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A favor - US schools

A favor - US schools

Old May 7th 2005, 4:37 pm
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Default A favor - US schools

As I get older, I forget my UK schooling Seriously, I have some issues I'd like to air and wondered if any of you could spare some input.

There are a couple of things I totally disagree with in the USA (here in Atlanta anyways) with regards education. I don't want to dig too deep into the whole US/UK education thing (we wore that out), but I have just these 2 issues for now that I'd like your views on :-

1. My sons school typically issues 50% of the grade for 1 day late work and a zero grade for 2 days late work.

I remember my school, the punishment was detention, more work, no break, lunch duty - that kind of stuff. They NEVER touched the GRADE, ever. Firstly, it's demotivating to a child and secondly, does NOT reflect any ability of the child.

I see no point, punishing a child through work quality, no matter how late it is. There are exceptions of course, perhaps (big projects or things) but life does NOT work like that - you are more judged on your performance. If I was ever late for work, stayed late and got the work done, I was never fired because my abilities were better than my crap organization skills. My son, who is not a good organizer can actually do the work. However, he could just as easiliy fail in every subject because of one thing he is no good at - organization. I was a bad organizer and still am but I don't do too badly. Why do we punish kids in ALL subjects if they are bad at one thing - ORGANIZATION !!

I have one straight A son (aged 14) and the other sons is C,D's and F' (aged 17) but these grades are SOLEY because of his poor organization skills. He has my gene (I believe it's a gene but that's another story). Other than that, he's pretty smart.

My second point is to do with the number of subjects they teach (or rather don't) in one day. I seem to remember at school doing 4 (maybe 5) subjects a day and some were nearly 2 hours. Here, they do 7 subjects of 35 mins each (plus no time to get to next room). All they do is read from a book a LITTLE, write down their homework and expected to study it all at home as homework...

Again, I seem to remember it never being as rushed or squeezed as this. Heck, all they they have here is 25 mins for Lunch before they go to next class and some days have < 10 min breaks morning only.. I remember 15-20 min breaks morning and afternoon.

So, am I too old and not remembering my UK schooling properly, I don't think so....
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Old May 7th 2005, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

I agree with what you say - and there isn't much we can except help them as best we can so they don't get caught up in the maze...

Counselors (IME) are hopeless: it's up to parents to ensure that their kids get all the subject credits they need, not just to graduate from High School, but for the college(s) they are planning to apply to. And don't expect the school to tell you when said colleges have moved their goalposts.

Some of these requirements do not make any sense at all. It can be particularly dicy for those who move to the US halfway through high school as schools here won't know what to do with your precious GCSEs. We had to fight to get the proper credits for our son.

And then they tried to make him do DOUBLE P.E. in his SENIOR year because the felt that he had not fulfilled the PE requisites! Luckily a suitable letter from his old school back in Blighty was deemed sufficient to prove that he had done enough PE.

Irony: many districts in the US have stopped doing PE altogether because they can't afford it...

For anyone moving: when they ask you 'how many years French has she done', bear in mind that here they do each subject every single day. So a child doing French here would have 5 lessons a week, whereas in the UK they normally would have only 2 or 3.

Another pet peeve of mine: if a child misses school due to illness, they have to make it all up when they return - class- and homework, everything. So Junior comes back after a week in bed with the flu, and first thing he has to do is make up every single boring bit of form-filling and list-learning...

Okay, getting of my soap-box now
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Old May 7th 2005, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by franc111s
I see no point, punishing a child through work quality, no matter how late it is.
I disagree. I think it is good training for how life is going to be once kids grow up and get a job.

For example:
If the child becomes a lawyer, has an excellent legal brain, their theories are outstanding - but their work is always late; how long do you think it will be before they are "let go"?

How about an architect, who has brilliant designs, but can never meet the deadlines. Or a journalist. Or a doctor, being late for surgery could have some serious consequences :scared:

In almost every job there are deadlines. The type of schooling you describes simply readies the child for the real world.

I once had a teacher who said "Punctuality is the sign of a gentleman." That idiom is as true today as it ever was.
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Old May 7th 2005, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

My 13 year old son is the most disorganised person I've ever come across and has always had problems handing his homework in on time. When we got his latest report card his classwork and test results were all A grades but his grades for homework assignments were mainly Fs which brought his average grade to B-. We have tried and tried to get him to get his homework finished and in on time and have failed miserably.

