Friday, March 09, 2012

Khan Academy: Model for Future of US Education?



CBS News -- "He teaches millions of students a month, yet none of them has seen his face. Sal Khan is a disembodied voice on the Internet, but his teaching method has become so effective that he may be the future of American education. Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks to Khan and to educators who use his popular educational website, "Khan Academy," for a 60 Minutes report to be broadcast Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. Watch a preview above."

20 Comments:

At 3/09/2012 4:15 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

As one who has used Kahn Academy throughout college and even now in the professional world, I fully support his method of education and the results.

 
At 3/09/2012 4:57 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Based on learning outcomes, another summed it up best:

"Khan Academy is no way meant to replace traditional teaching methods in school, but is to be used as support tool."

 
At 3/09/2012 5:15 PM, Blogger Alan said...

I looked at the Khan Academy lesson on Social Security. It swallows the "trust fund" story whole. I hope their math stuff is better.

 
At 3/09/2012 5:21 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

In economics classes, you actually have to think.

Online Learning Has Drawbacks

A study conducted by two economics professors at Michigan State University found that students in a virtual economics course performed significantly worse on examinations than their counterparts in the live sections.

Published in American Economic Review journal...The professors suggest that online courses are better at teaching basic concepts than they are at developing complex analytical skills.

 
At 3/09/2012 5:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Alan: "I looked at the Khan Academy lesson on Social Security. It swallows the "trust fund" story whole. I hope their math stuff is better."

It's not bad for a 6 minute lesson, and fairly accurate as far as it goes. He forgot to define that large input called "Additional Taxpayer Dollars" that will be required from now on to redeem the IOUs in the Trust Fund.

 
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At 3/10/2012 7:04 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: "the" Trust fund. There are 200 Trust Funds in the U.S. Govt.

Every single one of them works exactly the same way - fees, taxes other than income taxes, etc are collected and sequestered for dedicated purposes - "earmarked" as opposed to money "appropriated" from general revenues.

They work the way they were designed to work.

that may or may not have been a mistake - it's a debatable point but it's not a flaw uniquely specific only to Social Security.

For instance, Medicare Part B and MedicAid - both appropriated entitlements combined with premium fees (instead of funded from payroll taxes) ALSO have Trust Funds that work the same exact way as the SS trust fund works.

The gas tax, airport funds, pass ports, civilian and military retirements funds all work almost exactly the same way.

The "trust fund" is not the permanent funding source for SS anyhow, FICA payroll taxes are.

As long as FICA payroll taxes are are the funding mechanism - SS will continue to pay benefits.

In fact, FICA and SS have been designed to NOT pay out more in benefits than FICA generates in revenues - without legislative intervention.

In other words, if no action is take at all - FICA continues on indefinitely and, by law, cannot pay out more than it takes in.

 
At 3/10/2012 3:26 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"re: "the" Trust fund. There are 200 Trust Funds in the U.S. Govt. "

If I had to guess, I'd say that you wish to make a point about the SS trust fund.

As you haven't responded directly to anyone's comment, nor have you addressed the subject of the post, it's not clear what that point is.

Surely you don't disagree that at this time, and from now on, the amount paid out in benefits, will be more than the amount collected in payroll taxes, and that the $2.4 trillion surplus in the form of IOUs held by the trust fund will be redeemed as needed to make up the difference.

Those IOUs will be redeemed from the General Fund, which is money taken from current taxpayers, or by borrowing in the form of marketable treasuries, which means money from future taxpayers.

As there is currently a structural federal budget deficit, there is no money available from current taxpayers, so the money needed to redeem the Trust Fund IOUs will be borrowed against collections from future taxpayers.

Thank goodness the third method of paying debt, inflating the money supply, isn't an option, as automatic COLA raises in SS benefits would partially offset the resulting inflation, making it an ineffective method.

 
At 3/10/2012 3:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"re: "the" Trust fund. There are 200 Trust Funds in the U.S. Govt. "

Ahh. Perhaps you are questioning my reference to "the" Trust Fund.

Since the only trust fund mentioned in any comments on this thread was in connection to Social Security, I thought it redundant, and unnecessary, to describe it as the Social Security Trust fund.

I forgot that you might read these comments and get confused.

 
At 3/10/2012 4:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "In economics classes, you actually have to think."

I suspect that some amount of thinking is required, or at least recommended, for online courses also, unless, of course, you are a Na'vi, in which case you can acquire knowledge directly through your usb appendage connected to your favorite internet access device.

 
At 3/10/2012 6:03 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Surely you don't disagree that at this time, and from now on, the amount paid out in benefits, will be more than the amount collected in payroll taxes, and that the $2.4 trillion surplus in the form of IOUs held by the trust fund will be redeemed as needed to make up the difference."

Oh I don't but I point out that trust funds like the military pension fund work the same way.

 
At 3/10/2012 6:06 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Since the only trust fund mentioned in any comments on this thread was in connection to Social Security, I thought it redundant, and unnecessary, to describe it as the Social Security Trust fund.

I forgot that you might read these comments and get confused."

not at all.. I try to keep you from confusing yourself.

there is nothing unique about the way the SSTF works.

It works like the other 200 trust funds do - and were intended to work.

You don't agree with that but it's not anything that is "wrong" in the sense that it's not a legal practice.

and SS is the ONLY program that does not pay out more than it takes in.

It does, in fact, what others are saying that the appropriated entitlements like Medicare Part B should work... to "cap" payouts to not exceed revenues.

