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Is America's education system losing to Asia?

Discussion in 'News' started by CACashRefund, May 2, 2005.

  1. CACashRefund

    CACashRefund 12oz Loyalist

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    Is America's education system losing to Asia?

    Discussion started by CACashRefund - May 2, 2005

    After reading this speech ( http://www.alternet.org/story/21399/ ) from Bill Gates, I wonder if it is true that the American educational system is losing out to Asia.

    Ive had co workers and friends who have gone through the education system in Asia and I suspect he may have a point. Students here in the States seem alot more relaxed than in asia. The kids culture here is also different from Asia. In Asia, kids actually respect the "nerds" who do well in their studies and many of the "nerds" strive hard to excel in both studies and sports too. Yeah the Asian school girls really go for the "nerds" too, they are like celebrities with their own groupies. The students are so competitive in Asia that it is not uncommon for library books to have their pages torn off by students, just so other students cant learn from them.

    In the US, hollywood portrays that the classic "nerds" are bullied in schools here, so much so that most kids dont want to be a "nerd" by doing well in schools. Could this be why most kids here dont wish to learn about computers and engineering? Because it doesnt portray an image of coolness?

    For those of you who have been through high school here, what do you all think? Do you agree with Bill Gates on this?
     
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  2. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 2, 2005

    "In math and science, our fourth graders rank among the top students in the world, but our 12th graders are near the bottom. China has six times as many college graduates in engineering."

    As for China with 6 times as many engineers, that's its hard luck. Who wants to live in a world of engineers? And, a Chinese scholar on the BBC yesterday pointed out that China has 4 times as many people, but only ll% of the GDP as the US, meaning each Chinese produces between 3 and 4 percent what an American does. This is our competitor???

    Gates and the others always talk about the equity aspect of this and that is a serious problem. But they absolutely refuse to deal with the distribution of goods aspect: why are the captains of industry generating so many jobs that won't support a family? Five of the top 8 richest people in the country are Waltons. But what do they pay their people at Walmart (when they're not locking them in overnight)?

    If everyone qualifies for a family-supporting job, that will just drive the wages down for those jobs. Supply and demand is operative so far as I know. Bureau of Labor Statistics stats show that most jobs (not most family supporting jobs) don't require anything much: Retail sales accounts for more jobs than the 10 fastest growing jobs combined. Janitors, fast food workers and low level construction workers and other service industry jobs are the other huge categories. Why not pay these people a living, not a minimum wage (which, by the way, hasn't gone up in 8 years)? And if everyone can qualify for a family supporting job A) who will do these jobs and B) won't employers use capricious criteria in hiring?

    I don't think Gates is seeing Potemkin schools, but I also don't think he's thinking critically about them. There's too much garbage in his speech--he's bought the BRT propaganda line hook, line and sinker.

    He says we need to reform schools to keep our competitiveness. I say "Prove it." "A Nation At Risk" said precisely the same thing: "In order to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate outselves to the reform of our educational system."

    Back in the late 40's, we didn't have to worry about competition because most of the world was The Third World and the rest was the devastated world. World War II, you recall. So the problem with the schools was they weren't generating enough scientists, engineers and mathematicians to compete, not for markets, but to compete with the Russians in the space and weapon races. So said CIA chief Allen Dulles to Admiral Hy Rickover. Hope CIA intelligence was better then than now.

    As I more than implied in "Education's Ground Hog Day (Ed Week, Feb 2), anyone making the economic competition argument has to show some direct evidence. I think it's just a scare technique. Make people afraid of the future and you can control them. Wolf, wolf, wolf. It is, as philosopher Harry Frankfurt says in his little tome, "bullshit." (On Bullshit, Princeton University Press, 2005).

    -Gerald Bracey
     
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  3. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 2, 2005

    First, establish the difference between an effective educational system, and a difference in culture; which point are you trying to argue? Yes, the cultures are vastly different.

    Our educational system is one of the top in world. We often find ourselves being compared to other countries (Germany, Japan, Switzerland, etc.) and being portrayed as dismal. The primary reason for this is the large distribution in the United States of ethnicities. Think about how diverse our population is. Then look at the demographics of the countries we are being compared against. Their teachers don't struggle with ESL learner's as we do here. Those countries flounder when it comes to Special Education.

