Education is getting ridiculous

Kris_LTRMa

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Nov 17, 2006
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#1
This was in today's NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/e...7b&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

August 1, 2007
On Education
A Teacher Grows Disillusioned After a ‘Fail’ Becomes a ‘Pass’
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN

Several weeks into his first year of teaching math at the High School of Arts and Technology in Manhattan, Austin Lampros received a copy of the school’s grading policy. He took particular note of the stipulation that a student who attended class even once during a semester, who did absolutely nothing else, was to be given 45 points on the 100-point scale, just 20 short of a passing mark.

Mr. Lampros’s introduction to the high school’s academic standards proved a fitting preamble to a disastrous year. It reached its low point in late June, when Arts and Technology’s principal, Anne Geiger, overruled Mr. Lampros and passed a senior whom he had failed in a required math course.

That student, Indira Fernandez, had missed dozens of class sessions and failed to turn in numerous homework assignments, according to Mr. Lampros’s meticulous records, which he provided to The New York Times. She had not even shown up to take the final exam. She did, however, attend the senior prom.

Through the intercession of Ms. Geiger, Miss Fernandez was permitted to retake the final after receiving two days of personal tutoring from another math teacher. Even though her score of 66 still left her with a failing grade for the course as a whole by Mr. Lampros’s calculations, Ms. Geiger gave the student a passing mark, which allowed her to graduate.

Ms. Geiger declined to be interviewed for this column and said that federal law forbade her to speak about a specific student’s performance. But in a written reply to questions, she characterized her actions as part of a “standard procedure” of “encouraging teachers to support students’ efforts to achieve academic success.”

The issue here is not a violation of rules or regulations. Ms. Geiger acted within the bounds of the teachers’ union’s contract with the city, by providing written notice to Mr. Lampros of her decision.

No, the issue is more what this episode may say about the Department of Education’s vaunted increase in graduation rates. It is possible, of course, that the confrontation over Miss Fernandez was an aberration. It is possible, too, that Mr. Lampros is the rare teacher willing to speak on the record about the pressures from administrators to pass marginal students, pressures that countless colleagues throughout the city privately grumble about but ultimately cave in to, fearful of losing their jobs if they object.

Mr. Lampros has resigned and returned to his home state, Michigan. The principal and officials in the Department of Education say that he missed 24 school days during the last year for illness and personal reasons. He missed two of the three sets of parent-teacher conferences. He also had conflicts with an assistant principal, Antonio Arocho, over teaching styles. Mr. Lampros said all of this was true.

Still, Mr. Lampros received a satisfactory rating five of the six times administrators formally observed him. He has master’s degrees in both statistics and math education and has won awards for his teaching at the college level.

“It’s almost as if you stick to your morals and your ethics, you’ll end up without a job,” Mr. Lampros said in an interview. “I don’t think every school is like that. But in my case, it was.”

The written record, in the form of the minutely detailed charts Mr. Lampros maintained to determine student grades, supports his account. Colleagues of his from the school — a counselor, a programmer, several fellow teachers — corroborated key elements of his version of events. They also describe a principal worried that the 2006 graduation rate of 72.5 percent would fall closer to 50 or 60 percent unless teachers came up with ways to pass more students.

After having failed to graduate with her class in June 2006, Miss Fernandez, who, through her mother, declined to be interviewed, returned to Arts and Technology last September for a fifth year. She was enrolled in Mr. Lampros’s class in intermediate algebra. Absent for more than two-thirds of the days, she failed, and that grade was left intact by administrators.

When second semester began, Miss Fernandez again took the intermediate algebra class, which fulfilled one of her graduation requirements. According to Mr. Lampros’s records, she missed one-third of the classes, arrived late for 20 sessions, turned in half the required homework assignments, failed 11 of 14 tests and quizzes, and never took the final exam.

