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[P]
If You Are in High School Do This:

By dteeuwen in Op-Ed
Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 06:00:58 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

A guide to getting through what is sure to be a waste of your time.


At present, I am 27, married and the father of one daughter. When I was in high school, I was an expert at not going to class. I skipped at least 50% of them, especially in the last two years, and I think I learned more for it.

I wouldn't go to class, but I would sit around the lame excuse for a mall across the street from our school and I would read. A friend of mine who posts on this site would come with me sometimes. He was certainly a better student, but could be coaxed to join me in my reading adventures.

The mall we went to always had these halls where no stores had opened yet, leaving only vacant spaces. We were free to lay on the ground and read all afternoon, if we chose to. We weren't afraid of the dirt.

High school in North America is basically a waste of time. If you have the money or the good fortune to have gone to a school that places you in the right place, with teachers that cared, with students who challenged you, you were/are lucky. The average North American high school is just a place to keep you from committing crimes during business hours.

I remember once when I skipped a class and went to Burger King. My teacher in geography class wanted to know where I'd been. I told him I was at Burger King, and he smiled and said I should probably come to class from now on.

When I was away on my little adventure, the rest of the class had been coloring maps. I'm glad no one had to pay more than the normal tax rates for my 'education.' I imagine I had spent my hour better in Burger King reading a paper.

While skipping my days away, I would read Vonnegut, Kafka, Faulkner, Shakespeare. I even read Aristotle and Nietzsche, but that started getting a little over my head. I read the Republic of Plato twice. If nothing else, I really felt that I was doing something worthwhile.

It is remarkable to me that I could spend so much time teaching myself, and then graduated with honors regardless. It's certainly due to the fact that our school was very liberal, but it's also evidence of what a waste of time it all was. In the end, what I got out of high school was a direct result of what I decided not to attend.

Now, I am in the throes of applying to grad schools, and very much on my way to a career in academia. It's not that I didn't like school. But because of a system that did not demand much from me, I was bored out of my skull.

I wish I could have been given a list of books I need to read and then set free to read and report on them. My social skills could have been honed in a single day each week where I would be expected to intermingle with other like-minded people and work out social problems through games designed to make you interact and figure out solutions to difficult problems.

I'm not saying that we should eliminate all schools and let people figure it out. High school really works for some people. But, when you are expected to shut off your brain and attend for 4 years, a certain dissastifaction is inevitable. Then, followed by boredom, you are given no option but to disappear and figure it out for yourself.

So, what did I learn in those four years at Earl Haig Secondary School? How to actually learn something, despite what all my teachers taught me.

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If You Are in High School Do This: | 270 comments (239 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
Not for everybody (4.55 / 9) (#1)
by Pac on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:19:10 PM EST

My school required (and mostly enforced) 75% attendance. I guess I must have attended at most 76% of most classes, specially during the last 2 years.

But I think I am statistically irrelevant. Very statistically irrelevant. Most of my classmates during the High School equivalent years down here would have sat down and cried if a teacher showed them a collection of books, a number of questions and said: "Here is a body of knowledge. Here are certain important questions about this same body of knowledge. Your answers are expected by the end of the month. Have a nice day".

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


Sweet! (none / 0) (#201)
by LJ on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 12:18:55 AM EST

That would be fun. As long as you don't need to write much at all. I have a writing phobia of sorts. Typing on a 'puter is fine, except when it's a fucking english paper.

-LJ
"A feature is a bug the programmers don't want to fix"
[ Parent ]

Why is this reposted? (3.57 / 7) (#2)
by HidingMyName on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:21:36 PM EST

Didn't we vote on this already?

On a side note this sounds like the "British System" where students attend classes if they like and at the end of the year they take a single examination to measure performance,

It's Canadian (1.83 / 6) (#4)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:23:11 PM EST

Where you skip all you want and then take the same exams everyone else does. But, at least they don't check you for guns at the door.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

It's Canadian? (4.75 / 4) (#10)
by Agent1 on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:47:20 PM EST

I don't know which high school (or even which province) you're talking about, but this is far from the case at my high school. Attendance is expected and measured, and if you're not there they harass your parents or something.


-Agent1
"Thats the whole point of the internet, to slander people anonymously." - Anonymous
[ Parent ]
sorry, no (3.66 / 6) (#11)
by raaymoose on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:48:26 PM EST

As you do not know, the rules and regulations in the Canadian system are detirmined provincially. What does this mean? It means that what you can pull off in Newfoundland is not guarenteed to be the same elsewhere. For instance, my high school, which coincidently is located in Canada, attendence was generally compulsary. It wasn't particularly thought-provoking generally, but it certainly wasn't a waste of time. There are other things in life than just books. I suggest you invest in a life.

[ Parent ]
What I do know is (3.00 / 1) (#115)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:01:53 AM EST

I went to school in Ontario, and schools are not run like a chess game here. Each school is seperate. Thanks for your sage advice though.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

now sir (3.50 / 2) (#162)
by raaymoose on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:10:36 AM EST

Generally, rating comments you don't agree with down in a thread you are participating in (nevermind your own story) is consitered poor form.

[ Parent ]
British system? (5.00 / 4) (#12)
by Cloaked User on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:49:00 PM EST

Assuming you mean "the system in Britain", as opposed to "the system named after its inventor, (Mr/Mrs/Ms) Britain", then you're mistaken.

I'm not sure what level high school is, but here, classes are pretty much compulsory without a reasonable excuse up until you hit degree level. Then, in my experience at least, they don't care about your attendance, as long as you get the coursework done and pass the exams.
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]

Try Adult Ed (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by kerinsky on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:32:37 AM EST

The best high school I went to (and I went to four) was very much like this. South Area Adult and Alternative Comunity Education Center (try putting that on a college application form) was really a school for washouts, druggies and troublmakers who didn't want to lose their drivers liscense for non-attendence, and most people only showed up to stay on the roster, but I loved it.

At the start of any class you could take a test and your grade on that test could be your grade for the course if it was a C or above and you wanted to keep it. Otherwise you'd do the reading and coursework at your own pace and take section tests, usually between 12 and 30, culminating in a final for the class.

I got A's in several high school classes in less than an hour each and finished 2.5 years of high school credit in 6 months at about 5 hours per day in school, plus I got to watch Jerry Springer at lunch in the student lounge. I graduated with an actual diploma (not a GED) and got accepted into FSU with no problem, although I'm sure that was mainly due to my ACT scores.

Such an environment wouldn't work for many students though, the teachers cared about the students but didn't care if or when you came and left nor how hard you worked. You had to motivate yourself while surrounded by people who literally came to school so they could watch TV and smoke pot for 6 hours straight. You didn't get any spoonfed lectures or lecture notes geared towards the tests either, the book you read might not even be the book the test was written against 10 years before. Heck they didn't even offer Algebra II until I requested it and found my own book. Algebra II wasn't required curriculum so nobody else there was going to take it. At the time I was the first graduate of the school to go to a university.

-=-
Aconclusionissimplytheplacewhereyougottiredofthinking.
[ Parent ]

British ? (none / 0) (#176)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 10:46:43 AM EST

This would be British in the sense of "British Thermal Units" (used only in the USA), are British, would it ?

School is compulsory in the UK up to age 16. Until you're 16, your parents or guardians have a legal duty to ensure you attend school. From age 16, formal education is optional, but in most schools it works on an "either in or out" basis: you can't choose when to show up. You either do what you've agreed with the school that you'll do, or your school can prevent you sitting your exams.

The examination system works using specific, graded qualifications, in particular subjects usually including a combination of set papers, and continuous assessment. These come in three batches: GCSEs, AS-levels, and A2s, although if you take A2s, their grades are combined with your AS-level grades to make and overall A-level grade. Typically people take 8 GCSEs, 4 or 5 AS-levels, and 3 or 4 A2s. University entrance is based on A-level grades. There's a parallel system of vocational qualifications called BTEC (or it was, I think this has changed), and an alternative academic system based on the International Bacclaureate.  

Scotland has a slightly different system, with similar, but differently named exams. The main difference is that the equivalent of A2 is optional, and only the equivalent of AS levels are needed to go to university.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

BAH! (4.12 / 8) (#5)
by richardo on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:27:40 PM EST

Kids these days. Let me tell you what *I* did while cutting class in high school. I smoked pot, hung out with friends, played cards, drunk pots of coffee and mountain dew, and smoked a metric shitload of cigarettes. I didn't learn a god damn thing in high school, though I was in honors classes most of the time. You want to know the truth of honors classes? You get in those because you can cheat better then the average student. From looking over the shoulder of a fellow student to copying and pasting text from a CD-ROM based encyclopedia, I did it all.

After school, we'd go by the carload to piss off a bunch of waiters by hanging out at a 24-hour restaraunt while drinking a pot of coffee while talking for hours and hours. We'd get home at like 3 or 4, and while we only spent a total of $10, we'd so strung out on caffine we had enough of the stuff that it would take days to metabolize completly.

And you know what, I dont a bit of regret it. The only thing I regret is being too much of chickenshit to go after the ladies.

Enjoy your life - there was WAY, WAY, WAY more to it then just academics. WAY more, and if all you are focused on is reading stupid books, you are missing out on a lot of what high school and being young and stupid has to offer (like skipping, talking bullshit, and smoking pot). Do you think you'll be in your grave thinking "man, if only I read more of that Shakespere novel in high school". No - you'll be wondering why you weren't hitting on girls, and having a good, healthy SOCIAL life. Your are not too good to have a social life or have real fun, and it's not something just for those football jocks or whatever contrived image you have in your mind.

Safe that learning stuff for college. There you will find a healthy mix of very smart, very fun to hang around people.

absolutely (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by Matt Oneiros on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:45:36 PM EST

the only thing that matters is that you can feel good about what you did at the end of the day. If reading a book fulfills ALL your psychological needs then by all means, JUST read.

It probably won't fulfill all your needs though.

Point being, I do a combination of what the article mentions and what the comment I'm replying to mentions.

What do I have to show for it? A huge vocabulary, failing grades in a few classes, Editorship in the newspaper and not a whole lot else.

The plan is to do the bare minimum to get out. That's it.

Lobstery is not real
signed the cow
when stating that life is merely an illusion
and that what you love is all that's real
[ Parent ]

Gee... (none / 0) (#104)
by Stick on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:53:34 AM EST

When I was in high school we broke into houses and made explosives. You've wasted your youth with silly coffee.


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#142)
by richardo on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:57:30 PM EST

What makes you think I did not make explosives? I just failed to metion that...

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#157)
by bzbb on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:07:01 PM EST

I have not met any "very smart, very fun" people at my college of 24,000. On the contrary, I have met many boring drunkards, and apathetic assholes, with the random boring smart guy, or amusing idiot mixed in.
-- It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."

Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

I dont a bit of regret it, either!! (none / 0) (#195)
by amarodeeps on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 10:01:05 PM EST

Good thing red books didn't yoo!!!

[ Parent ]
North American eh (3.33 / 6) (#8)
by raaymoose on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:44:26 PM EST

So tell me, where did you live in Canada, US, and Mexico during your high school years to be able to make such a broad statement? I'm genuinely curious.

OOOH, A Real Thinker (2.00 / 2) (#57)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:51:15 PM EST

The U.S and Canada. Admittedly, I didn't live in Mexico, but I think I can say that, since most people posting on this site have only been to the parts of Mexico which serve free beers and the like, I am speaking about something most people here have experienced.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

hm (2.25 / 4) (#92)
by Work on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:45:48 AM EST

since most people posting on this site have only been to the parts of Mexico which serve free beers and the like

How pompous and arrogant. Much like the rest of this article.

Who cares that you didn't like high school or got more out of it by learning on your own. Take a number, for crying out loud.

If I had a nickel for every kid who thought he was so 'better' than the system and wrote about it...

[ Parent ]

USoA High School system (4.40 / 5) (#13)
by jman11 on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:59:34 PM EST

I originally posted this about 5 mins before the other got pulled, so here it is again:

I can testify to the system just not working in the USoA, I teach undergrads at a large state university.  The knowledge of these students is laughable, especially when it is considered that these are the ones who went on to university.

That point made, and it does feel like beatinga dead horse, I had no hesitation in voting this down.  Here's why.

I think most people would agree a public education system is important, that basic skills (as well as maybe more) have to be taught to the incoming generations.  Not everyone can do it on their own, as the author professes to have done.  My point is that a public education system is really important and that the USoA system is seriously flawed.

I haven't really addressed why I disagree strongly with this articles sentiments.  It's because it advocates abandoning the system, that you don't need the high School system, you can do it all on your own.  As mentioned above this is not universally applicable.

This is the problem I have, the system is fucked - yes, but is leaving it to rot and home schooling your kids (or sending them to the mall)  the way to solve this problem?  In my opinion, absolutely not.  

There's a society out there and like it or not you are a part of it.  My opiino is that some people to put some effort into imporving the system rather than putting so much into complaining and subverting the system.

I don't see (none / 0) (#24)
by levesque on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:24:58 PM EST

From the article:

I'm not saying that we should eliminate all schools and let people figure it out. High school really works for some people. But, when you are expected to shut off your brain and attend for 4 years, a certain dissastifaction is inevitable.

From your post:

I haven't really addressed why I disagree strongly with this articles sentiments. It's because it advocates abandoning the system, that you don't need the high School system, you can do it all on your own.

I think he was talking about his personnal experience; which is also part of the knowlege needed to improve the public school system.

[ Parent ]

His heading (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by jman11 on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:33:12 PM EST

Is "Do what I did".

He's recommending this as, possibly, an individual course of action.  I argued against this, personally abandoning the system is bad.  He might not be saying that schools should be torn down, but he is arguing if you think it sucks you could do what I did and go to the mall and read.  This was what my post addressed.


[ Parent ]

Not all state universities are built the same (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by yankeehack on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:01:04 PM EST

Just because it's a state university doesn't automatically mean it's bad.

There are states that intrinsically offer better university programs. In addition, within the individual state systems, certain campuses are considered better than others (i.e. UC Berkley is considered better than UC Santa Cruz or UNC Chapel Hill is considered better than UNC-Wilmington). We can even evaluate universities at the program level since not all departments are created the same.

In other words, you might just be at a campus that has a weak math department which does not attract top students. I'm also betting that you are probably TAing the lower level courses, which for *any* collegiate level subject, tends to attract those less enthused because it's a requirement for something else.

Not every student is going to love the subject you are teaching. And to tell you the truth, even though I did really well in my major, I had to take remedial math at the University level. It takes all kinds to make a University.

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!
[ Parent ]

Not my claim (none / 0) (#127)
by jman11 on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:42:27 AM EST

I'm at a good state school.  The maths department is really good, not top 10 USoA, but top 40.  I do teach low level course, but I also teach  higher level courses.

I also don't expect everyone to be able to do maths.  It's their general knowledge that worries me, the comment about lack of knowledge was independant of their maths knowledge.  I've had student's who didn't know North Korea was in Asia, couldn't vote and all sorts of other stuff.  That is what terrifies me.

[ Parent ]

First OF All (2.00 / 1) (#74)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:11:08 PM EST

The U.S. prepares you for war, not school, most of the time. And, when I went to University, I did VERY well. That's why I'm going to grad school, just like you supposedly did.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Grad school (none / 0) (#126)
by jman11 on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:36:54 AM EST

I'm still there.  This place is desperate for maths TAs and uses grad students.  With that point, I do tend to have quite a few ROTC kids in my classes. I'll find out tomorrow what my new class is like, but won't know until Thursday who is military.

[ Parent ]
Depends (4.50 / 6) (#14)
by shaunbaker on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:01:52 PM EST

I live in the US and went to a public school in Houston, TX. All I can say is that high school wasn't the hardest thing i've ever done but my courses kicked my tail. I took Advanced Placement everything and Calc BC was no joke. When I got to university expected even worse but was shocked to find out that i was extremely well prepared. My school (West Point) is rather well known academically as well. So I think it really just depends on what you put into the system. Just my two cents

Heh (none / 0) (#71)
by yankeehack on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:08:49 PM EST

I'm amazed that you even have enough free time to peruse sites like this one.

Perhaps they aren't working you guys hard enough?

Oh, you might want to put some spaces in your posting using a paragraph tag.

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!
[ Parent ]

You still have much to learn. (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by bjlhct on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:26:47 PM EST

"
I'm amazed that you even have enough free time to peruse sites like this one.

Perhaps they aren't working you guys hard enough?
"

Those well enough versed in the Art of Slacking can pass any class on no more than the time it takes to attend all of them. Take it from the grandmaster, grasshopper.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Those days are gone (4.80 / 10) (#15)
by opendna on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:05:30 PM EST

These days students have a portion of their grades docked for each absence. (e.g. 3 absences = -1/3 a grade.) Sure, not all school districts do this yet but the phenomenon is spreading like wildfire.

This changes the lessons that high school will ultimately teach students. No longer is it "know this material" as you illustrate, it's "show up on time" which, if we're all honest is actually a very important lesson. (Though not one we think of being the primary purpose of high school.)

If you're in high school these days, ignore the glorified games of self-educated hooky described above. If you immitate them you'll probably get burned, BAD. Learn to work the system. Do independent study if you don't want to go to class. Take college courses instead of the high school ones.

But don't go wildstyle and think you'll get by. You'll probably be flunked just because you didn't show up.



Eh. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by autopr0n on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:06:45 PM EST

Of course, for the vast majority of students simply going to class will greatly improve your grade, and what you learn.

I know I did well in the few collage classes that required manditory attendance, while getting Cs-Ds in most of the classes I never went to.


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
[ Parent ]
More work = higher grades (none / 0) (#224)
by grouse on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 08:45:23 PM EST

I find that I learn more and do better on exams in college classes that have weekly homework assignments than those that do not. However, I still find them annoying because they limit my flexibility--I feel that I have to do the homework, when I might be studying for some less structured class that I need to work more on.

Still, I think that if I become an instructor, I would give steady homework because my job would be to maximize learning in my class, not to maximize the flexibility of my students. :-)

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Dialectic of Learnig (none / 0) (#54)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:45:03 PM EST

Which is to say, I never came, always on time. I am chronically early to everything. If they docked me on attendance and tardiness, it must only be because of all these other idiots. I really wouldn't have gone for that one.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Funding. (none / 0) (#263)
by vectro on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 08:07:15 PM EST

At least in California, schools are funded based on the number of student-minutes they produce. Thus they have a direct financial incentive to encourage the students to attend class.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
I agree (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by ryochiji on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:11:57 PM EST

Okay, I didn't go to a public school in North America (thank god) and went to a private international school in Germany. But I had a similar attitude towards school. I don't think I ever skipped class intentionally, but that was probably because the quality of education was much higher than in most public high schools (i.e. for my Junior and Senior years, I took all IB courses which are basically college level courses). Besides, we got to read Kafka, James Joyce, Conrad, Orwell, etc in school.

What I did have problems with was grades. I didn't see the point of it. I never failed a single class either, but I didn't do nearly as well as I could. Instead, I spent all the free time I had either programming, making stuff, blowing up stuff, reading, or doing theatre tech. Until they gave up, my parents lectured me for hours on end every time my report card arrived, and every time, I stood my ground: I refused to believe that I had to sacrifice the things I loved doing to get through society. At the end, I proved myself right. My programming abilities allowed me to get jobs when I needed it, and now I'm in college with a 3.9 GPA (my only grudge being that the classes at the school I go to are way too easy).

If you don't like the system, don't just be a rebel, but work around it. Find something you like doing that's productive (which does not include: smoking, drinking or having wild orgies) and make sure you're damn good at it. The rest will work out on it's own. If you're lucky.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.

