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Paul Krugman observes, that at a time when American education is already in deep trouble, one of our two major political parties has taken a hostile stance against going to college.

Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)
Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)

Ignorance Is Strength

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

09 March 12

One way in which Americans have always been exceptional has been in our support for education. First we took the lead in universal primary education; then the “high school movement” made us the first nation to embrace widespread secondary education. And after World War II, public support, including the G.I. Bill and a huge expansion of public universities, helped large numbers of Americans to get college degrees.

But now one of our two major political parties has taken a hard right turn against education, or at least against education that working Americans can afford. Remarkably, this new hostility to education is shared by the social conservative and economic conservative wings of the Republican coalition, now embodied in the persons of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

And this comes at a time when American education is already in deep trouble.

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+15 # MidwestTom 2012-03-09 10:35
Our education system is so successful at convincing everybody with a brain that they should go to college, that we have almost no intelligent welders and electricians under the age of 35 Our company now pays welders and electricians more than most college graduates make; and we usually sort through at least 2 or 3 before we can get one that can think on his feed. Our older welders, 50 to 60 year old, are intelligent guys who just did not go to college. How many college graduates are making $75k per year 5 years out of college? We are putting people on the trade path, but most of them are there because they could not get into college.
+55 # billybookworm 2012-03-09 11:06
Might the problem be that we no longer have union apprenticeship programs that truly train welders? When you spent 4 years studying welding, fitting, layout, engineering principles, rigging etc, etc, etc, to get a journeyman card you did have a college degree and 4 years of real world experience. Now employers rely on community colleges and even high schools, worker skill sets are limited, the pay sucks, safety is an afterthought and the benefits are nil.
+7 # Hexalpa 2012-03-09 17:58
Tom, please say what industry are you in? I have a younger friend who wants to become a certified welder. Thanks in advance, for your reply.
+30 # Ken Hall 2012-03-09 19:53
A good education does not bar anyone from a blue collar or artisan career. I am eternally grateful to my alma mater for enriching my life in manifold ways. Many of my college mates went on to be lawyers, doctors, museum curators, high-level professionals, and, one of them, a POTUS. Others, whom I am more aligned with, became instrument makers with Ivy league baccalaureates, carpenters with Harvard law degrees, crafts people with good educations. They learned to weld, cut wood, blow glass, wire houses, teach dance. I agree that our culture over-values white collar jobs; people who work with their hands are also working with their brains, usually. But that doesn't mean that a college education is unnecessary, undesirable, or unbeneficial. You lament the dearth of "intelligent welders and electricians" (I think you mean "unskilled"). Education in general is under-valued and disrespected in the US. The US should be investing more in education and less in bombs, guns, and grenades. When I was young a very good education was available in public high schools and, at an affordable price, public universities. At UC Berkeley one could get a first-class education for $25/credit. It is the height of elitism that a college education is now beyond the realm of avarice for most candidates. It should be available to all and for a modest price. It is a sign of how misguided and off-course our culture has become that the US education system has fallen into such disrepute.
+6 # Hexalpa 2012-03-10 10:13
BRAVO !!!!!
+7 # 666 2012-03-10 07:09
three things:
1) the manufacturing base that supported most of the skill-based jobs has shifted overseas to cut costs and increase profits. it is especially for this reason, that high schools emphasize college (that & accountability) or service jobs. Then there's the reagan-era union busting trend that has decimated the union-based apprentice system.

2) the "business model" was applied to colleges so they focused on maximizing "income" (since most are non-profit) instead of maximizing output (educated graduates). College is often little more than "super-high-sch ool".
With the use of high school accountability standards, college is being dumbed down for the "all-childs-lef t-behind" [sic] generation.

3) yes, pay for many college grads is criminal: e.g. airline pilots making $20k / yr out of college. and if you have student loans to repay, it can be devastating. The more the supply, the lower the pay. And that's helped colleges expand (dumbed-down) graduate programs... creating a new-wave of employees with master's degrees working for near minimum wage.

