Mar 31, 2011

Since When Is 60 Passing?

Since When Is 60 Passing?

The Woonsocket School Board recently passed a resolution to make 60% mastery a passing grade.  If you listen to the Board's reasoning, it sounds pretty simple.  According to "New Graduation Requirements Make First Passage" by Sandy Phaneuf, an article posted on the Woonsocket Patch, this decision will raise WHS's graduation rate from 63% to 70%.  That sounds good for the city.  Right? 

Let's not even comment on the fact that the Board is trying to raise the graduation rate to the 70% mark because that is more acceptable.  Instead lets think about this in the larger context.  Over the last few decades, educators, policy makers, journalists, and parents have demanded higher standards for our schools.  We worry about the future competitiveness of our economy because our students are not learning.  By all means, lower the minimum passing grade.   

Would anyone want a teacher who only knew 60% of their subject?  Would anyone want a doctor who only knew 60% of the human body?  Would anyone want a contractor or plumber who only knew 60% of their field?  Would anyone want a trash collector who only knew 60% of their route?  

Concerned parents should contact the Woonsocket School Board.  They are still debating further changes for the 2011-2010 school year schedule. 


For more information you can also check out Channel 12 article "Proposal Would Change Grad Requirement"
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Mar 24, 2011

An Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true.

An Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true.

Too often we comment on the lack of common sense displayed by many of the people we come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. I regularly see it while driving, shopping, and even at family gatherings.  A good friend sent this email to me, I hope you enjoy it too. 
 
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn't always fair;
  • and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense
lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense
lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense
lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense
took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense
finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense
was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:
  • I Know My Rights
  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is To Blame
  • I'm A Victim
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Mar 13, 2011

Cheating Students Are Not Alone

Cheating Students Are Not Alone


According to a confidential national survey, 74% of students admitted to cheating or knowing someone who cheated in school.  This is a highly disappointing number.  Teachers work, not only to teach their students a specific subject, but to promote a sense of honesty and integrity in their students.   When a student cheats they fall short of both goals.  The act of cheating represents three ethical wrongs: cheating=sneaking+lying+stealing.  First, a student plans how deceive a teacher.  Second, a student carries out the act putting his or her name on another person’s work.  Last, a student hands the work in calming to have done the work.  


Other studies have show that most teenagers experienced the desire to cheat.  Many who do, have tried once or twice. Oftentimes feeling guilty or shameful, they do not attempt it again.  However, some of those who succeed, continue to cheat, eventually feeling trapped in the need to cheat regularly. While it may appear odd that someone could be “addicted” to cheating, its a thought worth keeping in mind.  Why do students cheat?  Lets forget the obvious that some students are lazy and don’t want to study and look at other reasons.  Psychologists suggest that many high performing students cheat because they experience intense pressure to earn high grades and compete with their peers.  Many also believe that cheating is also a normal part of a teenager’s perceived need to rebel against authority.  


Whatever the reason, decreases academic competitiveness and cheating lowers a student self-esteem.  We all understand that if a student doesn’t study, he or she is less likely to remember the information needed in the future and more likely to cheat out of “need”.  What about self-esteem?  When a person cheats, they admit to themselves that they cannot earn the grade they want. Traditionally, students who feel unsuccessful perform lower, thus re-enforcing the desire to cheat.  


What can parents and teachers do about this growing problem in our schools?  Teachers need to create a culture within their classrooms that encourages students to try their best and discourages cheating.  Many teachers overlook minor cheating, like students work together on their homework. Others do not take the time or lack the sufficient technology to investigate plagiarism.  If teachers do not sternly oppose all forms of cheating they silently endorse the act.  Parents should take the time to talk to their children about the seriousness of cheating.  They should also check their child’s work from time-to-time to ensure their child is not cheating. 
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