Archives for posts with tag: compulsion

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

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Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

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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://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.

No one considers a floating bit of dust in the air to be evil.

We may consider bits of vegetation and grains of sand blowing in our faces in a strong wind to be nuisance, perhaps even painful under some conditions, but certainly none of us would call it evil. The necessity of raising a hand to the wind and squinting to keep the tiny wind-hurled projectiles out of the eyes is simply part of the great outdoors on a windy day.

When a pebble is freed from its location by weathering, no one thinks of it.

When a bit of cliff debris falls, no one even notices, unless he happens to be standing near enough.

Likewise when a boulder, precariously perched, finally gives way, it is hardly worth our note, unless the protrusion had been widely remarked upon.

Still, no one would call it immoral, evil.

These are all simply natural. This is how our world works. Aging happens. Stresses build and relive. Disequilibria builds, and dissipates, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes dramatically, sometimes in self-organizing, emergent systems or phenomena that live, figuratively, and even literally.

None of this is evil.

Nature concentrates energy, and some systems use that energy in interesting, even creative ways.

Nature pours down radiant energy on the earth, and green plants use it to build. Herbivores and other creatures use that energy to build. Those, in turn, are used by other creatures in some way to build in another way.

Passive recipient, parasite, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, et al. These are simply nature using resources to build. We may see destruction involved. We may see it as gruesome, bloody, distasteful, and worse, but it is all of a piece. All of it is simply nature. It is not inherently bad. It is not evil.

Why is it that some want to call certain spectacular workings of nature evil?

Earthquakes are not evil. Earthquakes are part of the natural processes described above.

If an earthquake happens to cause death and destruction, well, that is only the way of nature.

We consider it tragic, especially when many souls are lost, but it is not evil. It is not something someone, some agent, did. It was not intentioned, nor was it negligent. There was an imbalance, a buildup, and subsequent release.

Some ask why God didn’t stop the earthquake that killed millions, but no one asks why God didn’t stop that grain of sand from sticking in your eyebrow. There is no difference in the grand scheme. Both were simply nature redistributing matter and energy to alleviate imbalance.

The difference comes in agency.

We humans, we are free moral agents.

While there is nothing bad or evil about pain, suffering, and deprivation in themselves, it is bad, it is truly evil, when one person chooses to inflict pain and cause suffering and institute deprivation.

Coercion is evil.

I want to emphasize that. Coercion is evil.

 

I’m innately optimistic. I’m naturally joyful and not prone to melancholy. Yet, for our time, pessimism weighs upon me.

I truly believe MLK Jr. was right when he said that the arc of history bends slowly, but it bends toward justice. We will see freedoms increase. We will see more justice and more opportunity, and less imposition by state and political forces. The various other PTBs that people worry about will diminish over the generations. That is a long time for us mere mortals.

I see the signs for a cycle, as oft repeated in history, of evil times before more good times.

I hope I’m wrong. I doubt that I am.

Regardless, those of us who claim faith, especially those of us who follow Jesus, we must remain faithful.

Who among us will bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue? No one? What about the POTUS or SCOTUS? What about Apple or Facebook? What about Hollywood or regular old peer pressure?

What about the biblical mammon?

I happened to watch Pale Rider again. That mammon thing, it just won’t work.

Every person has to stand for what is right.

Every person must walk in love, and love in this sense has nothing to do with sex.

The story goes that the three Hebrew children refused to bow.

“…But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.d 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

The book of Daniel tells us they received a miracle. Miracles are by definition exceptional, rare.

Are we ready to stand anyway?

Are we ready to stand with Job and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.“?

I truly doubt that we or our near descendents will every face most of the persecutions of history, but we see today the executions, the beheadings. It isn’t just Christians being killed, and we must never forget.

The saying is “going to hell in a handbasket.”

Recent SCOTUS decisions have made the world a harder place to live for all. Persecutions of churches and ministers will increase. Activism is not sated. The activisms of our era are like the grave, never saying enough. Accomplishing goals is no longer an objective, but destroying all who may oppose or disagree. That is where harm lies, and only blood and suffering will reset. (Again, I hope I’m wrong.)

More worrying to me is the state of science. Science in its several forms are no longer seen as a set of tools, but as ends. The tendency is Scientism, and that is one sad and gruesome religion.

