I wish I had said that dep’t

Borowitz:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he is not worried how history will remember him “because if I have my way, there won’t be any history teachers.”

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

52 thoughts on “I wish I had said that dep’t”

  1. I hope that quote’s accurate. Years ago, the sociologist David Reisman (__The Lonely Crowd__) recommended that Social Studies not be part of the pre-college curriculum because, he said, many teachers could not resist the impulse to indoctrinate children.

    “One has only to to think of the sinister possibilities of the radio, State-controlled education, and so forth, to realize that ‘the truth is great and will prevail’ is a prayer rather than an axiom.” –George
    Orwell, Review of __Power; A New Social Analysis__, by Bertrand Russell.

    In abstract, the education industry is an unlikely candidate for State (government, generally) operation or even subsidy. Inputs (individual student interests, aptitudes, and transient moods, and teacher characteristics) and outputs (the possible career paths that a modern economy offers) vary widely, making control by remote experts problematic.

    It does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State provision of History, Civics, and Economics instruction is a threat to democracy.

  2. It sounds like Malcolm wants to abolish the notion of “children” altogether. After all, these undersized humans only need vocational training, the sooner the better. Otherwise they’re just a waste of the food inputs provided. If there’s an absence of jobs, they should be sent down to the local rock quarry to produce gravel.

  3. Well, since obviously according to “those people” even teachers in the hard sciences, the biological sciences (damn evolution) and earth sciences (damn global warming) for example, can’t resist indoctrinating our youth, it looks like its kaput for all teachers of any sort.

    Really, our kids can pick up all they need to know on the street or in sweatshops.

    An ignorant, minimally trained, fearful, and unorganized populace is easy to control and manipulate, just what some folks would like.

    I think you know who I’m talking about . . .

  4. So, your source is a parody website akin to The Onion? And yet, you think this has something to do with the actual, physical universe Scot Walker, rather than the strange things going on in your head?

  5. (Kathleen): “It sounds like Malcolm wants to abolish the notion of ‘children’ altogether.
    Why not deal with what I write, instead of wasting energy on a strawman?

    It does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State provision of History, Civics, and Economics instruction is a threat to democracy (as Orwell observed). Why suppose aggregation of education-dedicated resources and educational decision-making authority into the hands of the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in your locality (the State) enhances overall educational system outcomes? Do we need a nationwide vote on next week’s lunch menu?
    Please read this article on artificially extended adolescence by Ted Kolderie.

    Proof by Contradiction:
    If the prevailing policy which (1) compels attendance at school, (2) compels tax subsidization of school, (3) gives to schools operated by NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel an exclusive position in receipt of the taxpayers’age 6-18 education subsidy is NOT an employment program for dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel, a source of padded construction and supply contracts for politically-connected insiders and a venue for State-worshipful indoctrination, why cannot any student take, at any age and at any time of year an exit exam (the GED will do) and apply the taxpayers’ $12,000 per pupil-year education subsidy toward tuition at any VA-approved post-secondary institution or toward a wage subsidy at any qualified (say, has filed W-2 forms on at least three adult employees for at least the previosu four years) private-sector employer?

    (Dave): “Really, our kids can pick up all they need to know on the street or in sweatshops.
    Clive Harber,
    “Schooling as Violence”
    Educatioinal Review p. 10, V. 54, #1.
    (Quoting) “…It is almost certainly more damaging for children to be in school than to out of it. Children whose days are spent herding animals rather than sitting in a classroom at least develop skills of problem solving and independence while the supposedly luckier ones in school are stunted in their mental, physical, and emotional development by being rendered pasive, and by having to spend hours each day in a crowded classroom under the control of an adult who punishes them for any normal level of activity such as moving or speaking.”

    It is a mistake to equate “education” and “schooling”. Thomas Edison was homeschooled and went to work at 13. Hyram Maxim left school at 13 and apprenticed. Cyrus McCormick was homeschooled (raised on a farm).

    (Dave): “An ignorant, minimally trained, fearful, and unorganized populace is easy to control and manipulate, just what some folks would like.
    That’s always a risk when the goons with the guns (the State) operate schools.

    (Dave): “I think you know who I’m talking about…
    Maybe. Bertrand Russell was homeschooled.

