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Americans ARE Stupid,
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Posted 8/16/09 , edited 8/16/09
Watching any of the movies concerning schools in America you may get this idea that US schools are the 21st century’s version of ghettoes from WWII. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, about seventy percent of American parents give their child’s school an A or B grade [1].

Yet, there does appear to be a problem. While American children up to ages ten are performing spectacularly as compared to foreign counterparts from across the world, by age fifteen their scores drop significantly below the average for that age group. In 2003 PISA distributed a test to public-school students aged 15+ in forty nations. The Americans ranked 25th. [2]. That means we were outperformed by poverty stricken countries like South Korea (second place,) and the Czech Republic (which came in fifteenth place.)

So, what seems to be the problem? Apparently our children are relatively safe. I don’t think we’d have a seventy percent approval rating if American kids were being robbed, murdered, and addicted to drugs every day. Do we need more funding?

In terms of annual spending per student America ranks first place, tied with Switzerland [3]. Jay P. Greene points out that we’ve doubled per pupil spending over the last thirty years, adjusted for inflation, and yet the performances have remained constant in his “Education Myths.” (Since nobody’s going to bother purchasing a book I won’t bother listing citations. You can find it on Amazon if you want to read it yourself. Besides, I’ll post a separate source that affirms this at the end.)

Recently I watched a documentary on this that was very insightful. I’ve considered, as an aspiring legislature, multiple solutions. My personal experience is that teaching in public schools is too disrupted by social events and a general lack of discipline. I started out in German schools, and it should be noted that Germany was surprised at its low scores in the international tests as well. I then went to American military schools. Military schools are far advanced. I transferred to public schools in Eight Grade. We were learning how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. This is something I’d been doing since fourth grade. In fact, my personal tests scores dropped from 7th-9th grade, not picking back up until after I dropped out of school in 10th grade. (To be blunt, I feel robbed of my education.)

In military school the teachers were all well paid and highly professional. The students were also well behaved, myself included. See, in military school if you get in trouble they call your parents at work. Anybody who’s received a personal call while on the job knows that bosses don’t take kindly to that. Apparently Drill Sergeants don’t either. You can trust me, whenever you get your dad’s ass busted at work, he’s going to get your ass busted at home. We knew better than to mess around.

At the same time the communities had strict curfews and military police officers instead of civilian law enforcement. In other words, even outside of school and home we were held up to a higher disciplinary standard than children in civilian cities. We were kept in line, very well, because parents who didn’t keep their family matters under control receive martial consequences.

So, that was my solution. Simply extend the disciplinary tactics of military schools to public schools. Children should be made to report directly home after school and wear uniforms. These laws are similar to some recent regulations passed in Japan. (Again, I’d have to cite a text book and nobody’s going to read it. You can ask if you want the name, but this baby will run you about $125 IF you can even find it. Just trust me, why would I lie about that?)

However, the ABC documentary suggested a simpler answer. They brought up the school district system. Now, this is something I could also relate too. You see, in America you don’t get to choose which school you go to. You’re assigned a school based on where you live. We lived in Brittany on the south side of Oklahoma City. In other-words, the virtual red-neck’s ghetto. My mother was not comfortable sending us to the most dangerous school system in the state, so we transferred and commuted. The process of this was grueling and I missed two months of school before I FINNALLY got them to accept me. I was lucky, I was competing with a couple hundred other children, most got denied. The only reason I was accepted is because my families military history and my past in military schools, combined with a respectable academic performance and coaching from my father on how to blow smoke up an adult’s ass, was just enough to convince them to make a rare exception.

It was hard, very hard getting into a good school district. What I never knew was that this system is unique. Most wealthy countries allow families to choose which district they want to attend. Because of this, schools have compete with one another for performance. Parents don’t send their children to bad schools. Schools without children don’t get government funding and close down. In the end, bad schools are closed down while extra funding is funneled to good schools.

I think that we should emulate the success of nations like Belgium and combine that with my previous solution to solve the problem and more. What are your thoughts? The documentary can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4pN-aiofw&feature=rec-HM-fresh+div

[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-79515426.html
[2] http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1500338
[3] http://www.oecd.org/document/34/0,2340,en_2649_201185_35341645_1_1_1_1,00.html








In case you’re curious the Republican political party wants to break the government monopoly on education through a voucher system that will emulate European success by allowing us to select our schools. The Democrats say that this hasn't been tested in America and we shouldn't spend the money to make that transition. (This is to be expected. Republicans support less tax and less governmental social programs. Democrats support higher taxes for more social programs. Education is included in social programs. I'll post a source later, for now it's time to eat.)
Posted 8/16/09
Whatever military school you were in was obviously better than mine, because here's the thing:

In military school the teachers were all well paid and highly professional.

