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cousincozen 01-17-2008 02:58 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Yes, I guess a foreign language requirement for ALL students could be tacked on to the algebra II requirement.

Wonderment 01-17-2008 04:34 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

On somewhat of a tangent: If there's one thing I could change about early education, it would be adding a language course for all students.
That's exactly what they do in much of the rest of the civilized world, which is why foreigners are shocked by our level of monolingualism among college-educated adults.

In India, kids are typically trilingual. They learn the regional language at home, English and Hindi at school. In Israel, it's really hard to find someone who doesn't speak English. Mexican private schools teach English from pre-school on, and that's the pattern throughout Latin America, which is why their educated elites speak English. Europeans, of course, have been making jokes about our inability to speak other languages for generations.

Quote:

It's so easy to learn another language when you're young, and so hard for almost everybody starting as soon as age 12 or so, that it's a shame we don't give our kids get this chance. I'd give a lot to be able to go back in time just to get fluent in Spanish. Or any other language, for that matter.
Yes, we start way too late. There's probably not a public high school in the US that doesn't teach Spanish (overwhelmingly the favorite) as part of its college prep curriculum, but few students become competent and/or retain the language at that age. Our town had a bilingual ed. program a few years ago from kindergarten through grade three of alternate-day instruction in Eng. and Span. It was overwhelmed by demand from Anglo parents. Long wait list to get in.

Quote:

Also, think about how much easier it would be if the kids could babble to each other in two or more languages -- the ESL kids would likely feel a lot less self-conscious -- and would be able to assimilate better -- if they could hear the native English speakers tripping up on words foreign to them.
The cool thing is that kids at that age don't get very self-conscious at all. They just absorb the language 2 the way they absorb language 1.

Malthus 01-17-2008 05:43 PM

The Farcical Endgame of Market Utopianism
 
I cannot wait to see Mr. Wilkinson's "Inequality Paper." If his argument here is any indication, then CATO has now begun to take a position on markets that is nothing short of fanciful utopianism. Or religious conviction. Or both.

Any improvement that markets produce in what would essentially be the commoditized education of the proles would be precious little comfort to those so educated. Upon graduating, they will no doubt realize that a fully marketized education has put them vastly behind the curve in terms of RELATIVE competitiveness well before they could even vote. From the standpoint of inequality, the benefits of education are in no way comparable to the benefits of increased quality in toasters.

Beyond this, marketization would sharply increase every one of the subtle exclusionary mechanisms that Massey details here. Imagine what the gentry would make of a diploma from Wal-Mart High.

Not that heightened inequality is a negative thing. It may be anathema to democratic institutions, but who has time for such trivial things when there is rugged individualism to be expressed.

bjkeefe 01-17-2008 06:46 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cousincozen (Post 68697)
Yes, I guess a foreign language requirement for ALL students could be tacked on to the algebra II requirement.

Don't get me started. I can't stand the innumeracy of this country, particularly the smugness many liberal (arts) types display about having this condition ("I can't even balance my checkbook! LOL!"), and not to mention the indulgence of math phobias in children. And high school is not the only problem -- you can get a bachelor's degree from most colleges without having to take any math at all, or at most, one easy course that's not really math.

Grrr.

bjkeefe 01-17-2008 06:47 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
cuz:

Quote:

Maybe sometimes xenophobia is just good thinkin'.
I don't agree with you here, at all. Xenophobia is never healthy. Our country's culture has always been an ongoing process. Get used to it.

bjkeefe 01-17-2008 06:48 PM

Re: The Farcical Endgame of Market Utopianism
 
Malthus:

Quote:

... CATO has now begun to take a position on markets that is nothing short of fanciful utopianism. Or religious conviction. Or both.
This is something new?

cousincozen 01-19-2008 02:35 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
I can sense that you're a member of the one-hundred-million-Bantus-and-it'd-still-be-America crowd. After all, America is just a state of mind, isn't it? Nothing more than a proposition. And a hundred million Bantus would be just like a hundred million Irish, correct? And as with a hundred million Irish, after a few years, you couldn't even tell them apart from the founding stock, yes?

Call be obstinate, but I don't think I could get used to that. And as for ongoing processes, so is death.

And BTW, you miss the point in my previous post. High school students are evidently already having a difficult time graduating under the current requirements. Adding a mandatory requirement for a foreign language (Spanish, natch, so that they can yammer back and forth to Mexicans) will obviously just compound the problem. That was what the Algebra II reference was about, not rampant innumeracy (cf the hyperlinks).

Wonderment 01-19-2008 04:07 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

And BTW, you miss the point in my previous post. High school students are evidently already having a difficult time graduating under the current requirements. Adding a mandatory requirement for a foreign language (Spanish, natch, so that they can yammer back and forth to Mexicans) will obviously just compound the problem.
There is nothing to add. The U of California already requires 3 years of a foreign language for admission, as I'm sure do most other state universities systems. All California public and private high schools must adhere to UC standards in their college preparatory curricula.

