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Summer vacation

thett3
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7/5/2012 4:52:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This might not be a popular opinion, but am I the only one who thinks that summer vacation is a stupid thing? I think I would much prefer to have more breaks spread throughout the school year than a huge one at the end
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
PARADIGM_L0ST
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7/5/2012 4:58:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'd give my left testicle to have a summer vacation again... but point taken. Agreed.
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000ike
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7/5/2012 5:01:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Children belong to their parents first and foremost, before they belong to the state. You can't monopolize their time away from home with school.

Summer vacation is a necessary part of childhood and development. We don't raise overworked automatons.

Forced education is nonsense. Education should be freely provided by the state, but not mandated. Grades 1-5 are 50% learning, 50% doing nothing productive. Cut the school year in half and you have the same level of knowledge as when it was whole.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Ren
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7/5/2012 5:19:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 4:52:58 PM, thett3 wrote:
This might not be a popular opinion, but am I the only one who thinks that summer vacation is a stupid thing? I think I would much prefer to have more breaks spread throughout the school year than a huge one at the end

In massively overpopulated schools, there's a such thing called "block scheduling," where students in a given class are assigned a team, and they attend school throughout the year, with irregular breaks spread throughout, to prevent the entire population of the school being there at any one time.

I attended one such school. I didn't like it for two reasons. Primarily, it was because you were confined to those people on your team as friends, if you wanted to do anything on a day that isn't a school day. Second, even though you're not, it seems as though you're in school for a much larger percentage of the year. Year-round schools have trimesters instead of semesters. Trimesters just turn school into an endless purgatory.
Ren
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7/5/2012 5:21:38 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
With block scheduling, though, you often are going to school for a slightly larger proportion of the year, because your breaks ofter fall over what would otherwise be a holiday.

One of the utmost best things about summer is that it only has one or two holidays in it. Therefore, you're getting the most bang for your buck, since you get holidays off anyway.
thett3
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7/5/2012 5:23:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 5:21:38 PM, Ren wrote:
With block scheduling, though, you often are going to school for a slightly larger proportion of the year, because your breaks ofter fall over what would otherwise be a holiday.

One of the utmost best things about summer is that it only has one or two holidays in it. Therefore, you're getting the most bang for your buck, since you get holidays off anyway.

lol that is a good point. I think my opinion is also biased because its so goddamned hot in Texas during the summer
DDO Vice President

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"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

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"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
johnnyboy54
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7/5/2012 5:26:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Well, if you are a student who needs summer jobs or internships, then summer break is a good idea.
I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.
000ike
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7/5/2012 5:26:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 5:23:42 PM, thett3 wrote:
At 7/5/2012 5:21:38 PM, Ren wrote:
With block scheduling, though, you often are going to school for a slightly larger proportion of the year, because your breaks ofter fall over what would otherwise be a holiday.

One of the utmost best things about summer is that it only has one or two holidays in it. Therefore, you're getting the most bang for your buck, since you get holidays off anyway.

lol that is a good point. I think my opinion is also biased because its so goddamned hot in Texas during the summer

wouldn't that be more of a reason to keep summer vacation?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
thett3
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7/5/2012 5:28:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 5:26:28 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 7/5/2012 5:23:42 PM, thett3 wrote:
At 7/5/2012 5:21:38 PM, Ren wrote:
With block scheduling, though, you often are going to school for a slightly larger proportion of the year, because your breaks ofter fall over what would otherwise be a holiday.

One of the utmost best things about summer is that it only has one or two holidays in it. Therefore, you're getting the most bang for your buck, since you get holidays off anyway.

lol that is a good point. I think my opinion is also biased because its so goddamned hot in Texas during the summer

wouldn't that be more of a reason to keep summer vacation?

Nah, not to me at least. The only thing outside I like to do in the summer is swimming and boating and I dont have so much of a taste for it that school would interfere with doing them.

Now spring fall and winter i looveee being outside, but school hinders that somewhat
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
thett3
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7/5/2012 5:29:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 5:26:05 PM, johnnyboy54 wrote:
Well, if you are a student who needs summer jobs or internships, then summer break is a good idea.

yeah that is true.
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
FREEDO
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7/5/2012 5:35:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I was homeschooled through highschool. I did school work every other day in instead of having a vacation. I liked it a lot better.
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fnord
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7/5/2012 7:07:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 4:52:58 PM, thett3 wrote:
This might not be a popular opinion, but am I the only one who thinks that summer vacation is a stupid thing? I think I would much prefer to have more breaks spread throughout the school year than a huge one at the end

What my holiday schedule was like 85% of my years in school. Much better. America's system leaves you no breaks to get caught up on or to just catch your breath.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
YYW
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7/5/2012 11:10:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 5:01:35 PM, 000ike wrote:
Children belong to their parents first and foremost, before they belong to the state. You can't monopolize their time away from home with school.

Summer vacation is a necessary part of childhood and development. We don't raise overworked automatons.

Forced education is nonsense. Education should be freely provided by the state, but not mandated. Grades 1-5 are 50% learning, 50% doing nothing productive. Cut the school year in half and you have the same level of knowledge as when it was whole.

What an almost comprehensive load of sh!t. Sure, children belong to their parents unless or until their parents fail to adequately prepare them for entry into society, fail to properly care for them or fail in some other way that results in negative developmental outcomes.

The reason we had "summer vacation" to begin with is because as a -formerly- agrarian society children were sent home to work in the fields. And now? We keep the wasted time without the demand for agricultural labor. And thus? We maintain a systematic nation of seasonal listlessness.

The idea that somehow "summer" is a "necessary" part of development is as farcical as it is obscene. Moreover it is emblematic of an over romanticized fantasy of "childhood." This notion that children should work less hard then their parents, or that they should be given an easier time then the working world is nonsense. Why? The development of a work ethic.

For those students who have jobs through the summer, fantastic. For those who do not? How do you occupy your time? Reading books and going to summer camp? I'm ok with a two week break for camp. I'm not ok with a two month long siesta.

Children must be taught the importance of self discipline, the necessity of a strong work ethic and the importance of maximized productivity from birth. I'm not saying that kids should be pushed into the fields or factories, but rather suggesting that all the time wasted in the summer months is the opportunity cost of greater preparation for college, for grad school, for work and for life.

And btw. forced education is the ONLY way to prepare people to function in society. Let's explore this momentarily, shall we?

Consider, for a moment, a world where kids didn't have to go to school? What will become of the parents of kids who do not go to school? Will they become educators/babysitters instead of working members of the labor force? Probably.

There are some parents who would do a magnificent job home schooling their kids. They are few and far between. I agree that the school system now sucks, that there is much room for improvement and etc. but that is no cause not to force kids to go to school. School is the first step in a long process of functioning in society, and a crucial one at that.
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darkkermit
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7/6/2012 12:03:19 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 5:29:09 PM, thett3 wrote:
At 7/5/2012 5:26:05 PM, johnnyboy54 wrote:
Well, if you are a student who needs summer jobs or internships, then summer break is a good idea.

yeah that is true.

