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Ryan Mount
Grass Valley, CA
Nevada City is not the capital of Grass Valley.
Interests: gin, my kids, my family, music. gin. I said gin twice. I like gin.
Recent Activity
Maybe we need a more direct question: What is the purpose of Public Education? > where both vocational and academic training is available, is in my mind better for a free, fluid class model You're sounding like me a few days ago. Freaky Friday, I guess. You can be the Mom. Look, we can't go back to the privileged model 50s and the 60s. And the social experiments (you know, the whimsical curriculum(s) that pop up ever few years) in the classroom from the 70-now don't seem to be working. So we blame the teachers. Dumb. Blame the voters and the parents, and to some extent our lazy children. Cries of un-American-ness are exactly what I mean by this provincial attitude. I would appreciate it however, if you (or someone) would go out on a limb and precisely define what you think "American" is relative to this conversation. I and certainly others would like the definitive answer so we can settle this once and for all. What makes us exceptional with regards to education? Maybe Greg it's just a visceral reaction to anything European, which I understand and respect. Don't agree, but I respect it. And there is no Strawman here. I was criticizing of our culture where everyone feels entitled to go to college. I would think that a more Libertarian-oriented perspective would appreciate that we're born equal, protected equally, but we don't all turn out the same for whatever reason. And why not have an education system that attends to that, based on what our society needs? I guess we should drag in Judge Smails from Caddyshack: the world needs ditch-diggers too. I suspect the objection is around the assumption that if you get locked into a trade, that somehow you're exempt from college or even changing jobs/careers/whatever. That's the *classic* Liberal Arts argument. Less mobility. Less Liberty. It's a Libertarian fairy tale. Maybe that's the un-American part. I dunno. Hold me. But you're (Greg) not the first one to take me to task on this, so I'm used to it. Typically these conversations boil down to a few non-starter conclusions, none of which are satisfying to me: 1) The proto-Libertarian one: The market will sort this out eventually. Dumb and a High School Grad? Took out too many loans for your English Degree? Girls don't like you because your non-employable? Too bad. Not my concern. 2) The "screw it I'm gonna home school my kids" one. Don't vaccinate my child either. Suddenly I'm a Christian Scientist. My kid will be designing airplanes by 17, but will have never kissed a boy/girl. S/he will participate furiously in blog comments on the Internets. 3) The "let's keep everything thing the way it is, and pump more money into this monster" one. (this is what we currently have for the most part) 4) There are probably more, including my proposal. And lastly I'm not saying constructivism will work for the math and sciences. Just to clear the air. I said exactly the opposite and I propose an aggressive rote and practice K-8 curriculum. /my apologies for the length of this.
Greg, first off in my somewhat educated opinion, the problems are structural. I look to the German model for solutions. Around the 8th grade, test (and I mean rigorously test) students for subject competency. Then evaluate. Send the good test takers onto college preparation. (In Germany and other places, it's referred to as the Gymnasium. Send the others to vocational training. It is a pervasive myth in our country that all [kids] should be treated the same. We confuse "we are born" equally with the "we should all come out the same." In my mind we have this unstated provincial attitude about the trades. They're something you should escape from, not embrace. I have no doubt that this comes from our American experience over the past 200 years or so. Secondly regarding constructivism, I agree with your criticisms especially with regards to certain subjects, notably math and science. Communities of learners do not "create" knowledge [constructivism] with those disciplines. However constructivism in these contexts is not mutually exclusive. The problem with applying constructivism wholesale in math and the sciences is that it requires a HIGHLY skilled teacher to facilitate learning. We have very few of those. So in the fundamental topics, old-fashioned rote and practice is the remedy. And then if there is time, constructivism can be applied to add context. With regards to constructivism in the Liberal Arts, I think the results are mixed. I've always felt we have it ass-backwards with regards to Language Arts instruction. We tend to have a very constructivist curriculum in the younger ages (inventive spelling, talking narratives, etc) and a more conservative method past the 8th grades. I want to see rigorous fundamentals taught up to--ta dah!--the 8th Grade, followed by a more constructivist model for the high school years. I think the this might also be applied to the Social Sciences as well.
