Waiting for Superman is Bullshit

“Waiting for Superman is a darling of reddit, but I just want to get this out there: the theme of Waiting for Superman is nothing but bullshit. (How many truly bad teachers are there out there compared to the good ones? In my experience, very, very few. Almost none. The bad ones IME tend to get weeded out their first couple of years because of the nature of the job). The main cause of the falling perception of American schooling is surprisingly little-known. It seems politically incorrect. Basically, we think American schools are worse now than they were 50 years ago, because, ironically, we suck at statistics when it comes to education. Two main things happened that changed the perception of American schools after the 50s: Schools were desegregated (obviously a good thing), meaning we started including more disadvantaged kids (who had been receiving an inferior education) in our statistics. When our scores dropped, we blamed education (read: teachers) rather than a change in the measured population. Brain dead. Society as a whole began to believe that college was a necessity. College/University was once a place for the rich and privileged, for students groomed their whole lives to succeed in college. As a higher percentage of the population started going to college, two things happened that statistically skewed the measured student population: Students of varying degrees of preparedness started taking the SAT. What do you think happened to the average SAT score? Who do you think people blamed? Teachers. Brain dead. (I want to be clear: more people going to college is good. More people taking the SAT is fine. Blaming teachers for declining SAT scores is what’s wrong here.) Glorification of college also led to stigmatization of vocational education. Everyone wanted their kids to be scholars, not plumbers, even though plumbers make a hell of a lot more money than most college graduates. So while most countries separate academic and vocational students in their statistics, no one in the U.S. is willing to expend the political capital to label someone else’s child as a vocational student. That’s not necessarily negative (though it arguably is negative), except that we measure all American students in the same statistical bucket, compare them to all other countries’ academic students, then hoot-and-holler about how much our teachers suck. Again to be clear: the problem isn’t the lack of labeling kids. The problem is a failure to use statistics properly.”

PotRoastPotato comments on TEDtalks: happiness is in acceptance and not wanting – scientific proof.






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