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Old April 9th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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Default Death by a Thousand (Education) Cuts

I actually got a chill as I read this article in the NYT. . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/us...thout.html?hpw

I worry about a lot of things: budgets, jobs, unjustified wars, idiot politicians, crooked politicians, super-pacs, our fragile planet. . .

But mostly I worry about education.

We're really done for if this continues. We cannot continue to grow stupid children and tell them they're doing fine. A college professor lives across the street and yesterday over a bottle of wine she showed us--literally showed us--some of the crap work that her students turn in. Not just a selected example or two, but a complete folder from an entire class. At first you laugh, and then you weep. Real tears. We can't survive like this.

When are we going to wise up, stop making education both a dirty word and a whipping boy, start setting expectations, putting our money where our mouth is, stop making excuses and stop pretending we're doing fine?
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Old April 9th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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Several years ago I was watching a college basketball game on TV . During the intermission an alum from one of the teams playing was interviewed .Apparently he had recently attained an MBA .During the course of the interview the guy appeared to have the grammatical skills of a second grader .
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Old April 9th, 2012, 09:10 PM
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When you pay a cashier who isn't yet a senior citizen. the chances are good that they couldn't make change properly without the register doing it for them.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 09:57 PM
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Several years ago I was watching a college basketball game on TV . During the intermission an alum from one of the teams playing was interviewed .Apparently he had recently attained an MBA .During the course of the interview the guy appeared to have the grammatical skills of a second grader .
The whole big money college sports thing is a travesty for sure, but just a small part of the overall problem. Bob Costas had a two-hour special on this subject just last night and it was scary. But he interviewed the head of the NCAA who said the system needs a little fine tuning but that basically everything is just fine.

So I guess it is.

Not.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 09:58 PM
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When you pay a cashier who isn't yet a senior citizen. the chances are good that they couldn't make change properly without the register doing it for them.
This has been true for at least twenty years.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 10:43 PM
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Default College sports

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The whole big money college sports thing is a travesty for sure, but just a small part of the overall problem. Bob Costas had a two-hour special on this subject just last night and it was scary. But he interviewed the head of the NCAA who said the system needs a little fine tuning but that basically everything is just fine.

So I guess it is.

Not.
The majority of college athletes do not belong there .They are preventing students from matriculating .Even the IVY league colleges and universities are admitting students who should not be there .
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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:05 AM
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AR,

Truer words have never been spoken. Education in this country is nothing more nor less than a tragedy and I don't care what the reasons are.....there's enough to go around for everyone.

Have always (with the exception of a couple of VW bugs back in the seventies), owned American cars. Got myself a Mazda Cx-7 today. It's a 2009 and got it for fourteen grand along with a three year bumper to bumper warranty. Went with a fellow who is really into cars and has had great success with car lots. He's now retired. He told me the thing looks and drives as if it's brand new. Has I think 43,000 miles on it It's hard to tell anyone has even sat in the seats! Wish me luck. I'll undboutedly need it!
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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:59 AM
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The majority of college athletes do not belong there .They are preventing students from matriculating .Even the IVY league colleges and universities are admitting students who should not be there .
I was fortunate to be able to go to a well-regarded university back in the 60s. Our football and basketball teams, although part of a major conference, always lost bigtime, and still carry on that noble tradition today. At football games we'd sit in the stands and laugh a lot, and when the other team scored (a very regular occurrence), we had a special cheer. It went like this. . .

So you scored a touchdown,
What's the fuss?
In a coupla years
You'll be workin' for us!

And, not to put too fine a point on it, by and large that turned out to be true. For awhile anyway. Lately though, I think it wouldn't be so true, because I doubt I'd hire many of them.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 01:53 AM
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[QUOTE=ToddDH;1424311]AR,

Truer words have never been spoken. Education in this country is nothing more nor less than a tragedy and I don't care what the reasons are.....there's enough to go around for everyone.

QUOTE]

I certainly agree with that statemnet.

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Old April 10th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Education in our country does have problems, however I run a camp and hire a lot of young people - I find they are not quite as uneducated as this thread would indicate. Student from other countries still come to the US for better education.

Now having said all of that does mean that I don't think we are in trouble. It is not just our education system - it is our entire system.

IMHO - as a society, and as human beings we need to evolve from our political systems that rely on competition to a model of cooperation. This will be hard because it is exactly opposite of how things work now.

