What it REALLY Means to Oppose Public Education

“is that you’re comparing what the government is forcing children to do to what their own families are forcing them to do.”

Wrong. The government is forcing education on children. Parents can choose how that education is delivered. But the parent can’t opt to not educate the child at all. So the only difference between Mom and the school is delivery. Both are forcing government mandated instruction on the child.

For a smart guy like ed, I find a comment like this astonishing to the point of being kind of shocked he said it.

Sure, there is no difference between a mother choosing how to teach her children, where to teach her children, what order her children will learn (yes, that can be chosen, at least to a certain degree), and who her children will specifically interact with, then a government mandated school. Nope. Basically just delivery that’s the difference.

That’s preposterous.

 

“I’m saying “cheaters not only are people we should be sympathetic to, but in fact are correct in a fundamental way we don’t like to admit”.

Yeah, but you don’t want to think of yourself as some cool leftist black beret wearing protester, some ultra-cool hipster who’s got it all figured out. No, you just want to get it out there, cuz boyo, no one has thought before you that cheating is admirable.

  1. I didn’t say that nobody has thought of this before. Quite the contrary. I’m building off of other people I’ve read, specifically Joseph Moore of Yard Sale of the Mind.
  2. I didn’t say I thought cheating was “admirable”. I don’t think they should be in that situation at all.

This is a situation I ran into a lot when I was starting to reject right liberalism: Halfway rejectors.

Ed has an idea in mind of how people like me think, and he’s projecting those assumptions here. This is because he’s trapped in a mindset: School has to be like this.

I know he is, because he just put a post up on how the public school system is totally the way to go.

I don’t think that in the slightest. In fact, I reject it vehemently.

Here’s the thing. There’s a certain type of person who cheats just because they’re not interested in hard work. This is bad for a lot of reasons, and this person needs more fundamental help then “Hey, we need to stop him from cheating”.

Then there are the people – people like my friends, who are now engineers and government level Cybersecurity programmers, among other things – who cheat in certain classes because they don’t care about them. And yet, here we are, forcing them to learn those things. Things they’re not necessarily ready for, or that frankly they’re too ready for and know they can do the work, so don’t want to jump through the hoops (I had a friend exactly like this in a Web Design course. He found the coursework preposterous, cheated on all of it, then when it was time to actually design websites he was the best in the class. But can’t go without that elective!).

You can call this lazy if you want to. I call it real life – we do our jobs as best we can, we go home and learn how to do the things that we want to do, and our jobs fund our hobbies. You can live a fine life this way.

And I call it childhood when our parents decide the best way for us to live our lives.

But wait! We still need to follow the government’s education program!

And that’s exactly my point. This is a bad thing.

School is a preposterous artificial environment. It makes no sense. There is almost nothing in the real world school is comparable to. I don’t admire cheaters, but frankly, for the worst ones, cheating is just a symptom of a larger problem, and for the folks like my friends and I, or those cheaters Ed mentions who just want that A, it’s increasingly unclear why we’re making them do this stuff at all.

That’s not to say that lying is the right way to go. But it is saying we have more fundamental problems here that we need to address, mostly by tearing the entire system down and replacing it with something new entirely.

 

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23 Responses to What it REALLY Means to Oppose Public Education

  1. Joseph Moore says:

    Fighting the good fight, I see. Good job!

    On the post you link to, I threw up the following:

    Love your tag line – “No Dewey-eyed dreamer.” I note with amusement, however, that the study you link to to support your claim that “the public still has a dream of public schools, a dream that surveys show time and again those schools deliver for their constituents, even while the politicians declare them “failing”.” is from the NORC – in other words, from the University of Chicago, where Dewey plied his trade, and where his influence was most keenly felt. Now, it might seem a stretch to see the spectre of Dewey in that study, which I only skimmed, except he’s still the big dog in education in Chicago. Add to this that he was a Pragmatist – meaning, simply, that the ends justify the means, especially if those ends are the Worker’s Paradise (you should read his apologetics for the Soviet atrocities – bracing stuff), and you have the classic situation where scholars decide what the truth is then create whatever evidence they need to support it.

