JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2010/08/critical-unthinking.html (38 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1281582762-937  juris_imprudent at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:12:43 +0000

Well, speaking of misdirected valedictorians, the irony in this one is strong...


jsid-1281583362-534  khbaker at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:22:42 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281582762-937

Yeah, that's what the Sowell piece is about.

jsid-1281584533-693  carnaby at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:42:14 +0000

"no wrong answer," eh? I wonder how they would have liked my four year old daughter's answer: "Squirrels are yummy." Oh mercy, that was priceless.

jsid-1281644832-774  Sarah at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 20:27:12 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281584533-693

She said that in answer to what?

jsid-1281813343-203  GrumpyOldFart at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 19:15:43 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281584533-693

Meat is murder. Quick! Eat the evidence!

jsid-1281584696-19  Unix-Jedi at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 03:44:56 +0000

Spot. On.

jsid-1281588310-548  Ed "What the" Heckman at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 04:45:10 +0000

Good job Kevin!

I would have gotten stuck beating on the eastern mysticism in the first paragraph. Apparently, a person has succeeded at "eastern philosophy" when they can get everyone to say WTF in hushed, awed tones.

jsid-1281610238-842  GrumpyOldFart at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 10:50:39 +0000

The short version of her speech:

"All your brain are belong to us."

jsid-1281613359-683  Bob K at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 11:42:39 +0000

I would like to see what this young lady thinks about things 50 years from now!

jsid-1281622459-205  geekwitha45 at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 14:14:19 +0000

Something about that speech has twinged my spidey sense...it seems a little too pat, but I'll have to suspend my reservations, given that the first 3 pages of google haven't whispered "hoax".

What the first 3 google pages have screamed is "approval" and "accolade", which tells us much about that which makes the first 3 pages of google.

The true disgrace, of course, is that not a single *adult* in that audience had the intellectual capital to recognize the school's failure, or the intestinal fortitude to loudly proclaim it.

jsid-1281622509-131  geekwitha45 at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 14:15:11 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281622459-205

[Fixed. - Ed.]

jsid-1281623102-87  khbaker at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 14:25:02 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281622509-131

It's for real.  The YouTube video is here.  1755 comments so far.  The few I scanned are approving.

jsid-1281626974-162  JebTexas at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 15:29:34 +0000

Last year, the wife (11th grade history teacher in a one HS ISD) was not allowed to give less than a 50 on ANY assignment, test, or project, and not less than 60 on anything the 1st six weeks. The year before, HS was rated UNACCEPTABLE (horrors!) because 4 kids who left (one died) were not accounted for. 3 left the country, but we needed those records. The test scores were all passing (acceptable). The superintendant and the principal were not renewed. So getting your federal dollars is not only dependent on students' test scores, but on your secretaries' record-keeping skills. Rex Rammell (running for Gov Idaho) may wear magic underpants, but he wants to send ALL fed money for Education back to DC. He's got a plan to move some tax stuff around to pay for Idaho's Education budget.

jsid-1281627151-449  dfwmtx at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 15:32:31 +0000

I feel stupider for having read this person's speech.

"I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared." 

And how is it the educational system's fault *you* have no interests, direction in life, or goals?  The educational system is there to provide you with a basic level of knowledge to fit in and work with society.  They're there to teach reading & writing, math, sceinces, history, and other skills.  I'm reminded of the SubGenius phrase, "Bob" won't do your thinking for you, but he can teach you how to think for yourself'.  Simply replace "Bob" with "school", "educational system", or "government" in this case.

And yes, there is "uncritical thinking".  It's called "feeling".  It's what this young lady is doing now.

She seriously needs to sit down and do a bit of introspective thinking before she proceeds with her life.  Otherwise someone is going to see that young, directionless mind and steer it towards things she might not pick for herself, like a career as a progressive rabble rouser or liberal TV talking head.

jsid-1281633124-683  Mastiff at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 17:12:05 +0000

A few observations.

First, let's not be too harsh on the poor young lady. From what I can see, the trajectory she's on is likely to lead to a lifetime of underachievement, dissatisfaction, and the "Impostor Syndrome." School did this to her, trained her in patterns of behavior and self-image that will cripple her personality.

Second, when did we decide to let children believe that they know all the answers?

The poor dear is now convinced of the malice of corporations, etc., because she has been led to believe that she has some special insight into the world that the larger part of humanity somehow lacks. It will constrain her thinking in the future, so that learning otherwise will be incredibly difficult. She believes that she has arrived at enlightenment, and needn't go further.

