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Old 9th September 2021, 09:50 PM   #1
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Dumbing down schools for equity

Some states including California and Oregon have decided that the best way to address racial inequities in graduation rates and grade levels is to dumb down curriculum and standards. These ideas including that "math is racist," and other denunciations of core educational components, are based on the very ironically racist notion that people of color cannot mentally handle basic educational subjects.

Dumbing down educational standards could increase graduation rates, but at what cost? After all, this is already the country where half of respondents thought that the A&W 1/3 pound burger is a ripoff compared to the McDonald's 1/4 pound burger since 3 is less than 4. Do businesses really want a less educated workforce? Who would want a bank teller applicant who was taught that there are no wrong answers in math?

With the move to remove 'racist' phrases such as "wrong answer," and remove any proficiency standards for basic reading, writing, or math for graduation as Oregon has done, the question really remains. Are these moves to dumb down schools good for the students? If anything it creates a wealth barrier where any student not able to afford supplemental education or tutoring for what the schools cut out, will be at a much more severe disadvantage to what they are facing currently. Is that equity?
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Old 9th September 2021, 11:25 PM   #2
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still better than erasing problematic history and replacing science with religion, as it the norm in the South.
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Old 10th September 2021, 05:42 AM   #3
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Don't we already have a critical race theory thread for this nonsense?
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Old 10th September 2021, 05:49 AM   #4
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Hoverboarder,

Did anything new happen lately to trigger this thread, or was it just on your mind?

It's not that I disagree with you, it's just that I don't know if there's something new, or generic ranting about long term trends.
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Old 10th September 2021, 07:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
Don't we already have a critical race theory thread for this nonsense?
That's quite a big difference from signing a law that says that you don't need basic reading, math, or writing skills to graduate high school.

Do you think that is a good idea?
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Old 10th September 2021, 07:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by HoverBoarder View Post
That's quite a big difference from signing a law that says that you don't need basic reading, math, or writing skills to graduate high school.

Do you think that is a good idea?
What exams do you have to take to graduate high school and what grades are a pass?
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Old 10th September 2021, 09:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
still better than erasing problematic history and replacing science with religion, as it the norm in the South.
Both are bad, but do you really think that is worse?

School administrators might look better if they replace graduation certificates with participation certificates, but they would be doing so to the detriment of the students who receive them. Especially with fewer and fewer students able to read what's on the paper.
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Old 10th September 2021, 09:18 AM   #8
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This trend of "dumbing down" society in the name of "equality" is disturbing. It doesn't bode well for the future of the country, imo.
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Old 10th September 2021, 09:31 AM   #9
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Semi related: when purchasing something that costs, say, $1.76, I'll give the cashier $2 and a penny. I can't count how many times they have been perplexed by this. Really seems like kids don't think in practical terms, and have an oddly linear way of reasoning.
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:29 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Semi related: when purchasing something that costs, say, $1.76, I'll give the cashier $2 and a penny. I can't count how many times they have been perplexed by this. Really seems like kids don't think in practical terms, and have an oddly linear way of reasoning.
I was just about to mention a recent visit to McDonald's, the cost was $18.10, I gave the girl with antifreeze colored hair a twenty dollar bill and a dime. She said, "You gave me ten cents too much.", gave me my dime back, along with another ninety cents in change and a single dollar bill. I asked why she didn't just give me two dollar bills back. "That would throw my register off."
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:34 AM   #12
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I don't know. I've been reading about dumb kids and low standards literally all of my life. I wonder how to measure whether or not it is real?

Things like the change anecdote don't work, for at least two reasons. First, I remember my dad complaining about it in the 1970s. Second, kids these days don't use cash. Of course they won't have experience dealing with it. It's more of a culture shift than an intellectual challenge.
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I don't know. I've been reading about dumb kids and low standards literally all of my life. I wonder how to measure whether or not it is real?

Things like the change anecdote don't work, for at least two reasons. First, I remember my dad complaining about it in the 1970s. Second, kids these days don't use cash. Of course they won't have experience dealing with it. It's more of a culture shift than an intellectual challenge.
Ok, but the change thing is about efficiency, not familiarity. It only takes a few minutes on the job for a cashier (who by definition kind of needs to understand how coins work) to pick up on the pattern of least amount of coins used.

