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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:42 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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I don't think this is what the OP had in mind, but i'm putting it here anyway.... if you haven't heard this weeks This American Life about education and children, I really, strongly recommend giving it a listen.
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-a ... -to-school
if you have kids, teach kids, love kids- i had several aha moments and will be following up on all the sources cited in this podcast.

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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:10 am 
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torque, wasn't that a great show? I LOVED the young mom and the teacher in the attachment class, loved the girl who punched a cop (!) and then turned things completely around...can't wait to read the book they were discussing.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/054756 ... iamelif-20


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:58 am 
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i just threw this up on facebook- i was listening in the car and wanted to stop and take notes a few times. it was really, really awesome. (and i've heard Paul Tough speak before, he was OK, but the PEOPLE made it a lot more interesting than just his data).

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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:57 pm 
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Thanks so much for posting that! If I ever read the like 19 books that I have in the house now, that's next on my list. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:32 pm 
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I liked the last half hour of that episode. The first half was like "GED students do worse in life than high school grads" - we need to spend a long time talking about the research here like anybody thinks a GED is equivalent to actually getting through high school? Duh?


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:54 am 
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Ariann wrote:
I liked the last half hour of that episode. The first half was like "GED students do worse in life than high school grads" - we need to spend a long time talking about the research here like anybody thinks a GED is equivalent to actually getting through high school? Duh?

this was the part that really set me thinking. i am a HS teacher by trade who used to support people in getting their GEDs and into college, so it's close to my heart. coincidentally, I have a teenager who, when little, got her straight As. Now as a teen her grades are stinky, to be kind.

so then, i start thinking, what's the point of grades? when it really comes to it? what do i want out of her school for her? what is the point of going to college? what are the REAL goals? and how much of my expectations for her are really for status things (i want her to go to Cornell too, or maybe a Quaker school, mostly because it irks me to see that there would be scholarships with her name on them getting passed to other people) and not really expectations for her own personal development? How do we develop those personal skills which we consider critical? how do we determine what is a critical skill?

God parenting is hard. As usual, i'm always doing it wrong.

As for the GED, which i was such a fan of for such a long time, plain and simple, it's a tool to allow people to enter college (as well as historically, a way to allow the military and some other large organizations to have a larger pool of employees with specific documented educational skills), or to allow the district to try to recover some of the people who were not served.

I found in my experience, that the GED is an amazing tool for immigrants to be able to equalize their knowledge. My nonprofit was setup with the goal that all people should take the GED and go to college if they so desire. Our GED pass rate for non-American immigrants was significantly higher than for Americans (something like 10:1), mostly because the US-borns had so many learning and social issues that blocked them from learning and performing. Hearing those numbers about GED, I could see some of my clients that, try as they might, were never able to do it- many because they simply didn't have those "soft" skills- perseverance, time management, "thick-skinned-ness", confidence, hope. GED is a major indicator for education, and it's a damn shame that it's the only indicator for many of these adults that were ill-served by the system.

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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:08 pm 
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torque wrote:
As for the GED, which i was such a fan of for such a long time, plain and simple, it's a tool to allow people to enter college (as well as historically, a way to allow the military and some other large organizations to have a larger pool of employees with specific documented educational skills), or to allow the district to try to recover some of the people who were not served.

I found in my experience, that the GED is an amazing tool for immigrants to be able to equalize their knowledge. My nonprofit was setup with the goal that all people should take the GED and go to college if they so desire. Our GED pass rate for non-American immigrants was significantly higher than for Americans (something like 10:1), mostly because the US-borns had so many learning and social issues that blocked them from learning and performing. Hearing those numbers about GED, I could see some of my clients that, try as they might, were never able to do it- many because they simply didn't have those "soft" skills- perseverance, time management, "thick-skinned-ness", confidence, hope. GED is a major indicator for education, and it's a damn shame that it's the only indicator for many of these adults that were ill-served by the system.


I think the GED makes a lot of sense for foreign-born adult students who have the tools to go further, but just need to do some catch up on content. To me the GED is all about content and very little about developing the skills you were lacking in the first place if you couldn't get out of high school with a degree (although some people take getting their GED very seriously and do develop really good skills in the meantime, catching up on problems they had in childhood). If all you need is the content or proof that you've got the content, it's a perfectly fine tool.

To me it's not just a matter of the "soft" skills. There's also the basic issue of having your non-educational needs met so you can come to school with the capacity to learn (this is wrapped up in acquiring the soft skills, but just having the soft skills is not enough). Are students hungry? Are their families non-supportive emotionally about education? Do they have a place to study at home and a safe place to get a good night's sleep? Do they have access to the right supplies? Some people have such good "soft" skills that they overcome that kind of lack, but a lot of kids who don't finish school didn't start school with the *expectation* that they would finish just because of the realities of their family and living situations. They might have all the skills in the world, but they're not necessarily putting them toward schooling when they have the opportunity. Then there's just the reality that poorer kids are more likely to not finish high school and poorer kids are not as likely to do well as wealthier kids - it's an unfair comparison even to compare poor HS grads to rich HS grads, let alone poor GED earners to the entire pool of HS grads who will skew richer in the first place.

