Oh My God My Daughter Is Teaching Those Kids!

Updated on June 18, 2012
J.W. asks from Saint Louis, MO
23 answers

And apparently my kids are those kids as well!

I got a text from my daughter, she is doing her student teaching. So the CO teacher had her hand out and collect the test. When she collected it she realized all the answers are on the first page. Not one got all the questions right!!

I said oh my god so you are teaching those kids we hear about on the news, the ones that don't know what their state capital is? She said she doubts that her little brother and sister know Missouri's state capital and yes! :(

So I asked my kids, apparently not! They know now! If it isn't on that stupid test they are not taught!! What the hell!! Oh this is going to be a boring summer from here on out!!

So I look at grades, do homework with my kids, but I really don't sit in the classroom and see what they are actually taught.

Makes me wonder if anyone else is aware of how little their kids learn?

I am shocked!

Can't wait till they go back to school in the fall. So what did you do this summer? Oh mom crammed everything into us that you guys have failed to teach me! So look at my beautiful handwriting! :)


Oh my daughter is student teaching middle school kids as a point of reference.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Bug, at this point I am seriously considering tapping into the home school resources. Not pulling them out of free day care but I am seriously disturbed with the lack of knowledge being imparted in the school. I think I am going to have the first home schooled public school kids.

Oh there is a fun follow up question, how many people do both, just to be on the safe side?

Wow Christy, so you live in St Louis too? :(

Cupcake I am not blaming the teachers pretty much I am blaming the system. When my kids go to the same school I went to it is reasonable to expect they are at least learning as much.

Suz, I am calling it free childcare.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Actually I have been quite pleased with the amount of information that my son has received in his public school through Grade 3....amazed, actually, at times. How interesting!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I don't really know how to respond to this post, except that I'm really relieved that I live in a town that has a phenomenal school system no matter which district you're in. My children are learning subjects and concepts in elementary school and middle school that I didn't get until much later. My middle schooler is doing math that my husband is learning in college (he's back in college for a training program). EDIT: My eldest daughter also does incredibly difficult math problems in her head that I need a calculator for. The kid blows my mind, but she learned these methods starting as early as third grade.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

I am old enough to have been both in schools with standardized testing and ones without. It was a well-intentioned idea - tying school funding to these tests, but it has back-fired terribly.

Standardized testing and the resulting (and justified) fear that the school will be shut down if the scores aren't high enough, in my opinion, is the main PROBLEM with public schools. Before standardized tests, the focus was on learning. After, it was far too much about the tests.

I like my neighborhood public school and I don't much care about it not being the highest-testing school my kids can attend. We do what we can to be involved at the school and in our community. I think that's the only real way to save public schools - for parents to get involved and let the administration know what matters to is not test scores, but whether our children are having meaningful educational experiences. And of course, do what we can to fill in the cracks.

Best of luck!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I believe this is called "social literacy."
When I first went back to school at the local community college the sociology instructor gave us a quiz. A large portion of it involved filling in maps, including a map of counties in our portion of the state, map of the continents, map of the Western US (I'm in California.)
It also asked general questions concerning government, who is the state governor, what are the three branches, all that kind of thing.
I was APPALLED at how poorly so many people did on that quiz, and most of them were recent high school grads!
But you know, I don't think it's because they were never TAUGHT these things, clearly we were ALL taught about the three branches of our federal government, I think it's more that so many students just learn what they need to know to pass the test/get the grade and then *poof* it's gone.
Being truly educated means really understanding a concept, and continuing to care about maintaining and gaining more knowledge. This comes from such simple things, like reading, like PAYING ATTENTION. When I asked some of the kids in that class how was it possible they didn't even know what county bordered their own, they were just like I dunno, I don't really care about that stuff. Even so, wouldn't it just be an educated guess to conclude that the San Mateo Bridge is in fact, in SAN MATEO COUNTY!? It's not like you need to be taught that, it's just a matter of simple deductive reasoning!!!
But reasoning and critical thinking are not exactly skills being taught today. And people are more interested in focusing their brain power on controversy and sensationalism than reading history, or following world news or learning about the latest advances in science and medicine :(

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My kids are learning all the time! Just a little while ago we made strawberry syrup, and my daughter and I discussed how the sugar dissolved. Does she know her capitals or all her states? No. Is there some pressing need to know such things? If not, then why does it matter?

