Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Thanks for the information. I feel like it is quite similar
here. A lot of big companies pay nothing, or even get money back
from the government.
Since I wrote I got your book in the mail from Amazon. I notice you
write near the begining to not homeschool your kids. I actually was
thinking about this. My wife was a teacher in a supposedly very
high level public high school here in Mass. which her younger
sister also attends. Her younger sister is supposed to be one of
the best students.
But I am continually shocked at how little her sister knows. Her
sister didn't know if Jesus was supposed to be a real person, and
whether Zeus or Jesus was around more recently. Since we have been
having economic problems, a lot of schools have been making massive
lay-offs of teachers and cutting various classes and programs. My
wife was laid off last year. One poor city near me laid off half
the entire teaching staff for the city last month. The high school
my wife was substituting at this year also had substantial lay-
After a real economic crisis/collapse wouldn't the schools become
quite bad?
Thanks for the book. I am enjoying it so far.

Hi JM,
I can’t tell people to homeschool or not, really depends on each family, the possibilities they have, even what kind of schools are available to them.
What I said in my book is that in a recession economy where both parents have to get jobs and somehow make money, you often see that they don’t have much of a choice in terms of homeschooling or not.
You might think that since there’s so much unemployment its better to spend that time homeschooling. That’s ok if you can make it on a single income, otherwise the other parent has to do everything he/she can to find a job and make money.
It also depends on the schools you have available. I send my kid to a private bilingual school that is pretty good, 8 AM to 4.30 PM, with an hour for lunch. He definitely learns more than any single parent could teach him, he also learns to be competitive both in sports and academic studies. He also learns to handle problems of kids his age such as friends, bullies, girls, adults, etc.
Regarding schools after an economic collapse, indeed, most of them are quite bad, specially public ones. Even the better private ones like the one I send my son to have violence issues and kids have to learn to defend themselves, which I believe is good for them to a degree. Of course the school policy opposes this 100%, but the schoolyard reality differs. Kids don’t stab of beat each other to near death like it so often occurs in public schools but fist fights are still common. My son is just eight years old and he’s already been in many (some pretty bloody), specially in the school I used to send him last year, which is the reason why I changed him.
This may freak out most parents, and it sure worried us, but we noticed a very positive change in him once he learned how to defend himself against bullies.
Its important for a child to learn how to defend himself from kids his age. The first time he left the class bully crying in the floor he was so happy. He gained a new level of confidence and totally changed his personality. Now he believes in himself more, he’s more cheerful, even has more friends. Even the bully told him if he wanted to be his friend instead of fighting. (what a wise decision :-)  )
If home schooling works for you by all means do it. Some people also hire tutors, specially when it comes to learning a second language.
My wife is a stay at home mom, and she takes care of out youngest son, so we don’t pay for daycare. We decided this mostly because she used to work in a dangerous part of town and we were pushing our luck with that. Her sister got robbed in a bank “saliderea” (robbed after leaving the bank, probably marked from within the building). The guy hit her, pulled her hair, dragged her across the sidewalk and left with the money with an accomplice in a bike.
You now see teachers losing their jobs, but starting an affordable private, nonsense school to where parents that work can send them will be a good business opportunity as the economy worsens and parents start looking for alternatives when they can no longer afford to home school.



Nolan said...

Depending on your location, there could be a "homeschool association" so that your kids learn to interact with other kids.

Unless your public school is very violent, your kid will be okay if you are a good parent. Stay on top of what your child is being taught and they will be okay. Most public school teachers do teach the material pretty well (though some suck pretty bad) but the teacher can't beat the content into their students minds. Take charge of your kids education until your kid can take charge of it.

With that said, I will probably send my kids to a private school if I can afford it. With very few exceptions private school offers an environment more conducive to learning and a higher percentage of kids who actually want to excel.

j.s.kern said...

Public schools in the US (and Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, NZ, etc) are all about indoctrination, not education.

"Dumbing down" isn't a phantom of a paranoid mind, it is very real--and very insidious. For example Obama wouldn't have stood a chance of getting elected if, over the last 40 years (yes, 4-oh years!), the school system in the US hadn't been carefully hobbling the ability of their students to think critically using logic and reason. Ask any 20 year old in public school to tell you why they don't agree with some concept--political, scientific, philosophical or spiritual--and all they'll come up with is various variants of "'caus it's stupid!"

If you can, homeschool; if you can't, debrief them every day!

Nolan said...

The public school system is dumbed down compared to what it used to be, or nearly every child would fail. There is definitely an argument to be made there.

There is no pervasive plot to indoctrinate youth; there are a few wackdoodle teachers that try and get busted for it. One of the major problems public schools have is lack of parental involvement and high-grading of students. People that can send their kids to private school do; the same with home schooling. What you have in the public schools is often what's left over.

Dumbing down isn't a plan; it is the natural result of what happens with a poorer quality of student. Any student can get a quality education from public schools (again, if violence isn't an issue) if they pay attention and apply themselves.

If you don't like what is being taught in the schools you are paying for, then the people you need to talk to are in your state government. They make us teach a lot of things we don't like. This isn't a plot, it is just some moron making rules regarding something he/she doesn't understand.

Go spend some time in public schools. Most of them welcome observers from the community. You'll know what I'm talking about after a week of observation. It isn't the same as when most of us were there.

Anonymous said...

Most people don't see the public school system for what it is, and what it does, no matter how much a parent stays on top of what the child is being taught.

This series is too long and difficult for most parents to read, but perhaps they should?

"I don’t mean to be inflammatory, but it’s as if government schooling made people dumber, not brighter; made families weaker, not stronger; ruined formal religion with its hard-sell exclusion of God; set the class structure in stone by dividing children into classes and setting them against one another; and has been midwife to an alarming concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a fraction of the national community."

