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 Post subject: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 13, 2020 11:52 pm 
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I've been getting the impression for some time there has been a huge swing away from education to work (as a virtue). Not that I seek to knock work. My grandfather did 12 hour shifts as a hotel porter and my grandmother worked as a cleaner. Despite that, in my grandparents era, education was excellent. The use of everyday language was pretty decent (vocabulary) because people read more. Often good books and the BBC at that time produced quality TV. One difference I notice is college courses were popular and full. That included stuff like German and French or industrial skills such as fitting, mechanical and engineering. TV engineering was a solid trade. Local libraries had an impressive supply of books on lots of subjects but guess what? Nobody these days requests hardly any books and libraries now function as semi-arcades. Rows of visitors playing PC games (often violent). You'd think libraries could organise courses in special interests but I don't see that happen. How long till this current trend leads to a major lack of people skills? I mean, the old system always made sure education was a functional part of the system so it was common for people to work by day and go to college at night. Uni education was effectively free if you met the entrance grades. I could go on. I know much of this is a global trend although I hear India has a serious attitude to education.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 12:59 am 
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Joined: Mar Wed 16, 2011 10:44 pm
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Location: Peekskill, NY
"Local libraries had an impressive supply of books on lots of subjects but guess what? Nobody these days requests hardly any books and libraries now function as semi-arcades."

Have no fear, libraries are still as good as the were back in the good old days. My wife runs all the services for adults in our local
branch and books still fly off the shelves. Also you can get program material like videos and music, and yes the computers are in
heavy demand, mostly from patrons who believe it or not have no connectivity in their homes.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 1:20 am 
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Location: N. Vancouver B.C. Canada
I use three different libraries in three different areas and the computers are well used but I have never seen games being played on the computers. All the libraries are extremely well used. I like the fact that they are willing to order new books when requested.

best regards,
Sandy


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 4:48 am 
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Joined: Feb Sat 10, 2018 4:58 pm
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[rant/on]
I've talked to many employers, and they tell me their choice is clear: Hire an engineer who can calculate heat transfer in a packed bed reactor or a computer chip's power consumption, or hire someone who knows what the Kardashians are up to, and how to make a mean hipster craft cocktail.

Not at all hard to explain current trends in educational outcomes and hiring.
[rant/off]

-Bryan


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 5:26 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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This is difficult to address without getting into forbidden subject matter for this forum. I will try to dance.

My son is a 4.0 GPA at a prestigious private high school. He is curious and very intelligent. Unless he is admitted to a college that will concentrate his education on actual education he will not attend college on my dime. Most of the colleges now have a heavy emphasis on ( subjects forbidden here) instead of actually preparing for a career or classic liberal studies. Many of the graduates are pretty useless in the workplace. Taking out large debt to acquire such a degree in nonsense is a fool's errand in my estimation.

Libraries. The internet has replaced libraries. I am constant ly amazed on the diversity and depth of information now available. This forum is a good example of that. 30 years ago my public library probably had half a dozen books on radio theory and repair. Now I can come here and get more than my local library ever could.

I do like books. I like the fact that they can no be censored, altered or deleted. We need to retain the book knowledge back up copy for future generations.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 3:27 pm 
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There may be geographical variations. For example, I was informed in Tomsk, Siberia education is about the best in Russia. In the USA maybe regions differ. Here in England I witnessed a very definite decline. Education just in colleges used to be serious and excellent.
One thing that happened before the crisis was a very high output in uni degrees but the grads winding up unemployed. Back in the 1990s most grads opted to travel and teach English overseas because there were no career jobs back home. Eventually it was found people with degrees weren't really better off than those who were doing regular jobs. Many were left overqualified and the qualifications not viewed as that much of an edge. Then, education funding got cut back a lot. Loans replaced grants. Debt became a factor. Non commercial uni deps closed their doors as self financing students chose career degrees - often I.T. or marketing. Languages took a hit. Yet, there is often an unexpected by-product and I think it's this: Trying to restrict education to employment opportunity on terms of self-interest and market demand may prove to be a big strategic error. The impact could be felt culturally. Putting it bluntly (and also a touch judgementally) in my area I struggle to get any level of conversation that deviates beyond Facebook, pics uploaded on mobile phones, football, work and d.i.y. I know that sounds a bit snooty but there you have it. I know a few people with definite talents but hardly ever explored. They are too busy at work and at home. No time to learn a language or similar activity. Just 20 years ago language courses were quite popular in fact. Yet the big issue is science. Over here science appears very remote from.everyday life. I can't recall a single individual ever state they would like to do science or astronomy.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 5:34 pm 
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
When I worked at Siliconix, 25 yrs ago, we recruited lots of high level engineers, many with PhDs.