Summer jobs are becoming somewhat of a extinct thing, and there's not a lot of internships for high school age students. College-aged but not much for high school.
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AlwaysMoreThanYou
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7/6/2012 11:58:11 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 11:10:21 PM, YYW wrote:
The idea that somehow "summer" is a "necessary" part of development is as farcical as it is obscene. Moreover it is emblematic of an over romanticized fantasy of "childhood." This notion that children should work less hard then their parents, or that they should be given an easier time then the working world is nonsense. Why? The development of a work ethic.

Because you've certainly spent your entire life working hard, and as a child I was completely capable of working as hard as my parents. Children don't need to work as hard as their parents.

For those students who have jobs through the summer, fantastic. For those who do not? How do you occupy your time? Reading books and going to summer camp? I'm ok with a two week break for camp. I'm not ok with a two month long siesta.

And what about those who do have jobs?

Children must be taught the importance of self discipline, the necessity of a strong work ethic and the importance of maximized productivity from birth. I'm not saying that kids should be pushed into the fields or factories, but rather suggesting that all the time wasted in the summer months is the opportunity cost of greater preparation for college, for grad school, for work and for life.

No one I know ever wastes their summer. It's not like you're going to prepare for college or grad school in elementary school anyway, and if you say otherwise you're being dishonest with yourself.
'When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.' - John 16:13
YYW
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7/6/2012 5:36:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 11:58:11 AM, AlwaysMoreThanYou wrote:
At 7/5/2012 11:10:21 PM, YYW wrote:
The idea that somehow "summer" is a "necessary" part of development is as farcical as it is obscene. Moreover it is emblematic of an over romanticized fantasy of "childhood." This notion that children should work less hard then their parents, or that they should be given an easier time then the working world is nonsense. Why? The development of a work ethic.

Because you've certainly spent your entire life working hard, and as a child I was completely capable of working as hard as my parents. Children don't need to work as hard as their parents.

For those students who have jobs through the summer, fantastic. For those who do not? How do you occupy your time? Reading books and going to summer camp? I'm ok with a two week break for camp. I'm not ok with a two month long siesta.

And what about those who do have jobs?

Children must be taught the importance of self discipline, the necessity of a strong work ethic and the importance of maximized productivity from birth. I'm not saying that kids should be pushed into the fields or factories, but rather suggesting that all the time wasted in the summer months is the opportunity cost of greater preparation for college, for grad school, for work and for life.

No one I know ever wastes their summer. It's not like you're going to prepare for college or grad school in elementary school anyway, and if you say otherwise you're being dishonest with yourself.

This is almost hilarious to read. So that you may know, I have spent my summers working hard (usually manual labor jobs that paid low wages) since I was 13. In college, there are internships. But in college, classes go on even though attendance is not necessarily compelled (some colleges do require summer classes).

Children need to work. Perhaps not roofing or working in fields, but they do need their time occupied with something. Teenagers even more so. Idle hands are prone to mischief.

It is fundamentally irrelevant that you don't know anyone who wastes their summers. Aside from the fact that I would question your ability to delineate productivity from unproductively (because you are both 16 years old and based on the content of your post), the youth unemployment rate is staggering.

"From April to July 2011, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old rose by 1.7
million to 18.6 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This year,
the share of young people who were employed in July was 48.8 percent, the lowest July
rate on record for the series, which began in 1948. (The month of July typically is
the summertime peak in youth employment.) Unemployment among youth increased by 745,000
between April and July, more than last year's increase of 571,000, but well below the
levels seen in 2008 and 2009 (1.2 and 1.1 million, respectively). (Because this analysis
focuses on the seasonal changes in youth employment and unemployment that occur each
spring and summer, the data are not seasonally adjusted.)"

Source: http://www.bls.gov...

If you think that I suggested that a kindergardener should be thrust into the university scene in the summer, then you have pitifully misread my post. Basic education (as opposed to the collegiate system) is a gradual building process that transpires over ones reaching maturity. It is a system that is paused as the summer beckons and stagnates in those summer months. It is a system that functions to facilitate sloth-like behavior among kids.

What's worse is the subconscious entitlement to leisure that kids believe that somehow they have. This notion that summer vacation is a "right" or a "process of development" is reflective of weak work ethic and poor upbringing. Regretfully, it is an emblematic feature of Generation Y. Among a host of factors which contribute to this mentality, I identify summer vacations as a chief factor.

Volunteering, self-studying, manual labor or any productive form of work ideally does fill the summer months of our nation's youths, but as the unemployment statistics describe, that is hardly the case for an alarmingly substantial percentage.

For middle and elementary school kids? They require child care/baby sitting and/or a nanny if both parents or working. This is a familial economic drain, to say the very least and an unsustainable source of employment that potentially destabilizes the labor market. I was fortunate enough to have a stay at home mom. Most of my friends were not. When they weren't at camp, they were playing video games or finding ways to cure boredom (most of them less than productive).

Even worse, labor laws prevent many 14 and 15 year olds (sometimes as old as 17 year olds) from working at all. Although well intentioned, many companies are unwilling to make the investment in training a kid who can only work a drastically limited number of hours and whose general employment is subject to the strictest regulation.

As such... the idea of the summer job? It is becoming an artifact of generations past.

Your personal experience is meaningless. The numbers indicate that systematic change is needed. This means that the failed 19th century experiment that is adolescence will wane further -as it should.
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Logic_on_rails
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7/7/2012 3:00:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Many education systems (not talking USA here) have what are called 'terms' . My current experience is to have 4 terms in a year, each 10-11 weeks. Between terms 1-2, 2-3 and 3-4 there are 2 week gaps, sometimes prolonged by a day if something like a public holiday occurs. Between terms 4 - 1 (assuming the student isn't ending year 12 or something) there is a 5 and a half week break. This longer break accommodates holidays over Christmas and New Year in addition to some offices having leave occur around this time.

Between most terms there can be a degree of homework given out by schools to students. For instance, my estimation is that I have about 8 hours of homework to do this holidays at least. Revision (which is strongly encouraged) is not included in those 8 hours.

Despite my strong opposition to the extremely long summer vacation under USA education policy, I don't endorse all of YYW's comments. Indeed, I would disagree with certain scathing comments of his quite strongly, despite many accurate points he raises. And I should note that I myself am an adolescent, before I am belittled for it.
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FourTrouble
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7/7/2012 4:13:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
@YYW

It's not often I comment on forums but I had to comment on this. The fantasy you describe (I'd call it a nightmare) somehow imagines that it's better if we spend our entire waking life working, or sitting in a classroom at desks for hours upon hours, listening to some moron drone on about completely useless information, all so that we can eventually grow up and get a boring job in some office where we sit at desks for hours upon hours, staring at a screen, occasionally getting up to drink some coffee. All so that we can build a work ethic and join work world, have a positive effect on the "labor market." Imagine the horror of our parents being forced to hire some kind of "child care" - the havoc it would wreck on the labor market. I can only imagine.

