Let's Admit that we are Uneducated!

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There is a myth in Germany that our education system were much superior to every other system in the world. Sad enough there is much to be said in support of this. However, the margin is thinner than claimed and the strength is in the weakness of the competition. To run down some:

  • By and large Asian education is rote learning that keeps the kids from thinking. Multiple cults and other authoritarians use rote learning to create a conformist mindset. This is what you see from Scientology, Catholic Pius Brethren and, yes, the entirety of the Asian continent.
  • Africa follows either the Asian tradition or lacks formal learning entirely. Either students are hell-bent to waste their time memorizing the Quran or whatever is fancy or they work in the fields.
  • Latin America. I am too uneducated to tell. More about that later.
  • North America. The public schools are completely absurd. A lot of teachers are crypto-Marxists. If you want your kids to learn that Muslims invented everything from astronomy to “algorithms”, that “capitalism” killed everybody who was not killed in the name of socialism or that genocidal Europeans murdered the majority of Native Americans (and not the epidemics) then you better send them to a school in Canada or the US.

I skip European countries outside Germany who have various different systems and show a complex picture. Against this backdrop Germany does not look bad. But the German belief in the superiority of their education system follows the lead of their belief in having a superior media. There is nothing Germans think could be superior in other countries and the thing they praise themselves most often for is their humbleness. Only these inferior countries who are nationalist and patriotic think that they are better at something than others. Because Germans are better than them they, masters of modesty, snub them for it.


The problem is that our education might be better than the education in other countries, but it hardly matters by the rate of its decline. Compared to previous times we see a tremendous degeneration. German universities used to be the best in the world at the beginning of the 20th century. More than half of the population is now going to university usually ending up with valueless degrees. The elite won’t touch this topic because the inflation of degrees falsely indicates a higher education and offers more legitimacy of the ruling classes (liberals always point to their supposedly more educated voters). “The world becomes more complex” is a weird mantra often heard. On the one hand it demands more time in schools, on the other hand it is also designed to discouraging citizens from taking part in debates.


But why does the left want people to stick around in schools for so long while keeping them away from gathering relevant information and learning tangible skills?


While public schools in North America are ahead of the curve when it comes to making education an indoctrination circus, Germany follows swiftly. There is not one social woe that is not habitually answered with the suggestion to heal it through “education”.


Germans learn and study forever and it stands to ask at what point the entire economy will crash under the weight of business grads and multiple language doers (what are they doing?). There is a sizable academic proletariat now and the discussion can only be muted by nixing the tuition. The stress and outcry in the Anglo-Saxon world over the debt and pointlessness of the whole debacle is hidden behind the wall of German arrogance (*cough* modesty): Anglo-Saxons do it wrong anyway.


There are studies in the US that prove that public schools in America are doing worse than home schooling. You read that correctly. You are more likely to pass the tests for university admission if you don’t go to school at all. I suspect that the situation in Germany is not as dire, but I daresay that it might not be far from it. One of the ills that might also be one of the seeds of socialism is the mandatory school system which was introduced to Prussia by Frederick the Great. As a starter, while your aim is to combat illiteracy, this was an understandable measure. But the education became ever more bloated and is no longer agile enough to keep up with newer technological developments.


Imagine there were no school boards, no common core curricula … (I don’t fault you for the John Lennon jingle in your ear). Imagine not a board of bigwigs decided what your kids should learn. Imagine it were your town or your borough that would completely finance, budget and run your schools. Imagine the schools could hire teachers on the basis of skills rather than “pedagogic” training, and choose whoever the hell they want. Would parents turn up at townhall meetings and demand more music lessons, more social instruction/politics classes, more Marx, more reading of literature, more art and more religious instruction? I would bet that sooner or later parents would demand chemistry, software engineering, mathematics, and other tangible skills be taught and rubbish be weeded out. I am also pretty sure that even with a tiny budget, they would get it.


But aren’t there already private schools anyway? Yes, but they are tailored to the demands of leftist snobbish upper-middle class parents who try to teach French and the basics of vegan dieting to three-year olds. It is no wonder that they are ridiculous. Still, even these overpriced places often do better than standard public schools.


Nonetheless, there is one lesson that a society needs to teach its children. This one thing is the successes and failures of our history. I try again and again to write articles about our past, feverishly uncovering what was and what wasn’t, and I must admit that I’m completely shocked about the deficiency of my own education. My knowledge of the most relevant part of history, namely how the values of the Western World formed, is spurious at best. In school, I found the Magna Carta, the cornerstone on which our modern political system is built, only mentioned in a text-book for the English language class. It was not even mentioned in the history books. Whatever you have to say about American education, I think it was never so bad that pupils wouldn’t even know about the Magna Carta.


