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Seeker
12-06-2011, 02:05 AM
"The privatization movement is essentially an effort to break down solidarity and sympathy. And this shows up in all kinds of ways.

Take privatizing schools. What's the point of privatizing schools? Well, the point is to instill in people the idea that all you should care about is yourself. So, I don't happen to have children of school age; therefore, according to the ideology of privatization, I'm not supposed to care whether the kid down the street has a school to go to. Instead, I'm supposed to oppose taxes. I'm supposed to oppose taxes because I'm not supposed to care if someone else's kid can go to school. In theory, if I have enough money, I can send my child to private school.

So, we should privatize schools to eliminate the conception that we should care if someone else's child gets an education. The idea is to foster a culture of 'every man for himself' because it keeps people isolated and easier to control."

- Noam Chomsky.

From a speech given at McMaster University in October 2002.

Reproduced in the video Rebel Without a Pause

Sinistrum
12-06-2011, 02:19 AM
Noam Chomski

is a pompous buttweasel.

/thread

Terez
12-06-2011, 02:32 AM
If only it were so easy to silence people who disagree with you...

GonzoTheGreat
12-06-2011, 05:05 AM
[ Noam Chomski ] is a pompous buttweasel.A very impressive refutation of the argument he gave. I would almost think you'd learned this at a privatised school, but that is probably political profiling.

That said, I do not really see what your problem is in this case. You almost completely agree with him, from what I've gathered of all you've said in the past. The only disagreement is in that you approve of the "turn all humans against each other" scheme, while he disapproves of it.

Ishara
12-06-2011, 08:00 AM
"The privatization movement is essentially an effort to break down solidarity and sympathy. And this shows up in all kinds of ways.

Take privatizing schools. What's the point of privatizing schools? Well, the point is to instill in people the idea that all you should care about is yourself. So, I don't happen to have children of school age; therefore, according to the ideology of privatization, I'm not supposed to care whether the kid down the street has a school to go to. Instead, I'm supposed to oppose taxes. I'm supposed to oppose taxes because I'm not supposed to care if someone else's kid can go to school. In theory, if I have enough money, I can send my child to private school.

So, we should privatize schools to eliminate the conception that we should care if someone else's child gets an education. The idea is to foster a culture of 'every man for himself' because it keeps people isolated and easier to control."

- Noam Chomsky.

From a speech given at McMaster University in October 2002.

Reproduced in the video Rebel Without a Pause

I was actually at that speech in person, front row centre! And may have drifted off...LOL. Great thinker, he is. Engaging speaker...less so.

maacaroni
12-06-2011, 08:04 AM
I would suggest that those who propose 'privatised' schools (see the correct spelling there?) Would be that by less bureaucracy and greater hiring and firing power that standards would go up for all by making teachers work harder and to install more incentivisation (either by the dole or by bonuses). That's the theory.

In practice, they would drive up exam results by kicking out 'undesirables' or those with learning disabilities and raise profits by cost-cutting. Any potential savings by local government would be lost by hiring contract managers and lawyers to ensure that said schools keep to their contracts.

Every child deserves a decent education and I agree that crap teachers need dealing with, but the profit motive is not the correct solution (in my opinion.)

fdsaf3
12-06-2011, 09:30 AM
How do you determine effective versus ineffective teachers? Based on test performance? Ok, so what if a teacher has kids who don't test well? What if they get nervous and fuck up that day? What if a teacher doesn't teach anything else all year except for what's going to be on the test? That teacher's kids do great, but haven't learned anything else all year. How do we rate that?

Ok, so we don't use test results as the metric. Maybe we use in-class evaluations. Who does the evaluations? How are we going to pay for that? Sounds expensive.

Ok, so maybe we think of another alternative. What is it? How do we implement it? How do we ensure that it's fair and objective?

And if we somehow magically fire all the crappy teachers, we're left with good teachers who will have to take on additional challenges to continue teaching. Larger class sizes, increasingly limited resources, etc. Uh oh. Looks like in another few years some of these once-good teachers are going to be crappy in comparison. Better get ready to go through this process again.

Maybe it's not the teachers' fault that kids are failing. I know it's easy to blame teachers since they see the kids every day, but maybe we have to look deeper. Maybe the system is broken. Maybe we have a systemic issue that no one is willing to acknowledge. We're using the same basic structure to educate children now as we did 200 years ago. Given technological advances and changes in how kids learn, does anyone else see a problem with that?

Not to rain on the parade here. I'm just saying there is no clear cut solution to the education problem.

ShadowbaneX
12-06-2011, 10:32 AM
In practice, they would drive up exam results by kicking out 'undesirables' or those with learning disabilities and raise profits by cost-cutting. Any potential savings by local government would be lost by hiring contract managers and lawyers to ensure that said schools keep to their contracts.

Why do that? Removing students just means less people paying tuition. Low-balling the curriculum and making it really easy for everyone to get good marks is more likely to happen.

Most likely though, yeah, the entire system is broken. A friend of mine was telling me of another system, one in which people progressed at different rates. Rather than a strict pass fail, people were more or less tested and given rating on where they actually were. Some people might test at a grade 12 math, & physics, grade 11 chemistry, but only a grade 10 reading comprehension & language arts.

I really have to wonder if a change from the positive/negative pass/fail system to a more score based system might be an improvement. Make it so that it's more of a scoring system rather than a judgmental system might be interesting to see.

Gilshalos Sedai
12-06-2011, 11:18 AM
Here I thought the mob was easier to control.

fdsaf3 is far more correct, IMHO. There is no one solution to the education situation.

fdsaf3
12-06-2011, 11:36 AM
I hate to be so negative about such a sensitive topic as education, but I can't help it. I have friends who are going into education policy when we graduate in May, and I have tons of respect for them. What they are trying to do is just so impossible.

Another underlying issue is the achievement gap between genders and ethnic minorities. We have these long-term programs like Head Start that are supposed to get poor black students to close the achievement gap by raising test scores, right? So there's this program that costs millions of dollars, and what do we see from the results? That it worked, but only raised test scores among black students relative to white students by a few points after adjusting for everything. Are such minimal gains justifiable given the extreme cost of the program? It's hard to say.

Education policy is hard because you need time more than anything else. Time to see if the changes are making a difference, time to evaluate the situation, and time to think of new ways to approach old problems. Obviously throwing money at the educational system doesn't work. Maybe what we need is a fundamental paradigm shift to something new. I just don't know. I'll leave it to the experts to figure this mess out while I think about voting and health care some more.

lord Mordeth
12-06-2011, 11:36 AM
I'll tell you what happens when you make teachers 'accountable' to their students through evals: grade inflation. Like most instructors at my university, I bump the grades way up to avoid spiteful, lying evals that would hurt my chances in an already dismal job market. If I actually gave them what they deserve a lot of the time, it wouldn't be pretty..

