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Deficiencies in American Education

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  • Deficiencies in American Education

    My dad and I have been getting wrapped up in political debates for the last year or more and tonight was no different. We returned to a topic that is often on the table before us; education.

    My dad is a Law Enforcement instructor in one of the US's premiere Law Enforcement programs. It is a two-year Associate's program that includes instruction in all the skills a peace officer will need and use on the job. Today he came home talking about one of his pet-peeves: terrible use of the english language. Now, on the forum here, I admit that my grammer and spelling are lax; but when I need to I am capable of proper writting and I at least know what is correct and incorrect. I write simply here because I want to share my thoughts in a natural manner with all of you and so I write as I think. But some of these students of my dad's don't know when to use than or then, or your or you're, and in some cases even use were instead of where! These are the basics! More than that, most of his students don't even know how to write! Oh, sure, they can type and print, but he said of his 100 or so students last semester only about 20 could actually write in what we call cursive script. Again, basic skills that all of these kids should know!

    I get pretty worked up about education--or lack there of--in the US. I've been on the wrong end of it and my immaturity at the time made me refuse to go with the flow. I almost didn't graduate highschool because of this attitude of mine and more than that, it nearly ruined my entire life. I'm still recovering from the mistakes I made at that time. What was the problem I had? A disgust in the educational system that bordered on blind hatred and continues to this day.

    The disgust came from a pretty simple source: I wasn't learning anything. Unlike some people who learn nothing from school because they don't want to learn, aren't willing to learn, or simply don't apply themselves; I wasn't learning because by the time I was a freshmen I had already learned all that my public school could offer. Worse yet, as I struggled to reach the end of highschool, I realised that what was being taught were half-truths and political agendas. I always use American history as a prime example here...

    According to what they taught us in school (just a few interesting points):

    1) The War of 1812 was fought because the British were trying to regain their lost colonies.

    2) The Civil War was fought because (and only because) the South wanted to keep their slaves and the North wanted to free them.

    3) (my personal favourite) WWII consisted of: Hitler killed 6 Million Jews (no one else, just Jews)...then the US dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima (forget Nagasaki, just Hiroshima). The later was only known from the required reading of Hiroshima in 10th Grade Literature class. To be fair, if you had a "good" teacher the attack on Pearl Harbour may have been mentioned, and if you had a "really thurough teacher" you may have heard something about Dunkirque and/or the Invasion of Normandy.

    and 4) JFK was assassinated.

    Thank god I'm predominantely self-educated!

    Some of you may be saying, "OK, so you knew more about the history of the US and those conflicts mentioned then they were teaching in school; big deal. What about other subjects?"

    In tenth grade lit. class the teacher deferred many questions on diction, rhetoric, philosophy, and historical context to me! What a great injustice that is. Not for me, but for the other students. I thought so at the time, and I still think so. Here they are in a class where they are supposed to be learning about liturature and the use of the english language and their teacher can't even answer their questions. Disgusting. I mean, she didn't know who Jupiter was, much less what the reference to him meant in King Lear...or was it Apollo that was mentioned? I can't recall, it's been too long since I last read King Lear, but the point is the same. What a way to disillusion one who was struggling to find purpose in school (me). Have the teacher ask said student to field the questions she should, by right, have the answers to!

    Admittedly I did learn in my various Math classes. But I suffered from a different disillusionment in those classes: I learned too well. I'm not an overly intelligent person and math was always one of my weakest points, but I would open up my text book, read the example and proofs, work out a couple similar problems and move on. However, the teachers demanded I fifty more of the same problem before moving on and in my immature stubourness, I refused. About 40% of the grade was based on that daily work. I aced just about every test I took, but still my teachers insisted I wasn't learning the math, even though I should all of my work and when asked could perform any problem presented to me on the spot. So I nearly failed out of Trigonometry and Calculus because I actually learned the material (instead of memorizing, as most of the kids did) and did so quicker than the other kids. Obviously, that left a foul taste in my mouth...it felt as though I was being penelized for learning!

    Well, enough of my personal tale, I want to come back to the basic problems in our system. What really matters here isn't what I went through, but rather the question of "why are people who are enrolled in post-secondary education lacking the basic skills they need?"

