Thursday, September 17, 2020

Happy Constitution Day - The 233rd Birthday of considering the greatest of all reflections on the perils of human nature

Today, a day that hasn't warranted a 'Google Doodle', is the 233rd birthday of the United States Constitution. Peruse it or lose it... and the liberty it was written to preserve. What was signed as completed upon this day, two hundred and thirty-three years ago, September 17th, 1787, by thirty-nine of the fifty-five Framers, was the Constitution of the United States of America, and whether you stand in respect for, or disrespectfully turn away from, the Flag, the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, you do so in reference to that document which is the oldest existing instrument of its kind, still in operation.

Why?

Is it simply a list of rules for governing by? Is it nothing more than a favorite fossil of 'white people'? A document of oppression? Frederick Douglass once thought so, but because he was a thinker in order to understand what was true, he didn't stop with answers that were given him by others, but continued on thinking upon the matter, and discovered the Truth which such vile falsehoods seek to smother and erase.

But today I'm really not much concerned with your answers to those 'points', but am only interested in whether or not you are familiar with the ideas, principles and purposes which animated the writing of it - are you? And if not... what worth can your opinion - pro or con - have for me, or for anyone else?

Whether you mouth its praises, or make showy protests against it, without understanding what it is you are referencing - your praises and protestations fail to even rise to the level of being wrong, they are but verbal dust to be brushed away, meaningless and of no consequence. But if you are one of that thoughtless many, you may take comfort in the knowledge that you are in the happy company of millions of such Pavlovian 'Conservatives', Pro-Regressive Leftists and Libertarians, for whom the United States Constitution is little more than a paper bell which they bark at.

But for those of you who do see it, not as a mere object of ink upon paper, for those of you who don't insult the memory of they who strove to produce it as having been anything other than men of flesh and blood, for you who understand that it was written so as to give physical form to, and to best enable, the implementation of some of the greatest political ideas of Western Civilization -
  • that Individual Rights result from the nature of being human("...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."),
  • that men who understand that are capable of self governance,
  • that well ordered argument can lead to a self-correcting means of governance,
  • that such a system, established by such a people, can enable lives lived in liberty while in society with others, so long as the beast of Power is bound down and limited by laws whose purpose is to uphold and defend the Individual Rights of every person
, and that for such a people, intellectually armed through a document such as this, Liberty is possible.

But it is only possible for those who understand that.

For those intemperate folk who simply wish to sing the praises of, or rain curses down upon, that

Friday, September 11, 2020

Remember, Remember the 11th of September

Remember, Remember the 11th of September
And now it is September 11th once again, and once again it is time to remember. We remember September 11th because of what happened upon September 11th, 2001. September 11th is not 'Patriot's Day', and it's damn sure not 'a day of service' (other than military service). September 11th, 2001 is a day to remember that the full brutality and destruction that man is capable of was deliberately visited upon America in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville Pennsylvania. We should remember. We should reflect. Those responsible should have been and should be destroyed, and those whose negligence had enabled it, and those who excuse it, and those who minimize it, should be despised and reviled by all who remember. We must remember so that the horror of September 11th, 2001 is confined to the past and is not allowed to slip past us and out into another clear blue sky in the future.

Screw healing.

We should pick at the wound, keep it burning. Remember the parents on the plane heading in to strike the Towers, their child sitting next to them... remember the people in the Tower on the phone to 911, crying, scared, burning from the heat, and then screaming as the impossible happened, the tower collapsed beneath them into nothingness. Remember the wives, husbands, children, of those who just went to work that day, and had their lives and world stolen from them by islambie thugs.

Remember that no matter what idiot politician or educationista prattles... we are a people who have known, and still know freedom and liberty and law, a people who believe it is good to live a moral life and pursue our happiness where we see fit to choose to. Remember that there are alleged human beings who wish nothing more than to destroy that possibility.

Remember Sept. 11, 2001. Be angry, feel hatred, seek the destruction of those who seek yours. It is altogether fitting and proper that we do so, and remember that those who lost their lives, and those who have since given their lives in this cause, have hallowed this day far beyond and above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say today, but History - in reflection and action - will remember what happened, and it will take note of whether or not we remember. It will take note of whether or not we take note of those who had taken, and those who have given, the last full measure of devotion -- and it will judge whether or not we here are highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain; whether or not this nation, shall continue to give birth to, and stand up for and defend freedom, and it shall judge from that, whether or not government of the people by the people for the people, shall, or shall not perish from the earth.

And it will judge and act accordingly.

Remember September 11, 2001.

In remembering what happened on September 11th, 17 years ago, I've patched this post together from a number of memories and posts and comments I've made from then to now. Where they began, of course, was on the morning of September 11th, 2001, when my wife, who was a flight attendant with TWA, called me as I was driving into work on I-70, just passing through Earth City, to tell me a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.

I was thinking a Cessna, but she said it sounded like it was larger, the impact too large. I knew a plane had once hit the Empire State building on a stormy night, but she said the weather looked clear, how could that be possible? As we were talking, another jet hit the other tower.

That made it clear what was going on, we decided that she'd pick the boys up from school and bring them home.

I continued on into work, and news came that another plane had hit the Pentagon.

A blue streak of horror and animal fury blasted back at my radio as the news came that one of the towers was collapsing. As I walked into work, 7th floor of A.G. Edwards, people were crowded around the T.V. in the lobby and the second tower came down.

I went to to my desk, one of the guys there was trying to get a hold of his son who worked in one of the World Trade Center towers. I to our project coordinator and told him I wouldn't be working that day, and headed for home.

I told the boys the obvious as we watched the news, that the world had just changed, we were at war, and nothing would be the same.

To those who want to think of this day as a time for healing or a day of service, Fuck You. We are not going back to the reflexive evasion of reality which is what made this day possible.

Political Correctness began its well deserved death that day ten years ago today, it may be a long, agonizingly slow death, fitting perhaps for the cancer that it is, but it was the beginning of the end of the view that it is in any way good or proper to pretend a lie can pretty up the truth.

The lie is nothing but darkest evil, and the light of Truth chases, confines and obliterates it... as we have, and will do, to those who did this evil – you are nothing, and to nothingness you will be returned.

And yet there are those who will shake their head and ask "How do you kill an idea?"

How do you kill an idea? If it is an idea that people are not open to discussing, an idea that will not tolerate reasonable alternatives, an idea that requires your death or your submission, then the answer to that question is a very simple one:

You cannot defeat an idea.

All you can do is make physically certain that those of the enemy who might survive a war with you, would live in constant fear and dread at the thought of that idea ever again being in their head, let alone upon their lips. You cannot defeat an idea, you can only make people determined to no longer entertain them, because of the memory of the war they fought with you over it, and the fear of the possibility of such a conflict ever happening again, is too painful to think about

How do you kill an idea? By killing its hosts, and causing everyone else to fear and dread the thought of thinking it.

Screw healing.

We should pick at the wound, keep it burning. Remember the parents on the plane heading in to strike the Towers, their child sitting next to them... remember the people in the Tower on the phone to 911, crying, scared, burning from the heat, and then screaming as the impossible happened, the tower collapsed beneath them into nothingness. Remember the wives, husbands, children, of those who just went to work that day, and had their lives and world stolen from them by islambie thugs.

Remember that no matter what idiot politician or educationista prattles... we are a people who have known, and still know freedom and liberty and law, a people who believe it is good to live a moral life and pursue our happiness where we see fit to choose to. Remember that there are alleged human beings who wish noting more than to destroy that possibility.

