So I've been thinking....(input all?)

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So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Ok, so I am not sure if the best place to post was here or in the free section. I may move it out, don't know.

I am farely certain all of us here agree that Knowledge is power. With that said, I have been second guessing the idea of college (at least at its current price levels, and in some cases accuracy of teachings). Right now I am sure some of you reading are thinking 'he's crazy,' but give me a chance to explain my thinking on this, then input is always welcome.

Out of all the plausible hypothetical situation I ran through none of them support going to a traditional college at all. Lets look at this closer. (Let me preface this by letting all who read know I have completed my associates...) 

Starting financially, even being military (for now) lets say I complete my Masters in international business (major in project management, minor in HR) like I was considering. I would still be between 10K-25K+ in debt (minimum) by the time I completed the degree (debt will vary on school).

Then I'd ask myself, 'In todays economy what would I do with that degree....where would it get me?' Frankly, I couldn't think of anything. I would get to compete for jobs against hundreds (maybe I should say thousands)of other applicants with degree's themselves. How does that warrant tacking on upwards of 20K+ in further debt? Make that an engineering or law degree and that debt doubles.....in many cases more than doubles.

So what about the rosy (or I like to call impossible) scenarios, like things getting better within 10 years, and everything going back to how it was (lol). I would have a degree right? Well sure, but the degree would be outdated by over 10 years. Heck, there are even studies out right now that show that what one would learn in their freshman and sophomore years within almost any technical degree is obsolete/outdated by their junior and senior years. Tack 10 more years to that, and a huge debt burden.

That got me thinking about the lack of production in the US let alone the lack of trade workers....which got me thinking (again) about the possibilities of starting my own business.

Currently I am electrician on aircraft in the Air Force. This got me to look into becoming a fully certified electrician (for homes and buildings) with possibly an extra certification or two in home security systems, and possibly wind/solar if they have cert courses for that, otherwise I will pick something (to well round the business). When I put this to the thought process's above it made sense. It is productive, will always be in demand in some form or another, makes for good bartering, it is a much better and happier move than where i currently work, AND it is extremely cost effective (cost for all courses and certs fit well within GI bill and benefits). This way when my contract is up I will be fully certified in all areas, and can make a clean cut, find a place I can safely call home (safely=originally from Las Vegas [no water, heat]), and really start to build something. Who knows, maybe one of you wonderful people here will have a solid community built up that my family and I will fit right into.

Well, thats the gist of my thoughts on this. Any input would be happily welcome. I must add to, this is the only site/forum I have EVER felt like I could be this personal on. It is nice to have a place like this to get input from a wide array of smart people.

Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts,

Mike

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Hi Mike,

I tend to agree with your thinking. I would get fully certified as an electrician and also learn about solar, wind generated power, etc. Those skills are probably better to have and, if things go OK, you can always work on a Master's part time, it won't take that long to get.

This is coming from someone currently working on a Masters in Public Health (part time). Since I am going to finish it in the next year I am going to keep at it (plus you can make a case that if TS does not hit too hard, an MPH will be worth while in helping me find different jobs dealing with health policy, epidemics, the coming soclialized medicine, etc etc.)  But it is not what I would call a productive skill such as being a skilled electrician.  I have been giving thought into what I call productive skills I need to develop so I think you are on the right track.

- Septimus

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Just a few thoughts in response.  My daughter is struggling with similar issues.  She is just finishing her BA but is not keen on going any farther with college even though she has a 4.0.  She wants to do something practical and is not interested in an academic career.

What I have told her is that you really do not need a degree to do a great job in even degree based fields, however you do need a degree to get the chance.  When you apply for a job...they don't know you from Adam, and feel that they have to hire based on some sort of record...so they look at your degrees and job experience.  By way of example, you could be a self taught expert on geographic information systems, but without a degree you will not likely get a great job without the degree.   I had a girl that worked for me with only an associate degree.  She was by far the best geographic tech person I had...I would always go to her when I needed an answer in a hurry...rather than the army of Master Degree guys we also had.  As I got to know her ability, I decided I wanted to promote her to a professional grade...and ended up in a war with the Human Resources folks who said she did not meet minimum criteria for the job.  In the end, I did manage to get her in the position, but only because the chief executive agreed with me and forced the HR department to support the move.

As another example, I think of myself.  I have been executive director of a regional planning council for more than a decade; also director of planning for a large city; and director of planning for South Florida Water Management District, responsible for restoration of the Everglades.  I have never taken a single planning course, and although I am entirely self taught in that field I have done very well, and have had a lot of influence on how planning is done in Florida...But, I do have a Masters Degree in Biology...and it is with that degree that I got my foot in the door initially with the agency I came to direct...having started there as a regional biologist.

I believe the best way to learn is through apprenticeship methods...but the system largely requires degrees,  Some companies will pay your tuition, if it is job related...so if you finish your BS or BA...you can often get a Master's paid for, while you work.

I feel funny writing this, because I think that it is possible to do very well without a degree, learning on your own...I think what is most important is that you do something that you love to do...and you look forward to the work each day.  If you feel this way you will succeed.

Good Luck

Dan

 

 

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

 If I was 16-20 or so years old (and knew what I know now), the only degree I'd be considering would be a permaculture cert or possibly a photovoltaic installer cert.  Also acupuncture training, herbalist training.  Something like that.  Hm...the Scots blood in me is also insisting that I couldn't go wrong  w/an apprenticeship at the Lagavulin distillery on the isle of Islay.  

