Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Let’s pretend !

Let’s just say that you and I are partners in a Wonder Widget factory. We need people to assemble widgets which are intricate and more complicated than run-of-the-mill widgets.

Neither the local high school or the local technical school produces experienced widget makers. Therefore we must train every one of our employees in dexterous manipulation to produce our Wonder Widgets !

Since our investment in this training of our would-be employees is all expense and no immediate return in added value, which of two "courses" will we take?

(1) Require that our fledgling assemblers learn (through trial-and-error)about the invention of, purpose of and salient features of our Wonder Widget, and many repetitions by the embryonic workers in the assembly of our Wonder Widget.


(2) Require that each and every hopeful employee develop a deep sense of Self-Esteem and Empowerment toward "self-actualization".

One of these pathways is fatal for both the production of Wonder Widgets and any "Learning".

My point here is that as a society we spend billions of dollars every day to prepare people for survival in a life struggle where even communist nations compete on the basis of free market enterprise.

And we have ceased to recognize that our most valuable attitude has mostly always been that we learn our best lessons by being brought up short and having our noses pressed and rubbed into our mistakes, without regard to our prideful "self-esteem".

This was brought home to me this week when I learned that educators in Florida had a typically LIBRUHL answer to a steep plunge in SAT Test writing / reading scores:

They Lowered the Bar ! Diluted the requirements !

This is what colleges of education teach—have taught for three decades.

Maybe they "mean well".

But several giant steps away from Maslow (patron saint of the lazy teacher) and a turn toward the education philosophy of Richard Feynman or Alfred North Whitehead would be a good start.

For those of you who have children or grandchildren who are being fatally abused in a school wherer Johnny can’t read, getting "Hooked on Phonics" is a good start.

After all is said and done, it’s a matter of vitality and responsibility and accountability.

Lazy teachers and lazy journalists will be the death of all of us unless the cracks and faults are sealed by people who want more and care more.

Of course, there is the caveat that this opinin is less imporant becaue it is offrered by an octogenarian-plus.

One who can remember the first and last name and idiosyncratic prejuices of evey teacher from first grade through all graduae school. They werer ALL Free Spirits; none of them gave any credit for my arogant self esteem !