AP English 11 Summer summary assignment #3 (M-Z)

See assignment above:  M-Z, post here


JuniperWouldBuryTheEvidence5671 said...

Reaction to Madysun Kirkpatty's summary of "How Harry Saved Reading" by Norman Lebrecht

With the approaching end to an epic franchise on July 15th, came a lot of publicity. But where was this publicity 14 years ago when a struggling Jo Rowling tried to publish her brand new children's book? According to Norman Lebrecht, in 1997 children's books “did not sell” so publishers were reluctant to print. Kids back then had stopped reading and books could only maybe sell if there was a television show tie-in. However, Harry Potter turned around this unfortunate tradition, says Lebrecht.

This point is what really sets off the rest of Lebrecht's essay. It is very important not only to stress Harry Potter's success but also its necessity. Although 'Madysun' summarizes mostly Lebrecht's opinion on J. K. Rowling's writing style, she does touch somewhat on the innovations of the modern female writer. The remarkable effect that these books have had on children for the past 14 years cannot be overlooked. As is in the title of the essay, the summary should focus more on how the Harry Potter books as an entity “saved reading” and less on the the content of the Harry Potter books themselves.

In my own research on the topic, I learned that Harry Potter may have not only saved reading for children, but for people of all ages. These books are more versatile than any other so-called “children's book.” The Harry Potter franchise as a whole has generated an incredibly large amount of enthusiasm throughout the world. As 'Madysun' said in quoting Lebrecht, never since Dickens has an author “excited such a universal and immediate interest.”

While Lebrecht does address the resemblance of J. K. Rowling's writing style to that of Charles Dickens, this is not his main point. Lebrecht continually compares the two as a running motif; however, he does not intend the connection to overwhelm the rest of his essay. He also compares J. K. Rowling to Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and C. S. Lewis.

Lebrecht goes on to say that J. K. Rowling's books are perhaps more effective in enticing children to read than even her victorian era “equivalent,” Charles Dickens. Dickens's books, says Lebrecht, contain admirable but not relatable characters whereas Rowling's pages are filled with genuine people.

In further praise, Lebrecht commends Rowling for the existential qualities in her writing and in her characters. According to Lebrecht, many other children's books contain only a fun story and an interesting character. However, Harry Potter is a far more “adult” tale in comparison, expressing themes of “good vs. evil,” “life vs. death,” and “freedom.” Although these topics are a bit more mature than those seen in usual children's stories, Lebrecht thinks that they are valuable. These themes, more than anything else, are what really saved reading among children.

AudlyYimmyKimchi5347 said...

Even as people awe in wonder at the success of stereotypical Chinese children, they accuse the stereotypical Chinese mothers of being “scheming, callous, [and] overdriven.” But the ultimate question is, how, and why, do these stubborn Chinese mothers produce such kids? According to Chua’s statistics, Chinese mothers regard “academic achievement” as their responsibility by latching on to their child’s success. From the roots of pride and “Confucian filial piety,” Chinese mothers willingly sacrifice hours of time, as well as their own blood, sweat and tears. By justifying this stereotype, Amy Chua boldly places cultural differences alongside parenting differences.

In fact, the entire essay hones in on reasoning that the Chinese parenting is the good parenting, as opposed to the other, Western parenting. The how-to’s and why’s are certainly essentials of the Chinese stereotype, but Chua focuses on presenting her theory on cultural parenting. ‘Klee.nap5577’ goes through a great deal summarizing Chua’s personal methods, anecdotes and the Chinese “honesty policy,” managing to mention that “demanding Eastern parenting”…surpasses “passive Western parenting;” however, the summary should center more around comparing and contrasting these parenting differences seeing that Chua aims to explain, as the title plainly puts it, “why Chinese mothers are superior.”

As “Western” parents criticize the Chinese parenting stereotype, Chua bites back, saying that Western parenting centers on “fragility” rather than “strength” when they stress their child’s “psyche” over his or her success. Chua writes the essay to argue her position in the ultimate battle of ‘Western culture versus Eastern culture’ regarding parenting; yet at the same time, she recognizes that “Western parents…provid[e] positive reinforcement” in “respect[ing] their children's…true passions [and]…choices.” It is in Chua’s best interests to simply challenge the widely accepted Western way of parenting with the seemingly unacceptable “Chinese belie[f]” in parenting.

The reality is neither can be declared ‘the good’ nor ‘the bad’ as a fact. It can be said, however, that they are very different parenting approaches, each valuing one thing over another. Who really has the credibility to say which is superior? Let’s let the parents decide.

