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Understanding the Issues: Education

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View Poll Results: Do You Agree with Obama's Stance on Education?
Yes (Agree with more than 75%) 15 75.00%
No (Agree with less than 25%) 1 5.00%
Not Sure 4 20.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-10-2008, 11:23 PM   #31
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Good question. I assumed it was for high-school aged kids, similar to programs run by PAL and YMCA, designed to keep them out of trouble.

If it's for little kids, and both parents work, I'm not sure why parents would need funding for after-care? Seems like two working parents can handle the cost of those programs, they're only a couple hundred a month.

Which of course brings up a whole other issue... single parents. That's a group that needs the after-care help. But I've got a personal moral issue with lending support to single parents when most of them are single parents as a result of their own misjudgments. Of course their kids can't help being born into a shitty situation, so in that sense I can see the logic in helping them. But still, it doesn't taste good because their parents (most, not all) should have to struggle.

(sorry for the opinionated opinion)
I couldn't disagree more on single-parents - who deserves help more than a full-time working mother or father? What does the reason why they are doing it alone matter? Now, if they aren't working full-time then, of course, I would agree. I think that criteria would weed out a lot of the bad apples. (one opinionated opinion deserves another, right?)

As for families with two parents, $200/kid (which is not the uniform cost, of course) can be prohibitive if you have a household income of $20k (which accounts for 20% of the US households). Now, I would agree it's a murky area if you have 8 kids. But for those with even 2 kids, there just isn't $4800/year for the care they need.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:27 PM   #32
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

Just curious, has anyone's opinion changed or been affected on who they will vote for based on these Understanding The Issues threads I've started?
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:15 AM   #33
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Originally Posted by SmootSmack View Post
Just curious, has anyone's opinion changed or been affected on who they will vote for based on these Understanding The Issues threads I've started?
not really, since obama is so willing to really jack up tax rates and his foreign policy statements overall haven't been very good (and prove a lack of experience with how the world works). I still don't think the "aura of change" is going to matter much once congress opens if he's in charge. It might help him push through a few issues early, but i don't think it'll hold up too well unless he can flip the economy into a strong boom within 18 months due to his policies, which i REALLY don't see happening.

either candidate will be better on science than bush though, so false "studies" with badly tainted/wrong "scientific results" should decrease either way, which i'm really looking forward to. both will probably do a little work on lobbyists reform or whatnot, which will be welcome, though minor.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:22 AM   #34
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Originally Posted by SmootSmack View Post
Just curious, has anyone's opinion changed or been affected on who they will vote for based on these Understanding The Issues threads I've started?
These threads are good summations of where each candidate stands on the issues... I don't have to dig too far when everything is listed here in one place.

In terms of standardized testing, general tests like the SATs and GREs are not predictors of future success (however, specialized entrance exams, like the MCATs and LSATs, are legitimate tests for their programs). I knew kids who killed at these general tests, but they didn't match high scores with an inherent motivation to succeed at the next level. The SAT is only an indicator of how well you take that particular test.

There's a reason why students can increase their scores a few hundred points after taking an SAT class. These courses teach you how to take the test in the most efficient manner- in addition to brushing up your pre-trig math, they mostly offer tricks to beat it. For example, plugging in the answers to figure out the solution (backwards-solving), scanning for major points on reading comp., bettering your odds, etc. These tricks have nothing to do with IQ or high levels of problem-solving. It's also a reason why many universities are placing less weight on these tests for entrance.

In regards to high school learning, teaching to the test does place a crutch on effective teaching styles. Schneed, you actually bring up a good point re: how logic is important when taking these exit exams. The only problem is that teachers can't sharpen these analytical skills when they teach to the test.

Give instructors the ability to teach in ways that get through to an ever-changing student body and you'll find a rise in critical-thinking skills and problem-solving ability. You do this by providing kids a hands-on approach to content learning via authentic activities. Apply the way high school chemistry is taught to all areas of teaching. What would work better? A strict state-mandated curriculum for a history class that has teachers assigning text, interspersed with quizzes and finals? Or a teacher who teaches outside the box? For example, providing activities that compare past events with current ones, allowing students a more interactive way to analyze historical events (because they're provided a relevant parallel).

Because funding for CA public schools is heavily reliant on these test scores, there is absolutely no time in the semester for teachers to do anything outside of the mandated curriculum. I think most of my generation went through the rote memorization method of learning. I memorized what I needed to, aced the test and then forgot it the next day. One thing I like from Obama's educational platform is his commitment to innovation. Let's change the educational paradigm, so kids are better equipped to learn the basics (math, English and science) via higher levels of critical thinking and problem solving abilities (and not through paint-by-numbers memorization words/numbers).
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:44 AM   #35
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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not really, since obama is so willing to really jack up tax rates and his foreign policy statements overall haven't been very good (and prove a lack of experience with how the world works). I still don't think the "aura of change" is going to matter much once congress opens if he's in charge. It might help him push through a few issues early, but i don't think it'll hold up too well unless he can flip the economy into a strong boom within 18 months due to his policies, which i REALLY don't see happening.

either candidate will be better on science than bush though, so false "studies" with badly tainted/wrong "scientific results" should decrease either way, which i'm really looking forward to. both will probably do a little work on lobbyists reform or whatnot, which will be welcome, though minor.
Unless I am not privy to some information you are my understanding is that he is going to "jack up" the tax rate on the top 2% of income earners. These are the same people who hardly pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans.

