Author Topic: The education bubble  (Read 151710 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline GnyHwy

  • Is a pragmatic optimist.
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 35,860
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,303
  • GO GUNS!!!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #50 on: November 30, 2012, 06:45:55 »
I hardly see how this is conclusive of anything.  It is plainly obvious that anything that involves money needs to be optimized, and that it is how you spend it and not how much you spend.  Also, the ability to spend money wisely is going to vary from district to district and school to school, dependant on the persons in charge. 

This article is clearly written by a red writer, and I love the title "The Texas Education Miracle"; got to make sure you plug Jesus somehow.  To me the article leaves more questions than conclusive evidence, it is short and rhetorical.  He mentions the red states have 5 of 10 top spots, but doesn't mention that that makes it tie, clearly not a miracle.  He then goes on to mention some of the bigger profile blue states and how they performed average, but fails to mention the other 20 or so states below them.  Could the majority of those 20 states be red?

Further, the red approach to government allowing more power to the states it an excellent way to keep your state GPA up.  When there is no national standard for curriculum, it would be much easier to jack up your stats.  Heck, ensure that some bible memorization is in there and poof, there's an easy few marks.

Please don't get me wrong, I do think the red have some great ideas, but education ain't not one of them, and the politics have become so polarized and extreme that they have become absurd.  The last group I would be asking for education advice would be the hard right, the group that shapes the facts and evidence around what they believe rather than looking for more evidence.

If any credit is due, it should be for the teachers who are working the "miracles", and not the persons cutting their budgets, or the religious figure ever watching over their shoulder. 


Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 177,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,978
  • Freespeecher
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2012, 08:16:53 »
I would suggest you read Walter Russel Mead on a more regular basis. He is hardly into caricatures, and is most definitely into writing on the basis of both evidence and a deep understanding of history and historical trends. On that basis I give what he has to say a great deal of weight and well worth considering.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline GnyHwy

  • Is a pragmatic optimist.
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 35,860
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,303
  • GO GUNS!!!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #52 on: November 30, 2012, 09:39:36 »
From that small article, he seemed very red, but I'll take your word for it that he is unbiased.  From the size of the article people must trust his word, because he didn't elaborate or give reasons or detailed evidence for anything. Perhaps he is just attempting to dispel the myth that the blue are automatically better educators.
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 177,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,978
  • Freespeecher
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #53 on: November 30, 2012, 21:54:11 »
WRM and many others can be read on "The American Interest": http://www.the-american-interest.com/

and his blog: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/

Enjoy!
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 47,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,397
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2012, 12:25:22 »
>The last group I would be asking for education advice would be the hard right, the group that shapes the facts and evidence around what they believe rather than looking for more evidence.

It is ironic that what you believe about others is shaped to suit what you wish to believe.  I am "hard right" precisely because I am numerate, educated, intelligent, capable of reaching beyond the innumerate and egregiously misinformed opinion shapers in the media to assess the numbers for myself and motivated to do so, and have more compassion for the bottom quintile and would place them first in line ahead of the other special interests lined up at the orange and red tables.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

"But injustice is a rule of the service, as you know very well; and since you have to have a good deal of undeserved abuse, you might just as well have it from your friends."  - The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian.

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #55 on: December 02, 2012, 13:20:48 »
Education in Texas has become something of a "touchstone" for both left and right.

Texas is amongst the minority of US states that actually believes in standardized testing - the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) - with good and bad results.

The good results are that Texas youngsters "score" above, usually well above, the national average when it comes to enrollment in the top 100 universities. The not so good is that too many schools "teach the tests" which many people believe produces less that really "well educated" graduates. 

Texas has some interesting innovations for bright students, things like TAMS (Texas Academy of Maths and Sciences) and similar programmes for other interests.

As everywhere, but perhaps more pronounced, Texas school quality varies widely with income. It may be because a lot of school funding comes from local property taxes (there are no state income taxes in TX) so the general lack of "respect for learning" which is too often coincident with low incomes is exacerbated by a lack of resources. It's probably not surprising that the highest ranked schools in Texas are in the North Dallas suburbs where many, many very well educated and quite well paid Asian born Americans (employed in the technology sector) live. Higher than average incomes and an absolutely ferocious respect for education conspire to produce youngsters who excel at academics.

