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Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High" 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the edumication-in-the-windy-city dept.
theodp writes "In a private lunch with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, BusinessWeek's Michael Arndt was taken aback by the mayor's candid monologues against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the failure of public schools — Chicago's included — to adequately train kids today in technology, math, and science. Among the education fixes Daley said he's contemplating are a fifth year of high school and elite math and science academies for Chicago's brainiest students. Endless wars that divert hundreds of billions a year from schools and job training are also undermining America's competitiveness, Daley added, wondering where the public outrage is."
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Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High"

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  • by koreaman (835838) <uman@umanwizard.com> on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:36PM (#31800390)

    Thank god at least one elected official has some sense of priorities...

    • This is the man who inherited the mayor-ship from his father. His only sense of priorities is maintaining and expanding his own power. Saying he has a sense of priorities that makes sense is like saying that President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has his priorities right when he calls for more food production in that country. He is one of the people who created the problem.
      Of course the other problem with what he said is that the money spent on the military (including the wars it has fought) doesn't come from a leve
  • 5th year? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:37PM (#31800408)
    How about let the smart kids finish the required classes and go to college a year early? Or at least work on college classes their fourth year (like a community college set of classes for free given to them by the high school). Making them wait another year seems cruel when they can do the same coursework in college and actually further their education instead of taking classes that will probably be required in college anyway, effectively making them take those classes twice.
    • Re:5th year? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by salesgeek (263995) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:39PM (#31800420) Homepage

      Nah... they should go to school for and extra year to get the smart ground out of them.

      • Re:5th year? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by apoc.famine (621563) <<apoc.famine> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday April 10, 2010 @02:19PM (#31800950) Homepage Journal
        This is a very valid point.

        I taught HS science for 5 years. The only class I really liked teaching was Physics, because it lacked a hardcore, "test them to see if they learned the items on the list" metric. I could spend 2/3 of the time teaching, and 1/3 of the time letting my students "run wild", applying what they had learned, and generally just screwing around and LEARNING stuff. No, not the stuff on the checklist.

        If this was a year before college where students could just play, use what they had learned, create things, and explore the world, then it would be FANTASTIC! We'd be producing some really amazing scientists and engineers. If it's just another year of HS, I agree with you. We'd just be grinding the smart and ambition out of them.
        • Re:5th year? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Metasquares (555685) <slashdot@NoSPAM.metasquared.com> on Saturday April 10, 2010 @02:35PM (#31801046) Homepage

          1/3 of the time letting my students "run wild", applying what they had learned, and generally just screwing around and LEARNING stuff. No, not the stuff on the checklist.

          If this was a year before college where students could just play, use what they had learned, create things, and explore the world, then it would be FANTASTIC! We'd be producing some really amazing scientists and engineers.

          Bingo! Someone else who gets it. The message we're sending right now is "if you're smart we're going to make you work harder" when it should be closer to "Hey, look at how cool this is! Try it out! I can tell you more about it if you're interested..."

          Seriously, lots of intelligent people have this amazing propensity to learn about stuff on their own and many have fun doing it. As educators we should be assisting them in this mission rather than trying to brutally suppress their interests in favor of some canned curriculum.

    • Re:5th year? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by russotto (537200) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:36PM (#31800746) Journal

      How about let the smart kids finish the required classes and go to college a year early?

      Where's the money in that for Daley?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pooh666 (624584)
      The practical effect of this *should* be just that the kids get a free year of collage on the state under the guise of another year of high school. Sounds like a great deal to me. So not so cruel. Many kids manage to cut close to a year off as it is with advanced classes. If this opens up those chances to a few more, then great as well.
      • Given the choice between learning college level work in a high school and learning it in a college, I would take the college any day. It makes more sense to use the funds to give these students state-sponsored scholarships to the colleges of their choice rather than tying them down to another year of high school.
    • by moortak (1273582)
      I know that some public school systems do just that. Most of the systems in the greater Cleveland area, including the wretched Cleveland City Schools, are involved in a partnership with either the nearest community college or one of the state schools.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285)
      I feel it really depends on the available funding and teachers, as well as maturity of the student. 'Smart' kids can finish school early, but they don't necessarily have the self discipline to succeed in an environment where they are not being coached by an adult, being parent or teacher or whatever. For some kids, an extra year before college might provide time to grow up and become ready for rigorous work. In addition this year can be used to model how to succeed in college, especially in a natural sci
    • My high school did this. They only allowed it if you completed all the classes they offered. So, for example, I took AP Comp Sci junior year and they had nothing past that, so I got to take half days Senior year and went to college in the afternoon.
  • CPS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crumbz (41803) <.moc.liamg>maps ... uj>maps_evomer> on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:40PM (#31800432) Homepage

