June 29th, 2012
06:25 AM ET

A student's point of view: Kids don't want to learn

(CNN) - "It's a pretty basic educational problem we have: Students' willingness to learn is not there," says 17-year-old Joseph A. Ryan, Jr.

Ryan posted his video in response to CNN iReport's assignment question "What's wrong with America's school system?"  He says the problem is not about technology or books, but about student motivation.

"I go to school where most kids don't even want to learn....They don't care, and teachers get in trouble for it," says Ryan. "They have to see the value in education."

We want to hear from parents, teachers and students. What do you think? Are most students motivated to learn?  You can post your thoughts below.

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Filed under: iReport • Issues • video • Voices
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Name*Teacher

    Sadly, parenting is not taking place and therefore children don't know the value of an education!

    July 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  2. latifah alateeq

    Simply do not find what the child wants to learn within the classroom, and is one of the most important points that must be focused on how to make the student love learning?
    I think if you know what he wants the student personal goals of the lessons and then designed the lessons according to the wishes of the student and to develop his skills, and motivate them to be teaching a diverse, too, and does not depend on memorization killer to think about, and turn into the classroom to the environment of creative study student days through the media and again for through play or the theater, the student movement of its reality through trips to learn with the work, focusing on learning through the project and cooperation,
    Story simply aware of how the teacher earns the students to learn better and more!

    July 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Beez

      I went to school to learn because I wanted to go to college. If the lesson happened to be fun, that was great, but I wasn't EXPECTING it to be fun. I wasn't EXPECTING entertainment, my expectation was that I was going to have to work hard and study to get good grades. If you look at schools in other countries, they don't do this whole song and dance that we do in the United States, they don't have tons of technology, and yet their students do better than ours. People aren't necessarily excited to go to their job everyday but they still do it – school is the same way. Kids are expecting everything to be fun and easy, especially when their parents give them whatever they want so they'll stop whining. They don't think, they aren't creative, they have zero motivation to do work, and then when they fail the teachers are punished. It's ridiculous.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Teacher 4th

      It is not just up to the teacher to find what motivates each student. It requires the student to be in the classroom first and foremost and this too is a huge problem. Attendance seems to get worse and worse each year. Yes it is important to motivate our students and to show them the importance of learning, but it is also the place of the parent to do the same. Also we cannot just teach children what they want to learn. They must learn a variety of concepts and skills.

      July 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  3. Brecht Roizer

    Young people are slugs. There has been a massive devolution because of Facebook, video games, and never-ending entertainment. Public schools warehouse the kids, at best. But what do they have to look forward to? Yes, a minority of them will succeed, but most of the "middle class" jobs have been exported to other countries.

    July 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  4. Harvey Hoyo

    When a reluctant learner does not respond, I ask myself (or the kid), what can I do differently? That often seems to do the trick. It is important for educators to believe that all kids can learn- as many have said, they learn in different ways. . .

    July 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Carolann Carmichael

      Yes every child can learn. That is not the problem now a days. Motivation is , and that is not something teachers can easily put into each child. Teachers would need 100% control if they have to be 100% responsible. Picture this: A student talking himself thru a significant assessment says "it says like so that means simile but I am going to mark metaphor." Or a student spends 10 minutes adding up a group of numbers, and then just repeatedly writes the same one digit answer for the remaining 19 answers. What can a teacher do to change this mindset? Make it relevant? Both are products of social promotion and welfare. The fact remains, you CAN buy groceries, and have a roof over your head without much effort.

      July 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  5. joanvalerie

    I think it's important for students to see the connection with what they're learning and the real world. For example, in a math class, show how math is used in different careers and in interesting ways.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Laura Gilchrist

      It's the system here. The system is set up at a low level where data from kids is the focus..not the kids themselves. The education system didnt start with this goal but it has evolved over time. With this setup, how can a kid feel valued? When you know the MAIN thing that matters is your test score at the end of the year (even though you don't find the result in MO until the next school year with no specific feedback on what you mastered or didn't master), why should you care? Well, you shouldn't if that's all that school is about. It's not about your love of airplanes or comics or clouds or whatever makes you tick, it's about a score you make on a sterile test. Teachers are stuck in this system, too. No one is to blame. However, if we accept the system as it has bloated up to be (as systems do over time), then we are allowing the consequences to remain and affect future generations and ALL of us. Look to Finland. Stand up to the system and say it's time to turn from system-focused to student-focused. Please, Obama and Arne Duncan see the need out there. Stop the NCLB and Race to the Top mentality that is still in place. Release everyone from this testing tyranny. What is the MOST important thing for our kids and future? Motivated, caring, community centered schools that are focused on KIDS, and NOT test SCORES.

