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2982 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Dec 2012 at 2:36 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:    more»

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US 8th-grader's math skills have declined nearly twenty-eleven percent when compared to those of many of our global competitors

Heh.

Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.

Through 8th grade they do. After 8th grade I would like to see us shift to some sort of track system that many other countries use. It's not realistic to try to prepare every kid for an engineering track. All we do is water down the stuff so the average kid passes with an A.

I believe it. Looking over my daughter's homework last night, I see she's learning multiplication.

Only instead of learning the basic 0 through 10 tables, they're teaching it by addition. So to multiply 7 * 18, they expect her to write on the paper 7 +7 = 14, 14 +7 = 21, etc until she's done it 18 times. Any sensible person would figure 7*10 + 7 * 8, but that would get marked wrong. They won't even stand for making the larger number the base and adding 18 7 times instead of 7 18 times.

Seriously, they're teaching kids to multiply the same way an old cpu without mult instructions and no code optimizations would. They've dumbed down the curriculum so much to accomodate the slowest students that it's starting to make everyone else stupid by "gravitational pull".

Am I the only one that is sick of this "gotta be #1" mentality that is ceaselessly pounded into the heads of American's from day -10? Seems to me that from my work experience and school experience, problems are never solved by "the best" in the group, always from a concerted effort of all involved. If you apply this to worldwide problems, we're better off training kids to recognize their own skills and develop them, along with recognizing others', rather than perpetuating the competition.

Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.

That is certainly not true of Finland and most of Europe.
Percentages of children receiving a secondary education:

As you can see the US lags most of Europe.

On the other hand, at least Massachusetts, where my kids go to school, is kicking butt.

/suck it bible belt.

Sir Not Sure The Unscannable: Am I the only one that is sick of this "gotta be #1" mentality that is ceaselessly pounded into the heads of American's from day -10? Seems to me that from my work experience and school experience, problems are never solved by "the best" in the group, always from a concerted effort of all involved. If you apply this to worldwide problems, we're better off training kids to recognize their own skills and develop them, along with recognizing others', rather than perpetuating the competition.

Go back to Russia

Obvious tag forget to carry the one?

TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: Rent Party: TheBeastOfYuccaFlats:
I can tell you that in IT it is *routinely* the case that companies underbid, basically because they can then justify an H1B. I watched my own company need but not hire anyone for an Oracle DBA position for 18 months because they didn't want to pay the going rate for someone with the skillset required.

If I'm operating that business, and I have an open rec for 18 months, it would make me question the need for the position in the first place.

It was a situation where the existing people could do station-holding on issues basically forever, but it required someone with a more advanced skillset and prior experience to move forward. I have no doubt that there was a business impact in terms of new project progress.

YEP!
"we don't need a QA or support team. the engineers can do that too."
6 months later: "hey engineering, how come you haven't built any new stuff."
engineering: "we're overworked. At least let us hire some more people."
management: "look, I can't give you a hiring budget, because you haven't been productive for the last 6 months. Take sales for example! They really make things happen!"
engineering: "well, they sold all the crap that didn't exist at the time and still doesn't because we're too overloaded with support work to build it..."
management: "ok, fine, I'll hire some trained monkeys to do support work."
6 months later: "you told me those trained monkeys would solve the problem"
engineering: "well no, we told you we needed some more support people, not trained monkeys, actual people...."
management: "you're even less productive! Look how good these trained monkeys are though! They're escalating tickets faster than ever, and you guys just sit on them"
engineering: "yeah, that's because the monkeys don't actually work the tickets. They just instantly escalate them to engineering, so then we have to do the support work while putting up the guise of training the monkeys who are in fact untrainable...."
management: "screw it, you're all fired. get me some trained monkey developers for less than half the price. Then I'll change the sales guy's title to 'Architect' and have him lord over the monkeys."
support monkey: "ticket too hard, escalate to engineering monkey"
engineering monkey: "ticket too hard, escalate to 'Architect'"
architect monkey: "delegate ticket to support monkeys, send emails letting management know that I'm on the case and stuff's about to get done"
infinite loop

ok, sorry I'm having one of those days and this was a good opportunity for catharsis.
We're actually hiring engineers again. People finally realized the monkey pyramid scheme was a bad idea.
But they only replaced the engineering piece of the pyramid sales and support are still morans.

I wonder how much of this is driven by the fact that kids (at least here in GA) see no consistency in the curriculum form year to year as they line the pockets of their cronies who own companies that sell educational materials.

