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  #1  
Old 01-14-2008, 10:36 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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  #2  
Old 01-14-2008, 02:47 PM
ohcomeon ohcomeon is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Interesting. I look forward to Mickey's response to Prof. Massey's view on immigration.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2008, 04:20 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

About public education. I live in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County which by and large is made of incorporated cities. The towns along the coast are majority white and upscale. From the reports in the local newspaper all of the public schools do fairly well to excellent in these cities. So, obviouslly there are at least some high performing governemnt schools.

I live a few miles inland in the city of Hawthorne. From Inglewood to my north and other cities to my south the schools after elementary level are subpar if not bad. Here are represented some of the "dropout factories" that we hear so much about.

Now, why is this the case? After listening to the diavlog the professor did not answer that question. Frankly, I don't know why there is such a stark contrast between these two areas. Perhaps, some one here could enlighten me to why lower income area schools are generally lower performing than higher income areas.

Also, over the past 15 years in the inland South Bay area some of the public schools like Inglewood have had to be taken over for a period of time by the state due to malfeasance and all kinds of other reasons. Recently, I read where the high school system in Hawthorne is broke, fired the school superintendent, and is under a bunch of higher level investigations.

I was a little startled with Massey's assertion that immigrants from Mexico wanted to return home. I am curious which immigrants want to stay and assilimilate and which ones want to return home? Having lived in Los Angeles a good many years it seems to me that immigrants from south of the border want to remain in the U.S. However, this is anecdotel and I lack the stature and education and that the professor has.
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2008, 05:46 PM
ohcomeon ohcomeon is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

On the education topic, I always think it is interesting when people assume that private schools are curently doing better than the public schools. As you point out, in upscale communties across the US public schools perform well. Similarly, private schools where the wealthy and upper middle class send their children tend to be really good. On the other hand, I grew up in small town Oklahoma. Many of the private schools there were just places where people who didn't trust "the liberal, secular humanist public school teachers," sent their kids. Many of the private schools were so awful that the kids had to have intense tutoring even in local junior colleges to survive. As an aside, you'll just have to believe me when I say the average public school teacher in Oklahoma was no liberal and no secular humanist. They also were not in any union.

I would love to see someone talk about the idea that we could just suddenly become a nation of privately funded schools. I compare it to the current highway situation in Texas. In many parts of the state the traffic far exceeds the lane capacity. To combat this the state government is blessing toll roads that are run by private companies. These roads were built on time and under budget and are wonderful. Truckers avoid them because they are expensive to drive. So do the poor and elderly. But, if the state suddenly de-funded and shut down all the free roads, the toll roads could in no way provide for the transportation needs.

The public schools operate in a similar way. They can't toss out kids because their parents won't participate, or they don't have an adequate IQ, or they have minor mental and behavioral problems. Private schools can and do. The capacity of the private schools is only a fraction of that of the public schools.

I really wish someone would get into these nuts and bolts issues.

Last edited by ohcomeon; 01-14-2008 at 05:55 PM..
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2008, 07:52 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

I agree with what you said about the schools. There has to be more than the standard left/right, libertarian/NEA points of views on public education. Why do the high schools in the area where I live stink? I could read editorials from the L.A. Times, watch the school board meetings, read the school statistics until my eyes fell out and still not know why.
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2008, 08:12 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

One of my kids went to both public and private schools. She said in the public ones they stressed learning as a group. In the private it was you were to learn as an individual. That was her take on it.

I went to Los Angeles City Schools K-12 and graduated in the early 60's. I never remember learning as a group stressed - far from it. I think it has been said that the urban public schools started nose diving in the mid 60's.
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  #7  
Old 01-14-2008, 09:32 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Seems like we have a model of success in the public school system that is well tested and has served for many generations.

Bias disclosure - I'm a product of "public" elementary and high schools, and I think I got an excellent education from the latter. Public schools seem to have served the nation well for most of our history. Until fairly recently virtually everyone but a handful of the rich went to public schools. Schools were not expected to provide political or religious indoctrination to anyone's satisfaction. They were there to teach language, math, science, and how to think and learn. Private schools were mostly where the wealthy who wanted for one reason or another to ship their kids off somewhere went. Most of the workforce that brought the US to the growth and prosperity it has enjoyed through the last couple centuries went to public schools.