Remember Sept. 11, 2001. Be angry, feel hatred, seek the destruction of those who seek yours. It is altogether fitting and proper that we do so, and remember that those who lost their lives, and those who have since given their lives in this cause, have hallowed this day far beyond and above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say today, but it will remember what happened, and it will take note of whether or not we remember.

A proper foreign policy is "Mind your own business & we'll mind ours. Mess with us or ours, and we'll destroy you. Period."

Anything less, reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, etc., are concessions and only serve to enable those who wish us harm.

Perhaps more than anything else, remember that forgetting how and why the attacks of 9-11 were made possible, guarantees that its horrors will be revisited upon us, courtesy of our willful inability to recognize their approach, and the cost of that will be history rhyming itself once again, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more:

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Please, try to remember 9/11 as the lesson we won't have to learn once more.

Reality will not be denied, and Evil will not be turned aside because you choose to turn away from it. Deny that, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return. Please. Just face the facts and learn the lesson so we don't have to learn it once more.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Prior to 'Never Forget', how about 'Try to remember...'

We know that tomorrow is the 19th year since 9/11/2001, but something that struck me this morning, was that 19 years ago today, 9/10/2011, was the last day of the world as it was before... the next day. A few things come to mind... do you remember what that felt like?

Try to remember what it felt like, to stroll into the airport, maybe with little kids in tow, and dashing down the concourses, all the way out to the gate so they could watch the plane pull up to the jetway? Craning their necks, maybe hoisting the littlest onto the shoulders to be able to catch first sight of their Mom or Grandparents coming off the plane? 

Try to remember what it felt like when people still were conscious that they should behave as if they had manners - even if they failed, even if we thought it was bad even then, try to remember how much better the worst then, was to what is routinely thrown at us through the media today?

Try to remember what it felt like before your privacy was routinely 'snooped' on and monitored?

Try to remember what it felt like, before Google, Twitter, Facebook and all the other Social Media platforms made it possible for someone, anyone, to 'search' your past comments and pictures and embarrass you, make thousands of strangers infuriated at you, and possibly lose your job or place in society? Try to remember what it felt like to make a comment, or a joke, without that at the back of your mind?

Try to remember what it felt like when everyone assumed your gender based upon your being male or female, and most were repulsed by openly Marxist organizations?

Try to remember what it felt like before having people routinely rioting in our streets?

Try to remember what it was like before athletes took a knee for the National Anthem.

Try to remember what it was like before you began to realize that the leaders in our school systems were opposed to America (they were then too, but most of us didn't realize it).

Try to remember what it felt like when schools didn't openly try to keep parents from 'listening in on' their children's lessons, or attempt to help their kids 'come out' as transgender?

Try to remember what it felt like to be sure that no matter our bitterest political disagreements, there was no doubt that we'd come together after any disaster, natural or otherwise.

Try to remember what it felt like to not feel concerned that you might be targeted for identifying as an American in the company of other Americans?

Try to remember what it felt like,

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow...
Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.

Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow...
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Altho' you know that snow will follow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember
The fire of September that made us mellow.

Deep in December our hearts should remember,
And follow...



Monday, September 07, 2020

Sit down Karen, management can't solve our school systems' problems - Education or School Systems pt 5

We've gone through the nature of our school reforms, their 'progressive' ideas and purposes, deceptive lessons being taught, and the systemic nature of our school systems failings which puts them and the education they deliver into fundamental opposition to not only America, but to the idea and purpose of education itself. Those reasons, and more, are what had prompted my too unpopular opinion, that
"The schools being closed is the best thing to happen in 2020 - why would you want to reverse that?!"
, and to ask why would you send students or teachers back into our school systems, especially today, when other options are appearing everyday for both students and teachers?

In this post I'll touch on those new options and link to more information on them, but first I want to point out the recklessness of assuming that some of the other options available - namely Charter & Private schools - are in any meaningful way, inherently different from the Public schools, as if there's something in their names which makes them fundamentally different or immune from what has ruined the rest of our school systems - there is not. To be sure, there are good Charter schools, and there are good Private schools, but they are good because of their own defining goals and methods, not simply by dint of being a private or charter school - there is more to the matter than what is in a name.

If you ask me why I say that, I'll turn the question around and ask: Why would you think that they would be meaningfully different? Are you going to judge a school by its cover? What is the educational 'change' you are truly looking for... school management?! Sit down Karen, that's not going to get you anywhere. Nothing will actually change if you aren't actually changing the part that drove you to call for change in the first place!

What changes can you expect the 'charter' & 'private' names to somehow bring you, when their administrators, councilors, curriculum writers, textbook buyers, and yes, even teachers, are all sporting the same degrees, PhD's, and years of training in 'progressive' educational theories, attitudes and the purposes for it, from the same colleges and teaching schools which have little to no interest in providing an education that'll help your child to become an independent, capable and virtuous person? What change can come of delivering much of the same publicly approved curriculum, in the same manner, with the same purpose, and targeted to the same all important state standards? True, changing brands may get you a more skilled and efficient (and expensive) delivery system in management and staff, encouraging better behaved students, and enabling teachers to be more effective, which sounds great, until you stop to consider that what that amounts to is getting a better grade of the same materials - the 'cream of the crap', as it were - with a more efficient means of administering the state approved daily dosage of educational poison.

I'm disinclined to choose that as an option.

To think that switching from public schools, to Charter or Private Schools, based on nothing more than the 'quality' of their delivery system, is to forget, or worse, to ignore, that our schools are not simply accidentally neglecting to do what they should do and once did, but are fundamentally opposed to what they once did, and to why it was done. It's worth noting that the assistant principal rioting for BLM in this video from Rochester, NY, is a graduate of those same standards, is considered by those standards to be educated, and he is, he has been, and he will continue to be, guiding teachers in the education of their students (though, he will be spoken about his bad words). What possibility of 'Change' do you see there? Unless what needs to be changed and expunged is clearly identified, there will be no change brought by changing the names of the schools management from public, to charter or private.

When a problem becomes intolerable, it is in our nature to want to try and fix it, or failing that, to want to change to something new, but have you also have noticed that it seems to be in people's nature that when they've become dissatisfied with a familiar product, that they rarely choose to change to something that is really and truly new? Instead they tend to look for a difference that they're familiar with, and such moves tend to deliver all of the 'difference' of switching from a Chevy Camaro to a Pontiac Firebird, either unaware or unconcerned that both are GM products, built from the same design, and parts, and with little but cosmetic differences between them. There are also those who, having 'done their own research' into sportscars, might choose a Ford Mustang instead (or maybe even a Porsche), without ever considering how fundamentally different any of those options are from what they should have been seeking to begin with. Of course picking and choosing between appearances and effects is fine if what you are needing really is a sportscar, but what if unbeknownst to you, what you should be seeking isn't a sportscar, or even a car at all?

What if in this analogy, you, your father & grandfather, who have all been fine with picking between sedans & sportscars, did so because all were unaware that your great grandfather was made to settle for a token car because - for his own good - he had lost the opportunity to choose from the well furnished homes that his father & grandfathers had had the luxury of choosing from? And if you discovered that that was the case, wouldn't you, shouldn't you, be angrily questioning why your grandfather, your father and yourself weren't given the option of choosing and furnishing a home, but were by omission made to settle for a flashy way of fleeing one?

