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Amicitia concero omnis
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:40 pm GMT 
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Well, I'm not even talking about taxes and the like. I'm simply talking about. . .well.

Teachers - master's degrees need to be required, programs need to be more selective

University - should be free

High schools - need to be revamped to ditch old false information, also there need to be smaller class sizes and more teachers

Education in general - more focus on real-world application and take a more "organic" approach to learning, less memorizing by rote

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The Personification of Spring
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:41 pm GMT 
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What False information? And...organic?

(Also the terms came up in your links/images.)

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Amicitia concero omnis
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:49 pm GMT 
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Organic is something like the Trivium, which is suited to a person's developmental stage (like how a teen is in a rebellious stage, or argumentative - thus, teach them how to argue effectively and use logic!).

As for false information: what Fedora was talking about with the biased information and whatnot.

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The Personification of Spring
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:51 pm GMT 
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thus, teach them how to argue effectively and use logic!


Boy, THAT sure would've been handy to have learned...

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European! Old! Pretentious!
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:22 pm GMT 
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Schools need a bigger budget before they can improve substantially. All this talk of adding extra languages or the like requires far far more training and far more staff than there is currently (in the UK and I'm guessing the US). It would be nice if schools were prioritised vs the defence budget in ALL schools, American or otherwise. As it is in Scotland, more teachers are trained than are actually able to get jobs in the current economy. I don't think they need a master's degree. What they have is enough. It's still a whole degree, and a Masters in the UK is only one year more.

It should not also be forgotten that teaching is a demoralising profession to be involved in, for the most part. I may be generalising a bit from my own school experience, but my high school's somewhat better than average ratings suggest it's, if anything, a better than average example of a Scottish school. Teaching there is often a shitty, thankless job managing a disruptive subsection of people who actively fight being taught and don't want to be there, and that shouldn't be forgotten when considering the reasons education can be .. pretty crappy.

I had some good teachers, but they were and are generally demoralised and demotivated by their jobs- they need more help coping with that than they get. It's hard to stay motivated trying to teach pupils who are so demotivated by even being at school and who just plain don't care enough to try and indeed actively make learning harder for others, and I don't even know what the answer to that is. It's the educational system's job to motivate pupils better- but it seems to chew up, spit out and leave mangled the people who start off all bright eyed and idealistic about their ability to improve pupils' lives. It's like social workers- they're there to help people, but having to deal with the kinds of situations they have to deal with is enough to suck out any feelings of 'doing' good' from the average person. They need paid more than they're paid, they need more help and support.

I have been kept up to date with what was happening to most of my old high school teachers post-high school because my ex actually works there. Several of them- including one of them who was the most popular teacher I knew of, have ended up so bitter, depressed and angry at everything. Few of them seemed happy then and the evidence suggests they certainly aren't now. We had a teacher of R.E that people in my class bullied into leaving the profession, going so far even as to phone him at his house to torment him.

Maybe I just have low expectations- the actual curriculum was often kind of boring, but the least of what I have to complain about in my high school experience. The lessons did the job of improving my writing skills, teaching me maths (which I immediately forgot), teaching me about history (which I forget a lot of) including how to evaluate the validity of a historical source, teaching me rudimentary French (which I forgot most of), and giving me qualifications enough to get into a good University (which has continued to be of use to me- I wouldn't be where I was without them). What they tell you in high school may go on to be challenged and replaced by what you learn at university, but I do think that grounding is necessary and not necessarily inadequate. In the circumstance of there being a 'national curriculum' it at least puts you all on the same page. It's got to be pretty simple stuff in the scheme of things- because even as it is it's not like most find it all that easy.