    The Chicago Public Schools are laying off teachers and closing schools due to budget constraints. Howver, despite da mayor's feelings on the issue, I am not sure that dumping more cash into the the arguably bloated CPS bureaucracy would result in students receiving a better education. At some point, parental responsibility ensuring that students actually attend the schools and complete the days assignments might have a greater impact.

    • Re:CPS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thbb (200684) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @02:13PM (#31800906) Homepage

      How is this "Insightful"? The USA are really doomed if its educated population actually believes this shit.

      And how exactly, do you want to increase "parental responsibility"?

      You want to set up a mandatory adult "schooling" education program? With what funds and who do you put in charge of creating this program, which would, admitedly, be a world premiere?

      Or perhaps, you have the idea of sanctioning the parents when their children don't do their homework or don't attend school? This has been tried: it merely results in even more children dropping out of schools and even poorer education. Notwithstanding the creation of ghettoized populations cut back from any chances of ever raising out of poverty and poor education.

      Even though it's costly, pouring more money at schools, providing teachers with the means to do their job well is the only method that has a track record of actually raising the education levels.

      Yes, maybe the CPS' bureaucracy is choking the attempts of the few remaining dedicated teachers to do their job properly. In any case, I doubt it is much worse than the US Army bureaucracy, which is completely sold to the military industry.

      Throwing more money in the school system provides the ability to hire more talents (at the management and operational levels), motivate the education personnel and, ultimately, raise the education levels globally. As for the details, let the teachers and their administration, who are in daily contact with the population they have to deal with, decide how it's better done.

    • It's all well and good to admonish the parents for not participating, and certainly efforts to improve parental participation should be part of any failing school system's rehabilitation plan, but you can't hire new parents.

      You can hire new teachers or administrators and since they work for you, you can control how they are required to do things. You've got the parents you've got, now what are you going to do about it?

  • wondering where the public outrage is

    What happened the last 40 years or so? Then there were riots in the streets and major protests against the then ongoing war. Is a SUV on the driveway and a reality show on tv all that is needed to pacify everyone?

    • Yes it is.

    • Re:Public outrage? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Swanktastic (109747) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:54PM (#31800844)

      There is no draft.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      wondering where the public outrage is
      I wouldn't be nosing around for public outrage Mr. Daley. People have been ignoring your illegal misuses of power in Chicago for far too long.
  • It would just be wasted as a "babysitting service" like the first 4 years of high school typically are. The amount of time my teachers spend goofing-off in class, not teaching anything, was ridiculous. When I got to college the professors taught the same material in about one-quarter the time. - Take the existing 4 years and concentrate them. Instead of Algebra 1 and 2, make it a combined course. Then take the resulting extra year and teach some "tech oriented" like Programming.

    Final thought - I wonde

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nerdfest (867930)
      We had 4 and 5 year paths through high school in Ontario up until fairly recently and I think it worked quite well. The 5th year in the advanced path had lots of science and math courses (physics, chemistry, calculus, functions and relations, algebra) as well as the usual English, history, etc. I'm still not sure why it was cancelled, the class sizes were always big enough (20-30).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RobinH (124750)

        I was in the 5 year program, and I think the problem is that when you got to University, you're in first year with a bunch of other students who may not be from Ontario, so they may not have taken the 5th year of high school. The idea of the 5 year program was to help subsidize post-secondary education by teaching introductory level university courses to university-bound students without them having to pay tuition or live away from home, etc. I agree that it originally worked that way in principle, but on

        • I agreed with removing the 5th year. Not because it was a bad idea in principle, but because it was flawed in practice.

          It would seem to me the flaw could be removed by following a "Running Start" model, where that fifth year of high school would earn the students equivalent college credits. You'd start college with a somewhat advanced placement - those "out of province" students could still take the first year courses, but you wouldn't need to.