They were well paid, but nowhere near professional.

The students were also well behaved, myself included.

One kid brought a knife to school and tried to stab someone. Well behaved, I don't think so. It was basically downright outrageous.

See, in military school if you get in trouble they call your parents at work. Anybody who’s received a personal call while on the job knows that bosses don’t take kindly to that. Apparently Drill Sergeants don’t either. You can trust me, whenever you get your dad’s ass busted at work, he’s going to get your ass busted at home. We knew better than to mess around.

That's funny, when I got into a fight at school they didn't notify my mother at all. They also didn't notify her when I had a head injury and was obviously bleeding. They just told me to put a paper towel over it and go to class.

At the same time the communities had strict curfews and military police officers instead of civilian law enforcement. In other words, even outside of school and home we were held up to a higher disciplinary standard than children in civilian cities. We were kept in line, very well, because parents who didn’t keep their family matters under control receive martial consequences.

The kids on my base stayed out for as long as they wanted, there was no curfew. But the good thing about it was they didn't cause any trouble, so I agree with you to some point. I guess other people experiences in the Army are different from others.
Posted 8/16/09
I just heard a news where this guy graduated with a gpa of 6.8 - 8.0. How the hell can you get a 6.8 when A is only worth 4.0? Does the pluses from "A++++++" came from sucking up? Even if you have As in all your classes, the average from all of it will come to just 4.0.
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Posted 8/16/09 , edited 8/16/09


That’s very alarming to hear. I’m really quite startled, because I’ve lived on a couple military bases in my life. I’ve gone to several different military schools and all were more or less the same. I will allow that not all of the teachers were as professional as others. I was generalizing there. I do know that my fourth grade teacher called me a retard and kicked me out of the class. Other than Mr. Shaw, however, all of my teachers were pretty good until public school.

We had a kid bring a knife to school once, but he was suspended and severely disciplined. I can’t say for sure that it never happened again, but I know that he never did it again. I also got suspended for one day because I brought a toy gun to school in fifth grade.

What post did you live on? Aside from the post in Germany (with a name I cannot pronounce much less spell) my family was stationed in Ft. Lewis, Washington.

How do you feel about the recommended changes? I think the voucher system is brilliant. You should watch the video I posted at the end of my essay, before the sources.
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Posted 8/16/09

kyoukoujin wrote:

I just heard a news where this guy graduated with a gpa of 6.8 - 8.0. How the hell can you get a 6.8 when A is only worth 4.0? Does the pluses from "A++++++" came from sucking up? Even if you have As in all your classes, the average from all of it will come to just 4.0.


There are certain programs like the Advanced Placement classes where As are worth more than 4.0, although the highest I've ever heard of is 6.0.
Posted 8/16/09 , edited 8/16/09

SeraphAlford wrote:



That’s very alarming to hear. I’m really quite startled, because I’ve lived on a couple military bases in my life. I’ve gone to several different military schools and all were more or less the same. I will allow that not all of the teachers were as professional as others. I was generalizing there. I do know that my fourth grade teacher called me a retard and kicked me out of the class. Other than Mr. Shaw, however, all of my teachers were pretty good until public school.

We had a kid bring a knife to school once, but he was suspended and severely disciplined. I can’t say for sure that it never happened again, but I know that he never did it again. I also got suspended for one day because I brought a toy gun to school in fifth grade.

What post did you live on? Aside from the post in Germany (with a name I cannot pronounce much less spell) my family was stationed in Ft. Lewis, Washington.

How do you feel about the recommended changes? I think the voucher system is brilliant. You should watch the video I posted at the end of my essay, before the sources.



I've lived on Fort Bragg in North Carolina for a couple of years. Actually, that's the only military school I've been to and I have to say, the education was no different from the public schools. Strangely enough, when I went to a private academy the education was wonderful. In fact, when I went back to public school I was ahead of my class. While they were doing subtraction and math, we were studying Algebra (the simple kind) and this was only in 4th grade.

