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Skills our kids are not learning

Original post made by Modern Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 18, 2007

I have just bought my 12 year old his first pair of laced sneakers because he has outgrown kids sizes. He has rebelled at laces because he says they are too hard to tie. He has struggled over the years with cleats and usually puts them on and off without undoing them. He would much rather have velcro.

The same child can't tell the time with an analog clock unless he stares at it for ages. He doesn't wear a watch because he uses his cell phone for time. He hasn't had a cell phone for long, before that he said that there were enough clocks in the classrooms and a watch was unnecessary. I know of parents who banned digital clocks in the house years ago to teach children how to use the analog clocks, but now it seems that everything has a digital clock on it and you can't stop them.

I read recently that teens have dreadful handwriting. My 12 year old struggled with "cursive" in 3rd grade, used it in 4th and 5th grade and never used it at all in 6th grade. His typing skills are as good as mine. His writing and written grammar is terrible, punctuation and contractions completely off the board.

Are there other so called life skills that our kids aren't learning and should we be concerned? Is my child unique, or am I just a failure as a teacher?

Comments (32)

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2007 at 10:00 am

I have 2 kids both with different learning disabilities. My eldest still can't tell time in HS. My younger child learned to tie her shoes at about 8 - but only because she seldom had tie shoes prior to that! (She still doesn't like to tie them). I personally think that cursive is outdated and unnecessary, I'd rather the kids spend time studying science, math or grammar than writing their letters (although it is probably good to learn to read cursive).


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Posted by Philly
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2007 at 11:11 am


The skills that Modern Parent speaks about were taught for practical reasons (there weren't any analog clocks or velcro fastenings until recently) and most importantly for the practice of fine motor skills.Those abilities have been developed throughout the centuries using different tools. Shoelaces, reading the clock and cursive are but another set of tools. It can be replaced by other activities to better reflect the needs of the times.

To be sure most youngsters today do not know how to drive horse-drawn carriages or produce garments made by hand, necessary skills of great impact both in the developing of life skills and of fine motor skills in the not so distant past.

Is it a pity that those requirements have disappeared from the daily arsenal of life enhancing techniques? Doubtful...

Not knowing your child I have no idea if he is unique but a qualified occupational therapist will be able to let you know if your child's skills are within the norm and if not what the follow up should be.



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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2007 at 11:21 am

Analog clocks have been about for eons, or not quite as long as sundials. Digital clocks on the other hand are quite new.


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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2007 at 11:29 am

You know kids don't just learn how to tell time or tie shoelaces by themselves right? Thats where parents have to step in. I'm a 16 year old at Paly, and I learned how to tie my shoes and read a clock from my parents. Those two skills are like driving: you don't suddenly become a good driver when you turn 18. Learning and practicing does.

Personally, I don't think children can be classified as unique if they can't tie their shoes. Now, if they were diagnosed with a learning disability, sure. But if they are just normal kids or teens, their only problem is they haven't learned the skills.

It doesn't take an occupational therapist to say that.

I disagree with Philly about how tying shoes and reading analog clocks are becoming outdated, therefore, we shouldn't learn the skills. It is unnecessary for me to learn how to drive a horse drawn buggy, but thats only because they aren't used anymore(I'm excluding the Amish societies here). If a child is 8 or 9 now, I believe that shoelaces and non digital clocks will still be around when he's 20 or 30. What are they going to do then? Wouldn't it be embarrassing for a 35 year old to not know how to read a clock? Until the analog clock is wiped out from the face of the earth, kids should still learn it. It is an important tool. And if clocks are still going to be around, I think shoelaces will be to.


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Posted by Lets Float a Bond Measure
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 18, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Yup... Got it...

We need an Occupation Therapist to see if the child can learn shoe lace tieing skills....

We also need to float BOND measures so we can hire a teacher-aid to teach these kids "shoe tieing skills".

Can the original poster "Modern Parent" learn to take ownership of resposibility ... or thats too hard. Guess who really needs an occupational therapist.


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Posted by AM
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 18, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Let's Float, would you be able to ride a skateboard across town to a make a vtal appointment if your car had a flat tire? case closed...


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Here's a more important skill our kids are in danger of not learning - how to get along. They need to go to school every day in a diverse environment, to learn how to get along with their neighbors - to break down barriers that an unthinking community around them might be building up out of tradition, or out of negligent policy decisions.

