Saturday, May 19, 2012


Greetings good citizen,

More basic than the state of our economy is the state of academic accomplishment in our (rapidly crumbling) society.

Hey, it’s not new and it’s not hidden. You can view ads on TV that show the US 17th in math and 25th in Science…(worldwide standing)

And what’s the ‘major malfunction’ here?

The official reason is not enough ‘qualified teachers’!

Why do you suppose that is, good citizen?

Could it be the same reason nobody in the US studies engineering. They’re all studying to be lawyers or stockbrokers…with a smattering of accountants trying to get a leg up into the financial sector…

How sad is it good citizen that none of those jobs ‘go begging’? Sadder still is the meat-grinder that passes for the path to partnership in law firms NOT OWNED by YOUR family.

This is what capitalism and the, er, ‘contest’ to line your own pockets with as much as you can, as quickly as possible results in.

You end up with more lawyers than the system can use and not enough teachers.

Yet nobody faults this basic flaw of capitalism, especially those seeking the best legal representation ‘money can buy’.

[I digress to point out that everybody knows, in corrupt times like these that ‘legal talent’ is virtually indistinguishable from ‘political connectedness’. The more ‘grease’ you have, the higher the likelihood of a judgement being in YOUR favor…]

So what of our crumbling educational system that the anti-tax conservatives seem bent on choking to death?

They DON’T give a fuck; they’ll send THEIR kids to ‘private school’.

And finally: critical thinking is the birthright of every American. We should not aspire to a feudal society where only the elites are taught to think independently, evaluate evidence, weigh complex factors, and make informed decisions. But it will become one -- in just a generation or two -- if we stop making this the foundational competence delivered by our educational system. A democracy in which a majority of people are no longer capable of basic critical thinking skills cannot remain a democracy very long.

Our educational system is a product of our deepest values. And the battles we're having now are, very directly, battles over what we believe is possible in America, and what kind of country we want to be 20 years from now. The conservatives are not wrong: for 150 years, the schools have been the leading promoter and disseminator of progressive values. They are now doing their best to dismantle that system, and replace it with one that produces followers, subjects and serfs.

What is education for? We won't even be a contender in this fight until we're committed to our own clear, coherent, values-based answer to that question. How we answer it will shape the country's future.

Our schools system already SUCKS (thanks to deeply mis-guided motivations of capitalism…which, ironically isn’t taught ‘in-depth’ in ANY school system!)

Then there is the other ‘cornerstone’ of a ‘free society’. A society incapable of making decisions for itself is doomed to follow the decisions of the self-interested, regardless of the consequences or competence.

Worse, we already know that conservative ideology is base on belief that has no basis in fact, so their decision-making capability is, by default, disastrous!

Look at the two ‘wars of choice’ conservatives have spent trillions on and still can’t define what ‘victory’ looks like!

Not to put too fine a point on it but a conservative decision has become synonymous with being a ‘wrong’ decision.

How do you like your stacked conservative deck in November’s elections now?

The more we re-visit this topic (November Elections) the more irksome it becomes.

IF we’re ‘lucky’ they won’t happen…although I use the term ‘lucky’ in the broadest possible context.

If elections DON’T HAPPEN this November it will likely be because we are locked in battle to decide the future of Western Civilization, a battle we can’t afford to lose.

But I digress, let us return to the often-overlooked (despite constant media attention) education system.

Where, once again, we see conservative ‘tax relief’ efforts gutting the funding from public education.

As one might expect, the bone-headed conservative position is that our kids are ‘too stupid’, which is why they test so poorly…as opposed to the real reason our schools suck, because of the warped values of the capitalist system.

A system where people who ‘manipulate’ money are paid more than the people who actually produce a product or provide a service (like education or healthcare…)

Not that our healthcare system doesn’t cost us dearly…but again, thanks to the perverted values of capitalism, a bulk of the cost goes to paying investors!

The ‘incentive’ to become a teacher doesn’t exist (just as the incentive to become a doctor in today’s litigious society is decidedly negative!)

Understand, teachers these days make a pretty darn good paycheck as opposed to what they’d get in the private sector as a ‘grunt’…but the private sector doesn’t have a ‘continuing Ed’ requirement to keep your education credentials current.

Worse, the private sector has all but disappeared.

And the public sector is seriously under-funded as a result.

BUT, if your scholastic record is, er, ‘strong’, why wouldn’t you take a shot at becoming a lawyer or a banker? (Although those jobs aren’t going begging anymore…)

And with student loans becoming increasingly toxic, more students will be ‘forced’ into the still highly competitive market for educators.

As the tax pool shrinks to nothing, educators jobs will compete with police and fire jobs on the local budget.

How will you kids learn if the library is only open a couple of hours a week, if at all?

The battle lines were drawn long ago, good citizen, why are you still reluctant to fight?

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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