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  1. #31
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    I disagree with Liquids discussion regarding cost being the deciding factor in quality.

    US K-12 schools suck due to diminishing internal standards that are unrelated to cost-more related to making everyone feel good about themselves and not failing students. Also the easier the school work, the more percentage of students pass-and the higher "rating" the school receives-while never learning how to work to learn. My older son made straight As in public school as a lazy ass little bastard. We placed him in a science charter school and he gets Cs and Ds with the occasional B....as they hold him accountable for his lack of work ethic.

    universities of are of good quality as they dont help you much-thus force you to you have to learn to think and work independently. Junior colleges do suck as they tend to still spoon feed material, so when kids transfer to the university, they still have not had to "learn how to learn" and do poorly the first semester.

    the grad schools are the best in the world, having little to do with coursework and everything to do with research that is conducted here.

    I think it is perfectly okay to charge 5 to 10K per year for dorm/tuition.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    US K-12 schools suck due to diminishing internal standards that are unrelated to cost-more related to making everyone feel good about themselves and not failing students. Also the easier the school work, the more percentage of students pass-and the higher "rating" the school receives-while never learning how to work to learn. My older son made straight As in public school as a lazy ass little bastard. We placed him in a science charter school and he gets Cs and Ds with the occasional B....as they hold him accountable for his lack of work ethic.
    I could not agree more with this. The US actually spends over $10,000 per pupil and American schools are in shambles.
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  3. #33
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Could it be possible to change the plan regarding management of government resources? That way, the government might find enough money to adequately fund the K-12 and university systems. You mentioned that tuition fees are growing in alarming rate, but is it truly necessary for tuition rates to continue increasing in order to maintain the same quality of education? If so, why?
    Tuition is increasing for universities, because of the existence of community colleges. People are getting their gen. ed. requirements there, because it's cheaper, and the quality of gen. ed. courses at a community college is not much worse than a university.

    Most universities make money on gen. ed. courses and lose money on upper level courses. Gen. ed. courses are larger and often taught by grad students or adjunct faculty. Upper level courses are smaller and mostly taught by tenured professors. So when enrollment drops on only gen. ed. courses the university loses money and has to raise tuition.

    I suppose if universities were made absolutely free, then you wouldn't have to worry about people going to community colleges. Instead you'd have to worry about paying for all those people from the cheap college coming to the expensive university. You'd also have to pay for all of the people who can't even afford community college. Enrollments would skyrocket as soon as you made the change.


    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    I disagree with Liquids discussion regarding cost being the deciding factor in quality.
    I didn't mean to imply that cost was the deciding factor in quality. I'm sorry if my point was not clear. My point really is that it depends more on the source of the money: public or private.

    If the money is coming from individuals, then education behaves like any other market. Universities compete to give quality education at a reasonable price. Businesses have to keep their quality high, because competitors would steal their customers otherwise. In terms of sheer quality you cannot beat a market economy.

    The downside to this though is that businesses discriminate on what types of customers they want. They purposely set the price high enough so that people who want to pay a low price won't buy their product (in this case eduction). This is because they can get more money from people willing and able to pay a medium to high price. In other words price is a method of rationing. Goods and services are rationed to those who are willing to pay a high enough price.

    Therefore if the funding comes from individuals in a market the education will be high quality, but it will not be available to everyone. If education is publicly funded then it will be available to everyone, but it will be of lower quality.

    This is essentially the debate of Capitalism vs. Socialism in general. It's just that we are applying it specifically to education in this instance. And the majority of people usually decide somewhere in between the extremes. In the US we have state schools which are partially funded by the government and partially funded by individuals. That is basically a compromise between the two systems.

    Also I totally agree about k-12 schools sucking because of diminishing standards. However this is just a side effect of being a public system. Publicly funded systems do not have competitors to keep the quality of their institutions in check.
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  4. #34
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    K-12 education in the U.S. is best described as inconsistent, at least partially due to its legacy of being locally run and funded. There are excellent public schools, terrible ones, and many mediocre ones in between. If lack of competition is to blame for poor quality, schools overall should be better in areas with many private and church-based alternatives, but there seems to be no such trend. Poor and mediocre schools flourish because Americans have little stomach for academics. They would be happier to see the football team do well than for half the graduating class to be admitted to Ivy League colleges.

    Higher education, as others have observed, is likewise inconsistent. Given how many colleges and universities exist in the U.S., it stands to reason that some will be among the best in the world, but very many are barely better than a decent high school.

    As for funding, it does a disservice both to society and to individual students to exclude any student from an educational program for which they have interest and ability, because of lack of money. Higher ed could be funded through taxes as a public good; or through loans provided along the lines that Trinity described, with repayment linked to income.

    A model that might be more accepted in the U.S. is for higher-ed to be sponsored by industry, in much the same way that the military ROTC programs work. A company or other entity would pay a student's tuition and fees, and the student would then work for that company for a specified amount of years following graduation. A by-product would be that more students have jobs upon leaving university. If the "repayment" term is relatively modest (ROTC is generally 4 years), there is still plenty of time for the student to take that experience and go elsewhere.

  5. #35
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Tuition is increasing for universities, because of the existence of community colleges. People are getting their gen. ed. requirements there, because it's cheaper, and the quality of gen. ed. courses at a community college is not much worse than a university. .
    Do you know what inspired more students to take an interest in a community college education?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Most universities make money on gen. ed. courses and lose money on upper level courses. Gen. ed. courses are larger and often taught by grad students or adjunct faculty. Upper level courses are smaller and mostly taught by tenured professors. So when enrollment drops on only gen. ed. courses the university loses money and has to raise tuition..
    Suppose that the Universities make no effort to raise their tuition fees and suffer the financial loss of fewer students enrolling in general education classes. In that case will the losses be significant enough to preclude these institutions from maintaining the quality of their current education? I suspect that much of the money that the University earns lands in the pockets of elite officials of the organization. Suppose we cut their salary in half and devote the funds for educational purposes. There is no reason for them to be making $300,000 per year when we have dozens of adjuncts laboring for fast-food wages. Do you think that this idea could be implemented in 10, 20 or even 30 years?






