Wednesday, July 18, 2018

On Education, Trump Needs More Aristotle and Less Betsy DeVos

I am not sure I wholly agree with this.  A lot depends on the particular curriculum.  I would like to see a heap more history taught and a whole lot less sex education and environmentalism

The United States government has a frustrating habit of enlarging its bureaucratic apparatuses rather than consolidating them. So when the Trump administration recently proposed merging the Departments of Labor and Education because, in the words of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, “artificial barriers between education and workforce programs have existed for far too long,” it seemed like cause for celebration. However, there’s a vital reason that the Department of Education is distinct from the Department of Labor: its chief purpose—as opposed to facilitating a robust workforce—is nothing less than the conservation of democracy.

In book six of Plato’s The Republic, Socrates argues convincingly against the viability of democracy. Just as it would be imprudent to entrust the decision of who should be the captain of a ship to a crew that doesn’t necessarily know which qualities are needed, Socrates contends that it would be foolish to entrust choosing a society’s leader to its citizenry. He also argues that the inherently polarizing nature of democratic discourse makes electing people based on careful consideration difficult, if not impossible.

In a passage evocative of recent political rallies and campus debates, Socrates describes how, when his countrymen discuss politics, they “praise some things…and blame other things, equally exaggerating both, shouting and clapping their hands, and the echo of the rocks and the place in which they are assembled redoubles the sound of the praise or blame.”

Socrates then challenges his companions to imagine a man trying to evaluate the merits of a particular policy or candidate in such an echo chamber. He asks, “Will any private training enable him to stand firm against the overwhelming flood of popular opinion?” His companions readily agree that such resolve would be unlikely and it’s easy to see why. Nowadays, just as hyperbole and uproar once filled the Athenian forum, so, too, are American voters polarized, with aid from social media. In this light, it hardly seems wise to allow the public to elect their leaders.

Betsy DeVos is Not a Racist
The Liberal Arts Won't Save Our Souls
However, with a bit of good policymaking, our electorate can, at the very least, become competent. Plato’s most famous pupil, Aristotle, advises policymakers in book eight of his Politics that “the citizen should be molded to suit the form of government under which he lives.” He means that, in order for a system of government to function, it needs people who can function within it. In practice, this requires that culture and policy ideally be oriented towards the functioning of society. With regard to policy, especially in a democracy, Aristotle writes, “the legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth; for the neglect of education does harm to the constitution,” because a constitution, even an excellent one, that can be altered by a citizenry that neither understands it nor the consequences of changing it is quickly ruined.

For a capitalist country where a basic education in the liberal arts isn’t necessarily going to be provided by market forces, heeding Aristotle means making sure the state steps in. And that’s exactly what the Founding Fathers, encouraged by Thomas Jefferson, did.

In his Sixth Annual Presidential Message to Congress, Jefferson writes:

Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to…the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation.

Essentially, Jefferson argues that, despite its inefficiency relative to private enterprise, the government has a responsibility, justified in part by the precarious nature of American democracy, to erect and invest in institutions tasked with the education of the public.

The Department of Education is the most substantial government institution charged with the stewardship of this obligation. Certainly, its noble purpose doesn’t make it untouchable. Student loan forgiveness programs that effectively subsidize graduates working for the government, record levels of spending, and stagnating educational outcomes are just a few of the things that need to be addressed. And to its credit, the Trump administration is working vigorously with Congress on those and other matters within the department.

However, to merge the Department of Education with the Department of Labor and redirect its purpose toward DeVos’s beloved “workforce programs,” which explicitly aim at making students good workers rather than good citizens, would be to steer it away from its imperative mission. That would threaten the very foundations of our democracy.


Public School Teacher Tweets The Unacceptable- Will He Get Fired?

