Saturday, March 10, 2007

Education in the Trash...

During the last six months, Howling Latina has worked as a substitute teacher at local middle and high schools and is appalled at the quality of our education.

One of the basic root causes is overcrowded classrooms.

Please tell me how folks expect ANY teacher to educate a classroom of 26-32 rowdy young'uns packed like sardines in a can, only the can is a tiny classroom with desks wall-to-wall?!?

While GOP leaders in Richmond preach the gospel of low taxes and more meaningless testing of teachers (the ballyhooed exams that are supposed to solve the educational problem in Virginia and nation), our poor kids continue to suffer from lack of funding from Richmond to lower student-teacher ratio.

Indeed, as one might expect from overcrowding, it's hard to teach students while they're busy talking to one another and interrupting the flow of learning. Not even the most dedicated teacher with Herculean-like efforts can stay on task.

Lest any person think this is the ranting of an inexperienced substitute teacher, personal comments from other more seasoned teachers confirm HL's admittedly greenhorn observations.

Oh yea, and some of the lesson planning could also use a little work.

For instance, should an eighth grade algebra class spend time having students fill in a series of numbers in a diagram, exactly as shown on a separate little sheet of paper, coloring by numbers and cutting?!?

Okay, so the mathematical digits represented all the different numbers in Pi, but exactly what is the pedagogical value?!? Surely no eighth grader is going to remember any of the series of numbers that follow the magical perpetuity and make up the class Pi quilt.

As to correctly copying a series of numbers, any first grader would be up to the taxing task but perhaps the teens will be able to answer a simple question about Pi on the SOL, although exclusive of one the first number, 1415926, the rest of the numbers were pretty much gibberish.

It's sad to note but...the schools that seem the most short-changed are the very ones that need the added resources to help students keep up with new technologies; and this refers to the rural schools.

Twenty-six to 32 children jammed in a classroom of middle schoolers should be unacceptable to any person who cares about the future of our children and the commonwealth.

Enough with the empty rhetoric of "family values." Let's put our priorities where our mouth is!

All that talk about algebra made my palms sweat, a throwback to the trauma that was my experience with all things mathematical in school; however, you make an excellent point. On top of that I would add my own son's experience in high school with such things. He could only be described as angry and frustrated that many of his courses consisted of such cut and paste assignments and lacked any real intellectual challenge.

Also, he felt that much of the curriculum in his classes was too heavily weighted toward building "self-esteem" and "valuing diversity" rather than on the practical knowledge required to succeed in college level courses. Although academically gifted and capable of going into advanced placement and honors courses, he chose instead to pursue a regular course of studies which he found to be dumbed down and useless.
Public Schools... another creation of Liberals!
Yes, another creation by liberals, like the middle-class.
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