surgical strike: asphalt aspirations

I always take note when education topics manage to bubble up to national media: it does not happen that often. Imagine my surprise with not only the presence, but also the content of a New York Time op-ed contributor piece today entitled Failing the Wrong Grades. Diane Ravitch therein points out some shortcomings in current well-intentioned efforts to improve public High Schools and lays much of the blame for the current state of affairs at the feet of the lower schools.

Those of you who have read here for a while will recognize one of my proposals from a while back in my piece entitled beginning at the middle. I have argued for many years that High School in its present form makes no sense and that we should transform it into a more flexible program that assists both college bound and trade bound students.

My hunch is that Ravitch’s op-ed and the book she is promoting therein will get less attention than the Alvin and the Chipmunks revival tour. Unlike the rest of the World, Americans do not care about quality education.

The general public’s lack of concern about the education of the next generation will undoubtedly puzzle me to the day I die. It just seems to me that even if I did not possess a quality education that I would still want that opportunity for my children and the children of society as a whole. What this reinforces is the truth of my claims that the selfishness permeating our whole society is truly pervasive and not just a matter of rhetorical excess on my part.

Education is relatively expensive as public works go and it is obvious that as a society we have decided that gravel roads will suffice because of the expense of asphalt. And I do not use the word “expense” to just mean financial capital, but to also include the personal cost extracted by dedication and concern. Education is indeed not one of the areas where I think the problem is primarily one of funding, but one of an even scarcer resource: genuine commitment to excellence.

While this sad state of affairs could cause one to lose hope and abandon the discussion, I am in no way more curmudgeonly than in my stubbornness, so you can expect these rants to reoccur.

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86 thoughts on “surgical strike: asphalt aspirations”

  1. CG,Unfortunatly I am very much GOP, at this present moment I would not go to the Demacrats to reslove anything. On the other hand I have spent a great deal (one third at present) of my life defending the rights, and willing to give my life for those who disagree with my views and whose views I disagree with. I do believe in rights and freedoms, I do not like a lot of the “freedoms” we give to people that do not deserve them, but I respect them under current laws, just wish I could change some of them, and will try to do my part to do that.

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  2. There is a difference between how we feel about limiting personal wealth, and being staisfied with Windows 3.0 (which by the way, I was very happy with. Heck I was happy with first publisher 15 yearas ago). I think when a company has multi million daollar CEO’s, and has to lay off thousands to satisfy profit needs for investors there is a problem. It is a systemic problem, I will grant you, but one that the masses can rise up from and solve. I think as a matter of publically traded companies there should be a wealth percentage of the bottom line, or a percentage per employee. This will allow for growth, while keeping a cap so to speak on the top out that is relative to the process. IMO

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  3. C.G.Pre-1) What are the current “wealth gap trends” and what should they be? Be specific.1)What examples of capital appreciation/gains are going under the radar screen?2) Laws already exist to deal with “bogus tax shelter schemes.” As tax law changes, as it has for 92 years in the income tax area, court cases and fixes emerge as the American spirit of ingenuity kicks in and people act to minimize their taxes. When the path of least resistance (tax) is taken, that may not have been Congresses intention, then tax law emerges that closes the “loop-hole.” Within the realm of legal transactions, this is neither, wrong or greedy. Don’t worry C.G., the IRS is alive and well today. So much power, in fact, that your outcome is determined more on the agenda of the individual agent, than any violation of the law.3) Yes, I think we should get rid of AMT too. Or were you wanting more AMT, the 26%/28% non-progressive flat tax?4) Should a corporation pay tax in the country where they manufacture or where they sell their product? Or both? Should the US have treaties in place to allocate the tax burden between countries? Or should governments crush the evil business spirit of greed and profit with every fiber of their being, your Majesty?Prof. RicardoPS For extra credit: Should there be a limit to the amount of wealth one should have? If not, why the concern for “wealth gaps?” If so, does that mean you’re satisfied with Windows 3.0? 😀

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  4. Randy,Good post… you don’t sound GOP to me… and definitely not this current administration’s version of GOP.There’s all kind of tax issues to fix before we ever get to discussing how progressive our rates should be (at the end of the day, even if we weeded out the cheats (Prof’s clients 🙂 we would still require progressive taxation to battle our wealth gap trends). At the top of the list would be 1) policing the hockey out of taxes owed on income, but allowing other forms of … i.e. capital appreciation/gains to be easily hidden under the radar 2) out and out tax cheating by the wealthy … bogus tax shelter schemes … Congress actually passed laws to de-claw the IRS 3) AMT 4) Offshore corporate tax dodges… sell in the US market but get out of taxes (This would never happen if I were king :). To repeat myself on this site, I highly recommend the book “Perfectly Legal” if you want to know how the average working guy gets to pick up the tab for the high rollers.

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  5. CG,

    I will give you that communism in its pure form is the place I would rather be, or a pure socialism for that matter, maybe there isn’t a difference. I never really checked all the particulars about either, because human nature refutes the ability to produce such pure environments. A human being will always figure a way to get on top and stay there – power corrupts in any form.
    I do like minimum taxes, although, I am not opposed to paying more if it is worthy, I am hesitant about progressive taxes, thinking fairly, it should not be progressive, just right. We have to create progressive taxes because of increased loop holes that continue to get added, let’s just set a tax rate and live with it, I know that it is not that simple, but it could be. Nothing has to be as hard as it is. I do think that the GOP has a skewed perspective on the rich though, and could surely modify its thinking about the subject. I still do not believe that the Dems have their stuff in one basket, I think that they have part and parceled themselves out to so many special interest group that they do not even know what they think anymore. Therefore until something better comes along I will continue to go with the GOP. This is my interpretation of the least of two evils.

    I think as a country with capitalism we can turn the tide in regards to the wealthy, we need to use what they want against them, to make them realize that we control what they want…money. It would be a battle, but we have to take the over the top CEOs and kneecap them. Shut their business down, people might get lost in the shuffle, but a CEO without a company makes squat. Bring one or two down and they will start to realize they do not need multi million dollar salaries to cope with life. Or lobby for salary caps for CEO based on the % of production, or the median wage of the worker, blue collar, that is.

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  6. Tony,If liberty is given by God, and we have been free to setup our own rules regarding taking care of the needy, you have to figure God is a bit peeved at our choices to date. It’s always seemed to me that Communism (or some form of collective thought where the society came before the individual) seemed to follow the Gospels more than capitalism. The “God given liberty” creates the friction point, and provides cover for Christians to claim capitalism as holy, just, fair, equatable, etc. So back to my question… I don’t think you addressed it head on… are we what we are regardless of society constructs (economic system,education, religious beliefs, etc.) OR can other constructs lead to BETTER people and better choices? Randy P,“So even though I would put “the shrub” in office before Kerry or Dean, I do think that their idea about letting the rich get rich to help the economy is a little off kilter.”A little off kilter in this case, is like being a little bit pregnant. Here is what I really hate about tax debate. None of us, including our Congress critters who speak as if they are gifted economists… has any real idea what the optimum tax rate is (the rates that provide the maximum tax revenue opportunity… whether we tapped it or not). The GOP only knows one song… “minimum taxes are best”. The mantra is never based on any current circumstances/needs or any form of analysis…. it’s just a religious belief. If our tax rates are 50%, then 40% is better. If our tax rates are 20%, than 10% would be better. 20% may very well be the tax rate sweet spot, but I can gurantee you our elected types have no clue. It just makes common sense to me to define common good needs before one picks the tax rate out of then air. If it is moral to collect taxes for our military at 10% per citizen, and we face 10 years of terrorism that changes that equation to requiring 30% per citizen, the moral equation doesn’t change.. just the tax bill. I am sick and tired of politician’s tax ideology that can’t be bothered with facts and current needs. < HREF="http://www.inequality.org/facts.html" REL="nofollow">This <> US is satifactory for some. Count me out. What can we do about it… take our government back from the moneyed elite and evolve tax policy into a MUCH more progressive mechanism than we have now. I will never accept this country being a playground for the few… period. There is no justification for a Jack Welch living like a rock star in our nation while good, hard working families struggle just for basic necessities. We can do this with Capitalism… I am convinced… it’s just a matter of conscience where a large percentage of the disproportionately wealthy wake up one day and say… “I have enough”. This is related to the human nature question. If human nature was different, you wouldn’t have folks with second homes claiming they are being violated by tax rates. That’s our nation’s equality tagline in a nutshell… “our wealthy are taxed too much”. Pathethic.

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  7. Randy,I greatly enjoyed the long post! Good stuff my friend. Good stuff.I guess I will return myself to CG’s query on the human nature and the political view of a Christian responding to it. Sorry that I have not answered this one adequately. It is a big question, so please forgive me. 😀I certainly do not think that a laissez-fair capitalistic belief system automatically flows from Christian theology. In fact, many scholars looking at Christ’s teaching have concluded that various versions of communist systems are the logical conclusion. Christ taught putting the interests of your fellow man above those of your own. Admonishment to be salt and light in this world and to turn your other cheek toward your enemy is hardly a recipe for the fatalistic doomed outlook that you suggest.That many fall into the error that you suggest, i.e. that capitalism and democracy are ordained of God and inherently moral, does not suggest that all Christians believe this is so. While I certainly am in the camp that Liberty is a gift from God, there are lots of opportunity for legitimate disagreement on the social policy and political philosophy that flow from the teachings of God’s Word.

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  8. Yoshi,I think that there is much danger in raising a child in legalistic religious practice. I can tell you many stories of people I know who have turned from their faith because of the hypocrisy of what they saw as a child.But to say this is a far different thing than to understand how to put that knowledge into practice as a parent. Children by their very nature crave rules and moral boundaries. They are obsessed with what is right and wrong while yet still immature in their ability to assess the nuances that become apparent as youth dissipates into adulthood. It is because of this that children are so sensitive to hypocrisy. When they grow to an age that they are sensitive to their parent’s own shortcomings, it is best that the adults conform to what they have been teaching else they will have rebellion at some level on their hands.Which is why legalism is so pernicious. It is impossible to conform to a system of legalism and any parent who tries this will run afoul of their children’s quite normal emerging consciousness of its impracticability. As difficult as it may be, it is essential in my view as a Christian to speak not merely of rules, but just as often of grace. It is essential to beg forgiveness of your child when you have committed an offense against them and to be seen on your knees confessing your inadequacies before God. And of course it is equally essential to practice the unconditional love of Christ toward not only your Brothers in Christ, but those of the larger society as well.Or to say it in summary, I would agree that raising your child to be religious is a dangerous thing indeed; to instead raise your child to walk after Christ and seek the mind of God is a high calling worthy of one’s last full measure of devotion.I would enjoy it Yoshi if you would take a bit of time to describe to people here some of what you see happening in the public schools. There are folks who think I am fairly well nuts to pronounce it a cesspool. Prof’s quotation was of course very intriguing, but a first-hand account would be of great profit to all.

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  9. Stll Drm’n,Yeah, the system certainly is not perfect, and we can do a lot better than is being done. And, I think paddles should be used only in the extreme cases. I know people tend to think that violent discipline promote violence, but I believe that the root of that violence was there in the beginning. Punishment should be done out of love and I think the majority of parents today think that this can not be done by people outside of their home. I disagree with that, I think that if you follow the mentality of “it takes a village to raise a child” then you begin to understand that most of the people that teach for crummy pay are in it for the love of teaching children and making a difference, so let ‘em do it I say. I think the premise behind the paddle gives the immediate reaction to “consequences” and children learn early that the out come is unpleasant.Prof,I agree that as a “fledgling” these social needs can be met in the home, but with a better system of correction in our schools children can better learn the consequences of their actions first hand before damage is done. That being said I am not against home schooling and I am certainly not all for public schools in the present state they are in. I think, and this is IMO, I would say that home schooled children learn to interact with adults on a more mature basis earlier than kids in classes, because that is what they are taught from the get go. They develop more skills in dealing with adults. I am not sure that is the best thing for them, they do not learn quickly how to deal with their age group and peers, and after all that is what society is about. Children who learn this, start thinking “unconsciously” that most children are inferior to them, and it would take a special type of teaching at home to over come that syndrome. That may be advanced maturity, but I think it misses the mark for social skills. This is a broad generalization; some kids get the best of both worlds because their parents know this up front and have concerns about it. And I think that what I am trying to get at is it is the parents job to raise their kids to respect women our sisters in Christ, and they would have a harder time (especially girls) if they do not get some type of understanding about what other people think. Imagine the shock of the secluded girl that hits college to find that no one there is as mature as her, and that the boys are out for her panties, and not interested in her as a sister in Christ. Shocking.I do not have an abundance of experience with home schooled kids, I was a public kid myself, and I know that as I grew up my Mom and Dad made me understand the difference between respect and disrespect, I did not have the choice. I have since even furthered the thoughts that they taught me. I try to always be respectful, it is what I strive for and I try to instill that in my child, although that is a battle.What happened to Bianca should never happen, good leadership does not ridicule, it chastises in private, and praises in public. Yeah I learned that in the Marine Corps, boot camp however was not that way, and for good reason. CG,I think you have to look at your question from two angles.First: Yes human nature is to hoard what you have and store it up till you need it. And second, how would you implement construct to change this. I can tell you form my stand point, I have more than I need, and sometime I walk through the house, and realize, I have more than I want. I find that it is a self perpetuating cycle for me, I don’t need more stuff, but continue to get it. Crazy huh? I think before we dwell on foreign aid can’t we think about putting our time and effort into the home front and develop a better system here. I disagree with your isolation based on religion, at least mine, that is not what Christianity is about, it is about giving, and I try to so that when I can, but not as much as I should. We can all do more. I do think that with a “trickle down” theory though we are failing to make any points in that regard. So even though I would put “the shrub” in office before Kerry or Dean, I do think that their idea about letting the rich get rich to help the economy is a little off kilter. That being said, I do not think that raising taxes so the Govt. can offset the need for giving is the way to go either. The rich give a lot away, but they squander a lot also. And just so you know with my religious beliefs, I am making eternal life, it is the good works that I do down here that stores up my riches when I get there. Self evaluation, I ain’t getting much if I die today, but I am swinging that around with every step I take in my walk with Christ.Yoshi,I guess the difference is that he did follow The Faith and realized the bombings were inherently different from the correct teaching of his faith, just like abortion clinic bombings are not the correct action to take based on a Christian belief, even though abortion is dead wrong for some. This sums up the faith I thinkChristian Quotation of the DayMarch 21, 2005 This wide and generous spirit of love, not the religious egotist’s longing to get away from the world to God, is the fruit of true self-oblation; for a soul totally possessed by God is a soul totally possessed by Charity. By the path of self-offering, the Church and the soul have come up to the frontiers of the Holy. There we are required, not to cast the world from us, but to do our best for all others as well as ourselves. … Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice [1938]We are a society that is so fragmented, I get tired of that, but isn’t it what a melting pot is suppose to be, but then even our Govt is so polarized on almost all the issues. I just do not know what is going on. Should not right and wrong be a little easier to equate in society. Isn’t it sad when bi-partisian politics only exist for steroids.Gotta be my longest post to date

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  10. Prof. Ricardo said, “I know what sort of young man and woman I am trying to raise. And with God’s help, discernment, and common sense, I hope to succeed.”I just got finished watching FRONTLINE on PBS. There was a young adult whose family was part of the Taliban, close to Osama bin Laden. He was rebellious, drank, smoke, and chased girls. He was a “cancer” to his father, who wanted him to be more like bin Laden. When the bombs went off in E. Africa in 1998, the “bad seed” was the ONLY one who felt it was wrong, while the others celebrated. Eventually, this guy starting working for the CIA, undercover. It was an amazing story. But the interesting thing to me was how he was the smoker, the drinker, and the one who just didn’t take his faith too seriously. This isn’t a criticism of you, but it came to mind when I saw you want to raise your kids to be religious.Back to the topic. I’m a substitute teacher and it’s a nightmare. I’m basically paid to be a babysitter, cause nothing productive gets done whatsoever. Public schools, just don’t send your kid there.I also did homeschooling, even had Bible lessons. I remember drawing vampire teeth and ears all over the black and white pictures of Bible characters. And I do feel like I can’t really socialize with others my age, at least not like I should be able too. But I can’t say for sure it’s on account of homeschooling. And besides, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Okay, I admit, even though it wasn’t great, it was better than the other alternatives I would of had.

