Posts Tagged ‘Education’

A Word on the Maddening Ignorance of too many Americans

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I realize that our educational systems are filled with rot and torment, and I know many parents don’t do very much to help the situation, and I understand there are so many distractions for our young people that it’s amazing they have learned to tie their shoes…well, some of them have.  What I notice is the empty byproduct of a vacuous self-esteem that has taught them to value their opinions when it’s clear from listening to them that they don’t know a blessed thing of merit.  I don’t like to attack people in a general way, but for the love of Pete, can somebody tell these dead-heads to remember the quote variously attributed to Lincoln, Twain, and a few others, since we can predict they won’t have known it:

“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

My apologies. These dead-heads aren’t likely to know who Lincoln or Twain had been.

“Lincoln? The car?”

“Twain? Doesn’t that have something to do with scanners?”

Who am I kidding? I’d be surprised if they could manage that much. This is why I oppose early voting.  This is why I oppose motor-voter laws.  I don’t think our nation should be run by people who haven’t the willingness to learn the first damned thing about it.  Am I an “elitist” for suggesting that some people are too ignorant to vote? I don’t think so, but then, I know what I know. If you’re as blissfully, wretchedly ignorant as the people depicted in this video, you shouldn’t be permitted to vote, or even gain entry to a college, in the first instance because you clearly don’t care enough to be a responsible participant in our nation’s decisions, and in the second because there is probably nothing a university can do to help you, other than to alleviate you of the burden arising from those few funds you likely possess.  If you’re a parent paying for college, you’d better find out whether your money is being well-spent, and if you have children in public education, if you love them, get them the Hell out!

What am I going on about?  Was it the video our friend “The Unit” posted? No, it was another video a reader provided in response to the first.  I caution you that there is vulgar language in this one, but honestly, I want you to see what your trillions of dollars in education spending has produced as college students discuss the meaning of the 4th of July(from chicksontheright.com H/T F. Brown):

This isn’t merely “facepalm” material. It’s an indictment of a nation that has grown far too complacent.  I am thankful that we still have enough young people of sufficient character to populate our armed services, but for those who appeared in this video, may whatever god(s) they worship have mercy on their souls.

I’m betting on Dionysus.

 

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College Loans and Who Should Pay For Them

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

The Choices We Make

If you’re a college student, you may want to pay attention.  With the nationalization of student loans under Obama, you’re going to be slaves to the system if you use their loans.  It’s the ultimate racket.  You pay interest to the government at a higher rate than you would have in the previous system where private banks made loans, and the government guaranteed them, and of course, the government has the IRS to strip your future earnings from you.  I listened to a caller named “Jonathan” on Mark Levin’s show Friday evening, and I was astonished at his sniveling over the interest rates.  He insisted that it is “for the greater good” that he took out a total of $220,000 in student loans.  He’s not upset, he says, about the principal amount, but at an interest rate of more than seven percent, he’s having trouble making ends meet.

Let me save all of you aspiring college students some time and trouble:  Most universities don’t teach you much anyway.  You’ll learn more on your own if you want to do so than any college will ever teach you, and it will be more valuable.  I know, I know… The field into which you’re going requires a college education, maybe an advanced degree, perhaps medicine, or the law.  That’s fine.  Go to a cheap school.  Seriously.  All they’re giving you is a piece of paper.  The rest, you get on your own, and it’s the height of foolishness to go into debt to the tune of more than two-hundred-thousand dollars in order to fatten the higher education establishment.  It’s absurd, and our kids should be steered away from this nonsense.

I went to college.  I was thirty-one years old when I enrolled.  I was thirty-five when I graduated.  My ‘student loan officer’ was a nice gentleman with a crew-cut I met in the recruiting office of the United States Army when I was seventeen.  I loaned the government my backside for seven years, and in exchange, they matched my own contributions to a college fund.  Along the way, they taught me to be a hard-charging ass-kicker, and also some practical skills that I would one day convert to civilian use for the purposes of feeding my family.  It was likely the best deal I ever made.  The truth of the matter is that I learned a good deal more in those seven years than any college could teach you in twenty.   Nevertheless, once I was out of the Army, I used the aforementioned skills to make a living, and before long, only six years later, I was on my way to college.

