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In response to:

The Dead-End Road Called Pre-K

Debi34 Wrote: Aug 26, 2014 8:56 AM
As a kindergarten teacher for over 20 years I can say that the children who come to K best prepared are those who come from two-parent homes where the mom does not work full time. As a whole, those children are well adjusted, happy and confident children, ready to take on the larger world. The worst prepared? Boys from single mothers who were sent to daycare centers. What those kids learned at the daycares, even so called high quality day cares, is survival. They learned to take what they could get and to look out only for themselves.
The Beautiful Man on Townhall!! Great article, James T! I worry you will grow beyond our little desert town and move on to bigger and better things. But I wish you well!
I don't know why they are here but I do know they are here legally and his father has a good job and is working hard, along with his son, to assimilate into our country. Not all immigrants are deadbeats or jihadists. I also know they are Christians (perhaps why they are refugees??) so they are escaping the Jihad, not training for it. Instead, why don't you consider the point of my comment that we expect all children to reach the same standard (hence the "Common" in Common Core) and that is an unreasonable expectation considering no two children are alike! By the way, the daughter of the two doctors is a spoiled, elitist brat, and her parents are very liberal. The Afghan boy is polite and well behaved. I'd rather spend my tax money to educate a kid like that and give him a chance to succeed!
One of the fundamental flaws of our educational system is the idea that all children of the same chronological age should be held to the same educational bar. Any parent with more than one child knows that each child is an individual who develops at his/her own pace. I've been in public education for over 25 years. In my current first grade class I have kids who are just beginning to really make sense of those little black marks on the page all the way to fluent readers who can read anything I put in front of them. My job as their teacher is to push each one forward from where they are to a higher level. Because a lot of my students have surpassed the standard, should I stop teaching them? My sweet little boy who is a refugee from Afghanistan who could barely speak English at the beginning of the year will never catch up to the girl who has lived in luxury all her life and whose parents are both doctors and give her every advantage! But, that little boy is working his tail off and making huge gains. Unfortunately, he is going to be labeled "at risk" because he is going to score poorly at the end of year tests compared to her. He is not at risk!!! He just came in behind the other kids and no matter how hard he works the other kids keep moving forward, too, and he will never catch up! His strong work ethic and supportive, loving parents will help him succeed in life. But, I worry that this system that keeps labeling him a failure will eventually squash that spirit in him...
My husband and I have lived all our lives in California. I hate what the libs have done to our once golden state. We are giving up and getting out while we still can. We see no future for ourselves nor our children. It is so sad to leave our friends and families, but the great weather can only get us so far. Just waiting for school to get out to make the final move. We've both already been hired for new jobs in Arizona where our salaries will be smaller but our standard of living will be significantly higher!!!
In my first grade classroom, I do use the first example (we call them 10 sticks and circles) to show the children in a concrete way what 19+6 means. The problem I am seeing with all these examples is that teachers are not taking the next step, which is to then use the concrete examples to show why the algorithm works! I show my students that by combining the 9 circles and the 6 circles to get 15 circles you can make 1 new group of 10 with 5 left over. That new group of 10 is the 1 you carry in the traditional algorithm. We are just now doing this in my classroom. The kids are totally getting the concept as to why we carry the 1 over to the next column. This concept is just supposed to be a step towards understanding why the algorithm works, not the only way to solve the problem!!!
In response to:

The Troubles with Common Core

Debi34 Wrote: Apr 21, 2014 7:48 PM
As a public school teacher for 26 years who also happens to be conservative I find it interesting that Common Core is hated by both conservatives and liberals. Conservatives hate it because it represents more big government intrusion into our children's lives. Liberals hate it because it is financed by big business and the testing industry and leads to programs like Teach For America that hurts teachers unions. Who likes it? The Washington Elite who see it as another way to gain power over the people. I think this is an issue big enough to start a movement to topple those elites and get the power back to the people where it belongs. Unfortunately, I don't think the two sides could work together well enough to do that. So, the Elites will probably win in the end and we will be stuck with the Common Core...
All of this is very true. I have been a public school teacher for 26 years. I have had tenure for 20 of them. Once I got tenure, I could have easily skated along. I have a colleague in the room next door to me. Every day he leaves at the same time the kids do. His kids often spend a lot of time watching videos or just playing around. My students are always better prepared for the next grade and I have many parents requesting their child be placed in my classroom rather than my neighbor's. But, guess what? He has a Master's Degree so he actually makes MORE money than I do! I sometimes wish I did not love teaching children how to read so much because I know I could make a lot more money and have a lot less stress if I moved to the private sector. But, I do love my students and will keep doing what I do. But, it also is very disheartening to read all these comments about how lazy teachers are and how liberal we all are. Not all of us are!!!!! I hate being a member of a union and would give up my tenure in a heartbeat. I know I am a good teacher. I don't need tenure or a union to protect me.
I find your comment really offensive. Some of us teachers are very conservative. We are dedicated to our students and work very hard to get them a good education. I know I am one of the few conservative teachers my students will ever have, but even my liberal colleagues are not what you describe. Most of them are married with children of their own. I may not agree with them politically but most of them are good people who do want to help their students. Most of us (liberal and conservative) do not like our unions and hate that we are forced to pay dues to an organization that does not represent us or our values. Last year I had to pay over $900 dollars in union dues.
I agree with everything you say except one thing. I don't think schools should get more money just because they do well on standardized tests. This would leave no schools wanting to teach those hard to teach children: special education, English Language Learners and children from poor, dysfunctional homes. Those kids deserve an education, too, but it is very hard for them to score well on standardized tests. There is always a bell curve and there will kids on the lower end who will always score low. But, we, as a society, should still make every effort to help them achieve to the best of their ability. One of the biggest problems in education is all those schools who serve those populations who are being destroyed by unrealistic No Child Left Behind mandates. Those kids will never score as high as wealthy kids in the suburbs whose parents are well educated and care about their education!
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