"Education" now serves the forces of capitalism (cheap labor) & political ideology (dumbing down people to control them).

IF you want to be a radical, get a REAL education.
-66 # 2wmcg2 2012-03-09 10:38
Higher education is in trouble for a good reason - much too expensive, too many false promises about future employability, the use of academics like Krugman as "brand names" to advocate for certain political objectives. Opposition to abusive education is not equivalent to "ignorance".
+52 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-03-09 11:00
A university is not a vocational prep school, and a credible university would never promise employability. Facts don't have POLITICAL agendas, but they irritate people who do. Critical thinking skills, widespread academic backgrounding, intellectual engagement is not abusive education. To what specific widespread abuses in education do you refer? Or are you just shooting from the lip?
+34 # Pondering and Pandering 2012-03-09 11:15
Many years ago I had a conservative education expert tell me that school teachers he has seen both public and private were better techers the less education they posessed in what they taught and that masters degrees, fectively were a waste. I think he just wanted them cheap at his little private school.

Our system of colleges and universities is the envy of the world. We have had a fine public system of k-12 education. And for the hands-on crowd who I envy there are fine junior colleges and especially technical colleges all over America.

Competing for the jobs of the future will require more than a second-rate, Republican defunded high school diploma. Even welders will have to go back to school and get familiar with new techniques and equipment to stay ahead. Auto mechanics work on automobiles that are very advanced technology.

The Republican conservative shift toward a climate of national ignorance rather than excellence is shocking and sad. And if you vote for them in November you will be smacking yourself right in the face and knocking yourself down. Oh, and many labor unions in the building trades have apprenticiship programs that often go begging for qaulified applicants.
+18 # dick 2012-03-09 11:24
Decent quality high school education used to suffice for analytical tradesmen & women. We have irresponsibly frittered that away & now ask colleges to do what parents & K-12s used to do. So, yes, we probably need some high school-post secondary 2+2 skill programs, including some general ed. However, good jobs there a way too few. College has become a necessity for most. Where else will you be assigned 1984? Demand to be assigned 1984? The fight to make college LESS accessible is THE FRONT LINE in class warfare. Sadly, this is in part a "certification" issue. But college & university DIVERSITY is a great antidote for 2 Minute Hate sessions & Just Luv Big Bruth.
+12 # jazzman633 2012-03-09 11:27
It's an open question as to whether profs "indoctrinate" their students with liberal views.

Conservatives would like to think so, but it's not that simple. Students are subject to a great many stimuli besides their profs' world view, and in most classes (e.g., all sciences), the prof's political views don't matter.

I recall a great class on "Human Nature and Politics." The message was that people are all too eager to give over their freedom to authority.

Then there's the respect/credibi lity factor: are college kids really going to swallow professorial "indoctrination " (even if it exists), knowing how isolated profs are from the real world?

PS. on critical thinking: in business and politics -- almost everywhere in the world outside college -- unquestioning obedience is what gets you ahead. Critical thinking can get you demoted, ostracized, or fired.
+14 # AndreM5 2012-03-09 12:16
"...knowing how isolated profs are from the real world?"

Say what?
-5 # reiverpacific 2012-03-09 13:06
Quoting AndreM5:
"...knowing how isolated profs are from the real world?"

Say what?

A little quote from my post on this page may help to explain what this signifies re' "These days, academia has become it's own elitist and petty cloistered world (I walked away from it many years ago) and tenure is jealously guarded" -Does that make any sense? Read on below if you care to.
This of course is just my opinion but there is a bit of experience behind it.
+5 # 666 2012-03-10 07:35
what exactly counts as "indoctrination "??? You mean like the "liberal media"?