      July 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  6. Lisa

    Why is it always the schools' job to entertain students into learning? There are plenty of things I have to to in my job that are not engaging or in any way entertaining. I still have to do those things in order to keep my job. It seems dangerous to me to cater to the mentality that the only things worth learning or working on are things kids are interested in or entertained by. Was every class I took in high school interesting? Absolutely not. The value was in learning how to work hard on Calculus even though I hated it. It was good training for persevering in college and in life.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Tom Gallagher


      I have been teaching for 26 years and you hit the nail right on the head!


      Kids just have to work harder. I am sick and tired of trying to "entertain" them.

      Tom Gallagher,
      Toronto, Ontario

      July 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Diane

      Well said.

      July 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Thien Ha

      I totally agree with you Lisa, learning takes hard work and an independent work, no body can learn for any body, just as you are having a headache, no body can take that headach for you, even though they love you and want to. Teachers only can teach, they cannot learn for the kids, only kids themselve must do the work. The problems in America, we blame teachers for not teaching or bad teachers, or any reason when kids fall behind. We do not enforce learning for kids to take their own responsibilities, when a student fail, they blame their teachers, parents, or any tutor any adult that they can put on their responsibillties. At the result, the more we blame our system of education, the more we blame teachers, the more kids learn to refuse to take their own responsibilties, that is the the real root problems of our educational system. Learning requires hard work, not all the times mean entertainments, not all the times is fun. It is unrealistic to say learning is fun all the times, or force the teachers to make learning fun all the times. Right at start, the fundamental foundation has already guided by wrong direction in such a way that encourage students keep on blaming their teachers for their own failure, they keep saying my teacher is bad, she or he does not know how to teach, may be it is true in a few cases, most of the cases students are not motivated and lazy, but our system encourage them puting all responsibilities towards schools and teachers. Remember, schools and teachers only resources of tools, it is up to students whether or not they take the tools of learning and use them properly.

      July 4, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • ceej

      My sentiments exactly. You surely got that right.

      July 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Gwen

      Lisa well said.

      July 5, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Teacher 4th

      Great points Lisa!

      July 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Badger

    I am a retired superintendent. principal and teacher. I have worked in both public and parochial schools. The one constant in all these settings is the children. In finding out what works I look to Piaget and Maslow. Piaget for what is developmentally appropriate and Maslow for where learning fits into this student's hierarchy of needs.. Motivation comes when students are given materials that they can relate to and have the rigor and relevance needed. The stifling thing about tests is the presumption that all students must learn the same things, at the same time.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  8. Maya

    When your parents read People magazine, don't read books, have terrible grammar, and mock anyone who is educated, what exactly do you expect?

    July 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Melissa Browning

      Maya, you made such a great point in your post. Parents can't teach or pass on what they don't know. It is sad that parents don't understand the importance of leading by example. It's is not what they say, it is what they DO! Kids listen and learn from their total environments. Parents need to be more proactive in their child's or children's learning. Stop blaming the teachers for failing students. It is not one single thing a teacher can do if your child(ren) do not have a desire to learn. They come to school because they are forced to come by law. That is all. This is why you see 21 year olds in 9th and 10th grade. This law needs to be changed. If they didn't want to learn before they became an adult, how is allowing them to stay in school until they are grown going to change their minds? Please help me understand this.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  9. Ri

    I am entering my 14th year in urban education. My first 9 years were spent teaching and holding lead positions. The last 5 were in school leadership and central office support. I speaktfrom my own experience, which is quite finite and limited (as most of our experiences are). With that said, I think that schools play a part in motivating students. I've found that the best schools and the best teachers have found a way to do just that. Why are students unmotivated? In part because schools have not changed in the past 5 decades. I've worked with and visited schools where students are not motivated because the lessons are boring, irrelevant and lack rigor. There are several other factors that other people mentioned, but I believe the majority of students who are unmotivated are so because we have fail to engage them in relevant learning.

