kitchen table math, the sequel: "teachers' unions, exposed"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"teachers' unions, exposed"


These are interesting ads...

http://teachersunionexposed.com/ads.cfm

I am not against the principle of teachers' unions. (Are any of us?) Recently there does seem to be a movement among teachers who dissent against the current practices of their union and wish to nucleate around alternate paradigms...

Btw, I did NOT know that Michelle Rhee was forced to resign last month, after the incumbent mayor lost the elections. It never appeared in any news article I saw...


---

How is a 20-year-old student to assist in teacher union reform? It is not a particularly hot topic here on Grounds, in the face of healthcare reform, the DREAM Act (which students recently marched in support of) and the like. I am friends with several education majors and pre-TFA hopeful (I myself being one), and the Curry School is a major ed school here at UVA. Massive chalking? Printing random ads in black and white? I deplore stagnation so so much.

23 comments:

Bostonian said...

Yes, I AM against the principle of public sector unions, including those of teachers in government schools. Unions bribe politicians to get unrealistic contracts, and I get the bill. I expect that the GOP will block further handouts to state government and precipitate widepread layoffs of state and local government workers and/or wage and benefit concessions. The battle is joined (or the GOP is toast).

le radical galoisien said...

I mean, each teacher has the right to free association, but what is the most disconcerting is the fact that you effectively get charged compulsory dues and fund the union's agenda even if you don't want to join the union. Teachers should definitely have a right to unionise, but unreasonable powers should be checked.

I see this issue as transcending party lines. The reason why Michelle Rhee resigned is because DC mayor Fenty lost the Democratic primary.

More than anything education policy should transcend politics.

Allison said...

Heck, YES, I am in principle opposed to public sector unions.

All public sector unions must be outlawed. They are the head of the beast that is destroying our country economically. That beast is happy to vote itself wealth at the expense of those who produce it, and we've reached the point where their demands are now "infinite".

From:
http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-10-20/news/let-it-bleed/

"Infinite" is not a word you expect to find in a report on municipal spending. It's more of a science fiction–type term — Tremble, Earthling, before the infinite might of Galaxor! But there it was, in a recent report on San Francisco's finances: Spending on the city's employee retirement system in the past decade had grown at an "infinite" rate.

Naturally, that's an exaggeration. If you do the math, the city's retirement costs for employees in the past 10 years actually grew only 66,733 percent.

Still, you might call that a Galaxor-sized number.

In fiscal year 1999-2000, the city spent about $300,000 on its retirement system. In fiscal year 2009-10, it was $200.5 million. Benefits alone — not salaries, just benefits — for current and retired employees this year are budgeted at $993 million. Spending on retirees' health care and pensions is conservatively projected to triple within five years.

And after that? Infinite.
...

Allison said...

And if teachers don't understand that the pension tsunami will capsize them, they should read this:

""One Orange County [CA] city has already taken bold steps to correct its $10 million deficit. It may be a model for other cities and states across the country. Internally, it has decided it will not replace any city worker that dies, retires, moves or quits. The city will simply out source the employment to an outside service company and eliminate healthcare requirements and unsustainable pensions. Building inspectors will be out sourced as will city plan checkers, librarians and meter maids. Only essential services like top executives and cops will remain on the city payroll. The city staff will eventually decrease from 220 to approximately 35 personnel. This is the essence of deconstruction."

Source:
http://www.newgeography.com/content/001751-a-tsunami-approaches-the-beginning-great-deconstruction

Think about that: the solution is no more public employees ever. Every teacher will be a private employee too. Huh, maybe then some of these issues will solve themselves.

Make no mistake, cities, counties, and states will declare bankruptcy and these contracts will be voided. If you are a public employee who didn't scam the system well enough already, you will drown in this backlash unless you plan appropriately.

Allison said...

--what is the most disconcerting is the fact that you effectively get charged compulsory dues and fund the union's agenda even if you don't want to join the union.

No, that's not the "most" disconcerting problem with public sector unions, though it is a problem. Wait until card-check comes this lame duck session, and then you'll see that unions won't even allow secret ballots anymore.

The unmitigated power grab is the "most" disconcerting problem.