George, if our curriculum is indeed "Student-Centered," then the fault is with the students and by extension, the parents who are supposed to have oversight of their kids. As a parent of school-aged children, I only trust myself. But I get that from my parents who were pain-in-the-ass advocates of school reform back in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. They opened what we would now call a "Back to Basics" charter school in Concord, CA and then another one in Pleasant Hill. They called it Academics Plus. And there were literally thousands of kids on the waiting list. Great learning can happen if you have engaged parents pressing the faculty to get their act together. So we are in 100% agreement. Trust, but Verify. Sadly, I do not see this kind of parental activity in Mainstream education. Teachers are only the block here because we allow them to be.
Oh goodness George. Not the standardized testing meme. Back when I was a doe-eyed post graduate, I had a mentor who had a different perspective on the pitfalls of standardized testing. Up in the Foothills above Mariposa, my aging mentor/author looked at me from across his redwood burl kitchen table while sipping some Lettuce/Carrot juice abomination and told me this: "Ryan, the problem with academic standardized testing in a Democracy such as ours, is that the consumers of testing [he meant, parents and administrators, not the students] will work to lower standards when the kids start to do poorly." At the time, I heard only parts of this because I was dreaming of a Pepperoni Pizza in his off-the-grid vegan sanctuary. Anyhow IOW, the incentive for parents and administrators is to lower standards frankly to not look bad. Or as we say in the private sector, they'll move the goal posts closer mid-game to score. His suggestion was to radically increase standards, if we must, or think outside the box with regards to assessment. He seemed to think the former was an impossibility.
I knew if I stayed around long enough on this topic that hookers and government would come up. They seem like bedfellows. I think there's a double pun in there somewhere. But more seriously, or not, I want to recognize the grief of a 36 year librarian career. But to the tune of $220K+ in retirement, presumably with family benefits which are going to be considerable more expensive in the twilight years? That's absurd.
> Who are you to judge what a manager of that large of a library system should get paid? And what their retirement should be after 36 years? Whoa. Hold on there mister. The people (us, you and I) pay their salaries and we have more than just barking rights here. However in fairness, you make a point about someone's long service and I think that should be considered. But at this $227K mark? It's absurd to defend that salary. More practically, how is a municipality supposed to maintain those rates? It seems like the solution is all new employees get the shaft. We'll work you part time, at lower rates. For legacy employees? It's the American way: they give newbies (and us) proverbial middle finger and tell themselves, "I got mine."
Yikes. The question for me is this: is this librarian's salary an anomaly? This slide deck you provided is deeply disturbing. And the double-dipping is outrageous. 44% live OUTSIDE of San Diego. Nice way of getting those dollars back into the community, eh? They're probably living in Nevada. Who knows? My spidey sense says no. But to be fair there's got to be pensions + benefits that are more reasonable? Right?
NP Scott. It's hard to develop context in the blogs comments. It was my fault for not being more clear. de Tocqueville liked groups of people (our right to assemble), but he was very wary of them leveraging their power to influence policy. I think that is a very sober observation. Specifically, as you mention, they're ability to vote themselves free cheese. Me? I suppose I belong to some demographic somewhere in some marketeer's spreadsheet, but generally speaking I like to exercise that Groucho Marx line: I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.
Scott- I was being facetious about invading other countries for the purposes of making life easier for the 99%ers. And I was mentioning that the 99/1%er thing is a bogus construction and subject to criticism. Perspective is important here, and most Americans have none in my experience. We behave like spoiled teenagers relative to the rest of the globe. George- > "We have elections and the non producers out vote the producers as the non producers have heard the siren call of "democracy"." de Tocqueville warned us years ago about this ago. His Democracy in America was required reading back in College. What are kids reading now? Maya Angelou? Democracy in America should be read by High School Seniors.
My favorite omission is "core" inflation which doesn't include things like energy and food. You know, the things that directly impact us. They're left out, we're told, because of their volatility. It's a classic example of how we move the goal posts when we don't like how the game is going.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2012 on A Look at GDP at Rebane's Ruminations
Doug- And as expected, they're targeting my photo collections and my Farmville accounts.
Doug, George can't prove that he doesn't exist. Wait...maybe there's an app for that.
Geroge, an FYI. The Facebook login feature is not working properly. It's probably on the Facebook end. They're probably too busy giggling about their IPO to realize that their login API is broken.
Mikey- Did you hear Peter Schiff the other night on Coast to Coast? No tin hats required that night. He basically pointed out that the European Sovereign Debt crisis in coming to a theater near you soon. And that we can not contain inflation any longer. Mean while, back at the farm, the barn's on fire. And someone forgot to ask about the propane tanks. Perhaps that will be apart of Phase III. Good times, noodle salad.
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May 23, 2012