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sg1 poke

No Child Left Behind--feh!

Here's another quiz snurched from CKO. It was cute if overwrought.

The Fairy Princess

You are youthful, cheery, and exuberant with a
sunny disposition and a mischievous sense of
humor. You are very lively and are always up
for a good bit of fun. You have a deep love of
nature and animals.

Role Model: Titania

You are most likely to: Convert a pumpkin into a
useful mode of transportation.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

This post is my quarterly rant about NCLB -- the silliest thing to hit Montgomery County.

My school system has decided to change the way it grades kids into an all or nothing proposition. Now that sounds great on paper--we are going to grade kids only on what they produce measured by county-wide tests on every unit. The lowest grade you can get is a 50 out of 100 which is an F (or E in our county because we don't want to traumatize poor souls). Homework doesn't count only it does. No more consideration of class participation or effort. Sounds fair? It equalizes out the good and bad schools in the county--those with money vs. those without. those with parents who work with their kids and those with immigrant parents who can't due to language or work. BUT, the way it is implemented is just unfair.

There is no more weighting of grades. So those homework grades are practically equivalent of quiz grades. A child is not measured overtly because the teachers are no longer allowed to add points for children who show they know the work through oral presentation but might be having trouble with organization skills thus failing to turn in work or realize that they have to make up work they miss through absences. Yes, I'm speaking of my children. There is no leaway for a new middle schooler in GT classes who hasn't gotten the knack of organizing herself--you flunk if you don't turn in work--period. So now daughter is afraid to ask for help.

Yes, I'm considering testing for ADD because older daughter has it and younger one shows the same lack of impulse control and the anxiety caused by a school system that has decided it will only offer round holes. If it is determined that H has ADD I can get a 504 plan that does provide the support of reminders, notes, and smaller chunks of instructions. So why isn't this the way that school is taught? Children grow at different speeds. Some need more support than others. Mine seem to need personal attention -- some sort of reminder system because simply assuming that in the chaos of beginning of class that they have the ability to write down assignments, hand in their homework, and get ready for learning all at the same time isn't working. AND 4 minutes between class equals forgotten books and hasty collecting of materials. Some kids thrive on this but mine don't. They get anxious and scared and then stop asking for help. I can see it coming.

Older daughter seems to be pulling herself together, finally. We have the support of 504 plans that allow us to push the school system--such as the ability to choose teachers based on their ability to empathize and support those kids like mine who need something extra to produce. L thrives on the classes that allow her to express herself in many different ways. She is finally successful most of the time (we still have missing homework assignments but fewer). H is beginning and fumbling but there is no leway for fumbling. All or nothing doesn't work.

End of rant. I know there are lots of teachers on my flist. What is your take on NCLB. Am I being unfair or too easy on my girls?


Definitely not a teacher, and in a completely different country.

Looking back at my school years, I have the impression that teachers, especially in the first few years, were capable of detecting learning disabilities. Unfortunately, that was usually the extend of it. They see a problem, inform the parents that their kid probably has this or that disability, but no way of actually dealing with it within the school system, at least not in a consistent manner. So, the problem is basically put back with the parents. Yes, there are special schools to deal with it, but you'll be paying a lot more money, which is not always an option.

Personally, I had it pretty easy. I remember the first time we got a test, mostly to prepare for high school. We had three weeks to learn the material but I didn't take it home until the afternoon before the test (still remembering the rather disapproving and slightly amused look on my teacher's face when he caught me taking it out). Not that I had forgotten about it, or anything, but just couldn't persuade myself to take it home and do the work ahead of time (so technically, I guess I did have a learning disability of some sort). Anyway, I practically aced the test, despite only learning for like an hour and a half.

Looking back now, that probably made me realize I could get by without doing much of the work. During the first year of high school, they test (or tested; things changed) you on two levels (distinctly separated in the test), to determine if you should follow the normal or a higher level of education. The first half year I tried my best (well, relatively speaking; compared to my class mates I was apparently still slacking off), but at some point I figured out that by doing practically nothing, I could pass the regular level part of the test, just not always the higher part. That prompted me to not make the upper level tests at all, just so my average would drop far enough they wouldn't suggest to me to take the higher level of education. It proved to be difficult, too, to get my average to drop far enough; half of the points of the regular test was also counted for the higher level test.

