Banning of Private schools?

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Postby wisnij » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:32 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:So you are saying, that the poorer students get 5000 per year in return for working in mcdonald's for the rest of their life vs going through university and getting an easy ass job that pays 80K a year.

google.com "financial aid"
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Postby Jesse » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:34 pm UTC

I don't know how it is in your country, but over here you can get into University easily through the state school system (Although what your degree is worth is debatable lately). I really have nothing against private schools (Except for teaching non-curriculum things like Creationism over Evolution).

As long as everyone receives what can be defined as a base education that everyone is entitled to, then if others go to private because their parents can afford it, all power to them. I would be in favour of better financial schemes form the government for those who don't want to go to University, but would rather, say, set-up a business instead but that is another discussion entirely.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:37 pm UTC

*No longer responding to posts implying that ( insert 'stupid girl' accent here)
"anyone that wants can get the help they need and get where they want if they try really really hard, and don't give up, and keep their eyes on their goals" *
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Postby Jesse » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:41 pm UTC

Was that at me or Wis?

Because I thought I made a prudent point. Every one of my friends who went through the same education as me got into the University they wanted (Although one had to re-do the year to get better grades) and I think that the standard of education in England is fairly good (Scotland's is better from my PoV though).
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:41 pm UTC

*No longer responding to posts implying that ( insert 'stupid girl' accent here)
"anyone that wants can get the help they need and get where they want if they try really really hard, and don't give up, and keep their eyes on their goals" *


<moderator mode> That was uncalled for. Tone down the hostility. </mod>
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Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:52 pm UTC

Yes Mod.

That was @ wis. Sry wis.

It just seems to me that everyone wants to make the same point, without reading any of the other posts.
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Postby OmenPigeon » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:56 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:So you are saying, that the poorer students get 5000 per year in return for working in mcdonald's for the rest of their life vs going through university and getting an easy ass job that pays 80K a year.


I am in the process of finishing a computer science degree which, if I don't screw it all up horribly, could net me one of those 80+K a year jobs you speak of. However, this 80 grand salary won't be for sitting around all day eating Cheetos. Part of it will be for the substantial debt I've incurred for years of school, a significant part of which is mine, not my parents'. The rest of it will be for the fact that I will likely be working 60+ hour weeks, and expected for more when projects are about to ship. If you poke around a bit, you can find some depressing horror stories about programming jobs that came very close to ruining families by placing incredible demands on their employees. Or I could take the other tack and avoid the corporate code farms and try for a startup, which basically means devoting years of my life to nothing other than my work, for basically no pay, in the hope that I can get bought out at the end. It's very possible that I'll be making much more than the average McDonald's employee, but McDonald's employees aren't expected to give up the rest of their lives to flip burgers.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:59 pm UTC

I would assume working in McDonalds all your life for under $10/hr is kinda worse. My point however is not that you are lazy, people, I am planning to go for doctor or math prof, both of which pay over 80k, i hope. Point is, I think the system is unfair to the poorer kids not that its impossible to beat.
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Postby Tractor » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:02 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:The point is private schools are where normal rich kids go, to become rich people.

I'm ignoring your gross generalization.
3.14159265... wrote:And you just crystalized my point, see when people are DIFFERENT they need DIFFERENT treatments.

That was your point?? I thought your point was treat everyone equal?
3.14159265... wrote:Are you saying rich kids are DIFFERENT from poor kids.
That they somehow deserve DIFFERENT things?

Did I say it had anything to do with wealth? No. It is based upon how an individual learns. You keep trying to twist everything I say into a wealth discussion, when that's not my point at all.

3.14159265... wrote:Education is correlated with financial success

It is a trend, but not always true.
3.14159265... wrote:Private schools are as accessable to poor kids than rich kids.

What? That sentence doesn't make sense.

And OmenPigeon speaks the truth.
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Postby wisnij » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:03 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:That was @ wis. Sry wis.

It just seems to me that everyone wants to make the same point, without reading any of the other posts.

It's okay. I was being a little flippant... but my point is valid, I think. At least at the secondary level, there are plenty of both need- and merit-based scholarships and loans to help pay for higher education, if one is willing to put in the effort to get them. The only way someone ends up flipping burgers as a career path is if they are stupid. Money doesn't cure dumb.
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Postby Tractor » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:11 pm UTC

wisnij wrote:Money doesn't cure dumb.


