Parenting quandary(s) Need input

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    That sounds pretty similar to what I've seen in the countries I've visited. People aren't as obsessed with As. The teachers, at least, seem to be more focused on teaching reasoning skills and letting the chips fall where they may.

    My ex graduated high school and passed his A levels with highest honors with the rough equivalent of a B-/C+ GPA. It wasn't about letter grades. It was about education.
  2. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Okay, I didn't say this before because I didn't want to seem needlessly contradictory, but...I am reasonably confident that a perfect 4.0 (or better, since some schools weight AP and IB courses) is NOT absolutely required for admission to this nation's top universities.

    My sister and I both went to elite schools (admittedly quite a few years ago!), mine on the east coast, hers on the west. I have also done a fair amount of reading on this topic and regularly read "The Chronicle of Higher Education."

    My understanding: the very top schools COULD fill their classes with pretty much nothing but 4.0s. They could probably have 25% of the class be class presidents of their high schools, and another 25% yearbook editors.

    Yet these top schools turn down some of those 4.0s and in fact read every file. Why? What else are these elite schools looking for besides numbers?

    -Embracing challenges. The kid who got a 4.0 taking 12th grade English, Pre-Calculus, and a fun elective will not (usually) get better admissions offers than the kid who took AP English, AP Calculus, and AP Spanish.
    -Life circumstances. Did you earn a 3.6 while helping to take care of the other kids in your household because your mom had breast cancer? Putting family first will not be penalized.
    -First generation status.
    -Racial diversity.
    -Geographic diversity. (A lot of schools really try to get students from all 50 states and several foreign countries.)
    -Athletic talents. My sister went to an elite university that also happens to have educated a motherlode of Olympians and other elite athletes. If you and your Olympic medal earning potential are looking at a school, your GPA can probably be a little lower than 4.0. Because that stuff looks pretty cool on the university webpage.
    -Other extraordinary abilities. Whether its cello or chess, writing or robotics, extraordinary talents make an application stand out in the pack.
    -Leadership/service to the community. The kid who puts in hundreds of hours organizing donations for survivors of Hurricane Sandy is going to get some bonus points in the admissions office.

    Don't get me wrong: these schools aren't taking kids with 2.8 GPAs. But I would never tell someone "Don't even bother applying to Princeton or Yale or Stanford if you don't have a 4.0." It's a far more complicated process than that would imply.
    toothlesstiger and samina like this.
  3. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Dear god, I'm just glad I went through all this when I did...and not now. Just...wow.

    That is all.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You and me both, sister.

    People are crazy. There was a story on 60 Minutes last fall about the current trend (I can't remember what it's called. something-shirting?) of people deliberately holding their children back a year before allowing them to start kindergarten or first grade. That way, kids have the advantage of being the oldest child/most emotionally developed child in their group at school. So they presumably get better grades.

    Seriously. Somebody has to be the voice of reason here. A lot of the time, though, parents are not that voice. We parents see the ridiculousness and sometimes injustice of the system our kids are in. But we still want out kids to succeed, however ridiculous and unjust the system. So we stand on our heads, hold them back a year, pay for tutors, send them to SAT bootcamps, etc. All for what? *shakes head*
  5. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    What a nightmare to feel such relentless not-good-enoughness pressure, with the academic hounds chasing one's tuckus without abate. No wonder kids are Xanaxed and Aderralled out. Surely there is a better way...

