Just for a laugh .... School Rules

purpleroses(SanDiegoCA)August 28, 2008

I'm looking over my kids' classroom info and came across some funny stuff.

AP Physics:

In addition to the regular "be on time, don't be absent, don't wear hoods, sunglasses, hats, turn off and hide all electronics devices: there is:

15. Don't whine/snivel/moan

Daughter's junior high dress code calls for 2.5 inches on girls' straps. They actually went around measuring on the first day.

My daughter said " They don't even make tops like that!"

I told her we would take everything back to Abercrombie, Hollister, Aropostale and head to the "misses" section at Sears or Wallyworld.

She whined, sniveled and moaned!

But I must admit, Abercrombie has shorts and skirts for tweenyboppers that look more like belts to me. They are so short! I'll be in the store literally yelling, "NO WAY are you wearing something like that."

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cecily(7 VA)

AP Physics is a 'no whining' zone! I love it! DD's middle school dress code requires shirts with sleeves and skirts/shorts to be knuckle length. The girls can wear tank tops or spaghetti strap tops with a sweater over the top -- you know the 'invisible' sort of meshy sweater that you couldn't wear alone anyway. DD doesn't care, she's a modest nerdy type and wears mostly polos and capris.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:58AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Yep, our school ruled out hoods, and logos on polos. A member of the school board said if we don't limit the logos now, they'll be coming to school with marijuana leaves on their shirts. Whatever. We're homeschooling here but not because of the dress code, the education is not education anymore.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 4:37PM
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Terry Crawford

Carla - how true about the education. My DD is doing her student teaching this semester and called tonight and was so upset because where she is teaching this fall is going to be allowing students next year to get 50% on tests in Math and History just by showing up in class and writing their names on the paper. That's it...that's all they have to do. They are "concerned" about the students' self-esteem because some of them are giving up because they are getting zeros on tests. My DD, who has been on the Dean's List all 3 years in college, was livid. She's always studied hard for her grades, and for high school kids to be allowed to "get a free pass" left her speechless. I think she's already getting disillusioned with the education system.

What is our education system teaching? It's ok to just show up and not try? It's unacceptable.

IMO, it's not about self-esteem, it's all about the "state numbers" game and where the schools place in the hierarchy of achievement. Better student grades makes their school look better academically.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:22PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

My classroom rules seemed odd to the kids until we had our first test a couple of days ago. During a test or quiz, they cannot ask a question. They can write it on their paper, but cannot ask. Once we had our first quiz there was one person out of 162 who objected. They all understood how fast the quiz went since there were no interruptions form the students or teacher. During the test the students cannot open a purse or pull anything out of their pockets. I have tissue spotted all over the room, and they can point to their nose and I will bring it to them.

Many serious problems in the school are avoided by the tardy policy. The girls need to flirt with their boyfriends, but students cannot be late or they must serve 4 days lunch detention. The girls take off their fancy shoes with 4 inch heels and walk very very fast barefoot to class.

The parents in our school are very supportive, but even though they say that they are sorry the classes are so large, they do not understand what we must do to teach the class. We have Back to School night each year, but I wish the parents could visit when we have all 36 or 38 kids - 16 years old, in a classroom designed for far less. It is terribly exhausting for the teacher to explain "time management" to the kids, and still have their interest and support. Each little whine gives 35 other people license to give a 10 second complaint. My kids have no homework because we work on time management as a team. When a whine starts, I say "homework", and the class stops the person who is whining.

My school is good, and we have good test scores. Our kids are well prepared for college, but many schools have problems. I wish we had fewer students in the classes, but we manage. The parents can be a real problem sometimes when they expect special treatment.

This year is my first year to have a web site. Whenever the kids are absent andn want to know what they missed, they just need to check the web site. They can do this the day before and come in fully prepared for class. The parents have a way to access the grades, so contacting them is not the problem it used to be.

