Education in the US

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In the "Its not Republican Policy, its Republicans" thread, were is a discussion going on which was sparked by this quote in the Texas Republican Party platform for the 2012 election.

Knowledge-Based Education - We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values
clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based
Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging
the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

From there, Bentusi made the comment that

Bentusi16:
You people do realize that logic is not being taught anywhere in America, almost? That's not the point of public schooling right now.

Science, Math, English, history, in standardized test form. Not logic, but regurgitation. I work at a museum that deals with school trips every day of the working week we are open. We and the teachers jump at the chance to give them something outside of the testing memorization and then the memory dump.

So no, it's really not Texas, it's everywhere. And funnily enough, that's what happens when you nationalize your education system. If someone at the top fucks it up in some way, it all fucks up.

This got me thinking about two things, First, how should we address the issue of teaching how to regurgitate information so as to get good test scores.

This practice is in my eyes highly detrimental to the entire process of teaching, as it just teaches how to take a test, rather than teaching how to think and understand information, versus just parroting what you have been told.

The second issue is how do we run our education system? How do we address the fact that one person can screw the entire thing up. Do we need to reform it, or perhaps does it need to be left to the states?

Bentusi is 100% correct that one of the weakness of having a nationalized education system is if you get an idiot running it, it can have calamitous effects on the education of the entire nation. I think that it would be even worse if it were run by the states individually. I think that we would see a massive disparity between the quality of education that would be given to students in various parts of the country. For example if Texas was put in total control of its school system we would see things that they are federally mandated to teach go out the window, and we would end up with people who are completely ignorant of many things.

So what do you guys think about this topic?

As someone who consistently got good standardized test scores in middle/high school (haven't taken any standardized tests in college yet), I honestly think that forcing students to memorize large amounts of information is in fact not very useful for getting good test scores. Students memorize (that is, cram) everything before exams and forget it right after; by the time standardized tests come around they remember almost nothing.

Teaching why things work is infinitely more useful than forcing down processes and facts; I forgot how to do standard deviation after being taught it twice in two different stat classes because professors simply gave me a formula. It wasn't until my professor in a supply chain class took the time to explain to the class what the formula actually meant, and what standard deviation actually was, then I finally memorized it. So if teachers actually want their students to do well on standardized tests, I have no idea why they insist on regurgitation as a teaching style.

The education system needs a lot of work, yes, but I think standardized tests aren't to blame for all the regurgitation; uninspired, lazy teachers are at fault for it.

To be clear education in the US IS left up to the states which is why we have such a problem. Schools can do whatever they want to meet the low standards the federal government requires while still teaching whatever they want.

Standardized tests are bad and while they may be imposed by the federal government individual states would do the same thing, I know Virginia did, the fucking SOL is like like putting togethor a 25 piece puzzle.

Anyways my solution would be to break up the older kids into vocational and academic school based on their preference. i like the Finish system I believe it is. They have teacher that all have Masters and don't give much homework yet is the smartest country in the world.

GrimTuesday:
I think that it would be even worse if it were run by the states individually. I think that we would see a massive disparity between the quality of education that would be given to students in various parts of the country. For example if Texas was put in total control of its school system we would see things that they are federally mandated to teach go out the window, and we would end up with people who are completely ignorant of many things.

As well as that, no standardisation. Your test results would mean nothing in another state.

Now, I'm not an expert, so I could be completely wrong about this, but I believe that at least some schools in the US are funded proportionately to the tax of the local area. That is, poor neighbourhoods get underfunded schools. This is going to ensure that poor people are likely to remain so.

Secondly, that at least some schools are funded depending on their test results. In that, if the school is failing its students, it gets less funding. This is going to ensure that bad schools get worse, and that schools are concerned only with test results.

(Also, the importance of sports and what happens when you lionise certain teens, but that's really another issue)

I've mentioned before my experiances with talking to Americans and their school system and... it sounds dreadful. It honestly does.

Private schools actually sounds alright but... they're private.

By and large students are just required to hold knowlage and spew it on the page, without having to understand it in any way shape or form.

Personally I am more in favour of exams which reward when a student needs to know some things but isn't required to know everything. They are given a question that requires knowlage and understanding, to then analyse and evaluate the question asked...

When I am talking to many of the Americans still in highschool if I ask them a question from an odd angle... they don;t understand what i mean, they all of a sudden don't know what they've been apparently taught and they can't apply a single shread of it. They don't understand...
The thing is a few who I talk to on a more regular basis actually start to pick things up that I am talking about, get an interest and then are actually able to take some of the things I've talked about, and then combine it with the facts they have learned...

The US education system, by and large is fucking over a lot of its future generation...

Fun fact. If you don't believe my word... believe his:


Well fuck me, but in my laymans opinion... something is probably going horribly wrong.

captchas:
pay the ferryman

...ok... i'm scared...

thaluikhain:

GrimTuesday:
I think that it would be even worse if it were run by the states individually. I think that we would see a massive disparity between the quality of education that would be given to students in various parts of the country. For example if Texas was put in total control of its school system we would see things that they are federally mandated to teach go out the window, and we would end up with people who are completely ignorant of many things.

As well as that, no standardisation. Your test results would mean nothing in another state.

Now, I'm not an expert, so I could be completely wrong about this, but I believe that at least some schools in the US are funded proportionately to the tax of the local area. That is, poor neighbourhoods get underfunded schools. This is going to ensure that poor people are likely to remain so.