  6. Malcolm – did you get beat up at PS43 when you attended, if that was indeed your public school of attendance?

  7. Conservatives like Malcolm Kirkpatrick are chiefly against public schools because it teaches things they disagree with: history, math, science, etc.

  8. I want to join with Brett Bellmore in demanding an immediate prohibition on
    comedy/parodies/roasts derived from wingnut caricatures on the basis that
    it’s too difficult, nay, darn near impossible to distinguish the ridiculous
    from the reality, at least when it comes to me and my mate Brett’s heros.

    I also want to join with Malcom Kirkpatrick in demanding that schools immediately
    cease teaching history, math, science, etc. on the basis that they are too hard
    for wingnuts and are therefore discriminatory.

    Solidarity, my brethren!

  9. Brother Russell, you have overlooked Art, Foreign Languages, and Critical Thinking. Surely you did not intend to omit these surplus and time-wasting/money-wasting subjects, given their abject uselessness and their potential for both discrimination and indoctrination, not to mention their being additional bricks in the grotesque edifice of socialism. I ask that you hasten to remedy your omission, kind sir.

    I would also note to Brett and others that the difficulty of distinguishing the ridiculous from the reality is the mark of genius in caricature, and surely if guilt is to be assigned, it must go to Gov. Walker, for making that caricature indistinguishable from his actual character, and indeed, should he be interviewed, he may come down on the side of the caricature, which would not be a surprise.

  10. (Benny): “Conservatives like Malcolm Kirkpatrick are chiefly against public schools because it teaches things they disagree with: history, math, science, etc.
    Free marketeers are not “conservatives”. If “conservative” applies to a defender of the status quo, it’s defenders of the current State-monopoly school system who merit the label.
    Btw, I was a Biology major before I switched to Math.
    Why not deal with the argument? For the Reisman position, see his __Commentary__ article about 15 years ago.
    Here’s a two-part thought experiment for all you defenders of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s exclusive position in receipt of the taxpayers’ pre-college education subsidy:
    I. From State (government, generally) operation (or subsidy) of what industries does society as a whole benefit? You may imagine either a dichotomous classification, A={x:x is an unlikely candidate for State operation}, B={x:x is a likely candidate for State operation}, or a continuum,…
    (highly unlikely) -1__________.________+1 (highly likely).
    II. What criteria determine an industry’s classification or position on the continuum?

    Kevo,
    I taught in the Hawaii DOE from 1982 to 1995, and saw too much of this.

    Albert Einstein
    “Autobiographical Notes”
    __Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist__, Paul Schilpp, ed. (1951), pp. 17-19
    “It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry, especially if the food, handed out under such coercion, were to be selected accordingly.”

  11. Ok Malcolm, I’ll entertain your “argument”.

    “Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom.”

    So where is your evidence of this? Most vocational training is in careers that require certification, like CNA (certified nursing assistant), CVT (Certified Veterinary Assistant), Microsoft and Cisco certification, etc.

    The logical inference from your argument is that you are ignorant, stupid, or mendacious. I think the third is most likely. Since I don’t believe you are a math major, that means I’m saying your are mendacious.

  12. Currently, one of my favorite amusements is watching the contortions fake conservative go through whenever they see the word “public”. Next week, maybe tap-dancing around a Sarah Palin decision to not run, maybe Boehner’s head exploding over the TeaPurty, or some similar trainwreck.

  13. (Benny): “So where is your evidence of this?” Please read this article on artificially extended adolescence by Ted Kolderie. Please read this review of Ivar Berg’s __Education and Jobs: The Great Training Robbery__. Consider also that most vocational training in fact occurs on the job. As Berg observes, prior to WWII most nurses had no college degree, but learned in teaching hospitals. How many masons took Masonry classes in high school? None. How ’bout welders, carpenters, roofers, plumbers? In some US States, one can become a lawyer by apprenticeship and the Bar exam, without coursework. Until recently, one could become an actuary on the basis of examination alone, no coursework requirement. Consider also that the US State Department hires on the basis of the Foreign Service exam (not degrees). I aced it (lowest score was Economics: 87th percentile) but my drug history was too extensive for them.
    (Benny): “Since I don’t believe you are a math major, that means I’m saying your are mendacious.
    B.A. (Math), U.H, 1973. Since I routinely ran for Hawaii Board of Education, my schooling and career information are on the web somewhere, in newspaper articles. Currently, when I wake at 1 a.m. and want to go back to sleep, I either read a few pages of Hayek’s __The Constitution of Liberty__ (it’s a snore) or compute an exponentiation-induced cyclic subgroup or two of the group of congruence classes mod p (a prime). I’m up to 34 mod 83. I’m looking foreward to 89, 97, and 101, since these will have more small subgroups than 83, which only has subgroups of order 1 ([1]), 2 ([82]) 41, and 82 (everything else. Lagrange’s Theorem). It’s a set-up for exercises like this:…

