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Thread: Role of education/infrastructure in US leadership

  1. #21
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    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 don't think it's wrong--it's why I do it--and, as I noted at the end of my post, it's not so different than my own recollection of high school.

    But it sure would be nice a couple times a week to assign 15 minutes of reading and have 40 minutes of everyone being able to participate in the thinking and discussion--or twenty minutes of followup writing after 40 minutes of reading and thinking.

    If folks are going to get all worked up about education reform, from a teacher's perspective, having students with the motivation and time to do a bit of "extra-curricular" studying and who don't come to school already exhausted in the morning from non-school activities is a place to start a discussion. There's only so much time in a school day--and I manage mine quite well bell-to-bell, thank you very much--I'm not sure how much more I can teach given that time is fixed here on planet earth.

    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.

    I'm sure she's a lovely girl, and you and those who love and care for her think she's thriving, so please don't let anything I say worry you about it, for sure. I've been on this forum for five years, and at no point has your occassional mention of your family struck me as anything but stable, loving, and involved, not that it's my business, but you put it out there.

    Read my previous post - non parent situations were not unique, even in my day. The government being involved where they don't belong is.

    I read your post. I can only respond to so much. Further support for my argument--not only are wed/unwed statistics irrelevant today, they weren't necessarily all that informative "back in the day." I don't think government should belong in family structure, except to encourage efficient ones and support some very basic general children's needs. I thought what I was aiming for was EXACTLY that government shouldn't be involved where they don't belong.

    Rewarding people who cannot control their own lives by paying them to be brood ****** is not a smart move, nor is it compassionate.
    Marvin, I'm not quite sure we really disagree all that much.

    Except that your final, insulting, vile comment, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said, implies that that's what I think should happen.

    Where in the world did that come from? Why are you insulting and attacking my observations to the point that it appears you want me to take it personally?

    For heaven's sake. If you didn't refute me on things we mostly agree on and follow up with that comment out of nowhere that you yourself felt was off-putting enough that you "bleeped" the key noun--and instead took a civil moment to cogently point out the areas of difference you find so compelling, maybe you'd win me over to your side...

    except wait, I thought I was mostly on your side...

    but wait, now I don't really want to be. Too bad--you're an interesting guy.

    I suppose, then, you don't think I'm all that worth having on your side. I can accept that.

    How's this work for you:

    I am now on my own side, and divorced from the dialogue if I can stand it. Go ahead and poke me again, if you want--I may or may not bite back, if that's what you're looking for. But I'm not going to bother adding anything new to the conversation, because it's pretty clear you don't give two hoots about what I ACTUALLY say. Which is too bad--I've got more to say, and so do you, and it could be an interesting and nuanced give and take, but there ya' go. I don't have the energy to defend and further explain any more than what's already out there.

    Back to my book, which is lovely. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." Dogs, Wisconsin... So far, so good.
    Last edited by luvalab; 01-18-2009 at 02:05 PM.
    --Greta Ode
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    Coastalight Kiowa Ravenhawk MH

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    Marvin, I'm not quite sure we really disagree all that much.
    We don't, I felt I was adding to your comments. Trust me, all educators? do not have your focus, but unfortunately are kept on board & paid the same as you.

    Except that your final, insulting, vile comment, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said, implies that that's what I think should happen.

    Where in the world did that come from? Why are you insulting and attacking my observations to the point that it appears you want me to take it personally?
    The comment was made in agreement with your assessment, Aid to Dependent Children was anything but. I actually liked Moynihan, NY will go awhile before they experience the likes of him again.

    For heaven's sake. If you didn't refute me on things we mostly agree on and follow up with that comment out of nowhere that you yourself felt was off-putting enough that you "bleeped" the key noun--and instead took a civil moment to cogently point out the areas of difference you find so compelling, maybe you'd win me over to your side...

    except wait, I thought I was mostly on your side...

    but wait, now I don't really want to be. Too bad--you're an interesting guy.

    I suppose, then, you don't think I'm all that worth having on your side. I can accept that.

    How's this work for you:

    I am now on my own side, and divorced from the dialogue if I can stand it. Go ahead and poke me again, if you want--I may or may not bite back, if that's what you're looking for. But I'm not going to bother adding anything new to the conversation, because it's pretty clear you don't give two hoots about what I ACTUALLY say. Which is too bad--I've got more to say, and so do you, and it could be an interesting and nuanced give and take, but there ya' go. I don't have the energy to defend and further explain any more than what's already out there.