I Wish I had Your System (none / 0) (#53)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:43:00 PM EST

My best experience with Hich School was a Literature class taought by an incredible woman that died the year I left. I never skipped a class.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

If you want your kids to get good education... (none / 0) (#101)
by ryochiji on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 04:56:45 AM EST

>I Wish I had Your System

It was a great system...and sadly I didn't begin to appreciate it until after I graduated and learned of the horrible state of public education. If I ever have kids, I would do whatever I can to have them attend an international school somewhere in the world. Personally, I'd like to teach at one (and usually, teacher's kids get free rides).

But here's the alternative:

  1. Get a job at a multinational corporation (or join the military)
  2. Get an overseas assignment
  3. Make sure the company pays for your kids' education, and make sure there's an international school where you're going (there's one in just about every major city in the world). If you chose the military in step one, make sure there's no DoD school around...from what I hear, those are no better than public schools.
Otherwise, home schooling seems to be the next best option.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]
I Have a Daughter (none / 0) (#114)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:00:19 AM EST

And she will be attending a school that either has a reputation for being challenging, or I will conduct some of my own school on the side. I figure, she can only hate me for a few years, right?

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

DoD school (none / 0) (#171)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 07:31:45 AM EST

from what I hear, those are no better than public schools.
I've heard just the opposite. The administrators and teachers have more authority over the students than in the regular public schools.

The greatest contribution of the internet to society is that it makes it possible for anyone of any age to become a grumpy old fart.
Parent ]
IB.... (none / 0) (#68)
by BlackFireBullet on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:05:21 PM EST

When you said that you took all IB courses, did you take the diploma or the certificate?

I am currently taking the IB diploma, and I have found the work load to punishing, and now my prior intermediate C++ skills have fallen to shreds as I haven't programmed in over a year, as I have had no time.

Regardless of how well you did, I'm impressed that you had enough free time to do what you wanted, that is something I have never heard of coming from people taking the IB Diploma.

Out of curiousity, what did you get for your final IB grade if it was poor enough to warrent a lecture?

[ Parent ]

Re: IB (none / 0) (#100)
by ryochiji on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 04:43:32 AM EST

I graduated from HS in 98, so things might be a little different now. In any case...

>did you take the diploma or the certificate?

I started doing the diploma, but I switched to certificate for the second year. But even in the second year, I did most of what was required. I took 3 SL (English A1, Japanese, Anthro) and 3 HL (Math, Physics, Chemistry) classes and lots of hours in extracurricular activities (several times what the IB requires). I didn't do TOK, or the extended essay, but the projects I worked on in my own time were as substancial as many extended essays. I also took HL CompSci during my Sophomore-Junior years.

>I have found the work load to punishing

That's normal. That wasn't the case for me because I simply didn't give a damn. My classmates thought I was really smart, but really, they just cared more than I did (well, okay, maybe I was a little smarter, but not by that much).

>what did you get for your final IB grade

Very low scores. We got separate grades for school, and I got B's and C's. But the IB scores were horrible:

  • HL Chem - 3
  • HL Physics - 5
  • HL Math - 3
  • SL Eng A1 - 6
  • SL Japanese - 6
  • SL Anthro - 5
I got a 4 in HL CompSci and I was pissed because I had a kick-ass final project (a semi-AI chess program). Granted, we didn't start theory until 2 weeks before the exam, but still...

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]
A high school prisoner's comments (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by mmsmatt on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:32:54 PM EST

I'm in a North American high school, freshman in "honors" classes. I completely agree that high school is boring. Middle school was worse. I also concur with the author's attitude towards reading. So I spend most of my classtime emerged in nonfiction. Right now it's Margaret Macmillan's Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. You don't have to skip class to escape the montony... but I wouldn't tell on you ;) Cheers, -Matt.

I Shouldn't Have Skipped (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:41:22 PM EST

But I just didn't want to be that guy, you know?

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

but ... but ... (none / 0) (#121)
by glor on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:47:30 AM EST

Aren't you suggesting that high school students skip, like you did?

Why is being the guy who sits in the back and reads better than being the guy who goes to the mall and does God-knows-what?

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

I'm Suggesting (none / 0) (#131)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:33:22 PM EST

That people think about what they are taught. I am relating what I did about it. I am advocating not being complacent.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Agree (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:41:35 PM EST

I finished high school, scoring in the top 20% of the state overall. That was 8 years ago. My last job I was working with 17 year olds who had left high school 2 years previous.

If I had to do it over my advice would be, leave school early and get a head start on the rest.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.

But.... (none / 0) (#85)
by BlackFireBullet on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:14:38 PM EST

Aren't those same 17 year olds, particulaly the ones who just have TAFE diplomas, the ones that get cut the earliest when the economy starts to go downhill?

[ Parent ]
Dunno (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:43:17 PM EST

I got the cut on Wednesday (a 25 year old who finished year 12 and has the equiv of a tafe cert as well), as did a 22 year old who left in school in year 9 and has no other qualifications and a 23 year old with a business degree. From what I gather, the ones that stayed are the ones who were buddies with the management.

So I guess the moral of the story is to use your high school years to practice your social skills.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

Uh-oh (none / 0) (#184)
by dublet on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 02:18:32 PM EST

So I guess the moral of the story is to use your high school years to practice your social skills.
So I guess we're all doomed here :)

Badger. Badger. ←
[ Parent ]
Losers are as losers do (2.54 / 11) (#20)
by StephenThompson on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:53:53 PM EST

Trying to disguise your difficulty in coping with high school with aloofness and superiority is not becoming. Almost in grad school at the age of 27. How inspiring. Give us one good reason why anyone should listen to your pontificating? I say master high school (getting straight A's?)and then take on more if you are not sufficiently engaged. Always strive to grow your abilities by adding new skills, not by sloughing off those that you (at the tender age of 16) don't think are suited to you. Realize that judgement is tendered with experience not gleaned from a book; the student is not competent to score his own quiz.

Judgement (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by dissonant on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 08:06:12 PM EST

A very good point; at age 16, to believe you have developed the detachment and awareness required to honestly critique and make good decisions on what fields of study to persue, is folly. On the other hand, the public education system in this country, in the majority of instances, is far less aware of their charges' academic development than the students themselves, especially the more talented and gifted students.

Whether it's apathy or simply the mechanics of a one-size-fits-all system, the brightest students fall through the cracks and are probably better off serving themselves.

[ Parent ]
One size fits all (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 08:06:18 PM EST

The problem is, schools are designed around the idea that one way of learning should work for everyone. Many who would otherwise get straight As are unable to because of the way they are being taught.

Personally I truanted as much of my senior years as I could get away with in order to go home and do some real study. I did quite well in school, but I would have done much better had I not had to pretend to turn up occasionally.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

Couldn't Resist (3.00 / 3) (#51)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:39:31 PM EST

Alright, Bozo, I have an Honor's Degree in English and 4 years in a very complicated career under my belt, before I decided to go to grad school. Thanks for jumping to conclusions.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

what laurels to rest on! (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by tebrow on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:10:41 PM EST

Given your merits, I'm sure you're keenly aware both the grocer's apostrophe and the tense incongruity in your post. Incidentally, you never mentioned the name of the institution that granted you your undergraduate degree. Might it be in Canada?

[ Parent ]
University of Toronto (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:22:55 PM EST

And, as for the rest of it, I'd like tosee that chump live up to half of my life. Just read his diary. You want to talk about pontificating?

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Dumb. (none / 0) (#177)
by br14n on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 11:31:11 AM EST

I think that the age at which one does various things indicates very little about a person and a lot about the conditions under which he grew up.  For example, I attended high school in a rural area.  I felt like a prisoner.  I showed talent in numerous areas, but never received anything but punishment from the faculty.  I was nearly expelled my sophomore year for my involvement in the secret production of a satirical student newsletter, and dropped out shortly afterward.

It took years of coaxing by people I trust to get me to try college.  When I began attending, I found that the surface similarities to high school made me physically ill.  I literally felt like vomiting, because hatred of schools had been efficiently drilled into me.  Relief only came when I talked to the instructors and realized that they knew more than I did -- a stunning revelation at the time.

So I find your concept that doing X at age Y is good or bad to be quite meaningless and ignorant, and at the very least very annoying.  An infant smacked every time it tries to make a sound will be slow to speak, too; I suppose you think it aloof or stupid.

[ Parent ]

No way I'm skipping school ! (3.60 / 5) (#25)
by lucky 03 on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:27:23 PM EST

I'd miss all the kinky group sex behind the bike sheds...

I tend to agree (4.66 / 6) (#26)
by strlen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:31:00 PM EST

That the way high school is setup, is an utter waste of time. I hated every day for it, with very few classes being an exception.

However, a better idea, is to make it meaningful. If you can't exist in the baby-sitting environment that is high school, talk to your counceller, if there's a problem to spend your junior and/or senior year, at a community college (and still get your diploma). I've known many individuals who've done just that, and most were very happy that they did, in some cases, for the fact, that it at least has kept them sane. I didn't, and I deeply regret it.

If you do, however, choose to stay on, at least take AP courses, as there's some chance you'll actually learn. The best high school course I've taken, and the course I did the best in, was AP US History. I've also greatly enjoyed the AP Biology course, and the AP Calculus course has proven invaluable to me, as far as my grades in college go.

And if you do bad in high school, don't depsair and don't give up. Many community colleges will have  a transfer program, to a university, and most universities will understand bad grades in high school, if they see good college grades.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

That's not always possible. (none / 0) (#218)
by bhearsum on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 04:24:11 PM EST

Where I'm from there's no AP courses, and no way to take college courses in senior years. In fact, I don't think that is available at all in Ontario. So what I'm doing this year (my last year in hell), is taking English (a required course), Physics (because I like it), Calculus (prerequisite for next year), and trying to pick out 3 other courses so I can get my diploma. My school is the 'academic' one of the town, so easy courses arn't very available. So I ended up with Law, Philosophy, and Tech Math. Havn't taken tech math yet, but law was the most boring course I have *ever* taken. Philosophy is alright, but discussions often turn into a big flamewar, so I mostly sit quietly.

In any case, it feels like I've pretty much been slaving through high school for 4 years...

[ Parent ]

I suspect (4.40 / 5) (#28)
by Spendocrat on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:38:55 PM EST

That if it was "The Man"'s way to have people just go to the library and read educational things all day, there'd be hordes of kids out there talking about how individual education is useless, and it's The Man's fault for not paying for structured classes so people could *really* learn.

Which is Why I Said (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:30:53 PM EST

That it doesn't make sense to abolish classes for those that want them. For myself, as I pointed out, it was a waste of time. It seems that you don't pay attention, and should be in a class of some kind that can keep your attention. No library for you for one year!

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

What I did... (4.50 / 6) (#31)
by BloodmoonACK on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:47:16 PM EST

I never really started skipping until my Junior year, but I did read quite a but. I was very open about it; I would just have my book out in class and be reading whatever I felt like, right in front of the teachers' nose. They never seemed to care, apathy apparently being a requisite attribute for modern teachers. It also helps if you're reading a book that has to do with the subject you're in ;) I still feel like High School was a waste of time, and wish I had at least decided to enroll in some community college math classes instead of the crap they taught us here.

"It's like declaring a 'war on crime' and then claiming every (accused) thief is an 'enemy combatant'." - Hizonner

I totally agree... (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by codegirlX on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:54:20 PM EST

...which is why I withdrew from highschool my junior year. Oh I had honors classes and AP classes, and you know what? I was "bored out of my skull" in those classes too! Mainly becuase the information presented in most classes was a repeat of material I already knew. The only classes that even remotely covered material that I didn't already know were my symphonic band and jazz band classes. BTW, after withdrawing from school I immediately entered community college, then went on to a university. Fast forward a few years (I'm 28), and I'm back in school, this time at the Art Institute Online...point being, I love learning but highschools in the U.S. aren't geared towards those who want to learn.


-- The man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all...~Erykah Badu
Did you draw the turtle or pirate to get in? (5.00 / 4) (#45)
by t v on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:19:25 PM EST

Just joking.

It is refreshing to see somone that followed a plan rather than being forced into certain paths.

[ Parent ]

I ABSOLUTELY disagree (2.74 / 27) (#35)
by Keeteel on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 08:06:23 PM EST

High school is in place for a valid reason, to make you a well rounded individual capable of dealing with the real world. While during the tender years of your teenage youth you may believe you're intelligent enough to teach yourself and socialize yourself, you're not. You're not smarter than adults with college educations who've established themselves as teachers, not only will these adults know more than you in their specific field (you can arrogantly try to say otherwise, the only topic I'll grant you is in some cases computer science) but they also have a wide array of life experiences and wisdom which you don't have. In a word high school teaches you to be a PRODUCTIVE member of American society, it builds the foundations necessary to function in our society that makes us the power house on earth, by leaving high school and abusing it you are short circuiting a vital function of America's society. We need productive workers with these fundamental skills, unsurprisingly people who leave high school tend to have poor discipline, poor ethics, poor job skills, and are unable to socialize with their peers. They lack the fundamentals necessary for your role in American society - these fundamental basics are:

1.Memorization: Of facts, instructions, and roles. This is necessary for your job, while you may not like the facts you're being told to remember, they go towards making you a well rounded person able to function intelligently in America.

2.Value System: Schools teach a fundamental aspect of American society, our historical values, ethics, and ideas. It's essential to learn of American history, the figures who've shaped it, and good, well grounded values of love for country, love for god, love for brother. It's essential to learn the values of group behavior and functioning inside a group of individuals your age who will be your age group till the day you die. If you don't learn their values, roles, functions you will resort to isolation (hence being an unproductive member of America.)

3.Socialization: The culture, society, and world we live in is constantly changing, in order to be a happy, insightful person who UNDERSTANDS the culture and social norms of their generation it is essential they saturate themselves in the current activities/trends which are socialized in high school. It is also essential you are socialized with the ideals of discipline:

1. Time Management (Bell System): you need to learn to work on a deadline, classes work in such a way that you must finish your work by the end of the period. You will need to understand this concept to function as a economic being.

2. Authority: High school provides a great function for teaching youth to work under authorities, whether they like them or not. You will have a boss, you will have supervisors, you will always have to answer to someone - High school teaches you to respect authority and coop with it. It teaches you that you cannot lash out against your authority, or abuse their instructions with out being PUNISHED.

3. Conformity: High school teaches that in society some conformity is necessary for our well being. People who don't conform are ridiculed by their peers, which they can expect through out their adult lives. By being in this environment you will be instilled to obey the social norms and think about how your peers will receive you, which is necessary to be a member of this society.

4. Shunning of critical reasoning:High school doesn't teach critical reasoning which is vital if we are to function as a society. You may not like it but we cannot have every person in this country with the ability to critically reason and function with higher thoughts on their own. People who have this ability tend to be depressed, isolated, unproductive workers because they are unable to shut up and follow their tasks. You may think that's a joke but it's not, it's vital to how America functions that the people with the ability to critically reason be in the government dictating policy.

4. Well Rounded Person: So you don't like some of the topics you're being taught in school - tuff, they're picked for a reason by ADULTS who are educated in the field of teaching on what's best for you. By learning a wide array of topics you're exposed to ideals, careers, and possibilities you may have not otherwise considered.

5. Rankings of Potential Also important in high school is the determination of intelligent teens who have the potential, and should be in higher level careers, or should be accepted in to a higher level college. By leaving high school you're dictating on your own what you think intelligence should be, your opinion of it at such a young age is not valid, and further won't help you in the real world. Like the poster said, getting in graduate school at 27 years old is NOT IMPRESSIVE. It's pathetic, most people should be about done with graduate school by the time they're 27. If this person would have stuck through high school two things should have happened : He should have been in a different career not cut for a higher level education since he's taken so long, it shows a lack of potential. Or secondly he'd have the FUNDAMENTAL skills to complete graduate school by now, instead of just getting in.

So while you may think you're special by not attending school, you're not only hurting yourself, you're hurting your country. High School is about learning to be a member of society, college is about a higher education. People who leave high school are likely to be socially incompetent and quite narrow-minded in their perceptions of intelligent. High School is imperative in giving everyone an equal chance to express their intelligence. It's established we have one of the best education systems on the world, but the wisdom you gain from these years is more important. Stick in high school, do your best, get all A+s, take AP classes, learn from your teacher's wisdom, then decide whether to go to a graduate school with the lessons and socialization you learned in high school. Plus you'll be able to function socially with people your age.

That's It (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:27:13 PM EST

You're just the type of person fit for that environment. Myself, on the other hand, found silly rules which treated me like a child to be useless. The less time I spent there the better. How else do you explain a sudden surge in motivation and marks that didn't abate when I went to University?

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

I don't mean to be pejorative... (4.33 / 3) (#55)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:48:57 PM EST

But Keeteel is a very, very well-established "right-wing nutcase" troll. I think his comment history speaks a lot better than I can.

You need not bite.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

True (3.50 / 2) (#66)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:03:14 PM EST

But, when the man holds out a carrot, donkeys run. I suppose I should have read up on donkeys a little more.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

right-wing nutcase troll (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by codemonkey_uk on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 07:38:21 AM EST

Just because you think someone is a right-wing nutcase, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are also a troll.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
He is a troll (none / 0) (#208)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 05:49:54 AM EST

Go back through his comment history and read the first few. He's quite a good troll, compared with some of the others, but he is one. I was uncertain at first, but it's his failure to follow up to any but the most incendiary replies to his comments, and the single-minded fixation on a single topic that really make it clear.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
I suggest you get out of the house more. (1.00 / 2) (#219)
by Keeteel on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 05:09:56 PM EST

If you find it so hard to believe that my views could not possibly be real, and must be a troll you truly need to experience more of our country. I consider myself and have been told I'm modest in my views in comparison to my co-workers, and some of my friends around my city, and further out of state. I do tend to lean towards the left on topics of sexuality (as long as children are not involved) and support its expression (which you will see I have argued for sexuality.) None the less, I highly suggest you do get out of the house if it's not possible for you to comprehend that my views could possibly be real and genuine - I expect some cynicism because this is a left wing, liberal site, and looking at the other conservative posters here with the exception of 3 that I know off my head there has been nothing short of a mockery and attack through sarcasm and irony on my affiliation as a Conservative. Similar to the contempt you have for me, I have contempt for liberals because they're throwing punches in the dark unable to connect to any meaningful or reality based political movement anymore. I was once a liberal, I know your perspectives, and that's why I have the clarity I do now in regard to my views which work in reality. Regardless, my views are very genuine, and there's a growing number of us out there. While you may not experience this in your part of the world, people are coming to their senses and shifting to our Conservative agenda.

I'm a busy man, I reply when I can to my arguements but most of the time the responses to me are along the lines of "Stupid Conservative Nutcase Troll" or along the lines of "This is too stupid to be real." I work very hard and cannot respond to every question immediately, however over several days I do try my best to get to the arguements that want to intellectualy challenge me instead of denounce me. What you think of me is less important though to what I said earlier, if you truly can't accept my views are genuine, you have a rude awakening coming to you because there's more of us joining everyday, our numbers are growing and we're infleuncing policy in Washington. Adapt or reject it, but it's coming.

[ Parent ]
On the contrary ... (none / 0) (#232)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 05:19:27 AM EST

I have no trouble believing that people hold the views you profess. It's the persona that isn't believable. What was it you do again ? Oh, yes, you're an "analysist at a think tank group". Uhuh.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Correct (1.00 / 2) (#233)
by Keeteel on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 05:56:15 AM EST

And you have no idea in regard to what my focus of work is other than it's related to my affiliation. Contrary to what I'm sure you're assuming, in the professional world my personal views don't interfere with my job responsibilities. We are a conservative organization, with conservative views, sponsoring our agendas - but it's my job that has influenced *my* views from the tedious tasks of critical evaluation and interpretation - my views don't influence my responsibilities or the results of our established goals in our charter.

