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Old 07-01-2010, 04:38 PM
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Default Fucking education! How does it work?

Okay, the meme still works for me, so deal haters.

Anyhoo, this topic came up in this thread about world sailing kids, then again yesterday in chat when Adam started a war with me by saying school was more important than sailing for Laura Dekker specifically (but he means for everyone always probably :glare:).

Also, this comes up a lot when homeschooling is discussed or banned (as it has been in both Sweden and Germany).
Quote:
It’s a fear that [home schooling] doesn’t work appropriate[ly],”~ Swedish Educational Ministry press secretary Anna Neuman (though she admitted there was no report or evidence to back up the fear.) Source
Exactly what is taught and how it's taught and what's important are constantly discussed (and focuses changed) when comparing education in different countries, comparing private to public schools, school boards and states deciding curriculum, parents choosing magnet or charter schools. etc.

Some percentage of people seem to feel there some objective and easily identified "proper" education. Why? Who's to say that the scope and sequence found in X schools is better for any individual than some other type of education, like, say the things one can learn while sailing the world, or traveling in general, or through self led study as in unschooling? Where's the evidence that one type of education is superior to another, and how is superiority determined? What subjects are the most important for every kid to know? Why?
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

NOTE: This is a U.S. specific response:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
What subjects are the most important for every kid to know?
IMO, until we as a society can answer this question, the whole debate about public vs. private vs. charter vs. homeschool vs. unschool is secondary.

We're not able to articulate what a high school graduate should know, how can we possibly say that one institution of learning is more effective than another? What does a successfully executed secondary education look like?
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
What subjects are the most important for every kid to know? Why?
I agree with Waluigi, and also want to ask, "What subjects are the most important for adult to know?" and point out that a whole shitload of it is not taught in school. Or if so, not very well, or only as an elective. See fitness and nutrition, financial management, changing a tire, how to give and receive mind-blowing orgasms, table manners and etiquette, when and how to fight the man, etc.

Edit: My point being that people, children and adults, appear to be able to learn all kinds of important knowledge and skills outside of the :openquote:traditional:closequote: school environment, so what's to say they couldn't learn everything they need to learn that way (and avoid wasting time on stuff that they don't want or need).
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Since I was mentioned by name...(and I tried to fight a war with you yesterday, but you logged out to do some werk or something, Meanie Shae! I put my dukes up and everything!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waluigi View Post
IMO, until we as a society can answer this question, the whole debate about public vs. private vs. charter vs. homeschool vs. unschool is secondary.
I disagree. I think there's value in assuring that everyone gets a consistent baseline education, even if we're not 100% certain that it is the best education a person could theoretically get. I think at minimum this means having an agreed upon curriculum that all students are required to complete, and providing publicly funded schools at which it is taught.

I don't have any particularly strong views on whether or not private schooling or homeschooling should be allowed or disallowed, provided those forms of schooling cover the baseline curriculum. I'm leery of unschooling because I don't see how there's a mechanism for assuring that a student will get a baseline education consistent with what everyone else is getting.

In the specific context of the sailing girl, I was mostly reacting to the notion that thinking that a sailing trip is not an acceptable excuse for missing out on part of that curriculum is some kind of overrestrictive European nanny-state thing.
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  #5  
Old 07-01-2010, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by Adamus Prime View Post
I disagree. I think there's value in assuring that everyone gets a consistent baseline education, even if we're not 100% certain that it is the best education a person could theoretically get. I think at minimum this means having an agreed upon curriculum that all students are required to complete, and providing publicly funded schools at which it is taught.
What happens when the "agreed-upon" curriculum falls into Texas Textbook Shenanigans territory?

Quote:
I don't have any particularly strong views on whether or not private schooling or homeschooling should be allowed or disallowed, provided those forms of schooling cover the baseline curriculum. I'm leery of unschooling because I don't see how there's a mechanism for assuring that a student will get a baseline education consistent with what everyone else is getting.
I'm not a parent, but if I was I would fight tooth and nail to ensure that my child did not get that baseline TTS education because it would just be more work to unteach it in the long run.

