Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It may seem that US educational system favour individualism, but there are no indications that it has any significant consequences. Google failed to find correlations between performance at college and performance at work [1].

Also there are schools where children are free to do anything during school time including entering/leaving any lecture or activity at will at any moment. Yet there are no indications that on average it makes those that attend such schools any worse in a later life [2]

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/business/in-head-hunting-b...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Free-Learn-Unleashing-Instinct-Self-R...

Fortunately there are more metrics to judge the value of an education and a life than "how productive were they at fucking google".

It's not that academics are not a useful precursor to work, but that the academy and the company are evaluating people on apparently orthogonal metrics. Which in itself is a really interesting result.

No kidding. I once read an article where a lady at Google was giving resume advice for how to stand out and get hired by an awesome company, like Google. She gives her own resume as an example, and after one glance I'm frankly pissed off.

Why? Her resume shows she graduated college at age 12. Well Hells bells, señorita, if I was a genius like that getting hired at Google would be (more of a) cinch for me, too.

Individualism, as a behaviour and a way to relate with peers, is learned in elementary and high school. Passivity and the wilfullness to perform task for a reward are learned in elementary school. Relations with peers mostly develop in teenage years.

It is very unlikely that this decade of taming has no impact whatsoever on future working behaviours, and not explaining (at least partly) the american individualism you speak of. Competing for grades through individual work, the traditional school model imported from Western Europe, might indeed breed individualism and competition. As could a ruthless school environment of punishing and policing could steer a children toward antisocial behaviours.

Mainstream educational theories suggest project-based education as a way to teach teamwork, but critiques suggest it can be distressing and yield lesser results with students already struggling with learning school knowledge.

TL;DR: The studies cited does do not prove the point: it is very unlikely that schooling has no impact on working behaviours.

The point is not that schooling has no impact on future life. Rather that what is taught in school has no impact. Children learns from behaviour of teachers and each other. This knowledge stays. Particular topics that school system thinks it teaches does not stay. Witness widespread functional illeteracy despite apparent ability to read in school.

Children learn from everything, but what will have the most important impact is hard to assess. Most variables that can explain educational achievements and results are highly multicolinear, so saying this has an impact and this has none is really, really hard, maybe impossible. To make an arithmetic metaphor (yes, some school knowledge stick ;) ), I prefer < and > to = and != for social sciences assertions. Even if we like discrete categories because it is makes bold and satisfying statements, using them is always a reduction in precision. Just like in math I guess.

To tackle the question of widespread functional illiteracy, it is necessary to open the Pandora Box of social inequality, as it is generally accepted that the most important variable to predict school performance is the parent's (mother's) level of education.

> Google failed to find correlations between performance at college and performance at work [1].

Well, in Google employees. Which belong to that 1% of the 1% ... etc (and not to mention that many Googlers did not go to school in the US)

Good point. How many people with actual bad grades even make it to Google?

Yet, even if they just found that the difference between 99% grade and 100% grade did not translate to the workplace, that's an interesting result. It's not something I would have guessed at with confidence.

>> It is a terrible thing that our educational system favors so much individualism, even when most important work(Nobel prices, great products or services) are done in teams.

> It may seem that US educational system favour individualism, but there are no indications that it has any significant consequences. Google failed to find correlations between performance at college and performance at work

These aren't incompatible ideas.

You can drill into kids the idea of the lone genius fixing the world (Newton, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, political figures like Thomas Jefferson and FDR) ignoring the history and vast apparatus that supported them, and you can fail to teach them how to effectively work in teams.

As long as you don't grade these things directly (which would be extremely difficult anyways), you wouldn't expect a correlation between a student's opinion on individualism and their grade.

> You can drill into kids

The thing is that one cannot. Or at least there are no idications that those drills have any significant effect on a later life fading away pretty quickly a year or two after school/college. At best during those drills children learn from teacher behaviour, not words. I.e. they learn how to force others to do things they do not understand or need.

Again, how are you measuring this correlation? If it's not something that's measured, you don't have any numbers to correlate with.

You could equivalently say that scores in any particular subject in school don't correlate with success after school, which is usually true. But it doesn't follow that net success wouldn't change if that subject was taught better: not only would you be teaching different techniques than is measured in that correlation, but you also have network effects when more people are trained in something.

An easy example of this is the topic at hand: software development as part of a team, which many schools don't teach (or don't teach well), but is a skill picked up quickly (hopefully) when entering a job with more than a handful of developers. I'm not talking pair programming or anything specific, just generally being able to develop software with other people.

Here you have something that isn't measured at many schools and is important to success at many companies. So you'd find no correlation between the two, but better developed experience would undoubtedly help the worker and the team in that situation (whether or not that's a skill best learned in school vs on the job is a different question).

> At best during those drills children learn from teacher behaviour, not words

Your apparently data-based argument is wandering into gut feelings, but this is what I was talking about. If a teacher lionizes Albert Einstein for single-handedly saving humanity from 19th century luminiferous aethers and inventing the atomic bomb, the idea that progress is only made by hermit inventors is going to continue to propagate. People are born to be math geniuses, they don't have to work at it, etc.

As a part of development team one learns precisely from behaviour of others when one is not a subject of a learning drill. The book in [2] from my comment above was rather convincing that this the most effective way to learn. And such learning does not imply that one learns team work, as one could learn habits of a single most harizmatic person, not from the whole team.

As for teachers lionizing something, then consider that in Soviet Union in school and university one was constantly subject to drills about Communist Party. It did not help the idea to survive at all.

Two words, Selection bias

Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact