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#91 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post

However, the education that kids receive in the US can.not.at.all be compared to the educational system in most of Europe, including Germany.  It's a rare child in Germany who isn't WAY beyond their American peers academically with only a couple of years of formal education.  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined).  That's also what makes Europeans better at things like science, math, and problem solving when they are older.  My dh, who is a computer science prof says that non-American students that have just a high school education are usually more academically advanced than American students with post-secondary degrees.  But starting early vs. the intensity is not a fair comparison at a young age.  (We have many, many friends, including dh's best friend with 5 kids who have been in the German education system... and some who have been in both the German and American systems, so I'm well aware of the differences.)  It doesn't matter what American kids do.  They'll never catch up to their non-US peers because the whole system is screwed up.



I think that this is an excellent point.  Doesn't Germany still do the system where you take a very intensive test when you're 10 or 13 or something like that to see if you'll even be allowed to continue academic schooling and eventually end up at University?  Somehow I doubt that, if a child only starts school at 7 and then is expected to take this test just a few years later, those years are filled with skipping through the forest looking at gnomes.  I would also assume that, even if it's not widely noticed by people from a different country/culture (i.e. us), there's plenty of on-the-down-low prep work that starts well before formal schooling begins to make sure that kids start on the right track to acing their exams.


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#92 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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I think that this is an excellent point.  Doesn't Germany still do the system where you take a very intensive test when you're 10 or 13 or something like that to see if you'll even be allowed to continue academic schooling and eventually end up at University?  Somehow I doubt that, if a child only starts school at 7 and then is expected to take this test just a few years later, those years are filled with skipping through the forest looking at gnomes.  I would also assume that, even if it's not widely noticed by people from a different country/culture (i.e. us), there's plenty of on-the-down-low prep work that starts well before formal schooling begins to make sure that kids start on the right track to acing their exams.


I've wondered about that too. I don't know enough about the stats to have a clue, but I've wondered if they take tracking into account when they are coming up with the stats saying the U.S. is doing so poorly. I also wondering if they are taking into account the huge educational gaps with have in our country related to race and socioeconomics. Are our "good" school that far behind? Or is it the huge gaps we have with our poorer schools preforming terribly. I think there is also a culture in this country that just doesn't value education..... 

 

Lindberg99: I hope my post didn't come off as judgmental. My issue is not with parents. I honestly see nothing wrong with parents choosing a academic school for their children. that is there choice and  who knows in 20 years it may turn out they were right. LOL. The part where you mentioned that parents have to send their kids to the preschool they didn't quite agree with because it was all there was it what I'm talking about. I disagree with universal preschool and standards for preschool because of this. The school districts IME turn preschool into just more of the same ole standard based education, where everyone needs to be on the same page to pass the third grade test. A rich preschool experience will benefit children even if they don't learn to read and write until they are in K.  I think it's a shame parents are left with less and less choice(again this is relitive to my own experiences).  I was almost in the same boat. The daycare I was complaining about because they had the kids doing tracing pages and sight words was actually number one on my list. It was one of only two centers with a spot and the other one was disgusting!! At least that one seemed clean and safe and the staff was trying, even if I disagreed with the methods.  It's crappy parents are put in these situations everyday. same thing when people complain about horrible public school is. There are many crappy public schools and many awesome ones, but there are HOARDS of parents who have no choice but to send them to public school and make the best out of it.Whether they are in a top district or not.   Not everyone can afford private school. My issues are not with parents. Even when they disagree with me. It's their child, their right. My issues is with the tone of early ed and the overall system it's becoming. :) 

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#93 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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I understand where you are coming from, because I felt the very same way. I was very anti-early academics and sent my son to Waldorf preschool - I planned to do Waldorf through Kindy at least, maybe longer.

 

But he didn't thrive there - we didn't know it yet then, but he has Aspergers. He needed more structure and early academics. He's thriving in public school - and yes, thrived on the early introduction of reading, which I was so against.  Like everything else AP, you have to listen to your child and do what they need.

 

Not that all of your friends have little Aspies like mine, lol, but you never know. I do agree that the trend towards early introduction of those things is disturbing to me, but there are kids that do really well with it. I took my son out of Waldorf after a year, and into a preschool program that taught reading, math, etc ... and he was reading in a week and loving it. I don't know .. there is something to be said for it if you are going to follow the public school/mainstream path because in Kindy, nearly every kid in his class was like him, and already somewhat reading (if not very well) before the school year started.

 

My son is 8, going on 9 and will be entering 3rd grade. I can easily imagine how miserable he would be in Waldorf. I guess I'm more open minded now about early academics. No, I don't like thinking of preschoolers sitting at desks .. and yes, I love the beauty of Waldorf. But I also see some of the benefits of the more structured programs, and I know many of them are still play based most of the day, even if they do introduce academics.  It's not nearly as clear cut to me as it used to me, that's for sure.


I agree - and my child is the same age as yours.  I was really into the idea of waiting to teach reading until the child was older and "ready".  I had read a bunch of the Waldorf stuff, some research papers about developmental readiness for reading and decided that I would not introduce reading until DC was about 7.  DC started at a Waldorf pre-K (didn't thrive there) and then went to a play based pre-K.  There were books and some letters and numbers but it was not the focus.  DC thrived there.  It was my opinion (and still is) that at that age they are learning a huge variety of things and adult led learning takes away from the task for that age.  As DC progressed in school, however, I did change my tune a lot when it comes to learning.  DC is in a public school and I think she actually needed far MORE direct reading instruction than she got.  In retrospect I think my notions about reading readiness hindered her progress because I recognized her reading struggles as simply not being ready when, in fact, she needed a different kind of instruction.  


