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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Education: Blame the Students?

This is an awesome opinion article I read today. I love it! Time someone said it....

---------------------------
LINK

For once, blame the student


By Patrick Welsh Wed Mar 8, 7:08 AM ET

Failure in the classroom is often tied to lack of funding, poor teachers or other ills. Here's a thought: Maybe it's the failed work ethic of todays kids. That's what I'm seeing in my school. Until reformers see this reality, little will change.

Last month, as I averaged the second-quarter grades for my senior English classes at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., the same familiar pattern leapt out at me.

Kids who had emigrated from foreign countries - such as Shewit Giovanni from Ethiopia, Farah Ali from Guyana and Edgar Awumey from Ghana - often aced every test, while many of their U.S.-born classmates from upper-class homes with highly educated parents had a string of C's and D's.

As one would expect, the middle-class American kids usually had higher SAT verbal scores than did their immigrant classmates, many of whom had only been speaking English for a few years.

What many of the American kids I taught did not have was the motivation, self-discipline or work ethic of the foreign-born kids.

Politicians and education bureaucrats can talk all they want about reform, but until the work ethic of U.S. students changes, until they are willing to put in the time and effort to master their subjects, little will change.

A study released in December by University of Pennsylvania researchers Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman suggests that the reason so many U.S. students are "falling short of their intellectual potential" is not "inadequate teachers, boring textbooks and large class sizes" and the rest of the usual litany cited by the so-called reformers - but "their failure to exercise self-discipline."

The sad fact is that in the USA, hard work on the part of students is no longer seen as a key factor in academic success. The groundbreaking work of Harold Stevenson and a multinational team at the University of Michigan comparing attitudes of Asian and American students sounded the alarm more than a decade ago.

Asian vs. U.S. students

When asked to identify the most important factors in their performance in math, the percentage of Japanese and Taiwanese students who answered "studying hard" was twice that of American students.

American students named native intelligence, and some said the home environment. But a clear majority of U.S. students put the responsibility on their teachers. A good teacher, they said, was the determining factor in how well they did in math.

"Kids have convinced parents that it is the teacher or the system that is the problem, not their own lack of effort," says Dave Roscher, a chemistry teacher at T.C. Williams in this Washington suburb. "In my day, parents didn't listen when kids complained about teachers. We are supposed to miraculously make kids learn even though they are not working."

As my colleague Ed Cannon puts it: "Today, the teacher is supposed to be responsible for motivating the kid. If they don't learn it is supposed to be our problem, not theirs."

And, of course, busy parents guilt-ridden over the little time they spend with their kids are big subscribers to this theory.

Maybe every generation of kids has wanted to take it easy, but until the past few decades students were not allowed to get away with it. "Nowadays, it's the kids who have the power. When they don't do the work and get lower grades, they scream and yell. Parents side with the kids who pressure teachers to lower standards," says Joel Kaplan, another chemistry teacher at T.C. Williams.

Every year, I have had parents come in to argue about the grades I have given in my AP English classes. To me, my grades are far too generous; to middle-class parents, they are often an affront to their sense of entitlement. If their kids do a modicum of work, many parents expect them to get at least a B. When I have given C's or D's to bright middle-class kids who have done poor or mediocre work, some parents have accused me of destroying their children's futures.

It is not only parents, however, who are siding with students in their attempts to get out of hard work.

Blame schools, too

"Schools play into it," says psychiatrist Lawrence Brain, who counsels affluent teenagers throughout the Washington metropolitan area. "I've been amazed to see how easy it is for kids in public schools to manipulate guidance counselors to get them out of classes they don't like. They have been sent a message that they don't have to struggle to achieve if things are not perfect."

Neither the high-stakes state exams, such as Virginia's Standards of Learning, nor the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act have succeeded in changing that message; both have turned into minimum-competency requirements aimed at the lowest in our school.

Colleges keep complaining that students are coming to them unprepared. Instead of raising admissions standards, however, they keep accepting mediocre students lest cuts have to be made in faculty and administration.

As a teacher, I don't object to the heightened standards required of educators in the No Child Left Behind law. Who among us would say we couldn't do a little better? Nonetheless, teachers have no control over student motivation and ambition, which have to come from the home - and from within each student.

Perhaps the best lesson I can pass along to my upper- and middle-class students is to merely point them in the direction of their foreign-born classmates, who can remind us all that education in America is still more a privilege than a right.

Patrick Welsh is an English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:00 PM
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:29 PM
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who needs to learn? everything is in google
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:34 PM
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:40 PM
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ask my girlfriend who is a teacher. the biggist problem she faces are parents who don't care.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:43 PM
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Sadly it is what American is leaning towards. School shooting? It's because of violence in videogames, movies and music. Drug problem? It's because the government is not doing enough to stop drug trafficking. Riiight.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:46 PM
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The children of the Hippie's children.