Now I can almost hear caller Jonathan’s retort to such a proposition: “But, but, but,” he might stammer, “I wanted to go to a top twenty-five law-school.  It’s the only way to get work at some places.”  That sound you may be hearing in the background is the sound of the world’s smallest violin, playing just for Jonathan.   My answer: “Then shut up, and pay the interest you promised to pay when you took out the loan!”  You see, the problem is that Jonathan is finding it hard to make ends meet while paying his obligations, and he’s finding that paying for his debt is causing him to delay some gratification as a young attorney.  Boy-o, that’s what happens when you aren’t “born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”  Get over it.

Honest to goodness, $220,000 is a fantastic sum of money to me even now.  When I was that age, if somebody had lent me that kind of money, I’d either be a billionaire, or be locked away in debtor’s prison by now.  Or not.  The point is that to take out loans totaling $220K and then complain about having to pay the interest is a farce. Sure, it will probably take poor Jonathan a decade or more to pay off those loans, but what of it?  Was he making an investment in his future or not? No, you see, that’s not enough for young Jonathan: “For the greater good,” we should all be investors in his future.  Sorry, but I’m not interested in that sort of ‘investment.’

Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure young Jonathan is a fine man, and he’ll probably make a great slip-and-fall lawyer one day, but in the mean time, he’d better pay up with a big fat smile on his face.  You see, I actually had this very conversation with a young person recently, who was looking at the costs of attending the school from which he hopes one day to receive a degree, and I offered the other options open to him, and even offered my story about my own ‘loan officer.’  He replied in a matter-of-fact tone that “Well, you made your choices, and you took the path you did.”  His intent had been to dismiss my story, and yet as I the grin widened on my face, he looked confused at first, and then it hit him: “Okay, yes, I guess I see your point.”

It was somewhat amusing to hear his laments about how he’s now “over a barrel.” He can either continue his education, accruing more debt along the way, or he can quit, and begin repaying the loans immediately.  As I explained to him, “life has us all over a barrel.”  Of course, I understand how the government is going to financially wreck so many of these youngsters.  Now that the government is the sole source for guaranteed student loans, the government is going to wreck as many youngsters as they can hook into this system.  Naturally, the education establishment is only too happy to continue to increase tuition, because I can guarantee you that the faculty lounge won’t suffer.  This is the inevitable result of letting government intrude where the private sector should exist.  They created the government-guaranteed student loan program in order to entice lenders into loaning money to students for college, since they had been such an historically awful risk.  Once the government guaranteed the loans, it was inevitable that some Marxist would nationalize the program.

I am fairly certain that was the intention from the beginning.  After all, you can’t walk away from federally guaranteed(and now issued) student loans through bankruptcy, much like income tax debt, and everybody beyond the age of thirty understands that socialists love captive markets.  If we did that with healthcare, we wouldn’t have the insurance problems we do, but that also wouldn’t enable government to grow larger and reach into another market, ultimately nationalizing it, as they intend with seemingly everything.  At some point, this country is going to be faced with a choice about whether we wish to fix all of these things permanently, or simply implode and become a full-bore communist state.  I’ve seen the latter up close, and I’m afraid that’s where we’ve been heading, but young Jonathan doesn’t know that, and his professors aren’t likely to have told him.  Instead, they’ve probably filled his head with notions of how “the greater good” is the sole consideration, but what they’ve never told him is who will be determining what constitutes the greater good, or the public interest.  He believes he will have some say in the matter.

