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David Hamilton

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Is Cooperative education, the institutional encouragement of bullying and sexual manipulation?

In a competitive education environment, based on individual understanding of concepts and achievement, one human being is incapable of physically intimidating another into supplementing their grade. One human being is also incapable of sexually manipulating another human being for the purpose of padding their grade.

The second work is assigned to groups… This breaks down. The second a small group of human beings male and female, can work together on a project and share responsibility, without immediate oversight, it becomes very easy for the strong and the sexy to manipulate the smart into sharing credit for their ideas.

More over, institutions which engage in co operative learning, are unlikely to respond well to children who suggest “Well… I did all the work, why are they getting an A?”… because, that isn’t a co operative attitude. Does this institutionally teach smart people to be slaves to the attractive and the strong?

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    Aug 3 2012: Thank you so much for starting the thread. I have been having lots of conversations with James about lots of things. Like you he is young. He is younger than you and I am trying to encourage him to ride out the hormonal surge that takes you into manhood and stay in the education system. It is not always the brightest and best who have the best ideas because they lack life experience. All theory and little practical everyday experience to link it to. At this stage it is about staying in the system and getting into a position to astound everyone by making Professor. It is much easier for men than for women because babies literally get in the way for women. The hormonal fluctuations that go with a pregnancy literally stop a mind from processing data in certain ways. Look at the proportion of so called alpha females who never have children, what a loss to the genetic pool. You know who they are, their genetic and intellectual energy literally shines from their face no matter what their ethnic background. That is why balance is so important. It is not the race to be first like China. Look at the colour of their flag, look at the abuses the majority of their population suffer. Not just the women but the educated academics that don't quite make the grade. We do not want a hive mentality like China, it is consuming the earth's resources at a rate that the earth's natural filters cannot cope with. Just have a lot of ideas, people, ideas and goods have always travelled. Think rainbow nation. If we sort South Africa out then we can use it as a model to try elsewhere. It is about getting the balance right.
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    Aug 3 2012: See my posts on other threads about the role of the educators and the problems of educating the young in an economic model that removes the natural filtering process of the family unit. It is about the balance between enablement of the cognitive facilities in the individual and the enablement of the society the individual is operating in. It is a co-dependency at the moment. Look at the four emerging economic economies and look at what is driving them and look at the cost to the environment and to the individual. India, China, Brazil and Russia. Labour rich but denying the free will of the people. If you create a mountain in one place you will create a chasm in another, the idea is to fill the chasm with appropriately recycled material not toxic waste. I hope this metaphor will resonate with this thread and help to find a useful answer in the resulting debate.
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      Aug 3 2012: I think I agree with the spirit of what you are saying. I have often thought, that cooperation has a yin, and a yang, just as competition does. Even though we often see them as the yin and yang to one another. In many ways I make such a passionate pull towards individual achievement, because, especially in the education field, I feel the pendulum has swung the other way a bit too far.

      Also, I think there are practices which lend themselves particularly well to group work, and are good institutions for allowing the government to play a small role in child development, encouraging cooperation, art, speech, literature. I think math and science, lend themselves very well to lecture, repetition, and competition.

      I just wanted to be the only person on ted to start, from the incedibly individualist perspective, through the lens of the societal damage group think/work can cause... Because I think it's a perspective under represented, and discussed in modern educational circles. And, I wouldn't know this, if two of my friends weren't getting a Masters in education, and trying to teach. I just hear about these arguments all the time, and as a lamen, who's just interested and educated, I'm starting to side with the people saying "What's the fascinating group activity to teach people the Pythagorean theorem? How can the cooperate to learn that? It's shorter than a sentence... You just repeat it over and over, and use it over and over until they know it."

      You might want to check my most recent reply to James too, I was really surprised when I looked over the stats a second time, just because I didn't think deeply enough about them.
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    Aug 3 2012: I would attribute this as the school's in-capabilities of regulating and controlling the situation. Bullying already rises as a social issue because schools are not able to find a solution. No matter how they promote cooperation or ban bullying, those bullies rather have their desires satisfied than be punished for their actions.
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      Aug 3 2012: I would add however, that... In a lecture environment, no bullying can occur, during class time. In group work. It can. I think the classroom should be the refuge from bullying and bs.
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    Aug 1 2012: What you're describing is not group-work. It sounds like individuals operating in the same space.

    The whole point of group work is sharing ideas and work-load and if that's causing a problem then the co-operative approach is wrong for the intended outcome.

    In a school situation, part of the assessment (and maybe all of it, if co-operation is the main focus) should be on fostering co-operation and support within the group so, if this is not happening, then the group and the members have failed collectively.
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      Aug 2 2012: Here you get to the core of the issue however... Should "Math", be graded on how well you cooperate? Should history? Or are history and math class meant to teach you history and math.

      I will say this though, for an A student, in normal public school classes, there is no such thing as group work. There is "You do 4 peoples work, and then tell me they did it, or you get a C"
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        Aug 2 2012: In short, no.

        Ideally, we want young people to be able to work with others but it shouldn't be confused with learning content or skills (unless they are specifically related to co-operative skills).

        I think that it's often more difficult to assess who is fulfilling their role in a group effectively and who is not which tempts the situation you describe, where the grade is awarded across the group with no real regard for the balance of effort.

        I think co-operative learning is a bit of a reaction to the impact of digital technologies and people are still figuring out and catching up.
  • Aug 1 2012: For something like a supreme court with say nine(9) members in cooperative education - the kid who wants to say I did all the work and these guys are dummies writes a dissenting opinion. Bullying is a social phenomena. It's a problem but only slightly related to the two types the sponser suggests. Livestock does this, wolves to this, and lions do this. I rescued my 1500 pound ANgus bull at the time from a 2500 pound Santa Gertrudus bull whos territory he had invaded. I would later observe Oppie giving the bigger bull "the Finger" a; deep an loud bellow being sure he had two fences between him and the much larger full.
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      Aug 1 2012: Great point with a great story. Thanks.
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      Aug 1 2012: I am not suggesting that the behavior is created by cooperative education. I am saying that group work and cooperative education, enhance the power of bullies and emotional manipulators in the school system. The behavior will still exist, but institutions do not have to encourage it.
  • Aug 1 2012: While it can produce this type of environment, I think it is much more important than just encouraging it (which I think we should do) because the world is essentially like this, it teaches the student on how to deal with this kind of behaviour in a controlled environment before they have to deal with it in the real world.
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      Aug 1 2012: While I understand, in theory, the idea that the world they grow up in will be like this... I don't think the institution, which is meant to espouse fairness, and teach our children, should be secretly siding with bullies and sexual manipulators. Isn't the point of the controlled environment, to side with the person being intimidated or emotionally manipulated? If the institution instead encourages the behavior of the bully, then it's the opposite of a controlled environment, it's like a hell uniquely designed to torture the smart. "War is Peace... Freedom is Slavery"