Secondly, that at least some schools are funded depending on their test results. In that, if the school is failing its students, it gets less funding. This is going to ensure that bad schools get worse, and that schools are concerned only with test results.

(Also, the importance of sports and what happens when you lionise certain teens, but that's really another issue)

These are actually the two different systems of funding U.S. schools. And they are both ultimately equally problematic. In the former, a dependence on local property taxes leads to precisely the problem you pointed out. And while the latter may initially seem somewhat better, it generally leads to the loss of any local control or control by administrators in favor of control by state and federal legislators who are quite often total morons when it comes to how schools should be run. It also tends to make ruining teachers' lives a major goal, and almost universally harms the exact same schools that need help, poor ones.

What we need is for funding to be based on need, not on success, and for administrators to learn to do their fucking jobs. Standards should be raised, but standardized tests should probably be abandoned. Greater focus should be given to science in our high schools than currently is. Middle Schools... should probably just be tacked on to one school or the other, as their current status as something lying inbetween High School and Elementary School leads to them effectively being two or three wasted years of life, where the only thing that is learned is how to bully and hurt other students.
Also, we need to end summer break. It leads to teachers reteaching the same material over again.

thaluikhain:

As well as that, no standardisation. Your test results would mean nothing in another state.

Now, I'm not an expert, so I could be completely wrong about this, but I believe that at least some schools in the US are funded proportionately to the tax of the local area. That is, poor neighbourhoods get underfunded schools. This is going to ensure that poor people are likely to remain so.

Secondly, that at least some schools are funded depending on their test results. In that, if the school is failing its students, it gets less funding. This is going to ensure that bad schools get worse, and that schools are concerned only with test results.

(Also, the importance of sports and what happens when you lionise certain teens, but that's really another issue)

In some areas it's exactly so. If it was simply funding, we would have solved this issue. Detroit gets 12k per student and 16k in NYC. Yet the results from those students is terrible. We reached a time in the late 70s where it was noted that the more money we spent on education the less positive results we received.

>.< I just lost the post I'd been working on. So here's the shorthand version: give teachers more autonomy, get rid of standardized testing, place emphasis on ability not age, and overhaul the way we teach math.

This thread is nothing but massive generalizations, talk about being ignorant. There are both good schools and bad schools here, and they seem to be doing a better job overall than yours as we produce more entrepreneurs and business leaders than almost any other nation.

Yes there are some problems with the US school system, however we are not dumb nor arrogant like many Europeans make us out to be. The real issue is bad teachers and bad schools, this could be easily solved if we gave the Teacher's Union an ass-whooping and brought them down in their power, they literally protect bad teachers and keep bad schools open.

We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

TheLycanKing144:
This thread is nothing but massive generalizations, talk about being ignorant. There are both good schools and bad schools here, and they seem to be doing a better job overall than yours as we produce more entrepreneurs and business leaders than almost any other nation.

I'm sorry, but all I have to say to this is [citation needed]

Listen, I know you're new, but especially in R&P people don't take kindly to posting statements as facts without anything to back them up. Taking things at face value simply isn't something we do around here.

And adding to that, well, making it sound like only entrepreneurs and business leaders matter comes across as a bit narrow-minded.

Vegosiux:
And adding to that, well, making it sound like only entrepreneurs and business leaders matter comes across as a bit narrow-minded.

You can only sell things if you have some... oooh... I dunno... Scientists, Engineers, Computer professionals, to actually do stuff which they can then sell on and make a profit out of :P

Hmm... I swear someone mentioned how these sorts of people are not being raised by the US education system.

TheLycanKing144:
We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

> Teacher's Union
> power
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Options to chose better schools? What if there's only one school in the whole area? And how are you going to accomodate all the new pupils from the bad schools into a better one that already has almost reached its capacity as it is? Or for that matter pay for those improved schools, compensations for all the fired "bad" teachers and resulting unemployment costs?
Not to mention the whole inherited historical issues. Especially during the 70s many women and minorities were essentially forced into education for a lack of better opportunities and many of these are now due to go into their pension. And the positions can hardly be filled as it is.

In the US (and a lot of Europe as well) teaching isn't appreciated by the population and seen as a small effort job with many holidays. Even a lot of teachers themselves consider their job a dead-end with no need for incitement or continued education. Uni courses are unselective, unsupportive and require extensive loans to eventually reach a job with a salary that's ridiculously low. Starting salary for a lawyer is roughly $150,000, a teacher's $40,000, with an average career maximum of $80,000. Half of the finished students don't even pick up a classroom job.

In South Korea or Singapore, teachers are appreciated as valuable professionals and their salaries are in the range of engineers and doctors. In Finland, they have huge liberties in their teaching and if they chose to leave the classroom many a company would love to recruit their skills and talents. All three have a very selective, demand-based course-approval process with stipends and other appeals.

You didn't really think this through, did you?

TheLycanKing144:
This thread is nothing but massive generalizations, talk about being ignorant. There are both good schools and bad schools here, and they seem to be doing a better job overall than yours as we produce more entrepreneurs and business leaders than almost any other nation.

Is this really the measuring stick with which you're going to measure the success of our school system? Do I need to start linking to studies all of which show that American high school students are lagging behind most of western Europe, and some parts of Asia? Don't give me this shit about entrepreneurs and business leaders, because its idiot selling to idiots.

Yes there are some problems with the US school system, however we are not dumb nor arrogant like many Europeans make us out to be.