    My Sister-in-Law is a Fourth Grade teacher and when I asked her about writting she said, "we don't have time to teach it." Don't have time!? We're talking about Primary Education, and she says they don't have time! Just what are they teaching?

    They are teaching kids things that they should have no need to learn in school. They are taking on the parent's job and teaching the kids morals, ethics, and tolerance. Now these are all good things, I agree (even if I don't agree that they should be part of educational curriculum), but teaching these at the expense of basic language skills? They are leaving these kids handicapped in future education and endevours.

    No longer do these kids learn how to learn. No longer are they encouraging kids to expand their horizons and undertake individual study. By reading correspondances, poems, novels, and essays, from two-hundred years ago I feel comfortable in saying that the educational level and the educational maturity of the average educated person was far beyond what it is today. There is no reason for that. With modern technology and the resources available to educators today, why are the educated suffering?

    Why did I have to teach myself the parts of language and the evoloution of the english language? Why did I have to teach myself the Greco-Roman Classics? How is it that by my freshmen year of highschool teachers I was no longer learning new information in most courses of study; and in several cases could see blatant holes in the curriculum? Why did a Bachelor in English not know who Jupiter (or Apollo) was and why did Shakespere not make sense to her? Why are college students now incapable of writting well structured sentences and why can't they write by hand? Why can't these same kids properly pronounce words like "where," "because," "calm," or "just;" saying instead "wear," "beecuz," "callm," and "jist." Why is it that highschool graduates don't know what the Rape of Nanking was? And why is it that a post-secondary instructor needs to waste time teaching his students basic skills?

    Please, somebody fill me in! It is driving me crazy that the only people I can hold an intelligent conversation with are either Grad. Students or people who were educated in a previous generation...with the rare exception of talking to someone who has taken it upon themselves to learn what needs to be learned.

    E
    "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
    --Thomas a Kempis

  • #2
    Can we offer you educational asylum here?

    Without wanting to be mistaken for an America-basher I was truly aghast when I went into a huge bookshop in Tampa, Florida 1996 and found that in the "History Dept" there were two shelves full of books about the Civil War, one shelf with WW2, while WW1, Vietnam and Gulf War 1 shared one and another was occupied with ALL other historical subjects from "The Romans" to the "Industrial Revolution", the "Romanovs", "Ancient China" and the "Age of the Whalers" (or so).

    (I'm not talking of the situation in NYC or Boston or Chicago where I can say the it was very different).

    On a side note: I just discovered an article about an exhibit one really ought to go and see when in London: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4184715.stm
    Google ergo sum

    Comment


    • #3
      One of my other "heroes" was Carl Sagan, most well-known in the UK for his pronunciation of the word "cosmos" ('caahz-mous' as opposed to a more refined English 'coz-moss').
      His book "The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence" was mind-boggling in the late 70's but above all stands "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" (he obviously liked double titles and used a lot of colons). This is a heart-felt call for a return to the teaching and application of the scientific method of critical thinking i.e. scepticism. I think a whole chapter is dedicated to the decline of the US education system and his plea to administrators to get their act together.
      Read it and strive to always satisfy the conditions of the great man's BALONEY DETECTION KIT:
      • Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts
        Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
        Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities").
        Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
        Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours.
        Quantify, wherever possible.
        If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work.
        "Occam's razor" - if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.
        Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, it is testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?


      PS. My Mum told me about that exhibition - she plans to go in February.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah, sorry about the lack of any sort of coherrance in the above post...I was venting and didn't take the time to gather my thoughts before posting.

        L'Et: the lack of selection in a book store is related, no doubt, to the very definciencies I was talking about; but still not quite the point I was trying to make. All I meant to say with all of that ramble is that students today in Primary and Secondary education aren't being taught as well as they should be. Political influence (from political correctness, special interest, etc.) has taken a supreme place in our public schools and the kids' education is suffereing; they are lacking some of the basic knowledge and skills needed for them to further their educations, should they desire. However, I will add that the fact that all of that material is available on our various conflicts and no one seems to take the time to read them is indicative of the education system's inability to teach how to learn as well as any lack of encouragment for people to learn. Now it seems the educators teach the minimum needed for their students to pass the various standardized tests, and no more. How could they? After all, all of their time is apparently taken up by what I belive should be a parent's responsibility.