As I've said before I'm under non-disclosure agreements so I'm simply not allowed to go in depth, but if you think my views are involved in my objective, analytical role at work, you're wrong. I'm very passionate about my beliefs, they transcend views, through trial, error and experience I've come to hold these as beliefs true to my soul. Many of my co-workers uphold the same views simply because of the intended goal of our organization. I know many more who are more extreme in their views (and more passionate.) Like I said, no one knows anything about me but what I've told them outside of my beliefs on the issues that are debated here.

[ Parent ]
You're up early ... (none / 0) (#234)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 06:05:51 AM EST

... and you also seem to have missed my point.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
I gave you a 5 because ... (5.00 / 4) (#62)
by pyramid termite on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:58:50 PM EST

... it's a perfect example of something that will be taken seriously by some, while the rest of us hear nothing but sarcasm and irony ...

Life IS high school. And life sucks. What you're arguing for is to be the top beetle on the dungheap. Alas, the beetle who succeeds is still on a dungheap. The rest of the lower ones, will gladly identify themselves with the flag, the company, the little bits of diamonds found in the turdballs, and, of course, artificial groups of people who are cooler than "outsiders", such as skatepunks or Rotarians or $team fans, all so they don't have to face the cruel fact that they are alone and strugging in a writhing mass of insect-like life and easily disposed of by the cause or the company they've worked so hard for when one of life's inevitable tragedies happen. Those at the bottom, of course, can't help but see it as it is - they know they will be thrown away at the moment their utility is ended, they know from other's bitter experience that good work, good ethics and good job skills can be as shabbily shafted as bad, and decide, in a most economic and capitalist manner, that they will give the minumum price of work for the good of having a job - an inevitable consequence of treating man as if he was an economic function only.

So while some go through the motions in a passive agressive mode, others go all out to be the "teacher's pet", and a few claw their way to the top. Yet, all in all, it's still a sorry, shitty mess. Few of us persue happiness, we merely accept packaged simulations of it. We proclaim our freedom but hardly ever practice it. We look at the shiny baubles in the dungheap and decide that life is like a shit sandwich - the more bread you have, the better it tastes. We declare that "whoever dies with the most toys wins", but never consider what it is we're winning.

Our only real possession is ourself. And yet, it's a rare experience to meet an authority that will help you cultivate that self, to find what freedom and happiness you can find in that self. I work with people who asked me, as they know I buy most of my things secondhand and choose to do without much that others feel is necessary, "Don't you want nice things?" They couldn't comprehend it when I told them, "No, not really." I'd rather BE nicer, than HAVE nicer, and I've a long way to go on that, believe me. And this attitude is utterly alien to those around me - as alien to them as the world presented on TV is to me. (I hardly ever watch it.)

I didn't understand why I couldn't fit in during high school. I understand why I don't fit in now. This is a mutual dream. People are caterpillars dreaming they are butterflies - but few of them ever think of building themselves wings, and fewer actually do it. And no, I'm not one of those.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
we dont need no education (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by tichy on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:04:45 AM EST

Can you send me an autographed picture of the meat grinder?

[ Parent ]
Eh? (4.00 / 2) (#153)
by bjlhct on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:39:21 PM EST

In other words, you think that people are to be extrusion-molded by the government into what the last generation thought they should be?

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Oh dear (3.00 / 2) (#169)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 06:16:04 AM EST

You're still here. Don't let us detain you.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
You are fucking brilliant. (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by amarodeeps on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 10:12:00 PM EST

Shunning of critical reasoning:High school doesn't teach critical reasoning which is vital if we are to function as a society. You may not like it but we cannot have every person in this country with the ability to critically reason and function with higher thoughts on their own. People who have this ability tend to be depressed, isolated, unproductive workers because they are unable to shut up and follow their tasks.

Yes. YES.



[ Parent ]
no need to skip classes (3.83 / 6) (#38)
by speek on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 08:34:44 PM EST

Sit in back and read in class. Insist on being allowed to until you fail a test.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

Physical Science, 9th Grade. (none / 0) (#227)
by parliboy on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:59:16 PM EST

Me and the stoner sat in the back. I was doing crossword puzzles during the lecture. The stoner wondered why he was being asked to pay attention and I wasn't. The teacher's response was that once he started pulling in the same performance as me, he could start screwing around too. This was in the middle of a 30-person class. School was interesting sometimes...

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.
[ Parent ]

Difficult question, high school is. (4.93 / 16) (#44)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:18:13 PM EST

This is actually a very complex subject, at least for me. While I emphatically disagree with Keeteel's flippant troll here, I don't know that I can adopt your outlook either.

(Parenthetically, let me say that I'm coming from the world of high school rather than the periphery. I just turned 17, and am a junior, so I'm experiencing it directly rather than writing reflectively about the past. )
Also, this is a purely "practical" rant -- leave all ideological considerations aside.

First, I certainly can't say that I've not learned anything in high school. Everyone's situation is different, but I tend to regard people who claim that they literally learned nothing in high school as silly. Nobody knows everything; I think that to say that you've learned absolutely nothing in high school requires a rather circumscribed thought process to arrive at that. Of course, it's possible that either I'm just not as bright as these boastful people, or that I just go to a really good high school. Who knows.

Either way, I've learned a lot in school. Clearly the distribution of learning is lopsided; there's areas in which I feel that I've learned nothing except the established dogma and formal terminology, and others I wouldn't even have heard of without school to bring them to me, in whatever capacity. Offhand, I can say that the math and science classes here, as well as foreign language (Spanish - which I have studied for about 4 years now), have definitely taught me something, although my retention of the former two is unclear. :-)

This conveniently brings me to the most important point: there's actually a lot to be said for the fact that school exposes you to a variety of subject matter, whether you like it or not. Some people tend to brush this off as, "aaah, whatever, I'll a well-rounded genius," and who knows, maybe they are, but seeing as I'm not, I can definitely say that there's substance to that doctrinaire claim. For me personally, the areas where I've learned a lot tend to be concrete sciences (chemistry, biology, physics, etc.) and of course, mathematics, in which I'm notoriously poor. I have little doubt that if my life consisted of self-directed education, I wouldn't touch these areas with a ten-foot pole, which means I wouldn't even know the most elementary aspects of them. After having taken the high school level courses in each discipline, I still don't want to touch any of them with a ten-foot pole -- in other words, I want nothing to do with them professionally -- but I can say it now having received at least a miniscule glimpse into the world of each.

If I got to sit around and read whatever I wanted to all day, would I really go study math, not to mention indulge in the practise and repetition needed to apply much of what I read? Yeah, right. Maybe at gunpoint. The same can be said for most of the sciences, though not with such vehemence.

Even the notoriously hated literature/English classes have taught me something. While I obviously have issues with the way literature is taught, analyzed, and presented in them, at least they've compelled me to read something. I'm pretty lazy, and not all that well-rounded literarily. If I got to sit around and read whatever I wanted all day, my consumption of books would be just the same as it is now -- abysmally deficient in fiction, and anything which in respectable society is called "the classics." I actually enjoy reading (even if marginally) some of the things I'm assigned in literature class, but not to the point where I'd probably read them myself on my own initiative. The effort required is just too great, when weighed against the merits of simply sticking with what I'm familiar with and what I see myself as interested in.

On the other hand, I can safely say that in "social studies" areas -- that is, economics, history, and such -- I haven't accomplished a whole lot other than internalising the official dogma. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be no less knowledgeable in these areas in the absence of school, although I would perhaps be less qualified to debate them within the spectrum of "acceptable opinion" or "common knowledge."

Anyway, the point of all this here is that I've certainly been exposed to some things, and my horizons have certainly been widened. I wouldn't say that they've been widened to new possibilities or into areas that I wouldn't have even conceived of, no, but I wouldn't have just decided to venture into them on a whim if my education were entirely up to me. I think this is true of almost everyone.

On the other hand, these positive points must be weighed against the totality of the high school experience, which is much larger than that. I don't know if it survives a cost-benefit analysis -- the jury's still out on that one, and this may, in fact, be the point of your article. There's many downsides, from the regimentation and indoctrination to the utterly useless chimp electives. After all, I take 8 classes per year, and above I've only discussed 3 or 4. There's a lot more to it than that, and most of "everything else" is pretty negative. And that's not even considering the social aspects of high school, which aren't just zero, but are in fact quantitatively negative. It's harmful, and if my assessment was largely based on whether high school is a pleasant place full of nice people with whom you can establish meaningful, rewarding relationships, my answer would be a resounding "hell no!"

Parenthetically, I must also add that no matter how developed your critical thinking skills are or how much knowledge you've gained outside of school, there's a large degree of dogma you're going to internalise whether you like it or not, and regardless of whether you can see the essence of it or not. This, of course, matters in political and social areas more than anything else, which is why my perception of it is so acute. Even if you understand that what you're being taught in history class or what your teacher says emphasises about economics is wrong and/or incomplete, there's an overall framework to the presentation. School can neither tell (as in, dictate) you what to think nor what to think about, but it can exert surprisingly powerful yet subtle influences in both. This, of course, is the whole point -- the purpose of school is indoctrination. Indoctrination to some degree, no matter how subtle, is going to happen there no matter how much real knowledge you have. You can't cover everything with your own scholarship, and they can't cover everything with their own indoctrination, and these gap points (and their relationships to other points) are the chief sources of contention between the two influences. What you don't know can hurt you.

On skipping class, it sounds like a good idea, but it can't be done here. First of all, we have a 2x4 block scheduling system (not an A-B block scheduling system), where you have 4 classes per day (each 90 min.) for an entire semester. The advantages and disadvantages of this are an entirely different (and very lengthy) discussion, but one thing about them is that you really can't afford to miss school. I mean, you really can't. Certainly this will hurt in some classes more than others, but I find that it is as harmful in my favoured areas (i.e. "social studies") as it is in something like math. Even if you already know the material, you don't know the official dogma and orthodox terminology, which is what's required to pass tests. You may know how elections work, but when the test asks you what the voter turnout is, you need the figure that was supplied by your teacher in class, not some other figure, or what your intuition tells you. (The disparities between reality and the dogma don't matter; if you want to pass, need to know the dogma.) Anyways, because of the pressure involved in squeezing an entire course into half a year (3-4 months), it's disasterous to miss a day. I don't even take sick days -- even if I'm really sick and actually need to stay home, I'm not even talking about "skipping" -- because the size of the mountain of shit you have to make up the next day is just apalling. Being lazy, tired, and burdened as is, I can't deal with it. Also, it would seem intuitively that 4 classes means less homework and less long-term garbage/projects/shit to keep up with, but it actually doesn't. It's laid on quite thick due to the constriction of the course schedule. There's much less pressure on a standard 7-class/45-55 min arrangement.

Also, there's a rather straightforward truancy policy; if you miss more than 6 days, excused or unexcused, you fail all your classes in that semester. You can appeal for a restoration of credit if you have a really good excuse (skipping isn't one of them), but it really doesn't matter if you pass the tests and the finals that much -- you fail. So, yeah, can't really skip unless you're one of the types to drop out, basically. The truancy policy is quite strictly enforced, unless you either have bitchy, self-important (white) parents, or you're black, in which case nobody gives a shit or notices you're gone.

So, to wind up this obnoxiously lengthy rant, school isn't entirely useless, although I would say the net gain is definitely less than the losses incurred in having to put up with all the bullshit. Still, it's made me do things I wouldn't do on my own, and dropping out really is not a good idea. The wild, dot-com entrepeneur 90s are over; you can't be a "genius dropout" who gets bored in school (or college) and decides to go start a company and do some "real stuff" instead.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

It Doesn't Matter How You Voted (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:24:55 PM EST

Because this is the kind of response worth getting.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

You just wrote a lot of words (2.80 / 5) (#82)
by MMcP on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:35:45 PM EST

.

[ Parent ]
And said nothing? (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:38:35 PM EST

Fair enough. I suppose.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

High school vs. college... (4.66 / 3) (#103)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 05:56:47 AM EST

I'm not sure wether I agree or disagree with you here.

You're right I *DID* learn in high school.  But I still think that, with a few exceptions, it was an utter waste of my time, and I would have been glad to have done without it.

See, the thing is... I spent the usual four years in HS.  I did college in four and a half (About a semester's worth of classes was for naught when I changed majors.).  And there is no doubt in my mind that I learned at least 20X more in those four an a half years of college than I did in the four of high school.

All things considered, I would have been better off skipping HS entirely, and taking two or three years of classes at the community college.

For starters, there is a certian element in the public high schools that is simply NOT there to prepare for college.  Said delinquents are dumped there by their parents as sort of a free baby-sitter service.  Private schools can expel this element., as can colleges, if any are sufficently slippery to not be weeded out by the admissions process.  But public high schools are obligated to retain the underachievers, who don't have to pass any screening process in the first place.  Their presence, at the minimum, diverts "educational" resources away from the higher academic programs (my junior year, my HS spent bought a new >100K scoreboard for the football team... this when the distance-learning programs that offered students the chance to learn Japanese and Russian were being scrapped!).  At the worst, they serve as a distraction that makes learning difficult to impossible.  I won't comment any more on the latter at the risk of turning this post into an entry in jon katz's hellmouth series.

Moreover, aside from the subjects that make it impossible like hard sciences and maths (and there were not NEARLY enough of those... the focus was BY FAR more on the more squishy subjects), high school really DID seem more like an indoctrination session than a learning experience.  It was very much a "put the students in their place" sort of theme; where we were made quite aware that we were meant to be subordinate in every way.  It seems to be a common theme here and on slashdot that the US public schools are designed to produce nicely subserviant drones to do menial factory work.  I wasn't there, so I can't comment on the designers' intent.  But I can sure believe the thesis, based on my experiences.

The curriculum, as a whole was not designed to stimulate critical thought.  I already mentioned the inadequate focus on math and science.  In most of the rest of the subjects I was forced to take (yes, forced, little choice was offered in my class selection), it was "memorize facts, and regurgitate".  In the few remaining that required ANY thought, it was a matter of "figure out the teacher's bias, and regurgitate".  I can count on one hand the number of teachers I had in HS who were exceptions to those rules, and made their lessons thought-provoking, creative, intresting, and attention-holding.  Two were science (chemistry, physics/AP physics) teachers, one math (AP pre-calc), one "distance-learning facilitator" (Japanese), and one, the band conductor!  The rest were just chaff, like most of the students.

Contrast that with college, where YOU choose a curriculum to suit YOUR OWN life path (yeah... there ARE requirements for any given degree, but they are MUCH looser than HS class requirements).  Where the professors respect you, and have earned your own respect.  Where the professors (mostly) TEACH, rathar than indoctrinate.  Where the course material is informative, rathar than designes to "strike a balence between the liberal and conservative elements" (I swear, I learned more about sex from watching Basic Instinct than the health and sex-ed class taught).  Where you are free from the distracting portion of the populace that sees school as the dumping ground for delinquent refuse.  Any way you spin it, college is a more effective place to learn by AT LEAST an order of magnitude.

If I knew than what I know now... or even what I knew by my sophomore year of college... I would have taken my GED and left HS the instant I was able.  I, then, would have immediately enrolled in PBCC; where I would, most likely, have taken many of the same subjects; but in an environment condusive to learning and that stimulates independent thought, rathar than groupthink.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Truancy and grades (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by kerinsky on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:41:55 AM EST

I think you're going to a better high school than the public instution I attended. I had major truancy issues at the start of my sophomore year. Major as in 18 days skipped by Thanksgiving, more than 1 per week. I still had A's and B's in all but one class when I left, but got all F's because I had missed too many days. Heck, in my drafting class all of the assignment were ready at the start of the semester and you worked at your own pace. I should have be 20% behind average, instead I was second furthest along in a class of about 25.

Maybe the private schools I had gone to previously overprepared me but it still strikes me as odd that I could earn grades that good with virtually no effort. Apparently this is a problem in that local school system though, they recently changed their policy so that if you have more than 9 absences per semester (excused or not) you have to petition a review board to recieve any non failing grade you earned. If you ask me when a student earns an A skipping 20% of their classes the problem is with the system not the student.

-=-
Aconclusionissimplytheplacewhereyougottiredofthinking.
[ Parent ]

Well. (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by valeko on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 10:51:04 AM EST

One thing you have to always keep in mind is that the system is tailored to the lowest common denominator. There will inevitably be people who can pass some classes without attending them at all. Ah well.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Contrast and Compare (5.00 / 2) (#170)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 07:28:42 AM EST

Great post. I want to compare your experience with mine a little, because I think some elements of the high school experience are universal, whereas some are specifically American.

I went to a private secondary school in Scotland. The context of private education in the UK needs to be explained here: children are assigned to state secondary schools based on where they live. Middle class parents deliberately buy houses in the catchment areas of good state secondary schools, which tends to drive out poorer families. Those who, for one reason or another cannot do this, for instance because there is no good state secondary school in the area, or because the area is too small for the schools to enforce social-class apartheit (you think I'm kidding, don't you ?) often send their children to private schools. These do not necessarily provide a better education, but they are more academically focused, and usually stronger on discipline. They're not necessarily public schools, which do provide a better (or at least more rounded) education, but have very expensive fees.

I did learn a lot of basic maths and english skills that I probably would not have learned otherwise, which have been useful. Like you, I was forced to read a lot of things I would not have read otherwise, a lot of which was shit ("Across the Barricades", "The Machinegunners": ask any British person in their mid-twenties), some of which was good (Shakespeare, some of it), and some of which may have had its virtues, but which I didn't get (or still don't: why the hell to people like Phillip Larkin ?).

I learned a great deal more physics and chemistry than I've ever actually used. Although having some understanding of, for instance, what soap does, or basic mechanics, is very useful, it probably doesn't warrant having learned the behaviour of all the group II elements. There were some courses, such as Computing Studies, which were completely useless. Language teaching was so bad that although I did 5 years of French, I cannot speak any, and although I have a qualification in German, my Spanish (1 year adult education) is better.

We didn't do social studies subjects back then. British schools do now, with the focus on learning to discuss topical issues. There seems to be a move towards doing science teaching this way: with a focus on contemporary issues, such as the enviroment or genetic engineering. Although this is a worthy idea, I think it is going to backfire horribly. Teaching this kind of material (even if it is "through discussion"), doesn't encourage critical thinking, because it teaches the "big issues" and some words you can say about them, without teaching any background. I have a horrible vision of armies of schoolchildren who can describe the functioning of the parliamentary committee system or spout off about the wretched precautionary principle, but have absolutely no understanding of practical politics, or of the difficult trade-offs inherent in environmental policy.

The one thing I think is seriously missing from modern education in the UK (and probably in most other places) is any kind of attention to the humanities. Geography is about such wonders as the basket-weaving industry is Huddersfield. History is lists of dates (unless you do the alternative syllabus, in which a tiny glimmer of narrative remains). Literature is crippled by an obsession with Shakespeare, and a reluctance to teach anything else from before 1950, apart from Thomas Hardy (who falls into the "I don't get it") category. Speaking personally, my critical reading skills come from reading history and (non-analytic) philosophy, not from anything I was taught.

I would think that if they want to teach people to understand important issues (which is fair enough), they would be better off teaching through a paradigm of reading on particular topics, and then discussing the material, which reduced amounts of guidance as children get older. Of course, you can't set exams in that, so they'll never do it.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Similarities and differences (none / 0) (#203)
by epepke on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 02:00:03 AM EST

The context of private education in the UK needs to be explained here: children are assigned to state secondary schools based on where they live. Middle class parents deliberately buy houses in the catchment areas of good state secondary schools, which tends to drive out poorer families. Those who, for one reason or another cannot do this, for instance because there is no good state secondary school in the area, or because the area is too small for the schools to enforce social-class apartheit (you think I'm kidding, don't you ?) often send their children to private schools. These do not necessarily provide a better education, but they are more academically focused, and usually stronger on discipline. They're not necessarily public schools, which do provide a better (or at least more rounded) education, but have very expensive fees.