In Michigan, the unions colluded with the state govt to force day care businesses that takes state subsidy checks (where the state pays for the day care of someone on welfare, say) to pay union dues. EVEN WHEN THEY ARE THE SOLE PROPRIETOR OR EMPLOYER. Their "payment" has dues removed from it, because the SEIU and AFSCME have a nationwide effort to "organize" home day care providers as municipal employees--whether they liked it or not.

This is just a step on a plan to claim that anyone who receives a state check for payment is a "state employee". You're a doctor who takes welfare payments? public employee. A business that takes food stamps? A landlord? Public employee.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/361jzume.asp

http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/02/11/forced-unionization/

PhysicistDave said...

Allison wrote:
>All public sector unions must be outlawed. They are the head of the beast that is destroying our country economically.

I think that is difficult to square with the First Amendment right to free association – i.e., “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This seems rather directly applicable to government workers’ unions, whose main purpose is indeed to petition the government to get what they want.

The solution is rather simpler than outlawing the unions. Are you old enough to remember how Reagan dealt with PATCO (the air traffic controllers’ union)? When they went on strike, he fired them. Simple.

Personally, I have always figured that when workers went on strike that should be taken as a sign that they thought they could get a better job elsewhere, and they should be benevolently encouraged to pursue that better opportunity. I certainly strongly support the right of workers to strike. I equally, and just as strongly, support the right of employers to respond with immediate firings – no legal issues, no required “cooling-off” periods, etc.

There are really two big issues with government workers’ unions. First, the states have locked-in contracts relating to pensions – it is an interesting Constitutional issue whether they can unilaterally alter those retirement agreements (see, e.g., the so-called “Yazoo land fraud” case, Fletcher vs. Pratt). The other issue is whether any politician has the guts to follow Reagan’s lead and simply say enough is enough. I doubt it – maybe when Jerry Brown faces bankruptcy for the state of California.

Of course, there is also Frank Chodorov’s old point that the best way to deal with bad guys in government jobs is simply to eliminate the jobs altogether – no government jobs, no government workers to bother with.

Dave

Allison said...

-- This seems rather directly applicable to government workers’ unions, whose main purpose is indeed to petition the government to get what they want.

While I make no claim about what the current 9 members of SCOTUS would think, the history of public sector unions does not support the claim that it's a first amendment issue. They didn't exist until 1958, when the mayor of New York figured he could win reelection by creating collective bargaining rights for city workers. JFK didn't allow fed employees to be unionized until 1962.
An excellent book on this subject is While America Aged

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=while+america+aged&x=0&y=0


The issue is that they *ARE* the government, so the govt petitioning the govt for redress of grievances makes no sense.

PhysicistDave said...

Allison wrote to me:
> While I make no claim about what the current 9 members of SCOTUS would think, the history of public sector unions does not support the claim that it's a first amendment issue. They didn't exist until 1958, when the mayor of New York figured he could win reelection by creating collective bargaining rights for city workers.

Of course, it is the collective-bargaining “rights” that are a major part of the problem. If there are no laws requiring political leaders to bargain with the union, and if the politicians have the guts to just ignore the union (as Reagan did), the problem disappears, union or not.

Allison also wrote:
> The issue is that they *ARE* the government, so the govt petitioning the govt for redress of grievances makes no sense.

Well… they do not see it that way! After all, the military are just as much government employees as civilian bureaucrats, and it’s legendary how military folks can rant and rave about “Big Government”!

And, as you pointed out in your earlier post, the same logic can be and is being used to argue that anyone who gets a big chunk of their income from the state is also a government employee – those folks do face pretty much the same economic incentives as “official” government employees.

The real problem is that, contrary to what they say, most Americans really, really like Big Government, in fact, feel highly dependent on Big Government. For all of the widespread complaints about the government schools, how many people (how many even here at ktm?) would actually support immediate, one-hundred percent privatization of education? Or, if not immediate, let’s say phased out over five years? Or even a complete voucher system where all parents get vouchers, but there are no government-operated schools to spend them at (rather like food stamps – admittedly, the “food-stamp” analogy does not exactly put that last suggestion in a good light!).

I myself do support 100 %, immediate “separation of school and state,” even though our family would lose short-term since we are with a charter school that supports homeschoolers and which pays for most of our curriculum. But I don’t think most people even here at ktm share my perspective.

