The American Education System Exposed As Worker Drone Factory For The Socio-Economic Elite & It's Not Even Doing That Well!

Reggie Middleton's picture


This is the 3rd installment of my controversial rant against the American education system - this time in video. If you haven't been following me, it is recommended that you read through the first two (admittedly lengthy, yet well worth the time) posts:

  1. How Inferior American Education Caused The Credit/Real Estate/Sovereign Debt Bubbles and Why It's Preventing True Recovery
  2. The Biggest Threat To The 2012 Economy Is??? Not What Wall Street Is Telling You...

I fully expect plenty of comments on this one! I come in at 3:40 in the video, but the first three and a half minutes may be worth viewing as well for those in the education industry.


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gwar5's picture

Welcome to "Logan's Run!"   ....If you have made it this far, you may congratulate yourself, you are sill alive... read on.


Reasons for the dumbing down education is all spelled out in the global socialist manual. It's called "Agenda 21" and it's a 40 chapter UN manual which aims to dictate life for all of us, and they are implementing it already. All US presidents since 1992 Bush41, have signd onto it. That's why there may seem to be creepy non-sensical things going on all around you but you can't quite comprehend the pattern, or discern what it all means.


The deliberate dumbing down of kids is definitely intentional, and part of a larger plan, and they admit it all! They say it's necessary, and "individual freedoms will have to take a back seat to the collective."  Yep. You can't make his stuff up. The global socialists insist that the dumbing down of our kids fits with their worker sustainability models and will be just great for the collective.  

?Agenda 21 For Dummies?‏ - YouTube


All of it is a must see, but around 6:30 it exposes what our socialist engineers are doing to dumb down our kids and why: "...More educated people consume more resources, so they are not sustainable, and not desireable, nor is it required for them to be good workers.., " further, it goes on to say, "Objective information is not even really "knowable" anyway, and therefore, such pursuits only interfere with sustainability education...",  more, they go on to say that their goal is to replace the family unit and it's influence.

...ER.... HUH????  Perhaps what they really mean to say is that they don't want the children to learn math and science because they might figure out that their future medieval existence is based on the global warming fraud, and they don't want parents around to tell the kids how wonderful life used to be.  

Folks, these Agenda 21 socialists are already implementing these things. They are in your communities and working under organizations with Orwellian names but their playbook is from a chapter out of Agenda 21. They are being given supralegal authority. What they are doing is nothing less than trying to create a nightmarish "Logans Run" future for all of us without our knowledge or consent. If you haven' heard about it, maybe all the dumbing down is working.

Good topic Reggie. You are human, and have a big heart. I come from a family of teachers and this topic has been bugging them. It is very personal when strangers mess with the kids and assault them from afar.

The Good News?: Rank of Academic Performance per US Gov's own stats ---->  Home Schooled > Private Schooled > Charter Schoold > Public Schooled



Plissken47's picture

Background: BS in Molecular Biology, MA in International Relations

Salary if I were a teacher (10 years experience): $60,000

Salary as Investment Analyst (Current Posiiton): $130,000

I'd love to teach kids science.  No way in hell I'm taking a 50%+ paycut to be disrespected by kids and parents, and managed by incompetent administrators.

SystemsGuy's picture

I've often thought that an intriguing proposition would be the creation of "visiting teachers" at the secondary school level. You and your employer would each receive a tax break of up to say $2000 each for teaching a few week long seminar at a local high school or grade school based upon an area of expertise that you have.  You'd be responsible for creating the seminar, though obviously it would probably be keyed in to a specific curricular theme, and would work with the teacher to coordinate it. This would have the advantage of not taking people away long term from their current job, but it would provide a way of imparting critical knowledge in a wide range of topics to students, would give people who would like to teach an opportunity to do so, and may very well spark an interest by the students themselves in what you're most passionate about.

swamp's picture



No child left behind means no child advances because all are kept to the lowest denominator. The concept of no child left behind is mornonic.

swamp's picture

Training is what it is, not education. 

People are taught what to think, not HOW to think.  Critical thinking skills are unknown to most people, who today do not even know how stupid they are, cannot discern the most simple of thinking skills and are self-obsessed with political correctness.

Common comments about how much money their education will pay, etc., not how enriched their life is with true education. 

My father, educated by the jesuits, told me my education including up to a B.A. was to learn how to think, to explore the world through education and enrich my life. Post B.A. was for the purpose of specialization to "earn a living".

Dumbed down idiots ask me if I use my education. EVERY DAY. It has enriched my life immesuraby. 

SystemsGuy's picture

I will admit that while I have questions about Catholic schools in general, I have nothing but admiration for the Jesuits. One of the fondest times of my life involved debating ethics with a Jesuit priest.