Many liberals hate Texas because it is seen to be rewarding already "privileged" middle class children at the expense of poor, underprivileged African-Americans and Hispanics. Conservatives love it because it stresses achievement over entitlement. There is some merit in both cases. Look at the faces of the students on the TAMS website; they are, as a Texas university professor told me, "Harvard's worst admissions nightmare" - disproportionately hard working, socially conservative, high achieving, Asian kids who just want to be rich. In fact, although TAMS graduates do get into America's best universities, those top universities have quotas, which infuriate conservative Texans, that ensure that a certain percentage of less than really well academically qualified African-America, Hispanic and White students get a "fair share" of places. Texas own top tier schools (Rice, Texas A&M and UT Austin) are defiantly "unfair" in that, despite having generous financial aid packages, all admit students based solely on academic performance, except for star athletes.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline GnyHwy

  • Is a pragmatic optimist.
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 35,860
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,303
  • GO GUNS!!!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2012, 14:26:02 »
It is ironic that what you believe about others is shaped to suit what you wish to believe.  I am "hard right" precisely because I am numerate, educated, intelligent, capable of reaching beyond the innumerate and egregiously misinformed opinion shapers in the media to assess the numbers for myself and motivated to do so, and have more compassion for the bottom quintile and would place them first in line ahead of the other special interests lined up at the orange and red tables.

Perhaps I should have used the term "far right" instead of "hard right".  Although it seems your are hard right (unwilling to ever vote left), it doesn't seem your are far right at all, especially because of your comment about the compassion for the poor.  With that kind of attitude you would hardly have the far right in agreement with you. Besides, if you had captured my entire post it would showed that I am not on either extreme. 

This started by me picking apart the simple article above, because of what I thought was misleading, by stating how great the red were at educating.  Aside from calling bullshit on that, I went on to say that it was the teachers that made the difference, and not the politicians.

As far as unbiased media goes, please don't tell me you watch Fox, because Fox is why I believe the far right is so absurd.  The only media that could be called unbiased in the US is PBS, and that is the one that the Republicans want to cut.  Coincidence?

Even though Texas may have a good education standard, that is only one example.  The whole ideal that the conservatives wish to have in place, of putting more power into the states will ensure that there will never be a national standard.  In without that, you can crunch numbers "beyond the innumerate and egregiously misinformed opinion shapers in the media" all night long and never come to a conclusion. 

Lastly, I do regret bringing politics into this conversation, because if there is one thing both sides should be able move along with, it should be education.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 14:31:40 by GnyHwy »
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 177,185
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,978
  • Freespeecher
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #57 on: December 02, 2012, 16:25:20 »
The big problem with "National Standards" is you are now trying to inject a one size fits all philosophy on an inherently non linear and "chaotic" (in the mathematical sense) system. You correctly note that one of the key inputs is teachers, Edward also notes that "culture" has an huge influence (imagine putting the best teachers into a school full of unmotivated students who's parents don't care about education), and you can also add any number of other factors as well. Of course setting and enforcing standards on a national scale involves diverting large amounts of resources as well, yet will fail to deliver results that are "on time and on target". Another example to contemplate is the parental charter schools in Edmonton, which also deliver a much better "product" for less cost than the public school system.

In economics this is called "The Local Knowledge Problem", and explains why large bureaucracies and centralized systems tend to do poorly compared to flexible and open market based systems.

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #58 on: December 02, 2012, 17:05:52 »
There is a constitutional problem in both Canada and the USA. In Canada non-native education is explicitly a provincial responsibility. In the US constitution education is not enumerated among the federal responsibilities so it is, implicitly, a state or local matter.