For those who don’t know. The Magna Carta embodied an earlier text called the Charter of Liberties in which king Henry I ceded powers in exchange of the support of the noble men. It subjects the king under the law. The British national anthem ‘God Save the King’ is a subtle threat to the monarch that his realm is only respected for the good of him upholding the law. However the ‘rule of law’ remained a dead concept until the Magna Carta in 1215. What led to its dominance and the evolution of our system which was built upon the Great Charter lies in the darkness of my weak education. The Magna Carta was rewritten over time again and again and read in the parliament every year to bind all parties to what we would now call a constitution.


Instead I was taught faux history. There were fuzzy terms like “enlightenment” and “humanism” and I fail to grasp it. To modify a quote from Socrates, the more I know about it the less I understand. What did Voltaire, Rousseau, and other cherished philosophers actually bring to the table and who was inspired to do what because of them? I’m not completely uneducated, I can give credit to folks like John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hobbes and others. But the role of the French dwarfs more and more the longer I think about it and I feel that the only reason why we have to worship these French enlightenment people is because of our military loss against Napoleon Bonaparte. What is more, the French Revolution was presented in history books as if they had all kind of concepts bestowed on them by (the absence of ?!?) G-d. But the Revolution did not give birth to democracy, it gave birth to the Jacobins, the intellectual forerunners of today’s political left.


I’m not the only one who has these giant gaps in education. To start a debate we should be able to admit it.


