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Let middle school and high school students test out of any subject

By Patrick   Feb 26, 5:26pm   16 links   2,707 views   26 comments   watch (1)   quote      

We all know from personal experience just how soul-killing the endless hours of middle school and high school can be. To a large degree, school is simply babysitting paid for by the state, with education taking a secondary role.

Torturing so many children is a crime against humanity. It is millions of hours of wasted human lives every year. A better solution would be to give students some reward for learning the material well and quickly. Namely, students should be able to gain the sweet release from the endless drone of a teacher by passing the final exam for the class at any point in the semester.

A student with a passing grade should be liberated to read any subject they like in the library, and to quietly converse (fuck split infinitives) with the other students there. This would be a better education for those students, and the remaining students would have more of the teacher's time to themselves.

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Comments 1-26 of 26     Last »

1   FP   Feb 26, 6:21pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

The following changes will go a long way to improve the public education in the US:

- Reduce class length to 40min (who can focus for longer?!) with 10 min breaks in between, and with one or two longer breaks for snacks.

- School stats at 7:30 and ends at about 12:30. This gives the students enough time in the afternoon to rest, do their homework and have some free time.

- Those who need baby-sitting in the afternoon, can stay at school and do their homework there with minimal supervision. The supervision can be done by teachers, while they prepare their lessons and/or grade homework and assignments.

- Reduce the number of elective classes in high school.

- Increase the number of classes a student takes each year by teaching some classes only 2 or 3 times a week.

- The above will allow to start teaching physics, chemistry and biology much earlier and to teach them over several years. This I think is crucial. These subjects should be taught each year (at a rate 2-3 hours/week) starting from 7th or 8th grade.

- The length of the textbooks should be limited to 200 pages. The current textbooks are horrific. A very important part of the learning process is to identify the key, important points of the material, and to make connection between them. The high school textbooks achieve exactly the opposite. They are so voluminous that they obscure what is important.

- Reduce team work in class, focus more on individual work. The latter is what current students are weak at.

2   FP   Feb 26, 6:25pm     ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Of course nothing will change because the school boards are run by idiots who were raised in this system and don't know anything better, but believe that they are very competent.

3   Dan8267   Feb 26, 6:49pm     ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

Let middle school and high school students test out of any subject

In college I tested out of many subjects. Don't see why high school students shouldn't get the same opportunity.

Of course a virtual university would be better. You could proceed through every subject at your own pace, no matter how fast.

4   Tenpoundbass   Feb 26, 6:56pm     ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Let anyone test out of any subject. You should be able to walk in and take a bar exam if you studied the law and knew your shit. If you can pay to take the final exam for a Doctorate in anything.
You should be allowed to take the test or exam.

5   P N Dr Lo R   Feb 26, 7:08pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Sounds good to me! Just don't ask them anything about history before, say, 2015.

6   marcus   Feb 26, 7:38pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

students should be able to gain the sweet release from the endless drone of a teacher by passing the final exam for the class at any point in the semester.

This almost exists already to the point where it is reasonable.. And actually doesn't make that much sense as a policy in and of itself that could be added on to the current system. But I agree with the basic premise behind what you're suggesting.

The truth is that high school is already tracked, as it should be, especially in Math. But as one might expect this is not nearly as simple as people might expect.

I have often thought structuring high school like college, and possibly even charging students beyond a second time that they take a course might be a good idea. Make high school courses something that students and parents consume and shop for. You only get so many credits paid for by the state, but by law you have to get up to a certain level (allowing options for those with lower academic potential).

Then make courses prerequisites for others. IF this was done well enough, then students would be competitively driven, and some would choose easier paths., or paths more appropriate for where they are in their development. Electives and study halls could fill in the gaps. I'm a strong believer in the strong elective options such as music, art, and technology. These should even be required more than they are, while students are still at an age when they feel they have the time to explore these subjects.

