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jld

About education in India . . .

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I just read a few comments on here about 2 Million Minutes, and spent a few minutes looking at some sections of the global exam offered there. I also read Tom Friedman's column in the NYT today about India, and a few of the comments on it. And I think it's easy to feel a little concerned, if not downright frightened, by what we read about India and its strengths.

 

I live in India, in a major city, in a luxury apartment complex. Before we were here, we were in a smaller city, in a more middle or upper middle class area. I remember the first days we were in the first city, and the neighbor across the street and her girls, nearly the same age as my dd, came over to welcome us. The mother told me right away about the girls' tuition (extra tutoring, usually in small groups) schedule: from 6-8 a.m., M-Sa, 5-8 p.m. those same days, and Sunday evening. She told me her 13 year old would be spending the entire summer vacation (7 weeks, 6 days a week) in tuition, as she and her husband wanted to assure her of the best chance of getting into medical school later on. She told me she wanted her girls to have big houses and live a comfortable life, and education was essential for that, as they would not have enough money to bribe the school officials.

 

While the mom was talking to me, the girls were talking to dd. They told her about how the teachers at the school would beat them if they didn't do well, and how there was no time for music or art or anything besides studies, except Sat. afternoon or Sunday morning. Dd and I were pretty traumatized by the whole experience, and I found myself avoiding the neighbor lady.

 

The cleaning lady told me about how her nephew had to learn to read by 3, because all the kids had to learn to read, and how they would have to start beating him if he couldn't.

 

A few months later, an older neighbor girl told me that her mother told her teachers to beat her when she was younger. The mother was smiling and nodding her head. Later, privately, the girl told me she hated her father and hoped to leave India someday. She said that Indian kids smile, but inside they are crying.

 

Fast forward to where we live now. Some children here are very wealthy, and really don't have to do well in school at all, as they will inherit their parents' fortune. Others really do study a lot, because they will need to make their own fortunes, and do tuition a few days a week. There is tremendous pressure on all kids to obey their parents and defend the family honor, by doing well in life, or at least giving that image. There is so much lying here, and so much corruption. I did meet one mom that said that there is a movement starting that rejects so much educational pressure on kids, but it is a minority of parents that are interested in it. She's concerned about the lack of creativity in Indian schooling (another mom mentioned that, too). When I showed her dd's Apol. Bio I and Chem I books, she told me the chem book covered more than what Indian hs students cover (she is early 30s, so things may have changed since she was in school).

 

Then there is my current cleaning lady's dd. She took her board exams last spring, and was just tickled to get in the 30s for all subjects (in contrast, the boy two floors above us scored a 98 in math, and at least 83 in all other subjects; his father went to an IIT, and he hopes to do the same). She even came to ask my husband for some money as a reward for her good grades. Not everyone is really smart here, you know?

 

Cammie said once that Indians do well in school not because they are smarter than other people in the world, but because there are so many of them! And add to that the pressure of family honor, and for many, as LL said, poverty, and of course there will be more motivation to study harder than American kids. I'm not saying that American kids shouldn't work harder, and be more responsible, and that American parents ought not to reconsider their own example, and indulgence of their children, but I'm concerned when I hear too much fear of the academic success of kids from other countries. I don't know any American who would do to kids what is considered normal, in at least some places, here.

 

While we can certainly learn from India, they are learning from us, too. Dh is really having a hard time explaining to the guys who work for him at the factory here why you cannot discriminate against people because of their caste or color or religion or level of education. He wants to promote guys who are good at what they do, regardless of these other factors, and these dept. heads cannot understand this. They are limiting their own progress, and that of their country, with these prejudices. One reason America has been so successful is that it has had fewer of these barriers to success than other countries; in America people really get a chance to prove themselves without automatically being counted out because of being from a lower status family.

 

All this is to say that I'm not sure we should be as afraid as we sometimes are. Not everyone in India, or China, either, for that matter, can possibly be a genius or a perfect worker. These people have their problems, too. I think that we should take a breath, realize we probably aren't doing as poorly as we think we are, and then be honest about where we could improve, and pursue that course. We don't have to act out of fear; we can act out of belief in our children's potential.

 

One more thing: I'm not saying anyone here is afraid of Indians or Chinese kids or anyone else. It's more of a general feeling I've gotten from Americans, that, I suppose, could be false. I'm just saying that while we may need to work harder, I am not convinced we Americans are just complete failures.

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The Chinese education system is similar. In addition to physical punishments and almost-universal extra tutoring, there is education by humiliation: children who fail in class are publicly humiliated in front of their peers - made to wear a dunce's cap or similar. There is also great prejudice against people with darker skins, whether minority groups from within China's borders or visitors from overseas.

 

I do admire the stress on hard work and academic success, but there's a price that Chinese students pay, exacerbated by the one-child policy with the inevitable pressure on the single child.

 

Laura

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Guest Dulcimeramy

Thank you, jld and Laura.

 

My husband and I recently watched 2 Million Minutes. We came away with a desire to stay committed to rigorous home education, but with no jealousy or admiration toward the Indian and Chinese methods.

 

We were so sorry for those kids and their parents. Everything was for a grab-the-ring chance at tomorrow, and those parents had to sacrifice a very obvious desire to love and spend time with their child today.

 

Here's another: These education reform films often highlight Belgium. My brother- and sister-in-law have lived in Belgium for 20 years, and raised two sons there. (The younger is graduating next year.)

 

When they last visited the States, they were actually moved to tears by John Stossel's education reform film that showed kids from Belgium to be a zillion times smarter (and more mocking) than American kids. They both said that it is just a lie that America should imitate Belgium.

 

We were surprised at the emotional response from these two level-headed people, so we asked why they felt so strongly. The reason was that they had known of many, many teens who had committed suicide due to the stress. Shirley said, "The Belgian educational system is not love. This is not educating the whole child, and allowing his family to prepare him for life's celebrations, disappointments, and relationships. It all about advancement and greed."

 

Their own sons went to a Catholic school, although they are not Catholic, because in that school they could still have down time and time with their families. Their older son goes to college here in the U.S.

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Thank you so much for sharing this with us Jld. I had no idea - it's incredibly sad. It shows that when we think the grass is greener on the other side, we ought to take a closer look. With the amount of time they force their children to study, almost anyone would be a stellar student, and thoroughly miserable. :confused:

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So the super-studying is indeed happening. We will indeed be competing globally with these students. But they are not happy and this is not healthy and when they are not starving any more because things have balanced out a bit globally, they will stop super-studying and be mediocre like the US. Meanwhile, the US will be hungrier and start studying more. I think the Greeks had the right idea - moderation in all things, but I think the world isn't an even enough place that it is possible for everyone to be moderate.

