Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Internally Consistent

I realized in my back and forth with Colin that if one were to follow the question to the logical conclusion, it wouldn't necessarily be consistent with what I've typically thought.
That is, I'm generally not in favor of supporting failing industries with subsidies or artificial wage points. For example, I've felt that the steel belt should go the way of the dinosaur and let China take it over since it's cheaper and works in an environmental NIMBY kind of way.
So are there "industries" that should not be included in that model? Why should education be any different and not subject to outsourcing? If schools are failing, why not put the kids on Skype with India and do it that way?
My gut reaction was, no, it's different. But how? School has been a method to inculcate social (and patriotic, to be honest) mores, but that's certainly not the dealbreaker for me, as an international educator anyway.
Maybe it's not all that different. The only other thing I can think of is logistical. There is a benefit of having everybody under 16 all rounded up in the same place at the same time!


Colin said...

Part of what you mentioned in your previous response to me...the question of whether the school resources are so bad that the kid NEEDS a $20/hr tutor.

Well, ARE the school resources so bad? For starters, I know every kid has access to a teacher teaching the specific subject material for about an hour a day, five days a week. Second, many public schools also have after-school tutoring programs that are low- or no-cost options. Third, I've never heard a teacher turn down a student who asked for more help (oh, wait, my high school Trig teacher did that to ME.) Fourth, there are local places where people can go for extra tutoring (example: Sylvan Learning Centers) that advertise rates competitive with the $20/hr you mentioned from India.

However...sometimes none of those options meet a student's schedule. Kids nowadays are busier than ever. They no longer pick between clubs, sports, and after-school jobs like we did...they do all of them. So, for many, they simply don't have the time to devote to studying outside of school, and paying a tutor to just tell them how to do it is easier. Especially when that tutor is online, from India, and can meet whenever.

VenetianBlond said...

...which speaks directly to my comment, too, about "voting with the dollars" and finding a resource that works for the individual. It's worth it for the scheduling, format of content presentation, etc. Reading farther in the text I saw some interesting stats that may reflect on your observations about your classes, basically that literacy among BA holders is going down. That is, skills in critical reading of complex texts, etc. are worsening. Would you say that the things you observe as a teacher, absenteeism, lack of engagement, and ability are better, the same, or worse than us back in the early 90s in say, Dub White's classes?