The continuing devaluation of education in the US

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The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by MKSheppard » 2017-11-12 08:24am

Linkypoo 1

This article is fairly long and has a snap of a spreadsheet there, but the summary is:
WASHINGTON – Nearly one of four Prince George’s County high schoolers surveyed in an audit released Friday may have graduated in the past two years without meeting requirements.

An independent audit for the Maryland State Board of Education was unable to verify that 24.5 percent of graduated seniors in the sample that had grades changed in 2016 and 2017 had those grades changed for proper reasons.

An additional 4.9 percent of the randomly selected sample of graduated seniors was in fact ineligible to graduate, since they did not meet classroom requirements or service learning hours, even with grade changes. Some grades were even changed after graduation ceremonies.

And 43.8 percent of the students whose records were examined in the audit graduated during those two years despite having more than 10 “unlawful” – unexcused – absences, which is supposed to result in an automatic E grade for a course. Indeed, 159 students in the survey who graduated in 2017 had more than 50 such absences.
Project Baltimore, no math in Baltimore Schools found
Project Baltimore analyzed 2017 state test scores released this fall. We paged through 16,000 lines of data and uncovered this: Of Baltimore City’s 39 High Schools, 13 had zero students proficient in math.
Digging further, we found another six high schools where one percent tested proficient. Add it up – in half the high schools in Baltimore City, 3804 students took the state test, 14 were proficient in math.
If you do your own thinking:

Link
(Baltimore, MD) – After two years of flat results, Baltimore City Public Schools’ four-year graduation rate has increased slightly, according to data released today by the Maryland State Department of Education. Of the 5,131 students in the Class of 2016, 3,628 (70.7%) graduated in four years.
How can 70% be graduating from BCPS, when 50% of the student body of BCPS can't even meet the state math testing requirements? :wtf:
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Solauren » 2017-11-12 09:12am

Educators not doing their job.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Broomstick » 2017-11-12 09:50am

Educators not being given the resources to do their jobs.

Educators being forced to teach kids to pass specific tests rather than learn how to think.

Failure to enforce truancy laws and attendance requirements.

Parents that don't give a fuck.

Parents that demand Timmy and Tiffany be given the diploma even if they didn't meet the requirements.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Highlord Laan » 2017-11-12 10:20am

Solauren wrote:
2017-11-12 09:12am
Educators not doing their job.
Educators not being allowed to do their jobs.
Never underestimate the ingenuity and cruelty of the Irish.

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Solauren » 2017-11-12 10:33am

Highlord Laan wrote:
2017-11-12 10:20am
Solauren wrote:
2017-11-12 09:12am
Educators not doing their job.
Educators not being allowed to do their jobs.
I acknowledge and embrace the correction
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by MKSheppard » 2017-11-12 10:36am

Broomstick wrote:
2017-11-12 09:50am
Educators not being given the resources to do their jobs.
Per Capita Spending in MD from 2013


Slightly more recent from 2015

Basically, BCPS spends more money per student than Montgomery County MD does on it's students yet gets shittier test scores.
Educators being forced to teach kids to pass specific tests rather than learn how to think.
How are you supposed to evaluate learning if you don't do standardized tests periodically? While I agree that the frequency of them have become absurd, they are needed for identifying problem spots and measuring performance.
Failure to enforce truancy laws and attendance requirements.

Parents that don't give a fuck.

Parents that demand Timmy and Tiffany be given the diploma even if they didn't meet the requirements.
These three are probably the biggest factors. It doesn't matter if you have the Budget of God and Teachers from Heaven if the students don't give a fuck and don't want to learn.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-12 11:05am

Solauren wrote:
2017-11-12 09:12am
Educators not doing their job.
Aha. Ahahahaaha. Aha. Gofuckyourself.

[Note; I am less angry after reading your subsequent post(s)]
Broomstick wrote:
2017-11-12 09:50am
Educators not being given the resources to do their jobs.

Educators being forced to teach kids to pass specific tests rather than learn how to think.

Failure to enforce truancy laws and attendance requirements.

Parents that don't give a fuck.

Parents that demand Timmy and Tiffany be given the diploma even if they didn't meet the requirements.
All of the above, yes. In addition to all these things, we do have an actual problem with the diploma being given out too easily... but it also applies to students whose grades are authorized, whose grade change paperwork is filled out to the satisfaction of the grimmest of auditors, and whose attendance is at most marginally peccable.

The pressure to make sure 100% or as close to it as possible of Americans get a high school diploma is papering over the fact that some fraction of the population has an IQ of 80, a work ethic that just plain doesn't activate in institutional or bureaucratic settings, or both. Combine this with the desire to keep the students in high school because if we don't they become near-feral children and get raised by Johnny the Hypersexual Gangster who's marginally older than themselves, because basically all poor and middle-class children have only working parents...

