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New Journalism is Mindless, Example Included

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posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 09:11 AM
WSJ Article on Math Understanding and Language

Correlation does not equal causation, and this phrase has been repeated enough in the last decade to almost have become a saying in our culture. When will empty headed journalists wrap their brains around this basic fact? Or at the very least, when will editors of supposedly serious publications stop accepting garbage like this as material for their audiences to consume?

If English makes numbers too hard for our hard-working students in this country to understand, then the French-speaker should be absolutely screwed. The fact is that it is not the way we speak our numbers that leads us to be #30 on the planet, it is the fact that we coddle our students in highly bureaucratic government factory schools instead of truly investing in their education the way we are meant to as enlightened free people.

South Korea has a multi-billion dollar tutoring industry on top of their excellent schools in which parents are proactively engaged. Japan has regular abacus practice and competitions to the point that many of their students can perform advanced calculations at lightning speed without the aide of any devices whatsoever. The abacus has a physical orientational relationship to numbers and has nothing to do with language whatsoever. In most of these countries, students return home from school and spend long hours each and every day studying.

You can hardly get American students to fill out a simple worksheet over the course of an entire week, let alone get two solid hours of studying out of them and this is assuming that they even pay attention in the first place while they are in class and that their teacher is relaying the information to them in an effective manner.

Essentially, in most states, you get these teachers who only teach in city schools for the financial perks and they end up treating the job like a burden over time, feeling entitled to their paycheck regardless of their performance simply because they've bothered to show up for a number of years. These people have the mentality of government paper pushers more than the moral calling of educators, and their attitude towards their students bleeds down into everything else they do.

This poor attitude probably stems from the emotional state that parents have for their own children, meaning that these poorly behaved spastics show up and are herded into desks everyday only because their parents would rather send them away for most of the day than to try to deal with them personally. The education system ends up becoming in practice a form of government subsidized day care and no one ultimately is the better for it.

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 09:21 AM
Do you remember mad minutes ? I used to rock those. My kids not so much. They are not even being taught the vocabulary in math. It makes helping them very frustrating.

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 09:40 AM
a reply to: Iamthatbish

I attended a private Christian school growing up, so what may have been ubiquitous culturally during my childhood, I am probably unaware of it. My parents wouldn't even let me watch the Simpsons, MTV or Rosanne growing up, so when it came to people outside of their highly insulated community, I was largely unable to relate to them.

I think our math instruction came from a book written in 1820 or something like that, lol. I do remember doing square roots long handed and I've never seen that in any public school curriculum or even college level for that matter, and I tutored remedial math at the university level for five years while I got my B.S.

I know this much, I've tutored many high school students who have been struggling of friends of mine over the years and was able to pull most of them out of the danger zone. This one girl in particular is now working on an engineering degree and when I first started teaching her mathematics the way I learned it she was a failing student in the topic. Math is now a passion of hers and she attributes that to our time together.

Personally, I think mathematics is indifferent from any other form of logic. You have set definitions and rules to follow and once you learn those rules, you can manipulate the variables in almost unlimited ways. Personally, I think math should almost be taught like a symbolic logic therefore language shouldn't matter at all. The only area of math where you really need a lot of memorization is geometry and that is a subject which really can be circumvented in many situations other than its most basic formulas. Proofs are just terrible. Why we are still hung up on forcing children to memorize proofs in this day and age is beyond me. We should be teaching the subject more like a set of options going from basic linear math to algebra to trig to calc and really teaching the whole thing more fluidly instead of compartmentalizing things.

I've gotten 8 year olds to replicate the basic understandings necessary to deal with algebra. There is no reason we have to wait until 5th grade to introduce these concepts. They should encounter their first variables almost right out of the gate, and this way when they come across variables in the future, it won't be as confusing for them.

What I've seen in most people who struggle with math is an emotional shutdown. Their mind encounters things it doesn't understand and it gets hung up on those. If instead of using complicated variables like greek symbols, we teach people to substitute in whatever variable works for them as if it were a programming language, they seem to have an easier time at things.

Often times, I'd only ever use a, b, c, d, etc, even at the college level. People seem to be less overwhelmed solving for "a" than they are solving for delta for one reason or another. I guess it is literally all greek to them. ;p

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 10:07 AM
a reply to: Nechash

aren't you special.

it's not the fact that it's taxpayer funded that's the problem, the problem is in the system itself.

it's not coddling, that's the wrong word to describe it.

It's more complex; more subtle.

It doesn't help schools get a big part of their funding via property taxes in the US, which are typically handled on a local-basis. It also doesn't help no-child-left behind policies and standardized tests force schools to teach simple regurgitation of information rather than actually teach to think.