You might think my analogy is an odd one, but it seems less odd as you consider just how different our modern school systems - public, private, charter - are, from the structure, materials and purposes of the traditional education that America began with, and was formed from. Today's school systems presents us with the 'sportscar' option of education as the means of equipping you with the skills useful in 'getting a good job' to take you from here to there, and in that scenario getting an education that takes you farther and faster in terms of delivering more economic bang for your buck, seems very sensible indeed.

OTOH, a traditional education was directed towards enabling a student to live well, here and now and into the future, being fully capable of living well in any 'there' that the course of your life might take your 'here and now' to. To that end, education didn't concentrate on imparting the skills useful for the jobs of the moment (a usefulness which can change in the blink of an eye from needing those who can operate a lathe, to those who can 'write computer code', leaving a person who's learned little more than 'useful skills' with skills that've become useless), but with transmitting the timeless knowledge and principles of what was once called a 'well furnished mind', a mind, as Cicero put it,
"... so constituted as to be furnished with senses, and to have excellence of intellect which the whole nature of man obeys, in which there is a certain admirable force of reason, and knowledge, and science, and all kinds of virtues; for the things which are parts of the body have no authority to be compared with that possessed by the parts of the mind..."
, to George Turnbull’s "Observations upon Liberal Education.in All Its Branches" (1742)
"...The way therefore to judge whether education be upon a right footing or not, is to compare it with this end; or to consider what it does in order to accomplish youth for choosing and behaving well in the various conditions, relations, and incidents of life. If education be calculated and adapted to furnish young minds betimes with proper knowledge for their guidance and direction in the chief affairs of the world, and in the principal vicissitudes to which human concerns are subject, then is it indeed proper or right education. But if such instruction be not the principal scope to which all other lessons are rendered subservient in what is called the institution of youth, either the art of living and acting well is not man’s most important business, or what ought to be the chief end of education is neglected, and sacrificed to something of far inferior moment...."
, so that the educated person, whether schooled at home, in grammar school, or college, became an informed, independent, capable and virtuous person, capable of acquiring any skills that the moment might require.

Such systems of schooling as varied as traditional and modern education are, are as varied and at odds as the students they 'produce', as are their reactions to the world they did or didn't expect to find. The person with a well furnished mind is at home in their life no matter the circumstances of the moment, and sees those circumstances as being temporary and open to improvement, and when improvements are identified as being dire, will pledge their lives and sacred honor to improving them. The person trained only in getting from here to there, will never feel at home anywhere, and they will stop at nothing in their efforts to get away from here and to the mythical land of 'there' while spewing F'bombs and pledging to F'up any and all of those in their way.

What a century of school reforms have brought us, are numerous changes in making distinctions that make no difference, and have saddled us with modern educators who consider the Assistant Principal in the video above, to be in good standing with the standards of modern education. Such standards have also given us college professors who argue that it should be legal for grown men to have sex with children, as well as educators in Fayette Co. Schools who word quizzes for 5th graders that 'targeting law enforcement' to appear to be the bad guys, as well as a college professor & author declaring that: ‘They Have Deputized All White People To Murder Us’. It should come as no surprise at all that these same standards of education are being fully represented in the course offerings for first year students at the College of Washington and Lee, with a class in "How to Overthrow the State", which gives a fine demonstration of the logical ends that scholastic weasel wording such as this:
"...exercises emphasizing writing as a process. All sections stress active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis..."
, inevitably leads to, because it is inherent in the nature of our school systems. Why do I say that? Because 'Writing as a process' is concerned only with the process of quickly getting 'from here to there', and not in considering how right and true that either here or there might be, 'active reading' is typically a means of conditioning readers to scan for keywords and virtue signals, and 'various methods of critical analysis' is wacademese for the pragmatic pursuit of power for ends which justify any and all means. That knowledge and those virtues that would have given some meaning to the 'education' that our systems lie about delivering, is, as it must be, nowhere to be found. I'm not going to say more here on that, lest another ten pages of HTML should spring up on the spot, but you can find it in my blog, or a more brief clue to it here.

It is what it is
If what you think of as being the purpose of education, is no different from those who changed and reduced our school systems into what they are today, what 'change!' do you expect to get by changing from Public to Charter or Private School? And why do you expect any? If you do not know what you are changing from, or for what purpose change might be needed, then you may very well make choices whose actual changes amount to distinctions without a difference, and the opportunities that will be unknowingly lost to the lives of those so 'educated', will be tragically unlimited.

But hey, 'Good job', on getting a 'good' education so you can go out and get a 'good' job, right? I'd warn against dwelling too long on what might be meant by 'good' in any part of that, but... given such an education, there's probably no need to.

What can you do? Look closer at the assumptions you're making in what you are changing from, as well as what you are changing to, and why. Don't make a change based upon what are popularly assumed to be 'the answers', but on what answers follow from asking worthwhile questions. Why are you contemplating sending yourself or your child to school for years? What do you seek to gain in exchange for the years of life that will be invested into that new system? When considering 'school choice', start at the beginning: What are they teaching and why are they teaching it? If they don't give you a very different answer from 'to get a good job!', then that choice is simply choosing a Firebird or Mustang over a Camaro, while leaving yourself homeless. The choice to settle for a change in management and materials which in and of itself is all the change that public, charter or private schools amount to, will change nothing of value or consequence in regards to receiving an education that's worthy of the name.

When I participated in the push a few years ago in Missouri to reform our school curriculum, I was reminded that our school systems were the first and true genesis of the 'deep state', as I saw firsthand as the bureaucracy of the state dept of education, disregarded and dismissed the stated aims of our legislator's laws, and chewed our reforms up and spat them out, without swerving from or slowing the 'progress' of their goals in the least. The problems are systemic, they are fundamental to the entire structure & purpose of our school systems in what they are and what they were designed to accomplish and why, and they have been there from their creation, a design flaw that has only intensified, expanded, and metastasized their 'unintended' side-effects throughout our school systems, and into our society today. And remember that the path that led to where we are today, began with our turning away from the aims of a traditional education to equip us with the 'useless' skills of being at home anywhere in a 'well furnished mind', to fleeing it in a 'sportscar' for rushing off from here to there with little or no understanding of either location or your part in it.

When you listen to the words of the assistant principal, when you see the faces of the mostly upper middle class antifa & BLM supporters who are violent in manner, language, and even physically assaulting bystanders, police, the elderly and even pregnant mothers, look at their faces. Don't make the mistake of being swayed into thinking that their presumed wealth, class, race, religion, or even their political affiliations, are of any real significance - they're not. What is significant is that you're seeing the self satisfied and thoughtlessly sure faces of what humanity looks like, when it lacks an education worth having - even though most have had lengthy and inestimably expensive educations in the schools that We The People have paid for, and insisted they attend, in order to 'get a degree and get a good job'; faces that are entirely concerned with getting from here to there, and with no thought wasted on what either here or there truly is, or what it'll mean when that distant 'there' becomes their ever present 'here'. That brutality of language and action IS the product of just such an 'educational system' as that, and has been blatantly obvious for those who've bothered to look at the evidence that has been there for all to see, for at least fifty years now. It was once understood that, as James V. Schall noted in his "A Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning", that:
"...The person who was most free was the one who had the most control over himself. The person who was most unfree was the one who was ruled by pleasures, money, or power..."
, a person at home in their well-furnished mind, is in control of themselves, and free, that is what 'to educate' once meant. These people in our streets today are not displaying self-control, they are not free, and they don't want liberty for themselves or for you, they passionately want to get from here to there by any means necessary, and if they think that punching you in the face means getting closer to 'there', they are unquestionably sure that those ends justify their means.