And the trend is only going to deepen, now that many administrators refer to students as 'customers'. Corporatization is not the answer. Like every modern corporation, executive pay skyrockets, only unlike other corps, educational institutions don't have easily quantifiable output, so there are no payoffs in productivity or achievement.

Frenzy
12-06-2011, 11:51 AM
Did anyone watch that season of The Wire that focused on schools? That was some seriously messed-up stuff.

Khoram
12-06-2011, 12:00 PM
I'll tell you what happens when you make teachers 'accountable' to their students through evals: grade inflation. Like most instructors at my university, I bump the grades way up to avoid spiteful, lying evals that would hurt my chances in an already dismal job market. If I actually gave them what they deserve a lot of the time, it wouldn't be pretty..

And the trend is only going to deepen, now that many administrators refer to students as 'customers'. Corporatization is not the answer. Like every modern corporation, executive pay skyrockets, only unlike other corps, educational institutions don't have easily quantifiable output, so there are no payoffs in productivity or achievement.

Hmm... my professors are all tough but fair. None of them like giving high grades - although when we deserve the high grades, they are quite pleased to give them to us. They just don't like giving out too many really high grades - otherwise, it'll look like they aren't doing their job properly.

My entire department is very stingy on giving high grades - you don't see many As and up in the History Department. :/

GonzoTheGreat
12-06-2011, 12:10 PM
So far, no one really seems to have made an attempt at answering Chomski's question in a way that is significantly different from the answer he supplied:
What's the point of privatizing schools?

fdsaf3
12-06-2011, 12:50 PM
Are we talking about K-12 education or secondary education?

In both cases, private schools allow for individuals to self-select their learning environment. Ostensibly, this allows for them to choose the ideal combination of educational, extra-curricular, and school-related factors which will optimize a student's experience at school.

One of my cousins is going to an innovative high school that functions more like a college. She has free periods where she can do homework, she gets to pick her own schedule, and she is more responsible for choosing her own curriculum. It's worked wonders on her. Whereas she struggled mightily in regular schools, now she's flourishing. Of course this isn't meant to be indicative of a universal trend or anything, but it is interesting.

I suppose the point of privatizing schools is that public schools, which utilize a one-size-fits-all mentality, isn't appropriate for everyone.

Crispin's Crispian
12-06-2011, 12:58 PM
So far, no one really seems to have made an attempt at answering Chomski's question in a way that is significantly different from the answer he supplied:
What's the point of privatizing schools?

The answer is two-fold.

Yes, it would take the burden off the general taxpayer and place it upon those who tangibly benefit from the service.

But furthermore, in theory, privatizing schools would force them to run like businesses, or be run by businesses, and would make them more efficient and effective.

Right now, many view the public education system (at least in the US) as glorified day care, with only the barest amount of real education and little to no training in life-skills. The argument, then, is that such a system is not providing a social benefit by truly increasing the literacy and knowledge of the general public. If that's the case, why should the general public be forced to pay for it?

At least, that's the diplomatic view of the situation. The real ideologues don't want individuals to be forced to pay for something that benefits someone else and not them (just like Chomsky said). But there are truly people who believe that society would be better served by privatizing because it would improve the system as a whole.

Sinistrum
12-06-2011, 12:59 PM
Wait, so you guys can be flippantly dismissive of Ayn Rand, and that's not "silencing dissent" or "an argument learned in an inferior education system" but when I apply the same standard to her liberal equivalent, well then there is a problem? Ah theoryland. Where hypocrisy is alive and well.

GonzoTheGreat
12-06-2011, 02:00 PM
Some of Rand's ideas may be reasonable, others are definitely a lot less so. I sincerely hope that I would not be stupid enough to simply dismiss something purely because of the identity of the messenger.

You seem to dismiss Chomsky's words simply because you disagree with him, not because you have even considered what he said. Criticising you for that does not seem all that hypocritical.

Zombie Sammael
12-06-2011, 02:57 PM
Wait, so you guys can be flippantly dismissive of Ayn Rand, and that's not "silencing dissent" or "an argument learned in an inferior education system" but when I apply the same standard to her liberal equivalent, well then there is a problem? Ah theoryland. Where hypocrisy is alive and well.

As far as I know, I'm the only person who was flippantly dismissive of the disturbed madwoman you refer to, and I haven't chimed in on this thread at all yet.

GonzoTheGreat
12-06-2011, 03:00 PM
As far as I know, I'm the only person who was flippantly dismissive of the disturbed madwoman you refer to, and I haven't chimed in on this thread at all yet.But you are the spokesperson for the official Theoryland position on political philosophy, aren't you?

Zombie Sammael
12-06-2011, 03:42 PM
But you are the spokesperson for the official Theoryland position on political philosophy, aren't you?

Ah yes, I had forgotten my position and duties there. Since I am better versed in political philosophy than any person on these boards, having never read a political philosophy book, it makes sense for it to be me.

Mort
12-06-2011, 06:37 PM
Did anyone watch that season of The Wire that focused on schools? That was some seriously messed-up stuff.

The creators of that show are geniuses.

I like their comment when some higher upper statesman said something about he wanted another season of The Wire. The creators answered and told him that he'll see another season of the show when they end the war on drugs :)

Gilshalos Sedai
12-07-2011, 11:44 AM
There is one problem that I see that transcends gender, race, and socio-economic class...

How much does the parent value that child's education?

You can't just ship your kid off to school and HOPE some stranger teaches your kid morals, arithmetic and reading and writing. You have to participate in your child's education. Teachers aren't there to do your parenting job FOR YOU. It's not the school district's job to make sure your child grows up civilized and educated.

Until parents sit back down with their children and work with them on schoolwork and participate in that child's education, nothing will change. At all.

Yes, I understand the parent working three jobs to keep a roof over the kid's head. But unless you want your child to repeat your current way of life, you HAVE to make time to impart to him or her how important her education is.

You get out of your child's education what you put into it.



*General "you" for the purposes of this post. This is not to accuse anyone of anything.

GonzoTheGreat
12-07-2011, 11:51 AM
Yes, I understand the parent working three jobs to keep a roof over the kid's head.Which, when you think about it, wasn't really the standard in the "good old days", was it?
It is only because of the right wing mantra of "upper management deserves to get more pay and higher bonuses than last year" which has been the political standard since Reagan and Thatcher that one job isn't good enough any more for ordinary folks.

Gilshalos Sedai
12-07-2011, 12:11 PM
Which, when you think about it, wasn't really the standard in the "good old days", was it?
It is only because of the right wing mantra of "upper management deserves to get more pay and higher bonuses than last year" which has been the political standard since Reagan and Thatcher that one job isn't good enough any more for ordinary folks.

Point. Missing it.

Terez
12-07-2011, 12:21 PM
I like what I've heard about Frenzy's school district. Creative solutions, parent involvement, etc.

Ishara
12-07-2011, 02:21 PM
There is one problem that I see that transcends gender, race, and socio-economic class...

