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Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

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Posted on Apr 11, 2011
Photo illustration by PZS based on an image by Lin Pernille Photography

By Chris Hedges

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.

Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.

“Imagine,” said a public school teacher in New York City, who asked that I not use his name, “going to work each day knowing a great deal of what you are doing is fraudulent, knowing in no way are you preparing your students for life in an ever more brutal world, knowing that if you don’t continue along your scripted test prep course and indeed get better at it you will be out of a job. Up until very recently, the principal of a school was something like the conductor of an orchestra: a person who had deep experience and knowledge of the part and place of every member and every instrument. In the past 10 years we’ve had the emergence of both [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg’s Leadership Academy and Eli Broad’s Superintendents Academy, both created exclusively to produce instant principals and superintendents who model themselves after CEOs. How is this kind of thing even legal? How are such ‘academies’ accredited? What quality of leader needs a ‘leadership academy’? What kind of society would allow such people to run their children’s schools? The high-stakes tests may be worthless as pedagogy but they are a brilliant mechanism for undermining the school systems, instilling fear and creating a rationale for corporate takeover. There is something grotesque about the fact the education reform is being led not by educators but by financers and speculators and billionaires.”

Teachers, under assault from every direction, are fleeing the profession. Even before the “reform” blitzkrieg we were losing half of all teachers within five years after they started work—and these were people who spent years in school and many thousands of dollars to become teachers. How does the country expect to retain dignified, trained professionals under the hostility of current conditions? I suspect that the hedge fund managers behind our charter schools system—whose primary concern is certainly not with education—are delighted to replace real teachers with nonunionized, poorly trained instructors. To truly teach is to instill the values and knowledge which promote the common good and protect a society from the folly of historical amnesia. The utilitarian, corporate ideology embraced by the system of standardized tests and leadership academies has no time for the nuances and moral ambiguities inherent in a liberal arts education. Corporatism is about the cult of the self. It is about personal enrichment and profit as the sole aim of human existence. And those who do not conform are pushed aside. 

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“It is extremely dispiriting to realize that you are in effect lying to these kids by insinuating that this diet of corporate reading programs and standardized tests are preparing them for anything,” said this teacher, who feared he would suffer reprisals from school administrators if they knew he was speaking out. “It is even more dispiriting to know that your livelihood depends increasingly on maintaining this lie. You have to ask yourself why are hedge fund managers suddenly so interested in the education of the urban poor? The main purpose of the testing craze is not to grade the students but to grade the teacher.”

“I cannot say for certain—not with the certainty of a Bill Gates or a Mike Bloomberg who pontificate with utter certainty over a field in which they know absolutely nothing—but more and more I suspect that a major goal of the reform campaign is to make the work of a teacher so degrading and insulting that the dignified and the truly educated teachers will simply leave while they still retain a modicum of self-respect,” he added. “In less than a decade we been stripped of autonomy and are increasingly micromanaged. Students have been given the power to fire us by failing their tests. Teachers have been likened to pigs at a trough and blamed for the economic collapse of the United States. In New York, principals have been given every incentive, both financial and in terms of control, to replace experienced teachers with 22-year-old untenured rookies. They cost less. They know nothing. They are malleable and they are vulnerable to termination.”


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By Salome, April 11, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two elements of the intentional destruction of the U.S. education system that Chris didn’t mention:

It seems to me, this assault on education is spurred by demographics.  As the nation’s complexion changes from white to beige, brown, black, this nation that once would spare no expense for the public schools, now aims to get the majority of minority students into voucher schools and, after the tipping point has been reached (the public schools destroyed), to pull the vouchers out from under them, leaving them with no place to go, except “personal responsibility”.

Also disturbing is the current, picking-up speed, trend of producing, publishing, and disseminating “counterfactual narratives”, that is, history books, in particular, detailing what might have happened (but didn’t).  I suspect that in the not too distant future, the “counterfactual” label will be conveniently discarded, and we’ll find out that slavery, for instance, was a figment of our imaginations.

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By Self Wise, April 11, 2011 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

The problem also with the way the sciences are taught, is that most often the students are not taught to how to think critically of them, but to what to think. Meaning the high schooler, and underclassmen is often taught to memorize formula and theory and not how to reconstruct the theorems, and formulas that are int eh memory of their calculators, etc.

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By Self Wise, April 11, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

My 10 year old goes to school in a near suburban district of Wisconsin’s largest city. And they are trying very hard to strike a balance between teaching kids critical thinking skills and also getting kids to pass the standardized tests.  They do a fantastic job, but this school has a ton of community support financially and socially to supplement the attack from the state level which hasn’t even been rolled out yet.

