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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 06:34 PM   #21
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by fluffy
But even forgetting about the lack financial education specifically, American 1-12 grade education system is plain horrible.
Well, let's turn this question around.

What countries have the world's best education systems?
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 06:37 PM   #22
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Martha
The New Deal programs fixed a lot.

Many jobs programs put people to work.

Social Security was established.
The Fair Labor Standards Act, abolishing child labor and establishing a minimum wage was established.
The 1933 Securities Act to help control securities fraud was enacted.
The FDIC was formed, bringing back confidence in banks.

Wonderful programs.*

This time around I suggest national healthcare and a raise in minimum wage.*

Most people on this board are very successful.* I often think of how fortunate I am.* Not everyone can get the good paying jobs.* Many people work hard for not a lot of money.* They are not getting ahead.*
The New Deal brought many nice sounding programs. *Some were needed, some did nothing and some were time bombs. *You left lots of FDR's legacy out -- both good and bad. *The "high point" of FDR's administration was increases the taxation of the surviving companies which crushed any expansion in the private sector.

There are many opportunties to "fix" the system but there isn't a push by either side to do much in the way of meaningful change.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 06:47 PM   #23
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Well, let's turn this question around.

What countries have the world's best education systems?
I'm partial to Russian but taking any of the top countries in math/science would make sense to me. There are a number of studies that compare different countries. For example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4073753.stm
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 06:57 PM   #24
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by fluffy
I'm partial to Russian but taking any of the top countries in math/science would make sense to me. There are a number of studies that compare different countries. For example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4073753.stm
Sure, and now look at the country's level of GDP, per-capita "wealth", or other world power criteria.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's plenty of room for improvement in American school systems. I just don't think other countries are any closer to the answers than we are. I have a hard time believing that enterpreneurial Americans wouldn't instantly plagiarize adopt the world's best education systems if they really did lead to better graduates. Rote memorization may lead to high test scores but about the only other thing it guarantees is an overwhelming sense of overconfidence during a military academy's plebe year.

Testing for knowledge is pretty straightforward. Mensa to the contrary, testing for thinking & analysis appears to be a little more difficult.

I also remember what I did to those high school surveys & exams. If they couldn't directly relate to a personal benefit (money or the college of my choice) then I'd be more likely to amuse my teen personality at their expense. They were almost as much fun as the sex/drugs/alcohol surveys.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 06:58 PM   #25
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

I agree with fluffy, the US primary and secondary education system is much worse than it needs to be. *Don't know what the solution is, but surely US kids could be challenged much more than they are now. *My recollection of elementary school was that it amounted to little more than baby-sitting and story-telling -- and then in high school they spend a lot of time explaining, "oh by the way, those stories we told you in elementary school were mostly wrong." *Huge waste of time.

As one concrete example, British kids learn how to manipulate matrices in junior high school, for the O Levels (or whatever the equivalent is called today). *American kids don't get to that until college! *(If ever.) *Just no excuse.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 07:08 PM   #26
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Nords
have a hard time believing that enterpreneurial Americans wouldn't instantly plagiarize adopt the world's best education systems if they really did lead to better graduates.
If I recall, though, you had the same belief about health care, and yet Americans have not adopted any of the functional systems in operation elsewhere in the world, either. Maybe Americans as a polity are just stubborn, or afflicted with an unusually severe case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 07:16 PM   #27
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by bpp
If I recall, though, you had the same belief about health care, and yet Americans have not adopted any of the functional systems in operation elsewhere in the world, either.* Maybe Americans as a polity are just stubborn, or afflicted with an unusually severe case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome.
I still do have the same belief about health care.* I admit that my only real experience with American healthcare is the military system, so perhaps I'm both blissfully ignorant and less than objective.*

But it doesn't matter what you think or what I think.* What matters is the collective conclusions of 275 million of our fellow Americans.* Again, while I agree that there's plenty of room for improvement in American healthcare, I just don't believe that other countries have a better system in operation.*

I can't recall millions of Americans scheming to get across the borders of Finland or China or South Korea or Britain or Canada for their educational systems or their colleges or their health insurance or their medical schools.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 07:38 PM   #28
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Nords

But it doesn't matter what you think or what I think.* What matters is the collective conclusions of 275 million of our fellow Americans.* Again, while I agree that there's plenty of room for improvement in American healthcare, I just don't believe that other countries have a better system in operation.*

I can't recall millions of Americans scheming to get across the borders of Finland or China or South Korea or Britain or Canada for their educational systems or their colleges or their health insurance or their medical schools.
A couple of points. Of the 275 million Americans, about 45 million have no health insurance. They are in the minority and have so far lost to the collective conclusion of the other 230 million. The tyranny of the majority. I believe that the percentage of employers now offering health insurance is 59%. I say no fair. For example, my neice had a low skilled job. She had a child and the child got ill. She lost her job because she had to go live with her child in the hospital. A year and a half later, the child died. Now my neice has no job, no money, no insurance, no nothing. There is no safety net for her but family.

People don't scheme to immigrate to Canada, Finland or wherever because most people just want to stay home. It isn't on the radar screen and probably not possible for the predominately low skilled workers and unemployed who don't have health insurance. They are Americans and believe in America, even though the collective America doesn't think much of them.

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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 08:03 PM   #29
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Wab,
We really didn't fix anything with new social programs;* WWII fixed the depression.
The New Deal fixed nothing.
The economy was on the upswing starting in 1938, two and a half years before we went into WWII. http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=138
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 08:05 PM   #30
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Nords
I still do have the same belief about health care.* I admit that my only real experience with American healthcare is the military system, so perhaps I'm both blissfully ignorant and less than objective.

[...]

I can't recall millions of Americans scheming to get across the borders of Finland or China or South Korea or Britain or Canada for their educational systems or their colleges or their health insurance or their medical schools.
I don't see millions of people scheming to get across the borders from any one developed country to any other, for that matter. *The level of medical science is not that different across developed countries.* The difference is in who gets covered and how it gets paid for. *I wouldn't be surprised if your experience in the military system is different from that of someone in the civilian world. *Your military experience may even be much more like that of a civilian in a country with a national health care plan. *You're always covered, you never have to worry about losing coverage, you can rest secure in the knowledge that at least some basic level of coverage will always be there. *You may need or want to spend more money for something fancier elsewhere, but you will never be just left completely in the lurch where you are now. *(Of course, I may be completely wrong about how military health care works, so feel free to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.)

As for educational systems, besides the US, I have only experienced secondary education in the UK, so can't really generalize beyond that. *But that alone was shockingly eye-opening. *I'll be getting a parent's-eye view of the Japanese educational system soon, so ask me about that in a few years. *I know people complain about too much rote memorization of facts and not enough critical thinking, so maybe I'll be doing some supplemental education of my own. But I'll be happy if my kid at least gets exposed to a firehose of facts, as opposed to a rationed drip-drip-drip.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 08:26 PM   #31
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by bennevis
When the Democrats take power, will America eventually turn into another Europe and lose our inbred incentives to make money on top of more money?
Gee - the Democrats have been in power many times - many of them quite economically prosperous. Did our culture change that much? Don't you remember? or are you too young?

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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 08:38 PM   #32
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

On the subject of education, I heard an interesting line in an old movie today. Somethinag along the lines of...

"If a man isn't good at making money, no amount of schooling is going to drill it into him. But if a man IS good at making money, he shouldn't waste his time going to college!"

But, it was also a 60-year old movie, so times have changed a bit! I think it was called "Sorry, Wrong Number".
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 08:40 PM   #33
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Martha
A couple of points. *Of the 275 million Americans, about 45 million have no health insurance. *They are in the minority and have so far lost to the collective conclusion of the other 230 million. The tyranny of the majority. *I believe that the percentage of employers now offering health insurance is 59%. *I say no fair. * For example, my neice had a low skilled job. *She had a child and the child got ill. *She lost her job because she had to go live with her child in the hospital. *A year and a half later, the child died. *Now my neice has no job, no money, no insurance, no nothing. *There is no safety net for her but family.
People don't scheme to immigrate to Canada, Finland or wherever because most people just want to stay home. * It isn't on the radar screen and probably not possible for the predominately low skilled workers and unemployed who don't have health insurance. *They are Americans and believe in America, even though the collective America doesn't think much of them.
C'mon, Martha, you've used better logic & debate tactics than that. *We can always point out the failures of a system, but that doesn't prove that the tyranny of the majority is worse than the alternatives.

I don't think the majority of Americans are able to affect "right" or "fair" as much as a core of entrepreneurs are interested in fixing the system while coincidentally making buckets of money doing so. *I think good ol' fashioned greed would have produced a better medical system by now, whether it's motivated by money or political power-- same thing.

As for those people scheming to get across the borders, what percentage of American citizens attend American medical schools? *And what percentage of American citizens with doctor's degrees obtained them in foreign medical schools? *I think foreign students are at American medical schools for very good reasons, no matter how easily impressed we are by their country's educational systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpp
I wouldn't be surprised if your experience in the military system is different from that of someone in the civilian world. *Your military experience may even be much more like that of a civilian in a country with a national health care plan. *You're always covered, you never have to worry about losing coverage, you can rest secure in the knowledge that at least some basic level of coverage will always be there. *You may need or want to spend more money for something fancier elsewhere, but you will never be just left completely in the lurch where you are now. *(Of course, I may be completely wrong about how military health care works, so feel free to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.)
I think you're describing the system pretty fairly, with a few exceptions in the next paragraph. *I also think that if the military healthcare system worked for the majority of Americans, then we'd have it! *Unfortunately the judicial system would be clogged with sniveling about "rights" and "privileges" and other unprofitable aspects of the system.

Martha, Bpp, review this post with your quoted thoughts in mind and see if this is the healthcare system that we really want. *Because I'd much rather consult a resident at a clinic than a doctor at a military hospital.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 08:50 PM   #34
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Sure, and now look at the country's level of GDP, per-capita "wealth", or other world power criteria.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's plenty of room for improvement in American school systems.* I just don't think other countries are any closer to the answers than we are.* I have a hard time believing that enterpreneurial Americans wouldn't instantly plagiarize adopt the world's best education systems if they really did lead to better graduates.* Rote memorization may lead to high test scores but about the only other thing it guarantees is an overwhelming sense of overconfidence during a military academy's plebe year.*

Testing for knowledge is pretty straightforward.* Mensa to the contrary, testing for thinking & analysis appears to be a little more difficult.

I also remember what I did to those high school surveys & exams.* If they couldn't directly relate to a personal benefit (money or the college of my choice) then I'd be more likely to amuse my teen personality at their expense.* They were almost as much fun as the sex/drugs/alcohol surveys.
US is ahead in GDP and other measures despite its public education system, not because of it. US has superior universities and, of course, vastly superior finance/investment laws and infrastructure that encourage the best and brightest to make the most of their talents. Those factors (and I'm sure many others) outweigh the negatives of the public education system.

Math, sciences, and engineering are all about problem-solving -- it is the "soft" disciplines that require straight memorization. These problem-solving disciplines is where US is lagging. At the expense of appearing a self-righteous engineer I would say that analytical thinking and problem solving abilities learned during childhood and teenage years have the most potential to positively impact a person's future career and financial success. They are by no means the only factor -- business sense and drive are extremely important too, as well as positive habits like LBYM -- but they are the most significant of the things that school is supposed to directly teach. And they're the ones most lacking in the current public education system.

Edit: just to clarify, I mean only grades 1-12 when I talk about the US "public education system". US universities, public and private, are very good.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 09:05 PM   #35
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Nords
As for those people scheming to get across the borders, what percentage of American citizens attend American medical schools? *And what percentage of American citizens with doctor's degrees obtained them in foreign medical schools? *I think foreign students are at American medical schools for very good reasons, no matter how easily impressed we are by their country's educational systems.
America has some of the best universities in the world.* I do recall there were some American medical students in Grenada during the invasion, but I am guessing they weren't there for the high quality of the education.

The problem is in primary and secondary education.*

Quote:
Martha, Bpp, review this post with your quoted thoughts in mind and see if this is the healthcare system that we really want. *Because I'd much rather consult a resident at a clinic than a doctor at a military hospital.
You list 3 issues having to do with the military medical system:

1)* Military doctors can get shot at.* Not typically a big problem for non-military health care (though there are always a few exceptions).
2)* Military doctors cannot be sued.* This probably depends on the country, but doctors can be and are sued in Japan, for example (though the country as a whole is a lot less lawsuit-happy than the US).
3) You need a military ID to get into a military ER.* Not generally an issue under nationalized health care, where everyone is assumed to be in the system.

