Monday, June 07, 2010

The stupidification of America

Shrinkwrapped: "A society that "educates" its children to believe that 2 + 2 = 5 is "close enough" and that they are the smartest and most special because to be found wanting might damage their self esteem is a society that has already committed suicide..."

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10 Comments:

Blogger TMink said...

Real self esteem is earned by choices and given by the love in a parent's eye when they look at their kid.

School can only provide opportunities for making good choices and offering real, honest grades so kids can see if they are earning their self esteem. "Everyone passes" means their is not much opportunity for real scholastic self esteem.

Trey

1:06 PM, June 07, 2010  
Blogger ChrisA said...

Color me "not surprised".... Saddened, angry at times but not surprised.

4:17 PM, June 07, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

"Close enough" should not even be a consideration for a problem like "2+2" that is exactly 4. "Close enough" only comes into play when we start to approximate things, but approximations are rarely done in the public school curriculum, other than the approximation of irrational roots by rational approximations, so that you may say that 4 decimal places is sufficient, or perhaps 3 is "close enough."

To use "close enough" other wise is simply deceive both the teacher and the student. This whole concept of unearned "self-esteem" is extremely damaging, and it leads to the sort of narcissism we have in people like Obama who have never, ever done anything and yet think they are the greatest, most accomplished folks around.

4:46 PM, June 07, 2010  
Blogger Demonspawn said...

I don't remember a link to the speech, but one guy said it best:

There is no such thing as self-esteem, there is only self-respect. The problem is that protecting self-esteem is preventing the formation of self-respect.

5:39 AM, June 08, 2010  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

This argument in NYC seems to be between utterly foolish people who have no idea how math education works. We've got one guy trying to say "there should never be partial credit!", and we've got David Paterson who doesn't know enough to have an opinion.

Now, I wouldn't give either of those answers partial credit, but only because they didn't put enough information down to show that they understood what they were doing. On a word problem, knowing how to set up the calculation correctly should be worth some credit, even if the student then can't do the calculation.

This is always the case in math and science problems beyond arithmetic; you get partial credit if you set up the correct calculations/models and make a mistake somewhere along the way. This is the case at the International Math and Physics Olympiads as well, along with every advanced math, physical science, and engineering class in the country.

The issue isn't that partial credit is given; it's how lenient the standards for partial credit are.

11:28 AM, June 08, 2010  
Blogger jlbussey said...

I don't remember who said this...

"In my day we didn't have self esteem, we had self respect, and only as much as we had earned."

11:37 AM, June 08, 2010  
Blogger blahga the hutt said...

It's actually worse than this. I'm pretty sure that the NYS Regents (which is the test that students have to take in all subjects at the end of the year) requires students to get a whopping 55 in order to pass. When I finished high school (1991), it was 65 (a "D"), while in my mom's time it was a 75. Methinks the standards are decreasing slightly.

On a humorous side note, when I was in education school back in the late 90's (I wonder why I even considered that nowadays), NYS was shifting down from the 65 to 55 for the Regents and they (plus all our education professors) had the gall to declare that it would actually increase standards. I asked one of my professors in class one day how "one can raise standards by lowering test scores?" Needless to say they weren't happy with me and I ended up getting pushed out of the program. Probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

12:26 PM, June 08, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

I have a cynical motto that especially applies to the education establishment: "Anything is possible if you lower your standards far enough."

We can raise the graduation rate if we lower the standards far enough.

We can raise test scores if we water down the test far enough.

6:45 PM, June 08, 2010  
Blogger Brett said...

I think Edgehopper hits it on the head. The standards are too lenient, but the general concept isn't necessarily bad. I'm a civil engineer, and I wouldn't have gotten through college without partial credit.

In the skateboard problem, the kid sort of demonstrates that he understands the idea is to convert the feet to inches. I'm not sure I'd give credit, because I think the correct methodology is to multiply the number of feet times inches per feet. IE, [(2 feet)*(12 inches/foot)].

In fact, if he had gotten the right answer by saying 12+12=24, I'd still tag him for a point. As simple as the problem is, it can be solved by addition. However, a more complicated problem of the same type would need to be solved by muliplication.

The test /should/ be partially judging methodology. If a kid got all the right answers, but showed none of the work, I think the kid should fail. Getting the right answer the wrong way is just as bad as getting the wrong answer the right way.

9:23 PM, June 08, 2010  
Blogger Kevin M said...

I have always wondered how it happened that the state of Massachusetts has some of the best colleges in the country, and yet their department of Education has some of the biggest nitwits holding advanced degrees. I have met in my life several people who have worked in the education system, and all claim that if you want to spot the biggest morons in the room, find the people with Education degrees. They are so full of shit the flies line up at their doorstep. They don't know a damned thing except how to best convey information in a manner most likely to prevent any actual learning. To them, the messenger is wildly more important than the message. I guess not all the vapid idiots in the country can fit into Hollywood.

3:44 AM, June 12, 2010  

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