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By Salome, April 11, 2011 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I avoid religion, but caved, and went to the funeral of a colleague’s daughter.  After not having been inside a church since the last century (way back in the last century), I was struck anew by the mumbo jumbo talk, the mystical hand signals, the incense, the icons on walls and windows.
Organized religion in the U.S. has no basis on which to demean voodoo.

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By eugene, April 11, 2011 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I saw this decades ago.  Our educational system is based on preparing people for assembly line work.  I thought when I went back for my Masters there would be thinking involved.  Nope!!  Same old American system of learn, spit back and get a degree.  I took an oral exam at the end of my Masters program.  One of the examiners said “every now and then one slips through”.  I asked what he mean and he said “one that can think”.  This was in 1975. 

I saw the same thing in the work place my entire life.  Anyone questioning anything was met with suspicion.  Don’t think, just do. 

What I watched, through the years, is a system incapable of much of anything.  My opinion is this type of education and work places maintains an environment of apathy with hostility towards innovation.  The retired teachers, I know, are extremely rigid in their thought processes. 

As I look at America today, that’s what I see everywhere.  Swollen egos screaming blame while the system collapses around us.  I feel for the young today facing the future with political extremism everywhere.  But then, I suppose, without the ability to think critically, they’s just blunder on.

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By Arraya, April 11, 2011 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized
in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Albert Einstein

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By Salome, April 11, 2011 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges should not be allowed to publish on Mondays.  His articles are too accurate, too insightful, too truthful, and too painful.  He gets the week off to a bad start.
I’m thinking he could publish, say, on Wednesdays, maybe around 11:30pm, when I’m already depressed, and in bed.

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By Iarwain, April 11, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

Nice, Inherit, but you forgot that “anti” means “against” and “ante” means “before.”  Or perhaps you never learned that. 

It should also be pointed out that teachers are being replaced with technology.  And why not?  After all, all we need to do is determine the “best teachers” for each subject, video their lectures, and disseminate.  There’s no need for that nasty public education with its greedy teachers.  What savings!  How many could we drive to the unemployment lines, forcing up productivity and forcing down wages?  I love the smell of capital in the morning. Smells like . . . a charnel house.

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By Arraya, April 11, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

* Great income diversity across the social stratas creates inherent disharmony in the form of delinquency and crime as those below take “short-cuts” to the top income levels.

Study after study comes back that indicates the larger the disparity the more societal ills.  The more equal a society the less.  Market system protocols push for inequality.  The nature of the system is one of inherent disharmony. It seeks it through its own logic.

* Regardless of how astute business-wise or lucky (or both) there are some who will be left behind. It is Darwinian logic that says roadkill on the Highway of Life is acceptable because survival is only for the fittest. Otherwise we live in a jungle where one set of animals are predators of another, stronger set. (Is that you vision of society?)

We live in state enforced market system.  A completely human construct where the “market” is supposed to dictate almost a “natural selection” or for others the market is god and it’s dictates determine your level of godliness.  This market system was conceived under the notion that we should force humans to
compete for survival needs and all progress will come from this.  It’s a completely irrational notion and overall damaging framework for social operation. 

* Humans are motivated by incentive, which is right and proper. But when the financial incentive gets out of hand, as it did with Finance Industry greed, then the consequence can be catastrophic for the economy as a
whole. Why do highways have speed limits? Because speed kills - and the same applies to economies.

To say humans are motivated by incentive is almost meaningless.  We live in system of capital and property accumulation where the very process creates massive social discord.  It’s structural and systemic issue.  Thinking you can
regulated a supremely unsustainable and unstable system to be sustainable and fair is delusional.

* The aberration of communism is that it was founded on the principle that since all people were created equal, then all people should share the wealth generated equally. But that notion needed a centrally controlled economy, which was humanly impossible.

I’d say you probably don’t understand communism.  The market system is a universal control and regulation mechanism.  It’s centrally held together, propagated and refereed by the state.  We currently have a infrastructure that is falling apart(grid, water system, etc).  I’d like to see this not be centrally planned.  Still isms are kind of irrelevant today.  We live in a world the assumes
turning more and more things into money creates social well being as well as that market system has at least a little bit of logic to it.  False on both assumptions. 

* We may be created equal but we all develop different aptitudes. Therefore, in a market economy, there will be different remunerations for different skills - as decided by Supply & Demand.