      In the real world, when I'm being sexually manipulated, or intimidated, I can remove the person doing it from my life. In the school system... you can't. Also I find that as an adult, I deal with physical intimidation maybe 1 hour a year.... From 11-16 people deal with it a lot more. Young men especially, finding their place in any pack, are most aggressive when they are the least secure of themselves, during puberty. This is also when they are incredibly easy to influence.

      It seems like the absolute worst time to instill in them the idea that "oh ya, governments going to side with the bad guys"... Especially since, at the same time, you're trying to instill in them a sense of patriotism, and national pride. Personally I think we need to chill a bit on those two things as well... but still, "Yes, you're going to be sexually and physically manipulated your entire life", doesn't seem like the platform teachers and principles should be taking. Especially since, if you have self esteem, and you work out... You won't be.
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    Aug 6 2012: So, rather than just going on logic... Obviously eventually one has to try and support ones assertions. I chose this topic with a heavy heart, knowing that it was an incredibly untedlike talk. I even feared it might be deleted, and fairly, because the traditional "old school" lecture, drill, test, and compete education system, has at numerous different times, in numerous different western systems, been found to be patriarchal in nature, sexist, and unfair... Through court cases, legislation, and simple policy changes.

    The history of competitive private school style education, has been one of discrimination. When we integrated the school systems we made necessary changes to the way the traditional system worked, incorporating far more cooperative learning and group work. This was the right thing to do at the time. When we did this however, we did had empirical evidence, that men faired better in a more competitive environment.

    In todays society. Women graduate from high school, and college in the United States, far more often than men. I am a caucasian man... We do fine, I did not write this, because I think caucasian men are being screwed by the system. I wrote this, because I believe, that things which are mildly sexist against men, much more dramatically impact minority men, especially in the inner city.

    We have a 75% graduation rate in this country. In a group of 4, 1 person will drop out, in an average school. The rest of the group has to carry that person, or have their grade suffer. In an inner city school, 2 out of 4 members of your "cooperative group" are planning to, or will drop out of high school. We say, that since we instituted all of these reforms, graduation rates have risen to 88%... 18% of those, graduate late, or get a GED. Smart people are dropping out of the system. In the worst districts, reforms based on a more traditional model, especially for science an math, which this country is getting horrible at, could do wonders imho.
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    Aug 4 2012: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012006.pdf

    Ed Stats.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_learning

    History of cooperative ed, which shows the doctors who have "proven" it works better, and been used in court cases since.

    http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm#math

    Math scores

    http://www.prisonpolicy.org/prisonindex/juveniles.html

    The largest segment, not in the first major pack of stats. 60,000 African Americans in jail, on top of the already atrocious drop out rate, and not included.

    Finally, if you can't understand why I suggest that male drop out rates are going up, but the very first packet of stats suggest, that the stats are getting better, and nowhere near as alarming as I am claiming... First you have to realize that the GED certificate program began in 1963. Meaning that the dropout rate, until 1970, was the dropout rate... Now, GED's pad the dropout rate, but they don't create college graduates, in engineering and math very often. High end colleges frown on GED's.

    59% of GED's awarded, are awarded to men, 41% to women. 25% are awarded in prison. 1 in 7 certificates of high school equivalency, are GED certificates. In other words, the dropout rates, are going down, because 14% of us still drop out, but now we get GED's. That's not a "dropout" rate the way you would think of it though... Is it? When you think dropout, you think people who stop going to high school... That number is the 75% going down, not the 88% going up.

    1% less people actually graduate high school, than did in 1970... But, we give a lot of GED's, predominantly to men who leave the system, to make up for it. What is causing the men leave the system phenomenon to grow so substantially? Could it be that teenage boys react poorly, and violently to being placed in groups with people who refuse to work on the group task at hand?

    GED Stats http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/ann_rev/rall_v5_ch3.pdf

    Doc starts on pg 45, important stats on 49
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    Aug 4 2012: Final GED stat, men vs women http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012025.pdf
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    Aug 3 2012: Just want everyone to keep thinking and talking. Between us we can work out an answer. We do not want to lose the medicine cabinet in the Brazilian rainforest We do not yet know what it contains. Look at the current meds available, they are too harsh. Look at the new pharmaceutical intervention for arthritis, kinder and more effective. It is not just micro and macro it now involves all of us. People have mixed, people will always move it is not about stopping the movement, it is more about slowing it down enough to get effective filters in place. Keep thinking and keep posting.
  • Aug 1 2012: I see it less as government is going to side with the bad guys and more as the government can help you but at the same time you must help yourself. And to get help you must ask for it.

    I think that learning that the government (leadership,teachers, anyone in overall charge) can help, but you must also help yourself is the most important lesson that could be taken from such an environment, and doing it inside a microcosm of the 'outside' world is the best thing they can do because expanding minds will take more readily to the concept.
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      Aug 2 2012: Isn't the teacher the only person in the room capable of helping though? I mean, they used to group me with children, and I felt like saying to them "You can't get this guy to pay attention or care... What hope do I have? I'm 12"
      • Aug 2 2012: to be honest thats a bit of an extreme example, I never experienced any such. I experienced it in college when, coincedentally, I was the one who didn't do much in the group, as such I didn't get a good mark. In these type of courses the instructor is the only one specifically positioned to help, but it has to be kept in mind these individuals have a lot on their minds and many classes. What I experienced was more of a covert form of discipline, one which I actually did not pay attention too unfortunately.
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          Aug 3 2012: I agree... I was having a bit of fun.

