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Stupid High School Summer Assignments...


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41 replies to this topic

#1 of 42 Morgan Jolley

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Posted June 06 2002 - 12:32 PM

I dunno about other schools, but mine is one of the ones that gives us summer assignments. We are given the equivalent of a term paper (only it has less relevance to anything at all) and are asked to complete it. We get one for English and Math, though sometimes we get one for Social Studies.

Now what I don't get is why we have them. The assignment is pretty much summer-long busy work and accomplishes nothing. Some would say it prepares you for the next year of school, but that would only apply to the math assignment.

Usually when we do a paper for english, we can show it to our teacher so she can help us fix it up before we hand it in. This is how we learn not to make certain mistakes. Now how can we do this over the summer? The assignments are also due the first day of class, so its not like we can get help from the teacher apon returning or anything.

Also, they are graded and count as a big part of our first marking period grade. So if you go into a class and don't understand some of the work on the assignment, it means you get a bad grade for the first marking period. How dumb is that?

It'd be one thing if it was prepatory work or extra credit stuff, but its not. Its a real assignment that accomplishes nothing.

For this upcoming year, we have to do the first two chapters of work from the next math book (I'm going into Pre-Calc Honors) and have complete work and everything. Its around 75 (tough) questions.

Can anyone give me reasons why they would possibly do this to us?

#2 of 42 Scooter

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Posted June 06 2002 - 01:57 PM

http://www.zwire.com....d=331522&rfi=6

(Morgan asked me to post this link. This appeared in print last thursday)

#3 of 42 Steve Tannehill

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Posted June 06 2002 - 03:35 PM

Morgan and Scooter, I am normally a hard-ass when it comes to education, but I agree that this sort of summer homework is unfair.

As to why the school is doing this, I have to wonder if it relates to test scores and school funding. For several years in Texas, school performance (and hence, funding) has been measured by standardized testing. The tests have become a focus in the classroom, where some schools reportedly spend significant time teaching their students the content of the test and how to take it--instead of the knowledge required for mastery of the subject.

The other factor is that some schools consider the downtime of a summer vacation a setback in the learning process--with too much time needed the following school year to review the past year.

Factor in the all-important testing, and the supremely important school funding, and you have a case for year-round schooling, right? Posted Image

What bothers the most, Morgan, about your situation is the pre-calc self-study. I was excellent in math, but it took teachers to get me there. I think it is ludicrous to assign problems with no teaching support.

When I was in high school some (cough, cough) years ago, the most work I did over the summer was to take driver's ed, and to read a lot of books that were on the recommended reading list. I always found reading to be fun. But there was no expectation that I would write a report on every book I read. It was my leisure activity.

Scooter, has your editorial gotten any response? Have you taken the matter up with your PTA or school board?

- Steve

#4 of 42 Robert_Gaither

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Posted June 06 2002 - 03:36 PM

I have to agree about the stupid assignments (always hated English courses due to the arbitrary grading system that comes about determining a good vs bad paper). The intro to calc should be quite easy as most likely it will be a review of mostly basic algebra and maybe an introduction to the concept of limits though of some not understood the school should of provided some form ability to do constructive feedback on these assignments (when I took calc and higher math, I didn't know of anyone other than my instructor that I could ask questions on some of the problems).

#5 of 42 Rob Lutter

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Posted June 06 2002 - 03:44 PM

I am so glad I am done with school. Every summer, my school made me read 4 different novels and write separate papers about them. I always thought that it was really quite stupid (I think the same thing about homework on the weekends).

#6 of 42 Scooter

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Posted June 06 2002 - 03:47 PM

Steve: I am like you on school...and I support the teachers 110% DURING the school year. I supplied a TON of stuff to Morgan's movie class last year...even helped the teacher with some graduate work. As for responses, everyone who has approached me has been in agreement with me.

As for the Board of Ed...that will be a next step.

#7 of 42 Dome Vongvises

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Posted June 06 2002 - 04:11 PM

School work over the summer sucks, although I do enjoy reading quite a bit. Can't you help there, Morgan Jolley. Sorry. Posted Image

#8 of 42 Keith Mickunas

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Posted June 06 2002 - 04:32 PM

Scooter, I like your editorial and I hope you get some support. I think its great you stand up for your kid that way. Summer school for kids who are having trouble is one thing, but this is just sadistic, and I mean that. There can't be a good reason for this nonsense.