Viva -- Sager

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

My wife and I both have advanced degrees.  My parents both have advanced degrees.  Her father is a Ph.D.  Her only sibling has an advanced degree.  Coming from an educated family, "college" for our kids has never been in doubt.  The idea is that you go to college, earn good money, and pay other people to do your plumbing and change your oil.

I am seriously questioning that wisdom.  I think practical skills will be far more important over the next 20 years.  You may well see a situation where blue collars have a real advantage over white collars.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
Lemonyellowschwin wrote:

You may well see a situation where blue collars have a real advantage over white collars.

And green collars over both -- permaculture types, etc.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Mike,

For starters, I would post this out on the open forums. There are many people who, for one reason or another, are not enrolled subscribers but who can be very valuable resources. I think you do yourself a disservice by confining your query to the subscribers only forum.

Second, I definitely agree with your thinking and the others who have responded. My personal situation was much like Dan described. I'm a self-taught software engineer who knows more about the inner workings of a computer than most of the students who graduate from college or university and only understand high-level languages. However, having only 2-years of college and no degree, I often found myself battling HR because they were more interested in the degree than in someone with many, many years of practical experience.

All that to reinforce what the others have said. Get a degree in something. Then focus your talents in practical areas. Think about what use you can be to people in a small town or village. Direct your training in that area and you'll be well suited for whatever the future brings.

FWIW, I too have shared parts of my life in these forums that I haven't done anywhere else. It is quite a unique community. 

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Mike,

Great subject for a thread! I consider this will be a very popular topic as we begin our transition to a lower energy consumptive world.

A few years ago I would have pushed pretty hard for my kids to have a college degree. I have a "professional" degree which is a five year program in architecture and resulted in a Bachelor of Architecture. I have found that the design and engineering skills I learned are very applicable to solving the problems we will be facing. That said, IMHO I think that certain areas of study will have huge potential while others will likely be worthless. Chemistry, especially Organic Chemistry, Biology, Engineering diciplines such as Civil, Sanitary (Health), Electrical and Mechanical will be very needed and the medical fields will obviously always be needed.

I suspect that the financial services sector, insurances and social services will diminish. The Trades will be needed and having basic skill sets in the woodworking, steel fabrication (especially repair), masonry and concrete fields will be very useful along with plumbing and electrical knowledge. Automobile repair skills will also be sought after in the near term.

Government jobs will be in very high demand and will continue to pay well because of the value they add to our society, esp. Federal Gov't jobs!  Sorry..........I couldn't resist!!!!!!

But I think some of the most valuable skills will be in providing for sustainable community living. Farming, animal husbandry, soil mechanics, veterinary skills, and the maintenance and construction of energy efficient shelter will rise to the top of required survival skills.

Security and self defense will also become a more specialized field, especially within individual communities.I think the Definitive Firearms Thread covers this in detail and there are some very knowledgeable folks in that area. Dimitry Orlov explains how this sector tended to thrive during the Soviet Collapse.

I think that education in general will become much more competitive and institutions that provide useful hands on training will do much better that those dealing in more esoteric subjects such as Psychology, Political Science or the Social Services. I don't mean to make less of the subject, just questioning the valuable final product of the field in general.

That's my $.02 cents worth.........It's definately low value because it is all opinion!!!!!  We'll see how the facts play out.

Coop

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Hi guys,

First let me say thanks for taking the time to post your in-sites. I really have put a lot of thought into this. Getting a wider array of insight does help as before the last 12 or 13 some odd books I have read and all the other research I have done on all this economic stuff really opened my eyes (this stuff has really become like crack to me, lol). This site, the CC, and all you guys here ended up being the cherry on top if that makes sense. All the points you guys bring up are definitely very good points. This bring up a few more thoughts and questions though.

Dan, and Sam, lets start with the point you guys are expressing. To sum it up, simply having the degree is what opens the doors easier in most cases. This is a valid point in my opinion, but then to me that begs the question, where would one draw the line on cost? I guess I should say what is the  cost to benefit ratio which most would say it depends on the degree right? Coop and Sager both make good points in this area about which degree's could have some form of benefit. 

When looking at degree's such as engineering (all areas), Med school, even organic and bio chemistries, I can absolutely see some benefit to the things one could learn, but the thought of coming out of school with well over 20K in debt (as we all know here, especially with these degree's in many cases it is much higher the 20K) to simply have the ability to apply for certain jobs in hopes of getting hired just doesn't seem to have its flair. Maybe it is the entrepreneur in me, I'm honestly not sure.

On a side note, electrical engineering is the only one on that list I would truly have a shot in and excel, but those degree's, from my research, are very, very very very expensive ( well above 40K).

So, for the sake of thinking more in depth, is 40K of debt worth simply having someone take you more seriously, or is this one of those cultural items that is in flux? I can honestly say, as did lemonyellowschwin, the decades old concept of go to school, get a degree, and get a well paying job  (in its most general sense) is really in question. That said, as I am gathering by all your comments, I mean no disrespect to the getting the degree's, education is great. The bigger issue is the HUGE cost of getting there. I know many people with advanced degree's still paying on them over 15 years later. (I know others that simply defer them, lol)

Another quick question........is there specific solar/wind certs out there? I have been learning that stuff on my own (already being an electrician helps, lol) but would love to get that cert too.

Anyway, it is 138am here, hope this is coherent, haha.

Mike

P.S. Sam, do you know if there is a way to move a whole thread, or do I have to copy and paste?

 

 

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
Septimus wrote:

Hi Mike,

I tend to agree with your thinking. I would get fully certified as an electrician and also learn about solar, wind generated power, etc. Those skills are probably better to have and, if things go OK, you can always work on a Master's part time, it won't take that long to get.

This is coming from someone currently working on a Masters in Public Health (part time). Since I am going to finish it in the next year I am going to keep at it (plus you can make a case that if TS does not hit too hard, an MPH will be worth while in helping me find different jobs dealing with health policy, epidemics, the coming soclialized medicine, etc etc.)  But it is not what I would call a productive skill such as being a skilled electrician.  I have been giving thought into what I call productive skills I need to develop so I think you are on the right track.

- Septimus

Thanks, I agree with you here too. With everything happening in the world, productive capacity, and needed career fields is what got me thinking. After (or while) I get my certs I was actually considering at least finishing my Bachelors out part time like you are doing with  your masters, but the problem is I am half way through a business degree, lol. I'd be basically starting over in another major......it can be a bit disheartening when thinking about it that way, but I don't let it get me down. It is one of the motivating points for posting it up here though....

Anyway, off to bed

Mike

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
that1guy wrote:

P.S. Sam, do you know if there is a way to move a whole thread, or do I have to copy and paste?

 

I think I might be able to help.  Keep the conversation here for now and I will see what I can do for you.

Ron

Ed.: I have moved this into the General Questions and Comments section for you.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Hey, thanks, I appreciate the help....I didn't know how to move it, or if it was even possible

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
SagerXX wrote:

Hm...the Scots blood in me is also insisting that I couldn't go wrong  w/an apprenticeship at the Lagavulin distillery on the isle of Islay.  

Viva -- Sager

Unless there was an opening at the Ardbeg distillery.  Or the Highland Park distillery on Orkney or the Springbank in Campbeltown.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Mike -

Great topic.  I've been thinking along the same lines for awhile now.  What good is an MBA and  Masters in Nuclear Engineering going to be worth post-SHTF?

Cat and I have occasionally discussed me going to Nursing school or taking an EMT certification course.  That seems to be a skill set that would have some value going forward.

Dogs as a nurse?  Whew!  That could be interesting.  Imagine the TV program "House" (Hugh Laurie is brilliant BTW) except the focal character being Nurse Dogs instead of a doctor.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

My husband has a plethora of advanced degrees. I have two measly associates degrees. We met working at the same software company, at the same employee level and pay grade. While our job responsibilities were in different spectrums, the importance of those responsibilities were equal. Both those career tracks normally require newbies straight out of college to have a degree; but I never needed one. In fact, I have never needed any degree to get any of the higher level positions I've obtained. Yes, a degree would probably would have made it easier to open a few doors... but those doors I couldn't open were not the sort of company I wanted to work for because they were electing to value a piece of paper over raw talent.

A degree does not equal knowledge or talent, it simply means that someone managed to get a C average, spent a lot of money, and "toughed it out" in the system. Basically, the degree is a way to check whether you're inducted into the system properly or not. Companies that require a degree before even talking to you just shows that this is a system thing rather than a knowledge thing... all of us that are self-taught can attest that you can read and understand the college textbook without paying the school or the professor!

I think that these upper-ecehlon positions that require degrees aren't going to be of much use post-TSHTF. If they even still exist, raw talent and confidence is going to win out. There may still be some degree-requiring positions that actually still need the degree -- like doctors and scientists -- but the rest will be starved for good people regardless of education. At this point you couldn't pay me to get a business degree, much less have me pay for one!  Blue, green and no-collar jobs are going to be much more vital to survival and commerce. You might not need an MBA, but everyone is still going to need their car fixed, or houses built, etc etc

I think your plan to become an electrician is appropriate. You can join the local union as an apprentice for little or no money, no education required (you just take a few qualifications tests). My ex-husband did this after leaving the Army and getting an Associate's with his GI Bill. If he'd known that he was dyslexic and wouldn't be able to complete college, he would just have gone straight to the electricians. He's currently working steady hours with steady pay while everyone else is getting laid off in other sectors. He's never going to need an Electrical Engineering degree to do his job, he'll be able to earn his Master Electricians certification through time and hard work... while they are paying him.

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Value of higher education questioned

I'm also surprised to find myself questioning the value of college degrees in the last few years for several reasons. I got my BA and became a journalist and venerated all things intellectual and white collar in my 20s and 30s. Then I stayed home with kids for a while, and retrained to work as a massage therapist part-time. I was stunned to realize that I could have an intellectually engaging, energizing and deeply satisfying career with a year or two of courses at essentially a technical school.

We unschool our two kids -- no set curriculum, using the kids' interests to facilitate the aquiring of basic skills, responding to their desires to learn about particular subjects rather than following some essentially arbitrary curriculum (there's plenty on the net about unschooling so I'm not going to bother to define it further) but until I heard a talk at our local teachers college from John Taylor Gatto, I was still considering university as the epitome of education (and freaking out, from time to time, about whether the kids would want to spend the time to aquire the specific set of knowledge required to do well on college admission tests). Gatto's a multi-winner of NYC teacher of the year and also won NY State TotY as well. He's been in the system for a long time and has some really dramatic things to say about it. Most of his writing and speaking focuses on compulsory public education, but he minces no words in regards to university education as it currently exists in this country. He's a very prolific talker and writer and I need to turn the computer over to my son in a second, but I did dig this essay up that addresses his views on "higher" education.

http://www.homeschoolnewslink.com/homeschool/columnists/gatto/v8i3_richest.shtml

His comments  (which, not being a conspiracy theorist by nature, I hesitate to swallow in their entirety), combined with the economic implosion we are in, makes me feel much more comfortable about not forcing my children to spend 12 years learning a set of information, only a fraction of which is actually useful or necessary for living a productive, meaningful and satisfying life. Most of the knowledge I use these days I had to learn on my own; it was never taught to me in public school or university (and don't get me started on critical thinking skills. I got my first *glimmer* of what that meant midway through college, and honed what skills I do possess during a decade in journalism).

Fwiw,

Sue

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Re: Value of higher education questioned

Sue,

John Taylor Gatto has been a grand influence on me and, I've been wearing a link to an article called 'The Six Lesson Schoolteacher' in my signature here for a number of months now. Relevant to this thread he most definitely is!!

As worthy of reading as your own fascinating link by him, I'll leave others to nod in agreement as much or as little as they wish with a full print below...

...I'm bias ... ...

Best,

Paul

.... :-

The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher

by John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, 1991

 

 

Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. My license certifies me as an instructor of English language and literature, but that isn't what I do at all. What I teach is school, and I win awards doing it.

Teaching means many different things, but six lessons are common to schoolteaching from Harlem to Hollywood. You pay for these lessons in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what they are:

The first lesson I teach is: "Stay in the class where you belong." I don't know who decides that my kids belong there but that's not my business. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class. Over the years the variety of ways children are numbered has increased dramatically, until it is hard to see the human being under the burden of the numbers each carries. Numbering children is a big and very profitable business, though what the business is designed to accomplish is elusive.

In any case, again, that's not my business. My job is to make the kids like it -- being locked in together, I mean -- or at the minimum, endure it. If things go well, the kids can't imagine themselves anywhere else; they envy and fear the better classes and have contempt for the dumber classes. So the class mostly keeps itself in good marching order. That's the real lesson of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place.

Nevertheless, in spite of the overall blueprint, I make an effort to urge children to higher levels of test success, promising eventual transfer from the lower-level class as a reward. I insinuate that the day will come when an employer will hire them on the basis of test scores, even though my own experience is that employers are (rightly) indifferent to such things. I never lie outright, but I've come to see that truth and [school]teaching are incompatible.

The lesson of numbered classes is that there is no way out of your class except by magic. Until that happens you must stay where you are put.

The second lesson I teach kids is to turn on and off like a light switch. I demand that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor. But when the bell rings I insist that they drop the work at once and proceed quickly to the next work station. Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of.

The lesson of bells is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything? Bells are the secret logic of schooltime; their argument is inexorable; bells destroy past and future, converting every interval into a sameness, as an abstract map makes every living mountain and river the same even though they are not. Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference.

The third lesson I teach you is to surrender your will to a predestined chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld, by authority, without appeal. As a schoolteacher I intervene in many personal decisions, issuing a Pass for those I deem legitimate, or initiating a disciplinary confrontation for behavior that threatens my control. My judgments come thick and fast, because individuality is trying constantly to assert itself in my classroom. Individuality is a curse to all systems of classification, a contradiction of class theory.

Here are some common ways it shows up: children sneak away for a private moment in the toilet on the pretext of moving their bowels; they trick me out of a private instant in the hallway on the grounds that they need water. Sometimes free will appears right in front of me in children angry, depressed or exhilarated by things outside my ken. Rights in such things cannot exist for schoolteachers; only privileges, which can be withdrawn, exist.

The fourth lesson I teach is that only I determine what curriculum you will study. (Rather, I enforce decisions transmitted by the people who pay me). This power lets me separate good kids from bad kids instantly. Good kids do the tasks I appoint with a minimum of conflict and a decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to learn, I decide what few we have time for. The choices are mine. Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity.

Bad kids fight against this, of course, trying openly or covertly to make decisions for themselves about what they will learn. How can we allow that and survive as schoolteachers? Fortunately there are procedures to break the will of those who resist.

This is another way I teach the lesson of dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. This is the most important lesson of all, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. It is no exaggeration to say that our entire economy depends upon this lesson being learned. Think of what would fall apart if kids weren't trained in the dependency lesson: The social-service businesses could hardly survive, including the fast-growing counseling industry; commercial entertainment of all sorts, along with television, would wither if people remembered how to make their own fun; the food services, restaurants and prepared-food warehouses would shrink if people returned to making their own meals rather than depending on strangers to cook for them. Much of modern law, medicine, and engineering would go too -- the clothing business as well -- unless a guaranteed supply of helpless people poured out of our schools each year. We've built a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don't know any other way. For God's sake, let's not rock that boat!

In lesson five I teach that your self-respect should depend on an observer's measure of your worth. My kids are constantly evaluated and judged. A monthly report, impressive in its precision, is sent into students' homes to spread approval or to mark exactly -- down to a single percentage point -- how dissatisfied with their children parents should be. Although some people might be surprised how little time or reflection goes into making up these records, the cumulative weight of the objective- seeming documents establishes a profile of defect which compels a child to arrive at a certain decisions about himself and his future based on the casual judgment of strangers.

Self-evaluation -- the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet -- is never a factor in these things. The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents, but must rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.

In lesson six I teach children that they are being watched. I keep each student under constant surveillance and so do my colleagues. There are no private spaces for children; there is no private time. Class change lasts 300 seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low levels. Students are encouraged to tattle on each other, even to tattle on their parents. Of course I encourage parents to file their own child's waywardness, too.

I assign "homework" so that this surveillance extends into the household, where students might otherwise use the time to learn something unauthorized, perhaps from a father or mother, or by apprenticing to some wiser person in the neighborhood.

