05 Dec 2006

Derbyshire On American Education

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John Derbyshire has a good rant on the follies of American education in New English Review.

Education is a subject I find hard to contemplate without losing my temper. In the present-day U.S.A., education is basically a series of rent-seeking rackets.

There is the public school racket, in which homeowners and taxpayers fork out stupendous sums of money to feed a socialistic extravaganza in which, when its employees can spare time from administration, “professional development” sabbaticals, and fund-raising for the Democratic Party, boys are pressed to act like girls, and dosed with calming drugs if they refuse so to act; girls are encouraged to act like boys by taking up advanced science, math, and strenuous sports, which few of them have any liking or aptitude for; and boys and girls alike are indoctrinated in the dubious dogmas of “diversity” and political correctness.

There is the teacher-unions racket , in which people who only work half the days of the year are awarded lifetime tenure and lush pensions on the public fisc, subject to dismissal for no offense less grave than serial arson or piracy on the high seas.

There is the federal Department of Education racket, aptly summed up by the teacher-union boss who declared, when the Department was established by Jimmy Carter, that he now belonged to the only labor union to have its very own cabinet officer. The DoE is also much beloved by politicians, who can posture as kiddie- and family-friendly by periodically voting to tip boxcar-loads of taxpayers’ money into this bureaucratic black hole…

Towering over all these lesser scams is the college racket, a vast money-swollen credentialing machine for lower-middle-class worker bees. American parents are now all resigned to the fact that they must beggar themselves to purchase college diplomas for their offspring, so that said offspring can get low-paid outsource-able office jobs, instead of having to descend to high-paid, un-outsource-able work like plumbing, carpentry, or electrical installation. ..

Genes? What are you, some kind of Klansman or Nazi? No, no, no, the kids are little blank slates for teachers, parents, and politicians to work their magic on, These undesirable outcomes—these mysterious test-score gaps, these dropping-outs and delinquencies—arise only because we are chanting the wrong spells!

Hat tip to Karen Myers.

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2 Feedbacks on "Derbyshire On American Education"

Dominique R. Poirier

My two children experienced French school and U.S. school (kindergarten and up to, in Massachusetts).

In most French public schools your children are much likely to meet, higgledy-piggledy:

– smoking;
– fight and violence;
– repeated and impromptu labor union strikes of the educational staff;
– repeated and impromptu closing due to staff meetings;
– repeated and impromptu sick leave of the educational staff;
– the use of the educational program and courses as a way to spread far leftist and anti-Americanism propaganda (the promotion of the Che as a way of learning Spanish language, and innocuous questions such as “Explain why this picture of the NYFD men standing beside an American flag on the ruin of the WTC is bad for democracy.”);
– the promotion of a culture of impoliteness, vulgarity, and sadness.

I stop here since I don’t want to fall under the accusation of partisanship. In three years and a half, my children never experienced any of of the aforesaid troubles. Sorry.

That’s why my point of view about U.S. public school can be summed up in only two words:

thumbs up.



Dominique R. Poirier

My two children experienced French school and U.S. school (kindergarten and up to, in Massachusetts).

In most French public schools your children are much likely to meet, higgledy-piggledy:

– smoking;
– fight and violence;
– repeated and impromptu labor union strikes of the educational staff;
– repeated and impromptu closing due to staff meetings;
– repeated and impromptu sick leave of the educational staff;
– the use of the educational program and courses as a way to spread far leftist and anti-Americanism propaganda (the promotion of the Che as a way of learning Spanish language, and innocuous questions such as “Explain why this picture of the NYFD men standing beside an American flag on the ruin of the WTC is bad for democracy.”);
– the promotion of a culture of impoliteness, vulgarity, and sadness.

I stop here since I don’t want to fall under the accusation of partisanship. During their three years and a half of scholarship in America, my children never experienced any of the aforesaid troubles. Sorry.

That’s why my point of view about U.S. public school can be summed up in only two words:

thumbs up.



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