AmiMatSUSHIta5603 said...

reaction to "DutinC-O"
In “The Sleepover Question” Amy Schalet compares Dutch and American parents and how they treat their teenager’s sexual independence. Schalet believes that if Americans were as open to the subject of sex around their children as the Dutch, sexual maturation would be much easier and family relationships would be much healthier. She uses “Kimberly” and “Natalie,” people she had interviewed, as examples of typical American and Dutch teenagers. Schalet claims that “Kimberly,” who, because of her American family’s opinion on sex, did not tell her parents about her sex life with her boyfriend, had to suffer from keeping secrets from her parents. “Natalie,” however, decided to tell her father, who, though at first rather upset, came to accept this and the household became a more comfortable and welcoming environment for the entire family. Schalet concludes that teenagers would be much more prepared for the transition into adulthood and parents wouldn’t have to worry about their children sneaking off.
Though “DutinC-O,” the summary writer, had included most of what was in the original article, after comparing the article to the summary, I noticed that a couple, fairly important points were missing. For example, even though “DutinC-O” did write that Schalet had thought that American parents did not like talking about sex to their teenagers, “he” did not include that they did not want their teenagers to have sex in their own home, especially while people were still there. The significant benefit that teens are more prepared and are less likely to have accidental pregnancies is also left out of the summary.
To me, the significance of “The Sleepover Question” was the amount trust that the Dutch families had compared to American. When teenagers can honestly say things about themselves to their family, especially something like having sex, I believe that they would feel better being honest about many other things because they can trust their parents. Trust can bring families so much closer, and that is what should be important to all families.

nicoeorozco5625 said...

Reaction to Alexxa_R_hehehe's summary of "The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher" by Ellie Herman

In "The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher" Ellie Herman addresses a "common viewpoint" that states students will do well with a "superstar teacher" no matter the amount of students assigned to that teacher.. She laments the large number of students in her classes, saying that in classes much larger than 25 students, "providing individual attention becomes difficult."
Herman paraphrases Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as having said that "the billions spent in the U.S to reduce class size was a bad idea." This statement is especially worrisome to me as a student. This trend also seems to worry Ms. Herman who notices data "every day" that shows countries who score higher on math and reading "often with larger classes. "
"Alexxa_R_hehehe" focuses mainly on the troubles Herman expresses when dealing with "large and diverse class[es]". Of course this is what the teacher attempts to explain in the article, and it is the most significant idea in the text. Herman's inability, because of class sizes, to "know each child in [her] classroom", what the teacher sees as the key to "teach each child in [her] classroom" clearly comes across in the summary. What is less clear are the causes of crowded classrooms, and why they seem to work in other countries. Schools around the nation are being underfunded as a down economy forces states to cut back on spending. Schools are forced to either layoff teachers or accept more students to "stay on budget"; this leads to overcrowded classes and underpaid teachers. In other countries, "such as Japan and South Korea", a "huge percentage" of parents hire after-school tutors to "make up for [the] lack of individualized attention at school."
Similarly the children of the wealthy can afford to attend "private schools with small classes" so it is a shame that "children growing up in poverty" are forced to be in overcrowded classes without the income necessary to buy individualized attention. We (students at LACHSA) should be concerned because budget cuts are not some hypothetical future problem, they are affecting the quality of our schooling right now! Until our country realizes that the education of future generations should be a priority, we will continue to suffer the effects of "slash[ed] education budgets".

OddryRowsisYoung5678 said...

All in all, the article “With Testing, Where Do We Go From Here?” by John Merrow shows that schools don’t always consider what’s best for students. Instead, teachers and educators try to better the school’s image by improving test scores rather than focusing on the best ways to teach students. Essentially, the lack of learning at school is a major flaw in our society that receives attention, but never a solution. Likewise, scoring well on tests that “are not [even] ‘good’” is valued more than learning. On a broader spectrum, Merrow addresses that “teaching to the test” often causes shocking cheating controversies because the learning process isn’t treasured, only the numeric results. Similarly, counselors in Florida told students who were failing school to drop and take the GED, without even considering the student’s well being, just to better the school’s image. Therefore, society must acknowledge these actions as an unacceptable way to treat students since, in the end, these students will be the “parents,” “citizens,” “voters,” and “consumers” in society, who never even learned writing tools in school.
In the first four paragraphs, Madduh_line.STef_an_I summarizes what I also saw as the most important points from the article, particularly Merrow’s criticism against the “constructed response process” that doesn’t teach “accurate” and “clear” writing, and that cheating problems arise because tests nowadays measure a student’s academic worth in scores. Overall, I agree with STef_an_I’s main idea that, due to the current teaching methods, students turn to cheating because there is too great of an emphasis on test-scores as a way to measure scholastic accomplishment. On the other hand, in STef_an_I’s concluding paragraph, she summarizes Merrow’s ideas, stating that “educators need to think of solutions other than…changing the way academic accomplishment is measured,” whereas, after reading the article, I was led to believe that Merrow wants educators to think of a different way to measure “academic accomplishment” altogether. Furthermore, I interpreted that Merrow’s purpose was to inspire society and educators to create new goals for students, the seeds of the next generation. Then, society can create a new way to “measure” these achievements, other than the current testing methods. In conclusion, I felt that Madduh_line regurgitated the most important ideas from Merrow’s article, but reasoned a different purpose of the article than I.
Above all, this article focuses on the dire state of education in schools. Moreover, the learning process has been diminished to a level of barbarity where students memorize facts for a test but forget the information once the test is over. I’ve seen firsthand that, when schools and educators teach to the test, the majority of students lose a passion for learning. In particular, the idea of making an effort to learn seems futile when it should seem beneficial. In teaching to the test, there is a lack of thought process, brainstorm, critical thought or development of any sort. In conclusion, students become adult members of society who can vote, work, raise children, and try to change society, so everyone should be concerned with educating these people in order for society to survive and thrive.

