Powerful Quotes

Yong Zhao, professor at Michigan State University’s College of Education and author of Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization, says there’s a lot of data showing that standardized test scores do not predict a nation’s success, and considering China is one of the top scorers in all international student assessment tests across the board.  “Many of China’s college graduates cannot find a job,” says Zhao, “At the same time international firms in China are actually complaining they can’t find qualified talent–so there’s some irony there … Going after test scores is the wrong indicator to look at for the quality of education.” 

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“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness” -Richard Carlson

“Forget the notion of carefree youth. America’s teens are every bit as stressed out as the adults around them..” -Jonel Aleccia

“What if the cure to cancer was trapped in someone who couldn’t afford college”

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“Education is about inspiring ones mind, not just filling their head” -Suli Breaks

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“All in saying is that if there was a family tree, hard work and education would be related, but school would probably be a distant cousin”

“For most of American history, parents could expect that their children would, on average, be much better educated than they were. But that is no longer true. This development has serious consequences for the economy.” -Robert J. Gordon, The Great Stagnation of American Education

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“I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.” –John Taylor GattoDumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

“What’s gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is ONE RIGHT WAY to proceed with growing up.” John Taylor GattoDumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

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“A computer mistake in grade-giving resulted in academic failure of several brilliant students. After some years the mistake was discovered. Letter was sent to each student inviting him to resume his studies. Each replied he was getting along very well without education.” -John Cage

“Children usually have a natural curiosity about the world and everything in it until they get to school and somebody throws them against the locker because they get A’s and act intelligent. After that, some kids try to dumb it down and adapt.” -Joshua Neik

 

 

 

 

 

Debating the Issue

Hello everyone! We have been talking mainly about OUR point of view on the subject of education, so let’s listen to a conversation debating both points of view.

*Conversation between Jessie(our side) and Julie(against us)*

Jessie: Homework is too much. It is the main factor of my stress, and I spend almost every moment I have at home trying to complete it. I would rather just go to bed to get a goodnight’s sleep, not completing my assignments. Even better, I don’t even believe homework should be assigned at all.

Julie: I strongly disagree. Homework challenges you and refreshes you with practice on what you learned that day in school. Saying to yourself “No to homework” late at night, will not get the homework completed, and it will affect your grades. Loosing a few hours of sleep each night is worth good grades.

Jessie: Whatever you say… But wait! I am not going to take five AP courses if it will only stress me out and cause me loose a good amount of sleep.

Julie: That is very true, it will stress you out. However, at the end of the year, it will all be over! You need to differentiate yourself for college admission. Many students are taking multiple AP courses. To be accepted into high level colleges, you need to go above and beyond. The standards are rising and rising, and if you are looking to be accepted to high level colleges, you need to challenge yourself and keep up with them.

Jessie: How is challenging myself beneficial to my mental health if all it does is add on to my stress?

Julie: Challenging yourself with hard courses and stress is beneficial because it will help prepare you for your future. How will the future of our county continue to grow if our students aren’t prepared for the real world? The students today are the future leaders of our country. You can not slack off in the real world, and you will often be faced with stress.

Jessie: You are saying I need to differentiate myself my taking higher level classes, but the standards and expectations are rising each year.Since many who are applying to college are achieving beyond the requirements, you can have straight A’s, have taken over 2 AP’s each year, have over 200 hours of community service, and look the exact same as 50 other student applicants. To the college you just look, “normal”, even though you put countless years of work and effort into your high school years.

Julie: You are correct, but does this mean you just want to give up the chance of going to college just because you look the same? You can also differentiate yourself by extracurricular activities, it does not only have to be academically.

Jessie: Okay fine. Now let’s talk about Block Schedule. I don’t believe it is necessary for high school because students have a hard time focusing for longer periods of time. It is also challenging for students to keep up with the fast pace of their classes, which only last a semester of the regular schedule.

Julie: Block Schedule prepares high school students for college. Block Schedule classes are the same length of college classes, which prepares the high school students, so they will be used to the rigger in college.

Jessie: You have very good points, but I am sticking with my side. Good-bye!

 

Which side do you agree with? Comment below!

Sleep is NOT Optional

Teens need an average of 9.25 hours of sleep each night, and the majority of adolescents get an average of 7 hours of sleep per night, and 1/4 get six hours or less. Sleep is so so important in 2 main ways. Sleep is NEEDED for your physical and mental health. It also is really important in regards to school and learning, because sleep consolidates  and stabilizes what you have been learning in school, and so you need sleep in order to learn and process new information.

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Here’s a quote from the National Sleep Foundation, in the article, Backgrounder: Later School Start Times, “The roots of the problem include poor teen sleep habits that do not allow for enough hours of quality sleep; hectic schedules with afterschool activities and jobs, homework hours and family obligations; and a clash between societal demands, such as early school start times, and biological changes that put most teens on a later sleep-wake clock. As a result, when it is time to wake up for school, the adolescent’s body says it is still the middle of the night, and he or she has had too little sleep to feel rested and alert.”

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Many schools are starting to make a change, in the students best interest. They are trying to synchronize their start and end times with the students body clock, so that students are at school at their most alert hours, and getting the full academic potential out of the student. Students can’t function without sleep. Sleep is not optional, it is biologically necessary!!

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Look how content the well rested sleepers look!!

 

A Study Done on Sleep

Dr. Mary A. Carskadon and her colleagues conducted an experiment testing what would happen to sleep and circadian rhythms in a group of young people for whom the transition from junior high to high school required a change in school starting time from 8:25 am in junior high to 7:20 am in high school. For some background, the definition for circadian is, “being, having, characterized by, or occurring in approximately 24-hour periods or cycles (as of biological activity or function)”, according to Merriam-Webster’s medical dictionary. The experiment had 25 kids participate in the study at two time points, in the spring of 9th grade(still Junior High), and in the fall of 10th. The student maintained their usual schedules, wore small activity monitors, and kept account of their sleep schedules for two consecutive weeks. At the end, the participants were tested on 3 things. They were tested in melatonin secretion, then an overnight sleep study, and lastly, daytime testing.

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The results that Dr. Carskadon and her colleagues found were the following:

On the average school morning, the students woke up earlier for high school in comparison, but only 25 minutes earlier, despite the 65 minute difference between starting times for both schools. They also found that all the kids, at both times, showed 10:40pm being their average time that their bodies would transition from full wakefulness to sleep, usually to the lightest of the non-REM sleep stages (REM stands for rapid eye movement) . The participants went from an average of 7 hours and 9 minutes of sleep, to 6 hours and 50 minutes, which may seem insignificant because it is only a 20 minute difference, but they were already suffering a lack of sleep. Keep in mind, the average teen needs 9.25 hours of sleep each night and 7 hours is the average amount of sleep teens are getting, not just in this particular study. None of the students tested even got 8.25 hours of sleep. Another result they got was that they tested all kids in the morning with a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). The test can distinguish physical tiredness and true excessive daytime sleepiness and it mainly discovers how readily a person will fall asleep in a conductive setting. Nearly half of them showed a sleep pattern that is similar to the sleep disorder narcolepsy, which is moving immediately into REM sleep before non-REM sleep, a reverse order. None of the 12 students had narcolepsy, but they did have an off pattern between their circadian rhythms and their school day wake up times which makes sense because at 8:30 in the morning, they fell asleep within 3 minutes.

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Therefore, if we start school at 8:00, and wake up at about 6:45, in order to get the 9.25 hours of sleep that every teen needs on average,  every kid would need to go to bed at 9:30. With school ending at 3, commuting home. having about an average of 2-4 hours of homework, afterschool sports or activities, family expectations,  and chores, it is very difficult to do all that, and still have enough time to eat, shower, and breathe, AND still get in bed by 9:15 to be asleep by 9:30.

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Any questions or comments? Comment below!

Different Points of View, and Consequences

Continuing the topic of our “Raising Standards” post, which can be found here, let’s go over some of the consequences of saying no to homework.

Let’s face it, it is extremely tempting to go to bed every night early. However, dedicated students choose to stay up late to complete stressful assignments. Saying to yourself “No to homework” late at night, will not get the homework completed, and it will affect your grades. This brings us right to the problem of how high of expectations colleges have, with the standards rising and rising.

The reason students are achieving good grades and completing all stressful assignments is to seem unique, to distinct themselves from other people in college applications. Since everyone who is applying to college is achieving beyond the requirements, you can have straight A’s, have taken over 2 AP’s each year, have over 200 hours of community service, and look the exact same as 50 other student applicants. To the college you just look, “normal”, even though you put countless years of work and effort into your high school years. However, if students do not choose to distinct themselves, you will not look any different in the long-run.

Colleges like to see variances in students, and if you have those certain factors, you might just be accepted, depending on the acceptance rate. Attending college heavily affects your future. It will set you future: your job, your family, your income, where you live, your possessions, etc.

