Education for the masses

It is no secret that the education system in both the US and UK are shadows of their former selves, and are the battleground for at least two competing groups:

– the “equalizers” who insist that we can make anyone learn anything, and so necessarily hold back the best and the brightest. These are the minds in our colleges and departments of education, who paradoxically understand absolutely nothing about teaching, and explain away the current bad results, insisting that it just needs more money and “more study”.

– the free market crazies, who claim that completely underfunding public education and threatening every teacher with dismissal will somehow casino online improve things. They also know nothing about teaching, and also ignore the data, claiming that privatizing the process will work, despite dismal results (in the US).

Thomas Jefferson noted that a successful democracy requires the active involvement of an educated electorate. For their short-term benefit, it is probably in the interests of the powers that be to have the system fail. In the US, education is seen as yet another commodity from which to extract profit, as healthcare has become. Sadly for those same people, it the system breaks, as it must, there won”t be enough trained people to fix the infrastructure, and they will go down with the rest of us.

For some quotes on education, including very funny ones, try: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/thoughts-on-teachers–from-socrates-to-lady-gaga/2012/05/08/gIQA9uEi9T_blog.html#pagebreak

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12 comments for “Education for the masses

  1. Andrew
    May 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    People for a free market in education (such as myself) simply want a free market in education, that is the removal of the state.

    No need to tell lies about us.

    • Voice of Reason
      May 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Which lies, specifically? The charter system and private schools in the US under-perform the public schools. Both out-perform the average home-schooler.

      • Andrew
        May 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm

        “the free market crazies, who claim that completely underfunding public education and threatening every teacher with dismissal will somehow improve things.”

        Those aren’t free market ideas. As I stated above a free market is simply the removal of the state from the provision of education.

        In my opinion, freeing the minds of the young from the control of the state is the single most important goal in the fight for freedom. It’ll always be an uphill struggle when the state’s indoctrinating the young.

        • Voice of Reason
          May 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

          I was referring to the people who claim to be free market, yet advocate these same things. Most here in the US forcing changes want to do their own indoctrination, which is very often virulent religion and anti-science. Not the best way to maintain a technological society.

      • Peter Whale
        May 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/30/home-schooling-outstanding-results-national-tests/

        This article seems to disagree with your remark on home schooling.

        • Voice of Reason
          May 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

          I ran the numbers once. Off my now quite fallible memory, the homeschoolers outperform the national average in English, but below in Mathematics. The average in the former is lower than Minnesota public school students.

          Now here’s the rub: the estimate is that only about 3% of homeschoolers take the ACT, versus at least 50% of public school kids. Do the writers wish to make the argument that it’s the same kind of random sample, or is it more likely that these are from the top?

          • Peter Whale
            May 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

            I home schooled my children when we lived on the Isle of Wight because my son had an allergy problem. When we moved to France my daughter entered school for the first time at the age of ten and loved it(shows how boring as a teacher I was) although she was the only English speaking kid in the school.Now she is in the last year at Lycee and doing great. When we had a visit from the education authorities on the IOW they expected a higher standard than the state educated children.
            You are quite right to query the statistics but also there is a high proportion of special needs kids that are home schooled also a lot of teachers children are home schooled. Not at all a normal representation of schoolkids.

            • Voice of Reason
              May 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

              My wife and I actually considered it. I believe that the primary problem, at least in the US, is that most home-schoolers are fundamentalists, and quite anti-science, although they claim otherwise.

  2. May 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    We so nearly had, if not the answer, at least the ticket to a better system.

    In 1996-97, nursery vouchers were issued to children aged between 3 and 5 to be redeemed agains the cost of pre-school education or certain types of child-care. Had this been allowed to continue, parents would have had the choice of where to spend the vouchers (admissions policies permitting).

    Instead it was abandoned, at who knows what cost to the public purse – though, of course, the treasury gained on the roundabout of discontinuing subsidies to parents selecting fee-paying schools.

    • May 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Had this been allowed to continue…

      I mean, of course, had that 1996 cohort continued to receive vouchers for the full duration of their education and each subsequent year-group been incorporated into the system.

  3. May 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I understand that private schools in America don’t achieve as much academically as one might expect, partly because they are chosen for other reasons.

  4. May 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

    And not forgetting “all must have prizes”.

Comments are closed.