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Obama: Money alone cannot solve U.S. school problems

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"Obama on Monday called for a longer school year"

Sure, now that he's out of school, he calls for a longer school year!

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It's gratifying to hear someone who obviously benefited from affirmative action - unduly, as is always the case - finally see the folly of the modern Democrat Party's approach to education.

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There needs to be a standarized national curriculum, especially for math and science.

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I think to correct the problems in US public schools the follwing needs to be done:

get rid of the Unions that collect dues but do not hold teachers accountable. eliminate some of the "administrative jobs" in education that take away funds for classrooms. allow coporal punishment for truly bad students in schools, and hold the parents accountable for their children who screw up in schools that require discipline. keep the lawyers out of the discipline issues noted above. make the required language in US schools English. I say keep the foreign languages there for children to learn, but their primary instruction should be in English. those students who are not legal citizens or legal aliens should not be allowed to go to school.

Start there, and you may see a slight rise in educational standards. As far as a longer school year, I can agree with that, but make it worthwhile and make sure they are learning, and not just a day care for parents.

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I believe Obama will make an great ex-president in this regard. If he chooses, from 2013 on, to devote his post-presidency to the issue of education he could undue much of the damage he has done to our nation.

Seriously, I think if he devoted his time visiting as many schools as possible and helped with a sort of revisioning, of getting an education as being 'cool,' he could do a lot of good for the United States and for the world.

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Obama's got it wrong again. Education can be accomplished within the hours kids are currently attending. Going longer is not going to help if they continue to skip school, not do their homework, get in trouble to the point of suspension, teachers not able to teach (for various reasons), etc.

Extending the hours or weeks that they are expected to be sitting there learning will just add to more of the same we have now at a higher price tag. The problem is a combination of poor teaching skills, lack of discipline, lack of interest or time from the parents/kids; not the hours.

RR

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Obama wants kids to be in school longer means he does not understand education and children. Kids have a short attention span and are active. Kids are already in school from 7AM to 3:30PM and don't get home until 4PM.

The president admitted that his own daughters, Malia and Sasha, could not get the same quality education at a Washington public school that they currently get at their private school.

Parents don't have money to pay for private school unlike Obama. He's got a job unlike the 9% who are unemployed.

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Luckily the bricks and mortar school system is going the way of the post office. The Democrat stranglehold on higher ed and then the teachers' unions accelerated the shift. Check out websites like the KhanAcademy dot org for a look at the future of math teaching in the US. An absolutely invaluable contribution to the home schooling movement but also to kids stuck in our failed public schools and universities.

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(Obama) admitted that his own daughters, Malia and Sasha, could not get the same quality education at a Washington public school that they currently get at their private school.

So, he stopped the DC voucher program and then tells the world the DC schools are no good, and that's why he sends his daughters to private school. Wonder why he doesn't care about the children of the folks who cooks his food and picks up his cigarette butts every day?

RR

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RR, not only did he do that, but so did the Clintons. The only ones that sent their kid to DC schools was Jimmy Carter, and his daughter Amy.

I found it interesting that in the past, the claim was that they schools would not be as secure as the private school. With the amount of security that goes in protecting the POTUS children, they could go to school in the middle of Beruit, but at least the school they attend will be well secure. What happens when that occurs is that the students that do not have the access to 24 hour security would benefit. Since all eyes will be on that school, the best teachers and resources would be pushed there, and those who couldn't afford a private school would get a chance for a decent public education in D.C. But, I guess that will not happen.

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True dat, Alphaape. Gotta love how liberal elites who wants to champion for public schooling tend to send their kids to private schools.

RR

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The federal Department of Education is yet another great legacy of the Jimmy Carter years. It's been so outstanding these past 3-plus decades that today we are now in middle of the pack in quality of education in the world.

Heckuvajob, liberals.

RR

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worst-performing teachers have “got to go”

But, but, but the NAE won't allow testing and re-cretification of teahers and they blame poor teacher performance on disinterested students, bad classrooms and etc. But also one of the democrats bigest supporters and contributors. Hmmmmm.

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hehe, I like how posters love blaming others for everything. Successive administrations failed on eduction. Vote for one or the other won't change anything.

RomeoRamenII: Gotta love how liberal elites who wants to champion for public schooling tend to send their kids to private schools.

