Skip to main content

View Diary: Missouri lawmaker introduces bill allowing familes to 'opt out' of learning evolution (194 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  No child left behind is flawed. (0+ / 0-)

    Education shouldn't be about making everyone equal academically. Schools should teach everyone the basics and then foster individual talents. Japanese students compete for the privilege to attend the best schools. They must prove they are capable of learning advanced material. This has not left them in the "global dust."

    America has embraced this philosophy in some areas. In non-academic classes like sports or band, participation is voluntary, and the instructor has the authority to cut underperforming students. This results in the U.S. having world-class athletes and musicians. Why not bring that successful strategy to STEM classes?

    •  parents opting out of certain subjects (0+ / 0-)

      This has nothing to do with making "everyone equal academically."  That is not the goal, nor will it happen because of differences in students.  However, everyone needs to learn basics, as you say, but the basics include basic scientific facts, math to a fairly high degree, and history, reading, etc.  ALL students need this information to be able to perform jobs--almost any jobs--in the 21st century.  To not require this kind of education would be to relegate many of our children to servant status in the country (which, btw, is exactly what many 1 percenters would like).

      As for the Japanese system, I have taught there, and you don't know the realities.  Their system, along with South Korea's, causes a great deal of suffering and money by parents who make their children study with tutors after every school day so they can get into those elite schools.  Further, the system that is comparable to our K-12 emphasizes rote learning (one reason they do so well on standardized tests) but does not teach problem-solving or critical thinking.  The best Japanese students come to the U.S. or Britain for their university or professional degrees.  They do that to learn what our system has been teaching for a hundred years.

      Finally, no public school I have ever seen or known about gives coaches or music directors the authority to kick someone out simply for "underperforming."

      •  I remember an episode of STNG (0+ / 0-)

        (Star Trek: the Next Generation; the one with the bald Captain if you are not a Trekker) that opened with an 8 year old boy running through the corridors of the Enterprise (yes, entire families were on board) being chased by his father, who caught him and dragged him back to the classroom.  The boy complained, "Aw, Dad!  Why do I need to take calculus anyway?"

        You can't have a warp drive civilization with stone age educated citizens.  Not for long, anyway.

      •  Public schools soooo give authority to coaches. (0+ / 0-)

        So according to you, any child who wants to be the starting quarterback gets to, and the coach has no say? I'm pretty certain you're wrong. At my school, the coach got to bench or cut players at will. Ditto the band director.

        As for "everyone needs to learn basics," would you agree that it would be cruel to force a developmentally challenged student to take and pass Algebra and Biology? If so, then you agree there is a level above which some students cannot perform. So our disagreement is over where to draw that line.

        High school AP classes are full of kids who can't handle the material, but their parents are hoping they'll earn some free college credits. It would be so much better if the teacher had the authority to say, "These kids haven't demonstrated the ability to stay in this class." Then they could teach the remaining students more effectively and at a higher level.

        That's the secret to staying competitive: the quality of our graduates, not the quantity.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site