• Fooloso4
    1.1k
    As others have said, education in the US varies widely, both in an between public and private schools. I cannot speak of elsewhere.

    A few observations:

    The idea of individuality is of central importance, thus there not much emphasis on conformity, except perhaps with such things as school uniforms. Individuality of thought and action plays well, within certain bounds.

    I do not know if things have changed recently but last I checked those receiving degrees in education were in general at or near the bottom of their class.

    Parents tend to take the side of their children when it comes to discipline problems and will blame the teacher if the student is failing.

    Some years back I did some reading on the philosophy of education and it was a dismal affair. Schools would change their approach to education often and sometimes radically based on questionable theories of education and research that seemed to be designed to confirm whatever assumptions it intended to prove.
  • Hanover
    5k
    They were trained on memorizing useless information. We have photocopiers for that job. Cheaper and better. They were trained on executing tedious procedures. We have computers for that job. Cheaper and better. So, what do we need them for, huh?alcontali

    I'm guessing some useless graduate programs those computers.

    How were you able to transcend your useless education and gain such wisdom?
  • Hanover
    5k
    I can perfectly see how you were tested for your academic attainment. I just need to take a look at the multiple-choice questions you were supposed to answer. That says it all.alcontali

    Rigorous analysis.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    So, what do we need them for, huh?alcontali

    I, personally, after graduating from university, joined Internet philosophy forums. They were parts of dating sites then, but the format and the dialogues were the same. Ie. "I believe in god and free will" "I believe in determinism and scientificism", and then the conversation devolved to mud-slinging.

    Photocopiers can't do that. They need to evolve for thousands more years to perform on such intelligent level.

    THAT's what education prepared me for.
  • alcontali
    802
    I'm guessing some useless graduate programs those computers.Hanover

    When I was 14 years old, somewhere in the 80ies, my father came home with a second-hand Apple IIe computer, which had two floppy drives but no hard disk, along with a photocopy of a Borland Turbo Pascal manual, in a language that I could barely read, i.e. English.

    So, a few months later, I wrote my first, utmost useless program in Pascal, which is one of the worst languages to program in, but that is something I did not know back then.

    The teachers at my high school could not use a computer, because none of them had one, let alone, write programs. That last bit is still the case today. High-school teachers still cannot write programs.

    Programming is not knowledge. It revolves around the discovery of new knowledge.

    If existing knowledge were the sole or most important ingredient in the process of discovering new knowledge, then first of all, humanity would never have discovered any knowledge at all, and secondly, we would by now have discovered all possible knowledge already.

    Hence, programming is an aptitude similar to composing music. It is not possible to "teach" it. Either you manage to figure it out by yourself, or else, you will never be able to do it. That is why most programmers cannot program.

    I was incredulous when I read this observation from Reginald Braithwaite: Like me, the author is having trouble with the fact that 199 out of 200 applicants for every programming job can't write code at all. I repeat: they can't write any code whatsoever.

    Being good at memorizing useless information or at carrying out tedious procedures does not attract people who like discovering new knowledge. Therefore, talented individuals will tend to score badly at high-school and university tests. I was personally only good at mathematics. I was horrible at probably every other subject. Since the system grudgingly allowed me to filter pretty much everything else away, I still did quite well.

    Good programmers, just like good welders, tend to come from outside the education system. Being good at any real-world skill is not particularly so compatible with being good at school; and the reverse also tends to be true.

    How were you able to transcend your useless education and gain such wisdom?Hanover

    I find the term "wisdom" quite impredicative. What exactly does it mean? Not a "justified (true) belief", I hope, because we use that elsewhere already! ;-)

    Did I gain something ineffable? Well, the answer to that question is obviously also ineffable!

    I learned much more from drilling down in Wikipedia over the last 15 years than I ever did at university, which never contributed anything, actually.

    In Wikipedia, you can always find the original publications mentioned in the foot notes. Still, I only click on what I am interested in. So, there are always topics that I just totally skipped, because at that point they were of no importance to me.

    At the moment, I am completely stuck in the proof for the Curry-Howard correspondence, which I would like to fully grasp, but I am too lazy to first figure out Hilbert Calculi.

    It is not the first time that Hilbert's work in logic is a blocking factor. Every time I try to figure out the late Voevodsky's univalence axiomatization (homotopy type theory, aka HoTT), I get stuck again in Hilbert Calculi.

