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High expectations for America’s youth

July 18, 2010
The Control Theory I class I’m currently in is being taught by two professors. The second is a diminutive Russian fellow who’s clearly a much newer immigrant to this nation than the other one. I always find these “new” professors amusing because there’s so much they don’t know about American culture: like our poor education system.
Circuits are some of the systems as unlucky mechanical engineering students are being asked to model in this class which requires a basic understanding of circuit analysis. Most of us grudgingly had to take a circuits class prior to now, but for me it had been a while. And while Kirchhoff’s Circuit and Voltage laws were familiar to me I realized I was a little rusty and would need to review the material on my own before the homework. Because as our Russian professor sped through the material, without going over the laws or nodal analysis explained, this is really high school material, you should have learned all this in high school.
It makes me wonder what high school students in other countries are really exposed to. When my professors comment on how basic circuits or heat flow or basic thermodynamics is something we should have learned in high school I wonder what high school they went to. I took honors physics and it was pretty cool, but we didn’t get far past Newton’s laws. Beyond that it was a lot of building stuff, running experiments, and a few days where we learned the whole series of events that took place at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Am I missing the boat here? I went to a “good” school for the county, what is everyone else learning in high school?
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