The Reality of Finding a job in Academia

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Samarda
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24 Sep 2011, 10:06 am

Does anyone have any experience with this?

Will: See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're gonna start doing some thinking on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don't do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f****n education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.

Here are some quotes about this issue specifically in North America:

Quote:
This appears to be what universities and the federal research agencies are expecting of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, the sorry sweatshop workers of Science. More and more are raising their voices in various scientific journals, including Nature, to complain that one or two-year temporary jobs ("postdocs"), with salaries worthy of a high-school dropout, and the demands to move as often as once a year are breaking apart personal lives and families across the U.S.
Nature goes on to mention two success stories, and ends up stating that postdocs are a "worthwhile sacrifice" and "worth it in the end".
How are two success stories out of an unspecified number of horror stories supposed to convince a scientific mind?? In one "success" story, the postdoc writes 65 applications for tenure-track positions and interviews in 13 places, before finding a place where both people can get jobs. I am not kidding. This is the best "success" story that Nature could find! How shameful. It is obvious that Nature serves the interest of a greedy academic establishment that is hungry for cheap labor, so young scientists beware of their nasty trap! The best advice I can give you is never to give up living near your significant other for a lousy job in Science, such as graduate school or a postdoc.


Quote:
In the meantime, many scientists that may have expected at the beginning of their careers to work on building public knowledge for humanity, will find themselves working for dangerous war projects, snooping technology, homeland security, or weapons of mass destruction. These technologies are already making it easier to curtail freedoms at home, under the excuse of security. They have already produced deadly new weapons that madmen can use (i.e. the anthrax cases are now known to have originated form a U.S. government laboratory). The further effect of these policies is to detract many foreign students from enrolling in U.S. graduate schools, therefore reducing the pool of talent in the U.S.


Quote:
Personally, I have been searching for a job in the private sector for about one year now. I have a Ph.D. in Physics from a prestigious university, excellent grades, and good communication skills. So why am I having so much trouble finding a job? The economy has been slow to recover, so that is one reason. The other is clearly due to the quotas, since many jobs that I would have wanted to apply for required U.S. permanent residence or citizenship. I have turned down two research position offers from U.S. universities, mostly because they offered me temporary jobs that require me to move every two years or so, the research topics were of low quality, and they offered to pay only half the market salary. So, if you are a foreign professional educated in the U.S. and cannot find a good job, you are not alone!


Quote:
The general public is unaware that a serious humanitarian crisis is occurring in the legal profession. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of recent law school graduates have been unable to find work in the legal profession while being burdened with often over $100,000 and in some cases even over $150,000 of law school loan debt (tuition + living expenses) without even considering undergraduate student loan debt. This debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Because the general public believes that all lawyers are rich, unemployed and underemployed-involuntarily-out-of-field lawyers look like huge losers to non-legal employers, and as a result they often have difficulty securing non-legal white collar employment because they are perceived as being overqualified, as being losers who couldn't make it in a profession where everyone is guaranteed to rake in gobs of money (as the general public believes), or as being a job flight risk (leaving as soon as one of those abundant $160,000/year entry-level jobs comes along).

In short, many new JDs' lives have been almost completely destroyed by JD overproduction. In my opinion, this sort of economic devastation--unemployment, underemployment, and the poverty brought on by non-dischargeable student loan debt amongst otherwise hard-working, ambitious, well-meaning, often highly intelligent young people is a national tragedy and humanitarian crisis. It is very probable that some of these poor souls, drowning a deep sea of despair, even commit suicide.


Quote:
The work you must put in and the many years you will spend in graduate school will shake your emotions and stamina to the core. I honestly advise you not to do it. However, I must emphasize that a career in Science, via a bachelor's or master's degree, is still highly rewarding since it gives you the opportunity to get work experience early on. A bachelor's or a master's degree is also more flexible than a Ph.D., in spite of the much trumpeted belief to the contrary, because you can later on acquire knowledge in another professional or academic field. So if you have trouble finding a job now, believe me, graduate Ph.D. programs are no escape. Jobs for Ph.D.s in Science are extremely scarce in academia (see my previous posts), and private sector jobs may also be very hard to get, depending on your particular situation.


