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Science Ability Down in U.S. High Schools

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the let's-talk-about-evolution dept.

650

An anonymous reader writes "According to the International Herald Tribune, a nationwide test has shown that the ability to reason scientifically is less well developed across the board for high schoolers. Fourth graders, ironically, are actually better at reasoning in the sciences now than they were ten years ago." From the article: "The drop in science proficiency appeared to reflect a broader trend in which some academic gains made in elementary grades and middle school have been seen to fade during the high school years. The science results come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a comprehensive examination administered in early 2005 by the Department of Education to more than 300,000 students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. military bases around the world."

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That's what happens (5, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416955)

That's what happens when the most important part of your 'academic' life is the Football team.

Re:That's what happens (2, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416975)


... and outside of the Football team you learn about Intelligent Design in the Science class..

Re:That's what happens (1)

makenaa (938647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416993)

Yeah, thats what happens if that largest part of your high school career is drugs and alchohol...

Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417030)

someone finally points out the real problem concerning a topic on Slashdot! Prepare to be modded down.

Re:That's what happens (5, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417109)

Partially agreed with this. *HOWEVER*...

      At my high school (ten years ago, admittedly), the people most into the drugs and alcohol (openly to their fellow students, anyway) were among the smartest people in the school. That's not to disparage the other students, but it seemed to me that among the stoners and drinkers were some very smart (and very bored) kids. Very many of these students are now remarkably successful (by any metric) and happy, several with Ph.D.s.
      It seems that, at least *sometimes*, students into the drugs and alcohol are simply doing that because they're bored with the curriculum (which is, oftentimes, not challenging enough). There are exceptions to this and every human situation, but to blame drugs and alcohol might be misdirected.

Re:That's what happens (0, Offtopic)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417188)


Going out for "liquid lunches" and smoking pot, dropping acid, eating mushrooms, etc. was common for me back in high school (early 1980s) and I did well in school. In fact many of the people who I hung out with back then doing the same things all well with their lives. All are quite smart, too (not saying I am ;)). It's mainly the jocks from then I see working at 7-Eleven or stocking shelves.

Re:That's what happens (-1, Troll)

mikbry24 (949692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417130)

That's funny I didn't think Intelligent Design was allowed in the classroom. Maybe if the dogmatic neo-Darwinists would allow for some debate and actual science in the classrooms, the Science scores would improve across the board. But, while claiming to be scientific, these dogmatists are little more than stubborn atheists.

---------------------
No, I'm not a troll!

Re:That's what happens (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417154)


Intelligent Design is not science. They have their hypothesis (ie.: a supernatural being made everything) but haven't a shred of evidence to back it up. Rather, the Creationists spend their time trying to knock down evolution.

That's not how science works.

Re:That's what happens (2, Insightful)

Ithika (703697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417171)

But, while claiming to be scientific, these dogmatists are little more than stubborn atheists.

Ah, so now people who don't believe in All-Saving Sky Daddies are the stubborn ones? The ones who don't believe in things for which there is no evidence and no way of attaining evidence. Those ones?

Ha, wow. That's ... wow.

Re:That's what happens (-1, Offtopic)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416990)

Let me see now, the ability to reason scientifically:

Bush brings up this onerous immigration bill ---- the mainstream media covers that and no longer is covering illegal spying by NSA (and other agencies) ---- the immigration talk sputters ---- then suddenly the Spanish-language radio stations help tremendously in organizing nation-wide protest marches ---- and immigration once more occupies center news stage.

The obvious next question: Who owns those Spanish-language radio stations???

Can anyone spell the Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group? Hoooo ---- that would be too much of a coincidence, say the "Coincidence Theorists." No, that would be another rather obvious connection, say the scientific thinking people......

Re:That's what happens (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416997)

Second Post! (Awaiting extra-credit and participation credits....)

(Maybe I'll get extra credits?...)

Re:That's what happens (5, Insightful)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417025)

Well, football has always been (and will always be?) the most important part of some students' academic life for years. But I don't think that's the main issue. To me, it's a question of two things: student work ethic and curriculum.

We Americans are very good at pointing at others and coming up with excuses. But I'll tell you, the Asian students I have aren't good at math because they're Asian, they're good because they (gasp!) actually do homework. That's an investment most students don't care to make.

And why should they? Our curriculum presents science as a static, lifeless adventure. It's a collection of worksheets and vocab lists. The teacher has all of the answers; it's simply a question of memorizing the correct response.

We need a curriculum that supports inquiry and thought. We need to give students the responsibility of choice and experimentation. We need to get them generating real results and using those in real world situations. Reasoning and problem solving skills do not come without authentic practice.

Re:That's what happens (2, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417113)

A lot of my lack of desire to do well in math/science was caused by a complete lack of understanding why any of it mattered, and how I could apply it to things I wanted to do. In general, if I couldn't make use of information I generally got bored with learning it.

Literary classes were a bit easier because it was tied closely to liesure, I liked reading, so it was easy to to do well at it.

Since finishing high school (and dropping out of college), I've gone back and self-taught myself a lot of the math skills I neglected because it is used in a number of my hobbies. It's a lot more interesting when it's a prereq for building a trebuchet or hacking on a 3D engine. ;)

Re:That's what happens (4, Insightful)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417146)

We Americans are very good at pointing at others and coming up with excuses. But I'll tell you, the Asian students I have aren't good at math because they're Asian, they're good because they (gasp!) actually do homework. That's an investment most students don't care to make.

And why should they? Our curriculum presents science as a static, lifeless adventure. It's a collection of worksheets and vocab lists. The teacher has all of the answers; it's simply a question of memorizing the correct response.


