What I Think is Wrong with America

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by geologyrox, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    It's a well known fact that people are affected by "confirmation bias" - where we look for data to support our current position, instead of searching for the truth. This means, among other things, that people tend to overweigh evidence that agrees with them, and ignore or underweigh evidence that conflicts with their opinions. Obviously, this tendency makes it difficult to find the truth - that's why we end up with 50% of the US believing that there were usable WMDs in Iraq, and people on both sides fight the evolution fight with a careful selection of quotes and articles that they've found on the internet. People want to be RIGHT, and more than that, they want their preconceived notions to be right.

    There are a number of ways we can get around this bias. When a reasonable person repeatedly comes up against something that clearly and directly contradicts one of their beliefs, they do change their minds. This isn't really ideal, because the bias itself causes people to only ask questions that won't disprove their point of view, and tend to discount evidence from opposing viewpoints. Scientists use the scientific method to compensate for that innate tendency to believe what we want to believe. I've noticed that many here don't have any grasp whatsoever of what that means - check out Wiki if your education was deficient. The whole idea behind the scientific method is to ensure we ask the right questions, to continually test our current knowledge, to CHANGE with new evidence. Students of science are taught to make 'educated guesses,' to conduct experiments to gather new data, to test that evidence against their guesses, and, as needed, to change their theories to deal with new evidence. That process, in science, allows us to overcome our desire to see us be right and helps us develop and mold working theories on how things actually work. Non-scientists have just as much need to weigh input and come up with logical conclusions - but obviously, many of them just don't know how.

    I think that America's problems today have quite a lot to do with the way science is taught in school. Science has been continually denigrated in favor of teaching more reading, writing, and arithmetic. I'm not saying that those subjects aren't important, I just believe that a good science education is equally necessary. Without a background in science, in how to evaluate data, in how to change their world hypothesis to include new information, how do we expect them to overcome this bias? Squid once said somewhere that the problem with our evolution fight is that the average person just doesn't understand that scientists are only looking for the most logical explanations for the evidence we've got at this point in time. I've decided I agree wholeheartedly. Understanding how to interpret and weigh data, allowing your position to change with respect to new information, being willing to give proper weight to evidence, how to analyze data and use logic to reach reasonable conclusions - these are real, necessary skills. We do our kids a huge disservice when we fail to teach them. It hurts us all in the end.

    I'll admit that America has many more problems than this. I believe that we'd be having much more success addressing them if people were better taught how to think.
     
  2. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    people would rather not have to think, unfortunately. that and the fact you pointed out, that people aren't learning HOW to think for themselves, leaves us with the flock-of-sheep phenomenon we're seeing lately.

    it doesn't help that a lot of parents have the tendency to instill either the fear of science or extreme doubts about the legitimacy of science in their children based on their own fears or beliefs they feel may be contradictory to science. and as we know parents are the most important teachers we have. it's a cycle that's difficult to break.
     
  3. AlphaTeam

    AlphaTeam Member

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    The people in charge don't want the average citizen to think for themselves. From back from the beginning of civilzation up to the current Bush Crime Family they want citizens to be stupid. Believe what they are told and shut up. Their leaders will think for them. They don't put the systems in for Joe Six Pack and his family to become critical thinkers. When Joe runs in to someone who does think for themselves they are labeled a conspiracy theorist or just don't get understood. Joe teaches his kids to believe what they are told because that is the easiest and their are no tools to help and the cycle starts over.
     
  4. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AlphaTeam @ Aug 12 2006, 01:13 PM) [snapback]302161[/snapback]</div>
    See, I think that's more of the 'something you've been told' mindset. It sounds like you think the government (all governments?) actively works to institute a peasant society, ruled by elites. It's an opinion, not a fact, and it's obviously not true, at least not of all governments. It's so close to a common current stance that I suspect that you're just spouting things you've heard that strike true to you.

    That's not to say that the observation of the cyclic nature of ignorance isn't dead on - but I think that you might be just like the rest of us slobs, using the things you do see to support your own personal truth, the one you've inherited one way or another, without any real attempt to see the truth without a slant.