Oh man, that is so true. I think I'm stealing that for future use.
And, by the same token, lack of money doesn't prevent smart.
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Postby Jesse » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:28 pm UTC

Also, don't these places like McDonald's have schemes for low-level employees whereby they can progress to managers etc.?

I know at Asda, after twelve months you can go on a scheme to be trained as a manager. PLenty of people do it if they're willing to put in the hard work. I'm not saying everyone will, but there are an awful lot of chances (Again, this is based on my own knowledge of here in the UK).
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Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:30 pm UTC

There is a matter of freedom.

Why stop people from going to private school?

3.14... wrote:I would assume working in McDonalds all your life for under $10/hr is kinda worse. My point however is not that you are lazy, people, I am planning to go for doctor or math prof, both of which pay over 80k, i hope. Point is, I think the system is unfair to the poorer kids not that its impossible to beat.


To become a professor, you have to fight in a rather insane competition. Getting into grad school is easy, getting your PhD just requires that you are very smart and can keep to a schedual and you pick your advisor smart.

Then it gets hard. You have a PhD, but you will notice that most professors have 4 PhD students under them, and another 2 post-docs. If you stay as a PhD student for 4 years and 2 years as a post-doc, and you stay as a professor for 24 years, that means over those 24 years the professor will have supervised on the order of 24 PhD students and 24 post-Docs.

The number of professors isn't going up by a factor of 24 every 24 years: it is staying pretty close to flat. Which means after you get your PhD, you have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a tenured professor.

I hope you enjoy competition, because you are in for a doozy of one. Start working on your resume now.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:35 pm UTC

Yes yes, we live in a pretty well developed country, thats not the point.
Education IS HIGHLY correlated with financial success Tractor.
The sentence that didn't make sense was supposed to be "private schools are NOT as accessible to poor kids than rich kids"

It IS about wealth, if its not about wealth, than make private schools free as well. Have free private schools, where the criterion for admission is smart, or for the religous schools, those are just wrong, cuz it makes little religious kids which the parents have no right to do. This only happens because we live in a world with a large amount of believers.

To treat everyone Equally is not communism, to treat everyone FAIRLY is.
the whole "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" I am a commi so I go by that.

Now private schools treat kids differently than public schools, if not than why have them if there is no difference?

Different treatment should be based on different characteristic.

The defining characteristic between private school kids and public school kids is parents' income. These are highly correlated though not completely but this is negligible.

So this means we treat some kids differently cuz their parents are rich. WTF? (added for emphasis)

Edit: @ Yakk, Wow that makes feel a bit better about med-school
EDIT: I just noticed why Belial said my comment was uncalled for, I in no way meant you are a stupid girl, just that whole accent makes that point funny. *Back to the Communication thread*.
Last edited by 3.14159265... on Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:42 pm UTC

It IS about wealth, if its not about wealth, than make private schools free as well. Have free private schools,


In order to do this, private schools would need government funding. Government funding brings government oversight and government management.

There is a significant sector of the private school population who goes to private schools specifically *because* they feel that the government mismanages education.

And no, that isn't just limited to people who think evolution shouldn't be taught in schools. It also includes people who think we shouldn't be teaching toward Standardized Tests, or that we should be focusing more on the Arts, or any number of other factors in which they disagree with the government's method of education.

To make the school free, you'd have to give up the entire reason for the school's existence in the first place.

Full disclosure: I went to one such art-themed, non-SOL oriented school. I liked it very much.
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Postby Tractor » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:47 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
It IS about wealth, if its not about wealth, than make private schools free as well. Have free private schools,


In order to do this, private schools would need government funding. Government funding brings government oversight and government management.

There is a significant sector of the private school population who goes to private schools specifically *because* they feel that the government mismanages education.

QFT
Belial wrote:And no, that isn't just limited to people who think evolution shouldn't be taught in schools. It also includes people who think we shouldn't be teaching toward Standardized Tests, or that we should be focusing more on the Arts, or any number of other factors in which they disagree with the government's method of education.

To make the school free, you'd have to give up the entire reason for the school's existence in the first place.

Your point on standardized tests makes me want to rethink my own opinions on not bothering to send any possible future kids to private school. 'Teaching to the test' is one of the worst ways to go about things, and it is too much the focus of public schools.
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:49 pm UTC

I've never taken the SOL. And we never spared more than a week talking about the SATs, ACTs, or PSATs. I'd recommend it.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:50 pm UTC

That was my point, actually that making the schools free would make them public.