Oh, so I guess that whole "Muh Business leaders" thing was an intelligent and humble thing to say?

The real issue is bad teachers and bad schools, this could be easily solved if we gave the Teacher's Union an ass-whooping and brought them down in their power, they literally protect bad teachers and keep bad schools open.

The teachers unions are not the problem. If they had so much power, they would would have better salaries and benefits. Do some shitty teachers slip through the cracks, yeah, but in a period of time that has seen a weakening in union power, the teachers union is trying to hold onto the little power they still have.

We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

What happens to the people who don't live near these "good schools"? Are you going to tell them that they are shit out of luck because they can't get to school? And who is going to run these schools? Because usually when people start talking about vouchers, it usually comes with privatization which is a horrible idea. I'd rather not send my kid to a school run/sponsored by McDonalds, or Exxon Mobil. Our schools shouldn't be run like businesses, because its not profitable to actually help mold intelligent, well rounded young adults.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

The Teachers Union is not whats wrong with our education system, it is the low pay that doesn't attract the top people in their fields, and the fact that our teachers aren't given the freedom to actually teach but rather are forced to teach a test. Its awfully hard to capture a student's imagination and get them excited about material you're not excited about.

Quaxar:

TheLycanKing144:
We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

> Teacher's Union
> power
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Options to chose better schools? What if there's only one school in the whole area? And how are you going to accomodate all the new pupils from the bad schools into a better one that already has almost reached its capacity as it is? Or for that matter pay for those improved schools, compensations for all the fired "bad" teachers and resulting unemployment costs?
Not to mention the whole inherited historical issues. Especially during the 70s many women and minorities were essentially forced into education for a lack of better opportunities and many of these are now due to go into their pension. And the positions can hardly be filled as it is.

In the US (and a lot of Europe as well) teaching isn't appreciated by the population and seen as a small effort job with many holidays. Even a lot of teachers themselves consider their job a dead-end with no need for incitement or continued education. Uni courses are unselective, unsupportive and require extensive loans to eventually reach a job with a salary that's ridiculously low. Starting salary for a lawyer is roughly $150,000, a teacher's $40,000, with an average career maximum of $80,000. Half of the finished students don't even pick up a classroom job.

In South Korea or Singapore, teachers are appreciated as valuable professionals and their salaries are in the range of engineers and doctors. In Finland, they have huge liberties in their teaching and if they chose to leave the classroom many a company would love to recruit their skills and talents. All three have a very selective, demand-based course-approval process with stipends and other appeals.

You didn't really think this through, did you?

Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

Texas does influence the nations educational system disproportionately though.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/how-texas-inflicts-bad-textbooks-on-us/?pagination=false

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2010/0522/In-Texas-social-studies-textbooks-get-a-conservative-make-over

Just another problem with the system. Biggest problem I can see though is that teaching as a career isn't valued. If the job isn't valued, you're not going to attract the best and brightest to that job.

TheLycanKing144:
This thread is nothing but massive generalizations, talk about being ignorant. There are both good schools and bad schools here, and they seem to be doing a better job overall than yours as we produce more entrepreneurs and business leaders than almost any other nation.

Yes there are some problems with the US school system, however we are not dumb nor arrogant like many Europeans make us out to be. The real issue is bad teachers and bad schools, this could be easily solved if we gave the Teacher's Union an ass-whooping and brought them down in their power, they literally protect bad teachers and keep bad schools open.

We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

The question is where are you going to find teachers to replace the ones you fired? My wife teaches at a school that has had 5 chemistry teachers in 8 years and the good one left to be a lawyer. The school I taught at has had 100% turn over in STEM classes for a myriad of reasons. My former district paid me 2k usd for just teaching science and I wasn't even great at it. Simply put if you are competent enough to teach math or science, you can literally do any related job for 2x the pay and respect. Teacher Unions exist because uninformed voters want to fire everyone to and magically make ad schools good.

ClockworkPenguin:

Quaxar:

TheLycanKing144:
We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

> Teacher's Union
> power
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Options to chose better schools? What if there's only one school in the whole area? And how are you going to accomodate all the new pupils from the bad schools into a better one that already has almost reached its capacity as it is? Or for that matter pay for those improved schools, compensations for all the fired "bad" teachers and resulting unemployment costs?
Not to mention the whole inherited historical issues. Especially during the 70s many women and minorities were essentially forced into education for a lack of better opportunities and many of these are now due to go into their pension. And the positions can hardly be filled as it is.

In the US (and a lot of Europe as well) teaching isn't appreciated by the population and seen as a small effort job with many holidays. Even a lot of teachers themselves consider their job a dead-end with no need for incitement or continued education. Uni courses are unselective, unsupportive and require extensive loans to eventually reach a job with a salary that's ridiculously low. Starting salary for a lawyer is roughly $150,000, a teacher's $40,000, with an average career maximum of $80,000. Half of the finished students don't even pick up a classroom job.

In South Korea or Singapore, teachers are appreciated as valuable professionals and their salaries are in the range of engineers and doctors. In Finland, they have huge liberties in their teaching and if they chose to leave the classroom many a company would love to recruit their skills and talents. All three have a very selective, demand-based course-approval process with stipends and other appeals.

You didn't really think this through, did you?

Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

My apologies, didn't compare that salary properly. Still, you could do better than teach.

