Do you think our culture is anti-intellectual? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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In term of raising money for teachers, it certainly does need to happen to attract and RETAIN the types of teachers we want.

As someone with a bachelors from an Ivy League school, and a masters from a top 20 education school(different school), and most of the coursework for a PhD from a top 5 program in that same ed school, I can promise you that money is a large part of why I left teaching.

It wasn't the starting salary. Starting salaries are pretty good. I started teaching ten years ago, and made $32,000. My best friend from college got an entry level job with the thinktank in NYC and made $30,000.

the problem came at the five year mark, where I was making $36000, and my best friend was making well over $100,000.

The folks you all are talking about (and I actually question how many of them are teaching in a widespread manner--they certainly exist, but in my experience not in the droves you discuss) will stay in teaching regardless of the salary they are given. The folks like me and my friends will treat teaching as our "peace corps" job and then move into our more lucrative career. If the salary had been high enough for me to support my dreams of a family and invest in my own child's future, I likely would have stayed in teaching.
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#62 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Heck yeah it counts. Parents are excellent judges of whether or not their kids are gifted.

Another question - do you think people are born intellectuals, or do you think it develops as we age? Nature and/or nurture?

Kathy
Every nurture v. nature question gets the same answer from me.

Both.

You can be born with an aptitude for intelligence, but whether it is encouraged or not depends on how well it's developed.

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#63 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 02:03 AM
 
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The folks you all are talking about (and I actually question how many of them are teaching in a widespread manner--they certainly exist, but in my experience not in the droves you discuss) will stay in teaching regardless of the salary they are given.
There is an awful lot of turnover in the school districts with which I"m familiar, but... well, I'll put it this way. In one year of having a child in a public school, I've personally encountered more teachers who really care about children and education than in my entire lifetime prior. It's a case of self-selecting groups, pure and simple. BeanBean attends a cyber charter school. The parents who choose this model are, by definition, parents who have given some conscious thought to the educations of their children. Likewise, the teachers are people who have chosen to be part of something different, something they believe in-- they've given the matter a great deal of thought. The teachers in his school all have lots of experience and lots of knowledge and understanding. Where my niece has had three different teachers (not counting administrators!) suggest that she needed to be put on Ritalin, *not one* said the same of my son, even after meeting him. "Oh, really bright little boys get bored and they always run like that, the poor dears. They just need more interesting classwork." I mean, these people have gone above and beyond, really out of their way to make sure that Bean's needs are being accomodated-- even though legally it's not really mandated.

Teachers like this are truly rare; Administrators even moreso. It is my fervent hope that BeanBean never has to learn that firsthand, the way I did.

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#64 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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I really don't intend to hijack this thread but the question regarding nature or nurture popped up here. For those interested in the subject I'd like to recommend "The Agile Gene"/"Nature via Nurture" by Matt Ridley. It's a very interesting read for those "geeky-like-us" out there, and I'm sure local NA libraries will have it on hand. My take simply is a combination of the two.

Dh and I had an interesting conversation last night on the subject of NA anti-intellectualism. I pulled up the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-intellectualism and it pretty much sums up my feelings on it. I especially enjoyed the reference to Harrison Bergeron which has come up here before. I do see this played out in US politics frequently, where the "intellectual" is classified negatively as an elitist with no real understanding of "the common man" (something I feel is a decent representation of the overall populace view). DH's point was that in order for a society to survive it needs intellectuals, therefor could not be anti-intellectual. "Intellectualism is the currency by which our society strives." (something Dh just blurted out while I told him I was back on the subject.)
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#65 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 02:57 AM
 
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I have very mixed feelings about this sentiment. Part of me wants to say that if teachers were paid better, they would get better teachers. <snip> More money is not going to raise the level of professionalism with the teaching profession. No amount of money is going to suddenly make those 11 year olds grow up.
Well are these things, i.e. the sophomoric behavior of the teachers, the stagnant salaries, more of a symptom of an overall culture that does not value teaching (I'm not sure it's anti-intellectualism per se, I think that's something different) or the result of low salaries?

Is the lack of good students going into education a result of salaries or the structure of the system -- where people have tried to model education on industry and see teachers as interchangeable "widgits"? Under that kind of model, I have about as much interest in being a teacher as I do in being a ditch digger or a medical records clerk (well, ok probably more interest. My idea of hell is filing things, so a medical records clerk would be really, really bad!).

