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View Full Version : US education failing brightest kids (um, yeah... we know)



DyerWolf
2007-Aug-28, 10:00 PM
Probably going to be ToSeek'd for the first time, but here goes...

An interesting article in last week's Time Mag:

Are We Failing Our Geniuses? (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1653653,00.html)

Doodler
2007-Aug-28, 10:39 PM
The short answer is "yes", but don't tell some of the bleeding hearts around here they need to cut the dead weight if they intend to see the best succeed.

Too many idiots are under the impression that "success" and "education" are a right not a reward brought on by applied effort and actual achievement.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-28, 11:11 PM
It seems to me a significant portion of US Human resource in very technical subjects is taken by foreigners. For most the US seems to be the ultimate place to work and study with the most opportunity.

Which education system are they comparing this too? I think if the US education system fails bright students, then other Education system fail smart kids way more.

And lastly, as Doodler pointed out, intelligence alone won't help much unless you put in the effort. I think if a person is intelligent enough they would manipulate the system to get good grades rather than rant about how the system doesn't value in their talents.

Tinaa
2007-Aug-28, 11:22 PM
It is sad that teachers generally have to teach to reach the least able student. Special Education laws pretty much mandate that all students are created equal; they are not. My schools offer classes for the brighter students which have greater challenges. The brighter students can get a great education but they have to look for the more challenging classes.

The Supreme Canuck
2007-Aug-28, 11:28 PM
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I'm sure I'm emotionally scarred and permanently mentally-diminished as a result. Basically, the smart kids can be left to their own devices, and can be ignored.

Being both bored and ignored for 14 years straight is not fun, not healthy, and not right.

Ronald Brak
2007-Aug-28, 11:34 PM
The government here is worried about the poor performace of boys in school. One solution they wanted to introduce was to have more sport. This makes a lot of sense as we all know that the nerds in high school who were no good at sport usually became trapped in low paying manual labour carreers while the boys who were good at football went on to high paying information technology jobs.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-28, 11:38 PM
Agreed.

I am interested in this issue because my school experience. The "advanced" classes really weren't that advanced (lots of field trips, though) and ultimately school rewarded me for being a slacker. I taught myself to get by on virtually no effort (I doodled throughout class, would never do homework - which got me "D's in participation", then Ace the test = "C" average.) (Just for fun on one Anatomy test in my Junior year of HS, I answered every question with things like "gristle," or "funny bone" or "peepers" or "naughty bits" just to throw my average (don't ask why I put more effort into goofing off creatively than answering the simple memory test)). I did the same through college (I split my time between being Mr. Outdoors and Van Wilder) and while I had a good time, no one would have ever called me an "over achiever."

Years later (after I got out of the Marine Corps) I finally went back to school for an advanced degree, where I found I really enjoyed school.

Now that I am about to become a father, I'm thinking hard about education.

TRS - I agree, effort is necessary. However, one reason (I think) the US's smart kids aren't going for the math intensive sciences is that its far easier for them to go into areas like medicine and law and make a killing. Even MBA's make more money than engineers, and they don't have to work as hard to get through school.

OTOH - it does give the smart people of the developing world a place to come work - and send much needed cash back to their families. Maybe that's a good thing.

The Supreme Canuck
2007-Aug-28, 11:41 PM
Well, let the kids choose between sports or class. The - er - athletically-inclined can skip while the smart kids learn at a useful level.

This, by the way, is only half-facetious.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-28, 11:41 PM
The government here is worried about the poor performace of boys in school. One solution they wanted to introduce was to have more sport. This makes a lot of sense as we all know that the nerds in high school who were no good at sport usually became trapped in low paying manual labour carreers while the boys who were good at football went on to high paying information technology jobs.

Still grinning!:lol:

mike alexander
2007-Aug-28, 11:49 PM
Since I am stupid, I can see that the stupidity is in making a false either/or choice between retarded and advanced. Any civilization worth the name would make resources available for both groups.

The Supreme Canuck
2007-Aug-28, 11:57 PM
Hence "facetious." Really, what is needed is classes tailored to students of different intellectual levels. Give the slower students more support in their class, and give the advanced students more advanced work in their class. One size does not fit all. The goal is of course to get everyone to the highest level they can personally achieve. By ignoring the more advanced students, they get bored, slack, and end up not fulfilling their potential.

Smaller classes tailored to the students. That's what is needed. Unfortunately, that's cost-prohibitive.

mike alexander
2007-Aug-29, 12:13 AM
Why is it cost-prohibitive?

Ronald Brak
2007-Aug-29, 12:14 AM
I hope the use of computers in education will allow more instruction tailored to a student's ability.

The Supreme Canuck
2007-Aug-29, 12:15 AM
Why is it cost-prohibitive?

Because you will never convince taxpayers to cough up the cash - why should I pay for an education system I don't use? For kids I don't have? Bah!

Small-mindedness and short-sightedness strike again.

mike alexander
2007-Aug-29, 12:20 AM
Yeah, I set you up for that. Sorry. EXACTLY my answer.

The Supreme Canuck
2007-Aug-29, 12:22 AM
Don't apologize - I'd have said it anyway.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-29, 02:18 AM
If you have some talent in any subject its up to you to go deeper into it. After 11 years of school I found out the education system doesn't really want to strengthen the talents of gifted students but rather to make dumb students normal. In the process they kill off any chance for the smart students to become better.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-29, 03:16 PM
My first brush with education was of bored, middle-aged female teachers who were more interested in having their coffee and talking the latest gossip than actually doing their job. In first class the teacher never noticed that I was good at maths but she did know my dad wasn't part of my live-with family and proceeded to interrogate me about him accordingly (I was 7 years old at the time). It took them 5 years to notice I was good at anything. Since then and after changing schools, I have been called 'intelligent' and 'gifted' (of course who is 'giftless', but that's a different story).

In contrast, there was a boy in my class when I started school who was hyperactive at the very least, agreesively disruptive at worst. As an example of his extremes, he hit me on the back with a chair once. Near impossible to teach under normal school circumstances due to various attention issues. He had a worse deal than I, the teachers drove his mother to tears with complaints about him and made him a prime target to group bullying by dropping critical, snide comments around the rest of us.

The point of this being, I think the system is designed to cater to the happy average, not too smart, not too troublesome. Otherwise it's fend for yourself.

Doodler
2007-Aug-29, 04:19 PM
Because you will never convince taxpayers to cough up the cash - why should I pay for an education system I don't use? For kids I don't have? Bah!

Small-mindedness and short-sightedness strike again.

The not so cost prohibitive solution might be moving them to classes at their level of performance, regardless of grade level.

If a kid is performing at a sixth grade level in fourth grade, why is (s)he in a fourth grade class?

Demigrog
2007-Aug-29, 06:40 PM
Since I am stupid, I can see that the stupidity is in making a false either/or choice between retarded and advanced. Any civilization worth the name would make resources available for both groups.

Hence "facetious." Really, what is needed is classes tailored to students of different intellectual levels. Give the slower students more support in their class, and give the advanced students more advanced work in their class. One size does not fit all. The goal is of course to get everyone to the highest level they can personally achieve. By ignoring the more advanced students, they get bored, slack, and end up not fulfilling their potential.

Smaller classes tailored to the students. That's what is needed. Unfortunately, that's cost-prohibitive.

At least in Virginia, there is such a system in place that actually works. The “Governor’s School” concept has regional schools set up with advanced classes that bring motivated students together under one roof. I went to a math/science oriented one (ie half my day was at Gov’s school (http://www.rvgs.k12.va.us), half at my home highschool), and it probably saved me from going insane. Instead of my home school’s lame attempts at math and science (they didn’t even have a calculus class), I got university level courses that were challenging and rewarding.

For the local schools it was helpful because they didn’t have to provide AP classes with expensive lab equipment and hard-to-find quality science teachers. Each school system sponsored a certain number of seats, and competition for them was pretty intense. For the students it is great because going to gov school was a hard earned privilege—there were almost no discipline issues and the students actually cared about keeping the facilities in good shape (our yearbook “best thing about our school” rankings always had “clean bathrooms” at #1).

The atmosphere was great too; the students tended to be well motivated—downright competitive, actually. It was shocking for most of us—coming from schools where we were so far ahead that we could just coast along—to suddenly not be the smartest kids in the class (or even the top half, in my case :) ). I had to unlearn all of my bad study habits. :) The school also emphasized research; a large part of each year was devoted to a specialty class like forensics, aerospace engineering, or environmental sciences—and we routinely had students in the international science and engineering fairs.

The best part was that the faculty treated the students largely like colleagues. My home school was run more like a prison (with the AP classes being the rare exceptions). It isn’t hard to figure out which style is better for learning. :) My only regret is that I couldn’t take my non-science courses at a governor’s school too.

Nicholas_Bostaph
2007-Aug-29, 07:36 PM
The not so cost prohibitive solution might be moving them to classes at their level of performance, regardless of grade level.

If a kid is performing at a sixth grade level in fourth grade, why is (s)he in a fourth grade class?

This is something I've been wandering about for a long time, though I'd propose a slightly different solution.

Why not chop every subject into much smaller 'levels' that take 2-5 weeks for the average kid to work through? Forget time limits or deadlines and just let everyone work at their own pace. Then award a HS diploma when a child reaches level 100 or 120 of each given subject. Guarantee them x years in school (if they wish) and keep up to level 200 on every subject to keep the parents of 'gifted' kids from feeling it's unfair.

