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The Million Dollar Babies

July 19th, 2013 - 2:31 am

The recently concluded Zimmerman trial  put race into forefront of the American public debate again. But along the way it touched upon an issue more important than human hardware, as exemplified by skin color. It raised the question of mental software. It is the characteristic of humans to be largely software driven. We are largely what our minds become. Before humans acquired their present knowledge tigers would win against them nearly 100% of the time. But after man got the software he drove tigers into near extinction.

Some time ago I heard a proposition almost too ridiculous to be true.  The assertion was that if students could escape from certain public school systems they stood to gain nearly an additional million dollars in lifetime earnings.  All they had to do was get beyond the clutches of the public education system and into a charter school that had less money and there obtain a vastly superior education.

In the United States, charter schools are primary or secondary schools that receive public money (and may, like other schools, also receive private donations). They are subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, but generally have more flexibility than traditional public schools…. In exchange for flexibility, charter schools receive less funding than public schools in the same area …

Some charter schools are founded by teachers, parents, or activists who feel restricted by traditional public schools. … Where enrollment in a charter school is oversubscribed, admission is frequently allocated by lottery-based admissions systems. However, the lottery is open to all students.

Here was the argument for the million dollar differential from a philanthropist who was helping the charter schools.

KIPP has very high standards for its principals, rejecting more than 90 percent of those who apply. Teachers also must perform at a high level, and it is not uncommon for a new teacher who is not doing well—and not responding to KIPP efforts to help them improve—to be fired before the December holidays. YES is every bit as selective….

Every student who wanted to go to KIPP or YES but couldn’t was losing out on a million dollar deal—literally. “We did this analysis,” says Leo Linbeck III, a prominent Houston businessman who has become an indispensable advisor to the expansion effort (see sidebar). “We took KIPP’s educational performance, how many kids graduated from high school, how many are projected to graduate from college, and we took census data. We took outcomes from HISD and outcomes from KIPP, and we applied those on a percentage basis to figure out the value added.”

Based on his analysis, Linbeck concluded that the loss to those students who applied to KIPP but could not get off the waiting list was enormous. On average, a student who went through the KIPP program was going to have lifetime earnings $900,000 greater than the average student who remained in a regular Houston public school. The same calculations applied to YES graduates. “It was like winning the lottery,” Linbeck says.

It was a large claim from a man I respect. And though I did not doubt there would be some gains from the transfer, a million dollars seemed excessive. After all, how good could the charter schools be? But I was looking at things the wrong way.  The real question was how bad could the public schools be.

The answer apparently is very bad.  CBS Detroit local writes: “Report: Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can’t Read”. Can’t read? In the 21st century? Detroit made the news today for being the largest American city to go bankrupt. If it is true that half of Detroiters can’t read it would go a long way to explaining the city’s collapse .  They had spent billions on a school system that apparently accomplished nothing whatsoever.

DETROIT (WWJ) – According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are ”functionally illiterate.” … Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job — those types of basic everyday (things). Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take… just your basic everyday tasks,” she said.

“I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question,” Tyler-Ruiz said….

“For other major urban areas, we are a little bit on the high side… We compare, slightly higher, to Washington D.C.’s urban population, in certain ZIP codes in Washington D.C. and in Cleveland,” she said.

It is the last phrase in the CBS story that is most worrisome. Apparently bad as Detroit may be, it compares quite favorably to certain districts in Washington DC and certain of Cleveland. Which raises the question: how bad are those?

That comparative superiority recalled the self-assessment of Rachel Jeantel, a witness at the George Zimmerman murder trial who shocked viewers when it transpired she could not read a letter she allegedly dictated into evidence. Yet she said in a recent interview “I am educated. Trust me, I have a 3.0 I’m good”  You might laugh, but she might well have been telling the truth. Who can say but that she is in the top of her class? In the world of the blind, the merely cross-eyed would be king.

You can take either of two points of view in this situation. This is either the worst outrage ever inflicted on Americans since the Death March in Bataan or the most rip-roaring, creative and over the top scam ever perpetrated in the history of confidence. This is the king of swindles. The absolute epitome of villainy.  The caviar of crime.

