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Education Reform in the US 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
firefly wrote:
You seem to be comfortable with the status quo, which is schools where half or more students drop out, and a national decline in scores relative to other countries. How in the world can you NOT say that a decline in our scores relative to other nations is failure, or that drop out factories are NOT failures?
False dichotomy. Either I agree with your position or I agree with the opposite extreme from your position.

This thread essentially predicates itself on a comprehensive, systemic problem with American education. My beef is with that assertion.

Quote:
What then is your explanation? Are Chinese simply genetically superior? Should we just resign ourselves to failure and hope that we can import enough of the superior breed to offset our own stupidity?
My explanation is that when the explanation eludes us, we don't get to substitute the guess that best suits our assumptions going in.

Quote:
You seem to have no answer to the problem of Drop Out Factories.
No, I don't. Fortunately, the integrity of my argument doesn't depend on that.

As for these other studies, I would suggest "consider the source". Unfortunately, I don't know what that source is, which makes it difficult.


Sun May 22, 2011 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
False dichotomy. Either I agree with your position or I agree with the opposite extreme from your position.

This thread essentially predicates itself on a comprehensive, systemic problem with American education. My beef is with that assertion.
My explanation is that when the explanation eludes us, we don't get to substitute the guess that best suits our assumptions going in.

Quote:
You seem to have no answer to the problem of Drop Out Factories.
No, I don't. Fortunately, the integrity of my argument doesn't depend on that.

As for these other studies, I would suggest "consider the source". Unfortunately, I don't know what that source is, which makes it difficult.


Tbh all of this says, "Let's just shrug and throw up our hands because we don't like what the proposed solutions are." When there are 22 other countries doing better than us, that's a major problem. The trend is not in our favor. In another five or ten years, unless we make significant changes, another 5 or 10 countries will probably have eclipsed us.

So, one option is that we can do nothing. That seems to be your proposal (if you have something else to propose, by all means mention it). It means that we will fall further behind the rest of the developed world. As they continue to prosper, we will no longer be able to rely on importing our brainpower. We will be reduced to a second-tier power. The other option is that we can try things that have been shown to work. School choice has been shown to work. Now, maybe for some reason it would suddenly stop working. That'd mean that we'd be in the same spot we're in today. But that's not too likely to happen. In all likelihood, it'll improve. Freed from the malevolent teachers unions, schools will innovate. The best solutions will take over the market. The students will win. The teachers unions, who have a vested interest in promoting mediocrity, will lose.

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Sun May 22, 2011 6:02 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Again, you're supposing that if I disagree with your position (that the problem is so large that it has become system-wide and it is progressively worsening), then I must agree with the opposite of your position (that there is no problem and there is nothing to concern us). And again, I will point out that this is absolutely unnecessary.

As for my own proposal, I am hardly an education expert by any means. But it seems to me that our main concern should be sculpting education according to what our young people need in order to become be free-thinking, capable members of society, and according to what our country needs from our young people. This cannot happen with the alarm machine in full effect.


Sun May 22, 2011 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Ken wrote:
As for my own proposal, I am hardly an education expert by any means. But it seems to me that our main concern should be sculpting education according to what our young people need in order to become be free-thinking, capable members of society, and according to what our country needs from our young people.


Ok, so what does that mean?

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Sun May 22, 2011 7:28 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
I'm not too shabby at spotting a flaw or a hole in politicized rhetoric and breaking down a message to test for the goals within its construction, but if you're expecting me to solve specific, specialized problems in a field that has nothing to do with me, you're barking up the wrong tree.


Sun May 22, 2011 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Ken wrote:
I'm not too shabby at spotting a flaw or a hole in politicized rhetoric and breaking down a message to test for the goals within its construction, but if you're expecting me to solve specific, specialized problems in a field that has nothing to do with me, you're barking up the wrong tree.

You don't have to be in the field of education to come up with solutions. In fact, it's better if you're not. Paul O'Neil, a business executive, along with an engineer, did much more to attack the problem of hospital infections than anyone in the medical community ever did. And neither of them had a bit of a background in medicine. Sal Khan has the best, most revolutionary ideas on education in the country today, and his background is in finance and computer programming. Problems require outside of the box thinking, and there's no better way to get this than to get someone who is from outside of the box. So I don't accept the premise that because one is not in the field, one can not come up with good ideas.