That is a good reason to keep private schools going Belial, but there is a HUGE number of private schools, here in Canada anyway, they would have no problem lobbying to the government to start schools that are more art oriented or anything like that. In fact in toronto many schools are "something"-oriented. Students pick different schools because of this too. These are not private schools either.
If its a good idea, I don't think the canadian parliment would be to against it.

My point is, success should not be inheritable which private schools make possible. Now the meat of my argument:

In toronto there was a persian school, where you paid and recieved good marks, THEY DID THIS. THEY PUBLICIZED THIS in the persian community. A jewish person I know had a similar experience in a private jewish school. The teachers LITTERALLY fixed the marks. LITTERALLY. as in bring the averages low, by giving 50s in say math to the students who didn't wish to be say in math program. Then gie the kids 90s in the courses they needed. THEY DID THIS!. Think about it.
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Postby wisnij » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:49 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:the whole "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" I am a commi so I go by that.

That's a terrible idea! Anyone can game the system and be rewarded by being deliberately useless.

3.14159265... wrote:In toronto there was a persian school, where you paid and recieved good marks, THEY DID THIS. THEY PUBLICIZED THIS in the persian community. A jewish person I know had a similar experience in a private jewish school. The teachers LITTERALLY fixed the marks. LITTERALLY. as in bring the averages low, by giving 50s in say math to the students who didn't wish to be say in math program. Then gie the kids 90s in the courses they needed. THEY DID THIS!. Think about it.

And then they fail to get accredited, and the whole scheme falls apart because nobody trusts them. Problem solved.
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Postby Yakk » Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:39 am UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Yes yes, we live in a pretty well developed country, thats not the point.
Education IS HIGHLY correlated with financial success Tractor.
The sentence that didn't make sense was supposed to be "private schools are NOT as accessible to poor kids than rich kids"


So? The people going to private school are still paying their share of maintaining the public school. In addition, they are spending money on a different system of education.

What, precicely, should be the punishment for daring to educate your children in a private school? Should the parents be shot? What evil is it that they are doing?

It IS about wealth, if its not about wealth, than make private schools free as well.


Public schools are not free. Everyone in society pays for them.

If you want to say "why don't we pay for people to send their kids to super-expensive schools", I say "you pay first".

The expense exists regardless. The question is not "what does it cost the consumer" but "who pays".

I am willing to let people spend extra money on what they consider important, but there is a limit to how much of my resources I think should be dedicated to educating children.

Have free private schools, where the criterion for admission is smart, or for the religous schools, those are just wrong, cuz it makes little religious kids which the parents have no right to do.


By that standard, you should have no right to be told the political opinions of your parents. There is a cost, in liberty, every time you say "you cannot do X" -- be certain that the cost is worth it.

This only happens because we live in a world with a large amount of believers.


And because many believers really care about how their children are raised.

To treat everyone Equally is not communism, to treat everyone FAIRLY is.
the whole "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" I am a commi so I go by that.


Ok. You need a starvation diet of bland food. Stop eating any better than that. If you have extra food resources, send them to someone who needs it more: there are staving children in africa, india, china, USA, and France who need it more than you.

Next, you are able to stop all leisure. Start working at the job that will pay you the most for your leisure time, regardless of how dangerous or unpleasant it is, and allocate all of your money to aforsaid child-feeding program.

...

Go ahead, you said you lived by "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". You can live by that ideal right now, nothing is stopping you. Given how wealthy our local society is, you can easily earn more resources than you need, and then you can personally allocate it appropriately.

Now private schools treat kids differently than public schools, if not than why have them if there is no difference?


Freedom. The parents are free to spend extra resources that they have allocated to them on whatever they want to.

So this means we treat some kids differently cuz their parents are rich. WTF? (added for emphasis)


Yes, we do.

We treat people differently because they have more money. The degree we treat them differently is pretty small on any scale of real importance.

For example, people with more money can buy more expensive cars. They can own more expensive homes. They can send their kids to fancier looking schools.

My point is, success should not be inheritable which private schools make possible. Now the meat of my argument:

In toronto there was a persian school, where you paid and recieved good marks, THEY DID THIS. THEY PUBLICIZED THIS in the persian community. A jewish person I know had a similar experience in a private jewish school. The teachers LITTERALLY fixed the marks. LITTERALLY. as in bring the averages low, by giving 50s in say math to the students who didn't wish to be say in math program. Then gie the kids 90s in the courses they needed. THEY DID THIS!. Think about it.


