From The VG Bookshelf: The Education Apocalypse Part One

From The VG Bookshelf: The Education Apocalypse Part One

From The VG Bookshelf: The Education Apocalypse Part One

This week, the Victory Girls’ bookshelf brings you “The Education Apocalypse” Part One by University of Tennessee law professor, Glenn Harlan Reynolds. The book is subtitled “How It Happened And How To Survive It”. This quick read was originally published in 2014, unfortunately about a generation too late for those saddled with worthless degrees and a pile of debt.

Professor Reynolds is also known as the “Blogfather”. He is the founder of Instapundit, a libertarian-type news aggregator and writer for many publications.

So, why is the book important? This book is important because our education system is an expensive,bloated mess that turns out a less than optimal product in many cases. Big changes must, necessarily, come to how children are taught.

In the preface, Reynolds gives examples of the totalitarian, zero-tolerance schemes in effect for the past two decades. Do you remember the little boy with the Poptart gun? Here is one from my own personal experience: At the orientation for middle school Hell, Mr. Dickenson, the Vice-Principal for Discipline at Roger Ludlowe Middle School, in Fairfield, Connecticut, was reading from the student behavior manual. When he came to the words “any weapon or a facsimile thereof”, I raised my hand and said, “Do you mean that if my son draws a gun he will be suspended?” To which, Mr. Dickenson answered, “What part of the word “facsimile” don’t you understand, Mrs. Williams?” Oh, the dripping condescension from Mr. Dickenson and the shaming looks from the other mothers.

Reynolds also notes in The Education Apocalypse that:

-K-12 doesn’t prepare students for anything, anymore.
-College costs more and more and degrees are basically worthless, and students still aren’t prepared for anything.

Most of us can attest to the truth of these statements. How did we get here? For many centuries the history of education was that very few people were educated. The Thomas Hobbes quote comes to mind here:

“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

With the Industrial Age upon the world, the young United States of America suddenly needed trained workers who could show up on time, read basic words, and follow orders. Horace Mann, the father of American public education, looked around and decided that the Prussian system of raising useful tools would be just what our nation needed. So, we all got to sit at desks, learn our letters, and move at the sound of the bell, in order to become good, little factory workers.

In higher education, around this time, education reformer Justin Morrill came up with the scheme of land grant universities to educate mechanics, soldiers and farmers. Thus, we got the first federal money involved, when President Lincoln signed the Morrill Bill into law. Next, came the GI Bill with education benefits for military veterans and Pell Grants for those who couldn’t afford tuition. Thus, OPM (other peoples’ money) became the mother’s milk of education. Which led to the college loan scheme, of course.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Horace Mann, who homeschooled his own children because he didn’t want useful tools, and Abraham Lincoln, who was self-educated, played such a huge role in our current education crisis.

Students are taking out loans now to get a degree. The degree which has, often, trained them to do nothing. They take a job that doesn’t pay enough to pay back them loans. Now we have the cries of “Cancel Student Debt”. This video highlights the absurdity:

Clearly, another education fail here. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are grateful.

That’s how we got here. Next week,in The Education Apocalypse Part Two, we’ll look at the education bubble and where we might be going.

Photo Composite: Darleen Click for Victory Girls

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  • David Byler says:

    Latin. Put Latin back into the requirements for High School graduation.

  • Scott says:

    “To which, Mr. Dickenson answered, “What part of the word “facsimile” don’t you understand, Mrs. Williams?””… Toni, you are OBVIOUSLY far more civilized than I, for my response to to such a “creature” would have been long and impressive, and most definitely NOT fit to print here…Suffice it to say that afterwards, I’d have to find a new school to send my son to.

    • GWB says:

      I’d have given the correct definition for ‘facsimile’ and watched as he tried to reconcile his poor maleducation against my actual one, yet he was in charge of the teachers.

      • Scott says:

        I had no doubt that you’d be more eloquent than me as well GWB… I’m not saying that my approach is better, it’s most likely not, just more dramatic / over the top… I’ve been accused once or twice of being a hothead… I prefer “passionate”… just saying

        • GWB says:

          BTW, I would throw the definition in his face, because a ‘facsimile’ is an “exact copy or duplicate”. A drawing is not even remotely a ‘facsimile’. Nor is a picture on a shirt. Nor even a pic of an actual firearm.

          And, if he came back with “but that’s not how the word is used in our policies,” my response would be “Your misuse of a clearly defined English word is less an argument for using that definition than it is for why you or your staff should not be employed within the educational field.”

          Followed by “Oh, and if you punish my child on the basis of your definition, you can expect a lawsuit against the district and you personally for failing to follow your own policies. And this discussion will be evidence.”

          • Scott says:

            Spot on as usual GWB, can’t argue with any of that. It is sad / distressing how little grasp of language, history, or much of anything that teachers in todays world have

    • Toni Williams says:

      Scott and GWB-
      I was marked as a “problem mother” for asking the question. We moved home to Knoxville for the next school year. Our son thrived. He graduated from The Citadel. He is now a senior Army Captain (on the list for Major), a Senior Jumpmaster, and plays with awesome weapons platforms. #IWon


      • Scott says:

        Congrats Toni, sounds like you raised a hell of a son..(and I’m jealous, about the citadel, and the fun weapons!)

  • Charles N. Steele says:

    “Problem mother” — a title to which one should aspire in the current climate. Well done!

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