 

Food for thought, jld. Thank you. I am very thankful that I am lucky enough to have been born in a place where some moderation, at least at this time, is possible, and I don't have to choose between beating my children and watching them starve or live in an unsafe neighborhood or whatever.

 

-Nan

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Most Indians I know work hard because in a country of a billion people only the fittest survive and make it in life. So they say they work hard to survive. Personally, I have never seen any child abuse as described above in the communities I have been familiar with. They simply value education and hard work. But then, there are a billion people in India and my exposure is limited.

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So the super-studying is indeed happening. We will indeed be competing globally with these students. But they are not happy and this is not healthy and when they are not starving any more because things have balanced out a bit globally, they will stop super-studying and be mediocre like the US. Meanwhile, the US will be hungrier and start studying more. I think the Greeks had the right idea - moderation in all things, but I think the world isn't an even enough place that it is possible for everyone to be moderate. -Nan

 

:iagree: It is hard to strike a balance in such an imbalanced world. I wish moderation could prevail.

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My dh works for a software company and has worked with numerous individuals from India. Four of them he was able to become quite close with before they returned home after their US training. All four reported serious physical abuse and beatings from parents, teachers, grandparents, and siblings for a poor grade or some other perceived educational failure. All of them felt they MUST overcome at all odds because the family honor was at stake. They were also crushed, completely heartbroken when the company did not allow them to stay in the US with their families after their training was complete.

 

One man, in particular, teared up in a private meeting with dh when he talked about what would happen to his daughters when he went home. Though he had no intention of ever beating one of them for anything, his parents and his wife's parents would have the right to beat them for any act or inaction perceived as dishonoring the family. In the community where they lived, he had no legal recourse to stop it. He had not been able to save enough money to afford to move to another part of India to be away from his very controlling parents and inlaws. As a matter of fact, he was given so little notice that he was being sent home, that there was no time to arrange for housing. He told dh that he would have to move in with his parents and he figured that by the end of the first day of school for his daughters, they would be receiving their first lashings from the grandparents.

 

I am sure that this is not the case in every family. It was so awful for dh to not be able to comfort this man.

 

So, I guess the moral is that when it comes to international testing and such, there is a huge backstory behind a lot of those numbers and some of those backstories are pretty frightening and not to be duplicated here!

 

Faith

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What a great insight, jld. :)

 

(And why do you always open the most interesting threads when I don't have time to fully reply?! :tongue_smilie:I'll get back later, b''n, to write how I view European educational systems, the only ones I can talk about from the experience and why I find them an optimal ground in-between the most Western and the most Eastern educational systems.)

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So the super-studying is indeed happening. We will indeed be competing globally with these students. But they are not happy and this is not healthy and when they are not starving any more because things have balanced out a bit globally, they will stop super-studying and be mediocre like the US. Meanwhile, the US will be hungrier and start studying more. I think the Greeks had the right idea - moderation in all things, but I think the world isn't an even enough place that it is possible for everyone to be moderate.

 

Food for thought, jld. Thank you. I am very thankful that I am lucky enough to have been born in a place where some moderation, at least at this time, is possible, and I don't have to choose between beating my children and watching them starve or live in an unsafe neighborhood or whatever. Amen.

 

-Nan

 

 

So, I guess the moral is that when it comes to international testing and such, there is a huge backstory behind a lot of those numbers and some of those backstories are pretty frightening and not to be duplicated here!

 

Faith

This is disheartening and gives pause for prayer, for certain; however, regardless of how these cultures are getting to the top, we have to find a way to compete or our children, dare I say, our nation, will be left behind. It only takes a few generations of missing out on jobs before we end up with trillions of impoverished persons and a US that is culturally unrecognizable, perhaps more like those we've discussed b/c they'll take over financial reign from the top down.

 

We watched Karate Kid last weekend and had a talk about children and education in China. I won't be beating my children, but we did discuss that there will be sacrifices of fun in some areas so we can focus in other areas. You can't get better in math and play baseball 6 days a week, 5 hours a day or video games, or air soft, or, or, or. I'm pleased we have that choice, but my high school aged dc need to learn that choices will bear fruit. We've got to decide on, at some point, what flavor we'll feast.

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This is disheartening and gives pause for prayer, for certain; however, regardless of how these cultures are getting to the top, we have to find a way to compete or our children, dare I say, our nation, will be left behind. It only takes a few generations of missing out on jobs before we end up with trillions of impoverished persons and a US that is culturally unrecognizable, perhaps more like those we've discussed b/c they'll take over financial reign from the top down.

 

We watched Karate Kid last weekend and had a talk about children and education in China. I won't be beating my children, but we did discuss that there will be sacrifices of fun in some areas so we can focus in other areas. You can't get better in math and play baseball 6 days a week, 5 hours a day or video games, or air soft, or, or, or. I'm pleased we have that choice, but my high school aged dc need to learn that choices will bear fruit. We've got to decide on, at some point, what flavor we'll feast.

 

:iagree:

 

On the whole, we as a nation are on one extreme, while India (and China) are on the other extreme. Generally speaking, Americans tend to value entertainment more than education. We pride ourselves on all the material possessions we can afford to hand our children and require little that resembles hard work. This mentality will not sustain America.

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One more thing: I'm not saying anyone here is afraid of Indians or Chinese kids or anyone else. It's more of a general feeling I've gotten from Americans, that, I suppose, could be false. I'm just saying that while we may need to work harder, I am not convinced we Americans are just complete failures.

 

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to post that. It's been something that has troubled me --seeing this press into a more Chinese mold, or Indian mold, and though I knew what I thought and why I suspected, I had no concrete examples.

 

So the super-studying is indeed happening. We will indeed be competing globally with these students. But they are not happy and this is not healthy and when they are not starving any more because things have balanced out a bit globally, they will stop super-studying and be mediocre like the US. Meanwhile, the US will be hungrier and start studying more. I think the Greeks had the right idea - moderation in all things, but I think the world isn't an even enough place that it is possible for everyone to be moderate.

 

Food for thought, jld. Thank you. I am very thankful that I am lucky enough to have been born in a place where some moderation, at least at this time, is possible, and I don't have to choose between beating my children and watching them starve or live in an unsafe neighborhood or whatever.

 

-Nan

 

:iagree: Not that I ever seem to disagree with you. :D

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Thank you, jld. I was a bit upset when I saw people panicking over the Two Million Minutes documentary. These same countries are trying to incorporate creativity and flexibility into their education systems in emulation of the US, and reduce stress on their kids, just as we are thinking we ought to be doing what they are doing.

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:iagree:

 

On the whole, we as a nation are on one extreme, while India (and China) are on the other extreme. Generally speaking, Americans tend to value entertainment more than education. We pride ourselves on all the material possessions we can afford to hand our children and require little that resembles hard work. This mentality will not sustain America.

 

:iagree:

 

I also believe our educational system is another major problem. Our school systems are deliberately designed to be the great equalizers. Ps's definition of acceleration is simply giving additional work. Academic excellence isn't really rewarded in a meaningful way.

 

If we had schools that taught according to skill vs. mainstreaming across the board (and I am not referring to the mainstreaming of special ed students. I am suggesting that educationally this country wants equal outcomes for the vast majority of students vs. letting groups of high level achievers truly rise to the top.)

 

I do not believe that high level achievement is even necessarily linked to intelligence. I think students that work hard and show high levels of proficiency should be recognized as having skills and abilities that put them on a different track than the majority.

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Guest Cheryl in SoCal
:iagree:

 

I also believe our educational system is another major problem. Our school systems are deliberately designed to be the great equalizers. Ps's definition of acceleration is simply giving additional work. Academic excellence isn't really rewarded in a meaningful way.

 

If we had schools that taught according to skill vs. mainstreaming across the board (and I am not referring to the mainstreaming of special ed students. I am suggesting that educationally this country wants equal outcomes for the vast majority of students vs. letting groups of high level achievers truly rise to the top.)

 

I do not believe that high level achievement is even necessarily linked to intelligence. I think students that work hard and show high levels of proficiency should be recognized as having skills and abilities that put them on a different track than the majority.

:iagree:

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:iagree:

 

I also believe our educational system is another major problem. Our school systems are deliberately designed to be the great equalizers. Ps's definition of acceleration is simply giving additional work. Academic excellence isn't really rewarded in a meaningful way.

 

If we had schools that taught according to skill vs. mainstreaming across the board (and I am not referring to the mainstreaming of special ed students. I am suggesting that educationally this country wants equal outcomes for the vast majority of students vs. letting groups of high level achievers truly rise to the top.)

 

I do not believe that high level achievement is even necessarily linked to intelligence. I think students that work hard and show high levels of proficiency should be recognized as having skills and abilities that put them on a different track than the majority.

:iagree:I don't find myself incredibly intelligent, but I'm awfully hard working. DD is the same. She's no genius, but her diligence brings her to new heights.

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One simple thing we could do (simple but perhaps not easy) is to let the students from other countries who come here for education stay here once they complete their educations. We could let them become Americans. The ones who manage to get here often are innovative, motivated, hard working, etc. At least, the ones I've met were. I know people resist this idea because it seems like moving the competition even closer to home, but I think that is short-sighted. What really seems to happen is that when those people go on to invent something cool, they develop the product here, and that provides medium-level jobs. It may be manufactured elsewhere, where labour is cheap (lots of unfairness here), but lots of work gets done before it gets to the manufacturing stage and that part can be done here.

 

Another thing we can do is offer money to small start-up companies to develop their product here. Some of the ideas my husband is involved in developping are being developped in Canada because Canada will give matching amounts of start-up money if the project meets certain criteria and stays in Canada. Some states do this as well, to encourage small businesses.

 

I see all this close-up because part of my husband's job is helping inventors develop their inventions.

-Nan

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Thank you for writing yet another thought provoking post, jld!

 

One thing to consider is that not every American receives the same education. The Northeast is home to a number of exclusive prep schools whose sole purpose seems to be the education of the next generation of Ivy League grads. I have heard chilly tales of pressure that is placed on some of these kids by themselves and their families.

 

But ultimately I wonder if part of the problem we as Americans face in dealing with education is that we tend to relegate it to the classroom, as though evenings and weekends are exclusive time for sport and entertainment, not books or cultural activities that might expose our children to something new and possibly educational. It perpetually amazes me that so many American children never attend a symphony or theatrical performance unless they are exposed in school. Perhaps if Americans valued ideas more we would not be so scientifically and mathematically illiterate.

 

There is a mistaken and pervasive notion in the culture that education consists of a list of things that are checked off. Complete the list and--voila--one is educated. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people tell me that their child is "fluent" in a foreign language after two years of study. A list of grammatical accomplishments are checked off--what more is to be done?

 

I do not think that longer school days and more testing is the answer. Perhaps what I would like to see are more parents opening themselves up to learn with their children, exhibiting the same enthusiasm for cultural festivals, art museums, books, etc. that I witnessed on the sports field. I am not sure that it is our educational institutions that bear the brunt of the blame.

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But ultimately I wonder if part of the problem we as Americans face in dealing with education is that we tend to relegate it to the classroom, as though evenings and weekends are exclusive time for sport and entertainment, not books or cultural activities that might expose our children to something new and possibly educational. It perpetually amazes me that so many American children never attend a symphony or theatrical performance unless they are exposed in school. Perhaps if Americans valued ideas more we would not be so scientifically and mathematically illiterate.

 

 

Even at the boys' private school - where I somehow thought there would be some children who had a bit of cultural background - most of the teenagers don't read at all expect when forced.

 

Laura

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Most Indians I know work hard because in a country of a billion people only the fittest survive and make it in life. So they say they work hard to survive. Personally, I have never seen any child abuse as described above in the communities I have been familiar with. They simply value education and hard work. But then, there are a billion people in India and my exposure is limited.

 

 

Nissi,

Are you in India? I'm not sure Indian adults in America would be doing this, or at least I think they would keep it to themselves. But I tutor lots of kids from India who are in America and am often told that if they had made those mistakes at their school in India, they would have a stick rapped across their hands or other painful consequences. They also tell me that if they get any problems wrong, they will lose privileges at home, etc. (The strict loss of home privileges is true of kids from China and Somalia, as well.) I am constantly battling the fact that children must make a few mistakes in order to learn.