And you have a situation where AAAAAH WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE EVEN SUPPOSED TO DO becomes the order of the day.

MKSheppard wrote:
2017-11-12 08:24am
Linkypoo 1

This article is fairly long and has a snap of a spreadsheet there, but the summary is:
WASHINGTON – Nearly one of four Prince George’s County high schoolers surveyed in an audit released Friday may have graduated in the past two years without meeting requirements.

An independent audit for the Maryland State Board of Education was unable to verify that 24.5 percent of graduated seniors in the sample that had grades changed in 2016 and 2017 had those grades changed for proper reasons.

An additional 4.9 percent of the randomly selected sample of graduated seniors was in fact ineligible to graduate, since they did not meet classroom requirements or service learning hours, even with grade changes. Some grades were even changed after graduation ceremonies.
Checking the spreadsheet, 20% or 15% (depending on whether you check class of 2016 or 2017) of the graduates have poorly documented grade changes. In and of itself, this is not evidence that they don't deserve their diploma.

For any given student, that can be as simple as one teacher, somewhere, at some time, receiving a pile of makeup work at the last minute Or for a passing student and filling out a form saying "please give this student a B- instead of a C" without attaching half a ream of printouts and supplementary paperwork. Or said teacher having a mathematically rigorous and uniformly applied system of grade curving that they didn't document- that might be included for all I know.

But gosh it sounds great to be able to say "one quarter of all diplomas may be unearned!!!!"
And 43.8 percent of the students whose records were examined in the audit graduated during those two years despite having more than 10 “unlawful” – unexcused – absences, which is supposed to result in an automatic E grade for a course. Indeed, 159 students in the survey who graduated in 2017 had more than 50 such absences.
I'm chalking part of this one up to paperwork issues. The county's existing procedure for getting absences excused, when followed correctly, is still a refugee from the 20th century. As a consequence, bypassing the procedure becomes more appealing. But this breaks the chain of communication between the student, the parent, the teachers, and the attendance secretary/database as to "was this student's absence excused, Y/N." Likewise a lack of good reporting of absences for authorized school activities (e.g. science class on a field trip or band kids getting called up for practices every few weeks).

I also don't know if they marked absences per day or per period- I can a imagine a student who chronically skips one course but still graduates. Given that there are these things called 'electives' and that even the requirement in some of the core courses is to take two or three years of X, not four.

But "almost half the students are truants!!!!" sounds so good as that juicy expose, y'know.

I also also don't know how we should handle a student who misses an entire quarter or so, often for reasons that turn out retroactively not to have been an irresponsible choice on their part. Reasons such as "living with friends ten miles from school to avoid abusive stepparent." Do you say "okay, you can't take your graduation requirement course this year because you've already failed too many days because we're inflexible evil martinet fuckers?" Because that's a great recipe for making your attendance even worse.

Can't comment on Baltimore.
Project Baltimore, no math in Baltimore Schools found
Project Baltimore analyzed 2017 state test scores released this fall. We paged through 16,000 lines of data and uncovered this: Of Baltimore City’s 39 High Schools, 13 had zero students proficient in math.
Digging further, we found another six high schools where one percent tested proficient. Add it up – in half the high schools in Baltimore City, 3804 students took the state test, 14 were proficient in math.
I'm pretty sure that's "proficient" on the national-level PARCC exam. A lot of people with high school diplomas in America, including a lot of grownups who went on to be successful adults, would have gotten "basics" on that test.

It's gotten to the point where "proficient" on the PARCC exams is taken as a priori evidence of 'college readiness,' more or less... which correspondingly means there's no real concept of "knows enough to graduate from high school but not enough to get into college." Which used to be a category that included the bulk of the American population.
How can 70% be graduating from BCPS, when 50% of the student body of BCPS can't even meet the state math testing requirements? :wtf:
The district may have a remedial alternative to the tests; many do or did and have or had them approved at the state level. Something like "complete a summer school course" or "do a big packet of work under supervision of a teacher who gets paid extra to do special tutoring."
MKSheppard wrote:
2017-11-12 10:36am
Broomstick wrote:
2017-11-12 09:50am
Educators not being given the resources to do their jobs.
Per Capita Spending in MD from 2013Slightly more recent from 2015Basically, BCPS spends more money per student than Montgomery County MD does on it's students yet gets shittier test scores.
This is sort of like how the US spends more money per patient than other developed countries on health care, yet gets shittier outcomes.

The American health care system is built around profit for the corporations that provide and insure that health care. Which is great if you want the most profitable health care sector in the world; there are companies making money hand over fist, or at least doing quite well in ways that have a net negative effect on health outcomes.

