“As the retreat group started to tell me more about why they felt such a collective sense of stress and pressure, a few major themes emerged. All of them said they voluntarily get their grades pushed to their phones through notifications. It took me a minute to realize just how annoying and agonizing that must feel. It means that at any moment, they could find out they bombed a test or missed an assignment. Instead of having the time to mentally prepare to receive a bad grade when a teacher returns an assignment, they receive a notification as soon as the teacher posts their grade to the online portal they all use. Further, their parents sometimes receive the same notifications.”
Also, with the notification system, both parents and students see each assignment grade in a bubble, so it affects them a lot more than if they saw the whole semester grade (i.e getting an F on a homework assignment isn't a big deal)
And on a more general note, how did we manage to screw this up? (I’m talking about people in my generation, late-20s, 30s, early 40s). Why are our kids anxious? Why do they kill themselves? Why do I hear of a close friend’s niece cutting herself when she’s only 12? We weren’t like that, at least not at this magnitude/level, so the screw-up is on us.
I was a teacher last year and while I can't answer this question fully, I do know that it's a result of perverse incentives and group pressure.
Where I taught at school (a private English school in China) we also had an app that shows parents how their student is doing. They'd see test scores as soon as I uploaded the grades, and I'd get complaints from some of the parents if I was more than a day late in uploading those scores.
In the case of my school, we were competing with other private English schools. If we stopped or had never started using this app, we would get a few parents complaining "why can't I see my son's grade? [school z] does it, so I'm going to switch to their school!" We would lose some parents -- and for our student-retention team, losing too many parents means a pay for cut the following year. They would do anything to keep those parents so promises get made, and ultimately the school would certainly go back to using the app.
Meanwhile the group who built the app gets fabulously wealthy because they've built a (albeit harmful) service that their clients can't possibly get rid of.
Depressingly, the only way I see it turning back would be a force of equally-upset parents who removed their students from the school while asking "why do you use this at all? It's fostering anxiety and depression for my kid".
People vote with their wallets.
Not a parent, but as someone in that generation - I almost feel like it’s the natural evolution of how stuff was done when we were in school, just made worse with always-on technology.
20 years ago, when I was a high school freshmen, I wasn’t supposed to have my cell phone in class (or even turned on during the school day. I consistently broke that rule.) and grades were still generally handed out in person. But by the time I graduated, we had pilot online classes, were often emailed grades, and there was a database for the county that could be accessed to see GPA. None of this was in real time, which was better, but the building blocks were already there.
But to me, this isn’t really about technology. It’s about culture and society that, in my opinion, is extremely unhealthy. As another commenter says, much of this can be seen as “school X does this so we have to follow” and parents are often very competitive about their children’s performance, whether it is in school or sports or drama club or whatever. Those of us raised in the era of “everyone gets a trophy” (but the unspoken part of that is that you still know what the “real” trophies are) and lessons for everything (I was in gymnastics and drama most of my life and took golf, tennis, cheerleading, piano, and voice lessons at various times in my childhood/early teens - and that was modest compared to some of my peers), were often preconditioned or encouraged to achieve certain things — whether they were ultimately important or not. I’m not surprised that kids raised that way would also raise their own kids with similar expectations, now with the additional horror or real-time access not just to grades, but location and other stuff.
This would actually makes teaching easier, as they can use a 0 as a placeholder without having to decide about accidentally pushing a notification.
I don’t think the teacher’s goal is to cause a panic with a transient 0 that’s later replaced — so I don’t see why they’d stop using something that better accomplished their goals.
A related issue is that many parents struggle with school website logins/passwords. I bet a significant percentage never log in, all year. But they can't ignore their phones.
Could also show the average grade of the class for each assignment, to give students, parents, and teachers a reference for how well they are actually doing?
Done every homework assignment and aced every test all semester but then bomb the midterm or final? You're still in trouble. Also vice versa - if you didn't do any homework all year, but the midterm is going to be worth 90% of your grade anyway. And of course we all know there are teachers that are just notoriously harder than anyone else where no one is going to get an A in the class, so there's also an aspect of how well other people have done on the assignment/in the class as a whole.
None of that is new at all, though. The problem is that technology has now calculated out a number and displayed it and we as humans add more importance to that hard number. To me it's similar to the whole "fake news" thing - we're too inclined to glance at what the app on our phone says and not think any further.
And I personally think that grades should show how you progress. If you get better with time it’s good.
And also we all agree that one grade out of any context should’nt mean anything
You know it
It sounds to me like this is the sort of thing that needs to be fixed by each person (for themselves) at some level.
Sure, the provider can give multiple options (message with|without grade, message once a week, no message, etc.) but it's still up to the person to choose.