    Even with training, you often have to apply concious effort to get past it. I consider it one of my highest priorities to look at all of the evidence and mark my position as rationally as possible. I sometimes embarrass the crap out of myself because I've made an assumption and drew a line that I can't hold - but I figure that in the end, at least I've got the truth, and I get to know that I hold a stance because it makes sense, not because it's what I've been told.


    A related note: Doesn't it piss anyone else right the hell off that everyone and their brother gets labeled as wishy-washy because they are willing to change their minds when they have more information?
     
  5. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    Wow! Geologyrox, I nominate your post for "Post of the Year". You have really nailed it, I think. And you did it without polarizing and insulting people. I'm very impressed, both for the clarity of how you expressed it, and how much it got me thinking. And this is an issue I think about a lot.

    Alpha Team's approach doesn't deserve to share bit-space with your post. It is, unfortunately, characteristic of how the argument is usually framed, and is, in my opinion, the primary reason that science has been caught up in the "culture wars". Alpha Team will no doubt get the majority of the responses now, and it will degenerate into a cat fight about Republicans and Democrats. I'm not blaming Alpha Team for this; if s/he didn't post it first, a Conservative Christian would have posted something just as polarizing. Because we have been trained not to consider what is true, but rather what wins points for our side.

    From an insider's perspective, the reason conservative Christians don't practice what I'll call "critical thinking" is that Christianity has lost its focus on theology. Like science, theology is a discipline, and in Christianity it has always been deeply inquisitive. The search for meaning in Christianity stems from the fact that, in the beginning, the faith didn't have a text handed down to it, or a leader who started the faith and wrote a text. Over a period of about 300 years, the church fathers had to analyze and debate which writings deserved to be considered in the canon of scripture. They applied principles of logic, reason and physical evidence to determine what writings were by eye-witnesses, which were spiritualized accounts, which were spurious. Rodney Stark, the University Prof. of the Social Sciences at Baylor, wrote a wonderful book called the Victory of Reason that examines this phenonomen, in part because he was wondering how modern science was born in western culture, which is so heavily influenced by its religion.

    Go to any Christian bookstore and you'll find large sections devoted to fiction (!), self-help books, devotionals, but very few sections devoted to theology. We no longer search for the truth. Instead, we fill our minds with fluff, and "feel good" easy reading subjects. For those who want the fluff, but also want to challenge their presuppositions, get 'ye to the bookstore and buy A New Kind of Christian by Brian D. McLaren. Its fiction (!), but semi-autobiographical, and its easy reading. But it also clarifies these issues from a Christian perspective.

    Truth is truth. When you have two things you know is true, and they contradict, you have to find out how those two things can both be true. In cosmology, that dichotomy is found all the time. In theology, that dichotomy is found all the time.

    Christians have a duty to reconsider their positions in regards to science, medicine, etc. We have a duty to consider whether our positions are culturally biased because we are in America (rather than in Britain, where the majority of Christians believe in evolution). Because truth is truth, we have a duty to make sure we are not standing in the way of truth. We owe it to the culture, and we owe it to God.

    Reasonable people need to identify these issues as you have done, and remove science from the "culture wars".
     
  6. tomdeimos

    tomdeimos New Member

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    This is all backwards. We have no need for science any more now that the rest of the world makes everything we want to buy. No need to turn out scientists and engineers from our colleges when there are no longer any jobs for them here.

    The economic system has to be fixed first then the importance of science will take care of itself once we need people that can actually do anything useful again.
     
  7. Mystery Squid

    Mystery Squid New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(geologyrox @ Aug 12 2006, 01:39 PM) [snapback]302168[/snapback]</div>
    I wouldn't be so sure of that... That's quite a firm "default" position statement...

    What better prison than one where you think you're free...

    It's another tirade for another day, I just don't really feel like typing... :lol:




    :ph34r:
     
  8. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    Thanks fshagan, it's good to know that I was able to articulate at least part of what I was trying to convey - I've also been thinking about the issue a lot, and only today found some of the right words.

    I don't think I managed to really explain that I think this is a bigger issue than 'just' the politicizing of science (though that's obviously a huge issue in and of itself.) I'm not really talking just about people drawing conclusions on scientific issues, I'm talking about the inability of the average American to think critically in general. Science education (and I'm not talking about college degrees, or even high school classes, but basic coverage of scientific principles) provides a way to think critically about everything.


