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Thread: Role of education/infrastructure in US leadership

  1. #11
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Well, I teach high school. Nice school, nice kids, relatively decent education, vast majority go to college, most of those who go stay and graduate. I love my job.

    I will tell you that if I REALLY want a written assignment done by 100 percent of the class--with no plagiarism or cheating or group-think or BS half-done crap--I have to do all the instruction in class (no written instruction sent home), allow most of the reading time in class (if they are responding to literature), have them do the thinking and planning in class, and when it comes time to actually produce, make the written portion silent in-class work and make it due before they leave class. If I send it home with them, the vast majority simply don't have the time or motivation to follow through with any seriousness.

    I teach some wonderful kids, and I don't do this for every assignment, but if I want that 100 percent participation with maximum effort from all, this is what I generally have to do.

    The mostly-suburban teens I teach simply don't have the time, parental support and parental discipline, and internal motivation to follow through on an assignment. Once that final bell rings, they are at work or at practice. They are working because they need to help pay for their insurance because they have to have a car so that they can drive themselves to sports practice and work, and since they have a car they also get to drive little brother or sister to sports and activities. They are practicing all year round because there is no such thing as a single season anymore--if they are excellent at one sport, they generally play that sport year-round intensively at the club level, because otherwise they just can't cut it when the season comes around, OR they play complementary sports for the same reason--or to keep themselves visible to the rest of the community and the coaches, so their name is still at the top of everyone's thoughts when their season does roll around.

    There are actually punitive (I mean, "conditioning") measures for the few students in one sport. Players end up having to participate in extended pre-seasons before their sport rolls around--if they play club, they are exempt.

    I'm not against sports, either. I'm just telling it like I see it. And if it's not sports, it's something else that is "their thing" that's not schoolwork. I teach a remarkable number of kids who dance 20 hours a week--I'm surprised Columbus, Ohio isn't known as the hotbed of American ballet talent!

    My point is, school and study are not a priority--activities are. And once they're in an activity, they are IN--I can hear the parents in my head, "He's so talented... he takes 5 lessons a week... She's so dedicated... she's at it until 2 in the morning..." The pressure to do and achieve is astounding. And kids certainly feel pressure to achieve at school--but I'm not sure they understand the importance of actually learning. Learning is such a low priority that most kids don't even know what cheating is--they just do it, because they think the point of an assignment is to get it done and graded--not to learn something. By and large, the parents feel the same way.

    I genuinely feel for kids sometimes--it's go-go-go on a multi-tasking agenda that they often have no control over or that has gotten out of all reasonable balance. IMO these kids should be excited by new and interesting things out there to learn--instead, they're mostly just exhausted.

    I'm not sure this is an issue that can be solved by reforming "education."

    But if I think back hard enough, I was overscheduled and exhausted as a teen, and so was every single one of my friends, and a lot of kids cheated, and the teachers complained that education wasn't a priority... so who knows.
    Last edited by luvalab; 01-18-2009 at 01:18 AM.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member tpaschal30's Avatar
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    Here is the real issue in education and crime and the poor parenting usually associated with it.

    http://www.kdheks.gov/hci/as/1997/figure15.gif

  3. #13
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpaschal30 View Post
    Here is the real issue in education and crime and the poor parenting usually associated with it.

    http://www.kdheks.gov/hci/as/1997/figure15.gif
    Perhaps at one time, I don't know.

    But IMO, today it's irrelevant. Family structures have changed in all demographics. Drugs, poverty, and a culture and subcultures with some serious conflicts about the importance of academics... those things march on.
    --Greta Ode
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  4. #14
    Senior Member tpaschal30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    Perhaps at one time, I don't know.

    But IMO, today it's irrelevant. Family structures have changed in all demographics. Drugs, poverty, and a culture and subcultures with some serious conflicts about the importance of academics... those things march on.
    It is hard for me to believe the discounting of the job of parenting. Poor dog training yields poor dog behavior. Poor child training yields poor child and adult behavior, which includes drugs and "culture". Poverty is not an issue

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_L6pDyjqqsv...rate+in+us.jpg

  5. #15
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpaschal30 View Post
    It is hard for me to believe the discounting of the job of parenting. Poor dog training yields poor dog behavior. Poor child training yields poor child and adult behavior, which includes drugs and "culture". Poverty is not an issue

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_L6pDyjqqsv...rate+in+us.jpg
    I'm not sure what you're comparing, first of all. Second, whatever statistic you throw at me is not going to convince me that poverty and education success are unrelated--seen too much other evidence, you just can't compete!