The American education system is built around graduation rates, test scores, and the threat to crush your school with the foot of a bureaucratic Godzilla if you don't provide good numbers on those metrics. This is great if you want the maximum number of kids to have diplomas. It is bad if you want almost any other conceivable thing.

At the same time, those perverse incentives aren't going away any time soon. I wonder what shocking exposes these same local news providers would make if the school districts in question started flunking out 20% of their student bodies or repeatedly holding them back in the 8th or 9th grade until they either dropped out or shaped up to national average standards. Or whether society in the area would just fall apart under a tidal wave of hooligans. Because that's what it would look like if the schools actually did fiercely enforce "dammit, we want diplomas to be worth something and we want every student to have all their i's dotted and their t's crossed."
Educators being forced to teach kids to pass specific tests rather than learn how to think.
How are you supposed to evaluate learning if you don't do standardized tests periodically? While I agree that the frequency of them have become absurd, they are needed for identifying problem spots and measuring performance.
There's a big gap between "we don't DO standardized tests" and the current situation with respect to standardized tests. A healthy approach exists somewhere within that gap.
Failure to enforce truancy laws and attendance requirements.

Parents that don't give a fuck.

Parents that demand Timmy and Tiffany be given the diploma even if they didn't meet the requirements.
These three are probably the biggest factors. It doesn't matter if you have the Budget of God and Teachers from Heaven if the students don't give a fuck and don't want to learn.
Or the parents don't give a fuck, or the parents only care about the outcome (Timmy need diploma RAARGH), or the parents come from this bizarre anti-paperwork parallel universe where just getting a damn form filled out becomes a painful adventure, and have inculcated their students in same.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Broomstick » 2017-11-12 11:15am

MKSheppard wrote:
2017-11-12 10:36am
How are you supposed to evaluate learning if you don't do standardized tests periodically? While I agree that the frequency of them have become absurd, they are needed for identifying problem spots and measuring performance.
As I do not have children and got my own high school diploma 40 years ago this is second hand, but here in Indiana my friends with children have complained for years that their children are taught ONLY to pass standardized tests and nothing else, that the testing is not so much "periodic" but "constant", and that anything not specifically on the tests is ignored. This is because education has become all about getting as many kids to pass designated tests and nothing else. Identify problems? Kids who have a "problem area" are not educated about it, they are subjected to more and more drills in an attempt to get them to pass via rote memorization of answers, not learning.

Your mileage may vary.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-12 04:18pm

To be fair, modern test prep isn't so much about rote memorization of answers, it's about memorizing specific patterns for arriving at answers.

For example, in math, you might be called upon to solve quadratic equations. No one can memorize every solution to every quadratic equation. But you CAN memorize the quadratic formula that automagically gives you the solution to every quadratic equation you see.

Mediocre modern test prep consists of drilling someone on the quadratic formula until there is zero risk of them forgetting it on the test, which has been made pointless since many modern tests just freaking give it to you on a formula sheet anyway.

Good modern test prep consists of showing someone ways to recognize a quadratic equation that isn't exactly the format of the bog-standard quadratic equation (say, ax^2 equals bx plus c, instead of shoveling all the terms to one side and putting them equal to zero). And showing them umpty different kinds of problems that are ALL quadratic equation problems, any or all of which may appear on the test. Likewise umpty different kinds of Pythagorean Theorem problems, and umpty different kinds of ratio problems, and so on.

Good modern test prep at least partly overlaps with good education. And doing truly well on modern tests (like the PARCC or the newest iteration of the SAT) requires pretty good modern test prep.

======================================

So the tests actually are getting less shitty. But this leads to two problems.

One is, good modern test prep is objectively harder to teach, especially to low-IQ students, students from broken homes who don't get the opportunities to study and practice, students who fall in with the wrong crowd that undermines their study habits and ability to cope behaviorally in school, and so on. If we are really, truly, rigorously preparing our students to actually pass these tests, some fraction of them won't make the cut. Or will take twice as much effort and resources per student to bring up to the same standards. or both. Worse yet, those students will be concentrated in certain areas where we have lower average IQs, poorer households, more broken homes, and so on. This is a bad thing and we are still wrestling with it. Throwing more money at the problem helps SOME, which is a big part of why places like Baltimore spend so much per capita.

The other problem is, students who have been trained up on mediocre modern test prep tend to fail disastrously when suddenly confronted with modern tests. Since the generation of tests and curricula that grew up under No Child Left Behind were still in widespread use up to, oh, five years ago, and since many existing teachers spent much of their careers under that testing regime... that's a problem. Furthermore, it's not like more modern curricula are fully developed yet; we're still learning and experimenting with how to teach critical thinking, pattern recognition, and competent problem-solving techniques to students.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Terralthra » 2017-11-13 01:26am

There's another big problem you omit, which is that modern student tests are designed to assess student subject-matter competence, but are being used to measure educator competence and school effectiveness. That's not what they're designed to do. It's like measuring car safety design by looking at statistics of which cars tend to be involved in fatal accidents. There are obviously tons of confounding factors but for some reason, no one seems to care in education.

