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Helping Some Students May Harm High Achievers

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the stop-dragging-us-down dept.

Education 1114

palegray.net writes "According to a new study performed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, increased emphasis on helping students with a history of lower academic achievement results in lower performance for high achievers. This trend appears to be related to the No Child Left Behind Act. Essentially, programs designed to devote a large number of resources to assisting students who are deemed to be 'significantly behind' leave little room for encouraging continued academic growth for higher-performing students."

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Death Coil (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852189)

Well, sorry to say it but DUH. Anybody who has ever gotten decent grades could tell you this. Not really new news.

No Child Left Behind (5, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852195)

It's all about finance really. If you pay more teachers to teach smaller classes, most of these issues go away. The other thing is that children with learning disabilities get taught by themselves or in small groups because they are a special case. I would say the same should be available to gifted children.

Re:No Child Left Behind (5, Informative)

eric76 (679787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852235)

No. It's not about finance.

It's about finding ways to challenge the studnets.

When I was in elementary and junior high, the school split us into classes based on academic results so far.

It worked very well. There was far less variation between the bottom and top of the class and the teachers could do a much better job of teaching to the class.

This is now deemed to be prejudicial and so the school no longer does this. The students are the losers across the board.

Re:No Child Left Behind (5, Interesting)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852285)

When I started high school I was the dux of the grade (split up across 5 classes). It was a boys school, and academic performance was looked down upon, so I was roughed up a fair bit, and was actually trying NOT to do well, but like it or not I still came dux.

The next year the Year Advisor thought it might be fun to take the worst performing kid from the bottom class and put him in the top class.

Guess who he targetted for a fight every day? That's right, the best performing kid in the top class - me.

So one day he gives me a good going over on the station after school.

Finally my parents woke up and sent me to a different school.

Needless to say I don't believe in mixing the stupid and lazy with the bright and talented. Physical assault is just not on, even between kids.

Re:No Child Left Behind (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852349)

I was the kid who liked to read and pursue other intellectual activities in school, and I got the shit kicked out of me on a regular basis.

Taught me to harden the fuck up, and look after myself, which has served me well in my adult life.

Kids today...Coddled too much if you ask me.

Young whippersnappers, get off my lawn ;)

Stupid and lazy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852379)

Needless to say I don't believe in mixing the stupid and lazy with the bright and talented. Physical assault is just not on, even between kids.
I had a separate-but-equal-based-on-intellect system in my own school. Classes were segregated into bright/average/challenged students. Or as you put it "bright and talented"/"stupid and lazy". The general result was that 50% of the schools resources was poured into 15-20% of the students. If you think that's fair that's your problem I for one will respectfully disagree. One more thing, you are right in that physical violence has no place in schools but you would do well to note that neither does intellectual snobbery. However hard it may be to believe, not everybody in the non-genius classes is stupid and lazy.

Re:Stupid and lazy. (1)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852413)

However hard it may be to believe, not everybody in the non-genius classes is stupid and lazy.

Maybe so, but they are far more predisposed to physical abuse and violence.

Re:Stupid and lazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852479)

Yeah, that's a valid conclusion. "They are dumb, therefore they are violent."

Re:Stupid and lazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852495)

Yeah, that's a valid conclusion. "They are dumb, therefore they are violent."

Point 1: Which part of growing up did you miss?

Point 2: If you're on slashdot so much, why don't you create an account?

Re:Stupid and lazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852537)

Cos I'm dumb and hence violent. Why do I have to create an account to bash someone up. I'm coming after you .. ztransform !

Re:Stupid and lazy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852629)

Not the same AC so I can only reply on the first question:

I was both, that is having an easy time in school and often being in fights (both starting and defending). I totally agree that violence is not something that should be in schools, but I don't think for a second that separating the "stupid" kids from the "bright" kids helps.

Also, really smart people often have a really hard time in school and kids with good/great marks != geniuses.

I think a bigger problem (and with a less obvious solution) is how to spot the bright people, and keep them motivated and interested during schools. I mean, high school teachers aren't members of that group of people and tend to see creative solutions as failure rather than brilliance.

Re:Stupid and lazy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852523)

The general result was that 50% of the schools resources was poured into 15-20% of the students.
What about when those in the bottom percentile put in far less effort than those in the top, regardless of how the funds are allocated. Makes more sense to invest a larger portion the funds in areas where it will be utilized to greater effect.

Re:No Child Left Behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852347)

"It's about finding ways to challenge the studnets."

So you honestly belive that in two days, when one teacher finds out that problem Z challenges the students to think, everything is solved?

Or could it be that finding ways to challenge students is quite large assignment that must be carried out individually for each class and each student, and that it thus resolves to effectively being a problem about finance?

Re:No Child Left Behind (5, Insightful)

janeeja (1238160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852455)

If you want the epitome of this 'one-size-fits-all' approach and witness its results upclose then please come to europe.

This fear of a middle-ages class-based school system that is encoded in every administrators head, has forged a bond inbetween civil servant and teacher so strong that they cannot be distinguished from another.

In fact this bond is so strong now that even the slightest form of desire for exellence is not just seen as an attack on the schoolsystem itself but also on the very fundaments of the society it's supposed to serve.

One giant self fulfilling prophecy if you ask me.

Re:No Child Left Behind (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852241)

Smaller classes are the obvious way to vastly improve things and lessen a host of problems. However, it's unpopular cause of having to employ more teachers, have more classrooms, etc.

Here in Ireland the govt. promised to reduce class sizes, and then... didn't do it. They later rewrote it as an "aspiration" and really, not even that.

Surprisingly enough, an environment of 35 kids average to a class is not proving sensible for discipline, teacher's sanity (and wage demands), accommodating immigrant children (poor English needs attention), accommodating slower learners, accommodating faster learners, or even allowing the entire syllabus to be taught at all (impracticality of various activities when kids are crammed wall-to-wall into classes).

Ireland is a great place to work and make money, but it's a disaster socially. It's like even more the "American Way" than America is. Come to Ireland for the American Dream. Except here you get to be clinically insane running SUVs for school runs what with European petrol prices. Even our beautiful countryside is really just regarded as one giant golf green.

Re:No Child Left Behind (5, Funny)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852271)

It's not so much about finance as it is about making a mass of drones who will never realise you're fucking them over and should revolt. The goal of any government is to have as little people who can actually think as possible, but not to have people so stupid they can't work.

The solution is repressing everyone who is smart so that they either become frustrated and stop trying or revolt in an anti-social manner at an age too young and are deemed a criminal for life, and to help everyone too stupid to be useful become useful.

All blatantly obvious of course ...

Re:No Child Left Behind (2, Interesting)

tucuxi (1146347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852435)

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. - Hanlon's Razor to the rescue.

Also, feeling that you could have been a Kwisatz Haderach were it not for stupifying schools is probably true. After all, we are physically indistinguishable from our ancestors 3000 years ago, but any engineer or doctor of today would seem to be a genius by classical Greek standards.

Nobody knows how 'best practices' education will look like in a few hundred years, or what miracles will be considered commonplace for teachers to teach. The government is only to blame for not implementing 'best practices' today, and listening to voters that seem to think that education is not a top priority. But blaming it for evil scheming to produce drones is giving them way too much credit. Hanlon's razor is correct here.

Problem. (1)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852555)

Your post implies that any government is a corrupt government, and thus any government must suppress critical thinking to continue existance. I have significant misgivings with this outlook, and I'd like to discuss them in a thread where it isn't off-topic. Drop me a line.

Re:No Child Left Behind (1)

TornCityVenz (1123185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852461)

Perhaps if we allocated a bit more budget to paying teachers a decent living wage they would be more inclined to find ways to challenge the gifted students rather than just cruising along bringing the slackers up to state testing standards. Just as there are IEP programs for developmentally challenged children their should be for mentally gifted. Currently this is not the case.

Schools award mediocrity (5, Interesting)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852207)

Story of my school's life. I don't know what kicked it off, but in 1999 a group of parents got together to stop the awarding of best-in-school awards to the top students, because it had the effect (they claimed) of causing all the other students to feel they weren't as good at school. The idea being that three students would end up awarded for excelling, and seventy others in the same year would be indirectly labeled as inferior.

Within two years we had academic success awards removed, and all kinds of other awards, including ones for one total misfit who'd been caught multiple times shitting on the bleachers. He got an award for exemplary social behaviour or some such, because he went a couple months without taking a crap on school property.

Now the smart kids go without awards, but the dumb shits get an award for not smearing their own feces all over the place. Mediocrity ftw.

Re:Schools award mediocrity (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852239)

what are bleachers?

Re:Schools award mediocrity (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852311)

As seen on TV [mechberg.com] .

Re:Schools award mediocrity (2, Informative)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852323)

Those stair like seats found around the court of playground. -> Bleachers [wikipedia.org]

Lucky for you I don't have a lawn yet...

Re:Schools award mediocrity (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852405)

Don't worry, the whole point is that I wasn't *on* your lawn (otherwise I would have known about these cultural icons). In fact I'm the other side of the duckpond...

Re:Schools award mediocrity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852345)

They are the things the kids made out underneath. Obviously you weren't there.

Re:Schools award mediocrity (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852257)

That is just poor teaching.

We had similar complaints at our school and addressed them with a "Most Improved Student" award. This enables any student to get the award and rewards progression rather than just sitting on your laurels as high acheivers are prone to do.

You shouldn't get an award because of your genes, but because of the work you put in.

Re:Schools award mediocrity (4, Insightful)

tyler.willard (944724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852357)

You shouldn't get an award because of your genes, but because of the work you put in. According to who? And why?

Actually, I shouldn't be arguing; if you're correct then I should be able to get a Nobel Prize just by trying really hard.

Re:Schools award mediocrity (2, Insightful)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852403)

Well, no matter how bright you are, you won't be winning any contests without working hard. Being smart is like being good looking. Both are helpful and give you a competitive edge. You were lucky in the genetic lottery, but you still have to earn your place in the world.

Re:Schools award mediocrity (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852505)

Well, no matter how hard you work for it, you won't be winning any contests without being bright. Working hard is like being good looking. Both are helpful and give you a competitive edge.

You still have to earn your place in the world, but there are a LOT of places which some people can earn with some work, and some people cannot. (Well, except in feel-good Hollywood stories)

Re:Schools award mediocrity (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852487)

You shouldn't get an award because of your genes, but because of the work you put in.

When was the last time this worked anywhere in the real world, outside of a school. I can't remember a boss saying "Well, John, you really got us that million dollar contract, but I'll still promote Jeff over there, he didn't make the closing but he worked really hard on it for a month, you persuaded your customer in just a day, that's hardly an effort."

Re:Schools award mediocrity (1)

Elliot_Lin (972399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852501)

But eventually there is a level you can't improve past without more teaching. If you get an A* in maths theres not much further you can go to 'improve' whereas if you are getting a grade G it is quite possible go up a couple of grades with some effort. The attitude of 'improve further' is flawed.

Re:Schools award mediocrity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852585)

Uhm, what if the work you put in is determined by your genetically-defined personality or perhaps by your home circumstances, both beyond your control?

Re:Schools award mediocrity (4, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852303)

Never understood the issue with making people not feel inferior when it's so very fucking obvious that some people are simply superior to other people. It's just the way it is and always have been. Why are we trying to make everyone feel so bloody equal these days anyway?

I mean, if you're stupid or fat doesn't matter, you're still a good chap and there's nothing wrong with you. But if you're rich, smart or successful then you're a fucking pig for making everyone else feel inferior ... what the hell!?

