Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More Money, Shorter Buses

This morning on WMAL (now on FM 105.9 in DC instead of that classic rock music!) I heard the Morning Majority discuss Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan comment on his desire for year-round school.  He claims it would help improve academic performance and help keep students from having to relearn a lot of their knowledge that they supposedly gained the previous year.  All three show hosts tended to agree with Arnie Duncan on this because they believed it would be better for them.

The fact of the matter is, most education from government skools (and I suspect most private schools) is utterly worthless.  Academic credentials are not as all that hard to obtain, especially in this day and age with the ever increasing supply of college students.  Most of the time, a degree is used to get an interview, not a series of important lessons to help you in your career.  If I could have gotten a job as a computer programmer without a degree, I would have done it, although I have met others who have managed to do this.

For example, most school curriculum are more concerned with sex education than teaching basic economics.  Which is more important, understanding the basics of supply and demand or putting a condom on a banana?  To most teachers, administrators, parents, politicians, and union thugs, safe sex takes precedence over learning how the world works in terms of economics.

Personal finance is another thing.  Pretty much everything I learned about personal finance I had to learn on my own.  If our kids do not know how to properly balance a checkbook, calculate simple interest, or figure out their own spending priorities, then why do we keep on questioning why they still live at home with their parents at age 33?

This notion of year-round education has been compared to other countries like China and India, but I can say that there are countries who have less days than we do and still produce better test scores than us.   I think what we need is less education in America because forced learning is no learning at all.

Human beings only learn the things they want to learn, even when they claim they have to.  The truth is, we are learning more and more these days but forget most of it once we graduate from high school or college.  And this is often times because the knowledge gained in those years is utterly useless to us as working, productive adults.

If Arnie Duncan and his ilk were concerned about the lost knowledge that was gained by students, he would declare all of us to be in perpetual schooling.  The truth is, there is no magic number of days or years of forced learning that can make any of us into finely tuned and highly knowledgeable geniuses.  There are upper limits that every human being can reach and most of us are more concerned with football, primetime television, and maintaining our job skills than philosophy and banana condoms.

With the rise of the Internet, most topics can be researched and discussed online.  I have learned a lot about economics, history, and political theory from just browsing the Internet.  The way in which information retrieval is changing and I firmly believe that Arnie Duncan is nothing more than a dinosaur in the education game.  His ideals seem to be oriented towards more money (tax-payer funded of course) to schools which seems to lead to shorter buses.

If you have any good sense, you would know it is better to homeschool your kids than to subject them to forced learning.  Too bad most parents like to outsource their parenting to the teachers and day care professionals.

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