A better question might be: why do Asian students make that investment, given that their education systems generally focuses on rote memorization and the ability to lifelessly regurgitate solutions on command? If you want to create a curriculum that supports inquiry and free though, don't look to East Asia for inspiration.

Re:Homework (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417147)

Where I'm feeling the pressure from not doing homework is from math. Back then I understood the math well enough to do well on the tests, so I didn't do the homework. I didn't understand the relationship between doing homework and eventually coming to an understanding to what I was actually doing. There is no explanation of how a grade relates to how well you understand what you are doing and there is no going back to get it right a second time so that it's reflected in the grade, so the grade falls out of sync with what you might in fact get around to understanding.

Re:That's what happens (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417208)

We need to give students the responsibility of choice and experimentation. We need to get them generating real results and using those in real world situations. Reasoning and problem solving skills do not come without authentic practice.

So, perhaps a system like /. would be more appropriate for science teaching?

I went to a US high school... (4, Funny)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416971)

but I'm not sure what this article is talking about. :-(

From the article (5, Funny)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416972)

The falling average science test scores among high school students, announced Wednesday, appeared certain to increase anxiety about American academic competitiveness and to add new urgency to calls from President George W. Bush

Yes, if anyone can save science education in the US it's going to be Dubya.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:From the article (5, Informative)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417050)

Why was my comment modded troll? Is it at all suprising that people are less interested in science and teaching when a man like Bush is in charge? This administration expresses active hatred for scientific knowledge. You may be interested to know that I'm an American and a physics teacher, but I work abroad and have no intentions of ever trying to teach in America after I had a friend fired in New York for mentioning the existence of evolution in a class.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Is anyone really surprised? (0, Flamebait)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416974)

With all of the nonsense about teaching garbage like Intelligent Design as science its no wonder kids abilies are going down the tubes. It isn't just the schools either, because they are going home or going to their friends places and getting bombarded with this innane fundamentalist drivel. I mean really, theology maybe, but this stuff is absolutely not science, it is purely psuedoscience...cuz you know...we have all that evidence that the world is only 6,000 years old that those non God fearing scientists just ignore. What ever...

Personally, if I were a supreme being creditied with creating all of existance, I would be pretty offended by some hairless monkeys insisiting that I am unable to create things in a complex fashion that they aren't capable of understanding.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417037)

"Personally, if I were a supreme being creditied with creating all of existance, I would be pretty offended by some hairless monkeys insisiting that I am unable to create things in a complex fashion that they aren't capable of understanding."

That's the thing though. Science is an affront to God because it assumes that we *are* capable of understanding. God does ten ineffable things before breakfast every day, and that's when it's tired! All the best parts of religion are things we can't understand. It's really great, because it's an unbeatable explanation. How did God create the world? We can't understand it. Why should we worship God? It's important to its plan. It's a shame we couldn't understand the plan even if God told us.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

tbmcmullen (940544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417131)

Let me guess... You're Catholic. :P

The Bible itself says that we're "made in god's image". We're the grandest of his creation but we can't understand anything about the world we live in? I think not.

Personally, I believe very strongly in the existence of a creator. But that doesn't "prove" evolution false. In fact, to the contrary, it makes it more believable to me. Sure, creating everything we know in 7 days (as the "fundamentalists" believe) would be pretty impressive. But, more impressive is creating creatures that can adapt and evolve depending on the circumstances they live in, passing these changes down to make a more hardy species.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417182)

Not sure what the Catholic thing is about, so please explain.
My point is, that I think it takes an unhealthly level of arrogance to claim you can understand how God did ANYTHING. Assuming God did tell man to write down genesis and how mankind was made...do you think it would be easier to tell mankind a story about dust...or explain all the intracacies of biology to a man who has not figured out indoor plumbing. I figure if God can create all of existance, he can probably create all of the complex systems and rules that keep the whole thing operating just as easily (biology, physics, etc) We don't invent anything in biology or physics, we discover them, because those operation principles are already there and in motion, we just find ways to test them and write them down to predict their functioning.
Coarse people accost me with how the bible is historically accurate, and in the same breath explain that Soddom and Ghommora is about God hating gays...unfortunately if they read thier history they would know that it was about hospitality more than anything. If Lot had little boys instead of little girls, he would have offered them to the crowd ...because its about protecting your guests...not butt sex.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

tbmcmullen (940544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417199)

Catholic priests are well-known for the saying: "Its a divine mystery". (Originally referring to the trinity, but its been applied elsewhere)

I'm having a hard time understanding where you're arguing with me... It seems like we're agreeing.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417060)

It has nothing to do what that. Pop culture has been dumbing down high schools for decades with the emphasis on sex, drugs & alcohol while disparaging academic achievement in general. Nothing in the article is surprising.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417165)

I wouldn't be all that upset if biology/health classes did a good job teaching about sexuality and drugs(alcohol being one of the more important ones to teach about). Based on the COMPLETELY scientific(*cough*) sample of Americans I talk to on IRC, that's not being done in a very effective way. Or these people never took the bio/health classes. After all, most people really like sex, and millions of Americans really like beer and cigarettes and, and, and... Nothing wrong with teaching them about the effects of those substances, and the mechanisms by which they have their impact.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417185)

The same pop culture influences much of the rest of world too.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417071)

With all of the nonsense about teaching garbage like Intelligent Design as science its no wonder kids abilies are going down the tubes

And what else?

Seriously, this ID crap started happening a year or so ago and now it's suddenly the sole source of all the problems with science in America schools. Of course, it's always "things like Intelligent Design", but you'd be hard pressed to get a list of what these other "things like Intelligent Design" are.

But, hey, this is Slashdot. Someone's got to get the automatic anti-religious karma bonus in these kinds of threads.

