We Don't Give No Education

More evidence that American public education is virtually worthless:

Several weeks into his first year of teaching math at the High School of Arts and Technology in Manhattan, Austin Lampros received a copy of the school’s grading policy. He took particular note of the stipulation that a student who attended class even once during a semester, who did absolutely nothing else, was to be given 45 points on the 100-point scale, just 20 short of a passing mark.

Mr. Lampros’s introduction to the high school’s academic standards proved a fitting preamble to a disastrous year. It reached its low point in late June, when Arts and Technology’s principal, Anne Geiger, overruled Mr. Lampros and passed a senior whom he had failed in a required math course.

The diploma the student, Indira Fernandez, received does not so much as meet the requirements of a 'participation' award:

After having failed to graduate with her class in June 2006, Miss Fernandez, who, through her mother, declined to be interviewed, returned to Arts and Technology last September for a fifth year. She was enrolled in Mr. Lampros’s class in intermediate algebra. Absent for more than two-thirds of the days, she failed, and that grade was left intact by administrators.

When second semester began, Miss Fernandez again took the intermediate algebra class, which fulfilled one of her graduation requirements. According to Mr. Lampros’s records, she missed one-third of the classes, arrived late for 20 sessions, turned in half the required homework assignments, failed 11 of 14 tests and quizzes, and never took the final exam.

Miss Fernandez was allowed to take the final exam and scored a 66, which did not bring her semester average even close to passing. Yet, Principal Geiger inserted a passing mark — over teachers' unions' objections! — anyway.

It is one thing, however ridiculous and self-defeating, to water down curricula to the lowest common denominator to increase graduation rates. It is even more preposterous to throw the most basic requirements out the window for the same purpose.

This isn't education — this is adolescent day care.

Update: Thanks to RiShawn Biddle from the Indianapolis Star for this information from my home state and its abuse of its graduation requirements.  My high school's scores here

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  • ||

    This isn't education - this is adolescent day care.

    Wrong!

    Absent for more than two-thirds of the days

    This isn't even day care. Gun run schools (hi Brian:) are just pure corruption for top to bottom. A method of looting the public vault, and keeping the disenfranchised ignorant and compliant.

  • ||

    My current thinking on this is that I don't care. You simply can't teach a child who is unwilling, for whatever reason, to learn and has no interest in school. Let there be sufficient resources for the kids who want to learn, let there be encouragement to learn the basics across the board, but at the end of the day I don't really care if someone gets a passing grade when they shouldn't have.

    I also suspect it is a waste of money to try to heroically save a kid from themselves and/or disinterested parents. The success rate has to be miniscule.

  • Jennifer||

    at the end of the day I don't really care if someone gets a passing grade when they shouldn't have.

    I do. It cheapens the achievements of those who actually earned their grades.

  • ||

    Adolescent Day Care? Sums up my experience in public school perfectly. The teachers spend at least 70% of their time doing babysitting chores.

    In 8th grade there was this one kid who would always refuse to take his hate off during the Pledge of Allegiance. Every, single, morning at least 15 minutes of class time would be wasted by the teacher trying to convince him to take off his hat.

  • ||

    Yes, but Jennifer, the people that earned their grades will be rewarded when those that don't serve them McDonalds.

  • ||

    Man, my sentence is a grammatical nightmare. Apologies! And from an English Major. Damn public schools.

  • ||

    JasonL
    What about the kids who do want to learn? This system of bureaucratic EINO (education in name only) not only robs the tax-payers of their hard earned, it also robs many of any hope of a future.

    Sure there are a few with the drive, ability, and determination to claw their way out of the ghetto. But the public school system must be recognized as a significant obstacle in that effort, and is responsible for holding thousands (hundreds of thousands?) in poverty.

  • bill||

    I'm sure the girl was passed just to get her the hell out of there.

  • ||

    ...there was this one kid who would always refuse to take his hate off during the Pledge of Allegiance...

    I don't normally point out typos, but this is just too funny.

  • ||

    there was this one kid who would always refuse to take his hate off during the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Yeah I know, and scools are supposed to be preaching tolerance, if nothing else.

  • ||

    Damn you, de stijl!

  • ||

    Jesus, I just saw my own typo. That is all.

  • ||

    Miss Fernandez was allowed to take the final exam and scored a 66, which did not bring her semester average even close to passing. Yet, Principal Geiger inserted a passing mark - over teachers' unions' objections! - anyway.

