American Education

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Reply Tue 6 May, 2008 07:45 pm
This goes slightly off philosophy, but it's still at least intellectual discussion.
How do you all feel about American education? Why? Is it saveable?

It worries me.
 
vajrasattva
 
Reply Sun 18 May, 2008 04:32 pm
@SantaMonica1369,
I think it is in need of improvement but at the same time it can be great for those of us who take advantage of it.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 19 May, 2008 10:34 am
@vajrasattva,
It's all what you make of it.

You always have the option of ignoring the teacher and reading a good book. Wink

American education is all kinds of messed up. Not that any country is perfect, but there is so much we could do to vastly improve our education system, and at the same time save money. Of course, this will never happen as politicians are addicted to funding, damn results. Just look at the War on Drugs or War on Terror.
 
the thinker
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 12:11 am
@Didymos Thomas,
I think it's great that so many people have access to an education, but some of it leaves something to be desired. Though, you have to think about it...high schoolers today are learning stuff that, 20 years ago, no one even had an idea about.

The weird thing about education is that parents will say "Oh, wow, that's the coolest project ever!" and the kids will say, "it's stupid, it's just more work, I don't want to do this." Well, not always, but 90% of the time (at least in my experience.)
 
urangutan
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 07:39 am
@the thinker,
I cannot comment directly on American Education but I think across the globe, the education systems are "befuffled" beyond repair. Maybe this response is to broad and maybe it is just simply wrong.

All we seem to do is teach the children and expect them to learn, knowing how to learn is not sponging up moisture in a cloth.

I like to use mathematics as an example. Why do so many children turn away from it and you can give all the excuses you like but the reason is that it has no projected life. That is to say, why we have math, where maths is going and what can be done with maths. Not unlike chemistry, where the teacher will thrill the class with every new compound to interest the students, maths shows nothing when there is so much to explain. Oddly what good is Chem if a student turns away from Maths. Mathematics needs that explaination. Where and why we have zero, basic algebra is the root to formulaeic equationing and where this can apply.

There is more to education than mathematics but I don't think I am moving in the wrong direction.
 
de budding
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 01:56 pm
@urangutan,
urangutan wrote:
I cannot comment directly on American Education but I think across the globe, the education systems are "befuffled" beyond repair. Maybe this response is to broad and maybe it is just simply wrong.

All we seem to do is teach the children and expect them to learn, knowing how to learn is not sponging up moisture in a cloth.

I like to use mathematics as an example. Why do so many children turn away from it and you can give all the excuses you like but the reason is that it has no projected life. That is to say, why we have math, where maths is going and what can be done with maths. Not unlike chemistry, where the teacher will thrill the class with every new compound to interest the students, maths shows nothing when there is so much to explain. Oddly what good is Chem if a student turns away from Maths. Mathematics needs that explaination. Where and why we have zero, basic algebra is the root to formulaeic equationing and where this can apply.

There is more to education than mathematics but I don't think I am moving in the wrong direction.


Like I always say, we have to teach them to learn first.
Dan
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 03:13 pm
@de budding,
 
urangutan
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 06:14 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon, that only compounds the problem with education world wide. The idea that you can buy an education, die for an education or simply miss out on an education due to the number of applicants, is to say the least ridiculous.

I guess I am using Australia in this instance, I don't imagine that the rest of the world has Social Security like us. When a father of four can avoid working because he will be paid benefits to a greater sum than his income, while we have an educational fund shortage is ridiculous. I am sure you can note the problem in your own country.

When the teachers of any real quality, quit the profession because the standard of education drops below the requirements, is ridiculous.

When there is a final grade that is believed to show that an education has been acheived and this is the bench mark, an education itself seems ridiculous.

Real education is more than this and in fact is nothing like this.
 
Afallucco
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 08:52 pm
@urangutan,
American education itself is not in as bad a shape as many believe it to be. The unsuccessful nature of much of the American education system is largely due to the lack of discipline in schools and at home.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 25 Jun, 2008 01:52 am
@Afallucco,
Afallucco, I have to disagree with you about the state of our educational system. However, you are absolutely right when you sight discipline as the primary problem.

