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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Americans are so manipulated. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Americans are so manipulated.
michaele8
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An analysis of Edward Bernays, public relations, media manipulation, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFmIEIOvwGY

I just wonder why the only people in the world who do not recognize how manipulated the American public is are the majority of Americans themselves. We are told what the ideal beliefs are in regards to the military, how big our families should be and what we should believe in regards to spirituality, sex, etc. Yet few people really recognize it. Is it because we have a school system based on conformity, which is actually hostile to individual investigation and expression?

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Orincoro
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It's really the height of self-absorption to suppose that Americans, before all others in the world, are powerless against the manipulation of public opinion by the media. It smacks deliciously of someone with negligible actual life experience, or familiarity with any other culture.

It's cute though, in its way.

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Stephan
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China's school system is based on conformity. America's is anything but. The standardized tests might be a pain the the rear, but teachers go through constant training on differentiated instruction and teaching students to think for themselves and problem solve. That is a big part of the new national core curriculum.

My neighbor has five children and I have two. Economics and a two person income have dictated two for most families, not the media. In a country where women are actually allowed to work, having 10 kids can be difficult.

As for the military, really? Never seen an American protest before?

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
China's school system is based on conformity. America's is anything but. The standardized tests might be a pain the the rear, but teachers go through constant training on differentiated instruction and teaching students to think for themselves and problem solve. That is a big part of the new national core curriculum.

I work in this field these days as a fully time content manager for an educational resource. This is very true, and the most recent State of the Union was evidence of a shift. Standardized knowledge testing is on the way out FINALLY. It will take a long time, but it has to change.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It's really the height of self-absorption to suppose that Americans, before all others in the world, are powerless against the manipulation of public opinion by the media. It smacks deliciously of someone with negligible actual life experience, or familiarity with any other culture.

It's cute though, in its way.

Also funny-we're enormous media exporters. So is his moral fiber simply made of sterner stuff, or has he been indoctrinated without knowing it? After all, the proud conviction that the individual partaking of the media is special and unique (as evidenced by their imminent decision to buy this thing others are shown using) is a hallmark of our nefarious media.
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Kwea
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::yawn::
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
China's school system is based on conformity. America's is anything but. The standardized tests might be a pain the the rear, but teachers go through constant training on differentiated instruction and teaching students to think for themselves and problem solve. That is a big part of the new national core curriculum.

I work in this field these days as a fully time content manager for an educational resource. This is very true, and the most recent State of the Union was evidence of a shift. Standardized knowledge testing is on the way out FINALLY. It will take a long time, but it has to change.
So when are they going to change the Assembly Line grade system (1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, etc) to something more dynamic and useful in the modern world?
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BlackBlade
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We could start with eliminating summer vacation, because kids don't need to go back home to help on the farm, and it's detrimental for kids to have 2-3 months of dead time. We'd disperse that additional free time throughout the school year. That way students have a healthy regiment of school, with plenty of free time for family and extracurricular activities. Schools could also use these regular breaks to host special activities, or even assign a greater variety of homework assignments.
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Lyrhawn
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That would be a boon to inner city schools. We wouldn't have summer camp anymore, but I think we'd get over it. Instead there would be random two week breaks throughout the year, like maybe a three week break at Christmas, and a three week break in June. Maybe then we could also justify to those who think teachers don't work hard enough that they need to be paid more.

Inner city kids often fall behind, in addition to other reasons, because middle class and upper class kids in the burbs have more educational opportunities over the summer, whereas the inner city kids spend the first two months of the following school year trying to catch back up to where they ended the previous year. Over the course of a few years, that's how they end up falling so far behind everyone else. Forcing a continuous school year would eliminate at least part of that problem.

I like summer vacation. It's nice to take a break, but instead of two full months off in the summer, I would have been happy, as a student, with three off, and maybe three more spread throughout the year.

I wonder what affects that would have on the tourism industry. If every family in America had to vacation during the same three weeks, you'd think it would drastically alter significant sectors of the industry. Maybe if various districts staggered when they had their shortened break.

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Destineer
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It seems very likely to me that "summer learning loss" is a sort of myth.

