The board's server will undergo upgrade maintenance tonight, Nov 5, 2014, beginning approximately around 10 PM ET. Prepare for some possible down time during this process.
FAQ    Search

Board index » Word on the Street » News & Debate




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 75 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 7:11 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 29470
broken iris wrote:
stip wrote:

I've read data that there is a surplus of job seekers in stem jobs--certain types, anyway.


Yup. Should we decide to commit national economic suicide and liberalize our policies on STEM worker immigration, versus focusing on training and retaining domestic talent, the number of middle class jobs will quickly head towards zero due to wage suppression for even the most technical degrees. It's better business to have 6 $50k/year coders working 8 hour shifts in "pair programming" than two $150k/year employees working the same tasks. Makes the national emplpoyment numbers look better to.

stip wrote:
If you get a major in philosophy and insist on being a philosopher you have limited options. But I have several articles from publications like the Harvard Business Review, etc. arguing that businesses need to shift focus back to liberal arts so they have workers who can actually write and think.



Nope. The type of work that big thinkers who don't have STEM educations do is not needed anymore outside of the federal government. We are moving into what's called a "gig economy", where workers only stay in a job for a year or two, and employees need to be prepared accordingly by having advanced knowledge in multiple disciplines within a single field should their specialty fade away. Producing sharp, intellectual, 'blank slate' employees, no matter how trainable, is a non-starter for today's world. There is just too much competition.[/quote]


that was entirely the point of the articles. They are finding that students coming out of liberal arts fields tend to have the kind of limber mind that make this possible.

If I am thinking of this thread when I'm back at work I'll cite the article

_________________
*Led Zeppelin Mega Tournament: Click here*


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri August 30, 2013 7:12 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 29470
broken iris wrote:
--- wrote:
broken iris wrote:
Should we decide to commit national economic suicide and liberalize our policies on STEM worker immigration, versus focusing on training and retaining domestic talent, the number of middle class jobs will quickly head towards zero due to wage suppression for even the most technical degrees.

PROTECTIONISM NOW, PROTECTIONISM TOMORROW, PROTECTIONISM FOREVER


What I meant was that the government should not wholesale import doctors/programmers/etc from Asia. If the work is to be done over there for cost reasons, then so be it, but bringing thousands over here benefits no one but shareholders in companies like Facebook. It's a form of protectionism, I suppose, but I'd rather see wages creep downward to line with overseas competitors than to bring to flood the markets here.


don't let all caps intimidate you. That's not an argument. It's aggressive punctuation

_________________
*Led Zeppelin Mega Tournament: Click here*


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Sat August 31, 2013 8:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar
post-structuralist
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 2:22 pm
Posts: 14981
Location: faked by jorge
--- wrote:
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/private_school_vs_public_school_only_bad_people_send_their_kids_to_private.html


every kid in my family went to public schools, but this was before there was such a huge rift in the quality of education that can be obtained, and a lot has changed to make public schools very unappealing in the last 40 years give or take. so the kids in my family were very successful after going through the public school system, because they (we, I guess) received high quality educations through the public school system. In retrospect, we were lucky and born early enough that a public school education wasn't a detriment to our ability to excel in our lives.

I note this because as a result, I tend to agree with the spirit of the article, although I find it wildly out of whack with realty today, and wanted to point out some of the gross imbalance in the article without feeling like a hypocrite because my family was a successful product of public education.

Quote:
You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.

you’re not a bad person if you send your kids to private school. you are usually a fairly well-off person though. this seems to widen the gap between the upper class/upper middle class and middle class – which these days is pretty wide already.
the problem here is that (as was pointed out to me privately) as a parent, your main concern, very understandably, should be your child’s well fair, not the well fair of the society, although both contribute to each other I think. so this becomes a question for me of how does the country keep this gap between the classes from swallowing the middle class whole and leave only the very poor and the rich to very rich?
Public education always felt to me to be something of an equalizer in this regard, perhaps it’s not so effective anymore, and the country doesn't care about that as much? I don’t know, it’s just a question I have in my head.