What do you mean? All Republicans send their kids to public schools?

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Tim: "I believe Obama will make an great ex-president in this regard. If he chooses, from 2013 on, to devote his post-presidency to the issue of education he could undue much of the damage he has done to our nation."

Classic! Do tell us what damage he has done, my friend, in his short time in office. Was it perhaps stopping his predecessor's moronic 'no child left behind' program? That was proven to be an utter failure.

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Obama's personally-appointed 'safe schools czar' (never vetted) turned out to another Van Jones-type freak:

"President Obama's "safe schools czar" is a former schoolteacher who has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools, written about his past drug abuse, expressed his contempt for religion and detailed an incident in which he did not report an underage student who told him he was having sex with older men." - - FoxNews report sept 23, 2009

"Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings was the founder, and for many years, Executive Director of an organization called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN started essentially as Jennings’ personal project and grew to become the culmination of his life’s work. And he was chosen by President Obama to be the nation’s Safe Schools Czar primarily because he had founded and led GLSEN (scroll for bio)." Jim Hoft 12/4/2009

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Funny how people are able to blame everything on a President who's barely been in office for about two years. Granted, it's important to evaluate someone's performance midway through his or her term, but this is going a little far, no?

The Lehman Shock occurred back in October 2008, right? As well as all the activities that led up to it occurred well before Obama was in office, no?

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MisterCreosote: just by citing FoxNews discredit everything.

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And... of course TimRussert can't answer my question nor defend my comment about Obama's predecessor. They were rhetorical questions anyway. Nope; they'll just try to find a way to blame a system that's been failing for a long time, and got MUCH worse under the former White House, on a president who's been serving for less than two years (and whos bills they simply say 'no' to all the time).

I don't think the school year being extended will necessarily make students study harder or be more motivated, and it's motivation that's lacking. Get them better equipment and facilities, for one, and give them the resources they need to learn, including getting rid of bad teachers.

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U.S. schools usually take a three-month summer break.** This is one of the worst aspects of the American public education system, study from September to June, then take OFF 3 MONTHS and FORGET ALMOST everything had learned that year?? WTF!!! In those 3 months, how many young American kids get into trouble with the law??, drugs??, pregnant??, killed or kill someone?? Too many!!! This summer vacation needs to be changed, to say just 1 month, and this 1 month off should still include some kind of homework or activity, you know, just to keep the brain in shape!

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Money alone may not, but it will go a long way to help. Kentucky is rated 31st in the nation in education and the school my kids go to requires parents to supply the school because they cannot afford scissors, markers and printer paper. That is just sad. Education is an investment in our future. Doesn't it behoove us to give our future the best chance possible?

How some people can miss that is beyond me.

Taka

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Just a few ideas:

Never going to happen with the power and stranglehold of the Teachers unions but would really help our greatest investment the generation that is going to follow us in the world we are leaving them now.

Set a teacher base pay salary and only allow normal cost of living raises. Only allow merit pay increases for teachers if students succeed or better yet even base it on the if the whole school succeeds (drop out rate, test scores and such). Invest Teachers not only in just mentoring and teaching students but invest them as economic stakeholders in them as well. If they leave school and move out in the world as productive well educated citizens their future earnings will more than enough support a tax base for the merit raises given now and in the future. Myself as a fiscal conservative could actually get behind this as not wasting or borrowing money or throwing it away on merit raises, but as an actual real investment that will pay off huge in future by lessening the burden of Taxes and Government by a future well educated generation prepared to go to work in the private sector inventing the next high tech gadget that changes the way we live (I-pods anybody, who would have thought ten years ago).

Teacher pension reform and reform it now to be aligned with the average pension in the private sector, It's nuts and bankrupting as it now almost across all the states and a huge problem with getting real reform...Reform now and use the savings to fund deserved merit raises, enough said on that one.

Top volunteer teacher incentive pay on top of merit raises. Top volunteer teachers that qualify and are proven performers in all areas to be given a real financial incentive to move and teach in a failing school (inner city or even poor rural)for a contract period say three years. Providing the needed skills and personal leadership they have developed to the very areas that need it most. Might even base this on what the military calls combat pay, your salary is tax free if you are serving in a declared combat zone. Though it would still only be given on the performance of the teacher and her achieving measurable improvement goals over that contract period.

