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Education
03-11-2013, 08:44 PM
Post: #1
Education
Regardless of how high you think of the education system, there are always some flaws that you can't ignore. If it involves school, it's fair game for discussion.

I'll hop in the discussion later, but

1. What do you think is wrong with education?

2. What do you think is right with education (just to put a positive spin on things)?

3. How would you go about changing the education system?

Thanks to this powerful flash, the Hi 8 can now capture a shadow in the distance. The stills, however, are even more clear, revealing that the shadow is really the blur of a man.
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03-11-2013, 10:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: Education
(03-11-2013 08:44 PM)DelfTheFish Wrote:  1. What do you think is wrong with education?

Short answers: Too much federal involvement, too many standardized tests, not enough funding for the arts and humanities, and just to focus on my pet area, a teaching of history that simplifies everything, and doesn't emphasize critical thinking.

Also, teacher's get paid shit, which means that more talented individuals pass up on public education jobs.

Long answers: The federal government funds about 20% of education, (most of the cost of education is paid by local property taxes, hence why you see more modern schools in richer areas) and for that amount, they have a disproportionate amount of input, especially on curricula. Most of the people who decide education policy haven't been in a school for 30-40 years, and they have no idea what they're doing. There is a metric ton of bureaucratic bullshit as a result. My school recently had a brouhaha over the difference between "Learning Objectives" and "Student Learning Outcomes." It is ridiculous micromanagement by people who are too far divorced from the process.

Standardized testing is the bane of education today. It seems like a good idea on paper: it presents data so that one can figure out where the problem areas are and fix them, and, as Bush the Younger said when he tried to get Congress to pass No Child Left Behind, it gives the government a decent metric of accountability for the schools themselves. In practice, however, it leads to a lot of sheer memorization, teaching kids how to take tests, and cheating to help make sure the school receives funding. Furthermore, the concept of standardization is problematic in and of itself. Under a standardized educational system, kids in Iowa and California would have the exact same curriculum, and I think that is foolish because Iowa and California are wildly different culturally, socially, economically, politically, environmentally, probably even religiously. Kids in Iowa have probably never seen the ocean, for example, and kids in California may not have ever tasted grits or okra. I understand you have to have a standard metric of quality, but localizing education is a much preferable option. This is especially true in history, where a student will learn how his particular environment plays into the greater human narrative.

Third, and this is a huge pet peeve, not enough attention is given to helping talented students who are interested in the humanities or arts. Math and science classes receive much more attention and money, and scholarships are much easier to get if you plan to go into one of those fields. It's true that we probably need engineers more than painters or historians, but the way that the arts and humanities are treated under the current system kills any sort of creativity in students who want to go into those fields.

I'll get to the history specific one in a bit, but first of all, teachers are placed in a weird middle ground between professionals and manual labor. You need a college education to become a teacher, but you get paid about the same as a garbage man. Teachers are over worked and under paid. I actually did the work on this, and for the hours that most teachers work, if you were to pay them the rate you would a 16 year old babysitter, they'd be making over $100,000 a year. The starting salary for a public educator in most states hovers around $30,000. Incidentally, a truck driver can normally rack up $45-50,000 a year for their full time schedule. So in the end you get a lot of very intelligent people who won't go into teaching because it's not worth the money they invested into higher education. And our media especially loves vilifying teachers for no adequate reason. For every "Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society" you get at least one "Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher" or "Paul Gleason in the Breakfast Club."

Alright, now for the history stuff. All too often, high school level history and below will focus on important figures and whether or not they are good or bad. Abe Lincoln is good, Richard Nixon is bad. This is way too simplistic; Abe Lincoln, as good as he was, was prepared to rescind the Emancipation Proclamation so that he could be reelected. Nixon, for his corruption, ended the Vietnam War and helped to normalize relations with China. You don't get this sort of complexity in high school. History is a morality lesson for secondary education. Furthermore, the way it is taught is basically "remember this date, this battle, this election." It's memorization, not understanding. There's no critical thinking taught just by learning that the Spanish Armada occurred in 1588. Why not talk about how Francis Drake was seen by the Spanish, or what events caused it, and what the effects were, and what was the context in which it happened? Individual reading and study is so important to history because the subject is so broad that you simply cannot lecture it to everyone. I realize that not everyone is interested in history, but as it's being taught now, no one is really getting anything out of it. And that sucks.