David said...

I recently discovered an amazing website that offers a spectrum of educational lessons for free. The future of education is clearly self-education.

If one is interested in learning, or has kids who are actually interested in learning (instead of socializing, which is about all the factory schools can offer with a few exceptions), you owe it to yourself to look here:

Anonymous said...

We home-school our son, and for us it has worked out, but like anything else, your actual mileage may vary. Our motives were to avoid having our son indoctrinated by the liberal left. Also he was able even at a young age to assist much older neighbor kids with their homework.
As far as bullies go? Let's just say "the target is hardened".
Socialization? My son is active in Boy Scouts, well on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout.
We joined a home-school legal defense association to go to court with us should we be challenged by the school system.
Another less-obvious motivation for us was the mobility and staying somewhat under the radar, so to speak. If we needed to vamoose, we could more easily than with a public school child.
We hunt, fish, and garden together, go to the gun range, lift weights, study the Bible, learn Spanish and Hebrew (not easy!), cooking, home economics, auto mechanics, banking and business, logic and critical thinking. He has a blog, and is writing a novel (SF).
By the way, the public school that is only 6 blocks away has had lock-downs for guns, bomb threats, fights. My kid has a whole house full of guns including a very nice .22 in his room. I'm not worried about him.
Eric in MI

David said...

@ anonymous re: Gatto's book (posted online at

Totally with you there. I am firmly of the opinion that the natural locus for allegiance for humans is the family. During the 20th century the state has become dominant, and everywhere we look we see the state at war on its competitor for people's allegiance, the family. Everything the state does harms the family, from welfare to forced schooling, from the drug war to "Child Protective Services" empowered to break up families at bureaucratic whim.

Perhaps I'm alone in seeing it so starkly, but to me it's obvious that the state everywhere sees the family as its competition and it ruthlessly attacks the family at every opportunity, turning kids against parents, parents against kids, and (by subsidizing old age via taxation) making old people useless and uninvolved with their grown sons and daughters.

Nolan said...

I agree that the state is out of control when it comes to breaking up families for (sometimes) very little reason.

On the other hand I have a student who saw his father murder his mother last year. And another that lives with her aunt because her father molested her. And another that lives with his uncle because his father hit him so hard it fractured his spine. (Stuff like this is one reason it is hard to teach anything in some public schools).

The trick is having a system that isn't abusive to good parents but still has the enforcement to remove children from the really bad situations.

David said...

My wife's a 4th grade public school teacher and my three sons all went through public schools and public universities. I've actually been well-served by the publics despite the perverse institutional incentives that exist in them.

That said, you have absolutely no control over how and what is taught in public schools. Your money is a fart in a windstorm compared to the Ford Foundation or other NGO's that actually steer policy. This year my wife's district went to "full inclusion." She now has kids in her classroom who previously were "special ed" and had very high teacher/student ratios. Some of her students are not far from being mentally retarded. How do you think that affects the educational quality for the average or (especially) above average kids in her class?

My three sons are very bright, and two were at the top of their high school classes [yes, their parents had a lot to do with their work ethic]; one is a computer scientist, one a mechanical engineer, and the youngest is taking just 2 1/2 years to get a comp sci degree. Would they have been served by attending school where the teacher spent 3/4 of her time cajoling two or three classmates with I.Q's south of 80 to just sit in their seats?

Public schools are non-market systems (failure results in larger budgets, not bankruptcy) where administrators & state education bureaucrats who DO NOT TEACH are free to try their idiotic experiments on real children. Schools thus work only by the valiant efforts of a few conscientious teachers and principals who resist such idiocy and buck their own employers.

The rest just teach to the test to maximize their performance on state exams, a one-size-fits-all disaster in the making.

Nolan said...

I am not saying that public schools are uber institutions for learning. Trust me: I know exactly what it is like to have to teach a class where behavior is impossible to control because I don't have the authority to take actions that will result in discipline (and the principal will fire you if you send people to them when you are supposed to). I did say I would send my kids to private school if I can :)

A lot of those special ed. kids are the best students because it is very rarely they who are disruptive (at least in my classes) and despite a low IQ they work very hard. It doesn't take a mammoth IQ to master anything taught in high school; only hard work and studying.

Very little money for schools comes from anything besides property tax (I think my school gets 85% of funding from local tax, 7% from feds, and 8% from the state). But, we are very small.

What usually happens is the, umm...subpar kids just get left behind. For instance: I recently failed to teach cellular transport processes to the 25% of my students that can't read/write and refuse to study or come to me for help. I made a pretty hard test and the people who, gasp, study at home and come to me for help when they don't understand something got nearly perfect scores.

To get back to the point: Public schools (without violence issues) WILL teach your kid unless your kid makes a conscious decision to not learn. There are issues in history/ELA classes where teachers try to brainwash students but those are overall pretty rare. At the government level there is an awful lot of foolishness and money wasting though.

Most teachers aren't doing it for their health (or money as the starting salary in my current parish is 35K a year for a masters/doctorate degree); they really want to help the youth and are willing to get there early/stay late if you or your kid need/want help with anything. All education is self-education.

Jada said...

What does knowing if Jesus was real or not have to do with the quality of public school? If someone is concerned about their children learning religious history, they should enroll them in private religious schools.

Aside from that, I do think a lot of the public schools are little more than zoos. A lot depends on where you live though. I grew up in an upper middle class city and the schools were excellent. Same goes for my nieces and nephews. Those in more urban areas may find themselves in the aforementioned zoos though. I went to public school and did fine, though I also read everything I could get my hands on during my free time and wasn't stupid to begin with. ;)