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#94 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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Something else that impacts all of this is how much time a child actually spends in preschool - when my oldest was 2.5 -3.5 I worked ft for a year and he went to a Montessori.  I have worked at home pt while my second (and now my third child are ps age) I picked an inexpensive church based ps because it seems like a warm environment and honestly the location is great....my son was only there 2.5 hours twice a week.  They had loads of free play time, snack, a bathroom break, a trip to the playground, and time set aside for having the teacher read them a story, sing songs, and do a little craft.  Even if the teachers decide to introduce letters or numbers...there isn't enough time to do it with any sort of intensity.

 

I think I worry about the preschool philosophy a little less now that I also have kids who are in upper grades - honestly they all left ps feeling good about themselves and school and with some experience cooperating in a classroom environment. That is what was most important to me - how they feel so I am not willing to sweat the philosophy quite so hard as when I was researching this all prior to any of my kids attending ps.

 

As an aside, I agree with meetoo...it is strange to me to compare the US public schools to schools abroad in such a singular way when there is such variety amongst the US public schools.  I attended schools in one state growing up and we moved to another state while I was in high school.  The schools in the second state were terrible compared with schools in the first state.  I am currently not living in either state, but I would be comfortable sending my kids to public school in the first state. However, I would TRY to send them to private school or hs if I was living in the second state.  We have many international students in my son's elementary school - recent immigrants from Poland, Denmark, Israel, Germany, and Korea....the parents all seem pleased with the quality of instruction.  Unfortunately, it varies widely by where you live and how much you are able to pay in taxes.

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#95 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post

However, the education that kids receive in the US can.not.at.all be compared to the educational system in most of Europe, including Germany.  It's a rare child in Germany who isn't WAY beyond their American peers academically with only a couple of years of formal education.  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined).  That's also what makes Europeans better at things like science, math, and problem solving when they are older.  My dh, who is a computer science prof says that non-American students that have just a high school education are usually more academically advanced than American students with post-secondary degrees.  But starting early vs. the intensity is not a fair comparison at a young age.  (We have many, many friends, including dh's best friend with 5 kids who have been in the German education system... and some who have been in both the German and American systems, so I'm well aware of the differences.)  It doesn't matter what American kids do.  They'll never catch up to their non-US peers because the whole system is screwed up.

 

So, what I'm saying is that perhaps academics start earlier here, but the quality is so extremely dismal that people who care about education do worry.  You are comparing apples and oranges and the education systems are dissimilar enough that those who only know the (North) American way of education are raising their hackles a bit out of simple ignorance.  They can't see where you're coming from.


Whoa whoa, I am not sure whether it's just your impression of German education that is far too rosy or whether it's your impression of US education that is far too dismal, too.

 

 

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I've wondered about that too. I don't know enough about the stats to have a clue, but I've wondered if they take tracking into account when they are coming up with the stats saying the U.S. is doing so poorly. I also wondering if they are taking into account the huge educational gaps with have in our country related to race and socioeconomics. Are our "good" school that far behind? Or is it the huge gaps we have with our poorer schools preforming terribly.  

 

 

The international stats, precisely, do not say the US is doing so poorly: check out the PISA http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/12/46643496.pdf and TIMMS surveys. According to PISA, 15 year olds in the US, as a whole, are only slightly behind 15 year olds in Germany, as a whole, in maths and science and somewhat ahead in reading. According to TIMMS, 4th graders in the US, as a whole, do rather better than 4th graders in Germany in maths http://timss.bc.edu/TIMSS2007/PDF/T07_M_IR_Chapter2.pdf and rather better in science

http://timss.bc.edu/TIMSS2007/PDF/T07_S_IR_Chapter2.pdf (Massachusetts and Minnesota do much better).

 

So where is Velochic coming from? Velochic, judging from your siggie, I think you may be generalizing from your impressions from southern Bavaria, where German education is as rigorous as it gets, and ignoring the huge regional and socio-economic disparities between North and South in Germany, which must be as big as the disparities related to race and socioeconomics in the US. Education in the Bavarian Alps (completely irrelevant aside: they are lovely aren't they? We've just come back from our vacation) is taking place as much on a different planet compared to places like Berlin or Bremen as education in suburban Massachusetts compared to, say, inner city Detroit. Bavaria as a state would rank among the top ten PISA states, way above the US. And while tracking is being taken into account in those stats globally (they make sure they have representative samples from all relevant tracks) if you just look at college track schools in Bavaria, high school classes (particularly advanced level classes which are sadly being discontinued) are easily at university level, and I think there is a high quality foreign langage and humanities provision which is usually completely ignored in those stats. But however you look at it, there is just no reason to say that the US as a whole are doing worse than Germany.

 .
Some things I'd like to clarify for the discussion (not sure whether anyone is interested, but some stuff I can't just let stand): Formal education in Germany does not start at 7, but with entry into 1st grade at 6, for fall-born kids it might be 5. Holding out on academics until age 7 is Waldorf teaching. German cutoffs for 1st grade, depending on the state, are very similar to the US (between June 30 and as late as Dec 31, and in some states redshirting is now prohibited in favour of retaining students for a third year in 1st/2nd splits if necessary).