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Sun May 22, 2011 7:34 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Okay, fuck...

I told myself I wouldn't post as this shit pisses me off way to much. I'm a teacher of 9 years in both private and public schools, but...can I get a quick poll?

What is your highest level of education and what of it was public or private?

I'm just curious....


Sun May 22, 2011 7:37 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
ram1312 wrote:
Okay, fuck...

I told myself I wouldn't post as this shit pisses me off way to much. I'm a teacher of 9 years in both private and public schools, but...can I get a quick poll?

What is your highest level of education and what of it was public or private?

I'm just curious....


I am about to enter a phd program (political science); my compulsory education involved both public and (the cheapest) private institutions.

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Sun May 22, 2011 7:39 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
firefly wrote:
I don't see where CoL is particularly relevant. The various things that money is spent on in states don't vary substantially state by state.


Bankrate.com (which has a lousy interface that I couldn't easily figure out how to create a link with...) shows a 39.13% difference in the cost of living between Salt Lake City and Washington, DC. The major expenses for schools are people and facilities. I can't with any confidence say how much impact Cost of Living has on facilities expenses; I'd guess that there'd be some correlation, but would concede that this is just a guess. However, Cost of Living has an obvious effect on people expenses.

haynesm wrote:
I'm always puzzled why so many people are willing to assume that education is some "special" product/commodity/resource/profession/what-have-you where -- unlike virtually every other product/etc. -- you tend to (on average) get better quality by being willing to put more resources (money) into the production of said product?


firefly wrote:
You don't improve a product with more money, you improve it with better ideas.


So if Kia just had better ideas then they could make me a car as awesome as <fill-in-your-dream-car> for the cost of my Rio? Sweet!

More seriously, there are probably elements of truth in both of our points quoted above.


Sun May 22, 2011 7:56 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
ram1312 wrote:
Okay, fuck...

I told myself I wouldn't post as this shit pisses me off way to much. I'm a teacher of 9 years in both private and public schools, but...can I get a quick poll?

What is your highest level of education and what of it was public or private?

I'm just curious....


K-8 private parochial school
9-12 public large city (~500K residents) school
College (bachelor's degree) public


Sun May 22, 2011 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
haynesm wrote:
ram1312 wrote:
Okay, fuck...

I told myself I wouldn't post as this shit pisses me off way to much. I'm a teacher of 9 years in both private and public schools, but...can I get a quick poll?

What is your highest level of education and what of it was public or private?

I'm just curious....


K-8 private parochial school
9-12 public large city (~500K residents) school
College (bachelor's degree) public


Oh, and perhaps most relevant to my current opinions/beliefs...

My children have all gone to a public suburban schools. K through (so far) 11.


Sun May 22, 2011 8:01 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
haynesm wrote:
firefly wrote:
I don't see where CoL is particularly relevant. The various things that money is spent on in states don't vary substantially state by state.


Bankrate.com (which has a lousy interface that I couldn't easily figure out how to create a link with...) shows a 39.13% difference in the cost of living between Salt Lake City and Washington, DC. The major expenses for schools are people and facilities. I can't with any confidence say how much impact Cost of Living has on facilities expenses; I'd guess that there'd be some correlation, but would concede that this is just a guess. However, Cost of Living has an obvious effect on people expenses.


Only if there's a significant difference in average salary and I'm not so sure there is. Here's the full map:
http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/file ... perpup.JPG



haynesm wrote:

So if Kia just had better ideas then they could make me a car as awesome as <fill-in-your-dream-car> for the cost of my Rio? Sweet!

More seriously, there are probably elements of truth in both of our points quoted above.


Well, you do need some level of capital to implement an idea. But you don't need tons of money--facebook was started with a small amount of loan money by college freshmen in Harvard. Several far better financed ventures failed. Why? Facebook had the better idea. Throwing money at an issue without good ideas just makes you the Winkelvi ;)

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Sun May 22, 2011 8:03 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
firefly wrote:
You don't have to be in the field of education to come up with solutions. In fact, it's better if you're not. Paul O'Neil, a business executive, along with an engineer, did much more to attack the problem of hospital infections than anyone in the medical community ever did. And neither of them had a bit of a background in medicine. Sal Khan has the best, most revolutionary ideas on education in the country today, and his background is in finance and computer programming. Problems require outside of the box thinking, and there's no better way to get this than to get someone who is from outside of the box. So I don't accept the premise that because one is not in the field, one can not come up with good ideas.

