What Makes a Good School?

Would you let the government run grocery stores?  What sort of food would be available if the government did that?  Think about that, we’ll get back to it later.

What Makes a Good Teacher?

Why do the best American private high schools rarely hire teachers with education degrees and don’t require them to be certified to teach?

a) Teaching quality doesn’t matter when all the kids are so smart and wealthy
b) So they can exploit teachers by paying them less
c) They know that an Education degree is a bullshit degree and teacher certification means jack shit.

Correct answer is C.  Check out Phillips Academy Exeter’s (one of the best high schools in the world) faculty if you don’t believe me.

If the best private high schools in the US rarely hire those with education degrees and teacher certifications, then why don’t government managed high schools (aka public schools), especially the worst ones, do the same?  Why don’t we emulate the best schools?

Education-Industrial Complex

Incompetent people spend more time preparing excuses for failure than working toward success, that’s why.  The purpose of the education-industrial complex is to maintain the legitimacy of government managed schools, despite its breathtaking failures.  It begins with lame excuses and hiding behind bullshit degrees and certifications that teach teachers to do the OPPOSITE of what teachers at the best schools are doing.  The most common lame excuses:

  • we lack proper funding
  • the students are poor
  • the parents are ignorant
  • we lack proper fucking funding
  • racism
  • sexism

When a project begins with excuses,  it’s guaranteed to fail because nobody’s identity is at stake.  People succeed only when they put everything on the line, when there are no face saving excuses to protect the ego.

Why Education-Industrial Complex Exists

For the same reason the Military-Industrial complex exists.  Military-Industrial complex justifies ridiculous military spending (number one and more than next 8 highest spenders combined despite sharing only two borders) by scaring the shit out of Americans, telling them that without the US military dropping bombs and invading nations around the world nearly every day, Islamic terrorists are going to blow us up, the Russians are going rape our women, and the Chinese will eat our fetuses.  And all it takes is a couple of incidents and the fear is cemented.

fetussoup

Conceptual art piece by Chinese artist.  US congress thought it was cannibalism — Chinese eating fetuses — and called for sanctions and Human Rights investigation. Fucking tools.

Education-Industrial complex pulls the same shit, convincing people that without mandatory public education there’ll be lawlessness and mass unemployment and the literacy rate would plummet, leaving the US poor and dumb.  All it takes is a couple of incidents of some high school drop outs doing stupid shit to cement the fear, even though most of our Founding Fathers — all highly literate — had little or no *formal* education and Abraham Lincoln — also highly literate — only had one year of school.  It’s also not clear how much of a role public education has had on literacy, as literacy rates were increasing — in response to the changing economy — long before public schools became popular and mandatory. Daniel Lattier on the effectiveness of public education:

Thus, the increase in American literacy cannot be solely chalked up to the creation of a public education system. Indeed, as statistics today show, an education system is no guarantee of literacy. According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million of American adults are illiterate, 21 percent read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates are functionally illiterate, which means they can’t read well enough to manage daily living and perform tasks required by many jobs.

Maybe the number of terrorist attacks directed at the US would go down if the US military stopped wantonly harassing and/or invading other nations.  And maybe, just maybe, the literacy rate will improve if the government were to get out the business of funding and managing schools, just as it had before public education became mandatory.

educationindustrial

Children getting indoctrinated

What Makes a Good School?

  • Good schools teach grit and curiosity. Students at such schools are taught to struggle with and solve difficult problems on their own and with others, and to ask questions without fear of reprisal. (See Harkness Table Method used at many of the top schools).
  • Good schools also make competitive sports a required part of the curriculum. Sports teaches grit and accountability, makes the body more graceful, and trains students to hone and trust their instincts.
  • Good schools require participation in performance arts, especially theater arts. Theater prepares student to be comfortable in front of large audience, cultivates the memory, and teaches students to be more aware of how the intonation of their speech and the grace of their gestures affects people.
  • Good schools set higher and higher expectations and expect students to achieve them.
  • Good schools teach students that only they can educate themselves.

What Makes a Bad School?

