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BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms

GUEST,Stim 01 Feb 13 - 12:36 AM
Rapparee 31 Jan 13 - 09:45 PM
Don Firth 31 Jan 13 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,Stim 31 Jan 13 - 09:06 PM
Rapparee 31 Jan 13 - 08:17 PM
Don Firth 31 Jan 13 - 08:05 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 31 Jan 13 - 06:39 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 31 Jan 13 - 06:33 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 31 Jan 13 - 06:24 PM
Don Firth 31 Jan 13 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Eliza 31 Jan 13 - 05:27 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 13 - 04:36 PM
Megan L 31 Jan 13 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 31 Jan 13 - 03:27 PM
Greg F. 31 Jan 13 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Eliza 31 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM
Greg F. 31 Jan 13 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Lighter 31 Jan 13 - 12:43 PM
Ebbie 31 Jan 13 - 11:32 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 31 Jan 13 - 03:57 AM
Ebbie 30 Jan 13 - 11:20 PM
Rapparee 30 Jan 13 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,Stim 30 Jan 13 - 09:06 PM
Don Firth 30 Jan 13 - 08:39 PM
Bill D 30 Jan 13 - 07:31 PM
Jack Campin 30 Jan 13 - 07:14 PM
Ebbie 30 Jan 13 - 06:58 PM
Bill D 30 Jan 13 - 06:46 PM
Bobert 30 Jan 13 - 06:32 PM
frogprince 30 Jan 13 - 06:22 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 30 Jan 13 - 05:17 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 30 Jan 13 - 05:13 PM
Ebbie 30 Jan 13 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Lighter 30 Jan 13 - 04:56 PM
Rapparee 30 Jan 13 - 04:55 PM
Doug Chadwick 30 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM
Bert 30 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 30 Jan 13 - 03:30 PM
Ebbie 30 Jan 13 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Backwoodman 30 Jan 13 - 02:59 PM
Jack Campin 30 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 30 Jan 13 - 01:35 PM
Ebbie 30 Jan 13 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Backwoodsman 30 Jan 13 - 01:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jan 13 - 01:12 PM
Charmion 30 Jan 13 - 01:07 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Jan 13 - 12:41 PM
Megan L 30 Jan 13 - 12:29 PM
Ebbie 30 Jan 13 - 11:51 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 01 Feb 13 - 12:36 AM

I think you may be right about the media. It seems very much like "No Child Left Behind" and all the standardized testing came out of politicians not trusting teachers and imposing testing as a way of holding them accountable.

Look at the schools today, and you'll discover that many, or most, or in some places all of the older "good teachers" have gone, and schools are now full of teachers who are not much older than the kids.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 09:45 PM

I think that the media, by playing up the bad teachers and bad educational practices, has given the truly good teachers a bad name...as the media has done to so many things.

My history teacher in high school had us write a term paper on a subject in "modern" history. I chose to write a history of the operations of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Europe -- granted, it was superficial indeed! -- but he encouraged me. After I got my grade on the paper at the end of the school year, he told me that he'd been part of a Jedburgh team and had dropped into occupied France. He also said that my paper was a well-researched as was possible and had even brought back some good memories.

My chemistry and physics teacher encouraged me in every possible way, feeding my desire more knowledge in those subjects. It wasn't his fault that my math skills were abysmal and I wasn't interested in mechanics, though God knows he tried. Now I wish I knew more math and had actually learned Latin instead of just taking the course.

All of them instilled a desire for learning that still isn't quenched.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 09:29 PM

My initial ambition was to be a writer. Early on, at the suggestion of one of my home teachers, I ODed on historical novels. She had me reading Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and when I waxed ecstatic about it, she said, "Well, if you liked that, you'll probably enjoy Rafael Sabatini." Indeed I did!

Sabatini turned me on to fencing early on, when I was fourteen. And that's where another teacher proved important. This teacher, Katherine Modrell, taught fencing at the downtown YMCA. I dropped in one evening to watch the class, and after a bit, she came over to me and we started chatting. I told her that I would love to be able to fence, but obviously with my legs, I couldn't. She said, "Well, wait a minute. Let's just see what you can do."

Rap, a fencer, has heard all this.

It turned out that I could assume a sort of stiff-legged guard position (instead of the springy bent legs) and I couldn't lunge, but I could step fairly swiftly forward (CLICKY). I could also advance and retreat. Katherine reasoned that since I couldn't carry the attack to my opponent, I needed to develop a very airtight defense with parries, ripostes, and counterattacks. It worked!! After a few years I started entering regular competitions and I could hold my own with able-bodied fencers. I don't have any championships, but I have a very satisfying collection of second and third place medals and trophies.

