The Continuing Decline of Education

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Reality Check, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    So how do you counter the downward trend of quality high school graduates and increasing drop-out rates? It would appear the government answer is, "Simple! Just lower the bar again!" (And if you're like Pennsylvania's current governor, you also attack the quality of education by proposing a bill to allow non-college graduates to obtain teaching certificates.)

    So here's yet another example of how government agencies at all levels are doing everything they can incrementally to make higher education meaningless.

    (No doubt there would be a dramatic rise in the number of people claiming they have a learning disability in order to gain the rewards of this proposal, should it become reality.)

    If you are interested in seeing the complete article:


    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/1/eeoc-high-school-diploma-might-violate-americans-w/

    EEOC: High school diploma requirement might violate Americans with Disabilities Act
    By Dave Boyer

    The Washington Times

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Employers are facing more uncertainty in the wake of a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warning them that requiring a high school diploma from a job applicant might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    The development also has some wondering if the agency’s advice will result in an educational backlash by creating less of an incentive for some high-school students to graduate.

    The “informal discussion letter” from the EEOC said an employer’s requirement of a high school diploma, long a standard criteria for screening potential employees, must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” The letter was posted on the commission’s website on Dec. 2.

    Employers could run afoul of the ADA if their requirement of a high school diploma ” ‘screens out’ an individual who is unable to graduate because of a learning disability that meets the ADA’s definition of ‘disability,’ ” the EEOC explained.

    The commission’s advice, which does not carry the force of law, is raising alarms among employment-law experts who say it could carry far-reaching implications for businesses.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That is very interesting. I wonder how one really determines what "job-related for the position" really and fully means?
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I was thinking the same thing. Certainly there are jobs that do not require a high school education. Many of these jobs are necessary to society and pay very well. I worry that it could go too far, though.

    I am interested in more information about the bill in Pennsylvania. I went to school with a lady who would be an excellent elementary teacher, but could not pass this one math test required for a degree from our college, though she passed all of the certification tests required. She works as a para now, but was the most gifted natural teacher I have ever seen.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Interesting topic to consider. I think there are many reasons for the decline you speak about. Uppermost in my mind is the general belief by politicians(and some "education officials":-( ) that testing is more important than teaching. It has led many districts to discontinue teaching subjects that aren't on the standardized tests. At a time when children should be learning the basics in order to be ready for higher level material as they get into middle and high school these same students aren't even being exposed to some important subjects.

    We hear many teachers on this site lamenting the fact that their students don't have the skills necessary to flourish in their class because they haven't been exposed to the material beforehand.

    This has got to affect graduation and drop out rates.
     
  6. sunbeachgirl

    sunbeachgirl Rookie

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    This is somewhat sad to see. At the school I work at, all of my learning disabled students are able to graduate. Their teachers expect a lot of them and we constantly push them to work harder. 100% of our students in special ed graduate with a degree (we do not have a mod/sev class at our school). If anything, our government needs to set higher expectations for these students.
     
  7. Barbera

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    sunbeachgirl,

    Is the mod/severe program on a different campus in district or are you saying the students who would typically be in mod/severe are fully included and graduating?
     
  8. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Many years ago graduation rates were lower because students who were not going to college routinely quit HS to start working in industry or on the family farm. Now our graduation rates are higher but many students don't want to be in school. We also expect many more people to attend college and then we wonder why so many students are not prepared. IMO, we shouldn't worry so much about graduation rates and worry more about students being prepared for the work force. Maybe then we wouldn't hesitate to kick students out who are disrupting the education of others.
    Not politically correct but :2cents:
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I think we should make high school optional. If kids want to go get a job and work then let them. If they decide later that they want to go back then they can go back at any age up until 25. There would be schools for traditional students and schools for non-traditional students that would better meet their needs (online classes, night classes, etc.) They would be free and public, but not compulsory. That way students get an education when they are ready to get that education instead of being pushed into a path that they may not be ready for yet.
     
  10. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Aren't there schools out there where the students only take the classes that they really need for the jobs they want to do? There is nothing wrong with this IF it means that these students are guaranteed a job placement, IN that field, AND they won't drop out. It is a chance that parents and these schools take with hopes that it will be a positive outcome.
    Has there been any study of how successful these programs are?

    Rebel1
     
  11. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Perhaps the language should be changed to "high school diploma or certificate of completion." This would allow all who finish their high school requirements to apply.
     
