Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Education is Dead

When I went to school in the 1950's and 60's we learned to read, to write, and to do math. That was it. The textbooks were often old and worn out. There were no visual aids except what we made ourselves. The lesson plans in every class were step-by-step: learn a new thing, drill it to death, take a little quiz, learn the next new thing, drill it, take a quiz. Guess what? It worked. It may not have been fun, but it worked because most people, then and now, can’t learn to read, write, or do math any other way.

It’s all about getting down and working hard, digging into learning one scoop at a time. Sure, school was repetitive and very often boring, but it did just what it took to instruct reading, writing, and math. Things could have been better, but overall teachers did a pretty good job at teaching.

If you are going to spend time in the classroom on activities that are supposed to save the world or revolutionize society or build tolerance or cater to kids who don’t want to learn, then you are going to take away hours from the core idea and practice of what learning is.

School today is nothing like it used to be. Today it is assumed that most children are operating at a deficit, and need to be brought up to speed on morals, on compassion, on sex, on greenness, on hope, on race and religion, on global concerns, regardless of age or academic level. Today's education is more about cashing in for book publishers, for educrats, for federal overseers, and for bureaucrats of all stripes who belong to agenda-driven groups that want their special interests recognized and their moment in the sun.

It is a bunch of crap, frankly. Consult national test scores and current levels of literacy and you cannot help but concur. The vestiges of the education system I grew up with are long gone, regrettably.

The decline of educational standards began with the expansion of the industrial revolution. The whole thrust of early education in America was altered intentionally to produce worker-ants for a highly controlled society projected for the future. After 80 years of social rot we’re now turning out kids who are essentially confused, badly schooled, drifting on the wind, and lost in a fantasized entitlement mentality. They aren’t even androids ready to work on some non-existent assembly line. They’re just lost. They’re riddled with self-esteem that doesn’t work. They’re consumers looking for magic credit so they can buy their way into happiness. They’re loaded with sugar and other chemicals that scramble their synapses. They’re not only unsympathetic toward work; they have no passion whatsoever.

When I went to school, I don't remember any classroom disruption whatsoever. And in my schools there was an economic, social, racial, and religious cross-section of students. We weren’t striving for diversity. We just had it as a matter of fact. The relatively few kids who were out of control and resisted any kind of discipline were herded into classes together, and teachers dealt with them. The public schools of today lack the courage to say, “Look, if you’re here to learn, we want you. Otherwise, you’re out. Goodbye.”

If you need metal detectors at the school entrances, you have already gone over the edge. No one deserves to be subjected to that kind of scrutiny. The bullying problem? It’s an industry now. People with degrees write papers and books about it, and task forces gear up to study it and make recommendations. Once upon a time, no bully was allowed to remain in school. If he pressed his attitude and his actions, he was expelled. Period. It wasn’t a question of why he bullied. He was just gone. Learning couldn’t take place as long as he was in the classroom.

And “gangs in schools?” I’m sorry, but there are no gangs in schools. There are schools in gangs—that’s what you have when groups of kids with violent tendencies inhabit classrooms and corridors. If you can’t expel them en masse, shut down the place. If you want to make schools into six-hour-a-day baby-sitting machines, call it that. Try to obtain public funding for it. Hire guards and nurses and cops to staff it. Put it behind barbed-wire fences and install those metal detectors. Or if schools are really lunch cafeterias, run them that way. Free public lunches. Have kids show up at noon, eat, and leave.

If you think kids of various religions should be allowed to commandeer a room to hold prayer groups, call it Government-Funded church. Rent a hall somewhere and schedule everybody from Christians and Jews to Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Zoroastrians.

“Well, we have these kids who are great football players, and they score very badly on all the tests, but we need them on the team.” No you don’t. Start your own community team. Make up a name. Raise money for uniforms and coaches. Form a league. If these kids want to stay in school—which is a completely different matter—they’ll have to learn how to make the grade.

And this long-standing rule about passing kids on to the next grade, no matter how poorly they perform? Graduating them from high school even if they can’t read at fourth-grade level? Because they need to feel good about themselves? Because that’ll somehow help them find their way through life later on? Invent a new type of school for them and put it somewhere else. Bring in tutors. If that fails after an honest attempt, teach trades. Some of these kids will end up making more money in a trade than the best business-school grads.

All of the above, by the way, makes a good case for home schooling. Unless the parents themselves were shot out the top end of their schools, long ago, ill-prepared to handle the same reading, writing, and arithmetic.

No, the problem isn’t cookie-cutter education. It’s no education. Now, of course, hovering over this revolution in education is the wider government becoming mommy and daddy to everyone. “Because they care.” Because they need to do this “caring” in order to obtain budget money for their departments. Because otherwise they would be useless. And hovering over that is the program to convert everyone on the planet to a status much like an eternal patient with an eternal doctor. This program is advancing based on the notion that “patient status” equals “more controllable.” “Yes, we have to control you for your own good, because we care.” NO, THEY WANT CONTROL BECAUSE THEY WANT CONTROL.

Education is dead. Time to bulldoze it and bring back the basics of imaginative, analytical, logical, and critical thinking, inquiry, creativity, and good old hard work to master the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Adapted from Jon Rappoport's blog

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