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How does this school system compare to yours?

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VAMatt said:
shikamaru317 said:

The school year is longer than ever, my sister gets just 9 weeks off from school in the summer now I hear, 2 weeks shorter than the summer break when I was in school. The school day is also longer, it starts at 7:30 AM now, compared to 8:15 AM when I was in school. The student to teacher ratio is worse than ever, and teachers are still greatly underpaid. The US education system could use a major revamp for sure. 

In my district (Fairfax County) middle and high schools are starting later than they did when I was in school (HS class of 1998).  The summer break is exactly the same as when I was in school - early/mid June through Labor day.  Student to teacher ratios have moved way, way down.   Teacher pay has gone up a fair amount, to the point where it is no longer reasonable to argue that they're underpaid, especially when you consider that their work weeks average to about 32 hours over the course of a year.  

With that said, I agree tat the US education system needs a major revamp.  Public schools have become ridiculously expensive, to the point where it is much more expensive to send a kid to public school than private, for a far inferior education.  I favor getting government completely out of it, so that kids can get a decent education at a much better price, free from political interference and bureaucratic bloat.  

The student to teacher ratio is pretty bad here in my county right now. At the end of the last school year they made the decision to close 3 of the 12 Elementary Schools in my county, when several of the schools were already overflowing and had trailers out back for extra classroom space. So we now have just 9 Elementary schools for a county with a population of 73,000+ (5000+ elementary school students), now the student to teacher ratio at the Elementary level is apparently 26:1. We have just 4 middle schools, the same as we had 15 years ago when I was in middle school (the population in my county is believed to have increased by about 20% in those 15 years). Just checked the website for the Middle School I went to, when I went there there were 3 teachers per core subject (Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies) per grade, now there are just 2 teachers per core subject per grade, bringing the student to teacher ratio for core subjects to 29:1. There is also 1 less PE teacher now, 3 instead of 4. 

As far as pay goes, I'm told that the average in my county is $50k for Elementary, $44k for Middle, and $46k for High. That's not too bad considering they get 9-10 weeks off in the Summer where they can choose to work a Summer job if they want to, but it could certainly be better considering how important Education is. 

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 18 February 2019

shikamaru317 said:
VAMatt said:

In my district (Fairfax County) middle and high schools are starting later than they did when I was in school (HS class of 1998).  The summer break is exactly the same as when I was in school - early/mid June through Labor day.  Student to teacher ratios have moved way, way down.   Teacher pay has gone up a fair amount, to the point where it is no longer reasonable to argue that they're underpaid, especially when you consider that their work weeks average to about 32 hours over the course of a year.  

With that said, I agree tat the US education system needs a major revamp.  Public schools have become ridiculously expensive, to the point where it is much more expensive to send a kid to public school than private, for a far inferior education.  I favor getting government completely out of it, so that kids can get a decent education at a much better price, free from political interference and bureaucratic bloat.  

The student to teacher ratio is pretty bad here in my county right now. At the end of the last school year they made the decision to close 3 of the 12 Elementary Schools in my county, when several of the schools were already overflowing and had trailers out back for extra classroom space. So we now have just 9 Elementary schools for a county with a population of 73,000+ (5000+ elementary school students), now the student to teacher ratio at the Elementary level is apparently 26:1. We have just 4 middle schools, the same as we had 15 years ago when I was in middle school (the population in my county is believed to have increased by about 20% in those 15 years). Just checked the website for the Middle School I went to, when I went there there were 3 teachers per core subject (Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies) per grade, now there are just 2 teachers per core subject per grade, bringing the student to teacher ratio for core subjects to 29:1. There is also 1 less PE teacher now, 3 instead of 4. 

As far as pay goes, I'm told that the average in my county is $50k for Elementary, $44k for Middle, and $46k for High. That's not too bad considering they get 9-10 weeks off in the Summer where they can choose to work a Summer job if they want to, but it could certainly be better considering how important Education is. 

What county are you in?  