The lesson of constant surveillance is that no one can be trusted, that privacy is not legitimate. Surveillance is an ancient urgency among certain influential thinkers; it was a central prescription set down by Calvin in the Institutes, by Plato in the Republic, by Hobbes, by Comte, by Francis Bacon. All these childless men discovered the same thing: Children must be closely watched if you want to keep a society under central control.

It is the great triumph of schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among even the best parents, there is only a small number who can imagine a different way to do things. Yet only a very few lifetimes ago things were different in the United States: originality and variety were common currency; our freedom from regimentation made us the miracle of the world; social class boundaries were relatively easy to cross; our citizenry was marvelously confident, inventive, and able to do many things independently, to think for themselves. We were something, all by ourselves, as individuals.

It only takes about 50 contact hours to transmit basic literacy and math skills well enough that kids can be self-teachers from then on. The cry for "basic skills" practice is a smokescreen behind which schools pre-empt the time of children for twelve years and teach them the six lessons I've just taught you.

We've had a society increasingly under central control in the United States since just before the Civil War: the lives we lead, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the green highway signs we drive by from coast to coast are the products of this central control. So, too, I think, are the epidemics of drugs, suicide, divorce, violence, cruelty, and the hardening of class into caste in the U.S., products of the dehumanization of our lives, the lessening of individual and family importance that central control imposes.

Without a fully active role in community life you cannot develop into a complete human being. Aristotle taught that. Surely he was right; look around you or look in the mirror: that is the demonstration.

"School" is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows to a control point as it ascends. "School" is an artifice which makes such a pyramidal social order seem inevitable (although such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution). In colonial days and through the period of the early Republic we had no schools to speak of. And yet the promise of democracy was beginning to be realized. We turned our backs on this promise by bringing to life the ancient dream of Egypt: compulsory training in subordination for everybody. Compulsory schooling was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in the Republic when he laid down the plans for total state control of human life.

The current debate about whether we should have a national curriculum is phony; we already have one, locked up in the six lessons I've told you about and a few more I've spared you. This curriculum produces moral and intellectual paralysis, and no curriculum of content will be sufficient to reverse its bad effects. What is under discussion is a great irrelevancy.

None of this is inevitable, you know. None of it is impregnable to change. We do have a choice in how we bring up young people; there is no right way. There is no "international competition" that compels our existence, difficult as it is to even think about in the face of a constant media barrage of myth to the contrary. In every important material respect our nation is self-sufficient. If we gained a non-material philosophy that found meaning where it is genuinely located -- in families, friends, the passage of seasons, in nature, in simple ceremonies and rituals, in curiosity, generosity, compassion, and service to others, in a decent independence and privacy -- then we would be truly self-sufficient.

How did these awful places, these "schools", come about? As we know them, they are a product of the two "Red Scares" of 1848 and 1919, when powerful interests feared a revolution among our industrial poor, and partly they are the result of the revulsion with which old-line families regarded the waves of Celtic, Slavic, and Latin immigration -- and the Catholic religion -- after 1845. And certainly a third contributing cause can be found in the revulsion with which these same families regarded the free movement of Africans through the society after the Civil War.

Look again at the six lessons of school. This is training for permanent underclasses, people who are to be deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius. And it is training shaken loose from its original logic: to regulate the poor. Since the 1920s the growth of the well-articulated school bureaucracy, and the less visible growth of a horde of industries that profit from schooling exactly as it is, have enlarged schooling's original grasp to seize the sons and daughters of the middle class.

Is it any wonder Socrates was outraged at the accusation that he took money to teach? Even then, philosophers saw clearly the inevitable direction the professionalization of teaching would take, pre-empting the teaching function that belongs to all in a healthy community; belongs, indeed, most clearly to yourself, since nobody else cares as much about your destiny. Professional teaching tends to another serious error. It makes things that are inherently easy to learn, like reading, writing, and arithmetic, difficult -- by insisting they be taught by pedagogical procedures.

With lessons like the ones I teach day after day, is it any wonder we have the national crisis we face today? Young people indifferent to the adult world and to the future; indifferent to almost everything except the diversion of toys and violence? Rich or poor, schoolchildren cannot concentrate on anything for very long. They have a poor sense of time past and to come; they are mistrustful of intimacy (like the children of divorce they really are); they hate solitude, are cruel, materialistic, dependent, passive, violent, timid in the face of the unexpected, addicted to distraction.

All the peripheral tendencies of childhood are magnified to a grotesque extent by schooling, whose hidden curriculum prevents effective personality development. Indeed, without exploiting the fearfulness, selfishness, and inexperience of children our schools could not survive at all, nor could I as a certified schoolteacher.

"Critical thinking" is a term we hear frequently these days as a form of training which will herald a new day in mass schooling. It certainly will, if it ever happens. No common school that actually dared teach the use of dialectic, heuristic, and other tools of free minds could last a year without being torn to pieces.

Institutional schoolteachers are destructive to children's development. Nobody survives the Six-Lesson Curriculum unscathed, not even the instructors. The method is deeply and profoundly anti-educational. No tinkering will fix it. In one of the great ironies of human affairs, the massive rethinking that schools require would cost so much less than we are spending now that it is not likely to happen. First and foremost, the business I am in is a jobs project and a contract-letting agency. We cannot afford to save money, not even to help children.

At the pass we've come to historically, and after 26 years of teaching, I must conclude that one of the only alternatives on the horizon for most families is to teach their own children at home. Small, de- institutionalized schools are another. Some form of free-market system for public schooling is the likeliest place to look for answers. But the near impossibility of these things for the shattered families of the poor, and for too many on the fringes of the economic middle class, foretell that the disaster of Six-Lesson Schools is likely to continue.