Also, my dad bitched about change too, but it was more along the lines of doing the workers being able to do math in their heads. This is more along the lines of practical reasoning.
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Old 10th September 2021, 12:30 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I don't know. I've been reading about dumb kids and low standards literally all of my life. I wonder how to measure whether or not it is real?
Well, that is a good question. Probably in some test that we won't administer, because it would be discriminatory to do so.

But, what we are seeing here is practically legislation of stupidity. I think it would be hard to argue that if you lower educational standards, the result will not be less-educated people.
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Old 10th September 2021, 12:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
What exams do you have to take to graduate high school and what grades are a pass?
In the US, there is no single "Passing Exam" for a High School diploma;it's all about passing the individual courses.
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Old 10th September 2021, 12:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
still better than erasing problematic history and replacing science with religion, as it the norm in the South.
Can't you EVER discuss something withour doing a "Whataboutiism"?
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Old 10th September 2021, 01:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
Well, that is a good question. Probably in some test that we won't administer, because it would be discriminatory to do so.

But, what we are seeing here is practically legislation of stupidity. I think it would be hard to argue that if you lower educational standards, the result will not be less-educated people.
But it isn't. if you mean the Oregon law, it's changing what "graduating high school" means.

I'm not sure it's a great idea, but I don't think it's the end of academic achievement. In my day (1970s), the standards were so low that all but a handful graduated, which meant the diploma was primarily an attendance certificate. This law just makes it official. Let's be real.
Some people aren't very smart, and there are jobs that don't require it. Giving an attendance certificate might make more sense for those people anyway. The real standards in my day were test scores and/or college admissions. I'm sure that's still the case. Maybe changing how, or if, the state rates people at age 18 might not be such a bad thing.

I see other signs of decay, but I'm not sure that it's a real problem. I don't feel like I'm surrounded by idiots in my day to day life, and I work with some pretty smart young people.
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Old 10th September 2021, 01:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
In the US, there is no single "Passing Exam" for a High School diploma;it's all about passing the individual courses.
I think some states have introduced proficiency exams. I don't know, because I've just seen headlines over the years, do I haven't kept straight who has them, and who does not, and whether different places have proposed, enacted,or repealed the requirements.
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Old 10th September 2021, 09:58 PM   #19
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The implied message of this thread is that these measures to dumb down education are only justified with the racist notion that it is too difficult to adequately teach students of color, and the core affects of these measures will exacerbate racial inequity in schools. I would argue that the efforts to diminish education disproportionally will adversely affect students of color. They are some of the most racist developments in schools in decades.

In some of the articles highlighting the issues of systemic racism in schools, the tragically low levels of African American reading levels and competency in core subjects were highlighted.

It is hard for anyone to argue that these measures would improve either of those areas. Based on that rationale, If those areas are used as examples of systemic racism in schools, and these measures make it worse, than it is fair to say that the efforts to dumb down schools are effectively efforts to increase systemic racism in schools.
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:41 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
This trend of "dumbing down" society in the name of "equality" is disturbing. It doesn't bode well for the future of the country, imo.
Sorry, Pied Piper Trump already derailed half the country into the La La Land of White Purity and replacement theory.

Here's the real news: What women in her right mind wants your* baby?


I mean, c'mon, who wants an armed brat running around the house demanding you wipe his butt? Then there are the children....




*Plural use of "your", in case clueless.
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:55 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Can't you EVER discuss something withour doing a "Whataboutiism"?
I don't think it's something I usually do.
I particular, this is not such a case, as there is a tremendous difference between falsifying lessons to suit your narrative and forcing school book companies to delete unwanted information, versus demanding lessons to be more inclusive, no matter how misguided the effort.

Whataboutism works the other way: excusing something much worse by pointing to something far less problematic and pretend they are equivalent.
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Old 10th September 2021, 11:48 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I don't think it's something I usually do.
I particular, this is not such a case, as there is a tremendous difference between falsifying lessons to suit your narrative and forcing school book companies to delete unwanted information, versus demanding lessons to be more inclusive, no matter how misguided the effort.

Whataboutism works the other way: excusing something much worse by pointing to something far less problematic and pretend they are equivalent.
The problem is that is the opposite of what is happening. Being more inclusive is what I am arguing SHOULD be happening. If a group of students is habitually having difficultly with core educational subjects that they will need for the rest of their lives, we should be making efforts to find ways to modify our teaching to make sure they can master the fundamentals of those critical educational subjects.