    An assumption seemingly shared by both you and the parents in the surveys: that schooling IS graded classrooms. That schooling IS what they, themselves, went through. Historically, this is nonsense – even in America, it’s only been true for less than 100 years, and was unknown anywhere 200 years ago. This is of a piece with another common historical error: it is commonly assumed that ,modern school are the descendants of the one room schools, that the same civic-minded care for the children that led pioneers to build hundreds of thousands of one-room schools evolved into graded classroom schools over time. The reality: a bunch of education zealots, drunk on the Prussian schools that were all the rage among the enlightened, waged war against the one-room schools for 75 years, and only won in the end when the population moved from country to city during the Great Depression. Locals typically fought the state education department’s efforts to close down local schools and replace them with ‘consolidated’ schools.

    Those farm families were wise to do so. Current public schooling represents the death of local control of education – by design. Read Fichte, Mann, Barnard, etc. – getting the parents out of the equation was the goal from the beginning.

    School divorced from family, community and friendship is, at best mere training, and cannot be education in any real sense. Our current schools by design seal off exactly those influences.

    • Ed’s response – and I’m sure he’ll object to this characterization, but I’ll stand by it – is similar to John’s from the infamous monarchy series in that I try to be as polite as I reasonably can be expected to be, and his response is uncalled for rudeness and nastiness.

      It is getting more and more predictable as a response – once you see through part of the facade, you’re so convinced you’ve seen through all of it that the implication you haven’t sends you flying off the handle, because you as the man who’s taken the red pill has become a part of your identity. In this case, it’s right there in Ed’s chosen pen name.

      Doubtless he’ll deny this, but I’ll let his response vs. mine speak for themselves.

      • Joseph Moore says:

        Yep. I try to address that issue in an essay I wrote for the Diablo Valley School newsletter found here: http://diablovalleyschool.org/Spring2017_Freetimes.pdf Living as I do in California downwind, as it were, from Berkeley, a distressingly large percentage of the people I know have had their moment of enlightnement and are sure they’ve got it right. Thus, in the name of freedom and love, they become more rigid and intolerant while simultaneously believing they are the most open and generous people to ever walk the planet.

    • (And note the stuff that I KNOW he’s too smart to really believe, like the absurd homeschooling comment.)

  2. The pioneers overwhelmingly used MacGuffey readers, which were grade-based. They were heavily rewritten about 30 or so years after initial publication from what the original (solo) writer envisioned them for into civic nationalism.

    That was definitely over 100 years ago. It’s also how you could have 16yo girls teaching at all. Mass-produced, standardized curriculum.

    • Sure, but what was the attitude in the schools themselves like? If you were 16 and still on book 2, were you a failure? Or just a guy on book 2? And what happens if the family doesn’t want you learning from the MacGuffey readers? Does the government force them to keep up with their specific standards, rather than the standards set by the parents?

  3. ” just put a post up on how the public school system is totally the way to go.”

    I most certainly did not.

    And I”m not against homeschooling. I think it’s a snowflake solution for smug people, but hey, whatever. What you might want to grasp, if you can, is that being *against* something means you want to stop it. I don’t care if people home school. I certainly wouldn’t ban it. But nor am I going to allow them to pretend they’re doing anything better or necessary. One person is a luxury item living off another to provide something that is available both for free and for purchase. Booyah.

    For someone who thinks he’s being chill and logical, you can’t follow anything that hasn’t been prescribed in advance. Can a parent choose not to educate his child at all? No. The state requires education. Focus hard: THE STATE REQUIRES EDUCATION. At that point, “choice” is just about the delivery mechanism. That virtuous mother you get sobby about is no different than a teacher. She doesn’t get choice. She doesn’t get to choose to not educate her child. No. The MEEEEEAN goverment MAKES her!! Bad government. Bad!!

