Monday, June 04, 2007

"Trickle-up" Economics

I finally decided on a study path when I was 24. I tried to pay for college through various restaurant jobs as I was attending school, but it was impossible. So, I began taking out student loans. The debt that I have accumulated over four years of undergraduate and three years of graduate school exceeded $100,000. Amazingly, all that money invested in education has landed me a job making $32,000/year as a fourth-year teacher in Montana. You can do the math.

Despite self-deluding myths, this country does not have the most competitive college graduates, nor offer the best education to the vast majority of Americans. What's more, there are countries that offer comparable if not outright superior educations and countries where a teacher's education is free or mostly free. I am not advocating for there to be a compromise that teachers continue to be underpaid in lieu of a free education, but quite the opposite! Teachers salaries should be increased without compromise immediately. Furthermore, to attract the very best and brightest young students into the venerable profession of teaching, the U.S. must move immediately in the direction of making a teacher's education FREE! In the U.K., this has happened and succeeded in encouraging an entire generation of new young educators from among the most talented and competitive pool of U.K. youth.

It is time for the U.S. to wake from its own delusional myth-making and realize that many of the most important jobs millions of Americans take are grossly underpaid before one even considers paying back student loans. The loan "forgiveness" program for teachers is laughable. Teach five years in some of the hardest areas in this country and we'll forgive $5000 of your Stafford loans. That amounts to $1000 per year. Yet if I stay put in a less harsh area where teacher pay is already higher, I can earn more than that $1000 per year after covering higher living costs! It is no incentive at all! This is thinly veiled cynicism.

In fact, they have created a system designed to fail. Not only is there no incentive, student loans demands are much less likely to be met being involved in one of these "incentive" programs. Basic math will reveal this cynical reality. So in the end, the places most in need of energetic and talented teachers who might even care to perform kind acts of civil service are unable to afford it. Screwing the Native Americans of Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota yet creating programs that allow for plausible deniability. "We care about the Native Americans...look we've even made an incentive program designed to attract teachers to help. We can't help it if people just don't want to live and work there!"

What's more, Montana is basically a Title 1 state yet we teachers are some the poorest paid in the nation. Add student loans to our teacher pay and we are unable to raise a family, buy a home, on and on. The American dream is completely bogus. A teacher should be able to buy a nice home, raise a normal size family and have money left over for satisfying basic consumer desires and retirement. Yet we know that the American family has been ripped apart by private tyrannies (corporations) that have led us to a point that there is no longer the possibility of a parent staying home to raise children and create a safe and healthy home. NO! Now our families are torn apart by an unaffordable life--driven primarily by the costs of health care, insurance, housing, fuel, food and higher education. With each passing generation we get further and further away from the basic economic rights our parents enjoyed. We have to go to our parents--even as double-income families--to ask for down-payments that our parents cannot afford on fixed incomes.

No legislator or president can claim to stand for family values through vacuous rhetoric. "Trickle-up" economics are on the way! The theory is anger and discontent with American "democracy" will result in a continued "trickling-up" of our frustration, anger and outrage until we replace this intentionally ineffectual system dominated by private corporations with one that respects an American's rights beyond the political realm to include economic rights!

33 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

Neither liberal or conservative politicians have solutions.

The conservative politicians are committed to destroying public education in favor of religious/private schools, while liberal politicians jump on the "No Child Left Behind" rote system. To even corporatize it more, they advocate captains of industry to teach.

I suppose you have to show videos with commercials?

Graeme said...

I agree 100%. What really has me scratching my head is these corporate whore politicians are the same ones that run on the family values ticket. And we wonder why kids are growing up fucked up. could it be that both of their parents are too busy working to raise them properly?!

sonia said...

It's simple. American people as a whole don't value education (or at least value it less than the Japanese, the Chinese, the Europeans, and most other people), therefore there is little populist pressure to improve public education.

In a way, it's almost fair. If the US had a first-rate education system, it would be even more difficult for the poor countries to catch up with America....

gregra&gar said...