Public schools indoctrinate kids; few would argue until a teacher (indoctrinator? ) assigns some "anti-conservat ive" text (like 1984 or Catcher) instead of atlas shrugged. (in reality, teachers rarely "assign" or have the freedom to do so as their curricula are designed & approved by the state, they simply follow their masters' instructions. if you don't think conservatives control public education, you're brainwashed)

so my point: after 12 years of public school indoctrination, many college students tend to see anything ("real education") that doesnt affirm their own views as indoctrination: "why do I have to read plato or marx? that commie prof is trying to indoctrinate me". "what do you mean we don't live in a democracy?" "evolution is just a BS theory" "Other cultures? why bother they aren't as perfect as our 4th reich"

- when jazzman writes "indoctrination ", I think he means "counter-indoct rination", but there's precious little of that in college

The problem is teaching people to think critically AND to think for themselves. That requires evaluating ALL sides of an argument & evaluating one's own social formation...

Conservatives are working hard to eliminate that (e.g. colorado, florida et al trying to outlaw the socratic method in education) because they know the truth: "Ignorance is [their] strength"
+4 # letsfixit 2012-03-09 11:33
Schools are a profit making organization now and they will do what they must to recruit and make budgets. How many of us went to school full time, paid for it all by working part time and had money to spare? (this includes full time summer work) Schools are telling undergrads that life will be grand until the senior year that "the economy is down." And- those summer jobs must be sacrificed for internships with no pay. It's competitive now and people do not have the freedoms they once had- and if we continue to hire Chinese companies to do bridge work- we know the balance of skilled labor to need is not correct.
+5 # dick 2012-03-09 11:33
A commenter on the NYTs page pointed out that Scott Walker had a C average, for a year or two, in college. That kind of preposterous grade inflation undermines public confidence in college education.
Universities keep the $$ flowing by turning them selves into beer bash, social networking, baby sitters. Those who advocate "college" for all should WORK HARD to assure that we get more than 8 months of spring break for the $$. Standards matter.
-74 # Robt Eagle 2012-03-09 11:35
Maybe if there weren't so many liberal left leaning academics teaching our American children from Kindergarten through college and then onto Masters, we would have tougher and smarter people running this country. The liberal academics seem to be fostering the notion of me, me, me...and therefore we have the loss of integrity in all aspects of American culture. Seems the tougher and more straightforward and forthright, like our military, the more integrity and honesty prevails.
+31 # David Starr 2012-03-09 12:17
Robt Eagle,

As usual you have it assbackwards. The Right, whether they know it or not, are prioritizing ignorance and even stupidity at the expense of intelligence and critical thinking. The ME, ME, ME outlook comes more from Right Libertarianism, not necessarily from Liberals. You see Liberal boogeymen under everyone's bed, while of course ignoring the Right's traditional dominance w/in the U.S. status quo. And your last statement is incredibly unrealistic, like a relic out of the 1950s. Also, are you implying the support of a militarized state and in turn the support for a privatized, and thus less affordable and elitist kind of educational system? If so, Santorum would probably agree since he thinks that community colleges, which have been traditionally affordable for the working and poor, are snobbish. Ignorance is also bliss, and dangerous.
-40 # Robt Eagle 2012-03-09 13:51
David Starr, you don't get it. Our academics, from kindergarten on to advanced degrees, are virtually all coddling the children and creating "soft" Americans. Our military does not tolerate soft people, if so, they harden them to endure and thrive under any circumstances. So what I am trying to explain is that our grade schools, middle schools, high scools, univesities and higher educational programs should all be teaching at tough standards. Don't pass those who don't deserve it. Require respect and integrity. No using the internet to copy others work. Not everyone deserves a trophy for just participating. Excellence should be rewarded and medicrity distained. There are incredibly successful people out there and they deserve to be rewarded (and in business compensated), not equalize the wealth through Obama's means of taxing the 1% to pay for the 47% who pay no Federal tax. Time to get some backbone again in America and start from Kindergarten in our schools straight through college and so forth.
+10 # Ken Hall 2012-03-10 02:39
We are certainly getting some "backbone" in the US these days. The conservative political agenda (trickle down taxation and "free market" economics) have so stiffened and stifled the financial scene that a once robust economy is on its knees. The malaise of the US educational system is a result of the disrespect and underfunding that are priorities of right wing radicalism. According to right wing ideology, people who are taught to evaluate for themselves the information stream are dangerous and unpatriotic. The demonstrably ignorant screeds posted by conservative trolls on the RSN threads are a case in point.
+7 # 666 2012-03-10 07:40
some backbone? kind of like Sparta? now that was a government for real men...