This is exactly the same as in the U.S., except that what you call "state schools" we call "public schools," and what you call "public schools" we call "prep schools." I went to public..er..state..er..public schools. That is, free ones. I had cheap parents. Good thing I didn't need orthodonty.

"Across the Barricades", "The Machinegunners": ask any British person in their mid-twenties

Not that, but we are generally subjected to God's Little Acre and The Highwayman for some unfathomable reason, unless it's the personality disorders of the largely female teachers.

Language teaching was so bad that although I did 5 years of French, I cannot speak any, and although I have a qualification in German, my Spanish (1 year adult education) is better.

That's about the same for most people here, too. I had 5 years of Spanish and can speak it, though that's probably because I minored in Spanish Literature at university. But one year of German made me speak it better than Spanish.

We didn't do social studies subjects back then. British schools do now, with the focus on learning to discuss topical issues.

We've had Social Studies, lamentably, since the 1960's.

There seems to be a move towards doing science teaching this way: with a focus on contemporary issues, such as the enviroment or genetic engineering. Although this is a worthy idea, I think it is going to backfire horribly.

This sounds as if it sucks even worse than the U.S., where Science is taught as a collection of facts. But I did have one wonderful Biology teacher who taught me what Science was. And there was a good advanced physics course that taught relativity and some QM. This is rare, though.

The one thing I think is seriously missing from modern education in the UK (and probably in most other places) is any kind of attention to the humanities.

Actually, I think the U.S. does pretty well here.

Geography is about such wonders as the basket-weaving industry is Huddersfield. History is lists of dates (unless you do the alternative syllabus, in which a tiny glimmer of narrative remains).

Geography and history are seldom taught in the U.S. apart from social studies until 9th grade or so. Most history courses suck. However, I had a good one, in which we studied archaeology and had to make and bury artifacts that the other half of the class had to analyze. And there was the extracurricular activity that, for some reason, we call Forensics. But it doesn't have anything to do with scraping dirt from under corpse's fingernails; it's debate, oratory, extemporaneous speaking, ersatz parliaments, and dramatic interpretation.

Literature is crippled by an obsession with Shakespeare,

I had one class in Shakespeare, which was pretty good.

nd a reluctance to teach anything else from before 1950, apart from Thomas Hardy (who falls into the "I don't get it") category.

We're spared Thomas Hardy. Plenty of Mark Twain, though, but he's good.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Fuck High School (4.00 / 4) (#61)
by Emissary on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:58:37 PM EST

During my time in High School I've been enrolled in five schools, with four different types of curriculum.

In freshman year, I was in a school out in the woods which was essentially a dumping ground for the problem kids from all the other schools in the county (Sonoma, in northern California). I went to school three days a week, did half the homework, and spent the rest of the time smoking pot, reading books, and being afraid of girls; it was great, I learned more about people and was exposed to more learning situations in my nine months there than I had before or have since.

In my sophomore year, I transferred to the normal public high school, where all my friends from junior high had gone. It was crap, the people there were more screwed up than I was, I learned nothing I wanted or needed to learn. The administration was actively hostile; they changed the dress code twice specifically to make me wear shoes. Even the smart and dedicated teachers were filled with a fatalistic attitude that dismissed any attempt at positive change. This was a model school, almost all graduates attended college, standardized test scores were among the highest in the state, but everyone there was miserable.

In the beginning of my Junior year I took the CHSPE and homeschooled for a little while, but I've never been into that, there's not enough social interaction and I never went out of the house. So I enrolled in a charter school and began taking classes at the local junior college. The school lets me take whatever I want in "real" classes at the junior college, and for my required classes (health, economics, english) they bullshit my transcripts quite effectively. It's great.

So, what I've learned in the past four years boils down to: My Happiness is more important than fulfilling the expectations of bureaucracy. If you are in California, take the CHSPE and drop out; it's the easiest test I have ever taken. In one question, they show you a rectangle with the lengths of its sides marked, and ask you what its area is. I could have passed this test in fifth grade. If you are anywhere else, take the GED and drop out; from what I hear, it's very easy if you study. Nothing good will come out of remaining in a public school which you aren't happy in.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
Hmm. (none / 0) (#65)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:02:38 PM EST

And you've not found this to be a practical impediment in going on to "higher" education and all that?

Maybe I'm just in the unique situation where I really have no choice while everyone else does. Lord knows.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I Have Just Given Up (none / 0) (#67)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:04:40 PM EST

everything to pursue my grad degree. I think it's all about what you really want, especially these days. I mean, no one would turn you down, if you really decided to go, right?

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Don't be so sure. [n/t] (none / 0) (#75)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:12:58 PM EST


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Why would they turn you down? (none / 0) (#113)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:57:49 AM EST


_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Because I'm not very competitive. (none / 0) (#145)
by valeko on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:23:48 PM EST


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Not so far (none / 0) (#72)
by Emissary on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:08:58 PM EST

I hear that it's easier to get financial aid if you have a diploma, which is why I'm still in High School after getting my CHSPE. I've applied to UCs Davis, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz; I'm definitely getting into Davis and Santa Cruz. If I didn't make it into any of them, I would stay at the junior college for two more years and then transfer. Apparently it's really easy to get into a UC when applying for a transfer from sophomore or freshman year, even if you've been in a community college or a party school. What it boils down to is that the educational system isn't nearly as sink-or-swim as most people think. Heinlein wrote a good essay about how to swim through life and the educational system in the seventies or eighties, and most of his ideas are still easily applicable.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
I don't know. (none / 0) (#76)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:15:01 PM EST

The swimming that people were doing in the 70s and 80s isn't possible any longer now. I think that's plainly obvious.

Put it this way: My only chance to get into any kind of university is the state scholarship/financial aid program here, which pays my tuition for in-state university. There's no way I'm getting in if I don't (a) have a high school diploma (as opposed to a GED) and (b) do "well" in high school. Too many people are qualifying for this scholarship, anyways, so it's getting to be very, very competitive, especially in light of massive budget constraints due to the state of the economy right now. I can't afford to "take it easy."

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

It's True (none / 0) (#77)
by dteeuwen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:18:20 PM EST

But you could go to school all day and work all night, sleeping for 4 hours a day for 2 years like I did, in lieu of loans/grants/etc.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Maybe you can. (none / 0) (#78)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:21:12 PM EST

I can't, and I know I can't. And the sad thing is I sleep 4 hours a day now, and I don't even work or anything like that. :)

Well, to a certain extent it's the indoctrination I received from my parents, to the effect that "work (employment) and study are mutually exclusive." The more I see people who try to work during school, the more I'm convinced that it's true; you're going to neglect one, the other, or both. Sure, you can try to arrange it so that those two things are somewhat overlapping, but in that case supporting yourself is going to be very hard.

Me, I can't function on 4 hours of sleep a day. Well, I do, but only because it's high school. Presumably, college is "real" stuff, not this monkey shit. I need to devote full time to studying.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

No way (none / 0) (#87)
by Emissary on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:18:44 PM EST

The one thing people most overlook about college is that you can take as few classes as you want, at any time of the day. If you need to make time for work, you can take fewer credits. It will take longer, but who wants to leave college anyway?

Your earlier remarks about having to bust your ass to do well in high school are also wrong. Just stop taking hard classes! If that won't work for you, then go to a charter school or do independent study. It cuts down the time you spend on school each day like you wouldn't believe, because you don't have to listen to lectures which move at 1/3 the speed it would take you to absorb the same information by reading.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
Bzzzt! (none / 0) (#88)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:36:56 PM EST

The one thing people most overlook about college is that you can take as few classes as you want, at any time of the day. If you need to make time for work, you can take fewer credits. It will take longer, but who wants to leave college anyway?

Yeah, if you're the one paying for it. If the state is paying for it, as the case (hopefully) will be with me, it means you must take a minimum of credits every semester, and it's rigourous.

I realise that what you're saying is geared toward a situation where you're paying yourself, but the point is that your generalisation is still false. Also, I'm quite sure that this university has rules that prevent you from staying there 6 or 7 years, or more people would do it, believe me. Also, I'm unconvinced that I want to work day and night for more than 4 years, even if I'm only taking 2 classes per semester. It can still be a lot of work.

Just stop taking hard classes!

An option, but not if your university is located in the same town as your school system, in which case the university perfectly understands the difference between the "hard" and "regular" classes, and will significantly downgrade you in admission possibilities if you aren't taking the hard ones. Combined with a low SAT score like mine (1240) and no extracurricular garbage or anything like that, that lowers my chances substantially.

As far as charter schools or independent study, none of those options exist here. The only one that does is joint enrollment at the university, which gives you school credit for university courses (and also university credit, obviously) and probably increases your chances for admission. However, if you're going to do that your last 1-2 years of school, you need to plan your entire schedule from the very start (literally, your freshman year) in order to get the school-required graduation requirements out of the way ASAP, which means taking a massively dense load of classes for 2+ years.

I'm way too lazy (and lacking in foresight) to have done that, so I've pretty much killed that option, even for my senior year. Besides, who the hell wants to go to university earlier than necessary. It means less time spent in school, true, but having it replaced with university isn't so attractive an option.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Okay then, you're screwed. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Emissary on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:07:51 AM EST

Are you happy now? Sheesh.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by valeko on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:34:07 AM EST

That's exactly what I was trying to say. :)

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Low SAT score? (none / 0) (#190)
by EriKZ on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 06:29:29 PM EST


According to

http://www.nasbe.org/Educational_Issues/State_Stats/usa.htm

the average SAT score is 910.

Maybe your score is low for the college you want to get into, but it is not "low".

[ Parent ]

Test Out (none / 0) (#146)
by SEWilco on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:26:37 PM EST

Try "Testing Out" of a class.
Many colleges allow you to test out of a class, which is particularly useful for bypassing introductory classes and jumping up to the challenging ones. I tested out of the freshman level CompSci classes. It's usually easy for the teachers, as they often simply give you a previous year's Final Exam.

High school teachers should know the term, and might let you do it there also -- if regulations allow it. Or just take the high-school-equivalency test and prove you have no need of minimalist high school.

"When I hear the word 'culture', I reach for a disinfectant"

[ Parent ]

Testing out (none / 0) (#252)
by Emissary on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:45:00 AM EST

I did test out of high school, that's what the CHSPE is. I decided to stay in high school though, since apparently it's easier to get financial aid if you have an actual diploma. As for testing out of specific classes, since I'm now only taking classes I'm interested in, I don't really want to :)

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
An addendum of sorts. (4.60 / 5) (#80)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:24:09 PM EST

Ensignyu made an extremely relevant point here -- I don't know anybody that would spend an equal or greater portion of their time reading books outside of school. Maybe you did, but I guess you're just really cool.

If I got to do whatever I wanted instead of going to school, I'd probably do a little reading in some fairly narrow and specialised areas of interest, ride my bike, and surf the web a lot. Education ... right.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Someone like that (none / 0) (#97)
by ensignyu on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 01:47:22 AM EST

I do know somebody who spends a lot of time reading. He has great grades in his AP classes but takes some of the easiest classes available.

But, he reads for pleasure (certainly not anything we would ever read for any class) so I don't think that counts :P

[ Parent ]

I talked about that (5.00 / 2) (#112)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:56:23 AM EST

in the article. But, I'm also open to the fact that things can be learned in different ways. I bet I could learn math better if it wasn't taught with examples that only math students could have figured out.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Absolutely (5.00 / 2) (#138)
by greenrd on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:21:15 PM EST

I bet I could learn math better if it wasn't taught with examples that only math students could have figured out.

Or, indeed, computing courses would work better if they didn't introduce too much abstract stuff like object-oriented theory (this used to be taught in the first term in my old college, after Hello World - no kidding - but that's been fixed now), quicksort, and O(N) notation too early in the game. If the aim is to teach a basic understanding of programming and how computers work under the hood, deprioritise quicksort, and prioritise making actual useful applications (maybe completing partially-written systems to give more guidance by example). If the aim of a course is to teach some hardcore CS, it's probably a good idea to make sure students have a solid grounding in what nuts-and-bolts programming is all about (e.g. variables, loops, functions, abstractions, etc.) before trying to teach them what O(N^3) algorithms are and why anyone should care.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

yep. (4.80 / 5) (#160)
by pb on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:31:42 PM EST

Or, more properly, both quicksorts (would fit under Data Structures and Algorithms) and O(N^3) algorithms (perhaps also there, as well as Cellular Automata or Discrete Math or whatever) should be covered in detail in separate undergraduate classes; they were for me, anyhow.

I don't have much respect for object-oriented theory or the OOP paradigm in general, but with so many schools moving to Java as their introductory teaching language, I guess it'd be hard to avoid talking about OOP up front.  This is another topic that is best saved for later (like Theory of Programming Languages).

And yes, college didn't teach me how to program.  Fortunately I came in already knowing that, and I'm glad because I don't think I could have learned it as well from what they taught.

Actually, the biggest crime perpetrated by teachers (and specifically CS teachers) in the time I spent in college involved assigning a project without first teaching any of the concepts required to complete that project efficiently or well.

Usually these concepts would get taught in the days immediately before or after the due date of the project, which means that all of the solutions are going to be half-assed attempts no matter what you do--if you start too early you can't do it right, and if you start too late you won't figure it out fast enough!

I had one teacher who specifically taught everything you needed to know to do a project right before he assigned it.  You could start that day if you wanted to and work it all out if you had the time.  (the project might take longer than that to code, but you could do it!)  He made a point of this, and it was something that was noticably lacking in the introductory CS courses.

For my first project in my first college C++ programming course, I taught myself about structs and arrays in C++, because they simplified the problem greatly.  The only reason I knew to do this was because I knew how to use arrays and records in Pascal--a newcomer would be stuck using 20 variables as a "data structure" instead of a five-element array of a four-element struct, and having to cut-and-paste code instead of doing things right the first time.

Another project I saw assigned was even worse--it entirely consisted of repetitive code, and when written properly could be shortened by a factor of 10x or more!  I see no reason to force students to solve problems they shouldn't be encountering yet in all the wrong ways--with 300 lines of spaghetti code where 30 lines of properly written code would do--or to encourage such stupid programming practices as cutting and pasting code, but that didn't help the other unsuspecting victims in the introductory programming classes.

I'm sure more than a few potentially very good programmers have been turned away by such practices, as many good programmers despise busywork--if you have to write all that code, then what good is having a computer, anyhow?  After writing 300 lines of the same 5 lines of code, I could have computed my grades by hand a dozen times over, so why all the hassle with the computer?

Bad teaching practices such as these are entirely counterproductive to actual learning.  Yes, yes, I know I'm not telling you all anything new, and things certainly got better as I got deeper into college, but I'm certainly glad it's all over now.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Schools Improving (4.00 / 4) (#84)
by acoustiq on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:00:58 PM EST

I am currently in my last year at a so-called "charter" school (see mine) and I can say that I have been given completely different opportunities. Let's see my Monday schedule this year:
  1. AP Chemistry
  2. Modern Physics (currently talking about special relativity)
  3. French II (my first year of French; they at least let me skip I with no experience)
  4. AP Spanish
  5. AP English (Literature)
  6. Calculus 3 (there's actually enough demand to have this post-AP course)
  7. AP Physics
This is one school that will stretch you to the extent of your abilities; there are many others at my school like me, and all of us are in many activities after school (in addition to these classes). Colleges are seeing this, too: I was recently accepted to CMU's computer science program and some of my friends were accepted to Princeton, Harvard, MIT, and UPenn. It's a shame it isn't usually like this elsewhere; I hope more charter schools spring up around the country.

--
"When someone says, 'I want a programming language in which I need only say what I want done,' give him a lollipop." - Alan Perlis
Hm. (none / 0) (#86)
by valeko on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:18:35 PM EST

Sounds like way too much effort (i.e. the other extreme), but that might just be a question of what you're interested in.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

You chose CS? (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by t v on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 01:14:56 AM EST

CS degrees from anywhere today are on the way to being as much in demand as those Business Management / Economics graduates from 10 years ago.  Its a good degree, but too many people taking it still, just because they think its the ticket to being rich.  Mind you, I didn't say that was your thinking.

[ Parent ]
My school (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by ensignyu on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 01:42:04 AM EST

Wow, that's a great domain name there.

The public high school I currently attend has a number of AP classes for the ambitious or insane. Of course, it also has higher funding than most schools in California and among the highest-paid teachers in the area.

Here, you're considered a bad student if you don't take at least one AP class. Which is probably the only reason I'm in AP Calculus AB, which I'm not very good at. Students at our school can choose to take a schedule similar to yours.

The AP classes (with the exception of AP Computer Science, which was incredibly easy for me) are certainly challenging, but I can't say the same for some of the non-AP, non-honors classes.

And of course, there's always the genius kids that take 4+ AP classes a year and get over 100% in every one, and still have several hours of free time left over. And then they further challenge themselves by taking college classes outside of school. Which, I suppose, is another option for those who don't feel challenged enough.

[ Parent ]

I should have done that (none / 0) (#110)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:54:10 AM EST

I would have loved it.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

AP AP AP (5.00 / 1) (#137)
by gzt on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:11:58 PM EST

The real question is, are the AP courses actually teaching at a reasonable level, or are they cramchugplug-so-you-can-pass-the-test courses?  My school, a public school with nothing special about it, rather than have AP courses, taught well and students could take the AP test if they desired.  And many did and did well. But hey: most likely you're getting good education.

But bloody fugazi, man, be careful not to turn into a technical barbarian with that sort of schedule.  

Cheers,
GZ
PS Of course it's "so-called", everything is "so-called".  

[ Parent ]

Yawn. (4.15 / 19) (#93)
by Work on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:52:07 AM EST

Oh boy, another arrogant, pompous and pretentious nitwit enters the halls of k5.

You think that most people don't know that its important to learn outside of school? Or that school not specifically custom tailored to your method of learning isnt terribly effective? Woo whee couldn't have figured that out myself!

No no, I need some wonderfully pretentious yokel of the internet to tell me that I'm bored - and if i'm not bored - then im stupid!

High School is what you make of it. For all the bad things that goes on there, theres plenty of good. When I think back to my days there, I don't think of 'wow, what a waste of time', rather I think of the good things that went on - the few classes and programs I did like. The ones I found, made friends in and excelled at indeed made it worth while. Art and theatre there were the most enjoyable things.

It's a pity you didn't find (or even bother looking, I imagine) something that suited your fancy. But don't go slinging this halfwit tripe around k5 like its an original thought.

If you want REAL high school advice here's the best: Go to school. Get involved in different extracurricular programs, thats where the fun begins. Try new and different things. Especially the arts.

If Only You'd Been There (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:53:09 AM EST

With all your humble wisdom to guide me. I was involved in all that crap. I just couldn't stop thinking about what a waste of time it was.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

missing the point... (none / 0) (#168)
by ragabr on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 04:46:55 AM EST

if you weren't interested in them, then you shouldn't be doing them. the idea was not to mindlessly join every extracurricular activity but find the ones that did interest you. if you thought they were crap you shouldn't have been there. and since it's easy to create your own extra curricular activities, and i'm sure you weren't completely isolated in high school, if you had been willing to put in the effort instead of blowing up your ego with how you were about it all you and friends could have made it as interesting as you wanted.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
You're Right (3.00 / 2) (#111)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:54:40 AM EST

Everthing is great!! Yayy!

