Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Schooling as Fraud

"Almost predictably, he now falls back on the apple pie and motherhood issue of education to elicit a legislative consensus and maybe, if lucky, enact something tangible. It's admittedly a tough sell in today's debt-ridden, frozen-budget times, but who can oppose a world-class education for American kids? ... Murky implementation details aside, Secretary Duncan assured everyone that key congressional Democrats and Republicans plus mayors and governors from both parties were on board. ... This budget-bloating money will not fix our educational woes; it will instead reward a dysfunctional educational establishment. This is yet one more dubious make-work jobs bill--or to use a little barnyard humor, a pig-in-a-poke wrapped in a sheepskin. America is addicted to educational largess. Between 1900 and 2008, our total government spending on education rose from 1% of GDP to 7% in 2008. In 1919-20, the cost per pupil in constant (2005-06) dollars was $668; by the beginning of WWII, it had risen to $1,404. Upward movement continued, so in 1949-50, it was $2,188, and by 1959-60, it was $3,190 per pupil. By the end of the 20th cebtury, it hit $10,000, and by 2003-05, it was $11,100. Education munificence has even outstripped health care appetities. We are also spending more on buildings and facilities. The enterprise is also incredibly labor-intensive. ... Schools with 'at-risk' students can rival luxury resorts where attendants outnumber guests. In 1949-50, the ratio of pupil to school staff members was 19.3 to 1; by 2004, it had fallen to 8 to 1. ... New York City's education bureaucracy illustrates the jobs creation machine at work, where positions are typically available to those with modest training or an easy-to-get high school equivalence certificate. Job titles include 'Teaching Assistant,' four distinct levels of 'Eduational Assistant,' three levels of 'Education Associate.,' and two types of 'Auxuliary Trainer,' plus varied 'Family Assistants.' ... And what were the proposed solutions? ... Instead, these 'probing and unflinching' experts demanded community partnerships, more role models and mentors, and 'wraparound' servies. Never heard of 'wraparound services'? ... None of this has ever worked, or at least not significantly, and if any of it had succeeeded, the original Great Society would have done the trick decades ago. ... Build the failure, and the job seekers will come", my emphasis, Robert Weissberg (RW) at American Thinker, 3 February 2010, link:

Education is a scam. Nothing can close the "achievement gap". That's the bottom line. The various assistants are in make-work programs, just like our penal system, with its parole boards. In the days of the dinosaurs, when I was in grammar school, we had classes of 30-40. So? The vast majority, possibly 75% of our education dollars are wasted.


Jr Deputy Accountant said...

Just goes to show you money can't buy everything, especially an understanding of the difference between "your" and "you're" - which my 2nd grade teacher was so kind to impart on me for free in a letter she wrote to me a few years after I left her class. We kept in touch at least until I got to 5th grade and she would always happily edit my letters. Without her, I still wouldn't know the proper use of "you and I" versus "you and me"

Bless her heart.

Screw the rest of these jackasses, education is a joke and my generation is proof. Where is our ROI? They can't even SPELL!!!!!

RAGING IDIOTS, the entire lot of them. I'm always amazed when one of them pops out able to add more than 3 digits at a time or spell words longer than 5 characters.

No child left behind, Pop! bwhahahahaha LOL

p.s. Happy Vday to you as well, I'm in the air as we speak headed for TX (God bless airplane WiFi)


Anonymous said...

No no... it's schooling as the service economy...

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Further what most schools teach is useless in the real world.

Ubu said...

I went to the university in my early thirties, and attended the best state school I could find for the money. It was a cakewalk. I finished four years in three with a 4.0 while working full-time. I was summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and took huge 20 to 24 credit hours per semester. I was a egghead star.

But I am convinced, based on the research I did while in school, that had I tried to do the same in 1950, my work would have been under much stronger scrutiny. My achievements were, in large part, the result of 50 years of diminished competition. The university had been so dumbed down in order for everyone to attend that a degree had almost ceased to have any objective value, and from what I observed in my classmates, that was plainly true; they were lazy, inattentive, and anti-intellectual. My degree was inflated away; it was four times the cost at half the value of 50 years ago.

Thankfully, I discovered that all the great scholars of the preceding generations had published extensively, and I turned to their demanding expectations for a more accurate assessment of my abilities. When measured against Jacques Barzun or Eric Voegelin, it was pretty clear to me that I was more like a chunk of debris floating around than a star.

And Comuuuuuuunications isn't a real discipline anymore than American Studies or Education are real departments. Go through any list of university departments, and half of them could be folded and no one would even notice they were gone. The modern university is a bloated menu of bad cuisine.

Independent Accountant said...

I feel your pain. Read "Harvard's Hollow Core", Atlantic Monthly, September, 1990 by Caleb Nelson.


Anonymous said...

The mantra “For the kids” has been shamelessly used as a marketing campaign by various entities with a “dog in the fight” for tax dollars for many, many years – so many years that it has become a “wave” for lack of a better word. Parents who contest this concept were/are viewed as uncaring and cheap. The actual education received is really only as good as the pupil and his/her home setting. Just as some people are inherently stronger than others, some people are inherently smarter than others. Much of what is absorbed by the student comes down to his/her own curiosity, capacity and willingness to learn. More money and resources does help improve many situations and outcomes but at some point, throwing money at a situation for a desired result can create some unintended consequences or blowback. Jeff

Anonymous said...


bear in mind this is a comment on a board from a news source in Germany. So, even in other parts of the world there appears to be an opinion about the high cost of schooling in the US. Once a large amount of money starts getting thrown at any endeavor, there is going to be the temptation for fraud on some scale.

"You also have to factor in the thousands of dollars of credit card debt these students leave with as well. No one better than a 20/21 year old approaching a degree for a predatory bank to pursue. These kids learn the art of floating balances really early. My niece did this to the tune of 27,000. My brother was furious and hadn't a clue she was doing this. But it's all too common these days"

Ubu said...

And maybe the last, great scholar at Harvard, Harvey Mansfield, gives two sets of grades to his over-esteemed students, the A they don't deserve but will receive because everyone who goes to Harvard is brilliant, ergo, they all get A's, and the grade they'd actually deserve if it wouldn't create such a political uproar to tell the truth.

The time I spent at the university was the biggest disappointment of my life; I couldn't bring myself to go to graduate school, despite the grades and test scores I had. I left, in disgust, and joined a group of engineers creating and manufacturing large-format digital printers. I work long hours, with constant stress, and full responsibility for my own, and my co-workers, livelihood, and I couldn't be happier. Every day I try to think and act with the understanding that my level of productivity has to equal 50 third-world competitors or we won't make it; it's a lean, ruthless model, but I have seen the evidence that it can work. 5 resourceful, determined, intelligent men and women can to the work of hundreds, but they didn't get that way from attending college.

Anonymous said...

Tony says central planning is Grrrrreattt

The ants' story began a little over a decade ago, in 1999, when the Chinese government launched an ambitious plan to boost university enrollment by 30% annually. At the time, the country's factories were suffering from the Asian financial crisis. Planners believed a rise in college rolls would help China transition from a largely export-driven, low-wage manufacturing economy to a more balanced one populated by upwardly mobile white-collar workers.