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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Education? MHWA!

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." –Ralph Waldo Emerson It's moderately amusing that an otherwise fine article desparaging the bumbling hackery of (constitutionally improper, IMO) federal public education policy (bumbling hackery or a conspiracy of the elite to create more sheeple?) begins with a mis-citation of Emerson:
"Consistency, they say, is the hobgoblin of little minds. If so, then for the last 40 years federal education policymakers have suffered from hobgoblins aplenty, with the small-minded feds delivering two things with great consistency: empty promises to parents and money to educrats."
Well, the point is at least valid. Whether admitting the failure of Title 1 programs to do anything of major impact in education except for creating jobs for bureaucrats and positions for teachers who might well be better actually, uhm, teaching, or the current failures of NCLB to accomplish anything substantive apart from creating more bureaucratic sinecures and manifesting itself as "No Child Gets Ahead," as far as educratic tinkering in local schools goes, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (Statistically, as the Random Yak might say, slightly more than 70% of the folks our public schools graduate from high school wouldn't be able to fight their way through the first clause of the convoluted sentence above. And more than half of recent college grads would give up by the time they got to "Title 1".) While the title of the article, Answer to NCLB Failure Is School Choice, might appear to state the obvious or beg the question (of NCLB's success), depending on one's preconceptual bias, pre-existing level of information or ability to reason, the article does present some references to fairly well-known failures of NCLB and a well-reasoned argument for school choice. I just wish the author had pointed out the particularly foolish nature of the fedgov's consistent failures meddling in education that have brought about situations like this:
The deadliest business hazard of our time is the result of a sea change in the American approach to education that occurred early in the 1970s. Across the United States, conventional educational standards were tossed out the window, replaced with feel-good theories like "whole-language learning" that emphasized personal fulfillment over the accumulation of hard knowledge. As a result, we now have two generations of men and women who expect gold stars not for succeeding, but simply for trying. And, sometimes, merely for showing up. In Great Britain, even primary school students can name all the monarchs of England. How many American children can name the capital of their own state? In India, the study of mathematics is practically a religion. In the United States, how many retail clerks can make change without relying on a calculator? In Germany, vocational education is a rigorous and honorable pursuit, producing highly qualified workers and tradesmen. In the U.S.A., people actually boast about their inability to deal with anything mechanical. But sheer stupidity is not the greatest danger presented by the current crop of blank slates. It is the arrogance bred of ignorance that constitutes an unparalleled descent into goofiness.
Please forgive the long quote, but the article in Industry Week, Continental Drifter -- The Arrogance Of Ignorance, is quite a bit longer (with quite a bit of reader response)... and still worth the read, IMO. Think about it. How long has it been since you've gotten through a day without idiots at work insisting on proving their incometence, or idiots at a business you deal with--retail, service, whatever--being unable to demonstrate the ability to do more than chew gum and walk (usually to rap or hip-hop banging their mush-that-once-was-brains)? Bah. It's not all the fault of evil educrats; each of the idiots you meet day in and day out had a hand in their own lobotomies. But enough educratic and political bumbling, please! More than enough!
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."- Mark Twain
Ronald Reagan famously said,
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
The current level of wilfull (and imposed) stupidity of the American electorate along with the apparent intentions of political poltroons in D.C., their educratic spawn, dumbass schools of education (and those they spawn) and the like make the chilling cuautionary vision Reagain voiced all too possible. Happy Tuesday! See this post in its original "Linkfest" version here
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