This keeps intelligent kids moving through the system quickly enough to stay interested and focussed, and places no undue pressure on the slower ones; everyone moves at their own pace. Have interactive computer based testing to pass each level, and use multi-level projects/experiments to insure hands on learning/evaluation. Gifted kids will finish out of HS early and can start college classes to continue learning if they want, and can probably test out of many of the basic classes if they went through enough of the additionally supplied levels before leaving their public school.

Best of all you get interaction between children of many different ages. I think this would do a lot of good for socialization.

I understand they didn't have the manpower in the past, but with modern computers you could easily implement a system like this on a relative shoestring budget.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-29, 07:47 PM
The article is dead on. Been there, lived it myself, now going thru it with daughter.

The pendulum has swung politically away from nurturing bright kids. We open enrolled out of a district because not only did they completely eliminate all funding and formal programs for gifted kids; but they adjusted their principles to fit the politically correct stance of dumbing down to somewhere near the lowest common denominator.

So we finished the school year with home-schooling, then enrolled in a neighboring district. The program there has taken some hits, but is still alive. More importantly though is that the administration and some of the teachers at least acknowledge and address the needs of gifted kids.

That being said, they are still a ways from fully embracing the findings of research on the topic. I have been surprised to find that schools, supposed places of enlightenment, are about as slow to change and assimilate new information as any other organization. I maybe shouldn't be so surprised, since they are incredibly bureaucratic; I just expected that professional educators would be more on top of education as a science. They seem to be about 10 years behiond the curve when it comes to the most effective approach and tactics for gifted learners.

Doodler
2007-Aug-29, 08:02 PM
Because you will never convince taxpayers to cough up the cash - why should I pay for an education system I don't use? For kids I don't have? Bah!

Small-mindedness and short-sightedness strike again.

Horsepuckey, we're visionaries because we realize the danger of promoting mediocrity as a form of success.

Case study (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush)

I'm sorry, but our future depends on the worst and dullest not getting ahead in life.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-29, 08:04 PM
Demigrog & Nicholas,

Much of what you reference is very effective. Many of the elements are common to the Montesori methodology; especially the part about self-paced education. Research has shown that it is effective for almost all kids, even the ones with already established bad habits. It is based on the assumption that all humans start out with a hunger to learn naturally. (What animal doesn't want to know as much as possible about their environment?)

My opinion is that our regimented, age-oriented system squashes that natural hunger in almost all kids to one degree or another problems. Rigid compartmentalization by age is a most unfortunate accident of history - largely the result of urbanization. It also is unfortunately one of the characteristics of our system that professional educators are most resistant to change. It is why they are abhorred at grade-skipping, even though it is well proven to be most effective academically and very low risk socially.

Demigrog
2007-Aug-29, 08:05 PM
This is something I've been wandering about for a long time, though I'd propose a slightly different solution.

Why not chop every subject into much smaller 'levels' that take 2-5 weeks for the average kid to work through? Forget time limits or deadlines and just let everyone work at their own pace. Then award a HS diploma when a child reaches level 100 or 120 of each given subject. Guarantee them x years in school (if they wish) and keep up to level 200 on every subject to keep the parents of 'gifted' kids from feeling it's unfair.

This keeps intelligent kids moving through the system quickly enough to stay interested and focussed, and places no undue pressure on the slower ones; everyone moves at their own pace. Have interactive computer based testing to pass each level, and use multi-level projects/experiments to insure hands on learning/evaluation. Gifted kids will finish out of HS early and can start college classes to continue learning if they want, and can probably test out of many of the basic classes if they went through enough of the additionally supplied levels before leaving their public school.

Best of all you get interaction between children of many different ages. I think this would do a lot of good for socialization.

I understand they didn't have the manpower in the past, but with modern computers you could easily implement a system like this on a relative shoestring budget.

I like this approach a lot; it also has other benefits I can think of:
1) You can measure a teacher or school on their ability to teach on a child-by-child basis, so a teacher no longer is penalized because they get a student that is already way behind their grade level.
2) Because of #1, inner city schools are no longer penalized systemically by testing
3) Students are frequently disinterested in school because they are already hopelessly behind their classmates. Keeping the curriculum focused on their ability level will let them make real progress
4) If a student fails a test, they get to continue working on a subject until they master it, instead of moving on to more advanced coursework that builds on the subjects they are failing.
5) Looking at a student’s school records would give you a fairly accurate idea of what they know. Looking at how fast they progressed in combination with knowledge of their background and particular circumstances will tell you how fast they learn and how they deal with challenges and adversity.

Downsides:
1) It is different, and therefore practically impossible to implement in an existing school system.
2) It will require more teachers, as one-on-one work will be necessary
3) There will still be social stigma attached to students that are older than the other students working on the same competencies. This could be reduced by more one-on-one teaching.
4) How will relative subject time be allocated? Worst case, students will wind up with lopsided educations as they advance quickly in subjects they enjoy at the relative expense of the ones they don’t like. I’m personally unsure if this is bad—sometimes I think broadness is way overemphasized in schools these days.
5) Good teachers may suffer a bit. Sometimes a class is great because a teacher can bring something unique to it that isn’t in the standards of learning. With the levels system, there would be added pressure not to “waste time” that could be spent advancing the student along their predefined learning plan.

Anyway, more of my 2 cents worth

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-29, 08:06 PM
I'm sorry, but our future depends on the worst and dullest not getting ahead in life.

Now that struck me as very funny.

Doodler
2007-Aug-29, 08:13 PM
I still do not understand why it is so unbelievably difficult for people to grasp that if a child is learning at an advanced level, you place them at an advanced level.

Is there some logic I'm missing that says sticking fourth graders in a higher level class with older students based on their ability can't work? Do you really need a special fourth grade class with a fifth grade or higher curriculum rather than placing the kids in existing classes that work for them?

Demigrog
2007-Aug-29, 08:28 PM
I still do not understand why it is so unbelievably difficult for people to grasp that if a child is learning at an advanced level, you place them at an advanced level.

Is there some logic I'm missing that says sticking fourth graders in a higher level class with older students based on their ability can't work? Do you really need a special fourth grade class with a fifth grade or higher curriculum rather than placing the kids in existing classes that work for them?

I'd say it is particularly important not to mix students of different ages at the grade school level, at least the way we run schools today. "Smart" quickly becomes "freak" when dealing with mean spirited kids, and few 4th graders are going to have the emotional and social development to interact as equals with 6th graders. Of course, if the schools had the resources to keep the kids under control it wouldn't be such a problem...

Doodler
2007-Aug-29, 08:37 PM
I'd say it is particularly important not to mix students of different ages at the grade school level, at least the way we run schools today. "Smart" quickly becomes "freak" when dealing with mean spirited kids, and few 4th graders are going to have the emotional and social development to interact as equals with 6th graders. Of course, if the schools had the resources to keep the kids under control it wouldn't be such a problem...

They do, or at least they did. Should never have discharged Corporal Punishment from the service.

The Supreme Canuck
2007-Aug-29, 10:01 PM
Horsepuckey, we're visionaries because we realize the danger of promoting mediocrity as a form of success.

Ah, but education, properly applied, raises the bar, and even raises some of the mediocre to a very high level. I do like the idea of skipping grades - and the governor's school idea is great, as well. Rewarding intelligence? Excellent.

Damburger
2007-Aug-30, 07:11 AM
The short answer is "yes", but don't tell some of the bleeding hearts around here they need to cut the dead weight if they intend to see the best succeed.

Too many idiots are under the impression that "success" and "education" are a right not a reward brought on by applied effort and actual achievement.

Education isn't a right? Thats the kind of attitude that makes your schools suck.

Neverfly
2007-Aug-30, 07:33 AM
Education isn't a right? Thats the kind of attitude that makes your schools suck.

Wow. Hot words.
You know.. it's funny but uhhh...
Last I checked, a handful of rebels kicked britains butt in 1776.

And went on to lead industry and become a Global Superpower.
Not too shabby for suckers with a bad attitude.

Damburger
2007-Aug-30, 07:41 AM
Wow. Hot words.
You know.. it's funny but uhhh...
Last I checked, a handful of rebels kicked britains butt in 1776.

And went on to lead industry and become a Global Superpower.
Not too shabby for suckers with a bad attitude.

Whats that got to do with anything?

Your schools suck: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005003.pdf

You came 24th out of 38 countries for maths, 19th for science and 26th for problem solving. Its kind of shameful being a 'global superpower' whilst letting your kids lag behind isn't it?

Neverfly
2007-Aug-30, 07:53 AM
Whats that got to do with anything?

Your schools suck: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005003.pdf

You came 24th out of 38 countries for maths, 19th for science and 26th for problem solving. Its kind of shameful being a 'global superpower' whilst letting your kids lag behind isn't it?

Ouch! Touchč...
However doodlers attitude about it is not to blame.

Its a constant lowering of the standards by whiney kids and parents.
There's the other thread about New Exams "Science is hard"
Sheesh...

That is why our education is going down the tubes.
We are coddling our students instead of discipling them and inspiring them and getting them to Buckle Down and Study.
You're right. It IS shameful.

ETA: I'll even agree with Doodler. And education isn't a RIGHT. It's a Privilage. And our students should appreciate it and make good use of it.

Damburger
2007-Aug-30, 08:04 AM
Ouch! Touchč...
However doodlers attitude about it is not to blame.

Its a constant lowering of the standards by whiney kids and parents.
There's the other thread about New Exams "Science is hard"
Sheesh...

That is why our education is going down the tubes.
We are coddling our students instead of discipling them and inspiring them and getting them to Buckle Down and Study.
You're right. It IS shameful.

ETA: I'll even agree with Doodler. And education isn't a RIGHT. It's a Privilage. And our students should appreciate it and make good use of it.

