Education, why don´t we fund it more?

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Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby dumbzebra » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

So I think I need some enlightenment on this topic.
Education, why don´t we fund it more?

I think it´s a fact that more spending in education results in an overall better education.
I also think it´s a fact that most western countries rely more and more on good education and science, not only for the progress of our civilisation, but mostely because our natural resccourses are in a decline, where I come from there is a saying, "Our only reccourses are our brains", they soon will be the only thing we can sell:
As I see it, education is the single one solution to our modern problems, diseases, crime, poverty, integration, racism, famine, financial crices, these things can only be averted by a good education.
So why isn´t it happening? Why is there no free access to our universities? Why don´t we pay teachers wages of about 10000$ a month, so that they won´t be taken away by institutes as they graduate college?
Every politician is talking about this problem before elections, "Oh yeah, education is important, our children are our future!", yet somehow nothing is happening.

Is it because there is no money left because we spend everything on social security, war and our economy? Are there corporate forces that want to prevent this? Is it because of our economy? Or do I just have a narrow and a naive view on this?
Or am I right?
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

dumbzebra wrote:So I think I need some enlightenment on this topic.
Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Because we need money for other things, or we don't want to take out the debt to fund it. Also many of the fundamental problems are unrelated to spending on education, throwing money at problems doesn't always help. Also we would need to know who is going to throw the money at it? The Federal government? The State Government(I am assuming US here)? The Local Government? Each one of these has specific advantages and disadvantages.

dumbzebra wrote:I think it´s a fact that more spending in education results in an overall better education.

This is very debatable. It certainly isn't a consensus. (http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa126.html) Generally though its been found that the most important factor of a students education is the teacher teaching, which quality teachers generally only cost slightly(if at all) more than more typical teachers.

dumbzebra wrote:I also think it´s a fact that most western countries rely more and more on good education and science, not only for the progress of our civilisation, but mostely because our natural resccourses are in a decline, where I come from there is a saying, "Our only reccourses are our brains", they soon will be the only thing we can sell:
As I see it, education is the single one solution to our modern problems, diseases, crime, poverty, integration, racism, famine, financial crices, these things can only be averted by a good education.

To many of these problems, there are no silver bullets. Yes, education helps but it isn't the single solution for many of our problems.

dumbzebra wrote:So why isn´t it happening? Why is there no free access to our universities? Why don´t we pay teachers wages of about 10000$ a month, so that they won´t be taken away by institutes as they graduate college?
Every politician is talking about this problem before elections, "Oh yeah, education is important, our children are our future!", yet somehow nothing is happening.

Because with free access we would be adding another ~$100 billion a year if every student attended a state school. If we also provide free private college it would be close to $300 billion.(This also assumes they would maintain their prices if they got federal funding, which I doubt would be the case)

Teachers don't get paid a lot because there is high demand for teaching jobs. We in fact have more trying to be teachers than we need. This puts a lot of downward pressure on wages.

dumbzebra wrote:Is it because there is no money left because we spend everything on social security, war and our economy? Are there corporate forces that want to prevent this? Is it because of our economy? Or do I just have a narrow and a naive view on this?

Its all of those things. There are probably also much better reforms that could go long ways for education, that don't require this kinda of cost. LA schools have shown vast improvement by, get this: firing bad teachers and using charter shools (The LA times had a series on this: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/education/ ). New Orleans has recently been doing much better for similar reasons, the school district got wiped out by hurricane, so they lost all their teachers and have now hired all good teachers. It also allowed them to start a massive number of charter schools which other districts often have problems starting due to teachers unions.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:07 pm UTC

since the above post covered things pretty well there is one thing I would say on free education.

The argument for giving everyone free elementary education is different from the argument for free higher education. Putting money into elementary education involves saying that children deserve a basic education; putting money into higher education says that everyone deserves a college degree.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Vaniver » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:03 am UTC

dumbzebra wrote:I think it´s a fact that more spending in education results in an overall better education.
Really? Might want a refund on your education.

mmmcannibalism wrote:The argument for giving everyone free elementary education is different from the argument for free higher education. Putting money into elementary education involves saying that children deserve a basic education; putting money into higher education says that everyone deserves a college degree.
You can make a more rigorous argument by appealing to externalities. The holders of advanced degrees capture enough of the benefits of those degrees for them to be privately pursued- people take loans to go to college, law school, med school, and so on because they expect the increased income to make up for it. If someone understands the basics- literacy, numeracy, basic understanding of the legal system and civics- that benefits everyone, because of their increased market participation and decreased cost (it costs more to deal with someone who doesn't know how the legal system works than someone who does).

It seems likely that we would get a better product if the only involuntary components of education were the basics, and then everything else was up to the person being educated or their proxies (i.e. parents).
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:55 am UTC

As a general rule of thumb, throwing money at a problem fixes its quantity, not its quality. Throwing tons of money blindly at Africa for education would help, they have a lot of people who don't go to school. The same cannot be said for us. Here everyone goes to school, no one learns anything.

mmmcannibalism wrote:The argument for giving everyone free elementary education is different from the argument for free higher education. Putting money into elementary education involves saying that children deserve a basic education; putting money into higher education says that everyone deserves a college degree.
Except that doesn't account for Academic Inflation.

Vaniver wrote:The holders of advanced degrees capture enough of the benefits of those degrees for them to be privately pursued- people take loans to go to college, law school, med school, and so on because they expect the increased income to make up for it. If someone understands the basics- literacy, numeracy, basic understanding of the legal system and civics- that benefits everyone, because of their increased market participation and decreased cost (it costs more to deal with someone who doesn't know how the legal system works than someone who does).