About every 30 years, the US seems to go through a period where they try to create "teacher-proof" curricula, i.e. a curriculum that will work no matter who is doing that. The current case in point is: Reading First. If that's the case, then do you really need a teacher who knows something? You just need a good worker bee to implement it. If you are a teacher who knows something and understands something about the art of teaching (yes, it's an art), why would you want to work in a system where creativity and pursuit of knowledge is punished? It's punished both passively (the extra effort is not rewarded) and actively (because it's outside the norm).

How can you demand high salaries when you don't have the best students going into education? How can you have the best students going into education when your culture doesn't value knowledge or teaching?

An example: When I was a biology major, no one ever asked me "what are you going to do with that?" When I switched to German, everyone always asked me "what are you going to do with that? Now, an undergradute BS in Biology is worth about as much, in terms of direct job skills as an undergraduate BA in German. But since it was a science, people assumed it was "good for something." German clearly wasn't. Why would I want to know German?

Our culture values skills, e.g., computer programming. It doesn't value knowledge. Intellectualism as I define it, is being interested in knowledge for knowledge's sake. What does a liberal arts education teach you? It doesn't give you marketable "skills", and so many people don't want to pursue that. What it should teach you is how to learn and how to think.

Far too few people value learning because it's interesting. They value the college degree because it's supposedly gets them a better job. I wish we had a decent system of trade schools for those people. They make my life as a professor a pain!

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#66 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 02:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
Then there are the countries like Finland that put a lot of effort into EO and then make it pointless by topping it off with egalitarianism. There's a reason why they have such great schools but an exodus of their best minds (and it's not just the weather).
It's not the weather it's the food! Any place that serves liver and pineapple pizza deserves an exodus!

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#67 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 03:00 AM
 
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OK, where is the pukey smilie, PInapple pizz? Liver? Gross!

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#68 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 03:03 AM
 
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OK, where is the pukey smilie, PInapple pizz? Liver? Gross!
It was worse than that -it was liver combined with pineapple!

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#69 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 03:51 AM
 
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*passes out*

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#70 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 04:56 AM
 
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Liver and pineapple pizza, huh? And here I was feeling ridiculous for making that for myself when I was pregnant. : :

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#71 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 04:57 AM
 
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OK, I must ask. I am Finn, lived all my life here and I have never heard a pizza where there is liver. Sounds disgusting. What pizzeria puts liver in pizza?

There is pinapple in some pizzas but I did not think that is such of a big deal for Americans since even pizzahut has pinapple?

Our biggest pizzachain is kotipizza and if you go here and click "the kotipizza menu" you get the menu in english.

http://www.kotipizza.fi/Suomeksi/Menu/Pizzat

And regards to exodus - 2007 statistic shows that 12 450 moved away from Finland while 26 050 moved in Finland.(this figure does not include refugees or temporary workers). If we look at the statistics 1997, then 9 854 moved away from Finland while 13 564 moved in).
If we look at the EU - During last 7 years from EU countries there has been much more people moving in Finland than from Finland to EU countries.

Finland has a huge problem at the moment because so much foreigners want to come to study here and we can't take them all. Same with exchange students.

According to every polls done in last recent years - Finns value the most equality for all - with same protection, rights and responsibilities. That goes to students too. Every child no matter if ubersmart or disabled has the right to get good education. There is no seperation to different classes unless we are talking severelly disabled children, like blind or deaf. Curriculum is the same for all, it is adjusted for children for disabilities. Smart kids get extra stuff to do according to their skills but no skipping classes or something like that - learning to be adult has to do with so much more than learning school stuff, it includes also things like social skills and skipping grades can be bad.
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#72 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 07:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kxsiven View Post
There is pinapple in some pizzas but I did not think that is such of a big deal for Americans since even pizzahut has pinapple?
Greetings, kxsiven! You're right, pineapple pizza isn't exactly an anomaly here. It was the rumored combo w/ liver that threw us for a loop.