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  11. Prof. Ricardo said, “I know what sort of young man and woman I am trying to raise. And with God’s help, discernment, and common sense, I hope to succeed.”I just got finished watching FRONTLINE on PBS. There was a young adult whose family was part of the Taliban, close to Osama bin Laden. He was rebellious, drank, smoke, and chased girls. He was a “cancer” to his father, who wanted him to be more like bin Laden. When the bombs went off in E. Africa in 1998, the “bad seed” was the ONLY one who felt it was wrong, while the others celebrated. Eventually, this guy starting working for the CIA, undercover. It was an amazing story. But the interesting thing to me was how he was the smoker, the drinker, and the one who just didn’t take his faith too seriously. This isn’t a criticism of you, but it came to mind when I saw you want to raise your kids to be religious.Back to the topic. I’m a substitute teacher and it’s a nightmare. I’m basically paid to be a babysitter, cause nothing productive gets done whatsoever. Public schools, just don’t send your kid there.I also did homeschooling, even had Bible lessons. I remember drawing vampire teeth and ears all over the black and white pictures of Bible characters. And I do feel like I can’t really socialize with others my age, at least not like I should be able too. But I can’t say for sure it’s on account of homeschooling. And besides, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Okay, I admit, even though it wasn’t great, it was better than the other alternatives I would of had.

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  12. If you are serious about public education, then you need to know about public education. The book <>The Underground History of American Education<> takes quite a commitment in time and money to read. <>From the Prologue of John Taylor Gatto’s <>The Underground History of American Education<>:Bianca, You Animal, Shut Up!<>Our problem in understanding forced schooling stems from an inconvenient fact: that the wrong it does from a human perspective is right from a systems perspective. You can see this in the case of six-year-old Bianca, who came to my attention because an assistant principal screamed at her in front of an assembly, “BIANCA, YOU ANIMAL, SHUT UP!” Like the wail of a banshee, this sang the school doom of Bianca. Even though her body continued to shuffle around, the voodoo had poisoned her.Do I make too much of this simple act of putting a little girl in her place? It must happen thousands of times every day in schools all over. I’ve seen it many times, and if I were painfully honest I’d admit to <>doing<> it many times. Schools are supposed to teach kids their place. That’s why we have age-graded classes. In any case, it wasn’t your own little Janey or mine.Most of us tacitly accept the pragmatic terms of public school which allow every kind of psychic violence to be inflicted on Bianca in order to fulfill the prime directive of the system: putting children in their place. It’s called “social efficiency.” But I get this precognition, this flash-forward to a moment far in the future when your little girl Jane, having left her comfortable home, wakes up to a world where Bianca is her enraged meter maid, or the passport clerk Jane counts on for her emergency ticket out of the country, or the strange lady who lives next door.I picture this animal Bianca grown large and mean, the same Bianca who didn’t go to school for a month after her little friends took to whispering, “Bianca is an animal, Bianca is an animal,” while Bianca, only seconds earlier a human being like themselves, sat choking back tears, struggling her way through a reading selection by guessing what the words meant.In my dream I see Bianca as a fiend manufactured by schooling who now regards Janey as a vehicle for vengeance. In a transport of passion she:. Gives Jane’s car a ticket before the meter runs out. . Throws away Jane’s passport application after Jane leaves the office. . Plays heavy metal music through the thin partition which separates Bianca’s apartment from Jane’s while Jane pounds frantically on the wall for relief. . All the above. . You aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about thirty-three are murdered there every year. Your great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children. What happened?If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you’d think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set, you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher?I want to open up concealed aspects of modern schooling such as the deterioration it forces in the morality of parenting. You have no say at all in choosing your teachers. You know nothing about their backgrounds or families. And the state knows little more than you do. This is as radical a piece of social engineering as the human imagination can conceive. What does it mean?One thing you do know is how unlikely it will be for any teacher to understand the personality of your particular child or anything significant about your family, culture, religion, plans, hopes, dreams. In the confusion of school affairs even teachers so disposed don’t have opportunity to know those things. How did this happen?Before you hire a company to build a house, you would, I expect, insist on detailed plans showing what the finished structure was going to look like. Building a child’s mind and character is what public schools do, their justification for prematurely breaking family and neighborhood learning. Where is documentary evidence to prove this assumption that trained and certified professionals do it better than people who know and love them can? There isn’t any.The cost in New York State for building a well-schooled child in the year 2000 is $200,000 per body when lost interest is calculated. That capital sum invested in the child’s name over the past twelve years would have delivered a million dollars to each kid as a nest egg to compensate for having no school. The original $200,000 is more than the average home in New York costs. You wouldn’t build a home without some idea what it would look like when finished, but you are compelled to let a corps of perfect strangers tinker with your child’s mind and personality without the foggiest idea what they want to do with it.Law courts and legislatures have totally absolved school people from liability. You can sue a doctor for malpractice, not a schoolteacher. Every homebuilder is accountable to customers years after the home is built; not schoolteachers, though. You can’t sue a priest, minister, or rabbi either; that should be a clue.If you can’t be guaranteed even minimal results by these institutions, not even physical safety; if you can’t be guaranteed <>anything<> except that you’ll be arrested if you fail to surrender your kid, just what does the public in public schools mean?What exactly is public about public schools? That’s a question to take seriously. If schools were public as libraries, parks, and swimming pools are public, as highways and sidewalks are public, then the public would be satisfied with them most of the time. Instead, a situation of constant dissatisfaction has spanned many decades. Only in Orwell’s Newspeak, as perfected by legendary spin doctors of the twentieth century such as Ed Bernays or Ivy Lee or great advertising combines, is there anything public about public schools.Read more here: < HREF="http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm" REL="nofollow">http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm<>

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  13. Stilldreamin,“I’m “stilldreamn” about a better world, as I envisioned it in my youth (naively, yes, I know). I’m “stilldreamn” about a society that judges success by how much you give away instead of how much you accumulate. I would rather strive for the impossible than settle for mediocracy.”I want a similar world to what you just expressed… I use the phrase “a more collective society”, but I mean the same thing… becoming better people by removing blindspots that prevent us from helping those in need. Here is the question I posed to Tony, and I’m not sure of the answer. Question: Are we failing to address world need/poverty because humans are what they are, or is the failing due to insufficient society constructs and blindspots/ignorance of the US population about what’s really going on. Asked more bluntly… does the US only give 15 cents out of every $100 dollars of GNP to foreign aid because of our true human natures, or because we live in a bubble of wealth and ignorance?I think how each of us answers that plays a big part in our ideology. If you think we are this way because we are built this way, and you can’t really change that… then a conservative GOP status quo ideology really makes sense. In particular, isolating oneself and family from a doomed society/culture (based on religion or otherwise) makes sense. With religious beliefs getting to eternal life is the ball game.. our failings on earth are expected and secondary. My problem is I’m in the same boat you are… “I would rather strive for the impossible than settle for mediocracy.” Are we just dreamers? Maybe. The evidence certainly is against us regarding human nature… civil war, the incredible slow civil rights progress, our continued racism and homophobia, etc. If human nature was what some of us wish for… wouldn’t we have already built a better world? If we could wave a wand and had a more enlightened economic system, a brilliant efficient education system, mainstream news without filters that made us see/feel the real poverty in the world… would we act any different? I think there is a chance, because I know people can change. I know I did.Prof… that was an excellent post describing/defining social interaction. I would be the first to admit you surprised me early on about the effort and sophistication that has gone into your home schooling. I don’t think it can be our nations sole answer, but it obviously is working great for you.

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  14. Randy P. thus spoke: “I know that programs can give home schooled kids some of the same benefits, but not in a broad sense like public schools.”I know my response may reek of defensiveness, but I would strongly like to interject at this point. Of all the misconceptions people have about home educating children, <>socialization<> is probably the most misunderstood area.Social interactions with others is very useful in practicing good manners, gaining information and exposure to many ideas, and satisfies a multitude of emotional needs. As a fledgling, all of these needs can be satisfied inside the home, with greater exposure as maturity and responsibility increase. Home schooled children, though as varied in temperament as their PubEd counterparts, more often than not, show a well developed ability to converse with multi-generational audiences and rarely retreat to just their own age-mates. The artificial environment of age segregation has a tendency to develop peer dependency that is the cause of the dreaded generation gap. In home schooling that gap is non-existent. Since each child interacts with people of all ages, from babies to great grandparents, they have conversational skills, etiquette, and a depth often missing in their PubEd counterparts. Sure, if you want to measure depth in terms of rudeness, foul language, inappropriate sex talk referring to women as sexual objects rather than sisters in Christ, I must confess, most home schoolers do not have <>that<> kind of depth. And just because one does not immerse oneself in <>that<> kind of socialization, does not mean one does not know how to deal with and properly perceive that kind of social interaction. As Christians, and I realize that not all home schoolers are, it is our responsibility as parents to instruct our children how to deal with, and not succumb to, all the worldliness that they encounter.Who here would rather be thought of by others as “Joe Six-Pack” rather than as intellectuals, well versed in etiquette, with a breadth of knowledge, and welcomed in decent society? I know what sort of young man and woman I am trying to raise. And with God’s help, discernment, and common sense, I hope to succeed.Randy, I like a lot of what you have to say. Just thought I would interject on the socialization issue.Prof. Ricardo

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  15. “Children can gain so much from seeing how others behave.”Randy, I agree. I’m just being as certain as possible that our kids observe good, mannerly behavior as opposed to “some rather rude people.” Perhaps this seems like a social experiment to some, but young children that have modeled their behavior on that exhibited by self-controlled adults are amazingly mature and self-controlled themselves. And really, they are not terribly astonished at the crassness of “the world.” But they do understand the concept of personal responsibility for their behavior. When they misbehave, the consequences are immediate–no down time filling out forms, calling parents, “time outs” (oh puhleeze) and we haven’t had to paddle in years.One other thing that we teach—just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s moral. We spend a lot of time discussing current events and society; we talk about consumerism, politics and greed. Even our 7 year old twins are getting pretty good at differentiating between wants and needs. I think that’s a good start.CG, to answer your question:I’m “stilldreamn” about a better world, as I envisioned it in my youth (naively, yes, I know). I’m “stilldreamn” about a society that judges success by how much you give away instead of how much you accumulate. I would rather strive for the impossible than settle for mediocracy.**whap-whap-whap-whap** ohmiheavens, it’s the helicopters

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  16. It takes a village to raise a child. I believe that is the premise of the archaic value to public schools. Don’t get me wrong in a general sense there is a good that comes form public school that home schooled kids have to work at, that is society. Children can gain so much from seeing how others behave. They can also learn so much about how to interact with other people. I know that programs can give home schooled kids some of the same benefits, but not in a broad sense like public schools. Private schools get a little more, but under such confined pretences, they still fall short. Our kids are going to have to understand that the world is filling with some rather rude people, and how better to prepare them than the melting pot of rude itself, public schools. The biggest problem I see, and child rearing always come back to this, there are great number of parents out there that do not believe that anyone else can comment, and therefore discipline a child outside the home. In light of that, these same parents are not disciplining there own children, this makes it all the worse, point in case CG you young female teacher that is trying to advise a parent of the behavioral attitude of their child and gets nothing but contempt in return. I know that there are a few weirdos out there that will abuse this position, but that is the point of the law, we have taken things so far down the road of freedom, for freedom sake that we have lost sight of the fact that we are not talking about inalienable rights here they are children, and the sooner they realize that most of the things they take for granted should and have to be earned they will be better off. I say bring in the paddles, wear out the little bottoms the will learn. IMO, from a bigoted standpoint. It is about materialism, and even though that stimulate growth in the economy, we give out too much. Kids should not be driving brand new cars, if they have to work on them when they run them out of oil, they learn to appreciate it. And I do not think that materialism is bad, it is the lack of appreciation that gets to me.

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  17. CG,No, I didn’t explain the philosophical version of materialism. I only wish I had time to cover that topic. Roughly it is the idea that only material things are of consequence or put better, all things can be explained in material terms. I believe that there are things that are of greatest importance which are not material such as love. The materialist would say that love is a product of the mind and hence only understood in material terms. Geeze, I’m sure I will hack somebody off with my over-simplifications of this rather broad topic.I wish I could simply agree to disagree with you on the centrality of values to the education of the mind. Sadly, you are indulging in an error that I cannot let stand because it leads to much pain and confusion. That you continue to be badly confused yourself is evident in your statement:<>” IMO, a large percentage of the folks who find public schooling unacceptable (for example those who think the average teachers has personal agendas beyond teaching the kid academics) will not be able to pool education with others (i.e. the parents definition of education is so specific, it really by definition has to be a personal education from a parent… <> Clearly you have never acknowledged the point that I have made at least a dozen times now that the attempt to omit values from education is itself a value choice. Or if you wish to term it so, and agenda. I could quote the balance of that same post to further illustrate your state of denial on this important point.Philosophy is in fact no more separable from education than is the mind. Insisting to the contrary is frankly, bizarre. Your intransigence in even being willing to acknowledge the existence of the argument points out the extraordinary urgency of my concern with a clarity that I could never achieve through the mean devices of rhetoric. While I thank you for your service in this regard, I remain deeply concerned about your own denial.