    David Hilbert was undoubtedly a genius, but his work is simply unreadable ...
  • Hanover
    5k
    Hence, programming is an aptitude similar to composing music. It is not possible to "teach" it. Either you manage to figure it out by yourself, or else, you will never be able to do it. That is why most programmers cannot program.alcontali

    Most computer programmers have degrees from universities and there are also schools that teach music. That you find it easier to self teach says something about you, not about the world generally. It also sounds like you struggled in school, although maybe you didn't, but that's what it sounds like.
  • alcontali
    802
    Most computer programmers have degrees from universitiesHanover

    Do Developers Need College Degrees?

    Our 2016 Developer Survey found that 56% of developers in fact do not have a college degree in computer science or related fields. The most popular way for developers to learn is by “self-teaching” in some way (69% of respondents told us they were at least partially self-taught; 13% said they were entirely self-taught).

    Of the 4,499 jobs currently listed at Stack Overflow Jobs (across all regions), a Boolean search for “degree OR bachelor OR BS OR BA OR B.S. OR B.A.” yielded 1,760 matches. So we can extrapolate that 2,739 listings, or 61%, do not specify a “degree” or a “bachelor’s” as one of the requirements, and 39% list a degree somewhere in the job posting, either as a requirement or as a preference.

    Does this mean you have over 50% more opportunities to get a job as a developer if you have a college degree? Not necessarily. Nick stresses that the ability to demonstrate what you can do and what you have done will always be more important than whether or not you have a degree, even in cases where the company has listed a degree as a requirement.

    Smart recruiters know that the people who love programming wrote a database for their dentist in 8th grade, and taught at computer camp for three summers before college, and built the content management system for the campus newspaper, and had summer internships at software companies. That’s what they’re looking for on your resume.


    A programmer does not need a degree for the same reason a welder doesn't.

    there are also schools that teach music.Hanover

    Take the top 100 grossing artists in music. Check how many have studied at a music school.

    Zero?

    That has always been like that. Vivaldi, "il prete rosso", was a priest, moonlighting as a music composer.

    The longer the software field will exist, the fewer programmers will bother getting a degree.

    That you find it easier to self teach says something about you, not about the world generally.Hanover

    I still seem to have a Stackoverflow Developer Survey backing me up. I am quite confident that Github would come up with similar results, if they haven't already.

    It also sounds like you struggled in school, although maybe you didn't, but that's what it sounds like.Hanover

    Well, probably not enough. Look at where everybody is going, and then, seriously, go elsewhere.

    You see, when you ask a teenage girl why she is wearing her choice of clothes, she will most likely answer: "Because all my friends are wearing them too." If all these teenage girls give the same answer, we would end up in a situation of circularity or of infinite regress. So, that is not possible. Hence, there are original sources of manipulation, talking these teenage girls into wearing what they are wearing.

    The general populace is not better than teenage girls.

    The schools try to manipulate their students into a particular direction, and that has only gotten worse since I graduated.

    For example, why do young women prefer "bad boys"? In my impression, they prefer school drop outs because these "bad boys" have escaped the rampant feminization of boys in schools and are still much more naturally male.

    If you look at men in their twenties nowadays, a lot of them tend to be "involuntary celibate", i.e. their female peers do not wish to deal with these over-feminized and effeminate individuals, apparently over 80% of the lot. This problem did not exist when I was in my twenties.

    In the meanwhile, the school system is gradually destroying the sexual reproduction process in the West.

    The uncritical belief in the schools will destroy the false believers and their offspring in the 7th generation. The ancient scriptures already warned for that problem. Their false gods will gradually turn on them, and then devour them, by eating their flesh and drinking their blood.
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    Also "coolness" which can roughly be calculated by multiplying appearance value with wealth value divided by reputation; access to drugs and alcohol and other 'taboo' and infamous experiences being the ultimate deciding factor.Grre

    Seems generally true. However, I think the more ADULTS emphasize that there are a variety of ways to be "cool" the less kids will feel the need to fit that formula (notice the teachers that are 'friends' with students, it tends to be outgoing popular kids who they 'befriend' - shouldn't teachers 'befriend' almost exclusively friendless students?). Unfortunately, I am CONSTANTLY reminded that most adults want to be "cool" the same as they did in high school.

    There are a few people, like Elon Musk (who is definitely one of those trying to be cool like it was high school), are at least somewhat valued (cool) for there intelligence.

