Archive for the ‘Forced Schooling’ Category

BRAVO!

Source: Education On The Plate

I recently spoke at the #140edu Conference in NYC on the topic in the title. This is what I said.

How many of you here graduated from high school?

#140edu stage - via digital camera#140edu stage – via digital camera (Photo credit: NJ Tech Teacher)

How many of you liked high school?

Just as I thought. Despite the laws mandating it, despite the ominous predictions of what will happen if you leave it, not everyone should go to high school.

Let me say it again, not everyone should go to high school.

This sounds like heresy, especially coming from a teacher.

But even in a time when it seems like you need a college degree to be an auto mechanic, not everyone should go to high school.

When I dropped out of high school for the first time, yes — I’ve done it twice — dropping out was considered a sure path to economic and social failure.

Not much has changed since 1968. Dropping out of high school is still labeled a sure path to ruin. That there are students dropping out of school is still called a crisis.

It is not a crisis. It is a message.

Thinking of drop outs as a crisis leads to solutions that focus on compliance– things like raising the age at which one can leave school, or more truant officers to track down the education fugitives.

But if we look at students dropping out of schools as a message, drop outs tell us is that school sucks, that it is not reaching them, or that they feel they have no hope for success, in high school or beyond it.

They tell us that they are not being challenged enough, or not being allowed to follow their interests, or just that school doesn’t fit them: it is too big, too small, too cliquey or too dangerous.

The reasons students leave school are as differentiated as the lessons we teachers are being told to teach them.

You have heard, and will continue to hear today and tomorrow, about ways to make school better, more enticing, more encouraging, more engaging and more effective.

All that is good, but it is almost impossible for any modern high school to meet the needs of all students.

This is not for lack of intent or lack of effort. It is a result of an increasingly centrally-mandated standardized world. Now we’re all supposed to hone our lessons to the common core. Really? Does anyone really want to be common?

Instead of focusing on how to make school better or teaching better, I’m going to talk about how to make learning better.

My idea of the perfect school is one in which you can  learn what you want to learn, when you want to learn it, where you want to learn it, and how you want to learn it.

I say, do what teachers have been telling you to do for so long, take charge of your education and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

I dropped out of high school twice, and college once, because attending was interfering with my learning. I got tired of teachers calling my questions and observations distracting and disruptive. I got tired of being told what to learn and when to learn it.

I figured out that knowledge doesn’t come in neat little packages called math, science, English Language Arts or social studies. Art is not a subject, neither is music, or health.

Knowledge is a massive, ever growing, completely interconnected all enveloping mass. It is the butterfly effect writ large, where everything we learn, every insight we gain, every understanding we come to, changes EVERYTHING.

So I left.

My parents were not happy about any of it, but I had the biggest, most cultured and most diverse city in the world to explore.

I still got a great education because I asked questions, followed tangents and never stopped being curious.

The real key to making dropping out — or opting out if you prefer– is to do it soon enough. Don’t wait until you’re beaten down by the system and have lost interest and hope. Leave school while you still have curiosity, a hunger to know something, to know anything or everything, and before you have to support yourself financially. It may be after 10th grade or it may be after 8th. You will know when it is right for you.

Now you can sleep a little later, but don’t spend the day in bed, or watching cartoons or talk shows. There is a world to explore.

Today it doesn’t matter if you live in Manhattan, like I did, or in East Nowhere, the whole world is available to you.

Think of the tools you have now that didn’t exist when I dropped out. Computers, the internet, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, and more are all there to help you access the world and learn anything you want.

You don’t need a curriculum, a road map or a plan at all.

Just ask a question and seek an answer.

Then ask another question.

Listen to the answers you get. Follow tangents. Focus like a laser or wander aimlessly. Tinker. Play.

All knowledge is connected and things will all start to make sense as you note commonalities, wonder about discrepancies, make connections and develop insights.

Are you in love with baseball? Study it. You’ll learn about statistics – figuring pitcher’s earned run averages takes complex mathematics — develop strategies, learn the science of the curveball, learn about the history of race relations in America, and more. You’ll learn about why the Dominican Republic produces so many major league shortstops and why Japan doesn’t, but produces pitchers. Follow baseball as far as it will take you…then ask another question.

Do you like to knit? Study it. Learn about different kinds of wool, how they differ and where they come from, how they become shocking chartreuse or majestic magenta. Learn math as you figure out how much you’ll need to make that sweater, the physics of tensile strength.

Into dolls, dogs, drumming or debate? Are you passionate about golf, gardening, guitar, grapes or Greta Garbo? It doesn’t matter what. Take the paths   your interests and passions give you.

Greta Garbo in The Joyless Street. Alexander B...Greta Garbo in The Joyless Street. Alexander Binder (for Atelier Binder) made the portrait during the filming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a while you’ll become an expert, an authority. You’ll wander off one path and discover another one, perhaps the secret of life, the universe and everything.

Just keep asking one more question and you will find many more answers. Each of which will lead to more questions.

Joyce Valenza calls it “a never ending search.”

Here are some things you are likely to discover:

People are eager to talk about what they do and what they know, to someone who is interested in learning.

People are eager to tell you their stories, what they think, what they feel, to someone willing to listen.

Your bullshit meter will develop and become more accurate.

You will find the joy of learning again, the joy of teaching what you learn, and you’ll rediscover the excitement of wondering.

You will learn that all answers lead to more questions, better questions, deeper questions.

Keep asking.

Keep learning.

Do all the things school doesn’t leave you the time to do and you will get a better education than any institution can give you.

Don’t worry about getting into college. Getting into a good college requires standing out from the crowd, somehow distinguishing yourself from the hundreds of thousand other high school seniors.

So while all those other kids are all taking the same classes, cramming for exams and spending every extra minute doing every imaginable community service and extra credit assignment, you’ll be having different experiences.

