Currently being argued about over at news.ycombinator.
Conclusion seems to be selection effect, he is at a US MBA college .
The overseas students (they are actually from overseas - it's not an Asian students do better argument ) who got into and can pay to go to a prestigous US business school are not exactly average.
There is also a followup posting about lazy US teachers who are only interested in teaching to the test and keeping the children quiet.
From the cited article:
So what's the problem? Bad schools and/or bad parenting?
Mostly bad school I'd say, among with a big lack of curiosity from the concerned students. The job of the teachers is to teach some basic geography. Maybe they did it badly (without any emphasis) or maybe they just didn't. I'm sure some parents don't even know basic geography and thus can't teach it to their child. That's why they should be glad to send their kids to school. In this case the problem is due to school that didn't do its job. Parents cannot teach everything.
There are no "concerned students" at 8th grade and below. They have (we had) no idea at that age how we compared to other students internationally, and I think that could help a little. When I found out that other high schools had offered more AP courses (like Calc BC instead of AB), I was upset. Why should I be hindered because the schools I went to decided certain things weren't important? If more US students knew they were behind in learning internationally I think there would actually be some more outspoken students.
This isn't the students' fault, its the schools. I think american schools are afraid to push students too hard (in quantity of material) for fear of dropping test scores.
I could see not knowing exactly which one Iraq and Afghanistan is, but Japan is easy.
I think everyone should be able to find every country in the world on a map. That should be basic geography.
It's rare to find adults who have even HEARD of some countries, much less know where they're located.
In Asia, the schools push hard and so do the parents. Here, if the schools pushed hard, kids would just drop out with no real repercussions.
That seems to me to be about the pointless thing to spend time teaching kids - second only to state capitals (do kids still have to learn those? )
I don't see why Slovakians get to be so smug - this is their fault, half the countries you thought you knew disappear and they create a whole bunch of new ones.
Really? Pop-quiz how may countries are there ?
Medial school training?
I believe it only points out that Americans don’t pay much emphasis on cramming
It isn't just the schools, from what I hear it is more like effect of policy. No Child Left Behind means in practice lowering the level so that everyone is able to keep up, "building confidence" means in practice that students think they are perfect even if they don't know the difference between 2*3 and 23, and so on. I have seen so many complaints and I have read so many horror stories about policymakers and school administration working against teachers that I find it surprising anyone in US knows how to read leaving school.
I am not going to point out to any particular discussion, but you have my word that if you will find archives of CHEMED-L these things are discussed there every few weeks.
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Japan? Well, I don't know exactly where Afghanistan or Iraq is either. One classmate (17 years old) couldn't find Europe, Africa, or the Atlantic Ocean when I asked her to look for the mid-Atlantic ridge, and she's an average student.
The amplitude in variation between students has increased. The article focused on the high side of one distribution and the low side of the other.
High school sports participation rates had http://www.ncaa.org/wps/ncaa?ContentID=36214 [Broken]. So students aren't getting lazier and dropping out of activities. (Sports is just an easy indicator - there's a lot of sports so students involved in extra-curricular activities have a good chance of a sport being one of them).
On the other hand, obesity among school students is increasing, so those not involved in school activities don't seem to compensate by becoming involved in non-school activities. Students aren't able to find activities to become involved in on their own (such as playing some pick-up basketball games down at the school playground?)
In fact, when you look at how overly organized kids' lives have become (swim lessons, soccer practice, band practice, etc) and how rarely students have to organize something like a pick-up softball game or basketball game on their own, maybe "lazy" isn't quite the right word to describe modern American students. Maybe they've lost their initiative and their ability to figure out how to handle little life problems (like boredom) on their own. The answer to boredeom always comes from their parent/coach/teacher or from a TV or video game.
Being trained to always get good results at school isn't the end-all be-all either. Asian students are more likely to be disciplined for cheating than American students. That's not because they're more dishonest, either. Plagiarism doesn't have the same negative connotations in a society where repeating back information correctly is seen as more important than creative thought.
In other words, I'm not sure what you could gain from the article.
That's cold. The number keeps changing and who's count are you using, anyway - the UN? (It makes a difference since some countries don't recognize the existence of other countries).
Somewhere in the low 190's depending on the year and who's tally you're using as official.
Oh for crying out loud. It's all so simple isn't it? "Parent's cannot teach them everything."
How about "Parents don't seem to be teaching anything."