          The reason I go to that extreme though, is that i did feel that way a couple of times... At a relatively successful public school. I can't imagine what it must be like for A students where drop out rates get above 25%... because then, literally 1 out of 4 people, in every group, isn't even trying.
  • Aug 1 2012: I think the issues of how a child develops are very complicated. I think it starts with a mother's pre-natal nurishment to that child, continues with proper nourishment, exercise, and parental guidance through the age of 3 or 4, and has something to do with how that child is "hardwired" before he or she ever begins an organized educational system. I think most victims are created at home while only the more extreme cases of Bullies are molded to be that way. Hopefully any sociopaths will be identified early enough and taken out of the system.

    "It becomes easy for the strong and sexy to manipulate the smart"--I see a huge contradiction in this statement. To me, a smart child is one that is not easily manipulated. All kids do dumb things, but a "smart" child always brings a certain skill set to situations which give them a leg up on the not-so-smart.

    I believe that everything finds its own level and it usually doesn't take long. A natural hierarchy will develop in almost all cases of group interaction. Leaders will rise and followers will get in line behind them. Leaders are not bullies and followers are not victims, but it seems like many people confuse the terms. If anything, I would think that repressing this process would lead to more bullying and manipulation by not helping children learn how to deal with and find their place in social situations. To be a "slave" to the smart, attractive, or strong, I believe a child was conditioned to be that way before he or she ever entered the classroom and interacting with smart, strong or attractive is probably the best way to reverse the damage.
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      Aug 1 2012: A smart 11-16 year old, boy especially... is not easily emotionally manipulated... Have you ever met one?

      That sounds very optimistic to me. Also, I did not say they were easy to manipulate, I am saying that group work actually forces them to be manipulated, or pretend to be manipulated, or pretend people contribute, who did not. By forcing high performing students to carry the grade of low performing students, or else lower their own grade, you are forcing them into a manipulative environment.

      Teachers basically say, "here's the pretty and dumb people, one of you take care of them for awhile while I read a book". That leads to predominantly tribal, and naturalistic behavior in adolescents.
      • Aug 2 2012: "Teachers basically say, "here's the pretty and dumb people, one of you take care of them for awhile while I read a book". That leads to predominantly tribal, and naturalistic behavior in adolescents."---Don't you think "Tribal" is a bit of a stretch? Bad teachers are bad teachers. Bad teachers shouldn't factor into this discussion. A classroom should be structured and supervised or the teacher is to blame, not cooperative education. I say that teaching interpersonal skills is more important to the healthy development of children and leading them on a path toward becoming productive members of society than having a teacher preach to them about the Revolutionary War or "Tom Sawyer".

        How many boys and girls graduate High school and are still uncomfortable even talking to the opposite gender? Shouldn't addressing this be more of a priority than the teacher reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" to the class?

        Why is it a bad thing to put an Asian child, a white child, and a black child into a group to accomplish a common goal? Is there a better way to have kids not be afraid of "the otherness" that causes such ugly bigotry?

        You think subjecting children to a diversity of personalities, ideas, viewpoints, etc. in a safe environment is a bad thing? I certainly do not. As far as the "emotional manipulation" angle, that sounds more like an excuse to keep kids in a protective bubble instead of having them open their minds and grow.
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          Aug 2 2012: I don't think tribal is a stretch, I think 12 year olds basically revert to pack animals when the teacher lets them talk... That's just my personal experience of having been a 12 year old speaking though.

          I think interpersonal skills are important. I certainly see the valute in learning to work together to accomplish a goal... Maybe we, as a society, should learn how to do that. Then, we could teach a class in it. Let's not call that class "Math".
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    Aug 1 2012: The teacher is supposed to be overseeing the work and teaching students how to work together cooperatively. As someone who has taught adolescents, I can tell you that an experienced teacher notices which students not to put together in teams for these sorts of reasons.

    Group work has a tendency to involve some students pulling more weight than others, regardless of anyone's appearance.
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      Aug 1 2012: Think about when you were a student instead of a teacher... Did the teacher really know what was going on in class? Did the teacher really have any control over the most destructive children in class, or did most of the bullying start outside the class, and bleed into it silently?

      I can tell you, that group work creates an incentive for teachers to pair high performers with low performers because high performers will carry the low performers and pad the grades of the class. In essence, you're forcing the high performers to bully themselves.
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        Aug 1 2012: Some teachers are oblivious and others attentive.

        It happens that of late power issues within group work have gotten a lot of attention in research and teacher training.
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          Aug 2 2012: That's goot to hear. I guess part of my problem is... 30 students have 50 minutes of the attention of someone with more knowledge than they have. What benefit could there be for breaking into groups of students? It's like... You're taking the only person with anything to share out of the equation...
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        Aug 2 2012: I do not think you are. When you put a problem before a group of students, they may have a great deal of insight into how to approach it based on what they have already learned. People may bring different ideas to it and by putting their heads together, solve it.
        One does not learn how to solve problems just by listening to or watching someone else, particularly if it is not a "rote" sort of problem.
        Rather, you learn to solve problems by solving them, and students working together can fill in each others little gaps and throw different ideas into the solution.
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          Aug 2 2012: But, young students aren't solving problems, are they? They're learning solutions that already exist, and then demonstrating them. If it was still a problem that needed solving, we wouldn't have anything to teach.

          Students go to school to learn from an already existing knowledge base, not create their own... I mean... Is that too simplistic?

          It seems almost as if you're saying "the students are the real teachers"... and I feel like responding... "Then why do we pay you?"
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        Aug 2 2012: Young students learn to solve problems by solving things that are problems to them even if not to the teacher. It's about learning how to marshal what you know into an application. Students need to learn to do this by confronting challenges in their reach.

        I would not say that students are the real teachers, though there is no doubt they can learn from each other. A great deal goes into placing the right sequence of experiences before kids, asking the right questions to guide inquiry and discussion, bringing out the ideas that provide the most leverage, and so on.

        There is a great deal to it when it is done well.
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    Aug 1 2012: Well David my first reaction was ............whaaaaaaaaat? but then I realized it was you so I will give you an earnest answer not an emotional one.

