Education (was Re: Fred Reed)

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 14:36:44 MDT

>From: Mike Lorrey <>

>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.

I went to a high school (Lane Tech, Chicago) where "shop" was
amongst the most popular of all classes, probably because you did
things that were actually useful. (It's a guy thing too.)

Our society has so successfully stigmatized the trades that it is
very difficult to find people to fill these jobs, and contrary to
social myth, not just anyone will do.

It is considered very uncool to end up in the trades these days.

>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 districts.

Triage, with limited funds you help those most in need first.

>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.

These jobs have been stigmatized, trades are where you end up if
you fail at everything else, nobodies interested....

>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 happen to be reading the late Mortimer Adler on the purpose of
education right now, so I will respectfully disagree. I agree with
him that the purpose of an outstanding liberal (in the educational
sense ;) ) education is to create a truly thinking member of

>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.

One of my University professors (Loyola) was a Jesuit who worked in
education problems of the disadvantaged. He told us the single most
telling factor was the presence, or lack of, reading material in
the home.


Extropy Institute,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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