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A wonderful take on politics (on both sides) and education in America. Public education must be prioritized.
Every 11 seconds on Wall street, someone has the thought “There are billions of dollars tied up in public education that I can’t make more money on using the money I already have.” The phrase “Corporate education” does not sit comfortably with most voters on both sides of the political divide and so right-wing parties and their financial market friends around the globe try to disguisecorporate education modelsunder better sounding socialinitiatives, such as “School choice.” Trump obviously hasn’t had a thought about education and so has borrowed one from the Koch brothers.
Learning is first about money making
It’s Facebook thatpersonifiesthe idea that all human activity should now be monetised as the social-media giantindirectly makes money on every photo and comment we upload. [Note: The scary prospect of how much money Trump made Facebook in the last 18 months.] So why shouldn’t the activity of learning be…
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It’s that time of year when many high school seniors are donning silly hats and listening to clichéd speeches about the future. They are also making decisions about whether or not to attend college. A recent survey released by PEW Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education has revealed some alarming information about the state of America’s colleges and the prohibitive costs of accessing the American Dream. Anyone who has gone to college in the last few decades understands the crippling cost that can accompany higher education (I for one will be paying off my loans for many, many years to come). The cost continues to rise and there is no ceiling in site. With the state of the economy, and fewer than 25% of college grads finding full-time work after graduation, legitimate questions are being raised about the cost/benefit of a college education.
Public anxiety over college costs is at an all-time high. And low-income college graduates or those burdened by student-loan debt are questioning the value of their degrees, or saying the cost of college has delayed other life decisions.
While most people cite the role of a University education is to provide a greater competitive edge in the market (with a college degree holder making on average $20,000/year). However, when questioned, most college administrators cite its role in personal and intellectual growth. A wonderful ideal, but is it worth a six figure price-tag?
There is no doubt that the American educational system is in crisis. During a budget crunch year, destroyed economy, and rising global pressures, we must re-examin the American Educational system.
Anyone who has watched the evolution of modern education can readily note the fact that America is lagging (and has for a while) behind other countries in terms of graduating math, science, and engineering students. What is the cause of this divide? Why is America, with undoubtedly the most prestigious and accessible University system, failing miserably to educate its students in the maths and sciences?
While I by no means support the notion that there is anything ‘less’ about a degree in the Humanities (after all, my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in the Social Sciences), we cannot ignore the reality that we are losing an important segment of educated professionals that are instrumental to our success as a country.
Low graduation rates among science and math undergraduates affect how the United States competes globally. Fewer biology and math majors means fewer doctors and engineers later.
UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute (UCLA being one of my alma maters) has just published the results of a multi-year study on this very phenomenon. There are many contributing factors, namely lack of access to a good education in K-12 and ill-preparation in high school for college level math and science education.
“I think one of the most disturbing realities about the American educational system is the inequalities that exist within that system. Where you live happens to be important. What state you live in, what district within that state you live in, what school within that district you go to, even what classroom within a given school … it really matters. And what I mean by that is, you are not necessarily expected to learn the same parts of mathematics at that grade level or the same science.”
“One international study of 12th-graders found that for those students in mathematics who were at the highest level — the kids who take calculus, AP calculus or regular college-level calculus — essentially came near the bottom of the international distribution against their peers. In science and physics, we were dead last. So even those students who we think of as our absolute best are not competitive internationally.”
Another factor at the post-secondary level is that students are often not given support and direction; their classes are designed to ‘weed out’ kids who should really be offered tutoring or investment. Math and Science majors graduate in much lower numbers and over a longer number of year (5-6 years to complete an undergraduate degree compared to 4-5 years for Humanities or Arts degree). With the rising cost of college education, those two additional years can spell tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
Science and math programs are designed and taught to winnow down the number of students. University tenure systems often reward professors who conduct research and publish their work, but not those who teach well.
We in America have accepted that science is just not for everybody. We send messages to students all the time that, ‘This is not really for you,’ ” he said. “One of the reasons American (students) aren’t more excited about science is that adults themselves aren’t excited. Most (students) have been weeded out before they even get to college.”
Hrabowski said many people assume they’re not smart enough to study science or math. His response?
“No. Your teacher wasn’t innovative enough.”
Read more about the problem, new initiatives and potential solutions in this CNN article: “Why Would-Be Engineers End Up As English Majors” and “How the U.S. Lags in Math, Science Education and How It Can Catch Up.”