Spread some real wealth 'knowledge' around that would do some actual good.

My opinion and would like to see done but as I said, 'ain't going to happen'.

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The federal Department of Education is yet another great legacy of the Jimmy Carter years. It's been so outstanding...

And the White House has been controlled by Republican administrations for -- let's see -- twenty years since the time of Carter. And in all that time they've kept it going and growing.

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What do you mean? All Republicans send their kids to public schools?

They probably do send them to private schools, but they are not politicing on the theme that vouchers and school choice are bad idesa like most Dems do.

Both parties, are to blame for the school situations in America. What I said before stands, until you can have accountability from parents and teachers, the schools will not get better.

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The fundamental problem with education in the US lies in the contempt for knowledge that so many American adults display and foster.

The more profound the knowledge, the greater its liberating potential and therefore the greater the fear and loathing of it.

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If the shoe fits wear it !!! The Honorable GW put the US in debt with his expensive war !!!

Some music programs in American public schools has been cut !!!

But the US has to rebuild & supply Iraq now.

Thanks to the Honorable Republican GW.

Why wasn't the tea party formed back than ? Hmmmm ??? Mystery ???

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My opinion and would like to see done but as I said, 'ain't going to happen'.

If not, then thank goodness for that. The entire post is based on a teacher-centric assumption that is flawed to its core.

And the assumption is: "Learning is an activity that best takes place in the structured environment known as a 'school' and directed by an adult who plays the role of 'teacher.'"

Society has to come to grips with the truth about school in the 21st century: That it is less a place of genuine learning a more of a place to deposit young people for the day because we don't know what else to do with them.

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Obama has been president for only 20 months, it's all his fault !!!

American schools has 3 months off, it's all obama's fault. He did it !!! At least he suggesting change

instead of reading my pet goat once a year !!!

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"And the White House has been controlled by Republican administrations for - let's see - twenty years since the time of Carter"

Carter started it, and once some government program gets started, it's hard to stop it...

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Carter started it, and once some government program gets started, it's hard to stop it...

It's not hard -- all it takes is the will and the leadership.

Evidently, the Republicans have been lacking in both -- which is why the Department still exists. OR, more likely, the Republicans have followers who are are easily duped. The followers like to be fed all kinds of fairy tales like "let's abolish the DoE," while in reality the Department serves a purpose for the executive branch that no Republican wants to let go of.

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"Evidently the Republicans have been lacking in both"

And the Democrats. Don't forget the eight years of Clinton.

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And this is a typical example of why our education system is not great, and why it never gets fixed. Even on this small forum we can see a microcosm of the norm. Every one plays partisan politics and avoids the real issues of our educational system. The children suffer and we get statistically dumber. Wouldn't it be great if all could stop pulling out the Bush or Carter cards and simply think 'hey, having smarter kids who will one day run this place and work on solving the challenging issues that we have might be a good thing, no matter who I choose to vote for'. Personally I don't think any administration from either party has done a very good job for a very long time, and I think it would be a difficult sell to argue otherwise.

Schools are horribly under-funded. We spend more money in killing people than we do in educating our children. I've been on here griping about tax increases. Hey, if you were increasing my taxes to pay for my kid's education, I'd be fine with that. Instead my taxes will go for some ill-conceived health care bill (that will also increase my insurance premiums by the way) and money spent on things like art programs so some guy can pee in a jar with a crucifix and say he's at artistic genius. Yes, that happens all the time.

They need to stop teaching to test. Here in NY they teach specifically so the kids can pass the state tests (which makes the school look good). It effects what they learn and wastes time teach to a result without real substance. There's a lot of griping about inner-city schools and the issues therein. Parents, specifically of other races - stop saying things like 'axe', 'flo' (for floor), 'waz up' and stupid crap like that. Kids repeat what they hear and 'ghetto talk' while perhaps cool in your world screws your kid from ever really getting ahead. It's not racist; perpetuating ignorance is stupid no matter what race, creed or color that you are. And behavior. In my day the principal of my school could crack you with a paddle. We were afraid of him, and what would happen when we got home if we got in trouble at school. Now the liberals all tell us how traumatic it is for our children to be disciplined, so there is none for far too many kids. Teachers spend their days trying to control kids that are uncontrollable, and all suffer because of it.