    Wait what?

    i thought the problems with public schools mainly stemmed from those wretched teachers unions and their protection of incompetent teachers and such?

  • ||

    This isn't education - this is adolescent day care.

    It seems to me that in this case, it wasn't day care at all, and in fact the school passed her because they didn't want to be a day care center for someone who obviously didn't want to be there.

    And in fact, I dunno how much I can get bothered by someone passing even though they didn't deserve it.


    Illinois is trying to pass a law that removes driving privelages from kids who drop out. So this puts them in a situation where they don't wnt to be there, but the state is compelling them to stay.

    I would imagine passing them and getting them out of the school system that way is better than keeping them there longer than they want/need to be.

  • ||

    Apparently even teachers' unions have a shame threshhold.

  • ||

    I am shocked, shocked to find passing of unqualifed students going on in here.

  • ||

    The union wants the head count, Tom.

  • ||

    I know this isn't the point, but wtf does this girl need to know algebra for?

  • ||

    I guess Principal Geiger wasn't a very good 'counter' and decided to let Miss Fernandez calculate her own grade.

  • ||

    Well done Virgil.

  • Helen Lovejoy||

    Won't somebody think of the children??!!

  • ||

    JasonL,

    I agree that I personally don't care if a lazy/uninterested kid learns or not, but it is important that diplomas have meaning. Higher education institutions and employers use the information provided by diplomas to run more efficiently; if diplomas lose their ability to transmit information the resulting inefficiencies will hurt all of society. And if that sounds cold and technocratic to you, you can also look at it from an individual justice point of view; if diplomas are misleading or valueless, people who worked hard in school will be denied opportunities they deserve, and people who didn't work hard in school will suffer the humiliation of being given responsibilities they are not equipped to handle.

  • ||

    "I know this isn't the point, but wtf does this girl need to know algebra for?"

    She might want to buy a train ticket some day.

    [Two trains leave different stations. One is travelling East at three mph; the other is travelling North at five and two-seventeenths mph. If you want to meet your sister in Wichita, what time should you leave?]

  • ||

    Methinks Ms. Fernandez has some compromising pictures of Ms. Geiger.

  • ||

    The union wants the head count, Tom.

    Right, cuz that one pupil makes all the difference in the world.

    So let me get this straight -- the union want to fail them so they can keep the head count high, but at the same time they dont want to fail too many kids because they need to protect the incompetent teachers.

    Is that about right?

  • ||

    Yes, but Jennifer, the people that earned their grades will be rewarded when those that don't serve them McDonalds.

    Eating anything from McDonalds can hardly be considered a reward.

  • Fluffy||

    Cesar -

    They should have let the kid keep his hat on, then. Problem solved. Class time restored.

    If they had failed her and she came back for another year, wouldn't that just cost the taxpayers more money anyway?

  • ||

    I know this isn't the point, but wtf does this girl need to know algebra for?

    [soapbox]
    R a t i o n a l thinking. Algebra is the most ELEMENTARY AND BASIC building block of logical thinking. Algebra is to rational thought what complete sentences and paragraph structure are to communication. If you can't solve a second order polynomial, you just can't think logically.
    [/soapbox]

  • ||

    I should clarify a bit.

    It isn't that I don't care, as in I don't care what happens to this girl. It's more that I don't think her problems have anything to do with the educational system.

    Concerning the pass fail as a measure of educational achievement passed to the university system, I doubt it is all that useful a measure even if it were rigorously enforced. "A" vs. "C" tells you something, but Pass vs. Fail is just a way of certifying that the public education system tried something. Plausible deniability about the right of a public education, and all that.

  • Garth||

    I have never understood why schools don't simply have adult (18+) students leave at the end of whatever final grade they were attending and give them nothing. No diploma, no pass, nothing and say "good luck with that" as they leave the grounds.

    When the fool finds out that life without that degree sux then he/she can go for a GED or attend some private institution that actually gives out worthwhile high school level degrees.

  • ||

    Technical Academies run by private firms would divert alot of the "don't give a shit 'bout no stinkin' algebra" kids into fields where they can use skills that they care about developing.

    Given the opportunity, I would predict that companies would appreciate an opportunity to provide technical or creative skills to eager (read: kids who hate the 3Rs) students. It would save them time and energy now wasted on college grads who can't drive a pencil up their own ass but can recite meaningless rules and memorized formulas.

