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"You could be in China making cheap toys!"
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Hansgrohe Offline
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Post: #1
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

Once again, another opinion peace. I am comparing an extreme admittedly, but this is simply how I feel.

I notice that a lot of adults and school snobs alike like to tell students that hate school, "well, you could be in China (or some other country) making cheap toys/whatever with little pay", or we could still be in the Industrial Revolution working in factories (where indeed, children actually did fight for free education). Before I came onto this site, I agreed with that viewpoint. I mean, I would really repeat the same thing and say, "homework is better than working in a fucking factory". Though I'm not saying that I would rather work in a factory, I've noticed (gasp) a few glaring holes in this.

1. School itself is modeled after factories. The 19th century, to be exact. Schools were meant to prepare for the gritty industrial life of the 1800s and early 1900s.

2. I understand that in many cases, child labor is often forced upon children in developing countries, but so is school. We are forced to attend a place we don't like. We have no rights in that area. We are expected to come every day. We must be indoctrinated. In general, we don't like it. We must be with people we may not like. It's all forced upon us just as much as labor is upon children in other countries.

3. Perhaps one of the biggest of them all, most of the time those in child labor get paid. Once again, I am not saying that child labor is better, and much of that payment is generally low. These children generally aren't allowed to live their lives. But the same things can really be said about school, except that we don't get paid.

4. Most child laborers aren't unionized. But students aren't truly unionized either. There may be such things as a "students union", but these are largely ineffective at actually changing anything at schools. Student "unions" or "senates" are not even remotely comparable to labor unions that exist in the real world. They can strike on their own will, ask for a change in the way things are done, etc. Student "unions" and "senates" can't even fight for something as basic as letting iPods being played on school grounds during lunch time. It's not a real union. Children working in factories during the Industrial Revolution actually did have a degree of power, because unions were huge in the fate of the country, and still are today. Not in school.

I'm not saying that working in factories or mines are better than going to school. If I had to chose between the 2, I'd go to school. But what I'm saying is that school isn't necessarily better than child labor. For example, it's forced against your own will, you don't get paid for it, you spend a fairly sizable chunk of your life there when instead you could be following your own passions, but school won't let you do that. I understand that it really could be worse, but what I just can't stand is that some adults like to not take students complaining about school seriously, as if it were simply immaturity.

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10-10-2013 10:37 AM
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Ky Offline
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Post: #2
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

Precisely. The school model resembles that of a factory, when it should be modified to meet today's society of thinkers, feelers, and annoying social butterflies. There is no choice involved with public schools, just as there is no choice involved in anything in China. It might as well be the same thing.

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10-10-2013 10:39 AM
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154bmag Offline
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Post: #3
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

Chester Flyod, the superintendent of schools in Goose Creek SC said, "Most schools nowadays resemble a business or factory. Most businesses are trying to produce a product that looks exactly the same with certain tolerances. If they're building Ford pick-ups, they want them all to look about the same, maybe a little different paint on each one. And, human beings just aren't like that."

"When will the world listen to reason? I have a feeling it'll be a long time." --Dexter Holland

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows as government grows, liberty decreases. " --Thomas Jefferson
(This post was last modified: 10-10-2013 11:24 AM by 154bmag.)
10-10-2013 11:24 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: "You could be in China making cheap toys!"

DoA, you hit on a fundamental question: do people get to choose? And, closely related to that, is what kind of maps people are able to find to navigate those choices.

(For example, getting to choose what you wear, or which way you do a given assignment, are certainly choices, but neither is the same as making choices relevant to your overall life path.)

Hansgrohe, very good points. School has its issues. Changing it is going to take a way to find some real leverage against the various counter-arguments. I think we're getting close, and what you wrote above is a step toward that.

To take another step, consider the following: I think this is relevant to your argument, even though it conflicts with child labor = school argument, but give it a chance.

Here's one visual perspective on the difference between "child labor" vs. what many of us experience (or have experienced) in school.

(1) Google image search for "child labor": http://www.google.com/search?q=child+labor&tbm=isch

Click on it. Scroll through it. Analyze what you see. Notice what you feel.

(2) Google image search for "bored teenager": http://www.google.com/search?q=bored+teenager&tbm=isch

Click on it. Scroll through it. Analyze what you see. Notice what you feel.

Those are two very different sets of circumstances. One reason is the age difference (young kids vs. teens), one is what they're doing (manual labor vs. sitting and yawning), one is their level of misery. But yes, those images generally depict a lack of meaningful choice.

The difference is, many of those who can make it to School Survival have some degree of meaningful choice, or can find their way to it. Many young kids working in mines around the world are in much rougher predicaments.

But, working in a factory -- depending on the factory -- is an okay "day job" for some people, if it gets them a paycheck, at least. And yet, of course, it depends on the factory. Just like life in a school -- anywhere in the world -- depends on the school, and the people in it.

