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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Saturday, March 04, 2006

You don't say!

Most Highschool drop-outs from the States apparently regret the decision to drop out, calling it "a mistake". No, really. Most students who drop out of high school in the United States admit they made a mistake by quitting and some say they might have stayed if classes were more challenging, according to a report released on Thursday.

Researchers said they were surprised to find that a majority of the 467 dropouts they interviewed were not what most people would consider underachieving troublemakers and losers.

One-third said they were failing in school, but more than six out of 10 were maintaining C averages or better when they quit. Almost half said they were bored or that the classwork seemed irrelevant.

"The teacher just stood in front of the room and just talked and didn't really like involve you," a young female respondent from Baltimore said.

"There wasn't anybody to keep me there," said a young man from Philadelphia who dreamed of going to college but quit high school with one year to go and is now unemployed.

"There wasn't any learning going on," another complained. "They make you take classes in school that you're never going to use in life."

Three out of four said if they could turn back the clock they would choose to stay, and eight out of 10 said they now recognized that a high school diploma was important to succeed in life.

Ok, people who drop out of the american Highschool system for being too hard, always pissed me off beyond belief, espcially that those people don't know what too hard is. You want a highschool system that was hard? Try the French highschool system, or getting the IGCSE or the Abitur, or hell, even the egyptian General Secondary Education certificate. Now those are hard, the american highschool diploma is anything but. The math I used to learn in 7th grade in my german school in Austria was the same math i was taught in 11th grade in the american Highschool I went to. Picture that for a minute.

I do get the part where they say it was unchallenging though. It was. And maybe, strangely enough, the key to keep those kids in Highschool is to make it harder.


At 3/04/2006 03:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

harder ? perhaps. I think the key is the relevancy. No, I don't think that trig will be used by everyone in the daily commute but the teachers who take these classes can certainly help. 2 genuine examples. 1/ history teacher came in with a broadsword, shield and a bit of replica armour. A bit of running up and down the field gave you some perspective. 2/ math teacher, ex russian army artillery showed that cos/sine/tan could be used to blow the shit out of a bunker from 6 kilometres away with a 125mm howitzer. OK, one gave me a feeling of appreciation and the other a love of math BUT it was the individuals not the syllabus. better teachers, not necessarily harder courses.

At 3/04/2006 05:41:00 AM, Blogger Pazuzu said...

lol I dont see this as a very serious statistic work! come on that doesn't even make sense :P

At 3/04/2006 07:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These comments ring very true to me. When I went to school in Germany, the German kids all had more homework (harder, too) and more advanced classes than we did. AND they spoke more than one language! Meanwhile, I was reading novels during about half of my classes.

If somebody appointed me king, I would have retirees visit classrooms to demonstrate in practical terms the things the kids are learning. We have too many people who specialize in "teaching" yet have no substantive experience in using what they are supposed to teach.

At 3/04/2006 08:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The public school system in America has been dumbed down over the past 30 years to the point where it is today. The NEA is too strong to fight in most cases and the teachers are too busy teaching non education subjects like "Just Say No" and "Jenny Has 2 Mommies" to bother to teach the 3 R's. I would never send my kids to the American public school system and I resent immensely that I am forced as a land owner to pay for crap like they provide.

At 3/04/2006 09:17:00 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

Most of my teachers would sit at their desk and read magazines. The schools here are so bad that one of my friends used to go to the detention facility for classes instead of a regular school. He swears, to this day, that he learned more at the prison school than at the normal highschool.

At 3/04/2006 10:18:00 AM, Blogger ArmyArtilleryWife said...

As a former teacher, I do buy this.

It is based on some serious statistic work. During research, I found a statistic along the lines that students at the top 5% of intelligence tests are almost as likely to drop out as those at the bottom 5%. Those might not be the exact right numbers--but that was the jist of what I read.

Many public schools spend so much time catering to those who struggle academically...that it becomes dull for the others.

Even in the 5 years I was teaching, I saw a decline in the rigor of the work.

Teachers are hamstrung by the tests, the administration, the parents, and the lawyers. Anyone who tries to hold the line on standards is attacked.

A lot of good teachers burnout or leave in 3-5 years.

That doesn't mean there aren't some excellent master teachers out there, or that every school system is like this...but unfortunately the research shows that these are real problems.

At 3/04/2006 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can't raise standards in our school system. If we did, the African American graduation rate would drop from 60% to 10%, and we would all be accused of racism. Our best-known tricks are 1) private schools where ghetto people can't afford to go; 2) some charter schools; 3) good public schools in neighborhoods too expensive for ghetto people to move into. If you go to the public school where my mom teaches, you will see one of the nation's finest high schools, and one that is very competitive with any other in the world. Many kids take calculus BC before their senior year. Homework is, at a minimum, 6 hours a day, almost all of it oriented toward core subjects.

Everything depends on which school you attend.

At 3/05/2006 12:36:00 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

I call bullshit on homework 6 hours a day. Don't blame the unions massive failure on black people.

At 3/05/2006 02:07:00 AM, Blogger samoafex said...

"the key to keep those kids in Highschool is to make it harder" - good one.

I don't know too much about US education system, but I guess with kids and learning it's always the same around the globe.

Recently I saw a documentary on a project that involved 250 kids from several public schools in Berlin.

If you ever get a copy of this documentary (Rhythm is it! Germany, 2003) - watch it.

Choreographer Royston Maldoom manages to interest those kids in performing kind of a modern ballett on "Le Sacre du Printemps", conducted by Simon Rattle.

Most of the kids lead a hard life - broken homes, no interest in learning, no hope for their own futures. Among them are a lot of refugees. It's fascinating to watch Maldoom working on the kids' self-esteem - and it's even more fascinating to watch some of the kids changing. They start to believe in themselves, and they want to grow.

And it's no easy thing to do - this dance on Strawinskij's piece. It's a challenge, it's hard work - and it turns out to be a very important period in the kids' lifes.

I was really impressed. And because of what I saw I totally agree with what you say, Sandmonkey:

"The key to keep those kids in Highschool is to make it harder."

At 3/05/2006 08:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

about german education. it may be hard, but it's totally useless and a waste of time. what's more, it's dull and repetitive, encourages to not understand things but learn them by heart. those who are able to switch their own thinking off do better than those who aren't. it's the type of education you would want as a preparation to german society, i.e. to conformism.


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