Tuesday, August 17, 2010

London is NOT a country!!

I apologize in advance for anyone reading this who in fact sends their children to and likes the Arizona public schools. I would just jump off this boat right now.

So, in Primary on Sunday (I am the music chorister) I thought it would be fun to teach the kids the song "Children All Over the World" All you Mormons out there know it.
"All over the world at the end of day
Heav'nly Fathers children kneel down to pray
Each saying thank you in his own special way
Saying thank you, thank you in his own special way"
"Gracias, Malo, Wir danken dir
All over the world tender voices hear.
Some say Tak, others Merci,
kansha shimasu, we thank thee"

I thought it would be a fun game to have pictures of the countries flags and have the kids guess which country the flag belonged to, with some additional hints to help of course.

One flaw to this game. It had completely escaped my mind that my Primary is filled with stupid Arizona public schooled kids. 9-12 year olds, what grade is that? 4-6 grade!

(oh did I mention the word for Thank you in the countries language was written on top of the flag) Another mention, I know these kids well, I know when they are being smart asses, these guesses were solid.
First flag

...these were the guesses

1. Georgia

2. California

3. Africa

4. Australia

5. Colorado


7. Washington DC

At this point I had to stop them. I had already hinted to them that Spanish is spoken in this country, this country is famous for Bullfighting, and this country is in Europe.
I also informed them they had yet to this point actually named a.......
Then my primary kids, of which 5 out of 7 are Mexican (spanish spoken in the home), proceed to ask me what "HOLA" (they pronounced it Holla) meant. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the second, third, and fourth countries they might have accidentally guessed an actual country for one of those, not the correct one, but at least a country and not a city, state or Continent.

Okay the 5th country

Your guess didn't happen to be Utah did it?
Because their guess was! Oh, and "The Middle East, they speak the "Mercy" language there don't they?"
Maybe you guessed Alaska? They did!
The best guess was Germany, since it was actually a country, that's a lot to say considering we had already seen, talked about and learned the word for Thank you in German about 5 minutes prior.

This primary makes me insane. Ive actually walked out on them before. 5 minutes into Singing time, I grabbed my bag, collected my children from their junior primary classrooms and went home. No one has had the courage to ask or confront me about that. Too bad.
What are our Arizona public school doing for 7 hours a day??? Apparently not Geography. I'm not saying these kids need to memorize all the countries names and locations (although why not?) but at least know the difference between a state, a city and a continent!
What gets me is these kids are actually smart kids, smart kids who have never been challenged a day in their lives. They are given mediocre work to complete with mediocre standards placed in front of them just to be sure that one kid who is on the lower end of the scale makes it into their sadly lowered box of standards. We are not doing these kids any favors by giving them work below their ability. Wake up, our school system has hardly changed in almost 200 years. It was established to teach the bare minimum to produce blue collar workers and its doing that same thing today.
I will get off my soapbox now, reluctantly!
Almost done...parents are the only vehicle strong enough to change this flawed school system but if you are blindly following and not questioning then change will never happen.
And one more thing...


Heather said...

you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

I know my son has a hard time wrapping his head around the concept that America is a country, full of states, but Europe is a continent full of countries!

melanie said...

I wish I could have been there! You do such a good job telling the oh so disappointing lesson. I can see why you're frustrated! The walk out...oh to be there that Sunday too. Thank goodness they have you Jenny. You're already doing a lot to teach them!

H said...

Oh Jenny, the concept of countries, states, and cities is so hard to comprehend at a young age. BACK OFF our dumb kids :)

JRV said...

Okay, did you guys see their ages?
nine yrs - 1
ten yrs - 3
eleven yrs - 2
twelve - 1 (I know she should be in YW, she wont go)

April said...

I am an AZ public school graduate and I fully endorse this post because I feel like I don't know anything worth anything. What I do know I learned in college in a book I read, on my own time, or in a classroom I taught in where I had to learn things from other books I read, on my own time, so that I could teach those things to children. Did that make any sense? Probably not because I'm a result of AZ education.

JRV said...

Thanks April for backing me up. Is it because I made you a wonderful Quiche today?
Remember, I disclosed at the beginning of my post, if you are an AZ public school lover you should jump ship before reading.
I sat Avrie (5 yrs old)down today just to see what she knew...she knew where Egypt was, Madagascar, Spain, France, China, South Africa, USA, Italy, Greenland and Iceland. That was after I asked her to show me which COUNTRIES she knew. Not once did she point to California!

alisha said...