Quote:
Why do I say graduate school is a trap? Because it is like a siren song for idealists that are seeking knowledge and want to dedicate their lives to learning. I found out, very late, that postdoctoral positions are really a glass ceiling for most people in pursuit of knowledge: only a very lucky few will get through to a rewarding research and teaching career. So only the elite-of-the-elite-of-the-elite can make it through: believe me, even being a postdoctoral researcher in a top school makes little difference! I just need to warn everybody about this because I made this mistake, and I do not want other people to fall into the same trap! Postdoctoral positions did not exist until recent years, and they are simply a mechanism to get fresh inexperienced researchers to do work that professors themselves do not want to do, and need someone to do it for very little money. Case in point, let me tell you that a postdoctoral researcher makes: $30,000 to $48,000, the median being in the high 30's. You are probably thinking I am a materialist, but nothing could be further from the truth! I am an idealist, otherwise I would not be a researcher. My point is that you will get paid very little money for several years after your Ph.D. is completed, and then you will get nothing! I was just talking to a researcher/recruiter from a prestigious institute, and he point blank told me that to get a tenure-track position I needed to a) Have won a fellowship or prize(s), b) Have about six years of postdoctoral experience! So here is the official career track: 4 years of college + 7 years of Ph.D. + 6 years of postdoctoral work + 6 years of tenure-track work. That means roughly 23 years of university work is the median time needed to get a tenured professorship , Think about the work experience that you will not get as a result of spending many years doing a Ph.D.. If you think that is attractive, go ahead!


Quote:
Do you think that is fair after investing ten years of more in your college education and foregoing a regular salary? The typical American does not find this attractive, so there, more than 50% of the Ph. D. students in the Natural Sciences must be imported from developing countries. The jobs in the government labs may not be suitable for what you want to do, so you will be left with many hard choices. You may either leave your plans to pursue your own research, and find a research job that leads to a reasonable career, or you may decide not to ever give up, and end up spending countless years in poorly paid jobs until you finally get that coveted semi-permanent scientist position. Furthermore, you will have to move continuously from one postdoctoral position to another, as often as once a year or two, and you may not have much say as to where you will have to work next. Finding a professorship job is much less likely than getting stuck in a postdoctoral holding pattern, since, circa 2005, every single open (Physics) assistant professorship position in the U.S. receives between 120 and 180 applications. Yes, you read that correctly, and this is by no means an exaggeration, it is completely accurate. Please indulge me and ask a tenured professor how many applications they got last time they had an opening. Every university with a professorship position in Physics in the U.S., even the small, out-of-the-way liberal arts college receives these many applications. The top schools are in the upper range. The reason is simply supply and demand, coupled with a huge demographic shift and stagnant federal funding for civilian research. Given reasonable demographic and budget projections, this situation is not likely to change much in the next ten or twenty years. So, my advice to you, the prospective Physics Ph.D. student, is to think about this very carefully. You will need a lot of luck, not just talent, to make it through this process in academia. You may need to switch careers mid-way. I would advice you to get a job outside academia as soon as possible after your degree. And wait, there is more...



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24 Sep 2011, 2:45 pm

Okay, you've posted a bunch of uncredited quotes. What's the question? If you want to know if getting a graduate-level education guarantees a job in academia, then no. It never has and never will, but it greatly increases the chances one would have without one. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Getting a certification as an auto mechanic doesn't guarantee a job as an auto mechanic, either, but it greatly increases the chances. If you are asking if getting a graduate education is worth the money and time spent, then that is entirely up to the person spending the money and time. If a person feel the expense and sacrifices are worth it, then they are. If one doesn't, then no amount of spending will make it otherwise; they would just be throwing good money after bad -- and, incidentally, irritating the hell out of people by putting the blame for their disappointment on the program of study rather than on themselves where it belongs.

