Student: Put down that cell phone and pick up a book

Here is another student essay from a Rockdale Career Academy 10th grader. The assignment was “an argumentative essay about the fate of America’s intelligence.”  This essay is by student Alexis Chisman.

By Alexis Chisman

In the dictionary, the word evolution means a change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such process as mutation, natural selection and genetic drift. According to this definition, human beings in the world today have already made a major leap in evolution, having a physical structure more advanced than our ancestors. We have also evolved technology, creating items that make our everyday lives more accommodating, but what may be making our lives easier is also causing the standards of education into a death spiral. The inhabitants of America are losing intelligence because technology is growing while test scores are dwindling.

How could the brainpower of United States citizens possibly be ebbing? Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg never completed their education, but they invented two popular devices known around the world, Apple and Facebook.

What is problematic about these men is they are two outliers out of an American population consisting of 313,573,959 individuals. The concern should be on the 55 million kids in elementary school, not these two billionaires.

In reality, the United States education is sinking in the world ranks of education. In 2010, America ranked 14th out of 34 countries tested on reading, mathematics, and science. With these shocking statistics, it appears that the children of the upcoming generation will get pushed under the rug along with their schooling. The movie, “Waiting for Superman,” predicts that this generation of children will become less literate than the last.

Kids taking standardized tests sometimes receive “curves,” which add a certain number of points onto their grade. For example, a child that makes a 60 on a test can receive a curve of up to 20 points which will then make his or her grade a passing 80. The educational system appears to be set up so a child can put forth minimal efforts and be passed to the next grade. These students not getting challenged could result in a population of lackluster adults.

Although technology can be tremendously helpful, it can stunt the intellectual growth of this generation and the upcoming generations. The world is filled with extravagant gadgets that that can help kids cheat on their homework, such as translators, cellphones, and even I-Pods. US News conducted a survey which finds that one out of three students use their cellphones to cheat by storing information.

I see cheating using these devices happening every day in the classrooms. These devices being used in this manner are causing students to lose concern about school work and tests. I conducted a personal survey on my classmates and found that 14 out of 23 kids spend 10 or more hours on their cell phones for entertainment purposes, and only five kids out of those 23 spend one to three hours studying for school. The focus for these students is officially off of homework and on their social media applications.

There is major concern for what may be in the future of the children of this nation. Technology and the country’s educational systems are failing these helpless children, and the simple ways of America can no longer continue in this manner.

There should be a transformation on the policy of technological devices in the classroom and also the standards on education. Superintendents of school systems have our children’s educational future in their hands, and they need to make immediate action to change the course of this country’s intellectual future. Change is possible in this country; we just simply have to put down the cell phone and pick up a book.

—From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

44 comments Add your comment

Mitch

June 4th, 2012
3:49 am

Maureen, as you have pointed out many times, our education system does some things very well and then appears to fall short. Our expectations of education can be very unrealistic. After about the sixth grade we should begin to specialize. The state and nation should determine what skills are needed and focus education on our and the students needs. Everyone does not need to study the exact same things. We need smart scientist and mathmeticians but not more than about ten percent of the students. School should be like a football team. Every position filled with the very best player.
Look at our economic situation. We need a wide variety of skills. Engineers and scientists are way down the list yet we are still touting those skills Our governments are in chaos, imported consumer goods are eating us alive and our politicians are too timid to balance the budget.
Those occasional geniuses will still pop up with or without schooling. Some people just seem to have more imagination that others. It appears to me that many such as Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Henry J. Kaiser, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and other are somewhat solitary persons and would not have been helped with more schooling.

DeborahinAthens

June 4th, 2012
6:30 am

Mitch, I think the point is to stop focusing on the less than one tenth of one percent that become successful without further education and focus on creating skills that are usable in the world. We need engineers and we turn out communication majors. We need stem cell scientists and we create students that cannot do basic math. We need to stop the BS and start making children learn. Take away the phones, take away the video games, take away the computer. Children will do what is easy and fun if left to their own devices. The parents are mostly to blame.

mountain man

June 4th, 2012
7:09 am

Children would learn if it were left up to the teacher and the “helicopter” parents would stay out of it. Do away with “Social Promotion” and give children the grade their work deserves. This is the only way to improve. You can bet your bottom dollar that the rest of the world doesn’t “socially promote”.