I'll be completely blunt: the life you describe, and the lifeless body it breeds, is an utter holocaust of humanity and dignity. I mean, I can hardly believe someone would even write this - "Your personal experience is meaningless" - much less actually believe its content. When you say things like that, you not only attack the entire tradition of literature, philosophy, science, and art that is the heart of Western civilization, you also call into question any experience at all that does not have a positive effect on the economy. This is exactly why I hate economics - it turns the entirety of human experience into an abstraction to be modeled mathematically, which of course is impossible anyway, since economics deals more with the irrational flows of human desire than it does with the flows of labor and employment.

The entirety of your argument - that children need work - assumes human beings require external guidance, not just to find their way in the world but to survive. Of course, this is utter nonsense. If we leave children to explore the world on their own, to develop their own interests and pursue them with their own passion, then children are more likely to develop a work ethic founded in their own curiosity and excitement for life. The real problem with your vision of the world is its complete lack of clarity - to imagine (as you do) that the self-discipline and work ethic derived from a job at the age of 14, a summer job, as the noblest of pursuits is to completely lose sight of other truly noble pursuits. A child who never works a day in his life, never goes to school, who spends his time out in the world taking walks through nature or observing the urban life, yet may one day become the greatest artist, writer, or scientist of his generation. Where do you think people like Walt Whitman - one of our greatest poets - got their material? From going to school and having a 9 to 5 job?

I think the real problem with school is not the summer vacation, although I agree with thett3 that it should be shortened. The real problem with school is that it takes away the best hours of the day and forces us to sit and listen to an idiot for 40 hours a week. You know how much exercise it requires to make up for sitting 40 hours a week? The real problem with school is that it breeds unhealthy bodies, bodies who sit all day instead of spending time outside, playing and running around and exercising as kids should be doing, all so that we can give our children a false sense of something called self-discipline and a work ethic. The systematic change we need is a shorter work week, 20 hours instead of 40 hours, so that we have time to actually pursue our passions and enjoy life. And this is what we should be teaching kids.
YYW
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7/7/2012 5:43:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 4:13:44 AM, FourTrouble wrote:
@YYW

It's not often I comment on forums but I had to comment on this. The fantasy you describe (I'd call it a nightmare) somehow imagines that it's better if we spend our entire waking life working, or sitting in a classroom at desks for hours upon hours, listening to some moron drone on about completely useless information, all so that we can eventually grow up and get a boring job in some office where we sit at desks for hours upon hours, staring at a screen, occasionally getting up to drink some coffee. All so that we can build a work ethic and join work world, have a positive effect on the "labor market." Imagine the horror of our parents being forced to hire some kind of "child care" - the havoc it would wreck on the labor market. I can only imagine.

I'll be completely blunt: the life you describe, and the lifeless body it breeds, is an utter holocaust of humanity and dignity. I mean, I can hardly believe someone would even write this - "Your personal experience is meaningless" - much less actually believe its content. When you say things like that, you not only attack the entire tradition of literature, philosophy, science, and art that is the heart of Western civilization, you also call into question any experience at all that does not have a positive effect on the economy. This is exactly why I hate economics - it turns the entirety of human experience into an abstraction to be modeled mathematically, which of course is impossible anyway, since economics deals more with the irrational flows of human desire than it does with the flows of labor and employment.

The entirety of your argument - that children need work - assumes human beings require external guidance, not just to find their way in the world but to survive. Of course, this is utter nonsense. If we leave children to explore the world on their own, to develop their own interests and pursue them with their own passion, then children are more likely to develop a work ethic founded in their own curiosity and excitement for life. The real problem with your vision of the world is its complete lack of clarity - to imagine (as you do) that the self-discipline and work ethic derived from a job at the age of 14, a summer job, as the noblest of pursuits is to completely lose sight of other truly noble pursuits. A child who never works a day in his life, never goes to school, who spends his time out in the world taking walks through nature or observing the urban life, yet may one day become the greatest artist, writer, or scientist of his generation. Where do you think people like Walt Whitman - one of our greatest poets - got their material? From going to school and having a 9 to 5 job?

I think the real problem with school is not the summer vacation, although I agree with thett3 that it should be shortened. The real problem with school is that it takes away the best hours of the day and forces us to sit and listen to an idiot for 40 hours a week. You know how much exercise it requires to make up for sitting 40 hours a week? The real problem with school is that it breeds unhealthy bodies, bodies who sit all day instead of spending time outside, playing and running around and exercising as kids should be doing, all so that we can give our children a false sense of something called self-discipline and a work ethic. The systematic change we need is a shorter work week, 20 hours instead of 40 hours, so that we have time to actually pursue our passions and enjoy life. And this is what we should be teaching kids.

Your post tells me a variety of things about you, but I will reserve the task of judging you for your employer (if you have one). It's not my place to put you in yours.
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YYW
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7/7/2012 5:45:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 3:00:23 AM, Logic_on_rails wrote:
Many education systems (not talking USA here) have what are called 'terms' . My current experience is to have 4 terms in a year, each 10-11 weeks. Between terms 1-2, 2-3 and 3-4 there are 2 week gaps, sometimes prolonged by a day if something like a public holiday occurs. Between terms 4 - 1 (assuming the student isn't ending year 12 or something) there is a 5 and a half week break. This longer break accommodates holidays over Christmas and New Year in addition to some offices having leave occur around this time.

Between most terms there can be a degree of homework given out by schools to students. For instance, my estimation is that I have about 8 hours of homework to do this holidays at least. Revision (which is strongly encouraged) is not included in those 8 hours.

Despite my strong opposition to the extremely long summer vacation under USA education policy, I don't endorse all of YYW's comments. Indeed, I would disagree with certain scathing comments of his quite strongly, despite many accurate points he raises. And I should note that I myself am an adolescent, before I am belittled for it.

I should point out that I know the educational system needs tremendous reform.

If it were up to me, American education would be structured like Germany's with the intensity of Japan's.
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Logic_on_rails
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7/7/2012 7:08:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 5:45:27 PM, YYW wrote:

I should point out that I know the educational system needs tremendous reform.

If it were up to me, American education would be structured like Germany's with the intensity of Japan's.

Unfortunately my knowledge of German education is rather limited (not extensive enough to properly evaluate it vs. other systems) . My question to you is what you mean by 'intensity' - do you refer to the amount of time spent at school, or how much is covered within X hours at school? I state this because structure is, I think, inherently related to timing; you can't agree with a structure and totally ignore the timing aspects.

On Japanese education I have some degree of knowledge, although I don't want to accidentally misrepresent aspects of Japanese education based upon my assuming similarities to Korean and Chinese education (of which I know a little more, based off the work of academic Yong Zhao) .

I'd be very interested in an elaboration of what you idealise; discussing education policy is always an interesting discussion. For now though, I'll base my response on some potential inferences I drew your earlier comments. I note that the below might be a severe misrepresentation of your position because of this, so please clarify in your next post.

Your comments (correct me if I'm wrong) seem to suggest a focusing on things like work, learning - things that are quite quantifiable and have a concrete end. The issue I have here is one often found when buying items - you tend to focus on quantifiable things to such a degree where other things become irrelevant because it's easy to measure something like labour as opposed to insight (or lack of) . This is why price is always so heavily fought over when selling goods. People forget the idea that a good price is in part dependent on the quality of what you buy, because quality is much harder to assess than price. Basically, even if people definitely think something like quality is far more important than price they will tend to not weigh it sufficiently, and will give too much consideration to price.