Academic research simply isn't for people who want to tally pro and con columns and come out with a balanced ledger. Nothing against that, there are many people who find it the way to a peaceful and enjoyable life. Personally, I found it a soul-killing experience, but I have a very intelligent brother who is quite happy with his easily tallied life. I have no doubt he would find my life far too unsettled and insecure for comfort. If a person is going to pursue academic research, they have to be the kind of person who doesn't mind if the columns don't exactly tally in a tangible way. They have to love what they're doing. It has to be fun for it's own sake rather than for what can be gotten from it.



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26 Sep 2011, 11:06 am

Do you have a link for that? I would like to evaluate the source.


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SadAspy
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26 Sep 2011, 9:38 pm

I have a master's degree. I can't even get INTERVIEWS for academic jobs (with one exception, but it was only a part-time position).



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27 Sep 2011, 7:19 am

My jaded 2 cents.

Academia promotes its own.

Want a career in academia?

Spend too much on education.
Buy into all the dogma they want students to believe (this will work for the largest portion of academia).
Be an ass kisser and social climber. The people already working in academia are your only way in.
Be insanely brilliant in a way academia adores.

The only way for an "average" person to get in is to typically get a job as an adjunct professor (hired for short term and specific classes). Once you get in that way, there is a higher chance of being hired to teach more classes, and it counts as experience for a traditional teaching job. Typically, a person with NO teaching experience can be hired right into a college buy having X education and experience in the field for which they need an instructor (e.g., an accomplished journalist being hired to teach journalism in a college program).

Want in straight from school? It will hardly happen.



Samarda
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Samarda
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27 Sep 2011, 4:56 pm

What I see in Academia from my own experience is this

- Conceptual Pluralistic Power : emphasize that power is not a physical entity that individuals either have or do not have, but flows from a variety of different sources. Rather, people are powerful because they control various resources.

- Collective Narcissism : as a form of in-group identification tied to an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief about the unparalleled greatness of an in-group.

- Rankism : can take many forms, including exploiting one's position within a hierarchy to secure unwarranted advantages and benefits (e.g. massive corporate bonuses); abusing a position of power (e.g., abusive parent or priest, corrupt CEO, bully boss, prisoner abuse); using rank as a shield to get away with insulting or humiliating others with impunity; using rank to maintain a position of power long after it can be justified; exporting the rank achieved in one sphere of activity to claim superior value as a person; exploiting rank that is illegitimately acquired or held (as in situations resting on specious distinctions of social rank, such as racism, sexism, or classism.

- Model minority : refers to a minority ethnic, racial, or religious group whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the population average by measuring income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability.

- Aristocracy : "rule of the best"

- Promotion of High Culture - The term has always been susceptible to attack for elitism, and, in response, many proponents of the concept devoted great efforts to promoting high culture among a wider public than the highly educated bourgeoisie whose natural territory it was supposed to be.

- Classism is prejudice and/or discrimination on the basis of social class. It includes individual attitudes and behaviors, systems of policies and practices that are set up to benefit the upper classes at the expense of the lower classes. It can also include attitudes and behavior of prejudice and discrimination by members of the lower class to members of the higher class.

- Elitism/Plutarchy endorses the exclusion of large numbers of people from positions of privilege or power. In contrast to the Pluralistic ideology that public policy decision(s) should be (or are,) the result of the struggle of forces exerted - directly or indirectly, - by large populations.

