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Old 10-27-2022, 05:08 AM
 
11 posts, read 4,678 times
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As someone who had an upper middle class American upbringing I remember back in 2014 during the Summer before my first year of college I was not interested in space or sci fi but once I got tired of Call of Duty I decided to pick up a cheap copy of the first Mass Effect from a local GameStop. I was amazed by what I experienced. I became fascinated by the possibility of alien life. I then find out about Neil Degrasse Tyson who added fuel to the fire. I bought a telescope from Barnes & Noble and went stargazing throughout the Summer of 2014.

Sadly by the time I entered college that interest largely died out. I remember watching a promo for SpaceX and thinking that was cool but then I became obsessed with "Greek Life" and vacations to Disney World.

Apple TV and the recent events in space have reawakened something inside of me. I wish I hadn't become so vapid.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4EOW9oqZ4k

Has the American education system done a poor job of teaching math and science to Millennials?

Has society become too materialistic to dream of the future?

At my suburban school during the early 2010s it seemed like math was "uncool" and aspiring to a Kardashian like lifestyle was the aspiration for many.

If the public and government was willing to invest in a program as big and groundbreaking as Apollo to inspire America's young people to become inspired to do their best in math and science during the 2010s what would that program be?

Would it be a fully funded human Mars program?

Would it be something that had to do with fighting climate change? Commercial Fusion by 2025? Fusion powered crewed spacecraft to Mars by the 2030s and Europa by the 2040s?

A campaign to reduce fear of GMOs, vaccines, and nuclear power?

Or all of these as part of a campaign to put us on a course to a future that looks more like Star Trek than Mad Max?

I just found out Neil Degrasse Tyson said GMOs are safe and during my college years I shopped at places like "Trader Joe's" and "Whole Foods" because that was where all the good looking rich people were shopping at.

I look at the state of American society and I am both sad but determined.

It is crazy finding out several people I knew from high school have become crazy conspiracy theorists.
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Old 10-27-2022, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
1,991 posts, read 834,066 times
Reputation: 5908
Well, there's not one single "THE American education system". Even if we only consider primary and secondary schools, there's a range from inner city ghetto schools where the primary concern of teachers and students is surviving the day; to prosperous suburban districts where the majority of parents are recent immigrants from groups that value educational success very highly and will not brook any hindrance to their children getting the best possible instruction; to schools driven by fundamentalist religion that reject most aspects of science altogether; to top-rank private schools where the instruction is more advanced than in many universities; and all shades in between.
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Old 10-27-2022, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
6,973 posts, read 6,057,081 times
Reputation: 13803
My son, born in 1994, double majored in Math and Computer Science. Today he uses his skills to trade options as a side hustle. He went to Catholic school but I'm pretty sure he would have been the same person if he'd gone to public school.

As for GMO foods, I don't see anything wrong with them and they can be helpful in feeding the world. Yet image-conscious retailers like Whole Foods and Costco won't sell them. Obviously GMO's have an image problem.

Nuclear power also has an image problem. But the Europeans are catching onto the fact that it's clean and they don't have to shovel money at Vladimir Putin in order to use it. One hopes we catch on as well.
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Old 10-27-2022, 11:23 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
40,512 posts, read 72,334,864 times
Reputation: 49825
I'm a manager with 5 direct reports all with ages ranging from 27-35, so younger millennials. Of those 4 have a degree, one has a master in Accounting. The work we do requires significant math skills and they are all doing just great. Like every other generation, what people get out of the educational system depends on their interest and dedication to learning.
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Old 10-27-2022, 04:33 PM
 
5,280 posts, read 13,496,036 times
Reputation: 4529
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootingStar992 View Post
As someone who had an upper middle class American upbringing I remember back in 2014 during the Summer before my first year of college I was not interested in space or sci fi but once I got tired of Call of Duty I decided to pick up a cheap copy of the first Mass Effect from a local GameStop. I was amazed by what I experienced. I became fascinated by the possibility of alien life. I then find out about Neil Degrasse Tyson who added fuel to the fire. I bought a telescope from Barnes & Noble and went stargazing throughout the Summer of 2014.

Sadly by the time I entered college that interest largely died out. I remember watching a promo for SpaceX and thinking that was cool but then I became obsessed with "Greek Life" and vacations to Disney World.

Apple TV and the recent events in space have reawakened something inside of me. I wish I hadn't become so vapid.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4EOW9oqZ4k

Has the American education system done a poor job of teaching math and science to Millennials?

Has society become too materialistic to dream of the future?

At my suburban school during the early 2010s it seemed like math was "uncool" and aspiring to a Kardashian like lifestyle was the aspiration for many.