I can't imagine any mid to top tier private college looking at a kid's application who hasn't fulfilled foreign language requirements.

In addition, knowing Spanish is a major asset when job-hunting. For example, one of my daughters works in health care. She couldn't get in the door without being bilingual. The other daughter has had a few jobs in high school and afterwards that also required SPanish, or at least got her pushed to the front of the line because she could speak Spanish.

bjkeefe 01-20-2008 01:15 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
cuz:

I'll add to Wonderment's fine response just one thing: the idea that requiring young children to learn a second language places some kind of insurmountable burden on them is ridiculous. In the first place, I was advocating this program for elementary school, when it would be far easier for them to do. As Wonderment points out, one needs some foreign language credits to get into a decent college. Getting these out of the way earlier seems like it would make one aspect of student life easier.

Second, I think the real problem with students these days is not that they can't learn; it's that they aren't challenged enough, and there aren't enough resources brought to bear on the task of educating them.

As for your worries about Bantus, I'll just say that if you can't accept that all people are equally capable of adopting the ideals of America, then I think you're just plain bigoted. Your mindset in his area makes me long for more immigrants, so that we may obliterate your kind with fresh blood.

cousincozen 01-20-2008 03:04 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
I think you're having trouble tracking what I'm trying to say. I was referring to high school students who are not breezing through high school. Those students are most likely to dropout. And most high school students don't continue on to college for advanced indoctrination...er, education. And I don't doubt that an emphasis on a practical command of Spanish is important, and increasingly important, in Cal-lee-fornia, Mexico. Perhaps I should just quote pertinent passages from the hyperlinks:

[...]

"When the Los Angeles Board of Education approved tougher graduation requirements that went into effect in 2003, the intention was to give kids a better education and groom more graduates for college and high-level jobs. For the first time, students had to pass a year of algebra and a year of geometry or an equivalent class to earn diplomas.

"(I wonder how many members of the Board of Education can pass an algebra test?)

"The policy was born of a worthy goal but has proved disastrous for students unprepared to meet the new demands.

"In the fall of 2004, 48,000 ninth-graders took beginning algebra; 44% flunked, nearly twice the failure rate as in English. Seventeen percent finished with Ds… Among those who repeated the class in the spring, nearly three-quarters flunked again.

"The school district could have seen this coming if officials had looked at the huge numbers of high school students failing basic math.
"Duke Helfand wrote an important investigative report in the Los Angeles Times last Jan. 30, 2006 entitled A Formula for Failure in LA's Schools:

"When the Los Angeles Board of Education approved tougher graduation requirements that went into effect in 2003, the intention was to give kids a better education and groom more graduates for college and high-level jobs. For the first time, students had to pass a year of algebra and a year of geometry or an equivalent class to earn diplomas.

(I wonder how many members of the Board of Education can pass an algebra test?)

"The policy was born of a worthy goal but has proved disastrous for students unprepared to meet the new demands.

"In the fall of 2004, 48,000 ninth-graders took beginning algebra; 44% flunked, nearly twice the failure rate as in English. Seventeen percent finished with Ds… Among those who repeated the class in the spring, nearly three-quarters flunked again.

"The school district could have seen this coming if officials had looked at the huge numbers of high school students failing basic math.

"(Yes, but looking up numbers would have been “insensitive”—and that's the gravest sin these days. Better to make hundreds of thousands of people go through life without a high school degree than publicly to notice that some people aren't as smart as others.)

"Lawmakers in Sacramento didn't ask questions either. After Los Angeles Unified changed its policy, legislators turned algebra into a statewide graduation requirement, effective in 2004.

"'Now the Los Angeles school board has raised the bar again. By the time today's second-graders graduate from high school in 2016, most will have to meet the University of California's entry requirements, which will mean passing a third year of advanced math, such as algebra II …'

"(Oh, great! Algebra II!)

"By law, admission to the University of California is reserved for the top 1/8th of California high school students, as measured by test scores and grade point average. Yet the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is now on course to deny a diploma to the bulk of its students simply because they aren't bright enough to master Algebra II.

"So, the decent kids who show up for class won't have a credential to distinguish themselves with prospective employers from the juvenile delinquents and the goof-off dropouts."

[...]

cousincozen 01-20-2008 03:08 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Oddly enough, I share your exterminationist view. As they say, right back at you, buddy!

Wonderment 01-20-2008 04:13 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

And I don't doubt that an emphasis on a practical command of Spanish is important, and increasingly important, in Cal-lee-fornia, Mexico.
Good. I'm not interested in discussing the math requirements with you, but Brendan is right about second languages: the earlier they are taught the better.

