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> Is it best to keep them ignorant?, what is not being taught in our public schools
How do you grade our public school curriculum?
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Gray Seal
post Sep 23 2015, 04:30 PM
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I do not know if it is just me but this election season is another round of reminding me of how ignorant the voting public is. Do you get a similar feeling of exacerbation, frustration, and despair? The polls are meaningless. Issues and policy are near invisible. Media has its own agenda which is not information for the voters. Media portrays image as everything while policy is of minor importance.

The country has major politics created problems. Voters are oblivious.

I blame the ignorance on poor education. Parents are not teaching their children important ideas nor are the schools (the parents were not taught them either).

Those with personal gain in mind have managed to squelch certain ideas from being given importance in our public schools. Voters are a ignorant morass of various isolated values and impressions.

Do you think there are wide gaps in our public school curriculum?

What specific ideas would you want taught which are not being taught now?

Is it possible to fill in such gaps in public school curriculum via pressure on local school boards?
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Sep 23 2015, 09:18 PM
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Do you think there are wide gaps in our public school curriculum?
I don't know enough about specifics to answer this one, but it seems to me children are in school for an awful long while, both in terms of daily hours and number of years. And recess has been virtually abolished because supposedly there is just too much "educating" to complete. If anything is missing, something else needs to go.

What specific ideas would you want taught which are not being taught now?
It really isn't feasible to attempt teach everything in school that a person needs to know. Furthermore, things change (I learned shorthand in middle school…anyone under 30 ever hear of that?).
I think one of the more useful skills that can be taught is to think critically and learn to interpret information cautiously.
No one can be an expert at everything, or even most things, so we rely largely on the knowledge of others (and their interpretations of the information).
This is a pretty useful skill in the internet age where we're inundated constantly with messages that appeal to our emotions and wishes rather than reason and facts.

Is it possible to fill in such gaps in public school curriculum via pressure on local school boards?
I see no way to do so.
The election season is crushingly frustrating to me as well, GS. Frustration can turn to apathy.
Apathy makes one part of the problem, but it's also a psychological defense mechanism.

Edited to add: It is interesting to me how even in the internet age people can be so isolated in their associations and the information they receive, creating a type of opinion confirmation bias.

This article Bikerdad linked to a while back written by someone who seems to be a critical thinker, describes this phenomenon pretty well.

QUOTE
"When I broke the numbers down further, 3 percentage points of those are neoreactionaries, a bizarre local sect that wants to be ruled by a king. Only one percent of LWers were normal everyday God-‘n-guns-but-not-George-III conservatives of the type that seem to make up about half of the United States.

It gets worse. My formative years were spent at a university which, if it was similar to other elite universities, had a faculty and a student body that skewed about 90-10 liberal to conservative – and we can bet that, like LW, even those few token conservatives are Mitt Romney types rather than God-n’-guns types. I get my news from vox.com, an Official Liberal Approved Site. Even when I go out to eat, it turns out my favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, is the most liberal restaurant in the United States.

I inhabit the same geographical area as scores and scores of conservatives. But without meaning to, I have created an outrageously strong bubble, a 10^45 bubble. Conservatives are all around me, yet I am about as likely to have a serious encounter with one as I am a Tibetan lama.

(Less likely, actually. One time a Tibetan lama came to my college and gave a really nice presentation, but if a conservative tried that, people would protest and it would be canceled.)


This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Sep 23 2015, 09:49 PM
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droop224
post Sep 23 2015, 10:57 PM
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QUOTE
I blame the ignorance on poor education. Parents are not teaching their children important ideas nor are the schools (the parents were not taught them either).


I blame conservatism.... not Republican, not Democrats.

Do you think there are wide gaps in our public school curriculum?

Yes, but that is by design. I can only refer to my own experiences. But as I grew older I wondered why schools focus on the courses they do (I don't blame any group for this)I can only think that the design is meant to be this way.

Its my belief that capitalism depends on ignorance. And that anything created by such a system or in favor of such a system will perpetuate ignorance. To promote knowledge is to promote radicalism. You can see this in every facet of our media.

I've sat nights contemplating this and I just don't see a way to awaken people at this point.

What specific ideas would you want taught which are not being taught now?


I think the issue is not that we need to change things taught because the spectrum is huge and wide spreading. Its about the emphasis I think. Think about how many hours are spent learning things that have no effect on our lives.

So there is the question to ask... As an American, as a human, What affects our lives the most? Is it corporations, government, both?!?! Laws!?!?!

I tell you what isn't helpful. Biology.. advanced mathematics... History (to an extent)... I mean we repeat history no matter how much we know because only a very small percentage of us have figured out that... "We all think we are the good guy struggling for noble reasons" Doesn't matter if it some big bad sniper or some big bad terrorist.



Is it possible to fill in such gaps in public school curriculum via pressure on local school boards?

