Harry Potter books to improve English

HiyaKiani   Friday, July 18, 2003, 08:38 GMT
I feel bad for my education. Yours seem like it's very hard and takes ALOT of studying.
I don't know the names to all of the test or much about them all so I'll explain the one's I know.
We take regular finals like SAT 9 or ACT but they, the Board of Education, like to change things around all of the time. I don't know much or what the seniors (12 grade) do as I just finished my Junior year (which is year 11 to you). In freshman year (9th) we take the Exit exams (you get four chances; one per year in high school) which was a peace of cake for me the first time. These are required to get out of high school because they are the basic skills tests. (to make sure you can at least read! lol)
The seniors don't have to take a test during the 2nd semester of their year. Their last final is at the end of the first semester. Then they just stay at school to get their credits.
In 1st and 3rd quarter we all take the Common final. Except for 3rd quarter this year for some reason. The state took CAT6's.
I'm think I'm supposed to take a test of my subjects so I'll be taking a Chemistry part, English 12 (sem 7/8), Trigonometry (which is math so I will fail considerably I bet), Econimics/Government (which ever one I'm scheduled to first) and I get to chose Spanish 2. I don't think they have a state test for PE/JROTC so they might just make us run/march or something. (I don't know what they will do in JROTC. I just know I'm taking it for no reason.)
My senior year will be my most intense year I have more academic classes this year while my other years I had at least two electives. They don't have much of a hard time unless they ballot for harder subjects to look good on their transcripts. I only need 30 more credits to graduate (which is 3 classes for the year; for me it's JROTC, English, Gov't/Econ.) but my mom wants my transcript to look good for universities. I personally don't think I'm ready for a university (cuz I'll get nervous) so I think a community college would help me out a bit. Then I'll transfer. I want to make sure I know everything.
The graduation requirements differ between districts. My district only need 220 (let's just say it equals 22 classes) credits to graduate. My other district I was in needed 240 credits. The students in my cousin's district need 270! I don't know how they pack in all of those classes. They might have a different daily schedule. (Ours is the same schedule every day except on Wednesday.)
There are two sets of requirements, by the way, graduation and college/university requirements. The colleges look for more than grades here. A girl from school got 4.0 gpa all four years of high school (nothing but A's) and was rejected from a university because she didn't have a job, didn't participate in extracurricular activities or clubs, or no community service. She just stayed at home. Some popular universities want to see that a person is active, can cope well with people, and/or can help the public and not just have good grades. So, a boy got into that same university with a 3.4 gpa (a's and some B's) with sports and community sevices and Key club to make him look good as a student.
As far as what you said about getting top grade for certain jobs, let's say a bunch of kids w/ the same grades got into a college. They each can declare a major then and study, study. That 3.4 boy can become a doctor if he wanted or anything he wants to be and have the same chance as a 4.0 or even a 3.0 (all B's). He can even change majors. I don't know about law, though. I'll have to read on that. Most likely it's the same.
This is most of what I know about testing and requirements for high school (In my district) Hope it was a bit of help.
Note: If anyone could answer Rugger's question better then I did, please do so, because I know there are some people out ther who know more about this stuff than I do. I would also be pleased to know more about this topic for other states. Thanks. :)
Ryan   Friday, July 18, 2003, 17:26 GMT
Those exit exams from high school must be something new. I never had to take any when I graduated back in 1991 (gulp!, I sound old!). Standardized university exams like the SAT or ACT are important to get into the best universities, but otherwise if you do just okay on them you should be able to get in to most universities. Overall, American high school is mind-numbingly easy compared to university. I think that the American government is afraid to make secondary education tougher in this country because it will reveal to the world how unintelligent the average American student is. Of course, this is the teachers' fault and not the students'. Teachers are underpaid, of course, because greedy Americans don't want to pay enough of their taxes to properly support that occupation. Thus, a lot of intelligent people who might become teachers do not because of the low pay.

