July 28, 2010

"The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers."

Great headline. Justified by the text?
The crucial problem the study had to solve was the old causation-correlation problem. Are children who do well on kindergarten tests destined to do better in life, based on who they are? Or are their teacher and classmates changing them?
The Tennessee experiment, known as Project Star, offered a chance to answer these questions because it randomly assigned students to a kindergarten class. As a result, the classes had fairly similar socioeconomic mixes of students and could be expected to perform similarly on the tests given at the end of kindergarten.
Yet they didn’t. Some classes did far better than others. The differences were too big to be explained by randomness. (Similarly, when the researchers looked at entering and exiting test scores in first, second and third grades, they found that some classes made much more progress than others.)
Where does the amount $320,000 come from? It's "the present value of the additional money that a full class of students can expect to earn over their careers." And that's not counting the social and psychological values that may flow from excellent early schooling. But salaries aren't calculated by the actual benefit the employee bestows on the clients. If it did, there would be some negative numbers. But what if kindergarten teachers were very highly paid? Different individuals would pick kindergarten teaching for a career....

77 comments:

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What the hell kind of test do you give to 5 year olds to determine success in future life?

They can stack the blocks from big to small? They learn not to pick their nose and eat their boogers? Hitting Sally is bad?

They learn the difference between a dog and a cat? They learn that same sex relationships are good and know the proper names for penis, vagina and how to perform anal sex?

What?

Scott M said...

That process for figuring out how much these hypothetical students will make to come up with the hypothetical teacher salary smacks of the same hubris of knowledge that is displayed by some higher-evolved primates guessing the amount of mass in the universe from their woefully inadequate point of view atop a small mudball circling a rim star system in a fringe galaxy.

Roughly equivalent to guessing the number of grains of sand on a beach when you're smaller than a single grain.

Besides...teaching high school is much more difficult.

rhhardin said...

You don't get paid for the value you bestow. Nothing would work if you did.

You get paid less than the value you bestow, and more than the value of the job to you.

Both sides profit.

The gap is why there is voluntary economic activity; and, added up over the nation, each such transaction raises the standard of living.

Skyler said...

Highly paid kindergarten teachers will result in only one thing: Kindergarten teachers with an attitude.

When did kindergarten become a publicly funded school anyway? It certainly wasn't when I was in kindergarten.

Geoff Matthews said...

Before we go all wild on this (ie, increase the salary of kindergarten teachers), let's replicate the study several times.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

From the article: "Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance"

They hit the nail on the head right here. I've noticed a lot that people who are poor tend to be so because they do things that make them poor- don't plan, look for easy ways out (like the lottery or high interest debt), don't put forth the full effort in jobs, don't delay gratification, can't just be nice to people who have the power to help them, etc. (BTW, I think this same sort of behavior explains much of why there's such a correlation between poverty and obesity (maybe not the niceness part).)

None of the behaviors that make a person poor are really about intellegence. We've all known smart people who do stupid things. They are about "patience, discipline, manners, perseverance." These are things that really are learned at an early age, hopefully through parents, but maybe through school. And we can't test it and often don't do a good job at teaching it.

Now the question becomes: What did these teachers do to instill these values in the kids? (I'd bet it doesn't involve political correctness or "sensitivity" to their "culture".)

- Lyssa

Fred4Pres said...

This is grasping for results with insufficient data. Having watched kindergarteners pretty closely, by having several kids go though the process in recent years (the last being last year)--both in public and parochial schools, I think this story misses the mark. A good school enviroment certainly helps and can probably mitigate (but not solve) a bad upbringing. A poor school can probably negatively affect a good upbringing. And of course, every kid has his or own strengths and challenges.

But the biggest positive difference you can do for your kids is to read to them.

jimbino said...

Increasing teacher pay without killing off certification and unionization just results in the same but more highly paid bad teachers.

The best professionals of any kind among us will not work directly or indirectly for the government, in my opinion. That's why we face losing our best medical professionals now.

Big Mike said...

The problem isn't that some teachers are much, much better than average. The problem is that some teachers are much, much worse than average. The goal needs to be to weed out the worst teachers in the face of resistance from unions whose leadership regards the ability to keep bad teachers hired is a mark of their clout (after all, any union boss can keep a good teacher employed, but only someone with serious clout can keep bad teachers around).

