Copying Homework, Part II  

Posted by inkstainedhands in

Almost a month ago, I made a post in reply to an anonymous letter one of my classmates wrote for the opinion magazine we put together. In her letter, she claimed that copying homework is ethical. She made some very weak arguments, to which I responded in my original post.

We have already published this magazine, distributing it to all the juniors in our school, so now I want to quote a few more letters and write my opinions on them.

Two issues were discussed in this issue: copying homework and quality vs. quantity in teaching. In this post, I will address the former. Quotes are in italics.

Doing [homework] myself or copying from someone else will take the same amount of time, and if someone is willing to give me her homework, why shouldn't I accept it?

Why shouldn't you accept it if it's easily available? Oh, I don't know... maybe because it's wrong?! We have been taught so many times that the easiest way out is not always the best thing to do. It takes strength of character to do the right thing even when it is the more difficult option. The issue here is not how much time you spend, but how you spend it.

The girl claims that since it takes the same amount of time to copy the homework as it does to actually do it yourself, you might as well just copy it. I don't see the logic there, though. If it takes the same amount of time (which I think it most certainly does not) then why not exercise those brain cells?

Another girl wrote that although copying homework is wrong, there are many students who copy homework for the reason that, and I quote, "We feel doomed if we don't." High school drama and teenage angst -- all over the simple matter of homework!

I'm guessing that most of my readers are no longer high school students, so please answer this: What do you think when you hear teenagers claiming that they feel doomed if they don't copy their homework? Do you feel that they are overreacting? Don't you think that they should just do the homework themselves instead of spending half the evening texting? Maybe then they won't feel doomed if they don't copy their hard-working friend's homework?

High school is just practice for real life. After graduating, what will those students who copied their way through school do when they feel overwhelmed? If they could not handle the workload of high school, how will they ever be able to handle college, a job, or life itself? Not always will they have an obliging friend who is willing to give them the answers. Shouldn't they learn how to react properly now, when it is all on a smaller scale?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at Wednesday, May 20, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

37 comments

The ones who felt it was better to copy will be filling out Section 8 forms and living the kollel dream, no work needed. Wait, thats the male side, the women have to work, well theyre screwed.

May 20, 2009 at 11:16 PM

It takes same time to do as to copy?!
Either she's a genius, in which case go ahead and copy, or, she has never done homework herself.

Still, I wonder if your opinion will change if you go to a private college where you're taking classes that have nothing to do with your major and where every professor thinks that students take only one class per semester...

May 22, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Unless the teacher grades the HW, I cannot fathom why copying other people's hw would be a problem. THe point of HW is to either
a- review the lesson plan from the days class
b- prepare for the next class.

If its a, then why do you need to officially review. What if you didn't have time that night? I think teachers forget that real review, comes under pressure the night before the exam (or if you actually like the subject, by you avidly dreaming about the lecture)

and if its B then copying will lead to the risk of being called upon by the teacher, and not knowing the answer to what she is talking about.

Eitherway,there is nothing innately wrong about copying HW, unless you are being graded on the work itself, not just for having it "done" or "not done".

As for the "time"- well, that was one retarded argument. THere is no better word in the dictionary that would to describe it. Time is not at all a factor on whether or not something is qualitative. Quality vs. Quantity .

ISH- Hate to break it to you, but in real life, you cant study about what to do next and then forget about it, and move onto a different chapter. THe girl who manages to get away with copying HW is probably more likely to become a successful entrepenuer (I'm not talking about the idiot who made the time argument) because she will know how to delegate her responsibilities and get the best use of other people's skills. Remember "Laziness is the mother of all Invention. "

Moshe- Its not just the private colleges that make you take irrelevant classes. They all do it. They want your money and they want you brainwashed by liberals. Even in the corporate environment it is common for employees to be given random irrelevant seminars.

June 12, 2009 at 2:09 AM

Mike -- The girls I observed copying homework are more the type to let the guy do the work and earn most of the money.

Moshe -- I think it's more the fact that she hasn't done homework herself in the past few years.

FS -- You see no problem in passing someone else's hard work off as your own? It's not yashrut. It's not the right thing to do. The next day, the teacher asks the class, "Did everyone do the homework?" You think it is right that these girls remain silent and lead her to believe they did it? It is a form of lying, and the copying is a form of stealing. And you don't see anything wrong with it?

Of course, there are those who don't care what the right thing is, they just do what's easy. If someone doesn't care about being morally upright, you can't argue with that I guess. And it's not up to the students to decide what the teacher's motive was and whether it is a valid one or not.

And, FS, I hate to break it to YOU, but Torah and doing the right thing should come first in a Jew's life. We should be doing what's right, not just whatever will help us get ahead.

I don't CARE if the girl who just copies everyone else's homework becomes more successful than me. Frankly, I would rather be honest and do what will help me as a Jew than get ahead in life by making the wrong choices. Plus, I will have learned more by applying myself to my studies instead of relying on others to do the work for me. That kind of thing stays with you longer. (And as a side note, I don't think your argument about her becoming a successful entrepreneur is valid. In order to become successful, you have to at least know what you're doing. When you are just delegating the tasks but you have no idea how they should be completed, how will you know if they were done right or not? You need to have some sort of knowledge in order to be able to do anything.)

And honestly, I don't care if I will have to take classes that have nothing to do with my major. I WANT to learn a variety of things. I'm hoping to go for an English major, but I think it's great to broaden your mind and learn different subjects.

I am the type of person who actually enjoys learning new things (unless it comes to math, which is something I have hated since elementary school).

June 12, 2009 at 10:50 AM

ISH- if someone is allowing you to copy their HW, then you're not stealing. You're getting off easy, Yes, but you're not 'stealing.'

copying or not, the HW is done. so when the teacher asks "did everyone do their HW" no one is lying. they sought and found a way to get it done.

about the entrepenuer comment- an entreprenuer needs to have a goal and no how to forsee that he reaches it. he doesn't need to know every little thing that gets done. notice how most companies have an accountant, IT manager a sales manager etc, because one person cannot possibly know everything. The CEO knows a little about e/t and know how and who to delegate to properly. because sometimes the CEO comes from th IT department or the accountng ... he does not know everything.

now, my point in saying this, is if this gilr manages to utilize her specific talents or reading people and knowing who to ask and not to ask for HW and attributesthose skills into real life later on, she'll have a very successful future, full of people who rely on her. that was all I was saying.

there is a famous quote by Mark Twain tht goes something like "dont allow schooling to interfere with your education".

there's a reason why guys in yeshiva aren't tested, and that's because once you stick an exam or a HW assignment the knowledge is no longer for the sake of it, but for the sake of passing.

oh, and you're in for a surprise if you think that only book knowledge will be enough to help you in real life.

