So let’s go sort this out

Robert Reich on what ails America:

We overlooked that our educational system left almost 80% of our young people unable to comprehend a news magazine and many others unprepared for work.

OK, so how do we cure that? There’s no shortage of money in the K-12 system*. Must be the way it’s spent therefore.

So, what, kill the teachers’ unions first?

*As an example, Baltimore, which is no one’s poster boy of a fine system, spends more per pupil, on a PPP adjusted basis, than Finland does. And Finland is considered perhaps the best school system in the world by the usual suspects.

23 thoughts on “So let’s go sort this out”

  1. It’s not true though. The 80% figure presumably comes from the Stanford 2016 study which found that kids aren’t very good at distinguishing adverts from content in online media. This is hardly surprising in itself – most kids don’t know things that they aren’t taught. (Not you, clever reader: you knew all this stuff since you were a baby. Only other people are dumb.)

    The specific question asked seemed designed to mislead. The researchers mocked up a fake Slate homepage, with a range of headlines. One headline was “The Real Reasons Women Don’t Go Into Tech”, and it was labelled “Sponsored Content”. 80% of kids failed to correctly answer the binary question “This is / is not (circle one) and advertisement”.

    It seems entirely plausible that the kids did not consider it to be advertising in the traditional sense. Clicking the link takes you to an article, not to an online shop, therefore they consider it not advertising. Free online magazines already blur the line between ads and content. Insofar as the entire endeavour is supported by advertising, everything could be considered to be sponsored content.

    The study is here, with the Slate mock-up on page 9: https://stacks.stanford.edu/file/druid:fv751yt5934/SHEG%20Evaluating%20Information%20Online.pdf

  2. Baltimore, which is no one’s poster boy of a fine system, spends more per pupil, on a PPP adjusted basis, than Finland does. And Finland is considered perhaps the best school system in the world by the usual suspects.

    I’d be very interested to see how the Finnish education system coped with a year’s intake from a typical Baltimore state school….

  3. But throughout America’s postwar history it has been easier to blame others than to blame ourselves…..The greatest danger we face today is not coming from China. It is our drift toward proto-fascism…

    ‘We mustn’t scapegoat the Chinese!’ Also: ‘ It’s those White people ruining America!’

    As an example, Baltimore, which is no one’s poster boy of a fine system, spends more per pupil, on a PPP adjusted basis, than Finland does.

    I wonder what the main difference is between Baltimore and Finland? It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma…

  4. >The specific question asked seemed designed to mislead
    Surely that’s what’s being studied though? These “articles” exist in real life, and are deliberately designed to mislead.

  5. Personally, I think government education is wildly overrated. Most people use almost nothing in their jobs beyond what they learned after the age of 13. That’s good enough to write a company memo, and it’s good enough to know what mean, modal and modal are. A tiny number of kids use science beyond that to make a smaller CPU, an encryption algorithm or a better vaccine.

    Most people at Honda are not PhD or even graduate level. The reason the Japanese car makers beat the Americans is that they were poor, smart and hungry. And they were up against car companies that were fat and lazy. Those companies saw government protection as keeping them in business, rather than making better cars. Because making worse cars (quite deliberately) meant more sales and spare parts. The Japanese knew that to succeed, they’d have to raise their reputation by making a better car. By the time Ford and GM woke up, Toyota had sealed their reputation. Everyone told their friends how great their Corolla was.

    Why is China growing? Because these are people are, or were raised by, people for whom shoes were a luxury. They aren’t expecting days of diversity workshops or working time directives or OSHA laws or that their employer is kind to the environment. 80% of our degrees are unrelated to work. Learning to drive or getting CORGI registered has more value than a history or psychology degree.

  6. “We overlooked that our educational system left …”

    Clearly it also left Mr Reich unable to write a fluent sentence.

  7. “government education is wildly overrated”: ‘”is” => present tense, so fair enough. But the one I got a million years ago was pretty good. Combined with the lessons learnt from our lunchtime debating with my father it meant that when we went to university my brother and I could wipe the floor with people who had had private educations. Them wuz the days.

  8. . . . getting CORGI registered has more value . . .

    Not to disparage your sensible argument, but getting CORGI registered is a waste of time and money now. Because we’re run by people with modern degrees.

  9. In a country infested with frothing Marxist cunts, Robert Reich truly stands alone.

    If you want to understand the rise of antisemitism in the US, just refer to RR’s comments on how white people need to be re-educated.

    The bloke is a putative Genrikh Yagoda

  10. dearieme,

    ““government education is wildly overrated”: ‘”is” => present tense, so fair enough. But the one I got a million years ago was pretty good. ”

    I’m not referring to whether the teaching was any good, but the value of what is learned, and narrowly in terms of productivity. Like history is fun, but it’s rarely useful.

    Most of school is babysitting and government propaganda, with a few useful things thrown in.

  11. “Most of school is babysitting…”

    Rightly or wrongly, I always assumed the Blair/Brown decision to raise the school leaving age was more to do with improving youth unemployment figures than with education.

  12. Dennis, Who Probably Just Offended Someone, Somewhere

    We overlooked that our educational system left almost 80% of our young people unable to comprehend a news magazine and many others unprepared for work.

    Says the college professor. So what is this “we”, Kemosabe?

  13. Dennis, Tiresome Denizen of Central Ohio

    The bloke is a putative Genrikh Yagoda

    He certainly has Yagoda’s height.

  14. Bloke on M4 has a point. I can look at my own family. My father’s schooling stopped when he was 14, as did his siblings, yet all were literate and numerate and all read widely. Of course, their education came from Irish Catholic schools in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and those old nuns and priests understood that they had their pupils for only a short while and so knew how to beat (sometimes literally) an education into them. I wouldn’t be as confident of a grade 8 education today.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    MC,

    “ I’d be very interested to see how the Finnish education system coped with a year’s intake from a typical Baltimore state school….”

    The point is the Finnish system gets them from the start and gets to socialise them properly before even starting to educate them.

  16. “The point is the Finnish system gets them from the start and gets to socialise them properly…”

    I don’t think it’s the Finnish system that socialises them. I think maybe Finnish parents have something to do with it, too.

  17. I don’t think it’s the Finnish system that socialises them. I think maybe Finnish parents have something to do with it, too.

    I would imagine than Finnish culture doesn’t teach them to twerk against an ambulance responding to a fatal shooting either.

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ I don’t think it’s the Finnish system that socialises them. I think maybe Finnish parents have something to do with it, too.”

    It may have changed as it’s some years ago but we (Mrs BiND was teaching Year 1 & reception) but in the Finnish system the first year at school was basically play and social skills. They didn’t try to ram reading and numbers down their throats, they waited until the children we ready. Mrs BiND was most impressed.

  19. TD said:
    “My father’s schooling stopped when he was 14, as did his siblings, yet all were literate and numerate and all read widely.”

    James Bartholomew came up with some data to show that British levels of basic literacy and numeracy were higher before State education than they are now. Difficult to know whether the levels are the same, but it didn’t seem impossible.

  20. “James Bartholomew came up with some data to show that British levels of basic literacy and numeracy were higher before State education than they are now. Difficult to know whether the levels are the same, but it didn’t seem impossible.”

    My great aunt on my fathers side finished her schooling at about the time of the outbreak of WW1, aged about 12 or 13. Her copperplate handwriting was a wonder to behold, and her mental arithmetic skills would put one of todays university graduates to shame. All done with pounds shillings and pence, and imperial measurements too, none of this easy decimalisation malarkey!

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