Re: Educating the least privileged

1

Given that that paper only looks at parental education, could it be that Texas and New Jersey have materially lower correlations between parental education and other parental resources like wealth or political power (ie they have more new money) than other states?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:41 AM
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I just invented the word "arugulator".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:41 AM
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The numbers seem to be all over the map - I wonder what sample size is like.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:45 AM
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I just invented the word "arugulator".

COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT A QUINOA SALAD AND COLD-PRESSED KALE JUICE.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:46 AM
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Arugulatoooooooooors! MOUNT UP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:48 AM
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Rocket man.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:52 AM
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I do have concerns about how much "teaching to the test" these things represent (not sure that would play out at a state level, but it might if the different states emphasized this test (or did not ) for grading schools/teachers/principals or for some other material outcome).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:53 AM
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Bob Sumerby, of The Daily Howler, has been calling attention to these figures for some time now.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:53 AM
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6: Ha.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:59 AM
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If they have a lot of data, wouldn't it make more sense to regress proficiency on parental education by state, and look for differential effects? Part of the variation is presumably whole-system achievement.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:01 AM
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Comparing with the next chart -- how well kids of highly educated parents do -- is good for context. We're 5th in the first and 4th in the second. Texas is 3d in the second, behind MA and MN.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:15 AM
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So Texas is both doing very well globally and very well in egalitarian terms? Nice. I wonder what, specifically, they're doing right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:20 AM
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If this is the education and poverty thread, I always struggle with how-to-respond to neoliberals wont to point out how much some US school systems and the country as a whole spend per pupil relative to other countries. In my gut, I think the lesson of that is that we're wasting money trying to solve through education funding problems that would be better solved with direct transfers and a robust social safety net, but there's no currently imaginable road to UBI, medicare for everyone, or related measures.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:22 AM
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12 Interestingly, Texas is near the bottom in reading proficiency.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:32 AM
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4: a colleague of mine, to my certain knowledge, had a "quinoa burger" for lunch. That is to say, a big flat falafel presented as a posh burger. This was in a restaurant claiming to be "inspired by Peru".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:43 AM
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re: 13

But what exactly is it that that $26,000 [from the article] is buying, in order to try to solve through education, etc? Free school meals, extra tuition time, enrichment programs, etc? What?

I'm curious because, searching for the equivalent UK figures, they seem to be somewhere between $5000 USD per pupil, and $13,000 USD per pupil, with the higher numbers tending to be in areas with high levels of social deprivation. Those are still half the numbers for Newark.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:45 AM
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13: I don't disagree that there's waste in education spending, but I'd expect the U.S. to spend more than most countries on education for the same reason I'd expect a haircut to cost me more in the U.S. than in most countries: labor is more expensive.

The article also points out that Catholic schools are cheaper, but it's comparing the average Catholic school to a particularly expensive public school (that $26k is more than double the average for public schools isn't mentioned until the second page). Also, I'd expect Catholic schools to be cheaper, on average, because they have access to a source of relatively cheap labor.

So if the point of that article is that some school, somewhere, is wasteful, I buy that. But the title and subtitle take a stand that's not really supported by the text.


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:51 AM
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The Catholic schools also generally get money from the churches they're affiliated with, at least around here, so tuition is not paying the full per-student amount.

I don't know if I can talk sensibly about school funding, really. We get about $120/student from the state to use for updating the playground, getting copies made for teachers, sometimes use that to fund some extra educational aides, but very basic stuff. Apparently there's tax money that's going to pay off decades-old lawsuits that we could otherwise use to have more money as a district. And the superintendent makes a lot of money, but you'd have to pay someone a lot of money to take on this sort of school, etc., etc.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:53 AM
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Though we went to the park with the other foster/adoptive family in the neighborhood and after a lot of research and soul-searching, they've decided to start their son in kindergarten at the local public school because they think it seems to do better to meet kids' individualized special needs better than much more expensive and better-funded public and private schools. Also, they're willing to be on my PTA team, so I'm no longer going to be the lone executive!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:55 AM
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But what exactly is it that that $26,000 [from the article] is buying, in order to try to solve through education, etc? Free school meals, extra tuition time, enrichment programs, etc? What?

The article claims huge numbers of administrators, among other things, and hints at unspecified corruption.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:56 AM
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It looks like Texas excludes more people from tests than other states. For the NAEP's Califormia excludes about 3% of students. Texas excludes about 11% of students. See page 5 of this pdf:

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2011/2013450.pdf


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:00 AM
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I wonder if there's a delayed-rise-of-feminism explanation - smart career-oriented Texas women would elsewhere do something more ambitious, but here they choose teaching and so you get inflated quality teachers. Coupled with less poverty than in the rest of the south.

That would apply equally well to Utah, though. Dunno.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:00 AM
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I don't doubt that there's administrative bloat or corruption, but I'd bet $1000 that a reasonable portion of those administrative costs are people handling various social services that are handled differently in other countries or private schools and make the international comparisons pretty meaningless (one that comes to mind immediately is creating IEPs for disabled kids, and there are many others).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:02 AM
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Although it looks like in 2013 Texas is much better about the exclusions at about 5% and the Maryland is the outlier at about 13%.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:19 AM
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23: I think that's right. Pretty much any social program applicable to kids gets routed through the public schools, because that's what exists where other social infrastructure doesn't. It's hard to pick it apart in detail, because zany federalism, but that makes sense to me as an explanation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:20 AM
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American schools pay for health insurance for the teachers (and their families). Do British schools?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:20 AM
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And I expect Catholic schools to be cheaper because they don't have to take on the expensive students.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:23 AM
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And "expensive students" doesn't mean just unrulier, it's that care and placement in appropriate facilities for seriously disabled students comes out of the local district's budget, and gets averaged in to their per pupil cost. It's not that this shouldn't happen, but it makes the budgeting less transparent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:26 AM
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26: Health insurance and pensions. Especially in an area like ours where the population has dropped so you've got a relatively small student population and a crop of retired teachers from back when there were twice as many students.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:27 AM
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Without having delved deeply into their methodology, I wonder how comparable the "highly educated" cohorts are across international boundaries. "College graduate" is a pretty low bar to clear in the U.S. compared to a university education in, say, Germany. Frankly it wouldn't surprise me that children of the most educated Americans lag their international peers, given that the most educated Americans includes people with degrees in turf management. The report acknowledges this difficulty ("As with any international comparison of national features, there are limitations
to the extent to which educational attainment levels are comparable across countries"), but passes over it with a hand-wave.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:34 AM
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29 is a really good point, almost certainly applicable to Newark, too. Also Reihan Salam is a dickhole, but at least we can take comfort in the fact that his career has never really taken off despite attempts by various media outlets to make him a thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:37 AM
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American schools pay for health insurance for the teachers (and their families). Do British schools?