Quote:
I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)


this is pretty ridiculous as a talking point. why in the world would it be beneficial to allow generations to pass in what I assume would be decay and ruin for the sole purpose of making public schools better. shouldn't it be more of a question about how can the country improve public education so the society DOESN'T decay for generations?
I honestly can’t determine if this author is an outrageous prick of a human being or is just yanking her reader’s chain, but either way, it’s embarrassing if not to her, than to me, because I don’t want to be lumped into an group of people who might be serious about it to some degree – it’s coming across as a desire to be inflammatory in order to get attention, which does no good for the endorsement of public education.

Quote:
So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

so it’s like sending your sons off to war? making a flesh and blood contribution? does this author live in a bunker 60 feet underground ? my point is there’s options to be had in improving the school system that don’t require the sacrifice of a child’s future. why isn’t this author bringing them up instead of this sludge?

Quote:
And parents have a lot of power. In many underresourced schools, it’s the aggressive PTAs that raise the money for enrichment programs and willful parents who get in the administration’s face when a teacher is falling down on the job. Everyone, all in. (By the way: Banning private schools isn’t the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.)

moral adjustments aside, at least she’s mentioned a positive action that can be taken…

Quote:
There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school. Yes, some do it for prestige or out of loyalty to a long-standing family tradition or because they want their children to eventually work at Slate. But many others go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot. None of these are compelling reasons. Or, rather, the compelling ones (behavioral or learning issues, wanting a not-subpar school for your child) are exactly why we should all opt in, not out.

I believe in public education, but my district school really isn’t good! you might say. I understand. You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it. If you can afford private school (even if affording means scrimping and saving, or taking out loans), chances are that your spawn will be perfectly fine at a crappy public school. She will have support at home (that’s you!) and all the advantages that go along with being a person whose family can pay for and cares about superior education—the exact kind of family that can help your crappy public school become less crappy. She may not learn as much or be as challenged, but take a deep breath and live with that. Oh, but she’s gifted? Well, then, she’ll really be fine.

I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one book. There wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

so this at least explains why this author is talking out of her asshole through much of the article, she’s a fucking idiot as a result of the crappy education she received and instead of taking it upon herself to, you know, read books not assigned in school maybe, has decided she’s ok with being sub-mediocre, and your kids should be too… otherwise, fuck off you pretentious fucks!

Quote:
By the way: My parents didn’t send me to this shoddy school because they believed in public ed. They sent me there because that’s where we lived, and they weren’t too worried about it. (Can you imagine?) Take two things from this on your quest to become a better person: 1) Your child will probably do just fine without “the best,” so don’t freak out too much, but 2) do freak out a little more than my parents did—enough to get involved.

Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation. Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

so here’s at least a crumb of validity – but it’s stated so badly, and so outrageously that the point has been trampled by inept personal observation. There actually are benefits to having a lot of diversity in a school population – my own high school was large – over 2000 kids in the student body (and it was a combined jr/sr high school which was even more unheard of- having 12, 13 and 14 year olds in the same buildings as the older teens) but I really liked my school because of this. there was no discernible prejudice yet there were kids from all over the color spectrum attending the school, there were kids of every social upbringing, and there were many different cultural backgrounds that we came from – which made us more enlightened (IMO) and more accepting of the world in general – we got to know one another, we hung out with one another, and we appreciated the differences as much as the similarities between us.

Quote:
Many of my (morally bankrupt) colleagues send their children to private schools. I asked them to tell me why. Here is the response that most stuck with me: “In our upper-middle-class world, it is hard not to pay for something if you can and you think it will be good for your kid.” I get it: You want an exceptional arts program and computer animation and maybe even Mandarin. You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention. You know who else wants those things? Everyone.

Whatever you think your children need—deserve—from their school experience, assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same. No, don’t just assume it. Do something about it. Send your kids to school with their kids. Use the energy you have otherwise directed at fighting to get your daughter a slot at the competitive private school to fight for more computers at the public school. Use your connections to power and money and innovation to make your local school—the one you are now sending your child to—better. Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt—listen to it.


welp. listen to your moral guilt if you must, but please, don’t listen to this dolt. she’s kind of a disgrace.

