Author Topic: Educational system.  (Read 376 times)

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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Educational system.
« on: August 04, 2013, 02:40:30 PM »
I've been thinking about this for a while. What do you think would be a great educational system? I have thought, and i can be wrong, that the education system in the US is pretty bad. This can be due to the self-esteem movement (And i would take a leaflet from George Carlin's book) teaching kids that they're special and that they don't need to improve themselves because goodness forbid should they meet challenges in school, some people think children don't get enough recess or free time, and lack of teaching kids critical thinking skills.

I also do wonder about other countries' school systems and how they work. I believe that there should be as listed:

1) No entry exam (Every child should go to school, not be denied education)
2) Start at the age of 4 or 5 (if your birthday is like a month after school would start, they still should go)
3) No self esteem movement (Teach them real self esteem, not 2 + 2 = what ever you like because you're special!)
4) Teach critical thinking skills
5) put more money in the school and pay teachers well and train them so they would provide the best education.
6) teach teenagers what parenting REALLY is! None of that crappy egg or flour substitute, and put them in day care with the screaming babies and toddlers for weeks to learn how it is!
7) Sex education is a must and give condoms out to teens and teach them all the facts!
8) No teacher should sit on their arse and tell kids to open their textbook, they should get up and lead the class.
9) Hands on learning so they can understand how things should work like living in apartments with crappy jobs.
10) be tough on bullying and help students who are suffering or struggling.
11) don't slow the lessons, speed it up! (school should teach kids as much as they can learn, not waste weeks or months before learning anything else)

there may be more. Now as i said, i can be wrong about those. I would like to hear your thoughts about it.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 04:59:14 PM »
Lots of good points but you will never get any of that thru the red states...especially #4.  The right is fighting national standards.  We will continue to drop in effectiveness around the world.  Education is sought after in so much of the world.  Here it is looked at by many as a waste of time.

Raise teacher pay...now that is funny.  How many politicians do you think would be in favor of that?
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Online nogodsforme

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 06:35:39 PM »
I am afraid that you have put a quarter in the jukebox....

I agree with most of the points on the OP list. I would love to see schools that do those things for all students. However, public schools do an amazing job with all the pressures and problems they have to deal with. Most teachers and administrators are very dedicated and truly care about their students. They sure aren't in it for the money. Few professions that demand a BA or a master's degree pay as little as school teaching. Lots of teachers work second jobs. [1]

There are some practical problems with having high standards, demanding teachers, faster paced classes, etc.

a)How do you evaluate teacher or school performance? How do you know if the standards are being met?

Test scores are the way many people want to judge schools. Have a national test like in Asia and Europe, so that every kid has to pass to move on to the next level. Then we will know what teachers and schools are doing a good job. Base teacher pay and school funding on these tests and other standards. That way the teachers and schools have the incentive to do better.

What we have seen in reality is that teachers (in other countries as well) teach the test material and only that. Rote memorization reigns. They have little time for anything else. Creative, innovative teachers hate the tests. Creative, innovative kids hate the tests. Widespread cheating has happened, where schools remove certain kids from the testing pool or even change kids' answers. Testing companies make bank. But "is our children learning?" as President Bush asked.
 
b)What to do with the kids who don't meet the standards, however determined?

In the good old days, you could flunk them and they had to repeat endlessly until they finally got too old or too discouraged and dropped out. But back then they could support themselves in a trade or do factory work. There are not very many jobs for a 7th or 10th grade dropout these days.

c)How do you compare schools with very different student populations?

Public school teachers these days are supposed to deal with every kind of social issue-- hungry kids, hyper kids, kids on drugs, pregnant kids, abused kids, kids with physical and mental disabilities, kids who don't speak English, transient/homeless kids who move to a different neighborhood every 6 months.

How are schools with lots of these kids supposed to meet the same standards as schools where there are mostly two income stable families, where the parents volunteer and donate lots of money to the school? These school need more teacher aides and tutors and special programs like gang intervention workers, but all that costs money. Right now the solution in many states is to reduce the funding to "underperforming" schools that don't meet the test scores to punish them.

Politicians, esp. conservative ones, believe that you get what you pay for. Plumbers to surgeons to hairdressers to clothing. If you want the best, you have to pay for it.  Works in everything-- except public education. And as the population ages and fewer people have school age kids, people are less willing to pay more taxes for "failing" public schools.... &)
 1.  My husband and I joke about how we can always tell when a group of public school teachers is in town for a conference, as opposed to other professions. Cheap out-of-style clothes, cheap old cars, cheap out-of-style haircuts and no-nonsense shoes on both men and women.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Willie

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 09:13:01 PM »
8. No teacher should sit on their arse and tell kids to open their textbook, they should get up and lead the class.
...
11. don't slow the lessons, speed it up! (school should teach kids as much as they can learn, not waste weeks or months before learning anything else)

(Changed the parentheses to dots to fix the smiley face at #8.)

