Are certain educational policies effective? Depends on what your goal is

Discussion in 'General Education' started by EdEd, Nov 30, 2017.

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  1. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 2:11 AM

    Actually, that is exactly how capitalism and a free market economy works. Exceeding expectations and outperformance are rewarded and not meeting expectations and underperformance result in demotion or termination. You don’t get promoted before you deliver positive results. You get promoted AFTER you prove your worth.
     
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  2. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 4:31 AM

    It certainly is for my school, but maybe yours doesn't require academic achievement from your graduates.

    What would you say is the reason for your school's existence?
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    This sounds like a very balanced and reasonable view in that you're clear in what you think, but also make room for the fact that others are entitled to their opinion too regarding the goals of education.

    In terms of the broader definition of school choice, I think it's umbrella term that can refer to anything from charters to vouchers. So, yes - we probably need to be more clear, but I guess I've been referring to the school choice characteristic of moving decision-making from the government to individual families. That's by no means the only element of school choice, but certainly one of them that some advocates see as a primary goal.
     
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  4. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    This is so true. People who apply the concept that market forces will improve education do not take into account that children are not products that can be thrown out or recycled.

    Let's say we search the world to find the most effective way to educate our children, then copy this effective model for our schools. In Finland there's no charters, vouchers or even private schools. Perhaps we should follow the lead of the most effective school system.
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:42 AM

    Respectfully, some of your response is what is wrong with our political discussions these days. Your first paragraph i think is both fair and accurate, and you've made room for the idea that different people can have different goals. However, when you mention that "benefits to society" are irrelevant to that entire group of people, I'd make two responses: first, some do see choice as a benefit to society. Second, even if it's based in self-interest, many people - from all political affiliations - seem to make their decisions that way. I personally work in lower income areas and constantly hear political arguments made about how Republican candidates have platforms that will personally hurt them financially. The left does not have a monopoly on global, community-minded thinking.

    Then, you move into generalizing that that entire demographic simply doesn't want their children to interact with kids who are different? This is where we get to one of real problems in our world right now - we assume way too much about people based on their race, demographic identity, or political affiliation. It should be offensive to all of us that our enemies or opponents are demonized because of their affiliation.

    "Private companies that run these schools" - Again, we've grossly over-generalized here. We can easily identify multitudes of private schools and charter schools that have extremely well-meaning founders, staff, and teachers. The idea that all private/charter schools are run by "evil" corporations who are simply trying to make money just isn't right. Of course, I'm sure some - maybe even many - are that way, but not all.

    I make these arguments not because I'm trying to camp out in the pro-charter/choice category - I actually personally don't support them, by & large - but because how we have conversations in this country, and how we talk about people who disagree with us, has become disgusting. I personally became more liberal in my early adulthood because I was tired of closed-minded thinking in which only one perspective could be seen as accurate, moral, or community-oriented. I was tired of what I perceived as right-wing politicians making snarky, condescending assumptions about poor people, left-wingers, etc. In the past five years, in my opinion, the progressive left has fully caught up with that approach of making assumptions, attacking people instead of arguments, and being just as closed-minded as anyone else.

    Bottom line: There are different kinds of people that support (or do not support) school choice for different reasons. As we often say to kids who fight back by saying "he started it" - let's be the "bigger person" and demonstrate a compassionate, considerate, and thoughtful approach and solve problems - not make them worse.
     
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  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    While I agree that not everyone who sends kids to certain kinds of schools does so because they want to limit interactions with others who may be different, you have got to see that there is a significant portion of the population that feels this way exactly. As I mentioned previously, there is definitely a large group of families in my town that intentionally choose "white schools" BECAUSE OF the absence of many brown and black students. That is the explicitly-stated, verbatim reason for their choice. Other families may wish to limit interactions or access based on factors other than race: perhaps political views, religion, etc. We all know of certain religions that encourage members to avoid forming close relationships or even interacting at all with people outside the religion. Are we saying that these things are universally acceptable? Is there a point at which it's okay (morally, ethically, legally, whatever) to prefer a school/business/community be populated primarily with people who hold certain opinions or characteristics? Is there a point at which that becomes discriminatory and illegal, immoral, unethical, whatever? If so, where is that point? How do we as a society make that determination? Do we?
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 4:52 PM

    I don't think you understood my original point. I know how the free market works. I think where you are mixing it up is that the free market necessarily promotes good outcomes. That's not the case, in the examples I mentioned previously (tobacco, fossil fuels, etc.). I'm sure if it were up to individual choice, a lot of parents wouldn't vaccinate their kids and the rest of the country would have to deal with the ramifications of that.