Not specifically doodlers attitude. I hardly think he is unique in thinking that.

And discipline isn't the solution. These kids aren't misbehaving, they are falling behind at maths.

Teachers need more resources to work with and fewer kids - but that means more money. This money has to come out of the taxes of people who believe they are already overtaxed, and seem under the impression that teachers finish work at 3pm.

Neverfly
2007-Aug-30, 08:11 AM
Not specifically doodlers attitude. I hardly think he is unique in thinking that.
Irrelevent.


And discipline isn't the solution. These kids aren't misbehaving, (snip)
YES it IS.
and Most definetly YES they ARE misbehaving. Badly.


Teachers need more resources to work with and fewer kids - but that means more money. This money has to come out of the taxes of people who believe they are already overtaxed, and seem under the impression that teachers finish work at 3pm.
Do you live here?
You talk like you do.
Man the schools around here are practically rich dude.
They have to waste money and spend it frivilously just to make sure they get the same amount NEXT year.

More resources! SHEESH!
They HAVE resources. Better resources than the other countries that are kicking our scholastic butts do!

Believe me. I live here. I know better than you do how it is here. I went to school here.
We are over taxed.
We don't have some impression that teachers have an easy job and leave early.

Kids being lazy butts and whining that school is too hard (as if they had ANY idea!) and supposed adults caving into it and lowering the standards instead of getting those lil tails in line is what the problem is.

Tog
2007-Aug-30, 08:20 AM
The not so cost prohibitive solution might be moving them to classes at their level of performance, regardless of grade level.

If a kid is performing at a sixth grade level in fourth grade, why is (s)he in a fourth grade class?

When I was old enough to start kindergarten it was in a small town. Actually, my town had no school so they bussed us to a nearby one. All grades were on the same campus. Grade school was separate from the high school, but we all rode the same bus.

Shortly into the school year I was moved to the second grade for reading class. I don't recall it being very hard, and it was a whole lot better than the goal of my grade to have all 26 letters known by the end of the year. We didn't get numbers either, just learned to count tally marks.

Anyway, I was reading at a 2 years above my level. Those classes ended a few weeks later because, as I later found out, having a 5 year old in a second grade class made the rest of the class uncomfortable.

I also remember my parents taking me to a "special" school that summer. I was interviewed but the only thing I remember clearly was telling the woman that interviewed me the diagram of the planets on the wall was wrong. It showed Pluto in the same plane as the others, but it should be noticeably tilted. She told me I was wrong, and we sort of argued a bit about it. I never went back, but I don't know the real reason why.

My school in the 4th through 6th grades didn't have 4th, 5th, and 6th grades really. There was a 4th grade class, a class for advance 4th and slow 5th, one for mostly 5th and slow 6th, then one for mostly 6th and advanced 5th, but all were in one big room. Our rooms were an octagon with a square 4 sides. Classes of 30 or so students were held in the squares, with the large middle area open for small assemblies.

SirThoreth
2007-Aug-30, 08:55 AM
I still do not understand why it is so unbelievably difficult for people to grasp that if a child is learning at an advanced level, you place them at an advanced level.

Is there some logic I'm missing that says sticking fourth graders in a higher level class with older students based on their ability can't work? Do you really need a special fourth grade class with a fifth grade or higher curriculum rather than placing the kids in existing classes that work for them?

According to most educators, yes.

Believe me, I went through this time and again growing up (for the record, I'm 33), starting, really, in first grade.

I'd breeze through my schoolwork, and frustrate my teachers to no end because of it. They simply didn't know what to do with me. The "gifted program" they put me in starting in fourth grade was exactly the type they described in the article, and wasn't terribly useful - placing me in more advanced classes along with it helped, but only so much.

By the time I got to seventh grade, I was going absolutely nuts, slacking off, and developing issues in school. I simply didn't care. The answer? Skipping eighth grade, and then still putting me in advanced classes.

Why didn't they do that sooner? Simple: concerns about 'social development" and "getting along with your peers". Because you don't socialize well with children your own age, there's concern you won't be able to socialize with kids older than you. Never mind that the reason you don't get along with them in the first place is becaus eyou really don't fit with them in the first place.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 09:50 AM
They do, or at least they did. Should never have discharged Corporal Punishment from the service.

Boy, am I gald you're not my parent!!! In an adult environment at least you have an option to fight back when someone hits you, as a school kid, you'd get expelled, permanent record, etc. Corporal punishment opens a whole new door that has been rightly shut previously.


The short answer is "yes", but don't tell some of the bleeding hearts around here they need to cut the dead weight if they intend to see the best succeed.

Too many idiots are under the impression that "success" and "education" are a right not a reward brought on by applied effort and actual achievement.

I don't think I'm being a 'bleeding heart' about it but the education not being freely available to all thing is increasing the posibility of a 'gifted' child slipping through the cracks. You are running on the assumption that every parent is going to spend as much time looking for intelligence in their children and hold it in as high an esteem as you. Not necessarily the case. My grandma never noticed my mum was 'gifted', mum's first teacher did and actually talked my gran into sending mum to a better school, even though gran first told her she didn't have such big ambitions for mum and be happy if mum got a typing job at a post office or something like out of education. Mum got lucky with a teacher but how many gifted kids might be dismissed because they didn't have that teacher in first class? After all, it took a while for someone to notice that Einstein was not unintelligent, too.

Besides, by not educating the dimmer students you are going to get a very large percentage of population that does not understand or respect the value of education. Thus you'll get more parents who may have 'gifted' kids but instead of encouraging this gift, they are going to consider it worthless and try to surpress it in favour of some activity they see as more valuable.

Also, I'd like to point out that being intelligent doesn't make you a better person, more worthy of existing. The 'you' being a generic person 'you' kind of thing.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 11:56 AM
I am always annoyed when people use the word "gifted" for smart people. This seems to imply that intelligence is merely coded in your genes and is something some can have and others won't. This disregards the hard work the person has done to achieve the level of skill and the big dream he/she has had since childhood to fulfil. It cheapens intelligent people as lucky people.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive here.

While it may be true that education and parents attention may help the child to become more successful, it does not necessary mean this is a necessity. There have been many intelligent people who came from humble beginning, no formal education or parent attention. The most intelligent man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Aiyangar_Ramanujan) (IMO) is an example.

Maksutov
2007-Aug-30, 12:21 PM
One major drawback to one of the proposals here is that when kids are pushed into higher grades due to their academic ability, they lose touch with their peers emotionally and socially. Perhaps this is the origin of the whole "geek/nerd/outcast" genre.

Think about it. You're propelled into 8th grade when you biologically/calendar-wise should be in 6th grade. Everyone around you is starting to go through puberty, but you aren't, and won't for another year or so. Plus all your real friends you were growing up with are two grades back and becoming strangers. Soon, if not already, you will be in a different school building/location than they are. See a problem there?

There's a lot to be said for keeping age groups together, no matter what the "intelligence" range of the group's individual members is.

For me, that was handled by extra classes, optional instruction, and the sorting of students into various groups for a given age, based on academic achievement up to that point.

I'm very happy I wasn't forced to skip grades. I've seen the results and they are often traumatic.

No thank you.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 12:34 PM
I still do not understand why it is so unbelievably difficult for people to grasp that if a child is learning at an advanced level, you place them at an advanced level.

Is there some logic I'm missing that says sticking fourth graders in a higher level class with older students based on their ability can't work? Do you really need a special fourth grade class with a fifth grade or higher curriculum rather than placing the kids in existing classes that work for them?

Because, all good intentions aside, and acknowledging that not ALL are so; many teachers and most administrators are at their core, bureaucrats. (Just my personal opinion base on dealing with the sytem myself and on behalf of my daughters).

A good amount of it is also just good old fashioned resistance to change. You have to understand that at least the simple majority of them grew up under and became a part of the old standard model. Getting them to let go of that is very tough. You can hear it in their use of a lot of the old, worn out, totally invalid jargon, buzzwords, and cliches. (If I hear one more educator tell me that I need to let my child be a child I'm going to throw myself off a cliff or something).

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 12:43 PM
I am always annoyed when people use the word "gifted" for smart people. This seems to imply that intelligence is merely coded in your genes and is something some can have and others won't. This disregards the hard work the person has done to achieve the level of skill and the big dream he/she has had since childhood to fulfil. It cheapens intelligent people as lucky people.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive here.

While it may be true that education and parents attention may help the child to become more successful, it does not necessary mean this is a necessity. There have been many intelligent people who came from humble beginning, no formal education or parent attention. The most intelligent man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Aiyangar_Ramanujan) (IMO) is an example.

Ramanujan is a good example. One of my mathematical heroes, appart from developing some amazing mathematics, he went on to rediscover about 100 years worth of previously known mathematical theorems. While that is admirable, if he had had access to proper formal education he would have come across these theorems previously and could have concentrated his efforts on building them up further rather than finding stuff out for the seond time around. While I respect this particular part of his works just for the pure brilliance, I wonder how much more new mathematics he cold have developed if he had been given the free access to already available information. It's kind of like suggesting letting people to try figure out the code of writing on their own. Sure they'll crack it eventually but if we had helped them in the first place, they might be writing books by now.

As for the term 'gifted', it isn't the same as intelligence and it cannot replace hard work, but it does make the hard work that little bit easier. 'Gifted' just implies some natural affinity to a subject or activity, a talent at it, if you will.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 12:57 PM
One major drawback to one of the proposals here is that when kids are pushed into higher grades due to their academic ability, they lose touch with their peers emotionally and socially. Perhaps this is the origin of the whole "geek/nerd/outcast" genre.

