"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, January 02, 2006

Saving Private Jordan

For high school students who may no longer have access to student loans, thanks to the machete budget moving through Congress, there's lots of opportunity in the war industry. Here's a story from today's New York Times featuring 19-year-old Katherine Jordan of Lyndon, Kansas who is the latest casualty of the war on insurgents and the war on education.

After months of basic training, Private Jordan may not know all the facts but she knows her mission:

"I don't know all the facts as much as I should," said Private Jordan, of the First Armored Division, 501st Forward Support Battalion, as she sat in her childhood home here. "What I know is that we're protecting our country still. We're concentrating on keeping insurgents away from the United States."

It's a good thing our illustrious Secretary of Education and her hatchet men and women in Congress have convened a Commission on the Future of Higher Education to ensure that young high school students like Private Jordan are never subjected to the liberal views of academics who might actually teach her something. You see, the biggest cuts in the history of the federal student loan program will provide the U.S. government with the manpower to operate the new and improved weapons systems for a long time to come. And, cuts to universities for R&D on things like biological and physical science will help fund priorities like military weapons development and NASA.

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"The trend is part of a shift in which the federal government is expanding research funding for new hardware such as warships, battlefied robots, and a replacement for the aging Space Shuttle fleet. It comes at the expense of the general scientific research in the physical and life sciences that has been the traditional focus of the nation's research universtities, and a cornerstone of Boston's colleges, universities, and development laboratories."

"Government research and development grants have been credited with breakthroughs that improve everyday life. They have led to the Internet, for example, and cutting-edge medical procedures."

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Private Jordan's parents say they won't be getting much sleep while their daughter is in Iraq but the rest of us can sleep well knowing our leaders are doing all they can and being all they can be while holding educators accountable for our economic future.

1 comment:

  1. 1) National defense is one of the constitutional powers of the Federal government. Education is not.

    2) Federal funding of post-secondary schooling has created a system vulnerable to system-wide instability.

    3) The government of a locality is the major dealer in violence in that locality (definition). A giant extortion racket, if you will. If you prefer, think of the State as a giant security subdivision or an enormous shopping mall with it's own security force. They rent space and take a cut of the activity which occurs within the territory they control. Now and then they arrange to have some peacable doper forcibly infected with HIV (imprisoned), and threaten to do the same to you and me unless we pay for their protection. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. They don't have to operate bakeries, shoe stores, or schools, however. See...

    Randall G. Holcombe
    "Government: Unnecessary but Inevitable"
    __The Independent Review__
    Volume 8 Number 3
    Winter 2004

    Eduardo Zambrano
    "Formal Models of Authority: Introduction and Political Economy Applications"
    __Rationality and Society__
    May 1999; 11: 115 - 138.

    Would we starve without State operation of farms and grocery stores? Would we shiver, naked in the winter chill, without State operation of textile mills and clothing stores? Why suppose that we would wander in ignorance without State operation of school? Why suppose that scientific research requires State violence (taxation, and subsidies restricted to university faculty)? The evidence is against this.

    State operation of school is a threat to democracy, as much as State operation of news media would be (is, in totalitarian countries).

    "One has only to to think of the sinister possibilities of the radio, State-controlled education, and so forth, to realize that 'the truth is great and will prevail' is a prayer rather than an axiom." --George Orwell [Review of __Power; A New Social Analysis__ by Bertrand Russell].

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