The viral video chronicling the reprehensible and unacceptable actions of an adult assaulting a teenager in a Houston area Whataburger, was simply disturbing and indicative of the insane reality that a certain percentage of the left has traded decency and tolerance for blatant criminality. The shoddy and pervading mentality that all forms of harassment and attacks on Trump supporters are justified, regardless of the age of the individual, is certainly not protected by the First Amendment and deserves a swift and decisive retaliation.

Not only did 30-year-old Kino Jimenez forcefully toss a drink into the face of Hunter Richard, and proceeded to steal the MAGA hat once donned by the 16-year-old, but to add insult to injury, a public school teacher weighed in on the controversy with a disgusting tweet, writhing in the bullying undertones of a sociopathic cretin. In a story that makes one cringe, Fox News reports that educator Jogi Pattisapu not only crossed the line, but set back teacher-student relations five decades, with this absolutely brilliant articulation of everything that is wrong with certain people on one side of the political spectrum, in defending the actions of Jimenez.

In his concise statement plagued by oversimplifications, cognitive dissonance and inappropriate language, Pattisapu, who teachers social studies (Indoctrinating lectures?), proves that he has no business interacting with young people, let alone influencing the raw minds of pupils with a noxious bias aligned with the Cultural Revolution. Unfortunately, thanks to the multi-billion dollar industry of public education unions, he will most likely not be fired and earn some form on condemnation for his tireless work in fighting for human rights.

Double newsflash- Pick on somebody your own size, and as a public school teacher it is an unwritten rule that you sacrifice your right to act as an extremist, when your paycheck is made possible by the taxpayer. And then you drop an expletive specifically targeting Trump supporting minors?

My ex is a private school teacher, who puts in her 12 hours a day, because she genuinely cares for each and every student, regardless of race, religion or political viewpoint. She would never, and I repeat never even consider a reprehensible verbal or social network attack on a student, even in the most challenging and intense moments of dealing with a room full of high school freshmen for nine months out of the year (She is an English teacher and it is utterly stunning the frequency of students who use texting language in their first essays. Yikes!). She also subscribes to the wisdom of separating work from her personal politics. Wow, what a concept!

It is unfathomable how Pattisapu faked his way into a classroom, and placing him under the same umbrella as dedicated teachers is completely unfair to the women and men, who make a valiant and concerted effort to shape the young minds of tomorrow in a positive way.

Pattisapu will probably get a pass, because he is protected by union goons and is a first generation [Indian] US citizen, and as a minority, it is completely acceptable to make demeaning remarks and insinuating threats towards Caucasians regardless of the context, as it is all for the sake of blind activism.


Liberals and conservatives divide over value of investing in higher ed

With the Leftist bias in education, is it any wonder that conservatives are less impressed by it?

Are liberals in America more willing to invest in higher education than conservatives?

A political divide shows up in a survey released today by Teachers College, Columbia University. In the survey, “Americans’ Views of Higher Education as a Public and Private Good,” 56 percent of self-identified liberals say public spending on higher education has been an excellent investment, compared with 32 percent of conservatives.

Nearly half of liberals also maintain higher education has contributed a lot to scientific advances that benefit society, a viewed shared by only 31 percent of conservatives. Thirty-four percent of liberals say higher education contributes a great deal to personal enrichment and growth, compared to 23 percent of conservatives.

While 26 percent of liberals agree that higher education contributes a lot to the wealth and success of graduates, only 20 percent of conservatives think so. A third of liberals say higher education contributes a lot to America’s national prosperity and development, compared to a fifth of conservatives.

The liberal/conservative gap is echoed by an urban/rural split. Urbanites are more likely to value investment in higher education than rural residents. A greater percentage of urban residents hold college degrees and are in the workforce, so it is likely they see the benefits of higher education. Another factor: There are more young people in urban areas.

(As an aside, I have found rural Georgians express less concerns when a candidate, even for governor, lacks a college degree. In a recent conversation, a Republican attorney in north Georgia told me, while still undecided between Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp, she was not overly bothered with Cagle’s lack of a degree. Experience, she said, matters as much as education.  Kemp is a University of Georgia graduate.)


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