    Back to my book, which is lovely. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." Dogs, Wisconsin... So far, so good.
    If you took what I said as offputting, Please accept my apology, it was not meant to be that way. Sorry!

    Enjoy your book.

    I really do want to see a discussion.
    __________________________

    Marvin S

    Everyone's friend is No One's friend

    Someday your life will flash before your eyes. It's your responsibility to make sure it's worth watching!

  3. #23
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    We don't, I felt I was adding to your comments. Trust me, all educators? do not have your focus, but unfortunately are kept on board & paid the same as you.



    The comment was made in agreement with your assessment, Aid to Dependent Children was anything but. I actually liked Moynihan, NY will go awhile before they experience the likes of him again.



    If you took what I said as offputting, Please accept my apology, it was not meant to be that way. Sorry!

    Enjoy your book.

    I really do want to see a discussion.
    Sorry for the misunderstanding, Marvin. I guess I got myself all worked up. Not enough fresh air--maybe without realizing it I was itching for a fight.

    As for Aid to Dependent Children, it was before my time and I have mixed feelings and few facts and no experience, so it wasn't even on my radar anymore when I read your reply... sorry again.

    So in the spirit of dialogue, here's something I'll add--I'd actually like to see LESS education, in some ways.

    One proposal: Try 5 or 6 periods a day, not 8 or 9, but have those periods focus on core subjects that can be taught both more broadly and deeply, so that "elective" subjects can be explored within a broader context and kids can get a taste of what interests them and why--with some actual understanding of how the world works as an integrated whole. Heck, teach 2 or 3 subjects a day, and bring in specialists and guest lecturers and lab instructors. The kids would love learning on its own schedule instead of learning by the toll of the bell and the trudge to the next class.

    Another proposal: There are particularly bright kids out there that really have no business in high school once they are 15 or 16. Give high schools the power to set them free! Encourage colleges to have programs that bring in these bright youngsters, but maybe give them a bit more structure until they're adults. High school is killing them.

    Another proposal: If a kid knows he wants to be a world-class chef at age 15 and seems to have all the right stuff, give him 4 hours a day for the next three years to learn how to do it, and throw out the idea of requiring X number of this and Y number of that and proficiency in ABC and Z in the name of being well-rounded--or make proficiency honest-to-goodness profiency instead of thinking every child has to be above average in everything, or aiming for every child to have 30 high school credits distributed over X number of subjects, or whatever. When a kid is proficient in the core subjects give him the opportunity and structure to learn about what interests him, and make sure that when teaching what interests him he continues to be exposed to more sophisticated lessons. Studying to be a chef? Include an appropriate amount of chemistry; have a required project in food history; teach aesthetics in relation to presentation; you get the idea.

    State legislatures, in my opinion, are a horror in terms of education reform, but that's the only mechanism anyone thinks about when they talk about reforming education. The problem then is that when people abandon the idea of reform through state legislature, the federal is the next mechanism--but then the federal can and will only give further direction to the state, so the layers of government keep multiplying. No Child Left Behind was terrible for that, for all it's hands-off broad-brush rhetoric (and maybe intention--but the outcome was horrid). But on the local level, schools are often helpless or directionless or resistant to change. So I don't know what the answer is.

    My book is quite good, as a matter of fact--had to take a break to make some salsa for a friendly gathering tonight, though, and checked out the web again--glad I did. Anyway, back to the jalapeno dicing.

    Friends?
    Last edited by luvalab; 01-18-2009 at 05:14 PM.
    --Greta Ode
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    Coastalight Kiowa Ravenhawk MH

  4. #24
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Education is not a one size fits all process. However, we will not compete successfully in the world if our brightest students only work on their academic subjects half as much as their counterparts in other countries. Most jobs, and most dramatic innovations and great art, come from a relatively small group of exceptionally talented people. However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- whether in work, sports, business, or intellectual endeavors. However, the lesson now taught to our brightest students is that they should be happy to get good grades with little work and maybe become involved in a sport or get a real job.

    To go back to Lisa's comment, I believe this is a recipe for third world status in our future. Does that mean I believe everyone should be pushed to the max academically? No, just as not every kid should be pushed to the level of training expected from the varsity football team. However, we offer almost no resources for developing the skills of our greatest intellectual talents outside the walls of a limited number of private schools and private universities. From an economic development perspective I believe we need to extend those opportunities to the public education system to avoid squandering some of our greatest talent.