Bless you, Katherine! I am eternally grateful!

I entered the University of Washington with fiction writing as my goal, both historical fiction and science fiction. But after a couple of years, I encountered a couple of people who were passionately interested in folk music (WELL before it was generally popular; this was about 1952). I also met Walt Robertson who really spurred my interest. Subsequently I changed my major to Music.

There, too, in the U. of W. School of Music, I was helped by one particular music professor when I was denied entrance because "folk music is not a worthwhile study and the guitar is not a genuine musical instrument!" Prof. Verrall arranged a special audition for me and Dr. Stanley Chappel decided that I was striving to be essentially a modern day minstrel (tip of the hat to Richard Dyer-Bennet!), and that I would be an interesting addition to the School of Music. The school now has a classic guitar teacher in residence (Michael Partington), and I like to think that back in 1957 I may have helped to kick the door open.

I did not need a degree for what I wanted to do, either as a writer or as a performing musician, so I had a certain freedom as to the courses I took. Advised by Dr. Verrall and later, at the Cornish College of the Arts, by Lochrem Johnson ("I don't care if you want to play tissue paper and comb, just as long as you're serious about your music!"), I was able to take the courses that I felt I needed, with good advice from these two professors.

There are some wonderful teachers in the world, and schools of various kinds can be a marvelous resource.

I can't hear someone putting them down in general without speaking out strongly.

=======

All of which doesn't really have that much to do with the subject at hand. But I felt I needed I had to speak out.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 09:06 PM

Schools are now all about "no child left behind" and high stakes testing. There is no time for all those wonderful things that we older sorts remember from school, and everything is now centered around standardized testing, which, as many of us may remember, were discredited as either measure of or devices for learning, many, many years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 08:17 PM

Overall, my grammar and high schooling was more than adequate. Catholic schools, both, but I was never hit until high school and then the Christian Brothers did little of that. I never had the idea that any of my teachers were sadists; some, in fact, were well-informed and were truly teachers. I admit to messing about in college, taking more than my allotted four years to get a bachelor's (the Army got in the way as well) but even then I thought and still think that most of my teachers were dedicated people. Graduate school was different, at least one prof wanted to make A Name for himself, but by then I knew how to play THAT game to my advantage.

Acting -- my drama prof in college was a true actor and a true teacher. He inspired my youngest brother, among others, to be the best they could be. One of his students went first to New York and then on to Hollywood as a character actor.

Don, I did set design when I was in the Army for "You Can't Take It With You." Later my brother played the Irish cop in a local theater production of it.

There ARE good, dedicated teachers, many of them. They can and do make a difference in the lives of their students.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 08:05 PM

I'm really sorry your schooling was a bad experience, Lizzie.

I don't know what the rules and regulations are for teachers in English schools, but in most municipalities in the United States, if a teacher strikes a child, he or she could be fired. Or most certainly disciplined and put on probation. I have never—EVER—been struck by a teacher. Nor were either of my two sisters. Nor any of my schoolmates.

I did have one English Literature teacher whom I thought was a bit of a pompous ass. He was very full of himself, and he tended to get impatient with the kids sometimes, but he did manage to impart the information. If he had problems with the kids at all, he was the primary cause of them himself. I think he wanted to be a best-selling writer and felt that he was "reduced" to having to make a living teaching kids who had to take his course because it was required. The kids tolerated him, even if they didn't like him much.

I took an elective cartooning class from a frustrated Georgia O'Keeffe who, I found out, learned her cartooning from a book I already owned. Anyway, I didn't learn anything new from her, and when she made "corrections" on my cartoons in ink(!!) I damn near broke her fingers!!

And my required geometry class teacher obviously didn't want to be there. But then, neither did most of the kids in his class.

So not all teachers were great. But I DID have some really great teachers.

As far as sizes of the classes go, there are economic considerations. Most of the classes I had in high school ran about 25 to 35 students, and I didn't find that a problem at all. At the university, I had some lecture classes that ran up to 300 students. If one needed extra help, the professor had a couple of teaching assistants one could make an appointment with.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 06:39 PM

And I was raised by a Gentle Man who NEVER hit either of his children, who never lost his temper, but only loved us and treated us with respect and love.

NO teacher has the right to hit ANY child and if any teacher had tried to hit either of my children, I'd have gone round there and walloped them four times as hard. It's preposterous that this abuse has been allowed to continue for so long and that some people, even to this day, feel it should be brought back bigtime.