    Of course, Chicago Tom, the unions wouldn't hear of it.

    Save the children!

  • ||

    Algebra is to rational thought what complete sentences and paragraph structure are to communication.

    Couldn't disagree more with you.

  • VM||

    Les - expand, pls.

  • ||

    ChicagoTom:

    I don't think that serious critics of the public school system believe that teachers unions want everyone to be stupid. They certainly want to retain the ability to control their teachers' own classrooms. This is a bureaucrat overriding a teacher. Turn this around and say the principal wanted to ensure the teacher union position in this case. Say she triedto impose an external audit of student grades to ensure this person were not unfairly passed and see what the union would do.

    What they don't want is any whiff of accountability.

  • ||

    "Algebra is to rational thought what complete sentences and paragraph structure are to communication."

    I tried to factor out the implications of this sentence, but I think I was FOILed.

  • ||

    While I respectfully disagree that this anecdote points towards the conclusion that public education is virtually worthless, it does illustrate the disadvantage public schools have versus private ones - they have to be, for the most part, all inclusive.

    This is not to say that giving a failing student a passing grade is the proper way to deal with a student who has failed the class twice. But there probably is no good way to handle such situations.

  • ||

    Shocked, shocked I am at the deafening silence at the prospect that a private school for rich kids could just as easily be and often is as much or more of a 'pass factory', since, after all, their incentive is to do whatever the bill-payers want.

  • ||

    Warren -
    Even if I were to accept your premise that Algebra is the most basic building block of logical thinking, I still fail to see where this girl needs to learn Algebra. Most people forget about it in a couple of years anyway (yes, even college grads), and it's not like you're going to make a logical thinking our of an irrational 18 year old by submitting her to Algebra class.

  • ||

    Technical Academies run by private firms would divert alot of the "don't give a shit 'bout no stinkin' algebra" kids into fields where they can use skills that they care about developing.

    Or, they would just pass them anyway, to avoid losing a paying customer. Of course, the student who didn't care enough to show up at all probably would not have signed up to be a paying customer to begin with.

  • ||

    Shocked, shocked I am at the deafening silence at the prospect that a private school for rich kids could just as easily be and often is as much or more of a 'pass factory', since, after all, their incentive is to do whatever the bill-payers want.

    Hey! Leave Yale University out of this!

  • ||

    ...to make a logical thinking our of an...

    Make that "...to make a logical thinker out of an..."

  • ||

    Warren -
    Even if I were to accept your premise that Algebra is the most basic building block of logical thinking, I still fail to see where this girl needs to learn Algebra. Most people forget about it in a couple of years anyway (yes, even college grads), and it's not like you're going to make a logical thinking our of an irrational 18 year old by submitting her to Algebra class.


    Well, I suppose if you're going to assume that education can't help a person, then you're right that there's no point in educating them.

  • ||

    "This is not to say that giving a failing student a passing grade is the proper way to deal with a student who has failed the class twice. But there probably is no good way to handle such situations"

    I actually agree with this. You can't and shouldn't judge any educational system based on the performance of the worst students. It is unfair for private system advocates to hold those levels of performance against public schools, except to the extent that it is a monopoly and therefore you can't innovate to try to help these kids much.

    That said, public school advocates can't trumpet the universality of public schooling for the same reasons. Just sticking a kid in a classroom demonstrates nothing.

  • ||

    I tried to factor out the implications of this sentence, but I think I was FOILed.

    :) Thanks

  • VM||

    calmly points and laughs at Shocked's "point".

  • ||

    Well, I suppose if you're going to assume that education can't help a person, then you're right that there's no point in educating them.

    I don't know if that was pointed or not. Let's say I assume by that statement you think making this girl, who doesn't show up to 1/2 of her classes, take and pass an (probably already very watered down) algebra course is in some way going to "help" her by "educating" her. In response, I laugh at you.

  • ||

    Wow! I went to the link Jonathan povided to check on my old highschool. In 8 years, the number of grads has been cut by half, 61 when I graduated in '98 to 33 in '06.

  • ||

    Warren,

    "R a t i o n a l thinking. Algebra is the most..."

