American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

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American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Doubting Thomas » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:42 pm

Is our educational system failing our young people?

http://fortune.com/2015/03/10/american- ... t-skilled/
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Gord » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:04 am

Take literacy, for instance. American Millennials scored lower than their counterparts in every country that participated except Spain and Italy. (Japan is No. 1.) In numeracy, meaning the ability to apply basic math to everyday situations, Gen Yers in the U.S. ranked dead last.

Yeah, but they've got spellcheckers and calculators!


...they do still have calculators, don't they? Maybe I'm out of the loop on that one; I haven't seen a calculator in any else's hand for years....
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby gorgeous » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:11 am

Americans have been among the lowest scorers for decades..nothing new...
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Doubting Thomas » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:41 am

This the first paragraph of the article:
"We hear about the superior tech savvy of people born after 1980 so often that we tend to assume it must be true. But is it?"

The problem I have is that the question is non answered adequately. The article compares the technical skills of US people born since 1980 with other countries of the same ages. It does not explain the reasons why they are substandard. It alludes to a failure of our educational system but does not provide any evidence that the system is at fault. If our educational system is truly inferior, what is the cause and what can be done to correct the deficiencies?
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Austin Harper » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:50 am

A woman I know has a nonprofit to help increase literacy rates in children, especially black and hispanic children (whose rates are higher). One thing she is working on as part of this is to increase parental involvent motivating the kids to read and helping them when they have problems. I wonder if part of the problem with kids born since 1980 is less involved parents. That said, I was born in '86 and my parents were very involved.
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:38 am

Austin Harper wrote: I wonder if part of the problem with kids born since 1980 is less involved parents. That said, I was born in '86 and my parents were very involved.


My dad had a rule of thumb. You can tell which kids are going to be bright by the number of books in their house, when they were growing up. I was born in the early 60's so that rule is probably out of date.

However my mother read books to us around the dining room table, every night and it became a natural part of my nature to read a book every night before going to sleep.

I think parents have a direct responsibility to interact and educate their children in conjunction with schools and educational sources.

Dad's nick name for highly intelligent but uneducated young adults was "Unguided missiles". I call them "Small rough diamonds"

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Scott Mayers » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:53 am

This is why I think we are leading to another social cycle that will revert to another dark age as this kid's generation will lack the wisdom to understand the very tech they are using until no one (or not enough) people remains smart enough to repair them in 20 years. iApp will be the future's mythical interpretation of one of our pantheon of Gods today when that future will have gone through another Renaissance.
I eat without fear of certain Death from The Tree of Knowledge because with wisdom, we may one day break free from its mortal curse.

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Doubting Thomas » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:36 am

I grew-up during the 50's and early 60's and spent my early years (until my mid teens) reading books, it was part of my daily activity. My father was an avid reader and would often encourage me to read. I especially liked history, science fiction and social relevant books like those written by Upton Sinclair. Almost every kid carried books home from school each day, something you rarely see today.

It seems that our culture has really changed since 1980 but I question what caused the change. Many point to the media and electronic devices as the cause. Others will blame the educational system. I tend to agree with the latter. Public school courses had three basic categories; advanced, general and a lower level that taught only elementary skills. Most of the resources and attention were applied to the upper level and those students who displayed the greatest aptitude especially Math, English and Science. Today it seems that the emphasis is toward the lower levels in an attempt homogenize learning. This is only my observation with little credible evidence, but my personal discussions with teachers indicate frustration with this system. I would like to pursue this further, but it seems little information is available.
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby grey » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:47 pm

People are more "educated" than ever. The problem is that kids are so snarky and entitled that they think they already know everything. So why learn anything new?

Knowing how to use social media is not the same as being tech savvy. I've been party to delivering computer science degrees to students who, while meeting the requisites, are in no way equipped to handle life in the IT industry.

An educator can do little about the fact that kids study the curriculum enough to ace the tests without ever quite grasping the abstract fundamental abilities of problem solving. Now in the for-profit sector, I know to hire people with experience instead of educations. I'll take a real technician who has proven himself in the field over some greenhorn with a degree any day.

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:23 pm

Doubting Thomas wrote:It seems that our culture has really changed since 1980 but I question what caused the change.


I'm going to say something weird concerning "props".

I think that all humans want to be perceived as intelligent by others. Generally this display is done using "props". In the 50's I'd wear a corduroy jacket,with elbow patches & have a copy of J. D. Salinger in my pocket. By the 80's I could display my success and intelligence with the latest mobile & laptop and sending emails to people. Today as a school drop-out, I can pull out numerous electronic devises and display my intelligence thumbing on a science forum. (cough cough) .


