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Ten oz

Grade school curriculum

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Kids are taught the math skills to balance a checkbook, but have never been taught to actually balance their checkbooks. Schools don't teach the best ways to find an apartment, or write an ad for a roommate, or even how to look for a better job while doing their best and maintaining a good relationship at your current job. Why isn't more curriculum aimed at practical applications? Do lobbyists for religious and financial entities play a role because it best suits their interests?

*Edited and added to a Phi for All post from another thread to use as the OP. 

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I don't think most people understand how for-profit, capitalist-based business models affect the interaction with public concerns like schooling. I tried explaining to the person who cuts my hair that if she adopted Facebook's business model, and found a vendor that would buy bulk cut hair from her, she could cut her customer's hair for free. But then they would be her product, and it wouldn't take long before she was recommending the shortest cut possible for every person. The model you use as an economic solution needs to be the right one.

In a similar way, mixing business models with public schools is the best way to GROW public schooling, which really isn't our problem. The system is big enough. We need to focus on the quality of our education, but too many private concerns have latched on to what should be completely publically funded. We allow private contractors to dictate how they'll service the schools, and now it's all about making money instead of teaching children basic accumulated human knowledge.

This makes public education look expensive, so conservatives keep reducing spending on it (but not the spending that helps private businesses flourish). I think we need to stop diluting the strength of public funding by paying for private profits. Education should be about arming big intelligent human brains with all the knowledge they'll need to be a prosperous member of society. And I think we need to stop the idea of making a profit from projects the People of the United States of America fund with their tax dollars. We need heavy restrictions on lobbying, imo.

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44 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

Kids are taught the math skills to balance a checkbook, but have never been taught to actually balance their checkbooks. Schools don't teach the best ways to find an apartment, or write an ad for a roommate, or even how to look for a better job while doing their best and maintaining a good relationship at your current job. Why isn't more curriculum aimed at practical applications? Do lobbyists for religious and financial entities play a role because it best suits their interests?

*Edited and added to a Phi for All post from another thread to use as the OP. 

That sounds a bit like conspiracy theory to me. In school much of the basic maths is taught and I have seen that in some areas of the US as well as Germany in highschool the way interests work are taught. The issue with check book balancing and other things is that it s very specific to a particular system. I am also not sure how teachers are supposed to teach networking skills at the high-school level (it is difficult enough in college). Rather than some ominous lobbying I suspect it is simply something that no proper curriculum has been developed yet. And frankly, many students are not going to sue it immediately and forget by the time they need it, anyway.

 

31 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I don't think most people understand how for-profit, capitalist-based business models affect the interaction with public concerns like schooling. I tried explaining to the person who cuts my hair that if she adopted Facebook's business model, and found a vendor that would buy bulk cut hair from her, she could cut her customer's hair for free.

So these are various economic models and while I think they are interesting at the college level, I am not sure how well it works in high school.

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2 hours ago, CharonY said:

So these are various economic models and while I think they are interesting at the college level, I am not sure how well it works in high school.

That's my point. How much do private business models applied to public education skew the focus of that education? Is the curriculum being guided by profit motives, or by education motives? In France, they use lunch at school as an opportunity for learning social and nutritional skills. In the US, the food is prepared by outside vendors, and the kids typically have about 15 minutes to eat their Pizza Hut pizza after waiting in a cafeteria line.

Even more to the point, flaws in the public education process aren't being properly addressed, and I suspect all the for-profit assessment testing and learning centers designed to help your child "fit in" to public schools have a great deal to do with it. For-profit education is being jammed into our public system, and I think it's another instance of conservative extremist capitalists keeping their foot on public education's neck so they can bitch about how it can't seem to get on it's own feet.

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Oh, I see your point, I misunderstood your argument. It is a bit worrisome that there is an industry related to food normalizing junk in many cases (in Germany kids generally bring their own lunch, so I do not have  personal experience with that). I was thinking more on the curriculum in the class room, though there the obsession with assessment is indeed an issue.

Edited by CharonY

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50 minutes ago, CharonY said:

I was thinking more on the curriculum in the class room, though there the obsession with assessment is indeed an issue.

Are STEM subjects affected when lobbyists are actively trying to push anti-climate change agendas? We know funding is being cut as we speak for climate monitoring, and with SO much privatization already in public schools, their influence on future young minds will most certainly be felt. I think grade school curriculums need to be free of these kinds of pressures, so they can do what they're supposed to do. The only people who should be making a great living off public education are the educators. 