 

As jld outlined so well, these are a particular group of families. They are families that have "made it" by hard work and sacrifice. I see fathers jumping around the USA to any waiting job they can find in computer programming, and sometimes being deported at a moment's notice when a project dries up. But they have "made it" and they want the same for their children.

 

As for more wealthy families, my oldest son's experience at college was that international students from very wealthy families did not need to do well in class, since they were guaranteed jobs upon their return home. So maybe the lesson is that without the intense educational tutoring and pushing, the knowledge gap is not so prominent?

 

It is a very complex situation. The things I worry about include -

 

- These families push education very early, which I think actually works against true education. The children are hanging on, trying to grasp things that they aren't mature enough to grasp, so they are memorizing for dear life.

 

- There is no accommodation made for children who just are never going to be capable of academic work. I hear this mostly from parents who have become Americans (Indian and Chinese). But I've seen it with my own eyes when I tutor a child whom the parent says "just needs to catch up" even when the child's mental problems are clear.

 

- There is no appreciation for a child who actually excels in areas outside of the certain curriculum. For instance, I had a little girl who seemed to have a lot of trouble with English even after a couple of years, and then one day her friend mentioned how much she admired the girl because she spoke six languages (not dialects). Yet this girl was being pushed-pushed-pushed as if she had failed. Children are often even told what they will major in in college, without regard to interests or abilities.

 

- On the other hand, at the opposite end of my concerns, is the fact that the more "Americanized" these kids get, the more trouble the parents seem to have in just simple parenting. It's two cultures in the same house. And the highly prized "American accent" that is so sale-able in India backfires a bit. I think a similar thing happens when an American parent tries to push an academic culture on a child who is immersed in a non-academic America. Culture is a hard thing to fight.

 

Julie

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Nissi,

 

 

- There is no appreciation for a child who actually excels in areas outside of the certain curriculum. For instance, I had a little girl who seemed to have a lot of trouble with English even after a couple of years, and then one day her friend mentioned how much she admired the girl because she spoke six languages (not dialects). Yet this girl was being pushed-pushed-pushed as if she had failed. Children are often even told what they will major in in college, without regard to interests or abilities.

 

 

Another note: Japan does not do any kind of accommodation for kids who excel within academic either. I've read fairly extensively on Japanese education, particularly in the years up to high school age, and kids who excel do exactly what the rest of the class does, all the time. Although the general overall standard is higher, outliers at the upper end and lower end both get short shrift.

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You're all very welcome!

 

You know, I wrote that last night and really was planning to delete it. Then dh saw it and urged me to post it. He actually ended up doing it, because jet-lagged me was falling asleep at 9 a.m.:D

 

I just think there is too, too much fear in America, or at least too much fear of the wrong things, and probably not enough of what could truly harm us. I have a friend in America who regularly screams to me about outsourcing of jobs, and how my husband's company has this factory in India, and how dh is complicit in all of this because he works here. I don't think she'd see things the same way if she saw the living conditions of many people here. Dh told me about a man they fired, who, when he left, after giving back his two work shirts and pair of pants and shoes, was walking away barefoot. The real problem is the distribution of wealth in the world, and if you even mention that phrase, you're right away labeled a communist, or at least some kind of, I don't know, Kenyan, Muslim, baby-eating socialist, right?

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You're all very welcome!

 

You know, I wrote that last night and really was planning to delete it. Then dh saw it and urged me to post it. He actually ended up doing it, because jet-lagged me was falling asleep at 9 a.m.:D

 

I just think there is too, too much fear in America, or at least too much fear of the wrong things, and probably not enough of what could truly harm us. I have a friend in America who regularly screams to me about outsourcing of jobs, and how my husband's company has this factory in India, and how dh is complicit in all of this because he works here. I don't think she'd see things the same way if she saw the living conditions of many people here. Dh told me about a man they fired, who, when he left, after giving back his two work shirts and pair of pants and shoes, was walking away barefoot. The real problem is the distribution of wealth in the world, and if you even mention that phrase, you're right away labeled a communist, or at least some kind of, I don't know, Kenyan, Muslim, baby-eating socialist, right?

 

:iagree: Regarding the distribution of wealth, Pope Benedict often speaks passionately about that as well. I agree - it's a huge problem. And I'm a vegetarian. :D

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God bless him, TM. At least he's willing to discuss it. It is just wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, for people to live in misery and be exploited in a world with such wealth.

 

You know, my son was diagnosed with AML last year, a type of leukemia with a survival rate of 55-60% after five years. He's in remission now, but we really don't know if he'll still be with us in another four years, or after. Believe me, I could have thrown a real pity party last year. But all I could think was, at least we can get treatment for him. Most of the kids in India with a diagnosis like this would just die.

 

I think that if there is a hell, rich people are going there. I don't know how those people can sit by and watch children die like that, when they could pay and not even miss the money. Most of us are just making it in life. But people who have millions and billions; how can they live with themselves? The only reason to have money is to do good things with it.

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There is so much I take for granted here. It's got to be so hard to see so many suffering so much. And with your son's illness, you must have seen a side to India that few visitors get to see. I'm so, so sorry that your son had to go through treatment, and yet how fortunate he was to be able to get medical help. That's something that everyone should be able to do.

 

There are some wealthy people who do a lot of good with their money, and there are a lot who don't. But I even look at my own life and realize that there is so much more I could be doing to help others. Even what we spend on a few grocery staples could go so far overseas in helping the truly poor.

 

Thank you for helping to open our eyes to a different reality.

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:iagree: Regarding the distribution of wealth' date=' Pope Benedict often speaks passionately about that as well. I agree - it's a huge problem. And I'm a vegetarian. :D[/quote']

 

 

Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.

Andrew Carnegie

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This issue always brings up for me....well, how DO we want to live? We look at the extremes, we see people struggling to survive, sacrificing so much to give their kids an education, a chance at a life better than a subsistant one. Even in our own wealthier cultures, we value hard work, as if work for its own sake has deeply intrinsic value.

What I see is that we need to get smarter, not work harder. We have the technology. We can feed everyone. We can live well. Not everyone can live with the consumeristic greed we have been reared to take for granted...but there is enough for everyone.

Maybe we need to work less, so everyone can do some work. Maybe that would mean we couldn't afford a mansion and private schools and lots of stuff. But it might mean we spend more time with each other because everyone wouldnt be working so darned hard. I was shocked by the thread here where so many said their dhs worked so many hours a day. Are we not already in some sort of hell, that we need to work so hard- that so many kids only see their dads for brief minutes per day?

