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So, I don't have much time to type this, so I'll just jump right to the chase. What exactly is education like outside of America. What do you think about how public education is funded. School Uniforms? Homework? Recess? You name it. I'm just curious as to how school is run in other countries, whether you are satisfied with it, etc.

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They give their students proper time and funding, we don't.

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School is paid with tax-money, so no tuition fees.

No uniforms, you can wear almost anything you want (girls can't come without a top, stuff like that...within some decency)

Homework is normal, maybe a couple of pages, maybe not. There isn't homework for every class every time.

No clubs or anything, though school allows you to use pretty much everything there is. For example, your band can practice there, you can form a football team, you can play chess. School might give you support, but they don't have to.

 

Mhmh, what more....well, I don't know, so ask me anything you wish.

 

Oh, and those were about schools in Finland, of course.

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In Malaysia, there are 3 kinds of schools due to our multiracial build up. National schools which uses the Malay language as the medium of teaching. Vernacular schools which uses Mandarin or Tamil as the medium of teaching. These are the public schools and a very small fee probably

 

The 3rd kind is the International Schools and other private institutions. You've gotta pay fees which are kinda expensive at the start of each term and as its a private school, the Ministry of Education does not own the school and does not fully control its policies.

 

I have personally been in a vernacular school which uses Mandarin as the medium of teaching and am currently in an International School. In public schools, the uniform is standard for the primary level, lower secondary and upper secondary levels. For primary schools, its blue pants with white collared shirts. In lower secondary level, its short dark green pants with collared shirts. In upper secondary level, its long dark green pants with collared shirts. A small variation of the colors are allowed, but nothing fancy like shocking pink or red.

 

Co-curricular activities are a must. They are incorporated into the timetable and you've basically got to choose 1 activity each from Uniformed Bodies and Sports. Uniformed bodies include the Red Crescent (Cross in christian countries), Scouts, Martial Arts and others while Sports include badminton (its pretty big here cuz Malaysia's one of the top countries in the sport), tennis, basketball, etc..

 

The education is kinda exam orientated and there are alot of redundant memorising. There's alot of rote learning, but the Ministry of Education is trying its best so shift away from being so exam orientated.

 

There are 4 public exams in the course of school life. The UPSR (Primary School Leaving Certificate) in Primary 6, PMR in Secondary 3 to gauge how you fare among your peers after 3 years of secondary education and to help you decide which stream you go into in Secondary 4, SPM in Secondary 5 which is like the GCSE's or High School LEaving Certificate. For those who don't have the money to further their studies into A levels, they do the Form 6 programme which is basically 2 years long and you take an exam called STPM at the end of it. Its regularly rated as one of the most difficult exams in the world.

 

You may have noticed that I've mentioned that in Secondary 3, students take an exam to decide which stream they go into in Sec 4. There are 2 streams, Science stream and Art stream. You learn stuff like Biology, Add. Maths, Chemistry, etc in the Science stream while you learn Economics, Accountings in the Art stream.

 

Oh by the way, in public schools, students are allocated to different classes in the same standard based on their grades. The students are given a fixed classroom and teachErs go to classes instead of students filing into different subject rooms like in the US.

 

In International Schools, you can choose to be in the government stream or the international british/american stream. They do the same thing the public schools do in the government stream while we do the same thing the guys over at the UK do in the international streams. We do the IGCSEs by the end of Year 11 and go on to do 18 months of A levels/foundation.

 

So thats abt it, I guess.

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I believe that students are lazy and should be given more homework. Bring it Kochers!

 

Actually lets talk about a more serious issue than uniforms and homework. Lets talk about the flaws in the whole school structure, and unequal and underfunded spending granted to schools. Why No Child Left Behind doesn't work and how it deminishes the whole point of an education.

 

I think that schools are the biggest asset to a society, and in America we don't take them seriously.

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I believe that students are lazy and should be given more homework. Bring it Kochers!

 

Actually lets talk about a more serious issue than uniforms and homework. Lets talk about the flaws in the whole school structure, and unequal and underfunded spending granted to schools. Why No Child Left Behind doesn't work and how it deminishes the whole point of an education.

 

I think that schools are the biggest asset to a society, and in America we don't take them seriously.

 

Well, you'll be sad to know that more homework can actually decrease the amount of knowledge gained from homework if it is longer then a certain period of time for certain grades (EX., about 2 1/2 hours or more is too much for 12th graders).