The truths and answers do go beyond just dollars. But they are truths that people don't want to hear, or that are too politically incorrect to utter without being labeled racist, archaic and all sorts of other things. It's difficult for a kid to learn when they have to worry about just surviving.

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And the Democrats. Don't forget the eight years of Clinton.

The Democrats have never taken a position to abolish the Department of Education. DUH!!

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And this is a typical example of why our education system is not great, and why it never gets fixed.

And there you go again....

Do you actually believe that intelligent people are purely the product of an "education system?" Or is it more likely that the system does more to dumb people down?

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That would be the lowest common denominator theory then. The teacher's unions would be all for that since their members would have no accountability then.

Interesting that Obama is going to pick a fight with one of the Dem's major supporting unions. I agree with him but I wonder how all this is going to turn out.

As far as donkeys vs elephants goes; they both have their snouts in the same trough and somebody else has to shovel up the manure.

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No, I don't believe intelligent people are the product of an "education system" - but having a decent one that actually teaches something of note can't hurt. I think to point the system rather does dumb people down. Part of the problem is the school systems, part is the parents and part is environment. I certainly think the President is correct, and more money needs to go into our schools; it's a high-tech world and kids need to have that advantage.

But it's not all about money. Forgetting the intelligentsia/future leaders comment, for your average kid to get a decent job to support themselves and possibly a family one day, they need certain skills. The most important of these in my mind is the ability to speak and communicate - in English if in the US - clearly. This is most often where kids are failed at home. The ability to speak English correctly and put together intelligible sentences and understand the basic grammatical structure is possible by mostly everyone. To refuse to do so is usually a choice, perhaps perpetuated by the parents or peer groups in order to fit in - but a choice none-the-less.

I use the prime example - the African American community - to illustrate my point. Label me racist, but there is point to my arguments and there comes a time when pulling punches to be PC is more detrimental than useful. I do understand that throughout the years of slavery education was nearly impossible, or at best unlikely. And given segregation and racism through the 1950's, 60's and even well beyond it was difficult. But in today's society, even in inner-cities, everyone has access to an education that will at least teach basic grammar rules and the ability to effectively and clearly communicate. What do I hear everyday on the bus on the way to work? 'I ain't got no idea what you is talkin' 'bout ni____'. These kids are in my community and go to the same school system my kids do. Problem then? Parents and cultural expectations.

So then we get white racist scholars who try to conclude that black people aren't as smart as white people (total idiocy) and black people trying to excuse it away with 'ebonics' rather than addressing the fundamental problem. It's 'Uncle Tom' to 'talk white' and so the problem is perpetuated and we have generations who can't get jobs and catch up due to the unwillingness to just simply learn the damned language correctly. Now as other ethnic groups pour in and the more liberal chime in with 'oh, we should all learn Spanish to accommodate these children' rather than teaching them English, the problem becomes more complex and the educationally elite are the white kids that go to private schools (or the non-white kids if your father happens to be President).

I would say that intelligent people are possible to a large degree products of genetics, but in the real world certainly our education system play a role in either nurturing or dumbing down, depending upon several factors.

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Forgetting the intelligentsia/future leaders comment, for your average kid to get a decent job to support themselves and possibly a family one day, they need certain skills.

Hardly any of which are taught in schools. Success in the world requires drawing on a combination of the nine types of intelligence identified by scholarly observers such as Howard Gardner: 1) naturalist, 2) musical, 3) logical-mathematical, 4) existential, 5) interpersonal, 6) body-kinesthetic, 7) linguistic, 8) intra-personal, and 9) spatial. Traditional schooling puts great emphasis on 3 and 7, and often makes kids who are extremely intelligent in other areas feel like failures if their strengths don't happen to be in those two.

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Was it perhaps stopping his predecessor's moronic 'no child left behind' program? That was proven to be an utter failure.

Well considering he hasn't stopped no child left behind and in a lot of ways is actually expanding on several of its key areas.

How was no child left behind moronic? It was meant to be a first step, not a solution to getting the entire nation to have a standard or base standard for what it teaches or expect students to know and a way to identify schools that were having problems. The test taking aspects of no child left behind is pretty much what the rest of the world does in education especially Japan.

