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What are we teaching our kids (NO POLITICS)
Posted: 07 May 2011 07:59 AM  
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I saw something on the news and i make me question our schools. Teens, born before 9/11 don’t know who bin Laden is

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4678862/who-is-bin-laden-teens-clueless

Teens, don’t know who Osama Bin Laden is… really scarry…NEW YORK Teens don’t know who he is. Remember, we’re talking about kids that were alive and were in 2nd or 3rd grade at the time 9/11 happened.

Now, I remember my days in 2nd and 3rd grade. The big event of that day was when Regan was elected. We watched the news, discussed how the government worked, how the elections worked, etc. I knew what was going on in my world and how it affected me. We used to be taught to pay attention to our world and our lives. It wasn’t about the politics, it was about how the system worked and how to be part of that system. It was about how to educate ourselves and make our own choices. Now, the schools teach politics and what our kids should think. We don’t teach them about their world any more. We don’t teach them how to think for themselves and question things.

So the question is, what happened to our schools and how do we fix it?

Warning - Keep your politics out of this. This is not a political discussion, but a discussion of where our schools are failing and how do we, as parents, fix it.

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Posted: 07 May 2011 02:04 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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The earliest memory I can put a date to was in kindergarten.  The teacher brought in a small (13 inch??) black-and-white tv for the class to watch…the inaguration of Jimmy Carter.  Yes, I am THAT old.

Anyway, I can name two reasons for schools to keep silent on current events.

ONE: Another case of political correctness run amok.  If a kid comes home from school and starts the converstion with “My teacher said (insert poorly chosen words here that come out sounding like something the parents don’t agree with), then the parents are going to be raising a fuss at the school.  It’s just so much easier for the principal to tell the teachers to keep quiet.

TWO: What if there’s a kid in the school who’s name is of the same ethnic/religious background as the terrorists?  I would hate to be that kid.  His chances of getting picked on or worse just because “his people” (as the other kids would see it) did something against the U.S. just skyrocketed.

What I would like to see happen is:

Starting with the freshman year of high-school, the history and social studies classes should co-ordinate their lessons so that students can learn the historical context for current events.  That way students could have some perspective on WHY other people have different belief systems than we do.

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Posted: 07 May 2011 10:24 PM   [ # 2 ]  
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Watching the video, I think Tucker Carlson explained pretty well why that becomes a murky subject.  I haven’t studied the Quran, perhaps Osama was actually taking a literal view of it’s text.  Well, how do you explain that to schoolkids?, how do you get them to understand that religious views can become misguided without getting into a religious discussion?

We don’t teach our schoolkids to hate without reason, that’s actually a good thing.

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Posted: 07 May 2011 10:50 PM   [ # 3 ]  
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I am not suggesting we teach our kids to hate. However, we can teach them to be open minded and educate them on history as well as current events. Explaining Osama killed many people because he believed he was right to do so is not a bad thing. No one is suggesting they teach the koran in school either. One could simply explain there are many different religions in the world and, like with anything else, there are good people, bad people, and people who THINK they are doing good because they don’t understand, in every groups including religion. That it’s up to each student to understand his or her own religion and decide for him/her self what is good, and/or bad, but they also should respect another person’s beliefs. Teachs could explain that Osama did what he did for a few reasons and list the reasons as;

1) He believed he was right and that everyone should share his religion

2) He believed he was right because people didn’t respect his religious beliefs and so he thought that was the only way to get respect

3) He could have misunderstood what his religion taught

or

4) He was a bad person, but that doesn’t make his religion bad.

From there, the parents and the kids must talk and decide for themselves. However, at least it was explained and taught. The kids would then engage in their own critical thinking and discuss Osama with each other, their parents, their religious leaders, etc. All the while, the teacher guides them to respect each others PoV, but at the same time, the teacher keeps his/her own view to him/herself. This was how we did it when I was in school and it wasn’t that hard.

Honestly, Osama is just the LATEST in a long string of events that has me questioning where our schools have gone wrong. This is not JUST about that lack of knowledge of who Osama is, but really about how our schools have gone way off track. Let me toss in another example;

I have now scene on TV several instances where teachers have gone horribly wrong. In Wisconsin, there was a politic fight over the way the government was about to handle the teacher’s contracts. Teachers were taking their student along to rallies, WITHOUT explaining why the kids were there, and asking the kids to hold up signs and shout along with them. The kids had no idea what was going on, and these were high school kids. Sorry, but the teachers had no business involving the kids in the political situation.

