Next Batch of TSA Screeners Being Prepared

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by RB, May 16, 2012.

  1. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    I have come to the conclusion that most so-called "learning disabilities" are actually gaps in education. If a student is socially promoted without necessary skills, s/he flounders in subsequent grades. This is usually identified as a learning disability, because admitting previous education was inadequate is not in keeping with the narcissism of educational institutions.

    Further, the theories about why formal Grammar is unnecessary are very seductive. These arguments are believable, because most people with good mastery of Grammar don't directly call from their knowledge very often. Their mastery seems intuitive, and so it's hard to prove that the formal Grammar lessons were necessary, or even helpful. I bought into those theories myself, and taught without formal Grammar in our second home-school year. It didn't work out.

    I personally recommend "Cozy Grammar" to anyone who missed the boat on Grammar. It's very, very effective. It works for ESL, and it works for young and old. Marie Rackham uses multiple modes to convey Grammar. While her exercises seem simple, each builds upon the last.

    These materials are a bit pricey up front, but the workbooks are black-line reproducible Adobe files. Home schooling swap sites and state annual home schooling convention used material sales offer perfectly good "gently used" sets at substantially reduced prices. E-bay, not so much. They've started to really gouge on used educational materials.
    barbell likes this.
  2. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    The grammar and basic language skills training are lacking because of forced institutional focus (as well as the aforementioned tendencies to refrain from admitting shortcomings). The sad thing, is that the vast majority of any "schooling" system depends on having a workable base for your language skills, and the deterioration of that base for our kids is deplorable.

    I think that basic skills testing is a good tool to help determine guidelines for the classes and whether a student should advance to the next level, but that is a tough thing to standardize. We are also lacking in mathematics, historical classes and just about any of the classical educational subsets we have had here. My daughter was schooled in NY for her teens, and we had a discussion about the (un)Civil War one time while she was visiting. She was 15 and had a book report to do over the summer, and I offered to help her... A kind distillation of the book would be that the Civil War was based solely on the slavery issue (don't get me wrong, it was one of the major driving issues, but not the whole reason the war was fought), without delving into any of the underlying socio-economic issues or even the states rights issues raised by the conflict. That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as far as education - dumb down my help to my daughter so she would get a passing grade for the report (after about 5 phone conversations with the teacher).

    Since then I have had many conversations with her about history, and while I use Wiki quite often, if she has serious questions about history, I help her look up real books on the subject, and advise her to use the references cited on Wiki sites, rather than the actual Wiki itself. My grand-daughter will have an even harder time building that base, because even though I have worked with my daughter on the basics, her grasp of language is not as firm as mine, and she has not had the reinforced learning curve that I had. My mother has an even better grasp on language than I do, so it seems to be a generational deterioration (because mom was in a one room grade school until about the 5th grade range).

    Completely OT, I just read Edgar Rice Burroughs series about John Carter of Mars, and the writing was so much better than the majority of stuff coming out now. I recommend them if you get a chance, the first 4 or so novels are free on kindle!
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  3. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Thanks. I am sure I would enjoy that. I was given a Kindle, and it's still somewhat under-utilized. (I have strong Luddite tendencies.)

    Like you I'm a bit concerned about my children's grasp of language. They're supposedly far above "grade level," and yet they lack the vocabularies needed to enjoy the books I read when I was their age. I agree with you that language mastery is declining fast from generation to generation. I don't know how worried we should be.
    Rugape likes this.
  4. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    No. Counties can re-assess your property and adjust the rates up or down, but only by a small percentage per year. If not for prop 13, the legislature by a simple majority vote could increase your prop taxes to any amount they wanted. That would be a destructive weapon in our present circumstances if they still possessed it. I would sell everything immediately if there looked to be a return to that.
  5. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I have those same tendencies, I love the smell and feel of old books and bookstores, the feel of a well made book. That being said, I have the kindle on my phone and it makes it easy to read things during lunch and breaks, other than that, I would much rather have the printed medium.

    I think we should be extremely worried about it, learning is a fundamental process for all of us every single day, and lack of a basic element of that learning process (or at least a weak grasp on said element) places us at risk. I text with the kid all the time, and it saddens me when I see kids using text language (h8r, u, etc) as common place in everyday transactions/paperwork/job applications(!) it makes me cringe. My kid tells me I should have been a stodgy old Englishman of "High station" because I use words she has to go look up all the time. My response is that her schooling and my parenting (she has lived away from me since she was about 4) have failed her in epic fashion - to which she responded "noone uses the phrase "epic fashion" in everyday conversations dad". Sigh.
  6. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Essentially yes. Prop 13 is still in effect.
  7. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I've come to the conclusion that most so-called "learning disabilities" are actually the result of egg and sperm donors who don't want to take the time it requires to actually be "parents."

