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Old 01-29-2024, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
50,840 posts, read 24,347,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMSRetired View Post
But you first must admit you have a problem.

The Dept of Education thinks the nation is doing great.
And I agree...our schools -- overall -- are not doing what they must. But I blame that on today's...dare I say the word...no, I better not.
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Old 01-29-2024, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
50,840 posts, read 24,347,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Consolidating school districts has the potential for saving a lot of money. The two problems are the public has been lead to believe this is the "road to socialism" and the administrators involved don't want to lose their jobs, so they do what they can to scuttle talk about district consolidation.
I'm not exactly sure the number of administrators changes much when you go to the district model. In fact in my home town growing up we had the superintendent, 2 elementary principals, and (later) a middle school principal.
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Old 01-29-2024, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
10,069 posts, read 7,243,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
CW

I understand. It's hard to accept responsibility. But until professional educators start accepting responsibility for their product, the problems will continue.

It's so much easier for you to blame things on parents, voters, school boards, etc. But the boards, Education Departments, and such don't create things out of whole cloth on a whim. Those things start in the Education Complex of unions, education theorists in universities, and other education professionals.

But who advises school boards at all levels on what decisions to make? Education professionals.

Who develops the policies that the school boards use? Education professionals.

Who advocates for those policies? Education professionals.

Who implements the policies? Education professionals.

There's a common theme running throughout our education system, at all levels from local districts to the ED.

Now I know that not all education professionals refuse to acknowledge education's responsibilities. I work with some of the ones who acknowledge the problems in our education system. Most have paid a price for not towing the "party line" and speaking out on the problems that exist.
We have 50 education systems. Or several thousand if you want to count the districts, but functionally I'd argue we have 50 since the states provide a lot of funding.

If you look at the countries that have better outcomes than we do, you find that no one has such a decentralized system. They all have national education ministries and their bureaucracies are more responsive to reforms and improvements.

I hated the "Waiting for Superman" movie, but one of the points it made was that such sprawling decentralization was part of our problem. It is certainly a significant aspect of our cost problem - we have a LOT of replicated functions and positions. We collect data nationally, but we have no means of implementing any reforms based on those statistics. We can make a few... recommendations.

So in your formulation, we can't identify any education professionals we could replace to fix whatever problems we have. Even when you have someone in one place that does something innovative, it only impacts a small local area.

I'd argue we're doing a decent job compared to ourselves in the past. I've looked into some of the history of American education, and based on what I've seen, we ARE doing well. STEM education is far, FAR superior to what the U.S. had prior to the Cold War. Humanities education is what's been dumbed down and suffered somewhat.

Still, do some primary research into what was going on in schools prior to WWII. I have, and was quite shocked at "the product" being put out back then. The big difference being there was not so much pressure to keep teenagers aged 12-18 in school. Lots of students performed terribly & were basically illiterate, and they failed out. The grades 8-10 especially saw enormous attrition. Today we keep those students in and graduate 90% of them from high school. Things like reading and math ability of the typical student IS better than pre-1960s. Not necessarily as good as the typical graduate, however, because we don't fail people out like we did back then.

We're not so good when you compare us to peers, but if you isolate our best education states - New England and the upper midwest - those actually do perform at Euro levels.

Last edited by redguard57; 01-29-2024 at 05:37 PM..
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Old 01-29-2024, 06:30 PM
 
Location: WA
5,452 posts, read 7,746,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
I'm not exactly sure the number of administrators changes much when you go to the district model. In fact in my home town growing up we had the superintendent, 2 elementary principals, and (later) a middle school principal.
It can. I'll give the example of two different cities of which I'm familiar.

Waco TX which has a metro population of about 250,000 has about 13 school districts that reach into and cover parts of the metro area. A lot of this is the consequence of past racial gerrymandering and white flight. There are places in the Waco metro area where you can literally see the school district boundaries from outer space because development patterns follow district boundaries.



Each one of these 13 districts operates a separate district office with a HR department, transportation department (school buses and bus routes) maintenance department, purchasing department. And there are about about 16 different high schools covering the Waco metro area ranging from about 100 students up to about 2500 students, each with principals, assistant principals, custodial staff, maintenance staff, etc. It also means 15 different football teams and football stadiums, 15 different theaters, 15 different school libraries and cafeteries, etc. etc.

Contrast that to Salem Oregon which is a larger metro area of about 430,000 but has only one school district covering all the urban and suburban parts of the metro area.



So for a substantially larger metro area they have just one district office, one HR department, one purchasing department, one transportation department. Bus routes can be made vastly more efficient. And for a much larger population they have just 6 high schools that are all roughly equal in size since they can adjust enrollment boundaries to make that happen.

Why does the Waco metro area need 13 different school districts and 15 different high schools when the larger Salem Oregon metro area only needs one district and 6 high schools?

The reason WHY things are like that in Waco is a legacy of racism and segregation. But the metro area is paying a lot more than it needs and getting poorer results (on average) as a consequence. And the students who have been carved out of larger urban districts to form little white enclave districts on the edge of town also suffer because they attend tiny little high schools that are too small to even have much in the way of things like AP classes, or when they do, it is cost-inefficient because they have 8-10 students in them. Yes, this is what happened, White residents on the edges of town carved out their own separate districts to avoid having their kids attend schools with Black students.

Now if you really want to see something crazy, look at how many different school districts cover metro San Antonio and this doesn't even include the suburbs: https://www.wegopublic.com/region/sa...districts-map/ although in San Antonio it is about making sure the rich don't mix with the poor and the White kids don't mix with the Mexican and Hispanic kids.