In fact that makes good public policy sense: both Canada and the USA are very diverse societies. What "works" in Nova Scotia would not be applicable in Arizona even if they were in the same country.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 47,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,397
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #59 on: December 02, 2012, 20:16:47 »
Dave Burge (Iowahawk) pulled the curtain away from a myth about education in Texas a while back.  Let it serve as an example of the danger of believing everything written, even if it is written by a Nobel prize winner.

There already are "national standards" for education: whatever is needed to get accepted into universities in Canada.  High school graduates seem to be able to get into universities irrespective of province of origin and whether they attend for 12 or 13 years.  Inviting another layer of bureaucracy without need is an invitation to screw things up.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

"But injustice is a rule of the service, as you know very well; and since you have to have a good deal of undeserved abuse, you might just as well have it from your friends."  - The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian.

Offline GnyHwy

  • Is a pragmatic optimist.
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 35,860
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,303
  • GO GUNS!!!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #60 on: December 03, 2012, 10:59:00 »
Dave Burge (Iowahawk) pulled the curtain away from a myth about education in Texas a while back.  Let it serve as an example of the danger of believing everything written, even if it is written by a Nobel prize winner.

There already are "national standards" for education: whatever is needed to get accepted into universities in Canada.  High school graduates seem to be able to get into universities irrespective of province of origin and whether they attend for 12 or 13 years.  Inviting another layer of bureaucracy without need is an invitation to screw things up.

OK, I'm not following the logic in the link provided.  I am not disputing the facts as they are laid out, but I don't understand his approach or why it is valid.  The writer is disputing Paul Krugman's facts that Texas scored 47th on ACT/SATs, which is considerably lower than Wisconsin which placed 2nd.  But when rebutting, he uses  the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) stats for grade schoolers.  Are ACT/SATs not college entrance tests vice grade school assessments?  How is this valid?

The only thing this tells me is that Texans are very good grade school students, but fall off the rails and get stupider through high school, or maybe it's the influx of star athletes they recruit.  ???   :sarcasm:
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 11:05:42 by GnyHwy »
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #61 on: December 03, 2012, 11:39:02 »
Texas has a high dropout rate; large percentages of African-Americans and Hispanics, especially illegal immigrants, either do not finish high school at all or enter the labour force without ever considering university.

Why?

1. Large pockets of rural and urban poor in families wherein education, above about 8th grade, is considered a waste; and

2. A pretty good economy - "muscle jobs" appear to be always available. I expect to see, as I have for most of the past few winters, construction projects delayed because they are "awaiting labour."

One key element in the in the SAT score ranks, one that is rarely mentioned, is Participation Rate. Look at the "top 10" states: their participation rates are ALL under 10%. Look at the bottom 10: their rates are almost all over 50%. As a general rule the higher the participation rate the lower the overall scores - more kids try so more kids do poorly and they drag the average scores down. Texas' participation rate is 58%, Wisconsin's is only 5%. If only the top 5% of Texas students tried the SAT then I guarantee their scores would be much, much higher, but Paul Krugman didn't discuss that.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 47,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,397
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #62 on: December 03, 2012, 21:59:40 »
>I am not disputing the facts as they are laid out, but I don't understand his approach or why it is valid.

An explanation is here, with some illustrative examples.

The major takeaway is that educational results depend a hell of a lot more on factors other than basic funding.  Both Canada and the US have increased per pupil funding dramatically in the past few decades, with no indication that I can see that today's graduates are significantly better than the generation that conceived and engineered superhighways, jet aircraft, spaceflight, civil rights advances, etc.  Teachers are paid a lot more, though, and the number of equally well-paid administrative bureaucrats has exploded, so at least some good has come of it.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

"But injustice is a rule of the service, as you know very well; and since you have to have a good deal of undeserved abuse, you might just as well have it from your friends."  - The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian.

Offline Bruce Monkhouse

    is thinking beach volleyball.

  • Lab Experiment #13
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 228,685
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,503
  • WHERE IS MY BATON?
    • http://www.canadianbands.com./home.html
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #63 on: December 03, 2012, 22:42:46 »


The major takeaway is that educational results depend a hell of a lot more on factors other than basic funding.  Both Canada and the US have increased per pupil funding dramatically in the past few decades, with no indication that I can see that today's graduates are significantly better than the generation that conceived and engineered superhighways, jet aircraft, spaceflight, civil rights advances, etc.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!

