Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Story of Schools, Episode 4: 1980-2000

This video was interesting to watch because I actually lived through some of the years that were covered. It was interesting to see why certain things like standardized testing and charter schools came into existence. I don't know much about charter schools and what they do, so I was glad this video gave a quick overview of what they are. I also liked how they showed the opinions of the presidents throughout the video. The president has a pretty big effect on what happens in education and it's nice to see them get excited about different aspects of education. I was a little put off by George W Bush and how he believed that every student should be tested at every grade. That seems a little excessive and maybe even intimidating for the students. Every few years should be enough and might encourage students to take it seriously. One thing I wish the video had covered was the idea of tracking. I'm not sure when this idea came into practice, but I'm sort of on the fence with how I feel about it. Like most things, it has both pros and cons. It's good because it allows students to take the classes that interest them. But it's bad because it categorizes students from the beginning. This may cause them to feel limited in what they are "able" to take. So perhaps there is a better way. Maybe we could settle on a combination of the tracking and not tracking. For example, there could be one level for all students. Then, there could be a special interests course that students cold take if they wanted to. I do agree that students who are supposedly on a lower level shouldn't be treated as such, but I also believe that students who are supposedly on a higher level should be able to take a course that might challenge them in a different way than the base level. If this course existed, I don't believe it would be necessary to have an Honors or AP distinction. It would just simply be a course with a slightly different topic.

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