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Life in the slow lane (2 Viewers)

LeeC

WF Veterans
An example in the Miami Herald of my earlier stated concern about the alternate reality crowd making inroads in the public classroom. Anybody can believe whatever they wish, but I see it as shortsighted to indoctrinate one’s own children with alternate realities, and downright criminal to try to indoctrinate other’s children with their manipulative fantasies.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article160012514.html?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#350509998-tw#1499456664311

There is a huge difference between hard science and alternate realities, regardless of how well-meaning. It seems though, that many would rather hide their head in the sand than care about the world their children will need to get by in. I say this for humanities sake, as Nature is content to move on to new life forms.

On a site where extensive reading is known to be a prerequisite to better writing, I’m surprised to not be aware of anyone that has even cracked the cover of “The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert. One might learn how to make a dry subject interesting at the least.
 

Jack of all trades

Senior Member
More jumping to conclusions.

Query : Who do you believe is capable of deciding what ALL children should be taught?

Query : Why should people, whose tax money is PAYING FOR the school and its teachers have ZERO say in what is taught?


The purpose of public school in the USA was to create an educated voting population. That mission has failed. Many drop out or graduate still barely able to read. Few graduates have critical thinking skills.

Schools, both public and private, are not teaching the importance of living in harmony with Nature. If you lived in Florida, that law would give YOU the right to influence the curriculum in the ways YOU believe are important. OK. Maybe the odd one who wants global warming to be removed would also be trying to enact change. But think of how much worse it would be if the school board decided to remove global warming -- AND THERE WAS NO RECOURSE FOR PARENTS.

Think about it. It cuts both ways. Very little is all good or all evil.
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
Seems to me some are missing the whole point as might be expected (not a dig, simply a demonstrated fact as addressed below). We humans are simply a variation of physical life forms, with inherent behavioral tendencies similar to all life forms, occupying a liminal thread in the web of life. Our thread has and end even with background mutation evolutionary change. The overall issue is that humankind's progress thus far has been to severely shorten our liminal thread by increasingly diminishing the habitat and biodiversity that are essential to our very existence.

All that is hard science, and if one has an objective curiosity about the details, a quick course in natural history might be had by reading the book “The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert. There are many other hard science books with which to expand one's understanding, but the one I mention is the best starting point I've come across.

The exasperating thing to me is that I believe we have the potential to understand the reality of natural life, and live in respectful coexistence with all life forms. Unfortunately,
despite the efforts of many outstanding authors such as Elizabeth Kolbert, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and on and on, too many choose alternate realities, either because they don't know better or other reasons I won't speculate on.

One of those outstanding authors is ​William Stolzenburg, and a couple pertinent snippets from his book “Heart of a Lion: A Lone Cat's Walk Across America” follow.

"From the first teetering steps to the inimitable cocky stride in humanity’s six-million-year journey— from tree-dwelling, knuckle-walking offshoot of an African ape, to bipedal globe-trotting pedestrian of the world— had come uncounted sidetracks and detours through the bellies of big cats. Being hunted was a fact of early life that forever shaped the growing brains and bodies of the people who would come to be."



“Researchers from around the world were returning with disquieting reports of forests dying, coral reefs collapsing, pests and plagues irrupting. Beyond the bulldozers and the polluters and the usual cast of suspects, a more insidious factor had entered the equation. It was becoming ever more apparent that the extermination of the earth’s apex predators— the lions and wolves of the land, the great sharks and big fish of the sea, all so vehemently swept aside in humanity’s global swarming— had triggered a cascade of ecological consequences. Where the predators no longer hunted, their prey had run amok, amassing at freakish densities, crowding out competing species, denuding landscapes and seascapes as they went."​


With a careful reading of the above it's easy to see how we got on this destructive path, but with our supposedly increasing mental capabilities it's not so easy to understand our continuing on the same path. The opposition to reality is formidable though, from coming up with explanations that have no scientific basis, to distracting from and putting their own spin on real science. Distracting from what I've been trying to say is an example. Are we humans so full of ourselves that caring for the world our children will have to get by in is overly inconvenient? I hate to think what our children and grandchildren will come to think of us, having had the opportunity to do something meaningful for their quality of life and not doing so.