    And finally, I think the job of parenting is absolutely crucial to a child's success--I just don't happen to think that a context-less statistic about unwed births has anything to do with good parenting in the year 2009--lots of parents who are unmarried parent--often together, co-habitating; lots of single parents parent very effectively; lots of other family members step in to fill parenting roles previously filled in other ways--I think things are in flux.

    From my vantage point, I see a good number of unparented teens who have two married parents, and a good number of well-parented teens without a natural parent in sight.

    I have my own views on what's right for me and those I hold most dear to me, but my own views don't seem to have anything to do with what I see in the classroom or amongst my friends.

    You can tell me I have my head in the sand on the subject--if it is, I might just decide to keep it there, because it keeps me from making assumptions about a huge number of parents and kids I have personal and professional relationships with.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member tpaschal30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    I'm not sure what you're comparing, first of all. Second, whatever statistic you throw at me is not going to convince me that poverty and education success are unrelated--seen too much other evidence, you just can't compete!

    And finally, I think the job of parenting is absolutely crucial to a child's success--I just don't happen to think that a context-less statistic about unwed births has anything to do with good parenting in the year 2009--lots of parents who are unmarried parent--often together, co-habitating; lots of single parents parent very effectively; lots of other family members step in to fill parenting roles previously filled in other ways--I think things are in flux.

    From my vantage point, I see a good number of unparented teens who have two married parents, and a good number of well-parented teens without a natural parent in sight.

    I have my own views on what's right for me and those I hold most dear to me, but my own views don't seem to have anything to do with what I see in the classroom or amongst my friends.

    You can tell me I have my head in the sand on the subject--if it is, I might just decide to keep it there, because it keeps me from making assumptions about a huge number of parents and kids I have personal and professional relationships with.
    Overall poverty has remained stable over the last 40 years, while crime has risen and return on education has dropped. The 40 year destruction of the American family directly coincides with rise in crime. I guess you think parenting is half the job it was 40 years ago. I on the other hand think it might be twice the job. I'm no Obama fan but;

    "C]hildren living with single mothers are five times more likely to be poor than children in two-parent households. Children in single-parent homes are also more likely to drop out of school and become teen parents, even when income is factored out. And the evidence suggests that on average, children who live with their biological mother and father do better than those who live in stepfamilies or with cohabiting partners.... In light of these facts, policies that strengthen marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are sensible goals to pursue.

    --Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope"

  7. #17
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpaschal30 View Post
    I guess you think parenting is half the job it was 40 years ago. I on the other hand think it might be twice the job.
    Why in the world would you think that's what I think?

    In fact, I am inclined to agree with you. And further, I think public policy should encourage the traditional nuclear family (just seems to be a very efficient scheme to me);

    I also think that horse is WAY out of the barn, and that it's only practical at this point in time that public policy also be broad enough to support children regardless of family structure (because I see a whole lot of those structures trying to work, and a whole lot of traditional families not working at all). NOTE: I am NOT saying that public policy ought to be intrusive or expensive, in the name of ANY kind of family.

    The argument I'm trying to make is not that parents don't matter--the argument I'm making is that right now, in the year 2009, looking to statistics like you initially put out there may not be as relevant to parenting success as they may have been in the past.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member tpaschal30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    Why in the world would you think that's what I think?

    In fact, I am inclined to agree with you. And further, I think public policy should encourage the traditional nuclear family (just seems to be a very efficient scheme to me);

    I also think that horse is WAY out of the barn, and that it's only practical at this point in time that public policy also be broad enough to support children regardless of family structure (because I see a whole lot of those structures trying to work, and a whole lot of traditional families not working at all). NOTE: I am NOT saying that public policy ought to be intrusive or expensive, in the name of ANY kind of family.

    The argument I'm trying to make is not that parents don't matter--the argument I'm making is that right now, in the year 2009, looking to statistics like you initially put out there may not be as relevant to parenting success as they may have been in the past.
    Sorry. I was under the impression you thought one was as good as two. In certain situations I'm sure it is, but over an entire population it can't be. The War on Poverty's "man out of the house rule" was the mechanism used to destroy the family. The natural tendency is for the traditional family unit and I think over time the get the "horse back in the barn". We were warned by even liberals like Daniel Patrick Moynihan no less. From wiki;

    "Moynihan found data at the Labor Department that showed that even as fewer people were unemployed, more people were joining the welfare rolls — these recipients were families with children, but only one parent (almost invariably the mother). The laws at that time permitted such families to receive welfare payments in certain parts of the United States.

