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Life in US High Schools

Rufus BugleWeed
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I been reading thisarticle, The Disease of the Modern Era . The author makes the following statement.
There's a whole bundle of things here that concern me. Certainly high schools are incubators for alienation. The high school was, during Kaczynski's growing up, just as it tends to be today, an anti-intellectual place. If you are a young person with intellectual interests, you are almost automatically excluded or made to feel strange. Something we've seen in school killings is that kids who do it tend to be brighter than average. That's part of their problem. When my wife taught in public schools she constantly had to go to seminars on behavior modification. All this focus on behavior modification is forcing conformity by using psychological techniques. The only difference between now and Kaczynski's day is that back in the 1950s and 60s, there were a lot of thoughtful writers who published books on the subject. Today, there's very little commentary on it, except in magazine pieces here and there after another school kid goes berserk.


IYO,is this an accurate portrayal of US High Schools?
Matt Cao
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Hello,
You can blame on the pop culture. I am way passed that state, yet I see many younger generations venture down destructive path because lacking of parental guidance at home and zoning of that piece of real estate.
While I grown up, my parents alway said the best gift to me was that they chose to live in the area had many teachers live. In that way, I would have to attend the school that their children go.
Regards,
MCao
Mapraputa Is
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Paul Graham has an article "Why Nerds are Unpopular".
"If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I'd tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn't really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.
Where I grew up, it felt as if there was nowhere to go, and nothing to do. This was no accident. Suburbs are deliberately designed to exclude the outside world, because it contains things that could endanger children.
And as for the schools, they were just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids all locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults an get things done. And I have no problem with this: in a specialized industrial society, it would be a disaster to have kids running around loose.
What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that (a) they aren't told about it, and (b) the prisons are run mostly by the inmates. Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they're called misfits."


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Michael Morris
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My experience in the 60s and early 70s going to school would seem to contradict those statements. I attended small schools in East Texas, but the smart people always seemed to be the leaders. There always seemed to be a competition to see who could score the highest on the math test or whatever. The teachers wanted us to compete. I fear that is no longer politically correct, don't want anyone to feel like a loser. :roll: But too, practically everyone was involved in athletics as well, so the jocks vs the nerds was not well defined. Some of the best football players were in the to 10% of the class academically. I really think it has a lot to do with the size and location of the school and how the school is administered.


Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. - Ernst F. Schumacher
John Dunn
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Paul Graham has an article "Why Nerds are Unpopular
from Paul Graham's article:
If life seems awful to kids, it's neither because hormones are turning you all into monsters (as your parents believe), nor because life actually is awful (as you believe). It's because the adults, who no longer have any economic use for you, have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Any society of that type is awful to live in. Occam's razor says you don't have to look any further to explain why teenage kids are unhappy.
I've said some harsh things in this essay, but really the thesis is an optimistic one-- that several problems we take for granted are in fact not insoluble after all. Teenage kids are not inherently unhappy monsters. That should be encouraging news to kids and adults both.

Paul Graham is an unusually intelligent person. I seriously doubt he can speak for all the nerds and all the outcasts.
It's because the adults, who no longer have any economic use for you, have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Wow, pretty cynical stuff. Yes, children, I have a Harvard PHD and an accomplished career and let me share with you my great wisdom: ALL adults, no longer have any economic use for you. That is all they think of you - a means to make money, and you are no use to them.
[adults] have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Any society of that type is awful to live in.
Those bast***s!! Adults are nothing but prison wardens!! Of course you are unhappy!!! Why shouldn't you be??? What are THEY expecting???
I've said some harsh things in this essay, but really the thesis is an optimistic one--
Wow, its kinda hard to see the optimism, actually...
Optimism: that several problems we take for granted are in fact not insoluble after all.
[I]Oh wow, no I can rest easy. The world is not a dark and evil place, afterall. Whew... Hope at last!!


Truly a sad commentary from someone who has done so well in life. High school is hard for everyone relative to their own lives. That is part of growing up. It is a launching pad for life's lessons. It is a time for young adults to make their mistakes and hone their character and people skills in addition to gaining an academic education. It is not the end-all-be-all. The hardships in high school often lead to the identities we form in college. That is always not for the negative. Some folks bounce back from adversity with increased motivation and drive. I'm not sure what Paul is getting at:
but let me see if I can try:
The whole world adults have set up for kids, totally sucks and kids... 'You're in it!'. Okay its solvable though. Bye.