The public educational bureaucracy has apparently ripped off the black community to a degree that almost beggars description. Perhaps the most well known of these rip-offs was perpetrated by the Atlanta public school system. The teachers apparently taught their students what might charitably be called a mediocre lesson and then rigged the assessment tests to make it appear they were actually delivering a quality education. What they were really doing was defrauding the taxpayer to collect an unearned performance bonus.

The Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal refers to the accusation that teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) district cheated on state-administered standardized tests, and the subsequent fallout. The scandal began in 2009 when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published analyses of Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results which showed statistically unlikely test scores, including extraordinary gains or losses in a single year. An investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) released in July 2011 found that 44 out of 56 schools cheated on the 2009 CRCT. 178 teachers and principals were found to have fixed incorrect answers entered by students. The size of the scandal has been described as one of the largest in United States history.

The scandal was in part uncovered by the parents themselves who wondered at how their children could score so well when they could barely read. What made things even more incredible was the Atlanta Public School’s success at portraying itself as a center of excellence. “Superintendent Beverly Hall, who served from 1999 to 2010, was named Superintendent of the Year in 2009.” Prison Superintendent, more like, for all the while she was robbing an entire generation of their future, wasting ten years of their lives in sham classrooms teaching them diddly-squat.

What is even more astounding is that efforts by members of the black community to rectify the situation are met by sneers from the white liberal media, as exemplified by the heated discussion between Piers Morgan and Larry Elder. Elder was horrified by Jeantel’s inability to read, while Morgan seemed almost to expect it, to see it as the natural order of things and Elder’s objections as mere bigotry.

MORGAN: Why would you — why would you be so scathing about Rachel Jeantel and so patronizing to a young woman who’s clearly been through an appalling ordeal and who when I interviewed I found to be a smart cookie like I said. I found her to be fun, warm, engaging, street smart, and clearly from her educational background nowhere near as stupid as you’d like to think she is.

ELDER: Once again, I never used the word stupid. You did. … And I would recommend, Piers, that we do something about the 50 percent dropout rate in the inner city and about the fact that President Obama opposes allowing parents to use vouchers to get their kids out of bad government schools and into a better school so they can have a possibility to get to the middle class. …

It is outrageous. Hard work wins. Get an education. Don’t pay attention to the negative people and stay focused and you’ll be OK in America. That’s why most of the people in the world want to come here. That’s why you want to come here, Piers.

What was the reaction? Soon after the interview Twitter was alive with messages describing Elder as an Uncle Tom. No mention was made of Simon Legree. But now it is easy to see how no good deed goes unpunished. More importantly, it is now easy to understand that million dollar differential. That’s the gap between what a sub-standardly educated person can earn in a lifetime and what a person with a regular or superior one can pull down.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small

No Way In, a novel at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific

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Top Rated Comments   
NO PJ media, your new registration system makes commenting harder and much more frustrating. Your old system was much better. Your new one repeatedly shows me as signed in, I go to post a comment and it then says I have to sign in while blanking out what I've written. I'm sure my experience is not unique. Fortunately there's lots of other blogs. Fix it or go out of biz.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I rarely disagree with you Kin, but on this issue I must somewhat . The " But they voted them in " canard doesn't appreciate what local democracy in our Big Blue Cities and ( BIg Blue States) has become.

A place on that local school board in our Blue Cities is likely to be a well paying, powerful plum of a job reserved only for those connected with the Teacher's union. That school board campaign requires lots of cash and the teacher's union will almost certainly dominate the race.

Elections in Blue Cities, because of near total Public Sector Union dominance, have become a total sham and a far cry from real representative democracy. Only an outlier, well funded campaign, usually by a celebrity such as Arnold, has a chance to confront them.

The Left once in political control, will skew the funding, rules and literally the entire social/ welfare/ educational system to benefit it's interests so that after a while, the voting population will become sufficiently dumbed down, dependent and susceptible to the Left's false promises to lock out reasonable opposition.

This is the Blue City and Detroit model and the same model Dear Leader is trying to emulate on a national level.


39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"However did we come to value ignorance over knowledge?"

Evil, with a capital E. The same way we now have chants of "Hail Satan!" as a counter protest to pro-lifers singing Amazing Grace, and half the populace approves, and no one in the MSM seems to consider it a big deal.

The sides are becoming ever more clear and crystalized. This battle we have been fighting is not new, and is not about us, but it is FOR us. It is for all the marbles, with eternal consequences.

It is important to value ignorance, because the Truth will set you free. The Truth cannot be slain, cannot be stopped. Therefore, it must be prevented from ever being seen or known. It cannot be acknowledged.

The Truth no longer needs a body-guard of lies, as no one at all is trying to attack it anymore. There Narrative now simply seeks to prevent anyone from witnessing it. We now need Indiana Jones-style patriots to find and root out the Truth, preserve it, and ensure that it does not remain buried forever.

Thank you for being one of several "Dr. Jones" in this day, Mr. Fernandez.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (81)
All Comments   (81)
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My brother and I are products of public schools in Virginia and California, from about 1954 to 1967, including the overlap resulting from the difference in our ages. We each enrolled in college right out of High school. My brother worked more or less full time to have spending money and a car; I went off to an Ivy, where I worked at part-time school jobs, and lived in dormitory rooms.

All other factors ignored, we EACH have gotten about as much of our general knowledge from our own reading and individual pursuit of skills and information than from ALL THE COURSES WE TOOK. No question about it: our parents made a huge difference, encouraging and wheedling us to excel, providing lots of books in the home, and playthings like modeling clay, tools, erector sets, and art supplies. They also showed great patience, and never cut off our hands for drawing on the walls.

In college *I* became abruptly a lousy student, cowardly, SKEERED of the hard sciences, until I found something I could do MUCH better than most people at the time. I realize now that lots of people could learn to do animation, but most are not interested in all the subsidiary skills that combine to make it like Breathing for me.

For his part, my brother overcame grade-school health problems that seriously slowed his learning, and in college he became an obnoxiously voracious and omnivorous reader. That only happened to me AFTER graduation, but then it was with a vengeance.

One of the books that opened my eyes was "Why Johnny Can't Read," a copy of which I chanced upon while still in college about 1970. (Author: Rudolph Flesch, first edition. Somewhere about that time - from several sources - I came across the crucial concept that an education is supposed to teach you How to LEARN, not just provide a bunch of facts. That concept still reverberates through my life.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
NO PJ media, your new registration system makes commenting harder and much more frustrating. Your old system was much better. Your new one repeatedly shows me as signed in, I go to post a comment and it then says I have to sign in while blanking out what I've written. I'm sure my experience is not unique. Fortunately there's lots of other blogs. Fix it or go out of biz.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I compose (some might deny that) in a separate editor. Erased compositions are a frequent annoyance in many times and locales.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
As long as you brought up the topic of the current comment system...

I've been wondering if anyone out there can set up an independent BC comment page that would work similar to the old one. We would continue to read BC at Wrethcard's site, but then go to the independent site for discussion.

The current system degrades the quality of our discussions from what they could be. Improving our communications would actually be a small step forward in the struggle for Liberty & Prosperity.

Does an effort like this require some financial support or is it something that a skilled IT person can quickly throw together?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I do think the better way is to organize and form the PJM Readers Union and then present our demands... OK, just kidding. But what I suggest is that you'd all list your complaints and feature suggestions and then I'll email PJM with the most popular ones.

The techies are not entirely unresponsive and the comment system did improve a lot since its initiation - remember at first you coudn't even post links in a normal way or use any HTML at all? So if we all write down the features we're missing they may improve the current system.

So what are the bugs you encountered and features you want?
(Please write them down also if somebody else already mention them, so we can see and prove how common they are).
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many thanks for all your inputs on this topic.

Not being an IT person, much of it is lost on me. But I think I get the gist of it - in theory, we could set up an independent free standing sight dedicated to BC comments.

As for the features I miss most:

1. Numbered comments. This was great way to carry on a conversation. One could read thru the comments on his own own schedule and then identify a particular comment (for example, "The Other Pnina - comment #73") that he wants to reply to. The numbered system is superior to the current "reply" system because there is never a need to back track to see if there has been a response to a particular comment.

2. The numbered comments should begin with #1 at the top and move down to the most recent comment at the bottom. That allows a reader who comes to the comment site at any time to just keep scrolling down without having to check back to the top to see if there are any new comments.

feel free to contact me at notlobotomized@gmail.com
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
One more important feature - EDIT!

