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Is our educational system in crisis?
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besson3c
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Aug 30, 2005, 01:50 PM
 
http://nytimes.com/2005/08/29/opinion/29herbert.html

First the bad news: Only about two-thirds of American teenagers (and just half of all black, Latino and Native American teens) graduate with a regular diploma four years after they enter high school.

Now the worse news: Of those who graduate, only about half read well enough to succeed in college.

Don't even bother to ask how many are proficient enough in math and science to handle college-level work. It's not pretty.

Of all the factors combining to shape the future of the U.S., this is one of the most important. Millions of American kids are not even making it through high school in an era in which a four-year college degree is becoming a prerequisite for achieving (or maintaining) a middle-class lifestyle.

The Program for International Assessment, which compiles reports on the reading and math skills of 15-year-olds, found that the U.S. ranked 24th out of 29 nations surveyed in math literacy. The same result for the U.S. - 24th out of 29 - was found when the problem-solving abilities of 15-year-olds were tested.

If academic performance were an international athletic event, spectators would be watching American kids falling embarrassingly behind in a number of crucial categories. A new report from a pair of Washington think tanks - the Center for American Progress and the Institute for America's Future - says an urgent new commitment to public education, much stronger than the No Child Left Behind law, must be made if that slide is to be reversed.

This would not be a minor task. In much of the nation the public education system is in shambles. And the kids who need the most help - poor children from inner cities and rural areas - often attend the worst schools.

An education task force established by the center and the institute noted the following:

"Young low-income and minority children are more likely to start school without having gained important school readiness skills, such as recognizing letters and counting. ... By the fourth grade, low-income students read about three grade levels behind nonpoor students. Across the nation, only 15 percent of low-income fourth graders achieved proficiency in reading in 2003, compared to 41 percent of nonpoor students."

How's that for a disturbing passage? Not only is the picture horribly bleak for low-income and minority kids, but we find that only 41 percent of nonpoor fourth graders can read proficiently.

I respectfully suggest that we may be looking at a crisis here.

The report, titled "Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer," restates a point that by now should be clear to most thoughtful Americans: too many American kids are ill equipped educationally to compete successfully in an ever-more competitive global environment.

Cartoonish characters like Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton may be good for a laugh, but they're useless as role models. It's the kids who are logging long hours in the college labs, libraries and lecture halls who will most easily remain afloat in the tremendous waves of competition that have already engulfed large segments of the American work force.

The report makes several recommendations. It says the amount of time that children spend in school should be substantially increased by lengthening the school day and, in some cases, the school year. It calls for the development of voluntary, rigorous national curriculum standards in core subject areas and a consensus on what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school.

The report also urges, as many have before, that the nation take seriously the daunting (and expensive) task of getting highly qualified teachers into all classrooms. And it suggests that an effort be made to connect schools in low-income areas more closely with the surrounding communities. (Where necessary, the missions of such schools would be extended to provide additional services for children whose schooling is affected by such problems as inadequate health care, poor housing, or a lack of parental support.)

The task force's recommendations are points of departure that can be discussed, argued about and improved upon by people who sincerely want to ramp up the quality of public education in the U.S. What is most important about the report is the fact that it sounds an alarm about a critical problem that is not getting nearly enough serious attention.

----

I bet that this will come as a shock to many. Knowing educators myself, I know they would agree that things are looking pretty bad right now.
     
GranolaBoy
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Aug 30, 2005, 03:57 PM
 
How much education do you need to ask "Do you want fries with that?" I mean, really. All the bagboys and cashiers at my supermarket seem to know their job pretty well, too. I'm not worried.
     
Millennium
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Aug 30, 2005, 04:52 PM
 
Lengthening the school day and school year will not help from a psychological standpoint. The fact that many children do well with the current length, and many more did well in years past, underscores this point.

This downwards slide is, by and large, a recent phenomenon, having only really started to occur in the past twenty years or so. Somewhere along the line, we made a mistake. Maybe it was in the schools, or maybe it was in the culture at large; I don't know, but I think the top priority needs to be finding out what went wrong, because whatever we did wrong, we must go back. NCLB isn't going to help directly, as it's too much of a blunt instrument, but perhaps the raw data which will be coming in from its required tests will help find out where the problem really is.
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besson3c  (op)
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Aug 30, 2005, 05:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by GranolaBoy
How much education do you need to ask "Do you want fries with that?" I mean, really. All the bagboys and cashiers at my supermarket seem to know their job pretty well, too. I'm not worried.
So we should be aiming to produce more fast food employees?


Were you making a point, or just being sarcastic?
     
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Aug 30, 2005, 05:19 PM
 
One government mistake can't be corrected by another. I mean that since the current educational system was started by Jimmy Carter, all we've done is thrown money at the problem without understanding it.