Down here, most on the school boards are Republicans and many have gone on the record in some fashion as being AGAINST public education. And they seem to be doing a great job of destroying the schools from within, while lining their pockets of course.

I can't count how many different "methods" of teaching math my kids have been exposed to thanks to GOP school board members changing to a new "program" every year or two. Get elected to school board, set your brother up selling "educational materials" and profit.

With positive results like this, obviously, teachers deserve a raise

Crewmannumber6: My relatives in Ireland are horrible spellers.

I always tell them "That looks (or sounds) like English, but it ain't English."

timujin: Absolutely true, But that doesn't really address the fact that as our student's abilities have been steadily decreasing over the last couple of decades, our engineering and scientific workforce has declined as well.

Not true. US student test scores have improved across the board over the past few decades. The US isn't ranked as relatively high anymore because other nations are doing better economically and, most importantly, alleviating poverty while they're at it. Poverty is by far the number one correlate of poor student performance. The reason why the US is falling behind in education (relatively) is that more Americans are going to bed hungry.

People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines. Being able to create less formulaic stories has left us with more unemployed hipsters and fewer PhD's.

And this is laughably false. The US churns out Ph.D.s like crazy. I know, I'm one of them. In the biomedical sciences alone, 7000 Ph.D.s are minted in the US every year yet there are a grand total of 20000 tenured biomed faculty positions. We could replenish the tenured faculty every three years.

That's just an illustration. My generation was told to work hard, get an education, and you'll have a good career. Well, there isn't funding and thus jobs for everyone getting an advanced degree. Those of us in the sciences have been sold a bill of goods because the US is decreasingly spending resources on science (and complementary engineering) because TAX CUTS ÜBER ALLES and corporations now only care about quarterly earnings reports.

OnlyM3: With positive results like this, obviously, teachers deserve a raise

Maybe they do.

Imagine if we valued teachers enough to pay them well. A lot more people would see teaching as a viable career option.

FTFM:

timujin : Absolutely true, But that doesn't really address the fact that as our student's abilities have been steadily decreasing over the last couple of decades, our engineering and scientific workforce has declined as well.

Not true. US student test scores have improved across the board over the past few decades. The US isn't ranked as relatively high anymore because other nations are doing better economically and, most importantly, alleviating poverty while they're at it. Poverty is by far the number one correlate of poor student performance. The reason why the US is falling behind in education (relatively) is that more Americans are going to bed hungry.

People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines. Being able to create less formulaic stories has left us with more unemployed hipsters and fewer PhD's.

And this is laughably false. The US churns out Ph.D.s like crazy. I know, I'm one of them. In the biomedical sciences alone, 7000 Ph.D.s are minted in the US every year yet there are a grand total of 20000 tenured biomed faculty positions. We could replenish the tenured faculty every three years.

That's just an illustration. My generation was told to work hard, get an education, and you'll have a good career. Well, there isn't funding and thus jobs for everyone getting an advanced degree. Those of us in the sciences have been sold a bill of goods because the US is decreasingly spending resources on science (and complementary engineering) because TAX CUTS ÜBER ALLES and corporations now only care about quarterly earnings reports.

rwfan: Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.

That is certainly not true of Finland and most of Europe.

The reason I mentioned Finland is their education system truly focuses on all the students. It is basically the opposite of what people think is a successful school system, there are no elite schools, there are no private schools. And yet in 2006, Finland's pupils scored the highest average results in science and reading in the whole of the developed world. In the OECD's exams for 15 year-olds, known as PISA, they also came second in maths, beaten only by teenagers in South Korea.

Lionel Mandrake: OnlyM3: With positive results like this, obviously, teachers deserve a raise

Maybe they do.

Imagine if we valued teachers enough to pay them well. A lot more people would see teaching as a viable career option.

---------------------------

What nonsense. Anybody who understands economics knows that the only people worth offering a monetary incentive to are CEOs.

I bet they can count up to their killstreak.

And I bet we spend more 'per child' than just about anyone else.

Quick - vote yes on 'Prop 5a' - to ensure our CHILDREN get the education they DESERVE'

//Prop 5a is a raise for teachers.

Thanks Detroit, you blew the curve!!

JackieRabbit:
Oh, now you are just being logical. Stop that.

Consider too that many middle and high school teachers do not have degrees in mathematic, but have only taken a course in teaching mathematics. Now combine your idea with this one and add that so many of these kids parents have the flawed "I never used algebra after high school, so it's a waste of time" mentality and you've pretty much nailed the causes.