Here's one take on this general conversation, from a recent TED talk. Watch it. Let's discuss this and so many other things Discussing the global context, and various people's take on it, is one of the steps out of the factory when it comes to learning.

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154bmag, "human beings just aren't like that" -- exactly. People aren't "one size fits all." And life is different than some kind of clockwork world, especially once you really start looking around. But one thing is clear: people aren't all the same. And that's important to understand on so many levels.

As I see it, factories can be good or bad, just like schools. The way people live their lives, whether they work at a factory or not, can be good or bad. But maybe the real differentiating factor is, can someone come along and say, "this can be done better?" -- or are people operating in a world (or local environment) where despair and coping are the status quo?

Thoughts? And.. as "essays" -- whether text-based, visual, or videos -- what can any of us do better to create a meaningful learning experience? Half a million posts and growing, there must be a way to build on what we've all learned from these forums over the years (or months, weeks, days, or house) each of us has been here.

(The more we can learn and demonstrate that learning, the better the argument we'll have for why school can be done differently, any any level. And, as a result, maybe even factories and mines.)

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10-10-2013 02:36 PM
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Hansgrohe Offline
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Post: #5
RE: "You could be in China making cheap toys!"

(10-10-2013 02:36 PM)xcriteria Wrote:  Hansgrohe, very good points. School has its issues. Changing it is going to take a way to find some real leverage against the various counter-arguments. I think we're getting close, and what you wrote above is a step toward that.

To take another step, consider the following: I think this is relevant to your argument, even though it conflicts with child labor = school argument, but give it a chance.

Here's one visual perspective on the difference between "child labor" vs. what many of us experience (or have experienced) in school.

(1) Google image search for "child labor": http://www.google.com/search?q=child+labor&tbm=isch

Click on it. Scroll through it. Analyze what you see. Notice what you feel.

(2) Google image search for "bored teenager": http://www.google.com/search?q=bored+teenager&tbm=isch

Click on it. Scroll through it. Analyze what you see. Notice what you feel.

Those are two very different sets of circumstances. One reason is the age difference (young kids vs. teens), one is what they're doing (manual labor vs. sitting and yawning), one is their level of misery. But yes, those images generally depict a lack of meaningful choice.

The difference is, many of those who can make it to School Survival have some degree of meaningful choice, or can find their way to it. Many young kids working in mines around the world are in much rougher predicaments.

But, working in a factory -- depending on the factory -- is an okay "day job" for some people, if it gets them a paycheck, at least. And yet, of course, it depends on the factory. Just like life in a school -- anywhere in the world -- depends on the school, and the people in it.

Here's one take on this general conversation, from a recent TED talk. Watch it. Let's discuss this and so many other things Discussing the global context, and various people's take on it, is one of the steps out of the factory when it comes to learning.

Hidden stuff:

You definitely make a good point about the images of child labor and school. Once again, I definitely knew that I was comparing two different extremes. I understand that child labor in most countries involves mundane tasks often done for corporations. Sometimes they're not necessarily forced to do it, but because of their poverty they really have practically no choice in the matter.

From what I got from the child labor images, I got these feelings:
-Sadness
-Weakness
-Suffering
-Impoverished
-Abused physically and mentally

From the bored teenager in school, I got these feelings
-Boredom
-Slight anger
-Suffering (a much different kind of suffering, though)
-Generally not impoverished

The big parallel indeed is the lack of freedom. In child labor, kids are forced to go because they must support their families, or they can't afford the education themselves (they might love to go to school in any Western country). In school though, kids are forced to go by law. Neither want to do what they're doing.

I think this is also where our sets of standards come into play. I'd say that to the kids working in child labor, they'd feel as if school in the United States would be one of the greatest experiences in their life. On the other hand, students in the United States can't stand school at all, and would rather be doing anything else they'd consider much more meaningful in their life. Generally, students don't have to put up with the harsh conditions that child laborers suffer.

I did watch the TED talk. A lot of these Chinese people working in factories making iPods, etc, a lot of Westerners like to think of human rights abuses, etc, but to many of these people this can even be considered somewhat of a god-send. They make more money than they would have on farms, and, though obviously they're not going to enjoy the work, they definitely feel a step up, able to live in cities. They got to study many new things they never would have learned. Of course, I definitely agree that their conditions can be improved, such as directly teaching the workers new things relating to their job.

China is definitely not the only country experiencing this. Countries like Mexico and Brazil have experienced complete radical economic transformations. I'm not saying that working conditions in electronic factories are amazing, but to many of these people who work in these factories, they're making more money than they were accustomed to, are (to an extent) learning new things, and they no longer have to emigrate, either.

But then again, we're comparing different factories. A Chinese factory making Apple products may open opportunities to many people, but mines in Rwanda not so much.

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10-10-2013 03:50 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #6
RE: "You could be in China making cheap toys!"

Yeah, that lines up with what I felt looking at those sets of images. In short, different feelings, but that shared lack of motivated choice.