Tremmert   Friday, July 18, 2003, 18:03 GMT
HiyaKiani, if you think summer would be bad in the classroom in the US, then unless you're from Arizona you haven't the faintest idea what it'd be like in Australia or South Africa...
Julian   Friday, July 18, 2003, 18:46 GMT
>>I think that the American government is afraid to make secondary education tougher in this country because it will reveal to the world how unintelligent the average American student is.

That's the way the American government wants it. The government doesn’t want intelligent students. When you keep the general population stupid, you can easily con them into believing every lie you feed them. Why do you think Bush’s popularity remains high (with the American people) despite the fact that he and Cheney have their grubby little hands involved in these corporate scandals that’ve plunged our once strong economy into a trillion dollar deficit; that the unemployment rate is at an all time high; that we’ve been consistently lied to about Iraq; that people are being detained without formal charges being brought against them; that the administration is demanding absolute power to spy on our internet activities, etc, etc…

Why? Because the American public is too stupid to understand what’s going on. American democracy and our civil rights are being usurped right before our very eyes in the name of “Homeland Security”, and all we do is wave our flags high and praise our glorious leader.

Sorry for the rant, I know this isn’t a political forum, but the Bush-Dick team just makes me so angry.
mjd   Friday, July 18, 2003, 19:41 GMT
I don't know Ryan. I was pretty happy with my American public education. If you choose to squander it, then that's one's choice, but if one makes the best of it, it's a fine education.
Ryan   Friday, July 18, 2003, 23:04 GMT
mjd, the whole point is that most students are completely unmotivated about education. The school system fails them. There were students motivated at my high school and they got selected to take the best classes from the best teachers and did just fine. But everyone else got the mediocre teachers that emphasized rote memorization and made education boring. I know students who didn't take a single essay exam in high school. How are you supposed to learn how to write if you are taught like that?

I think the intensity of secondary education in other countries is the equivalent of an "educational boot camp" atmosphere. It trains students to be the best students they can be just like the US Army might train soldiers to be the best soldiers they can be. Obviously the fact that we place so much more training emphasis and dollars on our armed forces than our education shows what kind of country we are.

I have no doubt that you are right and that there are many well-educated Americans out there who greatly benefitted from the school system, although I don't think I really benefitted until I reached university (I am a masters degree student now). But Julian is right. The general populace is not very well educated, much less so than in other western countries. I suppose it's just part of the general American mentality of not helping out the less fortunate because they probably don't deserve it anyway. Besides, if everyone was well educated and could train to do a variety of well-paying jobs, who would enlist in the military?

Adam   Friday, July 18, 2003, 23:34 GMT
Does anyone know where I can download the 'Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix' ebook?