After an adult lifetime spent in teaching school I believe the method of schooling is the only real content it has. Don't be fooled into thinking that good curricula or good equipment or good teachers are the critical determinants of your son and daughter's schooltime. All the pathologies we've considered come about in large measure because the lessons of school prevent children from keeping important appointments with themselves and their families, to learn lessons in self-motivation, perseverance, self-reliance, courage, dignity and love -- and, of course, lessons in service to others, which are among the key lessons of home life.

Thirty years ago these things could still be learned in the time left after school. But television has eaten most of that time, and a combination of television and the stresses peculiar to two-income or single-parent families have swallowed up most of what used to be family time. Our kids have no time left to grow up fully human, and only thin-soil wastelands to do it in.

A future is rushing down upon our culture which will insist that all of us learn the wisdom of non-material experience; this future will demand, as the price of survival, that we follow a pace of natural life economical in material cost. These lessons cannot be learned in schools as they are. School is like starting life with a 12-year jail sentence in which bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.

 

 

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Vanity, (Sue)

That has got to be one of the best written essays I have ever read on this topic. I wish I had heard of him sooner.

I guess I'm not far off in my logic. Honestly, I'm even looking at this as my ticket out of the military as well. I don't regret joining, but definitely am not looking to pull a 20 if I can help it. It would be nice to have a place to call home....

Mike

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
that1guy wrote:

Thanks, I agree with you here too. With everything happening in the world, productive capacity, and needed career fields is what got me thinking. After (or while) I get my certs I was actually considering at least finishing my Bachelors out part time like you are doing with  your masters, but the problem is I am half way through a business degree, lol. I'd be basically starting over in another major......it can be a bit disheartening when thinking about it that way, but I don't let it get me down. It is one of the motivating points for posting it up here though....

Anyway, off to bed

Mike

Hi Mike,

Being half way through your bachelors, I would be inclined to keep at it either full time or part time depending on your circumstances. If you do it full time then you could learn the other skills that interest you part time or vice versa.  No one know how all this will play out and some have said it will probably be a gradual process, punctuated by bigger events. If that is the case, the college degree will probably be of some use in some areas of the world but the more practical skills will keep getting more valuable IMO.

- Septimus

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Thanks for making this thread. Im a recent graduate of highschool and have been looking at my options. I was actully looking into the army specifically the special forces it seems to me that is the only place I will get the training I want and will probably need.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
MDR wrote:

Thanks for making this thread. Im a recent graduate of highschool and have been looking at my options. I was actully looking into the army specifically the special forces it seems to me that is the only place I will get the training I want and will probably need.

Hi MDR and welcome,

I have spent a lot of time and thought into this topic as it tends to go against the normal thought process about education (to include my own....).

What you choose to do now that you have graduated is completely up to you, but before you jump in to a military contract make sure you consider long term future. I promise I am not trying to knock the army or special forces for that matter, but consider where you might be able to apply the skills you will learn in spec ops in the real world; that is unless you plan on staying in more than 20 years, and even then, your retirement won't be enough to live on (if there even is a retirement by then [i guess the better question is what will it be]). For these general reasons, and many specific as I have stated above is why I am looking into specific trades. With that said, the military does offer many career fields in specific trades, for the purpose of long term sustainability, in my opinion, I don't know if spec ops will supply that. They also offer other incentives that will pay for certification courses and tests as well (if that is the motivating factor).

Anyway, I hope this helps. I sure the other great people here may add a bit more as I kept it pretty general (since I don't know your overall goals ya know).

Mike

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

MDR -The military will certainly give you some survival and specialized training, but keep in mind that you don't get to decide what job you'll be doing. The recruiters will tell you that you can chose, but you will be assigned based on your skills and test scores. Even though they tell you that you are signing up for a certain job all the way through the process, that can change at anytime during bootcamp and training. I'm not knocking the military, just warning you that your plans and their plans may be entirely different... unless you have some rare skills that they desperately need, you're just another replaceable guy with a gun regardless of what job you've signed up for or that they've trained you for. I'd recommend that you at least investigate apprenticeship opportunities in other fields before entering a military contract.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Signing up for the military, enlists you in the Army.

Once you pass physical, sometime before boot camp you'll take the ASVAB, this will determine which available units you can be assigned to. It may not be special forces, I don't have experience of US Army, but the British Parachute Regiment (which is a combat regiment that frequently transfers to Special Forces such as the S.A.S) has the following tests, I had to complete this even though I was an officer, and finished before I was sent to the RMA Sandhurst.

PRAC (Pre Regiment Aptitude course)

Gym Tests, 5 Mile run course, Steeplechase course

P-Coy (PPS)

10 Miler (35lb pack rifle and ammo) completed under 1h 50 minutes, Trainasium (assault course at height), Log Race 8 man team carrying 60kg (132lb) log over 1.9 Km, 2 Mile March (35lb pack water food, and rifle/ammo) under 18 minutes, Steeplechase 1.8 mile course with assault course and water crossing, Milling (boxing without defending, at's about aggression not smarts, I've seen people get pounded and pass, and others pound someone else and fail), Endurance march 20 mile march with 35lb pack water food, rifle.ammo in under 4 hours, Stretcher race 175lb stretcher carried over 5 miles with a 16 man team.