    Find all t such that 187^t gives a remainder of 24 when divided by 41 and a remainder of 5 when divided by 53.

    Get back to me when you’ve solved it. No fair asking someone else for help. I taught this stuff to bright 9th graders when I tutored. It’s not hard. I conjecture that it has application in cryptography (RSA) and in error-correcting machine codes (like more sophisticated casting out nines), but I don’t know. I just do it because it’s fun.

  14. Malcom, you’ll impress me with math when you can properly set up a differential algebraic equation
    and get a real world answer from any of a quite a few packages; I generally program these
    things myself. Can’t do, then… what is it… having trouble remembering…

    I never could stand algebraists; such wankitude. But I am so glad it helps you sleep.
    I exempt Terence Tao from this of course; but he’s not “an algebraist”.

    Brett, ISTR, is much impressed by interviewees calculating the area of squares… or was it
    circles?

    He’s an engineer, you see.

    But both of you guys should hop on my mass populist movement. I can tell that the hurt
    goes deep. If we, joining together, use our strength together, we can beat down
    the twin abuses against our wingnut base: NO MORE HUMOR AGAINST WINGNUTS! NO MORE
    “TEACHING” MATH AND SCIENCE AND ETC. TO WINGNUTS! ITS SIMPLY NOT FAIR.

  15. “Brett, ISTR, is much impressed by interviewees calculating the area of squares… or was it
    circles?

    He’s an engineer, you see.”

    I wouldn’t say I’m particularly impressed with somebody being able to calculate the area of a circle; More a matter of being decidedly unimpressed with engineering job candidates who couldn’t… Not everybody was a math nerd as a teen, but there are certain skills that are basic to a particular job. I’d be unimpressed with a carpenter who had to look up the difference between a nail and a screw, too.

    “I would also note to Brett and others that the difficulty of distinguishing the ridiculous from the reality is the mark of genius in caricature, and surely if guilt is to be assigned, it must go to Gov. Walker, for making that caricature indistinguishable from his actual character, and indeed, should he be interviewed, he may come down on the side of the caricature, which would not be a surprise.”

    Oh, I agree that good parody must make you think for a moment that it might be real. That’s why I didn’t think this was good parody. Of course, bad parody can make somebody think it’s real, too, if that somebody has a sufficiently delusional view of reality already. That’s why parody, since it’s not, you know, real, tells you more about the people creating and consuming it, than about it’s objects.

  16. Malcolm:
    So, you are (or were) an educator who successfully taught 9th graders advanced math concepts in a public classroom setting, but you seem to be adamantly against the public education system? Is this self-contradiction? Did Einstein’s words convince you it was all a waste of time? What alternative to the public school system would you propose – or would you prefer none at all?

    I can follow your math, but the rest doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

  17. Malcolm,

    Perhaps you are unaware that the word “occurs” is present tense. You seem to also be unaware that your “examples” are of past occurrences of on the job training. Thus proving my point. So I may have to revise my assessment of you to the first item. But since you are bad at both math and reading I doubt you’ll ever figure out what was said.

  18. The aspect of Mr. Kirkpatrick’s philosophy that I find absolutely chilling — and the reason I almost always skip over his comments, much like I avert my eyes when passing grisly accidents on the highway — is his insistence that “normal” children don’t need formal public schooling. Then he gives examples of individuals who were surely geniuses, e.g., Einstein and Edison, as proof that accomplishment and achievement don’t need any nurturing.