There needs to be some classes there for everyone. How do you minimize the students that end up feeling left behind ? And the behavior and social and emotional problems that can result from that. Those questions and problems would still be there, but way more students could be served much better.

continued

7   marcus   Feb 26, 7:41pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

But the cost would be much higher. It would require more on site administration and counselors, and it would only work well if the school is large enough to have reasonable sized courses for all of the different options.

It's more complicated than you think. But yes, it could be done SO much better than the current system. Technology is going to make a lot of improvements possible.

8   marcus   Feb 26, 7:48pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

related

9   marcus   Feb 26, 7:49pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Maybe one day we will spend more on education if robots are doing way more. Systems change, hopefully.

10   MMR   Feb 26, 8:30pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

FP says

Reduce team work in class, focus more on individual work. The latter is what current students are weak at.

Lot of people who go to Med school and get into residency, often suck at the former, which is important in last two years Med school, residency and beyond.

11   MMR   Feb 26, 8:32pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

@Rin anything to add here?

12   MMR   Feb 26, 8:33pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

marcus says

have often thought structuring high school like college, and possibly even charging students beyond a second time that they take a course might be a good idea

They would probably drop out before taking class second time

13   MMR   Feb 26, 8:36pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

FP says

The above will allow to start teaching physics, chemistry and biology much earlier and to teach them over several years. This I think is crucial. These subjects should be taught each year (at a rate 2-3 hours/week) starting from 7th or 8th grade.

This is more or less what is done in India. Of course, many go to school after school to review said topics

14   MMR   Feb 26, 8:41pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Ironman says

If anything, make them longer. Classes need to be teaching/leading kids to what they will experience in the real world. Does you boss only give you projects now that only last 40 mins? Does you boss give you 10 min breaks and snackie breaks every hour? You mean these kids can't get through a few hours without eating anything?

This sounds like an argument for secular home schooling for those who can afford it and just use the school district for extracurricular activities(forbidden in California)

Or online curriculum, bypassing classroom altogether. Teachers should just record their lectures and allow the students to watch those who talk like Ben stein at double speed at their own convenience.

15   Philistine   Feb 26, 9:38pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

to quietly converse (fuck split infinitives)

Patrick, you can sleep well tonight. Split infinitives are not really a broken rule anymore. At least according to MLA and OED, and Chicago Manual of Style et al. agree. It would be interesting to know if they still teach that nonsense in school today.

Split infinitives were used without controversy in English well into the 19th century, including much of our greatest literature, when crusty Victorians decided to invent another thing to fetishize.

http://www.grammar.com/split-infinitives-2
http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2006/03/go_ahead_split_.html

16   someone else   Feb 26, 9:40pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Philistine says

Patrick, you can sleep well tonight. Split infinitives are not really a broken rule anymore. At least according to MLA and OED, and Chicago Manual of Style et al. agree. It would be interesting to know if they still teach that nonsense in school today.

Woohoo, thanks! Seriously, always hated that rule. I was taught it in high school.

17   FP   Feb 26, 10:45pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Ironman says

Does you boss only give you projects now that only last 40 mins? Does you boss give you 10 min breaks and snackie breaks every hour?

I suspect that you are being sarcastic, but still I will reply. I don't have a boss who gives me projects. My projects last months, sometimes years. When working in my office, I usually take brakes every half an hour or so. However, I do my best thinking while walking.

18   FP   Feb 26, 10:49pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

MMR says

FP says

Reduce team work in class, focus more on individual work. The latter is what current students are weak at.

Lot of people who go to Med school and get into residency, often suck at the former, which is important in last two years Med school, residency and beyond.

It may be something specific for med school. Or they suck at both :)

19   FP   Feb 26, 10:59pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

MMR says

This is more or less what is done in India. Of course, many go to school after school to review said topics

From what I've seen, Indians go to after school regardless of what the school curriculum is.

20   Indiana Jones   Feb 26, 11:03pm     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

Patrick says

simply babysitting paid for by the state, with education taking a secondary role.

Torturing so many children is a crime against humanity. It is millions of hours of wasted human lives every year.