Competition is great when you have unlimited resources. As we continue to deplete our world's resources we will continue to see conflict and a continuation of the polarization of society into haves and have-nots.

Competition will lead to more programs like education, health care, and various other social safety nets being eroded. The reason for this is in a competitive model the powerful see no value in social programs as they have no need of them.

We began our country with the incredible idea that if we all work hard and help each other along the way we could build a healthy society. As a nation we actually did a lot of this by providing Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Education, etc. Of course none of these programs have been perfect but they did create a middle class that has been the economic driving force of this country.

Now that the world economy has had a downturn, and it will likely never recover to the level it was (think limited resources). Political decisions on the distribution of resources are being made using the competitive model. The middle class, who has been tasked with the economic burden of supporting most of the social programs, is now disappearing. IMHO, this is because of the powerful refusing to participate in good faith with the social contract we have made with one another as a society.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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I went to high school with a guy who graduated but could not read .He was admitted to a university so that he could be on the basketball team .
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Old April 10th, 2012, 09:14 PM
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Marsdude,

In many ways you are right but if I may be so humble, you've misconstrued the reasons.

To have a "middle class" you have to have continuing competition. I'm not going to get into details but suffice it to say, I could argue them 'til the cows come home.

In essence, it's not only my personal belief but that of many others, that the loss of the Middle Class is a result of a minimization of not only schooling and physical but of both when it comes as to competition.

Competition, be it academically or via sports, invigorates both the mind and the body and provides that impetus to succeed. If there is no reason to succeed then there is no reason for competition. It's not so much as to how much you actially succeed be it financially but rather it provides the "uumph" to try harder. Eliminate that and where is your justification?

To use your own examples, if our ancestors hand not competed amongst themselves, where would we be today? Short answer is, we wouldn't.

I'm not by any stretch of the imagination discussing a political agenda here but a basic, in fact very basic agenda and that is best described by a more modern phrase known as "upwardly mobile." It's a goal we won't all reach (I certainly didn't) but through effort I was able to provide a liveable wage and retirement. That, my friend is the key.

AR is one of the most educated among us (before anyone starts hollering, I didn't say smartest (which he might well be)) but rather among the most educated). I would be surprised were he not to agree with me.

Todd
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Old April 11th, 2012, 01:03 AM
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I certainly agree that competition is healthy in the context of capitalism and sports, but I think marsdude is using the word in a different context. I think he's talking about the "my way or the highway" form of competition that has pervaded politics, public policy, religion and many other areas. I think he's not talking about competition as the opposite of monopoly, but rather as the opposite of thoughful discourse, good faith and reasonable compromise.

But he can speak for himself on that.

As far as athletics, the problem with college sports isn't the competition, it's the subjugation of athletes to the level of slave employees, and it only happens in men's football and basketball. I know that at the big money schools they say they have to do that to finance all the other sports that don't make money and to comply with Title IX, but it ain't necessarily so, depending on your view of the world.

Our son Matt played baseball at NYU. No scholarships (for anybody), just student athletes in the truest sense. No sport makes any money there. All teams are a financial dead loss for the university. After he graduated he was invited back as the assistant coach, and he held that job until just last year when he moved too far from the city for it to be practical. For all those years you could find his baseball uniforms hanging next to his pilot's uniforms. He said that his association with college sports at that level both as a player and a coach was extraordinarily gratifying, and nothing but positive for everybody concerned. He made lifelong friends there, including the faculty advisor to the team who in real life is a psychology professor (which I always think is very funny). And while budgets were tight, at least the competition was honest and had the meaning and effect that everyone would hope would be the case in college sports.

So I'm certainly not trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We all know where the problems are in college sports, and pretty much why they're problems.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 08:57 AM
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I fully agree with you AR when it comes to the sports part of the equation but I also believe that life itself has many competition tendancies and if one removes them, all suffer. That is the most important part of my previous statement. Sports I used only as an example.

As for "life," your son is a perfect example. To become an airline pilot or a coach involves intense competition as a result of the educational aspect of competition. If you demonstrate less desire by virtue of your grades and behavior than the other guy or gal, then you're not going to get the job. It's that important. I don't think anyone, crew or passengers want to consistently fly with a "just barely made it" Captain of a commercial aircraft much less than they would wish to work for, be a patient, etc. for/of any marginally acccepted executive or mentally demanding position with medicine being another example. There are more than sufficient examples of that already occurring.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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ToddDH & AR -

First, forgive me for not being a little more clear with my post.