    I don't know. As soon as people start talking about 'cool', I start rambling off nonsense about what I think is cool, but add little to the discussion.
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    I do not know if things have changed recently but last I checked those receiving degrees in education were in general at or near the bottom of their class.Fooloso4

    Still true in the US. And what do you know, highly rated Finland gets their teachers from the top 20% of graduating classes.

    Parents tend to take the side of their children when it comes to discipline problems and will blame the teacher if the student is failing.Fooloso4

    I am not sure about Europe, but I know this is an important distinction between the US and Asian educational systems. In Asia, the teacher is generally given the benefit of the doubt, in America it is more like, MY CHILD IS BRILLIANT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE DAMN TEACHERS!

    Some years back I did some reading on the philosophy of education and it was a dismal affair. Schools would change their approach to education often and sometimes radically based on questionable theories of education and research that seemed to be designed to confirm whatever assumptions it intended to prove.Fooloso4

    Well I got a teaching degree about 5-6 years ago and the college was FULL of unproven educational ideas. Multiple Intelligences Theory by Gardener (Harvard) was the big one at the time. Education does not even attempt to assess approaches scientifically. Any time you hear of a new educational approach, know that you can't trust educational journals (even peer reviewed, i think they exist) because the study of education is inherently unscientific in America. Fortunately, you can look up educational theories in Psychology journals and get a more rigorous assessment (in the case of Multiple Intelligences you will find absolutely no evidence - they just made up new definitions for old ideas).

    based on questionable theories of education and research that seemed to be designed to confirm whatever assumptions it intended to prove.Fooloso4

    yep. the madness continues. And notice that people near the top of their graduating are more likely catch on to these problems, whereas those at the bottom are just happy to have their assumptions confirmed.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k


    Many of these students are ill-prepared for higher education but there is a persistent push to get students to attend college. Higher education has adopted a business model sometime in the seventies and since the bottom line is now the most important thing, a major concern is retention. It is couched in terms of the interest of the students but it is really all about not having empty seats. "The customer is always right" is their unspoken motto.This has contributed to grade inflation. Instructors bear the brunt of the blame from both students and administration if students fail or get poor grades. Students expect to get A's of B's for doing minimal work of poor quality. There is an enormous sense of entitlement.

    Some years back I read something by a professor whose evaluations by students were always low. The most common complaint was that he was too demanding. And so he decided to treat the class as if it were kindergarten. He even brought cookies for snack time. He praised them for whatever they said or did. He made sure all assignments were easy and if they could not handle even that he still graded them as if they were the exceptional students they thought they were. He quickly became teacher of the year.

    More and more classes are now being taught by adjuncts. As full time faculty retire or move on they are not replaced by tenure track instructors. Adjuncts are often as qualified as tenured faculty but are paid very poorly and must teach multiple courses at several schools and take other jobs on top of that if they are to live above the poverty level. The are academic migrant workers. No contracts and no benefits.This is not an exaggeration. No matter how qualified they cannot keep up with the amount of classes they teach. It is one of higher educations dirty little secrets.
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    Higher education has adopted a business model sometime in the seventies and since the bottom line is now the most important thing, a major concern is retention.Fooloso4

    Indeed. once anything becomes a business, then it seems business rule(s) apply. Seems like that could be a problem if applied to education.

    This has contributed to grade inflation. Instructors bear the brunt of the blame from both students and administration if students fail or get poor grades. Students expect to get A's of B's for doing minimal work of poor quality. There is an enormous sense of entitlement.Fooloso4

    True. But businesses also seem to have a huge sense of entitlement to capable employees that they put zero investment into training. And what do you know, these business complain that their few capable employees are easily 'headhunted' by other companies. You are right about entitled students, but they would tell us, "I learned it from watching you!" (well I guess most would say, 'huh?' or maybe spew some buzzwords about equity and collaboration, but the clever ones would point out the older generations are equally 'entitled').

    Some years back I read something by a professor whose evaluations by students were always low. The most common complaint was that he was too demanding. And so he decided to treat the class as if it were kindergarten. He even brought cookies for snack time. He praised them for whatever they said or did. He made sure all assignments were easy and if they could not handle even that he still graded them as if they were the exceptional students they thought they were. He quickly became teacher of the year.Fooloso4

    Sadly, this rings a bit too true.