British schools don't, but French and German ones do, along with substantial pension contributions baked into the payroll. Of course, their healthcare costs half as much as ours, but that's not enough to account for the difference in overall spending.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:38 AM
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I don't doubt that there's administrative bloat or corruption, but I'd bet $1000 that a reasonable portion of those administrative costs are people handling various social services that are handled differently in other countries

That doesn't explain why New Jersey's schools are so much more expensive to run than other states'.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:45 AM
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Although it looks like in 2013 Texas is much better about the exclusions at about 5% and the Maryland is the outlier at about 13%.

I seem to recall a recent story by which Maryland was ranked first nationally in education by someone for something. Coincidence? Or is this a case where all the indicators are gamed and so education policy is built upon a putrid edifice of statistical bullshit?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:47 AM
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American schools pay for health insurance for the teachers (and their families). Do British schools?

Why would they? British teachers are expected to use the NHS, free at the point of delivery.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:48 AM
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33 --!29 would, and in addition it's highly likely that the Newark school system is providing a whole host of services that richer districts do not, while dealing with a relatively smaller student population.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:51 AM
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Not that they should, but that it confuses the financial comparison. British schools provide education, and a separate agency provides health care for teachers and their families. American schools provide education and health care for teachers and their families. Even if all the costs are the same, item for item, American school budgets will be higher because more services flow through them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:51 AM
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...education policy is built upon a putrid edifice of statistical bullshit?

I think this is close to the truth. There is so much bollox and system-gaming going on that getting to the root of things seems almost impossible to me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:55 AM
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Obviously the answer is that poor kids in Texas are trying harder in order to escape the hellscape that is Texas, kind of like how being raised in the Peña Dura forged Bane into a supervillain.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:55 AM
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Pension contributions, yes, but health care, no. Obviously. What with there being a National Health Service [for now].

But yeah, I'd imagine the health care costs are substantial.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:56 AM
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Also Jesus Christ is Salman's comparison to private schools and charters stupid. You know what those places can do? Kick kids out and not provide services. What a dickhole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:56 AM
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What rubs me the wrong way about the Reihan Salam article is the casual leap from "Utah and New York have similar outcomes despite spending vastly dissimilar amounts per pupil" to "there is no correlation between spending and performance", which is plainly untrue. Throwing money at the problem may not be a sufficient remedy, but it's a necessary one. Massachusetts isn't perfect, but it has achieved pretty impressive results with the formula of high curricular standards + accountability for enforcing the standards + pay teachers a lot.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:04 AM
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It costs the same to build a school in NY or in Utah, because real estate costs the same everywhere, and if NY wasn't hopelessly corrupt, you'd expect teachers unions to negotiate the same salaries, since the cost of living in NYC is the same as Utah.

What?


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:10 AM
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You're taking a Reihan Salam piece seriously? Seriously? This is as far as I got.

If my math's not off--and it very well could be, as I am a product of America's public schools

Google:...he went to Stuyvesant High (pubic school, highly selective, one of the best high schools in America). It's a laugh line, yeah, but such a deeply dishonest one, just like every last "conservative" "pundit."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:14 AM
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33 --!29 would, and in addition it's highly likely that the Newark school system is providing a whole host of services that richer districts do not, while dealing with a relatively smaller student population.

Why would it? I mean, I'm sure there are discrepancies in how much states/counties contribute to healthcare and pensions, but to the tune of half the budget? And I thought, for instance, that California had relatively generous pension contributions. Is New Jersey notoriously gold-plated in this regard? It's not something I'd heard before.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:26 AM
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New Jersey pays its teachers well compared to nearly every other state. I don't know about California.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:27 AM
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School districts in the US are at a local, not statewide level. If Newark has lost a bunch of population, such that it is payimg for a lot of pensions for teachers that it wouldnt need given its current student population (it has) and vastly disproportionately serves underprivileged kids with hosts of other issues (it does) it will have both higher pension costs per student and higher levels of spending and administration per student than districts that don't have those issues.

I mean, it's also possible that the Newark school system is incompetent and corrupt; it's been known as an unusually incompetent and corrupt US city for a long time now. By I'd bet without knowing that the two things I just identified are bigger issues.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:31 AM
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Newark schools are run by the state of New Jersey


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:41 AM
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What drives me nuts about the claim that spending is irrelevant is how lazy it is. If you look at two districts that are spending vastly different amounts of money, and getting the same results, that's a very interesting thing to know, but it doesn't come close to establishing that spending is irrelevant. It's a starting point, from which you need to comb through the budgets of both districts, and figure out where the higher-spending district is spending more, and whether the extra spending is justified or necessary. And maybe comparing the two budgets will let you track down and eliminate "waste, fraud, and abuse"; that's certainly the hoped for result. But you can't just do a treetops level comparison of budget to budget and take that as proof that the higher-spending district is wasting the money.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:44 AM
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Ok, but the numbers cited are for per-pupil spending in the Newark district, not statewide, regardless of the fact that the Newark district is managed by the state (which should, theoretically at least, reduce corruption and administrative bloat issues).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:45 AM
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So then, we're all in agreement? Americans are stupid and everything is better in enlightened, topless Europe.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:54 AM
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44: I went to high school with Salam. He's always been in love with the sound of his own voice; his kinda-odious political stance is almost beside the point.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:03 AM
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I like the sound of my own voice. Unless it's been recorded and being played back. Then I can't stand it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:06 AM
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Re: 51