1. Analog design people came from UC Berkeley. They could model an op amp on the computer, but could never build or test one.

2. I managed applications engineering. I liked Cal Poly grads. They knew circuit analysis, but also knew which end of a soldering iron got hot. They could also operate an oscilloscope.

The Wall Street Journal regularly runs articles about the lack of basic tech skills coming out of our schools and how employers are funding vocational classes to teach new prospective employees how to use a tape measure or bisect a line.

But, I am like, totally out of it. Gotta have my $5 soy latte before I get to my History of Mid-East dancing class.

After I retired, I took German and Italian classes at our local Jr. College. Asked one of the kids why he was going to college. "My father said: 'go to college or get a job.' The choice was easy!" We are remodeling our house. The contractor employs two young men in their 20s. They make $40 an hour and like what they do. We put too much pressure on kids and require they go to college. Many of them are really not suited for actual college work, so classes get dumbed-down so everyone can feel good about their grades. My German teacher used to say: "they don't call this Junior college for no reason."

Rich

PS: Really tried not to violate any Forum rules with the above.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 6:39 pm 
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Rich, W3HWJ wrote:
When I worked at Siliconix, 25 yrs ago, we recruited lots of high level engineers, many with PhDs.

1. Analog design people came from UC Berkeley. They could model an op amp on the computer, but could never build or test one.

2. I managed applications engineering. I liked Cal Poly grads. They knew circuit analysis, but also knew which end of a soldering iron got hot. They could also operate an oscilloscope.

The Wall Street Journal regularly runs articles about the lack of basic tech skills coming out of our schools and how employers are funding vocational classes to teach new prospective employees how to use a tape measure or bisect a line.

But, I am like, totally out of it. Gotta have my $5 soy latte before I get to my History of Mid-East dancing class.

After I retired, I took German and Italian classes at our local Jr. College. Asked one of the kids why he was going to college. "My father said: 'go to college or get a job.' The choice was easy!" We are remodeling our house. The contractor employs two young men in their 20s. They make $40 an hour and like what they do. We put too much pressure on kids and require they go to college. Many of them are really not suited for actual college work, so classes get dumbed-down so everyone can feel good about their grades. My German teacher used to say: "they don't call this Junior college for no reason."

Rich

PS: Really tried not to violate any Forum rules with the above.


You raised a point that sort of hits home. I tend to be one of those people who spends more time on theory than actual engineering. I did learn to solder much better and have, with some hard work, been able to "deliver" something solid, such as circuits on my boat or re-vamped antique radios. Despite that, I tend to gravitate towards theory. Having said that, however, I differ in as much as I tend to avoid software. I prefer to study vintage radio the way the old-timers did in terms they used and with texts they adhered to. These days with the emphasis on theory - because it interests me.

As to forum rules, I don't view this thread as "political" so hopefully haven't taken liberties. I suppose you could argue that education is tied up in policy but my thoughts are on education as a subject in itself.

I have a basic idea that over the last 25 years, in my own country there's been a drifting away from education that doesn't appear to be practical. This would appear to be connected to the changes in higher education (as a commodity). That is, in modern times, the idea is to work, save up and buy a qualification. Well, not many people are going to get into debt to emerge as a qualified expert in Egyptology. On occasion where I chatted to overseas students from places like China or Korea, the normal scenario is a well-off family funding a degree in business studies, banking or I.T.

Now here's an interesting point to chew over. The only radio technical courses I heard of are in Siberia where you could probably learn design of tube equipment. Possibly there are similar institutes in the USA or parts of Europe - not sure.

"Alumni of the Radio Design Faculty possess knowledge and skills required to develop, operate, repair and sell radio electronic equipment of various applications. Radio Design Faculty became the first step in careers of many famous engineers, researchers, chief designers of radio manufacturing plants, businessmen, directors of enterprises and private companies."


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 6:41 pm 
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My impression is that "college" now means a wide variety of things...including what we used to call vocational schools. I think there is a broader range of options for young people than ever before.
Forbidden topics on ARF??....there is no rule saying that we can't make a list of things taught in college......but, just to be safe: I've read about something in the newspaper, it's pretty likely that some post-high-school institution is teaching it. Exceptions??

_________________
-Mark
"Measure voltage, but THINK current." --anon.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Mar Wed 16, 2011 10:44 pm
Posts: 1145
Location: Peekskill, NY
"I like the fact that they are willing to order new books when requested."

