Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making or Breaking the Grade

Today's Cyber Hot Flash: Are our children being prepared to compete on an international level?

According to a story on Good Morning America highlighting an upcoming film documentary on the education system in the United is a resounding NO!

In the story they compared the educational systems of China and India to ours...US schools just aren't competitve enough. Students in China and India will not move forward in to Junior and Senior High School unless they succesfully test or meet the high standards of these advanced schools...thus leaving them without a complete education and forever restricting them to a certain part of their societies and cultures.

This is not only true in China and India...but I learned this first hand when I was stationed in Japan back in the 1980's. Getting into Senior High School in the Japanese society is not a MUST test in with high scores or you are left behind, with no hope of ever going on to college....your life is determined at the young age of 15-16 years old. Many Japanese will enter in to the is here that they will learn a is still not a future option.

I am unsure if this still remains true in Japan...but I believe that probably things have not changed that much in 20 years....change comes much more slowly there. If anything I am sure the standard has probaly been raised much higher than when I was living in this awesome country. The competition was extremely high even then.

Should we be concerned about our students ability to compete on an international scale?....You bet ya! Our educational standard affords the opportunity for all children to go to high school even if they are bearly making the fact, they are required by law in most states to attend school until they are 18 years old. Some even fail and fail and fail until they reach the cut-off age...then leave or even choose to drop out OR they choose to just get by knowing that some college will probably take them on. This is not so in Japan, China or students are their stellar students...they have earned there place through intense study, high scoring tests and diligence. They have proven themselves over and over again...the the tests and standards weeds the other students out.

Now, I am not saying we don't have these types of super achieving students here in the US....but I do believe that our educational standards are not as high as many of the emerging international cultures/societies. Our educational systems are not necessarily in the business of weeding out the good students from the bad....they want everyone to be given an education no matter what their ability levels.

One important fact that must be brought out here is that these countries school year is much longer than ours. Japanese students go to school year round with only August off...BUT...this time is not necessarily for going to the beach or hanging out with friends...these kids are required to do research papers or projects in all of their classes during this August break....they are due on the day that they return. I'm not talking about a 'What I did during my summer vacation "essay....I am talking about full fledged research papers with in-depth projects in about six subjects!

I wonder what our kids would do if they had to do this type of thing over summer break...Hmmmm?....Would be interesting to find out...wouldn't it?

In any case....this GMA story was very interesting. Please check it out at the following link...come back and comment.

In my humble opinion...this is not new....we are more than 20-years behind the curve on this one!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The View: Too Much Talk...About Talking to Your Kids

Today's President's Day topic on The View was all about a new book Elisabeth fact she has read it to the point of being "dog-earred". I have tried to find the title and author at the web site...but much to my dismay was unable to get this information for this blog post. (I will further research it and get back later) Needless to say, the discussion was on disciplining children in today's modern society. Let's talk to them and then have them perform acts of random kindness to make up for their politically correct is that?!!
Elisabeth, who I normally tend to agree with on most days of the week, was going on and on about how this author doesn't believe that children should be made to apologize for inappropriate acts towards others. Instead, a mother or adult should encourage the offending child to commit an act of kindness toward the offended. For example: child says something nasty to another child and the other child's feelings are adult observing this should NOT make the child who made the offending comment apologize for what was said (children don't understand this concept), they should instead go give the offended child a ball or toy that would make that child happy. SAY WHAT? What does this teach either child?
Mother/Adult: "Now, Johnnie that wasn't nice...go give Sally
this will make her happy!"
Child: "Why would I want to give Sally this toy...she
just pushed me down behind the slide and then stuck her tongue out at me...yeah
right , go give Sally a toy."
Break away to the long shot of the whole View cast....Whoopi is sitting there in stunned amazement with the biggest "Say what?!" expression on her face....along with every other mother who was raised in her generation. Whoopi finally speaks up after letting Sherri, Elisabeth and the clueless, Joy have gone on and on about not making a child apologize for an offensive act . Whoopi states that she never allowed her daughter to act in this way...she nipped it in the bud immediately and not necessarily by talking to her child. She would perform the same mean act upon the child, thus demonstrating or allowing the child to feel what the other child had felt...followed by a firm reprimand telling the kid that the behavior was unacceptable. Whoopi even tells a story about how her mother would have handled a situation: if a kid pulled the tail on a cat or dog...her mother would have come up and pulled her hair to let her see how it felt. Joy immediately comments how this indeed would probably teach empathy...yeah! actually got something right.
But in the end ALL of The View cast missed the point....Whoopi was the closest to the right anwser....
We as a society do not set boundaries and dealbreakers for our kids. We have proven for years, since the infamous theories of Dr. Spock of Baby & Childcare fame, that talking at children without reprimand or consequences has failed miserably in the raising of our children. If our children do not have boundaries laid down early on...insisting that they apologize for their mean acts and words...these children will not learn how to measure their words and tame their tongues...even their actions towards others. They will blurt out whatever they feel and follow it up with a kindness to buy the offended persons forgiveness...or even physically harm someone thinking that all will be well when they do their community service act toward that person or society.
Elisabeth throw that book will be sorry that you followed this advice.....set boundaries and dealbreakers with your kids....make them apologize for their words and actions, even if they don't understand now...they will learn after awhile because you have pointed out their wrong and made them atone for it by apologizing. Soon you will find that your children will measure their words...learn self-control in their acts...learn to walk away from another who is hurting them with out confrontation, instead of performing senseless acts of kindness for someone who is too young to get it anyways or may be just as guilty of being mean as your child.

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