Fayette bombs CRCT tests

Tue, 05/27/2008 - 4:48pm
By: Ben Nelms

Many Fayette County students will be taking classes this summer to get promoted to a higher grade after a less-than-stellar showing on state-mandated tests.

Fayette students are not alone in their misery — much of the state did worse.

State school officials are feeling the heat from parents in the wake of the tough tests that seemed to cover areas not taught in the curriculum, particularly in social studies and math.

More sixth- and seventh-grade students in Fayette County who took the social studies test flunked it than passed — a 56.6 percent failure rate.

Scores on several components of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) from around Georgia are the problem, especially in the eighth grade math tests and those in social studies taken by sixth and seventh graders. And Fayette County — typically one of the top systems in the state — was not spared the pain of the lower scores.

Though the official results will not be in until June, Fayette County School System’s unofficial reports showed that local eighth-grade students scored lower on math than last year.

Reading scores across grades remain high, while social studies scores for sixth- and seventh-graders in Fayette showed passing scores of only 41-45 percent. The reasons for the low scores will be investigated locally and at the state level, school officials said.

Fayette schools spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said more difficult tests led to lower scores in eighth-grade math.

The unofficial numbers across Fayette schools for the math component showed that 932 students’ overall performance met the standard for those in their grade level, 517 students’ overall performance exceeded the standard and the performance of 338 students did not meet the standard.

“Unofficial scores for eighth grade math, although lower than last year, look better for Fayette than across the state. Preliminary scores indicate that 80 percent of the county’s students passed compared to an estimated 60 percent statewide,” Berry-Dreisbach said.

“The lower pass rate in math is attributed to a tougher curriculum and a more rigorous test to match. Up until last year, only a small number of students were exposed to algebra in the eighth grade. This year, every eighth-grader is taking algebra as well as statistics and geometry,” she said.

Mirroring sixth- and seventh-grade students statewide, a majority of Fayette students did poorly in the CRCT social studies component.

Among sixth-graders taking the social studies component, unofficial figures showed that 695 met the standard, 915 did not meet the standard and 71 exceeded it. And among seventh-graders, 674 met the standard, 1,002 did not meet it and 26 exceeded it.

“Unofficial score results indicate that 41 to 45 percent of the county’s sixth- and seventh-graders passed,” said Berry-Dreisbach. “It is estimated that only 20-30 percent of sixth- and eighth-grade students statewide passed this portion of the test. The same unofficial scores for Fayette show a 95-96 pass rate for grades 3, 4 and 5.”

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox attributed low social studies scores statewide to the implementation of a new curriculum. Cox said May 19 that a panel will be formed to determine what caused the poor performance. One area that will be examined is whether middle grades social studies standards had been clearly delineated, Cox said.

Local Superintendent John DeCotis said Fayette County will monitor the state’s findings and initiate its own study of the issues.

“We in Fayette will be investigating these test results, reviewing our implementation of the new curriculum and making changes to address the needs of our students,” said DeCotis.

Berry-Dreisbach noted that Fayette’s unofficial pass rates for other grade levels (1-7) in math range from the high 80s to 90s. Students in grades 5 and 8 are required to pass the math and reading portions of the CRCT to get promoted to the next grade level.

“Unlike math, preliminary results in reading across all grade levels (1-8) show a 95 percent and above pass rate with fewer students scoring in the ‘not meeting standards’ category,” Berry-Dreisbach said. “The school system will offer free classes this summer to help students prepare for the re-test that will be given in both subjects in late June.”

Questions by some of Fayette’s parents have arisen over the recent availability of CRCT scores for some children but not for others. Berry-Dreisbach said reason for the seeming disparity deals with the need to provide the parents of students that failed some portions of the CRCT time to enroll the child in the summer remediation program.

“Parents of students in grades 3,5 and 8 who failed the reading and/or math sections of the test were notified immediately since passage of these sections determine promotion to the next grade level,“ she said. “This gives parents time to enroll their student in the optional free remediation program we will offer this summer before the retest. For other students, the scaled scores will be included in the report cards that will go into the mail next week.”

As for the release of system-wide scores, Berry-Dreisbach said that information will be available once the school system receives it from the state. The school system is in possession of individual data, but that information can be released only to parents, she said.

“Under FERPA (U.S. Dept. of Education’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) we cannot release individual test scores to anyone but the parent. There are too many demographic indicators in the file that prohibit us from protecting the identity of the students within the structures of FERPA. We should have our system summary reports in June which we can release to the public,” Berry-Dreisbach said.