The evidence for it is a drop in standardized test scores over the summer, as I understand it. Here's my alternative explanation for this. For any given amount of student learning, some percentage of it will be forgotten on a fairly quick timetable. Over the summer, they're not learning new things that are tested for. So over the summer, test scores drop because lost knowledge isn't "replaced" (for scoring purposes) by new material. But anything they forget over the summer would likely be eventually forgotten anyway.

This is just conjecture, but so is the more popular explanation.

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Rakeesh
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Anecdote regarding Lyrhawn's post: in the city where I grew up (which were actually called two small cities, but there was no real difference between them and they were pretty much continuous) there were...some 4-6 libraries, depending on how far you ranged. One, one of the first and dating back many decades even when I was a child, was quite small, as you'd expect from a small town library. Two others were fairly large and impressive sizes, or at least it seemed so to me at the time. The one situated in the poorest neighborhood, though, was positively tiny-as in half or less the size of the first one I was speaking of. Absurdly small, not much larger than a few of the neighboring (small) houses nearby put together.
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MattP
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quote:
Maybe if various districts staggered when they had their shortened break.
Or setup more flexible vacation policies. Kids get some scheduled breaks and holidays but also have an allowance of "time off" that they can take at their discretion in coordination with their teachers/coaches.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Maybe if various districts staggered when they had their shortened break.
Or setup more flexible vacation policies. Kids get some scheduled breaks and holidays but also have an allowance of "time off" that they can take at their discretion in coordination with their teachers/coaches.
I could see this working too. Maybe if the summer semester was a less rigidly organized program of study, or maybe even some sort of online learning environment. Students still have to complete assignments and turn in work, but they don't necessarily have to be in the classroom for hours a day, which would allow them to take a week off here or there at their discretion during a defined period, say between July and August.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
It seems very likely to me that "summer learning loss" is a sort of myth.

The evidence for it is a drop in standardized test scores over the summer, as I understand it. Here's my alternative explanation for this. For any given amount of student learning, some percentage of it will be forgotten on a fairly quick timetable. Over the summer, they're not learning new things that are tested for. So over the summer, test scores drop because lost knowledge isn't "replaced" (for scoring purposes) by new material. But anything they forget over the summer would likely be eventually forgotten anyway.

This is just conjecture, but so is the more popular explanation.

But some subjects build upon previously learned concepts more than others. I have my own personal anecdotal experience with this from working with inner city kids. I think it's worst with math. Most inner city teachers spend the first two months of the semester reteaching exactly what the students learned at the end of the previous year because they forget it, but they need to know it in order to move on to the next topic because it builds on that knowledge. This has nothing to do with standardized tests and everything to do with just the normal month to month teaching. If they fall two months behind every year, it's not long before they're a whole grade behind.

I get what you mean about forgotten information. There's a pretty clear difference, I think, between teaching skills and teaching content in school. Teaching kids how to analyze an image or how to write an essay is a skill they can retain, while learning to recite the preamble is something they're likely to forget. But some things are designed, more than others, to be retained and built upon, while others are merely used as testing criteria. It's the stuff that needs to be built on that's most critical to keep current and not fall behind on.

When I was in school, we didn't take standardized tests every year. We took them every few years, and for that matter, we didn't take them twice a year (at the beginning and the end), which is the only way you can really correlate summer learning loss to test scores like that. I don't think the schools I've worked with take tests like that either.

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Stephan
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Kids should still be allowed to be kids. Half the year sitting at desks is enough.
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Lyrhawn
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By historic standards, childhood as we understand and prize it today is an incredibly recent trend. The idea that childhood is a relatively carefree time of fun and what not is only a few decades old. We're still experimenting with childhood, and I'm not convinced what we have now is really the best thing.
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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
So when are they going to change the Assembly Line grade system (1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, etc) to something more dynamic and useful in the modern world?

This would be nice. Why have grade levels at all? Allow students to immediately move on after mastering material. This would require changing the core model of school, especially in K-6. Rather than students being assigned to a single classroom and attempting to move them along as a group--which stifles many and leaves others in the dust--allow each student to learn at their own pace in every subject, and have teachers for each level of advancement. Students attend the appropriate level that matches their current ability in each subject. Eliminate age requirements totally.

