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View Diary: America’s Problem Identified in 5 Hour Flight To & From Chicago For Coffee Party Meeting (151 comments)

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  •  I believe the state of education (26+ / 0-)

    to be a product of perspective rather than reality.  We "talk" so much about the poor state of education that many believe it.  GOP use that belief to attack teachers, Europeans believe it and why wouldn't they.  And I believe that, in general, our education system is quite good.  Except for where it isn't and that is more a matter of us asking the schools to do what "we" do not wish to do.  And that is deal with poverty.

    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

    by newfie on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 03:10:01 PM PST

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    •  No, there are parts of our ed system that are (20+ / 0-)

      quite good. Overall it's much too erratic to be characterized as even adequate. When you see the polls that show only a small fraction of Americans can find Iraq or Iran, or any of the smaller countries on a map, can't do basic math, much less algebra or calculus, and don't even think about history, there's no way you can say that we're overall any good.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 04:06:13 PM PST

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      •  yes, there is. (5+ / 0-)

        The fact of the matter is that our education system is not bad despite its flaws and produces many well-educated graduates. The problem is not with education at all. To explain what the problem is I will turn to (and quote from) Joanne Barkan's Dissent Magazine piece, Got Dough?

        To justify their campaign, ed reformers repeat, mantra-like, that U.S. students are trailing far behind their peers in other nations, that U.S. public schools are failing. The claims are specious. Two of the three major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The tests are given every five years. The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this. The problem is not public schools; it is poverty.
        In-school factors do not account for the totality of education outcomes. Our schools work well enough, it's our society and or social safety net that are fucked up.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 10:19:30 AM PST

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        •  Add to that the fact that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FarWestGirl, joey c

          other countries have different education systems in place.  Ones where advancement to certain levels is targeted early on - thus weeding out students who may not perform as well.  ON the surface I don't think that this is entirely bad in and of itself.  What is bad is to then compare our student body (Which includes everyone) to a more limited and selected group of students.  So while I think we can and should begin looking at further developing (and at the same time valuing) other educational tracks we do disservice to the students as well as aid the cause of eliminating public education, we must begin to address the underlying obstacles to education - the primary one being poverty.

          A friend of mine took his family to France for an extended period.  His high school to grade school aged children were enrolled in schools there.  His description of their experience was interesting.  First, it was assumed that his kids were not adequately educated and would therefore be in need of lower levels of curriculum simple because they were American and our educational system is horrendous.  They didn't understand why his kids were performing so well - because after all they were poorly educated American kids. He also noted that the kids are silo-ed or tracked at a very early age.  So kids who were seen as academically able were destined to follow the track of schools that would lead to university while the kids who did not went in other directions (I'd be curious to see a study of these students based on birth months to see if there is a stronger correlation between early and late year births to this tracking.  Another issue was that his one daughter (and forgive me but I don't remember all the details) finished at the top of the class.  This did not surprise me because she is bright (and happens to go to a school with 5-10% poverty level).  But it was problematic to the people in France because it effected the rankings that set up the students for the next step in education.

          I am sorry that I do not know all the details so I cannot describe it better.  But it struck me primarily because of the impression of American students solely based on their Nationality and the perception of our educational system rather than on the realities as you so ably highlighted in the quote above.

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 12:41:41 PM PST

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          •  I have other anecdotal evidence (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            newfie

            regarding countries which track their students from an early age, the one which is coming to me most readily now is Turkey. However, I do not know if they segregate their test scores or restrict the field of test-takers such that comparison with the US is invalidated - after all, neither TIMMS nor PISA are given to the whole student populace.

            Having experience both tracking and blended environments myself, I would argue for blended schools with major subjects having tracked classes, but I have no data to back up that preference.

            "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

            by joey c on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 02:13:06 PM PST

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    •  I agree. (13+ / 0-)

      It's poverty, politics and culture that's harming educational outcomes. It's not the quality of our teachers.  Our teachers do fine when the political culture doesn't attack him.

      I knew Europeans in high school who were reading real newspapers and well-educated about the world. My schoolmates--at the most elite high school in the state? Not so much.

      Their value system is generally different. That's not merely a teacher or the supposed "quality of education." There's less (although increasingly more) Europeans who are completely provincial boobs.  There's less (although increasingly moreso) obsession with celebrity and even becoming a rich entertainer.  And much of that is due to having an inherently more equal society. Notice that the tabloids are the worst in UK, the most unequal of developed, European countries; I suspect that's not just a coincidence.

      Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

      by Nulwee on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:29:14 PM PST

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      •  Teach a child to learn (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lcrp, opinionated, newfie
        I knew Europeans in high school who were reading real newspapers and well-educated about the world. My schoolmates--at the most elite high school in the state? Not so much.
        This is the difference between teaching children to learn and rote memorization - teaching to the test.  Teach a child to learn and they will develop a hunger to know more.  Teach a child test, and once the test is finished, so are they.  (We are also teaching them that once the test is finished, they can move on to "fun" things that they "want" to do rather than teaching them that learning is fun and ultimately rewarding.)

        We are failing both our students and our teachers; the educated America that developed after the GI Bill and fueled the advances that put America at the front of the pack is falling apart at the seams along with the infrastructure that helped make it possible.

        It is time to expect, and demand, more.

        "I want a president that can make a difference, not a deal." -KHK

        by Bcre8ve on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 05:38:36 AM PST

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        •  Teaching to the test (0+ / 0-)

          is the unfortunate by-product of our drive to rid ourselves of this meddlesome public education (and to avoid dealing with real issues like poverty)  and it, in my opinion, will only serve to further the cause of getting rid of public education.

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 12:25:15 PM PST

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    •  It is hit or miss now. (7+ / 0-)

      When I was raised in the 50's in California, society lavished attention and money on the public education system. As a consequence, a kid from upper lower class (but personally high class) parents, was able to succeed.

      The Republicans have it in for ANYTHING public. That is because they represent corporate pirates who want the government to pay for everything but not to be involved in anything.

      •  Or they want to have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rhubarb

        someone be able to make a profit from what we are "giving away".

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 12:23:23 PM PST

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