Instead we are giving up. Not just on the students who are falling behind, but on all of the students at that school.
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Old 11th September 2021, 12:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
still better than erasing problematic history and replacing science with religion, as it the norm in the South.
Strikes me as a kind of tu quoque or whataboutism response. Instead of defending the practice, change the subject to something else.
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Old 11th September 2021, 12:57 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Semi related: when purchasing something that costs, say, $1.76, I'll give the cashier $2 and a penny. I can't count how many times they have been perplexed by this. Really seems like kids don't think in practical terms, and have an oddly linear way of reasoning.
Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I was just about to mention a recent visit to McDonald's, the cost was $18.10, I gave the girl with antifreeze colored hair a twenty dollar bill and a dime. She said, "You gave me ten cents too much.", gave me my dime back, along with another ninety cents in change and a single dollar bill. I asked why she didn't just give me two dollar bills back. "That would throw my register off."
I've never seen anyone do that. I suspect this is an urban myth, something the get-off-my-lawn crowd repeats when they are complaining about kids these days.
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Old 11th September 2021, 12:59 AM   #25
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On the topic: Educators have been trying for decades to find a way to narrow the academic achievement gap, but there has not been much consistent, reproducible success in that area. I think that the home environment is vitally important to education. It's not just what happens in the classroom. The schools are also de facto segregated due to the fact that neighborhoods tend to be racially homogeneous.

In California, the latest idea is that colleges will no longer consider SAT scores in their admissions process. So a high SAT score will no longer get you into college.

https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/lo...b-773613e1d30a

Quote:
The University of California system will no longer consider SAT or ACT scores for admission.

This change comes as part of a settlement brought on by a group of high school students and nonprofit groups who claimed the standardized tests put minority and low-income students at a disadvantage.
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Old 11th September 2021, 01:02 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I don't know. I've been reading about dumb kids and low standards literally all of my life. I wonder how to measure whether or not it is real?

Things like the change anecdote don't work, for at least two reasons. First, I remember my dad complaining about it in the 1970s. Second, kids these days don't use cash. Of course they won't have experience dealing with it. It's more of a culture shift than an intellectual challenge.
I pay cash all the time for small purchases and store clerks know how to count. Good grief, does anyone who believes this tripe think they are the only ones who ever gave extra change for a purchase? Like these cashiers have never seen anyone give them an extra penny or dime to make the change come out a certain way? Seriously?
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Old 11th September 2021, 01:02 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I've never seen anyone do that.
That's surprising. Unless you generally don't try to get rid of your small coins. It's happened to me. Not usually, but occasionally.

I always try to use as many small coins as I can when making a purchase, so that I don't end up with a lot of loose change.
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Old 11th September 2021, 01:04 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by HoverBoarder View Post
The implied message of this thread is that these measures to dumb down education are only justified with the racist notion that it is too difficult to adequately teach students of color, and the core affects of these measures will exacerbate racial inequity in schools. I would argue that the efforts to diminish education disproportionally will adversely affect students of color. They are some of the most racist developments in schools in decades.

In some of the articles highlighting the issues of systemic racism in schools, the tragically low levels of African American reading levels and competency in core subjects were highlighted.

It is hard for anyone to argue that these measures would improve either of those areas. Based on that rationale, If those areas are used as examples of systemic racism in schools, and these measures make it worse, than it is fair to say that the efforts to dumb down schools are effectively efforts to increase systemic racism in schools.
Oh for pity's sake. I know more than a few white kids that got through school without adequate reading and writing skills.
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Old 11th September 2021, 01:07 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
On the topic: Educators have been trying for decades to find a way to narrow the academic achievement gap, but there has not been much consistent, reproducible success in that area. I think that the home environment is vitally important to education. It's not just what happens in the classroom. The schools are also de facto segregated due to the fact that neighborhoods tend to be racially homogeneous.

In California, the latest idea is that colleges will no longer consider SAT scores in their admissions process. So a high SAT score will no longer get you into college.

https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/lo...b-773613e1d30a
Perhaps you missed the research showing tests like the SAT and GRE turn out not to be good measures of success in college?
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Old 11th September 2021, 01:18 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by HoverBoarder View Post
Some states including California and Oregon have decided that the best way to address racial inequities in graduation rates and grade levels is to dumb down curriculum and standards. These ideas including that "math is racist," and other denunciations of core educational components, are based on the very ironically racist notion that people of color cannot mentally handle basic educational subjects.

