Nov 092010
 

There is nothing wrong with our education system. We remain the most innovative country in the world, and the most vibrant economy in the world. Others are gaining on us, it's true. But this is mostly the happy result that the American Dream has escaped our borders and is now actively pursued by folks all over the planet. We remain a country of vibrant political discourse, current partisan rancor and climate of misinformation notwithstanding. We remain a country of literature and arts, regardless of your personal opinion of Hollywood or Rap Music. We're probably not being fair to our impoverished communities, and probably not getting what we'd like to out of the smart folks who live there as a result. But it doesn't take much money to fix that.

What is true is that we are lagging the structural shifts in “education” necessary to keep up with the New World Economy. Specifically, we have fallen behind on pure research investment, and shirked our responsibility of (re)training labor, as regards 21st century industries like energy, medicine, and information technology.

Let's consider for a moment whether a Socialist approach to education might be the right choice. The Spartans did it. They were the vanguard of freedom back when freedom was a little known concept. They sponsored the same path of “education” for every man fit enough, and rewarded the very best talent regardless of background. Why did they do it? I will call it “Social Greed.” They did not value the Individual's Privilege to be educated. Rather they coveted every Talented Individual for his contributions, and they took them as their own. Of course they were a rigid, inflexible society that in the end could not adapt.

We could do that. We could implement Socialist Education with the goal of owning and optimizing every little Einstein we have out there.

But if we want to privatize education...

First of all, privatizing it means that the more wealthy you are, the more access you have to better education. But it's hardly true that the more wealthy you are, the more competent or useful you are. We all know the cycle of wealth. The first generation creates it, shooting stars in our economy and history. The second generation rationalizes it, making it sustainable and repairing the excesses and sins of the first generation. The third generation... squanders it, tearing down the great oak as scavengers will do. Do we really want an education system that reserves its very best fruits for maggots and mushrooms? Or do we want one that fosters that first, unprivileged generation, the ones who are the real shooting stars?

But mostly, our higher education system is bereft of pure research dollars and our corporations and vocational schools are devoid of useful training programs. We've got the Incompetent Corporatists who are our So-Called Captains of Industry and the Incompetent Corporatists who have “privatized” much of our higher education system pointing the fingers at each other about whose responsibility this is. The result is that the burden has been cast upon Us as Taxpayers and Workers, in a climate where a kind of “speculative certification bubble” has pushed the cost of it beyond Our Reach.

Government can do some, in the way of tax exceptions that motivate the right behavior. But let's face it, this is one place where we need our industry leaders to re-pledge their national allegiances. And if they won't, I suggest we drag them from their beds. We have to take back our economic freedom, by any and all means appropriate.

The next time some politician tries to blame you for not re-training yourself, write his name down in your little black book of Corporatists. And I know it's hard right now, but do the best you can to make it so that the next time your boss blames you, you can tell him where to shove it.