Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Straight A's...The American School System

We got Olga's grades on Friday and she has straight A's with a GPA of 3.85. We were very excited and impressed. We pushed on her a bit to get her final grades up since one grade in particular was being affected by tardies (it's hard to get to class on time apparently first thing in the morning).

I've been thinking about her grades here and her grades I had seen from back home in Spain. She was a C average student back home. So why is it that now she is a straight A student? A few thoughts came to mind...
  1. English is not her first language so she studies more to ensure she understands the material.
  2. She doesn't have friends like she did back home to hang out with all the time. She has friends here that she does hang out with but she goes out only 1-2 times a week.
  3. Since she is here as part of an exchange program she must realize she has to get better grades.
  4. The American school system is easy! Our school system is not as challenging as her school back home.

I am leaning towards a slight combination of things but the major item I feel is #4. The education system here is so poor. If you want your child to get a good education you have to push them yourself to take advanced classes (that still fall short of a real challenge) and help them to desire to study things on their own. I had a conversation with a parent last night of one of my young women who said her daughters school load is not going to leave her free time to come to activities. :( She is behind in school for reasons I am not aware of but the school has told them to not even bother trying to graduate in time to walk with her class but just put it off until later. I was outraged! The schools should be there to support, push and help the students along to succeed.

When I moved to Idaho I had a similar experience. My grades didn't transfer perfectly into their system so I was behind in credits. Their school starts about a month before schools do in Washington so I was behind in classes. The school did not want to give me a full class load and said I could either graduate later or make it up over summer school I think. My mom was outraged! She said you give my daughter a full class load and let her try. Mom had faith in me that I could pull it off but the school was very reluctant. It was my first real taste of the lack of faith the school teachers and members have in students. I had no issues getting caught up in my classes (some teachers just wrote off what I had missed) and others gave me the past homework assignments and I went to it. I didn't have any friends yet so doing homework wasn't an issue. I needed something to do besides look at brown dirt everywhere with an occasional green spot. ;)

I could go on for awhile about this subject (especially since I am stuck waiting for my work laptop to finish doing updates). I am very passionate about it more than I realize sometimes. I want to be a teacher of music. I had some great music teachers and some not so great ones. One thing I wish that any of them would have asked of us was to learn things about the music we were playing and the composers. I would be a better rounded musician if they had pushed us to do this. So when I am a teacher I am going to require papers also that will count for a portion of their grades.

My younger sister Megan is studying to be a teacher and I am very proud of her for going into that profession. She has only a year left!!! I hope Megan that you don't lose sight of why you became a teacher. It's not to get rich! It's to help future generations have a desire to learn and improve the world and make it better than today!


  1. Hmmm...Emily. That post subtly smacks of a budding homeschooler!:-)

  2. Emily, you are learning that you ALWAYS, ALWAYS have to by your children's advocate. You know them and what they are capable of doing. I AM for reaching your highest potential no matter who you are! And you proved that KHS counselor that she was WRONG!!! I was so proud of you girls!!!