My weird theory is that every new generation shuns the previous generations "props". As every "pleb" now has an electronic device, the new next generation of those who want to be perceived as more intelligent will "settle" on some new sort of prop.

My gut feeling is that is going to be some sort of language shift ( like old upper class accents) combined with a scientific sounding vocabulary and the minimal use of electronic devices to their basic functional uses.

In other words, I think that for the last 20 years, a person could be lazy with their education and hide that behind electronic devices. I guess that once this wears out, individuals will have to really have a desire to become educated again, as the props will no longer be there. People will need to prove they are smart through actual "real time" conversation. I think this will be good news for the future.

(The Skeptic Society has a goal promoting science & critical thinking. This is a clear goal. I'm glad the society isn't promoting "skepticism" as a concept on its own, because I'm concerned that "plebs" are simply calling themselves "skeptics", with no understanding of the word, in the same way as complete morons hold up their MENSA certificates. )

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby OlegTheBatty » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:46 pm

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Doubting Thomas wrote:It seems that our culture has really changed since 1980 but I question what caused the change.


I'm going to say something weird concerning "props".

I think that all humans want to be perceived as intelligent by others. Generally this display is done using "props". In the 50's I'd wear a corduroy jacket,with elbow patches & have a copy of J. D. Salinger in my pocket. By the 80's I could display my success and intelligence with the latest mobile & laptop and sending emails to people. Today as a school drop-out, I can pull out numerous electronic devises and display my intelligence thumbing on a science forum. (cough cough) .


My weird theory is that every new generation shuns the previous generations "props". As every "pleb" now has an electronic device, the new next generation of those who want to be perceived as more intelligent will "settle" on some new sort of prop.

My gut feeling is that is going to be some sort of language shift ( like old upper class accents) combined with a scientific sounding vocabulary and the minimal use of electronic devices to their basic functional uses.

In other words, I think that for the last 20 years, a person could be lazy with their education and hide that behind electronic devices. I guess that once this wears out, individuals will have to really have a desire to become educated again, as the props will no longer be there. People will need to prove they are smart through actual "real time" conversation. I think this will be good news for the future.

(The Skeptic Society has a goal promoting science & critical thinking. This is a clear goal. I'm glad the society isn't promoting "skepticism" as a concept on its own, because I'm concerned that "plebs" are simply calling themselves "skeptics", with no understanding of the word, in the same way as complete morons hold up their MENSA certificates. )

That hypothesis might explain why gen Y scores are declining everywhere, but they are not. It's the US that lags. It would need to be something endemic to the US, such as the encroachment there of religion into the classroom. (I don't know what the causes are, that is merely a suggestion for testing).
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby grey » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:02 am

There is no encroaching of religion into the classroom. In public schools at least it is strictly forbidden. It's an attention span, entitlement, pop-culture fad to be stupid. The stupid fad will pass in a couple of years like all fads. I'm serious by the way. It's cool to be stupid. At the same kind time it's become somewhat cool to be a geek. Now if you can be stupid and a geek at the same time, that makes you some kind of fashion icon.

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:03 am

OlegTheBatty wrote: That hypothesis might explain why gen Y scores are declining everywhere, but they are not. It's the US that lags. It would need to be something endemic to the US, such as the encroachment there of religion into the classroom. (I don't know what the causes are, that is merely a suggestion for testing).


Sorry, I was wafting on and forgot this was about the USA.

You suggest one element maybe "religion entering the class room". I suggest another, "some people wear their ignorance as a badge of honour".

In direct to video movies, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme, can still get a cheer for punching the evil scientist in the face, followed by some sort of "take that science" one-liner.

:D

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby OlegTheBatty » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:39 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
OlegTheBatty wrote: That hypothesis might explain why gen Y scores are declining everywhere, but they are not. It's the US that lags. It would need to be something endemic to the US, such as the encroachment there of religion into the classroom. (I don't know what the causes are, that is merely a suggestion for testing).


Sorry, I was wafting on and forgot this was about the USA.

You suggest one element maybe "religion entering the class room". I suggest another, "some people wear their ignorance as a badge of honour".

In direct to video movies, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme, can still get a cheer for punching the evil scientist in the face, followed by some sort of "take that science" one-liner.

:D

Yeah, that could bring the average down. I keep in mind that the top end is still the top end. It's the average that is declining, not the elite (AFAIK).

Ever read Cyrill M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons"?
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:57 am

OlegTheBatty wrote: Yeah, that could bring the average down. I keep in mind that the top end is still the top end. It's the average that is declining, not the elite (AFAIK).