How much does the parent value that child's education?



Ah. Well, I may get flamed for saying this, but that question, in my experience, sometimes is dependent on culture (I'll say that, instead of race) and socio-economic class.

If you come from a culture where eductaion is not valued (because it doesn't get you anywhere, for example) then why would the eductaion of your child be important to you? If on the other hand, you come from a culture where education is valued because it is linked to higher socio-economic status then you're more likely, in my opinion, to value the eductaion of your child.

In North America though, the conversation about education has become one of entitlement, and not value. My snowflake deserves a first rate eductaion, even if he won't work to take advantage of it. I went to an Ivy League University therfore I am better than you.

Further to my first point, we all know that there are links between higher education and higher socio-economic class. That being said, some people are in so deep that access to education simply isn't available, or enriching activities aren't available or things as basic as a book to practice reading with isn't available in homes. A contentious example sure, but why should eductaion be important to families when it's done nothing for them?

For clarity, I think that the fact that I was raised in a family where both my aprents had post-graduate education made it easier for to get my own post-secondary education - both because they had always highlighted it as a priority, but also because they were supportive of me working three jobs to pay for school (as opposed to supporting them). I saw first hand the value of an education and the doors that it opened for me. As a child, I think having parents who were raised in a foreign school system where corporal punushment was still in use, where rules on behaviour and expectations were far stricter than they were in Canada served me very well. As a result, the expectations of my parents were higher for me and I was encouraged to excel.

Not everyone has those same opportunities, supports and expectations.

Gilshalos Sedai
12-07-2011, 02:37 PM
Ah. Well, I may get flamed for saying this, but that question, in my experience, sometimes is dependent on culture (I'll say that, instead of race) and socio-economic class.

If you come from a culture where eductaion is not valued (because it doesn't get you anywhere, for example) then why would the eductaion of your child be important to you? If on the other hand, you come from a culture where education is valued because it is linked to higher socio-economic status then you're more likely, in my opinion, to value the eductaion of your child.

In North America though, the conversation about education has become one of entitlement, and not value. My snowflake deserves a first rate eductaion, even if he won't work to take advantage of it. I went to an Ivy League University therfore I am better than you.

Further to my first point, we all know that there are links between higher education and higher socio-economic class. That being said, some people are in so deep that access to education simply isn't available, or enriching activities aren't available or things as basic as a book to practice reading with isn't available in homes. A contentious example sure, but why should eductaion be important to families when it's done nothing for them?

For clarity, I think that the fact that I was raised in a family where both my aprents had post-graduate education made it easier for to get my own post-secondary education - both because they had always highlighted it as a priority, but also because they were supportive of me working three jobs to pay for school (as opposed to supporting them). I saw first hand the value of an education and the doors that it opened for me. As a child, I think having parents who were raised in a foreign school system where corporal punushment was still in use, where rules on behaviour and expectations were far stricter than they were in Canada served me very well. As a result, the expectations of my parents were higher for me and I was encouraged to excel.

Not everyone has those same opportunities, supports and expectations.

I agree with you. The Redneck in the trailer park down the street is going to value education a LOT less than the heart surgeon who lives next door.

It has nothing to do with race, gender or color. It's all about values and how hard you work. Now, granted, if that redneck wants his kid to do better than he did and takes time to make sure Junior gets the help he needs, and that surgeon is too busy to help his or her child or to pay attention to them, things may end up a bit differently. But it's still got nothing to do with socio-economic class, race, or gender.

BTW: For the sake of this argument, both children have equal IQs and mental and emotional stability. There are, obviously, other factors that can play a role. But everything else being equal, it's still more a parent's job to parent.

AbbeyRoad
12-07-2011, 03:06 PM
What's the point of privatizing schools? Well, the point is to instill in people the idea that all you should care about is yourself.
Wrong, that's not the point; the point would be to attempt to increase the competence of teachers. And you can't care for anyone else or put yourself in a position to help others before you take care of yourself.

Instead, I'm supposed to oppose taxes. I'm supposed to oppose taxes because I'm not supposed to care if someone else's kid can go to school.
Wrong, that's not any reason I've ever heard or agreed with to oppose taxes. I hope everyone's kid goes to the best possible school for them; it's just not my responsibility to make that happen, but the parents'.

So, we should privatize schools to eliminate the conception that we should care if someone else's child gets an education.
No, we should privatize schools for other reasons entirely. One such reason being that students in private schools score markedly higher on standardized tests and matriculate to college at a much higher percentage than students in public schools.

The idea is to foster a culture of 'every man for himself' because it keeps people isolated and easier to control.
People who think for themselves are actually much harder to control.

AbbeyRoad
12-07-2011, 03:22 PM
In North America though, the conversation about education has become one of entitlement, and not value. My snowflake deserves a first rate eductaion, even if he won't work to take advantage of it.
Why? And who is going to pay for it?

I went to an Ivy League University therfore I am better than you.
#1) The phrase should be changed to: "I went to an Ivy League University, therefore my education is better than yours."

#2) The above phrase is not true. Actually, a lot of Ivy League schools employ grad students for their undergrad courses and are more focused on research than teaching. In fact you can get a much better education at non-Ivy schools; in the realm of college education, what you get out of it is what you put into it. Most courses in college are more self-taught than anything else, anyways.

Ishara
12-07-2011, 03:45 PM
I agree with you. The Redneck in the trailer park down the street is going to value education a LOT less than the heart surgeon who lives next door.

It has nothing to do with race, gender or color. It's all about values and how hard you work. Now, granted, if that redneck wants his kid to do better than he did and takes time to make sure Junior gets the help he needs, and that surgeon is too busy to help his or her child or to pay attention to them, things may end up a bit differently. But it's still got nothing to do with socio-economic class, race, or gender.

BTW: For the sake of this argument, both children have equal IQs and mental and emotional stability. There are, obviously, other factors that can play a role. But everything else being equal, it's still more a parent's job to parent.
Ah, but that's the rub, Gil. Because I think that the values that are associated with education and hard work are not necessarily consistent across cultures or socio-economic classes. That janitor is only going to be able to find the time to make sure that Junior gets what he needs if a) he even acknowledges that Junior needs help, and b) has the resources to do so. The heart surgeon still has to make the connection thatJunior needs help, but can just hire someone to help his kid and be done with it. Both examples are predicated on the assumption that eductaion is important and worth working for.

Why? And who is going to pay for it?
I feel that I'm being misunderstood. I don't have ny snowflakes, but that is the mentality of parents who blame all on the public school system and not any on their kids. Everyone pasy for public schools, is that not the point? Either you misunderstood me initially, or I misunderstand you now, cuase I simply don't understand the questions. Are they rhetorical?

#1) The phrase should be changed to: "I went to an Ivy League University, therefore my education is better than yours."

