Jump to content

Welcome Guest

Navigation

  • Objectivism Online Wiki

On Social Media:

Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. This message will be removed once you have signed in.
Login to Account Create an Account
Photo

France's president bans homework

- - - - - Education Public Schools France Progressive schools Francois Hollande

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1
Nith

Nith

    Novice

  • Regulars
  • Pip
  • 15 posts
So it seems the People's State of France has started it march done the intelectual oblivion:
http://www.cbc.ca/ne...h-homework.html

I posted this particular editorial for more than just the news itself but also the what is being said in this story as well as which news agency it came from.

First of on the proposed education reform first. When I first heard about Hollande's education reform plans I had no words. In fact it took me a whole day to even try to comprehend how this can happen. I am not going to present the merits of homework here. I would hope that in an O'ist forum it should be fairly self evident (though I will if someone wishes to question it). My problem is with the reasoning.

Now the French leader plans to do exactly that. arguing that schoolwork should be done at school so that kids who don't have support after hours don't fall behind.

So essentially because some parents do not see fit to help their kids with structured homework activities they are somehow at blame for the failure of the other kids? How is not giving students homework is going to help those kids that are already falling behind?

"An education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school rather than at home," Hollande said in a public speech about his plans on Wednesday.

Ah I see now. Somehow educating other people's kids is my responsibility, and apperently society is only as strong as its weakest link.

Just the simple reasoning here should give people alarm. Not only I am already taxed to pay for other kids education from all day kindergarden with fully qualified Early Childhood Education specialists (I live in Ontario, Canada), all the way through university (2/3 of the tuition fees in Ontario are subsidized by the government, and a large proprtion of students is on some sort of government assistance or 0% interest loans). But should this type of thinking come to Canada I am also somehow reponsible for other the success of other people's children. I guess the people of France have already gave up their personal property rights. Hopefully in Canada we have a little bit more brains left.
What this article also doesn't mention is also some of the other reform points which are not that much easier to swollow:
  • Increasing the number of teachers (which goes along with his idea of a longer school day) - If you cannot justify paying teachers more money, lets invent reasons. I'm sure that will solve it. I wonder how teachers feel about having to work longer days and teach what they used to have kids to themselves. This is a move that is probably supported by the Teacher's Unions but probably hated by many teachers, especially the talented ones
  • Reducing the number of students held back each year - If the kids are to dumb to pass a class, lets just lower the bar. God forbid we hurt their little feelings. Ontario sort of did this by setting a goal to increase pass rates. The result was that the goal was met through lower standards as indepant standardized testing scores continued to decline while more students were passing
  • Incentives for teachers to work in low-income areas - I have no opinions for either or, don't think it is the right way to raise kid's scores in low income areas
The other problem I had with this particular article was the rest of the reasoning brought forth, by the so called 'experts'

Author and education analyst Alfie Kohn, for instance, argues that children may be carrying anxiety home alongside their textbooks.

Yes it is homework that makes kids depressed, cause ADD/ADHD and breaks up families. That's right we solved it, homework.

"Homework persists because of lack of understanding about understanding."

It's like I'm reading some horrible charater in one of Rand's novels. I don't even want to justify this with a reasonable argument why this is bad.

Other parents, like CBC's Anna-Liza Kozmwa, have made the case for picnic tables over times tables.

"I figure that the kids have been shut in a classroom most of the day, and I've been glued to my desk. So if our wretched climate gives us an excuse to play outside, we should grab it, " she wrote in a feature on homework.

Yep, there is that typical Progressive school thinking. Kids must socialize rather than study. I mean you will use picnic benches a lot in your life, but hey who ever used time-tables for anything practical, right.

