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(Swift Kick Online)   Valedictorian uses graduation speech to rip the entire educational system a new one   (blog.swiftkickonline.com) divider line 303
    More: Hero, American education, H.L. Mencken, Zen, English teacher, tenth grade, concrete masonry unit, graduation, standardized tests  
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38899 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Aug 2010 at 5:26 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-08-07 09:20:03 PM
Interesting speech. I do think that our educational system needs improvement, but we've spent so long preaching certain ideals to ourselves as a nation, that we are extremely loathe to change.

The idea that anybody can be the president, CEO an astronaut, a scientists, etc, just isn't true; yet that's what I grew up hearing. It isn't an intentional lie, in my opinion, but a refusal to accept the reality that we all have different aptitudes and abilities.
 
2010-08-07 09:22:32 PM
Boo-farking-hoo, biatch needs to shut the fark up and enjoy her success. She'll probably end up getting into a top-notch school, which will get her a top-notch job, and then she can cry all over the piles of money she'll be making about... whatever in the hell it was she was crying about.
 
2010-08-07 09:30:21 PM
zetar: I think the American educational system is awful. It is designed to stamp out creativity. It encourages mediocrity.


Yes. It was a big shock to come back from an overseas school with both the AP and IB programs running in tandem, as well as a robust art, music, sports program--and wind up at an American public school here. Even though by national comparison, it is a great school. Mediocrity and obedience was still vastly rewarded compared to creativity and originality, which came with its own passive-aggressive punishments.
 
2010-08-07 09:35:10 PM
Frankly, i think everything is so hellbent on "Romeo and Juliet Is a classic, so we must teach that" that we don't grow. Parents and educators worry so much that we're teaching evolution, and not creationism, that we failed to think "oh, why don't we teach creationism in a religious studies class when we study Christianity, and then have the students write a report about which religion they deem as more correct.

WE worry about African American history to the point where we teach about the life of MLK, Malcolm X, the crimes of slavery and of the KKK, that we dont' have them debate the methodologies of MLK and Malcolm X.

AS it stands now, schools compete for funding by having students pass standardized testing. The schools who do better, get more money. The inner city schools that perform poorly have to do without air conditioning, and with substandard books, if they get any at all. They perform poorly on standardized tests, and they get even LESS money. They just aren't showing up in non-air conditioned buildings, figuring studying with substandard items is pointless. Its a viscous cycle that leaves the poorer neighborhoods with poorly functioning schools.
 
2010-08-07 09:38:20 PM
cuzsis: Yes, but remember your class is one of MANY they have during the day.

And it is one year of many MORE that they have been in the system.

You're kinda waging an uphill battle likely.

/or the kids in your district are just douches.
//it happens.


what you're saying is absolutely true, and it's really hard to work against a system that is so dead set on staying the same. I've been teaching for seven years now, and the urge to just become one of those pen-and-paper rote teach-for-the-test types is very powerful.

Teenage apathy is very frustrating, too. Sometimes, I just feel like screaming at them to give me SOMETHING, to care about SOMETHING, to disagree with me or curse me or tell me what they think about ANYTHING in this world or the next one, but (and this is the scariest part) many of them just don't have anything to say.
 
2010-08-07 09:40:49 PM
xpennyroyaltyx: Sometimes, I just feel like screaming at them to give me SOMETHING, to care about SOMETHING, to disagree with me or curse me or tell me what they think about ANYTHING in this world or the next one, but (and this is the scariest part) many of them just don't have anything to say.

My wife calls it "the shark eyes." It's like there's no soul there sometimes.
 
2010-08-07 09:42:58 PM
Who the heck does she think she is, being all smart and independent. Working so hard to be top student and then question the system she excelled in.

/good for her.
 
2010-08-07 09:44:06 PM
xpennyroyaltyx - here here :) I have gotten in trouble as well not following the "norms" that my districts and the state board wants... Have you ever seen Sir Ken Robinson talk about creativity and the education system??? If not --- goggle him and you will agree with what he thinks.
 
