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Postby Melodious_Thunk » Mon May 31, 2004 9:12 am

As per dogday's comments:

I agree that students should be able to get into a university and then allowed to sink or swim based on their performance. I don't think that should apply at elite institutions like the University of Michigan Law School, however.

As per Smurfette's comments:

Granting priority admission to people who are poor (instead of from favored minority groups, ie. not Asians) will present as many problems and contradictions as racial preferences.

First, how is it to be decided who is poor and who is not? Combined income of the parents as reported to the IRS? That's probably the only solution, but consider the following possibilities that would arise.

Student "A" comes from a divorced family. His father is a millionaire who does not pay child support. "A" is raised mainly by his mother, a waitress, but he spends time with his father as well. Is he from a poor family or a rich one?

Student "B" is the son of poor immigrants. When he was younger, he shared a single room with his six brothers and sisters. All the clothes he ever had were hand-me-downs, and his family couldn't afford many of the things that even the average poor take for granted. After being in the country for about 10 years, though, "B's" father begins to become a successful businessman. By the time "B" graduates from high school, his father is making six figures a year. Is "B" to be consider privileged even though he grew up poor? And though $100,000 sounds like a lot (and it would be plenty for a family raising an only child), the family of "B" has seven children.

Student "C" grew up rich and went to exclusive private schools. His father made piles of money through shady real-estate deals. When "C" is in high school, his father is arrested and all the family's assetts are seized. Even though he had every privilege growing up, his family now has nothing. How should his application be treated by a university?

Add to this the fact that money is far from the only factor that influences what children have had to "overcome." What about a rich girl who was repeatedly sexually abused by her father? That sounds like a lot to overcome.

The only real solution is not to tip the scales in favor or against anyone. Affirmative action, whether it is based on race or wealth, is a way of covering up a problem(s) and making people feel better, not a way of fixing it.
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Postby Smurfette » Mon May 31, 2004 10:38 am

Melodious_Thunk wrote:Granting priority admission to people who are poor (instead of from favored minority groups, ie. not Asians) will present as many problems and contradictions as racial preferences.

It doesn't have to. First, let's start with those children whose mothers are on welfare. The vast majority of them receive free and reduced-price meals (FARM), which are tracked by an identification number that is given to children and remains the same throughout their school career (or, at least that is the case in Maryland). I would bet that there are far fewer children on welfare who have mysterious millionaire fathers than you would imagine. Damn, I wish most of my students even saw their fathers from time to time, millionaires or not (I mean, I wish they saw them outside of prison visits or caskets). Then again, maybe I don't, because one of the two children in my class with visible fathers tells stories about how he got in trouble for playing with his father's gun.

Anyhow, looking at welfare rolls and FARM numbers would be a start, and looking at income tax returns would help as well. Zip codes (plus 4) would be another great method. Even if a millionaire does choose to locate his family in the projects, his children would still have to face the daily uncertainty of passing by drug dealers, users, bullies, etc. Who are we kidding, though? Millionaires, or even middle class people, are not found in certain zip codes. BTW, if you want a concrete number for poverty, the official poverty level set by the government takes into account the number of family members in the family, and for a family of 9, it is USD 34,750 ( http://aspe.os.dhhs.gov/poverty/04poverty.shtml). So, technically, the family wouldn't be counted as presently poor.

That doesn't mean you can't take his circumstances into account. The scenarios you present are exactly why we can't have just one measure, drawn in stone, as to what children have achieved. From what I understand, the UM undergraduate admissions office was using a point system that gave points to grades, SATs, essays, recommendations, race, socioeconomics, legacy, athletic ability and other extenuating circumstances. You could take into account the difficult situations overcome by your hypothetical students using this very point system. Unwieldy, you might think, but the University of Michigan was perfectly happy using it until it was taken to court. A very real solution for dealing with the result of our society's problems until we have actually addressed the root problems.

Sigh, MT, I hate disagreeing with you, because you're one of my favorite posters. At the same time, I kind of like it because you're one of my favorite posters! :wink:
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Postby Melodious_Thunk » Mon May 31, 2004 11:40 am

Smurfette, I realize that these hypothetical examples (especially the first) would be rare. But they would exist. And any time the government starts making rules (or allowing universities to make rules, which is essentially the same thing), those rules are going to be set in stone, and if those rules facilitate discrimination, people are going to get screwed.

Smurfette wrote:Zip codes (plus 4) would be another great method. Even if a millionaire does choose to locate his family in the projects, his children would still have to face the daily uncertainty of passing by drug dealers, users, bullies, etc. Who are we kidding, though? Millionaires, or even middle class people, are not found in certain zip codes.