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Vendetta » 2017-11-13 05:58am

Goodhart's Law in action, who knew?

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-13 09:58am

The best you can really hope for is that people will try to game the system by doing things that actually have a long-term constructive effect.

Like, the best way to improve student performance on most modern tests in the long run is "Teach Math Real Good." The test were specifically designed in hopes of incentivizing schools to do that.

...

The problem is that "Teach Math Real Good" has prerequisites that are 'hard' or out of the school's ability to control.

If a factory receives a mix of high and low-quality raw materials, it sorts through them, uses the high-grade material, and sends the low-grade material back with a scathing note to the people in charge of quality control and making sure the raw materials are consistently good enough. That's a time-consuming process but on some level it works, and it incentivizes the producers to turn out good-quality product.

Schools don't work that way. Their 'raw materials' are other people's children. If those children show up on the school's doorstep with defects that make it impossible to 'process' the child correctly by teaching them what they need to know... The school won't get to throw the student back at the parent with a scathing note demanding that they do this 'parenting' thing all over again from scratch.

Which means that if your school is like a factory machine turning out educated youths, it's got a constant stream of monkey wrenches being randomly thrown into the works, with no ability to exclude them from the process, and indeed disasters would result if they di dso.

If we had a society that could afford a 60% high school graduation rate, we could have pretty damn good high schools that turned out some pretty impressive graduates- namely by flunking out the bottom 40% of the population. But a generation or two of that and we'd have a hundred million high school dropouts running around and what would they all do?
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Broomstick » 2017-11-13 11:15am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-11-13 09:58am
The best you can really hope for is that people will try to game the system by doing things that actually have a long-term constructive effect.

Like, the best way to improve student performance on most modern tests in the long run is "Teach Math Real Good." The test were specifically designed in hopes of incentivizing schools to do that.
A big problem, however, is that I fear the system as it actually is incentivizes cheating. Of cutting corners, or even actual cheating, to get as many kids as possible to pass on paper because otherwise the jobs of teachers and yes, even some administrators, are on the line.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-11-13 11:20am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-11-13 09:58am
If we had a society that could afford a 60% high school graduation rate, we could have pretty damn good high schools that turned out some pretty impressive graduates- namely by flunking out the bottom 40% of the population. But a generation or two of that and we'd have a hundred million high school dropouts running around and what would they all do?
Vocational studies? There's an innumerable amount of jobs, even important ones, that you don't need a diploma for. And flunking them out doesn't seem to be all that bad an idea because what would it change? The alternative right now seems to be that are we to accept that (just say) 60% are worthy of a high school diploma and the other 40% are essentially given one. It devalues the diploma to continue the current system and only gives us the illusion our schools are able educate 100% (or close) of students. Then you have to wonder how badly the education of that 60% is suffering due to the other 40%.

There's the old joke that "50% of doctors graduated at the bottom of their class." However, in general, I can expect any doctor to have done enough to qualify for the job. I cannot expect a high school student to understand pretty much anything. It's a joke. More so since vocational studies and the like keep getting cut to cram in more test-prep classes and football stadiums.

On the flip side, I'm also not a fan of "forgetting" the low performers. They have just as much right to all the education they can absorb. But the current system seems to be dragging things down way more than they push them up. I graduated in 2000. If you were in AP classes, you were smart, at least in that area. The teachers didn't put up with shit. If your grades were dropping, they'd bust you down to Adv or Academic at the drop of a hat. The curriculum matched up between the classes, but the AP kids were cramming TONS more content in while Adv took a bit more time on certain topics, and Academic was "shut up and watch some movies."

It was so bad, if you signed up for AP English, you had to read 7 books over the summer, pick an overarcing theme, and analyze and break down that theme to the bone. Only reason I was able to stay out of AP English, my AP (Assistant Principal) couldn't force me to read 7 books over the summer, she knew I wouldn't do it, and it wouldn't even matter because it was just a pre-qual to get into the class, not an actual grade.

Now, my wife has kids transferring into her AP classes that just don't need to be there, mid-term. I glance at some of her papers, and it's just painful. Argumentative essays that can't even form the basis of an actual argument. She has kids failing AP classes, some because they can't hack it and some because they just aren't doing any of the assignments. It's a shitshow and I near 100% blame NCLB.

The best of the bunch was one student thought the Korean war was the same thing as the Vietnam War (and both were the same country because there's a "North" and "South" of each) and was like "We beat the Koreans twice, so it's the UNs fault King Jong is still in power." And it's like "This is a joke right, this little bastard is fucking with you?" I fucked with my AP teachers at times, act real fucking stupid so they get that "FeniX, just shut the fuck up" face. But I didn't do that when an F would fail the 6 weeks for me.