Sure it would be great if there was a baseline education that was worthwhile (english, math, civics, whatever I don't know or care, I think that's Waluigi's point at least in the bit you quoted ... "we" as a society haven't agreed upon anything so far), but in the US at least, the baseline is total crap. Maybe it is better in Europe. :shrug:

Quote:
In the specific context of the sailing girl, I was mostly reacting to the notion that thinking that a sailing trip is not an acceptable excuse for missing out on part of that curriculum is some kind of overrestrictive European nanny-state thing.
The nanny-state issue is that the state or the judge or whoever felt it was appropriate to overrule the wishes of the parent and the child. It's one thing to have the village or society or whoever provide public education to children, it's another thing altogether to have the state's decision override the parents' decision for their own children.
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Quote:
I was mostly reacting to the notion that thinking that a sailing trip is not an acceptable excuse for missing out on part of that curriculum is some kind of overrestrictive European nanny-state thing.
It is absolutely nanny!

And sorry we couldn't have our battle Tweedle Dum, I did get stuck doing stupid work

Quote:
a consistent baseline education
So, what, exactly is involved in the baseline?

In coming up with a long term plan (totally flexible of course) I figured out that the baseline (in the US) is as follows:

Reading/Language arts (grammar, spelling, writing, literature, etc)
Mathematics
Social Studies (incl. history, geography, politics, government)
Science

But to what extent should each of these be taught?
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I'm with LS on this one.

I'm not convinced that any kind of baseline is absolutely required. I can't imagine any type of homeschooling would be so deficient as to be a concern for society at large.

Besides, once all the illegal immigrant labor leaves, we're gonna need the homeschooled to sell water at on-ramps, hold up signs for furniture sales and mow my lawn.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2010, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Oh, also, I disagree that schools as they are now provide any specific baseline that every single student needs to have. I think everybody needs to know how to read and count, but a lot of kids already learn that before going into kindergarten.

Beyond that, I think some kids need Calculus and other kids need 17th Century French Literature, but I bet there are very few kids that will end up having a use for both in their adult life. I recommend offering all of them so the student will have a chance to challenge themselves and see what they are interested in or good at. But when the kid reaches that age where they know they just plain aren't into math, it's just cruel to force them to take year after year of algebra, geometry, etc. If they're not good at it, they're not going to go into a field that requires it, and vice versa. In the meantime it just causes fights and bad grades and feelings of failure.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I came up with my baseline list looking at what most colleges require for undergrads. In general they aren't that specific re: what level of math or science, or what specific concepts of language arts, or the scope and sequence of history.

I did very well on the ACT without calculus or physics, and with my 4th English credit being for yearbook. Also, not every kid wants to go to college, so does someone wanting to be a tradesman need to study Shakespeare?
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I think there ought to be an implied "by appropriate experts" somewhere in my first post. Obviously, the Texas Board of Education is in the thrall of ignorant reactionaries right now, but I don't think that counts as an argument against having educational standards any more than the fact that many homeschoolers are ignorant fundamentalists counts as an argument against homeschooling.

To me, it's mostly a basic issue of equality. For every Shea out there, there's an ignorant and incurious parent who, absent a mandated standard, would not see to it that there children were properly educated, or a wildeyed nutjob who goes to great lengths to see to it that their kids learn all about the importance of the gold standard and the insidious way the War of Northern Aggression forced the peace loving South into tax-slavery to their northern cousins. I think their childrens' interests are served by mandating some minimum standard of education that must be provided. If that means that someone else's kid, who is getting a good education anyway, also has to learn about subjects that they don't care about, or their parents don't think are necessary, well, I'm not going to shed too many tears. It's not as though anyone is restricting the freedom of parents to seek out education above and beyond the baseline for their children.

I also think part of where I'm not on the same page as some others is that I don't view education as being solely for the benefit of the individual being educated. I think there's social value in the levelling of the basic ciriculum across classes. I think there's social value to having a population that's consisently familiar with the same set of basic concepts and ideas. I think that, in certain subjects, especially civics, science, and economics, it's beneficial to everyone that each individual have a background in them. It's to your benefit that the people around you understand the basics of how our economy and our government work, and how the natural world works, even if they do not have any particular interest in those topics.

