1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

America: Y ur peeps b so dum?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by FriendlyFire, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    49,542
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    I don't know how much things have changed, but when I was being schooled in Poland, the standards were very very high, especially when it comes to math.

    I moved to West Germany and found the math there to be a joke. I struggled in Poland and excelled in Germany.

    Moved to Canada and found the math in school here even more of a joke. My aunt teaches high school math in Toronto and agrees with me.

    Looking at the above graph, I see that Poland is higher than the US but lower than Canada, even in the field of math. I guess the standards have changed?

    Either way, if American standards are lower than Poland's and Canada's, then they can't be that great.
     
  2. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,539
    Location:
    Chicago
    No. The actual standards have become more rigorous, certainly in the past decade, with a greater push on STEM related education. What has been declining is the performance, or ability to meet said standards.
     
  3. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Messages:
    30,387
    WEll, they've gotten progressively worse and worse ever since the Department of Education was created in 1979. Thank you, President Carter.
     
  4. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    Messages:
    9,094
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Don't most countries that scored higher have a centralized education department?

    The problem is with our culture, it seems to me. Being anti-academic is seen as cool, and education is seen as indoctrination. If America wants to slide into some hillbilly-mad-max wet dream of theirs, let em. Just let me get outta here first, if that's the plan we're choosing.
     
  5. jono256

    jono256 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    Messages:
    39
    Really? I don't get it. How is the 5% range that big?
    I'm off to read the PISA website
     
  6. BuckeyeJim

    BuckeyeJim King

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    Buckeye Land!
    I don't think the root cause is that people find it to be uncool. Education and the acquisition of skills is based upon work versus reward in all people. People will only work insofar as they believe the reward to be worth it. My father didn't believe that the work of learning calculus was worth the reward of being an engineer. So he became a machinist instead. My mother didn't feel that learning physics was worth the reward of becoming a physicist, so she went into Human Resources.

    This is how all people function. If people are living a life that they find to be satisfying in relation to the work they are putting in then they will not seek to become anything more than they are. My father has gained further knowledge as a machinist, he's a supervisor, and makes good money. But that reward was ancillary and he'd have been plenty happy making his old wage, or else he'd pursue a different skill and expand his knowledge base.

    People are anti-intellectual in America because there's no justification for them to be intellectuals. Now, you may say that people will always desire to earn more money, and that is true. Who doesn't want something for nothing? The problem is that they don't want to put in the effort to intellectualize themselves and obtain that reward. Everybody understands that it is feasible to increase ones knowledge. One need not attend an Ivy League school to have the capacity to become an intellectual. All one needs is a library and the internet to obtain a vast amount of knowledge on all subjects. One can be well read, well versed in philosophy, economics, civics, history, and government. You can even access courses on physics and mathematics from MIT for free. It's all there. But since people are more comfortable playing video games and reading entertainment blogs while making marginal income, that is what they will do because it falls within their comfort zone. It falls within their individual "work versus reward" realm.

    And I, for one, do not see what power players have to gain by purposefully making people ignorant. Near as I can tell everyone would benefit a tremendous amount if people pursued more knowledge.

    It was weird growing up. My dad wanted me to do good in school, but he himself didn't have the education to even HELP ME with my homework. He doesn't understand anything but the simplest of math and he never will so long as he has his job. He doesn't know anything about physics except for what he needs to operate and program a CNC machine. He couldn't help me with Newtonian physics! He doesn't know squat about history, or philosophy, or speak Spanish. But by golly he pushed me constantly. And now that I know all this stuff I persistently try to teach it to him but he will have nothing of it. What does he say to me, "Why do I need to know that stuff? I'm comfortable just the way I am." And that's the way everyone is whether they care to admit or not.
     
  7. Theige

    Theige American Baron

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Messages:
    3,935
    Location:
    New York
    How do American Whites compare to other nations?

    Also, standards within the United States vary widely from state to state, and even from school district to school district.
     
  8. BuckeyeJim

    BuckeyeJim King

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    Buckeye Land!
    This can probably be said for all countries.
     
  9. Theige

    Theige American Baron

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Messages:
    3,935
    Location:
    New York
    But much more-so for a country as massive and as diverse as the U.S.
     
  10. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    12,921
    And with such a decentralized education system.
     
  11. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    8,518
    I don't think a lot of nations like Finland have large racial minority groups with achievement gap problems.
     
  12. BuckeyeJim

    BuckeyeJim King

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    Buckeye Land!
    Sounds like they have a problem with multiculturalism. I guess we've found America's ticket to academic success.
     
  13. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    8,518
    Um, yeah, that's not exactly news, raising the scores and performance of various poor/minority students would be one of the most effective and important things we could do in the US, and it would have significant effects on international comparisons too.
     
  14. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Messages:
    33,999
    Location:
    USA #1
    You are right. The Southerners should have never enslaved so many blacks and them repressed them for another 100 years after slavery ended, then joined the Republican Party under the Southern strategy.

    Why do they refuse to assimilate and become real Americans whose values aren't so morally reprehensible?
     
  15. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,539
    Location:
    Chicago
    No, not really. Performance has (and expectations I suppose), but students almost everywhere in the country now are required to take more math and science courses, *and* have more testing, than they did in 1979. You might be able to say that standards have gotten worse for social studies in poorer neighborhoods (I don't have a lot of background there), but that would have more to do with NCLB than Carter, or the DOE prior to 2000.