What's my point? I think that you're perhaps focusing too much on things that are easily measured for value - quantifiable things (have you got X subject knowledge, did you get Y mark etc.) . While I wholeheartedly understand the well placed criticism of a 20 hour work week as suggested by FourTrouble, I believe that your position is also a bit too extreme. It is not a question of whether guidance or exploration is better, but to which degree each is required.

I fear I'm perhaps losing myself in a sea of words here, so I'll ask you the extent to which you support standardised testing in it's current form. I ask this because tests tend to have a certain inability to accurately assess understanding, encourage massed presentation as opposed to spaced presentation (memory retention point) , could utilise superior marking schemes, not to mention the poignant question of the content of the tests! Now, I most definitely see a need to assess knowledge (and so support a degree of testing) , but the question is whether there's an emphasis on that which is quantifiable.

YYW, I won't continue because frankly I lack the specifics of your position to do more than speak to an empty town square. I'd merely be strawmanning you for no good reason.

I'm very, very interested to have a discussion on your view of education, and I hope this post in no way reflects anything besides that.
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YYW
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7/7/2012 8:32:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Logic

I want to first clarify a few things. Education, conceptually speaking, isn't quantifiable. Standardized tests (of the state-mandated variety) do more harm then good. I would also point out that my "vision" of American education takes in more than just the German or Japanese system, but both I think have incredibly positive attributes. While the system I am going to describe isn't strictly based on either of those models, it is from what I know of both that I craft this "solution."

The problem, as I diagnose it (with American education) is visionary. In the 1960s the fantasy of the universal liberal arts collegiate education was sold to the American people by LBJ. It was once the case that "going to college" was looked down on by working families and that manual labor was regarded as the only "honest" way to make a living. Naturally, this is nonsense, but now a contrasting perspective dominates. Presently, the belief is widely held that "everyone" should go to college. Here, the flaw begins.

American public education (by in large) is focused on getting kids admitted to four year institutions. For those who graduate with their bachelors degrees? The job market is scarce (but more on that later). For those who don't make the cut? The highest hope of a typical high school grad is for work in a service industry job that pays by the hour (creating all sorts of problems, and largely the reason why the income gap is what it is).

The shocking thing is though, that only about 7/10 kids will ever graduate high school. Why? Because they aren't intellectually capable of keeping their head above water in a four year school. And so? Another generation of unemployable wasted human capital stands in the welfare line. This disgusts me (not because they aren't smart, but because they are cast by the way side of society as a result of the visionary misgivings and cultural elitism).

For every man or woman, there is a job they are capable of performing. Wether it is serving in the military, building houses, or even digging ditches. Every person is capable of working. Every person should be trained TO work, not to "find themselves." Germany understands this, sort of.

A person who is capable of and would be good at repairing cars or installing air conditioners does not need to go to college. They need to receive technical training or become HVAC certified. The problem with the idea that "everyone should go to college" is that where a person is NOT capable of surviving the bachelors degree process, they become second class citizens de facto. Aside from the fact that wage laws, environmental regulations and unions have driven the manufacturing sector from the first world, we loose the potential to employ more labor-inclined individuals BECAUSE the educational system does not serve their needs (or, as it turns out, society's needs either).

I would propose that students be tested for aptitude and granted admission to various educational institutions (government run, private may do as they choose) exclusively based on merit (and by merit, I mean IQ, interests and SAT scores). In Germany, the more academically inclined students attend Gymnasium. Workers attend Realschule. While there does exist a cultural stigma for not attending Gymnasium, that stigma is overwhelmingly less poignant then the stigma for attending a tech school (where one learns a trade) in the United States. Those students who want to work with their hands should not be denied the opportunity because politicians wish to tease electorates with fantasies of better and brighter futures for the posterity of their constituents.

In Japan, there is much more emphasis (culturally speaking) on the necessity of receiving the best possible education. In America, we want a better "education" but in the US, "better education" means "higher test scores" and "more college acceptance." This, for lack of a better term, is nonsense.

What's worse is that schools do SO much more then they should. Athletics are important to the extent that they promote physical fitness. They are and should never eclipse academics in terms of what cultural value we esteem them to have. Clubs, activities and "causes" in high school are nice, but generally are tangential to and divert focus from what the actual purpose of being "educated" should do -prepare people to function in and contribute to society in the best way possible.

The reason that SO many students are pushed through education is simple: when not everyone can make the cut, standards are lowered to ensure that everyone can make the cut. In consequence, the system suffers. Kids who have no business mastering the mysteries of calculus (well, it is mysterious to them anyway) are forced to do so -RATHER THAN going to a trade school, because of the visionary fantasy that "all" should go to college, graduate, etc. It's nonsense. Rather than learning an actual skill, non-academiclly inclined students are forced to memorize and regurgitate a shadow of an interpretation of what one person thought about -for example- Pride and Prejudice. They are taught a lie-ridden (over simplified version from a textbook) account of American History. They are taught to memorize the periodic table without ever learning what scientific inquiry actually is.

The memorize-regurgitate education model is both NOT an education model and the reason why -I think- so many kids hate school. They learn nothing other than to pop adderal and cram before tests. And to what end?

It's a damn shame... the lot of it.

This is all I feel like typing for now. I'll probably outline a more cohesive solution later, but this should give you an idea of where I'm coming from.
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Logic_on_rails
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7/7/2012 10:33:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
YYW,

Firstly, let me state that that post was powerful. Probably something that made me gravitate at least a bit towards your point of view. To actually render a change in opinion consciously when I have quite nuanced views on the subject is something.

I think that you outlined many issues with education very accurately. Indeed, I know that Australia has been following in America's footsteps of what a 'better education' constitutes, which is utter rubbish. It's rather intriguing that while America supposedly wishes to emulate and 'catch up' to nations like China, the reverse is true, with China trying to emulate aspects of American education and decentralising testing and such. Anyway, the point is that we tend to agree on many of the issues with education currently.

We are then faced with two main questions -

1. What is the end that we desire?
2. How do we intend to achieve that end?

Now, that's most certainly an oversimplification, yet let's work from here. Focusing on question 1 might lead to us talking past each other, as your and FT were doing. While I'm sure that we have some differences on Q1 (I'd likely have a slightly broader scope of 'work' than you would when talking about 'to work' ) , I'll focus on question 2 as that is the actual policy that leads to (or doesn't lead to) our stated end.

The first thing I have to ask is, again, what do you mean by 'intensity of Japan's' ? Your last post stated that Japan had a cultural emphasis on receiving the best possible education. I took this as meaning a more holistic education than say, American education, yet I'm still unclear about what you mean by 'intensity' . How many hours of school a day, how many days in a week and how many weeks are you advocating? Within those stated hours how high is the learning intensity? Obviously, each tier of your proposed education system could have different amounts of learning if you wished, yet I need some rough estimate to make more than broad sweeping comments.

