Archives for category: Education

Oklahoma is in crisis.

The unions are reporting increased parental support, but they’ve lied so much already I won’t accept anything they say.

I’m heart torn. I hurt. We homeschool. So, it doesn’t directly affect my family, but we’ve always supported our local schools and the teachers we know. The slogan is the walkout is for the kids, but the only fact establishable by empirical evidence is the teachers walked out on the children. It is abandonment, betrayal.

I don’t understand it. I know so many teachers, friends, family (including my daughter), younger, older, former, and current. I cannot doubt the heart of any one of them. I honor and respect everyone one of them. They each have accomplished so much, given so much. I trusted them, would have trusted them, but they did not remain faithful.

Again, I don’t understand. I know these teachers have the biggest, most giving, most loving hearts of any people I’ve known; yet, they walked out.

Not only did the teachers and their unions warn they would hold the children hostage and extort the parents, the parents (and legislators) believed them that their plight was dire (It was.), and the State paid the ransom. The legislators bit the bullet and raised taxes, a large tax increase. Sadly, the old adage held. Pay the ransom and embolden the extortionists.

It is interesting, even praiseworthy, how the teachers have acted, and, moreover, how many in our community have responded. Many private people and businesses have provided goods, services, and cash. It is with very mixed emotions that I watch it all. Despite being intimidated and threatened, we love our teachers and continue to work with them.

Of course, there is very little of anything good can be said of any politician in this whole mess. (Well, a small few, but that is not of concern here.) It is hard to condemn the politicians being under so much stress, intimidation, and disparagement. Some messed up, some just didn’t act right, and a few grandstanded and put on the show at every opportunity, never shying from any deriding or devise remark.

An oft-repeated chant aimed to deride the legislators was, “Do your job!” while teachers constantly thronged them and posted derogatory reports whenever the legislator was trying to attend business rather than offer a sympathetic ear. Teachers have boasted of overcrowding the legislators. Teachers complained when their disruption wouldn’t be tolerated. Teachers (and the grandstanding pols) pitched royal fits when the legislature adjourned early one day, and started slightly late the next. Lose-lose for all the legislators but the grandstanders.

As to doing their job, what is their job? The teachers seem to think it is to raise taxes and give the failing education system more money. Is it the job of the legislature to penalize the citizens of the state to appease the teachers unions?

No, the job of a legislative representative is to represent the people who elected him or her. Being in the district of the chief grandstander, it just might be that the majority in my district did so want more expensive failure in education, and the majority may very well have thought it right that grandstander-in-chief opposed all tax increases for being too small, until the strike was certain. (I wrote him often asking him to not raise my taxes and to not make such spectacle of himself.)

However, it is clear from recent history that most of the voters in most of the districts wanted their legislators to represent their interest in holding the line on tax increases. Maybe moods have changed, but it is simply disingenuous to assert the representatives were failing in their job. The legislators were, in fact, fulfilling their duties and obligations. Again, there is blame can be handed round all round, but on the whole, the legislators were doing their jobs, even while being railed against by the grandstanders and union activists.

Amongst the railing and intimidation and threats, the legislatures settled on a package of tax increases that drew compromise agreement of the required supermajority. A large, and likely painful, tax increase, and there were celebrations and dancing in the streets, even a high-five from the Governor as she rushed to sign the measure.

Yet, the strike was still on.

Come Monday, with new tax increases and new laws funding education confirmed and in the books, the strike came. The teachers walked out of their classrooms leaving students and their parents holding the bag. Betrayal of trust by any objective evaluation.

Yet, the parents bucked up and voiced support. I’ve heard no estimates of how many people had to take off work. The cost has to be over several millions of dollars, just for that first day of the walkout. In Oklahoma, it is illegal for teachers (unions) to strike against the school board (their actual employer). However, the school boards also believed the dire circumstances, and many authorized the walkout, keeping it legal.

Still, day two. Surely the teachers had made their point. Surely, with the extraordinary raise (16 to 18% per teacher, and more money for this and that) and tax burden tolerated, the teachers would be happy, but no. The unions had started the mantra Monday that it was never about the raise, never about “the money,” but about the classrooms, about education in the state as a whole. Oklahoma already spends half of its budget on education. One can argue particulars, but one cannot claim Oklahoma doesn’t care about education. That fact mattered not to the unions.

Now, we’ve muddled through the week. Some schools have called the teachers back to the classrooms. A few never walked out at all. (At least one small district sent a delegation of teachers to represent them while classes continued. Quite reasonable, I believe.)

Still, most, including all the larger districts, day by day canceled class for want of teachers. I know not what most of the school boards have done, but they face the very real possibility of having to fire, perhaps even prosecute, teachers if they (the board members) grow stubborn and insistent. There is no win, only harm, in that prospect. It is still possible. It may come to it in some instance.