So the overall question is, do we really have the potential to recognize the reality of natural life and work towards a better quality of life for our children, or are we steadfast in hiding behind alternate realities and believe it's more important to indoctrinate our children in such?

I for one truly care for my grandson and have worked towards caring for the world he will have to get by in. You might understand why I find introducing alternate realities into the public classroom abhorrent. That's not to say that public schools are great, but introducing alternate realities will make things worse.

There's much more that I could say, being a lifetime student of natural history, but I've said enough to explain my stance, and there's no point in my explaining further to those that don't want to understand.
 
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bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Query : Who do you believe is capable of deciding what ALL children should be taught?

As you say it's rarely all or nothing (nor reducible to a single set of people to solve the problem) so your question is a little leading, but to bring it back a bit, in the main I would say educators and people in the education field are best placed to decide that. Certainly not politicians or the general public. What do they know about it? What interest do they have? The powers that be here in the UK have reduced a once-leading educational system to a political football that is subject to nonsense like the vagaries of the property market, and every teacher I know is constantly pushing for less of that type of external control.

Query : Why should people, whose tax money is PAYING FOR the school and its teachers have ZERO say in what is taught?

Because they don't know enough about it and/or because they can't be trusted not to push their own agendas via the medium of policy-influencing amounts of cash. Just because someone pays money to something doesn't mean they should have any say about it. If anything the opposite applies - you spend that money to fund the people who have the knowledge and experience to make a thing work, or you save money and do it yourself and become one of those people. The idea that money carries the final say or some sort of majority input to public services is toxic. If you want that set up a private institution. I don't want the general public having any kind of influence in my kids' educations without my say-so. They're not accountable, they don't have the expertise and too many of their ideas have historically been bad ones.
 

Kevin

WF Veterans
I suppose b.d. , that might be a difference between the u.k. and the u.s.: we do think we are capable of deciding. As long as all the information is available... On 911 our operators told everyone to remain calm and stay at there desks till 'help' arrived. Some people went to the roof, which was a big mistake because the helicopters are never coming to any roof, (unless you're the President, or Donald Trump).All that heat, the wind, the smoke. It's way too risky. If only they'd known, they might've..

The survivors... well, you see? That's how you survive. They used their own feelings of self-interest and made a choice. They weren't experts, didn't have every detail, but as it turned out, they had enough: the building is on fire and get the hell out; which was counter to what they were being told by the 'experts': stay in your seats.

As as far as school choice, we see that collectivist idea that the whole should be held back to accommodate or counter the deficiencies of the low median as ... repugnant. That's like riding the building down. We know it's a farce, propping up the wealthy because for them, those rules don't apply. Freedom of choice...
 

Jack of all trades

Senior Member
I don't want the general public having any kind of influence in my kids' educations without my say-so.

How many other parents feel the same way? And about important issues, not "flat Earth" theories!

Common core was a hot issue a couple years ago. Parents and teachers, both, were against it. But "experts" had pushed that agenda. Is it really in the best interest of future generations to push the agenda of a single educator, a so-called expert? Or should parents have the right, and the means, to fight poor choices when the "experts" make them?

Or are you saying that those judged to be experts are infallible? Completely incapable of making even the smallest mistakes?

You are part of the general population. We all are. That includes doctors, physicists, criminologists, astronomers, enviromentalists, and many others who care, just as deeply, about our children receiving quality education.

I think the biggest problem with the educational system, and how it got so bad, is LACK of parental involvement. Too many busy, two income families have relied on "experts" to choose what is taught without parents keeping an eye on the selections.

Parents are not corporations. Only a small portion of the population rises to CEO or other high level positions. Those in the lower ranks don't care about the corporate goals. They aren't really going to push such agendas in school systems.

Politicians, on the other hand, are frequently influenced by lobbyists. And politicians have already been given the power to influence education. Giving power to the people will reduce the political influence, or at least has the potential to do so.

I am offended by the implication that because I chose a field other than education that I'm irresponsible or in some other way incapable of making an important and positive influence on the public school system.