And people are wanting to send students and teachers back into them?

These concerns were easier to brush off when people still at least aped the manners leftover from the fruits of an earlier education, but that is no longer the case today, and now that we are here in the place that we are, we all need to stop doing it. What excuse can there be for sending students or teachers into a system that welcomes treating the horrifically murderous ideology of Socialism & Communism, as a basis for after-school clubs?! Does that really sound like a 'good idea' to you? Why would you choose the 'option' to send your children to be taught by people you do not know, and do not know what it is that they intend by 'educating' students, and who have little or no choice but to teach to an agenda that was designed by people that they know nothing of, in order to bring us to where we are today - students who not only lack an understanding and regard for the finest achievements of Western Civilization, but despise them? There is no longer an excuse for sending students or teachers into a system, whose products are on display in the faces of these brutal zealots who are tearing up our streets and tearing down our statues.

We live in a time that is in desperate need of people who'll read and think and discuss ideas with others, yet for the last several decades most of us have been taught to scan 'informational text' to answer 'fill in the blank' & 'multiple choice' worksheets, and to 'take a stand' on popular positions, as visibly as possible. Resist. Think beyond the easy answer. If something sounds good to you... ask "why?', ask what premises it presumes & depends upon, and also 'what would follow from that?' and continue that at least three levels deep. Bad things follow when people rush after what sounds good. Resist 'change!' that changes nothing.

We don't need new means of putting cheap old wine into new skins, we just need good wine
Again, it seems to me to be important to ask: Why send kids (or teachers) back into a system of such proven failures? It is too late for the management approach today, modern educational theory deeply influences and guides the ideas, actions and materials, of even those who think they are 'reforming the system' - but the fact is that you can't reform a process that is intended to eliminate the system it operates in. It must be ended. Nothing else will 'work'.

Fortunately there are new and exciting developments that have been spontaneously popping up around the nation since the school closures began, in the form of alternatives that are being led by both parents and many good and dedicated teachers, and new businesses seeking to connect them to do what they love - teach - to the kids of ten to fifteen families, in the form of 'micro-schools' or 'learning pods'. "Introduction to Micro-schools - Katherine Curry and Jackie Mania
What is a micro school? A new wave of tiny schools is sweeping the country offering new options for parents, teachers, and students. Although there is no common definition that covers all micro schools, the understanding that students benefit from personalized learning with close access to teachers is creating an interest in reinventing the one-room schoolhouse where the emphasis is on individual student growth. Micro schools vary in size, approach and governance, and these schools “model a combination of one-room schoolhouse, blended learning, home schooling and private schooling” (Horn, 2015, para. 2).

What is unique about a micro school? Learning environments vary considerably among micro schools. Students may attend school only a few days each week, or they may attend in a more traditional, five days each week, schedule. What these schools have in common is that they offer personalized learning, access to teachers at a very low ratio, innovative approaches to pedagogy, and “a fidelity to personalization and success for all in small communities” (Horn, 2015).

In most micro schools, class size is limited to fifteen students or less, and many schools encourage mixed age level groupings. Classes meet less frequently and can be taught through a flipped classroom or blended learning approach. Class time usually involves hands-on, activity based learning that often pairs students with experts in their fields. Lectures, worksheets and book work are replaced with carefully constructed activities that foster the individual growth of students. These schools often develop content and curriculum that inspire passion for learning through real world application...."
I hope it goes without saying, that 'Micro-Schools' by name alone won't significantly alter the nature of the education they deliver, from that of public, charter or private school, but they do put it much more easily within your grasp to ensure that such a change is made, and to do so intelligently, and in concert with others of similar interests and goals. The key is to choose an education to help students develop into well informed individuals with an intellectually integrated understanding of the habits, knowledge and aims of Western Civilization (Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian), with a strong emphasis on striving to live up to its ideals of truth and justice, for the purpose of enabling a student to become a virtuous and independent person capable of living a good life, in a society blessed with liberty. A person so equipped has, as Mortimer Adler described, has,
"... a good mind, well disciplined and its present process of inquiring and judging, knowing and understanding, and well furnished with knowledge, well cultivated by ideas."
, and is self-evidently a benefit to themselves and to their community, because they will tend to be more consciously capable of distinguishing, and choosing to do, what is wise and true, because they understand that to be a greater value to themselves and their community. That, and not the schools attended or degrees accumulated in them, will mark them as being Educated.

I've been asking this question of why we should continue sending either students or teachers into our school systems for some time now, and I've been getting answers from parents and from teachers which quite understandably expresses their anxiety over the desperate circumstances that ending our school systems would incur upon them, ranging from what to do with their kids so that they can work, to not being able to afford other options, to - especially by older teachers - not being able to risk their careers, and I understand their well founded and very real concerns. Parents, students, teachers, community - are undeniably in a very difficult situation.

And of course those concerns, valid as they are, don't address the point of the question, which is that if the system is not only broken, but is visibly harming students, and teachers, communities and the nation itself, is preserving your comfort and convenience really the answer you want to go on record for excusing it with? How many more years do you imagine that this system will be able to sustain - or will even be interested in sustaining - those benefits you are currently in fear of losing? Aren't those difficulties going to be easier to deal with now, today, than they will be with each passing day of more 'education' that the assistant principals in our school systems will have injected into our lives?

I can't help thinking of Jefferson's description of the difficulties surrounding another peculiar institution, and how successive years of kicking it down the road to another year, turned out in the end:
"...But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other..."
That our schools are closed is such a bizarre and unexpected gift of 2020, I urge you, please, don't squander it, and don't be duped by the sham of frantically seeking to get from here to there, that calls for 'change!' that changes nothing. What we are facing today is what our school systems' designs could not avoid producing, no matter what their intentions might have been. Let them go.

We are facing a deadly virus today, and it is most definitely spread through our school systems - stop sending in your students and teachers to be infected by them.

******************************************************

Here's a selection of some of the more interesting links I've found, in no particular order, or endorsement, other than as a means of getting a wider perspective on Micro-Schools and Learning Pods:
Introduction to Micro-schools - Katherine Curry and Jackie Mania
"What is a micro school? A new wave of tiny schools is sweeping the country offering new options for parents, teachers, and students. Although there is no common definition that covers all micro schools, the understanding that students benefit from personalized learning with close access to teachers is creating an interest in reinventing the one-room schoolhouse where the emphasis is on individual student growth. Micro schools vary in size, approach and governance, and these schools “model a combination of one-room schoolhouse, blended learning, home schooling and private schooling...” (Horn, 2015, para. 2)"

Microschooling Is The Decades-Old Relic That Is Becoming The Latest Education Trend
Families are looking into microschooling amid the coronavirus pandemic. By Meghan SchillerAugust 17, 2020 at 9:15 pm

Families Priced Out of ‘Learning Pods’ Seek Alternatives
Should public school systems provide teachers for small-group instruction?

Pods, Microschools and Tutors: Can Parents Solve the Education Crisis on Their Own?
As school openings remain in flux, families grapple with big questions about safety, money and politics.

What is pod learning and why are they putting districts on the defensive?

