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US Politics: The Accountability Problem

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Just now, Cas Stark said:

I used Vox because it if linked to the National Review or Reason or some other conservative site then that would have been reason enough to dismiss my argument.

Well interestingly enough Vox kind of backed your basic point (though I'd say with a lot of caveats and qualifications). So just how biased is it?

When is the last time the National Review or Reason ever wrote something that kind of backed the liberal point of view?

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I do think it is correct to note that just throwing money at the education system will not, in and of itself, fix our education system.  

1.  Because education is a retained power, there will continue to be wide differences in outcomes among the states.  This almost needs to be stipulated.

2.  There are systemic cultural issues that make this a hard question, including the fact that it is not clear that high quality public education for all is (or ever was) a shared common value among Americans.  Further, it seems to me that there is an implicit bias towards an educational system that it is  stratified by economic and social class.  The "solutions" that are proposed for children unfortunate enough to be in the lowest tier are not solutions for the systemic problems, but rather solutions specific to and confined to that tier.  Not sure that is the best policy outcome.  

3.  While money is required, it needs to be money well spent.  Education by fad has been the norm for a while.  The goal should be to create public schools that all wish their children to attend.  We don't have that right now.

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3 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

Well interestingly enough Vox kind of backed your basic point (though I'd say with a lot of caveats and qualifications). So just how biased is it?

When is the last time the National Review or Reason ever wrote something that kind of backed the liberal point of view?

Reason supports a ton of policy positions that would have historically been considered liberal.

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8 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Reason supports a ton of policy positions that would have historically been considered liberal.

I know that libertarians and liberals probably have common views over immigration policy and so forth.

But, on economic matters, there is obviously a big disagreement. And, it seems to me, when push comes to shove, libertarians will generally side with conservatives, even if they proclaim to be in agreement over social policy or foreign policy.

And on economic matters, and this something, I've written about a ton, I think libertarians are generally full of it. The gold buggism, among other things, of the Austrians is and was a bunch of horseshit. And their idea of the economy always being perfect is really a load of bull.

In fact, Hayek didn't like being called a conservative. But, be as that may, I'd still have a lot disagreements with him.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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6 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Reason supports a ton of policy positions that would have historically been considered liberal.

"Would have historically been considered liberal" can cover so, so much. Do you have specific examples?

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33 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Not, really, all you have to do is look at the spending, and how it has massively ballooned since at least the 1990s if not earlier, without showing any substantial positive results.  We spend more and yet, millions of children graduate from H.S. without even a basic education.  Why do you think colleges now devote huge freshman year resources to trying to get their students up to minimum?  It is blatantly obvious that pouring more money into the existing system will be a waste.  

 

This is a pretty broadly complicated issue but for the most part public schools in america are really good in the suburbs and rural areas but urban schools are not. There are a lot of complicated historical problems with this, but a big part of it is systemic disinvestment in these specific schools (causing them to functionally to fail (almost as though it is deliberate)) and then using this systemic failure of a key sector of public schools to condemn ALL public schools in America, and then using this condemnation to justify further depriving urban (and suburban) schools of funds and instead give those public education funds to private charter super mega corporations to generate a profit for their shareholders (and maybe also educate the kids, but that's hardly important compared to shareholders!).

But it's the baseline systemic disinvestment negative feedback cycle that is the root problem, which is why the solution is always to invest more funds, that these funds mysteriously are always mis-allocated in such a way as to not provide relief to those systemically disinvested schools is why the call for more funding is so continual, because the negative feedback loop ensures that no matter how much more funding we provide, more funding isn't going there. 

As for Colleges spending money on remedials, this is not the fault of public education, this is actually a result of colleges being better at accepting more students of impoverished economic backgrounds and actually providing the academic support targeted to their needs . Traditional college students also have had remedials, but this investment has been made by their parents (or suburban schools) in various college prep course work, extra curricular test study courses, and various extra curricular college prep activities.  That's a substantial investment that is traditionally made invisibly in the demographics traditionally funneled to colleges, and is one of the many investments that students outside those traditional demographics have zero access to, or cultural history with and knowledge of implementing and accessing. 