For anecdotal support, I know personally four prodigies who have come through USU's math department, ages 10 - 16, the oldest enrolled here in university graduate level math courses while still attending public high school. In each case, these advanced students were home schooled at the early stages of their education, and some throughout their entire pre-university education. They were never told "do this worksheet and then stop to go out to recess." No one restricted their learning by erecting artificial stopping points. They learned at their own pace and excelled far beyond our system's woefully inadequate expectations for what students can learn at even the earliest ages.

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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
By historic standards, childhood as we understand and prize it today is an incredibly recent trend. The idea that childhood is a relatively carefree time of fun and what not is only a few decades old. We're still experimenting with childhood, and I'm not convinced what we have now is really the best thing.

We're also still experimenting with teaching/learning methods in schools. And if we take a look at Finland, it seems they may be onto something that incorporates the best of all worlds: 1) less classroom time and more play time, 2) less homework, 3) almost no standardized tests given, 4) a great amount of local control over curriculum and methods.

Sorry such a long quote follows, but it's some pretty amazing stuff that runs counter to a lot of assumptions I had about education. I am somewhat dumbfounded after reading the article.

From the Smithsonian article linked above:
quote:
...most of Finland’s 62,000 educators in 3,500 schools from Lapland to Turku—professionals selected from the top 10 percent of the nation’s graduates to earn a required master’s degree in education. Many schools are small enough so that teachers know every student.
---

In the 2009 PISA scores released last year, the nation came in second in science, third in reading and sixth in math among nearly half a million students worldwide.
---

There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions.
---

“We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test,” said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture.
---

Maija Rintola stood before her chattering class of twenty-three 7- and 8-year-olds one late April day in Kirkkojarven Koulu... They had just returned from their regular 15 minutes of playtime outdoors between lessons. “Play is important at this age,” Rintola would later say. “We value play.”
---

Teachers in Finland spend fewer hours at school each day and spend less time in classrooms than American teachers. Teachers use the extra time to build curriculums and assess their students. Children spend far more time playing outside, even in the depths of winter. Homework is minimal. Compulsory schooling does not begin until age 7. “We have no hurry,” said Louhivuori. “Children learn better when they are ready. Why stress them out?”
---

It’s almost unheard of for a child to show up hungry or homeless. Finland provides three years of maternity leave and subsidized day care to parents, and preschool for all 5-year-olds, where the emphasis is on play and socializing. In addition, the state subsidizes parents, paying them around 150 euros per month for every child until he or she turns 17. Ninety-seven percent of 6-year-olds attend public preschool, where children begin some academics. Schools provide food, medical care, counseling and taxi service if needed. Stu­dent health care is free.
---

Rintola will teach the same children next year and possibly the next five years, depending on the needs of the school. “It’s a good system. I can make strong connections with the children,” said Rintola, ...“I understand who they are.”
---

Finnish educators have a hard time understanding the United States’ fascination with standardized tests. “Americans like all these bars and graphs and colored charts,” Louhivuori teased, as he rummaged through his closet looking for past years’ results. “Looks like we did better than average two years ago,” he said after he found the reports. “It’s nonsense. We know much more about the children than these tests can tell us.”
---

...teachers were effectively granted equal status with doctors and lawyers. Applicants began flooding teaching programs, not because the salaries were so high but because autonomy and respect made the job attractive. In 2010, some 6,600 applicants vied for 660 primary school training slots...
---

By the mid-1980s, a final set of initiatives shook the classrooms free from the last vestiges of top-down regulation. Control over policies shifted to town councils. The national curriculum was distilled into broad guidelines. National math goals for grades one through nine, for example, were reduced to a neat ten pages. Sifting and sorting children into so-called ability groupings was eliminated. All children—clever or less so—were to be taught in the same classrooms, with lots of special teacher help available to make sure no child really would be left behind. The inspectorate closed its doors in the early ’90s, turning accountability and inspection over to teachers and principals. “We have our own motivation to succeed because we love the work,” said Louhivuori. “Our incentives come from inside.”