    July 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Cindy

      What you said has a lot of merit and there are two sides to this issue. Yes, teachers have a role in motivating students. I have been in classes that only have a teacher lecturing and students diligently taking notes for the next test which is comprised of a regurgitation of the information. But, I have also been in classrooms where teachers are using a number of different methods to teach their students. While students seemed engaged at the moment, they don't take it seriously and still cannot apply the knowledge they were suppose to learn from the lesson on a test. These teachers are frustrated and are brought to tears and come to me to give them some guidance. Along with this frustration, we have strict standards that every teacher is suppose to cover in a given year so there is little time in the schedule to veer from the prescribed schedule and testing schedule.

      July 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Dr. Bel

      Exactly. I can make a lesson on stem cell research relevant to any student by first asking about illnesses in their families. Every student I know is concerned about a relative who is suffering. A lesson on wildfires becomes engaging when there is discussion about the causes and effects of wildfires as well as the different careers involved in fire science. It's all in the text and the strategies chosen by the teacher to teach the skills that students need to succeed, such as the ability to compare and contrast, infer, observe, evaluate, etc.

      July 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  10. Rltoy

    I agree with parts of many comments posted. First, parents do need to make their child's education a priority but how they do this is key. As a child advances in school parents are less involved. As a middle school teacher I would love to have parents in my classroom involved in the education as they might have done in elementary school. I think also that we need to be able to make education more fluid not based solely on standards. Want kids to be motivated? Let them have a voice in what they learn and how they learn it. Just throwing tech at them is not going to inspire motivation. Kids want their questions answered and to be challenges in unique ways. Our factory education system cannot provide this type of learning environment.

    July 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  11. Just a Thought

    We have created standards for education because society says that every child is going to be guaranteed a right to a college education – whether or not it is possible for that child to attain it. As a high school student a long time ago, I had a choice – University tract, general/college tract, or a vocational tract. Each had a possible outcome. Students who knew they were not going to college, had no desire to go to college, learned a trade – the ones available were auto mechanics, hair dressing, nurses assistant, agriculture, and building trades. I went through the university tract, because I wanted to be a lawyer. My brother went into auto mechanics. Later in life, he wanted to learn how to make engines more efficient and became a mechanical engineer. Today, these choices are not an option. Every child is expected to gain entrance to a university – anything less is considered unacceptable – even if the child's mental capacity is in the mentally disabled categories. We set standards so high that many will give up and don't care, and then they are left with nothing. No ability to attain a job, go to college, nothing. If we expect everyone to go to get a college education, who is going to man our post offices, serve us at the various food establishments, pick up our garbage, etc.? And what good is an education if you can't get a job or you are so far in debt getting that job in your chosen field becomes unreasonable?

    July 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • kitkat

      I couldn't agree more. Not all kids are capable of going or want to go to college. Why are we insisting that all kids should be college-bound? Schools are making kids feel like failures in life if they don't score well on standardized tests, or strive to take college-bound classes. Maybe it's because schools and teachers are graded on how well the kids do. I think we (America) need to go back to having an option for non college-bound kids. Every kid isn't going to be a microbiologist, etc.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  12. Jane Peterson

    Students will not be motivated to learn if they are not raised in a home where education is valued and supported. Students need parental support and encouragement as much as they need healthy diets and adequate sleep. If parents don't prioritize school over television, video games, and extra curricular activities, their students NEVER will.

    July 3, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  13. Jane Peterson

    Students will not be motivated to learn unless they are raised in a home that VALUES education and gives that student the support they need to be able to learn: healthy meals, adequate sleep. homework help, parent involvement.

    July 3, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  14. Jaeyeong

    I agree. It's true that we have some duties to study on math or science that we don't like very much, but more important thing is that we have a right to study the subject we love or like, as a student. It's sad that we're losing some opportunities about that in this world.

    July 3, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  15. fabteach

    In my 11 years of teaching experience, every student is curious about something. Unfortunately, many students have other issues (hungry, tired, ill) that make it difficult to appreciate what school could offer them. It was easier to engage students in learning before standardized testing became so prevalent, because I could spend more time on the topics that engage students in the curriculum and that were relevant to them. I still find ways to do some of this, but not what I once could.
    More standardized testing will only make it worse – no one wants to learn for THE TEST. They'll do it because they care about the outcome, or not.
    And cutting teacher tenure and unions will drive many good teachers out. No one with experience wants to be in a position that they can be fired on the principal's whim. In my opinion, the union protects me in the case of a lab accident or other incident. I'm not sure I want to be a teacher without either of those minimal protections.
    I love teaching and it is the students, very motivated or yet to be motivated, that keep me going to school all year and doing professional development over the summer.