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According to every polls done in last recent years - Finns value the most equality for all - with same protection, rights and responsibilities. That goes to students too. Every child no matter if ubersmart or disabled has the right to get good education. There is no seperation to different classes unless we are talking severelly disabled children, like blind or deaf. Curriculum is the same for all, it is adjusted for children for disabilities. Smart kids get extra stuff to do according to their skills but no skipping classes or something like that - learning to be adult has to do with so much more than learning school stuff, it includes also things like social skills and skipping grades can be bad.
VanessaS posted some links to Economist articles on Finland's educational system, if your scroll back a few pages. Are there no gifted programs/schools in Finland? No varying tracts?
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#73 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 08:28 AM
 
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I agree that both nature and nurture play a part in intellectualism, just as in intelligence, but I think that the balance tips toward nurture in regards to intellectualism, while the opposite is true for intelligence.
:
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#74 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 08:38 AM
 
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Are there no gifted programs/schools in Finland?
No gifted programs, but there are a substantial number of students in special ed. Basically, it's where the rowdy boys go (v-s thinkers).

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And regards to exodus - 2007 statistic shows that 12 450 moved away from Finland while 26 050 moved in Finland.(this figure does not include refugees or temporary workers). If we look at the statistics 1997, then 9 854 moved away from Finland while 13 564 moved in).
If we look at the EU - During last 7 years from EU countries there has been much more people moving in Finland than from Finland to EU countries.
Finland has a huge problem at the moment because so much foreigners want to come to study here and we can't take them all. Same with exchange students.
Yes, this is true. But don't forget that Finland has been benefiting enormously from the crazy visa regulations in the US and other OECD countries. And most of the foreigners that have been arriving do not alleviate the brain-drain. Germany also has net-immigration but, when you look at the highly-skilled, it has net-emigration. It is the same case for Finland.
Remember that the highly-skilled are the first to leave a socialist system, as they profit least from it and pay most.
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#75 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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No gifted programs, but there are a substantial number of students in special ed. Basically, it's where the rowdy boys go (v-s thinkers).
As a finnish mother who has 2 children about to enter special education, neither of them rowdy and only one being boy I am quite interested in to know what you are basing your information?

Finnish school starts when children are 7. Children are tried to kept children as long as possible - first 6 years(age 7-12)education is kept easy and fun. Gifted children can be given extra stuff if child wants to and parents agree.

When children enter upper grade school - 7-9 grades(13-15), the selection of subjects go up. For example if you are gifted in music, you can take extra music classes and so on. Also upper grade schools are often specialised, so your (for example)mathematically gifted child could apply to school that has extra math.

We do not have high school like USA does but what's called Upper secondary school. You have to apply to these and most of them are specialised - from arts to science. The basic curriculum is the same but again if your child is gifted in some area student can apply to school that best suits him or her. In the end of the upper secondary school there are tests that determinates your ability to continue to upper education paths. You can't just walk in university, no matter how much money you have, you have to get through university tests + have good grades.

As far as special education. The so called rowdy boys go to "observation classes", they are not in special education nor will they be in special education statistics. A child can go through his whole school years in normal class and still be marked as special education child. That is why statistically it shows that we have lot of SE-students.

Each child that enters in the school system gets a study plan. Done together with teacher&parents and if child has real disabilities then child's therapists, medical personel etc. join in.
For example if your child has mild dyslexia, she is marked as special education student. She will be in normal class but her curriculum in reading(and possibly in other subjects)is adjusted to her needs. She might get her own personal helper into the class or special education teacher might give her extra help with reading stuff and so on.

The idea is that each student would get exactly the help they need. No matter how mild or severe the problem is.

My children have both severe dysphasia. Together with school, us, their therapists(speech&occupational)and their doctors we sat down and planned what would be best for our twins. End result is that since early support is vital they will start in dysphasia class - 8 students, special education teacher and 2 class helpers. They will be in this class 2 years in "preschool" and possibly longer in actual school but the goal is that they can one day go to normal class with aid(whatever that might be)but they will always be under special education.

Special education in Finland does not mean rowdy boys. When we look at the statistics and compare "normal" students and those who are under special education there are no differencies of the amount of students going to upper education/university. You can have special education status even when you are in university.

Here is a good article about schoolsystem probably explaining things better than my ramblings(from American POV);

http://www.openeducation.net/2008/03...school-system/



As far as VISA regulation and OECD countries...Finland is no different than other countries, we have quite tight rules, so I don't understand your comment.

