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Author Topic: government shut down  (Read 13044 times)

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Offline Oniya

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #475 on: October 17, 2013, 02:53:05 PM »
He's kind of explained it before - there is a certain subgroup of the kids who go to college that are just going because a) it's 'expected', b) the guaranteed loans make it possible, and/or c) frat parties.  Okay, that last one wasn't in any of Valthazar's posts, but I live in a college town.  That, and I remember Friday nights back in the dorms. 

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #476 on: October 17, 2013, 03:15:53 PM »
He's kind of explained it before - there is a certain subgroup of the kids who go to college that are just going because a) it's 'expected', b) the guaranteed loans make it possible, and/or c) frat parties.  Okay, that last one wasn't in any of Valthazar's posts, but I live in a college town.  That, and I remember Friday nights back in the dorms.

'Kay, what I'm responding to is this:

Quote from: ValthazarElite
Currently in the United States, the same student that you suggest is having difficulty obtaining business loans and finding jobs because of his/her race, are guaranteed federal loans and grants to attend colleges and universities.  Many of these students struggle academically, and college truly is not the right setting for them.  Many of these students end up dropping out of college, and anyone who utilized a merit-based approach in lending the loan, would have denied them immediately as being an at-risk student.

Now, aside from its being a bit bizarre to assume that people assuming a debt load to go to college are somehow taking the path of least resistance, and subtly racist to be pointing all this at minority students on financial aid, the preponderance of evidence about college droupout rates in the States AFAIK is related to the crushing debt load that comes with higher education. Effectively this is pretending that the shittiness of the financing system is proof that "those people" don't belong in higher education and that the shitty financing should therefore not be fixed, which is fallacious and frankly perverse.

And the suggested solution:

Quote
Instead, I suggested that rather than providing these students college loans (when their grades are significantly under-performing for college level work), a more beneficial system would be to guarantee federal business loans of corresponding value for all graduating students who are interested in starting small businesses.

... is indeed fantasy, not least because people who are economically disadvantaged already aren't liable to derive much benefit from an entrepeneur's loan. The stereotypical image of the marginally-educated rags-to-riches entrepeneur on which this notion is based has been obsolete for decades: ninety-five percent of entrepeneurs have a college education.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 03:18:20 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Oniya

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #477 on: October 17, 2013, 03:21:33 PM »
Okay, but I think you've overlooked the qualifier in that solution:  when their grades are significantly under-performing for college level work.  There are people of all races who go to college and do this.  There are people of all races who bust their buns studying. 

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #478 on: October 17, 2013, 03:24:58 PM »
Okay, but I think you've overlooked the qualifier in that solution:  when their grades are significantly under-performing for college level work.  There are people of all races who go to college and do this.  There are people of all races who bust their buns studying.

True, but it is wrong to say that we can conclusively trace under-performing academically to a lack of aptitude for study in an environment where people are having to work two and three jobs to stay in college. That someone's grades may significantly under-perform can just as easily be consequences of exhaustion and stress as they can be due to other factors.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #479 on: October 17, 2013, 03:27:25 PM »
(I think Val is, incidentally, right about the shockingly remedial nature of first-year college English practically anywhere in North America, but that's a different problem related to structural deficiencies in secondary education, and not itself proof that a college education has no real value.)

Offline Moraline

Re: government shut down
« Reply #480 on: October 17, 2013, 04:04:19 PM »
To strike out struggling students is to deny some of the potentially greatest thinkers and potentially most gifted individuals. I don't think there is any need for me to go through history and name some of the most creative and intelligent minds or how they struggled in schools. Currently the richest companies in the US were founded by people that dropped out of/and struggled with Uni.

Grades are a terrible measure of a students true abilities. They are simply the only measure that a Uni has to ensure they are doing their work. And... In all of my years in the workforce I have never seen an employer ask to see someones Uni grades because most of them realize this. Once out of Uni the only thing HR cares about is how well you work with others as well as whether or not you are a good fit for the company direction and environment.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #481 on: October 17, 2013, 04:05:56 PM »
I have no problem with access being merit-based, provided some care is taken in defining merit, but I don't think higher education should be based on access to loans at all, period. I think that's the basic problem: putting educational financing in the hands of the credit industry creates a profit motive to suck dry the maximum possible number of people without regard to the consequences. That's why American higher education is in the state it's in. You need straightforward publicly-funded higher education. (We all do. Canadian higher education is in only slightly better shape.)