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  18. btw… regarding public schools being in the nanny business. That’s easy to say, but it’s much more complicated than just saying it. I was talking to a relative who is a school teacher. This is what happens in the real world. You have a kid that acts up, and interferes with the class setting. You call the parents (sometimes parent) and ask them to come get the little monster and take them home. The parent shows up, and it turns out the little monster didn’t fall far from the tree… i.e. the parent is scary and threating. So your some 22 year female 1st grade teacher, and there is some violent, irrational male parent saying you are mistreating his wonderful child. What do you do? How irrational is this guy? Time for school security guards… or the cops. You see, not only should that 1st grade teacher not be involved in raising the kid, but she sure in the heck shouldn’t be in charge of security and put at risk every year by a percentage of nutjob parents. So Prof says about now… you see we need to shut down the public school. Really… what do you think becomes of the little monster with the whacko dad home schooling. How exactly does “not making school manatory help”

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  19. Tony,Did you just explain the philospher use of the word materialism? If you did, I didn’t get it. Try again. Of course I mean in an economic sense, keeping up with the Jones’s, getting yours, hoping for lake homes, etc. Also I’m talking from a national use of the word materialism… i.e. the US giving a paltry 15 cents out a $100 in GNP to foreign aid.Regarding public school performance failure. I agree that schools shouldn’t be in the nanny business. I also don’t think they should be in the “teaching values” business, or “teaching religion” business. If a parent requires/desires this, then for obvious reasons it can’t be in the public system. We will just have to agree to disagree that amounts to a guaranteed failed public education. So any parent who requires “values” or “religious” teachings of the child, must either do it on their own, or carefully vet a shared, pooled educational experience with like-minded folks. IMO, a large percentage of the folks who find public schooling unacceptable (for example those who think the average teachers has personal agendas beyond teaching the kid academics) will not be able to pool education with others (i.e. the parents definition of education is so specific, it really by definition has to be a personal education from a parent… I even question two parents agreeing on some issues). A parent’s odds of finding acceptable private schooling will also depend on how narrowly a parent’s requirements are. Although I don’t agree a parent would necessarily need to be heavily involved in a childs public education (mine never were other than elementary school “arts type” projects, and I can’t see how they would have added much over my skilled public school teachers. However, for a home school carriculum, the concept of flexible parent choice makes all kinds of sense. For example, you could pick a particular “values/religious” based carriculum choice and use it as is… or given the flexibility to add to that carriculum choice at home via parent customization. Obviously home schooling will always have to deal with social interaction choices (including to avoid socialization with other kids). My guess is the religious/worldview particulars would not be part of the socialization part (that being left to personal interaction at home with parents), but more generic academic education (like field trips or maybe lab work of some kinds) being part of the socialization.

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  20. CG,First, we need to clarify what you mean by materialism. There is the sense that most people mean when they use the word and that of the philosopher. I think materialism in both ways is a big problem. You would probably not think so as the later (philosophical) sense is, as best I can, a good description of your own outlook.Public schools fail for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I think it is sloth. We have become rich, fat and lazy.We expect schools to be nannies. They must not just educate, they must attempt to discipline the undisciplined as well. This comes from sloth.Next, parents further divorce themselves from the educational process and do not become involved in matters of curriculum. We surrender this to the education “experts” that have agendas often at odds with actual education. This is also sloth.Between social experimentation, limited resources and inadequate disciplinary tools, even sincere and qualified teachers find it difficult to impossible to teach effectively.

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  21. The short version…Improved education doesn’t get this society “there”, if we continue to sell <>trickle down<> and if we <>only<> serve the needy <>through Christ/church<>.All just non-lemming opinions.

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  22. ” I do not think this blog will be attractive to those of that ilk for long because generally they do not like to think, but rather be thought for.”I like that… NO LEMMINGS SERVED HERE. I meant to ask Tony a question a while back and forgot. Since Prof is back on board, it’s a good time to ask the question. We probably went through this excercise before.Forget your requirement for Christian worldview being taught during the school day for a moment. The following question is just related to “performance”… i.e. academic peformance, ability to read, reason, knowledge accumulation (history), etc.Question: What are the top reasons public schools fail to perform?I will throw out a couple to get things started.1) I agree with Barry… we pass on materialism to our kids. Public setting or not, parents are what they are, and kids will be little molds of parents belief systems… or public teacher belief systems… all following a materialism course.2) We have never tried a public school system… only state property tax funded systems. Better neighborhoods equal better funding…. most attempts to level the playing field are failures because “our hearts aren’t really in that”.3) We have $million dollar high school football stadiums. It wasn’t the teachers, or the kid majority that makes that happen, but rather parents and society. Until you beat back materialism and jock/sports culture, why waste your time arguing about academic performance failure. If society priorities are wrong, the results will be wrong… no matter how much effort you put into it. 4) It’s not just teacher pay, it’s our entire “star” culture. Professional atheletes, public company CEOs, politicians are the stars and rewarded disproportiately with income. The teachers, police, firemen, military are not stars… they are treated as low wage necessities in our culture… low wages defended by the mantra of supply and demand. We have serious “value” problems which have nothing to do with religion or the religious right’s narrow value mantra. Capitalism has made us economically wealthy, and provided this nation with the opportunity to be the first to finally deal with the lower economic strata on this planet. Instead, we tolerate the extreme wealth of a few under the banner of entitled harvest and personal rights. Improved education seems a bit meaningless in that context…. Barry has it right. Much of the religious right home schooling isn’t a fix… because that same religious right refuses to anti-up the required collective will and means to change these values. Refusing any pluralistic collective means because it doesn’t follow one’s religious convictions may be good for eternity, but dooms much of the poor on our planet in the meantime. Helping the needy should never require a religious filter.Yeah, I know… we have done this before.

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  23. Prof,You keep a journal? You know, every so often forgetting and purging can be cathartic.I only argue for public school reform as a middle ground. In truth, I agree that our current public education institutions are so bankrupt and devoid of merit, I have little personal hope. But just because I think this, it does not follow that there is a path there as a matter of public policy. The vast majority of Americans thinks that you and I are nuts for asserting this obvious truth.So, I pursue a middle ground as something that might be attainable. Something that might offer hope to kids.And I still find your faith in homeschooling to be naïve. I just don’t see that happening with our sundry social ills. And even were I to believe your utopian vision of society to be possible, I would still argue that the only way to get there is to start with an education. And that education cannot possibly happen at home for the single mom with no financial resources.You remind me so much of the libertarians with which I used to argue. While I like your vision in an idealistic way, we have to hew a path there. And part of hewing that path is finding policies that can actually find political support and which have a possibility of implementation. Thinking about and articulating the ideals is a wonderful thing, but at some point you actually have to accomplish something.

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  24. Randy,Well, if you say you are bigoted, who am I to argue? 😀Actually, that might not have been my best choice of words as the word bigot tends to be associated with race (though it should not be so circumscribed). But I think you at least listen to other points of view. That is what is so infuriating: when people won’t even listen to a viewpoint. I have all the patience in the world for people who disagree with me so long as they take the trouble to understand my argument first. I find argument to be the most constructive of mental exercises and seldom find anyone willing to engage in genuine discussion to be someone from who I cannot learn.As a society we are sadly becoming more dogmatic. The term de jour is “polarized”, but I don’t think that captures the whole phenomenon. Polarization is a by-product of our artificial X-Y political coordinates. It comes about because in our national discourse we eliminate the Z-axis, or any other possible axis. This is a different but related problem to that which I’m describing.While I am as resolute as they come in my thoughts and ideas, I hope and pray I never cut myself off from the ability to continue to question that which I believe and think. Not in the sense of a faithless questioning, but rather a continual revisiting of assumptions and mental organization. Only by such refining can I personally consider my self to believe or know anything. There are sadly a lot of people who do not engage in such intellectual rigor at any level. In the process of abandoning such rigor in themselves, they equally reject the thought of examining or understanding the thoughts and ideas of others. This in turn leads to growing communications chasms that divide us further than what need be.This, of course, is pervasive in our political “discourse”. I put “discourse” in quotes, because what we in fact practice is more akin to a rumble than genuine dialog. As people we need to get past the place where a Democrat and Republicans are comfortable thinking the other evil. We must cease to be party-centric and rather center ourselves on ideas.By arguing ideas and not politics, we can transcend the weaknesses of all and perhaps create that shining city on the hill. I confess, I despair of the possibility of such a transformation, but it is the hope which sustains me in these troubled times.

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  25. From the Professor’s journal:Public schools = “gun free” zones = fish in a barrelThe 15 yr old “goth kid” young man who killed nine plus himself is a sad indictment of public schools. Forced attendance produced a “Goth Kid” through some form of peer pressure, finding his identity, and trying to gain acceptance. Something that never would have happened outside our current PubEd-Fest. After molding himself into a bazaar caricature of a gothic persona, he was made fun of by other students. Why was he hanging out with other people whose making fun of him was so offensive as to incite murder? Well he didn’t have a choice*. It is mandatory attendance. Any protestations he brought previously to his parents/guardians attention were probably not heeded well because, after all, he chose to look and act like that, right?The environments we place our children into can have a great affect on them socially and spiritually. I was first against public education based on educational performance. Now that is secondary to me. Social development, peer pressure, and having my children walk in wisdom far outshines the secondary objective of education. In Proverbs we are told not to walk with fools (Pr.13:20). Yet we cast our children into a child dominated, and therefore fool dominated (Pr.22:15), environment. In a 25:1 ratio, do you really think the teacher is the greater influence on social matters over fellow students?Then after we breed such misfits (I am particularly astounded at the beautiful women who have pierced and infected their ears, eyebrows, noses, lips, and tongues, not to mention tattooed acres of once flawless skin), we sit in awe of the cesspool of these educational institutions and the poor results it gives us back.Yes, Ol’ Prof. has given up on the institution. You see, if you gain weight after eating a lot of Blue Bell ice cream, and then decide you want to loose some weight, Switching to Ben & Jerry’s won’t do it. You have to cut the ice cream.With Public Education, it is environment, the institution itself, that is the problem. Paint the halls whatever color you want, bring in such-&-such curriculum, change the class size and so on, and the institution has not materially changed.Prof. Ricardo* – You want a public educational program that will work? Paid for by public dollars with results that would probably tromp private school? (Ok, that was over the top.) It’ll cost half as much and become the envy of the world. Make it <>voluntary<> to anyone, any age. If you’re illiterate at age 30, go take the 1st grade reading class. No one will take classes that don’t work. Bad Science, bad English, bad Math will go unused. Bad environment will drive away good students and teachers. Thugs are less likely to waste their time in classes making life hard on those who are there to learn. You could take only the courses you need to go into certain trades if you so desired. Rather than extending adolescents into the twenties, young men might start acting like adults and earning a living earlier. Unlike socialism, this method is not perfect :-). The nay-sayers will say if it is not mandatory, they will not go to school. Although that was not the case before mandatory education, and voluntary un-free college attendance is at an all time high, this kind of self delusion is nice escape from every day life.

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  26. Tony,Well I probalby fall a little into that “bigoted” catagory, I find that I am very opinionated in my older age, and feeling like the establishment could do a better job of protecting family values without to much hindrance of the “freedoms” every one wants.

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  27. Well, the death of the Wilderblog was no shock to me. What was most disturbing about that blog was the thought that perhaps the posters there were representative of his larger radio audience. Scott clearly attracted a decent bunch, but the larger numbers of closed-minded bigoted types was depressing at times. I do not think this blog will be attractive to those of that ilk for long because generally they do not like to think, but rather be thought for.

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  28. Randy P,Sorry I didn’t pick up on the “Christian nation ammendment” sarcasm. That’s a big problem with email and blogging… sarcasm that would be easy to pick up on in face to face conversation is easily missed. That’s a real problem for me because I can’t seem to communicate without the use of sarcasm. Stilldreamn,Did you ever say what you are still dreaming about? Probably on your profile or something. 🙂 I couldn’t teach a kid any programming skills in good conscience unless they made a pledge not to persue an IT career. Kids need to be directed to careers not being sent overseas… whatever those are. Four computers at home… good grief, you are probably on some kind of watch list. Keep your eyes out for the black helicopters.

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  29. Unlike those of you with lawyerly degrees (my brother has one, but it hasn’t affected me at all), I may have simplistic notions about Terri Shiavo’s legal plight. I do have opinions in spite of my imperfect knowledge.If a person dies intestate, the surviving spouse doesn’t just get to keep/distribute the assets however they please, the court directs it, right? Why shouldn’t a court have an interest in “disposing” of a life in the absence of a “living will?” Why wasn’t there any push to pull the gastric tube 15 years ago? What’s with all these depositions from Terri’s former caretakers; and especially the one from Michael Shiavo’s girlfriend (the one he was seeing during the medical malpractice trial phase)? How about Felos’ term on the hospice board where Terri is being cared for? Doesn’t all this stink?The fact that Michael won’t even allow anyone to attempt feeding by mouth is especially distressing–even if manna fell from heaven into her lap, she’s screwed if she can’t uncurl her hands and reach for it. “depending on the relationship of the hearer to the orator’s will, is that hearer’s testimony tainted by acts that might be judged antagonistic towards the health of the now uncommunicative person in question?”Seems to me that this is the crux of the matter. Back to the school thing (waaay back):CG said:“So those are the two main motivators I see 1) religion/world view 2) perceived failing of performance by the public school system. Anyone want to add anything else?”Grammar, rhetoric, logic—critical thinking skills. Offer foreign languages, especially for young children. I don’t see that you need “denomination specific” flavors in your core curriculum, but I would insist on acknowledgement of intelligent design as a core component. We currently use “Switched on Schoolhouse” by Alpha Omega Publishing for a lot of our core work. We have 4 computers on our home network, and I can access and check on them from the office if need be. My husband and I like this setup a lot; the kids never seem to tire of doing anything computer-based. You could offer some neat electives, such as HTML or maybe Visual Basic for older kids. I know our two oldest boys would eat that up.