    Bless you, bless you! (and I am an agnostic)

    You wrote so much in two sentences. It amazes me how many people do not understand that. My 1st grade teacher girlfriend was moaning on about how her daughters were not doing well in high school math, how she did not do well in math and why the hell did most people need to know geometry and algebra for anyway. I was not as elegant as you were, but explained that understanding math helped to develop the ability to solve problems, any sort of problems, in an ordered, logical manner.

    The upside is: she got it. Now, though she is only teaching 1st graders, she places a heavier emphasis on math in general and word problems in particular.

    I have an unsubstantiated pet theory. The theory is: The root of the problem for most people that claim to be "bad at math" is that they did not* learn their multiplication tables by heart when they were in 3rd grade. Therefore, when more advanced math is presented to them they are awestruck and overwhelmed when they see an unsolved algebra problem. It is absolutely essential for daily adult life that every student learn the multiplications tables out to 12x12. THANK YOU DAD!

    *I wrote "did not", but as a father of two boys, I really meant were not forced to learn their multiplication tables. Few 3rd graders are going to learn the tables on their own accord.

  • ||

    Algebra is to rational thought what complete sentences and paragraph structure are to communication.

    Almost the same rationale was invoked to justify the study of Latin: "it teaches logical thought and good style". Fact is: Latin was thought in order to enable the student to read the ancient authors who were regarded as models of logical thought and good style.

    Algebra provides means to write "complete sentences" and "well structured paragraphs" ... if you are involved in engineering. Kids should learn some algebra, since there is no way, as of now, to determine what are their aptitudes and what will they need later. Still, that girl was definitely lost for engineering, navigation, astronomy etc., so letting her go was not a mistake. The mistake was to force her take the algebra class instead of a ... creative writing class, for example.

  • ||

    I don't know if that was pointed or not. Let's say I assume by that statement you think making this girl, who doesn't show up to 1/2 of her classes, take and pass an (probably already very watered down) algebra course is in some way going to "help" her by "educating" her. In response, I laugh at you.

    I'd say that all else being equal, somebody who takes and passes even a very basic algebra class will be at least a tiny bit better off than someone who does not.

  • ||

    emilper -
    you said it better than I did

  • ||

    The upside is: she got it. Now, though she is only teaching 1st graders, she places a heavier emphasis on math in general and word problems in particular.

    MayorOmalleySuxs,
    OMNEG! How long did it take? Can you remember what you said? Please, I need to know! I've yet to convince any school teacher. Please help! IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN ;)

  • ||

    I'd say that all else being equal, somebody who takes and passes even a very basic algebra class will be at least a tiny bit better off than someone who does not.

    Under most circumstances, I would agree with this statement. However, I can't be available to evaluate this statement as it applies to each individual person. In this case though (does not fall under "where all else is equal") the girl "took" the class twice and failed it.

  • ||

    "...that girl was definitely lost for engineering, navigation, astronomy..."

    Most definately, but the article gave no indication at all if her ability to learn algerbra or not was the problem. The young ladies problem was not coming to school. It is very hard to learn the subject taught in the class if the student doesn't attend the class - aptitude or no aptitude. I write that as someone with a 12th grade GPA of 1.7. I had the ability and aptitude, I just cut school and did other things a lot. What can I say; it was the 70s.

  • ||

    MayorOmalleySuxs,

    On a less harmonious note. I can not agree with the specifics of your theory. I do agree that once a child gets behind in his mathematical understanding, there is a "snowball of ignorance" effect. (I think part of the problem is the way math is taught. Grade school teachers that never went beyond high school algebra use rote methods and gimmicks to get their kids past that years material. This faulty understanding of what they "learned" will later have to be unlearned when they need to apply the concepts to more advanced topics)

    However, we have calculators now and I don't see any reason to make kids memorize multiplication tables. Teach them to use a calculator in first grade and you can be teaching them Trig by fourth. (My father disagrees saying, everyone should be able to basic mental arithmetic. He makes a good point, but I counter, 'everyone could be doing mental calculus')

  • ||

    Look, I know you got a crocodile in spelling, but this is going too far

  • ||

    Actually, this case demonstrates the need for school choice. Every classroom teacher should have the right to choose NOT to allow unwilling students with non-functioning parents in their classroom. Excluded students would be free to choose some alternative public or private school to continue their education and I would have no problem with the state funding following them. I do not see, however, many private schools clamoring to attempt to teach students such as Ms. Fernandez.