Of course now I know how incredibly dumb that was. First of all, it would have only been a suggestion, not a requirement. Second of all, I might have actually learned to do the work. The latter part might have saved me from some trouble in later education where I suddenly found myself struggling a bit to get by. Since I hadn't learned to do the work properly, and on time, my grades began to go down. I just couldn't motivate myself enough at home to actually do the stuff that needed to be done.

Sometimes I think 'shouldn't my teachers have intervened?', since they obviously knew about my lack of doing homework or any kind of school related tasks outside the school building. But what could they have done? Tell me what was up ahead, that I'd be having trouble later? I doubt it would've helped me. I also can't blame my parents. They told me I should do my homework, they knew I didn't, but when your kid is not failing his classes, should you force the issue anyway? Don't really know. I'm not sure what I would do if I have a kid one day and I see him/her following the same road as their daddy did. I guess I could only tell them what I experienced and hope they realized how important it was to learn the trick of education. But would I force them to do the homework? I don't know. If they were starting to get failing grades, yeah, but otherwise, I'm really not sure.

Hmm, did I have a point? Not sure actually. Just started typing and this crap came out. Anyway, Rita, hope both your kids will find their way in education and life. From what I read, your oldest is already on the right path.
I have always thought that the two-tiered European method of education was fascinating--a track for apprenticeship and a track for university. Is it still true that IF you pass the 0 levels and make it into unveristy then your education is paid for by the state whereas high school is private (meaning your parents cover the costs)? I like that because not all kids should go into academia (the old model for university) but would do better in business, computing, and other "trades". We would never do that because then the system would be deemed "elitist"!

I agree that your coasting along (as many kids do including my younger daughter) gets a rude awaking in upper grades because you have no tools about studying. I am torn about helping with homework because it doesn't teach responsibility but on the other hand it counts so much that if they don't do it they fail.

Marcel it sounds like you did okay using the European system and are doing something you love and are good at. What more can we ask of an education? That is all I want for my children.
Don't know about the other countries in Europe, but over here the situation is as follows:

Every child between 4 and 18 is required to follow an education. The parents are to pay for those years, but the state helps financially.

Once you reach 18, you're more or less on your own. You can get a student finance and if you're not slacking off (meaning you pass every year, though failing one year and redoing it is not such a problem) you don't have to pay it all back.

The amount of money the state gives you (be it financial help for the parents or the student loan) depends on the income of the parents. The student loan, on average, is about enough to buy half the books (if that) you'll need for a year. Payments, of course, are spreadout over twelve months, but the books will have to be payed at once at the start of the year (what kind of bozo came up with that idea?) As a bonus, you'll get a pass for free public transportation (the last year I actually had that, they changed it a bit: if you lived with your parents, you got free transportation during weekdays, if not, you got it for the weekends).

I just realized there's another difference: over here, homework doesn't count in most classes. It's just that during my electronics education I really needed to write reports about measurements/experiments on electronic setups and more of that crap. Those reports and stuff do count in your final grade for a specific class, but usually for about a quarter or a fifth. Whenever I did write those reports, I usually did that in haste (like, due Tuesday morning, so Monday evening (not the afternoon, even if I was home at 2) I wrote my butt of), resulting in a so-so grade (usually a 6 out of 10). Then there's the fun rule: for every day it's late, a full point is substracted, but never below a minimum of 3 (don't ask why, 'cause I never figured that out). So what happens when I know it's 3 days late? I don't do the work, 'cause I never got above a 6.

That posed a problem for the year where you had to work at some company or other (pretending to learn the trade first-hand). That year you're completely graded on the reports (a whole ten of 'em) you hand in. But I rarely did those. Luckily, they decided to change the system. Instead of the second to last year working, they wanted it to become the last. They came up with an ingenious transition plan which gave me an extra half year to make sure I learned this stuff. And I did. I immensily abused the fact I didn't do any of the other homework and I took my sweet time writing those test-reports during that first half year. And I managed to motivate myself to actually write a bit every day. It worked, as I suddenly got an 8 or 9.

"Marcel it sounds like you did okay using the European system and are doing something you love and are good at."
I did okay, in the sense that I breezed through rather easily. But I'm doing something I wasn't educated in (another thing I messed up: I chose the wrong education trade-wise), so I'm not sure how much the education system over here was of actual help. But I love it and I believe I'm very good at it.