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Thirteen Reasons Why: America’s High Schools Are Creating (Another) Lost Generation - Peter Diekmeyer (23/5/2017)

Thirteen Reasons Why: America’s High Schools Are Creating (Another) Lost Generation - Peter Diekmeyer (23/5/2017)
By Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago 26733 Views 85 comments

May 23, 2017

Netflix’s recent announcement that it would be producing a second season of Thirteen Reasons Why has raised new questions about the disastrous state of the US public school system and its effects on the economy.

“Hey, it’s Hannah Baker,” says the show’s protagonist, played by a stunning Katherine Langford in the opening episode. “Get settled in. Because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended.”

The Thirteen Reasons’ portrait of how a stifling, bureaucratic system progressively cuts this teenage girl to pieces, eventually driving her to death, provides a dramatized, insightful reflection on (another) emerging lost generation.

The statistics are grim: a third of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. live at home according to the US Census Bureau. Homeserve USA finds that nearly one in three Americans can’t come up with $500 to fund an emergency. As if that were not enough, according to the US Congressional Budget Office, governments have saddled today’s young with more than $100 trillion worth of pension and healthcare debts.

The harder truth depicted in Thirteen Reasons Why is that today’s high school graduates emerge with few skills, little education and a sanitized view of the world. In short, they are totally unprepared to take on the challenges they face.

Following are Thirteen Reasons Why:

1. Thirteen years in jail

In Thirteen Reasons, Hannah, the bullied protagonist has no way to escape a toxic environment. Her helpless position progressively worsens and eventually drives her to suicide.

Because education is compulsory in the United States, Hannah lives in a de facto prison. She cannot change schools or classes without parental approval and undergoing a humiliating bureaucratic process.

An education system that prioritized learning would put students at the center, leaving them free to choose their schools, classes, teachers and programs.

2. American kids can’t vote

The challenges facing American kids are exacerbated by the fact that they aren’t allowed to vote. They thus have little stake in the system, no sense of responsibility and adopt a de facto poise of helplessness.

3. Students come last

None of the dozen studies reviewed for this article assessed the US public education system based on students’ needs.

Governments prioritize public education based on its effects on national competitiveness. Businesses focus on getting skilled workers (whose training they don’t want to pay for). Teachers’ unions focus on salaries and working conditions.

The upshot is that students’ interests come last.

4. Bloated administrations

America spends more per student than any other country yet ranks 14th in terms of results, behind Russia. Must of this is due to legions of highly-paid administrators that clog the system with rules, regulations and forms, few of which prioritize education.

5. Kids taught to worship government; shun individual responsibility

The young have always been concerned with social causes. It’s thus hardly surprising that teachers would encourage students to prioritize government’s role in healthcare, welfare and environmental regulation.

However today’s public schools offer essentially no counter arguments about individual responsibility.

High school graduates thus emerge as easy prey for politicians who claim that near-unlimited government spending and borrowing are the cure for the nation’s problems. ( See the Krugman con ).

6. Public schools teach no marketable skills

The greatest indictment of the public-school system’s actual performance relates to the fact that students graduate with no marketable skills.

If America’s kids emerged from schools able to read, write, do basic math, type, work as a team and use a half dozen common software packages, they would have something to show for their 13 years in the slammer.

7. Banning Ayn Rand and Huckleberry Finn

Socrates’ motto at the Agora was to “question everything.” However public schools prioritize politically correct doctrine that consciously excludes key ideas and concepts.

Ayn Rand, the most important philosopher of the 20th century, is essentially banned from the public system, as is Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, which Hemingway cited as the root of American literature. History teaching in America, as Niall Ferguson has noted, is sanitized to the point of rendering it almost counterproductive.

8. State-directed curricula: one size fits all

Students vary as do the communities they live in. However a disproportionate amount of teaching is dictated by bureaucrats. This leaves teachers little flexibility to adjust based on students’ needs.

These differ based on whether the school in located in poorer neighborhoods where many students come from single family homes, or in upper middle-class professional communities where traditional family structures are more common.

9. Kids graduate clueless about finances

Public schools teach essentially nothing about managing money, likely the single most important life skill a kid could have. Students graduate thus thinking that borrowing is fine.

This leaves them prey to America’s biggest predatory lenders: big universities, which have managed to saddle youth with $1.2 trillion worth of debts, many of whom have little to show for it .

10. “Hoop jumper” worship: drives out the talented and curious

One of the biggest weaknesses in public and private schools is their collective worship of “hoop jumpers,” - that universal collection of the obsequious sorts that clutter Dean’s lists and other “Top Students” awards.