    Contrary to the general notion expressed by many foes of public education, most teachers that I know have no problem with accountability so long as it takes all sides into account. One can only take the students that come into their classroom, challenge them to learn the required skills and knowledge, and utilize a variety of methods to promote that learning. If students and parents are unable or unwilling to do their part, their is little chance that learning will occur.

  • Rhywun||

    I haven't RTFA yet but it should be noted that Bloomberg (supposedly) got rid of social promotion. That principal should lose her job. That said, with the h u g e variety of schools in NYC, did no one think of finding that student a school more suitable for her?

    I agree with whoever stated that we are failing our kids "at the bottom". One-size-fits-all academic requirements have been a disaster for those kids.

  • ||

    Warren,

    What do you think of my pet theory?

    I may be a victim of post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, but I don't think so.

    Knowing ones multiplication tables by rote allows a confidence in math and allows one to view the central question of even simple algebra problems without being distracted by the multiplication or division. To use the aforementioned creative writing class as an example, expecting a student to learn algebra without out a rote ability to do multiplication is like asking a student to take a creative writing class without that student having a rote knowledge of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

  • ||

    VM,

    Well, besides expressing my initial disagreement in an incomplete sentence, I think that saying

    If you can't solve a second order polynomial, you just can't think logically.

    is a lot like saying, "If you don't believe in God, you can't be moral." It's a somewhat elitist attitude.

    The fact is, there are a lot of perfectly rational people in decision-making positions with many responsibilities, who don't know what a second order polynomial is and who have no interest in knowing what it is.

  • ||

    Whoops, I guess you already answered.

    "However, we have calculators now and I don't see any reason to make kids memorize multiplication tables."

    Would you agree that becuase there are computer with word processing programs, spell checkers and grammer checkers that a student need not learn how to spell or grammer rules?

    Learning the multiplication tables out to 12x12 is a 10 minute a day 12 week effort.

    "Grade school teachers that never went beyond high school algebra..."

    Why do you think they chose elem. ed?

  • VM||

    gotcha!

  • ||

    "…is a lot like saying, "If you don't believe in God, you can't be moral." It's a somewhat elitist attitude."

    What the hell were you, an English Lit major? The polynomial remark was a joke; a geek joke, but still a joke.

  • ||

    The mayor hater is dead on. Buliding a foundation by rote is the best preparation for more difficult problems. Not to mention knowing my tables saves me mucho time otherwise spent trying to find my calculator.

  • VM||

    What the hell were you, an English Lit major?

    expand pls.

  • ||

    The polynomial remark was a joke; a geek joke, but still a joke.

    Ah, well, it followed this statement:

    Algebra is to rational thought what complete sentences and paragraph structure are to communication.

    So I couldn't really tell.

  • ||

    While we're rethinking how to better teach children math at an early age, can we also pump up the emphasis on homophones?

  • ||

    "expand pls."

    I was making a joke. A geek engineer joke, but still a joke.

    "Buliding a foundation by rote is the best preparation for more difficult problems."

    That is how we learn to write. We learn how to spell words by rote, then use that skill to build those words into sentences.

  • ||

    "So I couldn't really tell."

    That is becuase you are a normal person and not an engineer.

  • ||

    That is becuase you are a normal person and not an engineer.

    Oh, sure, rub it in, why don't ya?

  • edna||

    However, we have calculators now and I don't see any reason to make kids memorize multiplication tables.

    i do, but i have the disadvantage of having spent ten years trying to teach match, chemistry, and physics. calculator-oriented kids were universally terrible at order-of-magnitude thinking (really, the most important way to look at problems), couldn't do dimensional analysis, and had no comprehension of the use of significant figures. using the calculator as a crutch seems to disconnect the mind from what the numbers in front of you actually mean.

    my favorite experience was a test i gave some freshmen chem students. "estimate the number of hydrogen atoms in a glass of water." i got answers like "3.67314507 exp-19."

  • edna||

    math not match. i cant spel reel gud.

  • VM||

    English lit major is a geek engineer joke?

    that was the question.

  • T||

    emilper,

    Kids should learn some algebra, since there is no way, as of now, to function effectively in a modern technological society without it.

    Try the sentence that way, it's truer.

  • ||

    How big was the glass?

