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Thread: Placeholder for a thesis I am planning to write

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    Member Wolf's Avatar
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    Placeholder for a thesis I am planning to write

    comments and suggestions are definitely most welcome.

    TITLE: Maximizing Systems Efficiency in Education

    At the end of this paper, the researcher would like to prove the following:

    1. That there is enough research data showing that there is a better and more efficient way of educating people.
    2. That this better and more efficient way can be achieved by focusing on three aspects: the student, the teacher, and the curriculum.

    Furthermore, this researcher would like to show that there are logical and realistic steps that can be undertaken to reach maximum efficiency in education. It is this researcher's goal to delineate these steps in a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realitic, time-bound) manner. It is this researcher's hope that by undertaking this challenge, he can start a revolution that will change the world.

    All of us should not be contented with the mediocre, knowing that just right in front of us is excellence.

    Intro:

    All of you rejoicing in hard work, what has hard work ever produced except more toil? Do you think the wheel was invented by a man obssessed in working hard? Or do you think it was invented by a man who wanted to find an easier way of doing things? If I simply want to hire a hard working man, then I'll hire the hard worker. But if I want to hire an innovator, I'll hire the lazy man. The lazy man will spot all the inefficiencies in the system and find the most efficient way of saving his energy while the hard working man will simply put his head down and go back to work. The lazy man will invent the wheel needed to move heavy objects so that it will take him minutes, not days. The hard working man will thump his chest and be proud that it took him days to move those same heavy objects, and ridicule the lazy man for being "lazy."

    Yet who changed the world?

    All throughout history, progress has been made, not by those who want to stick to tradition and "hard work," but by those who wanted to make things "easier" and more efficient. Lazy men changed the world. Innovators, the lot of them. If it weren't for them, we'd still be back in caves scratching out a pitiful existence.

    As administrators, it is our job not to make things harder, but to make things easier. It is our job to find wastage and stop it. Most of all, it is our job, as the heads of our institutions, to do the thinking for it.

    As a self-proclaimed lazy man, one who has a knack for systems analysis, I would like to propose the following:

    1. That there is enough research data showing that there is a better and more efficient way of educating people.
    2. That this better and more efficient way can be achieved by focusing on three aspects: the student, the teacher, and the curriculum.

    Furthermore, I would like to show that there are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) steps that can be undertaken to reach maximum efficiency in education. Over the course of this research, I intend to show the following:

    1. That students perform better when they are grouped in a homogenized class, moved up by subject level not year levels, and matched to teachers with the same commonalities as them.
    2. That teachers perform better when they are given the tools, the time, and the werewithal to perform their jobs properly.
    3. That quality of education will rise significantly if we decongest the curriculum and focus on the four most important aspects of learning: reading, writing, computing (math), and logic.
    4. That our current grading system is not only outdated but utterly useless in providing a true and valid measure of student learning.


    The Ideal School

    The ideal school is one wherein students go to find the diamond in them. One wherein each student finds their purpose in life and proceeds in achieveing them. The ideal school is one wherein students come out to become positive movers of society.

    And it all starts in the beginning, with the testing.

    Admission to the school:

    1. Only students whose parents (or guardian if parents are deceased) have been oriented will be allowed admission into the school. It takes a village to raise a child. And if that village has residents with conflicting ideals, the child will not turn out well. Both the parents/guardian and the school must have aligned vision if the education of the child is to succeed. Disagreement on just one principle is a cause for non-admission. The school will not allow a single parent to dictate its policy. There are many schools the parent/guardian can choose from. The school is not forcing the parent to enroll their child in the school. If the parent disagree with even a single school policy, they are more than free to enroll their child in other schools.

    2. Because of the vastly different system of grading and teaching in the school, transferees will be unable to get credit for their past educational attainment from other schools. They will have to undergo the school's testing protocol and have their individual assessment processed by the admissions and testing center. Only after assessment will they be placed in the different subject and subject levels appropriate for them
    .
    3. The school offers scholarships. Students who show great potential are given scholarships based on their parents' income bracket.

