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Do you think our culture is anti-intellectual? - Page 6

post #101 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
This made me laugh beause I had an exactly opposite experience! I attended public schools as well.. mostly very highly rated ones.

Maybe it is mostly our own attitudes that shape how our school experience goes.. I felt negatively about school from age 7 or so.
I'm sorry to hear that. Was your negative experience with school because of other students, yourself, your teachers, or some other reason?

I think, like you said, that your experiences in school (and in life in general) is shaped by one's own attitude.

I say that specifically about school experience because I could look back and say I had a really negative experience with elementary, junior high, and high school. I did have a negative experience...but not in the academic sense.

I came from an extremely poor family. My family was looked down upon and shunned. My last name had a lot of negative association with it because of the actions of my family (which I couldn't control). So, I was made fun of a lot and in very mean ways by certain kids in school.

I shrugged it off. I didn't have many friends, but most of the other smart kids respected me.

And the teachers loved me. I was a model student, and I behaved very well and followed all the rules. I was very conscientious about my homework. As I said, academics were my salvation growing up. Books and school work were the only stability for me, and I could always count on doing my best and getting a good grade in return.

A lot of that was my attitude, though. (Some of it was aptitude, as well).

I had siblings who could have had the same attitude about school, and they came from the same home life. But they were basically f*** ups and got into drugs and alcohol, petty crime (then), a few of them dropped out, and college wasn't important to them. They were always in trouble, either academically failing or, more often than not, because they did things they were not supposed to do (drinking, smoking, loitering, breaking things, etc, etc).

So, yeah, I think a lot of it is attitude and self-direction. But, all in all, society, in my opinion, values intellectualism.

I've had way more opportunities than my siblings (and many classmates) as an intellectual who demonstrated academic progress.
post #102 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
This was from your fellow students, though, right? Kids making fun of kids?

I think that happens everywhere, especially if one child/teen is naturally intelligent and gifted, and another one feels inadequate. Kids are juvenile and one way they react people who are different than they are is to make fun of them.

But that doesn't make school or culture or the instituation of public education anti-intellectual.
Respectfully disagree. Kids are a microcosm of the culture.

As a teacher in a public high school, I'm amazed by how many adults, colleagues of mine, have never really moved beyond the stupidity of "kids will be kids"--I'm talking about talking about backstabbing colleagues who do extensive professional development (I got bashed for making a presentation at a faculty meeting). But I'm also talking about the a-holes who leave really nasty, supposedly funny, "lose weight" notes in the mailboxes of obese teachers. I'm talking about rolling their eyes at people who stretch their limits. I'm talking about tuning out anything that promotes growth.

I'm constantly in awe of how much teaching in a high school is like attending a high school. Thank god I have a good cadre of intellectual, cool, geeky, artsy colleagues, or I'd be hightailing it out of there. (Trust me--if our area didn't have such a high cost of living, I'd be home with the kids, homeschooling.)
post #103 of 229
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Originally Posted by deeporgarten View Post

Even our schools tend to convey the idea that learning is a chore to be done to the minimal degree needed, and rarely enjoyed.
We homeschool, but we attend a fair number of performances for school groups. More than once, an adult has gotten up in front of the kids and said something like "we all know it's not fun to learn, but we just need to spend a few minutes talking about X"

These are LARGE performances in a major city, FWIW.

I think that intellectuals, as a group, are treated as either freaks, or people to be feared. Keeping my kids away from that attitude while they're young is one of my motivations for homeschooling.

I haven't read many of the responses either, sry if this ground is well-covered.

ZM
post #104 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
Respectfully disagree. Kids are a microcosm of the culture.

As a teacher in a public high school, I'm amazed by how many adults, colleagues of mine, have never really moved beyond the stupidity of "kids will be kids"--I'm talking about talking about backstabbing colleagues who do extensive professional development (I got bashed for making a presentation at a faculty meeting). But I'm also talking about the a-holes who leave really nasty, supposedly funny, "lose weight" notes in the mailboxes of obese teachers. I'm talking about rolling their eyes at people who stretch their limits. I'm talking about tuning out anything that promotes growth.