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River's picture
Submitted by River on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 7:25pm.

As I said in a previous post, you can judge which schools are holding the line on helping kids really learn versus "dragging them across the line" to pass them despite their lack of effort. The End-of-Course-Tests are state-mandated and state-standardized, and the grades reflect how much the student really learned about that particular subject. The links below are to the results for each school, as found on www.greatschools.net. Pay particular attention to the scores of Starrs Mill versus Whitewater. Both schools draw students from upper-income, nearly identical neighborhoods. You be the judge--which school is doing a better job, based on these scores? I included one school from Clayton County and one from Coweta County for comparison. Keep in mind that ALL the Fayette (and Coweta) schools are doing a reasonably good job; it's a matter of HOW good. (and note how SHOCKINGLY bad the scores are at Mundys Mill!)

(click on each school to see their test scores)
Fayette County H.S.

Whitewater H.S.

McIntosh H.S.

Starrs Mill H.S.

Sandy Creek H.S.

Mundys Mill H.S. (Clayton County)

Northgate H.S. (Coweta County)

aliquando's picture
Submitted by aliquando on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 11:47pm.

Have you checked the demographics between the various schools? It sounds like you have an issue with Whitewater H.S. Will you elaborate? The scores were across the board dissapointing. I graduated from McIntosh in the 80's, so you know where I stand. From my standing it is the result of grade inflation, that is due to the "not my child" that has run rampant in this county. Fail a kid and the teacher has hell to pay. I have friends that have taught here for many years, that is my reference point. The schools that will continue to perform subpar, will be the one with the lower family incomes. It is simple math when you are talking about thousands of students. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

River's picture
Submitted by River on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 5:56am.

I've not only checked the demographics, I've actually worked at all three schools. The point I was making is that all three schools have very similar demographics, and yet their test scores are significantly different. Both Starrs Mill and McIntosh have significantly higher test scores than Whitewater.

The principal at Whitewater has repeatedly stated his goal of "Drag them across the line" to passing, at various faculty meetings. There is pressure on teachers to pass marginal students. My particular issue is with the phrase "Drag them across the line". If students catch on that teachers will do almost anything to pass a student, then a lot of students will gladly sit back and passively let themselves get dragged across. The result is a lowering of motivation, and that will result in turn with a lowering of test scores.

The week before the end of course tests, there were an excessive number of field trips where students were gone from class an entire school day, including a field trip to Six Flags. Why are we sending students to Six Flags right before EOCTs? Some of my kids were gone 3 days out of 5, the week before EOCTs. Do you think that may have affected their test scores?

I'm sure the kids had fun on those field trips, but I think we have taken our eye off the ball. We've watered down our standards to avoid failing students, and many of the students have responded by lowering their standards to whatever is the absolute minimum needed to pass. That's just human nature for teenagers. It's up to us to raise the bar and challenge our students to reach their potential. It's up to parents to pressure their kids to succeed, not pressure the school to give them a pass.

aliquando's picture
Submitted by aliquando on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 3:36pm.

I agree more kids should fail than are currently. The belief that still permeates this county is "not my child"! This goes for behavior and academics. This needs to occur BEFORE high school also. I'm just sayin'!

Submitted by 4Bunnies on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 7:23am.

I regularly read the comments here online in the Citizen and have never felt compelled to comment until now. In my humble opinion the reason for lower test scores is simple, a lower standard of education. I have four children, all of them graduated as honor students from Sandy Creek High School. Over the years that my children attended Sandy Creek I watched the standards that I saw with my oldest child drop incredibly. I can say that because one of the teachers that all four of my children had was not able to continue his method of teaching as we knew it from my oldest to my youngest. Sad to say, because my two oldest who have now graduated from college commented that this teacher is the one who prepared them for what they would experience as college students.

I asked this teacher why my other children did not have the same requirements to fulfill that my oldest child did. In a nutshell, under pressure from both parents and administration he had to change his curriculum. How sad! Yes, I realize that my story is about just one teacher, but if that is so, how many other excellent teachers have had to do the same? Our teachers are between a rock and a hard place. If they raise their standards and ask more from their students they face the wrath from Johnnie's parents when he is challenged. If they don't challenge Johnnie, he doesn't do well in standardized testing! What are they to do? It's time to stop putting so much emphasis on all of the extracurricular activities and more emphasis back on education. Parents need to start asking more of their children and not expect the schools to do educating and parenting...it begins at home!