What if one take the perspective that the increased income from a degree is a result of the increased benefit society receives from that position? Cost of education should be a function of how much a degree will increase your salary vs how much someone with a degree will benefit society.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:10 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:As a general rule of thumb, throwing money at a problem fixes its quantity, not its quality. Throwing tons of money blindly at Africa for education would help, they have a lot of people who don't go to school. The same cannot be said for us. Here everyone goes to school, no one learns anything.

mmmcannibalism wrote:The argument for giving everyone free elementary education is different from the argument for free higher education. Putting money into elementary education involves saying that children deserve a basic education; putting money into higher education says that everyone deserves a college degree.
Except that doesn't account for Academic Inflation.

Vaniver wrote:The holders of advanced degrees capture enough of the benefits of those degrees for them to be privately pursued- people take loans to go to college, law school, med school, and so on because they expect the increased income to make up for it. If someone understands the basics- literacy, numeracy, basic understanding of the legal system and civics- that benefits everyone, because of their increased market participation and decreased cost (it costs more to deal with someone who doesn't know how the legal system works than someone who does).

What if one take the perspective that the increased income from a degree is a result of the increased benefit society receives from that position? Cost of education should be a function of how much a degree will increase your salary vs how much someone with a degree will benefit society.


Which is actually why I would argue against funding college education, you just end up using more money to get people to the same job.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Vaniver » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:18 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:What if one take the perspective that the increased income from a degree is a result of the increased benefit society receives from that position? Cost of education should be a function of how much a degree will increase your salary vs how much someone with a degree will benefit society.
But all voluntary income is a result of the increased benefit society receives from the source of that income. If I train to be a doctor, I create benefits for society in the same way as if I invested in improving agricultural land that I owned. Why would we expect an investment in human capital to have higher externalities than investment in other forms of capital?

(There are arguments as to why that could be the case- but they all seem to suggest that we should reward people who are already likely to pursue further education for pursuing further education, not make it so people on the margins, who would be the ones convinced by a subsidy, will pursue further education.)
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

Increase spending now on education (or infrastructure or anything longterm) = society benefits 10+ years from now. Has little effect on whether or not politician is reelected.

Divert funds to pork projects = society stagnates, but politician gets reelected.

That's your answer.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:03 pm UTC

Then why is education one of the major expenditures of every wealthy democratic states?

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby sardia » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Then why is education one of the major expenditures of every wealthy democratic states?

It's not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _of_GDP%29
Either we have too many schools or not spending it properly, but many schools consistently need to raise additional money. Btw, many of those involved in education aren't very likely to vote. The exception is teacher's unions, and they have to look out for themselves first.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:47 pm UTC

Huh? Most countries on that list spend upwards of 5% of gdp. That's huge. Indeed more than governments spend on any other single goal, unless a country has an entirely government-funded healthcare system. That seems impossible if politicians thought their electorate didn't care about education.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:51 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Then why is education one of the major expenditures of every wealthy democratic states?

It's not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _of_GDP%29

????
How is ~3-10% not a major expense? Thats GDP, as a percentage of government expenditures I am sure it is even higher.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby sardia » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:53 pm UTC

You have a point, something isn't right. When you look at the Federal Budget for the US, educations amounts between 2-3 % of the budget. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Unite ... ral_budget)
Which says that we've been funding the rest through state and local taxes. As for how much we fund it, we are implicitly assuming that every student gets the same amount of money and it is spent properly. I can give an example where that isn't true: Schools are mainly funded via property taxes. Taxes in rich areas give more funding to schools then schools in urban cities that are poor with low property values.
I'd say 3-10% is pretty low considering how important education is to the future of the country and the citizens. Well, maybe 10% is ok, but at that point, we'd have to start considering how educated they are instead of how much money they throw around.

"It seems likely that we would get a better product if the only involuntary components of education were the basics, and then everything else was up to the person being educated or their proxies (i.e. parents)."
Are you saying you can live reasonably without a bachelor's degree at the very least? There's been a creep in how much education one needs just to be self sufficient.

Is someone implying we are at the bad part of the education to money curve where spending more and more money yields less marginal educational bonuses? Can you cite evidence to prove that?

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Kang » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:30 pm UTC

My short answer on this is: why should we?
Sure, education is important and I agree with your notion that with increased outsourcing and similar concepts having valuable knowledge is key in a lot of countries these days. And then I thought back to my school days. It would have been nice if the roof had not been leaking in the 'new wing' of the school of course; I got fairly used to the whistling sound through the windows whenever there was a little more wind, so you felt like sitting in a tent; I was in surprised awe when the science books from 1976 were replaced with new ones during my school days, sometimes towards the late 90s, even though our history books still had to leave the conclusion of the Vietnam war open for discussion. I could continue that list of annoyances in my school days that would easily be fixed with proper funding ad nauseam, but a curious little fact is, that I also remember more than enough students who just didn't care. If a noticable portion (and I mean about 25% to 50% depending on subject) of the class are firmly believing that 'advanced math' (which to them meant anything beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions) would never be needed again in their lives, literature and poetry were an utter waste of time, science and chemistry were nerd stuff and history was just a fancy way of storytelling, there isn't really so much point in having new books, motivated teachers and extra-curricular activities.
I'm not saying that more funding couldn't be beneficial, it at least will make learning easier for those who want to, and maybe attract one or two more kids to the concept, but it's not magic beans either and I'm frankly not amused by politicians talking about the importance of education for various reasons among which are: there are thousands of unemployed academics, stop trying to tell me that a degree was the magic formula; it does not make much sense to promise 'increased funding for education' if all the programs actually getting to that money are for 'social weak' groups (it's fine that they get some help, but trickling a bit of money down to education for everyone would be nice, too); every 'breakthrough reformation' of the education program tried in the recent past was matter of factly just reducing standards to enable more people to graduate from higher-level schools and into university which in fact just makes the average graduate dumber.

