Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Education, Capitalism, Competition, Schools, Learning, Public Schools, Monopolies

Students of the Wildly Successful European School System

Stupid, Capitalism and Education

When one looks at the histories of nations in the last 2,000 years or so, there is a definite dichotomy of progress that is readily observable. Some may point out a racial divergence as the source of this progress, but they would be over simplifying cause and effect. The bottom line is that when we consider the countries of Western Europe, we see a progress that the rest of the world still has not been blessed with.

One can observe the histories of African nations, Samoan nations, and even the Middle East, and there is a consistency of action among these nations that has held them at bay from the beneficial onset of Western European type progress, which is more than skin deep. Britain, France, Spain, Italy and surrounding nations in the late 18th century and beyond all competed for the larger piece of the “world pie”.

The Real Tool of Motivation
Competition was the name of the game, and its fanatical use was instrumental in the changing of the face of the world, for better or for worse. The evidence of the benefits of competition is undeniable. Evidence of the lack of it, in the nations that have stayed behind, living in the former centuries even today, is also ubiquitous.

This has also worked toward the benefit of mankind in the smaller arena of business and entertainment. How many creative ideas have come from the imaginary stage of Hollywood, searching for the next big money draw, only to end up as a similar reality in the world of business. My grandfather would be amazed at our society wide use of hand held devices whereby one can even chat live with another person face to face, much like the old Dick Tracy wrist watches. This is not the only part of the result of competition, but inclusive is also the speed at which innovation is taking place. Those who have passed away only in the last 25 years or so, say in the ‘80’s, knew nothing of the internet, cell phones, electric cars, artificial limbs that respond to brain waves, and any number of innovations brought about by invention in just the recent years of mankind’s history. An yet how many of us fondly remember the 80’s as though it were yesterday?

Sadly, much can be said about the lack of competition and it’s stifling effects when it comes to education and our schools. Much like those anachronistic nations I have mentioned, our schools have not just floundered, but they have fallen behind and deteriorated. Hijacked by those with business and sociological agendas, our kids have become intellectual anathema in the scholastic realm.

Stupid is a hard word. It carries with it certain judgements and requirements for plausibility that may or may not have real world applications. It is also relative, as many of our popular beliefs will lead you to believe that we, today, are OF COURSE, intellectually superior than any group of people who has ever lived.

We're Smarter, but closer to annihilation

I recently saw the movie Thor, and they even mention this type of thinking in relation to Norse mythology. The statement is made that primitive people such as the Vikings would have worshiped Thor as a god, clearly implying that we today are way too smart for that sort of thing. Yet, how ignorant can this concept be when we consider the gross dilapidation of our educational system. Vikings may have not discovered the atom, but they were far from stupid cave dwelling types. In fact, over history, nobody was a stupid cave man type. Stupid people die quickly, they don’t survive to make more stupid. They just didn’t have the educational progress that we today supposedly have, although much of what we are taught in school is now subject to scrutiny as revisionist in compliance with industrial agendas of the past.

Science must be observable, unless it happened millions of years ago

An example of this would be carbon-14 dating. Wholly believed to be evidence that substantiates such things as a Paleolithic period by droves of students who attend grade schools and on into college, little is mentioned, if ever, of the intrinsic need for atmospheric conditions to be conducive to the rate of carbon-14 atom creation. Simply because there is a certain amount of carbon-14 in a dinosaur bone, an imaginary extrapolation about the term of age of said bone is produced and then expanded in to “what must have been”, based upon the “evidence”. However, had the environment been such that carbon-14 production was inhibited until radical atmospheric change took place, then the rate of carbon-14 in ANYTHING is a result of that change and not a result of great age. But you never hear this from grade school history books.

For a better explanation on carbon-14 dating problems please see this link:

You would, however, hear about this sort of thing if there were competition over money and power involved. So why the intellectual political slant? Why are out of date “truths” taught to our kids despite the updated advances in our knowledge about such things as carbon-14 dating, which we owe to the progress of competition?

Monopolies. Basically, our education system has gone nowhere fast due to the death grip of monopolies. The monopoly in education is the government itself. If you concede my examples of entire nations throughout history as an example, then you understand the prescriptive point toward the results our education is reeling beneath. A pejorative word for both stupid and union-dominated monopolies that run our school system would be redundant in its essence.

Unionized monopolies create ossified, bloated bureaucracies that do little to help the people they are supposed to serve. One may move from the grass hut to the adobe home, but you’ll never see a skyscraper.

Competition, however, made Europe great. It has made our technology better in leaps and bounds, thanks mostly to Microsoft and Apple. And yes, I have to give credits to the movie industry for blazing a trail of innovation in contributing to technological advances.

We're number two, we try harder

When there is a battle for the almighty dollar, those in competition have to try harder. It often seems that all one needs in advertising is a pretty girl in a bikini. No real need for all the advertising research that is done, since everyone has a firm grip on what sells an audience. But if all advertising was only focused on sex, then where do you go next? Therefore, advertisers must try harder.

Take also as an example of this: the U.S. Postal service. The stigma of lousy service due to ineffectual government employees has remained with them despite their best efforts to compete with private industry such as UPS and FedEx. Today we do have a better postal service than our grandfathers had, but they are still not better than UPS and FedEX. They are still government.

Cell phone companies offer tons of different plans in the hopes of covering an entire market of needs. Education should be doing the same. If people get to choose their kids school then the options would be endless. There would be schools everywhere, for the general to the specific. You could have Wal-Mart type schools, sports schools, music schools, and all of it right at home on the computer. In fact, we have lots of this sort of thing happening already. But not with the public school system.
Mark of the Best? hmmm...
Kids from around the world, scratching their heads in disbelief
Belgian kids and New Jersey kids were given the same test in one experiment. The Belgian kids thought that the test was easy and believed that the American kids given the same test would have no trouble. Not so. The schools the kids came from were comparable in their performance, but the Belgian kids scored 30% higher in the test scores. The American kids were shocked at the rate of advancement of those Belgian kids.

At the age of ten, students from twenty five countries take the same test and kids in America place eighth in ranking. (Singapore. Guess who is number one? Finland.) But by the time they reach fifteen, American kids are in the bottom of the chart at 25th place. The longer American kids stay in school, the worse they do in international competition. Poorer countries like Korea and Poland score much higher and spend less on education.

But government education in America is a monopoly. Families who send kids to public school must take what they are given. Is your school terrible? Do the teachers get moved around from school to school no matter how bad they are? Tough. Taxes pay for it, that’s what you get, government employed teachers. Just like the post office, teachers in government employ become a part of the substandard system. And why not? They can’t be fired.

The government often fails to live up to the market need in many facets of life. Instead of being a regulator of private industry (God help us!) or a delegate to private industry, it attempts to offer the “yellow box” product  or service to the public. Government airlines and automobiles like the “Trabant” are prime examples of this grade C type of production.

Can anyone remember the government phone company? Every phone was black, and an answering machine was an “illegal device”. Once the monopoly was broken up and competition was introduced, the phone market took off. Just take a look at old phones and compare the usage we have today since the introduction of competition. That is only in a little over 60 years and it won’t be long at this rate before “Star Trek” type communication is considered quaint in the face of the new technological reality.

Other countries have government run schools, but the money from the government is given to the kids and their parents so that they may choose where they want to go.  Schools are forced to innovate in order to appeal to parents so that business comes their way, even if that business brings in the government’s own money. The funding comes from the customer, so to speak, not from an office in City Hall and the like. 
More on this next time

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