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What's Wrong With Education In The Us?

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#1 piasan

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 06:54 AM

The topic of education comes up from time to time in various discussions.  I thought I'd start this one up and see if we can explore what's going on in an area where we pretty much all agree there are serious problems.

 

As I have pointed out, there are many issues with education in the US these include (in no particular order):

 

1)  Lack of parental involvement.

2)  Poor setting of priorities in spending on education.

3)  Testing.

4)  Parents.

5)  Social factors.

6)  Teacher qualifications.

 

Of course, these aren't the only factors that have a negative impact on education in the US.  Comments?



#2 Mike Summers

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 09:25 AM

The topic of education comes up from time to time in various discussions.  I thought I'd start this one up and see if we can explore what's going on in an area where we pretty much all agree there are serious problems.
 
As I have pointed out, there are many issues with education in the US these include (in no particular order):
 
1)  Lack of parental involvement.
2)  Poor setting of priorities in spending on education.
3)  Testing.
4)  Parents.
5)  Social factors.
6)  Teacher qualifications.
 
Of course, these aren't the only factors that have a negative impact on education in the US.  Comments?


I would say the biggest problem I had when I was regularly teaching was emotional problems of my students.

Unfortunately we don't teach our children very much about how to use their minds to create peace in their heads. I think the spinoff of evolutionary ideology can be blamed for this. By that I mean, most students have no idea that their thoughts cause their emotions and so they blame external events and circumstances. Their parents think the same way so it only follows that they would too. I had to try and teach a bunch of victims wwhich was difficult to do. Their emotional disturbance blocked effective teaching.

#3 piasan

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 09:53 AM

I think the spinoff of evolutionary ideology can be blamed for this. By that I mean, most students have no idea that their thoughts cause their emotions and so they blame external events and circumstances. Their parents think the same way so it only follows that they would too. I had to try and teach a bunch of victims wwhich was difficult to do. Their emotional disturbance blocked effective teaching.

I totally disagree.  According to the most recent P.I.S.A. test results (http://www.oecd.org/...ts-overview.pdf ), the United States ranks 35th in the world.  Some of the nations ranking ahead of us are: China, Korea, Japan, Estonia, Poland, and Viet Nam.  I strongly suspect each of these nations teaches evolution and most of them aren't Christian.



#4 Mike Summers

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 11:47 AM

Were you ever a classroom teacher? Teachers in other counties garner much more respect than in the US. I also taught ESL I got a lot more respect from them.

I am not talking about the teaching of biological evolution. The attitude of the students towards learning mas a major issue.


Fortunately since I was a computer teacher, I did not have to teach the evo babel.

#5 keysi

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 11:54 AM

I see we have quite a few teachers around here, what subject do each of you teach and where? I.e in a high school, college or uni? Not actual location :P

I could never teach at a high school personally, most people don't want to be there or to learn and the teachers get such a hard time because of it. They did at my school anyway. I felt sorry for most of them.



I think the spinoff of evolutionary ideology can be blamed for this.

Umm....why? Is evolution even an ideology?

#6 Fjuri

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 02:07 PM

The topic of education comes up from time to time in various discussions.  I thought I'd start this one up and see if we can explore what's going on in an area where we pretty much all agree there are serious problems.

 

As I have pointed out, there are many issues with education in the US these include (in no particular order):

 

1)  Lack of parental involvement.

2)  Poor setting of priorities in spending on education.

3)  Testing.

4)  Parents.

5)  Social factors.

6)  Teacher qualifications.

 

Of course, these aren't the only factors that have a negative impact on education in the US.  Comments?

 

Can you elaborate a bit more for those who are not part of the US but who might offer some insights from a different perspective? :)

You mention parents twice..

 

Evolution has nothing to do with it btw. If it had, you should be able to conclude that from the numbers.



#7 Goku

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:59 PM

The topic of education comes up from time to time in various discussions.  I thought I'd start this one up and see if we can explore what's going on in an area where we pretty much all agree there are serious problems.

 

As I have pointed out, there are many issues with education in the US these include (in no particular order):

 

1)  Lack of parental involvement.

2)  Poor setting of priorities in spending on education.

3)  Testing.