I’ve waxed verbose, and I offer my appreciation for reading and sharing my pain. I aim to express my disappointment in the teachers, even in those who have vehemently supported them, but my primary aim is to end the betrayal. I hope the teachers will return to class. It is a sad fight. It is sad that it is a fight at all.

While the teachers say the government has failed, it cannot be said the education system is better. There are systemic problems of myriad sort in our education system, even more than our government system. Both are flawed from inception, with error compounded upon error over the decades. Our defects have grown for more than a century. No thorough fix is possible in even a few years.

But we can start, but not while teachers raise ruckus and disgraced politicians show no shame. The legislators cannot do their job while teachers hinder them.

While I sincerely hope the teachers will return to class Monday, we citizens of Oklahoma, all of us, must continue to call upon our legislature to address the flaws in our systems, all our state systems. They are badly broken. The problems are clear, but the causes are not. The remedies are even more elusive, but we must. We simply must find repairs, and we really must install workable systems before we make them all more expensive. We may find we need more taxes. We likely must revamp our taxing system overall.

No easy answers. We won’t find any if we get complacent. We will repeat this hurtful, tragic fiasco again in a few years if we don’t keep at honest effort for accountability and solutions.

 

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But hatred is best combined with Fear. Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful—horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame. To make a deep wound in his charity, you should therefore first defeat his courage.

Screwtape to Wormwood, per C.S. Lewis

Who Do Teachers Work For?

First, why, in public education, are teachers paid, pretty much, all the same? In life, everything sorts. Some are good at something, most are not. Those who are good sort further into adequate, competent, good, better, outstanding, etc. Shouldn’t the best be paid more than the mediocre? Can’t the mediocre acknowledge their lot and either be content or strive more diligently?

Think back. Didn’t you have a few poor teachers? Weren’t most of your teachers good? Perhaps you had one or two really great teachers, perhaps none, very unlikely more than two. Obviously, the compensation and recognition of the best should be more than the lesser. (Some won’t agree. They have their reasonings and rationalizations.)

Back to the question: For whom do teachers work?

If I hire a teacher to tutor my child, obviously the teacher works for me. Of course, government-organized schools add several complications, but let us consider this simple case.

If I hire a teacher, we two set the pay. We two set the conditions and guidelines for the education. For the most part, I can alter any pertinent consideration, and the teacher can agree or tender resignation. Where circumstances set such arrangements, they are typically mutually beneficial, and mutually satisfactory and fulfilling. This one-on-one arrangement cannot exist in the public school, in the government dictated school. It is the nature of authoritarianism. (Perhaps some of the downside can be mitigated, but that is another topic.)

Let us assume the teacher and I have agreed her duties also include full supervisory responsibilities during the workday, such that she is caregiver for my seven-year-old as well as teacher. Perchance, she recognizes that just down the road, she could earn at least 20% more than I pay her. If she decides she needs a raise (or she will seek her fortune down the road) she can ask for a raise or other consideration. Let us assume I simply am at my budget limits. I cannot pay more or provide any additional consideration that extracts from my budget elsewhere, or I will fall in arrears. Assume I am blacklisted and no one will lend to me. I have no ability to pay more. It is reasonable for said teacher to give notice. She has no future obligation past a reasonable notice. However, would not all agree that she treats me diabolically if she calls me at work the next morning and states she will abandon me and my child at this very moment if I agree not to an 18% raise. (She asserts she is compromising, meeting me part way. Of course, she is also insisting I hire a helper for her.)

Think it through. How is a teacher walkout here in Oklahoma any different in the general sense?

Certainly, there are differences in the details, but how is what the teacher’s unions propose any less extortion versus what I suppose of this fictitious nanny-teacher?

Am I exaggerating that the budget is set? Am I exaggerating that no money can be borrowed? Am I exaggerating the example of extortion with the child held hostage at threat of abandonment?

You may not like my candor, but you cannot call me a liar. These are the facts.

Teachers in the government-dictated public schools still, notionally, work for the parents, yes? Of course, yet there are many complications.

While the ideal is that the teacher is accountable to the parents of the children in her classroom, the fact is, most of those parents are hardly involved. Sadly, most of those who are involved draw the ire of the teachers and administration for being meddlesome. Involved parents may help in one area, but such parents hinder accomplishment of legislative dictates and administrative objectives. If you doubt my assertion here, I consider it probable you are not significantly involved in your children’s school.

The practical matter is the teacher answers not to the parents, but to the signer of her paycheck. She answers to the principal, to the school board, and to the bureaucracy. Let us not overlook the complicating factor that the bureaucracy includes that of the school, that of the state, and that of her union.

In the final analysis, she works for and answers to the principal and this complex of bureaucratic requirements and expectations. When the bureaucracy demands she abandons the children, holding them hostage and extorting the parents, what else can she do? While she probably worries that she will not be paid while on strike, she knows she will not be paid if she is pushed out by the bureaucrats. Our teachers are in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t conundrum.

