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December 19, 2012
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What Americans Keep Ignoring About Education

:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Dec 19, 2012  Student Writer
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Currently, Finland's schools are some of the best in the world, if not the best. Their students perform on out-perform and perform on par with (depending on the year) Asian countries like South Korea famous for their strong school systems. What's interesting about Finnish schools, though, is that unlike in America, it doesn't matter where you go to school or how wealthy your parents are. Everyone in Finland receives the same top-notch education from teachers who have Masters degrees. Going to school in one neighborhood will get you the same education as going to school in another neighborhood.

Finland also has no private schools in the entire country. Not even private universities.

Finland's school system is a success despite the complete lack of competition. This proves the competition is not required for a successful school system. The problem with competition is you set many people up to fail. No one can be at the top if there are not others on the bottom holding them up.

Education should be used to prop up those who were not born in to success by giving them the opportunity to turn their life around. Without the opportunity of free education, many families would be stuck in poverty.

I have a few questions to those of you who want a complete private education system, and please consider the success of Finland's system in your answers.

Why do you think some people should receive a better education than others? Why not give everyone the best? Do you really want to educate a whole nation, or do you just want to educate a select few people? Whatever happened to America being the "land of opportunity"?

Excluding people and making things in to a competition--meaning there will be more losers than winners--doesn't provide for educating a whole nation, it only serves to better the reputations and resumes of those at the top. Shouldn't we try to address giving everyone, everywhere, an equal chance at proving themselves and learning what they need so they can have a good future?

Why should we focus on helping those who don't really need the help, and ignoring those who are in the worst situations? What kind of sense does this make? Why should we give more opportunities for the people who already have it while simultaneously taking away opportunities from the people who really need them?

Is one human being worth more than another? Why? Is this a moral viewpoint? What kind of society does this build?

Whether people go on to do fancy, educated jobs or not, would you rather live in a population of general idiots or in a population where people have a decent average level of education? Do you think more educated voters is a good thing?

Considering that rich people would all send their kids to the best schools, leaving poor people to send their kids to shitty schools, how do you expect poor families, teen moms, those who work 2 - 3 jobs just to survive to have enough money to pay for a child's education? Do you really think those private schools would be able to afford books AND make a profit when public schools in America can't even do one of these things?

Do you think race mixture and population size affect a country's test scores more than education policy does? Consider that Norway is about the same size as Finland with a similar homogenous population, but they do not score as high as Finland does because Norway's education model is more similar to the USA's.
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Devious Comments

:iconredfoxbennaton:
Redfoxbennaton Jan 16, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
You have no Idea.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Jan 17, 2013  Student Writer
What do you mean?
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:iconredfoxbennaton:
Redfoxbennaton Jan 17, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
You have no idea how accurate this is. Don't even get me started. Do you want me to say more?
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Jan 18, 2013  Student Writer
Ah. I couldn't tell if you meant it in a positive or negative way.
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:iconredfoxbennaton:
Redfoxbennaton Jan 18, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Oh I see.
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:iconstressedplz:
Because, we live in a society that spoils the child. If you give the kid a toy that will make him sugar coded. What we need to do is take all the fun stuff out of a child's life. And if he goes into martyrdom then he will need to be reminded that that there are people who are tougher and stronger than him because they are deprived of basic needs and fun stuff.

And we need to do something about our drinking fountains.
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:iconpianocanival:
Pianocanival Jan 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
I would like to make the devil's advocate on certain points. Although I can't encompass the whole text by two factors. The first, being from another country (namely Mexico) I can't vouch or really put a new perspective for certain things I don't know in detail in the american system, therefore they don't really affect me. Number two being that there are so many points here and rhetorical questions that I can't really open a discussion to all of them.

However the points I would like to dialogue about are:

"Is one human being worth more than another? Why? Is this a moral viewpoint? What kind of society does this build?"

And

"Considering that rich people would all send their kids to the best schools, leaving poor people to send their kids to shitty schools, how do you expect poor families, teen moms, those who work 2 - 3 jobs just to survive to have enough money to pay for a child's education? Do you really think those private schools would be able to afford books AND make a profit when public schools in America can't even do one of these things?"