          Might even save you (or your parents) some money on tuition, in the long run.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          I was exempted from a few first semester classes in college after initial testing, which was nice as it game me a bit more time to spend on other classes. I think the real benefit though is that people who didn't plan on taking any higher education still got a good introduction to more advanced math and science than they would otherwise. It could help a lot of them in later endeavours and in some cases even give them an extra push towards going to college.
    • by dAzED1 (33635)

      "insightful..."

      you wouldn't have learned it that fast in college, had you not already learned it in high school. Education is a cumulative process.

    • by pooh666 (624584)
      Why the bloody hell is Algebra even taught in high school? Like the last two years of grade school couldn't cover it as well for all but he ultra helmet wearers?
  • " ... Endless wars that divert hundreds of billions a year from schools and job training are also undermining America's competitiveness, Daley added, wondering where the public outrage is."

    And exactly how would the good mayor spend the hundreds of billions a year to improve schools? Specifically. No platitudes. Nothing like, "more computers" or "magnet schools" or "more arts programs." To use a sports metaphor, what's needed is "more blocking and tackling." Or, back to education, the three Rs -- Reading, wR

    • Re:More money? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:53PM (#31800504) Homepage

      To be perfectly honest, we would be better off digging a big hole, tossing the money in and then covering it over than spending it on war. Unlike the never ending wars including the war on [demon of the day], throwing the money down a big hole will create jobs and can be stopped at any time when we think of something more worthwhile to spend it on. It would have the side benefit of not making the rest of the world hate us as much as war and not alienating as many of our own citizens as the war on drugs does.

      Given that, throwing the money at schools and seeing what sticks can hardly do worse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pluther (647209)

      Good questions.
      And where would answers possibly be found. Oh, gods, if only there were an article linked from that summary!
      Or... and I know this is crazy talk here... but, what if the summary itself mentioned something other than billions of dollars!

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Success is dependent on hard decisions and hard work, not billions of dollars.

      No it isn't. It is dependent on accomplishing goals, and doing better than your competitors.

      If you think not failing stupidly easy multiple choice tests, or not getting fired because your students are not failing stupidly easy multiple choice tests is success, well, yeah, you're part of the problem.

    • Test the teachers and fire the failures. Success is dependent on hard decisions and hard work, not billions of dollars.

      People that are really good teachers and administrators are going to want to get pay that's commensurate with their level of education and dedication to their job. Usually they are smart enough to go work anywhere they want and get paid much more than most teaching jobs offer.

      So you're not going to get "more blocking and tackling" unless you pay for some really good players. I expect the amount you'd have to pay is more than most Americans will think is reasonable.

  • by b4upoo (166390)

    Infested with the lies of corporatism and capitalism our general public is far too dumb to make intelligent demands for education. It
    has reached the sad point where one supposed leader has remarked that education should be run like a business. That translates rather
    easily into giving students as little as possible while taking as much from the public as they can get.
    Limit summer holidays to three weeks in total. Stop honoring lesser holidays.

    • by Ironchew (1069966) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:10PM (#31800600)

      Lots of good points, but some seem unnecessarily and impractically harsh.

      Stop honoring lesser holidays.

      Which ones are the important holidays, and how can you justify those in an impartial manner?

      ...be quick to permanently expel students who either show little interest in academic life or have behavior problems.

      Sounds like one-strike-you're-out to me. Suspensions and counseling should make things clear the first or second time, and you can consider expulsions afterward. Having little interest in academic life is relatively normal, otherwise everybody would be scholars. Not bothering to make a minimal effort suggests a problem.

      In essence every student should know that endless help is at hand for excellence but endless rejection and failure are also very real and immediate consequences. Make courses just hard enough so that some good students can not pass them.

      This is utterly impractical and it sounds a little vindictive. Set the bar so that some good students are eternally unable to pass any of their courses? Intellectual improvement is the point of going to school, and there should be help for students who have the determination to pass a course.

      Be certain that Texas has no influence over text books.

      Care to be a little more specific? I'm sure there are many intelligent professors in Texas that publish adequate material for the subject(s) at hand.
      Though I agree with most of the other stuff. Education should be a higher priority in the United States than our military prowess.

    • by Phroggy (441)

      Holy crap you're a moron. Get rid of teacher work days? Seriously? If anything, we need MORE teacher work days, because an effective teacher needs time to prepare. Currently all the good teachers do all of that stuff at home in their free time, which means they don't really have any free time left over, which means they burn out and stop being good teachers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The reason the country doesn’t have enough money for better schools or job retaining, he went on, is that it is spending hundreds of billions a year on war. This isn’t what the U.S. should stand for, he added. He also wondered where the public outrage is. Back when his father was Chicago’s mayor, he recalled, thousands of people would routinely take to the streets to protest the Vietnam War. Nowadays, he said, there are no demonstrations—people shrug off war and say if enlistees want to go off and risk their lives, well, that’s their choice.

