[LMB] Steve's Trolling ot:

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Fri, 16 May 2003 17:36:05 -0400


-- Paula Lieberman
----- Original Message -----
From: <Pouncer at aol.com>


> Steve:
>
> > >One of the basic problems with higher education in the US is that too
many
> > >people get it.
>
> Well, the other, MORE basic problem with ELEMENTARY education
> is that too many children, don't get it.  I mean, some researchers
> find that in some districts, up to a third of the 10 year olds, having
> een in the system for four solid years K-3rd grade, can't yet read in
> any meaningful way. And by that age, they ain't liable to larn how,
> nohow.  Here in Texas we test all our 3rd graders so's we can tell

That's not true.... Charlemagne was far into adulthood when he learned to
read and write.  He never did it all that well, but he was in a culture
where only a fraction of the populace ever became literate, and his did has
his duties as Emperor of an empire that extended across most of Europe, and
didn't have modern transportation systems and communications to help run it.

> how many of 'em are gonna drop out  after repeatin' 10th grade,
> so as to forecast how big the High School (and the football stadia)
> are gonna have to be in time to get a whoppin' bond issue passed.
> There are advocates of trying to help pre-schoolers as young as
> three or four years old begin reading, testing at half-past-first-grade,

I've heard that some kids aren't ready for schooling at that age--no, I
don't know from personal experience, I was one of those kids who was a
spontaneous reader before I was four, between having an older sister pushing
alphabet blocks at me, and sitting in my mother's lap being read to, I
started to recognized letters within words and then matching read words to
page words.

> and bending over backwards thru flaming hoops, if necessary, to
> ensure all kids start 2nd grade able to read.  These people are
> generally regarded as hopeless fanactics, idealists, and/or radical
> dangerous right-wing homeschoolers.
>

The prodigies get heard about, but what about those who aren't?  What's the
average age I wonder, at which homeschooled kids learn to read?

> Jefferson proposed that every U.S. child get free public education
> up to third grade, after which the taxpayer would support the top
> ranked students in each grade (say, about 1 in 25 at each successive
> level) and all others would have to pay their own way.
> >
> > >A large percentage of the population is simply too stupid to benefit by
> > >post-secondary ed., and having them around makes teaching those who can
> > >really benefit harder; it's like sticking damper rods into a nuclear
> > >reaction.

[snip]

> But playing along, how is it different in post-secondary classrooms
> than in first grade, where, for instance, my six year old who
> could  already read, add, substract, name colors, tell time,
> make change, carry a tune  and identify polygons was to be perforce seated
in
> a classroom of 22 "average" six year olds
> most of whom would be approaching most of those
> skills for the very first time?   NOT, mind you, that any of

Only 22?!   One spends the time being -extremely- bored and wishing one were
somewhere else....

> them were stupid.  Just that some kids don't get quite as
> much support at home in book-larnin' as mine tend to.
> Morons in the classroom:: boron in the heavy water --

Some kids, though, really are not all that bright, no matter how much the
parents may value education (or not). And some kids have the oppposite
problem, of wanting to learn and having parents who are averse to it....

> I dunno as I'd restrict that diagnosis to the already once
> diploma'd.  It's hard to make random elements fizz.
>
> Anyhow, assume for the nonce that half the kids now entering

That figure seems -really- high to me.  Where I was, which was a factory
town, the dropout rate was a lot lower than half.... probably on the order
of less than ten percent.   There was a Trade high school, which may have
helped with that some, but....

> U.S. public first grade classrooms drop out before completing
> secondary (12th grade, High School)  programs in such
> subjects as civics, fundamentals of biology or chemistry,
> world history, or maybe a non-English language.  Assume,
> further, that this could be instantly "fixed" via early intervention
> so that, say, only one-eighth of the next bunch of  first graders
> did finish a meaningful secondary education program.
>
It seems to me that that is not "fixable." My sister quit teaching because
she couldn't deal with the combination of a) bonehead math students who just
could -not- comprehend trig (I was in a class in high school with bonehead
calculus students, who the entire year, it took to try to get them to what
was covered in two weeks in MIT's freshman calculus class -- or any other
decent class in calculus at the university level), and b) "students" who has
no interest in learning whatsoever and then demanded they they be given
passing grades in it anyway.

> What would it do the lettuce-picking industry; much less the
> post-secondary education market?

Most of the lettuce picking in the USA, I thought, is done by people who are
either not US citizens by birth or are first generation US citizens by
birth.