If anything, American education has become more an orientation meeting to indoctrinate young minds into the myth of our national exceptionalism than it was in the '50s which leaves little time for grounding in the sciences and unbiased study of planetary nature and human cultures.

When so large a percentage of our population favors business school our ranking among nations is bound to be low. If there's no profit to be had, it doesn't show up on the radar of the folks rich enough to afford college.

Ché Bob said...

ren:

"No Child Left a Behind" is actually a conservative policy (even though liberal politicians have supported it). This policy's entire purpose is to train wreck education. Interestingly, it has lead to a great deal of cheating by the adults in the schools. For instance, administrators and teachers are under so much pressure to perform well on the pointless standardized tests NCLB demands that on the days of tests they've encouraged the underachieving students to stay home from school! At the very least, teachers waste enormous amounts of time "teaching to the test" instead of providing a genuine education that would make us at all competitive with the rest of the world. Or, more importantly, would prepare students for life.

graeme:

Just as a sampling, my friends from Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, U.K., and Canada were raised by at least one stay-at-home parent! The American Dream is a complete bullshit myth!

sonia:

I completely agree. Americans value education only in word and never in deed. Parents and students are taught to mistrust it, or at least accept it as second-rate. In fact, in many cases we are taught to blame the teachers for the low-quality of education. There's increasingly less personal responsibility or even desire to be educated. This is obviously linked to our culture of anti-intellectualism. Case in point the trust-the-good-old-boy vs. the fear-the-smart-guy attitude Americans have. Americans love their John Waynes and George Bushes.

greg:

You are absolutely correct! Indoctrination is the name of the game. That is exactly why I've risked my job to fight against the recitation of the pledge of allegiance. American students are expected to learn to pledge allegiance to their country before they can even read, or more importantly, before they are able to understand the meaning of the pledge. In the very accurate words of De Tocqueville: "I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America."

beakerkin said...

Che

You should be fired for not doing your job. Who elected you to decide the school policies?

Everyone has a job to do. In a country with the policies you advocate you would be in front of a firing squad or a gulag.

Off to Cuba with you. No visiting Gitmo for air conditioning and a good meal either.

Ché Bob said...

Beak,

I'm skeptical that engaging you will ever result in rational discourse, but here's the skinny.

First of all, what policies am I deciding? How am I not "doing my job"? If you mean that I should "do my job" and force students to say the pledge, well then I guess I'm not doing "my job" and I never will! However, if you just don't get it and imply that I'm not doing my job when I'm instructing students about their rights, which include the right to not say the pledge, well then I guess you are truly lost.

The pledge of allegiance is not compulsory contrary to what you and yours may wish for--in which case you are worse than those you pretend to condemn. Even though it is not compulsory by law, it is treated that way and so students are made to feel they have no choice. The effect of this kind of indoctrination can be observed in...well...you!

Second of all, even if the American pledge of allegiance were compulsory (which it someday soon may become) such a law would not necessarily be legitimate. The burden of proof is placed on authority, if that burden cannot be met it must be dismantled. Therefore, even if an "authority" says something must be so, doesn't make it so. It must withstand the burden of proof. In most cases authority is illegitimate. Unfortunately, it is the very pledge of allegiance that makes it difficult for most people to observe their blind acceptance of illegitimate authority. Making the pledge of allegiance an essential target of any honest and consistent freedom fighter!

Liberal White Boy said...

Academic freedom has been dealt a serious blow. Anti-Semites at DePaul deny tenure to Professor Finkelstein.

J. said...

Anyone who uses the phrase "teaching to the test" doesn't understand educational best practices in assessment and instruction. If you are indeed a master's educated teacher, I'd ask for a refund.

NCLB is a intermediate step to nationalizing curriculum—no more and no less. All of the nations you reference as better than us have national curricula. You should be glad we're on our way.

No one with any reason or self-respect believes our K-12 public schools are exceptional. They are better than the third world, but of less quality than several smaller nations. Our university system, however, is beyond compare. There is nothing like U.S. higher education anywhere else in the world. This is why our graduate programs are jam-packed with student visa holders.