    It’s the unspoken part: that children who aren’t “normal” in his definition, don’t need to be taken into any account. Half the population has below average IQs and I can only assume he doesn’t think they are worth bothering with. He’s past elitist and into some other realm. I shudder to think what his opinion of special needs students is.

  19. I blame Ayn Rand. It’s the fantasy that one can run away from home at eleven and become a famous architect like Howard Roark that has poisoned so many minds. Complete twaddle. But of course, that was fiction.

  20. (Freeman): “So, you are (or were) an educator who successfully taught 9th graders advanced math concepts in a public classroom setting..
    Minor correction, here: I taught high school Algebra (solving linear equations in one and two variables) and that part of basic analytic geometry which we ususally include in Alg. I (solving and graphing linear inequalities in one variable, graphing linear equations in two variables) as a teacher in the Hawaii DOE. After I quit, I included more Logic and Set Theoretic notation and Modern Algebra.
    (Freeman): “What alternative to the public school system would you propose – or would you prefer none at all?
    Abundant evidence supports the following generalizations:
    As institutions take from individual parents the power to determine for their own children the course of study and the pace and method of instruction, overall system performance falls, and
    Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically-adept parents (“Well, duh!” as my students would say).

    I support…
    1. Mandatory (for schools operated by government employees) credit-by-exam for all courses required for graduation, at any age and at any time of year.
    2. School vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, subsidized homeschooling, and (my preference)
    Parent Performance Contracting at a level of support 1/2 < a/b < 1 of the district's mean per-pupil budget.

  21. (Ben): “How do you learn history ‘on the job’?”
    I have no idea. What’s your point?
    (Russel): “
    …you’ll impress me with math when…”
    I was not trying to impress anyone. I was trying to support my claim to a Math B.A., which Benny claimed to doubt. I don’t program. When I left school an IBM 360 occupied the ground floor of the HIG building. I took a Fortran class once. Used an idea from that class once, years larer, in composing a proof in Combinatorics.
    (Ohio Mom): “
    The aspect of Mr. Kirkpatrick’s philosophy that I find absolutely chilling…is his insistence that ‘normal’ children don’t need formal public schooling.
    a. You mean, 90% of students in Hong Kong and Ireland are abnormal? 70% of Dutch kids? 65% of Belgian kids?
    b. Earlier…(Malcolm): “Why suppose aggregation of education-dedicated resources and educational decision-making authority into the hands of the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in your locality (the State) enhances overall educational system outcomes? Do we need a nationwide vote on next week’s lunch menu?
    c. Earlier…(Malcolm): “From State (government, generally) operation (or subsidy) of what industries does society as a whole benefit?

    (Ohio Mom): “Then he gives examples of individuals who were surely geniuses, e.g., Einstein and Edison, as proof that accomplishment and achievement don’t need any nurturing.
    Neither case supports your claim. Enstein attended school (he hated it). Edison was homeschooled.
    (Ohio Mom): “…I almost always skip over his comments…
    That explains your wild misrepresentation of my position.
    (Benny): “Perhaps you are unaware that the word ‘occurs’ is present tense. You seem to also be unaware that your ‘examples’ are of past occurrences of on the job training.
    a. How do you propose to bring evidence from the future?
    b. As I wrote, most vocational training today occurs on the job. Diswashers become cooks. Checkout clerks become shift managers, mason apprentices become journeymen, then masony contractors.

  22. (NGC): “It’s the fantasy that one can run away from home at eleven and become a famous architect like Howard Roark that has poisoned so many minds. Complete twaddle. But of course, that was fiction.
    On the other hand, the lives of Thomas Edison, Robert FitzRoy, and David Farragut establish that years of formal schooling are not always necessary for success.

    Marvin Minsky
    Interview
    __Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery__, 1994-July
    “… the evidence is that many of our foremost achievers developed under conditions that are not much like those of present-day mass education. Robert Lawler just showed me a paper by Harold Macurdy on the child pattern of genius. Macurdy reviews the early education of many eminent people from the last couple of centuries and concludes (1) that most of them had an enormous amount of attention paid to them by one or both parents and (2) that generally they were relatively isolated from other children. This is very different from what most people today consider an ideal school. It seems to me that much of what we call education is really socialization. Consider what we do to our kids. Is it really a good idea to send your 6-year-old into a room full of 6-year-olds, and then, the next year, to put your 7-year-old in with 7-year-olds, and so on? A simple recursive argument suggests this exposes them to a real danger of all growing up with the minds of 6-year-olds. And, so far as I can see, that’s exactly what happens.
    Our present culture may be largely shaped by this strange idea of isolating children’s thought from adult thought. Perhaps the way our culture educates its children better explains why most of us come out as dumb as they do, than it explains how some of us come out as smart as they do.”

