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Author Topic: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread  (Read 965 times)

Doomblade187

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2019, 08:15:31 pm »

Oh, I agree that bad parenting hurts kids, I didn't mean to Accuse you or anything. Just wanted to caution against media that pushes the message too hard.
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IronyOwl

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2019, 09:16:00 pm »

The problem (tm):

Corporate america is not getting the "Qualified applicants" it needs straight from the public school system. (full stop)
This was a fascinating read, but do you have good evidence that it is indeed the case?


Society will not progress on hatred and fear, no amount of knowing math or knowing how to write or science or any of that will move forward with hatred.
Mindlessly pushing social values you like over practical ability makes places really shitty. China is a better example of that than your claim: They're not crap because they're scientific, they're crap because they value order and control over getting things done. They think if they have the first one, they can just order things to get done, and/or things will get done naturally because it's the proper way to do things. Neither works, because both explicitly sacrifice practical effect (reducing the utility of the internet, imprisoning some of their most active and motivated citizens, reducing confidence that doing business there is profitable) in favor of their actual goals (avoiding bad publicity for themselves, avoiding political threats to themselves, avoiding financial inconveniences to themselves).

Ignoring anything practical in school so long as they're shoveling your politics down students' throats is likewise just going to fail and then backfire, as it self-righteously does nothing of value and then people notice that.
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The Ensorceler

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2019, 01:53:41 am »

So... I've got a plan that I'm pretty sure is impossible on a societal level without massive changes but would be a hell of a lot better than what we've got now. K-12 is now college, college is trades/apprenticeships. Under the current system, btw, K-12 is conformity school, college is learning school + elective school, and then almost nothing teaches you how to do the job you end up in. The current system is horrific.

The workload kids actually need is tiny. Society, however, shits itself at the thought of kids having 8-10 hours of free time in a day. There would be something in there vaguely resembling school, but it would be basically split between "learning classes", which focus on critical thinking and shit, with the only "cirriculum" being core skills that can't be avoided. Reading, language, writing, numbers, etc. This is not an english language arts class, or a math class as they currently exist. You are not learning formulas and arcane grammar shit. You're learning how to interact meaningfully with other human beings fluently.

The rest of everything is more like a collection of clubs. They do not repeat what they do each year, or likely on a schedule at all. Kids who don't join any clubs are given extra focus to help them find what they like and integrate them into the system if possible. Enhanced study/tutoring is availible as a generic thing for anyone who wants it for when a club isn't meeting. Big library type space.

Mental health is treated like a public health deal (so is physical health), with at least yearly checkups to y'know check in on people. Whether at the checkup or elsewhere, therapy and other support is widely availible to anyone self-selecting or flagged into it.

College is now basically advanced study for fields that can't ever be trained into safely or effectively, like doctors. It is no longer the first introduction to critical thinking, and as such is not at all required to be a competent citizen.

Employers are formally and legally encouraged to be able to train their own employees either on the job or at an affiliated trade school. Employers don't get to do the whole "I want five years experience for an entry level position trick". Congradulations, train 'em for five years if that's what it takes. No backsies. Also fuck the gig economy.

Hopefully I didn't outright miss anything, I know there's holes, but it'd be a way better skeleton than the current monstrosity. As an aside... my name's Ens and I'm less than a year old. My predecessor was so ground up and traumatized by the school system that it killed them, slowly, after it taught them to never heal so you had nothing left to break. I'm something like a multiple personality except they were well and truly dead by the time I existed and I 100% ate what was left to finish myself. The school system shouldn't be able to do that to someone. My grudge against the system is pretty fucking personal and I hope to hell someone's able to fix it.
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Folly

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2019, 02:36:36 am »

Why not just redact child labor laws? Turn schools into workshops. Let children do something productive, while learning skills that are actually useful in the real world and getting paid for their time and effort.
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wierd

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2019, 04:00:37 am »

@ IronOwl. Re: evidence

In the past decade, there have been many instances of corporations following the stated script.  See for instance, this shocker from Disney.
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/us/last-task-after-layoff-at-disney-train-foreign-replacements.html

If Disney did not view their workers as an interchangeable resource, why would they do this? To even contemplate this action requires the outlook that employees can be seamlessly replaced without consequence, which is itself based on the idea that there can even BE a consistent baseline for an employee to begin with.  Disney's action only makes sense if they:

1) believe that there is a universal baseline employee archetype
2) can get that archetype through outsourcing.
3) can tailor the new models with the needed industry culture through mandatory training by the old models.
4) can get the same level of performance as before, because the only difference between old and new model (after training) is the cost.