This tyes this to my third point. This article comes from the CBC, Canada's version of the PBS. Which is running costing the government over a billion dollars a year. CBC is not most left wing newspaper in Canada (take a look at Toronto Star). But it is still paid by my taxes and my hard work. And yet when Harper even raised the idea of getting rid of the CBC people were protesting and saying portraying him as some evil Dictator trying to control the media and destroy the public sector. Notice this article is isn't even a regular news article but a some kind of Community Blog, which somehow made its way onto the World headlines section. You guys think you have it bad in US with Obama trying to legistlate public health care, try coming to Canada for a few months, you will be thankful Obama is the worst of your trouble. Canada's official opposition (i.e. the second biggest party in parliament) is composed of socialists, communists, anarchists, and fundemental islamists (all quite open about it as well). And even though our current party holds a majority mandate, they are spending as if they are US Democrats (though they are doing some things right on international free trade front and foreign policy).

#2
bluecherry

bluecherry

    Senior Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,058 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
Wait, they've had 4 day school weeks? Now they'll have four and a half days and no homework? Those lucky underage French kids. I wish I could have had shorter weeks and no homework. ;_:

Their motives of egalitarianism here blow, but I don't really think everything that happens from this will be bad. Our homework was typically a waste of time and often class time was too. We got so much pointless busy work like word searches and stuff just for the sake of thinking it looks good if we have more work, like more work = better learning, no exceptions. I learned at least as much through my own initiative out of school as I did in school. Given that a lot of what they teach you after the first few years of school is stuff nobody uses later, parents aren't even so helpful even if they are willing to help. You get stuck on something and then there's no really convienient option for checking your work often because parents have long since forgotten most of this stuff anyway. The plan to add some time to school just means doing the work with the teacher still there to answer questions. Since the teacher has to be there the whole time the kids are working, maybe this will encourage cutting down on time wasting busy work. Kids can always study at home though too still if they or their parents think it will help. The one real thing I see this worsening is that these are tax funded schools and more time at school means more money will be forcefully taken to pay for the schools. Hopefully though if this does actually have a significant negative impact they'll just admit defeat and revert policy.

The lowering the bar to keep kids from failing on the other hand though, that's just bad.

#3
volco

volco

    Advanced Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 785 posts
I could not have passed any subject if I hadn't had time to study it by myself. Without exception the subjects I excelled in consisted of content I'd learned earlier in life myself such as History and Geography (this was before the time both were replaced by 'Social Studies').
Same with English, despite studying it in school I could only learn the language after studying it by myself in only one summer and by devouring English literature and content.

In France Public Education is an institution (a 'right') not to be messed with, it is almost equivalent not only to the 'Republic' which it guards, but even to the Parisian centralization efforts that predate the revolution. Public Education in France is to be blamed for the belittling and almost extinction of many rich, older languages of France, such as all Occitan dialects, as well as curiosities (Breizhig), German(Alsati, and isolates (Basque).

'Speak properly, speak French' is written in schools all over Provence and Gascogne, as if those languages were deformed dialects 'Patois' of Francian French and not the other way around. People who used to speak, say, Gascon, at home usually felt ashamed of it, and called their language a 'Patois' themselves. Self-belittling, the ultimate expression of the power of generations of Public Education, and Government-influenced Church education (in France) too.
This education campaigns were brought to competing, more international, Anglophile, religiously diverse, seagoing towns, like Bordeaux, only after brutal cleansing campaigns extending from the 100year war to the repression of the Huguenots. I'm saying that France's education system is a continuation of a (civil) war of centralization unseen in the rest of Europe, and in this primary and secondary levels can't be seen as aything but Social Engineering.

The President's latest efforts seem directed at more inclusiveness and assimilation of the many Muslim immigrants and of what little remains of 'patois-speaking-natives' of which 'students from poor backgrounds' is a euphemism for both.
/
Some geographical economic theories blame France's 'success' in becoming a fully centralized state for its being disconnected from the Productive Crescent that extends from the Lower Countries, along the West border of Germany, Switzerland, and Northwestern Italy.
Disconnected by the sheer underdevelopment of 'marginal' areas of France in benefit of Paris (as in this Statist country, the Capital absorbs all energies).

Remember Absolute Monarchy in Europe had its biggest expression in France, and it was that same Absolutism that led to France becoming Socialist in 1789, and on and off, again and again, in blood-stained cycles of New Numbered French Republics ever since.