I learned about this the hard way. I skipped one grade and went from 6 to 8. My time in grade 8 was the worst in my life. Guess why...

*sigh*



if he had had access to proper formal education he would have come across these theorems previously and could have concentrated his efforts on building them up further rather than finding stuff out for the seond time around.

True, but that was a 100 years ago. Today there are unlimited resources available for the curious mind on the net.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 12:57 PM
I'd say it is particularly important not to mix students of different ages at the grade school level, at least the way we run schools today. "Smart" quickly becomes "freak" when dealing with mean spirited kids, and few 4th graders are going to have the emotional and social development to interact as equals with 6th graders. Of course, if the schools had the resources to keep the kids under control it wouldn't be such a problem...

Not my experience, and not according to the research I've read. Their conclusions are that it is generally more damaging to stifle them academically than the only slight risk of additional social awkwardness. It's not like they fit in the mainstream of their own age group anyway.

One of my daughters just turned 10 and is entering 6th Grade. Most of her classmates are 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years older than her. It was a bit awkward at first, but she has come to fit in well. The last holdouts were the boys, and most of them have now accepted her since she is also one of the best athletes in her class. (She was a major contributor to her team's Pony League chamionship this past summer).

As far as belonging with her peers - these are her peers, or at least close enough for now. Her academic peers are actually in high school already; but she cuts her friends a little slack; and they cut her a little slack on the emotional side. (Her language skills are that of an average high school graduate). If she were in school with her age group, it would be an absolute joke. (She would be an older 4th grader or a young 5th grader). When she does have conversations with them it is totally one-sided. They look at her like a deer in the headlights. Not trying to brag (though we are proud), but just trying to give an idea of how out of place she would be with her age group.

Gifted kids are usually elevated emotionally as well as intellectually, though the former does lag behind the later. They do need to be given some slack and understanding when they do act their age emotionally.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 01:06 PM
I am always annoyed when people use the word "gifted" for smart people. This seems to imply that intelligence is merely coded in your genes and is something some can have and others won't. This disregards the hard work the person has done to achieve the level of skill and the big dream he/she has had since childhood to fulfil. It cheapens intelligent people as lucky people.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive here.

While it may be true that education and parents attention may help the child to become more successful, it does not necessary mean this is a necessity. There have been many intelligent people who came from humble beginning, no formal education or parent attention. The most intelligent man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Aiyangar_Ramanujan) (IMO) is an example.

From what I've read, intelligence appears to be about 50% inherited. Another interesting tidbit is that very few people's intelligence level changes with age. Something like 95% stay within 5 points their entire life. Which is evidence to me that intelligence is about how your brain works as much as it is about how hard you work your brain.

Maksutov
2007-Aug-30, 01:07 PM
Not my experience, and not according to the research I've read.As with the other social sciences, there will always be many exceptions to the general observed averages and distributions...AKA outliers.
Gifted kids are usually elevated emotionally as well as intellectually, though the former does lag behind the later. They do need to be given some slack and understanding when they do act their age emotionally.I'd like to see some hard data re that "emotional elevation" claim for gifted kids.

Then, they have to be really gifted to make up for the biological differences.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 01:15 PM
True, but that was a 100 years ago. Today there are unlimited resources available for the curious mind on the net.

Yeah, but if your* parents, whom you presumably love and want to make proud, never thought of introducing or encouraging you in these pursuits it's likely you're going to find developing a love for intellectual knowledge that bit more difficult just because you find it harder to relate to it. Say, if your parents used to read you books a lot when you were little you'll have developed a thirst for reading before you ever learned to read, while if they had played sports with you rather than read to you, you'll have developed a liking for sports before that for reading since you'll always remember it also as a bonding experience with people yu care about. Whether we like it or not, adults play a very big role in opening the doors of experiences and interests in children's minds. They aren't the only influencing factor but still an important one.

*'your' is meant as a generic, hypothetical one; not you personally

NEOWatcher
2007-Aug-30, 01:18 PM
As with the other social sciences, there will always be many exceptions to the general observed averages and distributions...AKA outliers.
Add in the fact that there are many factors that go outside what they usually study.

From what I have seen growing up, seeing friends, relatives, etc. (so not-professional and purely anecdotal). The issue is not the age, but the attitude.
The successful grade skippers that I have seen are the ones that don't make a point of it. They just go up, and are just a little younger than the rest. There's already a one year spread in the grade, so another one is usually not that noticable, probably because its not like everything changes at the same age for everyone.

The ones that I have seen fail are the ones that say "Look how smart I am, I'm so much better than you because I can get it earlier."

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 01:19 PM
As for the term 'gifted', it isn't the same as intelligence and it cannot replace hard work, but it does make the hard work that little bit easier. 'Gifted' just implies some natural affinity to a subject or activity, a talent at it, if you will.

In our program the full term is gifted learner. The giftedness is in the ability to learn. The particular subject matter is irrelevant. They just assimilate and use information with amazing speed and with very little or no repetition. And it is across the full spectrum of experience - academics, music, playing an instrument, arts, athletics, and even the reading and understanding of people. My daughter knows exactly what is going on behind her back.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 01:24 PM
As with the other social sciences, there will always be many exceptions to the general observed averages and distributions...AKA outliers.I'd like to see some hard data re that "emotional elevation" claim for gifted kids.

Then, they have to be really gifted to make up for the biological differences.

The giftedness has to do with learning, and includes emotional learning. Not much you can do about the biology/anatomy thing.

Do a Google search on the topics. I've done year's worth and read more papers and journal articles than I can remember. I have a small library of them at home. This stuff has been out there for at least a couple decades and is still resisted, even by many professional educators.

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-30, 01:31 PM
Education isn't a right? Thats the kind of attitude that makes your schools suck

Every child's rights include the opportunity to get an education. Whether they take advantage of that opportunity or not is up to them and their parents. As a former teacher, I've had to deal with disruptive students who can ruin school for everyone else. When we try to get rid of the disruptive students, we're told that we're violating their rights. What about the rights of everyone else in the class? Does the rights of one disruptive student trump the rights of everyone else?

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 01:38 PM
In our program the full term is gifted learner. The giftedness is in the ability to learn. The particular subject matter is irrelevant. They just assimilate and use information with amazing speed and with very little or no repetition. And it is across the full spectrum of experience - academics, music, playing an instrument, arts, athletics, and even the reading and understanding of people. My daughter knows exactly what is going on behind her back.

Um, you mean that the kids are expected to excell at everything or that the program consists of kids from every field?

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 01:42 PM
From what I've read, intelligence appears to be about 50% inherited. Another interesting tidbit is that very few people's intelligence level changes with age. Something like 95% stay within 5 points their entire life. Which is evidence to me that intelligence is about how your brain works as much as it is about how hard you work your brain.

Sources?
I personally feel my IQ lowers when I go in long periods of time playing video games(which I do a lot :( ). And when I am, say preparing for a tough exam I feel my solving speed and the paths I take to solve increase rapidly.

but we have to define intelligence first...


Yeah, but if your* parents, whom you presumably love and want to make proud, never thought of introducing or encouraging you in these pursuits it's likely you're going to find developing a love for intellectual knowledge that bit more difficult just because you find it harder to relate to it. Say, if your parents used to read you books a lot when you were little you'll have developed a thirst for reading before you ever learned to read, while if they had played sports with you rather than read to you, you'll have developed a liking for sports before that for reading since you'll always remember it also as a bonding experience with people yu care about. Whether we like it or not, adults play a very big role in opening the doors of experiences and interests in children's minds. They aren't the only influencing factor but still an important one.

And its becoming less and less important. Most kids today converse more with their friends than their parents.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 01:48 PM
And its becoming less and less important. Most kids today converse more with their friends than their parents.

From what age? I know a number of young kids, children of various friends of mine, etc. and the opinion of the parent is still very important to them, even if they don't show it openly because it is not 'cool' or whatever.

NEOWatcher
2007-Aug-30, 01:49 PM
Every child's rights include the opportunity to get an education.
Not according to the US constitution.
Although some states have it mentioned in their constitution.
And, that stance was adopted by the UN as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 which the US has agreed to.
(I had a good link to the text earlier but lost it)
It grants the right to an education (voluntarily) and is compulsory for primary education.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 01:54 PM
From what age? I know a number of young kids, children of various friends of mine, etc. and the opinion of the parent is still very important to them, even if they don't show it openly because it is not 'cool' or whatever.


Once they start seeing the world as it is and begin questioning everything. Usually starts when you become a teenager.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-30, 01:58 PM
Whats that got to do with anything?

Your schools suck: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005003.pdf

You came 24th out of 38 countries for maths, 19th for science and 26th for problem solving. Its kind of shameful being a 'global superpower' whilst letting your kids lag behind isn't it?

Damburger - 24th out of 194 is not exactly 'shameful.' I always find it odd when someone points out one statistic and crows, "See you're not the best at this!" The emotion behind such a statment is telling.

The US is a country that spans a continent. We have a polyglot population almost as large as the whole of Europe - want to compare apples to apples? Average every European country's ranking together and compare to the US (don't just cherry-pick Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, etc. (i.e. countries that are virtually homogenic)).

The US isn't necessarily "best" at anything. In general, however, we do have the strongest economy, the strongest military and the strongest sense of philanthopy of any other nation - especially of those 'nations' that can compare to our own (US, China, Russia, EU). Being strong in certain areas does not equate to a need to be "best" at everything.

