Posted by The Boy Who Barked like a Dog on March 11, 2002 at 21:41:49:
In Reply to: I should clarify posted by Kelli on March 11, 2002 at 20:03:19:
I agree with Kelli. However, in my post I did not mean to imply that institutions are the primary causes of all our woes. These are merely the elaborate inventions of individuals; necessary tools for the operation of an advanced civilization. An excellent analogy can be drawn to the classic phrase, "There is no such thing as a computer error, only human error." A machine (or in this case, an institution) is only as good as the human(s) who design, build, and use it.
The success of America's academic future is not a question of funds as it is a question of individual responsibility. I did make reference to stoicism for a reason. In Asia (and some parts of Europe) governments spend less on education than the US and yet they maintain superior levels of performance. It is only at the university level (primarily in the specialized, technical subjects) where America enjoys an advantage over the rest of the world. Children in Asia still respect and fear authority figures (the first and most important ones being their parents), American children do not. You will be hard pressed to find comparable levels of insubordination, vandalism and underachievment in Singapore's public schools as you would in the US. In Japan when a teacher is absent and no substitute is available the children actually conduct their own lessons or do their homework, and without adult supervision! In America when a substitute teacher is summoned it is akin to feeding a lamb to the wolves!
In light of the Hellenic theme of this forum perhaps I should have used more relevant terms like apollonian or epicurean; western culture and thinking is obviously migrating from the former to the latter.
: my opinion further: Given that there is a teacher standing in front of a class for perhaps 6 to 7 hours per day anyway, parents should involve themselves in what that teacher is teaching. That teacher may spend their time teaching the finer points of multicultural homogenisation, finger painting, or 20th century history. The teacher will be paid their day's wages in any case. What they teach should not only be left up to cultural fashion.
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