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Wow (3.00 / 3) (#120)
by unterderbrucke on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:33:39 AM EST

That's a troll if I've ever seen one. The man makes it pretty obvious in the article that he didn't have a choice of high schools, and would have gone to a good high school if he wanted to.

[ Parent ]
I didn't have a choice, either. (4.66 / 3) (#123)
by Work on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:16:35 AM EST

How is it a troll? Because it made you think? Because it doesn't tow the 'poor me, i was an oppressed ner- er, intellectual' line?

I'd say most people don't have a choice. It's simply being able to do your best with you have to work with.

That's a skill we all have to learn some time. I wish I'd learned it prior to my junior year of high school. My first 2 years were much like this person's - full of angst and misdirected anger.

[ Parent ]

Wow, indeed (4.50 / 4) (#124)
by adamhaun on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:21:50 AM EST

It's not a troll. He's quite correct. If you spend your whole time in high school trying to get out of it then of course you're going to have a miserable time. The secret to happiness in high school is to find something to focus on that you enjoy. You think you'll never have to do things you don't like in the real world? Think again.

-- Adam Haun No, you can't have my email
[ Parent ]
Exactly. (5.00 / 3) (#141)
by Work on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:56:58 PM EST

If you'd asked me my freshman or sophomore year there if I ever thought id be spending extra time at school, such as after school, on weekends or out on trips relating to schools, id have laughed arrogantly at the thought.

By my senior year I'd gotten involved enough in the theatre program that yes indeed, I was spending more time in there after school than the rest of the day, and usually my weekends as well, building and designing the sets and what not.

Best of all, I got to take actual *pride* in my work. There's something about given the freedom to do what you want with it, build it, have several hundred people come to a show and say 'hey that's pretty cool', and winning the admiration of your peers in there. Everyone makes good friends that way. And that increases your confidence in yourself, which leads to all kinds of goodness. Lord knows I couldn't get a date before my junior year, but after I finally developed a sense of respect and confidence, and gathered plenty of friends in the same area, my life certainly brightened.

The rest of one's life is the same. Everybody does shit they dislike, mediocrity is everywhere. Yet we all have our interests and little joys that bring a sense of pride and happiness into our lives. Well, at least the more well-rounded of us do.

[ Parent ]

You've hit an interesting point. (none / 0) (#144)
by valeko on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:22:31 PM EST

He's quite correct. If you spend your whole time in high school trying to get out of it then of course you're going to have a miserable time.

Ah yes! That particular way of putting it really hits home. Here in the priveleged/gifted/rich white people strata, the mantra is exactly that -- spend your time in high school trying to get out of it! In other words, cram up your freshman and sophomore schedule with the full load of "academic" courses, burn your arse off, and then go do "joint enrollment" at the university just so you don't have to go to stupid high school anymore.

Seems rather silly. I'm not doing it, in part because if I wanted to I need to have arranged my schedule to do so with lots of advance planning, and in part because, why do I want to get out of high school and go to university earlier than I have to? I still have a fairly intense course-load, but I don't feel like I'm just burning through things at a murderous pace for some silly careerist goals. I'll relax, go to school for 4 years, and then concern myself with the question of what to do beyond it.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

the real world sucks, avoid it (4.66 / 3) (#148)
by Work on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:46:25 PM EST

One of my roommates recently graduated from here at UT. Shes only 20, was in for 2.5 years because she came with a bunch of high school credits.

She is miserable. She has no idea what she wants to do - she has little interest in what she graduated with. Since she's not in school, she basically has no other peers with now to mill around with. And since she broke up with her b/f, her chances of meeting someone are that much smaller without all the social interaction.

The life of a college student is an amusing and enlightening one. I can't see why someone would be so desperate to get into the 'real world', working their ass off. You're going to be doing that for decades... enjoy the intellectual and social stimulations that only college provide for as long as you can.

[ Parent ]

eh? (none / 0) (#187)
by EriKZ on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 04:44:29 PM EST


I found no intellectual and social stimulations in college. How can you relax when you're broke, building up massive debt, working, and trying to jump through the scholastic hoop of the moment?

I can find intellectual stimulations now. My mind isn't cluttered up with all that crap that I was forced to memorize and forget. Leaving me looking around for interesting things to do. Socially? Now that I'm hanging around other people that work for a living, I find it easier to get along with them. In college, the workers were too busy and the non-workers tended to be..immature.

College was an enormous waste of time and resources. The only reason I went though that mess was to get the piece of paper. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life arguing with boneheads that I could do the job without a college degree.

Your girlfriend sounds normal. Have you noticed how many women are married a few years out of college?


[ Parent ]

sounds like... (none / 0) (#199)
by Work on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 11:15:54 PM EST

a case of again, not looking for that which interests you. Of course I have no idea where you went to college, but my experience with the largest university in the country (world too, I think) has shown that no matter what you're into - theres a good chance there will be people much like you.

Happiness is never delivered to you. You must look for it to find it.

Sure, I know plenty of jackholes. I've taken classes I hate. Hell, ive come real close to changing my major. But I stick with it. Because I do enjoy it, i'm good at it, and im proud of where i'm at, even if i stumble and fall a few times.

College, high school...life in general. It's what you make of it. If you spend your life hating your situation and wishing you were somewhere else, instead of just DOING something else, you're always going to be miserable.

Its a pity i find this sad apathetic attitude so often here.

[ Parent ]

it's not just high school (3.33 / 3) (#94)
by postindustrialist on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 01:03:32 AM EST

although for me HS was similar.. i slept through all my classes (partly outta boredom, partly because i worked a 35 hour a week job, then in the holiday season another 25 hour a week one) and all i did was read the book the first month, take all the tests, do none of the homework, and i walked out with a b+ average. hell, when i wasn't sleeping i was playing card games like asshole and rummy in class.. sometimes the teacher would join in for a game of hearts.. in college, it was just as bad. i dropped out after a year. grades were horrible. simply for lack of attending class and not doing any work. it was a total repeat of HS. i sat in on one of my friend's history classes. the prof. had the class divided into two groups and each half was asked to take one side of the pros or cons of moving to the aerican colonies as if "they were the pilgrims".. god, please shoot me. as if it could get any worse, there was a candy reward for the team that argues the best (although, that would have been unfair so both sides were rewarded). another class i sat in on was feminist philosophy. i talked to the teacher after the class and explained that i had gone to the college previously. she took me foir a graduate student. so what's the difference between a grad and a drop out? a couple thousand dollars in loans and a slip of paper. colleges however do vary, and althugh i went to a rather average one (not a state school, nor a community college.. but not ivy league either) it's just becoming a continuation of highschool in which those that don't go are treated like the people who got a GED instead of going top high school not so long ago. my roommate not just graduated. he works a similar job to me and we make equal pay. college also has him set back becuase of loans.. it's really not as great as it should be...
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
And now, a comment from a 10th Grader.... (4.40 / 20) (#98)
by kichigai on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:00:02 AM EST

Not only do Public Schools not challenge students, but they pretty much dull their minds to the edge of a butter knife. And all the while, Students are thought of as a huge threat. At my school, we don't have any metal detectors, or examinations of bags. Infact, we can walk into the school almost any hour of the day, up until 5 P.M.

However, since 9/11, the school has hired a "Rent-A-Cop" as we call him. He carries a Radio, hand-cuffs, a gun (Loaded?) and a clip of ammo. Oh goodie. Is the gun really nessisary?! If the school was that worried we were bringing weapons in, they oughta just put up a coupla metal detectors, and have the deans stand guard to make sure no one tries to get around them. They'd save on wages. But this is a minor issue. Personally, I think it's Post-9/11 Paranoia.

Many people think, and some know, that today's youth is more adept with PCs than most adults. The school's SysAdmin probably subscribes to that theory. The school considers us students to be such a security risk, we aren't allowed to edit the orginization of our "Favorites" in IE. But the school requires us to follow specific rules (Many are often broken), but doesn't seem to enforce them. Example:

A friends told me about his experience in the School's computer lab, doing research on the French Revolution. The kid next to him, who I also know, some how found a nude picture of Angelina Jolie (Unsurpisedly: wow). Well, he sets it as his wallpaper (Another thing we're not supposed to be able to customize)
To this day, which is a few days afterward, no one in the administration has found out, or cares.

Back to the subject of how much Public education sucks:
I learned more about HTML on my own, than I did in the school's "Web Page Design" course. The only advantage is, that I can now put down on my colledge resume that I know FrontPage 2000 (By then, FP XP5 should be released, and my knowledge will be very out of date). But not only did I know everything they taught in the class (Asside from some FP2K features), but I also rarely got to do anything creative. We would be given guidelines on what we were supposed to write about. And it always had to be "Positive." My friend used some Voo Doo DHTML Tricks (I call them that since Mozilla/Phoenix et. al. browsers don't support them) in his pages. But when we coded our own HTML, we atleast got to write our own "body" data. But when we got to FP2K, it was literally write what the book tells you to write. They gave you all the information you were supposed to put down. To be honest, I found their little jest about Jaws sequels to be rather un-funny.

The only class that I don't think I could have taught my self is a forign language. Currently, I'm in Russian II (For about two more weeks, then the term ends), and next term I'm in Russian III. I tried teaching my self Japanese, but with little success. I still have a hobby of learning some words, and a few worthless and useless phrases (BAKA NI!), but nothing helpful.

But the reason I find school boring, is that it is. I consider myself to be a bit ahead of the other students. In truth, I may not be. To be honest, I don't really know. But becuase sometimes we're crammed at about 30 (Few) to 35 (Average) to 40 (Crowded) students to a class, we often don't get the help we need. While I have a nack for grasping consepts easily, often when I try to use them, I make simple mistakes. But since there's about 34 students in my Chemistry Class (My worst subject this year: C), I often don't get the help I need. I've learned to extract data properly from my Chem book.

What it really boils down to, is that there isn't enough attention to individual students. The best example is my Chem class compared to my Russian Class. In Chem, there's 34 students (I already mentioned that). In Russian, there's 13 of us. But that number will shrink even further after the end of term. In Chem, I can figure out why something works, and how to use it in most cases, but I often might get lost (Like when we learned Atomic Orbitals). Most of the time, I can logically figure it out, or the teacher will render aid. However, in Russian, we don't have that trouble. Mrs. Finn (A naitive Russian) actually goes up and down between the tables, and will look over what work Students have done so far, and check it. What she'll do, is see what we've done right, and what we've done wrong. What ever we've done wrong, she'll mark, and let us know. We then have a chance to redeem our selves by figuring out how to fix it, then fixing it. This is one of the reasons that Russian is one of my better subjects. I've never been overly good with foreign languages, but I've learned Russian pretty well. Even under Mr. Kuskovski (Another Naitive Russian. He left to be a principal at another school.), who did things very differently, we were corrected, and were offered the chance to fix our mistakes. Both of my Russian techers helped us, while my Chem teacher really can't. To be honest, it's not entierly the teacher's fault. The system is to blame. They hire too few teachers, and give them too much to do. While we're working on our Chem assignments for the last 15-30 minutes of class (We have four 96-minute periods per day), she has to prepare for her next class. This involves taking out/preparing any chemicals they might need, or getting out Demo equiptment. However, if a special employee had been hired to handle this preperation, she might have a chance to stroll between the desks and look over our work. Help us pin-point the problems. But still, she'd have to learn what each of us 34 students need help with. And then, multiply that number by the number of other classes she has to teach. This leads up to a system that will end up as a downward spiral. The school needs to wise up a bit. While they are taking steps they think are best, they still could take more tips.

Example:
Apparently, this is the last year that the school will run on a 4-Period Day (Junior High is already on a 8-Period Day, with the 8th Period being a study hall). They plan to move us to an 8-Period Day, with 3-Minute Passing Times. Personally, I liked the 4-Period Days. Often, classes might really drag on, but there would be times when we'd need the time. Like in classes where we'd have to do labs, or in art classes. Why not combine the two? A 6-Period Day. Two 96-Minute classes, and four 47-Minute Classes. During the longer periods, we could have our science, art or language classes, or something like that, and during the shorter, we could have English, Math, Business classes, and so forth.

Another thing schools need to learn is, that Students want to customize EVERYTHING. But that involves... CREATIVITY! OH NO! *Insert dramatic music here* The lack of assignments where students get to be creative is astounding. In Language Arts, writing is rarely done. Most often, it's reading, and filling in info in packets (Study Guides). This doesn't help us really. I mean, I am trying to write my own story, creativly. But I'm finding a problem: I'm actually having trouble comming up with ways of making transitions from place to place. To be honest, I'm a little shocked. I've always been gifted with the English Language. And my LA (Language Arts) grades have often been my best. I guess the school just didn't teach me well enough.

But the problems aren't limited to academics. Our school has a bit of a problem with the "Do As We Say, Not As We Do" syndrom. We're not supposed to install software, or download things from the internet. I know a teacher who does. He said he wanted to bring in an external burner and transfer all of his tunes to it. Another thing we're not supposed to do: Tamper with the equiptment. Also, we're not supposed be allowed to change our backgrounds (Every one does, though). Teachers are given free reign to do so. They can even customize their screen savers.

Another thing, our school makes up rules, that often seem logical, and simple, but fails to follow through with them. Example: Due to the messes in the halls from last year, students are no longer allowed to take food out side of the Lunch Room or the Senior Commons. The only exception is water. But students can be found with bottles of Mountain Dew in their lockers, or even walking through the halls with bags of chips sitting openly in their hands.
Another example is that we are not allowed to have cell phones or CD players in the school. Though the staff doesn't seem to care if you bring them, just as long as they're in the locker, and turned off apparently. But once again, students can be found using these "Nuisance Items," as our Student Hand Book calls them, in the halls. But one stupid rule: The affore mentioned rule is effective during lunch. No Cells or CD/MP3 Players are to be used during Lunch. But kids do anyway. Hell, even I listen to my iPod after I eat. But never during class.

The school system needs to be totally revamped for it to work properly. Private schools have got it down, as far as I am concered. School Uniforms eliminate the problem of offensive or gang clothing, as well as discrimination upon. Personally, I'd like a uniform. They tend to be very functional (I.E. Big Pockets, not like those found in Jeans). And strict enforcement of the rules. But where they've usually done the best, is small class sizes, and chalenging work. While I don't speak from experience, I have a friend who is going to a Private School. And I can tell you, it sounds much better than what we've been doing so far. While we were learning that Energy Levels are rings around the Nucleus, and determining Cell Sizes, my friend was learning most of the things I'm learning now, one year later. Teach us ONCE, and teach us right. I don't know how many times I've been taught Area and Volume formulas in my various math classes. How hard is πr2? Classes tend to be redundant. We learned areas in 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and now 10th grade. Same for Volume, only start at 6th grade, and cut out 8th. But what really irks me is our Health Classes. Including 5th Grade, we've been given Sex-Ed once. ONCE. In Five years, we have had one Sex-Ed course. But, in that same span, we've been taught about the different advertising techniques God knows how many times.

How can schools dig themselves out of a rut? What it takes, is informative data from students, much like the data I'm spewing forth en masse now (Sorry this is so long. I need to vent!), and do a bit more thinking on how this is going to impact the students. Then, gague a responce from the student population, as well as the staff. Remember: The students are the focus. If the staff finds it just slightly annoying that they have to do something within a certain time, rembmer: this is why you are paid. To try and enhance the lives of the students here. Don't let the staff's opinion override the students'. Reverse that. The students are supposed to be the ones that the staff are supposed to care for. This means they need to make sacrifices to make our learning experience better. Here's some improvments that could be made:

  • 6-Period Day (As mentioned Above)
  • All Teachers of a subject get together and build a unified, flowing curriculum, so that the same info isn't retaught thrice
  • Don't be so lax on the rules. ENFORCE THEM. This makes the students know who's boss
  • Make classes smaller. This might mean expanding the school for more classrooms, and hiring more teachers/Teaching Assistants, then so be it.
  • Give the students more freedom. Let them unwind during lunch. It's the only thirty five minutes where data isn't pounded into their heads. And let them do more stuff about what they like. Let them write reports on the history of skate boarding.
  • Semi-Flexable Uniforms. You know, School Uniforms. When I say Semi-Flexable, I mean let them have some choices. Like so: A student must wear khakis, and a white dress shirt, but have the option of wearing a vest or a coat if they wish.
  • Don't Force Things On Them. There are some things the need forcing, like uniforms. However, forcing school spirit is one thing that isn't needed. We'll have the usual Pep-Rally, but I'd wish I had been allowed to go home, so I could work on my homework for the next day.
  • Security. Student's don't need protection from Gun toting maniacs who kill for the joy of it. They need protection from students like them. I don't want to even think about how many times I've threatened to press harassment charges (And how many times I've followed through with those threats. This includes one count sexual harassment) on a fellow student. Also, a friend of mine was acutally given the Shake-Em-Till-His-Money-Falls-Out Treatment. He was pushed around, into a wall, went limp (As a Tae-Kwon-Do Defence Mechanism he was taught), and was then shaken for the things in his pockets, with barely and inch between his head and the floor. Honestly, I've even had to press slander charges. Students don't even take these treats seriously. More education and security along these lines is nessisary. School is more dangerous for the psyche than the body.
  • Student Input. That's what the Student Council is supposed to be for. But they mainly just handle dances and such. I mean, the kind of complaints a student has against the school. The whole 4-Period vs. 8-Period issue is a perfect example.
I know there's more things I could rant on about, but I think my comment just got longer than the story.

Oh God, here comes more!
To add, I've learned more between Slashdot, K5, and experimentation than I think I've learned in school. I self-taught my self The GIMP, a PhotoShop clone, which can help get me a job in Graphic Design, or editing. And reading about how much more our rights are being limited is a helpful thing. I've had a more enlightening time IMing over Jaber with a friend on why we have two different personalities (Our internet personality, and our real-life personalities), or how thought, maturity, intellegence, and knowledge might be linked. My time would probably be better spent where things are better than in the school.

P.S. For the record: I have never skipped a minute of class.

"I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
-Me

Yes, the gun is necessary (4.00 / 2) (#134)
by theElectron on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:42:07 PM EST

America has seen a number of deadly acts of violence take place at public schools. Any armed citizen with proper training who might be able to prevent or abridge such actions in the future should be welcomed.

Now, if you want to talk about why only government agents are allowed to carry firearms onto public schools...

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

no. not really (2.00 / 1) (#140)
by Mindcrym on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:54:16 PM EST

These students in Texas didn't need a gun to disarm a guy.
-Mindcrym

[ Parent ]
Oh, ok (1.00 / 1) (#250)
by theElectron on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:51:22 AM EST

Well hell, if you don't need a gun to subdue another guy with a gun, why do police officers even carry guns? Would you be willing to disarm somebody, unarmed? You think it turns out like your little CNN story every time?

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]
Rounds of Fire (4.00 / 1) (#183)
by virg on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 01:27:23 PM EST

> America has seen a number of deadly acts of violence take place at public schools. Any armed citizen with proper training who might be able to prevent or abridge such actions in the future should be welcomed.

Nice thought, but not very accurate. To call upon the big hobgoblin that most people with your attitude use, would an armed guard have stopped the killings at Columbine? The simple answer is no, since those attackers would simply have gunned down the guard first. They didn't sneak any weapons on to the grounds, so such a guard would simply have been added to the body count. Since most other reported killings also happened in a very short span of time, your argument doesn't stand to reason. It's possible to say that having an armed guard at a metal detector is necessary so that if a student is found to have a weapon he/she can be safely disarmed, but since the original poster mentioned a lack of metal detectors, this argument would be meaningless here.

