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Stupid In America
FN Posted: Mon Jan 16 07:51:02 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Any thoughts on this?


http://www.reason.com/hod/js011306.shtml


To watch the video they talk about, you cn watch it here:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1491217

press "click to watch video" and then pick " John Stossel and "20/20" look at the failings of the U.S. educational system."


 
addi Posted: Mon Jan 16 08:13:28 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I have a few "relatives" going through the european education system (germany)and the difference in the quality of their education compared to most U.S. elementary and secondary schools is something I was sadly already aware of.
To focus on labor unions, as this article seemed to do, as the source of the problem is missing the boat though. I taught in the south and the school unions are essentially non-exsistant here, and their power is very limited. Still, without union interferance, so many of the southern public schools are severely lacking.
The problems are multiple and varied as to why we are behind other westernized countries in educating our children. For one thing our culture today doesn't place a high standard on education, compared to other cultures. One example of this is the deplorable salary teachers make. But the reasons extend far beyond this. Too many parents are not doing their jobs, by emphazing the critical value in learning in their children. Politicians also get in the way (Bush's "No Child left Behind" is a farce). Bleh...too many factors to take the time to get into now.

It's sad...and the consequences of this will end up biting us in the butt sooner rather than later.


 
addi Posted: Mon Jan 16 08:51:57 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  added thoughts...

the above post was a sweeping generalization of our public school system. There are many good public schools here that I would guess are on equal par with any european school..there's just not enough of them. Also there are many excellant private schools; the problem being that the tuition is out of reach for so many families.
Also keep in mind when a comparison is made between Belgium and the U.S. of our population differences. You are around 10 million. We are now around 300 million.
If you're a cowboy trying to herd cattle it's a lot easier to accomplish your mission with 10 cattle, compared to doing it with a herd of 10,000. Not a defense of our educational inadequacies, just a statement of fact.


 
FN Posted: Mon Jan 16 09:01:00 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I don't know.

Perhaps it is easier to accomplish your mission with 10 cattle instead of 300 as a single cowboy, but chances are that the bigger the herd, the more cowboys you have.

So if I'd have to chose to herd 10 cattle by myself or 300 with 30 cowboys, I'd go for the last option.

What I'm saying is that I think that is a "fact", as you say, to which you can attribute any pro's or cons, since it is just a matter of scale and you could compare Belgium to a US state, so I don't really see the difference.


 
FN Posted: Mon Jan 16 09:04:46 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>What I'm saying is that I think that is a "fact", as you say, to which you can attribute any pro's or cons, since it is just a matter of scale and you could compare Belgium to a US state, so I don't really see the difference.


Okay, screwed up in this one. Let me try again:


What I'm saying is that I don't think that the "fact" you put forth is of any importance to the debate in terms of linking any pros or cons to the educational system as it is simply a matter of scale. With higher costs and difficulties come more earnings and more people to handle it as well, and if that doesn't work for you you could just compare Belgium to a US state.




I stumbled onto this thing by accident, but I always heard that education is really expensive in the US so I didn't really get where the difference was coming from.


 
addi Posted: Mon Jan 16 09:27:50 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>What I'm saying is that I don't think that the "fact" you put forth is of any importance to the debate in terms of linking any pros or cons to the educational system as it is simply a matter of scale.

Ahhh, but it is a factor. Too many cooks in the kitchen sort of thing. I think you're oversimplifying the matter. And comparing Belgium to a U.S. state is also shakey. Our states don't operate as isolated governments. There is some degree of autonomy, but the federal government is very connected to the policies of all 50 states here...especially in matters of federal financing.



>I stumbled onto this thing by accident, but I always heard that education is really expensive in the US so I didn't really get where the difference was coming from.

Tell me about it. College tuition is off the chain here. Fucking ridiculous for 98% of college bound students (the other 2% qualify for full ride scholorships as atheletes, or mental geniuses). You get student loans, get a good education, and then spend the next 25 years trying to pay back your college loans.


 
FN Posted: Mon Jan 16 09:34:38 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Do you think states should get more autonomy?


 
addi Posted: Mon Jan 16 10:28:32 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>Do you think states should get more autonomy?

Such an excellant question (sorry..the teacher in me surfaces)

That question has been debated since the founding of our country (Jefferson and Hamilton). I think it's a good thing niether side totally prevailed..they compromised. Too much large government would have lead to disaster, and too much state autonomy would have essentially lead to 50 separate small countries.
The trick (as with so many things in life) is to keep the right balance between the two, and we haven't always been able to pull that off.

To answer your question though I personally don't think giving each state more power would solve the problem. Some dumbass governour, ignorant on educational issues, would find a way to muck things up despite good intentions.
Yeah..I'm kinda jaded about political leaders lately


 
Posted: Mon Jan 16 11:19:49 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ehhhh

see, now that's tough.

You can talk about statistics all you want in this respect, but you're forgetting that we're talking about enormous pools of individuals.

Reading this sort of information, one New Jersey student should not say to him/herself "well fuck, I may as well just drop out now".

Similarly, one Belgian student should not say to him/herself "well fuck if I'm going to try as hard as I have been, I have the best educators in the world".


And that's not right.

Because maybe you'll have 80 of 100 Belgians who go on to lead above average lives because of their education, and maybe the equivalent in the United States is only around 65 of 100 to go on to lead above average lives.

But maybe one of those americans is Ernest Hemingway. or Noam Chomsky. or Kurt Vonnegut.


The importance isn't to have a society of many above-average-intelligence citizens, although it certainly helps.

The importance is perhaps to have a society of flourishing individuals, and not look at a statistic of one's school system as necessarily detrimental to one's own personal education.

Because if some people do well in a system,

is it not possible for others to do well in that same system?


 
FN Posted: Mon Jan 16 11:42:05 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Lol.

You might be up for a country of fools ran by a few exceptions, I for one am more for a country of "above average" people who can make up their own minds and don't have to stand in anybody's shadow thinking "well, it didn't work for stupid me, but I'm glad somebody turned out to be a hemingway".

One of them might be exceptional...

So what's your point? Because I don't get what you're saying. Are you saying you can't have both, or that it is better to have a large base of poorly educated common folk?

What you're saying smells like intellectual communism my friend.



I think your arguement is completely missing the point.





I don't see what the hemingways or chomskys have to do with this.

And also, how can you expect somebody to be interested in geography for example if they don't recieve the spark to get them going through basic (and decent) education?


 



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