Here's a little known secret: libraries set aside money to buy new books. Second
secret: this is a perk for librarians. Third secret: librarians LOVE to buy new stuff.

You can see where this is going.

Forth secret: librarians LOVE it when patrons come up and say, please buy more of this
book or that book. So go there. Tell them you want more technical books on radios, bicycles,
trades, medicine etc. Don't complain they don't have something if you never asked for it.
Non-fiction is tough to buy, so when gearheads like us show up we basically go to the front of the
line.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 8:23 pm 
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Location: Perrysburg, OH, 43551 U.S.A.
This may be a little long-winded, but we had quite a controversy about a proposed school levy in the Perrysburg, OH school district last fall. The proposed levy would raise the school property tax incrementally by about a maximum of 23% in five years. This is my original post to the local website where this was a hot topic:

Quote:
What I want to see is what types of classes are being taught? How about the three R's? Let's see how many students can pass this test:

A simple math quiz. Put down your calculator, your cell phone, and your pencils and paper. Stand beside your desk and answer the following questions.

A store has your favorite jeans on a buy one, get one half off sale. As usual with these sales, the lower-priced jeans are the ones that charged at half price.

1. If you buy two identical pairs of jeans, what is your percent savings?
2. The answer you gave for Question 1 was the highest savings percentage you can get with this sale. True or false?

Can a significant percentage of students work this out in their heads and answer both questions correctly? If not, then we need less spending on chorus, drama, and, yes, sports and use that money to teach things that will be useful in everyday life.

Some of the replies to those of us questioning the tax became quite snarky. One fellow replied to my post thus:
Quote:
Unfortunately, the three R's won't cut it in today's (let alone tomorrow's) economy and if that's our measuring stick, we will leave our children drastically underprepared for the modern workforce and we will leave our country unprepared to match the likes of China as a global economic power.

Doing basic calculations in your head isn't a skill employers are looking for and the most it can help you with in college is buying your books.

Young people in school today need to know how to use computers, 3D printers, drones, robots and CNC machines. They need to know how to write Python, JavaScript and understand the fundamentals of data structures, machine learning and networked devices.

We may not be able to give them all of this knowledge in Perrysburg Schools, but we should darn well try. At our current funding levels, we are producing exceptional students who are well prepared to move into jobs or higher education. If we reverse course, people will choose to move elsewhere or not choose Perrysburg at all. That is bad news for our home values and (more importantly) the children whom the schools are responsible to educate.

To which I replied:
Quote:
I learned Algol and Fortran in college. Taught myself Basic, Pascal, C++ and machine language.. Designed electronic inspection equipment for Brockway Glass and O-I and have four patents. I still do occasional consulting in analog circuit design because it isn't taught in a lot of colleges today yet is still necessary to interface things such as the Oxygen sensor in today's car engines and the engine control computer.. I started school in the first grade because there was no such thing as kindergarten or preschool. That first grade was in a little brick two room schoolhouse. Throughout my 12 years in public school the only sports were football and basketball (ironically called the Freeport Yellowjackets).

I didn't care too much for English class, but I write at least as well as some of the ad copy writers and newspaper columnists I read and hear. I DO know the difference among "their, there and they're". We didn't have dance, chorus, or drama classes although the Oral English class did put on a play my senior year. I did take a year Latin which helped me with English and a year of Russian.

So, by the standards you have enumerated, my education has been sadly inadequate. Indeed, imagine what I could have accomplished had I had even just one dance class!

There were no replies to this.
John

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“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
― R. A. Heinlein


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Tue 14, 2020 8:51 pm 
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I can't speak for people in other geographical zones. Education in some countries will be better or worse. However, without a shadow of a doubt, in my own area education has dive bombed. Now I know authority in schools (for a starter) is a whole thread in itself. Suffice it to say I recently chatted to a mother who decided to run her own kids' education, as the local schools are pretty chaotic. Large classes and unruly or wild. Even in the swinging sixties schools were pretty orderly. Swearing around teachers was not doable. My own school was actually not so great as it took in kids from a relatively rough area but there was at least structured classes and some possibility to learn. So really it seems fair to say school education alone these days is probably well behind Japan.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 15, 2020 1:55 am 
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"...without a shadow of a doubt, in my own area education has dive bombed."

You clearly have strong opinions about what's wrong there. Are you on the local school board?


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 15, 2020 2:49 am 
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jim rozen wrote:
"...without a shadow of a doubt, in my own area education has dive bombed."

You clearly have strong opinions about what's wrong there. Are you on the local school board?

