How after all the money spent is that possible?
How do you justify spending even more?
I don’t know the details of Mr. Breitbart’s death. I do know that many on the Right were very fond of him, and to them I offer my condolences.
To get to the questions that you are asking, John — you are making some assumptions that I’m not sure I follow. To give you a decent answer, you’d have to supply the information you’ve omitted.
First, as is the case with much of the information supplied by Mr. Breitbart, as in the case of the Acorn brouhaha where Mr. Breithart actively seemed to push a fabricated agenda about the nature of Acorn, — is this information true? In the case of Acorn, where Breitbart suggested that Acorn was supplying advice on how to fund a prostitution ring, the allegation was not true. Is the suggestion that the graduation rate is 52% in the principle cities true?
It wasn’t with Acorn? Why should we believe him here?
And, for that matter, how does one graduate without a diploma, unless perhaps Mr. Breitbart is trying to suggest that certificates are not equivalent? And what other school systems do the 50 largest cities run than their principle school; systems, and are the graduation levels substantially lower or higher in those systems. And how do the rates in those systems, if in fact there are any, affect the rates that Mr. Breitbart is quoting?
The notion of “all that money” is an elastic one. I recently spent about $9.00 dollars and got a very nice Chinese fountain pen which pleases me a great deal, and about $12.50 for some great ink in a turquoise that I simply love. It helps my writing. I spent at the same place about $20.00 for another great fountain pen from Noodler’s Pens, just wonderful, and I feel pleased as punch. I also picked up two Chinese pens for about three bucks each, knock-offs of old parker 51s and 61s, and they really aren’t so hot. Six bucks makes me feel, How could I have wasted all that money. Close to $50.00 makes me feel like a very smart man indeed.
Which money spent on education makes us feel like fools and which money spent on education makes us feel like wise men seems to me to be a better way of thinking about the question, John? And then we can go about looking at the whys and the hows of the matter a little more closely, in a way that allows us to apply our critical thinking skills, the ones that they tried to teach us in school. If we don’t apply those, then the education money that our parents spent on us really was wasted; if we do, then we’re doing ourselves, our parents and, if applicable, our kids a favor.
How do you justify spending even more?
That’s what research is all about, isn’t it?
I mean, quite literally, that’s what research is designed to find out. All sorts of tricks can be done with research results, of course, like the one where the drug companies compare new drugs against placebos to see if they’re any good, but somehow they never seem to get around to comparing them to the older drugs that they’;d be competing against in the marketplace. Yes, our new Happystatin will make you feel much better than a sugar pill and it’s only five dollars a dose. Sign right here.
Nobody mentions that the old drug, fix-you-up-finestatin, out of patent protection and available at $1.00 a dose does just as good a job. Happystatin is new and improved and does joyful things for the cholesterol in your blood. It makes your fatty plasma party.
That’s for drugs.
There’s educational research, social work research and psychological research as well, and you can misuse them just as easily, but if you keep you focus, you can actually get some decent answers if you try. The way you justify spending more money is you look at what you’ve already spent money on, and you see where it’s been well spent and you see where it appears to have been wasted and you see where somebody seems to have been fiddling around with the questions in the same way that a lot of the drug companies have been fiddling around with their questions, to get answers that aren’t really to the point.
That means, we don’t care if educational programs have a party in people’s plasma. We care if they improve people’s chances getting good jobs in later life, on a pragmatic level. The more abstract measures are harder to quantify. I believe I know “A Noble Man” when I meet one, what the Chinese call “The Superior Man” in the I Ching and the commentaries, what the bible might call “A Righteous Man.” I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with them for any length of time, though the Taoist Immortals might be fun. The research, though, would tell you that you were on the right track.
The notion of “throwing money at a problem,” which seems to be the solution you’re critiquing here, is not a solution I’ve ever seen seriously advocated by anybody. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll say I think it’s a foolish idea, too, and we can both say we’re on the same side of something; but the truth is that I believe that most plans seem to have some sort of rationale and target, even if I don’t happen to agree with either, and the whole notion of “simply throwing money at a problem” seems a red herring for the most part.
The way you justify spending more is by following up on success. That’s a military principle, too, as I understand it, to reinforce success.
I would suggest that we ought to evaluate a lot of our educational programs with that in mind.
We need to spend more on real science and on math and on languages. We need to spend more on real history and art and geography, not the Texas versions of any of these things. There are lots of things where opinions are important. Religion is one of them. Science should not be, and a child should be able to learn to give his parents the answer his religion requires in the religious context, and to plug the correct figures into the formula for the math test so that he can do research in chemistry and physics in competition with the folks in India and Great Britain and Germany.
If parents can’t supply their children with that sort of education, they are crippling their kids as solidly as though they were to break their right ankles every year as an extra birthday present. They are presenting the world with a generation of purposefully crippled American children as an example of what Freedom can do for you. Once again, I am reminded of Viktor Frankl’s comment. He said that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast ought to be balanced on The West Coast by The Statue of Responsibility.
I say there is a difference between Freedom and License, and that we justify spending more on education exactly to prevent Freedom from becoming License, and to ensure that we have an educated population, able to distinguish between the two, not an ignorant population unable to tell the difference. An educated population doesn’t need forests sacrificed to print laws specifying distinctions that would be obvious to those who are practiced at thinking and discussing the issues of democracy. For an ignorant and uneducated population, no number of laws are sufficient to cover the gaps in their willfulness and in their inability to understand the needs of the society as a whole.
That is why an adequate education is vital for a democracy, and why failing to advocate for it is against the interest of the democracy as a whole and of every individual who is a citizen of it. Other than that, clearly education is a waste of time unless, of course, one plans of spending the rest of one’s life talking with one’s self and finding all one’s entertainment needs fully met in doing so. I would find this a problem, personally.