Here's another take on China, that puts another spin on these global education issues.

Yong Zhao is a Chinese-American education researcher, based on Oregon. He's put his kids through American schools, public and private. Meanwhile, his father still lives in rural China. Zhao provides an interesting perspective on the whole situation: in short, China (and other countries) have copied the American standards-based education model, and yet they are failing them in their search for innovators like Steve Jobs. Meanwhile, Zhao's father adds his "I'm happy here... why do anything different?" perspective on the situation, rather like my own father (who has a PhD) and brother (who graduated from college, but is happy delivering food and newspapers, while watching TV.)

YONG ZHAO: "Redefining 'Excellence'" | #PSP2012
https://vimeo.com/54027761

(10-10-2013 03:50 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  The big parallel indeed is the lack of freedom. In child labor, kids are forced to go because they must support their families, or they can't afford the education themselves (they might love to go to school in any Western country). In school though, kids are forced to go by law. Neither want to do what they're doing.

Exactly. In a world filled with so much choice, why can't people use that choice?

And yet, many in the developed world are faced with an overload of choice... from what to buy in the supermarket, to what to do with their lives.

Sheena Iyengar is one researcher I've found who has looked into that side of things, and given a number of talks about the problem. Here's one of them:

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(10-10-2013 03:50 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  I think this is also where our sets of standards come into play. I'd say that to the kids working in child labor, they'd feel as if school in the United States would be one of the greatest experiences in their life. On the other hand, students in the United States can't stand school at all, and would rather be doing anything else they'd consider much more meaningful in their life. Generally, students don't have to put up with the harsh conditions that child laborers suffer.

Exactly. I think one step toward addressing this discrepancy is to understand the scenarios of people around the world. This gets into a big set of conversations... but it's easier than ever to dig into the complexities and differences around the world. The basic pattern I'm seeing is that it's all more complex than "this place vs. that."

(10-10-2013 03:50 PM)Hansgrohe Wrote:  But then again, we're comparing different factories. A Chinese factory making Apple products may open opportunities to many people, but mines in Rwanda not so much.

Exactly. here's one of the darker global scenarios, though it seems the child labor aspect of this has been cleared up (or is being carefully hidden.)

Hidden stuff:

And yet, there are even more angles to the global situation. Here's a short clip from a documentary featuring the "One Laptop Per Child" (or OLPC) program, from another part of the globe, rural Peru:



Watch on YouTube

"More than the bugs, I get bored.

I want to learn more about the things that I don't know"


In Uruguay, half a million of these OLPC laptops have been distributed in a population of 3.3 million. Many more people around the world have access to mobile devices. But what all this connectivity amounts to, depends in large part on how it's used.

That's a good chunk of content... but it's clear that around the globe, people are on all kinds of situations. I can link quite a few more videos, and there are many more out there to find... but of course there are many problems in the US.

What to do with all this information, and so much more out there, is another story. But in short, the implication I see is that learners need to learn how to navigate all of it, rather than being locked into "listen to this info from decades ago" style spoon-fed information.

But, the world is changing. Choice exists in many places. So why not in how people learn?

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ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
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10-10-2013 05:00 PM
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Trar Away
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Post: #7
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

It would seem more efficient for everyone involved to teach students how to comprehend information and then let them at it instead of involuntarily leading them through it. If they are interested, they will do so.

I had no idea about coltan either. Thanks for that!
(This post was last modified: 12-10-2013 08:35 AM by Trar.)
12-10-2013 08:31 AM
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Lime Offline
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Post: #8
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-emotion

Now replace "eat his sheep's brain with chopped liver and brussel sprouts" with "go to school", and "food" with "education".
12-11-2013 10:20 AM
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Post: #9
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

This NEEDS to be listed under important threads.....

their pee should hv been shot out like a ki blast breaking the rocks

oh and also No one has any rights. We're free, rights create invisible restrictions. But we live in a society where the majority accepts rights to be true.
04-18-2017 06:41 AM
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Hansgrohe Offline
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Post: #10
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

I call the shots.

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04-18-2017 07:25 AM
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Post: #11
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

But if you DON'T list this under important threads you're calling the WRONG shots......

their pee should hv been shot out like a ki blast breaking the rocks

oh and also No one has any rights. We're free, rights create invisible restrictions. But we live in a society where the majority accepts rights to be true.
04-18-2017 08:40 PM
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Math_n_Logic Offline
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Post: #12
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

Aside from providing counterarguments for the claims, the whole claim is logically fallicious. It gets a random extreme to make someone feel bad and learn to "appreciate" what they have. Pretty typical of people who lack actual arguments to defend their beliefs.
(This post was last modified: 04-19-2017 02:29 AM by Math_n_Logic.)
04-19-2017 02:29 AM
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Hansgrohe Offline
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Post: #13
"You could be in China making cheap toys!"

It's just another way of saying "we're too lazy to actually reform the damn thing".

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04-19-2017 04:17 AM
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