        DiGiMac: I'll have to look into those books! Thanks for mentioning them :D
        "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
        --Thomas a Kempis

        Comment


        • #5
          There has been a strong movement towards anti-intellectualism in the US for some time now. We've re-elected a moron for president. Reality TV shows like "Wife Swap" and "Fear Factor" are the most popular form of entertainment. Our govt. cuts education funding while increasing spending on non-defense homeland security by 180%. Look at management in the company you work for; I bet it's the vapid who are most often promoted, as opposed to the thinkers and challengers of the system.

          I could go on and on...
          "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
          --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

          Comment


          • #6
            I almost didn't graduate highschool because of this attitude of mine and more than that, it nearly ruined my entire life. I'm still recovering from the mistakes I made at that time. What was the problem I had? A disgust in the educational system that bordered on blind hatred and continues to this day.
            I can completely relate. My story is very similar. To this day, it literally pains me to take an English class because the teachers are ignorant, unfair, and self-righteous. I am very confident in my language skills, but since the very beginning, I've always ended up with stupid teachers. In elementary school, I had to correct my English teachers on a regular basis, which only got me in trouble. Yes, I was disciplined for correcting my teachers. It didn't get any better from there. I had issues with teachers, principals, all kinds of staff members. Everyone around me was a complete moron and unfair. I can understand that sometimes things just aren't fair, but every single time? In 7th grade I got into a big argument with my English teacher because she took 10 points off of one of my papers because she thought I spelled Dalmatian wrong. Did she look it up and check? No. She assumed it was spelled Dalmation and because I was just a kid, she had to be right.

            By the time I was in high school, I loathed going to school. I was repeatedly singled out and screwed over by the administration. In my senior year, I ended up with a racist English teacher who told me that no matter what I did in her class, she would not pass me. It turned out to be true. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and had to finish last semester at home. Incidentally, they almost wouldn't allow me to finish at home. My father fought with the board of education for weeks over this and he is and educator. Then, my English teacher gave me twice the amount of work that the other students had (I know because I had friends in that class). I couldn't do it all myself and my parents ended up helping just so it would actually get done. In the end, I had to go down to the board of education and write an essay for my final exam. I wrote a seven paragraph essay comparing and contrasting Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. I made a copy of it before I turned it in. My English teacher gave me a 74...the highest grade she could give me and still make sure I failed. I had that paper graded by another English teacher and I should have made a 93 on it. I ended up having to graduate in summer school. I've never been the same since. I had always passed every test...I had always passed every class. In fact, even though I graduated from summer school, I still graduated with honors because I had such a high GPA previously. I was always in the gifted program throughout my schooling, yet, I, the daughter of an educator, failed senior English.

            I had a rough time trying to get through English in college because of this. The teachers weren't much smarter there, but being an adult, I had a little more power and was able to get through. I hope I never have to take another English class.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheAdlerian
              We don’t want to make people feel badly or end up personal weirdoes by exercising our mental capacities.
              It's more the latter, I think. I certainly don't feel pity for the common American who cannot keep up with the conversation for lack of intellect, vocabulary, etc. I'm not elitist about it, I just don't pander to those who have no desire to educate themselves.

              If I am ever guilty of dumbing myself down, it is solely because I don't want to deal with the baggage that comes with being smarter than everyone else in the room.

              This happened to me last night, believe it or not. I was in a political debate with a few friends when I realized they were so blindingly ignorant about what we were discussing that I eventually found myself just kind of nodding and watching the TV. The desire to be intellectual just left me for the time being.

              Originally posted by TheAdlerian
              Another factor about people like teachers is that they are mass produced.... how much can this person really know about the depth of some subjects?
              It is said that "Those who can do, do. Those who cannot do, teach." That always pissed me off and I'd reply, "Those who can do, are able to because there was a teacher who showed them how." Sadly, I have a tougher time saying that today.