Not now, perhaps, but if you start allowing kids from certain zip codes preferential treatment in admissions, I guarantee you that you will instantly see rich people buying properties in those areas to list as their official residence. What that means is that some government agency is then going to have to check to make sure that people live where they say they do and is going to have to prove (presumption of innocence and all) that a kid doesn't live at that address even though his parents own a house there. If that's the solution, it will be very easy to abuse.

Smurfette wrote:From what I understand, the UM undergraduate admissions office was using a point system that gave points to grades, SATs, essays, recommendations, race, socioeconomics, legacy, athletic ability and other extenuating circumstances. You could take into account the difficult situations overcome by your hypothetical students using this very point system. Unwieldy, you might think, but the University of Michigan was perfectly happy using it until it was taken to court. A very real solution for dealing with the result of our society's problems until we have actually addressed the root problems.


From what I understand, being a member of a favored minority (ie. black, Hispanic, or Native American -- not Asian or an immigrant from a non-Spanish-speaking country like Brazil) provided more points than a perfect score on the SAT. The contradictions of the current racially based system are crazy. A white immigrant from Argentina is favored over an olive-skinned immigrant from Brazil, because the former speaks Spanish and the latter Portugese. A Cambodian whose family escaped the Killing Fields of Pol Pot and came to America with nothing more than the clothes on their backs is penalized for being an "Asian/Pacific Islander." Affirmative action might work if everyone were either black or white (and were native-born), but when it gets into favoring certain minorities and penalizing others, it's just crazy. I have little doubt that making it socioeconomic instead of racial would just cause a different set of problems. IMHO, the only solution is to fix the actual problems (many kids, especially poor ones, especially black ones, underachieving academically) rather than trying to hide them at the end of the process, but that would involve society asking uncomfortable questions.

First and foremost: Why do Asians, for example, do better in school and on tests than blacks and whites of the same socioeconomic level? I'll just state for the record (though I would hope it would go without saying) that I don't believe one "race" is inherently more intelligent than another. This difference in test scores and academic performance needs to be considered and not dismissed outright as "racism." Raising the bar for a group that does well and lowering it for a group that does not is, IMO, patently unfair. Having the scale weighted against white people doesn't bother me nearly as much as doing so to people who have immigrated from "the wrong countries."

Smurfette wrote:Sigh, MT, I hate disagreeing with you, because you're one of my favorite posters. At the same time, I kind of like it because you're one of my favorite posters! :wink:


I'm the founding member of the Smurfette Fan Club as well. :wink:

Anyways, your opinions are both well-grounded and well-argued. The fact that you are on the front lines gives you major-league credibility IMO. I'm all in favor of helping poor, disadvantaged kids (which is what you are actually doing). I just think that the time to do it is when they are 6, not when they are 18 or 22, and the method should be to make sure they learn rather than accepting lesser results. The goal ought to be to raise the scores of those who have traditionally not done well, not to lower the bar.
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Postby Smurfette » Mon May 31, 2004 12:22 pm

Melodious_Thunk wrote:Not now, perhaps, but if you start allowing kids from certain zip codes preferential treatment in admissions, I guarantee you that you will instantly see rich people buying properties in those areas to list as their official residence. What that means is that some government agency is then going to have to check to make sure that people live where they say they do and is going to have to prove (presumption of innocence and all) that a kid doesn't live at that address even though his parents own a house there. If that's the solution, it will be very easy to abuse.

This isn't so hard, either. Check their high school transcripts. As long as most public schools are zoned, students must attend the school whose zone in which they reside. If a student resides in a zone with a poorly-performing school, but attends a high-performing one or a private school, then that will raise some red flags in the application process. If a rich person moves into a bad neighborhood and proceeds to send his/her children to a poorly-performing, maybe dangerous public high school just to get his kid some points for college admission rather than sending them to a good school where they could get a better education, then the kid deserves the extra points for having clinically insane parents.
I have little doubt that making it socioeconomic instead of racial would just cause a different set of problems. IMHO, the only solution is to fix the actual problems (many kids, especially poor ones, especially black ones, underachieving academically) rather than trying to hide them at the end of the process, but that would involve society asking uncomfortable questions.