This wouldn’t be a problem if schools were able to correctly identify top performers. However heavy state-defined curricula force teachers to “teach to the test.”

This leads to the advancement of drone-like students who are able to recite mindless data, massaged concepts and formulas, and more dangerously: with the need to guess and kow-tow to what teachers want them to say.

Worse, in two centuries of public schooling, teachers still fall for that old trap of giving the best marks to kids with nice hand-writing or to math students who get the wrong answer but manage to “show their work.” Students who challenge conventional thinking are smiled at and given a B.

The upshot is the students with drive, curiosity and creativity are quickly driven out.

The number one students - like John Maynard Keynes, the father of modern economics, who taught that the best way to get rich was to spend more than you earn - rocket through the system, and now run the nation’s central banks and university economics departments.

You get the picture.

11. Powerful unions

In a world in which students are stuck in de facto prisons, teachers, who spend more time with them than their parents do, ought to be their biggest backers. They aren’t.

Teachers thus need to accept the lion’s share of the blame for the disastrous state of American schools.

That blame starts with the fact that teachers’ first priority has been to band into powerful unions, which put salaries, benefits and vacation time first and students’ interests last.

12. Millionaire teachers

True, teachers perform one of society’s most useful functions. However during a time of strained public finances students’ needs must come first - not teachers’ salaries.

The teachers’ unions have been hugely successful. Median compensation for US workers is $28,900. Teachers earn $58,000, almost double that amount .

The gap between teachers and those communities they teach in is exacerbated by the fact that gold-plated, state-guaranteed pensions mean that public school teachers generally retire as millionaires.

If teachers were paid at market rates, there would be more money available to fund students’ needs such as smaller class sizes, libraries and computers.

13. Mediocre teachers that can’t be fired

Teachers begin their careers ranked among most socially-committed of any professionals. But as with any human beings, a change takes hold of teachers once they acquire tenure and can no longer be fired.

Office hours and volunteer activities shrink, emails from students and parents are returned slower, if at all. The upshot is that many of the best teachers decline towards mediocrity as their careers advance.

*****

The takeaway for the alternative investors, who wonder how the American public could so easily fall for politicians, economists and central bankers that are running US productivity into the ground, the answer is clear.

America’s public schools may be leaving their graduates incapable of assessing the stakes.



Peter Diekmeyer is a business writer/editor with Sprott Money News, the National Post and Canadian Defence Review. He has studied in MBA, CA and Law programs and filed reports from more than two dozen countries.


The views and opinions expressed in this material are those of the author as of the publication date, are subject to change and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprott Money Ltd. Sprott Money does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness and reliability of the information or any results from its use.