I dont buy into the whole work ethic thing, myself. Work for its own sake is not healthy, not valuable. What are we doing? Meaningful work? We need to rethink how we want to live, our deeper values,and start living that way to the best of our ability, not wait for things to change around us, because they won't.

If we work harder to keep up with the 3rd world who are working their butts off to be like us...we just go around in circle. We need to get off the merry go round and look at quality of life first. And that has a lot less to do with money than we like to think. We could learn a lot from the east, as they are learning from us. Balance.

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Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.

Andrew Carnegie

 

Great quote - and I agree!

 

But you also get the flip side here. I've been in school all week for one teacher (high school math). His room is in the center of a room that used to be long. It has since been divided into 3 (his in the center) with weak walls so I can literally hear exactly what is going on in both rooms around mine.

 

Two of his classes and one or two each of the others are "math standards" kids - a class solely designed to get 11th and 12th graders able to pass PA's low standards for math. So what happens? The teacher presents something for about 10 minutes while about 1/4 of the class is talking off topic. Then the students work on 8 - 10 problems in groups for 30 minutes (or more) while the teacher sits at his desk. Except, the kids aren't working on math, they are talking about anything and everything EXCEPT math (at least most of them are - a few might care, but I bet I could count them all on one hand). they might randomly fill in multiple choice bubbles. Then the teacher goes over the answers - again - while many of the kids aren't even paying attention.

 

On Fridays a quiz is given. The kids grade their own quizzes (I'm not kidding) and the grades are entered into the grade book.

 

Every other day they go to a computer lab with a really good "basic" program they can use individually to better their skills. Many simply guess or have learned to "end" the program when they reach a problem they don't care to do and "restart" it to get an easier problem (problems are random) so they can eventually reach 70% (their goal). One other trick is to ask a neighbor... so one kid is actually getting their neighbor's knowledge (if they know more).

 

Then the "poor" kids get me coming in for a week... and I enforce quiet and working on math during math class while wandering around answering questions and working one on one as best I can while still doing the babysitting. I can make the kids be quiet and sort of on task - doing my best to slow the cheating - regrading quizzes to reflect real scores, etc, but I can't open some of their minds. Some are so dead set on not even CARING that they don't even want to try. They will simply improve their manners and behave (because I insist on it), but have no interest in even the most basic of math to get their high school diploma (passing this test is required now). It's understandable that the teachers burn out (but still annoying to me).

 

I wish we could merge India and the US and take the best from both while dropping the worst. I wish any form of welfare could only go to those that truly need it while they get on their feet and some of these kids that don't care could spend 30 days among the truly poor of any third world area of a country without any money - then return to see all the opportunities that they have. Maybe that would help. If they had to spend it here without any money it might even help. But here there is a safety net and they know it. Many will freely tell you they never plan to get a real job since they don't have to. They might work at "a" job long enough to qualify for unemployment, then do such subpoor work that they get fired (on purpose). They know they have essentially 2 years now before they'd have to work again. They are ok with low $$ and subsidized housing. All they want is enough for some booze and a computer gaming system. They wonder why anyone works a 40 hour workweek.

 

Our school scores below our state average and helps round out the lower SAT scores on tests (of course, these kids generally don't take the SAT). It's difficult to imagine exactly how it's going to improve and I doubt rich folks throwing money at it will do much. The mindset needs to change.

 

Now with health issues...I fully agree and Carnegie's quote is definitely true. JLD, I'm sorry to hear about your son, but really thankful that you can get him treatment and hope and pray it all continues to go well for him. I'm secretly hoping my middle son will choose to use his future Dr degree/education (should he continue to want to pursue it) in an area of great need whether in the US or elsewhere. He already tells us he wants to help people. My oldest still tells us he definitely wants to go into microfinance. There are some kids out there (not just mine, of course) for whom money is not their top desire.

 

I just wish more teens would care about even supporting themselves. On here I see so many with great diverse futures who care and work to get there, but unfortunately, I see far more in numbers at our local ps who don't.

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:iagree:

 

On the whole, we as a nation are on one extreme, while India (and China) are on the other extreme. Generally speaking, Americans tend to value entertainment more than education. We pride ourselves on all the material possessions we can afford to hand our children and require little that resembles hard work. This mentality will not sustain America.

 

:iagree:

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jld, TM, Mouse - Your posts made me cry. They are so very true.

 

jld, the holy people I meet walking say all the time that the world's biggest problem is fear and they are particularly worried about the current trend in the US towards more and more fear. Your assessment, unfortunately, is dead on. I wish it weren't so.

 

Especially tight hugs to everyone this morning, since words are failing me at the moment.

-Nan

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Peela, the people that I know who are doing the most to save the world have no money. None. They are true lilies of the field. People feed them because by doing so they are contributing to the good of the world and they know that the meal and warm floor to sleep on that they are giving them now will allow them to walk to the next town and help people there.

 

I think one of the best things we can do for our comparitively rich children is to give them living examples in their lives of almost absolute goodness, people who have given up everything and are devoting their whole lives to helping others.

 

-Nan

 

ETA - I just realized that this probably seems like a nonsequator (or however you spell it). I was addressing your first question of how do we want to live, not the rest of your post. I was just trying to give an example of an extreme non-materialistic life-style that works, and make a suggestion of something we can do that will help our children learn not to fall into the materialistic trap. I don't really know anything about the rest of your post. I know that my family has always considered itself lucky enough to not have to work too hard for our needs (partly by not being overly greedy about those needs) but I always thought that was because we are comparitively wealthy and skilled and live in an area where this is fairly easy to do.

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:iagree:

 

I also believe our educational system is another major problem. Our school systems are deliberately designed to be the great equalizers. Ps's definition of acceleration is simply giving additional work. Academic excellence isn't really rewarded in a meaningful way.

 

If we had schools that taught according to skill vs. mainstreaming across the board (and I am not referring to the mainstreaming of special ed students. I am suggesting that educationally this country wants equal outcomes for the vast majority of students vs. letting groups of high level achievers truly rise to the top.)

 

I do not believe that high level achievement is even necessarily linked to intelligence. I think students that work hard and show high levels of proficiency should be recognized as having skills and abilities that put them on a different track than the majority.