  12. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    14 year olds are not mature enough to make such a life-altering decision. Most 15 and 16 year olds I know aren't either. Making HS optional is a very bad idea.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    During HS I vacillated between a lot of career choices...none of which was education...HS and college offered opportunities to mature and 'find direction':)
     
  14. Barbera

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    But they can go back when or if they choose. Does not have to be thought of as permanent. There is adult school now and many people in college are way past the traditional college age.

    It would get the unmotivated students out of the class and that would do wonders for education.

    The nanny state I know what is best for you mentality is infantalizing the nation and fatiguing it as well.
     
  15. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    They are kids. They make kid-like decisions. They can't even go see a rated R movie by themselves, yet we want to trust them with deciding whether school is good for them or not at age 14? I can't see any upside to this at all.
     
  16. Barbera

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    Sam Aye M, they still have parents. Yes I know some parents are lousy.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The 25-year-old's added maturity would doubtless play a role in college success. I would probably have been better off starting college at 20 or 22, for reasons unrelated to academic ability. Had I done so after having gone to work after grade 8, however, I would have had to spend at least a year and probably more getting remediation for the skills and content I would not have acquired by leaving school that early, and it is by no means clear to me that the jobs I could have obtained without a high-school diploma would have gotten me where I would have needed to be.

    Allowing students to resume their schooling when they're more ready seems to me to be a strength of the US system rather than a failing - but if students haven't got some measure of readiness, we'd still be doing them a profound disservice.
     
  18. sunbeachgirl

    sunbeachgirl Rookie

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    Different campus in the district.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

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    Then we absolutely need to do something other than continuing to lower the value of a high school diploma that addresses the fact that in the United States we force kids with little interest and in some cases little ability to continue to go to school where they feel inadequate and leave with no preparation for the realities of their future, and then wonder why the crime rate is what it is. I don't know what the solution is, but continuing to force disinterested students to take classes in chemistry and European history and advanced algebra is not cutting it these days.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that, instead of offering a 14 year old the choice of whether or not he'll ever need a high school education, perhaps we as a society need to work on proving to him that he DOES.

    Don't give him a choice, but find a way to make it an option he wouldn't choose to avoid.

    It's funny. On another thread, there are a host of people arguing that college students should be led by the hand, warned of the job market, helped to find a job. Then, OF COURSE, they need mentors the first year of teaching. Yet this thread is saying that 14 year olds have the maturity to make a life altering decision.

    So we expect 14 year olds to be adults, but 22 year olds need an awful lot of help.

    I admit to being confused at the logic.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    :lol::lol:

    Sorry, I misread your post... I thought you said some were "busy."
     
  22. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    These kids would be given the option to go back whenever. It wouldn't be life-ruining, only life-changing. Almost every decision we make is life-altering. I think most students would choose to stay in high school. I think that knowing that was a choice they made would make it more valuable to them. It would be something they wanted, not something that was forced onto them.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think we force kids to do a lot of things that are for their own good, whether or not they want them.

    From vaccinations to potty training to curfews to vegetables, it's my job as parent to ensure that choices are made in the best interest of my kids' future.

    I don't see this as any different.

    And I think that "going back later' is a whole lot harder than it sounds. Once you become adult, you need to work to pay for food and lodging. Look at the difficulty people have doing a single semester of student teaching without working outside-- it's HARD to go to school and work.

    I look at my brother in law, and how hard he had to study for his GED. And I remain convinced that education should remain compulsory.
     
  24. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I guess where I lose you is that I don't view a high school education as being in the best interest of every kid. Not the way the current system is in most places where only a college prep curriculum is taught with no other options available.

    Also, you are talking about the choices of the parents, not the state. The state doesn't make you feed your kids vegetables, or even vaccinate your kids. I know in my house, education would have been compulsory for me whether the state said so or not. Maybe if parents no longer had high schools to rely on for babysitting services, they would be forced to become more involved with their children.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, I agree that college isn't right for everyone.

    But in my opinion, what we need to change is the FOCUS of that high school diploma, not its worth or necessity.

    And the state requires education because it's in the best interests of the state to have an educated populace, and an educated electorate.

    It also mandates lots of other "for their own good" type of laws--everythng from car seats to helmets to a minimum age for smoking and drinking-- is education any less important??