  23. a. How do you propose to bring evidence from the future?

    So you are saying evidence from 50+ years ago is a perfectly valid way of describing current events? How mendacious.

    “As I wrote, most vocational training today occurs on the job”

    You wrote something that is not true. Your trolling is getting boring now.

    “Diswashers become cooks. Checkout clerks become shift managers”

    Lame trolling. Cooks go to culinary school and shift manager is not a vocation. So you’re conceding then?

  24. Malcolm,

    My point is simply that you are supporting Gov. Walker’s statement “if I have my way, there won’t be any history teachers” and suggesting that schools and teachers are not necessary and be replaced by vocational training. I don’t understand how history can be taught by on-the-job-training.

  25. Also Malcolm I know this is pearls before swine but you wouldn’t get evidence from “the future” for current events. Again you seem to not understand present tense verbs. Past, present, and future tense are 3 different tenses…ah who am I kidding you’re innumerate. You won’t understand 3 tenses.

  26. Malcolm in response to Ohio Mum writing that she finds it chilling that you think “‘normal’ children don’t need formal public schooling”, you write
    a. You mean, 90% of students in Hong Kong and Ireland are abnormal? 70% of Dutch kids? 65% of Belgian kids?

    Can you please explain? Are you suggesting 90% of HK students (for example) don’t get formal public schooling? If so, that it is simply untrue. For HK primary school attendance rates see: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/hong-kong/school-enrollment-primary-percent-gross-wb-data.html and for Ireland: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ireland/school-enrollment-primary-percent-gross-wb-data.html

  27. (Malcolm): “a. How do you propose to bring evidence from the future?
    (Benny): “So you are saying evidence from 50+ years ago is a perfectly valid way of describing current events?
    Most craftsmen acquire their skills through on-the-job training, not formal school. This has been tradition in slowly-evolving occupations. For rapidly-evolving occupations, much school-inculcated technique will be obsolete by the time students graduate.

    (Benny): “How mendacious.
    Go “mendacious” your mother,

    (Malcolm): “Diswashers become cooks. Checkout clerks become shift managers”
    (Benny): “Lame trolling…
    Go “troll” your mother,

    (Benny): “Cooks go to culinary school and shift manager is not a vocation. So you’re conceding then?
    No. Some cooks go to culinary school. Your typical hash-house cook did not. Your typical pho restaurant cook did not. I recently read where some chef advised against culinary school and for OJT. Merriam-Webster online gives “occupation” as a synonym for “vocation”. “Manager” is an occupation, right?

  28. (Benny): “Malcolm I know this is pearls before swine but you wouldn’t get evidence from “the future” for current events.
    “Pearls”, huh? You really have a high opinion of yourself.
    My point, with “How do you propose to bring evidence from the future?” was that all evidence comes from the past (recent or remote). Your objection, that “occurs” is present tense and my evidence comes from the past, makes no sense, unless no one is allowed to make present-tense generalizations about evidence.

  29. Apparently Malcolm is on Spring Break this week and has too much time on his hands. Defending the indefensible seems like a bad way to spend it, but it’s his choice, not mine.

  30. (Ben): “Are you suggesting 90% of HK students (for example) don’t get formal public schooling?
    Yes. That is my assertion. In Ireland and Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Belgium, most students take tax subsidies to schools operated by non-State agents. The World Bank website and OECD website say 90% in “public” schools, and they use “public” to mean “government” schools in the US BUT…
    1. Their numbers are exactly the same, meaning this is one source and not two independent sources and…
    2. OECD/World Bank online disagree with OECD __Education at a Glance__, G.T. Kurian’s World Education Encyclopedia, and with Michael Lee, Assistant to the Director, Ministry of Education, Hong Kong (my e-mail correspondence). I do not think the OECD/World Bank difference is an innocent mistake. Someone is playing with the different definitions of “public” to pull a fast one (i.e., lying).