Practical skills wise, I agree in theory more of them would be helpful, but I'd say college in the UK is the place to learn specialised practical skills. High school 'taught' us cooking and sewing and 'money management' in an extremely rudimentary way, all of which I immediately forgot. I do think that critical thinking skills should be encouraged by schools- and as a secular society, the UK really needs to get rid of the archaic, dystopian sounding nonsense that is 'Religious and Moral Education' and replace it with sociology or psychology or some blend of the two. There should be more encouragement of questioning of the status quo, and people should be taught about common fallacies used in arguments, common ways of misrepresenting things, etc. They should also, in my view, be taught more about the reasons why equality is important, and be encouraged to question any racist, sexist, anti-LGBT, etc views that they may have.

Regarding higher education, I think that higher education should be free, as it actually is in Scotland for now. Most people will be able to find at colleges in Scotland (this is a different thing from University in Scotland and does not get you a degree), some practical qualifications. Entrance to more academically-orientated university courses is based on ability as measured through exam performance. While the system is far from perfect, it at least means that nobody ends up not being able to go to college or university because they can't pay. It's only fair that it should be based on ability, not ability to pay, and there is no excuse for the ridiculously high tuition fees American universities charge, where one year's tuition fees are similar to what a lot of people would earn in a year. Still incensed at what the Conservative government did in England- tripling tuition fees and immediately making University education more something for the middle class and upwards. I don't even get how they can begin to justify such a blatant case of making educational access more unequal.

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Aurum Piraticus Aetus
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:30 am GMT 
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MusicMan108 wrote:
Quote:
thus, teach them how to argue effectively and use logic!


Boy, THAT sure would've been handy to have learned...


Yes! That is what we're getting at!

Graid wrote:
Schools need a bigger budget before they can improve substantially. All this talk of adding extra languages or the like requires far far more training and far more staff than there is currently (in the UK and I'm guessing the US). It would be nice if schools were prioritised vs the defence budget in ALL schools, American or otherwise. As it is in Scotland, more teachers are trained than are actually able to get jobs in the current economy. I don't think they need a master's degree. What they have is enough. It's still a whole degree, and a Masters in the UK is only one year more.


Budgeting is part of why I think a good step towards bilinguism would be to move the langauge classes to elementary level with a focus on local language. So, in Florida, that'd be the addition of a Spanish class, which could theoretically have a single teacher for the different age groups. I'd agree in this they don't need a Masters.

Graid wrote:
It should not also be forgotten that teaching is a demoralising profession to be involved in, for the most part. I may be generalising a bit from my own school experience, but my high school's somewhat better than average ratings suggest it's, if anything, a better than average example of a Scottish school. Teaching there is often a shitty, thankless job managing a disruptive subsection of people who actively fight being taught and don't want to be there, and that shouldn't be forgotten when considering the reasons education can be .. pretty crappy.


Maybe. Though, I think paying them better would mitigate this somewhat. Though, that'd involve changing the budget again, which I'm not opposed to. If we're critiqing a shitty system and budgeting is part of the problem, well, budgeting is part of the problem. It isn't as if the money isn't there rather it's being put into other programs (ones I'd argue are of less value, particularly in the U.S.).


Graid wrote:
What they tell you in high school may go on to be challenged and replaced by what you learn at university, but I do think that grounding is necessary and not necessarily inadequate. In the circumstance of there being a 'national curriculum' it at least puts you all on the same page. It's got to be pretty simple stuff in the scheme of things- because even as it is it's not like most find it all that easy.


I'm not arguing for a more difficult curriculum. Just a more factual one. If what you learn has to be unlearned then it isn't grounding it's a waste. Especially, in U.S. courses, the cases of early American settlement, which actively discourage learning, information retainment, or even a basic sense of well-being by venerating, unquestioningly, a people's equivalents to Hitler and one of the most extensive genocides that has ever been commited. As well as refusing to detail how Europe's interest this time around vs. previous "discoveries" in the New World laid the actual groundwork for the triangle trade in favour of some bogus story that paints the people of Africa as primitives unable to withstand Europe's superior firepower rather than the truth that Africa was a center of economic power of the day. And how Europe's hold in the New World shifted that. And even why they were able to get a hold this time.