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Doesn't Germany still do the system where you take a very intensive test when you're 10 or 13 or something like that to see if you'll even be allowed to continue academic schooling and eventually end up at University?  Somehow I doubt that, if a child only starts school at 7 and then is expected to take this test just a few years later, those years are filled with skipping through the forest looking at gnomes.  I would also assume that, even if it's not widely noticed by people from a different country/culture (i.e. us), there's plenty of on-the-down-low prep work that starts well before formal schooling begins to make sure that kids start on the right track to acing their exams.

Not a test - it's heavily depending on the state again, but usually it's about maintaining a B average in early 4th grade. And while there is no skipping through the forest looking at gnomes (lol.gif you made my day with that one!) and the expectations are high, the school day is short (8.00 through 11.15 h in 1st grade, 8.00 through 13.00 h in fourth) and the prep work is being done in the afternoons by the German hausfrau who can't go to work anyway as childcare isn't available -  or not at all, if the hausfrau is an immigrant and has no idea (that sounds bitter and judgmental but is true).

However: there is NO prep work before 1st grade. Not at home, not in preschools. There is, really and truly, a cultural prohibition on academics before a child starts formal schooling (exceptions like the preschool physmom mentioned proving the rule). While there is a K year, it's a pullout in preschool and usually a bit of a joke (visits to the dentist and the firestation once every two weeks, stuff like that) and certainly no letters, beyond making sure the kids can sign their art work.

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#96 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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I totally understand where you coming from, even though I think there isn't a good way to really know for sure how these kids are being taught unless you've seen it firsthand.

 

I get upset by the trend, mostly because I've seen how hard it can be on children who just aren't ready yet.  I knew how to read pretty well and both subtract and add by the time I entered Kindergarten at 5-6 years of age.  I was very interested in those subjects though, and in between being a wild and crazy child who spent most of her time in the great outdoors, I'd ask my parents for math problems for fun and I'd read my little books to myself and/or my little sister as we fell asleep.

 

My brother didn't actually sit and read a book until he was something like 12 years old - he HATED them.  Schools pushed him from such a young age though that it would frustrate him and I honestly believe that if he hadn't been pushed from such a young age to read that he would have felt more comfortable trying to read.

 

Aedan is only 8 weeks old but I'm constantly thinking about how I'm going to let him be responsible for what he learns and how he learns it and when he learns it.  Personally, we probably won't be sending him to a preschool, but if we did I'd hope that it was fairly neutral on letting the LO's figure out what their interests are more.

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#97 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Actually, my dd was never educated in Germany... we moved back before she was old enough.  My impressions are of US vs. NON-US.  Not just Bavaria, but of education systems ALL around the world compared to the US.  In my dh's family, who is not an American, their educational backgrounds range from Turkish to Armenian to Italian to French to German and for us personally French and Spanish and English.  We have several friends who are raising their kids in even more diverse educational systems... from Asia and the South Pacific to Latin American and Eastern Europe.  My impressions are based both on evidence seen with my own eyes and based on discussions with friends and family (some in pedagogical professions, including my dh himself who is university professor).  There actually isn't a single American in dh's department and the discussion of primary and secondary education is a topic of interest among his colleagues.  They are the product of non-American education and they see a diverse student body that is both American and non-American.  Year after year they see the same thing... American students aren't nearly as prepared as non-US students.  I don't really care what a "study" says because these statistics can and ARE skewed to prove a point.  For me, it is more evident that non-US education is more rigorous because we are seeing it first-hand with our own family and friends... and through dh's career itself.  I don't need to read an article... I just have to look at the very people in my life to see that American education is dismal compared to non-US-based curricula.  No wonder people feel they need to get a jump start on education in the US.

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#98 of 118 Old 06-19-2011, 08:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post

  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined). 


 

I am not sure what you mean by intense? School in the first few years starts at 8am and is out at 11. 5 days a week. That's it. US schools seem to have much longer hours and require much more desk time.

 

Honestly, reading reactions here in the thread and becoming more and more aware of the ridiculous child care system in the US just makes me want to leave this country. Alternative and playbased daycare just is not affordable. People think I go crazy by letting my child walk barefoot on the street. Every play is directed. Kids cannot play alone until their into their teens. At daycare no child goes outside if it rains or if it is "too cold" or "too hot". This is not how I want to raise my children.

 

 


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#99 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 04:53 AM
 
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I agree!

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#100 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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I appreciate Tigerle's post (and other's too) for clarifying some of the differences between education in DE compared to the US.  I also spent some time in Germany and my DC started "school" there by attending a ex-communicated Waldorf pre-K when she was 3.  I also visited many other pre-K's picking up friend's children and etc.  I thought they were cute schools but not significantly different from the American preschool that DC would attend when she was 5. 

 

Even more than in Germany where you do have some variety of preschools (neighborhood, Waldorf, Montessori, International) there is just HUGE variety in American preschools.  First, you have Headstart, which is a public option.  Then you have a zillion private options that range in style like you just can't believe.  Also, unlike in Germany where (correct me if I am wrong) most kids start at 3, American preschoolers start anywhere from a young age (often for child care) to just doing one pre-K year at 4/5 years old.  

 

Any parent of young children in the US looking into preschool should just talk to families in your area.  I think you may be surprised by the wonderful programs out there.  I actually preferred DC's American pre-K and highly recommend a program like it.  It's called a parent coop preschool.  I'm sure there is even huge variety in how those are run though.  There are also good resources online about how to start your own coop preschool, which is a great affordable option (if you don't work out of the home full-time).  

