You can’t get left behind if class isn’t going anywhere

By and

Kids should try working harder before the No Child Left Behind policy is totally rejected.

I know teachers are over-worked. My mother and her two sisters have all taught. They need President Bush’s policy like a fish needs a bicycle. But it has come to my attention that public school students could work a lot harder.

The first indication of this is the lack of preparation incoming freshman demonstrate at the U. Every year, 17- and 18-year-olds come to the U with horrible study skills, deplorable writing and grammar proficiency, little drive to get involved and a pathetic understanding of current events.

The second indication is my experience substitute-teaching in Davis County schools every winter, spring and summer. This May, I’ve been disgusted at how lazy students are.

This should be a concern for all U students. Many are either just coming in from high school, or are about to return as student-teachers. All of us are asked to vote for politicians that pledge to attack, reform or defend the No Child Left Behind Act.

What I’ve seen is that, by the second week of May, everyone has already taken the final national, state or classroom tests. For the last two weeks, they’ve just been working on assignments to kill time.

My younger sister, a sophomore in high school, is dying. She’s got a bad case of attention deficit disorder, and can’t handle watching videos or doing busy work. She has to stay mentally engaged or she goes crazy.

As a substitute, I see dozens of kids like her. There’s no point in disciplining their bad behavior because they can’t control themselves, and they’re not doing anything important anyway.

I don’t understand why schools complain about the No Child Left Behind Act for eight months out of the year, then blow weeks’ worth of usable time right before the winter and summer breaks.

Perhaps the tests are held too early. Perhaps a “finals week” should even be implemented to keep students working until the last day.

One thing about university life that I’ve found stressful, yet rewarding, is the fact that every class wants me to take a long test during the same week, but after those tests are finished, school is totally out.

Why can’t public schools try that? Why not wait until the last week to give the huge tests, then allow every last day in May to be used for preparation?

Another thing I hear from parents in my neighborhood is that kids have too much homework these days. How is it possible that they are performing so poorly and yet have too much homework? Are they overwhelmed?

My mother said it’s because students goof around instead of getting work done in class. My sister manages to get most of hers done in school, even though she has a handicap that prevents her from focusing.

I know students rarely behave for substitutes, but I typically see less than half of the kids complete basic assignments during the 45- to 90- minutes they’re given. In the last two weeks, I’ve seen a handful refuse to even do them at all.

Before we consider too carefully what policy makers are proposing to change about education, we should ask ourselves: Are the students spending as much time studying as they are perfecting their “Halo” sniping skills?