Double Zero Eight

June 4th, 2012
7:42 am

That is not the only thing students need to”put down”.
They need to “put down” that calculator until they
learn how to add, subtract and multiply.

If you want to create chaos, give a cashier additional change
after he/she has input the amount in the cash register.
I did this last week, and the cashier relied on me to
compute the amount of money I was owed.

d

June 4th, 2012
7:55 am

I quit reading after “Waiting for Superman” was brought up.

In all seriousness, when I give a test, I provide students with a bonus question – just dumb trivia more than anything. For example, on one test, I asked “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was based on the lives of people in what city? The response I generally get with questions is: “How the *heck* are we supposed to know something like that?” Interestingly enough, more than 75% of the class will generally turn in the correct answer and a large number will still not perform well on the test because they spend more time trying to google the answer on a 5-point bonus question rather than actually try to do well on the test itself.

GwinnettParentz

June 4th, 2012
8:00 am

Especially within the black community our Community-Organizer-in-Chief could greatly influence kids’ attitudes toward school—and life in general. But in this Pres. Obama has been AWOL.

What a squandered opportunity.

SEE

June 4th, 2012
8:05 am

The math and science children are required to learn far exceeds what I took in high school during the late 80s/early 90s. I was in the advanced math and science classes, and I took calculus and physics II. Most of the students in my high school did not take those courses. They are now required for all students. It ridiculous that we expect all students to excel in all areas. Those “other countries” that outperform the United States DO NOT require ALL their students to take those tests. The students start specializing in the subjects in which they excel at an early age. The result is that those students who do well in mathematics take the mathematics test, but not necessarily the reading test, etc. Students who are not academically inclined do not take the tests at all. However, all students, even those who are in special education, are required to take these tests in the U.S.. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if you weed out the underperformers you are going to end up with better scores. We need an apple to apple comparison.

d

June 4th, 2012
8:15 am

@Gwinnett…. I tend to recall over the past few years having to take part of my day one day in September to show the President’s speech to school children about the importance of education, and I also remember the big uproar and schools sending home forms where parents could pull their children out of listening to that speech.

God Bless the Teacher!

June 4th, 2012
8:29 am

Technology is not the problem. It’s what we do with the technology that’s the problem. Unlimited information is available on the Internet, but I wouldn’t expect my students to use it appropriately in class for an assignment. I’d be too worried they were doing social media instead of my assignment. I agree 100% that students should be tracked (yes I said it) as early as 6th or 7th grade into “majors” that focus on their skills and interests instead of the current prescribed graduation requirements. I need good people to change my oil, repair my plumbing, and stock my grocery shelves. There’s no shame in such jobs. I need someone to maintain the sewerage treatment facility. Think of the alternative.

A Conservative Voice

June 4th, 2012
8:51 am

Well folks, until our “Weak Kneed” educators??? get tough, ain’t nuthin’ gonna change. Prediction……within ten tears, most brick and mortar high schools will be replaced by “On-Line” schools. And, if you noticed, I did not include “Private Schools”…….they don’t tolerate this kind of crap.

DOn't Tread

June 4th, 2012
8:59 am

“These students not getting challenged could result in a population of lackluster adults”

More like “has resulted”…but I can’t fault a student who hasn’t entered the workforce yet and is not aware of the changes I’ve seen.

DCSD Science Teacher

June 4th, 2012
9:20 am

One important aspect of this essay is that it was written by a 10th-grade student. She shows insight and a good command of both the concepts and mechanics of writing, which she uses effectively to make her points. Congratulations, Alexis, for your observations, and for taking the time to share them with us. Her main point is very specific: she sees students using technology to cheat in school “every day”, and asks that this be stopped. Who’s at fault here? Not technology–but, rather, teachers who don’t enforce their schools’ rules about cellphones. In DeKalb, despite the stated policy of “no cellphones”–stated on signs throughout the schools–teachers routinely ignore students using cellphones. Often, there are several students texting, checking their email, and in general, paying much more attention to the phones than to the class discussion. Alexis is correct to feel that these cheaters are cheating her by their behavior. Only teachers, backed by a strong administration, can change the situation. See a cellphone? Confiscate it and keep it until a parent or guardian contacts you to discuss the problem. Period. No exceptions. Just follow the “official” policy, rather than sighing, rolling up your eyes, saying “Yeah, I know, but they just won’t stop….” It’s called…teaching.