Information isn't learning. Information is useless if it isn't meaningful. And learning doesn't happen unless there is curiosity, interest and meaning.

The reason why our schools are failing is because we think jamming useless information down our kids throats is education. It isn't. Education is the expansion of your mind and world in meaningful ways.

Do your self and your kids a favor, spend the summer playing. Try to discover the world as your curriculum and don't sweat the small stuff.

I taught education majors for 6 years. This was at a top university. My students had no idea how to think, nor did most of them like to read. They didn't care about education or expanding their worlds. You can't teach if you can't learn. Knowing states isn't learning, it's data entry.

I am homeschooling, though we mostly unschool. We don't have a curriculum, I am not running around worrying about my 4 year old being able to write her letters. We play, and play, and play. Amazingly, my 4 year old reads, and my 2 year old knows all the preschool basics. You learn everything you need to learn if you live a fun, enriched life. Schools are a waste of time. They were designed to discipline people, and that is what they do. Their primary mission never was learning or education. They are actually very good at what they were designed to do.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Teachers are no longer allowed to teach and our schools have become cash cows for companies that distribute tests, compile scores and produce study materials for standardized tests.

I send my kids to a charter school instead of the local district we are in that is ranked one of the highest in the state. Many of the local kids repeatedly express how much they hate school and seem to lack enthusiasim for learning. The schools focus on maintaining those perfect scores with weeks of test preparation and robot like learning. Yes, most of the students do have lovely hand writing.

My kids handwriting is not so perfect and I could care less. They both love reading, enjoy school and can not only tell you what our state capitol is but have visited Sacramento as school representatives and can explain a bit about how our state legislature works.

I don't think people need to necessarily cram more rigid academics down their kids throats at home I think they need to visit museums, historic spots, experience nature and the arts and read, read, read. Those are the things really lacking in our public schools and sadly those are the things most children enjoy and thrive on.

Our education system should never be about filling in bubbles it should be about instilling a lifetime love of learning in American children. Just another example of how big business is determining the future of our country!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

I am not going to blame the teachers because a lot has changed over the years. I think parents should make it a point to find out what their kids will and will not be taught and pick up the slack.

I am continuing to teach mine Geography, advancing their math, making sure they continue to be excellent spellers, advanced readers and know proper grammar. I want to be sure they know when to use "your" vs "you're", etc. I am also teaching them cursive and Spanish. :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Just one reason why we will homeschool (in conjunction with a co-op school) my son. (The school he would be zoned for, is the worst in the district. NO WAY am I sending him there.) My sister was a teacher, and actually quit. She said school is turning out the most unintelligent kids. She was in one of the best districts in the entire state, also! They are taught to memorize, but there is no actual learning going on. She wanted to teach them, but their hands are tied. So much of their time is wasted with tested and required materials, there was no way to actually impart knowledge. Kids are not taught to learn. They are taught to pass the next test. The current school system actually scares me, for our future.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I know that the average / neurotypical kid can do 1 year's middle or highschool curriculum, in 4 hours a day, in 3 months homeschooling or independent study.

In elementary school, most homeschooled kids 'keep up' (or get ahead / 2 years for every 1 year) by doing 1-2 hours of work per day.

It says a lot.

My ADHD (homeschooled for the past 4 years) kiddo didn't get any 'schooling' done for 6 months last year (3rd grade). Because of divorce-land we had to do placement testing just as we were finishing up our 3rd grade curriculum this year. (My STBXH is claiming that we never actually 'do' school, and that our son is essentially a vegetable.) Yep. Right. He tested into 7th grade.