The saddest of all, though, is the apparent willingness of the Pope, the leader of so many faithful believers, to step back to earth-reverence and sacrifice.

Cardinal George’s words may yet prove prophetic:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

 

http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2012/1021/cardinal.aspx

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

 

 

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.

Restricting my comments only to the US Census Bureau and its impositions, I encourage everyone to refuse anything from the USCB that is not obviously required by law.

Look for the word “voluntary” in any notice or form or survey you receive, and point that out to any nosy busybody who comes calling.

Contact your Representative and Senators. Demand the dissolution of the USCB.

A quick double-check of something on Google brought up this tidbit as a suggestion.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/26/395524049/census-data-prove-it-we-prefer-sunshine-and-golf-carts

A tidbit that clearly shows the frivolous waste of tax dollars that the USCB is. It is worthless and harmful in all regards. End it.

Not to mention boondoggles like this: http://watchdog.org/208924/fake-fracking-new-hampshire/

 

Read the rest of this entry »

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force … it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

Six Books on the Priesthood  |  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm

I suppose that a good translation. I have doubts about persuasion. It is, for the most part, an illusion.

We must live the best we can. We must set the best example we can. We must argue as reasonably as we can. Only God, however, can change a heart; even only God can change a mind.

Keep both open to God and continuously change for the better.

Also,
“For it is not possible for anyone to cure a man by compulsion against his will.”

My sons are into robots. They are working with a robot club for competitions.

Mom suggested we take the icy day to go see the movie about the robot team, Spare Parts.

It was done very well. I highly recommend it.

The movie tracks four high school boys as they try to start achieving the American dream in their own small Arizona town, in their own beleaguered high school, with almost no money, almost no support, and a half-willing temporary substitute science teacher. (Who isn’t a teacher, but an engineer, fallen on hard times.) Their sponsor works through issues, but being a good engineer, he can help them effectively. They keep overcoming obstacles.

One of their big obstacles is that all are from immigrant families, families who came into the USA from Mexico, without going through proper channels. Thus, I.C.E. is after them, well, one of them. Still, they are all in danger of deportation.

I suppose I need to write some about immigration. I don’t have it worked out. What I know for sure is that we must trust people.

I know not everyone is trustworthy, but we must trust people first. We must give the freedom and room for people to be what God has created them to be.

I seem to keep finding more and more that I am libertarian to the bone, just as I am Wesleyan. God made us free. We err when we make people less free than God has.

The movie is fun, informative, and well made. It deals well with some of the issues involved. Sure, it is a bit shallow, but it deals with hardships of public schools and hardships of being an illegal alien, and with some of the joys of family and triumphs of accomplishment.

It is worth taking your family to see.

We need programs for gifted children at least as much as we need programs for the challenged. We need specialized accommodation for all with specialized needs outside the first standard deviation.

If we, as a society, owe something specialized to those below average, we owe just as much to those above average.

We need to start by acknowledging that gifted does not mean special, and we need to make sure we don’t use “special” with a special meaning.

We must keep in mind that gifted is only a reasonable label. It helps us identify a group with exceptional characteristics. Further, exceptional does not necessarily mean above average. It can sometimes mean weird, or perhaps simply unusual, out of the ordinary.

The Calgary Herald carried an article written by Marcello Di Cintio about gifted children and some programs and teachers.

http://calgaryherald.com/life/swerve/gifted-children-are-frequently-misunderstood

They need teachers and programs that focus not on the magnificence of their brains, but on the fragility of their hearts. “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” Aldred says. She quotes from Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow,” a poem she teaches her literature students:

…sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

“I can’t teach them anything,” Aldred says. “But I can reteach them their loveliness.”

My eldest teaches third-grade. She pointed me to this article. I always remind her the most important thing she can do is to love the children in her class. She knows. She does. It is frustrating because she isn’t rated on her love. She is rated on tests, and checklists, and various quantifications that may or may not apply to anything except some reformer’s criteria for something measurable, even if it measures nothing relevant to the real world. In public education, children are just numbers, just test results; their teachers are variously derived subsets of the aggregated numbers. Shameful.