If you're fretting over a grade coming you're going to fret, you need to fix your own notification system.
You could get messages sent to a parent/carer instead, block the number and check them once a week, wait for the teacher to tell you, etc..
Just because food is put on your plate doesn't mean you have to eat it.
At my Alma Mater, we were always "mass-mailed" when grades were released. The email didn't have our grade specifically, but we could go on the University's portal, navigate to that class, and see whatever grade just got released - tests, exams, projects, anything we could be graded on, really. I loved this system, because the alternative was the grades being released and me not knowing about it, which would result in either having to check every X period of time, or, most likely, coding my own script to do it for me.
I've been told by family that my old High School also works similarly nowadays, as well as other high schools and middle schools in the same district. I can't imagine it working any other way, given the increasing integration of technology.
I'd like to know, though, isn't it just as anxiety-inducing to go in every morning after an assignment, knowing this could be the day it's delivered? Mine were delivered that way back in HS, sometimes at the beginning of class, others in the middle, sometimes we thought we weren't getting it that day, and the teacher would remember at the very end of class, or be reminded by someone. Is it because it's an "it could come at literally any time" thing, instead of being restricted to the class schedule?
I think that's exactly the difference. With in-class grade reporting, you know it's coming inside a 6-7 hour block of time. Even more precise if the assignment was for a given class. With real-time grading, you could receive the grades at the breakfast table on a Saturday morning.
And the real-time grading is likely tied into how unhealthy other online forums can be. The student could get in the habit of just waiting for the grade (refresh, refresh, refresh if it's a web page).
I finished high school before there was any automatic grade reporting (for assignments). And report cards were sent on a known schedule (and received a day or two later in the post). It wasn't stress free, but at least you could mentally prepare for the bad news.
Perhaps a solution would be for these school portal systems to take this into consideration, allowing students to pick how they prefer their grades to be 'released'/delivered - 'unexpectedly', or on a timed schedule.
Watching my son and his peers go through high school (he finished about 5 years ago) in the DC suburbs and the stress level is insane. The good state schools have become increasingly selective since the 90s (when I attended UVA). And it shows in the kids mental health.
I would like to hope that grades delivered in class also come with some modicum of qualitative assessment and psychosocial support. You might be giving Johnny a D grade, but you also tell him that he's making good progress and you know he'll do better next time if he keeps trying. You know that a B grade feels like a catastrophe to Anne, so you remind her that she's a good student and this is just a minor blip. John barely scraped a C, but for him that's a damned miracle and he deserves a resounding attaboy.
All too often, we in tech find a more efficient way of facilitating the core function, but we strip out vitally important secondary functions. Automating the process of grade delivery removes or substantially defers the opportunity for interaction between student and teacher at a critical psychological moment. The grading app doesn't know if a student is pleased with their grade or devastated. It can't see the pride in their smile, it can't see the hope drain out of their eyes. That simple human interaction is infinitely complex and vitally important, but we've reduced it to a couple of bytes of data.
Just wait to release grades until a set time (maybe at the end of class), so students can all check their grades together? It could still be all online and tech savvy.
This topic opened my eyes a bit - and that feature is definitely something I'd push for, if ever given the opportunity to work in that kind of system.
Our grades and weekly averages were posted on a schedule for certain classes, and I would obsessively search the sheet for my student number to make sure I hadn’t fallen below my personal threshold of acceptability (which was often far too high), but at least I knew the date/time grades would be posted.
If I was especially freaking out, I could sometime cajole a teacher to grade an exam or something early — but having that “you could find out at any time your world is still spinning or perilously out of balance” would have been awful. And my parents weren’t even part of this —- if anything they actively tried to make me care less —- but plenty of parents when I was in middle/high school were obsessed with kids grades and just the thought that my mom would get a text the same time as me as to my grades is flat-out horrifying.
Letter grades were given at the end of the semester to the parents in a session with the teacher. Up to the parents if they shared that with their kids. Many didn’t.
According to the Cambridge dictionary agonizing means: 'causing extreme physical or mental pain' or 'causing extreme worry'. Horrible means 'very bad unpleasant or disgusting'.
These are very strong words, when I hear agonizing I think of a crushed leg, or seeing your daughter tortured, I would use horrible for similar circumstances, not a kid getting a bad grade in a notification..
And I personally think learning your kids to grow a thick skin to cope with the adult world is a good thing, so in conclusion I don't really see a problem here and people are way overreacting.
That perspective isn't particularly rational, but it's not entirely baseless either; if you come from a disadvantaged background, your statistical life prospects really are very poor if you don't get a decent credential. The difference between scraping a C and flunking a class might have a real and meaningful impact on the rest of your life.
