Comments: Florida Education: The Joke's On Someone

Perhaps the colleges should start holding public high school students to a higher standard then private or home schooled kids. I know this would be discriminatory, but given the uneven, often inadequate, and sometimes totally worthless curriculum given in public schools, it may be the only way to get them to clean up their acts and properly prepare the kids for college rather than inflating their grades.

Posted by diamond dave at December 17, 2009 01:26 AM

When you told me that the other day I just could not respond. I couldn't believe it. I still feel like it is unreal.

Posted by vw bug at December 17, 2009 05:47 AM

They have a similar test in Texas (TAKS). Kids cannot progress unless they pass it.. . even in elementary school. And those kids getting an A for their ability to bring hand sanitizer will be sorely disappointed when they get to college and cannot pass the classes because they don't really have the foundation they need.

Posted by Lori at December 17, 2009 06:42 AM

Dave- Unfortunately, it's not that cut and dry. For instance, the kids at Suncoast... there is no two grade bump up or extra credit for hand sanitizer. As a matter of fact, those kids study so hard, I had a teacher there say to me, "We pride ourselves in not allowing our kids to take their books to pep rallies anymore." *blink* The kids were studying rather than 'pepping'. And likewise, there is a private school in town, I'd not be caught dead sending my kids to. I'm thoroughly unimpressed with what I've seen there.

It's just frustrating and it must be to the colleges as well because they just did a big article this summer on the retention issues the colleges are having. They're getting pampered freshman that realize... they aren't at home anymore and they last a semester... maybe two, before they come home. They've put all these programs in place to try to get kids to feel 'at home' in college and to actually stay.

VW- Get this... the year that school made an A as an overall school, none of them had to take ANY finals. NONE.

Lori- That is exactly how that test is here... they start all through elementary school. The elementary schools are forced to teach to the test. The TX and FL former governors are brothers... wonder sometimes if our education systems reflect each other because of that.

Posted by bou at December 17, 2009 06:58 AM

I absolutely agree that the schools have to hold kids to some sort of standard, but before you blame the teachers, sometimes teachers are put into nasty spots.
I was flat out told last year that I Could NOT give lower than a C, even to the student who had turned in 0 work all quarter. sometimes the stupid grade things are pressure from parents and administration to keep grades at an "acceptable" level even if the kids aren't doing the work at the level required. so the hand sanitizer is probably not aimed at your B student, but at a failing student the teacher is trying desperately not to fail. who probably won't bring it in anyway...

Posted by S at December 17, 2009 07:13 AM

I almost choked on my coffee! But then, I have a couple of friends who are strongly looking at private schools next year. Why? Their district came up with a new grade plan. No A's. Ever. Even if overachieving students finish all their work, get 100% on all their work, with maybe a B or two thrown in there, they will walk out at the end of the year with a B. This will be the new policy starting next year K-12, will cost a bunch of money to implement the changes in the software used to mark the grades, etc, and this is in the same district that is facing such a shortfall($30-$40 million) that they are trying to close 11 middle and elementary schools next year. My first question to my friends was, "How long before we start seeing those students who always worked hard and did well start to slack off and underachieve because they know trying their best is only going to get them so far?"

Posted by Nina at December 17, 2009 08:21 AM

As you know, RTY is in 7th grade public school. It's like beating our heads against a wall when we look at her homework.

Mind boggling how much she is not being taught.

Posted by wRitErsbLock at December 17, 2009 09:40 AM

Those kids maybe bragging about their grade averages now, but when they are trying to get into college with the SAT scores they will get they won't be able to get into college.

College's also know about the schools, they will take that information into consideration when those kids are applying and the colleges will know that someone with straight A's but yet an average SAT score itsn't really a straight A student and probably won't be admitted.

Detroit schools are horrible, their graduation rate is below 50% and they are trying to implement all kinds of programs to get kids through, even if they don't deserve it because they are starting to lose government money because of grad rates and test scores.

Posted by Quality Weenie at December 17, 2009 09:48 AM

That bit with the deputy's son ... same situation with our sheriff's kids. His oldest son had been targeted because of his occupation, so he pulled his boys and is sending them to a private school in another town. I'd do the same thing if I were in his shoes.

Posted by PeggyU at December 17, 2009 12:37 PM

I honestly think God had a plan with me not having kids... I would seriously stroke out... Observations:
1) I am tremendously saddened that one of my first thoughts was - I wonder if there is a fund I could donate to for the Sheriif's kid and others like him... Unbelievable that I did not just get mad at how we need to clean up, but instead, I just want to help those who take care of all of us...
2) The colleges are pretty much all about the money. They need enrollment not because they are worried about educating our youth... They want to feed their social agendas, and they want to indoctrinate our youth instead of teaching them to think for themselves...
I think I should stop there - it only gets worse...

