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Experiences in Education

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I can only speak from experiences in American School Systems. Historically American Education was somewhat based on Piaget's theories of 'readiness'. So, by first grade one should be ready to do addition and so on up the years in each subject. If a student was not ready for a new grade they got extra assistance, summer school, or repeated a grade (Of course this was not necessary in the one room school houses, I digress.)


After Sputnik was launched in 57, American educators felt their ed. was inferior, took a new perspective, and "pushed down" higher learning to lower grades. Also by the 60s, more Moms were working out side the home and childcare centers became preschools and attempted to teach 'grade school subjects' to toddlers.  I happened to have been in one of the middle school research math books in the 60s that taught 99 percent theoretical math and hoped to prepare everyone to be a computer programmer  or astrophysicist. That math book series was quickly scrapped.  Because an A in a specific school-to-school meant something different, there were entrance exams to post secondary schools.


Of course, individual students from the same school got a range of scores, and this did not affect non college bound learners.  Many big businesses had to take a new employee for many months to train them in basic skills that they lacked although having a diploma.  For some years, there have been state-wide initiatives (after funding many dollars to groups of educators to come up with grade level expectations. I was one of the unpaid persons who worked on this in New Hampshire.) So, many states have come up with expectations called "learning results, common achievements,  standard assessments, et al."  


Enter: NO Child Left Behind - through this policy, students would graduate whether they had any academic performance level or not, hence the I.E.P. (Individual Education) diploma, which is generally useless in the job market or vocational schools. IEP students had to go back to school for a GED or High SChool Equivalency Diploma. Some of these student had not had any expectations since third grade. So, University of Massachusetts (where I went to college) worked on a series of tests that went from pre-literacy through high school  graduation level, called the TABE (TEST of Adult BAsic Education). Although this test is not perfect, and is generally not used (by educators) according to its own instruction, it does place a student of any age into a distinct grade level (in each subject, which can be five different grades), with observable outcomes through post testing. It could rightly be called 'test for basic education.' 


NOw, the up and comer, Common Core. It is true that there should be a common expectation for each subject, each grade.   I only retired 9 months ago, so was on the ride for its roll-out.  The teacher workshops I attended and materials recommended were abyssmal.  The "text books" were fraught with error, did not match the work books or answer keys, and were constantly being re-called.  Teachers were arguing with each other during the sessions. 


Primarily, though, the problem is behavior in classes, and the idea that there will be a "teachable moment."  There are few, and so many admins are looking askance at student  cheating  or grade inflating.   In the case of one-on-one aids, the assistant is frequently doing all the work. They are even allowed to sit with their student during  testing, or students are allowed to take their exams out of the classroom into resource rooms, where the exam can be read to them, someone else can write down the answers for them, and so on.  


HOmeschooling is one alternative, and there are 'typical stated curriculum'  goals available which many home-schoolers enter on their letter to their school admins.   Unschooling is a philosophy of some homeschoolers  which minimizes formal attempts during home education.


Edited by trottigy
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Pauline, I always enjoy your comments and hindsight especially when it comes to educating our young ones.  We have some fine examples in the congregation who thrive when the parents take the initiative , in active and progressive interest in the spiritual progress and secular education. Whether it's home-schooling, chartered or public schools.

We have a friend who as an administrator in a charter school primarily for JW's.  Sadly some parents send their wayward kids to this school expecting the teachers to set them straight.   :encourage:

Edited by Precision
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Fascinating Pauline, your experience is invaluable.  I love hearing current and former educators being open and honest about the current affairs of the United States education system.    So encouraging to hear it. There are some nice documentaries that really the expose the behind the scenes reasons for those programs you mention and common core.      I am pro education but anti insanity. :)



 Sadly the "paragraphs" comment in my opinion was unecessary. 

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I met one of my former adult ESL learners this week. As I recall, she is from Bangladesh.  I free-tutored some of her children (all fluent in English) when they were in middle school. She told me her oldest is graduating college and hopes to go to medical school. Her problem: She has had to pay for tutors every year, even through college, for each of her children. IN our little town, public  school teachers are charging 40 to 65 dollars per hour to tutor their own assigned students, after school hours.


Anyway, this person's husband is a professional tailor in NYC. She progressed in English  and became a medical aide/ home health aide/CNA.  She asked me for some work references, as she is looking for additional income. She has spent quite an amount of money on tutors, already.  Just a thought from YS

Edited by kejedo

checking for grammar
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/4/2016 at 11:01 AM, Elijahsmama said:


 Sadly the "paragraphs" comment in my opinion was unecessary. 

Hi Heather

Like you, I really appreciate Pauline's posts. My comment on paragraphs is due to fact that I my eye cannot focus on a long run-on post. It is not that I don't want to take the trouble, quite literally my eyes fail in this area. I have less trouble with paper documents, but still a problem, more so as I get older. Have the same problem on a technical forum that I participate in. Unless I follow it with my finger I can't read it.

I am glad you do not find paragraphs to be necessary. 


Thanks Pauline for the revision.

 I am not sying I am Superman, I am only saying that nobody has ever seen Superman  and me in a room together.

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My comment on paragraphs is due to fact that I my eye cannot focus on a long run-on post. It is not that I don't want to take the trouble, quite literally my eyes fail in this area.

Hey Jerry: I find this to be the case with me too. I think that its the case with most people reading online. Correct formatting is gentle on the eyes. Sometimes at work I have to edit very long documents and I literally have to separate in small paragraphs to be able to edit properly.

Pauline: I also really enjoyed this thread you started and your valuable experience. :)

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