PostHeaderIcon Socialized Education?

A seemingly bright young fellow named Greg, has recently taken an interest in some of my essays and our blog entries hereabouts. He has an inquisitive mind, which delights in asking probing questions. He apparently moderates a political discussion group, which he is migrating off of FaceBook to the blogosphere, and has invited me to join them in cross-posting debate, over preselected political subjects. Although his political orientation appears significantly to the Left of mine, he is uncommonly polite, appreciative of new ideas, and seems quite open to having his mind changed with a cogent argument.

Thus, suspecting I might be of some assistance in saving a worthy mind from his Marxist professors, I agreed to give it a go. One such subject he recently threw out for discussion, he entitled, “Could Socialism Work in the Education System?” It begins:

 

There is a solution that I have been thinking about for the past few months about solving the solution to the poor funding of certain schools. The limitations placed on these schools are great: limited technology for teaching, limited access to teachers. The limitations in these degrees have placed an unfair burden on the children there.

The solution I have for this has not actually been looked into whether this would work or not, and that’s where you, the reader, come in. It is in my opinion that socialism could work in the education system in one way: revenue sharing.

 

[•sigh•]… This project may be more difficult than I thought… 🙂

No, no, no, NO, Greg. Socialism is the problem, not the cure, if educated children is the goal. First of all, sending a child to a public school is a particularly egregious form of child abuse. If I were a young man today and contemplating raising a family, I wouldn’t even consider marrying any woman, who would not agree to put any alternative career goals on hold, long enough to be a real mom, and homeschool our children at least through the sixth grade.

Public schools are not places where children are encouraged to learn how to learn; quite the opposite. They are indoctrination factories, where children are ‘socialized’ out of their autonomy, taught to respect (or at least fear) and obey authorities, and become accustomed to being anchored in one spot in a windowless building all day, doing boring tedious tasks. Heaven forbid inquisitive young minds develop critical thinking skills, and begin to use them independently.

Such aberrations can lead to incurable contumacy, which is very threatening to the oligarchy. It can undermine the ‘common good’ of the collective, and is potentially very dangerous to future employers. Bureaucracies and large corporations alike, need complacent sheeple to fill their cubicles, who know just enough to do their assigned tasks; but not enough to challenge the established order, or be thinking of ways to be more efficient, and perhaps quit to become an entrepreneur and competitor.

The realities of the insidious, and very deliberate, nature of our mind-numbing public schools aside, let’s address the suggestion of the ‘socialization’ of their funding. First of all, it is already being done in a big way, with entirely predictable consequences, which create the very problems everyone bemoans. Those local school boards that actually try to provide a quality product for their constituents, are hamstrung by Federal regulations.

It is the very purpose of the DOE, to suck tax money out of the citizens of local districts, and parcel it back out (after deducting considerable overhead costs for their bureaucracy) in proportion to those schools deemed most in need of it, with onerous strings attached. This, of course, requires the school districts to expend much of it to employ a large bureaucracy of their own, to deal with all of the paperwork involved in applying for DOE funding, and the reporting requirements that come with receiving it. The entire exercise is a giant wasteful make-work project, to grow the politically powerful teacher’s unions.

Besides there being no provision in our Constitution, for the Federal government to be meddling in local affairs, like community supported schools, or any provision for the redistribution of wealth from affluent neighborhoods to poorer neighborhoods, socialism simply doesn’t work, has never worked, and can’t work. It will never work, no matter how many utopian dreamers refuse to give up on it.

All the Robin-Hood-isms – Altruism, Marxism, socialism, collectivism, progressivism, communitarianism, Stalinism, Maoism, et al – any and all variations of the utopian notion of the individual being subservient to a collective, functioning on the principle of “from each according to his ability – to each according to his need,” have never been successful, anywhere they have been tried. History is littered with untold millions of victims, of these unsuccessful experiments.

The reason they are always doomed to failure, is easily apprehended with just a few moments of honest introspection, by anyone with a little common sense, capable of independent thought. Nobody enjoys toil at unpleasant tasks, yet a certain amount of it is required for survival as an individual human being. With the specialization of labor in our modern world, many of us can spend most of our time in more appealing and profitable pursuits, and pay others to perform the unpleasant chores, necessary for maintaining our preferred lifestyles.

Both parties benefit from this entirely voluntary arrangement, or neither would partake in it. Like all laissez-faire free trade, it was a win-win. Both parties gave up something valued less for something valued more, thus enriching both – by their own lights – without a victim in sight. A clogged toilet may be an unappealing specter to most; but to a plumber, it is an opportunity. Now, try to envision a true egalitarian society, that guarantees equal outcome, regardless of input, removing all incentive to achieve more than the mean.

