A valedictorian speaks her mind

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A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Pala » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:02 am

http://blog.swiftkickonline.com/2010/07 ... peech.html

I thought this was a pretty good speech. There were many times in high school when I was bored. The only classes that interested me were math, drafting and, a surprise to me, wood shop. I think my math teacher Ms. Holberton was an excellent teacher. She made a new advanced math program for people that wanted another year of math or that doubled two math courses in one year to jump ahead. She also brought in a few state police officers to do accident reconstruction with the math we were currently learning. The cool things like this made an impact on me. This was pretty new for our school but I would bet it wouldn't happen now. Michigan's funding for schools is dependent on the number of students at the school. For a small town like where I went it is rough. I had 35 kids in my graduating class in 1998 and since then funding has dropped. They don't have several athletics and band class now. Overall I wish I had tried more in high school and had more opportunities to pursue interests.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Eaglestrike » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:59 am

I love reading people saying stuff like this. I hope that one day actual change can occur to fix the issues she calls the system out on.

I was truly fucked over by the school system. I went to an advanced elementary school. So I learned at a quick pace, I learned faster than the rest of kids my age. Then I was thrown into a normal middle school. I was no longer able to advance. I was in the same place as all the other kids my age. And there was no option given to me to keep going ahead faster. I had to assimilate, I was given no other option. It was at that age that I started being rebellious, that I started to hate school, and it only got worse through my years. I've done nothing with my life for the past 5 years because of this issue. Just now am I finally accepting things and going to do something with my life.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:59 am

I can certainly understand her issues with conformity among schools across the country. That's a symptom of them all being under the control of governments that are too distant, large, and inflexible.

Despite her "enlightenment" though she's unable to shake the indoctrination by government to hate "large" corporations.

I guess I don't completely understand why she felt so held back. I realize school takes up a big chunk of time, but there is still lots that can be done outside of the school setting. It's not realistic to expect a school system to be everything to every student.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Arcand » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:36 pm

Pala wrote:This was pretty new for our school but I would bet it wouldn't happen now. Michigan's funding for schools is dependent on the number of students at the school.


They're trying to make it happen more, by creating reward systems for excellent teachers. The trouble
they're having is that teachers' unions are resisting the new initiatives in the interest of protecting
their crappy teachers.

Isn't No Child Left Behind supposed to shift the funding emphasis from head count to performance on
standardized tests? Why isn't that happening?
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Arcand » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:42 pm

Fridmarr wrote:Despite her "enlightenment" though she's unable to shake the indoctrination by government to hate "large" corporations.


You beat this drum kind of often, but last time you were saying it you blamed the brainwashing on post-secondary
education which she hasn't had yet. Now you blame it on the feds? Wasn't the corporation-friendly federal party
in power while she was in grades two through ten? I kind of doubt the communists had time, starting in 2008, to
do a curriculum rewrite that would have reached the graduating class of 2010.

(Condensed version: give it a rest, man. You sound like one of your country's least worthy demagogues and from
what I know of you you really seem to be smarter than that.)
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Chicken » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:52 pm

That wouldn't work too well either, school funding where I live is actually based upon test scores for elementary schools, but it leads to other issues. A lot of schools in poorer neighborhoods focus more on training the kids specifically for the standardized tests they're going to get, without teaching them the actual basis of how to figure out on your own how to figure out the answer to the questions in the test; it's basically rote learning of the various different types of tests there are and how to answer their questions (I'm probably explaining this badly). A lot of those kids then end up with higher test scores than they should be getting, which gets the school higher funding, but the kids end up in a worse situation as they'll end up failing even the most basic of their classes in high school, as the level of education they end up getting is simply too complex for them to grasp.

It's a good idea on paper, but in practice it ends up getting abused as well. And these schools don't really have a choice either: Test results in the poorer neighborhoods are worse as most of the kids are from immigrant families, and so they're getting lower results simply because they aren't as familiar with the language as native children are. And these schools are the ones that really do need the higher levels of funding, since they tend to have to employ extra teachers to help with homework classes and such, as they can't count on the parents being able to provide that help as they would in schools in the richer neighborhoods.

