• Recently my uncle and I have been having a very interesting discussion about collage graduates.  We have been trying to determine if today’s collage graduates are better schooled then that of say the US civil war era (1860 – 1864).

    I would have to say that a collage graduate of that time period did understand and better internalize the information they had learned; however, I would argue that back then there wasn’t as much to teach.

    An older carpenter I used to work for used to tell me that kids today don’t know any thing.  I would reply that on the map of Africa I used in school didn’t say “unexplored” any where on it like it did in the 40’s.

    But I think that I should also make the argument that today’s education system focuses more on how to find the answers one is looking for whereas in generations past they focused on remembering facts.

    For example today an average person couldn’t tell you the names of the US presidents in order or the names of the states as they were admitted into the union, but they could quickly find the information by typing in a few words into Google.

    I find this subject very interesting and was wondering if you would share your take on this matter.

    LT

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I cannot say definitively when it comes to collegic graduates, however, if we extrapolate from high schoolers, I feel comfortable saying they are much less educated today and they rely too heavily on technology - at least in the mathematics and sciences areas.

    Reason is, since about the 1970s our knowledge facilitators (teachers) have been indoctrinating knowledge seekers (students) with only that knowledge they need to pass the ACT, SAT and now the NCLB exams.

    From the 1950s and 1960s knowledge facilitators were inflating academic scores in an attempt to prevent knowledge seekers from being drafted.

    Therefore, it is my assertion that since the end of the second World War, possibly as late as the start of the Korean conflict (aka: War) the educational arena has become more political and less knowledge based.

    For me, this is very disheartening.  I would wish that knowledge seekers get the grade they earn and only progress when they have demonstrated to the knowledge facilitator an adequate command of the subject material.  This could be demonstrated through examinations, homework, in class participation or one on one assistance in office hours (most likely a combination of the above) instead of on age and a standardized examination.

    This is not to say I dislike accountability, only that I wish for knowledge seekers to be more concerned with understanding and less concerned with what score they received on their standardized examination.  Likewise, knowledge facilitators should be less concerned about the political realm and more concerned with how well their seekers are performing in all aspects of their studies, and not only on what the exam scores tell them.


  • I’m not sure we can qualify the assertion that generations past were better educated than the current generation.

    I think one thing that is conflated here is that old people always call youngins stupid, no matter the generation.  Why?  Because kids are dumb for the most part.  They are inexperienced, immature, etc., so they don’t have the lens of living like old timers do.  That’s just the way it is.

    Obviously, the amount and accessibility of information is greater than past years.  The number of college attendees not only has increased but has broadened with the inclusion of women and nonwhite races.  How seriously one takes it is up to the individual, but the opportunity and quality of education is better now than it was before.

    The problems I see with education today is that it isn’t taken as seriously, from the students to the administration & legislatures.  Kids get trust funds and don’t give a crap about learning because they know they are taken care of, some people have to devote most of their time to working and family so higher education isn’t an option, etc.

    I don’t think technology is a bad thing in the regards of education.  Knowing where to find information is an educational tool and core element to learning - it’s a key ability needed.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    As a draftsman one of the things you see is kids out of school who know how to use computer aided drafting programs but not the first thing about making a drawing a machinist needs to make a part.

    I learned how to make drawings and then how to use CAD so I could make drawings faster.

    There is a too much emphasis on teaching the use of tools and not enough on the concepts behind them. The spellchecker won’t catch ‘pubic area’ when you meant ‘public area.’ Sometimes you have to do things for yourself.  I’m not really sure I’m better off with the calculator than I was with the slide rule.

    Jermo makes a good point about not being able to qualify, or did you mean quantify, the education now with the education of the past.


  • @frimmel:

    Jermo makes a good point about not being able to qualify, or did you mean quantify, the education now with the education of the past.