But why are colleges only now implementing this? because colleges have a long history of offering zero such support, and as a result have a long and extremely ugly history of admit the kids and then ignore the kids and more or less had an institutional "hope" that they'd all just give up, drop out and go home. It was a passive sort of vicious discrimination to try to get rid of the non traditional college admitees. Shepherding "certain" kids to graduation was not something they were interested in doing.

But lately they've actually been trying to be better about all this and address their own massive history of systemic disinvestment and passive discrimination against such kids and have started to say "what can we do to break the back of this cycle".

Edited by lokisnow

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26 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I do think it is correct to note that just throwing money at the education system will not, in and of itself, fix our education system.  

1.  Because education is a retained power, there will continue to be wide differences in outcomes among the states.  This almost needs to be stipulated.

2.  There are systemic cultural issues that make this a hard question, including the fact that it is not clear that high quality public education for all is (or ever was) a shared common value among Americans.  Further, it seems to me that there is an implicit bias towards an educational system that it is  stratified by economic and social class.  The "solutions" that are proposed for children unfortunate enough to be in the lowest tier are not solutions for the systemic problems, but rather solutions specific to and confined to that tier.  Not sure that is the best policy outcome.  

3.  While money is required, it needs to be money well spent.  Education by fad has been the norm for a while.  The goal should be to create public schools that all wish their children to attend.  We don't have that right now.

Not my area of expertise so I could be wrong, but isn’t one of the big issues related to how property taxes fund schools, which inevitably means poorer areas will continue to struggle?

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1 minute ago, lokisnow said:

This is a pretty broadly complicated issue but for the most part public schools in america are really good in the suburbs and rural areas but urban schools are not. There are a lot of complicated historical problems with this, but a big part of it is systemic disinvestment in these specific schools (causing them to functionally to fail (almost as though it is deliberate)) and then using this systemic failure of a key sector of public schools to condemn ALL public schools in America, and then using this condemnation to justify further depriving urban (and suburban) schools of funds and instead give those public education funds to private charter super mega corporations to generate a profit for their shareholders (and maybe also educate the kids, but that's hardly important compared to shareholders!).

But it's the baseline systemic disinvestment negative feedback cycle that is the root problem, which is why the solution is always to invest more funds, that these funds mysteriously are always mis-allocated in such a way as to not provide relief to those systemically disinvested schools is why the call for more funding is so continual, because the negative feedback loop ensures that no matter how much more funding we provide, more funding isn't going there. 

As for Colleges spending money on remedials, this is not the fault of public education, this is actually a result of colleges being better at accepting more students of impoverished economic backgrounds and actually providing the academic support targeted to their needs . Traditional college students also have had remedials, but this investment has been made by their parents (or suburban schools) in various college prep course work, extra curricular test study courses, and various extra curricular college prep activities.  That's a substantial investment that is traditionally made invisibly in the demographics traditionally funneled to colleges, and is one of the many investments that students outside those traditional demographics have zero access to, or cultural history with and knowledge of implementing and accessing. 

But why are colleges only now implementing this? because colleges have a long history of offering zero such support, and as a result have a long and extremely ugly history of actually shepherding kids of non traditional college demographics to graduation. They would admit the kids and then ignore the kids and more or less had an institutional "hope" that they'd all just give up, drop out and go home. It was a passive sort of vicious discrimination to try to get rid of the non traditional college admitees. 

But lately they've actually been trying to be better about all this and address their own massive history of systemic disinvestment and passive discrimination against such kids and have started to say "what can we do to break the back of this cycle".

I don't really agree, colleges moving toward remedial education is one more in a long line of examples of how we lower standards across the board, due to the misguided idea that poor children can't compete.  Of course if their schools weren't terrible they could complete.  So, to me, the solution is not to dumb down college but to improve K-12. 

