Is it our fault they aren't graduating?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by educator, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. educator

    educator Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2008

    We had a kind of roundtable discussion to end up the year yesterday. The discussion was precipitated by a report highlighting the increasing number of students who don't graduate.

    Everyone had ideas as to why the graduation rates are low, but all of them placed blame on the education system. More money, better teachers, better programs were thrown out along with suggestions that the schools develop some incentives for students to graduate.

    I realize that money is tight, but it doesn't take tons of money to teach a child. I've never known of a school district that hired only incompetent teachers. Shouldn't the advantages of education be incentive enough for any intelligent person?

    I really get discouraged when I hear other teachers and administrators take on the mantras of the masses. Do any of you ever feel this way, or am I being unreasonable?
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I place blame with the politicians who have turned our educational system into a joke. We spend all this time concentrating on tests that students never see the true value of education. I remember school being boring at times, hard at others, but more often than not, it was fun. There wasn't any pressure but what we put on ourselves to do well. We had standardized tests, but they weren't the "end all" of the school year. I think these kids are burned out. What's the point? They never get to see it.
     
  4. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Jun 6, 2008

    I once read an article (based on research, but don't ask me what it was actually called, I just remember the conclusion). The article focussed on the response to failing at school of Asian, Singaporean students and an American students. In Asian culture, if the student is failing, the student blames themselves for not trying hard enough, not putting in enough effort and strives to work harder and do more. Whereas the American student blamed the teacher, the school, the system (basically everyone else except themselves).

    I believe students are also responsible for their own learning but changing a culture, the way a whole generation thinks is extremely difficult. However, it is food for thought.
     
  5. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I think that we as a society are taking our educational rights for granted, that's what I think. I think there is a bit much complacency, especially when we take away the responsibility of outcomes from all factors except the teacher. (I see it as a kind of triangle: parents/students/teachers. But right now it's like we're the obtuse angle of like 175 degrees--that's what it seems like to me.)

    But when "they" say less are graduating what are they comparing it to? Didn't people use to drop out in the 8th grade back in the old days? Aren't they saying that more people are going to college right now than ever?
     
  6. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    In my opinion there are lots of reasons that students don't graduate. I would not take it personally if you know that you are doing your job and are doing everything to make sure they learn the material in your class. I would only worry if it was a problem with the teacher or teachers not doing there jobs. It sounds like to me you are a good teacher who does her job. I wouldn't worry.
     
  7. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    It's sad to say this, but from my own experience, I see little to no effort from students. They just don't care or work...The fact that society is "blaming" the teachers for the bad results, only increases this attitude. in the old days, parents were tougher with their children...now if the child doesn't learn, it's because they don't understand the way the teacher explains. I have heard stuff like that from parents whose kids are high schoolers. But these are the same parents that don't "force" their children to do the homework, or attend the free Math tutoring in school. I feel sad for the true interested students...they are being so undervalued right now.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I feel sad for society as a whole when these students get into the real world and start running our society. :eek:
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It might not take tons of money to teach a child, but money in education is crucial.

    I teach in one of the largest districts in the nation (top 5). Interestingly, we're also one of the lowest per-student funded districts in the nation. From what I've seen, these are some of the problems that result:

    Schools aren't being built big enough to accommodate these huge numbers of students. Our school was built for like 1,800, but we have over 2,700 enrolled. And our school is only 4 years old!

    There isn't a big enough budget (or enough classrooms) for the right number of teachers. As a result, classes are being filled to the brim. We're talking 35-45 students on average in each class. How much learning is getting done when there are so many bodies in one small classroom?

    Subjects which aren't tested per NCLB are being thrown by the wayside in order to allot more time to those critical subject areas like math and reading. I think it's pretty well-documented that programs in music, foreign language, the arts, and physical education help students become better citizens of our global society. I would also argue that exposure to music and foreign language also helps kids become smarter in other subject areas (including math and reading). When we take those things away, we're dumbing down our kids.
     
  10. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    The value in putting the blame on oneself is that it means one can change the situation.

    I believe you're right that in Asian cultures the student puts the blame for failure on themselves.

    I believe the teacher also puts the blame on themselves.

    I believe the parent also puts the blame on themselves.

    What some of you are doing right now is very western. You are putting the blame on the parents, the students, the system -- basically anywhere except yourselves.

