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Coytee

Regarding today's youth as it relates to school...

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Beginning at the Beginning

 

I wondered what professionals thought about the goal of public education. Holy cow! What a can of worms!

 

Ref 1. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/reimagining/2013/08/whats_the_goal_of_edu.html

Ref 2. http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/jun04/vol46/num04/Exploring-the-Purpose-of-Public-Education.aspx

Ref 3. http://fauquierfreecitizen.com/what-is-the-purpose-of-public-education-today/

 

Not because those three have the best answers, but they have the most diverse answers. So look, if no one agrees on the goals, how could there ever be success? It's a three ring political circus at this point in history.

 

I see two very different slants possible to the question. First, there are really two questions. First, what is the goal of PUBLIC education, and second, what is the goal of education? Those are going to be conflicting answers.  I found my self not agreeing with much of the convoluted rationale found in those references.

 

Interesting that DOD, NASA, DOE, and even IRS have defined goals of outcome and system specifications that define what the desired outcome is. 

 

Not true for the Dept. of Education -- and even the state boards of education.  As soon as you start talking about subjects that can be quantified, the discussion dries up. 

 

I was always taught that agreement on what it is that you're trying to achieve is paramount, otherwise, you never know if you've arrived.  I use a technique called Quality Function Deployment (QFD) for defining and deploying what it is that you're trying to achieve.  The first step of achieving your goals is to quantify and deploy/decompose downwards into the constituent quantities that you are going to work on, and the targets that you're going to aim at for each task (i.e., decomposition of tasks and setting targets).

 

I've never been able to perform a QFD analysis on public education since the outcomes are never stated quantifiably: you can't decompose their stated highest-level goals of education into anything traceably, and therefore accountably.

 

[This is something that the US DOD does--and does well.  I can't quantify to you the advantage that we have in the US military of having each task, role, mission, and strategy defined with measures and full training material and standards/norms.  It's the real secret of the military and goes a long, long way towards making it the best in the world, IMHO.  In the Army, the officer in charge of doctrine and training (TRADOC) is so important that it is a four-star rank.  Having this information for the existing systems and people when you design new systems is the biggest single advantage that one can have as a new system designer.]

 

Educators have been dancing around the campfire for decades without actually saying something that you can lay your hat on and measure concerning the education system itself and how well it works.  All lower level measures that are used (retention rates, test passing rates [passing what?]) are very poor and disconnected from the top-level education system measures such that you can't roll them up to the highest level. 

 

There are plenty of tests for students at the detail level--but not for the education system itself and what all those detail level tests actually mean.

 

So if you see a blank-empty stare on a student's face in cases like this, typically the problem isn't that the student isn't capable of success, but that success itself isn't defined, encouraged, reinforced and rewarded.  Making a 1600 on an SAT isn't an success criterion that you can deploy on the education system. 

Edited by Chris A

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The conflict is whether one should don the uniform and join the big group as a faithful gear, or just go their own merry way. That's the reason public education is so fixated on conformance. They can't risk having lots of individuals.

 

I see your point, but if this is the actual motivator, I see no reason to have a concern like that.  They shouldn't worry about people not conforming because, by definition, the vast of majority of the people will conform.  How many people, for example, have you argued to regarding giving up the rat race and their (per your values) "subjugation" as employees of corporate America?  No matter how loudly you shout it from the rooftop, most simply will not be convinced to adopt your values.  Conformity is not bad if you like it.

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Good video.  That one led me to this one:  

 

I disagree with the premise in the second video that you can have for-profit organizations that change in ways to maximize this self-direction and creativity.  The who dichotomy between ownership and servitude flies in the face of "making one's mark."  The two can exist together, but eventually, they must break apart for the reason that people wanting self-direction do not want to be beholden to owners.

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I've never been able to perform a QFD analysis on public education since the outcomes are never stated quantifiably: you can't decompose their stated highest-level goals of education into anything traceably, and therefore accountably.

 

How do you measure teaching how to think and ability to learn quantifiably?  That's what a good education should be about.  The military except in the higher levels actually discourages this type of thing because discipline is more important.  How would you quantify the creative outputs of musicians?  Monk gets an A pus and Corea gets an A?  The obsession with quantifying has become a lot of the problem regarding education..  Somehow Americans are still probably the most creative in the world (yet I have no quantity numbers to back that up). 