'Pandemic pods' and 'micro-schools': How parents are finding ways to help their kids — and themselves — manage schooling at home
By Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune 7/30/2020

Parents turn to microschooling as distance learning begins in Clark County
KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas•August 24, 2020

Problematic Women: Back to School, Sort of, and the Future of Education
Virginia Allen / @Virginia_Allen5 / Lauren Evans / @laurenelizevans / August 27, 2020 / 4 Comments

Here's how many more students will be home-schooled in Maricopa County this fall
Lily Altavena - Arizona Republic

Pandemic Lessons: Homecoming, Homeschooling, and the Home Economy

Many parents don't know about these small group teaching methods for remote learning
By Kristin Thorne - Thursday, August 27, 2020 5:56PM

Families Priced Out of ‘Learning Pods’ Seek Alternatives
Should public school systems provide teachers for small-group instruction?

Pods, Microschools and Tutors: Can Parents Solve the Education Crisis on Their Own?
As school openings remain in flux, families grapple with big questions about safety, money and politics.
By Melinda Wenner Moyer - Updated Aug. 18, 2020

I Run a Tutoring Company. I Get Dozens of Calls a Day About Learning Pods.
This is what the scramble to teach from home looks like. BRIAN PLATZER AUGUST 12, 2020

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Being an old complaint, doesn't make it less valid, or less dangerous - Education or School Systems pt 4

If you complain about our school systems' failures, one common response that you're likely to get, is:
"Oh, that's such an old complaint, people have always been saying the schools are failing, every generation repeats it."
, which has some truth to it, but like the crack that 'It's not paranoia if people really are out to get you', if you look at the history of the school systems since we instituted them, they actually have been getting measurably worse and worse (by their own criteria) at delivering the Education they promised from the very start, and while progressively delivering less and less of the quality they promised, they've been doing more and more of what they weren't supposed to be doing unto us at all. That those failures have been occurring consistently, nationwide, over successive decades, is an indication that the problems with our school systems have far less to do with the incompetence or bad intentions (though, some of that surely exists, see previous post) of particular localities, administrators, teachers, students, or parents, than it has to do with the fundamental changes to why, what with, and how, we've expected our school systems to 'educate' our students.

Because the problem is systemic in nature, it can't be solved by trying to treat the endless series of bad effects it spawns as if they were isolated bugs to be fixed & forgotten. A consequence of not seeing that our school systems problems are inherent in its very design - in both theory and structure - is that we enable those fundamental flaws to hide safely behind the far more visibly distracting effects of 'we've gotta improve our reading and math scores!', and each such 'fix' leads to still worse problems, each inviting still further fixes, and all serving to make the system which actually caused them, to grow ever more stronger and entrenched. We've taken up that invitation and we've travelled so far down that path, that the actual problems have become more hidden, harder to identify, and easier to mistake as being problems of policy only - hence the ever growing number of gilded Band-Aids we've applied to the arterial bleeds in the quality of We The People's education.

To be fair, it wouldn't be easy to compare our traditional system of education, to the 'progressive' school systems that replaced it, even if we tried - and oh, we have tried. On this one issue, the problem doesn't come from the 'Progressive Education' side of the comparison, as they've always favored having as much of a uniform, centralized, common set of 'standards' as they could possibly get away with - that's their selling point, there's little to no difficulty finding schools that are representative of 'progressive' practices, to compare to the practices of traditional education. The problem comes from trying to find even a single representative example from the side of traditional education, that you'd compare it to. Even in those aspects you'd expect to be fairly easy to compare, in their books and so forth, what would you compare a Common Core 'Social Studies' textbook to....Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War"? de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America"? Even the textbook histories of the 1904 (I've got my Grandpa's school textbooks - here's a link to a later edition of the American History, and English History, which are already showing the 'progressive' factoid'izing of history, but are still vastly superior to what we have today ), were vastly different in form and quality and are not very comparable. And if we skipped over comparing the actual materials used, and tried comparing a measure of their respective results, such as with this often meme'd quiz from Salina, Kansas, in 1895 , that comparison would also leave you with a false impression (more on that in a moment).
Is it just about the questions?

One of the problems is that even if you could find the graded quizzes used in that particular school, or even a list of the materials and lessons used in getting them, it was very likely not what was used in the next school down the road, let alone in the next town or state. And before you decide to score that as a point for the 'Progressive Education' side, it is extremely important to point out that that was not a bug, but a feature of the traditional system of education, and one of its most important and valuable features, at that. In each location, the individual parents and trusted advisers, in conjunction with the teachers they hired, decided upon what materials would be used, to what extent, and what results were expected of them, and that varied as much from location to location as the people in them did.

If that traditional feature still seems buggy to you, consider the cases of (picking a few names out of a very stuffed hat)... George Wythe, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Frederic Douglass... hugely well educated Americans such as these, came from wildly differing educations, which were drawn from widely varying materials and means, which were selected by their parents, or advisers (living or authored), as it seemed would be best suited to help them to achieve a common goal of becoming educated. Do you recall from a few years back when Finland was all the rage in 'how to do school!' circles (I touched on what usually went unsaid on that in this post, pay especial attention to the comments)? Funny thing about that, if you bothered to look past the meaningless distractions of giving teachers a 'professional salary', insurance, etc., and looked at what the teachers themselves said they actually did which made a difference in educating their students, they attributed it to teachers having full control over their classrooms, beginning with the material they chose to teach from (they had general cultural targets they had to prepare their students for, but weren't told what materials to use or how to get there), the only classroom tests they used were those they themselves devised, if and when they saw a need for it, and they had close one-on-one relationships with the student's parents, and the teacher had final say on who was disciplined, why and how, and who remained in their classes.

IOW, with at least some participation and consent from parents, their teachers were given the power to Teach by those with the proper power to give it to them, and their students, if they were willing, were able to learn. Predictably, shortly after the international spotlight fell upon them, and the proponents of centralization began to realize that a feature such as that was most definitely a bug in their systems, those conditions in Finland began to degrade. Similarly, go ask a teacher in your nearest school (public and even private) how free they are to select the materials, methods, tests & policies they'd prefer to teach to their students with (Hint: Not very).

While the material that was used by traditional educational methods could include classical texts, and/or various 'Primer's, and/or the Bible, and/or Shakespeare and/or a myriad of other options, the students who could and would learn to read and think through them, would learn through them to recognize what was admirable and what was tragic or despicable, as well as how to recognize what scenarios were more easily resolved with mathematical solutions and how to reach them and how to recognize the difference. By various non-standard means and materials, traditional schools gave students a familiarity with, and an interest in pursuing on their own, what Thomas Jefferson referred to as,
"...the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
, which informed their understanding of their nation's history, culture, and government. They were able to do that because they weren't told through a rigid chain of command - of legislators, regulators, administrators - that micro-managed teachers & students on what to 'think' with, and how. Simply having the important goal to become educated, and not confusing that goal with meaningless distractions such as getting high test scores (a very recent, and poor, innovation of progressive school systems) or developing workforce or social 'skills', they - parents, teachers, students - were able to decide on the most effective means of reaching it. And as acquiring the basic elements of the Three R's ('reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic') were necessary, they were quickly gotten out of the way with simple, proven methods, so that the primary goal could be reached. The fact that our school systems fail so miserably at even imparting the basic abilities of the Three R's today - despite a century of their 'Top Men' devoting ludicrous amounts of time and resources to over-thinking how to remake the wheel into glitteringly dysfunctional blocks (see 'See & Say') - and even after making that secondary skill into a primary objective, our colleges routinely have to provide remedial classes in those basic skills to incoming students before they can begin any of their other classes.

