Modern Educayshun and Yale

English: Yale University logo There is minimal...

English: Yale University logo There is minimal innovation upon the pre-1923 design . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[…]Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, one of our panelists, remarked that these hysterical ninnies were acting like Professor Christakis had burned down an Indian village. Which is to say: The idiot children were screaming about Lukianoff because he said they were overreacting to Christakis’s criticism that they tend to scream and overreact. Well played, idiot children.

Of course, these idiot children aren’t children. These are young adults who can serve in the military, get married, buy firearms, drink alcohol, etc. They are at the beginning years of adult life, but they are entirely unprepared for adult life. It’s fashionable to blame Yale and other elite institutions for this sorry state of affairs, but, while the colleges certainly do their share of damage, the truth is that these children are maladjusted buffoons when they show up in New Haven. Yale doesn’t make them into hysterical ninnies — their families do.

There is a certain strain of upper-middle-class American culture that cultivates an excess of self-importance that grows cancerous when it isn’t counteracted by a deep understanding that the world is full of things that are much more important than you are: God, country, the rest of the human race. That American striver culture has many invaluable aspects — it is the culture that produces the high-achieving students who go to Yale and other elite institutions — but in the absence of transcendent values it turns everybody into a miniature Donald Trump. If your concerns in life are limited to personal economic advancement and status whoring, then everything — literally — is about you. That’s when you see things like Lena Dunham’s dopey political advertisements, which reduce citizenship to another shallow channel of self-satisfaction: Never mind patriotism, never mind history, never mind anything else — what does your vote say about you? How do it make you feel?

Source: Yale University — Students Try to Shut Down Free-Speech Event | National Review Online


Australian-based millennial, Neel Kolhatkar, foresees the end of the modern world. Watch it commit suicide.

Robert Tracinski sum it up better than I can:

This is higher ed’s time for choosing. If this is the new purpose of the universities—to nurture a crop of activists trained at whipping up angry mobs, and a generation of college graduates conditioned to submit to those mobs—then there is no longer any purpose served by these institutions. There is certainly no justification for the outrageous claim they are making on the economic resources of the average family, who sends their kids to schools whose tuition has been inflated by decades of government subsidies.

The universities have done this to themselves. They created the whole phenomenon of modern identity politics and Politically Correct rules to limit speech. They have fostered a totalitarian microculture in which conformity to those rules is considered natural and expected. Now that system is starting to eat them alive, from elite universities like Yale, all the way down to, er, less-than-elite ones like Mizzou.

They created this Frankenstein monster, and it’s up to them to kill it before it kills them.

Source: Mizzou Shows Why We Should Burn Down the Universities

The Neoliberal Arts, and the Paradox of Dogma

Play-Doh Retro Canister

Play-Doh Retro Canister (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is interesting. While I think his definition of “Reaganism”, “Thatcherism”, and even “Clintonism” to be shallow, puerile, demeaning to some good people, not to mention simply wrong; I think he strikes on some great truths about growing up today in the west, and how we are (mis-)educating our kids.

How college sold its soul to the market

recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.


Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

A spatial structure, the sentence also suggests a temporal sequence. Thinking clearly, it wants us to recognize, leads to thinking independently. Thinking independently leads to living confidently. Living confidently leads to living courageously. Living courageously leads to living hopefully. And the entire chain begins with a college that recognizes it has an obligation to its students, an obligation to develop their abilities to think and live.

Finally, the sentence is attributed to an individual. It expresses her convictions and ideals. It announces that she is prepared to hold herself accountable for certain responsibilities.

The second text is not a sentence. It is four words floating in space, unconnected to one another or to any other concept. Four words — four slogans, really — whose meaning and function are left undefined, open to whatever interpretation the reader cares to project on them.

Source: [Essay] | The Neoliberal Arts, by William Deresiewicz | Harper’s Magazine

This, I think, pretty much goes with it.

College campuses have long been on the forefront of this kind of “speech code,” and Judith Shulevitz recently wrote an eye-opening description of the latest innovation: the campus “safe space.” In this case, the safe space was created in response to that most troubling of events: a debate (in this case, between a feminist and a libertarian).

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall—it was packed—but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

God forbid anyone should have to encounter viewpoints that go against their beliefs. And on a college campus, of all places!

Source: The Paradox of Dogma: How the Left Is Crippling Itself.

That’s surely sad, that anybody can’t stand to hear idea that they don’t agree with, but more to the point, T.S Eliot said it better:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men. […]

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

And no, I didn’t learn that in trade school, and when I learned it, I neither understood it, not thought it applicable to my life.