    David, I might be considered strong and sexy by many in my experience and I did graduate first in my classes and year but I would definately balk at anyone's suggestion that I usurpt anyone's ideas. In this I understand some technological company's worries about entertaining new ideas.Some idea companies are very reluctant to listen to people with great ideas because they(the company) might have already been working on a potential idea for thousands of man hours and someone brings in a similar idea that they have been working on forever with a nondisclosure contract. The company evaluates the idea, realizes that the person is not as far along as they are and does not want to admit and thus reduce their competitive advantage- that they are already working on it so they just say 'pass"- later that person sees the product come out and is certain it was their idea. What a can of worms!

    So maybe this is why ideas are not patentable. I am strong and smart enough to have my own ideas. And how I look does not negate me from having them.

    I am very cooperative and not competitive in most circumstances- because I think collaboration suits us all and advances us all far more rapidly in most instances. What should I do then, if someone looks at me and has an agenda that is different than mine, sees my love of ideas and thinks that throwing that into the pot is a good way to get into my pants?

    So, just to sum up, No, I do not think so!
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      Aug 1 2012: I'm not suggesting you usurped anyones ideas. I am suggesting teachers used you, through group work, to pad the grades of low performers... Or, they would have, if you were in "normal people classes". AP classes don't do that to their smart people.

      I am saying that if you were not on some kind of special track from 11-16... and you were an A student. Every time you got put in a group, you knew "I have to carry these people, or I'm going to lose my A". If you were on a special track, you didn't have to deal with this.

      In normal junior high and high school however, group work puts the smartest people in the class, with the lowest performers. What happens when you do that? They force themselves to do the work, while low performing bullies and sexual manipulators go to work trying to convince you, and themselves that "I Helped".
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        Aug 1 2012: OK, thanks for that clarification. For me where it got REALLY bad was in my MBA when smart a**es decided that they just did not have to do anything at all and did not care if they scuttled the project= which as you know and they knew, I could not let happen - so you can't even imagine the work I had to do.
        i consoled myself by telling myself that I was learning twice/three times as much= and i literally did but I also reported this travesty to the administration when the MBA was complete. To what good I do not know.
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          Aug 2 2012: Wow, so you're even going a step further and suggesting that cooperative learning is a horrible experience for smart people all the way up : )

          That's exactly my problem though, those guys got an MBA just as valuable as you. Now imagine sharing classes with 14 year old high school kids in an inner city, with a 40% drop out rate.
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      Aug 1 2012: So, to be clear I'm talking about in the school system only, not work. At work you are supposed to be with likeminded people with a similar skill set... In public school... You're not.
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        Aug 2 2012: David, in for a penny in for a pound, the reality is that the women were as bad as the men at that level - maybe worse.
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          Aug 2 2012: Good to hear. Also, when merging two different school systems... Cooperational learning, almost certainly played an important transitional role. I don't think the intent was destructive, or sexist.

          I don't know how it went down in Canada, but in America different states, have different theories... but overall competitive, lecture, bell curve style, individual achievement oriented education, has been getting its butt kicked by trial lawyers, for a long time now.

          It just seems like we're constantly proving that "What our kids need is more group work and more cooperation", then we implement it, and test scores go down. I'm starting to think that men and women, really got screwed out of a traditional lecture and test based competitive education, that at this point would be doing us both a bit of good.

          Now that the educational bias is much more balanced, I don't think it would change the number of female achievers... Just the number of drop outs who completely give up on the system, and in my mind, a small amount of bullying and sexual manipulation.
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        Aug 4 2012: David, I got my MBA in the States and my experience was way worse and who knows why the women decided to do no group work but i think that they just did an analysis and decided if something had to give in their life it might as well be something with no consequences, They seemed very skilled at making contact and an impression on the prof which appears to me to be a major if unfortunate skill of business ladder climbing.
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      Aug 1 2012: Also, to be clear, this argument is often taken as sexist... I don't intend it that way. I intend to suggest that women would have eventually kicked mens asses in a competitive environment based on individual achievement. Instead we chose a cooperative environment, which at the time seemed to benefit them. The way we proved that cooperative learning benefited women, is quite interesting, and sexist in my humble opinion.

      We started with 2 schools well tested. Men only individual achiement, female only cooperative. We ran tests, men and women competitive, and cooperative, and each seperately. At the time, the mens education system, was much better, so when you put men and women in the same class, in a competitive environment, women did horrible, not because women are bad at school, but because they had never experienced competitive education, and were more poorly educated. When men and women were put in cooperative environments, of course, the female grades improved most dramatically... They took advantage of the already existing bias in the system.

      From 11-16 however, I would suggest that women are far more susceptible to intimidating eye contact and physical intimidation. Putting them in group environments, especially when they are already high performers institutionally encourages them to be manipulated by social factors, that will be of little consequence as they grow up.

      From 11-16 boys are far more susceptable to emotional and sexual manipulation. Group work encourages them to be manipulated. They are also susceptable to physical intimidation, but that wears off more around 12 or 13 when people start breaking knuckles and fingers in fights. Suddenly it doesn't seem like an efficient tool for getting your way.

      It has been proven, through numerous studies, that men do horribly in cooperative education

      "I want to spread the news,
      That if it feels this good gettin used,
      Oh, you just keep on usin' me,
      Until you use me up."

      The immortal Bill Withers
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    Aug 1 2012: So the cooperative/collaborative imo, needs a premise.

    The premise is that people need to respect each other's similarities and differences. Differences being each other's strengths and weaknesses. Each strength is as valuable as the other's strength. Similarities in that we are all human beings in this predicament and that none of them are perfect.
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      Aug 1 2012: Ahh, but... Is the educational institution designed to encourage one to pursue ones strength in physical intimidation and sexuallity... Or... Education?

      Evaluation in the category Math, should have little to do with, the category "Ability to create threatening eye contact that scares a 12 year old"... Should it not?

      While I will admit that sexual manipulation and intimidation exist as tools, I would hesitate to call them strengths. A strength is what is successfully taken advantage of by a brute or an emotional manipulator... In my humble opinion. In general I think I'm going to get a lot of disagreement though.
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        Aug 1 2012: Well, I'm not sure if the education institution "designed" the environment to favor the "physically strong" or the "sexual." If those two kinds of people resulted, to me, it seems more like an unintended effect.

        If such bullies or manipulators exist, then we should design a kind of system, where these kinds of people would, by design, fail in their attempts at such intimidation or manipulation.

