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ThomasTigerino

Are our kids falling behind?

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So according to Forbes, Asian students are kicking some serious butt when it comes to education. I knew this about Math but looks like they are creeping into Science as well (Natural progression I guess).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2016/11/29/far-east-strengthens-grip-on-math-science-rankings-u-s-students-slip-further-behind/

What is causing this and how can we reverse the trend? From what I know, the Math curriculum in a lot of Asian countries (Including India) is quite intense.

Should we beef up our own program / create new out of the box solutions like simplified math tutorials or a combination?

How can we (North Americans) compete with the rest of the world?

 

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I think the problem is less with the details of the curriculum and more with culture. Americans and Canadians don't really care about / appreciate math and science, especially not as kids/teens. Often, the teachers teaching these subjects are not particularly interested in them themselves, and fail to inspire the students and instill interest in them. The few kids who show an innate interest or ability for math/science are usually bullied and made fun of as nerds, rather than praised and respected (praise and respect instead goes to students who perform well in athletics, or, in some schools, performing arts). 

At the elementary and high school level it would take a giant cultural shift, which is not likely to happen. If anything, the culture is only shifting farther away from math and science (or even reason, logic, and facts) and towards sport, emotion, art, and subjectivity. This, likely, is not fixable. One possibility might be special science and math oriented elementary and high schools for kids that show an early interest/aptitude in these fields, though such measures would likely be opposed by various groups based on arguments about inequality, development, etc. 

On the other hand, university programs in these subjects in the US and Canada are excellent, and once students make it to that level, North American universities produce many of the worlds leading scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. And many of the kids in Asian countries that excel in these fields come to the US and Canada to take these university programs. 

Therefore, the most realistic approach to try to compete with the rest of the world in math and science is to provide significant incentives for promising university students in these fields from other countries to stay here once they complete their education, rather than going back to their country of origin. Currently, for example, the US makes it very difficult for Bachelor's, Master's, and even PhDs in STEM fields to stay in the country permanently after finishing their degrees (they have to go through the very difficult and burdensome H1B process, sponsored by an employer - or a few other also burdensome variations such as the NIW). So, for the US, I would recommend adding new provisions to the immigration system which allow foreign-born high performing graduates from US universities in STEM fields to apply directly for permanent residency without employer sponsorship. For Canada, I would recommend adding new provisions to the points system which increase the points given for high performing graduates in STEM fields from US and Canadian universities.

People graduating with A averages from top universities in STEM fields should not be having a hard time being allowed to stay in the US and Canada, but sadly, every year, thousands of such individuals are forced to return to their country of origin rather than being allowed to stay. 

Edited by Bonam

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17 minutes ago, Bonam said:

(praise and respect instead goes to students who perform well in athletics, or, in some schools, performing arts). 

One possibility might be special science and math oriented elementary and high schools for kids that show an early interest/aptitude in these fields, though such measures would likely be opposed by various groups based on arguments about inequality, development, etc.

I don`t see anyone out protesting against special schools (generally high schools) devoted to sports and performing arts.

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27 minutes ago, Bonam said:

 So, for the US, I would recommend adding new provisions to the immigration system which allow foreign-born high performing graduates from US universities in STEM fields to apply directly for permanent residency without employer sponsorship....

....People graduating with A averages from top universities in STEM fields should not be having a hard time being allowed to stay in the US and Canada, but sadly, every year, thousands of such individuals are forced to return to their country of origin rather than being allowed to stay. 

 

No thanks, as this would distort the job market and wages in the U.S. even more and rob other nations of highly educated/skilled workers.  U.S. employer sponsorship already supports many thousands of work visas with an opportunity for permanent residency.   This policy should not be inverted.

Foreign outsourcing shops like InfoSys and Tata have taken huge advantage of existing H1-B visa quotas to the detriment of very qualified U.S. citizens.

 

Edited by bush_cheney2004

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Just now, ?Impact said:

I don`t see anyone out protesting against special schools (generally high schools) devoted to sports and performing arts.

Because deep down people know that these are mostly just for fun.

