US education

Tue Mar 7 12:40:59 CET 1995

      "If children are duped [by advertising], then are are 3 possiblities that 
I see: 1) The parents chose to forsake their responsibility to protect and 
educate their children..."  
      Maybe because they were away from home, because they had to 
spend all their time working at a minimum wage job to make ends meet. 
Maybe "they" is "she," and the family has only one source of income.  
Could be, Mom had had the kid accidentally after not being told about 
contraception (it's immoral to tell them, since it makes them wise beyond 
their years in other subjects).  Mind you, I'm not saying the mother didn't 
make a big mistake to conceive the kid.  But that's no reason to make 
the kid pay for it.
      In response to that, you may say that the mom gets enough 
welfare to enable her to spend at least SOME time with the kid, but 
she wastes the money instead.  I'm not saying welfare isn't abused.  
But I advocate reform, not abolition, of it.
      Even if you're sharper than the sharpies and smarter than the 
smarties, you can be pulled out of school and forced to go to work if 
your family needs the money.  And no, your pop isn't necessarily 
being low-down and mean if he makes you leave school in such cases.
      I agree that there are some genuinely lazy, Gladstone-like 
connoisseurs of the fast buck who get government handouts they don't 
need.  And I saw many who dropped out from complete laziness or 
sloth.  I agree that those guys are asking for trouble, and don't 
deserve a free handout if they do nothing to better themselves.  But 
read my comment about welfare above.
      In my state, the Republican governor (who's running for 
President next year) has cut the school budget again, and again, and 
again -- it's the first thing he puts the shears to when the state's having 
money trouble.  My classes swelled to 40 kids each.  Teachers were 
forced to teach fewer classes per day because the school couldn't 
afford otherwise.  Textbooks were not upgraded.  New teachers weren't 
hired when old ones left.  Many of those who stayed were old-timers 
who were doing it for a lark.  Can you say "lack of motivation"?  How 
many kids dropped out because they found nothing compelling or 
interesting in those courses?  You can want to seek out information, 
to really LEARN, and be frustrated and stymied in an environment like 
that.  And that doesn't begin to describe the paralyzing ennui of 
inner-city California schools!  My town is pretty well off!
      Remember "A Christmas for Shacktown"?  How some of those 
fictional kids "never had any luck at all"?  How they weren't poor 
because of laziness, but because they had no opportunities?  The same 
happens in real life!
      Would you praise Disney's "survival of the fittest" ethic, 
given how they keep so many of us writers and artists (including Don 
and myself) struggling to make ends meet when our work is on occasion 
quite popular?  I'm sure the guys who make the rules over there (I'm 
not talking about everyone who works there -- not by a long shot!) 
think they're sharper than the sharpies.  Actually, they're being 
exploitative.  If you want to talk about THAT, I suppose we can go on 
arguing within the context of the Digest.  Otherwise, if you (or others) 
want to have a debate, let's go on via private E-mail.  I think we're 
wasting other people's money if we debate this further on the Digest. 
I bet most of the rest of you agree.

      David Gerstein
      <9475609 at>
      "If it weren't for the help o' Hard-Haid Moe/I woulda married a 
long time ago!/Where did you come from -- where did you grow?/
Where did you come from, Hard-Haid Moe?"

More information about the DCML mailing list