why aren't our children learning???

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Caitlin - posted on 12/08/2010

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TV.. Mindless entertainment and teachers that aren't really passionate about what they teach, they are just doing it for a job. Do we need to change things? Sure, we need to adapt our education system to the changed society, and acknowledge the importance that teachers have in this equation!

Jenny - posted on 12/08/2010

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Because we are too disctracted, lazy and not focused. We value leisure time more than work. We fill our down time with mindless entertainment.



When I'm dictator I'm restricting entertainment requiring power of any sort to one hour per week. I'll give you more power if it's for learning. I'm extending the school year to 48 weeks per year with two weeks off in the summer, one in the winter and one in the spring. I'm extending the school day from 8:30 AM-4:00PM from Grade 1 on. I'm making Post Secondary mandatory wether it's for something academic, trades or entrepunerial related. I will require ALL of my loyal subject to be qualified in SOMETHING.



North America is the grasshopper in the ant and the grasshopper. and winter's coming. We're going to get our asses kicked big time. I hope we all enjoyed our summer vacations and Xboxes and it was worth it for us.

Tracey - posted on 12/08/2010

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UK was also low on the list. From what I have heard about Chinese schools I would not copy anything from them other than their work ethic.
The USA has gone up 9 places so you are doing something right..
No you should not lengthen school day /. year as children have a limited attention span and by the end of a term they are physically and mentally shattered.
Homework a priority - I would like my pupils to take more time and care over this but this needs parents attitudes changing more than the kids.
The best thing governments can do with education is to stop coming up with fancy schemes that cost millions - just leave the teachers to do teaching and not fill out constant reports proving how well little John / Jane is doing. I have spent the entire week so far assessing children and writing down that they can do things I know they can do such as point to the biggest of 2 boxes. This takes 1/2 hour per child which for a class of 30 is 15 hours or 2 days that I am not in class helping children, and we have to do this 6 times a year which is nearly 3 weeks of school time.

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Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2010

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I think the western world is just lazy and expects something for nothing and to never get called out when they're wrong. "The gubmint should pay", "maths is useless" "it doesn't matter how you spell their, there or they're... there all the same!" "it doesn't matter how i work out my sum, as long as the answer is right... the teacher is clearly a bad teacher" . In China they would never put up with that shit.

Sherri - posted on 12/08/2010

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I think you need to look at individual school systems. Because all of our teachers have masters degrees, they only avg. 16 kids to a class till middle school which begins in 7th grade for us where the avg. class size is 25. Our students avg. 3-4hrs of homework a night 5 nights a week. With lengther homework given on Fri's because they have longer time to complete it over the weekend. We are ranked #2 in all the state and I don't have statistics for all of the US.

NO our days should NOT be longer, NO our year shouldn't be longer. I see my kids on avg. 1 hr a day 5 days a wk. 10 mo's out the year. WHY? Because they leave for school do not get home till 4pm. Do homework for 3-4hrs. Get a 1 hr break during dinner and then bedtime is 9pm.

[deleted account]

I'm going to be lame and copy and paste a quote from the article as my answer. The same paragraph Jodi quoted (and Jodi, you are not lame, you went on to give a great answer!):

The OECD report that accompanied the results credited Chinese educational reforms with Shanghai's incredible success. Those reforms include abandoning a system of small, elite schools for a wider, inclusive system that expects high performance from all students; increasing teacher pay and standards and improving teacher education; and emphasizing deeper understanding of material and concepts rather than rote learning.

I especially agree with the last sentence. For example: I passed Algebra because I memorized the formulas. I have no clue what they mean. I just learned to plug in numbers. Did I really learn? Can I apply that knowledge outside of a school setting? No, which is why I taught reading. ;)

Also, and this may be controversial, create some competition. Allow parents to chose where their kids go to school and shut down the schools that no one wants to go to, because they are obviously failing. If a school is in danger of being shut down, don't you think the principals and teachers are going to up their game to save their jobs? Okay, I do see problems with that logic...the good schools wouldn't be able to hold all the students, for starters. By why do we make it okay for a school to continually fail and turn a blind eye?