    First, a lot of it, I think, is some sort of backlash against the 60s and calling kids that had no choice to go to war "baby killers" and horseshit like that. Many of our boys coming back from Viet Nam were treated like shit for no good reason.

    Secondly, it's the new patriotic sentiment. We got caught with our pants down on 9/11 and folks are pretty steamed about it still - especially the older folks who grew up with a secure and invincible America. There are also the folks who just like the fact that the US

  • by icebrain (944107) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:49PM (#31800484)

    ...then they don't need another year of high school. Off to college with them.

    Simply dumping more money into education does not make it better.

    Buying all this "technology" stuff is a waste of money if it's not implemented right. You don't need a computer to learn basic subjects.

    Paying bad teachers more doesn't make them teach better. There are good teachers out there who deserve more for what they put into their jobs, and plenty more people who would make great teachers but won't take that big a pay cut from their current jobs in science, engineering, etc.

    Similarly, elementary schools don't need two "counselors" each making $70k+. High schools don't need "career counselors" making $90k. And the school board doesn't need six figures (hell, no elected official does). Stop wasting money on administration and get some better teachers.

    Hire some former drill instructors to fix discipline problems. Yes, your little deviant brat who "would never do anything bad" might get his feelings hurt a little bit, but maybe he'll finally get his shit straight and go on to be a decent member of society.

    Spend some money and get some real scientists and engineers to teach. Teach hard science and math to the kids. Let's try to stop the reverence for idiocy while we can.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sco08y (615665)

      Paying bad teachers more doesn't make them teach better. There are good teachers out there who deserve more for what they put into their jobs, and plenty more people who would make great teachers but won't take that big a pay cut from their current jobs in science, engineering, etc.

      Similarly, elementary schools don't need two "counselors" each making $70k+. High schools don't need "career counselors" making $90k. And the school board doesn't need six figures (hell, no elected official does). Stop wasting money on administration and get some better teachers.

      I'll be up front and admit that I have no idea how much teachers and administrators should be paid. However, I know that if someone wrote the same thing about IT people, we'd be pointing out that if you don't offer a decent salary, you're guaranteed to get crap people.

      Hire some former drill instructors to fix discipline problems. Yes, your little deviant brat who "would never do anything bad" might get his feelings hurt a little bit, but maybe he'll finally get his shit straight and go on to be a decent member of society.

      Understanding how the recruiting process works might dispel the notion that some guy screaming at people can turn "deviants" into good citizens.

      First off, the Army gets to be pretty picky about who it lets in. They can screen out a lot of phys

      • by russotto (537200) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:43PM (#31800790) Journal

        I'll be up front and admit that I have no idea how much teachers and administrators should be paid. However, I know that if someone wrote the same thing about IT people, we'd be pointing out that if you don't offer a decent salary, you're guaranteed to get crap people.

        That's because IT doesn't have unions assuring that performance and pay are orthogonal. Also I think GP is implying that the "counselor" positions he mentioned are entirely superfluous, not merely overpaid.

        As long as the system works the way it does, throwing money at the schools won't work. As soon as more money might be available, the unions will smell it and go on strike until they get it. And everyone else with a pet project within the system will grab for a cut too. Net result: more money being spent for the same people resulting in the same results. And maybe a new library (but don't count on actual books) with some politically powerful person's name on it.

  • Outstanding chutzpa! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bearhouse (1034238) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:55PM (#31800522)

    Not THE Richard M. Daley, from the outstanding bunch of politicos who have shaped Chicago's history for the last 50 years?
    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daley_family [wikipedia.org]
    Reap what you sow, then bitch about it...what amazing hypocrisy.

    • The problem is that there isn't a problem. There are a whole lot of them, all interconnected and unrelated all at the same time. And that means there isn't a solution. Not a simple one anyway.

      The problems are:

      • The elites (several, not all the same group), who live in their own world and have carefully surrounded them by like minded indivduals (unpaid yes-men) so they never hear anything that disagrees with them.
      • Voters who want to be involved but not be involved. Who don't trust everything that is told to
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:59PM (#31800544)

    It's called college.