Secondly, while I tend to agree with you that 'clubs, activities and causes' are tangential, they should still exist in some sort of form, at least extra-curricular. Currently I do mock trial, debating and chess for my school. In particular, mock trial is quite time consuming. However, these activities are quite beneficial. I assure you, mock trial is far more enriching and helpful for many things than my commerce elective is. Mock trial gives a unique opportunity for students to interact with magistrates for instance. Essentially, I want to pre-empt any idea of restricted unallocated time too much, because that would prevent students like myself from taking these activities and being able to do very well in school. I note that often it is being forced to do something that lessens the enjoyment one gets from an activity, as well as occasionally affecting productivity.

On your merit idea, my issue is to what extent IQ and SAT scores are counted. I don't know precisely how accurate an indicator SAT scores are, nor exactly what they are indicative of, but I fear that you are somewhat centralised and systematic in your approach here. I'm probably being a little too aggressive on the details here and can't quite articulate my issues, yet this doesn't rest soundly with me.

One thing I find interesting is that you tend to lean towards essentialism, particularly when determining what ends should be aspired to, yet intertwine this with progressivism (my belief that your mention of Japan refer to a 'holistic' education) . I'm using these terms in an education sense; see http://oregonstate.edu... for an explanation.

We agree on many of the problems plaguing education (and we certainly agree on the point of summer vacation, the original topic!) . The questions are now what end do we desire and how do we get there? To answer these questions we're going to need perhaps a bit more specificity on some issues. If you wish, I could try and articulate some of my own views as well.
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FourTrouble
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7/7/2012 11:07:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 8:32:48 PM, YYW wrote:
@Logic

I want to first clarify a few things. Education, conceptually speaking, isn't quantifiable. Standardized tests (of the state-mandated variety) do more harm then good. I would also point out that my "vision" of American education takes in more than just the German or Japanese system, but both I think have incredibly positive attributes. While the system I am going to describe isn't strictly based on either of those models, it is from what I know of both that I craft this "solution."

The problem, as I diagnose it (with American education) is visionary. In the 1960s the fantasy of the universal liberal arts collegiate education was sold to the American people by LBJ. It was once the case that "going to college" was looked down on by working families and that manual labor was regarded as the only "honest" way to make a living. Naturally, this is nonsense, but now a contrasting perspective dominates. Presently, the belief is widely held that "everyone" should go to college. Here, the flaw begins.

American public education (by in large) is focused on getting kids admitted to four year institutions. For those who graduate with their bachelors degrees? The job market is scarce (but more on that later). For those who don't make the cut? The highest hope of a typical high school grad is for work in a service industry job that pays by the hour (creating all sorts of problems, and largely the reason why the income gap is what it is).

The shocking thing is though, that only about 7/10 kids will ever graduate high school. Why? Because they aren't intellectually capable of keeping their head above water in a four year school. And so? Another generation of unemployable wasted human capital stands in the welfare line. This disgusts me (not because they aren't smart, but because they are cast by the way side of society as a result of the visionary misgivings and cultural elitism).

For every man or woman, there is a job they are capable of performing. Wether it is serving in the military, building houses, or even digging ditches. Every person is capable of working. Every person should be trained TO work, not to "find themselves." Germany understands this, sort of.

A person who is capable of and would be good at repairing cars or installing air conditioners does not need to go to college. They need to receive technical training or become HVAC certified. The problem with the idea that "everyone should go to college" is that where a person is NOT capable of surviving the bachelors degree process, they become second class citizens de facto. Aside from the fact that wage laws, environmental regulations and unions have driven the manufacturing sector from the first world, we loose the potential to employ more labor-inclined individuals BECAUSE the educational system does not serve their needs (or, as it turns out, society's needs either).

I would propose that students be tested for aptitude and granted admission to various educational institutions (government run, private may do as they choose) exclusively based on merit (and by merit, I mean IQ, interests and SAT scores). In Germany, the more academically inclined students attend Gymnasium. Workers attend Realschule. While there does exist a cultural stigma for not attending Gymnasium, that stigma is overwhelmingly less poignant then the stigma for attending a tech school (where one learns a trade) in the United States. Those students who want to work with their hands should not be denied the opportunity because politicians wish to tease electorates with fantasies of better and brighter futures for the posterity of their constituents.

In Japan, there is much more emphasis (culturally speaking) on the necessity of receiving the best possible education. In America, we want a better "education" but in the US, "better education" means "higher test scores" and "more college acceptance." This, for lack of a better term, is nonsense.

What's worse is that schools do SO much more then they should. Athletics are important to the extent that they promote physical fitness. They are and should never eclipse academics in terms of what cultural value we esteem them to have. Clubs, activities and "causes" in high school are nice, but generally are tangential to and divert focus from what the actual purpose of being "educated" should do -prepare people to function in and contribute to society in the best way possible.

The reason that SO many students are pushed through education is simple: when not everyone can make the cut, standards are lowered to ensure that everyone can make the cut. In consequence, the system suffers. Kids who have no business mastering the mysteries of calculus (well, it is mysterious to them anyway) are forced to do so -RATHER THAN going to a trade school, because of the visionary fantasy that "all" should go to college, graduate, etc. It's nonsense. Rather than learning an actual skill, non-academiclly inclined students are forced to memorize and regurgitate a shadow of an interpretation of what one person thought about -for example- Pride and Prejudice. They are taught a lie-ridden (over simplified version from a textbook) account of American History. They are taught to memorize the periodic table without ever learning what scientific inquiry actually is.

The memorize-regurgitate education model is both NOT an education model and the reason why -I think- so many kids hate school. They learn nothing other than to pop adderal and cram before tests. And to what end?

It's a damn shame... the lot of it.

This is all I feel like typing for now. I'll probably outline a more cohesive solution later, but this should give you an idea of where I'm coming from.

I agree with most of this post. The only thing I would disagree with here is with granting admission to educational institutions "exclusively based on merit" - IQ/SAT tests are an extremely narrow indicator merit, usually emphasizing certain skills that perpetuate the same cultural elitism you critique. The entire category of "merit" - when it comes to education - needs to be reevaluated. We shouldn't be offering education to people based on whether they deserve it according to some predetermined set of evaluations - the ONLY evaluation that should matter is whether the person has a passion and interest in the subject or not.
YYW
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7/7/2012 11:22:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Some more thoughts:

@Logic_on_rails

If you liked my post, then I'm glad. It's unfortunate that American education is as grotesquely flawed as it is. But it is. I will preface what I say thus far on, though, by stating that I know nothing of Australian education. If it is the case, however, that Australia is following the lead of the United States, then I extend my most forthright and sincere sympathies.

Per your two questions,

1. What is the end that we desire?
2. How do we intend to achieve that end?

I both like and approve of the consequentialist mindset they are asked in. Ends-focused decision making is infinitely more beneficial then chasing an unachievable and unsustainable fantasy (like that which the United States does now).