Even when I don't want to accept the premise, it's difficult to concieve that a human is worth exactly like everyone else. And that doesn't really only account for moral viewpoint, also for a physical viewpoint too. To give just a little taste about that, think about the people who have Down syndrome (or autism, Asperger, Harlequin incthyosis ... etc etc etc ) and so on. Now try to NOT compare it to a healthy human. Our minds are designed to discriminate, as a anthropological mechanism to preserve the species. It's only natural to divide humans in groups. Now, for the moral point of view (such as values, economical class, attitudes...) is the same think. We try to discriminate groups just to see where we fit and where we think our ideas can merge and expand with those ones who think similarly to us. As what kind of society does that build, I can say it opens a wide range of possibilities in a pluricultural society.

Note that discrimination I'm not using to cast away people who I don't like. But rather, a process in which we can value abstract things and evaluate if such thing is proper fit for an individual.

For the second parragraph. Even from the start I see a problem. Not necessarily poor families will send their kids to shitty schools. Specially in Mexico, where ALL the best universities are public. That doesn't mean there are not private schools. And yet, those aren't as good as (just to name a example) the UNAM (the best mexican university... and it's public). As for everything else in that parragraph, I can't say much. I've seen teen moms with only a normal 9 to 5 job who send his kids to one of the best private schools... so :shrug:

Then again, I'm just playing the devils advocate and just to remind this is a pretty much worthless opinion.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Jan 12, 2013  Student Writer
Even when I don't want to accept the premise, it's difficult to concieve that a human is worth exactly like everyone else

No, it isn't. Think about it this way: what scale are you using to measure a human's value? How did you come up with that scale? What makes that scale better than a different one?

The answer to all of these questions will always be opinions. There is no objective way to tell whether a person is worth more than another. You can put people up against each other to see who is smarter, funnier, more beautiful, taller, stronger, etc.. but to make some of these things more valuable then others is always a matter of opinion.

If you take it outside of any context, one human is not worth more than another. It's only when you add a context (like intelligence, beauty, strength, etc..) that you can begin to assign this type of value to another person.

A teen mom working a normal 9 - 5? That to me alone just seems very odd. How much to private schools cost in Mexico? How do teen moms get jobs that aren't so low paying that they need to work more than 1 job just to afford living??
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:iconpianocanival:
Pianocanival Jan 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
I agree to the point that there is no 'objective' scale, nor that it can be measured without context. However subjective the value is, the measure of it is also subjective. Instinct based if you like to call it. The point is that there is such a scale to measure those values. But it will always depend on the criteria and the context. It's not white nor black, but something in between. And it certainly can't be measured with objective numbers or scales, but intuitive ones. You can say certainly there are people smarter than others, but you can't tell how much smarter, and you have to tell in what they are smarter, for example, math, intercommunication, sports... And yes, that's the real value of opinions. Opinions are only worth what you think it is worth. Or rather they value is 0 for a person, and can be 1 to another.

Regarding the other point. It IS VERY odd, indeed, but it happens. I've seen it, said person is my friend. There is a wide range of prices regarding private schools. From 2,000 USD (I'm making a wild guess, because I'm counting in pesos, and conversion rate is about 1 USD = 12.5 pesos or something) to 20,000 USD a year the most expensive I know. Normally they wouldn't be able to pay such costs, but when the whole family (including uncle/aunt, grandparents and others involved) is united they can come up with good plans. For example, this girl I know works as an english teacher in another private school (and they pay decently well, wages range from 500 USD a month to 1,300 USD). Then, his kid was granted a scholarship in his private school. And other expenses (like food, clothing, luxuries) are covered in a big part by the family and friends. Worst case scenario there are social programmes, like community diners when you can buy a complete food for 1 USD. Worst worst case scenario you can make a life from begging or selling chewing gum at retail price in the streets. Again, it's weird, I know, but it actually happens. I've seen some beggars who have big mansions and make much more money than, for example, a PhD professor working on a university.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Jan 12, 2013  Student Writer
Mexico sounds very different from the USA. I've never heard of a private school so cheap that it only costs 2,000 USD a year.

The USA has some social programs, but not enough, and they don't work very well.
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