Two days after the June 12 final, Miss Fernandez told Mr. Lampros that she had a doctor’s note excusing her from school on the day of the exam, he said. On June 18, she asked him if she had failed the class, and he told her she had. The next day, the principal summoned Mr. Lampros to a meeting with Miss Fernandez and her mother. He was ordered, he said, to let her retake the final.

Mr. Arocho, the assistant principal, wrote in a letter to Mr. Lampros that Miss Fernandez had a doctor’s note, issued March 15, permitting her to miss school whenever necessary in the spring. Mr. Arocho did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

There is such a note, issued by Dr. Jason Faller, but it excused absences “over the last three months” — that is, the period between mid-December and mid-March. In a recent interview, Dr. Faller said he saw Miss Fernandez only once, in March, and confirmed that his excuse note covered absences only before March 15.

For whatever reason, school administrators misinterpreted the note and told Mr. Lampros that Miss Fernandez would be allowed to retake the final — and to retake it after having two days of one-on-one tutoring by another math teacher, an advantage none of Mr. Lampros’s other students had, he said.

Mr. Lampros, disgusted, did not come to school the next two days. Miss Fernandez meanwhile took the test and scored a 66, which still left her far short of a 65 average for the semester. Nonetheless, Mr. Arocho tried to enter a passing mark for her. When he had to relent after objections by the teachers’ union representative, Mr. Lampros was allowed to put in the failing grade. Ms. Geiger promptly reversed it.

Samantha Fernandez, Indira’s mother, spoke on her behalf. “My daughter earned everything she got,” she said. Of Mr. Lampros, she said, “He needs to grow up and be a man.”

From Michigan, Mr. Lampros recalled one comment that Mrs. Fernandez made during their meeting about why it was important for Indira to graduate. She couldn’t afford to pay for her to attend another senior prom in another senior year.

E-mail: sgfreedman@nytimes.com
 

MrAbovePar

En Taro Anthony
Mar 14, 2005
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#2
“My daughter earned everything she got"
Fucking perfect. It highlights how Indira will be sucking cock for crack by the time she's 20.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
42,683
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#3
eh, 61% was passing in my school and i used it quite often, i also had a tendency to not bother going to my home school very much, but i rarely missed vo tech
 

abudabit

New Wackbag
Oct 10, 2004
14,802
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#4
60 - 69 was a d I believe, but she got a 66 in the final, not in the whole class. She probably got well below 60% for the whole class.
 

weakside

He was stupid. I was lucky. I will visit him soon.
Dec 9, 2004
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#5
I’m with the school on this one. What is the point of bringing her back a third time to pass? She would be 20 at that point. The girl got a "D" and although probably earned an "F" its not like dummy is now getting into Harvard.

Is a D or F really that different in the scheme of things? Trust me, either way her life is probably going to end up the same, pathetic.
 

Kris_LTRMa

LoseTheRadio.net's Ma
Nov 17, 2006
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#6
I’m with the school on this one. What is the point of bringing her back a third time to pass? She would be 20 at that point. The girl got a "D" and although probably earned an "F" its not like dummy is now getting into Harvard.

Is a D or F really that different in the scheme of things? Trust me, either way her life is probably going to end up the same, pathetic.
Doesn't matter whether she's going to Harvard or beauty school. If she failed the class then she should be forced to take it over again in summer school. I realize schools are a lot different than when I graduated, but give me a break...the only lesson she's learned is that you can skate through life and still get what you want.

[Ms. Geiger] characterized her actions as part of a “standard procedure” of “encouraging teachers to support students’ efforts to achieve academic success.”“standard procedure” of “encouraging teachers to support students’ efforts to achieve academic success.”
I wish I went to high school now. I was a B/B+ student and had to work my ass off to maintain that grade. I passed geometry by the skin of my teeth - with a 66....but it wasn't a free ride. There was after school tutoring & extra homework. Same thing with chemistry. If I'd failed those classes, the nuns weren't going to pass me to support my efforts to achieve academic success, even though I attended every single class!!! If I were in school today, I'd never have to show up and would still achieve the same grade.