The point of the article (and the study you linked to) is for US citizens and educators to improve our system, by recognizing areas where we need improvement. It can also help any educator of any nation recognize factors which might improve their own educational systems.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 02:03 PM
Not to mention the US gets a good share of its brains from foreigners. For most intelligent people the US is the ultimate place to work.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 02:06 PM
Once they start seeing the world as it is and begin questioning everything. Usually starts when you become a teenager.

By the time you're a teenager you'll have probably developed numerous likes and dislikes (as in things you like to do, e.g. read, draw, play music, etc.) from childhood and these tend to last at least partially. I'm inclined to say even teenagers have a certain grudging wish to make parents proud at times, but just choose not to show it. Either way, the actual initial affinity to a subject or activity happens earlier than that, before parents become the enemy. I don't mean specifically existential questions of what you're going to do with your life, but just a certain accademic interests such as reading a lot and simmilar.

Doodler
2007-Aug-30, 02:09 PM
Not to mention the US gets a good share of its brains from foreigners. For most intelligent people the US is the ultimate place to work.

We've created an environment where the bright can achieve anything they put their mind to. It says quite a bit about the countries they come from that they've chosen to come here to advance themselves.

hhEb09'1
2007-Aug-30, 02:13 PM
Sources?
I personally feel my IQ lowers when I go in long periods of time playing video games(which I do a lot :( ). And when I am, say preparing for a tough exam I feel my solving speed and the paths I take to solve increase rapidly.

but we have to define intelligence first...Most attempts at such definitions stipulate that intelligence is innate--that such activities do not much affect it. "Feeling smarter" doesn't necessarily mean that your IQ has risen--same for memorizing a long list and "knowing more". Whatever "intelligence" is.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 02:38 PM
We've created an environment where the bright can achieve anything they put their mind to. It says quite a bit about the countries they come from that they've chosen to come here to advance themselves.I don't think anyone questions that the US provide an excellent environment for researchers. The point is that those imported brains can mask, to some extent, the failings of the American secondary education system in grooming its own brains.

And I do agree that if a country can produce researchers good enough to be accepted into a US university or corporation, then that says something about the quality of secondary education in that foreign country. It also says something about who's actually paying the bill for the US's scientific advances.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-30, 02:42 PM
Not to mention the US gets a good share of its brains from foreigners. For most intelligent people the US is the ultimate place to work.

You're absolutely right. I love the fact that the US is a place the world's best and brightest like to come to. It benefits citizens born here, those who move here and those non-citizens who come for a while, send money home then return to whence they came.

Case in point: in my city there are whole floors of Indian and Pakistani actuaries, programmers and analysts who work apparently work together without conflict. Some plan to stay, some to return. I wonder if their experience with each other, however, will improve Pakistani-Indian relations? Who knows.

We do need to continue to encourage foreigners to keep coming, as well as developing our domestic brains.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 03:08 PM
We've created an environment where the bright can achieve anything they put their mind to. It says quite a bit about the countries they come from that they've chosen to come here to advance themselves.

If only I could get a dollar every time an American brought me that argument... ;)


"Feeling smarter" doesn't necessarily mean that your IQ has risen--same for memorizing a long list and "knowing more". Whatever "intelligence" is.

I like to define intelligence as the number of paths you take to solve a problem in a given time. This would deserve its own thread.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 03:12 PM
If only I could get a dollar every time an American brought me that argument... ;)A euro would be worth more. :p ;)

Doodler
2007-Aug-30, 03:16 PM
I don't think anyone questions that the US provide an excellent environment for researchers. The point is that those imported brains can mask, to some extent, the failings of the American secondary education system in grooming its own brains.

And I do agree that if a country can produce researchers good enough to be accepted into a US university or corporation, then that says something about the quality of secondary education in that foreign country. It also says something about who's actually paying the bill for the US's scientific advances.

The US is no different than other countries. Their best and brightest make something of themselves and the rest sink into lives of mediocrity. Americans just need to get over the fact that their kids are no different than anyone else's. A few will exceed, most will acheive, the rest will spend their lives as peons.

I'm sorry parents, but some of your kids will spend their lives scrubbing toilets for a living.

The US cultivates enough of its own brains to stay competitive, what's happening is that delusional parents have ingrained an attitude that everyone MUST have an education or you end up amounting to nothing. They're clueless as to what keeps the US on top of the world. What we have that very few other countries offer is the opportunity for the peons to succeed at life. I'm not sure if anyone's done any checking, but some of our biggest success stories stem from rather pathetic academic backgrounds. Education is important, don't get me wrong, but opportunity is even more critical. Opportunity lets the streetsmart advance as quickly as the booksmart. Success is more than a number on a standardized test.

We don't need to have the strongest academic background in the world, because we provide more than enough opportunities to succeed in spite of weak academic performance for people willing to work for it.

The danger of putting so much focus on a degree that nothing else matters results in the kind of crap that hit Japan in 1992. People with college degrees going broke and homeless, working manual labor jobs because the market was so rotten that jobs that took advantage of their skills were wiped out.

The other thing I'd suggest for a little perspective is that people who look down on "unskilled" labor need to be kicked in the knees. I work in a field right now that requires quite a bit of knowledge, but if I lost this job tomorrow, I'd be back in a steel shop, or if things really hit the fan, I'd be at a fast food joint flipping burgers (I still have a few grease scars from my first run at those jobs when I was just starting out).

This country has gone farther in its rise to power on pure work ethic than it has any academic pursuits. We forget that at our extreme danger.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 03:28 PM
The US cultivates enough of its own brains to stay competitive [...]Then why do you have so many academics from abroad?


We don't need to have the strongest academic background in the world [...]Then why do you invest so much on keeping it at the top?

I think you're wrong. I think that having a strong academy (the best in the world) is an important part of what makes the US a superpower.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 03:37 PM
The US is no different than other countries. Their best and brightest make something of themselves and the rest sink into lives of mediocrity.

And a good friend of mine says I'm harsh about my job perceptions... Shall I take it you're not a big fan of the middle class predominant attitude of not necessarily changing the world as an individual but giving someone else the chance to do so through a combined effort of more simmilarly minded individuals?


They're clueless as to what keeps the US on top of the world.

Another somewhat contestable point. Looking at economic considerations, strength of currency point of view, US is not all that 'top of the world' as 'dozing and in danger of falling of its pedestal'. As Disinfo Agent pointed out Euro's worth more. And as I'd like to point out, there's intelligent life outside US, which is not necessarily jumping at the oportunity to move there...

korjik
2007-Aug-30, 03:47 PM
By the time you're a teenager you'll have probably developed numerous likes and dislikes (as in things you like to do, e.g. read, draw, play music, etc.) from childhood and these tend to last at least partially. I'm inclined to say even teenagers have a certain grudging wish to make parents proud at times, but just choose not to show it. Either way, the actual initial affinity to a subject or activity happens earlier than that, before parents become the enemy. I don't mean specifically existential questions of what you're going to do with your life, but just a certain accademic interests such as reading a lot and simmilar.

Hey Pilgrim, if I remember right, TRS is a teenager. There may be a little bias to his views :)

Damburger
2007-Aug-30, 03:47 PM
We've created an environment where the bright can achieve anything they put their mind to. It says quite a bit about the countries they come from that they've chosen to come here to advance themselves.

Not exactly.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05133/504149.stm


Despite the widespread belief that the U.S. remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in continental Europe (or in Canada) has had a better chance at prosperity. Miles Corak, an economist for Canada's national statistical agency who edited a recent Cambridge University Press book on mobility in Europe and North America, tweaked dozens of studies of the U.S., Canada and European countries to make them comparable. "The U.S. and Britain appear to stand out as the least mobile societies among the rich countries studied," he finds. France and Germany are somewhat more mobile than the U.S.; Canada and the Nordic countries are much more so.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 03:48 PM
Um, you mean that the kids are expected to excell at everything or that the program consists of kids from every field?

If they only excel in a single topic, or in a narrow range of topics, they are not gifted by the definition used in our program, or any other I've read about.

Being a gifted learner is not about becoming or being a subject matter expert; even an expert in several things. It is about being able to learn at a pace dramatically different, and different in style than most other people.

In many places I've run across several variations on the explanation that makes a distinction between smart (knowing a lot about certain things) and intelligent (the ability to assimilate and use information). One is a good measure of how hard you work, the other a measure of how your brain works. I think I said that already, but it bears repeating. People's brains do work differently to a degree. A lot of people that are overly hung up on the we-are-all-equals type of credo hate that.

korjik
2007-Aug-30, 03:53 PM
It also says something about who's actually paying the bill for the US's scientific advances.

The foreign graduate students in Texas public universities pay in-state tuition and get a state grant, so I would say that to a large degree, the US is paying for the advances

pilgrim
2007-Aug-30, 03:57 PM
If they only excel in a single topic, or in a narrow range of topics, they are not gifted by the definition used in our program, or any other I've read about.

Being a gifted learner is not about becoming or being a subject matter expert; even an expert in several things. It is about being able to learn at a pace dramatically different, and different in style than most other people.

In many places I've run across several variations on the explanation that makes a distinction between smart (knowing a lot about certain things) and intelligent (the ability to assimilate and use information). One is a good measure of how hard you work, the other a measure of how your brain works. I think I said that already, but it bears repeating. People's brains do work differently to a degree. A lot of people that are overly hung up on the we-are-all-equals type of credo hate that.

Well, just wondering but say you have a child who excells at academic subjecs from maths, through science through philosophy and into literature and art subjects but might not be sporty or might have a health reasons for not doing sports, do they qualify?