    4. The school is a free and secular school. No student will be denied entry because of religion, race, color, or creed (except when the student or parent/guardian insist that their belief or religion be followed instead of the school's policies)

    5. The school does not screen students based on their intelligence or ability. The school's motto is: "Every child is a diamond in the rough." The testing protocol is done after the child is already enrolled. The only requirements for admission are: parents agree to the school policies as evidenced by a signed contract, and payment of the school's tuition fee.

    Testing Protocol:

    All applicants must undergo the following tests:

    Alfred-Binet IQ test
    EQ test
    Language and Math Test
    Aptitude Exam
    MBTI PT
    Psychological Profiling
    Learning Styles Test
    Physiological Fitness Exam
    MAPS (Music, Arts, Physical Sports) Test

    Once the child has been assessed completely, they will be placed in their appropriate classes. Formal education doesn't begin until the child reaches 9 years old. The first four years of the student's school life will be dedicated to values education, logic formation, and MAPS appreciation. Much of their school life will be focused on play and discovery. The school's main focus is to find out their strengths and aptitudes especially in sports, arts, and music. Elementary reading, writing, and math will be introduced gradually to them during this phase (depending on their aptitude and interest).
    Starting 9 years old onwards, children will be allowed to take electives based on their interests. The school will also start assigning them to subjects it deems appropriate for them based on their aptitude test results. Children will begin to focus on one sport, one arts subject (writing, acting, drawing, singing, dancing), and one musical instrument each.

    Starting 13 years onwards, students will begin studying practical subjects. required practical subjects are the ff: farming, cooking, sewing, carpentry, plumbing, typing, automotive repair, electrical repair, welding, camping, fishing and hunting.
    At 18 years old, students will be ready to start their apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship program will last two years.

    notes:

    1. quality of teaching is inversely proportional to teacher workload. as administrators, it is our job to make the job of teachers easier, not harder. so reducing administrative and menial jobs of teachers is a must. if possible, each class' subject should have 2 teachers. the subject teacher and an assistant teacher (who could be an intern or OJT coming from the colege of education). teachers' focus must only be in teaching, nothing else. this requires that teachers have a strict maximum load and that non-teaching roles be counted as a teaching load. aside from this, non-contact hours used in teaching must be counted in the teacher's load as well. the time required to construct and check papers must be included in the teacher's load. we cannot expect quality teaching if we burden the teacher with so much work that he/she is unable to perform his/her task to his/her maximum potential.

    2. Mastery must be emphasized rather than segmental learning. This requires students to be properly grouped and categorized according to the ff factors: intelligence, aptitude, learning styles, and economic strata. Block sectioning MUST STOP. Why are we paying mere lip service to differentiated instruction instead of actually implementing policies that could make a difference? Why are we making it harder for our teachers to teach different individuals? It's already hard enough to teach a homogenized class. But to ask teachers to teach a heterogenous class coming from diverse backgrounds with diverse aptitudes, learning styles, and economic strata - that's a herculean task. And it's a pity because we as administrators can absolutely do something about it! Why are we clinging to old, INEFFICIENT models when right before us, there's a way to be efficient, effective, and impactful? We reject our purpose when we reject efficency. We reject God when we reject to do the right thing. God isn't inefficient. Far from it.

    And there's a reason to insist on mastery intead of segmental learning. True learning only happens when mastery is achieved. I refuse to give a passing grade to any student who doesn't really deserve it. And deserving and learning isn't really a number we can point a line to, saying "there, the child achieved a certain percentage of score, therefore they're 75% knowledgeable on the subject." The child either knows the subject well or he doesn't. Grades are an outdated mode of evaluation I wish this institution to outgrow. I want evaluations to be a simple pass or fail affair. Either the child can perform the learning outcome stated in the curriculum, or not. If he can't, he doesn't pass - simple as that. I don't want to receive any more senior high school students whose reading level are that of a grade 3 student (a product of our education system's insistence on an evaluation based on grades instead of actual performance. Oh yeah, we have performance tasks - but again, graded instead of a pass or fail standard). I don't want to send these same students off to college knowing they don't even deserve to be in senior high school.

