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Old 06-15-2012, 03:21 PM   #31
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I went to a private high school and they had a program where as long as my town's public high school accepted the credits I could get a diploma from there. That's what I did. But at either school, a 4.0 would not get you anything. A 4.0 with active sports alone would not get you into a good private college because my town had a terrible reputation.

I graduated in 3 years (doubling up one year on classes) with a 3.7 GPA. The only reason I did not get a 4.0 was because my freshman year I messed up really badly and got straight Ds and Cs for half of the year (my mom died and I stopped putting effort into school). I cleaned up and maintained a straight A record after that. Even still, despite getting better SAT scores than 80% of students and better ACT scores than 70% of students I was rejected from a couple of my ideal colleges. I was even the captain of the chess team and had several volunteer job positions at my school backing me up.

Grades don't make you special. I know plenty of 4.0-5.0 people that weren't very smart.

As for the guy's speech regarding being special, while I agree with him on that, I disagree with his unrelated tangents and the tone he went about it with. Seemed very... condescending/arrogant/"I'm always right" to me.

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Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
The inflation problem and attitude that everyone has to feel awesome all the time permeates beyond school. In the world of German Shepherd dog trialing we have the same problem with Schutzhund (our sport of tracking, obedience, and protection). Scores are getting inflated and now getting a great score and a top TSB (fighting drive) rating no longer means anything because it doesn't set you apart. There was recently a good article in one of the Schutzhund magazines about how a few decades ago, a really good, strong dog got "G" (gut/good) and "SG" (sehr gut/very good) scores and the trainers/handlers were perfectly happy with that. Now everyone is obsessed with getting "V" (96-100) ratings and training dogs to be really flashy and precise. The training has certainly come a long way but the dogs themselves are weaker and dumber.
I agree with this and it's really sad. It permeates into the sports world, the writing world, and even the computer science/programming world. One of the least knowledgable people (regarding computers) I had ever met had a PhD in computers science and a 97-100% average all throughout college. Fantastic grades, absolutely horrible real life skills and intuition. It's reached a point where so much value has been put on grades that they have become meaningless.

The other problem is making success about conforming. The college I went to had some really hard courses. You were expected to get your work done, stand out from your classmates, learn and understand the material (tests were designed to prove understanding rather than memorization), etc. I transferred to a new college where the only way to get good grades was to do homework, show up in class, do a bunch of unnecessary projects that taught nothing, and do a simple multiple choice test at the end of the semester.

I was bored out of my mind and could not stand the lack of mental stimulation.

The education system in America is all kinds of messed up.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ladyfreckles View Post

The education system in America is all kinds of messed up.


bit of a generalization there?
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #33
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that's your take away?

you missed the point, > some people are special.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:11 PM   #34
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The colleges I applied for asked for both my weighted and unweighted GPAs to assess some of the discrepancies when dealing with different high schools.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:20 PM   #35
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bit of a generalization there?
America has one education system with slight variances from state to state. This does not count/include private schools. The good schools are in the minority while there are a lot of really bad or mediocre schools in between. Grade inflation, focusing on memorization instead of critical thinking skills, and poor reading/mathematical abilities upon the completion of high school are all signs that something is amiss here. Yes, it could be worse, but in comparison to other first world countries the quality of our education is increasingly poor.

The area I live in has a comprehensive international program and three of the top 100 schools in the country. Even straight-A students at the best high schools in the area have difficulty competing against kids that come over for international programs elsewhere.


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that's your take away?

you missed the point, > some people are special.
Naw, I agreed with the special point earlier on in my post. The latter half in response to Liesje was me derailing and just discussing our education system in general.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:34 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by ladyfreckles View Post
America has one education system with slight variances from state to state. This does not count/include private schools. The good schools are in the minority while there are a lot of really bad or mediocre schools in between. Grade inflation, focusing on memorization instead of critical thinking skills, and poor reading/mathematical abilities upon the completion of high school are all signs that something is amiss here. Yes, it could be worse, but in comparison to other first world countries the quality of our education is increasingly poor.