True, society has changed, but how have the basics changed? Has our American English changed (discounting slang, which doesn't count)? Has basic (non-advanced) mathematics changed? Has our currency changed in the past 50 years? No.

All we have to do is get back to the basics -- the three R's: Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. (Plus science.) Anything else is just useless trash.
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The iMac Man
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Aug 30, 2005, 05:27 PM
 
What I want to know is...

What is with all the women having sex with their 14yr old students!?!? Surprisingly, these aren't nasty women... several of them have been quite attractive!



...and where the heck were they when I was 14!?!?!?!?
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besson3c  (op)
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Aug 30, 2005, 05:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by outsourced
One government mistake can't be corrected by another. I mean that since the current educational system was started by Jimmy Carter, all we've done is thrown money at the problem without understanding it.

True, society has changed, but how have the basics changed? Has our American English changed (discounting slang, which doesn't count)? Has basic (non-advanced) mathematics changed? Has our currency changed in the past 50 years? No.

All we have to do is get back to the basics -- the three R's: Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. (Plus science.) Anything else is just useless trash.
I strongly disagree...

Music provides students with valuable educational opportunities they may otherwise never have, as does Athletics, Theater, and many other "non basic trash".

If you want to understand the problems with the educational system, talk to teachers. They'll complain about class sizes being too big, funding being too short, technology being introduced in awkward ways and costing more than many schools can or should afford (this, in particular, strikes a nerve with me), problems with administrations, and that NCLB has been a failure since it takes away valuable learning time with tests - teachers are compensating by "teaching to the test".

The problem is not with the teachers persay and the subject matter, but with the system as a whole.

Everything is connected... Learning is learning. It doesn't matter whether you are learning how to play an instrument or learning how to solve algebra problems, they both prepare students for life and the real world. The basics may help prepare students for College/University and the world of work (although I'd argue that as far as the world of work goes, one generally doesn't need more math than what you could master by the ninth grade), but the jobs of high schools are not merely to crank out workers to be added to the work force. You go to vocational school if this is the sort of education you want.
     
The iMac Man
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Aug 30, 2005, 05:43 PM
 
Learning music at a young age actually improves the brain's ability to learn.
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besson3c  (op)
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Aug 30, 2005, 06:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by The iMac Man
Learning music at a young age actually improves the brain's ability to learn.
Exactly.. stimulating the left hemisphere of the brain (or whatever is responsible for art and creativity) can be done in any number of ways - beyond the "basics". Problem solving and stimulating the right hemisphere of the brain can likewise be done beyond the basics.

Not only can it simply be done, but often more effectively with many students. Not everybody is interested in Math, but they might be interested in creative, social, or scientific forms of problem solving.
     
The iMac Man
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Aug 30, 2005, 06:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
...the left hemisphere of the brain (or whatever is responsible for art and creativity)...

You are correct, the left side handles that.
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GranolaBoy
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Aug 30, 2005, 06:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
So we should be aiming to produce more fast food employees?


Were you making a point, or just being sarcastic?
Both.

Education is the backbone of a nation. It is one of the greatest indicators of cultural values and direction. Ours is geared to producing consumers of flimsy, cheap, and convenient products. It's a very low bar. Unrestrained capitalism destroys culture. This is why you hear about protests against new McDonalds around the world and Wal Marts in the US.

The US culture is turning even more consumer-oriented than I thought possible. There is no wonder it is cranking out obese children who play xbox all day and watch TV all night. And their parents have reinforced a consumeristic, pleasure-focused mindframe, creating the largest debtor nation the world has ever known. All because they each "gotta have" that new thing they can't afford. With these things being our focus, our families have forgotten how to connect with each other. This is the heart of the problem. We are each insulated with our collection of gadgets. We have been divided and conquered by the marketing machines. We're like packs of monkeys fighting over a shiny toy thrown into the cage.

The combination of television, weak parenting, and corrupt government has begun to destroy the nation. The only thing that seems to focus our attention and mobilize are best resources are tragedies. Without them (9/11, hurricanes, Iraq), we just go back to World of Warcraft and Desperate Housewives. With all the need there is in the world - and our local communities - how much time does the average 20-something spend typing inane sentence fragments on the Internet? Can we really depend on mouse-clicking our way to a brighter future?

The answer is that each one of us has to do everything we can to prioritize our lives and support our community. Strong communities that encourage active participation (social activism) produce strong educational systems locally. It's no wonder that Unitarian Universalists generally score highest on the SAT's, for example. It's a very communal, socially responsible, activist culture. We should take that kind of example and run with it. That's when the nation will change its priorities and take pride in producing world leaders rather than bored consumers.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Aug 31, 2005, 01:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by GranolaBoy
Both.