At some point, we as a society will have to remember that children, or young adults, generally don't understand the world or other people. If we keep telling them otherwise, it shouldn't surprise us when real life experience is belittled, and people keep making bad decisions out of callowness. A little humility goes a long way.

jsid-1281642973-342  el coronado at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:56:13 +0000

jut another reason to ignore anything a person that age is saying. oh, no need to be *rude* or anything. use the first few seconds they're talking to ascertain whether or not it's critical, pertinent info, ("the house is on fire"; "the dog got out", etc.) and act if necessary. the helpful giveaway is, the asinine aspects of a young person's coversation are almost always preceded by the dreaded red flag phrase, "i think...."

this is your cue to find an excuse to leave the area. if that's not possible, time to play lovely music in your head for as long as the young person's lips are moving. ("crockett's theme", by jan hammer, is a good one)

every day, it's more & more apparent to me what a frickin' IDIOT i - and everybody else - was at that age. and the kidz nowdays, thanks to 'advancements' in the public edjamacation system, are orders of magnitude **stupider**.  best of all, the young lady in question and all her friends get to use those awesome critical thinking skillz in the VOTING BOOTH!! yeah, this'll end well.

jsid-1281644265-253  Mastiff at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 20:17:45 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281642973-342

"I think…" is better than the even more common "I feel…"

Which drives me up a wall. Thinking, at least, can be responsive to new information.

jsid-1281644906-789  Ed "What the" Heckman at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 20:28:28 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281644265-253

IMHO, "I think…" is far better than "I feel…" if it's actually an accurate statement. Far too often, people say "I think…" when what they've confused for thinking is mere emoting.

jsid-1281646961-454  GrumpyOldFart at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 21:02:41 +0000

Yeah, that. I'm okay with the lady thinking, even if it's flawed. At least she's trying.

Giver her a break, if she's valedictorian, and was able to give that speech, then she's probably eventually able to spot how things sometimes don't come out the way you knew they would, and what that's a signal of. If memory serves, most people that age are lucky if they realize how ignorant they still are by their mid to late 20s. Some grow old in academia and never (in a practical sense) become any older than she is now.

Ask her again when she's 35, with any luck you'll get a far different answer.

jsid-1281647056-533  GrumpyOldFart at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 21:04:16 +0000

Note that, please: Not, "don't come out the way you expected", but "don't come out the way you knew they would."

jsid-1281665445-338  Ken at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 02:10:45 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281647056-533

Agreed. "Once shamed, may never be recovered" may be okay for a Lancelot, but us mortals (myself most decidedly included) would be screwed.

jsid-1281648756-427  Linoge at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 21:32:36 +0000

Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

She really said that?  I mean, those words actually came out of her mouth, and she was keeping a straight face at the time, and not making some kind of grandiose joke? 

I really have a hard time believing that a person is actually able to say those words, in all seriousness, and not have their head spontaneously implode from the singularity-level concentration of stupidity contained therein. 

"Product of our modern education system" indeed... 

jsid-1281652437-582  khbaker at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 22:33:57 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281648756-427

That's the hubris of an eighteen year-old talking. 

And why the True Believers go after them.  They're ripe for the picking.

jsid-1281655176-639  DJ at Thu, 12 Aug 2010 23:19:36 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281652437-582

"That's the hubris of an eighteen year-old talking."

What a pity. Likely she'll end up rejecting evidence because, by golly, what's real is "obvious", right?

jsid-1281669731-407  Britt at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 03:22:11 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281648756-427

I was 18 three years ago, and I laughed long and loud whenever people talked like that. I had lots of chances too, seriously strained the eye-rolling muscles, from about the spring of 07. Honey tongued idiots babbling mindless platitudes got a lot less funny and a lot more frightening in November of 08.

jsid-1281757118-629  Linoge at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 03:38:41 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281669731-407

Bit longer ago for me, but I distinctly remember laughing my ass off at people saying those kinds of things even back then... 

Unfortunately, the fact that I was laughing at some of my classmates should have caused more gears to turn faster than it did at the time... 

jsid-1281678964-889  mikee at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 05:56:05 +0000

My son insisted on transferring from our local HS to another, to participate in an advanced academic program - International Bacalaureate - essentially all Advanced Placement classes with extra work required. His primary intent was to escape from the local HS.

My daughter could not follow in his path  because by the time she got to the local HS it had an IB program - except it was not really in existence, it existed only as an academic plan for implementation some time in the next few years. So she contrived to graduate in two years rather than waste a third year there.

I love my kids.

Both would look at the valedictorian and realize that unless she were headed to a BS rather than a BA degree, college would leave her feeling exactly the same as did high school.

jsid-1281719939-718  Alpheus at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 17:19:00 +0000

When I graduated, I was proud of my education...yet something about it bothered me enough that I wanted to home-school my children, even when I was still in high school.  Now that I've steeped myself in Natural Law Theory (among other things), I can see that it's a moral obligation for parents to teach their kids.

Right now, my wife is insisting on putting our daughter in kindergarden, and I'm filled with dread at the prospect.  I'm working full time, though, so I can't teach her; my wife feels stressed about our finances (gobs of debt from earning a PhD in Math--a degree that has potential, I suppose, if I could figure out how), and so it's likely that my daughter will be going to kindergarden.

I'll be desperately trying to figure out something, though, to keep her out of the first grade!

jsid-1281727836-607  Mastiff at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 19:30:37 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281719939-718

Without knowing any more of your situation, etc. etc. /insert disclaimers

Depending on where you live, there may be homeschooling groups that you could enroll your daughter in. In other words, it isn't a binary choice between you doing all the work yourself, and conventional kindergarten. Additionally, you can try tutoring. (A family I know supplements their homeschooling with a tutor who used to live in the area, but moved to Florida and now tutors via Skype!)