    Adjuncts are often as qualified as tenured faculty but are paid very poorly and must teach multiple courses at several schools and take other jobs on top of that if they are to live above the poverty level. The are academic migrant workers. No contracts and no benefits.This is not an exaggeration. No matter how qualified they cannot keep up with the amount of classes they teach. It is one of higher educations dirty little secrets.Fooloso4

    Back to running education like a business. Hasn't the entire economy moved in this direction for the last decade or 2? I don't remember ever hearing of 'gig economy' before that. Don't these adjuncts just have more freedom to pursue their other interests when they are paid on a 'per classes taught' basis? That last sentence was sarcasm if not obvious. It is just an example of the stuff I constantly hear about how uber drivers actually benefit from that business model.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    I have my own combined education / economic theory, which does not at all negate your bitter complaints, @fooloso4 and @ZhouBo Tong, but circumvents the failures of current teacher training.

    I have two assumptions for econdomic success as far as educational preparation goes.
    Assumption 1. The percentage of VERY GOOD graduates that are needed in the economy to not collapse due to inadequate training in the academic fields (engineering, accounting, medicine, technology) is steady vs the entire body of graduates per period has decreased.
    Assumption 2. To allay the chronic and huge unemployment situation, a large part of the work force is pulled out of there, and put in colleges and universities.

    1. Most work in the economy that requires talent is done by fewer and fewer people as a percentage of the work force. Case in point (don't tell me I did not do my research): the Apollo 11 launch employed 400,000 highly skilled and horribly high achiever talented people at their peak of intensive labour involvement. The same WORK can be accomplished by fewer than 2000 people. (As per the google clip that celebrated or commemorted the first moon landing.)

    2. The talented work force carries the work of the untalented part of the work force, and no disrupiton can be noticed in the throughput of production.

    So you two, @fooloso4 and @ZhouBo Tong can relax, despite the fact that grades have inflated, graduates have deflated, professors are overworked and underpaid, and teaching philosophies, methods and methodologies change like weather-vane in a shitstorm.
    --------------------

    IN terms of numbers: in the seventies, X percent of high school graduates went on to study in post-secondary schools. Our current rate of Y percent, where X < Y shows robust reinforcement of that policy.

    However, the good students of X (GX) was a greater percentage of X than now. Similarly, the good studernts of Y (GY) are greater in numbers, than GX. Despite the huge amount of graduates that are basically good for nothing.

    The economy can be driven by the good graduates, and populated by the poor achievers, who are like fillers with the mandated task to spend money but without getting in over their heads in debt..
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    IN terms of numbers: in the seventies, X percent of high school graduates went on to study in post-secondary schools. Our current rate of Y percent, where X < Y shows robust reinforcement of that policy.

    However, the good students of X (GX) was a greater percentage of X than now. Similarly, the good studernts of Y (GY) are greater in numbers, than GX. Despite the huge amount of graduates that are basically good for nothing.

    The economy can be driven by the good graduates, and populated by the poor achievers, who are like fillers with the mandated task to spend money but without getting in over their heads in debt..
    god must be atheist

    First off, you are clearly just stating facts, so I am not disagreeing, but...

    I think you are using 'economy', when you mean 'progress of the human race'? Those brilliant people that drive progress forward actually are not the point of education...those people will be just fine. Also, what are the rest of us paying for when we go to college (can I get a decent job without a degree? can everyone?)? I am not saying you are wrong, but should the bottom 50% just shut up and eat our crappy existence because those few 'producers' deserve all the benefits of their own brilliance?

    I think @Fooloso4 (by the way when you entered @fool and @zhou it did not work correctly - maybe you typed @...? you need to use the @ button at the top of the dialogue box...I am pretty sure), will be more encouraged by your point. I have gotten the feel from both of you that you may be agreeable to American libertarianism? In europe maybe they call themselves classical liberals? I am not trying to label anyone and PLEASE make fun of me when I am wrong (I do have a tendency to make wild assumptions and then base my entire conversation on those assumptions). I just find that I often agree with libertarian types on their assessment of the problems...then wildly disagree on the solution. Of course, I typically get to team-up with the libertarian types in the god/religion threads :smile:
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    Don't these adjuncts just have more freedom to pursue their other interests when they are paid on a 'per classes taught' basis?ZhouBoTong

    Traditionally, adjuncts were experts working in other fields who brought their knowledge to the classroom. Since there is now a shortage of academic jobs and there are several financial advantages to the university, adjuncts are taking the place of full time instructors. They would prefer a full-time position but they are few and far between. The workload carried by an adjunct may the about the same as a full-time faculty member, but since adjuncts are so poorly paid and there are no healthcare and other benefits they must either work full time doing something else or work at multiple schools with a workload that far exceeds full time faculty, and still make only a small fraction of full-timers. They rarely have the time or energy to pursue other interests.


