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  • US adults not as smart as global counterparts . . .

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-ad...worldwide-test

    This lovely piece links education to national economic performance. (I suppose that warrants a big "DUH.")

    I think part of the problem is that our culture no longer values education. Kids don't pay attention in school because their parents don't expect them too and the attitude at home is that school is unnecessary. The same kids who are disruptive in school will sit perfectly still in my Hunters Education class, because hunting is something the family values and the kid won't be able to hunt if they don't pass. In my area it seems that there is a greater value placed on getting one's hunting liscance than there is on getting a diploma, though in the long run the diploma (and hopefully some post-secondary training) will prove to be more beneficial in the long run.

    Any thoughts on how this happened? What was the turning point when American's decided that education was unimportant? How can we combat this thinking and get children and adults to see education as necessary?

  • #2
    The unfortunate part of the article is its initial premise. The "it's long been known...", is the narrative many would like us all to believe. Fortunately that narrative is extremely misleading. More info: http://www.epi.org/blog/internationa...ican-students/ What is most unfortunate are the education policy decisions being foisted upon us by non-educators who believe the narrative promoted by those who have profit motives.

    Comment


    • NeverAnEagle
      NeverAnEagle commented
      Editing a comment
      The link you posted talks about student scores, not adult scores. Also most of it's findings state that students in economically depressed areas score lower than students living in wealthy areas ( which again warrants a big "DUH."). The author states that if you compare students from wealthy areas they "score just as well as" the international averages of other countries . . . Unfortunately, we can't simply ignore the poor just because we don't like the test results--they live & work here too.

  • #3
    The linked article reports US PISA scores are lower than scores in a handful of foreign countries with combined populations less than the US population. That's not compelling evidence that Americans don't think education is important.

    The pattern of international and racial gaps in PISA scores isn't new. Past study of these gaps has suggested that "U.S. schools do about as well as the best systems elsewhere in educating similar students." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...010904011.html
    Last edited by Callooh! Callay!; 10-10-2013, 08:30 PM.

    Comment


    • DuctTape
      DuctTape commented
      Editing a comment
      The article began with a statement of "fact" regarding US students. My initial post was in response to that opening line.

    • Callooh! Callay!
      Callooh! Callay! commented
      Editing a comment
      If relating the adult phenomenon to student performance is "an example of why adults are scoring below international averages in the US," then the article itself is such an example. It notes that the phenomenon seen in students may carry over to adulthood where it reads: "This test could suggest students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren't obtaining them later on the job or in an education program."
      Last edited by Callooh! Callay!; 10-12-2013, 06:51 AM.

    • NeverAnEagle
      NeverAnEagle commented
      Editing a comment
      The lack of education in schools is only an excuse up to age 18. The lack of problem solving, literacy, and other skills in ADULTS has no excuse. Why, as adults, have Americans not taken the opportunity to educate themselves?

      I live in rural America where lack of opportunity is clearly evident, yet the library is free and open to all. Thanks to open enrollment online classes, anyone has the opportunity to learn from anyone, anywhere. The reason is that they don't value education. The question is why? You can't blame a teacher for your lack of desire to learn once you have exited the educational system.

  • #4
    I won't speculate in the genesis. But it sure doesn't help when we have positions railing against those "over educated Ivy League intellectuals". Yep lets lower our education bar. Or "I don't listen to economists regarding monetary or fiscal policy. I raised a family and learned all I need to know". (Slight paraphrase)

    Comment


    • JoeBob
      JoeBob commented
      Editing a comment
      What? Humility isn't an honorable characteristic anymore? Or did you not get the joke?

    • dcsimmons
      dcsimmons commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe if the leftist liberal elite didn't act like this, http://chicagomaroon.com/2013/10/04/...evator-policy/, they'd engender more respect.

    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      Humility? Now YOU're joking. His smirk and swagger indicated something more along the lines of arrogance. If anything HE was the joke.

  • #5
    There was a two-page paid ad in the WSJ last week by the CEO of Exxon. He was encouraging the adoption of the Common Core standards in our schools and the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The new Common Core standards, adopted by 45 states so far, will make schools more challenging and more productive. Students will be learning at higher levels in English and math with an emphasis on critical thinking. Of course it isn't without controversy. Conservatives see it as another Obama power grab by nationalizing the educational system.

