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FLP: Why are American kids dumb and lagging behind.

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Hank View Post
    In my opinion, high school geometry is where the love of math goes to die in the typical American K-12 curriculum. Planar geometry is pretty simple. Solid geometry isn't much tougher. You could teach this to a classroom of average intelligence high schoolers in about a semester. Spend the second semester on trigonometry and you're looking at a solid one year math curriculum. Now you have space to get at least differential calculus before high school graduation. (Calc 1, a single college semester class). With an accelerated or above average class, you can cover both single variable differential and integral calculus. (Advanced Placement Calculus BC, or both Calc 1 and Calc 2 at the same one topic per class pace as college.)
    I guess this is where I'm confused. Bolded more or less describes my geometry class as I remember it.

    I suppose my experience may be atypical. Then again, I think everyone is drawing from their own experiences, which makes the whole topic difficult to discuss since it's not clear we are all talking about the same thing.

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    • #47
      When I was in high school there was the creatively named math 1,2, and 3.
      1 was algebra. 2 was geometry. 3 was trigonometry.
      Each was a year long in 9th 10th and 11th grade respectfully.
      Senior year you could take additional math if you wanted. I took calc but statistics was a choice.

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      • #48
        I started teaching my fatlittlepigs basic algebra in the second to third grade.

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        • #49
          I haven't read all the replies here so I apologize if this is a repeat. Watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman". Very interesting overview of our educational system and how teacher's unions can be a real hinderance to moving great education forward.

          Also, I imagine a lot of the issue with education is similar to the problems with medicine......huge growth on the administrative side and not comparable growth on the "provider" (teacher/doctor) side

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
            When I was in high school there was the creatively named math 1,2, and 3.
            1 was algebra. 2 was geometry. 3 was trigonometry.
            Each was a year long in 9th 10th and 11th grade respectfully.
            Senior year you could take additional math if you wanted. I took calc but statistics was a choice.
            Those days are long gone. Now there is Algebra I, II and III with honors and AP. Similar for geometry and Statistics and Calculus AB abd BC. Math has become extremely complicated and high grades are required to get the right GPA for top colleges.
            Competition is brutal.
            Last edited by Kamban; 12-07-2019, 08:02 PM.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Kamban View Post

              Those days are long gone. Now there is Algebra I, II and II with honors and AP. Similar for geometry and Statistics and Calculus AB abd BC. Math has become extremely complicated and high grades are required to get the right GPA for top colleges.
              Competition is brutal.
              Interesting... in California, we have "Integrated 1, Integrated 2, and Integrated 3" which combine the subjects so that Integrated 1 is the basics of algebra, basics of trig, basics of geometry... then Integrated 2 is more in-depth of those and then Integrated 3 is the highest level. My kids, as sophomores, are in pre-calc. Parents make a big difference.

              I was speaking to one of the teachers recently saying that the kids (including mine) who went through the Spanish Immersion program seem to all be excelling in school. I asked "Do you think that is due to the bilingual education or that the parents who valued school made an effort to get their kids to the Immersion school?" She seemed to think it was the bilingual brain but I think it is the parents (as the school is 13 miles from town, so was a big effort to get the kids there, volunteering, etc compared to the local elementary school). Interesting....

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              • #52
                I think this can all be settled by looking at the best public school districts. They aren’t the ones with the most dedicated teachers or the most money. But they are the ones with a high percentage of two parent households, typically with at least one professional, who understand (typically through their own experiences) the value of education and push their kids. If not for that those schools would be nothing special.

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                • #53
                  My daughter's school is ranked something like 6000 in the nation. Among the bottom in the state and only 45% took even one AP exam and only 35% passed one AP exam. College readiness is poor and math and reading proficiency hovers at 50%.

                  On the other hand three hours away is the number 1 school in the state (and the country) which has 100% in everything. How can things be so different in the same state

                  Well, the minority population in my kid's school is 85% and the economically disadvantaged is 100% (we probably were as minor statistical blip). The other school had minority of 18% and economically disadvantaged of just 3%. Many of my kid's classmates come from single parent families or are even taken care by guardians / grandparents since neither parent is available to take care of their children. The pride of the school is not any science or math achievement but the "Go Tigers" football program. High school football games is probably the only place where parents come together. If there is a PTA meeting or any other meeting about school curriculum only a handful of parents show up.