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  30. Randy PYes. I don’t think the blog turned into what he originally envisioned. Since it requires a time and intellectual commitment, I think he is rethinking if the results are worth the investment. That’s my best guess.Prof. Ricardo

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  31. CG,Just so we are clear, I do not wish for an amendment to declare to the world that we are a Christian Nation, just kidding. Not very funny to some though. In regard to Ms. Schivo, I do not agree with the legislation in a broad reaching way, it has just increased the suffering that will go on for many families that have to make a very tough decision and that are making that decision with love, as most do. In this case it is again the issue of the lower courts making the wrong decision, and one man that “appears” to me anyway to “possible” have not so loving intentions for his “former” wife. There is no living will, there is no collaboration of the verbal agreement, and the court therefore as Tony stated, “err on the side of life”. (hope I got that quite right). In this case any husband could knock his wifes head into a wall and tell everyone she doesn’t want to live like that and terminate a life prematurly to cover a wrong that has been done.And, homosexual outreach are for those poor confussed folks that do not understand what their basic body parts are for. Not from a RR (as Tony puts it) but basic nature, tab “A” fits slot “B”, not tab “A” fits tab “A” – don’t make sense to me. Simple nature. That aside, I have no problem with their choice to choose, and preactice in the privacy of their home. My voice against their marraige will continue to be, where does it stop, with large animals or small ones. Marraige is for a purpose, which I might also add is going down the tubes, and just as many Christians are sending it there, as non-christians.

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  32. CG,You said, “is no sanctity of life being honored by keeping a shell of a human being alive with technology… quite the opposite.” I think both sides of this debate are flippant on the whole quality or sanctity of life issue. The point is that it is up to the individual to define, on this one, not the law. The problem with committing these decisions to others is that I truly believe that it is impossible to gauge from the outside.For instance, there were times when I couldn’t see how my mother-in-law could possibly have the will to live. But ultimately, the day she opted against certain things that possibly could have helped her live longer was stunning to everybody because it seems like there had been far lower points. Remarkably, she sang Happy Birthday to my son after having remarked for many months that she would just like to make it till his third birthday, and then that evening fell into a coma never to revive.Perhaps more relevant is the day my wife had to make the very same decision that confronts Terri’s family-my mother-in-law put that decision in her hands. My wife opted to do what was necessary because she knew her Mom’s will in the matter. Intriguingly, she subsequently participated in an experimental chemo program that appeared for a while to have cured her. And amazingly she recovered enough for a while to get up and do some limited care for herself. All of this after the quality of life crowd would have pulled the plug.The point being, I think it is hard to say if you aren’t the one what is a good life or what does sanctify life. I have do doubt that the quality of life crowd would have put my Mother-in-law out of her misery long before many of the things that she experienced that were clearly of great importance to her. But she was one of the lucky ones who could speak for themselves and she opted for life when many would not have. And I can vouch for the fact that in her profoundly debilitated condition, she still lived a sanctified life that touched and blessed those around here.

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  33. Prof,We agreed on something? Wow.btw… Sensenbrenner’s original bill did use language that applied to ALL such cases. At least he was honest… right up until the time he got on the floor and supported the Senate version.

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  34. Tony,“But that is my personal understanding and as I have said often, I truly believe in freedom: I would never impose that on somebody else. I think it is impossible to be a free person unless you also possess the freedom to end your own life. I’d call that truth self-evident.”You realize of course that is not the intent of the Santorum’s and DeLay’s of the world. If they had their way, a living will would be meaningless.. they would make dying with dignity a crime. The farmer, with tears running down his cheek takes his 10 year old Cancer ridden dog and best friend behind the barn and shoots him with a shotgun. According to DeLay’s rant I just heard in Congress… he would believe that farmer obviously couldn’t wait to kill his dog. Their is no sanctity of life being honored by keeping a shell of a human being alive with technology… quite the opposite. In some situations, humanity requires family members to face the same situation that farmer faced. Why would we treat human beings worse than that farmer treated his beloved pet?Note, I’m not arguing against having set guidelines, even federal review of all right to die cases. I actually think this IS a federal issue, and not a state issue. But I am arguing against anyone that would make it illegal for an individual and family members to make these heart wrenching decisions.

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  35. NEWS FLASH:Mt. St. Helen’s ejected snow balls today when Prof. agreed with Common Good on one point. 🙂CG: <>Congress …could have least been honest and created a bill that said they intend to address all right to die cases. The way it was written, with Congress getting to pick it’s cases at it’s discretion, is paramount to a supreme-supreme court.<>We conservatives (and I don’t include Pres. Bush here) talk about the rule of law. That’s what I want to take place in the Terry Schiavo situation. What does the law say? If the law does not cover the new areas that technology and medicine have taken us, lets discuss and modify the laws to represent the current circumstance. The Feds should stay out of it. They have no authority, and I can’t imagine how they have the authority to allocate jurisdiction from a state court to a federal. But then again, the states lost their rights in the War of Northern Aggression, so they can do whatever the please I suppose. After all, if states had rights and individual decision making, then minorities would have to drink at separate fountains, so they tell me.It appears there are two significant issues.1) What is considered evidence of someone’s will for the most serious act of self-destruction in the case of being brain damaged and unable to communicate? Written directives obviously. But oral an statement requires a hearer, the hearer’s memory, and possibly corroborating or conflicting reports that may also be oral, and therefore of equal weight. Additionally, depending on the relationship of the hearer to the orator’s will, is that hearer’s testimony tainted by acts that might be judged antagonistic towards the health of the now uncommunicative person in question?2) Define life support. Obviously a breathing machine, or no? What about a breathing machine for dispensing Albuteral for asthma? In the case of Terry Schiavo, food and how its introduced. Recently my mother was in the hospital and was on some kind of nutrition IV and didn’t eat for a couple of weeks. Where is the line? If withdrawing support does not bring death, do you then seek death (that expected, but not achieved end) by prohibiting any nutrition, oxygen, support? If the effect sought is to kill them, can you use poison or a weapon? Is the act of starving her to death de-facto acceptance of starvation as an act <>NOT<> cruel and unusual, and therefore an acceptable method for execution of the death sentence of criminals? And finally, where is the ACLU in defending the defenseless? 🙂I wish I had the answers.Prof. Ricardo

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  36. CG,Actually, if blondes fit their stereotype, I would indeed argue of the need for a blonde outreach. Christians are commissioned to reach out to those in need. My point was reaching out to the aids community is a loving act-we should focus on this. Lost in all the noise is the fact that many Christian Churches and organizations do exactly that, but because of our militant public posture, you never hear about that.My personal out reach effort is focused on stinking infidels, though I have compassion for the more pleasant smelling infidels as well.

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  37. CG,Well, I don’t hold myself out as an expert spokesperson for the Christian Worldview…I’m sure there is some excellent thought out there on the subject if one is curious.I would say that the Bible is clear on the principal that we as individuals are to fight for our own lives within the boundary of consideration of the lives of others. I will go on record here and now and say that if I were alive in any state other than brain death, I would choose to continue on. Having recently witnessed the protracted and painful death of someone very dear to me, I would not for a second tell anybody that I am positive that I could stick to that position in the midst of pain, but I do know that I would know that I should opt for life.But that is my personal understanding and as I have said often, I truly believe in freedom: I would never impose that on somebody else. I think it is impossible to be a free person unless you also possess the freedom to end your own life. I’d call that truth self-evident.The case of Terri Schiavo is a complex one. To the best I can tell, there is no clear expression on her part of her intentions. In the absence of that clear intent, I believe the law should err on the side of life. I believe legally we must respect the individual’s rights and, of course, the right to life is fundamental. I would not abridge the right to life absent a clear expression by the individual. In Terri’s case, the facts get very messy. Legally, this should be a judicial matter to determine the facts. It appears the courts have determined that as a matter of fact, she should be allowed to die. As much as this result troubles me because of my perception of the strange situation and understanding that courts do often make bad decisions, this is what our courts are for and if we cannot trust them to adjudicate questions of fact such as this, we have large problems indeed. Personally, I am praying for the success of Terri and her own will (which I personally am convinced nobody alive knows). In the end, there will be no good come of this including no useful precedent because the decision will be extremely fact-bound.

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  38. Why would one need a homesexual outreach program? What’s next, outreach for blondes, short people, folks with bad vision. Maybe an outreach program for those who feel the need to setup outreach programs for other humans they disapprove of. I thought your last post was a good one. The short version is those who act like they know how to speak for a supreme being, and think it’s totally rational that their great insight become OUR society law… are boring in small numbers, and dangerous in large numbers. I don’t know if it’s 911 scaring the hockey out of everyone, or if this has always been lurking under the surface… but the religious zealotry is taking on a life of it’s own. Pretty dumb when “worship as you please in private” isn’t good enough for an individual… be very, very careful what you ask for… you might just get it, and find your brand of zealotry is not on the state approved list. Now that has to be some kind of serious run-on sentence… it must be the stinkin infidel in me.

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  39. I think I’m going to like Barry… hope he sticks around.Randy P… we were doing so good agreeing on so many things and then you said:“Yes, and even though I am for an amendment that states we are a “Christian” nation I agree that it is not the business of schools to promote the truth.”You realize we would have our second civil war before that happened, don’t you? Repeat after me… we are a nation where the majority are Christians, but not a Christian nation. Regarding Terry Shivo,Congress took a major step towards theocracy (Barry, what you are hoping for) this weekend. I have always chuckled at Curm’s Tyranny warnings… but I wasn’t laughing this weekend. The holy rollers could have least been honest and created a bill that said they intend to address all right to die cases. The way it was written, with Congress getting to pick it’s cases at it’s discression, is paramount to a supreme-supreme court. Also, it’s about as sickening a statement as you can make when anyone claims “anyone is trying to kill someone”. I’m not defended the husband… don’t know anything about him, but it isn’t about him. There was either evidence or not that Terry had expressed her wished concerning life support measures for herself. The argument I hear from the holy roller faction makes me believe if we had the technoloy (i.e. The Matrix) to keep our bodies breathing in our little pods for hundreds of years… then it would be against God to not follow that technology. You guys have some strange views on morality. Here is view that will light some folks up… I think it is the height of immorality to not assist someone to die with dignity. The fact that someone would have to die by removing a feeding tube, rather than a painless injection proves without doubt we are still cave dwellers. It should be about this point where Curm explains how the Christian worldview is the best. Can’t wait.

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  40. Randy,Hey, I don’t know what street English is, but it sounds like a dastardly leftist plot of some kind. CG can probably enlighten us on <>that<>.I really do appreciate the question though. And I too would love to hear what others have to say about it…lots of different perspectives rumble through here. A conversation I had this weekend leads me to add that I think those of you who surf here and read yet do not speak up are selling yourselves short. You would be more than a bit surprised at how interested people would be in what you have to say.First, labels can be a difficult thing. I think “Moral Majority” gets you close, but as that is also a defunct organization, I think it is perhaps a bit of a loaded phrase. Probably the best label I can think of is the Religious Right. I’m open to a better label for those of which I speak.As a Christian, my primary criticism of the RR is that they are both tainting and obscuring the message of Christ by their activist approach. In my view, Christ was always clear that we are to be in, but not of, this World. He admonished us specifically in fact to keep separate our political thought: render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.Which is not to say that I think we should bury the Christian view from political discourse. Far from it. I think Christians should be out in front on social issues of all kinds, but in an apolitical way. Getting married to a particular politician (43) or party (GOP) is error of a most fantastic proportion. For starters, I know more than a few Christians who are Democrats and who are well reasoned as to why they feel that party is more in alignment with a Christian Worldview. While I personally do not find either of the major parties (or any of the minor ones for that matter) consistent with the teachings of Christ, I take the time and trouble to understand the arguments and opinions. If you take that time, it is in my view inescapable that there are a multitude of political positions that are compatible with Orthodox Christianity.But the RR adopts a virulent tone, under the guise of Righteous Anger, that leaves the objective listener with no doubt that they intend to speak unequivocally for God and the Godly. Many of us listeners who are Christian, and more importantly many of those of us who are not, are pretty offended and put off by the obnoxious self-righteousness that drips from their every word.I speak often of Francis Schaeffer because of his stature and of his erudite discussion of this very issue. He points out that Christians have lost the ability to communicate with a modern audience because we have been unwilling to understand the modern worldviews and to adapt our communication to a world with which we have lost touch. I have often said that the RR is a bunch of people talking amongst themselves without regard to what is happening out here in the larger World. There is little doubt lack of interaction with the larger world is true.So this is central to my beef with the RR: they are damaging our witness for Christ by allying too closely with base politicians and adopting a rhetoric that is that of the Pharisees and not that of Christ. If we are to peruse the great commission we should endeavor to make our words like those of Christ by offering a helping hand rather than seizing at ephemeral political constructs.How much more effective would the cause of homosexual outreach be if rather than striving after useless legislation that will only be perceived as hateful and exclusionary, if instead we rolled up our sleeves and spent time with aids victims? There are countless examples of how we are squandering the message of the Gospel on the institutions of man and since I have written much about it, I will not go further in explanation just this moment.You see Randy, my argument with the RR is one of approach. I think we often spend far too much time telling people how we hate their sin, and far too little time demonstrating our love for them. In America, we have fallen into the very same materialism that drives the non-Christian community and that materialism is coloring our outlook and pushing us into cheap bargains with the devils of politics and nationalism.

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  41. CG,I agree poor Terry Schivo, to have a husband like that. He should be protecting her, not trying to kill her so that he doesn’t have to get a divorce to marry the woman he is shacking up with and having kids while his wife agonizes without any rehabilitation, what a shame. I wish adultry was against the law again. (sarcasm)I am very torn about this, and wish this were the first weeks of her vegitative state again, I would have no problem standing up for her husband in that time frame. I realize that this has gone on for some years, but his motives are suspect. I wish that the judges in this case had made some better decisions. I have a fundamentally differing opinion about “life support” and the “feeding tube”.

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  42. Tony,I guess I just keep coming back to “what is wrong with the “moral majority”, can anyone – please one of you at a time, and in street english. :> – explain what, other than the protection of rights from people who intend to take them away, does the moral majority do that is wrong.

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  43. Barry,I think if you talked more like Capn Hook I could understand you. So I am not as functioning in the english language as most those here. It all sounded really good though.CG“1) Public schools have to continue to exist”I think we all have to agree that this is true in some aspect or another.“2) Public schools can’t be in the business of religion”Yes, and even though I am for an amendment that states we are a “Christian” nation I agree that it is not the business of schools to promote the truth.“3) Public schools are not a rights violation against the religious, but do represent a serious social policy need for those who do not want to attend public schools (religious or otherwise).”Here also I agree, get your filthy infidel ideals out of my kids head. Heard my child talking about millions of years ago, my head could have exploded. He is thinking of being a paleantologist.“4) It’s going to take a new tax policy mechanism (ala carte mechanism), and special detail paid to the state sponsored religion issue. It’s going to take more than voucher proposals.. they fail the “do no harm to those left behind in public schools”.”I have less of an issue with how much tax I am paying for schools as I do with how it is spent. I would even spend more with a guarantee that it was spent wisely. although I have never attended a schoold board function (shame on me) I am jus tnow getting involved in those areas. Not sure how I feel about “vouchers” initially I felt it was the correct answer, but I think it undermines what we have established as “public” schools. I view this the same way I view “private accounts” for social security. which means the jury is still out for me. “5) Religious schools can’t be public schools. I guess they would fall under faith-based initiatives. ?? Don’t know.”Yeah keep the Government out of my religious schools, they have only found ways to mess it all up. That being said, I don’t my present child has not been to private school, and I do not think future children will either.