Both supply and demand are massively manipulated variables.  We live under that false assumption that “money” demand dictates something that society needs.  I see little evidence that a “market” has clue in this issue.  In fact, it looks to be going further away from this as time goes on.  In markets,  demand
is dictated by “money” demand and it is a far cry from human need.  Lots of people around the world would like clean water but they have no money. 

What we are going to have through a confluence of marco-global forces is the market system is going to continue to alienate more and more people.  This won’t be regulated away under our current model of the state enforced market system.

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By Jeremy, April 11, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Seriously though.. there isn’t any one group of people to blame. Everyone has a part in the reasons society is so sick.. Circumstances and situations in the world and in our lives happen because those are the things we give focus, nothing more nothing less. It’s time to wake up and get our priorities straight because the most important things in the world are not things at all..

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By James Harbour, April 11, 2011 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Hedges does us a disservice by ignoring the dominionist angle on the destruction of Eduction, it is all part of the same goal of stratifying America further according to religion.

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By Lafayette, April 11, 2011 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

tbd: The Pythagorean theorem remains true regardless of who is assigned to teach it.

Specious argument in that not all angles are right angles especially in societal or economic systems.

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By RayLan, April 11, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

ITW
“No matter WHAT anyone says, you can either teach Geometry right or wrong, Algebra right or wrong, Physics right or wrong.”
The adjective would be ‘well’ - not ‘right’. What’s wrong physics or mathematics? Low enrollment in the sciences is one of the major reasons that the US lags behind compared to the rest of the ‘civilized’ world.
But that’s again the characteristic of US culture- stigmatizing the A students as ‘nerds’ and worshipping athletes. Just compare the salaries of teachers compared to professional basketball players. - Supply and demand.

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By tony_opmoc, April 11, 2011 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

The decline in educational standards has been ongoing for at least 40 years, and whilst there may have been some corporate intervention and influence over the past 10 years, the primary cause of the decline, at least in the UK had absolutely nothing to do with business.

The change was societal/cultural and had much more to do with left wing philosophy than business. The dumbing down started with the assumption that all children should be treated the same regardless of ability and that streaming and competition was fundamentally wrong and to be avoided in almost all situations. Thus the objective was to try and make not just every school, but every class conform to a common standard with students of all abilities being taught the same things at the same time.

It was and is business that is horrified with the results, because the system has produced large numbers of young uneducated people that do not have even the most basic communication skills required for employment.

Whilst large corporations may be responsible for many of our evils, the reality is that most teachers in our schools and universities, have been in the academic world all their lives. The content even of courses at universites, bear little if any relationship with the skills required for employment.

Education would be much improved if there was a closer relationship with business, and at least a proportion of teachers hired with some real world employment experience.

But the situation continues to get much worse, with teachers even going on strike in protest against their out of control students.

No organisation can function without basic discipline and respect and the realisation that people are different and competition is fundamental for improvement.

Tony

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By Lafayette, April 11, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

INCOME FAIRNESS FIRST AND FOREMOST

tbd: But now, in the present age, the people outside what economist Joseph Stiglitz calls the 1%, are suppose to sacrifice for that 1% so they can maintain being that 1%.

No, you’ve missed the point.

The moral argument is that regardless of how they may “sacrifice” or “work their asses off” to obtain immense riches, those fact alone do not justify the exaggerated incomes.

Yes, in America, Individual Accomplishment means EVERYTHING. And that is how our value-system is warped, wrong, unjust and immoral.

Tell me of one millionaire who made their megabuck on a deserted island? Unless there was pirate treasure hidden here, not a one. There must exist a well-populated and well-enough educated society to sustain the economic wealth generated for colossal incomes to be possible.

You need, then, only two factors of a socio-economic mechanism for exaggerated income to install Income Unfairness:
* First, generate the wealth by hard work and,
* Secondly, institute very low marginal taxation above a certain threshold to assure that it accumulates at the top.

But, one must ask the question in this manner: Is that the sort of society/economy that we want? One where addle-heads venerate the rich and take them as ideal role-models?

My answer, no, not at all. Here’s why:
* Great income diversity across the social stratas creates inherent disharmony in the form of delinquency and crime as those below take “short-cuts” to the top income levels.
* Regardless of how astute business-wise or lucky (or both) there are some who will be left behind. It is Darwinian logic that says roadkill on the Highway of Life is acceptable because survival is only for the fittest. Otherwise we live in a jungle where one set of animals are predators of another, stronger set. (Is that you vision of society?)
* Humans are motivated by incentive, which is right and proper. But when the financial incentive gets out of hand, as it did with Finance Industry greed, then the consequence can be catastrophic for the economy as a whole. Why do highways have speed limits? Because speed kills - and the same applies to economies.
* The aberration of communism is that it was founded on the principle that since all people were created equal, then all people should share the wealth generated equally. But that notion needed a centrally controlled economy, which was humanly impossible.
* We may be created equal but we all develop different aptitudes. Therefore, in a market economy, there will be different remunerations for different skills - as decided by Supply & Demand.
*That some will earn much more than others is acceptable. But, where Much More becomes Too Much More is for each nation to decide. In ours, there is far too much poverty and a middle-class enduring far too much of the tax burden for its citizens to accept Exaggerated Incomes of a select minority class.