Dumbing down educational standards could increase graduation rates, but at what cost? After all, this is already the country where half of respondents thought that the A&W 1/3 pound burger is a ripoff compared to the McDonald's 1/4 pound burger since 3 is less than 4. Do businesses really want a less educated workforce? Who would want a bank teller applicant who was taught that there are no wrong answers in math?

With the move to remove 'racist' phrases such as "wrong answer," and remove any proficiency standards for basic reading, writing, or math for graduation as Oregon has done, the question really remains. Are these moves to dumb down schools good for the students? If anything it creates a wealth barrier where any student not able to afford supplemental education or tutoring for what the schools cut out, will be at a much more severe disadvantage to what they are facing currently. Is that equity?
First link is about marketing and the conclusions drawn about why are nothing more than speculation.

Second link which obviously has a right-wing bias buried this paragraph below the fold:
Quote:
Proponents of dropping the longstanding requirement to demonstrate the ability to read, write and do math at about a 10th-grade level say students who pass all classes required for graduation shouldn’t have to do more.

Many of them are deeply critical of standardized tests.
The issue with the tests was that teachers ended up teaching to the test instead of teaching the subjects overall.

That bill is about standardized tests, not about dumbing down any curriculum.


There is an actual issue and the OP and links don't address it. That is the problem of teachers passing kids who shouldn't pass. That has been a problem for decades. What should be happening is kids getting extra work and help when they aren't passing the classes. Standardized tests are not solving the problem.


And by the way, what's with the BS racism that somehow the standardized tests were a racial issue? I don't see anything supporting that assertion in either link.

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Old 11th September 2021, 01:32 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Strikes me as a kind of tu quoque or whataboutism response. Instead of defending the practice, change the subject to something else.
sorry if it comes across like that.

my position is that we will never have anything perfect - all we can do is focus on what is worst, and try to fix that.
I strongly believe in a Pareto principle approach to solve complex problems.
So I'm not defending the practice, I just think that it is far less harmful than depriving students of background information they need to understand why things they are in contemporary America.

The US Education system is messed up on so many levels that it is hard for me to get upset about schools trying to avoid pissing off the parents of some kids - the result will clearly be to widen the gap in skill earlier than usual, not that all students stay illiterate.
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Old 11th September 2021, 05:16 AM   #32
The Common Potato
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Semi related: when purchasing something that costs, say, $1.76, I'll give the cashier $2 and a penny. I can't count how many times they have been perplexed by this. Really seems like kids don't think in practical terms, and have an oddly linear way of reasoning.
Is there such a thing as a 25 cent coin? If there isn't, I can see why the sales staff would be perplexed.
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Old 11th September 2021, 05:38 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I was just about to mention a recent visit to McDonald's, the cost was $18.10, I gave the girl with antifreeze colored hair a twenty dollar bill and a dime. She said, "You gave me ten cents too much.", gave me my dime back, along with another ninety cents in change and a single dollar bill. I asked why she didn't just give me two dollar bills back. "That would throw my register off."
That's simply a result of bad training.

The McDonald's training is to check the money the customer hands you and to enter the exact money you were handed into the till. The reason is to use an old-fashioned phrase I really miss all about "time and motion" studies, she increased the interaction time by querying what you had handed her, which slows down the transaction rate, simply entering it into the till would have taken less time with the exact same result for you the customer. Plus of course it means there is one more negatively slanted story about the business out there.
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Old 11th September 2021, 05:39 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
But it isn't. if you mean the Oregon law, it's changing what "graduating high school" means.

I'm not sure it's a great idea, but I don't think it's the end of academic achievement. In my day (1970s), the standards were so low that all but a handful graduated, which meant the diploma was primarily an attendance certificate. This law just makes it official. Let's be real.
Some people aren't very smart, and there are jobs that don't require it. Giving an attendance certificate might make more sense for those people anyway. The real standards in my day were test scores and/or college admissions. I'm sure that's still the case. Maybe changing how, or if, the state rates people at age 18 might not be such a bad thing.