You make this crap up just to try and fill your arguement,.............well, at least I hope you do and not actually believe it.

Because nothing inovative has happened in the last 20 years has it? [typed from a portable computer]
IF YOU REALLY ENJOY THIS SITE AND WISH TO CONTINUE,THEN PLEASE WIGGLE UP TO THE BAR AND BUY A SUBSCRIPTION OR SOME SWAG FROM THE MILNET.CA STORE OR IF YOU WISH TO ADVERTISE PLEASE SEND MIKE SOME DETAILS.

Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #64 on: December 04, 2012, 05:24:59 »
HAHAHAHAHA!!!

You make this crap up just to try and fill your arguement,.............well, at least I hope you do and not actually believe it.

Because nothing inovative has happened in the last 20 years has it? [typed from a portable computer]


The portable computer (IBM 5100) was invented in 1975 (37 years ago). The modern laptop was flying in space 30 years ago, (GRiD Compass).


GRiD Compass 1100 used in space by NASA

Spaceflight itself, including the lunar landing, was planned and managed by engineers using:



There is an idea amongst some (many?) academics that innovation (superhighways, jet aircraft, spaceflight etc) was considerably stronger (by a factor of about 15:1) in the 40 years from 1932-1972 than in the 40 year period from 1972 to 2012.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline Bruce Monkhouse

    is thinking beach volleyball.

  • Lab Experiment #13
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 228,685
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,503
  • WHERE IS MY BATON?
    • http://www.canadianbands.com./home.html
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #65 on: December 04, 2012, 06:38:14 »
Most people might not consider something weighing 55 pounds as "portable".

Interesting blog,.............basically I get if the money would only flow again we could keep inventing......
IF YOU REALLY ENJOY THIS SITE AND WISH TO CONTINUE,THEN PLEASE WIGGLE UP TO THE BAR AND BUY A SUBSCRIPTION OR SOME SWAG FROM THE MILNET.CA STORE OR IF YOU WISH TO ADVERTISE PLEASE SEND MIKE SOME DETAILS.

Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #66 on: December 04, 2012, 07:01:14 »
Most people might not consider something weighing 55 pounds as "portable".

Interesting blog,.............basically I get if the money would only flow again we could keep inventing......


I don't agree completely with money = innovation, but without some programme spending (infrastructure, defence R&D, "big science," etc) innovation will slow; but a lot of the innovation in e.g. the 1930s and '40s occurred in universities in an era when admission and graduation standards were very, very high.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline GnyHwy

  • Is a pragmatic optimist.
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 35,860
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,303
  • GO GUNS!!!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #67 on: December 04, 2012, 07:19:19 »
That looks like my old MSTAR CPU.  The one that we are still using.  166MHz of pure processing power.

 
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 47,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,397
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #68 on: December 04, 2012, 07:58:39 »
>Because nothing inovative has happened in the last 20 years has it?

There has been plenty of innovation, but that's irrelevant to my point, which is that today's high school (and university) graduates leave their respective institutions with approximately the same toolset as their parents and grandparents.    Where the ball lies when it is their turn to pick it up and run with it doesn't really have a bearing on the matter.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

"But injustice is a rule of the service, as you know very well; and since you have to have a good deal of undeserved abuse, you might just as well have it from your friends."  - The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian.

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 47,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,397
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #69 on: December 04, 2012, 08:01:40 »
>basically I get if the money would only flow again we could keep inventing

Capital and innovation never completely go away, although they can become mired by poor policies.  But yes; each time we decide to pay more money for something we already have for whatever we currently pay for it, we give up the opportunity to do something new and different with the "more money".
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

Omnia praesidia vestra capta sunt nobis.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

"But injustice is a rule of the service, as you know very well; and since you have to have a good deal of undeserved abuse, you might just as well have it from your friends."  - The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O'Brian.