 

:iagree:

 

My thoughts on the 2 Million Minutes documentary was not one of panic. The message I got was "They are doing something right. Disregarding cultural differences, what can we implement in the US that fits in w/ our beliefs, traditions, culture and values." I don't think any one in the US wants to emulate these other countries but we can take what they are doing well and add it to our strengths. For example, I think it's great to have science and math taught by teachers trained in science and math. Much of the curriculum in my suburban, top in the state district is quite dumbed down. Even the average kids are bored not to mention the high-achievers. I think we expect too little of our kids under the guise of letting them be kids and have fun.

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It's difficult to imagine exactly how it's going to improve and I doubt rich folks throwing money at it will do much. The mindset needs to change.

 

 

 

Some of Carnegie's other quotes are about how hard it is to give the money away. I agree, throwing good $ after bad (for schools) is not the answer, but for healthcare, I think it's one of the country's most pressing concerns.

 

I feel bad for you, you have a very hard job substituting and to try and break through in one week must be impossible.

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Maybe we need to work less, so everyone can do some work. Maybe that would mean we couldn't afford a mansion and private schools and lots of stuff. But it might mean we spend more time with each other because everyone wouldnt be working so darned hard. I was shocked by the thread here where so many said their dhs worked so many hours a day. Are we not already in some sort of hell, that we need to work so hard- that so many kids only see their dads for brief minutes per day?

I dont buy into the whole work ethic thing, myself. Work for its own sake is not healthy, not valuable. What are we doing? Meaningful work? We need to rethink how we want to live, our deeper values,and start living that way to the best of our ability, not wait for things to change around us, because they won't.

 

 

I have a few comments about this.

1. Working less does not mean more people can work. There are plenty of jobs for which no qualified applicants can be found because people do not go through the trouble of taking on hard subjects. Why does the US have to import all those engineers and scientists?

 

2. I think being engaged in a meaningful activity - work, but also child rearing or housekeeping or studying- is absolutely essential to human well being. People who do not have that in their lives are a high risk for depression. Work ethic also carries over into other areas of life - completing tasks even if one does not feel like it, being diligent and conscientious are character traits that serve any person well.

 

3. People never had as much free time as they do nowadays. Many people are not doing anything meaningful with all their leisure- how else would you explain that the average US adult has time to watch over 4 hours of TV a day?

 

4. My DH, for instance, works a lot because he loves his work. He loves his family, too - the two are not mutually exclusive. I am surrounded by people who are passionate about their work and don't do it in order to make a lot of money. I find it to be very pleasant to be around people who love what they are doing, who are looking forwards to going to work every day - and I want my children to have role models like this. I want for them to find a field that they are so interested in that they enjoy doing this for ten hours a day. Why would you consider this hell?

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I have a few comments about this.

1. Working less does not mean more people can work. There are plenty of jobs for which no qualified applicants can be found because people do not go through the trouble of taking on hard subjects.

That includes hard physical labor (e.g. construction, farm work) as well what's perceived as being lower status even if the money is better, whether it involves hard labor or not (e.g. skilled trades).

 

3. People never had as much free time as they do nowadays. Many people are not doing anything meaningful with all their leisure- how else would you explain that the average US adult has time to watch over 4 hours of TV a day?

 

I totally agree. I really like this ad (although I don't actually like what it's selling), showing all those people using their "smart phone" while NOT doing all these things, until finally the guy at the urinal watches the texting man next to him drop his phone in the urinal and asks him simply, "Really?" and then they show other examples of the absurdity of it all.

 

I think people think they're not busy because they think "leisure time" = time sitting around doing nothing. So people feel "busy" after running around to the movies and sports games and the mall, and think they don't have any "free time." That IS free time.

 

I have had similar concerns while visiting my in-laws (not in India, mind you) about ultra-early education. My aunt-in-law expressed the view that if people see a 3 year old not in school, they assume that child is getting into trouble. If the 3 year olds were simply being read to, playing games, and doing other fun things, then, in many cases, that may be way more interesting that what they'd be doing at home, in places where parents have very little education, not to mention food, toys, books, and anything else other than the obvious love for their children. I know one of my nieces had a charming variety of little songs she was teaching my kids. But there's also a huge emphasis on rote learning, perhaps without understanding. But when some teachers may not know the difference between the US and the UK, what can you expect? Scary.

 

I once asked an acquaintance from the Indian subcontinent about why kids whose families from there are so well behaved. She told me that all parents beat their kids monthly. She acted as if it were scheduled, which was...interesting. She understood full well that Americans don't (generally) approve of this.

 

I do think it can be hard for immigrant parents to understand that not everyone can be a doctor or an engineer. It's not necessarily just a matter of willpower. And why does someone want to be a doctor anyway? To "help people"? To make everyone (including themselves) proud to have a doctor in the family? Or for the money? I can get my husband to squirm by suggesting one of our kids will go to college and major in dance or something. Ha.

 

And yes, I too have seen many people talk very differently than I consider acceptable, about other people, based on their skin color, ethnic or racial background, religion and the like. It's a major pet peeve of mine. But sadly common.

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There are some wealthy people who do a lot of good with their money' date=' and there are a lot who don't. But I even look at my own life and realize that there is so much more I could be doing to help others. Even what we spend on a few grocery staples could go so far overseas in helping the truly poor. [/quote']

 

I'm glad you mentioned that some wealthy do do great things. That Carnegie quote was great, too. And I'd just like to insert the idea that even though Americans have a lot of "stuff," there is money spent in countries all around the world on things that may not be "stuff" but are equally wasteful. People always seem to find a way to spend all they have. But I always say that American runs on folks buying stuff they don't need -- it's a silly cycle, but it keeps us all working.

 

The biggest problem to me is how to get the help to the people who need it. My dh was just quoting something he read where only 5% of aid got to the intended recipients. I guess there are a few good organizations out there and I should do more towards helping those. Or leave everything and join missions, that's always something I've thought of.

 

3. People never had as much free time as they do nowadays. Many people are not doing anything meaningful with all their leisure- how else would you explain that the average US adult has time to watch over 4 hours of TV a day?

 

I'm not totally sure about this. For instance, I watched a series of documentaries at a theater some years back, and they documented new immigrants in America. The biggest culture shock for all of them was how much we work. My dh used to work two jobs and I know many others, or those who work so many hours in their own business or on a salary that, as my dd's boyfriend says, the actual hourly wage is under $6.

 

I think working so much contributes to the need to de-stress by running the TV for 4 hours and being completely mindless, often sacrificing sleep. I think I'm with Peela on this one.