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html#ixzz2LCPOaV50
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
China's school system is based on conformity. America's is anything but.

I think this is a bit simplistic.
I'm sympathetic to the idea that most humans are similarly easy to manipulate all things being equal, but Chinese people and Americans are definitely not all things being equal except for the education system.

The best scammers and con artists, the most skilled at the art of manipulation that I've met would be from mainland China. Maybe its the inherent two-faced nature of the Chinese system of giving face, or a government that regularly says one thing and does another, or the fact that you have to be sneaky and bend rules to be successful in China. But if you dropped a group of Chinese tourists into Times Square and a group of American tourists into Tiananmen Square, I'm pretty sure the latter will fall prey to the art of manipulation first.

In fairness, there's maybe a specific kind of scam that Chinese people are more likely to fall into, born again Christianity, but that's perhaps a longer topic.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
By historic standards, childhood as we understand and prize it today is an incredibly recent trend.

While it may not be perfect, I'm incredibly skeptical of the idea that it's not clearly a massive improvement over the old model.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
By historic standards, childhood as we understand and prize it today is an incredibly recent trend.

While it may not be perfect, I'm incredibly skeptical of the idea that it's not clearly a massive improvement over the old model.
I never said it wasn't.
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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
It seems very likely to me that "summer learning loss" is a sort of myth.

The evidence for it is a drop in standardized test scores over the summer, as I understand it. Here's my alternative explanation for this. For any given amount of student learning, some percentage of it will be forgotten on a fairly quick timetable. Over the summer, they're not learning new things that are tested for. So over the summer, test scores drop because lost knowledge isn't "replaced" (for scoring purposes) by new material. But anything they forget over the summer would likely be eventually forgotten anyway.

This is just conjecture, but so is the more popular explanation.

But some subjects build upon previously learned concepts more than others. I have my own personal anecdotal experience with this from working with inner city kids. I think it's worst with math. Most inner city teachers spend the first two months of the semester reteaching exactly what the students learned at the end of the previous year because they forget it, but they need to know it in order to move on to the next topic because it builds on that knowledge. This has nothing to do with standardized tests and everything to do with just the normal month to month teaching. If they fall two months behind every year, it's not long before they're a whole grade behind.


Agreed.

I think summer school is a pretty important thing, though. It might be hard to replace it if student are multitasking with their learning all year, and/or only have three weeks to make up a failing grade. Then your class may be ahead of you when you come back if it takes any longer.

[ February 17, 2013, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: umberhulk ]

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umberhulk
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I think I would say

three(2) periods four weeks > four (3) periods of three weeks.

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Stephan
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Culture is the problem in the United States. There are too many people that don't place value in education. There is also too much supply and not enough demand. What really strikes me about Finland is the part about teachers being required to have a master degree before they can even start teaching. This automatically elevates them in society. In the United States bachelor degrees are a dime a dozen. I started teaching without even a teaching degree. They put me through a summer crash course because there was such a shortage in the urban area I started.

The idea of holding kids back who are not ready is a tough call to make. Do you risk having a 15 year old in sixth grade? (My wife had one such child who dropped out at 16.) Or work with the current system where bright low motivated students realize they can do nothing and keep getting passed.

I don't like the idea of frequent breaks throughout the year. Anyone who has ever taught knows how difficult it can be to get young minds back on track after a week or more off. I would rather get rid of spring and winter break, and make summer longer.

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Thesifer
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Can we start with some mandatory paid time off for Maternity leave? Let's actually catch up to the rest of the world in common sense.
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Mucus
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That would be a good idea. I would have thought that better support for mothers would be a slam dunk with family values politicians too.
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Thesifer
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Yeah, but a lot of them truly don't believe women should be working. If I were to guess. And they don't want to foot the bill, although they talk about the dwindling birth rate in the US. It would definitely help. My wife took 12 weeks off, unpaid. It was hard, but it was worth it. In the end, we decided it was better if I just work - so she resigned from her position. But if she had a year paid leave, or even 6 months like nearly every other developed country, it may have been different. It's definitely better for the child.
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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
Culture is the problem in the United States. There are too many people that don't place value in education. There is also too much supply and not enough demand. What really strikes me about Finland is the part about teachers being required to have a master degree before they can even start teaching. This automatically elevates them in society.