At every level now, the Federal government reaches into everything, but the simple truth of the matter is that this can generally happen only because people invite it in.  Too many people suffer under the delusion that the government is able to fix anything and everything, and that since there’s no immediate and obvious cost to them, they are quite happy to have the “help.”  All of this ignores the tendency of government to resemble a mob loan-shark, or a gang of mobsters in general.  Once you accept the help, there’s no ridding yourselves of them.  More, it’s a bit like the drug pusher, who gets people hooked on “free samples” but once addicted, the new junkie would kill his family to obtain another fix.  In other words, it’s about us.  Just as the pusher can gain no ground so long as you tell him “no,” so too is it the case that if we begin to tell the government “no,” it will lose its power.  That means doing something most people are tested to do:  Say no to themselves.  Young attorney and Levin caller Jonathan could have told himself “no.” That would have been difficult, with a degree from a “top 25 law-school” dangled before his ambitious eyes.  Now that it turns out his eyes may have been a little larger than his belly, he’s not happy about it, but I’m sure there was no dissuading him at the time.  Somebody needs to tell him “no.”  Waive the interest?  No.  Delay payments?  No.  Forgive the debt?  Hell no!

“No” is the most effective word on Earth against socialism, but it’s the word too many in this country are now afraid to utter, to their children, their neighbors, fellow citizens, but most particularly, themselves.  Until we learn to say it and mean it, poor kids like Jonathan will never understand its power.  Government bureaucrats will never understand their limits.  Politicians will never cease in their abuses.  We will never be happy.  Learn to say “No” and stand by it.  Refusing your consent is the one thing that cannot be taken from you.  Jonathan could have said “No” to the interest he’ll now pay, simply by refusing the loans.  Having taken them, he has found that he now has no right to refuse.  Do I feel sorry for Jonathan? Do you?

No…

Guest Submission: One Texas College Student’s Run-ins With Bias

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

The Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom

Editor’s Note:  This is a Guest Submission, the first in a long while, and I thank the author for giving us a window into the conditions in the contemporary college classroom.  I present to you Johnanne Galt:

“We don’t often think of Texas as being a progressive state, but at one point we were a very progressive state.  We haven’t always been as backwards as we are today.” – Professor Doug Hales, February 28th, 2012, Temple Junior College

Thirteen years ago I was in fourth grade, attending my Texas History class just as I would during any other school day.  Despite a memory-destroying automobile collision since, I still remember my first encounter with the all-too-common biased teacher.  Growing up listening to talk radio, watching C-SPAN, and studying my father’s old college history textbooks, I was able to quickly recognize someone who offered up her ever-growing string of opinions, instead of presenting facts.  She told the class that Texas was blooming with savages who brutalized Indians and Mexicans to grab more land, essentially filling our heads with the evil of the Texians.  I remember briefly questioning her before she threatened to send me to the principal’s office for disrupting class.  As I’ve done for many years, I merely pushed her garbage from my mind and instead turned to gaining [mostly]un-biased knowledge from my father.  I later had a similar experience in high school after informing a “history teacher” that we weren’t a democracy, but that the states are instead guaranteed by our constitution a representative, republican form of government. Once again, I was told that if I didn’t close my mouth, I would be punished.

As a grown, married woman attending a small community college, I am facing this situation once again.  The one particular difference I’d like to discuss in this encounter is the outcome.  I simply will not remain silent as the teacher, or professor in this case, continues to shove his propaganda down students’ throats.  You see, today’s display of an absolute lack of factual evidence was the final straw to fall on the enormous pile of deceit that has been placed upon my back by the education system.  Today, I will fight back, and offer up a view into the classroom of an agenda-spewing figurehead. This is intended for the parents who unknowingly send their children off to institutions of opinion rather than fact; for students who work tirelessly to place themselves in classrooms in pursuit of  degrees but instead are insulted; for the taxpayers who hand over large portions of their paychecks so that other “less fortunate” citizens and non-citizens will learn of the evil of Republicans, and for the administrations of schools everywhere who unwittingly enable the behavior of power-hungry instructors who take advantage of their positions within the one structure where so many parents feel safe sending their children.