I'm well out of high school also, and I feel like my school didn't push math hard enough and I wish I'd done more, but I don't think making kids do such work during the summer is right. Also, for a calc course it may be difficult to find help. Morgan, if you can't get out of this, and I'm not certain it'd be wise to try and skip the math stuff since you might be behind the rest of your class, remember that folks here will be willing to help out. I know some other people have posted math problems in the past, and numerous people here, including myself, have strong math backgrounds. Considering my math profs didn't mind if we collabrated on home work, I think its perfectly ok to turn to others for help, so long as you try to do it yourself.

BTW, in my calc classes in college we could get hold of workbooks that showed all the work for every fourth problem, or something like that. You might check the bookstores at your local universities or on the web to see if they use your book. You deserve some help if your teachers aren't there for you.

#9 of 42 Greg Rowe

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Posted June 07 2002 - 12:35 AM

We were given a book or two and asked to read them. I never did because I thought the idea was stupid. There were never any grades associated with it though. If there were I am sure I would have struggled through it.

I hated school (still do, working part time on a Masters). I really hate how adults seem to think kids don't need a break from school. Summer vacation is a VERY good thing for kids. I hate the idea of year long school. I also hate how hard they push kids now. They expect them to be rocket scientists by 4th grade. Perhaps all of this stress is what has caused some kids to burn out and go on rampages (of course no one will ever know). ...And this is coming from someone who always did well in school.

Greg

#10 of 42 Keith Mickunas

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Posted June 07 2002 - 01:12 AM

Greg, you may have a point. China has a lot of problems with teen suicide because of school related stress. They're pushed exceptionally hard. There has to be a balance somewhere, and I think most schools have it, but pushing this much on them isn't right.

#11 of 42 John_Bonner

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Posted June 07 2002 - 02:26 AM

Scooter:

My wife saw that editorial in the Mt. Olive Chronicle. She said "don't you know a guy from Budd Lake named Scooter" (There can only be one Scooter!) We read the editorial together and were in complete agreement with you. Nice job!

Morgan:

I think you pretty much prove that it doesn't take summer assignments to make a good student. Your hard work, good grades and accomplishments during the school year should be an example to the school board. Keep up the great work and ENJOY THE SUMMER!!
JB

#12 of 42 Ryan Wright

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Posted June 07 2002 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
Can anyone give me reasons why they would possibly do this to us?
Who knows. I hated middle and high school. Hated it so much we are homeschooling our daughter.

I refused to do homework in school. I never understood why I had to sit down and do 100 math questions every night. Why? I'd do the first five in class so I could learn the process and quit. I'm not going to spend an hour doing another 95 problems. The point is to learn. I'd learn, and when I was confident that I understood, I stopped.

I didn't do one piece of homework all through high school. Not one. Failed all the assignments, aced the tests, and ended up with a low B or high C average in most classes. Worked for me. Some of my friends did 3 to 4 hours of homework every night. They'd go to bed after 10:00pm, weary, tired, and miserable. I think it's insane.

Summer assignment? I'd tell 'em where to stuff it. But then, I never cared about my grades. If I didn't want to do something, I just didn't do it. If one of my teachers pissed me off, I just went home for the rest of the day. Half the time I didn't even attend classes. As long as I didn't fail completely, I was happy.

Despite this flunkie attitude I have been very successful in "real life". (School is NOT real life, nor does it prepare you for it)

I hear now that some cities are arresting parents and placing them in jail if their children skip school. What the hell is wrong with society? My child will NEVER attend a public school. NEVER. I can NOT believe anybody has willingly gone to jail over this. I'd hole up in my house and refuse to come out. They'd have to bring in a swat team and drag me out at gunpoint. That'd look great on the news, wouldn't it? "Wow, look, there is a standoff going on!! What did he do? Kill somebody? Rig up a car bomb? What?" - "His kid skipped school again today. Damn felon. I hope he fries."

Anyway, this ended up being a long rant, so let me wrap it up: I'm not advocating skipping school and getting poor grades. I'm really not. I'm just trying to say, "You've got to draw the line somewhere." High school requirements are ridiculous and the public school system is horrible. We need a major change.

#13 of 42 Keith Mickunas

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Posted June 07 2002 - 06:25 AM

Ryan, if you're homeschooling your children legally, then they are not truant, so no one is breaking the law. No one's going to come after you. The problem is the parents who don't supervise their kids at all and their kids always skip school. Those are the ones getting in trouble. Talk about taking something out of context.

#14 of 42 Glenn Overholt

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Posted June 07 2002 - 07:11 AM

Keith, I'm sure that Ryan was just showing what a normal parent could get into, but I'd like to know how a parent is supposed to force their kid into going to school if they are at work?

If a parent works from 8 - 5, they'd have to drop off their school aged children rather early, or risk being late for work, and what is to stop a child from walking in one door of the school, and turning around and leaving again?

