Author Topic: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?  (Read 480 times)

Online Shiranu

Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« on: August 27, 2018, 04:44:57 AM »
American graduation rate for a bachelor's degree is currently sitting at 59%. That means that, by default, 41% of Americans have not received a higher education.

Of those college educated Americans, the overwhelming amount went to just run-of-the-mill colleges that don't really have the budgets to hire quality professors at every position. So at best it's a large percentage of those 59% who received at best a high-school level education.

Speaking of high-school education, think about how many students go to school in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, etc. which are notorious for having very low quality of education standards and often times are very corrupt education systems run more by lobbyists, even for oil and drilling companies. Consider how incredibly underpaid our teachers are and how unenthusiastic about their work they tend to be. This is not saying all teachers are this way, but more often than not they were. You only remember your favorite teachers because they were your favorite, but you had 5, 6, however more teachers that year. Do you remember them? No, because they were boring.

And speaking of those teachers, they went to the same colleges that do not meet all that great of standards and never really rank particularly well if people even bother to rank them at all. You now are teaching the system to feed itself; you don't receive the quality of education you deserve, and you then go on to teach the next generation the same.


So of that 59%, I would argue that 20% being decently educated is a stretch. We tend to rank on the lower end of global rankings (other than we attend the 8th most amount of schooling time in the Western world) so that indicates that the system is not working as well as it should and that we are not particularly well educated as a society.

This is extremely useful of course to the people who benefit most from it; corporations that can exploit labour that doesn't know it's allowed to fight back, billionaires who lobby to pollute the environment or change the laws to benefit them at the expense of you, the far-right who require ignorance (and thus, xenophobia and hatred) to bolster their ranks... it's a system that benefits these people, and those are exactly the people who are in power.

So when people campaign for more education funding, that's well and dandy... but we have to ask for an American society that is actually educated as well, we have to ask for a fundamental rethink of how our education system functions, and I don't think the deeper issues are actually ever addressed by people campaigning for education reform. They think the solution exists solely in the realm of education, but it will require a holistic rethinking by our society to really fix anything.
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Offline Cavebear

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 05:40:14 AM »
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American graduation rate for a bachelor's degree is currently sitting at 59%. That means that, by default, 41% of Americans have not received a higher education.

Of those college educated Americans, the overwhelming amount went to just run-of-the-mill colleges that don't really have the budgets to hire quality professors at every position. So at best it's a large percentage of those 59% who received at best a high-school level education.

Speaking of high-school education, think about how many students go to school in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, etc. which are notorious for having very low quality of education standards and often times are very corrupt education systems run more by lobbyists, even for oil and drilling companies. Consider how incredibly underpaid our teachers are and how unenthusiastic about their work they tend to be. This is not saying all teachers are this way, but more often than not they were. You only remember your favorite teachers because they were your favorite, but you had 5, 6, however more teachers that year. Do you remember them? No, because they were boring.

And speaking of those teachers, they went to the same colleges that do not meet all that great of standards and never really rank particularly well if people even bother to rank them at all. You now are teaching the system to feed itself; you don't receive the quality of education you deserve, and you then go on to teach the next generation the same.


So of that 59%, I would argue that 20% being decently educated is a stretch. We tend to rank on the lower end of global rankings (other than we attend the 8th most amount of schooling time in the Western world) so that indicates that the system is not working as well as it should and that we are not particularly well educated as a society.

This is extremely useful of course to the people who benefit most from it; corporations that can exploit labour that doesn't know it's allowed to fight back, billionaires who lobby to pollute the environment or change the laws to benefit them at the expense of you, the far-right who require ignorance (and thus, xenophobia and hatred) to bolster their ranks... it's a system that benefits these people, and those are exactly the people who are in power.

So when people campaign for more education funding, that's well and dandy... but we have to ask for an American society that is actually educated as well, we have to ask for a fundamental rethink of how our education system functions, and I don't think the deeper issues are actually ever addressed by people campaigning for education reform. They think the solution exists solely in the realm of education, but it will require a holistic rethinking by our society to really fix anything.

I think it is important to differentiate between education and learning.  I was indeed, "poorly educated". (town high school, State College)  But I kept learning afterwards.  And many of my fellow students who earned "A"s in their classes don't have the slightest recollection of any information in the subjects.