I know I should buy it, but in my city just some dozens of HP OotP books have arrived and now there's no place where I can get one from.
HiyaKiani   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 04:44 GMT
Tremmert, to tell you the truth, I have been to Arizona. In Pheonix, I was walking out of a building that my Aunt works at to get my book out of the car and I felt my feet getting warmer and warmer. By the time I got to the car I realized that the soles of my shoes melted off onto the ground. I was terrified to walk outside during peak hours after that. (It was 115* F that day. I was litterally able to cook eggs on the doorstep!) I have a little idea of how it's like since I spent four weeks in Pheonix. I've also been to Palm Springs in Southern Cali for a while with my buddy Imona. I was too hot to even sleep at night and to ground was so warm at night. It was beautiful; how could a person be in class?
Ryan, I agree with you except for the part about students being unintelligent. Unmotivated is the word like you said in you last entry. I don't think I'm unintelligent. If a person can learn something, they are intelligent enough and can learn anything. They just need to be taught it and taught the right way. Not face-planted into it like "educational boot camp" (I like that metaphor) or not halfheartedly taught like the teachers you described.
I'm an American student so I'll use my perspective as an example to what I'm about to say. American public school education is low campared to all the other countries. I say that colleges/universities are
there to catch people up, educationally, with the rest of the world. Thoughout high school I see many discouraged students that try to give up on learning due to the fact that they mess around and/or they think they aren't smart. (Or family/social problems but that's another story.)
I believe that classes a person doesn't need to take is really a waste of time. If they don't like it and if it won't help them get to their goals why do it? High school math is lower here than in other countries. I think that that algebra or geometry is the least a person needs to know if they don't want to major in mathematics or get a job that doesn't require much math. There's no point if they are just going to forget it later in life.
My Bosnian friend said that they learned our 8th math in 5th grade and doesn't remember much of it now. She wants to become a clothes designer and model. She designed many of the stylish clothes she wears to school, and you'd think they were a new fashions from the mall! She's artistic which is pure talent and not math. (She even made me a cute skirt and blouse set!)
College on the other hand can catch people up with the rest of the world educationally. I won't say more on that.
They should have cracked down on the reading part of student's education a long time ago. There are a few students that graduate and not no how to read well. All of my english teachers make everyone of their students read alous so she can make sure they can read. So I don't know anybody, personally, who can't read with a diploma, but they are out there.
Julian, back off on the government thing. I didn't vote for the President for obvious reasons, but I don't think you should blame him and the US gov't for the people with not so great education. I never listen to the Pres and all, but he's the perfect candidate for people to blame things on. You should blame the state gov't for our education problems. Yeah, he may be putting his hand in some scandals and saying lies. But you have to remember that he and US gov't aren't in charge of the education as strongly as the state gov't.
I wave flags for appreciation of my homeland, because I have pride. I would do the same for Japan if I was born there. I don't do it because I'm supporting the Pres. Presidency is a high position and I would never want to be one because of all the pressure and decisions to be made for a whole country that affects many lives. So I appreciate him just for that, no matter how much I may not like all of his choices and bad activities.
mjd, I agree with what you said. It made alot of sense. It totally took most of the point of this entry away. I would say much much more but I said enough already.
Oh. I forgot this was a Harry Potter discussion. I loved the 5th book. It's the best of the 5 books.

Na, I'm fixin' ta go, later.
mjd   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 07:21 GMT
Having just graduated from university (I hope to soon be going to grad school), I agree that one "catches up" a lot in college. While I agree that some improvement needs to be made in American public education, a big part of education is also the motivation one receives at home. Instilling good study habits and getting your child to read is hugely important. Without these necessary study habits and a good work ethic (to implant a desire to learn and be interested in "things"), a student will be doomed to mediocrity no matter what educational system they're placed in.

I'm also from New Jersey which is supposed to have some of the best public education in the country.
Ryan   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 07:40 GMT
I think you have a good point, mjd. A lot of Asian students in the United States do very well in high school because they are so motivated by traditional family and cultural values. I've seen the same thing with Jewish students as well. I still think that the educational system fails for a lot of people, though. I don't think it should be entirely the family's responsibility to motivate their children to be good students, it should be mostly the educational system's responsibility. In other countries, the exam system may be harsh and like a "boot-camp," and may cause secondary problems, such as some of the student suicides in Japan, but I think overall it creates a more educated general populace. I will not debate that we have a good university educational system for those who make it that far and for those who have the will to graduate (the drop-out rate is as high as 50% in some places, remember). I do think it is getting better, though. More students are going to university than ever before, even if they don't make it all the way through. I just think that intensive education should start sooner in the system than at university level.

To tie this into languages, I also think Americans should learn a foreign language at an earlier age too. I didn't have an opportunity to learn until 8th grade, and that is *much* later than in other countries. Before there was the excuse that we were a pretty isolated country, but now with the large Latino population in this country, learning Spanish at a young age is probably a very good idea (even though I don't know it myself, I took French). I think it's just another example of the American education system thinking foreign languages are too tough for young kids, even though the opposite is true. I have heard that some local school districts in integrated white/latino areas do start kids pretty early on Spanish, though, but not enough of them.

mjd   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 10:16 GMT

I agree with you completely on the foreign language issue.
Rugger   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 10:53 GMT
Your comments are very interesting Ryan. In Melbourne, secondary education is very competitive, because to even get into a TAFE course you need a reasonable VCE score. Many students get tutors during year 11 and 12 and on top of this attend intense learning programmes for their subjects, held in universities over weekends/holidays. These programmes are so popular that there are different study groups marketing VCE programmes (i.e. lectures conducted by professional teachers, Uni lecturers, Uni students) plus VCE books/lecture notes/tapes, and it is big business. I had a tutor for Chemistry, Physics and English that would come to my house after school on three different days each week for the full year. I know that many Melbourne year 12's juggle tutors after school. My school even extends school hours for year 12's so that they might have a "Zero" period at 7.00 or 8.00am in the morning and a seventh/eight period that goes to 5.00pm. Some schools, especially the private schools, conduct classes for the senior students on Saturdays. These extra classes are supposed to provide additional help to students for the respective subject. This only highlights how important the final year of high school is perceived.