If you're not already familiar with it, you might find the "flipped classroom" concept interesting. The idea is to assign online video lectures as homework, and do in class the kind of exercises that would traditionally have been assigned as homework. This allows the teacher to assume a more interactive role, working directly with the students as they solve problems, and helping them with any difficulties as they are encountered, instead of just unidirectionally talking at them. It also gives the teacher greater ability to adjust for the varying abilities and learning styles of their students. With the help of software that lets the teacher track the students' progress in a very fine-grained way, the teacher can see exactly where each student is struggling, and can then work with them either individually, or provide targeted lessons for the group if there are topics that multiple students are having trouble with. This can work even for the introverted students who would normally just struggle in silence rather than asking for help. Not only does this fine grained feedback and interactive teaching help deal with students who are struggling, but it also helps to identify and deal with students who are surging ahead, so that they can be allowed to progress at their natural pace and be properly challenged, instead of being artificially, even if unintentionally, held back to the level of the class, as typically happens.

See http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/07/ff_khan/all/1 for more about this.


Online nogodsforme

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2013, 10:47:13 PM »
Some of my colleagues are trying this at the college level with hybrid classes, lectures and quizzes online and activities in the classroom. Takes some organization but sounds promising.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Willie

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2013, 11:47:03 PM »
What we have seen in reality is that teachers (in other countries as well) teach the test material and only that. Rote memorization reigns. They have little time for anything else.
I think this can be remedied, at least in part, by the design of the tests. If the tests themselves require real understanding and creative problem solving, rather than just recitation of memorized facts, then "teaching to the test" wouldn't be such a bad thing.
b)What to do with the kids who don't meet the standards, however determined?

In the good old days, you could flunk them and they had to repeat endlessly until they finally got too old or too discouraged and dropped out. But back then they could support themselves in a trade or do factory work. There are not very many jobs for a 7th or 10th grade dropout these days.

This is a problem in any case, regardless of whether you have common standards and tests.

c)How do you compare schools with very different student populations?

This is a very big problem. As you mentioned, tying funding to school performance can take funding away from the schools that need it most, and possibly even take funding from schools that are in fact exceptionally good, but that still score poorly relative to more affluent locales because of the troubled demographic that they serve.

On the other hand, when there is not enough funding available to adequately fund all schools, is it better to fund the greater-than-normal needs of the poor demographic schools, only to end up with a somewhat improved but still below average graduation and college entrance rate, or to fund the smaller needs of a larger number of schools with middle and upper-middle class demographics, which will likely yield more high school graduates and college freshmen per dollar spent? Which way produces the better future overall? Do we make the cold, hard, and ugly calculated decision to let the unfortunate fall off the wagon in order to not stall the whole wagon? To be clear, I'm no republican. I'm all for public education, and I'm all for providing opportunities for people to escape the cycle of poverty. The idea of reducing already limited opportunities and leaving kids with all their great human potential to rot in poverty just because they had the misfortune to be born into a poor family and/or bad neighborhood turns my stomach. But if we can't get our priorities straight and put having an educated populace above giving lucrative government contracts to political donors and providing tax breaks for the rich, then I really think that this is what it has come to. We can't save everyone. We have to choose.

Online nogodsforme

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 12:17:41 AM »
When we choose to let a bunch of people "fall off" they end up causing more expensive problems. We know that more police, alarm systems, security guards and prisons is the result of pretending that people with problems just disappear when we stop dealing with them. Like putting expensive cream on an allergic rash without dealing with whatever it is you are allergic to. 

Back in the 90's I lived next to a crack house in Oakland. Shootings between different drug dealers and car break-ins were regular events and homeless people sat on our steps in the evenings.

Some friends from Denmark came to visit. They were huge blond Vikings, a man and a woman. (They practically broke my furniture.) And they were baffled at the locks, gates, bars, armed guards and security alarms everywhere they went. They were also concerned about the homeless people they saw begging and sleeping on the streets.

I knew that we had cut every social service and thought that most countries did the same. I said surely they had crime and poverty in Denmark. Didn't every modern country have break-ins, muggings, shootings and homeless mentally ill people living on the street?

They looked at each other. "No," they said. "Nothing like this." They said they never locked their bikes or cars. Most of the time they felt safe walking the streets at night. They said that they were beginning to realize that in America we would rather spend as much money individually for locks and alarms and bars as they spend communally on social programs. And they also said in a gentle way, that most Americans have way more stuff, clothes, shoes, appliances, electronics than they do in Denmark.