The ends of education, for me, are to prepare students to function in society as best they (the students) possibly can. For some this means training doctors and business leaders. For others, this means working in manufacturing, engineering or even ditch digging. Every student is different, but every student has something to contribute to society. Education is the most effective means to facilitate social contribution (as opposed to social destruction -crime, chronic unemployment, etc.) and should function to prepare students to be members of society. Firstly, students should be employable. This means that they should, by the time they have completed their education, know a skill or be prepared to enter the job market. Moreover, it means that students will -upon graduation- have developed the work ethic to devote their lives to what field they will enter. (That does not mean that they should be forced to work 80 hour weeks, but 40-60hrs should suffice.) "Work" btw. for me means any type of job. Doctor, teacher, ditch digger, trash collector, venture capitalist, nurse, businessperson, police officer, meter reader, professor, chef, janitor, etc. It is to take on these various roles that students should be equipped. In theory, this already happens. In reality, a high school education is functionally worthless. An undergraduate education (many majors) is almost as useless. Which brings me to intensity...

"Intensity" in the context of education should be understood as it applies to the net devotion students apply to being educated, as well as the material they are actually taught (I know that's hard to conceptualize from my nebulous description, so I'll explain it with a few examples). In another conversation I had with another user, I suggested that AP classes should be the base line for curriculum. There is no need for five levels of classes (AP, Honors, Advanced, College Prep and Concepts -as it was when I went to High School). One level of classes should be sufficient -and it is (in Gymnasium). Or, to follow another model, the IB program would also be an effective baseline. For those who can't or don't want to handle it? There is tech school. If anything, that could restore the integrity of the high school diploma. (College classes are experiencing a similar phenomenon. Where universities admit students en masse, they "dumb down" their curriculum to accommodate for the intellectual profile of the student body.)

It seems to me that school really should be a 9-5 thing though, with an hour lunch break at mid day. That would enable parents to work and save money on child care. It would reduce the number of children alone who have single or two working parents and would reduce the time kids have to consume and distribute drugs, as well as create general mischief for lack of other things compelling their time. Homework, in this scenario, should be minimal or nonexistent (although studying would still be imperative, for obvious reasons).

Things that are now extra curricular (like Debate, Mock Trial, etc.) could -and should- be built into a schedule as classes. They teach and promote academic development, and shouldn't be treated as any less important then English classes, because they promote the same skills (in addition to a host of others), such as communication, interaction, etc. (I could sing the praises of debate teams and mock trial teams to the end of days -both were activities I did in high school.)

I don't think that IQ/SAT scores are sufficient to account for the sum of a person, but they are both gauges of probable success in higher education. They should be used for that, and career aptitude tests (real ones, not the bullsh!t tests issued to 7th graders) in kind. I do favor totally centralized education though, as it applies to government run education. Private education always can and should exist outside public education, and should not be subject to the same guidelines. If parents wish to send their kids to private school AND are financially capable of doing so, they should enjoy that luxury.
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YYW
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7/7/2012 11:33:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 11:07:04 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
I agree with most of this post. The only thing I would disagree with here is with granting admission to educational institutions "exclusively based on merit" - IQ/SAT tests are an extremely narrow indicator merit, usually emphasizing certain skills that perpetuate the same cultural elitism you critique. The entire category of "merit" - when it comes to education - needs to be reevaluated. We shouldn't be offering education to people based on whether they deserve it according to some predetermined set of evaluations - the ONLY evaluation that should matter is whether the person has a passion and interest in the subject or not.

If demanding that every human being fulfills their potential makes me an elitist, then so be it. I get that many people dislike IQ tests/SAT tests/etc. Whatever. State mandated standardized tests I take issue with, but IQ tests and the SAT do not serve the same function.

And the soft, yellow criticism of "predetermined evaluations" as not being able to encapsulate the full depth of a person are almost comprehensively nonsense. No child is special. Period. IQ/SAT scores are fantastic metrics of intellectual capacity and scholastic aptitude. Those are the ONLY things that matter in terms of college admission UNLESS you are trying to delineate people from a specific score demographic.
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Logic_on_rails
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7/8/2012 12:54:12 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Let me first state that this discussion is quite the intriguing one. FT, YYW, we all seem to agree on the problems plaguing education, yet we have some differing views on what we want, and how to achieve this. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see different mindsets articulately put against each other. YYW, I'll be focusing on what you've said in my response.

The first point I'll touch on is what end we want. Your stated end of education is to prepare students to function as best they can in society. This is quite fine for a concrete end for education, yet what I find lacking in this statement is a goal beyond this. You seem to be presupposing work as the highest good (I'm not quite sure, but that might relate to your stated interest in Nietzsche) , which I don't necessarily agree with. Hard work is a very admirable thing, yet what I think FT has at times tried to raise is that work in itself leads to some sort of end, and if that end can be better achieved through other means other than work, then one should do so. Basically, one should attempt to take this into account when thinking about education, so I think FT's comments somewhat mitigate yours. However, I'm not so naive to think that something like government can determine what the highest good is, rather they should encourage what many people can admire - work is one of these things to be encouraged. I hope I'm being articulate on this point - it's very difficult to convey the degree to which I compromise between the means you and FT advocate.

One other thing I take issue with is your usage of the word 'work' , as I suspected I would have to contend with. My question to you is whether being an artist, writer and so forth would classify as 'work' . I say this because although many of these avenues are difficult avenues for profit making, and can be somewhat difficult to prepare students for, they contribute to society. I know that you stated that education was designed to facilitate social contribution, but you also stated that students should have a 'skill' upon ending school. Whether there is a teachable 'skill' to being, say, an artist, is the question at hand.

Following that you give a very powerful compelling model that resolves issues of homework, dumbing down of education and so forth. While there are some practical issues to resolve, such as mock trial taking many hours and requiring magistrates to come and so forth, I'm sure these could be resolved, and I certainly wouldn't impose upon you to come up with the needed solutions. You solve a lot of problems in a believable, workable manner. It's a pleasure to see some creative ideas that are rarely heard. If only governments would set up special zones to trial ideas such as this...

The final part of your post deals with your 'merit' solution. I can't profess to know much about the SAT, but it's quite a different university admissions style of test from what I glanced at briefly online. In NSW (an Australian state) our main test is the HSC. In this test students sit certain exams depending on what subjects they do at school. The SAT seems to lack a correlation to what subjects one does at school. This seems to be quite a profound error to me. In your evaluation criteria I'd have to say that there's not enough focus on what a student has learnt prior to university. Of course, there's questions about how insightful any en masse evaluation is.

The final thing I'll talk about is a bit about the Australian education system, in case it interests you. Let me assure you that university admission is a bit more nuanced than simply taking a single HSC test. Indeed, certain subjects are 'scaled' and marks 'moderated' (a nightmarishly complex process that no student really understands...) to accommodate for students not all taking identical tests that lead to the ATAR mark which gets one into university. Of course, the IB is also offered in Australia, and has ATAR equivalents.

One thing that has been pushes recently is a national curriculum, which my state of NSW is not taking to quite so well. NSW has tended to top Australia with it's own curriculum, and there are fears that standards will be dropped or simplified in the new curriculum. For instance, the HSC has quite a number of maths courses, yet the national curriculum proposes to lower the number of available courses, which could decrease maths participation, particularly in higher level maths. Of course, this all probably seems a bit confusing, so I'll leave it there!