The thing is, if you get a couple drinks into some teachers and administrators, it turns out that everybody in the school knows who these bad teachers are. Unless the adminstrators are total fools, they know who the bad teachers are. The good teachers certainly know who their incompetent teachers are. Savvy, well-networked, parents quickly learn who they are. The bad teachers probably even know themselves that they're bad teachers. What I find reprehensible is that oftentimes the response of school principals is to assign the brightest students to the worst teachers because there's always a chance that the kids can learn the material despite the teacher. Only in the good old US of A would the "reward" for being a good student be that you get to have the worst teachers.

Chase said...

What if - just pretend with me now - you take every Fortune 1000 CEO in the United States, divide the amount of school districts by the number of CEO's, and put every Ceo in charge of a number of districts, with the caveat of receiving bonus of, say 25 million for the success in making every child read, comprehend and write above grade level.

A $25 billion fantasy, but, wouldn't those talented people already making the big bucks figure out how to do it?

I'm thinking it's a matter of talent and will.

Gabriel Hanna said...

The actual data is presented here:

http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/STAR_slides.pdf

Never trust a journalists' report on the results of the study.

You want pages 44 and 49. Look at the scatter on the graph of earnings versus kindergarten class.

c3 said...

I'm glad you read enough to find that out. i saw this earlier and I couldn't figure out where the number came from

c3 said...

Here's the key quote from the article:

On Tuesday, Mr. Chetty presented the findings — not yet peer-reviewed — at an academic conference in Cambridge, Mass.

Like so much of the headlines we get about "cancer breakthroughs". A lot of initial heat but ultimately very little light.

But mark my word this will be quoted in Washington within the month if not the week

HDHouse said...

Chase said...
"receiving bonus of, say 25 million for the success in making every child read, comprehend and write above grade level."

Where all the men are strong, all the women are beautiful and all the children are above average???

Maguro said...

Impossible to guess the real explanation for the Project Star results without more data, but my guess would be that the following statement in the article is false:

The differences were too big to be explained by randomness.

Researchers tend to underestimate the effects of randomness, particularly if they already have some idea of the effect they would like to find. How big a difference was there between the performance of the various classes and what are the odds that that type of variation could be random? I'm not really inclined to take the study's word for it that the differences couldn't be random without more information.

Gabriel Hanna said...

So they're saying a "good" kindergarten teacher is worth $320,000 per year--but do note their assumptions on what constitutes a "good" teacher and that the study hasn't been peer-reviewed yet.

$320,000 is a lot to spend for such a low correlation, I think.

Seven Machos said...

If rhhardin were Karl Marx, he's spend 95,000 pages trying to get his lazy, arrogant head around what rhhardin so helpfully explained, and also rail about the injustice of it all, and everyone would think rhhardin was a sooper jean-yus.

HDHouse said...

Skyler said...
"When did kindergarten become a publicly funded school anyway? It certainly wasn't when I was in kindergarten."

The Dark Ages don't count...

Bryan C said...

If the study is accurate (and I have doubts about that) then it would also seem to indicate that the teaching and supervisory techniques used in kindergartens of the 1980s were working very well indeed. In the decades since then, we've dramatically increased school spending and spawned an entire industry of "early education" majors. What have we gotten in return?

Scott M said...

@Bryan

Purely an anecdote, but I've lived in two different towns, in completely different regions, that had county lines running smack dab through the metro. While curriculum was very similar in all cases, the spending levels per student were wildly divergent. In both towns, the school systems that spend less per student had better grades.

I certainly believe that there is a minimum per student a society can expect to spend before results drop off (after all, you have to heat the school in winter, right?), but I'm not convinced just throwing taxpayer money at schools is the answer.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So after looking at the slides of the study.

The conclustion that I come to is that smart people are going to suceed.

That smart people are are already smart before they get to school.

That the children are more shaped by genetics and family situation than anything else.

That the schools don't have that much affect on the general outcome because if you are smart you are going to suceed anyway.

That class size didn't have much affect.

I also notice that the higher earners and more successful young adults had a lower percentage of married. Cause and effect?