The way to teach children is first to LIKE them and have a two-way Respect going on.   Also, teach them in very small classes, not 30/40 children to ONE adult. That's insanity, always has been and is the cause of so very many major problems in schools, where children feel lost, cast adrift and so often, worried sick.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 06:33 PM

Don, my daughter went through hell at school. She literally wanted to give up on life. She had some totally shitty teachers who took my breath away, such was their insensitivity.

I do not believe that just because someone has the title of 'Teacher' that they are to be looked up to or respected.

I also believe that TRUE teachers, those whom we remember all our lives, are BORN teachers, they do not become teachers through endless examinations or college...they are simply born to be teachers, loving what they do, having passion for knowledge and passion for children, whom they care about and would never DREAM of hurting, either physically or emotionally....

Sadly, the system has almost removed ALL of these wonderful teachers, for these days teachers are made to teach to the requirements of those who create The National Curriculum and the 'Death Trap Schoolrooms' which, for so many children, does eventually lead to a life of desperate insecurity about themselves, or, in some cases, actual death itself, brought about by despair of the terrible and shocking stress we put so many children under in order that they pass the required insane examinations to make them 'qualified human beings' rather than those whom the school system stamps 'FAILURE!' so early on in life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 06:24 PM

"Has anyone read any of his work? They included 'How Children Learn' and 'How Children Fail'."

Yes, Eliza...both excellent books. John Taylor Gatto is another inspirational man, along with Ken Robinson..both have many videos on yotube...

'Do Schools Kill Creativity?'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY



To those above:

Yes, I went to school. It was a place where I learnt to distrust adults, for it was there that a teacher hit the back of my hands, very hard, with a ruler, because I had dared to whisper to the person next to me. I realized then, around 9 years old, that some people were truly evil, nasty and deeply unpleasant. He was a man who loved to humiliate, belittle and beat children. His name was Mr. Stonelake and he was a nasty bully.

Nearly ALL the teachers I had were horrid. They shouted, they made you feel so small if you got something wrong, and they hated you wriggling around on your chair.

I wriggled.
I gazed out of windows.
I was utterly bored out of my brain....

The only sweet teacher I can recall was Mrs. Smallworth, who really was like Miss Honey out of Roald Dahl's 'Matilda'. She was kind, liked us, treated us with respect, made us laugh and taught us English in an enjoyable and carefree manner. She also didn't mind if you wriggled, or giggled. Subsequently, she was dearly loved by us all and we learnt from her through choice, not through fear....

My daughter had one lovely teacher too. Mr. Meek. He used to be a Circus Performer and so he knew how to hold his children spellbound with magical stories. He cared about them a great deal and in turn, they cared about him too.

Many teachers, I believe, are on the Asperger part of the Autism Circle. They are pedantically excellent at facts, but hopeless when it comes to showing or understanding emotions and children. They can't cope with wriggly children, nor children who don't 'obey them' in every way. They cannot understand that many people do NOT learn in the same way they do, nor are remotely interested in subjects which they themselves are fascinated by. They don't relate to anxiety in children, just get more frustrated with a child who doesn't understand the subject they are teaching, often losing their short-tempered tempers way too easily.

Being pedantic, little things which mean very little to others, mean THE WORLD to them, so if children get these things wrong, all hell can break loose.

Whilst I fully understand that the Asperger mind is wondrous with facts and figures it often causes much distress to young children and older ones too, due to the inability to relate to the feelings of others.

Of course, I'll now be shouted down by those above, but truly, this is a major problem, I believe..and it's been there for generations..

I had a friend who was studying English at Uni. Her tutor for the Latin part of her course was an American Professor. The woman was very cold at times and actually reduced my friend to tears. She hadn't meant to, of course, it was just sheer exasperation on her part, brought on by my friend's inability to learn in the way her Tutor taught her subject. The tutor finally met privately with my friend, where she told her she had Aspergers, and as such, she knew that sometimes she found it very difficult to understand WHY students struggled with Latin, or with learning in the way she taught it. She suggested they talk it through more deeply, but weeks later the same problems were happening and in desperation, my friend decided to pack her course in, choosing to do an Open University degree instead...

If you have great teachers at school, you are lucky. ALL teachers should inspire their students. Sadly, this is NOT the case and the sooner the Education System owns up to it, the better.

Some teachers are Wondrous...
Far too many are absolute shit and do grave damage to young and very vulnerable minds.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 05:41 PM

The teachers I had were, with very few exceptions, highly inspiring people.

Among the home teachers I had (provided by the Board of Education, which also oversaw the regular public schools) were all caring people and often introduced me to books and such in addition to the regular curriculum, that they figured I might be interested in, and they were generally right. We discussed various things, history, civics, and such one on one, and they managed to make it interesting.

