five for five

Wow, rarely are there so many education articles in one day that show the utter absurdity of the way this is thought about. Where does one begin? Well, let’s start with the front page, before heading into the mush-filled pages of our Advocate today. These five articles are of course all written by different writers, loosely defined. There is not a hint that these five subjects are remotely related. Hey, let’s give all five headlines right up front:

1) BESE Boosts Request, board asks for 2.75 percent more school funds – by Will Sentell of the Advocate

2) LCTCS tuition, fee hike OK’d – by Jordan Blum of the Advocate

3) Kansas City board votes to close half of schools – by Heather Hollingsworth, an AP writer

4) Technical college campuses get new identity – by Jordon Blum of the Advocate

5) National school standards pitched – by Donna Gordon Blankinship

Well, what a bunch. So different, no, in focus? No. They are all about the unsustainable education system we now have. They are all about the abuse of spending money, and the suspension of logic and reason to do it. These are all the same story – there is only so much money to be spent, the money is spent foolishly, each place and student is different, therefore we all must be alike. Yep. That’s what is is. Let’s look, briefly, for this is a blog, not a policy book.

In 1) above, BESE, which is our board of education here in Louisiana, asks for $105,000,000 more from a state budget that is “balanced” on a point, and still $250,000,000 no-can-be in the red, because of the state constitution. In 3) above, $2 billion was poured into the board over two decades and they managed to blow it so fast that they are now $54,000,000 short. In 4) for the fourth time in 18 years the system is to get a new name, colors, signs, letterhead, websites, brochures, etc, to teach the same students the same things with the same teachers all for some exhorbitant new costs for nothing but glitter. In 2) the LCTCS, which is the same Technical colleges in 4) they are short money to run the system they have so they are raising “tuition” and “fees” — which are the same thing since they wind up in the same pot to spend foolishly.

In 1), 2), 3) and 4) there has been No change whatsoever in the ability of the kids to learn, nor any much evidence they are learning much anymore at all. Recall, a few short weeks ago I wrote about the popularity of jewelry making classes at LCTCS, a skill most noteworthy for its pointlessness and better suitability to a hobby done after a real job. In Kansas, despite the massive expenditure, and a teacher-student ration of 1-13 or so, the scores not only didn’t go up, they didn’t stay as bad as they were. Instead they went down. If they went down below the level of the skills needed for jewelry making we are in big trouble.

Now, in 5) there’s talk of “national standards.” Really? Would that be oh, say euclidian geometry? That’s pretty standard. Or, say, addition, subtraction, multiplication, substraction? Pretty standard, one would think, from Miami to Nome, no? No, apparently there is this horror of difference – in a land where we are all supposed to find our inner navel and express our individuality we are to conform to the sameness of bureaucrats somewhere. But still, math, and real science (that is not, Gorian Science, or UN-Science, or say, oh, Philjonesonian Science, which is just made up stuff that sounds nice, or scary, as is required) are pretty standard. So what difference does it make who writes the books? Or what colors the cover? Or the purveyor, or the … really, what difference does any of it make? Math is math. One could take a textbook from Oxford circa 1800 and still teach math to anyone. It hasn’t changed all that much.

Now, history. That’s pretty straight forward too. Even if you wanted to balance page for page the “people’s” history for the, oh, evil white man’s history. Why, you can’t hardly bring up the right to fight for one’s constitutional rights without reference to the um, dead white male written constitution. Nor can you discuss change, hope or audacity, without talking about the dead white european Karl Marx’s take on it. History, in fact, being so incomplete – and names, dates and locations, while part of history, is not, truly, history, they are merely the most known facts. But still, Hitler did conspire, with what was left of Austria, with Stalin to dismember Poland in 1939, just as the Kaiser of Germany conspired with Emperor Josef of Austria, and the Czar of All the Russias in 1914 to dismember Poland, and too, Freddy the Great of Prussia, aka Germany, Peter the Great of Russia, and Marie-Theresa of Austria did conspire to dismember Poland in the 1750s. In fact, as far back as the Lusatian (aka Poland) Crusades of the 1200s the German holy roman emperor, the German born pope, the Hapsburgs of Vienna, Austria, and the Ivans of Moscovy (aka Russia) conspired to dismember Poland. And so it would seem, then, that history has shown that Germans, Austrians and Russians have been dismembering Poland for nigh on 800 years. That’s the historical facts. Why they did it is the history that is no so well known, for the conversations were not recorded, so we can only guess at what was said, and in any textbooks, it would be far better to have diversity of opinion and interpretation, rather than unity.