  31. Ben,
    I wrote “Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State (government generally) provision of History and Civics instruction is a threat to democracy.”

    These are two separate assertions, except when one’s vocation is History. There, I’ll grant that if you want to be a History teacher it makes sense to learn how to teach History in a History classroom (reading on the side). For the rest of us, I’d recommend Borders. Remember Matt Damon’s put-down to the preppie in __Good Will Hunting__? “In about fifty years you’re going to realize two things: 1. Don’t do that (humiliate people) and 2. You just paid $150,00 for an education you could have had for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.”

    You want to learn Russian History or read 19th century French poetry in translation? Go to Borders. You don’t need to kiss some professor’s
    toes.

  32. Please note: for a while, I did read Mr. Kirkpatrick’s comments. I even visited his site once, so when I instituted my policy of generally skipping over his comments, it was based on being decidedly underwhelmed by his analysis.

    Borders? Didn’t they just go out of business?

    But now I am no longer commenting, I am Feeding the Troll.

  33. Borders is in chapter 11 bankruptcy, which means reorganization, not totally going out of business. It has closed about 200 stores, which is about 30 percent of all its stores.

  34. Go “mendacious” your mother

    You mad? Lol

    “I recently read where some chef advised against culinary school and for OJT. Merriam-Webster online gives “occupation” as a synonym for “vocation”. “Manager” is an occupation, right?”

    Wow that somewhere sure is a strong authority on career advice for chefs! Lol. So according to Malcolm any occupation is a vocation, and most vocations are taught by on the job training rather than schooling. Therefore doctors, engineers, and accountants don’t have schooling. Just on the job training. Face it you just gave up right there.

    ” Your objection, that “occurs” is present tense and my evidence comes from the past, makes no sense, unless no one is allowed to make present-tense generalizations about evidence.”

    No, my objection is that your evidence is obsolete. Again you fail at reading. Are you developmentally disabled? Is this farce about knowing math some delusion? I guess whatever helps you sleep at night, although by your own admission it isn’t working.

  35. Malcolm,

    WRT history and history teaching.

    1. I don’t want to be a history teacher, but even just to learn history (because I believe it is intrinsically valuable and interesting) I’m afraid I simply don’t buy the idea that history is better off learned from books alone. There are many interpretations of history, many events seen through many people’s eyes. A good history teacher will point you to the different views and engage you in thinking about them and the people who have made those interpretations. They will encourage you to think about it and debate it with others and do so within an environment that fosters an inquisitive, critical and well-rounded approach to history. Borders can offer none of this. If perhaps your experience of teachers is so bad that this seems like a utopian ideal, perhaps there is something wrong with your school system. This is no argument to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater: fix the problem don’t just give up on it.

    2. You wrote “I’ll grant that if you want to be a History teacher it makes sense to learn how to teach History in a History classroom” … but if we are talking about kids, how does a kid know whether she wants to be a history teacher unless they’ve had the experience of learning history in a classroom first?

    WRT HK etc, I’m still not sure what you mean. The stats on HK education are pretty clear: virtually all HK children get a formal education and it is publicly available to all 100% of the population. Only a small percentage choose private schooling options. To be clear, this is still formal education. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your argument: On one hand you seem to be in support of Gov Walker’s will to get rid of history teachers (and from your later comments, I interpreted, formal schooling) altogether … now you appear to be saying formal education is OK, just not subsidised by the government. Which is your view?

