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Education, Schooling, Learning, and the Difference Between Them

I'm in Chinese Comprehension, a class with an unclear charter and no curriculum, where the teacher has no control over the class and students only are here because she gives us access to laptops like the one I'm typing this on. I'm getting my first A for the year, and I don't even know what I'm supposed to be learning. Last period, I will have Art History, whose curriculum teaches me more than the sum of all my classes up to this point, and I learn more in one lesson than the entire rest of my classes for the rest of the year thus far. I failed that class last term, despite (or perhaps because) I actually learned. If we accept that the purpose of education is to give the youth learning and prepare them for their careers, and that grades are meant to represent the amount of learning an individual has done -- as conventional wisdom dictates -- it seems that the system has failed.

FRC Forum, what do you think is the cause of this failure? Is it the federal mandates? Is it College Board's nationally designed courses? Is it teacher's unions' prioritization of seniority over job quality? What are the problems in higher ed I don't even know to put into this post?

TL;DR: Education General Thread.


  • edited December 2013
    Somewhere, Adam just perked up to the sound of a sound only he could hear.
    Post edited by Churba on
  • My high school experience, in public school mind you, was beyond excellent. Difficult classes, challenging teachers, high expectations, and wide variety.

    I would say that the problem is extremely regional.
  • edited December 2013
    As Rym said it's highly situational, it has a lot to do with the economics of the region. Area's with a strong middle class/upper class. Have extremely good schools, since they can attract the good teachers with good salaries. Meanwhile places that have population loss or a crappy tax base are going to have under performing schools because if you are a good teacher you are probably going to migrate towards schools that pay more and are better. I mean it's pretty easy, go to a zip code that is in the higher 50% and you'll probably find the top 50% schools. In cities, it's slightly different only because a lot of people who can will send their kids to private school leaving the public schools to those kids who are unfortunate to have parents who can't afford to send them anywhere (or don't care to).
    Post edited by Cremlian on
  • There's also the factor that local parental culture plays a huge role. Towns that have a large percentage of helicopter and woo in the local parents will express that helicoptering woo in their schools.
  • I'm not one particularly given towards 'socializing' programs, but I think education is something that should be socialized much more. That and space exploration, which should be funded exponentially more than it is.

    As a nation we depend on strong performance of our education system and we all suffer when some portions perform better than others due to economics. It reinforces the divide of wealth and knowledge between those with and those without.

    I would appreciate if, no matter where you go to school, from the fields of Kansas, to the heart of Detroit, to the well-off town of Willmette, your (child's) education is provided the same resources and attention, to the same standards.

    This is not to mean in the same way as no child left behind or what-not, I'm talking about funding, teacher performance, access to technology, discipline, etc.

    I just find it sad we have students in the city who aren't given the same quality of environment as those in the bedroom communities nearby. I understand why, but that doesn't mean we can't design a better system.

    There are other things too, across the board. We have entirely new technologies and live different lives now than 20 years before, the ideal
    learning methods and curriculums have to be figured out.
  • It's also based on the individual.

    Someone interested in Math and the Sciences can get an enjoyable education in a good district, because good teachers can teach those subjects with ease. They are the easiest classes to have Honors/Advanced/AP versions of, and so you can accelerate and move ahead and really learn.

    Someone who is not interested in something that's easy to teach may find that most classes are busy work, as non-advanced level courses often are.

    But, I agree that a lot is based on the wealth and culture of the surrounding area.
  • I really want to see US schools focus more on music, art, and technology. It's all complimentary. A STEM education without grounding in other areas isn't actually that useful.

    There's also a preponderance of evidence that things like music education have benefits in many other areas.
  • Rym said:

    I really want to see US schools focus more on music, art, and technology. It's all complimentary. A STEM education without grounding in other areas isn't actually that useful.

    The number of times that my friends in other trades have encountered engineering solutions which are technically perfect, but useless for various reasons(a common one, considering the tradesmen I tend to know, is that the solution is incredibly difficult or impossible to manufacture in reality) speaks volumes to that problem.

  • I absolutely agree. My time spent studying Band improved me significantly as a person, and my interest in History and Writing was helpful in developing lots of basic life skills. Unfortunately, our education in that area is usually entirely reliant upon a good teacher.
  • John Maeda who was my president while at RISD often said we need to turn STEM education into STEAM, by adding the arts. I highly agree that artistic (creative) thinking and education is critical to balancing the rigor of the other fields. He isn't the only one advocating that notion, and it's hard to refute.

    I actually don't like the idea of STEM by itself, at all really.

    I'm artistically driven, and I have worked with many engineers in my design field... they often are self-declared as 'not artistic' or 'I leave the artsy fartsy stuff to you' and while if every porkchop was perfect we wouldn't have any hot dogs... it's detrimental for all that more these people don't embrace artistic, creative potential in themselves as a vital part of their contributing to the world. All are capable of it, all can create. Some of the best designs have been not from career designers but from bankers, bakers, stay at home mothers, electrical engineers... who had some creative energy and applied it.
  • SWATrous said:

    John Maeda who was my president while at RISD often said we need to turn STEM education into STEAM,

    Get Gaben on the phone right now.
  • edited December 2013
    RISD! I spent a large amount of my pre-highschool years in the foundry.