And the only way to have complete say-so over what your child is taught is to do all the teaching yourself! But homeschooling is another debate altogether.
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
It seems the difference is, what are important issues? Are they the longevity of the human species, or some alternate reality? We can all agree that the education of our children can be improved, but is indoctrinating them with alternate realities appropriate to that goal? Flat Earth theories was a satirical analogy to alternate realities, such as denying global warming and our role in such, believing a single religion is best rather than respecting the commonality of all religions, wanting to privatize wilderness areas with complete disregard to altering the ecology our existence depends on, denying that untold amounts of agrochemicals are destroying the soil we depend on, and along with all our other pollutants fouling waters that are the fluid of life, and on and on. Indoctrinating our children with such would be furthering our destructive course, and diminishing the quality of life they have a right to.

So who decides what the important issues are in our pyramid scheme culture? We've certainly made a lot of poor choices so far. Areas where I do see improvement are Europe being way ahead of us with such as renewable energy, banning toxic substances, protecting more forests, promoting ecology, and so on.

Read Elizabeth Kolbert's book on the sixth extinction, and tell me point by point what are not the most important issues, given they affect our very existence. Distracting tangents and shifting the onus are a dime a dozen, employed to avoid real issues.
 

Jack of all trades

Senior Member
The "alternate realities" have been going on already, with "experts" in charge of curriculums. The so-called amateurs, the parents, might actually do better.

I agree that environmental issues, living in harmony with nature instead of trying to control (alter) it, global warming and human contributions to it are all important things to teach. And I'm not an education "expert".

It might surprise you, but most of the twenty-somethings I've talked with all think global warming is largely man-made. Most have serious concerns about this world and the future of humans. They are not crackpots treating everything as disposable.

It was the arrogance of the prior generations that created global warming, not those who are stepping into adulthood now.

I'm done with this. Like a belief in a flat Earth, some people hold onto erroneous ideas despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. It's not worth my time.
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
Out of respect for the wife's concern, this Wednesday I'm letting the doc wire me up with an external monitor. I know it'll be a PITA though. All I ever wanted was a natural life, which allows for a meteor strike or the like. It better not get in the way of me illustrating my book though, or out the window it goes ;-) I'm hell bent on finishing this illustration project.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I suppose b.d. , that might be a difference between the u.k. and the u.s.: we do think we are capable of deciding. As long as all the information is available... On 911 our operators told everyone to remain calm and stay at there desks till 'help' arrived. Some people went to the roof, which was a big mistake because the helicopters are never coming to any roof, (unless you're the President, or Donald Trump).All that heat, the wind, the smoke. It's way too risky. If only they'd known, they might've..

The survivors... well, you see? That's how you survive. They used their own feelings of self-interest and made a choice. They weren't experts, didn't have every detail, but as it turned out, they had enough: the building is on fire and get the hell out; which was counter to what they were being told by the 'experts': stay in your seats.

As as far as school choice, we see that collectivist idea that the whole should be held back to accommodate or counter the deficiencies of the low median as ... repugnant. That's like riding the building down. We know it's a farce, propping up the wealthy because for them, those rules don't apply. Freedom of choice...

Sure, but 9/11 is a particular case due to the scale and intensity of it. In the main, when something goes wrong, people call the emergency services because those are the people equipped, trained and prepared to assist. True there may be some in the general public (by that I mean the non-experts in the situation, whatever it may be) who have the presence of mind or the training or whatever else to be of genuine use but most people bolt and panic. That's not a judgment on theiur character; that's typical behaviour. So it is in many other instances where people leave a job to the people whose job it is to so it. Can you imagine the organisational nightmare if every member of the public tried to step in to orchestrate every thing - emergency, schools, war, any skill or trade. It'd be a nightmare. Have an interface, a liaison, sure, but while the notion of anybody being able to spring into action and save the day is a compelling idea - I've entertained it myself on many occasions - it suggests a certain distrust, a certain dysfunction that is, in my opinion, more at the core of the problem.

Regarding the accommodating of the low median, I'm not sure what that has to do with this - other than it has been with that in mind, certainly here in the UK, that the national curriculum has been messed about with so much as to render it almost worthless, precisely because politicians gained too much influence in schools where they should have left it to educators. Ditto the abolition of grammar schools.