That way, instead of writing a new comment like this one, I could go back and modify my previous comment. Not to mention correcting typos, etc.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just for giggles, when PJM changed, all html went awa' wi' t' fairies. Then for a short period; I got italics and boldface back. Then they rejoined the freaking fairies. No html again.

RADAG BROWN:

"Improving our communications would actually be a small step forward in the struggle for Liberty & Prosperity."

I'm not sure that is in the list of goals of PJM.

Subotai Bahadur
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
" 'Improving our communications would actually be a small step forward in the struggle for Liberty & Prosperity.'

I'm not sure that is in the list of goals of PJM."

Yes, but presumably this is a goal of W. and many of those who read and comment here.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure that is in the list of goals of PJM.

Don't think there's a consiracy here. It's not a feature, it's a bug. At first I thought the guy/s who did the new comment system was so focused on the main and more difficult features that some of the minor stuff, like HTML in the comments, simply slipped his mind. After many complaints he did add them. But it took a long time, and it still has bugs and some annoyances, so now I think there some degree of incompetence involved too.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Forgot to add, "Please sir, can I have blockquote and links again too?

Subotai Bahadur
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really? Wow, what's with that?

Let me make some tests:

1. Bold
This is a bold sentence

2. Italic
This is italic

3. Blockquote
This is a quote

4. Link 1
http://pjmedia.com/

5. Link 2
PJM [http://pjmedia.com]

6. Pseudo-link bug
typo.that has the structure.of.a.domain.name and therefore is.hotlinked even though it's.not.a.link.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow! how did you do bold and italic?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, nothing changed. We still have bold, italic, links, and also the pseudo-link bug and no blockquote. What they do in "link 2" type is really annoying though. You use A H-R-E-F and instead of making your text clickable they put the URL in brackets next to it - that really messes up the comment if the link is long.

The thing is I don't understand what they did with this comment system. For instance, why can't we access the old comments anymore. Unless they've created a brand new comment system from scratch that can't connect with the old WordPress DB structure instead of using the native WordPress comment functionality as a basis and enhance it with plugins.

The native WP comment system has almost all the features of the new PJM comment system minus the bugs. It has:

- User registration
- Avatars
- Comments pagination
- Reply to comments
- Order comments from new to old or old to new
- Of course, it allows all those basic HTML tags we had in the old comment system.

All of those features are optional, which is why we didn't have them in the old comment system, but it only requires for the admin to check a checkbox to turn them on, not rewrite the entire system. As for the rest of the features, since WordPress is pluggable they could have been implemented by creating a plugin. Then we also could have access to the old comments.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Basically you can simply open a free forum or comment system somewhere and link it from here. The Richrad Fernandez Fan Forum or some such - that can't be illegal. If Richard can't link to it himself you (or other commenters) have to post a link to it in your comments.

Or if you want more control and less limitations the proper way to do it is host it yourself (you or someone else). I'm not sure what size of traffic this blog gets, but I guess it's not extremely huge, so if you don't allow large multimedia files in the comments the hosting should cost no more than $5 a month, plus $8-12 a year for a domain name (though you can use free hosting and get a free domain name too).

Once you have the hosting you can use an open source forum or comment system. If you want a comment system that is identical to the previous one you can use WordPress itself (the open source blogging sotware PJM uses) and find a (free) plugin that adds an edit feature, though I can't guarantee such plugin exists.

As for the design, every software comes with some default designs where you only need to change the website title. Of course, if you want a fancy design that will be unique to the site you'll have to pay for it, but I don't see why it's necessary. Open source software also usually have a large user base that contributes lots of free designs, so you're not even confined to the default ones.

The main catch, however, is that you will need an administrator to run the thing and moderate comments. Every time Richard posts on his blog someone should start a corresponding thread on the comment site. There must be some tech way to do it automatically, but I have no idea if it's legal (as you're basically "stealing" traffic). The comments also require moderation (to delete spam, for instance). The database requires backups and optimally also the occasional cleanup. And then there are upgrades to the software and other technical tasks. So you need at least one person or several volunteers.

But if you're using an external forum or comment system provider (free or for fee) instead of hosting it yourself, the provider will take care of the upgrades and other tech tasks, and you will only need comment moderators, which any regular Internet user can do, and someone to start threads when Richard posts.