"Your job" as a teacher is to aid students in mastery of the academic curriculum, not communicate your own personal political beliefs. Good God, man; you don't even understand the ethical guidelines of your own profession?

Ché Bob said...

Anyone who uses the phrase "teaching to the test" doesn't understand educational best practices in assessment and instruction.

Okay j-enious, now is your chance to enlighten us all and tell us what "educational best practices in assessment and instruction" are. Do you really think Bush and Co. have a freakin' clue about "best" practices regarding anything?

Despite your deepest fantasies, your beloved NCLB completely ignores "best practices" as regards a well-rounded education. "Good-God Che, kindergarten-level kids can read!" you'll surely say. "First and second grade kids can read their heads off! The literacy methods are teacher-proof so any idiot can teach our kids to read all thanks to NCLB! Praise be NCLB!"

But, alas, there are many other things that need to be taught that have completely been ignored with this latest generation of K-8 children: e.g. Math, Science, Social Science, Music, P.E., and probably most important of all are their immensely diminished social skills since their is no longer time to learn about social interaction, and appropriate social behavior. Thanks to NCLB, our kids are fat, lazy, stressed, irreverent, violent and can't do math, science.

No, I'm sure you and your kind are happy we that on paper our kids can regurgitate your demands, and perform on paper with perfect robo-pathic behavior. What a brave new world you've helped create. In order to compete with China, doesn't mean we have to become them!

By the way, I didn't waste my money on a graduate degree in education (a.k.a. MA in Indoctrination). So, I'm afraid your right...I know nothing about the "ethical guidelines" of my profession. I intentionally avoid them in order to spare our youth your hoped for brainwashing. Sorry j-$, some guidelines must be broken!

Besides, I thought it better to invest my time in a true ethics class as taught in the philosophy department, which teaches the classical liberal ideals that emerged from the enlightenment. Sorry, but ethics are ethics! Specialized, situational ethics are pretexts for control. Yep, this is upsetting to the schools of education, myth-makers and professional pimps of education (obviously your kind) who would prefer that we take classes cleverly called "Policy and Ethics in Education" (which I did waste my time taking...oh yeah, and I aced it!) which aim at teaching educators the illegitimate and unsubstantiated limits of scholarship which the establishment hopes we'll accept. Most of all, classes such as those you'd likely advocate aim at teaching teachers how best to teach the status quo. Just in case we educators don't learn our lessons, NCLB comes to the rescue!

NCLB is an unfunded mandate. It is doing nothing to reward the profession. In fact, it further undervalues the profession and strips educators of their creativity. And if its stated purpose is to create a national curriculum as you've declared, well then I'm even further opposed to it, regardless of what the U.K., et. al. are doing.

As far as superior education goes, there may be a reason our institutions of higher education are desirable and our k-12 less so. I'm not sure you've given me your explanation for that yet (which I'm excited to hear!). At least one reason, is surely the academic freedom to seek radical and objective scholarship (again, probably not something you're in favor of).

J. said...

Wow, great rant. Unfortunately, you've jumped the gun completely on almost every topic you've addressed. (This is not at all surprising, after reading a few more of your posts and comments.)

By way of example: where, precisely, did I endorse NCLB? Ah, now I remember: I didn't. Nice effort, though.

Clinton gave us national curricular standards by content area (see, Goals 2000). Bush has given us NCLB, the goal of which is to demonstrate our current educational model is unworkable when one considers the high rate of student mobility in the U.S. (student mobility is the number one factor in low student achievement—not race, not poverty, not inadequate funding, not parents addicted to meth, not oppressive government involvement, etc.). NCLB was set up to intentionally fail so the public and politicians will back a national curriculum. I'm not a fan of the idea either, as it wrenches local control and further cements the feds into our schools, but it would undoubtedly increase student learning.

Specialized, situational ethics are pretexts for control.