BAS said...

$320K extra money earned for a class over a lifetime. That means they need to figure in all the teachers, doesn't it? In junior high and high school I had a lot of teachers. Also, it's not such a big number. If you assume 20 kids per class, then each student earns an extra $16K over a career? Perhaps they need a pay cut then.

edutcher said...

When a lot of the people who partake of this blog were that age, you went straight to first grade, no kiddie garter, no pre-K (glorified baby sitting). This is the case for The Zero's Teacher Bailout.

PS The teacher unions' concern for their charges may best be summed up in the words of Albert Shanker, "When school children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.".

bagoh20 said...

There is a failed logic that expects that the best people for any job will be motivated by money. It certainly is true of some jobs, but do we want Donald Trump or Bernie Madoff teaching kindergarten?

The price of something is not determined by it's value (utility) alone. Supply is the important factor. Thus water which is essential and cheap and diamonds which are the reverse.

exhelodrvr1 said...

4% of the teachers being "bad" will negatively affect about 25% of the students. (i.e. In an elementary school, grades K-5, with four classes per grade, each teacher will have about 25% of the students that come through that school.) That's why being able to get rid of bad teachers is so important. But by far the biggest factor is parental involvement. That can overcome bad teachers, or waste good teachers.

Henry said...

I have an idea. How about society pays me, my kids' dad, "the present value of the additional money that a [good, family-supported student] can expect to earn over [his or her] career." I'll split the dough with my wife.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Chase,
YOur plan would work if you gave the CEOs complete control over the budget and staffing. Otherwise, not so much.

Skyler said...

I note that this is another NYT article that seemingly is based on a bad point of view and bad understanding of statistics and math. Why am I not surprised?

fartCloud said...

Lies,
Damn Lies,
and Studies!

Sorry, Mr. Twain.

Who was the author of the study? Who sponsored the study?

These are not rigorous studies. These are trial balloons that they want to have promoted to main stream meme.

WV = parenti - plural because it is tougher to do in the singular

sol said...

Everything you need to know in life you learn in kindergarten.

If you hire good kindergarten teachers you can fire all the rest of the teachers and close down the schools. Huge savings in money and time.

Today's schools gades 1-12 are just a huge waste of childhood time.

Now Kids can garduate from Kindergarten and go directly into work force and support their unemployed parents AND pay taxes.

bagoh20 said...

"But by far the biggest factor is parental involvement."

I don't know if this explains the failings of modern education. While an involved parent certainly makes a difference, when I was a child most parents were not involved much back then either. I don't think parent involvement is really what has changed. I think it's the culture, which informs the parents, teachers and students. A big part of that is a feedback loop where schools teach students who then grow up to teach the next one. Each generation of that loop has shifted us away from fundamental values that made better students and toward others that often are counter to the hard work and expansion of learning.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"But what if kindergarten teachers were very highly paid?"

The entire assumption of this question is inaccurate.

Kindergarten teachers are already highly paid. Teachers, on average, make twice as much money as other workers. Thanks to their union and its collusion with government officials, teachers make astounding sums of money when compared to other workers.

It's not even close.

Get your facts straight, Ann. We can't have an honest discussion about overpaid teachers in this country when pundits like you refuse to acknowledge that teachers are already receiving out-sized salaries, benefits and pensions.

Oh, wait ... you're a grossly overpaid public school teacher too, right? ..... Ah, now it all begins to makes sense.

TMink said...

A million dollar kindergarten teacher cannot undo disinterested parents.

Trey

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"When did kindergarten become a publicly funded school anyway?"

Answer: when employers figured out that women will work for less than men will - and started hiring women instead of men and pocketing the difference.

(Women will work, on average, for 75% of what a man would).

Since women largely would rather work than raise children (even at the price of unemploying their husbands and lowering their entire family's standard of living), someone has to raise their children for them.

Who if not some government flunkie?

So, it became the government's job.

MayBee said...

What I take from this is that good parents should be highly paid.

HDHouse said...

edutcher said...
When a lot of the people who partake of this blog were that age, you went straight to first grade...."

ahh that explains why so many here seem to be a year or more behind.

exhelodrvr1 said...

bagoh,
"I don't think parent involvement is really what has changed. "

It has, in a number of ways. Probably the most significant are that too many parents don't hold children accountable, and try to push off the responsibility for teaching onto the schools. (Note that I said "too many parents", not all.) The most obvious manifestation of this is the social promotion policy of many school districts, which then results in high school graduates with minimal skills.

Scott M said...

The difference in K-6 from my when my oldest son (now 19) went through and my youngest, now in 1st grade, is striking. On the one hand, it has never been easier (via the internet) to be more involved in the day to day classroom operations such as activities, homework, grades, etc. On the other, the schools simply aren't challenging the kids to excellence like they used to. They seem to be far more aimed at minimizing liability and promoting self-esteem than they are in teaching.

I don't know if it's related, but I did three of my college years before going into the service. When I went back to that same state school afterward to finish up (almost 10 years later) it was like being in another school. Where once the profs gave you a basic syllabus, reduced grades for non-attendance, and forced you to do homework/reading/etc, now they spoon feed you with what's going to be on tests, very few knock students for attendance, and only a couple of classes had cumulative finals.

Alex said...

They learn that same sex relationships are good and know the proper names for penis, vagina and how to perform anal sex?

Another sick, twisted hate-filled Republican asshole!

Skyler said...

If parents are to blame for bad teaching, then I say we relieve these poor teachers of their burden and teach our children at home.

Oh, wait. Teachers are supposed to know math and most parents don't, or are quite rusty at it. That's why we pay the teachers.

It seems that teachers see themselves as babysitters and just load poor kids down with mountains of homework and expect the parents to do the teaching.

AJ Lynch said...

The PEW Trust is providing the bucks to gin up liberal propaganda which advocates the govt should pay for all day Pre-K and kindergarten.

Once they achieve that with the help of the DEM wealth re-distributors, they will focus on their next objective which is year-round school so they can indocrinate kids 12 months a year.

Red A said...

Smaller class sizes don't help at all. The research shows that.

But there is one person who does like a smaller class: the teacher.

Thus the unions fight for that.

I would suggest instead of doing this or paying teachers more, we have sort of a jury duty for parents, where they will be paid to come in and help out. This would increase the number of adults helping the kids, and also monitor the teacher.

AJ Lynch said...

There was a letter to the editor recently. A teacher wrote that he taught in a school district with 2000 students and 150 or so teachers. On Parents Night, he claimed the teachers outnumbered the parents.

Henry said...

Finland.

HDHouse said...

Red A said...
Smaller class sizes don't help at all. The research shows that."

cite please

Scott M said...

HD said...cite please

You first. Even four or five of your patents would suffice to bolster your credibility. That's what you're asking of someone else, right? Proof of their credibility based on a claim they made?

Or should he just give you the year of the survey he's using as a basis and tell you to go find it yourself?

bagoh20 said...

As in Finland, I say if we are gonna pay more, then larger classes with a second teacher assisting to help pull slower kids along. This seems exactly like what is needed. Smart kids need the teacher to keep moving, and the slower kids need to keep up, so give them help. Just paying the single teacher more solves nothing for the students.

Joe said...

DBQ, there is no test. Repeated studies have, in fact, found that kindergarten is completely useless. Structured education before the age of 7 is largely a waste of money with some evidence that it can be harmful.

Kindergarten and first grade are government day care. The calls for increasing head start and nursery school are also nothing more than increasing government day care.

(It goes further. All that push about getting your kids to read early? Waste of time. Yes, someone will start screaming about how this isn't true blah blah blah. Sorry, but it is. The only studies that find the opposite aren't studies at all, but opinion papers with enough statistics and scientific sounding terms to masquerade as science.)

Methadras said...

Why don't we just speak plainly here and just say that we would rather use the approach used in the movie Gattaca to genetically sort through those that are desirable vs. those who aren't and move society in that direction. Simple enough? Let's just cut out the middle man completely. No need to go through this farce of paying teachers gobs of money to qualify little Johnny or Jane for a better life.

