Archives for category: Education

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

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/07/a-note-about-bad-losers-and-global-warming-on-super-bowl-sunday/

A story well told and worth my time.

I offer here a hodgepodge of thoughts provoked by the author, Caleb Shaw.

For context, read the article, quoting:

“It continued long after the Boston Tea Party sparked a Revolutionary War, where the good idea of Liberty cost the young nation 1% of its population. A half-century later Oliver Wendell Holmes demanded doctors wash their hands (a decade before Louis Pasteur got the credit for discovering germs), and inadvertently this caused a crisis in the Church at a time when New England was the “Bible Belt,” (because germs were an invisible power other than God.) Not long after that other redefiners pushed the radical idea that slavery should be abolished in all places, which rather than mere paper legislation inadvertently led to the horrible slaughter of the Civil War, which cost nearly as many American lives as all the nation’s other wars combined.”

Along with the author’s point, I’m emphasizing the lack of vision in those who saw germs as an affront to God’s supremacy. How small minded can people be? If you think like this, I assure you, your God is too small. (Reference JB Phillips.)

Also, “redefinition is no laughing matter, and nothing to take lightly. You can’t blithely reform things like the Ten Commandments or the American Constitution, without facing reverberations of a magnitude that is far from blithe.”

Also, “When we experience loss we replay it in our minds. The psychologists may call it “Post Traumatic Stress”, but we are replaying the films of the past game, noting the mistakes, and planning to play better in the next game. We own a craving to improve.” And that is good, if we have our foundation firmly grounded in something greater than ourselves, and if we keep proper perspective and proportion.

Also, “politics does involve winners and losers, and a rule book called our laws, and the temptation to “amend” the laws, and to “redefine” how the game is played, and even what constitutes “winning”. It requires we be civil, if we are to call ourselves “civilized”, and that we follow certain set procedures we call “civil procedures”. And here again we see two basic types of laws that restrain man within certain limits: Physical laws and spiritual laws.”

I believe in these laws, and I am convinced we cannot attain the good of them by ignoring that which is inconvenient within them. There aren’t any politicians in the limelight today that I think are trying to account the full perspective of such law. The foremost of the conservatives seems willing to compromise anything for the sake of political expedience. He says one thing, and many repeat what he says, but does another. Perhaps that will get us by, perhaps it will buy us time, but it will fix nothing.

Feynman taught us the truth that we are easy to fool, but nature will not be fooled. So, we must try hard not to fool ourselves. We still have a problem, though, because of how shortsighted we humans are, especially en masse.

Caleb Shaw goes on to relate a personal anecdote about a shortsighted friend who didn’t listen to her plumber. But this friend of his learned. It may have cost her monetarily, but she could afford the lesson with respect to time and life. Hopefully she learned well and became wiser for her future. With many things, nature is too forgiving, too long suffering. Nature will not be fooled, but she is never in a hurry. Mostly, she just doesn’t care. Nature operates by laws, and to our detriment, those laws often allow for extremes in human suffering, suffering we humans caused, and could have prevented, had we just not been so shortsighted.

“The physical laws are easier to deal with, because they are more obvious, though not always clear to a layman. […] Physical laws represent Truths that will not be mocked.”

Sadly, nature often affords us far too much time to dig our own graves, as it were.