2010-08-07 09:47:31 PM
DeltaXi65:
That's like becoming the world's best golfer and then admitting you hate golf. How much time did you waste learning the system you hate so you can give a speech hating on it, instead of living what you say should be the system?


Andre Agassi hated tennis (new window).
 
2010-08-07 09:50:00 PM
Hmmm, pixels

img237.imageshack.us
/hot
//mebee?
 
2010-08-07 09:53:06 PM
thamike: ShillinTheVillain: I was top 10 in my graduating class of 200

Woah, you're old.

This
is why I love Fark.
 
2010-08-07 09:56:19 PM
jayhawk88: But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer - not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition - a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave.

Oh good another future Liberal Arts major, we need more of those. Have fun "finding yourself" in Europe on your parents dime for a couple years before Daddy pulls the plug, and you spend the next 20 years in the HR department of some company making reference calls and organizing pumpkin carving contests that no one wants to participate in.


That's the funniest thing I read all week because it's so farking true.

/HR people are pure evil
 
2010-08-07 09:57:10 PM
I graduated High School in 1985. I could have written that speech back then.

A little personal info : I never scored below 99% on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). I could read 1,000 words per minute with 95% comprehension in the sixth grade. The first day of kindergarten I was reading at a third grade level. If memory serves, my ACT's were four points higher than the class valedictorian. So let's just say I am not an average student.

On the first day of my sophomore year of High School, I was called into the guidance office and advised to drop out of school. Why? As the counselor showed me my file he put it bluntly : there is nothing we can teach you. At that time in Iowa, just dropping out and going to college wasn't an option. I stuck it out, and spent three years of my life bored out of my skull.

The teachers never figured out that almost every class I was in it was me doing the homework for 3/4 of the class. Want a challenge sometime? Try re-writing a book report as if you were 15 other people, making 15 random levels of suck so as to not ever be discovered.

But the icing on the cake came one day in BASIC programming class. We were to code a simple 15 line program. I rewrote it to take one line. When I turned it in, the teacher rejected it. I stated that the program worked exactly as specified and it was flawless. He still rejected it. I demanded to know why. Very simple, he said - I haven't taught you how to do that yet. From that moment on, my eyes were opened. Like Mark Twain I vowed from that day forward I would never let schooling interfere with my education.

And college wasn't any better - most of the time the 'professor' would pass me out of the class because I had a better mastery of technology and programming than did they. One semester, out of a 16 hour class load, the only class I had to show up for was economics. The rest of the 'professors' gave me A's and told me to never come back to class.

Is our education system broken? From my perspective not only yes, but hell yes.
 
2010-08-07 10:02:42 PM
I'm just surprised she wasnt interrupted by one of the administrators in attendance with a "whoa, whoa, pay no attention to what you just heard, that got a little bit out of control there and wasn't supposed to be that way." comment.
 
2010-08-07 10:02:47 PM
fat_free: I HATED high school, ended up ditching most of my senior year after I was transferred to an all-boys Catholic school in a Chicago ghetto in the late '80s. I also knew that I was very smart, and that as long as I could get into a junior college and build my grades up in a place that I liked, I'd be okay. I got my HS diploma, and laughed when my craptacular school would contact me for a donation, mere months after treating me like I was in a prison.

It worked out like I planned -- went to a local JC, transferred and got my BA degree from Miami of Ohio, established a pretty good career in a field that I enjoy, and made more money than probably all the nitwits at my high school. I succeeded on my own, my high school gave me NOTHING.