_________________
Dev wrote:
im such a nice guy and malice is total garbage.


Spoiler: show
people change. people stay the same. people are so often disappointing - random PM, person unnamed


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Mon September 02, 2013 6:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 29470
one of the articles I mentioned the other day re: liberal arts and employment

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/news/wir ... tml?page=2
http://millennialbranding.com/wp-conten ... raphic.jpg

_________________
*Led Zeppelin Mega Tournament: Click here*


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Tue September 03, 2013 12:50 am 
Offline
User avatar
Site Admin
 Profile

Joined: Wed December 12, 2012 10:33 pm
Posts: 5336
Do the skills cited as being desired necessarily require an liberal arts degree to attain? It seems to me that the development of those skills should be happening for all students, starting as early as in secondary school.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Tue September 03, 2013 2:28 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
malice wrote:
Public education always felt to me to be something of an equalizer in this regard, perhaps it’s not so effective anymore, and the country doesn't care about that as much? I don’t know, it’s just a question I have in my head.


I think part of the problem is the conflicting explanations over the widening achievement gap between the schools populated by the haves vs. those whose students come from the have-nots. If we believe the 'blank slate' argument about human children and that all cultures and family structures are equally beneficial to children in traditional schooling scenarios, ideas I would attribute to more liberal leaning people, then the achievement gap can only be explained by more sinister motives such as racism and class warfare. From that perspective the solution is more money, busing to balance demographics, and elimination of economically driven advantages like expensive private schools. If we believe that specific genetics, family structure, and cultural norms contribute to a more successful child (aka the birth lottery), then the achievement gaps could be attributed to failings of the parents of the 'have-not' kids and thus is not a real problem and not something the haves have to do anything about, especially if it somehow compromises their children's education liking busing in local income kids or diverting money to problem schools.

I guess the net is that IMO it's not people don't care anymore, it's that they realize how crucial schooling is to success and how competitive it has become, so if the system is working for them, they won't change it in ways that they view as compromising to them.

malice wrote:
Quote:
I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)


this is pretty ridiculous as a talking point. why in the world would it be beneficial to allow generations to pass in what I assume would be decay and ruin for the sole purpose of making public schools better. shouldn't it be more of a question about how can the country improve public education so the society DOESN'T decay for generations?
I honestly can’t determine if this author is an outrageous prick of a human being or is just yanking her reader’s chain, but either way, it’s embarrassing if not to her, than to me, because I don’t want to be lumped into an group of people who might be serious about it to some degree – it’s coming across as a desire to be inflammatory in order to get attention, which does no good for the endorsement of public education.
.


Is that really the argument though? It sounds like the goal is to make them more equal, which isn't necessarily the same as better. For example the author's idea of everyone taking "AP Math" is silly. If everyone took it, it wouldn't be AP anymore, it would just be twelfth grade math. Every school should offer it, but not every student is capable of it, so AP classes shouldn't in and of themselves be a goal post.



One of my problems with the article is that it's not clear what type of private schools are being hated on here. Is it the wealth schools, the Sidwell Friends types, or is it Michelle Rhea style charter schools which divert tax money form the public system? They are quite different. I have no problems with the first type and the rich paying $40k to send their kids to a private school as long as they pay the same property tax rates as everyone else to fund the public schools. It's probably even better that way since they pay into the system but don't consume any resources. Now the charter schools I can see people having an issue with, especially if you are a unionized teacher or administrator trying to protect your market.

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Tue September 03, 2013 3:42 pm 
Offline
User avatar
AnalLog
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 16, 2013 10:46 pm
Posts: 1600
Location: Wrigleyville
Green Habit wrote:
Do the skills cited as being desired necessarily require an liberal arts degree to attain? It seems to me that the development of those skills should be happening for all students, starting as early as in secondary school.


Yeah I don't understand the point of that article. It's not like communication and writing skills aren't important. I think they are necessary, but not sufficient.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Thu September 05, 2013 5:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
Quote:
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brown-center-chalkboard/posts/2013/09/04-algebra-coursetaking-loveless
Algebra II and The Declining Significance of Coursetaking

The Brown Center released a report today called “The Algebra Imperative.” The report shows that current national and international math assessments do not adequately measure how well American students are learning algebra. In this chalkboard post, I elaborate upon a point made in the report: that taking and successfully completing an Algebra II course, which once certified high school students’ mastery of advanced topics in algebra and solid preparation for college-level mathematics, no longer means what it once did. The credentialing integrity of Algebra II has weakened.