Submitted by justwondering on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 1:40pm.

Good teachers who do not want to compromise their standards and who dare to question anything can be and are fired because GA is an at-will employment state. At-will means an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason, and the courts will not intervene in any unfair firing decision.
The at-will employment doctrine gives principals and administrators tremendous power that can be abused,and the employer-employee relationship is not equal.Employment is a necessity, and many experts believe at-will fosters racial discrimination and workplace violence.

The at-will employment doctrine started in 1887 in a rule known as Master-Servant.Recognizing the antiquated and unfair aspects of at-will,most states have implemented judicial exceptions to this rule, but GA is not one of the states.
The exceptions are:
1. public policy: an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy or a state or federal statute.
(46 states have implemented this.GA has not).
2. Implied contract: Under the implied contract exception, an employer may not fire an employee "when an implied contract is formed between an employer and employee, even though no express, written instrument regarding the employment relationship exists.
(37 states have implemented this. GA has not).
3. Covenant of good faith and fair dealing: this exception — at its broadest – reads a covenant of good faith and fair dealing into every employment relationship. It has been interpreted, by some courts, to mean either that employer personnel decisions are subject to a “just cause” standard or that terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice are prohibited.
(11 states have this exception. GA does not).
Only 4 US states have not implemented any exceptions at all, and GA leads the list. Master-servant still exists here.
Should the administration decide not to fire a teacher, another option is constructive dismissal. Plans are instituted to make the work place so unbearable and hostile that any resonable person would resign.The teacher resigns.
This is documented in the well researched book "Breaking the Silence: Overcoming Principal Mistreatment of Teachers" written by DRs. Joseph and Jo Blase, professors at UGA.
If you think none of this happens in Fayette and Coweta counties, just read this week's Free Speech.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 2:45pm.

Of course GA hasn't implemented judicial exceptions like you can't fire someone if it would violate federal law...that would be totally redundant. Federal rules like EEO apply to any state, regardless of whether they are or are not an at-will employment state. Why enact a second law to say the exact same thing a federal law already states?

Why should an employer need to have some kind of "just cause" reason to fire anyone? A job is not a "right." A teacher or anyone else also can always walk right off the job just as easily as an employer can say "you're fired!" Looks pretty equal to me. No one is forced to work for Company X and Company X isn't forced to keep you employed if they don't want you around, unless it is for discriminatory reasons. Welcome to FREEDOM and CAPITALISM!

As far as "many experts" feeling that at-will states foster racial discrimination, I haven't seen that. All I have ever seen is Big Labor crying endlessly about at-will employment as their numbers continue to decline decade after decade on their way to irrelevancy.

Submitted by sageadvice on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 1:56pm.

You lost me with : "If the administration decides not to fire a teacher another option is......"
If they decide NOT to fire, then why go at it the hard way as if they want to fire them?

Anyway correct me if you can, but aren't teachers with just a few years on the job protected from dismissal for most purposes?
How about Cops, Firemen, City Employees, etc.

Submitted by justcurious on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 7:01pm.

Georgia doesn't give teachers tenure anymore. They stopped that several years ago. Veteran teachers received their tenure upon signing, I believe their 4th contract, and they still have that unless they change school systems.

Submitted by justwondering on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 4:04pm.

Clarification: If the administration decides to get rid of a teacher but not through firing, then they can use the pressure to resign.Many people who are fired can receive unemployment benefits. People who resign usually cannot. A school looks better when teachers resign.

The following explains how GA laws affect teachers with 4 years on the job, from GA code:
(2) In order to demote or fail to renew the contract of a teacher who accepts a school year contract for the fourth or subsequent consecutive school year from the same local board of education, the teacher must be given written notice of the intention to demote or not renew the contract of the teacher. Such notice shall be given by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery as provided in subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-940. Such notice shall contain a conspicuous statement in substantially the following form:
You have the right to certain procedural safeguards before you can be demoted or dismissed. These safeguards include the right to notice of the reasons for the action against you and the right to a hearing. If you desire these rights you must send to the school superintendent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery a statement that you wish to have a hearing; and such statement must be mailed to the school superintendent within 20 days after this notice was mailed to you. Your rights are governed by subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-211, Code Section 20-2-940, and Code Sections 20-2-942 through 20-2-947, and a copy of this law is enclosed.

