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Old 04-08-2007, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Red Bluff, CA
33 posts, read 178,987 times
Reputation: 23

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Bill Gates showed up in the Oprah show and mentioned that the American education system is going down the hole.

Ten years ago the US was the number one smartest nation in the world, now we are the twenty-first.

The Oprah show, in cooperation with Bill Gates, went to schools around the country and showed these very wealthy schools, with large indoor pools and massive gymnasiums. They also showed schools, one in particular was just one mile away from the White House, which were really messed up, broken up and unsanitary bathrooms, leaks across the hallways, and walls that were falling off. Those very poorly funded schools were mostly in minority communities. Bill Gates went on to say that if we keep this up, we will end up giving up our position as the strongest nation in the world.

My opinion is that this is real, and it's happening. That's why Bill Gates is going to give away most of his fortune to help the US.
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Michissippi
2,797 posts, read 4,655,190 times
Reputation: 1709
Gates needs to distinguish between two different types of schools:

(1) Schools that serve the upper classes, the upper middle class, and the solid middle class and

(2) Schools that serve the poor, children of poor immigrants, and the children of illegal aliens.

Based on what I've drawn from my readings elsewhere, the children schooled in the first category are receiving a fine education and can compete with other children from first world countries. It's the children in the second (third world) category that are dragging down the stats for math and reading proficiency, etc.

The other thing that Gates needs to realize is that fewer and fewer Americans will make the investments of time, money, and effort needed to train to become engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and scientists when the jobs that would otherwise employ them at American middle class and upper middle class standards of living are being either exported to other countries or filled by foreigners on work visas, such as the H-1B and L-1.

This is something that most people would have learned in the first or second week of Economics 101, but apparently Gates, many other CEOs who want to gorge on cheap labor, and many media pundits and politicians never figured out.

Ironically, it will become increasingly difficult for our society to be able to afford to help the children in the second category of schools, the American third world schools, if the nation's middle class attrophies as a result of global labor arbitrage. Allowing mass immigration, which floods the nation with impoverished people, doesn't help matters, either. You can't help poor school children by increasing the number of poor school children relative to the amount of resources available for helping poor school children.

I think Gates is a liar. I don't know if he's intentionally misleading the American people or if he really believes what he says, but our problem is not a shortage of able and talented Americans trained in engineering and science fields. Rather, the problem is the economic force of global labor arbitrage which makes it far less expensive to hire scientists and engineers in other countries. Also, R&D tends to follow the location of manufacturing, and we're shipping that overseas.

If America ever really had a shortage of scientists and engineers, basic economic principles offer a solution: As the price point increases--as pay, benefits, pensions, job security, and the probability of having a good career in a given field increases--the number of Americans entering those fields will also increase. Evidence--medical school applications. Because physicians are protected from market sources by an artificially created shortage of competing physicians, they have excellent careers, social status, and are well compensated. Consequently, we have a large oversupply of Americans struggling to obtain admission to medical school (and thus a lifetime seat on the gravy train).

Amazing isn't it? Basic economic principles really do play out in reality! Perhaps Gates should study economics and learn about the relationships between supply and demand.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Hell
606 posts, read 66,137 times
Reputation: 85
Most countries are having shortage of scientists and engineers,including America.However,America can issue more H1B visas and green cards to solve the problem,there are a lot of legal immigrants are scientists and engineers.
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Old 04-09-2007, 06:19 AM
 
Location: State College PA
394 posts, read 1,504,710 times
Reputation: 231
Ummm...I'm not sure I see an 18 year old saying, "well, my heart was set on being a chemical engineer, but those jobs are either overseas or low paying, so now I think I'll flip burgers at MickeyD's instead"....I tend to think those people would just take a different career.
however, I do think that more than likely, those families in those poor areas/schools, just continue and pass down their status...because I just moved from an area like that. They're poor, they have no education, and that's what they know. And, unfortunately, a lot of them are trained that more babies=more (welfare) money, and so they have LOTs of children, and the vicious cycle continues.
I enjoy watching (and I honestly haven't "researched" it) people who take their money, often very hard earned, and tell young (5-8 year olds) kids that if they go to college, that it is paid for......and most of those kids do! Because they have the inspiration from someone to be someone and to go somewhere in life!
It takes a lot more than shiny toilets to make an education (it sure helps a bit though!)
You learn what you live!
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Old 04-09-2007, 06:40 AM
 
20,797 posts, read 32,208,948 times
Reputation: 9884
We were discussing this yesterday as DS14 just returned from China and we were talking about the classes they sat in on. While it might be true that elementary/high school aged kids in the US may be slightly behind other countries if you compare kids in college around the world the US ranks much higher then most countries. Some of this has to do with the opportunities our kids have in school to participate in activities to foster independent thinking, etc. I also think there is a motivation factor that if you do well in college you will get a better job, etc. I also find it interesting that US colleges have a pretty significant number of people from foreign countries--there has to be something to that.