The declining significance of successfully completing Algebra II highlights a dilemma. Pushing students to take more advanced coursework has been a mainstay of American school reform for several decades. That prescription has worked in boosting enrollments. In 1986, less than half of all 17 year-olds (44%) had completed Algebra II, and for Black and Hispanic students, the rate was less than a third. Completing Algebra II is now commonplace. In 2012, about three-fourths of students completed Algebra II, and the race/ethnicity gaps associated with taking the course have narrowed significantly. (All NAEP data below are from the NAEP data explorer.)


Table 1. Percentage of 17 Year-Olds who Completed Second Year Algebra (1986-2012)
Image


Percentage of 17 Year-Olds who completed second year algebra

Getting more students to take higher level math courses may be a hollow victory. It has not coincided with students learning more math. Figure I shows the average NAEP scores for Algebra II completers (in the following discussion, “completers” include students enrolled in the course when they took NAEP). As enrollments boomed, test scores went down. Caution must be exercised in infering causality. We cannot be certain of a causal connection between rising enrollments and falling scores, but it is certainly plausible—even likely--that enrollment gains have been achieved by drawing in students who are not prepared to take the course. Research does not indicate a decline in the quality of Algebra II teachers or Algebra II textbooks or some other deterioration in course components from 1986-2012 that can explain the decline in NAEP scores.



Image
Figure 1. NAEP Math, 17 Year-Olds who have Completed Second Year Algebra (1986-2012)


A Pipeline Problem

Previous research has documented serious problems in the earliest stages of the advanced math pipeline, in which students traditionally progressed from Algebra I to a final course (Pre-Calculus or Calculus) over four or five years. More and more unprepared students are being pushed into advanced math in middle school. In 2008, I published a study analyzing eighth grade NAEP data. The data were from 2005, and even then a large percentage of low achievers (about 29% of those performing at the 10th percentile or lower in math) were enrolled in advanced math courses. I called these students “Misplaced Math Students” because they did not function at a level commensurate with their math courses. They functioned at about the second to third grade level. They were students who had trouble answering NAEP items involving fractions, decimals, and percentages, concepts that should have been learned several years earlier, and yet they were enrolled as middle schoolers in courses that until recently were considered high school courses.

Several subsequent studies have raised questions about policies that make low performing students take Algebra I in 8th grade. A study out of California found that marginal math students who spent one more year before tackling Algebra I were 69% more likely to pass the algebra end of course exam in 9th grade than ninth grade peers who were taking the course for the second time after failing the algebra test in 8th grade. The researchers referred to a “leaky pipeline” put under increased pressure by California’s aggressive placement of low achieving 8th graders in algebra. The policy succeeded in boosting middle school enrollments in Algebra I, but a large number of students quit taking math just as soon as they could in high school. Even low achievers who matriculate into higher level math courses may not benefit. A study of Charlotte-Mecklenburg students by Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor found that low achievers who took 8th grade algebra experienced negative long term effects, including lower pass rates in Geometry and Algebra II.

Consequences

The misplaced students are not the only ones who pay a price. Recent studies suggest that a systematic erosion of the legitimacy of advanced courses is taking place. By that I mean: students are taking advanced, college-prep courses, passing them with good grades, and yet do not know the advanced subject matter signified by the titles of the courses they have taken. Courses have lost their credentialing power. An National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) study of high school transcripts analyzed the textbooks students used in high school Algebra I, Geometry, and Integrated Math courses. NCES conducted the study to solve a riddle.

The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcript Study (HSTS) found that high school graduates in 2005 earned more mathematics credits, took higher level mathematics courses, and obtained higher grades in mathematics courses than in 1990. The report also noted that these improvements in students’ academic records were not reflected in twelfth-grade NAEP mathematics and science scores. Why are improvements in student coursetaking not reflected in academic performance, such as higher NAEP scores?

The researchers found that course titles often don’t mean what they say. NCES Commissioner Jack Buckley summarized the study’s main finding in an interview with Education Week, “We found that there is very little truth in labeling for high school Algebra I and Geometry courses.”