If the kids are segregated in schools - how do we expect them to get along with each other later? Segregated schools will create disasterous us vs them mentatlities, so we'll raise another batch of small minded, sheltered kids who can't and won't understand how to celebrate each others difference while they come together in equality and respect for their commonality every single day to work and play.

The MI program is a complete violation of the cultural melting pot foundation that we are built on. How can we be voluntarily creating segregated schools? Its one thing for them to occur on accident - then we try to resolve that problem with solutions to stimulate diversity - but to create it INTENTIONALLY by singling out language based schools with language criteria for entry. Its downright sickening. I tell you if we were creating English languge entrance criteria for our schools, we'd be in court so fast we wouldn't know what hit us. How are we able to get away with this for SI and MI?

So much more dangerous than whether your kids know how to tie shoe laces, is whether your kids are learning how to get along. The alternatives to getting along (gang violence, racism, and worse) are not quite as attractive as velcro and digital clocks.


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Posted by Can Skate and Tie Shoes
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm

"Let's Float, would you be able to ride a skateboard across town to a make a vtal appointment if your car had a flat tire? case closed..."

Yes. I could even ride/rollerblade/ice skate/snowboard/ski/... there if required. Wow, there are some things I didn't learn in school.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Parent above

Whereas you raise some valid points, please lets keep this thread free from MI issues. We have had enough of this elsewhere and this thread raises some interesting points on its own.

I think some of these skills mentioned are getting lost and although it may be down to parents to some extent to teach them, the kids are getting the message that they are unnecessary. I am glad to see that timetelling is still taught in schools and most classrooms have analog clocks in them. I am also pleased that sports shoes, dance shoes, etc. still have laces and we need to teach our kids to tie shoes. However, cursive writing has to be down to the schools. If they want our kids to write then they must not accept typed homework until high school.


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Posted by philly
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2007 at 1:56 pm

My goodness. You guys are so clever and resolve questions so very quickly and I might add with such little information that I am in the awe of you. . I guess that's a Palo Alto trait, which I would not be able to emulate. So, let me explain: I have never said we shouldn't learn the skills mentioned. What I meant was that they are not crucial. Buy shoes that do not require lacing and keep your cell phone in ship shape. If a child of 12 cannot perform a task like tying a shoelace it may indeed indicate not a learning disability, which is linked , but not the same as poor coordination which may or may not require a little occupational therapy. The question seems to be whether the child's coordination typically poor or if it is just this particular task which is difficult for the child. Digital clocks have been around for about 50 years now and if the child cannot read them the problem might simply a combination of not of knowing the 5's times tables with confused spatial perception (which would , of course, explain also why he cannot tie his shoes) . My experience in this area is that of someone who comes across this problem sometimes in the course of her involvement with teaching math and thinks that the analog clocks are one of the cleverest inventions on earth. Surely , math books in grade school even in Palo Alto have a section dedicated to them so if the 12 year old can't read them maybe there is some problem. Sometimes it is indeed just a matter of practice, but many times requires a little intervention. It does seem to me that the time for analog clocks by which I suppose you mean those in which the hands move in a circle will be indeed short just like those of typewriters. This is, of course, a matter of opinion, since none of us has a crystal ball. In the meanwhile, perhaps Lets float a Bond Measure could add to her opinion's credibility but spelling "tying" instead of "tieing". And let's get along people.


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Posted by Shannon
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 18, 2007 at 2:37 pm

uhhh

i learned all these things BEFORE i went to school. shouldn't children be taught how to tell time, tie their shoelaces, etc. by parents?


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Give your average teen a dial phone and they can't use it, its actually funny watching them try to use it. Don't worry though, that is a skill that is outdated and learning it isn't necessary. The others mentioned are still necessary and should be taught. For the most part, it is just practice and the kids don't get enough. So, practice, practice, practice and soon they will be perfect.


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Posted by Don G.
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 18, 2007 at 4:12 pm

I think our kids are not learning how to get out on their own and explore. We take them everywhere in fear of them getting kidnapped, molested, or just plain lost, that they rarely have the opportunity to just "get out" and go somewhere to explore or go farther away than the neighbor's house. My teenage sons don't know the names of the streets or how to find their way around hardly. When we were young and had paper routes or wanted to go to the store our parents didn't take us--we went on our OWN. If our friend lived across town, we rode our bikes to get there and get back. It helps kids learn how big the world is and not just a "DVD" away as they enjoy the "in-flight" entertainment.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm

How about payphones. In this day of cell phones, I am sure that most kids don't know how to use them. I don't even know how much they cost and my mother always made sure I went out with the correct coins!!