I do think that simmilar emphasis should be placed on the whole spectrum of activities from music through to physics but I'm not sure where you draw the boundary since a person cannot be good or suitable to everything.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 03:58 PM
The foreign graduate students in Texas public universities pay in-state tuition and get a state grant, so I would say that to a large degree, the US is paying for the advancesTo a large degree, certainly, but who pays for the secondary education of those geniuses you import from abroad, allowing them to get into your universities in the first place? Foreign taxpayers.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 04:06 PM
To a large degree, certainly, but who pays for the secondary education of those geniuses you import from abroad, allowing them to get into your universities in the first place? Foreign taxpayers.

Good point. If we were to calculate the money spent to get those people up to the skill and knowledge they have it would be a lot. The US is clearly benefiting form the "Brain Gain". But you folks need to be careful. Once the smart foreigners chose somewhere else (i.e. Europe) to study/work in you will lose your big advantage.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 04:15 PM
I don't think it's a zero-sum game. There will always be plenty of ambitious high-skilled foreigners to pool from. And Europe is way behind the US and will continue to be so in the near future.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 04:26 PM
I meant that it is a benefit that could go away. I wasn't implying it will go away.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-30, 05:46 PM
Well, just wondering but say you have a child who excells at academic subjecs from maths, through science through philosophy and into literature and art subjects but might not be sporty or might have a health reasons for not doing sports, do they qualify?

I do think that simmilar emphasis should be placed on the whole spectrum of activities from music through to physics but I'm not sure where you draw the boundary since a person cannot be good or suitable to everything.

Certainly. One thing that any good program has is flexibility. Another is respect for individuals and ability to accommodate. The program in our district has some general guidelines, but each student has a tailored program largely drawn up by the student and parents, and approved by a panel. They also have a case-by-case bias built into the program. Any major decisions like a grade skip or attending classes off campus are reviewed by the programs BoD and are decided one at a time. There is not much left to policy or formula, such as if you do this, then you are guaranteed that. I like that. No falling thru the cracks, no getting shorted due to loopholes or technicalities.

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-30, 06:05 PM
Hey Pilgrim, if I remember right, TRS is a teenager. There may be a little bias to his views

Yes. I also suffer from depression and get suicidal once in a while. Don't tell my parents I smoked weed before getting my girlfriend pregnant at 15
Did I mention I am a lost cause (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/63713-porn-interweb-thingy.html#post1054153) for the internet?

These teenagers, I tell you...

pilgrim
2007-Aug-31, 09:16 AM
Certainly. One thing that any good program has is flexibility. Another is respect for individuals and ability to accommodate. The program in our district has some general guidelines, but each student has a tailored program largely drawn up by the student and parents, and approved by a panel. They also have a case-by-case bias built into the program. Any major decisions like a grade skip or attending classes off campus are reviewed by the programs BoD and are decided one at a time. There is not much left to policy or formula, such as if you do this, then you are guaranteed that. I like that. No falling thru the cracks, no getting shorted due to loopholes or technicalities.

That sounds like a really good idea farmerjumperdon. I still regret not having been able to take history insecondary school because it clashed with physics. My best friend and I were in that boat of school kids who are jacks of all trades but not ready to make a preference between them just yet. Now I'm a physics student and she an English major but it could have gone either way. Wish they had something like that available to us, really. Education system is often way too rigid in their policies.


Yes. I also suffer from depression and get suicidal once in a while. Don't tell my parents I smoked weed before getting my girlfriend pregnant at 15
Did I mention I am a lost cause for the internet?

These teenagers, I tell you...

TRS, I don't think that was necessarily a slagging and generalisation on teenagers. More a reflection on the point of view you might be looking at it from. The same way you wouldn't expect a 20-something to have the same outlook as 70-something year-old. It's easier to look at growing up influences with a little time gap since it becomes something you observe from the outside, with a detachment of sorts, rather than something you have to deal with within yourself every day. I mentioned my age in a prior PM on a different topic, so I'm not long since out of those woods (and sometimes I wonder if I am at all) and also fall under the 'lost cause' bracket. Personally, that bit amused me.

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-31, 01:18 PM
Not according to the US constitution

Try reading the 9th Amendment (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am9).

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Simply put, just because the Constitution specifically mentions certain rights, it doesn't mean that is an all-inclusive or exhaustive list of our rights.

Here's a very brief summary (http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/constitution/section3.rhtml). Here's some more info (http://www.alternet.org/rights/50404). If you take the time to read the Federalist Papers, you'll see that the Constitution was written without the Bill of Rights because the Founders thought that emunerating rights was unnecessary.

NEOWatcher
2007-Aug-31, 01:52 PM
Not according to the US constitution

So maybe the wording should have been "not specifically by the US Constitution"

Simply put, just because the Constitution specifically mentions certain rights, it doesn't mean that is an all-inclusive or exhaustive list of our rights.
That's not the issue here. The issue is one of a specific item. So saying that there is a right to education based on the 9th is valid, what is saying that education is defined as a right?

I believe it should be not only a right, but also compulsory to some degree. And; I believe that this is the government's interpretation also, otherwise they would not have gone with the UN's declaration.

So; No, the right to education is not directly stated in the constitution, but the adoption of education as a right does place it under jurisdiction of the constitution.

It's a matter of semantics, but the outcome is the same.

jfribrg
2007-Aug-31, 01:56 PM
I just started perusing this thread, and have a few comments based on personal experience.

My oldest son is in the extremely gifted range. He may even be in the profoundly gifted range, but when he was tested at age 5 (he's 14 now) he maxed some portions of the Sanford-Binet test which biased the score on the low range. How big the bias was is anyone's guess. His kindergarten teacher was wonderful and was the one who first alerted us to how gifted he was. Even before she knew he was gifted she did some things to encourage his interest in the Solar System. However, he was not a wonderful student. He had a problem with writing. He had no trouble with any of the material in the class, but it was impossible to get him to write anything down. His first grade teacher had no idea what she was dealing with and it was a disaster. The question of advancement is always a tricky one. In our case, he was doing reading and math at a 7th grade level when he was in 3rd grade. If we had put him in a 7th grade reading class, he would have probably had trouble relating to the content. Books that have a 7th grade target audience often deal with issues like puberty, dating, and other things that a 3rd grader would not relate to as easily. We homeschooled him for a few years. In 5th grade he went to a regular school, but had trouble relating. Much of the trouble was his own doing. I addition, his teachers did not recognize his intelligence, in large part because he was a lousy student, not turning in homeworks etc. From 6th grade on he has been at a private school where a good percentage of the student body is gifted. It has been a struggle, but he has benefitted greatly from that experience. I would say that in my specific situation, the teacher(s) have made all the difference. All of the teachers we dealt with are/were well intentioned and really did have my son's best interest at heart, but some were better than others at recognizing and providing for his specific needs, and he didn't help matters either.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-31, 02:00 PM
That sounds like a really good idea farmerjumperdon. I still regret not having been able to take history insecondary school because it clashed with physics. My best friend and I were in that boat of school kids who are jacks of all trades but not ready to make a preference between them just yet. Now I'm a physics student and she an English major but it could have gone either way. Wish they had something like that available to us, really. Education system is often way too rigid in their policies.

A trap I landed in, and that I would guess is common, is the desire to do many things but not taking the time to become really expert in any. I was great in math, biology, and chemistry; but also really loved history and the social sciences. Also really digging hands-on stuff like woodworking and metals, when I turned 16 and got the DL and found out how fun speed was, I naturally spent all my time (and most of my money) building a serious road car. In both jobs and hobbies this went on for about 7 years after high school, jumping from thing to thing (or groups of things to groups of things) trying to take in everything that appealed to me.

By the time I decided to go to college (at age 23) I already had a history of 2 dozen different jobs and lived in about a dozen different places. Nothing that required incredible intelligence mind you, but valuable in the eclectic nature of the mix.

By 23 I had built cabinets, railroad cars, McDonald's ovens, American Locks, been an auto mechanic, a stable boy, ran concessions, distributed tropical fish, and a few others that have already gone to my memory's recycle bin. Then I went to school and got degreed in Economics, Geography, and Poli-Sci; while also adding the vocations of bartender, sous chef, radio DJ, pizza maker, and a few others to the resume.

I think that can be a very healthy approach to life for some people; but it does not fit well in the modern approach to job markets and training. I figured my experience with so many different kinds of jobs and especially working with and having to understand so many different kinds of people would be seen as a huge asset. Instead I got probing accusatory questions about the 7 years between high school and college and funny looks for thinking any of those jobs were of value.

I guess all this is just my way of expressing frustration that there is so little value placed on an eclectic approach to life. I see the same thing in kids sports, something that really ought to be purely fun at the elementary and middle school levels. Instead they demand the kids get deadly serious about some sport or another as early as elementary school. I've resisted having the middle school girls practice more than twice per week. They've got all kinds of other activities to experience besides basketball. But the program director in our district expects them to be practicing 5 times a week by the time they hit 8th grade. That's nuts.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-31, 02:20 PM
A trap I landed in, and that I would guess is common, is the desire to do many things but not taking the time to become really expert in any. I was great in math, biology, and chemistry; but also really loved history and the social sciences. Also really digging hands-on stuff like woodworking and metals, when I turned 16 and got the DL and found out how fun speed was, I naturally spent all my time (and most of my money) building a serious road car. In both jobs and hobbies this went on for about 7 years after high school, jumping from thing to thing (or groups of things to groups of things) trying to take in everything that appealed to me.

By the time I decided to go to college (at age 23) I already had a history of 2 dozen different jobs and lived in about a dozen different places. Nothing that required incredible intelligence mind you, but valuable in the eclectic nature of the mix.