Offline GnyHwy

  • Is a pragmatic optimist.
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 35,860
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 1,303
  • GO GUNS!!!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #70 on: December 04, 2012, 12:43:59 »
I think it is as simple as innovation slowing because of private industry's unwillingness to take risk.  In a slowing market, R&D will certainly be the first to be cut, but yes in order to remain competitive, it will never be completely cut. 

Here's another education topic that has been near and dear to my heart, since I have 3 school aged children.  Mathematics, and the way it is being taught, specifically new methods vs. old.  From my perspective it seems that the education system has introduced new methods at the expense of the old, tried, and true methods that most of us were taught.  Although I am always in favour of innovation and new ways of doing things, I would never replace the proven with an unproven experiment, which is what seems to be happening now.

Here are a few articles I dug up that support my reasoning.  The first is Maclean's article that I read a few months ago, that confirmed my thoughts that I was expressing to my kid's teachers.

Why is it your job to teach your kid math?
Parents are being forced to hit the books and help tutor their kids through a confusing curriculum.
by Cynthia Reynolds on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:38am

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/13/have-you-finished-your-homework-mom/

This article speaks to the new methods and how they may be wrong.

New math equals trouble, education expert says
CBC News Posted: Sep 21, 2011 12:49 PM CST

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/09/21/new-math-paper.html

This article speaks to this being the first generation of teachers that don't have the skills to teach properly.

Bad math blamed on 'abysmal' university students
CBC News Posted: Sep 22, 2011 9:08 PM CST

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/09/22/sk-math-training-110922.html

Here is Rex Murphy asking the question, that also has the external links relating to this subject, some of which I posted above.

Is there something wrong with the way math is taught in Canadian schools?
-Rex Murphy

http://www.cbc.ca/checkup/episode/2012/04/15/is-there-something-wrong-with-the-way-math-is-taught-in-canadian-schools/

When our students are showing up to university without that same skills that the previous generation had, it seems like a no brainer to me, that the elementary and secondary systems are doing something wrong.  I think the new agers would argue that this is just a transitional phase and that it will take time for the new methods to take hold.  I personally don't think they examined the follow on effects very well.  It seems the Asian countries get it, and unless we get it, they will be kicking our *** when it comes to innovation, sooner than we think.
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

If you're gonna speak outside the box, you should understand the inside of the box first - GnyHwy

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #71 on: December 04, 2012, 14:51:33 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Economist is a clear, simple statement of the primary problem with higher education:

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21567373-american-universities-represent-declining-value-money-their-students-not-what-it
Quote
Higher education
Not what it used to be

American universities represent declining value for money to their students

Dec 1st 2012
CHICAGO | from the print edition

ON THE face of it, American higher education is still in rude health. In worldwide rankings more than half of the top 100 universities, and eight of the top ten, are American. The scientific output of American institutions is unparalleled. They produce most of the world’s Nobel laureates and scientific papers. Moreover college graduates, on average, still earn far more and receive better benefits than those who do not have a degree.

Nonetheless, there is growing anxiety in America about higher education. A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.

Concern springs from a number of things: steep rises in fees, increases in the levels of debt of both students and universities, and the declining quality of graduates. Start with the fees. The cost of university per student has risen by almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983 (see chart 1), making it less affordable and increasing the amount of debt a student must take on. Between 2001 and 2010 the cost of a university education soared from 23% of median annual earnings to 38%; in consequence, debt per student has doubled in the past 15 years. Two-thirds of graduates now take out loans. Those who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011 graduated with an average of $26,000 in debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, a non-profit group.

More debt means more risk, and graduation is far from certain; the chances of an American student completing a four-year degree within six years stand at only around 57%. This is poor by international standards: Australia and Britain, for instance, both do much better.

At the same time, universities have been spending beyond their means. Many have taken on too much debt and have seen a decline in the health of their balance-sheets. Moreover, the securitisation of student loans led to a rush of unwise private lending. This, at least, has now been curbed by regulation. In 2008 private lenders disbursed $20 billion; last year they shelled out only $6 billion.