No wonder current teachers have such a bad reputation when only a quarter of them scored in the top third of their SAT/ACT. And only a sixth of those working in areas with high poverty rates. That plus the fact that a lot of the clever ones who went into teaching for lack of a better option are due for retirement isn't really good news for the US education system.
The AFT has apparently warned about this "bottom up" recruiting for ten years now but you know how it is... nobody wants to listen to those power-hungry unionists.

So, out of curiosity, do teachers unions have to abide by the open-shop state laws re: being in the union or not?

Off the top of my head the answer is 'no', I've never heard of a teacher not being a part of the teachers union, not in the state school system anyway.

I've always considered one of the biggest problems to be the idea of a teaching degree. That's important for the tiniest of baby childrens (5th grade down), but when you get into middleschool and high school, you should have a degree in what you're teaching.

ClockworkPenguin:

Quaxar:

TheLycanKing144:
We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

> Teacher's Union
> power
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Options to chose better schools? What if there's only one school in the whole area? And how are you going to accomodate all the new pupils from the bad schools into a better one that already has almost reached its capacity as it is? Or for that matter pay for those improved schools, compensations for all the fired "bad" teachers and resulting unemployment costs?
Not to mention the whole inherited historical issues. Especially during the 70s many women and minorities were essentially forced into education for a lack of better opportunities and many of these are now due to go into their pension. And the positions can hardly be filled as it is.

In the US (and a lot of Europe as well) teaching isn't appreciated by the population and seen as a small effort job with many holidays. Even a lot of teachers themselves consider their job a dead-end with no need for incitement or continued education. Uni courses are unselective, unsupportive and require extensive loans to eventually reach a job with a salary that's ridiculously low. Starting salary for a lawyer is roughly $150,000, a teacher's $40,000, with an average career maximum of $80,000. Half of the finished students don't even pick up a classroom job.

In South Korea or Singapore, teachers are appreciated as valuable professionals and their salaries are in the range of engineers and doctors. In Finland, they have huge liberties in their teaching and if they chose to leave the classroom many a company would love to recruit their skills and talents. All three have a very selective, demand-based course-approval process with stipends and other appeals.

You didn't really think this through, did you?

Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

eh, my sister is a teacher and she barely makes ends meet. Granted she has been a teacher for about 10 years now and makes...i think around 50,000 (that is before taxes). 40% (~20,000) of that goes to rent alone (not including utilities) in a mediocre place (1 bedroom apartment)

So that leaves 30,000. But that does not include school supplies for her students (she spends a few grand on the kids every year to give them pencils, paper, and other essentials), food, taxes, utilities, or car payments.

When she first started she had to live in a dump in a terrible part of town because it was the only place she could afford. Like, i was scared shitless when i visited her.

Bentusi16:
So, out of curiosity, do teachers unions have to abide by the open-shop state laws re: being in the union or not?

Off the top of my head the answer is 'no', I've never heard of a teacher not being a part of the teachers union, not in the state school system anyway.

I've always considered one of the biggest problems to be the idea of a teaching degree. That's important for the tiniest of baby childrens (5th grade down), but when you get into middleschool and high school, you should have a degree in what you're teaching.

well, in Virginia you can choose to be part of the union or not. It might be a per state thing because i seem to remember Wisconsin or something teacher unions throwing a fit over the government allowing people to choose if they want to join or not (might have that wrong though)

ClockworkPenguin:
Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

I don't know where Quaxar was getting his numbers, but in most places in the US the starting salary for a teacher is WAY below $40,000. In my area, the number I remember hearing from my mom is less than $30,000, maybe $25,000-$29,000 at most, which is insultingly low given the amount of education and work it takes to get to that point. I'll try to get some charts later, but my Internet is screwing up and I can't get Google to work at the moment. People around here become teachers for many reasons, but money is never one of them. And it mustn't be forgotten that, especially in elementary schools, teachers dip a lot into their own private money to outfit and decorate their classrooms. It isn't cheap to take a beige, cinderblock room with a tile floor, a few desks, and a whiteboard on two walls and turn it into a colorful and engaging room children enjoy spending 8 hours a day in. They inherit some props with the room, like specially shaped tables for certain activities or maybe a colorful rug for the reading area, but otherwise they're on their own.

But again, starting salary depends on the area. Maybe there are enough areas in the US that pay more than mine so that the average evens out to be $40,000, I'm not totally sure. But I do know that regardless of where salaries are now, the only direction they are going this point is down, as well as funding for everything else in education. There are many words I would use to describe the present and future of what teachers will be paid, but "bloody good" is not any of them, at least not where I'm standing. $40,000 for a teacher is unheard of around here, only administrators have a prayer of getting more than $35,000 ($60,000 or $80,000 for them, actually. It causes just a little bit of resentment between teachers and administrators).

Lilani:

ClockworkPenguin:
Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

I don't know where Quaxar was getting his numbers, but in most places in the US the starting salary for a teacher is WAY below $40,000. In my area, the number I remember hearing from my mom is less than $30,000, maybe $25,000-$29,000 at most, which is insultingly low given the amount of education and work it takes to get to that point. I'll try to get some charts later, but my Internet is screwing up and I can't get Google to work at the moment. People around here become teachers for many reasons, but money is never one of them. And it mustn't be forgotten that, especially in elementary schools, teachers dip a lot into their own private money to outfit and decorate their classrooms. It isn't cheap to take a beige, cinderblock room with a tile floor, a few desks, and a whiteboard on two walls and turn it into a colorful and engaging room children enjoy spending 8 hours a day in. They inherit some props with the room, like specially shaped tables for certain activities or maybe a colorful rug for the reading area, but otherwise they're on their own.