Disciplined students will study - period. But it is difficult to promote disciplined students when the educators are incapable of teaching their subject. Even when the teachers are capable, government requirements tie their hands and do not allow capable teachers to run their classrooms effectively. There is a reason why teachers have been so universally infuriated by No Child Left Behind and similar state initiatives.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 25 Jun, 2008 12:29 pm
@Afallucco,
Afallucco wrote:
The unsuccessful nature of much of the American education system is largely due to the lack of discipline in schools and at home.
I don't believe that this is a major component. Schools are grossly underfunded, they have to deal with unfunded governmental mandates, teachers' salaries are so low that they can't attract the brightest college grads to the profession, the teacher:student ratio is terrible, and the mainstreaming of kids with special needs and the elimination of gifted programs means that classroom quality is going to regress towards some mediocre mean. Extracurriciular activities are being compromised, arts / music / sports are the first to get cut, facilities are run down, so school is a less enriching experience. In the end it all comes down to funding. With enough money and enough societal commitment our schools would be a lot better.
 
urangutan
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 04:41 am
@Aedes,
Aedes, societal commitment built the very foundation of America. Town Halls, Schools and most infrastructure was built from the minds of concerned citizens and off the backs of people who could see a future grander than what they knew of the past. America is not the land of the free, it never was, it was the land of the greatest socialist structure there is, community. America is not a democratic nation it is a communal one.

The fifties turned the world around and politics took the greatest dive there was, when the concept of communal was mixed with communism to that of Russia. This is where my point to Afallucco enters the divide and discipline is not the answer but constructing a work ethic within all children is. You can beat a child senseless for the purpose of discipline but it does not get them working correctly. A bad scenario but the message is ledgable.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 05:41 am
@urangutan,
Quote:
Town Halls, Schools and most infrastructure was built from the minds of concerned citizens and off the backs of people who could see a future grander than what they knew of the past.


This is a very idealistic portrayal of the development of America. The education system in America is the result of government, not the result of some shared communal interest - building a school isn't a barn raising, or at least hasn't been equivalent to a barn raising in about a hundred years.

The infrastructure of the US is the result of government and big business, not of a communal commitment. Communities did not build railroads, large corporations with government subsidies built them.

Quote:
The fifties turned the world around and politics took the greatest dive there was, when the concept of communal was mixed with communism to that of Russia. This is where my point to Afallucco enters the divide and discipline is not the answer but constructing a work ethic within all children is. You can beat a child senseless for the purpose of discipline but it does not get them working correctly. A bad scenario but the message is ledgable.


You're right about beating children and discipline, but I do not think any one suggested lashings were the solution to discipline issues. Work ethic is a matter of discipline - personal discipline, the most important sort of discipline a student, or anyone for that matter, can have.
 
urangutan
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 06:17 am
@Didymos Thomas,
If schools in America is the result of the government explain to me why you have so many accents. The reason you do is that most schools through the history of America are the development from the church. The Methodist and Lutheran churches of a certain area in America aided an accent development that stems from a Germanic background of the teacher who taught English in that neck of the woods. Yes of course government brought the school forward through the ages but it was the community that first developed the school. Follow most relious movements in Americas past and you can almost hear the accent develop.

A work ethic can also be a conditioning not unlike regimentation and it can be brough about in more ways than simply expecting it from the parents. The way things have got you can barely trust parents for anything and that is a problem in itself.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 07:02 am
@urangutan,
Accents are regional, and teachers are nearly always from the region where they teach. Furthermore, accents are not 'taught' -- you can still speak perfectly grammatically correct English with a Bronx accent or a Texas accent.

As for this decline after the 1950s, consider that our highways, dams, power grid, internet, etc were mostly built after that point.

Schools DID start at the community level, but government stepped in to standardize curriculum and to guarantee access to all children.
 
urangutan
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 02:21 am
@Aedes,
I am not denying what you are saying Aedes, except that to simply accept that accents are regional does not explain how they came to exist. It is not something in the water. An accent is taught in pronounciation; a not aye, b not bee, c not see.............. . Pronounciation has its roots in the past and the past stems from church education, not religious education but school taught by the ministers of the church, the wife or daughter of the minister and so on. Where it is not the church you will most likely find it was for example an Irish teacher teaching in an Irish comunity of America.

I am not attacking America when I talk of the decline since the fifties. I am saying that in politics, with the confrontation between democracy and communism, the us and them mentality has turned communal effort into individual concern. The needs of the individual outweighs those of all others. We complain about being taxed, we complain about what the taxes are spent on and we complain that our taxes are not reimbursed directly back to us through what we consider our needs.

By the way sometimes "individual" doesn't simply apply to a singular, it can be minority or a group, it can also be the representation of a nation on its own or an east west scenario.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 09:01 pm
@urangutan,
urangutan wrote:
I am not denying what you are saying Aedes, except that to simply accept that accents are regional does not explain how they came to exist.
Yes, it does -- the ethnic background of many parts of the United States is responsible for the extant accents, particularly given that until radios were commonly owned there was no source of homogenization of different accents.

And even though you're from a physically large country, I don't think you can possibly appreciate the ethnic diversity of the United States, much of which has developed only since the late 19th century. Believe me, I'm from Connecticut which is one of the smallest states in the country, and even to this day there are vastly different accents in the eastern part of the state (near Rhode Island) than from the southwestern part (near NYC).