oh and that 47% that pay no taxes, how many of them are in the 1%? I suspect if wall street or big oil, the MIC etc paid just 1% in tax, it would be 10x more than the poor would pay even if they had no exemptions.
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-10 16:47
"medicrity distained"
Do you mean 'mediocrity disdained'?
Back to spelling class for you! LOL

Yeah -- tough military -- capable of of slaughtering civilians without regret -- until they go back home with PTSD from that and commit suicide.

Successful people who make a fortune -- and destroy the economy, through lies and cheating.
+1 # David Starr 2012-03-12 15:17
Robt Eagle,

There can and has been quality public education in the schools. I've been through it and it basically works. The biggest current problem with public education is that's there's been an attempt to starve it of proper funds by Repub privateers. Other problems exist but they can be worked out. Your Frank Burns-like solution is absurd. Rapping kids on the knuckles w/ a ruler or having them standing in a corner is passe. Reasonable discipline is fine but putting the schools under military rule is the antithesis of critical thinking and developing a well-rounded student. Sorry Balding Eagle, civilian rule is better. This isn't Sparta.
-7 # humanmancalvin 2012-03-10 10:27
"Maybe if there weren't so many liberal left leaning academics teaching our American children from Kindergarten through college and then onto Masters, we would have tougher and smarter people running this country." Yes, and writing letters to RSN REagle
+28 # GabbyHayes 2012-03-09 11:45
a smart man who loves welding will return to it, even if he has a doctorate. I knew a trucking company owner who was proud that he had PhDs and people with MA degrees working for him making delivery. No shame in it. But not getting an education does have a shame in it. You always suspect that you could have learned more, that things make sense to you that don't make sense to other people. But I need to say that a brilliant person welding may be unhappy doing it, may resent being forced to do it by circumstances, and may be more subject to drugs, alcohol, early retirement, and depression. I know how welding is done, I've held the electrodes and worn the mask, but I couldn't see what I was doing and didn't have the eye-hand coordination to do it blind. I resigned myself to soldering and brazing. I enjoyed it. I moved on. Ignorance and an ignorant vainglory in your own understanding of things pointy headed professors can't solve are key to the Republican electorate. The most important thing you learn in college is that every complicated problem has a simple solution that will only make it worse. You learn the history of things and why things are done they way they are. You learn to build on what is established rather than bulldozing civilization and starting anew. That's why it's crucial for the survival of the GOP that people NOT become educated.
+12 # letsfixit 2012-03-09 11:56
there's a message in here. I think the term is "work." Our society somehow portrays that there is no pain in life. If you have a setback from a company bankruptcy, a loss of job, a change in just means new plan is needed. If you enjoy "holding electrodes" (as I do too) there should be no shame in screaming at others that you are proud to be in that job. Not everyone can make $40 million at Bain Capital. We're all put on the earth for some grand reason.
+19 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-09 12:49
If a welder has too much pain in his life he is proably not wearing the right protective clothing, or is 'holding electrodes' instead of just one electrode, using a contact clip for the cathode and while he keeps the other hand in his pocket. :-D

The basic problem is that people have been trained to base their self-worth on the job they do and making money. A top sculptor might also do welding, BTW, but is involved with other aspects of his work -- as any welder should be able to do. RD Wolff talks about communism and how, done rightly, the welder would also be part of the management and board of directors of the company, similar to what he would do if working in his own one-man business.

Erich Fromm wrote about the problem of people being fragmented from their work, and consequently from their own creativity, humanity, and sense of meaning, and workers were turned into 'cogs of the machine' in the mass production of industrializati on ("The Sane Society").