Also, Black History Month is stupid, or at least the way it's taught is. It promotes tokenism. "Hey, it's February! Time to talk about Martin Luther King and George Washington Carver, and then forget about him once March comes around." MLK is probably the closest any human being could come to achieving that paradigm of goodness that the education moralists want in a historical figure. Outside of the context of the Civil Rights Movement, the 1960's, and the increasing radicalism of the liberals, his message of non-violent protest and civil disobedience is diluted. Also, fuck George Washington Carver. The guy did shit with peanuts, who the hell cares.

(03-11-2013 08:44 PM)DelfTheFish Wrote:  2. What do you think is right with education (just to put a positive spin on things)?

The recent trend towards teaching students basic financial and technology skills is very good. Both of those things are going to be as important as basic reading in the near future.

(03-11-2013 08:44 PM)DelfTheFish Wrote:  3. How would you go about changing the education system?

Get rid of every government position in education at the federal level. Let the states themselves handle their education policy in whatever way is more beneficial to them. Have more former teachers and fewer politicians deciding curricula. Have local school boards be the main governance for local schools, and have every principal run his school independently.

Get rid of standardized tests, and repeal No Child Left Behind. Try to give more students who are interested in the arts and humanities more opportunities to excel at them.

Raise teacher salaries to a professionally acceptable level. Institute merit pay for teachers who perform well.

Advise students who are interested in going to college to study history to not take AP courses. Teach critical thinking alongside the typical morality tales. Change the way that Black History Month is approached, or do away with it altogether. When a student has a high school diploma, he should be able to explain to me more than who Hitler was. He should be able to tell me what the conditions were that allowed such an evil figure to come to power, and what the psychological effects of totalitarianism were on normal people.

Finally, I'll leave you all with this old documentary made by John Stossel when he was on CBS and not insane. Probably one of the best investigations into American education that's ever been made, and while I don't necessarily support privatizing education as much as he does, he makes it clear why the current system sucks dick.


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03-11-2013, 11:19 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2013 11:30 PM by ArkaKun.)
Post: #3
RE: Education
I think the main problem with education is the fact that the students are not being taught what the purpose of education really is. Most students (even teachers) confuse "education" with "training". There is a big difference between
"I am educated" and
"I am trained"

This is the reason why you see these High Schoolers constantly nagging about how they will never use the Algebra or Trigonometry they're learning in "real life". I will also never use the History or Geography I've learned in my real life. Then why did I learn them? It's just a part of being educated, and not just trained.

What do we need? Better teachers. Simple. I should be able to enter a class I am not fond of, and come out saying "Wow! That was amazing!". Trust me, it can be done in any course; math, science, history, geography, anything.

Here's another thing. I can go to a grade 12 Calculus class, and simply ask "What is Calculus?" Some of the answers would say "Well, we learn about limits, differentiation, optimization ...." I didn't ask about what we learn in Calculus; I just asked what Calculus is all about. Don't just say "RATE OF CHANGE!" because that tells me nothing. Why is it a different course? How is it different from "Advanced Function"? How is it similar? Why is it so special? I expect a High Schooler to answer these questions, not just be able to solve an optimization problem.

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03-12-2013, 10:32 AM
Post: #4
RE: Education
Truth, you mentioned merit-based pay for teachers. I think it's a great idea on paper, but how does one measure the effectiveness of a teacher? It can't be from the test scores or student reviews; one school did that and the teachers started giving out test answers and grades in return for favorable student reviews and good student grades. Sure, the students could report the teachers, but eventually just had to revert back to the old method because they couldn't find enough teachers who were both efficient and would preserve their integrity.

I'll restate the question: How would you measure the effectiveness of a teacher so that you could adjust their pay?

Thanks to this powerful flash, the Hi 8 can now capture a shadow in the distance. The stills, however, are even more clear, revealing that the shadow is really the blur of a man.
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03-12-2013, 10:56 AM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2013 10:58 AM by 1KidsEntertainment.)
Post: #5
RE: Education
Very interesting points, Truth. While I don't disagree with most of what you said, I'd just like to point something out that you glossed over.

A public school system is a proven effective model. Privatized schools cause all sorts of problems, and we see some of that today in our hybrid-system of "Public is available to everyone, but you can also do Private". While there are certainly parts of our current public system that need changing (for instance, like you mentioned, NCLB), it must be stated clearly that one bad part of the system does not invalidate the whole.

Unfortunately, there is a special interest lobby (largely from privatized schools) that want to see public schools burn. They will support bad laws such as NCLB because they know that crippling the public system will make people want to switch to a private system, and eventually completely dismantle the public system entirely.

So yes, definitely advocate for the reform of the public school system, but make sure you emphasize the potential good that can come out of a proper system.

