The Watering Hole: December 3 – Education

A Golden Apple for Education or Complete Failure

One of the aspects identified by the Occupy movement is the process of reducing our educational work force – teachers. As this process continues the number of students in each classroom increases. This dilutes the education of each and every child. Funds available for education are being cut at both the state and federal levels.

Tax relief for a privileged few has motivated bribes by “corporate persons” and the wealthy to members of Congress. These bribes were enabled by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Anyone making or receiving these bribes should be imprisoned.

This process has to stop if an adequate education is to be offered to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those denied a proper education will never attain the education levels of their forbears. It is a threat greater than Condi’s ‘mushroom cloud.’ Right now an entire generation is being denied access to an adequate education.

This process has already diluted the value of a high school diploma to the point that an associate degree is required for access to jobs that were formally filled by those with a high school degree. That dilution goes up the scale for each degree level up to the doctorate level (But excluding PhDs in Divinity.) where some are still blessed with a full education.

If allowed to continue, our nation will lose its place in innovation. A future Einstein or Edison will miss an opportunity. At that point, America will begin to lose its place as a world power and slip into the third world or at best assume the same status that Britain has today. America will never recover as the end generation will lose its ability to provide children with an advanced education. The rest of the world will pass us by as a result.

This is our Open Thread. Am I being too pessimistic?

92 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: December 3 – Education

    • How could a judge, a public official, rationally argue that what goes on in her courtroom was a private matter, and that recording it was a violation of her privacy? That judge is not fit to serve as an arbiter of the law.

      • I find it interesting that politicians, judges, and police are all afraid of being taped because that tape might provide some sort of embarrassment to them for their actions. Ironically, at the same time, the rest of the public is constantly under surveillance at any given time and that isn’t considered an invasion of privacy. At the ATM, in banks, in stores, at traffic lights, Trackable by cell phone towers and GPS. Our financial transactions are reported to the government over a certain amount of money. Even purchasing traveler’s checks requires reports to the federal government. Google tracks your searches and even the grocery store gives you coupons based on your previous purchases.

        Is there a right to privacy anymore? Or have we all voluntarily given it up?

  1. The destruction of public education is, in one very basic sense, a goal of the radical wingnut right, the Christer dominionist political segment that believes the teaching of creationist nonsense to be the cornerstone of education, also that science education is the basis of our destruction. Meanwhile, the filthy rich prefer privatization of education via charter schools (generally inferior, in my experience) because of the profit potential; they’re not worried about inferiority of education since they can send their kids to the top private schools in any case.

    There is indeed class warfare underway in this country, but it has nothing at all to do with any proposed taxing of the rich. It’s a war on the middle class BY the rich and on the non-devout by the dominionists. The end result will be the destruction of the country, a process now well underway and picking up speed even as we speak.

  2. “This process has already diluted the value of a high school diploma to the point that an associate degree is required for access to jobs that were formally filled by those with a high school degree. ”
    This is frighteningly true. I’m shocked at how few younger high school graduates are able to adequately express their thoughts using the English language.

  3. Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur–others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.

    If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.

    A Nation at Risk, 1983.

    Reagan identified this challenge, and met it with “trickle down” economics. The problem grew worse.

    Bush the Lesser met it with “No Child Left Behind”. The problem grew worse.

    The problems of the Educational System in America are structural and systemic. Money alone won’t solve them. Like everything else, public education has become politicized and polarized.

    I used to be dead set against vouchers. Not any more. Even recognizing that any voucher system would be rife for opportunitists to defraud the system, I have come to believe that only voucher schools may avoid the structural, systemic blockades that prevent teachers from educating their students.

  4. I think it goes deeper than the systematic gutting of our education system over the past 30 years. The seeds were being sown with the advent of radio and TV. Then along came fast foods and jiffy marts. Marketing has been pushing the pedal to the metal, increasing the pace of life by conveniently offering religion, food, politics, news and other things in handy snack bites.