T farkin HAT.

I have always argued that mathematics is taught backwards in American schools, and the fact that it is so poorly integrated into the science curriculum (where, you know, it can be used) is a national failing.

We seem to think that linear algebra is appropriate for middle school kids, but physics, the most easily taught science application for algebra, is best reserved for high school students. It's farking dumb. We could have these kids doing calculus and not even know it.

There is a great white paper on the failings of math education called "The Mathematician's Lament." Google it up for a good read.

Fark_Guy_Rob: And I bet we spend more 'per child' than just about anyone else.

Quick - vote yes on 'Prop 5a' - to ensure our CHILDREN get the education they DESERVE'

//Prop 5a is a raise for teachers.

It varies state to state. Generally, there is no correlation between per student spending and performance on the high end, but there is on the low end. There seems to be a break point at around \$7500 per student that gains you very little above it, but will absolutely lose you ground below it.

*Adequately* funded schools can work. Over funded schools are not guaranteed to work. Underfunded schools are at risk of not working.

Insatiable Jesus: Lionel Mandrake: OnlyM3: With positive results like this, obviously, teachers deserve a raise

Maybe they do.

Imagine if we valued teachers enough to pay them well. A lot more people would see teaching as a viable career option.

---------------------------

What nonsense. Anybody who understands economics knows that the only people worth offering a monetary incentive to are CEOs.

I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.

When you consider the number of days actually worked each year - teaching is a very well paid job. That's just the salary though, the benefits are what really sweeten the deal. And, you have to remember that the salary for a teacher doesn't include the higher-earning jobs teaching leads into, like being a principal or superintendent or any of those administrative type positions.

Um, article fails on some basic background research. The US is ranked 18th in math literacy worldwide.

READ 'OUTLIERS'

FORCE KIDS TO LEARN CHINESE

Watch them DOMINATE at math.

Hopefully it's not the 27% who are gonna have to pay for all this stuff .

We're keeping grades now?!?!?!

Fark_Guy_Rob: I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.

You don't deal with many children, do you? Nor know many teachers and how many hours they spend on the job but off campus. Or how much of their own paychecks they spend on class supplies.

When you consider the number of days actually worked each year - teaching is a very well paid job. That's just the salary though, the benefits are what really sweeten the deal. And, you have to remember that the salary for a teacher doesn't include the higher-earning jobs teaching leads into, like being a principal or superintendent or any of those administrative type positions.

Admittedly, administration has proliferated quite a bit, probably to the detriment of everyone except themselves. But they're still only a small proportion of a school's workers. Teachers' pensions are more generous than the typical 401(k) but I'd contend that other sectors' workers are getting the shaft rather than teachers are overcompensated.

Twenty Eleven!! That's like almost half!!!

rwfan: Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.

That is certainly not true of Finland and most of Europe.
Percentages of children receiving a secondary education:

As you can see the US lags most of Europe.

On the other hand, at least Massachusetts, where my kids go to school, is kicking butt.

/suck it bible belt.

Secondary? You mean like college? Wtf that has to do with public compulsory education?

TofuTheAlmighty: Fark_Guy_Rob: I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.

You don't deal with many children, do you? Nor know many teachers and how many hours they spend on the job but off campus. Or how much of their own paychecks they spend on class supplies.

Welcome to the world of work. Anyone in a professional position works more than 40 hours a week, takes shiat home, and sometimes spends some of their own cash to get the job done.

Teachers aren't special in that regard. By understanding that the career path for a teacher never takes them out of an academic environment, the fact that they think they are special in that regard becomes clear.

Fark_Guy_Rob: I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.

I'm guessing you've never been a teacher.

Class, get out your math books.....

Some farkers will understand

Most won't

TofuTheAlmighty: FTFM:

Not true. US student test scores have improved across the board over the past few decades. The US isn't ranked as relatively high anymore because other nations are doing better economically and, most importantly, alleviating poverty while they're at it. Poverty is by far the number one correlate of poor student performance. The reason why the US is falling behind in education (relatively) is that more Americans are going to bed hungry.

Yes, we've improved internally, because we have focused on passing the particular tests the U.S. has standardized on. Poverty? Are so many U.S. students suffering that it is allowing other countries to surpass us?

And this is laughably false. The US churns out Ph.D.s like crazy. I know, I'm one of them. In the biomedical sciences alone, 7000 Ph.D.s are minted in the US every year yet there are a grand total of 20000 tenured biomed faculty positions. We could replenish the tenured faculty every three years.