I_teach!!

June 4th, 2012
9:33 am

Why ARE cell phones allowed in a classroom? Seriously? I know this was the emotional backlash over Columbine..but really…why are they allowed?

I guess I WAS the “mean parent.” My sons did not get their own cell phones until they graduated from HS. I was asked all the time, “Aren’t you worried when they are out?” (No, they had mine if they were out socially).

I recall in my county, cell phones were, at first, banned. There was such a parent uproar. Now, they are even allowed in elementary schools. During standardized testing, we had to collect everyone’s phone and put it in a tub…to be held in the office. If I tell you we were collecting iPhones and other “smart phones” more than regular phones-from third graders-I would not be exaggerating. And, these phones SANG the entire time–who is calling/texting these children during school hours?? Why is this considered OKAY?

WHY? School offices have phones. And, if it is so your child can contact you afterschool, what was it YOUR parents did.

SEE was right-the curriculum we are forcing on these students. At the elementary level, the curriculum is NOT appropriate for the level of brain development. Throwing MORE at unready brains doesn’t hold.

A look towards other countries who are “beating us” is revealing. Singapore’s innovative math curriculum does not have their kindergarteners exchanging ones for tens, telling time, and adding money…that curriculum focuses on ONE number/numeral a week…the entire curriculum is slowed down.,.,.in Germany, they learn about 1/3 of the math concepts in a year than the average American student. This allows for mastery-and the ability to build on concepts which are UNDERSTOOD, not just glossed over.

The recent debacle with the Math program in GA’s high schools is a perfect example. Students I have taught (gifted kids) struggle, because just as they are “getting” a concept, they have to move on. There’s no time for practice; there’s no time for mastery. There’s no logical progression, either.

Pare it down. Slow it down. Allow students to learn content that is developmentally appropriate -kindergartners reading? Unless THEY are ready, NO!-most students don’t learn how to hold pencils (weak small motor skills/muscles), most aren’t taught how to write properly (penmanship)…

It’s time to look to the countries doing it right….

Gone are the days of learning something just because learning is fun

Ron F.

June 4th, 2012
10:04 am

“And, if you noticed, I did not include “Private Schools”…….they don’t tolerate this kind of crap.”

When they catch it, and I guarantee you the wealthier kids in private schools are no angels just because the school is stricter. It’s more dependent on attitudes towards technology in the home and how the kids are exposed to it at home.

LeeH1

June 4th, 2012
10:23 am

Everyone wants to compartmentalize students, so average students won’t be expected to learn higher math, and dummy students won’t have to learn English good.

The main problem, of course, is deciding who is in what compartment. Race used to be the deciding factor. Gender helped, too, since most people thought math was too hard for girls. Economic class was also one of the main items- the children of blue collar workers were given shop classes and home economics, but not given advanced classes in academic subjects like art, music or European history. People were expected to stay in their class, and their children were supposed to stay there, too. Nowadays, English ability compartmentalises Hispanic children.

We have been there, and found that compartmentalisation of cildren doesn’t work. Some advanced classes for advanced academic students are great, but the main problem here is the economy- most people don’t want high taxes to pay for enhanced benefits, and those parents whose children most need enhanced benefits don’t have the cash to pay for them. So we are back to the problems of race, geneder and economic class.

Tests also are used to compartmentalize children today. A funny legend about the futility of testing is given at: http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/barometer.asp

The greatest authority on schooling was Aristotle. He said: “Education is not filling a bucket- it is lighting a bonfire.” 2400 years later, that is still true.

Ashley

June 4th, 2012
10:26 am

@I teach…. I was also dismayed when I read and hear that some schools were giving incoming freshmen multiplication tables to carrying around with them. If a ninth grader doesn’t know how to multiply by freshmen year, he/she shouldn’t be in high school. How is said student suppose to master advance mathematics? Simply put they can’t! We shamefully have to many kids in high school who haven’t learn the basic skills of elementary requirements. Grading on a curve and the continuing of social promotion does nothing but leave the child at the starting gate. The goal should excellence and not mediocrity. Technology is great when it is applied correctly, but it also leaves lots of students lazy and uninspired. Taking the easy way out is that what we are teaching our children in todays technological world? Hope not!