As unprepared students flow through a series of counterfeit courses, the entire curricular system is corrupted. Algebra II teachers are expected to teach mathematics to students who passed Algebra I with good grades but who, in reality, have not mastered elementary grade concepts that are fundamental to understanding algebra. Parents get false signals about how well their sons and daughters are prepared for college. Schools misallocate resources dedicated to remedial programs by assuming that students know material that they, in fact, do not know.

In the end, the transition to college unmasks the charade. In California, the California State University System draws students from the top one-third of graduating seniors. In 2012, about 30% of entering freshmen taking the Entry Level Math test failed the exam and were placed in remedial math classes, despite earning a mean GPA of 3.15 in college prep high school programs. That doesn’t make sense. Good grades in tough courses, yet remediation was needed.[iv]

The problem is not confined to California. Nor is it limited to mathematics. A report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (NCPPHE) estimates that about half of all four-year college freshmen must take remedial classes. The NCPPHE pinpoints a flawed assumption:

Over the last 15 years, many states have emphasized mastery of specific content and performance standards, as shown through grades and statewide assessments; however, this shift to standards-based performance in the schools generally has not been extended to higher levels of achievement associated with college readiness, whose indicators still focus on courses taken. The flawed assumption has been that if students take the right courses and earn the right grades, they will be ready for college.

We need to restore the legitimacy of college prep courses. Let’s ensure that all students who study and pass advanced subject matter have learned what that their parents, teachers and colleges assume they have learned.

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri September 06, 2013 11:16 am 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 29470
I can personally attest that I often have students who passed AP exams or college placement exams that certainly do not have the knowledge base that should correspond to that accomplishment.

_________________
*Led Zeppelin Mega Tournament: Click here*


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Mon October 07, 2013 5:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
Hmmm.....

Image

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Mon November 18, 2013 1:14 am 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.” - Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Common Core


Discuss.

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Mon November 18, 2013 1:49 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 29470
Well I am somewhat hostile to the common core initiative--not that it isn't good to have standards, but I feel like this is a dodge that shifts focus away from the need to spend more money on hiring better teachers (alongside a tightening of the necessary credentials), provide more resources to decrease things like class size), and the fact that so much of education happens at home and that families are having an increasingly difficult time supplying the support (resources and time) that they once did because of stagnating wages, more time working to make up for that, etc. Common core blames school for failing when they are not given the tools they need to succeed.


Having said that, this was a pretty inartful comment that he is gonna catch a LOT of shit for

_________________
*Led Zeppelin Mega Tournament: Click here*


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Mon February 10, 2014 4:03 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
broken iris wrote:
Hmmm.....

Image



Image
Image




Something has to break.

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Sun February 16, 2014 2:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Looks Like a Cat
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 1:56 am
Posts: 13149
Quote:
Out of curiosity what do you think of his post? Also what do you think of open-source learning, you seem like the kind of guy that would appeal to. Also John Taylor Gatto's "Weapons Of Mass Instruction". If you haven't read it you must.


The problem with open source learning, to me, is two-fold. First of all, I see it very much as mistaking a single tool (one that is, by the way, still in its formative stages) for an entire toolkit. But more importantly, it primarily bases its ideals on the ability to digitally locate and receive content. And not only is that problematic because the internet is full of false content, but also because reception of content is not remotely synonymous with learning (which, at heart, is exactly the problem John Taylor Gatto was trying to express).

In general, if you were to break down the difference between digital learning models and traditional education practices in simplest terms, you might end up looking at something like this:

Image



So a successful online education would (and this never happens, by the way) prepare its content delivery with the understanding that said delivery needs to fill the roles traditionally filled by instructors. And that doesn't just mean instructing. It also means it has to be able to address the question "what if they don't understand?" It has to provide them with the opportunity to correct misconceptions, ask and receive answers, and apply new understandings within the context of previously understood or assumed ones.

See, when we recognize expertise, what we are recognizing is an assumed, acquired level of competence that is nurtured over time. It includes background knowledge, skill set development, terminological awareness, ease and scope of applicability, etc. So if the function of an educational experience is to move a student incrementally closer to that level, then it must by definition expose them to concepts and tasks beyond their current levels. And if this is actually happening, then that by default means they will have a low independence level with that information/skill set, and will be most capable of eventually achieving the ability to apply and evaluate on the highest levels if they are properly supported through the early stages of incorporation. Most university experiences state high end goals when mapping curriculum, but few actually achieve beyond introduction and response to content.