Education is one of those areas where everyone is better off if we invest heavily in making it work. It's publicly funded education, too much is being siphoned off for private profit, and I think it negatively affects the way US children learn.

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1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

In the US, the food is prepared by outside vendors, and the kids typically have about 15 minutes to eat their Pizza Hut pizza after waiting in a cafeteria line.

We wish.

Cafeteria food absolutely sucks.

1 hour ago, CharonY said:

I was thinking more on the curriculum in the class room, though there the obsession with assessment is indeed an issue.

I'd agree with this.

The system is the problem, not the amount of money they have.

25 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Are STEM subjects affected when lobbyists are actively trying to push anti-climate change agendas?

Unless I'm wrong lobbyists have little control over STEM subjects. Climate change is taught as fact in schools, as it should be. Not as a myth.

25 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

SO much privatization already in public schools, their influence on future young minds will most certainly be felt.

What privatization are you talking about? The curriculums are common core, which was an absolutely horrible attempt by the government to create a standardized curriculum. Teachers are state workers. School construction is privatized, so is some janitorial and maintenance services, but how is that going to affect young minds?

Edited by Raider5678

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3 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

We wish.

Cafeteria food absolutely sucks.

But it's profitable.

6 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

The system is the problem, not the amount of money they have.

Nobody said anything about the amount of money. The arguments were about the way it's spent. Don't you think your education would have been different if the public funding for it wasn't so diluted by private profit? At the very least, they might have been able to prepare better food, or teach you more.

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43 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Education is one of those areas where everyone is better off if we invest heavily in making it work. It's publicly funded education, too much is being siphoned off for private profit, and I think it negatively affects the way US children learn.

 

Where is the money being siphoned off for private profit? Honest question.

12 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Nobody said anything about the amount of money.

 

I thought that's what you meant when you said we should invest heavily in education, my bad. In my defense, I feel like that was a little bit unclarified.

12 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Don't you think your education would have been different if the public funding for it wasn't so diluted by private profit?

What private profit though? Where is the money going?

12 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

But it's profitable.

Schools typically get their food from a program called NSLP. It stands for National School Lunch Program.

Now, I've been looking into how they send the food they receive from NSLP to be processed at more expensive rates because then they do not have to pay skilled kitchen staff to cook actual meals. I don't believe however they're making any significant savings from this practice, however, I'm looking into it.

12 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

At the very least, they might have been able to prepare better food, or teach you more.

How would the money be allocated to teaching us more though?

We already have almost the entire day scheduled with classes, multiple after-school activities, and the only time where they could fit more teaching time in is study hall.

And I don't suggest getting rid of study hall, as that's where most kids do their homework because they don't do it at home.


Another thing they could do is shorten class times in order to fit in more courses, however, I think we both can see the downsides of reducing quality for quantity. 

1 hour ago, CharonY said:

though there the obsession with assessment is indeed an issue.

IMO, we should switch to a system that's called mastery learning.

At my state government thing, I passed a bill that would mandate the creation of a mastery education system.

Anyways, a lot of popular learning sites like Khan Academy use this system.

It's a lot like the current system, with a few changes. 

One of the major things being, decreasing obsession with assessments and tests. I highly encourage you to look into it, as I'm interested in your opinion of it.

 

2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Is the curriculum being guided by profit motives, or by education motives?

Could you give an example of how the curriculum is being guided by profit motives? 

 

Edited by Raider5678

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5 hours ago, Phi for All said:

This makes public education look expensive, so conservatives keep reducing spending on it (but not the spending that helps private businesses flourish). I think we need to stop diluting the strength of public funding by paying for private profits. Education should be about arming big intelligent human brains with all the knowledge they'll need to be a prosperous member of society. And I think we need to stop the idea of making a profit from projects the People of the United States of America fund with their tax dollars. We need heavy restrictions on lobbying, imo.

Throughout my entire working life nearly all my peers who had/have school age children , practically without exception, have used school district ratings as the primary reason for where they live. When I lived in Downtown Oakland, Downtown San Diego, and now in Washington DC many of my co-workers marvel at the ease at which I am able to get to and from work and lament excessively about how they aren't able to live in the "city" because they have school age kids and the suburbs they're commuting to and from have better schools and is where they simply must live. It's conversation I have had hundreds of times. Beyond the hassle of the commute higher home prices, HOA fees, road tolls, and etc are often associated with "better" rated school districts.