Ah.D.Shmith5653 said...

Reaction to Daniel82Wants988Moore’s summary of “Executions Should Be Televised” by Zachary B. Shemtob

In his article, “Executions Should Be Televised,” Zachary B. Shemtob advocates the televising of capital punishment. In a time when, due to fear of terrorism, American civil rights are being curtailed, Shemtob wishes to expand the freedom of speech. As precedence for his argument he cites legislative sessions, presidential debates and courtroom cases, which are often televised. While others argue the safety of allowing the public to observe executions, Shemtob claims that “modern security and technology obviate [the danger of] rioting and pickpocketing.”

While the “Daniel82Wants988Moore” summary correctly states the main idea of Shemtob’s article as arguing for the broadcasting of executions, I feel that Shemtob emphasizes the difference between “reading or hearing of such an event” and viewing it on television or the web. For example, after witnesses reported that a condemned prisoner “jerked his head, grimaced, gasped and lurched” during lethal injection, a written document of a later, similar execution stated “Grant DeYoung…showed no violent signs in death.” Shemtob implies that the written article was misleading. In addition, Shemtob argues that while others believe that televised executions will have a “numbing effect” on the public, he believes that such notions are overstated.

The debate on televising capital punishment affects the right of freedom of speech, a core value of American democracy, and affects everyone in the U.S. Shemtob believes that people should gain the right to observe “through image and sound” what the government undertakes “in their name…with their tax dollars.” However, I feel that the possibility of executions becoming a form of entertainment would debase the morals of our society. Rather than enlightening the public, televising executions would desensitize viewers to the cruelty of capital punishment.

ZakSeligstein5650 said...

Response to Camran-Covel5697's summary of "GOP Needs to Grow Up and Get Back to Work."

In “GOP needs to grow up and get back to work,” Roland Martin singles out the U.S. Republican Officials as “pouty kids” for not cooperating with the Democrats and argues that to fix America’s problems, they need stop acting like “brats” and “get back to work.” To start, Martin quotes McCain during an interview saying that “there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” to which he comments is “dumb.” Also, Martin addresses the fact that if cooperation doesn’t begin to happen, urgent problems in our immigration, education, and health care won’t be resolved. Finally, he states that it doesn’t matter the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, but that our political leaders “act like grown men and women” and start to “fix the broken.”

Though Camran-Covel5697 discusses Roland Martin’s purpose thoroughly, I feel that a second purpose, to move forward regardless of “partisan nonsense,” was underdeveloped in the summary. Throughout the article, Martin builds this idea with comments aimed toward the republicans such as “get in or get out of the way” and regarding the democrats to “go it alone” if they “say no to everything.” He ends by discussing that he feels the upcoming election is “meaningless” because all that matters is to try and “fix the broken” regardless of political views.

No matter how confusing politics can be, it is simple to understand that not participating at the highest level of influence does nothing productive for the United States. By not complying on any level, the Republicans in office thus put off all the problems we currently face as a nation. In essence, by not taking responsibility, the republicans in office leave all the problems to compound on themselves overtime, which in turn hurts the economy, educational system, and society. I believe that we, as a society, should start caring about what happens in office more and voice our opinions louder so that we do not continue to be short changed by our politicians because of their choice to “not cooperate” with one another.

irusshrap5637 said...

In “The myth of the extraordinary teacher” Ellie Herman discusses the widely talked about subject, that students learn better with a “superstar teacher”, no matter what the size of the class may be. She addresses her current issues with class sizes and the overwhelming effect it has on her and her students. Although she does her best to give each student what they need, Herman feels “[she] just can't do it”.
Herman quotes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan saying, “the billions spent in the U.S to reduce class size was a bad idea." But Herman believes “to teach each child in [her] classroom, [she has] to know each child in [her] classroom.” Especially when her class sizes are over 25 students at a time, most with learning/behavior disabilities and/or severe personal issues.
Although "Alexxa_R_hehehe" clearly addresses Herman’s frustration and troubles dealing with class sizes, which is the main focus of the article, what is not as clear is the reason other countries with larger classes are succeeding. According to Herman, because of the large class sizes in Japan and South Korea most students “pay for after-school tutoring to make up for a lack of individualized attention at school.” Also, wealthier students here in US who attend private schools are guaranteed smaller class sizes and more individual attention.
These budget cuts are affecting everyone, even our school. We “deserve to have not only an extraordinary teacher but a teacher who has time to read their work, to listen, to understand why [we’re] crying or sleeping or not doing homework.” Until California stops “slash[ing] education budgets and cut[ing] teachers” we will not get that personalized attention and will continue to be taught in overcrowded classroom by overwhelmed teachers.