That an endless series of 'school reform!'s have consistently failed to ensure that even college bound students have rudimentary abilities in basic skills (let alone the level of education those skills should have led them into), is telling you a lot about our school systems today - how closely are you listening?

And here we begin to see what is comparable between these two systems of education, and that is their approach to education. But before getting into those comparisons, first there's another matter we need to flesh out, which is what I hope you're wondering right now: "what do you mean by 'educated'?" I can't tell you how many people - including teachers, administrators, and politicians promising to 'fix things' - that I've stumped with that basic question. Would you go to a doctor who was unsure what was meant by Health, and couldn't tell you what the medicine he was prescribing you was, or why?

To thumbnail my answer to that once again, is that what I'm good with, generally speaking, is what was once understood as being the purpose of educating students, that being to help students develop into well informed individuals with an intellectually integrated understanding of the habits, knowledge and aims of Western Civilization (Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian), with a strong emphasis on striving to live up to its ideals of truth and justice, for the purpose of enabling a student to become a virtuous and independent person capable of living a good life, in a society blessed with liberty. A person so equipped was self-evidently a benefit to themselves & their community, because they tended to be more consciously capable of distinguishing, and choosing to do, what was wise and true. That, and not the schools they attended or degrees accumulated in them, that marked them as being Educated.

Having that goal - or not - is what most defines the two systems approach to education, and I think that will become more clear by asking a question about that oft meme'd quiz from 1895 Salina Kansas, and looking at two different answers to it:
'How many of us can even understand the questions that the Salina, KS quiz is asking, and why is that?'
, keep your response in mind a moment, as it'll make a good lens to view the matter through. I contend that there is one answer to that, and that to see it as being multiple problems that need to be fixed, means missing the systemic nature of the problem, and locks us into ever worsening results.

Giving us a fine example of missing the systemic for its effects, is Snopes's attempted 'debunking' of the Salina KS quiz. What's painfully obvious, in typical Snopes/Fact Checker style, is that they don't debunk the quiz at all, but instead only complain about it. They complain that those who promote it only do so in order to make us all feel '...dumber than an eighth grader...', and then they take the modern pivot of faulting the quiz for all that it doesn't cover. That's an important point, and a big clue to the systemic problem involved: Their 'debunking' is reflective of the 'progressive' belief that school should 'teach' students everything that they think might be useful to know, and what student's should & shouldn't think about it with, and that teaching students a lessor quantity of those 'things', means they've received a lesser quality of education, which is simply not so. Quantity does not equal, or create, Quality.

That 'Pragmatically Progressive' approach towards useful effects, random and un-integrated facts, socialized approval, and various & sundry useful skills, led us in our initial turn to using education to accomplish numerous other goals than actual education (which goes at least back to Rousseau), and soon ceded more and more ground to the immediate benefits of teaching 'useful skills' to students so they could go out and get a 'good job' sooner and boost the economy. That ushered in the full 'Progressive Education' which began to deliberately, not just turn our focus away from the ideals that America was formed from (and which formed its Founders), but to actively oppose them. Information Skills without the wisdom to employ them well, is a dangerous plan - see the fires in our streets for reference - and yet it forms the nucleus of our school systems.

That approach of seeking to cram minds full of useful facts, and a failure to differentiate between the higher or lower value of the information peddled without concern for wisdom, invokes an educational equivalent of Gresham's Law ('Bad money drives out good') and is what first progressively inflated our school systems' curriculum with extraneous subjects of Home Economics, 'Health', Civics, which led to woodworking, shop & automotive class, and a series of still more irrelevant classes, until the perennial point of 'falling test scores!' reached maximum volume, and those classes (some of which were at least somewhat useful) were dropped, and those classes which had originally begun as having some value and relation to what had been taught in traditional education, and had already been gutted to make room for the 'useful' classes, were then stuffed full of random 'noteworthy' trivia that could be drilled in and scanned for in a relentless series of testing, all of which means packing heads with ephemeral information without wisdom, in order to nudge up test scores and unwisely expand and entrench the school systems even further.

The traditional approach, OTOH, intended only to equip their students with those fundamentals that they truly needed to know, in order to be able to learn and do whatever else they would find worthwhile later in life, and to want to continue doing so, long after they'd left school behind.

And that brings us around to what the actual problem is - the nature of our school system itself.

The System
The process of our slipping further and further from focusing on delivering those traditional capabilities, is what people have been complaining about for generations, and each attempt to fix the problem has failed, because the problem is that in treating the effects, rather than their causes, we cause still more & more of its effects. Central to the actual problem inherent in our schools systems, is the fact that the cause which our our forebears created them to address, wasn't Education!

Our first school systems were created to assuage the fears which the proto-progressives had about the new immigrants flooding into the country (you know, the dreaded Irish, Italians & Slavs, who jarred their uniform sensibilities), which prompted them to propose forming a mandatory system of uniform, centralized, school systems, with which to control and shape the populace - in the 1830's, and that's how old the complaint is that our school systems are failing our students and our nation.

Almost immediately, people attempted to repeal the new school system's structures, but it was too late, as I noted in this post:,
"...Only three years after Massachusetts created their first school board as an entity with the political power to 'oversee' their already existing system of public education, some state representatives, such as Allen W. Dodge, saw what was happening, saw where it would lead, and attempted to put an end to it. As you can see from this snippet of his reaction then, their concerns then, weren't too far from our concerns now:
“After all that has been said about the French and Prussian systems, they appear to your Committee to be much more admirable, as a means of political influence, and of strengthening the hands of the government, than as a mere means for the diffusion of knowledge. For the latter purpose, the system of public Common Schools, under the control of persons most interested in their flourishing condition, who pay taxes to support them, appears to your Committee much superior. The establishment of the Board of Education seems to be the commencement of a system of centralization and of monopoly of power in a few hands, contrary, in every respect, to the true spirit of our democratical institutions; and which, unless speedily checked, may lead to unlooked-for and dangerous results.”[emphasis added]
Sadly, they failed to discontinue the imported experiment of politicizing public education, which is exponentially worse today (still, there's no time like the present to correct an old mistake). I highly recommend reading his full report "Report on the expediency of abolishing the Board of Education and the Normal Schools".

With political power established, the new purposes of 'educational systems', began to leap from the state level, to the national level, through a number of national education reform efforts, such as The Morrill Act (1863) which established a Federal role in education, and set up the first prototype for the Dept of Education, as well as what I noted above, the NEA's "Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education" (1913), which set about to dumb down, the already pro-regressively stunted, though vastly superior recommendations, of the earlier "Report of the Committee of Ten", under the chairmanship of Harvard's president, Charles Eliot, in 1893, which they found to be too concerned with content and ideas...."
Of course the new schools were supposed to continue teaching students what they would have learned in traditional education, but as the purpose for doing so had changed, the process became one that was performed more for appearances sake, as cover for doing what they were primarily intended to do: Rid students of their 'otherness', and reform them, and their parents, into a more uniform and controllable people. What that 'otherness' was, has shifted wildly over the nearly two centuries from then to now, from the 1830's creation of school boards & districts to control and change unfamiliar immigrants into more useful people, to the post-Civil War Morrill Act's efforts to 'educated the rebelliousness out of them' and put their focus on job skills, to the 'Progressives' who wanted to reshape and reform Americans into what they thought would be a new & improved model of humanity, or the other typical pretexts of "We need to keep up with the new century!...We need to keep up with the Germans!... We need to keep up with the Russians!... We need to keep up with the Japanese!... We need to keep up with the new century!...", our school systems' powers have grown, and have greatly intensified since the opening of the 20th Century, but their goal at least, has not changed in the least.