Education is the backbone of a nation. It is one of the greatest indicators of cultural values and direction. Ours is geared to producing consumers of flimsy, cheap, and convenient products. It's a very low bar. Unrestrained capitalism destroys culture. This is why you hear about protests against new McDonalds around the world and Wal Marts in the US.

The US culture is turning even more consumer-oriented than I thought possible. There is no wonder it is cranking out obese children who play xbox all day and watch TV all night. And their parents have reinforced a consumeristic, pleasure-focused mindframe, creating the largest debtor nation the world has ever known. All because they each "gotta have" that new thing they can't afford. With these things being our focus, our families have forgotten how to connect with each other. This is the heart of the problem. We are each insulated with our collection of gadgets. We have been divided and conquered by the marketing machines. We're like packs of monkeys fighting over a shiny toy thrown into the cage.

The combination of television, weak parenting, and corrupt government has begun to destroy the nation. The only thing that seems to focus our attention and mobilize are best resources are tragedies. Without them (9/11, hurricanes, Iraq), we just go back to World of Warcraft and Desperate Housewives. With all the need there is in the world - and our local communities - how much time does the average 20-something spend typing inane sentence fragments on the Internet? Can we really depend on mouse-clicking our way to a brighter future?

The answer is that each one of us has to do everything we can to prioritize our lives and support our community. Strong communities that encourage active participation (social activism) produce strong educational systems locally. It's no wonder that Unitarian Universalists generally score highest on the SAT's, for example. It's a very communal, socially responsible, activist culture. We should take that kind of example and run with it. That's when the nation will change its priorities and take pride in producing world leaders rather than bored consumers.

This was very well thought out. Well said!
     
Kevin
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Aug 31, 2005, 06:23 AM
 
He forgot to mention that America didn't have a monopoly on such things.

Actually when on the net, it's hard to figure out who is American, and who is not anymore.
     
von Wrangell
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Aug 31, 2005, 06:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by The iMac Man
You are correct, the left side handles that.
I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure it's the right side that handles creativity and music.

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Aug 31, 2005, 08:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin
He forgot to mention that America didn't have a monopoly on such things.

Actually when on the net, it's hard to figure out who is American, and who is not anymore.
Does it matter whether or not America has a monopoly on stupidity? How about not being in the top 2? That would be nice. It's rare for me to find a forum that isn't dominated by Americans.

When youre boss' kid flunks out of school because he plays Doom all day, and when you know college kids that have no social life outside of online gaming (take 6 years to get a 4 year degree), when you know multiple families living paycheck to paycheck (while having a big satellite TV and eating fast food all the time) it's very easy to figure out that there's a problem.

I guess I don't understand what your post does except perhaps attempt to excuse us from responsibility, somehow.
     
Millennium
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Aug 31, 2005, 08:40 AM
 
Although GranolaBoy has a point, I'm afraid that I have to object about "unrestrained capitalism" destroying culture. Perhaps he meant to say unrestrained consumerism, which is different from unrestrained capitalism, but that does not destroy culture either.

As evidence for this, I hold up one nation which is, by most accounts, even more consumerist than the US, but has a far stronger culture and less debt overall, even though the cost of living is higher. Its educational system is often considered one of the strongest in the world, though many will concede that it goes too far in some areas (its teen suicide rate is fully triple that of the US). I'm talking about Japan.

If Japan can exhibit even worse consumerism than the US and yet not be suffering from the same problems (of course, it has many of the opposite problems, but that's beyond the scope of this thread), then consumerism is unlikely to be responsible for the destruction of US culture.
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Kevin
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Aug 31, 2005, 08:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by GranolaBoy
Does it matter whether or not America has a monopoly on stupidity? How about not being in the top 2?
America is a conglomerate of the world. We take in people smart or stupid. Our culture is made up of all the cultures of the world.
It's rare for me to find a forum that isn't dominated by Americans.
Now, I am just taking a stab in the dark here. But I am betting it's because most people on the net are Americans. It started here. We got a head start. Not suprising.
When youre boss' kid flunks out of school because he plays Doom all day, and when you know college kids that have no social life outside of online gaming (take 6 years to get a 4 year degree), when you know multiple families living paycheck to paycheck (while having a big satellite TV and eating fast food all the time) it's very easy to figure out that there's a problem.
Yes, the problem is self control. And America doesnt have a monopoly on it or lack of.
I guess I don't understand what your post does except perhaps attempt to excuse us from responsibility, somehow.
Not at all. I don't understand why people feel the need to single out America or Americans for things that people other than Americans do as well. Except perhaps attempt to flame or act pretentiously superior.
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 09:16 AM
 
You know our education system is in trouble when you get teachers more worried about using red ink to mark papers because it can be too traumatic.
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Aug 31, 2005, 09:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by typoon
You know our edcuation system is in trouble when you get teachers more worried about using red ink to mark papers because it can be too traumatic.
And when people spell education wrong.