I'm constantly in awe of how much teaching in a high school is like attending a high school. Thank god I have a good cadre of intellectual, cool, geeky, artsy colleagues, or I'd be hightailing it out of there. (Trust me--if our area didn't have such a high cost of living, I'd be home with the kids, homeschooling.)
Well, unfortunately some people never mature. That might be small subset of adults though. Ironically, I think the key difference is education. I've noticed a general pattern, the more educated and the more professional a person, the less likely they will make fun of, belittler, or resort to other juvenile behavior.

I think with rising level of education and professionalism, i.e. achievement, is a rising level of respect for people and mature conduct.
post #105 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
More than once, an adult has gotten up in front of the kids and said something like "we all know it's not fun to learn, but we just need to spend a few minutes talking about X"
What???



Professional educators said this, or parents?

Yikes. Either way, yikes. I can't imagine a qualified teacher worth their salt ever saying this and justifying this. And as a parent, I just can't imagine giving this message to my kids or other children.

post #106 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
But I'm also talking about the a-holes who leave really nasty, supposedly funny, "lose weight" notes in the mailboxes of obese teachers. I'm talking about rolling their eyes at people who stretch their limits. I'm talking about tuning out anything that promotes growth.

I'm constantly in awe of how much teaching in a high school is like attending a high school. Thank god I have a good cadre of intellectual, cool, geeky, artsy colleagues, or I'd be hightailing it out of there. (Trust me--if our area didn't have such a high cost of living, I'd be home with the kids, homeschooling.)
Are the a-holes you're talking about teachers? I'm surprised by this. I guess there are always immature and disrespectul people, no matter what age. I would guess they aren't the most educated or intellectual of all your colleagues. Just my guess.

My experience has been that the more educated, intellectual, professional one is, the more likely one is to respect people from all walks of life. That's just been my experience.

It sounds like you have other colleagues who conduct themselves more appropriately and value intellectualism (the good cadre you talked about).

The world is full of lots of different types of people, but by and large I still think intellectualism is valued.

I think it was the NY York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in his book The World is Flat (wonderful book, BTW), who said that he'd rather be born poor in Bangalore with high intelligence than of low or moderate intelligence and born in the United States. Or maybe he was quoting Bill Gates. Anyway, his point was that in this global economy and high tech world, high intelligence and more precisely analytical ability is more valued by society and a person with certain skills can adapt to the economy. Fifty years ago, this phenomenon wouldn't have existed.

I don't know if I agree with that completely, but I understand and agree with the emerging premise.
post #107 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
What???



Professional educators said this, or parents?

Yikes. Either way, yikes. I can't imagine a qualified teacher worth their salt ever saying this and justifying this. And as a parent, I just can't imagine giving this message to my kids or other children.

It was an adult speaking in his professional capacity. I don't know his background. This kind of message, along with commiserating with children they barely know about how awful school is, seem to be ways some adults try to ingratiate themselves with kids.

ZM
post #108 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
It was an adult speaking in his professional capacity. I don't know his background. This kind of message, along with commiserating with children they barely know about how awful school is, seem to be ways some adults try to ingratiate themselves with kids.

ZM
That is a shame.

They should try appealing to a kid's natural sense of wonder, and natural interest in learning, to ingratiate themselves.

That's sloppy and uninspired teaching. Unfortunately, not all teachers are good teachers.

But there are many good teachers (and many good public schools, and private schools, and homeschoolers).
post #109 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Not all religous people are like that, but it's still prevelent. Anything that challenges what the church/bible says is inherently bad and intelligence tends to do that on a regular basis since the intelligent people tend to question what is stated as fact.
I'm going to be polite and not comment... I'd totally get the thread pulled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
This was from your fellow students, though, right? Kids making fun of kids?

I think that happens everywhere, especially if one child/teen is naturally intelligent and gifted, and another one feels inadequate. Kids are juvenile and one way they react people who are different than they are is to make fun of them.

But that doesn't make school or culture or the instituation of public education anti-intellectual.
That's like saying that the fact that a white child might tease an African-American child about her hair "innocently" means that all racism is innocent, and there is no such thing as institutionalized racism. The fact is, the environment of schools perpetuates anti-intellectual behaviors on the parts of the children. The kids aren't responsible for it-- The adults who allow/condone/encourage these behaviors are. The institution fosters anti-intellectualism.