Mark in Mayenne 11 months ago at 1:59 PM
High pay for teachers is surely a just reward for people who are charged with the supremely important job of passing on our precious cultural heritage. It is necessary in order to attract the very best and most dedicated. However it must imperatively be combined with the most rigorous recruitment criteria and ongoing performance evaluation with dismissal as the ultimate sanction.
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 3:54 PM
Excellent comment.
The best teachers should be paid way more....the worst way less.
In fact the worst should be fired.
But that doesn't happen in government.
Instead, the worst teachers get salary increases each year (because of seniority).
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 12:50 PM
How do you determine who are the best and worst teachers?
Ben 11 months ago at 1:20 PM
Outcome!!!!!!! I retired as a millionaire @ age 50, but I graduated in 1957 and with no further education. I even taught computer science at 2 major Universities.
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 1:55 PM
Outcome of what?
Red Coats 11 months ago at 2:12 PM
I totally agree with this statement, I am a teacher and some of the others I work with need a map to find the bathroom !!!
JOHN 11 months ago at 2:19 PM
The best Teachers should create superior students............THEY DONT!
The public school system needs to be shut down and the children home schooled by parents as the Bible commands. Just compare the education levels of homeschoolers and public schoolers...........I REST MY CASE!
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 2:22 PM
Then compare the social skills of those home-schooled kids to those in public, or even private, education systems.
Called To MORE 11 months ago at 2:05 AM
I have homeschooled my two the whole way through. They know how to interact with the public very well, actually better than public/private school kids. They interact easily with 2 year olds all the way to 90 year olds. The elders love being around them because they know how to speak, unlike public/private schoolers. They know how to work hard, study hard, pray hard and be considerate of others. They are honor students (one accepted to several university honors colleges and he is a Cadet Lt. Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol USAF Auxiliary). They have thousands of hours of community service. Compare all of those attributes with the majority of public/private schoolers who do not want to work or study, cannot give speeches much less write them, don't know how/or afraid to be an individual, can't interact with anyone unless they are the same age, into video games, drinking, sex, violent or evil movies and graduate without being able to read well or at all, not even know how to do basic arithmetic. Sucks being stero-typed, doesn't it? Let me tell you the REAL difference between homeschoolers and public/private schoolers.....At the end of the day, if the homeschool children know nothing, it is the parents fault. At the end of the day and public/private school children know nothing, the parents take no responsibility while passing the buck to blame the "teachers." Last I checked, the Lord told the parents to train up the children, not the world. And we wonder why the younger generation is going to hell in a hand basket. And YES, there are sorry homeschoolers just the same as sorry public/private schoolers. Stop grouping us all together. A lot of us take our job of homeschooling VERY seriously.
WTF 11 months ago at 8:47 AM
Social Skills? Taught in public schools? You mean skills like staring at computer screens ad nauseum, solely communicating via text message, only being able to speak to others your own age for fear of elder reprisal? Those public education "skills?" An awkward home-schooled kid who can design a circuit board because he wanted to will beat any compulsory public-schooled wasted youth whose main pre-occupations are the internet, getting laid, and not working. Hell, he'll beat any straight-A student aiming to major in Gender Fluid Under Water Basket Weaving Whitey is the Devil Studies. People like that are the new generation of soulless politicians that will drive civilization into the dirt if they get their way.
Doral 11 months ago at 12:54 PM
You got that right.
Jason Tyler 11 months ago at 9:00 AM
Right, Dave! Homeschooled kids' social skills are easily superior.
Called to MORE 11 months ago at 11:41 AM
It gets old. When can an adult be mature and admit truth??? Granted there are homeschoolers that have no social skills whatsoever or even get school done, but PLEASE, PLEASE tell me how that is different from graduating public/private students that having no social skills or able to do read or do simple math. How are they able to graduate???
Once again, the parents are the sole responsible parties for homeschooling while the public/private schools go on blaming the "school system, the parents, the teachers." Can people put on big panties anymore and admit truth and accept responsibility instead of blaming others for everything? Oh my goodness! We have a hedonistic nation with a bunch of adult children blaming everything and everyone else. Why can't people accept and take responsibility for themselves! What examples do most children have to learn from and look up to?? NOT MANY!
Called to MORE 11 months ago at 11:59 AM
Social skills or not of
FAMOUS Homeschoolers:

PRESIDENTS.....
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Jackson
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
George Washington
Grover Cleveland
James Garfield
James Madison
John Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Tyler
Theodore Roosevelt
Thomas Jefferson
William Henry Harrison
Woodrow Wilson

STATESMEN.......
Alexander Hamilton
Daniel Webster
Patrick Henry
William Jennings Bryan
William Penn
Winston Churchill

SCIENTISTS......
Albert Einstein
Blaise Pascal
Booker T. Washington
George Washington Carver
Pierre Curie

MILITARY LEADERS........
Douglas MacArthur
George Patton
John Paul Jones
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Matthew Perry

INVENTORS....
Alexander Graham Bell
Benjamin Franklin
Cyrus McCormick
Eli Whitney
Thomas Edison
Orville Wright
Wilbur Wright

That list is just a drop in the bucket. If socializing skills is the biggest issue, then I would say, as a whole, homeschoolers do a bang up job considering that quite a few great ones have changed the world.
Nicolas 11 months ago at 1:03 PM
Would a list of famous people educated in government schools prove that all those schools are fine?
Called to MORE 11 months ago at 1:16 PM
No it would not, but the socialization issue is lame. Once again, back to maturity levels. Because we choose a different pathway to educate our children does not mean it is bad or wrong. It is called individualism. We do what we think is in the best interest of OUR children. Just because we do not choose to follow the masses does not mean that we are wrong. It would be nice to get credit every once and a while instead of being stereo-typed and constantly being attacked by the public/private sector just because we chose a different way. There are great homeschooled students and there are great public and private schooled students. There are SORRY homeschooled students AND there are SORRY public and private schooled students. Stop making us the water cooler topic.
Adrian 11 months ago at 9:47 AM
Public/private systems produce perpetual adolescents for reasons described above (lack of responsibility, no knowledge of finances, only associating with people their own age etc.). Are those the social skills you are referring to?
Bob 1401 11 months ago at 10:47 PM
"The best Teachers should create superior students............THEY DONT!"
For a kid to learn, you need everyone involved. Paying the teacher based on how well the class does is WRONG!!!! Good School and "great teachers" is a myth. Kids that do well have parents the sacrifice and work with their kid(s) as well as find supplemental education outside of the public schools. When the kid is tested, low and behold, the teacher turns out being GREAT. Move the same teacher to an intercity school.... Need I say more?
Barney Boy 11 months ago at 4:09 PM
I'll grant you some of your points. Teachers retiring as millionaires? Clearly you do not have clue on that one. Come on...
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 4:17 PM
A teacher retires on 70% salary at age 57 (35 years of service_.