Shit's rough man. She should have taught elementary. That's all "Don't hit!" "1+1=2!" and the kids are just.... you know... not fucking terrible.

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by LaCroix » 2017-11-13 11:21am

What would 100 million Highschool dropouts do? They'd join a trade school and learn a trade.

Seriously, that's what happens in most countries. Nobody needs a populationion of 100% high-school graduates and 60% college graduates to run machines or serve food. A car mechanic can earn more than an accountant or even lawyer here, if he's clever.

The US is simply too enamored with the College == only future concept. Which means you churn out college kids with no future concept wexcept of "there should be a job for me once I graduate". Which doesn't happen. What you would need is more plumbers...

Once you get rid of that college trap, most of the problems would solve itself. Less students - cheaper tuition, because colleges needs to fight over student enrolment. Less, better students - better teaching environment. Also - students will choose the college that provides the best environment.

(In Austria, for example, about half the kids quit school at age 14, going into trade school, knowing they aren't cut for higher ed. Of the rest, a lot opt out durign the next 4 years (or are simply failed - they don't get unlimited year repeats).)
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-13 03:10pm

[Does a bit of research]
https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07 ... 07_100.asp
https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d99/d99t187.asp

The US has kind of painted itself into a corner here. Fifty years ago our system worked along these lines: something like 20% of students dropped out of high school as a nationwide average, roughly 80% passed, and about half of them went on to college.

By roughly 2000 it was about two thirds of high school graduates going to college, but the graduation rate itself hadn't actually changed much (!). It may have edged up since then a bit, but we still have a roughly 20% rate of high school freshmen not graduating, apparently. But I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that a lot of the recent gains comes from shoveling diplomas into people's hands.

Meanwhile, a lot of the old-style gifted programs are steadily withering or being diluted, as Fenix discusses when talking about the AP classes. The problem is almost certainly too complicated for me to diagnose perfectly, but I think a LOT of it has to do with the decline of our ability to say "sorry, son, you just don't have the chops to learn XYZ right now." A lot of the parents and administrators seem to be modeling the act of saying that as 'deprive the child of an opportunity' when the reality is more like 'deprive the rest of the class of a distracting bozo who would otherwise stop them from learning as much.'
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-11-13 05:14pm

LaCroix wrote:
2017-11-13 11:21am
What would 100 million Highschool dropouts do? They'd join a trade school and learn a trade.

Seriously, that's what happens in most countries. Nobody needs a populationion of 100% high-school graduates and 60% college graduates to run machines or serve food. A car mechanic can earn more than an accountant or even lawyer here, if he's clever.
Quite true...

BUT

The US doesn't have that many trade schools thanks to the over-emphasis on college. Thanks to the crunch on unions back in the... what, ~70s-80s?, the loss of many industrial trades to other countries, and the corresponding emphasis on going to college that started in the ~90s or so, what we have left are a mishmash between what trade schools are left and 'community colleges' where for $(few thousand) and a few hours of night classes you can get a certificate in something that's available at that school. If you can't afford to drive further to a different school (and remember, this is the US, where 'drive further' can well mean driving over four or five hours... one way), guess you're SOL if you can't find a correspondence course of some sort.

So you are proposing taking 100 million kids, not even finishing high school, and dumping them on the economy. What happens then?

All the available part-time and unskilled labor jobs fill up overnight. Are these kids going to have the money to buy a car and relocate? A bus ticket, even? Relocate where, some other place where all the part-time and unskilled labor has been filled up too?
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-11-13 08:26pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-11-13 03:10pm
Meanwhile, a lot of the old-style gifted programs are steadily withering or being diluted, as Fenix discusses when talking about the AP classes. The problem is almost certainly too complicated for me to diagnose perfectly, but I think a LOT of it has to do with the decline of our ability to say "sorry, son, you just don't have the chops to learn XYZ right now." A lot of the parents and administrators seem to be modeling the act of saying that as 'deprive the child of an opportunity' when the reality is more like 'deprive the rest of the class of a distracting bozo who would otherwise stop them from learning as much.'
Honestly, talking to my wife: Soccer Moms are still a huge fucking issue combined with technology making teachers 1000000 times more accessible. When I was a kid, running into a teacher in public was rather awkward, now her kids (boys and girls) are elated when we run into them and they and know my fucking name and speak to me like I know them which annoys me to no end. I keep my 'tude in check, but I digress.

So, when little Mister/Miss "perfect" blows his nose on a piece of paper and fails miserably, his/her parents start with the e-mails, Facebook messages, and other social media bullshit. To the point I'm like "put down the phone, we're eating." The worst was some busy-body calling us at dinner. She got my wife's cell due to Student Council stuff. And she's asking for extensions, blah blah, and whatever. Assistant Principals are for this shit, not educators, but what would I know?