TL,DR:
All this might not apply to anyone else and might just be my usual utter nonsense, but I don't think throwing money at the school board would improve anything at all.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:22 pm UTC

sardia wrote:You have a point, something isn't right. When you look at the Federal Budget for the US, educations amounts between 2-3 % of the budget. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Unite ... ral_budget)
Which says that we've been funding the rest through state and local taxes. As for how much we fund it, we are implicitly assuming that every student gets the same amount of money and it is spent properly. I can give an example where that isn't true: Schools are mainly funded via property taxes. Taxes in rich areas give more funding to schools then schools in urban cities that are poor with low property values.
I'd say 3-10% is pretty low considering how important education is to the future of the country and the citizens. Well, maybe 10% is ok, but at that point, we'd have to start considering how educated they are instead of how much money they throw around.



Yeah, but the 10% is in those countries is basically equivalent to 5% in the other countries nominally, because it is a measure of GDP, which of course is a measure of how much production a country has. It's possible that a country has 100 times as much GDP as another, yet the poor country could spend 50% and the rich country 5%, and the rich country would still be spending 10 times as much. The best way to measure spending would be spending per student. Looking at GDP historically, there are years when countries like Zimbabwe in fact spend the most on education as a percent of GDP(in 2006), even though nominally the spending was insignificant compared to many other nations.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_s ... ol-student
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_s ... ol-student
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Azrael » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:54 pm UTC

I'm willing to ignore the ramblings, the unsupported assertion regarding the percent of funding earmarked towards (and effectiveness thereof) affirmative action style programs and a generic anti-intellectual stance, but I have to focus on this one sentence:

Kang wrote:... but it's not magic beans either and I'm frankly not amused by politicians talking about the importance of education for various reasons among which are: there are thousands of unemployed academics, stop trying to tell me that a degree was the magic formula.

You are wrong.

Image

More education correlates quite strongly to lower unemployment and higher earnings. While I admit these statistics don't correct for socioeconomic status, race or gender (which are the other big factors), the effect trend is undeniable.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby sardia » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:02 pm UTC

Kang, I pity your stance on education. I hope your children exceed your expectations.

Dark567, so you cited that we spend more on educating our children in the US than most countries. Do you feel like you got the 3rd best or 4th best education in the world? Are other countries getting better educated than us for less cost? Is it enough spending?
Edit: Yea, rating countries by spending per capita in this case sounds good.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Yakk » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

Because rather than transferring wealth via taxes from the rich 1-20% (who own 34-85% of the wealth) to the general population, educational price inflation and iron-clad loans are transferring wealth from the productive young caste to the elderly rich castes.

With the baby boom collapse hitting, the owners of the majority of the wealth in the USA are going to become non-productive leaches. They have huge investments and entitlement programs. By getting the young to borrow huge sums, and pay interest to banks, they arrange for a tax-like wealth transfer from the productive to the non-productive. Similarly, by reducing educational funding, they horde their accumulated wealth. Taxes spent on anything except defence and medicare for the elderly are a "waste", and taxes on wealth instead of income are "double taxation" and unfair.

These elderly democratic despots vote with a high percentage and are politically active and connected. So they warp politics and the economy to fit their needs.

Now, this isn't a bad thing: the alternative is an impoverished elderly population. Barring some method to transfer wealth from the productive to the unproductive, the elderly will starve and suffer. And lacking a tradition of doing so willingly (like parents are willing to support their kids), the elderly need to coerce (via tax and spending polities) or convince (via student loans etc) the young to support them.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:19 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Kang, I pity your stance on education. I hope your children exceed your expectations.

Dark567, so you cited that we spend more on educating our children in the US than most countries. Do you feel like you got the 3rd best or 4th best education in the world? Are other countries getting better educated than us for less cost? Is it enough spending?
Edit: Yea, rating countries by spending per capita in this case sounds good.


I am not saying I felt like I got the best. I am saying that spending on education isn't the (at least largest)problem with the education system. Specifically in response to the OP, I also added that we don't spend more because of this and because of other priorities spending is needed on. I was also responding that we probably don't spend as little as he thinks we do, and to your post that %10 percent was enough in some countries, but not in others, when in fact the others often actually spent more money.

I don't know on whether or not my education was the 3rd or 4th best in the world, I haven't spent any time during my primary or secondary education in another country. The US doesn't do terrible in the rankings though its pretty seems pretty average internationally(http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/educat ... y-country/). I have only been to a very limited amount of tertiary education internationally, but most internationally studies tend to rate the US's Universities among the best though(http://www.arwu.org/ARWU2010.jsp)(Anecdotally, everyone I have ever talked to that has studied internationally in a country other than England, always told me what a complete joke the universities were in these countries).

Yakk, although I don't doubt the political implications of having a large retired population, the assertion that more wealth is being transferred from productive to non-productive currently is probably incorrect. The most wealthy people currently are much more likely to be productive than in previous generations. Currently most the wealthy earn their incomes through wages, where previously the source of the wealthy's income was rent-seeking or inheritance(http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/pikettyqje.pdf). In fact it seems that the wealthiest are often the most likely to continue to work into their retirement because they have a much larger wage to lose(there is a somewhat bathtub curve to this though, poor tend to retire late also, moderately wealthy tend to retire the earliest).
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby furyguitar » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:20 pm UTC

Before I start talking, I'm curious if anyone here is a teacher? I am a middle school teacher.