When I got into high school, there, too, I found most of the teachers to be inspirational, very interested in making sure we kids learned, not just by having the information stuffed into our heads, but by creating an interest in the material so that we wanted to learn it.

In one Civics class, several of the kids got together and formed an after school group that met once a week to discuss current events. We managed to talk the teacher of the class into staying over after school with us to act as advisor and guide our discussions. It ate into his personal time, but he was willing. It was a good group, and I really learned a lot!

The drama group I mentioned above verged on the professional, and some of the kids went on into professional performing. In the theater (assembly hall) in the school, I saw full-blown productions with sets, costumes and all, of musicals like "Show Boat" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein and "The Fortune Teller" by Victor Herbert performed by the kids and accompanied by Roosevelt High School's student orchestra. These were remarkably profession productions, and they generally played to full houses, not just the families of the kids, but others as well!

Two good friends who performed in these went on, one, a remarkably rich-sounding young baritone, to do a bit part in a Bing Crosby movie ("Mr. Music") then went to Broadway where he understudied the lead in "Damn Yankees." One girl with a big voice sang with several opera companies, including San Francisco and Seattle (I saw her as one of the Valkyries in Wagner's opera of the same name—"Die Valkyrie"). Several others later appeared on dramatic stages and on television.

The experience I picked up hanging with this group stood me in good stead when I was asked, some years later, to be "musical director and folk music consultant" for a production of "Dark of the Moon" produced by the Cornish College of the Arts drama department.

I missed my chance to do some acting myself when the drama teacher asked me to play Grandfather in the following school year's senior play, "You Can't Take it with You." I was only vaguely familiar with the play and I said that I wasn't sure I could do it because of my having to walk with crutches, and he said that it wouldn't be a problem. In the movie, Lionel Barrymore played the role from his wheelchair, and the teacher said that if I preferred, the school could rent a wheelchair for me to use during the play. But—I was graduating that spring and wouldn't be around for the senior play.

I found school a marvelous experience and got a great deal out of it beyond an education.

I did know kids who didn't like school--hated it, in fact--but my observation was that they tended to get out of it what they put into it.

I don't know what Lizzie's schooling was like, but it sounds as if she was a classmate of David Copperfield, had to deal with the Beadle, Fagan, Bill Sykes, not to mention Mr. Bumble and Uriah Heep who slopped over from other lives, not to mention a whole raft of flesh-eating Ogres. Something early on must have filled her with anger and hatred.

She apparently didn't have a "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" experience.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 05:27 PM

I have no complaints at all about my own schooling. It was brilliant and effective. I got a broad and modern (for its time) curriculum delivered by excellent teachers. A State Grammar School, only 600 pupils, it helped me achieve twelve O Levels and three A Levels, qualifying me for University. I was very lucky.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 04:36 PM

I wonder exactly where Lizzie tried to go to school and send a daughter. I say this because I had similar experiences to Don Firth... many good teachers, and a few bad ones. When my son entered school, we found the same thing.
I also know a woman whose mother remarried and moved to Ireland. As a treat, each of her kids got to spend a Summer with grandma, and the oldest daughter decided to spend a whole year there and enroll in high school--- she lasted one semester! She couldn't take the apathy, behavior problems and generally low standards.
   Now, I would not even begin to assert that this is indicative of what one might find in the UK... but I'm sure there must be problem areas, just as there are in some areas of the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 03:33 PM

Lads please at least try to behave like grown ups whether or not one agrees with lizzie Cornish or not turning every thread into a slanging match is becoming rather tiresome.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 03:27 PM

Funny that everybody who is capable of debating on this thread went to school.

Hence Liz stands out on two points.

We need to raise the standard of education. I am fed up of having to have people rewrite public reports in the government regulator I do work for since retirement. (My grammar there being an example...)

It appears my subscription to The Institute of Directors is well spent. Someone has to point out that education is both valuable and required to ensure success, not only personally but on behalf of society. On this important matter, it is important that GROLIES are not allowed to inflict their idiotic ideals on tomorrow's citizens.

Layout of schools varies. Shocked if OFSTED and the local fire certification body come across UK issues?


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 01:48 PM

Holt, who went from home-schooling to no-schooling was a mid-1960's fad in education, like Summerhill & a host of others. A good portion of his work has since been discredited.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM

When I was doing my postgrad teacher training, we were given books by John Holt to read. I believe he was an American, and I was fascinated by his stance on the harm schools can and do cause in the free development of children. Way, way ahead of his time. Has anyone read any of his work? They included 'How Children Learn' and 'How Children Fail'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 01:11 PM

Perhaps you are a special case.