  5. #25
    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    Education is not a one size fits all process. However, we will not compete successfully in the world if our brightest students only work on their academic subjects half as much as their counterparts in other countries. Most jobs, and most dramatic innovations and great art, come from a relatively small group of exceptionally talented people. However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- whether in work, sports, business, or intellectual endeavors. However, the lesson now taught to our brightest students is that they should be happy to get good grades with little work and maybe become involved in a sport or get a real job.

    To go back to Lisa's comment, I believe this is a recipe for third world status in our future. Does that mean I believe everyone should be pushed to the max academically? No, just as not every kid should be pushed to the level of training expected from the varsity football team. However, we offer almost no resources for developing the skills of our greatest intellectual talents outside the walls of a limited number of private schools and private universities. From an economic development perspective I believe we need to extend those opportunities to the public education system to avoid squandering some of our greatest talent.
    Nice post.

    Before I pry myself away--

    "However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- "

    I am always a little flummuxed by the number of students who believe they can be great athletes, and the resources that are there to support them in their pursuit, when FACT flies in the face of it.

    But not many students believe they can be great intellectuals--it's not even on their radar--and those who want to be great artists don't have much in the way of resources to support them.
    --Greta Ode
    willing slave to the whims of
    Kerrybrooks Magical Atticus MH
    Coastalight Kiowa Ravenhawk MH

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvalab View Post
    So in the spirit of dialogue, here's something I'll add--I'd actually like to see LESS education, in some ways.

    One proposal: Try 5 or 6 periods a day, not 8 or 9, but have those periods focus on core subjects that can be taught both more broadly and deeply, so that "elective" subjects can be explored within a broader context and kids can get a taste of what interests them and why--with some actual understanding of how the world works as an integrated whole. Heck, teach 2 or 3 subjects a day, and bring in specialists and guest lecturers and lab instructors. The kids would love learning on its own schedule instead of learning by the toll of the bell and the trudge to the next class.

    Another proposal: There are particularly bright kids out there that really have no business in high school once they are 15 or 16. Give high schools the power to set them free! Encourage colleges to have programs that bring in these bright youngsters, but maybe give them a bit more structure until they're adults. High school is killing them.

    Another proposal: If a kid knows he wants to be a world-class chef at age 15 and seems to have all the right stuff, give him 4 hours a day for the next three years to learn how to do it, and throw out the idea of requiring X number of this and Y number of that and proficiency in ABC and Z in the name of being well-rounded--or make proficiency honest-to-goodness profiency instead of thinking every child has to be above average in everything, or aiming for every child to have 30 high school credits distributed over X number of subjects, or whatever. When a kid is proficient in the core subjects give him the opportunity and structure to learn about what interests him, and make sure that when teaching what interests him he continues to be exposed to more sophisticated lessons. Studying to be a chef? Include an appropriate amount of chemistry; have a required project in food history; teach aesthetics in relation to presentation; you get the idea.

    State legislatures, in my opinion, are a horror in terms of education reform, but that's the only mechanism anyone thinks about when they talk about reforming education. The problem then is that when people abandon the idea of reform through state legislature, the federal is the next mechanism--but then the federal can and will only give further direction to the state, so the layers of government keep multiplying. No Child Left Behind was terrible for that, for all it's hands-off broad-brush rhetoric (and maybe intention--but the outcome was horrid). But on the local level, schools are often helpless or directionless or resistant to change. So I don't know what the answer is.
    All three of your proposals have more than considerable merit - Why doesn't it happen? Think Job Protection & no one in the profession being willing to stand up & say "We need to do a better job of educating children". The NEA & the (name your state) EA control the agenda. They will not allow added pay to answer in a competitive Job Market. While it was not uncommon to have 200 applicants with at least 100 of those qualified for a Language Arts position, any Science of substance &/or Math generally went begging for applicants. We will not be able to write books & poems that sell unless we keep the other part of the equation, mainly our young scientists & engineers in a ongoing highly educated & appropriately compensated supply. There needs to be a balance.