That's just an illustration. My generation was told to work hard, get an education, and you'll have a good career. Well, there isn't funding and thus jobs for everyone getting an advanced degree. Those of us in the sciences have been sold a bill of goods because the US is decreasingly spending resources on science (and complementary engineering) because TAX CUTS ÜBER ALLES and corporations now only care about quarterly earnings reports.

I intended "PhD's" to be tongue-in-cheek, I thought that would be obvious as it followed "hipster". However, there are PhD's in fields other than biomedicine. We are falling behind in degrees in engineering. We have a 50% drop out rate for engineering majors. Why? Plenty of reasons. Business degrees can easily pay better.. Engineering isn't "sexy". Engineering is hard, people get into it without the proper foundation and find out they can't catch up. There are lots of reasons. There are jobs available for people with those degrees that can't be filled.

According to subby It's only one kid, so I'm not that worried.

vogonity: According to subby It's only one kid, so I'm not that worried.

heh, nice catch.

Fark_Guy_Rob: Insatiable Jesus: Lionel Mandrake: OnlyM3: With positive results like this, obviously, teachers deserve a raise

Maybe they do.

Imagine if we valued teachers enough to pay them well. A lot more people would see teaching as a viable career option.

---------------------------

What nonsense. Anybody who understands economics knows that the only people worth offering a monetary incentive to are CEOs.

I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.
[i.stack.imgur.com image 841x1500]

When you consider the number of days actually worked each year - teaching is a very well paid job. That's just the salary though, the benefits are what really sweeten the deal. And, you have to remember that the salary for a teacher doesn't include the higher-earning jobs teaching leads into, like being a principal or superintendent or any of those administrative type positions.

I tend to agree with the sentiment that 3 months of vacation is a damned good perk that teachers overlook. The "I'm still 'working' over the summer. I go to conferences and stuff and evaluate textbooks, so it's not really a vacation" argument is a laughable copout that I used to agree to until I started working. shiat caught fire while I was skiing with the parents for Christmas so I spent a couple hours every evening in the Starbucks on my laptop. My mom--seriously the hardest working teacher ever--asked me why I even brought my computer on vacation, and that's when I realized she and other teachers are working on a skewed definition of the word "vacation". For any real job, there's still obligations when you're on vacation, just less of them. Teachers tend to think a vacation should be an absolute lack of work, but that's just not realistic.

But by no stretch of the imagination is teaching a "well paid job" compared to the other options for smart folks. Good math and science teachers are generally also qualified to be good engineers, so you force them to choose between \$50k with 3 months vacation, vs \$125K with 4 weeks of vacation. gee, tough choice. I can buy more happiness in my 4 weeks than you can even imagine during your whole summer.
Let's pay teachers a competitive salary AND give 3 months vacation, then hire the best possible people and fire the duds.
And crush teachers unions who want to equalize pay across all subjects. Teachers' pay should be based on what jobs they'd otherwise be qualified for outside of teaching, not some feel good sensitivity about wanting to make the same as their colleagues.

Better find that 8th grader and learn him some math.

Lol public schooling

SixOfDLoC: I believe it. Looking over my daughter's homework last night, I see she's learning multiplication.

Only instead of learning the basic 0 through 10 tables, they're teaching it by addition. So to multiply 7 * 18, they expect her to write on the paper 7 +7 = 14, 14 +7 = 21, etc until she's done it 18 times.

While they're maybe not going about it the best way, at least they're trying to teach her what multiplication is. I don't think that's "dumbing down the curriculum" at all. Frankly I think memorizing times tables is the dumber approach, since it doesn't actually promote any mathematical understanding, it's just memorizing grids of meaningless numbers. Making them do every problem that way is excessive, but teaching them how it works and having them do a few problems that way I don't think is a terrible idea at all. Being able to think of multiplication as multiple additions can be useful, and the idea could be used to introduce the concept of factorization.

I remember in middle school being administered some kind of aptitude test. It indicated that I read and wrote at a Freshman college level, but my math skills were somewhere around a third-grade level. I have a hard time wrapping my head round math for some reason. A friend had a similar problem, but when he went back to college in his 40's, he muscled through it and was successful. Maybe there's hope.

We just need more unions!!

Liberal solution to everything. More union power = better education for kids.

Thunderpipes: We just need more unions!!

Liberal solution to everything. More union power = better education for kids.

