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Old 04-18-2014, 03:07 PM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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In this thread we should about the education system. Specifically the American one because that is the one I am most familiar with. In the United States we spend a lot of money on education. More so per student than almost any other nation. Here is a neat picture that shows how much we spend and how well we do with sources at the bottom.This can be interpreted a couple of ways. The United States has a lot more money than these other nations and a lower cost of living. We might have to pay more in order to get the same effect. This is the case even after you account for spending per student. Either way the American education system, in my opinion, is terrible.

One of the biggest issues I have with it that your public school you go to is determined by where you live unless you can afford to go to a private school. When my parents were together that meant they would live in the rich district with the best school system in the state because they can. The students my mother teaches in the poor inner city don't have that option. As far as equal opportunity in life is concerned this puts them at a massive disadvantage.

Then there is also limited options for students in regards to what school they can go to. You can't have specialized schools for different people. It is this one size fits all approach to school you don't have any sort of flexibility. It is like putting people through an assemble line. I knew a lot of people that failed at school not because they couldn't perform in life but because they hated their teachers and didn't try. I knew a guy that got his GED but taught himself computer programming with just the internet.

People could debate forever on what we should teach in schools. English, Math, Science, and Social Studies are considered core components and I agree with those. I think we need to separate the concept of knowledge acquisition and value of knowledge from schooling. There are many ways to learn in life. In the Air Force I get a lot of training, experiences, and travel that I can learn from. That GED guy I mentioned earlier used the internet. I have a friend that got a job at Walmart right out of high school and learned leadership skills and worked his way up to Assistant Manager. There is a lot of learning to be done via heuristics.

I just feel like the American education could be more effective and efficient if we had more choices and options. The kids in the poorest of neighborhoods wouldn't be at such a disadvantage. There would be more room for flexibility and innovation. School choice is a policy where if you take your kid out of the normal public education system you get a voucher to apply to another school or subsidize the cost of a private school. Personally I believe that would do wonders for the kids stuck at failing schools and encouraging flexibility and innovation.

As for post K-12 we should just stop showing favoritism to universities and have more people advancing their learning with on the job training and vocational schools. I am going to a university for Electrical Engineering but I feel like I have to learn all kinds of extra stuff that is what I like to call "learn and purge," where you learn things to take a test and then you forget about it. The statistics for college loans/debt, graduation rates, and employment prospects are an unsustainable system. It isn't completely useless and I understand it works for some people but I think society would benefit if there was more choice and diversity in how our people were educated.

I know a lot of people have talked about this topic before but I think it needed its own thread so we don't have all the threads in the same few topics.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:14 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Why not try and fix the failing schools?
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:25 PM
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Frankly I don't get why we don't have more schools on the internet. I learned more in middle school on wikpedia than I did with my ass in the seat at school. Too many parents see school as daycare for their kids rather than its intended function as education.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:55 PM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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Why not try and fix the failing schools?
Things like No Child Left Behind and Common Core aren't very effective. School choice would fix those schools though. It is a solution that is different than the ones that have been tried before. It isn't just the school systems fault for the poor conditions of these areas. It is just part of it and a part the government is in control of.

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Frankly I don't get why we don't have more schools on the internet. I learned more in middle school on wikpedia than I did with my ass in the seat at school. Too many parents see school as daycare for their kids rather than its intended function as education.
A lot of kids don't have the discipline or self-control to self-study on the internet. The internet is amazing though. I love that kind of technology and is the main reason I want to work on telecommunications. You can learn so much about auto repair and home repair just by looking it up online. There are even a lot of free guides on computer programming which is a useful skill for everyone. I have been trying to get better at cooking by watching videos and reading guides online.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:28 PM
Cantus Cantus is offline

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Originally Posted by Omacron View Post
Frankly I don't get why we don't have more schools on the internet. I learned more in middle school on wikpedia than I did with my ass in the seat at school. Too many parents see school as daycare for their kids rather than its intended function as education.
It's all about the context. I can learn about a thousand events from Wikipedia or more reputable sources, but without the context provided by an individual who has taken the time to research, reference, and truly understand that material, what I learn won't actually bear any weight in the context of the real world.

This is why even my Wiki-Physics addiction has always been tempered by talking to people in the actual field itself. What basic concepts I learn on Wikipedia are put into their proper condensed constraints by people who actively understand all the math that builds up to that point. Ditto for Comp Sci, Legal, and etc.

Otherwise we end up with ideology instead of enlightenment. Doctrines prescribed down a hundred years of belief without the minutia that's really required to understand things and know where their limitations are.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:52 PM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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I mean, do you want the government to crack down on universities and force them to guarantee jobs and work experience to the students? That would be dangerously close to ... socialism.
No. I don't think everyone should go to a university and I don't think I should have to take electives/liberal arts for an EE degree. It think if it wasn't subsidized by the state and there was more competition the quality of education would go up and the costs would go down.

I think people would still take the liberal arts and humanities at a way cheaper cost then they are now. Some people could show an interest in those subjects just like people want to learn how to play the violin or learn how to scuba dive.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:06 PM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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God, I was joking you really do have some German qualities in you.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:06 PM
Omacron Omacron is offline


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Originally Posted by Cantus View Post
It's all about the context. I can learn about a thousand events from Wikipedia or more reputable sources, but without the context provided by an individual who has taken the time to research, reference, and truly understand that material, what I learn won't actually bear any weight in the context of the real world.

This is why even my Wiki-Physics addiction has always been tempered by talking to people in the actual field itself. What basic concepts I learn on Wikipedia are put into their proper condensed constraints by people who actively understand all the math that builds up to that point. Ditto for Comp Sci, Legal, and etc.

Otherwise we end up with ideology instead of enlightenment. Doctrines prescribed down a hundred years of belief without the minutia that's really required to understand things and know where their limitations are.
I didn't mean autodidacticism, I meant online classes (like those offered by universities) should supplant mandatory, physical schools. There would still be physical private schools, but the "bare minimum" of our education could be conducted over the internet. Give a kid a laptop, a router and a teacher for every 30 or so kids and you can close the physical buildings and save a shitload of money.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:31 PM
HlaaluStyle HlaaluStyle is offline

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Originally Posted by Omacron View Post
Frankly I don't get why we don't have more schools on the internet. I learned more in middle school on wikpedia than I did with my ass in the seat at school. Too many parents see school as daycare for their kids rather than its intended function as education.
Personally, I never got much out of online learning. It's difficult to feel investment in something that's so distant. However, the only classes I took online were on subjects that didn't particularly interest me, so that may have played a role.

They may work pretty well for students who are very motivated and interested in the subject.

Beyond that, I pretty much agree with what PJ said in the OP.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:17 PM
Omacron Omacron is offline


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The biggest two things that dragged down my grades in school, IMO, were other students and having to wake up early. I may be projecting and assuming everyone else was like me. Then again I went to a school which has more nobel prize winning alumni than Spain (suck it, Lon-Ami) so maybe I'm biased.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:21 PM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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Quit being so privileged Omacron!
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:44 AM
Kynrind Kynrind is offline

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The biggest two things that dragged down my grades in school, IMO, were other students and having to wake up early. I may be projecting and assuming everyone else was like me. Then again I went to a school which has more nobel prize winning alumni than Spain (suck it, Lon-Ami) so maybe I'm biased.
Waking up at 6-7-8 am to go to school is not early. It's only early if you stayed up after 9-11 pm till after midnight or in the early AM. If you're staying up that late then complaining about being tired in the morning.. go to bed earlier?

Sheesh, complaining about getting up early.. Kids these days..
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:18 AM
Arterius Arterius is offline

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I haven't read the entire thread yet, but I just wanted to throw in my feedback so far.

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Originally Posted by Pajamasalad View Post
I just feel like the American education could be more effective and efficient if we had more choices and options. The kids in the poorest of neighborhoods wouldn't be at such a disadvantage. There would be more room for flexibility and innovation. School choice is a policy where if you take your kid out of the normal public education system you get a voucher to apply to another school or subsidize the cost of a private school. Personally I believe that would do wonders for the kids stuck at failing schools and encouraging flexibility and innovation.
Vouchers are problematic at best. The advantages of private schools over public schools are vague at best, even if you accept test scores as an adequate measure of educational quality (which they aren't). Also, unless you implement them a certain way, the major effect they will have is concentrating problem kids in public schools, making them even worse. Not to mention the can of worms you would open by effectively providing government subsidies to religious institutions, seeing as how a large number of private schools in the US are run by churches.

