Dueling Twins

National Education

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The 'Dueling Twins'

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Enter the 'HALL' of the Dueling JAMES Twins!

Education is that which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.
Ambrose Bierce

Point:

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We Need A National Educational Policy
 
James Hall -  From the Left

Constitutional or not, a national education policy makes sense.

By working with Democrats to frame a national educational policy, President Bush has thrown down the gauntlet to those in his own party who argue that education is a matter only for the individual states to worry about, and not the nation as a whole. It is not. Education is far too important to our nation to be left willy-nilly to fifty different approaches, including the approach of neglect. While Mr. Bush's own high-stakes testing policy is far too simplistic, a national education policy that includes national minimum standards for excellence and federal funding to realize them makes good sense.

In 1957 the Soviet Union fired a shot across America's bow with the launching of the first Sputnik. Realizing that America's survival depended on a good solid scientific and technical education base, President Dwight D. Eisenhower promoted the first national education program, the National Defense Education Act, which established mathematics and science standards for the nation's public schools and gave federal funding for teacher training and textbook development. The result was the creation of a talent base of scientifically and technologically skilled Americans that have made America the leading innovator in defense, private industry, and numerous other technologies.

Today America's survival continues to depend on the high quality of its education in the face of a highly competitive global economy. Those nations with the best schools and most highly educated populace will be those who survive this competition and prosper. In the global environment it makes no more sense to leave education to the politics of individual state legislatures and county school boards than it does to leave the defense of the nation to state militia equipped with front-loading muskets.

This does not mean that the federal government need educate the populace itself. When it comes to building schools, buying books, hiring and evaluating teachers, local control is best. But the two largest flaws in our current local education system--a lack of uniform national standards for what constitutes a good education, and uniformly high funding of all schools--are two things the federal government can handle ably. The federal government has researched good minimum standards for an educated populace and can set those standards for the individual states to reach in their own way. It can also raise money far better than state and local governments relying on locally levied property taxes, and can fund schools fully and equitably.

Thomas Jefferson recognized the value of education for free men and women. He created the nation's first public school, the University of Virginia, and advocated a system of local public schools for the nation. That system has largely come to pass. But the world has changed in ways that Jefferson and the Founders never imagined. Today's America is not the agrarian paradise the Jefferson imagined, but a highly technological, industrial America existing in a competitive world. Education has become a national priority, and therefore a national educational policy makes complete sense.

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Rebuttal:

James' laundry list of education grievances is as off-target as the rest of his argument. The battles he wants to fight between traditional and progressive forms of education and private and public schools are being waged within states and localities today, not as national education policy. The NEA has consistently fought for higher academic standards and the money to make teaching the higher profession it ought to be. And what has the misuse of state lotteries to do with national education policy--other than to prove the funding problems that states face?

James thinks we fail to understand the Framers' desire to keep education entirely local. We understand this only too well as an idea that has failed. Without good property tax bases, schools in poor rural and inner city communities crumble, with textbooks that discuss the Apollo moon landing--as an event yet to happen--while well-funded suburban schools resemble college campuses with the latest in laboratories, computers and in-house television stations. These savage inequalities in education can only be addressed with the comparable levels of funding that federal taxes can guarantee.

James' tirade against a Regime of sinister education bureaucrats almost makes me hear the throb of the black helicopters beating in his head. But academic standards don't equate with control. Requiring a tenth grade reading level to graduate high school doesn't determine which books the students will read at that level. Requiring that students take and pass intellectually complex courses like algebra, biology, and chemistry doesn't subject them to some vague notion of sinister mind control, or even fluoridate their water. The monsters under my bed aren't education bureaucrats, but the often-wasted lives of our nation's undereducated children, our future destroyed by neglect.

While education administrators will get their say in any discussion that sets academic standards, it will be a national discussion involving all interested Americans, and the standards will be set by Congress and approved by the president, and subject to amendment when necessary. When one examines the best public schools in the world, like those of Japan, Singapore, and Germany, one sees them working under the direction of national academic standards and national funding. Setting American standards for academic excellence and providing funding to realize those standards is the road to individual freedom, personal excellence, and national salvation.