DutinC-O5651 said...

Reaction to EllenOrGaret5539 “When Food Kills”


Nichol D. Kristof, the author of “When Food Kills” discusses how America’s lenience with food inspection and over-dosing livestock with antibiotics is becoming a threat to the health of American population. Kristof believes that America is recklessly using antibiotics on our livestock to cut spending but at the cost of the nation’s health.

The significance of food-borne illness is obvious when one realizes just how much food the average American eats. If the average American eats 117 pounds of beef a year and that beef contains antibiotic-resistant illnesses, then the safety of the American people is at risk. To illustrate, Kristof points out that annually “325,000 people are hospitalized because of food-borne illness” and 5,000 die. Because of the low-level of the antibiotics, this makes it “a perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens”, making the diseases virtually incurable.

After reading both the article and the summary, I felt that the summarizer failed to sufficiently emphasize the careless way which America was administering antibiotics to its livestock and instead focused on where the disease was coming from and how it was developing. Though she had covered cause and result of these outbreaks of often fatal antibiotic-resistance disease, she should have made the author’s ultimate message the main idea. Additionally, upon further research, the legislature mentioned in the article has been continuously blocked, the government apparently believing that cheap food is better than safe food.

In conclusion, the over medication of our livestock is an important one, especially when considering that on average food-borne illness kills one person every two hours. If this ill-advised practice of giving antibiotics to healthy animals continues, these staggering mortality rates may increase, putting virtually the entire country at risk. If America started treating illness in livestock with the fact that their people would subsequently be getting those diseases, they may be able to prevent this problem from getting worse.

Heyva_Raddish7217 said...

Reaction to AmiMatSUSHIta5603's summary of "Science and Religion: God didn't make man; man made gods" by J.Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer

In “Science and Religion: God didn’t make man; man made gods” the authors J. Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer argue that the idea of a god or a higher figure was created by man as a way to provide an ultimate authority figure, and not that god created man. The authors wanted to stray away from the fantastical idea that man was created by an almighty figure and instead provide scientific evidence supporting the belief that godly figures were created by human’s imagination. To do this many experiments and studies were referenced including studies “unraveling religions DNA”, the findings of psychiatrist John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, as well as the research of “Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom” and of Michael Tomasello.

After reading and rereading the article I felt as though something was missing. Yes, the article stated a topic and provided a variety of research to back it up, but that was the entire article. I felt it lacked a connection between all of the experiments and studies that were mentioned. The supporting references were presented very abruptly, leaving the reader jumping from one idea to another without much time in-between to process, leading to the scientific findings getting muddled together. With this stated, I believe the overall purpose for the article was well comprehended but that with the amount of evidence being presented, the article could have benefited from being lengthened, allowing time for the reader to absorb the variety of information presented.

Religion has always been a very sensitive subject, mostly because it is a very personal issue with every ones belief differing from the next. Bluntly, this article denies the actual presence of god and instead states that it is a coping strategy for humans to deal with the presence of authority. In a sense Thomson and Aukofer are dejecting peoples core beliefs and instead replacing it with what seems to be a much more logical, scientifically backed theory. Whenever something that people believe in strongly gets questioned, they tend to get defensive and take it personally. Seeing as this article does just that it most likely won’t sit well with those who see this as a threat to their beliefs. That is what I see this article as in its most extreme sense: a denial of a god-created world. This questioning of the presence of god is extremely controversial while at the same time providing the allure of this article.

Maddy_Ocam-poh_5622 said...

Reaction to Alexxa_R_hehehe's summary of "The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher" by Ellie Herman

In her essay “The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher,” Ellie Herman, a high school teacher in South Los Angeles, diminishes the “myth” that “all you need” is a “superstar” teacher, and that the “best thing you can do,” our Secretary of Education says, is to pack classes and “get children in front of” him or her. Contrary to this, Herman argues that large classes, which California’s education cuts are creating, make being this “extraordinary” teacher difficult.

As she poses her struggle, she gives light to the concept that true teaching involves a personal relationship with students; she affirms that “to teach each child” she must “know each child,” meaning, she says, to “read their work,” “listen” to them, and “understand” them. Large classes make this difficult, she expresses, as she has less time for each student and has to create “high-energy routines” and “structured” activities, which “alienate” kids.

