fact-free nation

In our quest to become a fact-free nation, dismantling education can certainly play in important part. I read this article today by Chris Hedges that had several quotable lines that stood out for me.

Concerning life in general and rating everything solely on standardized testing:

Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.

On what you do with your mind:

The capacity to think is the only bulwark against any centralized authority that seeks to impose mindless obedience.

The article jived well with my angst on how we're going to get through the next few years, much less the next hundred. Being a fact-free nation with collective amnesia isn't a strong way to approach it. I meet so many that cannot think two clicks around the next curve. That's the norm. Let go of that television for starters.

8 responses to “fact-free nation

  1. My sister teaches at SUNY and my bother-in-law's degree is in education, so at least my nieces are getting a well-rounded education at home. I mean, that's a start, isn't it?

  2. That puts in to words something I've been trying to articulate for years, which I suspect also confirms its a well entrenched system in Britain already.

  3. Originally posted by Stevepr203:

    I suspect also confirms its a well entrenched system in Britain already.

    Where I work those who swallow the company's line on everything, no matter how ridiculous, tend to be those who get promoted. Yep, this sure is entrenched in Britain already.Originally posted by madego:

    so at least my nieces are getting a well-rounded education at home. I mean, that's a start, isn't it?

    I'd say that that's a brilliant start.

  4. Originally posted by slackwrdave:

    I showed up for the first day of math class in the 10th grade and there were 60 students in that class. The teacher cried sometimes in front of the class and sometimes left the room to get herself together.

    …are you effin' kidding me!? What the heck is a teacher supposed to do with 60 students? That's insane!? No wonder she was crying – I'd bawl and crawl around on the floor if I was in her shoes!

  5. Originally posted by madego:

    My sister teaches at SUNY and my bother-in-law's degree is in education, so at least my nieces are getting a well-rounded education at home. I mean, that's a start, isn't it?

    SUNY is still a great thing, though everything is in danger. One of my almae matres, UNCG (I had several, lol), has been sliding down the slippery slope. It's still a great liberal arts university, but I have seen it become nearly unaffordable for many. UNCG is pushing online learning hard, and the money majors (School of Business) get priority while many other departments make do with little. The School of Music, however, is somehow weathering the storm for now.The School of Education at UNCG, with which I've had some involvement, works hard to prepare teachers for the dangerous environment they are about to enter, but I fear that many will be overpowered and ground under.The local public school system has many who are aware of the problems and fight to maintain decency in the current environment. It amazes me how much hostility the school system faces from the press and politicians, many of whom I feel have a hand in helping to bring it down so it can be taken over in some way.I worry about the odds the younguns face today, though some will always beat the odds and come through ready to fight in some way.It goes way back. Even when I was a student in the public school system during the 60's and 70's, I was often amazed at how broken and ramshackle the environment and facilities were. I especially remember one defining day when I showed up for the first day of math class in the 10th grade and there were 60 students in that class. The teacher cried sometimes in front of the class and sometimes left the room to get herself together. I stressed out and often got sad because it was a college-prep class that I needed. In elementary school I remember sharing textbooks because there weren't enough.All of the above I remember, and our district was fairly prosperous.I always think of those things when a new industry moves into the area, gets a boatload of financial incentives and tax breaks, builds a sparkling new facility that should be beyond its means, then turns around and complains that the local workforce is unprepared and uneducated.

  6. Originally posted by madego:

    are you effin' kidding me!? What the heck is a teacher supposed to do with 60 students?

    Can you believe it? It seemed like a football stadium in there.I went back to visit her (that teacher) and some others years later. Somehow she made it. She was yet another glorious woman.That 60-student classroom ended up being split in two about a month afterwards. I heard statements that it was because of the school's inability to hire another teacher. I suspect that was true, but I also think it was to gauge outrage and test the waters for the future.Even 30 in a classroom is pushing it.

  7. Originally posted by madego:

    crawl around on the floor

    I know that the context of that statement isn't funny, but I haven't been able to stop laughing over it all day. I keep seeing Mrs. Steaky from 2nd grade crawling around and bumping her head in to things.I've understood the premise and sentiments of this article even well before No Child Left A Dime Behind, and here in Washington State we have the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP).Inner city kids have consistently been the biggest victims of these tests. Rigidity (and outright ideological errors) in curriculum destroy these kids ability to choose their future education goals."I'm sorry that you don't want to be a hair dresser, but that's what your test scores and demographics say you'll be really great at!"

  8. Originally posted by 0x29a:

    I'm sorry that you don't want to be a hair dresser

    I went out with a hairdresser a couple of times. 😆 When I was 19 and having some severe existential angst, I went to the public library and took a career and life skills test battery. All I remember about it now is that the #1 career it pointed me to was that of chiropractor. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and it would be better than the career I have now, but at the time it made me feel even worse than before I took the tests.That was also about the time I was applying for summer work around town. Most employers gave pre-employment screening "op-scan" tests that were weird and dehumanizing. There were lots of mental questions, some even to do with sexuality. I don't remember specifics now, but the one I took for Sears was WEIRD. I felt mentally violated for days, but at age 19 I hadn't yet learned to say "fuck off" very well.Oh, in high school I took the military ASVAB tests. What a con job that that turned out to be, but once again, probably a better career than I have now. Now I'd throw the test back at them, but then I dutifully took it. At least I got lots of nice attention from the recruiter. I was beginning to think we were going to move in together.

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