Yes, but it is not possible to convince enough people to apply that pressure. We couldn't likely build a consensus on this small debate board.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Sep 24 2015, 12:40 AM
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Scott Adams wrote about something he calls the Education Complexity shift.

He seems to agree with Droop about the irrelevance of certain types of mandatory coursework.
QUOTE
I’ll begin by stipulating that any field of study is helpful in training a student’s mind to become more of a learning machine. Two hundred years ago, when life itself was simple (feed the horse, plant the corn) you needed to make school artificially complicated to stretch a student’s mind. Once a student’s mind was expanded, stressed, stretched and challenged, it became a powerful tool when released back into the relatively simple “real world.”

The Education Complexity Shift observes that the real world has become more complicated than school. Imagine trying to teach a young child how to do the routine adult task of planning the most efficient trip by plane, or getting a mortgage, or investing. How about planning a wedding? How many pieces of software do you use for your job?

Today, life is more complicated than school. That means the best way to expand a student’s mind is by teaching more about the practical complexities of the real world and less about, for example, the history of Europe, or trigonometry.

*snip*
Some of you will argue that learning history is important on a number of levels, including creating a shared culture, understanding other countries, and avoiding the mistakes of the past. I agree. And if the question was teaching history versus teaching nothing, history would be the best choice every time. But if you compare teaching history with, for example, teaching a kid how to compare complicated financial alternatives, I’d always choose the skill that has the most practical value. You get all the benefit of generic mental training plus some real world benefits if any of it is retained.

I’d still teach history in school. But I think the world will survive if some of the details are skipped to make room for more relevant coursework.
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Gray Seal
post Sep 24 2015, 05:08 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen and droop224, you have both introduced multiple ideas addressing the overall education deficit.

There should be a educational goal to help individuals become critical thinkers. What facts and principles would be a good basis for that? A broad knowledge base would help. Teaching principles would help. From my observations of my local school district, there are facts being taught but little in the area of principles.

Would a good school curriculum included the principles of how a free market works and how specialization results from the affect of having a free market. It is not part of the curriculum now.

I do think our current government system depends upon ignorance. Calling our modern facism "capitalism" is not appropriate. Could education be the means to awakening the people? Can you think of something you would teach, droop224, to help with the awakening?

An exposure to science should not be considered to be a waste. It is part of a broad knowledge and understanding of our world.

My kids complain about the waste of time at school. There is busywork instead of education. Busywork is the tool of conformist. There is room to teach facts and principles. But as droop224 has said, "..anything created by such a system, or in favor of such a system, will perpetuate ignorance." It will take involved citizens to change the system. I have not seen much of those sorts. Those that do become involved are ignored by the zombie-like masses.

Our lives may be complicated but much of this current complexity is government created nonsense. Today, investing is nothing more than gaming politics. What are the government rules? What is the government going to do next? Those forms and legal definitions sure can be complicated. It is nonsense. Our lives need not be drug down under bureaucratic controls upon us.
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droop224
post Sep 25 2015, 01:34 AM
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QUOTE
Mrs. Pigpen and droop224, you have both introduced multiple ideas addressing the overall education deficit.

There should be a educational goal to help individuals become critical thinkers. What facts and principles would be a good basis for that? A broad knowledge base would help. Teaching principles would help. From my observations of my local school district, there are facts being taught but little in the area of principles.
Which principles would that be? I'm not sure how you are using that word in the current context.

QUOTE
Would a good school curriculum included the principles of how a free market works and how specialization results from the affect of having a free market. It is not part of the curriculum now.
Only if other economical philosophies are being taught. We can't teach critical thinking showing only one path now can we?


QUOTE
I do think our current government system depends upon ignorance. Calling our modern facism "capitalism" is not appropriate. Could education be the means to awakening the people? Can you think of something you would teach, droop224, to help with the awakening?

Well you can't call our "capitalism".. "fascism" unless you have the anonymity of the debate board or you want to be radicalized. I'll let you in on something I realize as my kids get older, it's difficult to talk to my own kids out of the box(es) created by society.

So Grey seal this "Fascist" "Imperialistic" "Police-State" we live in can only be referred to as a "Democratic" "Capitalist" "Free nation".

It's funny how art imitates life and life imitates art. So I'm on Netflix and I'm watching this cool little Sci-fi show called "Continuum". I like the way the show entertains, but the message of "awakening" is continuously harped on by following a "protector"(good guy/gal) who starts off "asleep"

I know you don't like the defeatist attitude I often bring to these type of debates, but with each generation the layers of protection and insulation becomes thicker, the "sleep" of the American people becomes deeper. In other words, as my wife tells me often.. nobody wants to hear this sh....

So we can't speak..."truthfully". We have to try to tell a truth on a foundation of lies to even have a chance to get the people who believe the lies are truth to listen to us. You understand how flawed that is?

