Friday Firesmith – Education

One of the most troubling aspects of our current state of mental affairs is we are losing our ability to understand time. It takes the first sixteen to eighteen years to lay the educational foundation a child needs to be able to compete intellectually with students from other nations. This is not a question of religion, or belief, or culture, no, this is a matter of hard science, mathematics, literacy, and an understanding of biology that exists outside the realm of cultural convictions.

We’ve lost our grip on the future of our children in exchange for the temporary satisfaction of recent elections. Having lost the understanding of educating children we have forfeited the advanced education that those children might have achieved as young adults, and therefore any value we might have received as a nation from having well-educated professionals leading us into the future.

Damnably, our inability to imagine and secure the future will do very little but acerbate this critical issue with each cycle of every public school that churns out yet another former student who has never used critical thinking, logic, or peer review to make a decision but rather depends on how well liked an idea is before acting upon it.

The process of reversing this trend will take decades and it will require that we stop using our public schools as day care centers. It will require that parents sacrifice their time and energy to help educate their own children and it will require that those parents respect the potential future that each teacher holds in the classroom.

In just two years’ time, we will see a derogation of the public school system that will he unheralded and unheard of, and it will mark the true beginning of the end of our society’s commitment to educating children in America.

The sad thing about this is there are those who will say, “Good Riddance!” to a system that has been failing for years. Yet even a comparatively short gap in the effort to educate children will be, logically, worse than a system that is not fully functional. Those children, even if those children represented a small minority, who would survive and prosper under the current system would be forever lost or at the best have their education diminished.

The public education system in this country is failing and there is little doubt about that at all. Yet to turn it over to the states from the federal government is to invite Balkanization at the very best and outright segregation at the very worst. The ideal of the same education, or the very much the same, has to be preserved from the ghosts of “separate but equal”. But until we can remove the status of universal day care from the public schools, and fully insert the parents as willing partners in educating their own children we are well on our way to becoming a nation whose citizens will slowly become so ignorant and complacent that we will be looking up at the education systems of Albania and Kyrgyzstan.

Take Care,
Mike

 

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 
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24 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Education

  1. “….Yet to turn it over to the states from the federal government is to invite Balkanization at the very best and outright segregation at the very worst….”

    Interesting that we managed very nicely before the Department of Education was created.

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    • Roadie, I have to admit that the recent attempts to “standardize” school testing makes your assertion very difficult to repute. Yet at the same time, turning over education to the states without Federal oversight would be ruinous.

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    • Many of the Founding Fathers believed that a well educated public was thought to be essential to protect liberty and the general welfare of the people. That is why, even before the Constitution, the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 included responsibilities of the nation for an education system. Education has long been considered a national concern by the federal government. Do know the Elementary and Secondary Education Act explicitly forbid the establishment of a national curriculum, so don’t go blaming a department whose only effort was directed to support and sustain education.

      The Department of Education was created to collect information so as to better educate the people. However, the act of educating became a political tool and a means of suppression. By relegating funds for public schools via property taxes, it ensured lower income areas would not be able to provide as well an education as higher income areas. In many nations where they are passing us academically, funding for schools are done not only on a national level, but done so that all schools are equal in how and what they have to work with–therefore everyone is being educated on a level playing field, something that politicians make sure doesn’t happen here.

      On another note, the profitization of schools has done nothing to improve education. When schools become a center for profit, then profit becomes the focus and the students learning become secondary. Studies have shown this to be the case. But for some reason, there are some politicians who believe making a profit for somebody is more important than actually educating a student, although they use false stats to say otherwise.

      When the Department officially became a Cabinet position, it then became a political football, mostly being used by one party to diminish public schools and reward private schools. Today, in order to assure his family member would make lots of money, Bush helped push through the No Child Left Behind meaning the contract for the supplier of all the tests was kept in the family. All this did was create an environment of teaching toward a test rather than teaching the skills necessary to learn and critically think. Money has also depleted funds for many schools to include creative arts in the curriculum, which is extremely beneficial in the formative years for many students.

      Returning to the beliefs of the Founding Fathers, who believed in the government investing in education, it not only protects our liberty and general welfare, it’s an investment that pays back in huge dividends. (The GI Bill for WWII vets paid $7 for every one dollar spent). That idea should still exist as a better educated population leads to better paying jobs which equates to higher revenues for the government which begets a better commons for all.

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    • Anne,
      It’s been a very long time since I was a student if that is what you are asking. However, my sister has been a teacher most of her life. Also, most of the people I have worked with over the years have had children in school so it’s not like I’m using my life experiences as a guide here.