While they’re being told what to learn, you’ll be deciding what to learn. Their learning will be limited by the curriculum, your learning will be free-range, going as far as your curiosity takes you.

Just think of the application essay you’ll be able to write.

And somewhere in the process of writing that essay, you might begin to wonder whether you really need to go to college.
Once you start becoming a free-range learner it is almost impossible to stop. And that is the best part of it all.

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Source: LewRockwell.com

by Gary North
Tea Party Economist

President Obama has signed an executive order. He has set up a new bureaucracy. This bureaucracy plans to make inner-city education so good that whites will move back.

You remain skeptical? O, ye of little faith!

This executive order has this goal: to give black children top-flight public education, which means non-flight education. Blacks who have been able to get out of inner-city school districts have been fleeing for several decades. This is what the President is trying to stop.

There is a problem with his plan: public education. It has been declining visibly for approximately 100 years, give or take a decade. The decline has sped up over the last 50 years.

For blacks, the decline has been a disaster. The inner-city schools have been deliberately dumbed down as policy. Thomas Sowell has written on several occasions about the all-black high school in Washington, D.C.: Dunbar High School. From 1870 to 1955, it provided education as good as any white district’s program. (It was surely better than mine, 1955-59.) It taught Latin. It taught advanced courses in science. Its students went to college. Ralph Bunche was one of its graduates. It was deliberately dumbed down half a century ago as a matter of district policy.

President Obama intends to smarten up the inner-city schools. How will he do this? With a new bureaucracy.

His executive order is a litany on the failure of tax-funded education in America. It’s hard to fault him on this. The problem is this: the federal government has been laying down the law to school districts for 40 years. The schools have gotten worse. Dr. Charles Sykes’ book has it right: Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves, But Can’t Read, Write, or Add.

Candidate Ronald Reagan vowed to shut down the Department of Education. Its budget went up every year he was in office.

Obama’s executive order is nothing short of messianic. It proposes to achieve the following.

(1) The Initiative will help to restore the United States to its role as the global leader in education; strengthen the Nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages; and help ensure that African Americans receive a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college, a satisfying career, and productive citizenship. . . .

(4) In working to fulfill its mission and objectives, the Initiative shall, consistent with applicable law:

(i) identify evidence-based best practices that can provide African American students a rigorous and well-rounded education in safe and healthy environments, as well as access to support services, which will prepare them for college, a career, and civic participation;

(ii) develop a national network of individuals, organizations, and communities to share and implement best practices related to the education of African Americans, including those identified as most at risk;

(iii) help ensure that Federal programs and initiatives administered by the Department and other agencies are serving and meeting the educational needs of African Americans, including by encouraging agencies to incorporate best practices into appropriate discretionary programs where permitted by law;

(iv) work closely with the Executive Office of the President on key Administration priorities related to the education of African Americans;

(v) increase the participation of the African American community, including institutions that serve that community, in the Department’s programs and in education-related programs at other agencies;

(vi) advise the officials of the Department and other agencies on issues related to the educational attainment of African Americans;

(vii) advise the Secretary on the development, implementation, and coordination of educational programs and initiatives at the Department and other agencies that are designed to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for African Americans of all ages; and

(viii) encourage and develop partnerships with public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit stakeholders to improve African Americans’ readiness for school, college, and career, as well as their college persistence and completion. . . .

And how will his executive order achieve all this? By providing lots of jobs in Washington!

(c) Interagency Working Group.

(1) There is established the Federal Interagency Working Group on Educational Excellence for African Americans (Working Group), which shall be convened and chaired by the Initiative’s Executive Director and that shall support the efforts of the Initiative described in subsection (b) of this section.

(2) The Working Group shall consist of senior officials from the Department, the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and such additional agencies and offices as the President may subsequently designate. Senior officials shall be designated by the heads of their respective agencies and offices.

(3) The Initiative’s Executive Director may establish subgroups of the Working Group to focus on different aspects of the educational system (such as early childhood education, K-12 education, higher education (including HBCUs and PBIs), career and technical education, adult education, or correctional education and reengagement) or educational challenges facing particular populations of African Americans (such as young men, disconnected or out-of-school youth, individuals with disabilities, children identified as gifted and talented, single-parent households, or adults already in the workforce).

(d) Administration. The Department shall provide funding and administrative support for the Initiative and the Working Group, to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations. To the extent permitted by law, other agencies and offices represented on the Working Group may detail personnel to the Initiative, to assist the Department in meeting the objectives of this order.

I can see the progress! I can see the SAT scores rising! I can see hope restored in inner cities!

And all this from a man who never spent a day in an American tax-funded school.

Only in America!

Continue Reading the executive order on www.whitehouse.gov

July 31, 2012

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2012 Gary North

June 28, 2012
Mises Daily

Laissez-Faire Learning
by David Greenwald on June 27, 2012
As a teacher in a public high school, I am daily confronted with the lamentable realities of state-monopoly education. Student apathy, methodological stagnation, bureaucratic inefficiency, textbook-publishing cartels, obsessive preoccupation with grades, coercive relationships, and rigid, sanitized curricula are just a few of the more obvious problems, attended by the cold-shower disillusionment and gradual burnout among teachers to which they almost invariably lead.

While outcomes such as these are certainly tragic, the process that produces them is not exactly the stuff of Greek theater. There is no climactic battle, no cathartic denouement, no salvific moral lesson to be taken home when the curtain falls, and seldom are there any readily identifiable heroes or villains. It is not a single, epic calamity but a thousand trivial defeats a day, each too mundane and too quickly obscured by its successor to be considered noteworthy. Like a bad movie, public education somehow manages to be both tragic and boring. It is only its cumulative result that would have impressed Sophocles.