 

Oh, I agree that there are major flaws in the current structure. However, I'm gonna go out on a limb here that really screws up what a lot of politicians like to do about education. See, politicans seem to think that if they throw more money at education, it most get better. That simply isn't the case. I currently attend what is often considered a "rich kid" school district. We are constantly given the states highest grade. We meet all standards, go above and beyond, etc. etc. Guess what, my school is still screwed up. If they spent as much energy actually teaching me something I didn't know instead of wasting valuable class time (attendence comes to mind) or fidgetting with screwy computers or running to make more copies, maybe I would learn more. However, I think the whole student-teacher system isn't the most efficient way to teach kids who have largely grown up in the 21st century.

 

Yesterday, I read an article about how Portugal recently changed their education system. Now, 9/10 elementary kids have a laptop, which they use almost the whole time in class for colabaration. It was really intriging. The teacher was more their "advisor" who possed questions to them "What is an equinox?" and then encouraged them to find the answer in whatever program they were using. This excited the students, largely because the students were the ones finding the answers instead of the answers being spoon-fed to them. If students could use their computers to go through and work on the same subject matter at their own pace, I'm sure most would, eventually, get through more content then they would have in the traditional setup.

 

One thing we often foget, is that just because some kids are "slow" doesn't mean they aren't extremely bright. The best Language Arts (English class for you all) teacher I ever had in middle school had been an F student all the way up to the 6th or 7th grade. It was discovered that he needed glasses, and with 1 1/2 or 2 years of middle school left, he was able to get caught up with his peers on everything he had missed out on because he couldn't see.

 

I have to go or I would probably continue rambling on, but I hope I've left you some food for thought. ;)

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Well, you'll be sad to know that more homework can actually decrease the amount of knowledge gained from homework if it is longer then a certain period of time for certain grades (EX., about 2 1/2 hours or more is too much for 12th graders).

Two things about that:

I come from the view that high school is supposed to prepare you for college. In college you're going to be crammed into a lecture hall with 250-500 other people. A teacher aid will be the one lecturing about something that may or may not be on the test. You're responsible for studying outside of class.

 

From my personal experience I found that studying outside of class really does help. I'm not a fan of the mindless worksheets that teachers give you, but I think it's necessary to assign some reading. I could have passed Spanish class without studying outside of class, but I'd only be able to order a hamburger. When I was motivated to study at home, I found that I actually learned.

 

Oh, I agree that there are major flaws in the current structure. However, I'm gonna go out on a limb here that really screws up what a lot of politicians like to do about education. See, politicans seem to think that if they throw more money at education, it most get better. That simply isn't the case. I currently attend what is often considered a "rich kid" school district. We are constantly given the states highest grade. We meet all standards, go above and beyond, etc. etc. Guess what, my school is still screwed up. If they spent as much energy actually teaching me something I didn't know instead of wasting valuable class time (attendence comes to mind) or fidgetting with screwy computers or running to make more copies, maybe I would learn more. However, I think the whole student-teacher system isn't the most efficient way to teach kids who have largely grown up in the 21st century.

But here's the thing, only 9% of school funding comes from the Federal government. 57% comes from the state and the remaining 34% comes from local taxes. So your school district is able to spend more per pupil than a school district in a poor community of a poor state. So while your school is fidgeting with computers, some schools can barely afford books. Attendance only takes a minute or two at the most, it's a way for a State to allocate money. Kids should be on time.

 

Explain the student-teacher system to me.

 

Yesterday, I read an article about how Portugal recently changed their education system. Now, 9/10 elementary kids have a laptop, which they use almost the whole time in class for colabaration. It was really intriging. The teacher was more their "advisor" who possed questions to them "What is an equinox?" and then encouraged them to find the answer in whatever program they were using. This excited the students, largely because the students were the ones finding the answers instead of the answers being spoon-fed to them. If students could use their computers to go through and work on the same subject matter at their own pace, I'm sure most would, eventually, get through more content then they would have in the traditional setup.

In my city they have a virtual high school where kids don't actually attend a school, but go in chatrooms for lectures. There's also these cool schools called M.A.G.N.E.T schools that build theme-based schools in low-income areas in order to draw in middle and upper class kids. They design a whole curriculum around a subject like aerospace or preforming arts. They also offer elementary schools where they only teach in foreign languages.