Still, true, of the civil rights era, the woman’s rights era. Indeed, in any history whatsoever it is always to have as many different opinions as to the whys while all agreeing on the dates. But to put all them eggs of knowlege into one national basket seems just, well, dumb, or political. I vote the later, but I’m a cynic.

Now, what of the billions that will be spent on redoing all the books that don’t conform to the standards? Well, then, that would be quite a spender. Who will make this money? And why are we chopping down trees when Wikipedia, Britannica, World Atlas, Google Map, and lo, a billion or two other websites, showing the great dirvergence of thought on any number of subjects are just a click away? It would seem, perhaps, to just well, teach each kid to build his own laptop, so they can look up what might they come up with, and Diversity, the mighty love of our times, might rear up and shout: “Really, I did not know that, where did you find that? Oh there? Wow, well, then, that changes things a bit.” But no! We are to have a nationl standard!

I do like the headline’s use of the word “pitched” though. For that’s exactly what should be done with a national standard, from on high, it should be pitched. Overboard into the deep abyss. Knowledge and understanding is speeding up, being exchanged and collated in wholly new ways, and more and more primary source documents are available – for instance, no longer does a civics class have to merely talk about “how” budgets are made in congress – they can got the .gov’s of their choice and look up all sorts of interesting things. But still, this great diversification, cross pollination, this great outpouring of scholarship wrought by a million hands or more, is not, for the sake of true statist comformity, to be enshrined in a “national standard” to be overseen by whom? Aye, there’s the rub. Instead of making allowance for diversity, as they scream from the roof tops, we are to channel our inner cattle and all learn the exact same thing from sea to shining sea. Quite amazing.

And, though, lo, meanwhile, the schools themselves are going bankrupt. The administrators are so thick one can’t see the conference tables around which they sit with big fat environmentally unfriendly briefing books figuring out how to do the same or worse with more money. They are to be given credit for at least trying, in time honored human fashion, to feather their own nests. But still, they are going down the pike to Kansas City. Total immolation.

Just don’t let Kansas be the guide. In Detroit they’re raising the idea of razing the city, or a good portion of it, and forcibly moving the people to where it might better suit the purposes of the government whose budget is bigger in every measure than when that city had 1,000,000 MORE residents. One is to give them credit for the fleecing, for it was so smooth, it was almost painless.

Meanwhile, up in New York, they do want to rub salt into the public wounds by banning salt. Such conformity to diktat can only be taught by national standards, as any czar, emperor or communist aparatchik can tell you.

Oh, glory days are here, for when we shall be the same in our diversity by being identical in thought, deed, and salt, soda and pizza intake, a glorious new man of the ages (though not much different than Pharaoh wanted, or Stalin for that matter) will arise from the evils of Real Diversity to the vaunted diversity of the Borg, and all for Trillions of Dollars.

Such is the education of our times. Broke, going under, given to glitter, demanding more money, and making everyone together think this is good through national standards. You know, like health care.

Go, you Advocate for socialism and royalism, you trouble me today.

Oh yeah, one last thing, the closer to the election this “final, we’re done talking about it” health care vote, or votes, or reconciliations, or deemings or senses of congress or excutive order, or whatever they are calling it this week get to not being, well, final, the more deep will be the discontent at the polls. Oh, it’s going to be interesting, this next few years, as the Great Wall of Socialism is ripped from the infirm hands of its pushers, either by the People, or by the reality of rather conformed math: you cannot long spend 4 bucks for every 2 you earn. Nope, you can look that up. I think the first time it was written was in cuneiform tablets at Babylon, but I can’t be sure.

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