70% of a $58,000 salary = $40,600/ year X 30 years = $1.2 million.

How much have you saved up for you retirement?
Because you are going to be paying those teachers pensions for a long time.
jackieboy36 11 months ago at 4:42 PM
Oh ya in the corrupt state of Illinois,School district 210 Art teacher retired making $ 197,000. Got 80% of that for retiring 2007, gets 3% a year increase ( you do the math) and the kids are vegetables when they get out,the Supt, gets 287,000. a year. Check it out ( OpenThe books.com) and they wonder why people are fleeing the state.check the other schools same deal.
Jason Waters 11 months ago at 11:27 PM
Technically, this is true if you consider present value of the pension, but I mean come on this is misleading. This person does not have $1 million to their name right now. The term millionaire is generally used for someone that is considered upper middle class or upper class; a rich, well off person that does not have to worry for money. Having just over a million in a guaranteed pension, I would not label as a millionaire, just a middle working class person that has saved diligently. So, again this is misleading. The problem is not that the pay is too high, but that the teachers cannot be fired or demoted bc of the unions. That is where the problem lies.
Martin Dewey 11 months ago at 5:49 AM
Really..? Multiplying someone's annual salary by an arbitrary number of years makes them a 'millionaire'..? They live completely for free then, do they..?
JK 11 months ago at 10:35 AM
Amen
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 1:00 PM
What's wrong with the teacher's having a pension? If you want to emphasize education then you need something to attract these future professionals to this field of employment.
Taking away pensions and drastically lowering salaries will only drive possible teachers away from education and create a shortage of educators.
ScottR 11 months ago at 6:16 PM
You forgot one important fact. School administrators from junior high to high school to universities are obsessed with sports, and education is a low priority. Some high schools are now building stadiums that rival many colleges:
Check this out: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/09/heres-what-a-usd70-million-high-school-stadium-looks-like.html
Also this: http://www.wideopencountry.com/10-biggest-high-school-football-stadiums-texas/
jadeco5@msn.com 11 months ago at 8:17 PM
COMMUNISM, COMMUNISM, COMMUNISM. SAY IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN A THOUSAND TIMES UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT
JOHN 11 months ago at 2:23 PM
Give me your children for two generations and they will become the very communists that today you rail against. Premier Nikida Krusceif 1958 ( russian spelling is not good, sorry)
Chris 11 months ago at 1:42 AM
Instead of attacking unions (which have been decimated over past three decades) and teachers whose pay has just kept up with inflation, you should focus your Eire on those CEO, bankers and politicians who have driven everyone else's wages down.
luckylongshot 11 months ago at 5:47 AM
The biggest reason was left off the list. This is that the education system teaches students to learn but not to think. Critical thinking is actively prevented from being taught in schools.
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 12:53 PM
Actively prevented?
When was the last time you were in a public school?
Where I teach (TX) critical thinking/problem solving strategies/skills is at the top of the list on how teachers are graded when observed by admin.
Karin 11 months ago at 7:50 AM
Great article. 100% right on. Very pleased to see the great Sprott organization putting such important material out to a broad audience. My sister in law retired as a Spanish teacher in Illinois with a pension of almost $200,000 per year + 100% paid medical/dental + COLA. Nice work if you can it.
JB 11 months ago at 11:00 AM
Whoa! So many comments on salary and they missed the point that you mistakenly made. Kids are not being taught finance and neither was any other generation. Don't act like teacher salaries are even a tiny dent in our GDP. Kids know math and these baby boomers retiring on those pensions may see them raided by savvy kids. All that is needed is leadership.

Ayn Rand is a nut job. Have you even read Atlas Shrugged? Has anyone? That is her unedited voice. Elitist money grubbing a$$. Her point is that altruism is a handicap.

Also children shouldn't vote. This shows you haven't studied history of politics. Most people shouldn't vote. Especially on national issues. We have turned the executive branch into a popularity contest. This is how Rome's Republic fell. Come on man.
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 12:54 PM
Excellent post. We don't need more un-educated voters.