Who among us would happily toil at whatever task ‘society’ assigned to us, with any more effort, or for a moment longer, than absolutely necessary to collect our stipend? If our equal share of the collective produce were guaranteed regardless of effort, what would even motivate us to even get out of bed in the morning? The answer, of course, is that such societies, of necessity, must have some form of coercion to compel our labor.

And with that niggling little detail, utopia instantly morphs into a slave labor camp, with oppressive masters doing the planning and assigning, and keepers or minders enforcing their bidding, all of whom are not at all on an equal footing with the disgruntled masses. Nobody is happy, everyone does the absolute minimum to survive, and it is only a matter of time before the supposed idyllic society collapses.

The only question is, how ruthless will the ruler(s) be in trying to keep the charade going, for their own privileged status and power trips, and how many millions of dissenters will need to be slaughtered in the process. The whole bankrupt premise underlying altruism is ugly, unworkable, downright evil, and needs to be eradicated from any intelligent mind. ◄Dave►

 

9 Responses to “Socialized Education?”

  • Troy says:

    The State of Texas implemented a revenue-sharing plan several years ago — its was derisively called “Robin Hood” since it siphoned money from richer areas of the State and give them to the poorer areas in the hope of improving their schools. Aside from lawsuits and ethnic decisiveness, I can’t see that it accomplished much else. Read more about it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_plan

    BTW, at the expense of coming off more sarcastic than I truly am, this is just another example that most bad ideas have already been tried, if we would just research before we leap.

    Worst of all, this whole notion revolves around the notion that insufficient funding is the root cause of poor academic performance. The observable truth is that the more money our schools (at all levels) are given, the more they waste on frivolity (all too often sports related) while little or no measurable gain is made in academic performance.

    A neighbor recently sent me a lesson plan for an (8th grade?) student in a rural school in the early 1900’s. There is simply no way most of today’s college graduates could deal with it. If you wish, I will try to get a copy and put it on this blog.

    Troy

    • ◄Dave► says:

      I saw a similar test recently somewhere, perhaps the same one. Sure, if you have it handy in digital form, go ahead and post it. I am more interested in discussing education, than politics at the moment. 🙂 ◄Dave►

      • Troy says:

        OK – it is at http://grandfather-economic-report.com/1895-test.htm

        Please remember that this was a time when schools had almost no funding and usually met in a single room with one teacher tending multiple grade levels

        —————————————
        This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 from Salina, Kansas. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, Kansas and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

        Grammar (Time, one hour)
        1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
        2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
        3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
        4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
        5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
        6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
        7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

        Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
        1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
        2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
        3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
        4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
        5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
        6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
        7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?
        8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
        9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
        10.Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

        U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
        1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
        2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
        3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
        4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
        5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
        6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
        7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
        8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

        Orthography (Time, one hour)
        1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?
        2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
        3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
        4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
        5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
        6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
        7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
        8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
        9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
        10.Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

        Geography (Time, one hour)
        1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
        2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
        3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
        4. Describe the mountains of N.A.
        5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
        6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
        7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
        8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
        9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
        10.Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

      • ◄Dave► says:

        Excellent, Troy. That isn’t the test I saw; but it is similar. I would assert that one could allow college seniors today, to have their internet connected iPads with them, and still not one in a hundred could get an ‘A’ on this test, in the allotted time. Most, would spend a good deal of time in their dictionary app, just so they could try to understand the questions. 🙂

        Do they still diagram sentences in public schools? Boy, I hated that tedious chore; but I am sure glad I went through the exercise. ◄Dave►

  • Greg says:

    First of all, thank you for the kind introduction and praise. That being said, let’s begin:

    “Public schools are not places where children are encouraged to learn how to learn; quite the opposite. They are indoctrination factories, where children are ‘socialized’ out of their autonomy, taught to respect (or at least fear) and obey authorities, and become accustomed to being anchored in one spot in a windowless building all day, doing boring tedious tasks. Heaven forbid inquisitive young minds develop critical thinking skills, and begin to use them independently.”

    This can be backed up in numerous places. I agree with you that the school system is completely, and totally broken. Public Schools seem, to me, to be driven at reiteration of fact. I can memorize every bit of trivia in my Jeopardy! Game on the Wii, but if I don’t know what it means in context… have I really learned anything?

    “Such aberrations can lead to incurable contumacy, which is very threatening to the oligarchy. It can undermine the ‘common good’ of the collective, and is potentially very dangerous to future employers. Bureaucracies and large corporations alike, need complacent sheeple to fill their cubicles, who know just enough to do their assigned tasks; but not enough to challenge the established order, or be thinking of ways to be more efficient, and perhaps quit to become an entrepreneur and competitor.”