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Posted by GG
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 19, 2007 at 12:52 am

yes, we are familiar with all the issues you hv mentioned. with my youngest child, i am adopting a more vigorous plan to get him to do such basic skills right.


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Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 19, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Not only did someone manage to fit this topic into their critical view of language immersion, but also managed to suggest that students who can speak two languages, whatever their ethnic background, will be LESS able to get along with others???


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Another skill kids are not being taught is how to cross a road. I have seen many cases recently where kids wearing headphones step out into streets without even looking. Just because there is a crosswalk it doesn't give them the right to cross without looking. It isn't only cars they have to worry about, remember many cyclists don't think they have to stop at stop signs.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Skeptic Al - Maybe you should change your name to Typic Al. Or how about Skew Ed.

The MI issue mentioned above is about maintaining balanced diversity in our elementary schools for the purpose of teaching kids to get along in a diverse (not segregated) world. Maybe we can call this Diversity Immersion (DI). And what the kids miss out on if we abandon DI for MI, CI, SI, II, GI, EI, AI, WI, BI, etc..

The language learning while there has nothing to do with it as far as I'm concerned - fine teach every kid to speak two languages. I'm all for it.

But its what they're learning about how society works while they're sheltered in their little XI world that concerns me.

Which I feel fits squarely into the subject 'what our kids our not learning': how to get along.


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Posted by Ms.Manners
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2007 at 3:28 pm

How about teaching our kids manners and respect for others? THis is a quality that is sorely lacking, from the experience I have had in school.


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Posted by Anonymous Chicken
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Dear Ms. Manners,
Teaching our kids manners and respect for others would require parents to possess those skills. From the tone of these discussions, their behaviour on the roads, and their behaviour in civil discourse in general, I fear your vision is too lofty and unreasonable to expect from some in this community.
Signed,


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Posted by Are You Serious?
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Your kid is lazy if he does not want to deal with tying his shoes. Put in Boy Scouts and not only will he learn how to tie his shoes, he will learn how to tie several other knots. He will aslo learn other useful skills that can teach him how to survive in the wilderness or maybe even in *gasp* Palo Alto!

However, he may be mocked by the other kids when he is 12 years old, arriving late because he couldn't tell time, wearing velcro shoes, and can't write a coherent sentence.

He is 12 years old, practically a teenager. Do you chew his food for him too?


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Do you know that chickens are stupid and messy and smell really bad? Do you know how to hypnotize and kill a chicken and why you have a wash tub handy when you do? Do you know why you need hot water then? Can you double clutch?
YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW THAT.
I would not buy shoes with laces anymore, even though the Army taught me how to do this real neat box lace of my combat boots.
I am in awe of some of the stuff today's kids do know, It is their parents I am concerned about some times..


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Posted by philly
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2007 at 6:12 pm


I recall that my oldest child (who attended Palo Verde and Ohlone) had an excellent coordination but couldn't tie his shoes despite being in the Scouts . Quite puzzling to our family. Right hand people couldn't teach him since he is mostly left handed and left handed people couldn't either. It took his swimming coach, who like him was ambidextrous, about 5 minutes to show him how to do it (he was already 12 years old ). Let me be a proud parent and say that he attended an Ivy League school, only wears unlaced shoes, is well adjusted, successful and contented .

Since the forum made a diversion to manners , how about not calling derogatory names to people ( lazy for example )? I hope the Boy Scouts is not advocating such tactics nowadays.

I am exiting this forum. I have no idea how this forum went from its main topic to all manner of other unrelated topics and back. I don't understand how you can know with such righteousness what the solution might be and for that matter what the problem is. The mother asked for help: what she got was an earful and sometimes it could have been nicer.


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Posted by Modern Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2007 at 6:23 pm

I have been reading these comments in response to me starting this thread with interest.

No, I was not really asking for help. I was just wondering if I was the only parent with these problems. My 12 year old is not lazy or having co-ordination problems. His main problem is unwillingness to learn skills which he finds unnecessary.

I have seen soccer games where the referee has to stop the game to get a kid to tie his shoes and the kid runs off the field to get a parent to help him and this is a big kid who has great soccer skills. I have seen high schoolers admit that telling time on an old fashioned clock is something they are not good at. I have seen teachers refuse to grade homework that isn't typed.

The reason for my post was just out of interest. I think it is a good discussion we are having and although I do not like the name calling, I hope the discussion continues.