Offline Kythia

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #482 on: October 17, 2013, 06:11:05 PM »
I think the problem is, Cyrano, that you seem to be arguing for an overhaul of the education system to eradicate the problems that Valthazar is seeking to minimise.  There's merit to both cases - should we make the best of a substandard system or start afresh.  There certainly is.  But the two are mutually incompatible without ever actually being at odds.  Its not that we can only have one or the other, there's no reason a fix couldn't be put in to the current system (and I'm not saying Valthazar's fix is correct) while the work is being done to provide a complete overhaul (and I'm not saying your overhaul is correct).  But even though we can have both, they are answering slightly different questions that, superficially, look like the same one - "how can we make our education system work".

Or at least that's how it appears to me.  But I'm pretty drunk.  So caveat lector.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #483 on: October 17, 2013, 06:34:20 PM »
All good: I only ever really post when I'm high on pure adrenochrome. :P

I'm mainly arguing for the model of funding education through credit to be retired, since it is plainly nuts and is the clear source of the college dropout rates and deteriorating standards Val is complaining about. Mainly that requires an alternative funding stream, not an overhaul of the whole system. Larger overhauls of the education system are what's needed to address some of the other problems, such as why the Proverbial Johnny is getting to college level still barely able to construct a sentence.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #484 on: October 17, 2013, 06:40:42 PM »
Cyrano, I work at a college, and let me tell you, most of the students are not stressing about finances - in fact, most of them don't know a damn thing about finances. 

They've got elaborate meal plans, fun concerts on the weekends, parties, you name it.  In fact, it's probably the most cushy life ever for an academic environment.  Certainly, I am sure a small percentage of financially aware students are limiting their expenditures, and working 2-3 part time jobs, to help pay their tuition (which would certainly attribute to the stress on academics, as you cite) but by and large, this is not the reality on college campuses.

Offline dragonsen

Re: government shut down
« Reply #485 on: October 17, 2013, 07:09:57 PM »
All good: I only ever really post when I'm high on pure adrenochrome. :P

I'm mainly arguing for the model of funding education through credit to be retired, since it is plainly nuts and is the clear source of the college dropout rates and deteriorating standards Val is complaining about. Mainly that requires an alternative funding stream, not an overhaul of the whole system. Larger overhauls of the education system are what's needed to address some of the other problems, such as why the Proverbial Johnny is getting to college level still barely able to construct a sentence.

I propose that the problem with Johnny getting to college without a basic understanding of the English language can be summed up in four words. "No Child Left Behind." This Act I happily nickname as the dumbing down of America. It's practically unheard of now to hold a child back due to poor grades. They get a "Well, you'll pick it up next year" and are sent to the next teacher. Before others jump down my throat, let me tell you that two of my children are at opposite ends of this spectrum. My oldest has a learning disability, we think. They haven't been able to diagnose it yet but we know that he problems communicating effectively. He struggles in school constantly. Each night we help him do his homework and reads a full grade level below his current grade. My middle son is the exact opposite. He reads a full grade level above his current grade and rarely has issues with homework. For the record, I was considered gifted as well. I took AP classes in my junior and senior years. AP Calculus was the highest math they taught at my high school. 12 of us took it in our junior year so they had to create a math class for us our senior year. My middle son is bored out of his mind at school because the teacher has to teach to the lowest common denominator in class. Their entire focus is making sure as many kids as possible pass the annual exams. If the pass rate is below a certain level then funding is cut from a budget already strained beyond the breaking point. If the kids meet the bare minimum requirements then the teacher usually doesn't bother teaching anything past that because they most likely have students that don't meet that minimum.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #486 on: October 17, 2013, 07:14:32 PM »
Cyrano, I work at a college, and let me tell you, most of the students are not stressing about finances

The statistical evidence counts for more than your anecdotal observations, Val. I'm sorry, but there it is. I'm sure there is still a population of some size there on Mum and Dad's dime that would fit your description.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 07:15:39 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #487 on: October 17, 2013, 07:23:55 PM »
I'm not sure what statistical measure I can use to convey this, other than providing the specific information regarding my institution, which I would rather not do.  There is a reason that credit card companies are perfectly fine offering credit cards easily to naive freshman college students, and not their 18-year-old counterparts in the workforce (despite both groups lacking solid credit history).  They know that students in college are less mindful of finances while in college, so they are more likely to accrue credit card debt, as compared to individuals in the workforce. 