I look forward to a continued discussion.
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YYW
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7/8/2012 2:26:01 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
After being informed by another member that the comment below "somewhat" mitigated some of the points I made, I think I'll take it upon myself to address what has been said here. All quotes are from FourTrouble.

At 7/7/2012 4:13:44 AM, FourTrouble wrote:
@YYW

It's not often I comment on forums but I had to comment on this. The fantasy you describe (I'd call it a nightmare) somehow imagines that it's better if we spend our entire waking life working, or sitting in a classroom at desks for hours upon hours, listening to some moron drone on about completely useless information, all so that we can eventually grow up and get a boring job in some office where we sit at desks for hours upon hours, staring at a screen, occasionally getting up to drink some coffee.

Hyperbolic strawman aside, your conception of post-adolescence merits reconsideration. Life is about fulfilling one's potential. Some write, some teach, some lead, some practice medicine, some collect trash. None are more valuable than another, but all perform roles. What those roles are is and rightfully should be determined by individual aptitude, across a variety of spectrums.

I would also submit that (my father was a business executive and I knew a great deal of his work) the primary reason that work is boring to people is that they approach it with entirely the wrong attitude. People who sit in offices and dwindle their time on Facebook and StumbleUpon.com as opposed to working, while they are on the job are often inefficient workers. Being at a computer screen often affords people the luxury to screw around without getting caught. In some cases, corporations institute firewalls and network monitors to ensure that their workers aren't watching porn or tweeting while they are on the job, but in most cases employees enjoy a significant degree of latitude in offices. How the company chooses to manage their employees, however, is entirely up to their preference.

I would submit that entirely too many people work white collar jobs. The volume of incompetent, unmotivated people filling spaces in American companies is disgraceful. There exists the "Office Space" narrative that many outside the business world embrace with regard to corporate America. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The office environment, properly functioning, is dynamic and engaging. If that is not the case, then the work environment is not properly functioning (Bill Lumberg could be your boss, FYI) or the employee is not suited for the type of employment they hold.

A LARGE percentage of people I have met that hold corporate jobs (especially second generation middle class white collars) are unapologetically lazy, unmotivated and stupid. They also have entitlement complexes that disgust me. They feel entitled to extended vacations, unmerited bonuses and the like. They complain when their co-workers are rewarded for out-performing them. They are petulant when confronted and directed to reform -then they make excuses. If you don't want to work an office job, then guess what? You don't have too! You could teach pottery at a local community college, enlist in the military or become a fire fighter. (I would rather kill myself then teach pottery, but that is me.)

The other issue I have with what you're saying is the description of office jobs as "boring" as if to suggest that somehow a job must be liked. It's great if a job is liked, but it doesn't have to be. Work is necessary for the individual to sustain themselves and imperative for society to continue. It doesn't matter if you feel "constrained" or "put down" by the job that you have. If you have a job that sucks, then do what is necessary to try a new one. If you don't like that one, then repeat the process. But DO NOT complain about your job. You are there of your own volition, and often employed at the companies convenience. As a worker (white or blue collar) you are a means to an end, and no more. No one in the real world cares how you feel about that. Why? Because feelings don't make money (unless you are a psychiatrist, in which case you try to address other people's feelings).

All so that we can build a work ethic and join work world, have a positive effect on the "labor market." Imagine the horror of our parents being forced to hire some kind of "child care" - the havoc it would wreck on the labor market. I can only imagine.

You misread my post, which is probably the reason for your hyperbolic response. Whatever. After reading your post though, I do think that school should correlate with employment hours, specifically to reduce child care costs.

I'll be completely blunt: the life you describe, and the lifeless body it breeds, is an utter holocaust of humanity and dignity.

What a comprehensive load of hyperbolic sh!t.

I mean, I can hardly believe someone would even write this - "Your personal experience is meaningless" - much less actually believe its content.

This is where reading the context of quotes comes into play. I was referring to the personal experience of the individual who asserted that he didn't know a single person who wasted their summers, and contrasting that with the youth unemployment rate. But, to specifically address your point here, yes, a person's personal experience is meaningless. People in the labor force are means to an end. If you don't like that, then (1) you have read too much Kant, and (2) you are probably not suited to work a high stress job. If you want to keep your job in a competitive market, I would suggest joining a union, working at the DMV or working for the post office. In that case no matter how lazy or incompetent you are, you will always receive an income more then you deserve.

When you say things like that, you not only attack the entire tradition of literature, philosophy, science, and art that is the heart of Western civilization, you also call into question any experience at all that does not have a positive effect on the economy.

In addition to being a conclusion that was drawn based on a misread of what I wrote, that is patently not the case. I grant you that the type of art and literature (as well as the type of philosophy) produced now is different from that of the past, but there are still artists, novelists and etc. Don't believe me? Google it.

This is exactly why I hate economics - it turns the entirety of human experience into an abstraction to be modeled mathematically, which of course is impossible anyway, since economics deals more with the irrational flows of human desire than it does with the flows of labor and employment.

lol

This response to be continued in a later post.
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YYW
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7/8/2012 2:54:37 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Response to FourTrouble, continued.

The entirety of your argument - that children need work - assumes human beings require external guidance, not just to find their way in the world but to survive.

First of all, my arguments are (1) that children need to be in school year round to prepare them to be productive members of society (2) that summer vacations are a waste of time because they (a) distract from the goal articulated in (1) and (b) do not help/contribute to/or in any way advance the achievement of (1). However, until summer vacations are abolished, no student of any age should sit idly through the summer months. For kindergarten-5th graders, this might mean year round schooling. For 6th graders-10th graders this might mean working causal labor jobs (like yard work, working at an ice cream parlor or remaining in school). For 11th-12th graders, this should mean something more productive, and could mean even demanding manual labor (my first roofing job I had at age 15). Of course, there are other options available.

Secondly, my argument does not assume that people need external guidance, it boldly declares it. People need to be given a series of choices and made to choose from them, at least as a first career choice. This idea that people need to "find themselves" is hilarious. Even more hilarious is the suggestion that people should "be themselves" as if somehow to "be themselves" should imply a divergence from mass behavior. People are social creatures who exist in a society, which requires that everyone fulfill a role. Kids ESPECIALLY need direction because they are inexperienced to the world and what options are available and what consequences those options entail.

Of course, this is utter nonsense. If we leave children to explore the world on their own, to develop their own interests and pursue them with their own passion, then children are more likely to develop a work ethic founded in their own curiosity and excitement for life.

That belief was popular from the late 70's and early 80's onward. Below is a link to an article written in the New Yorker. Read it.

http://www.newyorker.com...

The real problem with your vision of the world is its complete lack of clarity - to imagine (as you do) that the self-discipline and work ethic derived from a job at the age of 14, a summer job, as the noblest of pursuits is to completely lose sight of other truly noble pursuits. A child who never works a day in his life, never goes to school, who spends his time out in the world taking walks through nature or observing the urban life, yet may one day become the greatest artist, writer, or scientist of his generation. Where do you think people like Walt Whitman - one of our greatest poets - got their material? From going to school and having a 9 to 5 job?