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How do you measure teaching how to think and ability to learn quantifiably? That's what a good education should be about.

Why is it that our education system cannot even teach all students to read by grade 12?  There are many, many tasks that students need to know how to do (like how stay clean, eat well, and stay healthy - things that many students cannot do now).  We all know the stories, but they're real.  And these stories are in every city and town in the US.

 

 

 

The military except in the higher levels actually discourages this type of thing because discipline is more important. How would you quantify the creative outputs of musicians?

 

This is perception, but I think that you'd agree, doesn't really represent reality.  This isn't about subtraction from what we've got presently, but addition--of the things that we all want to have happen.

 

Once students learn the basic tasks properly (a.k.a., training tasks, like reading, writing and use of mathematics for reasoning), all other higher level education goals are much easier to achieve.  Right now, all the air is taken out of the room just achieving the training expected of 6th graders--but to graduating high school students. If students learned what they are supposed to learn - when they are to learn it, then all of the proposed interventions would be mostly transparent to the current status/state of education.  It would free present teachers to do what they want to do presently: to educate students to excel in the arts, sciences, mathematics and literary--all the liberal arts educational areas.

 

Most school systems never look any further than the most basic training competencies on their graduation standards since they cannot achieve it presently for almost all graduating students.  In inner city schools, the percentages of students unable to do the most basic tasks is extremely high--which is why these school districts lose these students before they can graduate--as much as 70% of the students by graduation.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris A
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"One size fits all" is a problem in education - I'll agree.  Different people learn differently, some very quickly, others much more slowly, and depending on subject matter. Modalities are different.

 

Nowadays, "one size fits all" isn't necessary or desirable, and the school systems that I see are very inflexible in the operation of their education presentation and help subsystems.

 

It's going to change.   The real question is: how many more young people will be left behind in life because of the inertia of the status quo education systems. 

 

I think it will be a very long time, unfortunately,  Having union labor that opposes any change makes it a lot worse, unfortunately.  I've learned that there really is one customer segment that is much more important in this domain: the students' education.  I say this because fixing the problems will also create a much better place for the people employed in those systems. 

 

Fear of the unknown prevents the self-healing process from occurring.

 

YMMV.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris A

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There was a time when GM had 400,000 workers with lifetime jobs. That scheme is over, and is not coming back. So, what's the point of getting their old education?

The vast majority of those people didn't have a job that required a good education.

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There was a time when GM had 400,000 workers with lifetime jobs. That scheme is over, and is not coming back. So, what's the point of getting their old education?

The vast majority of those people didn't have a job that required a good education.

Before I went back to College, I worked at a Grocery warehouse that served several states. We had a decent wage and outstandingly unbelievable benefits.

I worked with two guys that honestly could not read and could only write their names.

Roger

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I think we need to make room for the possibility that some kids might not be quite as enthused about Cadillacs as we'd hope.

Ha, I'm scheming big time for a Caddy.

Slightly off topic but maybe not... funny thing about those and other things I've gotten or have been scheming to get in terms of how other people seem to view it is that people seem to have it drilled in their head that certain things are off limits to the middle class. Examples:

Almost new Cadillac? Off limits, way too expensive, only showoffs would get one, etc. However, new Nissan Altima? Perfectly acceptable. Well guess what, they're the same price. My dad acted like this.

Home theaters? Those things are $60 grand, only for luxury houses. An accountant told me this.

20+ acre mini-farm? Off limits, only for rich old gentlemen. Had some coworkers act like this. Well, it was the same price as multiple subdivision lots around here. My manager even tried to explain how it was way too much, and I literally had to explain to him that his two 1 acre lots for his house and rental property cost the exact same amount, except I have 11 times the land that he does.

etc., etc., etc. Drives me crazy.

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters
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I think we need to make room for the possibility that some kids might not be quite as enthused about Cadillacs as we'd hope.

Ha, I'm scheming big time for a Caddy.

