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Should education be based on test scores, rather than attendance?

middleagedgamer

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Most public schools, K-12, get their funding from the government based on how many days each student comes to school. Theoretically, everyone could pass with straight D's, and, as long as everyone has perfect attendance, the school board is all happy.

Shouldn't it be based on test scores, instead?

I mean, people with perfect attendance still tend to be the best students, academically, right? Shouldn't we fund schools more directly on what they're supposed to achieve?

For example, assuming that, in a given state, schools receive $1,000 from the state for each day that the child spends at least four out of the seven hours in class. If there are 180 days in a school year (five days in a week, nine weeks in a quarter, four quarters in a year), that would mean that a student with perfect attendance would get his school $180,000 each year.

If he's making straight A's, then, aside from funding, what's the point of him actually coming? Sure, give him zeros on all the things he misses because of absenteeism, but what if you're just lecturing or reviewing?

I don't know about you, but I'd rather my kid have straight A's, and miss a few days, than him to have straight D's and perfect attendance, any day of the week.

The best students are only there because they have to be, but they spend the majority of class just twiddling their thumbs. I know, because I was like that, many many years ago.

Instead, shouldn't that funding from the government be based on their test scores? Assume that the state has standardized tests on each of the four main subjects: Math, science, English, and social studies. For each of those subjects, an F gets you zero grade points, a D gets you one, C gets you two, B gets you three, and an A gets you four, just like in the GPA system, for a total of 16 grade points. The government will fund that school with $11,250 ($1,250 from the feds, $5,000 from the state, $2,500 from the county, and $2,500 from the school district) for each grade point, so a straight A student would get the school that $180,000 maximum that they want so badly... only this time, the school would have to actually educate the kids, rather than just make them sit in class.

Thoughts?
 

OscarB63

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good post.

As a former educator I agree. I also think that compulsory education is a bad idea. why force some kid to sit through 12 years of public school when that kid has no potential or desire to attend college? I know a lot of kids that would've been better served in an apprenticeship learning to weld, lay bricks, drive a truck, swing a hammer, etc than sitting in a classroom ignoring a teacher talking about the French and Indian War.

The attendance policy in my state is getting ridiculous. Students are allowed only 5 absences per semester regardless of the reason. This tends to force parents to send their kids to school sick, so that they can infect all the other kids, who then have to attend school sick, ad nauseum, so that they don't miss too many days.

If a kid gets sick twice during the semester they will usually miss more than 5 days.


And, unfortunately, tieing the funding to standardized test scores is just as unfair a system. What about those schools that are forced to attempt to educate all those inner city kids who couldn't give a rat's ass about getting an education? those schools are going to lose out on funding no matter how competant its teachers are.

As I always used to say when I was teaching, "If you give a world class chef a turd and tell him to prepare a meal...no matter what he does or how good he is, it is still going to taste like ****"
 

middleagedgamer

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And, unfortunately, tieing the funding to standardized test scores is just as unfair a system. What about those schools that are forced to attempt to educate all those inner city kids who couldn't give a rat's ass about getting an education? those schools are going to lose out on funding no matter how competant its teachers are.
I disagree.

A truly competent teacher is one who, given enough flexibility, can adapt her teaching style to each individual student's learning styles.

Sylvan tutoring is a prime example of that.

The "thug" students who's career goal is to join either the bloods or the crips can also be educated. They just need a different style.

Imagine this:

"Ok, your drug lord had to stop in Mexico one hundred times, and pay a bribe to the Mexican police, of a thousand dollars per stop. He is smuggling six hundred pounds of cocaine, and the cocaine, absent the bribes, cost $24,000. The drug lord then sells it to his dealers for 150% of his break-even rate, and the dealers sell their stock to individual customers at 150% of that price. How much is each ounce worth, now, to the individual consumer?"
 

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There are schools across this country taking troubled kids and
educating them to go on to college with great success. It is time
to stop pushing the square peg into the round hole and take these
successful schools and recreate them across our nation. We need
some fearless educators to challenge the status quo.
 

OscarB63

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I disagree.

A truly competent teacher is one who, given enough flexibility, can adapt her teaching style to each individual student's learning styles.

Sylvan tutoring is a prime example of that.

The "thug" students who's career goal is to join either the bloods or the crips can also be educated. They just need a different style.