The problems in some school systems today do not have their genesis in the schools. Back in the day, the crap that goes on in the worst of our schools was just not acceptable among the students. If somebody had thrown a wadded up paper ball at the back of a teacher, let alone threatened one, everyone in my school would have immediately turned on the perp as a complete jerk. (The Bob Wright model, don't accept unacceptable behavior). If parents don't care what their kids do, and a culture grows among the kids that being assholes is cool, blaming the schools for failing to do what they never had to do before and weren't intended to do seems sort of stupid.

In the best case, providing a good education to a subset of our citizens who can afford the best that private enterprise can offer and consigning the rest to the scrap heap looks like the recipe to becoming another third world society, with a small educated wealthy elite, and a large underclass. Extra profits would of course be available for the advocates, preying on the hopes and more importantly the fears of parents. Of course, those parents so inclined can always go the home school route, and make sure that their kids have every limitation of knowledge, experience, viewpoint, preconception and prejudice of those parents but at least the sprouts will be spared from the challenges of the greater world. For a while.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:54 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Hey, BKJAZ, just thought I'd say hello as a fellow SoBay'er. I lived in Hawthorne (right off Broadway & Inglewood) for about 5 years. Then moved to Redondo and recently to Westchester. I too am flummoxed at the difference I saw/read about between the heavily minority school in Hawthorne versus the relatively lily-white area of Redondo. I don't have kids so I pay less attention to education, than parents undoubtedly would, but still even I have noticed that it's like night and day (or black and white). And only about 5 miles apart.

Cheers.
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2008, 01:19 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Hello! I live near the vacant, unused Hawthorne Mall. We apparently don't have the dough to support a mall. Yet, not too far from here there are busy malls in Redondo Beach and Torrance. Also, I can take Rosecrans Blvd. west from Hawthorne a few miles into Manhattan Beach and it's like another world with all those new 2 million dollar houses going up along the beach. So close yet so far.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2008, 04:20 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Thanks AGAIN to Will for an intelligent conversation about immigration, a far cry indeed from the nativist drivel pedaled regularly by Mickey Kaus, Lou Dobbs (who has made xenophobia a career and a cult) and dozens of other commentators on the right.

What we've learned from our history is that xenophobia can be highly bi-partisan. But so can anti-xenophobia, compassion, tolerance and inclusion.

The sound data presented by economists and social scientists, as well as the debunking of the lunatic theses of academics like Huntington and blowhards like Tancredo should appeal both to Dems. and Republicans. Unfortunately, the dominant voices in the Republican party have decided to whip up chauvinistic fervor and drown out the voices for immigration reform. It's divisive, frightening and reminiscent of 30s facism.

Especially disturbing in the USA is what Prof. Massey describes as the shift of Mexicans to "despised out group," since it suggests an atavistic resurgence of racism that threatens to negate decades of progress.
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  #11  
Old 01-15-2008, 05:54 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
The sound data presented by economists and social scientists...
What the heck are you talking about, Wonderment? In terms of the economic advantages and disadvantages of illegal immigration, there's no clear consensus, because different economists factor in different variables when assessing the economic impact.

In terms of social science, the most recent studies suggest that low-skilled immigrants from Mexico (e.g., most of the illegal population) do NOT assimilate well, and (unlike other categories of immigrants) their children lag behind in terms of education and wages. The "sound data" purportedly indicating otherwise generally includes pre-1980 data on Latin American migration, which (1) preceded the mass migration of low-skilled workers which took place in the years following (assimilation is faster when fewer people are migrating) and (2) included a significant number of well-educated Cuban immigrants fleeing the Castro regime, a group that doesn't rememble the current wave of illegal immigrants in terms of culture, education, or skillset.

We've already had a thread on this subject in the earlier version of the forum:
http://forums.bloggingheads.tv/phoru...,7653#msg-7653 (linking to study showing lag in progress of children of Mexican immigrants)

http://forums.bloggingheads.tv/phoru...,7695#msg-7695 (discussing additional studies mentioned during thread)

In short, you're being far too flippant regarding the issue of assimilation.

