Black Education / Schools : How would you revamp and revitalize the Teaching profession?

Fieldpea

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Oct 15, 2005
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The 602
If students can perform above grade level give them opportunities to do so.


When I had to home school my oldest for 4 months--he was almost 13 at that time--I used a discarded college algebra text I'd found in a donated book box to pull ideas about what to teach him. I remember thinking that by the time I was 12, I'd already been introduced to algebra/geometry, but when I asked my son, he told me he'd never been taught either before, so...


I sat for two nights and put together two consecutive days worth of what I intended to be *math assessment*--I felt I first needed to discover for myself what level my son was at 'in all of the basics', and without doubt, I needed to first know what his *arithmetic skills* were, so anyway, my son demonstrated to me that he was actually well grounded in arithmetic to the point of confidence (ease, speed, correct). No struggle or questions, so....


From there, I started his algebra intro by introducing him to a scientific notation 'review' (it was what he was being taught at the time he got ill), and after that, I went straight to a *talk* about what algebra was, how it involved equations, how learning algebra relied on his arithmetic skills, yet was different. I then immediately went to *What is the value of X* stuff, and he straight turned on to it.


That boy PUSHED ME! At the time I tackled teaching him college algebra, I was well aware that I'd never finished my own algebra in college beyond intermediate! In the end, because I eventually hit a point when I couldn't teach him what I didn't know how to do consistently, myself, I had to stop with math altogether as part of his home school coursework.


Though I'd kept him in home school with me for 4 months, he'd actually recovered enough to return to regular school after maybe 9-10 weeks. Because he needed to be prepped for late spring state testing, I sent him back to his school for the remainder of that school year.


Thing is, one day maybe a month later, I came across my son reorganizing his backpack. As it happened, I spotted some math work he'd been assigned. It was arithmetic. 323 x 44. A problem like that was the HARDEST single problem that he had to solve! Not 7-8 weeks before--in my home school--my kid was working on *application problems* at COLLEGE LEVEL! Doing them correctly! Using my TI-83! He was comfortable with using a protractor and compass. He was doing Radicals! IMAGINARY NUMBERS! I can't say this loudly enough: He was doing radicals, imaginary numbers, intro physics too, including APPLICATION PROBLEMS.


Anyhow, when I picked up that paper and just looked at it, and then I glanced up at my kid, HE SHRUGGED! At his parent/teacher conference, I mentioned this to his teacher. In hindsight, I actually don't think she believed me--that I knew anything about algebra, and that my kid as good as *sopped up* all I could put in front of him! In any case, she informed me that it was ok--my son was an A student in her class--and besides, it wasn't necessary for students in the 6th grade to know algebra yet, and CERTAINLY not college algebra! I remember wondering why not? I had to learn it (introductory) by then (age 12, late 60's)! Why not 12 year old kids in the early 90's???


If *elementary schooling* doesn't UPGRADE the curriculum--make the coursework more challenging or *routinely accessible* to students earlier in their educations, then their longterm academic outlooks will be NOTHING like they used to be.


One Love, and PEACE
 

Fieldpea

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REGISTERED MEMBER
Oct 15, 2005
661
778
The 602
:krazee: (A friendly warning--this is a LONG post).


Something else. I was a student at ASU in 2008. In my Sociology of Education class, the instructor had us routinely participate in discussions--oftentimes, heated discussions--focused on each chapter. OK. During one discussion, an older AfAm woman and I began to describe what our schooling experiences during segregation were like. We both agreed that we were always inundated with *homework*. Every day. Piled on homework during weekends so that 4 to 7 hours each weekend *easy* had to be dedicated to homework assignments. How we even got monster homework assignments during Xmas holidays--enough to stretch thru 2 full weeks if you were an average student overall.


We talked about clowning in class, and about getting paddled--the reasons students would face gettin swats in the classroom or whuppings in the principal's office. We *laughed* when it came to describing how CLOWNING and VIOLATING SCHOOL RULES was *not tolerated*.


We explained how it was so ingrained in NEGRO CULTURE that, for example, when my family moved from Arkansas to Arizona ('58), from one segregated Negro school to another in another state, that it made no dang difference when it came to corporal punishment--we'd get paddled for the very same reasons* *coast to coast*. How it was that after getting in trouble at school to the point of swats, that by the time we got home our mothers/fathers would tear our behinds up, too! We finally explained that *the key* to making it in our segregated schools was real simple: DO your homework! DON'T CLOWN. Then, the segregated schooling was no problem.


How the times have changed.


The younger students in our class--white, black, latino, NativeAm, Asian, and one Afrikan student--sat basically *enthralled* at what we were saying. Fired all kinds of questions, a few got riled on our behalf, some laughed but the majority of the youngsters *were ONE* in their expressed disapproval of the *Negro Way* (approach) to teaching us *anything*.