Failing any of these will RTR you to an infantry (or your previous) regiment, and end your Parachute regiment career (you can retake the testing one more time), the criteria for passing these are nearly all timed even those without times listed, but then there are a huge number of other things that can bin you, like whinging, complaining, getting rattled or scared, injury, yada, yada, yada. Passing these just means you have your foot in the door too, you can still fail out.

The Para's aren't Special Forces per-se, but are classed as an Elite regiment, Special Forces recruiting and testing is significantly more extreme than the above testing.

One other thing, Special Forces assignments are not for everyone. It takes a special kind person and mindset to make it to full combat special forces, frequently you're operating behind enemy lines, without support, possibly without real communications, and capture could result in death by firing squad. Let me clarify what I mean by special forces too, S.A.S, SEALS, Delta Force are special forces, Rangers are not special forces, nor are the USMC.

However the overall process of everything is all tested, failure will return you to regiment, including a lot of things I haven't gone into detail, like swimming.scuba, marksmanship, the parachute training course itself, etc.etc.

The thing to remember about Special Forces is that you do not choose to be in a Special Forces unit, they choose you.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
PlicketyCat wrote:

MDR -The military will certainly give you some survival and specialized training, but keep in mind that you don't get to decide what job you'll be doing. The recruiters will tell you that you can chose, but you will be assigned based on your skills and test scores. Even though they tell you that you are signing up for a certain job all the way through the process, that can change at anytime during boot camp and training. I'm not knocking the military, just warning you that your plans and their plans may be entirely different... unless you have some rare skills that they desperately need, you're just another replaceable guy with a gun regardless of what job you've signed up for or that they've trained you for. I'd recommend that you at least investigate apprenticeship opportunities in other fields before entering a military contract.

Hii Pickety,

Although some of these items do happen, it is not the case, and is actually because most new recruits don't know their rights. For example where you said, " Even though they tell you that you are signing up for a certain job all the way through the process, that can change at anytime during boot camp and training" This is actually not true for the Navy and the Air force; the only difference for the Army is that they are all 'infantry first'. Personally I consider Marines in their own playing field all together.

 Your other comment, "The recruiters will tell you that you can chose, but you will be assigned based on your skills and test scores" Is actually pretty close, although none of them assign you, they tell you what you qualify for, then you pick. After that it is up to you to keep an eye on your contract. Putting this together with the first comment this is where the problem is.

What happens is about mid way through boot camp you see a 'job councilor' that puts a contract in front of you. This is where people get their jobs changed on them and in many cases are told they have no choice, but you do. Personally, when I joined I specifically picked being an Aircraft Electrician, but mid way through when I saw the job guy whom gave me my contract which said "Open general electrical." This is not the same thing, any contract that says Open general means they can stick you anywhere they want. At that time they attempted to have me sign it, but I refused until it was rewritten, which was my legal right since my original contract, which I was sure to read before signing, guaranteed me my specific job.

As for the special forces area, you have to go through a series of try outs which occur at specific times through out boot camp. For example, in the Air Force they will have an all call for Para Rescue try outs that come in phases. I think the first is swimming if I remember correctly, but anyway...You have to pass all phases of try outs before they let you in to the school.

Hope this helps...

Mike

 

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
Gungnir wrote:

Signing up for the military, enlists you in the Army.

Once you pass physical, sometime before boot camp you'll take the ASVAB, this will determine which available units you can be assigned to. It may not be special forces, I don't have experience of US Army, but the British Parachute Regiment (which is a combat regiment that frequently transfers to Special Forces such as the S.A.S) has the following tests, I had to complete this even though I was an officer, and finished before I was sent to the RMA Sandhurst.

PRAC (Pre Regiment Aptitude course)

Gym Tests, 5 Mile run course, Steeplechase course

P-Coy (PPS)

10 Miler (35lb pack rifle and ammo) completed under 1h 50 minutes, Trainasium (assault course at height), Log Race 8 man team carrying 60kg (132lb) log over 1.9 Km, 2 Mile March (35lb pack water food, and rifle/ammo) under 18 minutes, Steeplechase 1.8 mile course with assault course and water crossing, Milling (boxing without defending, at's about aggression not smarts, I've seen people get pounded and pass, and others pound someone else and fail), Endurance march 20 mile march with 35lb pack water food, rifle.ammo in under 4 hours, Stretcher race 175lb stretcher carried over 5 miles with a 16 man team.

Failing any of these will RTR you to an infantry (or your previous) regiment, and end your Parachute regiment career (you can retake the testing one more time), the criteria for passing these are nearly all timed even those without times listed, but then there are a huge number of other things that can bin you, like whinging, complaining, getting rattled or scared, injury, yada, yada, yada. Passing these just means you have your foot in the door too, you can still fail out.

The Para's aren't Special Forces per-se, but are classed as an Elite regiment, Special Forces recruiting and testing is significantly more extreme than the above testing.

One other thing, Special Forces assignments are not for everyone. It takes a special kind person and mindset to make it to full combat special forces, frequently you're operating behind enemy lines, without support, possibly without real communications, and capture could result in death by firing squad. Let me clarify what I mean by special forces too, S.A.S, SEALS, Delta Force are special forces, Rangers are not special forces, nor are the USMC.

However the overall process of everything is all tested, failure will return you to regiment, including a lot of things I haven't gone into detail, like swimming.scuba, marksmanship, the parachute training course itself, etc.etc.

The thing to remember about Special Forces is that you do not choose to be in a Special Forces unit, they choose you.

That last comment is very very true, The rest of it is well said too.............very specific, and shows the level of elite on up to spec ops.