Education should be an integral part of human existence, whether it's work related or not, and a life-long pursuit. It should include all areas of education, including political science, management, and philosophy, so that citizens can be competent AS citizens in running their own democracy. And THAT is the root of why the oligarchy does not want education; they want an ingornat peasant class easy to hodwink and control.
+9 # Hexalpa 2012-03-09 18:23
Everything that you say here is quite true, bluepilgrim, but we do need to include the "economic component" of the higher education marketplace in our calculus. I applaud learning for learning's sake, but we need to face up to the fact that young people today face an economic marketplace where (statistically speaking) a college education is a necessity if you aspire to better job prospects... yet that same college education is now horrendously expensive, and is placing many of our young in indentured servitude. I don't envy these your people this dilemma. Something HAS to change, or eventually, only wealthy people will be sending their children to university. This will be a happy turn of events, in the eyes of many Republicans.
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-10 16:38
The elegant solution is to make all education free to the students, as part of government budget (like building roads and other infrastructure) .

Those people who want to work at jobs requiring higher education (medicine, engineering, etc.) will, of course, include such course programs in their studies.

'Free' education worked out well when grammar school, and after that high school was included, and when that was sufficient to get a good job. We have now advanced technologically to where higher education is needed.

Public education, to the level a student is interested in it or capable of, is a basic function of a civilized society. (So is health care). This is true even on a purely practical and economic level, like if you want a dairy farm you have to feed and take care of the stock -- although of course the human and social considerations are of higher priority.
+15 # davidr 2012-03-09 12:04
By and large, social conservatives are antinomian. They embrace belief and reject not only empiricism but moral judgment. They live in a faith-based world and scorn the reality-based one. Home schooling is their limit.

So-called "economic" conservatives ought to favor education, because it adds value. However, their economic perspective is grotesquely foreshortened. For them, economic thinking stops at their own bottom line. They see education not as added value but as waste, because they see no immediate profit from it. Their workers know enough to do their jobs — that's plenty! Their customers know too little to imagine better products and services (or public policies) — perfect!

The strange bedfellows of social and economic conservtives aren't really so strange. One of them believes that thinking is a misguided moral proposition. The other believes that thinking among the general population is a net cost.
+4 # reiverpacific 2012-03-09 12:32
Apprenticeships -apprenticeship s-apprenticeshi ps, mentoring, hands-on, less computers-depen dancy, more common sense in all things and a balance between high-tech and productivity.
Seems simple.
I hope I'm right in thinking that almost everybody needs to be productive, creative and/or useful to the common good (except for reactionaries -they want it all!) but when the opportunities are taken away from them, exported in the name of cheap labor and profit for the few, commodification of everything and commodity-tradi ng is the way to "success", despair is the inevitable result.
Not everybody can own a small business, nor can everybody is a visionary but both can support others in a sustainable way if a balance is sought.
These days, academia has become it's own elitist and petty cloistered world (I walked away from it many years ago) and tenure is jealously guarded, whilst costs skyrocket and knowledge is relegated to tabloid infotainment level, the arts and humanities not being considered important enough to be part of any curriculum but only available to the wealthy, thereby removing them from active thought.
But by Gawd, they want your kids as cannon-fodder, don't they.
+17 # David Starr 2012-03-09 12:34
The Repubs do not see education as a fundamental right for one and all to formerly develop skills for a trade, but rather as a privilege based on the scenario of a privatized system which will inevitably be even less affordable then what we have now, but still affordable for a few who can afford it. I remember living in Hawai'i in the early 1980s going to community college where if you went full-time it was only $45.00 a semester for tuition. I found the affordability to be an incentive to want to learn; and a part of it was for the joy of learning, to gain knowledge. Santorum's "snobbish" comment is thus incredibly Orwellian-like. While a formal education isn't a 100% guarantee of landing a job of one's specialty, it does up the odds.
+17 # DaveM 2012-03-09 12:43
Ronald Reagan was noted for aiming snide remarks at "pointy-headed" intellectuals (his term), among many similar epithets. There has always been a gap between blue and white collar workers. I have never seen it exploited to the degree that Republicans, in particular, have during the past generation.