Pathetic.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417233)

Please check your history. Scopes Monkey Trial was WELL over a year ago. And that falls into the same catagory of pseudo science nonsense. It isn't all religion either...but religious fundamentalists are the worst offenders of using pseudoscience like that.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417079)

You're attributing far too much power to a single bit of BS. I'm sure if you quizzed kids on ID, they'd fail that, too.

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417144)

Gee, with a really well thought-out response like that, it sounds like you too are a victim of government education.

News flash: public school students' academic performance, by all measures, has been declining for decades. Which also includes, quite ironically, a stong shift away from religion in schools toward pure secularism. The debate about teaching intelligent design is a relatively recent development, and in a small number of school districts at that. Not that I'm equating one with the other, mind you.

Not that I expect you to understand any of this. I have to hand it to you though, you've got that propaganda thing *down*!

Re:Is anyone really surprised? (2, Insightful)

Mr. Vandemar (797798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417222)

Intelligent Design is a symptom, not the cause.

Remeber (4, Insightful)

Kortec (449574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416976)

Despite the fact that our universities are filled with foreign nationals, as there simply aren't enough smart Americans to fill them, and as the rest of the world laughs at us for stupid things we do academically (like not adapting to the metric system, or teaching people interesting math or science), we can all take comfort in the fact that No Child Is Left Behind.

Except for all those poor kids, I guess, but who's counting?

Re:Remember (1)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417000)

I suppose it's true that if everyone is behind, then no one student is behind the other. Or is this a case where students must all be equal, but some can be more equal than others?

Re:Remeber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417083)

Remeber ; and as the rest of the world laughs at us for stupid things we do academically (like not adapting to the metric system, or teaching people interesting math or science),

yeah its funny watching people from the USA who have been to school and still cannot spell, even simple words like "remember" or "loser".

At least basketball/baseball/bowling/USFootball are important in-demand skills in todays global economy right ?.

Re:Remeber (1)

Dr. Mojura (584120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417234)

If 'no child is left behind', and you're only as fast as the slowest part, well... you can see where this is leading our kids.
I always said: "no child left behind == no child gets ahead".

Lazy (4, Informative)

Hiro2k (264020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15416982)

Most high school seniors are lazy and blow off thier senior year. Add to that the fact that most of them don't care about tests that don't affect your grade, and you get those results. In my HS when we were given "extra" tests, a lot of my classmates would skip class or just fill in bubbles.

In other news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416983)

Science ability is up in Indian high-schools

As a high school senior... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15416988)

...I think there's a big problem with apathy. Most students just don't care about learning. There's a few of us that take honors/ap classes and go to good universities, but the majority are just going through the motions to get out of high school. I also blame a lack of competitive spirit--it gets beaten out of us so nobody can be made to feel bad, the same reason my school no longer does anything to honor academic excellence like it does for sports.

The blame really belongs with the parents, of course. My parents are why I worked to get into the computer science program at UCI.

Re:As a high school senior... (5, Insightful)

Kortec (449574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417026)

Yeah, I'd have to agree. In some respects, our cultural trend towards political correctness has really come back to bit us. There's a trend towards mediocrity, as we leave the door open for the unmotivated or unable as long as possible. The result of this is that the students that really could be doing interesting things (weither that happens to be linear algebra, or Chaucer) in their early years are kept in pretty repetative classes, or meaningless requirements, and end up joining the unmotivated masses.

That's not to say that public schooling need not be regulated -- the recent debacle over intelligent design should be suffiicent evidence of that. It's a difficult problem to administer such a large system as the public schooling of a state -- let alone 50 -- with out administering the very life out of it. The only hope is that most schools end up with a small crew of truely gifted educators, the sort of folks who know when to ignore the rules and when not to, and are actually passionate about their topics, and that makes the experiance slightly bearable.

Re:As a high school senior... (2, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417082)

In some respects, our cultural trend towards political correctness has really come back to bit us.

Who would have guessed that suppressing freedom of expression and thought so that "no one would ever get offended" would have any negative side-effects?

Re:As a high school senior... (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417094)

Might I ask where we actually do so? Where in schools do we teach students that "nobody should have their feelings hurt", or that everyone should wait for the stupid or lazy to catch up?

I never saw any such things.

Re:As a high school senior... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417166)

Where in schools do we teach students that "nobody should have their feelings hurt", or that everyone should wait for the stupid or lazy to catch up?

      I'm very thankful for the education I got in high school. I was challenged by my classes, and many of my friends, being more mathematically or foreign-language-inclined, were able to take college classes at the local college. My first year of junior high was not quite as good, but still a pretty good experience.
      However, after my first year of junior high, the school system transitioned over to a "middle school". Whereas previously, some students were able to take advanced classes, and some, remedial classes, once we hit middle school, everyone in a given grade was stuck in the same level. No matter how advanced or remedial the student, everyone ended up taking the same classes.
      Perhaps it was the best the school district could do then, and perhaps things are better now. But the middle school system I saw was frustrating (and not in a character-building way) for at least 60% of the students -- both those behind the norm, and those ahead. Especially those who wanted to learn more, and excel in many subjects (and that happened to be a significant fraction of the students; perhaps 40%) were held back and had to wait for others to catch up.

Re:As a high school senior... (2, Informative)

tbmcmullen (940544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417179)

The fact that I was on "independent study" for many classes all the way through high school, because the school was unwilling to hire more AP teachers seems like a pretty good indicator.

The funny thing about the school I went to (Dauphin County Technical School, dcts.org) is that the number of special education teachers is almost equal to the number of normal teachers. But the number of AP teachers has been at 2 for many many years.

Re:As a high school senior... (2, Interesting)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417123)

I also blame a lack of competitive spirit--it gets beaten out of us so nobody can be made to feel bad, the same reason my school no longer does anything to honor academic excellence like it does for sports.