Again, I agree that soving the actual problems of poorly performing schools and the level of children living in poverty is the goal, but that will take time. There are no overnight solutions to the root problems (though requiring mothers who apply for public assistance to use Norplant after the first child would be a start). I'm just troubled about what to do in the meantime with children (of all races) who have shown promise despite the problems they have faced and who could achieve who-knows-what if given half the chance.
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Postby Melodious_Thunk » Mon May 31, 2004 12:47 pm

Smurfette wrote:This isn't so hard, either. Check their high school transcripts. As long as most public schools are zoned, students must attend the school whose zone in which they reside. If a student resides in a zone with a poorly-performing school, but attends a high-performing one or a private school, then that will raise some red flags in the application process. If a rich person moves into a bad neighborhood and proceeds to send his/her children to a poorly-performing, maybe dangerous public high school just to get his kid some points for college admission rather than sending them to a good school where they could get a better education, then the kid deserves the extra points for having clinically insane parents.


At the least, I can say that this wouldn't have worked where I went to school. In my hometown when I was in school, there were four public high schools. (I think there are six now.) One of them was mostly for poor black kids. One was for middle class kids in the newly developed tracts outside of town. Another was mainly for black kids and white people who lived in trailers. Then there was the biggest and oldest school in the area. While the others had about 1,000 students, my school had 2,500. It offered the most electives and clubs, and it was said to have the best teachers. Our school consistently won award after award. That was the school everyone wanted their kids to go to. The school zone was about a third of the county, so it included both rich and poor neighborhoods, including a couple of housing projects. Many rich people who lived outside the zone did exactly what I described previously: They either bought property in the zone or just blatantly lied about where they lived so that their kids could go to my school. It would be very simple for them to buy a property in a poor neighborhood to help their kids get into college but that would also let them attend the most prestigious school in the area.

Smurfette wrote:There are no overnight solutions to the root problems (though requiring mothers who apply for public assistance to use Norplant after the first child would be a start).


A good start indeed!
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Postby DragonEagle » Mon May 31, 2004 2:36 pm

I agree with MT that judging people by income would just substitute one set of problems for another:

http://capmag.com/article.asp?id=3143

According to the info in this article, poverty and income levels are in a constant state of flux, as MT pointed out also, so how can we really judge based on economic status?

Most of us think judging by race is wrong.

Judging by income seems impossible convoluted and abusable.

DDays thinks nobody should be judged by their grades, even though that is what they will be judged on when they are actually in college.

So are their any other options??

DD- Who is to pick up the tab for one free year of college for all?

If everybody is let in under your system, do they get a choice of which school? They obviously are only so many places per school, so some criteria must be in place. First apply, first in?

What about private schools? Should they be forced to accept just anybody who applies? Harvard and Yale, open to the masses?
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Postby Smurfette » Mon May 31, 2004 11:19 pm

Melodious_Thunk wrote:It would be very simple for them to buy a property in a poor neighborhood to help their kids get into college but that would also let them attend the most prestigious school in the area.

Still, with a holistic approach that looked at a variety of factors, including tax returns and welfare applications, I don't think it would be so much of a problem. Michigan had been counting zip codes under its old policy, and you didn't see an influx of property buyers into the Upper Peninsula just to get a few admissions points for their children. As long as universities continue to use systems that look at the whole picture, rather than just grades or just SAT scores or just extenuating circumstances, you won't see that much of the scenarios you describe. Especially considering with that same money that families are using to buy properties in poor neighborhoods to pretend they live there, they could probably just donate it to the school and buy their child's way in.
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Postby Smurfette » Mon May 31, 2004 11:51 pm

DragonEagle wrote:I agree with MT that judging people by income would just substitute one set of problems for another:

http://capmag.com/article.asp?id=3143

According to the info in this article, poverty and income levels are in a constant state of flux, as MT pointed out also, so how can we really judge based on economic status?

Forgive me for being sceptical about a magazine article about poverty from Capitalism Magazine (just as I'd be sceptical about any article on business from the Socialist Sun or the Communist Times.) Sure, some people are poor for periods in their lives, but you would have to be crazy to say that a permanent poor underclass does not exist! I see it every day; I don't need a magazine to tell me it's not there. The article uses a lot of neat statistics, but it helps to remember that statistics are easily manipulated to support any argument. What's the saying? Statistics are like skimpy bikinis...they reveal a lot, but are often used to hide the best parts. Something like that.

BTW, if you used the reasoning that the article uses for judging poverty, anyone with electricity and a flush toilet would be considered rich, as those were luxuries in the late 1800's. What you have to remember is that, as technology comes out, products are more expensive. They get cheaper, relative to income, through the years. Thus, while a microwave may have been a luxury years ago, at $30, they're not so much of a luxury item anymore. It might even save on energy costs, as it is much quicker to heat something in the microwave than to preheat an oven and cook something (only a guess).

Or take the TV argument. The author of the article is leaving a lot unsaid. A lot of information is distributed via TV nowadays. For example, when it's snowing, we tell our parents to get up before school and check the TV to see if school is closed or not. Oh, and he made do with black-and-white TVs? Well, it really helped that when he was growing up, BW TVs were not only cheaper than color TVs, they were easy to find. I can't remember the last time I saw a BW TV for sale in a shop.

Just to clarify what I am saying: I'm not saying use income as the only factor in deciding college admissions. Use an applicant's background as a part of a comprehensive decisionmaking process. Like what the University of Michigan was doing before the AA lawsuit, just with race taken out but leaving socioeconomic status in.
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Postby DragonEagle » Tue Jun 01, 2004 12:49 pm

At first glance, giving education to everyone and cutting slack to people who didn't have as good of an education may seem like good ideas, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, it becomes unworkable.

Smurfette, the main point I was taking from that article was not that "poor" people have more appliances than most people in "modern" Japan do, but that people and families go in and out of "official poverty" quickly and often.

So if universitiess use socioeconomics as a factor, what formula do they use to measure: the students family income at the time of application, a weighted average from school age to now, a lifetime average (0-6 years old is 1/3 of the applicant's life), or what? Also, please define the socio- part of socioeconomics, because using that term instead of "family income" or "economic status" sounds dangerously close to putting race back into the equation.

Also, can you REALLY judge students based on that? A better measure might be how much time and money a family put into their child's education through time spent going to PTA meetings, helping with homework, taking kids to museums etc. And the assumption is that people with a higher income spend more money and time on these things than people with a lower income. And across the board that may be true, but I bet there are a lot of cases where the opposite is true too.

So, I say that making these broad generalizations that lower income automatically equals a worse education can't really be trusted. And they can't be trusted enough to stake students entrance or denial on it.

DD, you wrote that educaiton is more important than grades. We all know that the grading system is imperfect, but I challenge you to give me a better measure of educational sucess than grades. Why is the "educaiotn" at some unversities valued more highly than the education at other places. There are many factors such as faculty and facilities, but I would argue that the single biggest factor is the difficultly of entry.

If a school is difficult to enter (ie many applicants for a limited number of spots) then naturally a group of above average ability (or a group of above average ability + kids of rich alumni + sponsored minority students) will be the students. Most of the selection process to enter the university is based on grades and SAT scores. I say that this in turn tends to attract the best professors because they want to teach the best pupils and the reverse, students want to learn form the best to. So, the best teaching the best is where the perceived "great education" reputation is gained.

How do you measure an education?

I think that retaining educational choice at the university level is crucial. It DOES ensure that as many people as possible get a higher educaiton. If you are brilliant, then you go to Harvard or MIT. If you just barely scraped by but want to continue on, then you start at community college. Under this system schools have to compete for students and tend to develop specialties that make them stand out. Whether that be the best Engineering department in the country or being the most affordable school in the tri-state area depend on the goals of the school.

If high schools had this system, where students could go to any school that they could get accepted at, it would put a lot more pressure on the schools to improve their quality. They would be forced to compete for resources and offer a better education, or they would face a decline in enrollment and therefore lose resources.

I DON'T think the entrance test should be like on Japanese high schools, where rote memorization is what is being tested, I think tests with essay or long answers and test that encourage/measure free thinking and problem solving skills would be better.

But this has faced fierce, fierce resistance from teacher's unions. I wonder why this is? Smurfette, I'm really interested to hear your take on school choice/school vouchers. I own my own eikaiwa, I compete for students. I have to give them what they want or suffer the consequences. I am confident enough in my teaching ability that I am willing to compete with other teachers of English for students, I know I can do as well or better than them. I think that there are some (not all) public school teachers who fear this kind of system because they will be exposed as poor teachers.
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Postby Smurfette » Tue Jun 01, 2004 2:37 pm

DragonEagle wrote:At first glance, giving education to everyone and cutting slack to people who didn't have as good of an education may seem like good ideas, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, it becomes unworkable.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is not only workable, but it is actually in practice, and has been in practice at schools. I just think they should take the race part out of it.

Smurfette, the main point I was taking from that article was not that "poor" people have more appliances than most people in "modern" Japan do, but that people and families go in and out of "official poverty" quickly and often.

Again, I don't trust statistics from magazines that exist to propagate one particular ideology, but I'll go with it for the moment. Putting aside the possibility that those people going in and out of poverty are not the same people, which would be troubling, and going with the numbers in that article, that still leaves an underclass of 7 million chronically poor people, many of whom are children. Remember, this guy is not trying to report something with a unbiased mind, he's writing to support capitalism.
So if universities use socioeconomics as a factor, what formula do they use to measure: the students family income at the time of application, a weighted average from school age to now, a lifetime average (0-6 years old is 1/3 of the applicant's life), or what?

You're right, we have many options to choose from. I guess individual universities can decide which formula best meets their needs.
Also, please define the socio- part of socioeconomics, because using that term instead of "family income" or "economic status" sounds dangerously close to putting race back into the equation.

Again, you're right to distinguish between socioeconomic status and economic status. The socio- takes into account social factors of the applicant's childhood: parents' occupations, income, and education level; language spoken at home; whether English is the applicant's first language; whether the applicant was born in the US; whether one or both parents are present, deceased, or incarcerated; quality of schools attended, where the applicant lives, etc. I'm sure I'm forgetting other commonly used factors. You could throw in extenuating circumstances, such as difficulties that the student had to overcome, like child abuse, sexual abuse, homelessness, etc.
Also, can you REALLY judge students based on that?

Put together with traditional methods, like grades, SATs, essays, extracurriculars and personal recommendations, I would think so. I think you get a much more balanced picture as to what the applicant has achieved.
So, I say that making these broad generalizations that lower income automatically equals a worse education can't really be trusted. And they can't be trusted enough to stake students entrance or denial on it.

You're absolutely right that an admissions decision cannot be staked on one aspect of the candidate's application. That's why we need the comprehensive approach that takes many factors into consideration.

edit: It's 1:40am, so the whole school choice thing will have to wait. I wouldn't consider comparing eikaiwas to public schools a particularly valid comparison, however.
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Postby DragonEagle » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:23 pm

DD,

I think you make some valid points, but it is pretty annoying to debate with you when you dismiss the points of others by using explicatives and you ignore 90% of the questions posed to you.

DE
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Postby DragonEagle » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:33 pm

I was just using Ivy league names because they are well known. Of all of the other schools you named, I don't think any of them are EASY to get into. Sure, the schools with the best names might not necessarily offe rthe number one education, but they have a good name for a reason. I don't think Berkely and Texas take all applicants, do they?

The reason I even brought any of those points up was that you said that "education" is more important than grades. I'll ask you again:

How do YOU measure "education"?

From your post, it seems like you may measure it "in terms of percentages of staff who are members of the National Academy of Science, Noble prize winners, research grants, and so on." But I don't want to put words in your mouth, so I'm giving you another chance to answer.

It sounds like you are a hard-working guy who pulled himself up by the bootstraps. My mom's family was poor too, 8 kids and my G-dad was a door to door vacuum cleaner saleman. 8 kids became 8 college eduacated kids including 2 lawyers, a teacher, and a colonel in the Army.

If you weren't from a family that valued education, do you think that state subsidized higher education would have made you care about it.

I think education starts at home, and kids that live in families that don't value education are going to be at a disadvantage whether they are rich or poor, black white or purple. It is unfortunate but true.
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Postby monkeypants » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:34 pm

Is zucchini even available this time of year?
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Postby DragonEagle » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:40 pm

Also, if I'm not mistaken, Phi Beta Kappa is an honor society based mostly on grades as a criteria for entry. If you abhor the grading process so much, why brag about your father's inclusion in this society?

Personally, I think that being a member is noteworthy, but you seem to be a study in contradictions.
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Postby Ojii » Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:19 pm

dogdays wrote:
If you went to Harvard and were one of the 80 percent of first-year students who had an "A" average I would dismiss it as "keeping the customer happy."


The Harvard University Secret Grading System

Are you familar with the grading system at Harvard? Most people don't know that students attend a class for a semester, take the examination and after seeing their scores, decide on whether to 'sign-up' for the Class/Grade or whatever you want to call it.

That's the system, believe it or not!

:shock:

DDog, I have to say that your RANKING LIST is just a
BIG LOAD of BULL SH :poo: T. Do you really buy into that school ranking crap? It's based on a bunch of self-promotional sales B.S. Yeah, there are groups of good schools and such, but placing some AP-like sports ranking poll is going a little overboard, is it not?


Yes, I know that Ojii. But having members in the National Academy of Sciences is not bullshit. That was my point. I hope that you read the entire thing because what I wrote suggested that there was not particular order, but the schools I mentioned are full of excellent scholars in a variety of fields. That was my point.
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Postby DragonEagle » Thu Jun 03, 2004 12:10 am

dog,

you have a lot of anger that you obviously need to work out. I'm just trying to have a discussion, man, not flame you. You are the one elevating things to a personal level.
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Postby SrinTuar » Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:33 am

Smurfette wrote:The competitor on the pedestal manages to jump .3 meters and make it over the bar. The competitor on the ground works hard, but only manages to jump 7.5 meters. Who is a stronger competitor?