Except when it comes to sports! (5, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852337)

Interestingly, these sort of braindead policies never seem to apply to sports in schools. The focus is definitely on pushing and supporting the most athletic and physically skilled students, while those who are not good at sports are left to flail around and just do time. This makes a lot of sense, since not everyone /needs/ to be a hot football or tennis player.. but for some reason society feels that "everyone" has to be of average intelligence, which is just wrong (and totally impossible statistically).

Re:Schools award mediocrity (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852465)

And yet some people claim school doesn't prepare you for life. Didn't that teach you that it's not good, hard work and excellence that gets rewarded but rather being obnoxious and shitting on everyone's work?

Isn't that a good prep for the average office? Tell me, who gets promoted: The quiet, hard working guy who gets his job done on time and is generally really good at what he does, or the complaining loudmouth that nobody likes but at the same time nobody wants to get in his way?

I thought this was common knowledge (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852215)

No Child Left Behind is equivalent to No Child Gets Ahead.

This has always been blatantly obvious.

Re:I thought this was common knowledge (4, Interesting)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852279)

This isn't a new problem. (I went to school in Texas, which has had standardized testing since long before Bush took office as either governor or president.) NCLB just made it worse.

I agree, however, that it is blatantly obvious that a system where your "success" as a school is determined by the percentage of students who pass leads itself to focusing disproportionate amounts of resources on the students who are most likely to fail.

Re:I thought this was common knowledge (3, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852315)

How so? I read only the executive summaries, but they seem to say that children with low grade made bigger gain than children with top grades.

It seems normal that starting from a low grade it is easy to move up; and that starting from already high grade takes a lot of effort to move even higher.

Never does the executive summary say top graders performed worse.

Re:I thought this was common knowledge (4, Insightful)

Slashidiot (1179447) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852433)

I think every education policy needs to be aware of this: Gaussian Function. No matter how you do it, ALWAYS, there will be some brilliant children, some dumb children, and lots of mediocre children. And parents should be aware of this, children are just like any other group. A few winners, and a whole lot of losers, to quote George Carlin.

Just accept that not every child will be the next Nobel prize, and accept that maybe your child is one of the dumb ones, and will have to do simple manual work all his life.

If we leave some children behind, we can run much faster. Sad, but that's life.

Better educate the masses (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852223)

I think it is more important to make sure the whole population is well educated and informed than distilling every year's Nobel prize winners while leaving the masses in ignorance. The "success" of the current president is a terrible reminder of that lesson.

Re:Better educate the masses (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852353)

While generally a good idea, it is basically a tool to keep the poor poor. Why? Allow me to elaborate.

What schools do participate in something like NCLB? Public schools. Why? Because they get no money if they don't. Why can private schools simply ignore it and continue a policy of pushing gifted pupils? Because they don't care about pennies from the state, they care about big bucks from mom and dad.

So what happens to someone who is bright but poor? He's in a NCLB school, being bored and finishing with a degree that ain't worth jack because the dunce next to him has the same degree. Sure, the dunce had to work hard for it while the bright child spent most of his time slacking, the net result is the same: A worthless degree.

Re:Better educate the masses (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852409)

He's in a NCLB school, being bored and finishing with a degree that ain't worth jack because the dunce next to him has the same degree. Sure, the dunce had to work hard for it while the bright child spent most of his time slacking, the net result is the same: A worthless degree.
The education ("degree") is not worthless just because other students got it. Life is not a zero-sum game. If the population at large is educated, the society will make smarter decisions and the employers will have more useful employees.

I think every student should feel challenged and inspired in school, but the greatest emphasis should be placed on the education of the whole population instead of finding the superstars.

Re:Better educate the masses (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852531)

The problem is that his degree is seen as worthless by a potential employer because every dimwit can get it. Actually, if the general population was well educated, any degree would instantly be worthless, because it could no longer be used as a measurement of your skill.

But that is not the case, it has never been and it will never be. Not all people are equally good at learning. And to make matters more complicated, not everyone is equally good at learning the same skills. That's what a degree should show.

When everyone can get the same degree, no matter whether they can actually acquire a certain skill, the degree is no longer useful as a tool to determine whether someone has certain skills, making the degree worthless. Especially when there are people who have a degree (from a private school) that can be used to measure whether someone has the skills. Because this school can actually "leave children behind" and avoid passing pupils that shouldn't pass.

Re:Better educate the masses (1)

Frekko (749706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852417)

That is a problem with the education system, not the fact that you want to educate the masses.
Ideally, you spend an equal amount of resources on each student all over your country. That would give everyone the same opportunities.

If that is the best for the country or not is another question though depending on what you value (educated people or GDP)

Re:Better educate the masses (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852557)

You cannot educate "the masses". You always educate every single pupil, but at the pupil's individual learning threshold, tops. And that's why investing the same amount of resources is a waste. It doesn't make much sense to discuss nuclear physics with someone who didn't even understand basic physics. It wastes your time and annoys him.

Re:Better educate the masses (1)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852509)

I think it is more important to make sure the whole population is well educated and informed than distilling every year's Nobel prize winners while leaving the masses in ignorance.
While this will increase the overall level of education, the people who will truly shine and propel forward are the Einsteins of the world. If we don't give them support, the US will be stuck slowly moving along while the rest of the world leapfrogs over us.

Re:Better educate the masses (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852615)

Of course, I mean only an idiot would think it makes sense to only help the idiots. Are these the same people trying to figure out why we have a shortage of engineers and innovation nowadays?

What a surprise (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852225)

As a teacher in a results factory, can I just say: No Shit!

I work in the UK education system, which is governed by targets and league tables.

The focus from management is on the "borderline" kids, those who might just fail (below a C). There are lists put out, constant checks on their progress and their photos on a wall in the staff room.

Our Gifted and Talented program consists of going to the local university to "raise aspirations" once a year.