Make special schools that emphasize science and math, which lead to people graduating from them consistently making more money in their careers, and suddenly you'll see all kinds of social analysts analyzing the racial, religious, gender and class demographics of these schools and demanding they be shut down because they are mostly filled with rich white and Asian boys and not enough transgender native girls. 

But who knows, I could be wrong. Maybe no one will complain. Perhaps some province should start a pilot program. 

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I did see an article recently about a Toronto high school that was attempting to ban cell phones in the classroom.  I felt like going down there and saying "duh" myself, and I live in Alberta. 

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Just now, bush_cheney2004 said:

No thanks, as this would distort the job market and wages in the U.S. even more

Hardly. The US has an insatiable demand for top shelf scientists and engineers. The more of them there are, the more innovation and progress will be created, and the more wages will rise for everyone who can perform well in those fields.

Quote

U.S. employer sponsorship already supports many thousands of work visas with an opportunity for permanent residency.   This policy should not be inverted.

Yes, but having been through it, the employer sponsorship process is very expensive, cumbersome, and filled with years of uncertainty for both the sponsored individual and the employer. This process is grossly inefficient and does not work for many thousands of very talented individuals. 

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11 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Foreign outsourcing shops like InfoSys and Tata have taken huge advantage of existing H1-B visa quotas to the detriment of very qualified U.S. citizens.

InfoSys and Tata are criminals that abuse the system. Their practices should be investigated and shut down, and the companies should be fined out of existence. The only reason they haven't been is because they have paid off enough politicians to look the other way.

Meanwhile, hundreds of legitimate US tech companies who want to use the H1-B system the way it is meant to be used face years of delays, tens of thousands of dollars in expenses per applicant, and enormous uncertainty. 

Edited by Bonam

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Just now, Bonam said:

Hardly. The US has an insatiable demand for top shelf scientists and engineers. The more of them there are, the more innovation and progress will be created, and the more wages will rise for everyone who can perform well in those fields.

 

This has not been the reality in many fields despite great innovation and progress.   The U.S. is not an unlimited sink hole for all the world's most intelligent or motivated foreign nationals, many of whom are far more needed back home to address developing and third world economy and education needs.

U.S. citizens should not have to compete with foreign nationals for jobs as a matter of work visa or immigration policy.

 

Quote

Yes, but having been through it, the employer sponsorship process is very expensive, cumbersome, and filled with years of uncertainty for both the sponsored individual and the employer. This process is grossly inefficient and does not work for many thousands of very talented individuals. 

 

I agree, having seen it first hand dozens of times.  This is by design....and the revolving door of H1-B and other foreign worker programs exist and is managed for U.S. needs/interests, not the needs of foreign students/workers.   

 

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13 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

This has not been the reality in many fields despite great innovation and progress.   The U.S. is not an unlimited sink hole for all the world's most intelligent or motivated foreign nationals, many of whom are far more needed back home to address developing and third world economy and education needs.

Those who are interested in addressing third world needs will do so. Those who aren't, won't, whether they are made to go back or not. Those who want to live and work in a Western country and work on first world problems have other countries to choose from besides the US. 

Quote

I agree, having seen it first hand dozens of times.  This is by design....and the revolving door of H1-B and other foreign worker programs exist and is managed for U.S. needs/interests, not the needs of foreign students/workers.   

I agree that the US system should be designed to serve US interests. I disagree that it presently does so optimally. 

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45 minutes ago, Bonam said:

Those who are interested in addressing third world needs will do so. Those who aren't, won't, whether they are made to go back or not. Those who want to live and work in a Western country and work on first world problems have other countries to choose from besides the US.

 

Agreed....and they should seek opportunities wherever they wish, but that will not be and should not be the driver for U.S. work visa or residency policy.   But the impact on third world and developing nations has not gone unnoticed.   The globalization of labour has had real political and economic impact on the U.S. and other "western" nations....good and bad.    No doubt it yielded a few more votes for.....President Donald Trump.

 

Quote

I agree that the US system should be designed to serve US interests. I disagree that it presently does so optimally. 

 

Probably not optimally, however that would be defined.   My personal advantage in the applied STEM workplace early on was a high level U.S. security clearance and experience, which barred most if not all foreign nationals from sensitive DoD contracts, not education or residency.