The real question that isn't being asked is that there have been billions upon billions, if not trillions spent on schools in the US and on teachers salaries as negotiated by their wretched unions. We also have gotten to watch our school systems deteriorate into a miasma of mediocrity, malaise, if not downright dilapidation in the last few decades. What has that money been wasted on? Where did that money go and why is the value of that money not even a remote ROI given how much has been doled out?

Joe said...

Findland does school right and has been the model for my proposals, save for the lack of tuition after age 16 (public education from age 7 to 16, vocational school for two years and only then university OR advanced vocational school.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Finland

The point again is that we start formal comprehensive schooling too early and keep it going too long. It gets very repetitive with obviously poor results. (Of course, I'll also discard almost all extra curricular activities and greatly reduce music and sports programs, which don't do what is claimed. Want to play ball, join your community league, want to be in a play, go to your local theater company.)

Scott M said...

@Joe

I'm not going to cite any studies about K/1st grade being useless or harmful. All I know about the subject is what my four kids have shown. Before Kindergarten, yeah, they could read a little bit and do finger math. They could tell a little time on the clock and knew their days of the week etc, etc. Basic 4-5 year old stuff.

After a year of kindergarten, they read very well, did decent arithmetic including simple multiplication, knew their months and holidays, etc. You know, the absolute basics. Things a first grade teacher doesn't need to more than touch on as long as the parents are engaged.

Do you have kids Joe?

edutcher said...

HDHouse said...

edutcher said...
When a lot of the people who partake of this blog were that age, you went straight to first grade...."

ahh that explains why so many here seem to be a year or more behind.


Considering kiddie garter was mostly finger paints and sitting on the floor in a circle, it would seem to prolong, rather than shorten, some people's infantile period.

Like HD?

Texan99 said...

I'm with rhhardin and henry.

Henry said...

Do you have kids Joe?

You have no idea.

As for me, I have kids and kindergarten was fine for them, but I don't know that it mattered much. Cognitive development proceeds apace independent of schooling. Anecdotally my son, after doing fine in Kindergarten, pretty much wasted a year in first grade because he had a lousy teacher. That didn't stop him from becoming one the better students in second grade when he had a very good teacher.

Studies of Head Start show that any advantages children gain in pre-K programs vs. their non-pre-K peers simply disappears by grades 1 or 2. Once a kid's brain develops, they can learn things like writing and arithmetic very quickly -- and easily catch up to those pushed into the system ahead of them.

In general I think we underestimate how quickly it is to learn things if you actually want to do so. I'm speaking of both kids and adults.

Trooper York said...

I must state once again my position on public school teachers. They should all be fired and replaced by robots.

HDHouse said...

edutcher said...
"Considering kiddie garter was mostly finger paints and sitting on the floor in a circle, it would seem to prolong, rather than shorten, some people's infantile period."...

well first, let's get it right...kindergarten..

you aren't much of an advertisement for home school are you? Well structured kindergardens have curriculums and goals and generally meet them. You'd be amazed.

Don't project your homeschooling experience to the real world...gets you in a heap of misunderstanding.

John Lynch said...

320 k isn't very much difference for the lifetime earnings of 20 people.

Also, 320k dollars now is more valuable than 320k over 60 years.

Lastly, paying more for talent presupposes that we are firing people who don't have the talent. Not going to happen. We'll just pay more for all teachers.

We get bombarded by these statistical studies about education that keep leaving out the fact that results are the last thing that matters when it comes to hiring and firing teachers.

So, this article is meaningless.

Joe said...

After a year of kindergarten, they read very well, did decent arithmetic including simple multiplication, knew their months and holidays, etc. You know, the absolute basics. Things a first grade teacher doesn't need to more than touch on as long as the parents are engaged.

Do you have kids Joe?


Four.
Now 14-22.

You entirely miss the point and fall into the fallacy of learning early is the same as learning effectively. Learning all that stuff in kindergarten is no different in a very few years than learning it in second grade.

Put another way, does academic success in kindergarten have any predictive value for academic success in high school? The answer is an unequivocal no.

Furthermore, highly structured learning before age 7 can cause children quite a bit of stress, which is harmful, with no upside.