Edited by volco, 14 October 2012 - 05:31 AM.

"If you understand something in only one way, then you don't really understand it at all"

#4
Dante

Dante

    Eudaimoniac

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,367 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nashville, TN
  • Real Name:Chris Cotter
There's a faulty premise here that it's vital to recognize when voicing opposition for policies such as this. Consider this quote: '"Work should be done at school, rather than at home,” in order to foster educational equality for those students who do not have support at home., he added.' The egalitarian rationalization present there is appealing to lots of people, precisely because of this faulty assumption.

The underlying premise is that if some of the children get an extra step up (here, support outside of home), then this is a bad thing for the kids that don't get it. The reasoning is that homework is only effective when paired with this support structure in the home, and if some kids don't have this support, they are made worse off by other kids having it. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. It relies on the premise that individuals' interests are fundamentally at odds with one another, that life is a zero sum game. Applied to this context, the underlying idea is that there are only a fixed number of jobs for highly educated people, and if the wealthy and middle-class kids take them all because they had better educational opportunities (here, support for their homework), there won't be any left for the underprivileged.

In actuality, people are made better off if those around them are well-educated. Education is not a zero sum game, it is a shining example of a situation where I'm made better off if the people around me get a quality education, even if I don't. In fact, this is the reasoning that most economists will give for why we publicly fund education, the fact that it has 'positive externalities.' The more educated people we have, the more new economic opportunities will be opened up for others. This is the fundamental argument that has to be made against policies like this, the idea that has to be corrected, and followers of Ayn Rand should be the first ones doing it.
"What kind of idea are you? Are you the kind that compromises, does deals, accommodates itself to society, aims to find a niche, to survive; or are you the cussed, bloody-minded, ramrod-backed type of damnfool notion that would rather break than sway with the breeze? – The kind that will almost certainly, ninety-nine times out of hundred, be smashed to bits; but, the hundredth time, will change the world." - Salman Rushdie

#5
musenji

musenji

    Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts
  • Gender:Male
Dante, I agree with your point entirely--except in a graded system like school where, by definition, some have to get low grades compared to others' high grades. What would colleges do if everyone had a 4.0 and really understood all the material? How would they select their students?

I suppose you could argue that if demand went up, supply would go up.

Well, what would happen if all those students went to college and succeeded--graduated with flying colors, in relevant degrees, so that everyone was qualified for a white collar job?

I'm not incredibly attached to the argument I'm making--I'm very open to a rebuttal--but if everyone suddenly got all the good benefits out of school and were highly qualified...who would mop the floors? Who would do the jobs that are low-paying and pretty much crappy?

Edited by musenji, 14 October 2012 - 10:26 AM.


#6
volco

volco

    Advanced Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 785 posts

Dante, I agree with your point entirely--except in a graded system like school where, by definition, some have to get low grades compared to others' high grades. What would colleges do if everyone had a 4.0 and really understood all the material? How would they select their students?

I suppose you could argue that if demand went up, supply would go up.


yes, the standard would go higher. In the meantime colleges could rely on personal essays and use judgement and academic criteria for once.

Well, what would happen if all those students went to college and succeeded--graduated with flying colors, in relevant degrees, so that everyone was qualified for a white collar job?

I'm not incredibly attached to the argument I'm making--I'm very open to a rebuttal--but if everyone suddenly got all the good benefits out of school and were highly qualified...who would mop the floors? Who would do the jobs that are low-paying and pretty much crappy?

