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Bloviating Zeppelin: America's Shame

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

America's Shame


This will be a short, simple post, one that I have borrowed from AB Freedom's blog because I found his post and the accompanying video so shocking.

Watch this video about America's schools, by John Stossel of 20/20.

Then please leave your comments.

This is so embarrassing, so, so shameful.

BZ

19 Comments:

Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Check out Kevin Chavous -- Google him on the internet.

BZ

Wed Jul 19, 08:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

He's has a new book out, can't recall what it's called at the moment, but he goes after the media, and is it good... ;-)

Thanks BZ ...

Wed Jul 19, 09:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger James Manning said...

BZ,

This falls in line with my post on Japan and Mexico: one country investing in human capitol and the other exploiting it. This country is just not interested in anything that don't impact the stock market or oil prices. We believe in developing human capitol except our philosophy is that you're on your own if you're poor.

Wed Jul 19, 10:06:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - America has not been serious about education for decades now. Remember that "Why Johnny Can't Read" came out in 1958 and the reading level capability of US students has remained absolutely and positively flat since then. This was one of the topics I posted on: A Modest Proposal on Education Reform. Unlike previous *modest proposals* cooking of people is *not* required.

The problem we see today is that of pushing a problem UP in visibility until it became a 'National Problem'. Unfortunately the Federal Government was never designed to do anything about education as that is left as a sole province for the States and the People. Of course many point to 'General Welfare' or, as in the 1950's 'common defense' parts of the Preamble, but that is a whole mis-reading of that sentence, as I talked about later.

In general for any organization the higher a problem goes, the less well it is understood and the more problematical addressing it becomes. Taking a minor software dispute on a sub-routine up to Bill Gates as a team lead in Microsoft will most likely get you *fired* and someone put in that will solve the problem *at that level*. In the United States, however, with the fine feeling that Big Government can solve anything (we put a man on the moon, donchya know? and made the atom bomb...) neglecting the fact that those things it has done were well within the scope of the government as it was designed.

So the problem goes up, cannot be properly addressed, a new bureaucracy forms and then institutionalizes the problem so it will *remain* a fixed part of the landscape. See your response to "Consultants" from despair.com. Look at ALL the educational 'consulting' firms out there. Notice the Billions of Taxpayers dollars that have gone into the sytem. See Congressmen and Presidents grandstand at the lovely Department of Education Building with the Cabinet Secretary there.

Also notice how the problem does not get solved.

Ever.

My finger rests upon the one thing that the Republic holds so dear that we say it within Our Founding Documents: due process.

This concept of due process includes a feature known as: accountability.

Schools are NOT held accountable to ANYTHING.

When I see a system out of whack because the accountability of the state of the system is not part of how the system runs, I install something known as: a feedback loop.

A feedback loop is a mechanism to self-adjust a machine to different conditions to run as best as possible in those conditions. Every internal combustion engine has a feedback system... actually, multiples of them for good performance. The Justice system has a feedback loop in multiples: Courts, Judges, Juries and Legislatures to make/amend/redact laws. Any system that even works moderately well has a feedback system in it to *adjust* the system for optimal performance. All of the money put into education does not have that. NCLB doesn't even get close to a real feedback loop that guides based on this concept known as *performance*. Mere attendance and minimal standards are NOT what the system is supposed to do and we are unsatisfied with the minimums and find that getting to the AVERAGE minimum means that half of those in school can be acceptabley BELOW that minimum.

That is a farce and a waste of my money and yours. For my tax dollars I expect accountability and performance given in a non-provocational environment both socially and in religious context. I am NOT against religious schools getting Federal funds so long as they teach the SUBJECTS in a non-religious manner and do not proselytize on the Federal dime. They can do that AFTER hours on their own damn dime. But if they can TEACH and TEACH WELL I want to PAY them for it. And that applies to every Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Moonie, Satanist and what-have-you religion: if you can TEACH WELL I want you to be PAID FOR IT.

Thus, my modest proposal, while not outright use of the human entity as banquet, does mean that the self-adjustment process will starve out those schools that do not perform and give them fewer and fewer Federal funds. The tests and adjustment formula are extremely simple, but the results, as is typical, are NOT simplistic.