    I have gotten the feel from both of you that you may be agreeable to American libertarianism?ZhouBoTong

    If you are referring to me then no I am not a libertarian. In my opinion libertarians cannot see passed their own self-interests narrowly and myopically construed. While I certainly favor individual rights I do not accept the notion of social atomism. Due consideration should be given to the public good and the good of the whole not just the protection of individual rights.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    I think you are using 'economy', when you mean 'progress of the human race'? Those brilliant people that drive progress forward actually are not the point of education...those people will be just fine. Also, what are the rest of us paying for when we go to college (can I get a decent job without a degree? can everyone?)? I am not saying you are wrong, but should the bottom 50% just shut up and eat our crappy existence because those few 'producers' deserve all the benefits of their own brilliance?ZhouBoTong

    What you are talking about, @ZhouBoTong, is a question of distribution of wealth, which is a very worthwhile topic, but COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM THE PRESENT ONE, which is the efficiency of education.

    My post was strictly about why education works, very well, from the point of view of the economy as a whole.

    I guess I ought to have included this as well in my previous post: The good students get a lot out of education, no matter what the methods or the methodology is. They will carry the economy (not the human progress, or not JUST the human progress, as you assumed, but the economy: the production, the distribution of goods, the money management, etc.)

    Why employers need new hirees to have a degree, even for jobs on car manufacturing and other manual, unskilled labour? Because the more people are forced off the labour force, the more balanced the job/jobseekers ratio is. If you spend 4-8 years off of the labour force, it's a portion of your productive life you don't need to spend in production, which PARTIALLY SOLVES THE PROBLEM OF OVERPRODUCTION CRISIS.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    @ZhouBoTong, thanks for the help with the @ referencing of users.

    It was very helpful.
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    If you are referring to me then no I am not a libertarian.Fooloso4

    I thought I agreed with you a bit too often :smile: Sorry like I said, my brain makes assumptions that I occasionally need correction on...I have done worse...ask @Pattern-chaser, at some point I assumed he was African American...he has no African ancestry (well not recently anyway) and is not even American. Although I guess to be fair, I wouldn't mind being mistaken for a person who is black, and might take a little offense to being called libertarian...so maybe I owe you an extra apology.

    Traditionally, adjuncts were experts working in other fields who brought their knowledge to the classroom.Fooloso4

    Dang, that makes sense. I think I missed that era. Too bad, it sounds great.

    They rarely have the time or energy to pursue other interests.Fooloso4

    I hope you caught that I was joking when I said that. And in case I was otherwise vague and unclear (or making stupid assumptions), I agree that this:

    Since there is now a shortage of academic jobs and there are several financial advantages to the university, adjuncts are taking the place of full time instructors. They would prefer a full-time position but they are few and far between. The workload carried by an adjunct may the about the same as a full-time faculty member, but since adjuncts are so poorly paid and there are no healthcare and other benefits they must either work full time doing something else or work at multiple schools with a workload that far exceeds full time faculty, and still make only a small fraction of full-timers.Fooloso4

    Is not good and needs fixing.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    I hope you caught that I was jokingZhouBoTong

    I didn't. There are some who think it is an easy way to make a living with lots of free time.

    Is not good and needs fixing.ZhouBoTong

    There was at time talk of adjuncts forming a union. I don't know if that ever happened. One major problem is that they would have no power. It would be no different than declining to teach a class. In some schools full-time faculty have successfully petitioned to put limits on the number of classes an adjunct could teach. I think that is a step in the right direction but for practical purposes it simply means that the adjunct would look to pick up classes elsewhere with possible extra burden of travel.

    I don't know what will bring about change but as long as there is a pool of qualified people willing to teach and an administration unwilling to hire full-time, let alone tenure track, faculty the problem will persist.
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    ZhouBoTong, thanks for the help with the referencing of users.

    It was very helpful.
    god must be atheist

    Someone helped me when I messed up the same thing :smile: pay it forward, haha.

    My post was strictly about why education works, very well, from the point of view of the economy as a whole.god must be atheist

    I think I got that. My point, which upon review was not at all clear, is that poor people might not think it was working well for their 'economy', which is part of 'the economy'. So, I would take your evidence as showing that education works for maintaining a 2-3% increase in GDP every year. If it was 1919, I might have bought that 100 years of 2-3% increases would help the poor. The last 2-3 decades suggest that while GDP may continue to grow, it is not a given that everyone benefits.

