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Author Topic: Plagiarism and our Educational System
Falken224
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OSC's War Watch Column

Am I just wilfully ignorant here? Is this type of education really prevalent in our school systems?

At the high-school I went to, (and the Jr. High too, for that matter) plagiarism was grounds for immediate, unappealable expulsion. The only recourse you had was to prove that you hadn't actually done it.

Is this not anywhere close to the norm?

I just find the situation in this article utterly repugnant.

It reminds me of a similar situation in a HS some of my friends attended. Seniors who assumed they had some sort of a 'free ride' didn't work as hard at an English class. The teacher, who had warned them all many times, gave them the grades they deserved, mainly Bs and Cs . . . nobody failed.

When report cards came out, she received more than a dozen irate phone calls from parents who discovered their children had suddenly lost thier 4.0 GPAs. In a HS of less that 200 students, not only did I find it remarkable that over a dozen students had 4.0s for their HS career, I was disgusted by the fact that the parents then tried to coerce the teacher into giving undeserved grades.

The school board, while not taking any action against her, left her hanging and refused to fight on her behalf when the parents lobbied to have her fired.

I thought that was bad, but I also figured it was rare. Please tell me I'm not mistaken.

The HS I went to was a living hell, academically speaking. (living hell in a GOOD way. And BTW also a school of about 150-200) My Sophomore year, we had an average of 75 pages of reading a night. By my senior year that average was easily up to 150. On the days we didn't have as much reading, we were writing papers. 3-6 page papers in multiple classes . . . on average 2-4 per month. And you damned well better believe I was proud of every B- I got. (I can count them all on my hands) My GPA on graduation was 2.7 and I fought for it tooth and nail. (In 30 years *ONE* student earned a 4.0) This despite the fact that I consider myself more academically proficient than about 95% of the rest of the population.

I know THAT isn't a normal education, and I know our public school system leave MUCH to be desired, but I was under the impression that we at least had the PRETENSE of giving a halfway decent education.

Somebody tell me I'm at least PARTIALLY right!

-Nate


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andrewski
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While I'm not a conspiracy theorist, one of the themes that are recuurent in the news is the failure of public schools to educate our youth in America. Concurrent with that story line is the one concerning the tremendous success of private schools.
Are we developing a 2 tiered ed. system by design?

One, public, creates a grad with questionable credentials, who has been fed the lowest common denominator curriculum for 12 years and is barely able to function in an increasingly super-literate(read, technical) society. One instance of this tech gap,compare setup and info manuals that accompanied original IBM PCs and the color coded posters and peripheral cabling that accompany the Clones of today and Apple products. IBM believed their customers to be able to read and understand the information they provided. Their customers proved them wrong.These grads have few skills and little ability to gain them. They lack the discipline for self-study.Hence the 20 yo still living at home and the proliferation of 13th and 14th grade(J.C.'s)to impart technical skills to allow them to have a chance for meaningful, productive lives.

Two, private, classic curriculum, high level of achievement expected, discipline enforced, creates a grad with exemplary credentials,the tools to reason, to recognize and understand complex ideas. These grads go to Ivy League or equivalent(Stanford, et al) schools and further improve their intellect. The movers and shakers for generations to come. Well educated,confidant in their abilities and able to make reasoned choices about the course their lives will take.

I know there are exceptions, rigorous curriculum in some public institutions, bright self motivated students, parents more concerned with achievement than grades, wastrel preppies,etc.

I can't, however, help feeling alarmed at the pending change in our egalitarian society. Class distinctions in other cultures create hobbles on mobility,(born middle class,stay middle class, die middle class and your children too) the flow of ideas,invention, capital becomes concentrated in the hands of the few, sounds like the U.K. to me. Didn't our forefathers fight a war to throw off this same yoke?


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WmLambert
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Well, Andrewski... if you don't believe in Conspiracy theory - then don't consider the impact of John Dewey, the designer of our educational system. It is exactly where he wanted it to be when he was given the opportunity to fiddle with it. Social egalitarianism before that goldurned booklearning! I'm still smarting over my earlier attempted thread about educational revisionism.

