Has American Education Ever Really Been That Good?

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Dayton Kitchens, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Clyde

    Clyde Orange

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    I don't!

    This is the first I've heard of Canada even having public schools, I've no idea how you're getting a higher ranking.

    Though I expect it has something to do with hockey, crap beer, and US envy!

    :nyer:
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  2. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    One modern mentality I would like to get away from is the idea that Tech School is a four letter word. The Cold War is over. We no longer have to try and send more people to college than the Russians as some kind of competition.

    I'd like to see a modern shop class (programming, robotics, as well as welding and fabrication) and partnership with Technical Colleges. Here in Washington they have Running Start where your last two years can all be at a local junior college. Its great, saves a lot of money for families only having to pay for two years of a Bachelors, but what about the rest of the students? Shouldn't the ones who are really good at shop be able to knock out technical certs?
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  3. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    I'd like to see the breakdown of the numbers. All immigrants aren't the same. For instance there is usually a big difference between say some Chinamen from HK moving to Vancouver to work Finance and some indigenous person from Guatemala come to Yakima to pick fruit.
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  4. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey you can't spell hatred without "red hat"

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    I guess that answers my question.
    Hockey is a sport, football is for pansies.

    Crap beer? You just don't like beer, do you?

    US envy? Sure, we could want to be loathed by the world when it wasn't laughing at us for being a nation of lummoxes...

    My days of not taking you seriously have come to a middle.
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  5. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey you can't spell hatred without "red hat"

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    What about the HK guy that goes to Redmond vs the Guatemalan having worked his way down from the Okanagan? I'm not seeing your point here other than to disagree that we take immigration from similar sources and waves.
  6. Azure

    Azure I could kick your ass

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    Also, I had some teachers in school that did one hell of a job with very limited resources. Where there is a will, there is a way.

    Still, unlimited resources and the best teachers in the world can't make a kid give a shit if the parents don't give a shit.

    The 50% divorce rate has a lot to do with it too. Kids need stability and a 'home.' How many get that these days?
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  7. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    Seems to me that education in the US is like much else - excellent if you can pay top dollar for it (which only a minority can), otherwise mediocre.
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  8. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    What part of, I would like to see the numbers did you not understand? I don't have the numbers, I don't know the numbers. All I am saying is that not all immigrants are the same so saying we have similar levels of immigration doesn't really mean much without getting into the type of immigrants. Young, Old, Skilled, Unskilled, etc etc.
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  9. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    I'm not sure where you are getting this impression. Yes, there is excellent education available for people who can pay for it. But there are also excellent public options. The issue is that there is a great disparity among the public options. Some school systems are very good, whereas some would hire Dayton. In some cases, that tracks with wealthy communities, but not always.
  10. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    Maybe so. Is this also the case at higher levels?
  11. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    Yes. There are some excellent public universities which cost significantly less than the private ones do.
  12. Talkahuano

    Talkahuano Second Flame Lieutenant

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    Edit: Anc explains it better. :P
  13. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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  14. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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  15. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    And there are some public universities which are outstanding in a couple of fields, but absolute crap in others.
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  16. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    Our public universities range from, as far as I know, decent to world-class.

    Our public secondary and primary schools do not.

    Not sure what explains the difference.

    Money? (i.e. the universities probably have a ton more money per capita than a public school and can leverage that for a better educational experience)

    Staff?

    Race/class?

    Biology (i.e. more physically mature students will do better)

    Self-selection? (i.e. the overwhelming majority of college students actually on some level want to be there and want to do well enough, as opposed to high school students who have to be there and who don't give a crap?)

    Dunno. But it's striking.
  17. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    I agree that some public secondary schools do not make the decent rating. But then there are some truly exceptional examples that can compete head to head with anything else in the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Latin_School
  18. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Banned

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    I think the media and popular entertainment have made the role of the teacher way overblown.

    With movies like "Stand and Deliver" and "The Ron Clark Story" it is implied that any student can learn. They just need a wonderful "hero teacher" to swoop in and save the students from a lifetime of ignorance.

    That mentality is flawed in many ways. In fact there was an editorial letter by a teacher a year or so ago in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette saying she was "no hero". The gist of it was:

    1) While "hero teachers" are great, in real life you can't count on that. Just as most American fighter pilots never became aces, neither will most teachers will become "hero teachers".

    There are about two million school teachers active in the U.S. at any one time. So the vast majority of students will be taught by run of the mill, workday teachers.

    2) "Hero teachers" almost NEVER remain teachers. Once they are recognized for their accomplishments, they often become consultants and stop working in the classroom entirely.

    3) "Hero teachers" have a tendency to become recognized as such because they accomplish something by pulling bottom of the barrel students up and having them accomplish something (Stand and Deliver). This is very misleading. Most American students don't come from the ghetto.