    Oh, and these 14 year olds who opted out of school--- what would they do all day long? Would we change the child labor laws so they could work full time? Or would life be a nonstop Xbox marathon?

    Sorry, I don't see this as a positive move for society. Would it make teaching easier? Sure. But would it be for the betterment of society? Not in my opinion
     
  26. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    My question was going to be: "Given the choice of attending classes and doing assignments in class and (perhaps) at home after school OR sitting at home playing video games all day, which do you think the average 14 year old would make? And what effect do you think THAT decision will have on our overall work population and performance down the road?" But Alice beat me to it.

    Going back to school after working even 1 or 2 years is NOT as easy as saying "Hmmm, Leaving school and getting a job at 15 didn't work out the way I planned, so I think I'll go back to school full-time and finish up that education." I've known many people in my hometown area that decided to go to work in the local plants right after high school (and some even before graduating). Many of them (especially some of the girls that also got married soon after school) thought "Well, I'll work a couple of years to save up some money, then I can take some classes at the local community college." It's a decent plan on paper, but the reality is that most of them NEVER go back for that increased education and, ultimately, end up in a dead-end job with few options for the rest of their lives. Yes, their work IS necessary and if that is what they REALLY want to do forever, that's fine. Some DO choose that option. My best friend from high school went to work in a plant right after school and is still working in the same field (different plant). But even he went to our community college for 1 year before going to work full time.

    One of the biggest reasons for our declining education is that we want our kids to be top performers, but our society isn't willing to push them and make them take some responsibility for their own success. As Alice mentioned, another thread talks about how college students need to be coddled, led by the hand and given a mentor during their first year of work, but then we turn around and say "But some kids have a hard time graduating high school, so we need to just lower or eliminate that standard completely".

    GEEZ LOUIZE!!!! :eek: The ignorance and irony of those two philosophies absolutely astounds me.

    I agree that high schools should offer other "paths" besides College Prep, but I also agree that a high school education is essential that teaches the basics of math, reading, writing, communicating and critical thinking are essential for any job out there. Even if you're just flipping burgers or cooking fries at the local fast food place, you STILL have to know some essential reading, writing and math skills (I speak from experience on this).

    I've challenged my middle school students at times to name a single occupation that does NOT involve math of any kind. So far, none of them have been successful. Regardless of which occupation you mention, I guarantee you that math and reading comprehension are involved. It might be a little easier to name a job in which the person doesn't HAVE to have a high school education, but even the most mundane job still usually requires some knowledge of basic math and reading skills.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yeah, just like so many that don't go on to college or step back end up going back later - yeah, right.

    Responsibilities come up making going back near impossible. Once a young adult gets 'bill' such as car, insurance, apartment (and you really don't think that a kid that no longer goes to school but works will want to live with mommy and daddy too long then it makes it a huge feat to go back to school.

    While in theory it sounds great. IN practice it is much harder. So allowing a 14 or 15 year old decide they no longer want to go to school is setting them up for failure the same as not giving students a path that suits their needs and/or desires.

    Most kids drop out for two reasons. Either they can not handle the academic work because they are so far behind in either the academics or the skills that go along with our education system OR they can't deal with the school culture and the hoops that kids have to go through that have NOTHING to do with the course content but everything to do with compliance to a million other types of "learning" schools are trying to preach. Some of which actually hurt creativity of people by forcing lock-step compliance in thinking and action.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I see a big problem is we are hearing the "we want children to take responsibility for their own learning" in lower and lower grades. A child in 4th grade that doesn't know all his letters is not going to have the mental maturity or the emotional maturity to look past the hurt involved knowing they are behind and probably often in trouble for not "doing the work with enough effort or properly or quick enough etc" to take responsibilty for their own learning. But yet when the typical reaction of the majority of people in this situation occur, the response is to lay blame on the child and punish. Fact is, if this kid isn't getting major additional instruction and help by truly qualified people, this person really won't have the capacity to take the responsibilty for learning without assistance to the him there.

