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Obama says longer school days and years will bring the US up to par.


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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2009 11:23:26 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2009 11:29:45 PM PDT
MCMom says:
Yes, I agree with Zacksmom. We shouldn't spend all our evening trying to teach our children school homework. Teachers are professionally trained so they on average know better than parents about teaching kids.l I think that a more consistant curriculum is very crucial though. Besides, keep the parents informed about what will be taught in school is important too. Parents will have better understanding what will be taught to their kids and may read or discuss with their kids about the topics during their family time.
The other problems that I see in this country are kids have too many video game systems and have too much access to cable TVs, Internet/computers,etc. They are not able to focus on what they are learning for too long. What they care more is how much time they can play video games or watch TV. They are surrounded with too many digital visual stimulations. As a parent, I encourge my children to read and read to them a lot. We go to library on a weekly basis and visit book stores often. My chidlren is always excited about getting new books from library or bookstore. They are so eager to learn by themselves. They do go to a public school in my neighborhood. I am from an Asian coutry and I don't speak English with my kids at home. Yet, they are very advanced on their reading and writing level. We don't own any video games nor cable TV. My kids never complain about that because they start to read when they get home and really enjoy to know(learn) more by themselves. I think that parents need to engaged in some reading activities with their children to make up the missing part from the school. I think that overall the teachers did a pretty good job teaching basic knowledge. Kids need to be motivated to learn more by themselves. I don't think longer school days and hours is necessary.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2009 11:37:21 PM PDT
MCMom says:
Yes, I think that you are right. I think curriculum, teachers, parents all have room to be improved.

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 11:47:25 PM PDT
Darth Yoda says:
My two cents as a high schooler is that teachers do not spend enough time actually making sure we understand the knowledge that we are given in class. I can recall too many teachers in elementary, middle, and even advanced high school classes just throwing information out there and expecting us to learn it. What is the point of going to school for 8 hours a day if we are just going to have to go home and learn the material ourselves? Extending the hours is only going to make high schoolers even more unmotivated to actually succeed. We don't need more hours, or stupid bureaucratic nonsense like what has totally destroyed the quality of learning in the U.S. and California especially. We need more quality teaching!

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 11:53:21 PM PDT
OrganicMango says:
I'm a private English tutor. I have also taught as a regular classroom teacher, a teacher's aide and a sub teacher for grades K - 12 in public schools. The kids I tutor naturally get more out of what I have to offer than the kids I teach in the classroom. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most obvious is that my tutees receive focused attention on their individual needs. Reducing student to teacher ratio in public schools should be a greater priority than increasing the length of the school day. Unfortunately, while the kids I tutor often improve in their abilities to read and write, many are suffering from burn out at tender ages of eight, nine and ten, because they are overtaxed trying to be top students, piano players, gymnasts, soccer players, ballet dancers, swimmers, etc., and have very little time just to have fun and be kids. The last thing they need is to have more of their childhood takrn away from them!

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 11:53:35 PM PDT
OrganicMango says:
I'm a private English tutor. I have also taught as a regular classroom teacher, a teacher's aide and a sub teacher for grades K - 12 in public schools. The kids I tutor naturally get more out of what I have to offer than the kids I teach in the classroom. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most obvious is that my tutees receive focused attention on their individual needs. Reducing student to teacher ratio in public schools should be a greater priority than increasing the length of the school day. Unfortunately, while the kids I tutor often improve in their abilities to read and write, many are suffering from burn out at tender ages of eight, nine and ten, because they are overtaxed trying to be top students, piano players, gymnasts, soccer players, ballet dancers, swimmers, etc., and have very little time just to have fun and be kids. The last thing they need is to have more of their childhood takrn away from them!