Last edited by Thus Spoke Elvis; 01-15-2008 at 06:21 PM..
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  #12  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:47 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
In short, you're being far too flippant regarding the issue of assimilation.
I don't recall saying anything about assimilation in this conversation. I'm not sure what you mean by assimilation either. Do you mean attaining a middle class standard of living? Of course, in that regard, there will be a lag among the groups starting at the bottom with minimum wage jobs, exacerbated by being denied services (healthcare and food stamps, for example) because of their "illegal" status.

If you mean by "assimilation" embracing "American" culture and values, I won't even play that game, since I think the groundrules are xenophobic.
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2008, 12:31 PM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
If you mean by "assimilation" embracing "American" culture and values, I won't even play that game, since I think the groundrules are xenophobic.
Why is it xenophobic to want immigrants (of any culture) to eventually assume American values and become part of mainstream American culture?

First of all, it is going to be to the immigrants' and their families' own economic advantage to learn to speak English, which is a major part of assimilation, but even still, why is it xenophobic for American citizens to want the millions of people who are coming into their country to learn to speak English?

And as far as American values go: America has ethnic or long historical background that either gives people roots in the land or in their countrymen as part of a single race. Therefore American values represent, I contend, a large part of national identity. Is it xenophobic to want immigrants to know and respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights before they are allowed to permanently settle here as citizens?

You are quick to paint everyone who doesn't think everything regarding immigration as it as currently happening in the U.S. is just hunky-dory as being xenophobic. Which, given your low bar for xenophobia, probably includes a majority of the U.S. population, most of whom are themselves descended from immigrants. Is it even conceivable to you that there might be such a thing as an American culture that is threatened by a massive surge of people coming into our country, with neither our government nor the people it represents having any control on how many people get to come in.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2008, 12:44 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

I have already been called a bigot and racist on this forum for merely calling people who enter this country illegally "illegals." Yes, the bar for xenophobia is low indeed.
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2008, 04:29 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Why is it xenophobic to want immigrants (of any culture) to eventually assume American values and become part of mainstream American culture?
Because it seems to carry the lazy assumption that a) we all know what "American values" and "mainstream culture" are and b) that conformity to mainstream culture is intrinsically desirable.

Quote:
First of all, it is going to be to the immigrants' and their families' own economic advantage to learn to speak English
,

The English language issue is ridiculous. I live in an immigrant community. It's hard to imagine people who value English language competence and success in English-language society more than Mexicans do.

First of all, it's common sense. A group comes here, making great sacrifices for economic advancement. WHy would they suddenly want to be stuck in the worst-paying jobs in the society they've come to precisely in order to avoid low-end jobs? Do you think the guy who cleans the toilets or rakes the leaves wants his kids to rake leaves and clean toilets too?

Second, all children learn English at school. No one enters the public school system in kindergarten and graduates elementary school without speaking English. In my area the junior colleges and state universities are overflowing with the children of "illegal" workers. Nativists have had to craft special laws to try to keep them out. If a child is born here or comes here at an early age, s/he learns English the same way you did. Period. End of story. There isn't a linguist on the planet who doesn't know how these patterns of immigration work: 1st generation monolingual in Language 1, second generation bilingual, third generation monolingual in language 2.

Quote:
Is it xenophobic to want immigrants to know and respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights before they are allowed to permanently settle here as citizens?
There is nothing particularly deep about the Constitution and Bill of Rights that you can't learn in 10 minutes if you already have a basic knowledge of democracy. Most other democracies around the globe are now set up on a similar model of equality, human rights and checks and balances among legislative, judicial and executive powers. Don't patronize Mexicans by thinking they can't understand what a democracy is. Also, these values are taught in all our public schools, which is where our Mexican immigrants are universally educated. We are not talking about Afghan peasants setting up Sharia communities with their own schools, hospitals and mosques. Everyone knows we are talking about the Southern border, Mexicans who already live in a democracy and who are Christians practicing the "mainstream" religion, celebrating the same holidays. In short, neighbors. Treating these families as if they were Bin Laden is outrageous.