I know that it isn't the point you were making but in addition to cutting funding for some while providing corporate welfare to others school ratings and the promise of better future outcomes is used as a way to manipulate where people live and how local govts are structured. It started with white flight and has morphed into a form of perpetual suburban sprawl required to keep various industries afloat. Rather than property taxes across a large metro being added together to afford large quality institutions small suburban localities have become the norm for families. In these localities money gets divided across multiple smaller campuses, each requiring its own infrastructure, then they're pushed to compete against each other for standardize testing scores. The down stream impacts are huge.

The suburban city I grew up in had 4 high schools. Each rated differently. My school was 2nd best. The cities just to the north and west were comparable in population but only had  a single large high school each. Those schools had facilities and infrastructure on scales that rivaled well funded community colleges. The school district in my hometwon attempted to correct the problem by close one of the 2 worse performing schools several times but always was met with a revolt among parents. Closing one of the lower rated schools meant kids from a lower rated school would wind up attending more highly rated schools and potentially bring down average test scores. We successfully segmented ourselves within suburb over school ratings and a single digit difference on home prices by neighborhood.  

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8 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

Throughout my entire working life nearly all my peers who had/have school age children , practically without exception, have used school district ratings as the primary reason for where they live. When I lived in Downtown Oakland, Downtown San Diego, and now in Washington DC many of my co-workers marvel at the ease at which I am able to get to and from work and lament excessively about how they aren't able to live in the "city" because they have school age kids and the suburbs they're commuting to and from have better schools and is where they simply must live. It's conversation I have had hundreds of times. Beyond the hassle of the commute higher home prices, HOA fees, road tolls, and etc are often associated with "better" rated school districts.

I know that it isn't the point you were making but in addition to cutting funding for some while providing corporate welfare to others school ratings and the promise of better future outcomes is used as a way to manipulate where people live and how local govts are structured. It started with white flight and has morphed into a form of perpetual suburban sprawl required to keep various industries afloat. Rather than property taxes across a large metro being added together to afford large quality institutions small suburban localities have become the norm for families. In these localities money gets divided across multiple smaller campuses, each requiring its own infrastructure, then they're pushed to compete against each other for standardize testing scores. The down stream impacts are huge.

The suburban city I grew up in had 4 high schools. Each rated differently. My school was 2nd best. The cities just to the north and west were comparable in population but only had  a single large high school each. Those schools had facilities and infrastructure on scales that rivaled well funded community colleges. The school district in my hometwon attempted to correct the problem by close one of the 2 worse performing schools several times but always was met with a revolt among parents. Closing one of the lower rated schools meant kids from a lower rated school would wind up attending more highly rated schools and potentially bring down average test scores. We successfully segmented ourselves within suburb over school ratings and a single digit difference on home prices by neighborhood.  

What does any of this have to do with what they teach in schools?

No offense intended, I see the point you're making.

Edited by Raider5678

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He’s the OP. Ask a more specific question if you don’t understand, but it’s his topic to take where he pleases. 

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3 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Are STEM subjects affected when lobbyists are actively trying to push anti-climate change agendas? We know funding is being cut as we speak for climate monitoring, and with SO much privatization already in public schools, their influence on future young minds will most certainly be felt. I think grade school curriculums need to be free of these kinds of pressures, so they can do what they're supposed to do.

At the college level, teaching is somewhat separate from research and thus is not subject to the capricious nature of funding. Also, the nature of tenure allows the educator to determine the specific details of a given course. I.e. even if someone spends a lot of money on admin, they cannot really pressure someone to teach something specific. That does not mean that individual educators could not be bribed, so to speak. However, if made public, it would be quite destructive to their reputation.

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4 minutes ago, CharonY said:

At the college level, teaching is somewhat separate from research and thus is not subject to the capricious nature of funding. Also, the nature of tenure allows the educator to determine the specific details of a given course. I.e. even if someone spends a lot of money on admin, they cannot really pressure someone to teach something specific. That does not mean that individual educators could not be bribed, so to speak. However, if made public, it would be quite destructive to their reputation.