 

One thing we often foget, is that just because some kids are "slow" doesn't mean they aren't extremely bright. The best Language Arts (English class for you all) teacher I ever had in middle school had been an F student all the way up to the 6th or 7th grade. It was discovered that he needed glasses, and with 1 1/2 or 2 years of middle school left, he was able to get caught up with his peers on everything he had missed out on because he couldn't see.

 

I have to go or I would probably continue rambling on, but I hope I've left you some food for thought. ;)

 

I agree.

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Two things about that:

I come from the view that high school is supposed to prepare you for college. In college you're going to be crammed into a lecture hall with 250-500 other people. A teacher aid will be the one lecturing about something that may or may not be on the test. You're responsible for studying outside of class.

 

 

From my personal experience I found that studying outside of class really does help. I'm not a fan of the mindless worksheets that teachers give you, but I think it's necessary to assign some reading. I could have passed Spanish class without studying outside of class, but I'd only be able to order a hamburger. When I was motivated to study at home, I found that I actually learned.

 

I agree completely with your second paragraph. However, the problem with homework in high school is that, since you can take a wide variety of classes, your teachers can't communicate about homework. So, you could have barely any homework Monday and Tuesday, but then get swamped Wednesday, the day you happen to have a big game. Then your up to 12 or 1am working on homework. Remember, your already physically exhausted, and you can't be in great mental shape after a full day of school and sports.

 

Now, some people may say "Thats just life sometimes". I say "That situation has an easy fix". Simply assign classes one night a week they can assign homework. Math and foreign language classes would be exempt, because you really do need homework from them every night to truly learn the subject matter (My mom is a math teacher at the college level and shes told me countless times how that is the case).

Anyways, onward I go.

 

But here's the thing, only 9% of school funding comes from the Federal government. 57% comes from the state and the remaining 34% comes from local taxes. So your school district is able to spend more per pupil than a school district in a poor community of a poor state. So while your school is fidgeting with computers, some schools can barely afford books. Attendance only takes a minute or two at the most, it's a way for a State to allocate money. Kids should be on time.

 

Explain the student-teacher system to me.

 

Actually, in my state, the current funding model for our schools has been ruled unconstitutional 4 times. Our state supports our schools districts much less then the average state, so local taxes play an even bigger part. My point was that, even with all the advanced gadgets and boat loads of money, our learning isn't increased that much more. I think that our current student-teacher education system can only carry us so far before its potential is reached. If we changed it, maybe to something similar to Portugal's new education system, I think we would have much better results with less money in the end.

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They give their students proper time and funding, we don't.

 

... I do hope you aren't American. America spends, per student, the 3rd most in the world, according to http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_spe_per_pri_sch_stu-spending-per-primary-school-student although I did see some statistics once...

 

In 2000 over $10k were spent per student from K-12 in the US. That’s over four thousand dollars more than the international average, yet American students only score average or below average in overall school performance.

EDIT:

I believe that students are lazy and should be given more homework. Bring it Kochers!

 

Actually lets talk about a more serious issue than uniforms and homework. Lets talk about the flaws in the whole school structure, and unequal and underfunded spending granted to schools. Why No Child Left Behind doesn't work and how it deminishes the whole point of an education.

 

I think that schools are the biggest asset to a society, and in America we don't take them seriously.

 

I think it was a good general idea to begin with (incentive to get scores up), but it was very flawed when put on paper. I will use my school as an example...

 

In Idaho (It's gotta be different in every state, as we use our own test here), a failing school is defined by growth of average test scores. We have a test called the ISAT (Idaho Standards Achievement Test). Every subject and has different scores for basic, proficient, and advanced. For example, for 10th grade math, a 230 was needed for basic, 235-ish for proficient, and 250-ish for advanced, and I got a 269. The state takes the percent of students that got proficient or higher one year, and take the same percentage the next year, and base whether the school is failing or not on how much that increased. The problem is, when you get to 98% (I think that's where my school was at at the time) it's super hard to increase that percentage. So, we have a failing school with 98% proficiency, and a fine school with 60% proficiency. Just one of the problems.

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... I do hope you aren't American. America spends, per student, the 3rd most in the world, according to http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_spe_per_pri_sch_stu-spending-per-primary-school-student although I did see some statistics once...