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 11:56:05 PM PDT
OrganicMango says:
I'm a private English tutor. I have also taught as a regular classroom teacher, a teacher's aide and a sub teacher for grades K - 12 in public schools. The kids I tutor naturally get more out of what I have to offer than the kids I teach in the classroom. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most obvious is that my tutees receive focused attention on their individual needs. Reducing student to teacher ratio in public schools should be a greater priority than increasing the length of the school day. Unfortunately, while the kids I tutor often improve in their abilities to read and write, many are suffering from burn out at tender ages of eight, nine and ten, because they are overtaxed trying to be top students, piano players, gymnasts, soccer players, ballet dancers, swimmers, etc., and have very little time just to have fun and be kids. The last thing they need is to have more of their childhood takrn away from them!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2009 12:24:00 AM PDT
E. Appleby says:
Hutch,

"the problems children have succeeding in school stems from the very basic breakdown of the family in America." Of course it's all the parent's fault. That generalized type of blame statement is one of the reasons why we chose to home school our kids.

When we public schooled, I was the model parent. I volunteered in the classroom, lunchroom and playground. I made copies and corrected class work. I brought lattes, food, flowers and hugs to the teachers when they were drooping. I read to the classes. I dressed up as the Cat in the Hat for Seuss Day for Pete's sake! I organized fund raisers and helped read new books for the library. At night, we would patiently and calmly help our kids for a few hours, rush dinner out, finish up with homework, read aloud together and kiss them goodnight so that we could do it all again the next day. We were all exhausted and that was only the first grade!

Our children did not "succeed" in school at all. Sure, they make decent grades and were both in the gifted program. They didn't learn much that stayed with them. Does it sound like I did anything wrong? Did my family sound "broken down" to you?

What I noticed (and missed) the most about those years are the fun times we didn't get to have. All the extra time for kisses and cuddles. Playing tag and board games. Reading great books to each other, drawing, creating comic books, building forts and thinking about all kinds of things together as a family. Do you know how much learning and info processing take place when a child is doing "nothing"? We didn't get that special time because of the hustle and bustle and stupid demands on our time after school hours.

Enormous amounts of homework. That, poor Hutch, is what is causing the breakdown of the American family.

Now we are able to dive wonderfully deep into subjects of interest. We can easily move on when they achieve mastery. We do not have to wait for the other kids to catch up with endless review. I can also slow things down when when my speed demon boy is rushing though. My distracted girl is kept on task and/or interested by more individualized attention. (Another pet peeve of mine - teachers should not be babysitters with 25+ kids in the class. Then they are mostly doing crowd control. The smaller the class, the better, IMHO.) Best yet, it does not take 8 hours per day.

We do not have to train our children to be mindless drones that spit back useless info for a test. Teaching to the test isn't really teaching them anything at all. We as a nation deserve better than this!

You know that thing you went to school for? The love of learning and wanting to help children. That bright sparkle that comes into their eyes when they truly "get it". The fun and excitement. We have that. Public schools should have that too. Extra hours aren't going to fix this. Stop blaming parents that you probably don't really know and do something to change what you can.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2009 12:56:14 AM PDT
E. Appleby says:
Your first paragraph was wonderful. The end of the second one just showed your intolerance and stupidity. Public schools are not secular humanist's churches. If they were, my family would still be "worshiping" there and not home schooling. You must not know the amount of bullying and harassment that goes on in public school if you don't blindly follow christianity. And that is just the teachers! ;) Again, it's not all about you. Religion or lack thereof isn't the issue here. Our failing education system is. You should peddle that propaganda over at One News Now. They would eat it up.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2009 11:04:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 16, 2009 2:56:45 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2009 12:08:16 PM PDT
I agree with smaller classes and lower student to teacher ratio. I would also add there should be more assistance and attention to students interest. That way the get good at what they like. Then, imagine getting paid for what you like to do! The way things seem to be is: a curriulum is set up by well meaning adults, and the children but do well or the school looks bad and the responce is: more of the same. Opps.
L. Hutchinson

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 1:47:03 AM PDT
Ghost, I know because our local newspapers and public television station publish the names of the city high school valedictorians and write articles about them, and compile these statistics every year. The first time that a majority were from immigrant, non-English-speaking homes, it was a major news story, in part because it came as a surprise to many people. It has become the norm.