Test students and compare them to the best students in the world on that same test. Pay proportionately and DIRECTLY to student performance. This includes any home-schooled children that have parents wishing to have them take the tests. PAY ANYONE that will either teach their own children or teach many children with the Federal provisos above. Make that a Block Grant directly to those schools or individual teachers/parents via their State. States may *not* reapportion Federal funds.

Over time good schools and teaching methodologies will get paid more, and those that do not do well will get paid less. This puts pressure on bad schools and teaching environments to get out of the game as they will not get funded. And if parents really WANT public schools, they can reach into their own damn pockets and make them better and NOT expect the Republic to take their responsibilities from them.

For every time you hand a responsibility upwards, your rights on oversight and having a say go right along with it.

Any solution like *vouchers* has far too much bureaucratic overhead attached to it. The joy of my solution is that it is completely and fully AUTOMATED. A sub-routine at the Treasury Department. Not another damn bureaucracy to be played with by "Consultants".

But then, I have strange thoughts.

Thu Jul 20, 05:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

07 20 06

BZ: I am crying right now. I saw that a bit ago and it boiled my blood, and now my blood pressure is elevated. There are so many things about that presentation that pissed me off. One is that those kids WERE a bunch of dumb asses and it is their parents faults. Kids in the suburbs tend to do better because their parents are involved in their education. But the smugness of the Belgians bothered me too.

Without going into too much detail, sometimes qualified Americans are overlooked in favor of foreigners because of these stereotypes of foreigners being better students etc. If you don't flipping speak English, what good will you do in an academic setting other than to frustrate the students and CONTRIBUTE to this lack of knowledge?!! I will do a post about this, but the double edged sword is out doing damage...Let's just say that in this internship programme I just finished, I was the ONLY natural, generational American. PERIOD. That bothered me, although everyone in the programme was cool. That same old bullshit about unqualified Americans was in the wash too; Phooey I say! Have a good rest of week:)

Thu Jul 20, 06:09:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

07 20 06

And I also havta blaim the dumassery on personalities as well. When I was a kid, we used Encyclopedias and played jump rope. These kids nowadays seem to have NO CURIOSITY whatsoever; they think they have it all figured out. It is unfathomable that kids nowadays wouldn't know about the civil war, parential deficiencies and the dumb kids' lack of curiosity is to blame. That whole 'we need more money crap' is just that; crap!

My Grandpa Butch who grew up in the segregated south had a MUCH BETTER and far more RIGOROUS high school education than I did. I think part of our biggest issue is modernizing the classroom. So often we are taught what happened a century ago far better than what happened yesterday...

Thu Jul 20, 06:13:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

James: I read your post about Japan and Mexico, except this issue isn't about that type of philosophy -- oil or the stock market. It's about the LACK of COMPETITION in what is, essentially, a "marketplace" and, because of this lack, those in place with power and tenure have NO INTEREST in doing their jobs.

Status quo rules.

Complacency rules.

Entitlement rules.

The Overeducated Guilty White People carve up the profits, build wonderful offices, appoint more striated and proprietary Education Pimps whose motto is: "For the Kids" when, in fact, it is the KIDS WHO GET THE FLAMING HOT REBAR UP THEIR ASS.

FROM THE ADMINISTRATORS.

Kids desperately WANT control, discipline and direction in their lives. They THIRST for knowledge.

Yes, this is about the parents and "children raising children." But it's also about Administrations and Unions absolutely REFUSING to even remotely relinquish their DEATH GRIP, for CASH, on the NECKS of kids.

I don't think I can make it much more plain than that.

BZ

Thu Jul 20, 06:22:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: YES! NO accountability! INSTITUTIONALIZED bureaucracy! It should NOT be a FEDERAL issue -- it is LOCAL and it has been solved by LOCAL PERSONS DEDICATED to REAL teaching!

Mahndisa: yes, it's about the children -- but many of the schools in so-called "better" neighborhoods are morally and educationally bankrupt because of OGWPs deciding to manifestly instill their likewise bankrupt philosophies upon the kids and provide NO direction to the kids. By the time they're in the latter grades of elementary school, quite frankly, they're LOST.

And now we want to instill "Danny Has Two Mommies" and similar bullshit in KINDERGARTEN. Luckily, Fornicalia voted Rob Reiner right into the sewer. THIS TIME. There's always NEXT TIME.