Isobel - posted on 12/08/2010

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cause we care whether they are happy and well rounded...well...that's why my kids don't score as high as some on standardized testing.

JuLeah - posted on 12/08/2010

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It is apples and oranges really. Other countries score higher for many reasons .... but ask the questions? Do they bus their kids to school? Do they have breakfast and lunch programs? Do they have special Ed? Do they have second langauge programs, like our English as a 2nd langauage? Do they have parent teacher meetings? IEPs? School nurses and counslors?
In most countries, the answer is no, they just focus on the basics. I live in Japan, for example and the children were able to offer answers to most any question posed, but did they understand? No, they didn;t have the why, they were not taught to think to reason or to problem solve, just answer questions and perform well on exams .... there are + and - to every system.

Our schools are failing because so many have text books that were written in the 1970's .... I have tutored 10th graders who can't add or subtract large numbers. They have always had 45 kids in their class and have never, not once, had their own math book. The kid is not stupid, just not receiving any kind of an education.
We put poor and poorly paid teachers in impossible conditions and expect them to work wonders - with little support and backup.
Parents are not involved, the commnity is not involved .... it is not about doing more of what we are currently doing. What we are currently doing is not working. We need to make major changes.

Jenn - posted on 12/08/2010

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As far as I know Canadian students do quite well so I'm happy with our education system.

Jodi - posted on 12/08/2010

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"...that expects high performance from all students; increasing teacher pay and standards and improving teacher education; and emphasizing deeper understanding of material and concepts rather than rote learning."
I think this would be a GREAT start for the U.S. That, and let's ditch the no child left behind act, it was a great idea with great heart behind it (and I don't often back any idea that Bush proposed...) but it's simply not working. All it's done is teach teachers to educate students how to pass the test and to tell children there is little need to exceed in any area, as long as you pass the test. Stop budget cuts on schools and give teachers a little incentive to work harder, teach better and enjoy their jobs. Perhaps these things will push teachers and students alike to psh themselves, exceed current standards, get better grades, get into better colleges and pursue better careers, making more money to spend on OUR economy. I could be wrong, it could turn out to be a total flop like no child left behind act turned out to be (IMO), but isn't trying ANYTHING at this point better than trying nothing?

I also think schools should adopt a year round school system, more short vacation times frequently, but nothing like 3 months off...I read a statistic at one point in time that states that children "forget" (forget, not un-learn) 80% of what they learned in the school over over the course of a summer vacation and that's why the first weeks in school are spent on reviewing things that took them a year to learn anyway!

Tara - posted on 12/08/2010

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I really think that the US has dumbed down it's public education sector in the past decade through budget cuts and school closures, teacher pay cuts and the dis banding of unions. There is far too much of your money being thrown at "new" programs and "academic assessments".
I am only basing this opinion on my own news searches over the years and friends who live in the US.
I have a friend who says that her 18 year old's previous elementary math books (which she still has) are at least 2 grade levels above what her 8 year old is doing now. She honestly believes teachers know less and are teaching less. They are underpaid and over worked, spending too much time doing admin work rather than engaging children to want to learn.
Longer school days will only further stress the teachers and the kids. More homework will also stress the parents and kids. Being a homeschooler it's hard to say what should be done. But I would start with slowly restructuring how early learning is accomplished. The way math is taught at an early early age is critical to further understanding of all math concepts. It all starts with the teachers, who need more support to just teach, and not worry about submitting assessment tests more often than necessary etc.
It's not all bad, and honestly I don't envy China in the slightest, they have one of if not the highest rate of teen and young adult suicide in the world, not something I would be proud of.

Katherine - posted on 12/08/2010

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The Chinese are also suicidal and over achievers. That statement is not meant to be racist in anyway either, it's a fact.



Edit to add:



No we shouldn't change a thing.

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