    That’s sort of the problem in politics as well: most die-hard supporters of a certain candidate seem to be mind numb. That is to say, they become like zombies and almost (if totally) don’t hear what the other side is saying and become like fanatics. Politics should be more than that: a focused discussion on the issues of the day. That being said… are the two (political “Fanatics” and your description of the school system’s effects) linked?

    “First of all, it is already being done in a big way, with entirely predictable consequences, which create the very problems everyone bemoans. Those local school boards that actually try to provide a quality product for their constituents, are hamstrung by Federal regulations.”
    Do you have a link to those regulations? Indeed, if you regulate, something, any thing, too much… you ruin it for most. Federal regulations should be limited to the following in most any case in my opinion: a) stopping bad practices when the organizations themselves seem not to be intelligent enough to recognize it was a problem (see: Chase bank fiasco), and b) to prevent things from becoming broken in the first place. The role of government should NOT be to break something that otherwise isn’t broken >.< I was discussion socialism from the standpoint of: “okay…if it’s broken… how can we attempt to fix it within regulations?”

    “It is the very purpose of the DOE, to suck tax money out of the citizens of local districts, and parcel it back out (after deducting considerable overhead costs for their bureaucracy) in proportion to those schools deemed most in need of it, with onerous strings attached. This, of course, requires the school districts to expend much of it to employ a large bureaucracy of their own, to deal with all of the paperwork involved in applying for DOE funding, and the reporting requirements that come with receiving it. The entire exercise is a giant wasteful make-work project, to grow the politically powerful teacher’s unions.”

    The one problem I see with how they are doing it now is there is such an income disparity between school districts (or it seems to be). I think my system would prevent ALL of the BEST teachers from going to just one school; likewise, it would prevent the worst teachers from winding up in one place. That is, in my opinion, the biggest problem is that the skill of teachers, in public schools, are completely and totally widely and completely unevenly spread across districts.

    “Besides there being no provision in our Constitution, for the Federal government to be meddling in local affairs, like community supported schools, or any provision for the redistribution of wealth from affluent neighborhoods to poorer neighborhoods, socialism simply doesn’t work, has never worked, and can’t work. It will never work, no matter how many utopian dreamers refuse to give up on it.”

    Leaning left people like myself will tell you Thomas Jefferson himself instituted compulsory education. Was the system different then? I have a question at the end of this for you by the way.

    “Nobody enjoys toil at unpleasant tasks, yet a certain amount of it is required for survival as an individual human being. With the specialization of labor in our modern world, many of us can spend most of our time in more appealing and profitable pursuits, and pay others to perform the unpleasant chores, necessary for maintaining our preferred lifestyles.”

    If I am reading this correctly, you think that public education is therefore preventing this specialization of labor? If I’m missing the point here, could you clarify?

    “Now, try to envision a true egalitarian society, that guarantees equal outcome, regardless of input, removing all incentive to achieve more than the mean. Who among us would happily toil at whatever task ‘society’ assigned to us, with any more effort, or for a moment longer, than absolutely necessary to collect our stipend? If our equal share of the collective produce were guaranteed regardless of effort, what would even motivate us to even get out of bed in the morning? The answer, of course, is that such societies, of necessity, must have some form of coercion to compel our labor.”

    Aha! I see what you are driving at and it is a good point: If I level the playing field for everyone, everyone will do average work, at the expense of many students. Looking at it that way, I can see what the problem would be, yes. A simpler analogy would be that if everyone at my job made the same wage and could never get a raise… why would person A do better than Person B? They are effectively “Stuck” where they are anyway. Yes, I can definitely see how that would backfire.

    Okay, now that I understand the system, let me propose a further hypothetical to you:
    I am a poor American living in the slums. I have two children. I cannot afford them to go to private school, so I have to send them to public school. You’re the President/DOE Secretary/what have you: How do you fix it so that a child does not become a brainless zombie as mentioned above?

    • ◄Dave► says:

      You are not going to make this easy for the old man, are you? 🙂

      You agree that public schooling is completely and totally broken, and that true learning is not much happening therein, yet you suggest that poor people have no other choice, and ask how I would fix them if I were a Federal officer. The simple answer is that I wouldn’t; I would get the Federal government out of education entirely. Did you miss, or can you prove my error in:

      “Besides there being no provision in our Constitution, for the Federal government to be meddling in local affairs, like community supported schools, or any provision for the redistribution of wealth from affluent neighborhoods to poorer neighborhoods…”

      The only reason I would ever accept the job of Secretary of Education, would be for the perverse pleasure I would derive, from firing all of the pointy heads and bureaucrats lurking in that department, as I closed it down. Were I POTUS, I wouldn’t even give it a thought. There is nothing in the job description suggesting that the state of the nations public schools, would even remotely be any of my concern. The absence of the words ‘education’ or ‘school’ anywhere in our Constitution, together with the Tenth Amendment, suggest precisely the opposite.