Where are you getting that from?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:06 AM
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49 is really all there is to say on this topic. Salam's thought experiment is just so stupid. I have $780k and 30 students? How many of them have special needs? How many are violent? Who's going to deal with them? How many don't show up? Am I legally obligated to track them down? Who's going to do that? What happens if my "chef" is sick one day? Should I have hired a backup? Does my chef shop and prepare meals for 30 kids? If not, who shops? Who unloads the truck when supplies are delivered? Who sweeps up? Do I have to provide transportation for any of the kids? Who does the driving? How much does that insurance cost? Oh shit, this might cost slightly more than homeschooling your buddy's kids!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:06 AM
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I don't think I've mentioned here that we switched the kid into the public school system from Fancypants Academy, after Fancypants just got too unbearable for a host of reasons. Because we live in the ghetto, we're now at a school where my kid is the only white kid in her grade (not too surprising) and even more amazingly there are no Asian kids. 80% low income, about 70% Hispanic, 30% black.

And you know what --- the education is amazingly better than Fancypants Academy. Better teachers, way more rigorous and tough curriculum, order in classroom maintained better, more homework, more testing, more academic engagement. My kid's reading, math, and general academic engagement/competence level shot way up. The facilities are definitely way worse (though this particular school has some amazing spaces and an incredible garden on campus). The big disadvantages are (a) no enrichment programs like art, music, school play, etc; (b) no socializing with kids of rich people; (c) a less clear-cut obvious path to a "good" high school. But so far advantages enormously outweigh disadvantages, even completely putting aside the fact that it's free. Maybe things get worse as you get older, or for boys.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:32 AM
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56 is great.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:36 AM
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Yeah, 56 is the testimony that you long for but secretly don't think exists.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:37 AM
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56: Awesome. I feel like Public School Pollyanna talking about Sally and Newt's schools -- I'm always kind of worried that their schools have been really wildly atypical. I really like hearing about similar experiences from other parents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:41 AM
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I think some of it might just be luck getting a particular teacher. I guess we'll have to wait another year to see if the advantages hold. But still.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:41 AM
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My sample of parents is really, really not the norm, but the way it shakes out among the people I know personally is that the insecure parents are the only ones who send their kids to private school, and all the super smart, well-adjusted parents that I admire send their kids to public school.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:44 AM
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(And there's certainly been craziness -- Sally's algebra teacher completely losing his mind and ceasing to function last year comes to mind. But that could have happened anywhere, and the kids don't seem to have taken too much damage.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:47 AM
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Wait. Parental insecurity is a bad thing now?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:48 AM
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64

Maybe things get worse as you get older, or for boys.

My sense in NY is that things are different at the middle/high school level. There are some high schools that are intolerably bad, but it's not all that big a percentage, and if you're together enough to want to avoid them (not by doing anything tricky, just navigating the normal high school choice process) you can. Of the schools that aren't a dangerous mess, some are excellent (Stuyvesant and such) and some are perfectly adequate, even if scruffy and underfunded.

But I don't know how well that translates to other cities.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:50 AM
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I've never heard of anyone having a good middle school experience, except under rare weirdly positive conditions.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:52 AM
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||

Nothing pleases me more than unstated, but obvious, rule-bending from someone who doesn't owe me anything. Right now I'm working on a Ford dealership, and Ford is paying half the project, so they get to review the design. Today the Ford guy tells me there's not enough parts storage in the basement, but he's using an incorrect plan, so I send him the right one. He writes back, That's even less space than you had before, but I believe you've mislabeled some of the space. And he attaches a drawing that just arbitrarily labels a chunk of the detailing area "Parts". Yes, absolutely, that's totally parts storage, thanks buddy.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:52 AM
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Parts are details, if they're small parts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:53 AM
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68

I'm not totally following how that helps you out, but good for you? him?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:54 AM
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There are only small actors.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:54 AM
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Halford, I'm so glad to hear that. Mara never started out in Fancypants world, but she has thrived incredibly through kindergarten and is a year ahead in math now and was named #1 Friend. (Nia's situation is more complex; she's still struggling a little academically and has had so many challenges this year, but the principal and counselor chose what teacher next year will be the best fit for her and I expect to see her soar.)

We've been able to get a school play for 4th grade-high school. A retired school counselor from the district (who's also my parents' friend) decided that a revived drama program was what they needed and he and his second wife asked for donations to a fund in lieu of other wedding gifts, and they've kept donations rolling in. The school breaks ground for a theater at the high school next year and each show is better than the last, which admittedly isn't saying much but still!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:55 AM
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56:

Chapeau! Opportunities to do that are often present, but many are afraid to take that step. It's often a fear you might be blamed for some bad result, so better play it safe. Just like a hiring decision, except more important.

In Chicago, living in a ghetto neighborhood would confer great advantages in applying for selective high schools, but that system may not apply there.

As to enrichment, there may be citywide options when she's older. My daughter was in her neighborhood school, but enrolled in an Art Institute course when she was in middle school. Twice a week she left class, caught a bus and then a train downtown, and learned art history. Had to write challenging papers about it, beyond what was being asked locally, and she found she excelled at it. She was just recalling the other day that Frank Gehry stopped by their class one day, and explained what he was planning for next door and why. Just the mass transit journey gave her a tremendous sense of competence.

That program set the course for the rest of her schooling, to this day really.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:55 AM
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65: Are you missing Sally (and to a slightly lesser extent Newt), or counting them as "weirdly positive conditions"? They've both had a fine time through middle school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 11:57 AM
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I was thinking more of adults looking back on middle school than kids-of-friends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:08 PM
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68: Basically, he said, "You don't have enough square footage of parts, so we'll just label some other square footage "parts" and call it good." He's not asking me to change a single thing in the real world in order to meet this requirement, so yay.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:10 PM
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64: (and more about 71)

While my daughter did have that great experience, her middle school in general was not positive. She was not challenged or actually fell back, as in math.

