On Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 7:59 AM, Paul Tanner <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Again: And it's really stupid to overwork teachers as something they > deserve for "being stupid" when it could actually be the case that the > students are hurt even more by overworking "stupid" teachers compared > to overworking "non-stupid" teachers.
Lets try different lenses and look at this as all brilliantly designed.
Textbook writers, review committees, editors, designers, layout artists, all need work, and the skills of publishing have been distinct and related to printing presses.
This idea that an individual teacher could write world-readable illuminated manuscripts with interactive components was pure science fiction through most of the 1900s.
On the other hand, you have a lot of adults who might be willing to work with younger people, helping them hone their skills, if the compensation were high enough.
Apparently, it *is* high enough, as we have huge numbers of adults who have elected to perform just such services.
On the other hand, if school is way too desultory for your taste, the lack of physical movement, the semi-paralysis of a desk job, and if PE has been cut back, no art and no music, then maybe military service is your ticket to a better school system.
You might learn to operate heavy equipment or maintain aircraft, and you'll return to the civilian sector with marketable skills, or so goes the PR.
Other OECD nations have only a fraction of the military the US has so it's important that market / social pressures continue to do their filtering.
K-12 puts up various obstacle courses, such as poorly taught math, weak STEM, few skills, and the military schools (divisions, bases, branches) swell with those electing a different trajectory through alternative obstacle courses.
Of course this is an oversimplification. Many go from high school to college and only enter the military later, perhaps with officer rank.
In my view, a US public education system should have as its ideal the education of future presidents.
This doesn't mean unrealistically fueling the hopes of millions that they could all sit in the Oval Office, but rather a citizen of the US needs to internalize the values and skills that make for a citizen / participant able to function at a high level in democratic institutions.
To the extent that democracy is failing i.e. to the extent that adults are failing to gain many presidential qualities (broad well rounded knowledge, appreciation for many cultures, ability to work in an egalitarian style in groups etc.), non-democratic institutions start to gain the upper hand.
With so many USAers living overseas in top down military hierarchies (not run on democratic principles) one can see the breakdown. Americans used to come to Afghanistan as tourists, in Hawaiian shirts (my family was through Kabul in the 1970s). Now they come in camo and carry firearms. http://www.thecamoshop.com/
Public schools have been unable to uphold their end of the bargain to sustain democracy and Americans are flooding into the prison-industrial complex as TSA / Homeland Security or just security in general, an important export. The Philippines exports care givers and home care personnel. The USA exports mercenaries.
Much of the balance (adults not majoring in security) are entering prisons as "offenders" i.e. as people who wouldn't / couldn't follow the rules of civilian society.
The US is turning from Athens into Sparta.
So in that sense, it's maybe not that brilliant a design (more like an idiocracy), but it is keeping a lot of adults employed and you can't just say "make them all find jobs in other sectors" when so many not-prison-or-military-related jobs have not been created yet.
They could be, there's work to be done. Cleanup is an especially important calling, along with toxins monitoring, but that all takes a background in STEM.
As the DVD series 'Breaking Bad' well demonstrates, if you deprive the middle class of sufficient health care, you'll just end up fueling an underground economy.
Quakers smuggle cheap heart meds into nursing homes from Canada, evading TSA crackdowns.
Providing health care becomes an underground railroad type of undertaking. It's not clear we have enough health care workers to fix it. You can mandate all the healthcare you want, but you can't change the laws of physics. Preventative care would mean making school more physically active and I'm not sure Americans could handle that. They all want desk jobs controlling drones, shooting bad guys, like they see on TV (ala 'Team America: World Police').