  • ||

    T:

    I wonder what

  • ||

    T:

    I wonder what use are integrals for functioning normally in a technological society if you are not designing the tools used by the members of said society ...

    you know, there is life beyond solving polynomial equations

  • edna||

    How big was the glass?

    that's the point. one of the things a student needs to be able to do is make order of magnitude guesses. if the student used 250ml or 300ml or something like that, fine, the idea is to get a grasp of the basic size of the number. i found that a useful way to get an intuitive feel for avogadro's number, it's about the number of molecules in condensed phase that you can hold in your hand.

    is this all too geeky?

  • ||

    Reinmoose? homophones? Why does everyone need to know how to call my gay uncle? Is this the sort of logical thinking that algebra promotes?

    Besides, algebra is an Arabic word. Learning math is therefore un-American.

  • ||

    algebra is an Arabic word. Learning math is therefore un-American.

    So is alcohol. The cause of, and the answer to, all of our problems.

  • ||

    They should have let the kid keep his hat on, then. Problem solved. Class time restored.

    They wouldn't because then rules would be broken! Then everyone would break the rules! ANARCHY!

    Thats the logic of public school administrators.

  • ||

    de stijl,

    orange and purple are also un-American. As is hummus.

  • ||

    As long as we are airing our pet math gripes. There is no way factoring polynomials is more important to everyday thinking than statistics. 85.6% of all claims made by politicians, newspapers, wonks, bloggers and commenters rely on a statistic in some way.

  • Jennifer||

    Contrary to the general notion expressed by many foes of public education, most teachers that I know have no problem with accountability so long as it takes all sides into account.

    Amen. Too many people have the idea that teaching is like bartending--just pour the knowledge into the kid's head the way you pour booze into a glass. Nobody seems to suspect that maybe, just maybe, the student might have something to do with how well she does or does not learn her lessons.

    As annoying as Principal Geiger was, she could be worse--the principal I used to work for would have not only given the kid a passing grade, but told Lampros it was his fault the kid failed in the first place. (True story: there used to be a sign in the school district's administrative offices that said "There are no failing students, only failing teachers.")

  • ||

    Skipping on down...
    There is no way factoring polynomials is more important to everyday thinking than statistics.

    Agreed. I talk up algebra as 'exercise for the mind'. Something that makes your mind stronger in the same way exercise makes the body stronger. But statistics has direct application. Much of the news we process is dependent on statistics. The general lack of understanding regarding prob & stat leads to a great deal of widespread misinformation.

  • VM||

    "Agreed. I talk up algebra as 'exercise for the mind'. Something that makes your mind stronger in the same way exercise makes the body stronger."

    agreed. However, I would offer poetry as the same. A good foundation with words and numbers is important - it would also have made Milo's understanding of how Dictionopolis and Digitopolis could have gotten along better!

    "The general lack of understanding regarding prob & stat leads to a great deal of widespread misinformation."

    true dat.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    You should have snuck in one night and replaced it with "There are no failing teachers, only failing administrators."

  • Jennifer||

    You should have snuck in one night and replaced it with "There are no failing teachers, only failing administrators."

    Nah. I don't go for anonymity. I came right out and asked the administrators if that rule didn't apply, too.

  • ||

    Life is a word problem.

    An individual that doesn't have a fundamental grasp of probabilites, percentages, rates of change, and factoring is doomed.

  • Big Al||

    Sadly, this isn't only a problem with public education. My private COLLEGE does the exact same thing. It's a complete joke. The truth is this country has given up on merit and embraces the view that everyone is entitled to a degree.

    So, on this one, I'm not going to public the blame on the public school system but instead the culture. It's much bigger than a single government program, it's a pervasive mindset.

  • ||

    VM

    The Phantom Tollbooth!! I loved that book -- it should be required reading!

  • ||

    Big Al,

    In my day they only did that for the athletes. Incidentally, that wouldn't be a Liberal Arts college by any chance, would it?

  • ||

    """This is not to say that giving a failing student a passing grade is the proper way to deal with a student who has failed the class twice. But there probably is no good way to handle such situations."""

    How about failing the student.

    Schools don't fail students, students fail schools. You should get the grade you deserve. If you can't cut it, get off your ass and get some assistance. Being lazy about your education is your fault, not the schools.

  • ||

    Parents have a tendency to blame schools because they don't want to blame their kids.

  • ||

    Let's not forget to blame the parents too. Kids that don't have a hot meal and a quiet room to come home to, are unlikely to achieve academic success.