    Squid, perhaps I should have given AlphaTeam more benefit of the doubt. It's just a common refrain these days, and I think the stance can be better defended with logic - and without the rhetoric.

    As for your prison, I guess it's arguable that we're in a situation where we're kept fat, dumb, and happy by feeding us our bread, putting on our circuses, and letting us fight over things that don't matter in the slightest. I'm not convinced, but it's not something I could rule out.
     
  9. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(geologyrox @ Aug 12 2006, 12:39 PM) [snapback]302168[/snapback]</div>
    Yes. It does. Which supports the statements regarding our govenment above.

    And to make sure I really piss off some people, I'll add the Catholic church. And to some degree the Lutherans too, since I'm Lutheran and have some issues with them. Probably a lot of other churches too, but I'm not as familiar with them. We have Catholics and Lutherans in my family so that is the theology we discuss.

    Since God gave me free will I don't think it's the church's job to do my thinking for me. I think I can weigh all of the information and come to a conclusion myself. However the church at one time or another has sought to take that free will away. I remember in the last election some went so far as to say "if you vote for this candidate you are" denied some right of the church, communion or something. The church will declare such and such religion a "heresy" and everyone that is a member is going to hell. Well, I've met some of those people and except for their religious practices they are "christian" people, they don't lie, steal, murder or act selfish or greedy. They follow the commandments and are what we consider "good" people.

    I guess I just don't take well to brainwashing, by my church or by my government.

    And I consider anyone not willing to change their position based on new information to be...stupid. (Uneducated, stubborn, pigheaded, narrowminded, ignorant, fill in the blank.) I also consider it extremely dangerous for anyone in a position of authority. It would be the LAST trait I would want in a President. Second to last would be an unwillingness to admit a mistake.
     
  10. AlphaTeam

    AlphaTeam Member

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    delete

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(geologyrox @ Aug 12 2006, 01:39 PM) [snapback]302168[/snapback]</div>
    Who the hell do you think you are? SOmething I've been "told" kiss my as$.
    No it is not he current political situation that is my problem. While no not EVERY government has done that to their people MANY have. And I NEVER said ALL governments are that way it is foolish. Damn you sound like a pompus as$. The catholic church has been dumbing down its followers since the beginning. Telling them what is right and wrong and they will not be good christians if they didn't listen to the church. And I'm not only talking about the current head, but all that have preceaded him.

    You make me so pissed off I can't even think straight.
     
  11. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(geologyrox @ Aug 12 2006, 01:38 PM) [snapback]302244[/snapback]</div>
    I think if you look at classical education, you'll find that process of "thinking critically" is embedded in several different disciplines. I mentioned theology, but philosophy has a self-correcting process of sorts (I know you took at least one philosophy class, and may have hated it, but if you think about the idea of fallacies, logical contradictions, etc., you can see something that is similar to what is in the scientific method). The old discipline "Rhetoric" also had a set of rules similar to philosophy. Our modern idea of education is to specialize, specialize, specialize, so students of science get the training you describe, but people majoring in education or business, sadly, do not. Students no longer have to take very many classes that are not part of their major.

    I've read many of the "source documents" of the American colonial period, and its evident that the educated man in the 18th century had a better classical education than most of our graduates today. Anyone who had attended high school then would understand logic and be familiar with the reasoning methods employed in the enlightenment.

    You couldn't apply the scientific method to philosophy or political science, but you can apply logic and reason to them. You won't get the kind of rock-solid agreement you get with science after a hypothesis is proven, but you can at least examine and weigh the arguments without resorting strictly to emotional responses.
     
  12. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    the great thing about collecting data in the sciences is that your answer lies in the statistics. there is no emotion involved to determine whether p<0.05... it's in the math and strictly in the math.

    i would have a much harder time dealing with philosophy or one of its major branches where you cannot use statistics.

    before even getting into the spectrum of college, though, we should recall that many people don't go to college at all. i think we should focus on sending well-rounded citizens out of the high schools. i know so many high school grads with no logical sense and no common sense whatsoever. it's terrifying, really.
     
  13. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    Interestingly enough, infusing critical thinking into the core curriculum has been pushed by educators for as long as I've been a teacher. (27 years.) We finally embedded it in the state standards.