In colleges, we could maintain an inexpensive public system with the funds currently available, but instead we have this convoluted system involving private sector actors. I had a link to a .gov study from Sen Harkin's office showing how we give up to 25% of our federal aid to private vendors, but it's been disabled since he left office. I'll try to find the study tomorrow.

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13 hours ago, CharonY said:

That sounds a bit like conspiracy theory to me. In school much of the basic maths is taught and I have seen that in some areas of the US as well as Germany in highschool the way interests work are taught. The issue with check book balancing and other things is that it s very specific to a particular system. I am also not sure how teachers are supposed to teach networking skills at the high-school level (it is difficult enough in college). Rather than some ominous lobbying I suspect it is simply something that no proper curriculum has been developed yet. And frankly, many students are not going to sue it immediately and forget by the time they need it, anyway.

Various private industries involved in education make billions a year and heavily lobby the govt to ensure their interests. 

Quote

 

The four corporations that dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials — as well as sometimes hiring them — to persuade them to favor policies that include mandated student assessments, helping to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business, a new analysis shows.

The analysis, done by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy agency based in Wisconsin that tracks corporate influence on public policy, says that four companies — Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill—  collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/30/report-big-education-firms-spend-millions-lobbying-for-pro-testing-policies/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c6e502ae2ecc

 

Things like standard test scores in turn impact home values. The down stream impact of that impacts everything from tax revenue, profits for builders and lenders, and etc. It isn't a  conspiracy to point out that entities with something to gain actively influence the system. 

Quote

 

In 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported on a higher correlation between school performance and home values, which fluctuates somewhat in different states and school districts. According to the report, the increased availability of school data has led to more families searching for homes based on the quality of schools in the neighborhood than ever before. Today, a family in the market for a new home in a different location need only look as far as the Internet to find information on standardized test scores, completion rates and student-teacher ratios to rank schools in the area where they are headed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, when the state of Florida rolled out its new grading system for all the schools in the state, home values were directly impacted by the new system. In fact, homes in neighborhoods with A-rated schools increased their value by as much as $10,000 over a similar home in the vicinity of a B-rated school. As the grading system continued over a number of years, that gap has widened. Now, home values could vary by anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000 a home, based on the current rating of the school in that neighborhood.

https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/what-is-the-connection-between-home-values-and-school-performance

 

This all puts a lot of pressure on schools to alter their curriculum's to teach the test and focus test preparation. Those who do not focus heavily on test prep risk negative impacts to funding and overall economy of their locality over time. This is just ONE example of the way private industry lobbying impacts public education.

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2 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Things like standard test scores in turn impact home values. The down stream impact of that impacts everything from tax revenue, profits for builders and lenders, and etc

It also allows the district to recruit and better pay higher quality teachers, expand the curriculum offerings, use better technology and newer books, provide extracurricular offerings, and similar related things the enrich the students, further increase the ratings, and further grow home values and property taxes.

The feedback mechanism is there, and is often appreciated / sought out by those who have the means to allow their children to benefit from it... but even those parents trail behind even wealthier ones who can afford private schooling and professional tutors.

Not sure if this part of the system is as capable of / able to change as those commercial interests cited above. 

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3 hours ago, iNow said:

It also allows the district to recruit and better pay higher quality teachers, expand the curriculum offerings, use better technology and newer books, provide extracurricular offerings, and similar related things the enrich the students, further increase the ratings, and further grow home values and property taxes.

The feedback mechanism is there, and is often appreciated / sought out by those who have the means to allow their children to benefit from it... but even those parents trail behind even wealthier ones who can afford private schooling and professional tutors.

Not sure if this part of the system is as capable of / able to change as those commercial interests cited above. 

True. This promotes inequality however. It is within the interest of the schools with high ratings and the home owners who children attend those schools to restrict access much as possible. The result often means kids are bused right past schools they are in easier commuting distance to because the wealthier people have successfully lobbied the city and school board to draw the neighborhood boundaries in an unfair manner. 

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5 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Various private industries involved in education make billions a year and heavily lobby the govt to ensure their interests. 

The examples provided seem to be more the commercial interest in the education industry itself, which I agree is a problem. However, I understood the OP as other industries altering the curricula to keep students willfully uninformed, which may not have been the intention. I also think that the religious aspects are a different mechanism (usually the school board), but those appear to influence the curricula (rather than cash flows) more directly.

