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Old 12-07-2012, 01:26 PM   #11
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Personally, I think a lot of countries are encountering issues with their educational set-ups; up here, the Uni course leaders are astounded that people fresh out of secondary school (high school) are incapable fo working out a simplistic area formula either with a click roller thingy (I think you know what I mean but I can't remember what they call it) or with a calculator etc...it's a sad state of affairs. The 3 important areas they should be concentrating on, they've destroyed: writing, reading and arithmetic/mathematics (the two of which, as far as I recall, were never separated when I was at school but apparently these days they can select one or the other and that's just pure mental, IMO).
But how much can a system which is already over taxed really cater for? Not everyone is going to Uni, it's a sad fact but true and in today's economical climate can we afford for students who will ultimately end up in manual labour jobs to spend 3-4 years at university not paying taxes or contributing to the workforce and can they afford to take out expensive loans which will ultimately only leave them behind in terms of experience needed at the job?

I'm not saying that's right, or saying that's a definite possibility but it's far from a simple matter of saying everything is dumbing down. The education system in it's current state, can't respond to all the needs and wants of every child.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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But how much can a system which is already over taxed really cater for? Not everyone is going to Uni, it's a sad fact but true and in today's economical climate can we afford for students who will ultimately end up in manual labour jobs to spend 3-4 years at university not paying taxes or contributing to the workforce and can they afford to take out expensive loans which will ultimately only leave them behind in terms of experience needed at the job?

I'm not saying that's right, or saying that's a definite possibility but it's far from a simple matter of saying everything is dumbing down. The education system in it's current state, can't respond to all the needs and wants of every child.
I'm not saying people should be going to Uni, just that if they can't even do the basics which are pretty much required for everyday tasks, then some "back to basics" needs to be reintroduced; I'm pretty sure most of us in the older generation would have had no issues with area calculations but these days they end up with "answers" that are so far off the mark, it's downright worrying. That was my point, the Uni thing was just a story I'd heard from a Uni course leader that highlights the problem of people not even being able to apply the most simplistic mathematics to an everyday problem.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:45 PM   #13
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I'm not saying people should be going to Uni, just that if they can't even do the basics which are pretty much required for everyday tasks, then some "back to basics" needs to be reintroduced; I'm pretty sure most of us in the older generation would have had no issues with area calculations but these days they end up with "answers" that are so far off the mark, it's downright worrying. That was my point, the Uni thing was just a story I'd heard from a Uni course leader that highlights the problem of people not even being able to apply the most simplistic mathematics to an everyday problem.
It's the result of increasing specialisation Babs. On-the-spot training and job experience take the place of 'the basics', the idea being that if enough experience on the actual task happens we don't need to build the surrounding skills.

Look I'm not saying that's right, but there are real factors like money and time which do play into consideration here. You roll the clock back a couple hundred years and not everyone even got to go to school in the UK, As a country the economy has been doing well since then, now things are starting to tighten up. Some would say moving in this direction is inevitable.

So how do we resolve that, in the current over taxed education system which demands results for all? No matter what the ability and eventual outcome? With ever decreasing time, and ever increasing education outcomes? On top of that, an education system which is now asked to take on the social responsibility which was once upon time called decent parenting?

You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't in my opinion.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:45 PM   #14
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If they want to give folks a real world education and help non-college folks succeed at life, they could offer practical courses like personal computing 101, parenting 101 or personal finances 101.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:46 PM   #15
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If they want to give folks a real world education and help non-college folks succeed at life, they could offer practical courses like personal computing 101, parenting 101 or personal finances 101.
Sure, sure. I'll let you know how that idea goes down with the parents at the next parent committee
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:57 PM   #16
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I don't believe it is hopeless and I do think the system can be modernized so that it caters to virtually everyone, but that would take a big committment by people to swallow their conflicting notions and except that students don't learn in a linear age level based formula, nor can every public school teach every child in the vicinity.

It's too expensive, especially when you consider the average special education student costs the system at least 14K a year to educate while the average student is allotted about 3-5K a year depending on where you live.

Like it or not, to be efficient, you need to separate students by ability.

That said, a system should keep a common set of standards that are the minimum and students should learn the by 6th grade or stay at that level until they do learn them. No shame in taking longer, that's life. Again elimnate the age pressure and simply enforce a basic minimum.

Special Ed students should have appropriate standards and expectaions for them. Accomodations can be made, but if their goals aren't realistic, they should be led down a path they can achieve, whatever that is.

After that level all schooling is voluntary, until you qualify for and pick a college to go to. You want to go Math Science, go to Math Science school with a lesser emphasis on the other subjects, same with Reading Writing School with lesser Math expectations, etc. Don't want higher Education? Have local vocational tech schools.

And to satisfy the late bloomers, all the voluntary schools are open to anyone at any time. Change your mind on the Literaure route just enroll in Math or whatever and start over there. Again, no shame in being a year behind.

And it's voluntary so that little johnny who doesn't want to do anything but lay on the couch all day playing video games will have to want to come to school. If he has no desire, then hopefully his parents will be forced to instill some ambition into his little mind or risk the fact that Johnny will eventually be selling their furniture to make a living will they are at work all day. You want Johnny in school and not on the streets, get a backbone and make him go. He won't try hard? well, then he's kicked out. Better try that motivation thing again Mom and Dad.

And to keep costs of schools down, chuck out all the useless crap that they load up schools with. High schools costing hundreds of millions of dollars because they are full of media, high tech wiring, wi-fi, laptops, smart boards, new textbooks every year, the latest this and that all available for everyone whether they need to use it to learn or not. Also, business should have some skin in the game. They should bear a chunk of the cost by sponsoring the schools they benefit from. Colleges too should be taking huge gobs of money away from football players and send it to voluntary schools to educate the students they expect to extort tuition from later.

The vast majority of students an be taught perfectly well by a good teacher with basic textbooks and a cracked blackboard in a concrete room that doesn't leak or get too cold or too hot.

I'm sure their are other ways to change things, but bottom line, change the paradigm. Until that happens all Americans will suffer.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:20 PM   #17
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The 3 important areas they should be concentrating on, they've destroyed: writing, reading and arithmetic/mathematics (the two of which, as far as I recall, were never separated when I was at school but apparently these days they can select one or the other and that's just pure mental, IMO).
Babs, the new OFSTED criteria for lesson observation explicitly require teachers to be moving kids' literacyand articulacy (if that's a word) on, regardless of subject. Schools can be failed on kids showing substandard literacy. There is currently a massive push on literacy, and to a lesser extent numeracy.

If that Telegraph story has any grounding in reality, it's pretty horrifying. Fiction is one of the key ways kids can be taught to think about the variety of human experience, and the big moral and ethical questions.

A friend of mine is an english teacher, and he puts it like this: 'we don't want to turn out kids who know how to construct a gas chamber, but don't question why they shouldn't do it'. A bit melodramatic, maybe, but I agree with the sentiment.
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