But again, starting salary depends on the area. Maybe there are enough areas in the US that pay more than mine so that the average evens out to be $40,000, I'm not totally sure. But I do know that regardless of where salaries are now, the only direction they are going this point is down, as well as funding for everything else in education. There are many words I would use to describe the present and future of what teachers will be paid, but "bloody good" is not any of them, at least not where I'm standing. $40,000 for a teacher is unheard of around here, only administrators have a prayer of getting more than $35,000 ($60,000 or $80,000 for them, actually. It causes just a little bit of resentment between teachers and administrators).

I did a couple google searches for kicks.
http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/
http://www1.salary.com/School-Principal-Salary.html
So, you may be right about your area, if the part of Mississippi (it is Mississippi right?) you live in is extremely rural. However, generally speaking teachers have a starting salary of around 35k, which isn't too bad. Certainly, there are other careers that require a similar amount of training where you get paid much more, but there's also much worse. It also is quite sad when you realize that a lot of the better teachers choose to educate themselves to a much greater extent than others, which in the end just has them wind up making half of what they could with far more debt over their heads. A few of my favorite teachers had this problem.

Comando96:

Vegosiux:
And adding to that, well, making it sound like only entrepreneurs and business leaders matter comes across as a bit narrow-minded.

You can only sell things if you have some... oooh... I dunno... Scientists, Engineers, Computer professionals, to actually do stuff which they can then sell on and make a profit out of :P

Hmm... I swear someone mentioned how these sorts of people are not being raised by the US education system.

an "advanced economy" (aka a "developed country" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developed_country ) is primarily service based and its (small percentage of) indigenous manufacturing primarily serves the service sector internally or produces "high end", "high value" or "unique" goods held in high esteem by the wider market and which rely on a highly skilled (and thus highly paid) workforce and so are economically viable to produce in a such an economy (the German car industry is a fine example of this).

the US has for many years, and for many reasons (for example due to its size and internal interstate trade and the effects of the cold war had on stifling the emergence of truly global "free market" commerce), been able to hold on to far too many low brow, low paid "jawbs" which by rights in a truly global "free market" should move on to less advanced economies.

this has given rise to a sense of false security and expectation.

some people frankly think they are "entitled" to a low brow "jawb" that pays a middle class wage...that somehow the global market should supply them with a suitably menial task to perform for a hefty handful of fun vouchers because "'Murica!" and all they have to do is fall out their mom and turn up.

these people are idiots.

but worse than that they are idiots whos idiocy has been indulged.

some other people preach the frankly crazy idea that they should alter the running of the country to get those "jawbs" back...

let me be clear on this: if those "jawbs" ever come back it will mean the US is no longer an "advanced economy" or "developed nation" and governance of the US will have "failed" because it will actually have moved backwards in terms economic development.

in short the US would become have to have become a far lesser nation where paying someone a globally measured pittance was internally economically viable.

those "jawbs", in a global "free market" should only ever be located in a country which has not reached the point of being an "advanced economy".

the ideas and knowledge that are traded in a service based economy and on the world stage have to be up to par and exist at a mass large enough to economically sustain the lesser around them.

the ideas and knowledge that bring forth the high end products which can still be manufactured for export in an advanced economy because they are "high end" and/or unique in some way also have to be up to par and exist at a mass large enough to economically sustain the lesser around them.

"anti-intellectualism", "falling in love with stupid" (and i have to say what appears to be a desire in the US by political and religious leaders to actively fight to keep people stupid and ignorant and thus pliant and beholden to them), whatever you want to call it, is, in my honest opinion, a recipe for mid to long term economic disaster at the beginning of the 21st century.

i honestly believe that in retrospect it's going to be seen as one of the great failings of our times.

there are waaay too many "lightweight" short-termist politicians inside our systems who have grown up believing their chosen party's sound bite propaganda and who either don't have a clue or even worse have a clue and don't care because...hey, that'll be someone else's problem...

but there are also other countries out there who contain vastly superior percentages of the planets population, that are getting better off due to what is now, post cold war, a truly global economic and "free market" system and that are frankly educating the hell out their kids because they understand that education is an investment that has a return both for the individuals involved and by extension their nation.

whatever the US may decide to do to fix this problem they better do it fast because (as an example) according to the WTO China alone will have a middle class comparable to the entire population of the US by approx 2020 and (partly because of population control policy) they are "investing" extremely heavily in their future generations while ours (in much of the west, due to dismissive right wing attitudes to public education & education in general and massively negative and non aspirational politics) are being "flung on the scrapheap".

and China will become an "advanced economy" and a "developed country"...as will the next in line in time...and so on and so on...they know this and have the ability to meaningfully plan ahead and manage the transition...it's not some kind of trick...that's what "Capitalism" is supposed to do if you follow the recipe.

as Michio Kaku suggests those that already exist are "going back" and they will continue to "go back" because ultimately the vast majority are only there for either "the education" or "the money" and "the money" will very soon be just as good "back home".

ps. er, ye that whole "but America is amazing, everyone actually wants to live here and/or invade us because its so fucking awesome"...that's bullshit...i assume folk here at least know that...

pss. if anyone thinks the "they just know how to copy our stuff" holds water and will somehow offer protection of some sort just consider the fact that people said EXACTLY the same about the Japanese 30-40 years ago. in other words it's nothing more than thinly veiled dismissive "racism" spouted by people who don't have the first clue that the rampant "copying" is actually a product of rampant economic activity that is advancing faster than effectively enforced regulation can keep pace with...its also worth noting that the Chinese in particular are actually one of the most inventive "races" in all of Human history...

psss. and yes i know higher education in China is entirely "private", however government scholarships are handed out based on academic ability.