James, From the Left

Counterpoint:

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Education Becomes Socialization

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Elements that seek to institute a National Education Regime, seek to destroy this Nation. Ignorance as to the nature of proper individual state control of their education systems has openly turned into the desire to clone nationwide prototypes of the New World Order. Just look at their claims for a uniformed curriculum, designed, funded and tested by the social engineers who brought us outcome-based education. These are the followers of John Dewey and Richard Gibboney who introduced Progressive Education that seeks to dispense with objective standards, logical thought and truths and replace them with subjective feelings, emotions and self-esteem. Now they dare demand that we must accept their poison in order to compete on the world stage. They are jackals who wish to implode America, what she stands for, and the significance of our tradition.

The marketplace of ideas and commerce draws aggressive inquiry and dedication to succeed, by all that wish to compete. Technology is seen as attractive for many of the best and brightest. For those who believe this path means progress, they certainly have enough opportunities to pursue their goals. But to assert that out survival as a Nation depends upon a coordinated effort by the Federal Oz to cause us to walk down the yellow brick road is delusional. Standards are established within each discipline. Involvement within that process by incompetent bureaucrat's is foolhardy, and surrendering to their checkbook, is suicidal.

At the core of this desire to mandate a single standard is the goal to control. The problem is not with high standards, but with their definition by suspect official educators! Their record for the last forty years is abysmal. Their programs perpetuate mediocrity and indoctrinate our youth into accepting complaisance as desirable. You don't attempt to solve a problem with more bad solutions. When advocates for more central involvement into the role of education, are allowed to work their horror, your result will be an acceleration of the decline. Isn't it time to alter this failed course and re-institute proven methods of excellence? Yes, education is extremely important, and deserves a market approach to its overhaul.

Is it just a quintessence that the creation of the Department of Education has paralleled the decline in student performance? With the dramatic rise in federal expenditures for education, has there been any improvement in the quality of education? Any honest observer must admit the current condition is tragic. But to institute even more authority for an education czar, is like giving liquor and the car keys to a high school junior. If this is the best that can be proposed, does this not prove in and of itself, that the problem in dumbing down America, has affected the last several generations, as well as the current?

When will the public finally realize that the problem is not in a lack of funds, nor in class size! A national tax or more increases in federal budgets for education is just pouring gasoline on a fire. Remember all that money from those state lotteries? How is that money spent and where is it really going? Next we will be told it is a virtue to have a National Lotto . . . .

The solution is accountability and competition within the system of education. Government schools need to compete with private institutions, which deserve a fair share of education funds, if they ever wish to be truly called Public. The NEA union needs to be broken, incompetent administrators need to be fired, discipline for students must be restored; and a curriculum that elevates learning and eliminates the social adherence, which is virtual brainwashing. The only purpose that currently exists within this state system of education can be best expressed: " I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin to my young men ". Do you know who spoke these words?

James Hall - aka SARTRE

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Final Word:

You notice who wears the black uniform, Herr James! Yes you guessed who spoke those words, Adolf Hitler. When one acknowledges the severity of the condition and refuses to place the blame with those who are presently controlling that system, do we still want to trust their solutions? I am not against high standards and quality education, but your approach views the pupil as a pawn in a struggle for even greater behemoth of unaccountable bureaucrats. Parents are effectively forced to surrender their most precious children to the government school curriculum that fosters subversive family values and ignores the sciences that you bemoan.

If you want solutions, forego your central planning approach and run for your local school board. By what right do you claim to know what is best for the American family? It won't be long before you start citing studies as your evidence. This debate is crystal clear. The children of America are not wards of your collectivist vision. Parents must retain the ability to educate their offspring according to the values that they hold. The scam of a national education policy is the kiss of death for our Nation.

The narrative of public education is written in waste, mismanagement and greed. Those who claim to devote themselves 'for the children' are fabricators of self interest. Honest educational professionals will openly state the system is broken and more of the same will never correct the problem. Those in the underclass are socially and culturally reaping the consequences of the education establishment that government advocates have promoted for decades. Your allies have assaulted the family, destroyed the communities and now you want to uplift the children! Sell this snake oil to bleeding hearts, but keep off our school yard. We are doing just fine in a real community were people care for each other. A National Educational Policy will only teach obedience to your kind of Reich.

James Hall - 'The Right'


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In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.
Friedrich Nietzsche

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