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Tue Feb 7, 2017, 05:03 PM

51/50 Means We Have No Clue

The DeVos vote of 51/50 with VP Pence as tie-breaker seems to represent our ambivalence toward public education. We're all afraid to change something that so affects our children, and our future. And we search for blame, not realizing WE are the problem.

Business leaders have been denigrating public education for many years, because it hasn't provided them the well-greased gears for their enterprises. But they are unwilling to pay for post K-12 education, especially via taxation.

Because markets are competitive, there is diminishing monetary value for pursuing education beyond a certain threshold, particularly in certain fields that are not in high demand. And, even though that viability threshold is now post-secondary, the return on investment for a new employee is about the same amount of time it takes to complete a post-secondary education, and dropping fast. As a student, you will be hard-pressed to pay off your post-secondary debt when most jobs will turf you out after 5 years.

This ROI problem, I suggest, is a result of a lack of democracy in education from the very start. We say we need x many y's in order to maintain industry z. But Democracy isn't an investment. People aren't "human resources", and teachers are not widgets in an economic engine. The whole term itself "economy" implies there is not enough to go around, and therefore we must "economize". Who decides who's children must be "economized"? The teachers? The parents? Congress? Bill Gates?

Public education was created for the purposes of industry, but industry generally has almost no use for most of what education teaches. Hence the so-called "back to basics" approach that is foisted like clockwork, over and over again. Einstein's insanity principle in action!

We all say we need to "reform", "innovate", even "re-imagine" our public education system. But none of us ever questions that the system itself is flawed because it is un-democratic. We've subjected education to the whims of industry, rather than industry to the triumphs of education. Education has taught us we are destroying our environment, and that we treat each other like robots. But instead, all anybody seems to want is more robots. Madness.

The ones being taught have almost no input into the system at all. If we really believed in the principles of Democracy, shouldn't our public education system be reflective of what our children desire to learn? Instead, we kill that desire via rote memorization, rigid indoctrination, and limitations on what can, or even should be explored. Self-discipline above all is prized.

Such system is now more counterproductive than ever. We won't transform public education unless and until we allow it to truly transform us. No one should ever really "graduate" from it. Public education is, quite simply, what we all should be doing in life. For our sake. For our childrens' sakes. For Democracy's sake. Instead, we close the doors on our best and brightest at just the moment when we should be inviting them in. All for the purpose of "economizing" our "investment".

The reason we can't "fix" our public education system is precisely because it is undemocratic. Even though we teach Democracy in schools, the first thing a child learns is that jobs are NOT democratic. THAT is the problem our public education system is telling us we MUST fix, or we all will perish. Perish to the whims of a plutocratic few, as they eat our ecosystem whole.

And now we have placed an "end-times" religious bag-o-nuts in charge of it. Just barely.

Well, there is that little glimmer of hope anyway...

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Reply 51/50 Means We Have No Clue (Original post)
ymetca Feb 2017 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2017 #1
elleng Feb 2017 #2
MadLinguist Feb 2017 #3
ymetca Feb 2017 #4
MadLinguist Feb 2017 #5

Response to ymetca (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2017, 05:07 PM

1. 5150, indeed.

5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold)

Section 5150 is a section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) (in particular, the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act or "LPS" which authorizes a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person suspected to have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves, a danger to others, and/or gravely disabled. A qualified officer, which includes any California peace officer, as well as any specifically-designated county clinician, can request the confinement after signing a written declaration stating the psychiatric diagnosis that the diagnosing medical professional believes to be the cause or reason why they believe the patient to be "a danger to themselves or others" or the psychiatric disorder that has rendered the patient incapable of making their own medical treatment decisions.

In informal usage, 5150 (pronounced "fifty-one-fifty" can refer to the person being confined (e.g., "I have a possible 5150 here", the declaration, or the act of committing someone (as in "Someone) was 5150ed".

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Response to ymetca (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2017, 05:18 PM

2. Seems we haven't had a clue for a long time.

Our 'last,' Dem ed sec NOT good at all. Daughter, who studied Education including 'early childhood,' is home-schooling her 2 year old, as she's so unhappy with public education. I had a very good one, and am deeply saddened by the status quo.

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Response to ymetca (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2017, 06:07 PM

3. I wish you could get this published as an editorial

What you say here is so on target and has been true for the entire history of US education.
Though true that it's about to get even worse, it ain't been no kinda meritocracy ever.
Think about finding a place to publish, seriously.

Here is my favorite paragraph:
This ROI problem, I suggest, is a result of a lack of democracy in education from the very start. We say we need x many y's in order to maintain industry z. But Democracy isn't an investment. People aren't "human resources", and teachers are not widgets in an economic engine. The whole term itself "economy" implies there is not enough to go around, and therefore we must "economize". Who decides who's children must be "economized"? The teachers? The parents? Congress? Bill Gates?

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Response to MadLinguist (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 7, 2017, 06:55 PM

4. You are too kind!

I recently watched Michael Moore's film Where to Invade Next. I realized while watching that a lot of the education methods, which other countries "stole" from us, were the ones provided to me when I was a child growing up, way back when, in the "dead-end" Sixties. A lot of innovative educational doors were opened, and then just as abruptly closed, back then.

The "squares" wrested back control from the "hippies", who had begun to see education as a means of mass liberation, instead of mills for marketable skills. "One word: plastics". Sorry, Dustin. It was a nice dream anyway...

We could have chosen the Age of Aquarius. Instead, we chose Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.


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Response to ymetca (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 7, 2017, 09:01 PM

5. The only useful training in education now is tolerance of tedium

because lord knows most US workers have to stomach hours, days and years of boredom to earn a buck, whether it's behind a computer, cash register or burger griddle. And yeah, it is completely sickening to watch the American model of education being exported to places that actually used to do the real thing.

I want to find some positive thing to say about how we can unite under the banner of resistance to nonsense like the DeVos confirmation, but hell, first I have to say something to congress:
Hey privatize this:


I know it doesn't help a thing, but it's a momentary relief.

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