 

Even with American public schools there may be some variety if you're in an area that supports charter or magnet school options.  My DC's current school is a public charter school.  Its main selling point is that it's small (relatively) - 150 kids total from K-5.  The kindergarten program is very, very sweet.  They do learn some academic stuff but the classroom is FULL of art, things from nature and etc.  They do "graduate" and I think they do that in part because kindergarten is so different academically from what they will be introduced to in 1st grade.  

 

I guess my long drawn out point is that if you can't even generalize about a relatively small country like Germany, it's very, very difficult to generalize about American pre-K/elementary schools.  I also think we tend to idealize and criticize when it comes to something as dear to us as our children's education.  Just as Americans may chuckle when someone from another country praises some aspect of our school system (it does happen LOL!) many Germans may find it odd that their schools are held to such high esteem (I personally knew many people disillusioned by the German school system).  

 

ETA:  What is the role of Waldorf school in DE?  What is their relationship to the public education system?  What about "regular" pre-K (Kindergarten)?  Are all pre-K schools private?  Are they subsidized?  


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#101 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Honestly, reading reactions here in the thread and becoming more and more aware of the ridiculous child care system in the US just makes me want to leave this country. Alternative and playbased daycare just is not affordable. People think I go crazy by letting my child walk barefoot on the street. Every play is directed. Kids cannot play alone until their into their teens. At daycare no child goes outside if it rains or if it is "too cold" or "too hot". This is not how I want to raise my children.

 

 


Yes they are.  If you don't want your child to go to daycare or preschool, then don't send them.  That's your choice as a parent.  But I certainly don't post threads bashing unschoolers because it doesn't fall in line with the way I want to raise my children. 
 

 

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 What is their relationship to the public education system?  What about "regular" pre-K (Kindergarten)?  Are all pre-K schools private?  Are they subsidized?  

 

 

in my area -  What is their relationship to the public education system?  NONE

 

What about "regular" pre-K (Kindergarten)? NONE- we do not have it

 

Are all pre-K schools private? YES, except for Head Start / private (cost is between $750 - not counting meals to over $1000.00+ per month - chains such as Goddard offer so-called "scholarships" )

some are NOT full day and you must pay for "daycare"-after or before "care" as well-usually at the same location

 

Are they subsidized?  NO

 

public school K is not funded in my state- each district can do what ever they want, most are dropping full day due to budget cuts

private K (religious schools) can also do what they want - Ex. one school in the diocese can be very academic while another is more play based --most are really pushing academic

 

Compulsory school age (in most of my state) is age 8

 

 


 

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#103 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post

There actually isn't a single American in dh's department and the discussion of primary and secondary education is a topic of interest among his colleagues.  They are the product of non-American education and they see a diverse student body that is both American and non-American.  Year after year they see the same thing... American students aren't nearly as prepared as non-US students.


you seem to believe that every school in the US is inferior to every other school in the world, ect for the one school that your child attends, which is, of course better. You can't honestly expect others to agree with you about such sweeping statements.

 

May be the reason that his department is full of non-americans is that the americans got better paying jobs in private industry. I don't know. My DH works in private industry but has ties to the university here, and the engineering department (which is one of the top schools in the nation for engineering) is mostly American. Maybe it varies by field.

 

There isn't ONE american education system. In my own city, which isn't even a particularly big city, there is a massive difference between the public high school on the north side of town (where the median home price is $400,000 and the school is amazing,) and the south side of town, where 90% of the students don't speak English as the first language, and many don't speak English at all. Some of the high school students are recently arrivals in the US, and aren't literate in ANY language.  I think that what the school is attempting to do is harder and more important than the school on the north side, even though every stat on the school is in the toilet and it always will be.

 

Then we have a collection of magnet schools and charters, and of course private schools. Although I've never seen stats for it, I suspect that private schools are in reach for a high % percentage of American than Europeans because our economic structure is so different and so much more open.

 

My DH is British by birth (and American by choice) and works in an international field. He got a fantastic education in British boarding school that has served him well. We also see kids getting great educations in the US. And we know of the inequalities in the British system as well as the American. (and kids start school at 4 and start with real academics -- none of the prancing around in the forest for British kids!)

 

Each county has their own strengths and weaknesses, and one of the strengths of the American system is the attempt (not always successful) to educate everyone -- even special needs students. My DD with autism is MUCH better off in the US than she would be in most European counties.

 

I asked my DH his opinion on your points about education, and he pointed out that British students are older and have had more years of study when they complete secondary school.

 

Besides, the US is the richest, more powerful, most innovative country in the world (which is why smart people from the rest of the world want to be here). If you don't give our messed up educational systems at least SOME of the credit for that, you are left with TV and fast food as the reason for our success.


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#104 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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The US is rich and powerful, but she is not the most innovative country in the world.  There is a lot of innovation, but this is really from the migrant class - the US is the land of opportunity, but for people that have been in the US for generations that truth ends up lost in the culture of mediocrity (JMO).

 

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#105 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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I think CatsCradle explained my feelings about the issue quite well.  And I want to say to the OP that I think I understand where you are coming from very much myself.  I never would have thought that I would have a daughter who was begggggging me to go to school, just didn't imagine that before I had her.  I actually thought very much along the same lines as you expressed your own feelings to be.  But it what it is and she wants to go to school, so to school she shall go this fall....at age three.....with the 3's and 4's none the less, it's just where she fit in the best when we visited the school.