Yeah.. that is poltiical correctness in the classroom.
     
typoon
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Aug 31, 2005, 09:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin
And when people talking about education, spells it wrong.

Yeah.. that is poltiical correctness in the classroom.
Yeah well. THat's what happens when you are typing fast. Anyway I'll correct that.
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Millennium
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Aug 31, 2005, 10:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin
Yes, the problem is self control. And America doesnt have a monopoly on it or lack of.
Americans don't have a monopoly on lack of self-control, but I'd argue that surviving in America requires more self-control than many other developed nations, on account of a relative lack of what their proponents call "social safety nets" and of the fact that society is geared so much towards instant gratitication and overstimulus. America doesn't have a monopoly on lacking self-control, but I'd say it has a unique mix of needing so much yet having so little.
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Aug 31, 2005, 12:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium
Although GranolaBoy has a point, I'm afraid that I have to object about "unrestrained capitalism" destroying culture. Perhaps he meant to say unrestrained consumerism, which is different from unrestrained capitalism, but that does not destroy culture either.

As evidence for this, I hold up one nation which is, by most accounts, even more consumerist than the US, but has a far stronger culture and less debt overall, even though the cost of living is higher. Its educational system is often considered one of the strongest in the world, though many will concede that it goes too far in some areas (its teen suicide rate is fully triple that of the US). I'm talking about Japan.

If Japan can exhibit even worse consumerism than the US and yet not be suffering from the same problems (of course, it has many of the opposite problems, but that's beyond the scope of this thread), then consumerism is unlikely to be responsible for the destruction of US culture.
Well, your point is taken as well, oh wise Millennium. I would agree that the "culture" of Japan, such as it is, remains as mesmerizingly xenophobic and fetishistic as it ever was. I don't think the DV Cams or Playstations have spoiled its concrete ridden charm. I concede the point.

This makes for a fascinating discussion, really. Solutions in some societies are poisonous in others. By nature, forces create different effects in different cultures. I mean, that's the point, isn't it? The fact that consumerism takes a different role in our culture is to be expected. And in our case, I believe its influence has exceeded safe boundaries. We have not contained its effects but have allowed it to override many of the values our nation once held.

The fact that it has not done so to the same extent elsewhere is a testimony to something. Not sure what, really. One can argue that we must not have held American Values very highly if we have allowed consumerism to overshadow them. Or perhaps, being a young nation, we didn't really have the time to create a strong foundation before the rise of mass media took hold. I'm unsure.

Let Japan continue their use of of soiled panty vending machines and stifling of female influence. It obviously hasn't tainted their Disneyland of social perversion. Kudos to them.
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 12:30 PM
 
I'm struck by this argument:

Of all the factors combining to shape the future of the U.S., this is one of the most important. Millions of American kids are not even making it through high school in an era in which a four-year college degree is becoming a prerequisite for achieving (or maintaining) a middle-class lifestyle.
Does Herbert and his lefty think tank sources think that you can simultaneously raise standards and have more people meet those standards? That seems to fall into the fallacy of thinking that everyone can be above average. Maybe to some extent you can teach everyone to higher standards, but pretty soon you are going to run into the bell curve of people's different abilities. The only way to get everyone past the hurdle is to not raise the hurdle too far. That is why it was lowered in the first place -- to create more graduates.

It sounds ruthless and Darwinian, but every exam that serves the purpose of sorting out the able and qualified from the not-so-able and unqualified has to have a significant failure rate. Not everyone can be a winner, because if everyone wins first prize, the trophy becomes meaningless. You can't define success without also defining and allowing for failure.

What Herbert is complaining about is a fact of life. Employers need to sort out their applicants. Make a high school diploma meaningless and easy for the dumbest and laziest to achieve, and employers will react rationally and demand to see a college degree. Make college so easy that everyone has a college degree, and employers will demand to see your transcript and select only those with 3.5 GPAs or those with advanced degrees, and so on. If Herbert wants the high school diploma to once again be a real measure of success, then he needs to be honest enough to admit that there absolutely have to be those who will fail. The question is where you strike the balance.
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by SimeyTheLimey
I'm struck by this argument:



Does Herbert and his lefty think tank sources think that you can simultaneously raise standards and have more people meet those standards? That seems to fall into the fallacy of thinking that everyone can be above average. Maybe to some extent you can teach everyone to higher standards, but pretty soon you are going to run into the bell curve of people's different abilities. The only way to get everyone past the hurdle is to not raise the hurdle too far. That is why it was lowered in the first place -- to create more graduates.

It sounds ruthless and Darwinian, but every exam that serves the purpose of sorting out the able and qualified from the not-so-able and unqualified has to have a significant failure rate. Not everyone can be a winner, because if everyone wins first prize, the trophy becomes meaningless. You can't define success without also defining and allowing for failure.

