Regarding puffin's post about ability grouping… there has been a trend at some of the private schools in our area to do "flipped" classrooms… the kids watch a presentation by the teacher explaining what they are teaching them for homework, then students work the problems in the classroom with their groups and the teacher. So they learn the basic idea the night before then practice by doing problems in the classroom.

FWIW, these were a trend in our public schools, as well. They worked for DD, but I'm not sure if they would work for all kids.

It assumes the child has an environment at home that includes the technology to watch and absorb the lesson. Also that they are home in time to do so. Unfortunately, that's a leap of faith in our society.

I must agree. Sadly, environments in disadvantaged children's homes are not exactly conducive to such 'flipped' methodologies, and I strongly suspect that it may only serve to widen the gaps between those who have advantages at home and those who do not-- and those advantages are far from only being financial.

DD, by virtue of being in a cyberschool, had a lot more of this canned, pre-recorded "teaching" than most kids have, and I can honestly say that this was a terrible pedagogical thing for her personally. In college, it's fine-- but then again, most of the content delivery in college is different to begin with. Some subjects, it works better than others.

Ditto on the "look it up on Khan/YouTube," too.

YUCK. To those noting that schools don't teach 'practical' subjects, let me add to Val's already excellent explanation of why subjects like world civ, art history, or literature are emphatically not wastes of time.

I

was in fact taught a very pragmatic set of financial/life skills in a basic literacy course which was required by my state for high school graduation.

In 1980-something. Early 80's, in fact. I never learned some of those things anywhere else, honestly-- and I'm not sure how my peers learned them. From parents, maybe? I am not sure.

But from that course, I understood what a home inspection was for, how compound interest and insurance work, how to budget and reconcile a personal financial/banking statement, and the like.

In terms of what I've found most useful in a vocational sense, yes, that course was among the most valuable I ever took-- and I have a PhD, which is most emphatically not in economics/finance.

I'm also noting with some amusement that dividing education neatly into "practical-- vo-tech" and "pure education" leaves those who go to that great bastion of vocational training, (medical school) being solidly grouped with auto mechanics and electricians.

I guess it's a matter of perspective, but there are a number of white-collar professions which require substantial amounts of such "vocational" training-- but often only once a liberal arts or 'pure' educational foundation has been laid with an undergraduate degree.

And my opinion is that we tend to treat mathematics entirely improperly in K-12 education and always have (well, for at least 35-40 years)-- by seeing all of that math as preparation for calculus, and not as an ever-expanding and imminently practical, necessary toolbox for understanding and evaluating the world around us. I'm a big fan of applied mathematics, which I believe nearly everyone can learn to some degree-- and not so much (in primary and secondary, at least) of theoretical mathematics for it's own sake. I'm all for trig and calculus for those students who ARE headed in those directions in life. It's just that I would rather that

every student learned algebra 1 concepts very thoroughly, and not half of the ideas in geometry and trig as well. If students learned about half as much as the curriculum theoretically covers, but

truly[ learned it, the world would be a much improved place.

I'm all for proofs (real ones-- not the balogna that passes for them now) in geometry-- but because of what they teach students about critical thought and logic and problem solving. Not because I think that most students are going to use that geometry regularly. They won't. You know what most of them will use and seldom even SEE before leaving high school?

Statistics, that is what. I'd

love for algebra II to be replaced by a year of statistics-- with ability tracking into a "you're going to be taking advanced mathematics" versus "this is the end of the line, probably, unless you take college algebra."