    July 3, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  16. Anonymous

    The problem is on both ends. My mom is an administrator at a NYC school, and comes home and tells us all the time about her principal promoting children into the next grade because their parents feel that way. The children are too focused on becoming celebrities because that's a job now. Our children need heroes, not stars.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  17. Jill

    One thing I agree with 100% is that too many kids are passed on before they are ready. If they knew that they would be held accountable for their learning, perhaps that would be motivation enough. I remember when I was a kid, one of my biggest fears was not passing to the next grade level – even though I was a good student. I wasn't thinking about a nebulous "someday" I was thinking about the immediate future.

    In the ever-popular video game world, you fail again and again before you finally reach the next level. And I tell you this: if my son had put 1/10 the effort into his schoolwork that he put into video & computer games, he's have gotten scholarships to anywhere.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  18. Daedalus605

    As an English teacher, I have to chuckle to myself about some of these responses. While I can appreciate Mr. Ryan's observation, it is oversimplified. Some students lack motivation some of the time, but the reasons are never the same. One student may emulate the new "Hero" referenced above, another may decide that the NBA or NFL is his or her path to a brighter future, or the student may feel too hungry to care about the quadratic equation. In all cases, the result is the same: distraction and low achievement. The problem is that we are too unwilling, too scared, or too both to deal with the underlying cultural assumptions that require difficult conversations and a certain amount of faith in one another. Take Finland; everyone loves to bring up Finland. Not only are their teachers given a more respected place in the culture, but their curriculum centers on play and practice, not rote and requirements. Our national obsession with accountability and grades is the first thing that needs to go of we are to have a more nurturant, successful educational program.

    July 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • BucCat85

      Mr. Ryan's comments, however oversimplified, are very close to the mark. After 26 years of viewing numerous motivational dispositions, I am finding it harder to motivate students to exceed expectations. I believe this is what we, as professionals, would hope to see? Of course, in the physical education classroom, there are factors beyond just motivating the student. Students are more extrinsically motivated, driven by rewards. Perhaps part of what Mr. Ryan alludes to is a lack of intrinsic motivation and the constant need to be recognized for doing even the smallest thing correctly? If they are given something tangible and something desired they are more willing to work, but is this what we want to instill in 'students?' Several discipline systems function on these rules and rewards, but life does not adhere to the same set of rules. It is time to examine the value we are assigning to learning and why our students are losing motivation to learn.

      July 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • .

      Great response!

      July 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Lisa

      You are absolutely spot on. I am a technology facilitator in a high school. The kids are tested to death. They do not see the relevance. We don't do anything with the data...just keep collecting data because it is mandated. The skills students need must be relevant! Communication, collaboration, creative thinking and problem solving. We need to make sure our students can compete globally. Teaching to the test didn't work before and it is a dismal failure again. When will the people in charge of policy get a clue?

      July 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Jennifer Sniadecki

      Absolutely! Let's focus on the learning, and not the "test."

      July 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  19. BigMac

    In an irresponsible society, as the one in which we live today, parents are/should be the sole responsibility of getting their kids educated. If kids don't want to learn, they should be told of the consequences of not having an education. Unless the child is going to inherit some massive billions of dollars, they are most likely going to be working at Walmart, Home Depot, or Burger King for some time. Or, they could join the Armed Forces, and maybe that will square them away. I agree that a motivation needs to exist for the learning process to take hold. I myself, did not get a college degree until I was in my 40's. I ended up getting a B.S., and two M.A. degrees because I liked the education I was receiving. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink! It has to be thirsty!

    July 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  20. Gil

    We're actually at the cross-roads of how to learn/teach. We've all been used to learning, which involved textbooks. It happened when I was a child and not much is different now that I'm in my 50's. I hope to have my teaching degree in just a couple of years and my method is going to be geared more towards technology. Young adults have gone to school from (roughly) ages 5 – 18. Most have computers at home, they've had their own smart phone for some time, a tablet is owned by someone in the house, and some of their classes are geared toward using technology in the learning process. The minds of young adults have absorbed more information by the time they are 18 than at any other time in our past. These young adults need a different method of being taught – more challenging than is currently taking place. Remember I said we were at the crossroads? We either continue on the path that we've been on for decades, or we take the new path where learning methods are more challenging and better geared to these smart students.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Lee