So I guess my answer is yes I can think of some things to teach kids to awaken them, not one of them is realistic.

QUOTE
An exposure to science should not be considered to be a waste. It is part of a broad knowledge and understanding of our world.
No not a waste, just a matter of prioritization. How do 99% of adult Americans use biology?

QUOTE
My kids complain about the waste of time at school. There is busywork instead of education. Busywork is the tool of conformist. There is room to teach facts and principles. But as droop224 has said, "..anything created by such a system, or in favor of such a system, will perpetuate ignorance." It will take involved citizens to change the system. I have not seen much of those sorts. Those that do become involved are ignored by the zombie-like masses.


Involved citizenry would never choose capitalism. It is a zombie making system.

QUOTE
Our lives may be complicated but much of this current complexity is government created nonsense. Today, investing is nothing more than gaming politics. What are the government rules? What is the government going to do next? Those forms and legal definitions sure can be complicated. It is nonsense. Our lives need not be drug down under bureaucratic controls upon us.
You are still looking at a deeper layer of insulation covering the problem and calling it the core of the problem.






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Hobbes
post Sep 25 2015, 04:33 AM
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QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 24 2015, 08:34 PM) *
Involved citizenry would never choose capitalism. It is a zombie making system.


Why do you think they would not choose capitalism...and what is it you think they would choose? How does capitalism crank out zombies as opposed to, say, communism? What is it about capitalism that makes you think it would crank out zombies? How would zombies compete in a free market, for example?
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AuthorMusician
post Sep 25 2015, 06:49 AM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 25 2015, 12:33 AM) *
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 24 2015, 08:34 PM) *
Involved citizenry would never choose capitalism. It is a zombie making system.


Why do you think they would not choose capitalism...and what is it you think they would choose? How does capitalism crank out zombies as opposed to, say, communism? What is it about capitalism that makes you think it would crank out zombies? How would zombies compete in a free market, for example?

Lots of examples of corporations creating armies of zombies, in the context of mind and independent/creative thinking (not merely critical). The first thing corporations do is to yank your rights away from anything you create in the work environment. It's a contract that needed to be signed in order to work for XYZ Computers, Inc..

Another impact is that if you raise your head above the crowd, expect it to metaphorically chopped off. You're a threat to the established power structure.

In respect to secondary education, that was initially designed to crank out factory workers. The hierarchy is enforced, bells make you act, and few classes allow free-wheeling debate. That was left to higher education and the bull sessions that happened outside of classrooms.

The principles that I'd push for if I were King of Education would be:

Learn how to learn on your own steam, much easier today than ever before.

Question authority, but don't be stupid about it. Stay out of the slammer, as that has become life-long punishment, turning relatively minor offenses into major ones down the road.

Think about what is and where that could go.

Realize that there are a lot of shysters out there trying to sell you stuff you don't need. It's the pinch-of-salt principle.

Also realize that most people are looking out for themselves. Their agendas probably don't match up to yours in most cases. Seek the mutually beneficial business relationships. For example, work for outfits that will support your continuing development in whatever field in which you've decided to work. This could be OJT, specific training, help with tuition, combinations of those things.

Finally, figure out your own principles. Don't listen to me; I'm no longer in competition. My history isn't your history, as times have been changing a lot.

Free markets have become myths, for example. The theory of it can be taught, but it doesn't pan out in the real world. Nope, you have to be born rich to get richer or gouge prices to make your millions. Outright fraud has become not only commonplace but expected. Oh, you actually believed the VW pitch about clean diesel engines? Oopsy, wrong. It was fraud from the beginning that went on for years before being detected.

Mrs. P, I did learn shorthand in high school, along with touch typing. Thought back then that they'd be useful skills as a writer. The typing held strong, but the shorthand was abandoned in favor of voice recordings.

Oh, one other thing: Try not to become the scapegoat for shysters. They need you far more than you need them, and the stingy jerks will never pay you enough for your, ah, services.
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Gray Seal
post Sep 25 2015, 01:18 PM
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QUOTE(droop224)
Which principles would that be? I'm not sure how you are using that word in the current context.

Examples (and far from a complete list) of principles would be things like honesty, fairness, freedom, voluntary, coercion, force, personal gain. Teaching principles (whether good or bad) and discussing the advantages and disadvantages is an important aspect of education. For example: the U.S. Constitution was not written in a void of principles. The principles behind that moment in time are important. Knowing these principles provides a path to understanding the good and bad of the U.S. Constitution.

Teaching the U.S. Constitution simply as a blueprint for organizing the three branches of government is missing a whole lot.

Dang droop224, I talk to my kids all the time about thinking, no box for them. I tell them what part of functioning in our day to day lives is real or just boxes. I teach them to challenge boxes while recognizing the need to follow boxes for the time being.

