Re: Fred Reed - The Dave Barry of Racists

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 11:02:54 MDT

Barbara Lamar wrote:
> > Well, my personal opinion is that education is the prime problem, and
> > the prime solution.
> Unfortunately, most school educations don't include courses on how to make
> it in the real world, especially for students from disadvantaged
> backgrounds.
> Any ideas on making USEFUL educations available--not necessarily just for
> poor kids, but for all kids who're interested? It might be a worthwhile
> Extropian project.

Well, one thing I've noticed that is different between the US
educational system and those of european and other countries that rate
higher is that the US system tends to treat every student like they need
either a college prep curriculum or else glorified nose wiping.
Vocational training at the high school level is almost non-existent in
the US today.

There seems to be this prevailing notion in Education university
departments that 'mainstreaming' is of paramount importance, that
preparing kids for being functional adults isn't, and that providing
'special ed' programs for the low end students is more important than
providing advanced training for smart kids, to the point that AP classes
are seen as extraneous, a frivolity seen only in wealth school

In recent years, schools have treated 'computer class' as the sole
vocational training worthy of treatment by high schools, as if there
isn't a huge demand for skilled machinists and other trades people, and
often at the expense of those programs that do remain in those areas.

Educators are focused on 'education' as some catch all suitcase term,
when they actually ignore, or are completely incompetent to teach
specialized courses, from math and computers to machining, carpentry,
and auto mechanics. I personally think that 'education' should only be a
minor for college students seeking to become teachers in grades K-12,
that they should have their major in a real skill area like math,
history, or english, etc. Even those who wish to become university
professors in Education should have a specialty in a real skill area
beyond 'education'.

> I know a public school teacher in Lockhart, Texas who's using gardening as a
> way of reaching kids who don't like books. I interviewed some of the kids
> for a magazine article and was told by several of them that they used to
> hate going to school but now enjoy it because of the garden (they were
> growing all sorts of plants, including food, useful stuff such as gourds,
> and native ornamentals), and were in the process of installing a fish pond.
> When kids have a reason to learn, they'll learn. These kids had been
> inspired by the garden to learn about botany, weather, genetics, chemistry,
> folklore, economics, design, math, and more. We're a poor community, and
> some of the students are from homes where there are no books at all.

Your last statement here is the telling one. As I've said, the primary
problem with educating minorities and other poor kids is that education,
knowledge, etc tends to have little or no respect in their homes. The
absence of books from the home is highly indicative of this.

Frankly, I consider any parent with less than 100 books in their home to
be guilty of child neglect. Any parent who thinks that books aren't
necessary for raising kids is not fit to be a parent.

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