Foreign DL Graduate Degrees

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Filmmaker2Be, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. asianphd

    asianphd Active Member

    Thank you so much for your reply. It makes sense.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Sound like fun. Sounds like the Union Graduate School in the 1970s.
    Lots of places have measured this. Here's one:

    Here's another:

    Here's another:

    Here's another:

    In fact, I'm struggling to find a ranking that does NOT have the US at the top. I'm sure they're out there somewhere, right?

    I do agree that having some top universities doesn't guarantee the system as a whole is on top. But it seems to be. (A good comparison would be healthcare, where the US is on the cutting edge of medicine while our healthcare in general is ranked 47th by the WHO.)
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Well, here's my problem with the ranking...

    For starters, US News and World Reports is, you'll notice from the name, a US based publication. And a publication it is. It isn't an international watchdog tasked with overseeing educational rankings.

    You'll also notice that many of the rankings you've cited are incredibly vague. What, exactly, is the measure for an educational system's "strength" let alone what constitutes "best education?"

    I am not trying to be a smartass here. I'm asking. Look at your first link. The information provided for the US is as follows:

    $20.5 trillion
    327.2 million

    None of these stats have anything to do with education. At least not directly. It provides no rationale whatsoever as to what makes our educational system rank higher than the U.K. or why the Netherlands, for example, is a few rungs down. The narratives are even more useless. Here's what it says in the text block for the Netherlands...

    What the hell does that have to do with the country's educational ranking?

    These are buzz words. "Strong" and "Best" etc don't actually tell us anything. In fact, I asked you a direct question, how are we the best? And you responded with multiple links (from a US based magazine) that just says "Yup, we're totes the best."

    So, since you're struggling to find a ranking that does not put the US at the top, I'll help you out by looking at rankings that measure actual data... (16th out of 23 for Literacy Proficiency)

    Speaking of Literacy, here's another ranking that puts us down at number 7 (Pretty much all of Scandinavia beat us):

    And quite a number of countries beat us in Math and Science as well...

    So, again, aside from a magazine that makes its money primary from selling the US educational system with data provided by US institutions, do you have any objective measure that says our educational system is "the best" or, perhaps we should take a step back and answer the question "What makes an educational system 'the best?'"

    Unfortunately, this race for "the best" has blinded us to issues in our country. You can have the best healthcare in the world but if it only benefits a relatively small portion of the population, your healthcare system isn't so great. Our kids are graduating from high school and earning college degrees and yet, when tested, are testing as borderline illiterate. I can tell you, having taught my fair share of CC classes, that reading comprehension and the ability to write a coherent sentence are skills that are in much shorter supply than we as a society are willing to admit.

    So I'm going to need some other piece of data to show me how we are doing so much better than Finland, for example.
    innen_oda likes this.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    He offered four links, one of which was from a U.S. source and three from non-U.S. sources.

    That's a function of the K-12 system, not the higher education system. I don't recall anyone claiming that the U.S. system of K-12 education is the best.
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    As far as I can tell, we are talking about "educational system." It's a whole system. You can't say "Well, we are absolutely terrible at educating our kids from K-12 BUT we're AMAZING at educating them after that point." It just does not follow.

    We have countries where it is the norm for kids to be speaking multiple languages fluently by the time they reach high school. And we have this country where speaking more than one language is incredibly rare and typically only occurs when the child has a non-english speaking parent.

    Our math and science outcomes are crap. Our literacy is horrific. People with advanced degrees from our universities have tested as being functionally illiterate and we're actually going to beat the drum and say "Nope, we do it way better than anyone else?"

    Come on now.

    That's just some relics of the idea that if you claim that the US is anything other than the best country in the whole world then you're a traitor and should move to Pyongyang.

    And Steve, you're right, the other sources are not US. However, their measure of "best" isn't really based on how well we educate people.

    The measures are:

    Resources - How much the government spends on higher ed (we are most decidedly not top ranking in that category, btw)
    Environment - This measure appears to solely be based on how many women are teaching in higher ed and are in the student body
    Connectivity - How many international students (we do not rank in the top here, either)
    Output - Now, here we can make an actual academic argument. This is how much research our institutions are cranking out. That's great! We're number 1! However, if you read the narrative, it says that we're number 1 for volume. Per capita, Scandinavia beats us. We have significantly more schools than all of Scandinavia combined. So we pump out more research. Their academics, however, are producing more research per person.

    These are all then weighted together at 20% each to determine an overall "best."

    Access to education is not a measurement. Quality of instruction is not a measurement. Student outcome is not a measurement. Cost to the student is not a measurement. Academic support is not a measurement.

    So we're really good at being really big and letting women into the mix. Again, please tell me how this makes our educational system "better" than Finland or Norway's. More importantly, please tell me how a country can say "We have the best higher educational system" while in the same breath saying "Yeah, our K-12 isn't the best."

    We're the best at handing out diplomas to people even if they can't read. Aside from that, we're really good at patting ourselves on the back and making things incredibly expensive.
    Johann likes this.
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    As an aside, I really dislike notions of "the best." Many things are highly nuanced and don't rank well in a simple hierarchy. You may recall that US News and World Reports changed its law school ranking based on pushback from the schools that felt their programs were being left out. You have some schools that are the best at placing people in high paying law firms. But you have others that are really good at providing law clinics and making their graduates practice ready before they even take the bar. You have some schools that are lower tiered but have higher bar passage rates than higher ranking schools (CUNY Law, for example, has a bar prep program that people from other NYC based law schools avail themselves of because it is considered to be THAT good). It's very difficult to say which law school is "best" because the term "best" is elusive and can be misleading.

    Same goes with any best. Best restaurant, best watch, best school, best car etc. My Subaru Forester is amazing for where I live. I do not think it would be the best choice if I lived in Arizona or even if I lived in New York City which is still in my current state!

    There are things that the US does well. We are not, however, "the best" country nor do we have "the best" educational system. And when we refuse to even consider those realities as even possibilities, we miss out on opportunities to improve what we have.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Your beef isn't with me and it's not worth a response beyond what I've already provided. It's a silly argument. Pass.
  8. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    This foreigner is of opinion that on balance you do, in fact, have "the best" country. Part of it comes from willingness to admit the areas where you guys fall short; if you think US has trouble with admitting it's faults, try living in Holy Mother Russia or in Canada for a bit.
    As for higher ed system, it's not without flaws, but does have unique strengths. In other words, there are meaningful metrics under which it's in fact "the best".

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