Home » Humor » [Off-topic:] School Answering Machine

[Off-topic:] School Answering Machine

I’m told that the Maroochydore High School, Queensland, Australia, staff voted unanimously to record the following message on their school telephone answering machine, prompted by a school policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework. Apparently, the school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children’s failing grades changed to passing grades — even though those children had double-digit absences during the semester and didn’t do enough work to finish their classes.

LISTEN AND ENJOY!

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26 Responses to [Off-topic:] School Answering Machine

  1. Schools false report on dropout statistics to make it seem like government run education doesn’t destroy everything in it’s wake.

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....OUT+RATES+
    SKEWED+REPORTING
    +OF+STATISTICS+HURTING…
    -a0133539603

    Homeschool your kids or send them to a private school.

  2. Love it! All schools need a message like that.

  3. Sounds like a joke. Snopes.com?

  4. Hilarious! I sometimes write curriculum for public education, and can certainly identify with that frosty lady’s frustration.

    Most parents, I am sure, try hard.

    But no curriculum, no matter how well researched or written, and no teacher, no matter how highly motivated or talented, can solve the problem of the student who isn’t motivated at home to succeed in school.

    And maybe tacitly encouraged to fail?

    It’s like a team where the last team member just keeps dropping the ball, dropping the ball. We are all blamed, but we are NOT all equally responsible.

    I know how heartbreakingly hard curriculum editors have worked.* And seeing it all come to nothing is sad.

    BUT … some students from discouraging homes use our resources to succeed despite useless parents, so many of us decided long ago that we would do it all for them.

    *I remember one incident about 15 years ago. It was about 11:00 pm and I was practically fainting. The managing editor said to me, “You must come and final proofread your section.”

    I replied, “I’m busy here with this stuff for [Jane]. Can we wait till it is absolutely necessary?”

    The managing editor was a kind, decent person, and she leaned over the table and said, “It is absolutely necessary right now. It is going to the printer.”

    So I had to go – and then come back for the rest of the work.

    When you have lived that kind of life, you wonder why some parents don’t care whether their child succeeds in school or not.

  5. Indeed, it is a hoax:

    http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/palisades.asp

    Still, file it in the category “I wish it were true”

  6. Still, file it in the category “I wish it were true”

    Or file it under “If it is not true, it should be.”

  7. Alas, this is one of those Snopes things that actually happens to be true – in a general way.

    So many times, teachers have cried over their coffee to ME about this very problem: Parents who don’t insist on common sense rules like “You must do your homework before you can enjoy your favourite shows” are outraged and lie for their child.

    But, of course, no school administration would really dare put up such an answering machine message because at least one outraged – completely irresponsible – parent might be rich enough to sue, due to feeling “insulted.” Maybe suing from a foreign jurisdiction?

    Please remember what I said above:

    Minor child education is a ball game in which the parent is the last receiver of the ball.

    So if the parent simply drops the ball, why blame anyone who actually passed the ball correctly?

    That’s what the YouTube message is trying to get across, and it is a very important message – even if no one anywhere would dare let such a message really happen, in these times.

  8. Conversely, My school principle ensured I’d pass regardless of a failing grade (seven).

    I was ill prepared for high school. Needless to say my education took a turn for the worse.

    The principal managed to continue his flawless record of having no class fail. Too bad my parents trusted his opinion. He died of cancer the following year so I guess he didn’t get to enjoy his ‘success’ for very long.

  9. “So if the parent simply drops the ball, why blame anyone who actually passed the ball correctly?”

    This puts homework in the context of always being a task and that’s not how it should be. The subjects covered need an overhaul. Kid’s aren’t going to be interested unless they see how it’s going to help their survival.

    History class was history of racism and trivialities of war class, algebra was used by 5% of the class after graduating, biology delivers it’s awkward picture, English was history and sociology class mainly, psych class was new age generalities mixed with darwinesque propaganda, we were encouraged to not use dictionaries, chemistry is administered in the most non-applicable way possible, and then the military recruiters sat in the lunchroom while peace activist recruiters weren’t allowed in.

  10. Lamarck, at 9, you seem to have grown up in a very different system from me, and I am very sorry to hear what it was like for you.

    I sure hope your parents, if they are still alive, can get their tax money back.

    Here is what I remember from 50 years ago in Canada: There was often no clear distinction in here between history and geography – well, there couldn’t be, really.

    Our teachers also made a point of virtually preaching against racism. And they sometimes used the United States as the villain of the piece.

    Admittedly, my education was a little narrow, but not in a way that promoted bigotry.