  • Bad schools are concerned about the emotional health of students, which ironically makes them emotionally frail and crazy.
  • Bad schools tell students how to solve problems instead of letting them solve them on their own.
  • Bad schools reward knowledge instead of curiosity and train students to not trust their instincts.
  • Bad schools allow students to make excuses when they don’t meet standards and encourage students to lower their standards to get better grades.
  • Bad schools teach students that they need school to educate themselves.

What Happens When Government Runs Grocery Stores?

What did you imagine?  I’m guessing those of you who are Lefty-Goosey imagined grocery stores without candy bars and soda and tabloid magazines, with an abundance of fresh and organic fruit and produce, and limited but high quality supply of seafood and meat. Those from the Raunchy Right probably imagined something similar but with fewer options and more empty shelves.

If that’s what you imagined, your vision is probably close to what would happen.  One place that shows us what would happen is at the local government controlled public school cafeterias that follow the Healthy Hungry Free Kids Act Federal nutrition guidelines (2010).  Here’s what they serve for lunch:

 

Not bad, nutritionally — improvement over what had been served — but most kids hated it and didn’t eat most if it. So someone asked:

As more children start to bring lunches from home and forego the nutritious school lunch, we, as school nutrition professionals, ask ourselves, how did we get here? Our government implemented a law, regardless of your opinions on it, designed to provide healthier foods to children during the school day to help build stronger bodies and sharper minds. Now we find that law with seemingly good intentions has somehow backfired on us in some cases. We find ourselves fighting two opposing battles – struggling to meet the new nutritional guidelines while trying to get the students to eat the meals prepared in schools.

Taste comes first, taste comes first, taste ALWAYS comes first for most people when it comes to food. This program failed because government bureaucrats don’t understand the psychological and emotional dimensions of eating the way chefs do because they don’t have to, it’s not their money at stake when something fails.  These people have no idea what they’re up against.

Meals brought from home had a high probability of including sugary drinks like soda, chips, dessert, or even all three. Some parents might say that their child’s meals are packed with love, but in reality, they are packed with a lot more than that. Sack lunches were found to have higher sugar and fat content, along with more calories than a reimbursable meal option sold in the school cafeteria.

And that’s precisely why I spend so much time tearing down the cultural foundations — middle-class manners and delusions — of this kind of behavior. Some of you think middle-class (gratuitous) compliments are good for society.  Wrong, a vacant compliment is no different from giving someone soda or heroin: all provide easy pleasure that we don’t deserve and will kill us. Those who crave compliments are going to crave sugar and are one bad step away from becoming heroin addicts.

A local Wyoming official who opted out of the Federal plan:

“A one-size-fits-all program doesn’t work everywhere,” says Decker. “And I also think that food is a little too personal to make a law. You can tell someone they can’t speed, but I don’t you can tell everybody what they have to eat every day.”

So I’m guessing that a government run grocery store will be “healthier” than most privately run ones. But most people won’t like it, will reject it, and it wouldn’t make a profit.

What Happens When You Let Government Run Schools and Make Public Education Mandatory? 
You get tyranny. Like the students who didn’t like the government run cafeteria, you get a bunch of students who don’t want to be at school because they aren’t getting what they want out of it.  Forcing people to do what they don’t want to do is tyranny, even if the intentions are honorable. You can demand a motorist to not drink and drive and to follow traffic rules because that’s what the motorist agreed to to earn the right to drive on government roads.  But we can’t tell people who haven’t done anything wrong that they have to go to education camps that fuck them up any more than we can force people to fight in wars they have no interest fighting.

What Happens If We Get Rid of Public Education? 
Those who want to be educated — including the poor — will still be educated, just as the Founding Fathers were when there weren’t many schools.  Many will become better educated than had they graduated from a shit school because shit schools are like bad hospitals, they make people dumber just as bad hospitals make people sicker.  Resources won’t be wasted on those who don’t want to be educated so society will be wealthier.  The economy will take off because people will begin working earlier instead of wasting time bored in school making themselves unemployable.  And most importantly, many more people will finally be free, instead of scared, to think for themselves.