I could go on, but I think the point is made. Income Fairness first and foremost, obtained by heavy taxation at the upper levels - as was once the case. The Buffets, Gateses and the Winfreys come later, if ever.

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By Billy Pilgrim, April 11, 2011 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

So it goes.

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By Billy Pilgrim, April 11, 2011 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

I look forward every week for Mr. Hedges and his weekly
column. He never lets me down.

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By Billy Pilgrim, April 11, 2011 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We don’t need no education.

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By Lafayette, April 11, 2011 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

ITW: But he’s wrong about standardized testing.  The problem with testing today is it is BAD testing, and too much weight is given it.  THAT needs to be fixed.

Yes, yes, OK - now please explain how. Bad how? Too much weight given to it how and why?

NB: Affirmations are groundless unless justified by fact or a well-reasoned opinion.

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By Lafayette, April 11, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

ITW: I’m ... disgusted with how English is being taught—worthless waste of my kid’s time.

Interesting comment. Please explain further.

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By surfnow, April 11, 2011 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Most of the teachers in the social studies department where I teach get their news from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity- I’m dead serious. Back in March 2003, there were three of us, out of 100 faculty members,  who went to the antiwar demonstration in NYC just prior to Bush’s wonderfully patriotic display of “shock and awe.” I was called a traitor and a kook by many. I vividly recall telling many of these same brainwashed “patriots” that they would be sorry one day when it came time for them to personally pay the bill.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 11, 2011 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

Inherit the wind makes a valid point. The Pythagorean theorem remains true regardless of who is assigned to teach it.

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By Awi, April 11, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

As an effective teacher who stood up to power for the benefit of children’s education, and was fired, I can attest to the accuracy of Chris’s article.

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By Paul jay, April 11, 2011 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All you have to do is quote George Carlin.

There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it
will never ever ever be fixed.
It’s never going to get any better. Don’t look for it.

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You
don’t. You have no choice.
You have owners. They own you. They own everything.
They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations.
They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the
city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media
companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear.

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-
informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that.
That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want
people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly
they’re getting fu c ked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin’ years ago.
They don’t want that.
You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who
are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb
enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the
longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that
disappears the minute you go to collect it.

-George Carlin

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By Inherit The Wind, April 11, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Chris is off his meds again.
I have two school age kids and some of the things I see them face piss me off, while others really please me.

No matter WHAT anyone says, you can either teach Geometry right or wrong, Algebra right or wrong, Physics right or wrong.  I’m currently delighted with how I’m seeing History taught (critical thinking is necessary) and disgusted with how English is being taught—worthless waste of my kid’s time.

But that’s always been the case.

No, what Hedges is touching on but missing is NOT the issue of “corporate drones”—that’ his anti-deluvian “socialism” at work—but rather the deliberate, wholesale creation of MYTH as science and history at more and more schools around the nation (Like Kansas wanting “Creationism” taught in Biology rather than a comparative religion class).

And he’s right: We don’t appreciate our quality teachers.  I’m no fan of Bloomberg but having watched the man from nearby from nearly his entire term, I honestly believe the guy WANTS to fix the problems with the NYC schools, he just doesn’t have a clue and, like corporate CEOs, figures a corporate CEO-type is the answer.  Joel Klein actually didn’t do so badly (NYC schools are a nightmare of administration and always have been) but Kathy Black was a disaster from the instant he announced her—about as qualified as “Heck-Of-a-Job, Brownie”.

We have ALWAYS under-appreciated teachers and, when they tried to band together to say “Hey! We have your kids in our charge—pay us what we are worth” we DO tend to castigate them.

Teaching is a tough profession and I’ve never met one public school teacher in 51 years (since I started K) who didn’t enter it out of love of teaching kids, and not the money.  They may have become jaded, or been incompetent, but nobody EVER goes into it to get rich.

So on that Hedges is right: We need to take care of teachers both financially as well as in terms of curriculum.

