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Why not?

  1. Dec 29, 2009 #1
    Why doesn't the US use an education system similar to the one used in China? One in which only those who deserve to go to school can. The majority of people in public schools are not there for academic pursuits and continually ruin the environment for those who are. Why shouldn't there been a split between trade and academic schools?
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  3. Dec 29, 2009 #2


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    Public schools serve the public. There is the view that all members of socity are given an education, and in fact it's generally mandatory up to a certain age, usually when someone reaches adulthood.

    Where I lived as a child/youth, there were vocational schools for those not planning on univeristy. At my high school, there were separate accelerated or honors programs for those who wanted higher level education for university. And there were private or dedicated high schools available for those who were qualified or could pay.
  4. Dec 29, 2009 #3
    Then you were lucky.
  5. Dec 29, 2009 #4


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    Yes - actually I was. My family moved so that I attended a different public high school for 11th and 12th grade.

    I was in the AP (honors) group so I took the most advanced courses in mathematics (calculus), physics and chemistry. There were about 20 of us students in a group that took all three courses. Such a program was not available at the first high school I attended.

    In 8th grade, like all 8th graders, I was given an opportunity to visit the main vocational school. I certainly was not interested, but many students were, because they were not inclined to attend university.

    About the time I graduated from high school, the school district began to introduce magnate (or magnet) schools which specialized in particular academic programs, e.g., math & science, arts, and/or humanities. One had to qualify to attend those programs.
  6. Dec 29, 2009 #5


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    And how do you determine who "deserves" to go to school? The wealthy? The child prodigies?

    The US considers that the best way to have a productive society is to ensure all members have a basic education provided through public schools. Those with the means to choose otherwise always have the option to select a private school, but we ensure that public schools are available to all others regardless of their parents' finances.
  7. Dec 29, 2009 #6
    I understand that intellectual ability trancends financial status. I also understand that it is necessary to educate members of society. But, that was not my point; I was asking why there isn't a complete separation between people who choose to pursue a higher education and those who do not.

    I attended private schools until 8th grade--the one I was at only went until 8th grade. I had the option of attending Thomas Jefferson High School, but since the commute was absolutely horrible my parents would have had to purchase an apartment close to the school. At the time I was not prepared for such a transition and opted to enroll at my local public school, a choice that I now regret. While I am in high level classes, the enviroment at my current school is much different than that of my middle school, a change that I attribute to less academically oriented students.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  8. Dec 29, 2009 #7


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    In other words, discriminate among people? That's problematic - especially if the discrimination is based on race, ethnicty and perhaps even economic status, i.e. if the discrimination is specious or malicious.

    University is usually the point at which those who pursue higher education are separated from those who do not. It could happen earlier if academic programs are developed where one can choose between vocational programs/school and college preparatory programs/school.
  9. Dec 29, 2009 #8
    but the discrimination would be based upon intelligence, or rather desire,not any of the traits you named. Can you think of a more unbiased method of discrimation?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  10. Dec 29, 2009 #9


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    All you need is a meaningful way to measure intelligence. Recall that Einstein was not a shining star in his early school days. Would you have shuttled him off to vocational school to be a shoe maker? Even today's IQ tests are frequently more a cultural test then a true measure of intelligence. I am afraid that the state of our understanding of the human mind is still a ways from being able to make this kind of judgement.
  11. Dec 29, 2009 #10
    wasn't einstein considered a model student by many of his teachers?
  12. Dec 29, 2009 #11
    Try googling "It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything"

    I seem to recall an episode of Numb3rs that dealt with a similar idea. It did not end well.
  13. Dec 29, 2009 #12

    Chi Meson

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    Rather than emulating China, we could emulate all of the "free" industrialized countries that have compulsory education up to the age of 16.
  14. Dec 29, 2009 #13
    I agree with this statement.

    I thought that there was only one teacher who said that. "Although Einstein had early speech difficulties, he was a top student in elementary school" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Early_life_and_education")

    Which countries? I wasn't aware that this type of education existed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  15. Dec 29, 2009 #14
    My high school was similar to Astronuc's, minues the AP classes. I think the way they offer the option of vocational school is the best way to do it. I don't know how much more separation you can have. At my high school the kids that attended votech as we called it would be with us for half the day then go to the vocational school for the other half. This was done to save money. If the votech school had to teach all the students their basic english/maths then it would cost them a lot more money. For a public school, I don't know how you would separate the students anymore than that.
  16. Dec 29, 2009 #15
    I wish that my school system was like this. Before this thread I was unaware that this type of education still existed.
  17. Dec 29, 2009 #16
    Or we could go with a Sudbury Valley type education (see sudval.org) where people are free to pursue their life as they see fit. Freedom instead of violent force. I know it is so old fashion but I still like it.
  18. Dec 29, 2009 #17
    Lol this one is new to me also
  19. Dec 29, 2009 #18
    I'm surprised it isn't, I thought most high schools were. I went to a very small public school, K-12 in one building, with about 75 people per grade. There weren't any AP classes or anything like that but they did have a votech program. I guess it depends on where your school is at. If it is within a reasonable distance to a lot of other high schools a vocational school could be opened that could take in students from all of these schools. If there aren't enough schools in the area that might not be a possibility.
  20. Dec 29, 2009 #19
    My school does offer technical classes, if thats what you mean.
  21. Dec 29, 2009 #20
    Apparently Einstein, himself, assessed his development of the theory of Relativity as being an epiphenomenon of having been developmentally lagging as a child:

    " I sometimes ask myself how it came about that I was the one to develop the theory of relativity. The reason, I think, is that a normal adult never stops to think about problems of space and time. These are things which he has thought about as a child. But my intellectual development was retarded, as a result of which I began to wonder about space and time only when I had already grown up. "

    http://home-educate.com/quotes.shtml [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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