The rest of the issues seem to be general issues related to being in the military.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 09:11 PM   #36
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by fluffy
US is ahead in GDP and other measures despite its public education system, not because of it. US has superior universities and, of course, vastly superior finance/investment laws and infrastructure that encourage the best and brightest to make the most of their talents. Those factors (and I'm sure many others) outweigh the negatives of the public education system.
Again, I'm all for improving our public school systems. *I think we can make them better. *

Unfortunately education is compulsory to a certain age and, unlike universities, we can't "improve" the system by getting rid of those who aren't succeeding at the right-hand side of the bell curve. *Heck, we can't even insist that they speak English before they show up for their taxpayer benefits. *But I guess the universities must be really really good if they're getting such dreck from the high schools.

Hawaii has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 of the nation's school systems. *Yet the state has one of the country's strongest economies (despite the anti-business climate) and lowest unemployment rates. *I don't think that we can claim it's due to our superior universities or our vastly superior finance/investment laws and infrastructure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffy
Math, sciences, and engineering are all about problem-solving -- it is the "soft" disciplines that require straight memorization. These problem-solving disciplines is where US is lagging. At the expense of appearing a self-righteous engineer I would say that analytical thinking and problem solving abilities learned during childhood and teenage years have the most potential to positively impact a person's future career and financial success. They are by no means the only factor -- business sense and drive are extremely important too, as well as positive habits like LBYM -- but they are the most significant of the things that school is supposed to directly teach. And they're the ones most lacking in the current public education system.
Which "soft disciplines" (oxymoronic?) are we talking about? *Are you claiming that rote memorization is all that's necessary to understand history, English, and economics? *I don't want to put words in your mouth but I'd sure like to hear more about this line of thinking.

I don't think anyone who's ever raised a teenager could possibly claim that teens have any credibility in displaying analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities. *In fact there's considerable directly observable brain-scan evidence to indicate that most teen "decisions" occur in the amygdala vice the cerebral cortex. *

So maybe the only kind of high-school teaching that succeeds is rote memorization, but I sure wouldn't enjoy a school like that. *I know that rote memorization is certainly easier to test for on nationwide exams! *So maybe we're testing for garbage in and getting garbage out. *Maybe the test scores should be ranked according to GDP or the size of the nation's military.

The best educational system I read about was in a science-fiction book. *No one attempted to teach calculus or algebra or even reading & writing. *Up until age 14 students were taught the "life skills" of running a household, commuting to a job or navigating their way through a city, conversing respectfully & politely with others, evaluating political rhetoric, and dining in public with "proper manners". *Oddly enough, by their early teen years they'd displayed enough motivation to learn how to read and write through the skills they were learning-- street signs and grocery-store math. *At the age of 14 they tracked onto their chosen fields-- minimal proficiency in reading/writing/math and a life of manual/technical labor, or "higher education" for a university curriculum. *

It was never said which side of the system produced future teachers & professors. *Or politicians & bureaucrats, either...
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 09:16 PM   #37
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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The rest of the issues seem to be general issues related to being in the military.
I would say that those specific issues are what account for the putative success of the military medical system. You don't try to cure everyone, just the ones who are following your rules!

Now imagine if your average company's healthcare system was being run on similar criteria. Our Mililani Wal-Mart used to have their clerks engage in motivational chanting & singing when they opened, although I haven't seen that lately. Do Japanese factories still lead their shifts in calisthenics before the workday begins? Can a Chinese worker claim that his medical records are personal (private) information?

Would everyone else like to work in similar "office" environments if we paid your healthcare insurance premiums? Martha's niece wouldn't fall though the safety net, but would everyone else mind giving up their "rights" for that system?
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 09:26 PM   #38
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Nords
Well, let's turn this question around.

What countries have the world's best education systems?
I think the US can still claim this honor (although it is arguable). The problem is that an increasing number of Americans are unable to afford it. Our universities are filled with more foriegn students who can afford tuition.

I also think that our large cities have created a dual education system for K-12. The affluent pay to send their kids to real schools that educate while the inner-city public schools become baby-sitting for future fellons.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 09:38 PM   #39
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Again, I'm all for improving our public school systems. I think we can make them better.
Then I think we are all in agreement. It's just a question of how bad the US public school system is.

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Unfortunately education is compulsory to a certain age
That is true of most other developed countries as well, so is no excuse for the current state of affairs.