What Herbert is complaining about is a fact of life. Employers need to sort out their applicants. Make a high school diploma meaningless and easy for the dumbest and laziest to achieve, and employers will react rationally and demand to see a college degree. Make college so easy that everyone has a college degree, and employers will demand to see your transcript and select only those with 3.5 GPAs or those with advanced degrees, and so on. If Herbert wants the high school diploma to once again be a real measure of success, then he needs to be honest enough to admit that there absolutely have to be those who will fail. The question is where you strike the balance.

Good point, but people might be dropping out of school for reasons other than not being able to cut it.
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
http://nytimes.com/2005/08/29/opinion/29herbert.html

First the bad news: Only about two-thirds of American teenagers (and just half of all black, Latino and Native American teens) graduate with a regular diploma four years after they enter high school.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I know several people who didn't graduate with a regular diploma four years after they entered high school. They got bored with the high school curriculum and took an equivalency test — so they graduated with a different degree less than four years after they entered high school.
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Aug 31, 2005, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium
Americans don't have a monopoly on lack of self-control, but I'd argue that surviving in America requires more self-control than many other developed nations, on account of a relative lack of what their proponents call "social safety nets" and of the fact that society is geared so much towards instant gratitication and overstimulus. America doesn't have a monopoly on lacking self-control, but I'd say it has a unique mix of needing so much yet having so little.
It's called a free-will society. Such will happen.
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 01:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
Good point, but people might be dropping out of school for reasons other than not being able to cut it.
Let's not make excuses for individual bad decisions by trying to lay the blame other than where it belongs. Every American and every non-American resident in this country (including illegal immigrants) has access to free public schools. People have the responsibility for themselves to take advantage of the benefits offered them.

One of the wonderful things about this country and it education system is the number of second chances we offer. If you fail a grade, you can repeat. If you drop out, you can take an equivalency. If you don't get into a selective college, you can prove yourself in a community college and then transfer. Anyone willing to work can succeed to the best of their native talents. But nothing can be handed to anyone without devaluing the thing itself. You cannot make success an entitlement.
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by SimeyTheLimey
One of the wonderful things about this country and it education system is the number of second chances we offer. If you fail a grade, you can repeat. If you drop out, you can take an equivalency. If you don't get into a selective college, you can prove yourself in a community college and then transfer. Anyone willing to work can succeed to the best of their native talents. But nothing can be handed to anyone without devaluing the thing itself. You cannot make success an entitlement.
Yes, but at the same time, it is in the country's interest to make sure its population is competent and well-educated. While learning is an individual decision, it's one that we need to try to influence.
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Aug 31, 2005, 01:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by GranolaBoy
Without them (9/11, hurricanes, Iraq), we just go back to World of Warcraft and Desperate Housewives. With all the need there is in the world - and our local communities - how much time does the average 20-something spend typing inane sentence fragments on the Internet?
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Aug 31, 2005, 01:58 PM
 
Sorry. I forgot about music. So it's three R's and an M (mozart?).

And, I would have to disagree with athletics being a requirement for surviving in a 21st century economy.


Originally Posted by besson3c
I strongly disagree...

Music provides students with valuable educational opportunities they may otherwise never have, as does Athletics, Theater, and many other "non basic trash".

If you want to understand the problems with the educational system, talk to teachers. They'll complain about class sizes being too big, funding being too short, technology being introduced in awkward ways and costing more than many schools can or should afford (this, in particular, strikes a nerve with me), problems with administrations, and that NCLB has been a failure since it takes away valuable learning time with tests - teachers are compensating by "teaching to the test".

The problem is not with the teachers persay and the subject matter, but with the system as a whole.

Everything is connected... Learning is learning. It doesn't matter whether you are learning how to play an instrument or learning how to solve algebra problems, they both prepare students for life and the real world. The basics may help prepare students for College/University and the world of work (although I'd argue that as far as the world of work goes, one generally doesn't need more math than what you could master by the ninth grade), but the jobs of high schools are not merely to crank out workers to be added to the work force. You go to vocational school if this is the sort of education you want.
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besson3c  (op)
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Aug 31, 2005, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by outsourced
Sorry. I forgot about music. So it's three R's and an M (mozart?).

And, I would have to disagree with athletics being a requirement for surviving in a 21st century economy.
I didn't say it was necessary to survive. Many subjects are not "necessary" for certain people. I'm saying it provides students with worthwhile educational possibilities that potentially open up doors.

Most of our Colleges and Universities are based on this idea of providing a Liberal Arts education. High Schools ought to be on the same page. Have you heard of this term before?
     
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Aug 31, 2005, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin
It's called a free-will society. Such will happen.
Of course it will, and some of it will happen no matter what you do (short of taking away free will). That said, the culture of instant gratification isn't exactly helping matters.