For the most part, when students and their families buy-in to a 4-year college, they are not only paying for the academics, but also the "experience" of college.  Everything from orientation activities, social events, music concerts on campus, "free" t-shirts, latest Mac computers in the library, "free" food at campus activities fairs, air-conditioned dorms, etc.  If you don't believe me, go and look at the marketing materials provided at college tours, and tell me how much of it is about the 'academics' versus the 'experience.'

And trust me, our average student debt load post-graduation is scary...
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 07:25:15 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Moraline

Re: government shut down
« Reply #488 on: October 17, 2013, 07:57:33 PM »
Cyrano, I work at a college, and let me tell you, most of the students are not stressing about finances - in fact, most of them don't know a damn thing about finances. 

They've got elaborate meal plans, fun concerts on the weekends, parties, you name it.  In fact, it's probably the most cushy life ever for an academic environment.  Certainly, I am sure a small percentage of financially aware students are limiting their expenditures, and working 2-3 part time jobs, to help pay their tuition (which would certainly attribute to the stress on academics, as you cite) but by and large, this is not the reality on college campuses.
I would disagree strongly with this. My father is a Professor as well and head of a department. Specifically one that deals in Sociology and other humanities.

Students don't party because they are care free. They get drunk for much the same reasons as any adult does. To blow off stress. Those stresses are both academic and financial. Most students are well aware of the crushing debt loads that they are going to be facing and it very much adversely effects their academic performance.

I believe you're not giving enough credit to the student body as a whole. Even many so called irresponsible high schoolers stress about college and future finances.

Just because some Uni student drunkenly says the words "I'm here to party," doesn't make it true. Also a lack of a part-time job while in Uni doesn't mean they aren't aware of finances either. That's not to say they are the best at budgeting or know exactly what a crippling debt will mean precisely but they are well aware that it'll be bad. (There is a reason that they rally and protest against tuition increases, etc... They aren't that stupid.)

I'm sure there are a few students at both ends of the spectrum but as a whole most students on Student Loan programs are worried about the future and what it means to them. They are in Uni more often then not because they see it as the only way to a future.

It's easy to tell someone that they should just go to a community college instead of Uni and train to be a skilled laborer. However, when you grow up in a house watching your parents do those kind of jobs. You see their lack of medical coverage, you see them laid up with back problems while only in their 40's or crippling arthritis in their hands from those fantastic skilled labor jobs ... What you get from that are young people that know the only way to better their lives so they don't end up like their parents is to get a Uni education. Or at least that's what they are told and that's what they try to do.

Skilled labor jobs look good on paper but in practice they are often jobs that expose their workers to toxic substances, harsh working environments, physically repetitive tasks - That eventually lead to crippling physical problems, and in the end.. the life expectancy of "skilled labor" jobs ends up being less then that of a white collar worker (with a dose of poorer quality of life to go with it.)

No... Everyone deserves a shot at a better life and Uni is the way to do that (whether in it's current form or some other way.) Not to say the other careers aren't valid or needed but people deserve the ability to choose and not just have decisions forced on them through some ridiculous academic standard (beyond what is already in place) or some stupid financial situation enforced through ridiculous loans and outrageously expensive tuition.

I don't know what I'm saying anymore... HAHA... I'm rambling but I hope some of it made sense.  I'm just one of these jaded cynical people that think the gov't system, edu systems, and financial systems are all messed up and wrong.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 07:59:55 PM by Moraline »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #489 on: October 17, 2013, 08:16:25 PM »
Like Kythia said, I think we are all talking about different issues.  I'm trying to explain the reality of the situation right now, while many of you seem to be suggesting a modified "ideal" education system.