Since students were infants, they’ve had the idea-you have to go to college to get a job,and graduating high school is a minimum, unless you want to work at McDonalds- jammed into their brains. As a result, the mindset of student’s is that all the stress and effort is worth it, to receive a decent job and make enough money to withstand a family of four. In my opinion, I would rather go to college and work hard, than working at McDonalds on minimum wage. To be accepted to college, I am willing to put in the stress and staying up too late, if it means having a good future that I enjoy.

Via Globalvoicesonline.org

Via Globalvoicesonline.org, 2013

We are humans, not robots! However, this world has set the standards for comfortable living, and they are stress, hard work, and overachieving.

Have anything to say about the topic? Which side are you on? Please comment below!

Raising Standards

Hello everyone!

The documentary, “Race to Nowhere” suggests that in order to redefine success, we need to eliminate homework, make learning fun again, reward the teachers better, consider the well being of the students, and take the pressure off of standardized tests.  On the other hand, in “The Blog” section of Huffington Post, Linda Flanagan and Sarah Sangree respond to the documentary, “Race to Nowhere” (learn more about it here), suggesting another possible solution, “This is the world we live in. Maybe we should start by examining our own insecurities and regrets before setting out to change the system.

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We have a simpler solution. To borrow from Nancy Reagan, just say no: no, you may not take five APs*, no, you may not join four teams this season, no, you may not stay up until 2:00am doing homework, no, you may not volunteer three times a week at the Food Bank, no, you may not participate in activities simply to pad your resume. Whatever the consequences, you’ll survive and we’ll continue to love you.”

Personally, I think they have a very good point on limiting the stress students put on themselves because of all the things they put on their plate. However, that doesn’t address a big problem with our educational system. If students say “I cannot take 5 APs, I cannot do my homework until 2:00am”, then all it will do is put their stress level down, which yes, is a very big problem. However, as a result, students will have a larger chance of not getting into as good of colleges due to their lack of advanced courses and lack of community service hours.

In addition, saying to yourself “No to homework” late at night, will not get the homework completed, and it will affect your grades. This brings us right to the problem of how high of expectations colleges have, with the standards rising and rising.  For example, the requirement for a language is two years to graduate high school, but three years are now suggested to look good on college applications. In addition, three years of science are required, but most students are now taking four years to maximize their chances of college admission. Suddenly straight A’s aren’t good enough. Students also have to complete 200 hours of community service, while jumbling AP courses following by tests.  BUT WAIT! There’s more. You are also expected to have talents, passions and extracurriculars, such as sports and playing instruments.

All the things that “look good” for college, is the reason why students are taking too many AP courses, forcing themselves to do sports, spending a lot of time doing community service, and staying up too late completing homework, to a point where it is unhealthy. The reason students are doing all of this is to seem unique, to distinct themselves from other people. Since everyone who is going to college is achieving beyond the requirements, you can have straight A’s, have taken over two AP’s each year, have over 200 hours of community service, and look the exact same as fifty other student applicants. To the college you just look, “normal”, even though you put countless years of work and effort into your high school years.

Since students were infants, they’ve had the idea-you have to go to college to get a job,and graduating high school is a minimum, unless you want to work at McDonalds- jammed into their brains. As a result, the mindset of student’s is that all the stress and effort is worth it, to receive a decent job and make enough money to withstand a family of four.

What can YOU do to help make a change to the faulty education system?

We are humans, not robots!

Have anything to say about the topic? Please comment below!

 

 

“Race to Nowhere”

Race To Nowhere is a 2009 documentary written by Maimone Attia and directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon. It is about the pressures of school, homework, and extra curricular activities. The idea for this film came from Abeles’s personal experience, her middle-school daughter became physically sick and was diagnosed with a stress-induced illness. Yes, you may say that doesn’t guarantee that school is what stressed her out, but Vicki Abeles made many changes at home, yet still nothing changed. She began to talk to other students and parents and began to hear the same problems over and over again about the current educational system. This inspired her to make a change and give a voice to the current system that has to ability to effect way more than the mental sanity of this generations students. You may think of students as dumb little kids, but once they become of age to start working, they are in control of a lot and their lack of a good education could alter economic growth and the increase of high school dropouts could lead to not enough people to fill high paid positions requiring a high education.

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Race to Nowhere is still a very active campaign. Visit their website here.

 

Click here for the “Contact” page on their website!

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Race to Nowhere is based on the same idea as our campaign, the faults of the United States school system.