I can fully understand why some people might experience a bad grade as "agonizing" or "horrible". If you don't have a great deal of confidence in your academic abilities or you have an underlying anxiety disorder, that notification on your phone might feel like confirmation that you're worthless and useless and completely doomed. It might feel like another dash of salt in an old and purulent psychic wound.
What does this actually mean?
My reading of it is- "as adults kids will be stressed, so don't try to keep them from being stressed when they're kids or else they won't be able to deal with stress later."
If so, I have a modest proposal for you. Instead of providing the grades immediately, delay them by a random amount- weeks or months. Then, immediately notify both parent and child, at a random time of day. Perhaps weight it more heavily during mealtimes.
Additionally, grade a small fraction of assignments- say, 5%- as zeroes regardless of actual performance- this will ensure that academically gifted children, even those whose parents don't pressure them- are also stressed.
Since children are likely to outlive their parents, we should also randomly select some children, tell them their parents have died suddenly, and let them start to come to terms with that loss before it happens.
Finally, all shoes and socks must surely be banned, to ensure the proper development of calluses on children's feet.
Surely this will help make kids more resilient. Suffering is part of life, so children must suffer early and often or they'll be too weak.
Banned sounds kind of harsh, but in moderate climates going barefoot as much as possible is a good idea, especially for children.
Instead of a ban, it would be better to run a public education campaign, do more serious research about the effects of wearing shoes, etc. In particular it would be nice if people were better educated about the possibility of using thin flexible shoes and ditching stiff-bottomed shoes, which are quite terrible for foot development.
Development of calluses is one minor effect of going barefoot, but also the bottoms of the feet do not become hyper-sensitized (as they are for the habitually shod), the feet do not become deformed into a weird shoe shape with the toes crushed inward (as sadly happens for most people in our society), and perhaps most noticeably the muscles of the feet and lower leg become much stronger and more coordinated and motor control develops quite a bit better. Kids who habitually walk around barefoot learn to move quickly, efficiently, gracefully, with good balance.
Source: my 2.5 year old kid has 1.5 years of experience walking around the city, about 90% of that barefoot, and is about as fast and coordinated as the typical 3.5 year old around here. (I’m sure he would be below average among some hunter–gatherer tribe; surpassing typical American city kids is a pretty low bar.)
Also, isn’t the physical world and your experience of a crushed leg a product of your brain?
Chronic stress and anxiety are also a product of the brain and in the physical world it ends up shortening your life span. It could be equally reasonable to say, “This bad grade is killing me.” - because with modern science we know there is possibly a literal truth to that.
An example they give for this definition of the word is: “She went through an agonizing few weeks waiting for the test results.” — which is how the GP used it.
Within the range if the average American student, these things are a big deal.
Yeah that avoids the one instance of child abuse but that's not the big picture here. How is it that there are that many people that struggle to cope that this is common enough to show up in this research. I feel for both the parents and the children here. If something like grades are causing the parents to lash out at the kids it's a sign that the parents are struggling to cope. That makes things horrible for these poor children. But how on earth does this get fixed? How does society change to provide enough support and training to these parents to give them the resources to handle these situations?
I think that's starting from a mistaken premise. Why expect parents to cope? Parenting takes an amount of empathy and patience and care that many people simply do not have and will not have.
In pre-modern society the nuclear family made sense, but at what point do we say, being someone's biological source gives you no particular right to control their life and the task of guarding and raising children should actually be given to those who can do so humanely? Why try to retrain inhumane parents instead of just not subjecting kids to them in the first place?
If you look at the much bigger picture—children who are gay or trans, children who date outside their race, children born into cults or to antivaxxers, children born with disabilities that expect particularly uncommon levels of support from parents, etc. etc.—the problem is simply that we assue that your physiological ability to engage in tbe reproductive act means that you're fit to be a parent. There's zero reason to believe that.
In the first of several radical claims that he makes in this section Socrates declares that females will be reared and trained alongside males, receiving the same education and taking on the same political roles. Though he acknowledges that in many respects men and women have different natures, he believes that in the relevant respect—the division among appetitive, spirited, and rational people—women fall along the same natural lines as men. Some are naturally appetitive, some naturally spirited, and some naturally rational. The ideal city will treat and make use of them as such.
Socrates then discusses the requirement that all spouses and children be held in common. For guardians, sexual intercourse will only take place during certain fixed times of year, designated as festivals. Males and females will be made husband and wife at these festivals for roughly the duration of sexual intercourse. The pairings will be determined by lot. Some of these people, those who are most admirable and thus whom we most wish to reproduce, might have up to four or five spouses in a single one of these festivals. All the children produced by these mating festivals will be taken from their parents and reared together, so that no one knows which children descend from which adults. At no other time in the year is sex permitted. If guardians have sex at an undesignated time and a child results, the understanding is that this child must be killed.