Only the Afrikan student--a youngster--could relate. He didn't do it until after class, but this young brother made a point of stopping both me and the other AfAm woman to let us know that when he was younger, whenever students in his school in his village/small town violated school rules, the *least* of their problems was getting caned!


Two things that also happened during that class discussion. A young white girl from Denver, after listening to us talk a good 10 minutes about what school was like for us during segregation in S. Carolina and Arizona--with an air of great dignity and sadness, too--told our class that *she* felt inadequate as a student at ASU! I remember how everybody appeared to be puzzled at her statement--it was a non-sequitor statement to us.


She then said that she'd graduated from her high school in Denver with a strong GPA, she'd come to ASU feeling that she was *competent and prepared* (her words) to handle her major and GS coursework, but that she'd very quickly realized that she was *in trouble*.


She then specifically addressed me and the AfAm lady to tell us both that it was *obvious* to her that we'd been taught more or taught better than she'd been taught! She said she could tell by how the other lady and I appeared to quickly grasp the concepts being taught--she based her opinion on what we'd both have to say about the materials in our texts--how *prepared* we both seemed to be, and especially when it came time for discussion at the end of each class period (participation was a big 'point-getter, so....).


I don't know about the other woman, but I was both shocked and touched by this girl's admission! Both the AfAm woman and I began to try to reassure her that, in alot of ways, being students in our 50's and 60's was alot easier because of our cumulative life experiences--that we both could relate to the materials as we'd both raised children who were at least her age if not older!


I know this was true in the 70's here in Az, but starting *maybe* around the late 60's, there were many, many minority kids who were being passed forward in their grade levels while unable to read and write a coherent sentence *at the same time*. This was true with black and Mexi kids who graduated from Phx Union HS in the mid-70's for sure--my best friend in college, a lauded Phx Union scholarship student, was one such student). She couldn't read, spell, or write a one paragraph essay assignment! At all!


By 2008, I believe that that young white girl was telling me that this *dumbing down educational pathology* (strategy) had taken hold in working class white schools in Colorado, too. That gal said that she felt *blindsided* when she had to do ANY of her assignments!


In any case, to sum up: HOMEWORK. SWATS. Not only during segregation in the Negro culture, but also in many Afrikan tribal and Asian cultures too.


Q: In today's global educational/working world, just *where* are the most accomplished, prepared, DOMINATING, *talented students* emerging from? Which cultures (cultural approaches) are producing these students? Which peoples are producing *the most hireable(sp)* STEM-type students?


One Love, and PEACE
 

Omowale Jabali

The Cosmic Journeyman
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Sep 29, 2005
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:krazee: (A friendly warning--this is a LONG post).


Something else. I was a student at ASU in 2008. In my Sociology of Education class, the instructor had us routinely participate in discussions--oftentimes, heated discussions--focused on each chapter. OK. During one discussion, an older AfAm woman and I began to describe what our schooling experiences during segregation were like. We both agreed that we were always inundated with *homework*. Every day. Piled on homework during weekends so that 4 to 7 hours each weekend *easy* had to be dedicated to homework assignments. How we even got monster homework assignments during Xmas holidays--enough to stretch thru 2 full weeks if you were an average student overall.


We talked about clowning in class, and about getting paddled--the reasons students would face gettin swats in the classroom or whuppings in the principal's office. We *laughed* when it came to describing how CLOWNING and VIOLATING SCHOOL RULES was *not tolerated*.


We explained how it was so ingrained in NEGRO CULTURE that, for example, when my family moved from Arkansas to Arizona ('58), from one segregated Negro school to another in another state, that it made no dang difference when it came to corporal punishment--we'd get paddled for the very same reasons* *coast to coast*. How it was that after getting in trouble at school to the point of swats, that by the time we got home our mothers/fathers would tear our behinds up, too! We finally explained that *the key* to making it in our segregated schools was real simple: DO your homework! DON'T CLOWN. Then, the segregated schooling was no problem.


How the times have changed.


The younger students in our class--white, black, latino, NativeAm, Asian, and one Afrikan student--sat basically *enthralled* at what we were saying. Fired all kinds of questions, a few got riled on our behalf, some laughed but the majority of the youngsters *were ONE* in their expressed disapproval of the *Negro Way* (approach) to teaching us *anything*.


Only the Afrikan student--a youngster--could relate. He didn't do it until after class, but this young brother made a point of stopping both me and the other AfAm woman to let us know that when he was younger, whenever students in his school in his village/small town violated school rules, the *least* of their problems was getting caned!