I am not at all anonymous. Freedom of speech is used frequently by myself. There is no one out to get me (maybe because society is so programmed my speech is no threat to them). It amazes and disappoints me that people can hear what I say and believe it but remain unmotivated to actively do anything about it. Elections are the prime reminder in my life of how lost our society is. Where are the principles?

I do have those I contact who have turned to religion as their gathering point to bring principles into their world. It is a rudimentary means of doing so. Such action brings them some peace but misses other principles. Too many have come to the conclusion that their religion is the solution which must be coerced upon us all.

droop224, I do not like your defeatist position. At the same time I acknowledge you are justified to feel this way. I challenge you to use your infinitesimal spot in the universe to steer humanity to the good no matter how daunting and worthless such an effort. You have but your life. There is nothing to lose in the effort. One life is meaningless anyhow, eh?

Knowing biology is not used actively but it does serve a purpose. My analogy would be to consider teaching your daughter to drive a car. Do you teach them there is a brake and accelerator and here is a rule book? My kids were also expected to know how a car works. There is an engine. There is a transmission. There are different types of engines and different types of transmission. They need to know how the brakes work. They need to know how to correct a sliding car and the physics behind a car sliding. etc. etc. Is all of that information necessary to drive a car to work or pick up groceries? Some would say it is unnecessary worthless information. I beg to differ.

QUOTE(droop224)
So Grey seal this "Fascist" "Imperialistic" "Police-State" we live in can only be referred to as a "Democratic" "Capitalist" "Free nation".

So well said. I prefer to use the correct labels instead of the propaganda labels. False labels confuse and makes communication very difficult.

QUOTE(droop224)
You are still looking at a deeper layer of insulation covering the problem and calling it the core of the problem.

Imagery. If you take the insulation off of an electric wire you could stop the current from flowing.

I like Hobbes questions about zombies.

-------

QUOTE(AuthorMusician)
Learn how to learn on your own steam, much easier today than ever before. Think about what is and where that could go.

Good principles.

QUOTE(AuthorMusician)
Question authority, but don't be stupid about it. Stay out of the slammer, as that has become life-long punishment, turning relatively minor offenses into major ones down the road.

A society which operates like this is acceptable to you? Shouldn't we be teaching this is not OK?

QUOTE(AuthorMusician)
Realize that there are a lot of shysters out there trying to sell you stuff you don't need. It's the pinch-of-salt principle.

Also realize that most people are looking out for themselves. Their agendas probably don't match up to yours in most cases. Seek the mutually beneficial business relationships. For example, work for outfits that will support your continuing development in whatever field in which you've decided to work. This could be OJT, specific training, help with tuition, combinations of those things.

Trying to sell you stuff does not make a person a shyster. Whether you need stuff or not is up to you. Shysters are those who are dishonest. Such behavior would have consequence in a proper society. We should be teaching how to seek redress for damages.

Being out for yourself is a normal thing. We should all be looking out for ourselves. Do not make voluntary transactions unless you are confident the transaction is fair and actually makes yourself better off.

Fraud should be corrected in a proper society. It should not be acceptable. Teaching this principle of free markets would be a welcome addition to public education.
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Curmudgeon
post Sep 25 2015, 01:52 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 02:49 AM) *
The first thing corporations do is to yank your rights away from anything you create in the work environment. It's a contract that needed to be signed in order to work for XYZ Computers, Inc..

I recall that when I signed the "Standard Patent Agreement" on January 21, 1966, I was told that Thomas Edison had crafted the original one and patented it. (More likely copyrighted it.) Once the Supreme Court upheld it, it became a standard of Corporate Management.

A few months later, I was working in the building and process that had been developed by Herbert "Ted" Doan, the one single employee who was hired despite his being unwilling to sign one. Legend holds that when he was awarded the patent for polymerizing compounds made from double bonded carbon molecules; he and not the corporation, collected a royalty on all of the plastics manufactured worldwide until the patent expired.

He was a legend in the building, but mostly for his eccentricities. Salaried employees working for him, for instance allegedly got annual "Christmas Bonus" checks. In their Christmas card was a signed blank check. The employees who filled it out and signed it had the amount matched as their next year's raise; or if they were too generous to themselves, it became their severance pay. Ignore the check, and you got no chance to negotiate your salary until the following Christmas.

Corporate policy also dictated that personal salary packages could not be discussed with other employees. As an hourly worker, I at least had a union contract that made it "public knowledge." (Numbers published in the newspaper usually included the full cost of "benefits" such as vacation, health insurance, sick pay, and supervision.) My first wife ran a child care business. A young couple whose child we were caring for was trying to plead poverty. I mentioned a salary that I was certain they were each making, and he asked me why I felt they were making that much. I pulled out the union contract, showed them the hourly rate for a starting hourly employee and multiplied it by 2,080. They returned to work the next day and tried to use that information to negotiate raises. In the course of their conversations, it came out that they had filed joint tax returns. They were both fired for discussing their salaries with each other.