Cool story bro. ...no seriously; good on ya! :)
 
2010-08-07 10:11:52 PM
I thought she was spot on in several parts of the speech. The educational system is based on moving kids from grade to grade up to the point of college. That means training us for tests, dumping the material, then preping for the next test. Students that excel in doing this, i have noticed, struggle in college, 4 of my 10 valedictorians failed out of college. Get rid of the farking "No child left behind"
 
2010-08-07 10:12:20 PM
At my kid brother's graduation, the valedictorian decided to delve into the expansion of the high school and how it was so wonderful. Nevermind the fact that it would have been cheaper to just build another one, perhaps accept bids on the work, or that they had to let half their teachers go and make extra-curricular activities pay-to-play because, surprise, they couldn't afford to operate the new expensive building. The carpeted cafeteria and in-school starbucks were irrelevant. He was just so happy they did this for his sake.

"They" meaning the taxpayers, who voted time and again against the tax increase they were told would never be needed to run this now half-empty school. The increase was passed behind their backs.

Very few were happy with this kid. The speech wasn't even his. His father had prepared it as a favor to the superintendent, who made damn well sure to get that kid up there.

Christ, I hate Jackson.
 
2010-08-07 10:14:16 PM
For those of you complaining about the length of her speech:

Link
 
2010-08-07 10:19:47 PM
redmid17: Where the hell was Biggles: Personally, I think that we should go back to teaching classical logic and rhetoric skills. The degree to which modern political debate is predicated on logical fallacies terrifies me, frankly.

No real school system is going to waste their time teaching logical fallacies and tautologies.


www.baitshopboyz.com

Sees what you did there
 
2010-08-07 10:19:49 PM
At first I was like... hmm, maybe she has a point. Then I remembered all the rejects who flunked math and couldn't write and wondered why they couldn't get even a basic job and end up on the streets, welfare and in prison.

First rile of life, survive. That means possessing the tools to put food in your mouth and a roof over your head. This girl should thank her educators and parents for providing her with these basic tools. If she wants to do more than survive, by all means stretch your little wings and fly but DO NOT discount our educators primary goal to provide the tools. If little Johnnie doesn't learn math, he is farked.
 
2010-08-07 10:21:06 PM
Thisbymaster: Everyone isn't special and the very idea of it is nonsense. Yes the school is training you to get a JOB. That is why you go to school, there isn't any other reason.

I get the drone thing but learning chemistry, world history and calculus isn't all that applicable to most jobs. Try harder next time.
 
2010-08-07 10:25:38 PM
lisarenee3505: Boo-farking-hoo, biatch needs to shut the fark up and enjoy her success. She'll probably end up getting into a top-notch school, which will get her a top-notch job, and then she can cry all over the piles of money she'll be making about... whatever in the hell it was she was crying about.

More like the school leaves her thousands of dollars in the hole to work as a farking permatemp office drone with no room for advancement. If she's even lucky to get a job to begin with.
 
2010-08-07 10:30:35 PM
There are more homeschoolers every year. Things change. School's on its way out. And not soon enough it will be.
 
2010-08-07 10:36:59 PM
1macgeek: But the icing on the cake came one day in BASIC programming class. We were to code a simple 15 line program. I rewrote it to take one line. When I turned it in, the teacher rejected it. I stated that the program worked exactly as specified and it was flawless. He still rejected it. I demanded to know why. Very simple, he said - I haven't taught you how to do that yet. From that moment on, my eyes were opened. Like Mark Twain I vowed from that day forward I would never let schooling interfere with my education

Let me point out a situation where you might have been wrong in what you describe here. Let's call it the "Kobayashi Maru" scenario, because this thread is short on geekisms anyway.

Sometimes the purpose of learning to do something a particular situation is to learn how to use a particular tool in a particular manner that may be important in ways not immediately obvious. In the Star Trek movie, Kirk is smart enough to realize that the Kobayashi Maru exercise is silly because you can't win, so he cheats to fix it so he can win. In a sense that is what you were doing by using a BASIC instruction that the other students hadn't learned yet to avoid writing 14 lines of code. So you were sort of cheating. Much like Kirk, you wre reviled as the bad boy then, but destined to lead intergalactic expeditions later in life.
 
2010-08-07 10:46:41 PM
interstitialofficial: There are more homeschoolers every year. Things change. School's on its way out. And not soon enough it will be.