I'm not suggesting that premise, but I am suggesting that the sort of comprehensive data, access to day to day life of educators and students, etc. that would go into developing a robust, serious proposal are not things that I, as a lowly shlub of the Reelviews forum, do not necessarily have on hand right this second.

ram1312 wrote:
What is your highest level of education and what of it was public or private?

I'm just curious....

Bachelor's degree, state university.
K-12, public.


Sun May 22, 2011 9:01 pm
Post Re: Education Reform in the US
All education in the UK

Prep school like Lindsey Anderson's If (we call this public school)
College degree
Post graduate degree

Rob


Sun May 22, 2011 9:11 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Ken wrote:
firefly wrote:
You don't have to be in the field of education to come up with solutions. In fact, it's better if you're not. Paul O'Neil, a business executive, along with an engineer, did much more to attack the problem of hospital infections than anyone in the medical community ever did. And neither of them had a bit of a background in medicine. Sal Khan has the best, most revolutionary ideas on education in the country today, and his background is in finance and computer programming. Problems require outside of the box thinking, and there's no better way to get this than to get someone who is from outside of the box. So I don't accept the premise that because one is not in the field, one can not come up with good ideas.

I'm not suggesting that premise, but I am suggesting that the sort of comprehensive data, access to day to day life of educators and students, etc. that would go into developing a robust, serious proposal are not things that I, as a lowly shlub of the Reelviews forum, do not necessarily have on hand right this second.

ram1312 wrote:
What is your highest level of education and what of it was public or private?

I'm just curious....

Bachelor's degree, state university.
K-12, public.


I don't understand what you need that you don't already have. What does the "day to day life" of educators and students matter?

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Sun May 22, 2011 9:18 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
I've long heard it argued by many Libertarians and quite a few Republicans that the best solution is to totally remove the government from education. That's a good long term possibility to consider if nothing else. It might work, it might not. But like health care, this is a complex problem and I don't think jumping on the first quick fix solution is the way to go. Taking the govenrment out may be a good idea and may be the way to go. But it's something that will probably have to be done gradually.

Part of that point that I do think is 100% on target is this: Leaving things up to the so-called experts in charge is not the way to go. Like I said elsewhere on this forum, the more that keeps happening, the more this country will continue to crumble the same way a certain empire named Rome did.

A few possible ideas to consider:

1: Stop over-relying on standardized testing. Down here in Florida we have the state mandated test FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assesment Test). A large part of each school year is spent preparing for that test which everyone must pass. In elementary schools that takes too much time away from teaching kids the basics. Because the focus is more on teaching for the test than teaching kids the writing, reading, thinking and math skills they need to know.

2: Allow more discipline in the schools. Even as recent as 1993-97 (the years I was in high school) there was still room for kids ot be straightened out in school if need be. There needs to be room for that again. I'm not suggesting draconian rules or the restitution of corporal punishment. But whatever happened to reasonable discipline?

3: End social promotion. This is the practice of promoting kids who haven't mastered that grade level material. It's because of this that you end up with people in college who's reading level is See Spot Run.

4: Teachers need to be paid more. A friend of mine graduated from college with a degree in Elementary education. She's been looking for work. Even with the economy being taken into account, the sad truth is that there's no or little money in teaching. I strongly suspect this keeps many people away from teaching who would be very good at it.

5: Allow students and parents to grade teachers. While there are many underpaid teachers, there are going to be bad ones. And many of them get into positions where it's hard to remove them. Teacher issue grades. So we should allow students and parents to do the same. When I was in college briefly, most of the professors allowed the students to fill out evaluation forms on them. The same should be done for K-12 teachers.

6: Stop treating electives like Drama and Music as expendable.

Of course there are other possibilities like vouchers and school choice. And obviously, parents need to be more involved in their children's education.