The global warming alarmists assert that we are being shortsighted by continuing to burn fuel to keep ourselves alive, but they ignore history, and they especially ignore prehistory as revealed to us by the palaeosciences. The facts in evidence show clearly it is shortsightedness that leads to alarmism. Shortsightedness has always lead to alarmism. It is so again. In this case, the evidence available shows that it has been warmer in the past, much warmer, many times. The available evidence shows clearly that cold kills and warmer is better. The earth clearly is an equilibrium machine, and with all the water, it has lots to work with. The nature of the universe is to alleviate imbalance. Emergent phenomenon self-organize to increase the efficiency of dissipation. Complex dissipative systems arise, grow, and grow more complex to alleviate imbalance more efficiently. If energy in the global system increases, the global system doesn’t warm appreciably, it just runs faster and grows more complex. It grows more complex with living systems, communities, and entire ecosystems, and it grows more complex in its weather and transport systems in atmosphere and ocean. These factors attain from extra energy and from extra resources, such as carbon dioxide that allows plants to flourish and use water and nutrients more efficiently. It matters not how the extra becomes available. Nature simply uses it to more efficiently dissipating differences and imbalances. Nature doesn’t care. Nature just works, and it has worked to keep earth’s climate quite constant for as far in the past as we can tell. As well as we can tell, for over two billion years, the approximate average temperature of the planet in absolute terms has been 290±8 Kelvin. That is constant within less than 3%. Reference http://scotese.com/climate.htm. Note that he currently draws the graph well into the future. Note where he marks “today.” I like to emphasize this quote, “During the last 2 billion years the Earth’s climate has alternated between a frigid “Ice House”, like today’s world, and a steaming “Hot House”, like the world of the dinosaurs.” I like to also point out that most of the time in the past it was hot-house. Life has always prospered during the warm periods. You will notice a spike in temperature in the Tertiary. It was in the Tertiary, near this hot time, that primates first evolved. Also, the ungulates. Obviously, we primates, and our tasty grass-eating co-inhabitants love warmer climate, much warmer, relatively speaking, plants too, and they especially like more carbon dioxide. Regarding temperature stability, bringing things even closer to home, note that for the last several centuries temperature has varied only about 1%, and for the last century, including through today, it has varied no more than about 0.1%. That is better than the air conditioning system in your insulated house. Don’t you think our water-covered planet is regulating itself with weather and circulation systems? Such a regulating system would necessarily run faster with more energy available. It would necessarily increase in complexity and efficiency, and that is why there is so much evidence of such stability.

Caleb continues, “Spiritual laws are harder to deal with, because they often run counter to more selfish laws that politicians deal with, that are tantamount to a sort of Law Of The Jungle. For example, a politician needs to curry favor among constituents, and this sometimes tempts them to hand out money and jobs inappropriately, with the money diverted from the people and the job it was earmarked for. In the case of the levees of New Orleans, very little of the money Washington sent to improve the levees was actually spent on the levees, while a lot went to various sorts of “inspectors”, and to lawyers involved in endless environmental lawsuits. The result of this was that, when Katrina arrived, the levees were not ready to hold back the flood. It did not matter that the Law Of The Jungle had been obeyed, when The Law Of Nature arrived.”

It is internal, spiritual even, what drives politicians, and therefore, politics. Greed and lust for power often override our better angels. Eventually, though, truth wins out. Nature, be it physical or human, will not be fooled long enough to get away with disregarding truth. Our sins will out. We do reap what we sow. Sure, there are those con artists that get away with it, but others pay the price, especially those close to them. It is a sad legacy. In truth, it is a sad life. It is only delusion that lets an evil man justify that he is simply winning. Truth will not be mocked.

Regarding many things in politics and government, especially with regard to education, I assert that it is not about the money. That is, more money will not fix the problems. (For that matter, less money will not fix the problem on its own either.) Mr. Shaw adds, “Politicians always claim they need more money, but money is useless if corruption misappropriates it.” Is that a truism? Regardless, it is obviously true. Corruption exists in all power structures, because power corrupts. (If you deny that, you need to step into the real world and shun your fantasies.) The US education system has lost sight of the point of education. The US education system from the local school, through the board, through the district, and State, and Fed, is only about power and control. It is especially true of the unions. A union, by definition, pits the unionized against the “boss.” There is no getting around the fact that the boss of the school is ultimately the parents. All of the machinery of the school system from the classroom teacher through the superintendents, including State Superintendents, align against the parents, and thereby, the students that they claim to try to serve. That is an inherent opposition that cannot work. It is a fundamental, unavoidable conflict of interest. It is fundamentally a conflict, a coercive tool of the educational system against the very customers it pretends to serve.

Coercion is evil.

Compulsory educational attendance laws are fundamentally coercive.

Coercion is evil.

The government education system is founded on evil. It cannot thrive.

We are not Borg. Resistance is far from futile. Resistance does actually succeed most of the time.

Referring to Boston’s Big Dig, failed bureaucratic weapons for the military, bad bridges, and other government-sponsored engineering and science, Caleb correctly observes, “The sad fact of the matter is that we are likely to see more of these costly mistakes, not fewer, as long as we allow the political Law Of The Jungle to rule science and engineering. The sooner we erect some sort of barrier between politics and science the better off we will be.”