Imagine this:

"Ok, your drug lord had to stop in Mexico one hundred times, and pay a bribe to the Mexican police, of a thousand dollars per stop. He is smuggling six hundred pounds of cocaine, and the cocaine, absent the bribes, cost $24,000. The drug lord then sells it to his dealers for 150% of his break-even rate, and the dealers sell their stock to individual customers at 150% of that price. How much is each ounce worth, now, to the individual consumer?"

True, if the teacher had only one student in his/her class. It is impossible in the public school setting to tailor teaching style to the individual learning styles of 35-40 different students...no matter how "truely competant" a teacher is. One teacher can't sylvan tutor 35 kids simultaneuosly.
 
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middleagedgamer

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True, if the teacher had only one student in his/her class. It is impossible in the public school setting to tailor teaching style to the individual learning styles of 35-40 different students...no matter how "truely competant" a teacher is. One teacher can't sylvan tutor 35 kids simultaneuosly.
The largest class that I've ever heard of was 30.

120 MAYBE in a college class.

I've also heard of my son in a 60-student PE class.

But, thirty is the typical amount.

Also, I think such a high number is primarily due to a lack of teachers.

And, if you think that mandatory schooling should not go beyond elementary, let me ask you: What about those who want to go to high school, but can't afford to? Should we make them pay for high school out of pocket?
 

OscarB63

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The largest class that I've ever heard of was 30.

120 MAYBE in a college class.

I've also heard of my son in a 60-student PE class.

But, thirty is the typical amount.

Also, I think such a high number is primarily due to a lack of teachers.

And, if you think that mandatory schooling should not go beyond elementary, let me ask you: What about those who want to go to high school, but can't afford to? Should we make them pay for high school out of pocket?
I taught for 9 years at an inner city school and I typically had between 30-40 kids with the average being around 35. the largest class I ever had was 43 and one year I did have an advance placement chemistry class that only had 22 kids.

why should a kid have to pay to go to high school? I didn't say do away with high school, just don't force kids who don't want/need to go to attend. Maybe improve the technical school system that is already in place in many areas.

I remember when I was in HS, about 1/3 of the kids in my class attended school for about 2 hrs in the morning (english and math IIRC) and then spent the rest of the day at the "tech" school learning auto body repair, auto mechanics, plumbing, welding, cosmetology, etc.

The sad truth is, many of the public school kids today have either no ambition or they are delusional and think they are going to be the next great pro athlete or rap star. So they make no attempt to get an education
 
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middleagedgamer

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why should a kid have to pay to go to high school? I didn't say do away with high school, just don't force kids who don't want/need to go to attend.
You can already do that; you can take a GED test after 8th grade in most states.

Maybe improve the technical school system that is already in place in many areas.
You need a HS Diploma or GED before you can go to a technical school.

I remember when I was in HS, about 1/3 of the kids in my class attended school for about 2 hrs in the morning (english and math IIRC) and then spent the rest of the day at the "tech" school learning auto body repair, auto mechanics, plumbing, welding, cosmetology, etc.
That concept has not been abolished completely. It has merely been replaced with general electives.

Computer apps
drama
AGRI (not just agriculture, but also woodworking and, basically, anything blue collar).
Many schools offer introduction to health, for those who aspire to become doctors.
Economics is another good general elective, if you're an aspiring magnate.

The sad truth is, many of the public school kids today have either no ambition or they are delusional and think they are going to be the next great pro athlete or rap star. So they make no attempt to get an education
Believe me, I know how you feel.

However, there is one thing that most teachers and motivational speakers haven't tried yet, yet, if they did try it, it would cause those kids to hit the books:

You can't be a pro athlete until you're a college athlete, and you can't go to college without an acceptable GPA, even if you get a sports scholarship to pay for it. You need an acceptable GPA in order to get accepted into most colleges at all.

And, once you're in college, what will your major be? You wanna commentate football games, like Madden? Good! Get a degree in broadcast journalism! Wanna be coach? That's fine; you'll need a degree in physical education. Wanna be a personal trainer? Fantastic. Get a degree in physical ed with a minor in health.

Has any of those kids thought of it that way?
 

