DailyDirt: Can Education Ever Be One-Size-Fits-All?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The national debate over education in the US seems to be gaining more steam. Part of the issue is that funding for education is at a crossroads, and decisions about how to best allocate funds need to be made soon. There don't seem to be any clear solutions so far, but there are plenty of opinions. Here are just a few. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

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  1. identicon
    abc gum, Aug 16th, 2011 @ 6:02pm

    I'd like to know why there is a war on education.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Zacqary Adam Green (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 6:11pm

    Regarding the Salon article about class size:

    What about the students' mental health? The rate at which students learn, as measured by test scores, grades, etc. is hardly the whole picture. If a student gets through school with straight A's and anxiety issues, that's hardly prepared them for the real world.

    I struggled in large class sizes throughout middle and high school, until finally transferring to a smaller school for my junior and senior years. Instantly, the more intimate environment helped me succeed, because the teachers and staff actually had the time and resources to give a crap about me.

    It's just a shame that such things are only considered when they start affecting a student's grades. Just because somebody's testing well doesn't mean they're doing okay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Charles (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 6:29pm


    I think you hit the nail on the head there.

    To give an example when I was a senior in high school I was taking two different college level classes. One was Calculus and the other is Literature and composition. Now first off Math was my strongest subject, while English was by far my weakest (I'm horrible at spelling).

    At the end of the year I took the tests for each class to see if I get college credit for them. The tests are scored 1 to 5, 5 being the best. Generally if you get a 3 colleges will give you credit for the class. So the scores came back, Calc. was a 2 and English was a 4.

    Reason, among other things the class for Calc was about 30+ students. English had about 17. Despite my trouble with composition, There was always time for the teacher to answer my questions. Where as in Calc. the teacher seldom got through everyone's so by test time you get 30 stressed out kids with 100 different questions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    btrussell (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 7:02pm

    If someone can't learn math by the time they are 2014, it is time to give up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 7:22pm


    Tests are not the best assessment methods, oftentimes -- which I think is part of the "failure" of NCLB... If every question on a test has a correct answer, then we're really not preparing students for the "real world" at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re:

    The main failure of NCLB is the NCLB part. Some people are genuinely stupid and should not be allowed to hold back the rest. Ideally, at least twenty percent of any given class should fail that course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    freak (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 9:06pm

    Personally, I would've grown better in larger classes.

    In my school, we typically had about 20 students/teacher, and I found my larger, more anonymous, more algorithm and less judgment based classes to be the ones where I learned the most, (particularly in literature courses).

    Even though I was a bit of a loner, having more people on the exact same page, doing the exact same assignments, meant I had more people to discuss class with, and bounce ideas off. Or tutor, and through tutoring, understand the material better myself.

    Having nearly earned my 2nd bachelors (kinda, but I won't bore you with that), I can say this has held true in university as well, as far as I'm able to tell with a sample size of 1 and being unable to replicate experimental values to any degree of precision.

    That being said, I don't believe I have any amount of knowledge on how to run a school-system as a whole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2011 @ 10:55pm

    The problem really is not the school if it was, Asian countries wouldn't be able to produce better more capable students would they?

    They don't have all the money the US has, they don't have the space, they don't have all that much good teachers and still students outperform American students, heck even India is doing better.

    "More than 123,000 Indian students studied outside of their home country in 2006, with approximately 80,000 studying in educational institutions in the U.S.
    Foreign students brought over $13 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006."
    http://www.workpermit.com/news/2007-08-14/us/india-biggest-source-of-foreign-students-to-ame rica.htm

    American children don't have the drive to learn, they don't have the culture to respect learning, they don't want to learn is that simple.

    If someone trully wanted something, it wouldn't matter how it was delivered to them, they would make most out of it, just like the hoards of foreingnein students do and they even have to deal with serious cultural differences and language barriers and they do it for some reason why?

    Now why Americans don't want to learn?
    Is the competition that is making people don't want to try hard, is some other cultural factor, what inside the society is creating that?

    What inside other societies creates the envrioment that drives people to seek out education?

    There is something wrong and it is not with the school system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Bengie, Aug 17th, 2011 @ 4:13am


    Parents are the number one force behind a kid's learning.

    I was reading some research from a education software company and it came down to this. Parents were such a great force in a child's education, that all other variables almost didn't matter. They said, you don't need our software, you don't need great teachers, you need parents who care.

    kind of goes back to your "American children don't have the drive to learn"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    abc gum, Aug 17th, 2011 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Ideally, at least twenty percent of any given class should fail that course."

    Why? Are you talking about college courses or k - 12 ?

    Do you grade on a curve?

    Is the goal of education the indoctrination of students or are we actually interested the education of all of them?

    No child left a dime was and is a bad idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    abc gum, Aug 17th, 2011 @ 5:06am


    "American children don't have the drive to learn, they don't have the culture to respect learning, they don't want to learn is that simple."

    This is obviously incorrect. All it takes is one child with a desire to learn and your statement becomes false. Inclusion of a limiting clause could rectify your grammatical error.

    "There is something wrong and it is not with the school system."

    This I agree with. I'm not sure why the education system has become a favorite whipping boy for the political elite, but there are several possibilities that could explain it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Ed C., Aug 17th, 2011 @ 5:20am


    Even though I disagree that our education system isn't part of the problem, many of the underlying issues are indeed caused by our society's skewed perspective of education. Sure, many will publicly say they think education is important, but their actions say otherwise--and their kids are not oblivious to this. They shrug off school spending cuts while voting against local and state funding--yet scream at the school board if anything gets in the way of athletics. They see school, including college, as something that you have to do because it's required to get a job. They don't see how the quality of education, or academic prowess, can effect their career prospects since, to them, it has little to do with their current career--or life in general. And why should they? In the past, one of the primary sectors for middle class employment was unskilled manufacturing. The prospects of the unskilled masses who lost their jobs due to offshoring is abysmal at best.

    However, even those who knowing seek professions that require a degree often can't even get any kind of job in the field. For instance, I have a degree in software engineering--with a GPA just shy of 3.5. Yet, no companies would even talk to me with out a minimum of 2-5 years industry experience. I eventually ended up working retail while looking at grad schools. One of the assistant managers there actually had a chemistry degree. I've heard from many others who found the job prospects for college grads underwhelming, often ending up in other fields altogether. That's hardly surprising when college programs have little or no focus on employable skills. They instead left it to the companies that hired their graduates to actually train them. However, due to cutbacks, many companies dropped their training programs, or even shipped entire divisions overseas!

    Quality of education is just one of the many factors that has created the mess we're in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    CJ (profile), Aug 17th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Some people are genuinely stupid and should not be allowed to hold back the rest. Ideally, at least twenty percent of any given class should fail that course."

    So lets have a "for instance here"

    Take for instance Shawn. Who was in the 9th grade and did lousy. His parents did everything to get him interested in school, but got no where. The school long gave up on him. They gave him the test, and could not understand how this boy aced the test every time. But failed in every subject during the year. So in 10th grade the boy quit school. He found a course offered at a local tech school. They said he couldn't take it, (certain courses you had to have a high school diploma) but he could still if he wanted to take the test to get in. So he took the test. He passed it - 100% nailed the test. The tech school gave him a scholarship to take anything they were offering, he did not accept it. He then left went to take the test to join the military. He aced this also. They offered him school too. He accepted. At 18 he was accepted into the military college academy and his course he was taking was nuclear science or something like that. For which he aced also.

    So who failed him? What could the school of done differently? Why did they not pick up on his ability to ace those test every year? Or better yet... Why did the school fail a gifted student?

    It's not always the student that is the problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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