"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
John Dunn
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Nerd Article on Paul Graham's website
has the following link to an interesting article:
Adrift in America - the lost children of Rockdale County by Dr. Michael D. Resnick
from Dr. Resnick's article:
Bereft of meaningful expectations, responsibilities, healthy options for recreation and entertainment, and with a notable absence of adults who were capable of being adults and active, involved parents, these young people turned to the basest of impulses within and among themselves, with startling and pathetic results. What our research is showing--indeed what the research of many colleagues who focus on risky behaviors and protective factors in the lives of young people has shown--is that parents, families and adults outside of the family are fundamentally important to the healthy development of youth. It would seem that some parents in America embrace the myth that once their sons and daughters make it past childhood into adolescence, what they, the parents, say or do or hope or believe is no longer relevant. Granted, many adolescents(my italics) are very skillful at telling us, as adults(my italics), that we have become irrelevant in their lives. And WE make the mistake of beliving that! What is clear from the national studies of adolescent health and resilience is that caring and competent adults who recognize, value and reward pro-social behavior in young people can have a profound effect on what adolescents value and believe, about themselves and the world around them.

But the impact of connections in the lives of adolescents does not stop at the borders of family. Indeed, we understand that adolesents who feel closely connected to their schools, are adolescents who are emotionally healthier, and far less likely to engage in risky behavior than their counterparts who feel no sense of community in their school - where school is not functioning, in the words of sociologist Roberta Simmons, as "an arena of comfort". Without question it is the formation of friendship networks within the school that help to provide that sense of community, along with the perception that teachers care, that teachers are fair, and that school is a place where one 'belongs.'

Randall Twede
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when i went to high school in so cal, they had a chain link fence around the school and they locked us in with it.
however, i later went to a high school in washington state that didnt lock us in
[ July 08, 2003: Message edited by: Randall Twede ]

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Damien Howard
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Let me put it this way, I can sympathize with SOME of the students who feel forced to bring guns to school and shoot a few bullies. This does not include the racists shooters I don't agree with them, just the ones who need to take care of the losers who are pushes through the school systems instead of being thrown out of the schools.
Michael Morris
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Originally posted by Damien Howard:
Let me put it this way, I can sympathize with SOME of the students who feel forced to bring guns to school and shoot a few bullies. This does not include the racists shooters I don't agree with them, just the ones who need to take care of the losers who are pushes through the school systems instead of being thrown out of the schools.

Man, I'm a gun totin', NRA card carryin', Texan born with a 20GA shotgun in my hand and still find that statement to be extremely radical. Schools are no place for guns, period. So, you think it's OK to bus-a-capp in someone's ass if they bully you? Violence to solve a problem is an absolute last resort. No child has the maturity to make such a determination. Guns in school is not the answer. Getting rid of the trouble-makers is. We parents have to insist that our schools do so and stay involved in our children's lives so we know what is going on in their lives.
Damien Howard
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I'm not saying guns should be in school I'm just saying I can understand kids resorting to that because there are too many parents/teachers who fail to reign in their kids. And it is not just violent kids, look at some of these girls who are barely teenagers and already they are pregnant. The US needs more division in the schools to separate those who want to learn from those who would rather smoke up. I'm not saying you should give up on those kids, but they shouldn't be mixed in with the others because they hold everyone back.
Michael Morris
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Originally posted by Damien Howard:
I'm not saying guns should be in school I'm just saying I can understand kids resorting to that because there are too many parents/teachers who fail to reign in their kids. And it is not just violent kids, look at some of these girls who are barely teenagers and already they are pregnant. The US needs more division in the schools to separate those who want to learn from those who would rather smoke up. I'm not saying you should give up on those kids, but they shouldn't be mixed in with the others because they hold everyone back.

Now that I agree with totally. When I was going to school if someone was chronically causing problems they were expelled for the remainder of the year, and it didn't take many incidents for that punishment to be invoked. I don't understand why we think we have to accommodate every sort of vile behavior because some kid has had a tough life. Well guess what, I had some pretty tough times growing up too and lots of other people as well, so that doesn't wash with me. Quite frankly, it's not my problem and it certainly isn't my children's problem. Separate schools is an excellant idea, but you'll never get liberals to go along with it.
Damien Howard
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I don't know when or where you went to school, but in my school, I graduated hs in 97, they didn't expel people at least very rarely anyway.
Well I like to consider myself a somewhat liberal and I like the idea of separate schools. Most of my ideas are probably extreme but they don't all lean to the right, just a few things.
Michael Morris
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Originally posted by Damien Howard:
I don't know when or where you went to school, but in my school, I graduated hs in 97, they didn't expel people at least very rarely anyway.
Well I like to consider myself a somewhat liberal and I like the idea of separate schools. Most of my ideas are probably extreme but they don't all lean to the right, just a few things.