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  44. Barry,Welcome to the fray. Hey, sometimes these discussions last a while…no such thing as too late.I agree with you pretty much though I think the great irony is that the best way to achieve “dismantling the present myopic Materialist worldview” is for the Moral Majority to back off a bit and trust the merit of their ideas. I.e., not to overtly “dismantle” it, but rather defeat it on the merits of our ideas.It is my vehement opinion that only by opening the arena and allowing the best ideas to vanquish the inferior can we achieve excellence as a society. By competing fairly with all comers, the Christian worldview is at its strongest. This is superficially not the easiest path, but it is the only worthy path for the glorification of Jesus. Anything less, in my view, is implicitly lacking in faith to some degree and this is the crux of my large-scale disagreement with many of by Brothers and Sisters in Christ on matters of how we are to relate to the larger society.

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  45. DavidR,I just realized that I never responded to your post where you were calling for raising teacher pay. I certainly thought I’d echoed that in some post but I think it got lost on that day where I couldn’t post at all.Anyway, when I say that the problem isn’t financial resources, I do not mean to suggest that the money is presently being allocated in a reasonable fashion. Look at Dallas Public Schools. If it costs $8K per year per kid, if the classroom size is 25, that translates into $200K per year. I’d have no problem paying the teacher $150K of that. Or more likely, reduce the class size and get the salary up. Bottom line is that the overhead in education is ridiculous.You are correct that until we improve the quality of the teaching profession, things will not change very much. This is one of the reason I support vouchers: hoping to stimulate alternative educational institutions that value great teachers and drive up teacher pay.

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  46. Hi.Probably ‘poor form’ (Cap’n Hook) to jump in late in this process… However, I feel that what was elsewhere mentioned regarding being able to back off close examination of societal style brushstrokes enough (in an Impressionist/expressinist environment) to be able to see ‘where’ the exercise of Education is headed for/coming from makes a Big Big Difference, IMHO…Most Education in all countries is now focused on Capitalistic functioning. Ideas, capacities for innovation, skills – you name it – are all subservient to not just ‘getting a job’ but to ‘keeping the capitalist process well oiled/functioning.’Democracy as we now see it in ‘practise’ is subordinated into a cover for seeing that it is ‘my right’ and ‘others rights’ to see the World as some’thing’ to exploit.A more True Education would allow for dismantling the present myopic Materialist worldview that makes the real life inventors of StepfordWorld gleam with pride. That weltanschuung sees self as so isolated that the sight of 10% of the planet using say 60% of the resources is deemed ‘the right of the fittest’. America (and her knockoffs) as God’s Righteous Son(s).Whether you spend $4,000 or $50,000 per child will not in itself change whether you have a better WORLD thereafter. You may have a Happier Child/Society/Parent – whatever – but that will only lead to more of the same at the larger level…Education in That Materialist Worldview understandably becomes a support to World Hegenomy… and trying to adjust the scales on the fifth tiny pinky of that dragon’s ineffectual left front set of claws won’t do much to get us anywhere as a ‘race’.“With all due respect etc….”Barry

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  47. CG,Well, “executrices” is what we lawyers call a typographical error. 😀 I meant to type “exercise”.The line is not difficult to draw at all. It involves a little known concept in American society: common sense. The basic rule is that your rights are absolute as long as they don’t interfere with the rights of others. Shouting constantly interferes with the rights of other in a variety of different way. Probably in constitutional law you would frame it under the right to travel. You don’t hear much about it, but the right to travel is a pretty big deal in ConLaw. Alternatively, that would be considered a criminal act under the heading of assault.Now employers are a different matter. Generally under our law the employer-employee relationship is considered a matter of contract and the parties can agree to whatever they chose. In other words, when you accept employment you accept the employer’s terms and must follow their rules. We have added a lot of limitations on that in recent years so be mindful that is just a general rule.But a child is compelled to be in some form of school. Not only that, in school you are explicitly teaching a child to think and shaping their out look on things. The situation is not comparable to an adult who makes those choices for themselves.

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  48. Anyone can be too extreme about almost anything which would prevent one from being able to function in a society. One could be too conservative (not willing to pay any taxes), too liberal (communism), to religiously zealot (practice one’s religion 24 x 7 public and private). Good debate. My conclusions:1) Public schools have to continue to exist2) Public schools can’t be in the business of religion3) Public schools are not a rights violation against the religious, but do represent a serious social policy need for those who do not want to attend public schools (religious or otherwise).4) It’s going to take a new tax policy mechanism (ala carte mechanism), and special detail paid to the state sponsored religion issue. It’s going to take more than voucher proposals.. they fail the “do no harm to those left behind in public schools”. 5) Religious schools can’t be public schools. I guess they would fall under faith-based initiatives. ?? Don’t know.Now… how about that Florida euthanasia case? One thing is for sure, living wills are a requirement unless you want men in suits and robes determining your fate. I have one.. if I’m ever in that poor woman’s condition, I’m out of here.

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  49. CG,Now you are making things up. I only used Christian persecution as a specific example. My central core point is that it is persecution of every viewpoint on religion except for the secularist view.OK, so you never used the words, “education must be public”. Talk about me blowing by arguments. I have asserted clearly the position that for most Americans the only possible option under the present scheme is public. Hence for the majority of people you are implicitly abridging their free exercise of religion. In lawyerese, that is called “de facto” infringement as contrasted with “de jure” infringement.The law is not a stranger at all to this analysis. Take a look at decisions on the issue of substantive due process. The idea therein being that even if the law on its face is neutral, if the effect of the law is an actual denial of due process, it is unconstitutional. Same type of analysis applies here. Even if the law on its face does not infringe with the free exercise clause, if the operation of the law works to an actual interference with free exercise, then it is unconstitutional.So no, you never explicitly deny me my religious freedom. Instead you dress it up in platitudes about the common good and seek to implement laws that do in fact deprive people of their free exercise.On relative beefiness: denial of fundamental civil liberties is not on par with ordinary social policy. If civil liberties are denied, then the whole legal system collapses. (Or in my view, is collapsing.) While the beef, legally they aren’t in the same arena.You said, <>We can’t have state sponsored religious schooling, but we can have state sponsored academic schooling…” <> This is wrong on two counts. The first is that religion neutral schooling is impossible. By definition, an education takes a position on religion even with misguided attempts to remain neutral. The second is that all that the constitution requires is that the state not sponsor a religion. If vouchers, or any other scheme, are implemented with neutrality toward the religious aspect of the education, then there is no constitutional impediment to their implementation.So you see, the method I propose is not complex. You just let parents decide on their child’s education. It is simplicity itself.{sigh} Man, this Curmudgeon’s education of the masses may take me a bit longer than I thought…

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  50. Tony,“Education is fundamentally different than anything else our government undertakes. Education is intrinsically bound up with how I raise my child and whom our family engages in religious practice. What is done by the public school scheme is to directly abridge my nominally protected right to free executrices of religion.”Exactly what do you think are the limits of “free executrices (whatever that means) of religion”? Is that right unlimited. Let’s say your religious beliefs include yelling at the top of your lungs, no matter where you are, I LOVE MY GOD. On the train, in the movie theatre, in public school during the math test. Draw the line for me … do you have any limits. You say Education is “a special case”. Are you entitled to come up with other special cases. Who decides the special cases? Let’s suppose you broke out into prayer in your cubicle at work… is work a special case, or can your employer tell you to knock it off. If you accept an employer not allowing an adult religious practice at work, what’s so different from excluding religion from teaching academics in a public school. Please… draw that line for me.

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  51. Note: I’m glad the spell checking nazi from WilderLand didn’t travel here… because I have had some whoppers in the last couple of posts. I will try and do better. 🙂Tony,OK, I take the Curm intellect comment back… at least regarding the discussion of public school. Sigh… I try again. “That is the point. You insist that education be a public matter and that religion be excluded from it.”This is one problem with this ongoing debate… you make up shit. Go find where I said that. I insist that public education must exist for those who want it… and by definition a public school can’t do religion because it would be, by definition, state sponsored… i.e. federal dollars for religion education. None of that equates to EDUCATION MUST BE PUBLIC. I’m not proposing we outlaw private schools… did you think I said that? Let’s try this again: Public school must exist (you agreed above) -> public school can’t do religion by law -> you have to send your kid to school, but it doesn’t have to be public. You are left with a real beef about the penalty you incur by having to pay extra for private options… but get in line with the beefs. They sent my entire career to India and China. Why is a religious practice beef any more valid than a career screwing beef. Get in line dude… beefs a mile long. “In order for me to duplicate your inconsistency, I would have to take the position that Christian instruction must be included in free public education and insist that if you wish to have your child educated under the religion of humanism or nihilism that you manage to cough up seven to ten thousand dollars a year so that your child could have an education that is not obnoxious to your religious practice.”That’s not equal. We can’t have state sponsored religious schooling, but we can have state sponsored academic schooling…. silly.“You said, You are not required my law to send your kid to public school. End of story… no rights violation. That is total, unadulterated, undiluted bullfeathers. You clearly need to find out what the law is my friend. Find out what happens to parents that don’t educate their kids.”You are amazing how you link stuff in that wasn’t part of the statement. Read again… slowly. You just quoted me correctly “you are not required by law to send your kid to public school”. This is correct. You responded as if I had said “You are not required by law to send your kid to school”. “You spout off long and loud about the poor and needy, but you couldn’t give a nat’s rump about the poor who also happen to be Christian and whom very much want a quality education for their child.”Good god, that is so lame (and wrong). This discussion has been about what is a rights violation, not a discussion about what would be better social policy. I just posted that all/most education should be free in our society. That would include K-12, and public college, special education needs… maybe even continued adult education between employment. I’m pretty sure I didn’t include a Christian exclusion in that statement. You still have a real, huge problem figuring out an ala carte tax policy for religious schooling, because the state can’t fund religion. You continue to blow right past the real world fact we don’t have that ala carte tax policy for anyting, particularly federal dollars for religious based expenditure. The voucher has the same problem… it’s tax dollars. The ala carte tax system you require is immensely complex… assigning dollar values across the United States to education an individual is entitled to recoup. We are lucky we even pull of just pooling funds. Stop with the Christian persecution bs… it make you look silly. 🙂

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  52. CG,On your added point of trying to apply my logic to anything and everything.Education is fundamentally different than anything else our government undertakes. Education is intrinsically bound up with how I raise my child and whom our family engages in religious practice. What is done by the public school scheme is to directly abridge my nominally protected right to free executrices of religion.Taxation for the purpose of national defense is an entirely different animal. When we as sovereign individuals bound ourselves to the Constitution, we gave certain powers to the central government and at the very top of this list was the power to wage war.Now, if you want a consistent argument, you should be arguing for two Constitutional Amendments: one granting the government the power to create and maintain public schools, and a second allowing the government to abridge the free exercise of religion when necessary to further the goal of public education. Only by doing that could your tortured comparison to the waging of war be valid.But this of course leads to the observation that we have annulled the entire constitution in the last few years. By submitting to the various legislative assaults on constitutional protections, the latest and most egregious of which is the [un]Patriot[ic] Act, we have abdicated our individual sovereignty for all time. This drive toward majority rule is pretty much complete: us civil libertarians are clinging to the tattered shards of a what used to be the greatest body of egalitarian political institutions ever created.But wait, there’s more. If we are to be a nation of majority rule, perhaps I can see my way clear. Once we have cleared away the debris of “quaint” human rights protections and established firmly the principal of majority rule in all matters, we are free to vote for mandatory religious education for all. Hey, maybe I can get my Son the education he deserves after all!Funny isn’t it how all of this stuff is interconnected.

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  53. Brackenator,As you may remember, in my post entitled < HREF="http://tonyplank.blogspot.com/2004/09/damn-estpidos-full-speed-ahead.html" REL="nofollow">damn the estúpidos, full speed ahead<>, this Curmudgeon did put forward and imperfect but useful idea on how to begin addressing these problems. Of importance is the observation that vouchers would eliminate the very argument in which CG and I are engaged.Sadly, vouchers are such a sensible idea, so immediately useful, and so reasonably calculated to provide immediate benefit, that there is no chance it will ever gain acceptance. Instead, we will fret the time away wringing our hands over <>potential unfairness<> and instead condemn our children to a future of the <>certain unfairness<> of the present inadequate and obnoxious institutions of faux learning.

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  54. Well gentlemen, where can the average idea man go from the many arguments and supporting statements that have been shared.Sarcasm startI will put in my 2 mils worth, for CG a mil is 1/10th of 1 cent. Sarcasm end.I have to agree with our Curm. When I was in high school, I was blessed with more than adequate involvement from my parents, a decent administration, and more than my share of good teachers. What I have seen of public education since then is those who have the money or talent get ahead, while the education for the rest is left to fester at the bottom.During the medieval era, roughly 600AD-1600AD, the average person was taught in the home, or possibly by the local clergy to the point of reading and simple addition.From there, if you were not a serf, a peasant tied to the land, then you could either stay with the family farm or business, or learn a trade by being apprecticed to someone who was a member of a trade guild.Secondary and higher education as we know it was only for the elite and the clergy.I degress. I do not pretend to know what the solution is. I do know that if things do not change, we will return to an era where students will sue universities because they cannot read after graduation.

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  55. Well gentlemen, where can the average idea man go from the many arguments and supporting statements that have been shared.Sarcasm startI will put in my 2 mils worth, for CG a mil is 1/10th of 1 cent. Sarcasm end.I have to agree with our Curm. When I was in high school, I was blessed with more than adequate involvement from my parents, a decent administration, and more than my share of good teachers. What I have seen of public education since then is those who have the money or talent get ahead, while the education for the rest is left to fester at the bottom.During the medieval era, roughly 600AD-1600AD, the average person was taught in the home, or possibly by the local clergy to the point of reading and simple addition.From there, if you were not a serf, a peasant tied to the land, then you could either stay with the family farm or business, or learn a trade by being apprecticed to someone who was a member of a trade guild.Secondary and higher education as we know it was only for the elite and the clergy.I degress. I do not pretend to know what the solution is. I do know that if things do not change, we will return to an era where students will sue universities because they cannot read after graduation.