After that we got my son, a good test-taker, into a selective middle school in one of Chicago's wealthiest neighborhoods, which competed directly with the private schools in the area.

We have mixed feelings about that place: the instruction was unambitious and did not allow take-out programs like the one my daughter had had. The school achieved it's results by selection and by aggressive fundraising, which made their facilities ridiculously better than the public average. My son did his part by bumping their scores.

But he did not have a Such, Such Were The Joys experience on the whole, because the great benefit was that he was normal in his classes in middle school. Kids of high ability and cultural capital could hang with and experience adolescence with others like themselves. He made lasting friendships in middle school. My very gregarious daughter, still in touch with the Moldovan Boy, now a NYC cop she met first day of kindergarten, has no friends of any kind from middle school, and others--girls--she's still wary, even afraid of when she encounters them in the neighborhood.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:10 PM
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73: I was never a particularly cheerful child, but middle and high school were a serious improvement for me over grade school, and I wouldn't have called either miserable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:13 PM
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I disliked my later-elementary school and middle school intensely, but I think my basic temperament was normal-cheerful, most of the time, just because that's how I'm built. But both environments were pretty normal-awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:21 PM
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What I mean is, I vividly remember thinking on a daily basis how much I loathed the middle school, and I remember counting down days to summer and thinking most of the kids were shitheads. But if I were in one of those pager-experiments where you get beeped randomly and asked to record your mood at that moment, it would have usually been upbeat. Sort of the opposite of parenting - lots of fun but no joy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:23 PM
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My school was k-8, so I never went to middle school. Instead, I intermittently hated my K-8 school!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:25 PM
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Huh, I think I was pretty much the opposite. The school was fine and seemed OK, but that mood-beeper thing would have registered "depressed/angry" at any time in middle school. I guess personality trumps all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:25 PM
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Middle school was actually not too bad for me, with a couple of exceptions. 3rd and 4th grade were horrendous -- and this was in the MPS of the '80s, which could probably stand up against any other school district in the country.

Also, we had a fair amount of enrichment activities in school, but most of it was pretty meh, compared to what I got to experience due to my parents, their friends, and my other relatives. I'm sure the average Unfogg-sprog is going to be as well served, or better, in that regard.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:26 PM
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80: I am Halford. I wouldn't say I was happy in middle school, exactly, I just wouldn't have thought of the school as the problem at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:27 PM
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Specifically, the social jockeying for popularity/ostracism Heathers/Mean Girl stuff that's sort of a background assumption in YA fiction? Pretty alien to me -- if it was a thing in my high school, I missed it. And I've had puzzled conversations with Sally asking if that's real anyplace, or just a fictional trope, and I had to tell her that I wasn't sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:30 PM
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It was basically true at my middle school. Popularity was the end-all be-all, and I detested the whole system down to my teeth but also deeply loathed myself for wishing I were further up the totem pole (and also loathed myself for not naturally being further up the totem pole).


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:32 PM
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But also, I had a circle of unpopular-but-not-tormented friends, and we had a lot of fun together, etc. The minutia was generally fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:34 PM
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And I've had puzzled conversations with Sally asking if that's real anyplace, or just a fictional trope

LB has noted fairly often how un-Lord of the Flies like her kids' school is. I've been consistently baffled. Is NYC just really different from elsewhere in that regard?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 12:59 PM
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I dunno. I always figured the Lord of the Flies/Mean Girl/Heathers stuff was just exaggerated, but if it really is real most places I don't know what the difference is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:04 PM
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One hypothesis is that city schools really are better in this respect, because there's so much going on outside of the school that if you need to you can just treat school as a 9-3 and run your social life entirely outside of it. Or switch schools easily. It's the prestigious public high schools in suburbs where there's really only one school to go to and not much going on outside of that school that I think stereotypically have the most brutal cliques and popularity contests. This hypothesis could be totally wrong.

As I'm sure I've said here before, the NYC kids I knew growing up (cousins, friends in college) were either unusually mild-mannered and homebound (but not obsessed with popularity), or really insanely wild and e.g. doing cocaine at the Limelight with Debbie Harry at age 16 (but also not obsessed with high school popularity). No middle ground. This stereotype almost certainly derives from the old 70s-80s NYC and is 30 years out of date.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:05 PM
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I was thinking along the lines of 88.1 -- that in a less dense place, there's only one social world and it can get really brutal because there's no way to get out -- but then I worried that I was falling back in to my usual inner city chauvinism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:07 PM
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My high school was also very un-Heathers like. I'd always assumed it was because it was majority Jewish (it was in a Jewish neighborhood).


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:09 PM
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89: I imagine the school would have to be on the smallish side? The suburb of L.A. I grew up in had one high school but it was a three year high school with 3K students. There were cliques but there was no way in hell for a single "cool crowd" or whatever to be exerting a ton of influence with that many students.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:12 PM
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I think size matters. Yes, yes I do. And I think being able to establish an identity matters. In big schools, and in schools with lots of activities (in and out of school) available to the kids, the kids will either find a clique, even if it's small, or have their own thing going on, which relieves the pressure to win school.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:14 PM
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My high school was also 3K. Apparently I can confirm everybody's theories today.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:14 PM
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Oddly enough, the people I know who had a great time in middle school were in a super rural Texas town.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:14 PM
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It looks like I was pwned, but I thought it way before I typed it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:15 PM
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Counterexample on size -- Hunter was 200 kids/grade, which is pretty small, no? And Sally and Newt's school is 100. Both small enough that a dominant, powerful clique would be possible, they just didn't or don't actually exist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:18 PM
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Anyways, my girls went to the low income majority hispanic middle school where my wife was teaching and were fine. They're now in the high school that middle school feeds into and they're still fine. They have AP classes, good GPA's, etc. My older daughter seems to hate a lot of the same hoop jumping aspects of high school I did but she'll live just as I did. People's hand wringing about public schools is overblown.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:19 PM
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Right, I mean size or activities, not necessarily both.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:20 PM
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Hunter was 200 kids/grade, which is pretty small, no?