If the public and government was willing to invest in a program as big and groundbreaking as Apollo to inspire America's young people to become inspired to do their best in math and science during the 2010s what would that program be?

Would it be a fully funded human Mars program?

Would it be something that had to do with fighting climate change? Commercial Fusion by 2025? Fusion powered crewed spacecraft to Mars by the 2030s and Europa by the 2040s?

A campaign to reduce fear of GMOs, vaccines, and nuclear power?

Or all of these as part of a campaign to put us on a course to a future that looks more like Star Trek than Mad Max?

I just found out Neil Degrasse Tyson said GMOs are safe and during my college years I shopped at places like "Trader Joe's" and "Whole Foods" because that was where all the good looking rich people were shopping at.

I look at the state of American society and I am both sad but determined.

It is crazy finding out several people I knew from high school have become crazy conspiracy theorists.
Sounds like it was YOU and your peers that failed, not the system.
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Old 10-27-2022, 06:25 PM
 
5,007 posts, read 2,425,873 times
Reputation: 6698
It varies.

I personally went to an upper middle class Catholic high school and received a good science and math education. Later in life I was working with a Russian national who had a small child and was evaluating the local public, private, and parochial school systems. I asked him how the Catholic schools stacked up. He said the math and science curricula resembled those of the Soviet Union, which is definitely not a slight. The Soviets put the first person in space and Russia still excels at math and science education. There are Russian Schools of Math in every upper middle class suburb across the US. The point he was emphasizing was that the Catholic curricula were old school, heavy on memorizing arithmetic tables and proof algorithms as foundations, with lots of drills in homework and in class.

Then there are the public science and math magnet schools. These would probably be the best for math and science, and would adopt a newer curriculum such as Singapore math. I studied alongside a fair number of graduates from these high schools in college, and they were more advanced than me. Whether that was a selection effect (I was a non-traditional STEM student), or due to these students often having parents in technical professions such that STEM learning continued at home, or even the not-improbable chance that they were the child of two technically trained immigrants who are themselves whip smart, or the more mundane reason that their STEM education was superior, they had a head start on me.

Private schools I think do give science and math short shrift. This is a topic for another thread, but wealthy families seem to not push their children towards technical work. Exceptions apply, such as those wealthy families where children are pushed to be intellectual and get graduate degrees, but by and large private schools seem focused on finance, law, entrepreneurship, the arts, and medicine as a token technical track. In the real world technical work is seen as grunt work with fungible labor by business leaders (a mistaken attitude IMO) and this attitude rubs off on those who have money and status as goals.

From my experience in college the students who came from run-of-the-mill public schools were the least prepared for technical work.

Again these generalizations are just that and from my own observations as a student, worker, and parent. I'm sure there are a lot of exceptions. Probably most relevant to the OP was my experience with the graduates of district public high schools in college. A lot of them seemed to have been done a disservice by their schools compared to those who went to alternative schools. I was in a STEM program at a private university so it was definitely not a cross-section of society (alternative school backgrounds were way overrepresented) but at the same time that was the narrow part of the funnel for science and math training so there's some value in my observations.
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Old 10-28-2022, 03:56 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
98,532 posts, read 96,977,370 times
Reputation: 109842
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
My son, born in 1994, double majored in Math and Computer Science. Today he uses his skills to trade options as a side hustle. He went to Catholic school but I'm pretty sure he would have been the same person if he'd gone to public school.

As for GMO foods, I don't see anything wrong with them and they can be helpful in feeding the world. Yet image-conscious retailers like Whole Foods and Costco won't sell them. Obviously GMO's have an image problem.

Nuclear power also has an image problem. But the Europeans are catching onto the fact that it's clean and they don't have to shovel money at Vladimir Putin in order to use it. One hopes we catch on as well.
The nuclear waste disposal issue has never been resolved. The GMO food issue is very complex. That GMO's can "feed the world" is what their purveyors want the public to believe. They were a major boondoggle in India, because traditional farmers couldn't afford to buy new seeds every year as required by the GMO companies, nor the weed-control chemicals that were a required part of the package. The result was a corporate takeover of farmland, that met tremendous resistance. And some of the GMO's aren't safe; they have pesticides built into them, that the companies holding the patents claim are safe for human consumption. That's the reason they're banned in Europe.

An additional problem is, that the companies holding the patents for GMO seeds can sue neighboring property owners, if GMO seeds blow onto their property and result in GMO plants infiltrating the property. In this way, they're able to take over more land, displacing traditional farmers. It's hugely political. India, Mexico with its prized heirloom varieties of corn, and other developing countries don't want US corporations taking over their agricultural sector.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 10-28-2022 at 04:16 AM..
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Old 10-28-2022, 04:13 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
98,532 posts, read 96,977,370 times
Reputation: 109842
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avondalist View Post
It varies.