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  56. CG,Nope. Not enough because you still don’t get it.You pretend to believe that I do not understand your assertion, <>“Simply put, I think our society would be light years ahead if religion was treated as a private matter, and public good was defined without a religious (God) filter.” <> That is the point. You insist that education be a public matter and that religion be excluded from it.I wish I could use smaller words to make this clearer to you. Frankly, your refusal to acknowledge my point makes you look a bit silly. You need to move on from your insistence that <>”I have no desire to supplant your religious belief…” <> and be intellectually honest and acknowledge that you in fact do.In order for me to duplicate your inconsistency, I would have to take the position that Christian instruction must be included in free public education and insist that if you wish to have your child educated under the religion of humanism or nihilism that you manage to cough up seven to ten thousand dollars a year so that your child could have an education that is not obnoxious to your religious practice.You said, <>You are not required my law to send your kid to public school. End of story… no rights violation.<> That is total, unadulterated, undiluted bullfeathers. You clearly need to find out what the law is my friend. Find out what happens to parents that don’t educate their kids.You spout off long and loud about the poor and needy, but you couldn’t give a nat’s rump about the poor who also happen to be Christian and whom very much want a quality education for their child. As I said before, you cast the crumbs of a nihilistic education at their feet. Either they submit to a anti-religious doctrine that is directly opposed to their beliefs, or be thrown in jail. And if they quit their jobs to teach their kids, so sorry you can’t afford a home…we have a nice equal opportunity bridge for you to live under.You need to step back from your accusations of the Religious Right as being inappropriately self-righteous (which I agree they are) and take a good look in the mirror.

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  57. Tony,One last point.“It is mandatory because of the demand that I have additional funds to procure the education I would choose for my child.”This is the crux of the disagreement. You could apply that to anything… i.e. funded a war you don’t believe in. I just refuse to accept that as a definition of rights violation. Now that said… for any newbies around these parts. I’m for (and I think Tony is also) free public education, including college. I think education of our population, including college is a public good/common good. Revenue for such education should come from federal taxes (i.e. not a state issue). Special needs carriculum would already be factored in and covered by federal tax dollars. Private schools would be eligble for federal tax dollars as long as it always passes the test… “do no harm to the public school system”.

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  58. Tony,We have already done the “public school rights violation” thing plenty of times here… so I will just make a couple of brief corrections to your charges. If you really need me to walk you through the conspiracy-free reasons we ended up with public school without religion… I can do that.You took my appreciating Horace Mann’s comment as:“do in fact desire to supplant the religious beliefs of others”Simply put, I think our society would be light years ahead if religion was treated as a private matter, and public good was defined without a religious (God) filter. That’s just what I believe. I have no desire to supplant your religious belief, unless you define that religious belief as “everyone has to have religion in school and religion needs to dictate our government”. If that is how you define your beliefs… then guilty… I hope to win that argument… if that’s supplanting so be it.“The very act of the mandatory exclusion of dialog on matters deemed religious in nature from the process of the education my child is interference with free exercise of my and my child’s religion.”Of course I would agree with that if it was happening. You are not required my law to send your kid to public school. End of story… no rights violation. I could agree with you 100% that our nation SHOULD do something different to satisfy those wanting a religious based education… but it wouldn’t add up to rights violation. Save that charge for real rights violations. By definition, if our public school tax policy is a violation of your rights, then it is a violation of my rights.. I’m paying the same public education tax bill. Basically, you are saying if society passes tax laws that you disagree with, you get to claim rights violation. Until there is a law that says you can’t opt for private/religious school, there is no rights violation. Here is a question: If the public school system included religion, would that be a rights violation against the atheist? We have very bad social policy throughout our laws in my opinion… do only the religious get to label that as rights violation?OK.. done that enough. Let’s just go figure out how to provide cost effective education for those who view the public school system as satan’s domain.

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  59. Curm… your not the only one having a hard time posting here lately. Send the host provider a nastygram. 🙂“It’s anathema to see folks “getting something for nothing” but given the choice, who’d trade places?”As I’ve said a million times before, it’s impossible for a society to exactly discern between the “deserving” poor, and the “undeserving poor”. The difference between many conservatives and liberals is exactly that.. where that line is drawn. This original Bush 43 supporter watched the GOP draw that line by giving $100,000+ tax breaks to the non-needy. That was the breaking point for me… I moved on, and now proudly living blue in a red state. “Tough love”… religious based or otherwise became yet another excuse to not use our government to take care of the needy. That is exactly what government (us acting collectively together) job is… defining common good and looking out for the needy. Do we need to do it smarter and in more cost effective ways? Of course, but that’s no excuse to put on the blinders and ignore those that need help. In the end, we are all in this together whether we like it or not. You say “who would trade places?”. Exactly, and I would add to that… “most folks at the bottom aren’t asking for equal country club lives.. but rather meals, housing, healthcare for the family, decent jobs to cover these things. Can’t exactly call all the needy in today’s economy deadbeats.OK, soap box out of the way, let me continue the homeschooling discussion. Tony (Curm) and I are both in IT. I’m currently deep into educating myself on Microsoft’s .NET technology. One of the business ideas I have entertained recently is some form of internet based education… whether that be kids education or adult education. This lead to a disussion with Tony about the homeschooling. Tony has the passion and intellect to tackle the carriculum front, and hopefully soon I will have the technology end covered. That said, one still needs to define the customer base and it’s needs and motivations. Let me ask some questions.The first thing I would define is the primary motivators for a parent wanting out of the public school system. I’m going to suggest two, but I’m looking for feedback on what I’m missing.1) On obvious common motivator is religious based… i.e. parents want religion to be included as part of the school day carriculum. On the surface, it seems an internet delivered carriculum which included the required world view elements to the home works… you remove your child from the public school system, and parents can emphasize world view (religious beliefs) at their discression. I think a couple of questions do come up. How many flavors of each religion’s do you need seperate carriculum for? Is one Christian based carriculum sufficient, or is that not realistic. The software would be agnostic… you could setup as many carriculums, and sub-carriculums as you wanted… I’m just asking out of curiosity. 2) It would seem that the other major motivator for parents wanting out of the public school system is performance… i.e. Tony’s labeling the entire public school system as a cesspool. (nice, btw). So the objective with any internet based carriculum is providing a better carriculum. Tony says no big deal… but I wonder. Let’s use Tony as an example. Tony has the passion and intellect to actually tackle setting up such a carriculum… or carriculums (based on the different flavors suggested above). At the end of the day, what would a parent use to weigh Tony’s (one person) carriculum against the public schools system’s. What’s in Tony’s background that prepares him to setup a carriculum better than years worth of public school ideas? This is very fair question because the premise is “any passionate parent” could pull this off… and Tony is way up the food chain IMO. If any one parent without formal educator training could do this, he would be near the top of the list IMO. Would a Curm carriculum eventually face factions and rebellions just like the public school system faces now… the world if full of critics… take this blogsite for example. 🙂 So those are the two main motivators I see 1) religion/world view 2) perceived failing of performance by the public school system. Anyone want to add anything else? Maybe broader carriculum options/choices… like everyone swinging by Prof’s young aviator symposium. 🙂 Heck, I would sign up for that. Prof, you teach old guys? Promise not to talk politics. 🙂

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  60. CG,You said, <>“I just don’t buy Tony’s argument that anyone is violating his rights because public school exists, and he isn’t getting his public school tax money back to go elsewhere. It’s not that I don’t want it for him… it’s just another matter to call that rights violation.” <>Very interesting remark in light of your previous approval of the Horace Mann quote by Prof, which was, “What the church has been for medieval man, the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God would be replaced by the concept of the public good.”What this reveals is that for all of your voluminous denials of the intent, you, and most people who argue the secularist points you are making, do in fact desire to supplant the religious beliefs of others. You are pretending, and I am convinced it is only pretending because most of these arguments come from bright people, that you don’t understand the point of those of us with deep religious convictions who are concerned with this fundamental intrusion on our right to free exercise of our religion. Here is why secular education interferes with my rights and not yours. As sovereign citizens we long ago ceded the right to the government to collect taxes for use on education. We have never similarly ceded the right of free exercise of religion.Let me boil this down so that the argument is crystal clear. I don’t want anyone unfamiliar with earlier discussions to misapprehend my position. The very act of the<>mandatory exclusion<> of dialog on matters <>deemed<> religious in nature from the process of the education my child is interference with free exercise of my and my child’s religion. Speaking personally for a moment, Christian discipleship, at least within the limits of my own ability to practice it but imperfectly, is infused throughout my thought life. The separation you demand is fundamentally abhorrent.It is mandatory because of the demand that I have additional funds to procure the education I would choose for my child. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to be able to afford or otherwise provide the complete education my Son deserves and which is only nominally protected under our constitution. But many, many more cannot provide their children a real education: they must eat the crumbs that the secularists scatter before them. They are forced to a cruel choice between letting their children go unschooled (with potential legal consequences for that) and committing them to the secularist day cares that the state provides.Prof provided us a treasure trove of quotes and the Potter remark is illustrative of the issue: <> “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday School’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?” <> This is not education, it is religious brain-washing.You can repeat the leftist mantra time after time but thoughtful persons of faith are not going to buy it. And nothing makes the importance of what I am arguing more clear that does the left’s tepid and intellectually vacuous denial that they are imposing a view on religious belief. Piling irony upon dissembulation, this is all proposed in the name of toleration, a remedy that is ponderously absent from their own thoughts and arguments.And curiously, you can see who is truly tolerant and intolerant right here on this very point. When I propose public funding of education, I propose a plan that would not deny the secularist, humanist, atheists, nihilists and confused the right to send their children to a school that teaches this ethos even though I genuinely consider those viewpoints destructive to social order. I shall not hold my breath waiting on the same consideration in return.

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  61. “But that leads to another problem: the lack of reasonably priced day-care for the working poor.”You’ll find a healthy representation of former “welfare moms” among this group. And I’m falling off the conservative wagon right here, because the so-called “Welfare Reform” is neither well-fare nor reform. The functionally illiterate mom may be out picking orders in a warehouse and making $6 per hour, but other than paying social security she isn’t paying taxes. How can she afford daycare? Answer: she doesn’t, the taxpayers pay it. At that wage, she will still get food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid, but she earns her own AFDC cash. Does anyone honestly think she has a career path out of poverty here? Perhaps there’s an advantage to the kids being in a (state-sanctioned) child care center. Sure. This will probably result in hot coals being heaped upon my head, but a lot of the staff is just as functionally disadvantaged as the parents–again, in my corner of the USA, most make minimum wage and I guarantee you they are not college students who are education majors. The level of corruption in (this state’s) program administration is a disgrace. Not to mention the kids who have died when they were forgotten and left behind in hot daycare center vans (parents too poor to own SUVs and mini-vans, daycare transport drivers unable to follow checklists). It’s anathema to see folks “getting something for nothing” but given the choice, who’d trade places? This reform is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

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  62. Allow me to chunk another ingredient or two into the broth. “Virtual Schools”Another old idea, updated with technology. Think correspondence schools as used in remote rural areas, missionaries, etc—only this time reborn as satellite learning centers in neighborhoods interconnected by the Web. Small groups, multi-graded, managed much like the one-room schools in the past (and homeschools in the present). By mixing the age groups together, you virtually eliminate the peer pressure that exists in public mega-schools. Computer based curriculums are CHEAP even when you factor in the hardware. And virtual schools address another problem—here in my part of the world, the poor children often attend several schools in the course of a year because of instability in the home. Trying to fit in and find a place among hundreds of students simply has to be more disorienting than joining a small group. We could operate these learning centers out of libraries, reclaimed crack houses, and yes, even churches.Focus purely on academics. There are plenty of sports opportunities available right now both within the cities and out in the ‘burbs. Core curriculum could be standardized within districts. If we could just use this model, say, through 8th grade, we could perhaps keep our high schools simply for the economy of providing things like science labs that truly benefit from economy of scale. There are already successful commmercial models out there, like Sylvan. Maybe we need to take a look.

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  63. Tony,“A substantial minority of parents “Well, you definitely have conviction… sort of. 🙂Prof,That was good reading material, but you are making me feel guilty. Not about thinking 100% US home schooling is a loony idea, but for firing you up during tax season. 🙂 You and Tony don’t have the right to demand the end of public education for those who want it, and our country doesn’t have the right to demand you send your kids there. Since neither is happening… each to there own. For the record, I just became a Horace Mann fan, at least I concur with his quote. I think that if our nation treated religion as a private matter, and public good as the paramount focus of our interaction with each other (i.e. government)… we would be LIGHT YEARS ahead of where we are now. I think Rick Santorum is the second most dangerous man in America… I suppose you can guess who is #1. btw… Flight lessons for the kiddo is way cool. You see, I have no idea the Academy of Prof is outstanding… no worries. The problem is you are a rare bird (any many ways ) :), and you are just plain misguided if you think your success could be common with the average american family. Your stats either have to be based on a narrow very capable subset, or I don’t buy the stats at all. Most parents ( other than the substantial minority of parents ) have zero chance. In fact, I would call it child abuse to limit a child to that outcome… maybe legal child abuse, but child abuse. That doesn’t mean our country couldn’t help these types of parents pull it off. They need help with curriculum. I was just discussing this with Tony. If the Prof setup the carriculum, for example via the internet, and families across America could follow it… then some of these parents could have a fighting chance. I’m sure there are already shared carriculums available. You still have the social interaction needs… which you have already commented on before you guys do in several ways. Even with all of that, you are going to have parents who opt for this and still won’t be able to pull it off even with someone providing the carriculum. I just don’t see how you can stick to the position that public school doesn’t catch these cases. Which gets us full circle… if Public school still needs to exist in the end (and of course it does) then anything others do which hurts it (even if for moral or valid reasons) becomes a non-starter in my book. I just don’t buy Tony’s argument that anyone is violating his rights because public school exists, and he isn’t getting his public school tax money back to go elsewhere. It’s not that I don’t want it for him… it’s just another matter to call that rights violation. If that’s rights violation, I’m being violating in the same way (paying school taxes for kids I don’t even have). Prof.. good to fire you up and move you over here from WilderLand. My baiting worked. 🙂 Now go take a break and hide some rich guys undeserved wealth.