Quote:
Is it even conceivable to you that there might be such a thing as an American culture that is threatened by a massive surge of people coming into our country, with neither our government nor the people it represents having any control on how many people get to come in.
No. I think such a fantasy epitomizes xenophobia: the aliens coming to destroy our civilization and take over.
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:20 AM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Second, all children learn English at school. No one enters the public school system in kindergarten and graduates elementary school without speaking English. In my area the junior colleges and state universities are overflowing with the children of "illegal" workers. Nativists have had to craft special laws to try to keep them out. If a child is born here or comes here at an early age, s/he learns English the same way you did. Period. End of story. There isn't a linguist on the planet who doesn't know how these patterns of immigration work: 1st generation monolingual in Language 1, second generation bilingual, third generation monolingual in language 2.
It may seem ridiculous to you but "bilingual" education where children of immigrants are educated in their native language instead of forced to learn English to take classes in American public schools in English is far from a dead issue. While since 2000 there has been considerable momentum away from teaching students most subjects in languages other than English I guarantee you that the "anti-xenophobe" community in the U.S. does not agree with this policy and would be more than happy to spare immigrant children the burden of having to learn English to be taught in American public schools.
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2008, 04:17 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
It may seem ridiculous to you but "bilingual" education where children of immigrants are educated in their native language instead of forced to learn English to take classes in American public schools in English is far from a dead issue. While since 2000 there has been considerable momentum away from teaching students most subjects in languages other than English I guarantee you that the "anti-xenophobe" community in the U.S. does not agree with this policy and would be more than happy to spare immigrant children the burden of having to learn English to be taught in American public schools.
Right-wing mythology notwithstanding, the purpose of bilingual education was to promote and facilitate the learning of the English language. You may argue that immersion programs might be more effective, but to claim that bilingual education was intended to "spare children the burden of having to learn English" is completely contrary to the facts. There has never been any doubt among legislators, courts, school boards, administrators, parents, teachers or students about the purpose of bilingual education, i.e., that children must learn English well. The only doubt is among right-wing radio hosts and their listeners.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:23 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Right-wing mythology notwithstanding, the purpose of bilingual education was to promote and facilitate the learning of the English language. You may argue that immersion programs might be more effective, but to claim that bilingual education was intended to "spare children the burden of having to learn English" is completely contrary to the facts. There has never been any doubt among legislators, courts, school boards, administrators, parents, teachers or students about the purpose of bilingual education, i.e., that children must learn English well. The only doubt is among right-wing radio hosts and their listeners.
Yeah, well said. Let's not leave education to people who actually understand it. You can't trust those fuzzy headed "experts." Let's leave these important decisions it to reactionaries and blowhards who have all of the answers without any of the knowledge or expertise. You can trust them because they're so stupid.

Only stupid people can be trusted to not have been indoctrinated in the Church of Fuzzy Header Liberalism.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:15 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by garbagecowboy View Post
It may seem ridiculous to you but "bilingual" education where children of immigrants are educated in their native language instead of forced to learn English to take classes in American public schools in English is far from a dead issue. While since 2000 there has been considerable momentum away from teaching students most subjects in languages other than English I guarantee you that the "anti-xenophobe" community in the U.S. does not agree with this policy and would be more than happy to spare immigrant children the burden of having to learn English to be taught in American public schools.
I don't think you understand the purpose of bilingual education. Maybe you do. Can you play devil's advocate for a moment and explain why educators support the practice?

Hint: It's not because they think teaching English is imposition of a burden. (Where did you get that idea, anyway?)

Last edited by TwinSwords; 01-17-2008 at 05:20 AM..
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  #20  
Old 01-17-2008, 08:36 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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. 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.

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.

Of course, one possible outcome would be that the kids would develop their own creole, and then the grups would really be ranting about "you just can't understand young people these days."
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:58 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Yes, I guess a foreign language requirement for ALL students could be tacked on to the algebra II requirement.
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  #22  
Old 01-17-2008, 06:46 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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Originally Posted by cousincozen View Post
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.
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  #23  
Old 01-20-2008, 10:23 PM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default 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."