A point that was made before is very true, in that throwing money at the problem doesn't necessarily help. The quality of the teacher is one of the most determining factors of the performance of the students. My experience with being "trained" to be a teacher was apparently emblematic of the process and could be a cause of poor teacher quality. There is a lot of time spent discussing theories of how people learn and what they need to learn (Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Behaviorism, Constructivism, etc), as well as how to incorporate strategies/technologies that will make the material more accessible to a wider variety of students, with a number of classes that focus on students with special needs.
That's all well and good, but what is often missing is the actual TEACHING part - methods/practices such as how one should actually talk and conduct themselves in the classroom. The earlier NYTimes article I cited referred to a man who observed a number of highly successful teachers and found there were a number of characteristics that they all shared that led to higher success rates with students. I bought the book he wrote that basically compiles all this information and it blew me away. Seemingly simple things like when you're saying something important, such as giving a direction, stand still with good posture. This apparently shows that you care about what you're saying and that the students should be paying attention as well. Simple things - the volume of your voice, body language, etc were rarely ever discussed in school. It was almost as if teaching was an art that they didn't touch, like it was magic or something, and they just filled the teachers' heads with more abstract concepts, theories, etc.

I've heard the idea of perhaps having teachers trained like doctors, where they intern alongside pro's for a length of time in a "teaching school," just as there are "teaching hospitals." Right now, we just Student Teach, and the quality of that experience will highly vary depending on with whom you are placed. True, there are serious problems with funding in education, especially in poorer areas. Lots of money for schools often comes from local tax revenue, but some districts (like where I taught the previous two years) were extremely large and poor, so they were eligible for a lot of state money. But before we just start throwing money at schools, we should at least do it wisely.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

Turns out teachers, as a profession, have a rather high %'age for whom a bachelors degree is their highest degree.

@Azreal: I can't tell you how happy that graph made me.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

furyguitar wrote:
A point that was made before is very true, in that throwing money at the problem doesn't necessarily help. The quality of the teacher is one of the most determining factors of the performance of the students. My experience with being "trained" to be a teacher was apparently emblematic of the process
...
That's all well and good, but what is often missing is the actual TEACHING part - methods/practices such as how one should actually talk and conduct themselves in the classroom.



I can't help but notice that you are saying our problem with our education system is that teachers aren't taught to teach correctly by our education system, which seems rather ironic.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby savanik » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:56 pm UTC

furyguitar wrote:Before I start talking, I'm curious if anyone here is a teacher? I am a middle school teacher.
...
The earlier NYTimes article I cited referred to a man who observed a number of highly successful teachers and found there were a number of characteristics that they all shared that led to higher success rates with students. I bought the book he wrote that basically compiles all this information and it blew me away. Seemingly simple things like when you're saying something important, such as giving a direction, stand still with good posture. This apparently shows that you care about what you're saying and that the students should be paying attention as well. Simple things - the volume of your voice, body language, etc were rarely ever discussed in school.


The book, for anyone who's curious, is called 'Teach Like a Champion. It looks like I'm going to have to buy this and study it thoroughly. I work in the security field. I spend more time trying to instruct other people in how to maintain their security than I do any actual securing. Anything that can make me more effective in teaching people basic computer security is a plus.

I've thought for a while now that what we need is not more money thrown at institutions, but more effective teachers. When you give schools more money, it really seems like what you get is more middle management or better buildings. Smaller classes are all well and good, but teachers need to know how to teach. It's nice that some good research is finally being done around what actually separates out exemplary teachers (I had three in high school) from the rest (worst one I met was actually in my college).
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Le1bn1z » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

Most of the basics have been speedily covered allready.

Here are a few more off-beat considerations:

1.) Very Low Tuition is a tax on the poor for the benefit of the wealthy

Here I get to turn to the Canadian experience, which is very, very instructive on this point.

Just don't try telling this to a students' union.

A disproportionate number of university students are from upper-class families whose parents themselves have degrees. Although they could pay a substantial chunck of the tuition, no problemo, they don't have to, beacuse the government pays for rich and for poor alike.

The remainder is paid for by the general taxpayer, who may or may not be wealthy. The benefit is disproportionately for the wealthy, the tax is general.

In addition, low tuition has meant, in Canada, less money for full scholarships and bursaries. Even with the relatively low cost of college here (the most expensive, King's College and Acadia of Nova Scotia, are under $8,000/year tuition) can be burdensome if you're paying all on your lonesome. Student debt can run to $40,000 + and have profound repracussions, especially if you want to go on to med school, etc.

You're far, far better off to hike tuition and use public funds and increased earnings to pay for full scholarships for deserving and needful students.

Cheap education for wealthy students also remains a driving cause for the insane debt of Ontario and Quebec.

2.) Market Economics is a Bitch

University degrees not only increase your earning potential; they increase your mobility potential. Someone with a degree is far, far more likely to work in another state/province/country than they earned their degree.

Primary concerns of picking said place? Taxes, quality of life, quality of work, quality of gov services, likelyhood of being beheaded. With exception to the last, all of these suffer when more money is pushed at university. The expected payback is that those who graduate will add to the economy, allowing the government to recoup their investment.

That's not always the case.

Provinces like Nova Scotia (highest rate of educatio in Canada, with 6 universities in Halifax alone) and Quebec take in untold thousands of students "from away" every year, the vast majority of whom take their public education "back away" when they're done. Ditto a lot of home students. There's an exodus of bright minds away from these places every year, read, an exodus of public moolah.

