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Thread: Schooling In America

  1. #1
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Schooling In America

    After a quick search I did not find a thread that covered exactly what I was thinking. After all the who-ha about President Obama talking to kids, I was talking to my wife about the arguments over schooling in America.

    **This is a slight rant and therefore might not make all the sense in the world, but I hope you can get my idea**

    Starting with primary education and moving through college education both political sides seem to believe in such different things when it comes to how people should be education in the U.S. it is amazing.

    The crazies who were against the President speaking to school children were saying that such things as his speech will indoctrinate their children, which is wrong. And so they send their kids to private schools that teach their kids exactly what they want them to learn or home school them, so they can get the slant that a parent wants them to have.

    The left thinks that the schooling system is not open enough to everyone. We need to keep finding ways to support the kids who don't want to be in school or those whose parents don't care either way. They create tests and measurements to grade schools on their ability to work with these problems.

    To me it seems education can be put into the socio-economic political category.
    Is it poorer you are, the less options you have and therefore the less you care? Or is it the richer you are, the more you care, and therefore there are more options available to you? To me it seems that we are so worried that our children will be something that we don't like, that we either care too much, or don't care at all.

    Do you believe that the President should not be able to speak to your child because you care? You don't pay to have your child put in a school that is "brainwashing" him/her are you? You just expect that your child is well mannered and has college prep material at their disposal.

    Speaking of college, it seems to me that the political world is VERY split on college education.

    The far right (Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin) seem to think that going to an "Elite" college makes you out of touch and therefore Elitist. Why would anyone want to be elitist. That would make you a rich snob. Which really makes no sense, as the average Princeton or Harvard grad become high earners and are more likely to support the elephants. Don't get me wrong, many are democrats and act as such, but I don't think anyone can argue that many high wage earners are republicans. Why are we so scared that our kids will be "indoctrinated" by teachers?

    I do not understand the fear of college professors. Yea, they were probably hippies in the 70's, yea they might not worry about the things that most people in society do, but they aren't exactly scary.

    Our education system is designed to teach all kinds of things. From the alphabet in kindergarten to civics, economics, in high school, to advanced thinking in college. Why are we so scared that what they are learning is "indoctrinating" them? I would guess that many believe that colleges skew left and therefore will give an unfair and biased world view. If you believe that then should you send your kids to schools that skew right and make sure they get that world view? Aren't you just doing the same thing you are so adamantly against?

    I guess I would like to think that education isn't influenced by politics as much as it is. But I would imagine that is just my world view skewing reality.

    Long post. Any thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Why are we so scared that our kids will be "indoctrinated" by teachers?

    I do not understand the fear of college professors. Yea, they were probably hippies in the 70's, yea they might not worry about the things that most people in society do, but they aren't exactly scary.

    Long post. Any thoughts?
    If you aren't terribly well educated yourself, the prospect of having your kids "indoctrinated" is scary stuff. If you don't have the education and the mental skills to fight the ideas your child is bringing home, it's scary stuff. I have always been good at helping my kids effectively combat any brainwashing crapola from school, the media, etc so they could think for themselves. But, really, most people -- whether parents or bosses at work -- are not interested in having folks they are in charge of really learn to think independently. And many people don't really think independently. So it becomes a battle for which groupthink pattern you will buy into -- mine or theirs (so to speak). I get the crap kicked out of me on a regular basis for not accepting whatever status quo ideas Rule in various places. It is quite taboo to question people's assumptions, all the more so if they haven't a leg to stand on in terms of arguing it logically and are merely accepting the "popular" view. I mean, Galileo was put under house arrest for life for daring to do that. You know the saying: The pen is mightier than the sword. Ideas are powerful "invisible" forces, thus very, very scary stuff.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I don't understand the fear of Obama speaking to the children. If parents are worried about indoctrination by the left they need to remove their children from public schools altogether, which as we all know are dominated by liberal teachers, policies, and the most liberal union- the teacher's union. If one speech by one man is getting them upset why aren't they upset about the entire system? It seems odd they care about one but not the other.

    Also, I don't understand why people/politicians think throwing money at schools will solve problems? Every study I've ever read shows that districts that spend the most (D.C., for example) have some of the lowest graduation rates. My Catholic HS spent less on average per student than the public schools yet the graduation rate was 100%. It's all about parental involvement and the facts have been shown enough times that I still don't understand why people of any political group think money solves these problems. Reaching the parents solves problems, not getting better computers systems.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    The people who seem to be the most worried about their children being "indoctrinated" are those who seem to be the most likely to "indoctrinate" other people's children if they had the power to do so. The same people wailing about Obama "indoctrinating" their children think nothing of trying to force their religious views on other people's children, be it prayers, Bible reading or dogma as pseudo-science.

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Also, I don't understand why people/politicians think throwing money at schools will solve problems? Every study I've ever read shows that districts that spend the most (D.C., for example) have some of the lowest graduation rates. My Catholic HS spent less on average per student than the public schools yet the graduation rate was 100%. It's all about parental involvement and the facts have been shown enough times that I still don't understand why people of any political group think money solves these problems. Reaching the parents solves problems, not getting better computers systems.
    How many students were "asked to leave" because of their behavior or because they wouldn't/didn't meet academic standards?

    How many learning disabled or developmentally disabled students did your Catholic high school accept?