- Intellectualism - Anti-view These critics argue that highly educated people form an isolated social group whose views tend to be overrepresented amongst journalists, professors, and other members of the intelligentsia who often draw their salary and funding from taxpayers. One Economist argue that the academic culture is pyramidal, not polycentric, and resembles a closed and genteel social circle.
Meanwhile it draws on resources from taxpayers, foundations, endowments, and tuition payers, and it judges the social service delivered. The result is a self-organizing and self-validating circle.
- Another criticism is that universities tend more to pseudo-intellectualism than intellectualism per se; for example, to protect their positions and prestige, academics may over-complicate problems and express them in obscure language (e.g., the Sokal affair, a hoax by physicist Alan Sokal attempting to show that American humanities professors invoke complicated, pseudoscientific jargon to support their political positions.) Some observers argue that, while academics often perceive themselves as members of an elite, their influence is mostly imaginary: "Professors of humanities, with all their leftist fantasies, have little direct knowledge of American life and no impact whatever on public policy."
- Academic elitism suggests that in highly competitive academic environments only those individuals who have engaged in scholarship are deemed to have anything worthwhile to say, or do. It suggests that individuals who have not engaged in such scholarship are cranks. Steven Zhang of the Cornell Daily Sun has described the graduates of elite schools, especially those in the Ivy League, of having a "smug sense of success" because they believe "gaining entrance into the Ivy League is an accomplishment unto itself."
- It is also an ideological belief that only those who attended the most elite or prestigious universities (such as Ivy League schools, Grandes Écoles, Oxbridge) and Russell Group are capable of obtaining wealth and power. Proponents of academic elitism justify this belief by claiming that this is just a by-product of capitalism.

- Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments are made and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education. Criticisms of Marxism have come from the political left, right, and libertarians.
The most common form of meritocratic screening found today is the college degree. Higher education is an imperfect meritocratic screening system for various reasons, such as lack of uniform standards worldwide, [7] [8], lack of scope (not all occupations and processes are included), and lack of access (some talented people never have an opportunity to participate because of the expense, most especially in developing countries).

- Technocracy denotes a system of government where those who have knowledge, expertise or skills compose the governing body. In a technocracy decision makers would be selected based upon how highly knowledgeable they are.



Samarda
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27 Sep 2011, 5:18 pm

The mechanisms we have constructed to ensure fairness and quality have the unintended side effect of putting people of unusual creativity and independence at a disadvantage.

· Those who follow large well-supported research programs have lots of powerful senior scientists to promote their careers. Those who invent their own research programs usually lack such support and hence are often undervalued and underappreciated.

· People with the uncanny ability to ask new questions or recognize unexamined assumptions, or who are able to take ideas from one field and apply them to another, are often at a disadvantage when the goal is to hire the best person in a given well-established area.

· In the present system, scientists feel lots of pressure to follow established research programs led by powerful senior scientists. Those who choose to follow their own programs understand that their career prospects will be harmed. That there are still those with the courage to go their own way is underappreciated.

· It is easy to write many papers when you continue to apply well-understood techniques. People who develop their own ideas have to work harder for each result, because they are simultaneously developing new ideas and the techniques to explore them. Hence they often publish fewer papers, and their papers are cited less frequently than those that contribute to something hundreds of people are doing.

To give the advantage to people who are unusually creative and independent, we should change the measures we use to judge quality and promise.

Sometimes it is asserted that more independent and creative thinkers constitute a greater risk in hiring. But I think an examination of the careers of individual physicists shows that on the whole the opposite is true. It is the creative and independent thinkers who are more likely to continue to make important contributions throughout their lifetime. They are driven by their own curiosity and need for understanding, rather than by career motives. Their research is not going to fall off when the techniques they learn in graduate school run out, for they have the ability to invent new ideas and directions and learn new techniques.