    The mother isn’t making any choice that a school district or teacher isn’t also allowed to make. All the stuff you get misty-eyed about is downstream of that. I’m not saying it’s irrelevant. It’s just the delivery system: public, private, or snowflake mom. But the force of requiring education is still there. If a kid loved math but never wanted to learn to read, the mother would eventually have to answer to the state. Oh, you say, but reading is important! And that’s exactly the kind of thinking that shows you haven’t thought any of this through.

    Like the idea that cheating is ok if it’s for *this* reason, but not for *that* reason. Lord.

    And that Joseph guy is the sort who you edge away from at bars, if you’re unfortunate enough to get collared by him, but fortunately he probably doesn’t go to bars. He’s like the guy who thinks he’s *proved* god exists, by golly.

    • ” just put a post up on how the public school system is totally the way to go.”
      I most certainly did not.

      Yes, you did.

      And I”m not against homeschooling. I think it’s a snowflake solution for smug people, but hey, whatever.

      Bwahahaha. Do you even hear yourself? Seriously?

      For someone who thinks he’s being chill and logical, you can’t follow anything that hasn’t been prescribed in advance.

      Dear God, when I have opinions I think they’re probably the right ones since they’re my opinions! Stop the presses!

      The mother isn’t making any choice that a school district or teacher isn’t also allowed to make. All the stuff you get misty-eyed about is downstream of that. I’m not saying it’s irrelevant. It’s just the delivery system: public, private, or snowflake mom. But the force of requiring education is still there. If a kid loved math but never wanted to learn to read, the mother would eventually have to answer to the state. Oh, you say, but reading is important! And that’s exactly the kind of thinking that shows you haven’t thought any of this through.

      This is so tremendously stupid I don’t even know where to start.

      Oh, you say, but reading is important! And that’s exactly the kind of thinking that shows you haven’t thought any of this through.
      Like the idea that cheating is ok if it’s for *this* reason, but not for *that* reason. Lord.

      This is a *perfect* example of what I meant when I said you have a preconceived idea in mind of how people who disagree with you think, then project that outward. I mean holy crap.

      I don’t think students *should* cheat, for one thing. I think that they basically have no reason not to except that lying is wrong – which is the *exact reason* they should not be in that situation in the first place. But you don’t seem to grasp this distinction, or don’t want to grasp this distinction, or don’t really care either way, which just shows that *you* haven’t been thinking about it.

      And that Joseph guy is the sort who you edge away from at bars, if you’re unfortunate enough to get collared by him, but fortunately he probably doesn’t go to bars. He’s like the guy who thinks he’s *proved* god exists, by golly.

      You seriously can with a straight face say *I’ve* thought none of this through, then reject a comment by someone who has done a ridiculous amount of reading and spent a ridiculous amount of thought on his subject, because he disagrees with you?

      You’re a parody of yourself. I had – have! – tremendous respect for you. You’ve even helped me out in the past, whether or not you remember it, and I sincerely and truly appreciate that – but if this response didn’t exist, I’d have to invent it. You can’t possibly prove my point better.

      I start off talking with you politely, you make wild and ludicrous accusations about me, you assume I mean things I don’t mean or didn’t say, you reject people who disagree with you because they don’t fit your preconceived notions of normal, and you expect me to sit here and say “Man, you’re right, I was being totally irrational. By golly, I’m so sorry!”

      Sorry, but that ain’t happening. You owe me, you owe Joseph, an apology. But you won’t give it because it would mess with your idea that you’ve taken the red pill, figured all of this out, have joined the Dark Enlightenment and mastered the key to all of this.

      Grow up.

      • BTW -Let’s note that you, of all people, make that comment about Joseph when you espose a view of IQ and education you *literally call the Voldemort view*.

        Really, think about that for a moment.

  4. My responses were triggered, if you will, by Joseph pulling out the Prussian canard. Many homeschoolordie types love John Taylor Gatto’s rhetoric, but it’s not very historically accurate (homeschool culture is full of reliance on unreliable authorities, which is not a great argument that it gives one superior critical thinking skills) and they also identify with pioneers (sometimes because that was their greeeeeat-grandpa) without understanding how far removed their ideas of motherhood and education of children would be from many of those same ancestors.