    Public schools are required by law to accept and try to educate all students, including the rejects from private schools, and children whose ability to benefit from any education at all is very much up to debate. Most private school costs per child are lower and the achievement higher because they don't deal with difficult children. The few private schools that actual do deal with children with psychological or learning problems charge much higher tuitions than public schools.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 15 Sep 2009 at 12:18 PM. Reason: double reply

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    The people who seem to be the most worried about their children being "indoctrinated" are those who seem to be the most likely to "indoctrinate" other people's children if they had the power to do so. The same people wailing about Obama "indoctrinating" their children think nothing of trying to force their religious views on other people's children, be it prayers, Bible reading or dogma as pseudo-science.
    Well said, Linda!

    I'm not convinced that the left and the right have well-defined positions on education. As far as the issue of college education is concerned, it seems like most parents want their kids to go to college -- whether or not their kids want to or would actually benefit from a college education. You see a lot of statistics about how much money college-educated workers make, but those stats are based on averages. If you compare French literature majors with engineering majors, I'm sure you'd find quite a difference in their income levels.

    There are many careers that require little more than an associate's degree or completion of a specialized training program, and pay relatively well... but parents discourage their kids from even considering these programs, because they "have" to go to college!

    I know this is a bit of a tangent from the original post... that's my rant for the day.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    ......
    To me it seems education can be put into the socio-economic political category.
    Is it poorer you are, the less options you have and therefore the less you care? Or is it the richer you are, the more you care, and therefore there are more options available to you? To me it seems that we are so worried that our children will be something that we don't like, that we either care too much, or don't care at all.
    ........
    Yup, that's it right there in a nut shell.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Yup, that's it right there in a nut shell.
    I agree. I believe that NJ's experiment with Abbott school districts which reallocates funding to the poor districts that have significant populations of "disadvantaged students" has driven home the point that more money, while helpful in some regards, does not equate educational improvements. Often the schools are funded to a higher level on a per pupil basis than most middle class income districts. The money thrown at the Abbott Districts has only resulted in marginal improvements in overall student performances. At the end of the day I believe that it is the parents/guardians that are most fundamental force in shaping a child's education. Parents that don't care about education equal students that don't care about education either. While there are exceptions, I believe it's a core issue in education.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    An interesting topic! Personally, I view education (especially pre-college) as the process of equipping people with the basic skills needed to direct their own life-long learning. School is as much about learning HOW to learn as it is about the subject matter (and I might suggest this is the case all the way up to and even through college). Maybe more so (though obviously, everyone should know certain basics to get along in our society). This is where the Obama speech issue irritates me. The event had the potential to be the ultimate civics lesson for schools - an opportunity to hear from our highest civil servant and to think about, critique, discuss and engage with what he has to say. No one said the kids had to memorize the speech or were going to be quizzed on it. No one even said they had to agree. But if we are going to raise children who will participate constructively in society, we MUST teach them to listen to multiple viewpoints and opinions as the avenue to determining their own views. Applying the skills of knowing HOW to learn, most people can take this and make up their own minds about things after considering multiple sides. Its just that simple, people!

    As for college. Personally, I cannot see why anyone whose child had the opportunity to go to college (assuming it can be afforded, they get in, etc) would discourage them. I took an economics course a few years back that, globally, showed how an increase in education results in so many benefits to the educated. Its about the money you can make, but its also trickles out into other ares: health, pregnancy rates for women, civic participation, the ability to save and plan for the future, civil rights (and people knowing their rights). Education increases earning potential, but it also empowers people to question and think for themselves. Its not that people without college educations are unable to do these things. Its that MORE people are able. And speaking economically, college grads earn twice as much as HS grads in this country. That's a HUGE difference that will likely become more so in the future. Earning $20/hr over $10/hr is one thing, but when you consider that over a year, or even 20, 30, 40 years of working, that's an immense amount of potential wealth. Plus, so many jobs require a BA these days. I see no good reason to tell a kid who could go to college not to.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    ......but its also trickles out into other ares: health, pregnancy rates for women, civic participation, the ability to save and plan for the future, civil rights (and people knowing their rights). Education increases earning potential, but it also empowers people to question and think for themselves......
    Great! You comy liberal! Not only do you want to let women out of the kitchen but you are trying to get "THOSE" people the same things we got! Next thing you know you will be trying to teach our impressionable kids that the earth is spherical and older than 6,000 years!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Next thing you know you will be trying to teach our impressionable kids that the earth is spherical and older than 6,000 years!
    Ouch!!! Think of the children, think of the children!
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  12. #12
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    How many students were "asked to leave" because of their behavior or because they wouldn't/didn't meet academic standards?
    A few based on poor behavior - I don't know the exact number. Some went to other Catholic schools and some went to the local public schools. If you have poor academic abilities it seems to me like that can be corrected rather early in life by helping to teach your children when they are young. My wife is a pre-school teacher and gets sooooo frustrated when parents say (to parents about going over lessons at home) "that's what school is for, I don't need to help". How will greatly increasing the funding per student help the academic abilities? Flat screen monitors and a new pool won't help the person getting Ds.

    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Public schools are required by law to accept and try to educate all students, including the rejects from private schools, and children whose ability to benefit from any education at all is very much up to debate. Most private school costs per child are lower and the achievement higher because they don't deal with difficult children.
    For discussion's sake: At what point does the "accept and try" become not worth the huge increase in expenses? Is it worth it for 20k/year? 100k/year? Realistically there needs to be a cutoff. Would you pay for a $15/hour tutor? How about a $150/hour tutor?

    For the record over half of the student at my school received financial aid and had to help cover the costs of their education. Don't say it's just the rich or well-connected because that's simply untrue.

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