The Real Purpose of Education

A comment on Reddit brought this to my attention and I was compelled to share:

Never forget the real purpose of public education.

I give you, Seven Lesson School Teacher., a subversive award acceptance speech given by a disgruntled veteran of 25 years of New York public education.

The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context…

The second lesson I teach is your class position. I teach that you must stay in class where you belong. I don’t know who decides that my kids belong there but that’s not my business. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class.

The third lesson I teach kids is indifference. I teach children not to care about anything too much, even though they want to make it appear that they do. How I do this is very subtle. I do it by demanding that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor.

The fourth lesson I teach is emotional dependency. By stars and red checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors and disgraces I teach you to surrender your will to the predestined chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld by any authority, without appeal because rights do not exist inside a school, not even the right of free speech, the Supreme Court has so ruled, unless school authorities say they do.

The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. It is the most important lesson, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. The expert makes all the important choices; only I can determine what you must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions which I enforce.

The sixth lesson I teach is provisional self-esteem. If you’ve ever tried to wrestle a kid into line whose parents have convinced him to believe they’ll love him in spite of anything, you know how impossible it is to make self-confident spirits conform. Our world wouldn’t survive a flood of confident people very long so I teach that your self-respect should depend on expert opinion.

The seventh lesson I teach is that you can’t hide. I teach children they are always watched by keeping each student under constant surveillance as do my colleagues. There are no private spaces for children, there is no private time. Class change lasts 300 seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low levels. Students are encouraged to tattle on each other, even to tattle on their parents.

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Russia and US Set to Re-Ignite the START Treaty

I just posted this article to my Twitter feed, but I wanted to write something about it as well to share how freaking excited this news article makes me. Next week, representatives from Russia and the United States will meet to discuss nuclear arms reductions similar to the START 1 treaty. From the Reuters journalist reporting on this subject:

The deal aims to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1) and has been billed as part of an effort by Moscow and Washington to reset relations that hit a post-Cold War low under former U.S. President George W. Bush.

If these talks go through and have a positive outcome, it will vindicate the feelings I developed during the previous administration’s tenure. The world didn’t hate us for no reason, we weren’t a victim of circumstance, and everything wasn’t going to hell “just because.” Rather, our foreign relations were strained and breaking because our leader had enacted horrible foreign policies, and President Obama is improving our relationships with other countries by correcting those mistakes.

Russia doesn’t want a war with the United States, nor with anyone else. Their economy is doing well, and war is always bad for the economy in the long run. Yes, in the short term, it can help things rally, but these days all war does is rack up debt and get important manufacturing points destroyed.

So it’s not surprising to me that they’re willing to have these talks, but it does elicit a gleeful giggle in response to the conservative fundamentalists from the last eight years who said that Russia was just itching for war and that we should give them what for. We can work together to mutual benefit, we just have to have leaders who are willing to do so.

On a tangential note, the United Nations Security Countil unanimously denounced North Korea’s test launch of a missile a few weeks ago, stating that it violated a treaty and agreement. This is only remarkable because both Russia and China signed on, agreeing with the United States, Britain, and France. To have those two countries not veto this statement marks an improvement of relations between our countries.

I’m just excited to see things working how I think they should, with people talking and working together towards the peace we all desire. I was fairly certain it could be done, and it makes me thankful that President Obama won the election.