    Of course, now we can only do it in our copious free time when we're not drilling and killing to pass the NCLB standardized tests.
     
  14. Salsawonder

    Salsawonder New Member

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    Science and Arts totally support individuals. These studies do allow free thought, free interpretation and the spirit to explore. Individuals who have those skills through school and/or home tend to go on to college for more information, training and education. They tend to be the over achievers, the inventors and such.

    In America these things are not seen as important. As mentioned above, the goal is to get them out of highschool with a certain level of literacy. After all that is all we need in order to read assembly directions for that lamp from Mexico or our Japanese computer. Right?
     
  15. Denny_A

    Denny_A New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Aug 12 2006, 08:29 PM) [snapback]302311[/snapback]</div>
    So true. I assume those grads you know (could be wrong, of course) are North Lightnings, or East Patriiots, etc. Considering those schools produced some of the most highly rated grads in the U.S., it seems that the problem could be traced to "Gu'mint" schools and tenure-for-life educators. It is a fact that U.S. 4th graders are in the 92nd percentile (compared to international students) in science literacy. Eight years later, 12th-graders science proficiency has fallen to the 29th percentile! Similar results for math and reading skills. Plummet as a child progresses through the dumbed-down system called "public education". :(

    Darcy Olsen (Pdf pg. 24)
     
  16. Mystery Squid

    Mystery Squid New Member

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    You know, I'm beginning to think some of you are actually, on some level, scared of anything outside the "scientific method". It's like you cling to it, not that much unlike religious zealots.

    I, for one, appreciate the diversity of humanity. Religious zealots, rational scientists, serial killers, Prius drivers, homosexuals ( :lol: ), teachers, Neo-Cons, Democrats, crazy drunkards, sluts, fine artists, comic book writers, blacks, whites, Jews, Italians, etc., etc., etc..

    If there's one thing I wouldn't want, it's an orderly Star-Trek-esque society where everyone is pretty much a clone of Data, where everyone makes, informed, rational choices, and lives happily every after, fulfilled and content until THEY DIE.

    So I'm going to venture this:


    Not only is there nothing wrong with America, but the world in general.


    The sea of humanity is volatile. It's waves are always crashing down on the shores chaos.

    Instead of trying to control the tide, Imma just gonna grab my

    [​IMG]

    So y'all go ahead and prove God does or doesn't exist, evolution is/is not right, there is/isn't life on another world, we should/should not kick their arse. I've only got maybe 20 good years (IF I'm LUCKY (or cursed?) knock on wood) before I become an old man, so, really, I just don't give a damn.... :D Then again, would my perspective change if my lifespan was around 220 years? Hmmm...
     
  17. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Denny_A @ Aug 12 2006, 07:58 PM) [snapback]302356[/snapback]</div>
    Too bad you didn't learn in school that you don't use a biased source like a Libertarian website to support a statement like that. Have you never written a masters paper with citations?

    Teachers in K-12 public schools do NOT have tenure. Certainly not tenure-for-life. Some of them have "just cause". That means after a probation period of 4-6 years their contract is automatically renewed each year unless the district can give a good reason for it NOT being renewed. A good reason would be getting an unsatisfactory evalution or losing one's credential (A DUI and your credential is gone). Teachers go through evaluation every other year. That's every two years for either the math or language-challenged. Considering the number of times I've had to explain that public school teachers don't have tenure and yet it keeps being stated as a fact, there's a learning disability out there beyond math and language.

    As for the stats, you have no idea what is being compared. In the U.S. we test everyone. In other parts of the world, they may only test those on the college-bound track. Those on the trade-school track may not be included in these test scores. You also have no idea how many school days in the year or how many hours in a school day. You don't know if these children get extra tutoring of any kind either through school or privately. This is popular in both Germany and Japan. You also don't know if the students in these foreign countries have been going to preschool since they were 2 or 3 or 4. That's real popular too. In the U.S. only parents that can afford it can send their children to a good pre-school. A fraction of poor parents can get their children into a Head Start program. But those are few and far between, underfunded and there are big waiting lists.

