[LMB] Steve's Trolling ot:

Katrina Knight kknight at epix.net
Sat, 17 May 2003 10:29:02 -0400

At 05:36 PM Friday 05/16/03 Paula Lieberman wrote:
>From: <Pouncer at aol.com>
> > 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.
>That's not true.... Charlemagne was far into adulthood when he 
>learned to
>read and write.

It seems to me that there is truth to both views here. Kids who don't 
learn to read by third grade probably aren't going to learn in a 
standard classroom with no additional help. If they haven't learned 
by then, there's probably some reason they haven't learned that isn't 
going to go away on its own. (Learning disabilites, language 
barriers, poor learning environment, etc.) That doesn't mean people 
aren't capable of learning after that age though. I think almost 
anyone who gets appropriate help is likely to be able to learn after 
that age, at least as long as they aren't actively resisting 
learning. So the question becomes whether they're likely to get 
appropriate help or not.

> > 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?

I don't know, but I suspect that homeschooled kids start reading at 
an earlier average age simply because they're getting more parental 
attention and support in their learning.

> > 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 
>town, the dropout rate was a lot lower than half.... probably on the 
>of less than ten percent.   There was a Trade high school, which may 
>helped with that some, but....

It varies a lot. Where I live now, more than half the kids starting 
9th grade don't make it to graduation. (My sister's class was 
something like 1200 students when she started high school, 500+ 
graduated. She could chip in here and comment on that, since I 
"twisted her arm" to join this list.) Where I grew up, the dropout 
rate was so miniscule that I didn't know of anyone who dropped out. I 
think assuming a total of half the students dropping out is way to 
high in total, but in poor and/or urban areas it does happen.

> > 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 
>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 
>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 
>decent class in calculus at the university level), and b) "students" 
>who has
>no interest in learning whatsoever and then demanded they they be 
>passing grades in it anyway.

I think some of this is fixable. You're never going to change the 
fact that some students are less capable than others, but it should 
be possible to do things to cause more students to *want* to learn. 
The ones who have no interest in learning generally didn't start out 
life feeling that way, and the idea that they should be given passing 
grades anyway originated somewhere. Even the less capable students 
are going to learn a lot more if they want to learn. A lot of of the 
fix for that involves fixing the way society, or at least some 
segments of society think though. Parents who don't value education 
tend to teach their kids not to value it. Some of the "fix" involves 
making improvements to the way schools work though. Trying to run 
classrooms where kids of all abilities are supposed to learn at the 
same pace leaves the slow ones behind and/or bores the ones with more 
ability. Neither of those is good for keeping the kids involved 
interested in learning.

As for whether or not too many people get a post-secondary education, 
I think that it is more that too many people get the wrong 
post-secondary education. It doesn't make sense to push everyone into 
college. Many people would be better off with a good tech school or 
apprenticeship. Learning a trade instead of getting a degree 
shouldn't be discouraged or looked down upon.

Katrina Knight
kknight at epix.net