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  1. #271
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicallogic View Post
    Kalach, what is your solution? Bring back the plague?
    I don't have a solution, unless perhaps, to be a bit ironic, education is the solution. It seems in general that people don't know what education is. Were the consumers able to know the difference between education as a principle necessity and education as flawed practice presently provides, then the market might, other things being equal, verge on operating efficiently. Other things being equal is a big ask, of course. How many consumers have it within their means to genuinely choose between offerings? But whatever.

    It's deeply weird to blame teachers. They're salaried workers. What was anyone expecting--entrepreneurial vision and progressive development? In return for... next month's salary? They teach, students fail. That's how it works.
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

    Boy meets Grr

  2. #272
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The dumb kids in other countries do better than our dumb kids.

    There is no excuse for our test scores not being better than they are.
    I have become curious about just what these tests are, that can be given to students everywhere from the U.S. to Finland to Pakistan, and result in a meaningful comparison of student ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    But the teacher has the most direct impact on the kids, and as such is certainly responsible for a sizable percentage of the problem.
    The parents have the most direct impact on the kids, and if they do not, there is a much bigger problem than even the best teachers can correct. This is one of the main difficulties in any attempt to evaluate teacher performance: teachers must contend with many problems not of their own making, and far outside their ability to solve. These come often as luck-of-the-draw. Some years a teacher will have a particularly able class, and few kids from broken homes or with learning disabilities, etc. On the other hand, some teachers might be particularly good with such students, but odds are their test scores will still lag those of kids without similar problems, so the teacher's accomplishment stil won't show up by most objective measures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    But with "ad hoc" I was naming the effect rather than the essence, and thereby starting down a path meant to undermine the supposed value of using business management philosophies in the organisation of the practice of education in modern life. Free market philosophies and industry development models are, it is presumed, sources of efficiency, and if we overlook the ragged history of all business and the real costs they end up imposing, then, indeed yes, efficiency arrives. But efficient what?

    Competition between educational services does not create better educational services. It cannot possibly. You'd need the majority of the population of service consumers to be capable of consuming the better educational services. If they weren't, why would any other than a niche service provider aim for the high level? And there's your efficiency.
    Efficient what, indeed. Moreover, who is the consumer of education? The student? The student's family? The student's future employer? Society at large? As we are finding with health care, education is too important to leave to market forces, partly because the impact goes beyond the direct individual consumer of the service. We have long placed emergency services and national defense into the pool of services that are supported by tax dollars for the benefit of all (though the way defense contracts have been handled lately calls this into question). Education belongs there, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Musicallogic View Post
    On this point you are simply incorrect. Teachers unions and government management are making our students some of the lowest achievers in the industrialized world. Have you looked at anything about the New Orleans school system since Hurricane Katrina? They implemented a voucher system and gave parents a choice of privately run schools. The test scores and graduation rates have gone through the roof. (Especially in the extremely poor areas) Although I think there is a way to completely privatize schools and still provide an education for everyone, I would happily support a voucher system anywhere and everywhere it could be applied. Having the government educating children leads to Texas teaching kids the earth is 6000 years old and critical thinking is bad. (Yes some private schools do that too but if there is competition parents have a choice to send their kids to schools that actually teach logic and science)
    It is easy to show that more people are meeting the standards when you lower the standards. That's an old game. Having backwards state governments educating children leads to most of them being taught that the earth is 6000 years old. Given a choice, many of these parents would still have their children learn exactly that. You think our kids' poor test scores make us look bad; that would make us a true laughingstock. The solution isn't to give parents the choice of having their children learn logic and science; it's to ensure that all available choices contain these critical features.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    It's deeply weird to blame teachers. They're salaried workers. What was anyone expecting--entrepreneurial vision and progressive development? In return for... next month's salary? They teach, students fail. That's how it works.
    Teachers with entrepreneurial vision and progressive development are more common than you might think. They are, unfortunately, battered down by the progression of mind-numbing certification requirements, cowardly administrators, and parents who object when their kids are actually expected to put out some effort and behave themselves.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  3. #273
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Teachers with entrepreneurial vision and progressive development are more common than you might think. They are, unfortunately, battered down by the progression of mind-numbing certification requirements, cowardly administrators, and parents who object when their kids are actually expected to put out some effort and behave themselves.
    Oh, I know. You can't really set yourself up as the measure of another person's progress in some pursuit without having some kind of willingness to think and do for yourself. But it's one of those things the system gets for free. If it were written into job requirements, salaries would have to rise. Meanwhile, boss-type people seem to have started expecting it for nothing.

