My Old School is in the Crapper Help Please

Discussion in 'General Education' started by old_School, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. old_School

    old_School Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Today I visted my aunt who still works at the school I went to when I was a child. We discussed education and the school obviously but to my surprise I found out my school is in the crapper. The school has no art program, barely has music and libary program. Funding is cut drasticly and kids our poping out babies like its a factory.

    To make all these matters worse, we discussed IN's new testing garbage. She explained to me she felt like "we our not even teaching the children at this point. We simply give them a test and thats it. We have kids who can't even but they can pass the test, so they are passed along to the next school year". The conversation went more in depth about the sad displacement of my old school.

    I told her I have been making software for childred etc for educational purposes but at this point I dont think I'm doing enough to help my old school. In my eyes, the school was the best school I had ever went too and I have been to several. The bigger problem, the kids our now missing out on the extremely talented teachers ability to help educate these children. Some of my best chilhood memories were spent in classes like Mrs. North's 2nd grade class hearing guest speakers come in and talk to us about various subjects. Or even in 3rd grade in Mrs. Hall's class learning how to do multiplication.

    From a child whom was presumed to be "slow" and ended up coming out on top, I find this to be a very distasteful result and display of education. It really upsets me to know that these kids and the teachers will not be allowed to take a "slow" child simular to my self and shape an mold him/her into the "smart" kid. I don;t know, its just really sad and frustrating to me. Anyone have suggestions or ideas? I really want to do something positive for the teachers and the students. I really want to find ways to give back to the school who taught me so much and showed me how to succeed in life. Of course help Mrs. Hall in 3rd grade who told me; I can do anything I want if I put my mind too it.
     
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  3. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Hard to read at times, but I'm trying to imitate Lincoln's way with criticism. Baby steps...baby steps. :p

    Just get out there and help. Start by volunteering if it's what you really want to do, and I'm sure the faculty will know where they need you and what they need you doing most.

    If you're savvy with software, maybe you can develop some programs that do what the teachers want them to do? It may profit you on the side too, who knows?

    Go for it! Nothing's a lost cause until no one cares.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Software won't help revive a failing school. And guest speakers and art and libraries, as much as they're important, aren't the biggest things.

    People are. Teachers that care, a community that cares, an administration that cares-- these are the things that will make a difference.

    So pick one issue, and make it your cause. If it's "Kids popping out babies like it's a factory" then start talking to school officials about what YOU can do as a volunteer to curb teen pregnancies. Research the programs other schools have in place and their effectiveness. YOU find the speakers to come in and give an assembly that will convince kids that they need to make other choices, and you find a way to finance the assembly-- I bet the school administration will be thrilled to let you do it.

    You can't change state policy. And I'm willing to bet that plenty of schools in your state are NOT "in the crapper." So find ways to work with what you can.

    My favorite prayer is the Serenity Prayer:
    Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    the courage to change the things I can
    and the wisdom to know the difference.



    So get going. Pick something you can change and change it.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I agree with Alice. You need to pick one issue and focusing on changing this by rallying the support of the community. It might be that they need a new school board (you could run if you still live in the community) or a new principal or superintendent. Maybe teachers need the motivation that they once had.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Software programs and packaged resources are no substitute for a passionate knowledgeable teacher.
     
  7. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    Jun 26, 2011

    Well-chosen software programs can help a passionate, knowledgeable teacher, not least by giving the class something interesting to work on while letting the teacher use her skills to help a couple of struggling students.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sure, but many gifted knowledgeable teachers also know how to engage students in meaningful work AND work with strugglers. My point is software is not a panacea.
     
  9. gamerTeacher

    gamerTeacher Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2011

    Software can help and is something the op knows how to do, but a struggling school probably doesn't have enough computers to take advantage of the software.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2011

    So let me take a slightly different approach here. First, I generally agree with everyone's comments - a singular software program won't fix a school. However, I believe that educational reform can involve a community, and no one person or organization has everything it takes - but, everyone has something they can contribute! I think this is what oldschool is referring to here - not can he fix the school, but would it help? I believe it could.

    First, there are a number of software programs that are gaining attention as evidence-based intervention components for reading/math. Not sure what you design, or if you'd have access to some of these programs, but it could make an impact on students by being able to contribute software in this category. If you'd be interested, I have a link or two that reviews research on relevant programs.

    Second, technology can be used to do a lot of things, and even a small contribution could help students learn more - even in a non-academic area. For example, improving attendance reporting/tracking through software might ease burdens on teachers and allow them to a focus a bit more on instruction. On a more educational level, helping design a software program to track office disciplinary referrals might allow more problem-solving of behavioral concerns on a building level by allowing administration and teachers to aggregate disciplinary data by behavior or location, and design targeted responses to address concerns in those areas.

    Third, helping teachers understand existing technology might be really useful - for example, many teachers don't know how to graph intervention/assessment data in excel, and a few trainings might really help out.

    Finally, you never know when someone's passion will light a fire and get the ball rolling toward overall reform. Often times, there are things that those within schools can do, but motivation is lacking, as is a sense that any effort would actually make a difference. As a private citizen, stepping in and saying, "I believe I can do something" my excite a few teachers and start a trend.

    Overall, don't mislead yourself - education is complicated, and it takes a lot to turn around a failing school. But, if everyone turned the other way because they didn't have all the answers, nothing would ever get done. I'd say give it a shot.
     
  11. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    Jun 27, 2011

    EdEd--very well said.
    I, for one, would appreciate the links that review research. TIA,

    --M
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 28, 2011

    Thanks :). There are a few websites, mostly relating to RtI or supplemental intervention - the most comprehensive one I've found is probably the What Works Clearinghouse website:

    http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/

    It doesn't just list technology-based programs, but if filter by "individual programs" it will narrow things down, then when you click on individual details, it should list whether it's technology based.
     

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