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In general, do you have a favorable view of public education?

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View Poll Results: In general, do you have a favorable view of public education?
Yes
32
35.56%
No
47
52.22%
Other. Please explain
11
12.22%
Voters: 90. You may not vote on this poll

In general, do you have a favorable view of public education?

Old 03-17-08, 01:07 PM
  #26  
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As some one who did not go to School in the US, I tend to compare the US school system to India and to some extent, Asia.

Learning in the US is much more hands-on compared to your typical school in India.
-This is great for developing intuition and putting things together. For example I learnt calculus for the sake of learning calculus, not while applied to physics or maths.

Subject matter in US schools is watered down, quite a bit, in the US compared to India. The opinion I have got form a lot of colleagues (engineers mostly) is that they waltzed through high school.
-This also leaves some of the students ill-prepared for college (the first year at least) and the "jump" from HS to college can be sizable. For eg we learnt calculus in Junior year HS rather than AP/Freshman college. Kind of a leg up dont you think?

Emphasis on sports is much better in the US and the infrastructure and avenues are way better.
-I absolutely would have loved to have the facilities that your average US high school has. In addition once you get to HS, the cultural expectation is to study study study and then study some more and place well.

On a side note, the cultural perception of education is starkly different. In India, its your ticket to a good life and in some cases, because of affirmative action policies, your only way out is to be in the top 5%. The attitude here seems to be a lot more lax and the number of people who make a good living in the trades and other jobs that do not require an under-graduate degree is pretty high. The trades make lean money in India so professional education is how you keep yourself a cut above the rest. Competition, hence, is pretty high and that forces you to try to push your abilities constantly.

Long rant.

Edit:- Oh I voted other in that it can be improved.

Last edited by skinnyone; 03-17-08 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 03-17-08, 02:24 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by skinnyone View Post
Subject matter in US schools is watered down, quite a bit, in the US compared to India. The opinion I have got form a lot of colleagues (engineers mostly) is that they waltzed through high school.
-This also leaves some of the students ill-prepared for college (the first year at least) and the "jump" from HS to college can be sizable. For eg we learnt calculus in Junior year HS rather than AP/Freshman college. Kind of a leg up dont you think?
Depends on the school you go to and the ability of the student. The great thing about the US education system (in places where it works as it should, anyway) is that it's flexible. You're not committed to a career path early, so those with the ability have options. And you don't have a rigid learning schedule, so those with the ability and the desire can get way ahead. I took AP calculus as a sop****re. Multivariate calculus and linear algebra at Pomona College (two miles down the street) as a junior in high school. Physical chemistry and organic chemistry at Harvey Mudd College (even closer to the high school than Pomona College was) as a senior in high school. You can't expect all students to follow that trajectory, just as you can't expect me to have a good grasp of British literature. But that option wasn't taken away from me. In this regard, the local high school was far superior to the nearby private school, which on average had brighter students but did not have enough students to allow individually tailored courseloads.

My uncle in Taiwan visited us one time and happened to flip through our collection of textbooks sitting at my parents' place. He showed to his kids the basic algebra books that my sisters were using in junior high at the time. His kids were constantly told by their teachers that US math students suck, and that they're far superior at math. This may be true of our students collectively, but the reason he wanted his kids to see the books was to show them that while they may be ahead of the average US kid in math, they are far behind those that they should be expecting to someday compete against.

I think the US public education system does a good job of ensuring the best training of its brightest, but it could use some improvement in ensuring that as many students as possible meet its basic standards (and not by watering down those standards).
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Old 03-17-08, 02:25 PM
  #28  
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I had a reasonably favorable opinion before finding foo.
Then I met people like Jsharr and X, and well, its been downhill ever since.
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Old 03-17-08, 02:35 PM
  #29  
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I just think the education system just hasn't kept up with the times.

They are still using the old model, where the teacher was able to get by on relatively little income (because it was usually secondary income), people respected authority more, the teacher wasn't a babysitter, the teachers were generally given the benefit of the doubt in a dispute by the administration and the parents.

They just haven't kept up with the times. School administrations are their own fiefdoms, with jealously guarded income streams. It is still paid by property taxes, so wealthy districts are well funded, poor districts rot.

The system is so broken it's almost like you need to start over.

And you can't run them like a business either. Circumstances are so varied, that it is ridiculous to base them on "efficiency" models.

