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No Child Left Behind pushing out art, science, music

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 26, 2006 5:03 AM PST
Focus on reading, math leaves little time for other subjects.

>> Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low proficiency students, eliminating it.
Schools from Vermont to California are increasing - in some cases tripling - the class time that low-proficiency students spend on reading and math, mainly because the federal law, signed in 2002, requires annual exams only in those subjects and punishes schools that fall short of rising benchmarks. The changes appear to principally affect schools and students who test below grade level. The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curricula now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science and art. A nationwide survey by a nonpartisan group indicates that the practice, known as narrowing the curriculum, has become standard procedure in many communities.
The survey, by the Center on Education Policy, found that since the passage of the federal law, 71 percent of the nation's 15,000 school districts had reduced the hours of instructional time spent on history, music and other subjects to open up more time for reading and math. <<

President Bush should be so proud!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
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The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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Let's face it DK. The stuff that passes for art, science,
by Kiddpeat / March 26, 2006 5:51 AM PST

and music today is part of the problem. It should be pushed out. The high school football coaches used to stress learning the basics. We might do well to apply the same philosophy to schools.

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"Science should be pushed out?"

You've gotta be kidding me! Science is the basis of American competitiveness and innovation. Much of our loss of competitivenes today comes because too many of our best and brightest are going to law and business school, rather that the road to science and engineering. China, OTOH, is now putting the same sort of emphasis on science and engineering that we did in the late 50's and 60's -- the sort that took us to the moon and back agan, with all the resulting spinoffs in microminiaturizaion and electronics that led to our dominance in those fields until the 90's.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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The OOC Pundit strikes again
by dirtyrich / March 27, 2006 12:18 PM PST

OOC - Out Of Context

There's a difference between

"science should be pushed out"

and

"the stuff passing as science should be pushed out"

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Read my post DK! I didn't say science, I said what passes
by Kiddpeat / March 27, 2006 2:58 PM PST

for science. The fantasies that guys like you push as fact. I have an idea though. Resign your job, and volunteer to teach science in the public schools. I'm sure they won't pass up free teaching from a man of your abilities.

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I assume you mean evolution, which even the Pope endorses

Or maybe you mean global warming -- which is often discussed in school, but not part of the curriculum. You've done nothing to refute the facts that America ALREADY trails its majpor competitors in science and engineering education:
American Students Rarely Earn 'A's When Up Against Foreign Students. (It's from before Bush -- and teaching to a test" that doesn't include science has clearly made it worse).
Incidentally, what you object to "passing as science" isn't controversial at all anywhere but here -- it's universally accepted!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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How about the lack of Science education ...
by Evie / March 27, 2006 9:40 PM PST

... amongst science educators at the K-6 level?

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If the science they are teaching ...
by Evie / March 27, 2006 9:19 PM PST

... is Earth Day drivel, then it can be done without. I'm also beginning to believe that at the lower levels, kids are best left to learn from Bill Ney the Science Guy and such on TV rather than their undereducated teachers using books ridden with mistakes.

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Good
by dirtyrich / March 26, 2006 6:04 AM PST

While I am not making a blanket statement about all schools, many have offered their students ridiculous amounts of useless instruction in the liberal arts.
A recent colleague of mine did a study for her graduate thesis on the amount of time spent in elementary classrooms (K-6) on reading and math. Many spent the least amount of time on math compared to subjects like reading, social studies, art, and music. One teacher stated that they did not like math because the students became restless and harder to manage, and therefore limited her time spent on it.
One of our local schools districts has done a commendable job designing a plan to meet NCLB standards - nothing at all. They have mostly maintained the same curriculum for the past 10-15 years in math, and have had no trouble succeeding on standardized tests. The school also requires students to take music, art, etc.
The difference is that school districts in past years have fallen away from keeping math as an important subject (yes, even more than arts and sciences), so they are scrambling to find ways to compensate for their ineptitude.

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''Social studies'' are the basis of citizenship, DR.
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 27, 2006 12:17 PM PST
In reply to: Good

As for pushing out music and art -- how typical; those are what sets apart the civilized from the heathen! Odd how those who want to eliminate art and music have no problem trying to force religion into the curricula!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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In your own article
by dirtyrich / March 27, 2006 12:22 PM PST

it is stated that schools are simply decreasing the time spent on art, music, and other classes to make room for more math. As I stated in my post, many schools gave math a shorter amount of time than other subjects, which is obviously out of whack, so decreasing the others simply restores the balance.
Also, its funny how "social studies" are the basis for citizenship when students now learn more about Native American culture and other nations than they do American History.