While the ground truth is harsh, the right thing is clear. Teachers owe loyalty to the students and the parents. If teachers abandon and betray the students and parents…

No one respects a betrayal. Cowardice is the one failing that always hurts, always hurts in every way, always hurts everyone affected, everyone who remembers, everyone failed by the coward, especially the coward.

Hate has its pleasures. Hate is too often used to cover the pain of cowardice. Blame and shame casting, likewise.

The simple fact of the matter is teachers are betraying those they work for and those for whom they are responsible. There is no sin greater than betrayal.

Frankly, if you can’t hack it, get out. What is the adage? First, do no harm. Only harm comes from betrayal. Accept responsibility and acknowledge the truth and stand faithful. Lead by example, not coercion.

Again, remain faithful. Lead by example, not coercion.

Micah 6:8

While teachers and other state workers plan to hold me, the rest of Oklahoma tax payers, and our children hostage, our education leaders do things like extend the contract of the Tulsa Superintendent, paying her roughly a quarter-million per year (plus any official expenses, of course). http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/tulsa-school-board-strikes-three-year-contract-deal-with-next/article_cdd7589c-c7bb-5019-bba9-8a6347b35fd2.html

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/deborah-gist-s-contract-renewed-tulsa-public-schools-superintendent-remains/article_b183e73a-6023-57c2-af55-dbfca517b8f8.html

Apparently, new teachers should only get $31k, and generally not get raises for years (and experienced, proven teachers don’t end up making much more in many instances), but administrators pull in the big bucks, and news editors proclaim how much they deserve it. Hmm…

Still, apparently, the situation is my fault.

I mean, it must be. The teachers and other school officials (and state workers) all clamor that I’m not paying enough taxes. They say shaking me down is the only solution to their problems.

Well, obviously, I disagree.

If the Oklahoma City Superintendent, making only a little less than Tulsa’s, wouldn’t stick it out, I think the problem is not the money. I mean, who walks away from a $220k per year job because of a bad day at the office? It must have been a really bad day.

Sure, the Supers have to be paid something, and that quarter-million won’t cover much of the needs of the districts, but we keep pouring more money into education, and education keeps declining. It isn’t a money problem! The problems aren’t such that money will fix!

If teachers walk out of classrooms in Oklahoma, that says plainly that teachers don’t care about the students. Sorry, no other way to look at it. You can pretend the teachers have no recourse, but that is a lie. It is simply untrue.

In general, in most individual instances, we pay for perceived value. Sure, many things skew this or that, but for the most part, compensation is consistent with perceived value received.

I suspect most people will argue that teachers deliver more value than they are paid for. Well, true. Really, our teachers are delivering more value than they are being paid in compensation, but (you knew there’d be a but) Oklahomans are paying for an education system, not just teachers.

I, for one, think Oklahoma is taking more from me than is justifiable.

Oklahoma governments (including local) take from me in multiple taxes, and they take from me every year–in sales taxes, every day. They take from me with every utility bill, and they take from me every time I buy fuel.

Scott Inman, my representative (who has me blocked on his Facebook page), voted against raising taxes on me. I thank him for that, but he said he did so because the tax increase wasn’t large enough! Good heavens! He shouted that the proposed tax hiked taxes on the little guy, but not on the fat cats. I’m not sure who he meant, but he called them the Republican’s fat cats. Since Scott wanted more taxes on oil, I reject his argument.

Scott Inman and other Democratic representatives insisted on more cost imposition on oil companies. I suppose he thinks “the little guy” is too dumb to realize that the imposed cost is simply passed on in higher fuel prices, higher utility bills. I suppose Scott thinks “the little guy” will feel better about pretending “big oil” is paying a fair share, while each paycheck stretches tighter with increased cost of fuel for getting back and forth to work. I’ll simply remind that no business actually pays taxes. All businesses have costs, and taxes are simply costs. Prices charged must exceed all costs, or the business is bankrupt. Taxes on business, all taxes on business, are simply and only taxes on the little guy.

Overall, the governments of Oklahoma (and the USA) take more from me, by force, than can be justified by the services (including primary and secondary) rendered.

It is too much. Government is too much. The education establishment, with all its state employees, administration, and staff is too much!

We can pay teachers more without tax increases. We should pay teachers more, but it won’t help with the system. Education is broken, and no amount of money will fix it. (Just ask Aurora Lora.) Superintendents have some ability to fix things in their districts, but school board administrators must cooperate. Teachers unions have to get out of the way. Still, all that is only a small part of the problem. The first step is to end compulsion. While we coerce children and parents into State-sanctioned schools, the education cannot but worsen. The plight of teachers cannot but worsen.

Regarding unions in general, they exist to oppose the “boss,” yes?