I'm not sure. Sometimes the less jaded teachers have better communication skills for it. I'm just one guy but I can tell you that one my worst teachers had a doctorate.

And the question is, does the math teacher need a master in math, or a masters in teaching math? Because doing algorithms, calcululus, and multiple page proofs, doesn't make you any better at teaching pre-algebra.

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Darth_Mauve
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Zombies.

I was doing some thinking on a story idea, basically, to the top 1%, the other 99% are the zombies--always scuttling forward, trying to drain the 1% of that which they have.

However, before I could build an interesting story about that, I realized that the top 1% is not limited to the wealthiest 1%. It could be the most eco-serious 1%, or the smartest 1%, or the top 1% of dancers. To everyone out there, we have the zombies and we have us.

The zombies aren't human any more. They don't understand life as we know it, and want to crush it. Only we true humans have to stand and protect the last bits of humanity from the raging tide of zombies.

That includes the eco-serious person who fights to defeat the carbon abusing zombies, or the dancer who is fighting to protect the magic of dance from those who want it crushed in favor of a new baseball field. Its the pro-football player staring at the zombies in the stands, and the NFL Owner staring at the zombie players and ex-players now attacking him with there feeble head-injured cry "Brainnnnnnnnns".

And its the non-media watching youngster who is influenced by an article that says American Consumers are Zombies, and all his Zombie friends who agree with that article.

Its the ed-specialists and ed-reformers who fear we are creating zombies in our schools, or that our zombie children are being made inferior to their zombie children.

And I am reminded of the original "I am Legend" story, not the vast number of zombie remakes. We, the human, are the monster if all we can do is destroy the zombies.

For We, the human, are someone's zombie.

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scholarette
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From people in my circles, there is definitely a feeling that woman shouldn't be working at all so making it easier for a woman to work is counterprodUctive. Also, there seems to be this huge fairness idea. Why should a woman get something a man doesn't for having a kid? If she wanted time off with the kid, she should have had enough money to pay for it. It is her choice to have a kid, why should any of the consequences be on someone else? The idea that maybe better society, less crime, etc doesn't seem to matter. Though, I have talked to real people (like not over Internet, not trolling) who think having a kid starve is fair punishment for parents being a drug user. People need to see the consequences of their actions.
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Boris
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quote:
Culture is the problem in the United States.
The problem is that there isn't a single problem. There are a *lot* of problems. Parents take little to no involvement in their kids' education. Teachers often feel like (and often act like) little more than glorified babysitters. We teach the wrong way. We teach the wrong things. Too often we teach kids things and expect them to learn those things, but we never teach the kids how to learn on their own.

My own experience was as one of those un-motivated bright students that breezed through standardized tests because I was talking to my siblings about what they learned. I learned how to work with exponents shortly after learning multiplication (as the only example I can remember). But I was also mercilessly bullied in school, too. When I was 13 my mother put me in Homeschool. We worked on the state approved subjects and materials for about 3 months, and then I completely aced the state homeschool exam. My mother just let me do whatever I felt like the next school year, and I just played with our new computer, tinkered with some complex table-top role playing games (Car Wars, to be specific) and did little else. I again aced the state homeschool exam. Same the next year. And the next. Then I got the GED a week before I turned 17 without studying. I could have *passed the GED at age 13* but the state didn't allow kids below 16 to take it.

I took the entrance exams for the local community college a couple weeks later and aced every subject but math (I've always hated Math. I do complex arithmetic in my head, but the tedious nature of mathematics studies bugs the hell out of me). Again, I passed the entrance exam with no issues and only had to take remedial college algebra. I passed every course I took with the lowest grade being a C+ (history...because I still couldn't get myself to study).

I cannot point to a single teacher I had in my public schooling days and say that they made a difference in my life. Some of them were as emotionally abusive to me as the kids in my classes. I still remember the anger and the screaming fit one of my teachers had after i was the only person in class that scored above the 98th percentile on the annual CAT.