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  64. Response to CG sarcasm 🙂1) My children were exposed, within context provided by their parents, to many ideas and beliefs. They can spot evolutionary lies from a mile away.2) Only persons currently convulsing from crack have faired worse, on an average basis.3) It’s obvious the public schools system is a failure…Their motto is “Separation of Church (the building? No. The entity of believers and their beliefs!) And State!4) People can triumph over much adversity. This is good. With PubEd, this is a necessity.5) We would be a much less polorazied society if the parents would just lock their kids up in their homes until college…”It would cost less too. Unfortunately, our home schooled students are all over the metroplex, seeing, doing, learning, and enjoying life. In first grade my son studied flying and aerodynamics on a very elementary level. His final, was he go up in and pilot for a few minutes a Cessna 172. Of course I took pictures. Those poor bored to death children in their desks below us, neatly in rows, only going to the bathroom with permission, having every subject including those they enjoyed truncated at 50 minute intervals with a pavlovian bell. Yea, poor trapped home schooled kids.C.G., If you want to argue against home schooling, please argue against what really exists, rather than a straw-student that exists in the mind of the NEA.6) I am putting together a course right now for my child that includes a multitude of worldviews that hopefully will pull together all the piecemeal teaching on the subject in the past.7) Per my note above to Tony, parental education does not materially change child outcome. However, wealth has very little effect on home school student performance. It is much more pronounced in the PubEd arena. Its an inverse relationship. The more money, the worse the performance.8) “[Our] great object was to get rid of Christianity, and to convert our churches intohalls of science. The plan was not to make open attacks on religion…but to establish a system of state – we said national – schools, from which all religion was to be excluded…and to which all parents were to be compelled by law to send their children. For this purpose, a secret society was formed and the whole country was to be organized.” Orestes Brownson, 1803-1876 “What the church has been for medieval man, the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God would be replaced by the concept of the public good.” Horace Mann, 1796-1858 “…the traditional approach in which the tools of learning [reading, writing, and arithmetic] were first mastered was not appropriate for the new age of social consciousness.” “…apart from the thought of participation in social life, the school has no end or aim.” “There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.” John Dewey, 1859-1952 “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday School’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?” Charles F. Potter, Humanism: A New Religion, 1930 “I think that the most important factor moving us toward a secular society has been the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until he is sixteen tends to lead toward the elimination of religioussuperstition.” Paul Blanshard, “Three Cheers For Our Secular State,” The Humanist, March/April 1976 “We must ask how we can kill the [G]od of Christianity. We need only insure that our schools teach only secular knowledge. If we could achieve this, [G]od would indeed be shortly due for a funeral service.” G. Richard Bozarth, “On Keeping God Alive,” American Atheist, November 1977 “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity…These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as themost rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level – preschool day care or a large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new – the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thyneighbor” will finally be achieved.” John J. Dunphy, “A New Religion For A New Age,” The Humanist, January/February 1983 “Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill, because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It is up to you teachers to make all of these sick children well by creating the international children of the future.” Harvard Professor of Education and Psychiatry, 1984 “Today, our state supported “public” schools are humanistic schools. Actually, theyare religious institutions teaching, with public funds, an alien faith. The public schools are an establishment of religion: the religion of humanism…No Christian children should be required to attend a public school.” Rousas J. Rushdoony, The World’s Second Oldest Religion, 1981————-My apologies Tony for the long post. C.G. seemed to be looking for some reading material.Prof. Ricardo

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  65. Prof,Well, I have educated a few fenceposts myself, as you will see.I find your data totally irrelevant to the point I was making. I don’t doubt the success of homeschoolers-not a bit. As one goes through the process, parent-teachers undoubtedly educate themselves and rise to the occasion.But these parents all start from some minimal level that 50% of Americans don’t have. The standard for functional literacy is actually extraordinarily low. I don’t think that bottom 50% can get it done. It is fine and well for you and I to feel a charge by God to educate our children personally-I share your position on that in a personal way. But last I checked, there isn’t much of the World around me that is following in the footsteps of our Lord so they don’t have that supernatural strength at their disposal.Maybe you would require people to engage in remedial reading prior to being issued permits for attempting conception? How do you propose to change the hearts of parents universally? Look around Prof, lots of people just don’t give a damn about kids be them their own or those of others. I think we have an obligation as a society to give those kids a little bit of hope. The line, “sorry, you got the short straw on the parent selection: no education for you” just doesn’t seem very Christian to me.If you want to argue that as a society we should support homeschooling, I’ll join you in that argument. I’ll even agree that homeschooling is a great solution for 100% of parents who really want to do it or feel morally compelled to do it. But it is totally impractical to expect that to work as a 100% solution across the greater society.

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  66. Tony, My Mama always told me that I would argue with a fence post. Although I do not decorate up my messages with the representative number of smiley faces, I’ve always got a grin on my face when I offer up Ricardo wisdom.I admit that I travel a different path from others. Sixteen years ago, while researching education in all its glory and skeletons, I was exposed to home schooling. With as much scriptural conviction as real world results, I became convinced of my destiny. The further I researched, the more I was convinced that teaching our children was our God ordained responsibility. I didn’t read it as Ricardo do this, but that <>man<> should do this. Being one of those select 6 billion people, I felt obedience left me little choice.Because of this view point, I would home school <>even<> if it produced a less educated (in the eyes of the world) young man or woman. Would you give your child over to the Philistines to be raised during their most vulnerable-to-ideology years if they promised you a scholar in return? How about high income so he can buy stuff? (<>For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?<>) And yet, the results bear out that the average home schooled child ranks in the 85th percentile of all students.Tony: “Once you get past the rudimentary skills of learning the alphabet and counting, I have very little confidence that these under equipped <>could<> teach their children if they even <>wanted<> to teach them.”From the HSLDA web site:< HREF="http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp" REL="nofollow">Here<>… In North Dakota, Dr. Brian Ray conducted a survey of 205 homeschoolers throughout the state. The middle reading score was the 84th percentile, language was the 81st percentile, science was the 87th percentile, social studies was the 86th percentile, and math was the 81st percentile.Further, Dr. Ray found <>no significant statistical differences in academic achievement between those students taught by parents with less formal education and those students taught by parents with higher formal education<>.…In 1990, the National Home Education Research Institute issued a report entitled “A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement.” This was a study of over 2,163 homeschooling families….Furthermore, this same study demonstrated that only 13.9 percent of the mothers (who are the primary teachers) had ever been certified teachers. The study found that there was <>no difference in the students’ total reading, total math and total language scores based on the teacher certification status of their parents<>:The findings of this study do not support the idea that parents need to be trained and certified teachers to assure successful academic achievement of their children.Specifically you need to read < HREF="http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/comp2001/HomeSchoolAchievement.pdf" REL="nofollow">this<> pdf file which shows that home school students perform well even if the parents never completed high school. If the father had not completed HS, the students generally ranked at the 79th percentile. Likewise if the mother had not graduated, the student ranked at the 83rd percentile in the basic battery test.Isn’t it amazing that God’s best for us, truly is best for us.Prof. RicardoPS Re: your comment “That I support public funding of education is not the same as supporting the reprehensible cesspools that we have the audacity to label as institutions of learning. I agree totally that we should chuck the whole lot of it and start again.”The failure of communism is often blamed on not having the “right” people or the “right” circumstances, or it didn’t work because <>everybody<> wasn’t doing it. Any slack defeats the system idea. It’s the same with education by the state. It is a failed <>way<> of educating. Re-arranging the deck chairs will just give you a different view to watch the ship sink.

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  67. < notabitofsarcasm>1) I don’t think a kid should be exposed to any ideas or beliefs their parent does not want them exposed to period.2) A substantial minority of parents could do a far better job educating their kids than the school are doing.3) Public schools are a failure, in part, because Christian, Jewish and Muslim kids (to name but three faiths) can not engage in appropriate moral education.4) Any American school that leaves a child totally unfamiliar with the US Constitution is an abject failure. It is a testament to individual motivation so many overcome the handicaps of crappy schools.5) Society would be much less polarized if the traditional American belief in tolerance were taught by schools in the context of lessons in their own social network’s belief systems.6) It is obvious that it is best to learn one’s belief system thoroughly and to learn critical thinking skills to enable one to appreciate and critique the ideas of others/7) If we did away with the Department of Education and Public Schools we would end up with a far better system than we have now because short of setting up Triangle Shirt Factory Shops again, we could scarcely do worse than what we have.8) The public school system is a leftist secularist cesspool, not a conspiracy.< /notabitofsarcasm>

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  68. < sarcasm >1) I don’t think a kid should be exposed to anyone’s ideas or beliefs other than their parents until puberty.2) I think it’s obvious that almost all well intended parents (or really parent, because one needs an income) could, by themselves, do a much better job than the entire public schools system of specialized teachers in different subjects.3) It’s obvious the public schools system is a failure… there is no praying going on.4) It’s obvious the public schools system is a failure… take me for example. What a perfect example of the type of uneducated loser that comes out of the public school system. It’s obvious from my posts I can’t spel … not only that I’m a socialist/liberal. 5) We would be a much less polorazied society if the parents would just lock their kids up in their homes until college.. of course locked up without TV and internet.. I guess this would be the “hide your kids from the society’s messed up belief systems, I just teach your own messed up belief systems”.6) It’s obviously best to just learn one belief system, and not interact with others in an educational environment. Education, under no circumstances, should involve ideas from others you disagree with.7) If we did away the Department of Education and public schools, we would evolve into a more equitable education system for our population. Just because only a few kids have parents smart enough to teach them, or just because capitalism will dictate education quality (wealthy kids getting better education, poor kids getting worse)… is no reason not to do the obvious thing a follow the religious right doctrine for the nation’s kids. It’s only right, and fair, and just… and holy. 8) I agree… the entire public school system is one leftist, secularist consipiracy… cesspool. The diehard GOP teachers in red state america aren’t really part of that conspiracy… just locked into the system. If all of those GOP public school teachers could just get the word out… the would confirm Curm’s view that their teaching is only producing cesspool taught kids. I have been feeling extreme guilt because they don’t measure up to the Curm taste test. more later< / sarcasm >What a bunch of loons. Curm, why don’t you be really useful and write your next blog about our $billion dollar college sports industry. They had a worthless two townhall discussion about it last night on ESPN… what a joke. I have some real questions none of these guys asked. Bring on the post… I have a ton of things to get off my chest.

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  69. Ah, Prof is calling me out on the carpet: the stars are back in their courses.Do not, my friend, lose track of the fact that I am vehemently opposed to public education in its current form. That I support public funding of education is not the same as supporting the reprehensible cesspools that we have the audacity to label as institutions of learning. I agree totally that we should chuck the whole lot of it and start again.I stand by the notion that our past contained no golden age. What we did have in the middle part of the twentieth century was an age of rising prosperity coupled with a population that was largely homogenous in worldview. One of the amazing things in American history is that until recent times, we have always had a relatively literate population. Homeschooling is reasonable when the parent-teachers are themselves literate.Now, when I said that the solution was simplistic, I was talking about the entire network of interrelated things that lead to the education of a child. Homeschooling is an awesome thing and my family is already seeing major positive rewards from our tentative first steps on that path. But the fact is that somewhere in the area of 50% of Americans are functionally illiterate. Once you get past the rudimentary skills of learning the alphabet and counting, I have very little confidence that these under equipped <>could<> teach their children if they even <>wanted<> to teach them.I totally agree that we have overcomplicated education in terms of methodologies and sociological experimentation. But what is over simplified is saying that homeschooling is the one-size-fits-all solution. Clearly we need a multi-pronged approach to education and we need responsible leaders to stand up and be truthful about the utter failure of our public schools.Not to veer off on too big of a tangent, but one of the things the public school apologists continually trumpet is how necessary they are for the education of special needs kids. Having a child with learning differences, We are coming increasingly into contact with parents whose experiences with special needs children in the public schools has been nothing short of miserable. Clearly, this is another fiction about public education that should be dealt with properly in the much-needed national discourse on education that will never happen.

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  70. Tony,“…schools should be out of the baby-sitting business. They should be out of every business except educating.”They are left with the job you say is “pathetically poor,” “truly pathetic,” and “embarrassing.” Sounds like the state should be fired from participation in the education business. That is, if results, and not intentions, <>do<> matter. “…wishing for a golden era, which never really existed anyway, does not gain us much ground on mending our real world.” & “Simplistic solutions are not going to get it done because all of these issues are interconnected.”Its funny, but our standard for knowing how pathetic our schools are, is by referencing them to the past where performance was better (A golden era, if you will). What complicated (ie, not simplistic) solutions did they have that produced such excellence that we now miss?“I am happy that homeschooling works well for you and that may yet be the choice at Castle Curmudgeon, but I just don’t think it is a broadly applicable solution.”As recent as less than 100 years ago, Texas was 50% home schooled. That is why we won the Leeper vs Arlington case. Our private school definition was describing the prevalent mode of schooling in Texas.With all our smarts, with 100 years of evolution and advancement of our reasoning and intellect, society and collective compassion, with time savings of electric this and automatic that, funny how we don’t have the time to allocate to educating our own children, even though in REAL dollars, health, and every other measure, we are wealthier today than the “golden era.”Actually, that was a bit of sarcasm. Its not really that funny.Prof. Ricardo

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  71. Stilldreamn,I agree that schools should be out of the baby-sitting business. They should be out of every business except educating. But that leads to another problem: the lack of reasonably priced day-care for the working poor.Conservatives want to eliminate AFDC and tell single Moms to get a job. That is all well and good, but even professional income level Moms can tell you that paying for child care is difficult to impossible. I don’t have the answer on this point, and my gut reaction is that I don’t want to create a government program. That said, we can not expect to eat our cake and have it too. It is just too simple to dismiss the problem as a matter of personal responsibility. While single moms did have a choice before engaging in sexual activity, the kids did not.And CG is correct when he suggests that there are a bunch of parents who just simply are incapable of home schooling on any level. This creates a big problem for poor parents that do not want the secular left’s version of an education. Yeah, it sounds nice to say just homeschool them or send them to a private school. But if you are incapable of homeschooling and can’t afford private school, your sole option is a public school brainwashing by the socialist utopians.Ozzie and Harriet sounds nice and I would even agree that their anachronistic model is a better one than our current anything-is-OK version of the family. But here on planet Earth we understand that often Ozzie is locked up on drug possession charges and Harriet can’t speak coherent English, much less teach it. By wishing for a golden era, which never really existed anyway, does not gain us much ground on mending our real world.Where we are is in a huge mess. Simplistic solutions are not going to get it done because all of these issues are interconnected. I am happy that homeschooling works well for you and that may yet be the choice at Castle Curmudgeon, but I just don’t think it is a broadly applicable solution.