Just have a globe and some maps and other interesting things for children to see other than the video/computer screen. Our 6 year old Simon has already learned all the continents, most of the countries, all the states (by shape, location, and neighbors) and their capitols. We are not pushing, or quizzing, we just limit our kids time on computer and videos, and leave BOOKS everywhere.
I am continuously amazed at the number of students in my "honors" physics class who have never heard of things such as an anvil or a short circuit, never noticed things such as the colors in a soap bubble or the shape of a single freakin' constellation. I have students who are seniors who don't know the difference between an oak and a maple.
George Will pointed out ten years ago, that by the time kids graduate from high school they have spent less than 9% of their time in school.
What's going on the other 91% of the time? (OK, 33% of the time they should be asleep).
The NCLB act demands that all students (100% of them, as in all of them, as in no exeptions) be "proficient" in reading comprehension, writing, and math skills by the year 2013.
Each state is allowed to define its own threshold for "proficient."
How high is the bar that everyone can jump over?
I believe too many Americans simply "phone it in" with regards to most of the things we do. Pride in one's work seems to be more the exception than the rule. There doesn't seem to be the same national pride in America's products anymore which i'm sure has a lot to do with the fact we simply don't manufacture the same goods we did 20-40 years ago. I myself am guilty of not putting my best effort into my work performance some days. That is not to say I don't do a good job, but If I can coast through something I tend to do that more. Our business has slowed and some days is just downright depressing. But, this is the time when I should be doing the exact opposite. As far as students are concerned, from my experience with my daughters, they considered school more or less a waste of time. It was something they had to do because if they didn't no socializing would occur. Why the schools allow cell phones and the like has never made any sence to me. My oldest (now 20) has since started attending nursing school after she now realizes that it's really hard to make a living slinging food at Joe's Crab Shack. Perhaps a good majority of todays kids thinks success is something bestowed rather than earned through hard work, a little luck, and most of all determination.
Not sure, but if you said the name of a country, I could show you where it's located on a map. Although I'm not good enough to get it exactly if the border lines aren't shown, but I'll get in the vicinity.
What I was trying to imply is that I'm more than sure that many parents don't even know basic geography (i.e. continents and their own country). They can't teach it to their child and they may believe that their children are learning what they "must" learn at school because they expect the school to do its job. Of course, if you haven't dropped elementary school (or high school), you could take time to check out if your children knows the basics. But many parents don't even know the basics. That was my point.
This gets a thumbs up from me. It's amazing how it seems like no one I know really cares about what they're doing. What somewhat irritates me, though, is how everyone feels entitled to being served by OTHER people who they feel are suppose to care. Case in point, me being a TA and my fellow grad students. Time after time I've heard them complain about a professor who missed something or maybe didn't seem to take much time grading a homework assignment. Then, when I make a complaint about how my lab students do something silly or downright awful in the lab reports im grading, the same people will say "just give them all A's".
It just amazes me how many people seemingly demand perfection from everyone, but when it comes to themselves, they expect just enough not to get fired (oh and of course, complain they aren't paid enough for the barely adequate job they do).
OK, point taken. But parents nevertheless many parents have abdicated their share of the education of their own children. The general notion that schools are there to teach the children everything, including the multitude of little details one should pick up from basic "living and noticing things" gives these parents a false "it's out of my hands" attitude.
Even a parent who doesn't know basic geography can get an atlas or at least a map.
After reading the actual article in the OP, I don't think things have changed much really. There are always college students who are very bright but don't apply themselves, or those who are TRYING hard, but haven't really figured out time management and efficient study skills, so waste a lot of time and don't realize their full potential.
When I was in college, there were tons of opportunities to learn time management and study skills if you got there without them. There were workshops run by the dean of students' office, workshops run in the learning centers, workshops run in the dorms, etc. You did have to seek the help and attend the workshops, but they were there. I see very little of that nowadays.
I spend a lot of time with my students not just telling them they need to work on study skills or time management, but actually giving them constructive advice on HOW to do that, or referring them to the counseling center that also provides assistance with study skills if they've already tried all the things I can suggest.
I think it works. My students were scattered all over the place at the beginning of the term, doing too much, not studying enough, not studying right, waiting too long to start studying, etc. By the end of the term, their final exam scores were outstanding! When they finally figured out what they needed to do, they buckled down and did it.
Part of the problem is more with perceptions. Those of us who end up with Ph.D.s and teaching college students were generally hard-working, good students. That's how we got as far in our educations as we did. I think we were generally oblivious to all the others in our classes who were not getting as good of grades and of just what "average" work looked like even back then.
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