Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Teacher bonuses not linked to better student performance, study finds (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Teacher bonuses not linked to better student performance, study finds
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So much for that easy solution [Wink]

washingtonpost.com

quote:
Offering teachers incentives of up to $15,000 to improve student test scores produced no discernible difference in academic performance, according to a study released Tuesday, a result likely to reshape the debate about merit pay programs sprouting in D.C. schools and many others nationwide.

The study, which the authors and other experts described as the first scientifically rigorous review of merit pay in the United States, measured the effect of financial incentives on teachers in Nashville public schools and found that better pay alone was not enough to inspire gains.

quote:
Researchers designed the bonuses to be large enough to function as a legitimate incentive for teachers whose average salary, according to a union official, is between $40,000 and $50,000. There were no additional variables in the experiment: no professional development, mentoring or other elements meant to affect test scores. The bonuses, totaling nearly $1.3 million, were funded by businessman Orrin Ingram, according to news reports. A university spokeswoman said Tuesday evening that she could not confirm those reports, and Ingram could not be reached for comment.

On the whole, researchers found no significant difference between the test results from classes led by teachers eligible for bonuses and those led by teachers who were ineligible. Bonuses appeared to have some positive effect in the fifth grade, researchers said, but they discounted that finding in part because the difference faded out when students moved to the sixth grade.

Obama administration officials and a wide range of experts were quick to note that the study did not examine the effect of performance pay in combination with other measures intended to improve teaching.

Interesting that the complaint isn't that the methodology regarding merit pay is faulty, but that the study of merit pay didn't also try other things in addition to merit pay. If those other things are what make comprehensive teacher reform work, why include merit pay?
Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gaoics79
Member
Member # 969

 - posted      Profile for Gaoics79   Email Gaoics79   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To me the issue isn't motivation, it's the quality of the candidates to begin with. Teacher's colleges seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality candidates, largely because teachers are underpaid, underappreciated, and not respected compared to other professions. So offering the existing class of teachers extra pay seems pointless.

Also, I have my doubts that any teacher, no matter how dedicated or talented, can compensate for poor parenting. If the parents suck, the kids are going to suck. Garbage in, garbage out.

Posts: 7629 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with jasonr, and have one more thing to add. The good teachers aren't in it for the money. If they were they would have left for more lucrative positions a long time ago. What keeps them there, at least in my experience, is a real love for what they do.

You know what I think would be a great incentive for great teachers? Give them a little more freedom in how they teach. I have several teacher friends and the number one complaint among them is the amount of red tape and bureaucracy they have to go through. they feel like their hands are tied, they can't teach the way they want, because of policies. Many of them leave for private schools where decisions are made more locally so they have more freedom. So give proven teachers these perks. Much like how A students in high school don't have to take finals, because they've already demonstrated mastery of the materials, have "A" teachers requirements relaxed. Maybe don't require them to turn in a written lesson plan for each day like some schools do. Make it easier for them to do what they've already demonstrated they can do - teach effectively.

edited b/c my stupid touchpad posted midsentence.

[ September 22, 2010, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: Carlotta ]

Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think it is interesting that most every survey I have seen of teachers shows pay to be third or lower on the list of things that they want, with autonomy coming in first, and respect and parental involvement generally being two of the next three.

I agree that the quality of candidates is a problem. I'm not sure how throwing more money at teachers will fix that in a cost-effective way. We know that it doesn't work with the current teachers, but we can't pay the new hires more than the people already hired. This means that we either pay all teachers more, knowing that all of the money being paid to people currently in the system is just being thrown away, and hoping that ten or twenty years down the road we will have increased the quality of those going into education by enough to make a difference.

Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
jasonr,

quote:
Also, I have my doubts that any teacher, no matter how dedicated or talented, can compensate for poor parenting. If the parents suck, the kids are going to suck. Garbage in, garbage out.
Well some truly amazing teachers have demonstrated that this is unlikely the case. Although the amount of dedication, time and talent aren't something we can count on - ie the are '1 in a million' teachers.

I think teachers can be incentivized to have better results, however, they have to have proper tools to do so.

1) They need to know what they are doing wrong and right
2) They need to know how to change what they are doing wrong

Possibly more effective would be adding 'clickers' (basically a wireless remote that has four or five buttons that each student can click an A/B/C/D/E answer to multiple choice questions shown on the board - then if half the class fails the example question you can know immediately that there is an issue) to every classroom, so that teachers could have prepared examples and make sure every student is understanding things as they go, and getting students who are way behind in their understanding remedial education/tutoring so they aren't falling further behind. Also students who are consistently having issues understanding can be targeted for extra help, etc.

[ September 22, 2010, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes, I'm beating the dead horse. I don't give a ****...the answer is really quite simple. We need to check the underlying premise here and understand that the "problems" with education today are by design.

The problem isn't "the teachers."
The problem isn't "the parents."

The problem is that the Public Education system in this country was designed to deliberately dumb down the masses to promote a consumerist culture and obedient serfs just smart enough to push the buttons and file the paperwork like perfect little human resources for the Corporation/Government/Media complex that really run this country.

(Click the link and watch the Vid. When you understand that Carlin is speaking the literal truth here, you will find that the laughter of the audience is rather jarring. There is nothing funny about what Carlin is talking about.)

An agenda driven, indoctrination-based curriculum and a bureaucratic system to stifle teachers from effectively teaching the most important life lesson to students - independant, critical thinking - is precisely the reason why we have an immense bureaucracy and red tape "Public Education System." It was designed and implemented precisely to hinder any real chance that a Teacher could have in imparting a truly meaningful education to their students.

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

The Underground History of American Education

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok, but Daruma, that's not true across the board. The curriculum for kindergarten and first grade in public, private schools, and I would even go so far as to say many home schools, is mostly the same. Teaching reading and writing isn't dumbing down the masses, it's a prereq for real learning. Yet there are problems with teacher quality, attracting and retaining teachers, parental involvement, etc, even at these early years. So it's not all because of the indoctrination.
Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Teaching reading and writing isn't dumbing down the masses, it's a prereq for real learning.

For sure. Which is precisely why the public educational curriculum did away with the former methods of teaching via Phonics and adopted the "whole language" bull****.

The best teachers in the world will have a hard time getting a classroom of kids to become competent readers and writers if they are forced to use a "whole language" curriculum.

Some more reading:

The Reading Wars

Why Johnny Can't Read

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 2763

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Which is precisely why the public educational curriculum did away with the former methods of teaching via Phonics and adopted the "whole language" bull****.
None of my kids have done the "whole language" thing in public school during the last 12 years and my impression is that it was a short-lived fad of the early 2000s.

BTW those books are pretty old. One dates back to when I was in junior high and I've now got a daughter that's a high school senior.

[ September 22, 2010, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

Posts: 3481 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Daruma I agree that whole language doesn't work for the majority of kids. (It did for me, but whatever, probably b/c my mom taught me phonics at home.)

But whole language isn't inherent in the school system. You're arguing that not only do pay incentive not work, but no incentives will work b/c the system is faulty from the beginning. Brining up whole language is a nonsequitur. Besides, if the schools took my approach of giving more freedom to the best teachers, they wouldn't be forced to use whole language even if that was the approach favored by public schools.

Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Which is precisely why the public educational curriculum did away with the former methods of teaching via Phonics and adopted the "whole language" bull****.
None of my kids have done the "whole language" thing in public school during the last 12 years and my impression is that it was a short-lived fad of the early 2000s.

BTW those books are pretty old. One dates back to when I was in junior high and I've now got a daughter that's a high school senior.

Dumbing Down and the Underground History are not "old" ...but that doesn't even matter, because what both those books detail is the foundation of a system that has taken over a century to be put into place.

Furthermore, your anecdote merely is just that - admittedly, I'm sure that not all school districts adopt the "whole-language" curriculum. But plenty still do.

Lucky for you if your kids weren't subjected to it.

BTW - one of the tactics is to simply 'disguise' whole language curriculum under new names like "balanced literacy" programs.

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You're arguing that not only do pay incentive not work, but no incentives will work b/c the system is faulty from the beginning.

Precisely!

Brining up whole language is a nonsequitur.

No, it's smoke indicating that there is a fire.

One thing Gotto relates in his book was his specific recollection when the entire Public School system "changed over" from phonics based reading curriculum to the whole language one.

It speaks precisely to the problems of having a centralized, compulsory schooling system for which the curriculum and bureaucracy are controlled by elitist social engineers.

Look, I'm well aware that the most vehement detractors of my arugment here are public school teachers.

Public School teachers who have a passion for teaching, would still be teachers, whether or not their existed a public schooling, State run bureaucracy.

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 2763

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
One thing Gotto relates in his book was his specific recollection when the entire Public School system "changed over" from phonics based reading curriculum to the whole language one.
The book predates the period when whole language appears to have gone out of favor, partially as a result of government studies indicating its ineffectiveness. Do you have any data suggesting that it is still prevalent, or even that the hybrid "balanced" program is prevalent?

quote:
It speaks precisely to the problems of having a centralized, compulsory schooling system for which the curriculum and bureaucracy are controlled by elitist social engineers.
Much of the curriculum bellyaching that is currently going on is specifically because it is *not* centralized.
A neighboring school district switched to some "exploring math" thing which isn't present in my children's' school district. Texas curriculum guidelines recently changed to remove Thomas Jefferson from their list of revolutionary influences. Multiple districts and states have inserted "teach the controversy" and "just a theory" language into their evolutionary science curriculum.

Posts: 3481 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The overall agenda is most certainly directed from the top down.

Communities that actually resist it still maintain some form of resistance to the homogenized curriculum directives...but it still exists.

The latest is what they now call "OBE" or outcome based education.

That is the standard curriculum being imposed by the central authority.

Whether a particular district embraces evolution vs. creation or whatever, the OBE curriculum will still be the overarching structure of the current dumbing down program.

And it's not just in the US.

Here's a public school teacher from Australia, exposing the OBE curriculum's true purpose:

Outcome Based Education & the Death of Knowledge

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Daruma, my apologies. I thought about it and your argument isn't a nonseq. I misunderstood.

Your argument still rests on whether or not the reading methods taught in public school differ significantly from those taught in private school though.

I agree with you that the public school system needs to be significantly localized, but not that it needs to be abolished altogether. I'd be a huge fan of school vouchers.

What do you see as the purpose of education, Daruma? I see it as twofold, one, to give students the skills to be able to function and support themselves as adults, and two, to learn how to think critically (which is another way of saying "to prepare them to teach themselves"). Unfortunately I see a lot more emphasis on #1 and a lot less on #2 than I would like, but this is not limited to public schools.

[ September 22, 2010, 07:49 PM: Message edited by: Carlotta ]

Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Real education IS your #2.

And it is precisely that goal for which our Public Education system was designed to inhibit.

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Daruma,

you have a tendency to go 'whole hog' either everything a source says is 100% credible, or everything they say is 100% a lie.

The problem is that most sources get some of it right, and some of it wrong, and sometimes some of it 'batsh*t insane'.

The current research suggest that a combination of phonics and whole language is best, that learners who are primarily auditory learners learn better phonically, and that learners who are visual tend to learn better via whole word.

Regarding the goals of education - lots of people differ on what the purpose of an education is and should be. The whole 'critical thinker' aspect has throughout history been reserved for the priveledged. Education has mostly been viewed as job skills/apprenticeship training and to keep the youngins out from under foot.

As scary as it might be to contemplate - our math, science, and reading literacy/skills and knowledge are close to their peak in history.

http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

We simply get more exposure to the more poorly informed amongst us due to entertainment and media focusing a lot more on common folk then they have historically, and the ability of the internet to spread the opinions of the least informed as easily as it spread the opinions of the most informed.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Regarding the goals of education - lots of people differ on what the purpose of an education is and should be.

Right...but only a few actual people have any real say as to the direction and focus of the curriculum on a national level.

Like Outcome Based Edcuation.

And frankly, LR, if anything I've referenced in this thread can be considered "bat****insane," you can credit John Taylor Gatto simply losing it after 30 years of being a cog in the public education machine.

I don't see how someone could discredit Gatto's insights after he spent so much time in the belly of the beast, and seen the results of the system up close and personal.

Furthermore, I read his book, and much of the observations he makes coincides almost perfectly with my own experiences in spending over half my life in public education institutions.

The whole 'critical thinker' aspect has throughout history been reserved for the priveledged.

Throughout history? It's still like that! That's precisely what I'm railing on about!

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OH, and LR, using percentage of "literacy" is really trying to justify the entire public educational behemoth as some sort of "success" story.

The quality of the literacy is what I question.

It's not that 'whole language' or any other modern day system is designed to make everyone illiterate. They only need to be literate enough to become human resources and functional drones.

In the late 1800's, for the majority of the people who could read, the average reading level was far and away superior. Look at the best sellers of the late 1800s. Moby Dick. The Scarlet Letter. The Last of the Mohicans.

The best sellers of their day were works of literature that wielded an impressive command of the English language.

Nowadays? It's Twilight and Harry Potter.

[Roll Eyes]

In short, our dumbed down public schooling system has produced a mass of lumpenproles. Literate enough to effectively subject them to indoctrination to control their behavior.

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey, I liked Twilight! (to my great embarrassment).

But seriously, you have to admit there is a place for education #1 as well. If there's not, then how can someone pay for education #2?

I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio the other day, who I generally like and agree with, but he was arguing that there is no benefit to going to an expensive college because it won't give you significantly increased earning potential. Now I went to a private university, got a liberal arts education with a major in fine art, and am doing nothing with my degree. Yet I still think the education was immensely valuable because it gave me the tools I needed to continue learning for the rest of my life. It doesn't matter if I never made a penny on it, it was still worth it.