Of course. Unions exist to collectivise the workers against the employer. The notion, which has sometimes been true, was employers exploited workers for greed.

Okay, but when have parents been greedy and knowingly exploitive of teachers?

Don’t teachers work for the parents?

I know unions disagree, but don’t we all say that teachers work for the parents, for the students? Isn’t that what we all assert?

Then the unions oppose the parents and students.

Yes, there is no way around it. Teachers unions exist to coerce and tyrannize parents, students, and taxpayers in general. That is who teachers work for. That is who unions oppose.

We err with teachers unions. Teachers err with unions.

Union coercion is part of the problem. Nobody likes to be coerced.

Coercion is evil.

 

 

 

I’m not going to explain any of my own history, but I identify fully, exactly, with Jordan Peterson. #jordanbpeterson @jordanbpeterson
Also with Lindsey Shepard.
My views don’t align well with any group I know of. I suspect Peterson would say the same of himself, except maybe for some of his fellow clinical psychiatrists.
 
If he happens to see this, I encourage him to stay strong and to focus on doing what is right. Stay faithful to your heart, your convictions, and the truth as best you can see it.
 
I stand pragmatically. I stand for all I know of history and science, and for realizing what can work, and what cannot.
 
Freedom is the only thing that can work.
 
Coercion is evil, always.
 
Stand for everyone, every group, every segment, no matter their differences, no matter their color, no matter their age, no matter their politics, no matter their religion, no matter their nationality, no matter their conformity. Stand for the individual! Stand for free exercise of conscience.
I support Peterson in his stand against using public education as indoctrination. https://youtu.be/s0EuQe6BOWo
I stand for the abolition of coercive, compulsory education laws.
There are many things that need fixed in education, including basic civility, respect, and freedom in all regards, but none of it matters while we officially coerce parents to force their children to conformity. Public education fails because its only true goal is to make conforming drones, compliant to the political will of the dominant faction.
We are free people, free individuals. It is fundamental. Everywhere freedom is suppressed, every time people resist, and resistance is not futile.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

Sin

We usually define it as messing up, missing the mark. We know, for the most part, what we need to aim at, yet we often miss, either from simple failings or bad choices.

We don’t get around to doing the things we should. We don’t show a kindness when it was deserved. Or we know good and well we shouldn’t do a thing, yet we did it.

Most such, we deal with by repenting, formally for the religious, but in other ways for all the rest. Charitable giving, resolutions (especially at the New Year), we all do it, trying to make right, trying to do better. Good. That is the way of it, and nearly all of us get it, and most of us are pretty tolerant of it because we’ve been there, done that.

There is another sin, though, of knowingly causing harm, inflicting suffering. In general, such are what we, as a society, judge as worthy of punishment and prison. For the most heinous intentional harms, we tend to want our officials to take the sinner’s life. For better or worse, that is the way it is. (It could change. Perhaps we should engage.)

There is a sin, however, one that causes grave harm, that nearly everyone commits, and no one is ever punished for: Supporting compulsory education.

Making laws and forcing people to send their children to government schools, school designed to indoctrinate and to regiment, schools necessarily forcing compliance, conformance, and all things sedentary. These schools would be better for simply removing the compulsory requirements. Why do you support something that so obviously, demonstrably, repeatably, results in harm for so many?

You force it. You cause it. You are responsible. Why do you persist?

Outlaw truancy laws. End this intentional harm.

 

Referencing this FEE article:

https://fee.org/articles/do-schools-really-need-more-money/

Written by Kerry McDonald. Excellent article. Unassailable point. (And she has other good articles at the link.)

It isn’t the money that matters. It is the parents. The farther the parents in the school district are from median, the more exaggerated the ill effects of poverty or affluence. The best school districts tend to be associated with upper-middle class. The worst, well, you get the point. Money looks like it helps because having extra in the parents’ pockets looks like it helps, and having none in the parents’ pockets looks like it hurts, but control for the factors that affect the family, and I think you see that money isn’t the important part.

In short, real world examples, aggregates, and averages, the honest data, show that more money for the education systems and teachers just doesn’t help. The system is rotting, and money will not freshen rot and decay.

I do not support government tax programs to bolster “school choice.” I see no potential net gains and ever more expansive government overreach.

Honestly, where we need to target is freedom of education exactly the same as freedom of religion. Would to God our schools were in as sad shape as our churches.

Don’t miss my point. Our churches and houses of worship of all faiths are isolated from government aid or backing, and our religious institutions are often even persecuted by government, officials, or common people. Don’t pretend otherwise. You know of examples yourself of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other temples and religious organizations that have drawn the ire of someone or other, often with official backing. That is persecution, and you know good and well that no religious organizations get any government assistance, not even religious schools. (Okay, I bet you can find some extraordinary exceptions, but let’s consider the common, typical situation.) Religious organizations do quite well enough, and proliferate well enough, with no government backing and no legal coercion forcing individuals to support them. (Consider the counterpoint in the UK.) If you want education to do better, let it alone, just like religion.

