The Astounding Failure of the US Education System, Part 2

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Diamond Jim's picture

With regards to the Woodstock generation sitting through various monetarist scenarios..I offer: (1) many have "dropped out" so to speak, (2) the power was already in the financial industry and could not be changed, (3) too many already making $$$ in the power game so why change what was working. It could be a combination of all three. History may not reflect well on the "Woodstock Generation". We may have changed the course of history, but we did not follow through. we gave the country presidents like Clinton, Bush and Obama...I am almost ashamed.

As you suggest, hopefully the youngins' will pull it out, I know I have spent many hours hammering away at my kids and their friends. I have tried to instill a sense of American pride and history, Austrian economics, self-esteem, teamwork (especially with ones spouse) and to see as much of this country as possible (I am a geologist).

Sean7k's picture

And it sounds like you have done a wonderful job. All the best!

Diamond Jim's picture

Sean7k...I have heard all about "social group networks" in school today. This is an outgrowth of the "Japanese model" from the 70s and 80s. My daughter constantly complains about these models....she finds more often than not that she ends up doing all the work while the others fiddle. She does not like this "socialistic" model as everyone in the group receives a good grade based on her disproportionate burden. This kind of "group think" can be good and can bring along the more challenged, but does not justly reward the those leaders or motivated individuals.

One of the great things about this country is that it is the individual that is allowed to fluorish, unlike many other countries where everyone follows and goes along for the ride. It is in our Constitution, culture etc., ....e pluribus unim and all that.....

Sean7k's picture

You are probably confusing my reference with cooperative learning models that do exactly what your daughter complained about. However, get a group of motivated students or workers on a project is different. 

You can see this in AP classes, but more so when natural competition is tempered by the drive for a superior output. Teamwork via the Japanese model is not necessarily bad. With a US twist? 

We do not have a monopoly on invention. The individual is strengthen through cooperation, not diminished. As I remember it, we have quite a few failures running around in our generation as well, including our collective inability to anticipate the destructive transfer of wealth to bankers and the financial sector. If we are so smart, why didn't we identify the bubbles, the SS tax swap or dotcom run up for what they were? 

We sat through the free love/std/aids merry go round, rise of the monetarists, Glass-Steagal and the ever next war that continue to in debt us and kill our children for no good reason. 

I say, let's give them a chance...they just might surprise us.

MachoMan's picture

I dragged no less than a dozen students kicking and screaming through college degrees of various sorts on my coattails through forced group work.  The system is more of a crutch than benefit... 

tony bonn's picture

mr kim - whether ones considers your rhetorical polish high or low would not matter because the content of your rhetoric is outstanding. you think outside of the box and offer truly original and valuable insights. i rank you among zh's top 3 authors.

i totally agree with you about the place of education and how it denudes the mind of critical thinking to be replaced by credentialism. i am not on speaking terms with some of my family because of my contempt for higher education or a demand for credentials when it is purely nonsense.

most people have so much money and religion invested in education that they can't think rationally. if you question its relevance in the workplace they haughtilly dismiss you for uttering blasphemies. these same asswipes who claim to be areligious would burn you at the stake in a minute for desecrating the alter of education.

yet education in most business related realms is merely a means of capitalizing 2d rate minds with enough knowledge to be marginally productive. education and iq are two different entities. any correlation between the two is due to self selection.

no doubt some fields such as physical and medical sciences benefit from formal education but this is not necessarily the case either. do psychologist cure anyone? what is the success rate of social workers? it isn't even close to being high enough for their conceited arrogances.

medicine? some say that america has the best medical system in the world. that is pure horseshit. american doctors' understandings of human health is woefully retarded and backward. the american doctor never met an operation or big pharm drug he didn't like. yet these things are inimical to good health in most cases.

i am in school now simply to satisfy the gatekeeper of employment and can't begin to tell you how trivial and unrelated the course content is to my former career level. it is childish information yet the fucktards at the gate insist upon it.

as such education is a total hoax and required payment to education nazis. whenever you ask a professor a question the answer is always the same - look it up. i have been doing that all of my life to great success. so who needs the asshole professor?

