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View Diary: Remarks by the President on STEM (131 comments)

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  •  um lets not forget (5+ / 0-)

    history, language, culture, civics, government and economics. i know plenty of engineers that are ok engineers but have no greater context to place their work in. that is not a good system...

    Welcome to the empire. now run away if you can... life is not a dress rehearsal

    by johnfire on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 12:58:53 PM PST

    •  My (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2

      take is they're down n edu for everyone and every subject. If you look at the background of Obama and his advisers, a lot of em are degreed up the yin-yang. This isn't something they think is good for other people, this is somehting they know has been good for them.

    •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      We need to be better in science and math, but there's also a huge problem in that out students don't know history or how to evaluate an argument.  Hell, they don't know how the government is supposed to work, or how to design or build a liveable city.

      I teach at a university, and the biggest problem I have with my students is a lack of critical thinking skills.

      I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

      by sneakers563 on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 01:05:17 PM PST

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      •  i used to teach physics as a TA (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle, sneakers563

        I agree. critical thinking skills are woefully lacking in American students. I live and work in Europe right now and the difference is extremely noticeable. I dont know how you teach that without teaching English, History, Logic, etc...

        Welcome to the empire. now run away if you can... life is not a dress rehearsal

        by johnfire on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 01:15:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But that Brings Us Full Circle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sneakers563

        Because our current educational systems emphasize standardization instead of critical thinking.  That doesn't bode well for science education OR any of the other disciplines where no matter how you slice it, there are no hard and fast "rules" which can be memorized and spit out at will.

        Truthfully if what we want is innovators, we jettison most of the idea that test taking other than at benchmark periods (not every year) is a valid measure of whether children are learning, and hearken back to a system of education which was more holistic, yet furthered more creative thinking (i.e. how many of us older than a certain age recall at least one teacher mentioning the mechanics of the human body as part of gym class as well what we were learning in 8th grade biology?)

        I don't see this administration really seriously challenging all the dogma that has led to our country's decrepit state education-wise:  it's all about "measurement" and "better teachers" and "engaged parents" and nothing at all about WHAT children are being asked to do in school.  Most kids over a certain age are, frankly, underperforming because they are jaded.  Particularly in low income schools.  They've heard the official party line (you need education) and then see many around them who have been unemployed, outsourced, devalued despite having an education.  We don't tie education to what people DO anymore in this country and I do believe that it's a major factor in why we are de-intellectualizing increasingly once all but the elite students get past middle school.  They don't see the relevance or the return, and those days where "Education for Education's sake" was taught as a value are rapidly becoming part of our past.

        All IMO and YMMV of course.

        If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

        by shanikka on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 02:05:32 PM PST

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        •  I agree with a lot of what you've written (0+ / 0-)

          I worry though, about tying education to tightly to what people do.  I feel like the push for science and math education is part of a movement to see education, and the value of individuals, solely in terms of economic productivity.  Americans are, by and large, poorly educated in many ways.  Why single out math and science?  Presumably because the ability for an individual to contribute to the economy is the most important aspect of that individual.

          I'd like to see a much broader education, grounded in a liberal conception of "the basics".  The smartest person I've ever known had learned things like philosophy, logic and latin in addition to math, english, etc.  It was amazing: whenever he was exposed to a new idea, he already knew a great deal about it.  He understood the history, where it fit in relation to other ideas, an entire meta knowledge.
           
          I completely agree with you about standardized testing.  The standardized test is a way to reduce everything to quantitative measurement and objective, statistical analysis.  But of course, all measurement involves simplification and we can see the results.

          It's interesting, people talk about the Bush administration as being anti-science, but they weren't really.  Rather, they subscribed to a kind of extremist Popperian view of science.  You can see it in the completely quantitative way they approached evaluation, and at times you could see it in the way they approached climate change.  Bush didn't reject the ability of science to say anything about the climate, rather any kind of counter evidence was immediately trumpeted as grounds for disproving the entire hypothesis.  7th grade scientific method run amok.

           

          I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

          by sneakers563 on Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 06:15:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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