Second, thank you so much for engaging in this discussion with out name calling or accusations. I love to discuss this type of thing and I doubly enjoy it with people keep the discussion intellectual and not emotional. I usally learn a lot from this type of conversation.

I agree with you that there is such a thing as healthy competition. Learning how to loose is as important as learning how to win. However if you are talking about problem solving (politics) or the economy, the competitive model will ultimately fail.

As an example, competition is great on a race track, not so much on the interstate.

The problem solving issue is a no brainier, so let me focus on what I mean by saying an competitive economic system will ultimately fail. If all has to do with resources, which are limited. As our resources dwindle the competition for the access to those resources intensifies, we have already seen this in our lifetimes. The competitive model leads to those who are powerful obtaining yet more, and those that are not powerful loosing more and more of what they have. Once again, this is not my opinion, it is laid out for us very clearly in history.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 11:53 AM
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Default Learning how to loose ?

Quote:
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ToddDH & AR -

First, forgive me for not being a little more clear with my post.

Second, thank you so much for engaging in this discussion with out name calling or accusations. I love to discuss this type of thing and I doubly enjoy it with people keep the discussion intellectual and not emotional. I usally learn a lot from this type of conversation.

I agree with you that there is such a thing as healthy competition. Learning how to loose is as important as learning how to win. However if you are talking about problem solving (politics) or the economy, the competitive model will ultimately fail.

As an example, competition is great on a race track, not so much on the interstate.

The problem solving issue is a no brainier, so let me focus on what I mean by saying an competitive economic system will ultimately fail. If all has to do with resources, which are limited. As our resources dwindle the competition for the access to those resources intensifies, we have already seen this in our lifetimes. The competitive model leads to those who are powerful obtaining yet more, and those that are not powerful loosing more and more of what they have. Once again, this is not my opinion, it is laid out for us very clearly in history.
Excuse me ,but what does that mean ?
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Old April 11th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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But it's not about the money, or even sports (which leads right back to money). Sure, the system has to be funded, but just pouring more money in the bucket won't help. There are so many common sense steps that would make a difference.

1) Pay the good teachers a good wage, get rid of the over-paid deadwood (teachers and administrators) that don't care and can't even pass competancy tests in the subjects they teach (Oh, but the Unions protect "Tenured" professionals, and won't allow teacher competency testing!) It was a travesty a few years back when a school district laid off their 'teacher of the year', who was a new hire, but kept worse teachers solely due to seniority. If good teachers got paid better, the profession would attract better students. I knew many in college that wanted to teach, but the pay was too low. Sadly, in my day (70s -80s) teaching attracted many under-achievers.

2) If a kid doesn't want to be in school, I'd say 'adios bucko'. Why do we put more focus on truancy (no child left behind) than we do on teaching subject matter? Teach to the ones that want to learn, and for those that don't, well the world needs garbage men and janitors as much as it needs computer engineers.

3) Put an immediate end to 'Teaching to a standardized test'. When I was a kid, they gave us a quick run-down on how to fill in the test forms every year, then they tested what we knew. Done in a day or 2. Now schools put everything else on hold for a rediculous length of time to teach thier students how to do well on the standardized achievement tests. The system pays teachers / administrators / Schools based on how the students do. Any surprise you hear about all the cases of test fraud going on to jack up scores? Teach subject matter! Take no more than a week out of the year for the silly tests. Quit paying based on test scores.

4) Change the mindset that every single person needs to finish high school and college, or they are a failure. Be creative and have alternate paths, teaching skills that are in high demand. Not everyone needs physics and calculus in life. If I want to be a welder, plumber, electrician, carpenter, or the like, a college prep type program is not the best use of my time. More students might stick with a program if they could see it leading to a future they care about. And when out of High School, a JOB is an option as good as going off to college for many.

5) Let students pursue whatever eductional opportunity works best for them... vouchers or whatever. We had a poorly performing district near here that fought students taking scholarships to learn at private or other public district facilities. They found they were losing a bunch of students (their best ones), so the schools got less government money, and performed worse on testing since their star pupils left. The power structure did not like their District cut back, so instead of making moves to improve educational opportunities, they did what they could to prevent the students from seeking better teaching elsewhere. Sad.