              But is the problem really mass-produced teachers or is it that the teachers are not given the money and resources to do their jobs effectively? I think even a newby teacher could do a decent job if there were enough text books for every student (yes, this is a problem here in Seattle).
              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

              Comment


              • #8
                Seriously though, that sounds insane. I did a little stint and a school psychologists a few months ago and did not like the negative environment toward the kids. All the kids having troubles were pegged as having brain problems by the teachers. In a way it was more disgusting than the prison!
                Well, no offense to you or anything, but the school counselors I had were never any real help. They always told us that we should all just try to get along and be friends. I didn't want to be friends with people that were talking shit about me behind my back. I understand that you have to teach students that in the real world, you will have to deal with situations that are unpleasant and such, but it isn't right to try to teach kids that you have to be everybody's friend. It never resolved any conflict and the bad kids just got away with being bad, while the good kids were punished for "being uncooperative." From what I've been able to gather about schools, 90% of the staff isn't willing to deal with the problems that they are supposed to deal with...they just pass it off on somebody else and in the end, the student has to deal with everything by themselves.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Danisty: my situation in highschool doesn't sound quite as bad as yours, but similar nonetheless. I rarely ventured to correct a teacher (except my freshmen year when I presented a perfectly reasonable explaination for the supposed UFO my Social Studies teacher claimed to see back in the mid-seventies...he was right next to a military base and it just so happened that the US was testing the Hawker Harrier VTOL aircraft at the time at various facilites, including the one my teacher was near) but would aften use my self-earned knowledge to answer essays and the like. Doing so invariably caused some contention as to the correctness of my answer, as I didn't simply quote or paraphrase the text-book.

                  Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                  But is the problem really mass-produced teachers or is it that the teachers are not given the money and resources to do their jobs effectively? I think even a newby teacher could do a decent job if there were enough text books for every student (yes, this is a problem here in Seattle).
                  I don't know if mass produced teachers is the primary problem, but I think the lack of money and resources has less to do with it. True with greater money available and more up-to-date resources the education level may improve some, but I think that would only be stemming the symptoms rather than curing the disease. There is one major problem that I think is at the root of the poor education.

                  The economic concerns, if you will, of a given school district (I'm talking about Public schools here, as I have no experience, and little knowledge of private schools). Public schools get their primary money from the community and the government. The amount of money received depends on several variables such as comunnity activities, enrollment, standardized test scores, etc, but is still grossly insufficient for the administration of the schools. So, the schools supplement the income with food-service (lunch money!) and extra-curricular events. Extra-curricular events...grr...there's the true fault of the mass produced educators. Public schools (at least at the Secondary Level) tend to hire new teachers by what sport they coach (after-all, we've already established that public schools are under-funded and that is where the money is), rather than what subject they know. But they cannot coach unless they teach as well. So, what happens is that we get a Math teacher who only took basic college-level math...or we get a History teacher who hasn't had a history course since his/her own days in highschool. And so on. What happens from here is obvious, they use the text-book, and only the text-book, to teach the class curriculum that they were told to teach by the Dean, or its equivalent. So here we have a teacher who has no more information on the subject than the student has readily available, doesn't take the time to learn more, and trusts only that single, district approved source (the text-book).

                  So, yes, money is an issue...and now that I think about, perhaps if the schools were better funded they could again focus on acedemics instead of extra-curriculars. But even then, I fear, we would not solve the problem. Sports and the like bring prestige to the school and that prestige brings attention and more money.

                  What we need to do is reform the entire public school curriculum. We have to decide what is actually the schools responsibility to teach and what is the responsibility of the parents. From what my Sister-in-Law tells me the reason they "don't have time" to teach many of these basic skills in Primary education is because they are instead teaching the kids how they should live their lives. Schools are now required to teach Drug Awareness, sexual education, cultural diversity (I applaud that, but is it something the schools need to teach), and many other things that was traditionally the role of the family to teach. A school is not a day-care; it is an educational institution. Schools are there to provide the framework for an informed person to make a decision about what career to pursue, how to pursue it, and to prepare the student for the achievement of that dream. More-over, a complete education is essential for a voter to make informed decisions in a democratic society and it is the duty of the Primary and Secondary schools to provide the basis on which this complete education rests.

                  If the parents are not willing to make the time to teach their children the values they wish to impart to them or the basics of life, then either they need to re-think their priorities; or, given how hectic our world has become, it is time to create an institution seperate from the basic public school system in which parents who do not have the will or time to teach these ideas to their children can enroll their children so those in need may recieve this information. I do not believe that every child would need to be enrolled in said institution as many parents (mine included) are willing take fullfil their responsibilities as parents and teach these facts to their children.

