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Thread: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    Horrible idea. Some states will do well with it, but others will use this to **** it up even more - like my state, or Texas, or Alabama.

    Our education system in the US already falls horribly short of most other developed nations, and allowing each state to handle it differently just ruins it for the people in the states that are going to do worse - and those kids that are going to be affected didn't get a say in the matter.

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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    Quote Originally Posted by nekrodev View Post
    Horrible idea. Some states will do well with it, but others will use this to **** it up even more - like my state, or Texas, or Alabama.

    Our education system in the US already falls horribly short of most other developed nations, and allowing each state to handle it differently just ruins it for the people in the states that are going to do worse - and those kids that are going to be affected didn't get a say in the matter.
    Normally leaving education up to individual jurisdictions is usually a great idea except in the US, where for some reason states decide that education is unimportant and/or is a financial burden. I would support the federal government leaving education up to the states but they have proven time and time again they cannot be trusted to.
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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    All things considered, I would rather us have gone the other way and release the states from doing this. I get that has vast Constitutional implications but the risk is political whim in state and local jurisdictions deciding education and curriculum in such different ways that it renders any sense of academic standards as painful to keep up with.

    Leaving education to state and local governments is the quickest way to go back to earth being roughly 7000 years old being taught in school (as just one example of what is likely to happen.) Everything from history to science to economics would end up impacted and subject to whatever the local prevalent beliefs are. What is taught in California to Utah to Georgia (again examples) would get that much further apart.

    Ultimately it would place higher education in a position of not only looking at the merit of the student but further amplify where they obtained their education to the point of being more important than just about any other factor. Unsure this will do what everyone thinks it will in the long term.
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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    Quote Originally Posted by Renae View Post
    More of the same, deregulation and moving away from Federal and towards states having the final say as it should be.
    Why should that be the case? That is, why should it be the case that the states severally should supervise education?

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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Why should that be the case? That is, why should it be the case that the states severally should supervise education?
    Accountability, for one. We're a Federal System, the Feds should not be in the business of dictating to each individual state.
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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanSlug View Post
    Leaving education to state and local governments is the quickest way to go back to earth being roughly 7000 years old being taught in school (as just one example of what is likely to happen.) Everything from history to science to economics would end up impacted and subject to whatever the local prevalent beliefs are. What is taught in California to Utah to Georgia (again examples) would get that much further apart.
    It is reasonable to assume limited involvement in education by the federal government and more state or even local involvement in education might enable state and local politicians to bias the curriculum in a politically expedient manner. For anyone with an interest in science, the fear obviously concerns religious dogma, as you pointed out. It is also something which does have some precedent. I would like to add that some conservatives might express similar concerns, though more often with centralized planning than with state and local planning.

    In the 1970s, the introduction of mandatory sexual education was heavily criticized by conservatives since, in practice, the curriculum was not directed towards the biology and psychology of sexuality, as much as it was used to instigate "healthy attitudes" toward sex. When you tell children or teenagers that some sexual practices are normal, acceptable and perfectly healthy, you are passing a normative judgment which might be fine if the intention of discussing ethics was made clear. As much as I personally find socially conservative attitudes regarding homosexuality appalling, for example, I find throwing ethical comments about the moral status of homosexuality in the middle of a discussion on biology and psychology to be extremely distasteful, if not outright dishonest.

    Today, things go much beyond comments regarding the morality of being homosexual or of pursuing promiscuous encounters and are much closer in spirit to the outright denial of empirical evidence found in fundamentalist circles. Gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and biological sex are extremely correlated variables empirically. For example, the vast majority of men present themselves in what is culturally associated with men, declare themselves to be men and are attracted to women. The same holds for women. In every case, you have pair-wise correlations in the 80s and 90s, which is irreconcilable with the social constructivist doctrine at the core of the identitarian left. It doesn't mean you have to attack people for being an exception to any or all of the above at all. There is also ample research in psychology regarding the differences in personality and other traits across men and women. The results suggest we are more similar than different, though we differ in systematic ways (i.e., the same ways across all surveys and across cultures). The average woman is more neurotic (she responds more strongly to negative emotions), the average man is more aggressive, the average man is more interested in things than in people, the average woman is more interested in people than in things, the average man is likelier to pursue multiple casual sexual encounters, the average man responds more strongly to visual sexual stimuli, the average woman responds to more abstract things like social status, confidence, etc.

    If you are curious, Jonathan Haidt and Steven Pinker have commented in various books on these questions. Both call themselves liberal. Haidt also gives clues in his books that he supports Democrats more than Republicans. In fact, Pinker has an entire book ("The Blank Slate") where he slams the more radical people on the left for holding on to scientifically incongruent beliefs regarding human psychology. You can also find some if you look through the work of Jordan Peterson. Part of his expertise concerns research on personality and he has several papers on the subject. I didn't check for a while, but he used to direct a Ph.D. student regarding links between political views and personality, another very interesting subject.


    The bottom line is, some conservatives might legitimately fear that leaving education in control of the federal government will put power in the hands of bureaucrats in federal agencies. These people are unaccountable, they also tend to be chosen for their zeal and they all lean in the same direction. It is not a problem without precedent either. I cannot recall if it is in the US or Canada, but wonders like the gender unicorn meant for children speak volumes about the fact stupidity is not monopolized by anyone.

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    Re: Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Why should that be the case? That is, why should it be the case that the states severally should supervise education?
    It is true that if you know exactly how to detail a proper protocol for everyone, it doesn't make sense to have many people debate how to implement the same solution and possibly also elect to implement less interesting solutions.

    However, I doubt that we have the knowledge or capacity to pin down this ideal, hence the problem. Centralized decision processes tend to be slow to respond to feedback. Granted that state government also offer a somewhat centralized decision process, but it is closer to the realities of people experiencing the consequences of existing programs. An argument can be made it would be more responsive. This is an important aspect of the difference because it would be surprising if we really manage to provide all the adequate caveats and exceptions from the start, regardless of who makes the choices. Leaving space to change and improve is how you get robustness against your own limited knowledge, or capacity to implement any solution.

    You might say, as others did here, that the status of some things is unambiguous and should, therefore, be left to the federal government. For example, no science textbook should contain creationist doctrines parading as science. Likewise, geology shouldn't present the Earth as 7000 years old when our best knowledge of physics produces estimates that go in the range of billions of years. On the other hand, are you confident you can limit the scope of federal mandates just to things that are very clearly correct? The problem is that we are routinely rather convinced of things about which we turn out to be wrong. I am not sure we can come up with a reliable way to do this without it producing some bad side effects, in which case a responsive design has an edge since it might eventually get rid of the bad side effect.

    To be fair, the dispute is more so about who gets to choose what children learn than about what children should learn. Ultimately, it's not clear how to best use their time. For what it is worth if Trump is really concerned about letting local authorities deal with education, someone could argue a federal plan to abolish local monopolies of public schools and allow parents to move children where they see fit would be an even better fit than just letting another part of the government make choices by the criterion I laid out above. It would have the force of law for everyone, but it would admittedly be extremely responsive to what parents want for their children.

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