    Again, I think your analysis is correct. But know that most educators outside the business department DO NOT view 'the economy' as the point of education. If they did, wouldn't they have to tell all their students to switch to business, computers, or engineering classes? Surely the occasionally New York Times bestseller, or that one painting that just sold for 8 million, or those 6 astro-physicists that are paid to talk on the science channel, can not justify the entire English, Art, or Astronomy departments if the point of education is to improve the economy?
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    I didn't. There are some who think it is an easy way to make a living with lots of free time.Fooloso4

    haha. Well maybe 'joking' was the wrong word. I did mention I was being sarcastic in the next sentence. But overall, I am happy to accept that most communication failures are likely my fault :grimace:

    I don't know what will bring about change but as long as there is a pool of qualified people willing to teach and an administration unwilling to hire full-time, let alone tenure track, faculty the problem will persist.Fooloso4

    Yes, and unfortunately, in America, people would tell those qualified people to get out there and do something (those who can do, those who can't teach). I THINK THIS IS COMPLETE CRAP (beyond that it is nonsense), but I would expect that at least half of Americans agree with it to some extent, which makes the changes you described less likely.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    Yes, and unfortunately, in America, people would tell those qualified people to get out there and do something (those who can do, those who can't teach).ZhouBoTong

    I wonder what they think those with a PhD in philosophy should do. Be like Socrates and harass people at the mall?

    I think that if potential students and their parents are aware of the problem and make clear that they will not apply to schools with a high percentage of adjuncts things may begin to change. Grad students teaching courses is another problem, especially in the sciences when the grad student comes from another country and her command of English is poor or has a heavy, difficult to understand accent.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    I think that if potential students and their parents are aware of the problem and make clear that they will not apply to schools with a high percentage of adjuncts things may begin to change.Fooloso4

    I'm not sure, but my guess is that avoiding adjuncts would require one to attend very expensive private schools.

    An excellent PhD adjunct instructor in Classics at the U of Minnesota said back in the early 1980s that college teaching was turning into 'migrant labor' because one could never put together enough jobs at one institution. One would end up running all over town.

    The funding problem in state universities (like the U of MN or anywhere else in the country) is that legislatures started to reduce the state's share of higher education around the middle of the 1970s. Up until the early 1970s, state-owned high education operated with full time staff, except in emergencies like the death of a professor in the middle of the term.

    I'm not entirely sure what the motivation was for cutbacks in state support. I assume that it was a conservative push to reduce government expenditures. Or it could have been a way to cut down on the anticipated over-supply of college graduates. Or it could have been a way of abandoning commitment to high quality higher education for middle class which was gradually becoming more prole-llike. Or maybe it was born out of a basic hatred of college professors. Like I said, I'm not entirely sure.

    Grad students teaching courses is another problemFooloso4

    This is another long-standing complaint. Teaching low level science or engineering classes may be good for future scientists or engineers, but the grad students don't seem to think so -- outside of the opportunity to earn money against tuition. What they want to do is research and pursue their own studies.

    Basically, TAs are just one more way for the college to stretch budgets. If they could get away with it, they'd have them cleaning the buildings too.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    An excellent PhD adjunct instructor in Classics at the U of Minnesota said back in the early 1980s that college teaching was turning into 'migrant labor' because one could never put together enough jobs at one institution. One would end up running all over town.Bitter Crank

    They are academic migrant workers.Fooloso4

    I assume that it was a conservative push to reduce government expenditures ...Or maybe it was born out of a basic hatred of college professors.Bitter Crank

    I think it had something to do their animosity toward higher education, and, as you say a basic hatred of college professors. The Koch brothers are fixing that. They have bought whole departments and decide who will teach in those departments. Another problem is that considerable funds go to facilities to make colleges more like country clubs.
  • Grre
    141

    Adults always tell and emphasize messages to kids to "help them", its the classic hero complex narrative, not unlike how we as humans are always "rescuing" animals. I'm not sure to what extent it "works" as I recall there are plenty of messages adults tried to install in me as a kid, that in turn, I mocked, blatantly disobeyed, and made fun of (I'm also extremely oppositional by nature). As a result I somewhat take a step back when it comes with children, I speak to them like they are adults, even make casual conversation and small talk about things in my own life (like telling them my baby fish died), but in no way do I pretend to be their friend or talk baby talk to them. Children are smart, curious, and honest, and I try to let their natural capacities guide them; I ALWAYS answer their questions honestly, and I NEVER tell them to stop asking questions or "because I said so" or "that's just the way it is" (though it is tempting sometimes with certain annoying ones). Question-asking, or "inquiry" as educational theorists have described it, is so important to maintaining critical thinking skills (philosophy skills!) of course these are the very skills that traditional education systems had tried to limit; ie. by claiming that all facts are absolute, memory-based testing ect. vs. open discussion and exploration as more encouraged today. I digress.