As for your second point... Private schools are primarily business- or law-oriented. If you want pure science, physics, engineering, and other laudable hard sciences you have to go to State colleges.


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Everard
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As I've said everytime on this board, my high school (wayland public school system) was pretty rigourous. Plagarism was an automatic F on the paper, twice in a year was automatic failure for the year. We didn't have any 4.0's that I can remember, though we did have a lot of high 3's (Scaled, as we had a tiered GPA system based on the level of the course).

I'm not sure which is the norm, but when I look at my high school, I can't help but think that the failure's of other public schools is due more to lack of effort then any institutional problem.

About 10% of the grads from our school system go to Ivy league schools, and probably 35-40% go to top 50 schools. 97% of grads go on to four year colleges. This is not normal, but I think that the sucesses of my school system are achievable by any school system, though to a slightly lesser degree depending on budget constraints, or greater degree if there is a larger budget.


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Everard
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(As an aside, I'm sitting on a Rockefeller paper that I'm debating whether or not to throw into the fray).
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rogerroger
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WmLambert,

So private schools create the elite lawyers, accountants, mba/ceos, bankers, brokers, etc.

Would you not consider this a factor in the concentration of capital?

State schools create elite scientists, engineers,etc.

Who work for the guys with the capital.


As the ability of the American taxpayer to support state schools( U.T. closed summer sessions early on all campus' due to a budget battle in the legislature. ) more funding will need to be found thru grants, private in most instances, to support those sterling programs and facilities.


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Elizabeth
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I went to two highschools. The first highschool was definately more academicly focused. Cheating and plagurizing certainly went on at both schools; however, it was worse at the second school, cheating and plagurizing were easy and almost never punished. If it was detected the teachers certainly didn't mention it. It was almost as if they felt certain that should they try and fight it, they would suffer.

Academics at my second highschool depressed me.


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Nathan
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Ah... a thread for which I have a unique perspective: I just graduated. I know what anecdotal evidence is worth, but I think my experience is typical of the status quo.

Good 'ole CHS: a mid-sized school (215 in my class), with a mid-level budget, a good principal, and a lousy school board.

The grading system in my school was preposterous. I graduated as Valedictorian with a 99.357 overall average (100x38, 99x10, 98x3, 97x3, 95, 94--the 94 was actually a mistake that I should have corrected from freshman health class). I made straight 100's in Advanced Placement Calculus and AP US History. I made 4's on the AP tests (out of 5, with 3 being sufficicient for college credit at most schools, 4 at the more demanding schools), but others in my class made straight 100's in the same classes and made 2's. I'd guess that something like the top 5th of my class had an A average.

Cheating was so prolific in my AP History class that I know the teacher was ignoring it. I talked to him once and he said he had long sense decided to hand out grades and just teach the students who were serious about passing the test for college credit. He also said (as did my AP cal teacher) that if he didn't inflate grades (via mass amounts of extra credit, group/take-home tests, gargantuan curves, etc.) he would lose the quality students because of competition for class ranking slots (one point in any one class would have made me salutatorian). I could (didn't, of course) get copies of every test I ever took in highschool just by asking an upperclassman--no one even bothered to charge.

Plagiarism wasn't as easy for me to notice, as I didn't often read other people's papers let alone reference them. However, I highly suspect it was prolific because students who I know didn't put any time in on their papers made A's. And I know teachers didn't check for it. I once requested an English teacher to check my research paper against my sources to make sure I didn't use too much of the original wording. She told me I had in a couple of cases. Judging from her reaction to my request, it was not something she did often.

I never once took an exam--midterm or final. I maintained an A in all my classes and never missed more than one day per quarter, thus I was always exempt. Not that it really mattered: the band exam consisted of 5 questions (one of which was "name one other band you want to beat") and the two people who had to take the Calculus exam (the teacher's exam, not the AP test, obviously) got to work together and use the book. The only exam I feared having to take was Spanish because I was never required to remember any vocabulary words after we were tested over them, so I didn't.

Basically, you could try to fail and get a C, you could do nothing and get a B, you could cheat and get an A, or you could try a little and get a 100.