This is a parents issue, it is a teachers issue and a union issue and it's all about the lack of responsibility and accountability on EVERYONE's part. And the kids, who don't know better at an early age, get caught in the middle with the resulting COLLEGIATES who DON'T know who's buried in Grant's Tomb.

BZ

Thu Jul 20, 06:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I posted on this back in March:

http://chatterboxchronicles.blogspot.com/2006/03/why-im-for-school-choice.html

I linked to Stossel's video clip also. And this is one of the many reasons I am for school choice. Stossel is awesome, my husband even loves him.

Thu Jul 20, 06:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

LMC: Usually I won't watch a clip that long; I was riveted throughout this entire video.

I was primarily at a loss for words. And I'm not convinced we have the heart or discipline to solve it.

BZ

Thu Jul 20, 06:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - The reason I do not care for vouchers as it only pays on choice, not performance. If I pay good money out it is *not* for choice but to get the best *performance* for my tax dollar. I give great leeway to the military as you never know *what* you are going to need ahead of time... after that, the Republic pays for things that work. I have this strange idea that if we pay for performance, then choices will, in actuality, *proliferate* as the market for schooling shifts to meet it. States can do as they will, but the Federal Government pays only for perfomance, not State preference. Thus home schoolers in ANY State, so long as their children get educated should get *paid* proportionately. And if their child is a World Beater, then pay them proportionately MORE. And that goes for *any* schooling arrangement that makes no preconditions, but just *teaches*.

If you can teach and teach *well* I want that REWARDED.

If Public Schools fail, then it is the fault of the States NOT the Federal Government. This is not nor ever has been a Federally addressable issue. The government of the Republic of Free People is NOT a Nannystate.

We the People make decisions for ourselves. They can be good or bad and we agree to *live* with those consequences for ourselves and our children as individuals. If you want better local schools then work hard, raise standards and sell this idea to your friends and neighbors and DO IT and pay for it yourselves! And if you can find a *better* way that gets rid of warehousing children and gives them something far more worthwhile and still *performs*: go for it!

That is how the Republic is Built.

By each of Us in common with Our fellow Citizens... friends... neighbors... this worked until the 1930's and was actually getting us out of the Depression *without* the Government or the War. By 1937 the corner had been turned... the 1939 World's Fair in NY was a showcase for the FUTURE of America as they knew it then. They had gotten over the Great Depression and believed in themselves and went on to defeat Fascism and put in place the mechanisms to finally win the Cold War. That generations trusted in themselves and the Republic.

Why we do NOT as a People, is beyond me.

Fri Jul 21, 09:30:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Revka said...

Aj,
Great points! You are still very much of 'sound mind'. Sounds like you are doing well these days!

Blo, Awesome points about the social crap they deem important to our elementary kiddos as well.
What a video!! I think i forwarded the link to about 8 friends of mine.

This is why we are pulling my one with autism out of public and trying private. the public schools will do minimum for your child.. Just as long as he passes the Iowa basics and all the other tests.. Who knows how much they helped him. Then they put him in the next grade when he is not really ready. It is like as long as they don't flunk out they will be o.k. Instead of helping them reach their potential. Money and numbers is what is boils down to.

My boys are both 'crack kids'.. not in the drug sense, but they will fall through the cracks in public. They are both smart, but have a high functioning disability which means they could probably just get by.. If they were severe, they might get the extra help they need. I don't want my kids falling through the cracks.
So, we are busting our butts and my husband works his hind end off working 60 hours at his day job and another 21 hours a week at a part time job to pay for private school. All the while we are funding via our taxes these crappy public schools our kids won't go to. We could have a nice home if we wanted, and nicer clothes.. But we have chosen our kids education as a priority. This school they are going to scores 3 grade levels above public. It is a Classical education which uses the trivium. It is the kind of education they did back in the early days. Our boys will learn latin in 3rd and 4th grade. We are excited about this, but it comes with a cost.
This is totally unfortunate that we have to have all this stress in our life in order to get our boys a decent education. It is not right.
Taxes have totally killed us anyway, and I am sick of paying them.. As is everyone else!
SO, there, that is how I feel after watching this video. It really burned me up I must say!!

Fri Jul 21, 07:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Rebecca: that's the sad thing; primarily how the whole series of issues affects people and families like you. You're not sufficiently "poor" to acquire free help or significantly focused attention on your children; you're also not sufficiently rich to pick and choose the finest of schools you can find, anywhere you wish, pull up stakes and locate there.