This post has been edited by Curmudgeon: Sep 25 2015, 01:54 PM
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akaCG
post Sep 25 2015, 04:00 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 02:49 AM) *
...
Free markets have become myths, for example. The theory of it can be taught, but it doesn't pan out in the real world. ...
...

Yup. I well remember the multitudes of West Germans who risked death trying to climb over the Wall in order to escape the opportunity-killing and soul-crushing free markets at home. Just like I well remember seeing news reels of the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. /

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 02:49 AM) *
...
... Nope, you have to be born rich to get richer ...
...

Utterly, demonstrably false. Prime example:

Of the people who feature on the 2014 Forbes of the 400 richest Americans, ...

The percentage who "grew up poor but also overcame significant obstacles" (9%) plus the percentage who "came from a largely working-class background; rose from little to nothing" (16%) add up to ...

... just about DOUBLE ...

... the percentage who "inherited fortune but not working to increase it" plus the percentage who "inherited fortune and has a role managing it".

Links:
http://www.americasdebate.com/forums/index...amp;p=100031410
http://www.americasdebate.com/forums/index...amp;p=100031453

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 02:49 AM) *
...
... or gouge prices to make your millions. ...
...

Hear, hear! Damn those dastardly Waltons for making all those billions by keeping their prices high! And a pox on the mansions of those Silicon Valley types for the same! Shysters all! It's tar and feathers time, I say! /

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Hobbes
post Sep 26 2015, 09:22 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 01:49 AM) *
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 25 2015, 12:33 AM) *
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 24 2015, 08:34 PM) *
Involved citizenry would never choose capitalism. It is a zombie making system.


Why do you think they would not choose capitalism...and what is it you think they would choose? How does capitalism crank out zombies as opposed to, say, communism? What is it about capitalism that makes you think it would crank out zombies? How would zombies compete in a free market, for example?

Lots of examples of corporations creating armies of zombies, in the context of mind and independent/creative thinking (not merely critical). The first thing corporations do is to yank your rights away from anything you create in the work environment. It's a contract that needed to be signed in order to work for XYZ Computers, Inc..


That's certainly not an example of making someone a zombie. Zombie's wouldn't create anything of value in the work environment to begin with, so nothing to yank. It is just an example of protecting intellectual property. If you create something while working at XYZ Computers, why shouldn't they have the right to it? They paid you to create it.

Also, this does nothing to compare with other systems. How is this any worse, for example, than communism, where your right to EVERYTHING is taken away? In order for capitalism to be something no involved citizenry would ever choose, it would have to be worse than the other options, and you haven't inidcated at all how that is the case.

QUOTE
Another impact is that if you raise your head above the crowd, expect it to metaphorically chopped off. You're a threat to the established power structure.


Again, this is worse than, for example, communism....how? Again, you need to show how this would be better in one of the other systems.

QUOTE
In respect to secondary education, that was initially designed to crank out factory workers. The hierarchy is enforced, bells make you act, and few classes allow free-wheeling debate. That was left to higher education and the bull sessions that happened outside of classrooms.


This I agree with. My sociology teacher in college put it best. He used to work in secondary education, and finally quit when he realized that the goal of our system is NOT to create as many A students as possible, but to create as many C students as possible. Which is very messed up, but has nothing to do with capitalism. Capitalism thrives when everyone is as educated as possible.

QUOTE
The principles that I'd push for if I were King of Education would be:

Learn how to learn on your own steam, much easier today than ever before.

Question authority, but don't be stupid about it. Stay out of the slammer, as that has become life-long punishment, turning relatively minor offenses into major ones down the road.

Think about what is and where that could go.

Realize that there are a lot of shysters out there trying to sell you stuff you don't need. It's the pinch-of-salt principle.

Also realize that most people are looking out for themselves. Their agendas probably don't match up to yours in most cases. Seek the mutually beneficial business relationships. For example, work for outfits that will support your continuing development in whatever field in which you've decided to work. This could be OJT, specific training, help with tuition, combinations of those things.

Finally, figure out your own principles. Don't listen to me; I'm no longer in competition. My history isn't your history, as times have been changing a lot.


All good goals...but how would you teach them? Had a good conversation with one of my profs along these lines, when there was a push to teach 'ethics' at the college level. How exactly would you do that? Have a separate class? Incorporate it into all your classes? If the latter...isn't that what profs should be doing anyway?

I would also think it a good discussion as to where you think these things should be taught: college, or high school? if high school, how would you measure it, and incorporate it into testing? It's hard to test, at least meaningfully. We take ethics training and testing every year, have at every job in IT I've ever had. You can usually answer the questions without any of the training by ruling out the stupid answers. They have gotten better though. Now they focus on specifics, and just exactly what is set up within the corporation to address questions, what the policies are, etc. An ethics governance structure has been created. Such a structure doesn't exist outside of companies, though, unless you count our legal system as that structure.