Bigger than my Jr/Sr High (8-12) combined, including the teachers and some of the people who lived in houses across the street.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:23 PM
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You had forty kids in a grade? Two classrooms?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:28 PM
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Both my kids are adamant that their urban high school was an enormously better and more stimulating place to be than UMC suburbs. Most of their college classmates are from such places, and not having had their experience is a source of gratitude and thanksgiving to them. My kids' HS had no sports facilities and hence no sports-based hierarchies. I wish there were more schools like that.

There was some wildness, because several colleges have facilities and dorms in the South Loop where their HS was, to say nothing of urban life itself--bums, street people, homeless shelters. So my daughter had Alameida-like attention from older guys, with whom her classmates couldn't compete, my son was part of a drug-scene. They survived and prospered.

My HS was and is, as the legion of Mineshaft Columbusites can attest, the epitome of suburban hs hell. I was bored, disengaged, alienated, frequently absent. I had some good experiences in spite of it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:28 PM
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100: I graduated with 17 (counting me). This was a smaller than normal class, but not absurdly so. In middle school, it was smaller because some of my future classmates were still in the rural schools that stopped at eight grade. I think in first grade there were maybe 9 of us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:30 PM
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OT: Should you ever lapse into thinking yourself "hip" or "cool," nothing will quash that quicker than an afternoon looking for Twitter feeds to follow in the insurance and reinsurance sectors.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:30 PM
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101.last: UA?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:31 PM
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104: yes.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:32 PM
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My high school experience was fine, fwiw. An IB program in the poor high school. I think I would have loathed the high school I was zoned for but I would have been basically indifferent to the popularity game by that point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:33 PM
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102: Where did you grow up that had no people? Small town PA someplace?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:33 PM
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Hasn't MH basically revealed that already? I mean, not the name of the town, but I know the state and general area and that it wasn't smalltown PA just from reading comments here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:35 PM
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He grew up in a rural religious community where people expressed their devotion to God through puns.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:38 PM
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I mean, to be transparent, Moby grew up as a child on a secret CIA-run bio-experimental space station orbiting the Earth.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:39 PM
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107: Never thought I'd get a chance to tell LB to RTFA!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:40 PM
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Sometimes I am distracted from the comments by working. It doesn't happen much, but occasionally.

A school that small just sounded really unusual -- like, rural Alaska or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:41 PM
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Both my kids are adamant that their urban high school was an enormously better and more stimulating place to be than UMC suburbs. Most of their college classmates are from such places, and not having had their experience is a source of gratitude and thanksgiving to them.

It's interesting to me how personally I take these kinds of anecdotes. SORRY, JANE! I can't imagine I'll ever get a job somewhere else, but who knows, maybe the apocalypse will come before you get to high school and save you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:41 PM
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This is one of those things like formula feeding. Most people in the US went to suburban schools and are just fine. I coo obnoxiously over Sally and Newt's school both because I really do think well of it, and because I'm a tiny bit defensive that I'm not sheltering them as is their UMC due, so I get aggressively triumphant about the alternative.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:46 PM
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I'm from Nebraska. I've never explicitly stated the name of the town but I think I've been clear enough that anyone who knows the area or reads here often could guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:47 PM
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I know, this whole thread makes me crabby. Have fun with your shitty rigid social scene, Geeblets.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:47 PM
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Alaska, Nebraska, I get all those states that end in -ka mixed up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:49 PM
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An IB program in the poor high school

Twinsies with my wife again. Although I'm not sure her high school itself was poor. She does recall blood being hosed off hallways from stabbings in middle-school, but the IB high school might have been a separate facility.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:53 PM
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112.2: Funny, I don't think of that as an unusually small school. Towns of 150 aren't unusual, either.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:55 PM
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The hypothesis that the clique effect is worst in big suburban schools is likely correct. I wasn't miserable in High School, but my HS was a large public school in an upper upper middle class suburb (basically you could have filmed a John Hughes movie there), and it was definitely less enlightened than LB describes her kids' NYC schools as being.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:57 PM
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Wait, I was arguing that big high schools (suburban or not) suffer less from clique effects, because they're so big; everyone can find at least some like-minded folks to hang with.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 1:58 PM
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There are plenty of places rural enough that high schools are that small, even in a big population state like California. I had two friends, one in the Inyo Valley and another in the San Diego desert, with graduating classes of fewer than 20.

Middle school was really odd for me (I got suspended! OMG!) but not actually terrible most of the time.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:00 PM
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My HS was 3,000 students and sorta suburban (we're not adjacent to a big city, but my home town definitely feels like the 'burbs) and it was great! As ogged is arguing, there's enough people that the social structure is reasonably fluid and you can find people to blend in with.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:02 PM
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I coo obnoxiously over Sally and Newt's school both because I really do think well of it, and because I'm a tiny bit defensive that I'm not sheltering them as is their UMC due, so I get aggressively triumphant about the alternative.

Yes, and I admit that part of my reaction there is "Yes, well, I WISH I COULD LIVE IN MANHATTAN TOO."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:02 PM
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I was arguing that big high schools (suburban or not) suffer less from clique effects, because they're so big

Okay...

everyone can find at least some like-minded folks to hang with.

You mean, like, a clique?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:03 PM
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Wait, I was arguing that big high schools (suburban or not) suffer less from clique effects, because they're so big; everyone can find at least some like-minded folks to hang with.

Yeah, I went to a fairly large urban but well-off public high school and the size definitely worked like that. (And the large urban, not particularly well-off public middle school I went to before that was the same.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:04 PM
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My comma choices in 126 were idiosyncratic at best, but the results, I hope, were comprehensible anyway.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:06 PM
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There's probably some optimally bad high school size for cliquishness and hierarchy that we could figure out. I'd say between 150-700 students per class is the sweet spot for bad. Below that number, everyone knows each other and is forced to interact and so how much of a jerk can you really be. Above that number, sure, you'll have cliques but the place is so damn big none of the cliques is going to dominate and you just kind of do your thing. The particular numbers may be off but I like my sweet spot of size for bad high school experiences theorem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:08 PM
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That's a big sweet spot, you slut. I'd guess that the location and town cultures matters as much as the size.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:11 PM
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I wouldn't identify cliques as the problem with my HS, or my idea of what's wrong with them generally.