The teachers who were intelligent enough to recognize this trend referred to it as grade inflation. Students are becoming less and less motivated so teachers are forced to be easier just to pass students (failing too many students looks bad on the teacher and the school). On top of that, schools need to report more students entering colleges, so they subtilely put pressure on teachers to be more lenient. The result is that grades at the top get so tight that students are fighting for a single points where they should be fighting for letter grades, and for the mediocre student satisfied with an automatic C, there's no incentive to learn anything.

So scores continue to drop on national tests like the SAT's, which they're about to make easier ("nobody did well at those analogies--we'll take 'em off"). A student can make an A+ in AP English and get a 2 on the AP exam. Prestigious colleges all but ignore GPA's, at least from public schools. As many Valedictorians are rejected at Ivy League schools as are accepted.

Tennessee's solution has been to implement $6.6 million state-wide standardized tests in some "gateway" courses (English II, Algebra I and Biology ) which must be passed before a student can graduate. Fortunately for all us slackers, these tests are easier to pass than gas after a bowl of cafeteria chili (94% passed the first round of Biology testing http://www.state.tn.us/education/testing/02tsgwstatewide.pdf ).

Here is another personal observation. When I spent a month at governor's school last summer in fellowship with numerous top academic students like myself, I inevitably found that the ones from private and magnet schools had more extensive educations and deeper understanding of common subjects. And they had wealthier parents than I.

My diagnosis is this. The public school system in this nation has put grades above learning. Both administration and the public are satisfied if enough students earn an A, even if the program they aced is frighteningly sub-par. An easy and cheap way to improve our public school system would be to simply raise the academic bar. Make the top students work for their A's and fail the students who deserve it. Students will, I think, rise to the challenge. If not, then at least the public will be able to see the problem and address it. Hiding the problem under good grades will never help anyone.

I don't think I need to ennumerate the reasons why an adequate public education system is crucial to a nation's success and ultimately it's survival.

I beg all of you not to view this as a shallow attempt to boast about my academics. This is a subject I am passionate and concerned about and for which I don't see a solution in the near future short of a drastic change in philosophy from both the leadership and the public.


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suntranafs
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If you fail anyone for academic reasons, and I mean anyone, you'd better not do it on my tax dollars. People don't go to school to fail. They go to school to learn. If they fall short of the standard, it's not their fault, it's their teachers. As for this ABCD grading system, give me a pass/fail system every time. If you make it, you did well, if you don't, then your teachers a stupid ass and you've just got to try again. In ABCD, you've got people labeled as 1st class, second class, third
class... for no other reason than chance of a few points, and maybe they were a little better EDUCATED when they started out. Yes, as you will say, the A's often try harder than the C's. You know? I wonder why? Maybe because they've been pissed on and labeled as stupid their entire life?
You can have your ABCD grading system; take it back with you to tyranical monarchies and feudal systems.

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msquared
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Sun,

I disagree with you. In this situation it is perfectly ok for the teacher to fail the student who copied someone elses work. This does not reflect at all on the teacher, other than that he/she stood up for the rules. Again, where is the incentive for some one to do well or put in the extra effort? Equality of results will be the bane of America.

msquared


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suntranafs
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Now, what about raising our standards? No defintely not. What we need to raise is the quality of our teaching methods witch currently equals approximately zero. The only class that should require much writing is guess what? A writing class! In our current below college school system, all you have to do is write. And you do not even have to do that well. Just bullshit that sounds good fast. Oh, one exception, sometimes math classes require you to actually do math. How much math are you required to graduate from high school? Algebra one and algebra two? Does anyone have any idea how pathetic that is for 13 years of school?
Because of the fact that the very best students at most high schools are ignoramuses that know how to bullshit quickly, and that the lesser students are just ignoramuses, the highschool diploma now means next to nothing in todays job market. Despite this, the posters on the wall at your local highschool(and verbal messages everywhere else) continue to herald the diploma's everlasting beauty, causing America's youth to be utterly brain washed into thinking that going to highschool is worth their time of day.

