Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by shim, Jan 8, 2009.
I'm all for the parking permits... it's a luxury -- you don't have to buy it. =)
In my more cruel and cynical moments, I sometimes wonder if the purpose of a "gifted" program is more for the benefit of the parents than the kids.
Would you feel the same if your employer started charging you $200 to park at your building?
I mean.. you could take public transit...
my employer doesn't provide me transportation... schools do... for free
the schools don't provide you transportation to the other activities you are involved in or your job.. or provide you transportation home after sports practice or other inschool activities.
take the bus home, then go to work.... as for after school stuff, you've got a point, but there are alternatives.
How about a pro-rated parking fee based on your GPA? 8)
I never said I was opposed to a parking fee - I was opposed to the absurd amount. 8x rise in a single fee vs. trimming spread around just screams 'pass the buck'
again my 2 cents, re: gifted and Spanish,
I see it EVERYDAY, the Spanish program is not learning Spanish, it is vocabulary words, yes some kids do learn them but what is the point of learning a bunch of words in another language when you cannot read or write in English!
As far as the gifted program goes, it is not required to take honors classes in middle or high school- in fact when I went to orientation at Eagle Ridge the gifted teacher stated that one of the things they would be learning next year was sign language, great... then I heard that sign language was being offered as an after school club! What is the difference? Truth be known, honors classes in middle school don't count for anything either, my oldest child's 6th grade science teacher told me that the only difference in his classes was the class size so that maybe if he was finished all the required stuff, (phases of the moon) then he could expand on a concept.
As far as taking French- yea, I know that it will not get my kid anywhere but since they are forced to take a language- and 3 years of it at that, then she will take whatever makes her happy.
I am certainly not opposed to the kids taking languages- it can be beneficial in many, many ways. I would just prefer it to go away in elementary school when so many other things are even more important.
I was taught Spanish in preschool and kindergarten- totally immersed, then went to public school and never heard it again until high school. I did retain most of everything I learned because the class was totally taught in Spanish. ( in the 60's, can you even believe) It was almost like a second language to me. Not so much now as I don't use it unless I help with high school homework!
The gifted program has kids who are good students and also kids who are not. Presumably each kid admitted has some type of aptitude which qualifies him/her, but that doesn't mean it translates to good grades or good behavior necessarily.
My kids are good students (whose aren't!), but were not selected for Futura. I submitted an application for my younger child because she was bored in 3rd grade, the year they are screened. She wasn't admitted because her standardized test scores were not high enough. I was told to work with her on puzzles and try again the next year. In my mind, the program lost all credibility at this point. Kids are not re-considered for the program after 3rd grade. I'm not an expert on giftedness, but common sense tells me that some kids will develop later, some kids don't test well in 3rd grade, etc.
The Futura kids are taught math to prepare them to place into Pre-Algebra in 6th grade. They take, and prepare for, the SATs in 8th grade. These are some advantages to being in the program. But it doesn't guarantee success.
Personally, I think that labeling a student so early - and having a system which does not allow strong and interested students to "re-apply" - is faulty. In this way it does seem more about egos than about educational rigor.
Actually, kids are reconsidered after 3rd grade. My oldest didn't enter the Futura program until 4th grade (after not being identified in 3rd). My oldest also was able to take the SAT in 7th grade and 8th grade. This was very valuable as it demystified the test and the idea was the more exposure, the more comfortable a student might become with it.
I also agree that grades are not always the best way to measure success. One student might take more academically rigorous courses and get a lot out of it--but not achieve higher grades-- then if they had taken a less challenging (to them) class.
This is interesting. I got the impression speaking with the coordinator that it wasn't the usual process to reconsider kids, that I would have to push it. (Maybe my daughter scored so low that they wanted to spare us the embarrassment .)
I wonder how often a student is identified for the program after 3rd grade; this is the first I've heard of it.
This was quite a few years back as our son is a junior in high school now. Our child's 4th grade teacher felt strongly that our child should have been in it in 3rd grade...but he wasn't identified then. Actually, the 4th grade teacher asked us if we hadn't wanted our child to participate in Futura for some reason since he wasn't in it. We told her that we were fine with the program that he just wasn't selected. We truly felt that it was the very caring and involved 4th grade teacher that changed our son's being in the program. She pursued it. We appreciated her being his advocate. (The 3rd grade teacher....not so much.) So maybe the answer is it really depends on the teacher???
They use standardized tests and teacher referral- but parents can also self-refer. Most of the kids I see are bright but not what I would consider "gifted". True giftedness is rare. I often question why the percentages of students from the more affluent areas are higher than the kids in the lower income areas. ESL aside there are "bright" children across all levels. My belief is exposure. The richer kids go to preschool, have parents who are reading to them and taking them all over the place to learn. I would not mind the program so much if it didn't take away from the other kids. They might as well have a 4 day school week. When I was in Fairfax they have GT elementary schools and send the kids there full time. But if we a looking to cut the budget- they should look at cutting fluff, not improtant things. I fear of what may happen if they cut special education teachers as they help more than just a few kids- they actually are assisting all students in the classrooms along with the special ed teacher assistants.
Agree with you that unless the school system actually releases some hard data on how well these students do after Futura then it is hard to see if Futura is having any significant impact on the students. Is there a cost/benefit associated with the costs of having the program?
With regard to my older daughter, all we know is that most of the kids who were in Futura are not in her AP classes, do not go to TJ or the ACS. To be clear, there are some of the Futura students in the higher level courses and I do know that the the highest SAT scores for 8th-10th graders were former Futura students.
My younger daughter did attend the Strutures futura course and resigned after 30 days. The reason why she resigned was that several students would constantly destroy her structures. She would tell the teacher but the students would continue destroying everything she created. The students would not listen to the teacher and were outright disrespectful to the teacher. We decided to remove her since keeping her in the class was doing more harm than good.
I think the current Futura program is good for kids who thrive in the open classroom settings rather than structured classroom settings.
I think it goes without saying... 'gifted programs' do not inclusively or exclusively result in the children with the highest grades or scores. I don't think anyone would be naive as much to try to say so either.
You don't need to be in a gifted program to get good grades, nor does being in one guarantee long term success in school. But I wouldn't say that is their goal either. I'd say its more to allow the teaching to cater closer to the children's needs and abilities.
I mean.. you don't hear anyone saying 'you took AP English.. so you gotta be a Shakespeare'. They are tools and options available to kids that show the interest and ability to gain from them.
Interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal. One quote that hit me that pertains to this discussion is:
"Cost cutting is alien to the culture of all bureaucracies. Indeed, when cost cutting is inescapable, bureaucracies often make cuts that will produce maximum public inconvenience, generating political pressure to reverse the cuts."
See the whole article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277530070436823.html
I got an interesting phone message asking me to take the LCPS survey on the thought of making an Academy. So, at a time we have no money and are cutting programs, increasing class sizes, why are we talking about starting an Academy in 2011? Shouldn't we be more concerned about keeping the current programs we have? Special Ed is already being reduced. Class sizes are getting higher and higher. Am I missing something?
What precisely is an "academy" in this context? I want to make sure I understand what is being proposed.
From their blast email
I would tend to think that the idea of specalized academies are a great idea......if the school budget can afford it.
But in an economy when "regular" schools are hurting for money, I can't seem to find justification for spending more money (that we don't have) in areas that do not affect the "normal" school population.
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