As long as most Americans have a “mend it, don’t end it” attitude towards almost all government programs, we will have a *huge* number of government employees. And a huge number of government employees are going to have a lot of clout, whether they formally have unions or not.

The system endures, at least until it collapses.

Is that what Catherine means by “They do what they do”?

Dave

Allison said...

As I have noted here before, the upside of catastrophic economic collapse is we might be free of government schools!

Dave, I agree with everything you said. Mark Steyn argues quite persuasively that it only takes two generations for nationalized health care to create a complete institutional dependency on government for all "citizens". But the argument applies to schools, too. And we've already had those two generations.

Here at KTM, the arguments at best tend to frame the issue as "what schools need to do to fix our unlearning unprepared kids". We've ALREADY ceded the notion that parents and students are responsible for their education, and that schools are merely providers of a service with whom we do business to achieve our own education goals. Food, clothing, shelter are things that we do for ourselves still, but education has created a mentality that it's the school's problem, and to the extent that the school is failing, GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE.

Your food stamp analogy is a lot more of what I want to see: everyone bears their own costs for educating their own children, and we make reasonable exceptions for the poor with some voucher system. This idea is so insane to most people I speak to that they won't even argue with it.

Now, I've way blown past my personal "only three posts in the recent comments at a time" limit, so i'll stop now :)

PhysicistDave said...

Allison wrote:
>We've ALREADY ceded the notion that parents and students are responsible for their education, and that schools are merely providers of a service with whom we do business to achieve our own education goals.

The problem of course is that public schools are most assuredly *not* businesses, as I think most public-school administrators would readily state. The huge difference is that if the “customers” of the public schools want to take their money elsewhere, they just cannot. We have already paid, whether we like it or not, as taxpayers.

I realize that everyone here knows this, but I think many of the people here ignore the obvious implications: it is just not possible to get public schools to behave as if they are something other than what they are. Econ 101: incentives matter.

Allison also wrote:
>Your food stamp analogy is a lot more of what I want to see: everyone bears their own costs for educating their own children, and we make reasonable exceptions for the poor with some voucher system. This idea is so insane to most people I speak to that they won't even argue with it.

I’m frankly not sure that vouchers will really cut it: They really can be a back door for taking effective control of private education. More fundamentally, they still imply that people, at least poor people, really cannot take complete responsibility for their kids’ education.

I’m actually more radical than our friend “le radical galoisien” on this. Education is, intrinsically, *incredibly* cheap. Some old, raggedy, “outdated” textbooks (often better than current textbooks), someplace for a kid to sit, and a reasonably motivated kid with a small amount of adult supervision (mainly moral support) really, truly is enough. Historical experience proved this again and again, as does the personal experience of a lot of people in many countries today.

Admittedly, the adult “moral support” may be the most important: when the mainstream culture among adults, including most parents, treats kids who want to learn with contempt, it takes a very unusual kid to buck that adult culture and choose to learn anyway.

Frankly, I think the debate about economics, curriculum, etc. is largely irrelevant to education. Let adults encourage kids to think that learning is important, and most kids will learn better than they do today, with almost no resources at all.

Or, of course, we can spend $10K a year per child and treat Lady Gaga and Tiger Woods as more important than Jonas Salk. Kids are pretty good at psyching out what adults really value.

I do know that you and I (and indeed almost everyone here) are fundamentally on the same side. But I think that it is easy to forget how fundamentally misguided, how fundamentally out of touch with reality, almost all current discussions of education really are.

Dave

Allison said...

Vouchers won't cut it. Vouchers are a way to take people's money and remove their power over it, and give the state the power over it. The problem is that vouchers *not just for poor people* are obviously saying no one is supposed to take repsonsibility for their kids' ed, and that's where we're headed. It's medicare for everyone.

I don't disagree that education is incredibly cheap. I disagree with the idea that *a school* can be made inexpensive in the current regulatory system we've got in place.

A school can't be created with being incorporated. Our legal system and current likelihood of liability suit make it impossible. So once you create a corporation, your regulatory burden is outrageous.