Last edited by garbagecowboy; 05-29-2009 at 07:35 PM.. Reason: privacy concerns
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  #24  
Old 01-17-2008, 04:34 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default 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.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:37 AM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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No. I think such a fantasy epitomizes xenophobia: the aliens coming to destroy our civilization and take over.
It may seem a fantasy to you... but as a third generation descendant of immigrants with virtually no connection to the culture of my ancestors, I would say that there is indeed an American culture and values and that it is the only one I know. I share much more in common in terms of language, values, traditions and other facets of culture with my neighbors whose forebears came from all over the globe (and other people scattered all over the United States) than I do with any other cultural group in the world. In short, the distinctive government and cultural institutions, combined with a few to several generations of assimilation amongst a diverse group of immigrant groups has forged a unique American culture: we have a melting pot, not a mixed salad.

And no, the Mexicans coming in are not as different from Americans as, say, Afghans, but I disagree strongly with the statement that a 10 minute civics lecture is plenty to imbue new immigrants with all they need to be integrated into the mainstream of American society in a permanent and sustainable way.

Even in the lily-white community where Bob Wright resides and I spent 4 years, the cultural differences between the Mexican and Guatemalan minorities and the American majority are vast. The immigrants speak a different language at home and in some cases speak very little English, they spend their time in different parts of town, they patronize different stores, and their interactions with the majority usually occur in the workplace, with the immigrants doing menial labor.

Am I worried that these immigrants are going to destroy our civilization? Of course not. Do I have to be a xenophobe to think that this current wave of immigration differs from previous waves, both in the scope and specific nature of the immigration, and that this can present serious problems that will not be addressed by the Panglossian attitude that immigrants are great people and will have nothing but great effects on our country? Having a large fraction of the population that crosses our borders illegally, returns to their home country easily and does not put down roots in this country the same way that previous groups of immigrants have will have unpredictable results. The idea that there is an American culture is not "imaginary." Take a drive across the United States; you will find slight regional variations, but you will be able to use the same language and find the same cultural touchstones, currency and political structures from coast to coast. This is not imaginary, and is virtually unique for such a large land mass; for instance, there is no such cultural homogeneity in Europe, or India, or China. Apparently you think that this is all a figment of my imagination, or immaterial, or that adding millions of illegal immigrants cannot have a deleterious effect, or some combination of the above. I disagree, and I will respectfully make that my final word, because if you think that anyone who believes that there is an American culture that might be hurt by unchecked illegal immigration is a xenophobe then there is no point in further discussion.

Last edited by garbagecowboy; 01-17-2008 at 12:42 AM..
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  #26  
Old 01-17-2008, 02:39 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

"I think such a fantasy epitomizes xenophobia: the aliens coming to destroy our civilization and take over."

Maybe sometimes xenophobia is just good thinkin'.
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  #27  
Old 01-17-2008, 06:47 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #28  
Old 01-19-2008, 02:35 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default 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).
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  #29  
Old 01-19-2008, 04:07 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #30  
Old 01-20-2008, 01:15 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #31  
Old 01-20-2008, 03:08 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Oddly enough, I share your exterminationist view. As they say, right back at you, buddy!
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  #32  
Old 01-22-2008, 02:09 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #33  
Old 01-22-2008, 02:28 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #34  
Old 01-22-2008, 03:41 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post

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.
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  #35  
Old 01-22-2008, 04:45 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thus Spoke Elvis View Post
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.
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  #36  
Old 01-23-2008, 07:09 PM
ImmRefDotCom ImmRefDotCom is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #37  
Old 01-23-2008, 07:18 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Massey is a liar and a loon

I love how your user name is spam.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmRefDotCom View Post
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.

Last edited by TwinSwords; 01-23-2008 at 07:25 PM..
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  #38  
Old 01-20-2008, 03:04 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default 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 insensitiveand 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."

[...]
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  #39  
Old 01-20-2008, 04:13 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default 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.
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  #40  
Old 01-20-2008, 09:28 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default 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.
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