I realize my views may not be a popular one, but this K-12 brainwashing suggesting that college is the only path to a decent full-time job is fundamentally incorrect.  I gave the example of certain trade professions like welding and HVAC, but that does not imply all non-college careers are 'laborer' jobs.  There are lots of relatively affordable certification courses you can take online. 

For example:   real estate broker, air traffic controller, dental hygienist, online web developer, medical secretary, paralegal assistant, secretary (though due to educational inflation, many secretarial positions now require college...), insurance sales rep, hair stylist, optician, commercial pilot (requires limited flight school), teacher's aide, radiation therapist, respiratory therapist, nurses aide, electrician, police officer, etc. 

If you're lucky enough to be a secretary or assistant at a federal office or VA hospital, you'll get better benefits than your Master's degree / PhD holding colleagues in other companies most likely.  Half of Americans even say their so-called 'white collar' job doesn't really require anything they learned in college - a clear outcome of educational inflation.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/164321/majority-workers-say-job-require-degree.aspx

edited incorrect statistic
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 08:58:09 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #490 on: October 17, 2013, 11:12:43 PM »
I propose that the problem with Johnny getting to college without a basic understanding of the English language can be summed up in four words. "No Child Left Behind." This Act I happily nickname as the dumbing down of America. It's practically unheard of now to hold a child back due to poor grades. They get a "Well, you'll pick it up next year" and are sent to the next teacher.

I quite agree with this. Although the mindset predates "No Child Left Behind," that Act is certainly this mindset in its purest form, and it is genuinely destructive.

(I also think what Moraline says is largely correct and that what Val says in reply is not really responsive to the issue. I may need to do a re-read tomorrow to confirm that impression... once the adrenochrome wears off. :) )
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 11:14:52 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #491 on: October 17, 2013, 11:29:29 PM »
I am also not a fan of No Child Left Behind.  It prevents educators from teaching students the tools they really need to succeed in the world, and creates a standardized curriculum that doesn't really represent the unique needs of various demographics in different states/regions.

Offline Oniya

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #492 on: October 18, 2013, 12:01:39 AM »
Plus one to both of you.  I'm constantly surprised at what 'Honors Students' don't know.

(and I'm still pissy about the math teacher from last year.)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: government shut down
« Reply #493 on: October 18, 2013, 01:30:33 AM »
'No Child Left Behind' is a mess. It creates a 'test culture' that does NOTHING to fix the problems that it was created to treat. I mean.. come on, determine EVERYTHING school gets thru a standardized test? Please. You'll have schools do nothing beyond teaching the test. Nothing else will matter. I had kids come to me when I was in service that had NO critical thinking skills, few writing skills and no idea on how to do basic research and planning.

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #494 on: October 18, 2013, 02:01:39 AM »
In a not so subtle attempt to drag us back on topic, since I haven't seen stock brokers and other financial types badly emulating Superman, I gather that the US Congress Critters did something borderline sensible, rather than the President doing something incredibly stupid?

For an Australian who finds the US political system to be quite bizarre at times, can some explain in simple English/American what has happened, and more importantly, what does it mean in the long run?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: government shut down
« Reply #495 on: October 18, 2013, 03:13:10 AM »
Actually, credit card companies make the assumption that someone in college has affluent parents that can afford some part of the bills to come.  Credit card companies also assume, just as loan companies do that supply federally backed student loans that a college degree is the most accurate predictor of future income.  Considering that statistics back this latter statement the credit card companies and loan companies are correct in giving their money over to college students.  A college degree, despite educational inflation and any unnecessary classes, remains the largest predicator of future success.  Many college graduates are failing to acquire jobs, but the jobs that those college graduates to find pay more than what most highschool diplomas and less find when they push out into the real world.  Everyone can tell the tale of a highschool student making it rich, but those are definitely the exception  whereas a college graduate not finding a decent job is still shocking enough to raise concern among the populace.

Offline Kythia

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #496 on: October 18, 2013, 03:57:44 AM »
I propose that the problem with Johnny getting to college without a basic understanding of the English language can be summed up in four words. "No Child Left Behind." This Act I happily nickname as the dumbing down of America. It's practically unheard of now to hold a child back due to poor grades. They get a "Well, you'll pick it up next year" and are sent to the next teacher.