Another problem I see in the school system is something I get secondhand: nowadays teachers are relatively hamstrung by the system, unable to do things which are sometimes necessary. In some districts, teachers aren't allowed to touch students at all, and I do mean at all. Although this may certainly cut down on corporal punishment and inappropriate sexual content, it also prevents something as simple as giving a hug to a student who's just had something terrible happen to them, or physically restraining two students who have gotten into a fistfight. Forget throwing the baby out with the bathwater; they've thrown out the whole neonatal ward.

Is it any wonder that teachers have a hard time reaching our students, when modern regulations often keep them from doing what's necessary? If nothing else, these regulations need serious reform. I don't doubt the intent behind them -well-meaning attempts to solve rare but very serious problems- but they're badly crafted for the task at hand. When a surgeon needs a scalpel, you don't hand them a chainsaw.
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The iMac Man
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Aug 31, 2005, 02:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by von Wrangell
I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure it's the right side that handles creativity and music.

Doh, yeah you are right, it's the right side:

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zanyterp
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Aug 31, 2005, 02:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium
Lengthening the school day and school year will not help from a psychological standpoint. The fact that many children do well with the current length, and many more did well in years past, underscores this point.

This downwards slide is, by and large, a recent phenomenon, having only really started to occur in the past twenty years or so. Somewhere along the line, we made a mistake. Maybe it was in the schools, or maybe it was in the culture at large; I don't know, but I think the top priority needs to be finding out what went wrong, because whatever we did wrong, we must go back. NCLB isn't going to help directly, as it's too much of a blunt instrument, but perhaps the raw data which will be coming in from its required tests will help find out where the problem really is.
i would suggest that NCLB will cause things to be worse for the state of education. when the schools fail, which most will as it is impossible to have 100% of students on grade level, parents then have the option of shipping their children to other districts/schools that did not fail. this will have the good schools with all the students of parents who care/ that can ship kids off, the good schools will no longer be good. teachers at the failed schools will have no incentive to stay, even if they are good; and their jobs are in danger due to the ability and desire if kids to do work.

NCLB is good in theory, but in practice it is a disaster. i think what we did wrong was to stop expecting as much from kids. this idea that there is no right/wrong and that there is nothing you *have* to do. or maybe my experience in education was off the mark.
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zanyterp
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Aug 31, 2005, 03:08 PM
 
[QUOTE=GranolaBoy]
When youre boss' kid flunks out of school because he plays Doom all day, and when you know college kids that have no social life outside of online gaming (take 6 years to get a 4 year degree), QUOTE]

even with working and taking all the classes req'd, a 4 year degree is taking 5 years--not because of the gaming [solely]. and there is nothing wrong with not having a social life outside of online gaming, it will not effect the ability, or lack thereof, of people to graduate in 4yrs. part of the problem there is increasing requirements and the inability to get classes due to work schedule and school schedules.

if i were to attempt to attend a standard 4-yr college or university, it would take me 8-10 years. not because i wouldn't try, not because i would be playing games: because work ends at 3:30, last class of the day starts between 3:30-4:30. only being able to take 2 courses a semester puts a damper on the ability to attend and graduate on time. i could change jobs, but then i would have not enough money to support my family and would have to drop out of school in order to have the 2-3 jobs i would need.

8)
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Aug 31, 2005, 03:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by zanyterp
i would suggest that NCLB will cause things to be worse for the state of education.
I agree. I think there are many good ideas in NCLB, but it's so horribly implemented that it will cause far more problems than it solves, if indeed it solves anything. I think the one bright spot of the whole thing will be all the raw data that comes in from the tests; perhaps this will give us further clues as to what is really wrong with the system. The hell of it is, that's not even what the tests were designed for; that they stand any chance of helping is just coincidence.
NCLB is good in theory, but in practice it is a disaster. i think what we did wrong was to stop expecting as much from kids. this idea that there is no right/wrong and that there is nothing you *have* to do. or maybe my experience in education was off the mark.
The things you point out are certainly likely suspects, but I hesitate to say that they are necessarily the problem. They could be, but frankly we just don't have the data to be sure. Any serious education reform needs to start with getting that kind of data, or else it's just going to be a blind shot at a problem we can't identify.
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GranolaBoy
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Aug 31, 2005, 04:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by zanyterp
even with working and taking all the classes req'd, a 4 year degree is taking 5 years--not because of the gaming [solely]. and there is nothing wrong with not having a social life outside of online gaming, it will not effect the ability, or lack thereof, of people to graduate in 4yrs. part of the problem there is increasing requirements and the inability to get classes due to work schedule and school schedules.
I'm talking about kids going full time, whose parents are bearing the brunt of the financial load. I'm talking even about "priveleged" kids.