If you want well-educated kids, do it yourself. If you choose to participate in public schools, it is harder, but still doable. Regardless, if you want well-educated kids, you must do it yourself, even if you try to shift some of the responsibility on the public.

The simple fact is that the overall trend in education will be more expense for less results until we rid our culture and legal systems of coercion and compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws, or NOTHING will help. Give people freedom without changing anything else, and watch it start working. (Watch out for those who will be obsolesced by the changes and successes. They will fight to retain relevance, even when it obviously harms the children.)

Again, repeal all truancy laws and grant agency to families, or education will remain dismal. Believe me.

I posted the following to Facebook:

Did you know we are spending 250% more on K-12 public education now than we did in 1960? That is in inflation adjusted dollars. http://www.justfactsdaily.com/question-of-the-day/290652/

The problem isn’t money. Money honestly has very little to do with all of it. We could eliminate the federal budget for education and half the state budgets, and it would hurt, but test scores wouldn’t go down much. (Of course, a lot of that is because test scores are a very poor measure of education success.)

There is a fundamental problem with public education, and that is that coercion is evil. Forcing people to do anything, including what is good for them is evil. If you do it, you are an evil tyrant. At the root, Johnny doesn’t want to go to school simply because you hold a gun to his, no, you hold the gun to his momma’s head, and you tell him he has to go. Of course, you accuse me of being hyperbolic. No, I only slightly exaggerate the emotional aspect of the statement. Yes, you are forcing Johnny to go to school, and you are forcing his momma to make sure of it, and if momma fails, or Johnny refuses, you send the guys with the guns. You pretend no one will suffer, no one will get hurt, but you deceive yourself. The extreme can happen, and occasionally has happened. Overall, though, you see the results in ever spiralling costs, with ever flat test scores, and ever more clueless interviewees in the man-on-the-street gotcha reports. It is sad when people don’t know anything about the Constitution, but it is a sign of true cultural cancer, fatal consumption, when so many people can be asked about the fundamentals of Independence Day, and they can’t come up with anything, and they don’t even know that John Wilkes Booth wasn’t even remotely attached to it.

My favorite anecdote was Jay-walking, where Leno brought in two presumably bright young ladies from our own prestigious Tulsa University, and they couldn’t even ask sound questions in the on-street interviews. They didn’t even suppose Canada has a representative form of government; heck, they couldn’t even fathom Canada had any government. Yeah, our education systems from the youngest to the oldest are broke. One certainly can’t hurt it be trying to make it truly elective.

I’m all for school choice when that choice is not only where to go, but whether to go. Let freedom ring! Abolish all compulsory laws. Let momma decide. Grant her full agency.

We can keep the schools for now. We can keep the government funding for now. Just start by repealing the coercive compulsory laws.

Here in Oklahoma, I would like to see a full constitutional repeal of all truancy laws. Repeal truancy laws from our State Constitution and guarantee the right of every citizen to decide for himself, or each momma to decide for her children under the age of majority. Let freedom ring!

Let freedom ring!

Quoting:

Pluralism holds the key to the vitality of American religiousness as well as to the development of religious civility. One might think that economists long ago would have pointed this out to their colleagues in sociology who were so enamored of the strength of monopolies, since Adam Smith had laid out the whole analysis with such clarity long ago. Trouble is that until very recently, economists were so little interested in religion that the entire chapter on these matters in Smith’s classic The Wealth of Nations was (and is) omitted from most editions. It was not until I began working out the stimulating effects of pluralism on my own that someone suggested I read Smith–and I found this puzzling because initially I could find nothing on the topic in the readily available editions. Today, colleagues in economics find my emphasis on pluralism and competition fairly obvious, while many sociologists of religion continue to believe that I am obviously wrong–that competition harms religion and that I have been misled by inappropriate analogies with capitalism. Of course, the great majority of social scientists pay no attention to such peripheral matters, being secure in their knowledge that religion is doomed and soon must vanish.

Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity, 2011, HarperOne, HarperCollins paperback edition 2012, page 367.

Here is an online source for Smith’s Wealth of Nations:

http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN20.html#V.1.195

Militant German atheist Karl T. Griesinger complained in 1852 that the separation of church and state in America fueled religious efforts: “Clergymen in America [are] like other businessmen; they must meet competition build up a trade…. Now it is clear…why attendance is more common here than anywhere else in the world.”

That, of course, is Rodney Stark in The Triumph of Christianity.

You want better schools? Separation of school and state!

Write your representatives and request adding “and education” to the first amendment of the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Petition your government to get out of schools altogether, especially the federal government. We need our states to reduce dependence on federal money and gradually outlaw federal involvement in any aspect of education within the state.

