Sunday, February 10, 2013

Grades Are "Feeling" Based In Public Schools

My wife and I homeschool our children. We have a lot of reasons for this, one of which being the poor quality of the public schools in our area. Another being, as we both reflect on our own experience with public schools, we realize we don't want that for our own children.

Most other parents I know seem to view placing their children in public schools as some kind of secular sacrement. I see a system that might as well be designed to fail. It's based on a 19th century Prussian (German) model with an added Industrial Age factory thrown in. It has not been updated.

I read a lot of articles about public schools. One theme I've been hearing a lot lately is how teachers favor girls because they're easier to deal with, and how grades are often based on those feelings:

So all this hand-wringing about boys’ performance is misplaced, and I think the rest of us are beginning to figure it out. It isn’t really that the boys are performing poorly; it’s the schools that are lousy, and grades reflect little more than how teachers “feel” about their students.
I'm not sure why people assume the schools are doing any kind of "good" job. Perhaps they're doing an "adequate" job.

I graduated high school more than 20 years ago now. My former high school has not achieved notoriety as a test bed for microchipping and electronic monitoring of students. When I was in school, I did have a few teachers I thought tried, and did a decent job. I had others who frequently muttered statements like "I hate kids!" I wish I'd had the presence of mind to reply "Then why the hell are you a teacher? Why should we be held hostage to YOUR poor career choices?"

We also spent a large part of standardized test years being taught how to "take" the test. My junior year, in my English and Math classes, we didn't get to a single non-test lesson until after the test in November.  
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