THESE ARE ADVANCED PLACEMENT STUDENTS. These are essentially college prep classes. Some even count for college credit. My wife is really good at her job. She was teaching near all AP classes her second year of teaching. I don't honestly know what that means these days, but that would have been big shit back in 2000. Why is she wasting time, even during school hours, dealing with this kind of moronic bullshit?

Off-topic
That's when I realized I wouldn't last 5 goddamn minutes as a teacher. Back in my IT days, I had two clients that did not like me, out of hundreds. One was a General Contractor: if you need an explanation on that, you've never done business with one. The other was a lady I wouldn't install software I knew was pirated on her PC. So.... duh. My boss gave her husband my personal (at the time) Cell and he called me hemming and hawing at 9pm on a Saturday. I was about 22 at the time and man we drank a LOT back then. I am not the same person when I clock-in/out, especially not when I've had some whiskey.

I don't recall all of the conversation, but one line still pops out. When he said he was going to "make an issue out of this" (spoken with the right inflection that's Texan for "I'm going to resort to violence." I responded with: "Motherfucker, you come around here running your shit-kicker mouth, I'll fill you so full of lead, I'll have to call my dad afterward to file a RCRA permit in your name." I thought it was clever at the time.

I only bring this up because the guy was a deacon at my boss's church, real "respectable" person in their community. Funny stuff.
/Off-topic

ANYWAYS, parents fucking suck.... more or less than their kids is the variable. I've never heard them go full shitkicker, but some of these women come close. "We're going to make an issue of this in the PTA." And I'm just like, "Give me the phone, I'll talk to this woman."

My wife has never given me the phone.

And I think this plays into a lot. The APs know they can dump their job off on teachers, have them take all the heat, then blame them when the shit hits the fan. You know, like with what Politicians do all the time. When I was in high-school, a teacher did NOT handle student bullshit. She kicked you out of class and you talked to an AP, then the principal if shit got real bad. Now the parents can use social media to their advantage to push teachers around because they aren't locked into 1on1 phone-calls or waiting for the next PTA meeting. Like everyone else, they can now use Facebook to be total shitheels.

Now teachers are expected to be hand-holding baby-sitters for the students AND parents and we wonder why students come out of primary education barely knowing how to wipe their ass and the parents don't have a fucking clue about what is going on. Which is weird because they bitch so goddamn much you'd think they'd be experts at what's actually going down.

You can stop reading here:
If I'm animated here, sorry. I dealt with High School once, then worked IT in multiple schools for about 7 years, and now my wife is a high school teacher. I just hate everything about American education at this point. Except Elementary schools. Those kids were great.

"Mr. FeniX, would you mind talking to the students for a bit."
"Sure, I have some time."
Little Girl: "What's that?"
"A Category 5e Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable Certifier. I guess it's more, because it will certify Shielded-twisted pair as well."
"W-w-w-what's it do?
"Tests the cable for Far-end-crosstalk, Near-end-Crosstalk, Decibel loss, and ensures the cable is under 100 meters."

And it's like the best feeling having a bunch of 5-year-olds looking at you like you're a wizard.

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-14 02:15am

I... honestly don't have the same set of problems your wife does, I have different sets of problems, maybe lesser ones. Different student demographics, different level of social media and electronic presence, and so on.

But a lot of the underlying causes of those problems are probably the same.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by LaCroix » 2017-11-14 05:01am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2017-11-13 05:14pm
LaCroix wrote:
2017-11-13 11:21am
What would 100 million Highschool dropouts do? They'd join a trade school and learn a trade.

Seriously, that's what happens in most countries. Nobody needs a populationion of 100% high-school graduates and 60% college graduates to run machines or serve food. A car mechanic can earn more than an accountant or even lawyer here, if he's clever.
Quite true...

BUT

The US doesn't have that many trade schools thanks to the over-emphasis on college. Thanks to the crunch on unions back in the... what, ~70s-80s?, the loss of many industrial trades to other countries, and the corresponding emphasis on going to college that started in the ~90s or so, what we have left are a mishmash between what trade schools are left and 'community colleges' where for $(few thousand) and a few hours of night classes you can get a certificate in something that's available at that school. If you can't afford to drive further to a different school (and remember, this is the US, where 'drive further' can well mean driving over four or five hours... one way), guess you're SOL if you can't find a correspondence course of some sort.

So you are proposing taking 100 million kids, not even finishing high school, and dumping them on the economy. What happens then?