I want a waldorf education for her and it still might happen, but not this year, we are just going to see how this year goes and actually make the decision based on what seems to fit the best for her, kwim?
 

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I personally don't know of any preschoolers or kindergarteners who are sitting at desks all day doing math and other academics, and I feel like a know a lot of people.  My DD has attended a Montessori school since she was two, and academics have never been forced on her.  What they have done, however, is introduce her to concepts and she is free to continue with them or to move on to something else.  I would never squash her curiosity about what we perceive as academic.  If she is ready for it, I will let her do it. 

 

I see this issue come up a lot on MDC (the whole academic vs. play argument).  I think we get too caught up in the idea that somehow learning is not play.  Like if you have to learn, you are rejecting play.  I actually think that a lot of preschools in my area base their programs on child-led learning, which is a combination of straight play and introduction to certain concepts.  For example, reading to children prepares them for reading readiness.  No one has forced my DD to read words/books, but they have focused on the concept of books and she knows that there is an author and illustrator, etc.  They learn to make books and have control of the content in them.  While reading to her, she actually is now looking at the words.  Her curiosity is peeked.  No one is teaching her math, but she is starting to understand mathematical concepts entirely through play and experiment with a wide variety of materials.  Music, art and exploration is part of her every day.  To her it is just play.  Structured play in some instances, but play nonetheless.  Not that any of this can't be done at home, but I think that painting preschool as academic based is not the present reality.  I would never put her in a situation where she had to sit at a desk all day.  That is absurd and I don't know of anyone, mainstream or crunchy, that has put their preschooler in that type of setting.  I didn't even know that it existed. 

 

As far as graduations and the like:  my DD's class were in music all year which resulted in a year end production at a theatre here in town.  It was an incredibly happy event for the kids, teachers and parents.  DD is still talking about it and I believe it is a huge confidence booster for the kids.  And yeah, I posted a picture of DD in the production on my Facebook page.  winky.gif

 

 



 

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#106 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

The US is rich and powerful, but she is not the most innovative country in the world.  There is a lot of innovation, but this is really from the migrant class - the US is the land of opportunity, but for people that have been in the US for generations that truth ends up lost in the culture of mediocrity (JMO).

i am totally with you.

 

i am an immigrant myself and i find the present education system sooooooooooooo FRUSTRATING banghead.gif

 

i think here in the US we start TOO early (the trend, not talking about individual cases) and keep pretty much the same pace till you can choose your level of advancement in maybe middle school or high school. i am not even talking about GATE which is not that much different. 

 

i think waldorf had it right. go slow initially - then speed up and go really intense. that is also what education was like back home in asia. 

 

i just have such a hard deal with mediocrity. 
 

 


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#107 of 118 Old 06-20-2011, 08:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

The US is rich and powerful, but she is not the most innovative country in the world.  There is a lot of innovation, but this is really from the migrant class - the US is the land of opportunity, but for people that have been in the US for generations that truth ends up lost in the culture of mediocrity (JMO).

 

Tjej


I agree, but I think the mediocrity that you see is a result of of our comfort with the status quo.  I feel like there isn't a desire to learn or do better when one comes from a position of comfort to begin with (by comfort, I mean that there is a certain amount privilege and safeness in the fact that (1) you are a native english-speaker and (2) you have a leg-up in that your struggles are at most limited to economic struggles - you are not dealing with the added discomfort of trying to prove yourself because you are already part of the accepted group) (I should add that this might not apply to African Americans, who have traditionally been at a disadvantage even though they have been long-term citizens).  I think we can see this pattern in every immigrant group in the U.S.  You come as stranger with limited communication skills.  You work hard to rise above the prejudices.  Education is a priority because education often leads to positions above or better than those of your kin.  

 

I disagree with the competitive stuff that I see in a lot of parent groups and in preschool/kindergarten.  I think when you see that it is more about parents than kids, and I think ultimately it has negative consequences for some kids (not all, but some).  What does bother me, however, is the devaluing of education in America.  It bugs me when people speak in terms of education as an elitist pursuit, and I think that is a very misplaced idea.  I think there is a fine line between valuing education and using education as a marker for status.  I do think, however, that any intelligent human being will see the difference and will be able to pick the good from the bad.  Back to the original question of 'what happened to childhood'....childhood is a relatively new concept.  My own grandparents and great grandparents (great grands were immigrants) were working in the fields and the store before they could read.  Children then, and I hate to say it, were an economic necessity (at least for my family and families like them).  Of course children had free-play in the broadest sense, but children then were required to contribute to the family income and well being.  My own grandmother (who was born in 1900) told us stories about how she had to sit in a high backed chair for hours reading prayer books on the Sabbath.  She was forced to practice for hours on the piano because her parents feared that she wouldn't have a skill marketable for marriage.  It's funny, but I think we have this idealized view of the past that really doesn't exist.  Aside from the competitiveness that I mentioned above, I think that kids today are allowed to be kids more than any other generation in history.  I'm almost 50 years old and there were pressures on me in my youth that I wouldn't dream of putting on my own DD.     

 

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#108 of 118 Old 06-21-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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  I think there is a fine line between valuing education and using education as a marker for status.