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(NT) (NT) The Three "R's" - how absolutely absurd
by Mac McMullen / March 26, 2006 6:12 AM PST
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No child
by marinetbryant / March 26, 2006 7:06 AM PST

It's so easy to blame one person, isn't it. The failure of the education system didn't happen overnight. School administrators grabbing for fame and fortune and school money that they spend unwisely and teacher unions who oppose any real reform because they would lose money and political clout had nothing to do with the failure. You reckon ranting about Bush being a "HITLER" in geography class instead of TEACHING geography might be a symptom? Plus he got his job back! My neighbor is a teacher and she won't have anything to do with the unions. The last figures I found on money spent per pupil was + or - $10,000 a year, a lot more than most industrialized nations. Seriously, read the whole story, both sides. Check out Real Clear Politics. They put both sides on the web.

Tom

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Sadly, Tom, it's true.
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 27, 2006 12:22 PM PST
In reply to: No child

If you compare the "Patriot Act" to the "temporary emergency measures" that led to the "Ofice of Fatherland Security," (that's "SicherheitsSchaft," for those who know German), the parallels are truly chilling. "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" -- and those who dare point out the parallels are castigated for demonstrating what is obvious to those who are familiar with history. Might that be what hstory is no longer a point of emphasis?
Is "Bush a Hitler" -- no; but that's not what that teacher said.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Mixing fruits again
by marinetbryant / March 28, 2006 3:38 AM PST
In reply to: Sadly, Tom, it's true.

You were talking about education, not the Patriot Act. As far as brainwashing consider who really controls the curriculum and their political leanings, school admins and teachers unions.


Tom

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Parallels can be drawn between
by Roger NC / March 28, 2006 5:48 AM PST
In reply to: Sadly, Tom, it's true.

any number of things and events.

They don't always, indeed seldom, lead to the same results.

Sorry, just because someone that doesn't like something can make a comparison to a historically repugnet and emotionally disturbing event doesn't mean the too are equilvalent.

Warning of "slippery slopes" may be a matter of opinion and a call for examination. But assuming that walking on the ridge of a mountain is the same as jumping all isn't. Sometimes you have to walk a dangerous path to get to a desirable place.


Roger

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Not a bad idea anyway
by Diana Forum moderator / March 26, 2006 10:43 AM PST

If a child cannot do the basics in reading and math, they have a great chance of becoming part of the criminal underclass. I forget the percentage but it was very high of people in jail are functionally illiterate.

If a man or woman can't read, they can't even fill out a job application let alone learn a new trade or upgrade their skills.

I loved history and science and art and all the others but the child may be able to paint beautiful pictures and get lots of money for them or make lots of money from their music but, if they can't read the contracts or figure out where their money is going, they are going to get taken and be broke.

If these children have been ignored before, it is a good thing to concentrate on these skills now.

Diana

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(NT) (NT) The fix: Saturday and summer school.
by caktus / March 26, 2006 1:00 PM PST
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(NT) (NT) In Texas, school 'scores' are in the paper periodically
by Dragon / March 27, 2006 10:26 AM PST
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When it comes to NCLB /Reading/Math
by Evie / March 27, 2006 11:14 PM PST

It seems it's an attempt to return things to the way they USED to be. I remember in K-6, especially in 2nd through 4th grade, spending an enormous amount of time on reading. We had the SRA reading program, and we were tested for comprehension, etc. on a regular basis. Similarly with math but not as focused. Math was more in grades 4-6 and we had a similar self-paced math program. Also, routine testing. We had remedial classes for those that struggled.

Without the basics of reading comprehension and mathematics, a student will flounder in history and the like, and if they can't comprehend non-technical subject matter, you cannot expect them to grasp scientific concepts with a below par reading ability. Where science is concerned, you can't expect them to do the calculations with a below par math ability.

I remember having regular recess. Gym twice or three times a week for an hour. Art once or twice a week for an hour. Same with chorus or band. FWIW, my folks supplemented my arts and music with community classes (free or very cheap), programs at the public library, and from summer day camp (also community run and free or very cheap). No HIV assemblies in Kindergarten though! The PRIMARY function of public education should be to produce academically "functionally literate" adults. Spend ALL the time at the elementary level on reading and math if need be. The alternative of passing them through does NOT work!