Ryan Messano Added Jun 15, 2018 - 5:32pm
Amen, Benjamin, fabulous article.  To go along with your point, in 1912, before we had an income tax, 8th graders were better educated than today's college graduates.
We are big time uneducated, and the only remedy is to get rid of the hellivision, which has badly interfered with most Americans intellect, and start reading quality books again.  Bring back the giants of Western intellectualism that the Founders studied. 
Jas the Mace Added Jun 15, 2018 - 5:47pm
Let's define education first. The real definitions are in the legal dictionaries. Education is "The training of animals"  So the modern educational system is designed to shape the reality of the masses and to make us think and act how the elites want. Also, yes, they do think we are inferior and on the level of animals or 'mindless beasts'.  As for why the left wants more and more schooling, 1, to shove as much Marxist indoctronation in as possible, 2, school is used as a holding ground to protect unions, which are a tool of the left. Think about a 14 year old kid who has been assisting his dad the plumber for a few years. He could start his own business, and charge half because he's young and new. People wouldn't hire him to do a major replum, but to fix a toilet or change some fixtures, you bet! This would cause the price the union plumbers could charge, hence dues go down. Unions all give to democrat causes.
Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB defector said the commies have controlled the US educational system since the 1930's and are turning the kids into 'subversive agents' against their own country.
Charlotte Iserbyt, she was a senior level advisor to the NEA. She says they are all dedicated Marxists or socialists that sit around in these high level meetings saying, "How can we structure the ciriculum so the kids accept global citizenship and communism?"
Doug Plumb Added Jun 15, 2018 - 6:23pm
People should learn how to think, and wise men learn reason. We think about history and economics, but the stuff that equates us with reason is philosophy, literature and mathematics.
Fortunately, we don't need school anymore, we have the worlds library and millions of people to test our ideas with.
Everybody should hear Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB defector
Ryan Messano Added Jun 15, 2018 - 6:29pm
1,000 up votes for Doug and Jas' comments!
Ward Tipton Added Jun 16, 2018 - 7:14am
There is a lot of talk about how "most of the people in the world are college educated ... but not in the US" 
What they fail to mention is that in most of Asia, it is an insult to ask a University Graduate about "College" as college is what we refer to as High School. 
That being said, the DepEd Indoctrinational System should never be confused with Education. Think inside the box and memorize and repeat what we tell you and we will reward you. Think outside the box and you will be punished. 
What ever happened to Critical Thinking? Problem Solving? The ability to debate? There was also a time when we had classes in Shop and Auto Mechanics and other trade, technical and vocational training for those students who did not do so well with Scholastic studies. 
Education? Where? 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jun 16, 2018 - 7:49am
Ryan: television is has a rapidly aging audience and is of no concern. Younger people are more into reading.
Ja de Mas: Agree 100%. The more we can do that young people learn and practice with actual skillsets the better educated we become.
I think that people wouldn't even have to learn "how to think". We get so much indoctrination that we just have to unlearn "how not to think".
There was also a time when we had classes in Shop and Auto Mechanics and other trade, technical and vocational training for those students who did not do so well with Scholastic studies.
I think so many "progressive" keep warning us from looking back because they know that we will remember that things are entirely possible which they claim are no longer possible. Sometimes a situation changes too much that it's true, but more often than no they are just lying.
Ward Tipton Added Jun 16, 2018 - 7:55am
My grandfather always said that knowledge was a mixed curse at best. The more you learn, the more you realize you will never know. That being said, as far as in regards to learning how to think, I believe that would come under "Critical Thinking" and not so much just teaching to the test. At least as I read it. 
Adolf Dick McMenace Added Jun 16, 2018 - 10:41am
Interesting. At my last job, we had two different high school classes visit our facility. One was full of good, smart, well-behaved kids who genuinely seemed to be interested in what we were doing and asked good questions; it was obvious that they came from a "good" area and most of them were bound for university. Several months later we hosted a class that was the total opposite; a bunch of little assholes from a "bad" area who very clearly didn't want to be there, and a couple of them actually tried to steal some stuff from us. A couple of others also very crudely propositioned several female employees. We never hosted any more school field trips after that.
Dave Volek Added Jun 16, 2018 - 11:15am
Nice article Benjamin
I would say that curriculum of our primary school systems is our collective priorities of what we believe children need to become adults in our society. Sometimes we get things right, sometimes not. 
It would be nice that our 18 year olds could come out of high school with a basic knowledge of the philosophers and Magna Carta. But to get them to that state requires a  lot of prepping that takes years to build: like advanced reading skills and critical thinking. And we need to acknowledge that many kids will never be interested in these topics. If the topics are forced on them too much, they will balk and not learn much at all. Schools have enough challenge with imprinting some basic math and literacy skills.
I have a son that is not really interested in formal learning--despite having a family background that considers this important. Yet he likes his school.  He does some fun things; he does some things that are not fun for him. He is gaining some life skills, more by trickery than any natural desire to learn. To put him in an academic stream that is going to propel him into Rosseau and Kant in Grade 12, I think he would prefer to stay home. 
Our home life is not set up for home schooling. This forum will not work for us. 
opher goodwin Added Jun 16, 2018 - 11:43am
Well we still have great education in the UK even if the Tories are attempting to destroy it. We teach people to think.
BTW - agriculture, reading and writing, science and maths are began in that area that is now Iran. Shame that Islam put a stop to all that in much the same way that Christianity stultified Western culture. It was only after the enlightenment that the West developed anything worthwhile and science came into its own.
Neil Lock Added Jun 16, 2018 - 1:26pm
Benjamin: Great article.
Private education is, of course, better than state indoctrination. And home-schooling is better still. I've met home-schooled children way above their "peers" on any objective measure.
I myself was a guinea-pig, pulled out of the state system and sent to private schools, at state expense, for a decade. So now, I'm a misfit. I'm doing what I can to snap people's minds back to reality, but it's hard work.
opher goodwin Added Jun 16, 2018 - 2:52pm
Neil - your personal experience is very different to most but as someone who has been heavily involved with education I can tell you that you are extremely wrong. Private education is a pig in a poke and home education is usually a disaster. No parent is an expert in many fields and kids deserve something better than a dollop of brain washing.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jun 16, 2018 - 3:43pm