    Quite the opposite, we never even realized that there are regimes where people of a different faith are referred to as “dogs” or “pigs.”

    We thought we had got rid of all that when we got rid of the Nazis in World War II.

    Silly us.

    About algebra, I won’t say anything, because math was my worst subject. But I did fine in chemistry because so much depended on just memorizing the Periodic Table of the Elements, after which one could do the scheduled experiments okay.

    I have never had any experience with military recruiters. But that is no surprise. Really small women are rarely pursued by such persons.

    I wish my experiences with peace activists had been more positive than they actually were.

    I found that the vast majority of them were proponents of abortion and euthanasia (= attacks on the helpless, rather than on people who can defend themselves).

    I would fifty times rather deal with someone who addresses guys who are within his fighting weight.

  11. I was extraordinarily blessed by public education, in a small town called Pullman, Washington (in an era gone by, the 1950s and 1960s). My teachers were almost all terrific. I remember:

    My junior-high science teacher, who spent extra time after school explaining things to me that I did not understand. My high-school French teacher who gave me a love of foreign language and literature. My high-school math teacher who inspired me. Our choir director, whose choirs I accompanied on the piano.

    All of these teachers had very high standards, and for that I am grateful.

    Although it might be an era gone by, there are still some public-school teachers like this. One of them is my wife. She teaches French in a public high school. Yes, many public schools have been infested with mindless political correctness, but there are still teachers who offer great gifts to their students and uphold high standards.

    My wife’s school “was redesigned as a college prep magnet school and renamed Wilson Classical High School in the middle 1990’s. Wilson High provides the Classical Curriculum for all students by enrolling each in four years of math, science, English and a world language. All students are also expected to complete seven classes each year versus the traditional six.”

    And, believe it or not, the students are required to wear uniforms to school. This is a model that should be duplicated.

  12. O’leary,
    I don’t think it’s all gone to hell totally but I don’t like Fed government involvement in schools. I wasn’t talking about leftist peace protesters in particular but I’m aware of what you’re talking about.

  13. Gil, I think the smaller the town and the further back in time you go, the better education you got. I’ve been through that area, I imagine that was a nice place to grow up.

  14. First of all I totally agree with Lamarck- home school or private education is the way to go.

    However, on the other hand I am going to be the token anti- education establishment guy by saying I think the social consensus on what education is- is completely bankrupt. First of all why is it that kids need to go to school for 8 or 9 months to learn a subject thy can learn in summer school in 1 or 2 months? The bottom line is that teachers have rigged the system against the students and for more paid hours for themselves. Secondly we know that in this day and age people need to understand economics and investing/banking at a young age. They need this more so than any foreign language or art class. So the social bias towards arts and cultural diversity has ruined what education should be about. Thirdly there needs to just be a class devoted to life management where then can cover sex and drugs and health issues as opposed to taking a few months out of every year to teach the same well known propaganda about sexual protection etc. Next, history has become a joke. People know next to nothing about Isaac Newton and Einstein despite them being the two recent paradigm builders of the modern scientific world- yet Darwin who pales in the light of Einstein and Newton is praised to the heavens and canonized as a scientific saint. So institutional education really has missed it’s engage students in the real history and importance of scientific discovery. Which brings me to ID. ID is not just about origins and leaving open the door to a person’s RATIONAL theistic tendency or believe- it is also about looking at the world from perhaps the most intellectual lenses. it is about really figuring out what is going on in biology- what makes us unique and how we can implement these patterns into new quality of life improving technologies.

    So education really turned students off. If society did a better job at getting kids interested and engaged and opposed to LOCKED UP in a class for a million hours a day for 12 years straight repeating the same old boring and seemingly pointless material- then I think kids would be wanting to come to school. And parents need to accept the fact they school is not for babysitting. Too many parents love that they can just drop their kids off at school and the teachers can raise them while they work and try to get rich. The reality is that this is perverse and that is why we have a degenerate result. School needs to engage the spirit and not just the body- hence we have a familiar issue of materialistic bias in how most school are run (especially public ones). If we start trying to build school that engage students free wills as opposed to forcing them to labor for no pay then you will have good results. The whole truth of the superiority of a capitalist system lies in the power of it’s incentives. When people want to work they do a better job- same goes for students- school need not be so dreary nor a jail- it should be an exciting playground for the mind.

    “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”

    -Einstein

    “Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.”

    -Ronald Reagan

  15. 15

    wow that was funny. Anyway I’d have to agree mostly with Frost here:

    “First of all why is it that kids need to go to school for 8 or 9 months to learn a subject thy can learn in summer school in 1 or 2 months?”