has any medical school warned of the dangers of cellular phone, fluoride, or sugar? no! if one had, each and every one of the foregoing would be outlawed or severely limited.

there is certainly a place for higher education but not nearly to the degree touted by the oligarchy. in fact most education is like vitamins - ingested and then pissed away. i have never nor will i ever in my career (where i made 6 figures) make use of any college math, computer science (it's too trivial), science, or humanities except rhetoric and that is only because i took it at a good school. so what's the irr on all of those pissed away vitamins?

understand one thing - no one is against knowledge - we need it and inquisitive minds. wisdom danced before the lord when he created the world. but the protocol for acquiring it is not always best served as it is now.

keep writing man. when you are insulted by 2d rate minds, bypass them. they are the same people who wanted to burn gallileo and are the neocons of today.


Diamond Jim's picture

Let's go back in the time machine (the old "Way back machine")  to a time when kids appeared more motivated (though we still hated school) in schools, where kids actually learned something, and America was at its pinnacle in engineering, math and science. This was a time when 2+2 actually equaled 4, not 5 (and little Sally gets half credit for trying). Kids could actually write a legible and complete sentence, with the correct use of grammar and spelling (no computer spell check, could use a dictionary). Real American history was taught in schools to give kids a sense of where we came from (at present history has been re-written to show how bad the Founders were, how bad capitalism is, how bad America is for using up the world's resources etc). SAT scores were higher, kids that actually met the college entrance standards got in and did not have to go through 2 years of remedial education before they can actually start their degree. The up shot of the last point also meant that Mommy and Daddy didn't have to shell out life savings for little Johnny to waste two years of time to play catch up at a cost of $20k or so a year. We were physically fit due to that mean marine sergeant that kept the fat off us  (no McDonalds).

The point of all this is something has changed in education (and maybe society) since this old dinosaur graduated high school in the late 1960s. Ya' know learning all those names and dates in history; doing rote memorization in math (ask a kid today what 7 X 6 is, deer in the headlights response); taking a real science class instead of climate-Al Goreicle style environmental science; learning to read and write a complete thought on a piece of paper.....did allow me to take better advantage of the "system". Those 3-5 hours of actual home workper night, having to write term papers, book reports, science projects etc prepared me for life later when on the job I am actually expected to read, write, calculate, evaluate and perform. My parents were involved in my education and damn well expected me to learn, to evaluate, think and communicate. All this has changed today, kids spend more time exercising their thumbs on a miniature keyboard than doing a push up, get math answers from their I-pod, are more concerned with being in touch with their friends on worthless internet sites like facebook...yeah I am a dinosaur, I am comfortable with my advanced science degree, I took the time to make sure my kids are well educated, ready for life and professional career, and are mentally well balanced.

If you want to know what is wrong with education boils down to: self-esteem is received from working hard at something it is not given out freely; a lack of having  textbooks for the kids to lug home to actually do homework; teachers unions blocking sorely needed competition to weed out schools that are failing and that block the dismissal of greedy top heavy administrators; passing little Johnny and Sally Muckinfutch when they fail;  teachers with no advanced degree teaching in high schools; dumbed down cirriculums to the lowest common denominator;  a mentality of ...if you pass  high school you are now entitled to go onto college; the continual showering of money to schools in response to failure; a lack of discipline and behavior; a lack of support by parents to make kids understand that education is an important passport to making something of one's self. Lastly, one does not need to go to college to suceed in life, but one does need to be able to read, write, do some arithmetic (without a calaculator), and be able to think critically and still have compassion for their fellow human being. None of this is being done in schools today....failure is assured.


In part 2 I will discuss my prediction prowess and show you my ability to write lots of words, go off topic, and pitch my latest Report on.........

TraderTimm's picture

Thoughtful post, Diamond Jim. I like how you just put it out there, not making any of the old "In my day" arguments that ring hollow. It comes across as a very authentic point of view.

I think we've strayed pretty far as well. You are right, the fundamental building blocks of education are either decayed or absent. Doesn't stop a smart kid from being curious and figuring things out (thank god for the internet at least), but for some that are frustrated and need a little help - there's nothing there to truly help them. Sure, pass most of the students even when their comprehension skill is minimal, but that paves over the problem without attacking the root cause.