June 12, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Ever heard of 'the spirit of the law'? Just because something might be technically permissible, it does not mean that it's the right thing. In this case, though, copying homework is NOT permissible. A girl might claim she technically did her homework (meaning she put some effort into copying it), so it's not lying or stealing, but that's not true! What happened to full, complete honesty? What happened to giving a straight answer without trying to figure out a way to deceive the other person without a direct lie? Deceiving the teacher is LYING.

Knowing who to manipulate is a pretty twisted way of 'reading' people. I often observe one of the girls in my class grabbing another girl's homework to copy. And that girl feels uncomfortable saying no, even though she does not want to give it. Is this what you call successful? Is this what you want a Jewish girl doing once she leaves school? You want her to manipulate people and use them for her benefit, and they should be nervous saying no to her? In my opinion, that's not a good way to learn how to deal with life. This girl needs to learn how to do things for herself. (Of course, the other girl should learn to say no, but that's a separate thing.)

"she'll have a very successful future, full of people who rely on her." -- People who rely on her, or people on whom she relies?

"once you stick an exam or a HW assignment the knowledge is no longer for the sake of it, but for the sake of passing." -- Not necessarily. I have numerous tests throughout the year and countless homework assignments, and yet, some of these subjects I learn for the SAKE of learning. They interest me, and I enjoy learning them. The fact that I later have a test is just a side thing. It's like taking notes at a lecture, even though you won't be tested on it. I'm doing it for myself.

And did I ever say that only book knowledge is important? People need both book smarts and street smarts. But girls who copy all the homework and don't put effort into their education won't have the book smarts! Generally, a person needs both to succeed in life. (And then there are those exceptions... people who walk into the American Idol auditions, might even be illiterate, but go a long way and have a successful career. That's not what I'm talking about though.)

June 12, 2009 at 3:54 PM

ISH, that's how the corporate world works. And it's even worse in government jobs. You may not like it but that's how it is.

"And as a side note, I don't think your argument about her becoming a successful entrepreneur is valid. In order to become successful, you have to at least know what you're doing."

You have no idea. Ask anyone who works in a big company about their manager/assistant manager. The person in charge usually not only knows absolutely nothing but compensates for their stupidity by making everyone else's lives miserable.

June 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Moshe, but do you think that a Jewish girl should be involved in that? Do you think she should abandon Jewish values in order to push her way through in the corporate world? A Jew is a Jew no matter where he or she is. At home, at school, in the workplace, on the street. Those values have to be something that is constantly with us. Why should we discard it just because there is an opportunity to do so? On the contrary, we should work hard to retain what we have.

If a Jew knows nothing in his/her line of business, but manipulates others and makes others miserable, that's a form of chillul Hashem.

June 12, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Can anyone say buripark.

June 12, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Before I go into anythng, I want to say that the scenario where the girl steals HW to copy, making the other one "uncomfortable" to say no, I totally agree *that* would be stealing. Otherwise, I often gave out HW, I know my sister gives out HW, my friends gave out HW, etc etc, and totally comfortable with it, that i do *not* consider stealing.

Now, for "letter of the law"

What is the letter of the law? Did you ever get a Student Bill of Rights, or are you just assuming?

Take this example: You're given an assigment to read about 25 pages, and answer about 6 short and questions. So instead of reading the 25 dull and dry textbook pages, you decide to go onto google and search for the answers. You find all 6 answers. You write them out. You come to class prepared the next day.

Do you qualify that as doing the HW, when she didn't even read the 25 pages, and used a method the teacher probably did not mean?

Example 2:
you have a friend sleeping over one night, and she is having a really difficult time with one of the math HW assignments, so you two end up doing it together. You technically are tutoring her, but since its getting late, you're not using an example from the book to show her what to do, but you're using the actual example. While she's giving you input, she's hardly doing the assignmet herself, but she is learning from it. Since all the examples in the assignment are different parts of the exact same question, she literally does not do any of the assignment without you literally holding her hand through it. Is she breaking the law by your standards, even though she didn't actually do her own HW?

"Knowing who to manipulate is a pretty twisted way of 'reading' people."

Look, in group projects you use the artsy person for design/layout, you use the mathmetician for the accounting, you use the outgoing one as the one who presents the project for the class. Its called making use of talent. If you made teh artsy one do the accounting you'd be pretty screwed. Life is a group project. You don't need to do all of your own HW in life, because you'll have a colleague who was specifically hired to do a portion of it for you. So, a you made the claim in one of your arguments about HS and HW preparing you for life, COPYING HW PREPARES YOU FOR LIFE BETTER THAN DOING ALL OF IT YOURSELF, because then you properly utilize your own talents, as well as your classmates talents.

"I often observe one of the girls in my class grabbing another girl's homework to copy..."

I mentioned that first.

June 12, 2009 at 6:21 PM

"In my opinion, that's not a good way to learn how to deal with life. "

No its not, but I'm not speaking about girls who copy ALL their HW. That girl is a bully. I'm discussing copying HW because you just don't want to do all of it on your own, for whatever reason.

"Not necessarily. I have numerous tests throughout the year and countless homework assignments, and yet, some of these subjects I learn for the SAKE of learning. "

Those wouldn't be the subjects you'd be copying HW for though. What would be the point of *not* copying assignments you know you're just going to forget even if you do them on your own? THat would be a waste of time.

"They interest me, and I enjoy learning them. The fact that I later have a test is just a side thing. It's like taking notes at a lecture, even though you won't be tested on it. I'm doing it for myself. "

Thats fine, but what about the subjects you *don't* care about?

"And did I ever say that only book knowledge is important?"

No, but you said :
"High school is just practice for real life. After graduating, what will those students who copied their way through school do when they feel overwhelmed? "

In my response I was only saying that they'll get by just fine, its the people who only study who may have some trouble. If a school day has crazy hours, and then the rest of the night the student spends studying/doing HW, how will *she* get by in life? She has little or no social life, and probably has few networking skills.

"People need both book smarts and street smarts."

Yup.

"But girls who copy all the homework and don't put effort into their education won't have the book smarts!"

Correct. I wasn't aware that we were discussing copying all HW. I was defending copying HW, generally.

I'm ok with the concept of copying HW. Like I said, the person only harms themselves if they copy it since it is usually a form of either preparation of review. In the end, its all determined on how they do on an exam.

About American Idol auditions: What Moshe said.

June 12, 2009 at 6:23 PM

ok, fine, Moshe made a point about corporate world, But i have to defend American Idol (even though I find it one of the most irritating shows,and I cannot comprehend why people watch it). Infact American Idol will prove my point further.

In order to win in American Idol one has to know how to read music, and they probably (I don't watch the show) don't take people who aren't trained in vocal skill style, so they have to be really disciplined (having gone to classes) as well as learned in music and talented.

While the American Idol person may or may not know business skills very well, in order to bring that person into fame *ALOT* of people have to be involved. After American Idol, they have to make sure their record deal doesn't remain a one-hit wonder and they get managers, and they pick body guards and publicists and etc. They need the proper choreographer and videographers for their MTV videos, etc. They have to know who to read in order to make it past their one-hit wonder as the American Idol.