Mike

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Thanks for more clarification Mike. Reading and understanding your contract is key! My personal experience was in the Navy, and the majority of jobs that I qualified for and was interested in were either "no females" or didn't have open billets... they tried to get me to sign up "general" and then move over when a billet opened, but I knew that was a bad idea. Most of my family and friends were in the Army, so they did get stuck in the infantry a few times regardless of their job.

My recommendation to anyone who is looking to go into the military is to make sure that you really want to join the military, not just looking for an "easy" way to get a job for a few years and some education. If you aren't really interested in being a soldier and don't do well with structured hierarchy no amount of secondary benefits are going to be worth it. Only join the military if you really want to be a member of the armed forces. Otherwise, if you're just looking for training (and possible tuition assistance) while you get paid to work, look into apprenticeships.

I'm not knocking the military or trying to convince people not to join; but I grew up Army and was in the Navy myself... the military is a whole lifestyle not just another job, and it's definitely not for everyone. Too many people who don't know what to do with their life figure they'll just join the army and it's that simple... nothing could be farther from the truth.

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)
PlicketyCat wrote:

Thanks for more clarification Mike. Reading and understanding your contract is key! My personal experience was in the Navy, and the majority of jobs that I qualified for and was interested in were either "no females" or didn't have open billets... they tried to get me to sign up "general" and then move over when a billet opened, but I knew that was a bad idea. Most of my family and friends were in the Army, so they did get stuck in the infantry a few times regardless of their job.

My recommendation to anyone who is looking to go into the military is to make sure that you really want to join the military, not just looking for an "easy" way to get a job for a few years and some education. If you aren't really interested in being a soldier and don't do well with structured hierarchy no amount of secondary benefits are going to be worth it. Only join the military if you really want to be a member of the armed forces. Otherwise, if you're just looking for training (and possible tuition assistance) while you get paid to work, look into apprenticeships.

I'm not knocking the military or trying to convince people not to join; but I grew up Army and was in the Navy myself... the military is a whole lifestyle not just another job, and it's definitely not for everyone. Too many people who don't know what to do with their life figure they'll just join the army and it's that simple... nothing could be farther from the truth.

Can I get an AMEN.....lol. That is well put, and kinda where I was going with it too. It is not as simple as just joining and thats it. You have to really know what it is your after. Not to mention the structured hierarchy as you so nicely put....I call it knowing how to play their 'game.'

The worst part is in many cases they fall under the mistakes the rest of the government does. I have always said 'If it makes sense, the military (GOVERNMENT) won't do it'

Mike

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Vanityfox451
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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Mike (that1guy),

This is a link to John Taylor Gatto :-

The Underground History of American Education

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

... it was first published in 2000 and is a massively researched exposition of his discontent with the education system that he's since made available to read online ...

... If you enjoyed his essay's, this will be both involving and educational ...

... also, a link to a set of videos with his thinking compiled :-

http://www.edflix.org/gatto.htm

... and Wikipedia's write-up :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Taylor_Gatto#cite_ref-0

... we need more like him ...

Best,

Paul

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

ROFL - yeah "structured hierarchy" is a euphemism for doing what you're told no matter if it makes sense or not. Sometimes there is method to the madness, other times it's just outdated superfluous protocol. It's also difficult (for me at least) to take orders and respect someone who hadn't earned it... just having rank doesn't mean diddly to me if you can't find your a$$ with both hands, a flashlight, a nav map and a compass! The hardest part for me was "hurry up and wait"... I can't begin to count how many times things could have gotten done much faster and better if we didn't have to do it "by the book."   (Of course, I had this same problem with college, too ROFL)

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

That1Guy, MDR,

The AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command) PAST (Physical Aptitude and Stamina Test) is as follows:
- 2x20m underwater swim (P/F event - breaking surface before 20m will count as a failure)
- 500m Surface Swim (12:00 or > - Stopping will constitute failure)
- 1.5mi Run (10:45 or less - Stopping will constitute failure)
- 6 Pullups (Dead Hang)
- 45 Pushups
- 45 Situps
- 45 Flutter-Kicks
Combat Control troops will also do a 3 mile ruck march in 45:00 or <.
Failing any one event constitutes failure in all events.
I took this test for Combat Weather in March, so it's current as of this year (2009).

It's important to understand that these numbers represent the minimum, and that your endurance will be strongly challenged during this test.
For the Army, one must simply pass the Army Physical Fitness Test with a composite score of 210 IIRC - a recommended score of 270 is advisible for Special Forces. All scores must be for the 18-21 year old catagory. One must also be a volunteer for Airborne.

Here is the Army's Physical Fitness Calculator:
http://www.hooah4health.com/4You/apft.htm
If you intend to do Special Operations, you need to be ready physically and mentally.
If you can only do the minimums - train harder and wait. Don't get wrapped up about the "cool guy" schools.
If you just want to do those, save your money and do them at civilian schools.
Many exist to train you in any topic you want to learn. Trust me when I say that the military is not the sole source of any skill.

Likewise, much of your training in Special Operations won't translate well to survival in a collapsed world: Airborne/HALO/Scuba and schools like Air Assault won't likely do you any good. Other schools meant to sharpen your skills as an operator; such as Trauma Medicine, Tactical and Weapons and SERE might apply - and would offer you ample employment opportunities as your credentials would speak for themselves.

Cheers,

Aaron

Edited for clarity

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Re: So I've been thinking....(input all?)

Thanks everyone for the incite. I wouldnt even join if I didnt know I could handle it and I do. Even so it is still just a consideration.

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