Another were the grade school kids being taught to sing songs and urge their parents to support Senator Obama in his run for the presidency.

Teachers should NOT be teaching one political view. They SHOULD be teaching the kids the critical thinking to help the child develop his/her own political views. So how did we go from teaching the kids critical thinking to teaching political positions? And why are we leaving OUT historical events, that affect everyone’s lives, because they have political motivations?

I mean, really, they used to teach the civil war and the revolutionary war when I was in school. Both of those have political motivations as well, yet the teachers taught both sides of the political situation without interjecting their own views into it. They allowed us to make our own political judgements. The revolutionary war also had a religious aspect, that teachers could explain, without getting religious or teaching religion.

As I said, we also used to teach how the political system worked, how to research candidates, etc., without teaching political view points. How is it that, in our attempts to regulate our schools and keep them neutral (as I believe they should be) that we have gone in the opposite direction and and begun teaching kids the very things we argue should not be taught? Further, how is it that we have, somehow, mandated and/or permitted teaching these things, we wanted regulated OUT of the classroom, right under our noses without us seeing it?

Now, I am not saying the teachers are at fault. I am saying that we, as a society, have some how buggered up our attempts to regulate our children’s education and somehow got things going in the very direction we said we didn’t want them going. Where did we go wrong and how do we fix it?

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Posted: 08 May 2011 10:22 PM   [ # 4 ]  
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I am not suggesting we teach our kids to hate.

I’m not suggesting you were suggesting that, I’m just saying that it’s not something that can easily be explained, and easily could be misunderstood as an slight against someone’s religion.

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She? -B.O.B.

Yes. We are in the prescence of the rare female monster. -Dr. Cockroach P.H.D.

No way! It’s a boy; look at his boobies! -B.O.B.

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Posted: 09 May 2011 12:36 AM   [ # 5 ]  
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watch the movie that had Harrison Ford as the ICE agent? I forget what the movie title was but a girl in high school who was reqired to write something for class wrote her thoughts about the 9/11 attack. While she clearly said that she does not follow (share) the thinking of what the terrorists did. She said she could understand why. Then the classmates jumped on her. She was so badly mocked in class and threatin that she left the class.
Now what did the teacher do? She caled the FBI and explained that a kid was on the edge of defending the terrorists. Then the FBI came ot her house. Took the most wrong way to understand her paper and kicked her out of the country and put her on the watch list to not be allowed to enter the US. Forced to be seperated from her family.

Now granted yes this is a movie. Though I would wager that such an event could happen now a days. No one questions nor try to understand anyone anymore. So we have to change not only the school’s way of teaching but the way we all think and understand. Until that happens, I think it’s a no win situation for us all.

I say this because I always have police officers nervious about me both here in Japan and the US. :p

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Posted: 09 May 2011 12:27 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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The other problem with education (besides the PC fanatics) is that standards have dropped badly.  People are often amazed at how smart Corgan is… this is because we actually teach him things.  We discuss things with him and show him how the stuff applies to his life.  Schools, however, do the rote memorization thing. They also have something called an IEP (Individual Education Plan) which is one of those things that are good in theory but easily and all too often corrupted.  It’s to help the kids who, when I was in school, would’ve been in the ‘special’ class.  All too often, it’s basically “Give the kid an easy A for the sake of his self esteem”.  So he never learns even the basics, he has high self esteem, then goes out into the real world…

But I don’t really blame the schools, I blame the parents.  If your kid is not being educated, act!  Corgan goes to public school, but we not only help him with his homework, we teach him other things.  If his school slacks off, he’s gonna have (at least) two parents and a crazy aunt to take up that slack. 

No, Corgan doesn’t know who Osama Bin Laden was, but he knows our army dudes killed a boss bad guy the other day.  He has questions, he knows he can ask them.

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Posted: 09 May 2011 12:33 PM   [ # 7 ]  
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Sadly, schools didn’t encourage individual thought even before 9/11.  I remember being mocked by students and reciveing a bad grade because my interpretation of “The Masque of the Red Death” didn’t match the official one. No matter I had sound reasoning… no matter Poe wasn’t there to tell us what his secret meaning was…  no matter even that maybe Poe didn’t have a secret meaning…

It wasn’t until college I was encouraged to think for myself and given credit for my reasoning.

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Posted: 11 May 2011 06:58 PM   [ # 8 ]  
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School vouchers.