(Looking at my own kids, I find very little correlation between success in elementary school and how well they did once they hit puberty. All my children did spectacular in elementary school. By eight grade, two were struggling, yet at 17 my oldest finally pulled her head out of her butt and started racking up straight A's again. Take away the lazy factor [mostly turning in homework and papers late] and where each child has struggled isn't always where they struggled in elementary school. Son #1 hates reading, but writes extremely well [and in a stroke of genius, he once wrote a very good book "report" on a book that didn't exist.] I loved reading, but hated English class and was surprised to get my highest score on my ACT in English. Go figure.)

AJ Lynch said...

More parents should be fired than teachers. It would be cheaper for us to take the kids away and build orphanages.

Scott M said...

Joe,

I'm still not convinced and, again, I have only me and mine, including the extended family on both sides (just oodles of friggin kids, given the Scots/Irish one one side and the Irish Catholics on the other) to go by.

After years of doing my best (learning myself as my wife and I went along) to shepard four kids through school, I learned that it's just not that complicated. We stayed after them, helped them with their studies, made homework a priority over anything else, and became friends with more than one of their teachers.

Granted the youngest just started, but she's following the same arc the other three did. I don't know if it matters, but all of them were forced to learn piano. Rumor has there are (shudder) studies that prove it makes for better academic success.

The only stumble we had was my oldest son. He wanted to be a fighter pilot from age 10. Scary dedicated to it and geared everything toward the USAF academy. I actually downplayed it propping up a "normal" college life, but helped him every where I could. As a junior, he took a friend of his to a recruiter he knew. The sergeant showed the kid the bubble test for color vision. My son, who had never been tested, was shocked (so were we) that we was red-green sufficient. Needless to say, this sucked the life out of his senior year. He went from honors classes to regular classes and got B's and C's.

That has zero to do with cognitive development and everything to do with his entire world crashing down on him through no fault of his own.

My point being that I don't put a lot of stock in the conclusion these eduction academics come up with. Sure, that lines up with your "people will say they don't believe it" but I've got strong reason not to.

Freeman Hunt said...

My ten year old sister was furious to find out last weekend that her sister (me) and her parents voted for Bush in 2004. "He destroyed the environment, and it will take 24 years to fix it." I assume this is the sort of "science" they're testing on in public school now.

Freeman Hunt said...

Also, Bush is/was "evil." Out of ethics class there I suppose.

Pastafarian said...

I agree that a good elementary school teacher can make a big difference for a child, and there's a wide gulf between a good elementary teacher and a bad one.

I doubt that kindergarten is really that important compared to first, second, and third grade, though.

But blindly throwing more money at the problem won't work. As other commenters have noted, announcing "I will pay $100 per pound for a really nice steak" does not produce one of President Obama's Kobe beef ribeyes -- the free market doesn't work that way.

Note that the best teachers are often at private schools, and those teachers make less money. (And no, it's not just the fact that they get better, more motivated students -- I've met public and private school teachers, and there are fewer incompetents in private schools).

I assume that the reason that this is so is...teacher unions in public schools, that prevent administrations from getting rid of incompetents. That, and the fact that good teachers don't go into teaching for the money.

If we rid ourselves of the NEA and AFT, we'd have a renaissance in education.

And as long as teachers want to be unionized, like a tradesman, I see no reason to pay them or treat them like professionals, like doctors or lawyers. There's no doctors' union.

Pastafarian said...

ScottM said: "...my oldest son. He wanted to be a fighter pilot from age 10...the bubble test for color vision..."

Holy crap, did you also have a chubby daughter who competed in a beauty pageant? I loved that movie. Too bad about Grandpa, though.

Scott M said...

You lost me. A more apt analogy would be a beautiful, talented girl doing everything right to win Miss American, only to suddenly wake up one morning ugly, fat, and off key.

Skyler said...

"The sergeant showed the kid the bubble test for color vision. My son, who had never been tested, was shocked (so were we) that we was red-green sufficient."

Been there done that, but I didn't know until after I was offered an NROTC scholarship. My dad was in the navy and I wanted to be in the navy since I was at least 10 years old. Knocked the wind out of me too.

But the good news was the scholarship was awarded as a Marine option, something I never would have done on my own, as I would have been too intimidated. Turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

I think something like 8% of males have red-green color deficiency. Makes you wonder why stoplights are red and green and ships' running lights are red and green.