When overwhelmingly revealing personal histories of her students, Herman unfolds an unfortunate reality: teachers in poor communities find it hard to teach the troubled students they receive. For example, of her students, one has “behavior issues,” one has to “work to support the family,” another is “shy” and “quiet” due to an experience with a “knife-wielding gangbanger,” and one barely moved from Mexico. Teachers like Herman have to overcome these barriers when trying to teach these kids. They won’t take in any material you try to teach them, as my mom, an East Los Angeles 2nd grade teacher explains, unless you first understand and connect with them, which take time and work. Teachers won’t be effective if they don’t accomplish this, and they delay teaching the material if they try to. Either way the kids fall behind. This problem plagues poorer communities and discourages teachers, as my mom expresses to me though she says she tries her best to reach and teach her students with the limited time and resources granted to her. Teachers especially in these poorer areas deserve more time and resources to reduce this predicament and large class sizes will only worsen it.

I think “Alexxa R” justly summarized the author’s main ideas. She made clear the author’s struggle to be “extraordinary,” and to “know” and “understand” each child in a large class. However, I thought it was important to reveal that in the countries that excel with large class sizes, students still manage to get “individualized attention” in after-school tutoring. This detail favored Herman’s push for small classes, and didn’t help Arne Duncan (our Secretary of Education) who, to undermine reducing class sizes in California, noted that other countries achieve with large classes.

Overall, teachers want their students to succeed. Several, including Ellie Herman, find this hard to accomplish because of the troubled students they have. Now, increasing class sizes more so diminish teacher performance and the strive of several of them to “reach” and connect with students. As a result, the kids less likely learn and grow. In addition to increasing class sizes, the cuts take away potentially good teachers, beneficial extracurricular subjects (art, music, etc.), and other resources crucial to a thriving school and community. Budget cuts lower the quality of education this generation is receiving. Kids and teenagers will continue to be stunted academically unless the government stops the cuts.

TinoCYang5675 said...

Reaction to Maddy_Ohcamp-oh_5622 's summary of “Andres Escobar, Pablo, And Impossible Questions: ‘The Two
Escobars' Reviewed” by Andrew Sharp

1. While murdered soccer hero Andres Escobar was nicknamed “The Gentleman of Football”, drug lord Pablo Escobar was often referred to as the “World’s Greatest Outlaw”. Reviewer Andrew Sharp applauds the directors of ESPN’s “The Two Escobars” for shutting down such ‘good guy-bad guy’ images by uncovering their close relationship: it was not simply that the notorious drug ring disintegrated Colombian society or that soccer pulled the nation together; it was actually drug money that propelled the Colombian team to the global stage, and also drug money that brought “real, positive changes”, thus “blurr[ing] good and evil.”

2. In her summary, Maddy_Ohcamp-oh_5622 successfully highlights Sharp’s admiration for “The Two Escobars” having skirting clichés, but could also mention the truth found in the film in greater focus. For example, Maddy writes: “the film could have indulged in the “tragic hero” Andres Escobar, Colombia’s notorious “unadulterated anarchy”, or the “[romanticized]” theme of “sport as a unifier,” yet Sharp noticed that never happened in the movie”. However, by sliding in select specific details from the article of how the film accurately renders a complete picture of 1980s-90s Colombia, not just the clichés the film avoided, she could further enlighten readers of that history.

3. While cutting-edge technology regales audiences with ever more realistic computer simulations, the glitzy glam of effects can’t replace the original purpose of film: to shed light on some form of truth or the human condition. One such film is “Senna”, a 2010 documentary on the life and death of Brazilian motor-racing champion, Ayrton Senna. Yet “Senna”, though highly acclaimed by critics, did not reach many Americans; the futuristic 3D blockbuster “Tron” did. “The Two Escobars” is therefore so valuable for being an intelligent, complex, and honest documentary that is accessible to the everyman via the major TV channel ESPN. As Sharp points out, the film has been so successful because there is “nothing like it on the market”.

Loochia-iaZezza25 said...

Reaction to AudlyYimmyKimchi5347’s summary of “The College Myth: Why College isn't Worth the Cost for Many Careers Today” by Lisa Nielsen

In challenging the rather traditional belief that college is the ideal path to success, Lisa Nielsen suggests, “the goal of school should not be college readiness” but rather, life readiness in her essay “The College Myth: Why College isn't Worth the Cost for Many Careers Today.” The notion that “preparing kids for college is just a way of life” in many homes is not one Nielsen promotes. Instead, she stresses the importance of honing in on a child’s passion during “K-12 schooling” so as to consider all of the options before settling with the “given”: college. Many college grads today are entering the real world with a “huge pile of debt attached to their diploma”, says Neilsen, leaving “many…riddled with stress, [and] anxiety”. Consequently, more and more students are beginning to understand that “a college education is not what it's cracked up to be”.

In the course of comparing AudlyYimmyKimchi’s summary to the original article, I felt that the key ideas were carried well, particularly Nielsen’s initial assertion that people could very well be better off allowing “passion, not college, lead them to success.” However, in further analyzing the original article, I felt that Nielsen’s secondary assertion; “neither [college or no college] is better or preferable” was overlooked in the summary. Nielsen is merely supporting an alternative path, not discouraging the very consideration of college. Overall, I felt that AudlyYimmyKimchi reiterated the most important ideas in Nielsen’s article.