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I remember years ago, when Bush was gov. of Texas
by Dragon / March 28, 2006 3:30 AM PST

I cheered to myself, when I heard him say we needed to get back to the basics -- reading, writing, and arithmetic -- in our schools because it is crucial to 'get' that before any other subjects can be mastered (aside from art and the like).

But, I don't like the trend of getting away from PE and recess, even if it is because of the threat of suits. Schools should be made immune to that. People are seeing kids get fatter, and kids who can't sit still or concentrate, but they scratch their heads, wondering why. Some of the kids are reassigned to classes for learning disabled children or for kids who have ADHD, when all they need is a little time to run off some energy.

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I'm not sure if I made it clear in another thread ...
by Evie / March 28, 2006 3:35 AM PST

... but I agree with you regarding recess and gym. I also believe that the social "good" of sports is overlooked in the push for academics and producing "rounded" kids with good self esteem. Sportsmanship, learning to be good losers and winners, trying one's personal best, etc. are all positives of sports of some nature. Recess to relax or burn off excess energy is essential for especially the younger kids.

But they're going to fix the obesity problem! Ban soda and snack machines from schools. That will do it!!

Evie Happy

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Yep, I believe you did
by Dragon / March 28, 2006 4:13 AM PST

I just sometimes can't help repeating myself, if it's something I believe in. I even wrote a note to my congressman and senator on this subject.

But I did add one thing I may not have mentioned previosuly -- the part about making schools immune to suits from accidents at recess. Things are going to happen. I was taking a page from what they were doing for the pharms, giving them immunity from suits if someone has a bad reaction to a shot.

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I agree with that entirely ...
by Evie / March 28, 2006 4:21 AM PST
In reply to: Yep, I believe you did

... unless there is a hole in the ground that has not been sufficiently cordoned off or something like that, "**** happens"! Will never happen unfortunately. I would add that lawsuits over grades should be disallowed as well!

Evie Happy

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Teen sleep debt, another complication
by Dragon / March 28, 2006 4:41 AM PST
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Most people have a sleep debt
by Diana Forum moderator / March 28, 2006 8:50 AM PST

I don't know anyone that gets nine hours of sleep at night or any other time.

Diana

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I think teens especially are vulnerable
by Dragon / March 28, 2006 9:33 AM PST

during this transition period. They apparently need more sleep than older adults. Some schools are experimenting with different scheduales. That link explores the problems of school from several angles.

BTW, I just recently read that before the lightbulb was invented, people on average slept ten hours a day. After we had light bulbs, people began sleeping seven hours a day.
...
[a couple of other factoids...]
Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are estimated to cost Americans over $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property and environmental damage (National Sleep Foundation).
...
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are caused by drowsy drivers each year. (That is about 1.5% of all crashes.) These crashes result in more than 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries and result in an estimated $12.5 billion in diminished productivity and property loss (Knipling and Wang, 1996).

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We used to eat candy bars the afternoon before a football
by Kiddpeat / March 28, 2006 12:32 PM PST

game. The conventional wisdom was that it would give you more energy for the game. My guess is that it didn't do that, but we burned it off anyway by playing the game.

Now, they're increasingly getting rid of the game, and think they'll cover it by getting rid of the candy.

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In elementary school ...
by Evie / March 28, 2006 7:59 PM PST

... the gym teacher used to take out the winners of certain athletic competitions for ice cream or pizza. Mixed message? Perhaps, but it didn't make anyone fat!

I think gym nowadays is probably not as active as it was in years past. Kids are out of shape because they aren't active PERIOD. Almost none walk to school, or even a remote bus stop, most sit in front of the TV/video game/computer when they get home, etc. While activity in school would help, it's not going to counter a largely sedentary culture.

Evie Happy

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I remeber having PE every day thru high school
by Diana Forum moderator / March 28, 2006 3:54 AM PST

My sons had gym once a week. May be one of the reasons kids are getting fatter and the adhd proliferation. Kids can't just sit and learn all day. The younger ones need gym and recess to run off some of the energy so they can sit and listen.

I remember my grandmother drilling me on reading and math tables when I was little. I remember phonics and times tables. Passed this on to my kids.

Diana

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