        Usually there's teacher intervention, but that isn't totally reliable.

        It's not that I don't agree with what you're saying, I'm just a little skeptical if these kinds of people are THAT dominant atm as you make them to be, I mean.
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          Aug 1 2012: I don't intend to make them sound dominant... I intend to suggest that "cooperative learning" and "group work" strengthen bullies, and emotional manipulators. Individual work, does not.

          I have seen many discussions lately about bullying in the school system, and no one seems to be suggesting that through cooperative learning teachers actually encourage this behavior.

          Teachers are judged based on the grades of their class. Thus, there is an incentive, when the class splits into group work to pair the high performers, with the low performers to pad the grades of the class. When this happens the low performers try to manipulate the high performers into doing their work for them.

          Thus, I am suggesting the only institutional answer to bullying, if one is to take the threat seriously, is to return to academia as an institution for individual growth, rather than group think... In my opinion.
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        Aug 1 2012: Hmm, then perhaps the teachers should start being judged on how well he/she has regulated the environment?

        I think you bring valid points. I think cooperative learning can be great, but it can be as vicious as you've said. Cooperative learning by itself probably can't support people being vicious towards one another, so there needs to be something else that can fix that. I don't want to dismiss cooperative learning because I've seen its power and its necessity, we need to figure out a workable way to harness that power.

        I don't like to think that traditional academia is the best solution either, cuz I know for a fact that this solution is flawed and I want it to be better.
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          Aug 1 2012: I'm out of thumbs up for you this week, but I definately understand where you coming from, and expected a thorough debate on this issue.

          I believe traditional academia, may be the best solution for 11-16 year olds... I understand the value of cooperative learning, especially as you mature into the business world, cooperation is an absolutely necessary component of life... but, cooperation of like minded individuals, with similar experience.

          Since, the public school system, is not always composed of like minded individuals, and it is not composed of adults who have learned the self destructive aspects of bully and manipulative behavior. I think public junior high, and high school, are bad places to force cooperative learning. Maybe at the end of the month I'll change my mind on this one... I'm gonna bring the noise though, because this is probably the number 1 masculine issue in modern society.

          Every psychological study we do on young men, suggest that they hate cooperative learning, and perform horribly at it. In education circles, this is often considered the primary reason male drop out rates are so high. I'll throw some links up later today if I get a chance, but I've got some work to do.
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        Aug 1 2012: With all these differences, then what needs to be done for the public school system is to address the common ground for everyone. While we have differences, we also have similarities. Once we've established those similarities we can start building healthy relationships from there.

        And I just wanna remind you that it's perfectly fine with disagreeing with the idea. It allows others to reconsider and possibly change for the better thanks to your disagreement. Or else, if you were proven wrong, then you have learned something new. So, win-win :D

        As for the psychological study, what was the cause for their hate for cooperative learning?

        Oh yeah, and I've also experienced bad cooperative environments myself. It sucks being the one guy doing all the work, when everyone else gets a free ride. But at the same time, I've been in some groups where everyone did their roles and everyone was kumbaya and we rocked. That was one of the best feelings you could ever experience, when we all accomplished something awesome and we couldn't do it without each other.
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          Aug 2 2012: Basically, in the lowest performing classes especially, men fight for sexual and popular attention from their peers rather than the approval of their teacher. In a competitive environment, by gaining the approval of the teacher, you show off... and if you talk and make jokes, you are removed.

          In a cooperative environment... The reality is that the teacher has no idea what you're talking about, and I don't know about you, but when I was in groups at 12, we didn't always stay on task : )

          I agree with you on good group experiences being even more impactful than good individual experiences. The problem really only hits hard, when you group people at random, with no shared purpose, in a poor public school system, with a high drop out rate. When you group 4 people in a school with a 30% + dropout rate... Everyone who intends to graduate... gets screwed.

          For some reason men respond more aggressively to this injustice than do young women... but it is an inherent injustice, so it really is explicable. Men pretty much respond more aggressively to everything. They're giving 3 times as many of us ADHD meds, hehe.
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        Aug 2 2012: Well, the other thing I've noticed about the poorer class is that there is also great art coming from there. It turns out that most of the artists I like tend to be from the lower class.

        So in that first setting, the one where you get punished for making jokes, is a wrong environment setting imo. You'd be surprised how much you learn about things from Internet Memes. Sometimes it's great to joke about the most serious things to accept them. But I know you weren't really talking about those kind of jokes.

        "The reality is that the teacher has no idea what you're talking about." Perhaps, this is mostly true, and I think that should change. I think teachers should make an effort to understand what people have to say. If a teacher can listen to them, chances are they may listen to teacher much more effectively. And when I was 12, we didn't really have much of any group projects, or at least I don't remember any...

        Yeah, it's hard to know what to expect when you're grouped with total strangers.

        In the ones you refer to as "lower classes," I think the biggest problem that needs to be fixed that would solve all the issues you brought up with them, is that we need to increase their motivation to learn. Or more specifically, self-motivation to learn.

        As for Men being more "aggressive," I'm not totally sure about this because I've seen both aggressive men, and women, and passive men and women. I think there needs to be some accurate statistic on this...

        And as for ADHD, yeah, I've heard about the ridiculous increase in ADHD people... very interesting...
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          Aug 3 2012: There's huge statistics on men being more aggressive, murder, rape, aggravated assault, almost every violent crime that exists, men commit, far more than women. It's nice to think we're all the same, but it's really not very accurate.

          Women are aggressive, but rarely in that "f society, I'm leaving" way, which men off the deep end indulge in. This in my mind explains the drop out rates. Also, men go to war all the time against "injustice"... When 12 year old boys experience it, it only makes sense they rebel.

          The statistics are tough to track down, apparently. What I can link to, is

          http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012006.pdf

          Statistics from 1970-present, showing incredibly slow gains to graduation rates overtimes, with huge distortions based on race, and more noticably... State. The most important items to point out, are how many states have 70% or below graduation rates. Everyone in those schools, is being forced into an education which absolutely loves

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_learning

          The history part of this wiki, discusses how cooperative learning was accepted as proven better, in the 1970's. Dewey, Lewin, and the Johnsons are constantly sited in cases, and arguments against laws designed to encourage charter schools and private school influenced overhauls of the public school system. In the field of education, these names are sacrosanct, everyone "knows" cooperative education works better, you can't get a masters degree in education without pretending to believe in cooperation, over competition... Yet...

          http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm#math scores

          We have the most cooperative education system in American history, and we graduate more students than we ever have before... So, we're getting better, right?