I have no love for the public school system. I believe it stifled my development and creativity and exposed me to the worst abuse I've ever experienced. I don't know how things have changed in the 20 years since I left it behind, but I doubt that any of the underlying rot that infested it then has been excised. Of course, this is the North Carolina Public School system I'm speaking of. And I wasn't even remotely surprised when I learned how low it ranks for quality and success in the US.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
... making it easier for a woman to work is counterprodUctive. Also, there seems to be this huge fairness idea. Why should a woman get something a man doesn't for having a kid? ...

Well, both these objections are solvable. Pregnancy leave is tied to the mother. But parental leave isn't tied to just the mother, for example our workplace gives 35 weeks with pay supplementing EI for 35 weeks regardless of which parent it is. Thinking specifically of American companies in Canada, I think GE does the same.

So you're making it easier for any parent to have a child, not just the woman, and there is no fairness issue.

There is of course a cost, but politically, it is just a matter of actions speak louder than words. In other words, when your family values politicians claim that they're pro-family, challenge them to put their money where their mouth is.

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Thesifer
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There's also the possibility that it lowers crime rates, due to kids 'generally' being better raised, thereby making the cost worthwhile.

Many countries that give "leave" for births, give both parents the option to split the leave between them.

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
From people in my circles, there is definitely a feeling that woman shouldn't be working at all so making it easier for a woman to work is counterprodUctive. Also, there seems to be this huge fairness idea. Why should a woman get something a man doesn't for having a kid? If she wanted time off with the kid, she should have had enough money to pay for it. It is her choice to have a kid, why should any of the consequences be on someone else? The idea that maybe better society, less crime, etc doesn't seem to matter. Though, I have talked to real people (like not over Internet, not trolling) who think having a kid starve is fair punishment for parents being a drug user. People need to see the consequences of their actions.

The school district I was previously working in just started paternity leave this school year. Of course they started after I quit and our final child was born last school year.
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Thesifer
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
The school district I was previously working in just started paternity leave this school year. Of course they started after I quit and our final child was born last school year.

Yeah, but anytime is better than no time. I've always felt that it "Sucks" when some benefit, or new way to do things, or whatever starts after I no longer need it / work there / or whatever.. But I'd much rather people start to have it, than nobody.
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King of Men
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[quote=Stephan]There are too many people that don't place value in education. (...) In the United States bachelor degrees are a dime a dozen.[/quote]

So we have way too many bachelor's degrees, and also, presumably, we ought to have more of them since that's what we'd get if more people valued education. Is this consistent?

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
[quote=Stephan]There are too many people that don't place value in education. (...) In the United States bachelor degrees are a dime a dozen.

So we have way too many bachelor's degrees, and also, presumably, we ought to have more of them since that's what we'd get if more people valued education. Is this consistent? [/QUOTE]

Who says bachelor degrees are the only way to continue your education? One of my biggest problems is the reliance on the college track in public education. There is a huge political push to make every student college bound.

I have a student now in 6th grade that is struggling with 1st grade math and reading skills. He is not going to college, and would be much better off if he could at least in 8th or 9th grade start a different path for his education. Learning trade skills for instance. He is probably going to get extremely frustrated in high school and either drop out or earn a certificate of attendance rather than a diploma.

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Boris
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quote:
Who says bachelor degrees are the only way to continue your education? One of my biggest problems is the reliance on the college track in public education. There is a huge political push to make every student college bound.

I have a student now in 6th grade that is struggling with 1st grade math and reading skills. He is not going to college, and would be much better off if he could at least in 8th or 9th grade start a different path for his education. Learning trade skills for instance. He is probably going to get extremely frustrated in high school and either drop out or earn a certificate of attendance rather than a diploma.

This...A hundred times. The world needs mechanics, carpenters, welders, and plumbers just as much as it needs doctors, lawyers, and teachers. We place too much emphasis on academic achievement and not enough on understanding individual strengths and weaknesses.

I graduated with a BS in English (Bachelor of Science, but all I did to get my degree was learn what my teachers wanted to hear and write a bunch of BS for assignments). I've used the knowledge I gained in college only as a support to my career in Information Technology. I am able to create and maintain good documentation for the environments I work with, but that's just gravy on the self-learning I did focusing on IT directly.