Here's my idea: at the end of every year, hold a public assembly where the bottom 25% of students are called up in front of the entire school and laughed at. Let's call it a "social experiment."

Interesting (5, Funny)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417002)

Michael Padilla, a professor at the University of Georgia who is president of the National Science Teachers Association, said that the problem is not that universities are failing to train sufficient numbers of science majors or that too few opt for classroom careers, but that about a third of those who accept teaching jobs abandon the profession within five years.

Wow! I've just finished my first year as a teacher. Only four more to go before I'm filled with apathy and burned out on my chosen profession. I can't wait.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:Interesting (3, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417042)

The biggest problem with Science starts with grade schools. In most schools today the amount of hoops you have to go through to make the class interesting. Over the top safety concerns and budget cuts have really restricted the ability to provide interesting presentations and interactive experimentation. Sometimes "think of the children" tends to result in children that can't think.

I spoke with my oldest daughters teacher about the experiments they would be doing this year, sadly they cant even make a potato battery or pickle light due to the threat of fire or something goofy. I actually got reprimanded by the teacher last year for showing my daughter some kitchen experiments that she proceeded to bring up in class, since the students were wanting to see them. Now instead of shattering a hot dog with liquid nitrogen kids get to do things like a baking soda submarine...wheeeee! No wonder the students dont care and the teachers are bored out their minds.

Re:Interesting (3, Interesting)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417093)

I spoke with my oldest daughters teacher about the experiments they would be doing this year, sadly they cant even make a potato battery or pickle light due to the threat of fire or something goofy.

No kidding! In my school we have a model steam engine that I used several times as a how-does-this-machine-work kind of lesson. I let all the kids (about 12-13yrs) poke at it and try and play with it to make it go. As they had never seen such old technology they had lots of fun trying to figure it out.

However I got reprimanded by the school for allowing the kids to handle the engine. According to health and safety it can only be used behind a thick safety screen -- incase it explodes or whatever. Now I'll never use it again, because behind the screen it's a boring, lifeless demo.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:Interesting (1)

ddx Christ (907967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417152)

Really? I've always found the sciences in my school, from middle school all the way to my senior year, to be quite interesting. We're talking about a school that didn't get its budget passed too (wasted all remaining money on new equipment for sports though...).

Yeah, 8th grade earth science was boring. We played with rocks. That was about it.

9th grade biology was a bit more fun. Dissections!

10th grade chemistry was a blast. First demonstration involved putting group I elements in distilled water. Boom! We also made race bottles; we dried old soda bottled and put methanol in them. We also made icecream. We did fun stuff. It wasn't boring at all. Comp. Sci. was what it was; we did nerdy things and laughed.

11th grade AP Physics and AP bio brought even more fun. AP Bio was tied with anatomy so we dissected a cat in June. It really doesn't get better than that. In Physics we did a number of experiments all year. One of the last ones was an engineering project where we had to build a rocket of some sort (no 'fuel' though, it was through water and pressure - the engineering part came with delivering the payload properly).

Finally, senior year AP Physics (C), AP Chemistry, and Genetics proved to be even more interesting. For physics we're now working on building up some of the fundamental models from ground up (Bohr atom, for instance). In Chemistry we're required to do two demos, and we're told to blow things up because it's simply more interesting than anything else. In genetics we created experiments where we actually found some organic foods to be genetically modified (PCR) [Though the occurrence of this happening was very, very low. It just goes to show that not everything is perfect and GMOs can spread easily.]

All in all, the trend was for the experiments to get more interesting and involved as we progressed through the years. Of course, we're also more experienced by that time and tend to be more careful. The proper safety equipment is available as well and as long as we follow the rules and don't screw around, we get to have fun and nobody gets injured.

Re:Interesting (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417209)

Just was home visiting my elementary-school aged, Canadian neice. As part of a fab friends survey I took for her I had to pick my favourite class(art, maths, science, english, etc...). She was rather surprised when I picked the sciences as my favourite. I tried to explain how cool it was back in highschool for me, and how I've had a great deal of fun at university in several science courses. I asked her what THEY were doing in science then that was so horrible she couldn't see me enjoying it. Apparently they're studying dirt. No offense meant for any pedologists out there, but I can sort of understand her lack of enthusiasm for the course. I tried to give her hope that things will improve later, fingers crosses anyway :P

Not the schools (-1, Troll)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417005)

It's the genetics. Half of all children under the age of 5 in the U.S. are now minorities. Had we been importing Chinese (average IQ ~105), or another high-performing group, this problem wouldn't exist (ditto for if we had not been importing anybody).

When you look at the standardized test numbers, the central fact that pops out is that schools, on average, don't matter at all. The only thing that seems to budge the numbers in demographic change.

Re:Not the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417076)

Genetics has very little to do with it. If you look at the minority groups that perform poorly academically, they have leaders and parents that constantly tell them that the man is keeping them down. If you look at the minority groups that excel, their parents tell them every day to be the best and beat the fat lazy Americans in academics -- and get rich as doctors or engineers.

Re:Not the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417128)

I don't know if it's genetic, but I can certainly agree that an awful lot of it is cultural.
I grew up in a small NJ town that used to be mostly Irish Italian Catholic. Very blue
collar, working class. We had lots of smart kids that obviously valued education
for education's sake. I still own property in that town, and most of it is now Latin
American, mostly Central American. This area is now among the lowest performing
area academically in all of NJ. The irony? I am Latin American. But I always noticed
something different about my family vs. other LA families. My family placed a great
deal of emphasis on education, on performance, and on getting ahead in life. This
was absolutely missing in most of my LA peers growing up. And now, it's completely
endemic to the LA culture here. They are too poor, and have been too poor for so long,
to give any credence to the absolute notion of absolute commitment to education.
My son attends an elite magnet high school, recently qualified as among the best in the
US. This school offers up to Differential Equations as part of its curriculum. About 70% of
the faculty has their PhD. You know what? My son is one of about 5 Hispanic or partial
Hispanic students in the entire student body of about 1200 students. Most of the
student body is Asian, lots is Eastern European or American Jew. Nearly 0 are black.
And when you go to parent meetings and see the parents interact with the kids,
when you go to math competitions and see the distributiona and character of
participants, you see it all starts in the household. Which nearly never includes
black or Latin American households.