All the available part-time and unskilled labor jobs fill up overnight. Are these kids going to have the money to buy a car and relocate? A bus ticket, even? Relocate where, some other place where all the part-time and unskilled labor has been filled up too?
Yes, sounds harsh, but this is exactly what happens to them right now, anyway. What happens to these 100 million kids in the current system? They "somehow" finish their college, and apart from the ones with good grades and luck, most have to seek part-time and unskilled labor jobs in their area, which fill up quickly, so they have to relocate. The only difference is that they have a lot more college debt on their shoulders to start off with.
Right now, the reality is not too far off of that "horror scenario" you propose will happen in my alternative.

Of course, the change I proposed cannot happen overnight, and there will be a transistion period for it to take hold. And yes, a generation or two will be thrown under the bus, so to speak, by being stuck in the shitty old system while the alternative system slowly develops, but out of their reach. Doesn't mean they are much worse off. Strictly speaking, dropping out of college earlier to get the burger flipper/shelf stocker/cashier job they will also be stuck in after somehow struggling to get a crappy degree is a superior position, just by fiat of not being that much in debt.

Right now, there isn't an alternative left that won't hurt. The alternative has a potential to make things better, though, by reviving some trades/industries.
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Broomstick » 2017-11-14 06:41am

LaCroix wrote:
2017-11-14 05:01am
Strictly speaking, dropping out of college earlier to get the burger flipper/shelf stocker/cashier job they will also be stuck in after somehow struggling to get a crappy degree is a superior position, just by fiat of not being that much in debt.
This.

There is a significant difference between my co-workers with student debt and those without (with me being in the latter category). I can support myself on a full time cashier's wages - it's a frugal existence, but a viable one - in large part because I am not saddled with debt. My co-workers with modern student debt are crushed by it, many still living at home, those that aren't are really stressed, some working two jobs. It's an ugly existence.

There is also, in my opinion, an over-emphasis on going to college IMMEDIATELY - in the US (can't speak for elsewhere) you can always go back to school. I mean, one of my sisters entered medical school at the age of 46. I know a guy who became certified as a welder at the age of 59 for a new career. Some people really would benefit from some time after high school working instead of going to college. The big fear is that if a kid doesn't go immediately from high school to college they will never go to college... but maybe in some cases it's the kid discovering college is not the route to where they're going. Some time to mature further, develop a work ethic, and get real world experience can make a young adult more focused so if/when they do go to college or trade school they're a lot more efficient and, well, mature in their study habits.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2017-11-14 10:06am

MKSheppard wrote:
2017-11-12 10:36am
Basically, BCPS spends more money per student than Montgomery County MD does on it's students yet gets shittier test scores.
How is that money actually being spent and allocated?
MKSheppard wrote:
2017-11-12 10:36am
How are you supposed to evaluate learning if you don't do standardized tests periodically? While I agree that the frequency of them have become absurd, they are needed for identifying problem spots and measuring performance.
There's also the issue that many standardized tests DON'T actually properly evaluate learning. And that many school systems focus on teaching children "test-taking skills" (look at all the prep books out there for SATs and the like that spend a lot of time talking about strategy and tactics for taking the tests), rather than teaching them the critical thinking skills necessary to do well on the test AND ALSO other things.
These three are probably the biggest factors. It doesn't matter if you have the Budget of God and Teachers from Heaven if the students don't give a fuck and don't want to learn.
Do you not see something problematic in saying that there is something inherent to the student body of the BCPS that makes them intrinsically unwilling or unable to learn? It would be one thing if you were actually talking about the broader education system in the US as a whole, but there is something awfully suspicious about the way you post a bunch of statistics about one specific public school system (one that is majority poor and black) and say that it is the fault of the students, not the system. (I mean, fuck, there's an entire season of The Wire dedicated to showing exactly HOW that school system is inadequate and doesn't help the students)

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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-11-14 10:23am

Don't have the time to go further, but Broom, LaCroix, yes, you two are both right. My beef with LaCroix's original post was mainly that 'drop out of high school and just go to trade school instead' isn't an option for a lot of people here in the US because there's no institutional system to allow that kind of thing. It's more like 'drop out of high school, never get a job beyond burger flipper/grocery-store bagger' which... while not a BAD situation per se, and can be very manageable for a single person, is not ideal if one has any ambitions beyond that level of employment, and especially not if one wants to have a family. This can be particularly difficult for women. Day care is prohibitively expensive even for two people working, how much worse do you think it is for a single mother (or let's be fair, single father)?

Certainly one can save up and go to school later in life... which isn't a bad idea for a lot of people... but starting a career later in life has its drawbacks. That guy getting a welding certificate at 59 is due to retire in a decade or less, if he chooses to anyway. While certainly being able to take up a trade is a good thing if you need the work, what you may have had to go through to get there may have sucked pretty hard, in large part because you weren't able to get anything better before.