Opra Winfrey for example (i don't like her either), but her entire model of business is to hire alot of smart and trustworthy people. She says herself all the time she cannot run anything, but she has the people skills to properly choose employees. W/o her a lot of people would be unempolyed. They all depend on her even though she knows nothing, and she admits it! They have different smart types. Girls will get by.

I do *not* condone bullying

June 12, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Personally, I don't let others copy my homework not only because I think it's wrong, but also because I think that if I spent my time and energy working on it, why should she get the credit?

"What is the letter of the law? Did you ever get a Student Bill of Rights, or are you just assuming?" -- It was not supposed to be taken literally. What I meant were the details of the halacha against gezel.

"Do you qualify that as doing the HW, when she didn't even read the 25 pages, and used a method the teacher probably did not mean?" -- No, I would not consider that as doing homework. It is not as bad though as passing your classmate's hard work off as your own, but it is not good either.

"Is she breaking the law by your standards, even though she didn't actually do her own HW?" -- You mean the girl tutored her just by going through all the examples? If she is teaching her friend the material and making sure the friend understands by asking questions, then I think it's okay. As long as the girl who's being tutored is putting in effort, learning, and working out the example, I don't see a problem with it -- unless the teacher specified that the homework was to be done alone. Some teachers do say that they don't want you to work with anyone on the homework.

"you made the claim in one of your arguments about HS and HW preparing you for life" -- It prepares you for life because it teaches you to work hard to achieve what you want. When you have a job that YOU have to do, you can't delegate that task! YOU have to do YOUR job. What are these girls going to do if all this time they have been relying on others, and now they are the ones who must do it?

"I'm discussing copying HW because you just don't want to do all of it on your own, for whatever reason." -- If a girl has a valid reason, she should talk to the teacher about it after the teacher assigns it or right before class. If she doesn't have a reason and she just doesn't want to do it, then okay, let her not do it. When the teacher asks if everyone has their homework, she should say no. I've done that a few times when I couldn't get my homework done for whatever reason. It's honesty.

"Thats fine, but what about the subjects you *don't* care about?" -- So I just don't care about them for my sake, but I care about them for my report card's sake. I still put in effort though.

"She has little or no social life, and probably has few networking skills." -- It depends on the person. Some people are able to balance a social life and studying, while others can't. Also, some people have a limited social life simply because that's what they want. And many of them are getting somewhere in life too, so you never know.

I put a lot of effort into my studies and it does take up a lot of time, but I can still make time for the things I want to do. (One proof of that is the amount of time I spend on Blogger.) I still make time for my friends -- for phone conversations and for going out every once in a while. I go to shul every week and socialize there. I have a social life. It's not as extensive as that of others, but it works for me.

"Yup." -- Look at that -- we agree! :]

June 12, 2009 at 6:54 PM

"In order to win in American Idol one has to know how to read music, and they probably (I don't watch the show) don't take people who aren't trained in vocal skill style, so they have to be really disciplined (having gone to classes) as well as learned in music and talented." -- You would be surprised. Some people who audition (and get through to Hollywood and the Top 12) have NO formal vocal training whatsoever. They never took classes, some of them don't know music so well -- all they know is that they love to sing and they have a talent for it. That's all it is -- natural talent and some determination to succeed. The actual winners are usually more experienced than that, but there are often people in the top 12 who aren't trained and they have successful careers afterward.

"They all depend on her even though she knows nothing, and she admits it!" -- Somehow, I don't see any of my classmates as the type to become the next Oprah Winfrey. Most people will have regular jobs, in which they have to do what they were hired to do, and it won't be done for them.

June 12, 2009 at 7:00 PM

"Personally, I don't let others copy my homework not only because I think it's wrong, but also because I think that if I spent my time and energy working on it, why should she get the credit?"

You have an emotional attachment to your time. Which is understandable. but I didn't care that people used my work to hand in. HW was a nuisance, If I did it, why couldn't other people benefit from it? Why should more people suffer?

"It was not supposed to be taken literally. What I meant were the details of the halacha against gezel. "

Again, If you are given permission to copy it, its not stealing. Its a grey area.

"No, I would not consider that as doing homework."

I don't understand why not? The 25 pages are assigned so that you know how to answer the 6. If you can get the same information that is in the 25 pages, you accomplished the learning part (but in a more interesting fashion) and you managed to answer the questions. I did this *all* the time. Sometimes, If I knew the answers without answering the questions I wouldn't even search for them on google. I'd just answer the questions. This was mostly done in college, because often the Professors gave assignments and they literally taught everything in class, so there was no purpose to even bother doing the reading because everything was in the lecture.

"It is not as bad though as passing your classmate's hard work off as your own,"

Why does someones effort matter? What if she didn't put in any effort because she's really smart and then let the girl copy her HW? Is that bad? You have to look at this objectively and not focus on work vs. no work, but rather on the concept of copying HW as is.

I had a whole response right before shabbos, that didn't save :(. So this one is not as good. But well...


"Some teachers do say that they don't want you to work with anyone on the homework."

So for example two, I only put it in to see where you stand. If the teacher says not to do HW with anyone, I would agree that example doesn't work. Usually that type of HW is graded, not the "done"/"not done" type, and I mentioned that i would agree that copying that type of HW is wrong.

June 14, 2009 at 12:40 PM

"When you have a job that YOU have to do, you can't delegate that task! YOU have to do YOUR job. What are these girls going to do if all this time they have been relying on others, and now they are the ones who must do it?"

You're going into English, right? Well, say you become a columnist in a weekly newspaper, and you write the section about Medicine (its an example, I have no idea how good or not good you are with medicine). If you become the editor of the paper, you're not going to have to write the sports section just because you're in charge. You're just going to need to know a satisfactory amount to be able to proof-it. You'll be delegating the sports news, and the gossip news, and the advice column, current events, etc. You're going to *rely* on those people to get your newspaper whole, because you will *not* be expected to do e/t.

Similarly, As a writer you will not have to worry about the newspapers accounting, marketing, subscription percentages; people will be responsible for these things, whereas YOU will ONLY be responsible for YOUR job!

putting your specific job aside, you're going to have someone as your sheitle machar, your kids will have a teacher, you'll have a family accountant, and a mechanic for the car. None of these people will ever have the responsibility of writing in YOUR paper. In school everyone is expected to get great grades in everything, because of the sucky education model that isn't individualized at all. how is that fair, and how on earth does that prepare you for real life?

"When the teacher asks if everyone has their homework, she should say no."

She did it. Period. Having an emotional attachment to HW is fine, but that doesn't take away from people having literally no attachment to their work, and feeling as if its just a chore.