At least then everybody will have hot wives with big teeth.
 
2010-08-07 10:47:48 PM
IronTony: I don't see how people can disagree with her. Unless you graduated from a high school in an affluent district, you know exactly what she's talking about. School has degenerated into 'Memorize this. Now memorize this. Now this.' without anyone preaching understanding and comprehension. You don't need to be smart to get a perfect GPA any more, you just need to be able to do piles of busy work.

Anyone complaining about her whining or whatever is seriously missing the point.


The valedictorian of my high school class went to an ivy league school and promptly failed out. She still works at the same cash register in the same big box store that she was working at in high school.
 
2010-08-07 10:50:13 PM
Axel_Gear: The valedictorian of my high school class went to an ivy league school and promptly failed out. She still works at the same cash register in the same big box store that she was working at in high school.

You guys go to Slip & Fall School?
 
2010-08-07 10:51:14 PM
I don't know if anybody posted this, but maybe the point of the education system is to teach us to jump through hoops?

If working in an office has taught me anything (it really hasn't, but well, if it had) it's that nobody knows anything. People bullshiat and they hope nobody finds out. Life isn't necessarily about 'achieving goals' and 'reaching your potential'. More often than not, it's about doing things you don't want to do because you know it will help you in the future. I don't like to work out, but I do- being fat means I have heart issues and I seem less attractive. The worst part of the day is when I am about to work out, but I get it over with.

Does school teach us anything academically? Hell no. I remember my 5th grade teacher telling us that mammals don't lay eggs and that a banana has no seeds (you can still see 'vestigial' seeds in some bananas). What I learned from that sham of a Science class was not science. I learned that you don't tell insecure people in authority when they're wrong, and that you can get away with bullshiat as long as you speak confidently.

School still prepares you for real life, but the academic education is just a sideshow.

/ Holy shiat, this is my longest Fark rant ever! Hope someone reads it :(
 
2010-08-07 10:55:22 PM
alphamnemonic: For those of you complaining about the length of her speech:

Link


Related (new window).
 
2010-08-07 10:55:28 PM
img1.fark.net
 
2010-08-07 10:55:59 PM
Interesting, but seems deficient in the solutions department.
 
2010-08-07 10:58:05 PM
Speaking as a highly successful veteran math teacher, she's spot on in claiming the educational system is horribly flawed.

Our most gifted students are squandered and any time teachers may have to extend knowledge to greater levels is committed to forcing disinterested students in learning material that they rightly will never need for the entirety of their lives. Everything is geared towards mediocrity -- and our nation's leaders are shocked to learn that we're no longer producing the world's best.

Inevitably, the populace and politicians will continue to blame teachers for the failures of our educational system -- but the reality is our marginalized teachers have the least power/ability to affect change in the current mess. We hate this shiat more than anyone else -- and we'd like you to point the finger more accurately. Thanks.

P.S. We know what needs to be done, so if anyone wants to listen for once, we'd love to chat.
 
2010-08-07 10:59:06 PM
I'd rather dye: I remember my 5th grade teacher telling us that mammals don't lay eggs

Really? How can an elementary school teacher avoid the squeals of delight that come with introducing the concept of the platypus to a bunch of kids?
 
2010-08-07 11:01:52 PM
abb3w: Interesting, but seems deficient in the solutions department.

Link (new window)
 
2010-08-07 11:05:00 PM
Animatronik: Sometimes the purpose of learning to do something a particular situation is to learn how to use a particular tool in a particular manner that may be important in ways not immediately obvious.

I can appreciate your perspective, but that was not this situation. Here is what it was : You can't paint the Mona Lisa because I have yet to teach you how to finger paint. Seriously. As the saying goes, sometimes a cigar really is a cigar.

Nearly the same thing happened at college with PASCAL. During the summer break before college I learned UCSD PASCAL on my own. The 'professor' got tired of me pointing out her mistakes after the first week, and gave me my first slip to skip the entire semester. As I recall her words,they were akin to : I am giving you an A and an order to never set foot in my class again.