Of course now with EU, citizens from other EU countries do enter here easily but so can Finns go to other EU countries. Yet since 1995 Finland has gotten people from other EU countries much more than Finns have moved to EU countries.

It's late and I should be in bed.

Finnish research from medical to technical is very high. So high that even American companies come here to do research, so I do not think our brain leak is any worse than in other countries.

There are higher educated people who do value other things than money. Both here in Finland and obviously in other countries too since high educated people find their way here.

But like any other western country we are sitting on a timebomb since there aren't enough babies born - we have shortage of workers, all kinds of workers from cleaners to doctors.
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#76 of 229 Old 07-30-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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DH and I are both librarians. We couldn't figure out what we wanted to do so we became librarians because we love all knowledge. Can you get more intellectual that that?
Off-topic, but, my MIL and FIL are both librarians, too! You are now the second librarian couple I've heard of. Cool.
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#77 of 229 Old 08-02-2008, 06:50 AM
 
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Hi, kxsiven.
Your public school system sounds pretty darn cool.
Do you guys have good vocational programs in your country as well?
So if it does not pay so much to have higher education in Finland, I guess, the motivation to go on to get higher education would be more intellectual in your country???
Does your government pay all or majority of tuition and other bills for higher education students?
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#78 of 229 Old 08-02-2008, 10:25 AM
 
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There are many different ways to get vocational education. You can go straight after required education(9 years) or after upper secondary school.

We also have schools that are kind of mix up - combination of University&vocational school. All is free (no tuition)and every student gets monthly grant(depending where you study it varies between 200-400€)+you can get cheap student loans. You also get monthly support money to pay your rent(amount depends where you live).

For adults who want to change their jobs there are (free)vocational schools too.

Here is an example of that "mixed up", higher vocational school - http://portal.savonia.fi/amk/english.

For example midwives are trained there.

It does not matter if you are poor or rich, you get the same money, grants&support from goverment. So each student can freely choose what they want to be when they grow up. But all upper education requires that you have good enough school report and you have to pass the tests.

Lazy ones do not get in.

University students are free from tuitions too. They get the same grants, loans and apartment support money mentioned above.

All schooling is payed from taxmoney. Students use their money to pay rent, schoolbooks and food.

Here is the site for Helsinki University;

http://www.helsinki.fi/university/index.html

Of course foreign students do not get the grants or any other support but they don't have to pay tuition.

Couple of other links;

http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Koulutus/am...lutus/?lang=en

http://www.oph.fi/pageLast.asp?path=...80,15059,11261

http://www.ammatillinenkoulutus.com/main.php?sivu_id=9


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Originally Posted by moonyoungi View Post
Hi, kxsiven.
Your public school system sounds pretty darn cool.
Do you guys have good vocational programs in your country as well?
So if it does not pay so much to have higher education in Finland, I guess, the motivation to go on to get higher education would be more intellectual in your country???
Does your government pay all or majority of tuition and other bills for higher education students?
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#79 of 229 Old 08-02-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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i would say the US is anti-intellectual as regards institutionalized schooling, politics, and the workplace ... ah well, perhaps it's anti-intellectual in all areas to some extent!

part of it is the media, surely ... the majority of kids in the US are growing up with completely commercialized television instructing them on how to get through life and be popular, sporty and fashionable.

we were at the doctor's the other day, and my daughter asked for a sticker. the nurse said "i know what you want!" and handed her 3 Dora stickers. my daughter has no idea who is Dora (although she knows Maya and her brother ) we went through the whole big basket of stickers and it was all about Disney, princesses, and Dora. this is only one situation, but variations on this theme have happened quite a lot, especially when toy shopping!

i loved, absolutely LOVED elementary school. i was one of two gifted students in a tiny school, and they made sure we had the materials we wanted to learn, and never held us back. then my parents moved to a different school system, and i found myself being forced to learn the 7th grade all over again, even though i was at college level in the major subjects.

i was labeled "troubled" since i tried to convince the teachers to give me advanced work in that huge, overburdened school system. i finally just gave up. it was just heartbreaking. i never lost my love of reading and learning privately, though.

i'm an artist, awon a scholarship to art school, and had a truly great graphic design career before i had my babe. now i'm her teacher, and i LOVE learning all over again! refreshing myself on everything she'll need to learn, and watching the pure joy on her face as she learns, and oh, she is SO motivated! in fact she's "playing school" right now and teaching her dolls the difference between a stegosaurus and a tyrannosaurus.

i'd love to go to school again and learn some physics, some psychology, and of course child education. but if i mention that to a friend, they say "why on earth would you want to go back to school??" sigh.