The area I live in has a comprehensive international program and three of the top 100 schools in the country. Even straight-A students at the best high schools in the area have difficulty competing against kids that come over for international programs elsewhere.

so, you agree -- you're wildly generalizing and extrapolating from your own experience.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:47 PM   #37
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so, you agree -- you're wildly generalizing and extrapolating from your own experience.
Academic Failure - International Test Scores - Poor TIMSS Results
Fast Facts
State Profiles.net
35 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education Has Become A Giant Money Making Scam



I have more, too. I spent my time in school believing that I was just dealt a bad school, that maybe change would help, etc. Eventually I learned of the school issues that many other people were experiencing and did research on it only to find that there are a ton of things wrong with the Education system as a whole. It is messed up. Now, never did I say that other education systems were not messed up. Nor did I say that the US is the worst. But it is definitely all kinds of messed up, from multiple angles, especially in regards to public schooling (private schooling I have not accumulated enough data on yet). Messed up = with flaw and problems. A "mess".
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:17 PM   #38
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you do realize the inherent difficulty of comparing a nation of highly diverse 310m people living across a vast continent to, say, Singapore, right? because finding "facts" like the above is like shooting fish in a barrel, especially when you use a generality like "messed up," which could mean anything, and also when you choose pretty suspect websites to prove your point.

no one is arguing American education is perfect or couldn't stand improvement, that there isn't a lot to admire about, say, Finland, and i'm sorry you didn't have a good college experience. but the fact remains that many individual states -- like, say, Massachusetts, where they invest in education -- perform as well as nations of comparable size, and the American university system is perhaps one of the greatest success stories in the nation's history. there's a bewildering amount of choice, and the vast majority of the world's top universities are in the US.

i probably shouldn't make too big a deal out of this, since i'd imagine we probably agree on about 75% of this. but wild generalizations about a place like the US makes me quite prickly. it's not so much out of a right wing INDY-ish sense of red blooded American Exceptionalism (which makes me ill) but more of a sense of feeling like there's an enormous amount of misunderstanding out there and lazy thinking, and some of it committed by the very people who live here.

this is a very complicated place. and i will put the quality of my public school K-12 education and private university education (not my intelligence, but the quality of the education i received) up against anyone.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:36 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
you do realize the inherent difficulty of comparing a nation of highly diverse 310m people living across a vast continent to, say, Singapore, right? because finding "facts" like the above is like shooting fish in a barrel, especially when you use a generality like "messed up," which could mean anything, and also when you choose pretty suspect websites to prove your point.
I linked to two opinion sites and two .gov. I also do not subscribe to the belief that just because a country is larger it is impossible to competitively educate.


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no one is arguing American education is perfect or couldn't stand improvement, that there isn't a lot to admire about, say, Finland, and i'm sorry you didn't have a good college experience.
I said in my post that the first college I went to I enjoyed, but then I went to another one that did not do things the same way. I used these as examples to contrast the difference in teaching methods and the result. In my first college I had a very good experience.

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but the fact remains that many individual states -- like, say, Massachusetts, where they invest in education -- perform as well as nations of comparable size, and the American university system is perhaps one of the greatest success stories in the nation's history. there's a bewildering amount of choice, and the vast majority of the world's top universities are in the US.
My critique is a critique us US Mandated public education from K-12, not Universities. It appears we have had a misunderstanding in that regard. One of the links I listed regarding state profiles showed that these special states are in the minority.



As you can see these good states fall in the minority. 1/5 of the states in the US fall in the "above average" category for the united states. When we are a country ranked 25th across the world for mathematics and only 1/5 of that country is above average, that means that 1/5 of the country has a chance of possibly competing with the "average" students in a higher ranking country.

The other issue is that in high ranking states there are very low ranking schools. My public high school, despite being in one of the top 10 states, barely competed with the "average" states. Living in one of the above average states does not guarantee you above average education, and likewise, living in an average state does not guarantee you average education (some states have really good schools, but those schools are such a minority that they have no effect on the statistics for each state).