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  72. Wow, this is scary: a lot of rationality breaking out around here. Well, there is CG, as usual, being amazingly adept at mischaracterizing my positions with which he disagrees. I definitely enjoy the socialist rants though: keep ‘em coming.I’ve been trying to post for a while-unable to all day yesterday. I think it was just a local DNS server issue. I hope it is working better for you all than it is for me.What I have consistently said, in various ways, is that focusing on getting a job at the exclusion of academics is dumbing down the system. I have no problem with get-a-job skills: that is why I am so adamant in my support of a quality public trade school system as an option for high school age kids.My advocacy of higher academic standards is to address the general inadequacy of the system for not just the college bound, but those who are less academically inclined. The three Rs are not that hard to teach. In days gone by, that was disposed of in a one-room schoolhouse with a handful of books and a blackboard. I do not advocate a return to that but rather use it to illustrate how truly pathetic we have become. Our expectations have gotten so low that it is embarrassing.By the end of primary school, the three Rs should be disposed of with the academic over-achievers moving into rhetoric and pre-algebra. Those less academically inclined should still be pushed and given catch up opportunities at every step. By the end of junior high the academics should be well into preparation for advanced math and competent writers articulating coherent arguments. The less academic should still be pushed toward functional literacy, civics and the beginning steps of vocational training. Only by returning to a high standard of functional literacy and critical thinking can we ever hope to have an informed citizenry that is capable of participating intelligently in our democratic process.I am purposely omitting much thought and detail here. The point is that while I certainly think we need more academics at the top levels, I do not limit my focus there. We need to push and push at every level. If we continue this path of failure, we will be deservingly swamped by the emerging nations who do not shrink from the task at hand. We can ride our unparalleled wealth a bit longer, but eventually a price will have to be paid for our collective sloth.

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  73. “Don’t you just crack up when you think about the population that re-elected Bush home schooling their own kids? “Some home schoolers are not Republicans. Really. We’re raising and educating (indoctrinating) our brood with our own careful blend of Democrapublicatarianism, robustly leavened with Christianity. My husband, a former Marine (semper fi) is well suited to instructing 4 boys. Myself, I labor in a cube and pay bills. Now, listen up, I’m going to solve half the problems in America right here. Maybe more than half.Number 1. Get the schools out of the babysitting business. Full day kindergarten is absurd–but it does act as subsidized day care. The school day itself stretches out longer and longer so that working parents don’t have to have before and after school daycare. If parents have to actually pay everyone involved in raising their kids, they may choose to do it themselves. Now that we’ve got a bunch of dads or moms directly raising their kids, what next? Why, we’d have a wee bit of a labor shortage, wouldn’t we? Maybe that would drive real wages up for the folks in the labor market—like the single parents that must work. I bet the divorce rate would nosedive, too. So would delinquency. Why, we’d be back to Ozzie & Harriet before we knew it. Or Harriet and Harriet. Whatever.

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  74. Maybe this is a sign that measuring an economy simply based on total GDP is unwise. The “have’s” don’t need more cars just because they got a Bush tax break on profits on capital. Then again, the second home and yacht markets should be robust. < HREF="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=568&e=1&u=/nm/autos_gm_dc" REL="nofollow">GM Predicts 80% Less in 2005<>

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  75. Prof… you did know I was being sarcastic with the “kiss my a$$, give me my Bush tax break” right? I figure you knew, but some newbies may not.David, David, David… < more sarcasm >What a capitalism heretic you are… not accepting the free market as the sole arbiter of salary fairness… what a commie? The free market decides how teachers shoud be paid in our society… not us… that would be communism.< /more sarcasm >Don’t you just crack up when you think about the population that re-elected Bush home schooling thier own kids? (Prof being the exception)

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  76. Tony said: “Prof, You say you disagree, but then you pretty much turn around and agree with me.”I believe within the cult of PubEd worship that people do care. However, I recognize the same symptoms and problems as do you. The failed results do not speak of the lack of caring (I hope) as much as perspective. People cannot imagine a life w/o the institution of “free education.” This idolatry has a cost.CG. said: “Don’t have kids, and won’t live long enough for the new batch to bring down the world. Posterity can kiss my a$$.”You can say or do anything you want as long as it is (the ultimate trump card) “I’m doing it for the children.”Randy P. said: “…we had trade schools up there, car repair, wood working, all kinds of other things that did not require college, but could use some knowledge before hitting the work place. I don’t see any of that here…” We’ve got it, or at least had it when I went to high school in the 70’s. Some of my clients went to “building trades” class in HS and are now in construction.“We have grown into such a society that is more and more depending on college to get our kids a decent life after school, that we are leaving behind a lot of good kids that could be productive quickly and not out there bagging groceries. Just my opinion though. Frankly I agree that we are trying to fix education from the end result, without looking at the beginning of the process. Is that backward or am I just crazy….”I think you’re right on.stilldreamn said… “Big business is in bed with the educational establishment….Since the most basic of jobs now requires a college degree, government has to provide a way for everyone to get one. cha-ching. Full employment for educators, and now we’ve suceeded in stretching adolescence another 4 years, along with piling up enormous amounts of student debt. Perhaps we need to raise the voting age back up to 21, because there are precious few adults at 18.” Direct hit stilldreamn!Prof. Ricardo

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  77. In all the talk about how this problem can’t be fixed with more money, and how private schools do it better with less money (which depends on what you’re grading them on, if it’s test scores then most research shows that private schools do NOT perform markedly better, especially if you consider the socio-economic level of the students which is the primary indicator of performance in both public and private schools), I rarely hear any discussion about the primary reason that our schools stink, IMO. Teacher pay. We have lousy teachers because we don’t pay them anything. This is an area where a major funding increase would definitely make a difference. In Oklahoma we have lousier schools, on average, than the rest of the country because we are near the bottom in teacher pay.Leaving aside infrastructure maintenance and improvement (which is in a shambles in most low income areas), there is definitely a huge need for more funding if only to pay our educators what such an important job should be worth. Low teacher pay is the primary indicator of how little our society values educating the young, regardless of what kind of education you are talking about.Prof says we’re getting rooked for our $8000 per child in Texas. How much money does Texas spend per prisoner in the state prison system? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s a lot more than $8000. When you spend more on housing criminals than you spend on educating the young, it’s silly to argue that you’re getting rooked for the money. You’re getting exactly what you’ve paid for.I’ll also make a bet that the teachers unions, who so many say are the biggest problem because of their refusal to consider changes in the merit and tenure system, or standards for teachers, would leap gladly at those changes in exchange for, say, a 100% pay raise. Which would still be paying them less than the value a rational society would place on the service.Why does everyone touting “market solutions” to education miss this most basic market reality? Until we pay the teacher more than you pay your plumber, significantly more (not to slam plumbers, who also provide a desperately needed service to society, but wouldn’t necessarily be the right folks to teach my children), then we should expect a low standard of teacher and thus a low standard of educational product. Why would anybody with a market sensibility be surprised by the results we see, unless they really don’t give a shit about the results and they’re just finding hypocritical ways to pretend they support education without putting the value on it that they place with, say, their tax attorneys.

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  78. For anyone new to the Curm blogfest, we have done this subject before here. As I recall, one of the brilliant bloggers 🙂 pointed out two domains of education… the become a more educated informed human being/citizen education, AND the get a job education. I’m not sure how you measure the first category… maybe when the population does’t settle for the US Presidents being offered and allowing big business to bend us over. I get the impression Curm is most interested in the “better educated/informed human” category. I tend to look at the “get a job” needs as priority #1. On that front, it would seem to me that it would be best to get a handle on exactly what those jobs are. Like I said before, graduated more kids with IT degrees doesn’t create more computer jobs. Maybe 1 in a 1000, or 1 in 10,000 will be involved in inovation that creates new industries… the rest of us just fill in the required slots. Many of those slots seem to be on the outsourcing train leaving the US. We all knew it was happening to manufacturing jobs… but who would have predicted the collapse of the IT industry. The collapse of IT isn’t just about the internet bubble collapse… overnight something fundamentally changed. If it can happen to IT jobs, it can happen to many others. Unless your job requires you to be physically present… who knows. I actually heard of a major college considering doing away with all engineering other than civil engineering. They didn’t want to lead students down a path without jobs. I would definitely start by projecting what are the jobs and industries going forward. I don’t think you can define that without getting some idea of our trade policies going forward. If globalization equates to “labor from the cheapest”… we have a couple of decades+ to work through the educated populations of India and China. A lot of good it will do to turn all of our kids into well educated, but jobless. Some stuff is obviously safe bets for the trade path in High School… electricians, plumbers, construction, inspectors, etc… all of the jobs that require a physical presence. The other kinds of jobs… the ones that can be piped in packets across the internet or handled by phone support in another country… not the safe bet it used to be. We live in time where owning a Subway franchise beats many of the college degrees one may have opted before in the past. I think the quality of education that Curm rants about is just part of the problem going forward. I think the whole thing has to change… better preditive ability of industries and skills that will be a part of the US going forward (might include law/commitment from our government concerning trade policy and outsourcing), shorter secondary degrees (maybe a 18 month degrees), more adult degrees/education throughout a career (maybe step back in for a new 18 month skills accumulation), different unemployment insurance safeguards (if a higher percentage of the population goes in and out of work, you won’t need a socialist around to demand better safeguards). It’s going to be different and more complicated. It could also be more interesting… might be better to not do one thing for an entire career.

    Hope that wasn’t too socialist. 🙂 If it was, try this: If you aren’t smart enough to figure out where the jobs are going foward… too bad for you… live under the bridge. Now give me my tax break… I shouldn’t pay more than 5% taxes… ever. Otherwise you are depriving me of my entitlements and rights.

    Just trying to cover all ideology bases here.

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  79. Big business is in bed with the educational establishment. As a corporate drone, I can assure you that very, very few jobs that “require” a 4 year degree actually do. In most cases, the degree requirement is so vague that even the most irrelevant degree is sufficient to satisfy the standard. What it really means, is that a “college degree” is mere assurance that a candidate has the minimum requirements that used to be satisfied by a high school diploma and a (now outlawed) IQ test. Since the most basic of jobs now requires a college degree, government has to provide a way for everyone to get one. cha-ching. Full employment for educators, and now we’ve suceeded in stretching adolescence another 4 years, along with piling up enormous amounts of student debt. Perhaps we need to raise the voting age back up to 21, because there are precious few adults at 18. The real-world courses that are taught at “trade schools” and “business schools” (can we say Pell Grant?) can and should be offered free at vocational high schools. Non-college bound kids don’t need Algebra, they need entry-level marketable skills so they can hit the ground running. Let the winnowing begin.

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  80. I haven’t seen anything around here to compare, so let me know if I am off base. I was born up North, in the land of cold and snow, New England, we had trade schools up there, car repair, wood working, all kinds of other things that did not require college, but could use some knowledge before hitting the work place. I don’t see any of that here, course I am far removed from schools now, no kids, not for a little bit anyway. I am in construction, so it seems to me that kids could be getting a head start on things like carpentry, auto repair, heck anything. We have grown into such a society that is more and more depending on college to get our kids a decent life after school, that we are leaving behind a lot of good kids that could be productive quickly and not out there bagging groceries. Just my opinion though. Frankly I agree that we are trying to fix education from the end result, without looking at the beginning of the process. Is that backward or am I just crazy…..

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  81. “Well, maybe CG will add in a socialist rant of some kind.”Not on this topic… been there, done that. Don’t have kids, and won’t live long enough for the new batch to bring down the world. Posterity can kiss my a$$. Wow… that felt a little GOPish… definitely not socialist.

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  82. Prof,

    Hmmm. You say you disagree, but then you pretty much turn around and agree with me.

    I understand well that as individual parents, many do in fact “care” about the quality of their own child’s education. That kind of caring is, however, far too rare: it should be without exception. But almost nonexistent is concern over the general educational level of the children of others. Many think because their own kid is getting a good education, then everything is OK.

    Leaving aside for now the point that most of the people making the erroneous assessment that their own child is getting or has received a good education, everything is not OK. Looking at the statistics in the linked piece: our children aren’t just underachieving; they are performing at a pathetically poor level. When I consider that these statistics are a broad average that includes the relatively rare upper middle class “good” schools that the readers here are most familiar with, a picture of how desperate the situation really is emerges.

    And here is the kicker: I’ll bet that nobody except you and I will even post on this topic. Well, maybe CG will add in a socialist rant of some kind.

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  83. Tony said: “Unlike the rest of the World, Americans do not care about quality education.”I disagree. We just have, generally speaking, a warped perspective bred of selfishness, lack of discernment, ignorance of education history (either world or American), and habit. We think we should dump our children on the local governments porch for twelve years so that well meaning state employees hampered by bureaucracy, and in the company of 600 other undisciplined children, our little Johnny, Suzie, and Mohammed (I being multicultural here 🙂 will miraculously produce well behaved, ready for: the world, Harvard & Yale, & marriage.After all, isn’t it the states job to raise our children?“What this reinforces is the truth of my claims that the selfishness permeating our whole society is truly pervasive and not just a matter of rhetorical excess on my part.”Man’s prosperity is like that. History shows it. When God blesses a nation or a generation, they get drunk on their luxuries. Ever had a disagreement with your spouse or in-laws on where to keep the thermostat in your house? We are so spoiled, just 2 degrees off and we’re upset. It would inconvenience us terribly to be responsible for our children 169 hours each week. Its so nice to have the gubment take that over for most of their waking hours…you know, that time when their character is being shaped….but it would take away from our own pursuits.“Education is relatively expensive as public works go and it is obvious that as a society we have decided that gravel roads will suffice because of the expense of asphalt.”The free market system is a good place to find out what something SHOULD cost, like education. At $8,000 per child per year in Texas to over $15,000 per child in NY for PubEd, and knowing what the private market chooses to teach children, we’re getting rooked.“…Education is indeed not one of the areas where I think the problem is primarily one of funding, but one of an even scarcer resource: genuine commitment to excellence.”A number of parents are committed, many are not. But once they delegate their responsibility of educating their child to the state, then you have to look at the state. Do not look at the goals of the state, for they are lofty and wonderful. Look at the underlying influences, desires, movement, and system of rewards. Sit down with a teacher and hear their complaints. They are hamstrung with respect to discipline. That is not a parent problem, or a teacher problem, it is a systemic infection of bureaucracy. The infection of political correctness is nearly to a fatal level. The worst performing methodologies for English, Math, History, and Geography (now re-labeled: Language arts, fingers-and-toes, social studies, and “look class, here’s that colored picture with names of places on it!”) are always employed, whereas for profit private teaching establishments always choose the best method because they will be judged on results. Oh yea, and they cost less to operate as well.Prof. Ricardo

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