Posted by jck at December 17, 2009 01:26 PM

heh... warning: stupid, childish, bad-example story to follow!

the first day of AP u.s. history in 11th grade, the teacher told us that anyone who passed the AP exam at the end of the year with a 3 or higher would automatically get an A for the year. after that day, i probably only showed up to that class about 40% of the time, slept through it when i was there, turned in no homework or classwork, took no tests. i had an F at the end of the year, my first ever. but then i went to my AP exam, aced it with a 5, and took my results back to my teacher when they came in. you could almost see her head explode when she changed my grade from F to A. i heard she did not make that same deal to her class the following year.

Posted by arcanai at December 17, 2009 01:45 PM

Quality Weenie is right, the colleges do in fact have ratings for the different high schools based on what they learn the actual level of difficulty and how rigorous the curriculum is for each school (at least in their own state) and take these ratings into account when accepting students. Your student is also right about all the silly things kids can do to bump up their grades. NC has standardized tests for certain high school required courses - they curve the grades on the standardized tests, no kidding.

It used to drive my D2 nuts when she would knock herself out on an AP class project, do an absolutely fantastic job using visual aids, a professional level power point presentation, bring in extra sources, a first rate paper - get the A she deserved... and then everyone else in the class get As as well even though their projects were mickey mouse, simplistic.

You do have to keep reminding the hard workers that the SAT will sort the wheat from the chaff, as well as all the extra curriculars etc.

D2 took all AP level classes her senior year and all but one class her junior year were AP level (that one class was honors journalism and she was editor in chief of the school paper - award winning). Unfortunately what passes as an AP level class is different from school to school and her school wants to look good so inflated grades are the norm.

I dread when the boy goes to high school year after next and I have to deal with all this stupidity again. And of course I know it will be even worse by then...

Posted by patti at December 17, 2009 01:56 PM

Well, yeah. This has been going on all along. Nothing new at all. There are a very few schools in every state that are excellent. A portion are mediocre at best, the rest are just downright dreadful.

The smart motivated kids go on to do good things (whether via college or some other method such as becoming a master carpenter or something like that). It doesn't matter what school they go to or what their teachers are like - that motivation must come from them. Parental/school pushing only takes them so far.

It helps if the schools are good. But sadly, there aren't enough good schools for kids who deserve them.

Posted by Teresa at December 17, 2009 06:02 PM

It makes me mad now that my teachers did that crap to me in high school. I made A's in classes I didn't even attend. They had to make themselves and the school look good. They didn't give a crap about actually teaching me something. I'm 45 years old and in college learning things I should have been taught in high school. I have no respect for these teachers or for the system.

Posted by sticks at December 17, 2009 06:28 PM

This brings to mind all of the things my brother has said about the subject of prerequisites to college classes. The link points to an interesting collection of articles, in particular how college is a full time job and is not grade 13.

I remember discussions with my brother about why Florida created the FCAT - employers needed proof that students had acchieved an 8th grade education (passed the FCAT). Too many McDonalds found that they needed pictures for their employees to select the correct button to take an order and couldn't make change. Then there was the college football player who graduated from high school (and college), but couldn't read. Really sad.

Back in the day, when I attended Enormous State University (and Quality Weenie probably knows of which one I speak), most classes had three digit course numbers, but the "catch-up" classes had four digits which started with double-zero.

Many colleges are teaching (what I consider) Middle School classes to students already in college, so that they have the skills to complete their college work. Of course, if the students do a brain dump at the end of each class (and don't retain the prerequisite material to the next class, like they were still in high school) there isn't much point of their remaining in college.

Still if the student doesn't learn-retain material, there is no point in them entering a skilled trade either as you have to learn-retain knowledge to advance from apprentice to journeyman just as you have to learn-retain material to graduate from college and enter the working world.

Posted by The Thomas at December 18, 2009 11:21 AM

Massachusetts has the MCAS and if you don't pass it, you don't graduate. They are cutting everything in the HS our kids go to that is not an English, History, Science or Math courses and making most of the classes AP. But where does that leave the child who has learning disabilities? One of our daughter's is dyslexic. All five are either ADD or ADHD, and can not sit still or focus for long periods of time. They ALL struggle but work hard to bring in the best grades they possibly can. Because of no child left behind, our slower children are holding up the other students who do not have these problems. The size of the classes acerbates the problem. The laws of the state makes it impossible for the high end and low end kids to reach their potential and the middle of the road kids are stuck in AP classes because a school is graded on how many students are taking AP classes whether that is their best option or not. They are not given a choice because of class size. Once a class fills up, you have to take whatever is available and since there are more AP classes, they have no choice.

I'm probably not being very articulate because I am SOOOO ticked off. We found out at the end of the first trimester of one of our daughter's senior year, that although she passed all her math courses with a D or C, she did not pass the Math MCAS back in her SOPHOMORE year! The school did NOTHING to help her. WE sent her to summer school that WE PAID for for 4 different math courses since her 8th grade year. Now they are telling us she won't be graduating unless she can pass another math class. But alas, the only math class available is one that is AP and way over her ability.

Sorry for the book, Bou. I think I need to go make some egg nog. Bake Gingerbread Men and then ignore the questions from the kids when I only bite the heads off of each one before I put them in the cookie jar.

Posted by Lemon Stand at December 20, 2009 01:33 PM