    Our elementary school children don't get a lot of science instruction and they certainly don't get it from specialists and if they get it at all, it will be AFTER the NCLB instruction. And if they are at-risk at all in math or reading they may not get it at all because they'll be getting extra tutoring during any part of the instructional day not assigned to core curriculum. (That means they have reading tutoring while everyone else has Art, or math tutoring while the rest of the class has music. Or science. Or social studies.) Reading and writing was the push starting about a decade ago. That's when Social Studies got weak and geography went bye-bye. The push in math was added a few years ago to reading and writing. That's when art and music really went bye-bye for a lot of kids. Those whose families were wealthy enough to give them music lessons or pay for other extra curricular activities still have enriched education. The rest go home and play video games until their single parent (or both parents) come home from work.

    You can't have everything be equally #1 priority without giving up something.

    If you lengthen the school year, you'll have to pay teachers. No one wants their taxes raised to do that.

    OR you'll have to lengthen the school day and you'll have to pay teachers. No one wants to pay for that either.

    OR you'll have to reduce class size and no one wants to pay to hire more teachers AND pay to build more classrooms.

    Do these stats include class sizes in other countries? Their average of 25 to our average of 35? They don't include how much of that nation's GNP goes toward education. Those stats I know. The U.S. is way down the list.

    These stats are a little old but there's a link you can follow.

    " Definition: Public expenditure per student, secondary level is the total reported current spending by the government on secondary education, divided by the total number of pupils in secondary education, expressed as a percentage of per capita GDP." (gross domestic product)

    That evens the playing field and allows you to compare apples and apples.

    Nationmaster

    I'm afraid the U.S. isn't in the top 25. The U.S. isn't in the top 50.

    #1 is Niger.
    #8 is Cuba.
    #23 is France.
    #30 is Switzerland.
    #48 is India
    #50 is Israel.

    United States is #51 at 22.4

    But be careful comparing those numbers. The U.S. educational system has more administrative and classified positions than MANY other educational systems. So quite a bit of the money spent doesn't go to teacher's salaries...it goes to secretaries, janitors and administration.

    For instance....Switzerland spends a lot more of their budget on teachers and a lot less on classified staff and administration.

    Also....there is the issue of School Boards. Teachers have no authority and make no decisions with regard to education. Housewives, realtors and used car salesmen on School Boards tell the Superintendent what to do, who tells the school Administration, who tells the teachers. People with no postgraduate training in education are calling the shots, aided and abetted by politicians....who are also education amateurs. Why are amateurs in charge of education?

    Average class sizes in other countries are lower. 25 students per teacher in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific, and the Arab States and North Africa. How can they afford such low class sizes? Less classified and administration to start.

    Schools are not dumbed down. We educate more of our population than any other country. We don't deny an education to any child. No, not even those that aren't citizens. Our children don't have to buy textbooks in order to go to school. We don't have children that stay home because they don't own a pair of shoes. We educate everyone, not just the elite.

    If you don't like the current system I suggest you get rid of your superintendents and school boards and kick politicians OUT of education and turn it over to teachers. Teachers have NEVER been in charge of education, despite the fact that they *are* the experts. The average teacher has a masters degree. Most superintendents, school board members and politicians do not. At least they don't in education. Just having a degree of any kind does NOT make you an expert in education. This is not a Holiday Inn. You're not an expert in education just because you went to school once.
     
  18. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 12 2006, 08:09 PM) [snapback]302400[/snapback]</div>
    Its interesting that Galaxee likes statistics, but here's a case where I think stats are used incorrectly. Doesn't the formula above favor smaller nations regardless of the spending? When you take the money spent divided by the number of pupils you have a meaningful number. "We spend $5,500 per student, per year." When you express the total money spent as a percentage of GDP, the richest countries will end up at the bottom of the list. We could be #51 solely because of how enormous our economy is, and be #1 in spending per student.

    I suspect this method is used to justify ever increasing expenditures in public education. Our increases in spending only seem to feed the bureaucracy rather than find its way into the classrooms.

    I agree wholeheartedly regarding allowing teachers more control. I would like to see smaller districts, less bureaucracy, and more teacher-focused education. I think you'd eliminate a lot of the burnout I see in public school teachers who love the classroom, but hate the administration, the state school board, and ill-concieved and wasteful programs such as NCLB.
     