As for what negative generalizations concerning bilingual populations say about American attitudes toward education, your own previous comment summed it up. You wrote: "Asians are very achievement oriented. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that they, as a group, have higher IQs than any other ethnic group. But there are other "ESL" groups who, apparently, do not have this tradition and drive towards academic achievement."

Laughable . . . you question my facts, yet you come up with a bigoted generalization like this. (Note to Ghost -- "Asian" is not an "ethnic group.") Not to mention the blatant scapegoating that is implicit. (If you want to know why Johnny doesn't read anymore, don't point to the ESL kids playing soccer down the street. Take a look at his X-Box, Nintendo, texting bundle and MySpace page. My point is, he can do much better. But he doesn't.)

Albert Camus, as one example among many others, has plenty to do with this thread. He was a Nobel Prize winning author and had no assistance whatsoever with his schoolwork from his parents. One was hard of hearing and functionally illiterate and the other was dead. He isn't a rarity. And as far as my quip about his mother being part Spanish, well . . . again, I'll just refer you to your own words. Instead of hearing all about how deprived he was, how his family didn't value academic achievement, and being placed in "special classes" to "help" him overcome all of these horrendous and insurmountable deficiencies . . . he met a great teacher.

We don't expect enough from students, or from teachers.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2009 12:28:13 PM PDT
Thank you so much for your letter. Adults typically work for 8 hours per day then they are able to go about their other business. When my children were younger by the time we finished school, extracurricular activities and homework their time could easily be 12 hours per day and sometimes more. They would end up so exhausted that ultimately their grades suffered. Also that amount of stress per day is not healthy. They will be more likely to be ill.

I believe there is alot that can be done to make the hours they spend in school more productive. For example changing classes fewer times per day and arranging subjects in a curriculum that complement each other such as spelling and grammar lessons coming from the history or literature assignments. Combining math and science etc.. so these subjects can be learned well not just fast.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2009 3:43:38 PM PDT
Zacksmom - I am a teacher and a parent of a three year old (almost four) and I agree with you. I like family time and I like play time with my child after school. I like to run and exercise, and that is NOT built into my workday. I have other constructive hobbies that I enjoy doing with my family. I don't like bringing work home (although I have to) and as such, don't assign much homework. A researcher, Marzano, says homework is effective if 1-it is meaningful (not busywork or homework for homework's sake), 2-it is something the child has learned during the school day and is therefore reinforcing at home, and 3-something that parents needn't help with.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 4:38:25 PM PDT
D. Pinckard says:
Education today has not been "dumbed down." The problem is instead "dumbing up." Kids who can barely add are being exposed to algebra instead of the appropriate remedial education. The problem is that the curriculum does not plan for gaps in the child's education. This is why programs like Sylvan work so well. This is why homeschooling, if done properly, works much better than public education. Longer school days will not help. Kids aren't receiving the proper foundation. If we could just teach basic math, reading and grammar, children can move on from there into any college or technical program.

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 11:27:55 PM PDT
P. Young says:
Our culture is the problem. More kids come from a single parent home. We are disrespectful of authority. We don't believe in hard work.

I've been teaching for 17 years and considering another line of work. It's a no win situation for teachers. A teacher get beat up by a kid so the answer is more teacher training. It's always easier to make the teachers accountable under any situation. It's hard for me to respect many opinions when a person hasn't spent any time in a public school. If you want to know what it's like, use your college degree and get a substitute teaching certificate and spend some time in some of these schools. You might find the ones who get most of the blame (teachers) are the least of the problem.