I won't hold it against you. I have a son a year older than you, or at least he graduated in 96. I graduated in 71 from a small school in Daingerfield, Texas. We just didn't have the sorts of problems there and then that seem to be rampant in the schools now and yet we were going through the big intergration thing during my high school years. I guess most of us just realized what would happen to us if we didn't tow the line.
Frank Silbermann
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The Onion had a clever story about making Columbine High School a safe place for bullies.
Damien Howard:
"Let me put it this way, I can sympathize with SOME of the students who feel forced to bring guns to school and shoot a few bullies."
I have no sympathy. Why can't they just study the martial arts? Too lazy? If they're determined to murder people, they don't _need_ guns for that -- let them use steak knives or home-made propane bombs. Their self-indulgence harms innocent gun-enthusiasts who _do_ need guns for legitimate self-defense (from rapists, burglars and armed robbers).
We've always had bullies, but in earlier generations children were taught that suicide (and especially murder-suicide) would lead to eternal torment in the fires of Hell, whereas unjustified suffering would help atone for their sins. Karl Marx wrote that this "opiate of the people" conditioned people to accept injustice instead of fighting it. So now, bullied kids instead learn that death will end their pain after they enjoy the satisfaction of vengeance against their tormentors (and anyone else the feel like killing). Thanks a lot, Karl.
This is a separate issue from schools as babysitters. It's ludicrous that we now have to send people to four years of college just to become literate. So we now have the economic disaster of years of young years wasted, followed by four years of college drunkenness and Marxist indoctrinization by Radical professors. I don't see any solution but the injection of competition via home schooling and private school vouchers.
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Those bast***s!! Adults are nothing but prison wardens!! Of course you are unhappy!!! Why shouldn't you be??? What are THEY expecting???
Have you read the article? :roll:
The point was, that "nerds" (= kids that are smarter than other) are at the bottom of social ladder and often are bullied. When they start an adult life, everything changes. Now what is your point? That kids who are being prosecuted should be happy? That it's their own fault? Or maybe that it's a useful experience that will benefit them the rest of their lives? Then I would suggest to rape all female teenagers -- very enriching experience and helps to build a strong character, you know :roll:
High school is hard for everyone relative to their own lives. That is part of growing up. It is a launching pad for life's lessons.
One of survivors of Stalin's camps said that the experience he got there was not useful for life, it was anti-useful. Soviet schools probably aren't too different in this respect from American schools. I never seen such a number of idiots concentrated in one place (aka classmates) since I graduated. Even if our hypothetical nerd acquired skills in dealing with them, these skills are useless in real life, unless he will spend his life in concentration camps, of course.
John Dunn
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Have you read the article?
Yes, I did. A well-'written' article, has some interesting points, but overall I was disturbed enough to search his site and check out his bio and some of his other articles.
You probably didn't completely appreciate the sarcasm in my reply. He has some interesting links on his site that negate some of his points.
I think he was trying to be 'hip'. I think he should speak for himself, as most 'nerds', geeks and freaks probably are not as intelligent as he is so lucky to be.
He has a PHD from Harvard. Is this the best he can offer kids??? He had the whole world figured out before graduating high school AND it sucked. But he knew better. But hey, he's not being negative because there's a solution. :roll: ( Wow thanks for the wisdom...)
Map, I seriously doubt you would not have ripped his article apart had he place that article on MD as a Topic. I found his article to be intensely negative and cynical. Just last night I was literally talking to three friends about our high school reunions (5yr, 20yr, 20yr, 20yr) (uhhh, no I wasn't the 5yr). We all had positive things to say about them.
Concentration Camp? Stalin?
Totally irrelevant. He is talking about American High School in his middle class or upper middle class neighborhood.
Axel Janssen
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When I went to german high school, lots of people spent a year in an american high school, including one close friend.
I guess that 80% of current anti-americanic prejudices has to do with what those US-explorers have told after coming back.
They have told they had have a great time.
But:
- sex was only allowed for football players
- 50% of daily activity was dedicated to find way around super-prohibitive alcohol laws.
- tons of drugs of all colors, but not everybody have taken it.
- even the nut cases received grades only rocket scientists get in german school.
But afterwards some of the high school survivor go to college and university. And there life seems to be really hard. They have 3 jobs, study lots of hour, because studying is expensive and passing is not easy. And with diploma they start with a such enourmous debth their professional life, 70% of germans would kill themselfes.
[ July 11, 2003: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Mapraputa Is
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He has a PHD from Harvard. Is this the best he can offer kids??? He had the whole world figured out before graduating high school AND it sucked.
Where did you infer this from?

"The problem is, the world these kids create for themselves is at first a very crude one. If you leave a bunch of eleven year olds to their own devices, what you get is The Lord of the Flies. Like a lot of American kids, I read this book in school. Presumably it was not a coincidence. Presumably someone wanted to point out to us that we were savages, and that we had made ourselves a cruel and stupid world. This was too subtle for me. While the book seemed entirely believable, I didn't get the additional message. I wish they had just told us outright that we were savages and our world was stupid."