This semester, Spring 2012, I am once again attempting to complete the History II class required for my degree.  I first signed up for the class in 2010, instructed by another professor, Gretchen Reilly, but found myself quickly dropping the class after she began to “teach” us that “the colonists were stupid, and the British had every right to do what they did.”  I asked around prior to signing up for the class this year, hoping I could perhaps find an instructor with less bias, and who would insult our nation less while teaching the facts more.  A co-worker of mine told me that Doug Hales, a professor at Temple Junior College, was “boring” and not biased at all.  To me, the general description of “boring” among people my age is assigned to things and people who are truly educational, so in a very excited manner, I signed up for Mr. Hale’s class.  Less than ten minutes into my first day of class, I was faced with the dreadful realization that I had placed myself into an indoctrination camp once more.  Here are some things that Hales told the class that I found worthy of typing down for later review:

 “Railroads could never be built without the federal government’s assistance”.

“A monopoly is a bad thing, one person can set the price of a commodity.”

“Who does J.P. Morgan remind you of on television? Mr. Burns, the evil rich man on The Simpson’s.”

“Can anyone tell me what socialism is?” (someone in the class answers “when the government regulates and runs everything”) “Yes. That’s why big businesses hate socialism, because the government regulates things.  Socialism is empowerment of the worker.”

[During the time surrounding the Agrarian Revolt] “…farmers faced bad weather, soil erosion, insect infestations, changing prices, high freight rates, high interest rates, and lots of debt because big banks were more than willing to loan out money. They would then just take the farms.” [This started the Populist party, and] “…you could say our President today is a populist.”

“It was disastrous when there wasn’t a central bank, it was chaotic, as there were no set interest rates.”

“Farmers began to depend on railroads to transport their produce, and they had no choice but to pay the high fees, so they went bankrupt and couldn’t pay back the loans to the banks. There needed to be regulation of the railroads.”

“The people’s party, or the Populist party, wanted a flexible currency controlled by the government, public ownership of the railroads, and were anti-tariff.  They also wanted the income tax, but only for the rich people.  They wanted their country back, so they began to tax the rich.”

This last statement provoked me to say something. I raised my hand and asked “so, they punished success?” He replied “that wasn’t their intent. They just wanted power, since they were the 95%.”  I asked “Is that why they advocated violence, like today’s Occupy crowd?”  He responded “yes, well, some of them.  Most of the Occupy people are anarchists”.  I don’t have to tell you that the Occupy crowd as a whole is not of the anarchist mindset, considering they want all of their debt forgiven, their school paid for and the prices of tuition regulated by the government, etc, but I let it go.

Moving on, Hales began to speak about the election of 1896.  He told us that “Mark Hanna and a lot of industrialists had a secret meeting wherein they picked William McKinley, who advocated a high tariff. They bought McKinley’s nomination.  Now, William Jennings Bryan, who was nominated by the Populists, used a railroad car to meet people. McKinley never really campaigned; he would go out on his lawn once a week and give a speech.  McKinley only wins because Republicans had all of the money.”  I asked “I thought you said he was well-liked?”  “Yes, by the Republicans.”   I had to wonder, how did McKinley win the election if only the 5%, the “rich Republicans”, liked him?  Again, this is merely more propaganda.

Hales later began to talk about Civil Service Reform.  He started off by stating “there’s always been a lot of corruption in government, but what we have now is nothing compared to the corruption we had in the 19th century.  The industrialists were putting their people in office.”  Can he honestly be serious? Again, this is an opinion based solely on his skewed theory regarding our government.

During a discussion surrounding the formation of the United States Navy, Hales said this:

“Not many people know this, but Jimmy Carter was a nuclear physicist in the Navy before he became President. Maybe he should have stayed in the Navy.”

Despite my inclination to agree, this is still an opinion, and still an insult, regardless of who it’s directed at.

Then came my absolute favorite subject, Theodore Roosevelt and Progressivism.  I immediately began typing down what he was saying, as I knew it was bound to be as twisted as it could possibly be.  The following is a series of quotes from his lecture:

“What progressivism was, it began in early 20th century, was an urban grassroots movement. Progressivism was a movement to root out corruption in the cities and reform national government, so that the government would pay attention to people and not big businesses. The progressivists wanted to take away power from big industrialists who were running everything and wanted people involved in issues of the day.”

