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Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 4:25 PM

The survey reported here says the top five places are Singapore, Japan, Estonia, Taiwan, and Finland. An interesting mix. Estonia has grabbed a chunk of the software development pie for the past several years, so they must be doing something very right. What does the CR4 community think?

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#1

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 4:47 PM

All places where Hip-Hop is not the normal grade school "language."

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#2

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 5:17 PM

That's hard to say, for someone like me who has never traveled outside the USA.

I can say with some assurance that the American educational system, as a whole, is inferior to many, maybe even most, other countries.

The problem is that those with the power to change it, Congress, are too concerned about the next election cycle and how they can raise enough money so they can stay in Congress and do no work for the rest of their lives.

(members of congress spend 50% of each of the 110 days the "work", outside their offices fund raising) Yes, their staff and lobbyists write all the legislation that gets passed into law for them.

The wealthiest 10% of the country and big business have no desire to pay for the votes necessary to get educational funding increased.

For-profit schools are the newest wave, because as the name implies, there's millions to be made in profits and the controls on them are almost non-existent, compared to public schools. Academically, many of them are no better, or worse, that public education.

The other countries, whose students excel, value the future and well being of their populations enough to walk the walk and pay for quality education.

Many Most of the surgeons, doctors, and "ologists" I have are from foreign countries.

Our culture does not place a high enough value on education, period.

Student loans are another giant roadblock to a quality higher education as well.

Until the people who can make it better, do make it better, we're stuck in educational mediocrity.

I see no bright future for educational funding for at least four, and God forbid, maybe even eight more lackluster years.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 6:02 PM

It's easy to blame the politicians, but I think the problem goes deeper than that. I think it's our culture. In a land where you can lose your job for using politically incorrect words, we think nothing of making fun of the minority that work hard in school. "Nerd" is not a naughty word.

Athletes are the heros and scholars are nerds. Until we change our priorities, I guess we get what we deserve.

OK, I vented, I feel better....

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 6:41 PM

"in a land where you can lose your job for using politically incorrect words,"

That is no longer true. Political fascism has replaced PC.

We are about to step back into the economic, racial, political, moral and ethical dark ages in America.

The new regime will tweet us into economic collapse and moral and racial etiquette will disappear to be replaced with rabid white power and isolationism.

True, sports figures are unjustly idolized and paid FAR too much, but Roman gladiators were also revered, until Rome collapsed into ruin.

We need a sensible plan to reinvest in our country and until our leaders are willing to lead us there, we will be a diminishing force in the world.

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#9
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 12:19 AM

Lyn, why are you turning this post into a political rant ?

The question was, " where do kids get the best science education ? "

What does that question have to do with :

A. Political fascism

B. Dark ages in America

C. Tweeting by the new regime

D. The ruin of Rome

E. Leading leaders

Everyone already knows that your upset with the election results.

What it is, is what it is.

Someone once told me, " If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

In other words, you can cry all day about how bad something is,,,or you can go out there and do everything you can to make things better.

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#17
In reply to #6

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 2:09 PM

You can find the statics all over the interwebz. HuffPo, for example, has similar stories and data.

Seems like, even thought politicians in DC throw money at a problem, the problem doesn't get fixed. Even when corrected for inflation, we're spending twice as much with no appreciable improvement.

From Heritage.org:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-williams/public-spending-education-_b_1883387.html

BUT - on the other hand, since Hurricane Katrina, the students in Louisiana have shown dramatic improvement in standardized test scores. Why? Following Katrina, over 90% of Louisiana students have been attending 'charter schools'.

"Academic outcomes for public school students in New Orleans as measured by standardized tests and school performance scores have improved significantly in the ten years since Hurricane Katrina. Once near the bottom in performance statewide, New Orleans students are closing the achievement gap with their peers."
-from: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/about-us/10-years-after-hurricane-katrina/

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#18
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 4:19 PM

Yeah but we got some nice looking schools, not at all like the un-air-conditioned portable boxes I went to school in....

Active shooter? ...No, A-Bomb.....

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#19
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/08/2016 8:17 AM

That brings back memories, including the portable boxes. I grew up 20 miles from Oak Ridge. A lot of the buildings there were temporary boxes thrown up during WW II. When the boomers hit my elementary school we got three Oak Ridge boxes for 6th grade. Hot in summer, cold in winter, and the restrooms were in the main building. Proximity to Oak Ridge gave us extra incentive to practice duck and cover.