The article is about the gifted. My daughter told me about it for that reason, and she expressed thanks for ensuring she had what she needed as gifted.

I’m tying this to everyone.

Everyone needs the same thing. We all need to be recognized as unique and individual. Not one of us actually fits into groups and categories. Sure, we have and need our tribes, our like minds and kindred spirits. We need them desperately. But, at the individual level, we are all exactly that–individual.

Gifted kids, unique kids, need unique things, extra things, and specialized understanding.

We can blame our schools, but I don’t.

I hold myself responsible. Two of my five gifted children were well suited to public school (our local system). The first, only barely. She thanks me, but we could have done better. We should have had her at home. We first noticed when it was almost too late for another. We started homeschooling. It has made a tremendous difference. I cannot say I have regrets, but it would have been better for all had we homeschooled from the start with the eldest. The one who thrived in school would likely still have been even better off had we homeschooled her.

I really want every child homeschooled. It is best. Mother knows best, even if she isn’t technically qualified. We need institutions to help parents educate their own children.

Having said it, reality steps in, and reality generally bites.

We must have alternatives for families that simply cannot homeschool. We need schools. We also need the Federal Government entirely out of it. The Fed should have no say, no funds, not departments, no standards, no goals, no say at all. The standard we hold for state and religion should be exactly the same for state and education.

We also need freedom for every individual. No compulsion. No coercion. No truancy laws.

Children are citizens, not property of the state. Not property at all. Children are to be protected by the law, not used or coerced by the body politic.

While Di Cintio writes well and describes well, it is impractical to explain giftedness and the needs of the gifted. In short, it takes one to know one. (Of course, nearly everyone can tell when he is being taken. While the truly gifted, with exceptional IQ, are difficult to understand, there is no justification for granting them extraordinary rights or power. Plato was wrong if he thought the philosopher-kings could be lifted above corruption by training. Power corrupts. It is an absolute.)

We really owe it to ourselves to figure it out. The story of young-Albert the misfit is widely know. Where would humanity be with Einstein? Some of our greatest minds were problem children.

We need our problem children. Many of them are the great minds that we need to help us move forward and better ourselves. All of them are worthwhile, with their own unique loveliness. All of them.

Our potentially great minds often have particularly fragile hearts.

We need to mind these hearts, but the statement, “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” is a statement true in all circumstances. It is also true that there are some other deeper needs that must be met before learning can happen, like sated hunger and basic security at home.

Schools deal with hunger, but inadequately. School is a poor and inadequate means for addressing hunger. Even more so, schools simply cannot address the needs of the home. There is no hope for improved test-performance in grade schools were most children are from broken homes. And, there is no easy answer to this problem. It must start small, and it will be long, very long relative to the needs of a child today. There is no simple nor grand solution. It is a battle that must be won with love, one heart at a time. I’ll add that I think it is mostly a problem we must address with men, and a boy is the only thing from which God can make a man. One at a time.

My writing here is about giftedness and the worth of every child, not daddies, or the lack of daddies, nor about radicalized feminism and the ill-advised war on masculinity that seems to pervade our society.

We fight for progress at the expense of tradition. That doesn’t work. Progressivism fails every time. Conservatism fails if taken to extreme. So, we must find balance. We must embrace the new while cherishing the old. We must build new institutions while respecting tradition. We must esteem heritage while learning our world as it is today. We must acknowledge that we are all different, and we all have different abilities and different needs. Of course, as I’ve tried to emphasize above, we all have the same basic needs. We are all the same before God. We must accept that one-size does not fit all. We actually need segregation (well, groupings) by innate, self-defining characteristics, such as ability, interest, and temperament. (We must never let ourselves regress to defining anything by externals.)

I know this, solutions do not lie in politics. The government cannot fix any of this. We must have more freedom, not more government. More autonomy, not more regulation. More local solutions, not more standardization.

I’m not sure yet if I like George H. Smith, but he has written some good stuff. I’ll comment a bit on this reference.

http://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/excursions/roots-state-education-part-1-spartan-model

I find it remarkable that Plato and Aristotle preferred the Spartan system of education, and its obvious failures, to the Athenian laissez-faire education system (or lack there of, perhaps attitude is the better word), which had such obvious success, evident even in themselves.  Read the rest of this entry »

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