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Pencils Down! Third-World Math Scores in Chicago

A new study comparing US urban school districts and foreign countries found that math scores in Chicago are on par with other countries — Third World countries. Only 13 percent of eighth graders in the city's public schools are proficient in math.

One education expert thinks the scores make a persuasive case against creating magnet schools for gifted students, arguing that students need the few top students as role models, and examples of "normal kids who perform well."

Thankfully Chicago is instituting a Math and Science Initiative to help boost learning. Does the state of American schools have to fall to third world achievement levels before people get serious about public education?


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UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Meike - I think the philosophy from those schools should be brought over, expecially the attitude that academics comes first, and everything else is a distant second. I also like that they weren't afraid to fail a student. We definitely need to be able to do that here. IMO, passing a student that doesn't deserve it only hurts the student in the long run.
Meike Meike 8 years
That's incredibly sad. Well, I attended very competitive Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools K-11 which are ranked at the top or near the top as far as all American schools go. It probably helps that DODEA looks for the most qualified teachers to employ in the success of these schools. They also are not lenient with passing failures. Academics took first priority and extra curricular activities like sports remained important but came second. We definitely had the works. Hah. Foreign languages starting in kindergarten, comprehensive sex-ed in sixth grade, cross-education with host nations' schools, CSEE as an elective in high school, incredible diversity among the student body, etc. When I moved to the states and attended a public school for my 12th year, it was disappointing because they didn't offer anything more advance than what I previously took. That was...surprising. I ended up taking redundant courses and flying by effortlessly. Maybe they need to bring over the same education philosophy from these overseas U.S. base schools state-side because they are doing something correct.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I went to horrible schools after I left my my magnet school. I must say the only thing that saved me was my own predisposition towards nerdiness. I volunteer at Grout Elementary school and it is truly a sad sight. The teachers are great, the kids are interested, but when you have a class of 30+ 2nd graders and one teacher, I don't know how much learning you can expect. In a country where licensed day care providers have to have a small ratio of 4-6:1 children to care provider and even smaller infant to care provider ratio its ridiculous that we have such large class sizes and that we consider laying off teachers a losable expense. Schools can buy all the books they want, but teachers are the primary source in k-12 education.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
Sexylibrarian: it's so funny you mention that just last night I met a special ed teacher who told me how No Child Left Behind is completely unfair to her students. They get tested on their grade level instead of their function level and of course never meet standards. Not sure if I agree with the magnet school comment from the education expert. Couldn't the opposite happen too, and the magnet kids would get dragged down? Being the smart kid isn't necessarily the "cool" thing that everyone aspires to be.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
:hug: I'm sorry. It'll get better. And I hope you feel better once Mr. GS shows up with that ice cream.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
When they have no base for it. Just pure spite and ingrained meanness.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
I actually, in my hormonal state is the only reason I can think of, let this site make me cry today. That really told me something about it. About how just outright mean people can be to one another.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Dude better get on that assignment, right? No problem, GS. It gave me a good chuckle.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Ummm, someone get big blue on the phone, we need to send a truck to GS's house, fast!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
And thanks jude.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
If you must. But I must say, with my mood today you probably won't get back your finger. And gravy aside, I am the Dude, you IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE AND MANHOOD would be in a better home position if you bring home a big Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I have just about had it today.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
GS, Can I poke you?? ;)
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That's a great avatar, GS!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
lol, yup.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
It's sad when we can't count to 4... ;)
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
This is humiliating for us.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
My daughter goes to a magnet school and we love it. She is in third grade and speaks spanish and next year has the opportunity to learn russian. She has art and music classes along with the usual science, math and english. We are very lucky that she got into this school as it is on a lottery system. The school district it is in is not so great. They consistently fail to meet their goals for testing. It is sad that this country is not providing solid education for all of its citizens.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
lol, I'm biden, four examples.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Just look at Dallas' new "no-fail" system. It is ridiculous. Here are just three examples from it. 1. Homework grades should be given only when the grades will “raise a student’s average, not lower it.” 2. Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines. 3. Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade. 4. Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make “efforts to assist students in completing the work.” Would would the kids possibly learn from this? It just sets them up for failure and entitlement issues in their adult lives.
sexylibrarian sexylibrarian 8 years
"We need to stop making excuses for their stupidity, and start teaching." We are teaching Dave! We just need to adress the problems that are there and find a way to fix them.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Yes Liberty I think they do because it has become apparent that we don't move collectively on a problem until it begins to bare down on our comfort of living.
melizzle melizzle 8 years
I second that UnDave.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I think there is a lack of competition in the school system that also is feeding this. In college, the ed classes I took all stressed the need to build self-esteem and trust. I agree that a strong self-esteem is desired, I also know it can't be given, but must be earned. Once again, it comes down to "We need to stop making excuses for their stupidity, and start teaching."
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
This saddens me. I live in Chicago and it hurts. The school system is horrible. I came from one horrible school system in MS to Chicago and then struggled to get ahead. I think more funding needs to be dished out but I also think that equal opportunity needs to be given to every student whether they live in an area where the median household income in $10,000, $50,000, or $150,000. If we do not do this now, then we will continue to have the labor force and economic hardships that we see for people in this country. A lot of things start at home but it continues in the classroom. A lot of children who didn't or don't have support at home and can't even go to school and get anything, how do they develop or even become successful. We need to start developing our citizens ---all of our citizens.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Education is a #1 priority for me. It's a shame that there isn't sufficient funding to adequately prepare all kids from the pre-kindergarten level on to compete academically with other "First World" countries. There's a major dichotomy between funding of urban v. suburban schools (at least where I live, in Texas)...there's some socioeconomic and racial factors in that as well. There also needs to be more initiative for G/T and Magnet/Vanguard programs - really, those programs should become standard for all students. At least from my experience, being in advanced programs has led to a more rounded and comprehensive education.
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