      Congratulations on what must be a second career. The crossroads shows up about every 5 years.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  21. Mike Landroche

    Despite what the young man says, we learn. He says students in his school are there "for a degree or go to a trade school or get a decent job, maybe. They don't care. They expect things to be handed to them on a silver platter." He goes on to say that teachers in his school get in trouble for failing students and risk losing their job. If he is right, the students in his school have learned some intricate and volatile dynamics of what counts in their school. If they can infer from all the evidence in front of them that their school will hand them a diploma on a silver platter because teachers are too afraid to fail students, and if they understand that a diploma will get them into trade school or a job, they have unraveled some fairly challenging complexities. Challenging, but disappointing. More than anything, it's disappointment that stifles learning. The more we don't stand up for our students (and by "standing up for them," I mean pushing them to be the best version of themselves and we the best versions of ourselves) motivation to move to the next stage of cognitive and social/emotional development sags. We, and they, experience life as if we're watching reruns of "Leave it to Beaver." The question for teacher is not about whether students are ready to learn, but about how we connect knowledge, skills and understanding to passion.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  22. Paulette

    You are never going to win over each and every student. However, you can have success with many of your students by doing the following:
    1) Getting to know your students and let them know you.
    2) Help kids set goals for themselves and work toward them.
    3) LOVE your subject and teach it like it is the most important subject students are taking. Make it relevant to their lives.
    4) Be a continuous learner. Show your students that you can learn from them. Participate in your own class.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  23. lizardsf

    Kids didn't want to learn when I was a student in the 1970s. It has nothing to do with nuclear war then or the Internet now. It's human nature. Most humans are morons. Period. I wanted to learn, so, I ignored my teachers and taught myself, reading encyclopedias for fun and devouring any segment of the library that seemed like it might be interesting. Nothing has changed. For those who wish to learn, give them the tools they need to teach themselves. For those who do not wish to learn, train them to not make messes on the floor and to do what they're told, and they will plod through life and squirt out the next generation. So it has always been; so it will always be.

    July 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Thien Ha

      Lizardsf, I totally agree with you, your point of views are honest, truthful, practical and that it is exactly what happen now in our real world, our society. Education can only be achieved if kids learn to take responsibilities and not to blame teachers. Computer games, movies, Tivi entertainments are always more interested than learning, each kid does homework 10 mininutes a day, the rest of the times is playing computer games, internet chating with friends, how can they learn. Kids are different from adults, they like having fun, not doing homework, when they are failing, parents go to school and complain, teachers got fired, they laugh and said to their friends, I got that teacher kicked out. At the end, student is a loser. We create a society in which parents blame teachers, go against teachers, not to co-operate but to blame, its consequence is education going downhill.

      July 4, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  24. Vaishali

    Too many distractions, parents not spending enough time with kids and low passing standards are to blame.

    July 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  25. Dan W

    Humans don't like being forced to do anything.

    July 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • denise

      What about all of us from the 5s? We were motivated and he'll build a great nation

      July 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  26. Phil in Oregon

    When I was in school in the 60's and 70's, a lot of us didn't have much motivation because of the impending nuclear holocaust hanging over us all the time. Nowadays it's more like that there are no frontiers withing reach of the average student. Only the 'best and the brightest' will see the next generation of science or tech frontiers, so they just play along, doing as little as possible.

    July 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • JRH

      Interesting idea. I have not thought about frontiers that are not attainable...

      July 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  27. Rob D

    The sciences develop logical thinking. The arts develop abstract thinking. The application of these two determine your future state in life.

    July 1, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  28. AEireM

    In my view, there are different types of students, some need a slow pace with extra help and possibly tutoring to make the grade. Others are a perfect fit for the pace and curriculum and will do well with hard work, others like my grade school son think on a level well beyond their peers and learn more outside of school than in and are generally bored in class but still bring home report cards with top marks. In an ideal world there would be classes that fit the students better, but it is unlikely to happen.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  29. beth

    I am a teacher and I can tell you now, if my students didn't want to learn, it wasn't going to happen.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  30. Moncada

    This is the first time I hear from one of my peers that the problem lies foremost with the student's motivation to educate themselves.