4)  Parents.

5)  Social factors.

6)  Teacher qualifications.

 

Of course, these aren't the only factors that have a negative impact on education in the US.  Comments?

 

I agree with all of that. Lack of parental involvement is a symptom of our culture devaluing education, IMHO. It is one of those few times where words like "elite" are often used negatively in American culture. 

 

Some testing needs to be done, but the system is broken. Too much emphasis on how well kids do on standardized tests; I remember in geometry the last month all we did was take previous standardized tests in preparation for the real one. 

 

At least for science and math I agree about teacher qualifications at the high school level (starting at about 14 years of age), before then I'm not too worried about it as the material is so low level. My impression, largely from anecdotes, is that most high school science teachers do not have science degrees and have not taken any science classes in college beyond a general science course required for all college diplomas. I recall my chemistry teacher from high school, she was a very nice person and eager to help students, but she never took chemistry in college and was literally just a step or two ahead of the class. I think she was an English teacher or something that got the honor of becoming the new chemistry teacher. 

 

My basic solution is to start year-round schooling which will help students retain material better since they don't have a long summer break to forget half of what they learned the previous year. Second, to revise the curriculum to reflect the change so the curriculum will move at a faster pace (students in other countries seem to be one to two years ahead of American students when they get out of high school). And last, to pay STEM teachers more and thus require more credentials. 



#8 piasan

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 07:50 PM

I see we have quite a few teachers around here, what subject do each of you teach and where? I.e in a high school, college or uni? Not actual location :P

I could never teach at a high school personally, most people don't want to be there or to learn and the teachers get such a hard time because of it. They did at my school anyway. I felt sorry for most of them.

I'm finishing my 15th year of teaching high school.  For the last 8 years I've taught only chemistry and physical science (chemistry, physics, earth science, and space science).  Before that I've also taught physics, biology, algebra, geometry, programming, MS Office and a few others.  My certificate covers about 20 subjects in math, science, and business.

 

Aside from the "AH - HA" moment we get to see from time to time, the kids continue to give me new things to laugh about almost every week.  One of the things about high school is we get to see kids develop very quickly from adolescent brats to young men and women.  The difference between a 9th grader and a 12th grader is amazing.



#9 piasan

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 09:20 PM

Can you elaborate a bit more for those who are not part of the US but who might offer some insights from a different perspective? :)
You mention parents twice..
 
Evolution has nothing to do with it btw. If it had, you should be able to conclude that from the numbers.

Last things first ....  the data clearly demonstrates teaching evolution has nothing to do with the decline of education in the US.  If it did, the top ten or so nations wouldn't be teaching evolution.  When we step back and look at the big picture, there has been a lot more going on in society during the post WWII era than just the teaching of evolution.

 

When I was composing the list, the lack of parental involvement in their children's education was the first thing I thought of.  Later, I thought of some other factors like two-income households, latch-key children, and other failures to put the welfare and education of their children first, so I just mentioned them again. 

 

Now, by way of background, elementary schools are grades 1-8 (age 7-14 at the completion of the year).  Secondary schools are called "high school" and are grades 9-12.  Education is pretty much guaranteed thru grade 12 (about age 18).  After that, if one continues their education they go to "college."  As I understand it, Europeans call their secondary education "college" and post-secondary "university."  Over here, the terms "college" and "university" are interchangeable.... but I try to use "university" to avoid any confusion.

 

Under our Constitution, the 50 individual states are responsible for education.  The central government has no official authority but they use the "power of the purse" to .... shall we say "encourage" the states to comply with federal mandates.

 

The decline of academic performance of US students probably began around 40-45 years ago.  One lingering effort to reverse the trend was the passage of the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law about 15 years ago.  Since then, there has been a big effort to hold schools "accountable" for the decline in the performance of our students.  This has led to an increased emphasis on standardized tests.  Teachers are told we should not teach to the test, but we will be held accountable for how well our students do on these test.

 

NCLB also created new and expensive mandates for schools to provide additional "special education" programs.  As a result, 10-20% of students get special accommodations such as a reduced number of choices on multiple choice exams, word banks, calculators, reduced numbers of questions, lower passing scores, extra time and more.  Many of these students have figured out the game and simply work the system. 