I also have to feel that a lot of kids who drop out of school don't HAVE to. That in part it's largely due to the educational system failing them. I'm not saying 'push them all the way into college'... but at the very least, having a high school degree is *something*. I've heard ideas about adjusting the high school system to include more vocational education, which would seem to be one way around the dilemma of less trade schools. It would certainly be something if a kid could both graduate high school AND have a certificate in some trade to get a start off with.
Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2017-11-14 10:06am
MKSheppard wrote:
2017-11-12 10:36am
These three are probably the biggest factors. It doesn't matter if you have the Budget of God and Teachers from Heaven if the students don't give a fuck and don't want to learn.
Do you not see something problematic in saying that there is something inherent to the student body of the BCPS that makes them intrinsically unwilling or unable to learn? It would be one thing if you were actually talking about the broader education system in the US as a whole, but there is something awfully suspicious about the way you post a bunch of statistics about one specific public school system (one that is majority poor and black) and say that it is the fault of the students, not the system. (I mean, fuck, there's an entire season of The Wire dedicated to showing exactly HOW that school system is inadequate and doesn't help the students)
For some reason Shep has a massive hang-up about Baltimore. If it's not how many people are getting killed in Baltimore, it's the schools, apparently. DC is a close second, but seriously, pretty much any time a gun control thread pops up, he starts thread-shitting with pages and pages of Baltimore stats. I suppose he found another soap-box...
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by ray245 » 2017-11-14 12:02pm

Broomstick wrote:
2017-11-14 06:41am
LaCroix wrote:
2017-11-14 05:01am
Strictly speaking, dropping out of college earlier to get the burger flipper/shelf stocker/cashier job they will also be stuck in after somehow struggling to get a crappy degree is a superior position, just by fiat of not being that much in debt.
This.

There is a significant difference between my co-workers with student debt and those without (with me being in the latter category). I can support myself on a full time cashier's wages - it's a frugal existence, but a viable one - in large part because I am not saddled with debt. My co-workers with modern student debt are crushed by it, many still living at home, those that aren't are really stressed, some working two jobs. It's an ugly existence.

There is also, in my opinion, an over-emphasis on going to college IMMEDIATELY - in the US (can't speak for elsewhere) you can always go back to school. I mean, one of my sisters entered medical school at the age of 46. I know a guy who became certified as a welder at the age of 59 for a new career. Some people really would benefit from some time after high school working instead of going to college. The big fear is that if a kid doesn't go immediately from high school to college they will never go to college... but maybe in some cases it's the kid discovering college is not the route to where they're going. Some time to mature further, develop a work ethic, and get real world experience can make a young adult more focused so if/when they do go to college or trade school they're a lot more efficient and, well, mature in their study habits.
There is a stigma against people who are older in colleges.
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Re: The continuing devaluation of education in the US

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-11-14 12:17pm

ray245 wrote:
2017-11-14 12:02pm
Broomstick wrote:
2017-11-14 06:41am
LaCroix wrote:
2017-11-14 05:01am
Strictly speaking, dropping out of college earlier to get the burger flipper/shelf stocker/cashier job they will also be stuck in after somehow struggling to get a crappy degree is a superior position, just by fiat of not being that much in debt.
This.[snip]
There is also, in my opinion, an over-emphasis on going to college IMMEDIATELY - in the US (can't speak for elsewhere) you can always go back to school. I mean, one of my sisters entered medical school at the age of 46. I know a guy who became certified as a welder at the age of 59 for a new career. Some people really would benefit from some time after high school working instead of going to college. The big fear is that if a kid doesn't go immediately from high school to college they will never go to college... but maybe in some cases it's the kid discovering college is not the route to where they're going. Some time to mature further, develop a work ethic, and get real world experience can make a young adult more focused so if/when they do go to college or trade school they're a lot more efficient and, well, mature in their study habits.
There is a stigma against people who are older in colleges.
While I can't speak authoritatively... no, not really. Colleges in the US don't really care that much as long as you have enough academic credentials to get in and have some way of putting forth money. The credentials, if you didn't graduate high school, can generally be acquired by testing, said tests aren't that uncommon; and the money... there's any number of organizations only too happy to lend you money at exorbitant rates, you can use a credit card, you can save up for most of your adult life and pay for it that way, whatever.

But age? While my experience is now over 10 years behind me now, even then they didn't care at my school. I had several classes with some students in their 30s and 40s. Part of the deal there is that most of these older students have their own living and meal arrangements; they aren't involved socially with the younger generation at college. They go there pretty much solely for academic reasons, and when they leave school, they have jobs to go to (or come from, night classes aren't that uncommon). They aren't (usually) going to attempt to awkwardly blend into campus social life with all the young'uns. I can see there being issues with older people trying to *socialize* at college, but if they're only there for their education, then it's generally not particularly an issue.
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