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#80 of 229 Old 08-02-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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i loved, absolutely LOVED elementary school. i was one of two gifted students in a tiny school, and they made sure we had the materials we wanted to learn, and never held us back. then my parents moved to a different school system, and i found myself being forced to learn the 7th grade all over again, even though i was at college level in the major subjects.

i was labeled "troubled" since i tried to convince the teachers to give me advanced work in that huge, overburdened school system. i finally just gave up. it was just heartbreaking. i never lost my love of reading and learning privately, though.
Good they didn't bring you down completely. It was only by the grace of one teacher that my friend who was in a similar situation was able to keep up her desire to learn. When she finished her work or they were doing repeats, her 7th grade teacher looked the other way while she read the science encyclopedias under her desk quietly. He seemed to be the only teacher to understand that going over everything again and again for a whole week was akin to torturing her. She learned it the first time or asked questions and learned it the second. Everyone else assumed she was a trouble maker.


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i'd love to go to school again and learn some physics, some psychology, and of course child education. but if i mention that to a friend, they say "why on earth would you want to go back to school??" sigh.
I say, go back to school anyway. Who cares what those friends think. The friends you have here would think it was a GREAT choice. I'm still in school, mind you I'm still young, but I plan on staying in school for as long as possible.

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#81 of 229 Old 08-02-2008, 10:13 PM
 
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"In the end of the upper secondary school there are tests that determinates your ability to continue to upper education paths. You can't just walk in university, no matter how much money you have, you have to get through university tests + have good grades."

And we think the testing for NCLB is bad. This is my problem with the more typical european system. From what some British friends have said, there doesn't seem to be a good way for those that slacked off in high school or messed up on the testing to work their way into college. In the US, there is almost always the option of a community college for one or two years and, then, after proving an ability to do the work, it is possible to move on to a better 4 year school.

"Our culture values skills, e.g., computer programming. It doesn't value knowledge. Intellectualism as I define it, is being interested in knowledge for knowledge's sake. What does a liberal arts education teach you? It doesn't give you marketable "skills", and so many people don't want to pursue that. What it should teach you is how to learn and how to think.

Far too few people value learning because it's interesting. They value the college degree because it's supposedly gets them a better job. I wish we had a decent system of trade schools for those people. They make my life as a professor a pain!"

And an excellent example of why many people don't like "intellectuals" -- the disdain for those who just want to get a good job to, you know, to be able to have a family, and a decent house and a nice vacation every now and then. These students are jumping the hoops and getting their tickets punched to make that happen, and there is nothing wrong with it. Given the cost of the average college education today, it should be understandable that the average student will expect a return for the investment made. Having a "life of the mind" is a wonderful thing, but not everyone has the luxury of the time and money for it (especially to the exclusion of more practical pursuits) or even the interest and that's okay.

I grew up in a town that was home to one of the public ivys, and my neighborhood was filled with college professors and Ph.ds that worked in the pharama. co. down the road. It was an intellectual bubble, where A's were expected and the question wasn't if you were going to college, but which grad school you would eventually be aiming for. My soph. year of HS one of the neighborhood kids committed suicide when he didn't get into Harvard. Most everyone there was convinced they were smarter and more knowledgeable than "your average bear" which gets a little wearing for all those that don't fit that mold.

I had a full ride merit scholarship to college and went to an excellent law school. I've never felt uncomfortable mentioning either fact (where and when appropriate) and have never had a "bad" reaction by others to it.
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#82 of 229 Old 08-03-2008, 05:58 AM
 
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there doesn't seem to be a good way for those that slacked off in high school or messed up on the testing to work their way into college.
I do not know anything about english system but here there are other ways to university if you mess up Secondary school and testing(which can include also psychological testing for certain curriculums for example doctors).

Anybody can go to open university and get inside that way. After certain amount of accepted courses in open university you get in. Another way is through those "mix-up" schools that I talked about in my previous post.

The tests to universities are very different. For example if you want to study history, you get list of history related books(usually 2-3 books)and the test will be about those books. You have several months to study them(tests are during early summer and names of the books are out in December-January).