Try again.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
It's not about an armed guard (none / 0) (#251)
by theElectron on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:56:28 AM EST

One great protector isn't going to do jack shit. Allow every teacher in the building to carry on school grounds--there's a solution. That's the whole point of concealed carry reform--there are precious few police officers and other "guardians" around, especially when you need them. The best course of action to defend onesself. Not appropriate for high school students, but tremendously so for teachers.

I think your hostility and unfounded dismissals reveal a fundamental ignorance about firearms and self defense.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

Hostility (none / 0) (#266)
by virg on Mon Jan 27, 2003 at 02:17:23 PM EST

> I think your hostility and unfounded dismissals reveal a fundamental ignorance about firearms and self defense.

Do you know how often I hear this? My "hostility and unfounded dismissals" spring from being intimately familiar with firearms (I'm a fairly skilled pistol shooter) and with human nature. A gun is a force multiplier, which many people get taught in firearms classes. What they very rarely get taught is the ability to understand when force needs to be multiplied and when it doesn't. In one of my advanced situations classes, we were put in a situation where we were present in a convenience store when a "holdup" occurred. The student was placed by the door, the robber was at the counter, and the clerk and two other customers were put in various places. There were two runs, with the goal of the first being personal safety, and goal of the second neutralization of the threat. In both, students were told to expend as few rounds as possible to minimize the risk of stray bullets. Fifteen people took part.

Now tell me, Mr. Advocate of arming the faculty, how many people do you think achieved the goals while expending as few shots as possible? One young woman, in each scenario, used one shot, but most of the others used several.

I didn't fire my gun once. In the first scenario (remember that the ultimate goal was personal safety), I left through the door. In the other, I walked up behind the robber, pinned his gun arm to the counter (an easy maneuver that this very class had taught us) and told him to freeze, using my gun to drive home the point.

Let me reiterate that. I was the only one of fifteen people who did not consider killing the assailant to be the only solution. Out of the other fourteen, not one of them even considered not using lethal force. And this is a group of people in advanced civilian training, which is not currently required by any state in the U.S.. This is the reason why I think arming faculty would be a huge mistake. It takes years of training to get this instinct out of people, and I doubt your reforms would require that level of training. Without it, arming the general populace would simply elevate the number of times when deadly force gets used unnecessarily. Add to that the ease with which a gun can be taken from someone without proper training, and the bad far outweighs the good. Sorry, you can claim my ignorance as loudly as you wish, but I'm trained and licensed and I refuse to carry my gun because it's too dangerous. Maybe you should rethink your own position before you decry mine.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Excellent post. (none / 0) (#139)
by Zara2 on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:42:12 PM EST

I thought the same things when I was going to school. Personally i would say to do some research so you have facts and links to back up your points and write an article on the current state of public schools. ;)

[ Parent ]
Well done (none / 0) (#149)
by egg troll on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 06:11:27 PM EST

This could be an article in its own right.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

So.... (5.00 / 1) (#154)
by bjlhct on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:45:26 PM EST

....Students should be able to customize everything, but they should wear uniforms because you don't like some things other people wear? Also, the best schedule system for all the students is the one you like?

Or what?

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Good preparation (3.00 / 2) (#166)
by bigbtommy on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 04:18:17 AM EST

they pretty much dull their minds to the edge of a butter knife

Good preperation for the average citizen, then... You wouldn't want to take an interest in anything - that's dangerous remember...
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

Well said. (none / 0) (#174)
by Technix on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 09:50:44 AM EST

Anything I write here would pale in comparison to the thoughtfulness, intelligence, and open cander with which the original post was written, so I will not bother.

I agree 100% with every one of your points, and want to bring up an interesting subject. You mentioned a conversation with your friend, regarding the "two personalities" that people tend to have, the real life, and the online version.

I think I have an answer for you, even though you didn't ask me the original question. ;)

My reasons and thoughts on why we develop a second persona when going online that is vastly different than our real life personality is that discourse online is not limited to the immediate and often harsh reactions of the people we're communicating with.

By this I mean the 80-90% of communication that is made up of natural body language, which our brain is often confused by, but is greatly influenced by, to say the least.

When we're online, we lose that burdon. We tend to be much more outward, postitive, affirmitive, and self-confidant in dealing with anyone we're "talking" with. It's a great feeling, to be sure, but it's also a sense of liberation.

I think this is along the lines of thought that you and your friend were dealing with too. Please reply to my post and let me know what you think. I would be most interested in hearing from you.

Thanks for a refreshing and informative post that will hopefully spark some interest in us old people, bringing a sense that not all is lost on today's youth. ;)

Till next time,

-Chris Simmons,
Avid BeOS User.
The BeOSJournal.
http://www.beosjournal.org

-Chris Simmons,
Haiku News http://haikunews.org
[ Parent ]

Slope (none / 0) (#217)
by bhearsum on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 03:56:52 PM EST

In my grade nine math class we spent 2 months on the concept of slope (rise/run).

[ Parent ]
It depends where you go to school (4.57 / 7) (#99)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 04:28:45 AM EST

This article illustrates that the quality of American high schools varies dramatically. I went to a private school where I would get expelled if regularly skipped classes and I learned Calculus and programming, etc.

My sisters went to public schools. One of my sisters graduated high school learning no math beyond fractions. Another one dropped out during her junior year because the vice-principal suggested it. She eventually took her GED and was glad she she didn't waste her time with high school.

If you read this article and the comments, my point is shown quite well.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:50:00 AM EST

I really wish Icould have afforded to have gone to a private school. There is a great one right here in Toronto, but it costs more than University to go.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Which one? UTS or UCC? [n/t] (none / 0) (#211)
by superflex on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 11:05:34 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I Was Thinking (none / 0) (#228)
by dteeuwen on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 10:14:38 PM EST

UCC, but UTS is the one I'd have gone for, had I the chance.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#180)
by harrellj on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:49:55 PM EST

I agree that the quality of the education depends on where you go to school, but also what you put into it. I was lucky, I went to public schools all my life (am a senior at a private college tho) but the schools I went to were challenging. Up to junior year of high school, I was in the gifted program which is a level above even advanced classes and was very much preparing for a college education. Junior year we moved to another state and the school I went to is one very very tiny step down from a private school (was pretty much a private school funded by the government) and they're standard classes were what I was doing in the gifted classes. I feel like I got quite a bit out of high school and thorougly enjoyed it. I also was a member of the marching band and that may have helped things along, I don't know. Now, as a senior in college, I'm about to graduate and I do struggle a bit with my classes, but I am very grateful for the schools I went to, they allowed me to get my minor in spanish much quicker than would normally happen.

[ Parent ]
High School (3.80 / 5) (#102)
by SanSeveroPrince on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 05:26:43 AM EST

Isn't meant to teach you knowledge, it's supposed to be a training ground for social interactions.

The whole teaching thing is a role play to get a few adults of the streets and give them some money. In fact look at the average culture and intelligence of your high school teacher = bozo.

Since you skipped so many classes, I would like you to tell us without pride and without lying whether you found it harder than most people to make friends afterwards (and now). How many people do you know?

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Well then... (5.00 / 4) (#105)
by kerinsky on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:06:29 AM EST

If this is the case then why don't the adults just quit all the lying? Why tie funding to standardized test scores? Why make rules against talking to your friends in class. Why did can you go to school for 15000 hours without a single hours worth of time openly alloted to training kids in social interaction.

I spent a lot of my time not going to school as well so I'll answer your question. I think it's harder for me to make friends than your average person. I also found harder than average in kindergarten, that's a large part of why I didn't go to school. The educational aspects of most classes were a joke and I didn't enjoy the gossip fest and pop-ish small talk that fellow students did.

The students who most need a training ground for social interactions are usually the students who spend the most time on acedemic, non-social pursuits. If you're right the system is not only ineffective but ass backwards to an extent that couldn't be increased with deliberate thought.

So no, I don't buy it. When you say school is supposed to be something you're implying deliberate forethought. Social training grounds may be what are schools are but I can't think of any good arguement as to why this is what they should be...

-=-
Aconclusionissimplytheplacewhereyougottiredofthinking.
[ Parent ]

Innocence (4.66 / 3) (#136)
by SanSeveroPrince on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:08:06 PM EST

Nah, I never said that school is the way it is because of deliberate action.

It started as a way to make sure that all members of society would have the same level of basic skills. You know, reading, writing, snogging in the locker room...
Obviously it got lost along the way, all the way to the ass backwards system that it is now, as you rightfully say.

The main reason compulsory education is still 15 years long, though, is the social rather than academic training. I take this from many teachers I've spoken to, on all scholastic levels, from kindergarten to university, including my grandparents, my parents and about 60% of my uncles. It's like a family curse to which I so far seem to be immune...

So, school may not have purposefully been designed as a social traning ground, but it's what it evolved into... because face it, the learning is the same five years of facts, which are just force fed to you over and over again, with added detail to accomodate a student's (supposedly) increasing brain power.

They teach you how to write and read in primary school. At that age, it all happens on a word level.
Then they teach you how to read and write again, this time whole syntactic constructs.
Then they teach you yet again, this time by dealing with sentence structure.
I am sure you get the trend, and eventually you are taught paragraph-based reading if you make it all the way through university.
See? They COULD do it at once, but nooooo. They waste the first 15 years of your life to do so.

I stop at high school because that's what you're forced to go through. University is what you CHOOSE to go to, and guess what? Most places will start teaching you the important basics over again anyway.
I consider university the place where you really go to learn facts.
Compulsory school is the place where you go to learn specific life skills, such as listening, reading, writing, scoring with chicks, not getting your face smashed in by big guys... it's not the only place where you can learn it, and not everyone learns their lessons, but it's the one piece of hell where you're guaranteed to get your learning on.

Ultimately, I say school is supposed to be this way because it makes too much practical sense the way it is. A free range playground where kids are allowed to compete in direct and constructive ways is a dream of the future, and one that would require too much mind juggling for the current ruling class.
What we have now is a farce that drills you with useless information that you will be required to forget as soon as you really come to a place of learning.
The farce however, is very useful in letting you know how to deal with peer pressure, social structures where someone else is the pigeon and you're the statue, and all those wonderful necessities of life.

That's my rambled two cents anyway :)

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Facts, Go Figure... (4.00 / 1) (#181)
by virg on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:49:57 PM EST

> Nah, I never said that school is the way it is because of deliberate action.

Actually, there are many who think it is. They differ in extent and intent, but there are good arguments that schools were designed to be the way they are now. Check out an essay by John Taylor Gatto for an example of this (this is only one view, but it'll give you the idea).

> The main reason compulsory education is still 15 years long, though, is the social rather than academic training. I take this from many teachers I've spoken to, on all scholastic levels, from kindergarten to university, including my grandparents, my parents and about 60% of my uncles.

I find it strange that none of those august people, including the teachers, pointed out that (in the U.S., at least) compulsory education only goes through grade 8. High school is only compulsory if your parent or legal guardian insists that you go, and many people drop out of high school without legal ramifications.

> They teach you how to write and read in primary school. At that age, it all happens on a word level. Then they teach you how to read and write again, this time whole syntactic constructs. Then they teach you yet again, this time by dealing with sentence structure. I am sure you get the trend, and eventually you are taught paragraph-based reading if you make it all the way through university. See? They COULD do it at once, but nooooo. They waste the first 15 years of your life to do so.

What a bizarre way to view this endeavour. I disagree with many points of how literacy is taught, but even I don't hyperextend it to this level. Last I checked, no teacher tried to teach sentence structure without assuming the student could handle word recognition. Lastly, I learned "paragraph-based reading" by the time I was ten, not in college.

> I stop at high school because that's what you're forced to go through. University is what you CHOOSE to go to, and guess what? Most places will start teaching you the important basics over again anyway.

I didn't relearn the basics of anything in college, and most colleges consider this sort of thing to be remedial and will only do it if you cannot demonstrate the basic skills, and you'll have to pay them to take these courses.

> I consider university the place where you really go to learn facts.

Then you either haven't ever been there or you sadly screwed up your tenure there. Unless you're in a fact-based field (like archaeology) your college should be teaching you methodology, not facts.

> Compulsory school is the place where you go to learn specific life skills, such as listening, reading, writing, scoring with chicks, not getting your face smashed in by big guys... it's not the only place where you can learn it, and not everyone learns their lessons, but it's the one piece of hell where you're guaranteed to get your learning on.

Nope. Primary and secondary schools are the place you learn these things for the single and specific reason that this is where you are when you're of an age to learn them. If your were anywhere else at that particular time in your life, you'd still learn them. As to any guarantees, I say not very likely. If you're unable to learn these things, the school isn't going to help you, and if you are able, you don't need the school to teach them to you.

> What we have now is a farce that drills you with useless information that you will be required to forget as soon as you really come to a place of learning.

If everywhere you go isn't a self-made place of learning, nowhere you go will be. Also, in with the "useless information" I picked up a few gems of useful information, so try not to overgeneralize.

> The farce however, is very useful in letting you know how to deal with peer pressure, social structures where someone else is the pigeon and you're the statue, and all those wonderful necessities of life.

Not quite. The farce is a place to get exposure to these things, but it does virtually nothing to help you overcome them. It may teach you that you need to deal with these things, but for methods you're on your own.

> That's my rambled two cents anyway :)

Indeed.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Animosity (none / 0) (#185)
by SanSeveroPrince on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 02:26:43 PM EST

Why the animosity? I can be pretty rude sometimes, but I never set off to be a fraction of the dick you can so effortlessly be.

The 'august' people are all teachers, all European, and most of them operate in fields of medicine and physics that you could probably only masturbate to.

I will waste no further time on what is a little more than a point-by-point rebuttal that makes no effort to promote further discussion, or an autonomous point of view.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Riposte (none / 0) (#186)
by virg on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 04:23:25 PM EST

> The 'august' people are all teachers, all European, and most of them operate in fields of medicine and physics that you could probably only masturbate to.

"August" was meant as a compliment, you needed only state that they were European to complete the discussion there, and it's been a long time since I masturbated to physics. 8)

> I will waste no further time on what is a little more than a point-by-point rebuttal that makes no effort to promote further discussion, or an autonomous point of view.

You can call me a dick if you feel the need, but you may not say I didn't present a point of view. In its most distilled form, it is this:

1.) You're mistaken about your assumption that primary/secondary school was meant to be or has become a crucible of social learning. It's no more a social training ground than a mall or sporting event or fast food joint or any other place that gathers young adolescents together. The only reason it seems to be so is that larger numbers of young adolescents are gathered there than other places, which can lead to an incorrect assumption of causality.

2.) You're also mistaken in your assumption that college is a place to learn facts. With few exceptions, college is meant to teach one the details of a particular field of endeavour and the ways of learning and research. While facts are certainly involved, the emphasis is (or should be) on the methods of learning and research.

There it is. It's less polite when stated like this, but at least it's very clear and it requests your rebuttal in the form of why you think I may be mistaken (and since I seem to have come across as a dick before, maybe being polite wasn't the most useful approach anyway).

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
2 Things (3.50 / 4) (#107)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:48:23 AM EST

  1. I talked about that problem in the article. I gave a solution to that one.
  2. I have never had a problem making friends because I have always been involved in a community of people outside of school. I think school was never intended as a place to socialize you, it became that because that's where most people fall back on for social interaction.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Don't go into Academics (4.75 / 4) (#129)
by minerboy on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:21:38 PM EST

Whatever you do, don't go into academia - you'll find that the academic world is what created this educational monster you talk about, and with a few exceptions are lemmings willing to walk off any cliff, as long as they get their palm greased from somewhere. College students are warehoused, grad students are used like 3rd world laborers, and your collegues will be mostly backstabbers, and brown-nosers.



Did You Go? What Happened? (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 12:30:18 PM EST

That would make for a great article.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Good observation (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by 0xdeadbeef on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 02:07:25 PM EST

But how is this is different from the business world?

[ Parent ]
Exactly! (none / 0) (#143)
by valeko on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:13:47 PM EST

When all of life's institutions are subordinated to accumulation, it becomes homogenised exactly that way.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Because .. (none / 0) (#147)
by minerboy on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:44:11 PM EST

Academia is supposed to be different than the business world -or so I thought - at least in the business world you get paid more. Shouldn't there be somewhere that you can have a bit more honest approach to life



[ Parent ]
We know it isn't (none / 0) (#223)
by grouse on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 08:40:34 PM EST

For that matter, business is "supposed" to be free of office politics--people "should" be trying to maximize profit for the corporation. Since we know that neither academia or business is a backstabbing-and-brownnosing-free-zone, and that many people are going to be following their own agenda, and not that of the institution they work for, what does it matter?

You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

i don't agree.. (4.00 / 1) (#152)
by lemming prophet on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:38:50 PM EST

hey, wake up, backstabbers and brown-nosers will probably be everywhere you go...

.. but i doubt there are similarly good institutions where you can learn about the latest research in "your" area, where you get taught knowledge about things you care... science can be cool and interesting, it just needs a lot of boring background knowledge you have to acquire first.

and i'd like to see how exactly having a ph.d. is bad for your career...
--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
Gosh. (2.66 / 6) (#151)
by Sairon on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:36:52 PM EST

"At present, I am 27, married and " still an idiot. Don't tell children not to go to school. Despite quality, which I won't argue with with you, high school is alot of what you put into it. I went down the same path as you, and I now realize it was a bit silly. Maybe one day you'll get a clue, too.

Jared

You Might Want to Read the Article (3.00 / 1) (#155)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:58:26 PM EST

Before you become a full-fledged troll, friend. I plan to be a teacher, as I explain, so I'm certainly interested in people attending school.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

View from rural grade 11 Canadian student... (3.50 / 2) (#156)
by jdtux on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 08:02:23 PM EST

Which would be me.. I go to a high school that's surrounded by trees, so it's not like there's anywhere to go(especially when you have no money to get your licence). Anyway, so far high school hasn't really been that boring, there are some classes I can fall asleep in, like math, but that's more due to the teacher droning on and on..

It really depends on the teacher, whether they actually want to put the effort into a class to make it interesting and challenging, or whether they just want to make you remember some stuff. Like, in political science, my teacher knows next to nothing about politics and has to look up all the information(she's sub'ing for the other teacher that usually does it who's on maternity leave), but we still have some pretty interesting discussions.

It ain't necessarily so (none / 0) (#175)
by phybre187 on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 10:44:38 AM EST

It really depends on the teacher, whether they actually want to put the effort into a class to make it interesting and challenging, or whether they just want to make you remember some stuff.

Except that teachers in the US are required to follow a state-approved curriculum. It's that curriculum which sucks. I knew a lot of what might be termed "good" teachers when I went to HS, but their talents were wasted, because they weren't free to teach us things that actually mattered. We didn't have time to dwell on interesting points that deviated from what the Board of Education considered to be important material. If the teacher fell behind what they were supposed to be teaching, they'd get in trouble. Of course, there was the occasional teacher that would deviate from the curriculum, would give us the answers to any questions on a final that had been too unimportant to cover, and would make us fake reading the textbook when the assistant principal (the principal could care less, that position is just a political springboard) came in to inspect the class. These teachers don't tend to stay on very long. Either they're fired, or get frustrated and quit. I saw it happen at least 3 times at my HS. This kind of thing mainly applies to history and literature. I've never met a math teacher that tried to teach anything but what they were told to teach, and apparently the Board of Ed is so ignorant of the sciences they actually DO give some science teachers carte blanche, as long as the final is approved beforehand. My junior physics class was pretty open-ended. Apparently there was/is a shortage of competent physics teachers.

This is even more sick because our teachers are unionized. But they don't strike for things like that. Oh no, they only strike because they want more money. Which leads me to believe that these "good" teachers are few and far between. It's even more sad, then, that the ones that exist are put in positions where they can't do any good.