    June 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  31. FoolishMary

    I think Mr. Ryan is correct in his observations, so it makes me wonder why those people do not care about education. Is it because they think they already know everything? Or they know enough to 'get by' in life without much effort? Or do these people lack the tenacity to set a goal and finish it? A good teacher will tell you, there's always a motivation, but finding it and getting parents to help motive can be a real problem.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  32. Steve

    Simple and to the point! Well said..Great job making the point that it is not ALL kids. Honest opinions from the heart are are rare these days. Again, nice job!

    June 30, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  33. daisy

    Thank you, Joseph, for being totally HONEST! If more people would be honest maybe then there would be more solutions that work!!!!!!!! It's time to take teacher's off the hook and deal with the real issue! Again, Joseph, I APPRECIATE your honesty!

    June 30, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  34. linuxaomi

    You don't have to review movies from the last 30 years again. The message was clear: war, war and war. In that particular order. Now you get the answere. From your own people. Hollywood was very successful in education your youngsters!

    June 30, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  35. Jane

    Our culture has to add glamour to knowledge, again. If you look at late 70's – early 90's pop culture media, the quest for knowledge and adventure for discovery was put on a pedastal; it was cool to be an inventor, an adventurer, a professor. The coolest guys and gals onscreen were Scientists, Astronauts and explorers with a connection to Nature and its cycles. Somewhere in the mid – late 90's, the cool guy was suddenly the privileged whiner stuck in a perpetual state of ennui or the slick, deceptive one who could hurt others to get ahead or talk his or her way out of obligations - this new "Hero" leaned on quick fame, earned purely by luck or deception.

    As ridiculous as it sounds, Hollywood needs to make education, learning and discovery, cool and covetable, again.

    June 30, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Josh

      Two words...Jersey Shore.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  36. Rosa

    Some people blames on the educational system, teachers, and many other factors. However, we're not consious about how important is to participate in our children education? I mean to explain, and make them understand that through education they can achieve many goals, they can get wherever they want, become what they would like to be, and doing what they like. For some parents, it's easy to say do your homework, but how these parents want their son to do the homework, if they're not doing theirs. In other words, my homework as a mother is to help my son with the school responsabilities, and that he has done his homework for the next day.
    Also remember that school is to guide students, and that they're not going to learn everything in school.
    As well, technology is an advantage nowadays, but at the same time is dangerous. You as a parent have to monitor your child, and there are limits for everything.

    June 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Gretchen

      Rosa-would you please clone yourself and parent all of the students I teach? Sounds like you firmly understand the importance the home perspective on education plays in a student's academic life. Thank you!

      July 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  37. R. King

    1) Get the politics out of teaching.
    2) You get what you pay for. Start paying teachers what they're worth.
    3) Get rid of teacher's unions, who make it nearly impossible to replace poor teachers.
    4) Demand excellence from every student.
    5) Those students who are unwilling or incapable of mastering the skills and knowledge needed for the next grade should not be allowed to proceed to the next grade.
    6) Those that are best equipped to judge a student's performance are the teachers themselves, NOT a standardized test.

    June 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • VickieK

      R.King hits the nail on the head. Lose the unions, hire only the best teachers, pay the teachers well, have high standards for both teachers and students, and have more teachers involved in administrative decisions. If you don't make the grade, try again. The student's and their parents need to be part of the educational equation – somehow that's been lost along the way.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
      • JRH

        Unions are not the problem. I have known teachers that have been "fired" that were not "proficient" in a school where teachers were unionized. I have also witness the union help teachers who experienced wage discrimination based gender (boys vs girls) and illegal evaluations (discriminated against because of duties as army reserve). Employer said that the employees service was not good for the kids. Yes, teachers need an advocate or they will get walked on.

        July 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Teacherman

      1) Education is a public investment, politics is local, and schools are local politics. Politics is tied to a school district.
      2) Nobody wants to pay any more taxes to pay teachers more. In fact, we are trying to pay them less now and fire older experienced veterans to replace them with new grads for less money.
      3) You would not retain the good teachers without unions, nor attract future teachers without unions. Yes, there are problems with teacher removal, but most bad teachers leave on their own. The teacher drop out rate is double the student drop out rate over four years, except the teacher investing time and money to get a degree and certification before starting. All the new teacher accountability laws will not improve the extreme attrition rate we have in the US.
      4) Our one size fits all is not working, and wastes resources. We should look at the German model for high school enrollment and completion.
      5) What do you do with the failing students, spend another 10K per year on repeating grades? School districts don't even have enough money to help struggling students. That idea is very expensive.
      6) Without standardized tests how can you justify firing a teacher to find a cheaper replacement?
      Anybody who is entering the field of teaching is nuts or still romantic.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
      • Andrew

        I think these are all valid points.