Are you not being ironic?
That has happened many times in the past including America, Germany and Japan, and each has solved its problem with, let's generalize, immigrants, gestarbeiters, and robots respectively.
Another trend we see in America is that blue collar jobs are in high demand and skilled plumbers get a lot more work than skilled architects. Some former unemployed white collar worker could decide to take up blue collar jobs for a number of reasons, including lifestyle choice (as illustrated in the movie Office Space)

In any case even if all students got As an every educational advantage, that would only count for less than half, with genetics (IQ) and circumstance accounting for the rest, allowing plenty people to fall into the blue labor pool.
"If you understand something in only one way, then you don't really understand it at all"

#7
volco

volco

    Advanced Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 785 posts
Taking pride in working blue collar jobs is a uniquely and distinctly American stance, as unique as its pride in going it alone and being inventive.
"If you understand something in only one way, then you don't really understand it at all"

#8
Nith

Nith

    Novice

  • Regulars
  • Pip
  • 15 posts

Our homework was typically a waste of time and often class time was too. We got so much pointless busy work like word searches and stuff just for the sake of thinking it looks good if we have more work, like more work = better learning, no exceptions. I learned at least as much through my own initiative out of school as I did in school. Given that a lot of what they teach you after the first few years of school is stuff nobody uses later, parents aren't even so helpful even if they are willing to help. You get stuck on something and then there's no really convienient option for checking your work often because parents have long since forgotten most of this stuff anyway.


In short the importance of homework is because it creates a strctured independant study time, which allows kids (even with a parent/tutor present) to develop their own study habits as well as integrate concepts they learned earlier at school. While not all homeowrk is useful, as too much of it (at least in the physical sciences) is pure memorization through repetition. If done correctly homework should provide the framework for kids to integrate the knowledge they learned to beyond the current semester. The modern classroom model is extermely inefficient, and you can double the class day but you will not get even a mild increase in knowledge retention let alone integration. All you end up with is student regurgitating the knowledge they learned during the final and foget it all during christmas/summer break. You have presented a perfect example how we go from the reasoning I presented above to the progressive ideas. If you assign homework so worthless that it is nothing but an invasion of private time, then conduct studies to measure the effectiveness of homework an lo and beholnd homework doesn't make sense. Further to it, that leads to ideas such as 'nothing you learn beyond the first few years is useful in later life'. Sure I don't use advanced calculus or quantum mechanics on a daily basis. But the concept of what calculus (the idea behind it, and what it represents) is is applicable on so many levels, from more efficient budget planning to claculating the quickest route in a busy supermarket. And sure I don't need to know the concept behind Shrodingers Paradox, in 99% of situations. but my even basic understanding of subatomic phsyics allows me to appreciate the importance of things like confirmation of the Higgs-Boson or the recent proof of Einsteins theory of relativity

Dante, I agree with your point entirely--except in a graded system like school where, by definition, some have to get low grades compared to others' high grades. What would colleges do if everyone had a 4.0 and really understood all the material? How would they select their students?

I suppose you could argue that if demand went up, supply would go up.

Well, what would happen if all those students went to college and succeeded--graduated with flying colors, in relevant degrees, so that everyone was qualified for a white collar job?

I'm not incredibly attached to the argument I'm making--I'm very open to a rebuttal--but if everyone suddenly got all the good benefits out of school and were highly qualified...who would mop the floors? Who would do the jobs that are low-paying and pretty much crappy?

First of all the standards would go up. And should go up. A teacher in a classroom can realisticly be expected to teach only as fast as the slowest kid can grasp it. If the slowest kid is performing at the same rate as a 'smart' kid nowadays, the class can cover way more material and cover more difficult things. There is already special classes in some schools (though not enough) for those who exceed in math or physical sciences etc. Why can't this be the standard? 'Good enough' is how we get into the problems we have today.

I dream to live in a world where nobody has to mop floors. Manual labour is a thing of the past. Even a lot of the manual labour jobs we have today can be automatized but they are not due to government or union control. Trade skills on the other hand is something different. Even with automation many trade skills we have today won't really die out. Instead of blacksmiths we have metallurgical engineers (Rearden would have been a blacksmith had he been born a few centuries earlier), instead of mechanics we have mechanical engineers. Those jobs still require the use of a mind. So yes eventually we would have no need for dishwashers, street spweepers and janitors. However it is unlikely that the janitor or the dishwasher will create that future. Instead that future can only be invented by movers and innovators, and a society that inhibits the development of such will never move beyond thinking about who will mop the floors and rake our leaves.