Sure. And that just makes the school worse. Having high grades from a school that sells grades isn't worth much, in the medium run. Decent calibre universities aren't foolish -- they will notice if a school hands them many 99% average students who all flunk out in first year.

If they are claiming to match a standard (like IB or Ontario standards), then they are probably committing fraud. If you didn't at least report them/turn them in, you are condoning their behavior -- an accessory after the fact.
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Postby Teaspoon » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:03 am UTC

The arguments against religious schools are quite frankly bullshit. As much as some of you may think it's wrong for religious parents to send their children to religious schools as a way of handing their beliefs to their children, those parents believe strongly that it would be wrong not to! You don't actually have any evidence that they're wrong, either*.

As an agnostic/weak-atheist, I consider strong-atheists who preach the wrongness of religions to be just as offensive as preachy religious people.

Anyway, the argument against religious schools are particularly shit-filled here in Australia, where our state schools have "scripture" lessons. These are weekly(?) lessons where the children are instructed according to the religion that their parents have nominated. I'm not sure what happens if the parents put down "atheism" on the enrollment paperwork; perhaps the children are left unattended in the non-fiction section of the library. :D

I should get Rhianna to pop in on this thread and explain the scripture lessons thing. She both teaches at and used to attend public school.

*Alright, you may have evidence that they're wrong about Creationism, but that's a very small subset of religious people and it's already being intensely discussed in another thread.
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Postby Jesse » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:06 am UTC

I attended a religious school for a couple of years, it didn't encroach on the other lessons in any way. There were just religious symbols everywhere, Religious Education only taught Catholicism and no other religions and we were required to go to mass at the school every so often. I'm really not against them at all (although I am against teaching biblical literalism over science).
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:35 am UTC

Yeah, everything that parents do has a chance to affect a child's development in certain ways and parents have a responsibility to their kids and themselves to get it right. And there are lots of other factors, too. I don't really see private schools as a great evil in this environment. It's one out of a number of choices that parents make, many of which are tied to money. Even if the schools were all government-funded parents would still have to choose one, and a wrong choice could be a disaster. It is a great evil that some public schools are as bad as they are, and I think that the inequality in public education (talking about the US here, primarily Illinois where I grew up but I think some places are much worse even) is shocking. It's a really hard problem to solve, particularly within the political constraints that exist, and it's one that sometimes has to be solved by the people local to the area with failing schools (I haven't paid close attention to this since moving to California, but I've heard that Mayor Daley has been largely responsible for improving Chicago's schools).
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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:55 am UTC

In defence against all you have said, I will post a few things I consider facts without the agreement of the other side on these I don't continue, so let me know if you agree or not. I don't think I am terribly important to you, my time is important to me thats why, and also you will NOT convince me unless you are making your point without contradicting these points.

Private school vs Public school (axioms of 3.14159265...)

1. All people are born free. (Except the mentally handicapped whose freedom is restricted by the severity of the handicap.)
2. No advantage in society should be heritable (i.e. Everyone should get equal opportunities. Accidents happen these are fine, no general heritable advantages)
3. Anything that is to be thought to children (who will easily believe alot of things) must be proven scientifically, if not then it should be reserved untill the postoperational stage of cognitive ability has developed.

Let me know if you disagree.
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:45 am UTC

I disagree with "axiom" 2 on the grounds that it's impossible. I think the limitation of inheritable advantage is often a good thing; as an absolute rule it's impossible, and even as an absolute ideal I have trouble with it. The line between advantage and mere difference is not well defined, and eliminating differences in child-raising seems to me an unreasonable encroachment into the freedoms of people. Marxists would probably call these freedoms "bourgeois freedoms" that don't exist for the masses anyway (that is about the most extreme rhetoric I can think of, and I think it covers the basis of most socialist critiques of my opinion even if most modern socialist rhetoric is very different), and my only response to that is that there are many possible differences (and even advantages) besides economic ones that are available to all people. I also think that having people with diverse childhood experiences is good from an "evolutionary" perspective, in the same way that biodiversity improves the adaptive ability of species facing future unknown environmental pressures. I might have less of a problem with axiom 2 if there was a clear way to distinguish advantage from mere difference. If by "advantage" you mean things that are advantages nearly beyond doubt, it's still impossible as a rule but more palatable as an ideal.

