The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Abandon preconceptions, all ye who enter here > Comments

Abandon preconceptions, all ye who enter here : Comments

By Mercurius Goldstein, published 11/7/2008

The reflections of an Aussie teacher in America.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All
Well, yes, and any article that adds a bit of subtlety to the cliched generalisations that pass for comment between our countries is welcome, but there seems a hole in the middle.

A reader would not learn that the overwhelming mechanism for education in the US is the local 'grade school', run by the local county or town. Of course, standards and reputations vary widely, as does the 'tax take' from those communities. There are obviously some pretty average school systems out there, just as there are some astonishingly good, highly sought after schools, all within the 'public system'.

Residential requirements are generally firmly imposed, given the direct link to the local tax base.

In my experience in California, there is an acute awareness among parents as to the relative merits of the school systems in different / adjacent areas and strategic home buying decisions are frequently made to ensure that kids are entitled to attend well-regarded schools.
Posted by Ozlabyrinth, Friday, 11 July 2008 9:39:29 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I found it very difficult to comment on this article, and I am not sure why. I read it thinking that some of my conceptions about the US education system might be proven wrong, but it didn't do that at all. It seems to say that US and Australia are different because Australia's population is more sparse, and US is such a laissez-faire society that they turn to government less readily than we do (even in warfare they now turn to private companies for mercenaries ... is that relevant?)
Neither of these points I found new or exciting. I believe that the US system is inferior to ours (in many but not all respects) because they are so much more laissez-faire than us.
The author's conclusions include: "Another more controversial conclusion is that, despite the success in the USA of district-level school programs, philanthropy and the self-sufficiency ethos..." From my viewing of a Tim Lehrer's Word News report on poor schools in Los Angeles, the success the author refers to is certainly not all encompassing, so my conception of US schools is unaltered by this opinion piece. At least here in Australia we have the infrastructure for a good public education system, we just don't have the will.
Posted by HarryG, Friday, 11 July 2008 11:52:24 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Just a small point HarryG. The news hour host is Jim Lehrer... Tim no relley, is a 70ís comedian and satirist. I can at times see the topic parallels at times. Much that is reported on could be considered a bad taste joke.

The point I would make also that not only is their problems between rich areas and poor (Aust isnít quite so pronounced [yet?]). There are curriculum differences too which are extreme between states.

Look at Louisiana V Kalifornia. My nephew's experience was that often the people on the education boards are political appointees and as such subject to pressure from the lowest common denominator in the school districts. Fundamentalism in education plays a major part.
He called the education system is often more rob rule that Liaise faire.

He notes that wider party politics and prejudice permiates the school system/curriculum and as the way schools principals act.

The case of the (Jena 6) black students fighting with white students over who could sit under a tree and the consequential decisions taken by both the school and the prosecutors. (Both heads were elected).My nephew was teaching at a neighbouring school at the time. He was so frustrated he refused a new contract and came home now in a lesser Brisbane suburban Primary school.
Posted by examinator, Friday, 11 July 2008 3:21:32 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Isn't it Tom Lehrer (not Tim), the guy who wrote and sang great satirical songs, but in the 1950s and 1960s rather than the 70s? Sorry to be pedantic, but his stuff was really good...
Posted by Liz T, Friday, 11 July 2008 3:28:18 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
You are right, Liz but I think that Tom continued on into the 70's. And now that we are completely off subject, you may want to glance at this site:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=58543129
Posted by Joe in the U.S., Friday, 11 July 2008 3:51:38 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Hey, thanks Joe in the US - I haven't thought about Tom Lehrer in years, but will look at this link with interest.
Posted by Liz T, Friday, 11 July 2008 3:54:31 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy