We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
What a juxtaposition — the same week that Columbia University is celebrating merit in the form of the Nobel prize in economics awarded to Professor Edmund "Ned" Phelps, Columbia's Teachers College is coming under justified criticism for deriding merit, favoring instead a kind of left-wing indoctrination. If that sounds like an overstatement, we invite you to check out the "conceptual framework" for Teachers College that is available for download at the Teachers College Web site. It states, "Social inequalities are often produced and perpetuated through systematic discrimination and justified by societal ideology of merit, social mobility, and individual responsibility (Strum & Guinier,[*] 1996). Traditionally organized schools help to reproduce social inequalities while giving the illusion that such inequalities are natural and fair."
The "conceptual framework" goes on to assert that "educators must recognize ways in which taken-for-granted notions regarding the legitimacy of the social order are flawed, see change agency as a moral imperative, and have skills to act as agents of change."
Good grief. The "legitimacy of the social order"? Deep waters, there, Teacher's College! I believe we live in a democratic republic already - the most free and most prosperous one ever on the planet, with the greatest opportunities for all.
If those profs think they have a better idea than that, let's hear it - before they inject those ideas into our kids' teachers.
Teaching is a high calling, an art and a skill. And much of teaching requires trying to engage young brains which would naturally prefer to be doing other things. That is often a thankless task, but the emotional rewards are when a kid finally "gets it," and the material rewards are a good pension, long summers, tenure, and better net hourly pay and benefits than most jobs.
Propagandizing with worn-out Marxist notions - left-overs from the 1960s - is a much easier thing to do than to teach kids important and useful information. It's easier on the kids too. They learn quickly to parrot this stuff back, if that's what the teacher wants: kids can be quite cynical and practical about such things.
I know, because I have heard it: "Daaaad, but I know Miss Jones wants us to say this!"
One of these days I will sit down and write what I, as an American citizen (and as an employer of thousands), expect a middle school, a high school, and a college graduate to know.