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Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal' 564

Posted by timothy
from the note-this-is-an-editorial dept.
TaeKwonDood writes "We've all seen the stories about how 'dismal' science education in America is. It turns out that it's kind of a straw man. America has long led the world in science but the 'average' score for Americans on standardized tests has never been good. Instead, every 2 years American kids get better but we keep being told things are terrible. Here is why."
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Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal'

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:16PM (#40220653)
    Every few years we have people trying to legislate science out of the class room because it conflicts with their vision of religion. Of course our science classes are messed up, people have a vested interest in them being so. Frankly, much of what is taught is not even science. Anyone who comes out of high school thinking that science is about facts has been done a disservice.

    And on the science vs religion front. Religion has rewritten itself often to adjust to realities that science has postulated. Science has never changed based on belief. So as a betting man, my money is on science. But as a scientist, I accept the possibility that I could be wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:16PM (#40220657)

    They siphon billions away from education and into worthless metrics that tell you little of value.

    Individual student assessment may be valuable, but a whole class, school, district, even state?

    How much are you really learning there?

    Not much. But big lobbyists want you to believe in the snake oil they're selling, and they convince a lot of people to be scared...for the CHILDREN!

  • by mu51c10rd (187182) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:17PM (#40220667)

    Isn't it the right of every generation to complain of the generations coming after them? I see my kids (in public schools) having more rigorous standards and classes than when I was younger, yet I work in a bleeding edge field in the world of technology. Perhaps we have all become cynical to the point that we think kids today won't make it...although that seems to hold true by every older generation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:18PM (#40220695)

    A disturbing percentage of Americans don't understand the concept of a double blind placebo controlled test.

    A disturbing percentage believe the universe is a few thousand years old, and that evolution never happened.

    A disturbing percentage is unable to understand the difference between basic concepts like power and energy.

    A disturbing percentage do not grasp the difference between causation and correlation.

    A disturbing percentage are completely mathematically illiterate, unable to comprehend basic things like "fractions".

    A disturbing percentage don't understand that examples are not proof.

    I'm not going to argue whether our education is good or bad, but our population is HORRENDOUS. This leads to bad results for us all, because people make really, really bad decisions in their own lives and as matters of what they support, and of public policy.

    It's badly, deeply broken.

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:20PM (#40220749)

    Science has never changed based on belief.

    Huh? Ever hear of a paradigm shift? There's a gestalt moment there where it's all about your perception of the problem. I.e.: what you believe to be so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:20PM (#40220751)

    Because your educational system has been co-opted by revisionist ideologues and religious nuts who want to teach children distinctly wrong versions of history, and distinctly wrong, unscientific concepts. How in the hell do you teach any science at all if you eliminate the underpinnings of geology, biology, and astronomy in an absurd universe-view that is only 6,000 years old? The ignorance on display in most casual encounters with average Americans is breathtaking.

  • Re:Where is why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RivenAleem (1590553) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:21PM (#40220771)

    It really wouldn't have taken a lot of effort to add "Lobbyists lie about the state of the educational system to keep getting funding."

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:24PM (#40220825) Journal

    Column: Quit fretting. U.S. is fine in science education

    The article is correct in a lot of respects. But one thing I personally disagree with is that we should quit fretting. If you believe you are the best in the world at something, you might quit working hard to achieve that and stagnate into irrelevance. Personally I always view myself as "behind the curve" and therefore I am always working harder to overcome my self-perceived adjustment.

    Likewise, when I am judging the United States, I'm often harsh. Because it's not going to get any better if I say "Yep, education is top notch, best in the world. We're #1." Unsurprisingly enough, my Republican friends call me a self-loathing liberal because my criticisms of the United States are often harsh. Better that than the alternative of stagnation and irrelevance.

    American science education might not be 'dismal' but valid criticisms abound. Also, the measurements used for it being dismal or great are almost always flawed. For example, in the article:

    Yet during this period of national "mediocrity," we created Silicon Valley, built multinational biotechnology firms, and continued to lead the world in scientific journal publications and total number of Nobel Prize winners. We also invented and sold more than a few iPads. Obviously, standardized tests aren't everything.