Another quote:
"As a thirteen year old kid, I didn't have much more experience of the world than what I saw immediately around me. The warped little world we lived in was, I thought, the world. The world seemed cruel and boring, and I'm not sure which was worse. Because I didn't fit into this world, I thought that something must be wrong with me."

The rest of the article is written today, not 10-2-30 years ago when he was a teenager. Or did I miss something?
"the best he can offer kids" is here, as far as I understand:
Merely understanding the situation they're in should make it less painful. Nerds aren't losers. They're just playing a different game, and a game much closer to the one played in the real world. Adults know this. It's hard to find successful adults now who don't claim to have been nerds in high school.
It's important for nerds to realize, too, that school is not life. School is a strange, artificial thing, half sterile and half feral. It's all-encompassing, like life, but it isn't the real thing. It's only temporary, and if you look you can see beyond it even while you're still in it.

You probably didn't completely appreciate the sarcasm in my reply. He has some interesting links on his site that negate some of his points.
Probably. Which points his links negate? His point is that teenagers are artificially isolated from adult society, so they form their own, artificial, and not particularly nice to live in.
from Dr. Resnick's article:
"Bereft of meaningful expectations, responsibilities, healthy options for recreation and entertainment, and with a notable absence of adults who were capable of being adults and active, involved parents, these young people turned to the basest of impulses within and among themselves, with startling and pathetic results.

Paul Graham:
"Teenage kids used to have a more active role in society. In preindustrial times, they were all apprentices of one sort or another, whether in shops or on farms or even on warships. They weren't left to create their own societies. They were junior members of adult societies.
Teenagers seem to have respected adults more in the past, because the adults were the visible experts in the skills they were trying to learn. Now most kids have little idea what their parents do in their distant offices, and see no connection (indeed, there is precious little) between schoolwork and the work they'll do as adults."

Dr. Resnick:
Granted, many adolescents are very skillful at telling us, as adults, that we have become irrelevant in their lives. And WE make the mistake of beliving that! What is clear from the national studies of adolescent health and resilience is that caring and competent adults who recognize, value and reward pro-social behavior in young people can have a profound effect on what adolescents value and believe, about themselves and the world around them.

Where is the contradiction?
Map, I seriously doubt you would not have ripped his article apart had he place that article on MD as a Topic. I found his article to be intensely negative and cynical.
I guess, this was his experience. Some are lucky enough to have better experience, great. But why to accuse those who weren't so lucky?
When I was in school, suicide was a constant topic among the smarter kids. No one I knew actually did it, but several planned to, and some may have tried. Mostly this was just a pose. Like other teenagers, we loved the dramatic, and suicide seemed very dramatic. But partly it was because our lives were at times genuinely miserable.