Yours are indeed "crack" kids. All the more meritorious that you have both decided to make the sacrifices you do for the reasons you do -- and the quality of education you seek for your children appears to be a driving force in your adult lives. I don't know how you do it. Being childless, I can only proffer this lame sentence: You wholeheartedly have my admiration and respect for your family and your children.

Younger families I see at work or in Sacratomato, when they CAN afford a house, seem to go whole hog with the whole bit: with that new house goes the accompanying new car, usually a SUV or Acura, Chrysler 300 with dubs, then comes the new boutique dog, the new boat and trailer, the new ATV, the new Harley-Davidson --

And here I am at 50+, wondering about my own bills but glad my Subaru is paid for and the only large bills I have are for the mortgage and the ONE credit card I possess -- and I don't put more on that than I figure I can pay off that month. I STILL don't put much into savings, despite this.

Children and money -- how do new parents do it? I can only assume that most all I see are simply mortgaged BEYOND all possible means and suspect they are in for the most RUDE of SHOCKS when their fiscal lives come crashing down in a few years. They will wonder what manner of Mack truck has hit them.

BZ

Sat Jul 22, 07:42:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Rebecca - I thank you! In health I am slowly battling back a skin infection and the drugs for them have drained me significantly. Weeks, at least, until I am healed and can get off those drugs, ointment, creme... and that delays my life and all else I must do to get a little *better*. If I had energy to be mad at life I would then have the energy to do more and, in that doing, not be mad... such is life in the Land of Grey.

Those with problems in normal schooling need options and the availability of same and due recompense for such hard work. Paying for people who are willing to *learn* how to teach such as your boys then opens the opportunity for those that would do so. Our current system *discourages* that and so there are 'cracks' and 'gulfs' and 'yawning chasms' and folks bemoan those things while not understanding that the *cause* of them is in the approach, not in the children or teachers.

Education as it is so close to home needs oversight, control and input from that level and none much higher. When it is elevated to A Problem of the Republic, such fine control disappears by dint of bureaucracy. To end *that* and pay by one value, and one value only, regardless of anything, then says to those who would teach: choose how and what and do it well and you will get recompense in proportion to how well you do it.

I keep on going back to Jerry Pournelle's quote: "If the education system in America had been put in place by a conqueror, we would have a Revolution over it."

The real sad thing is that children *want* to learn... inquisitive, insightful, willing to examine a thing this way and that and see the right of it. This should not be a chore nor something one needs a steep set of degrees in... but a willingness to teach and learn with children, not teach TO them. The one-room school house with a few students, but of mixed ages and capabilities did, measurably, just as well then as the highly degreed and overburdened teachers of today do. Actually, they did better as they had to synthesize lessons for everyone and children helped to teach each other and learn from each other. Yet another loss to get this 'modern' education system.

And since this is a Republic of Free People, we should have that freedom to choose without having to fill out 'vouchers' and put in applications to a bureaucrat. And as I said somewhere, with this in-place, a good negotiating point with a 'private' school is seeing how well they can actually *teach*. If they can do well, then a higher price, if they need it, is not unreasonable. But the flip side is that as a parent one may then say to them, that if they cannot teach that well, then they will not get a single red cent more from you than for that highest of performance and will also look upon them with a proportional payment plan.

Sat Jul 22, 05:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Revka said...

Great points AJ: Yes, there are teachers in private that need the challenge as well. You are right about the old days where kids taught other kids.. There was a mixture of homeschooling and the community school there. Learning was paramount back then. They had to know Greek by age 13!! Of course they knew latin as well. But, of course the liberals crept in and became more interested in their social agenda..

Don't you think the parents are the ones responsible for teaching their kids values and morals?? The school ISN'T!! If kids are bullies, the parents should handle that and teach them as such. Why does the school feel it is their issue to deal with? Maybe because parents AREN'T doing that these days.. KNOW WHY???
Going into what Blo said as well.. Because these families are both working parents and have to keep up the jones' of the new home, car, boat etc.. and a lot of times they don't have time for their kids, so they are brought up in day care situations.
I am not against the woman working, but when it takes precedence over the home and her husband/children, it is out of balance and needs to be changed.

When all 4 of our kids are in school, i will find a part time job, but until then since i have 2 at home still, my job is here. I am the parent, not someone else.