As for his foreign policy statements, what exactly rubs you the wrong way? I mean, seriously, should we continue to plug a square peg in a round hole? Whatever we're currently doing isn't working so shouldn't we try something difference? Talking to people isn't naive, it's the most sensible thing to do. Even if you don't get anywhere by talking it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. "Bomb bomb bomb" doesn't work.

I don't get all the experience talk either. I mean, no one in their right mind hires someone based on experience alone. You can have all the experience in the world and still be a worthless POS. It's policy, policy, policy!

p.s. Greg Brown has experience...I would throw that mother f*cker under the bus, over the bridge, and if possible, in the lion's den at the zoo.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:56 AM   #36
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Originally Posted by SmootSmack View Post
Just curious, has anyone's opinion changed or been affected on who they will vote for based on these Understanding The Issues threads I've started?
Not really because I am philosophically opposed to much of the democratic platform that Obama adhere's to.

Look, I think what almost everyone, and I do mean everyone, wants is a change in the way this whole damn thing works. I am not talking about WHAT our government is doing but more about HOW it is doing it. We all pretty much feel our elected officials have done a shit job. Really they have. Democrats and Republicans alike. Neither more than the other. What we want, crave really, is some magical solution to the cluster f*ck that is our Federal Government. Well I've got news for everyone (news I think we all know deep down inside already)...not a single candidate we currently have or have disposed of in the past 18 months really has or had any chance to fix this deal. Obama can TALK about change all he wants but lord help me if I can figure out how he alone can possibly fix it. Remember, the problems we face aren't born out of bad policy couched in the politics of two parties more than they are based on a system that is broken. A system that is a self prepetuating organism of power seeking and money making fueled by about 2000-3000 DC politicans that either don't have the stones to stand in its way(at best) or who jump on board the train and ride it until they die(at worst). Oh at times they all get together and either sign some legislation that inevitably goes awry or bicker back and forth on some issue and end up doing nothing at all. It appears they are working for us but in the end they don't run the show: special interests do. Special interets, everything from big dick oil to big flaming gays have one hand in the cookie jar and the other in the pockets of various politicians. We can't directly do much about special interests but we can fire the ones who have given them their power. If we want REAL change it is going to take a hell of a lot more than one candidate for President or even one elected President to make it happen. We have to stop voting for people because of what party they are in or because of one single issue. Hell skip the issues altogether. Let's vote for people who we believe CAN fight the culture. Let's fight to get the same old crap politicians OFF OF BALLOTS so we can have a fighter's chance at getting real honest people in there. That could be all it takes. Seriously, I think a cross section of this board, maybe 20-30 people of varying opinions, could adequately govern this nation and that is a hell of a lot better than the current jackasses are doing. So my question is this. How the hell do we do this? I am not talking about electing Obama or McCain, no magical and unrealistic solution. I am asking what is the game plan here? We have a bunch of smart people in this country, even have one or two here on this board , so why the hell are we stuck with the shitpile we've got now?
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:11 AM   #37
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

As for education:

The standardized tests suck. They do. They destroy the way our teachers teach and kids suffer. But ultimately we have to have some way to figure out which teachers are doing good jobs and which aren't. Not to burst any bubbles but seeing as my wife went to a college focused on educating future teachers and my father in law is a local school board member I know rather well how a good amount of our teachers are simply bad at their jobs. I'd say roughly ALL of her college friends were education majors and many struggled with basic studies in some form or another. Even in college we always said if we ever had kids she only had two friends she'd let teach them. And many of these same people graduated with decent grades and appeared to be able bodied teachers ready to conquer the world. Most were numbskulls. The teaching profession in this country attracts much of the worst. It does. Can't figure out what you want to do with life? Try teaching. There are always jobs and you can't get fired. Perfect job for the unmotivated and/or dumb. There certainly are a few good teachers out there and then there is a decent amount of adequate teachers but there are a lot of bad teachers and we need a way to find them and make them better or fire them.

Teachers need to get paid more by a lot and need to be rewarded for doing a good job. How we measure that I don't know honestly but the current way isn't much better than not knwoing.