But it still cost money to get it, as it should, the professors need to earn a living and books cost money. Luckily my parents (mainly my father) had a good job and saved up and was able to pay for most of my college. Because I was literate and could do things like measure and add, I worked at a fabric store and then a restaurant through college and made it out with a very minimal amount of loans.

You can argue that the public school system leaves out a whole lot that's important about education, or that it only gives training and not education, but you can't argue that training is irrelevant.

Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rallan
Member
Member # 1936

 - posted      Profile for Rallan   Email Rallan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And yet the flawed education system somehow managed to make you brilliant enough to spot all the mistakes and inefficiencies and conspiracies that the rest of us lumpenprole sheeple can't see.
Posts: 2570 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Daruma,

I just read/skimmed most of 'The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America' and found it to be of the BSI variety.

To meet your/his thesis you have to show that

1) Things have been dumbed down

and/or

2) That we are dumber/less informed than historically

neither of those appear to be the case based on current best evidence.

On average the public is better informed and better at critical thinking than 40, 50, 60, 100, 200 years ago. The ciriculum of schools today are generally much better at creating informed citizens than of times past.

The deficiencys of schools and education seem to be wholy explainable by a combination of

1) Lack of parent involvement
2) Lack of student interest
3) Lack of desire by the public to achieve results significantly better than what exists
4) Enough apathy that vested interests can basically keep the status quo

Those parents who care and those students who care can get a 'good enough' education.

quote:
OH, and LR, using percentage of "literacy" is really trying to justify the entire public educational behemoth as some sort of "success" story.
I wasn't trying to justify anything - just pointing out that we are the best off in terms of actual education of the populace as we ever have been in history. You seemed to be implying there was some golden age when the populace was well informed and contemplative that we have gone down hill from.

quote:
The quality of the literacy is what I question.
Quality is substantially better as well. We have close to the highest functional literacy that we've ever had (I'm talking the past 20ish years not 2010 specifically - I suspect we actually peaked around 1995 or so)

quote:
I don't see how someone could discredit Gatto's insights after he spent so much time in the belly of the beast, and seen the results of the system up close and personal.
Personal annecdote isn't actually very strong evidence for something.

Most of the problems that Gatto identifies are related to cost and apathy.

I see that he is using the NALS extremely misleadingly.

He states that
quote:
About 3.5 percent of the 26,000-member sample demonstrated literacy skills adequate to do traditional college study, a level 30 percent of all U.S. high school students reached in 1940, and which 30 percent of secondary students in other developed countries can reach today.
Which is BS. First off he is comparing only level 5 (3% of adult population) to 30% of US high school students in 1940 (30%*35% = 10.5%). For apples to apples comparison would be level 5 and level 4 (20% of the US adult population) and then take that number over the the percentage of high school graduates (90%) in the adult population.

In 1940, only 35% or so of the adult population ever graduated high school.

As of 2010 about 90% of adults have graduated high school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Educational_attainment.jpg

We end up with 20% of the adult population being 'college level quality' versus 10% of the adult population in 1940.

The inverse of what he was implying.


The next misleading part is that almost all of the lower levels of illiteracy appears to be primarily from those who have english as a second language and from what I can tell almost all of them are individuals who did not come through the US educational system.

So it is unclear whether Gatto is bad at math, bad at reasoning, or trying to mislead.

I'm not arguing that our education system could not, nor should not achieve better. I just wish that people would judge it on its merits as apposed to using false and misleading comparisons and implications.

[ September 23, 2010, 01:46 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rallan:
And yet the flawed education system somehow managed to make you brilliant enough to spot all the mistakes and inefficiencies and conspiracies that the rest of us lumpenprole sheeple can't see.

[LOL]

The education system "didn't make me." Rather, I survived it, and learned to actually read and think for myself.

It doesn't take brilliance.

Just the audacity to question what "society" tells me, and figure out if I'm being told something for MY benefit...or someone else's benefit, usually at my own expense. Much of the things I rail on about, are lessons I've learned the hard way.

But far be it from me to suggest that you actually try and engage your own brain and think for yourself. Turn on your TV and pickup your newspaper, and they'll tell you exactly what to think.

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Reading more Gatto,

quote:
WWII was over in 1945. Six years later another war began in Korea. Several million men were tested for military service but this time 600,000 were rejected. Literacy in the draft pool had dropped to 81 percent, even though all that was needed to classify a soldier as literate was fourth- grade reading proficiency. In the few short years from the beginning of WWII to Korea, a terrifying problem of adult illiteracy had appeared.
He somehow overlooked the minor issue that they lowered the draft age to 18.5 for the Korean war (It was 21), and they excluded veterans from WWII, and that 600,000 US soldiers were either dead or wounded from WWII.

There was a pool of 36 million 21 to 35 year olds,

Of those 2.72 million were inelligible.

36-16 = 20

2.72/20 = 13.6% illiteracy just from eliminating the eligibility due to prior service. If we then add in the higher rate of illiteracy of younger men versus older men (people tend to improve their literacy with age). That seems likely to account for all the difference.

The literacy rate among adults didn't change, the pool of adults eligible for the draft drastically changed.

Again, it appears that Gatto has a numeracy problem, not that the US had a literacy problem.

He does the same bad math with vietnam.

quote:
A third American war began in the mid-1960s. By its end in 1973 the number of men found noninductible by reason of inability to read safety instructions, interpret road signs, decipher orders, and so on—in other words, the number found illiterate—had reached 27 percent of the total pool.
The eligibility for the draft was expanded to include populations with much lower average literacy, and changed to exclude those who were currently attending college. He is also talking about the end of vietnam, which again excludes from draft those who had already served.

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/3b.htm

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Daruma,

I just read/skimmed most of 'The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America' and found it to be of the BSI variety.

What is "the BSI Variety?"

Skimmed? [Roll Eyes]

The book is not really "light" reading.

quote:
To meet your/his thesis you have to show that

1) Things have been dumbed down

and/or

2) That we are dumber/less informed than historically

neither of those appear to be the case based on current best evidence.

And your evidence for this is....

...see, The Deliberate Dumbing down is not "trying to prove a theory." It's a whistle-blowers account of finding the documentation and evidence of the people who wanted to seize control of the education system so as to control the people. Perhaps you missed it when you "skimmed" but the author (a SHE not a HE, you might want to work on your "skimming" comprehension skills...) actually worked at the Department of Education in the 80's. She basically found the evidence, copied it and left. Than wrote this book.

quote:
On average the public is better informed and better at critical thinking than 40, 50, 60, 100, 200 years ago.

The ciriculum of schools today are generally much better at creating informed citizens than of times past.