To avoid rampant unintentional incest, guardians must consider every child born between seven and ten months after their copulation as their own. These children, in turn, must consider that same group of adults as their parents, and each other as brothers and sisters. Sexual relations between these groups is forbidden.
No. Not sure in western society but in the old village (even to this day all those chinese has a village in their passport marked), you have a place where the punishment to be held.
Come on. Treating kid well is a modern concept. Whilst I think parent could be and should be lovely. It is not so in history and around the world. So is not your social environment.
If a minor deed like Friday the best no report card, please do.
This isn't true. The nuclear family was well established in Western Europe by the 1500s and it was known though uncommon in Eastern Europe. The clan or extended family is clearly older and more common in human history but the nuclear family was not born in cities.
> The Western European marriage pattern is a family and demographic pattern that is marked by comparatively late marriage (in the middle twenties), especially for women, with a generally small age difference between the spouses, a significant proportion of women who remain unmarried, and the establishment of a neolocal household after the couple has married. In 1965, John Hajnal discovered that Europe is divided into two areas characterized by a different patterns of nuptiality. To the west of the line, marriage rates and thus fertility were comparatively low and a significant minority of women married late or remained single and most families were nuclear; to the east of the line and in the Mediterranean and particular regions of Northwestern Europe, early marriage and extended family homes were the norm and high fertility was countered by high mortality.
There is a world of things society and government could do, beyond what is done today, to try to ensure the well-being of children -- everything from better education programs to drastic things like requiring parents to be licensed -- before one gets to the idea of dissolving the concept of families completely.
If logical arguments exist that supposedly support such an exotic and questionable idea, you should probably not leave it to the rest of us to guess at them.
I'm confused about what you are saying is the connection between these four groups?
When you don't understand what your child is going through, helping them through it is a lot harder, and in some cases, parents simply won't be capable of it.
If a student struggles identifying nouns and verbs, it's probably not useful to push them on to prepositions or all the forms of participles. If you haven't memorized times tables up to 5x5, moving on to 12x12 might not be wise.
On the other hand, struggling with subject/object shouldn't prevent you from taking a turn at haiku.
So it would be helpful to have a decent graph of dependencies. But letting everybody progress along the graph of their proficiency would make instruction and administration very challenging. Especially when you throw in social aspects. Having a 10-year-old in the same welding class as the 17-year-olds could be problematic regardless of welding aptitude. And repeatedly putting a 17-year-old with the 12-year-olds studying geometry is also questionable.
But in the end, a grade should mean something useful. It should lead to some useful action that facilitates better education. If it does not, then it is only useful to signal potential employers. And that use is indeed dubious for 8-year-olds. But not so dubious for 18-year-olds who did not progress past their 8-year-old level of proficiency.
So I say grade everyone, then make the grades matter. If a 17-year old wants to take one more shot at geometry, let them. If they want to quit after the third try when they are 15-yo, let them. If they want to quit after the first try, let them. But once you quit, you can't move along the dependency graph for that subject.
Of course, "geometry" is much too broad. You could get stuck on one small concept. You take as much time as you need to go back over it again and again until you get it well enough to be able to study the next concept that depends upon it. This might take one hour or it might take 2 hours per day for 3 days. It doesn't have to set you back 15 weeks or half a school year.
But again, that level of individualized instruction is expensive.
One of the promises of IT in the classroom was to help with these sort of problems but it doesn't seem to have delivered.
There's so much dissonant crap in teaching that nobody really knows exactly what the days pedagogy is. And AB testing is right out. So what do you do? You do the minimum effort to make sure the state or feds don't cut your funding.
Its an ugly spiral, and the students suffer.
That said, letter grades are useless to gradeschoolers (K-5).
My primary school eschewed grades in favor of detailed written progress reports. These took a whole lot more work for the teachers to prepare, but were much more valuable. (In particular, knowing that they would need to write them caused teachers to pay attention to the progress of every student and take notes about it on a regular basis.)
The school district uses cumulative results to assess students, teachers, and entire schools. But it's all meaningless. You don't know which areas a student struggles in. You don't know what topics a teacher doesn't explain well. You don't know where the specific holes are in a school's curriculum. You fire teachers, shuffle classes, and fund schools without useful information. There is no way to take a teacher and make them better. You can only replace them and hope for the best, shooting in the dark. You can make a student feel generally bad about themselves, or good about themselves, but not help them assess their specific strengths and weaknesses.
It all seems so pointless to me that I specifically pull my children out of testing days. If an entire day or three has no educational value, there's no point in attending.
We can look at engineering disciplines, medical at all levels, and many more. "Since I suffered, you should have to as well."