  • VM||

    "Incidentally, that wouldn't be a Liberal Arts college by any chance, would it?"

    man - just cuz you didn't get in at Williams, it was a long time ago.

    Or since this is obviously a peeve of yours, do you actually understand the NESCAC schools? Oberlin? Carlton College? Grinnell?

    didn't think so.

  • ||

    As I understand it, my BA in CompSci & Physics means I'm a liberal arts major. You gotta problem wid dat?

  • ||

    carrick,

    Where did you go to school?

  • VM||

    Warren -

    instead the question should be: what do you understand about those schools I mentioned?

    Randolph Carter might have had a similar experience, but nearly every one I went to college with took calc in high school, etc. Your opinion of (top) liberal arts schools is sadly ignorant.

  • ||

    A long time ago at a second-tier state university during it's transition to a first-tier school.

    No engineering school though, because the other two state universities had that locked up. Politics was not going to allow a third engineering school in the state.

  • ||

    By the way, I was recruited by one of those top-tier liberal arts schools that VM talks about, but I got distracted by marriage.

  • ||

    Maybe she can get into Occidental College here in L.A. Her Hispanic name indicates she could take "Whiteness" one of the course offerings, and maybe get an "A". Regular attendance, passing grades, doing homework, etc. are false white values that we are trying to impose on these people. Shame on us.

  • ||

    warren:

    I graduated from a liberal arts school. I'm comfortable saying that the education I received is better than that provided in a very high percent of larger universities. I think you don't know exactly whereof you speak here.

  • Other Matt||

    Parents have a tendency to blame schools because they don't want to blame their kids.

    Or themselves, more like.

  • James Quentin Clark||

    To compare public schools to adolescent daycare is an insult to childcare providers all over the world. Babysitters and daycare workers don't force children into their custody and send the police after them for not coming. They also don't generally poison the minds of the children they care for, nor do they have the authority to control their futures or certify, number, and rank them in a variety of ways.

    Public schools are worse than daycare. They're worse than prisons, worse than most of the conventional negative comparisons. They are a blight upon our society, an obstacle to genuine education and free inquiry, an insult to the founders' vision of individual rights, and absolutely anathema to the most basic of human liberties; the right to determine how we use our minds.

  • ||

    "I talk up algebra as 'exercise for the mind'."

    I love math. Algebra has always struck me as more like book keeping though. It is certainly a valuable skill, mathematically speaking, but it is not really very intellectual. Geometry though... now there is exercise for the mind.

  • Russ 2000||

    This isn't education - this is adolescent day care.

    Now you know why employers want college degrees and transcripts - high school credentials can't be trusted.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'm completely down with the idea of getting the government out of the education business, but it's a vast overstatement to say that "American public education is virtually worthless." The American public education system is mind-bogglingly huge and cannot be summed up so summarily. It has provided a range of quality and personal experiences from godawful to excellent.

  • ||

    """"Parents have a tendency to blame schools because they don't want to blame their kids.

    Or themselves, more like.""""

    Well, the parents may have some responsiblity, but at some point you are the decider about your study habits, or lack thereof.


    Some one correct me if I'm wrong but Computer sciences and physics are science majors. No?

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'm a Computer Science major. It's not really a science. It's more like Computational Mathematics.

  • Clemsonuee||

    Speaking as a practicing engineer.

    FUCK memorizing multiplication tables. Those things drove me nuts; it's only because my dad is an engineer and knows math and taught me not rote memorization is the reason I liked math outta elementary school.

    Now the funny thing is that as time went on and I studied a lot of math through school I ended up pretty much being able to do all that basic math in my head.

    What I always remember about using calculators in math classes was during tests I'd get so wrapped up in the problem punching numbers in that I wouldn't be thinking about the numbers and often punch in 2+2 or something else simple like that.

    But enough engineer reminiscing.

    Next thing you know I'll be telling engineer jokes like

    Two engineering students are walking to class one day. The first one turns to the second and says "Hey where'd you get that bike from? You didn't have it yesterday."

    The second one replies "Funny story. I was walking back from class yesterday and this beautiful blond rides this bike up to me. She throws it to the ground beside me. She then takes off all her clothes and throws them down beside the bike and tells me to take what I want."

    The first student nods approvingly and says "Good choice, those clothes never would have fit you."

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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