Intensely negative -- sometimes life is intensely negative, I am afraid. (Ooops, did I say something un-American again?) But cynical -- what is particularly cynical in this text?
John Dunn
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I wish they had just told us outright that we were savages and our world was stupid Oh please... Savages? Stupid? About acting like... uhh... TEEN-AGERS!!! It part of growing up, part of becoming individuals. So what? What are the kids up to these days, 'wearing their pants below their asses'??? Wearing gang colors, even though there are no gangs for them? :roll: :roll:
Can we really stop kids from acting immaturely?
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Paul, you were a nerd. So what. Every kid was something. too nerdy, too goofy, too mean, too cool. Get over it, buddy. Stop making excuses for your nerdiness. Yes, I was a nerd, but I didn't ~want~ to hang out with the others...
:roll: You probably did and didn't know how. Wow, so you weren't perfect. Isn't funny how you were in high school when you look back??
John Dunn
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I've already posted this. Map you took my arguments and left out the key points I 'highlighted'. Go back and read some of my posts the answers to some of your questions are there.
It's because the adults, who no longer have any economic use for you, have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Any society of that type is awful to live in. Occam's razor says you don't have to look any further to explain why teenage kids are unhappy.
This is NOT cynical??? MM, you have adult children and some getting there. Did you feel that you and your peers abandoned your children and because of the lack of economic use?? Did you feel that way growing up??
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My guess is that Paul was commenting more on the 'wealthy' parents lack of love. I don't think that all suburbs are an failed environment for our children. What does that say of so many families that try so hard to get out of ghettos and into suburbs?? Are they ALL mistaken??? Are they all being duped?? Are they ALL falling prey to their greed and selfishness??
I'm sure that many of my friends who went to school in America would trash the points he made. I for one felt fortunate at the sacrifices my parents and my friends parents made for their children. I still feel that it was a good example of love. I think he was trying to kill a particular fly on the wall with an atom bomb. We definitely have issues in our schools and they are different in different places. Different for different economic levels.
Michael Morris
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JD: This is NOT cynical??? MM, you have adult children and some getting there. Did you feel that you and your peers abandoned your children and because of the lack of economic use?? Did you feel that way growing up??
I certainly do not feel like my wife and I abandoned our children, nor most of my peers. We have been very involved with our children, going to nearly all of the functions they were involved in growing up. We made the choice early on that my wife would not work outside the home and I think that made a great difference in our children's lives. After Angel, our youngest, started school she did go to work as a bus driver at the same school. Not to say that they are all perfect or haven't had any problems, hell growing up is just tough sometimes. My youngest boy BJ has had quite a few problems because of a medical condition that ended his football career. He lived in the shadow of Mikey, my middle son, who was an All-State lineman in his junior and senior years. Mikey was also First Team All East Texas which is even more significant since it is a composite of all schools 1A-5A. BJ was an All District lineman his freshman year, was quicker and stronger than Mikey and by his sophomore year had some good sized colleges looking at him. After several surgeries to try and correct the problem it became obvious that football was over and he got pretty depressed, grades slipped and all that goes along with such teenage problems. Anyway back to the subject, I think it is unfair to lump all or even most parents into some sterotypical category of money-hungry people that are just going thru the motions. Most of the people I know love their children more than anything or at least appear to. But we must also consider the fact that I live in a rural mostly Baptist conservative area and wages are not anything close to what they are in the metropolitan areas. I'm sure that the school systems are quite different as well.
Did I feel that way growing up? Not really, though I did come from a broken home, which made me determined that that would not happen to my children. I always had friends, I was bullied some but not much. It always seemed that at least some of the people who befriended me were big guys who nobody wanted to fuck with. I was a 6'0 150 lb weakling (I wonder where my sons got their size?). I went to a small school in Ore City, Texas thru junior high and we had all been together since first grade and these people were just like brothers and sisters. We had our arguments, but it was just like a family and as I stated earlier, it seemed that the smart people were always the leaders as well as some of the better athletes. This was also true at my high school in Daingerfield. But I do think many things have changed in the last 40 years for the worse. Bullies were just not tolerated by the school administrations where I went. Alternative school then was called reform school or kiddie prison. It may seem harsh sending kids to places like that, but have we not now in some cases locked up the good kids by trying to "leave no child behind."
John Dunn
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Map: Intensely negative -- sometimes life is intensely negative, I am afraid. (Ooops, did I say something un-American again?)
Paul: "If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I'd tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn't really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Is this a bit of an exaggeration?
Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.
I guess the implication is that kids are boring and sterile. Nothing wrong with that opinion but to then assume that everyone in a suburb feels that way AND that the whole thing was designed to breed these boring and sterile things seems to me a bit far-fetched.
Where I grew up, it felt as if there was nowhere to go, and nothing to do. This was no accident. Suburbs are deliberately designed to exclude the outside world, because it contains things that could endanger children. Hmmm... that is uhh... ~correct~ I guess. We specifically targetted outsiders in the suburb I grew up in. We stopped them at the border and checked their ids. We watched the ones that did actually get in like hawks and never let them out of our sight. We didn't want them to interfere with our sterile and boring things we were breeding.

Map: But cynical -- what is particularly cynical in this text?
Paul: And as for the schools, they were just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids all locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults an get things done.
Am I the only one that can see cynicism in this?? The world of suburbia is fake. The primary purpose is to lock up our kids, so we can get on with our real lives. Schools are holding pens for kids. (In NYC holding pens, folks will get robbed and beaten up and sometimes abused BEFORE they are even charged with crimes.) What is he trying to say about the schools in the U.S.??

Map, this guy Paul is American. I'm American. Is it politically incorrect for me to challenge an American?? If I can't disagree with him, who CAN I ever disagree with?? When you disagree with Eugene K. about Russia, are you automatically "un-Russian"??
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I definitely do believe we have many issues in our public school system. I for one am ashamed that we don't put more money into schooling. To me its the next generation and the least we can do. I am sorry that teaching our children is not a more respected job as it is in some other countries and cultures. I would be happy to pay more taxes so that teachers could earn more money and drive the competition of teachers up to where it is for Wall Street Brokerage firms. I would also be happy to see the caliber of education rise here in the U.S. As for the violence, I am at a loss to say what needs to be done. It may be the manifestation of the culture so many people unwittingly accept.
Andrew Monkhouse
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  59

Hmmm, I can relate to a lot of what Paul Graham said.
In primary school (ages 5 - 11), I didn't notice any bullying.
In Australia we don't have the concept of Junior High and High school. However it happens that I did experience something similar. For some reason, my secondary school was split over two campuses, and I spent from when I was 11 till I was 16 at one campus and then 17-18 at the other campus.
In the junior school, education was not the primary reason for most kids to be there. They were there because all kids have to be at school. And this just happened to be the school that they went to. The teachers were not interested in having kids compete in scholastic achivement - they just wanted the kids to get the education required by the government and then get out of their lives. The kids that were nerds, or that had a particular interest were bullied.
In the senior school, most of the kids from the junior school had dropped out. So those that were left were there because they wanted to go on to university. So all of a sudden, the bullying stopped.
JD Just last night I was literally talking to three friends about our high school reunions (5yr, 20yr, 20yr, 20yr) (uhhh, no I wasn't the 5yr). We all had positive things to say about them.

