Thebastidge: WTF moment
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    Friday, September 25, 2009

    WTF moment

    My new roomie (a close friend of several year's acquaintence) is a very intelligent, fairly thoughtful guy. However, during a discussion of politics the other evening, over a couple of beers, I was flabbergasted at his ignorance of some issues. To give him credit, he's exploring things with a fairly open mind in our discussions, not very opinionated about it, but questioning my stance (mostly in an exploratory way) on a lot of things from politics to firearms (and the inveitable cross-pollination between the two.)

    Him: "I never vote- because I've been disenfranchised. The electoral college has made my vote meaningless, it' not democracy."

    Me: "Of course it's not a democracy, we live in a Republic."

    {discussion ensues about the difference and the historical context, and a bit of games theory about elections and election methdology}

    Him: "How come I never once heard that republic not democracy thing in school?"

    Me: "Arg."


    Blogger Kevin said...

    Thankfully he can get an education from you, since the school system obviously didn't provide one.

    6:45 PM  
    Blogger Larry said...

    Oh, he's a thoughtful, intelligent guy. He can apply logic and deduction pretty well, and knows a lot of science. He just hasn't got to that point where politics becomes interesting- or maybe he's just now getting there. I find that it's a stage of life thing.

    My natural interest in history led directly to my interest in politics, but history is one of those subjects that "school" definitely discourages. Present a bunch of isolated facts with no context for how they fit together, make memorizing and regurgitating those facts the only point of the course, and you have pretty much killed any possible interest in history without even having to try or be obvious about it. The subtlety of the technique is its brilliance.

    8:49 AM  
    Blogger mkfreeberg said...

    Yin and Yang explains a whole lot.

    The problem is, in the twelfth grade the "learning" is done by means of the following: Motivate your fellow classmates to look somewhere else when you think you don't know what you're doing, and to watch you when you think that you do.

    In the first grade -- it's exactly the same. Yeah the material changes, but the technique at a high level remains consistent, and it remains something fairly described by the above. When it's time to hand in your work, if it kind of looks like you did some work and the penmanship is neat and you get it turned in on time, you can generally pull down an A+ as a reward for some of the most abject surreal nonsense.

    And that is why he didn't learn this stuff in school. That's my explanation. I'd really like to see yours though; I'll bet it's good. What came after the "Argh"?

    7:15 AM  
    Blogger Larry said...

    I lean toward John Taylor Gatto's explanation: public school is not broken, it's doing a brilliant job of what it was designed to do: educate the masses to a consistent, very dilute technical ability to read and strong tendency to follow instruction in the workplace, adapted to an industrial workforce opposed to individual craftsmen and entrepreneurship.

    The planners of the modern education system never foresaw a time when we would be post-industrial. So now we have several generations of people who have been cheated of the quality education they would have gotten in private school and home tutoring, who have job skills completely maladapted to current circumstances (or none), and no intellectual tools to put it all into context and move on from it.

    8:59 AM  

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