    Surely, every one of these things had influences and inspiration other than the "United States public science education"? I'm reminded of someone from Alabama chastising me for complaining about states that have low literacy rates. She reminded me that Huntsville has more post-graduate degree holders per capita than any other city in the United States. Great. Good for them. Does that have anything to do with whether or not a random 15 year old can read in Alabama? You can cherry pick statistics one way or the other, I think China's got more published academic papers per year now than any other nation ... of course the quality over quantity can be argued.

    Don't be afraid to look at yourself critically -- if you don't how will you ever improve?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:25PM (#40220837)

    When one views the whole picture, there is a reason that people have grave concerns. A couple examples:

    A friend of mine from China has his tuition, room, board, and such paid by the Chinese government to attend classes here in the US. He is planning to go into chemical engineering as soon as he graduates. Cost of education for degree to him? 0 yuan.

    A relative of mine from Germany graduated college. His room, board, and tuition was paid for by the German government, and he is employed at a firm there developing better milling equipment. Cost to him? Zero Euro.

    A friend of a friend was from Chile (you know, one of those perceived "turd world" nations) learning math so he can go back and teach calculus and differential equations to their equivalent of high school students. Cost out of pocket to him? Zero Chilean pesos.

    Now compare a college student in the US who is trying to get an engineering degree. There is no stipend by the US government, scholarships just don't exist, or funds are long since depleted. Out of his pocket, he has to pay at least $50,000 to $100,000 depending on area of the country for room, board, tuition, books, and other items, and this is a public school.

    So, comparing students from Germany, China, Chile, and the US, the American engineers have to pay big bucks to be in the same position where other students are, for zero cost to them.

    With this in mind, and the fact that fear of not finding a job due to outsourcing makes US students look for a more lucrative major. STEM gets discouraged because it isn't as flashy as the law or business major.

    The US has big problems in the science education department, and people need to look at the whole picture to understand why.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:29PM (#40220883)

    Their "scientfiic" analysis consists of:

    1) Noting that science literacy among high-school aged test-takers increased 2%. with no offered hypothesis as to the cause of the increase
    2) Noting that the US has top higher-education metrics (without noting the high number of foreigners producing those metrics)
    3) Noting that there are some high-tech companies in the US and scientific achievements take place here sometimes
    4) Noting that girls achieved parity with boys in math (not noting whether that was just because boys' scores fell, or what)
    5) Noting that Bush's No Child Left Behind policies were in place during some of these events

    That's it. Then they say they aren't defending NCLB and take a quick jab at Obama and immediately say they are actually not doing those things in the very next paragraph.

    Also, this was a piece by RealClearPolitics, which is 51% owned by Forbes and is known for conservative bias. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RealClearPolitics

    I'm... not convinced that their argument is sound, to say the least. And not only because they failed at any point to argue for a better metric than our actual test-score rankings. They basically say "we invented iPads therefore science education is fine".

    This is a terrible link.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:36PM (#40220983) Homepage

    Claiming that the US is #1 in the world-- check.

    Vague accusations of anti-Bush bias-- check.

    Implication that teachers can't stand to be held accountable-- check.

    Assumption that the government spends too much on education and wants to spend more-- check.

    Hinting that Obama is subverting the system for political motives-- check.

    Whether or not the article has a good point-- it may be true that we're not as badly off as we think-- the article is written in a divisive way by someone who clearly leans toward the Republican end of things. Throughout the article, there's the running implication that all the doom and gloom is a scam, perpetrated by Democrats, in order to get more funding for education. However, even if we stipulate that our educational system is good, there's still another explanation: As a rule, people throughout history have believed that "the system" is falling apart and they were witnessing the downfall of civilization.