Oddly enough, although there is overwhelming public support for compulsory, tax-funded schooling, enthusiasm for what actually goes on in public schools is noticeably lacking. Not only are they generally acknowledged to be falling short in their efforts to produce an enlightened citizenry, but it is even conceded that they have failed in what is ostensibly their most exalted mission: the provision of equal opportunity for all via a standardized system of mass instruction in which all students receive the same basic set of knowledge and skills. Nor has this indictment originated solely from among the ranks of those opposed to egalitarianism on principle. To the contrary, it is largely the refrain of embittered progressives for whom “free” universal education has long been the desideratum of social justice, and who cannot understand how the behemoth they so vigorously midwifed into existence and then wet-nursed for a century could have so thoroughly betrayed their loftiest and most cherished ideal.

Yet ironically, it is the unassailable faith in the achievability of precisely this ideal of universal equality that immunizes public education against every reasonable argument advanced in opposition to it. Notwithstanding its manifest shortcomings, none of which has found a remedy despite decades of legislative reform, hardly anyone is prepared to see this system replaced by anything resembling a real market in education due to the deeply held conviction that that those of lesser material means either would not be able to afford market-based schooling or, in the very best case, would receive only substandard services inadequate to the task of ensuring equality of economic opportunity later in life. It is a further irony, though hardly surprising, that neither the economic knowledge nor the analytic discernment necessary for an examination of these claims has ever been or will ever be taught in a public school. No emperor willingly trains his own subjects to recognize nakedness when they see it.

Given this state of affairs, it devolves on individuals, both within and outside of the school system, to educate others about education. In what follows I will attempt to address what I see as the three primary objections raised against the idea of market-based education:

that educational services on the market would be at a premium, with prices high enough to exclude at least the lowest-income strata of society;

that even if the less affluent could afford some market-based education, it would be of a substantially inferior quality to that received by wealthier consumers of educational services; and

that the lack of a universal curriculum and standardized criteria of achievement would render the market incapable of providing the equality of opportunity that public education, however unsatisfactorily, at least aims in principle to ensure.

We will examine each of these arguments in turn. As will be shown, the first two rest on a misunderstanding of markets, while the third stems from a grossly distorted concept of education from which, if they took the time to examine it closely, probably even most progressives would recoil in horror.

Argument 1: Affordability

In order to understand why educational services on a free market would as a rule be priced well within the reach of the vast majority of income earners, we must first ask why the market produces anything at all for such persons. Since it is obvious that the wealthiest few have far more purchasing power per capita than those in the middle- and lower-income strata, why does the market not produce only for the former group and leave the latter two homeless and starving? Why is sugar, once a luxury of the rich, today a household item so widely and cheaply available that the US government feels called on to impose tariffs on imports and buy up domestic surpluses to keep the price artificially high? Why is the same kilobyte of computer memory that cost around $45 twenty years ago today priced at a fraction of a cent?

The simple answer is this: competition. When a good first appears on the market, the supply of it is strictly limited. To the extent that consumers value it highly, they will bid against each other for the minimal stock available, causing the price to rise until all but the wealthiest consumers drop out of the market. As long as there is no expansion of supply, and assuming the consumers do not change their valuations, the good will remain a luxury of the rich.

However, it is precisely this condition that provides producers with the incentive to increase production of the product. The high price yields supernormal profits that draw venture capitalists and entrepreneurs into that line of production, thereby increasing the supply, lowering the price, and most importantly, bringing exponentially greater numbers of consumers into the market. This process continues until that portion of profits that exceeds the general rate prevailing in other industries disappears, bringing the expansion to a halt. But by that time, the good has long since ceased to be a toy for the rich. To paraphrase Mises, yesterday’s luxury has become today’s necessity.

Of course, while this process works in essentially the same way for all goods, some goods — diamonds, for example — tend to remain luxury items indefinitely due to the high cost of producing them. It is, after all, the consumers who, in the aggregate, must ultimately pay for any lasting expansion of industry. If the capital expenditures necessary for the production of a good exceed the willingness or ability of the consumers to offset them, no sustained increase in the supply of that good will be possible.

So how would this dynamic work on a market for education? Assuming that educational services as such would be given high priority on the value scales of most consumers, would the cost of producing them keep them priced beyond the means of the typical wage-earner? Here we must be particularly careful not to engage in what psychologists call static thinking. We must ask ourselves, not how much it would cost for private entrepreneurs to produce curricula and instruction as these are presently constituted, but rather to what extent and in what ways schooling in its current form squanders resources, and how it might be streamlined and otherwise improved in the crucible of free competition.

One point is clear: the greater and more numerous the inefficiencies of the current system, the more radical its transformation by the market would be. And just how inefficient is the present system? Well, who runs it? On what principles does it operate? Does it allow students the freedom, for example, to take courses in what they are most interested in and eschew subjects they do not wish to study? Or does it rather saddle them with a bloated, one-size-fits-all curriculum prodigiously crammed full of skills and information they neither need nor want, thereby creating artificial demand for teachers and administrative staff, stimulating construction of needlessly large (or simply needless) facilities, boosting energy consumption and capital maintenance costs, and so forth? To get an idea of the sorts of “practical competencies” students in today’s public and state-regulated high schools are expected to (pretend to) master and retain for use in later life,[1] here is a randomly-selected excerpt from the scintillating epistle “Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Mathematics,” issued by the Texas Education Agency:

§111.35. Precalculus (One-Half to One Credit).

Knowledge and skills.
The student defines functions, describes characteristics of functions, and translates among verbal, numerical, graphical, and symbolic representations of functions, including polynomial, rational, power (including radical), exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and piecewise-defined functions. The student is expected to:
describe parent functions symbolically and graphically, including f(x) = xn, f(x) = 1n x, f(x) = loga x, f(x) = 1/x, f(x) = ex, f(x) = |x|, f(x) = ax, f(x) = sin x, f(x) = arcsin x, etc.;
determine the domain and range of functions using graphs, tables, and symbols;
describe symmetry of graphs of even and odd functions;
recognize and use connections among significant values of a function (zeros, maximum values, minimum values, etc.), points on the graph of a function, and the symbolic representation of a function; and
investigate the concepts of continuity, end behavior, asymptotes, and limits and connect these characteristics to functions represented graphically and numerically.
Got all that?