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Posted: 19 May 2011 08:55 AM   [ # 9 ]  
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Reading the posts before has made me realise that it’s not just schools here in the UK that seem to be suffering.  The emphasis seems to be on coaching kids to pass exams, and ignoring the wider world around them. 

The days when we used to sit and discuss the current world events seem to be long past, and even the reading lists are being censored, to the extent that Lord of The Rings by Tolkien is deemed unacceptable.  Thankfully, my god-daughter’s parents ignore the stupidity of the reading list, and allow her to read the classics like Tolkein, and make sure that she and her sister have a rounded view of the world.

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Posted: 19 May 2011 10:00 AM   [ # 10 ]  
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Schooling is controlled by budget..and budget is controlled by govt. assistance…and if test scores are low, budgets are cut. So the focus is primarily on testing for college prep, like Shadowwalker said…which you would think is good, but that leaves little room for kids to explore the world around them, except on the internet…and with all of the easy A’s kids get today, they graduate without a clue as to a basis of their personal strengths…just as long as they are safe, pacified, and not challenge any popular ideas. And since college is regarded as “salvation” in school culture, pressure is on the kids to get extreme with extracurricular activities to stay relevant and competetive.

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Posted: 19 May 2011 10:43 PM   [ # 11 ]  
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Ever since its inception the quality of education in America has steadily deteriorated while the amount of money spent per pupil has increased exponentially; this is by design as the promoters who lobbied for years prior to Jimmy Carter’s creation of the department were on record stating that their goal was not to create people of knowledge and/or able to seek information on their own and the ability to think independently,  but to churn out myrmidons who would be taught just enough to be good worker bees   for the industrial machine of the time in which the idea of a Federally centralized education system was concocted.

Also, teacher’s unions should be defanged or eliminated as their purpose for existing is not to further the education of the students under their tutelage, but to accumulate power in the form of dues from teachers, both competent and incompetent/dangerous, thereby guaranteeing that the Lowest Common Denominator always prevails… more often than not, in government education, mediocrity rules.

And, bigger budgets do not equate to better education… parent involvement does, and parent involvement is directly related to culture.  Kids who come from a family/environment that values learning tend to do well, and those whose parents couldn’t care less usually do poorly.  The fact that schools in rich districts have bigger budgets and better results is incidental to the general respect for education in those districts; after all, if the people did not value knowledge they would not have the means to live in said districts.

The solution, if you value your kids’ futures, is to enroll them in private or parochial schools, or home school them.  If at all possible, keep them away from the clutches of the politically correct, dependency peddling, indoctrination factories that are government schools.

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Posted: 20 May 2011 06:36 AM   [ # 12 ]  
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And, bigger budgets do not equate to better education… parent involvement does,

AMEN AMEN AMEN

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Posted: 20 May 2011 06:47 AM   [ # 13 ]  
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I don’t agree that private/parochial/home schooling is the key.  Any educational system can fail.  Any educational system can succeed.  The parents need to be involved on a day-to-day basis.

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Posted: 20 May 2011 05:24 PM   [ # 14 ]  
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It’s not that private/parochial/home schooling are better than public (government) schooling, in a vacuum.  The reason they’re better is that, by their very nature, parents who choose those options have already demonstrated that they value the education of their kids; that investment in time and money makes all the difference in the world.  They want to be involved.

Parents who dedicate their time and resources personally have a vested interest in making sure that the quality of the education their kids receive is commensurate with, or better than, the effort they’ve employed.  Education is a commodity, and students and their parents are the consumers of that commodity; if the school fails to deliver, the buyer is free to seek a better value for the money elsewhere.  The free market will always favor the best supplier of a given service/product… be it a better mouse trap or a better educated student.

In contrast, Public schools are monopolies where the child follows the funds, where a bureaucrat makes the determination where a student ends up, and responsibility is shirked within the morass of labyrinthine work rules and low-balling standardization that arise from the incestuous collusion of government officials and union bosses, and where far too many parents send their kids to be baby-sat.

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Posted: 20 May 2011 08:32 PM   [ # 15 ]  
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The reason they’re better is that, by their very nature, parents who choose those options have already demonstrated that they value the education of their kids;

In theory, yes.  But I’ve known people who homeschooled the kids to avoid CPS.  These kids never graduated and are barely literate. 

Granted, that’s an exception, but it’s there.

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Thanks, Carl Macek, for introducing me to all these folks.  Even the ones who bug me.

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