Where is the parent responsibility? Or is a child's upbringing placed entirely on teachers?
JB 11 months ago at 3:41 PM
Tnx. Sorry for harshness. It's appealing you aren't singing the narrative but I'm a very different philosophy. Definitely a neo-tribalist or a stoic when it relates to child rearing. I traveled the country performing my music and the only way to do that was with home schooling. I also started college at 16 and got scholarships thrown at me. All of which I turned down to join the USA fighting force for a few years.

Few educational organizations deserve their incomes. Most people don't need a university when a trade skill will do. I'm very much in favor of trade organizations and clubs bringing up the next work force. Problem is consumerism. It's not immigration. Most of these problems are deep philosophical ones.
voluntaryist 11 months ago at 11:54 AM
"Atlas Shrugged" is the most read book after the bible. Her point? It sure as hell can't be summed up by "...altruism is a handicap".
"Kids know math..."? Not in the U.S. Empire (USSA).
Voting is delegating authority not possessed. No one has the right to put a few in charge of all, at the point of a gun. But that myth is accepted worldwide, creating war, poverty, and exploitation of the many who sanction their own enslavement by the political elite.
JB 11 months ago at 2:34 PM
You have lost your mind. The atlas is not the 2nd most read book. Have you read it? It's a tome. It's 1k pages of divvel and barely digestable. And yes it can be summed up as altruism is a handicap. Don't be disingenuous because you think John Galt is a real person. Screw those 2D characters. I would join the government and help to have them assassinated and have their assets turned over to the state. You know why I know that. Because there are people in the US that do that and I just don't join that world because people aren't able to be as evil as her.
You idea of voting is also flawed. This isn't American Idol buddy. Democracy is always a transitional system to tyranny. Try putting down Rand and real intellectuals.
Edwin Saxon 11 months ago at 11:00 AM
Don't forget; teaching is just a Part-Time job with Full-Time pay and benefits..
Dave Martin 11 months ago at 12:57 PM
How so?

