Why are US government schools so bad?

Why are US government schools so bad?

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This is a discussion on Why are US government schools so bad? within the The Debate Forum forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; What opinions does everyone hold about this? I was recently exposed to Waiting for Superman, a video on our government/public ...

  1. #1

    Why are US government schools so bad?

    What opinions does everyone hold about this? I was recently exposed to Waiting for Superman, a video on our government/public school system (part one linked here).

    marzipan01 and Psychosmurf thanked this post.



  2. #2

    My favorite part of Waiting For Superman was in the first 15 minutes the narrator says "for a long time it was thought that poverty was one of the primary reasons for failing schools in America, but now many experts are saying that's not the case." Then the film went on to be an advertisement for charter schools without actually explaining who these experts were or why poverty actually doesn't matter with regards to school performance. Also one of the film's big heroes is renowned cheater and school "reform" failure Michelle Rhee. I thought it was a great comedy though.

    Here's a couple articles that pretty thoroughly debunk this propaganda piece:

    Rick Ayers: An Inconvenient Superman: Davis Guggenheim's New Film Hijacks School Reform

    The Myth of Charter Schools by Diane Ravitch | The New York Review of Books

    And if you don't feel like reading those whole articles, the film's Wikipedia page has a good summary of the many problems with the film's argument. Basically many of the "facts" presented are distortions and half-truths at best and outright lies at worst.
    Psychosmurf, pretty.Odd, sly and 1 others thanked this post.

  3. #3

    Author and academic Rick Ayers lambasted the accuracy of the film, describing it as "a slick marketing piece full of half-truths and distortions."[24] In Ayers' view, the "corporate powerhouses and the ideological opponents of all things public" have employed the film to "break the teacher's unions and to privatize education," while driving teachers' wages even lower and running "schools like little corporations."[24] The film does, however, note that since 1971, inflation-adjusted per-student spending has more than doubled, "from $4,300 to more than $9,000 per student," but that over the same period, test scores have "flatlined." Ayers also critiqued the film's promotion of a greater focus on "top-down instruction driven by test scores," positing that extensive research has demonstrated that standardized testing "dumbs down the curriculum" and "reproduces inequities," while marginalizing "English language learners and those who do not grow up speaking a middle class vernacular."[24] Lastly, Ayers contends that "schools are more segregated today than before Brown v. Board of Education in 1954," and thus criticized the film for not mentioning that in his view, "black and brown students are being suspended, expelled, searched, and criminalized."[24]
    All I see there is rhetoric, not one single argument of any kind of substance


    AS for public education, I can't say it has been a success here, 1 out of 5 citizens here are almost totally illiterate, and my generation has very poor reading/writing/critical skills in general, and this was before the new reform here, which dumbed the curriculum down even further, they keep trying to sell the ''access to school'' myth but this stuff is getting really old..

  4. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Cover3 View Post
    All I see there is rhetoric, not one single argument of any kind of substance
    That's only part of the Wikipedia article, and if you'd like to see more "substance" rather than a quick summary of the film's problems, I encourage you to read the full articles which I linked in my post.

  5. #5

    I saw an interesting video on stumble upon in the past year that I thought hit the nail on the head. The school system in the U.S. was based in the Germans school system that led to the nazism. It's first objective was to teach kids but also to indoctrinate them into their nation. Thus 50 years later when Nazism arose the citizens of Germany gave it their full support.

    Another goal of it is to break family ties, so the student feels like he is more a part of his country than his own family in a sense.

    Lastly they don't want to teach you livable life skills in school they just want you to have an idea. It's more about who do you know than what you know and the weaker the school system are the more inefficient it's education will be. The goal is to educate enough to where they think they know but have than dumb enough where they don't understand the real machinations of society.

  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by Shahada View Post
    That's only part of the Wikipedia article, and if you'd like to see more "substance" rather than a quick summary of the film's problems, I encourage you to read the full articles which I linked in my post.

    I don't mean to be rude, but the Ayers article is painful to read, assertions, ad homs, emotional manipulation and the ever-present justification that 'oh the school system isn't the problem, we just need more money', reading it feels like a GOP debate completely turned on it's head, I'll be sure to check out the other article, but I'm far from convinced so far, since the same tune is being sung here with our public schools, with little concrete results to show for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympus View Post
    I saw an interesting video on stumble upon in the past year that I thought hit the nail on the head. The school system in the U.S. was based in the Germans school system that led to the nazism. It's first objective was to teach kids but also to indoctrinate them into their nation. Thus 50 years later when Nazism arose the citizens of Germany gave it their full support.

    Another goal of it is to break family ties, so the student feels like he is more a part of his country than his own family in a sense.