This is what happens when you govern by setting targets without any thought over the actual outcome. Train your teachers then trust them to do the job that they love.

Err.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852233)

I thought this was obvious, and why everyone ridiculed the No Child Left Behind silliness..

Expected (1)

SquierStrat (42516) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852245)

This is an expected consequence of the one-size-fits-all government education we have.

Re:Expected (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852283)

This is an expected consequence of the one-size-fits-all government education we have.



And yet, Americans like to bash countries with tiered school systems, because "OMIGOSH your job/income in life is determined at the age of 10 and you can never ever change it, which is so un-American". (exaggerated, but that's the prevalent sentiment I've seen, which mostly stems from ignorance about the possibility to change the tier of school you're in and/or get any kind of diploma/degree later in life, even after finishing school).

Re:Expected (2, Insightful)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852341)

I did terribly at sport at school. As a result I was not offered positions in any sports teams, and instead had to partake in "social sports" which were not competitive.

Did this affect me? Am I upset I wasn't treated as an equal, or giving copious amounts of extra coaching? Sure, I'd have loved to be talented at sports when I was young, but the fact was that I wasn't.

Turns out, later in life, I discovered an enjoyment for sports. I go to the gym, ride my bicycle, have a go at things.

All adults have the opportunity to work on something they didn't enjoy as kids. They can start reading history books, or re-learn some basic mathematics. That's the beauty of being an adult!

So why force kids into something they don't want at a young age? All the teachers will get is additional hostility and resistance.

So ? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852247)

Why does it take 'study' to reach this obvious conclusion ?
Build a system that ties funding to test scores, and you'll get a process that produces test scores and not much else.

No Shit Sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852249)

ummm... Duh. Is this really news worthy. limited resources devoted to the failing projects in a company is considered a bad idea. but great idea when the goverment does it. resouces to help underachevers in a company usually go to waste as the underacheaver brings down the whole productivity of the group. survival of the fittest/smartest..... oh forget it. file this article under " no shit?!"

Fits with my experience (5, Interesting)

Frekko (749706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852251)

In norway we've practiced "no child left behind" in the lower grade schools for the last 20 years (up til high school). I've never read any official studies about it but I can confirm that teachers are indeed spending a lot of their time getting the "slower" students through the curriculum.
It's interesting to read that the lack of attention indeed slows down the high achievers as well. I would be interesting to know how much attention they would require to achieve what they are good for. Optimally you leave no one behind and you make your bright minds excel!

Re:Fits with my experience (2, Interesting)

Karl0Erik (1138443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852369)

Mod parent up. I'm also a norwegian and sadly still stuck in the educational system. As parent says, there's no official studies about it, but as the children are basically getting dumber/less educated over time; large parts of the curriculum has been (and are being) removed and taught later and later, which basically equals lowering the bar even further. Instead of getting our children to jump higher and achieve more so they can get over the bar, we're telling them it doesn't really matter how much they achieve as we'll just lower the bar anyway.

Re:Fits with my experience (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852415)

The problem with the US NCLB isn't necessarily too much focus on the worst students. It's the fact that the system is focused around a series of standardized tests and the assumption that every subgroup in a school can and should improve their performance on those tests every year. In practice of course, some years, every school is blessed with subgroups that are -- by chance -- singularly incapable in math or some other area. But the school still is expected to show improvement over the scores the previous year when the analogous subgroup included two future Noble prize winners and an idiot savant who computes the square root of 16 digit numbers in his head. The system is, of course, an utter disaster. And our politicians don't understand why. They are pretty sure that it is somehow the fault of the schools.

Re:Fits with my experience (4, Insightful)

Psiren (6145) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852459)

Surely the parents should play a part here too? I wasn't exactly a genius at school, although probably above average. But my parents did their best to support my interests, ensuring that I had ample opportunity to apply myself. I'm not talking about financially here, although having money helps. I'm talking about spending time with your kids, helping them to help themselves. If I had a "high achieving" child, I certainly wouldn't expect the school to take on full responsibility for their education. That's just lazy parenting.

Re:Fits with my experience (1)

Karl0Erik (1138443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852541)

It's not as much about lazy parenting as it is about the school system being designed to keep everyone mediocre. In Norway we have a law that basically says that all children with special needs has the right to special education. Until relatively recently that law had a caveat stating that this didn't apply to the gifted/brighter children. This essentially meant that if you had difficulties understanding the curriculum you were entitled to special education. Of course this isn't a bad thing, but it also meant that children who could have easily learned far more were (and are) forced to do the same as the rest of the class. Want to spend your time working on your own with advanced stuff? Too bad, you can't, now go do the same as the rest of the class whether you've already learned it or not. This isn't about wanting the school to take on full responsibility for their education. It's more about wanting the school to recognize that the 'high achieving children' also needs some attention if they are to reach as far as they can, just like the 'underachieving children' are already getting tons of attention, special tutoring and whatever they need to catch up.

Tonight at 11 (2, Funny)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852263)

In other news, cows shit, grass grows, and pigs still in aeronautical R+D stage.

A modest proposal (2, Interesting)

elguillelmo (1242866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852267)

Let us feed [uoregon.edu] the high achievers with the tender meat from those hopeless dull kids. The good ones will grow both stronger and smarter without their annoyance

Also in the news (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852275)

Siphoning away resources for "no shit sherlock" studies leaves little money for studies that would have provided some insight or solved some dispute.

Re:Also in the news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852443)

"no shit sherlock"
Keep digging, Watson!

Re:Also in the news (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852493)

If studies could mean some change in "no shit sherlock" issues, they'd be totally worth the money.
The sad truth is that a cold, logical, mathematical truth that comes out of a study will never convince people against a warm, fallacious and wishful lie/myth that comes out of a moron's ass/heart.