Ward: Yes, I think critical thinking comes up when people are let alone a bit. Authoritarian cults like Scientology, the Pius Brothers etc make their followers learn non-sense by heart all day long.
Michael B: I think schools differ a lot. And I find it weird that the more we try to standardize them the more some schools fall into their demise.
Dave: Thx a lot. It is probably the best in your case to let your son make his experience with school and not to focus so much on his grades. He probably has a lot of tangible skills. Your son can somehow be encouraged to form them into something that may serve him professionally. It 's difficult to find the right option. Look out. Neither Benjaimn Franklin nor German Designer Karl Lagerfeld had a big formal education. Luckily for your son, he has a very educated engineer for a father.
Opher: Both Islam and Christianity had their episodes of stifling freedom. Christianity has grown out of it by and large. Let's hope both cultures can manage it well in future.
Neil: Thanks a lot. Glad that you liked it. I think the main problem is the indoctrination. When I was in school, I did not understand it, but the things that I complained about are a direct consequence of it. I was worried about the waste of time and the unfocusedness. When we were allowed to choose classes we could drop one natural science class completely (either physics, chemistry, or biology), but we could not drop religion, literature or a second foreign language. It is only now that I understand that the latter subjects are political for the way HOW they were taught. We also had obligatory political science classes that did not even explain the constitution or basic law. It was so bad that I cannot even say what we did instead.
Opher: No, he's right. I won't google it now, but home schooling produces better educated kids. The result of the SAT tests is, of course, influenced by the fact that we are talking better-up households.
Aaron Johnson Added Jun 16, 2018 - 5:59pm
There is an issue with global education as it's been difficult merging the academic and industry cultures together.  Hopefully, we can get better at it.  
I can't speak to global problem of education, but I think the impact of colonization has played a significant role in disparate differences between countries.  Actually, you can look at Europe too in order to see evidence.  Wouldn't you agree that education in Western Europe is better than Eastern Europe.  Well, Western Europe escaped the iron rule of the Soviet Union, whereas Poland and the current Czech Republic didn't.  
Or would you prefer to suggest other reasons?
As for public and private schools, the effectiveness varies based on region of the country.  In suburban areas of wealth and affluence, both private and public schools are strong.  Go to rural, poorer communities and you'll see both public and private schools not comparing well.
opher goodwin Added Jun 17, 2018 - 4:49am
Ben - at least Christianity had an enlightenment and supposedly separated religion from politics (not that you'd know it in America).
opher goodwin Added Jun 17, 2018 - 4:51am
Ben - well I've been involved with home schooling over here and it is either a means of religious indoctrination and fails miserably.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jun 17, 2018 - 5:04am
a) Have you even read the article?
b) Homeschooling fairs better than public education.
opher goodwin Added Jun 17, 2018 - 5:14am
Ben - I would greatly dispute that. How can you compare like with like?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jun 17, 2018 - 5:16am
Opher: In what measure does publicschooling do better. There are endless studies that show that homeschooled kids score better in all standardized academic tests. You cannot even say, well they read better, but they do worse in maths. No they do better across the board!
Dino Manalis Added Jun 17, 2018 - 7:52am
 Education should take place both at home and in school, because children have to be ready for life and work.    Teachers ought to be paid well, but state revenues need to fund most municipal expenses, including schools, because property taxes discriminate against poor school districts.
Ward Tipton Added Jun 17, 2018 - 9:52pm
I am working on implementing a variant of the Steiner Waldorf program in different areas within the third world. However, we also place a lot more importance on Aptitude Batteries, and tailoring the education to the needs of the individual students based on their aptitudes. Scholastic, vocational and technical training are all a primary focus. If there has been any major difficulties, it has been translating the aptitude batteries into the more limited tribal and local dialects while retaining the efficiency of the exams. 
School should be primarily focused on education and social interaction, never as a means to indoctrinate or to demand people learn how to think based on perceived or pre-conceived notions, but to rationalize and think critically based on their individual skills and limitations. My daughter should not be required to like that little gay boy just because he is gay. Whether he is a good person or a bad person is largely irrelevant to any personal proclivities. There will always be bigots and idiots, but that does not in any way justifying an outright social attack on societal norms based only on the actions of the idiots in the crowd. 
A. Jones Added Jun 17, 2018 - 10:17pm
No they do better across the board!
And they are better at social interactions than most publicly-schooled students.
A. Jones Added Jun 17, 2018 - 10:27pm
If schools really want to teach the skills of critical thinking, they will most likely have to return to the ancient program of the trivium: 1) grammar, 2) logic, 3) rhetoric.
1) Grammar being the art, or skill, of correct expression;
2) Logic being the art, or skill, of clear demonstration;
3) Rhetoric being the art, or skill, of persuasion.
Think of it this way:
If we conceive of the mind as being a luggage conveyer belt at an airport terminal, and knowledge of different subjects (math, science, history, philosophy, etc.) as being specific, individual items of luggage moving along the conveyer belt, the trivium was a complete obsession with the proper function of the conveyer belt itself, apart from whatever items of luggage it happened to be transporting.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 18, 2018 - 6:21am
Homeschooling is ok concerning education. But public school helps kids to develop social behavior which isn't possible with home schooling alone.
Ward Tipton Added Jun 18, 2018 - 8:44am
I would definitely disagree Stone. Home-Schooled children are often ... in the USA at least, exposed to much more than merely a bunch of people their own age and an authority figure. Many of the intramural activities and other extracurricular functions (for lack of a better term) of the home schooled students allows them to experience a much wider swathe of functional society as a whole. 
Stone-Eater Added Jun 18, 2018 - 12:48pm
Maybe I'm wrong, I only know the situation in Europe (where home schooling is allowed). What I notice though that home - schooled kids here are not enough prepared for the life "outside".
A. Jones Added Jun 18, 2018 - 7:25pm
But public school helps kids to develop social behavior which isn't possible with home schooling alone.
The evidence indicates that home-schooled children are better socialized toward their peers and toward adults than public school students.
Try looking at actual DATA before posting something stupid.
A. Jones Added Jun 18, 2018 - 9:14pm