Liz IS a special case, Ebbie - a NUT case with little grasp of reality.

Schools are just another one of her crack-brained crusades, about which she is the untilate authority on earth. Accept no substitutes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 12:43 PM

I'm with Ebbie. School had its ups and downs for me, but overall it was great. Given the chance, I'd relive most of it gladly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 11:32 AM

Lizzie Cornish, I am sorry that for you and your children school was such a bad experience. Perhaps you are a special case. I have known some hyper-sensitive people for whom ordinary events were an over-load.

For most of us though, I believe, school is a mix of good memories - special teachers, lifelong friends, doors opened to new avenues - and bad memories of sadistic teachers, bullies and dead ends.

Kind of like life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 03:57 AM

"We have to help children and the way to do that is to make exams more rigorous.." stated by some dangerous prat from The Institute of Directors on BBC News this morning on 'the new idea' of creating the 'English Baccalaureate' to replace GCSEs.

Oh, fook, WHERE do I even START with this one!!!!! I'll let Pink Floyd say it all for me...........

Right, load the entire Institute of Directors into the hold and ship 'em off to Feckers Island!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5ApYxkU-U

And please, do not believe the *neutralizing* of Home Schoolers that you are fed. You will always get the odd nutter here and there, but you do amongst teachers too. There are many teachers who LOATHE children and who do much damage to them, damage which, for some children, will last their whole life long. So please, do NOT give me that sanctimonious crap of School Is Wonderful, because it ain't.

And all those who run schools or who desire the factory fodder they are supposed to produce want, is good little workers who don't question, who see 'Life' as being ALL about WORK and NOTHING else!

Well, I was Born Free as were my children, and having tried the Edukashun System we chose Freedom....and it worked, believe it or not...although I just wish I'd taken my daughter out far sooner than I did, but I, like so many others, thought you were not 'allowed' to home-educate, because, of course, you are NEVER informed there is an alternative, but simply led down the path of institutionalizing your children...

And these days it's starting earlier and earlier and earlier..

It's abhorrent...
It's utterly wrong...

And ONE DAY, those who come after us will look back in horror at what we put our children through, of how we believed all that we were told because we too had been put through a system which brainwashes children, through fear, of always obeying those in charge...


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 11:20 PM

Incidentally, it really bothers me when anyone speaks of "JUMPING out of windows." NEVER, NEVER jump. ALWAYS drop.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 10:04 PM

You know, there really isn't a good answer to this problem and never has been. You need to find a proportion between cost, usage, safety, and a host of other things. Think of your own home -- do you have a secondary escape route you can use in case of fire, especially if your bedroom is not on the ground floor? Are there windowless rooms, such as a toilet or a laundry room, where you could be trapped? Do you even have a fire extinguisher, and if so, have you checked it recently?

I worked for years in public buildings (libraries). We were required by law to have fire suppression systems, emergency evacuation routes posted, fire doors, fire escapes, and other safety features. Yet if fire escapes are blocked, as in Brazil just a couple days ago....

A fire and a shooting situation have many similar characteristics. Both involve immediate danger, both have the potential to take many lives, and both require effective pre-planning AND continued oversight to prevent the "blocked fire escape."

This is true of ALL public buildings -- theaters, malls, schools, restaurants, nightclubs, churches, court houses -- ALL public buildings.

The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire broke out shortly before classes were to be dismissed on December 1, 1958, at the foot of a stairway in the Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois. The elementary school was operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. A total of 92 pupils and 3 nuns lost their lives when smoke, heat, and fire cut off their normal means of escape through corridors and stairways. Many more were injured when they jumped from second-floor windows (which were as high as a third floor would be on level ground). (Wikipedia)

This school was, for the time, in complete compliance with all fire codes. Today, by far and away the single greatest cause for school fires is arson (according to the US Fire Administration of FEMA). Fortunately school fires today rarely cause injuries or fatalities.

Schools are in many ways safer than your home....


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 09:06 PM

Actually, Jack, home school parents often co-ordinate withprivate and charter schools that offer individual classes in math and science.--they also co-ordinate with other home school families to provide activities like sports, chorus, band/orchestra. There are a lot of resources available.

Also, even though it is is true that many home school families have what some may consider fundamentalist religious beliefs, often they pull their kids out of the public schools to protect them from teasing, bullying, and other sorts of intolerance, as expressed by Lizzie, above.