  • money from wars? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:05PM (#31800570) Journal

    Endless wars that divert hundreds of billions a year from schools and job training are also undermining America's competitiveness, Daley added

    Right. I'll tell you, I've heard so many times people say, "we could easily pay for X if we weren't spending money on wars" that if all those things people have in mind got funded, the money would be spent twice over. I don't know where the money would go if we stopped fighting wars, probably to cover medical/social security expenses, but Mayor Daley is very low on the priority list for recipients of the money.

    wondering where the public outrage is

    Where it is? It's everywhere. Outrage is the American national pasttime. Aren't there tea parties in Chicago? I mean, doesn't he watch TV? Every news program you watch has some segment trying to make people outraged. What we need is less outrage, not more, and more rational thought. I will happy when Americans realize outrage really doesn't help (or maybe they already are, maybe mayor Daley is noticing that). Of course politicians like outrage, it makes people easier to manipulate.

  • This Educator is correct. At Orange County California, one does have an option to take an ROP [tec.ca.us] class, but with some troubling limitations.
  • 5th F#@!% year? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bai jie (653604) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:09PM (#31800594)
    Why would we want to send them to school for another year when the four they already are forced into are a waste of time? Most college educated people I know will admit that they learned more their first semester of college than they did in four years of High School. How will another year of crappy education help? It'll only delay their real education. I say shorten High School to 2 years and make it into a preparatory school for either getting a trade or going to college. Take the extra money saved by not running a four year high school and funnel it into making higher education cheaper to get access to. This will have kids done with school by 16, when most of them really should start thinking about how to take care of themselves.
  • Chicago is a 3rd world city with a 3rd world government and a 3rd world education system.

  • The school system in Michigan, with it's devastated tax base, has become so horrific that the University of Michigan is working towards becoming totally private, using Penn as the school to model itself against. Once it does so, in-state admissions will drop to probably below 2-3% of all students admitted. The Chinese will increase the number of students they send to Ann Arbor from 15% of all undergrads to over a quarter.

    Daley looks across the lake and sees what's happening to Michigan and Ohio. Like his
    • he starts thinking like a Democrat

      The Democrats have run Chicago since Anton Chermak beat Chicago's last Republican mayor, Big Bill Thompson on April 7, 1931.

    • by fwarren (579763)

      starts thinking like a Democrat, or more accurately: like a sane person

      When in a boat that is taking on water, you try to do 2 things. 1) Patch the leak and 2) Bail out the water.

      The Chicago school district is in much the same boat (pun intended). More money in the right spots would help, but also a lot of that money is thrown at "bad" teachers. To keep things going they are trying to "pump" more money. But they are not fixing the base problem. They have lots of bad teachers.

      It does not matter if it is the

  • by Shag (3737) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:20PM (#31800642) Homepage

    On British TV, there have been some Brainiac shows about science [wikipedia.org] and history [wikipedia.org] that I dare say are more engaging than any typical American curriculum.

  • by fwarren (579763) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:22PM (#31800654) Homepage

    I think the big thing to take away from this is that Mayor Daily IS the Chicago Political Machine. To do business as a politician you have to be in his good graces and of the same mind.

    Obama is cut from the same cloth. Much of his staff grew up as part of Chicago Politics. As a rule, what is popular in Chicago does NOT play well in the rest of the country. So Obama can't say these things himself. But watch how he governs. His mindset and agenda are the same.

    If you agree with that agenda then you should be very happy with his presidency. If you don't agree with his agenda, at the very least you should not be surprised by it.

  • by kenh (9056) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:37PM (#31800756) Homepage Journal

    The mayor 'floated' two possible 'fixes' for what ails chicago's ailing school system (wasn't our 44th president a community activist trying to improve public education in Chicago? What happened? Why is it not better?) - a fifth year of high school and a brainiac academy. Neither addresses the problems and would likely impact the average Chicago Public School student.

    A fifth year of high school would have little impact, as these children managed to avoid getting a proper education in the first 13 years of public school, plus some amount of 'Head Start' programs, how in the world can anyone think adding a 14th year make a difference? It would increase the number of teachers by 1/14th and would require 25% more high school classrooms. Why not simply enforce a 'no social promotion policy' and start to cull the ranks of the teachers weeding out those that aren't effective?

    A brainiac academy ony supports/aids those already succeding, draining the teaching pool of all the good teachers, and leaving those most in need of help to fend for themselves without even the benefit of a smart kid to help them with their homework/copy off of during tests.