I also disagree that 10 years ago the US was at the top. I remember when I was in high school, much more then 10 years ago, and the big ta-do was that the US was so low in the national rankings in the math/science areas.

There are more opportunities for everyone in the US to learn and succeed but the schools can only go so far and if a child isn't motivated and supported at home the likelihood of them succeeding is very small.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Hell
606 posts, read 66,137 times
Reputation: 85
American highschool kids are really good at reading and writing...and parties,sports.That's good enough I think
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Red Bluff, CA
33 posts, read 178,987 times
Reputation: 23
Quote:
I also disagree that 10 years ago the US was at the top. I remember when I was in high school, much more then 10 years ago, and the big ta-do was that the US was so low in the national rankings in the math/science areas.
I think you're right because when I was researching this issue, some websites had different dates (one said about ten years ago, another, a couple years ago.) I guess I just wanted to make America look a little better, educationally.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Missouri
5,907 posts, read 14,766,484 times
Reputation: 4519
I think our schools leave much to be desired. If parents would stop putting blame on schools to discipline the kids, to cure their "ADD," and to basically accept responsibility for everything parents are supposed to be responsible for, maybe our schools would have more time to devote to actual teaching.

Actual, real life examples from people I know:
A mother complains her 13 year old daughter has been doing poorly in school for four years. The mother admits the child does well if mom or dad sits down with her after school and helps w/ homework. However, the parents work full time and apparently don't have time to be a parent, so the mother is going to ask the doctor to diagnosis the child with ADD, so the child will qualify for free tutoring through the school (free meaning the tax payers will pay for it). The mother is upset because preliminary tests given to the child at school indicate the child does not have ADD.

A mother has a 7 year old son who also struggles every year with school. The boy is allowed to stay up late to watch wrestling programs and such with dad, while mom does all of his homework. She says it's easier to just do it herself, so he passes. She nor the father do not have time to help the son do the homework, and if she does nothing, he'll fail. She actually brings his homework to work sometimes, and asks coworkers for help doing it.

A 11 year old boy writes a sexually obscene letter to a female classmate. The parents are brought in. The boy claims to have learned these dirty words from an Eminem CD. The parents claim to believe that since they bought a censored Eminem CD, they thought the boy wouldn't be able to figure out exactly what Eminem was talking about. The parents do not live in a cave.
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:00 AM
 
3,844 posts, read 8,243,512 times
Reputation: 2428
Personally I think we are coming to an end where these large bureaucratic expensive school systems are coming to an end. It will fade away to more home-based education methods like online classrooms. With all the advances in computer and Internet technology you can practically mirror the exact classroom environment for a fraction of the cost.

Just look at MIT's open courseware. Just imagine that being the mainstream. Instead of going to school at 8am in the morning you just log onto the Internet and do all the homework, lectures, discussions at home at your own pace. Instead of granting high school degrees tests like the SAT would become the mainstream. The level of how well educated you are would be measured by your scores on the SAT.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:16 AM
 
20,797 posts, read 32,208,948 times
Reputation: 9884
Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
Personally I think we are coming to an end where these large bureaucratic expensive school systems are coming to an end. It will fade away to more home-based education methods like online classrooms. With all the advances in computer and Internet technology you can practically mirror the exact classroom environment for a fraction of the cost.

Just look at MIT's open courseware. Just imagine that being the mainstream. Instead of going to school at 8am in the morning you just log onto the Internet and do all the homework, lectures, discussions at home at your own pace. Instead of granting high school degrees tests like the SAT would become the mainstream. The level of how well educated you are would be measured by your scores on the SAT.

This would be a sad evolution of our schools system if this indeed happened. While what you learn in books is important, learning to deal with people is equally important. There is a lot to be said for learning to sit next to someone you don't get along with during your history class because there is a good chance you are going to have to deal with that in the workforce. I know people downplay the social aspects of high school but they really are an important stage in everyone's life and to skip that by doing everything online and in your own home would be a serious detriment to our society.
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