    I was thinking just today actually, a big part of this discussion would be over if certain parts of the system owned up to how much they were expecting to get for free. In broad economic terms the money that used to exist to pay for the shiny things voters wanted just doesn't exist any more. Meanwhile, the people in politics keep on hoping to stay in charge. Of course they're expecting more free stuff from their systems. But if they could just dress it up in something other than "find the error to be with those who don't work harder for us", they might come off less like hegemonic dicks and more like leaders.

    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

    Boy meets Grr

  4. #274
    Senior Member Ism's Avatar
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    I fully support the suppression of these so-called 'critical thinking skills,' and feel blessed to know that the Texas GOP is working to fervidly enforce my political agenda.

  5. #275
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicallogic View Post
    On this point you are simply incorrect. Teachers unions and government management are making our students some of the lowest achievers in the industrialized world. Have you looked at anything about the New Orleans school system since Hurricane Katrina? They implemented a voucher system and gave parents a choice of privately run schools. The test scores and graduation rates have gone through the roof. (Especially in the extremely poor areas) Although I think there is a way to completely privatize schools and still provide an education for everyone, I would happily support a voucher system anywhere and everywhere it could be applied. Having the government educating children leads to Texas teaching kids the earth is 6000 years old and critical thinking is bad. (Yes some private schools do that too but if there is competition parents have a choice to send their kids to schools that actually teach logic and science)
    Honestly, I have not looked at the New Orleans schools system since Katrina, and as such I can't comment on the veracity of your point there. I can say this, if you're worried about our students being the lowest achievers in the industrialized world, shouldn't be significant to you that the rest of the industrialized world generally has more centralized and government regulated education? There seems to be something of a schism between their students doing better than us and the solution being decentralization and privatization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Musicallogic View Post
    To your points on free markets, you are correct that without some mechanism of enforcement, the big and powerful will steamroll the small. The government's role in a free market is to ensure that everybody plays by the same rules ie. they cannot violate another's property rights nor commit fraud. There also needs to be some way to mediate disputes. (our current civil court system) Neither of these government functions requires anything to be "regulated" in the current understanding of the term.
    Those things alone absolutely aren't good enough. Even if everyone played by those rules it does not prevent anyone from developing a runaway advantage by which they can manipulate other, lesser businesses and actually the government itself, potentially. That also leaves plenty of room for collusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Musicallogic View Post
    The one thing of which I am absolutely certain is that my children will never attend a school run by the government.
    I was home schooled all my life and I'm glad I was, but home schooling is extremely variable and I consider the conditions of my schooling a fluke. Most home schooled children seem to get much worse conditions. I am not at all sure I'd rather have been in a private school than public school though. It's pretty variable, too, and as a rule it's expensive if it's even remotely worth while.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  6. #276
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Well, I'm no teacher and as such only have cursory knowledge of the profession (compared to a professor).

    Given that you, and others here seem to have a greater level of industry knowledge, what do you guys think would be a good way off increasing teacher accountability?
    First, we would need to define what exactly they are accountable for. Are we evaluating their performance, or the performance of their students? The two are obviously related, but direct cause and effect can be very hard to prove, especially in a timely manner. Student success depends on much more than teachers, and on many factors over which teachers have no control. Moreover, to be truly meaningful, student success must be viewed as far more than performance on the latest standardized test. Once a student graduates, no one cares what he/she got on these tests. What matters is whether they can communicate effectively in our common language; do math well enough to manage a household budget; understand enough of history and science to appreciate the pitfalls of the past and understand the choices of the future; understand how to think for themselves and consider the consequences of their actions. It is hard to tease apart the contributions of teachers and others on some of these counts, plus it will be years before we can tell how the former students are doing on others.