No, LR. The curriculum of the schools today is much better at indoctrinating citizens to THINK they are better informed...but are actually easily lead to believe the propaganda that permeates our entire mass media culture.

quote:
The deficiencys of schools and education seem to be wholy explainable by a combination of

1) Lack of parent involvement
2) Lack of student interest
3) Lack of desire by the public to achieve results significantly better than what exists
4) Enough apathy that vested interests can basically keep the status quo

Wholly explainable? Or are they the symptoms of a basic human aversion to systemic brainwashing and behavioral conditioning? BTW, LR, those "vested interests can basicially keep the status quo," is preciesly my point!

quote:
Those parents who care and those students who care can get a 'good enough' education.
Yeah. Those parents who actually sit down with their kids and teach them to read and do traditional arithmetic may actually give their kids just enough basic skills that they survive their public schooling indoctrination and actually learn how to teach themselves and become individual thinkers.

quote:
OH, and LR, using percentage of "literacy" is really trying to justify the entire public educational behemoth as some sort of "success" story.
quote:
I wasn't trying to justify anything - just pointing out that we are the best off in terms of actual education of the populace as we ever have been in history. You seemed to be implying there was some golden age when the populace was well informed and contemplative that we have gone down hill from.
*sigh*

"The Golden Age" strawman rears it's head yet again. Next thing you know, you'll have me pining for slavery.

But LR, I must say, we are certainly well informed like never before in our history. We now have mass media culture saturating our every waking moment nowadays. Magazines, billboards, radio, tv.....

We're informed, dis-informed and bombarded with endless information and misinformation. And since most people are conditioned to accept this state of affais as "well informed" we now have a mass of people that are not even aware of how they have been indoctrinated, and just passively accept the narratives dictated by the media.

Everything nowadays is in some way, shape or form, an exhortation to BUY.

As Historian Arnold Toynbee noted (which Gatto quoted in The Underground History):

In Toynbee’s analysis "the dates speak for themselves":

The edifice of universal education was, roughly speaking, completed... in 1870; and the Yellow Press was invented twenty years later—as soon, that is, as the first generation of children from the national schools had acquired sufficient purchasing power—by a stroke of irresponsible genius which had divined that the educational labour of love could be made to yield a royal profit.



quote:
The quality of the literacy is what I question.
quote:
Quality is substantially better as well. We have close to the highest functional literacy that we've ever had (I'm talking the past 20ish years not 2010 specifically - I suspect we actually peaked around 1995 or so)
quote:
I don't see how someone could discredit Gatto's insights after he spent so much time in the belly of the beast, and seen the results of the system up close and personal.
quote:
Personal annecdote isn't actually very strong evidence for something.

Most of the problems that Gatto identifies are related to cost and apathy.

NO, Gatto questions the entire system itself. He questions the validity of the structure. He correctly points out that the system treats our children like Pavlov treated his dogs. But I guess you would miss that since you only "skimmed" than came out with a bunch of statements like "we've never been more well informed."

quote:
I see that he is using the NALS extremely misleadingly.

He states that
quote:
About 3.5 percent of the 26,000-member sample demonstrated literacy skills adequate to do traditional college study, a level 30 percent of all U.S. high school students reached in 1940, and which 30 percent of secondary students in other developed countries can reach today.
Which is BS. First off he is comparing only level 5 (3% of adult population) to 30% of US high school students in 1940 (30%*35% = 10.5%). For apples to apples comparison would be level 5 and level 4 (20% of the US adult population) and then take that number over the the percentage of high school graduates (90%) in the adult population.

In 1940, only 35% or so of the adult population ever graduated high school.

As of 2010 about 90% of adults have graduated high school.


We end up with 20% of the adult population being 'college level quality' versus 10% of the adult population in 1940.

The inverse of what he was implying.

Where did you get that part from? BTW - whether he's wrong or right regarding statistics, you're missing the forest for the trees if that's all you can come up with to criticize his book.

quote:
The next misleading part is that almost all of the lower levels of illiteracy appears to be primarily from those who have english as a second language and from what I can tell almost all of them are individuals who did not come through the US educational system.

So it is unclear whether Gatto is bad at math, bad at reasoning, or trying to mislead.

The point, again, is not illiteracy. The point is functional literacy...functional for the purposes of propagandizing. How effective would propaganda be if the intended target couldn't even read it?

quote:
I'm not arguing that our education system could not, nor should not achieve better. I just wish that people would judge it on its merits as apposed to using false and misleading comparisons and implications.
Your using the benchmark of "literacy" and "well-informed" to judge the achievements of our education system.

The entire point here is that the real purpose of our educational system is to condition and indoctrinate.

He speaks of the dynamics of the institution and the behaviors and reactions they instill in the students.

Since you're only skimming...here's a concise article that sums up the real curriculum of our public school system - The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher

This is not about "literacy" or "doing better." It's pointing out the behavioral conditioning agenda of the modern institution.

THAT is the anecdotal experiences Gatto refers to from his 30 years of being a public school teacher. He lived it.

And reading his anecdotal observations from a Public School teacher in New York, I quickly was able to see the commonality of the things he pointed out in the system for which I experienced myself in my own public schooling indoctrination here in Hawaii. I read his 7 lessons, and realize that those lessons were most certainly the overriding curriculum I endured from K-12.

You can't quantify or stat-crunch this as you typically want to do, LR.

You have to read and ruminate and weigh what he's relating and see if it jibes with your own experiences -- that is, if you went to public school too.

You either get that or you don't.

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Apparently you're reading Gatto's book and crunching numbers to try and discredit the entire premise of his book.

quote:
2.72/20 = 13.6% illiteracy just from eliminating the eligibility due to prior service. If we then add in the higher rate of illiteracy of younger men versus older men (people tend to improve their literacy with age). That seems likely to account for all the difference.
Hah. So now you're trying to say Gatto is bad with his numeracy...yet you're basically using an unfounded assumption as proof that he's wrong?!?!?

**** it LR. Let's just concede you may be right here - Gatto screwed up the numbers of literacy.

Now try and see the forest for the trees.

Understand the real point he's getting at here.

The Underground History documents WHO and WHY

The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher describes WHAT it is our system actually does in the name of education.

Or...


...you can just discount it as 'anecdotal.'

Nothing to see here...move along.

[DOH]

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Daruma,

quote:
What is "the BSI Variety?"
My new acronym for 'batsh*t insane' [Smile]

quote:
Skimmed? [Roll Eyes]

The book is not really "light" reading.

I checked some of her references, read fairly large chunks of her writing word for word, speed read a great deal.

She tends to misinterpret and misrepresent her source material, take things out of context, and has a conspirancy nut spin on everything.

I got about half way through before deciding not to go any further. I'm not interested in claims of 'it is all a communist socialist plot'. Our education system has numerous influences including some odious sources including fascist, socialist, supremecists. We also have influences from capitalists, industrialists, religion, philosophers, kings. I don't see a particularly strong influence by the negative influences. Most of the failings seem to have to do with how much time and money we are willing to invest on a per student basis, and a reluctance to embrace best practices and change.

quote:
The Deliberate Dumbing down is not "trying to prove a theory." It's a whistle-blowers account of finding the documentation and evidence of the people who wanted to seize control of the education system so as to control the people.
Well I didn't get to any sort of 'whistle blowing' by the time I was half way through the book. I gave her far greater time than the book deserved in my opinion.

quote:
No, LR. The curriculum of the schools today is much better at indoctrinating citizens to THINK they are better informed...but are actually easily lead to believe the propaganda that permeates our entire mass media culture.
People are far better informed it is a relative measure. Better informed doesn't mean 'well informed' which is an absolute measure.