          No, we have some of the worst science and math scores in the civillized world, in an age completely dependent on science and math.
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          Aug 3 2012: A more insightful explanation was once proffered by Jean McLaughlin, president of Barry University who confided "The public schools lack focus; instead of concentrating on education, they dabble in social re-engineering". That assessment was confirmed by the superintendent of the country's fourth largest school district in Miami-Dade, Florida who said "Half our job is education, and the other half is social work".

          Notice that Florida graduates 60% of its high school students.
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        Aug 3 2012: Dang, gj! Those stats are some nice finds...

        In the first one, the dropout rate is diminishing annually, so that means we're doing something right. So the question is what is the cause for these existing dropouts, and what is the cause for some to not dropout?

        Also, why are hispanics' numbers greater than the others? Do you think they counted the Black-Hispanics or White-Hispanic as Hispanics?

        Then on pg 22 in that first pdf, it shows the male vs female dropout rates in different races. Overall, you're right, males are dropping out more than females. Asians have the lowest dropout rates overall. America Indian/Alaska Native, etc. have pretty high numbers too for some reason, but their male dropouts are less than females. Then two/more races have less male dropouts by 2%. So what is causing each of these guys to have less male than females?

        I can't really think of a great explanation, other than that females in general could be more booksmart, while a lot of guys can be streetsmart. And you're right, there's a lot more male agression/physical violence than females. But females can also be "aggressively violent" with words and other ways. There was this one comedian who said that, males will beat you up but at least your dignity is still in tact. Females on the other hand are vicious, they can crush your dignity, and just stomp on your feelings, attack where it really hurts, lol.

        What's still bugging me is why are hispanics' so low?? Hmm, I think I may know why. I had a friend in high school in my gym class. He was a blazing fast track and field runner! But then he told me one day that he can't do track and field or anything. He said that he needs to help out his family, and probably get a job. I don't remember if he graduated or not, but the end result doesn't matter, he's trying to find a job to help out his family, or help out with their family business.

        I'm not sure how many hispanics are the same, but this one example could give insight.
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        Aug 3 2012: the US map is also pretty alarming too on pg 25 of first pdf. Why are the passing rates so much greater in those mid-northern states?

        I can see the percentage of the southern states be lower, because they have more hispanics and immigrants from there from Mexico, which we've learned have the highest dropout rates of the other races in the statistics.

        Why the heck is Vermont so beast in its graduation rates? 89.6%! Completely blows the other states around them.

        Hmm could this possibly be due to easier curricula in their respective states? Could the ridiculously good graduation rate have something to do with Canadians on the northern states? And good god, why is Nevada 56.3%? It's like 20% lower than all the states around it.
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        Aug 3 2012: "Due to the fact that cooperative learning is constantly changing, there is a possibility that teachers may become confused and lack complete understanding of the method. Teachers implementing cooperative learning may also be challenged with resistance and hostility from students who believe that they are being held back by their slower teammates or by students who are less confident and feel that they are being ignored or demeaned by their team"

        Hmm, and you're right, this is a problem that they're getting master's for something that they don't really fully understand it. My opinion is, cooperative learning is very powerful if done correctly. Cooperative learning depends entirely on the students' willingness to cooperate. So when someone else is slacking and one guy is doing all the work, that's wrong. I've been there before, I really hate doing all the work for freeloaders lol. So how can we fix this? We need to communicate to the "freeloaders" that they need to do their part and they need to understand their role. Well, I dunno, this is why I think teachers should be a little more personally involved with kids, but this can be hard when the teacher's gotta teach 40-50 kids in one class.


        And as for Math/Science grades, you're totally right. I've heard that US sucks at math really bad. When I look at China's math textbook, it's like only this 50 page packet (exaggeration), and when I look at our Algebra book, it's like 400 pages of worthless bs. The hell do you need 400 pages to teach Algebra??!? Our curriculum is making math WAY harder than it should be. Then as for Science, I've been there too, and I hated high school science. I hate Biology curriculum but I love evolution and the concept of organisms in general. I just hated memorizing a bunch of fancy terms. Chemistry, it was just another hate-love relationship lol. I hated memorizing a bunch of periodic tables and stuff, but the kinds of things you can do with chemistry was cool.
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        Aug 3 2012: Then physics, I loved conceptual physics. Black Holes, some basic theory was awesome to think about. But computations really made physics more tedious and boring than it should be. I said before, Physics should be 75% conceptual, and 25% computational. Not the other way around.

        Our curricula is making these subjects harder than they should be. -_-

        Hell, science fiction is one of the coolest things ever. Why don't they apply some science fiction to real Science classes? You'd be surprised how much of science fiction is really not fiction lol
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          Aug 3 2012: Whenever my thumbs up come back for you next week I owe you some...

          It's funny, some of the stats I had, really supported my theory, but I still felt disappointed. I had heard from numerous credible sources, that male dropout rates were getting atrocious, and that they went up every year. Looking at the stats... I thought I had been had.

          It turns out... If you look a bit deeper... I haven't. The male dropout rates were exaggerated from some sources, the worst difference, of 2.6% was nothing compared to what I had heard. That's because it's not the real number, to be fair though, the real number is only 7%... still not as bad as I thought, but awful. 72% of women graduate traditionally, 65% of men.

          http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_48.htm

          The dropout rates aren't accurate either... If you look really closely, I mispoke, and the numbers, are actually trying to lie to you... but, as numbers, they simply can't pull it off. Dropout rates have skyrocketed, at the exact same pace as GED rates have skyrocketed.

          If you look at the map of America... It doesn't add up there are only 4 states over 80%, but our graduation rate is 88%... That's because, as I had previously suggested, people are giving up on the system. Only 70% of students are "graduating high school" meaning, in 4 years... countrywide... It's way worse than I thought.

          Especially if people are getting GED's, what this suggests is that smart people are dropping out. They know they need a diploma, and they're capable of getting one but... they're sick of the system.