And all this doesn't even address the "dumbing down" of the curriculums.
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Old 03-17-08, 02:46 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by catatonic View Post

Education is so watered down that I feel like every class is for 5 year olds....even in college. Honestly, I'd rather learn on my own than get a degree for that reason...college itself is being watered down for he current generation of idiots...and that's sad.
+1
Watered down, often taught with dumbed down text books. I actually am finding my current college classes no more difficult -- perhaps less difficult -- than high school. These are intro undergrad courses, so I don't expect great things. I find that things I learn myself are understood in more depth. And this is the reason I want to go to school where I do.
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Old 03-17-08, 03:25 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by jschen View Post
Depends on the school you go to and the ability of the student. The great thing about the US education system (in places where it works as it should, anyway) is that it's flexible. You're not committed to a career path early, so those with the ability have options. And you don't have a rigid learning schedule, so those with the ability and the desire can get way ahead. I took AP calculus as a sop****re. Multivariate calculus and linear algebra at Pomona College (two miles down the street) as a junior in high school. Physical chemistry and organic chemistry at Harvey Mudd College (even closer to the high school than Pomona College was) as a senior in high school. You can't expect all students to follow that trajectory, just as you can't expect me to have a good grasp of British literature. But that option wasn't taken away from me. In this regard, the local high school was far superior to the nearby private school, which on average had brighter students but did not have enough students to allow individually tailored courseloads.

My uncle in Taiwan visited us one time and happened to flip through our collection of textbooks sitting at my parents' place. He showed to his kids the basic algebra books that my sisters were using in junior high at the time. His kids were constantly told by their teachers that US math students suck, and that they're far superior at math. This may be true of our students collectively, but the reason he wanted his kids to see the books was to show them that while they may be ahead of the average US kid in math, they are far behind those that they should be expecting to someday compete against.


I think the US public education system does a good job of ensuring the best training of its brightest, but it could use some improvement in ensuring that as many students as possible meet its basic standards (and not by watering down those standards).
Thats what I was getting at .
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Old 03-17-08, 03:27 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
I had a reasonably favorable opinion before finding foo.
Then I met people like Jsharr and X, and well, its been downhill ever since.
I dunno, I think I have learnt more about quail, pie, jerky than I did in any school.. Just sayin.
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Old 03-17-08, 03:30 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by skinnyone View Post
I dunno, I think I have learnt more about quail, pie, jerky than I did in any school.. Just sayin.
True...but that aint from the public education system. It was a compliment to the powers of Jsharr and X.
I thought I was well educated until running into those 2.
The downhill part was my opinion of myself
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Old 03-17-08, 04:09 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by jschen View Post
Depends on the school you go to and the ability of the student. The great thing about the US education system (in places where it works as it should, anyway) is that it's flexible. You're not committed to a career path early, so those with the ability have options. And you don't have a rigid learning schedule, so those with the ability and the desire can get way ahead. I took AP calculus as a sop****re. Multivariate calculus and linear algebra at Pomona College (two miles down the street) as a junior in high school. Physical chemistry and organic chemistry at Harvey Mudd College (even closer to the high school than Pomona College was) as a senior in high school. You can't expect all students to follow that trajectory, just as you can't expect me to have a good grasp of British literature. But that option wasn't taken away from me. In this regard, the local high school was far superior to the nearby private school, which on average had brighter students but did not have enough students to allow individually tailored courseloads.

My uncle in Taiwan visited us one time and happened to flip through our collection of textbooks sitting at my parents' place. He showed to his kids the basic algebra books that my sisters were using in junior high at the time. His kids were constantly told by their teachers that US math students suck, and that they're far superior at math. This may be true of our students collectively, but the reason he wanted his kids to see the books was to show them that while they may be ahead of the average US kid in math, they are far behind those that they should be expecting to someday compete against.

I think the US public education system does a good job of ensuring the best training of its brightest that can get to it, but it could use some improvement in ensuring that as many students as possible meet its basic standards (and not by watering down those standards).

fixed
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Old 03-17-08, 06:33 PM
  #35  
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Southern California sucks.

Except for the coolness factor.
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Old 03-18-08, 06:45 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
+1
Watered down, often taught with dumbed down text books. I actually am finding my current college classes no more difficult -- perhaps less difficult -- than high school. These are intro undergrad courses, so I don't expect great things. I find that things I learn myself are understood in more depth. And this is the reason I want to go to school where I do.
What pissed me off was I took a CIS course, and they actually had a full week where they taught what a monitor, keyboard and mouse was. Who the hell is that obtuse that they would major in something that they have no idea about. How can someone decide to make computers their career path if they don't even know what one is at a user level?

