Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Category Archives: education

I Made a Difference Yesterday

I voted.

Thankfully, my lovely wife reminded me when I arrived home from work that it was May 3rd, so we all went over to the local precinct and cast our ballots. Didn’t take much consideration; one of the primary (no pun intended) reasons we wanted to vote was to make our voice heard about the local school levy.

This school levy was put on the ballot for two main reasons – overcrowding in the district, and the age of the local elementary school. It would have funded the construction of a new high school. The timing of the ballot coincides with the near-end of the current school levy, as well as a gub’mint contribution of 65% toward new construction. Technically, it was a bond issueof 1.8mills, plus .5mills added to the existing 11.1 millage.

The total estimated cost for the construction is just over 35 million. To a guy who’s never signed on anything over $150,000, and whose children have never darkened a classroom doorway (home-educated all the way), that number’s a bit beyond my comprehension.

Our current millage of 11.1 places the district’s current income at around 60 million dollars annually. Divided by the 3618 enrolled students, that makes about $16,500 total cost per student per year (including salaries, building, maintenance, etc). In contrast, we spent, on average, $4-600 per year. For both of our kids. Somehow that new $35M building just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

Apparently, though, there were a lot of people to whom it made a lot of sense. Fortunately, there were enough of us who voted against the issue, though it was the closest one in the state. I like to think that I was one of the 197 voters who made the difference.

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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!