Which is fine, if you're Cambridge Mass. and that's a profit turner. But not if you're a public university jurisdiction for whom education is an investment, not a money maker in its own right.

3.) Don't Confuse Eating a Pie with Baking It.

Far higher than the average earnings of degree holders are the earnings of Her Majesty the Queen. Ergo, logically, the way to improve the quality of our economy is to make everyone a Queen.

There's substantial proof that degree holders make more in comparison to most without, and proof that having a load of scientists is great for an economy.

But its not enough.In fact, too many people by far go to university. We face chronic shortages of skilled tradesmen on a scope that's ruining the economy in important ways. For example Detroit is chalk-a-bloc full of MBAs. However, the number of skilled mechanics employed in product design has dropped precipitously... along with the basic mechanical quality of American cars.

So, while its great to have doctors, lawyers and engineers, and we ought to give everyone an equal-ish shot at becoming one, we can't fall into the fallacy of thinking that if only we could make everyone one of these, the world would be better. Our inflated educational capacity is leading less to inovation and expansion than to disapointmented expectations and punctured dreams.

4.) Death by Snob

Which leads to the last point.

Education is still dominated, in Canada and the USA, with those obsessed with university education as the holy grail for every student. The emphasis on preparing students for this fate, with methods emphasising "creative thinking" and "independant analysis."

We are desperately failing, however, to prepare students for life without university. The old foci were discipline and rigour, the lack of which has been a tremendous problem in and out of the classroom.

Spending a tonne more money to boost science scores will not help prepare the majority of graduates for the non-degree world.

5.) Understanding limits

By far the greatest factor in educational outcomes, How to Teach Like a Champion aside, remains parents. Parents have a huge role in determining how a child does in school and beyond. The attitudes and habits of parents are of far greater importance than the funding of our schools. To the extent that we have serious, serious problems (like violence and truancy), we need to realise that these problems are less educational and more social.

6.) Bankruptcy.

Right now, Ontario is about to pump billions into education, specifically into "early years" education (free kindergarten for all.) There are arguable benefits. Its certainly a darling of the feminist lobby.

We are also more indebted per capita than California, and digging deeper fast. Educational funding is theoretically open-ended, like defense. Its easy to chase a rising budget to infinity, seeking a social and economic perfection that's just not going to happen. In the meantime, your best and brightest up and leave, and you fall into bankruptcy and collapse.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:02 am UTC

You make a number of fine points, but I can't help but raise a couple of minor to moderate quibbles -

Le1bn1z wrote:1.) Very Low Tuition is a tax on the poor for the benefit of the wealthy

I don't know if I'd quite call this a tax on the poor. Even if you have a straight flat tax, my guess is that the tax dollars going towards education from a wealthy's person income far exceeds the dollar amount received back in the form of education; the poor cannot say the same. It's true that this benefits the upper middle class more than targeting near-zero tuition for the poor and a progressive increase for higher incomes, but a tax it is not (though I'd agree that a system of moderate tuition with breaks for poorer students does make sense).


Le1bn1z wrote:3.) Don't Confuse Eating a Pie with Baking It.

I can't speak for Canada, but a dearth of skilled tradesman is certainly not among the issues facing the United States today. American cars were far, far worse compared to the competition fifteen years ago then they are today, while I doubt this is due to an increase to MBA's it's not a matter of insufficient mechanics. Truth be told I doubt many career mechanics/factory workers would be worse off seeing at least a few years in college, even if it's more basic skills-related learning opposed to full four-year college.

As Az pointed out earlier, college grads continue to make far more money than those without so it can't be said that too many people go to university . More and more people going to college could technically be considered beneficial until the cost of both time and money* of paying for a college degree (whether the payments are private or public) drops exceeds the benefits of entering the workforce without one. Even if wages were falling for grads compared to those that are not, this could just be considered natural progression to equilibrium - the market equilibrium for college would be about where the average increase in wages is precisely equal to the time/money cost of getting the degree. While this might diminish the value of the degree to the individual, it doesn't to society at large. Wages are awarded based off of the marginal value of any one additional worker to a sector (opposed to average value), so the total value would continue growing even if wages decline.

*precise computations of this are complex, but the basic idea is that for a degree to be worthwhile, both the initial dollar cost of college and the interest of this initial amount must be payable by the increase of wage over what a worker would have been making without the education over the entirety of their career. I think this is fairly self-explanatory, if the financial benefit of education fails to meet the cost, it's no longer worthwhile.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:37 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:You make a number of fine points, but I can't help but raise a couple of minor to moderate quibbles -

Le1bn1z wrote:1.) Very Low Tuition is a tax on the poor for the benefit of the wealthy

I don't know if I'd quite call this a tax on the poor. Even if you have a straight flat tax, my guess is that the tax dollars going towards education from a wealthy's person income far exceeds the dollar amount received back in the form of education; the poor cannot say the same. It's true that this benefits the upper middle class more than targeting near-zero tuition for the poor and a progressive increase for higher incomes, but a tax it is not (though I'd agree that a system of moderate tuition with breaks for poorer students does make sense).

At least in the 60's and 70's the poor were directly shown to be subsidizing the University education of the rich. Basically nearly every child of a wealthy family pursues higher education, while the poor have much lower percentages attend. This means that the wealthy basically get all the money they put toward higher education back and then some, while the poor mostly just fund it, with no advantage. Unfortunately all the papers I can find on this are old as hell, so it honestly might not be applicable anymore(particularly due to the poor paying lower taxes than that period).



Bubbles McCoy wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:3.) Don't Confuse Eating a Pie with Baking It.