By 23 I had built cabinets, railroad cars, McDonald's ovens, American Locks, been an auto mechanic, a stable boy, ran concessions, distributed tropical fish, and a few others that have already gone to my memory's recycle bin. Then I went to school and got degreed in Economics, Geography, and Poli-Sci; while also adding the vocations of bartender, sous chef, radio DJ, pizza maker, and a few others to the resume.

I think that can be a very healthy approach to life for some people; but it does not fit well in the modern approach to job markets and training. I figured my experience with so many different kinds of jobs and especially working with and having to understand so many different kinds of people would be seen as a huge asset. Instead I got probing accusatory questions about the 7 years between high school and college and funny looks for thinking any of those jobs were of value.

I guess all this is just my way of expressing frustration that there is so little value placed on an eclectic approach to life. I see the same thing in kids sports, something that really ought to be purely fun at the elementary and middle school levels. Instead they demand the kids get deadly serious about some sport or another as early as elementary school. I've resisted having the middle school girls practice more than twice per week. They've got all kinds of other activities to experience besides basketball. But the program director in our district expects them to be practicing 5 times a week by the time they hit 8th grade. That's nuts.

I dunno, regardless of the time you 'loose' by just trying different jobs and things before 'settling' into anything and the attitudes you get from some people, I think it's well worth it.

I took a year out between secondary school and college, my best friend didn't. In a sense, I might enjoy the college thing a bit more if I hadn't (the whole drinking, college student predominant mentality) but I wouldn't trade with her. Most college students who went there straight from school I know have this idea of trying to rush through it as quickly as possible, like it's a race. I used to be like that but then I figured there's no need to rush, there's right time for everything

Plus there's life after college, a life that doesn't revolve around the amount of alcohol you can drink before hospitalisation. For me, the year out was an interesting experience which gave me a chance to make a peer group of any age group as opposed to just people as old (or rather young maybe) as I. Plus it gave me a chance to grow up (at least a little) on my own terms, call my own shots, try different jobs, travel a little, etc.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-31, 02:24 PM
I would say that in my specific situation, the teacher(s) have made all the difference. All of the teachers we dealt with are/were well intentioned and really did have my son's best interest at heart, but some were better than others at recognizing and providing for his specific needs, and he didn't help matters either.

That is not unusual at all. I try to put it in perspective and understand their exposure also. If you think about it; if an elementary teacher has 25 kids per class, and teaches for 40 years; then they have seen 1000 students come thru their tutelage. When you are looking at kids at the right end of the curve, they are 1 in thousands. A teacher can easily go thru their entire career and see only 1 or 2, or even ZERO kids operating at that level. It is little wonder kids like that are not fully understood by many teachers.

So I cut them a bit of slack, but still get irked and give them the business when they pretend to know what they do not know.

p.s. - Since so many of the smartest do get siphoned off to private schools, lack of teacher exposure to the most highly gifted in the public schools is a real part of the problem, IMO. In our current district, we have a G&T Guide that circulates outside our district and is constantly involved in the latest techniques and findings. In the previous district, they had nothing, and had no clue what they were doing with kids outside the norm. We smiled and walked away at the end, since there was no point in arguing with them; but they are an educational backwater in my eyes.

jfribrg
2007-Aug-31, 02:55 PM
That is not unusual at all.

I didn't think it was, but I can only speak from my own experience.

I never generalize :)

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-31, 03:19 PM
By the time I decided to go to college (at age 23) I already had a history of 2 dozen different jobs and lived in about a dozen different places. Nothing that required incredible intelligence mind you, but valuable in the eclectic nature of the mix.

By 23 I had built cabinets, railroad cars, McDonald's ovens, American Locks, been an auto mechanic, a stable boy, ran concessions, distributed tropical fish, and a few others that have already gone to my memory's recycle bin. Then I went to school and got degreed in Economics, Geography, and Poli-Sci; while also adding the vocations of bartender, sous chef, radio DJ, pizza maker, and a few others to the resume.

I think that can be a very healthy approach to life for some people;

(My bold)


I agree wholeheartedly. I've a similarly eclectic resume. My wife jokes that its easier to identify things I haven't done, than those I have.

I really appreciate the flexibility the American post-secondary system entertains. When I studied the German school system, it appeared that a kid at 12 or 14 had to decide the course of the rest of his life. IIRC, any kid who didn't qualify for (or go for) Gymnasium didn't get to go to college. Even if years later, after working in the trades, you decided you wanted to move u. Once you were in college, you didn't get to "change majors" as many Americans do. (That may be different, but that's how things were 15-20 years ago)

I enjoyed being able work in a variety of non-college degree requiring jobs, then go to college, and years later, after working for a while, go back to get an advanced degree. I wonder how many countries allow that?

It's interesting that we recognize deficiencies in our children's schooling, but that American post-secondary education still gets marks as being among the best in the world.

Delvo
2007-Aug-31, 04:21 PM
It's interesting that we recognize deficiencies in our children's schooling, but that American post-secondary education still gets marks as being among the best in the world.That's the most selective level: some get in and some don't make it and some don't even try.

When comparisons are made between countries' educational levels at younger ages, that is almost never taken into account, which might as well be deliberately designed to make the American system look worse than it is... because you're then comparing all American kids to a selected group of the best students of that age in other countries, because the not-so-good ones have already been excluded from the system. Comparisons at those ages can't make sense unless you either include the ones that have already been booted off of the track in the other countries, or narrow down the American sample to the equivalent percentage starting from the top.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-31, 04:41 PM
That's the most selective level: some get in and some don't make it and some don't even try.

When comparisons are made between countries' educational levels at younger ages, that is almost never taken into account, which might as well be deliberately designed to make the American system look worse than it is... because you're then comparing all American kids to a selected group of the best students of that age in other countries, because the not-so-good ones have already been excluded from the system. Comparisons at those ages can't make sense unless you either include the ones that have already been booted off of the track in the other countries, or narrow down the American sample to the equivalent percentage starting from the top.

I think you may be on to something. If Germany's scores only reflect the Gymnasium kids, that would be kind of like taking only scores from the US kids taking AP classes.

Damburger
2007-Aug-31, 05:16 PM
That's the most selective level: some get in and some don't make it and some don't even try.

When comparisons are made between countries' educational levels at younger ages, that is almost never taken into account, which might as well be deliberately designed to make the American system look worse than it is... because you're then comparing all American kids to a selected group of the best students of that age in other countries, because the not-so-good ones have already been excluded from the system. Comparisons at those ages can't make sense unless you either include the ones that have already been booted off of the track in the other countries, or narrow down the American sample to the equivalent percentage starting from the top.

Do you have any evidence to back that up?

farmerjumperdon
2007-Aug-31, 05:33 PM
Do you have any evidence to back that up?

No stats right now, but I was amazed when I spent a year in England to find out how selective college admissions were. In the US, pretty much anybody who wants to go, gets to go.

As long as you have a high school degree or equivalent, and aren't picky about the institution that will accept you - it's off to college you go.* That has to have a significant downward effect on the performance reports compared to places where strong performance is required before you even get in the door.

Especially with the colleges now serving as the minor leagues for the NBA and NFL; it is atrocious some of the slack-jawed uneducated thugs that get admitted.

Damburger
2007-Aug-31, 05:47 PM
No stats right now, but I was amazed when I spent a year in England to find out how selective college admissions were. In the US, pretty much anybody who wants to go, gets to go.

As long as you have a high school degree or equivalent, and aren't picky about the institution that will accept you - it's off to college you go.* That has to have a significant downward effect on the performance reports compared to places where strong performance is required before you even get in the door.

Especially with the colleges now serving as the minor leagues for the NBA and NFL; it is atrocious some of the slack-jawed uneducated thugs that get admitted.

How does that make the tests for younger students biased against the US? I don't understand.

And, seriously, you think UK universities are picky?

Ilya
2007-Aug-31, 05:50 PM
A trap I landed in, and that I would guess is common, is the desire to do many things but not taking the time to become really expert in any.

I wonder just HOW common it is? I know very few people like that.


I was great in math, biology, and chemistry; but also really loved history and the social sciences. Also really digging hands-on stuff like woodworking and metals, when I turned 16 and got the DL and found out how fun speed was, I naturally spent all my time (and most of my money) building a serious road car. In both jobs and hobbies this went on for about 7 years after high school, jumping from thing to thing (or groups of things to groups of things) trying to take in everything that appealed to me.

I am exact opposite of you -- I always had very narrow interests, in which I would completely immerse myself. Anything outside these interests I had no desire to do, learn, and until age of 30 or so would often not even notice an objective need to do -- e.g. for years I drove a car with door that would not lock not because I was too lazy to fix it, but because the idea simply never occurred to me.


By the time I decided to go to college (at age 23) I already had a history of 2 dozen different jobs and lived in about a dozen different places. Nothing that required incredible intelligence mind you, but valuable in the eclectic nature of the mix.

By 23 I had built cabinets, railroad cars, McDonald's ovens, American Locks, been an auto mechanic, a stable boy, ran concessions, distributed tropical fish, and a few others that have already gone to my memory's recycle bin. Then I went to school and got degreed in Economics, Geography, and Poli-Sci; while also adding the vocations of bartender, sous chef, radio DJ, pizza maker, and a few others to the resume.

I think that can be a very healthy approach to life for some people;

To me, this approach would not only unhealthy, but downright impossible. I would never want to live that way, and would be terrible at all of these things if such lifestyle were somehow forced on me. Hell, as a child, I hated when my parents moved furniture around!

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-31, 06:52 PM
How does that make the tests for younger students biased against the US? I don't understand.




The US stats probably reflect a cross section of the entire US population - Smart kids, average intelligence, retarded, rich, poor, domestic, immigrant, ESL, etc.