You are gifted with a very special kind of dumb. Revel in it!

buckler: I remember in middle school being administered some kind of aptitude test. It indicated that I read and wrote at a Freshman college level, but my math skills were somewhere around a third-grade level. I have a hard time wrapping my head round math for some reason. A friend had a similar problem, but when he went back to college in his 40's, he muscled through it and was successful. Maybe there's hope.

There is nothing inherently difficult about math. We are just told from the day we are born that "MATH IS HARD!!!!" The way we teach it is highly farking dumb, but no one has an inherent difficulty with it.

Balance in your checking account does not matter. What DOES matter is how many checks you have left in your check book.

/got to be true, read it on the internet!

Gawdzila: SixOfDLoC: I believe it. Looking over my daughter's homework last night, I see she's learning multiplication.

Only instead of learning the basic 0 through 10 tables, they're teaching it by addition. So to multiply 7 * 18, they expect her to write on the paper 7 +7 = 14, 14 +7 = 21, etc until she's done it 18 times.

While they're maybe not going about it the best way, at least they're trying to teach her what multiplication is. I don't think that's "dumbing down the curriculum" at all. Frankly I think memorizing times tables is the dumber approach, since it doesn't actually promote any mathematical understanding, it's just memorizing grids of meaningless numbers. Making them do every problem that way is excessive, but teaching them how it works and having them do a few problems that way I don't think is a terrible idea at all. Being able to think of multiplication as multiple additions can be useful, and the idea could be used to introduce the concept of factorization.

If a kid can't understand what multiplication is, making them write it out won't help.

Old ways are better, period. Statistics show this. Our kids today are retards. They are because they can be, and get free stuff.

Rent Party: buckler: I remember in middle school being administered some kind of aptitude test. It indicated that I read and wrote at a Freshman college level, but my math skills were somewhere around a third-grade level. I have a hard time wrapping my head round math for some reason. A friend had a similar problem, but when he went back to college in his 40's, he muscled through it and was successful. Maybe there's hope.

There is nothing inherently difficult about math. We are just told from the day we are born that "MATH IS HARD!!!!" The way we teach it is highly farking dumb, but no one has an inherent difficulty with it.

I guess the thing is that I always found its rules to be arbitrary. I like to approach things from a "why are things this way in particular?" standpoint, and always found "because it's just a fundamental property of our Universe" to be somewhat unsatisfying. Ironically, this would seem to have been an excellent launching pad for a career in science, if only my math skills had been better.

buckler: Rent Party: buckler: I remember in middle school being administered some kind of aptitude test. It indicated that I read and wrote at a Freshman college level, but my math skills were somewhere around a third-grade level. I have a hard time wrapping my head round math for some reason. A friend had a similar problem, but when he went back to college in his 40's, he muscled through it and was successful. Maybe there's hope.

There is nothing inherently difficult about math. We are just told from the day we are born that "MATH IS HARD!!!!" The way we teach it is highly farking dumb, but no one has an inherent difficulty with it.

I guess the thing is that I always found its rules to be arbitrary. I like to approach things from a "why are things this way in particular?" standpoint, and always found "because it's just a fundamental property of our Universe" to be somewhat unsatisfying. Ironically, this would seem to have been an excellent launching pad for a career in science, if only my math skills had been better.

Well, that's my point. The problem isn't you, it's the way you were taught. Math is the only language appropriate to answering those *why is it like that* questions that most kids have. Had someone bothered to explain it to you in those terms, you'd be a math fiend today.

Instead, they tell kids "I never use math, it's hard."

Thunderpipes: If a kid can't understand what multiplication is, making them write it out won't help.

Not true. One can understand something without understanding every possible way to look at it.
Even for someone who "gets it", an alternative way to think about problems can be insightful.

Thunderpipes: Old ways are better, period.

Lol. That's the sort of daft comment I'd expect from you I suppose.

timujin: And this is laughably false. The US churns out Ph.D.s like crazy. I know, I'm one of them. In the biomedical sciences alone, 7000 Ph.D.s are minted in the US every year yet there are a grand total of 20000 tenured biomed faculty positions. We could replenish the tenured faculty every three years.

A very large percentage of them are foreign students. I have a relative who actual interviews graduate candidates for a health science research facility and for two years in a row they did not take on any American students but they simply were not the best qualified.

Go to any large university and look at the students majoring in the hard science, engineering and medicine degrees. A large chunk of them are foreign students. Then look at those majoring in Psychology , Gender studies, communications, etc. Not too many foreign kid's parents wasting their money on that B.S.

The only plus side is that a lot of these foreign kids find a way to stay in the US to put their education to use.

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