As Az pointed out earlier, college grads continue to make far more money than those without so it can't be said that too many people go to university . More and more people going to college could technically be considered beneficial until the cost of both time and money* of paying for a college degree (whether the payments are private or public) drops exceeds the benefits of entering the workforce without one.

Yes, the US has far more than enough skilled mechanics.

There has been a considerable interest lately on whether or not a college degree actually causes one to have higher income(remember the Az's graph only shows correlation). Some scholars(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/weeki ... .html?_r=1 The overeducated american) make the argument that it isn't the fact you went to college that makes you make a lot of money, but instead a number of traits that college graduates share(and would have anyway without college):
    The desire to work hard to make large amounts of money which would lead one to attend college, but would also lead one to work hard at a job
    The ability to delay gratification in order to enjoy further gratification later again would lead one to attend college, but is also an important trait to have in an employee
    The ability to deal with stress
    etc.

Now of course this position also requires that college teach none of these traits, and it just happens to weed out those that don't have them. The thing is even if this were the case, employers would likely only hire college graduates anyway, not because they value college, but because it would be the easiest way to ensure someone possessed the above traits. Which would than cause college degrees to be worth more.

For the record, I am not actually advocating that the degree income relationship isn't causal(in all likelihood it is), I just wanted to present a moderately popular alternative some economists have been presenting.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:14 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:1.) Very Low Tuition is a tax on the poor for the benefit of the wealthy

This statement depends entirely on your alternative scenario. Where is the money for the subisidy coming from? From extra taxes? From extra income taxes, from extra progressive taxation, from extra consumption taxes, from a wealth tax? To get a true transfer away from the poor to the well-off by paying for tuition, you need to pay for that tuition by a regressive tax.

On the other hand, you could argue that governments already tax as much as they can get away with, so that lower tuition will come from cutting other government spending. Then it still depends on what is cut, but is is much more likely that this will be a loss to the poor and a gain for the well-off.

A much better grounded statement would be that low tuition is a tax on well-off people who did not have much education themselves, or who do not have children.


As an aside, I think this is a subject with different interests for the wealthy and the mere above-average well-off. When you are in the high richest few percent, your kids are likely better off in a system with very high tuition. Because you can still easily afford it, but others cannot. No better way to guarantee the future of your kids as giving them an education others cannot have.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Kang » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:07 am UTC

Azrael wrote:I'm willing to ignore the ramblings, the unsupported assertion regarding the percent of funding earmarked towards (and effectiveness thereof) affirmative action style programs and a generic anti-intellectual stance, but I have to focus on this one sentence:

Kang wrote:... but it's not magic beans either and I'm frankly not amused by politicians talking about the importance of education for various reasons among which are: there are thousands of unemployed academics, stop trying to tell me that a degree was the magic formula.

You are wrong.

Image

More education correlates quite strongly to lower unemployment and higher earnings. While I admit these statistics don't correct for socioeconomic status, race or gender (which are the other big factors), the effect trend is undeniable.

I admit that point may have been a bit off. But over here it seems to me that politicians use the need for education as a means of quelling impending revolutions of unemployed people in a sense of 'well, you should have gotten a diploma, then you wouldn't be unemployed'. Certainly your chances of employment are better if you are more qualified, but even within the sphere of my acquintances I know two people holding doctorate degrees who are working as plumber and electrician respectively (both jobs for which nothing but high school is a prerequisite here). All those courses in quantum mechanics certainly pay off now, don't they? My thought was that increasing the number of people with higher degrees does not make more jobs appear out of nothing. Better education gives you an edge over the competition for the job you apply for, but if instead of 1/10 applicants having a university degree all ten of them have, you effectively have only made the degree worthless in that regard, because there is still only one position to fill.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Azrael » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:54 am UTC

Kang wrote:My thought was that increasing the number of people with higher degrees does not make more jobs appear out of nothing.
Education -- or even the lack of it -- doesn't "make" jobs at all. What it does do is prepare the individual for a job that actually requires that level of knowledge. The job pool is not effected by the education of the applicant pool.

Better education gives you an edge over the competition for the job you apply for, but if instead of 1/10 applicants having a university degree all ten of them have, you effectively have only made the degree worthless in that regard, because there is still only one position to fill.
Again, you're missing the point entirely. There are jobs that require higher degrees of education. If the position requires an advanced level of education, and all the applicants have it, it's true that the degree is no longer a competitive advantage for an individual. But it isn't worthless -- if you don't have it, you can't possibly get the job.

While jobs that don't require an education will never disappear entirely, the trend in the developed world's economies is towards an increase in skilled labor, driven primarily by the availability of unskilled / low skilled labor in other parts of the world that comes at a much lower cost. That isn't really debatable.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Kang » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:21 pm UTC

I see what you say and I don't really disagree either. I might very well be wrong all along but bear with me for a second:
Where I live we have three different forms of high school, offering three different paths according to students' ambitions and abilities. When they were originally set up the basic idea was to have ending after 9th grade for everyone wishing to go into an old-fashioned 'working class job', which back then was still a majority, an intermediate one which was intended for careers in 'office jobs' and the top one which enables one to attend university. One can obviously argue over the sense of that, but the thing that makes me a bit suspicious is, that at the same pace that gaining the higher qualification is being promoted, the very requirements for any career rise, too. Add to that how there have increasingly be debates on how to make universities streamline the courses to better prepare for practical jobs (translates a lot to: leave out things) something just seems fishy to me. This may either be a local problem or just a product of my own erratic thinking, but to me it seems a bit like putting more money into it just raises the average requirement thus closing the doors for a lot of people just because they lack knowledge that doesn't even have anything to do with the job (because that fancy degree wouldn't have been a requirement 30 years ago, even though the job hardly changed since than).

