Monday, June 6, 2011

I Think I Know..

Today I proctored End of Grade testing in my nephews' school. I worked with a fifth grader and a seventh grader on testing for Math. Yeppers. Me. Math.

Anyhow... there are two parts to the test -- calculator assisted and non-calculator assisted. The questions for the calculator assisted were like this:

A bell rings once a minute. How many times will it ring in one hour?

One student answered "20" and the other answered "45." I felt my eyebrows start to twitch....

The other part of the test, the non-calculator questions were thus:

You have two triangles that are similar. Which sets of lines are comparable?

Now, the student is to examine two drawings of triangles that are the same except one is larger than the other. Correct answer, obviously, is all of 'em. With BOTH kids, they picked up their pencils and started writing down numbers like crazy! To what end?? That wasn't going to tell them something they had to visually compare!

So, here's what I realized.

Public school, and no child left behind, are dismal failures. Parents are failures. Our society is a failure. In short, we are all failures. Why? Because we have forgotten how to think and, thusly, we have let our wee ones fall into the same trap.

How hard it is to talk with your child instead of leaving them with the TV? How hard it is to read a book, share a song, walk in nature, or develop a hobby (besides ball of some sort -- which I think is fine -- but there needs to be more!)?? How hard it is to let, no, encourage a child's natural curiousity lead their learning?

Holey moley. No wonder I want to weep when I get 'em in college -- they don't know an hour has 60 minutes or that by simply opening their eyes they can learn a lot.

Who's with me? Let's dump all this standardized learning and get back to basics! Remember, these are the people who will not only run the world one day, but will also select our nursing homes...


  1. It is so sad Matty. I am seeing the same thing. I know it is not all children, but a great amount, and a much much too great amount. They seem to have lost the ability to use simple common sense. It breaks my heart. I think video games are a major cause, children are left alone with them for too many hours a day. They are not learning basic social skills and the ability to communicate. They are losing the ability to even display basic emotions on their little faces! Some can't tract what you are saying to them if it goes on longer than a few seconds. I have heard some young parents say that they spend "quality time" with their children not "quantity time". Like that is a good thing. Children need "quantity" too, it's not an either or. Quality time is not playing video games together or talking like "friends" or shopping at the Walmart. Parents must be teachers. Delisa

  2. I'm right there with both of you. I teach 1st grade in an inner city school. The difference in now and 5 years ago even is astounding. I've done all I can do. Teaching affected my health and now I'll stay home and sew and clean and toss in my badly neglected home. I pray for better for families, children, administration etc.

  3. My girls by public school standards are behind in certain things but they have more common sense then other kids their age. One is a whiz at math but Hates reading. She is my hands on creative kid. Another also hates reading because of when they were in Public school and its take me 5 years just to get her to want to read anything with out a fight. But she is my doer/organizer/stubborn kid. She is smart but its common sense smart. Then the other likes to read some but she is my artistic kid. She would rather be on the porch swing drawing or just watching clouds!LOl I finally relaxed from trying to get them to learn the way the Public school thought. I worked through their interest and everyday stuff. They have made leaps and bounds in the last 2 years! Public school is failing miserably.. Parents turn a blind eye and allow their kids to be labeled.
    I had my kids to raise them not allow some one else to raise them which is what happens so many times! Then people wonder why they are having problems....

  4. There are so many reasons why schools are failing. Parents of the "me" generation aren't involved. Poor teachers that can't be fired because of the teacher's union. The curriculum set by the school board. The rise of the electronic age. But what it comes down to, is that the parents need to parent their children.

  5. I know the topic you share has a serious and sad side ... I've lamented it many times myself... and I agree we need to go back to basics.

    But I had such a LOL moment when you talked about your eyebrows twitching after your charges relayed their answers to the bell-ringing question.

    One sad thing is that I think kids are often expecting 'trick' questions and so they don't trust the obvious, because they don't trust the question or the unseen person behind the question. Perhaps they do observe it, but it seems too easy so they (we) look for something more complicated; they (we) haven't been taught to explore -- and trust -- their (our) own observations and ideas. Because somewhere we've picked up a belief that I can't get it right.

    Anyways... hope your eyebrows are resting now.....

  6. So true (by the way I had to stop and think for the answers to those questions ;-) xoxo Clarice-I hope you are writting !!

  7. I just found your blog and just read this post...oh my, how true this is. Sad, but true. We homeschool our children...and I think they will be more knowledgeable because of it. :)
    I asked my daughter (who just finished up third grade) the question about the bell rings/hour and she knew the correct answer right away. I don't mean that in a boast-ful way...but rather that a 5th grader and a 7th grader should have gotten that EASILY!
    I completely agree with Jane's comment, above, too. Parents need to be more involved...even if homeschooling isn't an option for them!


Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!