When we finally kill that idea, we can move forward with what real education is, and how to better measure it. Right now, we measure compliance and rule adherence, and we should instead be measuring understanding.
Fortunately we have one-on-one meetings with the teachers when the reports come out so we can get straight answers from them.
2. Grades help you gauge how well you did, which can be useful for self-improvement.
3. Grades in early years can help train you to gain the study habits to get good grades in later years. Suddenly being expected to study in grade 9 might be harder.
In my university we were allowed to take some classes pass/fail instead of graded. I can tell you exactly how much effort students would put into those classes: enough to pass. Even the way students would take about these classes would emphasize this. We'd say things like, "yeah, I have 4 courses this semester, and econ, but it's pass/fail".
Yes, I often hated the stress of homework and grades in school. But the unfortunate truth is if nothing were at stake (i.e. bad grades), I would have much rather spent my energy playing video games than learning. Which is exactly what I did when I didn't have homework or a test (and often even when I did).
If you're proposing a system where each student gets to progress at their own pace, then:
1. I would have loved to have that in my school.
2. But it demands more resources from schools and creates logistical problems. Every student now graduates with different knowledge.
3. You've recreated the problems problems we were trying to solve by eliminating grades to begin with. Parents will still be angry if their kid has only completed 4 levels of progress when all the good students have completed 10. They'll say they aren't applying themselves. Kids will be under stress to complete as many levels as possible each year. And of course, if each level is pass/fail, it encourages superficial learning of each level. What have we accomplished by eliminating grades?
To answer your first question, grades are not the only possible motivator. Anything that can be measured could be used to motivate. But if you measure the wrong thing, you encourage the wrong behaviour.
I'm not sure why adult assessment works this way but school doesn't.
I went to a K-12 school for high school (transferred in at grade 9); and they didn't give any grades in K-8 . Having said that, I do not think the concept of grades for younger students is inherantly bad, it is just that parents and students are terrible at receiving them.
I assume you do see the value in report cards in general. The problem with gradeless report cards, is that it is easy to misunderstand them. For instance, if a teacher says "Johny should improve in X", it is not clear if there is a problem, or if Johny is actually doing amazing, and X is just the place where there is the most room for growth. Ideally, the teacher would be able to communicate this information perfectly; but having a simple grading system can be a valuable to to accurate communication.
 And their reasoning for giving any in 9-12 was primarily for college applications.
"The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education. School is where you go between when your parents can’t take you and industry can’t take you."
—John Updike, 1963
Also, there is much thought put into schooling. Curriculum (what to teach), instruction (how to teach), school administration, etc.
I am not saying schools are perfect, but claim schools are the same as jails, education is the same as torture, it's just bullsh*t.
In relation to the biological history of our species, schools are very recent institutions. For hundreds of thousands of years, before the advent of agriculture, we lived as hunter-gatherers. In my August 2 posting, I summarized the evidence from anthropology that children in hunter-gatherer cultures learned what they needed to know to become effective adults through their own play and exploration. The strong drives in children to play and explore presumably came about, during our evolution as hunter-gatherers, to serve the needs of education. Adults in hunter-gatherer cultures allowed children almost unlimited freedom to play and explore on their own because they recognized that those activities are children's natural ways of learning.
In sum, for several thousand years after the advent of agriculture, the education of children was, to a considerable degree, a matter squashing their willfulness in order to make them good laborers. A good child was an obedient child, who suppressed his or her urge to play and explore and dutifully carried out the orders of adult masters. Such education, fortunately, was never fully successful. The human instincts to play and explore are so powerful that they can never be fully beaten out of a child. But certainly the philosophy of education throughout that period, to the degree that it could be articulated, was the opposite of the philosophy that hunter-gatherers had held for hundreds of thousands of years earlier.
With the rise of schooling, people began to think of learning as children's work. The same power-assertive methods that had been used to make children work in fields and factories were quite naturally transferred to the classroom.
In recent times, the methods of schooling have become less harsh, but basic assumptions have not changed. Learning continues to be defined as children's work, and power assertive means are used to make children do that work.
> schools are the same as jails, education is the same as torture, it's just bullsh*t.
Meant in jest.
"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."
- Mark Twain
Seriously, instead of finding and fighting the root causes of the problems, they treat the symptoms.
Reminds me of the old Jewish folk tale/joke: when people in the town of Chelem complained to the city council that many people fall off the broken town's bridge, the council got together, deliberated for a week, and decided to build a new hospital under the bridge.
And they strike their children because they can't cope? If they can't cope without striking their children, well, then, maybe they shouldn't have any. That'd be best for their children, and for the parents also. The children won't grow up damaged (and having learned that this is the way to raise children) and the parents won't have to experience such pressure that they absolutely have to strike someone to make it better.