    " Despite Moynihan's warnings, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program had the "Man out of the house rule." Critics said that the nation was paying poor women to throw their husbands out of the house. Moynihan supported Richard Nixon's idea of a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI). Daniel Patrick Moynihan had significant discussions concerning a Basic Income Guarantee with Russell B. Long and Louis O. Kelso.

    After the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress, Moynihan agreed that something had to be done about the welfare system possibly encouraging women to raise their children without fathers: "The Republicans are saying we have a helluva problem, and we do."[6]"
    Last edited by tpaschal30; 01-18-2009 at 10:22 AM.

  9. #19
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpaschal30 View Post
    Sorry. I was under the impression you thought one was as good as two. In certain situations I'm sure it is, but over an entire population it can't be.
    No need to apologize. And I agree with you on your point--over an entire population, parenting is surely difficult enough that the tag-team approach is going to be more effective in general!

    I guess I am just inclined to the idea that wed/unwed may no longer be relevant to whether there are two parents, I think there are also families where another relative steps in as party number two pretty effectively, and there are a lot of situations where parents are absent in some significant way despite being "present" in terms of being married. So, I'm not sure that the wed/unwed statistic is significant at this point in time.

    And I'm not touching War on Poverty with a ten-foot internet poll! Trying to argue all the sides there and trying to explain myself and looking for research and so forth would consume me.

    Dog training's been cancelled for the day (road conditions), so I'm going to go sit down and read an honest-to-goodness book, with paper and print and consecutive page numbers and everything. Have a good day.
    Last edited by luvalab; 01-18-2009 at 10:45 AM.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    Well, I teach high school. Nice school, nice kids, relatively decent education, vast majority go to college, most of those who go stay and graduate. I love my job.

    I will tell you that if I REALLY want a written assignment done by 100 percent of the class--with no plagiarism or cheating or group-think or BS half-done crap--I have to do all the instruction in class (no written instruction sent home), allow most of the reading time in class (if they are responding to literature), have them do the thinking and planning in class, and when it comes time to actually produce, make the written portion silent in-class work and make it due before they leave class. If I send it home with them, the vast majority simply don't have the time or motivation to follow through with any seriousness.

    I teach some wonderful kids, and I don't do this for every assignment, but if I want that 100 percent participation with maximum effort from all, this is what I generally have to do.
    I would ask - What is wrong with the approach that the system has the children during their scheduled attendance time - they grade on the student's efforts during that time & the educators manage their & the student's time better. Your approach to doing it in school is the way I was taught. We did sports during study hall, as there was only one bus in & one going out. But when I got to where I was living, I had Pigs to feed, Cows to milk by hand & work in the chicken house. That was the income of the people I worked for & that's how they paid me some & boarded me.



    I genuinely feel for kids sometimes--it's go-go-go on a multi-tasking agenda that they often have no control over or that has gotten out of all reasonable balance. IMO these kids should be excited by new and interesting things out there to learn--instead, they're mostly just exhausted.

    I'm not sure this is an issue that can be solved by reforming "education."

    But if I think back hard enough, I was overscheduled and exhausted as a teen, and so was every single one of my friends, and a lot of kids cheated, and the teachers complained that education wasn't a priority... so who knows.
    I watch my grandchildren - one especially, practices to swim competitively, does voice & is actually quite good, plays SS on the girls SB team & seems to thrive - did give up piano as there was not a time slot for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    And I agree with you on your point--over an entire population, parenting is surely difficult enough that the tag-team approach is going to be more effective in general!

    I guess I am just inclined to the idea that wed/unwed may no longer be relevant to whether there are two parents, I think there are also families where another relative steps in as party number two pretty effectively, and there are a lot of situations where parents are absent in some significant way despite being "present" in terms of being married. So, I'm not sure that the wed/unwed statistic is significant at this point in time.
    Read my previous post - non parent situations were not unique, even in my day. The government being involved where they don't belong is.

    And I'm not touching War on Poverty with a ten-foot internet poll! Trying to argue all the sides there and trying to explain myself and looking for research and so forth would consume me.
    Rewarding people who cannot control their own lives by paying them to be brood ****** is not a smart move, nor is it compassionate.
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