Define basic. Is it functioning on grade level, i.e., doing what a 5th grader is expected to do, when you're 10? If that's the definition, then what should one do with children who enter their 5th grade year above grade level? What are systems legally required to do?
Our school system doesn't have G&T, so that's never been an option for us. The school's answer has been, in general, that strong students should tutor weak students. Of course, a kid who's bored out of his gourd may not look like a strong student, because compliance with a rules based system may not make any sense to a bright 10 year old. Why should he pretend to make an effort, when the homework takes no effort? If the class matter is too easy, it will have no value for him -- or as much value as a worksheet requiring adults to name the days of the week would have for adults.
If a basic education means the provision of teachers and academic work, why must it fit the age, not the kid's academic level? Why must a 10 year old functioning at a 7th grade level attend 5th grade classes?
This is vitally important for our society. Just this week I saw an article citing a national shortage of nuclear engineers.
I submit that the kid who gets As on class tests, but doesn't hand in his homework, needs more interesting subject matter. Every student should have the privilege of being unable to ace tests. If students are passing tests with 100%, they aren't correctly placed, even if they're darned useful to others as tutors. On balance, they're more useful to society, in the long run, as nuclear engineers or lawyers, than as free, untrained tutors.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
cranberry - define basic