#2) The above phrase is not true. Actually, a lot of Ivy League schools employ grad students for their undergrad courses and are more focused on research than teaching. In fact you can get a much better education at non-Ivy schools; in the realm of college education, what you get out of it is what you put into it. Most courses in college are more self-taught than anything else, anyways.

Disagree. There IS the mentality - in some - that a better education makes you superior to others. There is the perception that a better education makes you superior.

I know it's not true, and clearly you do too - but that is not the perception in many places.

Crispin's Crispian
12-07-2011, 04:31 PM
Why? And who is going to pay for it?
I don't know about insistence on "first-rate" but the obvious answer is that society should pay for it because an educated populace benefits society as a whole. The smarter we all are, the more effective (and thus productive) we can be.

We've ostensibly drawn up a social contract that property owners (and renters, indirectly) will pay a relatively small amount of money per capita to fund an education system for all children. In return, parents must send their children to a public school or ask for an exemption from the district/city/state/etc.

I think Ishara's and Gilshalos's points are merely that "attendance" is the only requirement. There is no requirement for parental involvement, nor is there a requirement that children give their best effort. These things can't really be required, but without them the system often doesn't work.

Sukoto
12-07-2011, 05:35 PM
I don't give much credit to Chomsky's ideas because he's supposed to be an expert in linguistics first and foremost. I first heard of him when I took a class on translation theory in graduate school. Chomsky was the author of an 'important' theory of translation. But the class itself seemed like a joke to me. What I got from it was that an academic study of translation is not very useful. The studies and theories on translation are usually conducted and written by people who are either linguistics professors who don't actually do translation, or academics who dabble in literary translation, which accounts for a tiny percentage of all translation that is done in the world. Anyway, I digress. Needless to say Chomsky didn't come across as a great thinker to me.

But I guess anyone can write a book filled with political commentary and philosophy and be taken seriously if they sound smart enough, and if enough people agree with what they say. Same applies to Ayn Rand.

Back to the Chomsky question from the OP of this thread: What's the point of privatizing schools?

The question implies that someone, somewhere, wants to privatize all schools. The statements following the question operate on the assumption that if all schools are privatized, some children will not be able to go to school at all. It's an assumption that is easy to make based on the current state of education. It's not entirely fair, though. To think that schools would be privatized and then take an attitude of "screw you if you can't afford school" is not realistic. Private schools already offer aid. If all schools were private, there's no reason to believe that aid would disappear, or even that schools wouldn't collectively try to provide enough aid to ensure that all children were able to go to school somewhere.

Personally, I don't see a huge difference in value between a privatized education system and a public one. There are human beings behind both. The rules never stay the same for both, and someone is always going to complain about school, whether it is private or public.

Admittedly, I have no insight into any truly bad public schools. I just haven't experienced one. I now live in a school district that is supposedly really bad, so we are looking into a charter school or private schools for our kids. But I often wonder why people say the schools here are so bad. I get the feeling that it may be because a significant percentage of the students don't speak English. Maybe I should go and observe one day.

Sinistrum
12-07-2011, 06:40 PM
People who think for themselves are actually much harder to control.

Yup. Not to mention that if we do what Chompsky wants, we'll just make people even more dependent upon government than they already generally are and therefore easier to control.

I noticed something with regard to all this talk of education that hasn't really been brought up. How do you education someone who either doesn't want to be educated or simply cannot be? I think the percentage of people who fall into either catagory is certainly a lot higher than our education establishment wants to admit, and probably most people who post here too. I think mishandling of people like that is generally the reason our schools are failing. We try so hard to pidgeonhole them into what we currently consider the "normal school experience" and created this dynamic where if we don't make the attempt, we are somehow giving up on them or thinking less of them, or have failed them as a society. And as a result we've done things like increase class sizes, lower standards to accomodate them, degrade teachers ability to discipline, and put more emphasis on feelings than results. We've dumbed our education system down to suit the lowest common denominator. And all of that has been put in place to distract from the real problem, and that is the fact that school simply isn't for the lowest common denominator. As an unintended consequence, all of that has destroyed whatever use the education system can provide for those who possess both the capability and the desire to learn (which is the real crux of why people want to go private, not Chompsky's idiotic Marxist regurgitations). We've got a bunch of people in class rooms way too full who have no interst and/or no capability of learning fucking around, bullying, challenging authority, and creating distracts. We would be a lot better served as a society trying to funnel these people into trades rather than trying to cram algebra and reading comprehension down their throats when they either don't want to digest it or simply can't.

It has nothing to do with race, gender or color.

I disagree on race. Just based upon my own experience with public schools, I know for a fact that there was a strong prejudice against minority students who excelled in their studies. Such kids were considered "acting too white" amonst their racial peers and bullied as such on top of the typical "nerd" garbage you'd expect.

Tomp
12-07-2011, 07:01 PM
Maybe they should start with privatizing the police force and the firefighters. Then they can check the status of the "clients" insurance before intervening. ;)

Ivhon
12-07-2011, 07:02 PM
#1) The phrase should be changed to: "I went to an Ivy League University, therefore my education is better than yours."

#2) The above phrase is not true. Actually, a lot of Ivy League schools employ grad students for their undergrad courses and are more focused on research than teaching. In fact you can get a much better education at non-Ivy schools; in the realm of college education, what you get out of it is what you put into it. Most courses in college are more self-taught than anything else, anyways.

True but irrelevant. The Ivy League diploma - specifically Harvard, Princeton, Yale (less so the others) - in and of itself opens doors. The quality of education offered or attained is moot in most fields (medicine being something of an exception perhaps).

The truth of the matter is that the quality of eduction is nearly irrelevant in this society. What is relevant is the stamp on the piece of paper that you get. For undergraduate institutions there are, perhaps, 15 schools that count - everywhere else provides a rubber stamp that qualifies you for entry level in your first job. Graduate fewer depending on the degree. Graduate from one of those programs and your C average will take you as far as a valedictory anywhere else.

In most fields - particularly the ones this culture defines as "successful" it is who you know not what you know that gets you places. The fun thing is that it is far more who you know than what you know that gets your kids into the schools that feed the colleges that give the connections that open up the powerful jobs.

Sure there are come from nowhere success stories to keep the American Dream alive, but if you spend any time at all looking at the enrollment statistics of Harvard or Princeton or somesuch you will see the amazing over-representation of connections over actual achievement.

GonzoTheGreat
12-08-2011, 05:03 AM
I disagree on race. Just based upon my own experience with public schools, I know for a fact that there was a strong prejudice against minority students who excelled in their studies. Such kids were considered "acting too white" amonst their racial peers and bullied as such on top of the typical "nerd" garbage you'd expect.Nitpick: I would not expect that "nerd" garbage. I would say that that is a bad example of anti-intellectualism. When I went to school, kids could find all sorts of reasons for picking on other kids, but actually studying was not one of those reasons. So I do not accept the "stupid idiots who happen to be good at a commercially important sport are more important than those who can actually learn" as the default mindset of children.

yks 6nnetu hing
12-08-2011, 05:43 AM
Ah. Well, I may get flamed for saying this, but that question, in my experience, sometimes is dependent on culture (I'll say that, instead of race) and socio-economic class.

