Category Archives: Education

Guest Post by Fisher Ames: School Books

IT has been the custom, of late years, to put a number of little books into the hands of children, containing fables and moral lessons. This is very well, because it is right first to raise curiosity, and then to guide it. Many books for children are, however, injudiciously compiled: the language is too much raised above the ideas of that tender age ; the moral is drawn from the fable, they know not why ; and when they gain wisdom from experience, they will see the restrictions and exceptions which are necessary to the rules of conduct laid down in their books, but which such books do not give. Some of the most admired works of this kind abound with a frothy sort of sentiment, as the readers of novels are pleased to call it, the chief merit of which consists in shedding tears, and giving away money. Is it right, or agreeable to good sense, to try to make the tender age more tender? Pity and generosity, though amiable impulses, are blind ones, and, as we grow older, are to be managed by rules, and restrained by wisdom.

IT is not clear, that the heart, at thirty, is any the softer for weeping, at ten, over one of Berquin s fables, the point of which turns on a beggar boy s being ragged, and a rich man’s son being well clad. Some persons, indeed, appear to have shed all their tears of sympathy before they reach the period of mature age. Most young hearts are tender, and tender enough; the object of education is rather to direct these emotions, however amiable, than to augment them.

WHY then, if these books for children must be retained, as they will be, should not the bible regain the place it once held as a school book ? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the sacred book, that is thus early impressed, lasts long; and, probably, if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind. One consideration more is important. In no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant; and by teaching all the same book, they will speak alike, and the bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith. A barbarous provincial jargon will be banished, and taste, corrupted by pompous Johnsonian affectation, will be restored.

First published in The Palladium, January, 1801.

The wikipedia entry for Fisher Ames.

Education is subsidized and/or debt-financed consumption

The bubble in student loans has nothing to do with education. Institutions are seeing students’ desire for a TV college experience and up-selling them since it can be financed by debt. It’s not higher-education that’s a bubble, it’s a ridiculously high standard of living for 18-22 year old kids on borrowed money student loans and on-campus CC sign-ups that’s causing this.

This is not investment in our future. This is consumption. Dane Cook coming to speak on campus is consumption. A huge fancy gym is consumption. Apartment-style dorms are consumption. Super high-tech classrooms that get used for plain-old lectures are underutilized capacity. Top-of-the-line computers in labs that get used for browsing facebook are consumption.

I graduated in ’08 and most people I know talk endlessly of how much they miss college. They lived well and didn’t work and now they work hard and live poorly. A good-chunk went to grad-school to live the life again after not being happy with life as a 40k entry-level office-drone paying student loans and living in a sh@##y apartment.

All the student-loan boom is is anticipated consumption. That’s it. Nothing to do with education. For a lot of kids it’s simply 4 years of partying/socializing/indulging while also going to school

via Disrupting the Higher Education Bubble | The Big Picture.

An instance of government-produced Hell

My students often become curious about my personal life. The question most frequently asked is, “Do you have kids?”

“Two,” I say.

The next question is always heartbreaking.

“Do they live with you?”

Every fall, new education theories arrive, born like orchids in the hothouses of big-time university education departments. Urban teachers are always first in line for each new bloom. We’ve been retrofitted as teachers a dozen times over. This year’s innovation is the Data Wall, a strategy in which teachers must test endlessly in order to produce data about students’ progress. The Obama administration has spent lavishly to ensure that professional consultants monitor its implementation.

Every year, the national statistics summon a fresh chorus of outrage at the failure of urban public schools. Next year, I fear, will be little different.

Read the whole horrible thing: “Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister” by Gerry Garibaldi – City Journal.

Overspending on mandated boredom

There’s no way I can cheer for a bunch of government workers protesting against some of their perks being taken away. I’d like to see their jobs ended. But I can’t cheer on a Governor who doesn’t show the slightest clue that he understands that public education makes education a bureaucratic monstrosity that turns curious by nature children into bored stiffs

via Wisconsin in Perspective on the Protest-Revolution Scale.