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My main problem with funding based on standardized tests is that it will inevitably lead to schools "teaching to the test" and nothing else. In most public schools the curriculum is already watered down as it is.
 

middleagedgamer

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My main problem with funding based on standardized tests is that it will inevitably lead to schools "teaching to the test" and nothing else. In most public schools the curriculum is already watered down as it is.
Teachers don't have to know what will be on the test.

The state's Department of Education will have one agency that says "Ok, these are the high points you need to teach the kids in class." The DoE will have another agency that creates new tests, each year, based on said high points. The teachers will know about previous tests, but every test will be different.
 

b.larset

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Attendance only. I have worked with a number of people who are full of incompetance. They show up perform poorly get paid the same as me. The same day after week after.. anyway. KIDS STAY in school suck up and learn to do it as adults you will go far. Thats 80% of life. Trust me. I know .
 

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Teachers don't have to know what will be on the test.

The state's Department of Education will have one agency that says "Ok, these are the high points you need to teach the kids in class." The DoE will have another agency that creates new tests, each year, based on said high points. The teachers will know about previous tests, but every test will be different.
The states already have their own standards that teachers use. The problem is that when you don't direct attention to any area, there is so much to cover, you can't practically it all covered. You either emphasize too much on one thing, but not on another random set of factoids the State will consider important.

The tests are different, and we already have independent groups that design them.

There's too much to teach to hav just general standards as a basis for the test.
 

OscarB63

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Teachers don't have to know what will be on the test.

The state's Department of Education will have one agency that says "Ok, these are the high points you need to teach the kids in class." The DoE will have another agency that creates new tests, each year, based on said high points. The teachers will know about previous tests, but every test will be different.


Great, just what we need... another govt agency to waste more of our tax $$$.


and BTW, they already do that with the standardized tests they use in Alabama. and every freakin year there is at least one school that gets caught trying to "cheat"
 

middleagedgamer

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Great, just what we need... another govt agency to waste more of our tax $$$.
How would it waste tax dolllars?

and BTW, they already do that with the standardized tests they use in Alabama. and every freakin year there is at least one school that gets caught trying to "cheat"
But, are the results of the standardized tests quid pro quo for the funding?
 

OscarB63

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But, are the results of the standardized tests quid pro quo for the funding?
no and they still try to cheat the test. Imagine how much worse it would be if funding was tied to test scores.
 

middleagedgamer

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no and they still try to cheat the test. Imagine how much worse it would be if funding was tied to test scores.
Then, put severe enough penalties for if they are caught. E.g. the student gets four automatic F's, and the school gets fined an additional student's worth of funding.
 

OscarB63

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I taught in public schools for 11 years and every year I saw administrators and teachers "suggest" that the "dumb" kids be sick on standardized test day, so that they would not drag the schools score down. I have seen the trouble makers "suspended" for three days immediately before testing days. I have seen numerous methods used to artificially enhance a schools score on the standardized tests and the tests don't even count for anything, except bragging rights.

Can you imagine how much greater the temptation would be to cheat the system if the schools funding was tied to the test scores?
 

OscarB63

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Then, put severe enough penalties for if they are caught. E.g. the student gets four automatic F's, and the school gets fined an additional student's worth of funding.
and who is going to pay for all the extra investigators needed to enforce this?
 

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Most public schools, K-12, get their funding from the government based on how many days each student comes to school. Theoretically, everyone could pass with straight D's, and, as long as everyone has perfect attendance, the school board is all happy.

Shouldn't it be based on test scores, instead?

I mean, people with perfect attendance still tend to be the best students, academically, right? Shouldn't we fund schools more directly on what they're supposed to achieve?

For example, assuming that, in a given state, schools receive $1,000 from the state for each day that the child spends at least four out of the seven hours in class. If there are 180 days in a school year (five days in a week, nine weeks in a quarter, four quarters in a year), that would mean that a student with perfect attendance would get his school $180,000 each year.

If he's making straight A's, then, aside from funding, what's the point of him actually coming? Sure, give him zeros on all the things he misses because of absenteeism, but what if you're just lecturing or reviewing?

I don't know about you, but I'd rather my kid have straight A's, and miss a few days, than him to have straight D's and perfect attendance, any day of the week.

The best students are only there because they have to be, but they spend the majority of class just twiddling their thumbs. I know, because I was like that, many many years ago.