On the other side of the fence, government funds means government oversight. Providing taxpayer funds to private schools necessitates requiring private schools to adhere to government standards, which will piss off libertarians in the best of times.

They also do nothing to address the underlying problems of education, one of the biggest problems being standardized testing and how it constrains the curriculum. Students are not being taught to learn the material, but to pass the test. It results in an over-reliance on rote memorization and a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. And usually the one method being used to teach is the worst possible method you could use. Seriously, the way a lot of math and english classes are taught, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more effective way to get students to hate those subjects.

You'd get better results by having specialized schools and improving the way subjects are taught rather than just shuffling the kids around.

Quote:
As for post K-12 we should just stop showing favoritism to universities and have more people advancing their learning with on the job training and vocational schools. I am going to a university for Electrical Engineering but I feel like I have to learn all kinds of extra stuff that is what I like to call "learn and purge," where you learn things to take a test and then you forget about it. The statistics for college loans/debt, graduation rates, and employment prospects are an unsustainable system. It isn't completely useless and I understand it works for some people but I think society would benefit if there was more choice and diversity in how our people were educated.
This I definitely agree with. There is way too much emphasis on colleges and universities and not nearly enough on other options like trade schools and apprenticeships. People can make a lot of money if they become a skilled electrician, mechanic, or carpenter, for example, and universities are a poor environment for learning those trades.

Not to mention that most universities are for-profit institutions and often offer programs with little real-world application at best, but do nothing to inform the students that choosing those programs may hurt their future prospects if they are getting their degree with the goal of steady employment.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:33 PM
PajamaSalad PajamaSalad is offline

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Vouchers are problematic at best. The advantages of private schools over public schools are vague at best, even if you accept test scores as an adequate measure of educational quality (which they aren't). Also, unless you implement them a certain way, the major effect they will have is concentrating problem kids in public schools, making them even worse. Not to mention the can of worms you would open by effectively providing government subsidies to religious institutions, seeing as how a large number of private schools in the US are run by churches.

On the other side of the fence, government funds means government oversight. Providing taxpayer funds to private schools necessitates requiring private schools to adhere to government standards, which will piss off libertarians in the best of times.

They also do nothing to address the underlying problems of education, one of the biggest problems being standardized testing and how it constrains the curriculum. Students are not being taught to learn the material, but to pass the test. It results in an over-reliance on rote memorization and a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. And usually the one method being used to teach is the worst possible method you could use. Seriously, the way a lot of math and english classes are taught, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more effective way to get students to hate those subjects.

You'd get better results by having specialized schools and improving the way subjects are taught rather than just shuffling the kids around.
Indiana has an extensive voucher system and I don't see an issue with it. There was a court challenge with public funding going to religious schools but it was shot down. The state wasn't funding religion. The people were taking money that should be theirs in the first place and letting them choose which kind of school it was going to.

I think vouchers do wonders because they make schools compete and give people more options. It facilitates innovation. If your kid is having trouble at a larger school they can be moved to a smaller one and see if that works better for them. Private schools are usually more structured and that could be better for some people.

There can still be standards and transparency. You could send your kid to a high school that has better statistics for things like college acceptance, unemployment, salary, and graduation rate. As long as all this kind of data is collected you could find ways to compare them.
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This I definitely agree with. There is way too much emphasis on colleges and universities and not nearly enough on other options like trade schools and apprenticeships. People can make a lot of money if they become a skilled electrician, mechanic, or carpenter, for example, and universities are a poor environment for learning those trades.

Not to mention that most universities are for-profit institutions and often offer programs with little real-world application at best, but do nothing to inform the students that choosing those programs may hurt their future prospects if they are getting their degree with the goal of steady employment.
I think universities are more concerned about collecting as much government money as possible than they are actually teaching people. They can jack up tuition prices and make curriculum easier to collect more money. Degrees that force you to take more than you actually need to perform the job. So many degrees could be done in 1-3 years instead of 4. It would be a lot cheaper and time efficient. The reason businesses require experience and not just a college degree isn't because they are evil. It is because a college degree has been devalued.

People need to understand that there are multiply ways to learn something. You can learn a lot of things on the job and through out your experiences in life. You will be learning your entire life.
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