Wow, don't tell my doctor or lawyer. I prefer they consider themselves beholden to an oath that serves to protect the best interests of their clients.

I weep for your students. The worst part is, you'd rightly flip at the idea that some neocon history teacher was using the classroom to encourage high school students to join the military or if a religious nut was preaching creationism in the science classroom. Out the other side of your mouth, however, you'll spend all day introducing your students to the glories of "libertarian socialism." You can't have it both ways, I'm afraid, which is why ethics demands we leave our own political and religious beliefs out of the discussion entirely.

As to education and content, I agree that students should be provided a well-rounded curriculum in all areas, including the arts and humanities. Again, I don't know why you might jump to the conclusion that I don't. Might you hazard a guess?

Now is your chance to enlighten us all and tell us what "educational best practices in assessment and instruction" are.

Volumes of research have been done on these topics, so your request is absurd on its face. I'd suggest you do some reading of Marzano or a nice introduction to backward design, for starters. All good teaching "teaches to the test." Simply: identify the objectives, identify assessment methodology (how will students demonstrate they have mastered the identified objectives?), develop and implement activity that leads to such mastery, assess and confirm that mastery was attained, remediate and extend as appropriate.

As far as superior education goes, there may be a reason our institutions of higher education are desirable and our k-12 less so.

I would imagine it's due to the fact that our schools seem to be filled with ideologues who have no mastery of their content and no idea as to what high-quality education looks like pretending to be teachers. You, for example.

Ché Bob said...

Clinton gave us national curricular standards by content area (see, Goals 2000). Bush has given us NCLB, the goal of which is to demonstrate our current educational model is unworkable when one considers the high rate of student mobility in the U.S. (student mobility is the number one factor in low student achievement—not race, not poverty, not inadequate funding, not parents addicted to meth, not oppressive government involvement, etc.). NCLB was set up to intentionally fail so the public and politicians will back a national curriculum. I'm not a fan of the idea either, as it wrenches local control and further cements the feds into our schools, but it would undoubtedly increase student learning.

WTF? You've made a complete mess of your understanding of NCLB. It's purpose is to train wreck education by demonstrating American education as incapable of educating in order to clear the way "free market" education. This includes a voucher system that will make religious schools, charter schools and most importantly, private for-profit schools the way of the future.

Now it's your turn to provide some evidence for your claims. All of your fanciful claims are undocumented and unsupported. Get to work! I'm pretty sure a lot is still in "doubt" about the "increase in student learning" despite your brash statements.

The worst part is, you'd rightly flip at the idea that some neocon history teacher was using the classroom to encourage high school students to join the military or if a religious nut was preaching creationism in the science classroom.

Now who's being naive? You obviously don't spend much time in schools or engaged in reality. High schools are chalk full of such teachers. (By the way, military recruitment is another beautiful feature of NCLB). And some school districts are pushing intelligent design and banning "An Inconvenient Truth." Now, while schools are full of such teachers, and I do indeed cringe, there is more than a subtle difference between those that provide ready-made answers and those of us that demand critical, independently-derived answers. You know nothing of how or what I teach. I challenge every response, especially those with which I agree! Sorry Charlie. By the way, tonto de culo, my students have never heard the words "libertarian socialism" in my class.

Out the other side of your mouth, however, you'll spend all day introducing your students to the glories of "libertarian socialism." You can't have it both ways, I'm afraid, which is why ethics demands we leave our own political and religious beliefs out of the discussion entirely.

Conflating political beliefs with religious ones...hmmm...beauty j-enious! You understanding nothing of ethics "in education" (since your hell-bent on specialized ethics). In "J's" world teachers should teach political, moral and ethical apathy. He wants to allow robots to transmit information to our students in the most "benign," "objective," and "disinterested" way. Oh...okay "J". By the way, who gets to decide who programs these computers? Screech! That's right jackass, your "fallacious argument" is up against it now! By the way, that is an actual example of a "logical fallacy," not what you accuse me of. (Oops! Mr. Anally-retentive "J", that's a dangling preposition. Are you kidding with the "(sic.)" shit? Blogging may prove to be too uncivilized for you...mamon!).