    Religion used to be more neighborhood and family oriented. Now it is a glitzy, for-profit operation run by hucksters. Health care has been preempted into another profit center. Big box stores have increased the convenience of shopping for low cost crap all in one stop so we can get on with our busy lives. Factory farms, same crap. And don’t even get me started on the concept that having a phone in the store, your car or the crapper is somehow not just another little goad to keep us running so fast we just can’t find the time to do things right.

    Haste makes waste. Our society has been pushed into overdrive by the greed of acquisition and the Republicans have been doubling down on this constantly since 1980. The basic infrastructure of our society is crumbling in the ever more frenetic race for the brass ring.

    I did go looking for the origin of the Haste makes waste and found it dates back over 2,000 years. But the best example of it was in an old Chinese proverb…A hasty man drinks his tea with a fork.

  5. As long as each state is allowed to create and maintain its own educational curriculum, the quality of education in the US will continue to lag behind that of other western nations (as regularly measured by the OECD),
    The right-wing is of course the biggest proponent of state’s rights and privatization of education ( the ultimate expression of both is of course “home-schooling”).
    For the right-wing the purpose of ‘education’ is actually indoctrination: verifiable facts upon which critical thinking depends are anathema. Mystery is preferred to actual knowledge,

    It is no wonder that Texas has produced the stupidest President the US has ever known, and an even stupider candidate in RIck Perry—yet Texas dominates the patchwork educational system by virtue of its textbook market which s the largest in the US and thus influences the curricula of other states through its commercial clout.

    • “For the right-wing the purpose of ‘education’ is actually indoctrination”

      That’s exactly why the founding fathers left education to the States. They didn’t want the federal government using education to indoctrinate, thus control, everyone. Totalitarian regimes micromanage education at all levels. Notice one thing a totalitarian regime does as soon as it gains power – it eliminates the current crop of educators and replaces them with their own. Recall Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” gave the federal government the authority to do just that.

      And, if they cannot replace public school teachers, they go around them, with voucher schools and for-profit charter schools.

      Even within the public school system – the teachers who survive are the ones who appease their administrators, their student’s parents, and their students. Teachers who maintain high standards are lucky to survive more than a year or two. That’s one reason why about half of all teachers leave the profession within 5 years.

  6. Herman was supposed to make a “major announcement” about 40 minutes ago, but I can’t find anything reporting on the content, assuming it even happened. Coming from the Cain machine, the “major announcement” could easily be “we’re going to be making an announcement in the next few days…or weeks.”

    • It’s back up and it seems to be a teapottier thing — a retired colonel or some such rank went on for five minutes about being proud to be an American unlike Obama who doesn’t think American is number one…

      I can’t tell you if Cain has made an announcement – the blithering parade of idiots espousing support for Cain…

      • Here comes Cain – hand in hand with Gloria – damn I gave her more credit than that…

        (yes, he’s wearing a yellow tie)

        Cain is going on and on about why he chose to run for President…It’s a damn campaign speech –
        Still talking about the decision to run…
        (uncertain how long this me, me, me will go on before the announcement)

  7. “Herb” is beyond delusional…feels he’s in the ‘final four’ for the presidency.
    (still no announcement).
    From the chest pounding and egotistical rantings I’d say he’ll stay…
    we will see/hear soon (I think)…

  8. Now he’s ‘concerned’ about his family:
    “These false and unproved allegations have hurt my wife, my family and you people”

    Herb is still in denial

  9. He’s going to Plan B to continue being the voice of the people.

    The Cain solution (dot) com

    Poor Herb – nothing is his fault.

    Herb has spouted 9 9 9…and will still be promoting his ideas even though he’s not running.

  10. Ya know, even though they’re billionaires and all, those Koch brothers need to spend more time examining the merchandise before they make a purchase.

    • Excellent! You really captured the essence of the Sorting Hat!

      Now, which “house” would the Hat send the various candidates?

      Most would go to Slitherin.

      Cain would go to the dog house.