    Comment


    • DuctTape
      DuctTape commented
      Editing a comment
      The CC and the other "reforms" are attempt to fix something which isn't broken. It isn't the educational system which is broken...

    • DigitalScout
      DigitalScout commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, something is broken. Nearly two-thirds of eighth-graders scored below proficient in math. Nearly three out of four eighth-and 12th-grade students cannot write proficiently. For African-American and Hispanic students across the country, dropout rates are close to 40 percent, compared to the national average of 27 percent. http://www.nagb.org/newsroom/naep-re...ding-math.html

    • DuctTape
      DuctTape commented
      Editing a comment
      One problem with the NAEP scores article you posted and the 40% proficient... There are four levels of which the bottom level is the only one considered "failing" as it is below the basic competency. The proficient is the name of the second highest level. Reporting that 40 % of the students achieved a proficient level or higher is akin to saying 40% of the students received B's or higher.

      The system isn't perfect, and there are certainly specific areas which need some help. However the current meme that the system is fundamentally flawed is false. It is much better than the perceived perfect system of generations ago when we supposedly ruled the world. There are pockets of areas in the US which are struggling academically because of other variables and they aren't the curriculum, schools or teachers.

  • #6
    Sadly the US education has not only had a bad repuation for the past 3 decades or so ... it really is that bad (outside Ivy League/Private Schools)
    When I went to school in California as a foreigner I got the highest scores on spelling bees o_O and english was only my 3rd language ....
    I took all the CTBS and PSAT/SAT stuff. The entire system of learning is so different in the US.
    A 12 grade US High School Diploma is comparable to 10th grade in germany (Abitur is 13 years).
    German exchange students who spend a year in the US usually repeat a year unless they are straigh 1/A.
    And dont even get me started on how bad and dysfunctional the german school system is, they didnt do that great on PISA either ...

    And you end up with politicans with the knowledge of Sara Palin *shudders* ....

    Comment


    • DuctTape
      DuctTape commented
      Editing a comment
      My dad lives in Germany. The german system is entirely different in its structure. Students are tracked into different programs from about the 5th grade. IIRC, about 25% of German students go to the university prep school (was that the Arbiter exam?) Another 25% go to the realschule (did I spell it right?) In the US the schools are intermingled. Except for private prep schools, there isn't a tracking system in which students may never switch. The Gymnasium, Realschule, and the vocational are integrated into one system which students are not identified, and tracked into a predetermined outcome. Thus the 12 grade HS diploma earned by each student is very different depending on the classes they took. The observation that a german 10th grade diploma is equivalent to the the US 12th grade diploma is accurate only because the US doesn't grant the diplomas early (except in rare situations) and students continue to take classes for college credit in their 11th and 12th grade years. They graduate after 12 years, but the official course of study is based upon 10th grade level. For example, in my HS 40% of the students are taking college level classes (and receiving college credit if they pass the exam) in their 11th grade year and beyond. Since the US design has all the students in the same school it is difficult to compare. Which design is better is a matter of discussion.

    • berliner
      berliner commented
      Editing a comment
      I spent most of my days on a school that had the worst of both worlds LOL: a german-american school offering both 12th and 13th grade, depending on where a student wanted to study. Hard part was that all non-language subjects would switch languages every year: you would have history, physics, chemistry in english and biology, math and geography in german and next year switch languages ^o^ in 7th grade a 3rd language is added to the curriculum and in 10th grade one can elect a 4th language (I took lab, like AP science and started my 4th language as extracurriculer activity). Thing is with a HS Diploma getting into a european university is very difficult. Abitur is not really seen as Uni Prep here even if I know what you mean. But the german school system with its different parallel strutuces is in pretty bad shape now, and a few attempts at restructuring have failed. For example: the 13 year Abitur was to be shortend to 12 years with the same curriculum in less time. So a couple of years ago there was 2 graduating classes in one year. But as the new, shorter system is not that great some schools went back to 13 years. So it will be interesting to watch what will happen in germany. Current problem is that as being "integrated" there was a move to close down the special schools for the disabled and shove them all into normal schools, who in turn had to build ramps and all ... but somewhere along the way a lot of the professional staff got lost, with their schools and positions subject to budget cuts.
      I am all pro-integration of disabled kids, but this move was so badly botched, its sad really.
      And even private schools/academys arent all gravy ...