$15.00 $10.00

Of course, administrative costs and restrictions on entry and labor-market flexibility also impact cost-efficiency. How do public schools hold up in these areas? Are their operational rules and procedures clear, concise, and easy to follow? Or does it take, say, 670 pages and whole cadres of lawyers, consultants, and administrative support staff just to implement a single program? Regarding entry, how easy is it to qualify as a member of the academy? Is anyone who demonstrates a potential aptitude for meeting the educational demands of students given the opportunity to try to do so? Or is club membership restricted by legal quotas and licensure requirements necessitating lengthy and expensive formal training?

And how flexible is the labor market? Can an underperforming or incompetent employee be readily replaced? Or does even a mere suspension require a hearing before a three-member commission?[2]

We do not have space here to speculate on all the optimizing innovations creative entrepreneurs might come up with, and to do so would be presumptuous in any case. As John Hasnas has pointed out, if we could forecast the future market accurately, our very ability to do this would be the greatest possible justification for central planning.[3] Suffice it to say that today’s public and government-regulated private schools dissipate resources with a profligacy that would have made Ludwig II blush. We can hardly claim, then, that these institutions — whose costs are externalized onto the whole society — are paragons of affordability. Yet education is not a capital-intensive industry, and market competition would surely eliminate most of this waste in short order, allowing educational entrepreneurs to reduce their costs, lower their prices, and take advantage of economies of scale. As for those few who might still be unable to pay, lower prices would mean that private scholarships, grants, and student loans would be available in greater abundance than they are today, and the latter would no longer require ten years of indentured servitude to pay off.

Just as with sugar, automobiles, civil aviation, and cell phones,[4] so too in education high initial profits would draw competition, increase supply, reduce cost, and multiply innovation. There is no reason for market-driven educational services tailored specifically to the desires of those who consume them to be prohibitively expensive.[5]

Argument 2: Quality

A second argument against leaving education to the market is that to do so would result in grave disparities in quality of service. The rich, it is said, would get steak, while the poor got rump roast. Of course, there is a kernel of truth in this. The more you are prepared to offer for something, the more quality you are in a position to demand. The market is indeed a place where the principle embodied in the cliché “You get what you pay for” prevails.

But what exactly do you pay for? The answer to this question is not necessarily obvious. To illustrate, I offer a personal example.

Many years ago, I worked at a tavern-style restaurant that was part of a nationwide chain. With its eclectic menu, modest prices, and dollar-a-mug draft beers, it was a place where families could go on a budget, and weekend drinkers could go on a binge. Not exactly Alain Ducasse, but we did offer a steak (T-bone, as I recall) for around $10. What is interesting about this is that right next door was a more upscale steakhouse that also served T-bone; only this one went for something like $22. Nothing unusual about that, but here’s the catch: both restaurants were owned by the same company and both served exactly the same T-bone steak.

At first blush, this seems absurd. Why would any company compete with itself? And why, for that matter, would anyone in his right mind pay $22 for a steak he could get for less than half that just by walking across the parking lot? Situations like this have led to calls for governments to step in and “protect” consumers from their own “irrationality.” But there is nothing irrational going on here. The two restaurants were not in competition, because they served different clientele, and patrons had definite reasons for the choices they made about which restaurant to patronize. Ours wanted to cut the frills, sit at the bar, and save money; theirs were willing to pay more than double the price for the plush seats, subdued ambience, and tuxedoed waiters. The essential thing, however, is that both were eating the same steak.

The relationship between price and quality is therefore not as straightforward as we might imagine. It is certainly true that you get what you pay for, but it is equally true that you pay for what you get. To be sure, on the education market, those with the wherewithal could attend schools equipped with indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, amphitheaters, and state-of-the-art IT. But this does not mean that everyone else could not make do with less extravagance and still get the same basic service.

Of course, all this in no way suggests that quality of educational services would be identical. Such a conclusion would be absurd. What we have demonstrated is simply the fallacious reasoning behind the common assumption that where price is low, product must be unsatisfactory. What does not satisfy is not profitable. Products and services that do not meet the needs of consumers — rich and poor — will soon have, not a low price, but no price.

Argument 3: Opportunity

We now turn to a final argument for public education that goes beyond economics, though even here there is a parallel. Deeply rooted in the belief that justice means equality and equality means identical circumstances, this view holds that educational standards and curricula must be essentially uniform for everyone if all students are to be given the same opportunity to succeed in life. Here, the anticipated failure of the market lies, not in its high prices or disparate quality, but in its presumably excessive flexibility and diversity. In essence, this argument is really nothing more than a special case of the more general socialist contempt for the division of labor. But what is the “division of labor” in education? What is its meaning, and why should we fear its emergence?

We are accustomed to conceiving of education, not as an abstraction, but as a “real thing” existing in the world outside; a commodity possessed by some people whom we call “teachers” and transferred, more or less mechanically, to other people called “students.” This habit of thought is reflected in our language: it is far more common to talk about getting an education than about becoming educated. Yet the greatest thinkers in this area have repeatedly emphasized that education is, in fact, a process of becoming. This is what Maria Montessori meant when she said that if our definition of education proceeds

along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual’s total development lags behind?

Montessori urged an approach to pedagogy that would “help toward the complete unfolding of life,” and “rigorously … avoid the arrest of spontaneous movements and the imposition of arbitrary tasks.”