In this case, the competitor on the pedestal is better because the one on the ground cant possibly be human ;)
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Postby SrinTuar » Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:42 am

dogdays wrote:In my opinion most Americans do not like education, and most Canadians loathe it. That is the real problem as I see it. I wish that I were alone in thinking that but I have heard so many of my professors say it that I had to start to mull it over. I did not like the results of my thinking it over.


I think this is the core of the problem.
Which is why Im automatically suspicious of anyone with too much education.

If they really wanted to learn or discover things, what the hell were they doing in schoolってば
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Postby sirwanksalot » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:56 am

DragonEagle wrote:dog,

you have a lot of anger that you obviously need to work out. I'm just trying to have a discussion, man, not flame you. You are the one elevating things to a personal level.



Just read the last few posts and I agree with that.



Its funny that a banned troll can start such a popular thread.


Sorry I dont want to read the rest of the thread :puke:
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Postby monkeypants » Thu Jun 03, 2004 5:02 am

sirwanksalot wrote:
DragonEagle wrote:dog,

you have a lot of anger that you obviously need to work out. I'm just trying to have a discussion, man, not flame you. You are the one elevating things to a personal level.



Just read the last few posts and I agree with that.



Its funny that a banned troll can start such a popular thread.


Sorry I dont want to read the rest of the thread :puke:


Ah, but then you'll miss Smurfette's zucchini recipe. :( (Which, btw, may or may not be available this time of year)
Last edited by monkeypants on Thu Jun 03, 2004 5:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Smurfette » Thu Jun 03, 2004 7:34 am

monkeypants wrote:Is zucchini even available this time of year?

:shock: Zucchini is a summer squash, so unless you're down under, it should be available. Where are you from monkeypants? If you're not from North America, I might forgive you.
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Postby Smurfette » Thu Jun 03, 2004 7:41 am

monkeypants wrote:Ah, but then you'll miss Smurfette's zucchini recipe. :( (Which, btw, may or may not be available this time of year)

Zucchini bread, man, it's bread! :x ... :P :wink:

And you are absofvkinglutely right that any newcomers to this thread should go to the first page and get that recipe. At the risk of sounding immodest, it's the best zucchini bread recipe that you will come across. I wish I could say that it was my skill in the kitchen that makes my zucchini bread totally rock, but it's the recipe.
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Postby Smurfette » Thu Jun 03, 2004 7:55 am

SrinTuar wrote:
Smurfette wrote:The competitor on the pedestal manages to jump .3 meters and make it over the bar. The competitor on the ground works hard, but only manages to jump 7.5 meters. Who is a stronger competitor?


In this case, the competitor on the pedestal is better because the one on the ground cant possibly be human ;)

Well, I was going to type in 1.5m, but I thought I would make it really trendy and topical, and take the current HGH fad into account. Obviously, it was lost on you. :roll: :P :P :wink:

Plausible? No? Well, what can I say? I had just rolled out of bed and was still waking up when I posted.
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Postby Melodious_Thunk » Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:46 am

I think I have to agree with Dragon Eagle. Dogdays, I just skimmed through the whole thread and I didn't see DE directing any scorn at black kids.

FWIW, I have to agree with DE's basic positions. I don't think university should be *absolutely free* for everyone. It should be open and accessible to people who want to attend, and I think it is. At least in my home state (Southern and relatively poor), if you come out of high school with even a "C" average, you can go to a state university without even worrying about your SAT or ACT score. (At least that's the way it was about 15 years ago.) In-state tuition at the time was less than $2,000 annually, and if you were poor, there were plenty of grants, scholarships, and student loans available. We're not talking about Harvard, Brown, or U. of M., but I find it hard to believe that anyone in my state who wanted to go to college would be unable to do so. And for those people who couldn't even manage to get a 2.0 in high school, they could go to a junior college for two years and then, if they made decent grades, transfer all their credits to the four-year university. If someone isn't willing to work to get even a 2.0 in high school, isn't willing to apply for grants, isn't willing to take out a loan at almost zero interest, and isn't interest in going to junior college, then I don't see that they deserve a higher education at public expense.

Next, I think the idea of introducing competition into the educational system is a great idea. Question for Smurfette and Dogdays:

I lived in New Orleans, as did Smurfette. The public school system there is absolutely atrocious, and it is not for lack of money. Some 20% (I believe) of all the funds each year are just unaccounted for. Not wasted, not spent inefficiently -- stolen. And the money that is spent is spent poorly. The quality of education is bad, and many of the buildings are dilapidated. So the question is this: If you lived there and had a kid in school, would you send him to John F. Kennedy High (horrible, inner-city school in Mid City, which would be his public school zone if you lived in the relatively affluent Lakefront district), or would you send him to a private school? I would send my kid to Jesuit (the best Catholic school in the city) in a heartbeat, and I'm not even religious. How about you? And if you would send your kid to private school, why shouldn't poorer parents have that same option? I think people should be allowed to send their kids to any public school in the area that they choose or should be provided with a voucher for the equivalent amount of money that they can apply toward an education at a private school.