If those 4 things are true, then their strategy is great.  However, none of those things are true, except item 1. they believe it, but that does not make it so.


It's not just Disney either.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/insourcing-american-lose_b_11173074

I am picking on H1B abuse, because it is symptomatic of the pathological view I claim as central to the argument-- They want a universal employee, and are willing to implode their own businesses to get them. (Check HuffPo's list of cited companies, and cross check with how many of them suffered terribly in the resulting years.)  They want the universal employee for fiscal reasons (they dont want to be stuck in a high wage region to get the staffing they need. The fantasy that they can get a universal baseline employee, then condition them for the role, is too compelling for them to let go of.)

Now, back to education.

A fresh highschool grad should be tabula rasa, right?  Fresh faced, and eager to enter a career chain at the bottom?  Not so fast;  In order to meet the qualifications needed for the "universal employee" archetype, you have to be able to be trained in any direction that the employer deems suitable at that time.  That means you have to meet "core competencies."

https://www.pdc.edu/about/assessment-research/general-education-core-competencies/

Granted, that is for college students-- but then again, my assertion was that highschool was not delivering these, so this is fine to point out.  Colleges are trying to deliver it.  Why? Because industry is demanding it. 

Going to college gives you an educator's attestation that you demonstrate these baseline qualities, and thus qualify as at least the baseline universal employee archetype.


With that in mind, take a look at this:
http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/competency.aspx

The previous model for highschool attainment was "total seat time."  NOT "actual demonstration of ability".  This is why highschools were not delivering the archetype, and why employers went to college degree requirements.

However, this new model still falls victim;  it mandates that students attain at the levels cited, or they do not graduate.  This does nothing good for the students, and only caters to the desire of industry for their "universal baseline competency" demand. 

The system I suggested as more ideal would not be a "pass/fail" binary metric, it would be a matrix assessment metric, where each student has a unique skills assessment matrix, which is more meaningful, and more useful.  That, coupled with a strong message to industry that "No, the universal employee is a myth, give the fuck up on that", would go a long way.


« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 04:16:05 am by wierd »
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Iduno

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2019, 09:32:28 am »

Eh, as a STEM major and employee, I have to say that cutting the arts and humanities is a TERRIBLE idea. They're called the humanities for a reason; they give students a mental gear shift from STEM content, which, at least for me, was desperately needed.

Agreed. Everyone should have basic knowledge of their world in a lot of different ways, so we all have a shared basis for communication. They do need to throw out the entire current syllabus and create one that isn't designed to make you hate whatever you're being taught. The current standardized testing is probably the major problem. I don't think anyone actually believes "You can remember what year this thing happened in with the rhyme 'in 1982 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.' when it comes up on the test" is in any way more interesting or useful than "cool things happened in history times; today we're talking about the USS Macon and why we don't have airships flying around today."


Okay. How, though? I'm asking earnestly, because a lot of the justifications I hear for teaching the humanities on societal grounds (critical thinking, organization, etc) don't actually require teaching the humanities. What do students get out of English class that they can't get out of science class?

Learning how to diagram a sentence? Learning to hate reading? I'm obviously just being glib, but it's a pretty telling sign when we can't come up with a serious value for a class about communicating because the way it's currently taught is so bad.

I understand why a good vocabulary is useful, but if you're still trying to teach high schoolers basic literacy, you've failed. English is a good class for elementary school, but doesn't serve much of a purpose once you've figured out high-end concepts like the semicolon. It's pretty obvious that arithmetic classes progress into actual math classes, but I'm not sure what advanced English courses would be.





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Reelya

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2019, 11:16:18 am »

But in speaking to college teachers about the quality of undergraduates, they tell me that they have declined precipitously. Alleged adults with third-grade literacy, or practical innumeracy. Pathetic knowledge of current events, let alone history. Inability to comprehend due-dates or professionalism.