BTW, I basically see the *rest* of the problem as very American. Many of my
American born, white friends sneer quite a bit when I mention my kid because
they think education is really over-rated. School is supposed to be about football.
So again, it's cultural.


This isn't nonsense, it's well observed data.

If your heroes don't have it, you don't need it... (5, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417013)

Makes sense. After all, science plays no prominent role in hip-hop "culture," sports "culture," or Hollywood "culture." When you have a whole generation which idolizes only members of those three groups, what else should one expect?

Re:If your heroes don't have it, you don't need it (1)

droptone (798379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417132)

Makes sense. After all, science plays no prominent role in hip-hop "culture," sports "culture," or Hollywood "culture." When you have a whole generation which idolizes only members of those three groups, what else should one expect?
This of course assumes that people who idolize say a sports star cannot or do not idolize intellectual figures, which is rubbish. Of course science plays no role in musical artists, athletic events, and movie making (at least on the naive level). This is not at all surprising. I do not expect my favorite rapper to be able to do quantum mechanics. I do not expect my favorite sports star to be able to determine just how they can perform their amazing feats. And I certainly do not care if my favorite actor/actress can do anything dealing with science. People are quite able to spend an afternoon reading about particle physics then spending the evening watching the NBA Playoffs. There is no contradiction here. Pushing the blame on the existence or prominence of those entertainment venues is hardly worthy of being considered a worthwhile addition to this debate.

A victory for the Right (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417016)

Whether it's about global warming or Terri Schiavo's brain, science is always a big thorn in the side of conservatives. If this lack of science ability in high-schoolers can be sustained into the adult years, it will shift public opinion among voters back onto the Right where God intended it to be.

Re:A victory for the Right (2, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417103)

If "The Right" wanted to shift public opinion to their side through the manipulation of the educational curriculum, they could simply mandate the teaching of basic economics (and perhaps some actual history that teaches more than just "white people oppressed everyone").

Re:A victory for the Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417189)

Aren't they already doing that with the media? White people are liberators with the war on terror right?

Re:A victory for the Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417212)

Quick economics quiz: which of the following will result in an increase in GDP?
A. Increasing taxes and government spending by the same amount.
B. Decreasing taxes and government spending by the same amount.

In any basic macroeconomics course, you'd learn that the correct answer is A. You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody on "The Right" who understands this.

The Cause (4, Insightful)

Crussy (954015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417023)

The cause is no child left behind and like action. As someone who is a senior in high school, I've watched as literally half of my science classmates had no business in my level of courses. Parents believe that their children should be able to do the top level no matter what and many times this is not the case. Worse, schools believe if a child accels at one subject then they should be in equal level classes for the rest.

The effect of this is that students potentials are limited. There are a few people in my classes who know absolutely nothing about the material at hand, and no matter how many times it is presented to them cannot grasp it. This is an honors (we don't have AP) level physics class. They slow the progression of the class, and in doing so limit people like me who grasp the concepts easily. People don't realize how it only takes a few lower people to ruin the atmosphere in a classroom. When parents strive to place their kids in classes above their abilities, they are not just jeopardizing their own child's learning, but the learning of everyone who is brought down by them. No teacher wants to fail a student, and many won't. They instead slow the class to the pace of the slowest kid. This is clearly acceptable in remedial classes, but in an accelerated class it should not happen. There should be a curriculum to follow and if someone is holding back the class, they should be let go.

Sadly the present state of education in America is to help the remedial students while squashing the advanced students' potentials. No child left behind and naive parents who believe their child is better than everyone else are two of the most detrimental things to the education system today. Schools need to stand up and say no to both of these if they want students to reach their potentials today. Fail a girl who cannot grasp a physics class she doesn't belong in if she cannot handle it. There is no other way to show that some people do not belong in advanced classes, and when they're placed in them ruin the environment.

That's odd (1)

ddx Christ (907967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417038)

At my High School, where I'm graduating in June, they've actually had to increase the amount of science teachers. Enrollment in Physics is up so high that another physics teacher is probably going to hire and they're going to extend the amount of periods for the class.

However, this is only a small slice of the roughly 650 students in each class. You'll only see this trend continuing up until #100. After that, it really starts dwindling and you can see the lack of care for science as a disaster area.

The required Health class really shows students the other side of the class, or the majority, and it's a sad thing at that. I am not surprised by these statistics, but at the same time it can't be applied to everyone. There are still many willing to go the distance in my high school, and plenty on the island I live on.

Just recently I attended an awards dinner for science, where I met some 38 other students who accomplished similar feats in the various fields of science. To be honest, it was quite amazing to see all of these people in one room. I certainly felt welcome. However, it hardly represented the masses, and if they're all like the ones I've met in the aforementioned health class, then that statistic is probably doomed until there's a shift in culture as a whole.

Science in science class? (2, Interesting)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417039)

Recently, I remembered doing lab experiments in middle school and high school. I remember that if we ever got results that differed from those necessary to support the theory we were experimenting with, we were told we did the experiment wrong and either downgraded or told to redo it.

Not that we always did the experiments carefully or properly, but it is a little bit ironic to have something like that in a science class. Shoving the popularly accepted theories in our faces was the primary goal and teaching us to think and reason scientifically was a distant second.

Re:Science in science class? (1)

bjackson1 (953136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417072)

Hmmm, in my chemistry classes I worked out the results before hand by theory, and then made sure that my 'experimental' results were extremely close, because if not I failed the lab.

Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417116)

Ahem. The first thing a practicing scientist does when setting up a new experiment is to make sure the apparatus can reproduce already known results. If it can't do that, then it's miscalibrated and isn't going to discover anything new. If your lab experiments had already reproduced known results and were now probing unknown territory, you would have a point; discrepancy between theory and experiment points the way to flaws in the theory. But discrepancy between already known results and experiment points the way to flaws in the experiment.

Re:Come on (1)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417136)

Eighth grade science class is not supposed to be designed to conduct experiments under precise conditions. It is supposed to be about teaching students to think scientifically. It is certainly not meant to hammer theories into our heads.

Re:Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417216)

If you can't be bothered to care about precision, then you're not thinking scientifically.

Also, you are misusing the word 'theory'. From http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/Appendix E/AppendixE.html [rochester.edu]

"A scientific theory or law represents an hypothesis, or a group of related hypotheses, which has been confirmed through repeated experimental tests. Theories in physics are often formulated in terms of a few concepts and equations, which are identified with "laws of nature," suggesting their universal applicability. Accepted scientific theories and laws become part of our understanding of the universe and the basis for exploring less well-understood areas of knowledge. Theories are not easily discarded; new discoveries are first assumed to fit into the existing theoretical framework. It is only when, after repeated experimental tests, the new phenomenon cannot be accommodated that scientists seriously question the theory and attempt to modify it. The validity that we attach to scientific theories as representing realities of the physical world is to be contrasted with the facile invalidation implied by the expression, "It's only a theory." For example, it is unlikely that a person will step off a tall building on the assumption that they will not fall, because "Gravity is only a theory."

Sometimes a fact is just a fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417173)

You teachers weren't 'shoving popularly accepted theories' in your face, they were shoving experimentally, independently proven scientific fact in your face. If you're asked to find the boiling point of water and come back with an answer that's more than a couple degrees celsius away from 100, then I sure hope your teacher tells you that you made a mistake. There are a huge number of facts that scientists over the years have comipled. Yes, they may be inaccurate, but if so it is only at a level of precision you could never achieve in a high school classroom.

Re:Sometimes a fact is just a fact (1)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417228)

Actually, they were. We were never supposed to question anything we were told. Our experiments were often very crudely designed and served as little more than to act as an "I told you so" from the teachers. Beyond that, I am not referring to the boiling point of water. I am thinking of things relating more to physics and biology.

I am interested to know what constitutes an independently proven scientific fact.

Re:Science in science class? (1)

fosterNutrition (953798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417221)

That's really very ironic.

Although the article deals specifically with the US, I do believe the results they put forward can be applied to Canada (my location) equally well. I just finished High School in a private school that follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum, and that strongly enforces the idea that those not fit for a course should not be in it. However, even here, my physics teacher is retiring at the end of this year (admittedly he's been teaching for a long time) due to issues with parents feeling his approach is too lax.

This is the guy who gave me a perfect mark on a lab report where I concluded that the law of conservation of energy was bullshit, since that is what the data supported. Of course, I was very tounge in cheek, please don't start informing me that I'm a dunce. But my point was that this guy was very good about actual scientific thinking, and he's been forced out because parents don't want scientific thinking, they want someone to force us to memorize the answers that will give us high scores on the standardised tests.

High "school" (1)

gandalphthegreen (751209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417040)

The budget at the high school I just finished graduating from is rather telling: last year there was a ~$6 million capital campaign to enlarge the arts wing and upgrade the stadium. Building a nice arts wing is a good thing. Things are learned. But well over $1 million went into the damned football stadium. Now we've got synthetic grass and a three story press box building. This facility gets most of its use during the fall, and that's just to watch some mediocre teenagers throw a ball around and beat each other up.

If you walk through the math/science building, there is an interesting dichotomy. The teachers that teach the smart kids are awesome, but those that teach the dumb kids, particularly in the math department, absolutely suck. Instead of dumping all that money into athletics, why not pay for academics first? Maybe we could even teach something to the jocks.

Re:High "school" (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417157)

That was a really well written, thoughtful response. You'll be alright.
If your country has a few more people like you around to vote the right people in next time, the world will be better for it. Not just the USA.

Good luck

No wonder (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417043)

You've got an administration that runs in a religious pretext... what did you expect? A push for science? Another problem is mainstream media. Just spent a day counting how many times CNN mentions God or shows "news" on religious topics. You're dumbing down the population. God is a belief, and believing is not science. What you'll end up with is a population that explains things in the pretext of God and religion. Of course, it's easier to explain natural disasters like the Indian ocean earthquake/tsunami and hurricane Katrina with God instead of the scientific reasons why they happen.

kings (1)

prurientknave (820507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417044)

The vast majority of us wont become athletes.
The vast majority of us wont become nobel prize winning scientists
There are 10 times more indo-chinese than there are whites.
Is it really surprising that small percentages in both countries = much larger numbers for indo-chinese than whites?
Isn't this refrain really the same as saying 'omg white ppl need to have more babies or the colored will outnumber and out maneuver us all?'

Re:kings (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417074)

Did you even read the article *summary*? The point isn't that there are fewer numbers, but that the average ability of Americans in the sciences are actually going down, measurably. This isn't about numbers, relative to asia, but about average ability.

Re:kings (1)

prurientknave (820507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417172)

they're testing ALL highschoolers. Pretty much all of us go to school. In those countries only the wealthy and possibly the intelligent go to school. The sampling therefore is much more skewed in their favor.