      The best I could do for the poor lady, would be to encourage Congress to cut Federal taxes, by the amount consumed by the DOE, while doing away with all its regulations and mandates; along with repealing as many onerous Federal labor law (et al) regulations as possible, to reduce the cost of private schooling to a manageable figure. On a personal level, I would hope that hardship scholarships would be made available by private schools and charities; but frankly, for the ‘common good,’ our ‘society’ should be far more distressed by the fact that precocious geniuses are routinely being held back, than that some children are being left behind.

      Leaning left people like myself will tell you Thomas Jefferson himself instituted compulsory education. Was the system different then?

      You have been lied to, Greg. He did no such thing. He did try to institute three years of basic public (but not compulsory) education in Virginia, after his presidency ended, but he failed to convince his fellow State citizens of the merits of his ideas. The first compulsory education laws in America were in Massachusetts in 1852. Virginia didn’t adopt them until Reconstruction after the Civil War. Mississippi didn’t get around to it until 1917, and it still to this day is none of the Federal governments business.

      Was Jefferson’s system different? Boy, was it ever. His common sense ideas about educating Americans, would cause palpitations and raucous gnashing of teeth, if suggested in academia today. You owe it to yourself to read the article “Jefferson On Public Education – Defying Conventional Wisdom,” where I found this quote:

      “It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father.” -Thomas Jefferson

      How does that square with left leaning conventional wisdom?

      If I am reading this correctly, you think that public education is therefore preventing this specialization of labor? If I’m missing the point here, could you clarify?

      No, I was past discussing the evils of public schooling, and was into a full throat rant against the evils of altruism. Your “aha” in the next paragraph, while not what I intended, could be a useful analogy on the schooling front; but I have a better one. Since the grading mean is by definition a ‘C’ average, what if at the end of the semester, students who had earned A’s and B’s were required to give their excess points to those earning D’s and F’s, so that everyone in the class got a ‘C?’

      Wouldn’t that be only ‘fair?’ I wonder how many bright young smug Marxists, would go for that proposition? Then, once the word got around that this altruistic system was in practice, where do you think they would find enough excess A’s and B’s to give to the slackers and dullards, to achieve the equal outcome of all C’s? Don’t you imagine that the new mean would soon be a ‘D?’ Who would benefit by such utter stupidity?

      Now, if you were to ask me what I could do as a private citizen, to ‘fix’ a community’s education problems; the answer is a very great deal, if I had the community’s trust and cooperation, and no interference from the Federal or State bureaucracies. I will assert unequivocally, that if they would close their schools, rent me such classrooms as I needed at a fair price, and allow me to make non-employee independent contractors of the very best teachers I could find; I could provide their children with an infinitely superior real education, for less than $5000 per year per child. And, I’d make a tidy profit for myself, and the newly entrepreneurial teachers, in the process. ◄Dave►

  • I’ll take one of those questions Greg.

    Public funding leads directly to government oversight, regulation and control.

    When jurisdiction of a regulating body in charge of education gets very large, which is really what we are talking about here with federal organizations like the Department of Education, the goal inevitably ends up being to try to meter out the same education across the nation, regardless of income, etc.

    As we have seen, you end up with a system in which everyone in the nation is taught and tested on the same things. How useless is that?

    Specialization of labor thrives on individuality, not on homogeneity, as do teaching and learning.

    Let the teachers teach what they know and love. Embrace the concept that teachers want to teach, that students want to learn from someone passionate and knowledgeable about their subject, and that our individuality is what makes us great.

  • Daedalus says:

    Capitalism being the only moral economic system, what will a socialist school system advocate. I realize that the last smacks of the straw man argument although I think its premise can be validated. A different way of saying it is, “will the collectivist school system teach as “good” the forceful or fraudulent transfer of wealth from some to others who have not earned it?”
    Greg stated:
    OK, now that I understand the system, let me propose a further hypothetical to you:
    “I am a poor American living in the slums. I have two children. I cannot afford them to go to private school, so I have to send them to public school. You’re the President/DOE Secretary/what have you: How do you fix it so that a child does not become a brainless zombie as mentioned above?”

    The assumption here is that government is responsible to fix this situation.
    The responsibility is with the parent(s). If you wish to help in this situation you should do it yourself or assist a voluntary organization that thinks this is a worthy endeavor.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Political Spectrum
Political Circle
Archives
Blogroll
Internal Links