    However, I would offer another interpretation of what's going on. For one thing, I would be very careful about trusting any particular standardized test, and even about trusting standardized tests in general. When you say, "Students scored higher on the ABC test this year than the year before!" you can't necessarily assume that students have been educated better. It may be a reflection of changes made to the test. The increase may not be statistically significant. It may be that the teachers started "teaching to the test" at the expense of other lessons. It may be that the school system pulled some other shenanigans to manipulate the test scores. It may be that the test was simply poorly formed in the first place, and is not actually a good reflection of the educational level of the students.

    The article begins with a quote about how education is suffering, and then goes on to note that the quote is from *all the way* back in 1983. This may be a sign that the doom-saying has been going on for a long time and does not reflect a real problem. Or it might mean that the educational system has been suffering since at least as far back as 1983. In fact, I'm sure that there are people who would claim that to be the case.

  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:38PM (#40221035)

    And a disturbing percentage think that anything you wrote matters.

    The fact is that throughout history, only a tiny minority were educated to the standards of their day. In modern times, the percentages are significantly higher and are increasing over time. That we are not at 100% does not matter. That we may never reach 100% also does not matter.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:39PM (#40221039) Homepage Journal

    Every few years we have people trying to legislate science out of the class room because it conflicts with their vision of religion. Of course our science classes are messed up, people have a vested interest in them being so.

    Oh Rubbish. One of the reasons why people think science education is bad is this kind of nonsense. "There's a religious conspiracy to kill science!!!". Please.

    The nasty truth of it is that there are two kinds of problem with science education, and neither of them are related to religion whatsoever. The first is a huge section of students with generally poor scores in science classes and tests. But these students almost always have poor scores in everything, so it's not a science problem here, it's an education problem as a whole, which could be anything from bad teachers and schools, to.. and this is more likely... unmotivated students that frankly don't care about school, with parents that could care even less. All of the money and resources and promotion of science education in the world won't change this.

    The second problem really isn't a problem at all. It comes from scientists and mathematicians and educators that are unhappy that more kids aren't taking an interest in hard science classes. We regularly see lamentations from these advocates that America is sliding to hell in a handbasket if we don't have more high schoolers taking calculus, physics, software development classes, etc. But this is foolish. Most people aren't going to become scientists anymore than most people aren't going to become engineers or symphony conductors or astronauts. Professional math and science fields tend to be an elite, populated by a few capable people that are highly motivated and truly love what they do. That's reality, and if you don't like it, tough. You can no more make more scientists out of our kids than you can make more Beethovens.One of the problems I have with movies like "Stand and Deliver" is the idea that if we just had a few more Jaime Escalantes in our classrooms, we'd have this wave of untapped Isaac Newtons just waiting to make new discoveries in math and science. And it just isn't true.

    Most people are not particularly brilliant at anything. Most people, with work and experience, can become at least competent, and maybe good at something. But these somethings are usually pretty ordinary fields. Unless they destroy themselves with bad decisions... drug addiction, for example... then most kids generally gravitate to what they want to do if they have any motivation. And if they don't have any motivation, then they just work at whatever pays the bills. The former might take an interest in science, but most wont. The later is pretty much a lost case, as far as science ed goes.

    All we can do is make sure there are opportunities for those interested to learn. The vast majority of these kids will. The rest... why worry about it, as far as science education is concerned? A calculus or physics class will do them no more good than a class in Sanskrit. They won't like it, and they'll forget about it, and it'll generally be a waste of time all around for all involved. The truth of it is that hard math and science really isn't for most people. Instead of trying to cram more kids in an AP Physics class, we should instead provide better general science classes to kids that are more interesting and that give an appreciation for the fact that science and math is important. What you really want is a large population that supports math and science, not one that does math and science. The later is unrealistic.

  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:39PM (#40221041)

    Why are people here so damn obsessed with religion VS science debate? It's not a significant issue (queue up apocryphal stories...). Virtually every scientist in the history of science was religious and science has progressed nicely despite the fact that the vast majority of the human population is religious.