 

Some states tried to address the poor performers who had not met minimal academic standards by giving them a "Certificate of Attendance" rather than a diploma at 12th grade graduation.  They were taken to court under NCLB and lost.  As a result, we grant an 18 year old who can't multiply 5x5 the exact same diploma as the top students.

 

To put it bluntly ..... a high school diploma is meaningless.



#10 keysi

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 02:45 AM

Piasan said :
I'm finishing my 15th year of teaching high school.  For the last 8 years I've taught only chemistry and physical science (chemistry, physics, earth science, and space science).  Before that I've also taught physics, biology, algebra, geometry, programming, MS Office and a few others.  My certificate covers about 20 subjects in math, science, and business.

Ooh a chemistry teacher :)I may have to pick your brain on chemistry ( up to British GCSE and perhaps A level level )

I'm trying to teach myself it through distance learning GCSE courses in order to get a better job within my current employer. I got the highest grade possible for biology and physics in school so I know it's not beyond my ability, but because I've never done chemistry before and have no teacher interaction there are a few bits that I'm struggling with. Motivation Is also a hurdle after a full days work :P.

#11 Mike Summers

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 09:30 AM

Keysi,
I have been working on an answer to your question about how the concept of evolution interfaces with human beings
negatively.

However I would like an answer to this question. It will give me an assessment of your knowledge level. "Has anyone ever walked in space"?

#12 piasan

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 09:34 AM

Ooh a chemistry teacher :)I may have to pick your brain on chemistry ( up to British GCSE and perhaps A level level )

Well, if you want to pick my brain, you may need to get a really small pick.  I'm not famaliar with what your terms "GCSE" and "A level."  My high school chemistry classes were taught with the intention of getting my students ready for their first year university engineering level course.  The feedback I got was that they had done everything in my class they needed to do for their university level work.

 

If you think I can be helpful, feel free to contact me privately and I'll see what I can do.



#13 piasan

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 09:36 AM

However I would like an answer to this question. It will give me an assessment of your knowledge level. "Has anyone ever walked in space"?

((( Jumping up and down waving arms )))   I know ! ! !    I know ! ! !   I know ! ! !      Pick me ! ! !



#14 Mike Summers

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 09:53 AM

What Piasan did not include in his list of factors was to me the most glaring issue which is the mental state of the student. What is his level of motivation to learn? Will he or she cooperate with his educators? Without the cooperation of the student the most brilliant teacher cannot reach a student.

#15 Mike Summers

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 09:55 AM

((( Jumping up and down waving arms )))   I know ! ! !    I know ! ! !   I know ! ! !      Pick me ! ! !


Well?

#16 keysi

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 10:40 AM

Piasan-A level is like uni preparation level /first year of uni if you get a really good grade like A*....I think.

Mike-ooh I smell a trick question :P ( I am rubbish at those :P), are you alluding to that there being no atoms and molecules in space (the parts people could "walk" in any way) and therefore no one would actually be walking on anything at all?

What has that question or anyone's knowledge level got to do with your answer anyway?

Does your answer have anything to do with evolution having no moral fibre/why be good if there is no god/if evolution is true you would be free to act in anyway you like as survival of the fittest and the law of the jungle rules?
I know a lot of people seem to think that.

#17 Mike Summers

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 12:19 PM

Piasan-A level is like uni preparation level /first year of uni if you get a really good grade like A*....I think.

Mike-ooh I smell a trick question :P ( I am rubbish at those :P), are you alluding to that there being no atoms and molecules in space (the parts people could "walk" in any way) and therefore no one would actually be walking on anything at all?

What has that question or anyone's knowledge level got to do with your answer anyway?

Does your answer have anything to do with evolution having no moral fibre/why be good if there is no god/if evolution is true you would be free to act in anyway you like as survival of the fittest and the law of the jungle rules?
I know a lot of people seem to think that.

You are just about spot on. However I have heard that Atoms occur about every 2 inches in space. Therefore, technically, you were wrong. But, you get the general idea.