As BillD points out, it isn't something that most parents can manage to provide. Our school systems, and our ideas about public education, need to be seriously reconsidered, but I'm not holding my breath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 08:39 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed school. Having had polio at the age of 2 and having to walk with leg braces and canes, I had home teachers until early high school. And although with the home teachers I had a great deal of individual attention, it was for a couple of hours three times a week, with them leaving me lots of homework. I enjoyed the whole process and I possibly learned better than I would have in public school, but—

When I was fifteen, it was deemed that, although I still walked with a leg brace and aluminum forearm crutches, I was secure enough on my feet to weather the halls of a public school. And so I was.

The company of hordes of other kids, a host of new friends, some really inspirational teachers (a few clankers, but wotthehell, that's life!), and all kinds of after-school activities (chess club, art club, a drama group), I had a ball!!

And not every kid went on to college in those days. But I decided that I wanted to. One high school English teacher from whom I took Creative Writing sent one of my short stories into the Atlantic Monthly high school short story contest and it took an honorable mention. She encouraged me to pursue writing, so at the University of Washington I majored in English Literature, specializing in writing. This stood me in good stead for a couple of jobs (copy writer and news editor for a radio station—in addition to being on the air as a newscaster and DJ, and a technical writer and editor for the Bonneville Power Administration's residential weatherization program) and I have free-lanced about thirty published magazine articles so far.

I still have a number of writing projects in the works, but my studies in English Lit and the U. of W. occurred before my serious interest in folk music developed and I changed my major at the U. of W. to Music, in addition to studying British and American Ballads with Dr. David C. Fowler.

AND in high school, among other activities, I got involved in the student drama group, which gave me a feeling for stagecraft and performing, and turned out to be a great help later on.

====

I hate to keep honking on Lizzie, but my message to her would be that, all things being equal, school is what YOU make of it. If you found school to be a negative experience, you might look in the mirror.

====

Almost all the public schools in Seattle are built very much along the same lines, and the vast majority of classrooms have only one door. So if you're corked in, be it fire or someone with a gun—not good!

The idea of armed guards in a school seems a bit impractical, considering that Roosevelt High School, Lincoln, Garfield, Franklin and the half-dozen or so other high schools in Seattle all pretty much have the same floor plan and layout, having three floors, covering four square blocks, one main front entrance and at least five other entrances, and four different stairwells. Roosevelt also encloses two large (basketball court-size) gymnasiums, one small gymnasium, and a 450 seat full-featured theater / concert hall with a full stage complete with backstage and dressing rooms.

It would take a battalion of armed guards to cover the school adequately. Not practical. And apart from screening people going in and out like airport security, which, with a student body averaging around 1,500, all rushing to get to class on time—

No. Another solution is needed.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 07:31 PM

Home schooling: a fine idea in certain, rare cases. Most parents are simply not capable- and often not available. The school system, with all its flaws, serves many needs. Basic school procedures and curricula need revision, not elimination. (Texas does come to mind)


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 07:14 PM

In the U.S., at least some substantial portion of home schoolers are parents who want to prevent their children from learning to question their fundamentalist beliefs.

The impression you get from homeschooling websites is that the whole lot of them are fascist nutters terrified that Obama will poison their children with vaccines.

But maybe that doesn't reflect reality. This survey gives a picture I didn't quite expect:

http://www.austincollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Homeschooler_A_Snapshot_PPT.pdf

The differences in attitudes of homeschooled vs. school-schooled kids are in the direction I'd have expected, but they aren't large differences (perhaps in part because the whole of Texas is run by fascist nutters anyway). The one really dramatic difference is in how the kids cope with science, where homeschooling is a catastrophic failure - homeschooling parents simply can't teach it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 06:58 PM

Lizzie Cornish, you don't think that a recent student would know the password?

I do not agree - at all - that schools are the problem. I know many home schooled kids, and almost without exception, they are bright, happy children. That is not the issue.

The point is that a great many parents are not able/motivated/educated/skilled enough to teach their children themselves. Besides which, most households nowadays require both parents' paychecks in order to survive. And that isn't likely to change any time soon.

Until the day that a parent can afford to remain home in order to teach their children - and the parent is aware of the importance of education - schools will be necessary.

When the idea of public schools - in the sense that 'public' is used in the USA - came about, it was largely the official recognition of parental shortcomings that fueled it.

Bill D - and others - I agree that in the event of a fire, a second door might prove more frequently useful in the life of a school but my primary thought is valid, I think. I visualise a gunman being distracted by some brave souls while the children escape the premises.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 06:46 PM

I can't remember a single classroom from 1st grade thru high school that had 2 doors... and very few in college. The cafeteria usually did, but that was a special need.
I see your point, Ebbie, but I sincerely doubt that it would make a significant difference in terror attacks. Sure, 2 doors in case if fire would help... and new schools might be designed a bit better.