Oh Jenny, I love you! I'm really laughing right now - sadly. "What's holla?" Too funny that you walked out. I know you wrote this out of frustration, but it made me smile because that's my Jenny. :)

April said...

I was at an event last night where it was my job to pretend to be Helen Keller and tell a bit about "my" life and relate it to having faith. All went well. There were seven other women portraying other women from history. Two women blatantly admited to not knowing who Anne Frank was. I was horrified. One of these women also went on to ask the rest of us who we were representing and a bit about that person. She had no clue. This woman is my age. The women in history were Jon of Arc, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, etc. FAMOUS women. I might not know a ton about these women but I could give you a brief synopsis. I was thoroughly emnbarassed for this woman and wanted not to laugh at her. I was succesful but then went home and complained to Ryan and now on this blig post. I'm pretty sure that woman attended public school in AZ.

Alisa said...

Spoken like a true conservative!:) That's my girl! If the Board of Education would get out of our local schools and let the parents and the community drive the curriculum, then parents would actually have a voice! When we do have a problem and we go to the school to complain, we are not fighting the school, we are hopelessly fighting the federal government!

JRV said...

Im not sure what to say to that. Its in my nature and our relationship to automatically disagree with you politically but I dont have anything to say right now. I will get back to you. AND STOP NAME CALLING!!!
:) :) :) :) :) :)

alisha said...

LOL LOL LOL!!! Go Alisa!!!

Shannon said...

I need to jump in this comment section just to sign up for the follow up comments! love it!

Shannon said...

ps my favorites so far have been:

"back off our dumb kids"

"do i make sense? probably not b/c i am the result of the AZ education system."

and alisa telling you your view point is conservative, and Jenny not have a come back YET! oh yeah and the stop name calling.....

love it!

JRV said...

When power is given to the states over education things like the following happen.
Texas is the largest distributor of text books for public schools around the nation. So, if Texas, a state, a very conservative state, wants to change things regarding curriculum it can potentially affect the entire nation.
This past March the Texas State Board of Education approved controversial changes to the history, economic and social studies textbooks used in the public schools. Texas has decided to change history.
Here are just a few examples of the changes they made...
1.Removing mention of any recent third party candidates such as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. While adding Confederate General Stonewall Jackson as a role model for effective leadership.
2. Thomas Jefferson will no longer be included among writers influencing the nations intellectual origins. Because Jefferson helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, he is not a model founder in the boards judgement.
3. Replacing Jefferson as intellectual forerunners are the following; St. Thomas Aquinas (Catholic); John Calvin (Puritan) and Willian Blackstone (not even American and very conservative) Quoting the board "Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christan beliefs"

So tell me Texas conservatives how is it possible to tell the story of the USA without talking about the man who was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence?

The board also decided to reduce the role of Latinos in American history at which point lead Board Member Helen Berlanga (she was obviously outnumbered) to walk out quoting "they can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics dont exist, they are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world"
Did I fail to mention that 7 members of the Texas school board are open about the fact that they vote in "concert to advance a Christian agenda"
Public education is far far from perfect. But giving the power over to the states is not the solution. Stop blaming the federal government for the failing schools. The federal govt gives minimum standards. If the individual schools choose to not raise those standards for their own students that is their choice. There is not one person or group to blame for the inadequacy of our kids. Parents need to stand up for their kids. When their kids are bogged down by homework until bedtime then the parents need to confront the teacher, together, as a group. When you are upset that history isnt taught until 4th grade then do something about it...on a school level. Youre not fighting the federal government, you are fighting teachers that are stuck in their ways, unwilling to change for the benefit of their students and schools that are so worried about fundraising to buy a new talentshow backdrop instead of paying for additional math tutors. I could go on and on and on. Parents, grow some balls. Teachers, listen to your parents, Principals, raise your standards. Why do you think Charter schools were established? Not to put the control in the hands of the states but in the hands of the parents. Thats where the power and control belongs. (with the feds there to assist...not the states!)

JRV said...

I totally thought that last post didnt publish...that would have sucked!!!!