    Also the evidence shows that happy well paid teachers do better because they are happy and well paid. Not because they teach better to achieve better pay. The research actually disproves that idea. Teachers and schools perform worse under merit based pay.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 7, 2017 at 4:58 PM

    As someone who lived at the brunt of the poor behavior from the other side, I'm honestly done trying to be the "bigger" person. Especially as most haven't learned their lessons from the past decade, apologized for their behavior, or will even admit that they were making mistakes. If the reason you aligned otherwise was simply because you saw the others as underdogs and you want to take the edgier side and not because of human rights violations, sexism, and racism, conducted by those on that side, then you really didn't understand the principles you claimed to align yourself with in the first place.

    Sorry. I know political discussions are not okay in this forum, but I'm just sick of it all, and I have to speak my mind on this.
     
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  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Absolutely Caesar - I think there's no question that this has been more than an incidental intention of people throughout the history of where people chose to send their kids to school. We ought to be offended and outraged by people who chose to keep their kids away from other kids based solely on their demographic affiliation. I think we can have a subsequent conversation about who's responsibility it is to address that, but it's certainly an issue.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 10:07 AM

    No apologies necessary for speaking your mind, and I think this conversation is squarely related to education, so by all means.

    No, I didn't choose a political/idealogical affiliation because of who was winning or losing at the time, or what was fashionable, but because of exactly what you mentioned - underlying principles. One of those principles, however, was open-mindedness. Simply put, I found my liberal colleagues more compassionate and open-minded, willing to reconsider the status quo.

    I can see your perspective when you see that people are "tired" and simply want to draw a line in the sand as to what's right and wrong. I totally agree that a firm line should be drawn in the sand regarding certain things such as racism. What's completely wrong, however, is the assumption that all right-leaning educational policies, including school choice, are by default racist. This bastardizes the definition of racism and clouds true discussion.

    In terms of your fatigue, I'd ask you whether your goal in speaking your mind is true change or simply venting. Nothing wrong with venting, but you probably need to understand that it probably won't make the world a better place. That's totally cool - there's a time and place for blowing off steam. However, if you decide to move back to a role of a change agent, reacting to policies from an emotionally drained state where you just have no more tolerance for hearing the other side is going to turn people off.

    One of the biggest complaints I hear about younger progressives these days, often from an identity politics perspective, is that these younger progressives believe they are entitled to act as judge and jury as to which conversations should be be allowed to be had, and that certain viewpoints and perspectives are to be excluded before merits are even considered. These people often invoke moral high ground, values, or identify as a means of pre-dismissing or pre-disqualifying ideas. White men, for example, may be seen as pre-disqualified for having an accurate perspective on sexual harassment or racism. Their viewpoints are seen as inherently unqualified. If something is said that runs counter to the progressive's viewpoint, the idea itself is not addressed, but rather the progressive's estimate of the person's worthiness to even express an opinion.

    Another major complaint I hear is that younger progressives attempt to shut down conversations before they begin, or derail them in progress, because of their personal reaction or emotional state, as if their personal feelings are relevant evidence. If they are "tired" or "offended," that is used as a substantive argument and to avoid directly addressing the issue.

    Being more specific with education, I'm seeing how the progressive viewpoint in this conversation has assigned a value of "racist" and "anti-teacher" to school choice, then operated as though it's a stipulated fact. Anyone who opposed this assertion of school choice being racist is seen as being racist in turn, bringing in the ad hominem argument and pre-disqualification. So, instead of responding to school choice, younger progressives invoke the "that's offensive, I'm tired, I'm not going to take it" and that's expected to be a well-reasoned response. In reality, it's a means of egocentrically avoiding a direct response by moving oneself to the center of the argument, as though one's personal feelings should be considered in the school choice debate,

    People who wave certain flags are not, by default, right. Teachers who care are not, by default, effective. Feeling offended does not, by default, validate an argument. Being tired does not absolve us of our responsibility to continue being the best version of ourselves and taking the high road.

    Peregrin, I've been reading your posts for, what, years now? You're one of the most well-reasoned, well-intentioned people here, so please don't read this post as specifically addressed to you. It's more of just my own attempt to call out some fundamental issues with however this and other threads have unfolded recently.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 10:35 AM
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  11. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Dec 8, 2017 at 10:39 PM

    One issue you might consider is that parents care about their children, and they know the statistics. For example, my children are asian, so I would never send them to a public school in the united states.

    The stats on black against asian crime rates are so disproportionate that I could not possibly send them to a black school. Drug and alcohol abuse stats, teen pregnancy rates, graduation rates, literacy, maths, science, etc. etc. etc. are so low in most schools in the states that I would consider it a form of child abuse to send my children to those schools, considering I have much better options.