I can imagine a dialog like this:

Oh wow, I saw that rocket like thing go to space and i want to do it...is there a class on rockjetology? What's aerospace engineering, is that rockjetology? IT is?!? I'LL TAKE IT!
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Old 03-18-08, 07:01 AM
  #37  
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Like democracy and sailing a boat, rarely is public education able to take the perfect path but we have the ability to keep tacking and adjusting course. Private schools and colleges are hopefully nearing the end to the popular money based improvements and will tack towards quality of teachers and Socratic education.
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Old 03-18-08, 09:14 AM
  #38  
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I work in the public education system. My daughter attends a private school.
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Old 03-18-08, 09:50 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by ajay677 View Post
I work in the public education system. My daughter attends a private school.
Bam!!!...

That says it all right there hahahaha
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Old 03-18-08, 09:58 AM
  #40  
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I voted other.

I am the result of 8 years of parochial private education and a 4 years of private (Jesuit) high school education. In comparison to high school, college was relatively easy.

My son in now in the second grade, I am surprised at what they are learning in 2nd grade these days, things that, from my (clouded) recollection, I wasn't taught until later. I don't remember getting fractions in the second grade or concepts/paragraph writing. Having said that, my son is enrolled in the newest school in one of the better public school districts. We moved in order to get him into a better school district. We weren't happy with the local school's scores.

We'll see how it goes.
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Old 03-18-08, 10:17 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by avmanansala View Post
I voted other.

I am the result of 8 years of parochial private education and a 4 years of private (Jesuit) high school education. In comparison to high school, college was relatively easy.

My son in now in the second grade, I am surprised at what they are learning in 2nd grade these days, things that, from my (clouded) recollection, I wasn't taught until later. I don't remember getting fractions in the second grade or concepts/paragraph writing. Having said that, my son is enrolled in the newest school in one of the better public school districts. We moved in order to get him into a better school district. We weren't happy with the local school's scores.

We'll see how it goes.
Funny how we remember things, I distinctly remember fractions and paragraphs in grade 2/3 (combined class)...I also remember thinking who the hell needs fractions, imperial measurements are going to die and everyone will be measuring by 10's...fractions are for the birds...boy was I wrong haha

Sorry I should clarify most of my dislike for public school. It applies to highschool. k to 6 I think creates a solid foundation, (jr) and highschool just take that foundation and rip it to shreds
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Old 03-18-08, 10:32 AM
  #42  
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I vaguely recall school... I went to a large junior high for a semester, nearly flunked out, went to a very small school in a very rural area. Which suited me much better: apparently I just wasn't ready for 6 periods a day, French, algegra, etc. It was nice to go back to two recess periods/day in the seventh grade. [Eighth grade was only one recess though.]

I recall not exactly being a good student in high school though. It wasn't long before I hit that teenage rebellion phase, where I'd do what I wanted to do. Oh, I did English and all those other classes; but not exactly willingly. In some ways, it was nice being at a small school, with not a lot of opportunity to do more than the other kids, as I could skate by.

When I went to college, it was definately a wake-up call, suddenly having to learn how to study. That freshman year was nothing but adjustment. Still, I managed to get my bachelors in engineering, so apparently public school didn't fail me. I'm mostly worried today with how fast subjects are tossed at kids. What happens if it takes a few years for a kid to find "their groove"? I was great at math, lousy at English and any "soft" subjects. Yet I learned calculus eventually. I try once in a while to learn German, but so far, no luck. Somehow, I didn't have to learn a foriegn language in school; should failing a foriegn language class have kept me from college?

One of my gripes with public schooling has to be the lack of opportunities: what good is a high school diploma anyhow? Oh, now you go apply to a school that can give you the training for a job. Otherwise, it's McDonalds or the Army. My grandfather spent one of his HS years learning agriculture, the other carpentry. He did both until the day he died. Sure, someone like me would have to go to college to get the minute training necessary for my job. But I would have loved to take some house carpentry or household wiring or auto mechanics classes in HS--and still have been able to take all the math and physics classes so i could have gone to college.
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Old 03-18-08, 11:24 AM
  #43  
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I voted no. My wife has a degree in Education, has taught in the public school system, and our two boys are in a Home School Co-op. She teaches 6th graders. They only have classes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10am to 230pm and accomplish the same or more than the public schools. Admittedly, this works because of parental involvement teaching or at least making sure the work assigned by the teaches are accomplished on Monday and Friday.