                  As for Adlerian's points...I agree with your assessment of the increasing trends toward anti-intellectualism. I tend to play dumb more than not. It was ingrained in me early on that "no one likes a know-it-all." Even now, with my adult-hood and the greater maturity that comes with it, I still have to all-but force myself to speak up on certain subjects in which I have gained some small amount of knowledge. As I said earlier, I'm not the smartest guy out there, but I would have to be honest and say I'm likely more knowledgable and perhaps more intelligent than the majority of people I've known. Yet, I don't want the stigma of a "know-it-all," so I talk down, as you said.
                  "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                  --Thomas a Kempis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                    still maintain that a person that is 21 and maybe has not progressed too far beyond that is not ready to handle the emotional needs of children, as they are a post child.

                    This is not the teachers fault but I think that it is a fault with the system.
                    I readily agree with that. At 23 and predominantly self-educated I would hesitate to undertake formal teaching, yet I feel that I would do a better job at it (in certain subjects) than the recent Bachelor's Under-Grad. In fact, part of me would love to oppurtunity to do just that; teach, if even for a day.
                    "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                    --Thomas a Kempis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                      We've re-elected a moron for president.
                      With all due respect, it would be nice to have moratorium on comments like this where it has absolutely no bearing on the discussion at hand. We've had morons before, and we've had sheer geniuses before, and the net effect is the same, and here's why.

                      In the dozen or so posts on the topic of "education" - a big issue for me, thus the ending of my "vacation" from the site - no one has mentioned the primary source of information and the primary educator of our children.

                      The parents.

                      We learn much of the basis of our knowledge from our parents, and I strongly believe we learn HOW to learn from our parents. We are taught from day one and on a daily basis what is important and what is not, and we are taught how to handle those circumstances where we lack the requisite knowledge to make an informed decision.

                      When our parents say "Fuck it, that ain't important" because THEY don't know it, and if they don't know it then it must not be important because THEY are doing all right in the world, we learn an important lesson about the acquisition of information for the sake of it. When we see our parents pick up a book and read in order to fully understand an issue, we learn an important lesson about expanding our horizons.

                      I think the problem here is at its root a common one here in the States. We are contstantly looking at others - our teachers, Big Business, the President, the "system" - to do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. Our host is a prime example of that; his educational model should be being duplicated all over the country, but it's not. We can spend hours criticizing whether the CEO of Coke is worth $78 million a year or not, but there is one characteristic of senior executives at big businesses that is undeniable: when confronted with something they don't know, they find out. They read books, they collect the information they need to make what is to them an informed decision. You can do a lot of complaining about big business, and a lot of that is with merit. But if the average American did ONCE A MONTH what the average executive does on a daily basis - and that is look up information that he or she is lacking in order to make an informed decision - you would see marked increase in educational levels of the people of this coutry.

                      It is well-documented that incompetent people are far more likely to lack enough self-awareness to realize they are incompetent. It is in my estimation asking for further trouble to expect these people to adhere to rigid guidelines in school, or to conform to some uniform teaching program and have it be effective.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nice to have you back, Bill. You've been missed.

                        To draw the discussion into the area of anecdotal evidence a bit,
                        if I recall, you've got at least one child. Have you any observations
                        on the general quality of the teachers and educational environment
                        for your offspring?

                        I'd observe on the basis of my own teenage daughter's experience in
                        private schools in the Bay Area, that the quality of the instruction is
                        extremely variable, and sometimes must be heavily buttressed by the
                        efforts of parents. Again, from anecdotal evidence (and therefore not,
                        perhaps, extensible to the educational environment at large), I see
                        the "lack of quality" in two areas that aren't always combined:

                        - The teacher's instruction seems pedestrian to the point of being nearly
                        robotic -- they talk about what is written in the book and nothing else,
                        leading one to wonder how well they really understand the subject in
                        question.

                        - The teacher seems to think that the children and parents are in an
                        adversarial situation with them, and treats the children accordingly.
                        This is not a scenario conducive to effective learning, and produces
                        (at times) a lot of stress on all sides.

                        Not all teachers have either (or both) these problems, but I've seen it
                        enough in the last 10 years of my daughter's schooling that I've
                        discerned a pattern. My own daughter is quite a good student, and
                        consistently receives good grades and scores on those notorious
                        standardized tests, yet I've run into problems with the above often
                        enough that I find myself asking how we got to this point...