For the record, I was not required to take either Calculus or French Literature in school, although I had the option to take, and did take, and hated, the former. I was required to take certain basic math and language arts classes, certain basic science classes, basic health and fitness classes, basic classes in civics, history, and economics, and probaby some other things I'm forgetting about, as well as to take X number of electives of my own choice.

Finally, I am apparently a proponenet of the nanny state, because I think there are circumstances in which it is entirely appropriate for a judge or other government official to override the wishes of a parent for their children, or the children for themselves. I'm not going to insult everyone's intelligence by bringing up extreme examples.
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2010, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Also, don't you people know that my job is trolling and one liners and having an army of dopplegangers? WHY DO YOU KEEP STARTING SRS BSNS THRADS THAT I WANT TO RESPOND TO?
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Quote:
So, what, exactly is involved in the baseline?

In coming up with a long term plan (totally flexible of course) I figured out that the baseline (in the US) is as follows:

Reading/Language arts (grammar, spelling, writing, literature, etc)
Mathematics
Social Studies (incl. history, geography, politics, government)
Science

But to what extent should each of these be taught?
I don't know. I'm not an appropriate expert. :tmhappy:
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by Adamus Prime View Post
Also, don't you people know that my job is trolling and one liners and having an army of dopplegangers? WHY DO YOU KEEP STARTING SRS BSNS THRADS THAT I WANT TO RESPOND TO?
Should we have a thumb war instead?

Last edited by LadyShea; 07-01-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

haha. Nah, I was just making a smartassed comment on the number of actual thoughtful thrads I've stumbled into as of late.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by Adamus Prime View Post
It's not as though anyone is restricting the freedom of parents to seek out education above and beyond the baseline for their children.
One notable exception being depriving a girl of an opportunity to sail around the fucking world! I mean, c'mon.

Quote:
I also think part of where I'm not on the same page as some others is that I don't view education as being solely for the benefit of the individual being educated. I think there's social value in the levelling of the basic ciriculum across classes.
There sure is, and the current system is abused to handicap the smart and curious and turn them into the automatons that society wants and needs in order to be calm and orderly.

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Originally Posted by Adamus Prime View Post
Also, don't you people know that my job is trolling and one liners and having an army of dopplegangers? WHY DO YOU KEEP STARTING SRS BSNS THRADS THAT I WANT TO RESPOND TO?
I know, right?
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:50 PM
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One notable exception being depriving a girl of an opportunity to sail around the fucking world! I mean, c'mon.
That's part of where I think it's an equality issue. If the price of making sure that kids who would otherwise be disadvantaged by their parents' disinterest in educating them sufficiently is that some relatively advantaged girl did not get to take a really cool sailing trip, I am not going to stay up crying at night.

Note that I didn't really follow the story closely, so I don't know whether she was given the option to keep up with her education in some nonstandard way while sailing around the world or whatever. If not, then that's pretty stupid.

Quote:
There sure is, and the current system is abused to handicap the smart and curious and turn them into the automatons that society wants and needs in order to be calm and orderly.
Well, I meant social or economic classes, not really classes that would differentiate between the smart and curious and the not smart or curious, but point taken.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Quote:
Note that I didn't really follow the story closely, so I don't know whether she was given the option to keep up with her education in some nonstandard way while sailing around the world or whatever. If not, then that's pretty stupid.
She was not, they require all kids be in state schools

Of the 4 recent "youngest sailors" -Perham, Watson, the 2 Sunderland kids- 3 were homeschooled/distance educated (watson's family lived on a boat for like 5 years), because it is legal where they live.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by Adamus Prime View Post
Note that I didn't really follow the story closely, so I don't know whether she was given the option to keep up with her education in some nonstandard way while sailing around the world or whatever. If not, then that's pretty stupid.
I think that the sailing trip itself would be the option to keep up with her education in some nonstandard way. Geography, astronomy, geometry, oceanography, meteorology, biology, fucking knot-tying, whatever logistics are involved in keeping herself fed and watered (I don't even know, never having done that specific thing myself). It's so much more than she could learn in the equivalent time spent in a classroom. Are you saying she should do math and english worksheets for an hour each night in her cabin in addition to all that?