    :lol:  Probably.  My mind is not up to par these days…

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    I only caught it because I’d just been talking about a similar sort of misstep.  🙂


  • Well, first I’d like to say I sure wish I had more Frimmels to work with.  I’m an engineer.  I learned how to compute the old fashioned way with pencil and paper.  Yes I did have the use of an electronic calculator but that only made the arithmatic go faster.  Most engineers I meet from school don’t know how to compute their answers for anything harder than a “look up” by hand.  They get wrong answers from the computer because the program has a bug and they don’t know enough to figure it out.  If you take away the Internet, they would hardly be able to give you an answer to anything except which music thingy has the most storage.  They walk around with their buds in their ears and texting their friends.  I fear for when they have children.  Not all of them.  I meet 1 in 20 that are worth something, but maybe that is because I graduated well and I have high expectations.

    I don’t know as much as my dad.  I’m getting closer, but I’m not there yet.  But the things I know are more “bookish” than what he knows.  My son appears to be keeping the trend toward “bookishness” but I am making sure he knows a lot of stuff, and I hope to help him surpass me by quite a margin.

    But by and large, we don’t expect much of the kids these days and they are living up to it.  Kids before WWII had to be adults by the time they were 14 or 15 helping out with the family in a substantial way.


  • Shoot, in the 19th century we had one of the best education systems in the world.  Foreigners would come to small American towns and marvel at 16 year old children speaking Latin.


  • @General:

    Shoot, in the 19th century we had one of the best education systems in the world.  Foreigners would come to small American towns and marvel at 16 year old children speaking Latin.

    Well we have failed to keep that legacy going.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @dinosaur:

    Well, first I’d like to say I sure wish I had more Frimmels to work with.

    Thanks, but don’t give me too much credit. I’m mostly a librarian. I hardly ever make drawings these days mostly I just make the electornic stuff we get in ready for others to use. Maybe that is just our field though. Steel is on hard times.

    But by and large, we don’t expect much of the kids these days and they are living up to it.  Kids before WWII had to be adults by the time they were 14 or 15 helping out with the family in a substantial way.

    I certainly agree with you there. But in a way though that is a useful indicator that you are an adult: You don’t like kids’ music, you don’t like their clothes and you don’t like their attitude.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @LT04:

    @General:

    Shoot, in the 19th century we had one of the best education systems in the world.  Foreigners would come to small American towns and marvel at 16 year old children speaking Latin.

    Well we have failed to keep that legacy going.

    It was when school stopped being about being ‘educated’ and instead became about being trained to be useful to business. Colleges are now just really expensive trade schools.


  • @dinosaur:

    But by and large, we don’t expect much of the kids these days and they are living up to it.  Kids before WWII had to be adults by the time they were 14 or 15 helping out with the family in a substantial way.

    Dinosaur thanks for your post I agree.  I would have to say it was my parent’s generation (Vietnam era) that started that with their kids.  I would have to say that I was a lucky one to have my uncle around.

    He gave me homework that had nothing to do with school.  One time he had me memorize the states in the order they were admitted to the union.  He also pushed me to become an Eagle Scout.  Now I am very thankful for his influence.

    If nothing else separates me from my peers I can tell a potential employer that if for what ever reason I didn’t make it to work that day the only reason he didn’t get a phone call was because I was in the ER or the morgue.

    Frimmel I never looked at it that way but I would have to agree with you.  Most collages now are just big trade schools.  My fire department has been paying for me to go to school to get my degree in Fire Technology.  I does seem eerily close to a shop class setting at times.

    LT

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    What did the college graduate say at McDonald’s?

    Do you want fries with that?

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Here’s one for you.

    School Policy District U-46 (Where I work):

    Teachers are not to teach division.  Teachers may refer students to NCLB (No Child Left Behind) video #HH-5519 if the student is having problems with division problems.

    The video teaches you to use your fingers and to draw objects on a page.  It’s a completely worthless piece of junk and it’s 18 minutes long.  Why can’t we just teach fractions and long division like teachers did before the Clinton then Bush administrations?

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Lets leave out Bush and Clinton from future posts please.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    @Imperious:

    Lets leave out Bush and Clinton from future posts please.

    Sorry, but at least they are from opposing parties, so we can’t blame one party or the other for this sh*t.  That’s what I was driving at.  One just expanded the inept program of the other, meaning both were completely inept!

    When will they learn to let teachers write the teaching codes?