Road Scholar

June 4th, 2012
10:38 am

If you pare down the breath of education in the sixth grade , as some have proposed, the students and society will not benefit in the long run. Just knowing about the concepts included in math, science, physics, chemistry, etc. benefits the student in the long run, especially if the student ever “grows up”. Is a student, even with selective testing, really aware of their future and the wide range of careers out there? Hell no!

The issue of cell phones is typical of the American way. Parental influence should be that the cells are turned off upon entering a school. Parents can call the front office in case of emergencies. The students can turn them on once the are approved to leave school either at the end of the day or for a doctor’s appt, etc.Cheating is rampant; is this the type of person you would want to hire?

Deborah is correct. The parents set expectations and limits on allowable behavior. When I was younger, it was not a mater of going to college, but what college you should attend. Goals need to be set both in the classroom and out, monitored and the bar raised (not lowered) to set specific acceptable achievement standards. ALL of my parents, aunt, uncles, siblings, cousins and their children have gone to college; I’m a second generation son of an immigrant. So why can’t others achieve the same? maybe we need to educate the parents? Provide mentors?

Double zero: I do the same and can calculate the change in my head before they wipe the stunned look off their face!

Gwinnett parent: Have you read President Obama’s books? I doubt it! In them he touts education as one of his targets to improve America. But whenever he or Michelle tout an item (her work on healthy eating) the idiots do not get the point and charge them with meddling in the “free market”! It’s the parents responsibility to set expectations and to have their children learn. He is a role model; the parents are in charge!

Alexis, a job well done!

Male Teacher

June 4th, 2012
10:43 am

The only thing I disagree with is putting pressure on Superintendents to change this situation. This is a parenting issue. Oh….sorry….. I’m blaming the victim.

Pluto

June 4th, 2012
10:43 am

@ d … I used to do pretty much the same thing relative to a bonus question on tests. It was usually a newsworthy contemporary topic. Once smart phones were not only allowed in schools but encouraged by admin, I stopped. In general, today’s high school students come from middle schools well versed in cheating and have no problems doing so because both the students and parents are what I call “grade watchers”. Learning is not encouraged or even desired in many cases it is the almighty grade. I place this at the feet of the sacred middle class entitlement program known as HOPE..

redweather

June 4th, 2012
10:47 am

@Ashley, “The goal should excellence and not mediocrity.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t the message children are getting from the adults in the room, especially the adult politicians who have so much to say about education. How many times have we heard politicians describe themselves as “just plain folks”? Those are the code words of anti-intellectualism. Richard Hofstadter wrote about this way back in the 1960’s http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Intellectualism-American-Life-Richard-Hofstadter/dp/0394703170. It isn’t possible to promote learning on the one hand and then act as if the intellect is untrustworthy or the domain of people with pointed heads.

the prof

June 4th, 2012
10:53 am

You should see the look on their faces when I tell them on the first day of lecture that they will lose one letter grade from their final grade if they are caught viewing, using, or have a cell phone ring during my lecture. If it happens during an exam or quiz, they receive a zero for that exam in addition to the letter grade penalty.

Corey

June 4th, 2012
10:54 am

GwinnettParentz
June 4th, 2012
8:00 am

Become part of the solution. Go into the black community and volunteer to mentor a black child. That way, you will have less to complain about when it comes to the black community.

Tabitha

June 4th, 2012
10:55 am

I love the idea of “lackluster adults”. We might profit from some time reflecting on what a lackluster adult is and how we might avoid such an outcome.
One thing is crystal clear, what we are doing now in our schools and our society is creating lackluster adults at an increasing rate.

JD

June 4th, 2012
11:19 am

As a high school teacher in DCSD cell phones were collected in my classroom on a routine basis every day; sometimes I confiscated more than five a day! The phones were returned to the students at the end of class the first time and from then were delivered to the grade level administrator. Unfortunately, when most parents came to collect their child’s cell phone they would give it right back to the student. There were several occasions when the parent was up at the school to collect the phone before I had the opportunity to deliver it to the administrator during my planning period. I’ve had students who when their phone was confiscated took out the sim card and put it in another phone; yes they had a back up phone. Others were caught cheating on the final exam with two cell phones needless to say those students earned a zero on the final and it caused them to fail the class. Most parents are clueless about their child’s use of phones during school. Others don’t see the harm and frequently call or text their child during school hours. It’s a huge problem and there doesn’t seem to be a solution; confiscating cell phones was not an effective deterrent. I would love to have a jamming device but they’re illegal.

