From the peanut gallery: abolish compulsory education 22

JISHOU, HUNAN — Recently, I wrote a reaction to the Christian rightwing hijacking of the Texas Board of Education, and the anti-public education views of one of its members. A visitor named Joey swung by this week, and left this comment: That a functioning democracy requires, first, a well-educated, literate public and, second, a public that shares the same knowledge about the history and political philosophy of the nation is the basic thinking of any statist, when public schools are to serve as the chief means to achieve this homogeneity of thinking. It’s no wonder there are parents and organization already determined to abolish public schools by opting out from compulsory education. It’s an effective way to fight tyranny, particularly the tyranny of the majority. You will note that Joey has nothing directly to say about the Texas BOE, but definitely agrees that public education is a Bad Thing. I don’t, though I am a critic of public education. My reply was this: Excuse me? You need to read up on some history. One of those “statists” who favored public education was Thomas Jefferson. George Washington also recognized the need for a well educated public. Read his farewell address. So, ...

White House releases Obama’s speech to schoolkids 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — As expected (by rational people), President Barack Obama will talk at noon today to students about overcoming hardships, staying on track, going to school, doing their work, and making a difference for their communities and their nation. He even says, “God bless you and God bless America.” I’ve read the text released ahead of time by the White House. I can’t find any socialist, Marxist, or any other kind of pernicious indoctrination. It’s not bombastic. It’s not demagoguery. In fact, he says exactly what he said he would say. So why were people upset again?

Apparently, most Americans are not stupid 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — Maybe I can stop foaming at the mouth now. Two polls by Survey USA of Verona, New Jersey, shows people overwhelmingly favor President Barack Obama speaking directly to schoolchildren. In fact, the people surveyed said it was entirely appropriate for any president to speak to schoolchildren. Most said they would want their children to hear the speech. And most said school districts should make the decision whether students should watch or listen. Two identical polls were taken of 500 adults each in Fresno, California, and statewide in Missouri. Here are the results of the Fresno poll. The results of the Missouri poll are almost identical; you can check them for yourself. Question 1: President Obama plans to deliver a national address to school children on the importance of them taking responsibility for their own success in school. Do you think it is appropriate? Or not appropriate? For President Obama to deliver this address? Question 2: Do you think it would be appropriate? Or not appropriate? For ANY President to deliver this address? Question 3: If you had a child attending a school that was going to show the address, would you tell your child to pay attention? ...

For the last time, no! You cannot listen to Obama’s speech! 7

JISHOU, HUNAN — I am now convinced that a certain segment of the US population is now certifiably insane. I have blogged about parents squawking about teachers who used to be porn actresses, about teachers taking kids to art museum to see statues of nude people, about schools allowing creationism to be taught in science classes, about students talking about God and Jesus in commencement addresses. These concerns are understandable, even if I don’t always agree with the parents doing the complaining. Sex and religion are after all touchy subjects. But to object to their children hearing the President of the United States talk about the importance of education? I just don’t get it. They must be crazy. Hey, people! He’s the fucking President of the USA! He won by majority vote. He’s YOUR president. It’s not like he’s Charles Manson or that whacko who held a girl hostage for 18 years in his backyard. Barack Obama, a guy who rose from a low-income, single-parent family to become the leader of the Free World, wants to talk to schoolchildren on Sept. 8 on the importance of staying in school and getting an education. It apparently worked for him just fine. ...

En Colombia, un profesor y dos “biblioburros”

Luis Soriano is a primary school teacher in the little town of La Gloria, Colombia. Every weekend, Soriano loads a selection of books from a 4,800-item collection onto his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, and heads into the hills to deliver books to remote villages. He has broken a leg falling off his mount and been stopped by bandits, but Soriano keeps his voluntary Biblioburro service running despite his woes. “This began as a necessity, then it became an obligation, and after that a custom,” he explained, squinting at the hills undulating into the horizon. “Now,” he said, “it is an institution.” — International Herald Tribune The project started small, with 70 books, but his letter to a famous author and radio personality brought a deluge of donated books, which Soriano has stacked floor-to-ceiling in the house he shares with his wife and three daughters. An adjacent library is awaiting additional funding to be completed. It’s a great story of how one teacher can make a difference. Click the IHT link above for the whole story.
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