We went in to see his french teacher at her request and she suggested that instead of him going to his usual SWAT class he could go and sit in her classroom and do whatever homework he has and she would then make sure he handed it in on time. He came home from school yesterday and said that for all his classes he has received between 98% and 100% and was really pleased with himself.

We are happy that at last he is getting a bit more organised and he is happy because he doesn't have me reminding him about homework every night.
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Old May 7th 2005, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by franc111s
As I get older, I forget my UK schooling Seriously, I have some issues I'd like to air and wondered if any of you could spare some input.

There are a couple of things I totally disagree with in the USA (here in Atlanta anyways) with regards education. I don't want to dig too deep into the whole US/UK education thing (we wore that out), but I have just these 2 issues for now that I'd like your views on :-

1. My sons school typically issues 50% of the grade for 1 day late work and a zero grade for 2 days late work.

I remember my school, the punishment was detention, more work, no break, lunch duty - that kind of stuff. They NEVER touched the GRADE, ever. Firstly, it's demotivating to a child and secondly, does NOT reflect any ability of the child.

I see no point, punishing a child through work quality, no matter how late it is. There are exceptions of course, perhaps (big projects or things) but life does NOT work like that - you are more judged on your performance. If I was ever late for work, stayed late and got the work done, I was never fired because my abilities were better than my crap organization skills. My son, who is not a good organizer can actually do the work. However, he could just as easiliy fail in every subject because of one thing he is no good at - organization. I was a bad organizer and still am but I don't do too badly. Why do we punish kids in ALL subjects if they are bad at one thing - ORGANIZATION !!

I have one straight A son (aged 14) and the other sons is C,D's and F' (aged 17) but these grades are SOLEY because of his poor organization skills. He has my gene (I believe it's a gene but that's another story). Other than that, he's pretty smart.

My second point is to do with the number of subjects they teach (or rather don't) in one day. I seem to remember at school doing 4 (maybe 5) subjects a day and some were nearly 2 hours. Here, they do 7 subjects of 35 mins each (plus no time to get to next room). All they do is read from a book a LITTLE, write down their homework and expected to study it all at home as homework...

Again, I seem to remember it never being as rushed or squeezed as this. Heck, all they they have here is 25 mins for Lunch before they go to next class and some days have < 10 min breaks morning only.. I remember 15-20 min breaks morning and afternoon.

So, am I too old and not remembering my UK schooling properly, I don't think so....

God you have described my daughter, back home she was in top sets for everything, here shes struggling, not because she's thick but as you say, bad organization skills (just like me).
Even when things haven't been done due to a very good reason, its still considered late, for example we had to fly home just before Spring break due to a death in the family so she missed 2 days school,, her maths grade was reduced to an F due to 2 assignments not getting handed in when they should, fair? I think not..
The whole scoring points system confuses the hell out of me so how is my daughter supposed to get it?
I do agree that the American system prepares them better for working life but handing things in a day late shouldn't mean failing a subject..
As an adult you are better prepared and can handle deadlines much better, teenages have a whole load of issues going on and their brain isn't developed enough to understand the importance of deadlines.
I do agree with a system that assesses a child throughout the whole year rather than a 2 hour exam at the end of the year but here its push, push, push, all the time. The school day basically starts at 8.10, no morning break, 4 minutes between each lesson to get to the next class, 25 minutes for lunch, classes again, no afternoon break and finishes at 2.15..by the time she gets home she seems exhausted and certainly not ready for 2 hours of homework, most of which has to be in the following day..
We have been told that ideally she should go to summer school to help prepare her for Maths at high school in September but another 7 weeks of maths for 3 hours a day, When exactly does she get a break? And how is the rest of the family supposed to have a holiday?
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Old May 7th 2005, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

I have just re-read my post and I sound like a really pushy Mum but I am the complete opposite, I just got absolutely sick of the shouting matches that went on between me and him, which usually ended up with me in tears and him storming off somewhere.

His bus comes at 6.50am in the morning ready for school starting at 7.45am. He gets 25 minutes for lunch and school finishes at 2.50pm, with him finally getting home at 3.30pm. It's a very long day for him and his friends in England can't believe he goes to school so early in the morning.