          People tend to focus on these obscure side issues like creationism, etc. I am as conservative as they come, I was raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and spend all my time with people who are religious to one degree or another. No one I know sees a significant conflict here,

  • Re:Where is why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iserlohn (49556) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:42PM (#40221085) Homepage

    WTF, another union bashing post? There are lobbyists everywhere - think textbook publishers, Universities, people that want to privatize the public educations system, etc. that would all gain by downplaying the success of the education system.

    When you look at the pay, I don't think you can call a teacher's salary high by any standard.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:44PM (#40221115)

    The grandparent poster misspoke.
    He meant to say close the ONE Department of Education in the Congress. The other 50 Departments of Education would remain open, at the state level, where they are close to the parents/students being served and therefore more accountable to their demands. Democratic Republics work best when the power is only a few miles away from the People and their participation, rather than ~1500 miles away and the people's voice does not get heard.

  • Re:The issue is (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:48PM (#40221161) Homepage Journal

    the undue amount of focus now on standardized tests. Teaching to the test, as it where.

    remember, test makers make test designed to test things kids don't know, not what kids have learned. When the teaching focus becomes teaching the test, we have difficult.

    Grades should be based on participation, and how 'far' a student move forward in the subject.

    A kids trying hes damndest and getting a B is better then a kid getting an easy A.

    The problem with removing standardized testing is that you'd revert to a situation where we really had no idea if they were learning anything at all before. At least if they pass the standardized tests, we know they have at least a basic grasp of that material. Testing was implemented precisely because of your "participation" idea... you had kids getting decent to good to even great grades just for "class participation"... when they really weren't learning the material.

    And frankly, some of the crying about the standardized tests are just silly. It's not like these test have esoteric things on them that the students don't need to know. They're standardized so that there's an assurance of a uniform field of common knowledge that's been gained. Some of it is through rote instruction, but so what? Rote instruction can be very useful. Tweak and reform testing, but don't chuck it aside completely.

  • Re:Where is why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uniquename72 (1169497) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:48PM (#40221163)
    I think TFA and TFS misses the point: The problem isn't that we don't have decent science education; the problem is that we don't create scientists.

    Look at any science or engineering school in the U.S. and it becomes pretty clear. There are many, many more foreigners than Americans. Now go look at the liberal arts programs: Nothing but Americans. The country and the world don't need more out-of-work English majors. There not a shortage of tech jobs right now, particularly in engineering, but also in other hard sciences.
  • by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witnessNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:50PM (#40221187) Homepage Journal

    Every few years we have people trying to legislate science out of the class room because it conflicts with their vision of religion. Of course our science classes are messed up, people have a vested interest in them being so. Frankly, much of what is taught is not even science. Anyone who comes out of high school thinking that science is about facts has been done a disservice.

    Science is about finding facts through experimentation; however, facts are rarely found by science as it mostly puts out theories that may or may not lead to facts.

    And on the science vs religion front. Religion has rewritten itself often to adjust to realities that science has postulated. Science has never changed based on belief. So as a betting man, my money is on science. But as a scientist, I accept the possibility that I could be wrong.

    Science has very well changed based on beliefts. For example - the Theory of Evolution has had a dramatic change on Science both in relation to finding facts and beliefs, and what Science is willing to accept as Science (if it doesn't link to the Theory of Evolution then Science throws it out as non-Science).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:03PM (#40221393)

    The real challenge will be keeping the work output of all of these "normal" people worth anything in a meaningful sense. They are quickly being replaced by technology. This is one of the problems - in order for there to be a large middle class - the work output of the large middle class has to be worth something. Probably won't happen if they are all "out-of-work english majors"

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:05PM (#40221447)
    Evangelistic aethistic scientists have a fundamental disagreement with the attitude that humans can segregate parts of their lives into different thought processes. They think that someone cannot perform rational thought in one area of their life with demonstratable proof that they have logical flaws in other areas. The problem IMO with this line of thought is that they are pretending the human approximation to logic is closer to how we should think than the evolutionary-designed heuristic processes that allow us to think. We think within a context of data chunks, between roughly 5 and 9 chunks of data at any one time. As we gain expertise, then our chunks grow to encompass wider concepts, but we are still limited to a processing blob that deals with reality in a very segmented context. That isn't to say there aren't places that a religious scientist needs to be careful, but it is quite as intellectually honest as any other method.
  • by the gnat (153162) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:06PM (#40221473)

    For the majority who need to go to public schools, our education system is terrible. The article points to the successes of those whose parents could afford to give them the best education money can buy.