          Also, I didn't mention this, but the thing about international test scores further supports my point because they say, we do "satisfactory", until 8th grade... Puberty, almost exactly as I predicted.

          Furthermore, if you lay onto our current situation, the fact that young intelligent men, are giving up on the educational system, traditionally men have been cornerstones of math and science... It's a bleak picture.
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          Aug 3 2012: Also not included in department of education statistics are the 60,000 black men under the age of 18 in police custody... Or the 20,000 white people. So that throws the statistics off further. Also throws the balance of men and women off, but I can't link to the numbers for that... Usually it's 4 men to 1 woman in prison.

          http://www.prisonpolicy.org/prisonindex/juveniles.html

          I forgot to mention the issue with hispanics as well... It's mostly just the language gap. Many families continue to speak predominantly spanish in the home for generations, so even second and 3rd generation children start kindergarten with a smaller english vocabulary than their peers, which makes them fight an uphill battle. Most parents in the United States have also decided that leaving a child back, causes more psychological damage than letting him move on unprepared for the next grade. If you're child doesn't understand the language of his peers though, he's going to have a difficult time, and without tutoring, leaving him back can be a big leg up.

          Its actually little niche issues like this that made me start identifying myself far more as a libertarian than a hippie. As a white male, it's really weird, and hard, to say guys are getting screwed... because, I'm not. Caucasian men, are doing alright. I personally, have no right to complain about my groups place in the world. Guys may do a bit worse than girls, but in general, government programs work out fine for us. Anything that is bias against men though, really screws over poor minority men.

          I found that a lot of the hippie staples, social security, medicare, public education... all things designed to help the poor and the needy... with good intent, don't really seem to distribute wealth or support to the people you would expect them to. I'd rather fix them, but I understand why people go off the deep end about them somethimes.

          I think we can be pretty certain group work sucks where there's a 50% dropout rate.
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        Aug 3 2012: Alright, I'm gonna reply this later tonight, there's a lot to cover, just letting you know lol
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        Aug 4 2012: Yeah, I can see where your viewpoints are coming from now, especially with these stats. Which, btw, srsly man, good job on finding these statistics and reports. It would have taken me a really long time to find stats like these.

        I guess you can never really trust statistics 100%. They're still good to know though, but they can definitely be misleading. Also we should keep in mind the dates of these statistics. That Manhattan one was from almost 10 years ago.

        And perhaps, there are generally more females graduating than males because females are more "booksmart" than males. I feel like the current public education system is very supportive of booksmart people, not so much the other learners.

        Hmm, your correlation between GED rate and dropout rate is very interesting indeed...

        "If you look at the map of America... It doesn't add up there are only 4 states over 80%, but our graduation rate is 88%... That's because, as I had previously suggested, people are giving up on the system. Only 70% of students are "graduating high school" meaning, in 4 years... countrywide... It's way worse than I thought."

        I'm not quite sure I follow on this one. There are only 4 states over 80% what?

        Yes, that language barrier among hispanics would definitely make things harder to learn, and the fact that they are still moving up to the next grade level illegitimately can cause all sorts of problems...
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          Aug 4 2012: In the big stat package, directly from ed.gov. They "prove", that graduation rates, have gone up slowly but surely over 30 years, and that the current national average is 88%, with minority gaps shrinking slowly too. The stats they use in that however best illustrated on page 21 indicates "16-24 year olds, not enrolled in high school, who do not have a diploma or GED".

          Then, on page 25, in the map discussing the actual performance of high schools in each state, they use the stat, that I think you and I meant to talk about "Average freshman graduation rates of public high school by state"... People who stay in the system for 4 years, and then graduate. These numbers are from 2008-09, and only 2 states are above our "national average" of 88%. Because these, are the real numbers, and only 75.5% of us are "graduating high school"... The way I define it.

          The biggest problem here is that GED's, will never get you into an actual engineering or math college... Not unless you get straight A's in Community College for like 3 years.

          So I'll actually add one final layer on this, that is interesting to think about. Who signs up for PhD level experimentation in new cooperative learning strategies? Whose parents encourage those sorts of thing? Advanced placement parents of course. Well off, high grade children... They do great in groups.

          So I don't think there is any conspiracy or bias in play... I think their samples are incredibly biased, towards people with a serious interest in learning. Thus, as we continue, to move towards this group strategy, I think the cities and well off areas, will continue to do well. Poor and minority neighborhoods, with 50-70 graducation rates, will continue to have some of the people who used to carry the group, give up and leave, and that's a big detriment, in my humble opinion.
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          Aug 4 2012: Also, I admit that my supposition that competition, is the thing we're missing, and lecture is what we're missing, specifically in science and math, are educated guesses, as to why there is a small male female gap in schools. I think those two subjects are hard to make "fun group projects". Chemistry can be... until you have to learn the periodic table.

          I have just heard that way back when we first integrated the school system, there was a big debate over this. Women used to be forced into all girls schools which were cooperational and group work oriented... but also didn't really teach anything. Men were in the traditional bell curve, lecture, shut up, environment... and when we integrated, first we ran tests.

          Women did better cooperationally, men did better with competition. When women and men were brought together to compete, men did even better, than by themselves, but only by a tiny bit, but the women were defeated by men who already had the institutional bias of a being better educated. When men and women were put together to cooperate... men did a bit worse than alone competing, but it wasn't that bad, and women took off. Of the 4 strategies tested, the average test scores, dramatically favored cooperational heterogender...

          They should have. It was definately the right thing to do at the time, but their sample was biased by poor education for women that existed previously. Now that women have pretty much caught up, and surpassed us, at almost every level of education, but black and hispanic male dropout rates are still so high... I think there is time to re evaluate what it was about the competitive, and dictatorial education model of the passed that for some reason at the time tested so much better for men.

          I'd bet on math and science being things, that simply have to be drilled. Other subjects, are more conceptual, and you can attach to emotion to remember... If you want to know the periodic table... drill.
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        Aug 4 2012: "Its actually little niche issues like this that made me start identifying myself far more as a libertarian than a hippie. As a white male, it's really weird, and hard, to say guys are getting screwed... because, I'm not. Caucasian men, are doing alright. I personally, have no right to complain about my groups place in the world. Guys may do a bit worse than girls, but in general, government programs work out fine for us. Anything that is bias against men though, really screws over poor minority men."