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:32 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:1.) Very Low Tuition is a tax on the poor for the benefit of the wealthy

This statement depends entirely on your alternative scenario. Where is the money for the subisidy coming from? From extra taxes? From extra income taxes, from extra progressive taxation, from extra consumption taxes, from a wealth tax? To get a true transfer away from the poor to the well-off by paying for tuition, you need to pay for that tuition by a regressive tax.

Or the situation, where the poor pay some small amount of tax, but send none of their children to college. This is easy to model in state education(again in the US), because most of the time the taxes are flat taxes. Most states largest expense(usually around a third of budget) is for their University systems, which poor people tend to be much less likely to use than the rich. I will point you to this: Education, equality and income redistribution by Douglas Windham. Its old so it may no longer be true, but it is at least an example that shows its possible for the poor to be subsidizing the rich under a flat tax.
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:49 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:While jobs that don't require an education will never disappear entirely, the trend in the developed world's economies is towards an increase in skilled labor, driven primarily by the availability of unskilled / low skilled labor in other parts of the world that comes at a much lower cost. That isn't really debatable.

If you take this as a given, than what happens to those unskilled persons here? Are we creating an underclass that is unemployable because society farms out it's lower paying jobs overseas? Given past performance there is no reason to believe that we can educate the whole population, or that if we could that there would be enough jobs for them. The pool of jobs for the educated seems to be pretty much in balance currently and it's hard for me to see that we could create that many more.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Azrael » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:39 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Azrael wrote:While jobs that don't require an education will never disappear entirely, the trend in the developed world's economies is towards an increase in skilled labor, driven primarily by the availability of unskilled / low skilled labor in other parts of the world that comes at a much lower cost. That isn't really debatable.
If you take this as a given, than what happens to those unskilled persons here? Are we creating an underclass that is unemployable ...
Did you forget to read the starting clause?

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:27 pm UTC

I read it. But the inference is that the jobs which will remain will be the jobs that can't relocate, in other words the lowest jobs of the total range of possible jobs or the highest. The underclass will be formed of the middle range of the workers, those who have jobs that can be off shored, which is reflected in the current economy.

The OP's original idea that funding education more fully would solve the problems of the world, is a illusion. Education per se is useful in the broadest sense only to prove that you have the ability to stay with a task to completion. Certain types of education have a direct use while others serve only increase the general knowledge of the person acquiring it. It would be interesting to see your graphic break down the employment of PhD's by type.

K through 12 education in the US suffers from a lack of direction rather than a lack of funding. We seem not to be able to decide exactly what we wish schools to do. You can spend all the money you can get and not give a good education to students if your not sure of what to teach them. Are K through 12 college prep facilities, day cares, feeding centers, athletic training centers, or what?

As an interesting aside, the current financial crisis was in large part cause by education. The financial instruments, derivatives, which caused the greatest damage, could have only been designed by PhD's.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

How is it obvious the 'lowest' and 'highest' jobs can't be offshore, instead of simply jobs that require geographic closeness and specific cultural knowledge?

And have you considered that portable jobs are also the jobs required to pay for imports? To buy stuff abroad means the other side is outsourcing something to you.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Zcorp » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:31 pm UTC

furyguitar wrote:Before I start talking, I'm curious if anyone here is a teacher? I am a middle school teacher.

A point that was made before is very true, in that throwing money at the problem doesn't necessarily help. The quality of the teacher is one of the most determining factors of the performance of the students. My experience with being "trained" to be a teacher was apparently emblematic of the process and could be a cause of poor teacher quality. There is a lot of time spent discussing theories of how people learn and what they need to learn (Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Behaviorism, Constructivism, etc), as well as how to incorporate strategies/technologies that will make the material more accessible to a wider variety of students, with a number of classes that focus on students with special needs.
That's all well and good, but what is often missing is the actual TEACHING part.


Can you talk a bit more about teacher training that you have been through. I'm studying educational system and tools and would love to learn more about the teacher side of things. Much of what you just mentioned are strategical tools which are almost completely irrelevant to the classroom, I'm amazed they aren't trying to develop your tactical and diplomatic ability within the classroom.

dumbzebra wrote:So I think I need some enlightenment on this topic.
Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Lots of reason but I'm going to focus on the difficulty of the field rather then other things. There are so many different ideas, many of them not mutually exclusive, that are all struggling for the same grants. New projects that do get money are often shutdown by different levels of government not long after they were created and before they have been given time to prove if they are effective or not.

All of the below things seem to have positive effects.

Tactical techniques for teachers: Things like the the aforementioned Teach Like a Champion, people like Alan Sitomer, the almost always misused to student determent socratic questioning.

Bonding between teachers and students: Choice Theory, Total Student Load and Eric Nadelstern in NY city

Reducing teacher stress and providing teaching support: Better Lesson, Total Student Load (TSL) again

System Changes: WGI again but instead of Choice Theory trying to create bonding it also talks about a competence based metric, TSL again as they have teachers teaching more subjects but fewer different students, Online learning and High Schools, Self-directed learning (Montessori Method other like a TED Talk.

Learning Preferences: Aforementioned Multiple Intelligence theory, MBTI/KT, DISC, bottom up vs top down learning structure, time of day, length of class

Teaching Tools: Wikipedia, MS Blackboard, Connexions, computers, lab tools, math books, literature.

Human development: Piaget, Jennie Oakes' Keeping Track, Andragogy, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy

Social Influence: Making learning and having information and socially rewarding experience, which relates to lots of the previous areas.

General Human cognition: How different people input information or just in general how the human does.