College teachers aren't in a position to make an informed statement about the actual quality of high school education, and that's because there is a self-selection bias in their sample.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/184260/educational-attainment-in-the-us/

In 1960, 7.7% of Americans graduated college. So only people in the 92.8 percentile and above. By 2018, that was 35%, so people scoring 65 or over, percentile-wise. Even in 2010 it was only 30%. So in 2010 you needed to be around the 70+ percentile to be in college, and now that's the 65+ percentile. Since the overall number of university faculty has also increased along with the number of students, each teacher's share of the "best" students is falling as well, so the subjective experience is that student are getting worse, when that's not what is necessarily happening.

Additionally from 2010-2017 there's been a shift away from two-year colleges and towards four-year colleges.
https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cpb.asp
people going to two-year colleges in the first place tend to be lower scorers. So you're seeing an overall shift of students who used to end up in trade schools or community colleges earning diplomas now shifting over to degree-based education, so teachers are also seeing that influx.

Also, in that time you've seen a big surge in low-income people enrolling in college
https://www.forbes.com/sites/prestoncooper2/2018/02/26/college-enrollment-surges-among-low-income-students/#19d2869e293b
If you look at the graph, there was a huge spike in the number of low-income people enrolling in college after 2011. In 2011, 50% of students were from the bottom 20% of income groups, and that grew to 67% by 2015. So, your teacher may be noticing that trend and putting it down to "declining standards" when in fact the effect is because low-income people can afford to go to college now, and are making up a much bigger proportion of students. "Pathetic knowledge of current events, let alone history. Inability to comprehend due-dates or professionalism": these things could be due to the fact that your teach expects middle-class norms of upbringing but he's now dealing with a lot more lower-income people who don't have that sort of stable family background that instill things like professionalism.

EDIT: reading on in the thread
My parents read to me as a kid. Possible genetics aside, I think I was reading by about 4, which set me up for a life long love of literacy
...
This isn't a "blame the parents" thing either, but I do wonder in the last 35 or so years if there's been a shift in how much effort parents invest in to their kid's education and intelligence before they get to school. Do parents read to their kids as much as they used to? What values to parents instill in their kids? Do they get the talk about why schooling matters and why caring about it matters?

I don't think this has shifted away. If anything, the amount of resources expended on children's education is ever-increasing, and middle/higher income families are becoming obsessive about their children's performance. But, like pointed out in the linked graph, the surge in higher education has been concentrated in the lower income groups, and it's the lower-income groups where there is much less of this inter-generational education effect going on, plus low income parents need to take opportunity costs into account. Often both parents are working long hours just to provide the basic physical amenities to their children, and too exhausted to take that sort of time out to do hands-on educational activities with their children. That's more the preserve of (relatively) leisurely classes.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 11:56:41 am by Reelya »
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wierd

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2019, 11:24:07 am »

It's almost like there is something driving this--

Like maybe, employers are demanding higher levels of education for entry level positions, because of their own perceptive biases against having to accept low performers...



At some point, these assholes are going to have to realize that they can't cherry pick the best 100% of the time, while ignoring the majority of offers. What we really need in this country is employment reform.  The issues with higher education will sort themselves after that.

We do still need education reform in the public school system, but not nearly as badly as we need employment reform. 
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Trekkin

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2019, 11:35:53 am »

It's pretty obvious that arithmetic classes progress into actual math classes, but I'm not sure what advanced English courses would be.

If you want a focus on communication, maybe the equivalent of advanced English classes would be some combination of formal and material logic and rhetoric?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 11:42:58 am by Trekkin »
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Frumple

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2019, 12:17:50 pm »

Make them play online multiplayer games and use complete sentences and whatnot. It's basically what taught me proper english, back in middle/high school. Bloody Infantry did most of the work of me passing my eventual english classes.

But no, rhetoric might (but only might, since most conversation doesn't really involve significant rhetorical leveraging) help some but formal logic is frankly fucking useless for interpersonal communication or improving your abilities at it, from what I've experienced. I like it plenty for other reasons but it ain't gon' do shit to help you talk to a co-worker, boss, customer, or paperwork person, or even much to any good in writing stuff to publish or somethin'.

If you want to teach communication, have people communicate and show them how to do it without massively screwing something up in the process. How to make an apology and why the individual parts work like they do, how to identify (and avoid unnecessary) confrontational language, so on, so forth. If basic english is talk, advanced english is talk gud. Professional authorial work or whatever would probably be some kind of branch degree or somethin'.
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Reelya

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2019, 12:50:43 pm »

The list of jobs an American can get with a High School education is practically identical to the list of jobs they could get with no education at all. All of that time, effort, and money taken out of our children's formative years, and the net result is nothing of any value. This alone should be all the argument needed to persuade for educational reform.