QUOTE
Free markets have become myths, for example. The theory of it can be taught, but it doesn't pan out in the real world. Nope, you have to be born rich to get richer or gouge prices to make your millions. Outright fraud has become not only commonplace but expected. Oh, you actually believed the VW pitch about clean diesel engines? Oopsy, wrong. It was fraud from the beginning that went on for years before being detected.


No, you don't. Lots of examples of people who started with nothing and made millions. Sure, it's easier if you already have money, but it is certainly possible. And, again, how is this worse than communism or socialism where that chance is gone?

It would seem, from this thread and many others, that one thing that needs to change in our education system is much better education on what capitalism actually is. And, yes, I'm fine if that includes its warts, and how it does and doesn't work in our current system. But I see lots of criticism directed at capitalism that stems from a lack of understanding of what capitalism is, and/or what the other systems are. It's very much like Winston Churchill's statement about democracy: "Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the others." Similarly, one might say capitalism is the worst economic system. Except for all the others.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Sep 27 2015, 12:08 PM
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QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 24 2015, 09:34 PM) *
QUOTE
Would a good school curriculum included the principles of how a free market works and how specialization results from the affect of having a free market. It is not part of the curriculum now.
Only if other economical philosophies are being taught. We can't teach critical thinking showing only one path now can we?


I don't think people learn so much by lecture as example.
So in that vein, of course they should be taught about various systems, and instructed on the practical limitations of those systems based on reality and results. They can form their own conclusions from that.

From my perspective, the media "radicalizes" not via educating the population (as you implied) but by giving them partial information out-of-context. It's the exact opposite of an education. The media, along with the entertainment industry (but I repeat myself) "teach" the population some pretty perverse incentives and very misleading instant gratification oriented ideas about success and how to acheive it.

No lecture is going to counter the above but I think critical reason skills will help, along with the knowledge that we are only privy to partial information and use Occam's razor accordingly. With partial information even the movie UP (this was a great, very funny film) can come across as a horror movie.

Think about reality and results in our daily lives (or lack thereof), and we just accept it and don't question:
-We're taught by instructors who are more ignorant than the general population
-We go to healthcare providers who are unhealthier than the general population
-We go to psychologists who are crazier than the general population
-We go to marriage counselors who have higher rates of divorce than the general population
-We go to personal trainers who are in worse physical condition than the general population

And so forth. I very much remember working as a receptionist in a hospital as a teen and there was a dietician's office right next to my desk. Just about everyone who went to her ended up fatter and back then the no fat all carb diet was the rage. I inquired about this and was dismissed as ignorant (being only 17-18), but a few years later everyone dropped the all carb diet and started on to protein and fat (which seems to work demonstratably better, the type of diet they touted in the 1950s big surprise).

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 02:49 AM) *
Free markets have become myths, for example. The theory of it can be taught, but it doesn't pan out in the real world. Nope, you have to be born rich to get richer or gouge prices to make your millions. Outright fraud has become not only commonplace but expected. Oh, you actually believed the VW pitch about clean diesel engines? Oopsy, wrong. It was fraud from the beginning that went on for years before being detected.


I agree this is the reality (in large part). Once one looks at the reality critical thinking requires context….in other words, why are things this way?
A person wrote this on one of the military blogs I frequent (he is prior military, living in South Korea now):

"I recently started a new business. It took a few pages of paperwork, less than a couple hundred dollars, and just a few days… and everybody in the government office was helpful and supportive… generating income within a week… and all the delays were on my part getting it together.

A friend in the States started almost the same business. It took six months (of paying rent and waiting) before they could open. It cost him HUNDREDS of times more to open an equivalent business… and he is constantly getting needless expensive hassle.

The American Dream is no longer in America…

To work hard and build a successful independent stable life is increasingly difficult… that requires a lot of hard smart work as it is… yet also requires additional stress, time, and expense to maneuver through the needless bureaucracy designed to protect big companies.

Hard work is punished (unles it is for corporate interests). Smart work is punished (unless it is for corporate interests). Being a screwup filled with manufactured outrage is rewarded (especially for special interests)."


Edited to add:
Another bit off the top of my head this morning. I read something recently about huge "household wealth increases" over the past seven years. Has anyone else witnessed this vast wealth accumulation? I haven't noticed it in my life. I confess I don't know much about high finance but it seems like if this true Obama would be a lot more popular and recent college graduates wouldn't be working for free en mass as unpaid interns.
I could go on, but I'm sure I've annoyed everyone now.
My work is done. tongue.gif

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Sep 27 2015, 12:21 PM
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Gray Seal
post Sep 27 2015, 01:37 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen, your work is not done (is it ever?).
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
So in that vein, of course they should be taught about various systems, and instructed on the practical limitations of those systems based on reality and results. They can form their own conclusions from that.
Various systems should be taught. What systems are not being taught now which should be taught? Are those systems taught now being presented as debatable?
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
I don't think people learn so much by lecture as example.
The overwhelming examples in life are the way things are. These examples are being taught daily. It becomes difficult for people to picture it being different. If different systems are not being taught skeptical thinking about their world and how it could be improved is naught.