John Dewey expressed similar views. In his seminal work Democracy and Education, Dewey places the onus of responsibility for education squarely on the shoulders of the individual student:

One is mentally an individual only as he has his own purpose and problem, and does his own thinking. The phrase “think for oneself” is a pleonasm. Unless one does it for oneself, it isn’t thinking. Only by a pupil’s own observations, reflections, framing and testing of suggestions can what he already knows be amplified and rectified. Thinking is as much an individual matter as is the digestion of food. [Moreover], there are variations of point of view, of appeal of objects, and of mode of attack, from person to person. When these variations are suppressed in the alleged interests of uniformity, and an attempt is made to have a single mold of method of study and recitation, mental confusion and artificiality inevitably result. Originality is gradually destroyed, confidence in one’s own quality of mental operation is undermined, and a docile subjection to the opinion of others is inculcated, or else ideas run wild. (p. 311–12)

For both Dewey and Montessori, education starts from the inside and moves outward.[6] Its purpose is to stimulate discovery and development of the personal resources latent within the self by allowing the student to experience the myriad possibilities for bringing them to bear creatively on the external world.

This means that becoming educated is not a matter of passively acquiring what is given, but of actively discovering what one has to give. It means that education does not create opportunity; opportunity creates education.

Regimentation and uniformity must therefore be jettisoned entirely; the individual must reign supreme within the sphere of his own development. The function of the school is to provide a stable environment rich in stimuli across a broad spectrum of disciplines, while the role of the teacher becomes primarily that of the observer who watches as closely — and intervenes as sparingly — as possible.

From this it follows that no two individuals would or could possibly educate themselves in exactly the same way. The self-directed intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual explorations of millions of people simultaneously thus result in an unfathomable diversification of interests and activities that amounts to an educational “division of labor” — one that supports and enhances the division of labor of the market economy, and is in fact its logical precursor.

It must surely be obvious that such a philosophy is in every way wholly incompatible with systems of compulsory or universalized schooling aimed at “equalizing opportunity,” and moreover, that even to use the word opportunity in connection with compulsion or regimentation is to abuse language, otherwise we might just as well reinstate slavery in the name of providing equal “employment opportunity.”

Education, if it is to be worthy of the name, demands a method opposite to that of bureaucratic management and entirely irreconcilable with it. It requires flexibility, parsimony, innovation, and above all, a means of daily subjecting the producers of educational services to the competition of their peers and the approval or disapproval of their clients.

It requires, in other words, the free market.

Conclusion

$10.00 $7.00

In Slovenia where I teach, the verb “to learn” literally translates “to teach oneself.” If the truth behind this linguistic convention were widely recognized, it would discredit the very premise on which all systems of public education are founded. But, as the great economist Frédéric Bastiat warned more than a century and a half ago, there is a pronounced tendency when confronted with important questions to consider only what is seen and ignore that which is not seen. And this just as true in education as it is in economics. We see students go to school day after day for 12 years, do as they’re told, get their diplomas, and finally go on to do something with their lives. Perhaps from our vantage point it does not look so bad. But what we do not see is what they might have become had they been allowed to be the architects of their own fate from the beginning

Here are three quotes from John Holt. We need more John Holt types in what we call ‘education’ today.

“Education… now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of
all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the
modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but
producers, consumers, spectators, and ‘fans,’ driven more and more, in all
parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve
‘education’ but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of
people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.”
— John Holt
(1923-1985) American author and educator, proponent of homeschooling, and pioneer in youth rights theory
Source: Holt, J. (1967). How Children Learn. New York: Pitman Publishing Corporation
http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/John.Holt.Quote.1C40

“I believe that we learn best when we, not others are deciding what we are
going to learn, and when we are choosing the people, materials, and experiences
from which we will be learning.”
— John Holt
(1923-1985) American author and educator, proponent of homeschooling, and pioneer in youth rights theory
Source: Holt, J. (1967). How Children Learn. New York: Pitman Publishing Corporation
http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/John.Holt.Quote.59BD

“The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any
school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning
is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of
learners.”
— John Holt
(1923-1985) American author and educator, proponent of homeschooling, and pioneer in youth rights theory
Source: Holt, J. (1967). How Children Learn. New York: Pitman Publishing Corporation
http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/John.Holt.Quote.5804

The 1st and 4th Amendment goes in the circular file cabinet at Government Indoctrination Centers. Let the Hunger Games begin!

Here’s a few Decency Police stories via at ZDNet.com:

Teacher’s aide fired for refusing to hand over Facebook password

Summary: Kimberly Hester, a teacher’s aide at an elementary school, was fired last year for refusing to give her Facebook password to her supervisors. She is now fighting a legal battle with the school district.

Teacher should be fired for Facebook comment, judge rules

Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bass has ruled Jennifer O’Brien, a first-grade teacher at School 21 in Paterson, New Jersey, should lose her tenured job, because of a Facebook comment she made about her students. O’Brien has been on administrative leave since March, which is when she posted her status update saying “I’m not a teacher — I’m a warden for future criminals!” She claimed she wrote it out of exasperation after several students disrupted her lessons, one pupil hit her, and another stole money from her.

School district demands Facebook password, 12-year-old girl sues

Summary: A 12-year-old girl is suing a school district for violating her First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights related to her use of Facebook. Facebook’s minimum age requirement is 13-years-old.

Another worksheet! Another boring lecture! Another self-inflated ego droning on, dripping with self-importance!

Does your mind wander during simple, routine assignments? We’re you labeled “Absent-minded” in school? If so, congratulations! It’s a sign of a sharp mind according to new research:

Published online in the Psychological Science journal on March 14, 2012, the new report indicates that a person’s working memory capacity relates to the tendency of the mind to wander during a routine assignment.

“People with higher working memory capacity reported more mind wandering during these simple tasks,” says Levinson, though their performance on the test was not compromised.