    This is not universally true. I have a PhD in biochemistry, and until college I had always attended American public schools. So did many of my close friends, who now have PhDs as well. The (large, urban) high school I attended had some massive systemic problems that are probably unfixable, but at least 60% of our graduating class went to four-year colleges, including about ten or so students who attended Ivy League schools. I have very little good to say about those four years of my life, but I honestly think most of the teachers did the best they could with what they had. The quality of the science education was very mixed, but we had some terrific innovative programs (especially marine science and tech ed) that were as good as anything the private schools could offer. I know I'm not the only student who was inspired to pursue a scientific career as a result of this.

    The biggest problem I faced was that a faction of the education bureaucracy was fiercely opposed to college prep courses (because they were elitist) and wanted to homogenize the curriculum. This was not the fault of the teacher's union or the politicians; I still haven't figured out where these people get their ideas. (Just to clarify, "these people" were very racially diverse - a handful of white teachers were some of the loudest advocates at my school.) However, it was every bit as anti-intellectual a movement as the right-wingers trying to force pseudoscience into the classroom. By the time I was partway through high school, my parents decided they didn't like where things were headed, and sent my siblings to a private high school (where they appear to have received the same quality education, albeit with less senseless brutality).

    The more general problem is that funding is indeed limited - the difference between a high-quality private school and a large public school is that the classes in the latter will be twice as large, so teachers can't give individual students they attention they require (or that their parents feel they deserve). The really smart students will always be screwed unless there are enough of them to fill a classroom - otherwise you have to explain to the PTA why five students get their own teacher for AP American History while the rest of the students get class sizes of 30.

    My German friends were expected to be able to solve calculus problems in order to graduate high school. Calculus was considered college level when I went to high school, and still is.

    The high school I attended had not one but two levels of calculus - I took AP Calculus I my senior year. All you need is enough students at that level to fill a classroom, and we had enough for two periods. That was actually one of my favorite courses in all of high school - it was the first time math seemed truly intuitive to me.

  • by Brannoncyll (894648) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:13PM (#40221573)

    Evangelistic aethistic scientists have a fundamental disagreement with the attitude that humans can segregate parts of their lives into different thought processes. They think that someone cannot perform rational thought in one area of their life with demonstratable proof that they have logical flaws in other areas. The problem IMO with this line of thought is that they are pretending the human approximation to logic is closer to how we should think than the evolutionary-designed heuristic processes that allow us to think. We think within a context of data chunks, between roughly 5 and 9 chunks of data at any one time. As we gain expertise, then our chunks grow to encompass wider concepts, but we are still limited to a processing blob that deals with reality in a very segmented context. That isn't to say there aren't places that a religious scientist needs to be careful, but it is quite as intellectually honest as any other method.

    This sounds a lot like doublethink to me. From 1984:

    "To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."

    I think your 'fundamentalist atheistic scientists' are right to look down upon such behaviour.

  • by the phantom (107624) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:15PM (#40221601) Homepage

    For it to be science, it has to be based on observable evidence and not belief.

    That is the ideal. In reality, scientists are human, are prone to error, and often become attached to bad ideas. For instance, it took decades for plate tectonics to become accepted scientific theory, even among experts, even in the face of solid predictions and observations.

    I assume that the grandparent poster was using the term "paradigm shift" in the way that Thomas Kuhn used it in The Structure of Scientific Revolution. While there are many valid critiques of his work, Kuhn was a sociologist, and sought to describe the way that science is actually done, rather than how scientists feel it should be done---that is, the book should be read more as an ethnography of scientists than a manual for doing science. In that context, Kuhn's thesis is that the community of scientists gloms onto a particular paradigm or way of seeing the world. Once such a paradigm becomes entrenched, it is difficult to replace it, and an "old guard" may actively suppress new paradigms through selective publication. Eventually, the evidence becomes overwhelming and the new theory is accepted (or the old guard dies off, and the new theory is accepted).