Ie Alice thinks the earth is flat and the Sun revolves around the earth.

Bob thinks the earth is round and the sun revolves around the earth. Bob is better informed than Alice although Bob is still not well informed.

Similarly the average person is better informed than average people at any point in history, but sadly still only a small percentage of people are well informed.

quote:
Wholly explainable? Or are they the symptoms of a basic human aversion to systemic brainwashing and behavioral conditioning?
WTF?

quote:
BTW, LR, those "vested interests can basicially keep the status quo," is preciesly my point!
Not really. You are positing an evil conspiracy by the MIC and politicians to keep us consumerist sheeple. I'm positing lazy/apathetic people not wanting to go through the efforts and any possible risk of change.

quote:
Yeah. Those parents who actually sit down with their kids and teach them to read and do traditional arithmetic may actually give their kids just enough basic skills that they survive their public schooling indoctrination and actually learn how to teach themselves and become individual thinkers.
I was pointing out that school is good enough to most parents that things don't get changed. If parents thought things were awful there would actually be change. I probably would have had a fairly good education without any interest from my folks and without my fairly carnivorous apetitite for information. I also could likely have gotten far better instruction with somewhat different circumstances.

quote:
But LR, I must say, we are certainly well informed like never before in our history. We now have mass media culture saturating our every waking moment nowadays. Magazines, billboards, radio, tv.....

We're informed, dis-informed and bombarded with endless information and misinformation. And since most people are conditioned to accept this state of affais as "well informed" we now have a mass of people that are not even aware of how they have been indoctrinated, and just passively accept the narratives dictated by the media.

Everything nowadays is in some way, shape or form, an exhortation to BUY.

Comsumerism and unfettered capitalism are certainly issues. As I pointed out above, the population of the US is actually better informed than probably at any point in history. Again that doesn't mean we are well informed. It is a relative measure.

As to the teaching of critical thinking - again more people have that skill than have thorughout history. Now it isn't used - but I don't think that has much at all to do with the schools themselves. The socialization the results in people not questioning authority is a meme is taught in the home, in the church, in military, sports, jobs, and every other social sphere. It has nothing to do with the nature and purpose of school it just happens to be another social sphere that is consistent with that meme, not an originator of it.

quote:
Apparently you're reading Gatto's book and crunching numbers to try and discredit the entire premise of his book.
No I crunched numbers since such a drastic change in actual literacy rates seemed extremely fishy, so I figured some basic fact checking was in order.

quote:
Hah. So now you're trying to say Gatto is bad with his numeracy...yet you're basically using an unfounded assumption as proof that he's wrong?!?!?
It isn't an unfounded assumption. People get jobs in the real world and the actual need for literacy gives a modest improvement in the actual literacy. The individuals needed to improved from between a 2nd and 3rd grade reading level to a 4th grade reading level to become draft eligible - since the difference in reading ability between the grade levels is extremely small most folks . The reading ability difference between those grade levels is vanishingly small. Unfortunately I don't know how big the effect is over 15 years, so I can't say definitively that that accounts for all the gap, but what gap remained after correcting for eligibility was quite small relative to his claim.

quote:
you can just discount it as 'anecdotal.'
It is anecdotal in that it is his observations and opinion. I'm not 'dismissing it' just pointing out that it isn't the complete story.

quote:
I read his 7 lessons, and realize that those lessons were most certainly the overriding curriculum I endured from K-12.
Here we have the lessons from Gatto,

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/15d.htm

quote:
The first lesson schools teach is forgetfulness; forcing children to forget how they taught themselves important things like walking and talking.
Don't really see this. His example of 'children teaching themselves' of walking is a bit silly. It isn't consciously learned nor do we have conscious control over most of it. Same with language acquisition. We are hardwired to do certain things and they occur and develop automatically without conscious effort or intent.

quote:
The second lesson schools teach is bewilderment and confusion.
Nope. Also he starts spouting off names of psychologists, but seems to make numerous misatributions as to what psychological basis is used in education. He talks as if he has some authoritative insight when he sounds full of poo.

quote:
The third lesson schools teach is that children are assigned by experts to a social class and must stay in the class to which they have been assigned
This seems rather idiotic. Oh the 6th graders are so much more superior, and the 4th graders so inferior.

quote:
The fourth lesson schools teach is indifference.
Again this seems dumb. At home, at work, we also have tasks interrupted by arbitrary demands.

quote:
The fifth lesson schools teach is emotional dependency.
We seek and bask in approval from the the high status individuals, and seek to avoid displeasing them. It has nothing to do with school and everything to with being a social animal. Using smily faces and 100%, or the teacher smiling when you raise your hand and answer.

quote:
The sixth lesson schools teach is intellectual dependency.
This again appears to be nothing to relate to school and deals with again with our social nature. We take our cues to behaviour from what pleases and displeases the high status individual. The teacher serves the same role as parent, relations, bosses, doctors, etc. We are expected as social creatures to submit to higher status individuals.

quote:
The seventh lesson schools teach is provisional self-esteem.
Yet again this appears nothing to do with school and everything to do with man as social animal.

quote:
The last lesson school teaches I’ll call the glass house effect: It teaches how hopeless it is to resist because you are always watched.
And this is the same lesson we learn from our parents, and from our small town/tribe. Don't engage in behaviour that the parent or town disapproves of because they will find out and you will get a spanking or shunned, etc.

Most of what he describes are just tribal life in the small. It seems like he wants fundamental aspects about how society has developed to be magically disregarded in schools.

Society has always harshly punished non conformity and disobedience to authority, has always encouraged submission to the will of the group or of the leader. There isn't a time in human history where this wasn't true.

I guess perhaps there could be found an exception when royalty, and aristocracy who had slaves and commoners as teachers.

LetterRip

[ September 23, 2010, 05:13 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just a bit of historical info -- Daruma's view of 19th century literacy is a little too generous.

Moby Dick only sold 2,500 copies when it first came out, and wasn't a classic until the 1920's long after Melville died.

The Scarlet Letter only sold 10,000 copies on the first run.

THIS ARTICLE compares these sales figures to some forgotten tear-jearker by Maria Cummings which, at 60,000 copies sold in one year, was enough of a screaming success to inspire Hawthorne's envy.

Now everyone in high school reads The Scarlet Letter - certainly everyone I've ever asked has read it in high school, along with Melville and Homer and lots of other challenging books.

How is this dumbing us down exactly?

