The Free Ride In Public SchoolsWritten by Joel Turtel
To protect childrenís self-esteem or deflect complaints by parents, many public schools today automatically advance failing students to next grade level. In other schools, some students are left back a maximum of one year, then promoted again regardless of their academic skills.
The No Child Left Behind Act tries to solve this problem. The federal government is pressuring public schools to set minimum standards that each student must pass before advancing to next grade.
However, in spite of these new laws, many states still have semi-automatic advancement based on studentís overall per-formance. Many schools consider a studentís "portfolio" of work, attendance record, or other mitigating factors. Based on these factors, school may advance students to next grade, even though they do poorly on their tests or read at a previous grade level.
For example, a dedicated California 7th-grade math teacher wrote to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, radio talk-show host, about this problem. She said that about 30 percent of her students did not do their daily homework assignments, but she could do nothing about this. That is because California Education code forbids teachers from "punishing" students for failing to do their homework.
She also said that students are "not retained" if they fail one class or fail all their classes. "Not retained" is a polite way of saying not left back.
Students may not want to do their homework because it bores them to death, but these kids are smart anyhow. Why should they bother doing homework or studying hard if they advance to next grade no matter how bad they do in class? That would be dumb, and these kids are not dumb.
Punishing the Victim -- Why Public Schools Pressure Parents To Give Their Kids Mind-Altering DrugsWritten by Joel Turtel
Public-school teaching is structured in such a way that it inevitably bores millions of normal, active children who are forced to sit in classrooms six to eight hours a day with about twenty other immature children. The teacher has to cover curriculum, so she is pressured to teach all kids same material in same way. Few teachers have time or patience to know each childís unique personality, interests, strengths, or weaknesses, or give different instruction to each student.
Middle-school and high-school children often have to learn subjects they canít relate to, are not interested in, or that frustrate them, such as history, trigonometry, or foreign languages. As a result, many students get bored, watch clock, and wait for school day to end.
Classroom ďlearningĒ usually consists of forcing students to read dumbed-down textbooks, memorizing facts from these textbooks, and then regurgitating these meaningless facts on dumbed-down tests. Students go from gym to math, to chemistry, to English literature, to American history. Their day consists of disconnected lectures on disconnected subjects. Each class lasts only fifty minutes, so their train of thought breaks off at sound of bell.
Young children in elementary school have natural high energy, and each child has his or her own unique personality. Most teachers simply donít have time or patience to teach different material or use different teaching methods with each child. Just being cramped into a classroom with twenty-five other children and told to learn certain tasks by an adult they may not like, can annoy or frustrate many normal but emotionally immature children with a will of their own.
Overworked teachers are under a lot of pressure today. They must teach many students in their classes, cover curriculum, test and grade students, and prove to parents and principal that their students are learning and doing well in their studies. Even worse, a teacherís job may now be threatened or she could be disciplined if her students do poorly on new standardized tests The No Child Left Behind Act puts pressure on teachers and principals to make sure students pass these tests because school can lose funding or even close down if studentsí test grades donít measure up to minimum standards.
For all these reasons, over-worked teachers are under enormous pressure to maintain discipline in class so they can do their job. If some students are disruptive, donít pay attention, or cause trouble in class, teacher must do something about these children to keep order. In old days, teachers could discipline kids by smacking or restraining them. If a teacher tried this today, parents would quickly slap her and school with a lawsuit, so that kind of discipline is now impossible. Also, as we mentioned earlier, compulsory-attendance laws now make it extremely difficult to expel a violent or disruptive student.