Boredom, philistinism, self-satisfied cultural wasteland are the terms I'd use in gesturing towards the real problem.

Halford's notion that what's going on outside is what makes urban schools more stimulating is mine too, but my kids also had better teaching and a better curriculum. The mediocrity of my HS, contrasted with its idea of itself, which to be honest I never took seriously is my chief beef with it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:11 PM
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My middle school was ~900, high school ~1200, and my parents lobbied really hard for me not to follow my brothers to UofM, but the schools they liked - 5k-10k - I was convinced it would feel just like a high school of 1200. (Which was fine for high school but I was sick of it.) in hindsight I was pretty stupid.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:12 PM
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275 in my graduating class, UMC suburb. I consider Veronica Mars to be basically a documentary (with cell phones and other modern conveniences).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:20 PM
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131: Richard Loeb, of child-murdering fame, is still the youngest graduate of U of M. You should try to raise a prodigy and beat that record.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:23 PM
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Grade school: 18
High school: 697
College 1: 12
College 2: 1250 IIRC


Posted by: K-sky | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:27 PM
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130.2 expresses perfectly what I find so off putting about the "elite" private schools here.

But then my suburban hs (roughly 1500 students) had no pretensions to being anything interesting and also managed to bore me into delinquency. Heavy on the social pressure too but by that point I was toughened against it. Access to regional transit, playing in every interesting area youth orchestra and early admission at ucb pulled me back from the brink. The early admission thing at uc schools is worth looking into for those within reasonable distance, they don't publicize it and your hs principal has to support your application pretty vigorously. My strong track record of hair raising adventures with personally compelling guys who any parent would exclude from all categories of "nice young man" provided the motivation for my hs principal to set me on a different path, but I'm not sure this is a strategy that works when advocated for by a parent. Was more fun than resume padding, while I was adventuring, though!

Seems to me nowadays that public hs are much more flexible in accommodating outside commitments and opportunities than private, I suspect because not blinded by delusions of their special snowflakeness.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:30 PM
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135: dq?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:34 PM
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Sorry yes. Clearly my maddening typing style and juvenile delinquency identify me easily.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:35 PM
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OK, since Ogged pushed me, I'm going to say that the cherry of the sweet spot for the optimal size for a shitty high school experience is . . . 275 kids in a class. Big enough to be brutal, small enough so that you won't necessarily find a crowd you like. Worst possible size. Worst possible location is an aspirational UMC suburb where your parents are also aspirational.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 2:53 PM
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||

Hawaii: Can you please stay in the front of the house? I want to get some cleaning done and I don't want anyone to mess it up.

Suuuuuuuuuuure.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:02 PM
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I don't know that aspirational would be the worst; at least those kids have an eye on life outside/beyond high school. A town where a significant portion won't move away or go to college, with class sizes around 100-300, seems like a recipe for hell. In an aspirational suburb, you can tell the kid, "it's just high school," but if no one is going anywhere, high school is the beginning of the rest of your life.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:02 PM
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Ok, I admit it, I'm just guessing at what heebie's town is like and trying to describe it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:10 PM
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Something distinctive about my kids' hs experience that would probably also obtain in NYC, Philly and other urban train-heavy public transit environments was the way they made use of the trains as meeting places. The school is very near the center of the far-flung network, on the major N-S line. Students attended from all over the huge city. In the morning, the kids would text each other to ascertain which trains their friends were on. Unless they were late, those on earlier trains would get off at the next stop, then get on when their friends' train came by a few minutes later.

The mid naughts, when my kids were in HS coincided with the arrival of cellphones in most kids' pockets, so this trick wouldn't have been possible before then.

That, and the fact the school had no drivers ed facilities meant that cars, the very center of hs life when I grew up, played no part in theirs and neither graduated with a driver's license.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:10 PM
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Oh God, 139 reminded me that I've been meaning to humiliate myself by sharing last weekend's "slave game" from my daughter.

She's gotten slightly obsessed with the idea of slavery, ever since she got "Addy" the American Girl doll who was a slave and yearned to be free and escaped with her mother after the Confederate slaveowners beat her and her brothers and tried to sell her down the river according to the somewhat shockingly graphic accompanying book.

So last weekend she asked if we could play the "slave game" where she was the oppressed slave and I was the "master. She would have to do chores including cleaning the "white master's daughter's room." This is pretty much the only time she has ever expressed a willingness to clean her room, so I basically said "uhhhhh OK I am your master, clean for me." She did a really nice job of not only cleaning up her own room but also sweeping out and cleaning the living room and dining room. All the while saying things like "don't beat me master, I am a poor slave girl. I will never try to escape from this plantation."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:13 PM
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Hawaii made everyone's bed, folded some laundry on the floor, cleaned up some scattered toys, and now she is saying she's going to put on pajamas. She is not easy-going, but in some ways she is still very easy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:17 PM
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Anybody can be a great slave for just one day.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:19 PM
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141: YOU ASSHOLE. Actually, all schools in Texas are aspirational 5A so that they can play football, so I think our local high school has about 5000 students, which puts it safely in dozens-of-small-cliques territory.

Also we're close enough to Austin and San Antonio that I don't think anyone has to feel like they are trapped. You can move to a city without abandoning your family.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:20 PM
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I mean, play big football, not pansy football.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:22 PM
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142: Can't coordinate with cell phones on underground trains (yet. There's signal at a few spots on the A, but not most places.) Kids might be doing that where the trains run above ground in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, but not on the route my kids travel.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:32 PM
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143 is hilarious. Have I mentioned my friend, probably thirty seconds outside of the elementary school, dropping her daughter off for school, when her daughter said, "There are three slaves in my class!" (I assume it was circa MLK day or something.)