Here you start to study your main subject at once - because during the secondary education you have allready studied everything else. I've understood that in USA Universities you have lot of subjects during first years that might have nothing to do with your mainsubject.

Also universities are not concidered here "the must", most important is that you go to school you like and university education is no more valued than any other education. More important is that you do what you love.
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#83 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 11:08 AM
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And we think the testing for NCLB is bad. This is my problem with the more typical european system. From what some British friends have said, there doesn't seem to be a good way for those that slacked off in high school or messed up on the testing to work their way into college. In the US, there is almost always the option of a community college for one or two years and, then, after proving an ability to do the work, it is possible to move on to a better 4 year school.

Er, that's entirely wrong. Virtually anyone can get into University in the UK, at any time in their life. That's the problem. (The anyone, not their ages, that is). It's made having a degree virtually pointless. Case in point, one of my friends has been unemployed for nearly a year now, inspite of have a good degree from a well regarded university. The problem is she hasn't got a good enough degree for most graduate tracking schemes, and hasn't spent the last four years (actually, more like the last 6 or 8 years) working in a shop. This means she is over qualified for most office jobs, and doens't even get an interview, even though she could do them really well, and can't get into graduate schemes because she had a life at university.

Half the people on our course were 'mature' students (i.e. over 25), and most of them wouldn't have got in to university when they left school (for whatever reason).

We have so many universities now, you can get always get into one if a degree is all you are interested in getting.
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#84 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 11:18 AM
 
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"Far too few people value learning because it's interesting. They value the college degree because it's supposedly gets them a better job. I wish we had a decent system of trade schools for those people. They make my life as a professor a pain!"

And an excellent example of why many people don't like "intellectuals" -- the disdain for those who just want to get a good job to, you know, to be able to have a family, and a decent house and a nice vacation every now and then. These students are jumping the hoops and getting their tickets punched to make that happen, and there is nothing wrong with it. Given the cost of the average college education today, it should be understandable that the average student will expect a return for the investment made. Having a "life of the mind" is a wonderful thing, but not everyone has the luxury of the time and money for it (especially to the exclusion of more practical pursuits) or even the interest and that's okay.
Nobody's saying that there's something wrong with pursuing higher education to get a good job, but I do have a problem with people pursuing fields in which they have no interest whatsoever (like engineering) in order to support themselves when they're going to be miserable about it. I have a huge problem with people who deingrate intellectuals because they're obsessed with making money, and an even bigger problem with people who choose intellectually intense majors and then whine about not being able to handle it.

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I grew up in a town that was home to one of the public ivys, and my neighborhood was filled with college professors and Ph.ds that worked in the pharama. co. down the road. It was an intellectual bubble, where A's were expected and the question wasn't if you were going to college, but which grad school you would eventually be aiming for. My soph. year of HS one of the neighborhood kids committed suicide when he didn't get into Harvard. Most everyone there was convinced they were smarter and more knowledgeable than "your average bear" which gets a little wearing for all those that don't fit that mold.

I had a full ride merit scholarship to college and went to an excellent law school. I've never felt uncomfortable mentioning either fact (where and when appropriate) and have never had a "bad" reaction by others to it.
Of course you didn't feel uncomfortable, but you already acknowledged the reason for that-- you grew up in an intellectual bubble. Most of us don't live there.

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#85 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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Well, it varies widely depending on the various circles in which you travel....but you are asking about North America as a whole. I think society values high achievers more than it value intellectuals. Intellectuals who are also high achievers are valued. So, society values "intellectual," inventive achievers such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, etc., but also values the physical achievements of professional athletes, the financial achievements of the rich, the self-evident beauty of the beautiful, etc. Many children will want to achieve the type of success that is valued by society as a whole.
I agree with this. :

I do think that it varies widely depending on where in North America you live, and the circles of people you interact with.

I know that education spending, just as one marker, varies greatly from community to community, and state to state. Education performance, as another marker of many, also varies widely among different geographic areas.

But, I think, in general, intellectualism is valued. Achievement is valued more, obviously. But, often (not always) intellectualism and achievement go hand in hand.