A teacher's contract (in TX) is for a certain number of days, so you get paid for those days. Your pay is then spread out over 12 months. Teachers aren't on contract for the time they're on vacation.
R. Stephen Dorsey 11 months ago at 1:06 PM
A generally excellent commentary on a sad situation - one that has been evident since I left high school in 1958.
Some other comments: ScottR illuminated a real elephant in the room: sports in schools. It has become an obsession and big business that uses children's bodies to enhance the administrations' goals and the coaches' careers. Classically, the jocks are given some kind of academic pass and almost never graduate with academic credentials (such as they are). The US has a sports worship and it begins in grade schools.
The first point on the list of 13 is a dangerous one. First, we're talking about children of school age. Their brains are still developing, maturing at age 18 and they have no real world experience up to that point. Their judgements about which courses to take, which teachers to follow, etc., are almost certainly not going to be to take harder classes in civics, math, geography, writing, speech, economics, bookkeeping. When they graduate today and under the overly general suggestion made by Mr. Diekmeyer, students are ill-prepared to handle college, no less competition to get and hold a job out in "the world".
Another great failure of schools today is lack of discipline. Yes, it begins in the home but schools need discipline to focus on imparting thinking skills as well as basic course material. I'm not talking about armed police in hallways (though some of that appears necessary) but a general sense of civility and immediate retribution for outbreaks. I include Snowflakes in this category.
Called To MORE 11 months ago at 2:29 AM
Agreed. The sport worship in this nation is ridiculous. It is the modern day Roman Colosseum. Yes, schools should be able to discipline. There should always be consequences (good or bad) for actions of everyone including children. This is how one learns. How can a teacher teacher when he/she cannot even get control over the classroom/children? Our nation has become hedonistic and it rewards mediocrity because the children "deserve" it.
Joan Ford 11 months ago at 1:28 PM
Completely agree. Great article. As a grandmother educated in the 50s and 60s, required to take Latin, 5 years of great math, 5 years of French and hard science/academics in high school - I am appalled that kids don't read. I read Atlas Shrugged at 16 -- and many times since. I am going to send this to my 17 year old grandson in Portland OR. THANK YOU.
JB 11 months ago at 2:36 PM
You read Rand but have you read anyone of merit? Stop trying to brainwash people. Send literature from someone wise. Every person I have met that has read atlas more than once is completely disconnected with reality.
Jane Galt 11 months ago at 2:22 PM
...and clearly the bulk of the comments I'm reading are written by those whom have successfully been indoctrinated in the system ;-) I completely support the idea of teens being unable to vote... maybe until they're 21! if you cant make good decisions about drinking why the hell should you be able to vote to pass laws, elect politicians, increase taxes or anything else? I digress... nice article. Bring back 'shop' and home economics, eliminate 'green' classes, and those magazine/cookie drives... get back to real education. Its no wonder why robots, programmed overseas, are more valuable employees. "When good people do nothing"... we end up with a broken system.
WTF 11 months ago at 8:55 AM
If the fascists that run this country can draft 18-year old boys (and SOON GIRLS) to die in a foreign land for no good reason, then they should be able to vote. They should have a, however paltry and almost meaningless, say in whether or not they get murdered. Get rid of the selective service, and I could not care less where the voting age is drawn, since we do not have real choices in this hell hole of a "free country."
JB 11 months ago at 2:38 PM
That is a facile argument. Because someone can/must kill doesn't logically entitle them to legislative processes. You are spouting baby boomer logic.
Charlie 11 months ago at 3:46 PM
Some educators are waking up to the fact that AI will change the entire picture shortly.
Aj 11 months ago at 5:04 PM
Ah...American School system, the ultimate in "Child Containment Centers"...
Michael Hegstrand 11 months ago at 6:13 PM
I think everyone should read the book "The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America", by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education under Ronald Reagan. After reading this book, all of your questions will be answered. It's mind blowing! It will anger you as well.
Pam Duggin 11 months ago at 8:12 PM
The state of our children's education has nothing to do with poor teacher's. The Globalist control them in order to produce a globalist society. We can not trust the education of our children to anyone.
Al 11 months ago at 9:13 PM
Al How do you teach a work ethic when the time compared
To corporate America is part time. In corporate America when you don't produce results they don't blame it on the product they fire for poor results. How can teachers teach about money and finance when they themselves don't have a good understanding about profit and loss...all they have to do is have to do is pay union dues because the money will come from somewhere. Another is college costs. If industry ran up their increase percentages each year the way colleges do they would be out of business. The only thing better than sex is spending someone else's money. The poor students leave school with a lifetime of debt partially for courses they never needed in the first place..... 80/20 the course load and get to the core.
Bella Sognatore 11 months ago at 10:01 PM
Teachers' colleges are partly to blame as are state regulations that prioritize teaching methods over deep knowledge of subject matter. Student graduating from teachers' colleges are fully indoctrinated in leftist pablum and are woefully ignorant.
Gregg Glenn 11 months ago at 10:38 PM
Live next door to two teachers. They have three boys. They are the most screwed up kids I have ever seen. Attended a graduation party for the youngest. Later received a thank-you note. So much misspelling bad punctuation etc. My 4th grade granddaughter could school him SAD
B in Virginia 11 months ago at 11:01 PM
Everyone should read John Talor Gatto's "The Underground History of American Education". None of what you read in this article or others like it will surprise you anymore after reading that book.
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 11:14 AM
Thanks for the recommendation. It's on my list.
HBD Guy 11 months ago at 12:26 AM
One of the biggest differences between students in the US in IQ. The average IQ of White Americans is 100. The average IQ of Blacks is 85. The average IQ of Mexicans is 90. It takes an IQ of about 106 to be a successful high school student. It takes an IQ of about 115 to be a successful college student. The school system can't be blamed for poor performing students due to a general lack of intelligence. Half the people in the world are below average intelligence. That is just a simple fact of reality.
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 11:13 AM
Don't forget the old saying: that if African tribesmen designed an IQ test, whites would fail.

Testing bias is a big issue here.
JB 11 months ago at 2:42 PM
That doesn't even make sense. First it is a hypothetical and not based in any reality. Tribesmen don't understand what an IQ is. I'm pretty sure sociologists are smart enough to pin the reason why those low IQ countries are underdeveloped. Some people are just not very smart. It's not our bias. It's natures.
Nicolas 11 months ago at 11:51 AM
As Thomas Sowell has noted, IQ is malleable. The median Jewish immigrant IQ in the early 20th century was considered disturbingly low by authorities. Today the median Jewish IQ is well above average.

The median earnings for full-time year-round working women in the US whose ethnic origins are India, Taiwan, Australia, China, Iran, Russia, Latvia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, and Romania are higher than those of American males. Is their advantage due to IQ?
Ryan 11 months ago at 2:10 AM
Hey Peter, I am a Junior in high school and agree with all thirteen reasons. I agree that our schooling system values "hoop jumpers". I have a cumulative 4.0 GPA. I was bestowed the "honor" of the highest Honor Role (4.0+) and I also was awarded for being in the top 10% (if any of that adds to my credibility).