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suntranafs
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msquared: I said for academic reasons. meaning amoral ones. If they commit a serious plagarism, then by all means...
Regarding incentive to try: Well, if you weigh in what it does to the kids who get branded as second class... Human ability to think is the one that seperates us from lower life forms- call someone stupid, or even not very smart, and you call him subhuman. Besides, your incentive to try should not be based on other's failure. The fastest man in the world does not race to beat others, he races to beat time, he races to win. You can still try to study hard enough to get perfect scores on your tests. Let the grades say: you did well and, you tried incredibly hard and did extremely well; not you got beat and, you beat these people. Remember we're talking about kids here, we shouldn't manipulate them to try harder if they don't want to try harder. Just teach them, and teach them well, and they will learn, guaranteed.

[This message has been edited by suntranafs (edited August 27, 2002).]


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Luny
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I have to agree that the state of public education is indeed sad. I admit that while I was in junior and high school I bounced around quite a bit. Alabama had gotten a great idea and had decided to implement Magnet schools... no big deal, every other state has got them. The only problem was that even gifted 7th graders aren't really prepaired for high school/college level classes and an increased work load on top of that. So as our years of junior high went by, many of us became burnt out. I myself had to purposely get myself thrown out. I was having serious medical problems from too much stress and the school wouldn't let me leave because they get more funding based on the amound of military dependants they have enrolled. So my freshman year i went to regular school. I got decent grades, worked on the year book staff... but was bored. Then I go to high school and decide that I want to attempt the accelerated program again. Come to find out, they didn't offer anything that wasn't as bad as the original school and in fact you couldn't take AP courses and such unless you were enrolled in it. Eventually half way through my junior year, I was removed from public education for being too mature for high school supposedly. I was forced to get a GED instead of being allowed to graduate because my sister and I complained too loudly that we didn't have anything to challenge us and so thus refused to do the stuff we thought was beneath us. Now this would not have been quite so bad had it not been for the reason they didn't offer them. Out of a school with approx. 3000 students, 700 of which were supposed to graduate, only about 200 of them actually did and those were mostly the ones who were in the accelerated program. The school board figured that anybody worth saving was going to be in the gifted group anyway. I spent most of my days either sleeping or reading Anthony or McCaffrey. My teachers just didn't care.

Now that I am a parent, I wonder about my child's education. I think that great strides have been made in elementary education just by what I've seen so far. She's going to be starting first grade in a few days and if it is as challenging as Kindergarten was then I'll be happy. I was amazed that you can actually FAIL Kindergarten now. Though I've also seen current high school practices in my area and they are a far far cry from the so called quality education that they get in elementary school. If they were on par, then there wouldn't be a need for the several state funded adult high schools and school board training programs in our area.

The question is, how do we make it better?


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Falken224
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quote:
The question is, how do we make it better?

Send your kids to private schools.

Expensive, yes, but well worth every penny . . . IF you pick the right one. There's a lot of private schools that suck too.

If you're in the Portland, OR area, go check out the Catlin Gabel School, (my old school www.catlin.edu ) or Oregon Episcopal School ( www.oes.edu ). Both of those offer a high-quality education, but at a price. Currently, that price is about $12,000 per year.

But in the public school systems, there's not a chance. Until we as an entire country kick this whole mentality of entitlement, we're not GOING to have a good school system. Because, right now, the idea is that everybody is ENTITLED to graduate from high-school, and that the failure to do so is a failure of the educational system. It's somebody else's fault. The students don't want to be challenged, they just want a cakewalk through their education, having a fun time, doing whatever they want, and getting a diploma at the end of it.

Sorry, doesn't work that way. One of the things I valued most about the school I went to is that they hammered into us the idea that if you want the rewards, you damned well better do the work. NOBODY got a free ride, but dammit, when you accomplished something, you KNEW it was all you.

When you can't fail, where's the pride in that. When you CAN fail, there's a chance you WILL fail, and parents don't want to have to accept the fact that their kids might just make bad choices and end up failing because of it. Guess what, that's life. You have to live with the consequences of your actions.

But, because of this whole entitlement thing, we now have an educational system where it's politically incorrect to raise the standards; where teachers don't care, because their only reward for caring, for teaching, for challenging, is the wrath of the parents whose kids DIDN'T pass, are threatened by things they don't understand and aren't comfortable with; where the only ones worth caring about are the 'gifted' ones.