    I want to go further than differentiated sections. I want to match teachers to homogenized sections. Visual learners should have visual teachers, and so on. But not just that. I want to match teacher-students according to intelligence, learning style, economic strata - basically every data we can match. A monkey can't teach a fish to climb trees, no matter how much of a good climber, or teacher he is. The problem of teacher-student disconnect is a problem of point of view. A teacher can't teach, unless they can see where the student is coming from. Oh sure, there are those rare teachers who can empathize masterfully. But again, why are we making it harder on ourselves when we can make teaching easier? To bridge that learning gap, we must bridge the chasm of misunderstanding between teacher and students. And the only way to to do that is again, by homogenizing - both the students and the teachers.

    3. promotion must be based on an individual basis, not wholesale. Students should advance by subject level, not by year levels. Why should the child's performance in one subject affect his promotion in another? If the child is good in math, why hold him back in math if he is bad in english, or vice-versa? Would it be so bad to have 10-year old students studying college level math yet still taking grade 3 english? Why are we punishing the child's giftedness in one subject because of his poor performance in another? Shouldn't we reward him in the subject he is good at and just hold him back in the subject he is poort at? To hold him back in ALL his subjects simply because that has been the practice... It's madness. And it's inefficiency epitomized.

    4. Processes must be digitized and automated ASAP. We live in a world where efficiency can be maximized to the full if we only digitize and automate all processes that can be digitized and automated ASAP. Why we haven't done this transition yet is beyond my understanding. I know money plays a role (and maybe politics, too) But to refuse to see that the way out of budget constraints is through making the system efficient is to be criminally stupid. Our institution is tight on finances precisely because we refuse to automate and digitize. Dozens of research has been done on this topic. The cost of digitizing and automating will be recovered by the savings that will be made in no time at all. And we can apply the savings that will be made going forward on any other project that needs to be focused on.

    5. the number of contact hours does not dictate the amount of learning achieved. rather than emphasis on contact hours, focus must shift to learning competencies. course credits must be measured not on contact hours but on learning competencies. With the shift away from contact hours, we can make both our students and teachers' lives more meaningful, giving them more time for themselves, their families, their hobbies, their personal development - ultimately benefitting not just the school, but the entire community.

    6. focus must shift from providing information to teaching how to learn independently and verify information independently. a model graduate is one who innovates and leads in the field of their expertise. i want to produce researchers, scientists, and innovators, not parrots and parrot-handlers. frankly speaking, going to school is outmoded today. With the amount of information available online, almost anyone can learn anything on just about any topic he wants just by looking for it. But he needs to know how to look, where to look, and how to scrutinize that information. He needs to know how to reason out and reason out well. And that's what schools should be providing. Not the information themselves, but the training to get that information and scrutinize it. I want to focus on the basics: reading, writing, math, and logic. Everything else can be acquired by the student depending on his/her interests. I want to go further than simply be an institution providing information. I want to be an institution unlocking children's potential. I want intensive testing right out of the gate - the earliest, the better. I want to find out where kids are good at and where their aptitudes lie. I want to test them in all sports, all musical instruments and all arts. I want to exhaust all possible means of finding out just where they are good at. And we can only do that through intensive testing. I want to enlarge, upgrade, and modernize our testing center. We need a bigger staff with a bigger budget, better instruments, and better training.
    And when we finally find out where the child is good at, we make him become better at it, until he is excellent beyond his peers. We want to be known as an institution producing leaders and masters of sports, the arts, and sciences.

    7. coursepacks must be evaluated stringently and must be updated regularly. lesson plans and presentations must be peer-reviewed and written collaboratively by department faculty. the final output must be produced before school year starts. only approved lesson plans and presentations shall be used by the faculty.

    8. the entire curriculum guide by the Department of Education must be reviewed and modified according to the school's philosophy and thrust. The school's curriculum must remain robust and flexible, answering the challenges and changes of the times. We need to make use of the school's autonomous status as a jumping board to push through reforms. We cannot be a slave to an institution worse than us. We are the leader in education, aren't we? So why are we listening to people coming from an institution that has been proven to be inefficent, intractable, and highly ineffective? Shouldn't we be the ones dictating the country's curriculum and they following our advice? And yet, here we are, allowing blind men to lead our seers.