I do.  And I never stopped learning.  But what worries me is the lack of comprehension even the A students have after a few years.  They learned to cram for tests, but they never actually "learned" anything.

We need to teach "learning" and "comprehension", not great test results.

I'll give an example.  In geometry, the test was to solve some problems about triangles using formulas.  The test SHOULD HAVE BEEN "why does that formula work"?  I knew, and I know it today.  I would bet none of my classmates could explain it. 

We need more understanding and less attention to grades.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline GSOgymrat

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2018, 07:30:19 AM »
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American graduation rate for a bachelor's degree is currently sitting at 59%. That means that, by default, 41% of Americans have not received a higher education.

According to Statisa, in 2017 in the U.S. 34.6% of women and 33.7% of men have completed four or more years of college. This is the highest rate ever recorded.

Is the 59% graduation rate you cite the percentage who enter a four year program and obtain a degree?
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2018, 08:04:38 AM »
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According to Statisa, in 2017 in the U.S. 34.6% of women and 33.7% of men have completed four or more years of college. This is the highest rate ever recorded.

Is the 59% graduation rate you cite the percentage who enter a four year program and obtain a degree?

I looked up "59%" and found this site.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

The details are worth looking at.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline GSOgymrat

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 09:36:38 AM »
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I looked up "59%" and found this site.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

The details are worth looking at.

"The 6-year graduation rate was 59 percent at public institutions, 66 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 23 percent at private for-profit institutions." Those are some terrible statistics. Accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and not completing a degree is one of the worst investments one can make.

When it comes to evaluating education I think it is important to specify the goal. I attended the school of engineering at North Carolina State University and the primary goal was to prepare students to enter the workforce as engineers. Most of my classmates didn't want to take the few courses that were not directly related to becoming engineers. I transferred to the University of North Carolina at Asheville, which is a liberal arts university, and the primary goal wasn't to prepare students for employment but to provide a broad-based education and prepare students for graduate school and lifelong learning. These were very different programs with different goals. UNC Asheville was a better fit for me (I planned to attend graduate school) but NCSU was a good choice for someone whose goal is to obtain employment with a bachelor's degree.

Obviously most Americans never graduate from college. Should more American attend college and if so is the goal to complete a broad-based education or to train for employment? With the rise of online education, is a traditional university education even the right option for most people?

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From a practical perspective, what does this all mean?

First and foremost, every student should do their best to complete high school. But beyond that, blanket recommendations regarding education should generally not be trusted. Whether a student should go to college really depends on their aptitude and interest in college.

For the most intelligent and hard-working students, college is almost always a good investment. If a respectable in-state school is available to such students, that school likely provides the highest ROI, although such students will generally earn a decent ROI regardless of what type of school they go to or what major they choose.

At the other end of the spectrum, pushing a student to go to college when they lack either aptitude or motivation to go can actually be quite harmful. Driven primarily by the low completion rates of poor quality students, college is not a great financial prospect.

Because workers with genuine skills can do better financially than even some students who simply go to college and just get a degree, technical schools and vocational programs—though not an associate’s degree designed purely as stepping stones to a bachelor’s degree—may be a much better place for some students to start. If students suddenly develop an interest or aptitude for school while gaining practical skills, then they can always continue their education at a public college. And, if not, at least they will have a better chance of walking away with skills that genuinely boost their earning potential and career prospects.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 01:57:14 PM by GSOgymrat »
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön

Offline SGOS

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 09:55:04 AM »
Still not clear about 59%.  Is that 59% the rate of those who start college and don't drop out?  That would seem about right to me.

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2018, 10:06:23 AM »
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Still not clear about 59%.  Is that 59% the rate of those who start college and don't drop out?  That would seem about right to me.

I'm not sure either.  Those weren't my statistics.  I would like to know though.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Online Shiranu

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2018, 11:15:33 AM »
Looking at that site again, that's only people who graduated within six years, so the people who took seven plus aren't included. So that number is slightly higher, though I would guess not significantly.
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Offline GSOgymrat

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2018, 01:50:03 PM »
OECD: The US Has Fallen Behind Other Countries In College Completion

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The United States has slipped behind many other countries in college completion and "educational mobility," with fewer young Americans getting more education than their parents, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's "Education at a Glance" report. 

U.S. college graduation rates rank 19th out of 28 countries studied by the OECD, which tracks education investment and performance of wealthier democracies, said OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher.