Agreed. I don't have first-hand knowledge of this and I'm sure there are exceptions but I used to work with a Romanian girl who was absolutely disgusted with the Gypsy tendency that if the fathers highest education is 5th grade then the daughter of the family is allowed 4.

Also Romanian =/= Romani, have ot be very very clear about that.

Also, Gonzo is right. The one thing picked on the most in school is being socially "different". For example, a person can be very sociable and get good grades - in which case that person will most probably not be picked on. On the other hand, getting good grades generally means having to study which means spending less time socializing which means that the social skills don't develop as much or that since the kid doesn't spend as much time with their peers, he/she is perceived to "think so much of themselves, that eilitist snob!"... and then the kid is very probably picked on. Also, when the kid is consistently praised by teachers, that tends to put other pupil's hackles up as well: why is she/he singled out? they're not that special! they cna't even "bust a move" ... er... or whatever it is popular kids do.

Khoram
12-08-2011, 08:03 AM
I must say, every time I hear or read Noam Chomski's name, I think of this (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3553978/Nim-Chimpsky-the-chimp-who-thought-he-was-a-boy.html). I can't get it out of my head. XD

Ishara
12-08-2011, 08:25 AM
Nitpick: I would not expect that "nerd" garbage. I would say that that is a bad example of anti-intellectualism. When I went to school, kids could find all sorts of reasons for picking on other kids, but actually studying was not one of those reasons. So I do not accept the "stupid idiots who happen to be good at a commercially important sport are more important than those who can actually learn" as the default mindset of children.
Well, I can't speak for Europe, but in the part of Canada where I grew up, this is simply not the case, Gonzo. Sadly, the "stupid idiots who happen to be good at a commercially important sport are more important than those who can actually learn" is not only the default mindset of most children, but also of the adults that surround them - both parents and teachers. Brightness is not as rewarded as is athletic prowess. It's just not.

Agreed. I don't have first-hand knowledge of this and I'm sure there are exceptions but I used to work with a Romanian girl who was absolutely disgusted with the Gypsy tendency that if the fathers highest education is 5th grade then the daughter of the family is allowed 4.

Also Romanian =/= Romani, have ot be very very clear about that.

Also, Gonzo is right. The one thing picked on the most in school is being socially "different". For example, a person can be very sociable and get good grades - in which case that person will most probably not be picked on. On the other hand, getting good grades generally means having to study which means spending less time socializing which means that the social skills don't develop as much or that since the kid doesn't spend as much time with their peers, he/she is perceived to "think so much of themselves, that eilitist snob!"... and then the kid is very probably picked on. Also, when the kid is consistently praised by teachers, that tends to put other pupil's hackles up as well: why is she/he singled out? they're not that special! they cna't even "bust a move" ... er... or whatever it is popular kids do.

I didn't want to get into naming cultures myself, but the Romani/ Roma/ Travellers are a PERFECT example. In the cases of families who have come to Canada under whatever status (immigration or refugee), these kids simply do not go to school. They fail to meet even the lowest requirement of the public school system: show up. The girls are pulled from classes if they ever go at all, and the boys are pulled soon after to work in under the table jobs. (My mum is a school system social worker, hence my knowledge). I don't think it's as bad as it is in England though, like that train-wreck of a show "my big fat gypsy wedding" but it's not good! Those families perpetuate an endless cycle of poverty that feeds off of spousal abuse and domination that succeeds in part because these girls almost never learn how to read, let alone how to think critically.

Mort
12-08-2011, 08:50 AM
No, we should privatize schools for other reasons entirely. One such reason being that students in private schools score markedly higher on standardized tests and matriculate to college at a much higher percentage than students in public schools.


True, but who are attending private schools? Firstly, kids with parents able to afford it, meaning parents likely having had higher education themselves. Earlier it was mentioned those kinds of parents are more likely to value education to a higher extent. I don't have any proof of that, but I think it's likely.
Some private schools also offer some kind of advanced education or other types of orientation that attracts kids who really want to be there.

Secondly, it's usually much harder getting into a private school, so some type of selection has to be done. Usually, grades are one such selection.

So we have kids who has a support system at home that encourages education. At the same time the kids themselves, either from the support system stuying more, or are just those kind of people who like school or find it easy.

No wonder a private school would score higher, even if the quality of the private school would be just on par with the public school.

If all schools would be privatized, scorelevels wouldn't differentiate much from what we have now, I think.

From what I hear of american public schools, they are basically just taking care of everyone who are either too poor, to dumb or too uninterested to go to a private school. At least the worst schools seems to be like this. No wonder these public schools would have a lower score grade than normal as well.

Yup. Not to mention that if we do what Chompsky wants, we'll just make people even more dependent upon government than they already generally are and therefore easier to control.

I noticed something with regard to all this talk of education that hasn't really been brought up. How do you education someone who either doesn't want to be educated or simply cannot be? I think the percentage of people who fall into either catagory is certainly a lot higher than our education establishment wants to admit, and probably most people who post here too. I think mishandling of people like that is generally the reason our schools are failing. We try so hard to pidgeonhole them into what we currently consider the "normal school experience" and created this dynamic where if we don't make the attempt, we are somehow giving up on them or thinking less of them, or have failed them as a society. And as a result we've done things like increase class sizes, lower standards to accomodate them, degrade teachers ability to discipline, and put more emphasis on feelings than results. We've dumbed our education system down to suit the lowest common denominator. And all of that has been put in place to distract from the real problem, and that is the fact that school simply isn't for the lowest common denominator. As an unintended consequence, all of that has destroyed whatever use the education system can provide for those who possess both the capability and the desire to learn (which is the real crux of why people want to go private, not Chompsky's idiotic Marxist regurgitations). We've got a bunch of people in class rooms way too full who have no interst and/or no capability of learning fucking around, bullying, challenging authority, and creating distracts. We would be a lot better served as a society trying to funnel these people into trades rather than trying to cram algebra and reading comprehension down their throats when they either don't want to digest it or simply can't.


This is a problem. Schools need of course be more than one mold to fit everyone in. At the same time I think everyone needs a basic education. Should the basics be to read and write? At what level? School the same up until high school, then do whatever? Rhetorical questions at this point, but I think a lot of people can agree on the problem but differ where the line should be drawn. Like with most things :)

In Sweden, most high schools have semi work-oriented programs where you orient towards carpentry, hairdresser, restaurant cooks etc. While taking just basic match, language etc. I'm sure you have something similar in the states? That is one solution. People got to be something at least, without any skills and no education, kids would have a hard time doing anything in today's society. Talk about really creating a working class, or a slave class for that matter.

Education really is the way to everything I feel.