This will solve the problem on every level.
The difference left and right start here though. Sadly.
That said ...
> In addition to distributing report cards earlier in the week, schools could consider including messaging to help prevent corporal punishment that crosses the line into abuse. But that’s a sticky issue in Florida, where some counties still allow corporal punishment in public schools. (Florida’s not alone: 19 states still allow schools to hit students, according to the Gundersen Center for Effective Discipline.)
This is absolutely insane. It's 2019. I grew up in Florida and remember "the paddle" from my elementary school days but had assumed it had been stricken by now.
According to the quoted sentence ("prevent corporal punishment that crosses the line into abuse"), corporal punishment is not the same as abuse. The article also says: "Corporal punishment may include pain but is not supposed to result in injury; corporal punishment resulting in injury is physical abuse."
So the line is whether the punishment resulting in injury. But it is not clear what is counted as "injury".
Corporal punishment as administered by schools.
All that corporal punishment teaches is that it's OK for the powerful to punish the weak.
> deMause, L. (2002). The emotional life of nations. London, England: Karnac Books.
> Describes a psychogenic theory of history, arguing that childrearing and the interpersonal expression of love impact upon the national and international arenas with greater force than any bomb. The author discusses the role of mothers in political progress, our psychological dependency on our enemies, and the concept of the "social alter"--that part of the mind that infinitely restages social trauma. Furthermore, he delineates the ways in which inadequate parenting and overabundant technology interact to produce the crises of our age. Part I of this book describes how shared early personal experiences determine political behavior. The three chapters describe historically recent political events to demonstrate how shared emotions can cause political violence. Part II details a psychohistorical theory of history, first as it applies to politics and second as it explains the causes of war. Part III is a history of how child rearing has evolved and how more loving, trustful parenting has produced new kinds of human psyches, which in turn have resulted in new social and political institutions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Here is a very good read: Raising a Moral Child. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/12/opinion/sunday/raising-a-...
Funny story. So I'm a little wiry guy. And back in the day, I used to carry a buck knife in my back pocket. As Logen says, you can never have enough knives ;) But anyway, a bunch of us were sitting around a fire, BSing, and I start cleaning my fingernails with the knife. And this big jolly dude says "It's always you little guys who pull a knife, when we're just having a friendly brawl!"
Edit: But global nuclear war? Not so funny :(
Also, "Of the 167906 calls to the child abuse hotline for children aged 5 to 11 years, 2017 (6.7%) were verified as physical abuse cases". Only 6.7% verified???
I have complaints about the quality of the study, but this is not one of them. Keep in mind that anyone in Florida who suspects abuse is required to report it to the hotline. Probably more significant is the more traditional mandated reporters, who are trained to report any suspicion of abuse, out of both an abundance of caution and to protect themselves from liability. By design, such hotlines have a high false positive rate.
Verified "as physical abuse cases", meaning that the rest were deemed to not be.
As one living in a country that bans parents from hitting their own children, I find that number shocking. Do they actually hit the kids in practice, or is this some left-over regulation from the past (like the French ban on women wearing trousers in Paris that got formally repelled a few years ago)?
Edit: I looked at a map and the states that don't forbid hitting kids in school are all the South: https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/533438e769beddc92a184...
That's a pretty big cultural disparity, so while I can't imagine hitting kids to fly in a million years in any state that I've lived in, I suppose my account could be biased. There can be a pretty big divide between southern states and northern ones sometimes.
They for darn sure do. On the ordered list of reasons why I yanked my kid out of the school he was in, number three (will shock you) is that one of his friends "received corporal punishment" (the polite euphemism for "was struck") and the school and school district had no mechanism for parents ordering the school to not do that to our children.
> I looked at a map and the states that don't forbid hitting kids in school are all the South
> There can be a pretty big divide between southern states and northern ones sometimes.
You're not wrong. High up on the list of reasons why my immediate family does not now and never will again live in the state listed on the top of all of our birth certificates is cultural differences like this. My "home" state shows no real signs of changing this or many other of these things. I sincerely hope they do but me and mine will be witnessing it from afar, at least until my kid becomes an adult and chooses for himself where to live.
One anecdote, not that it paints much of a picture, is that I have a much younger cousin in Catholic school right now (in one of the states on that map) and, from what I hear, it sounds like corporal punishment is completely off the table.
Looked that guy right in the eye, ready... told him it was not gonna happen.
It didn't, and I was the only one that it did not happen to.
Let's just say the events that followed after I made that statement were not pretty. But, I also must say I have not experienced that clarity and strength of resolve since.
7th grade. I was scared by it. What the whole scenario triggered. What I was capable of in that moment.