How many other parents feel the same way? And about important issues, not "flat Earth" theories!

EDIT: All the ones I've spoken to. The only people, from what I have observed, who feel the opposite are people who either have something unrelated to gain from it personally or who don't have kids. Not the nost reliable sources of authority on the subject.


Common core was a hot issue a couple years ago. Parents and teachers, both, were against it. But "experts" had pushed that agenda. Is it really in the best interest of future generations to push the agenda of a single educator, a so-called expert? Or should parents have the right, and the means, to fight poor choices when the "experts" make them?

I admit I dont' know what common core is. It sounds like the national curriculum, acc. Wikipedia - but from what you say that sounds like an example where non-educators fiddled around with the system. Who are these "experts" who pushed it forward? Let's see; the NGA (a political body) and a coalition of professors. Okay - that could go either way. What are the issues with it? It creates a culture of mediocrity. Was there any influencing factor? Yes there was - the awarding of grants. That right there is a red flag, isn't it, because would a well-funded school leap to this policy? Would their teachers be so easy to buy? Probably not, because it doesn't need that cash and can continue in the way that the people running it want, where it works. The solution? Fund the scoools better, and smarter. As with many things, the problem comes down to money and the squandering thereof.

Or are you saying that those judged to be experts are infallible? Completely incapable of making even the smallest mistakes?

Lol if I was saying that I would have - well, I would said it! It's a little more complex than those kinds of false dichotomies suggest. Good idea if you want to get a debate rumbling though ;) Let's move on.

You are part of the general population. We all are. That includes doctors, physicists, criminologists, astronomers, enviromentalists, and many others who care, just as deeply, about our children receiving quality education.

Indeed. And that's why I leave it to the teachers themselves to do the actual teaching (and they leave me to my job), and why I bemoan it when external influence is too great - be it from politicians or busybody parents. That said, parents do have inroads - elected school governors, PTAs, all of that sort of thing. And there's no reason that parents cannot talk direct to the teachers. Many's the time I've knocked on my daughters' headmistresses door and had a frank chat with her about things (and I have seen them yeild results; like an issue of head louse - when I was at school if you got nits the nit nurse came, you got your head shaved and everybody knew; for a long time they tried to heep it hush-hush as they chased ratings, with the impact being lots of nits and some kids having allergic reactions; now, as the result of our actions, they send the kids home to get sorted out), but going back to my chats with the headteacher, I wouldn't see the point in telling her what to teach and how because she knows more about it than I do and if she doesn't, the governors and LEA are there to address that. What would that achieve? To give everybody the sense that I know what's best. My self esteem isn't that fragile that I need to point score off primary school kids ... I get my ego boosts in other ways entirely.

I think the biggest problem with the educational system, and how it got so bad, is LACK of parental involvement. Too many busy, two income families have relied on "experts" to choose what is taught without parents keeping an eye on the selections.

Well, I would disagree that it's the biggest problem - though I guess there is always room for improvement - but I am conscious that I am really talking about the UK system. I think the US system is a little more devolved (as it should be) so that may be the case in the US. But think about it. You say that parents are too busy. They have to both work to make ends meet. And that's true, so what's the alternative? Starve? Stuff is expensiveand living standards (the income to expenditure ratio) has dropped, particularly around property. And there is the problem. It's not so easy to sack off work and go and petition the schools. And quite honestly we shouldn't have to. Otherwise what - we citizers all march in to theatres of war and tell the generals how to soldier? Ludicrous. If that's the state a society is at, where people cannot trust people to do their job, then that is the very definition of dysfunction and hardly a model for anything.

Parents are not corporations. Only a small portion of the population rises to CEO or other high level positions. Those in the lower ranks don't care about the corporate goals. They aren't really going to push such agendas in school systems.


Politicians, on the other hand, are frequently influenced by lobbyists. And politicians have already been given the power to influence education. Giving power to the people will reduce the political influence, or at least has the potential to do so.

Well that's true about politicians, but an army of parents descending on the schools is not the answer. It's the opposite. It'd be like herding cats. Fund the schools, fund the educators, have some parent liaisons as governors and work with the schools rather than in spite of them and giving them unreachable and pointless targets. Everybody wants control of the school system but it shouldn't be everybody's to control on a whim. It should be in the hands of those that care about education such that they have invested the time to know the most about it.