Basically all they get is a written notice of thr reasons to present
to present their case.Teachers with kless than 4 years get almost nothing. I do not know about cops,etc.

Submitted by sageadvice on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 6:56pm.

Isn't that immoral to not fire someone, but force them out, to void unemployment payments by the state (or do counties even pay unemployment insurance for teachers?)
And what does "looking bad" have to do with firing an incompetent teacher? They are paid to manage!

All this certified mail stuff with reasons and hearings makes little sense. Who presides and decides over the hearing? Why didn't they agree to the firing to start with?

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 11:00am.

The answer to your question is this: They quit challenging everyone so that the slow could also pass.

Why? Well some teachers have quit rather thn do that, but the majority want to work, so they stay and cut back!

Tell me who you think started this, and who can stop it?
What Person?

Is there one in Fayette and also one in Atlanta as a Superintendent?
Might even be one or more in Washington!

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 10:45am.

"I regularly read the comments here online in the Citizen and have never felt compelled to comment until now."

Thank you for taking the time to offer your opinion. It is appreciated!

Kevin "Hack" King

ps: Do your bunnies like labs, as in the four-legged slobbering kind? I know where they can get a two-year-old male one for FREE! And he's great with baby bunnies too!

River's picture
Submitted by River on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 9:31am.

4Bunnies is right--standards are being lowered, and standardized test scores reflect how much. Now, in all fairness, the current low CRCT scores are more due to hiccups with the new curriculum than anything else. Any time you completely revamp a curriculum, there are bound to be hiccups, and it will take a couple of years to work out all the bugs. The intent of the new curriculum is to raise the bar on educational standards, and that's good, but I think you will find that this new program has a lot of flaws that will have to be fixed. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

However, what 4Bunnies is saying is right. Teachers are under enormous pressure to pass students, even if it means lowering standards. As parents, you can compare what one school is doing versus what another school is doing by comparing their End-of-Course-Test (EOCT) scores on the various subject areas. EOCT scores are a reasonably accurate reflection of how well the school taught that particular subject. They are state-standardized, which means that a student at Sandy Creek HS takes the exact same test as a student at Newnan HS or Mundys Mill. The results are very interesting. Clayton County schools have horrendous grades across the board. For example, their students' AVERAGE scores in Biology and Geometry was around 67%, failing. If you had any doubts about Clayton Co. losing accreditation, just look at those scores and you will understand just how bad it really is.

I'll have a LOT more to say on this in a day or two.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 10:49am.

We need an ocean's worth of teachers like you at every level of the system. Sometimes I wonder if classroom teachers lose perspective when they move to Board positions and get farther and farther from the point where the rubber meets the road. I thought that the days of pushing kids through the system were gone.

Is this a product of schools not wanting to lose funding by having bad "metrics?"

Cheers, brother

Kevin "Hack" King

River's picture
Submitted by River on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 6:19pm.

When I saw my kids' EOCT scores, they were so good that I literally got all teary eyed with joy. That one moment makes up for a lot of hassles, a whole year's worth as a matter of fact. Especially considering that my teaching ability had been called into question.

In answer to your question, not all schools are pushing kids through the system who should actually fail. The ones that are doing that give themselves away when you compare their standardized test scores to the same scores earned at other schools with similar student demographics.

Parents need to be better informed and more involved, as schools with mediocre scores will not advertise that fact. The 2008 scores will not be released until mid-July, but I'm going to post the 2007 scores shortly. I'm pretty sure that the pattern of results in 2008 will be pretty similar to the results in 2007. Parents who want to be involved can verify this at www.greatschools.net where you can search for your school and view all their latest test scores. You can find the same info at www.doe.k12.ga.us which is the Ga. Dept of Ed website, but I find the GreatSchools.net site is more user friendly.

I'd have posted this sooner, but you have to clear the target area before you squeeze the trigger, if you know what I mean! But now, as the Eagles would say, "I'm already gone."

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 9:57am.

This is our future that we're ' toying' with. My understanding is that the students in Georgia were tested on material that the teachers lacked the training and the materials to assist with instruction. The Georgia academic standards were changed. However, the curriculum (which often requires new materials and instructional training when changed) was not aligned with the new standards. This is a management problem. .and should not be confused with 'teaching the test'. It is not fair to test anyone on material to which they have not been exposed when testing for acquisition of concepts taught. The 'buck' stops with the 'boss'. The academic standards for instruction in public schools needs to be improved in order for our students to become contributing citizens not only in our local communities - but in the world.