It seems the curriculum has been a smorgasbord at the grade school level. They try to teach 3rd graders geometry when they need to master basic math. A lot of teaching has gotten away from building a foundation in the fundamentals of most subjects. You can blame that on our federal government.

Kids are rushed through because of social promotion. We are led to believe if a student is held back twice they would drop out.

If the federal government wants to fix education they could do two things. Go away. (state's rights) Kids who drop out or are discipline problems become the property of the military.

Posted on Mar 29, 2009 6:48:31 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 29, 2009 6:49:12 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 9:41:20 AM PDT
V. Cochran says:
I'm an American. My German nieces and nephews were out of school and home before 2pm. Germany seems to be doing the job with *fewer* hours. Most middle school teachers I know say the post lunch classroom time is a wash; the kids are done for the day and can't/don't/won't focus.

More is not necessarily better. "The more time you have, the more time it takes."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 5:02:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2009 5:15:12 PM PDT
Shanna says:
I disagree with R.'s comment. I studied at a foreign school until 9th grade and then had the misfortune of being placed in a public school in Florida (My father is a robotics engineer working for an international company and decided to move here; I didn't have a choice). My English was very basic but my knowledge of math, science, computer literacy, geography and world history was higher than that of my peers. The only time I learned something new was in my ESOL class, since to me it was like learning a foreign language. As well as "AP Psychology" during senior year (Finally, something different to be learned). I would sit in my biology class and re-learn about mitosis, sit in history and re-learn about The New World, sit in math and re-learn the Pythagorean theorem. All things I already knew. My education was resumed to learning how to repeat everything that I'd already known in Portuguese to a different audience in English. I was taught that America was a first-world country and all that baloney but was surprised to meet American kids who had zero knowledge of world affairs and geography. I mean, some even thought Europe was a country, not a continent. I passed the FCAT on my first year here (with my basic English and no preparation whatsoever) while US-born kids were having trouble passing it. I was extremely bored and unchallenged in class, and after conferring with other immigrant students, I found out that kids from other countries also agreed with me, that high school in the US was extremely easy and that they were being exposed to subjects that they'd learned abroad in MIDDLE SCHOOL! Unfortunately, there are many people like you, who think that public education in America is just wonderful if it weren't for (what you believe) are the poor, uneducated foreigners with half a brain.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 5:09:24 PM PDT
ChadL says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 6:15:17 PM PDT
Retailmonica says:
Of course that is part of the problem... but I find as a student, teachers are often trying to push the blame on parents and the students when they themselves are too lazy to do their job right. Either they have the same curriculum from 1975 that never changes (using the same worksheets even), or they try too hard to be friends with the students, or perhaps they just don't want to work to more than one learning level. If 3/4 of the class doesn't understand how Hydrogen and Oxygen bond, and there's 3 kids who learned that four years ago, those three kids have to twiddle their thumbs and watch the other 20-something kids get angry that they are reading a book rather than paying attention. I was one such student. It's annoying to learn what I learned four years ago, but I'm the minority. In the meantime, my friends are upset that I don't have to pay attention. My teacher could have just assigned me and my two peers harder work, but instead, we are considered "done with."

Don't blame the parents entirely. This isn't a blame game, everyone needs to take responsibility; government, school administration, teacher, parent, student.

Just as a side-note... due to this faulty way of dealing with me as a 'gifted' student in High School, I have become a poor student at an elite university. I have no work-ethic to speak of. I don't do my homework for example. Is that my parents' fault? No. And they don't have power over me. However, while it is all my fault, my professors don't even help me when I ask for it. How's that for inspiration?

