Monday, June 11, 2012

What You Ought to Know About Education

Two classic articles here.  I fully agree with both, and I've been frustrated that I run into these issues to some degree even though my kids are home schooled.  A certain tendency to teach "by the book" rather than trying to foster critical thinking skills.

First article is by Neil Boortz (talk radio host in Atlanta), as published by The Patriot Post:

"The Commencement Speech You Need To Hear" by Neil Boortz

And the second article:
"I Quit, I Think" by John Taylor Gatto

Both are rather long but I encourage you to read them both in their entirety.

First some select quotes from the Neil Boortz article.  Remember, it is in the form of a commencement speech to naive new graduates.

"This, of course, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees ... or as college professors."
Boortz can't resist taking shots at government employees, and I can't blame him.

"Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach."
He just can't stop himself!

"Pay attention to the news, read newspapers -- as long as we have newspapers -- and listen to the words and phrases that proud Liberals use to promote their causes. Then compare the words of the left to the words and phrases you hear from those evil, heartless, greedy conservatives. From the Left you will hear 'I feel.' From the Right you will hear 'I think.' From the Liberals you will hear references to groups --The Blacks, The Poor, The Rich, The Disadvantaged, The Less Fortunate. From the Right you will hear references to individuals. On the Left you hear talk of group rights; on the Right, individual rights."

"That about sums it up, really: Liberals feel. Liberals care. They are pack animals whose identity is tied up in group dynamics and the principal of looting. Conservatives and Libertarians think -- and, setting aside the theocracy crowd, their identity is centered on the individual -- individual worth and achievement."

"Does it bother you that I'm not particularly fond of our government? Well, be clear on this: It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Oh yes, I know it's a necessary evil, but it is dangerous nonetheless ... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal."

"No matter what your professors have taught you over the last four years, you are about to learn that diversity is absolutely no replacement for excellence, ability, and individual hard work. Unless, of course, you are working for the government or academia."

"From this day on every single time you hear the word 'diversity' you can rest assured that there is someone close by who is determined to rob you of every vestige of individuality you possess."

"You may think, for instance, that you have a right to health care. After all, the president said so, didn't he? But you cannot receive health care unless some doctor or health practitioner surrenders some of his time -- his life -- to you. He may be willing to do this for compensation, but that's his choice. You have no "right" to his time or property. You have no right to any portion of his or any other person's life."

"You may also think you have some "right" to a job; a job with a living wage, whatever that is. Do you mean to tell me that you have a right to force your services on another person, and then the right to demand that this person compensate you with their money? What if he doesn't need your services?"

"The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms."

"You need to register to vote, unless you're part of the moocher class."

"Don't bow to the temptation to use the government as an instrument of plunder. If it is wrong for you to take money from someone else who earned it -- to take their money by force for your own needs -- then it is certainly just as wrong for you to demand that the government step forward and do this dirty work for you."

And now some select quotes from the second article, by John Taylor Gatto.

"Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents."

"Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood."

"In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling."

"There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t."

"How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it."