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 Devaluing a university degree

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PostSubject: Devaluing a university degree   Tue 28 Apr 2009 - 10:02

Ottawa Citizen (Canada) - 27 April 2009

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...Now, there are some Down syndrome people with IQs reaching 70 or 80, who grow up to have wonderful and productive lives — they marry, hold jobs, have friends. They still remain in the “low average” range of cognitive ability, relative to the general population, but they attend and benefit from high school. Ashif Jaffer no doubt is on the high end of the spectrum.

There’s more: Ashif Jaffer not only graduated as an Ontario scholar but received an entrance scholarship to study for a degree at York University. Is this a happy story, or what?...

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Jules
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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Wed 29 Apr 2009 - 9:01

Just wondering about peoples thoughts on this?
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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Wed 29 Apr 2009 - 11:54

I found that really difficult to read. Every paragraph made me get quite annoyed at the fact that the author has placed every single person with DS in a box and said so many derogatory comments about people with DS but overall his main point actually offends everyone not within the bounds of what he considers a college IQ level because what he is really saying is that no matter how hard you work at something and try and understand it, your IQ dictates whether or not you truly understand something and should be allowed to pursue a degree. Geez, imagine what the world would be like if he made the rules. We would all have an IQ test at a certain age, be told that we aren't smart enough for an unlimited number of jobs/professions and spend our lives doing jobs suited to our apparently low IQ levels. No thanks. My point of view for Blake is I want him to at least try different things and work hard. I will never have the opinion that because he has DS we should have a lesser expectation of what he can do. I completely understand that things may/will be more difficult for him and he may require assistance but isn't that true of everyone??

Anyhow that is my 2 Money !!
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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Wed 29 Apr 2009 - 12:32

I found that it devalued our kids myself. I mean, I know that to get through uni you have to understand the concepts well enough to work a job that involves those concepts. Fair enough. But inability to sit exams doesn't mean inability to understand. Maybe they should look further into their methods of assessment.

This doesn't just apply to the 'intellectually challenged' either. Many disabilities mean testing has to be approached differently.

Also, ability to do exams or write papers doesn't necessarily mean you do understand concepts either. I have a friend with a certificate in business computing. But in reality, she knows less than most of us. She can use the internet and play games, but that's about all.

When I was at teachers college, I did some research on writing essays, and the basic premise was that it was all in the WAY you wrote, not WHAT you wrote.

Sure, if, for example, I send my kids to school, I want them to have a teacher who knows what they are doing - but a degree doesn't prove this, as evidenced by the many screw-ups working in the system!! In fact, outcomes were better BEFORE teaching degrees became the norm!

So I say, that disability or not, everyone deserves the respect of being given a chance. IQ tests as a measure of success are ludicrous. When I was 8, our teacher divided the class into 5 groups and said that those in group A would make it in life. Those in group E might as well forget it now.

Well, I was in group A and have NEVER held a full-time job. One boy in group E became a Business Manager for a newspaper. Now, that teacher is the one who should have been in group E!!!!
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caspearson
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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Thu 30 Apr 2009 - 19:26

kiwiaussie wrote:
When I was at teachers college, I did some research on writing essays, and the basic premise was that it was all in the WAY you wrote, not WHAT you wrote.

That is sadly so true! I finally worked that out in third year uni and now seem to do really well with my essays even though they don't actually say anything useful! I used to stress about learning the subject too, until I found out, there's nothing to learn as you can't have independent thoughts yourself, just regurgitate what others have written before you. Oh that is very cynical isn't it! I think the value of a degree was long lost before anybody with a disability was allowed to achieve one. Personally, I'd like to see all this 'formal' education thrown out the window and completely revamped to a more practical 'informal' way of learning. So glad they now have 'prior learning' etc to acknowledge those who DO actually know what they're doing but haven't had the joy of sitting at a desk for years and years to 'learn' how to do it!

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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Thu 30 Apr 2009 - 20:40

Completely agree with you Cas in relation to needing to regurgitate rather than have an opinion of your own. I found this to be true through high school, uni and when doing my CA.
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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Thu 30 Apr 2009 - 23:54

I got my Welfare Diploma without ever going to the library. It wasn't very hard to pass the course just using the internet and a couple of our textbooks. I had friends at school who were not hugely bright in terms of grasping concepts and who didn't do so well at exams but then went on to uni and simply through just doing the work required, got their degrees.

I can see their point that if the young man can't actually reproduce the information, he shouldn't get the degree. But if he can, and I don't believe IQ is relevant to being able to reproduce information, then he should get the degree. Personally I believe the whole concept and consequent assumptions of IQ testing is b$%#%&! ..... oh, can I say b$%#%&!?? Feel free to moderate me and change my wording. I have a friend who says he has an IQ of 140 but he has very little practical understanding of the necessities of day to day life, can't hold a job down and spends his days playing computer games and researching UFO's on the internet. I have other friends who make no such claims to high IQ's who are brilliant in what they do and extremely functional in life.

I don't care what Talitha's (or anyone elses) IQ is. I care that she achieves what she personally feels called to achieve and lives a satisfying and abundant life: That she loves and is loved and valued.
If that means she wants to get a degree in something then I will fight for her to be able to do that to the best of her ability. I don't believe that getting a degree in something automatically guarantees that the person is competent, and not having a degree doesn't mean they are incompetent.

Having said all of this, I wonder if the kid actually wants to do his degree or if his Mum is trying to achieve something for her own benefit?
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PostSubject: Re: Devaluing a university degree   Fri 1 May 2009 - 15:53

Quote :
Having said all of this, I wonder if the kid actually wants to do his degree or if his Mum is trying to achieve something for her own benefit?
I have to say, this crossed my mind too. I think that something those of us with SN kids need to get past is the need to 'prove' themselves normal in some way. Even those with 'normal' kids can try to live their lives for them in terms of uni etc, so I guess this is a very real danger that can arise when we push our kids too hard to be 'normal'.

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I care that she achieves what she personally feels called to achieve
That could make a great motto for ALL of our kids!! Love it! clap
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