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Comment Re:As someone who was better than average... (Score 1) 427

There's two primary reasons that math curriculum is dumbed down in the US: 1. the students who didn't get it the previous year but were "socially-promoted" anyway, and the teacher has to compensate; 2. the parents who see their kids not getting it and/or are afraid of their kids' homework and demand that all of the hard math be taken away.

Comment Re:Instructor quality (Score 1) 427

I think the issue is one of supply and demand.

If you're good at math you have access to lots of fields that pay really well (engineering, science, and even applied stuff like accounting). Those who go into teaching are probably those who really love teaching. Since there are so few, the good ones tend to end up at the secondary level. Plus, at the primary levels teachers tend to be generalists anyway.

There is also seems to be a correlation between skills in math/science/etc and personality, which probably also leads many in these fields to avoid teaching.

Mix in kids who don't really want to be there, and you have very little incentive for anybody to go into this field.

If you do moderately well in the sciences in college and take the right courses you could probably get secondary certification in chemistry, biology, and physics. I suspect you could easily have guaranteed employment for life that way - assuming that you're willing to live with a mediocre paycheck.

Comment Re:Kids cant be Kids anymore. (Score 1) 427

Obviously you live in some dream school system or you dont read with your kids, and do the spelling preparations, or the projects, or the worksheets, or the readers clubs, or the fun math. I have an 11 and a 9 year old (now in 3rd grade doing less homework than in second grade). In many school systems, the argument has become, is it too much homework?

Comment Re:Useful to whom? The racists who care about skin (Score 0, Flamebait) 902

BZZZT! Wrong answer!

Try reading the Constitution...

Article I Section 2.
"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three."

The Census was SPECIFICALLY for figuring taxation and number of representatives - period - nothing else! They can ask what ever the hell they want but I don't have to answer ANYTHING except HOW MANY PEOPLE live in my house - period.

Comment Wow, pretty much all of that was wrong. (Score 1) 902

The census data is absolutely useless to medical researchers. "Black" doesn't describe anything about an individuals genetic code other than melanin content. The genetic variation among "black" people is as great or even greater than the genetic variation between any given black person and white people.

Then why do researchers routinely find a link between race and various health conditions?

Race may be a social construct with no genetic basis, but social constructs are real, and often have medical consequences.

"Asian" is used by the census generally to describe anybody from about Pakistan eastward, lumping Indians with Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese, all of which are very distinct from each other.

...and, surprise surprise, this is why question #9 in the 2010 Census form doesn't have a checkbox for "Asian" (contrary to what you imply); it has separate checkboxes for Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Other Asian--with a write-in box for people to write in their ethnicity in the latter, complete with a list of examples (Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian).

So you're very much wrong about the Census lumping "asians" together.

And what constitutes "black" and "white" today, anyway? Is Tiger Woods black, asian, or what? Are his kids black or white? Do you want to bring back the old "one drop" test, so if any of your ancestors are black, you are deemed black?

It has been absolutely clear for decades now that the answers to the census questions about race and ethnicity are about the respondent's self-identification and their identification of the other people in their household, not some objective adjudication of their "real" race. The upsides and downsides of this, its (un)reliability and its problems are very much a matter of public discussion.

Again, race is today understood as a social construct, and race is very much a matter of personal identity. What race people identify themselves as is a significant fact about the population. Nobody who's not constructing a strawman is pretending that this data is to be treated as any more than what it is.

Demographers are among those who continue to insist that we define our society by skin color, so I don't feel much need to help them out.

I'm sorry, but the American society is very much defined by skin color. Native-born and raised black people, whose ancestors have been in this country no shorter than the majority, overwhelmingly live in different neighborhoods, speak a distinctive dialect, have different artistic expressions, have different naming customs for their children, have worse health, are discriminated against in housing, health and employment, and a host of other differences that would not be possible if the nation's culture did not see them as a different race in the first place.

I also put American for race.

Thank you for completing and submitting your Census form. Your answer will be routinely adjudicated as "Non-Hispanic White," perhaps after some minor statistical controls to estimate the very small number of non-whites who fill out "American."

Comment Re:You know what's really sad? (Score 1) 902

The problem is if sexual orientation, race, or political orientation become a criminal offense. Likely to happen in modern society? No. Possible though... well maybe. There were certain groups (including, I'm not proud to say, members of my own family) who wanted all Arab-American's surveilled or at least investigated in the aftermath 9-11. Sexual orientation can still get you fired from your job if your employer happens to be the US armed forces, though that may be changing soon.

I'm not saying that I don't, in principle, agree with you. Nor am I saying that I didn't fill out my census form accurately. But I can understand why it makes people uncomfortable. Even very recent history has shown that the kind of information that can be gleaned from the census can be misused. Going back just a few decades farther would show that the this kind of information has been misused (locking up Japanese American's during WWII for instance).

Comment Re:so ? (Score 1) 185

Right, good point, that's an example of where a fringe or elitist policy prescription would have counterproductive consequences. But I still think the government classified information system is out of control. Unfortunately it's hard to show the need for reform since it's largely invisible.

The patent system is a mess also, and it's also an invisible problem in the sense that it's partially beyond the technical comprehension of most people, but at least we can present data when we argue about it.

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