Business classes were the same. The 'professor' managed up-and-coming bands into the ground on the side, so I asked him the salient question : what can you teach us given that the real world application of your knowledge fails so miserably? Another slip, another 'get out of jail free' card as it were.

Believe me, I could go on for hours and many, many pages. I have yet to begin scratching the surface. But the point still holds - our education system is royally farked up.

But the gauntlet has previously been placed before us - how do you fix it? I cannot claim to have the in toto answer, but the immediate cessation of rewarding mediocrity seems to be a brobdingnagian first step.

Swing of the clue-bat : I wasn't speaking of the performance of the children.
 
2010-08-07 11:12:08 PM
alphamnemonic: For those of you complaining about the length of her speech:

Link


tl;dr
 
2010-08-07 11:13:34 PM
schools graded on memorization and effort besides ability to determine and regurgitate what the teacher wants you to learn...

cool you mastered the school system, so hows reality working? Ambitious students will succeed regardless of grades, slackers will slack, what of it... smart slackers will still pass and dumb ambitious will pass on the effort grade...

-so my experience in a college prep school, college and now work...
 
2010-08-07 11:13:41 PM
Wasn't this already posted on here? Either way, thanks for greenlighting this. It's awesome.
 
2010-08-07 11:19:02 PM
1macgeek: Nearly the same thing happened at college with PASCAL. During the summer break before college I learned UCSD PASCAL on my own. The 'professor' got tired of me pointing out her mistakes after the first week, and gave me my first slip to skip the entire semester. As I recall her words,they were akin to : I am giving you an A and an order to never set foot in my class again.

Business classes were the same. The 'professor' managed up-and-coming bands into the ground on the side, so I asked him the salient question : what can you teach us given that the real world application of your knowledge fails so miserably? Another slip, another 'get out of jail free' card as it were.


So basically, what you're saying is, you managed to get out of lots of college classes by insulting and annoying your teachers, without displaying complete command of the material they were teaching? SWEET. Not sure I'd want to hire you though.

/this...is...FARK
 
2010-08-07 11:21:39 PM
Animatronik: Not sure I'd want to hire you though.

You probably shouldn't. He'd probably annoy everyone into firing you and giving him your job.
 
2010-08-07 11:21:45 PM
My PURPLE PROSE for BROADENING THE HORIZONS of 18 YEAR OLDS for NEFARIOUS PURPOSES

I understand the frustrations of keeping up in a world where deluded,rara avis creative "genius" kids are made redundant by artisanal flint-knappers and disciplined smithies for the electronic tool guilds and panopticons. We're asked to provide more elegant edges with which to slaughter one other. Prison bars are wrought by and for promising young minds, their metal smelt finer and spaced further until they're conditioned, internalized, and rendered unnecessary. That's all the keener and free we're needed to be. Less idle hands. Sly. Adaptive. Myopic. Team Players. Lookin' busy. Clued-in. Responds to Cues. On point.

The Stone, Bronze, Iron, and Dark Ages were ladders where the gap between the rungs got closer each step, and then on to Renaissance, Enlightenment, Revolution, Industry, and Atoms. Up through the elements, Hydrogen to Uranium. Everyone's hanging on half-life at Half-Dome and it's Labor Day weekend. I find shade under a rock. It's not that I can't climb. I don't like you and your excess of mountaineering gear pressing against my corduroys on an escalator, never mind a sheer cliff face. Progress. Brutality. You win. Plant your flag.

In those long, unchanging in-between times, history was cyclical; rhythms of labor repeated with the seasons. Minds and roles imprinted with static myth, a spear, perhaps a blunderbuss, granted us a space to live out a poor, placid spell with a skill set guaranteed valid throughout one's brief lifetime. Participation mystique. Fart Jokes. Legends. Idylls. Brutality.

Now, even Khoisan hunter-gatherers wear Nikes to chase game: useful technology, to be sure, but not vital to their way of life. They have a gained a technological edge to their Stone Age practice. They outrun progress. Their myths adapt. They syncretize new shoes and Allah to their moon goddess and a trickster hare.