  2. #2
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Early on I see a few hiccups.
    1) Lazy people are not generally more innovative than hard working people. You can work smart AND hard. I've worked with plenty of people who's motto is "work smart, not hard"...and they generally aren't even smart...because they don't recognize the false dichotomy.

    2)You say that your system focuses on the student, teacher, and curriculum...as though that's unique...but then your first step is to indoctrinate the parents...that made me laugh.

    Due to time constraint, I have not read further...but I do think it is worthwhile to dedicate time to analyzing education.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

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    tsuj a notelpmis QuickTwist's Avatar
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    You clearly are a creative person. That's exactly your problem. I hope you don't intend to go on to further education with these ideas because very few professors are going to allow the changes you suggest. Unless you have an IQ of like 170 and you can hammer down a shit ton of details regarding this premise, I fear this thesis is going to get destroyed by the Education system as a whole. This is not even to say I disagree with the premise. I am not the person to judge this kind of thing, and couldn't because, honestly, its over my head.

    I see you have big dreams of turning the educational system on its head. I feel like if you did this successfully, to the point it increased student's success by a large margin (which is what your aim is), then if you do this successfully, I think you are looking at a nobel prize... Not kidding. It all depends on if its successful or not and its a fucking tall as mount everest order to fill to do this successfully tho.
    But your individuality and your present need will be swept away by change,
    and what you now ardently desire will one day become the object of abhorrence.
    ~ Schiller - 'Psychological Types'

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    I didn't read it all either. I agree with the first idea that teachers should be looking to be efficient rather than stupidly working harder.

    Having been a teacher for a short while, I have some personal experience at the amount of inefficiency that exists. This may be at a more mundane level than your idealised vision: there is a colossal amount of rewriting things that already exist somewhere else. Teachers getting jealous and paranoid about keeping their work only to themselves. There is pretty much a view that it's a 'right of passage' that teachers should need to go through these times of working ridiculously hard, producing everything for themselves from scratch, because 'that's what you do' etc. This is very deeply ingrained. Teachers are the ultimate martyrs. They see value in endlessly performing menial tasks, wasting their life away. It gives their life "meaning". If you try to challenge these sort of things you will probably receive a lot of opposition. Teachers are a rabid bunch. Years of stress has impaired their ability to consider things from other perspectives.

    But, also, drastic changes in education are absolutely necessary. A lot of people have their head in the sand about this. But, also, a problem is that I don't think anyone can really say how it should need to be changed. It's a big unknown.

    This may not be quite what you have in mind, but, on the topic of efficiency: some kind of single organisation that does all of the kind of 'lesson preparation' for teachers is absolutely necessary. There is absolutely no way that a teacher these days has the time to understand all topics well enough, translated to the delivery needed for young people, in the time they have available. Yet they're still expected to prepare everything themselves. Online learning sites like Lynda.com, Coursera, etc can do a vastly better job because they do it once, really well (ideally), and then it's reused by everyone.

    A problem is that this encourages a lot of people to try to make something like this, they do a ridiculously poor effort, and walk away with their bags of cash. I used some in the UK and it took more time trying to decipher the rambling half-finished shit they'd written than if I'd just done it myself. So this is a hurdle, which makes a lot of teachers skeptical as well. There are a lot of private companies who leech off the education budget. Producing dodgy, half-finished curriculums / books / etc. I believe the pace of this has increased greatly over the last couple decades so that the quality of books and approaches is much lower and the kids suffer. There's really no shortage of new approaches popping up promising to revolutionise education and make teachers' lives happier.

    I was surprised to learn that in China, maths teachers typically teach just one subject. E.g. they might teach algebra to year 9s or something. They deliver the same class again and again. They follow very structured lesson structures handed down by their older, more experienced teachers. By doing that, they get very experienced at the types of problems the kids would have, and they're able to anticipate those and change things to improve "outcomes".