That's an education, all right, and it's no wonder our society sucks. Look at the values we're reinforcing.

But there are public schools out there doing good things. They're mostly the 'experimental education' type. My cousing went to one and actually gave a rat's ass about how good he did. This slacker-boy graduated in 3 years. His sister is in the same school, and is doing wonderfully. I went to an experimental ed. school that cost my parents about 8 grand a year to send me to. It just about broke them financially. They declared bankruptcy 3 years after I graduated, partly due to that, and partly to some other bad business luck. (luck, judgment, whatever) They don't regret it for a moment, and I'm grateful for it.

But as far as the public school system is concerned, I think that you're just fighting an uphill battle. Between the sheer number of students NEEDING to be educated, and the complacency/entitlement/victimhood issues there's no way our schools CAN improve, except on an 'exception-to-the-rule' basis.

And by the way, I think writing is perhaps the MOST valuable skill we can teach our kids, as long as we actually TEACH it. Developing skills which allow kids to formulate reasoned, coherent thoughts and the communicate them to others is perhaps the ONLY tools they truly need in life.

Just my humble opinion.

-Nate

Edited to fix links.

[This message has been edited by Falken224 (edited August 27, 2002).]


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jonthegm
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I too went to a private school, and I worked decently hard for my GPA (3.8 unweighted/ 4.1 weighted). Cheating was rare but not nonexistant. One thing I noticed was that the cheating seemed more prolific in less difficult classes. I'm not sure why that was, maybe it was the teachers, maybe it was the students, maybe it was the coursework.

Now that I'm in a UC school, I find cheating to be much more prevalent. Plagiarism is so common that when I handed my 10 page paper in (that I worked 48 hours on...) I feared that I might have accidentally copied something in my mind. As someone mentioned before though, I got a B-, even though I didn't work on it at all...

The problem is, there's no incentive to make the public schools better. If a private school isn't any good, kids leave, and the school is denied income. If a public school isn't any good, kids leave, and the school gets MORE MONEY! The market will work in this instance, we need to see that.

"Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing. The rest is mere sheep-herding."
Ezra Loomis Pound


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timeskimo
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As a current high school student, (I will admit to not mentioning it previously, for probably baseless fears of not being taken seriously at all) I think I can probably offer a bit more unique a view of our education system. I go to a high school of 3000+ students, where the teachers don't have the time or the energy to treat their students as individuals, but instead educate a shapeless, faceless mass of ignorant minds. A public school, by the way.

The problem, as I see it, with cheating, is that for those students who want an easy way out, it's too available. For those of us who actually want to benefit something by all these years of schooling, it's too necessary sometimes. Cheating needs to be cracked down on, to get rid of the slackers, but it also needs to be understood. Hard working kids cheat because too much emphasis is placed on BS work that doesn't give any benefit whatsoever. I cheat when I need to, but generally try not to. I'll only do it when absolutely pressed for time, due to heavy extracurricular activities and heavy workloads.

Teachers don't have the time to evaluate the kids personally, because there's too many students and too few teachers. This means that blanket rules and regulations have to be used. For a truly excellent education, home schooling and small schools are much better, as they create a professional and personal relationship with the teacher, and so both can better evaluate the accuracy, importance, and honesty behind the information presented, as well as the needs of individual students. As far as the capability of teachers goes, it's not too hard to find out which teachers can't teach. A simple matter then, it <i>should</i> be, to replace them. However, since it's hard to quantify a teacher's ability, it's a deadly sin for a school to eliminate one for anything short of sex with student(s).

Lots of things are blamed on the size of schools, but I've never heard a good reason offered. My own personal distaste, other than the reduced efficacy of education, stems from the lack of community that it creates. Those students who don't participate in extracurricular activities are hopelessly alienated, because the vital sense of belonging and friendship occurs primarily in such semi-school activities. I don't have this problem too terribly, being a member of marching band, where the cream rises to the top (in my most unhumble opinion).