I agree.

I point to separation of church and state. The churches, indeed, all religions, in the United States have flourished since the founding primarily because the government leaves them alone. It is only in recent decades with meddling from secular wimps that problems have arisen. Yet, even in the repressive government climate of today, there are many communities among us with churches practically on every corner, including multiple Christian and non-Christian religions.

Where would we be with science if government had the same hands-off restrictions with research and laboratories as with religion? Of course, the paranoid raise the alarm. They imagine atrocities and insist on government regulation. Well, frankly, many do the same with religion, especially certain sects regarded as dangerous. If not for our longstanding laws and traditions, the world would be the worse, unimaginably worse, and no man would be allowed to express freedom of religion.

The same separation should be applied to education and state.

Consider: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education or scientific research, 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.

This rule has been the soil within which the roots of liberty and self-determination have flourished. Should we not expand the scope of this rule, this requirement, to such obviously bedeviled essentials of society? Government has disrupted and corrupted so many fundamental goods in our lives. We must restrict government from our educational and scientific institutions.

My proposal will not eliminate abuses and failures, but it will rid us of the institutions that perpetuate failure and prohibit accountability.

Caleb Shaw makes many good points in the article at WUWT. I thank him and Anthony for hosting it.

Finally:
The gods of the copybook headings with terror and slaughter return.

Would to God we would learn our lessons and quit repeating the mistakes that cause so much of our suffering and loss.

A side distraction that I came across while running searches:
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/paleoclimate/

Interesting points and subtle details.

I found an article at the Libertarian Christian Institute web page, titled:

Conservatism, liberalism, or non-aggression?

It was a guest post from Randy Peters, who writes at TheGutDoc.com.

http://libertarianchristians.com/2016/01/20/conservatism-liberalism-non-aggression/

He opens by noting that many people attribute their politics to their faith. Hmm…

I’ve always had trouble understanding how people I know have strong and sound faith can have such differing views from my own, particularly in politics.

Part of it is I can never loose sight of the fact that coercion is evil. God never coerces.

I really do not understand why that is hard to see. I don’t get how other people don’t get that.

God always allows us freedom. God does uphold consequence. Accordingly, wisdom is encouraged. Of course, I always say that pain is the only true persuader of error. Experience is a harsh teacher, but often effective.

I like his thought experiments, both the right and left.

I’ll repeat this:

I submit that when any one of us – with civil authority or without it – takes upon himself the presumption to coerce others to do as we think God would have them do, we are no longer walking humbly with God. We have become the Pharisees, enjoying our long robes and places of honor, thanking God that we are not like other men and imposing upon them grievous burdens for which we will not offer the help of our little finger. There are many human behaviors condemned in the Holy Scripture; haughtiness may be one of the most condemned.

Make no mistake: when one argues that government is to be the arbiter of compassion or righteousness, one is arguing that violence is to be the tool by which those goals are achieved; for how else does government achieve its purpose? Taxes, fines, regulations, laws boundaries all rest on the discretion of the government to use violence to enforce them. When one maintains that the state should force his neighbors to do something, he is saying that violence should be used ultimately to accomplish that directive. Note that there are areas wherein there is unanimous agreement that communities or governments are justified in using force: to defend themselves from violence, to protect the lives of their members, to stop other crimes against persons or their property. But can one say that government has a legitimate and justifiable role to use its police powers – its exclusive claim on the use of violence – to force charity? To force acts of service? To force men and women to comply with “moral laws” with which they do not agree and which may not enjoy wide-spread acceptance in a community? Furthermore, may a disciple of Christ take upon himself the authority under God to say to his neighbors, “I speak in the name of God, and I order you to do thus under pain of imprisonment or death.”

Note there are no exceptions. If there is a law, it is using the power of the state, the threat of violence, imprisonment, even death, to enforce it. “Oh, but the penalty is only $50.” Of course, that is how it starts. You know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie.

Sure, we try to keep punishment consistent with the crime, but we also make too many crimes. We let one drink alcohol, but we imprison the one who smokes weed. We feel sorry for the mother driving with her quarrelling toddlers in the back, and though there is nothing more distracting than that, we bother to stop, fine, even take the driving license of the mother who was texting a quick instruction while driving.