Edit: That's assuming what Arcand is saying they want to do in the states is comparable to what we have here of course. The actual system is based on a bit of both, head count and test results are both kept in mind. There's also a bit more funding available for schools that accept children that need extra help (Be that immigrant children, or children with dyslexia etc.), but that's typically not enough to compensate for the lower test results a school with a lot of children like that will get.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby thanatos1288 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:04 pm

Chicken wrote:That wouldn't work too well either, school funding where I live is actually based upon test scores for elementary schools, but it leads to other issues. A lot of schools in poorer neighborhoods focus more on training the kids specifically for the standardized tests they're going to get, without teaching them the actual basis of how to figure out on your own how to figure out the answer to the questions in the test; it's basically rote learning of the various different types of tests there are and how to answer their questions (I'm probably explaining this badly). A lot of those kids then end up with higher test scores than they should be getting, which gets the school higher funding, but the kids end up in a worse situation as they'll end up failing even the most basic of their classes in high school, as the level of education they end up getting is simply too complex for them to grasp.

It's a good idea on paper, but in practice it ends up getting abused as well. And these schools don't really have a choice either: Test results in the poorer neighborhoods are worse as most of the kids are from immigrant families, and so they're getting lower results simply because they aren't as familiar with the language as native children are. And these schools are the ones that really do need the higher levels of funding, since they tend to have to employ extra teachers to help with homework classes and such, as they can't count on the parents being able to provide that help as they would in schools in the richer neighborhoods.

Edit: That's assuming what Arcand is saying they want to do in the states is comparable to what we have here of course. The actual system is based on a bit of both, head count and test results are both kept in mind. There's also a bit more funding available for schools that accept children that need extra help (Be that immigrant children, or children with dyslexia etc.), but that's typically not enough to compensate for the lower test results a school with a lot of children like that will get.


And that leads to stories like of the excellent and well respected principal of the lowest testing school in a district to get fired along with a bunch of her teachers because the district HAD to do it in order to get more funding. (Either you improve or you fire the staff at the suffering school in order to qualify for funding) This was done regardless of the fact that under her tenure that school had improved greatly. The school of course was the one that the largest population of immigrant families.

Edit: here is the story http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/education/19winerip.html?_r=2&src=me&ref=general
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Pala » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:30 pm

It's a touchy subject for sure. I'd wish there would be money available and all that but I don't know how to do a budget for the country. I barely have my own figured out. I moved from a suburb of Detroit to northern Michigan. My math class in 7th grade down state was what they were teaching in 8th or 9th grade up here. So after I spoke to my teacher they started teaching algebra in 8th instead of 9th. The kids in the grade below me doubled up on math courses for their 11th grade and were in the same new math class as I was in 12th. I lucked out on not having to slow down on math which was my best subject. Not everyone is as fortunate.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:00 pm

Arcand wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:Despite her "enlightenment" though she's unable to shake the indoctrination by government to hate "large" corporations.


You beat this drum kind of often, but last time you were saying it you blamed the brainwashing on post-secondary
education which she hasn't had yet. Now you blame it on the feds? Wasn't the corporation-friendly federal party
in power while she was in grades two through ten? I kind of doubt the communists had time, starting in 2008, to
do a curriculum rewrite that would have reached the graduating class of 2010.

(Condensed version: give it a rest, man. You sound like one of your country's least worthy demagogues and from
what I know of you you really seem to be smarter than that.)
Relax bro, I'm not the least bit concerned with your take on me. Though it is interesting, and yet typical, that my take is not considered smart.

Just an FYI, post secondary education = government, they are often directly government run institutions and in the least, all but a handful accept various forms of government subsidies. High Schools are actually mostly run by the states, not the feds. Your characterization of my take on the political parties couldn't be more inaccurate, but for your own clarification, the political party of the president is not generally considered the party in "power". That distinction typically belongs to the majority party of congress, which has flip flopped a few times in the last decade, not that it matters much at all.

Now as to the point at hand, I do beat the drum quite a bit, inasmuch as the sentiment is systemic and in my opinion problematic. That said, her disdain of "large" corporations is made pretty clear in her own words. Given that the content of her speech is the entire point of this topic, I'd assume it's ok to discuss them without resorting to the level of personal insults?

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change.

The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations

A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition - a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby thegreatheed » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:50 pm

Arcand wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:Despite her "enlightenment" though she's unable to shake the indoctrination by government to hate "large" corporations.


You beat this drum kind of often, but last time you were saying it you blamed the brainwashing on post-secondary
education which she hasn't had yet. Now you blame it on the feds? Wasn't the corporation-friendly federal party
in power while she was in grades two through ten? I kind of doubt the communists had time, starting in 2008, to
do a curriculum rewrite that would have reached the graduating class of 2010.