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umberhulk
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It's a problem within high school. You should be able to take at least one more elective a year. Most students are forced to take at least one subject they just don't give a shit about, and never use. And when they don't give a shit, teachers are limited in how creative they can be in designing their class because half the students don't have the enthusiasm or energy to match it. So it gets monotonous for the students who do care too.
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Boris
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It would be nice if they could develop a track or major system like they have in Colleges for high schools and middle schools. Have kids ensure they have basic to good reading comprehension and math skills at a minimum and let them experience a number of subjects of their choosing so they can determine what they are interested in or good at.
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
It would be nice if they could develop a track or major system like they have in Colleges for high schools and middle schools. Have kids ensure they have basic to good reading comprehension and math skills at a minimum and let them experience a number of subjects of their choosing so they can determine what they are interested in or good at.

One of the problems middle schools are having is that politicians are setting a minimum requirement for the number of minutes spent in a math and reading/language arts class. Next year my district is going to require a 90 minute period minimum for reading a language arts. That doesn't leave a lot of time in the schedule. You either have 4 90 minute classes. Or 6 60 minute classes, with reading and language arts being two separate. classes. The 6 60 minute classes seems like a good solution, until someone comes along and says they need 90 minutes of math as well.

In my wife's elementary school it is already that way. 90 minutes of RELA, and 90 minutes of math mandatory. That leaves very little time for unified arts (gym, keyboarding, music, etc), social studies, and science. Let alone for anything exploratory.

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Darth_Mauve
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I often hear the complaint, "We need to not be so college oriented with our kids, and push other options when they are more suited to the child." Schools are willing to do that except you can not get a job above average wages without a college degree.

Plumber, carpenter, electrician and other skilled careers top out at $30-$50K a year. To get better pay you need to run your own business doing those services. To run your own business successfully you need a business degree, accounting degree, or at least lots of college time learning those skill sets.

And you'll never see a 6 or 7 figure income as a welder.

What you will see is the college bound kids going into management and buying the million dollar house the carpenter built, using plumber to get their newest I-phone out of the toilet where they dropped it, and replacing the welders at the assembly plant with robots that do the same work, better, for less.

And if you ask the college grad what should be done about the unemployed welder, or the carpenter who can never afford the home he built for you, or the plumber who can't afford the newest I-phone, he'll say "If they wanted to make money they would have gotten a better education."

What you do when you say children should be segregated into college and non-college bound paths, is that you want to create a two-tiered society, one for the wealthy and one for their servants.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
To run your own business successfully you need a business degree, accounting degree, or at least lots of college time learning those skill sets.

No you don't.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
To run your own business successfully you need a business degree, accounting degree, or at least lots of college time learning those skill sets.

No you don't.
See Bill Gates for evidence. What you need to run a business is a plan, something marketable, and the ability to work with people enough so you can hire the people with business and accounting degrees to do that work for you.

quote:
What you do when you say children should be segregated into college and non-college bound paths, is that you want to create a two-tiered society, one for the wealthy and one for their servants.
He said, while pretending that isn't what the world is already like. And salaries for tradesmen varies greatly depending on location. Master plumbers in dense municipal areas can easily break 6 figure salaries. Aside from that, it's very common for tradesmen to work on a self-employed basis, which typically results in pay before expenses of $75 an hour on average. Highly skilled tradesmen often end up running successful small businesses with many employees and bringing in well beyond the 6 figure mark.

You are also ignoring the fact that most people are willing to pay more for quality or even just a name, whether it be well built foreign cars or Apple computers. Tradesmen with a great deal of experience who take extra time to develop their knowledge and skills will always earn more than the ones who just go with the flow and do the minimum to get by. I've seen this in my own career. The average IT person knows enough to get by in their job and usually very little more. I've spent countless hours outside of work studying and building my knowledge. The average Systems Administrator makes significantly less than 6 figures. I make significantly more than average and am, based on the numerous certifications I've obtained, worth well over 6 figures to the right employer. Unfortunately, the right employer in my case is the Federal Government and I have no interest in working for them.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
To run your own business successfully you need a business degree, accounting degree, or at least lots of college time learning those skill sets.