Re:Also in the news (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852581)

Well, do you want to tell a hopeful parent "I'm sorry, Mr. Johnson, but your son is a dunce. A dud. I'd suggest taking him out to the woods and tether him to some tree, then go home to your wife and start over."

Re:Also in the news (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852631)

Do the same every day. I'm a doctor.

Re:Also in the news (4, Insightful)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852593)

I realize this was meant to be a semi-serious funny comment, but I disagree with it. "No shit" beliefs change throughout time, and I don't think we are fit to judge what should and should not be studied. By condemning these types of studies, you are advocating a form of restriction in the freedom of academic scholars to pursue their academic interests. This is never a good thing.

Further, this isn't really a "no shit" issue. The theory behind helping struggling students is that struggling students need help, while those who excel can manage to do well by themselves. In fact, many people in /. post that when they were themselves in high school, they had levels of knowledge above and beyond their high school teachers. What significant, tangible benefits could these excelling students have in their high school teachers giving them more attention? These excelling students have already proven themselves to have a willingness and affinity to study subjects beyond course material on their own.

So while I realize that your comment was supposed to illicit some humour out of the submission, I don't agree with the particular stance conveyed. Academic freedom is highly treasured and should not be curbed in the name of "usefulness" by some arbitrary measure. This study did provide some insight - that excelling students do need encouragement and that the current strategy is not working. While this concept may have seemed "obvious" to some, that opinion is meaningless without some evidence to back up that stance. This study provides that evidence.

Frankly, that's the right compromise (0)

samael (12612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852305)

If you have to compromise (and with limited resources, you do), then you support the worst off, and try to bring them up to a basic level of competency - because the smart kids can help themselves.

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852321)

- because the smart kids can help themselves.

As long as they don't get constantly mobbed/beaten up/terrorized by their "inferior" peers.

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852389)

Help themselves? How? Are we now supposed to teach ourselves or what's cooking here? Also, you might have noticed how companies want to see some sort of degree or certificate if you want a job that's not at burger flipping level, am I going to write that myself, too?

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (1, Insightful)

samael (12612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852407)

No, but as a smart kid you're already doing better than the dumb ones - you're going to get a degree without extra help on top of the regular schooling.

You'll notice from the article that the smart kids are _also_ improving, they're just not improving as much.

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852603)

Oh joy, so I get to spend my afternoons, evenings and weekends hunting down books in libraries while the washout gets it spoonfed, to end up with the same degree he does.

Is there some opt-in to be dumb?

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852425)

It's not like the gifted kids don't get given the materials or don't get to attended the lessons. It's just that the worse off kids get more attention from the teachers. His point is that gifted kids don't need that additional attention and he's right.

If they really are gifted the lessons and materials will be all they need to achieve.

Better this way than have teachers spread their time evenly meaning it's wasted on kids who already know what they're doing whilst less gifted kids do worse than ever before.

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (1)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852475)

Maybe, but they are also then smart enough to recognize that more resources and effort are being spent on people who do not produce at the same rate or with the same quality.

Most/all of the brighter students are hooked on the reward system. Take it away and, well, you've taken away the reward for doing well.

Re:Frankly, that's the right compromise (1)

samael (12612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852539)

I'm not saying you shouldn't reward people for doing well - but giving them high grades is a reward by itself.

In other news.... (3, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852317)

Socialistic policies lead to uniform poverty. Story at 11.

I wonder if China and India similarly punish people for wanting to get ahead. Last I checked, our finest graduate programs are admitting higher and higher percentages of foreign high achievers due to a frightening lack of domestic ones. When are schools are more concerned with teaching junk science (global warming, polar bears, spotted owls), junk politics (socialism, marxism), and how to be spineless cowards, than they are with teaching math, science, history, and other factual subjects, it's not a surprise that we're falling farther and farther behind on the global scale.

Bad headline -- top students have IMPROVED (4, Informative)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852339)

I know no one actually RTFA, but it actually says that scores have gone up for all levels of students. Scores have gone up HIGHER for lower students, but they've still gone up for higher students as well. It's just that raising the very top is much harder than raising the bottom, so there's been more progress on the latter. There is NOTHING in the article that says top students are WORSE off now than before NCLB (as asinine as the law is in other ways).

Re:Bad headline -- top students have IMPROVED (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852371)

Duh. When you dumb down the tests so every dimwit has a chance to pass them, grades go up for smart kids.

Fuck grades, do they know more or less?

Re:Bad headline -- top students have IMPROVED (1)

Azari (665035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852473)

I only read the executive summary because I am on slow intertubes, but even it mentions that the top end kids improved more in non-accountable states than in accountable states. This suggests that the top end kids are actually worse off. Not that their scores haven't gone up, but that they haven't gone up as much as they could have.

When I read the headline (I'm a highschool teacher, albeit Australian), I immediately thought to myself "Well duh." I teach a lot of classes of very mixed ability, and it's quite heartbreaking to just not have the time and energy to extend the smarter kids because I need to spend so much time bringing the lower ability kids up to speed. This is not really a problem of being accountable for test marks, it's a streaming problem. It's easy to see why accountable testing might have an effect on teachers who cared less about the low end, however.

Re:Bad headline -- top students have IMPROVED (1)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852551)

That's a good point -- I was looking at the NYT article. Table I of the summary says that scores increased by 1.6 for top students in accountable states vs 2.5 in non-accountable states. For bottom students the increase was 5.7 (accountable) vs 1.9 (non-accountable). I'd like to see the significance levels for these results, since n=36 (16 accountable and 20 non-accountable). I'm nearly positive that the "difference" between top students in accountable vs nonaccountable states is indistinguishable from random noise. So the result is that bottom students gain but top students remain the same. It's still not a loss, however, even if we impute statistical significance to the results. It is, at best, less of a gain than we might otherwise have.

antecdote alert! (3, Interesting)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852351)

Most highschools have AP classes for their brighter kids to help them get a leg up in university and hopefully get a few credits. As shitty as my school was with most things they did do one brilliant move that helped make up for a lot.