Local communities and parents should be demanding a ‘just’ resolution to this problem. Students should not be held responsible for concepts not taught. It is true that often the average score is lower when curriculum standards are changed. Fayette County has outstanding professional educators - and I would not be surprised if a higher percentage of Fayette County students passed the test when compared to the entire state of Georgia.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 10:14am.

Most of the teachers I've met are intelligent so I think there is an argument to be made here that we went a ground and it wasn't the teachers fault. A lot really care about our kids

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 9:01am.

4Bunnies, I had originally replied to "Sage" about the poor test results being adjusted, yet I believe my comments could fit in here.

You are absolutely correct that standards have dropped, it is so very sad, but so very true.

And well intentioned teachers do have their enthusiasm knocked out of them in short order - they reach a point where it is just easier to go along to get along than to buck the system.

Sage - It is with a degree of trepidation that I respond to your comment, because I never know what you'll come back with . . .however, you have hit a very raw exposed nerve this morning with your comment about "adjust" the scores . . . how very sad, but very true . . .

I'll not go into every detail, I'll simply say "adjusting" seems to be something some schools do without giving it a second thought. For certain programs, I've seen requirements/standards lowered so certain (elite) students could be in the program. When the student breaks under the pressure of these programs and comes up with a poor grade, I've seen the grade adjusted. So what can we expect - lowered expectations, and when student can't reach that lowered expectation, administration will simply "adjust" to make it right.

So, hey, what's a few more adjustments . . .

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 5:18pm.

the idea is for every kid to do the best he can in life right? Maybe we are missing it.
I want to tell you a story of a friend. He grew up in WWII is East Berlin. After the war when the kids were older, his Mother made them all go to a trade school. She was a loving Mom and knew her kids talents and also their weak points. She put my friend Mike in a trade school to become a model maker.

When he was older the German government wanted to put in the the military. Because of what he had lived through, he said he would never do it. That is when he came here.

With his trade as a model maker, he we to work for Mattel. Barbie had just been invented and the guy that designed her got big bucks. So when Mike came along he had to sign away all rights. He made Ken, then he made GI Joe. Po ed he made nothing but his salary, he went into business for himself. I think he did the 1st prototype for the pacemaker or something like that. Point is, Mike is a millionaire today and closer to a billionaire now.

What I'm saying is, this was a normal person, put into what he was good at, at an early age who honed that craft. Maybe we are trying to put all our square pegs in round holes instead of what they are good at.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 06/03/2008 - 9:32pm.

see above blog my me 5/27

I talked to my friend Mike about trade schools. I think it is time to look at some alternatives for our kids and trade schools may be one of many things that could help.

He said in Germany the children are much more protected than you might think. He said he entered trade school at 13. That 3 days a week you work as an apprentice to someone and the other 2 days it is mandatory that you go to the German trade school. He also said that you are rotated as an apprentice between many so that you would get different views on the trade. It also kept someone who may not like the child for whatever reason, not hold the child back.
He said these children were also required to be rotated ever so often to apprentice in other professions to see if they like them better and were not locked in.
He also stated that if you have the smarts, the government pays for your education in reg college if that is what you want. That if you are a brain, they will take you to the stars in education. You are not limited as to how much you can afford.

I then asked about the drop outs in school. He said there is no such thing, that it is never an option. If a child doesn't go to school, either because he doesn't want to, or the parent is negligent, the government steps in and takes over. The kid goes to school.

When he told me these things, these are my thoughts. If a child is taught a skill at a early age, for that particular child, he may be way the head of the game just like Mike.

Our kids are sitting around these days with no jobs. Wouldn't it be great if they were learning a skill to fall back on and the person that took them on as an apprentice was getting cheap labor/not illegals/the money was staying in the country/ and our kids=us are better off? Kids+skills ///money in our country. Win ...win

Another thought is ...GERMANY is the major exporter of high end/intelligent products....iddy biddy Germany. It might be this apprentice program is producing craftmanship that we can't match here, yet.

I think we don't neet to use them as a pattern, but I do feel they may have some ideas that would help keep jobs, money and pride in this country and in our next generations, little hot hands!

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 8:26am.