Our churches, as a whole, inclusive of the plurality, are the best and most successful in the world. Religion is one of our fundamental needs, and we are very successful with it precisely because the government is totally hands off. Education will be likewise if we get the government out of it.

Don’t most of us think our neighbor, our coworker, our friend needs a bit more, a bit deeper religion, a bit more lofty goals? Isn’t, “Aim a little higher,” some of the best advice each of us has received from someone we respect when we stooped a bit low; when we chose to be less than our best?

Of course.

How do we help that neighbor, that coworker, that friend? We don’t run to the government, that is for sure.

We do our best, we live our best in the areas where government is least involved.

Let’s get the government out of our schools.

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/10/james-coleman-leonard-sax-and-age-segregation

Anybody else noticed this article since October? Anybody heard of the Coleman Report, low these five decades?

No, well most research that can be called sound shows at least as bad. Doing school the way we do it is bad. It is counterproductive to civil society. It isn’t politics, it is our rearing of children via state-run institution in segregated, isolated groups. Such groups are certainly not safe, but it is from internal danger, not the dangers foisted on us by the whole of nature.

It is said you can’t fix stupid. Yes, you can. The key is limiting shelter from consequences. The system of schools shelters children from external danger and intensifies the internals. It is truly dangerous.

It is inexcusable once we consider government control, authoritarianism, and coercion. We must stop it. Stop schooling the way we do it. It is bad for us all.

Government schools and coercion to participate are the root of our education and societal problems. Outlaw truancy laws. That is the start. While we force children into schools at gunpoint, we cannot hope to fix any of it. It is a certain path to societal suicide.

Add this:

https://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/E/HeadStart_Feb_3_2010.asp

The research is out there. Formal academics before about 8 years old harms many kids. Sure, structured play and organized activities can have benefits, when applied in moderation, but that is not the objective of the reformers.

Mostly, they want more money and more control.

Mostly, they have delivered failure after failure.

When will we recognize that nearly everything the left leaning education establishment and institutions have tried to do for several decades now has been recycled and disguised implementations of all the same. When will we recognize that it is a failure?

First, get rid of all truancy laws. I favor adding “and education” to the First Amendment, right next to “religion”. Would to God our schools were doing only as well as our religious institutions and houses of worship.

We cannot hope to improve education; we cannot hope to improve the foundation of society, until we stop coercing everyone into the same scholastic mold. If we stop that, then we need to back off the offerings, and especially back off the funding.

Money is not a significant part of the problems we have in education. Freedom is, specifically the lack there of. Standards are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Commonality, mimicry, lack of innovation, and conformity are all parts of the problem. Testing is part of the problem, especially when it is coerced.

Coercion is evil. Stop the coercion, and we can begin to rectify the problems of education.

Of course, parents are the key, as Dr. Bauerlein points out in the link at the top.

I recently saw a quote, and now I cannot find to attribute. So, I acknowledge an outside source for the inspiration, but it seems clear to me that where parenting fails, no other effort, especially no government institution, can make up for it. Parents, you are responsible. Take your responsibility and give it full good-faith effort. You know you love your children; just remember to show it.

Voddie Baucham reminds us that we are silly when we send our children to Caesar and expect them to be something more than debauched Romans.

The best and the worst of our legislators are all Caesar. All of them. We cannot trust them with any aspect of our children, especially education.

For the sake of redundancy, it is not about the money!

http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/vol2complete.html

If unfamiliar, Ms. Mason was late 19th, early 20th century, and she helped figure out how to educate children. She focused on small “public” schools for lower class families.

I’m considering chapters 5 and 6 at the above reference.

In discussing how to prepare our children for dealing with doubts, she points out that evidences are not proofs.

‘Christian evidences,’ defended by bulwarks of sound dogmatic teaching. Religion without definite dogmatic teaching degenerates into sentiment, but dogma, as dogma, offers no defence against the assaults of unbelief.

I agree with her view that we must teach our children the bible with all the information gained from all sources, and we must be sure to not allow for an impression that any of it is proved. Frankly, there is more evidence refuting this tidbit in the bible or that, than there are evidences confirming most of it. Current archaeological sciences dismiss most of the traditional Israel-story. Archaeologists find nearly no evidence for any of the exodus story, and find lots of evidence supporting a developing culture that took a long time to assert itself among other neighboring cultures.

For instance, it is hard for me to dismiss Moses as the author of most of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and some other scripture too, but the consensus has fallen not only against the Egypt-Exodus story, but of the existence of Moses or any leader like him. Hmm… Hard to stomach. Good thing my faith is founded deeper than that.

We need to help our children establish their faith deep too.