With such a torrent of arguments today tackling the focus of the current educational system, I felt this topic was an important one because it addresses the broader issue. Not only does Nielsen confront what K-12 schooling neglects, namely, creativity, she also discusses the not so promising “four year college degree” which has pushed many college grads into “debt” and an unstable job market. Like Nielsen, I do believe we're all born with natural talents while schools tend to suppress many of them, however, I feel expecting any child to master they’re passion by the time high school ends can be a lot to ask, in which case college helps a student define their career interests, that is, if a student is financially comfortable. In light of that, I entirely agree with Nielsen’s underlying view as follows: “when we allow students to explore their passions in school,…we may learn that some will choose a future that involves college... others will not" but that “force feeding...a standard curriculum” will never benefit all students. To put it simply, education is about developing human beings with passions, and human development is not something to be set.

BriOhNoTheRancour 5632 said...

In reaction to Madduh_line.STef_an_I's summary of "With Testing, Where Do We Go From Here?" by John Merrow

“Teaching to the test,” is rarely ever referred to as an efficient method of educating students. When data is used effectively, statewide assessments can help measure progress, but standardized tests are renowned to dilute the writing process by “writing a lot of short so-called essays” and completing bubble tests. Also, the education system tends to focus more on preventing cheating on these standardized tests as opposed to improve actual usefulness of it. The real problem in dire need of solving is finding a different, more effective and memorable way of teaching that doesn’t rush or regurgitate state standards. Instead of choosing sides, John Merrow discourages “subverting the testing system,” and posits that educators should assess what the students of this generation are striving to be.
The essay centers around two ideas: the question of whether teaching to the test is the most advantageous method for our students, and how cracking down on cheaters is avoiding the more paramount problem. I feel that ‘Maduhh_line’ had the right idea on what was the main purpose of the essay, but could have concluded the summary with a summation of what message Merrow was trying to convey and what information he was trying to expose. In one point in the summary, ‘Maduhh_line’ says that some schools have been successful with testing but turned out to be “plain old cheating”. It would have been ideal to further explain how those schools were cheating the test. For example, the essay links to schools in D.C and Pennsylvania. In D.C., test-takers erased wrong answers for right ones, explaining the dramatic increase in their test scores. Cheating can happen on a small scale of looking at someone’s answers to convoluting the data itself. The summary would have been more interesting and clear if this were explained further.
The debate of whether ‘teaching to the test’ is right for educating our youth has been going on for far too long, and hasn’t reached a beneficial solution so far. I agree with Merrow’s conclusion in that we should be asking what the world expects from our youth. I experience these dilemmas every day, being that my mom and step dad are both teachers. The curriculum they are required to teach is often either outdated or it requires materials that the state and the district do not provide. My parents’ school, along with thousands of other schools, is being dangerously cut at the expense of the students’ education. We have to teach based on what will aid students to be successful in the 21st century, and not just to get by on a standardized test. Since the examples of schools that were successful with standardized tests have shown to be just “cheating” the whole time, we must somehow move away from teaching to the test so that we are educating our students to be successful. This cannot happen in the next 10 to 20 years, it should happen now, when the problem is at its peak and affecting the learning experiences of young individuals. Many lose passion for learning because they don’t foresee any rewards in just passing these tests. All in all, there needs to be a change in how the education goes about testing students and educating them so that the students will feel confident and ready to take their place in the real world as adults of the 21st century.

Day-vid Murry-no said...

Original Article: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-herman-class-size-20110731,0,3910343.story
By: Ellie Herman

Response to Je$$1eD@v!s5522's summary

The pressure and hardships faced by teachers in today’s society were clearly summarized in the article “The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher” by Ellie Herman, who, being a teacher herself, is no stranger to the pressure and troubles that face her every day in her classroom. She states that the “popular fantasy” of only needing an “extraordinary teacher” to teach kids successfully is a false “myth”. According to Herman, smaller class sizes create a greater focus on individual students, making it an essential aspect for all schools to embrace.
Je$$1eD@v!s5522 addresses an extremely important point made by Herman, stating that it is hard to “reach all 31” students in one class when there are various conditions and things in the kids’ lives; kids with “learning disabilities…with serious behavior problems”, non English speaking kids, kids who flunked the class, and “geniuses”. Because of varying personalities and work ethics among students in one class, being able to successfully and easily teach a class is nearly impossible. The issue, stated by Herman, can be solved by creating smaller class sizes, enabling a more idealistic approach to teaching by allowing more focus to inquiring students and having the time to do so.
When reading Je$$1eD@v!s5522’s summary, it seemed that there was another point that Herman was making that wasn’t addressed to the fullest; the way she copes with the large classes. What Je$$1eD@v!s5522 touches on is absolutely right, Herman has less time to grade assignments when she has to grade 150 students’ work. From this statement, I believed that Herman was saying that without the time and patience to grade all 150 assignments, the quality of the corrections and comments is affected as well, creating an inaccurate read on the students’ comprehension of the assignment. Without knowing the cause of confusion, a teacher will inevitably become a “bad” one since he or she can’t effectively teach each student to be at the same level. Relying only on an “extraordinary teacher” to successfully teach students is missing the entire problem schools face; the need for smaller class sizes for the benefit of the students, not the teachers.
The importance of Herman’s article lies in the hands of the government. Cutting funds, in Herman’s opinion, is setting up our country’s educational system for failure. Without proper funding, schools will lose valuable teachers and resources to help teach children. Herman is pointing out the effects of budget cuts in schools by sharing personal experiences from behind her desk; all we need to do is listen to the teacher.