So basically your options are:

- Start a free forum/comment system with a free forum provider. This option only requires comment moderators, which can be volunteers, but has limitations on your control of the system, often on your access to the database (if you want, for instance, to move it to another provider), and pretty often also on the traffic or number of messages.

- Do the same, but with a paid forum provider, in which case you will have some more control and less limitations.

- Host it yourself, in which case you will have full control and less limitations, but it requires more maintenance.

Of course, if the traffic is very high or the number of comments in the database is getting really massive the hosting costs get higher, but if it's not really really huge (as in a million visitors a day), even higher costs will still remain low. The main issue is maintenance.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's non-trivial and carries an operational cost as well.

Not sure how long it would take any or all PJM bloggers to end their current contracts and move over, or if that's even a consideration.

Bad to utterly incompetent web site design is rampant, and on site after site, every change is for the worse.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
My speculation was that someone coulx create a free-standing comment site, completely separate from PJM. We would continue to read Wretchard's posts on PJM, but would then go to the new free standing site to comment. The new site would have only one purpose - to host BC comments.

Does that make it any easier or is it still a pretty big deal?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even if current contracts with PJM allowed it, if it reduced traffic on their PJM pages, and it would, that would be a bad thing, can't see it being an answer.

The software for the site that cannot be named was just about perfect five years ago, at least in user terms (can't speak for the system side). It's not rocket surgery and I occassionally wonder why I don't take a flyer on it myself, though it's not really anything I've ever done. Kind of a second generation PJM.

With an Edit feature, wau.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
oops - hit the wrong reply button. this system surely does suck.

"Even if current contracts with PJM allowed it"

My assumption is that PJM has nothing to say about where people choose to comment about Wretchard's posts. However, one never knows what's going to happen if lawyers are involved.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
coulx?

While we're on the topic, I sure do miss the old edit feature.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Even if current contracts with PJM allowed it"

My assumption is that PJM has nothing to say about where people choose to comment about Wretchard's posts. However, one never knows what's going to happen if lawyers are involved.

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
In A Nation at Risk, a report published by a Reagan commission 30 years ago said this about the American education system:

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.

How much worse do you think it is now compared to 1983?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nation_at_Risk
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
DEWEY FROM DETROIT

http://www.deweyfromdetroit.com/2013/07/the-motor-city-broken-and-out-of.html#.UemOkW26R65

Enumerates the chronolgy of the disaster and its causes.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even small mountain towns are infected with the educational death virus. My 4 kids got an education despite the school system, not because of it. And it was cultural. I'm Chinese, and I instilled the Chinese attitude towards learning. In the fields of politics, history, and science; our home library is better than the school or city libraries. My kid's friends, who with them were the top of their graduating classes, would come to our house to do research in the days before computers.

We have a charter school here [K-8]. They pay less than the District schools. And have a waiting list of the best teachers. And they pick students by lottery, as described. We also have state standardized tests. Our "Core Knowledge School" has always had every freaking student above grade level in every tested subject at every grade for over a decade. The kids are bored when they get to the High School, having passed the curriculum in the HS. So they commonly end up taking advantage of a state program where gifted high school students who have completed the HS curriculum take classes at our local community college for credit while in HS.

Effective teaching methods are considered to be the enemy in the District schools. When the first rumors of the Core Knowledge School came out, the District created a small [40 students, two teachers] "Exploratory School" that mimicked their methods to try to show that they did not need a charter school. Two of my kids went to it for a couple of years, and it was successful. As soon as the Core Knowledge School actually started, the District added a Principal, a Vice-Principal, a Secretary, and support staff to the Exploratory School. The Principal was an exemplar of the student-hating educational bureaucrat. Within a year, the school was merged with a regular school, because they had failed to stop the Core Knowledge from forming. The Exploratory School teachers went over to the Core Knowledge School. The District promptly forgot and deliberately avoided their teaching methods.

The school systems are the enemy of education.

One bit of hope. In a neighboring district the local TEA Party will be running a slate for the school board later this year. TEA Parties may be one route to get around the dominance of the Left on school boards.

Subotai Bahadur
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The school systems are the enemy of education."

An old saying in the DoD: "If you want to make sure no one can get a venereal disease, assign a National Stock Number and put a Federal agency in charge of supplying it."

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a rule, “market dominant minorities” (to use a phrase coined by Amy Chua) value education. They value education more than intrigue. They value education more than muscle. They value education more than money.