What about the 4th graders? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417054)

If the fourth graders are better, maybe we can just wait until they make it to high school and the problem will go away.

Re:What about the 4th graders? (1)

sopuli (459663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417159)

Just wait until they start teaching them ID.

Science Ability is Down (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417055)

Did they try turning it off and on again?

Re:Science Ability is Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417150)

No one liked that show except for you and I. And I don't even like your joke.

Seniors (3, Insightful)

donaldGuy (969269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417073)

Yes, but the study was only given to high school seniors..

I am a high school sophmore and generally I consider myself well versed in most sciences (except more than intermediate physics, but I am taking physics courses next year) and to have rather well developed scientific reasoning ability. I have several friends, however, who are seniors, they are also almost invariably lazy. With this on-set of senioritis and the way curriculum/graduation requirements shake out many of them cop-out and take basic earth sciences, meteorology or anatomy, for example. While these sciences aren't unimportant they are a) semester courses (here at least), b) not given as much importance (and therefore the teachers hired to teach them aren't as good), and c) need less traditional scientific reasoning than the required sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.)

I am not saying that senioritis (and the thereafter self-incurred lack of reasoning neccesity) is the only cause of this lack of reasoning ability, but I think it may be a major factor. Especially depending when the test was given, I know that once my friends have gotten their college acceptence letters they work just hard enough to meet the requirements for the mid-term grade reports for their college, not to achieve their potential.

One issue, however, may be my frame of refrence.. I go to a "Math and Science Academy" school-within-a-school magnet program and mosts of my friends do as well. I know that occassionly when my "Magnet Molecular Biology" teacher got bored and lazy (granted he is busy, he just got married last summer and is moving to Poland at the end of this school year, so its partialy a function of a lack of planning time) and gave the class a lab or worksheet from the core biology curriculim I was shocked (and frankly appalled) at how easy and simple they were.

Where the emphasis really is... (2, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417075)

Well, it doesn't surprise me a bit. My nephew who is just 10 is obsessed with sports to the point of taping the NFL draft proceedings...several hours worth. Beyond that I have a friend whose daughter was failing math in high-school. She was already an accomplished equestrian and was trying out for the cheerleading squad. The mother actually encouraged her to drop riding in favor of cheerleading. I told her that in the first place there was no olympic medal for cheerleading and in the second place these are both EXTRA-curricular activities. Now to add insult to injury, I was driving on I-40 and saw a very large official road sign proclaiming the the town was the home of what's-her-face American Idol 2005. This sign wasn't small. It was HUGE and I'm sure it cost the taxpayers money. Hell, even people with stars on Hollywood Blvd have to pay for it themselves. And why don't we have big audacious signs proclaiming the home town of Jonas Salk or William Shockley or people who actually accomplish something intelligent?

The bottom line in this country is it's all about image and popularity. I'm reminded of an episode of the original Connections series where James Burke explains why the British blew a golden opportunity to dominate the new chemical industries because the Germans let people into universities on merit whereas in England you got accepted to a university based on your family background. Nowadays the tables have turned. Merit doesn't get you very far but if you're the star running back on some podunk high-school football team, you get a full scholarship to USC even though you can't even read your own letter of acceptance (that's a "Friday Night Lights" reference, btw). What this translates to is an inflation of the value of a college degree. A bachelor's degree doesn't carry as much weight as it used to when they're given away.

Re:Where the emphasis really is... (1)

flooey (695860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417195)

And why don't we have big audacious signs proclaiming the home town of Jonas Salk or William Shockley or people who actually accomplish something intelligent?

Not to say that I disagree with the point, I agree that it's all about money and popularity is what brings that, but the two examples weren't very good ones. Jonas Salk was born in New York City and William Shockley was born in London :)

ObEducational-Problems (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417080)

Yeah, this is all obviously caused by Intelligent Design, No Child Left Behind, biased international exams, lack of competitive spirit, football, drug use, drinking and underage sex.

It has absolutely nothing at all to do with the American schools' continual failure to convince their students that school should be their raison d'etre. If students were smart enough to realize they can booze their way to a six-figure corporate job and cynical enough to believe they should stay away from science simply because adults want them in science, we wouldn't be able to do jack about it!

Re:ObEducational-Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417169)

The people who succeeded in my highschool were all morons. And yeah, students pretty much realize they can booze their way to success. I see it every day. (Go UMass?)

Science education scarcity concept is overblown. (4, Insightful)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417089)

Philip Greenspun says it best [greenspun.com] and I've seen this firsthand. ---
Why does anyone think science is a good job?
The average trajectory for a successful scientist is the following:
1. age 18-22: paying high tuition fees at an undergraduate college
2. age 22-30: graduate school, possibly with a bit of work, living on a stipend of $1800 per month
3. age 30-35: working as a post-doc for $30,000 to $35,000 per year
4. age 36-43: professor at a good, but not great, university for $65,000 per year
5. age 44: with young children at home (if lucky), fired by the university ("denied tenure" is the
more polite term for the folks that universities discard), begins searching for a job in a market
where employers primarily wish to hire folks in their early 30s

This is how things are likely to go for the smartest kid you sat next to in college. He got into Stanford for graduate school. He got a postdoc at MIT. His experiment worked out and he was therefore fortunate to land a job at University of California, Irvine. But at the end of the day, his research wasn't quite interesting or topical enough that the university wanted to commit to paying him a salary for the rest of his life. He is now 44 years old, with a family to feed, and looking for job with a "second rate has-been" label on his forehead.

---

What does this tell us? If you believe in supply and demand, this tells us that there are MORE than enough top quality scientists being produced and that science education is not lagging in the least and that science knowledge is a commodity. This article is a bunch of hand-wringing over nothing.

Re:Science education scarcity concept is overblown (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417143)

Step 5 is at 34 or about that, not 44.