Personally, I think that it really depends on the circles of people in which you interact. I was not born into a very educated family (not at all). There wasn't much emphasis placed on education, intellectualism, or, sadly, achievement. To some extent, intellectualism was made fun of, or dismissed. I never understood it when I was a child, but as an adult looking back, I think the dismissal of those who were intellectual was because of feelings of not measuring up, or not being smart themselves.

Anyway, I was born into a family of uneducated, non-intellectuals. But I was pegged pretty early on as talented and gifted. I always performed at the top of the class and scored 90th percentile or above on all tests in school.

I always felt intellectualism, and achievement, were valued highly by the school and by the teachers, who were themselves educated. I think intellectualism and achievement were valued both separately and together in school.

I was one of the few and first people in my family to go to college. Intellectualism and achievement were very highly valued in college.

I graduated from college and made my way in a career. Again, intellectualism and achievement were very highly valued, recognized, and rewarded.

So, it really does depend on the circles in which you interact.
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#86 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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I have a lot to say on this issue, but I think I will stick with an anecdote. I have a 4mo, I have no idea if he is gifted, but I certainly plan on giving him access to the tools he needs to develop himself. I have told several people that I plan on having him trained in the area of music and that the training will likely start with the piano and may branch out if/when he develops interest in other instruments/voice/production etc. This has been met with various comments, but the essence of most comments have been "That's gay/homosexual/geeky/weak/for girls." I do not tell anyone that I would like to do this anymore, it's really sad because all evidence says that music education helps develop the brain in ways that are extremely useful outside of music. I don't see why I should limit my son's access because he is a boy, and therefore I should not make any other plans for him besides making the NFL
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#87 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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I have a lot to say on this issue, but I think I will stick with an anecdote. I have a 4mo, I have no idea if he is gifted, but I certainly plan on giving him access to the tools he needs to develop himself. I have told several people that I plan on having him trained in the area of music and that the training will likely start with the piano and may branch out if/when he develops interest in other instruments/voice/production etc. This has been met with various comments, but the essence of most comments have been "That's gay/homosexual/geeky/weak/for girls." I do not tell anyone that I would like to do this anymore, it's really sad because all evidence says that music education helps develop the brain in ways that are extremely useful outside of music. I don't see why I should limit my son's access because he is a boy, and therefore I should not make any other plans for him besides making the NFL


Well, just as you said, you shouldn't limit your child's access to music. I am shocked that you've encountered so many opinions of the nature you described.

I could see some people I know from the community I grew up in, and I don't think my own family would place very much importance on music education, but it is a known fact that musical exposure enhances so many other things in life...math, reading, imagination, creativity, love and appreciation for art, etc, etc.

I think again it really depends on the circles of people you interact with. I would be very hard pressed to find any of my friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc who didn't place importance on music in education, or education in general. Nearly all of them have enrolled their children, both boys and girls, in music, etc. Then again, these are all fairly educated people themselves.

You give your child every opportunity you want to. Don't listen to the naysayers.
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#88 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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Just answering the OP without reading it all...

Yes, definitely strongly anti-intellectual. Don't you love to learn? I do, and I was always made to feel foolish for it by mainstream culture. There are so many messages out there saying that the best way to be is fluffy, easily entertained, and out for fun, fun, fun. I think it brings the U.S. down.

Even our schools tend to convey the idea that learning is a chore to be done to the minimal degree needed, and rarely enjoyed.

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#89 of 229 Old 08-04-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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Even our schools tend to convey the idea that learning is a chore to be done to the minimal degree needed, and rarely enjoyed.
I never got this impression in school or from my teachers. I went to public schools. Some teachers were better than others, but all teachers fostered a love for learning, encouraged educational achievement, and most encouraged creativity, as well.

I never felt like teachers gave the impression that learning, or even homework, was a chore.

I actually enjoyed homework, and loved interacting with my teachers. They were way better than my parents at fostering a love of learning and a love of reading.

My teachers in elementary, junior high, and high school definitely valued intellectualism. My college professors did as well. I think intellectualism is valued in society, particularly when it's coupled with achievement.
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#90 of 229 Old 08-12-2008, 08:46 PM
 
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Yes,and I think it has always been so. Even educated Americans tend to be quite anti-intellectual. They get highly specialized degrees to practice some lucrative profession,but other than that they tend not to have many intellectual interests; I've met drop-outs with more depth and imagination than your average "professional".
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