Free market closed to education: "Textbook 'selection' or 'adoption,' is decided by the individual states. In an open state, individual school districts are free to choose the textbooks they want to use. In a closed state, a state textbook committee chooses its textbooks and if a textbook is not approved, then state funds cannot be used to make a purchase. This creates a powerful competition among publishers to produce a 'politically correct,' 'adoptable' book which ends up dull, devoid of the context for most content, and low in quality. Although there are only 22 states with the closed model for text selection, it is these states which ultimately influence the types of books offered by the publishers and produced for sale to schools everywhere in our country."
Illiterate in L.A.
Vox Day has some pertinent comments about the disastrous level of illiteracy in Los Angeles. Beware of the sarcasm! Excerpts:
"The "Los Angeles Daily News" recently lamented the tremendous increase in "functional illiteracy" among the working population of Los Angeles County. In reporting the results of a recent study, it said:
In the Los Angeles region, 53 percent of workers ages 16 and older were deemed functionally illiterate, the study said ... It classified 3.8 million Los Angeles County residents as "low-literate," meaning they could not write a note explaining a billing error, use a bus schedule or locate an intersection on a street map.
While the article took note of the wasted "hundreds of millions of dollars spent in public schools over the past decade," it blamed the terrible results on an influx of non-English speaking immigrants and a 30 percent high-school dropout rate. But the dropout rate can't possibly explain the low level of literacy, because if the public school system was even remotely competent, the children would be reading adequately long before they ever reached high school....
It's a pity that the "Daily News" does not have access to studies tracking the reading ability of children who are schooled at home in Los Angeles County. It would be interesting to see how well those children read compared to these illiterate workers, particularly immigrant children taught at home, because as hard as it may be for the Daily News to imagine, people who speak other languages, even Spanish, have been known to be able to read. I can't confirm this, but I have even heard rumors that there are reputed to be one or two authors, such as the suspiciously foreign-sounding Arturo Perez Reverte, who actually write in Spanish, if you can believe anything so outlandish.....
One need only look at an elementary school's curriculum to realize that the bulk of a child's education necessarily comes from outside the school environment. It may come from parents, peers or the television, but very little of it comes from the free day-care centers that are the public schools".
SENIOR PROFESSORS AS COMPLACENT ARISTOCRATS
Margaret Soltan does not seem to think much of her academic colleagues. Excerpt from post of 14th:
"... They describe a cadre of senior professors willing themselves into a denial of reality profound enough to make Blanche Dubois look like Descartes. Blanche Dubois, though, had a sense of the tragic nature of life. Some of the professors evoked in these blogs look more like Amanda Wingfield, sure that any day now their graduate students will start receiving tenure-track gentleman callers. Still others look like Scarlet O'Hara: faced with graduate programs that haven't placed anyone in a respectable job in years, they say "Fiddledeedee. We'll think about that tomorrow." They are so busy thinking about the next job offer or administrative stint that will enable them to raise their salary and title demands at their home institution that they have not noticed the erosion of their own tenured ranks in American academia and the replacement of these ranks by huge numbers of untenurable and undercompensated instructors.
Tenured faculty, the aristocracy of the university, have been disgracefully complicit in the creation of an academic helot class to subsidize their own upper-middle-class salaries," writes Jack Miles, "but the helots are progressively replacing the aristocrats as the latter retire and are replaced by helots rather than by other aristocrats. What is being phased out, in short, is the very career which tenured faculty once enjoyed and to which new Ph.D.s still vainly aspire." Full professors are the aristocracy of the aristocrats, and that much more disgraceful.
This situation, this vast disparity between the restive bottom and the fatuous top of our profession, and the evolution of the professoriate away from a model based upon a calling and toward a model indistinguishable from market greed and vanity, has gradually become morally nauseating to me"
For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.
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