My husband and I run an S Corp. In order to qualify for small group health insurance coverage, we must have two employees. Here's a small smattering of the things we have to do *just to employ ourselves*, even though we are already owners. We must file paycheck-frequency tax deposits with the state and feds. We must file and pay state unemployment insurance quarterly. We must keep I-9s on ourselves. We must submit our names to a state database with our SSNs and our addresses in case we are "deadbeat dads" so the state can garnish our wages. We must post those OSHA posters at "our place of work" (I think it'd be funny to see me bring 'em and take 'em down every time we're at a cafe) and the min wage posters and the rest, or we're in violation of the law. This is just a smattering. Someone's going to have to issues 1099s every time you've spent more than 600 to a vendor in the near future.

Now, Quickbooks can help with all of this, but fundamentally, you're going to need PEOPLE who do all of these tasks to run a school, and that burden is too high to place on the already-working teacher, or the already-working parent. Because you can't just hire a business manager to do it--you need to hire someone to audit the business manager, too. etc. etc.

There's no way to get a school back to something smaller in this current environment.

le radical galoisien said...

I have to dissent about Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga was a bright student in both the arts and math/science, and she was a talented pianist who went to Tisch at NYU. She could easily take on any musical style, but she chose the glamour route -- because that's the route that sells.

But it's true, math and science isn't really glamourous.

I'm not sure that the Asian parent syndrome is all that good either. Speaking as an Asian, I believe the Asian devotion to the pursuit of math and science to the evasion of high-visibility pursuits in the press, among other things, has stripped our group of political power.

linsee said...

You don't, generally speaking, have First Amendment rights with regard to your employer, unless the employer is public, and even then they are restricted. While everyone has the right of free association, they don't have a constitutional right to a particular job which for one reason or another restricts that right. I agree with Allison: no unions for public employees. And also that the government messes with far too many things already (my husband and I had a Sub-S business in Minnesota a while back) and far too often messes them up by taking the wrong side on policy issues. Public employee unions make the problem worse.

PhysicistDave said...

linsee wrote:
>You don't, generally speaking, have First Amendment rights with regard to your employer, unless the employer is public, and even then they are restricted. While everyone has the right of free association, they don't have a constitutional right to a particular job which for one reason or another restricts that right. I agree with Allison: no unions for public employees.

You need to re-read the Bill of Rights: the First Amendment is *not* just about free speech. Allison advocated actually *outlawing* public-sector unions: that would, rather obviously, impinge on public-employees’ right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievance.

The same *does* in fact apply to private employees: i.e., to *outlaw* the employees of Microsoft from forming a group to lobby the government would indeed be unconstitutional.

To be sure, it would not, per se, be unconstitutional for Microsoft itself to fire employees who formed such a group. But it would be unconstitutional for the government to pass a *law* actually outlawing such a group.

That is why I held up Reagan’s treatment of PATCO: he did not try to get new laws outlawing government unions. He just fired the poor fools when they went on strike ("fools" because they *badly* misjudged that President and public sentiment). Perfectly Constitutional.

The details matter: firing strikers, refusing to negotiate, etc. is just plain different from literally “outlawing” unions.

In the same way, it is unconstitutional to outlaw the Klan, but it is not at all unconstitutional to refuse to associate with Klan members.

I very carefully made that distinction.

Distinctions matter.

Dave

PhysicistDave said...

Allison wrote:
>I don't disagree that education is incredibly cheap. I disagree with the idea that *a school* can be made inexpensive in the current regulatory system we've got in place.

Well, as usual, your and my view are largely in sync. (I hope it is also clear that I largely share your sentiments towards government unions: I am just pointing out that Reagan’s manner of dealing with PATCO is the appropriate and Constitutional way to break the backs of the unions. Of course, there is also bankruptcy for the state of California as an interesting alternative!).

Allison also wrote:
>There's no way to get a school back to something smaller in this current environment.

Which, I think, actually reinforces lrg’s point. While I wanted to emphasize that kids can and should, and historically often have, learned without any school at all, lrg is of course correct that in many countries today, and also in the USA a long time ago, it was easy to set up a school. You yourself have been explaining why this is sadly no longer true in the USA.

Incidentally, this was actually a live issue for me a few years ago: a friend and neighbor who was an assistant ed prof at the local university seriously proposed to me that she and I set up a private school. She had been a strong booster of the public schools until her own kids were getting near school age and she started sitting in on one classroom after another in the local public schools. She was deeply appalled.