That primary non-educational goal has led to nearly two centuries of complaints about the poor quality of our schools and their graduates, and they fail even in that for many of the same reasons that authoritarian & socialist efforts lead to police states with little freedom, and markets with a poor quality of products, and vast shortages - it's not because their people are unintelligent, but because the very nature of their systems will not allow liberty and quality to flourish. The Top-Down, centralized, uniform, series of 'standards' and orders, prevent individuals from thinking and acting upon their ideas, and so they eliminate freedom, and deliver little more than an abundance of chaos.

Not only are teaching those traditional timeless principles and truths not the purpose of our school systems today, they couldn't be achieved within today's school systems even if they tried, as a century's worth of reform efforts have surely proven. Education is neither a scientific experiment nor an industrial product nor a tool of societal reform; it cannot be measured on scales or in beakers and cannot be produced in a factory using uniform materials, methods, tools and shift schedules, and no amount of strategic changes can make that so. It requires intelligent people with an achievable goal in mind, who are able to think and act as they see is best, and understand that they are responsible for their choices and actions.

And so after decades of buying time by laughing off people's concerns and fears about our school systems, we've actually reached a point today where transmitting those timeless principles and truths are no longer even pretended to be the purpose which schools are understood to exist for - not even just for appearances sake - to the point that today parents are even warned against listening to their students lessons, or again even to tutor their children so that they don't fall behind.

The problems caused by our school systems may have been less apparent two hundred years ago, but they've been inherent in the nature of the system since its start, and only needed today's circumstances to draw their worse effects out into the open. Their combination of cause & effect has naturally, and swiftly, devolved into the politically correct grab bag of vapid virtue signaling that can be found on the 'About' pages of just about any school or school district's website. Again, this is less an issue of teachers and other people involved in the process (though there's blame to go around there as well), than it has to do with the nature and design of the systems itself.

It is not a healthy system and neither teacher nor student, should be sent back into it.

The 'Old Complaint' is an ongoing threat
The 'old complaint' about schools failing, was, seen over time, the incremental shockwaves of the progressive loss of one layer after another, of what made us civilized Americans of Western Civilization. While at the time people snickered that:
"Not knowing the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, isn't the end of the world!"
, and of course it wasn't. Neither was it when they next said,
"Not knowing the names of the Presidents, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the Declaration of Independence, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the Constitution, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing how to read, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the details of history, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing how to add, subtract, multiply & divide, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing the proper use of grammar, isn't the end of the world!"
, nor was,
"Not knowing proper manners, isn't the end of the world!"
None of those alone was 'the end of the world!', but just as the old saw about the man who, falling off the top of the Empire State Building, is heard to call out: "So far, so good!" as he falls past each floor, such an optimistic focus upon the moment, is misplaced. All of those facts and ideals which we've progressively lost, one after the other, across time, has meant the end of that world which America could exist in and be understood by Americans. The loss of why and how we once educated ourselves, has progressively transformed us from being an America where our youth were expected to help the elderly cross the street, into an America where it is not unexpected to see our youth berate and even assault the elderly for attempting to cross the street, to which a large number of 'Americans' will applaud.

That is what the world looks like, when those purposes, ideals, knowledge and habits are lost to those inhabiting it.

The nature and means of the ideas of schooling that we've saddled ourselves with today, as a result of its non-educational designs, has been the cause of those effects that are disintegrating the whole of what was once understood to be important to be taught and learned. Such means and purposes as these, were and are the very means of detouring teachers and students alike from doing what they once did and should still do. Where we are now, is only the hell that all such roads eventually lead people with little more than good intentions, to.

So stop already.

I would not send a child, or a teacher, to school today. Period. Why would you?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Educational Sleight of Hand Inflaming America - Education or School Systems pt 3

So I've given my unpopular opinion over the last two posts, that our situation with the schools being closed has been the best thing that's happened in 2020, and that if we know what's best for us, we should see to it that they stay closed. Why? So we can begin correcting the century old educational error that has led to the chaotic society we are living in today, and start getting back to providing students with educations that are good in more meaningful ways than just a GPA.

Three reasons I've gone into (so far) for how our schools have loosed the chaos:
  1. America and its school systems are incompatible. America was founded upon the discovery of timeless and self-evident truths, and abstract principles of individual rights, property and the Rule of Law, to secure Liberty for all; while the 'Progressive' experiment in reforming our school systems was driven by Pragmatic tenets (one of Pragmatism's key founders was 'Progressive' education reformer, John Dewey) which dismiss 'Truth' in favor of what seems to work, and rejects abstract principles for guiding right action, in favor of trying whatever seems will have the power to 'work' for the 'greater good' (at the moment). In their founding ideals, America and its school systems are fundamentally opposed to each other.
  2. The Pro-Regressive repurposing of education as a means to 'getting a good job', has always carried with it the belief that 'the masses' are unfit to receive the same education as 'their leaders', and should instead forego that in favor of being trained to perform ''specific difficult manual tasks'' - at the opening of the 20th century that meant helping to support the economy by preparing 'the masses' to operate machinery in factories, and here in the 21st Century it means preparing 'the masses' to support the economy by developing their STEM and computer skills.
  3. Our school systems were designed to assure that govt experts (themselves) would have more power to control what students learn, than their parents. Seeing their surprising success as early as 1909, one designer delighted that "... Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent...", and in 2020, amidst the virtual classes & Covid-19 lockdowns, they're still very much concerned to maintain their power to 'teach' "...the messy work of destabilizing a kids racism or homophobia or transphobia..." in their classes, free from parents overhearing or interfering with them even in their homes.
It is with that in mind, and a great deal more, that I listen to the reactions of those who, shocked at my unpopular opinion, typically reply to me that:
"Surely what they're missing out on, outweighs whatever harm they might be exposed to?!"
I try not to show how shocked I am to hear what seems like such a willful exercise in denial, which otherwise responsible people seem to think expresses a 'reasonable' concern. My guess is that, like an audience caught up in the spectacle of a magic show, they fall for the magician's misdirection and fail to see the hand that's making their valuables disappear from sight. Answering that question, requires focusing upon at least two of those points that we're meant to miss.

To take the least obvious point first, to the extent that some good material might make it into what is taught within our school systems, I remind you that all those 'good lessons' will be conveyed and refracted through the pragmatic lens (at best) of a long line of textbook developers, superintendents, curriculum writers, testing algorithms, administrators, and finally at the end of that line, teachers, to present what is by that time a distorted - at best - picture of reality as the background for those 'good lessons' to be conveyed to the students. Also worth noting, those who will be most affected by the distorted views in these lessons, will be those students who're conscientiously making a serious effort to earn good grades. What good can that do?

What distortions? Examples abound for those interested in looking, but there happens to be an especially clear example of the sort of distortions I'm referring to which is fully on display today, in the controversy over what was initially presented as being 'important!' history, with the the New York Times endorsing the "1619 Project" of Hannah Jones. What the "1619 Project" shamelessly presented as being factual, was quickly exposed as being riddled with biased opinion, inaccuracies, and outright lies, which the author and her corporate sponsors soon employed their command of rubberized words to twist their original intentions for it, into being a work of historical 'journalism', not history, which they had only presented so as to counter what they saw as being an existing 'historical narrative'.
School sponsored Communist Clubs
- what could go wrong?