                        LSN

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bill
                          In the dozen or so posts on the topic of "education"...no one has mentioned the primary source of information and the primary educator of our children.

                          The parents.
                          Umm...I have...on several occassions. Admitedly, I have not said that the problem lies with the parents, although I believe it may have been implied in several cases.

                          I say it plainly: yes! the parents are at fault for not taking the time to fulfill their responsibilities as parents in the education of their children. However, I am realist enough to know that we cannot simply tell people, "Hey! You gotta' start teaching your kids this stuff!" and expect them to do it. What I am saying is that by reform of the education system we can leave the parents with two simple choices: take responsibility and teach your kids; or they won't learn what you want them to.

                          What I am saying is that the schools are allowing, in fact damn near encouraging, the parents to withdraw from the life and education of their own children by teaching what rightfully should be taught by the parents.

                          Here's what I said before on the subjuect, and I feel it states it easily enough:
                          What we need to do is reform the entire public school curriculum. We have to decide what is actually the schools responsibility to teach and what is the responsibility of the parents. From what my Sister-in-Law tells me the reason they "don't have time" to teach many of these basic skills in Primary education is because they are instead teaching the kids how they should live their lives. Schools are now required to teach Drug Awareness, sexual education, cultural diversity (I applaud that, but is it something the schools need to teach), and many other things that was traditionally the role of the family to teach. A school is not a day-care; it is an educational institution. Schools are there to provide the framework for an informed person to make a decision about what career to pursue, how to pursue it, and to prepare the student for the achievement of that dream. More-over, a complete education is essential for a voter to make informed decisions in a democratic society and it is the duty of the Primary and Secondary schools to provide the basis on which this complete education rests.

                          If the parents are not willing to make the time to teach their children the values they wish to impart to them or the basics of life, then either they need to re-think their priorities; or, given how hectic our world has become, it is time to create an institution seperate from the basic public school system in which parents who do not have the will or time to teach these ideas to their children can enroll their children so those in need may recieve this information. I do not believe that every child would need to be enrolled in said institution as many parents (mine included) are willing take fullfil their responsibilities as parents and teach these facts to their children.
                          Now, I did say in there that we should allow a suplimentary education system for the teaching these things that it is the parent's responsibility to teach and that runs contrary to your beliefs, Bill, and even to an extant my own. But I am a realist and I know that many parents won't take the resposibility to teach their children and so, for the first generation at least, I think it will be nesseccary to allow this small concesion as a step toward creating well-educated adults and responsible parents. After that transitional generation however, my philosophy is, "Take responsibility, or tough luck."
                          "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                          --Thomas a Kempis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bill
                            Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
                            We've re-elected a moron for president.
                            With all due respect, it would be nice to have moratorium on comments like this where it has absolutely no bearing on the discussion at hand.
                            Hey! It's Bill! Hi Bill!

                            Yeah, I know. You're right. Sorry about that. You know I hate the guy, though.

                            Originally posted by Bill
                            The parents...
                            YES! I agree with you completely. Wow. You gonna just come back and slap my wrist for a lame remark and then say a bunch of stuff I agree with? Whoa. Didn't see that coming today. :)

                            Good to have you back, Bill.
                            "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                            --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not sure what to make of it, really. I do see a lot of apathetic parents, that's for d*mn sure. The problems that arise from that can range from the kids simply not learning anything to, much worse, the kids learning the wrong thing. The latter is, perhaps, a result of your 'cranking out too many teachers' theory.

                              An example from my own life. A few years back, my son came home from a typical 10th-grade day and announced with full conviction that John Steinbeck was a commie. When I asked him what proof he had of that, he said his teacher had taught the class that The Grapes of Wrath proved it. I felt an irresistable need to ammend my son's teaching.

                              What bothered me wasn't that the teacher might have touched on the very real suspicions of Steinbeck's communist leanings by analyzing the theme of his most famous work. What bothered me was that the teacher taught -- very wrongly -- that said leanings were fact. Whether you believe Steinbeck was communist or not, he never admitted to it, so teaching it as fact was patently wrong. I have to do this sort of thing all the time with my kids.

                              I suspect most parents don't bother. If they love their children, I personally can't understand what keeps them from getting involved.
                              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

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