    Eh, you know what? I'm doing some poking around, and I don't think they actually differ THAT much from state to state, outside of a few exceptions (like Texas). Nominally, the state standards (on a state's DOE website, and what are covered on a test), from my "dumb" state (Louisiana) were not radically different from those of a "smart" state (say, Massachusetts).

    I think it is important to keep hammering this in. "Standards" are the little Students Will Be Able To....X on a state website, that teachers are asked to cover. Expectations are what teachers, families and principals actually expect in their buildings, and performance is what happens. I get a little annoyed when people just shrug and say "lol america why y no raise standards?!?", as if changing that state sentence will change anything. Kids can't meet the standards we have now. It's the performance and expectations that matter.
    That's totally true. I find the constant performance comparisons to Finland in newspapers or magazines to be pretty disingenuous. Finland and South Korea are a MAJOR topic of Ed conferences (I've prob heard 4 different talks about them), and the differences between our system and theirs go faaaar beyond multi-culturalism.

    If Americans want the kind of scores Finland has, they're going to have to make some major political sacrifices.
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    49,542
    Location:
    Stamford Bridge
    Maybe the issue is not standards - maybe the issue is teachers not being given enough "firepower" to stamp out disruptive behaviour, punish students who don't do their homework or screw around, etc.

    Ignoring for a sec that teachers don't teach concepts - but get their students to memorize stuff instead.. which is not a good way to teach.
     
  17. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Messages:
    33,999
    Location:
    USA #1
    I think that is the essence of the problem. Nowadays, American kids are taught to perform as well as they possibly can on the standardized tests, instead of actually being well-educated as they were in the past. But even such draconian measures still leave an achievement gap with countries that have better school systems, and they completely ignore areas which don't have achievement tests, such as geography, with disastrous results.

    You mean we can no longer openly discriminate against blacks and other minorities? That we must finally treat everybody the same? Or are you referring to other "major political sacrifices"?
     
  18. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    19,539
    Location:
    Chicago
    You know, I don't feel like I know enough about public education prior to the 1960s. I'm not really sure if we can say it was "better" than what we have now, considering we locked so many students out of that process, with segregated schools (which didn't just impact Black kids). I think the real, nationwide commitment to attempting to give every student an excellent education is fairly recent. Maybe we were really doing everything better in the 1950s. Maybe we weren't. I really don't know, and I'd have to investigate it more.

    Yeah, I mean lots of other political sacrifices. I'll give you an example.

    Teacher candidates in Finland (which are some of their top college graduates) do not have to go into debt to finance their continuing education. The district pays for it. Not only do American teachers have to take out quite a bit of money for their undergrads (what's the national average for undergrad debt now, close to 20G? More?), but they have to take out even more money for graduate school and continuing ed, which is not completely covered by districts. Then, you have to take those grad classes *while* you are teaching!

    I was taking Masters classes at LSU while I was teaching...even with class only once every two weeks, it was HARD, and certainly impacted the quality of teaching.

    A solution (since most policy reformers dwell on the fact that our teaching crop is dumb)? Any undergrad with a GPA above 3.0 who signs a 5 year contract to teach, with some % of it in a high poverty school, gets their loans paid off. All of them. Currently, we have a tiny AmeriCorps program (which the Republicans in the house cut), which less than 5% of the teaching population is eligible for. It gives you a little less than 5,000 a year, for a max of two years, and then they TAX IT when you use it. It doesn't really draw many smart folks into teaching.

    The other major differences between the US and Finland are mainly structural...American teachers are asked to do *much* more besides teach (near the end of my year, I spent almost as much time working with social services agencies than I did lesson planning)...Finnish teachers have substantially more freedom to design and implement curriculum, WAY more internal professional development, and a very robust mentoring system. The US, for the past decade, has tried to find ways to get rid of experienced teachers, and many DOE economists have belittled the concept of teacher professional development.
     
  19. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    25,238
    Location:
    Freedonia
    Peanut butter and murder rates.

    Education is not something that should be subject to regionalism.

    The above are two independent points.

    Yes. Also, as a sidenote, the average of unionized school districts is higher than those without unions.

    This is perhaps part of it. But the bigger problem is that, for more and more of our youth, there is no at-home support for what is going on at school. I'm not saying we all need to be Jewish grandfathers, but the family in America needs to step up across the board. Another part of the problem is lack of academic rigor. There are too many of our youth who are railroaded through school, and school districts by and large accept that massively high dropout rates are unfixable. My graduating class had 360 students in it; I remember our principal, in speaking to the entire senior class at the start of the year, saying that we hoped to have 300 graduating seniors! Disregarding a certain part of the student population as hopeless is not constructive towards an erudite society!

    I hate saying things like "the family needs to step up to the plate" because there is zero way to enforce it and it's a vague, bleeding heart statement, but is it not a true one?
     
  20. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Messages:
    30,387
    Why do you hate federalism and the Constitution? Also, by "regionalism", what exactly do you mean? Mexico and Canada share this region we call "north america" with us. Do you think there should be a forced standardized education system across all three? The North American Free Education Association.... NAFEA....
     

Share This Page