I have made a living for most of my adult life as a programmer, but was trained as a physicist. Overall, I cannot think of one instance beyond reviving rusty skills that I have actually used anything directly as a physicist, but I would say that it was an invaluable experience for learning how to think objectively and analytically, for seeing things systemically and for realizing that the world is intrinsically far more complex and less causal than most people realize ... all of which I do use daily.

However - I'd argue that political correctness is in the eye of the beholder (even though it is a straightjacket regardless). Political correctness is the slavish devotion to a political, religious or philosophical doctrine that is common to a person's society. It exists on the right and the left (and in all the various and sundry satellite belief systems beyond these two poles). I've often found it odd to hear people talk about how they refuse to be politically correct while mouthing off the latest platitudes from Rush Limbaugh or Fox News, not realizing that in fact, within their particular culture, they are very much politically correct.

A truly educated man is one who is willing to learn at the feet of not only those who he agrees with but also of those who he disagrees with, so long as they've come to that belief honestly and with much forethought.

slvrizgold's picture

And all that fucking Ashkenazi trash that's on TV all those hours they're not in school do a good job rotting their brains and teaching them how to act like Godless degenerate heathens.

HungrySeagull's picture

The recent hit films of the last 10 years showed a Skool system incapable of any critical actions.

Now to rub brine into the wounds of our collective bedsores, we are getting hit with Fat Albert and his Schoolhouse rock from another life time augh.

THere will be a few that escape the planned future of futility and dependancy. You be quick and get em under your wing. They will be in a position to carry on after you finally pass from this place.

JW n FL's picture






Becareful Bro!

You are getting out there.. and when you start pushing facts and logic on the status quo.. that shit NEVER! ends well..

Look at Kennedy.. Look at Dr. King.. Please Reggie!

if we dont take care of you we will have to find a new token black guy friend!

God Love and God Bless You and Yours, as always Reggie!

Shizzmoney's picture

I'd pay good money for 30 minues with Lauren Lyster.

realitybiter's picture

I'll rehypothecate that time.

dwdollar's picture

The education system is just another cancer growing on the back of the credit bubble. So-called 'STEM' education is no different. Try getting a 'STEM' job in the last 10 years. There is only one reason why a person defends the education system. He/she is financially dependent on it's existence in one form or another.

AldousHuxley's picture

Poor countries depend on smart populace to pull them out of poverty 3rd world into globally competitive nation.

Rich countries look at education with contempt because you can make plenty of money being stupid.


Status quo hates STEM for they get replaced with innovation.

FairyTale's picture

Its ok blaming the education system, what about the parents who can't be bothered if their kids go to school or not, if they perform or not, or if they behave well or not.  What about the parents who are abusive when the school tries to disipline their children for not doing their homework or for assaulting other students. 

There is a limit to the amount the education system can do, it is made more difficult by the increasing number of psychologically damaged children entering a system that is not designed or equipt to deal with them.


bjennings's picture

Parents are a significant contributing factor, however, given that you have involved parents, the school system is still designed to turn out sheep.  Federal funding for schools is more dependent on schools turning out conforming students than it is dependent upon turning out educated students.  And this goes for both private and public schools who both depend on federal funding.   Why are there psychological profile sections on aptitude tests? 

AldousHuxley's picture
  1. Elites are spoiled stupid brats, so they don't support education as a social value.
  2. Society devalues education while perpetuating consumer sales focused culture enforced by the media
  3. Parents don't care if their kids are globally competitive because they will get medicare/social security by someone else's smart kid. also boomers had one of best economic booms in history so they reason why do you need education when they can buy whatever they desire on credit (car, house, stuff, etc.)
  4. Kids inherit values from their parents so they don't value education either. sports, hollywood, lottery are their hopes and dreams.
  5. Teachers get fed up with kids and parents who just don't care and give up....end up just going along to get along for a pay check.
  6. Politicians use ignorant parents to get more "education" funding funneled into their pet construction project they are part owner of
  7. Business leaders just import brains
  8. Jobs requiring education become foreignized and cheapened....not worth the education.
Misean's picture

What horse spit! If the government didn't FORCE them to be there, they wouldn't be. So the system is PRECISELY responsible for the situation you describe.

And I won't even go into the argument that the government youth indoctrination system CREATES bad behavior.

AldousHuxley's picture

indoctrination system isn't working either.


in the end, tax money ends up subsidizing stupid decisions and actions. 50% of tax money funds military and wars while how many stupid voters even know where Iran and Iraq is located on a map?


That's why even republicans can't cut the deficit which would bring pain to their undereducated state by ending government funding.


what to do with populace who can't think for themselves?



SystemsGuy's picture

How true is that really, that Americans don't think for themselves?

I agree that there is a percentage of the population that doesn't - they're perhaps most visible on the right, especially the Religious Right, if only because there's a strong "faith-based" approach to reality that tends to latch on to the visions as laid out by their leaders (who are not always the leader of the country). There's a heads-down mentality among centrists who choose to remain ignorant about the broader world because they don't necessarily see how it affects them personally, and on the left it tends to manifest in the social firebrand who is so fixated upon the way the world should work that he often is incapable of understanding why it doesn't.