This is good:

The Outlook upon Current Thought
Let us look at the third course: and first, as regards the outlook upon current thought. Contemporary opinion is the fetish of the young mind. Young people are eager to know what to think on all the serious questions of religion and life. They ask what is the opinion of this and that leading thinker of their day. They by no means confine themselves to such leaders of thought as their parents have elected to follow; on the contrary, the ‘other side’ of every question is the attractive side for them, and they do not choose to be behind the foremost in the race of thought.

Obviously the most important thing to most young people is knowing the current opinion and conforming to it or rejecting it. Dealing with the importance of opinion seems the starting point. I’ve always tried to discuss things with my children. They are partners. I try to work with them on such things. Dictating just doesn’t seem to work.

Free-will In Thought
Now, that their young people should thus take to the water need not come upon parents as a surprise. The whole training from babyhood upward should be in view of this plunge. When the time comes, there is nothing to be done; openly it may be, secretly if the home rule is rigid, the young folk think their own thoughts, that is, they follow the leader they have elected; for they are truly modest and humble at heart, and do not yet venture to think for themselves; only they have transferred their allegiance. Nor is this transfer of allegiance to be resented by parents; we all claim this kind of ‘suffrage’ in our turn when we feel ourselves included in larger interests than those of the family.

Preparation
But there is much to be done beforehand, though nothing when the time comes. The notion that any contemporary authority is infallible may be steadily undermined from infancy onwards, though at some sacrifice or ease and glory to the parents. ‘I don’t know’ must take the place of the vague wise-sounding answer, the random shot which children’s pertinacious questionings too often provoke. And ‘I don’t know’ should be followed by the effort to know, the research necessary to find out. Even then, the possibility of error in a [reference] must occasionally be faced. The results of this kind of training in the way of mental balance and repose are invaluable.

per·ti·na·cious: holding firmly to an opinion or a course of action.

Good stuff. Well said, even if filtering through a century-and-a-half of speech-shift.

John Wayne’s character in Cowboys, said, “I’m proud of ya… All of ya. Every man wants his children to be better’n he was. You are.”

We can’t accomplish that if we don’t let them try. Prepare them best we can, and be there when they need us, once they really don’t need us any more.

Reservation as regards Science
Another safeguard is in the attitude of reservation, shall we say? which it may be well to preserve towards ‘science.’ It is well that the enthusiasm of children should be kindled, that they should see how glorious it is to devote a lifetime to patient research, how great to find out a single secret of Nature, a key to many riddles. The heroes of science should be their heroes; the great names, especially of those who are amongst us, should be household words. But here, again, nice discrimination should be exercised; two points should be kept well to the front––the absolute silence of the oracle on all ultimate questions of origin and life, and the fact that, all along the line, scientific truth comes in like the tide, with steady advance, but with ebb and flow of every wavelet of truth; so much so, that, at the present moment, the teaching of the last twenty years is discredited in at least a dozen departments of science. Indeed, it would seem to be the part of wisdom to wait half a century before fitting the discovery of today into the general scheme of things. And this, not because the latest discovery is not absolutely true, but because we are not yet able so to adjust it––according to the ‘science of the proportion of things’––that it shall be relatively true.

More excellent advice.

Note the silence of the oracle on ultimate questions. Origin and life, well, that is different than the initiation of biological life. It seems the nature of the universe is to build up self-organizing emergent systems. It is hard to argue that biological life is more than that.

Regardless, origins isn’t about how life began, it’s about how everything began. It isn’t turtles all the way down. You have to pick a start. You can’t do that with science. I say there is meaning, or there is not; there is reason, a reason, or there is not. I don’t see it as reasonable to assert there is no such thing as reason.

Time is not much the point. She points out in the next paragraph or so that knowledge is progressive. The more me learn, the more we see there is to learn, and the more we revise what we thought. We all tend to fit everything into our own scheme of things. The objective is to keep making that scheme better and closer to the ultimate, and ultimately unknowable, full truth.

Charlotte Mason goes on to discuss how we need to help our children to consider and judge thoughts. It is important, and it is no trivial task to judge rightly. We need to do it for ourselves as well.

Here is a worthy statement:

There are mistaken parents, ignorant parents, a few indifferent parents; even, as one in a thousand, callous parents; but the good that is done upon the earth is done, under God, by parents, whether directly or indirectly.

and:

Here is a theory which commends itself to many persons because it is ‘so reasonable.’ But it goes upon the assumption that we are ruled by Reason, in infallible entity, which is certain, give it fair play, to bring us to just conclusions. Now the exercise of that function of the mind which we call reasoning––we must decline to speak of ‘the Reason’––does indeed bring us to inevitable conclusions; the process is definite, the result convincing; but whether that result be right or wrong depends altogether upon the initial idea which, when we wish to discredit it, we call a prejudice; when we wish to exalt, we call an intuition, even an inspiration. It would be idle to illustrate this position; the whole history of Error is the history of the logical outcome of what we happily call misconceptions. The history of Persecution is the tale of how the inevitable conclusions arrived at by reasoning pass themselves off for truth. The Event of Calvary was due to no hasty, mad outburst of popular feeling. It was a triumph of reasoning: the inevitable issue of more than one logical sequence; the Crucifixion was not criminal, but altogether laudable, if that is right which is reasonable. And this is why the hearts of religious Jews were hardened and their understanding darkened; they were truly doing what was right in their own eyes. It is a marvellous thing to perceive the thoughts within us driving us forward to an inevitable conclusion, even against our will. How can that conclusion which presents itself to us in spite of ourselves fail to be right?