We also greatly underestimate the risks of having large numbers of people follow speculative but trendy research programs, even those led by very accomplished senior people.
String theory

Over the past 20 years, string theory has attracted the effort of a large number of theorists and mathematicians. Nevertheless it is clear that the program has not progressed as originally envisioned. Many key conjectures remain unproven, including the basic claim that the theory gives finite answers. The hope for a unique theory and the promise of new falsifiable predictions have dissolved with the discovery of evidence for vast numbers (greater than 10300) of theories. The well-studied versions disagree with experiment, and little is known explicitly about the many versions that are conjectured to agree with observation. Despite much effort, no evidence has been found to confirm the key hypotheses, including hidden dimensions, grand unification, and supersymmetry. I suspect most practitioners can agree that if string theory is to fulfill its promise, it needs an infusion of new ideas and directions.

The problem is that the kind of people most likely to have such ideas have not recently had easy times making careers, compared to less independent people, who were content to follow the fashion in string theory. Each year, one or two trendy directions came and went, often leaving unsolved problems. Young string theorists feel a lot of pressure to follow the changes, if they are to have the benefit of recommendations from senior people. Several young string theorists have told me they simply have neither the time nor the freedom to ask their own questions or develop their own ideas.
Alternatives to strings

More worrisome, young theorists who pursue alternatives to string theory have had great difficulty finding any academic positions in the US. This is true of those who pursue alternative programs in particle physics, like Technicolor and preon models, and also true of those who pursue alternative approaches to quantum gravity, such as dynamical triangulations, causal sets, and loop quantum gravity. These subjects are all pursued much more vigorously outside the US, because leading researchers in these areas are drawn to leave US universities by offers of very good opportunities elsewhere.

One approach barely represented in the US is quantum gravity phenomenology, which studies how to test quantum gravity theories experimentally by means of high-energy astrophysics experiments such as the Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope and the Pierre Auger Observatory. The experiments are supported in the US, but most theorists who are developing the relevant phenomenology are outside the US.

Other examples show the hazards of too much concentration of resources on a few areas, to the exclusion of others. For decades, the foundations of quantum mechanics got virtually no support in the US; it was believed to be a direction without promise. In the last 10 years the fast-moving field of quantum information has shown that important experimental and theoretical results about foundations of quantum mechanics were always there for the finding. In other cases, such as LIGO, the concentration of resources on a large project has weakened the ability of NSF to support individual scientists working on their own approaches to fundamental questions.
Some modest proposals

But my purpose here is not to argue for or against any existing research program. It is to propose that, under the pressure to support programs advanced decades ago by now influential senior scientists, we have forgotten that theoretical physics is most often advanced by people who ignore established research programs to invent their own ideas and forge their own directions. Such people are often, but not always, young people, whose careers are the most vulnerable. If we do not explicitly make room for these kinds of people, they will leave physics or they will continue, as now, to leave the US to do the physics they want to do.

Some other countries seem to be better at making room for the independent thinkers. The UK, through the Royal Society Fellowships, is able to pick very bright mavericks who would not be hired in the US, and give their careers good starts. France picks a small number of very talented young scientists and gives them permanent positions; that security immunizes them to some extent from sociological pressures. Canada has opened the Perimeter Institute, whose specific mandate is to be a home for independent foundational thinkers, and other such projects are in planning stages around the world.

In addition to the importance of selecting individuals over research programs, science as a whole benefits from diverse points of view. When a group of researchers aggressively pursues a research program but has little interaction with either experiment or outsiders, the group tends to over-interpret results, undervalue risks, and complacently postpone facing up to hard questions and negative results. This is groupthink—a well-documented phenomenon in government, intelligence agencies, and business. When it happens in an academic specialty, the fault is not with a scientist who aggressively promotes his or her program. The whole scientific community makes the rules that allow consensus to be established without sufficient evidence.

It is ironic that the US, which rightly encourages racial and gender diversity, worries less about ensuring the creative and intellectual diversity on which the health of science depends. Some obvious recommendations follow from a comparison of practices in the US and elsewhere.

· Young scientists should be hired and promoted based only on their ability, creativity, and independence, without regard to whether they contribute to any research programs established by older people.