The left and right zealots are partisans to the flag, whatever that flag may be. The centrists are perhaps more interesting though, because its not a matter of blind faith (though there is some of that) but rather an inexorable belief that they cannot influence their world, and that becoming more aware will only result in more pain. I'd be inclined to suspect that the willful blinders tend to fall as they reach a critical point economically (especially moving downward).

ZH is actually a pretty good case study. I've seen some very thoughtful analyses on the site, some I agree with, some I don't, but I can at least argue the intellectual validity. I've also seen some absolute mindless drivel spewed by people who seem to be incapable of spelling, let alone of writing a cohesive argument.

I have to wonder whethere there are actually more congenital idiots out there, or whether the web has simply given those that already exist a larger forum through which to demonstrate their incompetence. 

forexskin's picture

you and aldous are quite a pair!

consider that one common interest here, idiots and savants alike, is to assert that one's intelligence level does not bear on one's reasonable belief that one has a right to be free from domination by another - including those 'smart types' who believe their abilities with rhetoric justify their subtle position that power would be good and useful, if it were just theirs to use.

your analysis is flawed. the line of distinction (manufactured for consumption, swallowed whole by you) is not left / (centrist) / right.

it is statist / individualist

ZH is actually a pretty good case study.

how's that star trek collection coming? forget the prime directive? if not, what are you doing here?

pompous ass...


hardcleareye's picture


 The government does NOT Force your children to attend school, so long as you are providing them with a equal or better education....   There is NO state that bars home schooling. 

SystemsGuy's picture

On the other hand, getting home schooling status can vary dramatically from state to state. Moreover, home schooling is feasible only if you as the parents are willing to put in the hard work to do it, and it comes with its own price. We homeschooled our youngest for two years, but socialization was a real problem, you still needed to work to a curriculum, and it required a major commitment in time and personal energy to do it, as well as needing to work closely with the school system. It's far from being a panacea.

forexskin's picture

socialization? you sure got the buzz down...

and you've sure got a lot of time during your busy day for your lenthy missives here.

Teachers' unions are perhaps another part of the problem, but even there I'd argue the bigger issue is money. People unionize when they feel their backs are against the wall financially otherwise. 

the NEA is the third rail of politics in THIS state, and nothing, but nothing, will pass the state legislature with NEA objections. it ain't money, my friend, its power - and that power here (and likely in most places in the US) is used for social engineering.

i call BS on anyone that wants to talk about improving the US / NEA education system from within the context the NEA defines. if you make no acknowledgement on that simple observation, common among so many, you're defending the fundamentally objectionable premise, which is that the state is entitled to lead the individual by controlling education for its own 'just' aims.

your stories about the state of texas and the fundamentalist dogma and control are a strawman. the real issue is that those fundamentalists, or anyone else with power as their intent, can grab control of a system with too much power already. tell me otherwise by advocating for vouchers that can be used anywhere a family chooses. and don't give me some bulls**t about the No Establishment vs. the Free Exercise Clause, because i doubt you would admit to any imbalance favoring the No Establishment clause, if you see any value in the Constitution at all anyway.

by all means, pull out all the stops and hit us with a fully rationalized justification for your ideological postion, hidden under dense overwrought rhetoric and homespun first person, of someone who is clearly intelligent, but uses that intelligence with a filter. what filter one might ask? why the filter of true faith in the left / right dielectic, and the support of leftist statism as a true noble pole on your prefab political compass.

useful tool.

Tsar Pointless's picture

Prussian Education system.

Look it up.

That's what we have.

Soldiers and non-thinking drone employees. Yep.

swani's picture

A drone factory, you mean UNICOR? 

TheMerryPrankster's picture

No, more like ZOMCON:

a bright new world.

Head coffins for everyone.

Ahmeexnal's picture

Reggie, seems like Apple is bullish since SJ kicked the bucket (did he really? sounds a bit too much like a certain someone's burial at sea).

Sales of iPhone 4S have gone ballistic. IOS is closing the gap with Android in the "smart" phone marketshare.

The popularity of Apple Inc’s (AAPL'>AAPL) operating system appears to be on the rise, according to recent numbers released by the NPD Group. According to NPD, Apple’siOS market share in the US. surged from 26% to 43% from October to November.

During the same period, Google Inc’s (GOOG'>GOOG) Android market share plummeted from 60% to 47%.

Other operators such as Research In Motion Inc.’s (RIMM'>RIMM) market share dwindled from 8% in the previous quarter to 6% in October and November combined. This is a far cry from the 21% share it had in the third quarter of 2010.

And check out how chinese desperately want their Apple products, outdoing even the staunchest american Apple fanbois:


SystemsGuy's picture


I'm going to argue the converse here.