    Just three things I remember off hand.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  19. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    You don't think that any student can learn? :wtf:
  20. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Banned

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    I do not think that ALL students are capable of it. Some students I think are simply unteachable, sometimes from a mental standpoint but mainly from a discipline or attitude standpoint.
  21. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    I would imagine that thosewho are completely impervious to being taught are exceedingly rare. I think you're making excuses.
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  22. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Banned

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    Perhaps. But how much time and resources should you waste on a student that is shall we say "highly resistant" to being taught?

    Is it reasonable to give one student five times the attention and effort by an instructor and support staff just because they are being a dickhead?
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  23. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    God, I hate when I have to type words like, "I kinda agree with Dayton." But I kind of agree with Dayton.

    There are numerous students who, for most intents and purposes, just are not reasonably teachable in the sort of structure that we have in a typical public school or are likely to have.

    Some of that is a function of their own physical limitations -- those who were born addicted to drugs, who have various special needs etc.

    Some of that is because of an unwillingness to learn or lack of interest in learning, a lack of responsibility in the home and a subculture that might teach them either it's easier/better/faster/cooler to not learn.

    Which is not to say that better schools or programs couldn't salvage more of those kids.

    But at the end of the day, yeah, I think that some kids just are extremely unlikely to be reached, and it would be in the face of that somewhat foolish to spend the extra resources to try to reach that 1 percent (or whatever) of kids who are largely unreachable, when that time and energy could be better spent on the 20-30 percent (again, hypothetically) who are currently being failed by our schools who are reachable.
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  24. Prufrock

    Prufrock Disturbing the Universe

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    Sounds like a good start. But you've also got to convince a lot of employers to not automatically eliminate any applicant who doesn't have a four-year degree.
  25. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    I don't mean that there aren't a lot of great secondary public schools. Obviously there are.

    But I would say at a guess they are more than balanced out by the substandard public schools. At a guess, for every public school that is the caliber of Boston Latin, there are probably 10 or so that are pretty good, 40 that are mediocre and 20-30 that are actively bad.

    ETA: I would suspect for every world-class public university or college on the level of, say, Michigan or Berkeley, there are are probably 20 that are pretty good, 20 that are mediocre and almost none that are actively bad.

    And part of why Boston Latin and the like are so good probably comes down to the ability to self-select. There's no way that it could ever happen, but I bet if you were to run the equivalent of a "Trading Places" where the freshman class of Boston Latin were to go to the worst school in Boston for their next three years and the kids from the worst school in Boston went to Latin for the next three years, the Boston Latin kids would do just fine at their new school, whereas the kids from the worst school would mostly stumble and fail, with a handful of success stories.

    Mainly, I was saying there are no colleges that I'm aware of that are failing as badly as many public high schools (if not, a typical public high school).
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  26. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    Go run a search with IAVA or VFW and for profit colleges.

    Most of those institutions are complete shams that load up students with debt and then have horrible graduation rates and job placement. Besides the Veterans Jobs Bill the Republicans torpedoed, clamping down on those utter douchenozzels (they target Vets for their GI Bill) is the highest legislative priority of the Veterans Groups I am apart of.
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  27. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    I'm speaking of public colleges and universities, and in particular the four-year variety. I think community colleges are probably also relatively solid, or at least I would suspect none are as bad as the worst public schools; however, I'm less confident of that opinion.

    I imagine there are all sorts of shady fly-by-night private schools that might spring up from time to time.
  28. Liet

    Liet Dr. of Horribleness, Ph.D.

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    If only they were fly-by-night. University of Phoenix, for example, has a 16% graduation rate, a 12.9% loan default rate, takes more money in Pell grants than any other school in the country, and has diplomas that are worth about as much as a dirty piece of toilet paper. It's been around for 36 years and enrolls over 300,000 students.
  29. Azure

    Azure I could kick your ass

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    I think American IT schools or schools teaching computer science are by a LONG shot the best in the world.

    Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple....all these 'tech' communities were born in the US.
  30. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    This is very true. It used to be that vocational schools were seen as a dumping ground for kids who weren't smart enough to hack it in a real school, but that's an outdated perception. For one thing, the vocations they train people for are far more mentally rigorous than they were 30 or 40 years ago; many of them require advanced math and problem-solving skills. And with more sophisticated educational methods, the traditional academic disciplines can be very easily worked into a vocational classroom.

    Unfortunately, the outdated attitude persists. I live in a county with one of the best technical education high schools in the state, but I've heard from people who work there that there are still guidance counselors at the regular high schools who cling to the belief that "vo-tech is slow-tech" and advise kids accordingly.
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