 

 

I see a great divide- later in life- for so many it is only about your alumni (state vs private vs ivy), not how you did so much but big letters after a name impress so many----but here is the US we tend to value things differently on so many levels- usually you first get asked "what do you do for a living?"- such judgement-IMO


 

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#109 of 118 Old 06-22-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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I guess my long drawn out point is that if you can't even generalize about a relatively small country like Germany, it's very, very difficult to generalize about American pre-K/elementary schools.  I also think we tend to idealize and criticize when it comes to something as dear to us as our children's education.  Just as Americans may chuckle when someone from another country praises some aspect of our school system (it does happen LOL!) many Germans may find it odd that their schools are held to such high esteem (I personally knew many people disillusioned by the German school system).  

 

ETA:  What is the role of Waldorf school in DE?  What is their relationship to the public education system?  What about "regular" pre-K (Kindergarten)?  Are all pre-K schools private?  Are they subsidized?  



I think those are very good points - both the US and Germany are countries with extremely strong local or regional control over school systems, and a highly diverse regional makeup. And everyone is just most familiar with the shortcomings of the system they know best (and may have suffered through themselves...)

(By the way, if I may ride the stats some more, on a wikipedia list of countries by population, "relatively small" Germany ranks #14 out of 224, # 224 being Pitcairn islands. Lots of people and lots of school systems on a fairly small surface area...)

 

Role of Waldorf schools in Gemany...not sure what you're asking? I googled some more stats and only 0.6 percent of students are educated in Waldorf schools (1st grade through 13th). Which are all private, no relationship to the public system, but heavily subsidized, as all (recognized) private schools in Germany must be, to avoid selection by wallet. The percentage of kids in Waldorf preschools may be slightly higher.

Preschools (pre 1st) aren't part of the public school systems but traditionally community-based (mostly church-based, with a few municipal based schools, the odd Red Cross school, and Waldorf and Montessori schools which are usually based on private associations). As they all use a publicly proscribed curriculum, charge publicly proscribed fees and are all heavily subsidized, it actually makes very little difference, except perhaps for Montessori and strict Waldof schools.

 

There is, traditionally, a somewhat Waldorfy-looking prohibition on academics before formal school, which i used to ascribe to Waldorf influence on the system, together with a preference for wooden toys and teaching knitting in elementary schools. Come to think of it, I have to take it back, as the prohibition really is about ascribing the role of teaching the three R's to formal school which just happens to start in 1st, like I said, with 5, 6 and 7 year-olds, so it's not about the kids so much as abpout the role of school teachers vs. preschool teachers (which aren't called teachers, after all, but somewhat confusingly "Kindergaertners", preschool being called "Kindergarten"...so it's just a very typical German form of compartmentalization. And the knitting is simply a strong German tradition carried over from the beginning of the century, so it's worked the other way round.


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#110 of 118 Old 06-22-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Actually, my dd was never educated in Germany... we moved back before she was old enough.  My impressions are of US vs. NON-US.  Not just Bavaria, but of education systems ALL around the world compared to the US.  In my dh's family, who is not an American, their educational backgrounds range from Turkish to Armenian to Italian to French to German and for us personally French and Spanish and English.  We have several friends who are raising their kids in even more diverse educational systems... from Asia and the South Pacific to Latin American and Eastern Europe.  My impressions are based both on evidence seen with my own eyes and based on discussions with friends and family (some in pedagogical professions, including my dh himself who is university professor).  There actually isn't a single American in dh's department and the discussion of primary and secondary education is a topic of interest among his colleagues.  They are the product of non-American education and they see a diverse student body that is both American and non-American.  Year after year they see the same thing... American students aren't nearly as prepared as non-US students.  I don't really care what a "study" says because these statistics can and ARE skewed to prove a point.  For me, it is more evident that non-US education is more rigorous because we are seeing it first-hand with our own family and friends... and through dh's career itself.  I don't need to read an article... I just have to look at the very people in my life to see that American education is dismal compared to non-US-based curricula.  No wonder people feel they need to get a jump start on education in the US.


Studies are flawed, as all human endeavours are, and you only need to read about the OECD's PISA coordinator to understand he's got an axe to grind with Germany. But I cannot imagine that he is able to brainwash a whole host of statisticians and national coordinators into deflating Germany's and inflating the US's score artificially, nor able to influence other studies which, again, and again show the same trends, placing the same countries at the top (eg Canada, Finland, Netherlands, East Asia), and the same countries (eg Germany, US) in the middle. And at least there is an attempt to get a representative sample, and even if that one is somewhat flawed as well, there is no way it can be as skewed as a group of international researchers at an American university and their friends! This must be one of the most pre-selected groups there are - preselected by their own universities, by funding agencies, by governments, by their current school....countries do not send their mediocre people to the US, they send the best of the best, even if it's not a top tier school, and it stands to reason they will be better prepared than the average American student going to that school. And I do not at all want to discount their educational expertise, simply question wether they have ever seen their country's worst schools, because they themselves must have struck lucky at some point during their education or they wouldn't be where they are now.


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#111 of 118 Old 06-22-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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I see a great divide- later in life- for so many it is only about your alumni (state vs private vs ivy), not how you did so much but big letters after a name impress so many---


I don't really see that. We are in our mid 40's and my DH works in aerospace. No one cares where anyone else went to school, or if they got a masters or not. At this point, it's really about what you've accomplished In the Real World. How many people are under you? Who is in your network? What perks does your job come with? It's VERY much about status, but anyone at this point riding on where they went to school or whether or not they got an MBA is seen as a loser. School was a long time ago. The real test is Life. How big your office is more important than if you went to an ivy league school.