I'm in a STEM profession (trained as a mathematician, currently work as a systems architect). I've been fortunate to have a number of good teachers through my educational career, during the 60s and 70s, with college in the early 1980s, including one teacher who had worked for NASA and introduced me to the concepts of non-linear differential equations and tensor calculus as a high school freshman. I also had a few lousy ones, but they tended not to last.

I was fortunate perhaps to go to school before the Reagan "revolution" started turning the clock back on education, first by cutting funding to education then by loading the school boards with fundamentalists who were determined that the educational system should only teach "the basics", and that science (especially biology and physics) was dangerous and subversive. The Texas "morals mafia" ravaged the curriculas that schools were presenting and forced textbook writers to "dumb down" their texts in order to insure that nothing that countered religious doctrine made its way into the schools.

Many school districts that had been funded as part of the state became tied to "special revenues". In Washington state, for instance, schools were funded by taxes on the timber industry, even as the timber industry itself was drying up. Many places have gone to sin taxes - lotteries, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. - as a way to fund school districts, even as changing social behavior (partially induced by these taxes) have insured that these are also diminishing resources.  These revenues were generally needed because educational funding at the Federal level has declined by about 45% since 2000 in nominal terms, more in real terms. As school districts are forced to deal with the same requirements with less and less funds, it translates into fewer teachers having to focus on the same number of kids. Not surprisingly, the quality of that education has dropped dramatically, and this is then used by conservatives as evidence that the public school system DOESN'T work. What a crock.

Teaching is a specialized skill. You need to have a solid understanding of the subject matter in order to teach well, although anyone can teach poorly. As with any other discipline, you also get what you pay for. Most STEM teachers train as scientists, mathematicians, engineers and programmers first, then go back and get an education masters because states require it. When STEM professions are in demand, those same people have to ask whether the thrill of teaching is worth making 50% or less of what you could professionally. I have periodically taught and enjoy it, but as the economy has soured and the cost of living has climbed, it eventually made no sense economically to do it. STEM workers are even now actually in demand, even with the economy barely staying out of recession.

That is not to say that the educational system itself doesn't need to be significantly overhauled. Spend some time studying history - the school systems today were derived from systems intended to teach farm and factory workers' children their numbers and letters, because the industries of the time (manufacturing, agriculture, transportation) were facing real problems from an illiterate workforce. There were reformers - Thomas Dewey actually formulated a philosophy of education that inspired a lot of teachers to try to open the horizons of their students (read him some time). However, in many cases, industry pushed back, because while they needed an educated workforce, they didn't want a WELL-educated workforce (especially in the South) - too much education makes it possible to see patterns and to recognize social inequalities, and religious private schools similarly tended to curtail inquisitiveness whenever possible.

Moreover, the role of the non-religious private school system was to create society's leaders (according to this philosophy), and giving that power to the public school system meant that social status and money didn't act as a gating factor in keeping out the riffraff. Of course, as the need to have both parents in the workforce just to make ends meet grew, another rational for the school system was as a warehousing system to keep children and (more importantly, teenagers) off the streets and out of trouble. 

Today, another factor that is pointing to a profound need for overhaul is the existence of the Internet, though this needs to be tempered somewhat. Curriculum development is hard - developing a course of study that exercises the brain and provides something that is both challenging and entertaining takes time, money and resources. There have been any number of companies that have sought to stake a claim in this space (some publishers, some game designers, some educational) but with diminishing budgets from school districts, it frequently ends up becoming unprofitable to do more than the absolute minimum, which means that most educational software offerings are shit. Some of that is changing (there's also been a learning curve issue at work), but even there the big issue is funding.

Teachers' unions are perhaps another part of the problem, but even there I'd argue the bigger issue is money. People unionize when they feel their backs are against the wall financially otherwise. Teachers get paid for nine months worth of work, and have to find alternative employment during the remaining three (yet another issue - do we REALLY need a three month vacation in a post-agrarian society?). From year to year there is far less guarantee of regular employment than there is for almost any other profession, and when government budgets become tight, teachers are often the first cut. Many teachers are now being "requested" to provide school supplies out of their own pay. Is it any surprise that those people who have broader talents eventually conclude that it's not worthwhile teaching, while those that don't do anything they can to survive, even at the expense of the kids education.

Meanwhile, private educational systems (or public educational systems in counties with high tax bases) can pay their teachers good salaries, can place a limit on enrollment to insure good class size, can provide the best in laboratories, libraries and research facilities, all because the schools are essentially supported by the parents directly, and the parents have the means to support them. Yet the private educational system is perhaps 1/50th the size of the public educational system, and has the ability to choose which students it accepts and rejects.

With respect to STEM, technically talented students make up perhaps 1 in 6 in the population overall. If you starve the public educational system, then this means that every year you are essentially producing only one or two talented STEM student for every 150 students you graduate, with perhaps another 10 or so that will likely be average in that field, because they lacked the opportunity to do more than that.