To further emphasize that public schools are not much more than a holding pen for the young during business hours, I direct attention to art class. A class where one cannot conceivably fail unless they don't attend. How can you really have an art class on a public high school budget? It's just a matter of "try to imitate what the teacher does and you pass". Note the "try". It's one of those classes where "everyone is a winner as long as they try". That's the popular euphemism for "we can't think of anything better to do with you than make you do this". Roll the rock, Sisyphus.

To put this in perspective, my HS was consistently considered one of the best in the Chicagoland area. It probably still is. Also, there were people in my graduating class that couldn't read. There were people in my graduating class that were never actually taught anything because they spent all day every day in a disciplinary "lockbox" in a removed section of the school. There were people in my graduating class that weren't quite deficient enough to actually be considered retarded, so they were kept at our school instead of sending them to the actual nearby school specifically built for "special" people. Instead of keeping these students longer to bring them up to the bar, the bar is just lowered for them. So essentially they graduate with what is probably the equivalent of an 8th grade education. I spent a lot of time travelling the hallways and looking into other classes and seeing these things while I was there, because I constantly volunteered to collect attendance reports during periods I didn't have classes.

Disclaimer: some of this may be unique to my area, but I think enough of it is not that it's relevant to the discussion at hand.

[ Parent ]
Did you go to New Trier? (nt) (none / 0) (#200)
by qslack on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 12:14:10 AM EST



[ Parent ]
No, 212, not 203. [nt] (none / 0) (#207)
by phybre187 on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 05:41:01 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Hmm (3.75 / 4) (#158)
by omghax on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 09:28:02 PM EST

Getting my GED and dropping out of high school to pursue things that actually interest and benefit me is something I would really like to do. Incidentally, I am heading for a career in some technological field, perhaps computer networking and system administration - computers and all things computing being my only hobby, I have a massive amount of knowledge and experience from fiddling with things despite my utter lack of credentials. Unfortunately, such credentials are necessary for most things, especially in this field. But there are, sadly, no programming, UNIX, or other related courses offered in any of the schools in the place where I live.

I would like to chat with you about your experiences applying to grad schools and getting a job without high school grades and a diploma, etc. Specifically the reaction of employers and institutions to that lack, and how much intelligence and knowledge played in your favour. My email is "TYR124840 at tyler.net", my AOL Instant Messenger thing is "onlyihavehandle", and my MSN Messenger ID is "onlyihavehandle@hotmail.com". Your advice and experience, anything you could tell me, would be most helpful and appreciated.

I did (4.50 / 2) (#159)
by vile on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 10:05:48 PM EST

Dropped out of high school.. and created a business at age 17.. created my first at 15.. dropped out.. got my GED @ 17.. and was making $54k/yr until I was 19.. living in a low-cost no state income tax town.. and am continuing to create and help create successful ventures.. all with a GED.. no creds.. no college.. and very little help from our sorry ass public school system.

To hell with credentials. What people need to be taught is real world experience.. not the b.s. 'facts', such as Columbus being the first in 1492 to 'discover' America.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Credentials Incorporated (4.00 / 1) (#178)
by virg on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:15:25 PM EST

> To hell with credentials. What people need to be taught is real world experience.. not the b.s. 'facts', such as Columbus being the first in 1492 to 'discover' America.

I've found that only people who haven't been to college think that what one learns in classes is the most important stuff one learns in college. This alone makes getting at least a GED a very good idea, since virtually no college or trade school will accept you without one. I'm glad you've succeeded, and you should be very proud of that success, but the vast majority of people need the cred to get anywhere, since not having it indicates that you are likely to have a very unbalanced education, and it takes a LOT of talent to set that off.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
GED... (4.50 / 2) (#167)
by ragabr on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 04:37:48 AM EST

is usually considered lower than a high school diploma and generally only fits the bill for places that are required to take it, unless you show *exceptional* potential. most of that potential in the job areas you seem to like to work in come from actual experience which you're unlikely to have unless you've been working in that field already. it would probably be a very bad life choice for you, especially with the job market as it is likely to be for the next 5 years or so.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
Quality of ed (2.60 / 5) (#161)
by NaCh0 on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:48:53 PM EST

It's certainly due to the fact that our school was very liberal, but it's also evidence of what a waste of time it all was.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Liberals might claim education as their strong point -- too bad they can't see how full of crap they are.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.

Hmmm. (4.33 / 3) (#164)
by valeko on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 01:17:10 AM EST

What's any of this got to do with "liberals," though? Perhaps better asked is the question, what's a "liberal"?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Yeah, I don't think there was an agenda (none / 0) (#198)
by dteeuwen on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 10:47:16 PM EST

of that kind. I mean Liberal, of couse, dumbass, so take it easy. Your point has yet to be proven.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

A bit of tension (5.00 / 6) (#163)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:21:23 AM EST

Contrast:
A guide to getting through what is sure to be a waste of your time.
With:
I'm not saying that we should eliminate all schools and let people figure it out. High school really works for some people.
My understanding of the bookends of this essay is that high school is almost certain to be a waste of your time, but we shouldn't get rid of them because they really do work for some people.

That doesn't make sense to me. What am I missing?

Perhaps my bias is preventing me from understanding. The filler between the bookends came off as "look at how smart I am, graduating with honors after years of skipping class and not paying attention."

Maybe this would be better re-written from a perspective on how the author is rather exceptional and how some schools fail for exceptional people. As written, the author seems to assume that most people are exceptional. (After all, high school is almost certainly going to be a waste of your time.)

How many US school children can find Iraq on a map again?

-l

Frankly (none / 0) (#197)
by dteeuwen on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 10:44:53 PM EST

I'm not from the U.s., though I've lived there. So, if you can't find Iraq on a map because you have an inferior education system, that isn't going to change anytime soon. Anyway, there's a lot more someone could learn about the world by skipping school in the U.S. and your pop culture loves it, as the rest of the planet can see.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Bash that big 'ole stupid U.S... (none / 0) (#215)
by zettabyte on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 01:59:36 PM EST

If the rest of the world was paying attention to your curiously anonymous country and culture, scrutinizing it for flaws and shortcomings, how would it stand up?

If I judge you and your country by how you put an argument together, I'd have to say I'll take my U.S. education all day long... Your second sentence doesn't really make sense and your third sentence leaves me scratching my head, thinking 'Troll?'.



[ Parent ]
Well, When in Rome... (5.00 / 1) (#222)
by dteeuwen on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 08:33:22 PM EST

Of course you like the U.S. Everybody who lives in the U.S>, from the most intelligent person, to the most uneducated, loves the U.S. The mindless patriotism, tied so closely to consumerism, is mind-boggling. Do us all a favor and keep choosing the U.S.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

You just made my day (none / 0) (#226)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:46:37 PM EST

Everybody who lives in the U.S>, from the most intelligent person, to the most uneducated, loves the U.S.
Grab a copy of Mother Jones, the Christian Science Monitor, the Catholic Worker, or In These Times. The U.S. has plenty of people that are no jingoists.

-l

[ Parent ]

Right, (none / 0) (#245)
by dteeuwen on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 08:42:42 PM EST

They've all moved from the country. What I'm talking about is an ingrained addiction to the culture of consumerism, which all of those magazines promote. Read Ad-busters, pal.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

IHBT (none / 0) (#249)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:10:20 AM EST

They've all moved from the country.
You must be talking about some other country than the US. Mother Jones, In These Times, The Christian Science Monitor and The Catholic Worker are all published in the US. Most of the contributors live in the US.
What I'm talking about is an ingrained addiction to the culture of consumerism, which all of those magazines promote. Read Ad-busters, pal.
I bet you can't provide a solitary referenence that each of the above mentioned magazines promotes consumerism.

-l

[ Parent ]

Look, (none / 0) (#258)
by dteeuwen on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:28:41 PM EST

I know those magazines are not pro-consumerism. I'm not talking about strictly consumerist ideals. I'm talking about a country that has the power, through its rhetoric, to make seemingly intelligent people so pro-partiot that they can't think straight.

So, like I said, read Ad-busters, cause it's Canadian.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Just a question (none / 0) (#259)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 12:14:31 AM EST

Are you not making sense on purpose?

-l

[ Parent ]

Re-read my previous post... (none / 0) (#240)
by zettabyte on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 02:04:21 PM EST

No where in there will you find me saying I like the U.S. I was challenging your superior, self-assured attitude regarding the U.S. and it's culture.

You've missed the point entirely.

Socrates might suggest you spend a little time looking at yourself and your own ideas before busting everyone else's balls. I would do the same.

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." -Socrates


[ Parent ]
If You Can Speak For Socrates (none / 0) (#244)
by dteeuwen on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 08:41:16 PM EST

Then do us all a favor and figure out the world's problems.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Other alternatives? (4.00 / 1) (#165)
by Battra on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 02:31:51 AM EST

One the one hand, I like the idea that learning is the student's responsibility and that and no student is likely to receive knowledge from simply sitting in a chair in a classroom. However, there may be alternatives better than ditching out and reading in a vacant store.

My classroom experiences were as dull as many of those recounted in this thread. In my case, I got through high school in large part by finding one or two teachers I could connect with. I had an amazing Latin teacher and I was able to spend two years doing independent study. Basically, I needed to check in with him at least once a week and show that I was making progress on a topic of my choice (for most of the time it was a translation of the poems of Catullus, though it could just as well have been programming or reading comic books). Other students in similar situations were able to take half their classes at the local community college.

High school is about socialization, and in part about education, but it is also about helping students make the transition to adult society. This means, in part, learning coping strategies for dealing with bureaucracy and stultifying dolts. The goal is that each of us will come up with a method we can apply through adulthood while still being able to stand ourselves. This is an non-trivial task and perhaps should be a more explicit goal of secodary education.

Indeed! (Oh, and the obvious solution)... (none / 0) (#205)
by pla on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 03:21:38 AM EST

However, there may be alternatives better than ditching out and reading in a vacant store.

Yup.

But unfortunately, the government won't *let* us just sit at home and read, rather than going to the mandatory state-sponsored brainwashing-slash-babysitting called the US education system.

Sure, if you have a parent that doesn't work, you can go the homeschooling route, but really, how many of us had a parent that didn't work? (Okay, I realize that point will nicely divide the K5 population into over-40 and under-30, with some confusion in between, but my point stands for the currently most common situations).


High school is about socialization

If by "socialization" you mean "learn that all people suck, and a number of useful ways to avoid assault that no one will care if you report", I will agree. And in hindsight, I even consider myself as reasonably popular back then (CERTAINLY not one of the "cool people", but in the upper-strata of unknowns). Yet I still understand and look at people with a great big "DUH!" when they wonder how things like Columbine could have happened. (Hey, on a side note, now that we have REAL 4th-through-8th amendment violations and police brutality to worry about, school shootings seem to have gone way down... Just noticed that).


Other students in similar situations were able to take half their classes at the local community college


I *SO* wish I had realized that as an option back in HS (my school wouldn't honor the credits, but I still would have gone later in the day just to have a semester or two behind me when I graduated HS). When I finally did get to the college level, although a lot of the same crap existed, I realized that many of one's classmates *WANT* to learn. They have a real desire to improve themselves, rather than beating people up and meaningless posturing. Realizing the such an environment even *existed*, two or three years earlier than I eventually did, would have cheered me up quite a lot.

And what difference exists to make the college experience radically better? I can sum that up in two words - "Not mandatory". People go because they want to, or because their parents force them to. The ones there at the insistance of their parents quickly either get a clue or drop out, solving the biggest problem either way.


On that note, I can bring this partial-rant to a conclusion, with my suggestion of an actual alternative, since a lot of people complain but none can think of anything better.

Make school optional. Free, but optional. Perhaps mandatory up to, say, 6th grade, just so most people can read and perform basic math, but other than that, let 'em drop out and start their lives pumping gas a few years early. Perhaps, just maybe, only 10% of the worst annoyances leaving would make the remainder actually able to get an education. And if not, the *top* 10% could also take off, to pursue a real education rather than the crap they have to endure for so long in the present system.


[ Parent ]
How does reading Vonnegut help you (4.33 / 3) (#173)
by tzanger on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 09:32:38 AM EST

I'm a major fan of Vonnegut and a enjoy reading the others you have mentioned, but how does any of that help you pass a biology exam? History? Calculus? Physics? Sure, if you have excellent reading and comprehension skills you will be able to do well on your English courses but I don't recall any of the authors you mention explaining how to do a titration, identify heart muscle from skeletal muscle or derive the quadratic equation.



Neither does high school (none / 0) (#182)
by Wateshay on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:50:59 PM EST

I think the problem is that neither do most high school science classes. At least not to a degree that requires any significant amount of class attendence. In general, I would say that a bright student could probably go to every other (or in some cases every third) class and still get everything offered by a class, since a significant portion of most U.S. high school classes consist of reviewing what was already said.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#191)
by yodason on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 06:43:59 PM EST

I go to a private high school. They are good compared to Florida public school, but atleast in Science and Math, its all biology.. GOD forbid someone wanted to take a advanced chem/physics class.. And the classes they do offer are easy. It is quite possible(I don't, I just do other homework), atleast in those classes, to skip ALL but the tests and still get a a+

[ Parent ]
Missed out on entertainment (3.00 / 1) (#179)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:41:32 PM EST

Unfortunately, by skipping class, you missed out on a great deal of entertainment.  

For example: "Anarchy Ball".  This was a creation of some juniors in my HS, when I was a senior.  They'd take whatever sport the instructors gave them, drop any tools aside from the ball, and whip the balls at the wall at high speed.  The object was to hit the other students actually following the rules.  

It provided endless hours of entertainment, and the instructors could honestly care less.  I think they thought "mandatory daily gym" was as dumb a requirement as we did.  (I mean, shouldn't we get "mandatory daily home ec"?  Isn't cooking and eating as basic a life function as physical exercise?)

High-quality Tiwaneese rubber (none / 0) (#230)
by fenix down on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 12:43:20 AM EST

Sounds a lot like Calc Ball. We had this weird math system where honors calculus mutated into this multi-period AP-prep monstrosity where you had to come to school an hour early. Result: a half dozen lazy-ass smart kids in the low-level calc.

High-speed super-bounce ball table hockey for the first 10 minuites of class, lose control of the ball, hit somebody in the face, "Goddamnit, just go to "the bathroom" and come back at the end of class, will ya?"

Wander the halls, sneak the girlfriend out of art class and make out in the parking lot 'till lunch. Ahh, le dolce vita.

[ Parent ]

My school: (4.00 / 2) (#188)
by explodingheadboy on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 05:53:28 PM EST

The academic courses are all the same. You're just about as likely to find students coloring maps in an Honors history course as you would be in a Business level course. Most of the classes where I'm SUPPOSED to be learning something end up as a ginormous waste of time.

We are required to take 3 years of a foreign language to graduate here (4 are a better idea if you plan to go on to a decent college), and so far the majority of time in the class is spent singing and dancing and learning how to "blend in with the culture" (apparently you can only speak proper and intelligible spanish if you can fool people into believing that you are from Spain first.) instead of learning the important things, like grammar, and the language itself. That pisses me off.

But, thankfully our technology electives are a bit different.

I've taken a short, simple web design course and a digital imaging course (which is basically graphic design with a computer.) so far and have found them to be quite rewarding. Those are the kind of skills you could take on when you graduate to have a decent low level job while you go through college.

---
Q: If you're paddling upstream in a canoe and a wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse?
A: None! Ice cream doesn't have bones!!!

[*rmg is dying]

A quote (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by broken77 on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 06:16:01 PM EST

I never let my schooling get in the way of my education. -- Mark Twain

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz

It's a paper chase (4.00 / 3) (#192)
by I Robot on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 08:38:14 PM EST

As I told my sons; the schools are a business. They are not set up for your benefit but for the benefit of many others. They are not prepared to give you an education but if you are any good, you'll find a way to justify my tax dollars by stealing one from them.
I also urged them to play the game by turning in their homework semi-regularly, attending class regularly and not setting fire to the place. They seldom attended, almost never did their homework and the oldest torched the place.

He's a computer programmer. The other, an underachiever, finished his tour of duty in the Marines and got a job for Fords making waaay too much per hour. Three years out of the service he got married. Four years out of it and he bought a house. A nice, four bedroom, joint. Both of them have GED's. The oldest went to a private tech school for two years.

I, on the other hand, skipped school exactly once. I am doing building maintenance as a temp service employee.

Earl Haig? (none / 0) (#193)
by dimroed on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 08:48:09 PM EST

Earl Haig!
North York represent!

Seriously though Earl Haig was supposed to be one of the area's better schools, no?

It Was! (none / 0) (#194)
by dteeuwen on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 09:35:20 PM EST

But, thruth be told, I never felt like I was challenged. Imagine if I wne to Northview!! Mercy!

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Faulkner? (none / 0) (#202)
by RyoCokey on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 01:51:04 AM EST

Are you sure this diary isn't about how one shouldn't skip class? Anyone who would read and enjoy Faulkner is obviously one sick puppy.



"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." -
Faulker (none / 0) (#231)
by Jebediah on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 12:49:48 AM EST

Hey, some of us here are big time computer nerds who enjoy Faulkner.  Hella better than math class in my opinion.

[ Parent ]
Hella Yeah (none / 0) (#248)
by dteeuwen on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 05:57:26 PM EST

I hate math.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#204)
by tacomacide on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 02:58:44 AM EST

I skipped so much school, I ended up on probation. Of course, one part of the probation was that I couldn't skip anymore -- didn't work. I ended up spending more time in jail for commiting misdemeanors and skipping than I did in class.

I didn't go to school in Juvy either, thus I never got to level 4 (there was a point system), lights out in my cell was 6:30, and I could only have one book.

"Hey, at least you got a book!" No, my court papers counted as a book.

In some states, being truant is illegal and is a "gateway crime" of sorts. Don't do it.

*** ANONYMIZED ***

HS (none / 0) (#206)
by Danse on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 04:27:50 AM EST

High school sucked for me. I went to three different schools over the course of 5 years (all because I hated my english assignments). I skipped a lot of school the last few years. I went to an open campus school for my sophmore and junior years. I would go to lunch somewhere and either sit and read or head to the arcade and play StreetFighter CE for a couple hours. Often I skipped classes and sat and read in the school library. Nobody seemed to notice or care that I'd been there for over four hours. I ended up in "special assignment class" for about the last 6 months of my junior year there. They put us in a portable building behind the school. They bring you your assignments and you sit there and do them. The class was run by one of the football coaches. He was a rather strange guy, but pretty cool. He wrote little science fiction stories, had decided that the portable building was an aircraft carrier (he even had all sorts of tape markings on the floor to bring the idea to life), and believed that he was actually an alien from one of the moons of Jupiter (I don't recall which moon at the moment). So, if nothing else, he was more interesting than most of the other teachers that we could have been stuck with. I pretty much spent my time there doing the same things I did when I skipped. Was kind of nice to get to just do the assignments without having to sit through the lectures too. Plus I didn't get hassled by anyone while I was there. Life was good.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
Gee (none / 0) (#209)
by tacomacide on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:05:56 AM EST

You spent six months in a portable behind the school? What about the short bus? What was that like?

*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#229)
by Danse on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 11:13:36 PM EST

Short bus rocked! Few people know the secrets of the short bus. I'm not allowed to divulge any of that info, but I can say that it's one of the few things I miss about HS.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
some of us lack perspective.... (4.80 / 5) (#210)
by ericbrow on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:20:00 AM EST

After reading most of the comments, I've not seen any high school teachers post, so here I go. I am a public high school math teacher, I'm sure I'll get some hot comments back.