I you drop out after step 1, you get to live in a cubile for the rest of your life.

Either way, educated folks have a life that sounds like shit to most teenagers.

Its so True (1)

creeves1982 (880009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417091)

Ive known this for years. Work in Customer Service, and then you will learn that People can't reason.

Why Encourage Kids to go Science? (4, Insightful)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417095)

Philip Greenspun had some interesting things to say about careers in science: [greenspun.com]

In short, some young people think that science is a good career for the same reason that they think being a musician or actor is a good career: "I can't decide if I want to be a scientist like James Watson, a musician like Britney Spears, or an actor like Harrison Ford."

Philip's argument makes good sense to me.

The article was noting that teaching Science isn't very rewarding, either:


"What happens is that the system tends to beat them down," Padilla said. "Working conditions are poor, it's a difficult job, and the pay isn't that great."


So, I would say that, on the face of it, Science just doesn't pay, and a lot of us are really interested in getting paid.

What does pay? Perhaps research, (which Vernor Vinge called [amazon.com] "Search & Analysis," and noted was at "the heart of the economy,") perhaps technology, perhaps being a system administrator, or being a mechanic, or something like that. Perhaps being a business person or a manager. I wouldn't really know; I've not asked the question "How do I make more money?" deeply enough.

But answering the question "How does the natural world work?" doesn't seem to be where the money is at. "How do I make this better?" seems to be only a little bit closer.

I would prefer that we asked the question: "How do we make the world a more satisfying place for all people in it, and ensure that nature grows healthier and healthier?" Unfortunately, the pay isn't so good. Perhaps the questions necessary child is: "How do we make this pay?"

Re:Why Encourage Kids to go Science? (3, Insightful)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417151)

I posted similiar comments [slashdot.org] linking to the same article exactly one minute before you. :)

Another great quote from Philip's article is that "Adjusted for IQ, quantitative skills, and working hours, jobs in science are the lowest paid in the United States." This is absolutely true.

Now a lot of people say that one shouldn't do science just for the money, a fine sentiment. However, you're not allowed to say we're coming up "short" in science education when salaries seem to indicate that there are *too many* scientists in many areas(assuming you think scientist's salaries should be higher than they are).

curriculum (1)

BungeBash (971979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417107)

I agree with the problem being curriculum. In my highschool they tried a cross curiculum where we were writing papers in Math class. I really think that took away from classes. Leave papers to paper writing classes. I didn't need to know the history of math, I needed to know how to do the math. School boards try so hard to broaden are view when all they do is give us tunnel vision.

And it will get worse... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417117)

...before it gets any better!

I have a 6 year old nephew who is in the US public education system. This individual does not know what eleven looks like. When asked to add 6 to 5, he'll count six balls and another 5 balls, combine the two and then count the combination up to eleven. Because he does not know what 11 looks like, he'll use a counting board, (counting from 1 to 11) in order to figure out what eleven looks like!

He's not alone. So many students are being let down by the system they find themselves in. In this system, you cannot fire a teacher for incompetence! So these teachers do not care. No wonder we lag so far behind the even poor students from 3rd world countries. This is fact. All these students pass the US "equivalence" exams with flying colors. What betrays them is the accent, for most of us find it hard to uderstand them at first.

Re:And it will get worse... (1)

droptone (798379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417186)

This individual does not know what eleven looks like.

Being able to know what an abstract entity like a number looks like would make the top mathematicians blush with envy.

i dont need qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417119)

why bother with qualifications when i can sell crack, go to prison, get shot multiple times, rap about it, appear on MTV, have my story told on radio, make a film, be paid millions and be idolised by millions of young adults worldwide

you want to be me on MTV

Well... (1)

FluffyArmada (715337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417149)

I'm not going to complain... because no one takes their high school work seriously, that just makes it easier for me to get into the college I want because there is less/no competeition.

We just need to redefine the word "science" (2, Funny)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417155)

Rather than using the word to describe the process for evaluating empirical knowledge, we need to redefine "science" to mean the process for watching TV, playing videogames, getting high, and meeting up at the shopping mall food court... then we will have the very creme of the crop here in the good ol' USA.

FIRST (3, Insightful)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417162)

Here is a online NewsHour story [pbs.org] about FIRST [wikipedia.org] founded by Dean Kamen. An excerpt..
DEAN KAMEN: In this country, we have kids who think what they want to excel at is football or basketball, what they want to do with their time is the entertainment industry, and I think the balance is so distorted that it literally leaves our country at the risk of losing its position in leadership, in technology.
 
And, as a consequence of that, we will lose our position of leadership in quality of life, standard of living, security, health care, and all of the other things that Americans somehow take for granted. And we've got to change kids' attitudes fast.

It figures (1)

Sqreater (895148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417184)

The street-trash hip hop cuture pg "gangstas," pimps, drug dealers and whores strikes again. Learning stuff is for geeks and nerds.

Gee, the Cerebral PC police are hard at work here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417196)

Wow, that's really neat.
I had responded here to a thread where somebody said it's genetics,
a smart Asians vs. dumb other minorities kind of argument.
I argued in my comment that this is really a cultural thing, and presented
evidence to that effect. I thought my argument was well thought
out and based on real experience, including lots of thought about
where my kid goes to school vs. where most other kids go to school.
But the thought police here must have thought this was *too non-PC*
a topic to address. Boy, no wonder we have such a dumb society.
Thanks, Slashdot, for pandering to the minima.......nice.....

Ten years ago (1)

RandomPrecision (911416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417211)

Fourth graders, ironically, are actually better at reasoning in the sciences now than they were ten years ago.

I would sure hope that fourth-graders are better at reasoning in the sciences than they were ten years ago. Half of them weren't have even been born yet.
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