My internet runs on Dial Up, so some of the links are acting up or just not working. Wish I could watch the video, but I can't.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1500338

After reading that article, the voucher system seems like the perfect solution. Brilliant indeed.
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Posted 8/16/09 , edited 8/16/09
Wow. Those lists really did surprise me. I'm not America, nor do I live in American - British. I always thought American's education system was better than Britain's since it always sounded so complicated heh. I doubt America will be able to adapt to Japan's way of doing things; in a sense, it's going cold turkey. However, I do agree that perhaps in most MEDC countries, our education system needs to be more disciplined and strict. I have just done 10th grade and in all of my science lessons I believe I haven't learnt as much as I could have done because of the strictlessness in class. This shows America isn't the only one that is cause for concern. Nevertheless, I never expected Korea to be in the top 10 heh.

Yay, that's just made me sound like a right geek x)
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Posted 8/16/09

Gaia93 wrote:

I've lived on Fort Bragg in North Carolina for a couple of years. Actually, that's the only military school I've been to and I have to say, the education was no different from the public schools. Strangely enough, when I went to a private academy the education was wonderful. In fact, when I went back to public school I was ahead of my class. While they were doing subtraction and math, we were studying Algebra (the simple kind) and this was only in 4th grade.

My internet runs on Dial Up, so some of the links are acting up or just not working. Wish I could watch the video, but I can't.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1500338

After reading that article, the voucher system seems like the perfect solution. Brilliant indeed.


You know, it sounds to me like we have quite a bit in common. I didn’t mention this before because it was only over a short period of time, but I went to private school for a while myself. Hilariously, my experience herein is the exact opposite of yours. At my private school none of the teachers had college degrees. The budgeting was so low that they made the high-school students baby-sit the kindergarteners in shifts. A few of us got expelled for cussing at the children. I dropped out and got my GED in my junior year. That’s despite a 3.89 GPA from my Freshman and Sophomore years in public schools. I did this because the school announced at the end of the year that they’d lost state accreditation and I would either have to get a degree that was not acknowledged by any institution but the school itself or return to public school and repeat the tenth grade year.

There was also an event in which two children had sex in the closet. This was a Christian Academy, mind you.

That's why I feel I got robbed. Public schools were so miserable that I went to private school. My private school falsely claimed to be state accredited and then, AFTER I’d been there a year and spent thousands of dollars (getting a job to help my parents pay for it) they said, “Well we hope to be in a couple years.” In a couple years I would’ve been nineteen.

Anyway, that article was written by one of the guys behind the documentary. The documentary reiterates everything in that article with more details. It also goes on to elaborate including more studies, demonstrations, and examples. It also talks a lot more about how the unions have blocked us from creating competition, but sadly kept a non-partisan stance throughout the entire thing. I was completely convinced by the end of the documentary, but nevertheless did some outside research. Now, I’m even more convined. We just have to do something about the teacher's unions.
Posted 8/16/09 , edited 8/16/09

SeraphAlford wrote:


Gaia93 wrote:

I've lived on Fort Bragg in North Carolina for a couple of years. Actually, that's the only military school I've been to and I have to say, the education was no different from the public schools. Strangely enough, when I went to a private academy the education was wonderful. In fact, when I went back to public school I was ahead of my class. While they were doing subtraction and math, we were studying Algebra (the simple kind) and this was only in 4th grade.

My internet runs on Dial Up, so some of the links are acting up or just not working. Wish I could watch the video, but I can't.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=1500338

After reading that article, the voucher system seems like the perfect solution. Brilliant indeed.


You know, it sounds to me like we have quite a bit in common. I didn’t mention this before because it was only over a short period of time, but I went to private school for a while myself. Hilariously, my experience herein is the exact opposite of yours. At my private school none of the teachers had college degrees. The budgeting was so low that they made the high-school students baby-sit the kindergarteners in shifts. A few of us got expelled for cussing at the children. I dropped out and got my GED in my junior year. That’s despite a 3.89 GPA from my Freshman and Sophomore years in public schools. I did this because the school announced at the end of the year that they’d lost state accreditation and I would either have to get a degree that was not acknowledged by any institution but the school itself or return to public school and repeat the tenth grade year.

There was also an event in which two children had sex in the closet. This was a Christian Academy, mind you.