Or maybe the classification system is just more caste guesswork

Kids, who are gifted with one talent or the other, are just as likely to fail in life as succeed, revealed a new study.

As part of one of the most extensive studies carried out, research found that out of 210 gifted children, only 3% were found to fulfil their early promise.

Professor Joan Freeman, said that of 210 children in her study, “maybe only half a dozen might have been what we might consider conventionally successful.”

via Gifted kids as prone to failure as to success – Lifestyle – DNA.

The whole rest of the article is nothing but anecdotes and speculation. The firm data is that the classification given to a child in the education system is worthless for the purposes of knowing anything about your child’s future.

How many children are classified at the other end and fail throughout life because they are led to think that they will?

Again: take the red pill.

As the education bubble nears explosion: “We will keep our caste system airtight.”

Phillip L. Clay, M.I.T.’s chancellor, said in an interview that a college degree was probably not required for Ms. Jones’s entry-level job in the admissions office when she arrived in 1979. And by the time she was appointed admissions dean in 1997, Professor Clay said, she had already been in the admissions office for many years, and apparently little effort was made to check what she had earlier presented as her credentials.

“In the future,” he said, “we will take a big lesson from this experience.”

via Dean at M.I.T. Resigns, Ending a 28-Year Lie – New York Times.

According to Wikipedia:

Marilee Jones (born June 12, 1951) is a former dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the co-author of the popular guide to the college admission process Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006).[1] The book received critical acclaim and Jones was featured on CBS, National Public Radio, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,[2] and The Boston Globe.[3] Jones resigned from her position in 2007 when it became known she had fabricated her academic degrees from Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on a job application in 1979 and she had added a fabricated degree to her resume from Albany Medical College sometime “after she was hired.”[4] The Times characterized Jones’s earlier prestige as “the guru of the movement to tame the college-admissions frenzy.”[5] The Boston Globe called her “the most celebrated and outspoken admissions dean in America.”[6]

In 2001, Jones received MIT’s Excellence Award for Leading Change, which recognized Jones’s leadership as dean of admissions. An excerpt from the presentation reads:

Because of Marilee’s leadership and passion, the message of: “science in the service of mankind,” now resonates among generations of students. She helps students understand that they have a responsibility as members of society, to utilize their skills and talents to make a difference in the world. Marilee has also been visionary in her approach towards admissions strategies and processes, incorporating faculty and alumni perspectives, and the concerns and interests of prospective students and their parents.[24]

Jones also received MIT’s Gordon Y. Billard Award “for special service of outstanding merit performed for the Institute”[25] in 2006.

The NY Times piece also reports:

Rachel Ellman, who studies aerospace engineering, said, “I feel like she’s irreplaceable.”

Ms. Jones had received the institute’s highest honor for administrators, the M.I.T. Excellence Award for Leading Change, and many college admissions officers and high school college counselors said yesterday that whatever her personal shortcomings, her efforts deserved respect.

“She’s been working and presenting a lot of important ideas about our business,” said Rod Skinner, director of college counseling at Milton Academy, the Massachusetts prep school. “What I’m hoping is that the quality of the research and the book will hold up.”

Ms. Jones was hired by the admissions office in 1979 to recruit young women, who at the time made up only 17 percent of the institute’s undergraduates, compared with nearly half today.

Since she entered the field, admissions to M.I.T. and other elite institutions have become increasingly competitive, and she made her mark with her efforts to turn down the flame of competition.

But don’t worry the educational establishment is dealing carefully with the important lessons learned here:

Jones’ case demonstrates flaws in the hiring and promotion systems currently in place at MIT. It may be unreasonable to expect the Institute to thoroughly check the background of all new employees at all levels. But it is the Institute’s responsibility to find a practical solution so that this kind of situation does not arise again.

Right. We can’t let people know our academic requirements are nothing but union gates to artificially lift up our prestige and pay scales. We can’t let people know that our education system is just another caste prison that exists for the sake of those who are presently in power.

Take the red pill, people.