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I think our society places high importance on intelligence, especially intelligence paired with achievement.
Achievement absolutely... I still disagree about intelligence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I'm sorry to hear that. Was your negative experience with school because of other students, yourself, your teachers, or some other reason?
Firstly, I think it's quite rude to blame a miserable school experience on a child, especially in elementary school. To even insinuate that rubs me the wrong way-- it's not like the kids have a choice most of the time. As to the rest of it, again the school environment perpetuates anti-intellectual behaviors on the parts of teachers and students; It's all the same source.

Quote:
I say that specifically about school experience because I could look back and say I had a really negative experience with elementary, junior high, and high school. I did have a negative experience...but not in the academic sense.

I came from an extremely poor family. My family was looked down upon and shunned. My last name had a lot of negative association with it because of the actions of my family (which I couldn't control). So, I was made fun of a lot and in very mean ways by certain kids in school.

I shrugged it off. I didn't have many friends, but most of the other smart kids respected me.

And the teachers loved me. I was a model student, and I behaved very well and followed all the rules. I was very conscientious about my homework. As I said, academics were my salvation growing up. Books and school work were the only stability for me, and I could always count on doing my best and getting a good grade in return.
It's very interesting that you mention this. Many, many gifted children (and this is more true the more highly gifted the child is) are far from being model students. Profoundly gifted boys have some of the highest dropout rates in the country, and are labeled as troublemakers more often than not (especially such boys who are minorities and/or low-income). Behaving well and following rules are often prerequisites for getting into gifted programs, but they are much more likely to find children who are bright than gifted. I was never a discipline problem in school, but my teachers actively disliked me a lot of the time. The ones who didn't were simply at a loss as to what to do with me.

A child like my son would become a discipline problem in very short order. I have no doubt whatsoever that BeanBean would be disqualified for any gifted services in a traditional school setting within hours of setting foot in the building. The dichotomy between his speech/understanding and his behavior lead many people to label him as "rude" or "selfish," even though he is absolutely typical of children his age (in other words, the same behaviors from a child who didn't speak the way that Bean does would be accepted without question). Teachers can't stand it when children don't sit still, when they're not interested in doing homework assignments that seem to serve no purpose, etc, etc, and so forth. Nevermind that research demonstrates that boys who are as bright as my son often have these "problems;" As far as schools are concerned, a gifted child is one who behaves well. If they were truly concerned with supporting and encouraging gifted children, boys like my son would be encouraged to move more quickly through material so that they didn't get bored. They'd have the bar raised when their behaviors demonstrated a clear need for more intellectual stimulation. What *wouldn't* happen would be conferences wherein teachers and principals gang up on parents, telling them that their child needs to be diagnosed and drugged for the good of the herd. That's anti-intellectualism's nasty legacy with highly gifted little boys.

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So, yeah, I think a lot of it is attitude and self-direction. But, all in all, society, in my opinion, values intellectualism.

I've had way more opportunities than my siblings (and many classmates) as an intellectual who demonstrated academic progress.
Again, the behaviors you're describing don't necessarily denote intellectualism; Often, in fact, the opposite is true. The more highly gifted a child is, the less likely they are to succeed in a traditional classroom setting. Children who ask questions that lead outside of the box are ignored at best and overtly shunned at worst. Many of these children do not make academic progress out of sheer boredom. I myself was tested at 12 when my ITBS scores came back-- having scored perfect 12.9's across the board, I was labeled as "an underachiever" because of the split between my grades and my test scores.

The psychologist who tested me asked why I was failing so many classes about half an hour into my testing. I told him the truth: I didn't do homework, and the grades for the classes I was failing were homework-based. "Homework is supposed to help you to remember things that you learned in class. I didn't learn anything in class, I knew it all before I got there, so why would I waste time doing homework when I could be reading a book and learning something new?" Besides, I reasoned, it didn't matter-- I could go to summer school, where there was no homework, get perfect grades on all of my exams and the F would be wiped from the record.

Was it just me? Heck no. That behavior is ridiculously common in gifted children. In fact, every single gifted adult with whom I've discussed school in real life has had a similar story to relate. The smartest kids in American high schools are not graduating as valedictorians-- they're dropping out in droves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
I'm constantly in awe of how much teaching in a high school is like attending a high school. Thank god I have a good cadre of intellectual, cool, geeky, artsy colleagues, or I'd be hightailing it out of there. (Trust me--if our area didn't have such a high cost of living, I'd be home with the kids, homeschooling.)
: Going to school with people who were becoming teachers, I'm not remotely surprised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Well, unfortunately some people never mature. That might be small subset of adults though.
It is a small subset of adults-- the subset that is primarily responsible for teaching our children.