Madduh_line.STef_an_I said...

Reaction to “Alexxa_R_hehehe”’s
Summary: “The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher” by Ellie Herman

In “The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher” Ellie Herman disagrees with the notion that it is not class size that matters, but that an “extraordinary teacher” is teaching students. She expresses the difficulties of teaching a large class with diverse intellectual abilities, claiming that she does not have the time to pay each student the “individual attention” they need. Herman states that it is essential for teachers to develop a relationship with their students in order to “be excellent”, but that the continuous cutting of education budgets will never allow this to happen.

In her summary of Herman’s article, “Alexxa_R_hehehe” focuses mainly on the fact that Herman cannot be an “extraordinary teacher” while budget cuts are forcing her to teach larger and larger classes. She concludes with Herman’s statement that students need a teacher that can be there to help emotionally as well as academically. I agree with “Alexxa” that this is the overall concept of the article, however, I feel that there is another main statement that was not included in the summary. Along with what “Alexxa” summarized, Herman states that her “biggest problem with the myth” is that it does not take the humanity of the class into consideration. What if one kid’s “brother just got out of juvie” or “two brilliant kids won’t accept [her] rubrics”? The disposition of the class does not matter, “as long as I’m at the top of my game”, says Herman. With the additional statement, I perceive that along with exhorting California to cease cutting education budgets and teachers, Herman’s purpose of writing this article is to urge the educational supervisors to recognize that the students are “human”. Only in seeing this can educators realize that the money spent on decreasing class sizes is not, as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says, “a bad idea”.

“The myth of the extraordinary teacher” has in fact come to life in people such as Erin Gruwell. However, what made her “extraordinary” is that she took the time to individualize her instruction, and only after that did real learning occur. Having smaller classes allows teachers to connect with each student’s emotional needs, as well as their personal academic level. In my opinion, every person learns differently. If a student is not in the right mindset to learn, no learning is going to occur—no matter how “extraordinary” the teacher. If California continues to cut funding for education, I believe that the increase in class sizes will negatively impact learning, for teachers will not be able to connect with each student in the class.

Daniel82Wants988Moore said...

Reaction to Alexxa_R_hehehe's summary of "The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher" by Ellie Herman

In “The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher” By Ellie Herman, summarized by Alexxa_R_hehehe, Ellie explains that with budget cuts, “teacher slashing”, and the task of managing 150 students, teaching becomes nearly impossible. Ellie explains that too many students lack the life skills and emotional maturity required to handle high school. Ellie cannot handle the child with a mental handicap or the boy who works late in a factory to support his family, or the many other students with enough emotional baggage leave you speechless. Ellie preaches that under these circumstance, there is no true miracle teacher; She believes that teacher is myth.
Alexxa_R_hehehe, focuses her essay on Ellie griping over her work. This theme appears central in the original essay, as Ellie merely complains about her job rather than offering any suggestions or requests to LAUSD to better aid and assist struggling teachers. Also, Ellie seems to shoot down the idea of an “extraordinary teacher” rather than showing any effort to become one. Alexxa_R_hehehe focuses well on Ellie’s main idea: Her gripes. I feel that Ellie should have focused on what she needs changed about her school system: Rather than giving up on her job, she could fight for reforms and change. It seems that Ellie has missed her own point.
Ellie’s could urge the faculty at LAUSD to come up with better solutions for the growing failure in their classrooms. This issue effects the students who are put at the mercy of budget cuts and poor classroom choices. It is important to understand that many factors have caused our schools to lose money and struggle. However, it is more important that we understand that just because our finances have shrunk, doesn’t mean that teachers cannot provide a stellar education.

alberto5618 said...

In the “Sleepover Question” by Amy Schalet, the author and sociology professor studied different views on teenage sex and interviewed both adults and teens on the subject. She discovered many differences between European and American views on sex and how a parent’s open mind can radically change a teen’s life.