[ September 23, 2010, 06:24 AM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am generally in agreement with Gatto, although he has gotten more shrill as time has gone on. I think that LR brings up some important factual points where Gatto is more concerned about getting people to pay attention (the forest) than what the numbers actually say (the trees). I don't think that is an effective long-term strategy, kind of like telling people they are stupid sheep and then expecting them to listen to what you have to say [Smile]

I think that the earlier versions of this essay were much better. He is dumbing down his writing and getting a little more extreme in his portrayal of the problem, and I don't think that either change is for the better. (a link if you want to read an older version)

quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Here we have the lessons from Gatto,

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/15d.htm

quote:
The first lesson schools teach is forgetfulness; forcing children to forget how they taught themselves important things like walking and talking.
Don't really see this. His example of 'children teaching themselves' of walking is a bit silly. It isn't consciously learned nor do we have conscious control over most of it. Same with language acquisition. We are hardwired to do certain things and they occur and develop automatically without conscious effort or intent.
I don't think that his little blurb really does this idea justice. Institutional education has a one size fits all mentality (they have to or they could never get anything done with the resources they have). Teachers teach that their way of doing math is the right way. Teachers teach that their way of reading for comprehension is the right way. Teachers teach that their way of writing is the right way. Students can comply, fight the teacher, or accept that sometimes you do it the way your boss wants you to do it. Unfortunately they don't always have parents who will teach them that third option, and the students will never win via the second option, so what is learned is to forget the way you figured out how to do the thing and just do it the way the teacher wants it done.

quote:
The second lesson schools teach is bewilderment and confusion.
Nope. Also he starts spouting off names of psychologists, but seems to make numerous misatributions as to what psychological basis is used in education. He talks as if he has some authoritative insight when he sounds full of poo.[/quote]

Again, this doesn't really do the idea justice. The main idea behind this is that we split subjects up, both apart from other subjects, and within the subject. The sequencing between subjects and across subjects does not lead to quality learning, we teach an inch deep and a mile wide.

quote:
The third lesson schools teach is that children are assigned by experts to a social class and must stay in the class to which they have been assigned
This seems rather idiotic. Oh the 6th graders are so much more superior, and the 4th graders so inferior.[/quote]
Not grade level class, ability level class. The vocational kids are the vocational kids, the honors kids are the honors kids and it is difficult to move from one group to the other.

quote:
The fourth lesson schools teach is indifference.
Again this seems dumb. At home, at work, we also have tasks interrupted by arbitrary demands.[/quote]

Not nearly to the level they are at school.

quote:
The fifth lesson schools teach is emotional dependency.
We seek and bask in approval from the the high status individuals, and seek to avoid displeasing them. It has nothing to do with school and everything to with being a social animal. Using smily faces and 100%, or the teacher smiling when you raise your hand and answer.[/quote]

We do seek and bask in approval from high status individuals, however, in schools we have no choice about which high status individuals we seek approval from, and even if we have no need to seek approval, we still can't do anything without it. Really, where else do you have to make your boss happy in order to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water?

quote:
The sixth lesson schools teach is intellectual dependency.
This again appears to be nothing to relate to school and deals with again with our social nature. We take our cues to behaviour from what pleases and displeases the high status individual. The teacher serves the same role as parent, relations, bosses, doctors, etc. We are expected as social creatures to submit to higher status individuals.[/quote]

But you have the choice as to who you are going to be intellectually dependent on. If you dad is a world expert on fire ants, you still have to give the answers about fire ants that your teacher wants you to give. Hopefully your teacher will be willing to reconsider what they believe to be the correct answers if your dad speaks with the teacher, but the teacher's answer is the right answer. If a high school student has progressed in their knowledge of algebra to the point where they know if they did the work correctly or not, they still have to give it to the teacher for assessment. The school doesn't care if the student knows what they are doing, it only cares what the teacher's assessment of the student is. Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society is a great book on this subject. (looking at our dependency on people with credentials to tell us what the answers are, rather than searching out the answers ourselves. The internet has been a huge boosting to changing this way of thinking)

quote:
The seventh lesson schools teach is provisional self-esteem.
Yet again this appears nothing to do with school and everything to do with man as social animal.[/quote]

All of these have to do with man as a free social animal being forced to work in a situation greatly lacking in freedoms. I just now realized that this is where the disconnect is. Yes, we are social animals. The whole point is that institutional education doesn't care about this fact and even twists this nature or ours to serve its own purposes. Most colleges of education require educational psychology, with an emphasis on behavior modification. When normal people interact socially behavior is modified, but not with as much purpose as there is in schools where teachers and administrators are intentionally and purposefully trying to modify the behavior of children who are not theirs.

quote:
The last lesson school teaches I’ll call the glass house effect: It teaches how hopeless it is to resist because you are always watched.
And this is the same lesson we learn from our parents, and from our small town/tribe. Don't engage in behaviour that the parent or town disapproves of because they will find out and you will get a spanking or shunned, etc.

Most of what he describes are just tribal life in the small. It seems like he wants fundamental aspects about how society has developed to be magically disregarded in schools.[/quote]

No, he wants for those fundamental aspects of society to not be twisted and perverted in institutional settings.

quote:
Society has always harshly punished non conformity and disobedience to authority, has always encouraged submission to the will of the group or of the leader. There isn't a time in human history where this wasn't true.
Correct, but institutional schools have taken it to extremes.

I don't believe that these abuses have come about because of some secret conspiracy. I believe that they have come about because they are efficient ways of getting groups of people to do what you want. They are efficient ways of keeping children in line. They are efficient ways of achieving goals that you don't have the resources to do any other way.

If there was a one to one student to teacher ratio, you wouldn't see these things happening the way they do in schools. Unfortunately there isn't enough money in the school system, and there isn't enough caring in the homes to make this happen for every child and so we have the system we are willing to pay for and willing to work for.

Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
philnotfil,

quote:
Students can comply, fight the teacher, or accept that sometimes you do it the way your boss wants you to do it.
Replace the word teacher with - parent, seargent, boss, coach. Anyone who has authority over you is exactly the same situation. The only recourse is to appeal to an authority that trumps or counterbalances the individual (appeal to the other parent, appeal to the principle, appeal up the chain of command).

quote:
The main idea behind this is that we split subjects up, both apart from other subjects, and within the subject. The sequencing between subjects and across subjects does not lead to quality learning, we teach an inch deep and a mile wide.
Baking cookies, watching tv, playing on the swing are also disconnected activities. Most activities in a job, and most activities in a home are disconnected. There are very few activities in life that have a logical connection to each other that you can or will spend an extended time doing. Also most things that are connected that you spend an extended time doing are the soul crushingly dull things.

quote:
Not grade level class, ability level class. The vocational kids are the vocational kids, the honors kids are the honors kids and it is difficult to move from one group to the other.
Not really - anyone could take any of the classes. I took metal shop and drafting. Kids tend to not take honors classes because the challenge of non honors class is more what they can handle. People really do have different interests and capabilities and almost none of the choices of classes were based on instructors and administrators but on life and familial choices outside of school.

quote:
We do seek and bask in approval from high status individuals, however, in schools we have no choice about which high status individuals we seek approval from.
Hmm so you got to choose who your parents, babysitters, coaches, doctor, and superiors at work are?