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I think with rising level of education and professionalism, i.e. achievement, is a rising level of respect for people and mature conduct.
I disagree, but I think this is noteworthy: You're associating intellectualism with achievement again here, as well as with professionalism and maturity. Some of the most accomplished individuals I've encountered have been among the least mature and professional (to say nothing of respectful). It's extremely rare, in my experience, to encounter someone who is intellectual, professional, mature, *and* has achieved a significant level of achievement. The most intellectual people I know haven't achieved all that much. The most mature people I know are all over the place, intellect-wise, and the most professional people I know are average/bright but certainly not gifted. In my experience, people who've achieved the most are slightly less likely to be respectful of others than average.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Are the a-holes you're talking about teachers? I'm surprised by this. I guess there are always immature and disrespectul people, no matter what age. I would guess they aren't the most educated or intellectual of all your colleagues. Just my guess.
The trouble is, the most intellectual people in the country don't become teachers as a rule. It's rare even to find a director of a gifted program who would have qualified for such a program as a child. I'm not at all surprised by this, though... as I said earlier, I went to school with an awful lot of education majors, and they were some of the most irritating people to deal with by and large.

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I think it was the NY York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in his book The World is Flat (wonderful book, BTW), who said that he'd rather be born poor in Bangalore with high intelligence than of low or moderate intelligence and born in the United States. Or maybe he was quoting Bill Gates. Anyway, his point was that in this global economy and high tech world, high intelligence and more precisely analytical ability is more valued by society and a person with certain skills can adapt to the economy. Fifty years ago, this phenomenon wouldn't have existed.

I don't know if I agree with that completely, but I understand and agree with the emerging premise.
The question I'd ask is, would you rather be born with high intelligence in Bangladesh or in the US? The research is pretty clear that children of high ability in the US are far, far underperforming their counterparts in other parts of the world. Why? The pervading culture of anti-intellectualism, in my opinion.
post #110 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
The question I'd ask is, would you rather be born with high intelligence in Bangladesh or in the US? The research is pretty clear that children of high ability in the US are far, far underperforming their counterparts in other parts of the world. Why? The pervading culture of anti-intellectualism, in my opinion.
Aha! I think I see why we seem to be disagreeing while agreeing!

I was thinking and writing in global terms. Perhaps you were thinking in terms of the United States?
post #111 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
That's like saying that the fact that a white child might tease an African-American child about her hair "innocently" means that all racism is innocent, and there is no such thing as institutionalized racism. The fact is, the environment of schools perpetuates anti-intellectual behaviors on the parts of the children. The kids aren't responsible for it-- The adults who allow/condone/encourage these behaviors are. The institution fosters anti-intellectualism.
I'm not sure if it is the same as the analogy you drew (which I definitely do not support...I don't support racism in any form, institutional or otherwise).

As far as an institution that fosters anti-intellectualism are you talking about public schools? I can see your point, especially in the (shamefully many) underperforming schools.

But I will forever be a supporter (and critic) of public schools for two reasons:

1. I am a product of public schools. I would not have otherwise been educated, having parents who did not commit to educating their children and who had no financial means or other intentions for private schooling, home schooling.

I went to public schools my through college and some grad school. Many of the teachers and professors were surrogate parents for me.

...which is why public schools, even in an imperfect environment, worked for me. I liken my childhood to child who grows up in say Bangledesh. Now, I want to put on the caveat that I know as a US citizen I have many, many inherent advantages to someone born in a 3rd world country. But I grew up in extreme poverty, was often hungry, had no structure from parents, and had a very chaotic life thanks to parents whose lives were riled with alcohol, drugs, crime, and violence.

Anyway, my point is that my drive was quite high because I wanted a better life a la some of the cultures in 3rd world countries who far exceed the US in academic performance.

So, I made public schools work for me. And, yes, I did follow the rules, but only because if I messed up there was no parental or family safety net. I had one chance to do it right.

And public school teachers fostered that. Yes, there were some cruddy ones. Yes, the classes weren't always very interesting and dumbed things down, and yes the curriculum left a lot to be desired...but if you went to class, did the homework, AND went to the library, read a lot and self-studied, you could have a great, highly intellectual experience.