At the end of the day, there is no 100% effective school system, but that doesn't mean we can't strive to always make our schools better.

And jesus, even bad teachers are dramatically underpaid. Get these people some fucking money (even if that means slightly higher taxes and/or cuts to other spending) and stop demonizing the unions, people.

Chances are, if you're reading this, it's after reading a ridiculously long post by me, something harshly phrased or confrontational, and/or me being stupid. I want to apologize for my above post, and end this signature with a quote of wisdom to soothe your soul.

"Ho ho..hoho hoho..santa for the wondering thismust be a joke in your series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1"
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03-12-2013, 07:00 PM
Post: #6
RE: Education
I have heard of some mandatory classes elsewhere in the world such as Computer Coding and Chess. What do you think of these sorts of classes and what classes would you include in the core curriculum?

I don't currently have the time to redo research and pull the sources for the two listed classes, but the computer coding class was mentioned in a lecture titled "Mitch Resnick: Let's Teach Kids to Code" on the site TED Talks. There are some lectures about education on there as well, so those interested in this thread might find TED Talks to be of some interest.

Thanks to this powerful flash, the Hi 8 can now capture a shadow in the distance. The stills, however, are even more clear, revealing that the shadow is really the blur of a man.
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03-12-2013, 08:53 PM
Post: #7
RE: Education
@Delf: Many businesses have already instituted merit pay to some degree. Even when I was working part time at Kmart, every May they would hold employee-employer meetings and decide if a raise was warranted. One could easily adapt this system to education, probably between a district employee and a teacher, based on multiple criteria: test scores, student surveys, faculty and staff recommendations, a personal interview, etc. I doubt you can find a system completely devoid of things that can be exploited, though.

As far as coding classes, I think it's a decent idea, but I'd rather there be a choice for students. For example, everyone takes keyboarding or a class on how to use Office in most high schools already, so if we were to implement a second computing class, you could offer coding, computer programing, a class on how to build or fix a computer, or a class that focuses on the basics of graphic design. Coding's great, but it's not the only solution.

@1Kids: To be frank, I'm not entirely sure that privatizing education is a bad thing. In fact, if you look at private schools vs. public schools, there tends to be less violence and higher performing students in private schools. However, this is possibly more indicative of the type of people who can afford to go to a private school (typically middle or upper middle class people who have more time to invest in their children's education) than in the school's success in and of itself. The problem is, we simply don't know what would happen if we privatized education, and there's no really solid way to find out without putting a lot of kids in jeopardy. Either way, at the moment I agree with you that fixing a broken system is preferable to making an entirely new one.

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03-12-2013, 09:11 PM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2013 09:19 PM by 1KidsEntertainment.)
Post: #8
RE: Education


Here's the thing, Truth. The public sector and private sector have their strengths and weaknesses. I am not a socialist, because I believe that some of these things are much better in the private sector than the public sector. But some of these things are just better done publicly. Why? Because the goal ceases to be profit, and starts to be results.

I don't have a problem with "competition = lower prices and higher value". I do have a problem with people at the top of companies and corporations squeezing every cent they can out of a system, to the detriment of the quality of their goods & services, because their ultimate goal is profit.

Chances are, if you're reading this, it's after reading a ridiculously long post by me, something harshly phrased or confrontational, and/or me being stupid. I want to apologize for my above post, and end this signature with a quote of wisdom to soothe your soul.

"Ho ho..hoho hoho..santa for the wondering thismust be a joke in your series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1"
~A scholar beyond his time

[10:10:35 PM] Airrest (Eric): YOU WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG
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03-12-2013, 09:27 PM
Post: #9
RE: Education
You can have a private, not-for-profit school though. Many colleges and universities are run this way: Yale, Harvard, Columbia University, Princeton. Some are affiliated with churches (like mine) but others (like the ones listed) are not and have very high academic standards and pristine reputations.

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04-28-2013, 05:05 PM
Post: #10
RE: Education
Here are some short answers from me. (Sorry if I am not able to articulate my thoughts the way I want to, words are hard)

1. NCLB. Standardized testing. Also America's fascination with making everything numerical, because that is apparently the only way to measure things. (That's a big pet peeve of mine). Because of standardized testing, teachers TEACH the test. Unfortunately that is all they truly teach, how to take a test and pass. Let's just say when you have to do an exit exam on NCLB you don't like the program, even if when you were younger you thought it was a good idea.

2. Well, what I think is right with education. Isn't the public schools up to HS, but Universities in general. I feel they work well as private and public institutions is because only people with a drive will stick it out in College. So that is how it can work in both ways.