"but I care about them for my report card's sake. I still put in effort though. "

For your report cards sake you can copy the HW, so as not to take up your time. This way you can focus on the subjects you like, to not just get an A, but the best grade in the class. In the mean time, your "effort" will be the cramming the night before the exam, and you'll still get a B. If you want the A its in your best interest to do your own work, but if you're happy settling for a B, why not copy the work if a classmate is willing to share hers?

"It depends on the person. Some people are able to balance a social life and studying, while others can't. "

That's true. I'm generalizing. But it should be looked at on a more personal case. I don't think its healthy to study to much, because once you get your first job, no one cares anymore what your grades were in college. You spend like 18 years of your life focusing on grades for that first job. After that first job its all about experience, HS and college grades no longer matter.

And generally, most girls who copy HW aren't morons, they're just lazy or uninterested in every single subject. Which doesn't mean they'll be unable to handle the work force. Not only will they be more mature by the time they've entered it, but they'll also be on a path they CHOSE, which automatically makes a huge difference. Plus, like I mentioned it. Many will learn how to use their own and their classmates talents by just making HW copy groups, which will be something that will definitely help them in their work life.

June 14, 2009 at 12:40 PM

"You have an emotional attachment to your time. Which is understandable." -- I have no problem giving up my time for other people (doing chessed, helping out, etc.), but for something like this, I just feel that my work is my work. Education isn't about chessed -- it's about learning as much as you can and it is up to every individual to do that. That's just how I think.

I guess that what frustrates me is that most of these girls who copy homework are the type that go out and have fun in the evenings, relax, etc., and then they complain that they have no time for homework and have to copy. I think that people like these should stop being lazy and start being responsible. They should start using their brains. And as I said before, if someone with a good record of doing homework finds herself unable to do it one day for whatever reason, she should explain that to the teacher and be responsible and honest, instead of just taking the easy way out and copying.

"If you become the editor of the paper, you're not going to have to write the sports section just because you're in charge." -- Right, but I'm not talking about jobs where you are in charge. I'm talking about an average job, in which you don't get to tell others what to do, and where you just have to do what you are assigned. You can't delegate that task -- it's up to you to do it.

For the most part, I want to be an independent writer, writing my own books, sending articles in to magazines and newsletters, and so on. Besides for that though, I want to have a steady job in another area.

"In school everyone is expected to get great grades in everything, because of the sucky education model that isn't individualized at all. how is that fair, and how on earth does that prepare you for real life?" -- My point is that you have to work hard in real life, and school prepares you for that. It prepares you for the fact that not everything has to always be fair, and sometimes you will get assignments you feel are too difficult for you, very often you will be overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, etc. That is what I mean when I say that high school prepares you for life.

"For your report cards sake you can copy the HW, so as not to take up your time." -- See, that's the difference between our ways of thinking. My belief is that every person should be responsible for every subject in high school, no matter what they plan to major in. I believe that students should have a full, rounded education in a variety of subjects, even if that is not what they want. I believe in learning.

Let me give an easy example. Math. I despise it and I was never any good at it. Now, I am struggling with math more than ever. But I would never copy the homework. If I can't do the homework, I just won't do it. But I will not copy some girl's answers just because she knows them.

Also, what if a girl copies homework on a regular basis and the teacher thinks this girl is doing well based on that, but then the girl fails the test or gets a very low mark?

June 14, 2009 at 5:58 PM

"This way you can focus on the subjects you like, to not just get an A, but the best grade in the class." -- I DO focus on the subjects I like, and I DO get wonderful grades. I am in 11th grade, so I take 11th grade English, and I also take the 12th grade AP Lit class. My marks are very high in both. I don't feel that the effort I put into my other subjects detracts from this in any way.

"If you want the A its in your best interest to do your own work, but if you're happy settling for a B, why not copy the work if a classmate is willing to share hers?" -- My way of thinking is that if you want the A, you put in as much effort as you can, if you want the B, you put in less effort, and if you don't want to put in any effort, just FAIL and stop being a leech.

"You spend like 18 years of your life focusing on grades for that first job. After that first job its all about experience, HS and college grades no longer matter." -- You know, I often wondered why grades matter so much to me. I wondered whether they SHOULD matter this much to me. In 7th and 9th grade, when I was having a few problems in my life, I decided I don't care about my education. I reasoned that my grades are not important, and after high school, it won't matter much. I was planning on applying to a city college, so I thought that it doesn't matter if I have B's and C's instead of A's, as long as I pass. As I grew up, my ideas changed, and I realized that I DO care. Even if it won't matter, even if all these hours I put in now won't matter in college or work, it matters to ME. I CARE about education, and I am doing this for myself. I want to know all this, and I want to get the best education I can get. People often complain that they didn't get a good education. I think that if a student applies herself to it, she will learn. If she wants to learn, she can learn A LOT. If she doesn't want to learn... she'll come out not knowing much and complaining that her "stupid school doesn't know how to give a good education."

June 14, 2009 at 5:58 PM

The 25 page thing reminded me of MIB. FS, you're MIB material. ISH, sorry, disqualified. Gotta think outside the box.

June 15, 2009 at 12:53 AM

ISH-
"That's just how I think."

We're not going to agree. Not possible. lol.

I'm coming from a totally different angle.

I believe in learning. I'm all for it. I think school, or atleast my experience in HS (JHS I LOVED!) was a complete and total waste of time. I did almost nothing. I had free nights and weekends (accept for midterms/finals weeks) and I had a comulative average at the end of 4 years somewhere in the high 80's (either 88.6 or 86.8). I did nothing.

If I spent an hour a week, just reading the text book, and not cramming it into my head the night before the exam, i woulda definitly had A's.

In 12th grade I was the laziest person ever. I cut almost all my classes- regularly. the only reason I got in the high 80's in American History was because I was reading Gone With the Wind as a "reward" to myself (I did one practice regent, went over it, then read a chapter in the book as a reward), I got lucky the main questions in the regent DBQ's were all about the Civil War.

That was HS for me. For music I was bored in clas. I passed notes probably the entire time. I even dared my friend once to raise her hand and randomly ask the teacher if the composer was fat (I gave her $5 afterwards).

Believe me, I have a head full of random, useless "well-rounded" knowledge. You know why?

1- I love to read. As a kid I loved Biographies, so I remembered random facts about presidents, explorers, scientists etc.

2- I love historical fiction (which always has facts, just fiction characters). So there we go, more knowledge.

3- Now I'm insane about political books (always liked politics, now I actually like the books), so everytime I read a book about s/t political, it always references a "modern" war that I have little knowledge of (Vietnam, Korea, Gulf), so I look up these wars to understand what I'm reading better.

If the book is not about a war, it's about finance and economics. So I'll look up an act that passed under Clinton, or under H.W. Bush and learn about random tax laws and things.

***

Generally, that is my life. i know a little about everything by just doing what I normally do.
I can argue about anything.

Oh, yea...i can't argue sports. lol.