We also spend a ton of money on urban schools, and I'm not so sure that rural schools are even any better than bad urban schools, but it's a different dynamic and much of the misery in rural America is uninteresting to everyone else.  If you look at NYC, Chicago, major cities you will see that spending on their public schools is equal to or almost equal to spending of the richest suburbs.  Again, money is not the problem.  Yes, much of the money is allocated poorly, which accounts for the bizarro world we live in of massive increase in education spending and yet teachers still buying their own supplies and not having enough books.  Something is drastically wrong with such a situation.

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1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

Why?  Do you think conservatives are so stupid they don't know that Medicare is a socialist program, along with the rest of the safety net?

...yes? They think that way about welfare, about various home programs, about the various farm bills. 

1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

  And that they have made a calculated decision not to object to Medicare because 1) it's very popular, 2) it's recipients vote at high levels and 3) it's been around for many decades.

Yes but they really hate it

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4 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Not my area of expertise so I could be wrong, but isn’t one of the big issues related to how property taxes fund schools, which inevitably means poorer areas will continue to struggle?

It certainly is, but it's not clear that it's the biggest one. Funding is huge mind you - but so is things like access to day care, parenting time, early education time, stable home environment (things like access to food and shelter), etc. I've made the point to libertarian idiots that having the position that the state should provide free education but not free food is an obviously stupid Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but they for some reason thought it more important to have education over food.

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5 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Not my area of expertise so I could be wrong, but isn’t one of the big issues related to how property taxes fund schools, which inevitably means poorer areas will continue to struggle?

Yes totally agree.  That was implicit in my first point.  But that isn't anything that is required at the federal level.  It's just how some (but maybe not all) states have decided to fund public education.  

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9 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

I don't really agree, colleges moving toward remedial education is one more in a long line of examples of how we lower standards across the board, due to the misguided idea that poor children can't compete.  Of course if their schools weren't terrible they could complete.  So, to me, the solution is not to dumb down college but to improve K-12.

Simply improving K-12 leaves anyone over 18 who was fucked over by poor schooling shit out of luck.

ETA: Also in no way it offering remedial courses dumbing down college. They're not decreasing the graduation requirements, but the entry requirements.

Edited by TrueMetis

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Just now, TrueMetis said:

Simply improving K-12 leaves anyone over 18 who was fucked over by poor schooling shit out of luck.

We have to start somewhere. We have already fucked untold millions by letting K-12 go to ruin unless you were lucky to live in a random 'good school' geography or had enough money to put your kids in private school.

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1 minute ago, Cas Stark said:

We have to start somewhere. We have already fucked untold millions by letting K-12 go to ruin unless you were lucky to live in a random 'good school' geography or had enough money to put your kids in private school. 

And I personally think that, if for some reason we don't just do both, offering remedial courses is the better option to start with. Since those courses cover everyone, while improving schooling will only assist those currently in school (and not ever all of them).

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1 minute ago, TrueMetis said:

And I personally think that, if for some reason we don't just do both, offering remedial courses is the better option to start with. Since those courses cover everyone, while improving schooling will only assist those currently in school (and not ever all of them).

Putting aside that not everyone belongs in college [another mistake we made], and that if you somehow don't go to college in the 21st century you are totally stuck with the bad education you got in K-12, but if we don't fix public education then we are just doomed.  We're already probably doomed, but reviving public education as a positive tool and lever is the only hope of long term viability of a country whose form of government depends on some level of intelligence and understanding exercised by the population.

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17 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

I don't really agree, colleges moving toward remedial education is one more in a long line of examples of how we lower standards across the board, due to the misguided idea that poor children can't compete.  Of course if their schools weren't terrible they could complete.  So, to me, the solution is not to dumb down college but to improve K-12. 