Now, if we are talking about an instructor-lite environment, which online learning of any kind ultimately is, then we cannot count on mere reception of content to produce deeper understandings. If content reception was all it took for that level of learning to occur, then we'd all be masters of an incredible number of subjects and topics. And yet, if anything, as our exposure to content has increased through media in the last 15 years, it seems like a reduction of broader comprehension is occurring, and this is because content is not comprehension. Content, without broader comprehension, exists only as a series of independent factoids.

Image



This isn't to say that learning requires an institutional kind of design, but rather the opposite. It is the institutions that rarely acknowledge the most natural processes with which we experience learning. Those processes exist as an ongoing series of constant, developmental feedback events, through which we pursue understanding or success.

Image



So what does that look like, at a structured learning event level? It might look a little like this:

Image




If you put that on its side, it's not that far removed from the blue arrow graphic above. You introduce a concept and assume low student independence relative to that concept. The more they confirm that low independence, the more you attempt to help them nurture competence. The more they prove that they are, in fact, dependently able to utilize that concept, the more you move them towards a mastery point. It's not any different from the programming idea of active context awareness, wherein a program or game adjusts the experience based on the user's behaviors (which itself is just an application of the psychology concept of flow, wherein we are most focused when a task is challenging but not overwhelming).

Online education in general, and especially open source learning, makes assumptions about student selectivity and comprehension that simply can not be made. Also, I should mention that open source learning is a classic example of a "research stretch" topic. Proponents of osl like to take studies conducted in totally unrelated circumstances and then assume generality. So, for example, they grab a study indicating that students benefit from group or portfolio work in an instructor-led environment, and then they assume the same will be true under less guided conditions. They miss the key reasons those things can be beneficial, they miss that their benefit is relegated to certain scenarios (group discussion and collaboration online is far more effective as a formative stage event than it is nearer the mastery points, for example, and portfolios only seem to benefit certain types of concepts or behaviors) and they apply them as universals based solely on assumptions which have not been properly studied yet because they are brand new.

It's sort of like MIT's OpenCourseWare, which is not exactly changing the world with its legions of "graduates" (for lack of a better term). The content is there, right? So what's not happening?

Comprehension.

And, by the way, the failure of their online content delivery to produce comprehension is exactly why they decided to wash their hands of it and put it out there in the first place. The press release version said otherwise, but there'd been murmurings coming out of MIT and other places for years that their online education efforts were broken, and something extreme needed to be done to make them work. Basically, their brass balls reaction was "well let's just put it out there, and see if anybody else finds a way to use it that is more successful."

Acquisition of competence is a goal that online education should be best suited for, since it is by definition more capable of being individually tailored than a regular classroom experience. Instead, current models and systems all underperform. :shake: Whosoever controls the spice, controls the universe.


-

For the record, I just finished delivering a workshop to faculty on self-guided learning, and I borrowed the above images from a few of my slides. So no, I didn't make them for the sake on an internet message board post.

_________________
Cell Phone Songs



Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Sun February 16, 2014 6:32 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
Great post. I have heard that sentiment echoed in many places, even outside of educational fields. One of the things that I have read that distorts OSL efforts is that the people making the content are generally high-IQ autodidacts (MIT or Standford grad students for example) that don't normally need an instructor to grasp abstract concepts while the vast majority of college-ready students benefit from the more traditional Socratic-type instructor lead classes.

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Sun February 16, 2014 8:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar
10Club Complaint Department
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 11:46 pm
Posts: 16575
Ok McParry, considering what I know, open-source learning puts more emphasis on things like apprenticeships, not online learning. If you listen to Gatto his message is always that you can learn more from doing it yourself than you can wasting your time in class. In other words, open source learning in some instances would be a matter of letting the students make up there own projects, having them set out to investigate them(you want to be a mechanic then why don't you go visit some of the local mechanics in town, and see if they need help?), then having the student check in with the teacher to report their progress/ and have the teacher help guide them in their goals. The emphasis of open-source learning is giving the students freedom. In schools like Summer-Hill in BC classes are optional. If you like you can go throw rocks at stops signs all day, but by offering more freedom in their education they find that ultimately the students learn to motivate themselves.