    They'd rather medicate a kid who's bored than come up with activities to challenge them.

    (And, no, I do not dispute that "ADD/ADHD" and other syndromes exist - I just consider them to be over-diagnosed by at least two orders of magnitude.)
    DeafBlonde, Lisa Simeone and Monica47 like this.
  8. It's not just parents, though -- decent parents might send a kid to school, school sucks, as it tends to do, and the kid is bored, fidgety, won't sit still, and the teacher suggests the kid looks to have a syndrome of some sort, and that the parents should really get the kid in to see the doctor ASAP. The parents, bless their naive hearts, present with the "symptoms" that the teacher has told them about, and doctor gives a diagnosis and writes out a prescription.

    I'd like to think this sort of thing is happening less and less now that there have been enough Datelines about it, but it was certainly SOP in many schools for quite a while.
  9. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Oops. sorry. I meant Yes. Prop 13 has survived so far, although one recent attempt was made to repeal it. I just wanted to add that prop 13 allows for some movement in the tax you pay both up and down, based on assessed values. The tax can never exceed 1% of the value of your house. In a situation where the house is spiking up in value, the max increase per year is limited to 2% until you hit the allowed max tax of 1% of valuation. Sorry for being garbled in my original response.
  10. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I knew what you meant. :)
  11. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Thanks, nachtnebel and Sunny Goth, for the responses. I thought that was the case. My sister pays a paltry sum on property she has owned since the mid-60's in S. California.
  12. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    These days, that house might be WORTH what she paid for it in the mid 60's... :)
    I purchased my current house in the mid 90's. It more tripled in value during the run up craze by 2004. If not for prop 13, I would have had to sell (would have a good thing, except for the non voluntariness of it). As it was, there were small, manageable increases. (Now, there are small, manageable decreases!) If you're an elderly person, the on-paper value increases mean absolutely nothing. You HAVE to have somewhere to live. Those people on fixed income would have been ruined in CA without prop 13, at a time of their life where they simply could never recover.

    Prop 13 is blamed by the teaching establishment for their bad results. But the problems in california schools have very little to do with money. The bad results come because in this state either the kids are not motivated or teachers are not motivated or both, with kids coming from bad family situations or whatnot. The state makes this worse by its many mandates. Those schools that have the extremely high scores have them because the parents in those schools are engaged in their kids's lives, provide a positive environment for them, and encourage them to study, and they and their schools end run the state with a vengeance to get good content. The money in those districts do not cause those conditions. Washington DC spends more per student than most states, yet ranks near the bottom if not the bottom. The problem is who the kids are and where they come from.
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  13. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I somewhat agree with this, even though I think Prop 13 is mostly a disaster.

    Mostly not buying this.

    From what I've seen (family of teachers, and all), parents who are able to be very involved in the school district usually have a lot of extra time and money. Students who come from poorer areas don't have access to that time and money, especially if both parents have to work long hours.

    Teachers (the many good ones that are out there) make up for lack of parent involvement. And how much time and money are we expecting teachers to contribute for the salaries that they are paid? One case that I'm very familiar with is that of my aunt. She was a teacher and then a principal in a fairly poor district. Most of the parents there didn't even speak English. She went back to school to learn Spanish and was fairly fluent the last ten years or so of her life. She also contributed a ridiculous amount of money to the school, almost all of it going to students for items like writing paper, pencils, art materials, etc. When she died I probated her estate so I saw exactly how much of her own personal money she spent on students. It was a lot. She was able to do it because she never had kids of her own. I know she wouldn't have been able to give that much if she had kids to take care of at home.

    When I talk to others in my family, almost all of them buy school materials for their students (at various levels). Kids that live in richer districts don't tend to have these very basic problems.

    I'll also add, that at least in California, I don't know how it is in other states, the state lottery is a huge problem. When the bill allowing the lottery was first passed, it was passed with the idea that some of the money from ticket sales would be given to the schools to augment their budgets. I know that you'll all be shocked to know that that didn't happen. What did happen was that the money from ticket sales went to the schools, sure, but school budgets were cut with legislators saying that gaps in funding would be made up by ticket sales from the lottery.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  14. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I was referring to the time and resources that the parents spend with their kids outside of school. I agree, money on the parents side help with opportunities otherwise not available (music lessons, art, sight-seeing, broadening horizons via travel, etc) to poor kids, but that is what it is. This will never change. Being the son of a not terribly prosperous farmer, my kids have insights and opps that I'll never have, given our disparate upbringings. But, that's life. I'm happy with what I've had.

    oh my gosh. Never. Never in a million years. They can do a little, a little bit of mitigation to the damage of neglect, and that's about it, IMO. Maybe enough to nudge some in the right direction, so the attempt is praiseworthy.

