and teachers) have instituted a paedagogy where kids are praised for everything they do right, and the things they do wrong is to a certain extent ignored in the belief in positive reinforcement. I'm not saying we should go back to the birch switch and ruler smacking hand for everything done incorrectly, but we need to assess the results of this method.
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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #87
100. It's a generation of kids raised on the do-over
It will hurt their self esteem if they are not told they are gifted. I think we as a society do kids a dis service when we denigrate vocational school and act as if everyone can attend an ivy league school. Many mechanics may not be interested in philosophy but they sure can work an engine. What upper middle class parent would beam with pride about their child, the mechanic?

I think we need to be realistic about a child's talent and let that talent and interest guide the child. If a kid is more interested in building things then maybe being a carpenter is his/her calling. There is no shame in that game and union carpenters make good money.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
89. The phenomenon I've noticed is that of middle class parents
determined that their children will get into a good college. The SATs were adjusted recently to ensure that more students get a high score. These parents will also go down and fight with the teachers over every single grade point. Of course, there are always (and always have been) the students smart enough to figure out that it is easier to cheat than to learn the assignment. Thus we have graduates from all kinds of schools who look good on paper but aren't really functional.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
92. That's one accurate reason.
Reading is not valued in many homes. Another reason is that intellect and intellectual pursuit is also not valued. Allow me to share some of the comments I got from my rural middle-schoolers last year:

"Why do you always have to use big words?"

"Who cares how you say it? You understand me, don't you?"

"Why are there so many rules? Everybody I know gets along just fine without them."
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Sydnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
94. My son just had to take placement tests
before registering for his college classes. They took the test on computers and they were graded right then so that the counselors could recommend (or insist in some cases) classes that would fit their abilities. When my son got to the counselor, the counselor noted that my son was the first kid that he had seen all day that actually passed all of the areas of the test (english, reading, and math). He scored a full 20% above the passing score requirement. I know my son is smart, but that really floored me. With the standard high school tests in place in my state, that they have to pass to get a diploma in the first place, I can't imagine that we still have that many kids falling through the cracks like that. It's really a sad commentary.
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conflictgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
96. I would totally disagree re: the SAT
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 07:47 PM by conflictgirl
I'm proficient enough with language that I make my living now as a writer and editor. (My posts here are written more slapdash than a lot of what I do professionally, so I hope the quality of my posts won't be held against me.)

I just took a practice GRE test because I'm looking at grad school. My verbal scores were 90th percentile, but let's not even get into the quantitative/math. The math scores were pathetic enough that I wouldn't be able to get into top schools. And, yes, I have a high GPA. I believe that GPA inflation is real, though SAT scores have been re-centered in recent years as well.

I don't think tests of any sort should be how we quantify intelligence. That's the same thinking behind NCLB, and I don't believe that has improved the quality of education one bit.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
99. Oh, for God's sake!
This is the same shit I heard about my generation twenty years ago when I was in college, and the same shit my parents heard when THEY were in college and the same shit that every older generation says about the younger. Blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda!
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