And my teachers certainly valued that. I will say, though, that I might have had better teachers than some. And, of course, college was way better than high school. So, I see your point.

But I don't think the failings of public schools means our culture doesn't value intellectualism. We just have major issues with our public policy, unfortunately, but I don't think that represents the cultural views at large. At least, I really, really hope not.
post #112 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
The question I'd ask is, would you rather be born with high intelligence in Bangladesh or in the US? The research is pretty clear that children of high ability in the US are far, far underperforming their counterparts in other parts of the world. Why? The pervading culture of anti-intellectualism, in my opinion.
This is what I was trying to reference in my above response.
post #113 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
The trouble is, the most intellectual people in the country don't become teachers as a rule. It's rare even to find a director of a gifted program who would have qualified for such a program as a child. I'm not at all surprised by this, though... as I said earlier, I went to school with an awful lot of education majors, and they were some of the most irritating people to deal with by and large.
Well, that is very true, unfortunately. There are those who are very dedicated and make great teachers (I know a few personally) but, yes, by and large I think many people become teachers because it is an easier curriculum among all majors, and also by default. I remember reading something a few years ago about how college students who can't choose a major often go into elementary education, etc.

Also, I know every couple of years, national policy makers will talk about how we need to increase teacher wages in order to attract qualified candidates.

But is that indicative of the culture at large not placing value on intellectualism. I don't know. I'm sure it's related, but it seems to be more of a public funding issue.
post #114 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
I disagree, but I think this is noteworthy: You're associating intellectualism with achievement again here, as well as with professionalism and maturity. Some of the most accomplished individuals I've encountered have been among the least mature and professional (to say nothing of respectful). It's extremely rare, in my experience, to encounter someone who is intellectual, professional, mature, *and* has achieved a significant level of achievement. The most intellectual people I know haven't achieved all that much. The most mature people I know are all over the place, intellect-wise, and the most professional people I know are average/bright but certainly not gifted. In my experience, people who've achieved the most are slightly less likely to be respectful of others than average. .
True. I am associating, to some extent, intellectualism with achievement, and also innovation.

I guess maybe I need to further explain that by achievement I don't mean $$ or job success or achievement in a business sense.

I mean more in the cultural creative sense...innovation, ingenuity, and, yes, intellectualism.

Often, that is intermixed with achievement, even in a $$ sense, but they can be exclusive, too.

My impression is that cultural creatives who possess intellectualism, innovation, ingenuity, etc are highly valued and highly respected. What is the mark of or guage for intellectualism?

When I think of intellectualism I think of Pulitizer prize winners, Nobel peace prize winners and the like, humanitarians, college professors, researchers, innovators, inventors, authors, people who create, artists, musicians...obviously one could be some of these things without high intellect, but generally people of high intellect do create in this culturally relevant way.
post #115 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
Firstly, I think it's quite rude to blame a miserable school experience on a child, especially in elementary school. To even insinuate that rubs me the wrong way-- it's not like the kids have a choice most of the time. As to the rest of it, again the school environment perpetuates anti-intellectual behaviors on the parts of teachers and students; It's all the same source.


Please don't take offense. My intent was not to be rude or to place blame. Someone else in a preceeding post had mentioned how their negative school experience was mainly due to their attitude.

I was curious why you had a bad experience and threw out several potential reasons that I could think of...teachers, other students, the curriculum, your own attitude, and a few others. Your attitude was just one of many I listed.

Many people might view what I experienced in school as miserable. I didn't have many friends and I was made fun of because of my family, because I was poor and wore rags, AND because I was very smart. I put aside all the bad and had a good attitude and loved school. So, attitude does play an important part.
post #116 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
It's very interesting that you mention this. Many, many gifted children (and this is more true the more highly gifted the child is) are far from being model students. Profoundly gifted boys have some of the highest dropout rates in the country, and are labeled as troublemakers more often than not (especially such boys who are minorities and/or low-income). Behaving well and following rules are often prerequisites for getting into gifted programs, but they are much more likely to find children who are bright than gifted. I was never a discipline problem in school, but my teachers actively disliked me a lot of the time. The ones who didn't were simply at a loss as to what to do with me.
That is very, very true and very well know. I believe there are many examples in history of intellectuals who didn't do well in the regular class room until they were inspired by something they loved...Einstein, Bill Gates to name just two.