 

(I'm not saying that's how it should be, just saying what I see)
 

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..countries do not send their mediocre people to the US, they send the best of the best, even if it's not a top tier school, and it stands to reason they will be better prepared than the average American student going to that school.


 

Agreed. Legal immigrants are a very select group that don't necessarily represent their own countrymen. Not only are the often the best and brightest, they often IMHO tend to be edgy risk takers. They can think outside the box, they have courage. Or they wouldn't leave their country. Many of the immigrants who are so successful here come from prefectly decent countries, but they chose to go out on a limb and do something Different. Really different. That same drive that got them to come here in the first place shows up in other ways in their professional lives.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#112 of 118 Old 06-22-2011, 04:12 PM
 
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Tigerle i will have to agree a lot with what velochic has said. amongst us immigrant students at our college (mostly asian, middle eastern and eastern europe) that is the exact opinion we all have. dismal level of education here. mind u except for a handful of us who went to the top schools in our countries, the rest are all refugee status who would not have had any chance to get any kind of decent education if they had not  come to the US. many of us are parents who are lost about the choices we have for our children. yes every country has bad schools. but we are not talking about those 'bad' schools. we are talking about middle class choices for education. heck if i was as poor as i am here in my country my dd would have a horrible education - in the sense the curriculum would be the same but the teachers would be bad and the only way dd would get an education is if she did the work by herself. 

 

perhaps what i can say is that my country of birth in asia may have made things a little too intense. 

 

one reason this comes up soo much amongst us is because anyone coming with a good specialised education in other countries has to take more classes to either redo their education to 'bring it upto' par of US standards or reasses for a profesional <permission: insert the correct word here> to work here. its very very frustrating for many of these immigrants because their highly educated professionals who for many reasons cant go back to school are working as janitors or other low menial workers. yes i get the university level education here is at par with a few other education system i see. and yet for countries who do their GE requirement in high school and so do 3 years of college instead of 4, their degrees are not seen at par.

 

but anyways coming down to school education - many of the immigrant parents are just tolerating k-12 for their kids. some who are able to send their children back to their country do so at around 5th 6th grade or even middle school . even in uganda an average 5th grader from here starting 5th grade there took almost a year to catch up with their curriculum. and this was a 5th grader who CHOSE to stay back without his mom but with other family members. almost all are waiting to send their child to college to 'get' an education. those who can they educate through their business. a 3rd grader in my dd's class who helps his dad with his business blows my mind for the info he already has about the business. 

 

many are just way shocked at the level of education here in k-12. they did not expect this from the 'land of milk and honey'.  


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#113 of 118 Old 06-22-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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I agree (responding to Linda's post below responding to Serenbat's post above regarding that for so many, it's only about alumni/school status).  In my long working career and otherwise, I've only seen this attitude on very few occasions, and when I did it involved questions about what school you went to and more or less just cocktail conversation.  My colleagues don't really care, and I work in a top 50 firm here in the U.S. (and I didn't go to an ivy league school).  That's why in my original post, I did say that some people care about status...and I think that is it...some.  Generally people prove themselves in the field and while a Harvard degree may give you an advantage in the beginning, people with Harvard degrees are a teeny tiny portion of the population and in the real world, most people aren't competing with Harvard grads.  (just using Harvard as an example).  I went to a state college that has grads working at NASA.  Obviously there a a huge number of people out there who have managed without the alumni status.  Same for job status.  I ask people what they do all the time.  It's not about judgment, it's about conversation and curiosity.  shrug.gif

 

Anyway, sorry to get off topic but the point of my original post, which involved status and preschool and education, wasn't meant to involve career and college status.  My previous post was about preschool and status.  There is a segment of my town that base preschool decisions on status, as opposed to valuing the right educational fit for their kid.  That's what I was talking about.

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I don't really see that. We are in our mid 40's and my DH works in aerospace. No one cares where anyone else went to school, or if they got a masters or not. At this point, it's really about what you've accomplished In the Real World. How many people are under you? Who is in your network? What perks does your job come with? It's VERY much about status, but anyone at this point riding on where they went to school or whether or not they got an MBA is seen as a loser. School was a long time ago. The real test is Life. How big your office is more important than if you went to an ivy league school.

 


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#114 of 118 Old 06-22-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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There is a segment of my town that base preschool decisions on status, as opposed to valuing the right educational fit for their kid.  That's what I was talking about.

 

 

in my area as well, what I mean it is as important to some what pre-school they got into as well as going to a satellite or a main campus for college ( for certain schools)

 

- years later that this is a big deal to many--when you hear elementary students talking about what college they want to go to even before they know what they want to be a lots comes from what they hear from the grown-up (so called) around them

 

 

parents talk about pre-school in terms of the long term investment  - a make or break and many are stepping stones to elementary waiting lists

 

I have several colleges near me and alumni status does play a big part later in life (not to mention how many people you manage) - for many it is about the amount of money they can earn and give to their school (and get recognized for doing so) , and supporting the sports, etc.                    and it starts early


 

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#115 of 118 Old 06-23-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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I have several colleges near me and alumni status does play a big part later in life (not to mention how many people you manage) - for many it is about the amount of money they can earn and give to their school (and get recognized for doing so) , and supporting the sports, etc.                    and it starts early


 

I suspect part of it is a regional thing to. Guessing from  your post, I'd say you live on the east coast? near a big city like NY or Boston?

 

We live out west.