But as I said earlier, it's not a matter of what the average is, it's how it's allocated. Also that's nothing compared to what we could and should be spending. I'm not arguing that throwing money at education is the only thing that is going to make Americans more intelligent; I'm arguing that schools should be more equal.

 

 

 

EDIT:

I think it was a good general idea to begin with (incentive to get scores up), but it was very flawed when put on paper. I will use my school as an example...

 

In Idaho (It's gotta be different in every state, as we use our own test here), a failing school is defined by growth of average test scores. We have a test called the ISAT (Idaho Standards Achievement Test). Every subject and has different scores for basic, proficient, and advanced. For example, for 10th grade math, a 230 was needed for basic, 235-ish for proficient, and 250-ish for advanced, and I got a 269. The state takes the percent of students that got proficient or higher one year, and take the same percentage the next year, and base whether the school is failing or not on how much that increased. The problem is, when you get to 98% (I think that's where my school was at at the time) it's super hard to increase that percentage. So, we have a failing school with 98% proficiency, and a fine school with 60% proficiency. Just one of the problems.

 

It's very flawed, but the whole ideology behind it is wrong too. Education should be about utility, rather than trying to get the right answer. I'm from California, we're one of the top states in education spending (at least before the Governator slashed spending); however, we're ranked in the 40's in the entire nation. Part of it may be because of the different rules, but a larger problem is that we have the largest immigrant population. These kids not only are getting fewer funding because of community taxes in the barrios, but for most of them, English isn't their first language. Yet they're supposed to meet the same standard as some kid growing up in a rich OC suburb.

 

NCLB treats schools like they're businesses with incentives and competition, but schools are not businesses. When they flourish, they are living communities defined by powerful and caring collaboration. Students are not things to be produced—they are human beings who are learning and growing in ways that are too complex, erratic, or nuanced for any standardized scores to truly measure. And teacher dedication is better nourished by a supportive and successful work culture than by narrow appeals to individual self-interest.

 

The purposes of schooling should not be degraded into privatized preparation toward the fattest paycheck. Clearly, schools should prepare students to earn decent livelihoods. But just as importantly, they should prepare students to look toward and even demand that the jobs they will find as adults should be a major source of fulfillment and creative expression. And schools should go far beyond preparing students for work. There are many non-market (perhaps even anti-market) purposes for learning: to end wars, to effect racial equality, to curb greenhouse gases, to halt domestic violence, to appreciate the arts, to play sports and exercise, ... to learn to live together.

 

I guess I'm just an idealist...

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The public education system of The United States is, indeed, very flawed and ill-prepares the youth for college and outside-life.

 

The majority of education funding goes to athletic sports and clubs in an effort to "get kids moving and in shape" as well as silly inter-school competition. This should not be the focus of education, while I agree athletics are important and competition is a great motivator and is a great morale booster, the over budgeting in that sector is killing us. The arts are being dropped off of the map with most schools now devoid of music classes and art on its way out too. Luckily, we are bringing our technological education up to speed with the rest of the world. Sadly, our schools focus more on passing tests rather than learning environments. We're shelling out generations of automatons who know facts need to pass FCATS or SATs and ACTs rather than actually knowing, observing and critically thinking. In fact it becomes so bad in departments such as history that for the twelve years of public school, the same things are taught again each year. Redundancy only takes learning so far. All of this is because, as The Shah puts it, schools are treated as businesses which are taking in profit and pumping out a standardized product.

 

Even the structure of the classroom itself does not lend itself to education. Take seating arrangements as an example, you have a few rows facing in the same direction to where the teacher will spew the facts "necessary" for testing. This hierarchical arrangement does not allow for creative input or thought and it is drilled into childrens' minds that they need permission to have thoughts contrary to what their teacher tells them. In my mind a classroom should be a free exchange of thoughts and ideas guided by the teachers much like those of ancient Greece. This would allow the teacher to identify deficiencies in understanding while not restricting the children to a single track. The modern college is a better example of how public education should be (but I have issues with that in regards to the business models of colleges). Semi-circular or circular arrangements where students feel free to interact with the instructors as well as other students (still within reasonable constraints).

 

Another problem is the new focus on uniforms. Now even in the public sector, the children are being forced into a mold which rightly not everyone fits into. This is all in the interest of bringing about "equality and peace" between different socio-economic classes, religions and races. Our system is treating symptoms but not the diseases.

