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Author: cliff666 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 63274  
Subject: Re: Liberal Education - no one fails Date: 1/22/2008 1:50 PM
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Telegraph: Some folks need vocational training. They aren't going to doctors and lawyers. That has almost disappeared in the name of "PC". The libs seem to insist that 'everyone' should have a 'high school educaiton' even if it means they can't read or write by the time they 'graduate'.

40 yeasr ago, most high schools had vocational programs - building trades, auto mechanics. That all had to get cut out because of more and more liberal MANDATES that would not let part of the school population 'not have access' to material they would never master, would waste 4 years of high school for them and many classmates, etc.

Now, you can't find a vocational program at 99% of high schools. No shop. No auto mechanics or computers or electronics. Zip. Instead, everyone has to take 'college prep' courses whehher thay have any aptitude or not for higher education along those lines.

Yes, some folks don't have the interest or aptitude for colege prep classes. College prep isn't the issue, from what I read. It's basic reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. Children in high school who can't read or do simple arithmetic. These guys won't even make good mechanics if they can't read the instruction manuals on the diagnostic tools they have. The challenge is not to give these kids more tests, it's how to motivate them. (Yes, there are the "dumbells", as we called them when I was in school. I think today they go to special education classes or schools.) Those who want college prep classes still get them. It's the lower 50% that worry me. Mind you, even when I was in school (back in the pleistocene), there were kids who found it smart to be dumb. No one wanted to be "teacher's pet" or to be an egghead square, as went the vernacular of the day.

Are you sure that schools don't offer vocational training any more? I would like to see a credible source for that claim.

I gotta point out that you sometimes speak poorly for your own education, telegraph. You don't seem to know where to use apostrophes, and your spelling has huge lapses some times. (The present post seems well done, maybe a typo or two, but I hope everyone cuts a lot of slack for typos. I never took no typing class in High school,)

I hired a building contractor to install a driveway and some retaining walls. I was impressed with his math skills. He sure knew how to make a right angle, for instance, by using 3-4-5 triangles, or 5-12-13 triangles. He also carried a calculator. Where did he learn those skills?

I had an older uncle who was functionally illiterate. He lead a hard life, even back in the day. Today would be harder.

I have a pet peve. (Surprised?) When I go to the food market, or to a hamburger place, the clerks get very confused when I give them a ten, a five, and 17¢ for a $13.67 bill. They have to use the cash register to figure out the change. If they have already done the total, I have to tell them how much change is right. One insisted on giving me the change without the 17¢.

I agree that vocational training is right for some students, either by choice or by ability in a particular area. In Germany, they have a big test at some point, called the Abitur. That test determines what kind of education you can get. Bad score? You go to tech school. Good score? Physice, or med school. The schools are streamed even before that, and I am not familiar with all the details. But Germany doesn't have a huge, permanent underclass, as we do.

I see no horror in streaming the classes and schools according to ability, if there were some way to avoid permanently trapping students from underperforming areas/schools into a life of underachievement.

Let me just say it: It's a racial divide problem, more than anything. When people talk about under-performing schools, or students, they mostly mean the inner city schools, or the rural schools which are predominately black. NCLB only exacerbates the situation. Any criticism that fails to address this issue is hollow, and doomed to failure, or (worse) to perpetuating the racial division we have. The question becomes, how to attract good teachers to poor districts, and how to motivate students in those diatricts. I don't have the answer, but sneering remarks ablut LIBRULS doesn't help, either.

cliff
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