Sunday, September 26, 2004


Someone Correct My Misapprehension (With Actual Update)

Another link to Wizbang. This time on the subject of SAT’s, school spending, and even more in the comments. The post can be found here. You go look now!

What stood out for me?

SAT's bad. Facilities bad. School boards bad. Teachers bad. Materials bad. Ed philosophy bad. Unions bad.

What's missing? Students.

Even if God came down from Heaven above and made all those bad things into absolutely perfect ideal forms, a student who does not care about or value education will find a way to fail. “You can lead a horse to water…” and all that.

When I was a kid, I was afraid of doing bad in school. It was clearly unacceptable. The Elders were very concerned about my education. Same went for Special K. And it still goes on for Code Name Eagle and Little D. Special K definitely felt it worse than I did. Ask me later if you want to hear about her mini-breakdown in 8th grade.

Unfortunately, my fear of doing bad in school was opposed by my laziness. I mean, even as late as 9th grade, I was still finding one subject a year to get a “D” or “F” even though I kept myself in the mostly “B” and sometimes “C” range. I don’t think I failed anything after 9th grade. I think most people who were aware of my study habits were surprised that I did so well. My usual routine was to listen in class, do minimal homework/studying, and carry myself with good tests. SAT’s were ok for me. I took it cold, and got a 1200 in 1987. I seem to recall it was divided something like 560 verbal 640 math. Is that good or bad? I don’t know. If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d probably try to look it up.

And now we have competing laziness. I could be lazy about research and not look it up. Or I could do the research in order to facilitate my laziness about household chores that I would rather put off. Well, that wasn’t too difficult. The research, I mean. The decision to put off chores was a no-brainer.

How does it look? In 1987-1988, California averaged 1008 combined score. The US averaged 1006 combined. No state averaged 1200. Only nine states had an average 1100 or more combined. The 1999-2000 results have 17 states at 1100 or more. Wisconsin (1181), Iowa (1189), and especially North Dakota (1197) got close to 1200. US results up slightly to 1019. California also up slightly to 1015. However, some at the Wizbang link have noted that the test has been dumbed down over the years, so who knows if the comparison is valid. I don’t, but maybe some of you can educate me. I guess I could do more research, but I won’t.

See how easy that was? First I was motivated. Now not so much. The final decision was mine. And it’s the same decision that separates “A” students from “F” students and high SAT scores from low SAT scores.

I could easily blame all the things mentioned at Wizbang and not carry the responsibility for my grades on my own shoulders, but I do try to be responsible for myself. If I wanted to do better, I could have. I chose not to. Any blame for my poor grades rests squarely upon me. And even if I was lazy, I still knew that the Elders had high expectations and that education is important. The Elders did their best to shape and guide me. What about students, lazy or not, who don’t get that message from their parents? I guess I’m just saying that school or SAT success depends on the personality traits, not the intelligence, of each individual student (with exceptions for those who are genuinely mentally disabled). Parents play a major part of shaping the personality of the child, but I still think the vast majority of the responsibility lies in the student himself.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Some students are just never ready. And no one can do anything about that, except the student.

Actual Update: Holy crap! I fixed it now, but the title originally read "Someone Correct My Misapprension." What exactly is misapprension? I blew it. I hope this correction satisfies the standards of blogger etiquette.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

Could not have said it better.

As for the dumbing down of the SATs, I don't know. I have heard that they are no longer going to be multiple choice. The SATs: Now with more essay questions!
Well, I couldn't say it better either. It's a quote from someone, but I have no idea who. It sounds like some sort of Asian philosopher to me. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to chip in.
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