Education: September 2010 Archives

Public Education

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It undermines the family's role in educating children. The responsibility becomes de facto the state's. And the next time someone suggests academic performance is tied to spending, show them this, two dramatic graphs by Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute showing massive increases in spending (adjusted for inflation) and in the number of teachers over the years--class sizes have gradually shrunk--and no increase in academic performance. The President is simply a mouthpiece for the pro-tax-and-spend NEA on this issue.

And that's understandable. The Left is in epistemological denial over what Thomas Jefferson knew to be the case. Did he refer to the typical student as "rubbish"? Yep. The truth is deeply inegalitarian. The Left's religion is equality. I say religion because it is not only the worship of the unseen but, more dramatic, it's the belief in what we all know to be fundamentally untrue: people are unequal.

It's all about IQ and the family. The latter was conclusively shown by the James S. Coleman Study that libs have conveniently forgot.

One can receive a decent education at the crappiest of schools. It's all about personal volition.

When I suggest to my children and wife--who is employed as a teacher--to educate the children once they hit the junior high school, they treat the proposal as unworthy of consideration. Only a socially maladjusted crank would consider removal of his children from the state's pedagogical embrace. Yet, this is the time when performance declines, esp. nationally. And if your town has a middle school? Forget about it--academic standards tank. And high school is largely a waste of time. The bright students who are a bit nerdy, shy, and non-athletic pay a big cost in a lack of popularity. It's truly no exaggeration to say people go to college to learn what they should have in high school.

No more than 20 percent of 18-year-olds can cope with college-level material, a fact documented by Charles Murray in his 2008 book Real Education. ~ John Derbyshire
I don't think we fully appreciate the societal costs of seemingly endless "schooling." One is the restriction of the baby-making window of women. After the five-year party at an education-free zone, entrance into and a foothold gained in the job market, what age is one? Thirty-four or -five? Ultimately, it all comes down to demographics. College-educated white women barely have a child apiece. By about 38 their biological clocks are going all Marisa Tomei. (Remember My Cousin Vinny?) White women with advanced degrees average less than a child. If you don't believe me, come on over and I can point out the graph in _The Bell Curve_ that is frightening to me.

People are coming to appreciate it, recently for example, that dramatic piece in The Weekly Standard. Philip Longman's Empty Cradle. And there's Mark Steyn's America Along.
That's Bill Ayers, the collaborator on the president's autobiography, who, in an unusual move, was denied the respect of getting to be "emeritus" at the University of Illinois.

He's apparently too far out to the leftists there. Curious. Guess where Obama launched his political career? Bill Ayer's family room.

Modern American Education

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What is it, really? The argument in favor of vouchers has long been won on the intellectual level when, in 1990, the Washington Post wrote that when both the conservative Heritage Foundation and the liberal Brookings Institution agree on its benefits, the argument is over.

Laura at The Thinking Housewife agrees that something is amiss with modern-day schooling, linking to the wonderful John Taylor Gatto in another entry, "The New Dumbness." He's the former teacher of the year in New York state, who came to realize the approach stifles truly independent though.

Laura writes:

Whatever its failures or triumphs in the realm of learning, the American public education system is a resounding success as an employment agency and as a prison system.
So on pure Public Choice grounds, it's the naked self-interest of those employed in the system that insure its perpetuity. I spent a year at SAU2 as a high school teacher in the mid-1990s. That was enough for me--for whom teaching is a calling and no mere job--to switch to the lower-paying private position. I can teach there.

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