I've said it before, but the priorities of educational institutions have changed into making a profit versus enriching the students minds with knowledge of history or science.

Who knows where this ruinous path will lead. Nowhere good, that is for sure.

Sean7k's picture

That sums it up very nicely. Although, being oldfarts, we might fail to recognize the development of social networks as they will be applied in the future as a new model for "work groups" rather than individual contributions. 

Todays students are much more adept and accustomed to the nuances of this activity and the benefits that can be generated. 

I try to never underestimate the genius of each generation. Especially since we will experience it whether we want to or not. 

Godisanhftbot's picture

 Less blame on the schools


More blame on the tatooed, baggy pants tards that infest them



cubanonradar's picture

You can still extract what you need from these "institutions of higher learning". The key is to teach your children a healthy dose of skepticism before sending them out into the indoctrination machine. True, you still might lose one to the man but entrepeneurs are born, not made. My blue collar father pushed me to become an MD and as a Dermatologist I am able to work for myself and deliver a service that people want to pay for. Without that path I may not have had the opportunities or life I now have. My father however, made it his mission to pass on his world view and skepticism of politicians and authority so it allowed me to always question and not become a sheeple. This allowed me to get self educated on investing so after a thorough fleecing in the tech bubble with thanks to a highly recommended CFP, I took over my own investing and am happily riding the PM bull. Of course, I really worry about my kids' future in this country. Not sure where to go from here.

michigan independant's picture

In the market economy the individual is free to act within the orbit of private property and the market. His choices are final. For his fellow men his actions are data which they must take into account in their own acting. The coordination of the autonomous actions of all individuals is accomplished by the operation of the market. Society does not tell a man what to do and what not to do. There is no need to enforce cooperation by special orders or prohibitions. Noncooperation penalizes itself.  Mises conveyed Utility as what puts you at ease as all do. You need not worry about there direction, but the thought of why they do not grasp this. Remember a man who did things right and what was his earthly reward? Focus on Stewadship and help those who you can since you can do no more. There are four soils to consider your attention.

ZH:  So look to TIPS and the bond auctions to determine when the denominator on the deflation scenario starts getting weaker. At that point, gold, and all resource commodities, will likely explode. Thus I will move incrementally move to get some off the table.... IMO only

High Plains Drifter's picture

Talking about education. How about that ITT Technical Institute. They don't just get you a job, they get you a career. Ha ha ha, I cannot believe how many suckers go to this place that calls itself a school. Now they are going to talk about how ITT is buying back some stock with dear old Herb Greenberg. So we have one crook talking about other crooks.

Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

At least you didn't post a video of you stroking yourself! 

(Good job on the predictions)

Instant Karma's picture

The schools are there. The teachers are there. The books and computers are there. The curriculum is there. What isn't there, often, is a motivated student. A lot of the kids are just dumb, and/or come out of homes that are a mess, so the kids lack any sense of structure. With all the new technology, the attention span of your averge kid is about 14.2 seconds.

Stuck on Zero's picture

What does it mean to be an academic?  It means to publish, publish, publish.  Well I have been on the editorial review boards of several prestigious scientific publications.  I rejected 90% of the papers submitted, mostly for poor conception, illogic, unsupported statements, lack of scientific discipline etc.  In every case the papers were printed anyway.  I complained to the editors and the response was always the same: "If we rejected the papers for bad science we wouldn't have anything to publish at all."  I have not been a reviewer since.  Recent studies show that over 90% of published science is pure junk.  Epidemiologists have never hit it right once.  What's my point?

What kind of a lesson is this for young people going to college?  Who's teaching in universities?  Do you want to spend four to ten years studying among these "academicians?"  If the answer is no but I need the degrees because society expects them then you deserve what you get.  If you answer that it doesn't matter it's a big social club then join the local Kiwanis, Rotary, or golf club. 

Sean7k's picture

I want to say I enjoyed your first piece-this one not so much. Your investment prowess can be easily seen in the results you generate. However, you promised to discuss the education system and here you failed.