The ones not doing a good job have to go.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:21 AM   #38
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Unless I am not privy to some information you are my understanding is that he is going to "jack up" the tax rate on the top 2% of income earners. These are the same people who hardly pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans.
Quote:
Every Democrat running for President wants to raise taxes on "the rich," but they will have to do something miraculous to outtax President Bush. Based on the latest available tax data, no Administration in modern history has done more to pry tax revenue from the wealthy.
The rich pay a higher rate than middle class Americans. The top 1% earns 21% of the income, but pays 39% percent of the taxes. That means they are paying a higher rate than the people below them. Bush did lower the tax rates for these people, but the amount of taxes they paid has increased. Raising taxes does not raise tax revenue. When the taxes are lower, the economy does much better and there is more total income. The rich people are the ones creating the jobs. The more you tax them, the more it will hurt the economy.
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Last week the Congressional Budget Office joined the IRS in releasing tax numbers for 2005, and part of the news is that the richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes that year. The richest 5% paid a tad less than 60%, and the richest 10% paid 70%. These tax shares are all up substantially since 1990, and even somewhat since 2000. Meanwhile, Americans with an income below the median -- half of all households -- paid a mere 3% of all income taxes in 2005. The richest 1.3 million tax-filers -- those Americans with adjusted gross incomes of more than $365,000 in 2005 -- paid more income tax than all of the 66 million American tax filers below the median in income. Ten times more
Obama also wants to raise the capital gains tax, even though more tax revenue comes from it when the tax rate is lower.
Quote:
The amount of capital gains declared on tax forms has doubled since the tax rate was cut to 15% from 20% in 2003, which has also contributed to more Americans being "rich." Dividend income has also increased by at least 50% since that rate was cut to 15% from nearly 40% in 2003.
This is a very good article about taxes.
Taxes and Income - WSJ.com


...sorry about this being off-topic.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:33 AM   #39
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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As long as your school/teachers are striking the appropriate balance between teaching the core material and teaching how to analyze the questions, then I think the kids are in good shape. Remember, kids don't take these tests every year. They take them in like 1st grade, then 4th, then 7th, then 11th. Or something like that (I don't know the exact years). But my point is there are like 3 or 4 years between tests. In all that time, kids are not spending an inordinate amount of time on the test analysis. They're getting the building blocks over time, then when they come to the year for test time, then they get the analysis stuff.

I'll bet if you ask 4th grade teachers (or whatever year they administer the test), they're probably the ones most aggravated and affected. The other teachers probably don't care much, as they get to focus on core curriculum.
I remember I had big standardized tests in 4th, 8th, and 11th grade and there was very little review for all of them. We would get a little bit of practice with them in the couple weeks before the tests and that was about it. There was very little standardized test review throughout the whole time I was in school. And I just graduated high school a year ago, so this was not very long ago.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:34 AM   #40
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Unless I am not privy to some information you are my understanding is that he is going to "jack up" the tax rate on the top 2% of income earners. These are the same people who hardly pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans.

As for his foreign policy statements, what exactly rubs you the wrong way? I mean, seriously, should we continue to plug a square peg in a round hole? Whatever we're currently doing isn't working so shouldn't we try something difference? Talking to people isn't naive, it's the most sensible thing to do. Even if you don't get anywhere by talking it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. "Bomb bomb bomb" doesn't work.

I don't get all the experience talk either. I mean, no one in their right mind hires someone based on experience alone. You can have all the experience in the world and still be a worthless POS. It's policy, policy, policy!

p.s. Greg Brown has experience...I would throw that mother f*cker under the bus, over the bridge, and if possible, in the lion's den at the zoo.
talking to our enemies while bombing our allies (iran/pakistan) then later pulling back on talking to iran. his foreign policy outside of a massively oversped pull out (another bad idea) seems very haphazard, and he's had to re-state and change his opinion on an awful lot of ideas.

I only brought up his inexperience (and only in the context of foreign policy) because it's very obvious and it's made him look stupid a number of times.

as far as tax rates, it's not just the top 2% and it's not just a minor deal. he wants f'ing socialized medicine - do you have any idea what that costs? either its insanely expensive or it's worthlessly bad (ask the swedes or brits about it). the japanese have a sorta decent idea (you pay 100% upfront, the gov pays you 80% back - so if you try to defraud them, you can get yourself royally screwed and it limits exposure to the million dollar a day cases) but it'll never be cheap or paid for solely by minor tax hikes on the top 2%.

it seems like you like obama a whole lot, but he has flaws, and using strawman to try and cover them up is pretty weak.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:44 AM   #41
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

here's some (but not all) the facts on taxes...
McCain vs Obama on taxes - Fact Checker

mccain wants to keep the bush cuts, cut a few more taxes and give 2.5k-5k to individuals for health insurance. big on nuclear plants which lead to cheaper energy (and if someone finally decides to create sane nuclear fuel policy reduces the amount of radioactive waste to nothing and makes it even cheaper, probably not happening short term though).