Some feel these types of semi-workprograms need to be expanded, while others say such programs are fine to a point, but they ultimately erode education - which is important to make informed people living in our society.
These people wouldn't either have the basics to be accepted to most universities. So if they at a later point want to go to the university, they can't and have to take some pre-uni courses to be eligible. This, however, is a small problem I think.

Khoram
12-08-2011, 09:47 AM
Well, I can't speak for Europe, but in the part of Canada where I grew up, this is simply not the case, Gonzo. Sadly, the "stupid idiots who happen to be good at a commercially important sport are more important than those who can actually learn" is not only the default mindset of most children, but also of the adults that surround them - both parents and teachers. Brightness is not as rewarded as is athletic prowess. It's just not.

There are those few in professional sports that DO have a university degree or at least some post-secondary education, though. The first couple that pop into my head are Mathieu Darche and Louis Leblanc for the Habs. Darche has a degree in Commerce, I believe, and Leblanc spent a year at Harvard under scholarship, then moved back to continue his hockey career; Dominic Moore has a business(?) degree from Harvard.

Darche even says that it is better for most hockey players (and I would guess all professional athletes) to have something to fall back on - that's what he was telling Leblanc when he first arrived in Montreal. That's one reason why he stayed at McGill - he never thought he'd make it to the NHL. Now look at him. :D

Unfortunately, this is the exception, rather than the rule. Most players will hold off on education once they get drafted into the NHL (or other sports leagues - I can't speak for any other League, seeing as I don't really pay attention to anything other than hockey XD).

fdsaf3
12-08-2011, 11:15 AM
My opinion is that Ivy League diplomas, especially at the undergraduate level, don't mean as much as they used to. Some people are pretentious and like to think that because they received an Ivy education they are somehow better than everyone else. Others, like me, are proud of their education but realize that a name doesn't say everything. To be honest, working at Mayo Clinic with some of the physicians I've worked for (and who really know how to write a letter of recommendation) has opened far more doors for me in my professional career than my diploma has. Just saying.

Now, on the topic of educating the uneducatable: I don't think such people exist. Public education is a public good, and that's a fact. Going to school and learning algebra and reading comprehension makes society better overall. So I would say that if a student expresses a lack of desire to be in school, it is a failing on the part of that community, the student's parents, and teachers to stress the value of being in school. Of course, being in school isn't for everyone. I wish I could have left high school after a year or two and moved on, but I stuck it out for four years. Granted, I was an agitator and wanted to move on for far different reasons that the ones Sini suggested in his post.

I really like the post someone made about how education is about entitlement now. I think that's a really insightful statement.

Sei'taer
12-08-2011, 11:26 AM
Waiting for Superman

Crispin's Crispian
12-08-2011, 12:44 PM
From what I hear of american public schools, they are basically just taking care of everyone who are either too poor, to dumb or too uninterested to go to a private school.

...

Schools need of course be more than one mold to fit everyone in. At the same time I think everyone needs a basic education. Should the basics be to read and write? At what level?


First and foremost, I should say that your view of American public schools is wrong. Most kids go to public school, and most parents are probably fine with that. While it's true that most parents probably can't afford private school for their kids, it's not generally looked upon as some coveted goal that we all fail to attain.

That said, we do want our kids to go to the best schools possible. For parents who can afford to either buy a home or move around enough, choosing a school district is one of the most important factors in choosing a neighborhood. We moved into our neighborhood precisely because the elementary school has a great reputation and always receives high ratings from the state and independent school accountability groups.

The problem with this system is that public schools are funded by people who live in the district. Moreover, schools usually make a huge fundraising effort among parents to afford extra things on top of what is allowed by the public budget. The result is that richer neighborhoods have better funded schools. Better funded schools have more resources available for teachers. Add to that the association between economic status and parent value place on education, and you start seeing a true dichotomy between "rich and poor" schools. Once a school starts getting bad grades or starts getting a reputation, the people who can move out of the district do move out. It's a vicious circle of decline.

And as a result we've done things like increase class sizes, lower standards to accomodate them, degrade teachers ability to discipline, and put more emphasis on feelings than results. We've dumbed our education system down to suit the lowest common denominator.Overall I agree that there needs to be a stronger emphasis on trade education rather than purely academic preparedness. I disagree strongly that there are people who are simply incapable of learning the basics and that we should start funneling those people into trades alone. I think this is very shortsighted.

I also disagree that schools only teach to the lowest common denominator. This is a common theme among anti-public school advocates, but the truth is that the teachers do the best they can to accommodate all levels of aptitude and intellect. At least in our (public) school district now, and in the one I grew up in, there were always opportunities for brighter or more ambitious kids to do much more than the basics. Moreover, teachers make an effort every year to place kids in classes or on tracks that will be challenging and rewarding.

The reason some schools can't teach above the basic level isn't because the kids can't or won't do it. It's because they simply don't have enough money, organization, or parent involvement to diversify the curriculum.

Crispin's Crispian
12-08-2011, 12:57 PM
Well, I can't speak for Europe, but in the part of Canada where I grew up, this is simply not the case, Gonzo. Sadly, the "stupid idiots who happen to be good at a commercially important sport are more important than those who can actually learn" is not only the default mindset of most children, but also of the adults that surround them - both parents and teachers. Brightness is not as rewarded as is athletic prowess. It's just not.

This is true in the US, too. A good, high-level case in point is Oregon's University system.

Our largest university is Portland State, but it is widely considered to be academically inferior on the undergrad level.

Our most prestigious research university is Oregon State University, which has great sciences programs and many connections in the Northwest.

The regional universities (Western, Eastern, and less so Southern) are known as the best teaching universities in the system.

But way out in front by a long margin is the University of Oregon. It's the second largest, and is rated highest by US News overall. But it's primarily so well known because of the football team. No one really gives a shit about the academics at the UofO.

Ishara
12-08-2011, 03:10 PM
Sini - I just want to clarify, cause I'm not sure that you meant to say that there should be a higher emphasis on trades in schools for the kids who aren't meeting the academic expectations.

Regardless, I just thought I'd pipe in and say that the tradespeople I know (my husband is an industrial maintenance mechanic specializing in valves; electricians, and HVAC) are SUPER smart. Their math skills are FAR superior to my own and they are specialized in things I can barely comprehend. The DH regularly has to resor to diagrams to explain "how his day went". I went to University because the career I wanted required it. I was a great reader and a fine writer and a poor researcher (hence no post-grad). I have a great job. He was scary smart, ADHD and liked moving and building things more than he did sitting to read and write. He also has a great job. I mean, yes, the trades are full of people who can barely read and are not educated past highschool. But frankly, so do offices.

Plus, World War Z has made me a lot more appreciative of the fact that actually being able to produce a tangible, useful product at the end of the day is sometimes better than dealing in ideas.