It is obvious to me that big government is currently being taught as a given system. There is little in the way of disadvantages, limitations, and results nor comparison versus other systems. Other systems are, for the most part, ignored.

I will echo Hobbes and say capitalism is not taught. Voters use and hear the word and do not know what it means. Here we are in the United States, the home of the free, and we do not teach what free markets and capitalism are.

Political admen lick there lips...voters do not know what capitalism is...capitalism will hinder our efforts...time to make capitalism into a boogieman! Capitalism will be what we tell them it is.
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AuthorMusician
post Sep 27 2015, 02:12 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Sep 27 2015, 08:08 AM) *
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 25 2015, 02:49 AM) *
Free markets have become myths, for example. The theory of it can be taught, but it doesn't pan out in the real world. Nope, you have to be born rich to get richer or gouge prices to make your millions. Outright fraud has become not only commonplace but expected. Oh, you actually believed the VW pitch about clean diesel engines? Oopsy, wrong. It was fraud from the beginning that went on for years before being detected.


I agree this is the reality (in large part). Once one looks at the reality critical thinking requires context….in other words, why are things this way?

Indeed, figuring out why is the next step in education, the stuff that dissertations are supposed to be made. Or nonfiction books, a better way to get the information out. It's the synthesis part of study.

I liked your retelling the story about starting a small business. It's very difficult to do it on your own, and as a result various experiments have been tried to reduce the headwinds, such as business incubators.

Curmudgeon, I invented, or rather advanced in significant ways, two software systems while working for corporations. The first one garnered no additional income, and the other resulted in a 16k payback if I signed all possible rights away. It took all of a microsecond to take the money and chuckle to myself: Ah, I never got a chance to document the code. Good luck with the S/370 assembler! This while I was being walked out the door, and later they tried to market the product to the bank I subsequently worked for. You should have seen the marketing types' eyes open wide when I entered the room. Oh man, this is gonna be a hard sell.

Anyway, the basic educational principles have to do with teaching actual reality, how this reality developed, and providing the guidance/tools to take the studies to another level. From there it's up to the students to move from theory to practical applications, and that won't happen, usually, until after high school.

Context makes a lot of difference, of course. As does luck, the principle here being to organize your luck and positioning self to be ready to take advantage of lucky breaks. I'm ignoring the butt-puckering shear terror of jumping off a metaphorical cliff. There might be ways to prepare for that, but not so much from what I've experienced. Each metaphorical cliff is different, and you might not have a choice but to jump. Makes the decision easier, so that's something. Should probably know how to metaphorically swim in the metaphoric river.

To be clear, shysters and sales personnel are synonymous in my mind. There's precious little honesty in marketing types. I don't hold it against them, as it's just the way sales are made, but approaching a sales pitch with a few pounds of salt is better than just accepting the pitch as fact. Ergo, VW was full of it when pushing diesels as being environmentally friendly. I know that just on the face of things from my gearhead days. Average consumers, not so much.

Also, questioning authority is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we find ourselves running headlong into disastrous adventures based only on the word of some people who say it's a good way to go. Why believe these people? Because they have credentials? Positions? Secret information? Lift up that curtain and see their feet of clay.

When dealing with the police, the game changes. The questions need to be delayed for the right context, generally speaking. Or the police don't give a chance to question them whatsoever.

I do agree that ethical behavior can't be taught. What can be done is to show what ethical behavior is and why it's a better way than unethical behavior. In some instances, this might be so vague as to be meaningless. No problem, confront that and think about it. In a similar sense, creativity can't be taught but rather unleashed. Some people don't have anything to unleash, which is fine. Forget about creativity and find another strength to develop and/or release.
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post Sep 28 2015, 01:10 AM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Sep 27 2015, 08:08 AM) *
...
A person wrote this on one of the military blogs I frequent (he is prior military, living in South Korea now):

"I recently started a new business. It took a few pages of paperwork, less than a couple hundred dollars, and just a few days… and everybody in the government office was helpful and supportive… generating income within a week… and all the delays were on my part getting it together.

A friend in the States started almost the same business. It took six months (of paying rent and waiting) before they could open. It cost him HUNDREDS of times more to open an equivalent business… and he is constantly getting needless expensive hassle.

The American Dream is no longer in America…"

...