Since, to correct what MM was implying, Leif Erikson didn't simple go back home and not tell anyone, he had his ass kicked back across the Atlantic, and he told plenty of people, the original source for the notion of a Norse exploration was legend/oral tradition (which they later found evidence to support).

In the U.S. a lot of people aren't going to go to college. This "groundwork" that needs to be unlearned and corrected is pretty much all they'll ever have. Which is why it is so important that it be taught correctly on every level of education.

Graid wrote:
Regarding higher education, I think that higher education should be free, as it actually is in Scotland for now. Most people will be able to find at colleges in Scotland (this is a different thing from University in Scotland and does not get you a degree), some practical qualifications. Entrance to more academically-orientated university courses is based on ability as measured through exam performance. While the system is far from perfect, it at least means that nobody ends up not being able to go to college or university because they can't pay. It's only fair that it should be based on ability, not ability to pay, and there is no excuse for the ridiculously high tuition fees American universities charge, where one year's tuition fees are similar to what a lot of people would earn in a year. Still incensed at what the Conservative government did in England- tripling tuition fees and immediately making University education more something for the middle class and upwards. I don't even get how they can begin to justify such a blatant case of making educational access more unequal.


This I agree on completely. Since it would mitigate the problem of insufficient elementary-highschools... though, it wouldn't solve it entirely, and I'll stand the notion that the "groundwork" should be correct the first time around, not needing unlearning and re-education in order to know actual facts.

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European! Old! Pretentious!
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:01 am GMT 
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Despite the part my previous post did actually say that I didn't see too much wrong with the curriculum in my own case, I do actually agree with you, FedoraPirate, on the subject of the dangers of being taught that kind of propaganda-ish version of history, which then would go unchallenged if you didn't follow that up with a university education. That is one reason why teaching people to question the evidence and the agenda behind things that they are being told would be very useful in countering some of that. Probably the most important thing really- so many people you see completely lack the basic critical thinking skills when it comes to what they've been told.

I agree, and didn't address nearly enough in my previous post, that there is too much teaching of propagandistic lies in the teaching of history. There has been a long tendency for countries to whitewash (often literally in eroding the voices of non-white folks) their history to make for a more 'palatable' picture of their history. In fact, been a recent development that you'd get anything negative at all said about your country at school, so propaganda-like was education in the past.

My own school didn't teach me too many things to unlearn in that regard, but there was a definite glossing over of that whole genocidal aspect to colonialism. And supporting your point, while I knew that Columbus' 'discovery' of America came at the expense of the local population, it wasn't until I read about it on the internet that I realised just how blatantly, starkly awful Columbus was and just how devastating his impact was. I did not know, for instance, that he eradicated nearly the entire Taino people in one generation on one of the first islands in the 'Indes' that he encountered. A people who in his own words were actually " very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal..there can be no better people". After all they "would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want".

History came from a very self-centred, often patriotism saturated point of view which emphasised, for example, the importance of Britain in WW1 and WW2 without nearly enough attention to the involvement of others. Primary (elementary? grade?) school also was very Scottish nationalist in perspective, which, while not actually 'harmful' as such, perhaps, did actually present a rather distorted picture of history.

It's very irritating when you see people nostalgic for the patriotic education of the past- the crowing over the 'pink bits' of the map that Britain was subjucating, the time when it was possible to be 'proud' of Britain without feeling any 'guilt' at that whole part where the prosperity of the Empire was based on the exploitation of people abroad.

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Amicitia concero omnis
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:19 am GMT 
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Dear God, don't get us Americans started on our views of WWII. . . "We all came in and saved your asses" view. [headdesk]

I do vaguely remember what was taught, but it was hardly in depth until the US entered and the States are painted as kind of cowboy heros or some such.

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Embodiment of contradictions
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:03 pm GMT 
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Hecate wrote:
"We all came in and helped your asses with nuclear bombs"


FTFY. Much more accurate.

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is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:23 pm GMT 
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FTFY smarticus: Nuclear bombs that created devastation beyond comprehension and are still affecting survivors today. And also proved why they should never be used ever again, or indeed, have been invented (which goes for all weapons).