That's why I feel I got robbed. Public schools were so miserable that I went to private school. My private school falsely claimed to be state accredited and then, AFTER I’d been there a year and spent thousands of dollars (getting a job to help my parents pay for it) they said, “Well we hope to be in a couple years.” In a couple years I would’ve been nineteen.

Anyway, that article was written by one of the guys behind the documentary. The documentary reiterates everything in that article with more details. It also goes on to elaborate including more studies, demonstrations, and examples. It also talks a lot more about how the unions have blocked us from creating competition, but sadly kept a non-partisan stance throughout the entire thing. I was completely convinced by the end of the documentary, but nevertheless did some outside research. Now, I’m even more convined. We just have to do something about the teacher's unions.


Actually, the private school I went to was a Christian Academy. The education was good, but the kids pissed me off to no end. Eventually I had to leave...I'll never go there again.

Now the school is raising so much money that they're planning on building a college. Of course. Kind of strange that the teachers there had no degrees in teaching what so ever, but were still able to keep us ahead of everyone else.

I thought of getting a GED and working on the side. Public high school is just so miserable, and my mother may not have enough money to send me to another private school. I just want to finish school and get on with my life, no matter how difficult it'll become. I don't want to grow up too soon, but I'm just tired of high school.
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Posted 8/16/09

Gaia93 wrote:

Actually, the private school I went to was a Christian Academy. The education was good, but the kids pissed me off to no end. Eventually I had to leave...I'll never go there again.

Now the school is raising so much money that they're planning on building a college. Of course. Kind of strange that the teachers there had no degrees in teaching what so ever, but were still able to keep us ahead of everyone else.

I thought of getting a GED and working on the side. Public high school is just so miserable, and my mother may not have enough money to send me to another private school. I just want to finish school and get on with my life, no matter how difficult it'll become. I don't want to grow up too soon, but I'm just tired of high school.


Well, private school children in general score hire on academic ability tests. So, mine was apparently an exception to the norm. Depending on what you’re doing, I actually think a GED is a good alternative. I got my GED and started college a year early. I’m now an eighteen year old sophomore. As long as you get your college degree nobody cares about rather or not you got your GED in 99.9% of the cases.

You can also join the military and they’ll pay your way through college. They penalize you for a GED but if you get 15 hours of college credits before talking to a recruiter they’ll ignore the GED. They consider 15 college credits combined with a GED the equivalent of a Highschool diploma. I know people give the military a bad reputation, but in the Iraq war we’ve lost a lot of officers. Some are KIA but mostly we just have people retiring and leaving. So, they’re hurting for officers.

There are two lines of action you can take. You can go in enlisted. You’ll start out as a specialist-an E 4-and then you can work your way up while simultaneously finishing your college. They’ll pay for it. When you get your bachelors in whatever you are made second lieutenant and then take an aptitude test (actually a breeze, I’ve taken one. A perfect score is 90, I think. I got a 79 and I didn’t study at all. Anything above a 30 is passing. Anything above a 50 is good. Anything above a 70 is great.) That score will determine which officer positions are available to you. You get to list your top three preferred positions. The higher your score and the better your college performance the more likely you'll get your first choice.

The other way you can do it is to get your degree and THEN go in as a second lieutenant. You work one year and then take the same test. It's the exact same thing except if you go in enlisted you're more likely to get your first preference. Me, I'm going to be an officer and then retire and become a legislator.
Posted 8/16/09

SeraphAlford wrote:


Gaia93 wrote:

Actually, the private school I went to was a Christian Academy. The education was good, but the kids pissed me off to no end. Eventually I had to leave...I'll never go there again.

Now the school is raising so much money that they're planning on building a college. Of course. Kind of strange that the teachers there had no degrees in teaching what so ever, but were still able to keep us ahead of everyone else.

I thought of getting a GED and working on the side. Public high school is just so miserable, and my mother may not have enough money to send me to another private school. I just want to finish school and get on with my life, no matter how difficult it'll become. I don't want to grow up too soon, but I'm just tired of high school.


Well, private school children in general score hire on academic ability tests. So, mine was apparently an exception to the norm. Depending on what you’re doing, I actually think a GED is a good alternative. I got my GED and started college a year early. I’m now an eighteen year old sophomore. As long as you get your college degree nobody cares about rather or not you got your GED in 99.9% of the cases.