SS already works exactly the way that many say Medicare needs to work.

 
At 3/10/2012 6:39 PM, Blogger Ian Random said...

Al Frankie said on his show that Socialized Security just needs a few tweaks to be fix it. I wish that in the law that the minimum retirement age automatically went up 1 year per decade.

I really like the idea of Khan Academy. When I wasn't so sick, I'd try to precram for school. My mom used to pick-up old textbooks at Goodwill for me to look through. I'm too tired to make use of all these wonderful resources like his and NPTEL that weren't there 10 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/user/nptelhrd

 
At 3/10/2012 7:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"not at all.. I try to keep you from confusing yourself."

LOL

So, you think it's helpful to go on about a bunch of stuff not related to the current discussion?

The only subject being discussed is a 6 minute video from the Khan Academy, an introduction to Social Security. You went off course about a bunch of unrelated nonsense no one is interested in.

"and SS is the ONLY program that does not pay out more than it takes in."

SS is now starting to pay out more than it takes in, and I explained how that shortage will be made up. Are you having any problem with that part?

 
At 3/11/2012 6:15 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

The Khan Academy demonstrated that whether the subject matter is online or not - that the content itself can be crap - as was the case with their SS content.

that was the point.. so you can file down the one on top your head!

As Ian Random said, SS can be relatively easily fixed - especially compared to the other entitlements - and especially so the appropriated entitlements.

Your continued emphasis on the "trust fund" either demonstrates purposeful ignorance or purposeful propagandizing as much of your rhetoric on it has been proven largely false - because you apparently get your "knowledge" from other online sources such as Heritage and Cato - both of whom run disinformation campaigns on things like social security - which in turn..apparently the Kahn Academy then turns around and propagates also.

 
At 3/11/2012 2:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The Khan Academy demonstrated that whether the subject matter is online or not - that the content itself can be crap - as was the case with their SS content"

While the Khan introduction to SS is certainly incomplete, it's only intended as a brief overview, and nothing is covered in detail. What specific part did you find to be "crap"?

You ignored my previous question, and I think it's an important one, so I'll repeat it here.

"SS is now starting to pay out more than it takes in, and I explained how that shortage will be made up. Are you having any problem with that part?"

Do you believe there is a trust fund?

Do you believe it holds $2.4 trillion in non-marketable IOUs?

Do you believe the IOUs will from now on, be needed to make up the shortfall between contributions and benefits?

Do you believe the redemption of those IOUs requires borrowing money that will be paid back by future taxpayers?

If you disagree with any of the above, please explain why.

When you write about easily fixing SS you are speaking only of numbers without considering the people for whom those numbers are important.

While numbers can easily be changed at any time, real people are seriously affected by any changes.

Current workers are forced to contribute 12.4% of earned income to the program whether they want to or not, and they receive an annual statement estimating their future benefit, based on their current and estimated future contributions.

While they understand that it is a pay-as-you-go system, and that they are supporting current retirees, they expect to be similarly supported when THEY retire.

You would tell them, without blinking, that what they expect is no longer possible, and that while they will be required to continue their current level of contributions, or perhaps pay even more, they can expect only 75% of what they have up till now been promised, and even that is only if all goes well. It's possible that their benefits will be even lower.

Do you think workers will meekly just roll over for such a disappointing turn of events, or will there be rioting as there was in Greece when workers were told their benefits would be decreased?

The issue isn't whether contributions and benefits can be changed by royal edict, it's whether people deeply and personally affected by such a change will accept it.

How many Congressmen can you imagine allowing future benefits to be reduced to match contributions once the trust fund runs out? If you can't think of one, then you can see what the problem is, and why it hasn't been fixed already. To fix SS is to commit political suicide.

 
At 3/11/2012 4:31 PM, Blogger gadfly said...

Larry G. argues that SS is funded logically through debt obligations assumed by the Federal Government as are all other government fund obligations. Therein lies the rub.

The "too big to fail" philosophy of government is bringing down our economy and will eventually make us into Greece II.

Private businesses are held to another standard on defined benefit pension plans. Businesses must fund obligations in advance of payments in order to insure the continued viability of businesses.

When congressional Republicans managed to pass legislation to require the quasi-private USPS to fund post-retirement benefits by extracting payments of $5B per year for 5 years for postal employees, the liberals screamed and the requirement has been dropped. So we the taxpayers now pay for these unneeded benefits - unneeded because Medicare supposedly covers retirees.

Since there exists no monetary fund with cash assets dedicated for SS and healthcare in retirement, there is no lock box and it now takes something like 5 or 6 workers today to pay for one retiree's social security and medicare.

 
At 3/12/2012 12:32 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Gadfly: "Since there exists no monetary fund with cash assets dedicated for SS and healthcare in retirement, there is no lock box and it now takes something like 5 or 6 workers today to pay for one retiree's social security and medicare."

It's worse than that. Scroll down to graph 4 to see that at this time there are approximately 3 workers for each beneficiary.

 
At 3/12/2012 2:03 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Looks like Gary Schandling.

 
At 3/12/2012 2:05 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Khan Academy is to traditional schools what the Amazon Kindle is to brick and mortar bookstores.

All the bravado of those who said 'i prefer to hold book in my hand' vanished when they saw that Kindle books were one-third the cost.

The same will happen with Khan Academy. Public school is far too expensive relative to the value (not to mention that female teachers routinely molest boys there).

 

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