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Posted by nancy
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 19, 2007 at 7:57 pm

There are a few "work habits" skills that my kids have missed out on, despite excellent test scores. When my son was in 1st (in LASD), many parents noticed that the paper work was so easy that their kids got the habit of zipping through it without really paying attention. The mainstream kids learned: what it felt like to be confused, how to try hard, what it feels like to get a wrong answer, how to try again, how to figure out when to ask for help, how to raise a hand to ask for help, what it feels like when the teacher gives you more information, how to incorporate the new info, how to try again, and how great it feels when you finally master something difficult. After 2 years of this in LASD, my son's 3rd grade PAUSD teacher observed, "When I try to help him, he keeps saying, "Yeah, uh-huh!" over and over. He's just trying to get me to go away because he's uneasy." Right! His 4th grade teacher observed, "I give him the ball, but he won't run with it." He doesn't know how. He gets A's, but he (and many others) run from challenges.

Other work habits: A 3rd grade teacher assigned 3 book reports at the beginning of the month. But the kids weren't taught how to scope out the work, how to guess how much time each part of the assignment would take, how to schedule it, etc. Same in 5th. In 6th, they got planners, but were never told what to do with them.

Parents, encourage your kids to talk to their teachers. If you have to, make up questions for your kids to ask and make sure they get real answers. e.g., "When's the project due?" "Dunno." "Ask your teacher tomorrow." ... "When's the project due?" "She said, 'Next Wednesday."

I wish my son had learned to enjoy challenges, to love learning, to schedule projects, and to ask for and receive help from his teacher without anxiety.


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Posted by Sohill
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2007 at 8:24 pm

To Modern Parent: Your first sentence caught my eye ( least we don't complain that schools are not teaching proper grammar, not anymore as in the glorious past) It is "I have been reading these comments in response to MY starting this thread with interest" also, the comments , not the thread, are interesting. It doesn't seem to me that people who use only digital clocks, velcro shoes or moccasins, are not proficient at stick shift cars, have no interest in cooking or doing their laundry, do not know which is the oyster fork and how to address a Senator, are deficient in any way tough these are good life skills. What exactly is expected to be gained by learning how to tie one's shoes? Not more than what's learned by tying one's tie...which in good time your child will learn when he needs to do it. But since you are the parent, (or the coach ) If the child is unwilling to learn those skills you find important then you must decide how to deal with this. No more soccer games until issue is resolved? Some teachers do not think that deciphering 300 pages of hand writing weekly is using their time wisely. I'm with them. All but personal paper correspondence is typed. It is nice to know how to handwrite rudimentarily, but to make it perfect? For whom? As a hobby it is as fun as calligraphy... Analog clock reading involves more than a few twists and turns so it is useful in other ways. By all means teach him as something that's interesting and useful. You may also point out to him that due to budget constraints most ETS locations have only analog clocks. How will he know how to pace himself during tests? Not to speak of the reading of analog clocks being cool... Yes, there are many children with the same outlook as yours and many parents share your predicament, but in the end it matters more that your child know what's important to you, however silly or outdated, than the actually tying of shoes. After all he looks to you for guidance. So, give it to him.


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Posted by Jon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 23, 2007 at 12:35 am

On top of all that, SOME parents have not taught their children to post a respectful message online *cough* "Are You Serious?". If you wish to remain anonymous, remain respectful please!

I am still irked at how people are not even willing to post a first name... it begins to create familiarity with those you are having your conversation/debate with.

Gosh I go onto my Facebook account, cruise the groups and discussion topics, and I see people my age ripping each other up, over politics, religion, and everything else in between. Go on rhapsody.com, and look up "Where is the Love" by the BLack Eyed Peas (30 free downloads/month), and you'll get what I am talking about.

I fully agree with Modern Parent about how dreadful cursive is. I didn't like it, and I went back to print as soon as they let us. Probably should create a petition to abolish it in my opinion.

I volunteer across 101 in East Palo Alto at the Boys and Girls Club Center. Half the kids have the same problem, and I am surprised actually that is the case here, given how my elementary school teachers taught me how to read analog. Still I feel parents have a responsibility to ask the school district to do its best, but if that isn't possible, parents need to step up to the plate and teach their children life skills (kudos for Modern Parent's work!). It takes a lot of persistence. My mom took great pains to help me learn how to ride on a 2 wheeled bicycle, tie my shoe laces, and most importantly, to treat others with respect.