 

I really like this ad (although I don't actually like what it's selling),

 

Too funny!

Julie

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I think one of the best things we can do for our comparitively rich children is to give them living examples in their lives of almost absolute goodness, people who have given up everything and are devoting their whole lives to helping others. Nan

This is so important. At the very least, we can strive to be people who are devoted to something beyond ourselves.

 

we value hard work, as if work for its own sake has deeply intrinsic value. What I see is that we need to get smarter, not work harder. We have the technology. We can feed everyone. We can live well. Not everyone can live with the consumeristic greed we have been reared to take for granted...but there is enough for everyone. Maybe we need to work less, so everyone can do some work. Maybe that would mean we couldn't afford a mansion and private schools and lots of stuff. But it might mean we spend more time with each other because everyone wouldnt be working so darned hard. I was shocked by the thread here where so many said their dhs worked so many hours a day. Are we not already in some sort of hell, that we need to work so hard- that so many kids only see their dads for brief minutes per day? I dont buy into the whole work ethic thing, myself. Work for its own sake is not healthy, not valuable. What are we doing? Meaningful work? We need to rethink how we want to live, our deeper values,and start living that way to the best of our ability, not wait for things to change around us, because they won't. If we work harder to keep up with the 3rd world who are working their butts off to be like us...we just go around in circle. We need to get off the merry go round and look at quality of life first. And that has a lot less to do with money than we like to think. We could learn a lot from the east, as they are learning from us. Balance.

 

I completely agree about balance in life, which is what I struggle toward every.single.day for both me and my children. I do think work is valuable for its own sake, though. My husband could be characterized in much the same way that regentrude described her husband. He loves his work. It has nothing to do with remuneration and everything to do with the reality that he derives much of his purpose from his work. I cannot judge that, nor do I think it is bad. He is also a devoted father who spends significant time with his children, so these are not mutually exclusive. Hard work is hell to some people, but I personally find that reality sad. I completely agree, though, that the healthiest life is well balanced. Finding it is the challenge.

 

2. I think being engaged in a meaningful activity - work, but also child rearing or housekeeping or studying- is absolutely essential to human well being. People who do not have that in their lives are a high risk for depression. Work ethic also carries over into other areas of life - completing tasks even if one does not feel like it, being diligent and conscientious are character traits that serve any person well.

 

3. People never had as much free time as they do nowadays. Many people are not doing anything meaningful with all their leisure- how else would you explain that the average US adult has time to watch over 4 hours of TV a day?

:iagree:

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We were surprised at the emotional response from these two level-headed people, so we asked why they felt so strongly. The reason was that they had known of many, many teens who had committed suicide due to the stress.

 

This topic moved me enough that I decided it was about time to register instead of lurk.

 

A very dear friend of mine killed himself during college. He was born in India, but spent most of his life in America. His family was completely Americanized on the outside.

 

It is nothing short of tragic for teenagers and young adults to consider death more acceptable than failure. The frequency with which it occurs in countries like Belgium, India, China, and in America also, is even more heartbreaking.

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4. My DH, for instance, works a lot because he loves his work. He loves his family, too - the two are not mutually exclusive. I am surrounded by people who are passionate about their work and don't do it in order to make a lot of money. I find it to be very pleasant to be around people who love what they are doing, who are looking forwards to going to work every day - and I want my children to have role models like this. I want for them to find a field that they are so interested in that they enjoy doing this for ten hours a day. Why would you consider this hell?

 

Where this is the case, it's wonderful. I wish everyone could have a working environment like this.

 

My dh works long hours, but not because he loves his work. He does it because the sales people at his company make promises the engineers cannot meet without working long hours. It's like that in most companies that sell software products. And the younger engineers without families have no problem spending their lives at work, so the older ones had better do it too, or be out of a job. In this economy, says my dh, "It's a good job and I'm lucky to have it."

 

He loves his children, too, and when he is at home, he's either playing with them or building something for them. :)

 

I wish our working culture was more family-friendly, and that people here would protest in the streets when asked to work longer than 40-hour weeks, like they do in Europe (I'm sure I've read about that happening somewhere!).

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And the younger engineers without families have no problem spending their lives at work, so the older ones had better do it too, or be out of a job.

...

I wish our working culture was more family-friendly, and that people here would protest in the streets when asked to work longer than 40-hour weeks, like they do in Europe (I'm sure I've read about that happening somewhere!).

 

We had this discussion at work many times before, every time somebody asks why academia is not more family friendly and why there are not more women in academia.

The problem is that you can not forbid the young childless people to work as long as they please (and in academia, for instance, they usually will, because most love what they are doing- or else they would not have chosen this kind of career). In a university environment (which is what I am familiar with), nobody keeps track of the hours a person spends at work. There will be people who put in 14 hours a day - and you compete with them, whether you wish to or not.

I see, however, no solution if you want to keep an economic system that honors productivity and output, rather than a socialist system where everybody gets paid the same regardless of whether they are good at what they are doing or not working at all (I grew up in East Germany, so I know what I am talking about- believe me, this is NOT the solution.). So even if it is not *required* to work more than 40 hours, you can not prevent people from voluntarily putting in 60 - and they thus raise the bar.

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It is nothing short of tragic for teenagers and young adults to consider death more acceptable than failure. The frequency with which it occurs in countries like Belgium, India, China, and in America also, is even more heartbreaking.

Indeed. My husband said he knew many Japanese (international, not immigrants) students in college who committed suicide.

 

And sad that there is only one sort of success.

 

I was deeply touched by an interview I saw of a young Afghan woman running an orphanage (AFCECO) in Kabul. I would be so proud if this were my daughter (or son!). What a love for humanity she shows.

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)

 

I wish our working culture was more family-friendly, and that people here would protest in the streets when asked to work longer than 40-hour weeks, like they do in Europe (I'm sure I've read about that happening somewhere!).

 

I'm glad we are not. We are free to look for other employment with other companies if we are not happy with where we work. We aren't forced to stay there.

 

FWIW....I think that 60+ hrs is very common among engineers. My dh has been working as an engineer for 23 yrs and has pretty much always worked that many hrs/wk. (and he has changed jobs a lot looking for ones where he is happy at work......not that it means less hrs of work.) He typically leaves the house around 6-630 and gets home around 630 at night. The plant calls on nights and weekends. It goes with his job.

 

He could always look for employment in another field of work that would guarantee him 40 hrs. But, that would mean a lot of other choices as well. We are free to choose.