· To prevent overinvestment in speculative directions that may end up as dead ends, departments should ensure that different points of view about unsolved problems, and rival research programs, are represented on their faculties.

· Scientists should be penalized for doing superficial work that ignores hard problems and rewarded for attacking the longstanding open conjectures, even if progress takes many years of hard work. More room could be made for people who think deeply and carefully about the really hard foundational issues.

· Research groups should seek out people who pursue rival approaches, and include them as postdocs, students, and visitors. Conferences in one research program should be encouraged, by those funding them, to invite speakers from rival programs. Instructors should encourage students to learn about competing approaches to unsolved problems, so that the students are equipped to choose for themselves the most promising directions as their careers advance.

· Funding agencies and foundations should take steps to see that at every level scientists are encouraged to freely explore and develop all viable proposals to solve deep and difficult problems. Funding should go to individual scientists for individual thought and not to research programs. A research program should not be allowed to become institutionally dominant until supported by convincing scientific proof of the usual kind. Before such proof is demonstrated, alternative and rival approaches should receive encouragement to ensure that the progress of science is not stalled by overinvestment in a direction that turns out to be wrong.

· A foundation or agency could create a small number of Einstein fellowships, to go specifically to theorists under 40 who invent their own ideas and programs aimed at solving foundational problems in physics. As Einstein told us, to solve such problems requires concentration for years, regardless of fashion, so these fellowships should offer 10 years of support and go only to theorists whose work cannot be categorized as a contribution to an existing approach.



BasalShellMutualism
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29 Sep 2011, 11:02 pm

Wow. A lot of good reading here!


All I will say will relate not to the structures of invisible power embedded in academia via methodology control, program structure, the reliance on "connections" and advisor camaraderie. Instead I am simply afraid that too much emphasis is placed on "sociability" in a field where asocial Dr Doolittles were once accepted if not expected.

We are witnessing the rise of the social in a new form; the rise of the hive social that is invisible yet permeates everything we do. Better eat your Happy Meal or ELSE!

But seriously, I am taking graduate courses with two young (30s) professors who are both very charismatic and funny. Every day there is a laugh or gel moment. Which is fine up until the point that all students hereafter expect that same social likability. Some of this might come from the use of "Rate my Professor" which I approve in theory assuming an informed, well intentioned use. But most students seem to judge on personality, niceness, and cute/hotness. Maybe I'm going overboard but being "liked" is high up and being social and "like" everyone else is a near imperative to participate in the social hive.

Seeing these "cool" profs really made me rethink whether or not I am cut out to teach social sciences or anything rather. I am not desperately trying to find a route towards lab based jobs or maybe library work where being "cold", odd and socially awkward will not keep me from doing my job.



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30 Sep 2011, 7:04 am

This reminds me of academic research around economic issues (in different areas like economy, social sciences, geography, development research...etc.).
There you have one dominant school of thought and every research that is done and everything that is taught adheres to this school of thought and others are only passed by briefly if at all. To get a job there/publish a paper/..etc. you have to accept this and work with the methods and instruments which have been developed there.
Even when it comes to who gets the funding it'll rather be already established research groups than new and different ones.
I don't see this being very efficient at all.
There has to be more room for independent researchers, otherwise science research gets stuck.



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06 Oct 2011, 8:10 am

Mayel wrote:
This reminds me of academic research around economic issues (in different areas like economy, social sciences, geography, development research...etc.).
There you have one dominant school of thought and every research that is done and everything that is taught adheres to this school of thought and others are only passed by briefly if at all. To get a job there/publish a paper/..etc. you have to accept this and work with the methods and instruments which have been developed there.
Even when it comes to who gets the funding it'll rather be already established research groups than new and different ones.
I don't see this being very efficient at all.
There has to be more room for independent researchers, otherwise science research gets stuck.



Not only do you have to work within and approved by researched models, the people who perpetuate the models are the gatekeepers of research material. There would be no way to "get at" materials for testing without going through "the system" to put it generally.