Of course, a bit of thought convinced me that it would be a nightmare: everything you mentioned, plus separate restrooms for boys and girls (handicap access, too, I suppose), liability insurance, screening to prove none of us were molesters, compliance with OSHA regs, and on and on and on. It would not be enough to just find a space, get some students, and start teaching.

Which, of course, is why you and I rant and rave about the overall culture, the political system, and all the rest.

Thankfully, homeschooling is still viable (and effectively unregulated out here in California). However, I do realize that for many people some sort of school would work better for one reason or another than homeschooling, and for all the reasons we have been laying out, starting a decent, cheap school is very difficult, if not almost impossible, today in the USA.

Which really is sad.

Dave

P.S. Another friend of mine actually has started a school -- I think she is essentially "flying under the radar" and ignoring most government regulations.

Allison said...

It is sad. That said, the situation is ripe for a disruptive technology. For those unfamiliar with Christensen's work, a disruptive technology is not just a discontinuous innovative solution; it is a largely inferior innovation that serves emerging markets to begin with, which do not directly compete with the rest of the marketplace. From there, the improvements such a technology can make make the old profitable segment want to immediately jump to it.

The solution Neal Stephenson invented (http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Age-Illustrated-Primer-Spectra/dp/0553380966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290126081&sr=8-1) on, say, the IPad, would be, I think, unstoppable in the medium term. I don't think the inferior version requires nanotech.

PhysicistDave said...

Allison wrote:
>It is sad. That said, the situation [in education] is ripe for a disruptive technology.

One can hope. Speaking from seven years of experience homeschooling, I can say that the Web has in fact made a big difference – searching for and buying textbooks, rapidly finding reviews and recommendations on books, etc. For example, not long ago, ChemProf here on ktm recommended to me “Asimov on Chemistry”: despite my having been a big Asimov fan as a kid, I did not know about the book (it was published after I was a kid). It turned out to be an excellent suggestion – scientifically solid and interesting (even to me), and it cost me only a small amount of time to get the suggestion.

Thanks, ChemProf.

And, as the Web and electronic publishing mature, we will surely get closer to Stephenson’s “Diamond Age” concept.

That being said, the real “killer app” for education, and most especially self-education and homeschooling, goes back to Gutenberg – affordable books. I’d put the invention of lending libraries as a close second.

Lots of people are willing to carefully present their brilliant (and not so brilliant) ideas to their fellow human beings. The problem is how to disseminate those presentations widely at a reasonable price.

Thank you, Gutenberg.

Everything else – the Web, Kindle, the iPad, etc. – is just icing on the cake.

For decades, even a century or more, it has been easy, at least for Americans, to get the tools needed to learn. The hard thing is, and always will be, actually doing the learning.

Dave

kcab said...

I've been thinking of "Diamond Age" too...though would prefer w/o the nano and the Drummers.

With regards to the necessity of teachers, there are a couple of TED talks on Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" project. Basically, make a computer available to kids and see what happens (at least, that's where it started).

Allison said...

Dave,

I think one area where I fundamentally disagree with you is on this issue of teachers.

I've recently come to the conclusion that competent instructors are necessary for all but the brightest of students, and of course, even the brightest often get a lot out of instruction.

Your comment that the hard thing is "actually doing the learning" is why I believe this.

Most children do not have the internal motivation to learn something (neither do most adults.) They need external motivation, and that comes from an instructor. Likewise, they don't know what they don't know, and that comes from an instructor. Reading books won't motivate the unmotivated, and certainly won't fill in the gaps that aren't recognized.

One problem today is that our teachers know so little about the subjects that they teach, and know even less about what used to be taught, that they aren't very good at instruction. Likewise, our books today are equally inferior, in that they too present little about the subjects they used to teach, and don't provide proper instruction. (Older books didn't provide instruction, but did provide opportunities for practice. We've forgotten as a society that practice matters in education.)

I would suggest that few people improve at sports or music without a coach or instructor. The coach is the person who provides immediate, direct instruction to correct mistakes. The coach can see which elements need practice, which have been mastered, and can push the student appropriately. And most importantly, the coach provides the external motivation to improve, plus creates practices that lead to the minor successes that increase internal motivation. Book reading simply does not do that for the majority of people, anymore than the majority of people could have practiced piano like Mozart or basketball like Michael Jordan.