    This phrase has permeated education as the "excuse" for children all the way down to Kindergarten. Unfortunately, this phrase is often followed by, "If they don't take responsibility for their learning, how can I be expected to teach them." We are abandoning children left and right by expecting young children to act like adults.
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I find it astounding that professional educators would think that 14 year olds opting out of school to be a good idea.:dizzy:
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I'm not saying that I think that 14 year olds opting out is a good idea. I just think that it should be non compulsory so that it would be possible to have students removed from school. I think most parents would send their kids to school anyway.
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :yeahthat:
     
  32. Cerek

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    I guess I'm still confused. I don't see any difference between "opting out" and "non-compulsory". If it's non-compulsory, then they can "opt out", can't they?
     
  33. Barbera

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    They can, but in reality most parents want their kids in school. If a family has a set of circumstances or if a student desires a path different than school they can take it. I once interviewed a student I was assessing in a middle school sped class who wanted to go into home health care and house cleaning. She already knew. At the time she was too young but maybe when she is 15 or 16 she would have a better use for her time than being in school.
     
  34. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I definitely think finishing high school should be optional. Bad, bad idea. Mexico recently (I think last year) made it mandatory to complete high school. Whether or not that new law is enforced is yet to be seen, but I look at that law as a wonderful move for Mexico.
     
  35. Cerek

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    Don't most states already allow students to drop-out or "opt out" around age 16 (with parental consent, if required)? It just seems like this option already exists.

    I can understand the case of the girl you mentioned, but the simple fact is that the lack of at least a high school education will severely limit the lifetime options available for students who choose that option.
     
  36. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I spend a lot of time with my grade 7 and 8 students talking about the importance of finishing high school. We look at statistics relating level of education with income, housing, number of children (and age of first child), and lifestyle. I make it pretty clear that they all need to at least finish high school in order to provide themselves with greater opportunities in the future. My students have lots of opportunities available to them, both in high school and post-secondary; not graduating high school severely limits those opportunities.
     
  37. Barbera

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    Cerek, I am not familiar with other states drop out laws.

    People can finish high school if later they choose. I just don't see it as being as much of a permanent decision as you.
     
  38. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    I do this with my students, too. I see we both teach kids with learning disabilities. I just don't want my students to become part of the IEP/dropout/prison statistic. Thank you for starting to motivate them in middle school. It helps keep them going when high school gets tough.
     
  39. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I wear two hats at school--Special Ed and General Ed English for Grade 7 and 8. Every single one of my students receives the same message; I may need to deliver it a little louder to my students with LDs, but I know that most of them hear it. Our high school keeps in close touch with us about our former students, only one who I have taught in the past 5 years won't graduate on time.

    What's most important for our students with LDs is for them (and their parents and their teachers) to realize that they aren't "stupid", they just need to do things in a different way sometimes.
     
  40. Cerek

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    How many people do you know that decided to finish high school later? A PP mentioned how easy it is for young kids to get used to making money and how difficult it becomes to give that money up (or at least earn less) after they start paying some bills of their own. Even if they stay at home and don't have that many bills, it is very difficult to give up making money once you've gotten used to it.

    Another consideration is the rapid advancement of technology in our world today. Kids who drop out (or "opt out") at age 15-16 may well feel too intimidated about the advancements made (and their lack of current knowledge) 5-6 years down the road. They know they are behind the curve and are afraid they won't be able to "catch up" after getting so far behind.

    One of my best friends from elementary school took off our first year out of school to go live in California. He came back the next year and decided to continue his education at the local community college, but he was still very nervous about taking "freshman" classes when all of his friends were now "sophomores" (even though he was a very intelligent guy).

    I know many people DO go back and get their GED (or diploma), but I know many others "plan" to do it "someday", but never get around to it. Of those that do go back, I would bet my bottom dollar almost all of them would say they SHOULD have stayed in school to begin with instead of dropping out, then trying to go back.

    As for the drop-out ages of other states, a quick look at Google or Bing will bring up several results. Most of the links reference only one state, but most list the age of 15-16 as the time that students can drop out with parental consent. So, again, the "opt out" alternative already seems to exist in many (if not most) states.
     
  41. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Keeping my students in my class and passing is a struggle, and I'm constantly amazed at how tough it can be at times. By the time they get to me, they only have a couple of months to go instead of years. Why give up now?! They still do, in depressing numbers at times. My failure rate weighs down my heart. The only thing that lets me sleep a little at night is the knowledge that our credit recovery teacher (she gets the kids who fail any English IV class including mine) is a miracle worker. Hopefully, I can work a few miracles myself in the next two weeks and get my pass rate back up to the 80% I've managed in the past.
     
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