Gee, I have written too much. Sorry.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:10AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Terry, last year in some of my daughter's classes they watched movies and played games! Unbelievable! I do not doubt that your daughter is disillusioned, many college grads do not want to teach anymore.
You've heard of the policy "Leave no child behind." That can work against the students too.
When I went to the school to inform them of our choice, the secretary and a senior asked me why and I replied for many reasons and they both said they understood. How interesting.
I am not speaking for other schools but IMO, the clothes mean nothing if the kids are not getting a proper education.
I cannot speak of how Sammy teaches or how her school operates. I commend her for even being a teacher in these days.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:28AM
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cecily(7 VA)

DD attends a 'good' middle school in a 'good' district - they do exist! Generally school districts in the DC suburbs are intensely academic and the environment is competitive (Kumon, Huntingdon and Sylvan learning centers are making a mint of money providing a competitive edge). We have the School Fusion web program so I could theoretically check DD's grades and assignments but I choose not to - the kid's gotta become responsible before high school. DD uses the homework feature daily because her Spanish teacher does not allow any use of English in the classroom and homework assignments are given in Spanish. The assignment is given in English on the website so that helps clarify things!
Classes are ability grouped in math, language arts and foreign language so DD is with the serious kids for most of the school day. She has a peer group and the kids are supportive of each other. Overall we're pleased with her school experiences. A school with 1400 kids does have logistical challenges (crowded hallways, short lunch periods) but those are outweighed by the advantage of more course offerings (foreign language, algebra in 8th grade).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:11PM
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Cecily congratulations on raising "a nerdy type." I only aspire to as much with my kids. Everyone goes around looking like a prostitute or a gangsta these days and I sure don't like it.

OTOH, my son just started Kindergarten this August and he has homework every night. I guess this is in response to the Asian countries whooping the US in science and math. Still, Kindergarten for our generation was 3 hours of playing with a nap in the middle.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 5:18PM
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cecily(7 VA)

Hey Red, DD had mucho homework some elementary years and in other years the only assigned homework would be 'read for twenty minutes nightly'. Perhaps all the kindergarten work is the teacher's way of informally assessing where the kids are academically (and which parents are supportive). In retrospect I sorta liked the homework because it let me know what the class was studying -- little kids tell you about recess, lunch, the school bus, etc but they seldom mention curriculum. If DD had a worksheet (gah, I hate worksheets!) on spiders I'd check out a library book on spiders to extend her learning. If she had a worksheet on apple trees I'd take her to an orchard to pick apples. She's a perfectionist so she would've spent an hour coloring a single page and I had to say 'Enough! You're done!'

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 12:02PM
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I spent the first day of Kindergarten in constant worry and when I picked him up at school and asked what happened, he told me "someone at lunch had a straw." He picks out the important info!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 2:54PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

As we test our students and read the results, we need to remember that we are not reading solid results like a CPA Audit. We are reading results that are tainted.

In America we test all students. How many countries have all students in a school where they ALL have the opportunity to go to college if they wish. Most countries begin to test and place their kids in teh 4th grade. If we had a 16 year old kid who had always been in the lowest most basic classes, if that kid signed up for an AP or Pre AP class, we would call in a parent and discuss the placement, then allow it if that is what they wanted. Our opportunities are always available. If a student drops out of school at the age of 13, and wants to go to college when he or she is 18, 25,35, we will teach that person, offer adult classes to prepare him/ her for college. Is there another country that can say that?

No Child Left Behind hurts so many people and does very little good.

We could do so much with education if only we had a chance. I teach Spanish as a foreign language. You know our students should have the opportunity to be taught all day in another language. We have private schools like that and it is great. They graduate bilingual. A person should be able to grab a hold of what he can really do and fly with it. The child with an early flair with math should be able to be challened and moved in math as far and as fast as he would like to go. We just cannot do so many things now because we have to meet federal tests.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 11:02AM
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This actually turned into an interesting thread. two items - self-esteem and "education".

Self-esteem as something to be concerned with came out of the 1960s generation when people were claiming that minorities can't do well because they were not held in high regard by "society". And that was expanded to cover all of the precious children, to the point that competition in any form was frowned on, whether it be baseball or academics. But self-esteem is self-reinforcing IF the child actually deserves to esteem himself or herself.