Dual enrollment. My highschool allowed us to take classes at the local community college that would count for highschool while simultaneously they would count as college classes. Since we had such a small school we actually managed to get the professors to come out to our school and teach a few of the classes so we wouldn't have to rearrange our class schedule or even drive over to the community college.

This obviously is only a feasible for junior/senior years but it's programs like this that I think can really help to allow the high achievers to challenge themselves and prepare for university in a meaningful way.

this is why i am a mean teacher (5, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852361)

this is why, as a teacher, I only focus on the top students in the class.

I'm sorry, but if you aren't going to try your best, then I would be a fool to waste my time trying to reach you. bugger off. Go and fail in life.

I'm a teacher, I'm in charge of teaching. The 'learning' part is your job.

If you are making an effort, I will do everything I can to help and support you. But you still suck after getting extra help, I'm not going to sugar coat things or give you an 'A for effort'. Some kids are just dim. parents need to learn to deal with it.

I'm sorry for sounding so grumpy and uncaring in this post. It's been a long 2 weeks of solid speaking/listening tests, and I just failed 75% of my 1154 students, because they can speak absolutely zero English, even after 7 years of Education.

Then I was told to make my questions easier, because if a student gets less than 40 points, they have to repeat the year, and the school administration doesn't want to deal with that, so we prevent them from failing by lowering standards.

Then I learned that my "zero" I was giving my students is actually being entered in the books as a 15 out of 20.

that's right...if you absolutely nothing, if you are complete failure as a students, who has learned nothing after seven freaken years of school, you STILL get 75% on your test. pathetic.

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852419)

You sound a bit like my French teacher. Are you by any chance female and your name starts with a K?

75% failure sounds an aweful lot. I don't know how to say that... but 75% of your pupils being stupid sounds a bit less likely than them being unable to learn anything front you...

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852577)

hmmm...weird.

I am not female, but my name DOES start with a K, and i do have man boobs...freaky...

Yes, you are absolutely correct. Having a 75% failure rate does make me sound like a pathetic teacher.

But I only see half of these kids once a week, the other half I see once every 3 weeks. and ive only been working with them for 9 months. Their other teachers have seen them every day for the bast 6 years. so clearly, I can assign the majority of the blame on them. (hey, whatever helps me sleep at night, right...)

In the country where I teach, class size is quite large (36) and they don't really fail the students. (well, technically they do, if they get less than 40%), but as I stated earlier, they fudge the numbers, turning a zero into 75%, even students who don't show up for the test get a 75%!
Imagine if skipping an exam back in North America got you an automatic 75%!

People really need to come to grips with the fact that like sports, not everyone is academic all-star material.

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (4, Interesting)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852521)

I completely agree with this.

I have worked as a teacher, and am currently studying to become a qualified teacher. My position is that as long as the pupil is trying in my subject, he/she will get his/her fair share of my time. But when the student shows no ambition at all (or simply too little) I will take that fair share of time and distribute it among those students who actually _want_ to succeed in my subject.

This action is probably illegal, and most parents would object strongly if they realised what I consider is justified. But it boils down to a simple fact: you cannot teach someone who doesn't want to learn. If the student doesn't want to learn my subject, I am wasting my time on him/her, and could spend it better on those in the class who want to learn my subject.

Doing this does not bother me at all, and I will do it whenever I feel a student does not merit my time.

What does bother me though, is parents who don't care enough about their children. I have had pupils that I, as an unqualified teacher with practically zero knowledge of the mind and body, can tell have some sort of problem (like ADHD or similar issues). In most cases the parents have refused to have their children examined, in case they get 'stamped' as being a multiletter diagnosis. The effect of this is that I am left desperately trying to find a way of dealing with a pupil's (or several pupils') problems while having absolutely no guidance.

Are you real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852533)

You are incompetent, unprofessional and immoral. You should be fired. Your teaching certificate should be yanked. Of course I'm not sure you aren't just a troll pretending to be a teacher.

Having said the above and because /. won't let me do two posts in the time available:

Teachers have always spent 90% of their time on 10% of the students. In that respect the good students have always lost out because they aren't the ones getting the attention.

For the last few years I have taken my cues from John Mighton. http://jumpmath.org/ [jumpmath.org] He shows how to teach math to every student in the class. With every student actively engaged, the discipline problems go away and the teacher can concentrate on teaching.

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (1)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852547)

We need more teachers like you! When I was in 9th grade we had "extra" teachers in the class. They weren't teachers per se, but more of an aid to the slower kids in the class. They'd sit next to them in the classes and help the kids out, explaining the things they don't understand etc. Sure, this would be the teachers job, but this guy also helps out the kid at home if he needs it, and acts like an extra friend/parent in a way. Supposed to help the kid achieve and build some self esteem I guess. It worked for some, not all...

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (1)

Tusaki (252769) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852553)

And what would be the reason why 75% of them perform so bad?

lack of good teaching? parenthood?

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852565)

this is why, as a teacher, I only focus on the top students in the class.

I'm sorry, but if you aren't going to try your best, then I would be a fool to waste my time trying to reach you. bugger off. Go and fail in life.
I hope you are not serious about this. The top students are not necessarily the hardest working (I was a complete academic slacker since I was involved in a boatload of activities that got me out of class and I still did pretty well in school). The best students don't try their best because at the high school level, the top students are already a little bit more capable than you are AT YOUR SUBJECT. Deal with it. You are implying a horribly non-existent correlation between top students and students who work hard.

I'm a teacher, I'm in charge of teaching. The 'learning' part is your job.
I agree. However, you really need to re-evaluate your teaching style every class based on student response. There is a reason why you have effective teachers and then the others.