You can lobby your parents to change teachers/coaches/babysitters/doctor - that is the extent of choice for those without power is to convince someone with power to act on their behalf. You can lobby your organization to switch supervisors, or quit. That is the limit of choice you have.

You do things that please your parents, or no play time; you please your coach or you are benched; you please your sitter or you don't stay up late; you please your supervisor or no bonus.

quote:
But you have the choice as to who you are going to be intellectually dependent on.
No I don't. Anyone with power over you is 'right' when they have the power or you risk displeasing them. The same is true for mom & dad, coach, drill seargant, teacher, or boss. You either 'go along to get along' or you assert yourself and risk the consequences - whether it be being grounded; getting laps; doing pushups; getting an F; or getting fired.

quote:

All of these have to do with man as a free social animal being forced to work in a situation greatly lacking in freedoms.

Children are not 'free social animals' - they have no power, so they effectively have no freedoms; only those granted either by their parents using their power on their behalf or by the government acting 'in loco parentis'. Children have never been 'free social animals', it is a bizarre fantasy to think of them so. Most adults aren't 'free social animals' either - social obligations and survival necessities result in a lot of our freedom being traded.

quote:
I just now realized that this is where the disconnect is. Yes, we are social animals. The whole point is that institutional education doesn't care about this fact and even twists this nature or ours to serve its own purposes.
They mirror the same power structures in the family, job, sport, military, etc.

quote:
No, he wants for those fundamental aspects of society to not be twisted and perverted in institutional settings.
First, as I've noted, you can slightly reduce some of these aspects, but they are mostly inherent in how we design societies.

Also as you point out below the way schools are structured are efficiency based. We can trade reduced efficiency for greater student autonomy - you suggest below a 1:1 ratio - a 20 to 30 fold reduction in efficiency. (Another alternative, one that I favor, is leveraging technology for increased student autonomy). Of course parents can tutor, homeschool, etc. this is again the same reduced efficiency, just not publicly funded.

quote:

If there was a one to one student to teacher ratio, you wouldn't see these things happening the way they do in schools. Unfortunately there isn't enough money in the school system, and there isn't enough caring in the homes to make this happen for every child and so we have the system we are willing to pay for and willing to work for.

Agreed. If we are willing to invest 15-30 times the amount we do now in education we can reduce these practices somewhat (They'd still be 90% there due to the natural power structure and the way things naturally occur).

We can also redesign curiculum to have things 'more unified'.

I have a plan/idea for a multiyear education plan centered around cooking and engineering projects for learning science, math, art, and working on reading, comprehension, writing and creative skills.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree, those are all things that are naturally occurring. My point is that they are all magnified by the institutional nature of schooling in a way that is not found in any other setting. No other setting combines the huge underling to superior ratio, with the legal requirements of attendance, with the low skill level of the superiors, with the meddling by so many people who don't know anything about the process other than their experience having gone through the school system.

The problems in our schools aren't the result of a conspiracy, they are the result of good people trying to do their best in a lousy situation.

Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
philnotfil,

quote:
The problems in our schools aren't the result of a conspiracy, they are the result of good people trying to do their best in a lousy situation.
Is it really a 'lousy' situation? As far as I can tell we aren't doing worse than at any point in history, and are probably doing a lot better. I went through public schools, as did a lot of my friends, and they don't seem to be sheeple any more so than folks I know who were homeschooled etc.

I don't think it makes near the difference that you and Daruma think it does. I think that most kids would turn out about the same.

Switching to unschooling or whatever isn't going to suddenly turn out smart, critical, free thinkers.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't think it makes near the difference that you and Daruma think it does. I think that most kids would turn out about the same.

Switching to unschooling or whatever isn't going to suddenly turn out smart, critical, free thinkers.

I agree with this completely. Public school, private school, montessori, "alternative arts," home school, etc. - I've met people educated under every conceivable regime or lack-of-regime and I can't say that there is a terribly significant difference in their reasoning abilities (though home-school kids sometimes seem to know less). You would expect to see much bigger differences if the role of public schools was to create "sheeple," and they actually succeeded in doing so. The difference would be obvious - like comparing students from North Korea and Switzerland.

Oddly enough, Daruma's view of human nature is very similar to that of a radical communist - i.e., that human behavior is easily malleable.

As per usual, this fantasy that every human is a repressed autodidact comes from the biographies of founding fathers and inventors like Edison - people who were obviously cognitive elites who would thrive in any system. Such people do exist today, of course, Bill Gates (college dropout) and Jaron Lanier (high school dropout - likely smarter than Bill Gates) being two out of many examples.

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
philnotfil,

quote:
The problems in our schools aren't the result of a conspiracy, they are the result of good people trying to do their best in a lousy situation.
Is it really a 'lousy' situation? As far as I can tell we aren't doing worse than at any point in history, and are probably doing a lot better. I went through public schools, as did a lot of my friends, and they don't seem to be sheeple any more so than folks I know who were homeschooled etc.

I don't think it makes near the difference that you and Daruma think it does. I think that most kids would turn out about the same.

Switching to unschooling or whatever isn't going to suddenly turn out smart, critical, free thinkers.

I disagree mightily with Daruma's interpretations of the facts (re: conspiracies and the dumbing down of American education). I don't think that public schools are failing, I think they are great, with what they have to work with. I think they are doing better than they ever have. (The Manufactured Crisis by David Berliner is a fantastic book on how the establishment has inaccurately, but believably, portrayed American schools as failing) I think that they don't have enough money (and much of what they have gets wasted administratively), or enough good teachers, and I don't think that the American people will ever provide enough of either of those. I also don't think that American's will ever provide enough support from the home. We are too stuck on money, the numbers of two income homes keep rising.

The biggest thing about homeschooling that caught my attention and made me take it seriously is that the strongest indicators of student achievement in institutional schools are so weak as to be meaningless among homeschoolers. Parental income doesn't matter among homeschoolers, parental education doesn't matter among homeschoolers, parental race is still significant, but not nearly as important as it is in institutional schools.

Two big factors in student achievement are depth of relationship between the teacher and the student, and how much the parents care about the education of their children. I don't know how to measure the first, and SES is a proxy for the second. In homeschooling those two are going to be present (as opposed to "homeschooling" because you are too lazy to get your kids to school). Toss in the one on one (or one on three or four) class sizes and you have a recipe for success. You also don't have the legal burdens of knowing where every student is at every moment of the day, you also don't have so many students that you can't keep track of them without a strict schedule, you also don't have so many students and so few adults that you have to play mental games to keep them behaving.

The only problem is that you need to have at least one parent with the kids at all times.