So what do I do when the EPA kids I tutor/supervise come up to me and ask what that analog clock says? I teach them how to read it, and if they want to learn, then it is their gain, and if it is too complicated, they mumble nevermind and walk away. The latter leaves me to my next point which is a birdwalk...

Why does segregation (to be pc, the resistence against de-segregation) still have support of many? Because people are afraid that the education system will be brought to a lower standard by those who in general are disinclined towards pursuing their education, and from what I see, the lack of self esteem society gives them

Compare minority students in my AP US History class, and minority students in my Phyiscs 1 class.

Minority students in ...
....APUSH: No different than anyone else, nor regarded any differently.
....Physics: Unmotivated, rude (yelling at the teacher in a palo alto school!), socioeconomical/societal excuse? NO! they are given a $2million dollar facility with a certified teacher who graduated from STANFORD. If you experienced my hell putting up with these hooligans for one year, your blood would boil as well.

What I want to see is more of the former students (hard working, not even top teird performing) beeng integrated, which should encourage anti-desgregationalists to relax their guard and concern about the quality of their educational system being altered. I am not ignoring racism, but from what I understand things have improved, while performance has not. (i promise this can be cited somewhere).

Now, again I would prefer to see the students in the Physics example class change, but they make teh case for desegregation all the more harder, and I don't have much sympathy for them. I am only glad I made one mistake to take the lower laned class, and I think that will be the last time! I don't want to be a snob, if that seems like the case. I have been in unlaned classes. I can say the diversity is fascinating, but really, it hasn't helped me become a better student. The benefits did not outweigh the drawbacks. Thank gawd for AP, H, A courses allowing for intellectually stimulating discussions.


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Posted by Jon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 23, 2007 at 12:35 am

On top of all that, SOME parents have not taught their children to post a respectful message online *cough* "Are You Serious?". If you wish to remain anonymous, remain respectful please!

I am still irked at how people are not even willing to post a first name... it begins to create familiarity with those you are having your conversation/debate with.

Gosh I go onto my Facebook account, cruise the groups and discussion topics, and I see people my age ripping each other up, over politics, religion, and everything else in between. Go on rhapsody.com, and look up "Where is the Love" by the BLack Eyed Peas (30 free downloads/month), and you'll get what I am talking about.

I fully agree with Modern Parent about how dreadful cursive is. I didn't like it, and I went back to print as soon as they let us. Probably should create a petition to abolish it in my opinion.

I volunteer across 101 in East Palo Alto at the Boys and Girls Club Center. Half the kids have the same problem, and I am surprised actually that is the case here, given how my elementary school teachers taught me how to read analog. Still I feel parents have a responsibility to ask the school district to do its best, but if that isn't possible, parents need to step up to the plate and teach their children life skills (kudos for Modern Parent's work!). It takes a lot of persistence. My mom took great pains to help me learn how to ride on a 2 wheeled bicycle, tie my shoe laces, and most importantly, to treat others with respect.

So what do I do when the EPA kids I tutor/supervise come up to me and ask what that analog clock says? I teach them how to read it, and if they want to learn, then it is their gain, and if it is too complicated, they mumble nevermind and walk away. The latter leaves me to my next point which is a birdwalk...

Why does segregation (to be pc, the resistence against de-segregation) still have support of many? Because people are afraid that the education system will be brought to a lower standard by those who in general are disinclined towards pursuing their education, and from what I see, the lack of self esteem society gives them

Compare minority students in my AP US History class, and minority students in my Phyiscs 1 class.

Minority students in ...
....APUSH: No different than anyone else, nor regarded any differently.
....Physics: Unmotivated, rude (yelling at the teacher in a palo alto school!), socioeconomical/societal excuse? NO! they are given a $2million dollar facility with a certified teacher who graduated from STANFORD. If you experienced my hell putting up with these hooligans for one year, your blood would boil as well.

What I want to see is more of the former students (hard working, not even top teird performing) beeng integrated, which should encourage anti-desgregationalists to relax their guard and concern about the quality of their educational system being altered. I am not ignoring racism, but from what I understand things have improved, while performance has not. (i promise this can be cited somewhere).

Now, again I would prefer to see the students in the Physics example class change, but they make teh case for desegregation all the more harder, and I don't have much sympathy for them. I am only glad I made one mistake to take the lower laned class, and I think that will be the last time! I don't want to be a snob, if that seems like the case. I have been in unlaned classes. I can say the diversity is fascinating, but really, it hasn't helped me become a better student. The benefits did not outweigh the drawbacks. Thank gawd for AP, H, A courses allowing for intellectually stimulating discussions.