However if we consider what is considered education in universities today, then a society full of university graduates will make us like Cuba (all have their 'free' degrees and none have the jobs they studied for). The proporation of graduates from the various universities should represent roughly the proportion of jobs required out there. In Canada (as I am sure is in the US) we have a huge amount of graduates that get their BA in some humanities topic assuming upon graduation they will be given a $60k a year job in anything they apply. Instead they are working at Starbucks and like to support OWS. Or better yet just read up on the Student protests in Montreal (how they all weren't expelled is still beyond me).

#9
bluecherry

bluecherry

    Senior Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,058 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
Study hall. All the independence of study time for assigned subjects + access to teacher.

"If you assign homework so worthless that it is nothing but an invasion of private time, then conduct studies to measure the effectiveness of homework an lo and beholnd homework doesn't make sense. Further to it, that leads to ideas such as 'nothing you learn beyond the first few years is useful in later life'."

The theory and intent behind homework isn't the same as what we've been actually getting assigned unfortunately. I don't expect it to improve much on a large scale any time soon without some kind of unlikely drastic change in how school is thought of and approached by those who run them. I don't mean that this situation is ideal even, just that it may be a lesser evil than what is currently in place, something which I doubt would improve any time soon if left alone, which is the likely alternative. The reason given for the ban though wasn't "homework doesn't work" exactly anyway - it was that having access to assistance made it work much better. I'm figuring something like a study hall replacing homework will provide the intent of homework along with a good rescource if one gets stuck and cut down on the assigning of time wasting junk. I didn't say "nothing beyond the first few years," I said "a lot." I also wasn't saying anything against teaching various topics necessarily, just that adults in general will typically right now not remember specifics in a lot of these subjects well enough to be of use for help on homework about these subjects. Nothing is stopping any kid from studying more at home and doing ungraded work though if they and/or their parents think it will help. This work they do in those cases just isn't part of their grade directly instead having an indirect impact via changes in performance on the in school assigned work. If you get stuck on something you are doing on your own in that case then if you can't get help at the time it won't hurt you, you can just ask about it at school the next day.

#10
Nith

Nith

    Novice

  • Regulars
  • Pip
  • 15 posts

Study hall. All the independence of study time for assigned subjects + access to teacher.


Yes a study hall would work. Assuming the teachers would run it as an independant study time, rather than a socialized Q&A session.

But you're right as far as France specifically, Hollande did't say homework doesn't work but it was unfair to the kids that don't get support at home (which is why I previously did not discuss the merits I see in homework but rather the reasoning behind this). My issue with 'the homework doesn't work' statement is due to the reasoning provided later in the article by the so called experts that CBC managed to dig up. Like the one "Homework persists because of lack of understanding about understanding." (to me it might as well read 'A is not A').

#11
mdegges

mdegges

    Advanced Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 712 posts
  • Gender:Female
Revoking mandatory homework doesn't mean that students won't learn anything outside of school, or study other subjects on their free time. How many of us learned about Ayn Rand in school? I know I didn't.

Students who want to learn find a way to do it.. and their time can be put to better use if they have the option to learn about what interests them, outside of the standard curriculum. I don't think that's possible when they're stuck in school 8 hours a day, and given 5 hours of homework on top of that.

The proportion of graduates from the various universities should represent roughly the proportion of jobs required out there. In Canada (as I am sure is in the US) we have a huge amount of graduates that get their BA in some humanities topic assuming upon graduation they will be given a $60k a year job in anything they apply. Instead they are working at Starbucks and like to support OWS. Or better yet just read up on the Student protests in Montreal (how they all weren't expelled is still beyond me).


Edit: Why is it that graduates with BA's have such a hard time finding a job? One of my friends graduated with a degree in Journalism- got a volunteer summer internship at NBC her junior year and everything. Since graduation she's been working at A&F for the past 2 years, and couldn't get a Journalism job if her life depended on it. :(

Edited by mdegges, 16 October 2012 - 11:07 PM.




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Education, Public Schools, France, Progressive schools, Francois Hollande

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users