Pretty much applies.

God save us from Reason, so called.

The key is we humans are not ruled by reason. We are more base. We have thwarted our efforts when we forget to first address our baseness.

My wife asked me to read a bit of Ms. Mason, so we could discuss. I thought to record some thoughts, now to discuss.

 

 

Money is not the problem. More money will not fix any of the problems.

Testing is part of the problem. More testing will cause more harm.

Accountability is not part of the problem. More accountability will not help.

Politics is part of the problem. More politics, especially more heated partisan rhetoric, will only make it worse and burn us all in the process.

Coercion is evil.

End compulsory education. Then, we can start to fix the things that are the cause of the problem. Nothing that matters can be fixed while we coerce our young citizens and incarcerate them “for their own good.”

Okay, all you education “advocates,” consider this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/02/25/education-shmedumacation-a-poem-by-two-high-school-juniors-who-got-an-a/

Education Shmedumacation

By Huong Le and Lilly Penick

I’m so glad I live in America where I have a “free” education,

Although I’m sure that’s all I have to be grateful for when it comes to this system.

As a topic majorly discussed by the politicians of our great country, the land of the free,

Education is clearly a priority in our nation and nations elsewhere as well.

And because this subject is valued so highly by our society

I stand here today to tell you how much it sucks.

Oh, excuse my language, I mean, how much it displeases me to my core, my common core.

Now I ain’t saying we shouldn’t be edumacated

But I’m not sure I want to be educated under these corrupt conditions.

Somewhere between coming out of my mother’s birth canal and learning how to ride a bike,

My life was signed away to thirteen years of required education.

Required education full of standardized testing, useless lessons, and careless staff.

You would think that shoving information in your brain for

Nine months a year for thirteen years straight would be pretty useful —

I still don’t know how to do my taxes or how insurance works.

But that doesn’t really matter, right?

At least I know that the product rule for derivatives is vu’ + uv’

And that the Enlightenment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau was a gigolo.

Despite learning these obscure facts,

Teachers still have limited freedom to teach in their desired manner.

They are bound by quarterly evaluations and Marzano’s models,

A process full of half-assed rubrics and mandatory lesson goals.

“What are you learning in class today?”

Oh, you know, just the basics of SS.912.A.2.1.

As the school year progresses, my motivation eerily resembles a negative exponential function.

I have been self-diagnosed with early onset senioritis with a cure that has yet to be discovered.

Administrators are too busy cracking down on tank tops and spaghetti straps to care,

Pursuit for academic success is going ignored everyday, but that doesn’t really matter, right?

I have watched substitute teachers come and go each year I’m in school

And I have yet to come across one that truly cherishes my education.

Temporary or not, I at least deserve a substitute that has had a proper background check.

Substance abuse, racial discrimination, you name it. I’ve had a sub that’s done it.

As students, we are told relentlessly how we should learn to take an initiative

And yet it seems near impossible to get any project approved,

Because apparently it’s too hard to hand us all the papers we need at once.

Yes, please, give me each paper of this 107-page document individually for the next two weeks.

Oh, I was supposed to sign on these pages I’ve never received?

Sorry, the bureaucracy of this school seems primarily communistic.

This barbaric system doesn’t just stop at the high school level.

You want to apply to a college you have a 4% chance of getting into?

That’ll be four meals, a diamond encrusted sock, and an eye.

And if someone accidentally hit the accept button on your application,

Tuition will cost you your dead grandmother’s far left gold molar.

It is now 12:52, the night before this poem is due,

And I have the urge to stab myself in the pancreas with a wooden spork.

My brain has been effectively pulverized into something reminiscent of mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes flaked with pleiotropic qualities, integrals, and a really hot John D. Rockefeller.

Hot-because-it’s-now-1AM not hot-because-I-want-to-bear-your-children.

So as you can see, there are just a few teeny weeny, itsy bitsy, miniscule flaws

Regarding the current state of our public educational system.

But because I am just a marionette in this terribly organized, mediocre, backyard carnival show,

What I say about the system that’s supposed to work for me doesn’t really matter, right?

I’m not sure the large graphic will work. Oh well. Go here: http://www.topmastersineducation.com/homeschooled/

Good stuff.

homeschool

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