Admittedly, Fairfax County is not a good representation of your typical American, or even Virginian school system.  There's a shitload of money around here, so that makes it a lot easier for government to fund school stuff.  But, even here, there are tons of "temporary" mobile classrooms outside of many schools, starting about 5 years after their last expansion, and staying until their next expansion (which usually seem to happen on a 15ish year cycle).  Then they disappear for a few years, and the cycle starts anew.  

Your teacher salaries sound about 25% below the salaries here.  But, this is a super-expensive place to live.  They may actually be living better in your area.  But, you gotta remember the tons of time off, extremely good benefits, including (in most places in the US) retirement programs much, much, much better than anything in the private sector these days.  Those benefits are worth a fair amount, and make teaching a pretty good career in many areas.  It certainly isn't the most financially rewarding job, but I don't think the old line about teachers being underpaid really applies much anymore (there are some exceptions, of course).  



VAMatt said:
shikamaru317 said:

The student to teacher ratio is pretty bad here in my county right now. At the end of the last school year they made the decision to close 3 of the 12 Elementary Schools in my county, when several of the schools were already overflowing and had trailers out back for extra classroom space. So we now have just 9 Elementary schools for a county with a population of 73,000+ (5000+ elementary school students), now the student to teacher ratio at the Elementary level is apparently 26:1. We have just 4 middle schools, the same as we had 15 years ago when I was in middle school (the population in my county is believed to have increased by about 20% in those 15 years). Just checked the website for the Middle School I went to, when I went there there were 3 teachers per core subject (Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies) per grade, now there are just 2 teachers per core subject per grade, bringing the student to teacher ratio for core subjects to 29:1. There is also 1 less PE teacher now, 3 instead of 4. 

As far as pay goes, I'm told that the average in my county is $50k for Elementary, $44k for Middle, and $46k for High. That's not too bad considering they get 9-10 weeks off in the Summer where they can choose to work a Summer job if they want to, but it could certainly be better considering how important Education is. 

What county are you in?  

Admittedly, Fairfax County is not a good representation of your typical American, or even Virginian school system.  There's a shitload of money around here, so that makes it a lot easier for government to fund school stuff.  But, even here, there are tons of "temporary" mobile classrooms outside of many schools, starting about 5 years after their last expansion, and staying until their next expansion (which usually seem to happen on a 15ish year cycle).  Then they disappear for a few years, and the cycle starts anew.  

Your teacher salaries sound about 25% below the salaries here.  But, this is a super-expensive place to live.  They may actually be living better in your area.  But, you gotta remember the tons of time off, extremely good benefits, including (in most places in the US) retirement programs much, much, much better than anything in the private sector these days.  Those benefits are worth a fair amount, and make teaching a pretty good career in many areas.  It certainly isn't the most financially rewarding job, but I don't think the old line about teachers being underpaid really applies much anymore (there are some exceptions, of course).  

Augusta.

Yeah, Fairfax county is not the best representation for sure, Northern Virginia is pretty high income and high cost of living. Here, the average teacher salary is pretty close to the median household income, but starting pay is considerably less, only around $36k. In spite of the benefits including getting the summer off and good health plans, I still wouldn't call it that great personally, it takes a 4 year degree, but still pays less than a dental hygienist can make with a 2 year degree (a dental hygienist makes $60k here on average). I would say that educating future generations is one of the most important jobs out there, would be nice if the salary reflected that. 



Currently going trough night class in Belgium (for a webdev degree) :
- Smoke break when I want to
- Pretty much 100% of the people who want to pass do : if someone lags behind the teacher will help him more, people who are not motivated just stop showing up.
- No standardized testing, either exercises done during class are all graded at the end or a practical exam that does not involve any memorizing.
- Small classes, the most I've seen is 15 before the people who do not like programming go away and leave a 7-10 people class after a couple month.
- Teachers have real world experience they practised 2 hours earlier, as they have a day job in web development.
- Homework are necessary as we only have 12 hours per week, usually people spend as much time on homework.