Unfortunately, in the past, students were geared to such programs based on other than their skills or lack of skills. We need to look at vocational instruction again through today's enlightened eyes. There will be many 'new' jobs that need technical skills that will not require a college education. The 'old' jobs of carpenter, electrician, plumber, painter, etc. are still needed and are important! Our schools should be doing more to prepare students not only to acquire the skills necessary for these positions - but the business courses necessary to succeed as businessmen/businesswomen. This should never exclude the exposure to a sound liberal arts education of music, art, literature, etc. However - we have got to shore up our economy - so that there are jobs available for the future generation.

Submitted by Jamie-Mac on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 8:48am.

Tell me how we shore up the economy? In details tell me how we do this?

I have seen worse times than this. What is so horriable about now? Yes, we are in a war against terror FOREVER! Because in other countries they don't care about life, blow you up as soon as look at you. They try to do it to us all the time. Is that what you are referring to bad times?

Sweetheart, if you don't like it here there are other places in the world that maybe they have already done their share of shore up of the economy. Just let me know where you plan to move since it's so hard here.

There are jobs if people would get up and WORK! They think I am too good for that job.

I don't buy these are such bad times. People need a reality check.

Honey, aren't you in for a rude awakening?

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 9:13am.

. . a rose, is a rose, is a rose. Welcome back.

Submitted by Jamie-Mac on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 10:01am.

I disagreed with your shore up the economy?

I just wanted your answer of how we shore up the economy? Either give it or don't say something you can't back up.

What you can't do it? Yeah tell us all how to shore up the economy, I would like your view. Can't give it, say so. Shore it up for us.

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 11:35am.

Read the newspaper, listen to the news, look up the word (economy) in the dictionary. You're supposedly new here - trying to recreate old arguments. If you are happy with the present state of our economy - $4.00 a gallon for gas; high prices for basic food; foreclosed homes; massive lay-offs throughout the country - stay happy. The majority of the citizens here want to insure that their children have the education and skills to provide for their families in the future - and the job market where they can earn enough to provide the basic needs for their families. Have a nice day Beaver.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 7:56am.

I agree with both of you and it's something that needs to be explored a LOT more than the trend over the last few decades of drilling into kids' heads "go to college! go to college!"

Let's face it, most college grads leave with a sheet of paper and little true skills. I'm not talking "people" skills or other non-tangible training; I'm talking about a job SKILL. They are by and large easily replaceable with the next wave of college grads that come after them.

There will always be a demand for skilled labor like machinists, electricians, auto mechanics,bricklayers, plumbers, nurses, etc. These jobs can also be more recession-proof and less affected by corp layoffs, downsizing, politics, etc. These are NOT minimum wage jobs. These are also jobs that can lend themselves to the skilled worker one day deciding to start his own business and telling THE MAN to go pound sand. Trying to force a teen who would really like to to go to technical/vocational training after HS that he/she needs a college prep curriculum is misguided. It is indeed like what was posted "trying to put a square peg in a round hole."

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 9:31am.

I have to agree with you NUK. College is not for everyone; however education is.
I earned my BS in Aeronautical Sciences, yet I have never designed an airplane. To that end, not many people actually do what they originally set out to do within in their course of studies.
What I did learn at college gave me a foundation for understanding other things that occur in just about any business. I did not have the choice of college straight out of high school, so the Navy it was. Through hard work and dedication I earned my degree during and after my service, and applied my learning to various aspects of my career.

"The one constant in all of your failed relationships is you."

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Sun, 06/01/2008 - 4:13pm.

my German buddy. We were talking about his success vs what is happening with the kids here. I asked more about how Germany does it. He stressed he believes also, education is so important, but so are trade schools.

These are a few things he mentioned and these are just balloons for thought....some of our kids are going no where and maybe it isn't their fault.

He said the way the trade school worked in Germany is this.

The kid is put in...a...trade school early...one or two days a week he works for a company as an apprentice...the other days of the week he goes to a German trade school, so the kid learns, 1st hands on, then professionally.

The company that hires these kids wins cause the have cheap help, the kid wins cause he figures out if he likes it.

Then, the kid is switched often, under who he is apprenticed This keeps one man's opinion from holding the kid back, plus, lets the kid see the same job from a different prospective. All the time the kid is getting a wage.

To protect the kids more, they are sent ever so ofter to other apprentice fields to compare, so they are not locked in.
This to me seems a plus, if the kids boss goes broke, the gov then takes that child and places him with someone else in that profession, so the kid is not dependant on that guy.

He also said that in Germany, if a kid wants to go to college, the government pays his way, till he doesn't want to go anymore.