Tossing a little curveball out there for TonyHD

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 09:51 PM
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Very good read. The main point is something I've been bringing up in various threads for awhile:

Exercising Self-Disclipine.

This is not a malady of just today's children. So many Americans today do not exercise enough self-discipline. This needs to change.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chills
Very good read. The main point is something I've been bringing up in various threads for awhile:

Exercising Self-Disclipine.

This is not a malady of just today's children. So many Americans today do not exercise enough self-discipline. This needs to change.

They need to be taught it. A life full of 'stuff' and nothing of 'value'. It starts at home.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 11:47 PM
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Teachers can only do so much, especially with 30-35 kids in a class. Parents are most important in a kid's success. I was never afraid of a teacher or getting in trouble in school. What I was afraid of was my teacher telling my parents about something I did... and nowadays A LOT of parents don't care (or worse, some view and treat the teacher as an enemy just for trying to push their failing kids to succeed.)
I've worked for a few years with kids in a couple grade schools and sadly the ones who are extremely lazy with parents who don't care (or just aren't there) are practically hopeless. The same can be true on the other end of the spectrum with parents who care too much, which is the case in the richer suburbs where teachers have to bend over for over-demanding parents that don't act in their kid's best interests.
The stories I've heard from people who taught in some of the Chicago schools would make Mother Teresa want to slap somebody... They're freakin' zoos.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 01:42 AM
 
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Good read.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 02:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch
The children of the Hippie's children.

Tossing a little curveball out there for TonyHD
yup, the ones that are their kids friends instead of their parents.



It's all three. Teachers, parents, and kids.


Teachers need to teach kids to learn. I believe that is the biggest problem. Especially in the math area. Kids dont have the ability to teach themselves and how to process the information. We should be teaching calc in freshman year of highschool.

Why do we seperate kids at school. The smart kids, average, and stupid. The stupid kids study just has hard, but they have problems in interpreting what they learned in school. But why?

Why are the smart kids, smart? Did their parents start teaching them at a young age? Their brain developed into better thought processes?


Parents are to blame for too. Either they dont teach their kids at a young age. Or dont discipline them when their looking at NWS pics on the internet insteading of studying for school.

And kids can blame themselves if they are lazy. But can they be blamed for being born stupid?
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 02:55 AM
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The brain works differently for different people. The brain is nothing but a chemical factory that produces its own electricity. Many things come into play with how it can store information, how it must process sensory input and how it can recall information that is stored and get it out into the physical/audible world. There's neuro-typical and neuro-atypical. The 2 are pretty easy to see the difference (on the surface) but there is more and more data being collected by studies and in the field observation that there are many gray areas in between neuro-typical and atypical.

(deep breath after that)

As such, the 'traditional' one size fits all approach to "teaching" is becoming more and more apparant that it's not going to get through to every kid. There has been a rift in the math and science teachings in some districts where they will tackle the lesson plan from 2 or more 'angels' and the information has a much better chance of 'sticking' with more kids. It's not that kids in this gray area CAN'T learn, it's that they just proces and learn DIFFERNETLY or at a different pace/method.

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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 03:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch
The brain works differently for different people. The brain is nothing but a chemical factory that produces its own electricity. Many things come into play with how it can store information, how it must process sensory input and how it can recall information that is stored and get it out into the physical/audible world. There's neuro-typical and neuro-atypical. The 2 are pretty easy to see the difference (on the surface) but there is more and more data being collected by studies and in the field observation that there are many gray areas in between neuro-typical and atypical.
ya, i know how a CPU works, but how does a brain work.


I noticed a lot of my friends were in the very low math classes in college. It was really weird.

I always found that the best teachers were the one where you enjoyed class, and actually learned new things. But not every teacher is going to do it like "BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY, BILL BILL BILL, BILL"
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 03:23 AM
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Making a kid desire to learn is key. A personal and comfortable relationship w/ the teachers is very helpful. That usually takes parental involvement to make it happen. Some teachers are that devoted and 'get it' that they can do most of that on their own... but for those kids who struggle, they need the parents on board with this, or it's not going to fly too well.

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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 06:04 AM
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I am a teacher so I speak from experience.

The article is right, the students that put time into their studies and have involved parents get good grades and high scores.

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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paladin
I am a teacher so I speak from experience.

The article is right, the students that put time into their studies and have involved parents get good grades and high scores.
+1 Get involved with your kids education and stayed involved! Good teachers help, but it starts at home.