 

And part of it may be industry. In my DH;s, only a fool would promote someone based on where they went to school. Certain schools are seen as better and might help someone get that first interview, but once they are in, it's all about what they actually do.

 

 


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#116 of 118 Old 06-23-2011, 10:42 AM
 
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What is the role of Waldorf school in DE?  What is their relationship to the public education system?  What about "regular" pre-K (Kindergarten)?  Are all pre-K schools private?  Are they subsidized?  

 

Only a miniscule fraction of schools in Germany are Waldorf-based. Public schools are not-Waldorf based. regular Kindergarten (=daycare) is much more playbased. Most of these are private or organized through churches. Nearly all of them are subsidized in Germany, hence the very small fees parents have to pay.
 



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Yes they are.  If you don't want your child to go to daycare or preschool, then don't send them.  That's your choice as a parent.  But I certainly don't post threads bashing unschoolers because it doesn't fall in line with the way I want to raise my children. 
 

 



If I don't send them to daycare, I cannot do my job, if I don't do my job I have to leave the country, plus we hardly make enough to cover daycare. That's it. I am not sure what you want to tell me. I am pretty sure, I will either move to a part of the US, where I can give my children the childhood I imagine for them, or I will leave this country. You are awfully quick to judge. 


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#117 of 118 Old 06-24-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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If I don't send them to daycare, I cannot do my job, if I don't do my job I have to leave the country, plus we hardly make enough to cover daycare. That's it. I am not sure what you want to tell me. I am pretty sure, I will either move to a part of the US, where I can give my children the childhood I imagine for them, or I will leave this country. You are awfully quick to judge. 



Your post, the one I was responding to, stated that you feel the education is so bad you want to leave the country.  How does that make me quick to judge?  This thread has been full of people saying how horrible preschools are and how awful these parents are for sending their kids to preschool.  My daycare/preschool is amazing and completely affordable.  You said these places don't exist, I say they do.  That's not judging, that's stating a fact.  I'm certainly not saying you have to leave the country, I'm not even sure how you read that into what I said. 

 

I'm sorry if you don't have choices that appeal to you.  That doesn't make all preschool and all daycare bad just because that's what you have to deal with.

 

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#118 of 118 Old 06-27-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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you seem to believe that every school in the US is inferior to every other school in the world, ect for the one school that your child attends, which is, of course better. You can't honestly expect others to agree with you about such sweeping statements.

 

May be the reason that his department is full of non-americans is that the americans got better paying jobs in private industry. I don't know. My DH works in private industry but has ties to the university here, and the engineering department (which is one of the top schools in the nation for engineering) is mostly American. Maybe it varies by field.

 

There isn't ONE american education system. In my own city, which isn't even a particularly big city, there is a massive difference between the public high school on the north side of town (where the median home price is $400,000 and the school is amazing,) and the south side of town, where 90% of the students don't speak English as the first language, and many don't speak English at all. Some of the high school students are recently arrivals in the US, and aren't literate in ANY language.  I think that what the school is attempting to do is harder and more important than the school on the north side, even though every stat on the school is in the toilet and it always will be.

 

Then we have a collection of magnet schools and charters, and of course private schools. Although I've never seen stats for it, I suspect that private schools are in reach for a high % percentage of American than Europeans because our economic structure is so different and so much more open.

 

My DH is British by birth (and American by choice) and works in an international field. He got a fantastic education in British boarding school that has served him well. We also see kids getting great educations in the US. And we know of the inequalities in the British system as well as the American. (and kids start school at 4 and start with real academics -- none of the prancing around in the forest for British kids!)

 

Each county has their own strengths and weaknesses, and one of the strengths of the American system is the attempt (not always successful) to educate everyone -- even special needs students. My DD with autism is MUCH better off in the US than she would be in most European counties.

 

I asked my DH his opinion on your points about education, and he pointed out that British students are older and have had more years of study when they complete secondary school.

 

Besides, the US is the richest, more powerful, most innovative country in the world (which is why smart people from the rest of the world want to be here). If you don't give our messed up educational systems at least SOME of the credit for that, you are left with TV and fast food as the reason for our success.

 

I absolutely didn't say the bolded.  I said that, in general, the secondary schooling system in the US doesn't prepare its students for university or life as well as other countries, IN GENERAL, do... and this adds to the pressure for kids to start even earlier because every one wants to get a "leg up".

 

I also believe that there is only one UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE education system in the US.  Anything else takes resources that are often unavailable to the masses (private, charters, heck even homeschooling because so many families are 2-income).  The ACCESSIBLE education system in the US vs. the ACCESSIBLE education system OUS need to be compared... and the US comes up lacking when this comparison is made.

 

And ummm... the US is quickly becoming the "not richest" in the world, we're just the most in debt, and no, we're not the most innovative.  That's just what the talking heads want the unsuspecting public to think.  I don't give our messed-up educational system any credit for that because it doesn't exist.  China is producing both the most economic and intellectual/innovative growth.  Sad, but true.  I'd love for it to be the US, but there *is* a reason this country is on the decline.  Just saying something doesn't make it true.  If we don't improve the education system in the US, we have no hope of competing with the rest of the world.  It has to start with our kids and it has to start with the education system.  My opinion.

 

ETA:  And for the one school that our dd does attend... not perfect, but thankfully we are blessed to be able to put her into whatever school *is* the best fit for her given our choices.  I'd hope that every family would pursue what is best for their individual children within their financial abilities and given choices, whatever those may be.

 

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