13 thoughts on “Our Vaunted “Education” System”

  1. Forty mumble years ago I passed a GED on the first try. Studied for it and had my equivalency diploma before earning any high school credits in night school. Was told later on that getting 1/3 right was passing and that I had the highest score of the group taking that test. Not bad for one that didn’t complete 6th grade, but definitely weird.

    Able to do As and Bs in the community college while working 40-60 hours a week. That also shouldn’t have been possible if a proper high school education was a prerequisite.

    Short version is that I lost respect for the school system a long time ago.

    1. Yes, the Air Force gave a reading comprehension exam in the same mumble decade. It was of the See Spot Run variety. I got a 12.9, which was interpreted as a grade-level and as high as the scale went. It really made me wonder about the people who couldn’t get a 9.0, which is what the USAF wanted documents written at.

      Of course, I never thought of the regs and manuals as Ninth Grade – they all contained bits of Sesame Street, interspersed with the totally incomprehensible. I guess they averaged it.

      1. People should look up FOG Index for a better understanding of this. As a technical writer, I was directed to produce text with a FOG Index of 9.0. Most of that was for user’s manuals and medical/pharmaceutical continuing education text. That and a 40,000 word illustrated document explaining to company management what their techies were up to. My science fiction books and stories are reliably around 14. Much above that and you’re writing bafflegab.

        1. I did a FOG check on a (modestly cleaned up) transcript of a video interview I did about a decade ago and got (ouch) a score of 20.6:

          It may seem campy to look at Star Trek where they said “Space, the final frontier,” but it IS the final frontier, it’s the perpetual frontier. It reaches out to infinity in all directions and that’s the most important thing about getting access to space for everyone, not just for government employees.

          That brings the rest of the universe within the sphere of human involvement and grows the human race, not just in terms of our geographical spread when you have people living on multiple planets and habitats throughout the solar system, but it also grows our minds and our capabilities and what we can aspire to do.

          When I see pictures of that pale blue dot seen through the rings of Saturn from more than a light hour away, that really drives home how important it is to make things work here on earth.

          Space Flight isn’t taking away from solving the problems that humanity has here on earth, it’s bringing more tools to the table. It makes it possible for us to imagine more things that benefit everyone and everything, not just the human race, but also the ecology and beauty of everything else on Earth.

          When we can move more of our industrial activity off this planet, when we can get clean power beamed down from solar power satellites, when we can stop ripping up the earth to get the minerals and resources we need, when we can recycle more thoroughly because we have the experience from space colonies, that is how advancing into space is going to improve life and conditions here on earth.

          Man, if that off-the-cuff monolog is 20+ we’re doomed.


  2. “But whom are they kidding? If an exam doesn’t count for a grade, will a student study for it? Let me give you the official answer based on my decades of teaching: hell no.”

    Then there are the people who think that studying doesn’t help performance on standardized tests and that students shouldn’t study.

  3. So much of government work but especially public education is why I coined Larry’s First Law: Anything is possible if you lower your standards far enough.

    1. One of the Demotivation Posters from despair.com:

      “INCOMPETENCE: When You Earnestly Believe You Can Compensate For A Lack Of Skill By Doubling Your Efforts, There’s No End To What You Can’t Do.”

      The scary corollary to Larry’s First Law…

      1. My favorite poster of theirs is “Consulting: When you’re not part of the solution, there’s good money to be made by prolonging the problem.”

        1. Another aside on despair.com:
          My wife got me a calendar from them some years ago. There was a minor problem with the order, so she emailed their customer support team. Part of their sig block included “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”
          They were a joy to order from.

          1. “We’re not happy until you’re not happy” was the unofficial slogan of the mother of most of my children, I’m afraid.

  4. Um, so we’re not in charge of the important stuff anymore.

    We let it get away from us.

    What are we going to do about it?

    .Scare them to start, no?

    Halloween is a few weeks away.

    1. Making new school administrators (and other non-teaching bureaucrats) is the real growth industry …unfortunately. How soon before we have more “education industry workers” active and with juicy pensions than actual students?

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