The result is the first positive correlation found between working memory and mind wandering and suggests that working memory may actually enable off-topic thoughts.

Working memory capacity has previously been correlated with general measures of intelligence, such as reading comprehension and IQ score.

Being a serial multi-tasker and Chief School Deviant, I feel vindicated. Can’t wait for my I-told-you-so comment at our next faculty meeting! I knew I was sharp…

Deutsch: Phrenologie

Lots going on up there!

Logo of the United States Department of Agricu...

Makes ya feel safe, don't it?

When I quiz students trailing out of the USDA approved feeding line about the contents of the “meat” on their tray, no one can’t identify it. The usual response is “I don’t know” or “mystery meat.” The mystery is solved. It’s ammonia!

That’s right. Students in our government gulags, trained not to question anything, are thankful to eat this slimy, ammonia hydroxide-treated concoction of meat/connective tissue. The hypocrisy of the USDA (and all State initial-sporting agencies) knows no bounds. Ammonium hydroxide can turn into ammonium nitrate. You know, the stuff used to blow up the Murrah Federal Building. I’m surprised Big Sis hasn’t sent in Homeland Security to raid these pre-terrorist lunchrooms. How does 7 million pounds of potential bomb making material slip by the Feds? It didn’t slip anywhere. The USDA bought it to fed to the schooled children. They have the best interest of your child’s health in mind.

Talk about a gut bomb!

Fast-food giant McDonalds stopped serving this slop, thanks to choice and the free market. In the government school monopoly, your child has to choose between pink ammonia patties or various other mysterious USDA pyramid foods. Or, you could try slipping a homemade lunch past the Food Nazis.

Just color it pink to blend in. Yum!

It’s not marijuana, cocaine, tobacco or alcohol. These might actually help dull the pain of being schooled. The most deadly drugs in all forced institutional schooling is…

MONEY and POWER!

Pete Townshend’s lyrics, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, play in my head as I write. Will our new “boss” be any better than our old “boss”? NO! Out of the candidates running for the GOP nomination, this statement applies to all but Ron Paul. Get your head out of the cloud of punditry. Look at measurable data and voting records. I digress. Or, maybe not.

Government equals force,” I told a group of students in a fellow liberty-loving teacher’s class the other day. To illustrate, this weeks TEV Award ( The Education Vigilante Award) Loretta Jeanne@FromLA, one of my Twitter followers, shared several links that inspired this post. The first was, “Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind.” Below are a few excerpts from the story and my comments:

The architect of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), President Bush’s first senior education advisor, Sandy Kress, has turned the program, which has consistently proven disastrous in the realm of education, into a huge success in the realm of corporate profiteering. After ushering NCLB through the US House of Representatives in 2001 with no public hearings, Kress went from lawmaker—turning on spigots of federal funds—to lobbyist, tapping into those billions of dollars in federal funds for private investors well-connected to the Bush administration.

High stakes testing (standardized testing) is a billion dollar industry funded on the overloaded backs of producers. Only the insiders benefit from the billion dollar scheme. No child or teacher benefits from these stupid tests. Parents need to place a strangle hold on the pocket books of Government School profiteers like Sandy Kress, Harold McGraw III, the Big Three—McGraw-Hill, Houghton-Mifflin, and Harcourt General, Bill Bennett, and Neil Bush. Practice civil disobedience – refuse to allow your child to be tortured by the Procrustean system. Check out The Bartleby Project and opt out. Teachers are shackled by invisible chains. This revolt must be student and parent driven. Organizations formed to “help” the cause will only corrupt the resistance. It must be a grassroots movement. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators will follow.

The scheme of Government schooling fools only those who want to be fooled. With this much confiscated money at stake, the fooling comes by force. Failure is built-in the system to keep the elite’s ship floating on fiat dollars. The “gang of robbers and murderers” responsible knew what they were doing by creating NCLB and “Race To The Top”, Obama’s 2.0 savior of “education”. By the way, states opting out of NCLB are the guinea pigs for a national curriculum. Never trust the government elites. Look up their sleeves.

Under NCLB, as school districts receive federal funding they are required by law to hold 20 percent of those funds aside, anticipating that its schools will fail to meet its Annual Yearly Progress formula. When that “failure” is certified by test scores, the district is required to use those set-aside federal funds to pay supplemental education service (SES) providers. Ignite! has placed products in forty US school districts, and K12 offers a menu of services “as an option to traditional brick-and-mortar schools,” including computer-based “virtual academies,” that have qualified for over $4 million in federal grants. Under NCLB, supplemental educational services, whose results are being increasingly challenged, reap $2 billion annually.

Remember the Atlanta cheating scandal? Why would anyone appear shocked that system-wide cheating took place? In my school, we’re expected to have a 100% passing rate on the high stakes testing by 2014. How our local educrats are able to pass this information on to us with a straight face is beyond my capabilities of understanding. Some form of hypnosis has to be used. When we fail, and we will fail to reach this mythical goal, reform will be necessary: Translation – bend over and open your wallet for more government spending solutions. It’s worked so well in education thus far. Equality in education for all in our fantasy Utopia can be achieved – cheating required!

Català: Il·lustració d'algú copiant d'amagat d...

Built in cheating

Gangsta Government “Education” manages ignorance for profit. Power is so addictive. Sadly, most are addicted to this Collective induced hallucination.

We live in a sick world…a bubble if you will.

I work in what I call the “Education Bubble” of forced institutional schooling.

Here’s what is taught inside the Education Bubble: Schooling equals education, our Government is benevolent and here to help, mainstream media reports the facts, the group trumps the individual, and the Federal Reserve is a government entity. These are only a few myths promoted in the bubble.

Outside the bubble, people realize: Government schools dumb us down, instead of protecting freedom – the State enslaves, main stream media lies, the Collective erases the individual, and the FED is a private cartel of robbers and murderers. What’s sad is that the herd within the bubble can’t see the truth…or they choose not to see it.