I don't think I agree with axiom 3, but I have some questions. I think axiom 3 is impossible when taken as a rule and when applied to society as a whole. Many elements of culture, history and art may not lend themselves to scientific proof. As an ideal for individual institutions and parents it makes a lot of sense to me, but that kind of flies in the face of what most parents (even ones that don't raise their kids in religion, as mine did not) actually do (such as teach myths of tooth fairies and fat dudes in red suits that deliver gifts in the winter that kids actually do believe). I'd like to see what child development experts have to say on this topic. I also think that parents (and the various private institutions they involve in their children's lives, whether they're schools or not) have got to have the right not to follow this ideal even though I basically think it's a good one, and that this is one of the differences in child-raising that it would be foolish to eliminate.
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Postby OmenPigeon » Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:07 am UTC

I take issue with axiom two, but in a somewhat roundabout fashion. One of the advantages that money confers in our society is the ability to not only provide for yourself, but for your family. And I think that being able to provide whatever you would like for your family is an emotional benefit of having earned that money, even if the tangible benefits are gleaned by your offspring. In this light, I think it would absolutely criminal to tell someone that money they have earned cannot be spent on a private education for their child, because their kid didn't earn that money. The child may be inheriting an advantage, but the parents have rightly earned something that I don't think anyone is in a position to deny them.
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:33 am UTC

@OmenPigeon: I think that this basically winds up playing out in any society with money, whether we want it to or not; it could be music lessons, availability of computers, safety of neighborhoods. It's pretty inevitable, but in a society where it is inevitable we as a society absolutely must work to make public education good for everyone. When you make an argument as you do presenting the happy face of affluence you also have to consider the face of poverty. I believe that since there always will be plenty of advantages available for rich kids, it's the duty of a society to make sure that the poor kids have a quality education also. That there will always be choices for rich parents and that we have a duty to provide choices for poor parents also. I think that a choice that only exists for the rich is not something that we have to place a high priority on protecting.

When you talk about people with money having earned it, I really think that's a loaded term, because the implication is that people without money don't deserve as much.* Argh, I don't think there's actually anything in your post that prevents you from basically having similar priorities to me, but when people talk about earning like that it sets of red flags for me. Sorry.

* EDIT: What I mean by this is... money is often divided up in pretty arbitrary ways. The only ways I can think of to talk about people "deserving" money are the following two extremes: either we all deserve nothing in particular, or we all deserve exactly how much money we've managed to get our hands on. Neither of those seem very satisfactory to me... money takes a lot of complicated things and flattens it into one number line, and there's not a way to do it that's "fair". So I generally disagree when I hear people claim that anyone with money deserves it. They have it, and they can use it, but I don't think there's any reason to say they've done anything good necessarily.
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Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:42 am UTC

@ aldimond.
I am quite the commi Yes.
I also am the biggest advocate of freedom too.
I completely agree with your point on diversity. I have to however say, that just because we can't completely abolish inheritable advantages, unless we break down the family system, which I am not up for in this time of human history, it does not imply that we can not strive to.
That is my point, that people must agree, that we should take all steps possible to get there, even if we won't.
As for clearifying between advantage and difference. I agree to much on this point to be able to come up with a good distinction. Though my point is not the complete elimination but the idea of it.

@Omenpigeon. Is it really the only way they can get pleasure out of their money? If they really wanna see their kids happy, can't they buy them like more cookies. If they really want their kids to have financial success in the future, save it up and just give it to them afterwards.
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Postby OmenPigeon » Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:04 am UTC

3.14159265... wrote:If they really wanna see their kids happy, can't they buy them like more cookies.


I don't have kids now, but if I have them later I would much rather spend money on their education than cookies. Perhaps my delicious-treat-deprived children will hate me for it, but they'll hate me in the smartest way they know how.