Just to give an alternate viewpoint: My junior high school had a school reunion a couple of years back. I am still friends with two of the people I went to school with back then. All 3 of us decided not to go. There was no discussion amongst ourselves - I just happened to be chatting with them after the event, and found out that they also felt the same as me - that there was noone there that we wanted to see, and no good memories to reminisce about.
JD
Paul, you were a nerd. So what. Every kid was something. too nerdy, too goofy, too mean, too cool. Get over it, buddy. Stop making excuses for your nerdiness. Yes, I was a nerd, but I didn't ~want~ to hang out with the others...
:roll: You probably did and didn't know how. Wow, so you weren't perfect. Isn't funny how you were in high school when you look back??

Sorry John - again I agree with Paul. I also didn't want to hang out with most of the kids at school. I did have my friends - who were also nerds for the main part, but I didnt feel I had anything in comon with the rest of the school. Paul raised the question - would I have been willing to trade some of my intelligence for popularity? Well I don't know that I have enough intelligence to trade. But even if it was a free giveaway (swallow the red pill and you will be the most popular person at school) I still wouldnt have wanted it - I did not want the other people there as my friends. Not that I wanted them as enemies either - I just wanted to ignore them and for them to ignore me.
The problem was they I was not ignored - I and the other nerds were different, therefore we were picked on. To the point where I do not remember what the yards were like at school - as soon as lunchtime (or any other break) started I (and some other nerds) would go and hide in the library until the break was over.
JD We definitely have issues in our schools and they are different in different places. Different for different economic levels.

I don't think so. My brother followed me (about 4 years behind) through the same schools. He was OK with school work, but definately not a nerd. He had no problems with bullying. So it was not the schools, but the inmates treatment of other inmates.
MM Bullies were just not tolerated by the school administrations where I went.

Bullies were ignored at my school. If any parent did make a complaint, they were told that it was character building, and that the kid would have to learn to stand on their own feet either now or in the real world, so it was better to have it happen now.
And unfortunately I think that a lot of people have the same attitude: the bullying did not affect them personally, therefore they do not see it as a problem. Or if it is a problem, then it is a problem for the victims, and they should stop being victims.
Regards, Andrew


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John Dunn
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JD We definitely have issues in our schools and they are different in different places. Different for different economic levels.
AM: What I was getting at here is that America has issues in its high schools BUT they're different across the map. I grew up in NYC suburbia which is quite different than L.A., Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, etc, etc. Some high school conditions are local to the ecomony they're in, as well as the racial makeup and/or the 'cultural' makeup etc.
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AM: Sorry John - again I agree with Paul.
Some of Paul's points were interesting, as I pointed our earlier, but the context he put them in is what annoyed me. I just felt it was so cynical and so inaccurate.
originally quoted by Andrew:
I also didn't want to hang out with most of the kids at school. I did have my friends - who were also nerds for the main part, but I didnt feel I had anything in comon with the rest of the school. Paul raised the question - would I have been willing to trade some of my intelligence for popularity? Well I don't know that I have enough intelligence to trade. But even if it was a free giveaway (swallow the red pill and you will be the most popular person at school) I still wouldnt have wanted it - I did not want the other people there as my friends. Not that I wanted them as enemies either - I just wanted to ignore them and for them to ignore me.
The problem was they I was not ignored - I and the other nerds were different, therefore we were picked on. To the point where I do not remember what the yards were like at school - as soon as lunchtime (or any other break) started I (and some other nerds) would go and hide in the library until the break was over.

I will say that sounded pretty rough.
I left my first high school in my Senior Yr. (Catholic H.S. too) I was in a more popular group and the advanced classes. My best friends from grade school were laughing at my epilepsy and I started to see others joining in at the very end of my 3rd yr. I felt like a freak as it was and didn't need any more abuse then the epilepsy was already giving me. I decided that summer not to return as I only needed English & Gym and was starting to take College courses anyway. I also thought I should meet some local students that I never got a chance to go to school with as I was in the Catholic School Penal System - oops, I mean School System. (my mistake... ) My folks tried in vain to talk me out of leaving but to couldn't reach me, unfortunately. I was the only Epileptic I knew so you couldn't tell me anything. I DIDN'T blame adults, or the neighborhood or the community, etc. I didn't go shotgun shopping either.
----------
When I did return for my 10 yr reunion the boys that were laughing were missing but I wasn't - how ironic . Some friends asked what happened and I told the truth - I was young and scared and couldn't handle it. I lacked the ability to laugh at myself at that time. When friends cursed the ones who laughed, I stopped them and reminded them that they were only 16 or 17 at the time and we do dumb things at 16 and 17 and I seriously doubt they meant to be so mean - (so I learnt to forgive and freed myself from the baggage). I was overly-sensitive. I mentioned that we really can't continue to condemn them for being teenagers. We all thought about it a moment, we agreed and we laughed. I told them I wished I had thicker skin in High School, it would have benefitted me in college and I probably had a lot more fun with a lot more women. We then started telling stories about the dumb things we did or the ways we couldn't handle the dumb things done to us.
:roll:

Don't get me wrong I wish my high school years were different, but they weren't. That's just the way it goes in our imperfect worlds. The mysteries of Life... I would say I'll probably be more understanding of my children because of it and I ~bet~ I'll be able to reach them. It was interesting how this 'event' bothered me quite a bit and I carried around the bitterness until they day I got over it. Bad events just don't disappear with time. I think bad events disappear when people really come to terms with them in positive and constructive ways. The way one recalls their memories are indictative of the way they feel today. Hence my getting on Paul so much. I feel he should get over it. Don't blame society, don't blame adults.
[ July 13, 2003: Message edited by: John Dunn ]
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trade intelligence for popularity. isnt that why we drink? :roll:
Damien Howard
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Why not? Intelligence is a worthy quality. What worth does popularity have? Sure you can control people in a sense with popularity, but what can an individual all on his or her own do with popularity? Nothing. Intelligence on the other hand has true worth.
Of course, no one is happier than the fool, and if our purpose is to be happy, then the fool is king.
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To John:
Must be cultural differences at work. Russian culture is more pessimistic and more cynical than American. Regarding "more pessimistic" -- I read this observation many times, "more cynical" is my own personal conclusion, so it is dubious. I did not find anything wrong with this article, and I was by your reaction.
Map, this guy Paul is American. I'm American. Is it politically incorrect for me to challenge an American??
It is your right, protected by the Constitution, to challenge other Americans.
If I can't disagree with him, who CAN I ever disagree with?? When you disagree with Eugene K. about Russia, are you automatically "un-Russian"??
No, I mention "un-Americanism" because American optimism looks so unnatural to me. But I already said, this is because of my un-American origin.
I was agree with his main idea about adults "keeping kids all locked up in one place" and that this is bad, because it is congruent with my own observations. After school, I worked and took evening classes, and I was amused how much [insert any superlative adjective here] working was compared to school life. I had so many interesting adults of all ages around, and I could talk to them and learn things. I learnt far more on my job than at the University, and all this learning was natural -- when you have 30 teachers around, you learn simply by osmosis, even if you do not want to. With our current education system, the proportion is reversed: you have 30 young idiots and one teacher. Now who learn from whom? I have this idea for long time, that teenagers were much better educated if they were put in adult collectives, not artificially isolated and bundled into packs age-wise. I am just not sure how this can be organized.
Recently found: Ivan Illich developed similar ideas. Need to read more...
John Dunn
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Recently found: Ivan Illich developed similar ideas. Need to read more...
Thought about this guy:Ivan Ilych and wouldn't you know...
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John Donne: Divine Poems, Sermons, Devotions and Prayers (Classics of Western Spirituality)
John Dunn
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MI: Must be cultural differences at work. Russian culture is more pessimistic and more cynical than American. Regarding "more pessimistic" -- I read this observation many times, "more cynical" is my own personal conclusion, so it is dubious. I did not find anything wrong with this article, and I was by your reaction.
This is actually a good reminder for all on this forum AND especially for me since in my current job I am in a group with no less than 10 ex-Soviets (mostly Ukranians, some Russians). I will need to watch myself.

But anyway, I tend to forget on this site that so many folks come from very different points of refrenence, aside from the usual different point of views that we would have anyway, if folks were all born&bred Americans.
I couldn't understand why more folks were not annoyed at that article and I kept wondering why he wrote it. The link on his site, cites a case where kids in an affluent neighborhood developed an epidemic of syphilis. I think he was targeting his past anger in reference to this specific case. So where he could have focused on a wealthy neighborhood he seemed lump in all of America. (At least thats what I'm wondering may have happened. Unless he was just trying to be hip with his obvious intellect.)
I will say this the kids that grow up in wealthy neighborhoods do have a lot of issues from their wealth. Look at the Kennedys and their cousins. Didn't one just get convicted of murder! I think these kids are spoiled brats and a lot of them are born on third base and think they hit a triple. I do take note that even rich kids suffer from drug abuse, suicide, bulimia, depression, etc. So ~some~ core problems affect ALL teenagers regardless of the environment and the manifestations of the core problem. I think kids will have issues, period - no matter how hard we try to prevent it. We can however make some of the issues less drastic and less painful.
Funny that I can recall hanging out in the mornings before class with three other boys in my second year of high school. I had my own issues and was envious of the other guys who were good athletes, popular, and (in my eyes), HEALTHY. Well lo and behold, two have since committed suicide!! Makes me think, one should NEVER EVER want to be someone else OR fantacize about switching places with folks we think have got it made. You never know what you'll wind up with...
(check out this book on a similar theme:The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde)
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"I had my own issues and was envious of the other guys who were good athletes, popular, and (in my eyes), HEALTHY. Well lo and behold, two have since committed suicide!! Makes me think, one should NEVER EVER want to be someone else OR fantacize about switching places with folks we think have got it made. You never know what you'll wind up with...
(check out this book on a similar theme:The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde)"
?Picture of Dorian Gray? I think you're thinking of the poem "Richard Corey" by some guy in the 1920s who became famous for providing material for a Simon and Garfunkle song. :-)
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John Dunn: "I for one am ashamed that we don't put more money into schooling."
How much money do you think would be enough?