  36. (Ben): “Only a small percentage choose private schooling options.
    That’s where we differ. My sources (including an assistant to the Director, HK MOE, give 90% of pre-college enrollment in independent or parochial schools.
    [Postlethwaite, “The Encyclopedia of Comparative Education and National Systems of Education”]p. 333, Hong Kong “While the reliance upon private education as a profit-making venture has become less acceptible, the attern of dependence on management by voluntary agencies as increased and, of the 537,000 children in primary schools in 1985, just over 37,000 were in government schools. All kindergarten schools are still operated privately. At the secondary level, the picture is similar in that, of the enrollment of 401,200 up to form 5 (grade 11), only 31,400 are in government schools.”
    [American Collegiate Service, __Handbook of World Education__ (copyright 1991), (Hong Kong)]…”By the mode of financing, there are three main types of schools: government, government-aided, and private.
    Among the primary schools operated in 1988, 81 percent were aided, 12 percent were private and 7 percent were government operated. Concerning the secondary schools, 71 percent were aided, 20 percent were private,
    and 9 percent were government operated.”
    Here’s OECD on Ireland:
    [OECD, “Education at a Glance” [1996, p. 287]: “The structure of the education system in Ireland owes much to history. Irish schools are owned, not by the State, but by community groups, traditionally religious groups. It is in general an aided system: The State does not itself operate the schools (with a few
    minor exceptions) but assists other bodies, usually religious, to do so. Almost 92 percent of the population of Ireland are Roman Catholics and religious authorities play a pre-eminent role in the realm of
    education”.
    In addition:
    [Postlethwaite, “The Encyclopedia of Comparative Education and National Systems of Education”]. p. 375, Ireland: “The administration and management of schools in Ireland involves a complex balance of private and public interests, local and central control. Each primary school is managed by a local board, made up of representatves of a church, parents, and teachers. At second level, secondary schools are private institutions. Most are owned and managed by religious bodies.”
    [Postlethwaite, “The Encyclopedia of Comparative Education and National Systems of Education”] p.138, Belgium: “Article 17 of the Belgian Constitution lays down that: ‘There shall be freedom of education; any measure hindering such freedom shall be prohibited; penalties of infringement shall be governed by law.’ In Belbium, therefore, the organizing power lies with various bodies, and education is thus peovided by the state, the province, the communes, and free institutions–the largest of which by far is the Catholic Church. The law provides that identical help be given to all authorized forms of education within set limits and conventions; this ‘help system’ includes the guarantee of the possibility of choosing between religious or non-religious education. State education must remain neutral.”

  37. (Benny): “So according to Malcolm any occupation is a vocation, and most vocations are taught by on the job training rather than schooling. Therefore doctors, engineers, and accountants don’t have schooling.
    That does not follow at all. “Most” is not “all”. “Most” people are not “doctors, engineers, and accountants”. While surgeons, physicians, engineers, and accountants could acquire their relevant competence without classes, currently most do not get their basic training on the job.

  38. Malcolm admitted “currently most do not get their basic training on the job”. I’ll accept this as an apology for starting a stupid fight on the internet. I hope you learned your lesson not to say stupid things around people who know better and call BS on it. That sort of argument only works in the echo chamber.

    Also too funny when Henry called out the Borders argument. File that one under ignorance.

    Finally Ben, you should never accept evidence from a troll like Malcolm without checking it first. For example in Ireland primary schooling is state directed. The state sets the curriculum and directs the funding. Much more centralized than the US, and most definitely a “State provision of History, Civics, and Economics instruction”. So file that one under mendacious.

  39. Malcolm: Regardless of whether the history teacher is in a public or private school supported by tax subsidies with a curriculum articulated by state standards, is the argument that there should be no history teaching or government mandated social studies and history curriculum? why?

  40. Because, in practice, government mandated social studies and history are just indoctrination of our youth before they develop critical thinking skills?

  41. And if that is the case, would you prefer that only parents/friends/family groups have the opportunity to indoctrinate youths before they develop critical thinking skills?

  42. (Curious): “Regardless of whether the history teacher is in a public or private school supported by tax subsidies with a curriculum articulated by state standards, is the argument that there should be no history teaching or government mandated social studies and history curriculum? why?
    The State cannot pay for a good or service without a definition of that good or service. In roadway construction, the definition takes the form of contract specifications. In the education industry the definition takes the form of a huge list of specifications, like teacher credential requirements, class size, age of compulsory attendance, length of the school day and year, and curriculum requirements. This relates to the answer to the question I asked earlier:…

    From State (government, generally) operation (or subsidy) of what industries does society as a whole benefit? You may imagine either a dichotomous classification, A={x:x is an unlikely candidate for State operation}, B={x:x is a likely candidate for State operation}, or a continuum,…
    (highly unlikely) -1__________.________+1 (highly likely).
    II. What criteria determine an industry’s classification or position on the continuum?