You are correct that children who are low income but who might be of high intellect might be overlooked and not properly given the stimulus and direction they need to shine. It's a sad fact.

But that is a failing of the public school system (under funded, etc) and also a failing of their parents, and maybe, in later years when the children become teens and young adults, a failing of themselves.

I know that is harsh. And, yes, they didn't have all the opportunities they should have, but personal responsibility comes into this, as well.

You can be the most intelligent, talented person in your class but if you don't have personal responsibility, it's not going to mean much for your life.

I know this first hand. I am one of the few in my family to succeed academically, which translated to succeeding in a career, and translated to greater success in life. My siblings took different routes and made vastly different decisions.
post #117 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I'm not sure if it is the same as the analogy you drew (which I definitely do not support...I don't support racism in any form, institutional or otherwise).

As far as an institution that fosters anti-intellectualism are you talking about public schools? I can see your point, especially in the (shamefully many) underperforming schools.

But I will forever be a supporter (and critic) of public schools for two reasons:

1. I am a product of public schools. I would not have otherwise been educated, having parents who did not commit to educating their children and who had no financial means or other intentions for private schooling, home schooling.

I went to public schools my through college and some grad school. Many of the teachers and professors were surrogate parents for me.

...which is why public schools, even in an imperfect environment, worked for me. I liken my childhood to child who grows up in say Bangledesh. Now, I want to put on the caveat that I know as a US citizen I have many, many inherent advantages to someone born in a 3rd world country. But I grew up in extreme poverty, was often hungry, had no structure from parents, and had a very chaotic life thanks to parents whose lives were riled with alcohol, drugs, crime, and violence.

Anyway, my point is that my drive was quite high because I wanted a better life a la some of the cultures in 3rd world countries who far exceed the US in academic performance.

So, I made public schools work for me. And, yes, I did follow the rules, but only because if I messed up there was no parental or family safety net. I had one chance to do it right.

And public school teachers fostered that. Yes, there were some cruddy ones. Yes, the classes weren't always very interesting and dumbed things down, and yes the curriculum left a lot to be desired...but if you went to class, did the homework, AND went to the library, read a lot and self-studied, you could have a great, highly intellectual experience.

And my teachers certainly valued that. I will say, though, that I might have had better teachers than some. And, of course, college was way better than high school. So, I see your point.

But I don't think the failings of public schools means our culture doesn't value intellectualism. We just have major issues with our public policy, unfortunately, but I don't think that represents the cultural views at large. At least, I really, really hope not.
Public schools are the savior for a lot of kids. I will not argue that at all. I was able to get a full tuition scholarship because of the opportunities provided to me by public school. Does that mean that I should just embrace it and send my kids to public schools? Sorry, not going to happen. Schools encourage you to learn but only what they want you to learn. As a whole, they are not known for encouraging thought that fits outsides the realm of their expertise. I grew up liking schools for the most part. It was too cliquish and I felt the teachers were as much a part of it as the students. But, I had a few really good teachers that inspired me to want to teach. I went through college to become a teacher. I got to the point of doing my student teaching and decided that there was no way I would send my kids to public schools unless I had to. They are great for those that don't have the time, money, or ability to homeschool but for me, that isn't going to happen.

Schools perpetuate the stereotypes and do not encourage you to explore anything. I was a little girl that was fascinated by cars and traditionally boy stuff. Do you know how uncool it is for a little girl to want to grow up and be a racecar driver?

I had more than one teacher tell me and my parents that I wasn't living up to my potential. Frankly, I didn't see much point in busting my butt over stuff that would have no meaning to me once I got out of school. When it came time for teachers to nominate kids for the gifted program, I almost got overlooked because I didn't dress right and I stuck out as kind of odd. I was a braniac but didn't fit the mold because I was different. I was a good kid and a good student and the teachers liked me but I was not part of the "IN" crowd within the braniac circle. How could I fit into that crowd? My family didn't have money. I am sorry but the teachers are just as bad if not worse than the students when it comes to marginalizing certain students or groups of students.

Yes, you had a high drive but that does not mean that you were somehow smarter or better than those that did not have that drive. I consider my DH to be way smarter than me but he never achieved as much in school because he didn't have the drive. He was very artsy and creative. The teachers, his parents, and others around him squelched that creativity at every turn. I was tested as gifted and he wasn't. I guarantee you that he is every bit as gifted as I am. His brother was a year or two ahead of him in school and he was embarassed by DH's creativity and intelligence. If DH wanted to fit in anywhere, he had to squelch that and keep it in check.