We call the 19-year-old driver negligent and criminal for texting, but we give the late commuter a pass for shaving or donning makeup while careening through rush-hour traffic.

Some claim it is justified, but carry it to the end. The 19-year-old has some reason, rational or not, that makes him (or her) bolt when the lights come on the patrol cruiser. The teen is now truly jeopardizing lives, including his own. Perhaps he crashes, perhaps the officer successfully pulls over the car, but perhaps the teen is now too far committed, perhaps even irrational, and violence ensues, arrest, or worse.

Is it worth it?

No!

We have far too many laws. We criminalize far too many behaviors.

We justify too much in the name of safety. We rationalize too much in the name of morality and civic responsibility.

It is a sad world we live in not because of unfairness, lack of opportunity, scarcity, and want. No, it is so sad because so many soft tyrants have sufficient power to coerce.

I used a couple of widely debated examples in criminalizing drug use and texting while driving, but how about school?

Nobody talks about how absurd it is to coerce persons to education. We need not even consider the failures of the education system. We need look no farther than the simple coercion, compulsion of education and truancy laws.

Again, we pretend our punishments are evenhanded and proportional, but they are not. Seldom do those with power us it only for good, and perhaps it is even impossible to do good when the power is being used to enforce the evil of coercion from the start point.

People, persons, individuals, children of God. Yes, that is what we all are from our beginning, from even before our first breath. I bring up hard issues, and people ignore. We need to discuss. We need to look hard and freely at the facts. We need to stand and openly defend our views, and we need to examine closely our own and all others presented. We manage to live together in most instances.

We tend to fight here and there, but it is mostly about who has the power, and how it is used, especially about how it is abused.

Let’s limit the power more and more. Let us be free.

Let us live free.

Isn’t this an embarrassment?

Section XIII-4: Compulsory school attendance.
The Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all the children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.

Compulsion is evil. Yet, here we require it in our state constitution. We institute evil in our governance at its inception.

Coercion is evil. Compulsion is evil. It can only be justified in the prevention of worse evil.

Can we argue that granting someone the freedom, the right, of self-determination is a worse evil than forcing attendance at education?

We all know better. We know it is right and good to allow each self-determination. It is unalienable. Liberty, freedom of association, these are rights with which we are each individually created. Certainly parents and responsible adults owe protection to our young, our childish ones, until they gain modest maturity, but the longer I live, the less mature I realize we all are. Responsibility must accompany privilege, but self-determination is not a privilege, it is innate right. Self-determination is a property of a person. It is part of the very definition of what each of us is.

No one can argue that coercion, compulsion is other than evil. We aver religious freedom. We generally allow so many freedoms, even some freedoms most of us judge as immoral. Yet, we want to deny the right of self-determination and free association to all our citizens less than 16, even 18, years of age.

We all instinctively, rightly, understand that being forced to do anything deprives us, degrades us. Most will comply, but the degradation remains. No matter the end results, the end never justifies evil means.

The end never justifies evil means.

Coercion, compulsion is evil.

The end never justifies coercive means.

Education is a good that has been sought hard through all history. Knowledge is power. We instinctively know that. We understand that information and understanding, with wisdom and sound judgment empower us to fulfill our dreams and to live our lives well. No one has to force us to do good things for ourselves. Indeed, no one can.

Yes, we are always tempted to sloth, but we know the ant. We know the fiddle-playing grasshopper.

It is not possible to justify righteously the compulsion of the grasshopper for his own good. It does him no good, and it diminishes the rest of us, at best decreasing our own productivity and efficiency, and often going much farther bringing forth in us the worst of human nature, especially arrogance, self-righteousness, condescension, and even worse.

There is no need for compulsion in education. Mothers understand its value for their children. Children understand its value when simply allowed to enjoy the process. Joy cannot flourish under compulsion. Children do not enjoy being told they must. No one enjoys being told what to do. Children must learn self-discipline, but that is an entirely different thing than education. Children learn when they play. They learn when they interact. They learn when they are shown how to do something new. They learn when they are shown the usefulness of reading, writing, and mathematics. The same applies to skills in all areas of interest, including sports and trade or industry.