As much as I wanted to teach when I was younger, I'm so glad that I didn't follow in my Dad's footsteps. Teachers can't teach any more. :icon_mad:
 

MrAbovePar

En Taro Anthony
Mar 14, 2005
13,779
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Covington. La
#7
In my district a 71 or lower was failing.

All passing her does, is make a high school diploma worth even less. That's why you need a college diploma to even qualify for anything worthwhile. Back when highschools cranked out moderately educated people it was good enough to have just that on a resumee.
 

weakside

He was stupid. I was lucky. I will visit him soon.
Dec 9, 2004
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#8
All passing her does, is make a high school diploma worth even less.
In all fairness, is it really worth that much now? Unless you have a college degree or a useful skill it is pretty much worthless.
 

HummerTuesdays

Another girrrrl!!!
Apr 24, 2005
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#9
If I'd failed those classes, the nuns weren't going to pass me to support my efforts to achieve academic success, even though I attended every single class!!!
There's the difference right there.

And I wanted to teach as well. However I see what my friends go through. When I was in school the parents united with the teachers. Now if a teacher even looks at a kid the wrong way the parent is crying foul and does everything they can to make the teacher's life miserable. The parents don't care why their kids are failing, because it's got to be the fault of the teacher. :icon_roll
 

FellowTraveler

Frank Reynolds is my hero
Jul 24, 2005
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#11
This just further proves to me that if I have to eat rice and beans for years to come, my kids are going to private school. It's not so much the teachers, but the administrators, unions and the parents with their precious little snowflakes. i look forward to paying for her to go on welfare and medicare once this worthless cunt pops out 5 kids. I weep for this country.
 

weakside

He was stupid. I was lucky. I will visit him soon.
Dec 9, 2004
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#12
How do you think it got that way?
To be totally honest I was really being facetious when I made my flippant remarks regarding passing her along if she did not truly deserve the grade. (I don’t play the jerk very well on this board and should stick to the role of “over-caring liberal” lol.) Giving anything to anyone that they have not earned is teaching both weakness and helplessness, which is disgusting and hurts all stakeholders in a child’s education.

As far as who is to blame like most things in life there is plenty of it to go around as you can’t point out one particular area to place fault. Parents are partly to blame, as for something to be learned it needs to be reinforced multiple times and that includes the child's home. A lot of people don’t read to their kids any longer or even check their homework. Worse yet, some parents think school is the enemy and anytime Little Billy comes home and says, “Teacher was mean to me,” more often than not the parent will call the school and starting complaining because there is no way their Little Billy could be lying.

Lawyers are a big problem as well. Schools are “cash cows” to ambulance chasers and districts tend to lose more cases than they win. Classroom overcrowding is a problem as sometimes there are 40 to 50 kids in each class. At that point if a child is not on autopilot, you can forget about any type of improvement let alone receiving much individualized help. Politics can be problematic as well since school programs become beholden to which particular party happens to be in office. This alone changes the philosophy of the school from one year to the next making consistency as problem. (No Child Left Behind was a bad, bad idea as well.)

School safety is a bigger concern than ever, so much so that sometimes it takes precedence over the teaching since kids are more dangerous than ever. Then you have expensive programs like Sp. Ed. that require a great deal of the school funds (not necessarily a bad thing but just a fact) and the falsehood that kids don’t need programs like art and/or music. What about those students who don’t want college? Because there is such a push towards preparing kids for it important programs such as auto shop and construction tech. are going away. Don’t those kids who want to learn a skill deserve to? Plus, there is a shortage of people wanting to even enter the profession due to the difficulty of it.

But here is the good thing: just like everything else you hear in the media the problems with education has been blown way out of proportion. The truth is schools are better than ever and kids are smarter than ever. That may seem like a shocking statement to people and a lie but it is really the truth. If you compare what schools were doing 50 years ago to what they do now you would be blown away at how much education has improved. There is a great deal of evidence of this from various accreditation boards across the country but an even more basic "eye ball" test is that if the opposite was true America would have regressed in all areas. Instead, we have actually progressed in nearly every area.