DH and I both have a problem in most circles because we are not appreciated at the intellectual level. We don't go around broadcasting anything but we have a certain way of relating to each other and the world that just doesn't fit into mainstream society. We have not achieved anything great in our lives and we live in a rather poor neighborhood that is safe because we value intellectual pursuits over achievement.
post #118 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
In my experience, people who've achieved the most are slightly less likely to be respectful of others than average. .
In the business world, probably yes.

In the cultural creative world or academic world? I'd argue no. But it's hard to tell.
post #119 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
The smartest kids in American high schools are not graduating as valedictorians-- they're dropping out in droves.
Do you really think the smartest kids are dropping out in droves? I don't think that's true. Yes, there are some children and teens of genius level who fall through the cracks because they have highly functioning brains, and possibly highly sensitive bodies (can't sit still, can't concentrate unless it's something they're stimulated by, etc).

But I don't think it's a majority.

I think the smartest kids do well enough. They're probably not pulling all As (some are, most aren't) because they probably are not gifted in all fields and certainly not interested enough in all fields. So, I think the smartest kids do ok.

By and large, they're not the valedictorians. My personal theory is that valedictorians are kids who are moderately good at doing homework, get along with the teachers, and probably have a pretty darn stable home life and supportive, involved parents.

But I think the people scoring highest on college entrance exams (ACT and SAT) who did not study a lot for them or take the prep courses are a different set than the valedictorians. They are intellectuals, for the most part. Also, I think there are a lot of kids who are intellectual in ways that are not tested such as art and music and innovation.

But I don't think the smartest kids are dropping out in droves. And if they do drop out, I sure hope they get a GED and go on to college and study something that they love!
post #120 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
That is very, very true and very well know. I believe there are many examples in history of intellectuals who didn't do well in the regular class room until they were inspired by something they loved...Einstein, Bill Gates to name just two.

You are correct that children who are low income but who might be of high intellect might be overlooked and not properly given the stimulus and direction they need to shine. It's a sad fact.

But that is a failing of the public school system (under funded, etc) and also a failing of their parents, and maybe, in later years when the children become teens and young adults, a failing of themselves.

I know that is harsh. And, yes, they didn't have all the opportunities they should have, but personal responsibility comes into this, as well.

You can be the most intelligent, talented person in your class but if you don't have personal responsibility, it's not going to mean much for your life.

I know this first hand. I am one of the few in my family to succeed academically, which translated to succeeding in a career, and translated to greater success in life. My siblings took different routes and made vastly different decisions.
What about the kids that do want to take responsibility for their own learning but are squashed because the school does not offer what they need in terms of learning. Not everybody has the self control to sit through 8 hours of drudgery. I think you are confusing personal responsibility with the ability to sit down, shut up, and do as you are told. I am not trying to be snarky or rude but I fail to see how conforming in school is going to make everybody an automatic success.

Academic success does not mean anything. I have one sister that is a basket case but she has two master's degrees. One is an MBA with an emphasis in accountancy and the other is a master's in Finance. She has all of the credentials in the world but cannot hold down a job. She can tow the line and make the grade all day long but when it comes to actually thinking for herself or having any sort of intellectual conversations it is virtually impossible. She cannot accomplish anything without being told what to do. The sad thing is that the only job that she can get is that of a high school math teacher. Her inability to think and reason has made it impossible for her to use those two master's degrees.

DH and I have the opposite problem. We aren't as good at towing the line and doing what we are told and what is expected of us. I used to be pretty good at it until I found like minded people that accepted me for the geek that I am. Of course, I have a master's degree and plan to get a Ph.D. someday and DH has two master's degrees. Do we have high fallutin' jobs? Nope. Are we what most people consider successful? Nope not at all and that is okay with us because we focus on knowledge for the sake of knowledge rather than knowledge as a means to financial gain or success. I know I am rambling as always but I just kind of get put off when people equate academic success with being intellectual. Both of my sisters have achieved academic success but I wouldn't consider either of them to be that intellectual. My older sister is more intellectual than my other siblings but she was always in trouble in school and actually graduated from the alternative school because of her inability to tow the line. She managed to graduate college with honors with 3 kids.
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