DailyDirt: Comparing US Schools To...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The US education system is constantly being compared to other school systems -- with the underlying theme that the US might copy some of the best practices and put them to use for our kids. Sure, it's good to take a look around and see if there's a better way to teach kids, but some practices might be difficult to adopt (eg. eliminating long summer vacations). Here are just a few links on what we might learn from foreign school systems. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 5:39pm

    1) No Child Left A Dime has been a complete failure.
    2) The whole funding in accordance with test scores is a complete failure.
    3) The anti science crowd is a bunch of nuts.
    4) Vouchers are an insane proposition.
    5) If you want your children to have a parochial education, then send them to a parochial school.
    6) Attacking our children's education simply because you do not like unions is really stupid and counter productive.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 6:48pm

    Is our childrens learning?

    I think the gross-level US education policy boils simply down to fights over unions. Evidence be damned, if the union likes it it has to be wrong, and if it screws a union it has to be right.

    But I don't think anyone in the US makes policy decisions based on evidence any more. Anecdote and ideology are much more useful and powerful.

    (I learned this while fighting the war on terror-drugs with my socialized medicine drone-homie in our welfare-fraud Cadillac while we thefted child pornography music on our obama-phones. Fucking teachers unions. /sarc)

     

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  3.  
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    ahow628 (profile), Dec 11th, 2013 @ 8:20pm

    Teacher pay

    I always find this interesting:

    Teachers make shit when they are first starting out and have to spend hundreds of hours writing all their lesson plans from scratch and spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on supplies for the room. This all assuming they can even find a job.

    Then when they get cushy and bored from not having to improve their lessons or freshen up the room, they are making a ton of money and likely cannot be fired.

    I saw a great proposal that all teachers should be paid a flat rate with no raises ever. Said flat rate should be very high - say $100-125,000 per year. This would pull in the best and the brightest to teach and cause them to leave and do something more productive after a few years of no raises.

    High turnover for teachers would be a good thing if it prevented stagnation. My most boring, ineffective teachers were all on the tail end of their careers.

    Likely, this would also require a loosening of the teacher's licensing requirements. However, if all the people chasing those $125,000 paychecks are smart people who are motivated, then who cares if they have a teaching certificate!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Teacher pay

    "have to spend hundreds of hours writing all their lesson plans from scratch"

    and then the school district claims copyright upon the teacher's work (which was performed on their own time)


    "Then when they get cushy and bored from not having to improve their lessons or freshen up the room, they are making a ton of money and likely cannot be fired."

    and then a ridiculous stereotypical slam appears


    "this would pull in the best and the brightest to teach and cause them to leave and do something more productive"

    and this in an economy that sucks, so it must really be a good idea.


    "his would also require a loosening of the teacher's licensing requirements"

    yes, because opportunities abound - there are so many high paying jobs out there.


    "who cares if they have a teaching certificate"

    Yeah, anyone can teach. It's not that difficult is it?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2013 @ 11:55pm

    Or maybe we don't need teachers at all.

    TED: Sugata Mitra: Kids can teach themselves

    Mitra Sugata: Whole in the wall

    Maybe what we need are "guides" people who can observe and adapt to the interests that children acquire and subtly push them in the directions that they themselves chose, tracing a path that through challenges that the kids sets themselves they strive to learn the tools that they will need to overcome.

    I didn't have a hole in a wall in my time, I had public libraries, I didn't spent much time in school but I spend almost every waking moment in a library and it was the first thing I would know where it was in whatever city I was in, and of course the trash, I luv rich people they throw out so many good things, trash is cheap and wonderful to experiment with.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:46am

    If it's about money our kids should be educated geniuses, per capita spending per student is highest in the USA.
    Why do we not see any gains from this spending?
    In fact as we spend more our kids are less educated than before.
    Student achievement has declined over the past 25 years as spending has increased, as things look currently common core will be a race to the bottom.
    The biggest problem is no accountability in the education system.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 6:08am

    Re:

    The biggest problem is corruption.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Pay teachers more?

    I hear this argument made all the time and it is bogus. More pay does not equal better teacher. It doesn't equal better any kind of worker. Pay for results would come much closer to creating better workers of any kind.