I think that secondary education does need to be at a certain standard so that everyone, whether they continue on to tertiary education or straight into the work force, is well rounded in knowledge and has attained at least the basics in english (e.g. grammar, comprehension, communication) and maths. This makes for a more educated society, not one where those who are educated happen to be the ones that followed into tertiary education. A large section of VCE english focuses on media issues, and a part of the english exam includes analysis of newspaper articles on contentious issues of the times (e.g. immigration policies, bid for heroin shooting galleries, etc). You have to also write on an issue yourself; employing all the literary tactics studied from media articles through out the year, as tools to convey your contention. I remember that one student in my class complained about how pointless it was to analyse issues and debate them. My english teacher, who was involved in the marking of VCE english exam papers, answered by telling the girl that the aim was to pass out of the school system adults who could pick up any newspaper (broadsheet or tabloid) and be able to wade through all of the media propaganda and the literary tactics employed by journalists, to identify the actual contention and analyse underlying arguments. I am grateful for this part of my education because I do feel that it is vitally important in today's media age to be able to analyse the information that is always being thrown at you. The rest of the english course included studying chosen VCE novels, films, and plays, and being able to write essays on them in exams. I had to study Euripides’ Medea and Electra, study the film Cabaret and Schindlers List, and study the novel Angela’s Ashes.

From the above posts, I gather that an American senior student needs a certain amount of credit points to graduate from high school. However, I'm still unclear on the system by which students can enter into particular courses in university. Is there an interview process or some sort of academic portfolio that is used for enrolment into courses? The way it works here is that a particular course has a cutoff VCE score plus prerequisites. Different universities that offer the same course might have different cutoff VCE scores for that course, depending on the status of the university.
Ryan   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 18:17 GMT
Rugger, different universities have different requirements. The worst aren't competitive at all. All you have to do is graduate from an accredited high school. Better universities, such as large public universities, require one to score significantly high on a standardized test, either the SAT or ACT. There are exceptions if one has many extracurricular activities, or if one is a member of an underprivileged group.

The best universities require not only very high SAT or ACT scores, but essays, recommendations from teachers, and most encourage an interview if not require it. Extracurricular activities are important too as these universities like to look at more than just test scores, although the extremely bright still often get admitted. Coming from a family with some money or having an elite prep school education (public schools in Britain) also helps.

Other than that, we have no standardized exams to graduate high school at an "A" level like in Britain, or GCSE's for that matter. Nor do we have entrance exams where one is required to achieve a certain score to attend a particular university, like they do in Japan. It's all pretty informal here. Some even advocate abolishing the SAT and ACT and going by grade-point average and other secondary factors alone. All in all, high school in the US is a pretty low-pressure environment where the biggest worry is being able to fit in with a social group or getting a boyfriend or girlfriend. We have final exams for classes at the end of semesters, but they are usually pretty easy.

Those who take a similar "high-school" attitude into a university (many people) are usually the ones that drop out. In no way are American universities inferior at all to the rest of the world.

Ryan   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 18:20 GMT
Oops, I didn't mean to type a "but" before the word "essays." Sorry.
HiyaKiani   Saturday, July 19, 2003, 22:42 GMT
I just read what you guys wrote and my mom was in here. I'm usually on a game/arcade site or something fun. Otherwise I'm watching TV. My mom saw this site and what I was reading and stared at me like I was different person.

You all have great views which make perfect sense. I appreciate you sharing all the information. I'm just glad that you guys made this an interesting discussion because normally I would think this is boring. Thanks a bunch.

Ok. I'm done. You can keep posting now. :):):)