    Detroit or Singapore... where would you choose to send your own children?

    Howard Stern had an interesting anecdote about this. His mother decided that Howard would benefit from being educated in a black high school because of diversity, puppies, and rainbows. He said "That's great Mom, but you don't have to go there".

    Apparently, he was getting beat up on an almost daily basis. Black on white crime statistics can't and shouldn't be ignored. Parents don't care if the violence is due to wealth disparity or because of unicorns. They care about their children.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    Exactly, at the end of the day the MATH should do the talking.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dec 9, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    From my perspective and my understanding, the historically brutal experience of being Black in America has left many Black communities ravaged, feeling the compounding affects of being denied education and opportunity for centuries such as lower rates of educational attainment, higher levels of community violence, etc. As time has gone on, this has become more complicated, with SES playing an increasingly large role in the equation. We can debate the cause, the solution, etc., but I want to first acknowledge that there may indeed be truth to the argument that schools with higher percentages of Black students may experience higher or lower rates of certain things.

    However, that's not uniform, so the "math" doesn't really lead one to the best decisions. Instead, rather than basing a decision on ethnicity, better to go directly to the data of things like school violence, achievement levels, etc. If a parent had a choice to move a child from a school, I'd imagine that would be a more effective route than simply looking at ethnicity.

    As an analogy, if you were looking to relocate and were interested in crime in various cities. The murder rate, for example, in Cincinnati is 4x higher than in Boston. If you stopped there, you might conclude that Cincinnati is 4x more dangerous than Boston. However, in reality there are different neighborhoods within each city that are more dangerous or less dangerous, and murders may be different in different cities (e.g., gang-related vs. random). So, on some level it may be accurate to say that Cincinnati is 4x more dangerous when it comes to murders, but that's not really an accurate description of the actual experience of living in Cincinnati, nor even of the likelihood of being murdered when living in Cincinnati vs Boston. Moreover, it would be grossly inaccurate to say that Cincinnati residents are 4x more violent, or that people from Cincinnati are more likely to commit murder. In reality, a very small number of residents from specific backgrounds/neighborhoods may be more likely to commit murder.

    No doubt, data can't be ignored, but it can be misinterpreted.
     
  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Dec 9, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    EdEd, it is still mathematically accurate to say that Cincinnati has 4 times the murder rate of Boston. This does NOT mean that Cincinnati is 4 times as dangerous, per se, but it DOES mean that you are four times more likely to get murdered there than in Boston.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017 at 8:21 PM
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 9, 2017 at 10:02 PM

    Read some of these posts again and tell me that we're not a racist society.
     
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  16. Belch

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    Dec 9, 2017 at 10:46 PM

    Which is not saying that ALL black schools are like the one he worked at. Therein lies the strawman.

    Think of it as going to a Mexican restaurant and coming down with a severe case of Montezuma's revenge, and then you go to another one, and once again, you're spending the day in the reading room. Sure, they might not all be bad, or maybe it's just an unfortunate case of Mexican food disagreeing with you.

    Refusing to go to another Mexican restaurant isn't saying that ALL Mexican restaurants are bad. It's just that there's no reason to take another chance, when there's a perfectly good Italian restaurant down the street. Italian food doesn't have the reputation that Mexican food has, nor have you experienced anything other than a delicious meal at an Italian restaurant.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 10, 2017 at 12:38 AM

    And this 100% supports my claim way back near the beginning of this thread. No one needs to act like it isn’t absolutely true that some families use the voucher system in order to send their kids to white schools for the expressed purpose of avoiding black and brown kids.
     
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  18. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2017 at 1:11 AM

    and.... this is relevant because...

    Do you have an argument or mere pejoratives?
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 10, 2017 at 1:19 AM

    Would you prefer a synonym for "racist" that has a more positive connotation? Do you have such a word in mind?

    Racism as it relates to the issue of voucher systems is especially relevant, as I have mentioned previously in the thread. It is my claim that voucher systems reintroduce and implement a policy of segregation. I believe that systemic racism and inherently racist practices should be absent from the educational system, including both public and private options.
     
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  20. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2017 at 1:22 AM

    That's not an argument.

    For example, I teach at a women's college because we feel that women learn best when males are excluded. We can create a curriculum specifically tailored to the specific needs of young ladies, and teach them without catering to the needs that male students bring to the table.

    This is sexist, I believe.

    So what? I gave you a good argument as to why we do not accept male students.

    Where is your argument that segregation is bad?
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 10, 2017 at 1:31 AM

    Are men harmed by not being allowed into women-only spaces?

    Are children of color harmed by not being allowed into white-only schools?
     
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