Edited by bush_cheney2004

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2 hours ago, Bonam said:

I think the problem is less with the details of the curriculum and more with culture. Americans and Canadians don't really care about / appreciate math and science, especially not as kids/teens.

It was not cool to be a geek/nerds based on how popular media portrayed it. I would hope that is not the case now as geeks/nerds seem to be at the height of coolness.

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Asians to very well in our system, Canada is one of the top ranked non Asian countries when it comes to math science and reading.

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1 hour ago, GostHacked said:

It was not cool to be a geek/nerds based on how popular media portrayed it. I would hope that is not the case now as geeks/nerds seem to be at the height of coolness.

Yeah I think that might be a small percentage but overall, Math and Science are not just interesting anymore. Kids are influenced by if something is going to effect them in real life. Lots of kids were getting into Math and Science when the US announced they wanted to put someone on the moon. It kind of all fell off from there . . . Now they are into making Youtube videos. No Math or Science required, just a cell phone camera.

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My own kid struggled mightily in today's academic environment for undergrads....he and his peers were decoupled from curriculum developed by old farts for a world that no longer exists.   Courses in math, science, engineering, history, literature, etc. were just a meaningless gauntlet to run for another expensive BA/BS degree with poor employment prospects.   

Then he discovered the world of finance, accounting, hedge funds, options trading, etc. and the heavens opened.   Ditched the computer science major and joined the crowd that understands what really makes the world go 'round...money.   

Now he is paying me rent instead of me paying more tuition.  Win-win.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Then he discovered the world of finance, accounting, hedge funds, options trading, etc. and the heavens opened.

Hedge funds, options trading? You mean gambling with other peoples money and taking a cut no matter how good or bad you do. When he burns out on Wall Street he can retire to a nice Casino in Vegas.

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1 minute ago, ?Impact said:

Hedge funds, options trading? You mean gambling with other peoples money and taking a cut no matter how good or bad you do. When he burns out on Wall Street he can retire to a nice Casino in Vegas.

 

That's his choice, and far more relevant than chasing the STEM mantra.   He already has immediate family in Las Vegas.

 

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4 minutes ago, Wilber said:

Not a lot of consolation but at least Canada ranks in the top ten when it comes to PISA rankings for math, science and reading.

2015 PISA Rankings

They've always leaned towards Canada.

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9 hours ago, bcsapper said:

They've always leaned towards Canada.

They are based on the same test written by 15  year olds worldwide. They don't "lean" towards anyone.

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1 hour ago, Wilber said:

They are based on the same test written by 15  year olds worldwide. They don't "lean" towards anyone.

Sorry.  Silly joke...

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14 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

My own kid struggled mightily in today's academic environment for undergrads....he and his peers were decoupled from curriculum developed by old farts for a world that no longer exists.   Courses in math, science, engineering, history, literature, etc. were just a meaningless gauntlet to run for another expensive BA/BS degree with poor employment prospects.   

Then he discovered the world of finance, accounting, hedge funds, options trading, etc. and the heavens opened.   Ditched the computer science major and joined the crowd that understands what really makes the world go 'round...money.   

Now he is paying me rent instead of me paying more tuition.  Win-win.

 

 

Right on. You just nailed it. "Old crappy curriculum developed by old farts".  Now they have these online tutorial places like StudyPug or Math.com, teaching full on Algebra 2, Calculus etc. Glad your kid is kicking butt in finance. If all that finance stuff doesn't have an advanced Math requirement (Algebra 2 or Calculus, etc), then I would love to explore it further myself. Tips appreciated :).  Surprised about the Computer Science major though. Technology is another great field to be in.  

Edited by ThomasTigerino

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First of all you have to teach your kids how to use their thinking power. If you prevent them to question events, they will be like zombies. If you prevent a young person who questions how TTowers were collapsed, they will be idiots in the future. 

I have invented my own "effective thinking method" and in the future I will teach it to all kids in the World. 

Current corrupt system in the World gives nothing to kids. Kids are just adapted to study at some schools and having a good job and a plump pension. Noone is interested with their thinking power.

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