        You cannot argue with point number 1. People need to straighten up and work together if politics are ever going to correct itself. Only way that ever happens though is through revolution and that generally turns messy.
        Hes also right about unions. People going into the field are generally attracted to the benefits it provides. Finding people that do it just out of the good will of their hearts are few and far between and even they want to live somewhat decently. A decent salary with benefits is a must for teachers but their union is still an issue.
        Teachers should be judged by the performance of their students. Obviously some sort of standardized testing is a must. Its not only to show the level of progress for the children but also a show of how well the teacher is doing. If you have lots of kids failing then there maybe something wrong with the way the information was presented. Not everyone absorbs information the same way. I can tell you that I have issues just reading through a book. My mind wanders and if its really boring I'll just ignore the crap. I like to talk to others about it or do hands on type learning not read 30 pages of some crappy book written 50 years ago.
        The 6th point holds true though. The ones teaching the information should know if their students are ready to progress or not. That is if they had a more engaging experience in their learning progress. You don't get much 1 on 1 training with public school educators though so that can make things more complex.

        We can all agree though that the entire educational system is FUBAR and needs some immediate reform... just like any other project being ran by the government right now. :/

        July 2, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • JCCHemistry

      Thank you, R.King for not subscribing to the mumbo jumbo and getting to the heart of the problem.

      July 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • kitkat

      Just curious, what happens to the kids who don't make the grade year after year? I'm not in favor of social promotion either, but I can't see a 16 year old in 7th grade either. I wish we had trade schools for kids who want to learn a trade. That would be a good solution in my opinion.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
      • Beez

        I believe there are special schools for kids who are too old to be at a certain grade level. Also, some districts allow kids to drop out as young as 16. I don't know about elsewhere but in Texas you can go to community college without having a high school diploma – they help you get your GED while you are there. So for kids who struggle with grade school, they still have options even if they drop out.

        July 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  38. blackbirches

    Interesting, well educated teachers make for interesting classrooms & interested students. In the US, "The teaching profession, however, draws disproportionately from the lower end of the distribution of academic ability." To be precise, the bottom quartile. (see link) http://www.mackinac.org/9590

    A lot of school really *is* boring. In high school,I used to jump out the window and go bike riding. I was not delinquent or a poor student (just the opposite), I was simply bored and didn't think anyone had the right to waste my time just because I was young. Students are not the future; they are people right now. Few adults would put up with what they sit through –and by 16 the majority know it's adult power, not creativity, that keeps them there. Not very exciting.

    June 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Vivian Baker

      Yes, much of school is boring and always has been. Some students today do not care, as many didn't care 100 years ago. And, many years ago students worked on farms and in factories. Our classes today must be interesting to help us learn, whether in the high school class or the college class. Can you imagine how boring it was to sit in a huge biology class at the University of Texas 50 years ago! I would say I was not too motivated to learn biology–just pass it. I am an enthusiastic, lifelong fan of public education, having just retired from the profession after 43 years. I firmly believe that it is not one group's fault that students "don't care" about learning. It takes interesting, educated, caring teachers; supportive parents; skilled administrators; wise public policy and supportive communities to foster learning and education in young people.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  39. Darrell

    I was not a very good student in school. I lived on a farm and didn't care about most of the school classes. After graduation, I worked for a carpenter and later in several factories. While in one of the factories, a college student ,who was working there by night and in college by day. told me I could go to college. I old him that I'd just barely made it though high shool, but he still said that I could do it.
    A couple of years went by , and I'd think about what he said from time to time and wonder. Many of my High School classmates had started college and flunked out or quit. They were better students that I, so I really wondered. The wondering stopped when I found out that I was soon to be drafted. I quickly entered college to find out for myself if I really could do it. I expected my four year education to be over in two quarters, but strangly enough I did make it through in four years with a Degree.
    In thinking back, I was never told in HIgh School that anyone can attend and graduate from a college it they really want to. It's not for just the "smart kids" but rather it's for anyone who really makes up their mind that they want to attend and want to graduate. Thank You.

    June 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  40. Dave

    I agree that its partially the parents fault. Both of my parents where high school math teachers while I was growing up, guess my career now... Engineering. I remember my dad sitting with me every night helping me with my homework, sometimes for hours! I highly doubt that I would have had the knowledge or drive to complete my college degree if it where not for my parents.