    We have a great education system, especially for the price. We do however live in a capitalistic society. There will always be people that are struggling to get by. Bill Gates, while being fantastically rich, needs to delve further into the Educational research before he rants. Bleh.

    -Fugazi
     
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  4. porque

    porque 12oz Senior Member

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    porque - Replied May 3, 2005

    ...bull shit...our education is not the best in the world, not even close...at least not our public education...private education, post secondary, maybe...one of the biggest problems with public education is that fact that most of the funds come from local property taxes...which means that rich schools get way more funding than inner city schools...the rich get richer and the poor get poorer...our public schools educators are under paid, while millions of dollars are pumped into the security of these schools with off-duty police and security systems, all of which are wastes of money...
    ...it is true that constuction workers and tradesmen still make pretty good money, and their jobs are secure as they ever have been...but what Mr. gates is argueing is that unless we boost the level of education that the relatively well educated recieve, there will be no jobs for them...
    ...there was a very good editorial on this subject by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times last friday...
     
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  5. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 3, 2005

    I challenge you to produce data regarding the negative state of our educational system; data which through analysis of statistics is not intentionally misleading, and has been published in an accredited peer-reviewed journal. Until then, what you say is considered opinion rather than fact; I've seen the data myself regarding our children's educational performance.

    Thank you, and goodnight-

    Fugazi
     
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  6. metallix

    metallix 12oz Elite Member

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    metallix - Replied May 3, 2005

    accredited peer-reviewed journal. as if those do not have their own biases? ha ha..

    im not even going to get started...go read some of the arguments of home schooling.
     
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  7. SF1

    SF1 12oz Elite Member

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    SF1 - Replied May 3, 2005

    Somebody post the highschool suicide rate in Asian countries verses here. Alot of their kids kill themselves for failing in school cause the shit's too much for them. Our kids don't need that kind of pressure. I don't think American kids will necesarily start jumping off buidings if we make the shit harder, but rather the drop-out rate will skyrocket.
     
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  8. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 3, 2005

    1. My point was that their methods and statistics have been evaluated, vs. the "hear-say" that the earlier poster was dealing with (i.e. I hear the education system in the United States is awful).

    2. This isn't an issue of homeschooling vs. group instruction. It's an evaluation of our educational system. Go read some of the arguments against homeschooling (the socialization issues are a major drawback).
     
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  9. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 3, 2005


    Good points. And has anyone here actually been to Japan? Do you know what their educational system is like? Their highschool is equivalent to our college in terms of competition. That's why the figures are inaccurate; of course our fourth graders are on par with the world, or better than. Our 12th graders, when being compared to the top 10% of a nation's students, might not look that great though. I've seen the literature, it's almost mind-boggling how they twist statistics sometimes. Eek. :yuck:
     
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  10. metallix

    metallix 12oz Elite Member

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    metallix - Replied May 3, 2005

    1. My point was that their methods and statistics have been evaluated, vs. the "hear-say" that the earlier poster was dealing with (i.e. I hear the education system in the United States is awful).

    2. This isn't an issue of homeschooling vs. group instruction. It's an evaluation of our educational system. Go read some of the arguments against homeschooling (the socialization issues are a major drawback).
    [post=3939954]Quoted post[/post]​
    [/b][/quote]


    6 entries found for SOCIALIZATION.
    so·cial·ize Audio pronunciation of "SOCIALIZATION" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ssh-lz)
    v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
    v. tr.

    1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
    2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
    3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.


    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=SOCIALIZATION

    NO THANKS.
     
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  11. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 3, 2005


    6 entries found for SOCIALIZATION.
    so·cial·ize Audio pronunciation of "SOCIALIZATION" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ssh-lz)
    v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
    v. tr.

    1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
    2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
    3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.


    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=SOCIALIZATION

    NO THANKS.
    [post=3940078]Quoted post[/post]​
    [/b][/quote]

    I was using it in the context of social interactions with others; i.e. knowing how to interact with other people. Many homeschooled kids don't have the opportunity to develop the social skills that are learned during the school-aged years, and it can detrimentally effect them later in life.
     
