Present American Education System

Discussion in 'Politics' started by poncho, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. poncho

    poncho
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    There is something wrong with our present educational system, I think most would agree but how did it get to be in this condition?

    Some would say that it is because of the involvment of the federal government to which I agree, but I think it's decline started even before that with the ideals of a few pushed on us by the institutions or foundations of wealthy men seeking to deliberately dumb us down and make us automatons yielding to their desires.

    Is this another conspiracy theory or are there facts and events in history that can prove it?

    I just started reading this book...The Leipzig Connection: Sabotage of the US Educational System by Paolo Lionni.

    The book starts out this way.

    Chapter 1. A New Domain

    "Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was born in 1832 in Neckarau, in a small town in southern Germany. Wundt entered the university at Tubingen when he was 19, transferred to Heidelberg after half a year, and graduated as a medical doctor from the university in 1856. He stayed on at Heidelberg for the next seventeen years, working first as a professor's assistant, and later as a professor himself, in the field of psychology. Psychology, at that time, meant simply the study (ology) of the soul (psyche), or mind."

    "In 1874, Wundt left Heidelberg to take a position as professor of philosophy at Zurich. He stayed there for only a year, and then accepted a chair in philosophy at the University of Leipzig, in Germany. He was to remain at Leipzig for the rest of his academic career, eventually being appointed rector of the university. Wundt died in 1920."

    "Those are some of the vital statistics. What they omit is that Wundt was the founder of experimental psychology and the force behind its dissemination throughout the western world."

    "To Wundt a thing made sense and was worth pursuing if it could be measured, quantified, and scientifically demonstrated. Seeing no way to do this with the human soul, he proposed that psychology concerns itself solely with experience."

    "Wundt asserted that man is devoid of spirit and self-determinism. He set out to prove that man is the summation of his experiences, of the stimuli which intrude upon his consciousness and unconsciousness.

    "Wundt established the new psychology as a study of the brain and the central nervous system. From Wundt's work, it was only a short step to the later redefining of the meaning of education. Originally, education meant the drawing out of a person's innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc. - the channels through which those abilities would flourish and serve. To the experimental psychologist, however, education became the process of exposing the student to "meaningful" experiences so as to ensure desired reactions:

    " ...learning is the result of modifiability in the paths of neural conduction... The situation-response formula is adequate to cover learning of any sort, and the really influential factors in learning are readiness of the neurons, sequence in time, belongingness, and satisfying consequences.

    "If one assumes (as did Wundt) that there is nothing there to begin with but a body, a brain, and a nervous system, then one must try to educate by inducing sensations in that nervous system. Through these experiences, the individual will learn to respond to any given stimulus, with the "correct" response."

    "Wundt's thesis laid the philosophical basis for the principles of conditioning later developed by Pavlov (who studied physiology in Leipzig, in 1884, five years after Wundt had inaugurated his laboratory there) and American behavioral psychologists such as Watson and Skinner; for lobotomies and electro-convulsive therapy; for schools more oriented toward the socialization of the child than toward the development of intellect; and for the emergence of a society more and more blatantly devoted to the gratification of sensory desires at the expense of responsibility and achievement."

    Isn't this exactly how children are being taught today? How we ourselves have been taught and our fathers before us?
     
  2. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Hmmm... the theory is that (for example) having kids experience lab procedures is preferrable to telling them about it.

    My observation is that such experiences are much better than hearing or reading about them, for retaining scientific concepts.

    It might not be politically correct, but it works.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Laziness promotes laziness. Never once have I had a student who works hard ever complain about their workload or grade.

    My daughter is in her sophomore year in high school and is taking eight classes per semester. In math she is studying second year algebra. Most college prep students took that in their junior year not too long ago. When she graduates from high school she will have completed one year of college calculus.

    Know of any high schools 100 years ago which taught first year calculus to their students? Her English skills are far superior to most people my age.

    I used to teach classes in the churches I pastored and found the complainers there too. Too many wanted to be spoon fed without any work. I found those who were eager to grow never complained about what they were learning. They were thankful.

    The young kids today just entering high school are far better educated and work harder than those many years ago.
     
  4. billwald

    billwald
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    20% of the high school graduates are twice as learned ae we were when I graduated in '58. The other 80% are half as educated. The system is producing a passive labor class and an educated ruling class which will be the end of the middle class.
     
  5. standingfirminChrist

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    One of my nephews graduated from high school and it shocks me that he cannot name the months of the year, neither can he do simple multiplications without the use of a calculater. What are the teachers putting out there in the work force? Future freedom will not be possible at this rate
     
  6. Scott J

    Scott J
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    Mostly public schools fail because of a lack of values education. They have attempted to secularize values in some areas and that has sometimes plugged the breach. But the fact is you cannot succeed in education by only teaching kids the hows, wheres, whens, and whos... You must teach the "whys"... in fact that is the most important thing for them to learn.

    But the "why" cannot be the "outcome" or else kids just become pragmatic... that's how you get an incredibly high percentage acknowledging that they cheat. The whys must be based on a concrete fixed system of absolute moral truth that says work should be done honestly and well because God will judge... There is an objective standard/judge outside of ourselves.

    If we truly want to fix education then a plan needs to be developed to turn schools back over to churches, non-federalized local entities, or private groups.
     
  7. rbell

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    John Stossel did an outstanding expose' on the subject at hand...

    Stossel's "stupid in America"

    His primary culprits? Teacher's unions, and the monopoly status of government education. This article is a MUST read.
     
  8. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Some states have school systems that rival the best in the world. Others are almost third world.

    One sensible approach might be to see what the public school systems in the successful states are doing, that lets them compete with the best.

    Another might be to see what is missing in the states that are not successful.

    You might want to do an excel spreadsheet, and use the Third International Math and Science Study, along with percapita spending on schools as a percent of percapita income.

    The TIMMS was given to students of 40 different nations, so you get a feel for how each state does relative to the rest of the world.

    Then take a look at budgets, and how they correlate with achievement.

    Be ready to be surprised.
     
  9. Scott J

    Scott J
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    I have seen something like that... it didn't show a direct correlation between spending and performance.

    At the risk of being accused... I have also seen studies that omit inner-city, mostly minority scores from the total. The mostly white suburban and rural kids performed about as well as any other industrialized nation.

    This was an issue while I lived in Georgia. The scores from inside the Atlanta Perimeter drug down the state total significantly.

    It still comes down to the values the kids are taught.
     
  10. The Galatian

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    It is one of the better correlations. You get what you pay for, if you're careful. The level of education among teachers is correlated with salaries, for example, especially in math and science. Another is having few immigrants. And another, difficult one, is education as an important value.

    So, the Upper Midwest looks like Taiwan, and Mississippi looks like Tanzania.

    It's why I suggested that you adjust expenditures for per capita income. Otherwise, it looks like Utah is doing amazing things, and California is tossing money down a rathole. (both might be true for all I know, but percapita income has to be considered in percapita educational outlay)

    Urbanization, is a factor, but not the biggest one.

    And there's one that I haven't yet figured out how to allocate. The top three major predictors for outstanding scholarship in a student are:

    1. Mom has a graduate degree
    2. Dad has a graduate degree
    3. Family income level

    Obviously, this is going to differ from state to state, and it must have a huge effect.

    Yep. Urbanization comes into it. But there are urban areas that do pretty well. A big city, in a state with lots of immigrants and low school budgets, will look really bad. No way out of that.

    Right. Note the top 3 for individual students. Notice also that states with high numbers of people of Irish, German, or Scandanavian descent do better. (all these tend to have a higher than average educational level)
     

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