Two things that also happened during that class discussion. A young white girl from Denver, after listening to us talk a good 10 minutes about what school was like for us during segregation in S. Carolina and Arizona--with an air of great dignity and sadness, too--told our class that *she* felt inadequate as a student at ASU! I remember how everybody appeared to be puzzled at her statement--it was a non-sequitor statement to us.


She then said that she'd graduated from her high school in Denver with a strong GPA, she'd come to ASU feeling that she was *competent and prepared* (her words) to handle her major and GS coursework, but that she'd very quickly realized that she was *in trouble*.


She then specifically addressed me and the AfAm lady to tell us both that it was *obvious* to her that we'd been taught more or taught better than she'd been taught! She said she could tell by how the other lady and I appeared to quickly grasp the concepts being taught--she based her opinion on what we'd both have to say about the materials in our texts--how *prepared* we both seemed to be, and especially when it came time for discussion at the end of each class period (participation was a big 'point-getter, so....).


I don't know about the other woman, but I was both shocked and touched by this girl's admission! Both the AfAm woman and I began to try to reassure her that, in alot of ways, being students in our 50's and 60's was alot easier because of our cumulative life experiences--that we both could relate to the materials as we'd both raised children who were at least her age if not older!


I know this was true in the 70's here in Az, but starting *maybe* around the late 60's, there were many, many minority kids who were being passed forward in their grade levels while unable to read and write a coherent sentence *at the same time*. This was true with black and Mexi kids who graduated from Phx Union HS in the mid-70's for sure--my best friend in college, a lauded Phx Union scholarship student, was one such student). She couldn't read, spell, or write a one paragraph essay assignment! At all!


By 2008, I believe that that young white girl was telling me that this *dumbing down educational pathology* (strategy) had taken hold in working class white schools in Colorado, too. That gal said that she felt *blindsided* when she had to do ANY of her assignments!


In any case, to sum up: HOMEWORK. SWATS. Not only during segregation in the Negro culture, but also in many Afrikan tribal and Asian cultures too.


Q: In today's global educational/working world, just *where* are the most accomplished, prepared, DOMINATING, *talented students* emerging from? Which cultures (cultural approaches) are producing these students? Which peoples are producing *the most hireable(sp)* STEM-type students?


One Love, and PEACE

In regards to your question concerning 'which students' the answer is Asians. I will add to that AfAms, Latinos and others who attend Magnet school programs and some charter schools which serve as preparatory academies.

The Asians in particular became the fastest growing student population in the UC system in the 80s.

In terms if 'others' that would be African, east Indian and other immigrant and foreign students who have strong math and computer science backgrounds.

I work for a nonprofit learning center of which our main program is after school tutorial. I am the program director. In addition to teaching a group of high school students, my after school class is 5-6th. A sizeable Ethiopian-American student base.

Most of our students have string math skills at the high school level. Many AP and zhonirs students. Their weakness tends to be English and writing skills. Writing is a weakness which is not emphasized like it used to be. Grammar is no longer taught, for the most part. So this is what I tend to emphasize with my students.

As far as 12 yro students taking college level Algebra, that is quite exceptional. Introductory Algebra is taught in 7th grade. A main part of the problem here is students tend to be weak in fractions and factoring. Most basic math skills should be mastered by end of the 5th grade but they are not.

As far as curriculum is concerned, advanced students tend to take Geometry in the 8th grade, Algebra 2 in the 9th, Calculus/Trig in 10th, etc.

Most of my students tend to have problems with Algebra 1 and may not take Geometry until the 10th or 11th grade. That is why their parents enroll them in our program, because of the problems they experience.

Keep in mind that in your day students did not do math assignments using Mr Ankers and other less challenging programs which lack academic vigour. This is not a problem of low standards-based curriculum, but moreso an issue of changing teaching methodologies based on political correctness and hipness. This is why swatting and paddling are now considered child abuse. And this is a problem because, as I can attest from my own experience, sometimes the threat of getting swatted can serve as a prime motivator. Especially if a student has the ability and potential but chooses to goof around instead.

However, make no mistake. From my experience, the overriding factor in my leaving what had become a very lucrative career, with a more than adequate income, was increases in class sizes to over 45 students in my 6th grade English and history classes.


This is my main selling point to parents who are considering independent study program or home schooling. Lower class size and teacher-student ratio.

I work in Koreatown. The Korean community has a multitude of elite learning academies, after school programs, test prep centers, and this is why their numbers are outpacing whites in many university programs in California (I can't speak for other states).
 

umbrarchist

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Tiger19

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Home school. God gave children to parents, not state government.
In my observation of not only being a product of attending public schools with a home environment that thoroughly supported my enlightenment but also a teacher in the homeschool environment which has yielded much success w/o the drama & trauma of the behemoths known as public schools..there are very viable alternatives to the establishment paradigm...
 

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