    I'm not saying the low graduation rate is the fault of teachers. I'm saying that as teachers, that's where you should place the fault.
     
  11. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Jun 6, 2008

    I agree with the poster above.

    I blame myself anytime my students fail. I have to, because that's the only way I believe that I can control the situation. Obviously, other factors contribute, but without thinking that hard work could solve the problem, then why work hard?

    Unfortunately, this leads to many restless nights....


    db
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I take blame as well when a student fails, doesn't behave, etc. But I don't take all the blame.
     
  13. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    I think that many teachers are to blame, but not for the reasons you might think.

    I think that many teachers are to blame because they give up before the year even starts.

    I have seen so many teachers say, "My kids have a bad home life." or "Their parents are in jail." or many other things...

    Yes, those are terrible things, but that is why we as educators have to meet the kids were they are and take them further than they ever thought.

    At my school, in my room, in the past two years...

    - most of the dad's were gone, in jail, dead
    - most of the mom's didn't graduate high school
    - most families had at least 4 kids
    - most families are on some type of government program for $
    - most kids didn't have but a few outfits for school
    - most kids didn't have 3 meals a day

    ... but, all of my kids made amazing gains.

    I think that many teachers quit before the kids get in the room.

    Give them a chance and most kids can be amazing people.

    Kelly :)
     
  14. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jun 6, 2008

    Pardon an old country saying, "You can take a horse to the trough, but you CAN'T make it drink. Education is an honor and privelege.

    It's parents who have children before they're mature enough to love and nurture a child. No coincidence going on here when children are high achievers and their parents make sure they're fed and put to bed; they make sure they have morals and a sense of self-worth. Ever read about the "Volvo-effect"? These are the parents who drive their kids to school in their Volvo's, these parents have "real-life" discussions with their children. It's amazing to have kids who are in second grade and can talk about politics or tell you about DNA transmitted diseases. Then try to have a conversation w/a kid who's beaten physically & emotionally....

    It's amazing, I'm barely a baby boomer. We had classes w/25-35 kids in a class, we shared basal texts, and didn't even have a library to check out books. It was like this in most of the country then. I don't think money can buy what's lacking. My father and mother commanded us to respect them, our teachers, and expected us to have it for ourselves. I was never beaten or abused, but I knew I'd disappoint my family if I didn't do my best.

    We also try to make college grads & high school grads out of kids who just can't. Have you noticed the shortage of people working in Wal Mart, or McDonalds, or any type of establishment that requires a minimum wage? There's a shortage all over the country, why? Why should someone have to deal w/the hassel of working when they can stay home and draw welfare? I'm worried that's it's only going to get worse. We need people who will fix the stopped up pipes, fix broken windows, and lay bricks. At some level students should be able to drop out and join a trade school so they can do something where they can be successful.

    I'm sorry, year after year I know I've done my best and I'm not taking blame for other's failure.
     
  15. smarkham01

    smarkham01 Companion

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    Jun 6, 2008

    In a word - NO.
     
  16. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    Jun 6, 2008

    I mostly agree with 3sons. The blame game isn't constructive. What's constructive is identifying what we, in our varying roles, are responsible for and what we can do to help students graduate.
     
  17. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Jun 6, 2008

    I think its a mixture of many things.

    - some parents have not conveyed to their children the importance of education for whatever reason and since the apple usually doesn't fall from the tree, the child does not care. the teacher can try to help the child to make positive outlooks, but unless the child is willing to take an active part in his/her own education, graduation will not happen. however, you see many children who overcome bad situations and do wonderful things with their lives

    - in texas there is a huge emphasis on the TAKS test and i think that is so wrong. a test can not completely predict whether a child has learned and retained that information. but how do we know if a child is ready to move on to another grade level? i don't really know the answer to that question.

    -the almighty dollar. our school district is short on money next year so our elementary school computer teachers are being moved into the classroom and aides will watch the labs and the teachers (who already have enough to do) will have to teach the computer classes instead. i find it hilarious when the districts say "it's all about the kids," "the children are our future," etc but at soon as money comes into the picture, the needs of the children seem to be pushed aside.

    thank goodness i am elementary school PE teacher and although 3rd-12th graders are now being tested in PE, it does not affect their grades or prevent them from moving on to the next grade. it does give their parents a good idea of where they are which i find to be very important.
     

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