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Get them better equipment and facilities, for one, and give them the resources they need to learn, including getting rid of bad teachers.

But is that really the problem? Most of the problems I would say are caused from the fact that the students don't spend anytime studying outside of class or even do the homework until the day its due in class. At my high school the teachers could rent lap tops from the school library for the period and guess what happens? The students including me we didn't do any school work, we just browsed the internet playing flash games. Did we get yelled at from the teachers for doing that? Heck ya but it didn't make any difference. Even if you have a bad teacher you should be able to self teach yourself from the text book and if you can't do that there is always the internet plus youtube videos to watch on whatever subject you are studying.

Again I would say the real issue is that the students themselves are the biggest reason, the students will spend at most 1 hour each day after school to study or do homework.

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Institute a voucher system to get some competition into the mix. Let parents choose between school districts or even let them send their children to private schools with a reduced voucher amount for administrative expenses. They could also make homeschooling easier by setting up networks for socialization and idea sharing between parents. The public system as it is right now is virtually useless that churns out graduates that may have little more than a functional level of literacy.

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Without the state controlling education how are Democrats and "progressives" supposed to inculcate the habits of competitive victimhood, identity politics, moral relativism and revulsion for Western civilization?

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Obama: Money alone cannot solve U.S. school problems

It has taken Liberals 40 years to finally figure that out! States and the Federal government have been ramping up spending for decades and as a result academic acheivement has actually declined in the US. Liberals are more interested in getting taxpayer money to teachers unions so that it can be recycled back to the Democrat party in the form of campaign and in-kind contributions. They are more interested in using schools as a means to propagandize the philosophy of statism, hyper-sensitivity to race, eco-militancy and other looney ideas that have nothing to do with reading, writing, and math. The students themselves are mere props.

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It has taken Liberals 40 years to finally figure that out! States and the Federal government have been ramping up spending for decades and as a result academic acheivement has actually declined in the US.

A good point. Teachers' unions are overwhelmingly Democrat. A Democrat president gave us the Dept of Education. The horrific failure known as 'busing' was brought to us by Democrats. Dem presidents Woodrow Wilson and Obama were both college profs before going into politics. It is only Democrats who oppose vouchers. And yet, after decades of failure - failure much worse than the things that supposedly gutted Bush's presidency and supposedly doomed his party for 40 years (Carville) - - no one in the media looks at our pathetic public schools system and pronounces "liberalism" dead...

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I think most of US schools should adopt some of the habits of the schools from the north eastern or new england section of the States. Even though I spent most of my school years on the west coast, I attended a few years on the east coast and noticed that when I went back to the west, I was way ahead of my classmates, especially in math, science, and computers. Students are also given a reading list for summer vacation and have to prepare book reports for the first day of school. The gap between the east and west just seems big.

US summer vacations are too long - period!

The teaching profession in the US doesn't get the respect it deserves.

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Obama and Novemebr, summed up

//politics.usnews.com/opinion/photos/barack-obama-cartoons/7

need h t t p in front of that

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Success in the world requires drawing on a combination of the nine types of intelligence identified by scholarly observers such as Howard Gardner: 1) naturalist, 2) musical, 3) logical-mathematical, 4) existential, 5) interpersonal, 6) body-kinesthetic, 7) linguistic, 8) intra-personal, and 9) spatial.

That may be, but again I'm talking about basics just to start leveling the playing field a bit. You really don't need to be either lyrical or existential to be able to speak coherently and properly to give yourself a fair chance in competition with your peers.

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Or, are you just trying to tell us that words change over time? Which, if that's the case, is not very revealing. Are you going to say that modern French is a bastardization of Latin, therefore French ought to speak Latin?

You missed the point completely. Which is: If a minority group in France spoke a dialect that used words that were closer to their Latin roots, it would be gauche and stupid for a French person to put them down for doing so.

The knowledge that "aks" is rooted in English and "ask" is a derivation from the original might help to make some people a bit less judgmental when they hear it. Especially when we understand what the person is trying to say.