    Not everyone raises their kids that way, thank goodmess. Three cheers to parents who focus more on passion, excellence, the natural joy of learning, and integrity, with just enough savvy (rather than panic) to figure some way of working the system sufficiently toward one's end to make a life. The chips will fall, regardless.
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    On a certain level, I'm very glad that the top tier schools were never even an option for me (for financial reasons), and I'm glad I knew it.
  7. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    That is too funny. I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old. I graduated high school and started college at 17 years old. I was always one of the youngest in my class, and I turned out fine. I can't imagine my parents holding me back a year so I'd be more emotionally developed.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yea, speaking for myself I didn't think they 4.0s were literally required, but, my take is that it is a foregone conclusion that one had better be close, and have all the other stuff as well, if one wants to get in, particularly in the more noteworthy departments....because they simply could fill the depts. with 4.O s if they wanted....that being said, my sense with our daughter was that her interview was probably the biggest deal(but the other stuff helped her to get the interview) and I have heard people in academia say that they will opt for 3.8 and everything else awesome, over 4.0 with no social clue
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    and, while there might be families that go cra-cra and do anything to get their kids into top schools, that really doesn't have to be the case from what I have seen.....sometimes, all it takes is that the kid loves school and has worked hard since day one and never needed prodding to excel, ended up at good high school because of it, then consequently, received good college offers, some funded some not...
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    as to holding kids back, we had a kindergarten teacher for our dtr who needed enough kids for extended time funding and tried to emotionally bully us into holding our dtr back b/c she was shy and young....I knew that, not only didn't she need it but it would decimate her ego, as her brother's accomplishments were already apparent...the teacher told us we were letting our egos get in the way and that our dtr would likely struggle the next few years...shrug...our dtr blossomed and has never had to be pushed ...in fact, we have had to beg her to slow down.....we honestly never worried how either child would do because they were self motivated...that never changed with our dtr...in the few interval in which our son, got side-tracked...well, he learned :)
  11. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    If a college could fill their entire incoming freshmen class with all 4.0's and above, isn't that saying something about the value of a 4.0? That everyone has one? Or could get one?
  12. bia

    bia Active Member

    No, I don't think so. Certainly there has been grade inflation, and there are more 4.0s than there were 50 years ago. But still, we're only talking about a very few students per high school. And we're also talking about a very small minority of colleges -- 20ish in the country, maybe? Those colleges widely considered "the best" (the Ivies, Stanford, the little liberal arts schools like Williams, various others I'm not leaving out on purpose) have their pick of the top students from high schools around the country. Those are the schools that could have all-4.0 classes if they wanted. But that leaves lots and lots of college-bound high schoolers and lots and lots of other colleges that may provide a very good education but don't have the reputation to get flooded with 4.0 applications.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    It's called redshirting and is derived from a college sports practice of suspending or delaying a player's participation to extend their eligibility. Who knew?


    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_.../kindergarten-redshirting.-what-would-you-do/

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/15/opinion/la-oe-flapan-holding-kids-back-20120415
  14. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Believe me, NOT every high school student has a 4.0!!!!

    Remember that
    A) Competition to get into the most elite schools is INTENSE,
    B) We have for the several years been witnessing the "baby boom echo." That means that there has been a "bubble," with a larger number of 18-22 year olds than there typically is.

    So while there are plenty of awesome colleges to go to no matter what your GPA, if you have your heart set on that elite tier, you are looking at schools that may only be accepting around 10% of applicants...or less! If you are accepting such a small number of applicants, then you can pick all 4.0s if you want, just like if you are picking only a few girls to be models, you can pick only girls who are over 5' 9" and have BMIs of 18 or lower, if that's what an agency wants. Doesn't mean that most women are tall and skinny.

    Harvard accepted 5.9% of applicants in 2012:
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/3/29/admissions-harvard-rate-2016/

    A US News piece listed stats of the alleged lowest acceptance rates, in order. I'll pull out some data for those of you who don't want to go to the link:
    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/lowest-acceptance-rate

    Stanford 7.1%.
    Naval Academy 7.5%.
    Yale 7.7%.
    Princeton 8.5%.
    Brown 8.9%.
    MIT 9.7%.
    Dartmouth 10.1%.
    Penn 12.4%.
    Amherst 13.3%.
    Duke 14%.

    Now, I would be the first to tell you that some schools play the numbers game because they want to be on such lists. Also, some schools wind up high on such lists for reasons other than amazing academic profile, e.g., tuition-related reasons. But still, my basic point is that there is A LOT of competition for the elite schools.