Even with all that, kindergarten might be the right choice. But be creative.

jsid-1281722433-896  spearweasel at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 18:00:34 +0000

I'm doing the best I can.

I see my job as moving my students towards "competent human being" as I can within the time and setting I have them. I teach high school social studies, so for the most part the damage has already been done. Occasionally, I can save that starfish.

The rest of it, you've already heard before.

jsid-1281731573-355  khbaker at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 20:32:53 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281722433-896

Spearweasel, don't think we don't appreciate you and those like you - we do.  But I think even you would admit that you are heavily outnumbered by the slackers, the burnouts, and the True Believers would you not?  And you are most definitely overpowered by those higher up in the administration of the schools and districts who prevent you from, you know, TEACHING.

jsid-1281733766-201  spearweasel at Fri, 13 Aug 2010 21:09:26 +0000

Oh yeah, I won't argue that; the youngest teachers tend to be True Believers, the oldest are sometimes Slackers, and the administrators seem focused mainly on justifying their positions and keeping metrics in the designated slots.

My Social Studies department OTOH has a shit-ton of small-L libertarians, Heinlein readers, gun aficianados, and conservatives. This is Texas, after all, not Conneticut. I'm proud to work with them.

I stay sane by grudgingly accepting that I have no real control over what happens outside of my classroom. I then go about merrily ignoring and subverting anything I can that detracts from my mission; Make my students into useful humans that I'd want living in my neighborhood. I'm lucky... my direct report AP is a good cutout. He asks me what I need, backs me up with discipline issues that need escalation, and leaves me alone to do what I do as often as he can.

The system is fucked, but we find ways to succeed in the spaces in between. The kids know it's fucked as well. Most of them are delighted when I teach them stuff that is not on the TAKS test, and I make a point of telling them "this is not on the TAKS test, but if you wanna know what is behind the BS you see on TV, you need to understand this." The only encouraging thing I see is that a good many of my students are starving for knowledge, and most have a vague sense that they are being lied to - they just don't hear the other side from TV or XBox. If we would get back to "old school" discipline, and then focus on basics - math, science, history, literacy, I think we can turn this around in a generation. Of course, to do that, we'll have to kill a whole lot of people who benefit from things the way they are. Nothing less would clear the decks. They control the terms of the debate, currently.

Let's have a listen, shall we?

jsid-1281746795-285  Wade at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 00:46:35 +0000

I think Kevin is being a bit harsh and may be ascribing positions to the valedictorian that are not supported by her speech.  There is nothing in it that reeks of collectivism or authoritarianism.  She seems to be espousing the idea that true education comes from studying the things that interest you and are relevant to you. She's also perceptive enough to point out that the real goal of intitutionalized education is credentialing instead of learning.  No one cares what the CEO or the Chicago Senator knows, they only want to know if their tickets were punched at the right times.

For a blogger who points out that the smallest minority is the individual, this post makes Kevin, and a lot of the commenters, appear surprisingly supportive of the processes that the public schools use to make sure that children are turned into unquestioning drones.

jsid-1281747628-790  khbaker at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 01:00:28 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281746795-285

Wade, at its base education is, and MUST BE indoctrination.  The question is what children should be indoctrinated with, so that as they mature they can - and will - begin to learn for themselves, rather than go through life as cogs in the Great Machine.

Gatto objected, as did Mencken, to an educational system that was set up to manufacture cogs - and they were right to.  And it is my considered opinion that the True Believers of the Left moved in and subverted a system already set up, a system perfect for them.  The result is an education system that doesn't even turn out decent cogs.  What the education system has been converted into is a machine that makes dependents.  Not all schools, and not everywhere, and certainly not with all students, but enough.  And they've had free rein since (according to Gatto) at least 1965 - that's over two full generations.

And now those drones vote.

jsid-1281754332-530  juris_imprudent at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 02:52:13 +0000

Hmm, a thread on education and valedictorians with massive PC indoctrination and we didn't get a rise out of the teacher?


Have to try a new lure.

jsid-1281754390-787  khbaker at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 02:53:10 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281754332-530

Yeah, usually he's so easy to bait!

jsid-1281810020-939  Unix-Jedi at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 18:20:21 +0000 in reply to jsid-1281754390-787

Because he knows the fundamental truth, even if he can't openly admit it to himself.

We're right. 

Which is why he's getting more and more angry and the bigotry is slipping past the "diversity" filters.

He really, really, really wants it not to be true.  But the reality keeps break

jsid-1281755512-313  Borepatch at Sat, 14 Aug 2010 03:11:52 +0000

Mrs. Borepatch laughed until she got hiccups on your math through the ages story.  Yes, I suck for not pointing it out to her before.

As to our Valedictorian heroine, all I can remark about her education is that in a speech, one should not use the pronoun "I".  "We" is OK.

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