There are some HUGE misconsceptions that many teenagers have, and some of us carry these into adulthood. The first big one is that teachers (or schools in general) do not watch every single move that they make. As a teacher, I do not have the physical ability to observe and comment on everything ever said, written, or done by every single student. This isn't saying that I don't care about my students. It just isn't possible to focus every ounce of my being on any single student.

Secondly, weather by design or by need, schools have been mandated to attempt to teach to EVERY SINGLE CHILD in the US, weather they are very smart or below average, weather they want to be there or not, we have to not only put up with every child, but we have to try to teach them something. As a result, teachers have to shoot mostly to the middle ability group, boring the top students, and dumfounding the low ability people. In other countries, they separate out students before the high school level, by having a university prep group and a tech school group. If the US were to do that, I think students like this might be a little more engaged.

Finally, my last point, and the one that many people miss out on throughout their lives. Anything you do in life is what you make of it. If you make school a waste of your time, you will waste four years of your life. If you think your job is worthless, you will make it so. The education was yours to have, and you chose not to get it. Were you to show that you could excel at the top classes, your school could have put you into some self study cources, or corresponcence cources, or dual enrolled you in a community college, which is what we do at my school.

Now, before you flame. Yes, there are bad schools out there. I've worked at a few. Yes, there are bad teachers out there. I've worked with a few. Also, my comments do not necessairly apply to every single student out there. Just as this op-ed piece doesn't apply to every single school or every single teacher. In fact, those students who manage to find excuses not to be in school will be the first to find some flaw in what I have to say there, just to try to prove me wrong. But excuses and blame are far eaiser to come by than actually doing something.

Hot Comment #1 (1.40 / 5) (#213)
by tacomacide on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 11:32:03 AM EST

I find it sickening that you're a teacher and you can't spell "course." For god's sake, it's only 6 letters. I know you're a math teacher, but SHIT! I'm an 8th grade drop out and my grammar owns yours. (...and I'm BLACK! ...AND A RAPPER!)

I hope you have the good sense to quit teaching and get a job at mcdonalds. That's what people who can't spell "course" do. Work at mcdonalds.

*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

hey (none / 0) (#236)
by theburtman on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 06:41:58 AM EST

fuck you. it dosent fucking matter.
--
Cant spell wont spell, Dsylexi and Lazy
Deal
[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#241)
by nazhuret on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 03:11:29 PM EST

Much as some people hate to admit it, kuro5hin is not exactly a formal setting.  It don't matter no how you spell it if you kin unnerstand what it is that I am sayin.

We could all jump on spelling and comment on the fact that the word "weather" means something that happens outside, and the word in question should be "whether".  Or we could all just grow up a teensy little bit and get over ourselves.

[ Parent ]

He's an educator (none / 0) (#246)
by tacomacide on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 12:13:31 AM EST

It's nonsense that uneducated gutter slime like me can spell better than him. I corrected his spelling so that he could at least give the impression that he's capable of teaching our youth.

*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

education (none / 0) (#247)
by theburtman on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 05:54:26 AM EST

education dosent start and end with spelling and grammer. By your reasoning anybody is banned from teaching because they cant spell everything correctly, think about that for a second and work out what you just said...
--
Cant spell wont spell, Dsylexi and Lazy
Deal
[ Parent ]
Nice troll, "ericbrow" (none / 0) (#253)
by tacomacide on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:39:29 AM EST

The guy is clearly not a high school teacher.

YHBT. HAND.

 <0)
  (  \
   x
8===D

*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

...and others are the Grand Poobah of knowledge? (3.00 / 1) (#214)
by Matadon on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 12:41:14 PM EST

The first two points you made are quite valid; namely, that there are some huge misconceptions about what a high school teacher must endure.  Not only must he face the students on a daily basis, but he must also duel with other members of the faculty,  moronic parents, and the one-brain-cell-collective known as "Administration."  On top of that, it's mandated that a teacher attempt to instruct, educate, and inspire every student in his class -- from the genius in the front-row who should have a doctorate by the time he turns twenty, to the wheelchair-bound drool-covered vegetable in the back that will be a PTA member when it turns thirty.

That being said, your third point is a festering pile of wombat manure.  I'd say that the original poster did quite a good job of educating himself; he did note, after all, that he attended honors classes and graduated with a very satisfactory GPA.  Furthermore, he went on to attain a Master's degree in the field of study which interested him.  I would hardly concur that he "chose not to get [an education]" as you wrote in your reply.

Dual-enrollment, correspondence courses, and self-study are all wonderful things...if you're allowed to do them.  Not too surprisingly, most schools don't offer them -- at least, none of the nine schools in the district I attended did.  Perhaps you'd care to explain the logic behind their thinking to me?

I was one of the people who attended class and learned a remarkable number of things; but one nugget of wisdom stands out from the rest.

Do you know what I learned by attending class faithfully for four years and earning my diploma?

That I wasted a nice chunk of my teenage years.

I can't say for certain what would have happened had I graduated at sixteen; for all I know, I would have been hit by a bus after passing my exit exams.  But I'd like to think that an extra two years of working in the computer field during the dot-com boom would have added nicely to my bank account, as well as to my experience of dealing with both people and work in the Real World.

Am I badly off now?  Not really.  I've got a good job, and a life that I'm generally content with -- but the question always nags me.  What could I have achieved by now with an extra two years?

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]

Courses, indeed. (none / 0) (#235)
by tacomacide on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 06:27:50 AM EST


*** ANONYMIZED ***
[ Parent ]

You hit the nail right on the head. (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by bhearsum on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 03:36:39 PM EST

Schoool's *have* to aim for the mid-range students, so they can teach *most* of the students in their class. As someone who was always at the top of my class in elementary school (I'm presently in grade 12), I got easily bored with the work. Made straight A's up until my grade eight year, when I pretty much stopped caring, and trying. I got tired of being finished my homework halfway through the class and sitting around bored. My school had no enrichment courses, because they weren't really needed, I come from a not so intelligent town (overall).

A big part of elementary school is supposed to be preparing people for secondary school, which means not only giving them the knowledge they need to achieve, but the skills and work habits. When I entered grade nine I got bombed with homework. Before that I had *never* done homework. To this day I havn't learned good homework skills, been sitting at 60s and 70s for the most part, when I should, and could be getting 90s.

All this because I school was easy for me as a kid.

[ Parent ]

A somewhat tangential point. (5.00 / 1) (#225)
by valeko on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 09:38:10 PM EST

First of all, I'm an 11th grader, so take this with a grain of salt.

I empathise with most of your post, overwhelmingly. However, one particular aspect of it caught my eye; the dilemma of having to teach and generally try to uplift everyone. This has its positive points, but overall it's just another symptom of what goes wrong with a society that is based on social Darwinism. The teacher alone cannot uplift a student that is out of pace with everyone else and/or entirely disconnected with school and/or the subject matter, and it's not the teacher's job to do so. On the other hand, the alternative approach you cited isn't any better; by segregating students earlier on, you're merely cutting down their freedom of choice, and perpetuating the social conditions (which are, after all, self-perpetuating) that may cause them to be disadvantaged.

The solution is C: None of the above. However, I don't see how it can be effectively put into place without making rupture with some of the most fundamental aspects of the American self-concept and national ideology -- for example, the idea that people being born with unequal propensity is some natural "way things are."

In more communal societies, the answer is arrived at through common sense; it is the job of society -- the community -- to take care of the child, and to apply themselves toward fixing his problems if there is a problem. The assumption is that neither his parents alone nor his teachers alone can do it; everyone must get out of their bubble and help him!

This is very rational, but it reeks of nasty "altruism" to most Americans, and is a diametrical opposite to the prevailing social-ideological mold.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Teachers (none / 0) (#237)
by theburtman on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 07:02:35 AM EST

I never had a problem with most of my teachers, I felt sorry for the way they where treated by most of the people they where trying to help though. Didnt make me turn up to classes much. sitting thier when you blatanltly know more about the subject than the teacher dosent tend to inspire confidence. I left my 2 year ICT college course 6 months early to start earning money, i did 75% of the required work and still got and and A B grade. The only skill I learnt on that course was self taught from the internet.
--
Cant spell wont spell, Dsylexi and Lazy
Deal
[ Parent ]
Good old Haig (none / 0) (#212)
by p3d0 on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 11:11:48 AM EST

I went to the same school you did, and now that I think of it, when I skipped classes I spent about half my time sitting in the "fishbowl" (a rather strange portion of the mall's food court) chatting with friends, and half my time--this is the interesting part--on the 5th floor of the public library reading about math and science and computers.

That's where I learned all I know about general relativity and quantum mechanics. (They certainly didn't teach those in high school.) I learned about data compression algorithms and computer graphics while just barely passing my highschool computers course. (I now have a Master's degree in Computer Enginerring.)

I think I learned as much while I skipped school as I did while I attended classes. And the teachers didn't seem to mind all that much. Man, I think we went to the right school at the right time.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.

I Used to Sit there with You (none / 0) (#220)
by dteeuwen on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 05:22:29 PM EST

But i guess you don't remember. You used to tell me about your car that was basically disintegrating.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Yeah, I remember (none / 0) (#254)
by p3d0 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:06:31 PM EST

I just "ran into" CheeseburgerBrown here, and he told me you lurk here too.

Oh, and pretty soon we'll all be dads. How weird is that?
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

I am (none / 0) (#256)
by dteeuwen on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:23:59 PM EST

I think they will be in a week or two. I keep calling him from time to time. I don't sleep, but I like being a Dad.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

The baby is better than sleep. (nt) (none / 0) (#264)
by p3d0 on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 09:15:30 AM EST


--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#265)
by dteeuwen on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 10:45:08 PM EST

But, to have both: that is the quest. Actually, my daughter is sleeping 7 hours a night, now, so I'm lucky.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

I should mention... (none / 0) (#255)
by p3d0 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:07:50 PM EST

I explained the "fishbowl" not for you, but for other readers who may have wondered just how large this fishbowl was, and whether we used snorkels or actual scuba gear.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
I only used it once (none / 0) (#257)
by dteeuwen on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:25:05 PM EST

And, being Haig, no one noticed.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

At Least You Get it (none / 0) (#221)
by dteeuwen on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 05:37:32 PM EST

I am amazed by how many totally reactionary responses I go to this. I made it clear, I think, that I spent most of my skip time reading like a maniac. And not stuff that was pointless, stuff that helped me learn, you know. Zowwy!

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

One of my classes... (none / 0) (#238)
by bigbtommy on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 08:32:20 AM EST

...is so fun and entertaining (but also extremely educating) that I refuse to call it a class anymore. The teacher is too good, and the students are too entertaining to be associated with traditional education.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
Government schools are one-size-fits-all (3.00 / 1) (#239)
by Spamagnet on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 10:54:23 AM EST

The biggest problem with government schools in the US -- and probably everywhere -- is that its goal is to get as many kids through school as efficiently as possible.

It's not to educate them as well as possible, though many teachers do their best to accomplish this.

It's not to mold them into self-starting, thinking, independent people; in fact this is implicitly discouraged.

"Education" has become "learning a certain set of facts", "learning tolerance and sensitivity", and "preparing to be a good employee." Now, nothing is wrong with these things; but they are either (1) not the job of the schools or (2) only a small part of the job.

None of this is a right- or left-wing conspiracy. It's simpy the natural result of production-line thinking at the mercy of politicians, special interest groups and big business.

My kids are home-schooled. The result so far: they love to read and they love to learn. They are also dang independent thinkers and have  their own ideas about how things should happen. This is really aggravating ... hey, maybe the government schools have the right idea ... :-)


US problem ? (none / 0) (#242)
by F a l c o n on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 05:42:07 PM EST

This seems to be largely a US problem. I'll be the first to grant that school didn't exactly challenge me. I passed pretty well with a consistent zero-work approach. Nevertheless, I skipped a grand total of 2 hours in my final 3 years and never had the feeling I was wasting my time. Then again, I went to school in Germany. While the education here leaves a lot to be desired, I did have a couple of really good teachers, and looking back I must say I actually learned quite a lot, and much of the time I enjoyed it. However, the articles main point stands undisputed: If you want to become more than a secretary, you need to educate yourself. I started with computers when I was 6, and I read Nietzsche and others like him during my late school years. One thing easily overlooked is the school library. Ours contained a couple gems that were never used in class. I later found that the university library is something that everyone who goes to a university should spend a lot of time in. Since I'm in pretty much the same situation as the author, I'd like to add an advise of my own: Take from school what you find interesting and build on it. If math is cool, get some books and move sideways from what school provides. Going ahead of class will give you better marks, but going sideways into what school leaves out is where the fun is. Same for all other topics. I developed a fancy of quantum physics shortly after I was out of school, and till today I'm sorry that I never had a chance to rub it to my (much disliked) physics teacher.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
US problem ? (none / 0) (#243)
by F a l c o n on Wed Jan 15, 2003 at 05:42:35 PM EST

This seems to be largely a US problem.

I'll be the first to grant that school didn't exactly challenge me. I passed pretty well with a consistent zero-work approach. Nevertheless, I skipped a grand total of 2 hours in my final 3 years and never had the feeling I was wasting my time.

Then again, I went to school in Germany. While the education here leaves a lot to be desired, I did have a couple of really good teachers, and looking back I must say I actually learned quite a lot, and much of the time I  enjoyed it.

However, the articles main point stands undisputed: If you want to become more than a secretary, you need to educate yourself. I started with computers when I was 6, and I read Nietzsche and others like him during my late school years.

One thing easily overlooked is the school library. Ours contained a couple gems that were never used in class. I later found that the university library is something that everyone who goes to a university should spend a lot of time in.

Since I'm in pretty much the same situation as the author, I'd like to add an advise of my own:
Take from school what you find interesting and build on it. If math is cool, get some books and move sideways from what school provides. Going ahead of class will give you better marks, but going sideways into what school leaves out is where the fun is. Same for all other topics.
I developed a fancy of quantum physics shortly after I was out of school, and till today I'm sorry that I never had a chance to rub it to my (much disliked) physics teacher.

--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster

I think your school system is more advanced (none / 0) (#260)
by Ian A on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:05:00 AM EST

Possibly this isn't true for Europe as a whole, but a Dutch foreign-exchange student came here (USA), and my Spanish 3 teacher relayed how his German/Dutch-made "Spanish 1" book actually covered up to the end of our Spanish 3 course. Could be a fluke experience, but from that it appears that European schools (not to mention Japanese and some other countries) learn a lot more than we do.

[ Parent ]
Are You Kidding? (none / 0) (#262)
by dteeuwen on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 01:32:38 PM EST

I lived in Africa for a year, after moving from the U.S. where I'd lived for a year, and the U.S. was light-years behind, unfortunately.

_________

Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun


[ Parent ]

Skip class? I wish (none / 0) (#261)
by Ian A on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:07:02 AM EST

Here(MI, USA), more than 5 absences and each successive absence gets a 1 (depends on viewpoint) grade reduction. 6 absences, without making up time, makes your A go to an A-. As much as I'd love to skip school, as I feel it's pretty pointless and for most classes has been for years, all F's would look rather bad for college and such. :-/

Mark Twain (none / 0) (#267)
by MDpunk on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 08:19:10 PM EST

This story reminds me of a quote from Mark Twain, "I never let me schooling get in the way of my education." I just felt it was relavent at the time.

Just one experience... (none / 0) (#268)
by dsutari on Wed Jan 29, 2003 at 10:18:25 PM EST

There seem to be two types of student who find high school a waste of time. One type, like the writer of this piece, finds the work easy, unchallenging, and ultimatley boring. The other type finds school incredibly frustrating and ultimatley hopeless since the methods used in teaching are quite effective at making the simple seem hard. I was the latter type. I did ok in most highschool classes, but terrible in others (especially math) where I could not learn using my own methods. By the time I was 16, I ended up dropping out of high school to pursue my own studies. Wouldn't you know it, after I left I took my GED and got into a very choice University in NYC. From the moment I left, learning was an entirely different activity; something I looked forward to since there was no pressure to learn at a certain pace or a certain way. Many of the great writers and scientists have written about how detrimental the coercion used by schools is. Einstein said himself that after leaving school, he didn't think once about science or math for an entire year since the techniques used to teach made it seem repulsive to him. The biggest mistake is to assume that the main function of school is to prepare and habit train you for your career. This, however, is the most popular rationalization for why schools function the way they do. It's a very poor reason. Education is meant to benefit the individual, not the institution. On the other hand, employment is meant to benefit an institution, not an individual. Schools often forget this and use their methods and the education of students as a way to rationalize school's existence. Schools, or any institution, have no right to determine what a young person studies or how they study, or what means they use to reach the end of knowledge. Simple as that. I implore current high school students not to let any authority figure's opinion lead you to question your instincts of how you learn best, and what is best for you to learn. They are merely imposing their own path in life on you since they ignorantly assume that there are no other (and much better) options available. Google up some essays by John Taylor Gatto and John Holt to learn more about what you have suspected all along.

Look outside the box (none / 0) (#269)
by roobootwo on Mon Feb 03, 2003 at 10:39:45 PM EST

When it comes to schooling there are no absolute rights but many wrongs. Most schools private or public think there is only one way to obtain an education. If you do not fit in that mold then you are labeled and told you are disabled. Even if you are smart you are tested and compared to other kids (not standards) and then you are shown how you do not match up to the others. Teachers do not like parents that look else were because it shows how poorly they are doing. Dear man, take time to read Gatto he has several good books. Take time to read "The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education" by Grace Llewellyn Whether your child goes to a classroom or uses the world as her classroom. Give her the basic skills and desire to learn what she does not know she will go far. Education and learning does not stop because a bell has rang or because you have a piece of paper.
"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything mer
Parents can make a difference (none / 0) (#270)
by tallest on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 04:44:53 PM EST

I started hating school once I started kindergarten.  I wasn't particularly bright, but I managed to get good grades, so my parents made a succession of deals with me throughout my school career in order to keep me from going completely insane.  

When I was in grade school (up to grade six) I was given ten "mental health" days a year.  These were days where I could stay home from school because I just didn't feel like going in that day.  When I did have to go to school I was always allowed to bring books with me and read in class if I wanted to.  If the teacher of the class complained I would refer them to my parents who would back me up.  I wasn't causing a disturbance, and my grades were fine, so they had no real reason to be upset if I wasn't paying attention.

When I reached middle school arrangements were made with my teachers and principals in order to excuse me from classes.  I had to request not to attend (which they had to let me do unless they had a good reason not to) and I had to hand in all assignments and write all exams and tests.  I was old enough at that point to be on my own without adult supervision.  I believe that technically I was supposed to be in the library when I was not in class, but that was never enforced.  Once again, as long as my grades were OK, I was left alone.

I graduated from high school with an A average.  If I had been forced to go to all of my classes I probably would have dropped out.  

My parents managed all this by being right pains in the asses.  My mother, who is probably the most intelligent and stubborn person I know, would be in the principal's office over and over again until she got what she wanted.  I don't have any children yet, but if I ever do I plan to follow my mother's example as best I can.  If you have a child who says that they hate school take them seriously.  Figure out a way to work around the system.  Encourage them to take a book to their boring classes.  Better yet, find a way to get them out of having to go to classes at all.  Most kids will be more than happy to strike a deal exchanging good grades for mandatory attendance.  If you don't make reading and learning a painful and dreaded experience your kids will be more likely to keep with them once they're out of school.  

I may not be very intelligent, but I have always been well-read.  Reading and learning are great joys in my life.   Do your kids a favour and don't kill their natural curiousity by stuffing them in a classroom.

If You Are in High School Do This: | 270 comments (239 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
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