The state must ensure access. The state must protect those seeking education. I will even support state provision of schools and educational resource, but no good can come of forcing our young citizens and their parents to participate and attend.

It is my right to be ignorant if I so choose.

It is mama’s right to insist her child participate in education. Mama can insist her child attend. The state cannot. The state has no right to coerce with regard to self-determination and freedom of association. Mama will choose what is best for her child. We need only ensure her right is unhindered. It is mama’s right to raise her child anyway she sees fit. There are limits. We acknowledge abuse occurs, and sometimes the state must intervene, but in nearly all cases, mother really does know best. Empower her, and protect her from hindrance, and ensure she has at least one adequate option, such as a public school, and let her prove it. Mothers the world over have been proving it over and over since time immemorial.

I will always stand for mothers and fathers, for families. It is what works. For the exceptions, coercion cannot help.

Societally, we must work together and try to make up for shortfalls. We must also stand with those who see things nontraditionally, even when we have sound studies and reproducible data that show the traditional works best. But, we cannot do so by trying to force behavior.

Focus on what is most important. Freedom, self-determination, acceptance of responsibility, owning what we earn, be it for better or for worse. These are the things that are important for human dignity. These are the essentials of society. Understanding these is much more important than acquisition of some arbitrary standard of education as guessed at by some standardized test.

Children are, first, citizens. Children are not resources of the state. Children are not resources of the economy. Children are not property. We adults, specifically, we parents, are responsible for helping our children grow, and we must provide them with the tools they need for success in life. We must prepare them to stand on their own and take our places. We cannot arbitrarily set the standard. We cannot pretend to know the STEM needs of the future. Heaven forbid that for anyone we ever try to determine for him or her. Each child has the right to pursue happiness. Each child must be allowed self-determination in it.

We must amend our state constitution. We must remove the words of Section XIII-4 and replace with words prohibiting coercion, prohibiting compulsory attendance. We must free our citizens, especially the teachers in our publicly funded schools.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

Mr. Miller has comments about teacher evaluation.

http://www.viewfromtheedge.net/?p=7405

Snippets with my comments:

“So, we are right back where we were prior to SB2033. Oklahoma can do anything we choose without the threat of federal interference. We can change this law during this legislative session, and we should.”

“That’s right. I vote to abolish TLE completely. Every part of it–The Tulsa Model, Marzano, McRel, roster verification, value-added models, teacher portfolios, student and parent surveys, benchmark testing, qualitative scores, quantitative scores…EVERY. Damn. Part.”

Absolutely. Get rid of all teacher evaluation requirements. We must trust our teachers and principals. If parents will stay involved, that will work just fine. It is, in fact, the only thing that will work.

Accountability means nothing unless the parents are involved. The state need not be involved if the parents are, and the state will only cause harm regardless.

“Adding layers of bureaucracy and mandates at the state level has done little to improve the quality of teachers in our state. This has always been–and will always be–a function of school leadership.”

Yes, absolutely. Local leadership and parental involvement. With no parents, there is no hope anyway.

“Therefore, the best method of teacher evaluation will always be to hire a great principal and let them do their job.

“Likewise, the best approach for our best teachers is to let them teach. We should provide the resources, training and supports they need and then get out of their way.

“The reality is that great teachers will be great teachers with or without TLE. They are intrinsically motivated and likely harder on themselves than any administrator could ever be. This does not mean they won’t appreciate meaningful feedback and suggestions from their administrators. But it’s just gravy for many of them.”

Actually, with TLE, the great teachers succumb. They find it too hard to love the children and teach them, piled on with the requirements to keep up with all the paperwork and restrictions. TLE doesn’t do much for the good teachers, but it does drive them away.

Mr. Miller speaks of improving incentives, but I don’t think incentives are the problem, restrictions and disincentives are the problem. First, we hold a gun to everyone’s head and force them to school. Then we tie the hands of the teachers with one-size-fits-all requirements. We restrict their options, and we force them to deal with those kids who refuse to cooperate, gun to their head or not.

Children love to learn. We do not have to instill a love of learning in them. It is there. We have to be careful not to squash it. Our system is very much geared for squashing love of learning. It also squashes love of teaching.