I could go on, but its all just a pipe dream... too many administrators and unions with their hands in the cookie jar to ever make a real meaningful change.

Sorry for the novel sized rant
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Old April 11th, 2012, 09:58 PM
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Lots of good stuff here. If this group could get together and have the power to implement the things we agree on, I think there would be a lot of progress.

One of the things that bothers me a lot are the people who denigrate educational achievement--and there are lots who do. This is outrageous.

And it is especially true in science, engineering and math. It is very much in vogue to put down the entire scientific community when there is a finding that is in contrast to someone's personal beliefs, whether religious or secular. To some people, anything scientific that they don't agree with is "junk science." So the natural result is to put down scientific advancement, achievement, even the scientific method itself. This absurd condemnation with a broad brush is amazingly unhealthy, both for the individuals concerned and for the nation. Because mankind's core advances over the next centuries will stem directly from science.

If the narrow-minded among us continue to condemn it when they don't agree with it, we'll be in an even worse mess. We will succeed in making science as unattractive an endeavor as we have made politics, a distasteful profession no longer able to attract the best and the brightest. That will be tragic. But not to worry, other nations will take up the slack. We'll train their students at our great universities, then send them home because their student visas have expired.

Which isn't to say that everything every scientist says is correct. But we as a people are so inept at critical, analytical thinking that we're unable to separate the wheat from the chaff except on the basis of emotion.

Shame on us.
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Old April 12th, 2012, 12:19 AM
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I personally agree with 90 per cent of the last three posts.

Now industry has changed and I know that but it wasn't that long ago that a good tool and die maker made a small fortune. There remain excellent career opportunities for thosw who wish to work with their hands (and their brains).

Several decades ago I remember reading an article on education in the Reader's Digest. It was based upon the son of a famous and extremely educated author. It seems that the author was working in his yard when he became involved in a discusssion with his neighbor. The neighbor said his son had his heart set on a career in medicine and intended to become a physician (which he did). That made the author think that he'd never even asked his son what he wanted to do figuring he'd go to college and become involved as an executive.

He was stunned when he asked his son what he intended to do and the boy replied he wanted to be a carpenter. Dad was of course mortified but accepted his son's intentions and at leastasked the his son become the best carpenter he could be. The son did exactly that. He became a journeyman carpenter and finally a true talented carpenter. The years passed and lo and behold, he built an entire business. He became phenomenallly successful financially.

Nevertheless his father still wanted him to at some point return to college to learn The Humanities. I don't recall if the son ever did. The point is I see both points of view and They're both achievements, not only academically and financially but in dozens of other ways as well.

I personally believe far too often we place too much emphasis on just formal education in a structured environment (meaning school). Some kids, brilliant though they may be, simply do not want to go to college. I say fine with that! There again, I also understand the father's point of view.

I agree AR that we are short changing our children. Even on these posts I remember relating that back in the early eighties I attended a cocktail party in Rhinebeck, NY (today I probably wouldn't be allowed through the door). I overheard the pomposity of a teacher. I remarked to our host (who had invited us) that the idiot didn't even use proper English. Her reply? "Would you believe he's a tenured teacher in English?" Remember, this was back in the eighties! Now I am the absolutely last person on this earth to talke about proper English so if something drive me up the wall it has to be really embarrassingly remiss.

I have a close friend that knows probably more about local civil war history than anyone in the country. As a matter of fact, one of the networks years ago was doing an educational presentation on the homes of all the Presidents so of course they came to Greeneville, Tennessee. They invited my friend (a locall PHD in History) for his opinions. No one, I mean no one, knows more about President Andrew Johnson than does my friend, period! The formal network format host, while acting so superior and despite his being himself a professorr of Presidential History, ended up looking like the village idiot on television.

That being said, I could never sit through one of my friend's classes. I'd be asleep in thirty seconds!!!!! Did he know his subject? Probably more than anyone on this planet. Could he convey his knowledge to his students? Sadly, he didn't have a prayer. Can her write, however? Absolutely!

That's what I mean. there's a coverr for every pot. You just have to do your best and find the proper pot!
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Last edited by ToddDH; April 12th, 2012 at 12:26 AM.
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