@aldimond
I think that I agree with you on most everything here. "Earned" is, in retrospect, more loaded a term than I would have liked. It's a little difficult to phrase this correctly without sounding either patronizing or entitled (especially since I'm one of the happy few who inherited parents with the will and means to pay more than taxes for my education), but here goes. When it gets asserted that children shouldn't benefit from the non-biological traits of their parents (in this case, wealth), I think that that obscures the role of the parents. They have some wealth, deserved or not, and as long as they didn't do anything illegal to get it I think they should be allowed to spend it as they wish. Spending it on a child's schooling is, frankly, one of the least stupid things you can do with a pile of money. Spending it on improving public schools is, I think, a better way to spend it, but if it isn't my money it isn't my place to say. And if it were my money, it wouldn't be anyone else's place. After taxes, of course.
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:23 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:Spending it on a child's schooling is, frankly, one of the least stupid things you can do with a pile of money. Spending it on improving public schools is, I think, a better way to spend it, but if it isn't my money it isn't my place to say. And if it were my money, it wouldn't be anyone else's place. After taxes, of course.


I can dig that.

*goes to closet and gets a shovel*
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Postby Teaspoon » Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:46 am UTC

3.14159265... wrote:3. Anything that is to be thought to children (who will easily believe alot of things) must be proven scientifically, if not then it should be reserved untill the postoperational stage of cognitive ability has developed.


Can we scientifically prove justice? Mercy? Beauty? Freedom? Even logic?

No. Not even logic.

Should that be grounds for refusing to instill them into children? I think not. They may be fabricated concepts, but we have to treat them like they're real or societies make no sense.
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Postby Vandole » Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:51 am UTC

I'll say this, because this is the idea I'm getting from most of the posts.

We'd like to live in a merit-based society. We'd like to say that everyone smart enough and who works hard enough can go to university. But it's not true, and until we somehow overcome the evils of man and establish a utopia, it will never be. Sure, we attempt to make it so, with scholarships, but the chance to get a scholarship is rare; you're often competing against thousands of other hopeful students for a single position. But it doesn't work like that. The rich go to university, whether they deserve to or want to, their parents will pay for it. The rich kid probably has an advantage on the scholarship too, like he has time to practice his persuasive writing because he's not helping his father in the fields every day like a farmer's child.

...aaaand I have no idea where I'm going with this.

My brother showed me a study they talked about in his sociology class. It observed that people generally fall into the same education class as their parents. It was uncommon to break out of that education class and move up in the world. It's sad that the children of poor, uneducated people can't fall very far from the tree. It reminds me of what my American History teacher said about the plight of aboriginal americans, that poverty begets poverty, so they will never escape.

and it saddens me, because I've read studies which concluded the top 10% of the world's population has 85% of the world's wealth (and even beyond that, the top 2% of the population has half the world's wealth). So clearly there are some very exorbitantly wealthy people in the world, or a lot of people who are extremely poor, or both. Would it be wrong of us to take much of the earnings of the rich and use them to aid the poor? Not give to the poor, I mean improve the infrastructure in poor areas, promote merit-based advancement rather than wealth based. Instead, though the rich are taxed greatly in most areas of the world, they have a ridiculous amount left over to spend on luxury while the poor can barely afford the necessities of shelter and reliable transportation, without even touching on the quality of life.

I mean, the whole problem I have is that there is obviously a problem, but no one knows how to fix it, or is willing to fix it. You can't say the poor are poor because they didn't put in the effort, or weren't smart, because we know that's not true. How do we make sociological change for the better happen?

That's a bit of an off-topic rant... but it worries me.
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:20 am UTC

Vandole wrote:How do we make sociological change for the better happen?


Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

I alternate between believing that the great challenge of economics is to find a way to sustain an economy that provides people with what they need but does not grow (because economic growth is really tied to population growth, increased pollution, sprawl, all kinds of ugly stuff) and believing that such an economy would be useless if there was anyone outside of it, because the growing nations would eventually come to dominate the rest and reinstate exponential growth.

A merit-based society is a horrible idea, especially if merit means how well you do in school. Because how well you do in school, frankly, has a lot to do with the luck of genetics, how well you train to take exams, and how much tongue you're willing to use when you kiss The Man's ass. That's because you have some central authority defining and testing merit. Even if everyone has an equal opportunity, all the things they have an opportunity to do are contrived. The idea behind money is something way cooler than that: people can reward you for doing something that's valuable to them. They might not always make good decisions, and the economic pressures involved fuck lots of people over. As a society we constantly try to correct for that, and not always with much success. But I think it's a better starting place than a meritocracy.
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Postby Jesse » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:50 am UTC

Do you not get student loans over there?

In the UK the government will give you a loan that covers your University costs (Including housing and food, although you are pretty much expected to waste it on booze and then get a job) but you only pay it back once you're earning a certain amount, if after (I think) ten years you haven't paid it back then the debt is wiped clean. Also it doesn't count as a debt against you if you're trying to get a mortgage for a house.