    Imagine trying to steer 180,000 Mars rovers over pitted terrain when the feedback cycle takes months (hearings in the legislature, etc.) and you have to issue one set of commands to all of your rovers. Most of them will crash into rocks, fall into craters, or get stuck in sand traps. Rempte control with a long feedback cycle only works well when local variation in inputs and outputs matters little.
    The State cannot subsidize education without a definition of education. With State operation of school, there’s not much comfortable space between “impossibly restrictive” and “so loose as to invite fraud”.
    With a really basic definition of “education”, such as “reading vocabulary, reading comprehension, and Math”, you could create a continuous, self-paced curriculum that might work reasonably well.
    The argument against State-mandated State Social Studies is the same as the argument against a State-monopoly newspaper or broadcast news service. The threat of indoctrination outweighs the benefit.

  43. (Curious): “…would you prefer that only parents/friends/family groups have the opportunity to indoctrinate youths before they develop critical thinking skills?”

    Inevitably, for each child, somebody or some body decides what, where, when, and how that child will learn. The argument for parent control is closely analogous to the argument for a market economy (title and contract law), which unites local knowledge with the incentive to use that knowledge in socially beneficial ways. I reason axiomatically, here:

    1) Most parents love their children and want their children to outlive them.
    2) If you live among people, there are basically three ways to make a living: (a)you can beg, (b) you can steal, or (c) you can trade goods and services for other people’s goods and services.
    3) Most parents accept proposition #2 and prefer option #2-c for their children. Therefore
    4) Most parents want for their own children what taxpayers want for all children, that children be raised to take a productive place in society.
    5) The interests of school system insiders differ systematically from the interests of parents, generally, and taxpayers, generally.

  44. I’m beginning to suspect I’m the only one participating in this thread that actually has a child currently receiving social studies/history instruction in a public school. Believe me, Brett at least would LOVE the material with which my kid’s being indoctrinated. A neo-liberal and/or libertarian has nothing to fear from Ohio’s standards.

  45. I am still perplexed why the “argument” over public funding of education is entangled in the comment about no history teachers. Regardless of whether in public or private school, is Malcolm (and Brett) seriously arguing that history should not be taught in elementary (or even secondary) schools? How on earth are we ever going to learn from the past if those who have no initiative to go to Borders and start reading don’t do so – and never will?!

    Ohio mom – I have 2 children in public schools in LA. I don’t love the social studies curriculum, but I have my issues with math too. But that doesn’t mean I want to home school in either subject or have my kids attend private school. I believe that the state has just as much of an interest in children having some basic background in the history of civilizations as in mathematics.

  46. (Benny): “Malcolm admitted “currently most do not get their basic training on the job”. I’ll accept this as an apology for starting a stupid fight on the internet.”

    Readers may backtrack and note the critical omission “currently most (surgeons, physicians, engineers and accountants) do not get their basic training on the job”. This hardly refutes my contention that “most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom.”

    (Benny): “Also too funny when Henry called out the Borders argument. File that one under ignorance.”

    Funny, all right. I have a Borders receipt dated last Wednesday for John McPhee’s __Annals of the Former World__, a Billie Holiday CD, and a baroque oboe CD.

    (Benny): “Finally Ben, you should never accept evidence from a troll like Malcolm without checking it first. For example in Ireland primary schooling is state directed. The state sets the curriculum and directs the funding. Much more centralized than the US, and most definitely a “State provision of History, Civics, and Economics instruction”. So file that one under mendacious.”

    I provided my sources. How ’bout yours? Or must we rely on your say-so.

    PS. Did you ever get around to this, genius? 187^t =m(41) + 24 and 187^t= n(53) + 5 => t=__? Last chance, troll, or I henceforth ignore all your ignorant, mendacious, hostile comments.

  47. At 1:46 p.m., Malcolm recommended going to Borders. At 2:33 p.m. Ohio Mom asked if Borders had gone out of business. At 3:00 p.m., I replied that it had not, but had closed about 30 percent of its stores. I meant merely to provide information, and was not intending to “call[ ] out the Borders argument,” and I’m not sure what that means.

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