College Professor

June 4th, 2012
11:20 am

To the prof: I applaud your strict policies in your classroom. Obviously you are not interested in student feelings or graduate, retention, or enrollment numbers, which is all the administration at my college thinks is important.

Prof

June 4th, 2012
11:56 am

@ the prof. I agree with College Professor…although these students may not stay in your classroom long enough to contribute to those numbers. I hope that you have a similar policy on the use of laptops during class “to take notes,” but which usually are used for other purposes and in any case tend to destroy class discussion.

William Casey

June 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

Excellent blog today! An insightful essay followed by thoughtful comments. American education faces some unique challenges compared to most of the world. We expect our schools to alleviate social ills and the inherent “unfairness” of life and to a degree, they have succeeded. Does any other nation have a special education program comparable to ours? This goal often comes into conflict with our goal of using education to sort and compartmentalize students into their future roles in society. As LeeH1 pointed out earlier, this used to be easy, if inefficient: ethnic, gender and social class discrimination did the job. Today’s system is much better but not perfect.

Redweather makes an excellent point and cites a great source regarding America’s ambivalence toward intellectual attainment. When it comes right down to it, many Americans don’t trust “eggheads.” We’ve elected exactly TWO to the Presidency: Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson (and arguably Jimmy Carter.) We’ve elected other smart guys to the office but they all had to pretend to be “good old boys” or just “plain folks.” I avoided being labeled “egghead” by coaching basketball, baseball and football.

Technology is neither inherently good or bad, it’s all in how it’s used. The television revolution of the 1950’s promised to revolutionize education. It didn’t, largely because too many teachers simply used it to entertain and appease the kids as well as to avoid actually teaching. When used properly, TV was (and is) a wonderful tool. It’s the same with the digital revolution today. Computers make editing one’s writing immeasurably easier. However, has the quality of writing improved? I’m not sure. The internet has made access to information available to almost all. It’s also caused a proliferation of widely published BS. Smart phones have wonderful potential. Alas, through failue of will, they remain largely entertaining distractions.

In conclusion, I suggest reading Michael Young’s classic “The Rise of the Meritocracy.” It is a wonderful satire of the drive to “modernize” education. Truely thought provoking.

crankee-yankee

June 4th, 2012
1:02 pm

GwinnettParentz
June 4th, 2012
8:00 am

I have read your uninformed commentary on this blog for a number of weeks now and the common thread throughout seems to be bashing our president.

“d” is 100% correct it poking a giant hole in your assertion that he has not addressed education. The thing is, he has addressed it NOT in a potentially racist mien to only one sub-group of students but in a way that applies to ALL students no matter what their skin color. But his message has been dampened by the racists (yes, I said it) in our communities who protested that their poor overly impressionable wains would be forever tainted by listening to him address them about education. Even when the addresses were made available for these parents to read (and they had NO political undertones), I had numerous children in class who had been opted out of watching the address.

It is sad to see how the racists promulgate their type.

crankee-yankee

June 4th, 2012
1:19 pm

Our Board of Ed has decreed students are to be allowed to carry cellphones in school. They are supposed to be turned off during school hours. But, we cannot pick them up if the child does not follow that rule. It used to be we could pick up an electronic (or any) device and hold it until the parent came to pick it up. Those days are gone. So since there is no consequence, there is no adherence to a toothless rule.

I had a mother come to my room after school the last day before winter break. He child had lost their cellphone in class. It shouldn’t have been on, it shouldn’t have had it out in class where someone else could take it. Why was it out? The kid claimed the father had called him and to speak about something.

Great modeling behavior by a parent which kept me from joining my family at a reasonable time after work due to me hanging around while the room was searched for the phone which was not there.

This is the type thing we deal with on a daily basis and kudos to Alexis for pointing out the problem in such a measured and eloquent way.

crankee-yankee

June 4th, 2012
1:39 pm

William Casey
June 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

“Technology is neither inherently good nor bad, it’s all in how it’s used.”

I have been using almost this exact quote in my classes for years. Kids think of tech as good vs. bad but it goes much deeper than that. Hopefully, I have gotten some of them to think…

I know of a parent one year who kept their kid out of a Tech Ed exploratory class because “Technology is a tool of the devil.”
Oh well…

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

June 4th, 2012
1:40 pm

Hear, hear, young lady.