But he’s wrong about standardized testing.  The problem with testing today is it is BAD testing, and too much weight is given it.  THAT needs to be fixed.

From tests given to 8 year olds to the GREs, the tests are given too much weight.

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By katsteevns, April 11, 2011 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

“The standard for Kant is not the biblical idea of self-love—love thy neighbor as thyself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you—but self-respect. What brings us meaning and worth as human beings is our ability to stand up and pit ourselves against injustice and the vast, moral indifference of the universe.”

Whaaaaa?!?Loving thy neighbor as thyself is defined by Kant(and Chris) as self-love? Does not “Loving thy neighbor” bring meaning, worth and self-respect to one’s life?

So, you are saying Chris, that this:

And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
John 6:64-66
...and the whole Book of John is bullshit? Just a man made concoction to enslave the uninformed?!?

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By RayLan, April 11, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

I can attest to the shamefully low standard of education here in the US, having received my degree from Canada -
University freshmen who can’t spell, don’t know basic math (fractions), and whose vocabulary is limited to street slang.

But then anti-intellecutalism and the worship of athletes and film stars is characteristic of US cultural values. What do they do for fun? Go to glitzy Vegas to gamble their money away of course. Not to mention that any glamour that Vegas does have is badly cloned from European and other international models.

Of course the ivy league colleges are some of the best in the world, but that is no surprise, owned as it is by the wealthy elite, the “one percent”.

Controlling sources of information and undermining critical thinking is the universal pre-requisite of all totalitarian governments beyond communism. It’s what the Medieval Church, fascist para-military groups, institutional teaching administrations have in common.

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By Lafayette, April 11, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

THE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA

CH: It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy.

The debate regarding Public Education is right and proper. CH makes a good point above. Where he shows a bit of intelligence, especially after remarking that America “guts its public libraries” - which is drivel, given that the Internet is supplanting them and the manner in which we obtain and treat information.

But regarding the above comment strikes a respondent chord because I did find some very disturbing information in the OECD PISA (Program for International Student Assesment) stats. It regards a students ability for “problem solving”, which is a complex process of assimilating information, processing it and arriving at a suitable conclusion.

These three processes are complex but, more so, they are the basis of an Information Age in which workers will be asked to obtain and treat information by adding value to it and passing it further on. Either to a customer or within a longer process for some other final end.

Is this not a skill that we would expect most people in an educated society to have? Is it not a tool that we should expect children to learn in primary and secondary school?

Consider the result of an international study performed in 2009 by the PISA of students’ ability for problem solving, here.

MY POINT

Does it please you to see that there are 28 countries with higher scores than the US (in 29th place) and with Canada in 9th place?

The richest country on earth and we cannot even teach our children how to find their way out of a wet paper bag?

The mind boggles at the effort necessary to make them ready for this Brave New World of Global Competition. Worse yet, to simply cope well in our increasingly complex society/economy within our own national boundaries.

We are witnessing the Dumbing Down of America.

POST SCRIPTUM

And, frankly, that reformation must start in the home where our children learn how to learn. Children are having and bringing up children ... and we expect teachers to reform the educative incompetence of parents?

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, April 11, 2011 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The goal may be to get rid of some students too.  The fewer students, the lower the costs.  And not suprisingly, some republican governors are now calling for changes in child labor laws so those drop outs will have a place to go.  When this happens maybe some of those jobs that third world children are doing in sweat shops will come back to America.  And the race to the bottom is on.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 11, 2011 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

An extremely accurate assessment on the status of the education system in the United States. Built on a compound series of fictions that with the help of corporation controlled media, is now accepted as fact. Think of the absurdity that everyone is afraid to acknowledge: Bill Gates discussing with Oprah Winfrey what is wrong with the schools. Two billionaires hoisted up as advocate of educational reform! The absurdity is only succeeded by the tragedy. And that of course is the real kicker. Society has always had rich bastards that were rightfully deemed despicable; as Ida Tarbell did a century ago with John D. Rockefeller. But now, in the present age, the people outside what economist Joseph Stiglitz calls the 1%, are suppose to sacrifice for that 1% so they can maintain being that 1%. All the while accepting the absurd notion that the money ones are actually oracles of wisdom.

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By James Fillmore, April 11, 2011 at 3:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who
march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.”

For good reason. The people who tried to resist Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot (and
who were usually crushed in the process) were, generally (there were exceptions)
the freaks and outcasts. Successfully adjusted people had more to lose and little to
gain from resistance. They were also more likely to have children, which made
them more afraid of doing anything that might risk their kids’ lives and livelihoods
—even if they disapproved of what was happening on principle.

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