Retrospectively, I wish that I had applied to one of our district's magnet schools, since they are comparable in difficulty while creating much stronger bonds among everyone involved. However, now, with the feeling of having to belong, and the terrible sin among students of transferring to a magnet school, I'm not sure if I will next year.

All this illustrates just a few of the evils inherent in public schools in my area, if not nationwide (though it sounds like other schools have their own unique problems to deal with). School size is certainly a major factor. Elimination of busy work is a must. Manageable work load is a must. Change in the student social hierarchies would be helpful, but those require so much explanation that I'm not about to deal with those tonight.
-Timesk

[This message has been edited by timeskimo (edited August 27, 2002).]


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jonthegm
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I'm a third year at UC San Diego, a Computer Science Major, and I'm looking at my schedule to see if I have enough time to take a Political Science (Theory Emphasis) Minor.

While our engineering and hard science programs are indeed top-notch, I am still surprised at the number of people who actively cheat. While cheating seems more obvious to me in classes like Physics and Data Structures, the teachers in the humanities seem to obsess over plagiarism. A class isn't taught where the "It's wrong to copy, even unintentionally" isn't drummed into our heads. If it wasn't a problem, I'm not sure if they'd harp on it all the time (though it IS a bureaucracy, so that might explain it a bit...)


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Denelian
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Timesk has a point. having read what Luny wrote (and knowing that i am the sister she refers to) know that i went to a magnet high school. i really went to three different schools, as i was in two Music magnet classes, two AP magnet classes and (because of silly time restrictions) one regular class, band and an after-school german class.

the sheer amount of silly work astounds me.

in my AP English class, we had to write a disertation. okay, fine. we had to turn in EVERYTHING. note cards, referance sheets that we used, and so on. a paper that i could have written in something like 2 days instead took over a month, because i had to provide NOTES.

i had never made notes on what i had read before. i had no clue how to do it. it was the first time i had ever gotten less than an A in an english class, because we were give all this superfluous work. why oh who was all this (and lots of other) extra work required??? i never did find out.


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Luny
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My point was, for those of us who just cannot afford private schools or have some other objection to them like not wanting to send my child to a religious based institution, how do we fix what we've got to work with?
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jonthegm
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Vouchers will stall the problem, and make private schools more desirable (and because of an increased money supply, more available after a time). Unfortunately, I believe public elementary and primary schools are a lost cause. I think we should privatize them immediately. Throwing more money at failing schools does nothing but increase the salaries of school board superintendants.
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Falken224
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Luny,

I don't think you CAN solve the problem. I think the whole idea of a public school system is flawed. Schools need to be capitalistic in nature. That way, schools that are getting remarkable results will get higher and higher enrollment, until they're too big, people feel they aren't getting their money's worth and they pull their kids out and send them somewhere else. But when you have the government giving money perpetually to schools which may or may not be working like they're supposed to be, you're going to create a system that is eventually accountable only to people so far removed from it they can't possibly make good decisions.

What you do is assist the parents, not the schools. Give them up to X amount of cash to send their kids to school. If they find tuition for less, they get to keep it. That will create a demand for low-tuition schools. It will also allow parents who want to put SOME money into thier kids education but not TOO much, to be able to afford schools with higher tuition. That way, you still provide for free, or at least affordable, education from the parents' point of view, while still creating a marketplace where there is competition for enrollment.

Personally, I think this is the answer, but I don't think you'll ever get it to happen. Vouchers are a step in the right direction, for sure, but they have their own set of problems, I think. Not sure . . . I really need to look into this a bit more.

But as far as the public school system goes . . . I think it's a lost cause at this point.

Still, doomsaying doesn't solve your problem. I would say, go and find a really good private school that offers financial aid. A good many private schools do, in various forms, though it probably won't cover the full tuition. Still, it might make it an affordable option instead of an instant "no". If money's the only object, talk to a few of the schools in your area about financial aid. It can't hurt to find out what you'd qualify for.

If you object to religious schools super-strongly (I do too, BTW) there's still a lot of non-denominational private schools out there.

College Prep schools tend to be extremely good, very expensive, and very good at helping people out financially who want to send their kids there. It might be a stretch, but you never know. (Along that vein, Luny, check out www.wellington.org if you're interested.)