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Sun May 22, 2011 10:15 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Robert Holloway wrote:
All education in the UK

Prep school like Lindsey Anderson's If (we call this public school)
College degree
Post graduate degree


Similar model in the US

K-12
College Degree
Graduate Degree
Post-Grad

Or go to school for 17 years and most likely end up in the corporate rat race. Bob Dylan nailed it more eloquently when he wrote the lyric "20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift".

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Sun May 22, 2011 10:22 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Jeff Wilder wrote:
I've long heard it argued by many Libertarians and quite a few Republicans that the best solution is to totally remove the government from education. That's a good long term possibility to consider if nothing else. It might work, it might not. But like health care, this is a complex problem and I don't think jumping on the first quick fix solution is the way to go. Taking the govenrment out may be a good idea and may be the way to go. But it's something that will probably have to be done gradually.

Part of that point that I do think is 100% on target is this: Leaving things up to the so-called experts in charge is not the way to go. Like I said elsewhere on this forum, the more that keeps happening, the more this country will continue to crumble the same way a certain empire named Rome did.

A few possible ideas to consider:

1: Stop over-relying on standardized testing. Down here in Florida we have the state mandated test FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assesment Test). A large part of each school year is spent preparing for that test which everyone must pass. In elementary schools that takes too much time away from teaching kids the basics. Because the focus is more on teaching for the test than teaching kids the writing, reading, thinking and math skills they need to know.

2: Allow more discipline in the schools. Even as recent as 1993-97 (the years I was in high school) there was still room for kids ot be straightened out in school if need be. There needs to be room for that again. I'm not suggesting draconian rules or the restitution of corporal punishment. But whatever happened to reasonable discipline?

3: End social promotion. This is the practice of promoting kids who haven't mastered that grade level material. It's because of this that you end up with people in college who's reading level is See Spot Run.

4: Teachers need to be paid more. A friend of mine graduated from college with a degree in Elementary education. She's been looking for work. Even with the economy being taken into account, the sad truth is that there's no or little money in teaching. I strongly suspect this keeps many people away from teaching who would be very good at it.

5: Allow students and parents to grade teachers. While there are many underpaid teachers, there are going to be bad ones. And many of them get into positions where it's hard to remove them. Teacher issue grades. So we should allow students and parents to do the same. When I was in college briefly, most of the professors allowed the students to fill out evaluation forms on them. The same should be done for K-12 teachers.

6: Stop treating electives like Drama and Music as expendable.

Of course there are other possibilities like vouchers and school choice. And obviously, parents need to be more involved in their children's education.


1 and 3 could be solved by using the Khan Academy (although I still don't see why this can't be done in the context of school choice). I'd say that 4 and 5 go together too--pay good teachers more and then get rid of the bad teachers (class size doesn't matter, so worrying about having larger classes isn't logical).

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Sun May 22, 2011 10:24 pm
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Post Re: Education Reform in the US
firefly wrote:
class size doesn't matter, so worrying about having larger classes isn't logical


Maybe I missed it, but have you validated this idea at all?


Sun May 22, 2011 11:18 pm
Post Re: Education Reform in the US
Will Hatch wrote:
This may sound irresponsible(not to mention off topic), but why should we care about the education of students who clearly have no interest in going to school? I'm not sure that the workforce would be significantly effected if high school were not mandatory. I should know, because I went to a prototypically poor high school with an (mostly) apathetic student body. Those apathetic people today have by and large done nothing with themselves.


That does sound irresponsible to me. I'm all for "personal responsibility", but in many cases a kid who doesn't give a crap about an education can become a cancer first on their fellow students and then on society in general as they turn to either crime or handouts when a lack of motivation took them out of the equation.

Will Hatch wrote:
As for the topic itself, I deliberately have avoided "Waiting For Superman" because of the poor journalism(aka "truthiness) inherent in it.


I really don't care for when people intentionally avoid a movie or a book or a TV show or whatever and yet pass judgement like "the movie represents poor journalism"...experience it and then comment.

Background:
Grades 1-12 - Parochial
State college for Bachelor's and Master's degrees. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters; all went to parochial high schools except 2 who went to public because, at the time, they couldn't hack the private schoold. All of us got Bachelor's degree at state university (eventually).
Profession: Information Technology; Wife: University teacher


Sun May 22, 2011 11:31 pm
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