As an example, I once asked my younger brother how he got to be so good in math. He wasn't sure, but he did mention that when he was hospitalized for a few weeks in third and fourth grades, there was talk of holding him back because of all the school he missed. That meant his twin sister would move ahead and he was going to have none of that. So he asked for his schoolbooks. Having no idea what the assignments were, he simply learned everything in the books. When he returned to school, he was so far ahead that they gave him the next year's assignments. He didn't particularly love math at that point, but with the students and teachers thinking he was so good, he liked the feeling and made sure to maintain it. Ended up getting masters degrees in math and electrical engineering and a PhD in physics.

That was all of course, reinforced at home, but students end up living up or down to their definitions. So the idea was to boost self-esteem. And I think the big problem was that the boosters were looking at a result, not the means of getting there. So about 12 years ago Charles Kruthammer wrote an article titled something like "Feeling Good about Being Bad" and the gist of it was that he was quoting studies that showed Americans as failing when compared to European and many Asian children, but feeling prouder of themselves than any of those children. So I've always thought that the self-esteem thing was BS - get students good at something, anything, and self-esteem takes care of itself.

As far as "education", that can be obtained in so many ways. I was one of the world's worst students for a number of reasons. I hated authority, didn't want to follow in the mold of my older or younger siblings, didn't respect my teachers, and was all around trouble. Initially I was miserable but when I started getting peer respect for being able to disrupt class cleverly, I spent all of my time figuring out how to cause trouble until I was finally kicked out for a while. I can't remember anything that I really learned in school after fourth or fifth grade except typing, which was the single most useful subject I ever took.

But I had an advantage that most people didn't. My father was a world traveler fluent in about 9 languages and my mother was fluent in 3. Both of them were readers and when we were sitting around the dinner table my father would ask us what the capital of Turkey was or how to spell Bucharest or he would tell us about some historical event or something political or explain how something worked. From childhood, I would always read for a while before going to sleep. So when I was in 10th grade I knew as much about American history as our student teacher and I frequently corrected her and the other students laughed and I lost respect for her and that cycle wound ever tighter.

It was stupid not least because I never really learned how to study "properly" and that put me at a disadvantage later in grad school and in law school. The point is that education can come from any number of sources. I've always felt, and still do, that for many people, schools are not the best way to provide an education. They work for a certain type of person. I'm certainly not knocking them or criticizing all teachers - I've even dated a few. But we waste a lot of money and talent by not looking for better ways to teach. The idea of one person talking to a room full of students has been around since Plato's time except that in his time, only the people who were greatly interested would be part of the group. So it was self-selected.

What do we do with the others? Why can't we take a group of kids and have them build a boat? They can learn about wood, about engineering, about tools, about the seas, about history, about weather, and who knows what else? Or have them build a house? Note - my cousin, who is a builder but was a teacher for a while, actually did this. And I'm not talking about a "shop" class. I'm talking about a year-long project that will require calculating, writing, etc. They could even have a foreigner teach it and communicate only in another language.

The closest to these things were maybe the yearbook or the school newspaper - both of which provided more in the way of "education" than the simple formal schooling did. We're smart in the US. It seems like we should be able to find some better way of providing education to more people.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 2:53PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

As far as your attitude in school, we do our best to work with students like you, and help turn them around. We teach Leadership for one and do our best to reach those who resist the system.

I agree completely with what you have written, and so do most teachers.

I wonder if we have a worse problem in schools than obesity or anorexia. It breaks your heart sometimes to see how much of a person's character in school is lost because of a weight problem. But in the 9th or 10th grade nutrition is barely taught, and probably destroyed by the vending machines and what they serve in the cafeteria. We could teach and help the students to live all kinds of lifestyles that would address their needs. With a set of realistic classes, students with particular needs could be placed in a program that would incorporate their needs. A mixture of exercise, nutrition, food preparation skills, eating breakfast and lunch together, and maybe toss in history. Then use a different type of afternoon schedule. Using our imagination, we could devise all kinds of activities that would help the student grow, and meet his/her individual needs.

A child with a reading disability would benefit greatly by playing tennis. We have so many students who are medicated for ADD and ADHD. What if they were in a track to run everyday at 10:00? What if they had a similar nutrition class to meet their needs?

What if we could teach all students to grow some crops, and what if we could provide sidewalks and security so they could safely walk to school?