    I think there are some key things we need to impart in primary education, but I'm not sure how these can be implemented:
    • Creativity - definitely bringing back arts, music, and such would help with this, as well as experimenting with different teaching styles.
    • Critical thinking - The idea of questioning one's assumptions and biases is sometimes touched on in high school classes (if the teacher is good), but we need a heavier push for this.
    • Literacy - technological, linguistic, and social. The first is still nearly nonexistent, the second seems to depend extremely on the quality of individual teachers, and the third is mired in warring ideologies surrounding questions we haven't resolved (in the United States) since before the founding of our nation.
    Standardized testing doesn't seem to be a efficacious way to quantify any of these things (or many other skills that we'd want students to know), and seems (from my layman's perspective) to waste an inordinate amount of teachers' time that could be better spent on, you know, teaching.

    I think the idea of lumping all students (regardless of learning pace) into a single curriculum might also have detrimental effects, but I haven't seen any data on this either way.
    Post edited by YoshoKatana on
  • So far I approve of all comments in this thread.
    :waves hand airily:
  • I went to a public high-school for years 8, 9 and 10 but was lucky enough to be placed in an advanced program where the core maths, science, English and social studies were being taught at 1 - 2 years ahead of the curriculum plus you had to take a language if you wanted to stay in this program.

    All the classes outside of the core were similar to Greg's experiences.

    I attained a scholarship to one of the very rich private schools for my final 2 years and it was pretty much night and day.

    My brother, (who we assumed wasn't the brightest kid), got in on a bursary because they didn't want to split us up and he ended up getting the education from years 8 - 12.

    There was plenty of extra curricular activities which were mandatory and others which weren't. He picked up music and ended up in the school jazz band and orchestra.

    He ended up getting the 7th highest score in our equivalent of the SAT's and got a car out of it by betting my Mum he could get into the top 20.

    As a result he still also plays the music and plays in orchestral bands as an adult (he's an engineer with a second bachelor's degree in financial management).

    Obvious things are obvious - nurture a kid with a good education and you have a higher likelihood of getting a worthwhile adult at the end of it.
  • I can't speak to how things are now, but I went to the same high school that Greg is going to/was going to. It was a very hide bound, traditional school that seemed to put more of its thought into how awesome it was for being really old rather than actually preparing students for the future.
  • An interesting article on why other nations are doing so much better at educating children than the US.

    Choice quote:

    "The American work force has some of weakest mathematical and problem-solving skills in the developed world."
  • "Southern states Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are among the weakest performers, with results similar to developing countries such as Kazakhstan and Thailand."

    "...there is a long tail of underachievement that dips well below the levels of secondary school pupils in wealthier western European countries. It dips into levels closer to the developing world."

    "...the tendency to make internal comparisons between different groups within the US had shielded the country from recognising how much they are being overtaken by international rivals."
  • Even when I was working in areas with decent schools, the criminal defendants we saw normally had at least a HS diploma or a GED.

    In the area I work in now, it is not unusual to see defendants who didn't finish seventh grade - and I'm not talking about really old defendants or anything. I'm talking about kids who are less than twenty-five years old.

    I'm not kidding. When I see a defendant here who has a HS diploma, I'm actually impressed.

    How does that happen? How can it be allowed to happen?

    I think one way it happens is the whole home schooling thing. Say what you want about the quality of home schooling, but apparently our state does little if any real follow-up, regulation, or quality control of any sort once a parent takes his child out of school for home schooling. So, faced with no oversight, some children for all intents cease their education once they begin to be home-schooled.

    Then they continue growing up in a region with little or no real economic opportunity, and that's one reason why you see so many twenty year olds around here on disability or with lengthy criminal histories.

  • Michigan has ruled that the state has no obligation to provide a quality public education: only that they have to fund buildings and keep kids in them until they're 18, regardless of if they learn anything.
    ...the state has no constitutional requirement to ensure schoolchildren actually learn fundamental skills such as reading — but rather is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality.
  • USA! USA! USA!

    I hate everything so much.
  • The moral here is that strict constructionalists can EABOD.
  • *quietly crosses Michigan off the list of states that are states*
  • Slow clap.

  • What the fuck, Michigan.
  • At least they admit it.
  • They're not wrong - they're just assholes.
  • They're not wrong - they're just assholes.

    That's what bothers me. It's like at some point we decided to treat government the same way we treat retail jobs. Do the bare minimum by the fully reduced letter of the requirements of the job, for the sole end of continuing to be allowed to do that job.
  • Fallout 4 or school in Michigan?

  • *quietly crosses Michigan off the list of states that are states*

    "Good morning class! Now, who wants to rip a star off the flag?"
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