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  12. metallix

    metallix 12oz Elite Member

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    metallix - Replied May 4, 2005

    FUCK social skills learned in the early years.

    i was traumatized. there are no social skills learned in school other then your school mates are human trash and the weak are made to justify the strong.
     
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  13. imported_El Mamerro - Replied May 4, 2005

    Careful you don't pass off your personal school experiences as universal.
     
  14. serum

    serum 12oz Elite Member

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    serum - Replied May 4, 2005

    I work as a teacher in Japan so this is an interesting topic to me. first off i`m all for reforming our US system. there is always room for change. in particular i think vocational schools, homeschooling, or anything else that allows the student to get hands on experience rather than just textbook nonsense is better than what we presently have. not to mention the difference between city schools and suburban, aka minority vs white schools.

    in terms of comparing US students vs asian students what are are we comparing them by? test scores, students that continue to college, who takes education more seriously, etc?

    kids in japan go to school 6 days a week from juniour high. they go almost all year round and during their breif vacations they are required to do homework and come and participate in afterschool activities. after school, after sports or piano, they then go to english conversation schools and juku (cram) schools. they are so overworked that they can barely keep awake let alone learn english. anything that is tested is basically consited of dates, whos who, factual info. the amount of crap crammed into the test is enormous. after the test everything is forgotten and replaced with next weeks exams. so they arent really learning the info they are regurgetating it. ask them an opinion question with no right answer all they have to do is give reasons to back them up and they fail soooooo miserably. simply because they cant answer why to anything. their teachers dictate/lecture they dont discuss. if a student asks a question he is ridiculed. no asks a question in japan ever even if the whole class doesnt understand for fear of looking stupid.

    yes its true that asian elementary 1st graders are learning multiplication, and the highschool students are studing college level texts but they have no thinking skills. the biggest gift of american education is common sense. we take it for granted so much as if duh everyone has it thats why its called common sense. but asian schools do not teach common sense or cognitive learning. i remember in 5th grade there was a common sense test. a test besides all that stanford crap. a question i remember was theres a man, he works at a hospital, he went to university for 10 years, he earns a lot of money, he has a stethascope, he works long hours, whats his job? i immediately yelled out oh i wonder what the hell could his job be?? he`s a doctor duhhh. but japanese students would answer i dont know you didnt tell me what his job was. they cant put 2 and 2 together. universities in japan are really difficult to get into because of their entrance exams, once they pass, as long as tuition is paid they graduate. regardless if they come or not.

    japanese parents that want their kids to get a descent education at best must pay high prices starting from preschool. in order to get into the ivy league kindergarten, then elementary school etc. they pay more for basic k-12th grade education than we do on university. because of the high level of competition kids are bullied nonstop from other kids. especially the nerds that are extorted for their money in front of teachers and no one bats an eye. their culture is based on group society and anyone not fitting in gets picked on. the teachers pick on the students constantly. my japanese writer friend dropped out of jr high the first month because the teacher told him contantly to quit school because he was of a lower cast. dont think that india is the only one, japan still has it but covers it up really well. japanese companies dont hire lower cast members so going to highschool would have been futile for my friend.

    dont even get me started about textbook content. japanese history books gloss over atrocities during ww2, they portray themselves the victim of the atom bomb but never mention why the hell it was dropped on them. the chinese books portray the japanese as devils but fail to mention all the aid and numerous apoligies given by the japanese. i talked with chinese students studying in japan and they never even heard about tianemmen square massacre or mao`s famine.

    so my point is school sucks no matter where you live. and test scores wont prove shit, let alone when you compare apples and oranges. but at the end of the day i have common sense, and if i fail i pick myself back up and start again. if theres something i didnt learn in school but want to learn i know how to get that info. i ask why constantly. japanese students cant think, give opinion, answer why, and when they fail they jump off a building or on to an oncoming express train. i now appreciate the crappy FREE public education i got from the city of chicago.
     
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  15. Fugazi

    Fugazi 12oz Senior Member

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    Fugazi - Replied May 4, 2005

    Mamerro has hit the nail on the head...
     
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