> I agree. But you far too quickly elide some > foundational issues. First, I got an "amen" from > you, and I am grateful for it, but the public debate > is completely centered on the principle that our > society "vastly underfunds" the public schools.
The other cliche is we vastly overfund the military, and whatever else you think of Putin's recent speech, I think it's fair to say that Russian civilians have benefitted from the post cold war de-emphasis on military spending in that region, a reduction from like 30% to 3% of GDP. Means so much more for other pie slices. Moscow gets a monorail and so on (meanwhile Seattle's expansion plans bogged down (elevated.org)).
On the other hand, the martial arts have a place in education, according to a (still operational) ancient Chinese model (championed by its film industry). Even *within the military* a higher quality product could be procured for the same money, in terms of its everyday educational components (education for kids on base for example, including overseas if such are still necessary).
Our future chief of the joint chiefs, Gen. George Casey, responding to Senator John Warner, couldn't recall whether the war colleges had been in the loop in the recent "surge" (code for current US operations in Baghdad), which to me bespeaks of ongoing mis- calculations in our military services and their chains of command i.e. when is the Pentagon going to set a shining example of "less waste" in its feeder school systems? Aren't those our tax dollars at work too? As Senator Warner pointed out, we're sinking a lot of dollars into war colleges and their simulations, so if they're being funded but not really used...
My point: this culture of waste and fraudulent billing for services not rendered, if allowed to persist among our reputedly "most disciplined", is not going to magically resolve in our civilian sector either. On the contrary, ongoing profligate spending by an out of control military-industrial complex (aka LAWCAP), what President Eisenhower warned us against, has weakened the integrity of our civilian sector past a point of no return in many dimensions i.e. many businesses have no contingency plan should their services as defense contractors no longer be required, too bad for them.
> Thanks to massive propaganda by the Education Mafia, > we have a lot of work still to do on this score. > > Second, the obvious corollary to your "money could > be better spent" theme is also about the funding > level as it now exists. Should we consider giving > even more money to people with a proven track record > of incompetence, as some correspondents to this forum > would have it, or do we make the case that we should > stop throwing good money after bad?
I think thinking in terms of money, though commonly done, is ass backwards. Start with curricula, judge them on their merits (relatively and absolutely), and then pointedly question why this or that is being bleeped over. Encourage parents to get in on this discussion, to educate themselves on the dividing lines and fight for higher quality (it's a participatory democracy we're training for, not mindless subservience to some cult of so-called "experts").
In this regard, you, myself, and Wayne overlap, although you've also claimed math teachers really know what they're doing (I'd have to dig to find the post), I guess because the choice of "which curriculum" is not really theirs to make (they're just the "do or die" army, sent into the fray by a corrupt money grubbing "mafia" in your model -- which is likewise my model to some degree, though with no intended disrespect to ethnic Italians (the real Mafia is far less money grubbing and stupid I would imagine, given decades of Darwinian turf battles)).
I'm less sure about where MPG and Richard are on this. Richard seems an apologist for the status quo a lot of the time, even though we all know the big dummy text books out there are crap, with too few alternatives offered (such a waste of students' time!, teachers' too).