I think they were making the point that we in the US have different priorities, not that we have too little money to educate and care for everyone.  The older I get, the more I think that they were right. We do spend a lot more per person on social services like education and health care than a lot of other modern countries, but we get less for it. We have the ideal that every one deserves the same opportunities, but we are not really willing to make that happen.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online Fiji

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 01:09:18 AM »
^ Now, for the most part, when in rural Denmark ... which is like 90% of the country ... I too feel perfectly safe. However, in the big cities, Odense, Kopenhagen, Aarhus, there are areas where you had better not go after dark. Drug needles, drug users and the related crimes, the occasinal car with the windows smashed in and you can be damn sure the shops (and even some homes) have bars and alarms and cameras.
Still these no-go zones are quite small. In Kopenhagen, a city of over one million, it's a dozen of streets or so.

Aaaaaanyway, back to the topic ... For Belgium, it mostly plays out like this:
Quote
1) No entry exam (Every child should go to school, not be denied education)
There are federal standards called the endterms. School must test these at the very least (and they're quite extencive) A school that doesn't test the endterm ... and ALL the endterm can't provide a valid diploma. Some Jewish orthodox school fall foul of this. They especially avoid the endterm in biology, sex-ed and history.

Quote
2) Start at the age of 4 or 5

Compulsory education starts at age 5, which is the final year of kindergarten.

Quote
3) No self esteem movement
Not an area that is especially focussed on

Quote
4) Teach critical thinking skills
Again, some effort is put into this, but not a lot

Quote
5) put more money in the school and pay teachers well and train them so they would provide the best education.
teachers can survive (if that's the word) on their salary but I certainly wouldn't call them well payed. Definitely an area where we might put in some more effort

Quote
6) teach teenagers what parenting REALLY is!
7) Sex education is a must and give condoms out to teens and teach them all the facts!
Sex-ed is pretty good, condoms are easy to come by, with some schools have vending machines but the parenting side of things is not focussed on much. Now, teen pregnancy is not that big an issue in Belgium.


Quote
8) No teacher should sit on their arse and tell kids to open their textbook, they should get up and lead the class.
the teacher corps has been rejuvinated quite a bit recently but pro-active teaching is still not that wide-spread

Quote
9) Hands on learning so they can understand how things should work like living in apartments with crappy jobs.
depends on the classes you take ... the ASO is very much theory oriented, TSO and BSO are more practically minded

Quote
10) be tough on bullying and help students who are suffering or struggling.
In theory, sure, in practise, especially on line bullying is still a problem.

Quote
11) don't slow the lessons, speed it up!
In the last year of primary school, they work with A, B and C groups.
C gets regular classes, B gets the regular course material, but less support from the teacher and A gets, pretty much all they can just about handle and are expected to learn it on their own (the key point here is learning to realize when you're in over your head and calling for help before you entirely drown)
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Offline Nam

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 02:58:03 AM »
None of this matters to Republicans who want to get rid of Education (public) all together. They're stupid so they want everyone else to be stupid too. Unless they can pay the big bucks for private schools. Oh, the voucher system: as if that'd apply to everyone. It most likely wouldn't apply to non-whites or white trailer trash. Got to keep those people in their place.

Ironically, I think most white trailer trash are Republicans, at least in my neck-of-the-woods.

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Online nogodsforme

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 10:32:39 AM »
None of this matters to Republicans who want to get rid of Education (public) all together. They're stupid so they want everyone else to be stupid too. Unless they can pay the big bucks for private schools. Oh, the voucher system: as if that'd apply to everyone. It most likely wouldn't apply to non-whites or white trailer trash. Got to keep those people in their place.

Ironically, I think most white trailer trash are Republicans, at least in my neck-of-the-woods.

-Nam

I think working class white people are so being played by conservatives. It's all, well if we cut these social programs (that you and your kids actually need) it will only hurt those lazy black and brown people. And then you can keep all your guns, pay less taxes and you will be rich! Because god. &)

Meanwhile, these folks have lost their jobs, their homes and their futures. They go on government disability, live crappy lives and blame the liberals. :(
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Nick

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Re: Educational system.
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 12:57:08 PM »
None of this matters to Republicans who want to get rid of Education (public) all together. They're stupid so they want everyone else to be stupid too. Unless they can pay the big bucks for private schools. Oh, the voucher system: as if that'd apply to everyone. It most likely wouldn't apply to non-whites or white trailer trash. Got to keep those people in their place.

Ironically, I think most white trailer trash are Republicans, at least in my neck-of-the-woods.

-Nam

I think working class white people are so being played by conservatives. It's all, well if we cut these social programs (that you and your kids actually need) it will only hurt those lazy black and brown people. And then you can keep all your guns, pay less taxes and you will be rich! Because god. &)

Meanwhile, these folks have lost their jobs, their homes and their futures. They go on government disability, live crappy lives and blame the liberals. :(
All very true.  The only thing I can add is...Benghazi.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!