    Public education has a lot of problems, but part of the reason it does is the critics are often strange and make weird claims. I know employed people who are in a narrow age range and work at big desks doing projects next to each other. So “school” is not that artificial if that’s what you expect employment to be for your children because it’s what you see when you look at employed people. Certainly it’s not the only employment situation one observes, but it’s hardly rare or uncommon. And it’s more common among the suburban and exurban parents who think there’s nothing really wrong with public school.

    • I indeed have seen that sort of employment situation. My dad worked in a cubicle for years next to a bunch of other people in cubicles.

      It is absolutely nothing like school. For one, everybody has a vested interest in being there, even if they don’t necessarily want to be. That alone is a MASSIVE difference from school.

    • As for Joseph – I’ve been reading him for awhile. Be careful of the assumptions you make. I know for a fact that he doesn’t engage in traditional homseschooling per se but in fact participates in a system and a sort of school district – just one entirely removed from what we see in public schools.

      • You don’t know what public schools offer to say that. It’s a pretty diverse world of options out there, especially in the suburbs that everyone loves to pick on. I was surprised myself, but that’s what you find out when you actually have kids and have to figure out what you’re going to do about educating them in Clown World. I’ve seen a lot of homeschool graduates and the results are significantly inferior to the rhetorical advertisements.

        Anyway, back to bedrest.

  5. Mike T says:

    Wrong. The government is forcing education on children. Parents can choose how that education is delivered. But the parent can’t opt to not educate the child at all. So the only difference between Mom and the school is delivery. Both are forcing government mandated instruction on the child.

    And that would be fine if the government only forced education in a handful of core curricula (“your child will learn to read, write, do math up to at least algebra and study civics and US history”). However, our society jumped the shark a long time ago by pretending that everyone should need Physics, Calculus and a host of other advanced high school classes when most people would either end up blue collar or taking a major in college outside of STEM.

    • GRA says:

      @ Mike T: “However, our society jumped the shark a long time ago by pretending that everyone should need Physics, Calculus and a host of other advanced high school classes when most people would either end up blue collar or taking a major in college outside of STEM.”

      That’s what my high school is doing, at least the whole STEM curriculum with a leadership aspect to it, in order differentiate themselves from other parochial schools. I can’t it’s not working but I also can’t it is. Typical enough the performing arts are getting shafted in order to cater to this curriculum. The current president is focusing on STEM and sports (he graduated with B.S. in engineering, has an MBA, and was a standout running-back in high school, so you clearly see where these ideas came from), with his goal to “return to the school’s athletic glory days.” Winning sports teams do catch the eye of prospective students, but I can’t help but think he’s really narrowing the school. As one parent already said it’s for a certain type of student when reflecting on the changes.

      There’s an all-girls parochial high school nearby that focuses on the liberal arts (very balanced curriculum) which has maintained its enrollment since I’ve graduated. The all-boys parochial high school right next door to said high school didn’t jump the STEM bandwagon and hasn’t faced what my alma mater was facing a few years back – closure due to low enrollment.

      Is liberal arts the cure? I don’t think so. STEM? Nope. Are we Bronx Science wannabes? I think it’s balance.

    • GRA says:

      In my graduating class, those that went into STEM (medicine, physical therapy, pharmacy, engineering) were already strong in science and math, so I’m perplexed on the focus on it. A reasoning goes that there will be more jobs in the future in STEM. It’s a practical goal to prepare students for this supposed future, but in my mind you can’t force a kid into such fields if he isn’t strong in science and math. It ignores those who have other strengths and interests. Though it may sound progressive to prepare it’s ironically backwards. If the government sanctioned a report that there will be an increase in farming jobs will my high school change its curriculum? According the current president’s concept of “challenging the status quo of what a Catholic education should be” the answer is a yes.

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