Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Monthly Archives: March 2010

Data Warehousing and Public Schools

Reihan Salam, in a March 10, 2010, Time magazine article called The Dropout Economy, shares his vision of a new economy in the not-so-distant future. It’s based on his observation of large numbers of students dropping out of high school, taking time off between high school and college, and even bypassing college altogether.

Rather than warehouse their children in factory schools invented to instill obedience in the future mill workers of America, bourgeois rebels will educate their kids in virtual schools tailored to different learning styles. Whereas only 1.5 million children were homeschooled in 2007, we can expect the number to explode in future years…

This trend, he claims, is due to a large scope ‘libertarian revival’ in which higher education is viewed as an “overpriced status marker and little else.” Regardless of the motivation, this drives the political New Dealers nuts, who have invested many millions into public education since the first half of the last century. Salam’s ‘factory schools’ are indeed filled with ripe young converts to the liberal socialist agenda preached there.

This situation bears remarkable resemblance to the “data warehousing” system in Information Technology. In it, data from a variety of sources is input into an ETL pipeline, where relevant data is Extracted from it’s source, Translated into a form that’s meaningful, and Loaded into a huge database (called a Data Warehouse) for subsequent analysis and reporting.

Compare this to our public education system, where children from a wide variety of homes, cultures and world views are put into an educational pipeline, where their individuality and creativity is extracted, their previous meaning of life and purpose are translated into politically and societally acceptable ones, and after this programming, they’re loaded into a factory labor system where they mindlessly perform work for which they’ve been trained. Warehousing our children in this system creates a huge pool of human resources, to be managed by the intellectually elite.

Does anyone else bridle at this comparison? Like Voddie Baucham I think it’s long past time we pulled our children out of these Christ-dishonoring academically inferior soul killing government indoctrination centers!

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You Cannot Fail

Seen on a church sign: “What would you choose to do if you knew you could not fail?”

Naturally the “could not fail” part triggered a link to my postmil hope (read: expectational confidence) in a redeemed earth. If you approach life with the understanding that the Church will be triumphant in fulfilling her original commission to “fill the earth and subdue it”, would you place a different value on certain things that might well outlast you?

For example, if you knew that the Church would eventually be successful in reversing the cultural trend toward isolated living (even in neighborhoods), what foundational steps in your lifetime would you take to accomplish that – probably many-decade long – goal? How about passing along a vision for a well-integrated, supportive, interactive, love-demonstrating, close-knit neighborhood community to your children? And committing yourself – and them – to stay in one place for a number of generations, in order to see that neighborhood change?

What if you knew the Church would eventually be successful in re-establishing our antinomial political system on biblical foundations? Would you choose to begin attending city council meetings with your children, or volunteering to work on village committees? How about encouraging your children to become trustees, mayors, zoning board chairmen? How about your grandchildren becoming mayors, representatives, congressmen? A strong building needs a solid foundation, and a solid foundation can take a long time to build.

The Church in the recent century has taken on a near-fatal urgency in her work. By placing the end of all things “at hand”, she has focused on work that reaps immediate results (e.g. obsessive evangelism, exponential church growth, political lobbying, etc.) while ignoring so many of the basics (e.g. strong marriages, children keeping the faith, obedience in all areas of life, etc.). A long-term vision of success – that cannot fail – should keep us from hurried, misguided busy-ness.

Remember the “slow food” movement? Maybe it’s time for a “slow religion” movement.