As someone who went to a private high school and college in the U.S I have to say they aren't always better. The people running them can pretty much do almost anything they want which means the can be highly experimental but not always successful. Allot of private schools actually fall behind in mathematics areas.

As any economist will tell ya, it all comes down to the incentive. The problem with our schools is a disconnect between compensation and the desired result. We compensate teachers based on length of service. What we want are students trained and ready to meet the challenges of a highly dynamic service and product market. What we need is a way to match compensation with the desired results. What's needed is a new way to fund schools. Instead of property taxes we need a "user fee".

Here's how it would work: As students move on to the "real world" of employment, a small portion of their paycheck is deducted and delivered to their alma-maters. This "Education fee" could be collected like a FICA tax. The fee would be divided among the various schools the former student attended, the largest percentage being paid to the last school from which the student received a decree. Non salary income would also be taxed.

School admission would be free. Schools would receive no government money or loan money of any kind. Any and all compensation would be tied directly to their student's achievement in the market place. This is the cornerstone of the system.

If the school's former students aren't performing, the loss of revenew would be the wake-up call that somethings wrong, and the incentive to fix the problem as soon as possible with policy or curricula changes. The per capita Education fee paid to each school would be public knowledge so everyone will know how each school is doing. No more Taxpayer funded government bail-out to help failing school. Sorry, not going to happen under this system. Failing school would do just that, fail. Current students would transfer to a successful school.

There would be open enrollment. Students could go to any school they want to, but here's the thing, schools could expel students for disrespecting teachers, administrators, or other students without a lot of "red tape". Government would have to step-in to handle the ones with too much attitude, but those that want to learn should be given the chance without having to deal with constant disruptions from those who don't care and haven't grown up yet.

Instead of dealing with the trouble makers, schools could focus on "producing" as many productive students as possible. Teacher would teach life skills, problem solving skills, and critical thinking skills. Counselors would focus on finding and cultivating interests, hidden talents, aptitudes. The education process would be fully directed to providing strategies for success, because when the students win, the schools win. We all win.

The schools would be in complete control of their curriculum. No more "red-tape" about what they can and can't teach. If the school feels the study-time is important to succeed in life, and the students are there signing-up, then go for it. This would encourage schools to follow the trends and teach for the future, and not stagnate with old ideas, tired methods, and out-dated notions about what is needed for a "proper" education.

The schools themselves would be set-up as ESOPs, were the teachers would have full power to vote for there own administrator. There would be no need for a teacher's union to mess things up.

The beauty of this system is that it's self-regulating. No need for property taxes or vouchers. No need to give schools "grades". No need to punish teacher or administrators for low test scores. No need for standardizes test. No need for government involvement. No need to throw money at the problem. It's all done by market forces. Its all done with an "invisible hand". Schools that produce hard working, tax paying, productive citizens will grow and prosper. The teachers employed at those schools will get rich. Schools that produce losers dependent on welfare and social services will wither and die. The teachers and administrators at those schools will be looking for new jobs.

Quaxar:

TheLycanKing144:
We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

> Teacher's Union
> power
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Options to chose better schools? What if there's only one school in the whole area? And how are you going to accomodate all the new pupils from the bad schools into a better one that already has almost reached its capacity as it is? Or for that matter pay for those improved schools, compensations for all the fired "bad" teachers and resulting unemployment costs?
Not to mention the whole inherited historical issues. Especially during the 70s many women and minorities were essentially forced into education for a lack of better opportunities and many of these are now due to go into their pension. And the positions can hardly be filled as it is.

In the US (and a lot of Europe as well) teaching isn't appreciated by the population and seen as a small effort job with many holidays. Even a lot of teachers themselves consider their job a dead-end with no need for incitement or continued education. Uni courses are unselective, unsupportive and require extensive loans to eventually reach a job with a salary that's ridiculously low. Starting salary for a lawyer is roughly $150,000, a teacher's $40,000, with an average career maximum of $80,000. Half of the finished students don't even pick up a classroom job.

In South Korea or Singapore, teachers are appreciated as valuable professionals and their salaries are in the range of engineers and doctors. In Finland, they have huge liberties in their teaching and if they chose to leave the classroom many a company would love to recruit their skills and talents. All three have a very selective, demand-based course-approval process with stipends and other appeals.

You didn't really think this through, did you?

The Teachers Union is a HUGE problem, I suggest you watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman", it shows how corrupt the public school system is. And yes choice does help, why would you be against parents having the right to choose what school their kids go to? Would you rather have the government tell you where you must send your kids?

Give power to the parents, then the system will start to make some progress. Many of you seem like the stereotypical anti-US Europeans, which is a shame as there are many Europeans who are more open minded and don't pass false judgement. Yes the school system in the US has problems, everyone BUT the Teachers Union knows this, they don't want it to change.

TheLycanKing144:

Quaxar:

TheLycanKing144:
We should implement a voucher system, give them to the parents of kids (including those who are lower income) and give them the option to choose better schools for their kids. Close down the bad schools, fire the bad teachers, and replace them with good schools and good teachers.