    Personally, I have great skepticism about any claims that grouping kids based on ability is automatically better. You can most likely find many studies which say this is the case. Maybe many of those are driven by self-interest for their own ideology. There are many interfering factors in reality. I've taught in schools where grade 11 kids had been kept at the same level as students in grade 8. They had effectively given up. I think it might the case that some kids benefit from being in an environment that is slightly above their ability level, and by being surrounded by people who are a bit more capable, that 'rubs off' on them. Also some kids have little moments of stalling progress, and then an unexpected leap, etc. Also you get kids comparing themselves to each other. "what level are you in?" You can definitely see it in their faces when they seem to mentally place themselves on the continuum compared to everyone else and accept that 'this is my rank in society which I will forever fit into'. Maybe that can be minimised through a better environment, but I think it's largely human nature for them to want to compare themselves and place themselves into some hierarchical position, but given that the development of young people is very individualised, I think we should be very careful about applying any kind of explicit numerical value to them at a young age. It's impossible to do completely, but the damage it can cause should be minimised.

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    tsuj a notelpmis QuickTwist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarydoor View Post
    'this is my rank in society which I will forever fit into'.
    Bingo.

    However, the alternative is a one size fits all which we kinda already have, which isn't all that great either.

    The key is to get kids to see that even if they do fit such and such category that there is no shame in it. This is damn near impossible to do, however.

    When I said you need to iron out a lot of details, this is the kind of stuff I was talking about.
    Last edited by QuickTwist; 08-26-2017 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Felt the need to use stronger language.
    But your individuality and your present need will be swept away by change,
    and what you now ardently desire will one day become the object of abhorrence.
    ~ Schiller - 'Psychological Types'

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    Noble Asshole Horatio's Avatar
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    5. The school does not screen students based on their intelligence or ability. The school's motto is: "Every child is a diamond in the rough."


    Yeah, no.

    That's literally the best system for crushing any kind of budding genius.

    Highly intelligent children do not belong in the same school as the village idiot. Realistically, intelligent children will quickly get bored by a curriculum that is too easy and might even drop out of school, while the village idiots will get made fun of. A lose-lose situation for everyone.

    There's a reason why in most European countries, the high school system has been diversified to accommodate different levels of natural intelligence – in different types of schools. For the most part, it works. Where it doesn't is where it actually is not strict enough, e. g. where it places too many less-intelligent students into academically-oriented schools, eventually watering down the challenge level of the curriculum and thus also the qualifications of high school graduates.

    As a consequence, the former beacons of higher education, i. e. the universities, are flooded with incompetent students clamouring for a dumbing down of the university curricula as well. And unfortunately, often for political reasons, they are granted exactly that: with the consequence that universities once renowned for their excellent research drop into mediocrity and obscurity. Needless to say that this slows the progress of humanity at large.

    Another point. Like @Robcore, I disagree with "working less hard" being to Holy Grail of all things. First of all, there are certain fields which can only be mastered with consistent serious effort (almost all natural sciences, definitely medicine!, most serious forms of art, etc.). Second, studies have shown that prolonged idleness has a detrimental effect on the human psyche; in fact, the only two things which are guarantors for good mental health and "happiness" are 1) healthy relationships with people ("friends" in layman terms) and 2) having a sense of purpose derived from creating/doing something, vs merely idly consuming. Therefore, one must not forget that often, there is a great deal of pleasure in "hard work".

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    I think some responses may have misunderstood what was meant by working 'lazily'. I think what OP means by 'lazy' is that you want to minimise the amount of work you have to do, wherever possible. Work more intelligently. You still have the same desire to do the job well. And because you seek to find a 'lazy' (efficient) way to do things, you have more time to spend in other areas, so that overall you do a much better job. A lot of teachers work incredibly inefficiently these days, due to how the system is set up, and what's asked of them. A lot of their time is wasted.

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    unbeknownst Lilith's Avatar
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    I know this is just an outline, but it sure sounded like a rant rather than a thesis. Try to phrase your propositions impartially by citing more logos. You will find it hard to persuade someone to change their belief on a system if you emphasize on what you want instead of what can be done and why.

    I like some aspect of the Ideal School. I find it contradicting that the school will not discriminate admission upon race or religion but only offer scholarships to qualified students based on their parents' income bracket. I understand the economic argument but I still consider it another face of inequality.

    Question, is the school government-funded or .....?

    Also, it's Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, not Alfred-Binet. Since MBTI is a self-assessment inventory, I would suppose this cannot be administered to a six year old don't you think?
    We cling to our past as if they define us. What we do defines us.