My friend basically spent the next 30 seconds saying "DON'T YOU DARE OPEN YOUR MOUTH ON THIS TOPIC UNTIL WE CAN TALK FURTHER THIS AFTERNOON."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:41 PM
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People's hand wringing about public schools is overblown.

I went to Catholic elementary, middle and high schools that always had a bunch of kids transferring from local public schools who regaled us with tales of constant violence and intimidation. I wonder how many of them were just straight up bullshitting versus how much has probably changed since then (Miami, '84 - '96) .


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:48 PM
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Teenagers love to bullshit all right. I love the tension of teenage bullshit vs. statistics, and obviously statistics will triumph.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 3:52 PM
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Oh, this thread again. I think I'm too lazy to link to my detailed opinions of my high school (yay!) and middle school (meh). My high school class size was 400, fwiw (not much, I think).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 4:00 PM
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140 is pretty much exactly what I dodged by going to Ultra-Nerd High. It was clear from the young adults I knew that the high school social scene was frequently the beginning of the rest of their lives.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 4:03 PM
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143 is a Moth favorite waiting to happen.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 4:12 PM
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Like the link in 151, I had friends who would complete standardized state tests with elaborate bubbled pictures - Christmas trees, aliens, etc. There was no penalty to the student for a poor score.
FWIW, my high school class started with about 700 freshman and ended with 450 seniors. It was big enough to have cliques for most people - even the really sad kids had a couple of friends. Of the graduating class, I think about 80 went immediately to four year colleges. Maybe another 80 to community college.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 4:14 PM
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Can't coordinate with cell phones on underground trains

Right, this was the earlier stages of the journey from outer neighborhoods like ours; last few miles underground on their line, although the trains from the south and west would mostly be el all the way.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 4:30 PM
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112: A school that small just sounded really unusual -- like, rural Alaska or something.

LB makes a run at peak Pauline Kael.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 6:18 PM
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Also,

"moby hick" "nebraska" site:unfogged.com -> About 224 results (0.38 seconds).

Of course some may be ancillary Nebraska conversations in which Moby took no part.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 6:21 PM
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I doubt it. I think I've started them all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 6:47 PM
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The Mobes goes on forever, and the ancillary Nebraska conversation never ends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 6:50 PM
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Thanks to 158 program-related search activities, I'm pretty sure I know which US state appears on the fewest unfogged threads.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 6:58 PM
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New Hampshire?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:01 PM
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Good time to ask how much Nebraska history you learned in school, and what grade if any it was required in. Specifically what you might have learned/been taught about Bryan.

I've asked a number of people lately about state history in school. Ohio's requirement seems to have been both more extensive and later--7th grade--so that it was taught on a higher level than for either Illinois or Indiana, where it was a grade school thing from which nobody remembers much of anything.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:03 PM
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Wasn't there an agreement not to mention Vermont?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:04 PM
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Probably one of the forgotten states.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:06 PM
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Ohio's requirement seems to have been both more extensive and later--7th grade

Nuh-uh. Or at least not when I went to school there. 7th grade was social studies, some quarter-assed version of World Civ. 8th grade was US history. And 9th grade was a free-for-all, though I believe government was required.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:10 PM
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163: I don't remember exactly what grade it was required in. Late elementary, maybe. I don't recall learning about Bryan in school. I learned about Bryan the usual way, watching Inherit the Wind with my dad. I was told that one of my college apartments used to be his brother's house. I do remember having "George Norris Day" on year. I mean, I think that every year has a George Norris Day, but one year we observed it in a meaningful way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:11 PM
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Not "overturning laws outlawing unions shops" meaningful or anything. Just some reading about him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:13 PM
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163: I recall having Ohio history 3 time in 4th (not a separate class, but a specific thing we covered in some depth), 7th and 10th grades. IIRC for the six years in Jr. & Sr. High it went Ohio, American, World and then repeated.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:13 PM
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My 8th grade US history teacher was amazeballs. He graduated from Oberlin and not only really knew his shit but also how to teach it. Unfortunately, he was short and plump, so the class tore him to shreds. Watching him deflate over the course of the year was terribly disheartening, which explains my descent into drugs and drink that summer.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:16 PM
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It's possible I started doing drugs for other reasons, and also earlier than that. Still, I felt terrible for poor Mr. Whatshisface.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:17 PM
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169: Now that I write that out it seems very wrong.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:18 PM
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169: I wonder if they deaccessioned it after your day, oldster, or if my good fortune in attending a superior school saved me from Ohio history. I remember units, mind you, on the mound builders and whatnot, but we certainly never devoted a whole year to that bullshit.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:19 PM
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State in 161 not mentioned yet. Heebs is right in 165. I didn't remember it to check it until relatively late in the process.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:19 PM
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Unfortunately, he was short and plump, so the class tore him to shreds. Watching him deflate over the course of the year was terribly disheartening

:((


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:20 PM
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Von Wafer sucks balls.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:20 PM
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At least they didn't kill him, like the boys do the teacher in Farmer Boy

In the last century, when Hilltonia Middle School was called "Junior High," there was an institution called "study hall" I often found myself at loose ends there, unprepared and unwilling to do any assignments, although I sometimes did. So I read the "Ohio History" textbook, which was old, published in the '40s, and on a fairly high reading level, cover-to-cover. So I remember a lot that wasn't "taught" even though quite a bit was, then. 1964-65 school year.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:23 PM
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I remember that there had been 2 cultures of mound builders, "Hopewell" and "Adena" Adena was the name of Thomas Worthington's estate in Chilicothe, that had some on it. In my day effigy mounds, like the Great Serpent Mound in Newark were classed as Adena, while a conical mound, like the one on Roberts Road in Columbus, were Hopewell.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:31 PM
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I don't remember any formal attention to NY history, but I might not have been paying attention.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:33 PM
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I mean, I think that every year has a George Norris Day, but one year we observed it in a meaningful way.