obama wants to expire the bush cuts (would would be the largest tax increase by value since WWII, but only the 5th largest increase by Gross National Product, which is a better indicator), increase capital gains taxes from 15 to 20%, increase taxes quite a bit on those making over 250k a year, and also offer credits to those needing health insurance. he also wants to decrease costs of health insurance with more/stricter regulation (but i strongly doubt that that happens).


obama is thinking in a much shorter term about fixing income inequality, but in the long term its hard to say that increasing the penalty for investing is a good idea. mccain's increasing tax cuts beyond bush may not be the greatest idea either. both want emission credits for polluters, which definitely isn't perfect, but i guess it's better than nothing (florida already does something like that, at least with eglin afb, where they track all use of hazmats and report it, then pay a fee per year for the total pollution created by the base).

but if you really wanted to save money, you'd increase the military to where it was before BRAC and clinton hit it instead of wasting SOOO much more money on contractors. A contracted termite exterminator makes 120k a year in iraq, an army exterminator makes 25k (closer to 40-50k with all bonuses etc). with what we've spent on contractors over the price of the old bigger military, we could have kept the bigger military for 25 more years and still be ahead. terrible economic decision.

farm subsidies is another economic issue that could easily save money, since so many people with no business in agriculture use it as a tax shelter (celebs, bankers, etc). it's like rich person welfare, only it's a lot more money, and none of the non-farmers (and a lot of corporate farmers) don't actually need it. MUCH smaller scale though than the above.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:01 AM   #42
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

That Guy, start another thread on the tax debate and I'll throw up a poll there. Let's keep this thread about education
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:32 AM   #43
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Originally Posted by SmootSmack View Post
Just curious, has anyone's opinion changed or been affected on who they will vote for based on these Understanding The Issues threads I've started?
I can only speak for myself, but I can't say my opinion of the candidates has changed appreciably. This is partly because I think I already have a good understanding of where they're coming from on each issue. But these threads have served to educate me and the discussion has been very intelligent and thought provoking. These threads are a tremendous motivation to get up in the morning and check The Warpath first thing.

While my opinion of the candidates themselves hasn't been appreciably altered, I have learned some details of their stances, and have been surprised at times to discover that there are some democratic things I like, and some republican things I dislike. As a result, these threads have helped me gain an understanding of just how moderate I am.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:39 AM   #44
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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I couldn't disagree more on single-parents - who deserves help more than a full-time working mother or father? What does the reason why they are doing it alone matter? Now, if they aren't working full-time then, of course, I would agree. I think that criteria would weed out a lot of the bad apples. (one opinionated opinion deserves another, right?)

As for families with two parents, $200/kid (which is not the uniform cost, of course) can be prohibitive if you have a household income of $20k (which accounts for 20% of the US households). Now, I would agree it's a murky area if you have 8 kids. But for those with even 2 kids, there just isn't $4800/year for the care they need.
To me, it matters a lot.

If you had unprotected sex before marriage and ended up as a single parent, even though you're probably receiving child support, you got yourself into that mess. I don't think it should be my responsibility as a taxpayer, who was careful to use protection during sex in my single years, to bail you out. I'm here taking care of myself and acting responsible, and now I have to pay taxes to bail these people out who didn't? I'm all for helping people who are down on their luck; ie husband was laid off from a manufacturing job and decided to run out on the family, spouse killed in an auto accident leaving a single mom raising 3 kids, etcetera. But that's only a small % of single parents, the majority are in that situation because of bad decision-making.

Now, the kids come first. So my distaste for the choices made by the parents shouldn't hold kids back. They can't help the situation they were born into. So in the end I relent; I have to say I agree with helping these kids with after-care programs.

But it doesn't taste good.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:43 AM   #45
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Re: Understanding the Issues: Education

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Unless I am not privy to some information you are my understanding is that he is going to "jack up" the tax rate on the top 2% of income earners. These are the same people who hardly pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans.

As for his foreign policy statements, what exactly rubs you the wrong way? I mean, seriously, should we continue to plug a square peg in a round hole? Whatever we're currently doing isn't working so shouldn't we try something difference? Talking to people isn't naive, it's the most sensible thing to do. Even if you don't get anywhere by talking it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. "Bomb bomb bomb" doesn't work.

I don't get all the experience talk either. I mean, no one in their right mind hires someone based on experience alone. You can have all the experience in the world and still be a worthless POS. It's policy, policy, policy!

p.s. Greg Brown has experience...I would throw that mother f*cker under the bus, over the bridge, and if possible, in the lion's den at the zoo.
Whose political platform is "bomb bomb bomb?" McCain's? Bush's current record?

Nobody just "bomb bomb bombs", saden. It's that kind of uneducated generalization that makes me dismiss a lot of your political thoughts because you clearly don't have an understanding of the opposing party's political platform.
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