Here is Gatto telling you to go buy a boat and sail the world rather than waste time with teachers

_________________
The Argonaut wrote:
Dev thinks that his philosophical rants make sense and are easily followable and logical.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Sun February 16, 2014 9:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Looks Like a Cat
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 1:56 am
Posts: 13149
I understand what Gatto is about. What I was trying to do there was illustrate the central problem that he shares with other attempts to broaden or deconstruct our basic understanding of how education functions, such as self-directed learning and open courseware. Rather than go point-by-point through each of the arguments made by one of these efforts, I figured I'd point out the one piece they all fail to address.

At heart, these ideas all share a common recognition: things are not working the way they are. We are not achieving high success levels, we produce more believers than we do thinkers, and we badly need our intellectual capital in order to stay relevant in the coming century. None of this is wrong.

The other side of the commonality is that they all propose a structural deviation from the norm, and go about illustrating or defining that deviation in a way that shows a complete lack of understanding of what the real source of the above problems is. At the end of the day, they haven't bothered to try understanding the process or designs of human learning any more than the people who built the designs they're hoping to replace. They won't solve anything. It'll be a new house of holes. That's all.

Learning cannot be evaluated and fixed on the basis of a purely philosophical, political, or religious ideal (and I would argue that Gatto, who has acknowledged repeatedly his dislike of the "replacement of religion with the religion of science," is doing exactly that), which then tries to graft nature-based statements onto its premise in order to defend itself. It has to be evaluated and fixed based first on an understanding of nature; the results can be refined using the above, as is appropriate. Horse first, then cart.

Gatto is especially typical of the "use nature to argue my case but never really understand it" approach, in that he grabs one or two obvious truths (ie we don't all learn to read at the same age) and never bothers to dig into the causes, opportunities, needs for support, or even the basic biological and sociological influencers of that event. He doesn't seem to think it's important to understand anything more about it than "WE DON'T ALL LEARN TO READ AT THE SAME AGE." That idea is both the start of his realization, and the end. So he simply draws a line straight from just such a premise to "see, it's all fucked right now," never acknowledges (or maybe never realizes) that the children who are most responsible for that discrepancy are going to be the ones most at risk under his vision, and away we go.

So, as with just about everybody who proposes a temporarily refreshing-sounding "do over" of a complicated issue, he makes some crucial, accurate points about where the problems lie, but he never completes his analysis by looking into causation or impact. He spends all his time talking about education, and never for one moment really delves into what learning is and how it is best supported. Because, as with so many others, he assumes that the right reception of content will equate to learning. The right experience will equate to learning. Get the system right, and learning will just sort of happen.

And these assumptions are good if you are learning a single, simple skill....if that's all you're after, the aforementioned combination can be a strong basis. But it doesn't do much more than that.

I'd hate to go line by line through what I dislike about Gatto, because it would bore me, but I'll use just one of his logical reaches to illustrate what he seems to do on EVERY SINGLE aspect of his argument:

Fact A: Americans have a problem with obesity
+
Inexplicable Assumption B: American school cafeterias are the primary source of this problem
+
Claim he never bothers to substantiate C: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton all choose photogenic intellectual lessers over overweight genius candidates
=
Moron thought D: Schools are designed to keep the middle and lower classes fat, so they will not get into good schools.

Now, for those readers who haven't read Gatto, just to show I'm not being hyperbolic, here's a snippet of that portion of his text:

Quote:
Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other elites turn away thousands of applicants with perfect SAT scores and thousands with perfect 4.0 GPAs….. But shapely, well-dressed, physically vital candidates are given a substantial head start–as if elite college was some sort of eugenics project.


Given claims like that, it's no wonder he refuses to cite his informational sources with dismissive comments about how source referencing is the stuff of the (implicitly lowly and unremarkable) professoriate.

_________________
Cell Phone Songs



Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Sun February 16, 2014 10:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar
10Club Complaint Department
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 11:46 pm
Posts: 16575
ouch, I think viewing the video I posted would give a more balanced view of what he really stands for than the quote. I will respond later, I think he offers more in the way of a solution than you give him credit for..