    I didn't mean to imply that cost was the deciding factor in quality. I'm sorry if my point was not clear. My point really is that it depends more on the source of the money: public or private.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    If the money is coming from individuals, then education behaves like any other market. Universities compete to give quality education at a reasonable price. Businesses have to keep their quality high, because competitors would steal their customers otherwise. In terms of sheer quality you cannot beat a market economy...
    I agree with your fundamental premise that businesses need to do what must be done to satisfy customers, however, I cannot accept the conclusion you've arrived at. The general public is generally not interested in learning and attends college to merely earn a degree. They demand courses in which one could succeed without learning a great deal. As you may know, many professors assign simple mutliple choice tests instead of essays that require critical thought and the answers to the tests can almost always be found in the lecture material. American Universities are renowned for their quality of education, however, the truly edifying classes are taught at graduate school academes and not in conventional undergraduate institutions.





    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Therefore if the funding comes from individuals in a market the education will be high quality, but it will not be available to everyone. ...
    In that case it will be the kind that the public demands, but the thesis that it will be of high quality is not warranted.




    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    This is essentially the debate of Capitalism vs. Socialism in general. It's just that we are applying it specifically to education in this instance....
    We are paying specifically so we can get a degree that lands us social prestige and a lucrative job. The American social values hold education in low regard. If the public could earn money without going to the Universities, they would gladly drop the pretense that they have any interest in learning.



    My concern is that radicalization of capitalism in the university education system will create an undesirable competition among universities. They will be competing not to provide the most edifying education possible, but to appease the interests of the philistines who have little interest in anything but wealth and prestige. An increase in funding for universities certainly improves the quality of graduate level education and academic research, however, it does not have a significantly educative impact upon the general public.
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  6. #36
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Do you know what inspired more students to take an interest in a community college education?
    It's cheaper.


    Suppose that the Universities make no effort to raise their tuition fees and suffer the financial loss of fewer students enrolling in general education classes. In that case will the losses be significant enough to preclude these institutions from maintaining the quality of their current education? I suspect that much of the money that the University earns lands in the pockets of elite officials of the organization. Suppose we cut their salary in half and devote the funds for educational purposes. There is no reason for them to be making $300,000 per year when we have dozens of adjuncts laboring for fast-food wages. Do you think that this idea could be implemented in 10, 20 or even 30 years?
    Sounds good on paper, but I don't think that will happen in actuality. Businesses in general tend to become top heavy over time. Universities are no different. When a business becomes top heavy, then some new competitor will come in and do things cheaper and steal the customers away. That is basically what needs to happen with education. Community colleges are only stealing students for the first two years. There needs to be a better alternative for years three and four.



    I agree with your fundamental premise that businesses need to do what must be done to satisfy customers, however, I cannot accept the conclusion you've arrived at. The general public is generally not interested in learning and attends college to merely earn a degree. They demand courses in which one could succeed without learning a great deal. As you may know, many professors assign simple mutliple choice tests instead of essays that require critical thought and the answers to the tests can almost always be found in the lecture material. American Universities are renowned for their quality of education, however, the truly edifying classes are taught at graduate school academes and not in conventional undergraduate institutions.
    I somewhat agree. From what I've seen students often resent gen. ed. courses. So some will take these at a community college. Most students seem to be interested in courses that are in their major though. I do believe there is a high interest for learning in one's own major.



    In that case it will be the kind that the public demands, but the thesis that it will be of high quality is not warranted.



    We are paying specifically so we can get a degree that lands us social prestige and a lucrative job. The American social values hold education in low regard. If the public could earn money without going to the Universities, they would gladly drop the pretense that they have any interest in learning.



    My concern is that radicalization of capitalism in the university education system will create an undesirable competition among universities. They will be competing not to provide the most edifying education possible, but to appease the interests of the philistines who have little interest in anything but wealth and prestige. An increase in funding for universities certainly improves the quality of graduate level education and academic research, however, it does not have a significantly educative impact upon the general public.
    When I say quality I mean quality as defined by customers, i.e. the students. You have a point in that this may not be the same as quality defined by you or most educators.

    However I think that the main reason people are disinterested in education is that much of it is not relevant to their lives. For example people are taught math, but they are not taught how to balance a checkbook or what credit card interest rates mean. So they are not prepared in a financial sense. Also health and P.E. are often deemphasised or cut in school programs, and yet right now there are a lot of Americans making poor health choices.

    I do think our universities will (gradually) be done away with and replaced with something else. However the system that replaces our current system needs to do a better job of teaching people things that they actually want to know.
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  7. #37
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Could it be possible to change the plan regarding management of government resources? That way, the government might find enough money to adequately fund the K-12 and university systems. You mentioned that tuition fees are growing in alarming rate, but is it truly necessary for tuition rates to continue increasing in order to maintain the same quality of education? If so, why?
    I agree with that, with every tuition based system there's a hope that market forces and consumer demand will eradicate certain study options and cheapen others, I doubt it will happen though because universities and study has existed for a long time as an elite, exclusive pursuit without a mass subscriber base and it'll simply revert to that once again.

    It could mean that, if people do the math, the governments find they are out more money to people claiming benefits than going to train in skills shortages fields because of the initial personal outlay.

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