Quote:
i probably shouldn't make too big a deal out of this, since i'd imagine we probably agree on about 75% of this. but wild generalizations about a place like the US makes me quite prickly. it's not so much out of a right wing INDY-ish sense of red blooded American Exceptionalism (which makes me ill) but more of a sense of feeling like there's an enormous amount of misunderstanding out there and lazy thinking, and some of it committed by the very people who live here.

this is a very complicated place. and i will put the quality of my public school K-12 education and private university education (not my intelligence, but the quality of the education i received) up against anyone.
I don't generalize, however it was an unrelated tangent to the thread so I did not want to drag on about it for too long. I could participate actively in through an entire US Education specific thread without running out of sources to cite or things to talk about, the trouble was that this thread is not one of them, so I closed my statement with what I thought. I can back up these thoughts. But that was a very short, one sentence long summary.

Messy as in badly managed, poorly organized (like a messy house). It does not mean the house itself is a bad house, but it does mean that it is not properly being managed. There are a lot of extremes in the US where there is that occasional school that does really well and organizes things really well and then there are those schools you hear about that you just want to stop existing. The issue is that we have such extremes.

EDIT:
totally just realized you probably got confused about the college thing because of my link to college statistics. That link was provided in order to support a more complicated thing that I can't summarize adequately but essentially: people going to college for the wrong reasons b/c of pressure in the schools growing up. You get good grades to get into a good college but then you get there and many kids have never been able to take enough elective classes in high school to know what they actually want to study so it's not fair organization. I think it's unfair and unwise to try to pressure an 18 year old to decide what he wants to study as his or her career for the rest of his or her life. Yet that's what we are supposed to do. I have the opposite issue... I know what I want to do with my life but I don't want a major, I just want to study whatever classes I want for fun (what I want to do has no major, either).
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:48 PM   #40
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It's much harder to educate 310m Americans than 10m Swedes. It just is. Compare the US to the EU, sure, but compare New Zealand to Connecticut.

There are myriad other cultural issues, but yes, size does matter. Like, are you looking at populations of states or just number of states?
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:51 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
It's much harder to educate 310m Americans than 10m Swedes. It just is. Compare the US to the EU, sure, but compare New Zealand to Connecticut.

There are myriad other cultural issues, but yes, size does matter.
Difficulty may be a factor but it's not impossible or implausible. Quality education in the US (education on par with the top ten math countries) is entirely possible but it would take reform and effort. People seem to act as though it's impossible and we should just accept our rank because those countries are smaller and I just don't view that as an excuse. It would require careful state by state planning to get each state to a high quality education but it is possible and I fail to see any valid reason for why we aren't doing that yet.

It would also appear that Australia has us beat in Math/Science.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:55 PM   #42
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Understanding complexity is not resignation.
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:01 PM   #43
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Understanding complexity is not resignation.
When bringing up complexity/level of difficulty as a reason for why a country currently isn't ranking high enough, that does not excuse the fact that we have had more than enough time to reform out education. I would rather discuss the methods of accomplishing something, not how hard it is to accomplish. I understand the complexities and see past them. They are not and should never be a deterrent.
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:36 PM   #44
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oooh, in case anyone is interested, I found a video of the speech:

You Are Not Special Commencement Speech from Wellesley High School - YouTube

I like it a lot better in full.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:19 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
It's much harder to educate 310m Americans than 10m Swedes. It just is. Compare the US to the EU, sure, but compare New Zealand to Connecticut.

There are myriad other cultural issues, but yes, size does matter. Like, are you looking at populations of states or just number of states?
Funny how you never raised this "size matters" argument in the healthcare debate. "It's much harder to educate 310m Americans than 10m Swedes" but providing single-payer universal health care for 310m Americans would never be an administrative, bureaucratic, fiscal nightmare.
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