This will never happen however as long as the Teacher's Union is allowed to have as much power as it currently does.

> Teacher's Union
> power
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Options to chose better schools? What if there's only one school in the whole area? And how are you going to accomodate all the new pupils from the bad schools into a better one that already has almost reached its capacity as it is? Or for that matter pay for those improved schools, compensations for all the fired "bad" teachers and resulting unemployment costs?
Not to mention the whole inherited historical issues. Especially during the 70s many women and minorities were essentially forced into education for a lack of better opportunities and many of these are now due to go into their pension. And the positions can hardly be filled as it is.

In the US (and a lot of Europe as well) teaching isn't appreciated by the population and seen as a small effort job with many holidays. Even a lot of teachers themselves consider their job a dead-end with no need for incitement or continued education. Uni courses are unselective, unsupportive and require extensive loans to eventually reach a job with a salary that's ridiculously low. Starting salary for a lawyer is roughly $150,000, a teacher's $40,000, with an average career maximum of $80,000. Half of the finished students don't even pick up a classroom job.

In South Korea or Singapore, teachers are appreciated as valuable professionals and their salaries are in the range of engineers and doctors. In Finland, they have huge liberties in their teaching and if they chose to leave the classroom many a company would love to recruit their skills and talents. All three have a very selective, demand-based course-approval process with stipends and other appeals.

You didn't really think this through, did you?

The Teachers Union is a HUGE problem, I suggest you watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman", it shows how corrupt the public school system is. And yes choice does help, why would you be against parents having the right to choose what school their kids go to? Would you rather have the government tell you where you must send your kids?

Give power to the parents, then the system will start to make some progress. Many of you seem like the stereotypical anti-US Europeans, which is a shame as there are many Europeans who are more open minded and don't pass false judgement. Yes the school system in the US has problems, everyone BUT the Teachers Union knows this, they don't want it to change.

It's not on Youtube and I'm not going to buy that film, sorry. But you know what is on Youtube? The rebuttal film that points out the apparent distortions and deceits in that documentary. If you have seen the original you might wanna take a look at that side too.
In any way, the AFT =/= "the public school system". That's like saying the American Accounting Association is responsible for the stock market crash.

When did I say I'm against choice of school? All I said was you talk about the problem like all it takes is some free school change tickets without taking into consideration things like costs, organization or destruction of workplaces.
Letting parents run the school system? I don't even wanna delve into that, my mother has been a secondary school teacher for the past 30 years and I don't think many teachers would be comfortable having a lot of parents in any position with influence. As Europeans in a country where the "teacher's union" doesn't have the power to get a new colour of pens without a few years struggle that is.

Lastly, did you read my second post in the thread? The AFT has warned about issues with recruitment of new teachers since 2003. If they were so powerful, do you think they would really want to continue getting new members from the bottom of the higher education rather than the top?

Quaxar:

It's not on Youtube and I'm not going to buy that film, sorry. But you know what is on Youtube? The rebuttal film that points out the apparent distortions and deceits in that documentary. If you have seen the original you might wanna take a look at that side too.
In any way, the AFT =/= "the public school system". That's like saying the American Accounting Association is responsible for the stock market crash.

When did I say I'm against choice of school? All I said was you talk about the problem like all it takes is some free school change tickets without taking into consideration things like costs, organization or destruction of workplaces.
Letting parents run the school system? I don't even wanna delve into that, my mother has been a secondary school teacher for the past 30 years and I don't think many teachers would be comfortable having a lot of parents in any position with influence. As Europeans in a country where the "teacher's union" doesn't have the power to get a new colour of pens without a few years struggle that is.

Lastly, did you read my second post in the thread? The AFT has warned about issues with recruitment of new teachers since 2003. If they were so powerful, do you think they would really want to continue getting new members from the bottom of the higher education rather than the top?

As a teacher, I have to thank you for this post. I have seen Waiting for Superman and was quite disheartened with its message. There are very real problems in education but I found this film's conclusions to be naive and misleading.

As far as the Teacher's Union, I would argue that it has been far more beneficial to the educational system than harmful. It has protected Teacher's rights by protecting them from arbitrary dismissal and encouraging equal pay between men and women. Further, it has attempted to improve the classroom environment by keeping classroom sizes at a manageable level. In my own experience, the Teacher's Union has worked to prevent harmful policies from taking effect.

So again, thank you. It's a relief to know not everyone views us as lazy villains.

ClockworkPenguin:

Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

Teachers might start at the average for a graduate but their pay rises much slower than other sectors. I'm doing a physics degree and plan on doing teacher training after that while my girlfriend is doing accounting. While we start at roughly the same salary when we graduate, however in about a few years she could be earning tens of thousands more than me. Teachers who aren't senior management are maxed out at ~55K while an accountant could make anywhere up to 100k.

Point is if I didn't want to be a teacher I could go do anything else with it (accounting, engineering, etc.) and earn a hell of a lot more over the course of my career than I would in teaching. I want to be a teacher but if someone is merely looking around, the high paying jobs will be much more appealing (especially in the US with the massive student debts)

And as for comparing the wage to that of a firefighter; no offence to them, but there is a big difference between a non-graduate and graduate job. Teachers need to spend at least 4 years in university to get qualified and hold degrees that would let them do any number of jobs. If you want the best people to become teachers, is offering to pay them a wage they could have got without a degree a good way to go?