“Scholars believed Roosevelt was our best president ever, then Abraham Lincoln, according to the most recent poll.”

“You just can’t not like the man, we’re going to talk about him because he was one of our greatest presidents.  In many respects he’s a genius.”

“He began to root out corruption as a New York Governor, which is what progressives do.  Boss Platt ran New York, and Roosevelt had problems with him.  Roosevelt was a Republican, and so was Platt. Platt convinced McKinley to run for re-election and put Roosevelt on the ticket for the vice-president, and being a vice-president is a career-ruiner, because the Constitution gives the vice-president limited power.”

“Boss Platt’s worst nightmare, Roosevelt, becomes president when McKinley gets assassinated.  When Roosevelt was elected, it was like a breath of fresh air.”

“Remember, he’s a Republican, and Republicans are run by big business. Well, he went after big business.  He was a supreme moralist.  He saw the Presidency as almost being a high priest, and would never have done what Clinton did in office.”

“The only thing he didn’t do was tariff reform, because he didn’t want to totally antagonize his Republican supporters.  The Anti-Sherman Trust act was only as good as the people enforcing it, and he enforced it.  He reopened the E.C. Knight case which showed that the Supreme Court was in the back pocket of big business by not ruling against the sugar company because the Court would not overturn the case, and Roosevelt threatened to replace them with new justices who WOULD overturn the case. In 1904, they reversed their previous ruling, and ordered E.C. Knight to break into several companies, and sugar prices fell by 3/4.  The only reason the prices got so high is because one company owned them all.”

“Roosevelt announced that he’s going to file suit against J.P. Morgan’s northern securities. Morgan finds out, calls Roosevelt and says “listen Teddy”, which was a big mistake. He didn’t show any respect, and said “just have your lawyer talk to my lawyer, we’ll solve it behind the scenes” and Roosevelt said he was going to break it up.  The court ordered it to be broken up because it was a monopoly.  Roosevelt then became known as the “Trust Buster” by the American people.  He said there were good and bad trusts, and “I do not want to break big corporations up but regulate them”, and created the modern regulatory government.  Then he wants to go after Rockefeller.   Don’t feel sorry for Rockefeller, he made a lot of money after Standard Oil was broken up into many companies.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Hales continued his speech on progressivism, and literally caused my jaw to drop when he said the following: “We don’t often think of Texas as being a progressive state, but at one point we were a very progressive state.  We haven’t always been as backwards as we are today.”  At that point, I scooped up my laptop and jacket swiftly exiting the classroom, mumbling “sure, spread some more of your propaganda” as I left.  I walked to my car and cried, wondering how it could be possible for this professor to be paid to not only insult our state, but to insult me and my money.  I immediately called my husband, and was wordless for a moment before I could collect my thoughts and utter “I don’t know what to do.”  Thanks to tenure,  teachers and professors are allowed to teach however they’d like, and say whatever they deem appropriate to their students, so I was at a loss with regard to what to do.  Fortunately, I was encouraged to speak up rather than dropping History II again due to my frustration with the perpetual spiral of bias that drowned me in the classroom.

History, as far as I know, is a subject about recorded facts.  The past is comprised of things that occurred, rather than what people think about past events today. In fact, I’ll go one step further and provide the first entry in the dictionary under the word “history” – “the branch of knowledge dealing with past events.” Mr. Hales’ opinions are that “Republicans are run by big business”, that “Teddy Roosevelt was one of our greatest presidents”, and that “when Roosevelt became President, it was like a breath of fresh air”.  I did not pay several hundred dollars, aside from the textbook, to sit in a classroom and hear a man attempt to sway students in one political direction or another with regard to our nation’s past.  Had that been my desire, I could have simply stayed at home, saving money, time and gas, and listened to Rush Limbaugh, which now seems preferable.