I am ashamed to admit though that I too am a hoop jumper. I regurgitate math formulas only to forget them a day after the math test. I increase the font size of my essays to meet the amount of pages required. I make up fake events in history to add to my "evidence" when I write. At least half of the top 10% is guilty of these things as well. I know because we trade answers to homework assignments. All of these things we have done have gone unnoticed though.

I have tried to get an independent study approved for myself thinking that I proved myself in their eyes, they told me the curriculum was "non-negotiable". I can especially relate to point #9. My school only offers one Personal Finance elective (that is worth a math credit). I tried to get into it for my senior year, but my counselor said that I was "in too high of a math class (I will be in Pre-Calculus next year) to drop down to personal finance". I personally have taken responsibility for my own education and taught myself Financial Accounting 101 by reading my father's college textbook.

I also can relate to point #6. I have learned nothing applicable from school except from my marketing class. We do not even have a home economics class. I do not know how to cook, but I can analyze Shakespearean Sonnets.

I see point #2 everyday. No student has any more voting power than to vote for the theme of our dances. Why is it that this month seniors will have to get written permission to go to the bathroom, but next month (when they have graduated) they will have to take responsibility for every aspect of their lives?

As for point #4, it is pretty obvious that administration is an oligarchy. A friend of mine was suspended for refusing to take off his hat in the hall ways.

I believe point #5 has the most evidence. My class was assigned a research project for English and each of us got to pick our own topics we thought were national/global conflicts and come up with our own solutions. It did not matter the topic or person, every project's solution was for the government to step in and regulate it or fund it. That to me was scary, seeing that no one else believed in personal responsibility.

As for point #3, walk into any teacher's union or high school and you will see what I mean.

I am curious on point #6 though. I do not know what a Huckleberry Finn is.

Feel free to share my thoughts
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 11:12 AM
Great post. I am almost stunned that this was written by a high school kid.

If you can, feel free to link up with me on FB or Linked-In in.

I'd like to find out more, and to possibly work with you if I ever write more about this.
Ryan 11 months ago at 10:43 PM
I would love to share more. I am new to Linked-In, I sent an invitation to you, but I am not familiar to the program. My name is Ryan Cockerill if it shows my name.
Called to MORE 11 months ago at 2:52 PM
You Ryan, are a rare breed in the public/private schooled arena. You show a maturity level, in telling the truth and accepting responsibility for you, that is well beyond your years. May God bless you, shine His face upon you and protect you, your whole life. Your parents must be so proud! No need to be ashamed of being a "Hoop Jumper." It is fine to have fun and be the best that you can be, especially if you are gifted at it. Worshiping and making "hoop jumping" all that there is in life is a whole other issue.
Ryan 11 months ago at 10:46 PM
Thank you for your blessings; I really appreciate it.
RoHa 11 months ago at 2:46 AM
"Ayn Rand, the most important philosopher of the 20th century"

This is just ridiculous. She barely counts as a philosopher at all and is an indifferent novelist. Most of the world has never heard of her, and only in America is she taken seriously.

Huckleberry Finn is a fine book, written by a good novelist.
Nicolas 11 months ago at 12:01 PM
I’m a libertarian who agrees with you. One can generously describe Rand as derivative, and she was loathe to give credit to those from whom she freely borrowed. Rand originated no idea. Her novels are pictureless comic books.
voluntaryist 11 months ago at 12:12 PM
"Most of the world has never heard of her, and only in America is she taken seriously." ?? How can "most..." be unaware of her, but not take her seriously? How can they have an opinion if they have "never heard of her"? Try reading what you write. You embarrass yourself.
Ayn Rand, after Aristotle, is the most important philosopher of all time.
Nicolas 11 months ago at 1:18 PM
Oh, my. Time to google Rothbard’s essay, "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult."
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 8:02 AM
Roha, Nicolas, Voluntaryist, JB,

Allow me a moment to expand on the "Ayn Rand, the most important philosopher of the 20th century" statement.

Rand, unlike other bloviating 20th century academic "philosophers" actually outlined a way of thinking, and demonstrated both through essays and in novel form how her logic would apply - in the real world.

Her ideas, though controversial, cannot be ignored. This despite her many objectionable comments and actions (Rothbard's essay of her, likely paints a relatively accurate picture).
https://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

Incidentally, Rand's comments about gold and money, in Atlas Shrugged, are among the best arguments I have seen (in public literature) for a gold standard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkivn_3zn5I
JB 11 months ago at 2:06 PM
Dude! NO!!! You are losing it.