(Condensed version: give it a rest, man. You sound like one of your country's least worthy demagogues and from
what I know of you you really seem to be smarter than that.)


Arcand, do you really think the current administration isn't corporate friendly? They sure mince their words well, but follow the money. Who has been the primary financial beneficiaries of this presidency? Unions, banks, and Wall Street.

Also, Arcand, progressives don't operate in large strokes. They seek positions of influence in education (post secondary and pre), government, and media. Then they nudge things along. Their entire operational philosophy is quite contrasted to communists, who operate grandly, and many times by force, even though end game ideals may be similar. This is why people often mistakenly use those labels. I also agree with Fridmarr, the paralyzation of local school districts to adapt their curriculum and programs in order to service their students is a major flaw in "No child left behind". When local governments are unable to adapt to local needs, inefficiency and injustice occur.

Here's my public school experience. I was an honor student and my class valedictorian. School was ridiculously easy and a joke for me. I took every honors/AP class available, lettered in 2 sports (football and track) every year in high school, worked a part time job at the mall, and participated in a large handful of clubs. I devoured all of the content available to myself, and had lots of spare time left over. If I had hands on tutoring/mentoring like MANY of the disabled/learning challenged kids, I probably could have graduated high school with an associate's degree, or my bachelor's. But I had no special mentors, personal tutors, or frequent guidance counseling. I was not given many of the resources the school district spent on the bottom third of the class. Did I need them? Well, no, I didn't "need" them. But could I have made use of personal guidance and curriculum scheduling? Of course I could have, and it would have benefited me greatly. Yet because I was smart, and well adjusted, I was left to myself. I am not bitter about the experience, my schooling was adequate, but it could have been better.

When the focus is on improving the bottom third of the students the middle and top get no attention. Why are we requiring focus and resources to speed up the slowest? Why are not those same resources, or something else, given to the students at the top, or even the ones in the middle? When our focus is on "no child left behind" what we also get is "no child gets ahead".

So don't get this wrong, and say that I don't think resources should be spent on those struggling, I don't mean that at all. I think resources should be spent where the students can make use of them, not where the standardized test scores say the students have to meet. By setting a giant federal standard, we lose the ability to adapt and excel. Only a local school board, a principal, or the teacher can really say what the students in their district/school/class need. Yet they don't have much freedom to meet those needs, they have to maintain test score standards; standards set by a large distant federal government.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Dorvan » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:00 pm

Arcand wrote:(Condensed version: give it a rest, man. You sound like one of your country's least worthy demagogues and from
what I know of you you really seem to be smarter than that.)


I'd like to think the we can do better than to simply say the someone is dumb simply because they offer a perspective that we don't agree with. There's nothing inherently stupid or unreasonable about recognizing that there's a pervasive meme of "big corporations = evil" among certain segments of the population. It's somewhat telling that you resort to a strawman of things Fridmarr didn't say to try at refute him. You can do better than that, Arcand. If you'd like to engage the issue, then let's talk about it rather than telling each other to give it a rest (a polite way of saying "shut up already").
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Vanifae » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:19 pm

High School kids are not as smart as they would like to think they are.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby aranil » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:48 pm

Vanifae wrote:High School kids are not as smart as they would like to think they are.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Flex » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:58 am

I find all systems evil, large corporations, large government, heck even small businesses and local governments to some extent. The system is designed to perpetuate the system which is the purpose of most any system. However I don't think it is built on evil intentions, just a byproduct of size. And on the other hand I think the country would be better with more work and labor training than emphasis on schooling past high school.
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Re: A valedictorian speaks her mind

Postby Dorvan » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:45 am

Flex wrote:I find all systems evil, large corporations, large government, heck even small businesses and local governments to some extent. The system is designed to perpetuate the system which is the purpose of most any system. However I don't think it is built on evil intentions, just a byproduct of size. And on the other hand I think the country would be better with more work and labor training than emphasis on schooling past high school.


Boy, modern medicine, sanitation, all consumer goods, personal mobility...those things are all so evil, huh? Because none of them would be possible without large systems. Systems are not inherently evil. They simply concentrate power, which increases their ability to do things for good or ill. Without any concentrations of power it would certainly be harder to commit acts of great evil, but we would be unable to have the civilization that we enjoy today, which indisputably does a great deal of good and prevents a great deal of evil.

Statements like "systems are evil" or "corporations are evil" strike me as silver-spoon philosophies which sound profound but whose ramifications haven't actually been thought through.
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