    In these tough economic times, several states are looking at eliminating the requirement for a 12th grade/senior year of public school, since kids are able to complete their required studies in before their senior year. Iowa is considering granting a bit of money as a scholarship (of sorts) of $2,500 toward their freshman year of college.

    Mayor, get your teachers to do their job in the first 13 years (K-12), don't punish the kids for one more year, and pulling the brainiacs out of the general student population only helps those that have overcome the challenges your schools pose to their students, it does nothing for those left behind.

  • What we need is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elnyka (803306) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @01:47PM (#31800820) Homepage
    This is what we need:
    1. Better parenting and accepting responsibility for one's children teaching: my sisters when to public school and got an awesome education. But then again, we expected that from them, taking every hard elective they could get, even on summer, never taking a summer break.
    2. A public education system that resembles the German model of education, a system geared towards training kids from an early age so that they become useful and self-reliant. We have this notion of middle and high school that are just baby sitting for teens, and that the only way to *make it* is to get a university degree. Bullshit on both.
    3. Abandon the "everyone is equal". No, we are not. We have been confusing "we have a right to the same opportunities" with "we are equal". This is strongly related to the previous point: not everyone is made for university and not everyone that goes to university is guaranteed to make it.
    4. Get rid of the stigma of technical trades. We have this shitty thinking of "plumber bad, mba good". Incredibly stupid way of thinking. College professions and technical traders are to be nurtured and respected.

    Instead of throwing money for a 5th year for brainiacs, fix the entire system. It makes no sense to have HS graduates who can't do fractions. Many kids in other parts of the world (even in developing countries) end their HS with a solid foundation in algebra, trig/geometry, vectors, biology, chemistry, classical physics and world history.

    If we are to throw money, do it for the purpose of changing our way of thinking.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @02:32PM (#31801024) Homepage Journal

    Public school should be free at least through college. At the very least loans should have their interest rates set, or be refundable, depending on one's graduating scores.

    If we spent $10,000 a year on only the (1.5 million [investmentnews.com]) top half of graduating students for each of four college years, that $60B would buy more than the $120B+ a year [google.com] we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan (plus the "business as usual" $TRILLION+ annual expenses for the Pentagon and intelligence budgets). That's free education and expenses for every American above the median performance. If we gave $1000 to everyone who graduated high school on time, and $500 to everyone graduating only a year late, cash and no strings attached, the extra $1.5B would pay for itself in the drop in people who instead "graduate to jail" at $40,000 a year (plus the cost of whatever damages put them there, and the loss of their taxable productivity).

    And more Americans who can think and research for themselves would reduce how often we go into these expensive wars.

    Education investment is the best investment. We've got plenty of places from which we can redirect the wasteful expenses instead into education, where the public is really building something that protects and benefits the public.

  • Reposted (I have no idea why my original was posted as AC while I was logged in?!)

    I've seen enough "if they're smart, off to college!" type responses here and elsewhere to know that it's a fairly popular proposition. However, as someone who did just that - I left high school as an under-18 kid to enroll in a very demanding engineering faculty in a prestigious university - I can attest that the transition can be extremely difficult. I simply didn't have as mature a mindset I needed as well as the social skil

  • by kenh (9056) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @02:53PM (#31801156) Homepage Journal

    For those of you not paying attention a couple years ago, our current President spent (invested) two decades of his life building the Chicago Public School system up (as a community organizer and local politician) to what it is now - from the NY Times:

    One of the biggest lessons Mr. Obama drew from his experiences in Chicago, associates said, is that student achievement is highly dependent on teacher quality.

    In the two decades since Mr. Obama arrived in Chicago, its public schools have undergone a sweeping turnaround, from an education wasteland to a district that, while still facing major challenges, is among the most improved in the nation. The city has closed many failing schools and reopened them with new staffs, making it an important laboratory for one of the country’s most vexing problems

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/us/politics/10educate.html [nytimes.com]

    Remeber, improvement is easy, if you're already at rock-bottom...

    Lewis Black, on President Clinton's educational achievements: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7axLyrK12ms [youtube.com]

  • Ontario used to have a system somewhat like this. There were five-year arts and sciences programs for students intending to go on to university and four year programs directed at kids who were going to enter the work force or community colleges.

    Under a Conservative premier, all high schools programs were reduced to four years. The results haven't been good.

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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