Is that that restaurant chain in Milwaukee? Pretty slick to get their own civic holiday.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:35 PM
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My 160 seems really overstated now. I think the "years" were maybe half-years. or maybe just one six-week grading period.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:41 PM
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Most impressive thing is that we studied, and were tested on, The Northwest Ordinance. Drafted by Jefferson in 1797, it is the ur state constitution not just for Ohio, but for all the states north of the Ohio River. So just knowing it means I know more about why things are organized the way they are in IN, IL, MI and WI than the people who grew up there.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:45 PM
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179:

So you didn't learn about the canals, turnpikes and state-sponsored Railways until you read Chevalier on your own?

The early republic was full of state-level industrial development and planning, and big infrastructure projects.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:49 PM
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We didn't cover Massachusetts history, we just covered early US history, 'cuz SAME THING, BITCHEZ. Woo! Paul Revere, Paul Revere!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:51 PM
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LB makes a run at peak Pauline Kael.

Indeed. Schools the size of Moby's are pretty common in rural areas and small towns. With rural Alaska you're often looking at another order of magnitude smaller.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 7:59 PM
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We covered NM history in eighth grade. The class I took did it in some depth, but it was a gifted class so I'm not sure how typical it was. I think it was also covered in elementary school to some extent; I'm fairly sure it wasn't in high school.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:00 PM
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185: and hoooly crap the cliquishness at those schools.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:02 PM
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Rhode Island.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:09 PM
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Speaking of Pauline Kael, I thought mandatory [State] History Class in public school was one of those wacky Texas things. Ohio? Nebraska? New Mexico? Really?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:10 PM
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Texas just takes it much more seriously than other states. They even require it in college.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:11 PM
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I went to a UMC suburban high school, which was pretty good, although a bit dull. There were definitely some teachers who didn't seem fully knowledgeable on the stuff they were teaching... biology and English come to mind.

We didn't learn much about our state's history, because flyover country, and probably laziness. We covered US history pretty well; world history was stymied by teacher incompetence.

But mostly I remember being underage, with hilariously overprotective parents, nowhere to go besides home and school, and a vicious cycle of procrastination and boredom. (Huh, until writing this, I didn't realize I was still so bitter about it.)


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:11 PM
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California does California history, but I only remember it being a 4th grade thing. Also, I never built a mission model, but everyone in America should know that Californians built mission models because they talk about it all the time when they talk about elementary school.

My high school, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, was pretty de facto segregated and got featured in a Frontline special. As the only public high school in the city it was also pretty diverse. People who paid attention to things thought Frontline overstated the issue. I was more on the "high school is ~8-~3, I have a small group of friends I'm sticking with" side of things so wasn't involved enough in the school to even have a sense of what it was like overall socially.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:28 PM
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I just ran some numbers and it looks like schools in rural Alaska average about 100 students total.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:44 PM
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At least they didn't kill him, like the boys do the teacher in Farmer Boy

Ha! to be fair, the only actual teacher death happens in the BACK STORY to Farmer Boy, not in the action of Farmer Boy itself.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:45 PM
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I only recently learned the mission model thing grew out of a very impressive little pilot study that got great results because it involved very personalized, hands-on, in-depth engagement with the subject matter. Then when it was scaled up for everyone, naturally, the important parts of the pilot project got lost in the shuffle, and now it's mission kits all the way down.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:49 PM
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MOOC the mission!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:55 PM
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"Please upload photos of your mission for peer review."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 8:56 PM
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Before continuing on with your video lecture, please answer the following question:

Which of the following is a California mission?

a. Mission Viejo
b. Mission La Purísima Concepción
c. Mission District
d. Mission from God


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:02 PM
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Now that's disruptive!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 9:27 PM
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I had a full year of FL history in fourth grade, and loved it.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:26 PM
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Who wouldn't. It's just one Florida Man line after the next.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-22-14 10:43 PM
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Me too, to 200. Except I don't think I had much of an opinion on it, one way or the other. Coquina forts with mistakenly-inverted cannon holes FTW! (They were cone shaped, through the 3 foot walls. You should put the broad side interior, so that the canons have maximum angles to shoot out of, but they put the broad side exterior, which means that if the enemy fires at you, it will help funnel their canon ball deeper into your wall, and possibly all the way into your fort.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 3:36 AM
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202: "What about the armoured train?"
"It was only armoured on the outside."
"What?"
"We couldn't fire out, but they could fire in."

Still, everyone makes mistakes. The designers of HMS Dreadnought faced the problem of deciding where to put the spotting top (lookout-type thing for pointing guns; must be high up and have as good a view as possible!) in relation to the funnel (thing for releasing thick, black clouds of coal smoke!) and decided to put the top immediately behind the funnel, which meant you couldn't see anything. They corrected this mistake on the next class, the Bellerophons, and then uncorrected it again on the St Vincents.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 3:43 AM
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MOOC the mission!

I needed a mission, and for my sins they gave me one.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 3:44 AM
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198: Trick question. d) is of course an Illinois mission.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 4:43 AM
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If this is the thread for random historical trivia, I was amused recently to learn that John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, apparently told a suspiciously similar story about a young girl intervening to save his life when he was captured by the Turks.

I suppose the Pocahontas story was always suspect, but it's funny to think that Smith just liked spinning stories about how the laydeez just couldn't resist saving his life.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 6:07 AM
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Serious state history could be taught on a much higher level than it usually is. I know this is the mineshaft, but I won't speculate as to why it isn't.

That ancient Ohio history textbook which I serendipitously happened to read was a relic from some serious pedagogical intention. Detailed, integrated, broadly-based. A lot about industrial development in the late 19th and early 20th Cs. Might have been some sort of WPA project, I don't know.

You could take Massachusetts history up an escalator by assigning Thoreau's two great "local travel" books in high school: and Cape Cod.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 6:26 AM
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A Week On The Concord and Merrimack Rivers

probably didn't close the html properly.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 6:33 AM
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the only actual teacher death happens in the BACK STORY

Yes, too tired to get that right.

Meant "do" to be "had"

Mouseover text?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 6:45 AM
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I had Maryland history. We had to name all the Lords Baltimore.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-23-14 9:58 AM
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