I'm not blaming gaming for everything re: college. I think Simey had a good point: we're sending kids to college who may not have any business being there. Many I see don't know what they want to do, they have no drive once there, they party and game their days away --> in short, get out of college and serve me some fries. You know? Just get it over with. But their problems started way before they graduated. They were never given any direction or guidance in the first place.

And yes, I think there IS something wrong with not having a social life outside of online gaming. If you're above the age of 30 and ever talk to one of those people you know there is. These are not captains of industry, here. They are casualties who have fallen through the cracks.

The point I was making is that people at large have forgotten how to sit at a table and talk about their lives. We have forgotten how to share, respectfully, and reinforce our most important values and experiences. This is the what makes mankind successful. We build upon the lessons of days gone by, but we do so in a personal way that bears impressions on young minds. We personalize the good, the bad, the weak and strong within them. Right now many are floating aimlessly.

The "rugged individualist" model has run itself dry. I'm not saying "it takes a village" I'm saying there at least should be a village. There should be some joining and sharing and contributing to one another's life beside "LOL DUDE, I SH0T U DED!!!" or "Did you see my new cell phone?" or "What happened on Lost last night?" Families are not providing this anymore, schools are failing to take up the slack. Churches have failed to adapt to these rising needs. A corrupt government enjoys the freedom of an apathetic and fractured populace. These are my main points.
     
goMac
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Aug 31, 2005, 04:51 PM
 
NCLB is a horrible idea. I should pull out my course paper I did on it for Microeconomics last semester... : digs through documents :
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Aug 31, 2005, 05:09 PM
 
Time for me to dump my two cents, having just gotten out of HS and all... Here goes:

1. The public school system, and I mean every last aspect of it, needs to be completely rethought from the ground up. It's a mess. Total mess..

2. Going all private is NOT the way to fix it. That's going to make poor people even worse off

3. I think one of the BIGGEST issues is the financial pressure parents put on their kids to "get out and be a man" during the HS years. People who go and get a job have a lot less interest in school because "I'm working and not getting paid a dime for it"..

4. Schools, (yes this goes back to 1) are full of *@#(&. The last highschool I was at had an assistant vice principal and she had a secretary..

The counselors had their own secretaries.

It was a mess. There was easily too much being spent on administration, the principal had 2 mercedes and every week there was a set of tour busses waiting for the football team or the baseball team or the basketball team.. shoot no it was every other day!

Yet our school had enforced a "6 pieces of paper per student per semester" rule for each teacher to follow. That means they could only copy that many pages per student per the entire semester.

That's not even enough for one test sometimes! But beyond that, the teachers had to buy their own paper, had to buy their own markers/chalk/cleaning for the boards, sometimes they even had to buy their own tables because the school wouldn't pay for them, and we had ~30 year old furniture in some of the rooms that was so uncomfortable you spent too much time worrying about your back hurting than anything else.

Shoot, the school had a fricken "office complex" that took up a whole city block for all of its "administration purposes" -- ala pretentious middle aged people who wanted a whole big room for their office that was the size of your average classroom.

Because of this sort of BS, it took several years to get some schools remodeled that were in such disrepair that one of which had its main building condemned (the entire school was moved into rented portable buildings lol). How do I know? I was there for it. LOL.

And it was true, one time a friend of mine and I were helping the school set some of their computer equipment up and my friend almost ended up in the office below the room we were getting stuff out of because the floor well, it had a big hole in it. Yeah.. and the light in that room was long ago busted.

Those sorts of things aren't exactly uncommon at all either, but it's not just the money thing...

The whole "layout" of highschool especially is pretty lousy. Out here you'd have to run between 6 classes with a 30lb+ bag on your back because the lockers had a lousy school policy that if they got broken into you were charged for the contents if they were stolen/damaged.. The classes tended to be on total opposite sides of the campus, and of course, when a class started, it usually took ~10-15 minutes getting the students (or the class in general) in order because the teachers were either really lousy at it, or the students had no discipline whatsoever.

Whatever it is, all those problems do indeed vaporize in college, well most of them -- I still run into "lousy teachers" all the time, but perhaps it IS because the students pay for it.. problem is that well, the students shouldn't have to pay for it to begin with.

I think the whole "Grade scheme" should be abolished perhaps. In order to graduate students should have to take and pass certain classes, but there shouldn't be a "you're in this grade and in 3 years you'll graduate" thing. It's really a bunch of "social BS" -- there's too much of that "freshmen suck" stuff and "seniors rule because y0 wer'e big guys on the football team" stuff...
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Aug 31, 2005, 10:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by goMac
NCLB is a horrible idea. I should pull out my course paper I did on it for Microeconomics last semester... : digs through documents :
Out of curiosity, what does NCLB have to do with microeconomics? I agree that it's a bad thing (though more along the lines of "good ideas badly done" as opposed to "inherently bad ideas"), but I don't understand the economic ties.
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Aug 31, 2005, 10:40 PM
 
Is this the official™ weekly "educational-based" thread here in the 'NN Lounge?

     
besson3c  (op)
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Aug 31, 2005, 10:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by rickey939
Is this the official™ weekly "educational-based" thread here in the 'NN Lounge?