Oh...and I love math, and I'm into finance. So right there, I'm constantly setting financial goals for myself, i'm studying the stock market, and the putting money into it. All the while I get to do my math and calculate so that I can find the perfect investments.

It's called 'hands on" learning.

I don't have to do HW or get official assignments. I can learn on my own. I learned far more dealing w/ life than I did in all my years in school. And I can guarantee I'm ahead of the average HS student or College Grad on almost everything but science(THAT I hate).

Rote learning, will always lead to:
"stupid school doesn't know how to give a good education."


And yeshivas and B"Y's tend to teach by rote; making kids memorize random terms is just dumb. Its not called learning, its spit-back. Learning is applying the knowledge. Unless they teach you how to apply all the history, and math, and bio they're not teaching you how to do anything.

These girls wouldn't use their brains even if they did their own HW for anything other than short-term memory excercises.

June 16, 2009 at 8:49 PM

moshe- be politically correct WIB. ;)

June 16, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Since when is WIB PC?!

June 16, 2009 at 9:42 PM

"We're not going to agree. Not possible. lol." -- That is what's fun about it. I haven't had a good argument in a while. I had plenty of opportunities in school, but I opted to just keep my mouth shut and stay on the safe side.

"I think school, or atleast my experience in HS (JHS I LOVED!) was a complete and total waste of time." -- For me, it was the opposite. My marks were awful (as was my attendance and my effort) in 6th and 7th grade. I failed many classes, and the ones I passed I got low marks in (except English). I can't think of anything I actually learned in those two years. In 8th grade, however, I decided I want to try, and I became a straight A student. (A little effort goes a long way.)

I would not exchange my HS education for anything. I learned so many things that have become a part of me. And I'm glad I had to memorize so many things, because now I still know them. You never know when something will come in handy. Sometimes, things come up in conversations outside of school and I have what to say because of all the things I memorized for both secular and Jewish classes.

"I had free nights and weekends (accept for midterms/finals weeks) and I had a comulative average at the end of 4 years somewhere in the high 80's (either 88.6 or 86.8). I did nothing." -- At the end, I want my average to be in the 90's, and the reason I have to work so hard for it now is because I was a bit lazy in 9th grade and that was reflected in my report cards.

"In 12th grade I was the laziest person ever. I cut almost all my classes- regularly." -- Hey, who doesn't? I see 12th graders cutting class all the time.. it seems very easy for them.

"the only reason I got in the high 80's in American History was because I was reading Gone With the Wind as a "reward" to myself (I did one practice regent, went over it, then read a chapter in the book as a reward), I got lucky the main questions in the regent DBQ's were all about the Civil War." -- I ADORE Gone With the Wind. After reading it when I was 11, I always had what to say in American history classes when we covered the Civil War. GWTW was what originally got me interested in the Civil War. After that, I wrote some essays on the war, did some research both online and in museums, and tried to learn as much as I could about it. But at the same time, I had to study my notes and read the textbook.

I have a regular system like that for myself when I'm studying. I tell myself that if I finish studying a certain amount of pages in a certain amount of time, I get to relax and read or watch a film for 15 minutes. I'm the type of person who works best when there is structure. I make a schedule for each day and I stick to it -- that's how I get the most studying done. On days that I don't have a schedule for myself, I tend to be lazy and unproductive even if I have a lot to do. (Today is a perfect example of that. I have a math regent in exactly a week, but I keep pushing the studying off.)

I remember the global history regent I took last year... Our grade got lucky, because one of the essays was about different religions or something so we wrote about Judaism.

"Believe me, I have a head full of random, useless "well-rounded" knowledge." -- But that's you. Most of these girls don't read books at all unless they're forced by their English teachers or there's a new Harry Potter book. They don't have the same resources you do. So they end up not learning in school and not learning on their own time. (I'm sure there are a few exceptions, but I'm just generalizing right now.) The only way these girls are going to learn anything is if they are forced.

"All the while I get to do my math and calculate so that I can find the perfect investments." -- Like giving away $5 for a dare? (Sorry, couldn't help myself. ;])

Personally, I don't like math just because I'm more of a creative person. I like ideas, thoughts... formulas and numbers seem kind of cold and hard to me.

June 16, 2009 at 11:40 PM

"Its not called learning, its spit-back." -- It's both though. You spit back what the teacher wants on the test, but at the same time you find something in the class that you can learn from and use for life.

"Unless they teach you how to apply all the history, and math, and bio they're not teaching you how to do anything." -- Does everything have to be handed on a silver platter? They teach the subject and we should think about how to apply it to our lives. As a writer, I like history because it gives me a background for stories. I memorize the terms and dates the teacher wants me to know for the test, but then aside from that I LEARN from the class in a way that I can apply it to my writing.

"These girls wouldn't use their brains even if they did their own HW for anything other than short-term memory excercises." -- You never know. Some things stay with you. Sometimes, I remember out of nowhere something I had to memorize for class in the past few years and it gives me what to think about even though it seemed so unimportant originally.

June 16, 2009 at 11:41 PM

I did well in HS -I think- because I did well in 9th grade (each year my grades went lower and lower). My 8th grade was really my 9th grade (I took 9th grade classes in 8th), and since I liked the school in 8th, I did well, so my cumulative HS average remained high.
***

Gone With the Wind is by far one of hte most amazing books ever :).
Incredible you read it at 11! :).
I read Scarlett the same summer, and I recently order Rhett Butlers People. :-)
***

"They don't have the same resources you do"

Yes they do. This is NY. The flatbush people are modern enough to have access to enough. Their only problem is, they don't know how to utilize the resources, because of all the taboo surrounding it.

"They teach the subject and we should think about how to apply it to our lives. "

No. Because what they do, is stand there and give over information that can be read in a book. Parents would save alot of money if they just sat their kids down, and had them read out of a book and write down all the names and dates w/ mini explainations of the significance of each. Then the parent could stay up with kid and make them memorize all those terms, and voila, they passed any HS exam.

Teachers are supposed to be educators, not overpriced audio's of a book.


the educational system, as a whole, sucks. It is geared towards the "average" child. Teachers usually go on a class-paced curriculum (they move on when the class is ready). In a curriculum such as this, the below average and the above average, are not learning. The ones below average are overwhelmed, and are overly challenged, while the above average students are underchallenged. Both are bored.

Some of the girls who are aopying HW, I'm sure are girls who know they're smart, and just don't care (afterall, why rejoice when you get an A in basic arithmetic when you're an adult?), while other girls are just too dumb,a nd doin the HW wouldn't help them anyway, just lower their morale.

Yes, some are lazy. I'm sure a lot are. But I still blame education, because if educators did their job, and had smaller classrooms, and more discussion based curriculums, students- even lazy ones- would atleast have a spark of interest form in them

June 17, 2009 at 12:37 AM

"Personally, I don't like math just because I'm more of a creative person. I like ideas, thoughts... formulas and numbers seem kind of cold and hard to me."
What?! What about fractals and complex function graphs?! If you have a graphing calculator, there are formulas that will create very cool designs.

