Skepticism of Science
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March 15th, 2013 (6:09 PM).
Originally Posted by
It's no secret that our average test scores have been mediocre for several years and have even dropped further in recent years, America is 20-something now in terms of average SAT score if I remember right. (Whether from poor teaching or the increasing access to the test by minorities and disadvantaged whites who usually score lower)
On top of that, education budgets at a state and local level have been on the chopping block for budget cuts and are usually some of the first things to get cut. Schools have to do more with less, which doesn't nessicaraly mean they'll fail - my alma mater's average expenditures per student has fallen a few hundred dollars since I graduated while keeping our 'Excellent With Distinction' score from the state. But I also live in a pretty advantaged/affluent district with a multi-million dollar high school, outfitted with new computers, new textbooks, etc. And we still had to make several painful budget cuts in the past decade or so. Imagine what failing districts had to go through financially.
And the technology can improve by leaps and bounds, but it's irrelevant if the schools don't have the money to afford it. Money is the thing your average suburban Midwest school district does not have. And Columbia and West Point don't really apply here/ need to worry about money, with mammoth endowments, worldwide notoriety, and such. And the watering down of curricula to suit ineffective state tests, i.e, No Child Left Behind, hasn't helped either.
Definitely agree with the point about budget cuts to education on all levels hurting the system, as I live in an area where a lot of schools have been shutting down in recent years. Really makes me wonder where our taxpayer money goes, but since I don't know much about government spending percentages, I'll definitely look into that soon.
I also agree with standardized test scores not being up to par because that's what the data tell us. But I don't agree with using standardized test scores with measuring the quality of the American education system because it ignores the idea that other countries could be stepping up their game (for lack of a better term), changing formats of standardized tests and, like you said, increasing minority and less privileged citizens influencing the measures of central tendency. All in all, it seems like an iffy correlation.
I also think that what you said about needing money to implement technologies into the system isn't necessarily true within the context of the argument. Think about this in terms of standards of living; households with the median family income back in 1913 wouldn't have had internet access, but 100 years later, that is almost certainly the case. This can be applied to schools as well; I doubt if the average school back in 1913 would have had a computer class.
Legislature regarding school policies has had its ups and downs. You can bring up No Child Left Behind, but I can bring up desegregation of schools. In either case, this also isn't a good lens through which we can evaluate the detriment or improvement of schools longitudinally. And this is my main argument; that education hasn't really improved or failed over time. It has done both in different ways, and in some cases very obvious ways, and it's hard to make an argument based in change over time in this case. I think this needs to be viewed within various contexts, such as what education is trying to accomplish at a particular time, if it actually does so, and what means are used to improve the transfer information.
(Sorry it took a while to reply, busy ish going on!)
"It's free to complain, but you pay for it in the end."
Joined Mar 2007
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