Firstly, this article’s significance lies not only in its path to a more open family dynamic, but also in the way it shows differing continental sensibilities. The research and interviews, which occurred in the United States and Netherland showed a stark contrast between the two countries’ outlooks on sex. In America, sex is generally a taboo subject and something parents avoid completely, whereas in Europe, a teen can probably feel safer discussing his or her sex life. American teens tend to keep their sex lives private, while European teens can often share their private lives with their parents without worrying. As Schalet explains, in America, “we see teenagers as helpless victims beset by raging hormones,” that must be contained by parents, unlike the Dutch who, “regard teenagers, girls and boys, as capable of falling in love, and of reasonably assessing their own readiness for sex.”

In addition, I believe that the Schalet’s purpose was to show how an open mind can radically improve the relationship with one’s children as evidenced by her research in the Netherlands. The original summary did a good job of fleshing out these ideas while at the same time showing how beneficial this relationship could be to the children. DutinC-O5651 continued to express Schalet’s views that allowing children to speak about intercourse can lead to better sex education and cause children to try “win(ning) approval.”

Finally, Schalet has called this issue to our attention for a reason, not only because it affects family interactions, but because it can have a profound affect on a teenager’s future life. With the Dutch system of discussing sex, teens can have a better bond with their parents and even get better sex education, opportunities that many Americans never receive. In another study, it was discovered that teens who have a better dialogue with their parents are more likely to come to them for help, which can help parents have a little influence over their growing teens. By taking an example from the Dutch method, American parents can show their children that they trust them and that sex is nothing to be ashamed or scared of.

SerahE.atsO.atmeal5621 said...

In “The College Myth: Why College Isn’t Worth the Cost for Many Careers Today,” author Lisa Nielsen suggests that college isn’t necessarily helpful for every career possibility as well as may hurt college graduates instead of assist them. In fact, the topic of college education continues to grow as budget cuts threaten the affordability and possibility of going to college. Thus, college preparation has become crucial for current high school students. However, Nielsen’s debate brings to light another alternative: stressing the importance of knowing what career one actually wants. “"The four-year college degree has come to cost too much and prove too little,” she says. Also, according to Jack Hough, from The Wall Street Journal, although degree holders earn more, most of their earnings will go back into paying off student loan debt, a risk that could greatly affect the lives of future career holders.

Throughout the article, Lisa brings up three main points: it is incorrect to assume that college is vital, schools now promote “a degree… regardless of [the students’] interests, talents, and passions,” and many famously successful icons don’t have a college education. In AudlyYimmyKimchi5347’s summary, she addressed each of the point evenly, giving the same amount of emphasis on each subject just as the author of the article had. This was important because had AudlyYimmyKimchi5347 stressed a greater emphasis on any one of Lisa Nielsen’s main ideas, it would have swayed the author’s broader picture of the college education.

This article is important because its message applies to every generation as well as the generations to come. Nielsen’s ideals bring a new idea, that college it not the “be all end all,” to light. Parents and grandparents can listen to this message so they can ease the constant pressure they push onto young adults. In addition, elementary students can benefit from a lack of pressure to attain academic perfection in skills they may not need later in life.. But most of all, just as Lisa Nielsen says, young adults can ease the “riddled… stress, anxiety, headaches [and] stomach pains” by caring more about what their talents can lead them to and less on being perfect for “the ‘good’ college.”

mariHELL rossKEE said...

Reaction to DutinC-O5651 's summary of "The Sleepover Question” by Amy Schalet


In “The Sleepover Question”, Amy Schalet brings up the challenging subject of teenage sex and how parents react to it. In a study, Schalet found that for parents, the acceptance of teenage sex differs vastly based on cultural differences. A sixteen year old Dutch girl experienced positive results when she consulted her parents about her sex life, when a sixteen year old American teenager would never dare bring up the subject.

In DutinC-O5651’s summary of the article, the studies Schalet conducted on both the teenage girls and their families are explained in depth. The American 16 year old girl would never admit to her parents that she has sex with her boyfriend in order to keep the little girl image they obtain. In contrast, the Dutch teenager of the same age revealed to her parents her new-found pleasure, and though it took time to adjust, her parents eventually came to except this, and it brought them closer as a family.

According to Schalet, “Normalizing teenage sex under the family roof opens the way for more responsible sex education.” The fact that the American teenager “suffers the discomfort of keeping her true feelings a secret life from her parents” makes it not only hard for her to fully enjoy her relationship with both her boyfriend and her parents, but more likely to practice unsafe sex. Teenage pregnancy and STD’s are a likely result of a closed off relationship between parent and teenager where sexual education is a taboo topic. 7 of 10 Dutch girls stated that by the time they were 16, their parents had discussed pregnancy and contraception. The teenage pregnancy rates in the Netherlands are four times lower than in America.

In DutinC-O5651’s summary of the article, it is clear that Schalet not only brings up the controversy of parental acceptance when it comes to teenage sexual intercourse, but she also touches on the possibility that American parents may be steering their children in the wrong direction by shutting the idea out. It is left to be assumed that American parents may have made bad parenting decisions in the child’s early life that led the teenagers to think they had no chance of an honest, open relationship.