    • MattR
      MattR commented
      Editing a comment
      Comparing a German Gymnasium program (a college track program) to a US high school is comparing apples and oranges. The Gymnasium picks the students that are allowed whereas a US high school takes everyone, irrespective of ability or disability. Consequently you get back what you put into the US schools. For kids that want a good education and are motivated, they can take IB and AP classes and their education is excellent (and will easily get you into European universities). Kids in the US can also mix and match subjects as kids move from teacher to teacher whereas everywhere else teachers move from class to class. If you like math and music then take all your electives there. This flexibility allows kids to grow up (asking a 5th grader to make a decision about college is a bit of a stretch). It also supports the really bright kids that are, for example, taking calculus as Freshman and Sophomores. This is all supported in my local, public, high schools. There are also the local, public, charter schools that have more of an emphasis on academics.

      This isn't to say that US schools are all wonderful. That's nonsense too. A lot of inner city schools are abysmal (although the best schools in the country are mostly inner city.) The problem is partially the parents that don't care what their kids do in school. Another problem is the culture that has formed about trying not to hurt a child's self esteem by giving bad grades. Grade inflation is rampant and backfires when they get to college.

  • #7
    Originally posted by NeverAnEagle View Post
    In my area it seems that there is a greater value placed on getting one's hunting license than there is on getting a diploma...
    Count Baden-Powell among those whom as a boy valued hunting but hated classrooms.

    Against school rules, he snuck out to the Copse (a wooded area near his school) to hunt and cook rabbits. He developed skills of stealth to hide himself and his cooking fires from teachers paid to patrol the Copse and catch boys like him.

    When he got older he incorporated his anti-regimentation skills into a military program that riveted the world's attention to the Siege of Mafeking, and turned his military book Aids to Scouting into a best-seller.

    Originally posted by NeverAnEagle View Post
    How can we combat this thinking and get children and adults to see education as necessary?
    Become a Wood Badge Staffer to form and storm boys like Baden-Powell away from the Copse.

    To its credit, Leadership Development and the Merit Badge system has made great progress in cranking out Patrol Leaders who never walk into the woods with a Patrol at their backs, and Eagle Scouts who learn their citizenship from a book.


    We turn Scouting into After-School School: What every boy hates, has always hated, and will continue to hate until the end of time.


    Yours at 300 feet,


    Kudu
    http://kudu.net



    Comment


    • NeverAnEagle
      NeverAnEagle commented
      Editing a comment
      Kudu--Baden Powell as a boy may not have liked school, but I bet HIS parents still required him to attend and expected him to put forth his best efforts in all his subjects. In order to succeeded he had to learn more than how to safely discharge a rifle. In some of the readings I have encountered about him he also encouraged the boys to engage in critical thinking, debate, and to become skilled orators. Those are not items he learned while cutting class.

    • Kudu
      Kudu commented
      Editing a comment
      Sure, find the passages in which Baden-Powell encouraged the boys to engage in critical thinking, debate, and to become skilled orators, and I'll show you how he used what he called "education instead of instruction."

      The reason that Scouting was once wildly popular is that Baden-Powell designed it to be the opposite of school. Most BSA Merit Badges are just After-School School. That's why boys hate Scouts.

      Here is a history, if you are interested:

      http://www.inquiry.net/traditional/t...nto_school.htm

  • #8
    I get students after they've been admitted to college and even these best students from good high schools often have difficulty with basic algebra or logic or geography, etc. But at least they are bright enough to learn quickly if given the chance. Other than that I interact very little with K-12 students. But I interact a great deal with K-12 teachers and I know that even in the virtual-third-world-South that there are some excellent, motivated teachers out there. Yes, some are not but I think the majority at least 'enter' the profession with high ideals. To me, the fundamental problems with the education and preparedness of students in this country arise when parents and social environment do not value or invest seriously in education for our young. And after a short time, some teachers give up, some burn out, and the very best 'soldier' on anyway.