No, homeschooling isn't guaranteed to be successful, but many of the obstacles to student success have been removed, so your chances are better. It still takes effort by the parent and the student, but there is less friction.

[ September 24, 2010, 07:55 AM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
G2
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
Oddly enough, Daruma's view of human nature is very similar to that of a radical communist - i.e., that human behavior is easily malleable.

It's not easy, it's just possible ... and it's being done.

I don't buy the conspiracy theory that public education "was designed to deliberately dumb down the masses to promote a consumerist culture and obedient serfs" but the results are exactly that . It took decades to get to this point so it was far from easy. When you start from an education system that consistently and successfully avoids any type of accountability, always playing to the lowest common denominator and finish out with a media that willingly distributes propaganda and a pop culture that glorifies the vapid and ignorant, you get a dumbed down people that really are incapable of doing little more than pushing the buttons and filing the paperwork.

Since the 1950's, we have created a mass Dunning–Kruger effect where people are no longer required to develop any meaningful skills necessary to think or even consider the idea they should question their surroundings and are routinely insulated from any responsibility for their decisions.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There is good evidence to suggest that this is the most narcissitic, amoral, egocentric group of young people that have ever been raised in the US.

However none of the failings of this generation of students seems likely to be tied to the schools. It mostly seems to be cultural issues - consumerism has gone to new levels of insanity; our entertainment and media pander a great deal more to the lowest common denominator. Also it seems like a shift in our media consumption habits. The tabloids and shock media that used to be in checkout lines - are now the reality tv and shock media - probably due to declining costs in production and distribution.

So the odds of exposure to the crap is greater, even though the production of crap might be about the same.

G2,

the problem I have with your assertions, is that there doesn't seem to be anything to suggest that that view is true. Kids seem to be turning out somewhat better than they ever have as regards to the grasping of the basics, as well as the performance of the elites. The masses are the 'least dumb' they have ever been.

However, we as a society are much more aware of the ignorant. Reality TV series and game shows that promote and celibrate the ignorant take things from having this part of society little seen and heard, to front and center.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
G2
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:


G2,

the problem I have with your assertions, is that there doesn't seem to be anything to suggest that that view is true. Kids seem to be turning out somewhat better than they ever have as regards to the grasping of the basics, as well as the performance of the elites. The masses are the 'least dumb' they have ever been.

Ever heard of the Flynn Effect? We discussed it here. This generation is the first to score lower than the previous. The evidence is everywhere if you just care to look.

quote:
It gets worse. My friend cites the fact that, of the 6,000 high school students he estimates he's taught over the span of his career, only a small fraction now make it to his grade with a functioning understanding of written English. They do not know how to form a sentence. They cannot write an intelligible paragraph. Recently, after giving an assignment that required drawing lines, he realized that not a single student actually knew how to use a ruler.

It is, in short, nothing less than a tidal wave of dumb, with once-passionate, increasingly exasperated teachers like my friend nearly powerless to stop it. The worst part: It's not the kids' fault. They're merely the victims of a horribly failed educational system.

Notice that I am not saying these kids are dumber, they are however very poorly educated and the quality of education remains in free fall - or hopefully we have finally hit rock bottom but there seems to be no end in sight for now.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
G2,

I'm familiar with the flynn effect. Since we aren't discussing IQ, it has nothing to do with my assertion.

As to your quote - look throughout history. That is what people say about the current generation compared to 'my generation' A quote from about 2700 years ago.

quote:
"The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress."
Socrates - (Born in 469 BC)

When you look at actual survey data and other research information - there is strong evidence suggesting greater narcissim, selfishness, egocentricism of this generation.

However - when we look at reading, mathematics, and science - they are doing as good or better than ever before.

Ie here is test data from 1971 till present.

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2008/2009479.asp#section1

Reading ability has essentially remain unchanged since 1971, with signficant improvement in math.

The kids of today aren't 'any dumber' than the kids of 40 years ago. The kids of 40 years ago were better educated and informed than any generation prior.

As can be seen - more kids are taking more challenging math and science classes than ever before, and doing as well or better than every generation prior.

I realize people want to believe that todays generation is dumber than the last one - the depressing fact is that throughout US history and world history - every generation has been fairly poorly informed.

It is laudable to want better education for our students, but trying to create a false narrative about our schools providing worse education than historically, or being responsible for a decline in student ability appears to be fantasy.

[ September 24, 2010, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
G2
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
G2,

I'm familiar with the flynn effect. It has nothing to do with my assertion.

[LOL] It has everything to do it with, it directly addresses it.

quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
As to your quote - look throughout history. That is what people say about the current generation compared to 'my generation' A quote from about 2700 years ago.

quote:
"The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress."
Socrates - 469 BC

When you look at actual survey data and other research information - there is strong evidence suggesting greater narcissim, selfishness, egocentricism of this generation.

However - when we look at reading, mathematics, and science - they are doing as good or better than ever before.

Read up on the Flynn effect and the testing methods.

quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Ie here is test data from 1971 till present.

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2008/2009479.asp#section1

Reading ability has essentially remain unchanged since 1971, with signficant improvement in math.

The kids of today aren't 'any dumber' than the kids of 40 years ago. The kids of 40 years ago were better educated and informed than any generation prior.

As can be seen - more kids are taking more challenging math and science classes than ever before, and doing as well or better than every generation prior.

I realize people want to believe that todays generation is dumber than the last one - the depressing fact is that throughout US history and world history - every generation has been fairly poorly informed.

It is laudable to want better education for our students, but trying to create a false narrative about our schools providing worse education than historically, or being responsible for a decline in student ability appears to be fantasy.

So you want to rely on the government education system to tell you how wonderfully the government education system is doing. That's ... not the best way to gauge success, you know? Perhaps if we could compare a 1973 test to a 2010, are they equivalent? We know they've been changed, how do we know they're comparable? Oh, the education system assures us they are! Well, case closed. Nothing to see here. All is well. These are not the droids you seek. Move along.

[ September 24, 2010, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
G2,

please read up on the Flynn Effect, you would realize that it is only related to IQ tests, standard ability and knowledge tests - reading, mathematics, science knowledge would remain unaffected.

quote:
So you want to rely on the government education system to tell you how wonderfully the government education system is doing. Perhaps if we could compare a 1973 test to a 2010, are they equivalent? We know they've been changed, how do we know they're comparable? Oh, the education system assures us they are! Well, case closed. Nothing to see here. All is well. These are not the droids you seek. Move along.
If you would have bothered to follow the link, it explains the methodology, etc. Testing remained exactly the same through 2004, then they did a slight modification the resulted in a slight score reduction from 2004 onward.

What particular actions do you think the education system is using to manipulate national performance on this test? Is every school in the US cheating on it? How are your theoretical conspirators running their scam? If they are running this big a conspiracy how are they being so successful in keeping it a secret? Also if they are going to cheat, why not cheat to make themselves look really good, instead of generally about the same?

[ September 24, 2010, 03:52 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1