Hmmm.  We (the UK) don't have any mechanism for holding students down to resit a year.  Or if we do I've literally never heard of it.  Kids are in their age appropriate year and that's the end of it.  Not that I'm claiming our college-equivalent education is all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops but I get the impression its in as good if not slightly better shape than the US one.  Scandinavian countries, Finland in particular, don't even test.

What I'm cautioning against here is a "Education was better in my day, these young whippersnapper's don't know anything, get off my lawn" type approach.  There needs to be a benefit to holding people back a year that isn't "I was held back a year and it never did me any harm.  PS: I used to have to walk to school.  Uphill both ways".  And its a system that most of the rest of the (western) world doesn't have while still consistently performing better than the US, which makes me think it has no intrinsic benefit.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #497 on: October 18, 2013, 07:22:00 AM »
I don't want to derail this thread, so I made a new thread, if people want to discuss the "college is a predictor of success" claim:

http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=187889.0

Offline Torch

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #498 on: October 18, 2013, 07:31:47 AM »
I had kids come to me when I was in service that had NO critical thinking skills, few writing skills and no idea on how to do basic research and planning.

And this is where the value of a college education comes into play.

A high school graduate isn't expected to have these skills, whereas a college graduate is expected to have them.

This is also the reason why employers will hire college graduates with no work experience, as opposed to high school graduates with experience. 

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: government shut down
« Reply #499 on: October 18, 2013, 12:35:13 PM »
For an Australian who finds the US political system to be quite bizarre at times, can some explain in simple English/American what has happened, and more importantly, what does it mean in the long run?

I'll have a kick at it:

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The U.S. Congress is bicameral. The House of Representatives currently has a Republican majority, relatively entrenched by Republican gerrymandering of Congressional electoral districts, that is allowing itself to be led by a group of 30 or 40 extremists. These so-called "Tea Party" Congress-critters come from a twilight zone between representing and exploiting the growing paranoia and radicalism of the party's old base of reactionary (mostly-white) voters. The hill this base has decided to die on is "Obamacare," the Affordable Care Act, using the old reactionary warcries about "socialism" but really out of desperation to torpedo health care before it can come into force as a largely Democratic achievement (and that of a Black President to boot, not-that-they're-racist-or-anything except of course that they're completely racist, which motivates much of their hostility and sense of crisis). They appear to be willing to countenance any extent of damage to the prestige and economy of their own country in order to accomplish this, on what appears to be the rationale that if America-the-Great doesn't "belong" to them any more, then nobody gets to have her.

The desperation of this stratagem grows as each failure paints them further and further into the radical corner they've chosen, so they've taken to periodically trying to use budget negotiations to force the government (and, basically, the world) into financial crisis in order to try to get the President to repeal his signature achievement, which is never going to happen. Their means of doing this is the "debt ceiling," an early twentieth-century idea which requires Congress to periodically authorize raising the debt limit in order for the American government to keep functioning and paying its bills, and whose raising was a formality until now. (Thanks to Kythia for the correction.)

There are typically two ways around the gridlock and obstructionism in the House of Representatives. One, the extreme route, would be for the President to declare a State of Emergency and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. (For understandable reasons, Obama has resisted doing this. If you think the political situation and global doubt over American stability is nuts now, it's nothing compared to what would happen if he had to take such a measure.) The other is for the Senate, which isn't hampered by a Republican majority, to cobble together a bipartisan solution that the House of Representatives -- after having done their requisite fire-breathing -- can reluctantly endorse while still looking to their constituents like they did everything they could to keep the government from working and prevent it from helping people. (They know they eventually have to do this, because their attempts to blame their own behaviour on the Democrats are failing and their poll numbers outside their reactionary base -- which can't by itself get them into the White House or even guarantee their majority in the House of Representatives -- are in all out free-fall after their latest manufactured crisis.)

The Senate's solution has kicked the next manufactured crisis down the road to February, when this drama will likely play out again. In the meantime, it's probably reasonable to expect that China, Europe, India, Brazil and Russia will start working collectively toward a more decentralized global economic order, as being in peril of recession on account of America's domestic politics every few months is no doubt getting old.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 03:34:44 PM by Cyrano Johnson »