    The fact that congress allows importation of those skills to keep the wage level down discourages many from entering the field. There is nothing easy about getting an Engineering &/or Science degree. I've worked in foreign countries & dealt with foreign engineers educated both here & in their home land. Do you know what separates people who live in our great nation & other nations? This is many times with people who on paper were more qualified than the US citizen. Our ability to assess risk & do something about that assessment. While we have respect for our elders in most cases, we do not allow that to stand in the way of a decision that needs to be made. We do not defer to their wisdom when it is meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    Education is not a one size fits all process. However, we will not compete successfully in the world if our brightest students only work on their academic subjects half as much as their counterparts in other countries. Most jobs, and most dramatic innovations and great art, come from a relatively small group of exceptionally talented people. However, unless those students are challenged and trained with the same intensity that we normally reserve for great athletes. It takes that level of passionate commitment to excel -- whether in work, sports, business, or intellectual endeavors. However, the lesson now taught to our brightest students is that they should be happy to get good grades with little work and maybe become involved in a sport or get a real job.

    To go back to Lisa's comment, I believe this is a recipe for third world status in our future. Does that mean I believe everyone should be pushed to the max academically? No, just as not every kid should be pushed to the level of training expected from the varsity football team. However, we offer almost no resources for developing the skills of our greatest intellectual talents outside the walls of a limited number of private schools and private universities. From an economic development perspective I believe we need to extend those opportunities to the public education system to avoid squandering some of our greatest talent.
    I have taken the liberty of hiliting portions of your statements, hope you don't mind. Please notice the portion of my statements I have hilited.

    In order to obtain this excellence, we need to have those in charge be highly qualified. Generally, the Math & Science teachers in most Public schools have those subjects secondary on their major, if at all. I've looked at a lot of resumes, so can speak with some knowledge. Because these subject teachers are in short supply it is not uncommon for students to be excluded from participation in these classes. This coupled with the fact that teachers, in general, come from the lower 25 percentile (Source= George Will & Thomas Sowell in separate statements) of those who take the SAT & finish college while Engineers, Scientists, Doctors & most Attorneys come from the upper 15 percentile, creates a huge disparity. It does help if the teacher is smarter than the taught. Even in our little school in SD in the 40's there were at least 6 students in every Math, Chemistry of Physics class brighter than the teacher. Why do you think the great push is on to go away from IQ testing? While I have little issue with someone being paid for what they bring to the table & the results thereof, the more money for Education crowd doesn't see it that way.
    __________________________

    Marvin S

    Everyone's friend is No One's friend

    Someday your life will flash before your eyes. It's your responsibility to make sure it's worth watching!

  7. #27
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    ....

    In order to obtain this excellence, we need to have those in charge be highly qualified. Generally, the Math & Science teachers in most Public schools have those subjects secondary on their major, if at all. I've looked at a lot of resumes, so can speak with some knowledge. Because these subject teachers are in short supply it is not uncommon for students to be excluded from participation in these classes. This coupled with the fact that teachers, in general, come from the lower 25 percentile (Source= George Will & Thomas Sowell in separate statements) of those who take the SAT & finish college while Engineers, Scientists, Doctors & most Attorneys come from the upper 15 percentile, creates a huge disparity. It does help if the teacher is smarter than the taught. Even in our little school in SD in the 40's there were at least 6 students in every Math, Chemistry of Physics class brighter than the teacher. Why do you think the great push is on to go away from IQ testing? While I have little issue with someone being paid for what they bring to the table & the results thereof, the more money for Education crowd doesn't see it that way.
    Teacher qualifications are an issue, but I don't think they are a decisive issue. I was attending a parents' night presentation at my son's school when he was in 8th grade. The science teacher presented his resume. He had majored in Chemistry and tried getting a job as a chemist but was terminated repeatedly. To get some job security, he entered a Master's program where he took some teaching courses and wrote his thesis "proving" (his word, not mine) that Creationism was the only rational explanation for the order of the world. When he was once again fired from his job, he applied for and was immediately accepted as a teacher in one of the best and most highly compensated school districts in PA (teacher salary of $90 after 13 years, avg teacher salary of $85k.). His presentation was ungrammatical and his handouts had spelling errors.

    I was upset that this would be the person teaching my son about science. My son's mom appropriately pointed out that our son would be learning for most of his life from people who were not as smart as he and that he needed to learn how to do that. She also noted that, no matter what, the teacher clearly knew more about science than our son and had lots to teach, and that being challenged by a teacher who firmly believed in Creationism and rejected evolution would give our son perspectives that he would never get at home and that would help him get a better understanding of the slippery nature of truth. She was right and both my son and I ended up learning some valuable lessons. My son thought his teacher was an idiot, and he was right. However, his teacher did succeed in stimulating my son's thinking.

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