I'm not stupid and understand that although Aussies might be a bit more educated than Americans, on average, there are still 319 million of them and therefore 16 brighter Americans for each bright Australian.

OlegTheBatty wrote: Ever read Cyrill M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons"?
Yep. It was a nasty SF short story. K Vonnegut nicked elements for his short story, Harrison Bergeron

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron
It is the year 2081. Because of amendments to the Constitution, all Americans are fully equal, meaning that no one is allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. The Handicapper General's agents enforce the equality laws, forcing citizens to wear "handicaps": a mask if they are too beautiful, radio earphones with shrill noise to disrupt the thinking of intelligent people, and heavy weights to burden the strong or athletic.

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Gord » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:11 am

I have two nephews who grew up "fake reading" books. Their teachers would give them extra grades if they read books, so they would take those books home and then claim to read them. No one ever thought to test them on what they had read, however -- except for me. Neither one of them was able to answer any of my questions about the book they were currently supposed to be reading, and after being questioned, they both took the book away and hid it where no one else could find it and test them on it again. In both cases, their parents couldn't be bothered to check on them in the simplest way.

After they had finished high school, they both admitted they had been faking the extra reading. I say "finished" high school, because only one of them managed to graduate. The other left school with a grade 9 education.
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Doubting Thomas » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:26 am

There is a link to the actual study in the article and provides a great deal more detail. I checked the definition or numeracy to be sure I had the correct understanding. It is defined as "a competence in the mathematical skills needed to cope with everyday life and an understanding of information presented mathematically"

The study provides a breakdown by country, age group and by race in the US. Here is a excerpt from the original study. Probably no surprises here, but serves to support what most of us believe.

"Economic opportunities, accessible in large measure through educational attainment as well as the educational attainment levels of one's parents, are clearly tightly woven with skills acquisition. The PIAAC data provide a crucial reminder, however, that merely having parents with higher education (or higher socioeconomic status), or having higher levels of education oneself, does not guarantee a competitive skills advantage. Many of those who attain higher levels of educational attainment, who are among the most advantaged of our adult population, nonetheless demonstrate relatively weaker skills in comparison to their international peers. For education to be a vehicle for future success, for it to fuel the American Dream, it has to be aligned with an economy that values the skills that it imparts, and those skills must be translatable to tangible opportunities. If the outlook is cloudy for many of the more advantaged segments of the population, then it is indeed dark for those who are least advantaged by their socioeconomic status and less likely to have access to a high quality education."


http://www.ets.org/s/research/30079/performers.html
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Frank Hoffman » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:42 pm

"If the outlook is cloudy for many of the more advantaged segments of the population, then it is indeed dark for those who are least advantaged by their socioeconomic status and less likely to have access to a high quality education."

The fact is we don't need as many people to provide us with the things we have decided we want; machines will continue to do more and more of that. So if an "education" is only supposed to make us (as a population) more employable, it is doomed to fail.

With the massive new availability of knowledge, the rest of the world is simply catching up, and that's a good thing. I submit (without proof) that a certain percentage of any population are people who are naturally inquisitive, who will take any opportunity provided them to learn. A certain percentage are not naturally inquisitive, but who will respond to family and social pressures to learn, or (as happens in some communities) refuse to accept any knowledge laid before them… responding to social pressure that "school ain't cool." Here in the U.S. we take the availability of knowledge for granted, and so we are simply slipping in relation to the rest of the world. I submit that it is reasonable that, as more of the worlds population becomes more skilled, we need to find our value in cooperation rather than competition, with liberal arts rather than becoming interchangeable parts... that we become content, and grateful, with the world growing more skilled and affluent around us.

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Gord » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:36 pm

Gord wrote:...they do still have calculators, don't they? Maybe I'm out of the loop on that one; I haven't seen a calculator in any else's hand for years....

I still don't know if they have calculators anymore. :| I know I have one, but it's about thirty years old!
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby xouper » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:58 pm

Gord wrote:
Gord wrote:...they do still have calculators, don't they? Maybe I'm out of the loop on that one; I haven't seen a calculator in any else's hand for years....

I still don't know if they have calculators anymore. :| I know I have one, but it's about thirty years old!

I have many calculators on my computer, but I no longer have any stand-alone devices that are calculators.

Most smart phones have a calculator app pre-installed, but how many kids these days know it's there or use it?

Anyone with a browser can access google's calculator:
http://www.google.com/search?q=3*pi/2

Not to mention the bazillion other calculators on the interwebz.
http://www.meta-calculator.com/online/

I know y'all know all that already.