By and large Asian education is rote learning that keeps the kids from thinking. Multiple cults and other authoritarians use rote learning to create a conformist mindset. This is what you see from Scientology, Catholic Pius Brethren and, yes, the entirety of the Asian continent.

So you view education in China, Japan, and South Korea — with all of their engineers, computer scientists, et al., — as being the same sort of process as the indoctrination of those recruited into cults such as Scientology?
Except that the first sort of so-called "indoctrination" results in doctors, lawyers, engineers, and computer scientists, while the second sort of indoctrination leads to zombie cult-members. That's a big difference you're choosing to ignore.
How would you explain the difference?
Mark Hunter Added Jun 19, 2018 - 2:26am
I got an education in high school, but it took me years after that before I started loving learning again.
Stone, two of my sisters were home schooled, and despite the fact that I intensely dislike who schooled them (my evil step-mother), they turned out pretty good. I realize that's not a representative sample.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jun 19, 2018 - 3:50pm
Ward Tipton: Waldorf schools are usually considered a bit of a joke in Germany. I don't know much about it though. What I've been told by an ex-teacher is that they have a strict philosophy that does not quite match the needs. Still, wish you all success with your approach.
A Jones: I think a lot could be done if we would just do more maths classes and less literature/art/blah blah classes.
Stone: I don't have experience with homeschooled individuals. I don't think that it is the optimal solution, but I think it goes length in showing that our schools are so overfraught with nonsense that even doing it yourself or organizing a teaching assitant for the kids does fare better. That's how bad schooling is today.
A. Jones: Yes, if you had as many Scientologist as East Asians you would have as many engineers, computer specialists etc. East Asians also happen to have a higher IQ. They get to accomplish some things DESPITE their education systems. (I also think that Japan is not as extreme as South Korea and China. The Japan high school system with point system and course selection was copied from a German state.)
A. Jones Added Jun 19, 2018 - 4:37pm
A Jones: I think a lot could be done if we would just do more maths classes and less literature/art/blah blah classes.
One purpose of studying literature is to cultivate in the student the habit of expecting full, complete sentences in discourse, rather than resting content with someone using empty filler phrases such as "blah blah".
I take it you had lots of math and little literature. It shows.
A. Jones Added Jun 19, 2018 - 4:39pm
Yes, if you had as many Scientologist as East Asians you would have as many engineers, computer specialists etc.
And if pigs had wings, they would fly like eagles. 
You love to commit to statements that have zero verification. Sorry, but your assertions are not proof.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jun 20, 2018 - 12:25pm
One purpose of studying literature is to cultivate in the student the habit of expecting full, complete sentences in discourse, rather than resting content with someone using empty filler phrases such as "blah blah".
That is why it has to go. It would make no sense to replace blah blah with a string of classes that vary from country to country. The whole point is that people think for themselve and can do the little mental gymnastics to fill out blah blah for themselves.
And if pigs had wings, they would fly like eagles. 
Yes, possibly. Is this a saying or something? Why not?
You love to commit to statements that have zero verification. Sorry, but your assertions are not proof.  
Okay, let's get real. What would you except as proof? The assertion is that Asians are big into rote learning. This is well-known particularly for the countries that you have mentioned (it is also true for the Muslim countries and it is surprising that you did not challenge me from this ankle). Anyway, I just drop some links, but you should have really known that or googled it before going somewhat antagonistic without reason.
Ward Tipton Added Jun 21, 2018 - 8:07am
@Benjamin Goldstein
"Waldorf schools are usually considered a bit of a joke in Germany. I don't know much about it though. What I've been told by an ex-teacher is that they have a strict philosophy that does not quite match the needs."
There is a great shortcoming in the Waldorf/Steiner programs currently being implemented throughout the US primarily due to the fact that there is no definitive requirement for scholastic studies, thinking that the students will learn what they want as they discover needs for it. This has in some ways, only reinforced the entitlement attitude so prevalent in many of the youth of today and also has greatly reduced the ability of the students to master more complex studies in a lot of ways. There are a great many things wrong with that system ... however ... 
There is no real classroom, and it does allow for children to associate with children of all ages, not just selected age groups, thus, increasing social skills. Our variants further depend on separating students according to interests, as selected by the students, but from a more limited selection based on their independent aptitude and the results of aptitude batteries. We DO place a major focus on scholastic skills, most notably as would be relevant to their particular studies and pursuits. 
Michiu Kaku rightly stated that the number one killer of dreams is Junior High School. 
Eric Reports Added Jun 22, 2018 - 2:58pm
We are only  as good as we want to be.  It is up to families to educate their children, if schools fail.