And even in the public school system, there's experimental ed. schools. They're just kind of hard to find.

Just a few thoughts.

-Nate

[This message has been edited by Falken224 (edited August 28, 2002).]


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dyany
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Hello, I'm new to this ornery forum, so forgive me if I don't know all the social rules here yet.

I've been reading this thread with great interest, because education has always been interesting and valuable to me. A few things have come to mind.
First, it seems to be general consensus that our school systems have, for the most part, deteriorated over the last few years. In an age where children have more information available to them more easily than ever before, and in fact, they have more 'facts' in their heads than ever before, this is amazing. What is making our schools so appallingly bad? Is it the teachers? I think that's part of the problem, but not all of it. Is it overcrowding? That could be some of it...though if the baby boomer generation was able to get through school well, we should be able to. They had a much larger proportion of children to adults than any other time in our country. Funding? well, in today's expensive, materialistic society, perhaps that plays more of a part, but we definitely have far more resources in school now than we did even 20 years ago. Easy access to cheating resources? well, making things easy doesn't make them more prevalent in and of itself. I can only think of 1 thing: parents and the family structure.
Our society today values money, power, and fun above almost everything else. Along those lines, women who choose to be mothers are looked down upon severely -- it's not 'necessary', or else it's 'someone else's job' to teach your children manners, respect, honesty, integrity, hard work, etc. You are 'fulfilling' yourself 'as a woman' unless you bring home a paycheck. But society still tries to teach us that we can have great kids and a full life by doing this, which, I'm sorry to say, is a crock of cow manure. So these kids, raised in herds by minimum-wage high-school dropouts in child care and exhausted parents (often single in our high-divorce rate society) are given basic physical necessities and a few amenities to keep them out of their parents' hair. They are taught, though often indirectly, a machiavellian life style, because that's the quickest and easiest. And parents, loaded with guilt, then defend anything that child does wrong (such as cheating) because, really, they know that they haven't taught them otherwise. All that stuff about hard work and discipline and morals and rules and integrity are 'impractical' -- if not in practice, than certainly in the time it takes to teach them. That's 'old-fashioned' -- and anything old is 'out-dated' and therefore incorrect, right?
My point is -- the schools arent worse than what they were. They are trying to deal with a much, much bigger problem in societal integrity than we have had in our children for a long time. And it's just not possible (nor right) for schools to make up for the shortcomings in the child's upbringing, particularly when the schools are not allowed to teach morals, manners, or proper social behavior (which they shouldn't). This gets us into a rather different argument, which has most likely been discussed here before (and probably in a far more coherent manner), but basically, schools are a symptom. Not the core problem.
D


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timeskimo
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glad to have you here.

On your views of largely parenting problems, I'll keep my opinion off of it for the most part, given my position I don't exactly have a lot of experience with how older generations did their parenting. However, I'm of the opinion that my parents raised myself, my brother, and my sister all knowing that cheating is bad, yet we've all done it anyway, because of necessity. No time, no patience, generally just higher priorities than doing work that doesn't benefit us. maybe it does say something that I don't really see any moral wrong with cheating. Dishonesty is not a goal one should strive for, but the main reason is that by just copying answers, you aren't learning anything, and if it's work worth doing, there's something to learn.


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dyany
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I see your dilemma. In a society where everyone cheats, only the honest fail -- standards become based on how well you cheat, not what you know.
Based on that, I must append my theory: Society is built of families, which are built of parents (authority) and children ('product', in a way). If the /majority/ of parents fail, the majority of children (future society and current sub-society) fail, the majority of families fail, and society begins to crumble. As society begins to fail, there is a cyclic effect that will continue to degrade until the root -- the parents -- take charge and make the necessary changes (it's a ripple effect, yet no single parent or set of parents can change what society is). So, for instance, your parents were good, but you, affected by society, were more motivated to cheat, which you chose to act upon, feeding the societal 'cheating factors'. However, you as an adult and eventual parent still have the choice to learn and teach otherwise. It just isn't easy and may not make much difference on the society at large. :/


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