Anyone remember these?
http://www.antiquark.com/sliderule/sim/n909es/virtual-n909-es.html

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Gord » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:39 pm

xouper wrote:
Gord wrote:
Gord wrote:...they do still have calculators, don't they? Maybe I'm out of the loop on that one; I haven't seen a calculator in any else's hand for years....

I still don't know if they have calculators anymore. :| I know I have one, but it's about thirty years old!

I have many calculators on my computer, but I no longer have any stand-alone devices that are calculators.

It's the end of the world as we knew it! AAAAAHHHH!! RUN!!!

Most smart phones have a calculator app pre-installed, but how many kids these days know it's there or use it?

I won't get a smart phone until someone builds one into a shoe that I can wear.

Anyone with a browser can access google's calculator:
http://www.google.com/search?q=3*pi/2

Not to mention the bazillion other calculators on the interwebz.
http://www.meta-calculator.com/online/

I know y'all know all that already.

I, uh,...yeah! Heh heh. I knew that. *cough*


I still have the one I found in the garbage in high school. And I still have no idea how it works, or what to do with it.
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby xouper » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:01 pm

Gord wrote:

I still have the one I found in the garbage in high school. And I still have no idea how it works, or what to do with it.

Nowadays they are only useful for impressing girls with just how freeking old you are.

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:22 am

Gord wrote: I still don't know if they have calculators anymore. :| I know I have one, but it's about thirty years old!


I still use normal hand calculators with really big displays. During a production meeting, after everyone has displayed their intelligence, through "witty exchanges", "artistic references" and "mentioning their successes", I will bring out my hand calculator and a $2 note book and say "Let's look at the actual margins". After a minute of silence, as I write down and add stuff up, I will hold up the display of the calculator and show everyone.

It doesn't matter what the calculator shows. It just means that, from then on, everyone thinks I'm in control of the business side and leaves me alone to do the work.

:D


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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Doubting Thomas » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:18 pm

In Japan respect and the community has been very significant in their culture. The Japanese language is ripe with honorifics that promulgate these respectful relationships

schools are putting increased emphasis on moral education lessons, with great pressure on teachers to cultivate a sense of morality and citizenship. This school’s role is not just to teach language, but to share culture and learn from each other

http://sakuragakuen.org/japanese-school ... s-lessons/
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby PennyDotson » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:12 am

Interesting stuff that, USA is exceptional in one respect at least. Thank Orpah

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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby Gord » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:23 am

PennyDotson wrote:Interesting stuff that, USA is exceptional in one respect at least. Thank Orpah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpah

Orpah (Hebrew: עָרְפָּה‎) is a woman mentioned in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. She was from Moab and was the daughter-in-law of Naomi and wife of Chilion. After the death of her husband, Orpah and her sister-in-law Ruth wished to go to Judea with Naomi. However, Naomi persuaded Orpah to return to her people and to her gods (Ruth i. 4 et seq.).

You're thanking her, right? :|
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Re: American Millennials are among the world's least skilled

Postby TJrandom » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:47 am

I suspect that Japan`s success can largely be attributed to the number of hours spent in structured studies. After the `normal` school hours, kids usually attend `after-school schools` which generally follow the same curriculum and offer a second chance for the child to practice what they were taught. This isn`t just a study hall, where the homework is completed – but a second teacher reinforcing what the first one taught. They both give daily homework, as well as homework that needs to be accomplished over the summer/winter breaks.

And those breaks are only one/two/three weeks long – not three months for summer. Our grandkids are on a one-week spring break with us, and we oversee their daily homework following breakfast, and before we set out on activities with them.

As a result of pre-school and his mother’s attention, our 5yo preschooler already knows his multiplication tables thru 6s. His alphabet recital is bidirectional from any starting point. He reads both English and Japanese (syllabic characters, with a few kanji) at second grade level. Their bath and toilet walls are covered with charts/posters, of – facts, formulas, history, animal linages, etc., etc. They are dedicated parents, and the boys are dedicated students.

EDIT: Another contributor to Japans success in this area is that education content – the books, materials, curriculum, teaching schedule – are all nation-wide. No local school boards to select creationist textbooks, eliminate cursive writing, non-afford new workbooks, etc. This means that everyone in the industry knows what and when something is to be taught, and that in turn contributes to the pool of contributing teachers.

[[Of course private schools still exist – some for the kids of businessmen & official representatives of various nationalities, etc. – but for those to be regarded as `official schools` (program accepted for college entrance), they too must have covered much of the same materials. Most do so, but simply add their own history, language, etc.]]


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