Monolingual English students are at a disadvantage in the job market. Perhaps you run into a lot of adults who say, "Boy, I'm sure glad I never learned any languages besides English," but I think such views are rare, even in the MinuteKlan.

cousincozen 01-20-2008 09:28 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
"Monolingual English students are at a disadvantage in the job market." Oh, you mean, like, if they wanted to get a job overseas?? Well, I have faith that the trend of jobs moving overseas will cease and that one will once again be able to find excellent employment right here in the US. I have every confidence. Honest.

Actually, the lament I hear most concerning courses not taken is the regret of not having taken more math. Go figure! And I suspect that if one polled the desire to speak a foreign language, I kinda think that the response one would hear would probably be a variation on mine: Not really. I simply say, I'll have the number seven, and there's no problemo.

garbagecowboy 01-20-2008 10:23 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

And high school is not the only problem -- you can get a bachelor's degree from most colleges without having to take any math at all, or at most, one easy course that's not really math.
At the college I attended you need to take one "QR" (Quantitative Reasoning -- only an administrator with a background in liberal arts could think of that name for 'math') class, with the greatest demand not for even MAT 101, 102, 103 or 104 (introductory calculus) but actually for a class unironically called "Physics for Poets."

Thus Spoke Elvis 01-22-2008 02:09 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

As for your worries about Bantus, I'll just say that if you can't accept that all people are equally capable of adopting the ideals of America, then I think you're just plain bigoted. .
I'm not too comfortable with the tone this conversation is taking, but I did want to mention that your reminds me of those who argued that it was racist to believe Iraqis weren't ready for a liberal democracy.

I don't think skin color makes any difference as to a person's ability to learn and embrace new ideas and values. But I do think a person's past experiences (i.e., their culture) has an enormous influence on their perspective and willingness/ability to assimilate. I don't think it's inaccurate to say that Irish immigrants would probably be more easily interwoven into the American cultural fabric than Bantus, as a general rule. That doesn't mean that Bantus shouldn't be allowed to immigrate to the United States, but it does mean that we should have some reservations about any proposal to allow several million Bantus to immigrate here each year.

bjkeefe 01-22-2008 02:28 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Elvis:

I accept the second part of your argument more. Yes, a sudden influx of a large group of people from a highly non-democratic country could possibly have a harder time assimilating as quickly.

However, just to be sure we're clear on this: I did not like your example of Iraq that you started off with. There is a difference of night and day between people who come to this country -- who presumably have at least in part some admiration for our governing principles -- and people in another country who are getting a new system shoved down their throats.

Thus Spoke Elvis 01-22-2008 03:41 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 69098)

However, just to be sure we're clear on this: I did not like your example of Iraq that you started off with. There is a difference of night and day between people who come to this country -- who presumably have at least in part some admiration for our governing principles -- and people in another country who are getting a new system shoved down their throats.

Regardless of whether the invasion was right or wrong, the Iraqi people got a (quasi-) liberal democratic system "shoved down their throats" by America because they didn't want such a system in the first place. Which just proves my point -- a person's cultural background greatly influences his perception of and response to new situations and experiences.

bjkeefe 01-22-2008 04:45 PM

Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Thus Spoke Elvis (Post 69108)
Regardless of whether the invasion was right or wrong, the Iraqi people got a (quasi-) liberal democratic system "shoved down their throats" by America because they didn't want such a system in the first place. Which just proves my point -- a person's cultural background greatly influences his perception of and response to new situations and experiences.

I sort of agree, although I think a big part of Iraqis not wanting our exact system was that the elections didn't get the lights on, the water running, or the militias disbanded.

But in any case, I do think that most people who come to America of their own free will are a lot more receptive to fitting in.

ImmRefDotCom 01-23-2008 07:09 PM

Massey is a liar and a loon
 
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Massey lied.

1. There is indeed an Islamic population in Mexico: islaminmexico.com says "39,000 for the year 2000". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country puts it at almost 300,000. There are also large numbers of Muslims in South America.

2. Terrorists have indeed crossed over the Mexican border, such as members of Hezbollah. In addition, a smuggling ring for Middle Easterners involved a corrupt Mexican official, and tens of thousands of "SpecialInterest Aliens" have been released into the U.S.

I stopped around that point in the video, but let me point out that having someone like Will Wilkinson isn't the best choice for any form of "debate", since WW recently openly promoted the NorthAmerican Union and, needless to say, he didn't go into all the reasons to oppose the current forms of immigration. He forgot to mention things such as massive immigration from Mexico giving that country political power inside the U.S. due to the links they have to non-profits and even Democratic politicians.

As for the "loon" part of the title, see this Douglas Massey quote: (the United States should) "abandon its illusions" (and) "accept the reality, the necessity, of North American integration."

The only reason I won't call him a traitor is because that has a specific legal meaning.

TwinSwords 01-23-2008 07:18 PM

Re: Massey is a liar and a loon
 
I love how your user name is spam.


Quote:

Originally Posted by ImmRefDotCom (Post 69195)
The only reason I won't call him a traitor is because that has a specific legal meaning.

Or, to put it another way, the only reason you won't call him a traitor is because he isn't one.


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