Is the government complicit? Oh yes, but largely because of different priorities for funding the educational system based upon ideological requirements. if you believe that you need a large investment in quality education in order to develop those top engineers, programmers, scientists (and yes, teachers) then you will fund accordingly. If you believe that education is a privilege rather than a right, and that education exposes students to all the wrong sort of thinking, you defund it. That we have had far too much of the latter philosophy is evident in the shambles that we're facing in our adult population today, many of whom are not skilled sufficiently to handle the highly technical demands of a post-industrial workforce. Teaching people to think analytically, objectively and deeply is something that advanced, open societies require, and that regressive, totalitarian regimes fear. 

Andre's picture

The funding at this point is something like twice what it was "back in the day" This is not a funding crisis, this is exactly what people say it is - indoctrination instead of education, what to think not how to think. The social science/political correctness stuff is quite alive and well, I am sorry to say.I get to hear about this from my 18 year old and his buddies, so this is not just hearsay.

The numbers are old, but they came up quick and bear me out. Look for more if you wish.


Nostradamus's picture

The entire U.S. education system will come crashing down along with the economy that it rests upon. It is very much too late now be talking about overhauling the completely corrupt government education system, which is an idea of the communists such as Marx anyway.  Like watching a very large balloon being inflated at a slow but constant rate, it gets thinner and thinner, more and more transparent, but you're never quite sure exactly when the thing is going to burst with a great bang, even though you know that it will. That balloon is the U.S. economy.  The economy includes all of society's systems, programs, constructs, and institutions.  That means the current systems of banking, transportation, electrical power, education, justice, etc. are all part of and dependent on the economy, which is an enormous bubble.  The air being blown into that bubble is U.S. debt which is ever increasing at an ever faster rate.  If the debt ever stopped increasing, the system would collapse immediately, so they keep increasing the debt to keep it going. But in doing so, they assure a collapse that is the most vicious and hurtful to the average man, woman, and child in society. 

It is pointless to speak of reforming or overhauling any systems in the U.S.  They are going to collapse. The car is running, the oil has been drained, and we are simply waiting for the engine to lock up. You know this from the inescapeable ZIRP policy the FED has on its funds rate. It's been at zero for three years now and there is no end in sight. The engine will blow before they decide to raise it.  It is the end of an age of mankind, but also the commencement of a new one.  

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Add in rising global demand for oil, while supplies and production languish and voila.

just because this economic/political paradigm collapses, it does not mean the end of the world, it only means the end of OUR world. A new one will soon arise same as always, but without global banking, it will surely be different.

People in suits selling invisible credits to people on the other side of the world seems more like a con, than a viable business model.

The question then is, shall we watch the flames on our televisions, or shall we burn our televisions first?

SystemsGuy's picture

The sky is falling! THE SKY IS FALLING!!!

Yup. We may as well all present our arms to the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers now for the shackles. Right?

I've been listening to this rubbish since 2008, even gotten caught up in it once or twice. Yet I'm increasingly getting pissed by it. Here's what's going to happen. Worst case scenario - the US government loses legitimacy. Ain't going to happen, short of a Civil War (which I think may be in the cards). In the case of a civil war, there'll be a scrabble for border territory and resources, and the US becames three or four different countries, maybe as many as ten. In that case, the value of the dollar becomes immaterial as there is no backing authority for it.

More likely, several banks will get nationalized. Their real assets (collectible debt) will be separated from their phantom assets (non-collectible debt). A number of big investors lose everything. Ask yourself a question. If the US is in debt, who is it in debt to? If the US defaults on its debts (declares bankruptcy in essence), then the question becomes whether it can be self sufficient? The answer is clearly yes. If it defaults on its debts, moreover, it starts a chain reaction that will effectively put everyone on the planet in default. Will we have a war with China? It may come to that, but its unlikely.

The worst case scenario I see out of the current situation is that the US goes isolationist, brings home its manufacturing, reduces its military adventurism, becomes more energy independent - which is actually pretty good. This is what the financiers absolutely do not want. They will accede to nearly any demands to see it from actually happening, though I actually think that in the end it won't matter.

I think Peak Oil is a far bigger threat (and what we're seeing now is the first tremors of THAT particular problem, but we've got a couple of decades before it becomes critical) but the debt issue by itself is not going to topple the US - as a country it's been in worse straits, and in the long run it could even be used as a weapon against the financiers. What's the difference between Greece and the US? Greece is a small country that is highly energy dependent, has little in the way of other resources beyond an aging fleet of tankers, and is politically and militarily vulnerable. The US could be energy independent if the political will was there, has some of the most productive farmland in the world, would be difficult to attack military without resorting to long range weapons (and inviting retaliation in the same currency), has an advanced technology base and has two physically contiguous vassal states. 

What will more likely happen is a lot of sabre rattling, then the G11 will get together in an out of the way place and rebalance the books. Several hedge funds and investment banks (Goldman Sachs) wink out of existence. Millions of people with unresolved mortgages get the deal of a lifetime. We have a hard recession for about two years, during which a lot of dinosaur companies go out of business, and a lot of newer companies appear. At the end of it, the US ceases being the reserve currency, a distinction that was perhaps at the root of many of the problems today, and the oil markets essentially start functioning with a range of new paper floats.

As to the educational system - yup, I think a lot depends upon what kind of political leadership exists. I suspect that what will ultimately happen is that the states will get their educational block grants and be allowed to experiment with the educational system that works best for them. It means there's going to be a bunch of stupid kids in Kansas and pretty smart ones in Washington state, but in fairness this probably should be a states rights issue. 

Nostradamus's picture

I've been listening to this rubbish since 2008, even gotten caught up in it once or twice. Yet I'm increasingly getting pissed by it.

You're getting pissed about my doomsday economic "the sky is falling" theory.  Then you say that you believe that a civil war may be in the cards?  I don't know about you, but a civil war would definitely be considered a "sky is falling" scenario in my book, and would probably coincide with an economic collapse, so I'm not sure why you're getting pissed about the idea I presented.  By the way, if the U.S. government had not bailed out the banking institutions in 2008, the entire economic system would have collapsed back then. Even the powers that be admit to this. Instead they kicked the can.  The difference between them and people who actually understand economics, is they believe they actually saved the system in 2008 when, in reality, they just traded a very bad collapse in 2008 for an absolutely catastrophic collapse of epic proportions several years down the road. How many more years do they actually have left? No one knows. But I think most of us reading zerohedge will find out.

AGuy's picture

"With respect to STEM, technically talented students make up perhaps 1 in 60 in the population overall."

Fixed that for you. Back in the 1970's and 1980's, the number of students choosing STEM careers was the higher salaries, not education. During the early 90's STEM jobs dropped off the map and didn't return until 1996 when the Internet took off and companies got serious about Y2K. IT is at the bottom of the STEM profession since only a small percentage of IT workers are developers or working on advancing technology. The majority provide services (break-fix, sysadmin, web dev/mgmt/maintanance). They are in the same category as auto-repair man. Most of these skills can be learned at technical schools and don't need advanced degrees to pursue a career in IT.

The reason why education is failing has to more to do with American ambition. From the later half of the 19th century to the end of the 1960's Americans were motivated by a better standard of living. From after the 1960's most Americans became complacent, and had no interest in making improvements. As a nation, we became Fat, lazy and drunk. We were content and choose not to move forward anymore. We rather watch TV, order Pizza and drink a six pack, then go develop something new.

SystemsGuy's picture

I'd still say 1 in 6. Technical talent doesn't always translate into going into STEM careers, it just means that you have the requisite intelligence, curiosity, ability to deal with abstractions (and system thinking) and analytic ability to be reasonably good in STEM.

However, your analysis otherwise is for the most part accurate. STEM also dropped off the map after 2001, about the time that the tech market tanked and all of the people who had dollar signs in their eyes realized that there was more money to be made in flipping houses than starting tech companies. Those people that stayed in IT after about 2003 were pretty much the hardcore types - senior programmers, system architects, data modelers. Ironically, if you had stayed in, then by 2011 it's pretty routine to pull down low six figure salaries (95K-120K for a programmer, as much as 180K for a good systems architect, more if you're in a high demand low supply specialty). However, the days of the multi-million dollar stock IPO are definitely history.

And yes, as much as IT people don't like to admit it, IT is a trade. It has a loose guild structure - those of us in IT understand that you have apprentices, journeymen, and masters, even if they aren't called as such. It requires highly specialized knowledge and experience carries a lot of weight. There are informal certifications that are becoming more formalized. It could even be fairly easily unionized if most programmers weren't so hell-bent on seeing themselves as libertarians (though this is true of most "white collar" trades - the same is essentially true of doctors, scientists (there are definite hierarchies in research), and very definitely true of engineers.

Education is an investment, though I'd argue that it's not always a good one. If you invest the time and money to gain skills or knowledge, that time is not going to immediate earning, though if you have invested wisely, it may very well result in greater opportunities opening up down the road (or just increased personal satisfaction, which if that's an important personal motivator, then it's worthwhile). If on the other hand you go into something chasing the money, then by the time you get out, the money may have moved elsewhere. For a country, education is also an investment. If you make more scholarships available for STEM professions, invest in teachers and facilities and access to information, then you may have more engineers, doctors, scientists, programmers and technicians moving forward. However, that's also a significant investment - sixteen to eighteen years for a well-trained programmer, twenty or more for a doctor or scientist. The military needs technicians, but prefers to train them itself, and military training is very much by rote (from experience).