When America sent its first astronaut out of the capsule to take a space walk he was tethered to the space capsule by an umbilical cord which sent telemetry back to the capsule and then to Houston. Imagine him out of the space capsule flailing around and getting nowhere. His attempts to move were futile. A similar occurrence can be demonstrated by laying on your back and kicking your arms and legs against the very thin air.

Houston observed his vital signs going wacky. His heartbeat approached over 170 bpm. They believed he was going to go into cardiac arrest or have a stroke. So, they told in the get back in the capsule. He was able to pull himself into the capsule by grabbing onto his umbilical cord.

Whene he got back to earth, they poured nearly 2 gallons of water out of his space suit. No one had realized that in a nearly absolute zero temperature, he would need a method for removing heat and moisture from the suit. They forgot that a vacuum is the best insulator against the transfer of heat by convection or radiation that it possible.

So the obvious answer to the question? No we can walk in space. I only surmise that the reason rockets cause propulsion is because of such an incredible amount of energy exerted against the molecules that do exist in space. What say you? You are the physicist.

The rest of your questions I'll answer in a later post. Affectionately,
your friend,
Mike

#18 keysi

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 12:46 PM

You are just about spot on. However I have heard that Atoms occur about every 2 inches in space. Therefore, technically, you were wrong. But, you get the general idea.

 

Yea, I too was aware that space is only  mostly empty, rather than a perfect vacuum, but for the purpose of our convo and the point I assumed you were making I thought it negligible in this instance.

 

I'm struggling to make sense of the rest of your post, in that it's never too clear who you are addressing, me or piassan?

Obviously you are referring to him as the physicist (when you answer your own question :P), but do you mean you'll answer the rest of his questions on education in america in a later post or my question about your statement on evolutionary ideology being the (or simple one of ) the problems in education, or both :P?

 

Incidentally I have spent too much time on this tonight, got things to do and all that. Look forward to your reply. Take care.



#19 piasan

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 12:55 PM

((( Jumping up and down waving arms )))   I know ! ! !    I know ! ! !   I know ! ! !      Pick me ! ! !

 

Well?

Ok, you kinda beat me to it.  The correct answer is that we cannot walk in space.  In order to walk, we need friction against our feet.  With no friction, walking is impossible.

 

 

They forgot that a vacuum is the best insulator against the transfer of heat by convection or radiation that it possible.

Actually, radiation is the only form of the transfer of heat that will work in a vacuum.  The other forms of heat transfer (conduction and convection) require physical contact of the molecules.

 

 

You are just about spot on. However I have heard that Atoms occur about every 2 inches in space.

I'm not sure of the exact spacing of the atoms, but my reading is that in space, a volume equal to that of the Earth will have about enough matter to fill a basketball.  Considering how closely atoms are packed on Earth, these two statements may well be equivalent.

 

 

So the obvious answer to the question? No we can walk in space. I only surmise that the reason rockets cause propulsion is because of such an incredible amount of energy exerted against the molecules that do exist in space. What say you? You are the physicist.

Rockets work in space because they are sending mass (exhaust gas) rearward.  Under Newton's Second Law (F=ma) the acceleration of the exhaust gas exerts a force on the rocket.  Under Newton's Third Law (for every force, there is an equal and opposite force) the force of the exhaust gas leaving the rocket nozzle exerts an opposite force on the rocket which causes the rocket to accelerate away from the exhaust gases.



#20 piasan

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 01:40 PM

Keysi,
I have been working on an answer to your question about how the concept of evolution interfaces with human beings
negatively.

With regard to education, why are all of the top ranked nations those who hold to the concept of evolution if that is what causes the lackluster performance of students in the US?

 

 

What Piasan did not include in his list of factors was to me the most glaring issue which is the mental state of the student. What is his level of motivation to learn? Will he or she cooperate with his educators? Without the cooperation of the student the most brilliant teacher cannot reach a student.

Absolutely.  It's a point I have often made in class..... students can have the best teacher on the planet, but until THEY decide to learn, they won't.

 

It can be aruged that student motivation is largely, if not mostly, due to parental influences.  It's a well known fact that students who do best in school are those whose parents have higher levels of education and income.  In other words, the motivation begins at home.

 

That is not to dispute that some teachers are highly successful at motivating students who otherwise may have little or no interest in learning.







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