You can also join the military and they’ll pay your way through college. They penalize you for a GED but if you get 15 hours of college credits before talking to a recruiter they’ll ignore the GED. They consider 15 college credits combined with a GED the equivalent of a Highschool diploma. I know people give the military a bad reputation, but in the Iraq war we’ve lost a lot of officers. Some are KIA but mostly we just have people retiring and leaving. So, they’re hurting for officers.

There are two lines of action you can take. You can go in enlisted. You’ll start out as a specialist-an E 4-and then you can work your way up while simultaneously finishing your college. They’ll pay for it. When you get your bachelors in whatever you are made second lieutenant and then take an aptitude test (actually a breeze, I’ve taken one. A perfect score is 90, I think. I got a 79 and I didn’t study at all. Anything above a 30 is passing. Anything above a 50 is good. Anything above a 70 is great.) That score will determine which officer positions are available to you. You get to list your top three preferred positions. The higher your score and the better your college performance the more likely you'll get your first choice.

The other way you can do it is to get your degree and THEN go in as a second lieutenant. You work one year and then take the same test. It's the exact same thing except if you go in enlisted you're more likely to get your first preference. Me, I'm going to be an officer and then retire and become a legislator.


Yeah, I'm not joining the Army under any circumstances. They say it's not for everyone, and I believe you have to be strong mentally and physically if you consider joining.

Actually I was planning on becoming a Psychologist, but I don't know if I can with a GED.
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Posted 8/17/09 , edited 8/17/09

Gaia93 wrote:

Yeah, I'm not joining the Army under any circumstances. They say it's not for everyone, and I believe you have to be strong mentally and physically if you consider joining.

Actually I was planning on becoming a Psychologist, but I don't know if I can with a GED.


You can get whatever job you want. It doesn’t matter if you have a GED as long as you get your college degree. The risk here is that if you don’t get through college then you don’t have a degree and they may look at your GED. But, they say that 15 college hours and a GED are the equivalent of a Highschool diploma. But get your diploma, don't drop out if you don't have to.
Posted 8/17/09
Excuse me? Czech Republic and poverty stricken? That doesn't go hand in hand. We may be poorer than the USA, in a sense, but we certainly aren't poverty stricken.

To the other....I think the title is misleading, since we really can't compare ignorance with stupidity. Americans may be a titbit more ignorant than the rest of the world, but not necessarily more stupid.
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Posted 8/17/09 , edited 8/17/09

ShroomInferno wrote:

Excuse me? Czech Republic and poverty stricken? That doesn't go hand in hand. We may be poorer than the USA, in a sense, but we certainly aren't poverty stricken.

To the other....I think the title is misleading, since we really can't compare ignorance with stupidity. Americans may be a titbit more ignorant than the rest of the world, but not necessarily more stupid.


Well, your country is poor anyway. I was being a bit dramatic.

In this case the tests were partially designed to rate our problem solving capabilities, which does in fact coincide with intellect. In reading comprehension, for example, all the information is on the paper and you simply have to apply it. In science tests the formulas are all given you simply have to find out where to use them and then follow through with the calculations. Short of being illiterate ignorance shouldn’t prevent us from scoring well on these tests if we’re intelligent.

Although maybe you’re right. Ignorance and stupidity aren’t the same thing. Do you know of any place where we can compare average IQs from nation to nation by age group?
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Posted 8/17/09
The public high school I currently goes to used to be a bad school in NYC. in 2006, which i start high school now changed the high school systems. the school i goes to now starting to getting more better than before. They split the school into 8 smaller learning communities. Such as math and science institute, Academy of communication and media arts, health and nutrition, forensic science, academy of fine and dramatic arts, future teacher, Gilder lehman of american histories, and i forgot the last one. U can allow to go to any of the 8 department. They each their own ways of teaching and subjects to learn. other schools in different states plan to copy the same things we did. Students in NYC tends to drop out for most parts because of their hard curriculum. u required to graduate with about 5 passing regents examinations and 44 credits. The money my school spends on tutoring is a waste of time and money because most students tends not to care to learn. Compare the other foreign schools, the U.S. schools do not as strict as other schools like in asia. i think if students do not want to learn, then it best for them to drop out b/c we spend money for them to learn and not give a shit about it. I'm going to be a senior and I can't wait to graduate. Btw, the Asian students tends to do very well in schools.
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