_________________
The Argonaut wrote:
Dev thinks that his philosophical rants make sense and are easily followable and logical.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Fri September 05, 2014 8:36 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ


:|

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: General Education Topik
PostPosted: Tue September 09, 2014 12:39 pm 
Offline
AnalLog
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 3:41 am
Posts: 1199
McParadigm wrote:
I understand what Gatto is about. What I was trying to do there was illustrate the central problem that he shares with other attempts to broaden or deconstruct our basic understanding of how education functions, such as self-directed learning and open courseware. Rather than go point-by-point through each of the arguments made by one of these efforts, I figured I'd point out the one piece they all fail to address.

At heart, these ideas all share a common recognition: things are not working the way they are. We are not achieving high success levels, we produce more believers than we do thinkers, and we badly need our intellectual capital in order to stay relevant in the coming century. None of this is wrong.

The other side of the commonality is that they all propose a structural deviation from the norm, and go about illustrating or defining that deviation in a way that shows a complete lack of understanding of what the real source of the above problems is. At the end of the day, they haven't bothered to try understanding the process or designs of human learning any more than the people who built the designs they're hoping to replace. They won't solve anything. It'll be a new house of holes. That's all.

Learning cannot be evaluated and fixed on the basis of a purely philosophical, political, or religious ideal (and I would argue that Gatto, who has acknowledged repeatedly his dislike of the "replacement of religion with the religion of science," is doing exactly that), which then tries to graft nature-based statements onto its premise in order to defend itself. It has to be evaluated and fixed based first on an understanding of nature; the results can be refined using the above, as is appropriate. Horse first, then cart.

Gatto is especially typical of the "use nature to argue my case but never really understand it" approach, in that he grabs one or two obvious truths (ie we don't all learn to read at the same age) and never bothers to dig into the causes, opportunities, needs for support, or even the basic biological and sociological influencers of that event. He doesn't seem to think it's important to understand anything more about it than "WE DON'T ALL LEARN TO READ AT THE SAME AGE." That idea is both the start of his realization, and the end. So he simply draws a line straight from just such a premise to "see, it's all fucked right now," never acknowledges (or maybe never realizes) that the children who are most responsible for that discrepancy are going to be the ones most at risk under his vision, and away we go.

So, as with just about everybody who proposes a temporarily refreshing-sounding "do over" of a complicated issue, he makes some crucial, accurate points about where the problems lie, but he never completes his analysis by looking into causation or impact. He spends all his time talking about education, and never for one moment really delves into what learning is and how it is best supported. Because, as with so many others, he assumes that the right reception of content will equate to learning. The right experience will equate to learning. Get the system right, and learning will just sort of happen.

And these assumptions are good if you are learning a single, simple skill....if that's all you're after, the aforementioned combination can be a strong basis. But it doesn't do much more than that.

I'd hate to go line by line through what I dislike about Gatto, because it would bore me, but I'll use just one of his logical reaches to illustrate what he seems to do on EVERY SINGLE aspect of his argument:

Fact A: Americans have a problem with obesity
+
Inexplicable Assumption B: American school cafeterias are the primary source of this problem
+
Claim he never bothers to substantiate C: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton all choose photogenic intellectual lessers over overweight genius candidates
=
Moron thought D: Schools are designed to keep the middle and lower classes fat, so they will not get into good schools.

Now, for those readers who haven't read Gatto, just to show I'm not being hyperbolic, here's a snippet of that portion of his text:

Quote:
Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other elites turn away thousands of applicants with perfect SAT scores and thousands with perfect 4.0 GPAs….. But shapely, well-dressed, physically vital candidates are given a substantial head start–as if elite college was some sort of eugenics project.


Given claims like that, it's no wonder he refuses to cite his informational sources with dismissive comments about how source referencing is the stuff of the (implicitly lowly and unremarkable) professoriate.



This guy offers alternative reasons why the ivy leagues turn away high test scores:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119321/harvard-ivy-league-should-judge-students-standardized-tests

Keep in mind he is a social scientist, so don't think I'm giving him too much credence.


Top
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 75 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

Board index » Word on the Street » News & Debate


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
It is currently Wed December 13, 2017 8:59 am