GwinnettParentz

June 4th, 2012
1:40 pm

@crankee-yankee. We’ve never paid attention to your commentary on this blog. And now that you’ve gotten our attention today—we freshly understand just why.

If you believe Pres. Obama’s “efforts” to raise educational awareness among black kids and their parents equals even one percent his efforts at improving his golf game—you also probably wrongly believe he’s turned around the failed economy!

But you can’t see past the color of his skin to his many failures, can you?

GwinnetttParentttz

June 4th, 2012
2:59 pm

Seriously, can you cite even one sustained initiative this first black president—has taken to turn around inner-city pathologies that are black kids’ biggest hurdle in life?

We all know what those pathologies are. If THIS president won’t confront those self-defeating attitudes and values … how can black kids and their parents expect ANY OTHER president to?

And if he’s been saving his most important work for a second term—then he doesn’t deserve one!

another comment

June 4th, 2012
4:00 pm

Both the March SAT and May ACT, choose similar topics for the written essay portions. My daughter also told me the AP US Lit. Exam did as well. Below is the Question for the Essay of the May ACT Written Essay:

“Many people debate whether communication technologies like cell phones, e-mail, text messaging, and on-line cell social networks have improved the quality of human relationships. Some people believe such communication technologies have improved the quality of human relationships because they think such technologies help people keep in touch with friends and families more easily and frequently. Other people do not believe that such communication technologies have improved the quality of human relationships because they think such technologies are not an adequate substitute for the deeper bonds they believe are created by face to face contact. In your opinion, have communication technologies improved the qualities of human relationships>

In your essay, take a position on this question. You may write about either one the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.”

Auburn Univ also offered three different options on essay questions for entrance this year, one was similar.

crankee-yankee

June 4th, 2012
6:15 pm

GwinnettParentz
June 4th, 2012
1:40 pm

That is a big difference I see between us. I do not pay attention to his skin color. You seem obsessed with it, you have mentioned it in each of your posts.
When Nixon was President, I campaigned against him, I did not agree with his positions, but when push came to shove, he was my President.
When G. W. Bush was confirmed President after the Supreme Court ruling, I accepted him as my president, did not agree with him on many issues, but he was my President.
Do you consider President Obama to be YOUR President?

Crankee-Yankee's Daughter

June 4th, 2012
7:18 pm

Good job, Alexis. Keep working hard, and you will continue to excel.

It is simply wrong to say that President Obama has done nothing to address education in this country. He (his administration, rather) can do more, without question, and I have not agreed with some of the things that have been done. Still, things have been done.

For example, President Obama’s administration made changes to the way college graduates repay federal loans. Now, I can repay based on my salary, and after a decade, my remaining balance will be forgiven since I am a public servant (teacher). Without these options, more than 1/3 of my monthly salary would go directly to federal loan repayment, which is an amount I simply could not afford. Additionally, if I had to repay my entire loan, I would never actually get to use any of the additional pay I earn due to my advanced degree. Every cent (plus some) would go to repaying that loan for my entire career. As it is, every extra dollar (again, plus some) goes to federal loan repayment even with the new repayment options.

Without these changes, I would not have been able to afford my degree, and I would not have the same skills and knowledge that I use every day in the classroom. Without my degree, I would not be as effective as a teacher, and my students would suffer. You can argue that federal loan repayment does not directly affect K-12 education, but it does have an effect. These repayment options have made college a possibility for some who would not be able to afford it otherwise. It helps teachers, like me, obtain advanced degrees and be better prepared to help our students succeed.

For those of you recommending tracking: I excelled in math and science in high school. I love algebra, but hate all other math even though I did well in all my math classes. I’ve never liked science. Literature was one of my weakest subjects, not because I didn’t have a talent for the subject, but because I hated the way it was taught. In fact, when I told my high school English teacher that I intended to become one, she tried to convince me to teach another subject. If I had been tracked into a specific field, I would have been put in math or science and would have hated it. I would not have reached the same level of success nor would I love what I do. Tracking, like all things, has its pros and cons. For some students, it will help them focus on skills and talents. For others, it will limit their success. Many talented teachers now teach subjects they struggled with during their own K-12 education. Where would they be if they had been tracked?