As to ambition and standards of living, there I disagree. It has taken more and more energy (of which money is a proxy) to maintain the same standard of living. Bigger factors (ultimately I believe related to peak oil, though it's a complex argument) and the increasing financialization of the country (largely to obscure the fact that there is in fact only a finite amount of credit that any system can rationally generate) have made it more and more difficult for people even with a good education to stay where they are in the system, let alone improve in it. Most people generally would prefer to do something meaningful with their lives - human nature really doesn't change that much from one generation to the next - but the opportunity to do so has been declining for some time. That's why higher education is such a slippery slope - the number of people going back to school is actually higher than it has ever been (even at nosebleed tuition levels) - but whether the investment in time or energy will be paid back is very much debatable.

AGuy's picture

"That's why higher education is such a slippery slope - the number of people going back to school is actually higher than it has ever been (even at nosebleed tuition levels) - but whether the investment in time or energy will be paid back is very much debatable."


All those people going back to school are not applying for STEM. In most cases its in something worthless, such as communications, liberal arts, and trade skill that will not be in demand for the forseeable future. The Educate bubble is perhaps the final cycle in a period of stupid bubbles, Internet, Finance, Real estate, and now education. Like the previous bubbles, this will also end in tears.

"I'd still say 1 in 6"

I say 1 in 60, since few students make it all the way into a real STEM career. More than half of STEM students switch majors before the graduate. I recall when I when to college, the first year STEM classes had well over 100 students, but the final year, the class size was reduces to about 12 students. That was back in the 1980's. I imagine it gotten much worse since I see fewer young people involved in STEM positions. Most of the STEM jobs are held by people even older than myself.  Even fewer apply to STEM jobs as most engineering graduates take on business jobs, IT, Finance, Marketing and Sale. Look around you, How many people do you see working in Science and engineering. I bet you find  1 STEM person per 60 workers on average, not 1 in 6.




AldousHuxley's picture

However, the days of the multi-million dollar stock IPO are definitely history.


Facebook is going to bring the bubble back. at least 1000 paper millionaires.


That's how California is going to fix the budget. 1000 millionaires x $1,000,000 = $1B taxable income. Plus most of the after tax income will go into purchasing a home to shore up housing prices in the bay area. Although these days $1M before tax income will only get you 2bedroom condo in Palo Alto.

the grateful unemployed's picture

so will the Facebook IPO save the education system in California, the same way the lottery did twenty years ago?

Misean's picture

You're a great salesman/propagandist for the regime, I'll give you that. You know all the egalitarian bull shit used to sell this prison system to the electorate. Most of that smart marketing to sell a system deliberately designed to indoctrinate youth was crafted in the 20's and 30's along with the course material. It was also purposefully designed to be trickled in, dumbing down each subsequent generation of children: slowly, relentlessly. As such, it was still possible to gain a decent education in the period you were in school.

But I gotta LOVE the STEM thing.

SystemsGuy's picture

See my post above - I think there are REAL problems with the educational system, but they have to do more with the fact that they are very much out of sync with the way that children learn.

Many of the criticisms about education focus on the history and social studies aspect. The narrative that is presented doesn't correspond with what the parents, religious leaders or community feels is "proper". I work with publishing systems and write books, including several for educational publishers such as Pearsons, so have perhaps a greater understanding of the dynamics of what goes into such books and how they are designed than most people. A textbook publisher has to deal with about five primary markets - Texas, California, Massachusetts, New York and Atlanta, of which Texas and California are the biggest. To sell books (and curricula) to Texas and to California both is hard, especially history books, because each region has its own narrative about history, and those narratives are very different. California is multicultural, tends to focus upon the movements of people, and is often more critical about the official line. Texas, on the other hand, is very much about the supremacy of the US and the importance of its leaders, and favors conservative positions. California biology books cover evolution and genetics at a very deep level, Texas biology books barely mention them, and often indicate that evolution and creationism are both equally valid theories. California math books are much more oriented towards analysis and application, Texas math books are far more oriented towards rote mathematical learning, and so forth.

Not surprisingly, the state school boards of Texas are dominated by fundamentalist Christians.

I'd like to see the system overhauled, but the overhaul has to do with a need for flexibility - making it possible for teachers to have more autonomy, for teaching to shift away from the big narrative and the lector mode of teaching and more towards analysis, creation, and synthesis of shorter topical threads coupled with the teacher as guid.

Yes, education systems can indoctrinate, but they can also liberate, especially if you are taught early on that there is no one narrative, but only points of view. However, I think that the real danger here is that those who would seek being the ONLY point of view in general is not THE GOVERNMENT, per se - but the same forces that are trying to take over the government to enrich themselves - and those forces in general are not egalitarian European liberals, but the same conservative jingoist corporate yahoos that have been at the helm for the last fifty years. 

jcaz's picture

So.....  You're an IT guy who is plugged into a trade.....