Davian93
12-08-2011, 03:38 PM
True but irrelevant. The Ivy League diploma - specifically Harvard, Princeton, Yale (less so the others) - in and of itself opens doors. The quality of education offered or attained is moot in most fields (medicine being something of an exception perhaps).

The truth of the matter is that the quality of eduction is nearly irrelevant in this society. What is relevant is the stamp on the piece of paper that you get. For undergraduate institutions there are, perhaps, 15 schools that count - everywhere else provides a rubber stamp that qualifies you for entry level in your first job. Graduate fewer depending on the degree. Graduate from one of those programs and your C average will take you as far as a valedictory anywhere else.

In most fields - particularly the ones this culture defines as "successful" it is who you know not what you know that gets you places. The fun thing is that it is far more who you know than what you know that gets your kids into the schools that feed the colleges that give the connections that open up the powerful jobs.

Sure there are come from nowhere success stories to keep the American Dream alive, but if you spend any time at all looking at the enrollment statistics of Harvard or Princeton or somesuch you will see the amazing over-representation of connections over actual achievement.

You can get a better education with a public library card than some people get at Ivy League schools...doesnt change the fact that that piece of paper means a lot to many, many people.

"Hmm...who should I hire, the guy with the Doctorate from Harvard or the guy that went to NW Arkansas Community College?"

Davian93
12-08-2011, 03:46 PM
Regardless, I just thought I'd pipe in and say that the tradespeople I know (my husband is an industrial maintenance mechanic specializing in valves; electricians, and HVAC) are SUPER smart. Their math skills are FAR superior to my own and they are specialized in things I can barely comprehend. The DH regularly has to resor to diagrams to explain "how his day went". I went to University because the career I wanted required it. I was a great reader and a fine writer and a poor researcher (hence no post-grad). I have a great job. He was scary smart, ADHD and liked moving and building things more than he did sitting to read and write. He also has a great job. I mean, yes, the trades are full of people who can barely read and are not educated past highschool. But frankly, so do offices.



Its a sad misconception that came out of the Baby Boomer generation that going to trade school means you've failed as a person. The "in order to succeed, you MUST go to college" mentality is one of the bigger mistakes of American and I'm guessing Canadian society where everyone thinks they deserve a white-collar job whereas historically, that simply isn't the case. Also, like you say, tradesman (or tradespersons) arent stupid. Sure, there are ditchdiggers out there but I could point to several college graduates in my office that are dumber than stumps when you try to train them on anything...just because they indebted themselves to get a piece of paper doesnt raise their IQ. One of my uncles is a Master Electrician and he's probably one of the smartest people I know. He's got a non-related college degree too (in Foresty Management) but he's been an Electrician for 30 years now. Go try to install electrical wiring at a commercial or industrial site or make a plan of such a project...its hard, hard work equivalent to advanced engineering. Just because you get dirty installing it, it becomes "blue-collar" and "poor" despite him making a TON of money doing it. Same with steamfitters, plumbers, etc. Most of these people aren't stupid despite being looked down on by some people of the "college degree" class.

Ooh, you've got a degree in Philosophy that you paid a private Liberal Arts school $200K to get...you're so, so smart!!!

Crispin's Crispian
12-08-2011, 04:07 PM
I know a guy who is a career electrician as well, and just recently started talking to him more. He's some kind of mechanical genius (and whip-smart and witty, too). He was tell us know he recently built a motorcycle in his spare time. Granted, it was from a kit...but it runs and looks great. He sold it, and made four or five more.

He also said when he was in his late teens/early 20s he built his own tattoo gun and gave himself a (pretty awesome) tat on his leg.

I actually don't know if he went to college. It never occurred to me that it mattered.

AbbeyRoad
12-08-2011, 04:57 PM
The question implies that someone, somewhere, wants to privatize all schools. The statements following the question operate on the assumption that if all schools are privatized, some children will not be able to go to school at all. It's an assumption that is easy to make based on the current state of education. It's not entirely fair, though. To think that schools would be privatized and then take an attitude of "screw you if you can't afford school" is not realistic. Private schools already offer aid. If all schools were private, there's no reason to believe that aid would disappear, or even that schools wouldn't collectively try to provide enough aid to ensure that all children were able to go to school somewhere.
Thank you; well said.

Stupid is as stupid does. One of the least competent surgeons I know graduated from Harvard Med and will be thrilled to talk to you at length about it given half a chance. About his mortality rate, however, and malpractice suits; mum's the word.

Maybe they should start with privatizing the police force and the firefighters. Then they can check the status of the "clients" insurance before intervening.
Who said anything about privatizing police? That's one of the few things the government should be responsible for.

In most fields - particularly the ones this culture defines as "successful" it is who you know not what you know that gets you places.
And that is the problem with the "aristocracy of pull" that permeates the major fields today, especially in government. Aptitude and skill are not viewed as important as perceived values. It results in mediocrity.

From what I hear of american public schools, they are basically just taking care of everyone who are either too poor, to dumb or too uninterested to go to a private school.
I received a first-rate education from a public high school and matriculated to college without a hitch. Some public schools are fantastic. As a general rule, however, from a statistical standpoint, private schools are better because the best teachers go to the schools that can pay them the best and give them the best students, and the parents with the best students send them to the best teachers. It is a common misconception that exceptional students whose parents cannot afford private educations "rot" in public schools. Not only are many public schools capable, but most private schools offer scholarships for exceptional students who couldn't otherwise afford their education. Of course, they only take the best students.

To be honest, working at Mayo Clinic with some of the physicians I've worked for (and who really know how to write a letter of recommendation) has opened far more doors for me in my professional career than my diploma has. Just saying.
I should hope so. Academic knowledge serves its purpose, but who cares what you know if you can't apply it? I can teach anyone to do my job if they have the natural base intelligence to learn; that's the easy part. I can't instill a work ethic or teach people how to deal with an 80 hour week or work on little sleep or desire to be practically good at what they do because they enjoy being good at it. The extraordinarily intelligent doctors are better suited for research than patient care anyways; what I do can be learned by almost anyone, it just takes a hard worker. It's a shame medical schools don't always recognize this and make a "game" of the application process.

One of my uncles is a Master Electrician and he's probably one of the smartest people I know. He's got a non-related college degree too (in Foresty Management) but he's been an Electrician for 30 years now. Go try to install electrical wiring at a commercial or industrial site or make a plan of such a project...its hard, hard work equivalent to advanced engineering. Just because you get dirty installing it, it becomes "blue-collar" and "poor" despite him making a TON of money doing it. Same with steamfitters, plumbers, etc.
Equivalent to advanced engineering? It can be much, much harder than advanced engineering. Have you seen the electrical shell of an industrial site? Those guys have to know what they're doing. Plumbers can make great, great money. You'd be surprised; a friend of mine from high school became a damn good plumber and makes more than a good portion of college grads I know.