    My point is, I think children who are raised openly being directed, circumvented, "rescued", and protected by an adult is one that grows up with impoverished critical thinking and critical action skills. They are more passive, malleable, naive, ect. My parents do a lot for me financially (paying for my schooling right now, helping me with car insurance) but I always felt alone when dealing with social or personal issues. My parents never "rescued me", at least, not because I voluntarily went to them for help. Bullying has always happened, it is inevitable, we as social beings will exert power over one another, often in manipulative and cruel ways-it is cyclical at the very least, meaning that in any society organized hierarchally, where there is a power imbalance, and where certain individuals can assert power over others, there will be "bullying" as it is so loosely and vaguely defined. I also hate how the last ten years or so of anti-bullying campaigning (so basically my entire childhood growing up with it) focused so heavily on stigmatizing the "bully" and romanticizing the victim without examine external circumstances and pressures (ie. like race or class). It rarely touched upon WHY people become "bullies". Like the poet Iain [something] said, "Everyone was born as soft as water, that is the tragedy of living" (or something amongst those lines).

    Perhaps I shouldn't be proclaiming what is or isn't considered "cool". Cool is again, while important to all ages of youth and adult groups, each age cluster has a defining border where what is cool changes slightly from age cluster to age cluster, sometimes with clusters inheriting and absorbing elements from other clusters. Clusters are also organized loosely by cultural factors; race, wealth. I think it is easier to define what ISNT "cool" than what is...Elon Musk was certainly an unpopular and misunderstand child-but success is cool, and now as a successful adult being celebrated for those very successes, he is considered "cool"-he also of course has the wealth to buy "cool" things that are de facto cool resulting from their price, use, and availability (like VIP tickets, private jets ect.) The biggest defining difference between "coolness" as perceived among children and "coolness" as perceived among adults is that adults are more often forced to interact, collaborate, and put up with people regardless of their "cool" factor. Therefore, there is more room for heterogeneity and interspersion-I am friends with people I consider less "cool" than me because we have other common interests or were forced into similar or close-working situations.
    Is it presumptuous of me to presume that you were not considered "cool" in school?
  • James Pullman
    46
    I´m European.

    My perception (without having any experience on US education) is that US education system prepares young adults to succeed, it has a more preponderant component on the how and focus on human relations inherent to success after studying.

    Europe education is more keen to "theoretical" knowledge, more detail in terms of programmatic contents.

    Also I reckon that Europe has been heading in the direction of US education.

    In the end of the day, European academics and American practicality are complementary and have a lot i common.

    This is the lousiest (also inconsequential) post I wrote this forum.
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    I wonder what they think those with a PhD in philosophy should do. Be like Socrates and harass people at the mall?Fooloso4

    Hahaha, indeed. It really makes me laugh (and get a little sad) to think of Socrates in modern America. At best he would be a barely respected teacher, more likely just a bum that no one listened to.

    I think that if potential students and their parents are aware of the problem and make clear that they will not apply to schools with a high percentage of adjuncts things may begin to change.Fooloso4

    Unfortunately, I think businesses will have to stop hiring students from high adjunct density colleges before parents (and their students) begin to change. If that degree from Purdue (not trying to highlight that school as using a lot of adjuncts - I have no idea), still GUARANTEES the student a good job/career, will anyone care? What percent of students are actually there to learn anything anyway?
  • alcontali
    802
    So, I would take your evidence as showing that education works for maintaining a 2-3% increase in GDP every year.ZhouBoTong

    In Antifragility, Nassim Taleb argues that the belief that university knowledge generates economic wealth stems more from superstition than empiricism. Empirical investigation, he writes, shows no evidence that raising the general level of education raises a country's income level. "But we know the opposite is true, that wealth leads to the rise of education - that's not an optical illusion."

