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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Bin Laden; Joe Biden; Whatever

People ask us why we homeschool our children. They are very blunt about worrying aloud that our children won't be educated properly if we don't send them to school. Yeah; about that.




Cute kids. It's important to take into account that people asking questions that appear to be looking for a goofy response often get one regardless of whether a more serious inquiry might yield more serious results. Then again, there's currently a girl on my son's Facebook page informing the world that she's been accepted to "four collages." Any videographer should essentially be unable to find enough wrong answers to even make a lighthearted video of this nature at the high school level.

The American public educational system is the most expensive undertaking in the history of humanity. It costs $525,000,000,000 a year just for elementary and high school education, according to the Department of Education. Since they can't add, and are prone to obfuscating and outright fibbing, I imagine it's a lot higher than that. Hmm:

NOTE: Beginning in 1980-81, state administration expenditures are excluded from "current" expenditures. Current expenditures include instruction, student support services, food services and enterprise operations. Beginning in 1988-89, extensive changes were made in the data collection procedures.
  
So more is being spent and they don't feel like counting it. You decide if that's confusion, obfuscation, or fibbing. I'm still trying to figure out if riding the bus is included in the gargantuan number. 55 percent of students ride the bus, and it costs $854 per pupil per year to cart them around. That's over 23 billion dollars a year just to run public school buses and buy tram tickets.

If you had to write one big check for the whole twelve years of public education of the 88 percent or so of the entire population of the United States that doesn't (or didn't) go to private schools, at 2011 rates of $10,441 per person per year, it would be a check for thirty-three trillion, eight hundred forty-eight billion, eight hundred eighty-six million dollars.

I used twelve years, as even though some people drop out early, they're more than offset by the amount of years that are nailed on the front of an education now. "Pre-kindergarten" is mentioned in the figures. If they keep adding years of education, they'll be screaming into your fontanel through your mom's belly button. What they'll be screaming will not be of a factual nature, apparently, though.

Are we getting our money's worth? You tell me. I haven't made many purchases of 33 trillion dollars lately to compare it to. You might be a rich swell that leaves Krugerrands in the leave a penny take a penny dish at the Kwik-E-Mart, but I don't think I'd write that fourteen-figure check just to qualify my fellow citizens to struggle over the last unturned letter on Wheel of Fortune. Do you think one out of a hundred of those kids could even do the math from the last few paragraphs on a piece of paper? I was told there'd be no math on this exam. Until after collage, anyway.

I asked my teenager the questions. He got Biden's first name wrong, and rattled off the rest, of course, while he looked at me funny. He never took his eyes off the video game he was playing while answering, but I swear that somehow he still managed to look at me funny. Does someone not know this stuff?  I asked my eight-year-old the questions. He's never heard of Joe Biden, which is no great loss, but he answered almost all the questions correctly. But then again, how many of those kids in the video can do President math?

In my opinion, public school is not a serious place, so we don't send our children there. It just costs a lot of money, and so is made to seem more important than it is by its very size. But for all its faults, the public school system is at least producing kids that know how to make moderately amusing YouTube videos. That's a growth industry, I hear. I sure hope it accounts for thirty-three trillion dollars of future tax receipts. I am plagued with doubt.

11 comments:

Casey Klahn said...

"I was never taught that knowledge." Good to go.

Gedaliya said...

The video might cause you less distress if you remind yourself that the median IQ is 100.

The problem we see in the video isn't one of poor education per se. The problem is that there are simply a whole lot of very stupid people out there.

Sixty Grit said...

Indoctrination shouldn't be so expensive!

Old Tybee Ranger said...

The School of Ignorance and Apathy. Orwellian, trendy, and tragic. So much erosion on the high ground, and in so short a time.

Sixty Grit said...

Bet they could name all the Kardashians!

Golden West said...

Homeschooling is probably one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your kids.

ms anthrope said...

"Indoctrination shouldn't be so expensive!" As Sixty Grit already implied; school is NOT where your children get "socialized" it is where they get institutionalized.

lorraine said...

I quit school when I was 15. Attended 3 days of 5th grade and jumped to sixth grade when my child rearing skills were no longer needed and mom needed to wherehouse me for part of the day. I spent my teen years raising baby brother - never returned to school until I was 40 and managed to become an RN - with a BSN degree and specialist in groovy stuff. Never for one minute missed a pre college education. Reason: I think! For instance I like your stuff and bought your book - see how smart I am?

vanderleun said...

At Morgan's today I read this quote from another...

Jim Klein, who says over at Daphne’s place…

The cost of information and its distribution has been steadily decreasing over time, to the point where it’s effectively zero now. This means that the trillions we sink into the “educational system” will be ever more plainly a complete waste of resources. Sure, there’ll always be a value in critical thinking, but that’s the one thing public education doesn’t teach anyway.

Fred Z said...

I have a man working for me as a carpenter and jack of all trades. he's 50, bright but unlearned. He's not a journeyman, never got his papers, had in his youth the usual unstable life that sometimes comes from modern life in the working classes. He's not good at academia which he regards as 90% time wastage.

I got laptops for my 4 job-sites so the men can post time to the central time-keeping system and requests for material and tools. As a by the way I taught my guy how to use the internet, especially search engines.

There is not a day goes by without me finding a web page open to a construction issue web-site, a span table, a material spec, a manual for a tool or a how to video.

My man taught himself how to re-wire a kitchen and simply did it, to the astonishment and discomfiture of an inspector who made me get a permit and hire an electrician. My electrician was not happy to lose the work but was forced to concede it had been done right, which had been admitted by the original inspector.

Traditional education is dead.

Anonymous said...

I work at this school. It's Olympia High School, In Olympia, Wa. How could you attend school in the capitol city of a state and not know what the capitol is?

No, I don't have anything to do with edumacatin them, I'm in maintenance...

Some of them are actually fairly smart/talented. I have been amazed a couple of times by student projects I've seen...