                  I am not sure how this can even be corrected without a fundamental change to our society hoping for 2 parents at home and aiming for their kid to become an Einstein or Madam Curie than LeBron or Russel Wilson. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Kamban View Post
                    My daughter's school is ranked something like 6000 in the nation. Among the bottom in the state and only 45% took even one AP exam and only 35% passed one AP exam. College readiness is poor and math and reading proficiency hovers at 50%.

                    On the other hand three hours away is the number 1 school in the state (and the country) which has 100% in everything. How can things be so different in the same state

                    Well, the minority population in my kid's school is 85% and the economically disadvantaged is 100% (we probably were as minor statistical blip). The other school had minority of 18% and economically disadvantaged of just 3%. Many of my kid's classmates come from single parent families or are even taken care by guardians / grandparents since neither parent is available to take care of their children. The pride of the school is not any science or math achievement but the "Go Tigers" football program. High school football games is probably the only place where parents come together. If there is a PTA meeting or any other meeting about school curriculum only a handful of parents show up.

                    I am not sure how this can even be corrected without a fundamental change to our society hoping for 2 parents at home and aiming for their kid to become an Einstein or Madam Curie than LeBron or Russel Wilson. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
                    I’m a little surprised that your kid goes to that school that you are describing.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post

                      I’m a little surprised that your kid goes to that school that you are describing.
                      We are zoned for a much better school but she, and four of her classmates from the number one gifted middle school of the state purposefully chose this poorly ranked school because it has the best IB program in the county and among the best in the state. But this is such a tiny program in the huge school that it does not move the needle much. Unfortunately the county and the state has a tendency to place the gifted / magnet programs in the worst performing schools set in dodgy neighborhoods that forces parents to send our kids there if they want IB or magnet education. It is situated in such a neighborhood that I would never dream of walking there at night.

                      I am still not convinced that this was all worth it but it was her choice.

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                      • #56
                        American schools are essentially sports training programs with a sprinkling of academics thrown in. Go to other countries and school is school. No football, soccer, cheerleaders etc. Just school. Here you can be barely literate and get into a fairly top school for your squash and crew abilities. Not so elsewhere, where university is much harder to get into, and it's all about grades and test scores.

                        People respond to what's valued- there's not really a reward for being academically excellent in the US, so why focus on it?

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by snowcanyon View Post
                          Here you can be barely literate and get into a fairly top school for your squash and crew abilities
                          I was with you until the squash and crew part. I’m curious why did you choose those sports?

                          There were only 14 NCAA D1 and 22 D3 schools that sponsored varsity squash in 2019. Basketball? Over 1,500.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Kamban View Post
                            We are zoned for a much better school but she, and four of her classmates from the number one gifted middle school of the state purposefully chose this poorly ranked school because it has the best IB program in the county and among the best in the state. But this is such a tiny program in the huge school that it does not move the needle much. Unfortunately the county and the state has a tendency to place the gifted / magnet programs in the worst performing schools set in dodgy neighborhoods that forces parents to send our kids there if they want IB or magnet education. It is situated in such a neighborhood that I would never dream of walking there at night.

                            I am still not convinced that this was all worth it but it was her choice.
                            In theory, I really like how the international baccalaureate program builds upon itself over four years and offers a meaningful, integrated educational experience. In practice, I think AP classes or local college dual enrollment makes more sense for offering more college credits and offering a better snapshot of what the student learned in each class. As much as I want to like the IB program, it seems like it doesn't give you as many credits and as much of a chance to maximize a "5.0" on a 4.0 GPA scale.

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                            • #59
                              snowcanyon

                              ”Here you can be barely literate and get into a fairly top school for your squash and crew abilities.”
                              Don’t think those two sports are a factor in high school education. Come to think of it, not much impact at the university level, niche sports primarily a coastal elitist alumni thing.
                              Now football and basketball are different. Dreams of money and fame are widespread.

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                              • #60
                                I tried to do some quick searches this morning to find some data regarding children of two parent households vs. one parent household. Regardless of what site you look at, two parent households have significantly decreased over the last 40 years while single parent households have increased. I wasn't able to easily find information (average education level obtained, career income, etc.) to compare children from the two vs. one parent household but I suspect I know what the overall trend is. The question is: how do you re-focus on the importance of marriage and a two person household. I imagine the answer is fairly political and it can't be accomplished in one generation.

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