I don't recall ever having a pronunciation class in public school. And even if there were, that would not eliminate regional differences in how the same phoneme is pronounced.

Quote:
I am saying that in politics, with the confrontation between democracy and communism, the us and them mentality has turned communal effort into individual concern.
And in saying this you COMPLETELY ignore how many more social programs and federally funded infrastructure programs have come into existence during this time. Medicare, Medicaid, the Eisenhower Interstate System, the Department of Education (1979!), and many more. The historical facts are almost the exact opposite of what you're contending.

Quote:
The needs of the individual outweighs those of all others. We complain about being taxed, we complain about what the taxes are spent on and we complain that our taxes are not reimbursed directly back to us through what we consider our needs.
Yes, people complain because the money that 50 years ago was untaxed net income now funds various federal programs -- i.e. people complain that the government has put their money towards communal concerns, again the opposite of what you've said.
 
urangutan
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 09:23 pm
@Aedes,
Ethnic backround Aedes is exactly what I said and as far as pronounciation taking part in class what accent do you think the teacher has that is teaching the students. As far as ethnic diversity is concerned, the only thing we are missing in Australia is a community of Native North American Indians. Yes, we do not have the numbers to allow an infiltration of language diversity but it can be heard in children that American English is developing and that is due to television programs. I notice it in my daughter but that it due to her mother who was taught American English in her homeland. I can hear the difference in accent and I do not know how to say this but I do not have an accent. I can put one on but I sound like Bono when he sings not when he talks. Only when someone sings folk songs do they generally pronounce their accent, where mostly songs are sung at a pitch and tone that overides the general accent.

Medicare and Medicaid, but isn't it insurance that confirms you get to see a doctor when you need. The Medicare program in Australia covers all people all the time. Insurance is a must if you earn over a limited amount per annum, this however is a new addition to the program. Medicare is a direct debit from a persons wage every pay day throughout your working life. The downfall exists in elective surgery. Insurance is a benefit in these cases.

The Eisenhower Interstate system, has a primary function but it ignored the life that lived on old highways and that is a stike against the individual. No different than multi corporations overtaking all small buisness. Communal is vertually non existant. We don't have much of a choice when it comes to interstate highways, most of which are single lane roads that require constant maintenance to ensure safety. The luxury is that mostly, traffic is at a minmimum overtaking is not that difficult and most of the country is a flat piece of bread.

Your arguement has its flaws and I do not know what you mean by untaxed net income but people complain that the government puts their money towards other cummunal concerns and not theirs. It is not the opposite of what I said, it is on the money. Try asking for a five dollar contribution from every worker in America for schools in the state of Montana. Now tell people you are going to take five dollars from every worker for the same thing. You will see the differrence between communal and individual.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2008 06:43 am
@SantaMonica1369,
SantaMonica1369 wrote:
This goes slightly off philosophy, but it's still at least intellectual discussion.
How do you all feel about American education? Why? Is it saveable?


I've watched this thread dive down the rabbit hole on and off and finally decided to sound off.

I don't think that the compilation of disciplines U.S. schools has implemented is flawed, as such. But in actuality it struggles; that its effectiveness wanes. Assuming this is true, that lack of effectiveness hasn't much to do with the curriculum per say, as it does other issues that bleed into the school when our kiddies walk through the doors.

They bring baggage with them that is the result of our culture. Some of it is quite good (there are a good deal of parents out there who've taken great pains to mold independent, courteous and studious minds). But these aren't our focus (or, rather, not mine). My input has to do with the problems manifest in our education system that are actually due to bad parenting, poor discipline (when and where needed, already discussed here) and most importantly, a lack of focus owing to the nature of rampant commodification.

I blogged this particular aspect here, but essentially my immediate claim is that the problems we DO have in schools are due, in large part, to the disconnected mindset spawned by consumerism run-amuck; its dark side is that it skews priorities and supplants slow and natural learning of the world with quick thrills, easy pills and flashy colors (thus leading to an abyss ultimately contrary to the health of a culture).

I hope this makes sense, although I love my country and people I believe our focus is so rampantly redirected through "Buy! Buy! Buy!" and their charms, that we lose our way - leading our children to follow suit and lose whatever intellectual inclinations they might have otherwise had.

I'm not sure I've done a good job at doing this aspect justice - but methinks it very important in the extent to which it negatively permeates all aspects of our society (not the least of which is our woes of our education system).
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 10:55 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Here is a good ABC documentary on the problems with American education and how to solve it:

YouTube - Stupid in America
 
 

 
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