At age ten, American students take an international test and score well
above the international average. But by age fifteen, when students from
forty countries are tested, the Americans place twenty-fifth. The
longer kids stay in American schools, the worse they do in
international competition. They do worse than kids from countries that
spend much less money on education.
That’s John Stossel, who’s putting on a 20/20 special tonight called Stupid in America. There’s a couple of things that aggravate me when I discuss schools with other individualists, who, like me, think the government has no business in them at all. One thing is that factoid, above. There is a distinction to make between grade school and all of the rest. A lot of very real and very good schooling goes on at the public grade school level, and that is a fact that should not be evaded. Fully integrated education? No, but that’s obtainable almost nowhere, even in the private sector.
The second thing is that to condemn all teachers collectively, regardless of the values they produce, is wrong. It’s just as wrong as condemning an American soldier actively angaged in producing the value of freedom because he collects a government paycheck and works for a bunch of boobs.
The point has been made to me, well taken, that value is not to be measured, strictly or primarily, by the fastidiousness of the labor that went into producing it. Value is measured, subjectively, by the one for whom it is intended, i.e., the consumer. And he’s always right; never wrong. Still, there is room to admire people who work very hard at producing values that find a good and happy home. This has been my general experience, around here, with regard to grade-school public education.
By coincidence, my wife forwarded an email this morning that she had just received from one of her 5th grade students. He’s 10 years old. And, yes, he is among her best.
Subject: MATH PROBLEMS
Excuse me, but I don’t seem to find the online intervention when I went onto Netscape 22.214.171.124 Firefox-based. I didn’t clear my cache, but when I refresh, it should come out. But, I only see a chapter Six. If I did end up on Chapter Six, there would be an NEXT CHAPTER button. But there isn’t. Please tell me when the thing is on, since I’m itching to do more math. Oh, and by the way, please shade in the green, blue, and purple parts. I am now on the red part. The one under the final one is also incomplete, so you can X the box.