I live in a large-scale mining area. For generations, if you wanted a job at the mines, you finished high school, your father or uncle or brother already employed there put in a good word for you and you got a job. And there's nothing wrong with that. The mining companies now want, at the very least, two year of post-secondary education and actually had to pay for an area school to set up a millwright program because nothing was available within 100 miles. They were unable to find people with the skills currently required.

And let's be clear on this: skills are skills, whether one "holds electrodes" or crunches numbers. Honest work is honest work. Technology, however, has brought us to the point where the truly unskilled laborer is effectively obsolete. And we'd better keep up.
+19 # fbacher 2012-03-09 13:22
Recently, Time magazine did a story: The Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs. It seems that for some time American businesses have been focusing on bean-counting rather than making a better product. Apple and businesses in other countries do the opposite.

This short-term profit mentality is infecting our government and destroying our schools.
+16 # panhead49 2012-03-09 13:55
We live in the boonies in N CA and decided some years back to pass a bond measure to assure the continuation of teaching of trades and music. At the time we had a fully functioning metal shop, wood working shop (much of our furniture was made by our sons) and a full music program. Unfortunately we also had a 'guidance counselor' who was dead set against the teaching of craftsmanship. I waited until I had the youngests kid's transcript in hand before we had our discussion. She said over her dead body would High Schools go back to vocational education. Wish I could have legally and morally accommodated her but was left with just asking her who she called in the middle of the night when a water pipe bursts - a plumber or someone with a degree in hydrology? Was lucky enough to attend a High School that had an entire vocational wing - my oldest brother graduated as an apprentice machinist only needing 100 hours in a union shop to become a journeyman. We really need to bring back the vocations to middle and high schools. As my brother followed his path, at the same school I was able to follow the path to college. We CAN do two things at once when it comes to education, we have the way we just need the will.
+14 # kaf 2012-03-09 14:50
We need to pay our teachers more. Recently heard a proud Dad tell about his son --a helicopter mechanic -- who earns a six-figure income. He says there is a shortage of helicopter mechanics -- who knew?-- thus the high salary. Why, then, don't the school boards pay his son a six-figure salary to teach smart students how to fix helicopter? I suggested that and got a lot of huffing and puffing and "We can't afford to pay our teachers that much..."
+12 # DurangoKid 2012-03-09 15:42
If education were a priority, there would be a lot of it at reasonable prices. Anyone with the desire to go on to higher learning would not be limited by concerns over money. Obviously, higher education is not a priority these days. The US manufacturing base just doesn't seem to need as many chemists, mechanical engineers, etc., etc. Capital has gone global and with it the expertice to manufacture all the stuff it wants to sell. So, why fund education if there's no need? Why waste money on education that does not contribute to capital formation? Wouldn't that money be better spent on wars, financial bailouts, and subsidies? And which party is closest to the capital owning elites? Why, the Republicans of course! And they're using a faux-populist lingo to get their message out. It fools some of the people most of the time and that seems to be enough.
+10 # Buddha 2012-03-09 16:35
Sorry Ricky, but it is CHURCHES and the superstition that they teach that are the "indoctrination mills". Higher education simply provides the wider experience and knowledge that COUNTERS the silly superstitition that years of indoctrination in the church of your childhood crammed into you. And that scares you plenty, doesn't it? Nothing worse than people thinking for themselves, huh? There is a reason that when more educated people remain religious, it tends to be more on a spiritual level and not blind adherance to what some desert priests with no knowledge of science or medicine scribbled in a book 3000 years ago...
+8 # futhark 2012-03-09 18:39
Huck's Pap is alive and well in America. There has always been a strain of virulent anti-education in American culture.

In the small rural high school where I taught for over 30 years I was frequently challenged with the question "Why do we have to learn this s**t?" "S**t" was science and mathematics or anything else that took concentrated attention and practice to master.

I always thought the question deserved an officially endorsed answer. It would save teachers a lot of grief if the educational bureaucracies would put their heads together and decide on a statement to the effect that, in a supposedly democratic society such as ours, the people are expected to participate in the formation of public policy. Wise policies can only be formulated by informed people with good reasoning and communication skills. Education is the basis for a free society in which the people exercise sovereignty. Preparation for employment should be an important, but only secondary consideration.