I’m employed to work in the Education Bubble. In a stroke of genius using sleight of hand, our 19th century total-statism elites named forced schooling “education.” More accurate labels such as forced schooling and indoctrination centers were rejected by the Prussian influenced elites for fear of participation in a parade of tar and feathers, with rails provided by the commoners. “Education” is what it’s called.  Schooled is what we get. What a clever way to keep the ignorant masses useful.

Tired of getting schooled?

If so, here are five simple ways to deflate the Education Bubble.

1. Poke a hole in it. Join the other 2 million plus non-“Educated” Americans who sharpened their #2 pencils and poked a hole in the Education Bubble. In my middle class suburban school, I personally know of 4 families that punctured the bubble. This number comes from just the kids I teach. I can only encourage more to follow. That’s what Education Vigilantes do. Also, opt out of standardized testing. Go to The Bartleby Project for more info.

2. Become an Education Vigilante. It’s a shameless plug. Take your education into your own hands. Question everything. Why would you trust the development of your mind, body, soul and spirit to a top-down, failing bureaucracy? My wake up call came 13 years ago. My alarm clock startled me – not the one beside my bed. That internal, eternal ticking noise. The “Matrix” did it for me. After watching the block-buster on the big screen (the best way to view this movie), I realized I was part of the herd in many ways. I was asleep with the sheep, living in the bubble created by our owners. That started my journey out of the bubble. What about you?

3. Figure out a way to get the job done. A coach I worked for years ago said that to me as he gave me the job of renovating the press box for our football stadium. “How much do I have to spend?” I asked. “Nothing,” he said. “Figure out a way to get the job done.” I did. That was a physical renovation. How much more important is your child? Money is not an object if it’s important. Many object to homeschooling and self-education because of money issues. It can be done on a shoe-string budget. Get out of debt and live within your means so your children can be free and free to learn.

The growing movement to self-educate threatens the Education Bubble. State force is the only method to keep this bubble from rupturing.

4. Pursue your passion. eLearning and networking are the wave of the future. There’s not much that can’t be learned off the internet that Al Gore invented. Thanks Al! Figure out where you’re passionate. What makes you pound the table with your fist? Once you find what cranks your engine, pursue it, and be the expert. Become the go-to-guy/gal. It’s got to be something you love, or else people see through you. I read tons of information from blogs. I can tell when the writer is passionate about the subject. It shows in the content and adds value. Add value!

5. Research for yourself…then begin. Beginning is always the hardest part. Trust me, but verify. If the Education Bubble is working for you and yours, great. You’ll probably want to un-follow, un-like, and un-subscribe to my rantings. Reading a self-professed, professional irritant makes for higher blood pressure. Save yourself and quit reading – NOW! If you’ve gotten this far, and it makes sense, then welcome to freedom. Warning: The higher you climb, the fewer people you’ll encounter. Most of the people like to dwell in the valley. Climb anyway. The climb is well worth the freedom you find.

Every sane parent wants his/her children well-educated. Which method works: Public schools, private schools, or self-education via home education? Take a look at this graphic comparing 2008-2009 SAT scores: Homeschooling By The Numbers. The numbers don’t lie. Real education happens outside the bubble.

Sharpen a #2 pencil and get to popping. Your kids will thank you!

 

I want to highly recommend Michael’s work over at TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com. I’ve included one of his latest posts today:

11 Reasons To Get Your Kids Out Of The Government Schools

It should be painfully obvious to everyone by now that it is time to get all of our kids out of the government schools.  The public school system in the United States has been dramatically declining for a long time, and in most areas of the country the public schools are open sewers at this point.  Yes, there are some U.S. public schools that are still very good and that do a decent job of preparing our young people for their adult lives.  But those good schools are the exception to the rule.  Hopefully the school shooting that just happened in Ohiowill be a wake up call to millions of parents out there.  Drugs, sex and violence are rampant in American public schools today.  The “teachers” are endlessly pushing specific political and social agendas down the throats of our kids, and the skills that our children really need such as reading, writing and mathematics are often badly neglected.  Hopefully we can get more parents educated about what is really going on in these schools.  After all, why would any parents want to send their children into an environment that is going to be highly destructive for them for six to eight hours a day?

Sadly, “destructive” is not too hard a word to use for the environment in these public schools.  I went to public schools all my life, and they were absolutely horrible.  Unfortunately, they have gotten even worse since the time that I left them.

The following are 11 reasons to get your kids out of the government schools….

#1 You Could Be Arrested For Something That Your Child Does

Yes, you read that correctly.  If your child writes a story or draws a picture which a teacher or an administrator takes the wrong way, you could end up in jail.

The following example is from thestar.com….

A Kitchener father is angry at police after he was arrested at his child’s school and later strip-searched at the police station, all because his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun in class.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Jessie Sansone, 26, said of his ordeal on Wednesday. “I was in shock. This is completely insane.”

The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They say they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.

#2 Your Child Could Be Arrested While At School For Just About Anything These Days

As I have written about previously, children all over the United States are being arrested by police in government school classrooms for some absolutely crazy things.  Just check out the following examples….

*A 12-year-old girl named Sarah Bustamantes was recently arrested for spraying herself with perfume at a public school in Texas.

*A 13-year-old kid attending a public school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was recently arrested by police for burping in class.

*A 12-year-old girl at a school in Forest Hills, New York was marched out of her public school in handcuffs by police just because she doodled on her desk. “I love my friends Abby and Faith” was what she reportedly scribbled on her desk.

*When a little girl recently kissed a little boy at one Florida elementary school,  it was considered to be a “possible sex crime” and the police were called out.