That person transferred to another school system shortly after.
We met again 20 some years later at a wedding reception. Of course we immediately got drinks and caught up. Both of us eager to revisit that time as different, and better people.
I was that serious problem kid, he remarked at how ill equipped the staff were at that time. Was a real mess.
Some laughs and a handshake later, both of us got some much needed closure.
I think when it comes down to basic physical means we have failed as people. It can work. Does sometimes. But there are costs, scars. Not physical ones so much.
But, when it does not work? I really do fear the state of mind I arrived at that day. Unnecessary too. What of others, their states of mind? What happens when they can't process it, or it builds up over repeated events?
Our talk healed both our scars amazingly well. I consider both of us lucky in that respect.
Edit: I had it super rough as a kid. Turned out fine after middle school though. Was a mess like I said. I did gain something high value. I can often reach troubled kids. I have been in very dark, scary places. And I, at times, had little to no meaningful help.
It was another person reached me. That is what does the real work, and it does not require beatings to accomplish.
It does require understanding. That is harder than a beating, but far more potent.
> I think when it comes down to basic physical means we have failed as people. It can work. Does sometimes. But there are costs, scars. Not physical ones so much.
And you misunderstand the voting culture on HN.
Ugly truth isn't low value, it's ugly. There is a difference, and that difference was made clear.
What happened was people saw that, went full stop. That's OK. I will rarely refrain, when I deem it necessary. I don't think I should as that is actually a disservice to me, and readers here.
Implying anything about you is not my intent.
Now, it also says "can work", but there are COSTS and SCARS, as well as saying, "not physical ones." Cutting off a limb to avoid some disease progressing works too, but the costs and scars point very clearly to better ways, for those who need an analogy.
Let me make that part even more clear:
It works by damaging people. Some people, me, were not too damaged. Having a parent do it was enough. The school? I found out there was absolutely no way I was going to permit that. Primal.
I think our nature impacts this. I have a sort of core, "I am in charge of me and what that means" that runs super deep. Others don't, or work really differently.
Hitting a child can work, given that context, should not be offensive, just real, frank.
The latter part of the post highlights the real work, and that is understanding a child well enough to reach them.
Here's an example:
One troubled kid would just not open up much. I asked their parents if we could go on a road trip. I let them know my intent well in advance of what I was about to do.
What I did was get in the car, score some road food, set the scene up nicely enough, not threatening at all.
Then I started driving, and we talked. I was getting BS. After about 100 miles (no joke), it dawned on the troubled kid we were a long way from home.
I looked at them, and said the drive home begins when the real conversation does.
It took a while, and we talked about a lot of stuff. Girls, school, jokes, TV. At some point, the scenery really changed, and a while after that, out it came.
They had told no one.
At last, I could understand, said that, and we really talked on the way home.
Reached 'em. And where that happens, we can fix people, get them back to a place where they can grow, do, play, develop, and be as they were largely intended. I myself was reached by a perceptive person. I love her for it. All the physical stuff did was generate rage and resolve in me. Both ugly. Through that, I understood the power of seeking understanding and have employed it in my (much better than it was going to be) life. I do not feel these statements carry the weight they do, sans the reality of beating on kids. Like I said, frank, brutally honest. Moving on...
Prior to that, this kid was in all sorts of trouble and had every punishment you can name. Nothing worked.
Nobody bothered to ask why nothing worked. Nobody knew to ask. That kid had to offer up something new, and that's the understanding, the first understanding and why we went on a road trip in the first place.
On the way back, lots of other understanding happened. Parents, school, other kids. Lots of ugly stuff going on.
I worried about the content of that post and kept it brief in places. Maybe I should not have.
The other reason I wrote it was to highlight the danger in just hitting younger people. Who really knows what that does? I shared a little of what I felt that day, and it was pure, clear, scary.
We see school shootings all the time now too.
There are days when I think, "is there any wonder, given the pressure cooker type systems we've got running all over the place now?"
I think every one of those has a root cause, and a significant contributor to that root cause is lack of understanding that kid.
And we need to do the work to understand the kids, or we end up with people we just don't understand at all!
This was in Florida around 2000.
Human brutality runs deep, and you can still find it displayed openly on the majority of Earth’s land mass.
Even developing countries ban corporeal punishment.
The US is the outlier.
I looked it up on Wikipedia; seems like a lot of nations don't consider it to forbid child corporal punishment. ("The Committee's interpretation of this section to encompass a prohibition on corporal punishment has been rejected by several state parties to the Convention, including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.")
> Even developing countries ban corporeal punishment.
Most countries seem to forbid corporal punishment in schools, with varying levels of enforcement, but many do not forbid parental corporal punishment; China is one example, http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1083321.shtml.