The school district we live in finish for Summer recess on June 14 and go back on September 7. I think 11 weeks break is ridiculous and I am absolutely dreading it, again.
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Old May 7th 2005, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by ScousePete
I disagree. I think it is good training for how life is going to be once kids grow up and get a job.
OK, here's is the dilemma for me. I get just one of 2 views, either for or against but rarely anything inbetween. Life is NOT like that.

The againsts (yourself) totally believe that everyone can learn to be organized. Your reply provides zero tolerance for my son. I have two sons brought up in exactly the same house, same rules and everything. One is mega organized (straight A's), the other is disorganized ("c's, D's and F's). We tried for SEVEN whole years to teach our son to be more organized - it is just not going to happen.

So, to take your argument to it's full extent - he's a failure ?

See my point ?

There's another argument that totally flaws yours as well. I know kids and people that have AWESOME memories and can pass almost any test without trying. Are you saying they will make good lawyers, accountants etc., will invest the best stuff, will create the best companies, will drive change in society ?

I left school at 15 in the UK. Had my own business at age 24. Had 50 people working for me by age 28, started a US subsidiary by age 32 and sold my company (US and UK operations) and went into semi-retirement by age 40. I was terrible at taking tests and am still a totally disorganized person. I surrounded myself with people better than I in my weak area's. I believe Bill Gates and Stephen Spielberg to name just 2 were very similar to me. (drop-outs of school and college).

My point is FULLY this - we all have strengths and weaknesses and to punish kids in EVERYTHING because they are JUST disorganized is CRUEL and is not as you say a reflection in the real world. In some instances you are 100% right but to try and apply an all-size fits all is just plain wrong.

Do you watch "apprentice" - college grads are not always the smartest cookies when they are placed into the real world now are they ?

Here's a book to show you we (dis-organized kids) are NOT alone !!! I think the UK system is much fairer, much.



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Old May 7th 2005, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by mandpete
I have just re-read my post and I sound like a really pushy Mum but I am the complete opposite, I just got absolutely sick of the shouting matches that went on between me and him, which usually ended up with me in tears and him storming off somewhere.
.
God bless you. We are not alone - I speak to many. People like to make it seem we are the only family with this problem. I want to write a book !! My relationship with my wonderful child is worth so much more. He's talents are elsewhere. He has won more awards nationally in drama than anyone else before him in school.....
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Old May 7th 2005, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Ive come to the conclusion that there is a national hate of what they like to call "Tardiness", we call it lateness. Its like some kind of mortal sin here. I guess they run by the clock more than we do. All part of the high-pressured yank lifestyle, compared to the far more laid back lifestyle in Europe.
 
Old May 7th 2005, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by ImHere
Ive come to the conclusion that there is a national hate of what they like to call "Tardiness", we call it lateness. Its like some kind of mortal sin here. I guess they run by the clock more than we do. All part of the high-pressured yank lifestyle, compared to the far more laid back lifestyle in Europe.

Well my knowledge is at Kindergarten level and they get marked down for tardiness, when of course its the Parents getting them there.

Recently cam across a new concept (to me). Reverse Tadiness. Same punishment but arises if you leave school early, say for a Doctors appointment.

And this is for 5 year old's.
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Old May 7th 2005, 8:09 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

When I was at secondary school, if I handed in an assignment late it wouldn't even be marked, it's more likely it would end up in the bin. I think that's the right way of doing things, what would I have learnt about organisation if I was always able to hand things in late?

FYI: We had 5 1hr 10min sessions every day, three before lunch and two after.
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Old May 7th 2005, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by ImHere
Ive come to the conclusion that there is a national hate of what they like to call "Tardiness", we call it lateness. Its like some kind of mortal sin here. I guess they run by the clock more than we do. All part of the high-pressured yank lifestyle, compared to the far more laid back lifestyle in Europe.
I completely agree with you but I'd also say they like to have the children like the borg. When I see the complete chaos the TSA becomes at the airport when something out of the ordinary happens, and they don't know what to do because it doesn't follow their normal procedures I think of their schooling.

I have four children, one in Kindergarten, two in Elementary and one in Highschool. The common theme throughout is push, push, push, test, test, test, and do what you are told at all times without question.