I suspect that older schools in poorer areas need to spend that money on other things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 06:32 PM

Here's an idea...

Know those chutes that airplanes have for quick evacuation??? All school rooms could easily be altered to use the same idea with very little cost... Just need one window that opens like a hatch and everyone out in a matter of a minute...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 06:22 PM

"In Home-Schooling children flourish. They learn what they love to learn, have no barriers, do not work to bells or timetables, question everything, have no homework, no humiliation, can be creative at all times, learn lying down, under the sun, or walking through a field..."

As a blanket statement, this is preposterous. There are certainly children for whom home schooling is by far the best, perhaps the only viable, alternative. But could anyone think that every parent, or set of parents, would have the skills and wisdon to provide such an idylic experience? In the U.S., at least some substantial portion of home schoolers are parents who want to prevent their children from learning to question their fundamentalist beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 05:17 PM

Ebbie, after the Dunblane shootings many schools in the UK had a password-entry system put in on the main entrance door of the school.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 05:13 PM

Thank you, Bert.

Ebbie, I do not like schools. I think they cause far more damage than good and they teach the Human Species to Obey Their Masters and not to speak out or dare to question authority.

I find them deeply unnatural, for children should be with their mothers, not with strangers, herded into massive 'factory farms' where others decide WHAT they are going to learn and HOW they are going to learn it.

I believe that schooling actually kills of the Natural Learning Instinct that is inherent in all of us, for learning becomes Eduction and Education has been controlled by those in charge since the idea of Schooling En Masse first came into being.

In Home-Schooling children flourish. They learn what they love to learn, have no barriers, do not work to bells or timetables, question everything, have no homework, no humiliation, can be creative at all times, learn lying down, under the sun, or walking through a field...

School has dominated our Societies for WAY too long and very few question who invented it, or why it is still here...

The separation of parent from child is a very human thing, for nearly all animals keep their young close at all times, teach them what they need to learn to survive and raise them in family groups.

We have torn ALL of this apart..and our children have suffered because of it, many of them have suffered beyond imagination.

I too remember a lovely teacher. I remembered her more because she stuck out in a sea of spiteful, bullying, pedantic morons who took great pleasure in being mean to children, to me, to my friends...The good teacher shone out like a star.

ALL teachers should Shine Like Stars!
ALL teachers should LOVE children!
ALL teachers should want to pass on the knowledge they have to help others.

ALL teachers should have stood up against this foul system decades back.

Sadly, most will never do so.
And these days the Education System operates as it does because the GOOD teachers have, in the main, left, totally disillusioned in a system that now only wants them to teach to The Way Of Their Masters.

The whole system is falling inwards and the main casualities are the children...

Never have they been so 'educated'
Never have they been so 'switched off'

And meanwhile, those who run the system keep changing the exams, the this, the that, in the hope that New Ways of Doing Things will help. But they cannot see that school has run its course....

Of course, the tricky part is that we have now created a society where Mothers are either *unable* to care for their children, due to the fact they have to work full time to keep a roof over their heads, or, they don't care much about their children in the first place, being that we've down-graded Motherhood to be lower than a sewer...

No other species would remove The Mothers
But the 'most educated' species HAS and then they wonder why their children are drinking and drugging themselves to death...

Ken Robinson - Changing Education Paradigms


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 05:13 PM

"But let's face it: mass school shootings are extraordinarily rare. A kid is far more likely to be struck by lightning than shot by a school invader with an assault rifle." Guest/Lighter

Yes, but for how long? If one wants to shock the whole world, where does one find the most vulnerable targets- and the least likely to fight back? In schools.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 04:56 PM

How do we "get rid of the guns"?

Not even repealing the Second Amendment would do it, because the guns would still be there.

A national military operation to confiscate the guns would result in bloody chaos and martial law at the very least. It would also cost plenty.

The current lockdown strategy may be better than the extra doors, if the locked doors could be made more or less impregnable, like the doors on airliners after 9/11.

But let's face it: mass school shootings are extraordinarily rare. A kid is far more likely to be struck by lightning than shot by a school invader with an assault rifle.

There are better arguments for more gun control than pointing to Newtown or Aurora. I don't think the time has come to station armed guards with their own assault rifles and body armor at every school. And then the nuts will go to the churches. And the theaters. And the malls. The armed nut will always find people to shoot, and it usually won't matter if they're carrying a concealed handgun because the nut will generally have the drop on them.