Some things I have inculcated as a part of my children's education:
1. Lots of peer interaction and physical playtime.
2. Pomodoro technique: just 10-15 minutes of assured focus to cover exam topics starting several weeks before the exam date.
3. Treat all grades with praise of hardwork! Because they did put in the time and effort. And briefly go over mistakes and skipped questions.
4. Treat the school curriculum as a secondary medium of instruction and push parental instruction as primary without speed limits.
> 1. Lots of peer interaction and physical playtime
Also known as being a normal human being...
My own kids were through school before the portal and notification systems arrived in our schools.
In some ways, it is good to know problem areas early. There is time to make changes. As a parent, I would have appreciated that.
As a student? Ugh. Many parents are busy and I can see the whole thing suffering from the same "5 star" problem we see in rating systems all over the place.
It all gravitates to 5 stars being the constant expectation.
Maybe I am glad I didn't have to deal with that mess. Being involved in my kids education was work, maybe more than today.
Or maybe not. I wonder how many overcorrects happen due to a kid just having a bad day. Or the stress of just having a bad day amplified?
It's not mentioned anywhere in the article, but if someone said to me that 2 things are true:
1. There is some correlation between report cards being returned and child abuse
2. There is a spike in reports of abuse on Saturdays when report cards are returned on Friday
I wouldn't immediately think "cool, lets return report cards earlier. Problem solved"
Other than not really solving the problem of abusive parents, this also doesn't actually rule out child abuse happening accross the board but not being reported on weekdays.
It is unlikely that all the abuse simply shifts to during the week and stops getting reported.
What it actually is, however, is a change schools can make to lessen child abuse, even if it is just a little. It isn't something difficult or expensive to do.
I might believe that report cards increase rates of abuse but the idea that Friday is something special is probably just due to not having enough data for other days.
That being said, I think we should put far less emphasis on grades and report cards in general, so I'd rather just not give out report cards on a regular basis. Grades and reports cause a ton of stress for kids that just gets in the way of learning. I also think children should be allowed to go at their own pace and have some level of control over what they learn. It's okay if a child lags in one area and excels in another for a year or two. Interests change, and children learn far more rapidly in subjects they're interested in.
I agree that just moving report cards may not solve the problem. We need to reexamine why we give report cards and decide if there isn't a better way (and there are a lot of alternative teaching methods that may do better than the way most public schools are run).
Alcoholic Friday ...
I was never abused, but my parents were definitely not pleased by bad school reports. It's not hard to imagine that people who look for excuses to abuse their children, do so after getting a school report.
Why is it so astonishing?
This may actually work a few times. But eventually they go too far.
If it is the weekly release schedule that I experienced in Elementary School, then this statement is effectively "people beat their kids less on public holidays" which seems much less surprising.
Also, where are schools that do "non-standard" reporting located? This seems like a geographically confounding factor.
The obvious guess would be people go get drunk on Friday night then come home mad their kid got a bad grade... But I am surprised that it’s somehow not an issue on other weekdays.
I don't think there is any evidence that changing the day will change the outcome.
In fact. If you randomized the day schools sent this info then you will probably keep this stat hidden.
Seems like the solution is to hold parents who abuse their children accountable.
> "After comparing a year’s worth of verified child abuse cases to the dates elementary school report cards were issued, the researchers found a correlation between report cards and child abuse — but only when grades went home on a Friday."
is this another case of some archaic american technology?
Fucking duh. How could they have this statistic be accurate at all but not have anyone ask any of the kids? We would have told them "FUCKING DUH". Got into a #1 grad program for my major, dropped out because by then my parents chilled out I realized I have ZERO motivation for anything unless someone is going to beat me up if I don't do it. Tried getting a comp sci degree, all the profs told us the degree was useless, profs and students cheated rampantly, and I didn't see a single company in the industry making the world better rather than worse. Now I live in my parents' basement and when they die I will be homeless.
Glad somebody loves to vote down abused kids here, thanks.
Maybe you have already tried it, but if you have the means, see if you can find a psychologist, or essentially any professional you feel is interested in listening, and be prepared to at least consider their words.
An bad environment can corrupt both how the world looks and how we see ourselves, that's why it's so important to get someone who can help you/us see again.
I any case, whenever you do throw off the tiniest part of what is keeping you down. Give yourself credit for it, and celebrate as a madman. Preferably as a respectful and kind madman, but give yourself credit.
Is that the fate someone else picked out for you? Change it.
Yes, the GP needs to get to work - not primarily externally, but on the internal damage. But it's not nearly as simple and easy as you make it sound.
daodedickinson: This may be too hard to do alone. There are people who can help. Find them. Stick with it. It's a long road, but worth walking.