What a naïve approach to the process of maturity and development...

I think the real problem with school is not the summer vacation, although I agree with thett3 that it should be shortened. The real problem with school is that it takes away the best hours of the day and forces us to sit and listen to an idiot for 40 hours a week. You know how much exercise it requires to make up for sitting 40 hours a week? The real problem with school is that it breeds unhealthy bodies, bodies who sit all day instead of spending time outside, playing and running around and exercising as kids should be doing, all so that we can give our children a false sense of something called self-discipline and a work ethic. The systematic change we need is a shorter work week, 20 hours instead of 40 hours, so that we have time to actually pursue our passions and enjoy life. And this is what we should be teaching kids.

Excellent. Finally, we have an opportunity for common ground. I COMPLETELY agree that physical fitness is imperative to any solid education, and often sidelined for a host of idiotic reasons (from fat, lazy kids to the implications of lawyers and legislators meddling in the educational process). Of the 9-5 school day, at least a solid hour of that time should be devoted to exercise. Running, tennis, cardiovascular training and dietary education should be included as well. Shortening the week/reducing hours isn't the solution. Kids should learn to read, write, solve problems, communicate, build things, investigate questions, speak properly, vote and take care of themselves (balance a check book, file taxes, cook meals, etc.). Beyond that, they should be taught a skill (like fixing air conditioners, laying bricks, report news, etc.) OR receive professional training (Ph. D., medical doctor, lawyer, etc.).

As I have mentioned earlier, a central problem with education is that it attempts to push EVERYONE into college -with an approximate 70% success rate. 3 in 10 will never graduate high school, and this is as disgraceful as it is unacceptable NOT because they failed to graduate high school but RATHER because those 3/10 will never contribute their full potential. They could have gone to tech school, and learned to become a plumber, electrician or air conditioner repairman (or a host of other jobs). Of the students who actually do go to college, the bulk of them should never have even applied because they aren't intellectually capable of handling the academic rigor. This isn't something to be looked down on, rather, it is an indicator that they should be doing something else (like laying bricks or wiring buildings).

There is a stigma in the United States against manual labor that is disgraceful. As a nation, we need people who build things. We need people who repair things and who assemble things. We do not need a nation of sloths who are miserable working white collar jobs that are too intense to handle. And make no mistake, a white collar job SHOULD be intense, dynamic and engaging. It should not be a place you sit and play internet solitaire while time passes by. (Although the bulk of the inefficiency of American business I blame on sub-par graduation mills with sh!tty business schools.)
Tsar of DDO
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7/8/2012 3:05:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 12:54:12 AM, Logic_on_rails wrote:
Let me first state that this discussion is quite the intriguing one. FT, YYW, we all seem to agree on the problems plaguing education, yet we have some differing views on what we want, and how to achieve this. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see different mindsets articulately put against each other. YYW, I'll be focusing on what you've said in my response.

The first point I'll touch on is what end we want. Your stated end of education is to prepare students to function as best they can in society. This is quite fine for a concrete end for education, yet what I find lacking in this statement is a goal beyond this. You seem to be presupposing work as the highest good (I'm not quite sure, but that might relate to your stated interest in Nietzsche) , which I don't necessarily agree with. Hard work is a very admirable thing, yet what I think FT has at times tried to raise is that work in itself leads to some sort of end, and if that end can be better achieved through other means other than work, then one should do so. Basically, one should attempt to take this into account when thinking about education, so I think FT's comments somewhat mitigate yours. However, I'm not so naive to think that something like government can determine what the highest good is, rather they should encourage what many people can admire - work is one of these things to be encouraged. I hope I'm being articulate on this point - it's very difficult to convey the degree to which I compromise between the means you and FT advocate.

I responded to his post, above this one.

One other thing I take issue with is your usage of the word 'work' , as I suspected I would have to contend with. My question to you is whether being an artist, writer and so forth would classify as 'work' . I say this because although many of these avenues are difficult avenues for profit making, and can be somewhat difficult to prepare students for, they contribute to society. I know that you stated that education was designed to facilitate social contribution, but you also stated that students should have a 'skill' upon ending school. Whether there is a teachable 'skill' to being, say, an artist, is the question at hand.

Artists, writers etc. are all legitimate jobs but NOT everyone can be a writer, artist, etc. There is certainly a market demand for fine art (just walk through Manhattan) and literature (praise God), but most aspiring writers/artists shouldn't be encouraged to pursue a career that they have no place in. Why? Because not every wanna-be novelist is worth reading. Need proof? Take a creative writing class and peer-edit more than two writing samples of your class mates, or a drawing class and look around you. Some people are gifted. Most aren't. It is a disservice to tell someone who is not gifted that they could make a career doing something they are not good at. That does not mean, however, that if a person enjoys doing something that they shouldn't do it. I enjoy writing, but it's a hobby not a career for me.

Following that you give a very powerful compelling model that resolves issues of homework, dumbing down of education and so forth. While there are some practical issues to resolve, such as mock trial taking many hours and requiring magistrates to come and so forth, I'm sure these could be resolved, and I certainly wouldn't impose upon you to come up with the needed solutions. You solve a lot of problems in a believable, workable manner. It's a pleasure to see some creative ideas that are rarely heard. If only governments would set up special zones to trial ideas such as this...

Indeed, but I would only further emphasize that extra curricular activities like Mock Trial or the Debate team are extremely valuable activities because they teach critical thinking and investigation, promote communication skills and improve writing skills.

The final part of your post deals with your 'merit' solution. I can't profess to know much about the SAT, but it's quite a different university admissions style of test from what I glanced at briefly online. In NSW (an Australian state) our main test is the HSC. In this test students sit certain exams depending on what subjects they do at school. The SAT seems to lack a correlation to what subjects one does at school. This seems to be quite a profound error to me. In your evaluation criteria I'd have to say that there's not enough focus on what a student has learnt prior to university. Of course, there's questions about how insightful any en masse evaluation is.

The final thing I'll talk about is a bit about the Australian education system, in case it interests you. Let me assure you that university admission is a bit more nuanced than simply taking a single HSC test. Indeed, certain subjects are 'scaled' and marks 'moderated' (a nightmarishly complex process that no student really understands...) to accommodate for students not all taking identical tests that lead to the ATAR mark which gets one into university. Of course, the IB is also offered in Australia, and has ATAR equivalents.

One thing that has been pushes recently is a national curriculum, which my state of NSW is not taking to quite so well. NSW has tended to top Australia with it's own curriculum, and there are fears that standards will be dropped or simplified in the new curriculum. For instance, the HSC has quite a number of maths courses, yet the national curriculum proposes to lower the number of available courses, which could decrease maths participation, particularly in higher level maths. Of course, this all probably seems a bit confusing, so I'll leave it there!

I look forward to a continued discussion.

The SAT is a test designed to gauge how well a person will perform in college, their scholastic aptitude (axiomatically, lol). Some people should go to college. Others shouldn't. The problem is when people start to define who they are by their test scores. The same applies to the IQ test. Having a low IQ does not mean that a person is "less" of a person than another with a high IQ.
Tsar of DDO