The lack of educational mobility has serious implications for individuals and society, he noted. Higher education levels are associated not just with higher earnings, but also with better health, more community engagement and more trust in governments, institutions and other people.

"Raising educational attainment is not only giving countries more income but it is also creating a greater degree of social cohesion," Schleicher said. "Every business transaction [is founded] on trust. Trust in institutions is vital, trust in democracies. All of those aspects are vital for the functioning of societies." ...
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2018, 01:53:46 PM »
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Looking at that site again, that's only people who graduated within six years, so the people who took seven plus aren't included. So that number is slightly higher, though I would guess not significantly.

Well, it actually took ME 27 years...  Hey, I got involved in "stuff" between college years (paid work, career, growing up finally, etc), LOL!  They kicked me out in 1973 for good reasons.  But I went back later and finished it.    And you know, they offerred to make my diploma retroactive to match my classmates'.  I made them be honest about it.  Matriculated 1968, graduated 1995 BA in Political Science and minor in History (mostly medieval Europe).  I declined the ceremony...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Cavebear

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2018, 02:01:42 PM »
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OECD: The US Has Fallen Behind Other Countries In College Completion

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

The United States has slipped behind many other countries in college completion and "educational mobility," with fewer young Americans getting more education than their parents, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's "Education at a Glance" report. 

U.S. college graduation rates rank 19th out of 28 countries studied by the OECD, which tracks education investment and performance of wealthier democracies, said OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher.

The lack of educational mobility has serious implications for individuals and society, he noted. Higher education levels are associated not just with higher earnings, but also with better health, more community engagement and more trust in governments, institutions and other people.

"Raising educational attainment is not only giving countries more income but it is also creating a greater degree of social cohesion," Schleicher said. "Every business transaction [is founded] on trust. Trust in institutions is vital, trust in democracies. All of those aspects are vital for the functioning of societies." ...

I suspect that college isn't where you learn real marketable skills anymore.  Which is a shame because we are turning out too many people into the workforce who know a lot about some field but little about general knowledge.  When I was in college, I took Intro To Everything and know something about nearly everything.  Today, you can have a talented math major who doesn't know shale from granite.  Or how to defend an opinion in the face of others.  Sad.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2018, 02:06:12 PM »
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I think it is important to differentiate between education and learning.

I agree. I didn't even finish high school - well, I did get a GED. I only finished 10th grade and then got in trouble with the law and was allowed to join the Navy instead of 10 years probation. But I've read and studied, and became an autodidact, so at least I'm not quite as ignorant as I once was. My ignorance still overwhelms me, though.
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Online Baruch

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2018, 02:29:10 PM »
More conventional in my case.  College was still cheap in the 70s, even if you were doing STEM.  I thought that military and regular work weren't the best investment of my early adulthood.  But I broke the mold, eventually becoming an autodidact also, but long after I got my master's ... which I finished 8 years after my BS.  The problem with engineering is that you still need to be apprenticed after you graduate from college.  And nobody wants you as an apprentice.  Sink or swim work world.  Programming is even more cut throat, and usually you are coding more as an individual than as a team.  Teamwork is necessary in engineering or nothing gets done.  Prima donnas prefer programming for that reason.  In computer operations for the last 20+ years.  Teamwork like in engineering, but less intense than programming.

On the OP.  Business is paying (as loans or benefits to schools) for the educational system.  They want worker bees, who will work for next to nothing.  So basically forget an education (unless you can go to a very special liberal arts school).  Julliard for example.  The Americans have always been pragmatists, not impressed by pseudo-intellectuals like the Germans and French.  The English are intermediate.  If by educated, being programmed into being a Soros-bot ... well I have no need for that, or wish to pay for it either.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 02:32:30 PM by Baruch »
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Offline Cavebear

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2018, 03:48:30 PM »
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I agree. I didn't even finish high school - well, I did get a GED. I only finished 10th grade and then got in trouble with the law and was allowed to join the Navy instead of 10 years probation. But I've read and studied, and became an autodidact, so at least I'm not quite as ignorant as I once was. My ignorance still overwhelms me, though.

There is sometimes just a time to say "Good On Ya".  Srsly, good work.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Re: Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2018, 06:32:59 PM »
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Is America An Essentially "Uneducated" Country?

Read the TV guide.

What do you think?
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We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

 

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