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Posted by Jon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 23, 2007 at 12:55 am

Edit + Expansion:

So what do I do when the EPA kids I tutor/supervise come up to me and ask what that analog clock says? I try to teach them how to read it, and if they want to learn, then it is for their benefit, and if it is too complicated, they mumble nevermind and walk away. Pity the latter children, for they are unlikely to inheirit their potential.

I have to say it: It is the parent's fault.

Why? Because somehow along the way, your sons and daughters told me they watch 3-5 hours of television per day. No wonder they have a societal "ADD" and antipathy for learning! If the cable lines all got cut, and parents learned what it means to be a parent and teach lifeskills including STUDYING, oh boy would cities like EPA surpass our own!

Yes, me and my dillusions of idealism. I guess the potential that is driving me nuts, when I try to help those in East Palo Alto, who moan "I want to watch TV", "this is stupid", "why do I have to learn this", fail to care and learn their multiplication tables.

I do what I can, then look at the parent who picks them up with incredulity. I am nothing but a foolish teenager; I am not a motivational speaker, nor do I have the authority to tell these parents to get theirs and their children's act together.

Again it is their loss, and I can only do my part with those types and sigh. Maybe parents need more support seminars?

Then I am encouraged by those there as well, who are focused, tired of their times tables and endless homework, but still persistent. I hope they go even farther than me one day. They are the type that probably have parents that know the value of education, and impress that upon their children.

Those are the real parents, who teach life skills to their kids, and instill all the traits mentioned throughout this rant.

If you have read this far, thanks for listening, you must have a lot of time on your hands =) And yes, I love town square. Thank goodness it is summertime.


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Posted by Doug
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2007 at 12:12 am

I dont have anything to do with the palo alto high school community, but whatever. Most people don't know how to read a sundial. I think that it is normal for my generation to not feel the need to read analog clocks because it is old technology. Same thing with cursive. However, I do not agree with the grammatical part of this conversation. I am very diligent when it comes to grammar. I practically never produce spelling or grammatical errors in projects and papers, and I hate to read a paper with a ton of grammatical errors. It might just be a genetic trait. Being good at grammar and spelling seems to differ from person to person, my dad is TERRIBLE at spelling and grammar, but my mom is pretty good. I always need to help my dad when he is typing an email to make sure he doesn't spell something wrong or make grammatical errors. I think my generation is perfectly fine. I hate watching T.V. I think it is getting to be kind of old, I have been seeing less and less people spend a TON of time watching television, which is good. Societal "ADD" and antipathy for learning are NOT the same thing at all. I have ADD but I love to learn. Multiplication tables don't help in the real world as much as many simple problems would. I hate multiplication tables.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:35 am

Well, to the defense of cursive writing (and analog clocks and shoe laces, too), I'm pretty old-fashioned about some things. I do think writing in cursive is important because I find that it's much faster to write in cursive when taking notes or writing the answers to an exam or essay. It leaves more time for actual thinking versus struggling to print an answer by constantly lifting the pencil. I also think it's important to have decent handwriting because I think it says a lot about a person.

Think of all the old handwritten notes of the world's greatest thinkers, artists, and composers. Sometimes they convey much more of the thought process than preschool printing or lost computer files.

Computers are not everywhere and sometimes they break or run out of power... and then what? Does everything have to stop because they're down? Too often, the answer is yes.

As for digital versus analog clocks... unless, I'm timing a race, I don't need to know the exact minute ever... an analog clock conveys much more information in one quick glance than a digital clock which just may have a missing LED or numerals too small to read from a distance. There is such an amazing amount of engineering and art in an analog watch that I wouldn't dream of ever wearing a digital.

And no, I'm not anti-progress, I'm an electrical engineer. I just think that some technologies should not be applied to everything as they do not necessarily make everything easier or better.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Our home has recently returned to using more analog clocks than digital. A reliable analog alarm clock makes much more sense. With the various different start times at school and weekends, it was really difficult to reset the digital alarm and if the power went off during the day, the time needed to be reset. I know that battery operated digital clocks that tell the exact time from a signal in the great blue yonder helps with daylight savings time, but it doesn't help set the alarm.
Similarly watches are going the same way. Most of us rarely need watches as we use our phones for the time when we are out but trying to set the time was always a pain and one watch, no matter what we did, always beeped the hour which annoyed everyone and we could find no way to turn it off.

No, sometimes the old fashioned way is best.


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