Likewise for critical thinking. Kids will, if we don’t throttle them every time they do so. We tend to, since there just isn’t time in the classroom to let the child’s thinking run its course. When Sally makes an astute observation followed by an off-the-wall conclusion, the ideal is to work with her and her peers to sort out the error and find better conclusions. She can and will if we can take the time, but we don’t. The typical response is to tell her that she was sharp to notice, but then the teacher must simply interject the correct conclusion because there simply isn’t time for the distraction. The distractions are important. In the distractions, our children learn to think for themselves. Distractions and focus on them develop the love of learning into lifelong habit. Figuring out and working through the errors and misjudgments develops the critical thinking that simply cannot be taught. Tests and lessons cannot teach critical thinking. Telling students what the critical points are teaches them nothing. They know a fact for a while; then it fades from mind. Doing the process of critical thinking instills it. Teaching it, accomplishes nothing.

David Bentley Hart, writing for First Things [in 2012], praises good bad books.

If you take the time to read this, I’m sure you will be glad you did.

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/05/in-praise-of-good-bad-books

For me, the most important book of my childhood was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Of course, I read all of CS Lewis’ fiction multiple times over. I didn’t read enough to have much of a list of good bad books. Still, Hart’s point is valid.

Don’t let the big words fool you; he is just being precise. (And showing off what he’s learned in his copious reading.)

Keep in mind that philistine, as an adjective, indicates disdain, or at least indifference, for culture and norms. He uses it fittingly, at least for nearly all children.

The the article explains Tharks, they are from the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tharks.

Isn’t it nice to be able to right-click something and have a page open with Google results? (At least in Chrome.)

It is an encouraging article, and it encourages us to encourage our children and youths to be avid readers. {I trust you noticed I only used “encourage” once, there. 😉 }

The article I wrote about that pointed out half our teachers are leaving the profession within five years referenced an article about Finland from 2011.

Wow!

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/?all&no-ist

The gist is the Finnish teachers are trusted and allowed to do whatever it takes to prepare kids to succeed in life. They only try to teach them how to learn. They never try to teach them how to test. Yet, the Finns do quite well on tests, including the international one. Read the rest of this entry »

Writing for Newsweek, , discusses the low morale of teachers in public education.

http://www.newsweek.com/why-has-teacher-morale-plummeted-321447

Like, no duh, huh?

He points out that the current problem started in the 1980s. It started even before the Civil War, but the problems today are largely the doings of Jimmy Carter and the Democrats of the early 1980s. Reagan tried to stop it. He said he would, but he failed. Tip O’Neill mattered in that. Most of our education problems today are mostly, originally, Tip O’Neill’s fault. (Bushes and Clintons share a lot of blame and responsibility in our education problems, too.)

Mr. Ward points out that 40-50% of our new teachers leave the profession within five years. Wow. There are no reforms we can do to the education system and hope to fix it while none of our teachers have significant experience in teaching. Nothing!

The first requirement to any fix in education is get rid of compulsory education. Repeal all truancy laws. All of them. Our education system will continue to worsen until we get rid of compulsory education laws. Compulsion, coercion, is always immoral. The only justification for any coercion is the clear and imminent threat of harm. There is no clear threat associated with lack of education for children. There certainly is no imminent threat.

Compulsory laws for education are evil. The history of it is sad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_education

Second requirement: Let the teachers teach!

Get out of their way. Get back to the principal and district superintendent running the school, trusting the teachers, proving them out one-on-one with the students and parents, and get out of the way.

Get the Fed out entirely. We need to amend the Constitution. Add the words “or education” to the First Amendment, like this, “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;…” Our Federal government should treat education the exact same way it treats religion, totally hands off.

Our states need to back it down to the counties. We need to acknowledge that there is no overriding interest of the state in our children. We, including our children, are citizens. We all need equal protection. We all need equal standing. Sure, minors must be specially defined until the age of majority, but 18 is really probably older than we need for most things.

Well, enough today. I found Ward’s article worthwhile, and it slapped me hard that it is impossible to fix the public education system when most of our teachers have less than five years experience. It is impossible. We have to figure out how to fix that first. We cannot fix it by meddling.

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