Last edited by texasdiver; 01-29-2024 at 06:51 PM..
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Old 01-30-2024, 05:03 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes FL and NH.
4,538 posts, read 6,804,762 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Largely a cultural thing.

Volunteer at a community science event and see who have the inquiring minds.

Fortunately it is a very large and resourceful world out there.

USA has chosen the easy path. Purchase the goods and talent from others, we prefer to be entertained in all ways of life. Politics, employment, education, and tasks. Our necessities are profitable opportunities for others.
This is very true. The time, effort and long-term commitment necessary to successfully follow a STEM path is not supported by an entertainment-centered student culture or most students' parents.
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Old 01-30-2024, 08:17 AM
 
12,850 posts, read 9,064,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMSRetired View Post
But you first must admit you have a problem.

The Dept of Education thinks the nation is doing great.
This times 1000. Our education system is unable to admit it has a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
No.

America, as a nation has to accept responsibility for not being able to work together, using compromise, to determine curriculum and methods, and stop making educators pawns in the national drama.

The common thread is not what you proclaim, it's that we, as a society, can no longer work together in almost any field of endeavor. And your posts exemplify that mindset.
Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
We have 50 education systems. Or several thousand if you want to count the districts, but functionally I'd argue we have 50 since the states provide a lot of funding.

If you look at the countries that have better outcomes than we do, you find that no one has such a decentralized system. They all have national education ministries and their bureaucracies are more responsive to reforms and improvements.
Let's take both of these together.

Sure, there are minor differences, but at a fundamental level, what is so different in the basic curriculums? Math is still math. English is still English. History is still History. Science is still science. 2+2=4. Even looking at Common Core, the real issues there were not so much about standards, but about pedegogy. Now that is all over the place in the US. But that also goes right back to the professional educators.

As for the number of "education systems" we have, that's really a flawed comparison. Let's take Finland, the darling of how educator's view things. Finland is a small country with a single common culture of just over 5 million people, with a third of that within a single metro area. Pick any region of 5 million people in this country and describe how many cultures are in that region. People love to compare Massachusetts vs Mississippi. Ok, so how would you implement the same school system in both states? And just for grins, add another M to the mix -- Montana. That's just three states with very different cultures, populations, population densities, etc.

Rather than try to shove a "one size fits none" solution, why not look at improving the pedagogy at the implementation level -- the classroom where the students are? But once again that gets back to the professional educators having to acknowledge a problem.
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Old 01-30-2024, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,542 posts, read 2,687,302 times
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Well, "a poor job of inspiring youth to go into SE fields" is not the same thing as "what are all the things wrong with American education?"

Let's face it, the job of doing something about the below-average students is a big one and the nation has done a terrible job there. But these aren't the kids who'll be scientists and engineers, either. The question of this thread is "what do we do to have more SMART kids engaged in SE fields?"

Those smart kids are culturally influenced to think science and engineering are pursuits for weird autistic people without social skills, who are failures socially, have no sex life, and cannot be related to. A smart, extroverted, social kid who finds math and science interesting will be urged not to pursue those fields, because of this cultural bias. I believe that's 90% of why smart US kids aren't going into SE as much as they could, so we have to import them from countries and cultures where the term "engineer" is a source of pride, not an epithet to describe the aforementioned goofus.

The question of what to do with the dumb kids and the emotionally disturbed kids is a different question.
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Old 01-30-2024, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,542 posts, read 2,687,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
...Rather than try to shove a "one size fits none" solution, why not look at improving the pedagogy at the implementation level -- the classroom where the students are? But once again that gets back to the professional educators having to acknowledge a problem.
Are you talking about TEACHERS when you say "professional educators"? They KNOW there are deep fundamental problems. And they have NO POWER to do anything about it.

Or, are you talking about the superintendents, curriculum committees, school boards, etc.? They're all about feathering their own nests. That's where the rot is, not down at the poor teacher who has 45 kids in a class, half of whom are below grade level, a quarter of whom are mentally disturbed, and who's supposed to teach AT grade level, while giving each student personalized individual attention and a separate grade every single day, plus two to three hours a day of paperwork now required to be done on the computer using the buggy malfunctioning "education programs" bought from the superintendent's brother-in-law; but she has to buy her own toner for the copy machine because the superintendent just got a new set of mahogany furniture and all the downtown staff are out on a three day seminar.
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Old 01-30-2024, 08:39 AM
 
7,361 posts, read 4,142,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Sure, there are minor differences, but at a fundamental level, what is so different in the basic curriculums? Math is still math. English is still English. History is still History. Science is still science. 2+2=4. Even looking at Common Core, the real issues there were not so much about standards, but about pedegogy. Now that is all over the place in the US. But that also goes right back to the professional educators

English is not English. In the mid-60's, whole word became the method of teaching reading. When my kids were taught to read in the 1990's, there was no mention of phonics. I purchased Hooked-on-Phonics otherwise they wouldn't have learned. Thankfully, phonics is returning to classrooms.

Fades in teaching are a problem. The connection between fades pushed by academics (for their own fame and financial gain) and publishers pushing fades to sell new text books needs to be killed. It's capitalism at its worse. For every bad educational decision, someone is making a profit.
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Old 01-30-2024, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
50,840 posts, read 24,347,720 times
Reputation: 32967
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
...

Rather than try to shove a "one size fits none" solution, why not look at improving the pedagogy at the implementation level -- the classroom where the students are? But once again that gets back to the professional educators having to acknowledge a problem.
Hell, most Americans don't even know what pedagogy is. And they're the ones electing school boards.
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