Among market dominant minorities, powerful businessmen and powerful warlords will feel an inferiority complex toward scholars and intellectuals. Lebanese Shi'ites feel awe toward ayatollahs, Chinese Confucians feel awe toward mandarins, and traditional Jews feel awe toward rabbis. There was a time when a merchant would feel honored to sponsor the research of a prominent rabbi. The rabbi would not feel honored by such sponsorship, for he would understand how his status would rub off on the merchant who sponsored him. This inferiority complex would spur a merchant to work harder, because he knew that making lots of money wasn't enough. Likewise, John D. Rockefeller was spurred by his religion to amass as much money as he could so that he could give it away to worthwhile charities.

The power of market dominant minorities reflects their ancient awe toward priestly classes. In contrast, antebellum slave owners in the United States generally admired military men such as George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and Zachary Taylor. Sports is basically a codified form of martial prowess, so it should be no surprise that subcultures that prize martial skills should excel at sports. When a culture has role models such as Jack Johnson and Muhammed Ali, as well as equating scholarship with becoming the “enemy”, neither market dominance nor intellectual dominance becomes a likely option.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Real education does not come from school. Real education comes despite school. It comes from a motivation to learn that a child gets from those the child admires, typically the child's parents. It rarely ever comes from school teachers. One can learn in school, but one rarely ever learns because of school. In some respects, a library is more important than a school, for a library provides an opportunity for the self-motivated to learn about what they want. School is an exercise in conformity; excellent grades generally come from obedience to school authority rather than intellect.

Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Among all the controversy over Home Schooling versus Government Schools, an important fact gets ignored.

The "normal" way was BOTH. You got it both in school and at home.

And after I graduated from college with a degree in engineering, I had a strong interest in learning but none whatsoever in further formal education.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Same with me at home; same college major, same disinterest in further classroom education. But then our Myers-Briggs temperament type surely is similar if not the same --ENTP for me-- and the NTPs (5% of the population) love to learn and figure things out.

My mother -- a building designer-- drilled me in the multiplication tables when I was in the 4th grade and lacking motivation. Her mother, daughter of a judge, regaled me with tales of family members' accomplishments and honorable conduct in life. Now I home school myself in the spirit of, "once you learn how to learn, you're off to the races and nobody can hold you back" --per Postman and Weingartner in their 1969 book, Teaching as a Subversive Activity.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm surprised only 47% of Detroiters are illiterate. Can't that statistic be reworked as "good news?"
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
47% of Detroiters are virtually immune to the racist white conservative propoganda embodied in such documents as the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independance.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
W: "You can take either of two points of view in this situation. This is either the worst outrage ever inflicted on Americans since the Death March in Bataan or the most rip-roaring, creative and over the top scam ever perpetrated in the history of confidence."

Actually, there is a third point of view: This could be one of the greatest opportunities in the history of the Republic.

Efforts like KIPP are akin to going after shale oil/gas. If these educational efforts succeed, even modestly, the benefits to society will make the fracking revolution look like chump change.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree; Lenin said: ''Give me the children for two years and I will plant a seed that will never be uprooted.'' Give me KIPP through high school; he was wrong, we'll be right.

This is one of the signs of a tidal movement totally unnoticed by the ''elite'', who only talk to each other and send their kids to Sidwell Friends. Ditto high sales of guns/ammo, some aggressive congresspersons, ''primary-ing'', etc. There's a lot going on down in the population outside of the DC-NY corridor, SF Bay, and ''higher'' education.

I think the pot is simmering but, to some, the surface appears undisturbed.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another aspect of our culture developing in internet era, as well as living inside a barely functioning "real" economy, is that entrepreneurs and others merely wanting to get stuff done correctly, will begin routing around problems. Pace an earlier post, some forms of life will adapt, and others won't understand what happened when the comet enters the atmosphere.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system."
- Vaclav Havel (1978)
http://history.hanover.edu/courses/excerpts/165havel.html

Cribbed from commenter "newrouter" on a Protein Wisdom thread ( http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=49402#comment-986901 ) via a BC link from Geoffrey Britain
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But I was looking at things the wrong way. The real question was how bad could the public schools be."

Bingo.

That's why even poorly educated parents can homeschool and get better results than most public schools.

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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