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4 minutes ago, CharonY said:

The examples provided seem to be more the commercial interest in the education industry itself, which I agree is a problem. However, I understood the OP as other industries altering the curricula to keep students willfully uninformed, which may not have been the intention. I also think that the religious aspects are a different mechanism (usually the school board), but those appear to influence the curricula (rather than cash flows) more directly.

Yes, there are many entities pulling tugging the strings. The standard testing corporations are one of those many. They lobby both nationally and locally to the tunes of tens of millions of dollars to ensure their billion dollar interests.

If you read the asterisk in fine pint beneath the OP you'll see that it is derived from a post by another member. The questions asked in the OP do not belong together per se. I meant for the OP to be about the influence of external forces broadly (money, race, god, politics, etc) but began with a modification from an exchange from another thread. So it is understandable it you feel it isn't clear. 

21 hours ago, Ten oz said:

*Edited and added to a Phi for All post from another thread to use as the OP. 

 

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On 5/11/2018 at 2:17 PM, Ten oz said:

Kids are taught the math skills to balance a checkbook, but have never been taught to actually balance their checkbooks. Schools don't teach the best ways to find an apartment, or write an ad for a roommate, or even how to look for a better job while doing their best and maintaining a good relationship at your current job. Why isn't more curriculum aimed at practical applications? Do lobbyists for religious and financial entities play a role because it best suits their interests?

*Edited and added to a Phi for All post from another thread to use as the OP. 

Just so. And the sort of all but useless and low level of application in real world education our kids are getting has worsened since the whole state and federal requirements standards tests were intituted. Talk to any Grade 3 to 12 teacher. They spend virtually all their class time prepping their little darlings for the year end exams. These exams are the determinates for future funding and accreditation. Thus....sort of an important deal! LOL. In a way the teacher's very livelihoods depend on good or at least adequate test scores. To quote my teacher ex-wife.....the whole freaking year is pretty much a prep course for those tests. If we go outside the box from the three Rs we're taking a big risk.

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21 hours ago, Phi for All said:

In colleges, we could maintain an inexpensive public system with the funds currently available, but instead we have this convoluted system involving private sector actors. I had a link to a .gov study from Sen Harkin's office showing how we give up to 25% of our federal aid to private vendors, but it's been disabled since he left office. I'll try to find the study tomorrow.

Oh. I thought you were talking about grade-schools, not colleges.

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16 hours ago, Velocity_Boy said:

Just so. And the sort of all but useless and low level of application in real world education our kids are getting has worsened since the whole state and federal requirements standards tests were intituted. Talk to any Grade 3 to 12 teacher. They spend virtually all their class time prepping their little darlings for the year end exams. These exams are the determinates for future funding and accreditation. Thus....sort of an important deal! LOL. In a way the teacher's very livelihoods depend on good or at least adequate test scores. To quote my teacher ex-wife.....the whole freaking year is pretty much a prep course for those tests. If we go outside the box from the three Rs we're taking a big risk.

I agree. Standardize testing as a way to rate school and determine important things like funding is flawed. I also think it overly focuses kids and a single type of problem solving (best answer on multiple choice). That encourages a focus on short term memorization without any sense of nuance or context over actually incorporating information into long term knowledge. If is far easier to run through a couple hundred flashcards to temporarily retain keys details of something than it is to think thoroughly about things, understand them, and commit them to a functional collective of long term memory.

Knowing addition, subtraction, and multiplication is enough to be capable of balancing a checkbook but it isn't enough to understand why one should bother. We are giving kids generic list of power tools and raw materials in advance of real estate to build on, blue prints, or building code. The tools shouldn't determine the project but rather the project should determine the tools. We are teaching kids backwards and society reflects that. People often start with how much money they have or can borrow and use that to decide what car to buy, what home to live in, what city to live in, where to go to school, and etc. Rather than realizing what mode of transportation they use, where they reside, what city they live in, and etc has as directly a proportional relationship to how much money they have as vice versa. The world isn't flat.

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20 hours ago, Raider5678 said:

Oh. I thought you were talking about grade-schools, not colleges.

I was, up until CharonY mentioned colleges, then I responded to that. Do you imagine this problem isn't present in grade school education?

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On 5/13/2018 at 5:57 PM, Phi for All said:

I was, up until CharonY mentioned colleges, then I responded to that. Do you imagine this problem isn't present in grade school education?

I don't really see how it would be... 

However, that doesn't mean I don't believe it can be.

I just wouldn't know where.

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