I absolutely agree. There once was a time where you could accelerate out of school if you were advanced. Back in the day my father graduated high school at 15 and later my older sister graduated after three years of high school. By the time I was in school there were no early options, only dropping out or taking your GED.

marcus says

Make high school courses something that students and parents consume and shop for.

This makes no sense. People are already funding the schools through their taxes -- why should the parents or kids pay extra for a sub-par education at a public school? Why wouldn't they just go to a charter school or private school instead?

21   marcus   Feb 26, 11:10pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Indiana Jones says

marcus says

Make high school courses something that students and parents consume and shop for.

This makes no sense. People are already funding the schools through their taxes -- why should the parents or kids pay extra for a sub-par education at a public school? Why wouldn't they just go to a charter school or private school instead?

You TOTALLY misunderstood my point. Yes, it's already paid for, but too many view it as something their kids have to do, rather than a purchased opportunity they should get the most from. Give them a lot of choices - individual choices - tell them the ultimate minimal requirements, pros and cons of different paths and so on, but they make the choices with the understanding their decision is a lot like consumer decisions - it's just that it's already paid for.

22   PeopleUnited   Feb 26, 11:13pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I've got a better idea. Make school optional. Remove federal funding for schools and let families, cities and states decide what is mandatory vs optional with respect to education.
Patrick says

We all know from personal experience just how soul-killing the endless hours of middle school and high school can be. To a large degree, school is simply babysitting paid for by the state, with education taking a secondary role.

Torturing so many children is a crime against humanity. It is millions of hours of wasted human lives every year. A better solution would be to give students some reward for learning the material well and quickly. Namely, students should be able to gain the sweet release from the endless drone of a teacher by passing the final exam for the class at any point in the semester.

A student with a passing grade should be liberated to read any subject they like in the library, and to quietly converse (fuck split infinitives) with the other students there. This would be a better education for those students, and the remaining students would have more of the teacher's time to themselves.

23   marcus   Feb 26, 11:19pm     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

PeopleUnited says

Make school optional. Remove federal funding for schools and let families, cities and states decide what is mandatory vs optional with respect to education.

Yes. THat's what we need, an even less informed less intelligent citizenry.

There are many reasons for requiring education. Even economically it's critical that people have the benefit of an education if they are going to be productive members of society. I can see arguing for more choices in how kids are educated, but to deny a child education is child abuse. It's unfair to the child to assume that their working parents have the time or resources to properly educate their kids.

If robots and automation make the economic aspect of education less important for the future - or less critical that people are educated that they might contribute to society in some ways, then it is still essential just in helping them reach their human potential whatever that might be. Don't children deserve that ? I get it that those on the right resent the fact that there are people that want to help children, and they assume they are indoctrinating them somehow in to being leftists(becasue the kind of person that would choose such as career obviously is probably a liberal). But that really is for the most part a myth. Social studies and English teachers (through the discussion of literature) may have some small impact in those directions, but believe it or not there are conservative teachers too, and many subjects are totally apolitical.

24   marcus   Feb 27, 12:06am     ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

MMR says

They would probably drop out before taking class second time

ACtually in rough areas there are a lot of students, and even in better areas with much better schools there are always some students that don't buy in at all, and or who might be behind with their foundation, e.g. in Math, and so they take algebra 2 or 3 times before passing. For some they just don't care, and they know they can take it again, so why try very hard or worry about it. I'm talking about a certain segment of the population that don't want to be there and don't buy in to it. These are the ones that have the most to gain by realizing it's an opportunity rather than something they are forced to do.

25   PeopleUnited   Feb 27, 6:52am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

That is one difference between you and I. I trust people to choose if school is in their own best interest or not. Forcing schooling on people who don't want it wastes not only their time but also diminishes the experience for those that do wish to be there and wastes the efforts of the teachers on a race to the lowest common demoninator.

26   FP   Feb 27, 7:17am     ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

PeopleUnited says

I trust people to choose if school is in their own best interest or not.

LOL That was a good one.

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