You, I'm afraid, don't get to use the "logical fallacy" bullshit on me since you don't understand it yourself, and secondly because you are so blatantly in violation yourself. Your fallacy is that you assume there is some neutral position from which one can and should teach. Neither of which are true, possible or desirable! By your logic, we should teach students disinterestedly, and objectively that some "historians" believe the holocaust never happened. How much time do we dedicate to those historians J.? How much time and energy do we invest in claims respectable scholarship and basic reason proves to be flatly false? Who decides what scholarship is "respectable"?

You, unfortunately, haven't graduated beyond dualistic thinking I'm afraid! Back to high school with you.

As for mastery of my content area: Vete a tomar por el culo hijo de la sesenta mil puta.

beakerkin said...

Che

The pledge is dictated by the policy of the school board. The school board is elected by the local community.

Nobody elected you to set local policy. One can not force one to recite the pledge. However, one must show the propper decorum at such moment.

One does not get to pick and choose what rules and procedures to obey. Your failure to follow the procedures amounts to insubordination and you should be terminated.

Every job has rules and procedures and it is not up to you or I to create our own laws. Moreover, had you done this in Cuba you would be executed or tossed in a jail.

Ché Bob said...

Actually Tweakerkin,

The policy over pledge of obedience is set by our state. In Montana, grades K-6 are supposed to be given the opportunity to say the pledge of obedience once per day. In grades 7-12, the pledge is to be offered once per week. I have never deviated from this policy.

At the same time, students are to be made aware of their rights which includes the right to not say the pledge. To be sure, I inform students of these rights. Furthermore, in order for students to be able to make informed decisions about such rote, obedient acts we discuss the merits of pledge recitations. In other words, we challenge its validity and then let students weigh their decision. All perfectly within my rights, the school board and state policies.

Sorry to bum you out Tweaker, but some students are being made aware of the thoughtless indoctrination they've long been subjected to in this country. I guess it's back to the drawing boards for Tweakerkin and his Taliban pals!

Ché Bob said...

J.,

Policies and oaths need to be set by ethics. What students of education need therefore is to learn about the basics of ethics from the philosophy departments long before they debate applied ethics. The way things are structured in the university system, individual departments and schools are being allowed to disregard basic ethical dilemmas by passing off what amount to unquestioned policies as "ethics." Furthermore, in classes such as "Policy and Ethics in Education," the ethics of education are not designed to be debated but learned and accepted as the way things are. That is a problem.

I agree that the Hippocratic oath is a good thing, but it would behoove students to learn about the trajectory of ethics first.

beakerkin said...

Che Bob

You are walking proof of the validity of the Smith Act. Who decided you get to trample the rights of parents?

Sooner or later the superintendent will hear of your antics. You will be terminated for insubordination.

Try this in Cuba. You will be seeking refuge in GITMO if you survive the wrath of the Block Patrol.

Bonkerkin said...

Why, if you don't shape up, I bet BAD THINGS are going to happen to you. Stop doing that stuff, or ELSE.

Oh, and CASTRO, TOO!

Ché Bob said...

Bonkerkin,

Are you threatening me?

beakerkin said...

Che Bob

That is not me.

On a serious level, do you think that you may have overstepped your authority into an area should be parental?

Ché Bob said...

No, I do not.

This is a very serious issue and has been discussed among administrators, teachers and the school board. I may have stirred the nest, but the community's discussion resulted in a detailed reading of the law and a community that has conservatively assessed that the state should not have the right to force us to say anything. You know, free speech. We should say the pledge because we freely choose to.

Actual conservatives get this. They are conservative as regards the state's authority. Come on Beak, you should appreciate what these conservative Montanans have realized (thanks in no small part to a libertarian socialist!).

beakerkin said...

Che Bob

Those students who do not recite the pledge should stand respectfully. These are not older teens and there is a profound difference between late teens and preteeens in terms of parental responsability.