Theoretical frameworks have their place but more interdisciplinary and unconventional new methods should be met with less skepticism.



Samarda
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08 Oct 2011, 11:29 am

In school I witness unequal access to intellectual captial and cultural capital , where certain socioeconomic classes supplement thier education to affect individual access to different levels of academic achievement. Education is another socializing institution that is responsible for the informal methodical transferance of cultural values and beliefs considered essential to the social reproduction of individual personalities and entire cultures , and in my case under the hand of the church.

Lower classes since the Renaissance and Industrial revolution have been considered unimportant by son's of privileged classes whom were able to attend European universities. By the reforms of the 1800's , school reformers began to view education as essential to the country's economic growth , part of national education goals. They promoted free schooling sending both socio-economic classes to the same schools to create harmony. As industrialization and bureaucratization intensified , managers and business owners demanded that students be educated beyond grade 3 and 4 , such that well-qualified workers be available for rapidly emerging "white-collar" jobs in management and clerical work. Then millions of European immigrants came over seeking the meritocracy of North America. By the 1920's a core curriculum was introduced , as reflected in the back to the basics of movement of the 3 R's , enforcing stricter discipline in school. In the post-industrial society , we see teachers whofeel that thier job's are encompassing too many divergent tasks but schools still aren't benevolent.
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Now my response to other higher authorities is the controversy surrounding : what should be taught , how it should be taught and who should teach it.

I particularly complain about the social control of schools:

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Schools emphasize conformity creating narrow contemplation but not all support nationalism as it is in Japan , where obligation to one's and learning skills are necessary for employment , which are frequently highlighted.
-> what this results in Japan is called Hikikomori , or complete social withdrawel due to the pressures of society.

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Schools are responsible for teaching : discipline , respect , obedience , punctuality and perseverence.
-> One must be disciplined by more discipline , one must respect the discipline and remain obedient and punctual.

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Schools encourage younger people to be good conscientious students and future workers and law abiding citizens.
->Aspergoids have a strong sense of morality and they are conscientious enough to see what is wrong.

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Schools identify the most-qualified people to fill the positions available in society. As a result students are channeled into programs based on individual ability and academic achievement.
->This is what 'genuine' meritocratic schools teach , one has to suffer , even when one doesn't have the 'tools' to do so - resulting in failure.

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Restricting activities : Mandatory education laws require children to attend school to create a smooth functioning democracy and capitalism. Which is good as it keeps students off the street in the job-market , even when schools where the cause of it in the first place due to status anxiety -> the inability to reach societies expectations.
School

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School legitmates and reinforces social elites by engaging in specific practices that uphold the patterns of behavior and the attitudes of the dominant class. But even this is inherently unfalsifiable because this relies upon interpretation and analysis of complex events, which are never fully conclusive, unlike the experimentation of hard science.

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Schools track student progress which leads to social inequality : The stated purpose of tracting is to permit students to the study of subjects suitable to theier skills in interests. But what about the perceptions of students on low tracks which reflect the impact that years of tracking and lowered expectations can have on people's educational and career aspirations , coincidental but not causal to the mention of genuine meritocracy earlier. Tracking is one of the most obvious mechanisms through which poor and minority students recieve diluted academic programs , making it much more likely to be behind middle-class counterparts. Tracking systems may result in student's dropping out of school or ending up in dead - end situations.

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Higher class backgrounds have more structure in the classroom and have lower expectations on student's academic achievement. When analyzing schools with working-class , middle-class , affluent-class and elite-class , researchers found

- Working class students:
Emphasize procedures and rote memorization without much decison making, choice, and explanation for why something is done in a particular way. Working class students and poverty level students are expected to take orders from other's , work on time , follow bureaucratic rules and experience high levels of boredom without complaining.
Overtime these students may be disqualified from higher education and barred from obtaining credientials necessary for well paid occupations and professions.