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#21
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/08/2016 9:57 AM

Perhaps.

That is not the case in Arizona where I now live.

Apparently our legislature has a different view of education, and profit.

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#4
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 6:12 PM

Great sales job!

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#5
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 6:19 PM

There is a lot of truth in what you both say, Lyn and Rixter. I am troubled/confused that we (the sort of general public we) have yakked about educational quality and opportunity for as long as I can remember and cared, and that's been a very long time. But very little has changed. I half-listened to quite a good interview on our local NPR station this afternoon. One of the points the interviewee made is that schools in inner cities haven't improved substantially in donkey's years (my phrase), with exceptions sprinkled here and there.

So I thought back to some of the great lights of science from way back when the earth was still cooling (early- to mid-20th century), how many of them graduated from public high schools. Bronx Science in particular. But many more attended regular public high schools wherever they lived, and they helped change the 20th century world. My father attended high school in a South Carolina mill town in the 1930s, and I think HE got a better education than many kids do today. The mill owner (Riegel Textile) paid a lot to the schools to ensure a high-quality education, even though that meant most of the kids left town and didn't stick around to work in the mill. Hmm, maybe charter school aren't such a bad idea after all.

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#7

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 7:25 PM

Children are only required to do the minimum, and that is what most do....They all think they are going to become reality stars or inherit money or just can't be bothered by all that grownup stuff.... ..It's all about how good you look and how cool you are...Looking at the cultures of the countries you listed with the best STEM scores, you can see the opposite is true....It's the American culture that has evolved from western liberal attitudes that foster this environment in our schools........How this will all play out is anybody's guess.....But it may be helpful to look at useful trends....It seems generally speaking things are getting better across the board, and with the internet, specialized knowledge is readily available to all....What it comes down to is when somebody becomes interested in something they can pursue it regardless of circumstances....and having an outgoing personality with a can do attitude and motivation to succeed, are perhaps more important now than being able to crunch numbers that are best left to machines anyway....People forced into doing something, might become good at it, but may also harbor deep resentment from the oppression necessary to accomplish somebody else's goals...True motivation comes from within, and is usually acquired by happenstance...

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#8

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/06/2016 8:44 PM

Being religion-infested doesn't help much. Thus it is easy to see why some of these other places are doing better than the U.S.A.

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#10

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 12:40 AM

I think it is primarily the responsibility of parents and relatives to give children the start they need to have an interest in science education.

When my nephew Tommy was 12, I gave him some science books, he is now 28, he has a PhD in physics and is earning over 100k in his first job out of graduate school.

This Christmas, I am giving my two younger nephew's Dan & Andy, science toys.

Dan is getting a Elanco electronic science lab & Andy is getting a Meccano Erector set.

Maybe these toys will help to spark an interest in electronics and engineering.

My older sister gave both her kids science type of toys, they both now have careers in engineering.

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#11
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 2:36 AM

Your example is very admirable and should be repeated by anyone who has young relatives or friends.

It does not address the "where" in the question. Maybe it partly addresses the unasked "how".

My response was more toward the "why don't our kids get the best science education" and that is the fault of our dysfunctional leaders, a condition that seems destined to remain mired in mediocrity for some time to come.

There will be myriad opportunities to make lemonade as we move forward in time, in many areas, not just educationally.

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#13
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 8:36 AM

"This year, the Breakthrough Foundation awarded $25 million to geneticists, biologists, physicists, and mathematicians for groundbreaking work in their fields. The foundation also presented 10 fledgling researchers with smaller “New Horizons” prizes totaling $600,000, and two high school students with up to $400,000 each for producing science videos.

The Breakthrough Prizes for scientific achievements were created by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, along with tech pioneers such as Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In 2012, Mr. Milner presented $3 million apiece to nine theoretical physicists whom he believed should be paid and celebrated like rock stars. Today, the foundation also presents awards in life sciences and mathematics, and winners are chosen by a committee of previous winners.

“Intellectual achievement is recognized to a much smaller extent to physical achievement,” Milner said in a pre-ceremony interview, as The Washington Post reported. “I think, and my co-founders agree, this is really very much out of balance and we need to bring it more into balance.”"

