Peak Public Education

An Oldie but Goodie from my Peak Oil Forum years…

Peak Public Education

Unread postby ReverseEngineer » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:13 pm


Long ago and far away, I went to public school. Not as often as lots of people, because I really HATED school. I mean REALLY hated it. So I would fake being sick at least once a week to avoid going, and my mom wasn’t real tough on MAKING me go. So she went to work, and I stayed home watching Jeopardy on TV and The Rifleman with Chuck Connors. You could make a real good case for saying I am who I am today as a result of answering Jeopardy questions followed by watching episodes of Lucas McCain blowing away the bad guys with his Winchester with the cool modified lever action he could spin around on his hand. LOL.

Why did I hate school so much? It wasn’t because it was hard, it was pretty easy. It was because it was so regimented, and fundamentally dull as far as I was concerned. So I avoided everything I could with regards to school, the only thing I really had to “perform” on were the TESTS. The tests however were ridiculously easy themselves, so long as I got 100 on a test I was doing fine so far as TPTB in the school were concerned. Never did my homework though. LOL.

As a result, I didn’t really end up a social automaton, which is why my writing is so idiosyncratic and why my life in fact became so idiosyncratic. One of the real ironies is that despite absolutely HATING school, I became a teacher in the public schools, at least for a while. Reason for that was during the Reagan era there was a big bemoaning of the fact we didn’t have enough good Science and Math teachers in the schools, I was unemployed at the time and figured since I knew so much science and math as a result of playing Jeopardy all those years this would be a good way to make a living
So off I went into a middle class school district to teach the science and math I picked up along the way, and guess what? I HATED teaching in the public schools as much as I HATED being a student in them! LOL. MOST of the kids in my classroom really couldn’t give a flying hoot about why elements combine to form compounds or why gases expand with heat input or even why 2+2=4. Most of them had in fact been “educated” in primary school by teachers who themselves didn’t know why 2+2=4. Anybody who DID know why 2+2=4 at the time was emplyed by banks that paid a lot more money than teachers got paid.
Most of my day in the public school teaching was concerned with keeping the behavior problems in check and satisfying the administrators that I was duly diligent about spitting out Lesson Organizers to try to force feed some knowledge into unwilling learners. I began to see this as a pointless exercise, you simply cannot FORCE a child to learn if they don’t WANT to learn. Especially not anything real difficult for them. There were always a couple of kids in a class that wanted to learn, but they were overwhelmed by those that didn’t. If you sieved them out into “gifted”classes you could get something accomplished, but the typical classroom was just an exercise in babysitting. So at this point I began to wonder just WHY we were running a public school system at ALL, since clearly nobody, or at least only a small percentage, were actually LEARNING anything in them?
Pondering on this, I realized that public education only really took hold at the beginning of the Industrial Era in the 1850s or so. This was the time people were coming off the land and into the factories, and so they weren’t available to teach their children what they needed to know, they were working. Factory OWNERS needed a constant supply of workers however, so you needed to Warehouse the kids until they were old enough to employ productively. POOF you get the Public Schools up to about a 6th Grade level, if you will allow employment of 13 year olds anyhow. However, the society became more technological and needed workers with skills past the 6th grade level, so over time more kids went thru High School, and more went through college. Still a form of warehousing, but also a further form of sieving out workers who could do the tasks required for an increasingly technological society. Problem being of course, such LONG warehousing and so much education time spent on so many people is incredibly expensive. It was a Ponzi Scheme that had to crash eventually, and so it has. The education system we have is a complete mess, it does not educate children well at all, and colleges charge outrageous tuitions which students take loans to get they cannot pay off because the technological jobs they train for are disappearing.
As for myself, I still value learning and as you all know I still teach. I just don’t teach in the public schools anymore, I teach in another paradigm with kids who want to learn.r at least who have parents who want them to learn. I don’t deal with the funding issues of the public schools, and I view parents as partners in the education process. My job as I see it is to help educate them since many do not really have all the knowledge necessary to teach as many things as I can teach. I can do this mainly as a gift of God, with some help from years of playing Jeopardy.
The Public Schools are quite doomed here in this spin down. Education budgets are going to be slashed here and its highly doubtful you will see a massive Obamout of public education. What you will see is a push toward more Homeschooling as more of the workforce is unnecessary. However, the mass of children coming out of the public schools in this generation are wholly unprepared for what is to come before us, really they are utterly clueless. None of the assumptions held out to them as truth are holding true, and they will have to learn about life all over again now. A few will adapt, a few will learn, a few will survive. Most will not. That is how it goes when a civilization crashes. Peak Public Education probably past us around 1970 or so. I got lucky and got educated through that time period, but it has gone the way of the dinosaur now and probably all to the good, because really all it did was enble the power structure that has brought the Earth to its knees now.
Reverse Engineer

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