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But as I said earlier, it's not a matter of what the average is, it's how it's allocated. Also that's nothing compared to what we could and should be spending. I'm not arguing that throwing money at education is the only thing that is going to make Americans more intelligent; I'm arguing that schools should be more equal.

 

I'm sure if we could spend more money, but we need a new system, a new plan of action. Throwing more money at the current system won't make it work better. In what way should schools be more equal?

 

It's very flawed, but the whole ideology behind it is wrong too. Education should be about utility, rather than trying to get the right answer. I'm from California, we're one of the top states in education spending (at least before the Governator slashed spending); however, we're ranked in the 40's in the entire nation. Part of it may be because of the different rules, but a larger problem is that we have the largest immigrant population. These kids not only are getting fewer funding because of community taxes in the barrios, but for most of them, English isn't their first language. Yet they're supposed to meet the same standard as some kid growing up in a rich OC suburb.

 

I agree, it is flawed. And we need a new system of educating kids.

 

NCLB treats schools like they're businesses with incentives and competition, but schools are not businesses. When they flourish, they are living communities defined by powerful and caring collaboration. Students are not things to be produced—they are human beings who are learning and growing in ways that are too complex, erratic, or nuanced for any standardized scores to truly measure. And teacher dedication is better nourished by a supportive and successful work culture than by narrow appeals to individual self-interest.

 

I plan on quoting this exact paragraph at some time in the future in real life as my summed up argument against standardized tests. <clap> <clap> <clap>

 

The purposes of schooling should not be degraded into privatized preparation toward the fattest paycheck. Clearly, schools should prepare students to earn decent livelihoods. But just as importantly, they should prepare students to look toward and even demand that the jobs they will find as adults should be a major source of fulfillment and creative expression. And schools should go far beyond preparing students for work. There are many non-market (perhaps even anti-market) purposes for learning: to end wars, to effect racial equality, to curb greenhouse gases, to halt domestic violence, to appreciate the arts, to play sports and exercise, ... to learn to live together.

 

I guess I'm just an idealist...

 

I agree again. :J

 

The public education system of The United States is, indeed, very flawed and ill-prepares the youth for college and outside-life.

 

The majority of education funding goes to athletic sports and clubs in an effort to "get kids moving and in shape" as well as silly inter-school competition. This should not be the focus of education, while I agree athletics are important and competition is a great motivator and is a great morale booster, the over budgeting in that sector is killing us. The arts are being dropped off of the map with most schools now devoid of music classes and art on its way out too. Luckily, we are bringing our technological education up to speed with the rest of the world. Sadly, our schools focus more on passing tests rather than learning environments. We're shelling out generations of automatons who know facts need to pass FCATS or SATs and ACTs rather than actually knowing, observing and critically thinking. In fact it becomes so bad in departments such as history that for the twelve years of public school, the same things are taught again each year. Redundancy only takes learning so far. All of this is because, as The Shah puts it, schools are treated as businesses which are taking in profit and pumping out a standardized product.

 

I agree with most of your paragraph, except about how sports take up too much funding. I don't know the percentage that the average sports dept. takes up for its budget, but I think that even if athletic depts. would shrink, the system would still be inherently flawed.

 

Even the structure of the classroom itself does not lend itself to education. Take seating arrangements as an example, you have a few rows facing in the same direction to where the teacher will spew the facts "necessary" for testing. This hierarchical arrangement does not allow for creative input or thought and it is drilled into childrens' minds that they need permission to have thoughts contrary to what their teacher tells them. In my mind a classroom should be a free exchange of thoughts and ideas guided by the teachers much like those of ancient Greece. This would allow the teacher to identify deficiencies in understanding while not restricting the children to a single track. The modern college is a better example of how public education should be (but I have issues with that in regards to the business models of colleges). Semi-circular or circular arrangements where students feel free to interact with the instructors as well as other students (still within reasonable constraints).

 

Certainly an idea I haven't heard hardly ever before, but a good one none-the-less. :J

 

Another problem is the new focus on uniforms. Now even in the public sector, the children are being forced into a mold which rightly not everyone fits into. This is all in the interest of bringing about "equality and peace" between different socio-economic classes, religions and races. Our system is treating symptoms but not the diseases.

 

I agree 100%. Uniforms don't solve the actual issue, they just try to hide it by "fixing" the symptoms.

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