I'll give you that it's unequal. The education she would receive in her months at sea is far better than what she would get in school, IMO. I do think public education is necessary for the more disadvantaged students who would have nothing else otherwise, but I am not comfortable with hobbling the better advantaged students to bring them down to the level of public education. If I'm wrong, and that is the right thing to do for society's sake if not the individual, then it is definitely nanny-state.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Only if their homeschooling did not meet whatever standards of education their societies use (assuming there is one, of course, and if there isn't I think there should be).

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Old 07-01-2010, 07:14 PM
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Quoting myself, lol.

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I think that the sailing trip itself would be the option to keep up with her education in some nonstandard way. Geography, astronomy, geometry, oceanography, meteorology, biology, fucking knot-tying, whatever logistics are involved in keeping herself fed and watered (I don't even know, never having done that specific thing myself). It's so much more than she could learn in the equivalent time spent in a classroom. Are you saying she should do math and english worksheets for an hour each night in her cabin in addition to all that?
Not to mention the fact that she would have limited to no access to television, video games, facebook, cell phone, etc. Maybe she would actually pick up a book of her own accord in that situation.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by Adamus Prime View Post
I'm not going to insult everyone's intelligence by bringing up extreme examples.
Oooh, oooh - let me, please! Throughout history, and throughout the world, there have been cultures in which the education of, for example, girls has been considered unnecessary, even downright undesirable. The underlying assumption of the libertarian position on Home Schooling v Nanny State is that parents can be relied upon to act in the best interest of their children, but it just ain't so.

Once a society decides that women's* rights can be denied them in the home classroom, empowering judges to overule parents is a no-brainer, I reckon.

* or substitute gays, aspies or any one of a number of frequently undervalued groups
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ES
I do think public education is necessary for the more disadvantaged students who would have nothing else otherwise, but I am not comfortable with hobbling the better advantaged students to bring them down to the level of public education.
I agree mostly, but I am more
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I do think public education is necessary, but I am not comfortable with eliminating alternatives in an effort to force equality.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Do bear in mind that not every child (or parent) realises how important certain skills can be.

It's all very well saying 'Oh, my son will never need calculus!', and it's all very well little Timmy agreeing that he doesn't need to know about limits and functions, but it'll be a hell of a problem when he gets to pick his major and realises he can't study engineering or physics or chemistry because he never learned basic calculus...

There's also the problem that kids have no idea what they're good at or enjoy until they try. Learning the basics is hugely important simply for the kids to have a chance to learn where their interests and aptidues are in the first place.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:45 PM
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It's all very well saying 'Oh, my son will never need calculus!', and it's all very well little Timmy agreeing that he doesn't need to know about limits and functions, but it'll be a hell of a problem when he gets to pick his major and realises he can't study engineering or physics or chemistry because he never learned basic calculus...
I would argue that the kid I am referring to is so tragically bad at math (they do exist) that he would never succeed at or even be interested in engineering in the first place.

That's why I said:

"I recommend offering all of them so the student will have a chance to challenge themselves and see what they are interested in or good at. But when the kid reaches that age where they know they just plain aren't into math, it's just cruel to force them to take year after year of algebra, geometry, etc. If they're not good at it, they're not going to go into a field that requires it, and vice versa. In the meantime it just causes fights and bad grades and feelings of failure."

Quote:
There's also the problem that kids have no idea what they're good at or enjoy until they try. Learning the basics is hugely important simply for the kids to have a chance to learn where their interests and aptidues are in the first place.
I also agree with that, which is why I said what I said.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Dragar View Post
It's all very well saying 'Oh, my son will never need calculus!', and it's all very well little Timmy agreeing that he doesn't need to know about limits and functions, but it'll be a hell of a problem when he gets to pick his major and realises he can't study engineering or physics or chemistry because he never learned basic calculus...
Any kid smart enough to want to study engineering, physics or chemistry in college will have done the 20 minutes of research it takes to figure out what prerequisites are needed get admitted to those programs, and figured out how to learn it (self directed study, co-op, whatever). Or they can get them at CC before going into a degree program, or whatever.


Quote:
There's also the problem that kids have no idea what they're good at or enjoy until they try. Learning the basics is hugely important simply for the kids to have a chance to learn where their interests and aptidues are in the first place.
And what does that have to do with public schooling?
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