* We didn't do school for 6mo last year because kiddo was in the hospital off and on from Feb-June, and then we took a month off for summer. The horror. Of course, if he'd been in public school he'd not only have to have repeated 3rd grade (lack of attendence), but repeated it NEXT year, because this year we weren't able to get his meds straight until April (36 hour days, and 6am nights meant we did a LOT of 'night schooling' this year!)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

My children are what you call "home schooled public school kids". :) They're still young, but we're definitely doing that. I've been homeschooling Joseph for a year, and although he's enrolled in public kindergarten starting in August, I'm STILL going to maintain our own brand of homeschooling (including bits of curriculum I purchase, outings, field trips, adventures, family time that encourages "accidental learning"). We've always subscribed to the idea that while school is very important, and we want to work with them as a team, IN THE END, it is our responsibility to prepare our children for life. While I view it a joint effort, I'm not completely handing over the reins to anyone!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I live in Missouri's state capital! :-)

ETA: Har har, J.!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Yep, that's a pretty accurate picture of what is happening in our schools, although, honestly, I can't say that my knowing the 50 states in alphabetical order, and all the capitals has ever come in handy for me, except when playing online Jeopardy. The emphasis is SUPPOSED to be more on higher ordered thinking, however what is happening far too often is that the schools are failing to give our children any kind of knowledge base to build upon. Instead, they are teaching to the test, or buying millions of dollars of software programs to prepare the kids for the tests. Kinda a sad state of affairs.

I found this video to be of interest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&feature=share

I have to say that I agree with much of what it (the video) is saying, although I do NOT agree that everyone's natural state of learning should be in collaborative environments. That is not how someone like me, an introvert, learns best. I learn best listening to a teacher lecture, and then doing my OWN homework. I got very little out of groupwork because I was afraid to take risks in groups.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Oh yes. I've been saying it as the minority on this site - teachers don't teach anything that's not on the test. They are not that worried about what our kids learn or don't learn, they are mostly interested in how to keep their jobs. Now I can't say I blame them for needing their jobs, but something has to change because this is not working.

By the way, see how many of your middle school kids can read a clock with hands!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

Not to be defensive, I am a public school advocate and substitute teacher. Both of my children are in Pre-AP or AP classes, just trying to establish some basis for my opinion.
When teaching subjects such as math and science, there are formulas and rules and things that are taught the same way we learned them, ages ago. The Humanities courses are being taught more along the lines of teaching the students how to research, use logic and reason, inquiry based learning. Many curriculums are trying to teach the students to ask the right questions, then know how to find the answer. There isn't a lot of rote memory anymore.
I'm not saying that I think this is the right way, just what I've observed. Spelling, vocabulary and when "who" did "what" just isn't as emphasized any longer. I suppose they have decided that by teaching the students to become more effective learners, they will be producing a better result. ("they" being your state's board of education).
I personally see benefit to both styles. I think teaching your kids important lessons at home during the summer break will definitely be beneficial to them. In fact, I am reminded about one of my daughter's teachers who told me that the district "expected" parents to teach multiplication facts because they simply didn't have time during school to teach it. So, by combining your methods at home and the methods your kids learn at school...you should end up with well balanced and very intelligent students. So, kudos!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I remember Jay Leno's late night show segment asking these basic questions of people walking down the street, and a 4th grade teacher didn't know the answer to an easy geography/history question. (Can't remember what the question was.) I remember thinking that if her principal saw her on TV that she'd likely get fired, and that I would really not want her to be my own kids' teacher.

However, having gone through AP and honors classes with one of my kids who is now in college, I see the other side of it, like Lisa P is talking about. For all the things negative I see about standardized state testing, I see a lot positive about it. My son was a state scholar with the highest scores on all of the segments of the testing. (Nice accolade too, and not easy to come by even in one of the top high schools in the state.) He also had good AP testings scores, getting AP Honors designation. There is a TON of info in there that the kids had to remember and digest from a whole year's worth of learning.

I kind of think that the smart kids who can understand the subjects as a whole and how they interconnect with each other (which is kind of an IB approach, actually) are the ones who score so well, including on the ACT test. They usually can write rather well too. The other kids perhaps did not have either the ability or the interest earlier on.

I have always believed and lived by the idea that school is not the only place my kids would learn. I did a tremendous amount of early teaching when my kids were little (and early intervention for one of my kids) when they were little "sponges" and wanted to know the "why" of things. I worked really hard to fill their minds, expose them to a lot, and make my home a place of learning. I also showed a lot of expectation that school was important. We read in front of our kids as an example of learning as well.

