American Elephants

A Truly Remarkable Enterprise! by The Elephant's Child
February 14, 2011, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Politics | Tags:

Many voices on the internet have been suggesting lately that the idea that every one should go  to college is false.  Some have suggested that college is simply not worth it any more, that the debt that students would be saddled with is too much, and more than they can ever repay without ruining their lives. Richard Mitchell, whom I just cannot keep from quoting, had a thing or two to say about public education:

American public education is a remarkable enterprise; it succeeds best where it fails.  Imagine an industry that consistently fails to do what it sets out to do, a factory where this year’s product is invariably sleazier than last year’s but, nevertheless, better than next year’s.  Imagine a corporation whose executives are always spending vast sums of money on studies designed to discover just what it is they are supposed to do and then vaster sums for further studies on just how to do it.  Imagine a plant devoted to the manufacture of factory seconds to be sold at a loss.  Imagine a producer of vacuum cleaners that rarely work hiring whole platoons of engineers who will in time, report that it is,  in fact, true that the vacuum cleaners rarely work, and who will, for a larger fee, be glad to find out why, if that’s possible.  If you discover some such outfit, don’t invest in it.  Unfortunately we are all required to invest in public education.

You might like to print that quotation out and take it to the next school board meeting. Or you might consider that the book in which the quotation appears was printed in 1979, and nothing much has improved.  Nothing at all. Or you might consider printing out Richard Mitchell’s books which are available for free, and can be printed out with only a small investment in paper and ink, or can be obtained from for a very modest price indeed.  You would be glad you did.

The federal government has no business in education.  They have been increasingly involved in education for most of my lifetime, and they have consistently made it worse each year, as they increased federal spending.  It’s time to call a halt.  Spending is not the answer to the problems of education.

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