Don't underestimate your role as a teacher, and how you can be the greatest inspiration for your student, no matter how poor or good they are doing. Don't just consider the 'good' students "done." Work hard for them, and they will work hard for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 6:30:52 PM PDT
B. J. Monk says:
This is to no post in particular. I've been teaching for over 20 years. Put 3 girls through one of the top colleges in this country. They attended public schools their whole life. The difference? PARENTS!!! The kids who come from parents who back the schools, value education, ENFORCE GOOD BEHAVIOR, and who keep on top of the school system by being active and vocal about good teaching all have successful students. Unless you teach, you have no idea how much of our time is wasted dealing with poor behavior and attitudes. Public schools have to take everyone, and it is the "bad apples" that are pulling down the test scores. It is sickening how much time these kids sit in front of computer screens and televisions. They are culturally stupid. Why? The parents don't parent. Mom's new boyfriend, dad's new wife and kid.... The reason why other countries do better than us is because by the age of sixth grade they have weeded out the problems. This group will go on to higher ed, this group will be sent off to tech training, and this group...you are out of here. And the U.S. can't do it, the public won't let them do it. Check into your school districts. What are the rules if a kid gets kicked out of school for a violent act? Many school districts, mine included (which is a very good district) has to use my tax dollars to pay for a private tutor during the time the kid is kicked out. All the teachers have to write up lessons for the time the kid is kicked out, and send them over to the private tutor. And...if the kid can't get his/her butt to the private tutor, our tax dollars will pay for private transportation to the private tutor that is teaching (??) the lessons that the teacher had to put together ahead of time, which of course, takes away from the time she/he has to teach the law abiding students. The school does not make up these laws. John Q Public did. Check it out.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 7:06:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2009 4:39:19 PM PDT
I believe that, actually, the people who aren’t responsible for their children’s education believe it’s fine to let the govt. assume it. If the govt. stopped this, the parents would be forced to do make provisions for the education, just like they have throughout most of civilization, just like most do with food, clothing, and shelter. (The laws are plenty sufficient to handle situations where parents neglect any of these four things.)

The “fear” you write of is of tyranny, a straight road to which we are currently on. It had already started by the time of Jefferson, & has gotten worse to a practically unbelieveable (when the state of liberty today is compared with its state in history) degree. The Tenth Amendent, applicable in this case, is “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” And, here, from The Jefferson Cyclopedia, is what he says about the matter:

* * * * *
It is but too evident that the branches of our foreign department of government, Executive, Judiciary and Legislative, are in combination to usurp the powers of the domestic branch, all so reserved to the States, and consolidate themselves into a single government without limitation of powers. I will not trouble you with details of the instances which are threadbare and unheeded. The only question is, what is to be done? Shall we give up the ship? No. by heavens, while a hand remains able to keep the deck. Shall we. with the hotheaded Georgian, stand at once to our arms? Not yet, nor until the evil, the only greater one than separation, shall be all upon us, that of living under a government of discretion. Between these alternatives there can be no hesitation. But, again, what are we to do? ' * * We had better, at present, rest awhile on our oars and see which way the tide will set in Congress and in the State Legislatures. — To William F. Gordon. Ford Ed., x. 358. (M., Jan. 1826.)

Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste.—To Gideon Granger, iv, 331. Ford Ed., vii, 451. (M., Aug. 1800.)

The best general key for the solution of questions of power between our governments, is the fact that “every foreign and federal power is given to the Federal Government, and to the States every power purely domestic.” I recollect but one instance of control vested in the Federal, over the State authorities, in a matter purely domestic, which is that of metallic tenders. The Federal is, in truth, our foreign government, which department alone is taken from the sovereignty of the separate States.—To Robert J. Garnett, vii, 336. Ford Ed., x, 295. (M., i8_>4.)

Unless the mass retains sufficient control over those entrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression, and to the perpetuation of wealth and power in the individuals and their families selected for the trust. Whether our Constitution has hit on the exact degree of control necessary, is yet under experiment ; and it is a most encouraging reflection that distance and other difficulties securing us against the brigand governments of Europe, in the safe enjoyment of our farms and firesides, the experiment stands a better chance of being satisfactorily made here than on any occasion yet presented by history.—To M. Van Dkr Kemp, vi, 45. (M., 1812.)