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The problem is perception - and whether you like it or not that plays a huge role. I was doing work for the USMC and my boss - a dyed in the wool Marine - would not hire a kid because he had an earring. It had nothing to do with his actual prowess as a worker, just didn't like the earring. Blindfold a boss to prevent judgment on colour, then get them to interview a person speaking correct English - not Old English - and one who uses 'axe' and 'flo'. Who do you think will get the job? Who would this company want representing them?

It starts in the schools and with the parents. All I'm saying is give these kids a chance so that white society doesn't judge them based upon how they speak. It's easy to say that people shouldn't be judgmental - but they are. And frankly, if I'm in the business world and dealing with customers, I don't want my company represented by people who cannot speak English in the grammatically acceptable way. You might call that racist but most of us would call it common business sense.

In short, why teach and promote bad grammar? Who does it serve other than detractors?

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Yabits: A guy I was stationed with in the Navy spoke that way. He was one of the finest and most capable technicians I ever ran across. And I never judged a book by its cover again after that. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who can speak in a polished manner, but really don't have a clue in their heads.

What a load of crap.

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I can't really say I have a solution for the US school system. I think per person who throw more money at kids than most countries do, so I'm not sure if funding is the problem. Maybe part of the problem is the 3 months break. I doubt it, tho. Maybe it's standardized testing? Well, find me any gaijin who has worked in the Japanese high school system who supports standardized testing. When I see rankings, I always wonder....are they using kids from Detroit or Beverly Hills?

Maybe it's because of parents. Even if they aren't the problem they should be part of the solution by demanding more from their children when it comes to school. Kids in the US today aren't just competing with other Americans, but with people from other countries who grew up poor and saw education as their only way out. Maybe there just isn't the same sense of urgency.

Then again we just saw the university rankings where the US dominated...

I agree to some extent of what another poster said about how kids present/express themselves. I wouldn't limit it to any one minority, just people in general who come across as someone who sounds more like an MTV interviewee than a potential job candidate. If you come across as stupid then people are going to assume you are. You're placing limits on yourself and how high you can climb in society in terms of work. Debating the history of language isn't going to change the fact that you're not going to get a job that requires talking on the phone if you can't speak English properly. And when you go into an interview there's no way that professional office is going to hire someone who doesn't speak like they do. Maybe you'll get lucky and interview with a guy who was once in the Navy and had a really smart buddy who sounded stupid, but in my experience those types of people don't do the interviewing or decision-making.

Stuff like that begins and ends in the home. Young kids need to learn how to present themselves properly. It's not just about education but about upbringing.

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I was doing work for the USMC and my boss - a dyed in the wool Marine - would not hire a kid because he had an earring. It had nothing to do with his actual prowess as a worker, just didn't like the earring.

That's the problem of the boss. If the prospective worker could run rings around a less compenent, "metal-free" person, your boss is actually hurting the organization he's supposedly serving. (If there's a policy against wearing jewelry at work, that's easily managed.)

In short, why teach and promote bad grammar?

I was never in favor of teaching or promoting bad grammar. If the work does not actually require college-level grammar -- and few jobs actually do -- the focus ought to be on what the person can do.

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If you come across as stupid then people are going to assume you are.

Yes, to people who are actually far more stupid than the interviewee. No one can "come across" as anything to someone who hasn't already prejudged. Anyone who regards someone with a ghetto accent as dumb is just as stupid as someone who thinks someone who speaks with British-accented English is somehow smarter.

a guy who was once in the Navy and had a really smart buddy who sounded stupid

He sounded as though he came from the deep South -- which he did. That I mistook it for "slowness" was where I burned myself. Fortunately, that was many years ago and I never repeated the mistake.

As for the telephone job, knowing what to say in a limitless variety of situations is most often far more important than the accent through which the words are delivered. Accents can be fairly easily remediated, fortunately.

You're placing limits on yourself and how high you can climb in society in terms of work

No. The limits are actually placed by ignorant people in power who aren't able to look past the superficial aspects. This is why the US is going down the tubes. There are actually people in authority who believe that an ounce of perception is worth a pound of performance -- and they make that trade-off daily. The amount of valuable human capital gone to waste in the US is astounding.

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I think the largest problem with public schools is that they dont have to compete with anything. They are government funded re education camps with teacher unions so powerfull that teachers having sex with students cant even get them fired untill they actually go to jail. They will sit in a room with like minded offenders getting paid for doing nothing.

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