If you are making an effort, I will do everything I can to help and support you. But you still suck after getting extra help, I'm not going to sugar coat things or give you an 'A for effort'. Some kids are just dim. parents need to learn to deal with it.
Grades do not have anything to do with how much effort YOU PUT INTO a student. If you give students extra help, that does not make them more or less deserving of a certain grade.

I'm sorry for sounding so grumpy and uncaring in this post. It's been a long 2 weeks of solid speaking/listening tests, and I just failed 75% of my 1154 students, because they can speak absolutely zero English, even after 7 years of Education.
Perhaps your attitude towards the weaker students is a problem? You want to focus only on the top students because it is easier. Go get your hands dirty and work with the weakest students. If they do not try hard enough, MAKE them try. MAKE them work harder. That is also something that I have seen teachers inspire in students.

Then I was told to make my questions easier, because if a student gets less than 40 points, they have to repeat the year, and the school administration doesn't want to deal with that, so we prevent them from failing by lowering standards.
When a class as a whole performs badly under one teacher than under others, that points to the fact that the teacher is either harsh with grading, bad at teaching or usually a combination of the two. The way the world should work is that bad teachers grade easy and good teachers grade hard. At the end of the day, the ability of the students does not vary greatly from year to year or teacher to teacher.

It's easy to blame the students. The best teachers I have worked with adapt to the students' attitude.

Cheers!
--
Vig

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (3, Insightful)

gunnarstahl (95240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852607)

What an arrogant view! And you are what, a teacher? Ymbkm!

This "if you aren't going to try your best" shit is something you could stuff to adults, not to children. Try to remember how you have been in school.

There is a reason why kids aren't allowed to drink / drive / vote and stuff. They are not _reasonable_.

And if you just focus on the brilliant ones, then maybe, just maybe you are not really a teacher.

Re:this is why i am a mean teacher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852613)

Obvious your are not fit for your job. If araound 10% of the students fail, then the student are to stupid. If the number is significant higher, it is the fault of the teacher. If 75% of your students fail, you must be an awful bad teacher.

Not only in America... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852471)

I teach English in Japan and this is a problem that I see every day. I have students in their third year of studying English who cannot speak or write a basic a basic declarative sentence such as "I am a student" as well as students in their first year who study outside of school and have much higher ability than that.

The lessons are purposely designed to be slow, supposedly so that students are able to follow along without difficulty, but what this really turns out to be is the good students being bored out of their minds and, thus, unable to focus and having their English studies fall behind, and the poor students still not doing a thing to improve themselves. And by their third year, why should they? It is virtually impossible for them to catch up in school and so unless they go through a lot of effort outside of school, which is made quite difficult by their 7-6, and sometimes weekends, schedules.

An obvious solution is to separate the students into higher ability students, in which I can teach them more difficult material, and lower ability students, to whom I could review the differences between the words "I", "me", and "my". But this goes totally against the Japanese "everyone must be carbon copies" principle and so will never, ever be implemented. (Maybe not never, but it would literally take an educational revolution.)

As I see it, not only do the good students suffer, but the poor students do not gain anything because even if I slow down to a turtle's pace, they still cannot catch up because I'm halfway through the marathon and they're passing the 1st mile marker, so to speak.

I am one of those "some students" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852477)

Coming from Canada, I can tell you that while I was in the lower elementary grades, I was, for lack of a better term, a lazy individual. My grades were often below the passing mark (the passing mark being anywhere between 50% and 60%) and I was more interested in anything other then school. Now, according to the plan being tossed around here, I should have been shunted into a class with all the other "low achievers" which would have likely put me in the "applied" stream in high school, which would have seen me rejected from university, if I even had the inclination to go.

What happened though was tough love. I attribute a lot of the transformation that took place over a single year to my mom and the teacher I had at the time. He was a teacher only part time and a farmer the rest. He didn't coddle me, or send me to take psych assessments, or see the guidance councillor, or whatever else they do these days. But he did police me, constantly challenged me, and showed me that learning could be fun.

Where did that get me?

Within a year I was getting Bs. By the next year, straight As. High school, I graduated as one of the highest scoring students in the province. University, 4.0 GPA.

This isn't to boast, because frankly, the only thing that I have to boast about is that I had both a parent and teacher who cared so much that they were willing to give me personal attention. And I know for a fact that that teacher often took many hours after classes to help work with many students who he saw potential in, even if he wasn't paid for it.

I think *that* is the problem with the education community. Yes, classes are underfunded, yes the class sizes are exorbitantly large. However, I see the real problem as treating academics as a field of psychology and science. Constantly shifting the curriculum and doing "activities" to try and best determine what kind of a "learner" the child is. Children are smart. They can figure it out.

Splitting up the class based on performance is a bad idea. It means that those lazy students will be surrounded by like-minded individuals, hardly inspiring top performance. It also means that from an early age, a child's career will likely be plotted out for them. Not a top achiever in grade 8? Guess you're never going to university, son!

My 2c.

Priorities (2, Insightful)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852489)

The worst thing about not challenging the top end of the bell curve is that those people don't get pushed enough to get good study habits and thus be able to do well in college. I barely studied for anything in high school (even taking only AP classes my senior year) and had a hard time when I did need to study while in college. The only reason I did well in high school is because I could mostly do it without studying and because I could avoid a lot of the homework and still do well (>A average). At least I got some work ethic having to deal with 5 AP exams in one year. I'm scared to think how I would have turned out if my school did not offer that many AP classes.

The major question that the US needs to answer is do we a) prioritize the high end of the bell curve to push the really smart kids or b) prioritize the low end of the bell curve to at least establish a minimum education standard. In an ideal world, the parents should be pushing their kids to at least be at the minimum and schools would not be afraid of saying "You fail". Unfortunately, in the US this is not the case and thus the question remains.