#3 Your Child Might Be Bodily Harmed By Security Thugs

All over the nation, public schools students are being bodily injured (sometimes permanently) by school security thugs.  The following are a couple of examples….

*A security thug at one school in California actually fractured the arm of one 16-year-old girl because she left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning up some cake that she had spilled.

*In Allentown, Pennsylvania a 14-year-old girl was tasered in the groin area by a school security thug even though she had put up her hands in the air to surrender to him.

#4 Virtually Everything That Your Child Does At School Is Being Put Into A Database Somewhere

As I described in a previous article, public schools (in conjunction with the federal government) have become obsessed with watching, monitoring and recording the activities of our kids.

According to the New York Post, the Obama administration is planning a vast new database which will collect all sorts of information about our children.  Is this the kind of information that you want the federal government to keep track of?….

The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience.

#5 Our Kids Are Not Learning Anything In These Public Schools

As I have documented before, American public school students are being dumbed-down and millions of them end up dumb as a rock and yet still are able to graduate from high school somehow….

The following are some of the absolutely amazing results of a study conducted a few years ago by Common Core….

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  (This is a topic that I touched on yesterday).

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Sadly, we are rapidly falling behind the rest of the globe.  At this point, 15-year-olds that attend U.S. public schools do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#6 Our Public School Kids Are Being Forced To Take Large Numbers Of Vaccines

All over the nation, children that have not received all of the “required vaccines” are being banned from school.

Many parents do not want dozens of toxic vaccines injected directly into the bloodstreams of their kids, but in many states today you will not be able to send your kids to the public schools if they don’t submit to the shots.

This is just another reason why all American families should pull their kids out of these government schools immediately.

#7 Exposed To Rampant Sexual Promiscuity

When you send your kid to a government school, you are sending them into an environment where they will be exposed to rampant sexual promiscuity on an endless basis.

When the kids around you are constantly talking about sex and joking about sex, it makes it nearly impossible to escape it.

What makes things even worse is that the “sex education” courses are becoming more detailed and more graphic than ever.  One example of this phenomenon was detailed in the New York Times….

IMAGINE you have a 10- or 11-year-old child, just entering a public middle school. How would you feel if, as part of a class ostensibly about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, he and his classmates were given “risk cards” that graphically named a variety of solitary and mutual sex acts? Or if, in another lesson, he was encouraged to disregard what you told him about sex, and to rely instead on teachers and health clinic staff members?

In some U.S. public schools, kids are even having sex in the school bathrooms.

Do you want that to happen to your kid?

#8 Teachers Are Having Sex With The Students

It seems like almost every single day there is another news story about teachers having sex with public school students.

The following are just a few of the headlines that I found from this week….

-“More California Teachers Accused Of Sex Crimes

-“Teacher Accused Of Sex With Student Appears In Court

-“Queen’s Teacher’s Aide Charged With Child Sex Abuse

-“Teacher Caught In Bed With Teen Student

#9 U.S. Public Schools Are Dominated By Radical Control Freaks That Are Teaching Our Kids How To Live Like Slaves

The level of control that is exerted over the lives of children in many of our public schools is absolutely frightening.

I know that I have mentioned the following example several times, but it is worth repeating because it shows just how far things have gone.  One 4-year-old girl recently had her lunch confiscated by a control freak at one U.S. preschool because it did not meet USDA guidelines….

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

Do you want sick control freaks inspecting the lunches that your kids bring from home every single day?

If not, perhaps it is time to pull them out of the government schools.

#10 Specific Social And Political Agendas Are Being Shoved Down The Throats Of Our Kids In U.S. Public Schools

If you think that the government schools are “neutral places” where all social, political and religious beliefs are tolerated, then you are either ignorant or you are delusional.

The truth is that very specific social and political agendas are built into the curriculums of most public schools.  Often, these social and political agendas are the same ones that are being force-fed to public school children in other western nations.

If your children are attending a government school, a system of “right and wrong” is being pounded into their heads that may be very different from what you would teach them.

In one recent New York Times article, a district superintendent admitted that particular agendas are integrated into classroom instruction anywhere that they will fit….

“We’re trying to integrate it into anything where it naturally fits,” said Jackie Taylor, the district’s superintendent. “It might be in a math lesson. How much water are you really using? How can you tell? Teachers look for avenues in almost everything they teach.”

If you want to see where all of this is going, just check out what is going on in Europe.  In the UK, teachers that don’t promote the “correct agenda” face harsh  disciplinary action.

Those that control the public schools don’t just want to “educate” your children.

They want to indoctrinate them.

#11 If Your Children Attend Public Schools They Could End Up Dead

Sadly, the school shooting that just happened in Ohio reminds us all once again that this is a matter of life and death.  Our schools are not safe and they are becoming less safe all the time.

While the odds are not great that your children will actually be murdered in our public schools, the truth is that there is a very good chance that they could be scarred for life by the destructive environment in these schools.

Most Americans that have gone through the public school system emerge from it with deep emotional scars.  If you have some of these emotional scars you know exactly what I am talking about.

The vast majority of our public schools are horrible places.  Just ask kids that are going to public high schools right now.  Most of them hate it.

Sometimes people argue that we should keep our children in the public schools so that they can be a “light” and so that they can be a good influence.

Unfortunately, that is just not the reality of the situation.  Our kids go there to be taught, and it is the teachers that have the authority.  Our children are far more likely to be changed by their teachers and their friends than they are to significantly change the system around them.

When you are young and insecure, it can be incredibly difficult to take a stand for what is right when all of your teachers and all of your friends are going the other way.

We need to protect our children and we need to put them into environments where they will be safe, protected and will receive a quality education.

Growing up is hard enough without having to spend 30 to 40 hours a week in a nightmarish hellhole where you will be physically, mentally and emotionally tortured.

So what do all of you think about the state of U.S. public schools?

Do you believe that we should get our kids out of the government schools?