I personally went to an upper middle class Catholic high school and received a good science and math education. Later in life I was working with a Russian national who had a small child and was evaluating the local public, private, and parochial school systems. I asked him how the Catholic schools stacked up. He said the math and science curricula resembled those of the Soviet Union, which is definitely not a slight. The Soviets put the first person in space and Russia still excels at math and science education. There are Russian Schools of Math in every upper middle class suburb across the US. The point he was emphasizing was that the Catholic curricula were old school, heavy on memorizing arithmetic tables and proof algorithms as foundations, with lots of drills in homework and in class.

Then there are the public science and math magnet schools. These would probably be the best for math and science, and would adopt a newer curriculum such as Singapore math. I studied alongside a fair number of graduates from these high schools in college, and they were more advanced than me. Whether that was a selection effect (I was a non-traditional STEM student), or due to these students often having parents in technical professions such that STEM learning continued at home, or even the not-improbable chance that they were the child of two technically trained immigrants who are themselves whip smart, or the more mundane reason that their STEM education was superior, they had a head start on me.

Private schools I think do give science and math short shrift. This is a topic for another thread, but wealthy families seem to not push their children towards technical work. Exceptions apply, such as those wealthy families where children are pushed to be intellectual and get graduate degrees, but by and large private schools seem focused on finance, law, entrepreneurship, the arts, and medicine as a token technical track. In the real world technical work is seen as grunt work with fungible labor by business leaders (a mistaken attitude IMO) and this attitude rubs off on those who have money and status as goals.

From my experience in college the students who came from run-of-the-mill public schools were the least prepared for technical work.

Again these generalizations are just that and from my own observations as a student, worker, and parent. I'm sure there are a lot of exceptions. Probably most relevant to the OP was my experience with the graduates of district public high schools in college. A lot of them seemed to have been done a disservice by their schools compared to those who went to alternative schools. I was in a STEM program at a private university so it was definitely not a cross-section of society (alternative school backgrounds were way overrepresented) but at the same time that was the narrow part of the funnel for science and math training so there's some value in my observations.
What exactly do you mean by "technical work"? Is that a reference to various fields of engineering? Engineering is one way families build wealth, and they pass a love of engineering down to their kids.

Regarding private schools, I can tell you, that two of the top private schools in the SF Bay Area had no science instruction at all prior to highschool. I hope that's changed, but even the "race for space'" and federal emphasis on science education didn't faze the private schools, that were odd backwaters in some ways. Federal programs didn't reach them, and they were, and probably still are, exempt even from some state requirements as to subject matter.
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Old 10-28-2022, 06:48 AM
 
10,889 posts, read 6,978,490 times
Reputation: 30167
At this point it shouldn't be debatable that the US school system does not do a good job with STEM subjects. And hasn't for decades. The term STEM was coined 30 years ago in recognition of the fact our schools did poorly on it.

The DoD, NASA, National Academy, and professional societies all recognize the issue. The AIP/APS has studied physics education and found less than a third of physics teachers have a degree in field from an degree granting university.

The leaky pipeline has been documented for years. In elementary, kids love science but the percentage gets less the more schooling the have. Dropping off heavily by the time they leave middle school. And hating it in high school because of our teaching methods.

I know science teachers who teach based, not on science, but based on how the feel about it.
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Old 10-28-2022, 07:15 AM
 
5,007 posts, read 2,425,873 times
Reputation: 6698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
What exactly do you mean by "technical work"? Is that a reference to various fields of engineering? Engineering is one way families build wealth, and they pass a love of engineering down to their kids.

Regarding private schools, I can tell you, that two of the top private schools in the SF Bay Area had no science instruction at all prior to highschool. I hope that's changed, but even the "race for space'" and federal emphasis on science education didn't faze the private schools, that were odd backwaters in some ways. Federal programs didn't reach them, and they were, and probably still are, exempt even from some state requirements as to subject matter.
I would lump engineering and being a working scientist together as technical work. There are "engineering dynasties" as you mention but in my experience they are much rarer than "business dynasties", "finance dynasties", or "law dynasties". Medicine is a middle ground because of the pay and prestige.

Ultimately I think wealthy people shy away from technical fields because of regression to the mean. It's much easier to pass down money and connections than talent, and frankly in a field like finance and even law money and connections can compensate for a lack of talent. You can't cover up a lack of competence in technical fields. It's simply easier to keep up a dynasty in a non-technical field.
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