And I am 100% behind Graid and her argument that teaching critical thinking in school is crucial, for all aspects of everyday life. I have realized that I know a lot less about certain things than my students from abroad (historical dates, I had never read Shakespeare in depth until University etc.) but I believe that might be down to the fact that I have spent a lot of my time in school being taught to question the sources of my material, and compare and analyse it. Today I am very glad that I was taught that, even if I can be a bit hot-tempered about certain subjects!

And as for there being flaws in the educational system; there is no arguing that. But I find that there is also flaws in the attitudes of the students. Many, as far as I can tell, do not appreciate what education can give and what its real worth is. Teachers are disrespected, but not just them, but the entire notion of learning is disrespected. Some students/pupils do not see that it is education that largely make the lifestyles they imagine for themselves later possible. In Sweden we do not address teachers or anyone for that matter by titles such as Mr./Mrs./Miss etc. and I don't believe in bringing that back, but some common decency wouldn't be bad to see a return of, or you know, some humility and empathy for that matter.

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Embodiment of contradictions
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:54 pm GMT 
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If we didn't bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki people on both sides estimate that the time it would have taken to force Japan into surrender would have been 6-10 years, with 15 million dead from just the attackers; which is about as many as the entire war combined on all sides (17 million).

The bomb was a bad good thing. We'd still be in the great depression if we didn't.

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is a spider-child
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:48 am GMT 
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Some estimations claim that yes, while some claim quite different. War is always ugly and has two sides, just like the debates that follow it does. But I am not sure I can agree on calling an attack that killed tens of thousands civilians a "bad good thing". The target of the attacks were never "that one military base" or "the Japanese army", they were entire cities.

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 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:01 pm GMT 
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smarticus wrote:
If we didn't bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki people on both sides estimate that the time it would have taken to force Japan into surrender would have been 6-10 years, with 15 million dead from just the attackers; which is about as many as the entire war combined on all sides (17 million).

The bomb was a bad good thing. We'd still be in the great depression if we didn't.



That's some hugely speculative stuff. Saying "people on both sides" suggests that's the mainstream academic view; it's not. Academic opinion is split over whether Japan was already on the verge of surrender, but none but the most extreme estimates would put it at another 6 years of war. That's an incredible figure.

Hiroshima aside, Nagasaki was bombed before any statement of position was received from the Japanese, and long before adequate time was given them to give such after the first bomb. Couple this with the fact that they chose to use a different kind of atomic device the second time; the plutonium bomb. This was an experiment. The effects of such horrendous levels of radiation were untested until their use on civilian population centres, resulting in long-term radiation poisoning long after the initial holocaust.


As for "the depression", would you really justify it on the grounds of its effect on the American economy?



((Did a lot of research into this for some papers a while back. Hope I still have them))

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The Personification of Spring
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:42 pm GMT 
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@Fedora: I'm confused, what was what you've been saying?

@Northern: That was my point, the fault's in the kids not Caring.

(Also, I feel like I Should feel like an ass for believing in the system...)

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Aurum Piraticus Aetus
 Post subject: Re: Sacred Cows
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:30 pm GMT 
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The thing in the quotes. There are other, useful, things you could be learning instead of slightly more difficult math, redundant history, and so on. Such as debate and logic. That is what we've been saying.

The fault is in both. The average factual content in various highschool courses, but especially history, is shakey at best. The students may not care, but if they did, they would be learning shitty information that they'd have to then unlearn in order to get at the facts. Which may actually drive down certain students capacity to care.

'Cause let's say you're a bright student, you like learning, and you've found more accurate acounts of history elsewhere. So you question the teacher on what the history texts says about Colombus, and Thanksgiving, and the Middle East during the Crusades, and the slave trade... and the teacher shuts you down, dodges your questions, and scolds you for disrupting the other kids' "learning" even when you know what they're learning is likely false. How long do you think you'll maintain the ability to give a fuck in a system like that?

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