For a professor to proclaim that “socialism is empowerment of the worker,” is sickening, but to try to imprint that opinion, or any opinion disguised as fact upon a student’s mind is exceedingly vile.  I do not wish for Mr. Hales to preach the good or evil of socialism or progressivism, but instead to educate his students using facts, allowing us to formulate our own thoughts and opinions on such topics, using logic combined with those ever-precious facts that make up the history we know.  This sad, escalating trend of distortion in the classroom must be stopped if we are to gain anything of value from the attendance of classes whose subject matter should be based almost solely upon facts and evidence.  I hope that professors who present their opinions as credible information can understand why a student might feel betrayed by the education system as a whole.  As a student at Temple Junior College attending only as my finances will permit, I would very much enjoy the opportunity to complete this class having gained something other than a distrust of their standard of academic and intellectual integrity.

Michigan Edu-crats Know Better Than Parents

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Face of the Nanny State

Thursday, my inbox took a long time to refresh.  Somebody sent me a video along with some background information.  The story comes from Michigan, where Debbie Squires is the Associate Director of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association.  Apart from the ten-dollar title, Squires is another blooming edu-crat who believes that the educational establishment knows what is best for your children.  In fact, by listening closely to what she has to say, you discover that she also thinks that she and other professional educators know what is best for you.  This smarmy, arrogant testimony before the Michigan House Committee on Education evinces a deeply rooted contempt for parents, tax-payers, and also for children.

Here’s the video:

This is simply astonishing. What we have here is an admission that they believe they know better than you, know your children better than you, and should have absolute control over education, without respect to dissent, political or social minorities, or any other input.  She has said here that if you don’t like the curricula or policies of schools, your only recourse is to go to the polls and vote.  That is your public education establishment telling you that they don’t need to be responsive to parents directly, but only indirectly through the electoral process.  I have a suggestion for the people of Michigan, and for anybody else who encounters this attitude among such people: Vote for elected officials who will fire the edu-crats.

In my own life, raising my own daughter, I have run into such people.  The only proper response is really to remove your children from harm’s way, which means to get them out of the clutches of people who see you as an obstacle.  Education doesn’t belong to these professional nit-wits, and I am tired of the smarter-than-thou position they most frequently adopt as they preach from the bully pulpit parents and taxpayers have provided about their superiority in knowing how best to educate our children.  If they’re so damned good at it, why are our kids doing so poorly when measured against the rest of the industrialized world?  The attitude Ms. Nanny State expresses is far too common among those who say they are professional educators.

My wife and I were our daughter’s first teachers.  She learned how to count, and how to read, and how to spell, and do mathematics from us.  She arrived on her first day in public school more prepared and more focused on learning than her peers, because her mother and I knew the secret to education without having the benefit of even a higher education at that point in time in our lives.  We didn’t need an edu-crat to tell us.  We didn’t need a social worker to guide us.  We simply did as we had thought would be prudent in preparing our daughter to step forward.  This idea that “professional educators know best” has become a racket, and unfortunately, I think it has gained ground as too many parent have surrendered their sovereignty and their authority over the question of the content of the education their children will be delivered.  All too often, it is based on lowest common denominators of class progress, meaning that the best and brightest are held back by the least prepared or least able.

After three generations of telling parents they don’t know best, and shouldn’t be involved, the education establishment has managed to push enough parents away from the process of educating their children that they can now claim: “Well, parents aren’t involved anyway.”  It’s true.  Most parents deliver their children to the gaping maw of the public school system with the uncritical, unthinking indifference that is required for people like Ms. Squires to subsist in the system.  She’s not accustomed to having her authority challenged, but I will assert that if parents were so-inclined, they can educate their own children to a higher proficiency and to better result than any combination of teachers in the public school ever will.  After all, if I’m a decent parent, I don’t need the state or its edu-crats dictating the education of my child.  I know the needs of my child, and if I don’t, it calls into question the legitimacy of my claim to my competence as a parent.  Maybe that’s the point in all of this.

Note: Thanks to ‘Jake’ for the video, and also to ‘Tom’ who just indicated to me this story may have gotten first coverage on the Blaze, here.