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Cmdr:

    Here’s one for you.

    School Policy District U-46 (Where I work):

    Teachers are not to teach division.  Teachers may refer students to NCLB (No Child Left Behind) video #HH-5519 if the student is having problems with division problems.

    😮

    :?

    😐

    :lol:

    Good one you had me going for a minute there.


  • I can’t tell you how much stuff like that burns me up.  Kids should be required to learn long division in or before 4th grade.  My son is being told by the teacher that is what calculators are for.  I don’t think a kid should use a calculator until they are doing trig problems.  If our kkids can’t do the math, they will never learn to budget.  But how many times do you hear about thirty year olds still living at home?  It is all part of the same problem.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    @dinosaur:

    I can’t tell you how much stuff like that burns me up.  Kids should be required to learn long division in or before 4th grade.  My son is being told by the teacher that is what calculators are for.  I don’t think a kid should use a calculator until they are doing trig problems.  If our kkids can’t do the math, they will never learn to budget.  But how many times do you hear about thirty year olds still living at home?  It is all part of the same problem.

    Exactly!  And they are required to have the calculator for the standardized test!

    None of my kids knew what the dots above and below the line on the division symbol meant before I told them yesterday (Tuesday the 14th of October 2008)!

    But we’re told they don’t need to learn math.  The cash registers will tell them how much change to dole out and Quick Books will tell them how much money they have in their banks!


  • I try not to get involved in public education.  I know that the each state (or common wealth) has their own department of education do they coordinate (at least to some degree) at the national level?

    LT

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    We have a national directive that states what we are allowed to teach and what we are not allowed to teach.  It was implemented in 1993 and later Ted Kennedy (Senator) wrote an act known as the No Child Left Behind Act that reinforced the legislation signed into law in 1993 by the Congress and President at that time and gave it teeth. (Now you have the audacity to slow down so the students have time to understand what you are trying to teach, the government can pull all your federal grants which will effectively shut down your school because states give matching grants.  If you match $0 then you get $0 from the fed and $0 from the states.)

    Basically, we can tie the stupification of our children back to 1993.  Between 1960 and 1993 we were not really making them educated, but at least we were not actively trying to make them less educated like we are today.


  • My wife used to work in a day care and she said that even they felt the effects of No Child Left Behind.

    That being said lets try to avoid the politics to keep this topic from getting locked.

    Thanks,
    LT

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    How can we talk about education and not refer to the Education Reform Act of 1993 and No Child Left Behind (2001? or was it 2002?)?

    Those two pieces of legislation made this nation the stupidest (defined as least educated) of all first world nations!  If we had to innovate the light bulb, nuclear power, assembly lines or any of the other American innovations from 1850-1950 today, we’d all be doomed!

    What changed?  The two acts listed above.

    How do we fix it?  Repeal the two acts listed above.


  • Whoa there, Jen, I still think there are some aspects of the US that support the future.  One aspect of the US is that we respect intellectual property, which is a great reason to apply yourself toward innovation, although in many arena this is under attack.  Because of our patent and copyright laws, innovators accross the globe want to come here.  Although that has its own side effects, not all positive.

    Incidently, has anyone else noticed the article ad at the right that invites us to inquire about the “Aniversery Addition Special Event?”  I found that to be Shakespearean.

    Fortunately, some kids are gifted, and if we support those gifted kids in the sciences we will still have home grown innovators and inventors.  My son has a gift for algebra, the number crunching part of math.  I have a gift for the geometry part.  I nurture his gift and I support him as he overcomes those areas in life where he is not gifted.  Another gift we have given him is proper behavior training.  Because all his teachers say he is such a well behaved boy, they want to help him overcome his problems.

    We can’t rely on society to do our parenting jobs for us.  We are only now seeing the depth of our folly in the things going on now in the public arena.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I’m not saying patents and copywrites are bad, but let’s also keep in mind those laws pre-date World War II.  I’m referring to the laws that hamstring teachers (like me who want to teach kids how to do division, but are forbidden to do so) which seems to be designed to make our kids less educated (ie stupid) than others in other nations.

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