|Originally posted by daylily
OK, I admit, that's part of why I think schools are failing, but my main reason for saying that schools are failing is because they are handing high school diplomas to kids who are barely literate. Colleges have had to provide remedial reading & writing classes for poorly prepared students. In this country we now rely heavily on foreign born people for demanding jobs in the sciences and mathmatics. It's downright emabarrassing the way Americans are losing their ability to compete intellectually around the world.
A friend of mine teaches English at the University of Virginia. I asked him if his first year students were well prepared for college work and he said that many are not.
My brother reported a conversation he had recently with an aquaintence. My brother mentioned a book he'd been reading and the aquaintence said, "I haven't read a book since 10th grade." Tenth grade?! What the sam hell was he doing in 11th and 12th grades?
You are absolutely, 100% right. There are tons of kids who can't read well, can't write well, can't even sit still well, graduating from high school.
However, I can also assure you that this is not the fault of the school or the teacher. When you have an 11th grader who can't read, it's not because no one ever taught them to do it. It's not because every single teacher they had was crappy and cared nothing about them and didn't try to help them out. They can't read for a ton of reasons, most of them outside of school. Reasons like:
1. Home situation. Parents don't /can't read to their kids, don't have money for books, have to work three jobs, etc. Parents who don't care. Parents who don't speak English.
2. Abuse. Maslow's hierarchy of needs clearly demonstrates that it's very hard to focus on higher order thinking skills when you're worried about basic necessities, like will my dad beat me up today, is there enough food to eat, are the other kids going to laugh at these shoes with holes in them.
3. Socio economic status. Can the parents afford to have them tested for learning disabilities if necessary.
4. Parent willingness. Are they capable of advocating for extra help, are they willing to let their child get extra help. There is a huge parent movement right now to not "allow" their child to be labeled with a learning disability/behavioral disorder and thus, their kids are truly not capable of passing school under normal circumstances. I had one student two years ago that was so sad. He was in 10th grade, but had TWO high school credits. (Both in gym, the only classes he had passed.) He was obviously in need of help, and his parents refused to allow him to get help.
5. Student willingness. I worked in a school for students who had been expelled from the public school system -- they had chronic truancy and delinquency problems. You cannot work on a students' reading skills when they are so hostile to teachers that they shove desks at you, call you an ugly whore, or put their head down and refuse to sit up. (And yes, I've dealt with all this and more.) You can assign rigorous schoolwork and reading until you're blue in the face, and there will still be a large number of kids who don't do it.
6. Lack of consequences for inappropriate behavior. Read the administration thread if you want proof that teachers have very little ability to maintain true order in their classrooms if something goes seriously awry. They are not often backed by their administrations anymore. Why? Parent complaints. People don't want their kid sent home.
7. System-wide issues, such as social promotion and grade inflation. Driven by politicians who see the way to end these practice by administering more tests.
Also driven by parents and parent lawsuits. School systems fear lawsuits and will do extraordinary things to make people happy. When people sue because their child was kicked off the football team, the district must defend that lawsuit at taxpayers' expense.
8. Lack of funding to put in place all of the unfunded mandates handed down by a certain someone's administration. Schools that have mold and asbestos and leaking roofs -- they need to be repaired, but there's often no money.
There are a ton more, but I have to go teach a class!