The biggest travesty is trapping poor kids in failing schools. Giving them added points to get into an elite college or graduate school 12-16 years later, whether it is based on race or on income, is just a way of ignoring the underlying problem.

Some people in this thread have said that education starts at home. I agree entirely, and I understand where Smurfette is coming from when she speaks of parents who don't do much parenting. I wouldn't have anything against more after-school programs or Saturday schooling (with better accountability as to how the money is spent) to help those kids who made the "mistake" of being born into the permanent underclass to a parent (usually only one) who may or may not give a shit about their child's education, but I think that's really about all that can be done. Giving points later in life to one group that has consistently done lower than average while kneecapping another group that has excelled (and I'm talking of Asian immigrants, not white people) doesn't make any sense. It certainly isn't fair.

The analogy about certain kids jumping over the bar from a pedestal while others jump from the ground is inaccurate. Chinese kids don't automatically have 500 points added to their SAT scores. A better analogy would be some kids training (being trained) in the high jump while others are not. The solution is not to lower the bar but to raise performance.

Sadly, this is all a moot point in the US at least, as the Supreme Court has chosen to legitimize a racial spoils system by which minorities that have made the mistake of doing well academically, like "Asian/Pacific Islander," are punished.
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Postby Melodious_Thunk » Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:41 am

dogdays wrote:Sorry MT, but his initial post implied that it was "black kids" using race were at fault for applying to college and getting in.


Okay, I see what you're saying at least. It's true that being black isn't a choice.

dogdays wrote:Not only is it not true (Students are admitted into university. It is not like choosing to go left or right on a platform), but it underlies a larger problem in DE's thinking: race is THE issue, which it clearly is not when one knows the ins and outs of the admissions process at any university.


Yes, one of the other factors in recent years at some schools is an applicant's political leanings. Applicants are required to write an essay on "diversity." Not only are universities going to pursue radical leftist social engineering by implementing the idea of "group rights" and favoring certain minorities over others, they are going to intimidate and penalize anyone who doesn't toe the Party line (and that's capitalized on purpose) and sing Hosannahs to it all.
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Postby DragonEagle » Thu Jun 03, 2004 6:43 pm

Since the thread was broken down into booted trolls and (delicious) zucchini recipies, I threw up my initial comment with the intention of actually just making fun of dorky foreigners in Japan that can score with hot girls ala Charisma Man

http://www.karatethejapaneseway.com/boo ... a_man.html

But I certainly don't shy away from the fact that certain people take advantage of their skin color, blacks, whites, asians and hispanics. I never said anybody was at fault for applying to college and getting accepted. You are twisting my words.

But I think I see sunshine coming through the clouds a bit DogDays. We can agree that forcing diversity on people doesn't actually create much diversity at all.

However, I have to totally disagree when you say that higher education (do you mean both public and private?) needs to pick up the slack for failing primary and secondary education. That is just treating the symptoms and ignoring the disease.

The root of the problem is that schools are not really held accountable for the education that they provide. And Bush's "No Child Left Behind" act recognizesthis fact, but then totally screwed up everything after that, fixed nothing, and made some things worse. The easiest way to hold schools accountable for the education they provide, would be to let parents vote with their feet.

If a school is good, keep your kid there. If a school is bad, transfer out, and take your mooney (voucher) with you. I think it would only be 2-3 years before there was a big, big shakeout of real schools from pretenders.

Most other attempts to fix schools are either cosmetic, require a mountain of beauracracy, or simply thrown money down the drain without producing results.

I would say that while not perfect, (mostly due to price differences caused by public funding) the current university system does a relatively decent job of seperating the good schools from the bad.

DD, you would agree with me here if you care about the poor, which I know you do. You see, rich people can already vote with their feet, by moving to a good school district or sending the kids off to private schoo, and they often do, leaving urban schools with a shrinking tax base to fund themselves from. School vouchers would be a way to "level the playing field" and give everyone a chance to find the school that is best for their kid.

If any of you think that letting parents decide where their kids are educated is a bad idea, I seriously welcome your comments.
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Postby yume25 » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:17 pm

Why school vouchers? I mean, really? Why not bend the mind around the task of improving public schools? Private schools are well-funded enough without the government footing the bill for a child to move into one. This isn't like tax breaks for American companies in global competition, this is money almost freely given to private educational institutions that are in direct competition with public schools funded by the government. Why can't this public money be spent on public schools?