No you don't.
I second that. I can't think of any plumbers/electricians/carpenters or any skilled position people I know who own their own business and have a business degree. They went to their respective trade schools and then started their business.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
To run your own business successfully you need a business degree, accounting degree, or at least lots of college time learning those skill sets.

No you don't.
I second that. I can't think of any plumbers/electricians/carpenters or any skilled position people I know who own their own business and have a business degree. They went to their respective trade schools and then started their business.
On reflection, this is really stunning. I replied flippantly, but actually this assumption is a pernicious problem. With even a cursory look at common, real businessmen one can see that many, many people (including very high profile ones like Gates) successfully own businesses without business/accounting degrees or significant college time learning those skills.

Those skills can be picked up through practical experience. Again, lots of high profile people even go so far as to claim that it is better to learn through doing than through university (Thiel comes to mind, of course.)

What sort of thinking leads one to completely miss this fact? How deeply ingrained does the "College degree = success; lack of degree = failure" meme need to be? I really don't understand, but I think that understanding this is important.

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stilesbn
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On the other hand. If you don't want to start a business but work for a business instead you almost certainly need a college degree to make above average wages.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
On the other hand. If you don't want to start a business but work for a business instead you almost certainly need a college degree to make above average wages.

Still often false, depending on the field. Lots of tech companies are more interested in competency than education, for example. And they definitely make above average wages.
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Boris
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One of the major failing of college training in just about any discipline is that we often unwittingly teach things that cripple creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. For instance, in an effort to ensure that everyone is able to learn the same things and to ensure that people are learning the concepts we teach, we often teach only a single way of solving a problem. In addition, the majority of problems we present to students has only *one answer*. This causes people to think that every problem only has a single possible answer. I once joined a discussion that several people were having regarding why people yawn. There were the typical arguments that it increases oxygen levels, or that it cools down the brain, or whatever else scientists have said in trying to explain yawning, but none of these individuals seemed to realize that yawning could do all of the things at the same time. Basically, everyone had a portion of the right answer, but chose to see it as the entirety of the answer.

This kind of thinking has also negatively impacted our political discourse and other areas as well. If one side is correct, the other *must* be wrong, because there can only be one answer.

When we go through college courses, we often get this single answer focus that then carries over to our professional lives. As a result, you end up with situations where the only way you can run a business is by running it according to the rules and laws that Professor Egghead taught. Thus, you end up with situations where companies that are started by highly creative individuals get taken over and begin being run by people who can't break out of the single answer only mentality.

You see the results of that type of thing every time a well run company with its original owner gets taken over by a stock owning board of directors and starts deviating from the vision of its founder. Walmart is probably one of the best examples of this.

Sam Walton studied Economics in college, not business management or accounting, but build a very good, very helpful company from the ground up. After he died, it was taken over by MBA's and stock managers who immediately ignored the vision Mr Walton had and began running the business according to the Harvard School of Business code of ethics (There are no ethics in business other than profit). While Walmart is still a behemoth, their lack of vision and creativity is basically destroying the company, they are now in a position that has them following market trends instead of leading them as they used to, and in the long term it will eventually meet the same fate as KMart, in part because of the meddling of a little company called CostCo, which is another company started by a couple men with little formal training in business.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
On the other hand. If you don't want to start a business but work for a business instead you almost certainly need a college degree to make above average wages.

Still often false, depending on the field. Lots of tech companies are more interested in competency than education, for example. And they definitely make above average wages.
I guess that's true. Though, I very rarely see any job postings tech or non tech that don't say Bachelor's Required. If it only requires a HS diploma I've never seen the salary above 35k (And I've only seen that high once).

Those are just postings though and I'm not in IT so I don't know how serious they are. Usually they don't require everything they ask for. I mean usually they as for someone with 10 years experience, a masters, management experience, and proof of a successful trip to the moon and then offer a salary of 30k. Sometimes I want to apply and get an interview just so I can talk to them and ask them "Are you nuts?!"

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