    The main problem with our school system is that we refuse to hold students to a high standard because we are afraid to fail them when they don’t measure up. So curriculums get progressively simpler and dumber. And we wonder why our system sucks.

  16. What subjects are you referring to specifically that require 1-2 months to learn?

  17. On the subject of lowered standards: I think this in part comes from the “self-esteem” movement. Kids are supposed to feel good about themselves, whether or not they are actually estimable. Another aspect of this is the notion that people are basically good, and it’s society that makes them go bad.

    I believe that this offers an explanation as to why conservative Christians are so hated by the secular left, and represent the only group that can be vilified with impunity. Christianity teaches that people are not basically good, but sinners in a fallen condition. This is the antithesis of what is taught and believed by the self-esteem crowd.

  18. About “self-esteem”, Gil at 16 is surely right.

    There is no clear relationship between self-esteem and performance.

    Plenty of girls arrive at school half-asleep (sometimes half naked as well) who are chock full of self-esteem, even if they could not explain something so basic as Pythagoras’s theorem or the cell theory of biology.

    They fail, and then lots of “educators” make public money off perpetuating their ignorance.

    Those “educators” use controversies over failing ideas that they happen to favour, like Darwinism, because they can then assign the blame to something other than: The kid was

    - half-asleep,
    - half-naked, and
    - poorly fed

    when she showed up for class.

    (Of course it wasn’t those issues, it was that the school wasn’t promoting MORE! MORE! MORE! Darwinism.)

    And then “educators” get tonnes of taxpayer-funded grants to continue their imposture.

    Gil, and anyone who cares: The school can do little – unless it is a boarding school, where the matron can be held responsible for any such case.

    Yes, schools could do far more than they are often doing today – I totally agree. But you would be amazed at the number of edu lobbies that oppose any real reform. Many may get taxpayer funds for the purpose.

    By the way: Re self-esteem – A suicide watch may be needed for the girl who studied all the time, who only scored in the 99th percentile and had hoped for a 100th.

    That girl would be a good hire if only she would get over the idea of killing herself.

    So much for the relationship between self-esteem and achievement!

  19. A 1989, a study of mathematical skills rated students from eight countries. American students ranked lowest in mathematical competence and Korean students ranked highest, yet the Americans ranked highest in their self esteem with respect to mathematical ability, while the Koreans ranked lowest.

  20. Re 18,

    Are you equating self esteem with self confidence.

  21. What the research has shown is that self-esteem (and the related notion of self-efficacy) is important, but is durable and meaningful only if it reflects actual competence and success. It can’t simply be bestowed.

  22. A teacher from Canada was just describing parents pressuring or suing his school to change their children’s grades, and the school administration overriding his grading to so increase grades to prevent being sued. etc.

    By contrast I was raised in in a Christian school using a 1-10 grade system where 6 was bare pass, 3-4 was average, you had to work hard to get a 2, and 1 was reserved for exceptional effort.

    That gives plenty of room for challenge and improvement!

    By the way, how does “Evolution” encourage relaxing grades to “survive”?

    The best answer to inflating grades is:
    Do Hard Things, Alex & Brett Harris, ISBN: 978-1-60142-112-8
    TheRebelution.com
    which challenges teenagers to rebel against low expectations.

    Do Hard Things is so important. It is challenging teenagers to rebel against the low expectations placed on them, not the least of which are low spiritual expectations. And the voices that are asking teens to rise to meet this challenge are voices from their own generation. That thrills me.

    If you’ve got a teenager — or if you have a grandson or granddaughter — I want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Do Hard Things. It would make a great graduation present or summer reading.

    And don’t just give them the book; make a point to ramp up your interaction with the teens God has put in your life. Become a spiritual mentor and help them rebel against low expectations. Help them become rebels with a good cause, seeking more out of life than mindless channel-surfing.

    Chuck Colson
    Founder of Prison Fellowship
    Best-selling author of How Now Shall We Live?

  23. —Dr. Dan: “Are you equating self esteem with self confidence.”

    I know what you are saying and I agree that there is a difference. In the context of what was measured, yes they were measuring self confidence. The research uncovered the relationship between the student’s confidence at solving math problems and their ability to perform. There can be little doubt, though, that the practice of emphasizing self esteem and de-emphasizing performance explained the observed irony.

    On the other hand, I think Diffaxial has it right. Self confidence in the context of competence and success matters, but it is the result of previous sucessful performances, not their cause. From that point, however, it can, if grounded in reality, serve as the impetus for pursuing ever-more challenging goals that timidity would likely neglect.

