Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”     Alexis de Tocqueville

February 25, 2011

Comment of the Day: “Education” Edition

by Stephen Littau

Re: “Don’t Forget Your Homework…or Your Miranda Card”

Liberalism in the United States has, over the past forty years, been usurped by the socialist agenda. Our public schools are little more than indoctrination camps for the pacification of future generations.

At the same time, conservatism in the United States has been usurped by war-hawks and fundamentalist christians. Our funding for education has been marginalized, contributing to the growth of the socialist mind-set among educators and educational administrators, as well as contributing to the general ignorance of the populace concerning historical precedent for current affairs, and critical analysis of future prospects for avoiding past mistakes.

They simply do not have the funds to broaden educational horizons for students, and due to the changes in both liberalism and conservatism, have instead created lock-down facilities much like concentration camps which institutionally discourage free thought, free discourse and the development of critical thinking skills.

The continuation of this trend will erode what little is left of truly American society, turning us into a nation of frightened chattel animals whose sole purpose will be to provide revenue and labor for a totalitarian state, and predatory industry owned by the wealthy few, whose political machinations are directly contributing to this end.

Comment by Ken — February 25, 2011 @ 8:48 am

While I don’t agree entirely* with Ken’s comment, he does raise some interesting points. There certainly is a collectivist mindset that is pervasive in our culture on the Left and the Right and I think Ken has successfully identified them.


*My biggest problems is comparing the schools to concentration camps. I agree with his overall point but I think “concentration camps” goes a little too far but “indoctrination camps” is just about right on target.

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6 Comments

  1. A lot of what he says has some truth to it, though the statement “our funding for education has been marginalized” is false. We spend more $$ per student and get worse results than the rest of the industrialized world. The problem is that so much goes to fringe benefits that there is nothing left for the classroom.

    Comment by Bob_in_Zion — February 25, 2011 @ 12:22 pm
  2. When he said “our funding for education,” the “our” referred to conservatives. Total funding for education is up, but almost all spending is under the control of left-wingers who want a socialist economic system and an oligarchic nannystate government. The left-wingers slant school curricula and select textbooks to “prove” that those goals are worthy.

    Conservatives should not fight for more influence over public school education. Conservatives should join with libertarians and fight for the abolishment of public schools. With public schools gone, there will be many more private schools and a greater likelihood of finding schools with eduational goals that match our own.

    Comment by Dr. T — February 26, 2011 @ 2:39 pm
  3. While the idea of getting rid of public schools sounds great, I’d have to ask what decently educated nation on earth has done it successfully?

    One way or another the public is going to have to finance education unless you subscribe to the idea that a permanent uneducated underclass is a good thing. While that worked okay up until the industrial revolution, it’s not really a winner in a complex world economy.

    Be it by vouchers, tax credits or direct payments as we do now, politics will influence those schools and pick winners and losers.

    Comment by Bob_in_Zion — February 26, 2011 @ 6:41 pm
  4. Bob,

    You’re right that technological advances raise the bar on what it takes to be moderately competent in the economy, but it also provides enough ridiculously cheap tools to gain that competency.

    For $500/year ($0 if you have access to a reasonably modern library), anyone with determination can go from being completely illiterate to the equivalent of a high school diploma in virtually any subject. Such a person would probably even be *better off* than a traditionally-schooled person because he was forced to become adept at *seeking* information instead of simply being spoon-fed it.

    Now obviously there would still be advantages in having an environment dedicated to learning with some sort of mentors available, but it would be more akin to a “study hall” environment than the current paradigm. This thinking is all well out of the mainstream and I don’t expect it to be implemented on a wide scale any time soon, but I hope that future generations will look back on our current model as being inefficient and woefully outdated.

    Here’s an excellent discussion on a related topic.

    tl;dr: I think privately funded education is much more practical than it used to be; we just need a major paradigm-shift first.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 28, 2011 @ 12:01 pm
  5. A return to private schools does not mean that poor kids have no chance for a good education. The fact that most nations fund education through taxation does not mean that privatizing education will worsen our current situation (where 50% of children from poor families fail to graduate high school and have skills and knowledge at the eight grade level, on average).

    Eliminating public school would reduce property taxes enough so that many lower middle class families could afford private schooling. Children from poor families would get schooling through three mechanisms: loans, grants from charities, and reduced tuition charges. Government involvement would be more hindrance than help.

    Comment by Dr. T — February 28, 2011 @ 4:47 pm
  6. While I definitely don’t think throwing money at the educational establishment is the answer, I can speak from experience being only recently out of the public school system (I’m 24) that fault does not lie in economics, it lies in the will of the student and the faith of the teacher.

    I do agree that public schools have been turned into these concentration camps of indoctrination with less focus on producing the brilliant minds of tomorrow but more focused on following a rigid state mandated curriculum with teachers at the helm who could care less. I read one statistic that it takes $250,000 and two years to fire a poor teacher. Teachers need to be held academically and ethically accountable for their classrooms. No parent in their right mind would send a child to a school where the child’s teacher was producing sub par students but it happens every day, due to teachers unions, the 600 some page “tenured teacher” contract that makes getting rid of teachers more of a hassle than it takes to keep them.

    We need to be proactive in our own communities to foster the proper relationships with teachers and students and looser restrictions regarding the hiring and firing of teachers. If the teachers are made accountable, so will the students.

    Comment by Johnny Boy — March 1, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

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