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  2. A lot of great points Mike. Let me add: when we allowed the educational system to become a business built on the idea that higher education is expected instead of an institution dedicated to the educating of future generations for the benefit of our country, that is when we lost our way. It appears that the whole educational system has become one gigantic ponzi scheme, whereby those looking to prepare themselves for a successful career in the business world are instead indoctrinated into a thought process that undermines the very reason why they are there in the first place: to become contributing members of society. I blame the ’60’s for this. That and educators within colleges receiving the same status as judges: tenure. Maybe it’s time we drain the educational ‘swamp’ and return to an educational system that once made our country the envy of the world. And, as you say, it will require parents to get involved. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly agree with your final statement: “we are well on our way to becoming a nation whose citizens will slowly become so ignorant and complacent that we will be looking up at the education systems of Albania and Kyrgyzstan.”

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    • Dave, I had not thought to connect the dots as you have but I think your points are extremely relevant; “to become contributing members of society.” We have to ask the question if education does not lead someone to contribution what exactly does it lead them to do? Even though I have no children I think it insane for me not to care deeply how children are educated, and why we educate them has to be addressed.

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    • There are many more career paths than just business. A good education gives all children the basics, and as they grow up, offers electives to introduce them to different fields of endeavor.

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  3. roadgeek, what proof, exactly, do you have that we managed just fine before there was a Department of Education? SOME areas of the country were just fine (those in New England and elsewhere that public education was an early and mandatory element of society — interestingly, still the same areas whose students are best-educated) but many (Appalachian areas through the south) were (and remain) woefully lacking in educational opportunity and standards.

    Common Core, for example, was nothing but an effort to bring the low-performing areas of our country up to the standards that most New Englanders enjoy by setting standard benchmarks of achievement that were to be reached by students no matter whether they were educated in Massachusetts or Alabama. But right-wingers screamed bloody murder and, rather than learning what it was, used the term as a buzzword for anything they didn’t like about school.

    Leaving schooling to states has proven to be a disastrous policy. It means that students in Texas are INTENTIONALLY not taught the skills of critical and analytical thinking. It means students in various states are taught that Creationism is a legitimate alternative to evolution. In short, it means that educational standards suffer and American school children suffer as well, if they happen to be in a state that prefers to keep its citizens ignorant and, thus, gullible.

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    • Elagie, very well said.

      I must disagree that common core has helped for I think it has strayed far afield from what worked very well for decades. But I have to admit I have not immersed myself in the concept.

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      • Mike. Follow the money when examining the origins of Common Core. There is an insidious link to predominantly Islamic organizations funding the curriculum. Indoctrination of our young skulls full of mush (h/t Rush Limbaugh) continues unabated to prepare our youth for globalism. I know: tin foil hat territory. But humor me by checking it out anyway. It explains a lot as to why Johnny and Susie can’t read, write or do simple math problems but know how to demand their rights to free stuff.

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  4. This is good for the textbook industry, throw out the books with facts and replace them with dogma.
    Parents are the only ones who can make a difference for their kids in any system.

    Granted, critical thinking has been labeled disruptive or rebellious (give that kid drugs), and teachers want to stick to their lesson plan because allegedly they have so much ground to cover in the allotted time. But by drilling into kids facts and dates that won’t mean diddly after they move on kills their ability to think for themselves.

    But there’s hope for the future under DeVos, the wealthy will get tax cuts and send their spawn to private schools to provide us with the MBA trained leaders of tomorrow. Humanity be damned.

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    • Bruce, you earned three one star ratings with that comment. Clearly, your concept of intermingling evolution and learning is unpopular. But that is exactly what will happen; the rich can and will afford education and the rest of the country will be learning how many dinosaurs were on the Ark.

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  5. Another thought, they really screwed up when, at least around here, they eliminated trade high schools. The attitude is my kids are going to college so why should I pay for training the rabble.

    No matter how much robots take over, we’ll always need skilled building trades and as I look around most of the ones I see are at least 40 and most of them are over 55. With the demise of unions with their apprentice programs it doesn’t look good for the future. You can call a plumber or electrician but will they be skilled.

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    • Bruce, I think trade school would appeal to a great number of people who are better with their hands on tools than books.

      Some of the smartest people I have ever known never had clean hands.

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      • In WWII, many high schools started teaching trades. In my city there were several high schools that had shop classes from auto, to print, to foundry, to woodworking. But when so many of these trades became outsourced, their necessity dwindled and many of the old shop classes have been converted in computer rooms.

        The odd thing is, I think they should have kept a lot of these shop classes as some of the projects brought in geometry and science that the student probably felt was useless while sitting in their math and science class.

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    • The much-maligned city of Compton, where I taught high school, required all students to take one year of a salable skill. This included auto mechanics, auto body, computer science, wood shop, etc. I thought it was a great idea, and that other school districts made a huge mistake by dropping these classes and insisting that all should take college prep classes.

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  6. In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a band known as DeVo which stood for DeEvolution. I guess that’s why we now have Betsy DeVos enough said.

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