It isn’t dumbing down college, it is college acknowledging that traditional college demographics have massive and continual resource investment made on the behalf of those students to prepare them for college which non traditional demographics have not had made. Colleges long-standing preference has been to offer no investment to offset this disparity in preparation investment, but now they are taking baby steps towards doing so.

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24 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Not my area of expertise so I could be wrong, but isn’t one of the big issues related to how property taxes fund schools, which inevitably means poorer areas will continue to struggle?

All problems with schools in California are related to the extremely super racist implementation of prop 13 and article 34, (property tax and housing respectively) which worked together in tandem to deliberately create the current crisis of insufficient funding and funding misallocation. Because racism is fun and profitable and the sole purpose of public policy is to hurt demographics you don’t like and extract lucrative rents for you and yours. :-/

Edited by lokisnow

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2 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

I'm a bit surprised the Green New Deal is a bit ambivalent about carbon capture technologies (I think a few of the env. groups are as well). The argument is that the capture technologies will give fossil fuel companies free reign to continue drilling, with the understanding that everything can be captured later. A similar argument is that more fuel efficient cars just make people drive more to get roughly the same fuel usage. 

There are complicated social arguments to be made on both sides, but in my opinion carbon capture technologies should be part of the mix. We can deal with unintended consequences later, but just reducing emissions wont cut it (IMHO). At some point we need scaled up technologies that can actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere (and other GHGs as well)

I really don't know too much about CCS, so I'm probably behind the curve here. And I completely agree it should be part of the solution. 

I seem to remember, last time i checked, that the technology isn't viable for large scale CCS, though. Is that still the case?

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1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

I don't really agree, colleges moving toward remedial education is one more in a long line of examples of how we lower standards across the board, due to the misguided idea that poor children can't compete.  Of course if their schools weren't terrible they could complete.  So, to me, the solution is not to dumb down college but to improve K-12. 

 

In my experience the credit hours of most "remedial courses" at the college level do NOT count in the total credit hours needed for graduation. They are extra credit hours the student would not otherwise be taking in order to earn a degree. If that is the case, how is providing the remedial courses for students who need them "dumbing down" college education? If the remedial courses do their job and provide the preparation needed to succeed in the further courses one takes, that is the opposite of "dumbing down." "Dumbing down" would be if a college did NOT require any remedial work by students who need it but passed them in the upper level courses any way.

There are some rational arguments to be made about "grade inflation", elimination of foreign language requirements,  and other issues in terms of the possible "dumbing down" of higher education. But providing remedial courses isn't one of them.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Not my area of expertise so I could be wrong, but isn’t one of the big issues related to how property taxes fund schools, which inevitably means poorer areas will continue to struggle?

Yes, and education will never meet the quality I or most would want for every child until that distribution mechanism is fundamentally altered.  But that status quo is even more entrenched than health care and the private insurance industry.  It's comprehensively depressing and I don't really like talking about it, and that's before even considering my own experience as a college instructor.

58 minutes ago, lokisnow said:

It isn’t dumbing down college, it is college acknowledging that traditional college demographics have massive and continual resource investment made on the behalf of those students to prepare them for college which non traditional demographics have not had made. Colleges long-standing preference has been to offer no investment to offset this disparity in preparation investment, but now they are taking baby steps towards doing so.

I was in a meeting this morning where it was pretty much determined the graduate program I'm in will stop requiring GREs.  That's because the test is biased - just like the SATs and the LSATs (I don't know much about the ACT, but my understanding is it's not much different).  If you come from a top 20 undergrad program and still have bad GREs, that's a problem.  But if you came even from a mid-level university the test is not indicative at all on performance in the program because of the gap in standards.  After spending the past four summers as an AP grader, I can say with some confidence there's analogous systemic bias there, and I know there are people that work with/for ETS that are trying to change that.

I will say that at all three schools I've worked most are well aware of these problems and there are concrete efforts being made to address them.  And certainly there have been plenty of people that have been trying to address these issues since long before I came around.

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