Are you trying to unravel this thread?

Get it? I said "unravel"! Heheh...


P.S. I remember how excited I was when the Blue Jays traded for Ricky Henderson towards the end of their season. He didn't perform very well with the Jays, but he had some moments during the World Series, I believe. Being from Toronto, I frequently think of the two years we won the World Series in back-to-back years... ahh.. those were the days!

P.P.S. Do you think Ricky may have dabbled in steroids while he played for Oakland?
     
besson3c  (op)
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Aug 31, 2005, 10:58 PM
 
Forgot to add: Rickey's batting stance kicked ass.

I always wonder what ball players do after they retire... do you know where Ricky is?



Wait a minute... are YOU Ricky Henderson? That's a possibility I hadn't considered.
     
JoshuaZ
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Aug 31, 2005, 10:59 PM
 
Before someone compares the US education system or test scores to Japan (it always happens), you should know that the school system here sucks as well. Students don`t want to go to school, its extreamly stressful and competitive, and it lacks any sort of `creative` learning or motivation at all. Theres a big debate right now about how to reform the education system, but its really difficult to do thanks to the massive enterence exams that college have. Education as a whole, worldwide, needs to be rethought. It hasn`t changed since the 19th century.

So the US isn`t the country facing education changes and problems. Just to let you know.
     
rickey939
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Aug 31, 2005, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
Are you trying to unravel this thread?
I think you have done a good job of that, haha...see below.

Originally Posted by besson3c
P.S. I remember how excited I was when the Blue Jays traded for Ricky Henderson towards the end of their season. He didn't perform very well with the Jays, but he had some moments during the World Series, I believe. Being from Toronto, I frequently think of the two years we won the World Series in back-to-back years... ahh.. those were the days!
Rickey didn't have excellent numbers as a Blue Jay; however, he was very instrumental during their playoff and World Series runs during pivotal moments. I just watched Game 6 of the '93 Series the other day and Rickey single-handedly disturbed Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams so badly in the 9th inning it wasn't even funny. Just classic! Rickey was on 2nd base when Joe Carter hit the famous home run.

Originally Posted by besson3c
P.P.S. Do you think Ricky may have dabbled in steroids while he played for Oakland?
No. 100% positively no. Heck, even Jose Canseco said (in his book) that Henderson was one of the very few players who actually turned him down when asked if he wanted to use the drugs, and was adamant about it.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Aug 31, 2005, 11:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by rickey939
I think you have done a good job of that, haha...see below.



Rickey didn't have excellent numbers as a Blue Jay; however, he was very instrumental during their playoff and World Series runs during pivotal moments. I just watched Game 6 of the '93 Series the other day and Rickey single-handedly disturbed Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams so badly in the 9th inning it wasn't even funny. Just classic! Rickey was on 2nd base when Joe Carter hit the famous home run.



No. 100% positively no. Heck, even Jose Canseco said (in his book) that Henderson was one of the very few players who actually turned him down when asked if he wanted to use the drugs, and was adamant about it.

Okay, can I startup a Ricky Henderson nickname too, or would that make you angry?
     
rickey939
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Aug 31, 2005, 11:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
Forgot to add: Rickey's batting stance kicked ass.

I always wonder what ball players do after they retire... do you know where Ricky is?

Wait a minute... are YOU Ricky Henderson? That's a possibility I hadn't considered.
Yes, his batting stance is partly one of the reasons why he has been so successful. It's very hard to pitch to somebody who has an 8" - 10" strike-zone.

Rickey is not "retired", at least from the game of baseball, as he is currently playing for the
San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Golden Baseball League. He will never play in the majors again though, and that is what he is holding out for unfortunately. To this date though, he has no plans of retiring after this year either. He is just enjoying playing the game he loves at this point.

Am I Rickey Henderson? No. I am rickey939.
     
rickey939
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Aug 31, 2005, 11:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
Okay, can I startup a Ricky Henderson nickname too, or would that make you angry?
You may have the full rights to the goricky® username.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Aug 31, 2005, 11:16 PM
 
Hahaha... I fooled you. I'm actually Rickey Henderson, THE Rickey Henderson.

You can admire me some more, I'm Ricky... I mean Rickey.


P.S. Can you send me some money? I'll autograph something for you in return.
     
rickey939
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Aug 31, 2005, 11:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c
P.S. Can you send me some money? I'll autograph something for you in return.
That's okay, I have enough of those already.
     
 
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