Skip School or Starve!

You read that right: Skip School or Starve! Sound a little drastic?

Maybe. But you’ll probably think that’s tame compared to the editorial I found at Las Vegas Review-Journal.com.

The real title of the piece by Vin Suprynowicz is called: Time to separate school and state. Yeah… we’ve heard it over and over again. Old news. Well read this in its entirety below, and let me know what you think.

In my opinion, he’s setting us up for accepting the idea of what I’ve been calling the Welfare Schools of the future. Essentially, the state will either have to crack down and force everyone into state institutions called schools, or they will have to allow people to simply leave and find their own means of gaining knowledge. This will leave, in the buildings we now call schools, thousands and thousands of children with parents who either can’t afford or can’t be bothered to provide educational opportunities for their children, outside of the instruction/indoctrination provided by the State.

But I’m taking up precious reading time. Please read this and think on it. I believe you will be able to see the future of Government Schooling from here:

Time to Separate School and State

rj-vin20suprynowiczBy Vin Suprynowicz
Posted: Los Vegas Review-Journal, December 26, 2010

We keep getting letters explaining government schools can’t turn out as good a product as private schools — even private schools spending less per student — since the private schools choose their students, while mandatory government youth internment camps have to “take every which one.”

In a speech he gave after being named New York City’s Teacher of the Year (yes, “public school”) in 1989, John Taylor Gatto famously said:

“Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts, from around 1850. It was resisted — sometimes with guns — by an estimated 80 percent of the Massachusetts population, with the last outpost, in Barnstable on Cape Cod, not surrendering its children until the 1880s, when the area was seized by the militia and the children marched to school under guard. …

“Senator Ted Kennedy’s office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98 percent, and after it the figure never again climbed above 91 percent, where it stands in 1990. …

“Last month the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five, or even 10 years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think.

“If we’re going to change what’s rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance,” Mr. Gatto continued, “we need to realize that the institution ‘schools’ very well, but it does not ‘educate’; that’s inherent in the design of the thing. It’s not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. It’s just impossible for education and schooling to be the same thing. …

“Schools were designed … to be instruments for the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce … formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.

“To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic — because the community life that protects the dependent and weak is dead. …

“When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease. …”

There’s a lot more. You can find it easily online.

I’m just trying to imagine the men with the bayonets explaining to the residents of Barnstable, back in 1880, “See, when Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United Stated in 1831, he reported our American working class were more literate, better read, more up-to-date on the affairs of the day than those of any European nation. But we’re here to force you to give up the voluntary, community-based schools that accomplished that, and instead herd your kids into tax-supported, coercion based, collectivist government schools on the Prussian model because a bunch of Ph.D.s think it’s a better way for government to control the masses.

“Just think of it! By 2010 this town’s high school graduates won’t be able to reliably spell, count change, or structure a proper English sentence, all things your fifth graders can do today! We wish we could promise you better results, but after all, our new tax-funded youth propaganda camps ‘will have to accept every which one.'”

The premise was that government could do the job better, if they could just wrest those kids away from the bad influence of their parents. Yet now they explain they’re failing because “The parents aren’t doing their part”! This is like the Khmer Rouge saying their revolution couldn’t succeed until they killed every Cambodian who knew how to read, and then whining that of course, things aren’t working out: those darned educated elites refuse to do their part!

The current paradigm, endlessly brayed, is that we “have a collective responsibility to pay taxes to fund the schooling of other people’s kids, because they’re our future.”

In fact, we all know the Pilgrims were starving, back in 1622, thanks to similar collectivist notions.

Prosperity only came when Gov. Bradford authorized private gardens, with each family allowed to eat what they grew, and those who didn’t work condemned to starve.

Once they did this, no one starved. They voluntarily worked.

Since the “collective obligation” paradigm has failed so utterly in modern American schooling, as well, let me propose a new one: We have no obligation to educate anyone’s offspring but our own.

In fact, while we are, of course, free to indulge our instinct to charity by offering to voluntarily help fund the schooling of orphans and such, the nation will again thrive only when we realize this is a competition. I have a vested interest in seeing my own children receive an education. Meantime, I hope all you deadbeats out there don’t do a thing to educate your kids, because that will reduce the competition for my kids.

This is not an hereditary elite, but an equal opportunity meritocracy. Learn now or starve later.

The argument will be offered that the pathetic unmarried welfare mom will have no ability to fund her own kids’ educations, even if we allow her to keep the money she’s now spending in sales and property taxes (yes, renters pay property tax, even if it’s not itemized) since the father is a long-absent crackhead.

But this presupposes that minority women must always bear children to absentee crackheads. In fact, put young women in a position to say, “Wait a minute, you mean to tell me once I bear a child there’s going to be no government agency to provide me with food stamps, housing subsidies, and a basically worthless tax-funded ‘free education’ — that this kid will be worthless to help support me in my old age unless I pay for his schooling?” and you might notice something very refreshing happening,

You might notice those young women saying, “Well then, I can’t afford to bear a child by this shiftless gangster. I wonder if that young man who was so nice to me at church is still interested. He’s a little boring, but he might be the kind who’d actually land a job and stick around and help me raise my kids.”

Why couldn’t it work that way again? Because minority women, unlike Anglo women, are incapable of figuring this out for themselves?

What are you, a racist?