We now return to our discussion of education and how color vision can impact motivation.

Scott M said...

"...that we was red-green sufficient."

lol, let's try that "HE was red-green DEfficient..."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think something like 8% of males have red-green color deficiency. Makes you wonder why stoplights are red and green and ships' running lights are red and green

My mother and brother (natch) are color blind. Very rare for a woman to be color blind.

I read somewhere that it was a plus during WWII to be a colorblind navigator because you were better able to 'see through' the camouflage. I imagine there are other current occupations where it can be a positive condition.

Kindergarten was a waste of time for my daughter and for my brother, probably for me as well. My daughter was already reading at a 5th grade level by the age of 5 and had to be put into a 'special' class that caused her to feel weird.

My brother was a pain in the butt in kindergarten for the same reasons....he was bored out of his mind and made problems for the teacher....so to get rid of him...they skipped him into 3rd grade from kindergarten. Wreaked havoc on his social life in high school.

The one size fits all school system that we have is failing students on both ends of the bell curve.

Pastafarian said...

ScottM, I'm talking about the movie "Little Miss Sunshine." I think it won a bunch of Oscars a few years ago. In it, a teen boy is serious about becoming an Air Force pilot and he finds out he's color-blind.

And a little chubby girl competes in a beauty pageant. Seriously, you've never seen it? I thought everyone had. It's a nice little movie.

Scott M said...

Seriously, you've never seen it? I thought everyone had. It's a nice little movie.

Nope, never did see it, although it's got good company, I suppose with Crash, Million Dollar Baby, and Slumdog Millionare in the sense that they were all just must-see and i skipped them.

DBQ, if memory serves, the percentage of red/green colorblindness is much higher than 8%. I seem to remember it being over 20%, but that's just the ol' thinker going.

Traffic lights are no problem. It's really not reds and greens, but rather shades of reds and greens and how they occur together. A stop light is bright red and bright green, plus they are usually in the same place on the light.

The camo thing is true, by the way.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Traffic lights are no problem. It's really not reds and greens, but rather shades of reds and greens and how they occur together. A stop light is bright red and bright green, plus they are usually in the same place on the light.

Take a look in the thread about disabilities re: my mother's auto accident because the lights were not standardized...way back when.

My brother isn't as bad, but my mother could not distinguish between red/green green/brown brown/dark blues blue/green red/brown or ANY pastel colors. I think she could see tones of those colors but they all looked the same to her. She liked bright orange and lime green...good thing it was the 70's. I always wondered what they looked like to her.


I know that a sunset was..."meh...so what" to her.

wild chicken said...

"Each generation of that loop has shifted us away from fundamental values that made better students and toward others that often are counter to the hard work and expansion of learning."

More to the point, about 1/3 of the students and parents do not give a rip. Maybe more. I used to blame teachers...now I think the reason they cling to their unions is because they are stuck in such an awful system with hopeless material to work with.

Jennifer said...

My daughter and her kindergarten teacher don't even speak the same language. Wonder how that affects her future income potential?

HDHouse said...

Freeman Hunt said...
"I assume this is the sort of "science" they're testing on in public school now."

It could be worse - you could be in Kansas being taught creationism..and to the 24 years to fix...I think she really meant 6 straight democrat victories...now that would make sense....

And she should be mad at you for voting for Bush. I'm kinda hurt myself.

c3 said...

Likewise, if we paid doctors more we'd have better healthcare.....

If we paid CEO's better we'd have better corporations.



Frankly, I think everyone should get paid more, then we'd have more money and we'd be smarter so we'd spend it smarterer

Eric said...

Increasing teacher pay without killing off certification and unionization just results in the same but more highly paid bad teachers.

Yep. Here in California the amount of tax money going to each kid is double what it was thirty years ago (in constant dollars). Most of that money has gone to teacher salaries and retirement.

Student achievement is down. So what exactly did we get for our money? Wealthier teachers.

Freeman Hunt said...

It could be worse - you could be in Kansas being taught creationism..

Except that that wouldn't have disastrous effects on public policy. (Energy, regulation, standard of living, etc. etc. etc.) Creationists aren't going to be passing any "No evolving over millions of years!" laws.