    The only way to evaluate teachers in all timely and realistic manner is to look at what they (and not their students) are doing. I am no expert here, but I would start by considering how well they adhere to established best practices for the grade, subject, and ability level they teach. This would not only hold teachers accountable, but administrators as well, putting them on notice that they are expected to support teachers in following these practices, rather than hiding behind testing, regulations, and intellectual timidity. Yes, more sorting of the students would help as well, so teachers are teaching groups that are a bit more homogeneous than what has so far been politically correct in education. Not only separate out perpetual troublemakers, but save the hard core academics for those students who have the ability and interest in them. Then, teacher evaluation will be less like comparing apples with oranges.

  7. #277
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    The Purpose of Critical Thinking and Its Suppression

    We learn to think critically for a purpose.

    That purpose is to suspend our disbelief.

    The suspension of disbelief is extremely valuable and makes art, literature and science possible.

    However critical thinking and the suspension of disbelief is threatening for those who wish to control us through our childhood beliefs.

    Yes, the suspension of disbelief is a direct threat to belief.

    And in particular the suspension of disbelief is a direct threat to the beliefs of children, and those with the minds of children.

    But those with the minds of children are easy to control.

    And so the bourgeoisie in control seek to suppress critical thinking and the suspension of disbelief.

  8. #278

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    I think accountability and measuring performance are important things.

    But, if you believe that teaching is the only profession where things don't go like we would like, think about management in companies. Talk about lack of accountability and people ineffective at their jobs. How poor your average manager is at a company is laughable. And Cheif Executives? Being paid millions of dollars for running a company into the ground? Yeah. That's accountability.

    I think it is much better to talk about concrete examples to talk about how things are judged. We can hem and haw in the abstract without really getting at anything real.

    So, I want to take a specific example from my own experience to see how you would judge my performance and hold me accountable.

    I have a discussion section with 13 students for a 6-week course in general chemistry. Students are not required to attend. After, two discussion sessions, there was an exam given in main lecture. The exam was made by the main professor. I did not know what was going to be on the exam.

    I took statistics on those who attended discussions, and how well they scored.
    Those who attended one session scored about 12 points (10% of the exam points) higher than those who attended none. Those who attended two sessions scored about 24 points (20% of the exam points) higher than those who attended none.

    Four people in my section are failing the class (none of them attended discussion sessions before the first exam). One is getting an A- (she attended both sessions). One is getting an A (he attended neither, but asked for and worked the problems I went over during discussion).

    How would you evaluate my performance? How accountable should I be for the students who are failing?

    How much responsibility should be placed on the students themselves? Should a "systemic" change be made to fix things? (making discussions required?, having assigned homework? Give me freedom to assign or take away points for the course?)

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
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  9. #279
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    It's easier to hold teacher accountable than it is any of the other groups in this discussion.

    Sure parents and kid's general laziness are to blame, but without anyone to hold them accountable, we wont be able to do anything about those issues.

    The easiest group to hold accountable are the teachers, those getting paid to do a good job preparing our students for a global job market with increasing competition coming from over seas.

    We hold the teachers accountable. The teachers hold the kids accountable, who fail, and are then forced to be held accountable by their parents.

    If the parents fail to hold the kids accountable, their futures dim and the likely hood that they will reproduce diminishes. Or their lack of achievement serves as an example to the other students to actually achieve.

    It should be much easier to fail out of college than it is.

    The tendency of every group to shift the blame and tell us its everyone elses fault is ridiculous.

  10. #280

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    I am asking specifically, how should they be held accountable? To what standards, and for what things specifically?

    Are we about to hold teachers accountable for the growth of the economy?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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