    June 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  41. lexandrac

    As a college bound senior that recently graduated, I have my fair share of issues with the education system. The problems in the education system stem from a variety of factors. While it's true that some students don't want to learn, it's also true that some do. However, high school has lost it's value to many students because for many, it is only a stepping stone. I for one, maintained high grades, but I disliked the majority of the work, for the simple reason that it was just something to get done. For many college bound students, high school is just something to muddle through. They don't take it seriously and honestly, they almost don't need to. College has become so specialized that as long as you can read and write well, as well as do basic math, you can succeed in college. I know that none of my high school classes (with the exception of english and math) have prepared me for my college career. High school is no longer a place to learn for the sake of learning, it is something to muddle through so you can go and learn what you want to learn.

    June 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • SAWolf

      Did you take any Science coursework with labs?

      June 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
      • Portland tony

        Read and remember the course work and the teachers will entertain you!

        June 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • spud942u

      My son, who just graduated college, told me the same thing back when he was in high school. He made straight C's in high school but straight A's in college.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • SCMimiX3

      As a college bound student, you are about to find out just how much you don't know. To succeed in college, you really need to know more than just how to read and write well – just ask any of the many who have flunked out.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  42. Melissa

    Who cares. Its not about your choice. Learn and stop being lazy.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  43. Blossie

    Imagine, Joseph Ryan does not have an Ivy League PhD to figure that out.....

    June 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  44. The Truth

    Thats why society needs to shift back to holding the students responsible for their performance. There are bad teachers out there and I know I had them, but they are in the minority. A bad teacher is not a death nail, only a setback until the next teacher comes along. The student is the master of their own education. If they are not ready to progress to the next grade then they don't go to the next grade, period. If they don't want to learn, they don't progress and graduate. If they don't graduate they don't get a job that can support them in their adult years. If they don't get a job that can support them then they can not buy things. If they can not buy things the problem becomes self correcting.

    June 29, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • kathleenpape

      "Thats why society needs to shift back to holding the students responsible for their performance." I agree. Ultimately, students reap the consequences of their performance. Unfortunately, many don't really understand that until they actually experience the consequences. BTW the term is "death knell", the tolling of a bell to herald someone's death. Sorry, as a teacher I couldn't let you go through life thinking the term is "death nail". 😉

      June 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • VickieK

      Then they apply for wefare and you and i pay for their laziness. It certainly wasn't alwas this way.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Lori

      I have a university degree and am still only working minimum wage work. University degrees do not guarantee a better paying job in this day and age. To be honest, it is more about being in the right place at the right time, and knowing somebody. That piece of paper is not enough.

      July 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Andrew

      Yes. A child's unwillingness is a problem. But simply punishing them and leaving them running through the same process over again really the solution? No.
      They will simply become even more uninterested and grow up into a waste of space.
      A lot of people learn in different ways so it may require a different approach of teaching. That is not easy to do for even the most skilled of teachers if the system overwhelms them with too many students along with many other various issues that maybe wrong with the system such as bad teachers, and neglectful parents.
      None of these can be easily solved even with all the money in the world and a lot of it would take too much time for people to even care enough to actually try unfortunately.

      July 2, 2012 at 4:59 am |
  45. Rachel

    It's still partially the parent's fault. Of course I didn't care about every subject in school, but my parents would make life miserable for me if I didn't do well. In college, the motivation switched to, "If I don't do well in college, I won't get a job," and now my motivation in my career is getting promoted. Parents need to teach their kids that doing well pays off, unless their goal is to remain a cashier at a grocery store until they're 70.

    June 29, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  46. SAWolf

    It's quite accurate. I spent a decade as a H.S. Math Teacher and many students are convinced that they KNOW that they will never need to learn the complex algorithms involved in Algebra through Calculus, not realizing it's more about training the mind, just as an athlete trains the body. Creating neural networks via learning make one more adaptable, inhibits degeneration, and is satisfying. I left teaching to study the Clinical Lab as a Medical Technologist, and am now earning my 4th undergrad in Exercise Science/Biology. The metabolic pathways involved in aging, Insulin/IGF-1, AMPK/Sirtuin and mTOR driven processes are truly fascinating. Knowledge is power.

    June 29, 2012 at 11:11 am |