I just thought it was bizarre that this was not patently obvious and that they needed to do studies about and that the researcher actually acted *surprised* that there would be a difference between these two sets of adults.


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
I just thought it was bizarre that this was not patently obvious and that they needed to do studies about and that the researcher actually acted *surprised* that there would be a difference between these two sets of adults.


Even when things are patently obvious empirical studies have a definite value. After all, throughout history tons of things that have seemed incredibly obvious turned out to be dead wrong. And I don't think it's unfair to compare different groups of students. After all, yes, having a place to sleep and food are pretty much essential to being successful anywhere, but it is helpful to look at what other traits are different and what can reasonably be changed to increase the success of students who are such serious risk. After all, there are generally far greater differences between high and low SES homes than just cash flow...comparisons are an invaluable way to figure out ways to close the gap, even if it's just a teeny bit. I guess I should mention that this is a really sensitive subject for me since I was a highly promising kid who had the misfortune of coming from an abusive low SES home. I wish there would have been more support back then.

I do, however, think that his being an economist seems to make his wording a little more clunky. Many of the things he sought to explain are already well represented and defined in the literature. One thing I picked up on that I would like to see his sources on is the ability to change rank order of personality traits; normally peoples' personalities do change over time, but unlike what the broadcast said, rank order does stay roughly the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:51 pm 
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bekki, I don't think it wasn't valuable, I just thought they spent a ton of time on it which could have been devoted to deeper exploration of the issues discovered. I also thought that guy sounded like an idiot because he sounded surprised at the research - it was like he'd never talked to an educator before. And even the starting point of his question sounded ridiculous ("Hey - we could spend 60 hours teaching kids everything they need to know to be successful in life instead of wasting four years teaching it to them! Let's prove the GED is just as good so we can save money on high school!") and then had little or nothing to do with the rest of the show, which wasn't about "can we reduce high school," but "why are kids not getting through high school." It just seemed awkward.


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:54 am 
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+1 yummy on ridiculous- "have 8th graders take the GED and just skip HS!"
i think there are so many avenues for deeper exploration with it. i was shocked to learn about the college dropout rate as well, it's something i never really thought about but makes me think about how it's become simply accepted as Gods Own Truth that one must go to college. But it's not for everyone, it's blatantly clear that some people won't do well in college, or will excel at non-college paths- yet it's not uncommon to stigmatize people who go to "tech school" or learn a trade (and subsequently make more as plumbers than any of us fancypants college degree folks ever will).

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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:54 am 
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torque wrote:
+1 yummy on ridiculous- "have 8th graders take the GED and just skip HS!"
i think there are so many avenues for deeper exploration with it. i was shocked to learn about the college dropout rate as well, it's something i never really thought about but makes me think about how it's become simply accepted as Gods Own Truth that one must go to college. But it's not for everyone, it's blatantly clear that some people won't do well in college, or will excel at non-college paths- yet it's not uncommon to stigmatize people who go to "tech school" or learn a trade (and subsequently make more as plumbers than any of us fancypants college degree folks ever will).


Yeah, I hate that. When I was doing my internship over the summer I interacted largely with people working in a factory jobs. On several occasions people were apprehensive about talking to me because they were "uneducated" and therefore figured they could offer nothing of value to me. It made me really sad and I spent a lot of time telling people that the were valuable, and college is nice but having a degree doesn't make one any smarter or better than them and that anyone who said or acted differently was a jerk. Of course, in a professional capacity, I had to choose my words more carefully than that, but that was the gist of it. I hate that our society looks so down on people in that way.

But yeah, the initial dive of "why isn't this equivalent" is pretty stupid, but I just chalked it up to someone looking at the world in a completely different way than me. I mean, it seems painfully obvious, but then I probably think the same thing about some economic stuff...Plus, I took the "why don't we just..." as more hyperbole than as a serious question.


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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:51 am 
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i'm sure in this case you're right, but i work with economists, and have learned to take everything they say as deadly serious-- just as a self-protection mechanism!! on occasion they come up with some weird cockamamie things that may work out on paper but in real life are a huge pain in the neck....

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 Post subject: Re: Articles about parenting/children, etc. post and debate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:37 am 
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On reflection it occurs to me that This American Life often has an annoying "twist" a third of the way through which makes the first section seem absurd and disconnected.


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