Curriculum development: What should we be teaching and why. Math and Science vs the Arts, Computers, hand writing, electronics, philosophy, psychology,

Humans are pretty much the most complex system we know of and we aren't very knowledgeable about them yet. The idea of 'just throw more money at it' only works of the people you are throwing the money at actually have a clue of what to do with it and very arguably in America that is not the federal system and then you need to throw it a niche groups trying to gather data and show validity of concept, which takes generations as we are measuring the growth and development of someone over ~20-30 years to prove educational validity through out a lifetime. The above are just some of the many concepts and ideas associated with education many of them work wonderfully, many of work with a broad category of person and some of them only with, but work extremely with with, a specific category of person.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Azrael » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:51 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Certain types of education have a direct use while others serve only increase the general knowledge of the person acquiring it. It would be interesting to see your graphic break down the employment of PhD's by type.
And what would you learn? With the field of PhD holders being roughly two times less likely to be unemployed than a bachelor's degree (3 times less likely than the work force average and nearly 6 times less likely than an uneducated worker) you'd have to be a pretty major statistical outlier before you could argue that a specific PhD is actually hurting your employment chances.

As an interesting aside, the current financial crisis was in large part cause by education. The financial instruments, derivatives, which caused the greatest damage, could have only been designed by PhD's.
Even if that conjecture were true, so were nuclear arms. But the cold war wasn't Oppenheimer's fault. :roll:

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:How is it obvious the 'lowest' and 'highest' jobs can't be offshore, instead of simply jobs that require geographic closeness and specific cultural knowledge?

And have you considered that portable jobs are also the jobs required to pay for imports? To buy stuff abroad means the other side is outsourcing something to you.


Almost any job is portable given the right economies. You must be able to do it cheaper somewhere else than you can do it here.( I speak of the US). Education, other than very basic levels, was never an issue. There are two exceptions to this, there may be more, things locked by geography, and areas that require a very stable society to function. And in most cases those two things live on opposite ends of the curve. Service jobs tend to pay less and hold lower status. On the other end you have wealth and high levels of education. While the high end is not geographically locked they do require the a stable area to enjoy the benefits of their position. The biggest problem with all of this is the skill sets that we are losing.

Azrael wrote:And what would you learn? With the field of PhD holders being roughly two times less likely to be unemployed than a bachelor's degree (3 times less likely than the work force average and nearly 6 times less likely than an uneducated worker) you'd have to be a pretty major statistical outlier before you could argue that a specific PhD is actually hurting your employment chances.

It was a whimsical question. The purpose would be to illuminate the difference between a focused education based on specific skill sets, versus other degree types.

Azrael wrote:Even if that conjecture were true, so were nuclear arms. But the cold war wasn't Oppenheimer's fault. :roll:

Apples and oranges. Oppenheimer wasn't in it for the money. This link describes what I talking about. In any case the point was directed to the OP to point out the mixed blessing that is a superior education is when used as a cure to social problems.

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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby Dark567 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:14 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Service jobs tend to pay less and hold lower status.


What service jobs are you talking about? Working as a cashier at Walmart? Yes. But the vast majority of service jobs in fact pay higher and have higher status.

Doctors, lawyers, many engineers, consultants, teachers, bankers, stock brokers, actors, professional athletes, real estate agents, insurance agents, tax services are all in the service sector.

morriswalters wrote:It was a whimsical question. The purpose would be to illuminate the difference between a focused education based on specific skill sets, versus other degree types.

I don't know of very many fields that hand out PhD's that aren't focused on a specific skill set.

morriswalters wrote:This link describes what I talking about. In any case the point was directed to the OP to point out the mixed blessing that is a superior education is when used as a cure to social problems.

As a former quant(one without a PhD) I take issue with your idea that derivatives are somehow intrinsically bad. Were they often misused and overused, yes. They have also helped us engage in much of the growth of the 80's and 90's. (This actually almost always tends to happen with any relatively new financial instrument, about 40 years after stocks were introduced the 1929 crashed happened because people bought too much, and bought a lot with leverage)
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

morriswalters
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Re: Education, why don´t we fund it more?

Postby morriswalters » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:47 am UTC

Dark567 wrote: morriswalters wrote:Service jobs tend to pay less and hold lower status.



What service jobs are you talking about? Working as a cashier at Walmart? Yes. But the vast majority of service jobs in fact pay higher and have higher status.

Doctors, lawyers, many engineers, consultants, teachers, bankers, stock brokers, actors, professional athletes, real estate agents, insurance agents, tax services are all in the service sector.


As I'm well aware. And the average level of pay goes from high to low fairly quickly within these fields. With the bulk on the lower end. You could include civil service workers of all types. And a number of these jobs are geographically locked. I would dispute that the majority of people in service positions are enjoying higher wages and status.

Dark567 wrote: morriswalters wrote:It was a whimsical question. The purpose would be to illuminate the difference between a focused education based on specific skill sets, versus other degree types.


I don't know of very many fields that hand out PhD's that aren't focused on a specific skill set.


There are skill sets and Skill Sets, but as you will, as I said the question was of a whimsical nature.

Derivatives aren't evil, but the complexities are such that not many people can understand them fully. Particularly the more arcane kind. With the synthetics being the worst offenders. As that situation continues it may become impossible for most people to keep up. The proliferation of software which can work faster than most people can think, combined with the manipulative nature of some players, could set us up for more bad times. In any case these strategies leave the common man at risk, since he has to play but is in a game controlled by people smarter than he is and is therefore at their mercy. Education at work. And the guys responsible for some of the more arcane instruments were PhD's out of MIT.


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