Slightly off topic but maybe not... funny thing about those and other things I've gotten or have been scheming to get in terms of how other people seem to view it is that people seem to have it drilled in their head that certain things are off limits to the middle class. Examples:

Almost new Cadillac? Off limits, way too expensive, only showoffs would get one, etc. However, new Nissan Altima? Perfectly acceptable. Well guess what, they're the same price. My dad acted like this.

Home theaters? Those things are $60 grand, only for luxury houses. An accountant told me this.

20+ acre mini-farm? Off limits, only for rich old gentlemen. Had some coworkers act like this. Well, it was the same price as multiple subdivision lots around here. My manager even tried to explain how it was way too much, and I literally had to explain to him that his two 1 acre lots for his house and rental property cost the exact same amount, except I have 11 times the land that he does.

etc., etc., etc. Drives me crazy.

Plus you can write off a lot of stuff as tax free which he cannot!

Roger

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I hated school. I graduated BOTTOM of my class. Yet, I'm the most successful person from my class, can problem solve, and if pitted against any of them today- I'd most likely trump them.

I went on to being accepted into a Mercedes-Benz engineering school, and the instructors hated me because I never once opened a book, or SEEMED like I was paying attention. Strangely I just absorb information. I talked to an instructor after class one day and told him, you may quiz / test me at any time and if I can't keep up, I'll change my tactics.

But I know what works for me. And there- when allowed to learn MY way. I graduated TOP of my class.

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I hated school. I graduated BOTTOM of my class. Yet, I'm the most successful person from my class, can problem solve, and if pitted against any of them today- I'd most likely trump them.

I went on to being accepted into a Mercedes-Benz engineering school, and the instructors hated me because I never once opened a book, or SEEMED like I was paying attention. Strangely I just absorb information. I talked to an instructor after class one day and told him, you may quiz / test me at any time and if I can't keep up, I'll change my tactics.

But I know what works for me. And there- when allowed to learn MY way. I graduated TOP of my class.

You are probably Dyslexic with a high IQ. Have you ever been tested for Dyslexia??

Roger

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I hated school. I graduated BOTTOM of my class. Yet, I'm the most successful person from my class, can problem solve, and if pitted against any of them today- I'd most likely trump them.

I'm a horrible student. I got a 14/100 on my senior geography final and flunked geometry. Got a "9" on my ACT in reading comprehension, as I apparently have A.D.D. so bad that I'd read a paragraph or two then hit the questions and I couldn't remember anything I read, had to go back and read it again and look for the answers, sometimes twice, not even getting halfway through before time was up. Only reason I got into college with an overall score of 14, which was on my second try (first was 12 I think), was because my math score got up above 20 due to asking questions involving equations that I had to use when building custom speaker boxes so it was easy. Now the minimum for local schools is like 17 so I couldn't have even gotten in.

Once in college, I failed accounting once, getting a D the second time, and failed calculus twice, got a C on the third time. In "communication electronics", I got a 57.6/100, and only passed because the professor historically offered a 2 point final grade bonus if you got your HAM radio license, which I did, and a 59.6 was rounded up to 60 which was a D. I struggled in most of my electrical engineering classes. Some classes were even fudged, I basically got an A- in a 500 level class by writing a one page report, and chemistry from community college was substituted for harder classes, except those chemistry classes were graded on a curve, and the entire class made a pact to guess every answer, so we all got a "C" for doing nothing. Only reason I passed any programming courses is because during a two week Christmas break, I locked myself in my room and taught myself how to code in my own way. Took me 5 1/2 years to get a 4 year degree.

Yet, I make 6 digits living out in BFE which is pretty rare. Very few people from my entire school spanning multiple years is better off. I only know of one who has done so while staying in a rural area but only because he inherited a business. Only reason I don't do significantly better is becauese I refuse to move, my wife's parents live nearby. Unless you are in medical school, success in general has very little to do with how good of a student you are from my point of view. It is all about drive, trying different things until you find a formula that works.

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters
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I tried the 10% experiment with a smart 12yr old, she had no clue how to get the answer. Then I proceeded to add some large numbers and she looked very confused, and said "that's old math". I asked her how she answers questions like this and she said we use calculators.