Instead, shouldn't that funding from the government be based on their test scores? Assume that the state has standardized tests on each of the four main subjects: Math, science, English, and social studies. For each of those subjects, an F gets you zero grade points, a D gets you one, C gets you two, B gets you three, and an A gets you four, just like in the GPA system, for a total of 16 grade points. The government will fund that school with $11,250 ($1,250 from the feds, $5,000 from the state, $2,500 from the county, and $2,500 from the school district) for each grade point, so a straight A student would get the school that $180,000 maximum that they want so badly... only this time, the school would have to actually educate the kids, rather than just make them sit in class.

Thoughts?
What would be served if those schools with the poorest test results got the least money? Seems back-asswards. To me, the answer is the voucher system. Let private enterprise take over schools. They'll make it work. I won't believe our government is really serious about improving the quality of education in this country until they make it easy-peasy to get rid of the problem students who are taking up space in the classroom, bullying the students who actually want to learn, and agree to let schools stop being babysitters.

Don't want to learn? No problem. Get out.
 

OscarB63

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What would be served if those schools with the poorest test results got the least money? Seems back-asswards. To me, the answer is the voucher system. Let private enterprise take over schools. They'll make it work. I won't believe our government is really serious about improving the quality of education in this country until they make it easy-peasy to get rid of the problem students who are taking up space in the classroom, bullying the students who actually want to learn, and agree to let schools stop being babysitters.

Don't want to learn? No problem. Get out.
spot on!!!!!
 

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The problem is that a voucher system has convoluted data, and it's difficult to see if it's generally good. What it does is remove funding from the public schools, which certainly won't make them any better. It would mostly make the ones who stay behind worse off. Sometimes vouchers work, sometimes they don't where they are applied.

However, most people misunderstand why private schools sometimes do better than public schools, and thus come to the conclusion we ought to privatize to solve the problem. This is a mistake, because private schools have certain advantages that cannot be scaled up to a mass system. Private school often have different student populations than the general ed pop at a public school. The parents are of a higher quality, given they can afford to send their kids to a private institution. Theytend to be more involved, have better educations, and thus help the kids more. If you gave a kid a voucher to go to the private school, it won't change the nature of the home life or the kid. It will just infest a new school with the same problems by brining the public school population to the elite school.

Private schools also tend to have better student-teacher relationships because the trash are gone and they serve a much small population. Public schools cannot even be compared to private schools, which service much smaller numbers of very different populations. Apples to Oranges.


The only way a private school would "fix the problem" is by removing all the bad kids, the bad families and the huge numbers of people, but that's cheating. It doesn't mean those schools are better: they just avoid the problem altogether. They're not fixing a problem, but giving the illusion of doing so by covering it up and inflating performance by kicking out the ones that draw down the system. You cannot fix a problem by privatizing the school. That's like saying we can improve public hospitals survival rate by kicking out all the people who are heavily injured and treating only those with less serious illness who can afford it. The hospital's survival rate goes up, but it's meaningless. Likewise, if you limit your population of kids to those who can afford to get in, you more than likely exclude the people who bring down the public schools, and thus are just playing pretend.
 
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Josie

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Funding isn't the problem at all. The problem is lazy administrators, lazy teachers, lazy students and lazy parents. The good teachers try their hardest to bring a 5th grade student reading on a 2nd grade level (with no learning disabilities found) up to par.

What happened in that child's life to create that problem? Was it the parents who didn't talk to him, read to him, teach him before school? Was it the kindergarten teacher with a good heart, but had a really crappy year with an administrator that would never help her out? Was it the 1st or 2nd grade teachers who had been teaching 30 years already and were just so over it that they just gave the kids a stack of worksheets to do all day? Was it the great 3rd grade teacher who had a crisis in the middle of the year so the administrators chose a less-than-great sub to take over? Was it in 4th grade that something traumatic happened to him at home and his parents failed to get him help?

It's not how much money a school gets that determines how well their students do. It has EVERYTHING to do with what personally happens at home and school. I see kids at my school just like that 5th grade boy and 9 times out of 10, the parents are either druggies, lazy or are just too stupid to care about education. Most of the time the parents don't even show up to meetings about their child.

On a side note, I also see MANY kids whose parents don't speak English. The kids seem to have the idea that learning English isn't all that important since no one in their family knows it. I've heard kids say they don't need to learn it because they're just going to move back to Mexico someday anyway.