June 17, 2009 at 9:49 AM

"My 8th grade was really my 9th grade (I took 9th grade classes in 8th), and since I liked the school in 8th, I did well, so my cumulative HS average remained high." -- I wish that was the case with me... If my 8th grade marks were counted for anything, that would be great. I mean, I was upset once because I got an 89 for one of the subjects on the report card. That was my lowest mark, and I was actually upset. Right now, I would be ecstatic if an 89 was my lowest mark.

I still remember when I got Gone With the Wind and Scarlett in the mail. I ordered the two books together from Amazon. It was the summer after 5th grade, and I remember thinking, "Great! Now I'm all set for the summer!" I remember opening the little Amazon box and being so excited about it... Those two books now look worse than some library books because of how often I reread them. The fact that I liked it when I was 11 and continued loving it all these years says something about the book.

I have Rhett Butler's People. I think I read it around a year ago or something... It was interesting, but not as fascinating or well-written as GWTW and Scarlett. Even though Scarlett was written by a different author, it was at least convincing. The characters were believable. I somehow didn't feel the same about Rhett Butler's People, even though I liked that it gave us a look into Rhett's life and mind. It was a different perspective.

"Yes they do. This is NY. The flatbush people are modern enough to have access to enough. Their only problem is, they don't know how to utilize the resources, because of all the taboo surrounding it." -- What I meant was that they are not interested in it, so they do not take advantage of the resources that exist. Even if they spend hours on the internet, they're just chatting and watching YouTube clips and going on Facebook. They're not researching or trying to learn anything new. For most people, learning stops as soon as the summer starts.

"No. Because what they do, is stand there and give over information that can be read in a book." -- Not necessarily. This applies to subjects such as math and history but not to most religious subjects, where they draw from different sources in order to create the curriculum. (And even in history and economics we were taught things that I could not find in our books.)

"Then the parent could stay up with kid and make them memorize all those terms, and voila, they passed any HS exam." -- How depressing. :p That definitely does make it memorization. For example, with history, you get a colorful account of it in class. You are taught the spirit of the time and different patterns in history. It's not just about memorizing dates and names.

"Teachers are supposed to be educators, not overpriced audio's of a book." -- Teachers ARE educators. They encourage you to think and to analyze what they're teaching. They try to make you appreciate their subject. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don't. But if a student doesn't want to think and doesn't appreciate the subject, it is not the teacher's fault. There are always individuals who just want to know enough to pass the test and don't care about actually learning. That isn't in the teacher's control.

June 17, 2009 at 12:59 PM

"Both are bored." -- True, but the school is flexible. I was bored in English class for as long as I can remember. From about 3rd to 9th grade, I just spaced out in English and wrote stories and did my own thing. I mean, I still did the homework and everything just because I was told to (although some of it was given in late), but I was not interested in the class. This year, I was allowed to take AP Literature with the 12th graders. At the beginning of the year, we had to read a couple of books a month. We wrote the same amount of essays. I was being assigned books and essays for my 11th grade English class and for my 12th grade AP Literature class... and I was no longer bored. I was being challenged more, and I enjoyed it. One of my friends, who knows math well, was allowed to take the math with the grade above us, so she took the math regent a year early. The school is flexible -- if a girl is really above average, she has different options.

"Some of the girls who are aopying HW, I'm sure are girls who know they're smart, and just don't care" -- Right now, I have a few girls in mind who are constantly copying homework. They are average girls, but they're not doing the homework just because they don't want to put in the effort. It's not because they're so smart and they already know it all -- they don't know it! They later complain that they got such terrible marks and the test is impossible to study for. Well, of course it's more difficult to study material you never even learned before!

I'm not denying though that different students have different reasons for copying homework. I'm just saying what I often observe.

"But I still blame education, because if educators did their job, and had smaller classrooms, and more discussion based curriculums, students- even lazy ones- would atleast have a spark of interest form in them" -- I would also love to have smaller classrooms, but that isn't the teacher's fault. Many teachers set aside time for discussions. Some teachers stop whatever they are teaching in order to address a discussion question.

We actually wrote letters on that subject too -- quality vs. quantity, whether teachers should focus on the students' questions more or focus on teaching the curriculum. I am going to make a post about it soon with my letter and some other letters.

But hey -- you can never please everyone.

"If you have a graphing calculator, there are formulas that will create very cool designs." -- Formulas and cool don't go together, in my opinion. You're talking to a person who likes to write with quills and ink because she thinks pens and computers are cold and unfeeling, and you're talking about calculators?

And this character limit is getting a bit annoying... Apparently, I'm too wordy.

June 17, 2009 at 1:08 PM

" This applies to subjects such as math..."
You can't just memorize math. If one only memorizes math, then they have no idea what they are doing. Math is logic. You can't just memorize logic. Math, and most science areas, would be the top subjects to actually require teachers, not just books.
" but not to most religious subjects, where they draw from different sources in order to create the curriculum."
Ehh....I'm not really sure where I stand on this one. I think religious issues are to vague, and often can very easily be left to the book, except for maybe actual halacha.
"And even in history and economics we were taught things that I could not find in our books."
For history just read another book (that wasn't written by liberally skewed bureacrats), and for economics, ignore what they taught you in HS anyway (Those who don't know -teach). I remember my economics HS teacher explaining the stock market, wasn't pretty. She was like "don't invest money you don't have"... Yea, ok...I can understand discouraging margin trading, but there are plenty of people like Warren Buffet, who woulda never ever been successful if they listened to anything their HS (and in some cases college) teachers would've said.
"you get a colorful account of it in class. "
Read more books like GWTW, and voila! colorful account! You don't need the teacher.
"The school is flexible -- if a girl is really above average, she has different options."
Ah yes... I loved my JHS. You know why? Cuz they gave us hell in 6th grade (so that a lot of students drop out), then gave us hell in 7th grade (so more students drop out),and 8th grade was just awesome, because everyone in class was smart. In the mean time, all three years we had class levels. So we knew where we stood. So we had s/t to strive for. It was just awesome. We also had self=paced math in 6th grade, if a student wasn't able to keep up with it, they had teacher taught for 7th and 8th grade. I had all three years self-paced math. It was fabulous. I was one chapter short of the Sequential 1 regent in 7th grade, so i took it in 8th, even though we had a full class of Sequential 2 students (i couldn't be in it, because I didn't take the regent :(), we had two students who finished sequential 2 in SEVENTH grade, so they had personal math period with the principal (a former math teacher)for Sequential 3. So they finished, the ENTIRE high school math curriculum even before HS.
Almost everyone in my school's gifted programs finished at least one year of HS (short of History, because there is no 1 yr history regent). We ATLEAST took 1 year of math, one year of science (Earth Science), one year of English (there was an accelerated exam ) and one year of foreign language (either Spanish or French) . These were all regent courses! Oh...in the meantime, passing was an 80 for all subjects, and for math a 90. And it wasn't just a "suggested" passing score. If we couldn't handle it, they kicked us out of the program.

