Wednesday, August 5, 2020

To save America, defund the schools

Dear H,

I've just been informed by a friend that school's closed this year, but you can send your kid to daycare -- in the closed school.  For money.

There are online classes, of course; but why?  They're terrible for children; and we know, now, that the disease itself isn't the issue.  Matt Walsh reports that kids are three times more likely to die of the flu than COVID-19.  So we know schools aren't being closed for their safety.  We heard that childcare costs hundreds a month, per kid, which we know parents can't pay, since many of them are too poor.  We heard that teachers are essential, and then were told, by the teachers, that they're inessential.  LA County told us they'd take the children back -- if we could stop all "police brutality," and adopt universal healthcare, and mail-in voting.  I would personally rather not send them.    

The solution to this whole fraud is simple.  Truth is our teachers are overpaid and incompetent.  Why send your kid back to school when, according to The Root, 75% of all black boys in California, where state spending on students is enormous, can't add or read or write intelligibly?  Why put your kids in a classroom where there are 30 students to one teacher?  Or where you're a white God-fearing conservative, and the teacher hates America?  Or where teachers can't discipline children because doing so is "racist"?  Or where you don't have the time to meet and assess all the teachers?  Or where grades are curved to pass dunces*?  Or where your voice gets drowned out, as a parent, because the other parents won't stand up with you, or won't even show up?  

The US Census Bureau reports that in 2019, a year when tax revenue was steady and teachers showed up for work, that Americans spent, on average, $12,000 a year per kid.  In truth we spent it but we didn't have the money.  State, national, and personal debt continues to dig us into a grave.  Every year we dump money into this abyss and the education largely gets worse.  The teachers get more radical.  We don't get the classes we really want.  There are too many students per teacher.  We don't like the kids in the school.  But what if we took this money that we don't have?  What if we cut it in half, put the money in the state fund, and redistributed it to each and every kid in the state?

What this would mean is revolutionary.  First off, note what it would do for teachers.  No longer paid a measly salary to be overrun and underequipped, the rate of pay would skyrocket as the job itself would get easier.  You recruit 15 kids and now you've got 90,000 bucks.  In a poor state this is a gold mine.  Less students and more capital.  You spend $10,000 on materials (if that) and $15,000 on rent and you're still left with $65,000.  And this is at an easy $6,000 per kid, $747 less than the rock-bottom cost in the cheapest state in the union (hello from us in Idaho).  New York State already spends $23,000 per student according to the Census Bureau.  What have we got to lose but our chains?

But note what it would do for parents and students.  First off there's the choice.  Teachers all over the union could be personally interviewed and selected by cautious and interested parents.  They could be regulated, on some basic level, by the state.  They could be fired at will, and if not fired, then unhappy parents could transfer schools -- to another little red schoolhouse with somebody more competent, or patriotic, or Godly, or manly.  Curricula, instead of being left to every parent, in homeschool conventions, to pick through -- an overwhelming process for even the brilliant -- could be advertised by the teachers themselves.  Not only teaching, but what's learned will become a matter of marketing.  Organizations will spring up endorsing candidates who fit their standards and values.  Students will no longer receive "an education" that's half vanilla half poison, but more fine-tuned, more robust, more catered to the intelligence, the virtues, the fine-breeding of the families themselves.

Racial disparities will be immediately erased**.  Worried that black children are underfunded and underserved?  They will receive the same money as white children, according to the state they live in, and poor whites will receive the same money as rich whites.  People looking to teach their children Plutarch will win, and so will people teaching children mechanics.  There will be national standards on math, and science, and English, and civics.  The states will set their standards beyond this, according to their cultures, and their average level of intelligence.  

There remains an important and troublesome question.  How will this be put into action?  I'm not here to give you a complete plan.  But there are teachers all over the nation who recognize this opportunity.  Principals who've run large schools and will know how to establish little ones.  The fact that each teacher can own his own business -- the way God intended it, and the way things were run when America and England were on the upswing*** -- will mean extremely talented teachers will suddenly become big business.  Parents can put in more money as they choose.  So can the states.  Regulatory agencies will find ways to ensure the money goes to schools and isn't squandered, and parents, whose money and children are directly involved, will probably beat the regulators to it.  Churches and civic organizations will put their stamps on great teachers.  Masses of money, spent on janitors, security guards, principals, and other such necessaries, will become unnecessary.  Sports, so important to keeping schools funded, will no longer be the top priority.  The education of our children will become paramount.  The people most interested in education -- the parents -- will have supreme power.  And a choke-hold on the American people, held for so long by communists, incompetents, and radicals of all sorts, will be absolutely broken. 

Idaho, where this writer lives, is ranked 35th in education, and is also the least regulated state in the union.  It's filled with free people who don't like the left-wing, don't like being told what to do, and hate an imbalanced budget.  I propose we start the experiment here, and when it succeeds -- Lord willing -- we'll take it to the rest of the nation.

Yours,
-J

*My prejudice against the public schools is impregnable at this point.  Aside from my college experience, which set me back morally and intellectually for years, I can honestly say I've only had three good teachers, and they were my two parents and the tutor they hired for me.  They gave me some of the basics, and for that I'm grateful to them.  