    ****
    That being said, YES, grade inflation is a problem on the high school and college levels...but students do still have to work hard for that 4.0!
  15. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    Ok, just to give the other side of the story, I did purposely hold my oldest son back a year and started him in kindergarten when he was five rather than four. I didn't do it to give him an advantage, but because he just plain wasn't ready. It was so obvious to see when I observed him interacting with other kids in his pre-school class, and his teacher agreed. And he was (still is) a really tiny guy, a head shorter than the kids his age. But I really struggled with that decision. My friends thought I was crazy and over-protective. That was twenty years ago. For him it was a good decision, so I don't regret it.
  16. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member


    Several of the admissions officers mentioned to me that in the past, kids would apply to three or four schools. Today, some kids apply to 10+ schools. So the admissions people are reviewing many more applications from very, very good students, which is shutting a lot of very good kids out, especially at the elite schools.
  17. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Very aware of this.

    Child started kindergarten at 4 and turned 5 in mid-October. (In general, you have to be 5 by September 1st in this part of the country.) So she is considered an "early start" and technically "should" be in the 4th grade. Fine. But because of the redshirting, there can be kids in her grade who are more than a full year older than she is!

    Most Montessori parents don't redshirt--it's just not the culture of the place--but even so, one of her closest friends in the 5th grade who transferred from another school will turn 12 before the year is over. (Child is 10.)

    Are these parents insane? Not necessarily.

    A few factors:
    1) Kindergarten is all day in most parts of the country now and is far more intensely academic than it was 20 years ago.
    2) High stakes testing even in elementary school has become the law of the land thanks to NCLB (No Child Left Behind).
    3) Some parents--esp parents of boys, and more particularly parents of boys who have received early diagnoses of ADD or ADHD--feel that their child is not ready for all the intense sitting and desk learning required by this new regime at age 5.
    4) Some parents also note that for many sports, physical size helps. They feel that their child's chance of making the varsity team in high school will be improved if their child has an additional year of growing, and that that sports career might help with college admissions and scholarships.

    Google "kindergarten new first grade" and you will get over 7 million hits. Here's one:
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/...1_kindergarten-full-day-programs-early-grades

    I'm one of those people who has significant doubts about the new regime. And I think most people who know me would agree that it's not because I don't take academic success seriously.

    Edited to add: I was writing this at the same time as singndance...and her reasoning makes perfect sense to me.
    pygmalion likes this.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I don't think that parents who redshirt are insane. I redshirted DS because, as you mention, he was diagnosed with ADHD at age 3 and was not ready for sitting at a desk all day. His teachers at the time recommended that he stay in lower Montessori for another year. He still had the same stuff -- work at his level -- while he had the more relxed atmosphere of Montessori lower elementary. But I was seriously conflicted about the decision. Especially when they're little, kids can be at very different levels of social development, if their ages are spread over more than a year.

    When DS moved to public school in third grade, he was nine. His posse (kids in his classroom that year) were seven, mostly eight, and ten. Seriously. Seven to ten year olds, all in a third grade class. If you buy into the idea that the age guidelines are there for a reason, there's something wrong with this picture.

    I think that parents who choose to redshirt specifically to give their kids an academic advantage may have their priorities mixed up. I wish the CBS news link had footage of some of these parents, so you could see what I am talking about. These are not parents who are saying, "Johnny's not ready because he's too fidgety." These are parents who are saying, "Starting kindergarten at six rather than five will make my kid more competitive." IIRC, the story reported on some school districts that have had to go so far as to forbid redshirting except with a doctor recommendation.


    And don't even get me started on the harm I think is being done with the intense focus on standardized testing. I understand why a parent would want to shield her/his children and give them every advantage possible. But still. I think that rampant redshirting is a symptom that there's something seriously wrong.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Yep. Sounds about right. Hence the strategy I'm going to recommend to DS. Go to a good, solid school for undergrad. (If it's in Florida, all the better. ;)) Go to an elite school for grad school, if you choose to go to grad school.

    I know a LOT of people who used that strategy very effectively. In particular, I can think of two, both AA men, who went to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) for undergrad, and then went on to top tier schools for grad school. One got his PhD in EE at Stanford. The other got his MSEE at MIT. Oops. Just thought of another one who did the same thing and ended up with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business (UPenn). All ended up in excellent jobs at a world renowned organization. All are very happy to have gone to small, socially nurturing schools for undergrad.
    singndance and Purr like this.
  20. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    ?)\

    LOL its red shirting like in football

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