“Adam Smith, Rationalized,” By David Conway

I’m no scholar of Adam Smith, as much as I admire his work. That’s true even though I’ve read both of the linked works several times, there is a fair amount of nuance in Smith, as well as some pretty dry going. I sometimes have trouble reconciling Wealth of Nations with Theory of Moral Sentiments, as well. I think, judging by David Conway’s report that Jack Russell Weinstein, of the University of North Dakota, does an admirable job.

Here’s a bit of it:

Most importantly, if it turns out that, as Weinstein rightly claims was Smith’s view, free societies depend for their viability on the rationality of their members, and their rationality depends on the preparedness of their societies to ensure that they become such through provision of suitable schooling for all, then those in favor of free societies must also be prepared to countenance, as indeed was Smith, the public provision of schooling to ensure all societal members can and do develop the requisite degree of rationality. As Weinstein carefully explains in what are, perhaps, the most original and valuable chapters of his book:

It is Smith’s argument that education . . . is the security that ensures that students remain virtuous: an inadequate education results in the deprivation of moral capabilities . . . Smith is making the point that a child’s education benefits everyone . . . that education is one of the preconditions for the successful functioning of the invisible hand . . . Thus, Smith argues, the sovereign must . . . subsidize public education to help those who . . . cannot help themselves . . . For him, education provides a benefit to the state for little cost and, therefore, funding of public educational institutions for the young is a well-regarded trade-off.

The sovereign must ensure that all people have access to at least a minimum schooling. Education, is, for Smith, a basic good—a necessity of human life . . . Differing classes are entitled to equal minimal education but not to identical experiences. In this respect Smith’s commitment . . . is like Rawls’ maximin principle: the goal is to raise the bottom rung, not to create an equality of result . . . . Smith’s philosophy of education is both a theory of pluralism and a means to cultivate rationality. It argues that the more one develops rational abilities, the more one can create unity in the face of difference.

To say that Smith favored public provision of education is not to say that he would have condoned, let alone applauded, the present systems of public provision in western liberal democracies where whole populations are subject to effective monopoly supply without any choice or benefits of competition that only effective consumer sovereignty brings.

Source: “Adam Smith, Rationalized,” By David Conway | Nomocracy In Politics

The Swedish daycare experiment has been a social disaster

Robert MacLennan, then SDP leader, addressing ...

Robert MacLennan, then SDP leader, addressing the Liberal Assembly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is fascinating. Sweden has imposed a system that nearly requires people to place their kids in daycare by age one, and it’s making for not very well educated kids, and horribly stressed out parents (especially mothers). I don’t find it overly surprising, that is the result I expect from leftist programs even, or maybe especially, the ones with good intentions. This is from The Conservative Woman, a very good British site, and is by Jonas Himmelstrand, it was first published by Mercatornet

Sweden is a pioneer in public, tax-subsidised, out-of-home daycare. In 1975, the Swedish government made public daycare available and affordable to all. Daycare expanded greatly during the 1980s and was made even cheaper in 2002 when a maximum fee (maxtaxa) was introduced. No matter how many children, no matter how many hours children spend in care, no matter how high your income – you never pay more than a fixed maximum amount, which is just below CAD $400. A low income family with one child would pay around CAD $150 per month.

Daycare in Sweden is tax-subsidised at a rate of between CAD $18,000 to CAD $23,000 per child annually. Parents who stay home, in most municipalities, receive no benefits of any kind. In high-tax Sweden this forces many homecare families into poverty.

The result, not surprisingly, is that daycare is the new norm in Sweden. Over 90 percent of all 18 month to 5-years-olds are in daycare.

How Swedish daycare got its start

In 1978, the women’s caucus of the ruling Social Democratic Party, a party that was in power for the better part of 40 years, published The Family of the Future: A Socialistic Family Policy.

The pamphlet strongly called for state-funded, affordable daycare. The goals were 1) better outcomes in child social development and academic achievement, 2) class equity, and 3) gender equity (or, as they put it, the liberation of women from their maternal instincts).

The results

Forty years later, official statistics show that the anticipated outcomes have not been realised. Poor outcomes are acknowledged across the political spectrum, but these are not connected to the daycare system in any way. Furthermore, there is surprisingly little interest in finding out why they exist at all. The following list shows what the outcomes are.

Rapidly declining psychological health in youth

Physical health among Swedish youth is among the best in the world, but the same cannot be said for psychological wellbeing. An official Swedish government investigation in 2006 showed that mental health among Swedish 15-year-olds declined faster from 1986 to 2002 than in eleven comparable European countries.