I agree with 1kids when private vs. public schools, but only at the level of Elementary through HS. I think it has a lot to do with the drive the student has once they graduate HS. People that truly want to go through college do. They'll fight, they have that drive. High schoolers for the most part don't, that is if we are being realistic. Very few people go to college, and even fewer graduate from college. However, I REALLY wish the colleges cared more about academics than athletics. I am at my school based on an Academic scholarship, and let's just say the people that are here on athletic ones have a MUCH better scholarship. I do understand why, I just don't think it is fair.

So the collegiate level of education is what I think is right with our education. I have learned a lot in college, I feel like my critical thinking skills have improved. In college there aren't the restraints there are in the public High Schools. So the teachers are allowed to teach, and make us think. That isn't the case with public schools. I feel that is mostly because of NCLB.

tl;dr Collegiate level, because they don't have the same restrictions and only dedicated people will finish college.

3. Repeal NCLB. That is why we are in a big mess. It was a bill with good intentions, but was executed poorly. Focus more on the quality of the teaching, instead of the quantity. Also, I want Congress to stop talking about cutting Education. (That's a dream that will never happen, at least a girl CAN dream)

If a student shows potential, nurture that potential. That will be a lot easier to do without NCLB. Realize that not everyone is going to be the next Einstein. Let the kids know that. BUT don't discourage them. Not everyone can be the next Einstein. That's okay though, let the child know their potential. And make sure they achieve it. Also, having a world full of Einstein's doesn't seem like a world I'd want to live in. Let them know that the people that are on top, they have to rely a LOT on the people below them. So even if they don't have the most prestigious job in the world. They are still needed.

That was longer than I expected. Oh well.
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04-28-2013, 06:09 PM
Post: #11
RE: Education
I think that a large part of school problems stem from the fact that it is an outdated system.

We are now a part of the Age of Communication, where gather information is easy now than ever before. While it is important to memorize stuff, it is more crucial for kids to learn how to research information instead.

Even worse, schools don't teach critical thinking. Students are trained to put in just enough work to pass the test with the grade they want and no more. It would really benefit students if they wanted to learn the material. School don't encourage curiosity, ambition, or creative problem solving, just fact memorization. And the rough part is that facts become outdated or forgotten. Schools should focus more on giving children the ability to figure out solutions to their problems.
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06-03-2013, 08:14 PM
Post: #12
RE: Education
Here's a question.

I'm sure we all hear this statement a lot: "Educational system creates workers; it doesn't create thinkers". Or something along that line.

How much do you believe this to be true? If you think it's true, what do you think is the solution? Is being able to think creatively in the gene only? Can you "create" thinkers and not just worker through education? Let's hear your creative thoughts here.

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06-03-2013, 10:39 PM
Post: #13
RE: Education
The education system is definitely meant for producing workers. This is why back when I was a junior in high school they made us take the Work Keys exam so we could have something to show future employers that we know how to use realistic math and can write a coherent sentence.

For the most part though, I don't consider that a problem because someone has to be the garbage man. Knowing who Henry VIII is, understanding Cartesian philosophy and being able to utilize rhetoric don't help the garbage man do his job. Quite frankly, I don't care if my garbage man graduated high school, so long as he knows how to pick up garbage. Vice versa, the garbage man doesn't care at all about what I do so long as he gets paid for doing his job. In society you're only as good as what you can provide, and if we're honest with ourselves, most highfalutin forms of education don't contribute anything to the vast majority of people.

I don't like the phrase "thinkers" though, because it gives the impression that those of us who are "educated" should look down on the garbage man. A proper high school education gives people the tools they need to make themselves a worthwhile member of society. For garbage men, its a very successful system. Where it fails is with people who want to be more "educated," and go on to college to learn more. This is why when I had to revise freshman papers, I pulled my hair out wondering why the hell they couldn't write a coherent paragraph.

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06-03-2013, 10:43 PM
Post: #14
RE: Education
That's kinda reliant on the false dichotomy that you're either a mindless "worker" or a superior "thinker". And on top of that, it devalues the virtue of working and promotes the idea that having your head in the clouds is better than putting your nose to the grindstone. If education isn't about getting people to work, then we'll be stuck in a society where no one can do the jobs that need to be done, and the quality of life for everyone, worker or not, will suffer.

People need to be better at thinking, that's true. People are absolutely terrible overall with logic and accepting reality that doesn't conform to preconceived opinions. But there are plenty of people who did and didn't succeed through the "system" who were "thinkers", "workers", both, or neither. The idea that the education system is designed to dumb us down is pseudo-intellectual, conspiracy theory nonsense.