I do think that it makes a big difference. I also understand that not all kids are going to be able to make the overall connections between the studying overall that they do and being able to regurgitate it back in a test.

And for the kids who don't know their state capital, I have to say that I think Mom has failed them in that regard. Every kid should be taught that at home, for sure!


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Answer to your follow-up question:

I have an 8 year old who is finishing up 2nd grade. She is above the curriculum taught in class. Luckily, the teacher gives her harder work to do. I've worked with her at home since before she was ever in school. She is in advanced reading and is a bibliophile. We work on many other concepts not taught in school such as grammar and punctuation. No, I am not teaching her those concepts seeing as my own is horrendous, however she reads the rules on how to and when to use and has a pretty strong grasp of the correct usage of proper grammar and punctuation.

I will always be teaching my 5 year old autistic son. The school day for him is less about what is taught and more about what he is able to pull out of the day.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You can't let school limit what your kids learn - so don't count on the school to teach everything.
Make sure there are plenty of learning opportunities at home.
Go to zoos, museums, aquariums - make your own field trips.
It IS like home schooling your child at least part of the time even though they go to school the rest of the time.
If they are interested in anything, find a book about it - libraries and book stores are our favorite places.
Do science experiments at home (we've built catapults, played with solar panels, and everyone loves the diet soda Mentos thing) - you can find some cool things to do/kits to build at Edmund Scientific.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I'm one of those adults! Facts completely get lost on M.=( I can talk around things enough to not seem completely idiotic though, or so I think=)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I do both. I created a study binder that the girls will do everyday after school that includes print out pages with the subjects of math, english, reading and goverment (print out from web site's that I learned of from mamapedia). They are asked to do 5 pages in the binder after homework from school is complete.

For summer they complete the 5 pages, log on to spelling city and more.

I purchased a worksheet book from Costco's that worked well for us.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Around here when my own kids were in school, they didn't teach math the way I learned it - they made it a long drawn-out process that took a page to do one problem! WTH? We aren't talking lower elememtary either - and when I could do those problems in my head, they were amazed. So I showed htem how to get the answer w/o all the extra mess - and they got counted wong (tho the final answer was correct) because they didn't do it the *right* way ....grrr!! (ie - draw so many sticks, now you'll divide by 5, so circle these sticks in groups of five ...OMG! my 1st grade teacher would have let us do that for maybe a week!)

Want another good one - ask some of the younger folks to 'backcount' your change (teens at cash reigsters that don't tell how much and exact what change) -- most cannot do this! About blew one gal's mind a few years ago since she shut the drawer before giving change - which also cleared the transaction - and could not backcount it out ... was reaching for a calculator...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Here is a large problem, there is so much emphasis on tests and testing that the stress causes anxiety and kids fail due to the pressures. I may not be able to write them all down in a testing format, but if you have a conversation with me, chances are I could probably tell you what you wanted to know.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We now have students that attack teachers. Every large school has police that patrol the school grounds IN PAIRS (!!).

Schools can no longer have the 10 commandments on the wall of the class room or teach honesty (thou shall not steal), or telling the truth (Thou shall not bear false whitness).

Children stand a better chance of joining a gang than the gang has in getting swat for beating up or intimidating their fellow classmates.

Parents ask, "Why can't Johnny read?" The teachers unions say, "Because we aren't paid enough". A full time teacher with a masters degree earns $70,000 for 9 or 10 months teaching. And the number of "non-teaching staff" has thripled over the last 30 years, and Johnny can be counselled and be told he has all kinds of "disabilities", but he can't read.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

You are not alone! A friend commented about someone who didn't know how to address an envelope and I realized that my kids cannot do this and they are teenagers. With email and electronic banking, my boys also don't kow how to balance a checkbook. We have work to do this summer!

There is a series of books called, "What your Third (or Fourth...) Grader needs to know. They were fun to read through to see how much of this stuff I knew myself.


1 mom found this helpful
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