I see other signs of decay, but I'm not sure that it's a real problem. I don't feel like I'm surrounded by idiots in my day to day life, and I work with some pretty smart young people.
What exam subjects and what pass rates are required to "graduate" high school?
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Old 11th September 2021, 06:45 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
What exam subjects and what pass rates are required to "graduate" high school?
In my day, you had to have a certain number of credits, where each academic class was one credit, and you didn't get credit for an F. Also, specifically, in Illinois, you had to pass Civics class. We referred tot he final exam in Civics as "the Constitution Test". If you didn't pass it, you didn't graduate.

But you could retake it, and the grading was deliberately very easy. Since it was given second semester of senior year, there was occasionally some very quick, personal tutoring and an exam retake. I only knew one person who actually failed to graduate high school as a result of a failing Civics grade.

ETA: And it's America, so there are at least 50 sets of standards, and I haven't kept up on the fine points over the last 40 years.
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Old 11th September 2021, 07:00 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
What exam subjects and what pass rates are required to "graduate" high school?
As Meadmaker noted, it depends on the state (and possibly also on some local jurisdiction such as a school district). In Massachusetts:
Originally Posted by Massachusetts Department of Education

I. Graduation Requirements
A. Background Information

The Massachusetts Education Reform Law of 1993, state law, G.L. c. 69, § 1D, requires that all students who are seeking to earn a high school diploma, including students educated at public expense in educational collaboratives and approved and unapproved private special education schools within and outside the state, must meet the Competency Determination (CD) standard, in addition to meeting all local graduation requirements.

B. Competency Determination Requirements
1. CD Requirements

Students must earn a passing score on the MCAS tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, and one of the Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) tests (Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, and Technology/Engineering) to meet their CD requirement (exceptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are noted below).
For more details, of which there are many, please visit the "Graduation Requirements" web page.

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Old 11th September 2021, 07:28 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
In my day, you had to have a certain number of credits, where each academic class was one credit, and you didn't get credit for an F. Also, specifically, in Illinois, you had to pass Civics class. We referred tot he final exam in Civics as "the Constitution Test". If you didn't pass it, you didn't graduate.

But you could retake it, and the grading was deliberately very easy. Since it was given second semester of senior year, there was occasionally some very quick, personal tutoring and an exam retake. I only knew one person who actually failed to graduate high school as a result of a failing Civics grade.

ETA: And it's America, so there are at least 50 sets of standards, and I haven't kept up on the fine points over the last 40 years.
Originally Posted by W.D.Clinger View Post
As Meadmaker noted, it depends on the state (and possibly also on some local jurisdiction such as a school district). In Massachusetts:

For more details, of which there are many, please visit the "Graduation Requirements" web page.
Thanks - very different to the UK systems.
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Old 11th September 2021, 08:06 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by The Common Potato View Post
Is there such a thing as a 25 cent coin? If there isn't, I can see why the sales staff would be perplexed.
Yes, and in the US, the quarter dollar (commonly 'a quarter') is really our last functional coin, still used occasionally for parking meters and stuff. Our other coins are essentially useless except to make exact change on cash purchases.
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Old 11th September 2021, 08:14 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I've never seen anyone do that. I suspect this is an urban myth, something the get-off-my-lawn crowd repeats when they are complaining about kids these days.
I'd bet you have seen similar behavior and just didn't notice or generally take notes on odd behaviors. I do.

I live in a resort town where a staggering majority of businesses are "cash only" (buncha tax dodgers) and see this often enough where it is glaring. My kids have even commented on it.
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Old 11th September 2021, 08:42 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Semi related: when purchasing something that costs, say, $1.76, I'll give the cashier $2 and a penny. I can't count how many times they have been perplexed by this. Really seems like kids don't think in practical terms, and have an oddly linear way of reasoning.
Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I was just about to mention a recent visit to McDonald's, the cost was $18.10, I gave the girl with antifreeze colored hair a twenty dollar bill and a dime. She said, "You gave me ten cents too much.", gave me my dime back, along with another ninety cents in change and a single dollar bill. I asked why she didn't just give me two dollar bills back. "That would throw my register off."

Why bother the cashier? When I (very rarely) use cash at a supermarket, I put the extra coin, if that suits me, into the machine, the computer does the rest and gives me back the correct amount in coins.
The $2 and a penny happens so rarely that kids can't be expected to know about the custom. It's up to you to consider what you want: the 24 cents in small coins or having to deliver a long explanation about what you are trying to accomplish. Don't blame the kids because you are living in the past. Use plastic.
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