        I'm glad you came to that self-realization :)
        Honestly dude, I'm extremely impressed by your statistical analysis and how much information you've dug up. This really introduces an interesting and important viewpoint to the conversation. Now it all makes sense to me. A lot of the arguments you made were backed up via statistics. But don't let statistics completely cloud your opinions and beliefs. Because there are the good and the bad in any race. Just call it how it is, that's what I typically do.

        "I found that a lot of the hippie staples, social security, medicare, public education... all things designed to help the poor and the needy... with good intent, don't really seem to distribute wealth or support to the people you would expect them to. I'd rather fix them, but I understand why people go off the deep end about them somethimes."

        Yeah srsly. People need to realize what's REALLY going on behind these things. I still think Public Education needs to focus more on curiosity and collaboration, that needs to be the new paradigm.

        I'm not giving up on group work just yet. A lot of the dropouts I bet are because the guys thought school was dumb. School/learning should be a fun thing. Group work is one of the most fun things I've ever experienced... when it works... But it's tough man.
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        Aug 4 2012: Ok dude, keeping up with this conversation is getting ridiculous. I'm gonna create a Public Google Doc to continue this. Or maybe we can do a Google Hangout/Skype or something
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          Aug 4 2012: I'm down for whatever. I've just had a lot of free time lately, and if I could make a living with a hobby, it would be writing... So I'm cranking out volume lately. This is a cool place to have random intelligent people just pop in and add their voice.

          I'm pretty much out of juice though. When I figured out that the same department of ed study which talks about how we've slowly risen to an 88% graduation rates over the last 30 years... Also tells us that the average "freshman who graduates high school with a diploma within 4 years" is only at 75%... That's about as close to a smoking gun as you can get with an obscure behavioral theory.

          13% GED and adult ed, is nice, and it's an improvement over nothing... but if the entire country is at 75%, and the south is mostly in the 60's... I can't imgagine group work is going to be sucessful there.

          The really telling thing about this conversation however, is that, despite the 2 of us going on and on for awhile, and me getting 2 thumbs up from you... That's it. I've never written anything so unpopular. So... The truth is it doesn't matter if I could absolutely prove this point... No one's buying.

          Everyone in the inner city has to work in groups of 4... With 2 people who are going to drop out... Because we've "proven" it's best... by testing suburbanites. Sometimes life is funny that way. I'll pop on to the doc after I throw a new summary at the top of this so people don't have to read it all if they want to respond.
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        Aug 4 2012: Check this link out: http://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_ritz_a_teacher_growing_green_in_the_south_bronx.html

        HOPE!! :D

        "The really telling thing about this conversation however, is that, despite the 2 of us going on and on for awhile, and me getting 2 thumbs up from you... That's it. I've never written anything so unpopular. So... The truth is it doesn't matter if I could absolutely prove this point... No one's buying."

        That's not true at all. It matters significantly! You can only fail 100% if you stop trying, as cheesy as that sounds. Sorry, I try to refrain myself from spamming thumbs up, because I know I can get carried away :P There's also just a lot of content/things for me to go over myself, so responding is quite timeconsuming. That's why continuing on Google Docs is much easier imo.

        The only reason we're probably the only two guys following is because this is a lot of content to go over and follow and extremely time-consuming. So what we may need to do is condense it in a more presentable fashion, and represent it with a new thread.

        I think you got really great statistical analysis, I feel like it comes easier to you than me. Your revelation is really big, it's an "idea worth spreading." And I bet Elizabeth Muncey might still follow this conversation at least, perhaps.

        Point is, when you have a will, find a way. By the words of King Leonidas: "Never retreat! Never Surrender!"
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      Aug 3 2012: Hello again James Zhang told you your thoughts were important. Keep going.
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        Aug 3 2012: thx! Really appreciate the support :)
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          Aug 3 2012: James you are very very welcome. Please do your best to stay in the educational system for now. Once the hormonal surge of puberty begins to moderate you will get what you want. I have been posting on other threads about the importance of supporting young men like you. We do not want a hive society like the bees, even one like they have in China now. Yes they have taken the highly structured society they knew and now have a space programme, some of the best athletes, look at the cost to China. The dam they built can be seen from space. O.K. a great wall worked against Genghis Khan but the British got in. Isolation is never a good idea it is about the balance. A matriachal society is a bad idea a patriachal society is a bad idea. It is in the balance of yin and yang not either yin or yang and look at the four elements wind, water, fire, and metal. The four elements that China was able to combine so successfully. Now it has a highly educated population with no opportunites for the masses. It is mining all over the world to get the minerals it needs with no thought to the consequences for Western Australia, already a dust bowl. Or the rainforests of South America. Who knows what potential medical cures we might lose if we no longer have the rainforest. Like the mountains are condensers/filters for the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is much older. The rainforest is the filter for the southern hemisphere and the ocean is the condenser. You do not have to be the best you just have to remain in the race at the moment. In the future you will have the richer life and you can still be a Professor.
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        Aug 4 2012: God, the education system in china is way worse. People ACTUALLY suicide if they fail a college entrance exam. I have never heard of anyone suiciding if they failed the SAT's here. Their curriculum is raising a bunch of machines/robots, or bees as you've said. There's a reason why creativity in China overall sucks. And you know what, I've seen their English section of college entrance exams. It was complete and utter BS. There was this one question that didn't test English skills at all. It was a question based on a reading passage, but none of the answers a,b,c,d were correct. This is me, a guy raised in the US and English, saying that there was no correct answer, and I would need to guess "logically". I thought the question was utter BS. My Aunt thought it was BS. My Aunt's friend, another professor thought it was BS. And the government, who issued the exam, said this question was perfectly legitimate. Holy crap! This one question could determine pass or fail. A or B. College Entrance or College Rejection. Live or Suicide.

        Ok *rant done*
        With Social Media, I know for a fact that the Chinese government will die out soon. Chinese Government is gonna issue another BS test, but this time, people are just gonna talk about it on their social media, and eventually enough people will think that it's totally wrong and may soon protest. Government will just try to suppress conflict or try to shut down social media, but by then, it's too late. I can easily see that happening within the next 10-20 years maybe...