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Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:30 PM

Obama Goes With Science On Education and School Violence

I love people who promote science as opposed to political rhetoric in the media and that's why I love President Obama. On the issue of school violence he is right in line with the experts and he's doing the same thing on preschool education. It's nice to see a politician promote fact-based agendas.

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Reply Obama Goes With Science On Education and School Violence (Original post)
toddmiller Feb 2013 OP
Confusious Feb 2013 #1
knitter4democracy Feb 2013 #2
Igel Feb 2013 #3

Response to toddmiller (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:51 PM

1. Not really science

ôResearch has established that continued exposure to media violence (e.g., TV, movies, video games) can increase the likelihood of physically and verbally aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, and aggressive emotions. Exposure to violence in the media can lead to (1) displacement of healthy activities, (2) modeling inappropriate behaviors, (3) disinhibition of socially proscribed behaviors, (4) desensitization to the harmful effects of violence, (5) aggressive arousal, and (6) association with a constellation of risk-taking behaviors.


The guy who wrote that, Dr. Craig Anderson:

Proponents against the video game violence and aggression effect state that Dr. Anderson's research has been criticized at times for overstating his results and failing to adequately acknowledge alternate views or limitations of the data on media violence. A number of scholars have expressed the concern that his statements of causal certainty regarding video game violence effects are not well supported by the existing data. Anderson also had ties to the former National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF), which Jerald Block, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Science University, likened to a lobbying group, and some of his studies have been funded by NIMF. In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, testimonies were provided criticizing Anderson's studies, noting that they "have been rejected by every court to consider them", "do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively", and "suffer from significant, admitted flaws in methodology".
However, it is worth noting that Dr. Anderson's views regarding the relationship between video game violence and aggression have been endorsed by some other authors who are experts in media effects, and by the American Psychological Association's 2005 resolution on electronic media violence, although the APA later declined to participate in the Brown v. EMA case, citing inconsistencies in the research.


The point: His studies are flawed. Studies saying media caused these things are almost all flawed. Don't use flawed studies to make policy.

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Response to toddmiller (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:04 PM

2. Just remember, figures can lie, and liars can figure.

I'm not arguing the preschool initiative, but his Race to the Top is destroying public education (and no, that's not hyperbole). Everything's becoming about tests the kids don't care about and are heartily sick of, and more and more of us are dealing with students who cannot read, think, or write because they're being taught how to do multiple choice tests instead.

Several studies now have proven that tying teacher pay to test scores doesn't result in higher outcomes, but that's a key part of RTTT that the administration refuses to change but instead is seriously enforcing. Trust me, Sec. Duncan and all those "reformer" junkies aren't about actual science.

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Response to toddmiller (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:18 PM

3. He left out some really important facts.

Half the story is no less a lie for being half right.

High quality EC programs help low SES kids in the first few grades.

You can see the effects on high school graduation rates and in college attendance.

But ...

Many EC programs aren't "high quality."

They have few to no effects on middle and upper class kids. They are there, after all, to make up for inadequacies in the families that the kids are born into. It's politically dangerous to say that those families are inadequate. But in terms of education and school culture, they are.

By 5th or 6th grade, most of the effects of the high-quality EC programs have vanished. You can still see the effects, given a large sample size and the right stats and the right datasets, on high-school and college attendance rates.

A lot of the payback isn't with the kids' education itself. The researchers narrow and widen their research and criteria as needed to prove their point (hard "science" seeks disconformation of their hypotheses, social science usually keeps looking until it finds support). A lot of the benefit is keeping the kids out of harm's way. It's providing them with food and shelter. It's providing the low-income parents with free day care so they can keep their jobs and provide better for their families. But it's always sold as "education."


There'd be far more actual "education-based" payback if the EC programs were cut in half and the savings put into "middle childhood" programs. Because the families that failed the kids by age 5 aren't going to just pick up the slack, by and large; they're going to continue to fail the kids when they're 9 and 10 and 14 and 15. We can't do that, however, because a lot of the discussion is disengenuous. It's about feeling good, paying lip service to a cause, then achieving the actual goals that the programs are billed as providing. Even if the programs did *nothing* except warehoused, clothed, and fed the kids, we'd still be pushing for them. We know that their educational benefits are temporary, with trivial results 10 years later, yet we trumpet the trivial as essential. Let's just sell them as what they are: federal daycare for both low-income parents as well as those who shouldn't be parents.

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