Educational Bickering

What I like to see in life is continuity.  It gives me a warm feeling to see the garbage picked up regularly, to have streetlights at night, and a sense of community.

At the next higher level of governance the sense  that everything is copecetic just isn’t there.  A bridge collapses in the midwest and people in Boston are amazed when a chunk of their “Big Dig” falls.

Things like bridges, tunnels, schools, highways, fire fighters, prisons, and police are functions that are correctly government functions.  These functions require public support.

Likewise, making sure our food isn’t adulterated, Snake oil salesmen don’t prey on the innocent, and financial snake oil salesmen don’t cheat an unsophisticated public.  The society we live in is complex and we have to pay for the dial tone, the dam or levees that protect us.  It’s a complex world that keeps us comfortable and it costs money.

It’s a romantic notion to think government is the problem. Perhaps if we were living in the middle ages this would be ok. In fact, over the last several hundreds of years communities have sprung up to pursue this type of intentional community.  I think of the Oneida, Shaker, and other communities who sought to be self sufficient.

Well enough of that.  Back to education.  Educators have been widely pilloried justly and unjustly.  Where educators are held in high esteem in much of the world.  Here, unfortunately, primary school teachers are seen as not good enough to teach secondary school and secondary school teachers are fair game as well.  They are being vilified and torn apart by competing religious and secular forces.  And they are not being paid for their value to society.

I subscribe to several language sites.  Some sites give a word or words of interest daily.  Today I got an interesting video of how they handle primary education in Brazil. Although Brazil has 26 states and one autonomous federal district it is my Brazil has a federally controlled education system as opposed to the US system of stat-by-state boards of education. (

I think this is a reasonable thing since what I read in the literature has little to do with education and arguing about putting creationism on an equal footing with biology, geology, local tomfoolery….. and more about faulting teachers for the mess.


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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2 Responses to Educational Bickering

  1. Barbara says:

    All our system of education seems to care about is whether or not our children can pass the mandatory standardized tests. So most of what teachers teach is how to pass the next upcoming standardized test.
    Because that’s what they are ordered to do. If they want to keep their jobs they had better do so.
    So, when do they have time to actually “teach” anything?

    • carlos says:

      More than that there is the expectation that everyone will “color inside the lines” when in fact, they don’t. I think there should be tracks that individual children can follow. A child that likes to “imagine” or “color outside the lines” need not have the same need for achievement in math or reading but rather skills that emphasizes artistic or innovative talents. A child who likes to build models should have a track that emphasizes manual skills. There will always be those who like quantitative reasoning. I believe A S Neill discussed this in “Summerhill.” While I wasn’t completely persuaded by Neill I was persuaded that if a dreamer dreams of geodesics the interest in math will follow. The goal of education should be a happy, integrated person. Of course, society needs engineers, etc but this seems like “curve of normal distribution” of talents. Incentives to steer talents abound without directing everyone to fit a particular standard…..Of course, it takes a lot of work and individual effort among educators who are underfunded, undervalued, and underpaid. You get what you pay for and it seems that we are willing to settle for people who are unhappy. Unhappy because they don’t have carpentry or plumbing apprentice programs or unhappy because they can’t be engineers because the cost of university is more and more prohibitive, and everyone expects them to go to college and if they don’t they are considered “also rans.” We need a “gross national happiness” index.

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