My eldest starts at 7.30 am and finishes at 2.30 pm. My elementary two start at 8.00 am and don't finish until 3.00 pm.

Consequently my eight year old boy comes bouncing out of school and is a complete pain in the bum for about an hour while he blows off all his energy from having sat in a classroom studying hard with barely any breaks all day.

If he forgets to have his folder signed by me on a daily basis, he loses the few minutes recess he does have.

They are not learning to think for themselves at all, they are just little automatons. They don't get to make choices, and they are always learning for this weeks test. It's great for a career in the TSA of course but nothing which involves initiative, or thinking outside of the box.
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Old May 7th 2005, 10:18 pm
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by snorkmaiden
I completely agree with you but I'd also say they like to have the children like the borg. When I see the complete chaos the TSA becomes at the airport when something out of the ordinary happens, and they don't know what to do because it doesn't follow their normal procedures I think of their schooling.

I have four children, one in Kindergarten, two in Elementary and one in Highschool. The common theme throughout is push, push, push, test, test, test, and do what you are told at all times without question.

My eldest starts at 7.30 am and finishes at 2.30 pm. My elementary two start at 8.00 am and don't finish until 3.00 pm.

Consequently my eight year old boy comes bouncing out of school and is a complete pain in the bum for about an hour while he blows off all his energy from having sat in a classroom studying hard with barely any breaks all day.

If he forgets to have his folder signed by me on a daily basis, he loses the few minutes recess he does have.

They are not learning to think for themselves at all, they are just little automatons. They don't get to make choices, and they are always learning for this weeks test. It's great for a career in the TSA of course but nothing which involves initiative, or thinking outside of the box.

Absolutely and we have the same with our 10 yr old. She went from having 3 active breaks plus sports every day in England to barely getting 10 mins activity at school here and her behaviour suffered no end for it. We have enrolled her in an after school Capuera (sp?) club and she loves it. Her behaviour has gone back to how it was in England now she can blow off steam and surplus energy everday after school. We've even had a meeting with her teacher about the lack of physical activity at school and were told theres not enough time in the school day for PE and breaks as they have to get so much work done for the SATS and testing all the time....come on pleeease what a way to run kids education. I guess its all preparations for the lifetime of couch potato and dedicated car driver they like to lead.
 
Old May 8th 2005, 2:12 am
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by ImHere
they have to get so much work done for the SATS and testing all the time.
Yep, same here. Tests every Friday without fail. Then towards the end of the school year they start prepping them for the TAKS tests. (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills)

The prepping involves upping the childrens stamina for sitting for really long periods of time without going out for breaks etc. I'm not kidding, some of these tests go on for hours.

I thought sitting my O' Levels and A' Levels was bad, but sitting for four hour tests at eight is just bloody ridiculous.
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Old May 8th 2005, 5:08 am
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Default Re: A favor - US schools

Originally Posted by franc111s
...He has my gene (I believe it's a gene but that's another story). Other than that, he's pretty smart...
Ah yes, the "lack-of-good-organisation-skills" gene. That'll be next to the Attention Deficit Disorder gene, I imagine?

Honestly, by all means say that your child has trouble organising his life, but at least credit him with some self-determination, rather than blaming it on his genes. Claiming a genetic predisposition to every minor flaw and personality trait is no better than a dark-ages belief in the law of fate and all one's troubles being God's will.

I agree with most of what you've said about the problems with the US education system, but as Anotherlimey said, in my school you didn't get your work marked at all if it was late by even one day. And whilst you're right that in many walks of life deadlines aren't that strict, in many others they really are. If I haven't finished my preparations in time to meet with clients or a supplier, I don't have the luxury of asking them to wait a day or two while I get my shit together.

If your son is an A-grade student getting F-grades because his homework is late, and if that hasn't motivated him to start getting work done on time, then I would suggest that he has other issues relating to school, achievement and self confidence. I know that feeling, because that's just how I was. I would write A+ essays, then be so lacking in self confidence that I would fail to submit them at all, or submit them late. Hell, at least he's still attending school, which is more than I did for a while at that age... None of which held me back in later life.

Your son's intelligence may be hereditary, but being a teenager (and being compared to a straight-As younger brother) is a passing phase. At least you care enough to be worried about his education, which is more than many parents do.
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