The best imperfect solution is to keep guns out of the hands of lunatics. Background checks at gun shows would be a start.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 04:55 PM

Simply to deal with any potential gunman you could simply reinforce the doors and door locks, as has been done on airliners.

Fire, on the other hand, is far more likely. A second door would be a good idea, but only if it exited into another area than that from which the fire was likely to come. An even better idea is sprinkler systems and other fire suppression systems -- which I believe are already required in schools in the US. Windows from which signals to rescuing firefighters can be displayed should also be required -- not to jump from, but to signal from. Ask a firefighter.

Going back to the hypothetical gunman: the police do NOT want any more people running around than they can help (which is a cogent point against those who would allow college students to carry arms "just in case"). Reinforced doors (and walls if need be) with good locks would permit the police to clear the building quickly -- signal systems can and have been devised to indicate the status of people sheltering in a room. Ask a knowledgeable cop.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM

It would be cheaper and more effective to get rid of the guns rather than add more doors.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM

I think that Lizzie Cornish makes some good points. There is a hell of a lot more wrong with schools than classroom doors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 03:30 PM

Bugger me. The virus spreads between threads.

Loony alert! Loony alert!

I'm with backwoodsman. School is a wonderful experience. My teachers helped shape me. Possibly helped me spot a GROLIES a mile off..


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 03:12 PM

Lizzie Cornish, at the risk of raising ire, what are you talking about? Before public schools were instated in the USA- especially in western pioneer days - children were taught the basics of readin' and ritin' and rithmetic- and that is about all they learned. Is that what you are advocating?


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Backwoodman
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 02:59 PM

I enjoyed my schooldays. My first teacher died recently in her late 80s, I held her in the highest regard, and enjoyed our occasional meetings right up to recent times. Some of my teachers influenced me profoundly, and I remember them with very great affection. I was very lucky to have known them and been taught by them, and to have known them right through my life.

But I had a good attitude towards school and respected the authority of my teachers. In this life you get back what you put in - those who put nothing in get nothing out. And rightly so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM

Fire is surely a far more serious risk than gunmen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:35 PM

I think the safest thing to do is just ban school...It would stop an huge amount of children from growing up feeling bad about themselves, from having their childhoods taken over by Homework and Exam Stress...and they'd not have to endure so many teachers who seem to actually not only dislike children, but who also get pleasure from Ritually Humiliating them in front of their peers...

ALSO it would free children forever from having to be trapped in a hugely unreal situation of being ONLY with other humans of the same age, for school cuts them off from all other age groups...

I could go on, but I think I'd best stop there....


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:30 PM

The elementary schools with which I am familiar are in Oregon, both for myself and for my daughter in turn.

I like very much the idea of having an emergency exit outdoors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:20 PM

At my Primary School (ages 5-10 years) in the UK back in the 1950s, every classroom had two doors - one to/from the corridor (the usual means of entrance and exit) and the second opening to the outside of the building - the emergency exit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:12 PM

Some schools here have both, a fire safety help.

Like Megan, I can't see that the suggestion would deter the gunman.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Charmion
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:07 PM

Classrooms in Ontario schools usually have two doors, both giving onto the corridor -- one at the front, opening into the space between the chalkboard and the first row of desks, and the other at the back, opening into the space behind the last row of desks.

I don't think that made any difference in 1975, when Robert Poulin attacked his classmates with a shotgun at St Pius X High School here in Ottawa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 12:41 PM

My elementary school did have two doors on its rooms. In addition to their main doors, the lower grade (K-3) rooms had communicating doors to the adjoining classrooms and the upper grades (4-6) had back doors opening onto the athletic fields/recess area. The communicating doors were mainly to make it easy for one teacher to keep an eye on two classrooms in case her coworker had to step out for a moment. (This was in the days before teachers' aides.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 12:29 PM

Ebbie I can see your reasoning and will freely admit I can only recall one such incident in Scotland within my memory. However I can see a problem in the sugestion, where pupils can get through a door to another room so also could a gunman. This would mean that instead of an incident being rsetricted to perhaps a coridor or one classroom it could become a domino run of death and injury.


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Subject: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 11:51 AM

I'm laying myself open to refutation- and that's fine. At my age I no longer mind being corrected. However, if my memory and/or experience is valid, there is a serious flaw in the design of elementary school rooms.

In the lower grades of school I don't remember a single schoolroom that had more than one door. That means that there is no way to escape if needed. There are windows, true, but windows by their nature are highly visible.

Hiding in coat closets is not only heart breaking but futile. I think every school in the country should cut a second door into every schoolroom. 99.99% of those second doors will never be needed but for those that are, it could mean the difference between multiple killings versus one or two.


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