Why wait until college to teach only college kids about marriage and family. Marriage and Family, Psychology, and Sociology should be taught earlier, so that little by little the students could begin to see right from wrong. A parent cannot do much to support a kid who feels ridiculed, but a textbook could make a huge difference. We work hard to address bully issues, and take each claim seriously. Often students are surprised when they have detention because of how they treat someone else. But that still does not help the victim, because the victim just doesn't have a strong self esteem.

Sorry to have gone on and on, but budgeting money should also be taught. Don't forget how to treat animals.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 9:02AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

roseninny, some kids do not even know where Washington is, the capital. Teens in stores could not make change except for the cash register help. What your father did was good. Incorporated learning when he could. I'm afraid education is just not important in the US as it could be, by that I mean the government is not as interested.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 9:05AM
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About the obesity issue....my son in Kindergarten is given just 20 minutes to eat lunch. This seems a little "lean." How can we complain about obesity while they have to shove it down?

I agree that one of the main problems is teaching to the test. There should be some metrics to determine whether schools are performing up to standard, but it has taken on a life of it's own. All of the paltry funding that goes into teaching to the test to the detriment of phys ed, music, art, etc.

Also, sorry Sammy but the tenure thing has got to go, IMO. In the corporate world you have to produce every every year or you are out. Teaching should be held to the same standards. Our new Superintendent of Schools was in hot water for firing just 18 teachers. Actually they were not even fired, their 1 year contracts were not renewed.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 2:58PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Obesity is a health issue throughout the country. It is a fact of life like so many issues. We need to teach nutrition not from a text book only, but through other classes so that kids would know how to eat, and what to eat. We do not teach family, social issues in the school, but teach to the test. We need to turn the entire education process around so that we address life/health issues. I see it as an issue that a young child has 20 minutes to eat.

I am not aware that tenure is in effect anywhere now. Our first year teachers are all temporary. Nobody can come in and fire teachers -- or most other people in the business world. There is a clearly defined process that any human being deserves. If a teacher is in violation, the teacher is counseled, observed, even sent to a workshop. We do our best to work with people, and if the person cannot meet up to the expectations of the contract, then he/she is released.

I have worked so hard most of my life to keep my weight in a suitable range. It is just awful. I love to eat and I love to snack. I see kids eating candy all day long. So many people today live on junk, and their kids do not know what to eat. Fortunately we have a strong athletic program, and those kids influence others. But today's hectic lifestyle makes it very difficult for a mother or father to prepare good foods, work all day, and transport kids here there and everywhere.

Frozen foods are extremely high in calories for what you get. I won't go on and on, but my state has a very high obesity and unwed pregnancy rate. I think these things ought to be addressed in schools. I am not bashing overweight people, but feel that our young people need guidance in the schools.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 8:56PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

They do teach eating in some health classes. I remember last year in my daughter's health class they were studying calories and different foods. Maybe not enough time spent on it? Now it sounds like we're bashing the education system.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 8:59AM
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cecily(7 VA)

DD has attended schools in CT, VA, NC and now VA again. In each district candy/junk food was forbidden. Snacks could be pretzels, crackers or '100 calorie' packs of cookies, other 'unhealthy' snacks were confiscated by the teacher. Class parties featured baby carrots, crackers, pretzels, popcorn and cheese sticks. Birthday cupcakes were forbidden. Any food sent in for parties had to be packaged so teachers could read the ingredient label (many kids have serious food allergies).

DD has drawn the food pyramid every year since first grade. They have studied the nutrition labels on food packages also. She's frankly tired of it.

A twenty minute lunch period means that three groups can cycle through the cafeteria in one hour. A thirty minute lunch would only allow two uses of the cafeteria per hour. At one large elementary school, the lunch periods began at 10 AM and ended at 1:30 PM. The year that DD had a 1PM lunch, I was not happy. I now think twenty minutes is okay.

I think its unrealistic to expect the public schools to solve all the ills of society. I also think birthday cupcakes are one of childhood's great joys.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 10:44AM
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I agree, what is a birthday without a cupcake? Like all things, good sense is moderation.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 1:40PM
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