He also said, if a child fails, he ..is...left behind...But the gov steps in and takes over in the place of the parent to help the child as it seems the parents are not doing their job. There is no such thing as a child dropping out. The parents are held accountable and then the gov takes over. You don't quit, you just improve.

Then last he said, Germany is one of the MAJOR EXPORTERS...any kind of technology...they are up there...it is not so much masters degree...but guys who are professionals, know their jobs...

Their exports are high end, as in medical, cars, anything that needs some knowledge. There may be a lesson, or some ideas here for our kids.

We are a country of IMPORTERS....not exporters...

We are all part German or European...we have the same genes....our kids are just as smart...Maybe we could look at what they are doing...and find parts that would work for us.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 12:07pm.

but because some of these kids come out with a sheet of paper and little true skills as NUK said, they aren't making it. It isn't their fault. They just aren't fitting the mold. We have put them through 4 more years and they are no better off.

When I was at Delta, I saw them hire college grads for 10.00 an hour to do what I was doing. I made much more, but they couldn't find a better job with their brand new shinny major in philosophy.

These kids are confused and finding a convient hole and crawling in. I don't know the answer, but we, as parents, need to look at where our children's strong points are and guide them along a path just for them and not the status quo.

When I was growing up, we didn't even have art in the schools. There are more opportunites out there in art than there ever were. I'm thinking of Savannah School of Art as a possibilty for mine if they want. When I first started thinking of it, I was really squeemish. I was told that the art teacher at McIntosh had 'mainstreamed' a couple of good ones. That being, she helped them get in the 11th and not finish the 12th. They were that good. We need to look at some alternatives.

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 11:10am.

I doubt that I could have attended college (even got in) when I got out of high school.
I matured in the military for four years and learned how to learn however.
I agree some need to be plumbers, etc. They would be happier also.

Submitted by mcg on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 8:49am.

While I agree with your comments, I do have one problem with your statement about nurses. Yes, you do not necessarily have to go to college to become an LPN (licensed practical nurse) or a nurse's assistant. However, you do normally need a college degree to become an RN (registered nurse), as well as passing a rigorous board exam, just as doctors and lawyers must do. I have a bachelor's of science degree in nursing, as do many RN's who are getting into the field. It is possible to become an RN after being an LPN, but you have to have additional schooling. I don't mean to be too sensitive, but I would like for people to know that most RN's today are college educated.

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 11:12am.

Yes they take a Nursing degree.
However, one rarely sees an RN now who tends to patients personally.
They administer and work privately.
I'm not sure what a Nurse-Practitioner now is!

Submitted by wildcat on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 5:38pm.

You've got it! We all have strengths and weaknesses and one diploma does not fit all (neither does one math). The problem started when students and parents starting suing the school systems stating that they (the kids)weren't given a proper education. Who ends up paying? We do, with our pocketbooks and our children's education. So, we treat everyone the same and there is no basis for a law suit, right? ha ha Probably not. I'm sure those that make a living from suing will find a way.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 5:58pm.

I think they are wrong to sue the schools..no one knows their child better than the parent, and there is no one that can guide them better because of that. We, as parents, know our childrens strong points. We are the ones who need to stand up and say, 'yeah it would be great to be Gates, but honey I know you hate computers. You could be the next Nelson Shanks.

There are kids who are lucky enough to swim up stream like little salmon, or sperm. There are others that just need a push. We, as parents, know which currents will take these kids where they need to go. We need the schools to help us hone the talents, but we need to help our kids find their way.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 5:48pm.

you could put a gun to my head but you'de never make me the math wiz. But I do portraits. Right now, I'm doing a friend's daughter and I can't clean the kitchen cause everytime I walk past the canvas/in the kitchen/ I stop and play on the canvas. I look up and it has been hours.

Everyone has talents, the best we can do for our kids, in my mind, is push them in those directions. Or tell them, its ok to be an artist if that is where their talents lie. One day when I'm old and dying, I want to know that I've done the best by my child in sending them in a direction they can take care of themselves. While it may not be a profession they will be a millionaire in, they will be happy. That for them, I think is the most important thing. If someone is lucky enough that their hobby turns into their profession, or they like their profession, they are so lucky.

I talk to Mike and he is always stopping by his shop, not cause he has to, but cause he wants to..he likes what he is doing, so he is a prefectionist at it. He has pride in his work, and his work is his hobby. That is a legacy I want to leave my child.

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