Based upon what little I know of European educational systems, the 15 year olds tested may only be those who are pre-selected to be on the college track (e.g. Gymnasium, in Germany), and not those kids on the tech / manual labor program (Hochschule, Realschule)


After the fourth year of schooling (at about age 10), students usually enroll in one of three secondary schools:

The Hauptschule prepares students for vocational education and generally enrolls those students who are the least academically inclined. Mandatory full-time education ends after the ninth year of schooling (part-time study is mandatory until the age of 18), at which time students receive a certification of Hauptschule completion and enter a vocational education program. Most students attend vocational school part-time and receive on-the-job training part-time, but vocational education schools are increasingly offering full-time study as an option.
The Realschule offers a general curriculum more demanding than the Hauptschule curriculum. Mandatory full-time enrollment ends after the tenth year (again, part-time study is mandatory until the age of 18). Students receive a Realschule completion certificate and begin their vocational education, either through full-time enrollment in a vocational school or through a combination of classroom and on-the-job education. Academically qualified students may transfer to the upper level of the Gymnasium at this point as well.
The Gymnasium offers a liberal education to the most academically gifted students. Students may leave the Gymnasium after the ninth or tenth year of study and receive a Hauptschule completion certificate (though few do so), or they may continue for the eleventh through thirteenth years of schooling and study for the Abitur.
LINK (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/PES/int_germany.html)

Thus, if the 37 other schools against which the American 15year olds were compared to (in the report you cite) are similar to Gymnasium in the German system - the comparison is not apples to apples. It is the whole cornicopia to Bramley Apples.

Damburger
2007-Aug-31, 06:54 PM
The US stats probably reflect a cross section of the entire US population - Smart kids, average intelligence, retarded, rich, poor, domestic, immigrant, ESL, etc.

Based upon what little I know of European educational systems, the 15 year olds tested may only be those who are pre-selected to be on the college track (e.g. Gymnasium, in Germany), and not those kids on the tech / manual labor program (Hochschule, Realschule)

LINK (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/PES/int_germany.html)

Thus, if the 37 other schools against which the American 15year olds were compared to (in the report you cite) are similar to Gymnasium in the German system - the comparison is not apples to apples. It is the whole cornicopia to Bramley Apples.

But do you have any proof that the report did that? It seems a fairly obvious thing to watch for.

Damburger
2007-Aug-31, 07:12 PM
I don't think it's a zero-sum game. There will always be plenty of ambitious high-skilled foreigners to pool from. And Europe is way behind the US and will continue to be so in the near future.

Based on what?

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/26/education.rankings.reut/index.html

I am always amused how Americans assume they are ranked 1st in everything (or at least, 'way ahead' of silly old Europe) without actually bothering to check.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-31, 07:18 PM
Who said I'm an American? :)

American higher education, as a whole, is way ahead of European higher education (secondary education is a different story). I think this is widely agreed upon, even by Europeans. A couple of years ago, the European Union set itself a target: to put Europe on par with the U.S. by 2010, in terms of scientific research. I don't think they're going to meet that goal.

Doodler
2007-Aug-31, 07:32 PM
Based on what?

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/26/education.rankings.reut/index.html

I am always amused how Americans assume they are ranked 1st in everything (or at least, 'way ahead' of silly old Europe) without actually bothering to check.

Statistical spin doctoring. In terms of pure numbers (not percentages), we crank out more neurons per capita than most of Europe combined.

Oooh, big bad Korea with its awesome 98% plus percentage beating the standards. Congrats, you've just educated a number of students on par with what we have in a medium sized US state... I'm...nonplussed.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-31, 07:43 PM
But do you have any proof that the report did that? It seems a fairly obvious thing to watch for.


Compared with the average German
student competencies in PISA 2000, the average competency in
the adult sample was on the same level as the fifteen-year-old
comprehensive secondary school student (at a German
Gymnasium). Link (http://subs.emis.de/journals/ZDM/zdm053a5.pdf)

Not proof per se - but the systemic differences may be significant factors. You can't effectively compare two systems, where one is intentionally stratified and separated by performance or ability, to another system that intentionally mixes everyone together.


Even if Germany tests all students, the "classes" of students are all getting specialized education tailored for their peers. It's not quite the same comparison. No German student is being dramatically slowed down while the educators focus on the slowest individuals, as is described happens to the US's brightest students in the article I originally linked to. Instead, they're usually all on the same track. All the brightest together taking college courses, all the less academically able together getting specialized instruction tailored to giving them the basic education they'll need to succeed.

Anyway, I'm not interested in debating value judgments about the systems or getting into a "my country is better" or "yours sucks" debate - I'm interested in improving the system my kid is going to grow up in. Especially if he turns out to be of more than average intelligence.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-31, 07:44 PM
Statistical spin doctoring. In terms of pure numbers (not percentages), we crank out more neurons per capita than most of Europe combined.You don't like percentages, but you want to make a comparison per capita?! :D

You guys really need to improve your schools. :p

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-31, 07:47 PM
Even if Germany tests all students, the "classes" of students are all getting specialized education tailored for their peers. It's not quite the same comparison. No German student is being dramatically slowed down while the educators focus on the slowest individuals, as is described happens to the US's brightest students in the article I originally linked to. Instead, they're usually all on the same track. All the brightest together taking college courses, all the less academically able together getting specialized instruction tailored to giving them the basic education they'll need to succeed.Well, American schools are not explicitly stratified by the students' abilities, but they are often implicitly stratified by the parents' income, are they not?

Doodler
2007-Aug-31, 07:48 PM
You don't like percentages, but you want to make a comparison per capita?! :D

You guys really need to improve your schools. :p

Bleh...stuff happens. :lol:

Doodler has been fined one post for typing while irritated.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-31, 08:37 PM
Well, American schools are not explicitly stratified by the students' abilities, but they are often implicitly stratified by the parents' income, are they not?

That charge is not entirely unjustified.

It is one of the reasons behind such famous cases as Brown v. Board of Education (which primarily addressed the disparity between racial equality in education, but its progeny also relate to economic stratification). The unfortunate result of some of those cases is that they lead to where we are today - a focus on bringing everyone up to equal mediocrity.

We need a system with broad equality of opportunity, that also balances the need of certain individuals to be challenged greater than the average, and others to have special education to meet the average level.




:lol:<- at your response to the Doodle-meister

Doodler
2007-Aug-31, 08:50 PM
:lol:<- at your response to the Doodle-meister

/bow

I know what I meant, I just wish I had said what I meant...I'd fix it, but I'm not one to re-write history once I've been caught.


As for economic stratification, yeah, its bad, but that's also a side effect of wealthier counties being able to tax at the local level more effectively, and states responding to local lobbying efforts by the wealthier counties.


Another headache in US education is the fact that textbook content is determined based on what California and Texas boards of education approve. Why? Because to provide all 50 states with individually customized textbooks would result in a net loss in the other 48 states. Not enough textbooks could be written, published and sold to justify the cost.

Factor into that mess that California is the one of the most notoriously liberal states in the country, and Texas ranks among the most conservative, and you have a nightmare...

Damburger
2007-Aug-31, 10:52 PM
Statistical spin doctoring. In terms of pure numbers (not percentages), we crank out more neurons per capita than most of Europe combined.

Oooh, big bad Korea with its awesome 98% plus percentage beating the standards. Congrats, you've just educated a number of students on par with what we have in a medium sized US state... I'm...nonplussed.

They also have the tax revenue of a medium sized US state. So, if all these US states mirrored the ROK education system you would be doing pretty well wouldn't you?

Damburger
2007-Aug-31, 10:58 PM
Link (http://subs.emis.de/journals/ZDM/zdm053a5.pdf)

Not proof per se - but the systemic differences may be significant factors. You can't effectively compare two systems, where one is intentionally stratified and separated by performance or ability, to another system that intentionally mixes everyone together.


You can if the sample of students is taken without regard to which strata the students are in. That would simply mean the result could also represent the benefits or not of stratification.


Anyway, I'm not interested in debating value judgments about the systems or getting into a "my country is better" or "yours sucks" debate - I'm interested in improving the system my kid is going to grow up in. Especially if he turns out to be of more than average intelligence.

You improve the education system in one country by looking at another country thats got a better one, and ripping it off. I'm almost certainly not alone in such thinking, and so I think a lot of policy makers in the west are paying great attention to the education systems of Japan and South Korea and asking themselves "Why do we suck and they don't?"

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-31, 11:03 PM
[...] I think a lot of policy makers in the west are paying great attention to the education systems of Japan and South Korea and asking themselves "Why do we suck and they don't?"But there are already good education systems in the west. Sadly, I suspect that our policymakers are more likely to be wondering "How can we make our schools suck even more?" :(

Celestial Mechanic
2007-Sep-01, 05:12 AM
[Snip!] You improve the education system in one country by looking at another country that's got a better one, and ripping it off. I'm almost certainly not alone in such thinking, and so I think a lot of policy makers in the west are paying great attention to the education systems of Japan and South Korea and asking themselves "Why do we suck and they don't?"
I hope they also ask themselves "Why do their kids have such a high suicide rate?"

Celestial Mechanic
2007-Sep-01, 05:17 AM
But there are already good education systems in the west. Sadly, I suspect that our policymakers are more likely to be wondering "How can we make our schools suck even more?" :(
To them the "No Child Left Behind Act" is a sheer stroke of genius. If they were lifeguards, their response to a drowning person would be, "This person is doing a terrible job of swimming, let's dump this ice-chest full of water on him -- and put this plastic bag over his head so he doesn't swallow any water!"