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/1205/Rock-star-scientists-awarded-25-million-in-Breakthrough-Prizes

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#14
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 8:51 AM

You are a very good uncle :-). I always gave my nephew and niece books but also something that their parents didn't want them to have, like Play-Doh (when my sister had shag carpet -- can't get Play-Doh out of that) and slide whistles. Nephew ended up with a BFA in voice so I guess the slide whistle had some positive effect.

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#22
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/08/2016 11:00 AM

Between having kids and being married to a longtime high school teacher--heavily invested in education and its theory--I agree 100%. Both of my kids are blessed with above-average curiosity and logical brains, which makes home education much easier, but I think fostering it is largely a parent's choice. If you got your nephews GI Joes or some other non-educational toy, it might affect them differently as opposed to your choices.

That said, and in line with the discussion above your comment, it's difficult for an individual to go against the societal grain. My 8-year-old daughter is a voracious reader of things way above her grade level and has an incredibly active imagination. She has difficulty making friends when most of her peers are way more "down to earth" and want to watch Nickelodeon rather than PBS. It's a tough balance.

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#23
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/08/2016 11:45 AM

I agree. My daughter is a teacher who stayed home to raise four kids and between her and her intelligent, industrious husband they have all thrived both academically and socially.

She's going back to teaching next school year.

Having a stable home life and two active parents, even if average and not exceptional, is best for the kiddos.

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#12

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 7:51 AM

I heard, kids from Japan had some 2~3 years preparatory schooling for good manners, patriotism, and right conduct prior to studying the sciences. When technology goes to the inappropriate persons makes the world, ding ding dong and ticki ticki tac, you know.

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#15

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 10:18 AM

Where do all the leading scientific developments come from - America

Where do China and Russia look to when they want to steal stuff - America

Where do all those countries send their kids for a quality education - America

Must be doing something right.

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#16

Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/07/2016 12:16 PM

Oh my -- intrusion of government bureaucracy oversight and "investing" ever increasing public taxes into education over the last 40 years is exactly what I see as the cause of watered down public science education. I graduated long ago from what is now called Rose Hulman Institute, google and it will show how they rank on science and engineering under grad education. But only qualified high school students were eligible to apply. Same with higher education in many countries -- students are gradually weeded out and eliminated from pursuit of such specific education unless they qualify and are committed?

I attended a very small rural high school back in the 60's. It was NOT government investment and regulations, but individual teachers that recognized my aptitude, encouraged me and steered me toward Rose that motivated me to use what was readily available to learn science and math.

As noted elsewhere on the thread, almost a third of my class were foreign students - some funded by large corporations that wanted to develop local students to oversee their operations -- these students were most definitely not there as result of any government investment.

I grew up as what would now be classified as very poor - no running water, outside facilities, large garden. I enjoyed math and solving mechanical situations or problems. In other words, I was motivated.

The best place for science education is secondary to how many American students are motivated to acquire it. If they are, then Cal Tech, Stanford, Missouri Mines, Rose Hulman, Renssellear Tech, Mass Tech, Purdue - trsut me, MANY fine American institutes for scientific education. Again as noted, well attended by many foreign students who are NOT funded by their home government.

Lynn - you are too smart to think throwing more and more tax payer dollars thru political manipulation has anything but the opposite result you would like to see. Look at the facts of the last 40 year - there is a correlation between government "investment" and declining science achievement by American students attending American educational institutions - I work with many fine young engineers - and they seem a lot like me, motivated and encouraged, NOT by our government, but by individual teachers and family and mentors that encouraged them to pursue science or engineering education to make a difference.

So - to answer original question, reference the institutions I listed above. For motivating high schools students, staff them with true science teachers that work with individual students. That begets a second question - why are public science and math teachers apparently less adequate than in past at this task? Quality of teachers being produced or lack of students responding to good teachers?

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#20
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Re: Where Do Kids Get the Best Science Education?

12/08/2016 8:25 AM

... and Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon. One of the brightest grad students I knew at Carnegie Mellon did his undergrad work at Rose Hulman, so I have a high opinion of the school and its alumni.

IMHO too many schools water down or eliminate the rewards for academic excellence, so that the less-gifted and/or the less-motivated won't feel bad. Of course there's an element of competition. Why not encourage competition as a way to stimulate each student to achieve the most he or she can?

Many Carnegie Mellon students, at least when I was there, were first-generation college students. They came from blue-collar families, families who encouraged them to go as far as they can in whatever positive direction they chose. That kind of support counts for a lot, too.

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