    Lastly they don't want to teach you livable life skills in school they just want you to have an idea. It's more about who do you know than what you know and the weaker the school system are the more inefficient it's education will be. The goal is to educate enough to where they think they know but have than dumb enough where they don't understand the real machinations of society.
    I watched a 1 hour docky about the Ed. department and this is precisely the case, not only are these schools used to pump ideas into the soft heads of our children but they actually interviewed the head of the department and he opposed parental school choice, vouchers, or any alternative to the bland bureaucracy already in place, he even went so far as to say this ''I don't think parents truly know what education is best for their kids, they know what's best for them to eat, what to wear, and the right home environment for them'', this is a 99% accurate quote... in other words, f*ck you dumbass citizens, governmental schooling is where it's at, and nothing else, period.

  7. #7

    Low expectations from parents, low scores from kids, low reputation from schools, low support from the community at large. It's a vicious cycle. Once people start to care after the sensationalism has passed then we can finally start to make some real progress.
    PWarren thanked this post.

  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by Cover3 View Post
    I don't mean to be rude, but the Ayers article is painful to read, assertions, ad homs, emotional manipulation and the ever-present justification that 'oh the school system isn't the problem, we just need more money', reading it feels like a GOP debate completely turned on it's head, I'll be sure to check out the other article, but I'm far from convinced so far, since the same tune is being sung here with our public schools, with little concrete results to show for.
    The Ayers article is bigger on polemic and rhetoric than hard facts, yes, though I think it makes a good rhetorical case regardless. The other article as well as parts of the Wikipedia article you avoided quoting (and some parts you did, the line about schools being more segregated today than they were under Jim Crow is a fact for example) have plenty of facts, including the following:

    -Only 17% of charter schools are superior to matched public schools in math performance

    -That charter schools are allowed to expel students for low academic performance, so statistics on the "success" of well-performing charter schools are misleading

    -The film claims that 70% of 8th-graders cannot read at grade level, which is a bald-faced lie, because the NAEP, the source of this "statistic," does not measure performance by grade level

    -As the film points out but doesn't dwell on, only one in five charter schools reach the levels of success enjoyed by the charter schools profiled in the film. The film completely ignores the majority of charter schools that perform the same or worse than equivalent public schools. As the Ravitch article points out:

    The propagandistic nature of Waiting for “Superman” is revealed by Guggenheim’s complete indifference to the wide variation among charter schools. There are excellent charter schools, just as there are excellent public schools. Why did he not also inquire into the charter chains that are mired in unsavory real estate deals, or take his camera to the charters where most students are getting lower scores than those in the neighborhood public schools? Why did he not report on the charter principals who have been indicted for embezzlement, or the charters that blur the line between church and state? Why did he not look into the charter schools whose leaders are paid $300,000–$400,000 a year to oversee small numbers of schools and students?
    -The film completely ignores poverty and income correlations and focuses almost completely on the quality of the teachers, even though, as the Ravitch article states, studies have found that about 60% of achievement is attributable to nonschool factors, primarily family income.

    -The film points to Finland as an example the US should emulate and then goes on to bash teacher's unions for most of the rest of the film, despite the fact that Finland has a fully unionized teacher workforce. I didn't even need to read the article, I picked up on this when I was watching the movie and guffawed heartily.

  9. #9

    -The film points to Finland as an example the US should emulate and then goes on to bash teacher's unions for most of the rest of the film, despite the fact that Finland has a fully unionized teacher workforce. I didn't even need to read the article, I picked up on this when I was watching the movie and guffawed heartily.
    Also, finland's a small, fairly monoethnic country. Both these things matter. It's just unfair. (btw, china's numbers always bug me since their rankings are based on shanghai. Include tibet and the further out provinces, I don;t think they're stars anymore).

  10. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by bellisaurius View Post
    Also, finland's a small, fairly monoethnic country. Both these things matter. It's just unfair.
    Well yes, the fact that the US has more minorities means you see the white power structure regularly throwing those minorities under bus in education and other parts of society, but that's a problem with racism in the US (that needs to be addressed) rather than something endemic to the school system. Also, I'm talking specifically about the claims made in the film here: The guy points to Finland as a positive example and then the solutions proposed throughout the rest of the film are charter schools and smashing the teacher's unions, when the Finnish system has a completely unionized teacher workforce. So basically Davis Guggenheim made the comparison, not me. You may realize that but I wasn't sure exactly who you were directing the unfair comparison thing at.

    I would ask why a documentary filmmaker would lie so blatantly but after seeing the reactions other people have had to this film (not in this thread I should say, no one's really weighed in on the film itself besides me so far) I can see why, most people won't bother to look further into the "facts" presented in the film. Film is truly a wonderful medium for propaganda.


 
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