    Besides, when you compare teachers pay to their actual time worked, it isn't nearly as bad as most teachers let on. Many of the teachers I know admit this.

    I am sure my statements will get me flamed but I stand by them. Well, as much as an anonymous post can stand by comments. ;)

     

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  9.  
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    madasahatter (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re: Teacher pay

    Your thesis is not really true. Good teachers (or other professionals) stay in the field because they want to. They care about their profession. I have seen statistics, I forget where, that indicate 5 years seems to be the break point for the attrition.

    There are many problems in US education. One that is overlooked is the attitude of the parents; do they demand their children study, do homework, etc. or blame the school or teacher when it is not done.

     

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  10.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    A huge problem is copyright and the costs to access material that go with it.

     

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  11.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Re: Pay teachers more?

    I'm curious as to much it would cost parents to have baby-sitters instead of the time being spent with teachers, or rather, how much would a teacher make if they were paid by hour for baby-sitting 30+ children?

     

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  12.  
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    ahow628 (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Teacher pay

    Well, it seems that if they like what they do and want to stay for the flat rate pay, then good for them. I think what I was getting at was that mediocre teacher would be there until they didn't feel the money was worth it and then move on. One does not preclude the other.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Pay teachers more?

    I wonder how much the market has set the wages of teachers? Yes, the government and/or unions have set the salaries, but there are lots of teachers trying for very few openings. So paying more just to be paying more will only result in a system that is even more out of balance in the pay for results ration.

     

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  14.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Teacher pay

    One that is overlooked is the attitude of the parents; do they demand their children study, do homework, etc. or blame the school or teacher when it is not done.


    And this is the biggest problem area of all.

    Although I differ a little about the homework. The preponderance of the evidence shows that homework, at best, doesn't improve anything and at worst, degrades the actual quality of the education.

    And yet, schools are assigning more homework than ever -- entirely because parents believe that lots of homework == lots of learning and complain if they think their kids aren't getting assigned enough of it.

     

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  15.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Pay teachers more?

    More pay does not equal better teacher. It doesn't equal better any kind of worker,/blockquote>

    It does when the workers are underpaid to begin with, as is the case with teachers.

    Pay for results would come much closer to creating better workers of any kind.


    That all depends, but the approach is very difficult with teaching. How do you measure "results" in a way that actually demonstrates how good a job the teacher is doing? Nobody has been able to crack that nut yet.

    Besides, when you compare teachers pay to their actual time worked, it isn't nearly as bad as most teachers let on. Many of the teachers I know admit this.


    Maybe the teachers you know work in wealthy school districts. The ones that I know (my sister as well as a few friends) can demonstrate the opposite. If you compute their pay as an hourly rate over all the time they actually work, they're poorly paid. Not starving, but certainly not a pay rate that most people would accept for a professional position.

     

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  16.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Pay teachers more?

    It isn't like that here. Teachers can't get unemployment here because there is definitely a job available for them out there.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Pay teachers more?

    "and it is bogus"

    Your arguments are not convincing.


    "Pay for results would come much closer to creating better workers of any kind"

    No child left a dime is a complete failure.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re:

    I agree completely. Textbooks are expensive and every other semester or so a new edition comes out that's basically the same as the old edition (at least with basic math books like Calculus and below. I can see how new books can be useful in certain fields where new discoveries and advancements are made). But as the book store runs out of copies of the old books and are unable to make new copies (because of broken laws) they must now purchase the new text books and sell them to new students at a high price when the new books are basically the same as the old books with a few chapters flipped around. It's a scam enabled by bad laws lobbied for by influential businesses and passed by corrupt politicians in exchange for campaign contributions and revolving door favors. It's a scam that's not a product of democracy but a subversion of it and it's a scam that needs to be corrected with new, democratically passed, laws.

    Certain texbooks, like math 101, should be published online in the public domain for anyone to download and print and look at and search on their tables or laptops or whatever so that students don't need to continue paying for something that's been paid for a long time ago. The publishers have already long benefited from the copy'right' of these materials in prior editions and they have long been paid and new editions are almost identical requiring almost no additional effort to justify a new copy'right' and the continued copy'right' of previous editions.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    tablets *

     

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