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Old 07-26-2012, 10:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucknow View Post
I have never yet met one single American who could tell me all the states that are on the Great Lakes or to name all the states on the Mississippi river.
Sounds like you've had very limited encounters with Americans, then. This is pretty standard stuff. Clearly there are a lot of clueless Americans out there, but that doesn't mean that all Americans are so inept. The problem is that it's so very divided. And not just between the obvious -- inner-city poor kids at failing schools versus rich kids at private schools -- but along other lines as well. There are clearly plenty of middle-class communities out there where education is not highly valued, and where the residents live sheltered lives. Those kids can at least read and don't on paper look like they're failing (and many are even college-bound), so they don't get as much attention as they should. But it's a tough sell if the adults in the community also either don't know much about the world or deem it pointless, and when the system itself sends the message that basic geography and social sciences are not as important as more "useful" skills that are tracked using high-stakes standardized tests.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:23 PM
 
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I believe Charles point may also have the tacit acknowledgement that the political process has been systemically undermined to make voting useless (Institutionalized corruption driven by electability being a function of who gets largest amounts of money and knowing that the most money flows to those most compromisable (re: most receptive to pay offs via funder inspired legislation). I agree on the training to use MS Excel as it requires thorough understanding of basic math and logic.



On the educational content side: historically education was looked upon as way to provide workers for the industrial age and get a job, (see JohnTaylor Gatto former State Teacher of year in New York in 90's). I would say 90-95% of all students have been conditioned by parents with this sort of attitude. The curricula has been dumbed down to appeal to lowest common denominator under guise of new feel good teaching concepts to make them "feel good about themselves".

I would contend the current education system is purposefully designed to churn out non critically thinking well conditioned "Pavlovian" people to respond on cue to jingoistic flash point stimuli via the controlled mainstream media. While they are systematically $heared. Comedian George Carlin has a concise summary of this issue (Education in America) check it out sometime on youtube.


To Coped's point I defer to Eric Hoffer:
“When watching men of power in action it must be always kept in mind that, whether they know it or not, their main purpose is the elimination or neutralization of the independent individual- the independent voter, consumer, worker, owner, thinker- and that every device they employ aims at turning men into a manipulable "animated instrument" which is Aristotle's definition of a slave.” - Eric Hoffer

I find those emails that circulate that show what was required knowledge on a test, in say 1900, at junior high or senior high school level etc...and how woefully short todays generation would measure. To be very telling in the scope of knowledge dilution.
As for how relevant each and every topic may be to practical knowledge I leave you with this thought:
Modern Culture of Business seeks to create victimization entitlement rescue blame. “Until Lions have their historians, all tales of hunting will glorify the hunter” – African proverb; In that vain the USA has more therapists than firefighters or mail carriers, and has twice as many therapists as dentists or pharmacists.
The legal profession / industry seeks to create more ‘victims’ as part of market demand creation. Medical industry focuses on disease rather than building health; Clinical Psychology focuses on pathologies instead of concentrating on the ‘sanities’ such as courage and optimism; News Media focuses on negativity rather than good news because ‘good news’ doesn’t sell; Insurance focuses on selling fear and negativity; Advertising & Marketing is dedicated to making you think you have all kinds of problems only their products can fix.

That is the workings of the system, to twist reality in such a way to make people believe they have choice and freedom, when in fact they have none. The best way to control a people is to make them believe they are free and have free choice, while controlling their choices, behavior, desires, opinions and options through conditioning of official culture and the control of Education, Media, Religion, Economy and the Banking System.
“Unless you read different points of view, your mind will eventually close, and you’ll be come a prisoner to a certain point of view that you’ll never question.”

Last edited by ciceropolo; 07-26-2012 at 11:31 PM.. Reason: type and content
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:36 PM
 
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Sorry about the font size above on the latter part, I couldn't find a way to adjust...
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:41 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,401 posts, read 30,811,602 times
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I really don't buy this for a second. Sounds like sensationalism to me.

Since everyone here on C-D is Ivy league educated, has an IQ of a genius and never makes a mistake... you'd think they'd be a little more skeptical of a phone survey... good lord people.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:39 PM
 
17,183 posts, read 22,758,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciceropolo View Post
I find those emails that circulate that show what was required knowledge on a test, in say 1900, at junior high or senior high school level etc...and how woefully short todays generation would measure. To be very telling in the scope of knowledge dilution.
The problem with the emails circulating the 1895 Math test from Salinas, KS is that the test is not a very good test. The second problem is that many of the students did NOT pass it.

Is that 8th grade test from 1895 phoney or not? [Archive] - Straight Dope Message Board

Quote:
But Lilly discovered something else in her research that gives the 1895 exam story an ultimately ironic twist: the majority of students in J.W. Armstrong's school district failed his graduation exam. In fact, eight-graders were failing to graduate at a rate that today would lead to the firing of the superintendent and the recall of the school board. Wrote Lilly: "... in the Register of Deeds are at least two ledgers called Records of Graduates.
snopes.com: Roger Hedgecock on 1895 Kansas Exam

Quote:
[Salina historian Judy Lilly] located county school records filed in the Saline County Register of Deeds Office showing that the year of the test there were only seven graduates. Yet the year before, and the year after, there were around 28 graduates.