Hell, surgeons are glorified mechanics or seamstresses. Half of what they do is sewing; and all of it is trained, and learned through repetition. The best surgeons aren't the brightest students, but the people with the steadiest hands and who practiced their procedures and prepared the most thoroughly. Granted it is high pressure and requires thinking on one's feet, but all the biochemistry they teach you in M1 and M2 is more than obsolete unless you go into research or teaching.

"Hmm...who should I hire, the guy with the Doctorate from Harvard or the guy that went to NW Arkansas Community College?"
Employers need to ask themselves; "what were their grades and work experience?"

A 4.0 at any college, especially with work experience, tells me a lot about the character of that student. A 2.5 at Harvard tells me someone is trying to make daddy proud.

Seeker
12-08-2011, 06:32 PM
Yup. Not to mention that if we do what Chompsky wants, we'll just make people even more dependent upon government than they already generally are and therefore easier to control.

Except that if you read it very carefully, you'll notice that Chomsky didn't actually tell anyone to do anything.

Mort
12-08-2011, 10:23 PM
First and foremost, I should say that your view of American public schools is wrong. Most kids go to public school, and most parents are probably fine with that. While it's true that most parents probably can't afford private school for their kids, it's not generally looked upon as some coveted goal that we all fail to attain.


It's not my view, it's how I see public schools are being portrayed. I get that it's a lot of exaggeration and misconceptions and that a majority of people go to public school are doing just fine, if not great.

That's also the reason there must be other factors at play here other than just public vs private. Social factors for example.



I received a first-rate education from a public high school and matriculated to college without a hitch. Some public schools are fantastic. As a general rule, however, from a statistical standpoint, private schools are better because the best teachers go to the schools that can pay them the best and give them the best students, and the parents with the best students send them to the best teachers. It is a common misconception that exceptional students whose parents cannot afford private educations "rot" in public schools. Not only are many public schools capable, but most private schools offer scholarships for exceptional students who couldn't otherwise afford their education. Of course, they only take the best students.



See above. And I agree.

fdsaf3
12-08-2011, 10:29 PM
You can get a better education with a public library card than some people get at Ivy League schools.

I fundamentally, vehemently disagree with this part of your post.

I'll lend you my college math textbooks (most, if not all, are available through my city's library system), let you read them, and then give you a quiz on the material. Pick any subject, actually. Doesn't have to be math. I'd be shocked, absolutely shocked, if someone who didn't go to class and simply read the texts did as well on the aggregate as a student who went to class.

Why? Because of how we learn. The more times we are exposed to ideas, the more we soak them up. We benefit not only from reading the material, but hearing it lectured to us. We read the material in the PowerPoint presentations. We talk about it with our friends and classmates. All of those factor into how much we learn and retain material.

I like Good Will Hunting, but when he has that throwaway line about how a graduate degree is worth about $1.50 in late fees at the local library, I feel like he misses the point big time.

I'm not saying college is right for everyone or anything like that. Don't misunderstand me. All I'm saying is that there are benefits of going to class beyond what we learn from doing the required reading.

yks 6nnetu hing
12-09-2011, 02:34 AM
I know a guy who is a career electrician as well, and just recently started talking to him more. He's some kind of mechanical genius (and whip-smart and witty, too). He was tell us know he recently built a motorcycle in his spare time. Granted, it was from a kit...but it runs and looks great. He sold it, and made four or five more.

He also said when he was in his late teens/early 20s he built his own tattoo gun and gave himself a (pretty awesome) tat on his leg.

I actually don't know if he went to college. It never occurred to me that it mattered.

My former boss never got a formal college education (probably because he's too volatile to keep still long enough) so here and there, for example when he's programming, you can tell that he doesn't have that basis. Still though, he's the owner of a rather successful company, singlehandedly takes care of about half of the programming (and supervises the other half), and most of his business is done on the basis of "sound farmer intelligence", which - let me tell you - works wonders in the corporate world sometimes. and still... he's got the weirdest inferiority complex towards people who do have a degree of any sort.

You can get a better education with a public library card than some people get at Ivy League schools...doesnt change the fact that that piece of paper means a lot to many, many people.

"Hmm...who should I hire, the guy with the Doctorate from Harvard or the guy that went to NW Arkansas Community College?"

the important word in there is "can". Sure you can, but in most cases you won't because you'll be plodding at it alone with no-one to tell you that this or that book is dated and doesn't have the latest information or to suggest a different author instead. I think I may have mentioned the guy who tried to do just that: graduate from Uni without going to classes. Technically you just need to get your points together and write one mean research paper. But, good lord, his research paper read like the worst sort of conspiracy theory, cobbled together from unreliable sources mixed with a few reliable sources, the Internet and fairy tales. and it was badly formatted. It happened the same year I graduated so... the rest of us looked really good comapred to him.

maacaroni
12-09-2011, 08:09 AM
It is a delusion to think that a degree from a prestigious university has not got extra weight. Of course it does, the person (in most cases) would have had to be academically bright and passed very exams and interviews AND then passed his degree course.

As for old Noam, he's a new age leftie. As long as you accept that, you'll be fine. He sees some worth in collective responsibility bringing results to the US. I think he's in a minority compared to those in power.

Davian93
12-09-2011, 08:39 AM
I fundamentally, vehemently disagree with this part of your post.

I'll lend you my college math textbooks (most, if not all, are available through my city's library system), let you read them, and then give you a quiz on the material. Pick any subject, actually. Doesn't have to be math. I'd be shocked, absolutely shocked, if someone who didn't go to class and simply read the texts did as well on the aggregate as a student who went to class.

Why? Because of how we learn. The more times we are exposed to ideas, the more we soak them up. We benefit not only from reading the material, but hearing it lectured to us. We read the material in the PowerPoint presentations. We talk about it with our friends and classmates. All of those factor into how much we learn and retain material.

I like Good Will Hunting, but when he has that throwaway line about how a graduate degree is worth about $1.50 in late fees at the local library, I feel like he misses the point big time.

I'm not saying college is right for everyone or anything like that. Don't misunderstand me. All I'm saying is that there are benefits of going to class beyond what we learn from doing the required reading.


The point of that line is that some people from said schools learn basically zero but still end up with that piece of paper...and in my experience, I've found it to be true. Not everyone gets into Ivy league schools based on merit...we call them legacies or there's the guy I know who went to Cornell because Daddy was an alcoholic and he flunked out 2 semesters in, etc etc.

Granted I have a degree from a school but there were plenty of classmates I knew that were complete idiots and I'm shocked they somehow scraped by with passing grades. Having read their papers from time to time, they sound like they were written by 5 year olds.

How the hell can one make basic grammatical and spelling errors in this day and age? I mean, I can see the occasional error but how hard is it to know how to spell...or at least know how to find the Spell Check button?

GonzoTheGreat
12-09-2011, 09:06 AM
I mean, I can see the occasional error but how hard is it to know how to spell...or at least know how to find the Spell Check button?I donut know weather a spell check (something from the D&D scene, isn't it?) wood always help.