Now let's just improve the education system and get on with it.

Chances are, if you're reading this, it's after reading a ridiculously long post by me, something harshly phrased or confrontational, and/or me being stupid. I want to apologize for my above post, and end this signature with a quote of wisdom to soothe your soul.

"Ho ho..hoho hoho..santa for the wondering thismust be a joke in your series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1"
~A scholar beyond his time

[10:10:35 PM] Airrest (Eric): YOU WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG
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06-03-2013, 11:09 PM
Post: #15
RE: Education
1Kids Wrote:That's kinda reliant on the false dichotomy that you're either a mindless "worker" or a superior "thinker". And on top of that, it devalues the virtue of working and promotes the idea that having your head in the clouds is better than putting your nose to the grindstone. If education isn't about getting people to work, then we'll be stuck in a society where no one can do the jobs that need to be done, and the quality of life for everyone, worker or not, will suffer.

...So, basically everything I said here:

Truthordeal Wrote:I don't like the phrase "thinkers" though, because it gives the impression that those of us who are "educated" should look down on the garbage man. A proper high school education gives people the tools they need to make themselves a worthwhile member of society.

The main difference seems to be that you say "people" whereas I say "society." On the other hand, I disagree that everyone needs to know more logic. An accountant believing that 9/11 was an inside job in no way makes that person a bad accountant. Considering that accounting is what that person contributes to society, it doesn't really matter one way or the other whether or not they believe in consipracies.

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06-03-2013, 11:58 PM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2013 11:59 PM by 1KidsEntertainment.)
Post: #16
RE: Education
Except logic doesn't just stop people from believing in conspiracies, it helps people make good decisions.

For instance, using birth control. The issue of abortion (aka the real issue being when does a sperm + egg become a person), economic theory, governmental theory. Hell, using logic is a great way to optimize daily life. I can trim down prep time for a meal from an hour to 30 minutes if I do it right.

How about paying bills and not spending money and risking health on garbage like naturopathy and homeopathy (or any alternative medicine)? How about me figuring out the cheapest way for me to travel to a distant city? Or to travel damn near anywhere that isn't around the corner?

The reason I know to say this is because SOMEONE I KNOW is a completely illogical person and not only does it destroy their personal finances, it also has severely impacted their ability to start a legitimate business.

On the lower level, even as a mere associate at a Toys R Us, learning how to logically organize the video games and small trinkets allowed me to cut down on overall cleaning work for everyone. I got praise from my manager and everything. Why did I get praise? Because I'm the only one who did it. Why was I the only one who did it? Because I was the best at logic. I figured out where things should go based on their sizes and demands and the geometry of the hooks and all that.

Logic and the scientific method is EXTREMELY important. We all use it on a basic level every day, but if we improved our skills, life would be a lot better.

Chances are, if you're reading this, it's after reading a ridiculously long post by me, something harshly phrased or confrontational, and/or me being stupid. I want to apologize for my above post, and end this signature with a quote of wisdom to soothe your soul.

"Ho ho..hoho hoho..santa for the wondering thismust be a joke in your series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1"
~A scholar beyond his time

[10:10:35 PM] Airrest (Eric): YOU WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG
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06-04-2013, 12:03 AM
Post: #17
RE: Education
Quote:The reason I know to say this is because SOMEONE I KNOW is a completely illogical person

Stop making fun of me. Sad

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06-04-2013, 01:32 PM
Post: #18
RE: Education
I don't really believe that 'workers' or 'thinkers' are mutually exclusive. Really great thinkers tend to be really good workers since they're usually better at finding solutions for problems. Although, you don't need a formal education to be good at either of those things.

Schools are just an aid. Everybody has the potential to be a good problem solver, they just need to be given the tools. But as I mentioned earlier, schools aren't providing those tools. There's only one right answer and you have to memorize it just long enough to pass the test. The current education system isn't stopping people from becoming great problem solvers because the end result really lies with the person, but schools could be helping a lot more if the focus was shifted towards building skills to find the answer instead of memorizing it.

It would help if everyone was given basic educational skills and then taught how to think critically. All too often, people simply shrug their shoulders at bad ideas because those bad ideas were acceptable in the past. Higher education for everyone, even the garbage man, can improve the world and raise the quality of life.
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06-12-2013, 04:59 PM
Post: #19
RE: Education
I know this doesn't directly fit into your 3 questions... but here's a short clip from Boy Meets World


#Sweg
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