The educational background of the other Genome scientist

Practicing medicine at the orphanage was one of the highlights of my time in Vietnam. I found that basic hygiene and soap could often do as much to improve the quality of life for many as advanced drugs… Using my knowledge to do a little good in the midst of much death and misery, I became convinced of the direction my life should take. If I made it back home and could get into a university and then into a medical school, I would practice medicine in the developing world. But sitting outside of Da Nang in 1968, after barely graduationg from high school four years earlier, the very acts of surviving the war and going home seemed distant, let alone attending a university. (p. 41)

My grades were so dismal that they threatened to sabotage not only my eligibility for the swim team but my graduation. Fortunately, I wrote a glowing paper about the presidential bid of the extreme Republican Barry Goldwater, whose slogan was “In your heart, you know he’s right.” The teacher who marked my paper seemed to be a Goldwater conservative and was sufficiently impressed to give me a D minus instead of an F, which would have ended my chance of graduating. (p. 17)

I think that one reason I was able to become a successful scientist was that my natural curiosity was not driven out of me by the educational system. (p. 7)

SEE ALSO: Mark Horne » Blog Archive » The education background of one person of note.

The education background of one person of note

Dr. Collins suggested that it was his unusual upbringing that imparted such a thirst for knowledge. His father has a Ph.D. in English, but has wide-ranging interests, including collecting folk music and staging medieval plays. His mother is a playwright. When Dr. Collins was growing up, his parents raised sheep on a farm in rural Virginia. “It was a hard life,” he said, and his mother, distrusting the education provided in the rural schools and “not about to relegate the early learning of her sons” to them, decided to teach her children at home.

Dr. Collins is the youngest of four boys. The two oldest brothers, 18 and 16 years older than Dr. Collins, were taught at home until they went to college. Dr. Collins and a brother who was a year older than he were taught at home through sixth grade.

“It was a bit disorganized,” Dr. Collins said. “I’m sure it would not have been deemed appropriate by today’s standards.” The Collins boys and their mother would explore a topic, like the origins of words, for a week or two, doing nothing else, then move on to another subject, like mathematics. As a result, Dr. Collins said, he grew up with an unquenchable curiosity and love of learning.

When Dr. Collins entered high school, in Staunton, Va., he discovered chemistry. He recalls that his teacher made the subject come alive and that he was drawn to its intellectual rigor. He ended up majoring in chemistry at the University of Virginia and then earning a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University, using theory and mathematics to discover the behavior of atoms and molecules. Discovery of Cystic Fibrosis Gene

via SCIENTIST AT WORK – Francis S. Collins – Unlocking the Secrets of the Genome – Biography –

PS. Here is the educational background of another genome scientist.

Another government “success” is revealed to be a bubble

The Baltimore Sun reports that education officials have uncovered rampant cheating at George Washington Elementary School. According to the Sun, school administrators may have cheated their way to better test scores, helping them win the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award, reserved for the top schools in the nation.

Officials discovered that wrong answers on the tests were erased and the right ones filled in.

At the center of the scandal is 60-year-old Susan Burgess. WJZ spoke to the principal in 2007 when the school received the designation.

“The misconception is that the city schools are not meeting the needs of the children and are failing and that’s not true at all,” said Burgess.

At the time Burgess was hailed as an educational hero, turning one of the poorest schools in the city into one of the most successful.

Read the rest Rampant Cheating Found At City Elementary School –

“Life’s not fair” is too diffuse a lesson to learn from this

Listen to what the parents told their abused daughter to deal with it.  “Life’s not fair?”  No.  The state is not fair.  Professional bureaucrats are sociopaths. Politicians are insane and dangerous. Those are the lessons of this story.

But nooooo; this is all just a great exception.  Normally, the state and federal employees who we want to invade other countries, build our cars, control our economy, and play doctor with us are all brilliant, eternally beneficient angels, with only a few weird exceptions.

Did the parents even consider teaching their daughter another lesson by pulling her out of that prison? (I have no idea what their circumstances are which is why I’m only asking if they considered it)