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Do Japanese factories still lead their shifts in calisthenics before the workday begins?
Yes, for the most part, but you don't get kicked out of the national health system if you don't participate. (And I have seen some pretty half-hearted efforts -- people smoking and drinking coffee while moving their index fingers in time with the loudspeaker, that kind of thing. Not everyone takes it seriously.) And not all workplaces have this kind of thing anyway.

And even if you don't have a job, you can be covered. Edit to add: This is really the key point. Universal access, with no dependency on employment status or stipulations about pre-existing conditions.

Quote:
Would everyone else like to work in similar "office" environments if we paid your healthcare insurance premiums? Martha's niece wouldn't fall though the safety net, but would everyone else mind giving up their "rights" for that system?
The only right you give up if you enter the Japanese national health care system is the right to get back out of it. Well, I have heard that it can be done, but it takes a lot of persistence.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-03-2006, 09:43 PM   #40
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by Nords
Again, I'm all for improving our public school systems. *I think we can make them better. *

Unfortunately education is compulsory to a certain age and, unlike universities, we can't "improve" the system by getting rid of those who aren't succeeding at the right-hand side of the bell curve. *Heck, we can't even insist that they speak English before they show up for their taxpayer benefits. *But I guess the universities must be really really good if they're getting such dreck from the high schools.

Hawaii has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 of the nation's school systems. *Yet the state has one of the country's strongest economies (despite the anti-business climate) and lowest unemployment rates. *I don't think that we can claim it's due to our superior universities or our vastly superior finance/investment laws and infrastructure.
Which "soft disciplines" (oxymoronic?) are we talking about? *Are you claiming that rote memorization is all that's necessary to understand history, English, and economics? *I don't want to put words in your mouth but I'd sure like to hear more about this line of thinking.

I don't think anyone who's ever raised a teenager could possibly claim that teens have any credibility in displaying analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities. *In fact there's considerable directly observable brain-scan evidence to indicate that most teen "decisions" occur in the amygdala vice the cerebral cortex. *

So maybe the only kind of high-school teaching that succeeds is rote memorization, but I sure wouldn't enjoy a school like that. *I know that rote memorization is certainly easier to test for on nationwide exams! *So maybe we're testing for garbage in and getting garbage out. *Maybe the test scores should be ranked according to GDP or the size of the nation's military.

The best educational system I read about was in a science-fiction book. *No one attempted to teach calculus or algebra or even reading & writing. *Up until age 14 students were taught the "life skills" of running a household, commuting to a job or navigating their way through a city, conversing respectfully & politely with others, evaluating political rhetoric, and dining in public with "proper manners". *Oddly enough, by their early teen years they'd displayed enough motivation to learn how to read and write through the skills they were learning-- street signs and grocery-store math. *At the age of 14 they tracked onto their chosen fields-- minimal proficiency in reading/writing/math and a life of manual/technical labor, or "higher education" for a university curriculum. *

It was never said which side of the system produced future teachers & professors. *Or politicians & bureaucrats, either...
History and English, yes, I would classify those as "soft" disciplines. They certainly do require and develop critical thinking which is very important. I don't think they develop problem-solving abilities the same way as math and "hard" sciences do. Economics is largely applied math so it's not a "soft" discipline to me.

I don't mean to marginalize the "soft" disciplines, but to underscore the lag in math and sciences compared to most of the rest developed and even developing countries. Though I would argue that a nation full of engineers is likely to be more successful (in material sense, at least) than a nation full of historians or writers.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say teenagers don't have credibility in displaying problem-solving/analytical thinking skills? From my own experience, my problem-solving and critical thinking skills, as applied to "hard" sciences, were fully or at least mostly developed by age 13-14.

I'm a huge sci-fi fan, but unfortunately I don't see the education system you mentioned being successful in real life. Those life skills are very important and its every parent's responsibility to cultivate them in kids, but I just don't see them translating into kids picking up math, sciences, and other disciplines on their own. However, if it really works, then I'm all for it *

Finally, I have no idea what contributes to HI's success, but again, public education system is just one of many many factors. Just because a state or a country is successful is not enough to indicate that its public education system is inferior or superior. But repeated near-bottom placement in multiple-country tests in "hard" science disciplines is a very good indicator that US has room for improvment (as we both agree). To most immigrants from Europe and Asia this is obvious and as bpp mentioned at least part of the problem is the snail's pace at which US kids learn stuff -- this is true for both "hard" and "soft" disciplines, but I'm more concerned with the former.
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