JD: "I am sorry that teaching our children is not a more respected job as it is in some other countries and cultures."
Even though teaching was never a very highly paid profession, I think it was once respected here. So all we need to do is figure out which social and policy changes are responsible for the loss of teachers' prestige, and undo them.

JD: "I would be happy to pay more taxes so that teachers could earn more money and drive the competition of teachers up to where it is for Wall Street Brokerage firms."
Whether they pay it via tuition, property taxes, or income taxes, parents are going to have to pay for their children's schooling. If you want teachers to earn $100,000/yr and have ten children per class, then the typical three-child family is going to have to pay $360,000 for that alone. Add to it teacher retirement, school infrastructure, support services, and it simply becomes impossible.
The only _practical_ ways to increase the competition for teachers are:
(1) Relax unnecessary entry barriers to the profession (e.g. two-years of mostly worthless "education" (sociology) courses which do nothing to transfer teaching skills).
(2) Improve the work environment for teachers by relieving most of them from having to deal with children who are disruptive, violent, or emotionally disturbed.
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Axel Janssen: "When I went to german high school, lots of people spent a year in an american high school ... even the nut cases received grades only rocket scientists get in german school."
A Russian described life in the USSR as, "We pretended to work, and they pretended to pay us."
American public school students could similarly say, "We pretend to study, and the school pretends to give us credentials." I guess that's only to be expected from the one American institution whose administration and organization most closely reflects socialist principles.
(One of the arguments that is used time after time to kill proposals for socialized medicine is, "If you like what the government has done for public education in the last 30 years, you're going to love what this bill will do for the cost and effectiveness of health care!")
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FS: ?Picture of Dorian Gray? I think you're thinking of the poem "Richard Corey" by some guy in the 1920s who became famous for providing material for a Simon and Garfunkle song.
No, actually I was thinking of Dorian Gray. Dorian Gray switches places with the youthful painting and the result is much different than expected... (I said similar not 'exact' theme.)
Frank Silbermann
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I had my own issues and was envious of the other guys who were good athletes, popular, and (in my eyes), HEALTHY. Well lo and behold, two have since committed suicide!! Makes me think, one should NEVER EVER want to be someone else OR fantacize about switching places with folks we think have got it made.
How is this analog?
Edwin Arlington Robinson. 1869�???

45. Richard Corey

WHENEVER Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed, 5
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich�yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace: 10
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, 15
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
John Dunn
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I think you're thinking of the poem "Richard Corey" by some guy in the 1920s who became famous for providing material for a Simon and Garfunkle song. :-)
How can I be thinking about a poem I've never heard of??? Huh-LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
:roll: :roll:
Frank Silbermann
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How can I be thinking about a poem I've never heard of??? Huh-LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
Well, unless you were asleep during the 1960s :-) you must have heard the Simon & Garfunkel song of the same name:
Richard Cory
Simon and Garfunkel
They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town
with political connections to spread his wealth around
Born into society, a bankers only child
He had everything a man could want, power, grace and style
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I�m livin�,
And I curse my Poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be,
Richard Cory
The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show
And the rumor of his party and the orgies on his yacht
He surely must be happy with everything he�s got
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I�m livin�
And I curse my Poverty
And I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be
Richard Cory
He really gave to charity, he had the common touch
And they were grateful for his patronage and they thanked him very much
So my mind was filled with wonder, when the evening headlines read
Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head
But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I�m livin�
And I curse my Poverty
And I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be
Oh I wish that I could be
Richard Cory
John Dunn
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Well, unless you were asleep during the 1960s :-) you must have heard the Simon & Garfunkel song of the same name:
I was born in the end of '64, so YES indeed I was sleeping quite a bit in those days. MD has been boring lately, but it hasn't this been annoying in awhile... :roll:
 
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