They'd have to put one of those proximity ankle braces on them, and if it did go off, they'd have to put a GPS unit on it so that someone could track them down. Personally, I'd be looking into why they don't want to go to school in the first place.

Morgan, I'm dying to know what happens to students that move to your school district over the summer? Maybe you could move to your uncle's place (in another city) and have your school records transferred, and then bring them back in September and say that it just didn't work out.

What would they do?

Glenn

#15 of 42 Ryan Wright

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Posted June 07 2002 - 09:28 AM

Quote:
Keith, I'm sure that Ryan was just showing what a normal parent could get into
Yes, exactly. I'm not concerned about me dealing with this as a homeschooling parent. I'm saying, this is just another reason why I do not want my child in a public school.

Quote:
If a parent works from 8 - 5, they'd have to drop off their school aged children rather early, or risk being late for work, and what is to stop a child from walking in one door of the school, and turning around and leaving again?
And that's my whole point: You can't. I skipped a lot of classes without my parent's knowledge. I still passed them, so for the most part, nobody questioned me. I just can't believe that parents can be arrested for this nowadays. I'd venture a guess that most parents do everything they can to keep their kids in school, but you can't force the kid to stay...

#16 of 42 Jefferson

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Posted June 07 2002 - 09:34 AM

I taught at a private school for eight years, and as someone who has seen both sides of this, I assure you this has less to do with learning and more to do with district or state policy. Your teachers probably hate it as much as you do.
Go have some fun in the sun.

#17 of 42 Morgan Jolley

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Posted June 07 2002 - 11:37 AM

Thank you for supporting me in my cause. Thank you for complimenting me on my grades. Just wanted to say that first.

The sad thing is, some of my teachers agree with me. It just so happens that the department chairpersons are the ones who don't.

I have one teacher (my current Algebra 2H teacher) who agrees with the summer projects. We were discussing it, and she gave the argument that learning does not stop just because its summer; we are constantly learning. The summer project just keeps us learning. I argued that we should at least be given a chance to decide whether or not we want to do the summer assignment during OUR vacation and that we don't learn anything by doing 2 months worth of busy work. Suffice to say, she said that we should end our conversation, so we did.

I was going to run for student council on the "no summer projects/nerds rule!" platform, but due to circumstances, I didn't. I'm thinking of having a sit-in protest or a picket out front in order to draw attention to the stupid projects so there is pressure from the public on the school to get rid of them. If that all fails, I could try to organize a school-wide boycott.

Another one of my teachers was telling me today how some teachers were talking about the letter my father wrote (Scooter) to the local paper. She said that she agrees and disagrees with him, and to tell the truth, I agree with what she had to say. She said that since kids don't value the ability to read as much as they should, a summer assignment involving reading a book is a good thing, to which I totally agree. She also said that its stupid for kids who do a lot of work and try hard to get good grades are forced to do the summer projects because they don't actually need to do them, to which I also agree. But then I told her that she only mentioned the English side of the projects. When I told her about the math ones, she said that the math assignment was stupid.

I don't mind having something like a book report or even an essay about a book we read over the summer(so long as its a free form essay and we don't have to hand in a bajillion pieces of paper) but assigning papers that are longer than some term papers is really stupid.

#18 of 42 Greg Rowe

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Posted June 08 2002 - 01:43 AM

Morgan,

I still think it should be optional. Summer is your time. If you enjoy reading, then read. If you enjoy math, then study math. If you enjoy watching movies and going to scooter-palooza then you should be free to do so! If they want you to do a book report over the summer then they shouldn't have summer vacation at all - see how the teachers like that idea?

Greg

#19 of 42 Morgan Jolley

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Posted June 08 2002 - 02:13 AM

Quote:
If you enjoy watching movies and going to scooter-palooza then you should be free to do so!

I'm not sure if I have a choice on that one...

Anyhoo, I agree that they should make the summer projects optional. Last year, one of my teachers said that the projects help give some students a jump start on the school year, to which I responded "But it hurts anyone who doesn't do it or does it badly, so it instead inhibits them in the first marking period." So right there her "reason" for the projects was shot down.

The thing is, they're not going to get rid of the projects, so making them optional is not going to happen. I think they should make them something thats either easy or doesn't require that much time, like a simple book report. Even making us read a type of book (like a specific genre) would be fine so long as we don't have to do a huge report on it.

#20 of 42 Matt MacFarlane

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Posted June 08 2002 - 04:23 AM

I don't mind reading a book and writing a report over the summer so long as its a good book. The problem is, most of the time they are not. The books they assign are too long, are about topics I don't care about, and I think that we should just pick it ourselves.
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