Support for education is the most fundamental investment we can make in national security, worth more than all the weapons and troops our economy is able to provide.

Politicians need to get some priorities straight here and start making use of the brain power of our young citizens, the most valuable and potent resource we have.
+10 # Rick Levy 2012-03-09 19:35
"It’s not hard to see what’s driving Mr. Santorum’s wing of the party. His specific claim that college attendance undermines faith is, it turns out, false."

If in fact higher education doesn't teach students to think critically, especially about religion and faith, colleges are not doing their jobs.
+5 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-03-10 01:08
My comment to the likes of Santorum and his ilk:
"This duz not make cents."
-2 # barbaratodish 2012-03-10 05:53
Education has become drama and ego from the earliest, even pre school, levels. As a result of the focus on teaching to the test and the defensiveness of all involved in assessment, almost all americans are "qualified" now to provide academy award drama and ego "entertainment" for the rest of the world. Proof of this is that almost everyone in America is "in line" for their "15 minutes of fame", or just one degree removed from someone who is "in line" for getting/going , viral, if only on the internet!
+3 # cordleycoit 2012-03-10 09:59
Since the American high school education is conducted in schools that are prisons what should we expect from the system? Inquiring minds. not with zero tolerance, sass a teacher go to jail, offend some cops kid and there's big trouble. The system has usurped the bullies role. Text books are written for the Texas Board of Education, a bunch od flat earth fundamentalists . The problem is systemic. It goes back to being economic; socialism for the rich and a rigged market for the rest of us.
+1 # ksec 2012-03-10 10:34
When pleasing shareholders trumps all else you get educational systems that are out of reach for working class people. Problem? Yes. The problem is greed.
+1 # Windy126 2012-03-10 17:11
I agree about schools being prisons. Our local High school of approached from the South looks just like a prison. There is chain link fence around the sports area and in the background is the school with an outline that looks like it has guard towers. Plus once they enter they are not allowed to go out except for sports. Plus the windows do not open. That is so the ventilation system will work right. What happened to the days when if the kids got restless the teacher threw open a window had the kids stand up and to stretching exercises. It cleared their minds, and settled them down.
My grandson got an apprenticeship during his senior year as a machinist. Thanks to his fathers best friend who put in a good word for him. He turned out to be gifted in that area. My husband went back to school in his 30's to learn to be a layout welder. He was great at it. Everyone who worked with him bragged about how good he is. This was a high school drop out that no one paid attention to. We all have talents what this country needs is to find out those with talent and help them. Apprentice programs are a god send. My father was a journeyman tool and die maker. An immigrant never stopped learning throughout his whole life.
+1 # futhark 2012-03-10 23:59
My experience as a high school teacher is that we were always encouraged to address the different learning styles or modalities of our students. These encouraging presentations were always delivered via lecture format, which meant that those among us who were visual or kinesthetic learners had to work extra hard to figure out what we were supposed to be doing. It would be really good if "in-service" trainers would actually use some of the techniques they keep talking about.

Most teachers tend to be people that learn easily from listening and reading and are not necessarily sympathetic to those who don't do well in this process. Almost all evaluation ("testing") is done using reading and writing and the standardized grading formats are beds of Procrustes (Ha! Ha! Look that one up!) that reduce the evaluative process to numbers and statistics.

Grading is supposed to be motivational as well as informational, but my experience was that those that do not "make the grade" regularly are, in fact, often demotivated. Also, teachers receive almost zero instruction on the art or science of grading, other than being mandated to adapt their methods to standard calculating and reporting mechanisms.
0 # 1984 2012-03-11 18:41
The Republicans are completely disingenuine concerning their stance on college. They simply want to dumb down Americans (actually, they have already succeeded with only slightly less than half of Americans already) so there will be no questioning, analyzing, thinking about what the 1% do and say. Do you think they or any of their children have not gone to college and usually beyond.
They are not even hypocrits. They are pure evil.

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