Would have loved to have that as a kid to be honest, maybe I wouldn't only be getting an undergraduate degree now.



Side gril is best gril

Mnementh said:
fatslob-:O said:
Not at all a realistic model to strive for because a major factor to Finland's success in their educational system are their demographics. It's rather just an anomaly I'd say ...

According to the latest PISA rankings, we're doing slightly better than Finland but even we don't have such amenities like no homework, very short school hours or a lack of standardized testing ...

For most nations out there, they should not model their educational system after Finland but ideally something like Singapore or Hong Kong because most of the best post-secondary schools absolutely have compulsory standardized testing for post-secondary school program qualifications. Weak students do NOT have a place in higher educational institutions and should not deserve a seat either in that case. Scholars should be encouraged to be hardcore test takers since that is what matters most in universities ...

Inhowfar is Finlands demography special? Looks pretty standard to me:

Which country are you from?

As for Singapore: they do pretty well in recent years and with quite a different schooling system. I am against standardized tests though, this does not help students to think but instead to follow rules and predetermined routine. Makes for good workers, but bad innovators.

As I said, I was from GDR, which had a school system which generally was seen as doing pretty well and  which also had no standardized tests. As far as I know germany as a whole has no standardized testing routine in school to this day and does overall not too bad (better as the US in any case).

We do have standadized tests on the state level though and their merit has been debatable imho... It's not that many but the Haupt- and Realschul graduation tests (wich you also have to take if you attend a Gymnasium (highest tier of german high school*)) as well as certain parts of the Abitur (german A-Levels/graduation, wich permits you to go to a university) are standardized.

 

*We have a split Highschool system. There's three schoolforms with three distinct levels of graduation, the shortest strand being the Hauptschule or 'general school' wich you can graduate after nine years of school at age 15, 'Realschule' wich you graduate after 10 years of school at 16 is the middle option and gives you middle of the road optionas after graduation and the 'Gymnasium', wich you graduate after 12-13 years of school at 17-19 years of age. The Gymnasium graduation, called 'Abitur' is the only one that immediately allows you to apply to a university.

I think the tiered system does create some class divide even though it is supposed to be a meritocracy, the system tends to favor kids from rich or at least intellectual backgrounds, just because these kids tend have an educational headstart because of the resouces that were available to them before school even started.

Germany has been trying to champion earlier entry into school as well as preschool and has launched extensive language and education programs in kindergardens as a counter measure to this inequality. They've also been moving to a more integrated system and many states have started adopting 'Gesamt'- and 'Stadtteil'-schools, wich both serve the purpose of integrating all three highschool strands at the same school and within the same classes in order to lessen the divide and help people acend more freely through the educational system.

'Gymnasuims' tend to stay around though and accumulate rich and gifted students, by virtue of being able to pick and choose who they let attend the school, despite being public schools.

 

Personally I attended a Gymnasium with prolonged school hours (08:00 - 16:00 on most days, some longer), wich was supposed to be a homework-free system. It's not. We still got tons of homework, wich I dodged wherever I could.

We never had multiple choice tests and in fact the teaches used to dunk on them. Instead most of our exams were Essay-based and while there were brief sections of reading comprehension and opportunity to show what was learned in the last months, the focal point was always to apply the knowledge to a new situation and draw your own conclusion. Critical thinking and the importance of cause and effect in larger systems was always a major focus.

Honestly Germany used to do 'bad' at the stadardized 'PISA' tests and priding itself on it's reputation as 'the land of poets and thinkers' as well as their work ethic, completely panicked and screwed up big parts of the school system (switching the graduation system from selected 'advanced courses', wich could be freely and individually chosen, to 'school profiles', wich have every student do a set of mandatory courses depending wich school they attend, for example was a biiiig mistake) making it more focused on arbitrary standarts and less focused on actual learning. It didin't really help with the 'PISA' results either, Germany still sits more or less in the middle of the field.



"US Schools" generalizations are usually pretty meaningless, especially when compared to small countries.