That's why I think making a computer available isn't enough, and why you do need something like The Young Ladies' Illustrated Primer--so that there is an instructor present.

le radical galoisien said...

I do believe good teachers (or at least other parents) are also needed to counter the influence of bad parenting or lack of education-promoting culture.

American schools usually do not try to do any cultural engineering within the school.

Sure they try to teach "civics" and all but it doesn't really connect with every day life of students.

PhysicistDave said...

Allison wrote to me:
> I think one area where I fundamentally disagree with you is on this issue of teachers.
> I've recently come to the conclusion that competent instructors are necessary for all but the brightest of students, and of course, even the brightest often get a lot out of instruction.

Oh, I certainly agree that *good* teachers are a real asset, and I think I said as much somewhere on these threads (the discussions on ktm right now are interconnected, and I’m having trouble remembering who said what where). I’ve had several excellent teachers during my education -–in most cases, they either helped me get the resources I needed, gave moral support, or were simply inspiring by their example (the Nobel laureate Richard Feynman fits in the last category).

However, I did have one lit teacher in high school who spent an *enormous* amount of time giving detailed and constructive criticisms of our essays (the criticism did not always seem constructive at the time, but looking back, it was). That was of huge help to me, and it would have been hard for me to critique my own writing in the same way.

So, I take your point.

However, I have also had a large number of teachers whose contribution to me and many other students was negative. And, I think the majority of the merely average teachers simply wasted my and the other students’ time.

Allison also wrote:
> I would suggest that few people improve at sports or music without a coach or instructor. The coach is the person who provides immediate, direct instruction to correct mistakes. The coach can see which elements need practice, which have been mastered, and can push the student appropriately. And most importantly, the coach provides the external motivation to improve, plus creates practices that lead to the minor successes that increase internal motivation. Book reading simply does not do that for the majority of people, anymore than the majority of people could have practiced piano like Mozart or basketball like Michael Jordan.

Sure – if the teacher is good. We switched piano teachers a few months ago because it became clear that the teacher had become a serious impediment to the kids’ musical education. The new teacher is indeed actually helping them. But, I think they could probably move at more than half of their current speed with no teacher at all – he does help (he’s a retired music professor who happens to be *very* good with young kids), but he is not essential.

Allison also wrote:
> Most children do not have the internal motivation to learn something (neither do most adults.) They need external motivation, and that comes from an instructor.

This may be the major point where we differ. I think the schools themselves, the anti-intellectual attitude of parents and other adults, and the toxic pop culture have destroyed the *natural* motivation that kids are born with.

I’m of course not suggesting that parents intentionally maintain a hands-off policy towards their kids’ education. But, the common “Of course, the kids will hate this, but it is for their own good!” attitude is way off-base.

Almost all the kids who are taking piano lessons whom I know dislike it. Our kids are the exception, mainly because I encouraged them to learn, compose their own music, etc., without treating it as a wearisome, micro-managed job. When the old piano teacher started trying to make lessons miserable for them (she had made clear to me that she just assumed lessons were miserable for *all* students), that is when we switched.

Humans are built to learn. Like other young primates, human kids are innately curious.

Our society has squeezed that out of our kids.

A shame.

Dave

PhysicistDave said...

Allison, an additional point:

You said:
>Your comment that the hard thing is "actually doing the learning" is why I believe this.

Kids, do not necessarily shy away from hard work: look at the enormous effort so many kids put in to various sports. Of course, this is an *indirect* effect of the value adults place on sports, but I know many kids who are not being pushed by their parents directly at all but who still put in a huge amount of work on sports. They have internalized the high value our culture places on sports. The same point holds for pop music, or for the astounding knowledge so many kids have about Harry Potter, or Avatar, or Star Wars, or, of course, pop-music stars.

The problem is that our culture sends fairly obvious messages that school is not worth that kind of effort. And, of course, it isn’t, because schooling in American has very little at all to do with education.

But, these attitudes are not innate to children: they are the result of our toxic culture and our schooling system.

Learning is fun for primates who have not been subjected to abuse during their upbringing. Our schools are *not* fun, at least not for students who are interested in learning.

Dave

Hainish said...

Which countries _don't_ provide free public education?