- Middle class students:
Stress the procedures for figuring and decision making involved in getting the right answer.

- Affluent class students:
Focus on creative activities in which students express thier own ideas and apply them to the subject under consideration

- Elite class students:
Develop student's analytical power's and critical thinking skills, applying abstract principles to problem solving.

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Educational credentials are extremely important in societies that emphasize credentialism - a process of social selection in which class advantage and social status are linked to the possession of academic qualifications.
Credentialism is driven by not the actual need for increased knowledge but the desire to become part of the members of professional groups to protect thier own vested interests - namely income , prestige , autonomy and power.
Credentialism is closely related to meritocracy - a previously defined social system where assumed to be acquired through individual ability and effort , where people who acquired the appropriate credentials gained the posistion through what they know , not who they are or whom they know. Credentials will primarily stay in the hands of elites.

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Labelling and the Self-fulfilling prophecy:
The process of labelling is the process in whereby a person is identified by other's as possessing a specific characteristic or exhibiting a certain pattern of behavior. The process of labelling is directly related to the power and status of those person's who do the labelling and those who are labelled.

In schools, teachers and administrators are empowered to label students in various ways from grades , written comments on classroom behavior and placement in classes for example based on standarized test scores or classroom performance, educators label students as special ed , low achievers , average , gifted or talented.

For some students , labelling amounts to a self-fulfilling prophecy defined as a unsubstantiated belief or prediction resulting in behavior that makes an originally false belief come true.

A classic form of self-fulfilling prophecy is the use of IQ , where it is supposed to measure inherent intelligence , apart from any family or school influences on the individual. Tests are used as one criterion determining placement for classes and ability groups.

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Using Labelling Theory to examine the problems of IQ

In an experiment in an elementary school where researchers intentionally misinformed teachers about the intelligence test scores of students whom were randomly selected , some where labelled as having extremely high iq scores while other's where labelled as average to below average. Teacher's began to teach the exceptional students in a different manner and the 'exceptional' students began to outperform thier 'average' peers and excelled in classroom work.

What if the result of sterotypes based on IQ and race means that some students of colour are less capable of learning?

It is assumed by psychometricians that IQ is genetically inherited and people cannot become smarter than they are born to be , regardless of their environment or education. Racial and ethnic groups differ in "intelligence gene's as people from Asia score higher on IQ than thier white american's and africian americans score lower than thier counterparts on average.
Low intelligence leads to social pathology , high rates of crime , dropping out of school , and ending up poor. High intelligence leads to success as family background plays a secondary role. However many scholars disagree with Herrnstein and Murray's research methods and conclusions.

1) they used biased basesd statistics to underestimate hard to measure factors
2) they used scores from the Armed Forces Qualification test , which is based on schooling people have completed where the authors claim intelligence is immutable when this contradicts that statement with consciously acquired skills.

Inherited 'mental' inferiority seems to take I life on it's own when the labelled believes such differences exist.
Thus they are placed in special education classes on the basis on IQ scores when students where not fluent in English and could not understand the directions given for the test.

Labelling is thus a social construction that may lead to stigmatization and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Labelling with IQ has been an issue throughout the 20th century. Immigrants from southern and eastern Europe whol arrived in the country at the beginning on the 20th century had lower than average IQ scores than did thier Northern European immigrants who arrived from nations such as Great Britain.

IQ testing became a self-fulfilling prophecy: Language barriers did not encourage them or give them an opprotunity to overcome language barriers or other educational obstacles. Therefore outlining that the possibility in differences in IQ is attributed to linguistic , educational , abd cultural biases are largely ignored.

Gifted children whom are labelled as better , may achieve a higher level in discrimination because painting people as super-intelligent makes it possible for other's to pretend that they do not exist , a clear example are Asian's whom are ignored by the government , ignored by schools because of high SAT marks and they seem almost invisible.

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Samarda
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08 Oct 2011, 11:36 am

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