Sunday, June 29, 2014

Back to the dead-end

Drop out and get a real education

Life Experience, New Technology Can Teach You More Than School Ever Could

I have written before about the college bubble in the United States and where it may lead. The current problems in the college system are pretty obvious, just as Mark Cuban stated in an interview last week. How this giant college debacle unfolds will have huge implications and may lead to entirely new ways of looking at education, not only in the university system but with schooling overall.

For the last few generations in the West, the prestige of earning a college degree has been diminishing. It has now reached a tipping point where the cost of going to college far out-weighs the benefits. Many people do not realize the vast changes that are happening around them, not just in education but in all sectors of the economy.

Young people have been told by their well-meaning parents and university administrators that going to college is a requirement for being a productive member of society. They have also been told that your earnings are correlated with the level of degree you attain.

Ironically enough, a first-year statistics course will help you dispel this fallacy. Correlation is not causation, and I would say that this correlation has more to do with the smart and well-connected members of society being able to earn more money, whether or not they hold a degree. Bill Gates, for instance, dropped out of Harvard, which in fact increased his ability to make his fortune. Today, this is even more pronounced, not only because the cost of college education has gone up but also how far removed from the market these learned skills have become. In today’s word, real-world experience is more valuable than wasting time and money on a common degree.

With a bachelors degree’s in hand, most are then abandoned in an economy where the “secure jobs” they were promised are nowhere to be found. These “secure jobs” were part of a three-legged stool (Social Security, 401k, company pension) that is now eroding and will likely be completely pulled out from most of those that bought into it. The fact is the economy is weighed down with taxes and regulation, and the baby boomers are not leaving their jobs to be replaced by the next generation because they are unprepared for retirement.

Once a student graduates, they have six months before they need to start repaying the loan. What does that mean for those unable to find that cushy job they were waiting for within those six months? They decide to pile on more debt and go back to the carefree college life for another degree. This only postpones the pain and creates a cycle of debt that thousands of students are now trapped in. The results of this cycle can be seen in the ever increasing student debt which now sits at US$1.2 trillion.

Based on my own conversations with students, when the rubber hits the road and these students finally do need to find a job to payback their debt, many are unable to do so and will simply default. I have written about the potential consequences of this phenomenon in my previous article.

The current university system is on an unsustainable path, and we have better alternatives in today’s technological landscape.

The Schooling of People

Although many people are able to admit that there are problems with the university system, and that it may not be the best decision in today’s world, compulsory K-12 schooling is still very much a sacred cow. It is practically heresy to suggest that children not attend.

It’s funny that the only other time we use the word “school,” we are referring to a school of fish that think and swim together in unison, as one monolithic group. From my observation, current schools serve the same purpose in stamping out imagination and creativity, in order to instill obedience and the ethics that pleases the tribe.

This effort is not just my suspicion but has been well documented by authors such as John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Iserbyt, and Murray Rothbard. You can watch this priceless video interview with John Taylor Gatto, where he talks about every aspect of the school system that he was once a part of. The School Sucks Project is also a great place to go to learn about the problems with the current education system. Many people are upset about the implementation of Common Core, but this is just one example of an agenda that has gone on for decades to clamp down on imagination and individuality.

Giving up children to strangers to be taught in large classes for 15,000 hours is something that is unique in human history and is not adequate in providing the amount of attention a child needs during their formative years. The denigration of the system has turned many public schools into what are now essentially child prisons that busy parents use as a babysitting services. I believe we’re at the point now where sending your child to some of these institutions could be considered a form of child abuse.

For these reasons, I see the K-12 schools, along with the current university system, unfit for the technological times that we live in.


British school with just 13 pupils - all white - is accused by Ofsted of racist bullying: Governor attacks report after village primary is put in special measures over incident

A village primary school with just 13 pupils was put into special measures after an Ofsted inspection found too many incidents of racist or homophobic bullying and serious acts of violence.

But the chairman of governors at Ravenstonedale Endowed School in rural Cumbria has fought back, claiming the report was based on a single incident of children using the word ‘gay’ as a throwaway comment and not knowing what it meant.

Liz Morgan said it had been ‘blown out of proportion’ and also denied there had been any racism at the remote school, where all of the children are white.

She said she believed Ofsted had an agenda against small schools and suspected they’d been unfairly labelled racist because racism and homophobia were treated as one category by Ofsted.

Parents of pupils said the report was ‘ludicrous’.

Ravenstonedale Endowed School, near Kirkby Stephen, was labelled ‘inadequate’ – the lowest rating out of four grades.

Inspectors visited the school in April, where pupils range from ages five to 11 and travel in from nearby hamlets and farms.

Their report condemned the behaviour of pupils and highlighted ‘too many incidents of racist or homophobic bullying’, and ‘serious instances of violence’.

Staff were warned they urgently needed to improve pupils’ behaviour as parents had already pulled out 12 children, out of just 25, in a six-week period this year. Ofsted claimed this was because parents were ‘concerned’ about behaviour.

However the chairman of governors insisted that pupils had been taken out of the school mainly because of parents being anxious about the need for them to engage with larger numbers of children.

She said: ‘Parents have taken children out for a variety of reasons – racism and homophobic bullying have never been a reason.

‘As the school is getting below a certain size, parents have been worried about the social side of education they think their children need.’

She said she believed Ofsted’s criticisms had been based on a single report in the school’s own discipline record about children using the word ‘gay’.

She said the school did not tolerate it and spoke to the child and their parents – and had since challenged the report with Ofsted but received no response.

Helen Buckler, 43, who has three children at the school, said: ‘It is  all absolute rubbish and upsettingly inaccurate.  ‘It is totally ludicrous. I’ve never heard of any racism, homophobia or serious violence. There aren’t even any ethnic minorities at the school – every kid is white.’

A statement from the school said Ofsted was not ‘sensitive to the particular challenges faced by small rural schools’. It added: ‘We were particularly upset by the allegations of racist and homophobic bullying as we do not believe there have been any such incidents in the school.’

Ofsted stood by its report, insisting that both racist and homophobic comments had been made by pupils.


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