I wonder if the same thing occurred to you about that, as occurred to Legal Insurrection, who replied:
"...Why not counter the other narrative with history if that narrative is wrong? Shouldn’t the nation’s shared memory be historical facts?
Jones also said they “explicitly stated” their aims in the piece. The last sentence of the introduction (my emphasis): “On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”
Truthfully. When I read “truthfully” I expect facts and history.
Even if Jones wanted the 1619 Project to be a “work in journalism” she chose the wrong term. Journalism, like history, should report the truth. Not your truth. Not alternative facts...."
The gist of the lessons that the "1619 Project" is peddling, are not unusual or random one off's of happenstance; sure its tawdry nature may push its message more explicitly than most, but similar messages are implicit in essentially all 'social studies' today (and especially over the last 30 years), and have been progressively lowering the bar of what's 'acceptable' in the classroom and society for over a century.

If you're still not seeing it, then we need to focus on the other sleight of hand obscuring your view, that being:
What do you imagine a 'good' education to be?
As noted in the first post, a good education needn't be an extensive one, and until our time, a good education would have been widely recognized as being one that conveys an essential body of knowledge and general understanding which aims that student towards living a life worth living, and equips them with the intellectual means for living it well, as well as to unlock a lifetime of ability and interest in continuing their own education after leaving school - Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. OTOH, a student who has learned an extensive amount of material, even earning several degrees, but in the process has been led to misidentify a handful of good ideas as being inconsequential or even bad, or has been led to misidentify bad ideas as being good, then despite all the learning they have accumulated, what they have received is a bad education, and their lives will, over time, veer further and further from the bullseye.

To quote someone who once said something, "...what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul..."?

For those of you who do associate learning large quantities of material, and the accumulation of numerous degrees with being a 'good' education (and you are sadly in good company), you should keep in mind that there was a certain western European nation of the 1930's that was considered to be 'highly educated' by that same criteria, even as they plunged the world into war. The once uncontroversial fact is, that having learned to put little or no value on what puts the Good in 'good', is a product of a bad - AKA: 'Progressive', education, and that message more than resonates with, and is promoted by, that same long line of textbook developers, superintendents, curriculum writers, testing algorithms, and administrators (the institutionally blinded leading the soon to be blind), and seeing a disturbingly large number of professors and teachers, who also approve of the riotous violence occurring in our cities.

With all of that in mind, my answer to the question of "Surely what they're missing out on, outweighs whatever harm they might be exposed to?!", is an emphatic: No.

If you still don't see it, it is difficult to see how you see that, when surely you are able to see the fruits of at least five generations of this living educational experiment, who've been rioting in our streets on a nightly basis for months now. Notice also, that they are doing so with the general approval and support of millions more who've 'somehow' learned that damaging or destroying property and lives can be called 'peaceful', when they're directed towards the ideals, laws, heritage, statues & persons, which once were valued by Americans.

Again, in their ideals, America and its school systems are fundamentally opposed to each other, and the hostility that so many students bear towards The West in general, and towards America in particular, is not the unexpected side effect of, or somehow strangely learned in spite of the 'education' our school systems provide them - that systemic maleducation is inherent in the nature of their systems and is their intended product. If you object to that, I've got to ask, on what basis do you do so? On the basis of what you wish our schools were, or on the basis of the 'lessons" they actually are, and are visibly & intentionally furthering?

America's patience is going to make it late for its own funeral
If you think I'm being too hasty, well I'm sorry but I've got to point out that it is you who are clearly tardy, and tragically, inexcusably so. When this was reported (outside the establishment news) three years ago, it was already several years late in pointing out that numerous public schools across the nation had already been openly hosting Communist Clubs for officially approved of after school activities:
"...Officials at Edina Public Schools confirmed the existence of the club.

"We did have a Young Marxists Club last year," said Susan Brott, Director of Communications & Community Engagement at Edina Public Schools. "I think that was the first year they had it."

School officials said all clubs are student generated and led by faculty advisors. Clubs are not automatically approved. There is an application process, as well protocols and guidelines that must be followed upon creation of a club. Symbols deemed "inappropriate" by school officials are not permitted, for example.

"So long as everyone is welcome to join, clubs are generally approved," Brott said..."
Apparently the irony of saying 'everyone is welcome' in regards to 'clubbing' around an ideology that brutally consumed the lives of many tens of millions of people across the 20th Century, is lost on that school's Director of Communications & Community Engagement - though her irony deficiency is widespread amongst numerous school districts across the nation. And if that's not obvious enough, simply pay attention to the evidence of those tearing up our streets and tearing down our statues: Clearly, whatever lessons our schools are teaching kids in what they should know of history, grammar, math, art & literature, are being massively outweighed by the uglier lessons which are far more thoroughly, frequently, consistently and effectively, teach students and teachers alike in such demoralizing ideals as these:
  • that 'truth' is relative;
  • the expectation for someone to make a moral choice is an unrealistic expectation;
  • that 'cancelling' and treating strangers like dirt is acceptable if it furthers your ends for 'the greater good';
  • that uncivil behavior and violence can be called 'peaceful protesting';
  • that it's possible to respect 'human rights' while actively destroying the property of actual human beings whose lives depend upon it being secured; lives secured and depend upon;
  • that people can be presumed to be good or bad based upon skin color or wealth;
  • that America is evil.
Believing just one of those tenets is corrupting to the mind of the person thinking with them. Look at the faces of those who've taken these ideas into their minds - believing that - not dropping out of school, or getting poor test scores - is what constitutes a bad education.
Professors, graduates, students, Left & Right... 'educated'

And those beliefs and messages are widely accepted - again, the '1619 Project' is unusual only in how blatantly they state their beliefs - and are treated in our school systems as if they were admirable ideals which your A+ Students will be encouraged to study hard and get their A's in, and consequently be the most harmed by. There should be no surprise that such 'ideas' as those lead to professors of "American Literature and Composition” who loudly proclaim "F*ck every single cop", and how could you possibly think they'd lead to anything else but that?! You might want to think about that, as you urge your child to "work hard and get A's".

That is the nature of our school systems, and the education that it intends our students to learn - it just is. We are long past the point where you send your child into their classrooms and be surprised when they come out having no regard for what is right & true, condoning or actively forcing their positions upon others and forcefully silencing other views, judging people as being good/bad based upon their wealth & skin pigmentation, disrespecting property and individual rights, and hating the West in general and America in particular.

Open your damn eyes. Especially as there are finally viable alternatives, such as 'Pandemic Pods' & 'Micro-Schools' springing up from coast to coast (though don't take your eye off the material being taught from) - more on that in a bit.

I don't know anything at all of a preacher named Voddie Baucham, other than several friends have sent me a quote attributed to him (which I haven't been able to source), but while I might very well disagree with some or most of what he has to say, on this point at least, he is exactly right:
“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” — Voddie Baucham
Are there still good teachers in our schools? Of course there are. My question is why?! Why are they still there? And why would you want to send either students or teachers back into such a system as that?

We'll get into some of the excuses most often given to that question, whether of 'old complaints' or blaming it on management, in the final two posts.