I am offended by the implication that because I chose a field other than education that I'm irresponsible or in some other way incapable of making an important and positive influence on the public school system.

Pfft. You're not offended. I have confidence that you are made of more robust stuff than that even if you don't. No, if I said that in spite of your chosen work field, you are not in a position to advise on said field, that would be me being offensive. You can have some input via the mechanisms, but why should you have some sort of controlling stake until you have proved yourself? Why should anyone? Why should I? We shouldn't, and if that means that we don't get to do what we want when we want to , well, that's the way it is.

And the only way to have complete say-so over what your child is taught is to do all the teaching yourself! But homeschooling is another debate altogether.

That sounds like a one way route to total destitution unless one has significant cash reserves. Maybe you do. I don't. But it all belies, as I said, a lack of trust and accountability and that is the kiss of death to a functioning society. Like it or not we are all part of a system. If you want to go it alone then more power to you - and hey, you may be so successful that other people sign you up to manage numerous aspects of their lives - schooling, what-have-you, at which point you become one of the "experts" you decry, plugged straight back into the system and neatly proving my point. Boom. ;)
 
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Jack of all trades

Senior Member
Out of respect for the wife's concern, this Wednesday I'm letting the doc wire me up with an external monitor. I know it'll be a PITA though. All I ever wanted was a natural life, which allows for a meteor strike or the like. It better not get in the way of me illustrating my book though, or out the window it goes ;-) I'm hell bent on finishing this illustration project.

Wishing you all the best with this situation.
 

Jack of all trades

Senior Member
bdcharles-- Once again you are contradicting yourself, twisting things and otherwise digging yourself deeper and deeper.

I, and only I, know when I am offended. I resent your feeble attempt at undermining my confidence. If you truly felt I was made of strong stuff, you wouldn't have wasted the keystrokes.

As it is, I have made my points clearly, without resorting to insults or insinuations. I'll not be making them again. There is nothing to be gained by continuing this discussion, and I have more important things to do with my time. I only logged in to wish LeeC well, no matter how much I may disagree with certain posts.
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
Thanks for the well-wishes :) It's no big deal, I'll just be carting around extra electronics meant more to further the economy.

While I'm responding, something you mentioned tickled my funny bone. My kind of humor anyway, not meant to further the disagreement.

It might surprise you, but most of the twenty-somethings I've talked with all think global warming is largely man-made. Most have serious concerns about this world and the future of humans. They are not crackpots treating everything as disposable.

This must scare the crap out of the alternate reality crowd :) Remember #43, changed the term "global warming" to "climate change" thinking it'd be less alarming, but still never would accept being descended from a common ancestor with apes, chimpanzees, and gorillas.

You're correct in saying it's my generation and before that created the situation we're in. My seven year old grandson has much more environmental awareness than I did at that age.

We still can't understand simple logic such as:

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~ Albert Einstein
 

midnightpoet

WF Veterans
Yeah, and I guess it's the pedant in me that they throw around "climate change" and "global warming" as if it's the same thing, which it's not - ignoring the obvious that "climate change" can be "global cooling." Just once I'd like to hear an honest answer - as "we don't give a shit about science, this is about money."
 

SilverMoon

WF Veterans
Just once I'd like to hear an honest answer - as "we don't give a shit about science, this is about money."

I did notice on the news that the White House lawn had mega water sprinklers going on. Never saw those "shower works" before. And Trump AKA "Mr.-" as Michael Moore refers to him, has seawalls built around all of his golf courses.

Yep. About :greedy_dollars:. In the end he will be generous and give us a penny for our plots. OK, I'm off to bed now. :sleeping:
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
A glimmer of maturity. I think of profound things to say, and jot them down for a lucid moment :)
 

LeeC

WF Veterans
I did notice on the news that the White House lawn had mega water sprinklers going on. Never saw those "shower works" before. And Trump AKA "Mr.-" as Michael Moore refers to him, has seawalls built around all of his golf courses.

Yep. About :greedy_dollars:. In the end he will be generous and give us a penny for our plots. OK, I'm off to bed now. :sleeping:

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