An apology for the rantings of a minority of your commentators might make you feel better, but then, the article promised something else entirely. The very thing you castigate the bankers and educators of doing, the desemination of propaganda, is what you have done here.

Further, you fail to entertain the concept that those Phd Economists and other academicians might be doing this for a reason and what that reason might be. That they are not so much ridged in their thinking, but working out a well developed strategy for the purposes of the elite. This may sound tinfoil hattish, but it is a possibility that bears scrutiny.

I hope your third installment returns to it's roots, I would enjoy that very much.

curly's picture

Sean7k, not tinfoil hat at all.  Just the aristocracy taking care of themselves and their own, screw the serfs, "let them eat cake", etc.  Been going on for centuries.  Paul Kennedy's book on rise and fall of great civilizations is probably a better explanation than US education 'sux'.  They're just serving their masters, so maybe you have a point about the education system rewarding the shrewd rather than the intelligent.

Suisse's picture

Sean, I agree with your assessment of the post. I find he has managed to write much, but say very little.

Milestones's picture

Sean, I too agree with your assessment. A very well written post. To the author, write to your premise; Education.  Milestones

RacerX's picture

There aren't enough hours in the day to read this guy's posts.

YellowDog's picture

I love your writing.  Both my parents were educators and they made my life a living hell - not physically, but emotionally.  The ridgidity of thought, the expectation of absolute conformity was horrible.  It was like growing up in prison.

High Plains Drifter's picture

Damn, I thought I was the only one.

liberal sodomy's picture

Any serious reference to negro dwarf tupac shakur delegitimizes any point you wish to make.

Bartanist's picture

You are of course correct. This issue however is the parasite class that has determined amongst themselves that they will be the providers of debt and the collectors of taxes on all debts all over the entire world. It provides these parasites, with the power to determine whom they favor with debt and whom they deprive of debt the power and influence of despots, while at the same time they provide no tangible value to society.

We call these parasites "bankers".

If we could replace all debt with money we could eliminate the parasites who live on their unearned debt tax called interest.

Cpl Hicks's picture

only when I shed my elitist feelings about attending an Ivy League school and believing that nothing I learned at this institution could possibly be false, and only when I literally de-programmed my brain from the entire body of business academic knowledge I had accumulated within institutional academia did I finally start making economic predictions that consistently came true, year after year. 

LOL funny. I hope you didn't dislocate your arm patting yourself on the back. You must be the guy to stay away from at your school reunions.

I get a kick out of the use of the word literally; why not go all out and say you actually deprogrammed your brain?- then you could claim another set of credentials. Behavioral neurologist or psychologist or whatever.

Godot's picture

I doubt anyone of sound mind actually accused you of being a conservative or even a neocon.  You probably just made that up to try and paint yourself and your opinions as somewhere in the middle.  When you lie, your  credibility dies.

I only got as far as your admission that you read Howard Zinn for content, as opposed to entertainment or humor.  Zinn is insane, as is anyone who takes him seriously. 

newstreet's picture

Reading this article was like watching somebody jerk off.

AnAnonymous's picture

A life of debt?


Actually, people bemoan more the loss of the capacity to go into debt than debt itself.

A life of debt would be a good life and a long life because he lives long who lives well.

Debt is that process which allows to bring into the present consumption that should have happened in a future (a because as many things in the future, it is uncertain)

So a person buying a house on debt is a person who is going to enjoy the house immediately and certainly and not in a more or less likely future at dusk of life.

This is extremelly important as the global capacity to build houses (of current days standards) might be declining parallely to oil in the future.

Once again, when it comes to debt, people do not moan debt itself but the loss of the capacity to go deeper into debt. 

On the contrary, people fight to prevent people from tasting debt because they want to enjoy the joy of taste exclusively.

Richest countries in the world are in debt and they all work to get deeper in debt. Debt is consumption now.

And the consumer status is far from being the worst status a life can offer.

Mercury's picture

Well don't hold your breath waiting for the government to fix it.

Thank your lucky stars that you're living during a focused, distributed content revolution.