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.—To E. Carrington. ii, 404. Ford Ed., v, 20. (P., 1788.)

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe their minds must be improved to a certain degree.—Notes On Virginia, viii, 390. Ford Ed., iii, 254. (1782.)

* * * * *

Why subject our children to educational experiments, when our schools used to fully educate them (until the end of WWI), and not just go back to what works, which is classical education, with Latin, Greek, Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, and axiomatic, non-integrated mathematics? I suggest everyone try these tests from our schools: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/quizzes/highschool_test.cfm , http://records.viu.ca/homeroom/Content/Lessons/compexam.htm , http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb//ottawa/exam.html , http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/2004/july04/1910.html , http://www.kansasheritage.org/orsh/library/final_exam.html , http://www.americandeception.com/index.php?action=downloadpdf&photo=/PDFsml_AD/Constitution_Test-Kenny_Hignite-8th_Grade-101Qs-1954-CA-6pgs-EDU.sml.pdf&id=111 , http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/sats/where/1901.html , http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com/2005/11/teaching-at-turn-of-century.html , and read The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America (free online) and the articles on the site Lynn’s Educational and Research Network, to understand the origin and nature this terrible problem afflicting the entire Western Civilization, and what it has done to you and is doing to your children.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2009 5:48:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 30, 2009 6:00:21 AM PDT
Zacksmom says:
WOW -- THIS is the most disappointing post I have seen on this forum yet! Although I homeschool, I do have nieces and nephews and some friends with children in the public school system. I can honestly say, that every one of the parents are concerned with some of the ideals taught to their children from year to year. This post is classic of wanting someone else to "take care" of your children. When you choose to bring children into this world, YOU (as the parents) are responsible. How can you use our education system as a glorified babysitter and still sleep well at night? And, furthermore, why do you (as a parent, or soon to be parent) feel the government is qualified to determine what is deemed appropriate for your children? Again, this is probably the most disturbing post I have seen yet. And one last question, what are your responsibilities as a parent, if education is completely out of the equation of raising your kids?

I am thankful parents like you are NOT the majority.

As a final thought, I certainly do not believe that every family is able to "home school". I do, however, believe that whatever educational system your family chooses -- the parents are required to be a pivotal point in raising their children. Education is part of raising your children - just as feeding them and providing adequate clothing and shelter.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2009 6:21:56 AM PDT
Zacksmom says:
N. Stix and Ms. Knott said.....,
*****"We should not expect that a 2nd grader can write a full 5 paragraph report, but they should be able to write quality sentences."

Agreed, but does your school really mandate you to teach your second graders to write five paragraph reports? It's too late in the night to ask my wife or son, but I don't recall helping him with such long reports prior to the third grade. You must teach in an extremely demanding school. *****

My oldest son was enrolled in a State Charter School until this year. In his first grade language arts class -- one of the assignments (mind you - he was 6 years old) was to write a poem! At the beginning of second grade (September) he was required to write a book report with minimum 6 sentences. It was this same month that I was told (by the charter school) that he was potentially ADHD or dislexic. When I asked why, the "teacher" told me he is not up to speed with his reading. The charter school we used had some kind of standards that determined that a 2nd grader (within the first two weeks of school) should be reading MINIMUM 65 words a minute on a cold read. On a practiced read (one week preparation) the child should be reading between 80-90 words per minute. With other subjects (history, math, science, art, etc.) he was not expected to "understand" the material -- but rather (and I quote) "he needs to be exposed" to the material.

I expect Charter Schools are not much different than regular brick and mortar public schools. I would like to know "what's the rush"? We seem to think (as Americans) that the more concepts you can cram into a little brain early, the better we will be as a society. Is that true? Is this where the "longer school days" is coming from? Or is it simply that we are not addressing the fact that 1 out of 5 teenagers are dropping out of high school - so fill up their heads while we (government) still has control?
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