      Palin would put the hat on, but then quit before it could decide where to send her.

      Romney would go to a House of Mirrors, so he can continue to admire his smile.

  11. Talk about going against your own best interest:

    Seniors Group With Republican Ties Honors Republicans For Protecting Seniors

    A seniors group that claims to be grassroots but has ties to Republicans and members of the pharmaceutical industry has been handing out awards to vulnerable Republicans for standing up for senior citizens.

  12. I hate to say it but the bribes by corporate persons started long before the Citizens United decision, this decision by the black robes just sped up the process for a complete and total corporate oligarchy. It’s happening globally. Share in the austerity!

  13. Republicans and their oligarch buddies seem to have the concept of qualifying down pat. You want a $500m loan? Can you sign your name? Close enough, here’s your money. You want to run for President? Can you sign your name? Close enough, go for it. Don’t forget to mention Jesus and scary brown people when you talk in public.

    • Heh, I posted that on my FB page about the same time you posted here. The best part is where the article appears — that bastion of liberalism, Forbes.

    • I’m not celebrating that one yet.
      If I were a health insurer, and the only way I could keep more money, is to pay providers more money, I’d pay providers more money. Up to now, health insurers squeezed policy holders and providers to increase profits. Now they only have to squeeze policy holders, and can work with providers on where they can charge more money.
      Most likely result? The gap between what insurers will pay, and what Medicare/Medicaid will pay grows wider, and more providers refuse to treat Medicare/Medicaid. The only way to hold down the premiums becomes fighting the providers and the insurers. I’m not confident the ACA has the teeth to do that.

      If some states can start their own single payer systems (like Vermont and Oregon), and their costs drop, making their states more attractive for jobs, then we might see other states getting on board.

  14. Far out.

    http://www.truth-out.org/77-trillion-wall-street-anything-keep-banksters-happy/1322841741

    Do you know who Elizabeth Duke is? How about Donald Kohn or Kevin Warsh? No? Well – you should. Because while Congress was debating back in 2008 whether or not to bailout banksters with a $700 billion blank check – these guys and girls were just doing it. They were funneling $7.7 trillion to Wall Street under the table – without one constituent phone call – without worrying about one election – without having to give one explanation.

    They were able to do that because they’re members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors – a group of people who are not voted into office, but have the power to completely dictate monetary policy in America. They are not politicians – they’re technocrats – they’re bankers and financial experts. Technocrats aren’t interested in democracy – it takes too long, and often the interests of the majority of voters don’t quite line up with the interests of the minority of bankers and foreign investors. Or – to put it in today’s terms – the interests of the 99 percent rarely line up with the interests of the 1 percent. That’s why – back in 2008 – the technocrats at the Fed weren’t interested in waiting for Congress – with all of its open debate and constituent services – to bail out the banks – they just went ahead and did it themselves. According to documents obtained by Bloomberg News – in 2009 – the Fed dished out $7.7 trillion in no-strings-attached, super-low interest loans to Wall Street’s biggest players.

    That’s $7.7 trillion!

    That’s more than half of the total value of EVERYTHING – every single thing produced in America – that same year. $7.7 TRILLION out the door – with no one bothering to inform the electorate about it until now. And since they were super-low interest loans – banks made enormous profits off of them. Six of the nation’s biggest banks – like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America – pocketed a not-too-shabby $13 billion in undisclosed profits, thanks to the deal with the technocrats at the Fed. So today – thanks to a decision made by technocrats, and not politicians – the too-big-to-fail banks are even bigger, and Wall Street has raked in more profits in just the last 30 months then they did in the entire eight years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.
    [snipped]

  15. [emphasis mine]

    Weta minute – he’s a wee ‘un

    New Zealand insect expert, bug man Ruud Kleinpaste, a trustee of Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, has played down the significance of the find.

    “There’s nothing unusual to find these weta,” Kleinpaste said, though he thought the publicity for the species could be a good thing. “I think it’s wonderful as long as weta get the attention and not that idiot American.”

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