I went to the poorest school in a poor county. A largely rural area, almost a 50% mix between black and white, in a building where the "new section" was built in the 60's. We had an altered school year because so many kids would miss time because they were needed to help with harvest. We had nothing. Our "computer class" was basically study hall and the computers were ancient Apple PCs that had been donated by some company that I assume had long since upgraded. I learned NOTHING in there pertaining to computers, though I did get really good at chess. Our school SATS were terrible and our county SATS were only a shade better.

Right freaking next door to our county, though? A rich coastal city with a booming tourist trade, a big port, and a sizeable film industry. Test scores were hundreds of points higher. It's about money.



Cobretti2 said:

- secret sauce no homework

- 3-4 a day at school only (20 hours a week)

- no standardised testing, no multiple choice answers

- encourage you to aim for what you want

- all schools equal standard (as mostly free education and public) so rich kids and poor kids mix and become friends. meaning later in live rich kids will think twice before they screw their mates over

3 last points also apply in Luxembourg. However, we had homework (not tons, but there were) and 30h schoolweeks instead of just 20 (required if you're teaching already 3 different languages in primary school  (equivalent to grade school for those used to that system) plus algebra, history, geography, morality and of course physical education) and only goes up from there, with 36h weeks the year we get our bachelor degrees (though that school year also ends a month early, so that balances out a bit).

We are ranked pretty badly in the PISA tests but that's entirely due to the languages: Germanic and Latin languages don't mix well, but both are needed since early age here. As a result most do well only in either the Latin language or the Germanic languages, but rarely both at the same time. Also, unlike some other countries in those PISA tests, we never excluded children with an immigration background from the statistics.



10/10 it's okay



The education system in my country heavily favours the Haves/the rich over the Have Nots/non-rich in regards to education and employment opportunities in life. Everyone can go into debt to obtain higher qualifications but having college/University degrees are useless unless it leads to employment. The rich kids have their rich parents to pay their college/university degrees  up front and gain entry into lucrative courses like Medicine/Dentistry/Law without having to gain the required scores.

Higher quality education for rich kids attending the elite private schools and onto private colleges/universities and more likely to get into the prestigious courses like Medicine, Law, Dentistry. For non-rich kids, the education system is a huge struggle and there is not much incentive to go into a large debt for qualifications that rarely lead to employment. Leaving school at an early age and taking any job is better for non-rich kids. Having a job is better than being in a huge debt with a useless degree and no job. The rich kids have the advantage of being born into rich families with all the advantages that come with the wealthy lifestyle and that means better education achievements, better business opportunities and career advancement like becoming managers or company owners that the non-rich do not have access. 

Last edited by Dark_Lord_2008 - on 21 February 2019

Cobretti2 said:

- Finland sucked at education

- changed system and world ranking skyrocketed

- secret sauce no homework

- 3-4 a day at school only (20 hours a week)

- no standardised testing, no multiple choice answers

- encourage you to aim for what you want

- all schools equal standard (as mostly free education and public) so rich kids and poor kids mix and become friends. meaning later in live rich kids will think twice before they screw their mates over

In my opinion that video simplyfied things a bit and gave an overly positive image of finnish school system.

In regards to homework, there is homework, but not much.

At the end of upper secondary school/high school (in finnish lukio) there are nation wide tests that are the same for everyone during that year. They pretty much determine where you can go after that (university etc.) and those tests are not multiple choice tests, but proper tets where you have to know things and use your knowledge.

All schools are supposed to be more or less equal, but still some schools are better than others. However the differences between them are quite small.

That 20 hours/week is only true at the beginning, later on it gradually increases, but I guess its still less than in most other countries.

In recent years with the more right wing parliament, Finland has weakened the school system and the results are starting to show and will continue to show in the future. Higher education (university etc.) has also been weakened and the finnish parliament even stated that they want less people to go to universities and more people to start working earlier. High level of education has been a huge asset for Finland, but some people don´t seem to realize it :P

Those same political parties want to make our health care system more dependant on private healt care providers. Basicly giving tax payers money to big health care corporations.