June 19, 2009 at 6:38 PM

THAT was an education. Best schooling of my life. Not the nonsense I got in yeshiva where they made my schedule "flexible" by giving me all those classes you speak of "a year ahead." They gave me a look when I said I had already taken all those regents. They were nasty. I had to show them my transcript over and over. ANd for what? so that I'm a year ahead with the average kids above...that's *not* a challenge. I'm sorry, I find it hard to see an educational system as challenging when you know that a bunch of idiots are in your class- meaning, the teachers standards for the grade as a whole, are lowered, therefore, making her unable to truly push you to do better.
"They later complain that they got such terrible marks and the test is impossible to study for. Well, of course it's more difficult to study material you never even learned before! "
Those girls should *not* be in the same class as smart people. The teachers cannot even interest them, because they're just stupid if they cannot see the correlation between their actions and their grades. Most of the time, in my experience, people who consistently copied HW in a specific subject, didn't complain about poor grades. They copied HW because they were willing to settle for the grades that come after a one-night cram session.

" I would also love to have smaller classrooms, but that isn't the teacher's fault. "
Why can't the teacher institute more group projects then? When America used to lead in world education, the classrooms ranged of all different GRADES in some locations. The teachers would teach a specific age group at one point, and then move onto the next group. In the meantime, the other groups were doing independent study. Nowadays with computers, that should be an even easier task to accomplish. You don't need to physically have a smaller class size to have a smaller class.
". I am going to make a post about it soon with my letter and some other letters. "
I'm going to check it out! I see its up!

June 19, 2009 at 6:39 PM

"You can't just memorize math." -- I was talking about learning from a book. Math is something that you can learn from a textbook, because all the information is in one place.

"Read more books like GWTW, and voila! colorful account! You don't need the teacher." -- While I think it is wonderful got gain a higher appreciation of history and some clarity through literature, it should never replace actually learning it in class.

"I'm sorry, I find it hard to see an educational system as challenging when you know that a bunch of idiots are in your class-" -- Honestly, I feel the same way, but yeshiva isn't about keeping the smartest kids; it's about giving a full religious and secular education and instilling an appreciation for Judaism. It wouldn't be realistic for a private yeshiva to have the same system you had in junior high.

"Those girls should *not* be in the same class as smart people." -- I agree... But what can you do?

"They copied HW because they were willing to settle for the grades that come after a one-night cram session." -- That was in your experience. In my experience, some girls whined because their grades were lower than the grades of the girls whose homework they regularly copied. I'm not saying that everyone is like that, but this is something I observed over the past couple of years.

"Why can't the teacher institute more group projects then?" -- That's not up to me. I, for the most part, discuss students' behavior and choices, not teachers'.

June 20, 2009 at 11:12 PM

"I was talking about learning from a book. Math is something that you can learn from a textbook, because all the information is in one place."

When I had the self-paced math. Each classroom had two teachers for PRIVATE tutor, because there is PLENTY in math that CANNOT easily be understood w/o a teacher's help. I utilized those two teachers. They def got their money's worth. math *cannot* be learned solely by a text book, because it requires logic and exact understanding. Whereas with other subjects, you can just BS your way, and the liberally inclined teacher/professor's heart will bleed. So even if you write poorly, or remember the facts poorly, as long as you write some nice fluff about FDR saving the American economy, you get an A! You can't BS math. You either know it or you dont!

"Honestly, I feel the same way, but yeshiva isn't about keeping the smartest kids; it's about giving a full religious and secular education and instilling an appreciation for Judaism. It wouldn't be realistic for a private yeshiva to have the same system you had in junior high."

Really? Why not? Why can't yeshiva be about keeping the smartest kids in ONE school, and not so smart kids in another? I don't understand that? Since when did Jews feel everyone was equal?

Don't you think religious studies would be better attained if they were leveled? Don't you think it would be better for EVERYONE if there were levels. I mean you don't expect a special ed kid to be mainstreamed, why expect there to be a mainstream at all?

"I agree... But what can you do?"

Have schools specifically targeting smart kids, and not accepting anyone with a lower IQ even if they come with lots of money. My sisters school does that... but they tend to turn a blind eye when the person is rich, and a lot of other Manhattan schools do that as well! I heard they have that in NJ too. Brooklyn however, tends to be awful. :-(. Oh and in my sisters school, they copy HW. NO problems. And the girls don't complain about their grades if they copy HW. Sure her school doesn't have levels, but they simply don't accept students who wouldn't be able to handle it. Each year the class size gets smaller and smaller because of students switching out.

"That's not up to me. I, for the most part, discuss students' behavior and choices, not teachers'."

Don't you think that students behavior goes hand to hand with the teacher's? Don't you think if an educational system was better geared for each individual student, they'd be "better behaved"- again, I don't think copying HW is bad, but I think it would occur less if students were more interested.

June 21, 2009 at 11:35 AM

"there is PLENTY in math that CANNOT easily be understood w/o a teacher's help." -- Really? Hm... I thought learning math from the book would be easier than other subjects because all that you have to know is right there. I don't usually try doing that though, so I wouldn't know.

"Why can't yeshiva be about keeping the smartest kids in ONE school, and not so smart kids in another?" -- At this point, schools accept a wider variety of girls just because the tuition needs to come from somewhere. Private schools need the money to come from somewhere, and it would be difficult to manage if they turned girls down based on IQ or test scores.

"Don't you think religious studies would be better attained if they were leveled?" -- Yes, I do think that. I just also think that it is not the most realistic option for private schools now. And honestly, I don't see how our concern over this will help the matter. We are talking about what we want the system to be like, but do you think you can actually do something about it?

"Have schools specifically targeting smart kids, and not accepting anyone with a lower IQ even if they come with lots of money." -- I would like to see how that works out. Private schools need funding, and part of that comes from the tuition parents pay. Less kids accepted = less tuition.

"Oh and in my sisters school, they copy HW. NO problems." -- I still think that it isn't right.

"Don't you think that students behavior goes hand to hand with the teacher's?" -- What I meant is that I write about what I know. I observe students' behavior, so I blog about that. I am not trying to interfere with the school system, so I don't blog about that. It is not up to me.

"again, I don't think copying HW is bad, but I think it would occur less if students were more interested." -- There are just some students that won't be interested no matter what you do. You're suggesting all these reforms, but who said that girls will actually be more interested? I've seen teachers doing a lot of things to try to make girls more interested, but if girls are determined to be disinterested, what can you do?