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I hated school. I graduated BOTTOM of my class. Yet, I'm the most successful person from my class, can problem solve, and if pitted against any of them today- I'd most likely trump them.I went on to being accepted into a Mercedes-Benz engineering school, and the instructors hated me because I never once opened a book, or SEEMED like I was paying attention. Strangely I just absorb information. I talked to an instructor after class one day and told him, you may quiz / test me at any time and if I can't keep up, I'll change my tactics.But I know what works for me. And there- when allowed to learn MY way. I graduated TOP of my class.

You are probably Dyslexic with a high IQ. Have you ever been tested for Dyslexia??Roger

Never been tested. My spelling is pretty good. Wouldn't dyslexia cause jumbled spelling when composing sentences?

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There are other learning differences besides dyslexia, and yes, you'd likely have poor spelling and letter inversion misspellings if it were that, but not necessarily, since there are several forms of dyslexia.

 

There are a lot of what I'd call undiagnosed learning differences, including something called "Irlen syndrome" (scotopic sensitivity syndrome, which I have seen many times myself) that makes it difficult to read, where a transparent filter placed over the printed text of some specific color keeps "the letters from moving around" or disappearing while reading, ADD/ADHD (more likely it's one of these two), and others, like high-functioning autism (HFA) disorders--and there are at least a dozen different disorders associated with HFA.  These all are usually hereditary.

 

My father has said that he overcame dyslexia as a child (he was brilliant, by the way) and my wife has dyslexia.  One of my sisters and son have something known as "non-verbal learning disability" (NLD).  Two sisters and a son have been diagnosed with ADD. All three have received "auditory integration training" (Berard's treatment regimen) and have significantly improved their day-to-day tolerance for sound, including very high frequency pitches like florescent lights and phosphor-tube TVs,  and to understand verbal communications much better.  We all watch movies with the subtitles on at home so that no speech goes by without understanding what is said.  I can't understand what anyone is saying in noisy restaurants and bars (which I avoid), and people that have decided to talk extremely fast--all the time :huh:

 

The list goes on.

 

In short, there are a whole host of what are really learning differences, but are called disorders--especially when they significantly affect normal function in everyday life. 

 

Assuming that you've actually got some named disorder, it sounds like you've learned to compensate well.  However, personally knowing more about your own learning difference(s) is usually very helpful in recognizing situations where those differences occur (both positive and negative) and also to reduce stress since you understand yourself better and what to do in various situations to improve outcomes and social relationships. 

 

YMMV.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris A

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Unless you are in medical school, success in general has very little to do with how good of a student you are from my point of view. It is all about drive, trying different things until you find a formula that works.

 

True, and yet misses a subtle point.  Someone who has always been a good student is someone for whom learning comes easily.  When learning comes easily, life becomes easy.  One doesn't need the drive to do just fine.  In that way it is a relative handicap.  Life is easy.  Ambition is not necessary to be comfortable.  If you have a person who finds learning easy and has large ambition, then you have a recipe for relatively easy success, or worse, a monster who rises to power.  The former (those without ambition) are called under achievers, the latter are called either great or monsters depending on perspective.

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Someone who has always been a good student is someone for whom learning comes easily.  When learning comes easily, life becomes easy.  One doesn't need the drive to do just fine.

I've seen the opposite too many times. Lots of people have great grades but no ambition and therefore struggle. One of my sister in laws went to medical school, she is now a transcriptionist for $10 an hour. The other one got a 32 on the ACT and got a recent break but before that she was a fairly poorly paid special ed teacher. My sister has her masters in speech pathology, her financial life is a wreck. My grandfather went to West Point, he is now on government assistance with very little to his name. My uncle is about the smartest guy I know, he stocked shelves in a grocery store as a 50 something year old until recently and now is a phone operator at a call center, basically still living in poverty. I know valedictorians who amounted to not much of anything. You have to have some level of drive to be truly successful.

Unfortunately there is also the looks factor. A gorgeous girl or an alpha male who is a good student, yeah they have it easy, especially if they have a popular type of personality. The rest of us have to actually be producers.

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters
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I knew you would come back with examples like that.  Why?  Because learning comes easily.  What your examples demonstrate is that some do not truly learn.  As far as the teacher, you can live comfortably on that.  Oddly enough, I made a 32 on my ACT.  I think people who score better on the ACT than the SAT are generally more rounded and better set up to support themselves. 

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