    My mother was a teacher. I was constantly impressed with the status that people in other countries that we traveled to placed on her because she was a teacher. In some places it bordered on reverence. And in contrast, the seeming indifference, even contempt, she and others like her received in this country.

    Comment


    • #9
      And of course the home-school kids always do better, either because of the one-on-one with the parent or the parent cares enough to do it themselves instead of waiting for some inefficient bureaucracy to do it for them.

      In the state where I live, it his possible for home-schooled students to get a free education through college. They progress at their own pace and if they get ahead far enough and their local school doesn't offer classes at their level, they can continue to go to school (college) until they are 18. For some kids, 2, 3, and even 4 years of college can be gotten at local school district expense. Once they turn 18, they have to start paying for the college courses.

      Don't think for a moment that parents who take an avid interest in their kids don't know this.

      Stosh

      Comment


      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        Mom - Forestry major, worked for the US Forestry Service, quit and stayed home with the kids

        Daughter #1 - International Financial Consultant - New York, NY
        Daughter #2 - Medical Doctor MD and OD, Residency, Houston, TX
        Daughter #3 - Bio-medical Research doctorate candidate, U. of Penn.
        Son #1 - Electrical Engineer, Boulder CO

        All home schooled through middle school, all had 4.0 gpa in high school, all graduated highest honors from top colleges around the country. Daughter #2 was salutatorian of her medical class.

        Of course there are always exceptions to the general rules.

        My daughter seeing what her step-mom accomplished, will home-school her kids as well.

        It's not always motivated students, but also motivated parents (helicopter parents excluded).

        One does not need a teaching degree to home-school their kids, all they need is a desire to make every opportunity for learning available to them. If parents believe education is important, it will become important to their children as well.

        Parents who farm out their kids to day-care, then farm them out to schools, and farm them out to such places as BSA, will have successful careers of their own. The jury is still out whether that will ever apply to their children.

        Forgot to mention, Mom was the only one of her siblings to even graduate college, two of her brothers settled for GED's.

        Stosh
        Last edited by jblake47; 10-15-2013, 06:46 AM.

      • packsaddle
        packsaddle commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm glad she invested wisely and then later recognized her limitations and allowed those last years of public school to prepare you guys well for college.
        Your experience is your family. My experience is students from multiple families over many years. And specifically, the ones I wrote about were home-schooled all the way to their HS diploma. But I think we agree that it depends on how much parents are willing to invest in a meaningful way in the education of their children. This also applies to those in public schools.
        Last edited by packsaddle; 10-15-2013, 10:20 AM.

      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        High School as basically done for them by the time they started. She sent them to public school for all the extra curricular activities, team sports, etc. They were taking AP classes as freshmen. It wasn't an issue of her limitations, it was an issue of home-schooling college was a waste of time.

        Public schools were footing the bill for a step up on college for the kids as I mentioned in another thread.

        Two of the girls were all-state cross-country runners, the boy won awards for math and physics starting his sophomore year. There are some things out there that do benefit the kids that home-schooling can't do. The academic classes they took were their choice as to whether or not they wanted to. Otherwise they took AP classes and even those were optional. Basically they were starting college while still in high school.

        Stosh

    • #10
      Originally posted by Kudu View Post
      We turn Scouting into After-School School: What every boy hates, has always hated, and will continue to hate until the end of time.
      Well, not every boy...there seem to be a fair number out there whose moms are motivated by patches, who want a box to check on their college application, or who lack the ambition or desire to leave the school cafeteria and go for a walk.

      Comment


      • #11
        http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/14/opinio...html?hpt=hp_t4

        Here is another story on the same topic. My grandfather used to say, "The problem with the government is that it is representative of the people." I'd have to agree.

        Comment


        • dcsimmons
          dcsimmons commented
          Editing a comment
          Seems we've come full circle when an African-American commentator is worried that people are too stupid to vote properly..........
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