To be a teacher (not an Eikaiwa teacher) is a rather high form of altruism considering the remuneration compared to those of an equal education level in other industries. If the American Administration is so keen to spend money on children's education, why not rehabilitate what we already have available instead of leaving it for dead to shovel money into private institutions? If the Federal Government feels it can mandate testing as some form of evaluation on public education systems, then it can certainly allocate the necessary funds to ensure the success of these same public schools.

I tend to agree more with DD (less the incendiary and condescending tone) and Smurfette in principle. Fix the schools, pay for the teachers necessary for smaller classes, pay the teachers a more competitive wage or offer benefits that can help offset solely monetary concerns. Also, don't rely on standardized "advancement" tests, as we all know how well that has worked out in Japan.

I realize I speak only in relation to the US and you have to forgive me for my exclusion of other systems as this is the one I'm most familiar with. My belief, in brief, is that if the proper attention and the right brains and money were applied to this "vital interest," public schools from elementary to tertiary could rise to the current level, or within reasonable proximity, enjoyed by such institutions as the University of Michigan and Berkeley.

Sure, education starts at home, but if you have highly credentialed, motivated teachers, that can make a lot of difference. Especially if your school isn't crumbling down around you and your History teacher majored in Psychology in college.

Edited for minor changes and to add: I do hold different opinions about admittance to colleges and universities, though I believe such tertiary institutions should still be affordable and academically rigorous. I think it is a public trust to educate the nation's children and to do it well. I think an adult, however, should be responsible for themselves.
Last edited by yume25 on Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby sirwanksalot » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:42 pm

dogdays wrote:
sirwanksalot wrote:
DragonEagle wrote:dog,

you have a lot of anger that you obviously need to work out. I'm just trying to have a discussion, man, not flame you. You are the one elevating things to a personal level.



Just read the last few posts and I agree with that.



Its funny that a banned troll can start such a popular thread.


Sorry I dont want to read the rest of the thread :puke:


That's too bad. You might understand the irony of somebody selecting "black kids" out for his scorn now suggesting that I am making things personal. If I were angry I wouldn't be sitting here typing, but there isn't much in the thread so forgive my response to your message.


I meant the previous pages but Ill look now. :idea:
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Postby SrinTuar » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:54 pm

yume25 wrote:Fix the schools, pay for the teachers necessary for smaller classes, pay the teachers a more competitive wage or offer benefits that can help offset soley monetary concerns. Also, don't rely on standardized "advancement" tests, as we all know how well that has worked out in Japan. I would think that such concerns would be considered of vital interest to the US, as it has a direct impact on our future.


I also had an education reform plan:

1. Eliminate grade levels:
- replace age-based grades with coursework based acheivement levels
- separate advancement in each subject (you can advance at your own
speed in each subject)
- all advancement incumbent upon completetion of standarized test
- remove extra-curricular activities to non-school "clubs"
(sports/drama/etc) club availability either volunteer or for pay.
not subsidized.
- diploma available after reaching qualifying levels in each
mandatory subject, and some number of elective subjects
- relaxed requirements in subjective coursework
(no grading essays based upon "opinion", each deduction must
be qualified)
- no reporting periods- students can elect to take advancement tests at
any time they are ready. All advancement is asynchronous. No
pressure to take a test at any particular time. Courses/lectures/Q&A
sessions all scheduled either asynchronously or on a semester basis.

2. Universal availability:
- available to all citizens regardless of age
- no courses available until applicant passes qualifying test
- after a HS diploma, one BS+Minor level of education available
to all who qualify, no matter how long it takes them.
(repeat failure fee for college level courses)

3. Restore prestige to teaching:
- very high salary
- select best candidates
- authority to remove disruptive individuals from class
(that is the highest level of punishment available though)
- university style classrooms from fourth grade and up.
(large class sizes, Q&A sessions, individual motivation)
- councilors to help students determine if they are on track,
recommend coursework
- student organized study groups on campus
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Postby SrinTuar » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:00 am

SrinTuar wrote:I also had an education reform plan:


Also, one thing I forgot to add:
Teacherless advancement: A student isnt required to enroll in any particular classes: he can choose self study and take the advancement test when ready.
Also, Q&A sessions, which are scheduled upon request, where a student can ask questions and get answers. (by email, letter, or in person depending upon the nature of the question) (all tests must be in person of course)

To continue with the "mandatory" aspect of primary&secondary education, it will still be illegal to employ underage children. And until at least fourteen, physical attendance during school hours rogardless of study program will be mandatory. (even for self-study)
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