This will be my last podcast for a few days as I am going out of town and am not yet set up for remote podcasts. I may do an astronomy podcast while I am gone with a friend of mine if it works out.
This one is called Edjamakayshun and is about, oddly enough, education. My voice was sort of failing because we played a bunch of St. Paddy’s Day gigs the night before, so please forgive my coughing and stammering.
One thought on “The LoLife PodCast No. 5”
One of the main problems that I have with the tests is that they are pseudo-science. I mean basically what you have is a NUMBER that is trying to represent a qualitative part of a person–their ability to think critically. After all, that is apparently the point of an education. Teachers always have trouble explaining why their subjects are valid becuase they attempt to place a “real world” emphasis on class material. The skills you learn in a liberal arts education–which is what I think we are still professing to teach–are not always apparent in everyday situations, but they are suppose to make you an overall better citizen. Anyhow, back to the tests, the main problem with the tests is that they cannot give a complete picture of how that student is doing in their critical thinking development. They can very well show how someone masters vocab, or math, but that does not necessarily a student make. The only people who can fill in that picture are the teachers, because they work with their students on a daily basis, but I don’t think it really matters what the teachers (or professors) say about a student. In the end you have an “objective” number that is “science” and it’s pretty fucking hard to convince someone that the number isn’t all a student is about. Take college admittance: the U of M has a formula–((2 * ACT) + Class Rank). That’s basically it. If you make the cutoff, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re basically fucked.
I know that K-12 now tests writing in their “no child left behind” tests. My class was the first to have to do the standardized tests, and we only did math and reading. So now they have essays, which obviously take a long time to grade. In order to grade them, they send them off to companies whose sole purpose for existance is to grade standarized tests. I know about these conditions, because I worked there once as a summer job as an undergrad. The interesting thing is, is that a lot of the people who are grading all of these essays have no experience with education, or working with children at all. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t grade these things, but… On the whole if your child is smart or stupid, they will probably get the correct grade. It’s those that are inbetween–do they pass or do they fail?–who get a 50/50 shot. Maybe the grading is accurate, but I think my main problem is that we now have an industry _just_ to grade tests. Tomorrow, at one of the scoring centers, hundreds of people will file in to spend their day reading some prompt. I have a feeling that there just has to be some better way to spend all of our money, rather than some grading factory which sucks the life out of anyone who comes within 100 ft of the building.
On education in general:
I agree that people should walk through schools and see what’s up. I really think that a lot of the people who are really anti-school funding, who think that schools are wasting money, these people don’t really know what’s going on in the schools. These are the people who are on talk radio all day bitching about things of which they have no first-hand knowledge.
On the Academic Bill of Rights:
This goes hand-in-hand with my last point. I really don’t think any of these people have a fucking clue of what is going on in Universities. If you look at the “academic bill of rights” it says shit that makes no sense like: (paraphrasing) “Controversal material should not be introduced in classes where it doesn’t belong.” I am really not sure what their point is. I think that there is this idea that in every classroom there is a Ward Churchill standing in front of the class. So I guess they assume that Timmy walks into his accounting class and the teacher starts calling him a “little Eichman” just to be controversal. I’ve spent the last four and half years at a university, and I’m a teaching assistant and know many faculty members very well. This sort of shit just does not happen on a regular basis. The bill of rights also mentions stuff like, “professors should be promoted based soley on merit”–what the fuck, it’s called “tenure review.” Basically the bill makes no sense. This is just another publicity stunt, and our local media-whore Bachman (who, sadly represents my senate district) is running with it.
Well, I didn’t plan on writing this much but, just like 20+ minute podcasts, it happens.