That reminded me of ...:
QUOTE
...
Calvin Coolidge was too simplistic when he observed that "the business of America is business." But like most sweeping political statements, even Coolidge's contains some truth -- enough, as I've learned, to make me wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. That knowledge would have made me a better legislator and a more worthy aspirant to the White House.
...
In 1988 I yielded to a longtime desire to own an inn with conference facilities, where I could provide good food, comfortable rooms, and lively public discussion sessions. ...
...
After two and a half years that mixed pleasure and satisfaction with the loss of all my earnings from nearly a decade of post-Senate lecture tours, I gave up on the Stratford Inn. But not before learning some painful and valuable lessons.
...
The second lesson I learned by owning the Stratford Inn is that legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. business. As an innkeeper, I wanted excellent safeguards against a fire. But I was startled to be told that our two-story structure, which had large sliding doors opening from every guest room to all-concrete decks, required us to meet fire regulations more appropriate to the Waldorf-Astoria. A costly automatic sprinkler system and new exit doors were items that helped sink the Stratford Inn -- items I was convinced added little to the safety of our guests and employees. And a critical promotional campaign never got off the ground, partly because my manager was forced to concentrate for days at a time on needlessly complicated tax forms for both the IRS and the state of Connecticut.

I'm for protecting the health and well-being of both workers and consumers. I'm for a clean environment and economic justice. But I'm convinced we can pursue those worthy goals and still cut down vastly on the incredible paperwork, the complicated tax forms, the number of minute regulations, and the seemingly endless reporting requirements that afflict American business. Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can't pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.
...
I'm lucky. I can recover eventually from the loss of the Stratford Inn because I'm still able to generate income from lectures and other services. But what about the 60 people who worked for me in Stratford? While running my struggling hotel, I never once missed a payroll. What happens to the people who counted on that, and to their families and community, when an owner goes under? Those questions worry me, and they ought to worry all of us who love this country as a land of promise and opportunity.
...

--- George McGovern, former Dem U.S. senator from North Dakota and 1972 Dem candidate for president, in a 1993 Inc. magazine piece that he himself wrote titled "What I Know Now: Nibbled to Death"

Fast forward about 20 years, and ...

"You didn't build that."
--- President Barack Obama, Dem U.S. President

"You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for."
--- Elizabeth Warren, Dem U.S. Senator and possible future Dem ... ?

Ain't "progress"(ives) just grand?

Related:

1.
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded, here and there, now and then, are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as 'bad luck.'"

2.
"In a mature society, 'civil servant' is semantically equal to 'civil master.'"

--- "Lazarus Long" (a character featured in a few of Robert A. Heinlein's works; said character's birth name, btw, is ... "Woodrow Wilson Smith"; Heh. Good one, Mr. Heinlein!)

ps1 (given recent posts, thought I'd bring it up; bolding mine):

One of Heinlein's short stories, published waaaaaaaay back in ... 1959, was (bolding mine) ... "All You Zombies".

ps2:
Said aforementioned Heinlein short story, btw, ...

"... [C]hronicles a young man (later revealed to be intersex) taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger, female self (before he underwent a sex change); ..."

ps3:

The chap who "wrote this on one of the military blogs I frequent (he is prior military, living in South Korea now) ..." to whom you referred, ... has been distributing his and his family's "chips" mighty wisely, I'd say.

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post Sep 29 2015, 11:55 AM
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QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 27 2015, 09:10 PM) *
"You didn't build that."
--- President Barack Obama, Dem U.S. President

"You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for."
--- Elizabeth Warren, Dem U.S. Senator and possible future Dem ... ?

Ain't "progress"(ives) just grand?

Truth to power, and apparently this is a big threat to certain types. OMG, they're lifting the curtain! Now how do we fool them into giving the rich more tax breaks?
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Hobbes
post Sep 29 2015, 02:55 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 29 2015, 06:55 AM) *
QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 27 2015, 09:10 PM) *
"You didn't build that."
--- President Barack Obama, Dem U.S. President

"You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for."
--- Elizabeth Warren, Dem U.S. Senator and possible future Dem ... ?

Ain't "progress"(ives) just grand?

Truth to power, and apparently this is a big threat to certain types. OMG, they're lifting the curtain! Now how do we fool them into giving the rich more tax breaks?


They're not lifting the curtain, they are putting a new one in place, shrouding things which don't work to their political agenda. Which just shows how, to bring it back to this thread, lots of different groups work on keeping people ignorant, and how everyone would benefit from having more critical thinking and education on how the economy works.
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akaCG
post Sep 29 2015, 07:01 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 29 2015, 10:55 AM) *
...
... everyone would benefit from having more critical thinking and education on how the economy works.

Indeed.

With that in mind, ...

"In 1900, Argentina & the US were equally wealthy. Then one of them abandoned capitalism."

The phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" comes to mind when looking at the accompanying graph.

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Gray Seal
post Sep 29 2015, 07:06 PM
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Hobbes and akaCG, how do you teach critical thinking? How do you propose to teach how an economy works? What would you add to the curriculum?
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