Child abuse in the USA

 

 

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Notes on 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Part I

 

I. Candidate Yang’s Universal Basic Income platform: unconditionally give $1000/month to everyone (citizens only?) between ages 18-64, no strings attached and untaxed.

II. Rooting for Yang. His Universal Basic Income platform needs to be debated on national stage, but not endorsing him.  Disagree with many of his policies.

III. Don’t agree that automation will significantly shrink workforce.  Automation has been happening for awhile now — ATMs, self-checkout, etc. — yet there’s a severe labor *shortage* as I write this.  I support Universal Basic Income, just not for the same reasons as Yang’s.

IV. Yang cites labor participation rate of 62.7 percent as evidence of automation shrinking workforce.  So that’s down from 67 percent in 1996.  Is that supposed to be a big deal?  Context: labor participation rate has decreased since economic recovery;  labor participation rate has decreased as unemployment rate has decreased.  Yet Yang envisions doomsday.  I see people choosing to be stay-at-home moms and dads because they can afford to do so and a bunch of people who are either unemployable or employed in the black and grey markets (eg. sex work, etsy, ebay).

V.  Automation doesn’t destroy jobs, it only makes people more productive.  Just because Artificial Intelligence (AI) can do the job of a corporate lawyer better and faster doesn’t mean we don’t need most corporate lawyers anymore.  There’s a bottomless backlog of shit that needs to get done.  Once done, there’ll be unimaginable new frontiers to explore. So AI doesn’t mean fewer radiologists or police officers or lawyers.  It just means more of what needs to get done gets done, and at a lower cost to consumers because shit gets done faster and more efficiently.

VI. Next stage automation — Artificial Intelligence Economy — won’t happen as quickly as Yang predicts (10-15 years).  Technological change is as much a social and political issue as it is an economic issue.  People will eventually get used to driver-less cars and trucks, just as people got used to using elevators. But it’ll take longer than Yang thinks and the changes will be gradual rather than radical.  Americans don’t like radical change.

VII. Universal Basic Income will help keep unemployable people out of the work-force.  That’s a good thing because there are a lot of people who produce negative value.  Meaning, their screw ups cost a lot of money to fix.  Then there are those — most of the workforce — who produce little value above what they’re paid. Best to not let them work too much.

VIII. Critics say that work is how one builds good character.  Let’s assume that’s true. But why does everyone need to have good character?  We keep useless, lazy pets around and aren’t concerned about their moral health and lack of grit.  So why should we be bothered and concerned if someone doesn’t want to work, especially if we don’t need that person to work?  Let them be and give them enough money to stay off the streets.

IX. Yang mentions Alaska as a test case.  Alaskans get a dividend each month and that hasn’t resulted in societal breakdown and rise in slothful behavior.  Same with other UBI pilot projects around the world.  Link here to pilot outcomes

In fact, have shown improvements in physical and mental health, increase of IQ scores, higher graduation rates (ugh, that’s not necessarily a positive outcome) and reduction of crime. A UBI experiment in Canada saw hospitalization rates go down 8.5%.

X. That makes sense because the lack of economic security is a source of poor mental health, which often leads to poor physical health and nutrition.

XI. Nutrition in US will improve if UBI improves mental health.  Inability to cope with anxiety and depression, not lack of financial resources and access to nutritionally dense ingredients, is why people have poor diets.

XII.  UBI won’t help the poorest of the poor — doesn’t matter how much money you give them, they’ll figure out a way to fuck it up.  But it’ll help the working poor and up.  It’ll especially help the upper-middle class to become more entrepreneurial instead of playing it safe.

XIII. Use UBI to pay off student loan debt.  Then get government out of business of subsidizing student loans.

XIV. Welfare requires a complicated bureaucracy of social workers, administrators, and fraud prevention officers.  So much money intended for the poor is wasted.

XV. Welfare is psychologically crippling, UBI is emotionally uplifting.  Welfare stigmatizes, UBI exculpates.  Welfare racializes poverty, UBI humanizes poverty.  Welfare disincentivizes work, UBI encourages work.  Welfare is invasive, UBI is unconditional.  Welfare invites fraud, UBI is fraud proof.  Welfare requires bureaucracy, UBI is automated.