But you would not know that our schools are actually doing a good job because of all the millions of students that successfully attend school the media picks up on these few failures of the system and act like they happen all the time. It’s exactly what the media does using rare cases of child abduction in making parents believe that if their kids go outside by themselves they are automatically going to get abducted. Are there problems in education? Of course, all professions have their problems. When any one child is given a “raw deal” is it a tragedy? Absolutely, but there are far less cases of this occurring than the media would have you believe. This idea that our schools are in crisis is lunacy because it just isn’t so.
 

MJMANDALAY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
13,145
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#13
This
World
Is
Going
To
Hell
In
A
Hand
Basket


I shit you not.
 

Nortonsmeatytit

"That ball is outta here"
Sep 11, 2005
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#14
This just further proves to me that if I have to eat rice and beans for years to come, my kids are going to private school. It's not so much the teachers, but the administrators, unions and the parents with their precious little snowflakes.

I live in an upper middle class suburb and the schools are great at the elementary school level but are filled w/complete tool box teachers & administrators at the middle & high school levels. Not to misalign all the teachers here, some of the parents of kids today are completely in denial that there kids is fucking stupid or needs reinfocement (they probably use the old "I'm too busy" fucking excuse)

I sent my kid to a private school immed after he left elementary school. It costs me a small fortune but he's doing great compared to some of his friends still in the public system where I'm at.
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
5,051
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#15
Fernandez?

More reason to boot the illegals.
 

ern

Hiding behind my keyboard
Jan 25, 2006
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#16
They are doing this in colleges now too, not just high schools. I had a graduate class that had several special students. These special students never helped in any group work, failed most exams, but managed to get their "C" grade at the end of the semester. Now a "C" as a graduate student is like an "F".

So now a college degree is like having a HS Diploma. You should see some of the math classes that will get you your college math requirement completed. We called it math without numbers, and it tends to be full of football players, and the disadvantged.
 

Creampier

I have to return some videotapes!
May 11, 2007
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#17
So now a college degree is like having a HS Diploma.
It sure seems like that, does it not?! Is anyone really impressed by a Bachelor's degree anymore? With all these savages and their "special" social promotion programs to fill the college's affirmative action quotas, and bullshit majors like Communications and Women's Studies being offered as real programs almost everywhere now, a Bachelor's is declining sharply in value, IMAO.

I am in the midst of grad school for my Mechanical Engineering degree and recently achieved my Engineering In Training (EIT) certificate (the prereq for becoming a licensed engineer) because, if I have to hunt for another job a few years down the road, I'll feel the heat of the job market being saturated with "college grads" who know dick about anything being considered for a position over me if I have only a Bachelor's. I constantly feel like I have to keep a step ahead everytime because of horseshit like this!
 

Kris_LTRMa

LoseTheRadio.net's Ma
Nov 17, 2006
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#18
They are doing this in colleges now too, not just high schools. I had a graduate class that had several special students. These special students never helped in any group work, failed most exams, but managed to get their "C" grade at the end of the semester. Now a "C" as a graduate student is like an "F".

So now a college degree is like having a HS Diploma. You should see some of the math classes that will get you your college math requirement completed. We called it math without numbers, and it tends to be full of football players, and the disadvantged.
Truly frightening
 

weakside

He was stupid. I was lucky. I will visit him soon.
Dec 9, 2004
3,871
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#19
I think it is also important to remember that while having a Bachelors degree or above does not mean what it used to, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I have a graduate degree, as does everyone I work with. But there are at least two of those people I wouldn’t even put in charge of cleaning the toilets. Degrees are meaningless if you are a dope so ultimately it does not matter who has a degree, it only matters if you can perform the task you were hired for.

Having said that, where education is extremely important is grades K-8 where a child goes through their most formative years.
 

ern

Hiding behind my keyboard
Jan 25, 2006
549
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#20
as they say, there are two different things people get out of going to college, education and experience.