Also, when I do get a job, our focus will not be on debt and super high mortgages/new furniture etc..
Blo, I really commend you for the way you handle your money. It is very wise I must say. If one can have a vehicle paid in full that is the way to go. If one can stay out of debt that is the way to go! A mortgage payment is an investment as long as it isn't an investment one can barely pay every month it is a good thing, obviously!

Shoot, I am rambling... Off subject again!

Sun Jul 23, 05:59:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Well heck, I went off topic originally on a bit of a Peripheral Rant as well.

BZ

Sun Jul 23, 07:02:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Rebecca and Mr. Z - Make that a community of three. Never had loan payments on a car, save one for a bridge loan while getting the finances in place. After that, my house is the only thing I do not own outright. No huge credit card bills, no fancy this and that, a few minor pleasures here and there, but nothing other folks would even notice.

And the loss of community input into schools is the tragedy. By giving the responsibility for payment upwards, the accountability also went upward. Even though the Federal amount is only 5% or so of scholastic funding, it is a crucial 5% and much of it is for interior repair of the infrastructure. This in a day when entire office buildings do not have tenants for months or years, and I am in the highest growth county in the nation (no it is not Las Vegas, those pikers only got the title away for one year last year). At some point just paying *rent* and switching from place to place looks more effective than *owning* a damn schoolhouse! Warehouse portable boards and the rest and pay movers as necessary. Move in, set up and if the lease gets to expensive, then pack and move again. The cost of rent would most likely be lower than annual maintenance and long-term and low cost leases could be arranged and have someone *else* do repairs. Frankly, if you want kids to be physically fit you do *not* need a gymnasium for that. Do a *Japan* and do an hour of that every morning for everyone TOGETHER. Wakes everyone up, including the teachers! Or stage it by grade level every 10 minutes so that each grade has time to cool down, do a quick shower and then get to class.

You want a high maintenance building? Why? Rent out good old office space that already is *wired to the net* and you could probably bundle that into the monthly fee.

This sort of thing you will *not* get with vouchers or charter schools or any such thing. Pay for performance and soon school districts are forced to explain *why* they want high priced facilities when low cost ones would do just as well. Anything beyond sports looks to be *self supporting*. Want an auditorium? Rent one! Lots of them in business facilities and old theaters and other such places.

Mandating something increases bureaucracy. Holding folks to results means that they must find ingenous methods to *get* results.

Sun Jul 23, 10:22:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: And it's STILL about the administrators! Our "local" Grant School District and also the Sacramento City School District built new edifices to themselves with wondrous amenities.

Grant is still ridden with black gangbangers, violence, absenteeism and fewer kids graduating; the City of Sacramento also has a nice new city hall as well.

Oh, and let us NOT FORGET the County of Sacramento's Executive who spent $15,000 for his nice teak desk and decided to make Sacramento County Fornicalia's "shining jewel" when it came to welfare handouts for losers, bums and the drug-addled.

After all, we can't have administrators and bureaucrats making their fucked-up decisions in POOR CONDITIONS, can we?

BZ

Sun Jul 23, 02:50:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - One does notice in my plan that payment does not go to school *districts* but to schools themselves... and for homeschooling to individuals doing same. There is *zero* middleman cut... which you *do* get with vouchers. Direct money transfer from the Treasury Department to the registered place a child is being taught at...aka Direct Deposit.

The Republic pays for performance in schooling, NOT overhead or *extras*.

If you hand a problem *up* then it damn well boomerangs directly *back*... and those poor in throwing and catching tend to get knocked around a bit.

And the problem you have locally... well just *imagine* it on the scale of the Dept. of Education where *every* bureaucrat is important. Lets see... worker efficiency at the Agency I worked at was 65% and that was considered *good* so lets say 60% for Dept. of Ed.... how many $10'sB is that? Lots! Unless they are operating at the 50% rate of most of the rest of the Government...

Oh! Standard Industrial Efficiency is 80% for a workforce. That is the delta I wish to eliminate... why does *anyone* think the Government does a *better* job at any of these trivial things? Big Government be it Liberal or Conservative does not like to say that... because they *like* concentrating power... and making it less effective and, thus, more costly.

There is a *reason* I am a lean and spare Government Jacksonian.

Sun Jul 23, 04:26:00 PM PDT  

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