On another side note, I have seen some (not many at all) parents who do not speak English who are DYING for their kids to learn it. They will do anything in their power to get them help to great better reading, writing and speaking English.

And don't get me started on writing education. That's all whole other topic for another soapbox day.

:soap
 

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The problem is that a voucher system has convoluted data, and it's difficult to see if it's generally good. What it does is remove funding from the public schools, which certainly won't make them any better. It would mostly make the ones who stay behind worse off. Sometimes vouchers work, sometimes they don't where they are applied.
The ones who stay behind don't have to stay behind. They just have to (*shock*) be willing to learn. If public funding weren't based on attendance but curriculum and learning opportunities, I say it could only be better than it is. Basing funding on a head count is just plain not working. Our schools are in a shambles.

However, most people misunderstand why private schools sometimes do better than public schools, and thus come to the conclusion we ought to privatize to solve the problem. This is a mistake, because private schools have certain advantages that cannot be scaled up to a mass system. Private school often have different student populations than the general ed pop at a public school. The parents are of a higher quality, given they can afford to send their kids to a private institution. Theytend to be more involved, have better educations, and thus help the kids more. If you gave a kid a voucher to go to the private school, it won't change the nature of the home life or the kid. It will just infest a new school with the same problems.
You've just given the absolutely perfect reason for vouchers and private schools. Why would one advocate headcount funding when private schools offer a much better education? Why?

Private schools also tend to have better student-teacher relationships because the trash are gone and they serve a much small population. Public schools cannot even be compared to private schools, which service much smaller numbers of very different populations. Apples to Oranges.
Another absolutely perfect reason for private schools. How can one advocate (using your words) keeping the trash right alongside those who really want to learn? Why kind of sense does that make if the goal is to give children a better education?

You cannot fix a problem by privatizing the school.
We disagree. ;-)
 

OscarB63

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As chris rock once said, "if the kid can't read, that's momma's fault. If the kid can't read cause there ain't no lights in the house...that's daddy's fault"

I saw way too many parents of inner city kids who didn't give a **** if their kid learned anything. they forced the kid to stay in school until they were 18 simply because they could continue to draw a check on the kid as long as they were in school. Once the kid turned 18, parents kicked them to the curb and the kid was SOL.
 

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You've just given the absolutely perfect reason for vouchers and private schools. Why would one advocate headcount funding when private schools offer a much better education? Why?
Because the private school has an illusion of being a better system for public education, only because it has artificial advantages no one thinks about. You cannot really educate the masses using a private model, because it's only designed to accommodate small populations of certain types of people.

Or else you will get the same problem when you vouncher shift the population out of the public school and into the private one. You are just moving the problem from A to B. Private schools sometimes do better only because they have much stricter entrance standards and service a small population. Trying to put problem kids with bad home lives into an elite private school won't do anything but drag down the private school with quantity and difficult students. If you try to mass educate in a private school system, the private school will suffer many of the same problems of a public system, and thus you will lose the advantage.

A private system can only ever service a small minority. How is that an educational system?



Another absolutely perfect reason for private schools. How can one advocate (using your words) keeping the trash right alongside those who really want to learn? Why kind of sense does that make if the goal is to give children a better education?

Because it's only giving a select few a better education, while everyone else would have to be excluded to maintain the elite nature of private schools. Private schools are impractical when scaled up, not just because of the cost, but because the lack of being a mass-system is what makes them better sometimes in the first place. Elite Selectivity is destroyed when you give vouchers, unless you allow the schools to keep the poor students out in the first place.

Again, think of a hospital that only admitted patients it knew it would have zero problem treating. You wouldn't say that's a great hospital vs one that takes everyone, even if it drags down the latter hospital's average score. You cannot have a health system function like that any more than you can have a public education system function like that. You cannot mass exclude large numbers of poor students or low S.E.S people from bad areas, and you cannot shift them to a private school and assume there will be a difference in home life or behaviour. The only way that private system would be able to maintain their advantage is to restrict the flow of students to them to a small group of people cherry picked out of the population. Kinda like good private schools already do.

If the goal is to improve education, trying to turn the private model into a public one isn't improving education. It's either destroying the private system's quality or excluding, and thus not educating anyway, the same pepole who weren't learning before.

The public schools would work just like private ones if you kicked anyone out who is stupid or has a bad home life, but we don't.
 
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