If we do want to prioritize the high end, that means really pushing kids and funneling money into college level course availability (and not community college but actual hard classes). This would, in an ideal world, make sense because the parents should be able to help get their kids to a minimum level but they shouldn't be expected to know enough about advanced topics. But, this would require hiring many teachers who are much smarter or at least more advanced than the teachers today which means that any attempt to push the boundaries will never work.

Thankfully (2, Insightful)

Derosian (943622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852545)

Those of us who have lived through these policies and understand how detrimental they are to the school system will be able to support change in the school system. I for one would rather my child be segregated so that he can get the attention he needs. Whether he ends up in the low end of the system or the high end. As long as both systems get the same funding then it shouldn't be a problem.

academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23852589)

As I personally see it, your "exelence" in highschool and lower levels of education matters shit.
Sure you may need a little catching up when you go to college, but the geniuses out there end up being geniuses anyway.

Start teaching quantum mechanics in kindergarden, and see if you end up with a bunch of hawkins. From my perspective, it doesn't make sense that way, to an extreme degree his carrier was pushed by his own interest and facilitated by his capability, not the other way around. You rarely hear people say "I became a particle physisist even though I don't care much for the field, but I was good enough to get in so...."

Maybe with lawyers it's more like that because all the money driven idiots who think they are godsent because they can both read and remember, but who wants more lawyers in the world?

Student motivation and teachers (3, Insightful)

tucuxi (1146347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852601)

As many others have pointed out, this was very much to be expected. It requires exceptionally skilled teachers to be able to motivate a whole spectrum of students at the same time.

In a traditional classroom, communication has a star-shaped topology with the teacher in the center. The teacher is a very scarce resource, and although broadcasting is available, the broadcast can be tuned to either low-bandwidth or high-bandwidth students. If only low-bandwidth broadcasts are used, those which could go faster will get bored real quick.

There are all sorts of proposals out there to break the star-shaped topology and get students to collaborate and motivate each other; however, the teacher will still be a scarce resource, because all proposals require a level of coordination which will itself require time&effort.

Proposed solutions (all of them well-known):

  • More teachers = more time-per-student
  • Better teachers = greater student motivation, broader spectrum
  • External support (from parents, society to teacher's efforts) = motivated students and teachers
News at eleven...

Well researched. (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852609)

Cor, that must have been a tricky topic to research. I don't know how they come to such magnificent conclusions.

More importantly, teachers and students have been telling people this for YEARS.

Think about the effort used to get one lazy kid (kids don't have to be smart, but they should put in some effort) to pass a simple test when they're not interested in doing so. Work in a school - all you ever hear from such kids is "My dad'll get me a job" and you'll have teachers and teaching assistants basically doing the work for them multiple times over to get the right figures into the brackets that the school/government wants.

Meanwhile, all the bright kids who finished within ten minutes are bored to tears, have to wait for them to catch up, are getting no attention and so they play up. This wastes EVERYONE's time.

It's not an intelligence issue, it's an effort issue, spawned by a culture where hard work isn't rewarded and no or little work *is* rewarded - they see Daddy sit at home on benefits and affording all the latest toys and they want that for themselves. Every school I've ever worked in - the kids who win the awards/trips/treats are those that behaved/achieved for a week when they never normally would while the ones who do behave/achieve all the time are ignored and denied such incentives.

This was true twenty years ago when I was at school and is still true today. Don't bother to work and you get dozens of staff clamour round you all day long every day and try to "help" you, whether you want help or not. You get out of "normal" lessons, you get all the same breaks, treats and incentives (if not more) and you don't have to do much at all. Then, when you do bother to show that you can add two and two, you get a reward and magnificant praise, while the rest of the class are working away and being shouted at for dropping half a point on the top-level test.

There's a point at which a child is old enough to sort himself out. When that point is reached, it's up to THEM to motivate themselves. If they want to storm out of a lesson - goodbye, don't bother coming back for the rest of the day, week, term. The trouble is that this is propogating down to younger and younger kids and you get primary-school children who do nothing all day but roam corridors, have screaming fits, throw chairs and then get rewarded when they STOP.

I blame it partly on bad parenting, partly on the schools need to provide good results across the board if they don't want to get shutdown/taken over, partly on stupid inclusion policies that don't consider the effects for anyone but the problem child and partly on "politically correct" child management (never punish, only reward, except you end up only ever rewarding those who are suddenly do what they should have been doing anyway).

I work in schools but I don't teach *precisely* because of this. If you don't want to learn, I wouldn't want you in my class distracting people who do. But, in modern times, it no longer works like that.

The measure of a society (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852625)

A society is measured by how it treats it's disadvantaged.

A disabled person uses a lot more resources. A premature child a lot more than a normal birth. You guys have to figure out how to do things efficiently. These kids are part of your society, so either put them in a box or put them out there and deal with it

G

Teach To The Top of the Class (2, Informative)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23852627)

This is a classic conflict in public education. Who is the target student such that the level of difficulty can be set?
            If a teacher tries to keep the slower students up to speed it always hurts the better students.
            And then there is the real mode of teaching from which our concept of "High School" flows. Instead of being concerned with individuals the school decides to consider society. Therefore the trick is to teach at a level of difficulty such that a few of the brighter students, who have no difficulties, can not, after making great effort pass the courses.
          What was done in Europe years ago at about the end of the sixth grade there was a sorting out. People of normal abilities were assigned to industrial arts such as cooking. Those courses were not a joke as they usually are in the US. For example a cook might receive training from seventh grade on up to about two fulls years of college and then after all the years he has already been trained be assigned as an apprentice and finally declared a chef.
          More academically able students were then assigned to college type paths which were rigorous to the extreme. The one flaw in that mode is what do you do with the youngster who finds he has reached his level at the end of the "High School" when his path was academic. They ended up in the military as common soldiers or in the mines.
          It could be summed up that one could almost judge the quality of the university by the number of student suicides each semester. If the kids are being pushed hard enough and they are all the A student types then the proof of the university is the number of students that crack like an egg.
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