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    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio View Post


    Yeah, no.

    That's literally the best system for crushing any kind of budding genius.

    Highly intelligent children do not belong in the same school as the village idiot. Realistically, intelligent children will quickly get bored by a curriculum that is too easy and might even drop out of school, while the village idiots will get made fun of. A lose-lose situation for everyone.
    I don't agree entirely. If done right, intelligent kids and dumb kids can both elevate each other. I know this from experience. What's necessary, is that the smart kids get the focus...and when the rest of the class falls behind, the smart kids get tasked with teaching the less intelligent kids--which itself improves understanding for the smart kids...it teaches them articulating skills that otherwise wouldn't develop until much later.

    Also, instead of having the dumber kids leave the classroom individually to get special help, it is better to send a group of the smartest kids off with another teacher to do advanced work...it minimizes the perception that the less intelligent kids aren't part of the class...eliminates shaming...and gives the regular teacher a chance to give the slower kids more attention.

    As a highly intelligent kid who went to a school with a policy of letting the smart kids shine and of keeping them challenged, I can say that my experience was one of positive learning, and of social bonding...even today I'll run into people that I helped to learn things in elementary school...many of whom have more lucrative careers than myself, and there's still mutual appreciation.

    Just to be clear, my school did have a special ed. program, where struggling students would get 1 on 1 attention, too...but the majority of resources were geared toward advanced students...and it absolutely elevated the rest of the school. For decades running, our school had some of the best outcomes, provincially. (much of that seemed to change when they stopped skipping kids a grade ahead due to some perception that it was socially too negative for the kids to leave their age-peers....I experienced some of that negativity when I skipped, but after a few years I was perfectly assimilated).
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Also, instead of having the dumber kids leave the classroom individually to get special help, it is better to send a group of the smartest kids off with another teacher to do advanced work...it minimizes the perception that the less intelligent kids aren't part of the class...eliminates shaming...and gives the regular teacher a chance to give the slower kids more attention.
    Didn't work for me. I was too smart for it. Here's how it went down:

    First: boredom. I read my way through K-12 and rarely lifted a finger for homework. I found it too tedious to endure. I'd read the textbook, I could pass the tests, why do I need to fill out these worksheets going over material I already know?

    Second: Someone notices the kid with D's and C's is reading the same books they are.

    Third: I get tested, meetings occur, they offer me opportunity to partake in a special class a couple times a week.

    Fourth: I go along, at first, it's cool to be with other smart kids.

    Fifth: Teachers resent that I'm not doing classwork and consider the outside classes a 'treat'. A treat they will deny if I'm not caught up on my homework with them.

    Sixth: There's a lot of homework for those outside classes too.

    Seventh: I realize the whole thing is just more and more busywork and ultimately keeping me from pursuing my own interests.

    Eighth: I make it clear I don't give a flying fuck about homework, and return to my previous state of doing the bare minimum to get by so I can maximize my reading and daydreaming. Everyone looks helpless and I get passed because it makes no sense to flunk someone they'd been considering having skip a few grades. The possible exceptions being math and penmanship. They're learned skills, and require putting time in. But doing phonics worksheets as an advanced literate child is a hell on earth. I briefly tried to do all the workbooks and crap in advance, but then they kept coming up with extra worksheets that I didn't have advance access to so, again, the "Fuck it" circuit was engaged.


    The conclusion here being, @Horatio is correct. If you want to kill budding intellect, keep them in the same classes as the future drones--no offense intended to the drones. We've all been there. If I'd been put in a situation where the advanced coursework was all I had to do, I would have done it. Instead, advanced homework was made into a reward for doing trash busywork, and I had no interest in playing that game. So I did not. There were attempts to repeat this pattern every time I changed schools, but I'd learned I could refuse to participate before the end of the second grade, and did. I even fought my way out of honors--but into early college. When the advanced coursework was all I had to do, and primarily of my own choosing, I worked my ass off and loved it. I didn't begrudge the core requirements when 2/3rds of my workload was elective, especially since I had options in how to meet most of those core requirements.
    You winsome, you loathsome.
    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

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