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.
Public schools are a peerless example of the progressives’ conception of society as one big factory that can be scientifically managed with a kind of political (and moral) Taylorism. (Frederick Winslow Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management was enormously influential among American progressives.) Whether the problem is education or health care or pharmaceutical regulation, the factory mindset of progressives favors unified systems characterized by standardization and homogeneity. The idea of lots of different kinds of schools offering lots of different kinds of education — with many of them operating outside of the direct oversight of the central bureaucracy — gives them the willies.
I remember when a friend of ours was on the board of United Way, and that year they gave $100 to each child in our city for summer camp, administered through the public school system, but private school children also benefited. It was not given to the Catholic school children (because religion). So if you were a child living in our city that year and you didn't go to a public school or other private school (but not Catholic) you were left out. It was just blatantly discriminatory in my opinion. Our friend didn't understand at all why all kids in town should just be included.
Ah, negative on that.
Just this year I took a sociology course. According to the textbook there were 5 functions of schools and education, learning stuff, wasn't on the list.
Decriminalize school truancy.
One of the first complaints I heard when Covid overtook, and the schools emptied out was how are these kids gonna eat. Some eat there three meals a day. At some point, if parents can't figure out how to feed their kids maybe it's time for the state to step in. Ridiculous.
When I think of schools and school meals, I think of how the old auto CEO complained he thought he was running a car company, but turns out he was running a health insurance operation.
I can't remember who said it, but recently I watched a podcast that speakers made the point that we have institutions, economic ideas, etc. set up for 1950 but now have a very different world. Remember, in 1950, we still had the underlying command economy from the war and the Great Depression. The Zwangswirtschaft of the Nazis (compulsory economy) to a degree. The union and corporate bosses model. It didn't last productively into the 1970s and only by deregulation did we recover into the 1990s.
But for schooling, this from economist Ed Leamer really gets at the failure in current schooling. Up to 1980 or so, you went to college and learned what the professor taught you then applied it. But that is no longer of value in the workplace. You need to have real education, the ability to go past what the teachers taught.
But, I want to go to the other end of the spectrum, which is intellectual services. It used to be, if you wave your Bachelor's degree, you're going to get a great job. When I graduated from college, it was a sure thing that you'd get a great job. And, in college, you'd basically learned artificial intelligence, meaning, you carried out the instructions that the faculty member gave you. You memorized the lectures, and you were tested on your memory in the exams. That's what a computer does. It basically memorizes what you tell it to do.
But now, with a computer doing all those mundane, repetitive intellectual tasks, if you're expecting to do well in the job market, you have to bring, you have to have real education. Real education means to solve problems that the faculty who teach don't really know how to solve.
And that takes talent as well as education.
So, my view is we've got to change education from a kind of a big Xerox machine where the lectures are memorized and then tested, into one which is more experienced-based to prepare a workforce for the reality of the 20th century. You've got to recognize that just because you had an experience with, say, issues in accounting, doesn't mean that you have the ability to innovate and take care of customers who have problems that cannot be coded.