    On moral matters, the standard of accurate self appraisal still holds. In that context, optimum self-esteem consists in accurately acknowledging one’s true worth and proper roles, both in our relationship with God— as humble, sinful creatures vastly inferior to the creator, who can, nevertheless rise to great heights— and in our relationships with our neighbor, whom we should love as ourselves.

  24. “What the research has shown is that self-esteem (and the related notion of self-efficacy) is important, but is durable and meaningful only if it reflects actual competence and success. It can’t simply be bestowed.”

    There is something I agree with Diffaxial on. Amazing.

    When I was in graduate school we examined satisfaction and happiness in a work place. There is a complicated model that explains it all but essentially you can not make a person happy by providing them with money, good working conditions or praise etc. To get a satisfied worker they must believe they have been an important part of the process and contributed, that is they have achieved, and then they must receive feedback in terms of money, recognition, advancement, or other perks relative to their achievement. They must also receive valid critiques on how to improve. Once this happens, they will feel a positive emotion that some may call happiness or self satisfaction.

    Too much praise or too much money can make a person unhappy just as too little can. The reward must be commensurate with the achievement and in line with what others are getting.

    An aside about false praise. My niece was livid the other day. She is 6 and has been learning how to swim and the instructor filled out a check off list of what each prospective swimmer did. He checked off that she could do frontward and backward flips in the water and she looked at the list (she is good reader) and got mad and started to cry because she knew she couldn’t do them. She was insulted because she thought she was supposed to know how to do them and she couldn’t. She knew the form was bogus. The next day we took her to the pool and she learned to do flips both front and back and is now ecstatic. She knew what was real and not real and only the reality made her feel good.

  25. This has been researched most extensively through Albert’s Bandura’s model of “self-efficacy,” defined as belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the actions required to cope with difficult situations. Bandura thought that self-efficacy beliefs both are influenced by success and confidence and had considerable influence on future performance. A great deal of research supports the validity of this model, although a pesky circularity sometimes sneaks into its application.

    In Bandura’s model, persons acquire self-efficacy beliefs through four main sources of influence. Most important are mastery experiences or enactive attainments, which provide the most authentic evidence of whether one can muster whatever it takes to succeed. Bandura also asserted that when people see persons they perceive as similar to themselves succeed by perseverant effort, their belief increases that they, too, possess the ability to master comparable activities. Persuasion may also raise one’s sense of self-efficacy, although it is more difficult to instill beliefs in high personal efficacy than it is to undermine a sense of efficacy. Lastly, Bandura argued that efficacy beliefs may be increased by enhancing physical status, reducing stress and negative emotional proclivities, and correcting misinterpretations of bodily states. This is because people refer to their own physiological and emotional states in judging their own capabilities, interpreting stress reactions and tension as signs of vulnerability to poor performance. Similarly, positive mood enhances perceived self-efficacy; despondent mood diminishes it.

    Bandura argued that self-efficacy beliefs, in turn, activate cognitive, motivational, affective and selection processes that regulate human performance. Bandura argued that most human motivation is cognitively generated, as people anticipate likely outcomes of prospective actions, guide behavior by forethought, act on beliefs about what one can do, and anticipate the likely outcome of prospective actions. People who regard themselves as highly efficacious attribute their failures to insufficient effort or adverse situational conditions, and hence remain convinced of their essential efficacy. Those who regard themselves as inefficacious tend to attribute their failures to low ability. Similarly, motivation is regulated by the expectation that a given course of behavior will produce certain outcomes and by the values placed on those outcomes. People become motivated to embark upon a given course of action only when it is one of which they believe they are capable.

    And so on.

  26. “If we start trying to build school that engage students free wills as opposed to forcing them to labor for no pay then you will have good results. The whole truth of the superiority of a capitalist system lies in the power of it’s incentives. When people want to work they do a better job- same goes for students- school need not be so dreary nor a jail- it should be an exciting playground for the mind.”

    Kid’s should be choosing a career path on entering high school and they can switch if they want. Then they have something at stake and it’d be interesting to them. Everything I got out of high school I could have absorbed casually in a month, and that’s mainly typing class.

    It doesn’t have to be narrowed down absolutely to one field if they don’t want, classes would be aligned towards their career choice. If they decide to change paths, who cares? That happens to most in college but then it’s expensive.

    Also high school should be done with once you’ve passed the tests, don’t worry about homework. Some kids would be done the first year and they’d be 20 year old lawyers.

    Most teen irresponsibility comes from being disenfranchised and not allowed to help the community through a job when they’re already bright and able and willing.

    O’leary how about proposing my model for Canada?

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