    In this way, the ideal of science (i.e. science based on observation and experimentation) is ultimately born out, but the route is not as direct as many scientists might claim it to be.

  • Re:Where is why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:24PM (#40221709) Homepage

    Exactly. Would they except this standard with anything else? 65% of students being literate, for example?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:34PM (#40221883)

    I tell you what, show me the science tests where kids fail miserably at an understanding of evolution but score crazy high on common place science matters like basic physics and chemistry and I might begin you think to have something there.
     
    The bottom line is that it matters little when you question evolution if Little Johnny can't understand high school Physics 1, Biology 1 or Chemistry 1. To date I haven't seen of a religious group that's trying to get f=ma or the earth orbiting the sun tossed out of the science classroom but I bet you there are more students who don't understand these concepts as there are those who reject evolution.
     
    You make it sound like there is a substantial number of people in this nation who are still following Christian dogma from the 6th century and this simply isn't true. The questions where religion and science are likely to conflict are so few that they're not going to have an overbearing effect on the testing. Little of what's taught on the high school level is controversial.
     
    Stop making religion your punching bag for ten minutes and consider *where* these students are failing in science and math and you'll see that religion isn't a problem. At least not as much of a mountain as you make it to be from the molehill it started from.

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:46PM (#40222065)
    If my brain isn't chunking religous thought into the same chunk as scientific thought, then it is baffling to me how someone can think that someone would think how one chunk would corrupt the other. If my brain is chunking them both together it is baffling how a religious man ties his shoes in the morning. As posted somewhere in the mass of comments above (I'm not sure if even this thread), a number of scientists with foundational principles have been able to successfully arrange their thoughts in such a way as to accomodate religion. The scary part occurs when people make policy or scientific decisions by chunking religion with science and you can't detect that. However, there are a number of other subjects when chunked with science makes for results just as terrible, e.g. politics, e.g. money, e.g. fame.
  • Re:Where is why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scot4875 (542869) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @01:55PM (#40222209) Homepage

    Maybe so, but how much does a dev job pay there? I'd imagine not much more than that.

    So? Should it? I'm a software developer but I don't see that what I do is any more valuable than what a teacher does.

    --Jeremy

  • by spazdor (902907) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @02:00PM (#40222267)

    Teachers in the richest country in the world are doing way better than southeast Asian subsistence farmers! What the heck are they even complaining about?

    Cute response, but irrelevant. :p

  • Re:Where is why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbengt (874751) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @02:31PM (#40222719)

    For another, it requires more education and talent.

    On the contrary, you need a college degree and state certification to teach in most places; not so for developing software.

    I could easily teach any high school subject with the exception of biology and maybe chemistry, but most high school teachers would likely have no idea how to code.

    Everyone feels it's easier to do things they don't really know much about than doing the things they have experience in.

  • Re:Where is why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djchristensen (472087) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @02:52PM (#40223015)

    I think you vastly underestimate what it takes to be a good teacher and have simultaneously identified what I would consider one of the most significant issues in public education. You assert that you "could easily teach any high school subject ...". Do you have any training in teaching, or do you just assume anyone can make a good teacher? Sounds like the latter. And yet I suspect you probably could get and keep a job teaching and even attain tenure if you really wanted to, but that's more a function of poor management (or maybe misguided union protection, but I don't want to get into that discussion here) than how easy it is to be a teacher. I have school-age kids, so I know there are teachers who really should find a different line of work.

    You indicate you are a developer, which means you probably have experience with at least a few managers. Have they all been exemplary (in which case consider yourself very lucky), or have you run into some, like I have, that you thought were entirely inadequate at their job? Just as not everyone is cut out to be a manager, not everyone can be a good teacher.

    Oh, and the word you made up ("consumerate") would support my gut feel that you probably would not be the great and wondrous teacher you think you would be.

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