For girls, rates of poor mental health tripled during this period, from nine to 30 per cent. According to the latest report in 2014 from the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) the numbers have remained at these high levels.

The study is based on self-reported symptoms such as anxiety, fright and alarm – a point to which we will return later. The increase happened in all groups of youth regardless of family situation, labour market situation or parental socioeconomic status. These self-reported studies are confirmed by a comparable increase in diagnosed psychiatric illness among youth during the same period.

Suicide attempts among Swedish youth are also increasing.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden is careful about how to interpret these findings. They say they do not know the reasons, but possible causes could be a tougher labour market or cultural changes, like increased individualisation.

Increased sick leave among women

Sick leave for Swedish women is among the highest in Europe with half of all the women leaving work before age 65, due to psycho-social stress.

Source: The Swedish daycare experiment has been a social disaster

In a continuation, the next day the author speaks more about how Swedish parents have lost trust in themselves under this regime. Here’s a taste:

The Swedish government will go far to refute any causal claims regarding daycare and negative social data. This is understandable. If causality could be established it would be a near political disaster.

Typically, loyal government experts say that the poor psychological wellbeing is due to too many choices for young people today, that school results and behaviour are due to lack of demands on the students, and that Swedish parents have never been more interested in their children (which may actually be an indicator that they have lost their parenting instincts).

They go on: Women on sick-leave is caused by men not helping enough at home. The gender-segregated labour market simply shows that child care and parental leave need to be even more regulated. A top political issue in Sweden today is different ways to force the sharing of parental leave between parents, forcing them to take a third to a half each or lose their leave.

Source: Swedish parents have lost trust in themselves under the daycare assault

Before other countries copy Sweden’s public daycare system, they should be careful to consider what the results have been. They haven’t been all that good it seems, or even really acceptable, either for the children™ or even for the parents. Pretty much what I would call a ‘lose-lose’, except for the government, of course, which gains more control over everybody.

Character is destiny

w7041Classical education has been growing inside the United States for several decades.

Common Core’s entrance has only accelerated the trend.

This is how you educate men, and women, fit for use as men and women. That it is also the original Western, English, and American model is a bonus. What we have now is a model designed by the Prussians to create an obedient workforce, and soldiery, it does that well, be depriving them of a sense of morality, right or wrong, or a sense of things beyond the horizon. let alone the ability to interpret causally, based on our experience, both personal and as a civilization.

Read on and enjoy, by Joy Pullmann of The Federalist.

[…]‘Classical education is the means to freedom, the sine qua non of a free people.’

In the Common Core era, many parents have taken to classical education for respite, opening new schools public and private and flocking to homeschooling organizations such as Classical Conversations (disclosure: my son attends a CC co-op, and my husband ran one for two years). Catholics, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, and evangelicals have in recent years started and expanded societies for classical learning that offer teacher training, curriculum, publications, and seminars. “Classical Education,” the book, succinctly details its subject’s prominent expressions.

“Classical education is always inclined, by nature, toward decentralization, toward localism, towards connecting authority with responsibility,” said the book’s coauthor, Andrew Kern, the founder of the CiRCE Institute, which publishes curriculum and holds seminars for classical educators. It, too, is growing. “You’re not self-governing if you can’t rule yourself. Classical education is the means to freedom, the sine qua non of a free people, because it trains people in self-governance, in perceiving and living with the truth.”

Nothing Like Common Core

Classical education leaders like Kern, Anderson, and Moore draw sharp divisions between them and progressive education, the kind that has ruled U.S. schools since the 1900s and manifests itself today most prominently in Common Core. Common Core aims entirely at job preparation—see its motto, “college- and career-readiness,” which Congress has even endorsed by making it the defining characteristic of federally acceptable state K-12 goals in pending bills to reauthorize No Child Left Behind.

‘It is impossible for [most public] schools to succeed, because the people making the decisions don’t have to live with the consequences.’

Like America’s founders, classical enthusiasts hope their students achieve far more than entry-level job skills. They intend for their students to also exhibit the public and private virtues necessary to cultivate and preserve America’s unique form of constitutional, limited government.

“We don’t know what [students] are going to be—lawyer, garbage man,” Anderson says, with a characteristically direct look. “But you will be an American, and can determine our fate through voting. They will all be humans. Se we want them to be good at it.”

Source: In The Common Core Era, Families Flock To Its Opposite

Decadence, Episode 4: Education

I’m going to post another one of these today, simply because I’m tied up and am not going to get anything written for you. Still, I intend to present the whole series, anyway, so it’s really a question of timing.

This one, on education, I think makes some very excellent points, although as we all know, if I agreed with everything he says, one of us would be superfluous. :)

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