By the time I'd gotten to the 11th grade I was put into a Department of Defense school in Italy.  Supposedly top of the line.  Each teacher had to have multiple degrees.  The class size was, by American standards, comparatively decent.  And above all, the funding was extensive.  What they "taught" me, senior year, in English class, was the difference between their and they're.  The dunces were ecstatic and still sing Mrs, Uribe's praises.  By the time I got to college I was relearning things I'd already been taught in 10th grade by my tutor.  The rest of it was a slide backwards.  I was taught in English 201 that sentences don't necessarily mean anything.  I was taught about the !Kung bushmen but not about the ancient Greeks.  I took a health class and was never forced to exercise.  I read essays by random lesbians about AIDS and never heard even the name of Montaigne.  I didn't read a serious book until I was about 25 -- years after I decided to drop out.  I didn't learn to write well until I was about 33.  

I'm well aware you can't teach anyone to write if they don't have anything to say.  I also admit you can't make anyone think if they don't want to.  I fully admit I've been a fool most of my life, and that people have been around me, all that time, trying to help me be wise.  It's partially my fault I wouldn't listen, and it's partially theirs they weren't inspiring.  But how can you say you're the top of the line when a kid, homeschooled by a dedicated but ESL Hispanic mother, is two years ahead of the college students?  How can I look back, and say with total seriousness, that I learned nothing helpful or profound, over the course of five years, from any publicly paid teacher?  If this is the top of the line, where is the average?  If the average is below this, where is the bottom?   
        
**When I say racial disparities will be immediately erased I mean in funding, not in outcome.  Once we get rid of the funding excuse we'll move on to another one; and, in fact, we already have.  The left-wing Idaho Statesman reports, in an article called Enduring racism can harm the brain, that (and I quote) "Black women reporting the highest level of daily racism had 2.75 times the risk of poor 'subjective cognitive function' than women reporting the lowest level."  

What needs to be mentioned, here, is that this study was conducted entirely on black women.  This means that whole batches of black women experience little to no racism; but beyond this, that the women who don't are more intelligent.  Which leads us to the next uncomfortable question: are some black people, like the rest of us, stupid because they're mistreated, or are they mistreated because they're stupid?  

I suspect that The Idaho Statesman, trying to make stupidity a result of injustice, made serious errors in thinking here.  Missed fact #1 is that large numbers of every race are stupid, and that there's absolutely nothing you can do for them.  Fact #2 is that every race, due to varying genetics, and history, and culture, will produce unequal numbers of idiots.  The last fact is that everyone knows who the fool is except the fool.  It's beyond his ability to grasp**.  Intelligent people can smell stupidity, and they push it away, like the plague, to keep things from going to hell.  And indeed they have to as a matter of survival.  

Thus nobody is standing up for our white trash and nobody should be.  We take one look at them and know that giving them loans, or letting them off the hook, or putting them in charge, can only hurt us -- and badly.  The question is whether leftists will ever admit there's black trash -- and how far they'll go, at our expense, trying to make them successful.

***We hold math and science in high esteem, and we ought to in an industrialized society; but when England was taking over the world their elite boys were learning character and poetry.  Math and even history were added later.  In Sam Johnson's England, a parent could just say "I'd like my boy to be like Samuel Johnson," pay Samuel Johnson a fee, and then have their boy be taught directly by him.  And many of these lucky bastards were.  

Imagine the ability to do this.  To pick a teacher, not because of the school or the proximity of the school, but because of the man.  That's what direct student funding would do for all of us.

I imagine some of you reading this will object.  First off there's the objection that not all parents are good judges of talent and character.  To this I'd say, why should the good judges be dragged down by the bad?  And who says the judges now, the administrators we don't pick, are good judges of talent anyway?  

The second objection is, Why should we force a teacher to be a salesman?  Wouldn't that end up making every teacher a marketer instead of a teacher?  To which I answer yes.  And in some measure they already are.  The teachers have been selling themselves to bureaucrats, and ideologues, and unelectable officials -- but not to parents.  My question for you is, how can a teacher sell something to students if he can't even sell himself to the parents?  Charisma and eloquence -- i.e., sensual and spiritual intelligence --, the two factors desperately missing in most children's education, will take center stage alongside math and English and history.  The question we've failed to ask ourselves is, who can learn life, how to live it and how to explain it successfully, from a bore? 

****A man who's incapable of blaming his thoughts is forced to blame something -- and most usually someone -- else, for his failures.  When a religious dunce fails, if you're lucky, he can at least say it isn't God's will.  But who does an irreligious dunce blame?  Most usually, an unGodly idiot is in the market for a scapegoat.  An unGodly politician is always looking to sell him one.  The enduring policy of this alliance is revenge -- against their natural superiors.  

Like these essays?  Email me at letterssubscription@gmail.com and start your subscription today.

Support the Letters by sending a gift to paypal.me/supporttheletters or www.venmo.com/TheLetters

3 comments:

  1. You made American Thinker!!! Congrats!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're on a hell of a roll lately, J. Keep 'em coming. I induced my sisters to read one of your essays for the first time...your last one, "In these troubled times"...and one relied "Breathtaking". I hope to win you another fan or two, as I have been a big fan for many years now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you share my work. My best fans always make me more fans!

      Delete