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I feel bad for you, you have a very hard job substituting and to try and break through in one week must be impossible.

 

Don't feel badly for me. I actually sub because I love it. I started 11 years ago when hubby started his own business because I needed something part time that would allow me to also be flexible and pay decently (for part time). When his business flourished, I stayed because I loved it. Now we're back to needing the $$, but all in all, I still love it.

 

I know most of the kids in our high school to some extent. There are over 1300, so no, I don't know them all or very "deeply," but I see them as they can't escape the math or science classes where I hang out.

 

My frustration comes from the system that encourages kids to be lazy, causes teachers to burn out to where they will sit at their desk and allow kids to grade their own quizzes rather than "teach," and, in effect, teaches bad manners and behavior all around. I guess I seldom see that side of things. I'm always in when the teacher isn't, so I'm used to running things my way and the kids easily adjust (behavior issues are rare in my classes and seldom the same kid twice). I've heard stories from the kids about teachers not doing much, but I had assumed they were just that - stories told to a sub. Now that I've heard what is going on in a couple of classrooms, I am more discouraged - true - but not enough to want to quit on the kids.

 

I've actually been mulling getting a teaching certificate and going full time. I have a standing offer of a job from this school that's been there for 9 years or so if I ever get certified. (My background is Air Force and industry, not education - hence, lots of math and physics, but no education classes other than what I can transfer from my minor in psychology which isn't much.) I've been debating whether I want to lose the family time or not - similar to the things Peela brought up. I've enjoyed flexibility and putting MY family first, then dabbling with helping kids learn math/science for fun really (on my part). Now that mine are growing up and moving on, do I want to make a commitment to full time teaching, stay in my part time position, or move on to other things with hubby?

 

I'm honestly not sure. I know IF they let me run a classroom my way (as they do now, but who knows for sure if it would "buck" the system in place), kids I have will know more math (or science, but probably math) than they tend to now regardless of what level I were to teach, but... the time commitment. Maybe I'm just lazy too. Maybe I would burn out as the others have especially since right now I don't have to deal at all with the paperwork side of things. I dunno.

 

I fully agree that needing high levels of success to the point of suicide is absolutely wrong, but always producing low levels of success (?) to the point we [school district] are is not doing the kids or our country any favors either.

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One thing to consider is that not every American receives the same education. The Northeast is home to a number of exclusive prep schools whose sole purpose seems to be the education of the next generation of Ivy League grads. I have heard chilly tales of pressure that is placed on some of these kids by themselves and their families.

 

But ultimately I wonder if part of the problem we as Americans face in dealing with education is that we tend to relegate it to the classroom, as though evenings and weekends are exclusive time for sport and entertainment, not books or cultural activities that might expose our children to something new and possibly educational. It perpetually amazes me that so many American children never attend a symphony or theatrical performance unless they are exposed in school. Perhaps if Americans valued ideas more we would not be so scientifically and mathematically illiterate.

 

There is a mistaken and pervasive notion in the culture that education consists of a list of things that are checked off. Complete the list and--voila--one is educated. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people tell me that their child is "fluent" in a foreign language after two years of study. A list of grammatical accomplishments are checked off--what more is to be done?

 

I do not think that longer school days and more testing is the answer. Perhaps what I would like to see are more parents opening themselves up to learn with their children, exhibiting the same enthusiasm for cultural festivals, art museums, books, etc. that I witnessed on the sports field. I am not sure that it is our educational institutions that bear the brunt of the blame.

 

Excellent post. And great reminder to all of us! We don't always keep the same level of excellence "after hours" that we do for school. Punch the clock and head off to sports and electronics....

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Welcome, Beaners.

I am sorry that you registered on a sad occasion. I hope that you find some of our other threads less upsetting and more fun and more helpful.

Thank you for your post. It is a sobering reminder of the dark side of family honour and academic competition.

-Nan

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Guest Dulcimeramy
Welcome, Beaners.

I am sorry that you registered on a sad occasion. I hope that you find some of our other threads less upsetting and more fun and more helpful.

Thank you for your post. It is a sobering reminder of the dark side of family honour and academic competition.

-Nan

 

:iagree: Welcome, Beaners!

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Being a 1st generation Indian born and raised in the U.S, growing up my parents always stressed doing well in school and college. It was VERY important; my father always said (lovingly) "education creates opportunity". My parents were both born and raised in an upper middle class Indian family in India. My great-grandfather sent my father to England to study at Oxford University. My father still recalls his steam boat trips back and forth in the 50's and life in England and living in a boarding house owned by a sweet old lady (grandmother type), who would always put hot water bottles under his covers to keep the bed warm for him! Amazing stories that I cherish. Through his upbringing and his grand-fathers desire to have his grandsons educated those values were passed down. During my elementary and hs years my family and I would visit India during summer vacations. I'd get to re-connect with uncles, aunts cousins etc. My cousins were always curious about my school, what I did, learned, schoo mates... etc. For a time (3rd and 4th grade) my parents moved back to Mumbai and I and my sisters enrolled in a Catholic school. What a shock!!!! I went from recess and crafts to 7 subjects and learning sanskrit. I had 2 tutors to help keep get me up to speed. Along with uniforms, strict school rules and yes, being slapped with a ruler if you misbehaved. Well, my sisters and I really had a hard time adjusting the first year and eventually convinced my parents to move back to America. By, the time my father was able to secure a job in the U.S we were getting acustomed to life in India and the education system. Zooming forwarding to my college education, I wanted to be a fine arts major, but my dad said "No, you need to get a degree in something you can earn a good, comortable living." So, I got my degree in Computer Science/Math. At the time I was not a thrilled about it, but now I see my dad's point. I was able to get a job right out of college and support myself. (I still took art courses while in college.). Indians believe education opens doors to material sucess, good prospects for finding a equally educated spouse and bringing honor to the family. My parents (as most parents are) wanted me to do well in school, but weren't forcing me to excell and be the best in everything- probably b/c we were raised in the U.S. The competition is much greater in India b/c all the kids are excelling.

 

All this to say- Yes, education is VERY important in India, it's roots are historical, social and economic. Now that my husband & I have kids of my own, we are trying to strike the right balance of education, social, and cherished family time... enjoying each day... they'll be adults before we know it...

 

Just my 2 cents! :)

Sangita

dd(14),dd(12),dd(9),ds(6)

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