Handy tools like Wikipedia, any number of specialist subject sights from the most basic how-to to cutting edge scientific paper posts that bypass the traditional peer-review journals:

Try yourself or the kids out at  This guy is great.  I think MIT has most/all of it's lecture/coursework content online for free too.

While we bitch and moan and spend 100 grand to become 'Communications' majors some kid on the other side of the world in a mud hut is teaching himself calculus for free on a cheap laptop.

Get busy.


OutLookingIn's picture

Mercury -Bingo!

Education is the acquiring and processing of information. No more. No less. The Internet and cheap laptops have taken this procedure, from the elites and spread it amongst the fertile people of the grass roots.

Get busy indeed! The article is right on when it states that just because, you have a degree from a "prestigious" institution, does not mean that you are intelligent! More than anything - brainwashed!

MachoMan's picture

Kinda of a double edged sword.  The cost to access the information has dramatically declined, but at the expense of former educators/middle men/etc.  In other words, with the rise of the information age, literally the only purpose of going to school is to earn a degree.  The problem with the degree is that institutions have an inherent conflict of interest, on the one hand they need funding, but on the other they are supposed to act as fiduciaries for employers and other persons who may need to rely upon the degree's authenticity and implied knowledge imbued into the holder.  Needless to say, it's easy to understand why the former dominates the latter.

At any rate, all that does is offer an end around to our educational system...  sowing the seeds of their own demise.  Somewhere along the line, we're going to have to tell the educators that they're no longer needed...  and that those jobs will NOT be coming back. 

BigJim's picture

Yes, this is an amazing time to be alive if you thirst for knowledge.

It amazes me TPTB haven't shut it all down (yet)

High Plains Drifter's picture

"A tiny and closed fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one, and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned and licensed by government."

"The American people should be made aware of the trend toward monopolization of the great public information vehicles and the concentration of more and more power over public opinion in fewer and fewer hands."

"Every time I criticize what I consider to be excesses or faults in the news business, I am accused of repression, and the leaders of various media professional groups wave the First Amendment as they denounce me. That happens to be my amendment, too. It guarantees my free speech as it does their freedom of the press. There is room for all of us ­ and for our divergent views ­ under the First Amendment."

Spiro T. Agnew



And now , we look back and see what happened to him. He got closed out for daring to speak in this fashion. They were planning on wacking Nixon too for daring to speak about the "cabal" that was attempting to control American government but they figured it was too close to the last assassination that they had orchestrated on JFK.

masterinchancery's picture

There is nothing astounding about the sewer of public education; as we in the Chicago area have been observing for several decades, it is a patronage jobs and contracts system, which might accidentally yield a little education, but doesn't have to do so to retain its  political standing with support from the teachers unions, contractors, and innumerable democratic political hacks.  Since education isn't the purpose, it is rarely delivered.

High Plains Drifter's picture

The fallacy of this thing called "home ownership" comes to mind.  Just try not paying your property taxes and see what happens. Then you realize that nobody ever owns their own home anymore. We just rent it from the government. We live under the communist manifesto and most do not even know it.

alexwest's picture

again lots of verbal masturbation..

#My Past Predictions

listen pal .. u wanna be taken serious ... be serious.. stop #ucking talking about great were your predictions..  do you self  a favor.. will u


otherwise its so pathetic..  WHO GIVES THE #UCK WHAT you wrote in some blogs..

it so easy to cherry pick best cals, if any, and to forget abotu bad ones..

bottom line  SHOW ME A MONEY



RockyRacoon's picture

alexwest, you are a goober.

If money is your only criterion for success then your life is quite shallow.

TraderTimm's picture

Anyone who can't be bothered to type 'you' instead of the juvenile text-speak lazy-assed version 'u' - is better off not posting at all.

It is the text version of a backwards-cap-wearing semaphore. Might as well have "Poor Impulse Control" tattooed on your forehead.

i-dog's picture

@alx: You are a complete fuckwit!! Have you ever put forward a complete sentence (or thought process) in your entire miserable life?

@John: Keep up the good work. I was impressed by your cool logic the first time I saw you interviewed by Keiser. You could, however, reduce the number of apologies ... the smart ones on here can see value for what it is.