No. I did, however, have severe learning difficulties. Especially dyscalculia. It made me value education because it wasn't taken for granted or came easily. Education can make a huge difference. Knowledge can solve countless problems. I recall some hope Bill Gates's vision of web related education would have made education more available. There has been progress in that area but so far I think the social media aspect has gained the biggest influence. Again, I refer to what I see in my area where arts and sciences take a step behind work and practicality.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 15, 2020 3:21 am 
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I think there were probably a lot of similar debates about education during the post-Sputnik, "new math" era. So I'm not at all convinced that there is any more of a crisis today than there was back in the day. There have always been people that have succeeded, and always people that refused to apply themselves and dropped out early.

As for college, I will only say that every college is unique. It is possible for a young adult to get a "classic" liberal arts education using The Great Books (see St. John's in Annapolis and New Mexico). It is also possible also possible for a prospective student to get a mostly "hands on" type education in a technical discipline. I know someone studying construction, for example. It is also possible to get a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the Webb Institute in Long Island. I could go on, but I can only scratch the surface as to the opportunities out there for young adults today that go well beyond overrated latte's. It's important to avoid generalizing, which is unfortunately a trap the media sometimes forces us to fall into. The exceptions and the details matter; and they matter a lot when it comes to education.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 15, 2020 8:01 pm 
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Last night I was watching a pilot episode of Columbo called Prescription Murder. I was suddenly struck by the way the psychiatrist was dressed. Blue suit, tie, no creases and a white shirt, polished shoes. Even a neatly folded handkerchief. Even Columbo had a tie and good haircut. As to the women featured they dressed pretty sharp too. Very different today as suits seem very rare. If seen, they tend to be grey. I noticed too that language used to be more sophisticated and grammatical. People had a sort of accent that seemed educated. Much more efficient too with politness being more important. Most people I see aren't scruffy but you don't see style or ties. As in the Columbo episode. So maybe it's more than just education. Possibly people are less well-off. It's sometimes educational to watch old film and make comparisons. In the 1950s pretty much all men wore a hat. Every house had a hat stand. In the 1940s women looked really elegant in their coats and berets. In the 1960s I saw film of working class people dancing to The Rolling Stones with their suits and ties. Swearing or remote violence was censored which included I Am The Walrus. When working class nightclubbers were interviewed they came across as quite well spoken. You have to be at a certain age to notice all of this. Of course, there were bad things of the past. One very bad thing was dentistry. They only had gas.


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 15, 2020 9:15 pm 
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Location: N. Vancouver B.C. Canada
Style is seen in the eye of the beholder. I don't think wearing a tie or a hat indicates much about the person wearing it. I believe many men wear a tie because their employment requires it.

The origin of wearing ties is interesting:
The modern necktie or a tie simply, can trace its origin to the 17th century military uniform during the 30 year war in France (1618-1648). King Louis XIII hired Croatian mercenaries who wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform.

Fortunately I have reached a time in my life when nobody can dictate how I dress. I have no argument with how anybody chooses to dress and I try not to judge anyone based on their dress. The people I deal with in a business situation value me for what I know not how I dress. I suspect most of them think I do better work when I am comfortable.

YMMV,
Sandy


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 Post subject: Re: Educational Crisis?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 15, 2020 11:57 pm 
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Sandy wrote:
Style is seen in the eye of the beholder. I don't think wearing a tie or a hat indicates much about the person wearing it. I believe many men wear a tie because their employment requires it.

The origin of wearing ties is interesting:
The modern necktie or a tie simply, can trace its origin to the 17th century military uniform during the 30 year war in France (1618-1648). King Louis XIII hired Croatian mercenaries who wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform.

Fortunately I have reached a time in my life when nobody can dictate how I dress. I have no argument with how anybody chooses to dress and I try not to judge anyone based on their dress. The people I deal with in a business situation value me for what I know not how I dress. I suspect most of them think I do better work when I am comfortable.

YMMV,
Sandy

I am just glad that later in the series Columbo became scruffy. In the pilots, he was fairly smart. I note all this because my image is a bit below par. The worst of it is going about on a 1990s mountain bike when pretty much everyone has a car. My coat now has a few rips in it as straps had been fit in large loops at the back. Naturally these were fated to catch on a fence and rip the fabric. I'm educated mostly in subjects that are minority interest and seem to have no business sense. Today, it was funny as a fairly shy girl plucked up courage and said: " Could I ask why it is you put tomato ketchup on "all" the food you eat?"I told her that in Latvia I found most cafes had a ladle for using ketchup as a gravy. It is true enough. Admittedly though my manners are not that brilliant. The girl regardless seems to quite like me and smiled at my answer.


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