    The reason why he says:

    "Too much education is bad. Don't over-educate the young"

    is:

    "In any case, he contends that education "removes entrepreneurs from the system and turns them into bureaucrats".

    In my own opinion, especially state-run education tends to destroy the social structure by its negative effects on sexual reproduction. Over time, societies that suffer from excess educationism will simply disappear.

    Japan seems to be an early example of how educationist societies gradually collapse. The USA and Europe will undoubtedly also implode.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    What percent of students are actually there to learn anything anyway?ZhouBoTong

    Most are there in order to get a job. Learning is not a high priority
  • ZhouBoTong
    540
    As a result I somewhat take a step back when it comes with children, I speak to them like they are adultsGrre

    Well I definitely have this problem/trait. This is actually why I only teach middle school or higher, because younger than that, they NEED emotion/facial expressions to understand the words (tell a 6 year old that they can't do something while smiling and/or laughing...I bet they do it again).

    even make casual conversation and small talk about things in my own life (like telling them my baby fish died), but in no way do I pretend to be their friend or talk baby talk to them. Children are smart, curious, and honest, and I try to let their natural capacities guide them; I ALWAYS answer their questions honestly, and I NEVER tell them to stop asking questions or "because I said so" or "that's just the way it isGrre

    Ok, you talk to children like adults for good reasons, haha. I do it because I am not sure of how else to talk to someone :grimace: But seriously, everything you said here sounds like you would be a great elementary teacher, and we need a lot more smart ones (I would bet big money that THE BIGGEST cause of America's math deficiency is that MOST of our elementary teachers don't really know math).

    Question-asking, or "inquiry" as educational theorists have described it, is so important to maintaining critical thinking skills (philosophy skills!)Grre

    Sounds right to me. I think this is lacking in schools for a significant reason...what happens when the student asks a question that the teacher doesn't understand? A smart teacher will explicitly say, "gee, I DON'T KNOW", "maybe we should do a little research (or create a project) and figure this out. Unfortunately, dumb (mean word choice, maybe "those from the bottom of their graduating classes" is better?) people view "I DON'T KNOW" as a sign of weakness, and many teachers are hesitant to use those words (I even had an education professor question me after I praised a student who pointed out that something I said wasn't exactly right).

    by claiming that all facts are absolute, memory-based testing ect. vs. open discussion and exploration as more encouraged todayGrre

    Hopefully, we eventually accept that all of these learning methods have their place. Rote memorization is not ideal for the vast majority of deep learning (probably ALL deep learning, I guess I meant the vast majority of learning). However, I have not seen any other method that works nearly as good for things like learning the alphabet and the multiplication tables. Students that do not memorize their multiplication tables (and it is becoming more and more common) NEVER get them down. Education is quick to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

    focused so heavily on stigmatizing the "bully" and romanticizing the victim without examine external circumstances and pressuresGrre

    There is some slight coming around on this issue as we all start to admit that many things are outside individual control (the book - and movie - called 'Wonder' definitely spent some time ensuring the reader understood that the bully had a tough life too).

    I feel like this whole paragraph (yours) shows some of the difficulties in attempting to ensure a good education...there are so many factors that play a role. Kind of like trying to predict economics without acknowledging that most people are bat sh*t crazy.

    The biggest defining difference between "coolness" as perceived among children and "coolness" as perceived among adults is that adults are more often forced to interact, collaborate, and put up with people regardless of their "cool" factor. Therefore, there is more room for heterogeneity and interspersion-I am friends with people I consider less "cool" than me because we have other common interests or were forced into similar or close-working situations.Grre

    I wrote a bunch of my thought on 'cool' but it felt equally rant-like to what I wrote before...so I will just say that I generally agree with you, but would just add "it can be complicated depending on the individual and the situation"

    Is it presumptuous of me to presume that you were not considered "cool" in school?Grre

    Not at all, haha. Seems a safe bet.

    I think (I tend to be good at being objective, but it may difficult here) I would have counted as 'cool' until I was about 14-16 (somewhere around Freshman -Sophomore year of High School). Then 'cool' suddenly required more than playing sports and I was having none of that. Basically, as soon as I was aware that 'cool' was a thing, I started to become aware that I was not that (I actually get very uncomfortable if I am ever the center of attention...unless I am busy, like playing sports).
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    This is the lousiest (also inconsequential) post I wrote this forum.James Pullman

    Pullman, pull yourself together. Pull, man.
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