  19. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(fshagan @ Aug 12 2006, 11:40 PM) [snapback]302443[/snapback]</div>
    I'd like to see less classified staff, less administration, no school boards, superintendents that have PhDs in education and politicians to mind their own business. But that isn't likely to happen.

    I think the stats are pertinent to those that always scream poverty when suggestions are made to extend the school year, extend the school day or lower class sizes. This is a rich nation and comparing how much of our GNP we spend on education to poor small nations like....France and Switzerland is relevant. There is a lot more we *could* be providing out students that is research based to raise achievement....but it all costs money.

    My stats on money are just as relevant as the test score stats given we have NO IDEA about so many of the variables regarding those countries. (I think I named some of them.)

    BTW that 5,500 per student is an average. In a populous state, like California, it is much lower. And where the cost of living is also much higher...it doesn't go very far. Schools have to pay for electricity, water and sewer just like everyone else.

    I'll give you an example of stats and averaging. "Although the average national ratio of library media teachers to students is 1:870, California ranks 51st in the nation with a ratio of 1:4,541(2002-2003 CBEDS Report and Digest of Education Statistics and Tables and Figures, National Center for Educational Statistics. Additional staffing data are provided by the American Library Associatoin.

    Nationally: 1 librarian per 870 children.
    California: 1 librarian per 4,541 children.

    How much lower must the ratio be in other states in order for the ratio in California to be so high? Like maybe 1 librarian for every 200 students? I guess they're have to be quite a few.

    And the politicians would like to know what California lags behind. Well, that might be ONE reason. Research shows that students score higher on tests when a school has a credentialed librarian.

    Keith Curry Lance

    While 99% of schools have a place designated as a library, only 20% of schools have a credentialed librarian.

    school librarians
    Impact studies

    But librarians cost money too. You can't have a Nordstrom education on a Walmart budget. And you won't get it if you continue to let the amateurs call the shots. The U.S. treats education the same as healthcare. We're the richest nation in the world and downright cheap when it comes to taking care of our own. But at least the politicians aren't telling the doctors how to do their jobs. Well, not as much as teachers.....yet.

    Plenty of other countries have more respect for their teachers and the teaching profession too. If only teachers were respected to the same degree as doctors, lawyers, architects and accountants.

    But in this country your worth, and hence the respect you receive, is based on how much money you make, not on what you know. And teachers don't make enough to rate higher than the cashier at Walmart.
     
  20. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 12 2006, 10:31 PM) [snapback]302460[/snapback]</div>
    Again, I think this post shows why the scientific method simply doesn't apply to some things.

    Its not surprising that you have an association of librarians that finds a correllation between more librarians and better performance. As is often attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, there is a saying .... "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Where there is a vested interest involved you can bet there has been selective use of studies and methods employed to make the numbers support the goals of the interest. That doesn't make it untrue, but it does make it non-scientific.

    Just as you stated with the relative performance numbers where we don't know all the variables from one country to the next, these numbers are good to convince politicians to divide up the pie more in your favor. But they don't really tell us anything without doing a ton of research.

    As to teacher salaries, I'll bet there are very few cashiers at Walmart earning in excess of $50,000 per year. They really earn about a third of that. Last time I checked, California's average teacher salary was above $55,000, or about $26 a year on 2080 hours. And while that's low for a person with a 4-year degree, teaching has always been one of the lowest paid professions, and people enter teaching for a variety of reasons ... almost never for the amount of money they can earn. I have great respect for teachers because of that.

    I've had this discussion with my daughter, who is in college with a goal of being an educator. To her, the ability to grow into a $26 a hour job with all the side benefits you obtain by being a teacher (paid vacation, sick leave, health benefits, pension plan, etc.) are much better than her former cashier job ... at $9.40 per hour ... at Kohls, a middle-scale department store, with no benefits. She wants to teach for other, more idealistic reasons, of course, as most teachers do. And, to be honest, she doesn't feel she is well suited to follow her sister's path into the sciences, where my other daughter earns the median salary of $41,000 a year as a bio-chemist I after obtaining a BS in Biological Science from UC Irvine.

    The scientific method works where you can grind things up and weigh them, or predict what you will see in the future. But in social policy, science is a poor sister to philosophy and theology.
     
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