Since the internet is rife with misinformation, disinformation and "urban legend" it can be frustrating to read the same non-facts plastered all over your favorite sites, year after year.
One must be careful about which sources one uses for determining what constitutes an "urban legend". You can't necessarily type a search into the box at Snopes Dot Com and believe what they say, either.
Snopes may or may not have an agenda...I don't know. I do know that some of their judgements, about the factuality of certain stories, have been proven incorrect.
To wit, Snopes "debunks" the following:
Claim: An 1895 graduation examination for public school students demonstrates a shocking decline in educational standards. 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]
This story was checked out by a reliable source who claimed to have called the Salina KS. Public Library and the existance of an original test sheet was confirmed by the Head Librarian.
It seems, even Snopes can dispense misinformation.
Ah, but here's the rub - actually go to Snopes and read the WHOLE article. You will come away with quite a different interpretation. They never claim that there was no such test!
What they go into (at some length, take a look for yourself if you don't believe me), and are asserting, is that the existence of that test does not in itself "... demonstrate a shocking decline in educational standards." That is the part that they say is "False", in their opinion.
This is not to say that Snopes has never made a mistake; I'm sure that they have. You might want to find a better example than this one, though.
I'll come back after I post this and put in a link to the page in question.
I read the whole article and I thought I posted a link to it. Oh well, I must be suffering from CRAFT! Here is the page at Snopes.
Snopes flatly claims the story is "False". If they had said: "Debatable", I wouldn't have much argument with their assessment, though, I don't think you can convincingly argue that there has NOT been a decline...at least, in the large urban school districts. I'd say, the majority of New York City high school teachers could not pass that test. Whether you find that "shocking" is a personal judgement.
Snopes is generally a good source but nobody is infallible--not even me. That was my only point.
I think that we are pretty much on the same page here, because, certainly, the idea of whether or not there has been a "shocking decline in educational standards" is indeed debatable. A careful reading of the story, though, I still maintain, shows that all they were saying was that the mere existence of that test doesn't prove the "shocking decline" all on it's own.
Not wanting to keep beating a dead horse, it's just that in reading your original post, you were careful to put the words "original test sheet" in bold type. That indicates the idea that the existence of that test was what was in question, and I was just trying to point out that that was simply not what they said, is all.
I was also careful to point out, as you were, that nobody is infallible, and I am sure that they have made mistakes in the past, and will surely make some in the future.
I'm ready to stop beatin' on this horse if you are, as it seems we are in agreement on the main point - ie, ain't nobody perfect!
the idea of whether or not there has been a "shocking decline in educational standards" is indeed debatable.
Heck, no it ain't. Educational standards are going down. When my stepdaughter was in high school, I was continually pissed off and disappointed at what they were (and weren't) teaching her. It was plain awful!
Kids today can't spell, they can't read, they can't type, and they can't speak. They don't understand math or history or science. Most kids today can't even do long division! They need a calculator just to do the simplest of functions. They don't know anything about what this country is and why it exists, or what the ideals were behind it. I am embarrassed by the fact that we are calling this an "education" anymore. Public schools are nothing more than mass brain-washing centers for the Left-Wing. They don't really learn any useful information. But they sure come out of there with all kinds of liberal ideas!
The problem stems from teachers continuing to bow to pressure to pass students when they don't deserve it. Parents have adopted this mentality that it's somehow unfair or wrong to hold a student back because he can't pass his coursework. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, abused and underappreciated. And parents just plain don't give a crap anymore. Every Congress and every President throws money at the problem and it just gets worse. They need to realize that Federal dollars alone won't solve the problem.
Sorry for the rant. But I strongly disagree, based on my experience, that education is not declining. It is.
Originally posted by 1952Sniper Sorry for the rant. But I strongly disagree, based on my experience, that education is not declining. It is.
I'm with you on this one! While I certainly believe that anything can be debated, if someone wants to debate this with me--they will lose the debate. I have a collection of notes and memos, from teachers, that is freakin' hillarious! You want to know why the kids can't spell? It's because a distubing percentage of teachers are (at best) sem-literate.
The other reason is the parents. In the NYC schools, there are Asian kids who are learning the same crap--from the same crap teachers in the same crap school buildings--as everyone else. They somehow manage to go on to--and succeed in--the best colleges. Are Asians smarter than everyone else? Maybe, but I doubt enough so that it would make a difference. For the parents of those kids, there is no alternative to getting a good education. My wife works in a bookstore and the Asian parents are coming in now to load up on summer reading and workbooks, for the kids to do over the summer.
Of course, [insert standard disclaimer re ethnic stereotypes] but if parents give a darn, their kids get an education.
Yep, you touched on a very important subject there, wuzzagrunt. Parent involvement is important, but culture plays a large part as well.
I remember a few years ago, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin made a statement that Hispanic children weren't getting ahead because their culture placed no value on education.
Lord a mercy, the poop hit the fan. He was, of course, immediately fired and LULAC stomped all over him in the press. But did he have a point? I think he did. He wasn't saying that Hispanics were stupid or that they were incapable of succeeding. All he said was that their culture didn't place the same emphasis on education as traditional white culture. And the same can be said of other cultures too.
There are obviously going to be exceptions. Many Hispanics and Blacks have shown that they can succeed in school when they try, and when their parents give them the proper support. But, speaking from a national standpoint, it is fairly obvious that the large enclaves of certain cultures are failing to educate their children. This, in turn, leads to continued poverty etc.
So perhaps part of the solution to our education dilemma should be changing the cultural mindset. We have GOT to make the parents, even whole communities, push their children to succeed in school. As the old saying goes, where there's a will there's a way. That's all it really takes: the will to succeed.
Location: Just west of " You sure do live a long way from town"
I am in agreement with the whole parental support thing.
I have three children and all are on the honor role and score in top 10% on all those silly (required) tests. My wife and I show support for their education and all activities. We only have one requirement . We will not accept any Zero's. This way they have to do all assignments. They seem to hold themselves to a higher standard regarding their grades. They still have a few years left but, think they see how far you can get with an education and don't want to end up like some of the people they know who have not tried to get an education. We have been quite lucky with them all. My wife and I try to live by one common rule.
Teach the correct principles and let them govern themselves.
"I'm not anti-government, I'm anti-slavery."