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of “Send in the Waco Killers” and the novel “The Black Arrow.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.

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Quoting Alexis de Tocqueville: Literature Good, Tradeschool Better

This interesting quote speaks to the need for the study of ancient literature in order to secure a sound democracy. But, it is not good ONLY to study the classics. A society needs the trades, commerce and other producers so that the society’s needs are met, and all are happy.

In other words, your community isn’t worth squat with a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals running around telling each other how smart they are. We need the ditch-diggers, the car-fixers, the grocers, clerks and farmers. Not everyone is going to go to college.

Maybe keeping kids in “…a multitude of bad grammar-schools, where superfluous matters, badly learned, stand in the way of sound instruction in necessary studies” is a bad thing. Maybe we should consider invigorating the general health of our communities by allowing those who are predisposed to the trades and other useful yet not necessarily academic studies, get to it and get on with their lives.

(Any added emphasis is mine.)

Alexis de Tocqueville, from "Democracy in America"

It is important that this point should be clearly under-stood. A particular study may be useful to the literature of a people without being appropriate to its social and political wants. If men were to persist in teaching nothing but the literature of the dead languages in a community where everyone is habitually led to make vehement exertions to augment or to maintain his fortune, the result would be a very polished, but a very dangerous set of citizens. For as their social and political condition would give them every day a sense of wants, which their education would never teach them to supply, they would perturb the state, in the name of the Greeks and Romans, instead of enriching it by their productive industry.

It is evident that in democratic communities the interest of individuals as well as the security of the commonwealth demands that the education of the greater number should be scientific, commercial, and industrial rather than literary.

Greek and Latin should not be taught in all the schools; but it is important that those who, by their natural disposition or their fortune, are destined to cultivate letters or prepared to relish them should find schools where a complete knowledge of ancient literature may be acquired and where the true scholar may be formed. A few excellent universities would do more towards the attainment of this object than a multitude of bad grammar-schools, where superfluous matters, badly learned, stand in the way of sound instruction in necessary studies.

All who aspire to literary excellence in democratic nations ought frequently to refresh themselves at the springs of ancient literature; there is no more wholesome medicine for the mind. Not that I hold the literary productions of the ancients to be irreproachable, but I think that they have some special merits, admirably calculated to counterbalance our peculiar defects. They are a prop on the side on which we are in most danger of falling.

Literacy Facts

There is one thing I always tell all new homeschooling parents: “The single most important thing you can do to succeed at homeschooling your child is this: Read, read, read.”

Okay… that’s three things.

At any rate, the ability to read well is, in my opinion, the single largest predictor of not only academic success, but personal success. Period. Teach your child to read and everything else will come in its own good time.

I can’t think of any other intellectual human ability that is more important than the ability to read; can you?

Here’s the Prime Directive: Read… Comprehend… Communicate. Teach your children to read. When they get that, teach them to write. Toss in some math so they can balance their checkbook. (Bonus: Teach them to balance a checkbook while you’re at it.) After that, the rest will follow.

Some of the schoolish things that we [homeschooling parents] fret over the most, are those things that are secondary, or tertiary to the Prime Directive. They are the things that we assume makes schooling work. After all, we were schooled as children; this must be how this education thing works.

But we forget that schooling only works when you have a mass of children to manage. Homeschoolers don’t have a classroom full of students; we have a family with children to raise. Part of that rearing, includes learning. In spite of the title, homeschoolers aren’t really “schooling” their children. What parents do with children is raise them, prepare them, foster within them a personal self-interest in learning more and more about the world in which we live and the history that got us here.

You need only one thing to accomplish 90% of this rearing thing: Literacy.

Seems to me, most public schools are attempting to teach too many things to too many children who have been damaged from the start by not having been taught to read and comprehend properly.

Here are some literacy stats that don’t give much hope for the way the State is educating our future citizens. Whenever you or another homeschooler is accused of somehow damaging our children by not forcing them to attend a State School of Communal Instruction, refer the inquisitor to this information… if they can understand it.

From Alliance for Excellent Education:
http://www.all4ed.org/publications/FactSheets.html

• More than eight million students in grades 4-12 read below grade level. Most are able
to sound out words—the challenge isn’t to teach them to decode text but, rather, to
help them comprehend what they read.

• Only 31% of America’s 8th-grade students—and roughly the same percentage of 12th
graders—meet the National Assessment of Educational Progress standard of reading
“proficiency” for their grade level.

• Among low-income 8th graders, just 15% read at a proficient level.

• A mere 3% of all 8th graders read at an advanced level.

• On average, African-American and Hispanic 12th-grade students read at the same
level as white 8th-grade students.

• The 25 fastest-growing professions have far greater than average literacy demands,
while the fastest-declining professions have lower than average literacy demands.

• Roughly 23% of high school graduates are not ready to succeed in an introductory level
college writing course.

• About 40% of high school graduates lack the literacy skills employers seek.

• Employment projections indicate that jobs requiring only a high school degree will
grow by just 9% by the year 2008 while those requiring a bachelor’s degree will grow
by 25% and those requiring an associate’s degree will grow by 31%.

• Male and female students with low academic achievement are twice as likely to
become parents by their senior year of high school compared to students with high
academic achievement.

• For juveniles involved in quality reading instruction programs while in prison,
recidivism was reduced by 20 % or more.

• High school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be
arrested in their lifetimes.

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