Flakmeister's picture


Bonus kudos for the 2nd known reference to Tensor Calculus on Zerohedge...

silverserfer's picture

Its funny how swo many people think kids are overall so much dumber than kids 50-100-200 years ago. I dont think so. There were just as many uneducated poeple that you would want to ridicule now as there were in the past. Technology is the fundamental reason.  Being born into a family with a striong legacy thru proper parenting and access to the best educationi is what is at a premiun. Its always been that way. You are either raised to be a smart worker,  a hard worker or just raised to be lazy. Thats about it.



SystemsGuy's picture

Actually, most children today have far more access to information than all but a very tiny minority fifty years ago. It's just not always the packaged corpus of information that those people of my generation and older (late 40s) think of as "education". Here's an interesting exercise: Go to Wikipedia and type in Civil War. Read the entries, then start following the most intriguing links. After a while, you'll come away with a very different education than you read in textbooks - you might begin to understand what forms the basis by which countries go to war with themselves, or you might learn all about gatling guns, or you might find more than you ever expected to know about Lincoln and his history, or perhaps you'll discover that Cromwell broke the lines of succession of the English crown or ...

The point is that a hyperlinked view of reality changes the nature of narrative, and breaks the illusion that history is in fact a narrative at all rather than a tapestry of somewhat interconnected threads. Fifty years ago, students were presented with an all encompassing curriculum, and it was presented as education. Once you had mastered this curriculum you were "educated".

Today, most children by the age of four are fully capable of navigating the web, even though it's possible that they may not be "reading" in the traditional sense; they are reading the interfaces, following the narratives they understand, ignoring the ones they don't. My youngest daughter was "surfing the web" early, but didn't really start "reading" in a traditional sense until the second grade - though by the start of the third she was reading Harry Potter, and now she reads well above her grade level. She's learned to program the games that she plays at a remarkably sophisticated level, because she's learned how to find the information that she needs, has learned how to apply it, and has in turn built a foundation for additional autodidactic learning.

Educators have come to realize that there are different modalities and learning styles that people have. Some people learn best verbally, others are visual, others are tactile. Some require strong guidance and rigid structures, others are autodidacts that can master subjects quickly but are frequently bored in school because their natural mode of learning has been supressed. (Indeed, I suspect that there is a considerably larger number of self-learners out there who have had to learn how to "learn" within the system, but who, if left to their own devices, would far rather deal with information without the aid of a teacher).

The problem for modern education is that it is built upon narrative and reinforcement, rather than exploring the network. By its light, children are not learning the right things. School devotes eight years to the process of teaching arithmetic, with a significant portion of that devoted to memorizing tables. However, today, if I need to multiple 539 by 2582, I do not get a piece of paper out and work out the successive multplication and addition operations to figure it out - I go up to the Chrome bar in my browser (or open up a calculator app) type in "539 * 2582 =" and have my answer (1,391,698 for anyone who cares).  But what if these things are not near at hand? Curiously enough, in nearly 50 years, I think that occurred once, and I calculated wrong.

Our educational system devotes thousands of hours to educating children for needs that will not come up. If I really did need to calculate the total surface of a cone today, I'd go to Wikipedia, type in Cone, disambiguate it, find the formulas that I needed then plug in the values. Teach algebra in the third grade from a functional level (at about the stage where cognitively children have mastered the basics of abstraction), give them practice in reinforcing this (cutting out paper cones and estimating the areas compared to what they calculate), and teach them to use the tools that they have available to them, rather than spending time deriving and memorizing formulae. Indeed, if you start teaching kids programming at about five, then they will have developed most of the critical tools that they need to survive in the modern age by the time they are in sixth grade - but you have to change the educational system to adapt.

However, this flies in the face of traditional education, which is often driven as much by parents and politicians who fear that their children will be exposed to dangerous ideas (things differing from the socio-religious beliefs of the parents). The children raised in this fashion will be good factory workers, but in a world where most factory work is done by automation, they will not thrive.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Essentially, you don't need to know everything if you know where to  look it up when you need it.

For a guy that works with books, you could sure use an editor.

Your prose makes political speeches look like the soul of brevity.

respect the cock's picture

Holy fuck, are all your responses this long?

AGuy's picture

"Indeed, if you start teaching kids programming at about five, then they will have developed most of the critical tools that they need to survive in the modern age by the time they are in sixth grade - but you have to change the educational system to adapt."

Spoken like an IT Worker. Not all jobs will be IT jobs!

The problem is that if they manage to grow up, there will be no internet. We are running out of resources and the global population is in deep overshoot. You might as well let them go on playing video games, because the majority have no future, and most will die from war, famine, and pestilance.  If you want to teach them something useful it would be how to live without access to modern technology. Perhaps learning how to Add, Subtract, and Multiple isn't all that bad.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

good to see the propaganda is still working, no sense thinking this through when an obvious answer has been provided through indoctrination.

Same as it ever was.