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Lesson Plans


Re: Dumbing down is driving me NUTS!

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Aaron and Jennifer (THEGREEN99)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 17:27:28 -0400


When I get students from other schools, I am always curious to the
student's opinion of the former school. Of course, to the student, the
former school was so better than our school. Then when we went on our field
trip I figured out why. We actually demand a lot of our students at our
school. Kids know in my classroom you don't walk out; you pay the
consequences if you do. I have heard teachers complain about students
walking out and the teacher did nothing about it. I watched the other junior
high teachers allow their students to be rude and obnoxious at a dance
performance. And I am supposed to have the "bad" kids.
I believe in our district too many kids are given the standard - good
enough. "You wrote your name on the paper - that's good enough." "You
apologized for breaking all the pencils - that's good enough." Kids are
stunned in my room because nothing is ever good enough. (They hate that,
too.) As a society, I think we have become so concerned with the child ego
we are afraid to demand work and thinking skills from our children. We don't
want to push a kid too much because he or she may walk into the classroom
the next day with a gun and shoot up the place. Sad thought. We have
empowered the students too much.

Jennifer in Michigan
-----Original Message-----
From: ricki fromkin <fromkinr>
To: Lisa Skeen <lpskeen@living-tree.net>
Cc: artsednet.edu <artsednet.edu>
Date: Monday, October 25, 1999 9:17 PM
Subject: Re: Dumbing down is driving me NUTS!

>Lisa Skeen wrote:
>>
>> Y'all, I confess I'm just about ready to quit this job. I have never
>> been so frustrated over anything in my life as I am about having to
>> dumb down (it seems like) everything I do because the kids in my
>> school aren't up to grade level. Is this my fault (or that of any
>> other teacher in my school)? No; we are a brand new school, and
>> dealing with the product of the local public school system. Is any
>> kid going to do better unless you push him to do better? No.
>>
>> I'm not allowed to give a student a zero (even if he's earned it), I
>> have to give him a grade of sixty nine (the high end of the F grade
>> range) instead, because a zero is not an F and is too hard to recover
>> from. (Go figure on that one.)
>>
>> I'm not allowed to give a 2 page paper assignment to 3rd grade
>> because "that's too much for them." This, in a school where there's
>> supposed to be 30 minutes of homework per day per subject. Last time
>> I looked, Art was a subject.
>>
>> Now I'm not going to be allowed to give real grades to any of the
>> classes. We had agreed that K-2 would get E,S,or N grades, and 3 - 5
>> and eventually - 8 would get letter grades. Now, 3 days before report
>> card day, my principal is taking a poll of the other 2 specialists,
>> and asking other school principals what THEY're doing, and I'm going
>> to end up having to give ESN grades to all levels. What this says to
>> me is, "Art is not important enough to warrant a grade".
>>
>> Supposedly there is a law that says I have to do all this dumbing
>> down. Joe Kid can have a conference with his parent and the special
>> ed teacher and they decide that every grade has to be curved for Joe,
>> to whatever degree such that, for example, if he makes an 80 I have to
>> call it an A. This is not fair to the other kids, much less to Joe,
>> who could do the work if somebody would insist that he do it instead
>> of playing around all the time.
>>
>> I am just about ready to explode. Or maybe implode. I'm sure it'll
>> be whichever does the least damage to anyone else, or the least good
>> either. :(
>>
>Lisa,
>
>I really feel for you. I myself wonder in amazement about our education
>system. Why is it such a problem to ask our students to work hard in
>order to achieve success? I'm teaching Art Foundations in an urban HS
>where the students are totally catered to without doing anything to earn
>this reward? I know my school is trying to build many student's self
>esteem, since a good number of them have grown up without a stable home
>environment. This is good, but I believe self esteem is built around
>personal achievement in doing a job or task well, getting a good grade,
>etc. By excusing students from learning or making things too easy for
>them, schools are actually hurting these kids in the long run. They're
>going to have a hell of a time in the real world coping with all life
>has to offer. It really is disheartening working in this environment.
>Sometimes I think I'd rather not teach than to become a part of a system
>that doesn't promote constructive learning, or simply that I don't
>believe in. Do you think most schools are like this?
>
>Ricki