I think it's a great idea that really does help anyone who otherwise couldn't afford it.
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Postby VannA » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:51 am UTC

Just to back that up.

Any honest meritocracy *will* become rule by the "strong".

Might is right.

All depending on how you define might.. but those that can succeed will.. and they will change it so that only they succeed.

Anywho.
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Postby Toeofdoom » Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:01 am UTC

I personally dislike the way private schools seem to operate, just trying to boost their schools image as much as possible. For example, they put kids through classes specifically to train them for competitions and such, and seem to only care about money, rather than actual practical education.

Private schools for the purpose of being a religious school is a seperate issue, but public schools should be good enough for everyone. If you want harder classes, you should be able to do them, and if you want easier classes you should be able to do them, and to some extent you can, but the whole elitism culture of private schools is just another form of segregation. If there were only public schools available and you want a better education, donate to the school your kid goes to or something, or help out by teaching some side classes or helping out with a school play if you think that would be good.

The whole monetary system is pretty fucked up really, and including private schools in it just makes it worse.
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Postby OmenPigeon » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:39 pm UTC

Toeofdoom wrote:the whole elitism culture of private schools is just another form of segregation.


I overheard an economics professor the other day mention that schools today are more segregated than they were when Brown v BoE went down. I think his argument was an economic one (what sense!), but I had to get along to the class I was actually supposed to be in, so I'm not sure. He seems fairly smart, though (I walk by his class a lot), so I'm willing to take it on his word.
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Postby space_raptor » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:04 pm UTC

I'd like to respond to a few different ideas that have been raised, but I also don't want to write a really long post replying to different people. So here's my two cents.

Communism and freedom are pretty much incompatible ideas. Communism and human nature are pretty much incompatible ideas, in my opinion.

I will teach my (eventual) children whatever I damn well want to teach them, and I will do my best to raise them in a way so that they are hard-working, fair, and well-educated individuals. If that includes sending them to university, I'll do that. The idea of preventing me from helping my children goes against both my sense of right and wrong and my genetic imperative to keep my line going.

The idea of helping children in low income situations go to school is great. Education is good. Decreasing the means for some to get educated just because others don't have it is not just unfair, it's counterproductive.

And just for fun... A meritocracy will be ruled by the people who are best at what that society thinks is important. Strength and intelligence are obviously important, but so are honesty and decency. If we use those as a measure of "merit", then maybe a meritocracy isn't such a bad idea. I think we can agree that a society where the amount of money you have decides your status is worse. And, not to be snarky, but if the smart and strong aren't in charge, who is? The stupid and the weak? I know who I'd rather have. They just have to have a social conscience as well, which is a separate issue.

Just throwing these out there, stirring the pot a little. As to the actual topic of this thread, :) in theory I don't have a problem with private schools. In practice though, you do get some where rich people get more opportunities, and some where priorities are f*cked, like in situations where competition is stressed to the point of insanity.

Myself, I went to Catholic schools. Basically the same education as public schools, but with some religion thrown in. In Canada, at least where I live, we take "Religious Studies", and it's definitely not bible study or scriptures. We're a bit more secular that way. We definitely learn about our own religion, and we go to school mass, and say prayers and stuff. However, we also learn about other religions, and the differences between our religion and theirs. So as a rule, I liked my non-public school, and I don't see why removing them is good for anybody. There were definitely people at the school who were just as goth and atheistic as you would find at a public school. I don't see why it's a big deal.
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Postby Yakk » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:09 pm UTC

3.14... wrote:1. All people are born free. (Except the mentally handicapped whose freedom is restricted by the severity of the handicap.)


I object to the removal of freedom to the mentally handicapped.

2. No advantage in society should be heritable (i.e. Everyone should get equal opportunities. Accidents happen these are fine, no general heritable advantages)


I ask you to live them first before imposing your ideas on others.

Axiom 2 seems to imply "we should all exist at the lowest common denominator". So go and starve yourself to death: there are children in the world who starve to death.

If your claim is those children shouldn't exist, then take your wealth and give it to them. Right now, everything you own or have claim to. Start working at the highest pay job you can, and give it all away to starving children.

Or do you just want to take other people's stuff and give them to yourself and other people?

Second, I repeat this question: how do you plan on enforcing this?

Do you shoot the professor who spends time talking with her children about the wonders of science?