June 21, 2009 at 8:08 PM

"At this point, schools accept a wider variety of girls just because the tuition needs to come from somewhere. Private schools need the money to come from somewhere, and it would be difficult to manage if they turned girls down based on IQ or test scores. "

Actually, that isn't really true. If they had fewer students, they wouldn't need as many teachers. The school wouldn't need as many office assistants, or as many janitors. Fewer students= fewer people on payroll.

OR, if they choose to remain a larger school, they could just have levels within the school. Not too many yeshiva's have only one class/grade. So you make one class the dumb class, and one class the smart class and one in the middle. And you can give them politically correct names too if you so choose.

Like I said, my sister's school doesn't accept girls who do not pass a hard entrance exam and pass an interview. THEY somehow manage to survive. -In Manhattan- where real-estate is high.

" We are talking about what we want the system to be like, but do you think you can actually do something about it?"

If more parents complained about crappy education, something would be done. You can't expect students to remain interested in a class that is either too easy, too hard or just on their level but full of morons. I had a girl in my class ask in NINTH grade "who wrote the book, Shakespeare or Ceaser?" then another girl asked "Where was Shakespeare's theatre, London or England?"

Nu, come on! Why on earth should I have put any effort into my classes, when I knew the teachers made tests easy enough for those ignorant buffoons to pass. I mean come on! Where's the incentive? In the meantime I was reading my books and newspapers, and I learned everything- in the classroom, I doodled.

"Less kids accepted = less tuition."
As I said above, not necessarily true.

" I am not trying to interfere with the school system, so I don't blog about that. It is not up to me. "
Sure it's up to you. You are the future. If more students demanded a higher education, they'd get one. I'm on cloud 9 at the moment with frum people. Nothing in the universe is making me happier than the fact that there is an economic crisis that is truly hurting the frum community (and it hit my home- mom lost her job). These idiots had it coming. They encouraged people with no skill set and money to get married (kollel or just random college students who began their marriages in debt, and no job, because they were both STILL in school); then they encouraged ridiculous nonsense like 'FREE TUITION" to people who weren't even frum, because they may POTENTIALLY become frum (ie Kiruv yeshiva schools) and then on top of that, they felt EVERYONE was entitled to a big wedding, so they'd raise money, to help throw weddings because it's their "dream" to be married (Hachnoses Kallah).

There are new trends now of people sending their children to charter schools as well as couples having fewer children. If the yeshivah school systems don't realize that it's lack-of education that inflamed this crisis in the community, then there is no hope for the frum community to ever become self-sufficient. It will continue on going in cycles of extreme ups and downs (greater than that of the general society).

Unless they shape up, and actually educate and make it worthwhile for parents to find ways to pay for their chilren's tuition, schools will have to wait a good generation or two until the system levels itself. 'till then, I'm enjoying the show. I'm praying I'll have the patience as well as the financial ability to one day home-school my children ,because I sure as heck don't want them in today's school system. Because educators today have no idea what they are doing.
This isn't about behavior and my idea for reform, it is literally due to the fact that schools suck and are not reforming that children exhibit "bad" behavior in schools.

June 22, 2009 at 1:00 AM

"If they had fewer students, they wouldn't need as many teachers." -- They still need different teachers for different subjects though, so it would end up being nearly the same amount of teachers.

"The school wouldn't need as many office assistants, or as many janitors." -- I don't think that's true. First of all, each of the office assistants has her own job and her own responsibilities. Also, the school building still has to be maintained, no matter how few or how many students there are. Of course, it's different if a new school starts in a small building, in which case they probably would need less people, but a school that is already established can't really do that.

"OR, if they choose to remain a larger school, they could just have levels within the school." -- Many schools do have that. For example, one class has modified tests, while girls from another class have to take the regular tests. That's also what my school did with chemistry this year. There were two classes, taught by different teachers on different levels. As for the other classes, I don't really think there's much of a difference except for when it comes to tests in Jewish subjects.

"So you make one class the dumb class, and one class the smart class and one in the middle." -- When we were in junior high, we always used to wonder and speculate which of the three parallel classes is the dumb class and which is the smart class. I am not sure that it was organized that way, but we always wondered about it.

I agree with you that classes should be on different levels so that the girls who are serious about learning aren't stuck with girls who couldn't care less and just want to be ignorant. But... it is not up to me to do anything about it.

"I had a girl in my class ask in NINTH grade "who wrote the book, Shakespeare or Ceaser?" then another girl asked "Where was Shakespeare's theatre, London or England?"" -- I really hope the teacher did not pass them. They seriously deserved to fail English. I had girls like that in my class in previous years, asking stupid questions and saying stupid things.

"Why on earth should I have put any effort into my classes, when I knew the teachers made tests easy enough for those ignorant buffoons to pass." -- So the ignorant buffoons will pass, and you will pass with flying colors. If you can, why not get those top marks?

"Sure it's up to you. You are the future." -- My future isn't in education reform.

"Nothing in the universe is making me happier than the fact that there is an economic crisis that is truly hurting the frum community (and it hit my home- mom lost her job). These idiots had it coming." -- Well, aren't you a nice person. :p

"because I sure as heck don't want them in today's school system." -- Okay. I, on the other hand, can't wait for my children to be old enough to go to my high school. I think that if you pay attention there and just do what the teacher asks of you, you get a wonderful education.

"Because educators today have no idea what they are doing." -- That is way too general a statement, and I disagree with you. While there are some educators who aren't up to par, in my high school experience of three years, I've found that most teachers do a wonderful job and have helped me learn a lot. And not only have they taught me the actual subjects; they helped me find answers for life and lessons that would stay with me forever. They made me interested in learning and knowing more. So I think they know perfectly well what they are doing.

June 22, 2009 at 2:19 PM
Anonymous  

It depends what homework.

Copying HW occasionally is only OK if the HW is just a mindless repetition, w/o real critical thinking involved.

However, in a difficult subject, such as the maths and sciences where there is critical thinking involved, and especially at the higher level, you are doing yourself a huuuuge disservice.

June 24, 2009 at 8:13 PM

So we're just gonna keep on going, and I'd rather not, so I'm going to give a short response:

"If you can, why not get those top marks?"

THe marks are meaningless. WHen a teacher writes an exam, she prepares it for the average student in the class. If you already know you're above average, you don't need that mark to prove it. THe concept of a grade is to tell you where you stand. A "C" is average. If you know you're gonna get a B or A-, no need to even focus. However, if you are in class of people like yourself, YOU can actually get a C if you don't do anything. Therefore, you need to prove to yourself, you can be smarter than actual SMART people. Getting an A in a class of people who find it difficult to get a C+ is a not an accomplishment, so why bother concentrating in class?

"My future isn't in education reform."
My point wasn't that YOU should go into education reform, but rather, as a parent, in the future, DEMAND better education from the schools.

That's all. DEMAND levels.
Read this:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1653653,00.html

If you want there are other articles and books on the issue.

June 29, 2009 at 8:24 PM

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