Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. That one witch is rambling again.

I hate to admit this, but this was my attitude about my kids' grades, kind of. . . .

Factor in individuality, talent, brains, work habits, etc, and you can't help but have a set of expectations, and expectations should be met.

I know that there are exceptions to this and most other things, but I honestly believe that every kid should do his/her best, because NOT to do so just isn't good enough, no-allowance-today-boy.

Of course, I also believe that a good parent knows what's going on in his/her kids' classrooms, too. That is, we should be aware that our kids, this grading period, are studying about the Revolutionary War, reading "The Giver," writing little newspapers about things that happened in 1774, making recipe books with directions for preparing foods that the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) might have eaten, researching which Nation was already here and where they were forced to relocate and how do you feel about that, studying 50 words and their unique rules and exceptions to those rules, learning all about Peer Gynt and how to at least hum a few of the more popular melodies, and how to deal with fractions in everyday life (see recipe book assignment, above.)

And now I wish I were back in the fourth grade, doing just such things. Sigh.

Of course, nowadays there isn't much time for creative assignments because the teachers are forced to use the time they might have utilized for such, to review and prepare for the almighty standardized test.

Personally? I believe that tests are sometimes necessary and occasionally important, but I also believe that the questions should pertain to "things every fourth-grader should know based on the available books and the creativity of the teachers," not "things that are being pounded into every fourth-grader's head starting three weeks before the Test because some old guys in the State Department who were influenced by a book salesman said so." In other words, give each child a test based on standard fourth-grade curriculum. It would better benefit the child, and it would also better tell which children were at grade level, not that grade level is even the real goal.

As a child, I was always six or seven grade levels above the rest in anything regarding reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, etc, but down in the depths of second grade remediation in math.

Guess what. I didn't care then and I don't care now.

In ten years, whatever your child scores on that test won't mean anything, either.

What are those tests, anyway? They are tests put together by people who haven't been in a classroom for years, if ever. It's a test that is embraced by textbook publishers and salesmen, in hopes that the inevitable low scores will inspire schools to purchase THEIR books, because the new books all have individual State Standards written right in them and golly gee whiz, if the school buys OUR books, the students will do much better on those tests.

Eh, I'm rambling again. I really despise a school system that puts such emphasis on one test score that it ignores or neglects the really important part of a child's education, to wit, the learning of things that will enable the child to better take care of himself/herself and others as an adult, to appreciate and love the writings and pictures and history of those who came before, to understand and appreciate music and art, and to be a part of a little community in which every child has an important role. Our students these days don't understand how one vote can make or break an entire government. Some students don't even know anyone who votes.

For some of our students, the teachers are the only adults they know who work for a living.

Many homeschoolers are turning out children with superior educations and abilities, and many are simply teaching their children that isolation from 'other' people is better and that it's nobody's business if you are fifteen and still don't want to try to learn to read yet but be careful because if you raise the curtains, big government will SEE what we're doing, or not doing, and try to interfere and make you LEARN to read so you can be JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER CLONES.

Sometimes it seems like a losing battle, and yet, these are our children, the hope of our nation, and we have to keep trying.

After a certain age, I do not believe that blaming one's shortcomings on one's background or family is a viable argument. Ultimately, each person must stand on his/her own feet and walk out into the sunshine and shadow of life and do it all alone. We must not send our children out there unprepared, and yet, what do we do when the families support their children in their desire to NOT work at it?

I keep saying this but here it is again: There are certain skills that intelligent persons simply must have, at certain ages. When one becomes a self-sustaining adult, (which status of course many 'adults' never attain because their families and they themselves allowed them to go through school without doing or learning anything!!!) (My SELF ESTEEM!!!!!!) a decent person will be armed with skills, marketable skills, with which to earn one's own living.

To allow any person to leave any kind of school without these skills is a crime. And a high school diploma given to any person without these skills is a joke.

If your child is 27 and still isn't interested in learning to read and is still playing video games all day and still hasn't learned to write and doesn't know how to spell or reason. . . . well, I guess you all know my opinion of your child. And of you. And yes, it does become my business after a certain point because my tax dollars will be supporting your bum kid.

I worry about us as a society, I really do.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:42 PM | |


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