You are terribly under-read if you think she holds weight in 20th century literature. She also gets lumped in with libertarians and she is certainly not. Screw her for making us look like selfish greedy nut-jobs. Burning down oil fields so people can't make money on them. That is what Saddam did. You are promoting the narrative of tyrants. These characters are based on real people. Monopolists and barons. Not people who share or care about the masses.

You are disingenuous to promote anything in that book is healthy for society. Your understanding of context and history is woefully lacking. What are you begging for is far right imperialism. Because the smart people WILL get in charge.

I promise you, there are people like me waiting to kill people like John Galt for screwing over the masses.
Nicolas 11 months ago at 2:51 AM
My daughter read Ayn Rand assigned in her (government) 8th grade class this year.
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 11:07 AM
Thanks Nicolas. This is the first I have ever heard of this.
I would be glad to follow this up.
Can you send me the name of the school and the teacher who assigned the book? Thanks. Peter
Nicolas 11 months ago at 12:04 PM
My daughter attends a public high school in a suburb of Indianapolis. I’m not comfortable identifying the school or teacher. I’d already given her some Rand to read a few years back, so she knew what to expect. (I mistakenly said she is in 8th grade, but she’s actually about to finish 9th grade.)
voluntaryist 11 months ago at 12:17 PM
And...? That must have made for some very interesting conversations, considering Ayn's ideas are as counter-culture as any can be. Although they used to be very American in the 1800s, e.g., the pioneer spirit and Yankee knowhow.
Nicolas 11 months ago at 1:15 PM
Rand counter-culture? Many leading GOP politicians embrace her views. I do not think of the Republican Party as counter-culture.
Brooks Newmark 11 months ago at 5:22 AM
Great points/great article. It is actually frightening to sit down and read a public high school history book, english book, earth science/biology/chemistry/physics books (even math!)..it is there that you discover how through these text books and through the teachers our kids are being systematically indoctrinated into a socialist/communist one world government point of view. At least we still have the internet and some great alternative news with which we can help our kids compare, break down and debunk most of this garbage. As a parent, if you can swing it, by all means...homeschool your children! They will not suffer socially....the social experience at a public high school is completely overrated anyway. If homeschooling is not possible...at the very least...have regular discussions with your kids about the various subjects and teach them how to decipher the globalist agenda stuff and make it fun for them too. Try this...sit down with them and jointly read a chapter or two of their history book. Make it a game of picking out all the liberal propaganda and breaking it down together..it can actually make learning fun and gives your kids a sense of power over this crap.

Your kids can certainly learn social skills at church, through volunteering, traveling, sports, music and meeting other home schoolers which is encouraged and facilitated by the growing home schooling community. Include your kids on family discussions about money and finance. Show them how to save and invest! As part of homeschooling, call your friends and have them help your kids gain exposure to different career paths such as engineering, computer science, law, finance, accounting, medical, vocational jobs, entrepreneurship, etc...Give them first hand accounts from real people on what it costs to run a business and how much sweat equity the business owner puts in to be successful. Also, go to YouTube and have your kids watch some Milton Friedman or Thomas Sowell videos! Great stuff!
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 11:10 AM
Great point. The takeaway here (a recurring one) is that almost all of the good learning is done outside the class.

Success is almost directly correlated with the amount of homework/private study/ personal reading the kids do.
Called to MORE 11 months ago at 2:04 PM
Exactly! Beautifully said, Brooks Newmark!
Nicolas 11 months ago at 1:13 PM
Decades ago a professor named Richard Mitchell published a newsletter and books describing the collapse of American education. He’s nearly forgotten, but he saw it all coming and described it elegantly and amusingly. To understand how we got where we are, read Mitchell, whose writings are all at one web site. (Google “underground grammarian.") He’s gone, but his brilliance lives on.
Jakob Stagg 11 months ago at 1:36 PM
Anything to prevent students from learning how to think. The Liberals assure they know what to think for maximum control of them.
A. Adams 11 months ago at 3:07 PM
“‎A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.” ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Roni 11 months ago at 8:41 PM
Some good points however way off on much. Once business and government started telling teachers how and what to teach it all went down hill. Teacher's unions are more concerned about social issues and politics than their members. They've let politicians dictate what goes on in schools. As for salaries-the average worker making
$28,000 has no college education. Teachers are required to have a bachelors and master's degree in addition to ongoing continuing education in order to maintain certification. I love how this guy diminished the value of the teaching profession.
Peter Diekmeyer 11 months ago at 8:09 AM
Roni,

Let me be clear: teaching, next to parenting, is by far America's most important profession.

That's why we need to identify, reward, promote and learn from the best teachers.

But we also have to stop protecting the bad apples: they need to be fired.

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