Still though, for some, for a blessed few who show and are able to take advantage of the existing system, there are pathways out of poverty. Frankly I feel pitty for a lot of teachers, I remember incompetence sure, but I remember a great deal of competence.

I went to a charter school, with online components, I did much worse because I didn't always have someone pressuring me to finish schoolwork.

as for school being subsidized day-care; consider this (I'm in college now, this was mentioned in sociology); but it keeps people out of the labor-market.

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 10:26 AM
a reply to: NonsensicalUserName

Taxpayer funding isn't a problem when most people see themselves as taxpayers. Taxpayer funding is only a problem when most people see the public school system as a free lunch and a break from their responsibilities of parenting.

Property tax is an inherent evil. Firstly, no person should have their primary residence taxed, because it implies that if disability or poverty strikes them, the government has the right to render them homeless if they don't pay extortion to the state.

Secondly, any school however it is funded should be built upon the participation of the parents. When the parents are largely absent, the system is going to fail almost every time, because bureaucrats do not have the same motivational interests to ensure that a child is properly educated as a parent would were they themselves educated enough to understand what such an education should look like.

Charter schools have many of the same dynamics and statistics as private schools. You had a wonderful opportunity to grow at your own pace and you coasted. That is no one's fault but your own. I've seen students enter charter schools and jump ahead by years worth of school work in just a few months. It all depends on the student. That is another problem with our education system, it assumes that everyone is going to benefit from 12 years of education, and the simple fact is that many students check out mentally long before their 18th birthday. Why should we continue to spend collective resources for their advancement when they have elected to skate through life?

Personally, I think compulsory education should end around the 6th grade. After that point, if a student has no more interest in learning, why force them to sit at a desk all day and obey the whims of bureaucrats? If we expelled more students from middle school and high school permanently, we'd have a lot less unruly trouble makers for the average teacher to deal with, and this would lift up the experience for the rest of the class. Besides, given our current system even a person who never attended a single day of school in their life can still get a GED and go on to university. There is no reason that high school should be either mandatory or guaranteed.

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 10:47 AM
a reply to: Nechash

it is the fact that we coddle our students in highly bureaucratic government factory schools instead of truly investing in their education the way we are meant to as enlightened free people.

Enlightened free people. There you have it Nechash. We, and I speak collectively only for the sake of the umbrella of labeling, have taken what freedom we have had and used it to choose Coke or Pepsi, thick ply with fewer sheaves or thinner ply with more sheaves. We have squandered our freedom for the glitter of baubles and a sense of humor based on canned laughter.

If we blame TPTB for our predicament then might as well blame the devil. Barring an upper crust Machiavellian agenda, an other place to put the blame is on ourselves as Americans. We thought freedom meant free. We taught several generations that freedom meant freedom to consume and devour and to suck suck suck at the teat of prosperity. Well that prosperity is waning rapidly and we are left with a population of toddlers sucking our thumbs and crying it's someone elses fault.

Oh, and as to journalism today. The local TV news programs around here fill their slots with pretty faces that require a journalistic ability to every now and then pronounce a three syllable word correctly.

edit on 13-9-2014 by TerryMcGuire because: Oh, and as to journalism today. The local TV news programs around here fill their slots with pretty faces that require a journalistic ability to every now and then pronounce a three syllable word correctly.

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 09:47 PM
To be honest, in america the public school system is not equal across the states. When I brought my daughters to Michigan, they only attended 2 days in school before I was advised by the counselor to place them in private school or homeschool them! The private schools all had waiting lists in my area, so I had soon been educated myself in homeschooling my kids! They were more advanced than the local schools and so I had created a program for them to learn at their own pace. They naturally graduated early, took on employment and through scholarships and grants went to college earlier then their peers.

My point is that I don't understand why public schools cannot create a curriculum allowing students to learn at their own pace? The students that need assistance can get get it from teachers and assistants. The students that can excel on their own can do so until they need their questions answered. The teacher would be able to assist all the students needs as needed. Providing more real one on one action learning or is that asking too much of our teachers to be more knowledgeable over a larger spectrum of their subject? From simple basics to more advanced?

Edit add: let me clarify, the counselor indicated to me that my daughters were just unfortunate to be falling within the specific grades that the school system was having difficulty with due to the disorderly conduct of the children! My daughters were aghast at the disrespect the children had for the teachers and were allowed to get away with it! The classes were total disruption and they could not learn. Such a situation should be unacceptable even in public schools. Yes, some children act out due for their need for attention. One would think that a child's natural curiosity would curb such disorder if the schools followed a more personal approach as I stated above.
edit on 9 13 2014 by CynConcepts because: Clarification

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