This argument isn't born out by statistics however.
https://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2013/aug/02/don-lemon/educational-levels-generally-make-difference-earni/

Quote
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that weekly median annual earnings in 2012 for a high school dropout were $471; $652 for a high school graduate; and $1,066 for a college graduate with a bachelorís degree. Multiplying those weekly figures by 52, and the annual earnings for a high school dropout were $24,492, compared with $33,904 for a high school graduate and $55,432 for a college graduate.

Sure, we can interpret that in different ways, but having that highschool diploma adds up to significantly more earnings over a lifetime. This probably has multiple reasons. People who are more competent and diligent are more likely to finish highschool. Additionally, employers are aware of that, so they're going to take you having graduated as an indicator that you are more competent and diligent, even if you aren't actually.

We can argue that schools are far from ideal, but to argue there's no material advantage at all to having finished high school vs not finishing high school seems like a stretch. The diploma gets you better jobs, more raises and promotions. We could argue about whether that's because of core skills education taught you, or whether people are self-sorting into those groups and didn't actually learn anything, or whether the employer is influenced by you just having finished highschool.

Probably, there are some skills that highschool teaches you that are valuable, except we de-value those skills because they're so common. Also, we probably focus too much on the tangible and not enough on the intangible. Say you are taught to memorize a number of types of igneous rocks, and later to memorize other things. Eventually, you've forgotten all about those igneous rocks, so we say "the effort was futile, nothing was gained! Waste of time!". However, maybe that person is now better at memorizing and categorizing things in general, which is more intangible but arguably more valuable than having perfect recall from some igneous rock lessons you had when you were 12 years old. However, the skills Trekkin wants to maximize for working with technical data can't possibly be achieved without first working on simpler and more childish examples such as memorizing a bunch of rock types in this example. Whether you remember what specific rocks they were a few months later is entirely not the point. The point is that you do the exercise, then that sets you up mentally for more complex exercises. The rock types weren't in fact important at all, they were stepping stones.

The things you do at school are exercises for your ability. It's not actually a problem if you forget the specific exercises, the point is to increase the raw ability, then move on and do other exercises. The point is building skills, not rote-memorization of the set procedures. It's not a problem if you forget the details of an old subject you did, as long as that creates the scaffolding for you to do more advanced topics in future.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 01:04:16 pm by Reelya »
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Trekkin

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Re: How Bad Schooling Is Discussion Thread
« Reply #41 on: September 16, 2019, 02:04:55 pm »

But no, rhetoric might (but only might, since most conversation doesn't really involve significant rhetorical leveraging) help some but formal logic is frankly fucking useless for interpersonal communication or improving your abilities at it, from what I've experienced. I like it plenty for other reasons but it ain't gon' do shit to help you talk to a co-worker, boss, customer, or paperwork person, or even much to any good in writing stuff to publish or somethin'.

If you want to teach communication, have people communicate and show them how to do it without massively screwing something up in the process. How to make an apology and why the individual parts work like they do, how to identify (and avoid unnecessary) confrontational language, so on, so forth. If basic english is talk, advanced english is talk gud. Professional authorial work or whatever would probably be some kind of branch degree or somethin'.

Logic doesn't help communication directly, sure, but as a common syntax for systematizing the relationships between concepts it can help people understand things more rigorously and precisely, which is why I suggested it alongside rhetoric: it's an attempt to give the pupils the tools to more effectively receive and transmit information, and while logic is overkill for most of that, it can be a helpful fallback when something is too complex to communicate wholesale. Excessive though that might sound, we have to bear in mind that education is meant to be applied universally, and not everyone is smart enough to intuitively understand everything they're exposed to as citizens and as employees. Logic gives people a way to order their thinking so as to phrase their attempts to improve that understanding as reductively as possible, and moreover it lets them communicate that way precisely.

Granted, as a way to make interpersonal communication more pleasant, it's useless, and that's certainly worth teaching. I suggested it to serve as one half of the most reliable bullshit detector we could put together in a high school-sized course load out of things we already teach implicitly. An awareness of rhetoric would help them recognize when someone is trying to persuade them, and logic would help them clarify what someone's trying to get them to believe. It would go well taught alongside statistics, now that I think of it.
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