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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 07:42 AM
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Good points.

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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch
Their first teachers in life failed them... their parents.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 08:33 AM
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okay, so let me ask you this...

what do you do? what does a govt official, a school do? how do you make students who don't want to learn, learn?

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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 08:38 AM
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From my family's vantage point, with parents having been educators and my wife being an educator, it's likely to be much better to steer kids into things that fit their learning style from about junior high school going forward. Some children are much more tactile in their learning style and gravitate toward vocational education and some are more cognitive and work well in the lecture based environment.

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard..."

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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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I don't know what one would do about it. I imagine that working within the public school system it would be very hard to make the time necessary to address kids individually. As for me, I might actually homeschool my children if Texas doesn't shape up it's public education-- we're #50 in the country. Sad, sad, sad... I am a firm believer that there is a great value in public education (especially in some states, like NY and IL, that have great public ed systems) but it does have its limits.

I think it starts at home-- with instilling curiosity in your kids, and I also think that one of the best gifts you can give a child is a love of READING. It's not all about interacting with others--if your kid can enjoy some quiet time, that's a great quality that instills good learning behaviors.


P.S: I can't believe that this thread has got about 20 posts already and EVERYONE is basically in agreement! LOL!

Last edited by ill_ag; 03-10-2006 at 09:48 AM.
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcook
if we had more good teachers like Debra Lafave that offer sexual incentive to do well the students would have better grades!!! hahahahhahaha!!!!
This was a civilized discussion until you pooped on it with Pervy McCreepy's picture!
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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please take that trailer trash out of my thread! she is SO nasty.
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill_ag
I don't know what one would do about it. I imagine that working within the public school system it would be very hard to make the time necessary to address kids individually.
This is what IEPs do for those kids that qualify.

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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ill_ag
"Nowadays, it's the kids who have the power."
This is true.
I taught for a couple of years, and I had this really bad class at Niles North H.S. of spoiled brats who refused to behave, shut up and do their work. They got tired of me getting after them about it, complained to the principal, and I got in trouble! It was then I knew that the public school system is not where I belonged!

My favorite was in American History class in college -- a handful of the students in class complained about the reading workload on the syllabus -- they bitched and moaned -- and WON! The TA cut out a TON of great reading. Was it warranted? Well, I had already read it all. It's funny cuz I hear the same people talking about all the partying they'd done the night before, etc. I just shake my head...

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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:15 AM
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My wifes a teacher. I hear this about her kids all the time. They dont do thier homework and somehow its her fault. The teachers are put between a rock and a hardplace between the parents and the administration. the admin needs the numbers up due to No child left behind regs so they can get money, and the parents think thier lazy children shoudl have higer grades. all the blame is being placed everywhere but on the kids.




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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:25 AM
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The thing that I'm glad about (and correct me if you guys observe it another way) is that there is still a separation taking place out there between the lazy, blame-others people and the responsible, hard-working people.

And this separation takes place in the workplace. When I interview people for a job, I ask specific scenario questions that are pretty effective at pinpointing where people perceive responsibilities -- My favorite thing to hear is when someone talks about a mistake they made at a prior job and talks about what THEY could have done THEMSELVES and where THEY DROPPED THE BALL. These people shine through as responsible, self-accountable people, and get passed on to hiring managers.

When it comes down to effecting the profit line, whether you work for yourself in your own business or in a corporation, these people with that public school mentality aren't the ones with the big positions and the big money or all the customers. Am I right? Those of you with your own businesses, if you acted like these students, would you have your customers?

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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowass
The thing that I'm glad about (and correct me if you guys observe it another way) is that there is still a separation taking place out there between the lazy, blame-others people and the responsible, hard-working people.

And this separation takes place in the workplace.
Yes. There are people who get things handed to them throughout their lives....but the vast majority of people still have to work hard to get anything in business. Unfortunately, there is still an unethical "boys club" mentality in a lot of industries....but for the most part I agree with your sentiment, that once you're on your own you have no choice but to behave properly, lest get weeded out.
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:43 AM
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Sportbike: 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa LE
Years Riding: Since 07-01-2001
How you found us: Google, I believe
      
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It is sad state of affairs that students are getting lazy academically and are more concerned about listening to their iPod or talking on their cellphones.

What is worse, is that this lack of academic initiative could not come at a worse time. In the age of Globalisim, we need stay competitive as a country and that is not going to happen if younger Americans don't step up to the plate and succeed their forefathers in innovation and intelligence.

-- Matthew --

"I'm just a simple man trying to make his way in the Universe" - Jango Fett
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