Despite so many fat years, universities have done little until recently to improve the courses they offer. University spending is driven by the need to compete in university league tables that tend to rank almost everything about a university except the (hard-to-measure) quality of the graduates it produces. Roger Geiger and Donald Heller of Pennsylvania State University say that since 1990, in both public and private colleges, expenditures on instruction have risen more slowly than in any other category of spending, even as student numbers have risen. Universities are, however, spending plenty more on administration and support services (see chart 2).



Universities cannot look to government to come to the rescue. States have already cut back dramatically on the amount of financial aid they give universities. Barack Obama has made it clear that he is unhappy about rising tuition fees, and threatens universities with aid cuts if they rise any further. Roger Brinner from the Parthenon Group, a consultancy, predicts that enrolment rates will stay flat for the next five to seven years even as the economy picks up. The party may be well and truly over.

Balloon debate

In 1962 one cent of every dollar spent in America went on higher education; today this figure has tripled. Yet despite spending a greater proportion of its GDP on universities than any other country, America has only the 15th-largest proportion of young people with a university education. Wherever the money is coming from, and however it is being spent, the root of the crisis in higher education (and the evidence that investment in universities may amount to a bubble) comes down to the fact that additional value has not been created to match this extra spending. Indeed, evidence from declines in the quality of students and graduates suggests that a degree may now mean less than it once did.

For example, a federal survey showed that the literacy of college-educated citizens declined between 1992 and 2003. Only a quarter were deemed proficient, defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential”. Almost a third of students these days do not take any courses that involve more than 40 pages of reading over an entire term. Moreover, students are spending measurably less time studying and more on recreation. “Workload management”, however, is studied with enthusiasm—students share online tips about “blow off” classes (those which can be avoided with no damage to grades) and which teachers are the easiest-going.

Yet neither the lack of investment in teaching nor the deficit of attention appears to have had a negative impact on grades. A remarkable 43% of all grades at four-year universities are As, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Grade point averages rose from about 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006.

At this point a sceptic could argue that none of this matters much, since students are paid a handsome premium for their degree and on the whole earn back their investment over a lifetime. While this is still broadly true, there are a number of important caveats. One is that it is easily possible to overspend on one’s education: just ask the hundreds of thousands of law graduates who have not found work as lawyers. And this premium is of little comfort to the 9.1% of borrowers who in 2011 had defaulted on their federal student loans within two years of graduating. There are 200 colleges and universities where the three-year default rate is 30% or more.

Another issue is that the salary gap between those with only a high-school diploma and those with a university degree is created by the plummeting value of the diploma, rather than by soaring graduate salaries. After adjusting for inflation, graduates earned no more in 2007 than they did in 1979. Young graduates facing a decline in earnings over the past decade (16% for women, 19% for men), and a lot more debt, are unlikely to feel particularly cheered by the argument that, over a lifetime, they would be even worse off without a degree than with one.

Moreover, the promise that an expensive degree at a traditional university will pay off rests on some questionable assumptions; for example, that no cheaper way of attaining this educational premium will emerge. Yet there is a tornado of change in education that might challenge this, either through technology or through attempts to improve the two-year community college degree and render it more economically valuable. Another assumption, which is proved wrong in the case of 40% of students, is that they will graduate at all. Indeed, nearly 30% of college students who took out loans eventually dropped out (up from 25% a decade ago). These students are saddled with a debt they have no realistic means of paying off.

Some argue that universities are clinging to a medieval concept of education in an age of mass enrolment. In a recent book, “Reinventing Higher Education”, Ben Wildavsky and his colleagues at the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on entrepreneurship, add that there has been a failure to innovate. Declining productivity and stiff economic headwinds mean that change is coming in a trickle of online learning inside universities, and a rush of “massive open online courses” (MOOCs) outside them. Some universities see online learning as a way of continuing to grow while facing harsh budget cuts. The University of California borrowed $6.9m to do this in the midst of a budget crisis. In 2011 about 6m American students took at least one online course in the autumn term. Around 30% of all college students are learning online—up from less than 10% in 2002.