Karma168:

ClockworkPenguin:

Teaching is a hard job, but... a starting salary of $40K is bloody good.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/central.html You are starting your career at the average wage, which is incidentally $14K better off than the most common wage. That is hardly 'ridiculously low'.

No offence to teachers but a lot complain about their job whilst showing a startling ignorance of the world outside the education sector. They have to work hard and have serious responsibilities but so does everyone else. The stats you quoted are about the same as a firefighter would get. That seems about right to me.

Teachers might start at the average for a graduate but their pay rises much slower than other sectors. I'm doing a physics degree and plan on doing teacher training after that while my girlfriend is doing accounting. While we start at roughly the same salary when we graduate, however in about a few years she could be earning tens of thousands more than me. Teachers who aren't senior management are maxed out at ~55K while an accountant could make anywhere up to 100k.

Point is if I didn't want to be a teacher I could go do anything else with it (accounting, engineering, etc.) and earn a hell of a lot more over the course of my career than I would in teaching. I want to be a teacher but if someone is merely looking around, the high paying jobs will be much more appealing (especially in the US with the massive student debts)

And as for comparing the wage to that of a firefighter; no offence to them, but there is a big difference between a non-graduate and graduate job. Teachers need to spend at least 4 years in university to get qualified and hold degrees that would let them do any number of jobs. If you want the best people to become teachers, is offering to pay them a wage they could have got without a degree a good way to go?

I wasn't comparing starting salaries. I was comparing salaries full stop. teachers start at a better rate than most of the population earn at all, and (I'm not sure about this for america actually, but it is true in Britain) are virtually guaranteed pay rises just for staying in the job.

Also, accountancy, engineering etc. tend to be private sector jobs, which usually pay more anyway. Firefighting seemed to be a public sector job with similar levels of responsibility. I suppose medicine would be a better choice and there you do have a point. On the other hand, (again falling back to the UK system because I know it) Medicine requires considerably better grades than teaching. I have worked (on work experience) with a (admittedly primary school) teacher who confessed that they had taken over 5 attempts to get grade C at GCSE maths.

As someone who does GREAT on standardized testing (nearly aced both my SATs and ACTs) I don't like it.

Knowing something, and memorizing something are two different things.

I KNOW that 2+2=4.
I memorized that Che was revolutionary, but I don't really KNOW much about him beyond that.

When schools are forced to teach tests, instead of knowledge, we all suffer.

Now this is interesting... it shows how much the USA cares for its citizens...

https://www.google.co.uk/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_mktp_cd&idim=country:CAN&dl=en&hl=en&q=canadian%20gdp#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=children_out_of_school&fdim_y=education_level:2&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:USA:CAN:FRA:NOR:GBR&ifdim=region&tstart=512179200000&tend=1269561600000&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

Not at all.

This is the numbers of children who are out of school.

Lets see how the USA compares to some other countries.
I picked Norway, Canada, France, and the UK.

Norway: 3657
Canada: 4600
France: 30,743
UK: 12,052
Total: 51052

The population of these countries is:

Norway: 4,952,000
Canada: 34,482,779
France: 65,436,552
UK: 62,641,000
Total: 167,512,331

So to the great and powerful USA.

Total Number of Children out of Primary Education: 1,023,200
Total Population: 313,914,040

So the countries listed have a population of 53.36% the USA's.
However Europe has 4.99% the number of Children out of Primary education compared to the USA...

There is something wrong with this country.

captcha:
save it

Even the Captcha see's there is a problem.

Comando96:
There is something wrong with this country.

Primary school is still legally required in the U.S., but homeschooling is more popular here.

Dags90:
Primary school is still legally required in the U.S., but homeschooling is more popular here.

The UK has 20,000 known home schooled children out of Primary education, but is shown within the statistics to have 12,052 children out of Primary education, likely meaning that Documentted homeschooling is a registered as a form of Primeary education.

Likewise
Norway: 400
Canada: 60,000

Both approximations but far different from the statistics shown.

France apparently hasn't got any statistics for it, but 3/4 is safe.

----------

However your statement, even if trying, and failing to account for the statistical terror... it raises a more important question that I hadn't thought of reguarding the popularity of home schooling...

Why is it preferable in the USA to Educate your children by yourself, than it is to send them to a Highschool?
Are some state schools really that bad, that that many don't have faith in the education system to such a large extent (and possibly with good justification).
That is more telling that there is a real problem.

Comando96:
However your statement, even if trying, and failing to account for the statistical terror... it raises a more important question that I hadn't thought of reguarding the popularity of home schooling...

Why is it preferable in the USA to Educate your children by yourself, than it is to send them to a Highschool?
Are some state schools really that bad, that that many don't have faith in the education system to such a large extent (and possibly with good justification).
That is more telling that there is a real problem.

I'm not entirely sure whether or not the U.S. does or doesn't include it.

This graph of access to the first grade shows the selected countries to have roughly equal access to required schools. As does this graph of enrollment.

Preferable? Home schooled kids are an extreme minority, somewhere around 3%. People do it for all sorts of reasons. Some feel they can do better than public schools in teaching their kids at home, almost always families with a full time homemaker. Or parents of child's prodigies who don't want their eight year old in high school for social reasons. Some do it for religious reasons. Others do it for the sake of their child's nonacademic success. I've met one young man who was homeschooled so he would have more time to devote to motocross racing, which he now does professionally.

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