"I'm thinking that the test must have changed from year to year.
The test itself is little more than rote knowledge and most of the terms that are used are not taught today because they are pretty useless. What the pundits who pass this test around forget is that this is NOT basic information. Some of it is quite specialized and unless you have been steeped in it before the test, you will likely not remember it. The exam is time and place dependent. The math at least was needed by farmers and perhaps by shopkeepers in that time, but how many of us are farmers or shopkeepers today and even if we were, how many of us would really need to calculate the things on this test.

Note that the test itself requires only memorization and the things memorized are likely to be forgotten unless they are used frequently. The test has no history at all on it. It requires no knowledge of the arts or of literature. There is no science at all on the test with the exception of a question about climate. There is nothing beyond arithmetic. Our 8th grades do pre-Algebra at least and many do algebra I. There is no geometry really either and kids today get rudimentary geometry as young as kindergarten.

For anyone unfamiliar with the test, here's a link to it.

An 1895 8th Grade Final Exam: I Couldn't Pass It. Could You? | The New Republic

Last edited by toobusytoday; 07-29-2012 at 09:02 PM.. Reason: link and a snippet please
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:27 PM
 
2,307 posts, read 3,818,778 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coped View Post
But isn't that institutionalizing the class system through the educational system? We teach poor kids to work at McDonald's, lower middle class kids get trade school, middle class kids get accounting, and save all that government stuff for the wealthy?

I think a rigorous, well-rounded education is the way to go, with the option of more vocational training beginning at 14 years old. But I think we should be careful about typecasting kids because of where they come from.

We invested a lot of money in really good school systems in our big cities back in the day. Immigrant's kids in New York could get a quality education for free at one of the city schools, and many of them went on to become some of our best minds.



Problem is, that guy gets to vote. If we focused only on what we need for jobs, we become easily controllable.[/quote]


first point - you're right it is. but at the same time as anyone will point out, society needs ditch diggers. yes? My idealism ends at someone telling me everyone needs to learn how to appreciate poetry or everyone needs to the periodic table from memory. Truth is, even for myself with a masters degree I could probably get a quarter at best of the periodic table correct and well i'm not the world's biggest poetry fan haha...sadly. But you are correct that what I'm saying could be taken as I'm pushing kids down pre-determined tracks. I will point out that many European nations (the one's supposedly beating us academically) do the career track system as early as middle school. In France for example your educational career is determined at age 12 more or less.

second point - yes my car guy does get to vote. does knowing the Preamble guarantee that guy will vote in an educated manner? IMO no. Getting a kid interested in politics and how it impacts their lives? now that might create a better voter.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,316 posts, read 120,179,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
I was educated in the U.S. in the 60's and I don't remember learning anything about Canada.

However, because of President Kennedy's Alliance For Progress, the schools taught a heck of a lot about Central and South America. If you want to know what Guatemala exported in the 60's... I'm your girl.
I was educated in the later 50s/later 60s. We lived near Canada (Pennsylvania has a border with Canada in Lake Erie) so we learned some stuff about Canada. I don't remember learning any of the above, though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by coped View Post
But isn't that institutionalizing the class system through the educational system? We teach poor kids to work at McDonald's, lower middle class kids get trade school, middle class kids get accounting, and save all that government stuff for the wealthy?

I think a rigorous, well-rounded education is the way to go, with the option of more vocational training beginning at 14 years old. But I think we should be careful about typecasting kids because of where they come from.

We invested a lot of money in really good school systems in our big cities back in the day. Immigrant's kids in New York could get a quality education for free at one of the city schools, and many of them went on to become some of our best minds.




Problem is, that guy gets to vote. If we focused only on what we need for jobs, we become easily controllable.
Exactly! And what I think is funny is that some of the same people calling for more "practical" courses in the other thread are on this one bemoaning students' lack of knowledge. Now if you want to be teaching them all how to fry eggs, you're going to have leave something out!
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:11 AM
 
4,152 posts, read 4,390,868 times
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nana053 thanks for the links, info, and clarification on the 'old test'.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:50 AM
 
13,499 posts, read 18,085,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphamale View Post
That's why our politicians aren't held accountable.
Oh, my lord, here we go again.........why don't we blame the media as well.

How about parents taking an interest in what their children are doing for homework, and if they are doing homework. And if they are not learning enough U.S. history and government, go to the school and complain, raise the issue at the PTA, etc.

Please spare us from this never-ending BS of blaming someone politicians, media, government. If citizens/parents don't get interested and get off their big fat rears, then THEY are to blame.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
I'd rather have (my) kids take Microsoft Office (Excel specifically) than history. I'd rather have them take an extra science or even a PE class instead of government. I'd rather have them take an extra math class instead of a social science class.

Doesn't really bother me. I couldn't care less about government or politics. I don't vote and I don't care. Waste of time.
And kids with that kind of education will find their country has been taken right out from under them about people who do care, and quite "care" in a way that will benefit their own special interests.
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