Your actions illustrate why communists should not be employed in our educational system.

Ché Bob said...

Sorry to disappoint...I'm not a communist!

As far as my actions, they are exemplary hence my renewed contract!

By the way, do you even know what age I teach, what subject I teach, or where I teach?

beakerkin said...

Che Bob

Sure regular people go around rationalizing the behavior of Infidel Castro. You kind plays the beard game where nobody is a communist. Then there is the advocay of Chavez's lunacy.

We play this rope a dope bit with Chomsky who calls himself various kinds of Anarchist. Finky repeats classic obvious lines "Israeli Joos are a parasitic class" but he calls himself a "Green".

How does 1% of the population find themselves exponentially over represented in higher education?

Lets start this from the top.

1 Is the parental role vs that of educator different for high school students vs junior high?

The fact that your contract was renewed doesn't say much. Most educators are union jobs with real unions.

Communists should not be employed in education.

Anonymous said...

if bonkerkin isn't threatening you, someone should be! :P

Ché Bob said...

Anon, J., and Bonkerkin are fucking pussies.

Oh no! Me without my muff! I'm being threatened by anonymous cowards!

señorcitos

beakerkin said...

Anon

What good would threats do to a person divorced from logic and higher reasoning.

Che lets start this slowly.

1 Does the parental role in imparting values decrease with the age of the student?

2 Do you impart the need to be respectful while those who do not see it your way recite the pledge?

3 Do you follow the guidelines as listed by the authority empowered with the creation of those guidelines. If your answer is yes than fine.

Renegade Eye said...

What were we talking about? Seems the point of the post got lost.

beakerkin said...

Ren

Lets see you do not seem to say a peep when LWB, John Brown, Cinging, MFL and so forth bring Israel and Jooish conspiracies into every post.

The above questions are related to the overall thread. If the students are older and Che Bob has imparted the importance of respect for those who say the pledge he has done his job. The keys are the age of the students and respect.

clash said...

http://www.hindu.com/2006/12/28/stories/2006122802701100.htm

Renegade Eye said...

I think the question of anti-Semitism is serious enough, that spelling Jew as Joo, is ok when you do it, but not ok when others. I don't joke on subjects like this. I was shocked myself when I thought the term politically correct was invented by the right. It was invented by Trotsky, to describe anti-Stalinists. You created the vocabulary, then complain when others copy you.

There is no point even discussing Palestinian identity. It is not disputed even by Bushites or Zionist leaders.

You are pretty quick to fry the Rosenbergs. Do you believe they provided Russia with the drawings of the bomb? Real anti-Semitism happens you are on the other side.

I don't put MFL, LWB etc in the same box.

Your friends proudly put Nazi insignias on their blogspot aviatars. More humor?

beakerkin said...

Ren

The fact that someone accepts something does not make it so. This being said I did not bring up the subject. Morever look at the threads and you will see a clear pattern of Joooo baiting. The spelling of Joooo is a feature of my blog when brain impaired commies
repeat idiotic claims. Do visit LWB's blog and explain to me if the person has a problem.

The problem is that you are unable or unwilling to deal with the most crass anti-semitism from the left. The comments of LWB in particular have been offensive. If you had a doubt read his exchange to Eric who
has done everything short of blowing himself up as a suicide bomber.

LWB clearly provoked me and admitted in his statement. Moreover, if LWB or any other person wants to vent I have a blog.
My comments to Troutsky were mild satire and met with rabid anti-semitism.

beakerkin said...

Ren

The Rosenbergs were guilty and deserved to die. Do you want to compare their trial to the people executed for imaginary Titoist- Zionist conspiracies? How about several Communist countries including your sacred Cuba outlawing Hebrew?

gregra&gar said...

Bob, I sympathize with your and Trout's troll parade, but don't like to see you so idle so long in reaction. As I suggested to Troutsky, perhaps if you both resurface under another title, coherent conversation may be continued without the spittle and malice from the rabid.