    One teacher has about thirty kids per class. We need to get real about the possible impact even the best of teachers could have in this situation. This model, IMO is so fatally flawed it cannot be salvaged. Our current school system is directly taken from the Prussian one, with uniformity of content intended to lead to uniformity of result. Assembly line.

    We homeschooled our kids and tailored their education to their strengths and addressed their weaknesses, so that learning became something they enjoyed. One kid went from flunking math to teaching herself Calculus. In a school setting, she would have been lost because her weaknesses would never have been seen in time, nor adjusted for. She would have been left in the dust. Kids mature at different paces.

    It sounds like your aunt was a remarkable person, and had a positive impact on her students. She undoubtedly made a difference for them.

    If Johnny and Suzy have never, ever read any decent book entirely to completion, but only the disjointed third-rate paragraphs and politically correct short stories given them, that problem cannot be addressed by having more pens and pencils. Truth, beauty, quality, art, all of these things that could inspire these kids for a lifetime can be brought out for students without a great deal of expense. But you have to know how to do it, you have to know where the sources are, and the state and public education in CA is ignorant of all of this. They are fully ignorant of everything that matters.

    Great observation. This is pretty much what happened.
  15. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Amen! As an air force brat, I saw more than my fair share of schools and teachers, but the one I attended for a few months of 3rd grade (San Miguel Elementary School in Lemon Grove, east of San Diego) was memorably bad. The other kids couldn't read! Whenever it was reading time, the teacher would have me walking and tell other kids the words that they could read. Kid raises his hand & either the teacher or Mike walks over & reads the word to the kid.

    I later learned that California was at the foreskin of an educational disaster known as "Look-See Reading" or "whole word recognition". By arriving in the middle of the 3rd grade I was seeing more the results of the approach than the methodology itself. Fortunately, I could read before I got there. Most of my time at home was spent reading reading books.

    I'm sure there are plenty of good teachers (at least as individuals) in California, but this experience in mediocrity has always stuck out like a sore thumb for me.
  16. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I'd say it's mostly a success. The problem is bureaucrats & politicians that can't stay within a budget and are either too lazy or too nearsighted to look at the long-term liabilities that they create. Prop 13 was a brilliant response to that tendency. The feds can run printing presses, but all state & local governments can do is confiscate your earnings. Prop 13 seriously hampers that!

    Unfortunately here in MN the tax-and-spend Democrats are so afraid that we will replicate Prop 13 that they've block attempts for decades to let us have initiative & referendum legislation.
    nachtnebel likes this.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Grade school? We were diagramming sentences by the 6th grade.

    The teacher flew a broom, but looking back at that year from much different vantage point point now, she was good -- really good, and the best of 3 teachers I had in three years at that school.
  18. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Every teacher I know spends his/her money on basics for students all the time -- paper, pencils, books. And gives gives gives -- of time, of attention -- way beyond the call of duty. It's true they can't possibly make up for what some of these kids have to face at home -- drugs, addiction, homelessness, violence, and a constant drumbeat from the world that they're worthless, that they're disposable.

    There are so many "well-educated" assholes that come out of expensive private schools. God knows I've met enough of them. They vandalize property (including the family home), wreck cars, get habitually blind drunk, beat up weaker kids, think of rape as a rite of passage, and go on to careers that are handed to them, where they can then practice their habits on a larger scale.

    There's more than one way to be a parasite in this world, and when you've had every privilege in the book you tend to be a worse one. It's just that their crimes are excused and sometimes even lauded by society at large.

    (I realize this discussion is getting larger and moving farther afield, but then, as Mike always reminds us, that's the way conversations develop!)
  19. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Sounds like it might turn into a Kennedy thread! :D This one has already veered off into two tangents -- why not a 3rd?
  20. RB

    RB Founding Member

    And I was just remarking about how poorly educated high schoolers will find employment difficult and there TSA is with bare minimum skills requirements and no common sense or judgement required.

    The Texas lottery was pushed on how the money would go to the school systems. They lied.

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