Maybe you just throw the professor in jail?

How do you detect these purely consensual crimes? Do you build a "beauro of thoguht control", which spys on the citizens of the nation?

3. Anything that is to be thought to children (who will easily believe alot of things) must be proven scientifically, if not then it should be reserved untill the postoperational stage of cognitive ability has developed.


What scientific standards do you intend to use?

Do you plan on shooting people who disagree?

There are many things that have not, or cannot, be proved scientifically. And knowing what is currently true scientifically is a rather high burden.

Do you have a proof that kids should hold their parents hands when they cross the street? That the kid shouldn't tear the wings off of insects? That the kid should stop pulling the dogs tail, because the dog doesn't like it?

Or even "share with your friends", "don't eat dirt, it is bad for you", "fighting with timmy is bad, don't do it"?

I completely agree with your point on diversity. I have to however say, that just because we can't completely abolish inheritable advantages, unless we break down the family system, which I am not up for in this time of human history, it does not imply that we can not strive to.


Families provide lots of freely given labour to the raising of the next generation. Those resources are built up and given gladly. If some people fail in passing on this cultural pattern to thier children, then their cultural pattern dies off. If you succeed, the pattern continues to propogate.

So in order to remove the family and remove all advantage, you need to develop a way of making people want to raise other people's children in a way that they have absolutely no freedom over - they must follow exact state-presribed behaviour at all times, to make sure there is no advantage for one child over another.

While we are at it, we should remove the genetic advantage. Over time, wipe out all genes except for one set. You can either do this with high tech cloning, or you can do this slowly via the legal requirement to use sperm banks and egg banks to create new children. The human incubators used will be placed in strictly controlled environments so they cannot generate any difference in the brood's pre-birth environment.

...

Or you can stop being jealous. Is someone's life so much worse because someone else's life is better? What if making someone's life better did not make everyone else's life worse -- would you reject that?

The world doesn't reset every generation. Encouraging social mobility is a good idea, but banning any kind of intergenerational resource transfer would require seriosly insane amounts of force and cohersion.

...

So I ask you again, how do you plan on enforcing this?

Why is it ethical to punish someone who does extra for thier child?

If you want to force people to not help their children, you will have to use force. If you want to prevent people from raising their own children, you will have to use force.
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:40 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:Communism and freedom are pretty much incompatible ideas. Communism and human nature are pretty much incompatible ideas, in my opinion.


Communism is certainly incompatible with a many types of freedom. One communist claim is that the type of freedom available in capitalist societies have very limited availability. It purports to give what it considers a truer form of freedom to all people equally. I don't think, however, that it can really do that without creating an entire society of affluent people, and short of living in a country with gold for topsoil that is not too likely to happen. So I think you're basically right in all likely cases.

And just for fun... A meritocracy will be ruled by the people who are best at what that society thinks is important. Strength and intelligence are obviously important, but so are honesty and decency. If we use those as a measure of "merit", then maybe a meritocracy isn't such a bad idea. I think we can agree that a society where the amount of money you have decides your status is worse. And, not to be snarky, but if the smart and strong aren't in charge, who is? The stupid and the weak? I know who I'd rather have. They just have to have a social conscience as well, which is a separate issue.


A meritocracy is ruled by people that are good at what a central authority thinks is important (for it to really be a meritocracy there has to be a way to judge people). This works for some things. In an orchestra the best players (determined by the director) sit principal. There are elements of meritocracy within corporations, militaries and schools. For society at large a central authority is not nimble enough to dole out merit. In capitalism, the people can at any moment vote with their money and reward someone that *does* something useful for them. If the people need someone to add 2+2 for them, a dunce comes along and offers, "4", and a smart dude offers to show them why e^(i*pi) = -1, the people will reward the dunce, even though he's not much of a mathematician. This happens all the time. If nobody needs to know about e^(i*pi) the mathematician can go invent an abacus. A meritocracy would usually be very unlikely to reward thinkers and artists that seriously challenge authority, where a subculture of people voting with their money can support such people in capitalism. Would a meritocracy have produced punk rock?

And certainly it's a good thing that we have universities where people can pursue things more interesting and less-in-demand than adding machines. It's a good thing that we have government to build the things that the people don't have the foresight to build themselves. And of course there are lots of social structures that aren't based around money. But an economy that rewards satisfying people's needs rather than pure merit is definitely a good thing.
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