Our local HS is changing up their curriculum here in the next couple of years. It will be a 3 tiered program. First option will be HS as most know it. They aren't sure about college but want to keep their options open. Second option will be definitely going to college and will complete 60 college credit hours in HS and graduate with an Associates degree. Third option is not going to college and will offer trades/agriculture type courses.
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Old 03-19-08, 05:16 AM
  #44  
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Parents have a lot to do with it. From this thread you all were, are or promise to be active in your child's education. We live in an age of fast food and convenience. Divorce rates suggest if something is inconvenient or uncomfortable, dispose of it because you can buy something better. Children are too often left to schools to raise, discipline, inspire and question the world we live in. Technology like cut and paste essay writing and text messaging win out over parents involvemnet.

As bicyclists you all have decided you'd rather be involved in the fabric of life, you exercise and transport by mentally and physically stimulating means. It is a pleasure to be associated with folks that are most likely to add to children's education.
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Old 03-19-08, 08:18 AM
  #45  
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Always remember that George W. Bush is the product of "elite" private high school and universities.
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Old 03-19-08, 10:14 AM
  #46  
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Voted No. Went to a great private school in Indonesia, IB program, I didn't have a lick of free time (get home at 5, 5:30 after IASAS sports, eat dinner, study till 9:30 or 10 then go to bed). Came to a public school here after my first semester of 11 grade and I graduated 10 out of 230 with very little effort (I actually only needed one english credit to graduate high school when I came back). 15 students went to university, another 30ish went to vocational school, and the rest went into the work force. Luckily my previous education prepared me for college.

I still wonder what it would have been like if I had stayed and graduated in Indonesia.
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Old 03-19-08, 10:23 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by ilikebikes View Post
I dont know, It seems funny that the better an area gets the more funding the area schools recieve and vice versa, due to a high score in the Mentally Gifted Program my kid went to one of the better schools (at the time) in the North East section of Philly, but as time went by and a certain race of people began to move into the area not only did the school go down the drain but most of the residents sold and moved away too? coincidence? No, that race of "undesirable people" were no worse than the people already living there, it was pure unadulterated racism that went to work full throttle.


Not Northeast or Washington HS, by any chance?
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Old 03-19-08, 10:36 AM
  #48  
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I voted "other".
My personal view of public education (based on the Fithadelphia's poor public school system) is a terrible waste of time at best, and prepatory for children being in institutions their whole life (prison, army, etc) at worst. I had some of the WORST teachers imaginable in public school. The administrators were completely inept. I moved later to a private school and excelled at classes that I was failing at in public school only a year earlier.

On the other hand, I did have 2 or 3 excellent teachers at public school, who seemed to honestly care about their students' needs, offer extra help, and work with parents when nessicary. I learned 90% of what I've retained at public school from those teachers. Curiously, I got the feeling that those particular teachers didn't seem to hold a real high regard by other (poor or mediocre) teachers, or the administrators in the office.
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Old 03-19-08, 12:13 PM
  #49  
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I was in a private school for the primary years, then public for secondary years. I have nothing but respect for the private school, and when I was working, I'd donate something per month to that school. I hope once I'm back working again, I can continue with that -- they deserve it.

Public schools are a different story. I had a few teachers in the public schools who not just taught, but conveyed a motivation to learn.

However, the good teachers were pretty much nullified by an administration whose goal was wasting money and petty politics. It pretty much was a minimum security prison for 9+ hours a day, 5 days a week, with little getting learned other than to obey random arbitrary orders or else face punishment. I learned more math and physics in one semester of precalc and precalc physics at UT than the whole four years I was in high school. Nasty as it was, I stuck it out and got my diploma, but most of the really bright people ended up dropping out, getting a GED or a HED, and coming into the work world ahead of me.

I do my part for public schools. I pay the school district property taxes which are the highest the state of Texas allows, I vote for needed bonds, and I _always_ vote come elections for people I research who may be able to change the course of the school district in a better direction. However, when I have kids, they will be going into a private school where they can be actually taught something other than how to strip a Lexus in 30 seconds.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:22 PM
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Hickeydog
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I think that the US's education system would be a whole lot better when the schools have more money than they know what to do with and the air force needs a bake sale to buy a bomber. Just sayin...
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Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post

What's frightening is how coherent Hickey was in posting that.
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