Larken McCord

June 4th, 2012
11:42 pm

Just wanted to clarify re: “another comment” that the AP Lit exam did not have this topic as a prompt for student writing. The prompts for the lit exam focus exclusively on literary analysis. The AP Language exam, on the other hand, does ask students to critique and present arguments about various topics; technology in the classroom would be a likely fit for that exam.

(Sorry to be persnickety, but goshdarnit, if tests are going to the be the center of the universe, we need to show them some respect!)

tnse8709

June 5th, 2012
6:35 am

@crankee: It’s easy to talk about standing behind the president of the hour, when he’s of your own party—eh, Crankee?

southside teacher

June 5th, 2012
10:03 am

Alexis makes several valid points. Clearly someone taught this student to think critically and to form a logical persuasive argument. School? Parents? Doesn’t matter. The fact is, this is now a fact of life, and our choice of how to handle it will determine the outcome.
I also collect phones that are used inappropriately during class. I have always said that if you parent wants you to have it, that’s between the two of you. when it becomes a disruption or distraction in my room, that’s for me to handle. Unfortunately, we have administrators who cave in to children demanding the return of their toys/contraband. And then there are the thefts. If you can’t afford to lose it, please don’t put it in your child’s control; something is bound to happen to it. I don’t spend my time looking for missing items. On the other hand, when I personally observed a student hiding stolen property, I stepped in. During exams, I collected a bucket full of smartphones and tablets beyond anything I can afford, much less learn to use.

the prof

June 5th, 2012
11:39 am

@Prof…yep, they have to sit in the front row, can only be viewing course material, and people sitting behind them can get bonus points for turning them in!

crankee-yankee

June 5th, 2012
2:53 pm

tnse8709
June 5th, 2012
6:35 am

I have no party, I am and have always been a staunch independent. Lately, the GOP has been turning me off more than the Democrats. Didn’t like this atate’s politics when Tom Murphy had a stranglehold on the legislature, don’t like it now for the same reasons. Single party dominance is unsavory.
At least there is a split in DC, if only they would remember how to work together to get things done.
But you ignore my words, if you believe me to be a Democrat, why would I have voiced support for the two men I think were the antithesis of the democratic process? One who broke the law @ Watergate and the other who lied to me about “weapons on mass destruction?”
There is a lack of civility in the tone of some of our fellow bloggers that I have no problem pointing out. The office of President commands respect no matter who occupies it.

tnes8907

June 5th, 2012
5:13 pm

@crankee: So, Bush and Nixon “lying” upsets you—but Obama lying about the cost of Obamacare is okay with a “non-partisan” guy like you?

In a few months we’ll see how supportive you are of President Romney.

crankee-yankee

June 5th, 2012
11:05 pm

tnes8907
June 5th, 2012
5:13 pm

Do your comments signify you are OK with Bush’s lies and Nixon’s thefts?
By the way, I didn’t accuse Nixon of lying (you need to work on your reading comprehension skills) I respect him in that he was man enough to admit his failing and step down.

And just how is it that you think putting words in my mouth is OK to try and prove a point? Where did I comment on “Obamacare”, as you term it? (Those pesky reading comprehension skills again).

Your tactics only highlight why I do not affiliate with a party. Both sides believe the ends justify the means & twist the facts.

Take a look at the Politifact summaries, both sides regularly ring up half-truths, oh, I forgot, the liberal media must be controlling that. Shame on me.

And your are shocked?

June 6th, 2012
6:00 am

Joke! During parent conferences I am often aked for make up assignments. I don’t have any for a student who comes everyday but does not complete assignments when given. When I was instructed to give make up assignments and refused my syllabus was confiscated for review. I had my classroom policy related to make up work included along with the school board’s policy on make up work included.

I salute the students of today for having the parents they have. My mother would never come to school because I told her the teacher did not like me. When I was in the second grade and told her my teacher did not like me because we were of two different races, she poliely said, “Okay, get over it, just make an A and get out of there”.

My mother only came to the school for PTA meetings, parent conferences, or awards day.
P.S. I did not get a gift for high school graduation because my mother informed me I had not done anything outside of expectations. When I told her one of my friends got a car, she reminded me her mother works two jobs and she was not going to do it. She maintained, “If you drive it, you but it”.

The dishonesty of students is such a joke, the bigger joke are their parents. To be pulled from my class of 30 students because a parent demanded a conference because the child did not understand the project. No the problem is the parent who did the assignment did not understand the assignment becasue she ws not in the classroom when assigned.