Digital dilemmas

To see how efficient higher education can be, look at the new online Western Governors University (WGU). Tuition costs less than $6,000 a year, compared with around $54,000 at Harvard. Students can study and take their exams when they want, not when the sabbaticals, holidays and scheduling of teaching staff allow. The average time to completion is just two-and-a-half years.

MOOCs have also now arrived with great fanfare. These offer free college-level classes taught by renowned lecturers to all-comers. Two companies, Coursera and Udacity, and one non-profit enterprise, edX, are leading the charge. At some point these outfits will need to generate some revenue, probably through certification.

The broader significance of MOOCs is that they are part of a trend towards the unbundling of higher education. This will shake many institutions whose business model is based on a set fee for a four-year campus-based degree course. As online education spreads, universities will come under pressure to move to something more like a “buffet” arrangement, under which they will accept credits from each other—and from students who take courses at home or even at high school, spending much less time on campus. StraighterLine, a start-up based in Baltimore, is already selling courses that gain students credits for a few hundred dollars.

Some signs suggest that universities are facing up to their inefficiencies. Indiana University has just announced innovations aimed at lowering the cost and reducing the time it takes to earn a degree. More of this is needed. Universities owe it to the students who have racked up $1 trillion in debt, and to the graduate students who are taking second degrees because their first one was so worthless. They also bear some responsibility for the 17m who are overqualified for their jobs, and for the 3m unfilled positions for which skilled workers cannot be found. They even owe it to the 37m who went to college, dropped out and ended up with nothing: many left for economic reasons.

Universities may counter that the value of a degree cannot be reduced to a simple economic number. That, though, sounds increasingly cynical, when the main reason universities have been able to increase their revenue so much is because of loans given to students on the basis of what they are told they will one day earn.


There is a simple solution to this:



High schools and universities grade on the bell curve.

Universities accept only C+ and above graduates from high school. Graduate and professional schools accept only C+ and above from universities. The A students get up to 100% of their tuition, books, other school fees and reasonable living expenses paid by the state, depending upon family income. The B students get up to 50% of their fees/expenses paid. Nothing for the C+ students (about 1/3 of the -C+ group or 22% overall).

Problem solved.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
"But wait," you say, "my little darling is a C student but I want him/her to go to university" ... "Tough," I reply, "the community college is just down the road, or there are opportunities for good, solid, well paid, respectable and fulfilling jobs through apprentice programmes."

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline E.R. Campbell

  • Retired, years ago
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 451,740
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,032
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #72 on: December 04, 2012, 14:56:19 »
GnyHwy: a few years ago math courses were required for almost all honours programmes in almost all major universities in Canada and the USA - even for history majors, who were expected to pass at least one statistics course to ensure they could interpret data. There were two exceptions in most Canadian universities: two faculties that thought that elementary math was either too hard for their students or just unnecessary - journalism and education.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
Like what you see/read here on Army.ca?  Subscribe, and help keep it "on the air!"

Offline Infanteer

  • Donor
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 114,935
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,314
  • Honey Badger FTW!
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #73 on: December 04, 2012, 19:33:27 »
Statistics was a prereq for Poli Sci when I went through UBC.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Ostrozac

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 25,180
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 621
Re: The education bubble
« Reply #74 on: December 04, 2012, 23:11:03 »
I found that the OAC Finite Mathematics course I took in the early 90's was an absolutely fundamental part of my education. I mean, how can you go through life without an understanding of probability and statistics? How would you even be able to gamble?

I remember that the old Ontario OAC program seemed to contain a decent amount of solid education, even the OAC French available in Ontario was a pretty solid base for when the army later taught me the French language. I'm not sure of the economics of why Ontario got rid of the OAC year, in favour of a 4 year high school program. Just like I'm not sure why Quebec has CEGEP. But I do wonder if we could remove from first year university some of the basic writing, basic statistics, and the shenanigans of just being an 18-year old, and move that level of education to the end of high school.