I do feel badly for the young valedictorians, the gifted, talented, touched, the carbon-burdened could-have-been-contenders--we are like big game in a shrinking habitat--and there are Stone Age hunters with laser-sight spear points and Nikes surrounding us. They respect what they kill more than what we struggle impossibly to preserve.
 
2010-08-07 11:24:30 PM
Mithraic_bullshiat: blah.

you talk a lot, kinda like this biatch FTFA.
 
2010-08-07 11:27:51 PM
Typical over-achiever. Scramble, fight, and claw their way to the top only to realize that there is nothing there worth the effort. All those other students graduating have the same diploma and "high school valedictorian" is completely and utterly meaningless after the first day of the first year of college.
 
2010-08-07 11:31:24 PM
Where the hell was Biggles:

Wow, where to begin...

Math is much more than arithmetic, and science is mostly applied math. There's a reason that Newton invented Calculus (part of it, anyway) - without it, he couldn't have described and modeled the basic rules of Physics. Designing the control systems required for the most basic of modern industry requires an understanding of math up through differential equations and statistics.

As for the subject of history, these people will be voting. Do you really want them not knowing how things got to be in the shape they are now? Sure, having students memorize dates beyond major milestones is mostly busy work, but there's so much more to history than that.

Personally, I think that we should go back to teaching classical logic and rhetoric skills. The degree to which modern political debate is predicated on logical fallacies terrifies me, frankly.


This. For God's sake, this.

This.

/runs sobbing
 
2010-08-07 11:40:30 PM
Just wait until she sees the annual "moving day" at her college. Where the outgoing cattle has to be out of their dorms by 12 noon so the next herd can be shuttled in by 4.

Its all about feeding the machine. College will be her worst nightmare. I predict lots of alcohol, drugs and lesbian acts in her immediate future. It might loosen her up to the fact that this is life and once you understand how to play the game, you better start finding a vice to supplement your free time.
 
2010-08-07 11:41:09 PM
Mithraic_bullshiat: I do feel badly for the young valedictorians, the gifted, talented, touched, the carbon-burdened could-have-been-contenders--we are like big game in a shrinking habitat--and there are Stone Age hunters with laser-sight spear points and Nikes surrounding us. They respect what they kill more than what we struggle impossibly to preserve.

Is there an algorithmic component to this? I see the human intelligence yet there seems to be a machine element as well.
 
2010-08-07 11:43:01 PM
thamike: Animatronik: Not sure I'd want to hire you though.

You probably shouldn't. He'd probably annoy everyone into firing you and giving him your job.


Damn straight. I'd justify it in my mind as a way to protect the company from him.
 
2010-08-07 11:43:32 PM
thamike: I'd rather dye: I remember my 5th grade teacher telling us that mammals don't lay eggs

Really? How can an elementary school teacher avoid the squeals of delight that come with introducing the concept of the platypus to a bunch of kids?


Well, you show them a picture and the kids realize that platypus(es?) aren't even close to being cute. Problem solved?
 
2010-08-07 11:43:42 PM
catzies: As for the subject of history, these people will be voting. Do you really want them not knowing how things got to be in the shape they are now? Sure, having students memorize dates beyond major milestones is mostly busy work, but there's so much more to history than that.

Personally, I think that we should go back to teaching classical logic and rhetoric skills. The degree to which modern political debate is predicated on logical fallacies terrifies me, frankly.


As in most fights for knowledge, this one will have to be fought BY the curious and intelligent--and FOR (not against) the incurious and ignorant.

It's all uphill, but it's what historians do.
 
2010-08-07 11:44:59 PM
I'd rather dye: Well, you show them a picture and the kids realize that platypus(es?) aren't even close to being cute. Problem solved?

I think they are adorable. Even a creationist can introduce them as God's Play-Doh scraps. Kids love Play-Doh.
 
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