What is the purpose of education?
Is “school choice” the same as a free market in education?
Could education be provided entirely by the free market, with no public schools?
Do we have a stratified education system?
These are some of the issues address in Kirsten Lombard’s interview of RIFI president, Marsha Familaro Enright, each in 5-6 minute segments on the Resounding Books blog.
Enright contributed the last chapter in Resounding Books’ first publication, Common Ground on Common Core, “Liberating Education.” In it, she examines the history of education in the United States, issues with public education, and what education would be like in a free society in which it was entirely private.
Common Ground On Common Core is available in paperback only at the Resounding Books website. It is available on Kindle in four parts; Enright’s essay is in Part II.
|Here’s another 5-minute clip from Kirsten Lombard, editor of Resounding Books, in which she and I talk about whether all children could be educated if there were no public schools, and how that might happen.
Note: In my last email, I made a mistake in the title of Resounding Book’s volume. It’s Common Ground On Common Core. Sorry about that – to Kirsten especially!
It’s a book of 17 essays from across the political spectrum, analyzing this latest government-promoted program for the public schools and calling for a rebellion against it. My chapter, “Liberating Education,” examines what education would be like in a fully free society, and I go into detail about the history of education here in the U.S. from the time of the Pilgrims.
The paperback is only available through Resounding Books’ website (link above). But it is available on Kindle, where my essay is in Volume II.
This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about this latest push to control our children and, through them, the country.
Marsha Familaro Enright
Brookings Institute researchers Jonathan Rowell and Siddhartha Kulkarni have just published “Beyond College Rankings: A Value-Added Approach to Assessing Two- and Four-Year Schools.” Their approach to college rankings is different and especially useful to students and parents.
“this report analyzes college ‘value-added,’ the difference between actual alumni outcomes (like salaries) and the outcomes one would expect given a student’s characteristics and the type of institution. Value-added captures the benefits that accrue from aspects of college quality we can measure, such as graduation rates and the market value of the skills a college teaches, as well as aspects we can’t.”
Excellent graphics and lots of valuable information.
On Friday, March 13, RIF Institute president Marsha Familaro Enright spoke to business people and students about the unrecognized Ethic of Trade and the good that this ethic brings to the world.
Ms. Enright spoke about the deep good that business people create through their ethic of trade and yet, how little moral credit they get for it. She outlined key economic and ethical misconceptions that drive resentment towards business, wealth, and capitalism.
This talk was part of a new initiative of the Fundacion Para Responsibilidad Intellectual (FRI). The initiative has two parts: 1. To educate business people in Latin America about the ideas that shape culture and governments, and 2. To help those in business work to move their cultures and governments in the direction of reason, individualism, and freedom. Here are some of the highlights of the talk:
“Do the following values and virtues support human life?
- Hard work
- Self reliance
- Predicting the future and taking rational risks
- Treating others with respect, as equals
- Offering value to others
- Interacting with others through persuasion, not force
These are essential virtues and characteristics needed by the business person to succeed. This is the Ethic of Trade. Through these virtues, business creates and produces wealth which elevates human life around the world.
Yet, for the most part, this ethic is not recognized as a morality, as an ideal, because when people live by it, each pursues his or her own self-interest. And according to the philosophy and ethics of many people, pursuing self-interest is, at most, necessary to stay alive, but not a pursuit of the good. Instead, the ethic of self-denial, of living only to serve others, is predominantly considered the highest morality.
However, in reality, the enlightened pursuit of self-interest is the cause of the most improvements in the world. Businesses and capitalism have created the conditions which have elevated the standard of living of most of the world.
All we need do is look at which places in the world flourish and which stagnate. South Korea versus North Korea; East and West Germany; Hong Kong versus Communist China. All are stark demonstrations of the destruction wrought by the collectivist pursuit of self-denial versus the flourishing created by the individualist pursuit of self-interest.
This error about self-interest needs to be recognized and corrected in our cultures. Ethical business people deserve honor and respect for what they create and honestly earn, rather than resentment and envy.
Resentment against capitalism is strong in Latin America. And there is at least one valid cause of that resentment: special favors from the government extended to some, usually wealthy, established businesses. These favors make it difficult for new businesses to start, creating a growing gap between the haves and have-nots.
To the extent business people rely on special favors to acquire money, they are not living by the Ethic of Trade; they are not using persuasion alone to sell their goods, they are relying on the force of the government to keep out the competition.
To fully achieve the honor they deserve, business people should advocate free trade and a repeal of special favors, so that everyone has an equal opportunity to create and produce.
Then, instead of resentment towards wealth, more people would admire successful business people and develop the ambition to be like them.
Argentina was a thriving nation at one time; its economy was the tenth largest in the world in 1913. And, despite almost a century of fascism and populist governments, there is obvious wealth in the country today. A visitor can see the evidence in its architecture, infrastructure, vast numbers of polo clubs, large array of leather, jewelry, and furs for sale, and energetic people. Buenos Aires has huge and varied bookstores and an ongoing intellectual culture. Argentina has produced some of the great classical musicians and opera stars, including Daniel Barenboim and Marta Argerich. Its Teatre Colon is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic.
Yet, it has suffered tremendously as a result of destructive collectivist ideas and governmental policies. Recognizing the value and worthiness of its capitalistic enterprises is one step to restoring its former glory.”
This talk was hosted by Fiat Argentina CEO Cristiano Rattazzi in the top floor conference room of Fiat’s building in Buenos Aires. You can see the view from this room in the picture at the top of this page. The complete presentation will be published in the near future.
Too often, the liberal arts are scorned as a college major because graduates can’t get a job.
But, this article controverts that claim: “unemployment rates for recent humanities and liberal-arts majors are higher than for, say, biology and life-science students. But the difference is not great: In 2011-12 the rates were 8.4% and 7.4%, respectively. The unemployment rate for recent computer-science, statistics and mathematics graduates was 8.3%.”
However, equally important, the liberal arts can guard against the danger of deteriorating self-government voiced by Thomas Jefferson, “even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny,” by teaching crucial history, knowledge and reasoning skills.
That is, IF students are taught those crucial elements and taught to connect them with current events. This is where conservatives and others have their point because the postmodernist, deconstructionist ideas embedded in many, many college programs entirely undermine that process.
In this article on the New York Times Opinionator Blog, philosopher Justin McBrayer rightly laments the amorality rampant in the culture under the guise of cultural relativism.
“the overwhelming majority of college freshman in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture. ”
McBrayer lays the blame for this scourge on the public schools, and focuses in on the epistemological relativism pushed by Common Core. And he does a great job of unpacking the dire moral and political consequences.
But he eschews the idea that philosophy is responsible for this disaster. Yet students in many private schools are subjected to the same ideological program. Where does he think these teachers get their ideas? Does he think they come up with them on their own?
No – they learned them in college, where the drumbeat out of philosophy into anthropology, history, politics, economics, science – all the humanities – has been relativism for almost a century. The weighty cultural anthropologists starting with Franz Boas, and including Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, used their research as evidence for this philosophical point of view.
But Boas studied philosophy in Germany where you can find Marx arguing for deterministic relativism based on one’s economic class, and Nietzsche’s biological relativism allowing the Uber Mensch powers denied to other mortals. And before them, Herder and Hume pushed relativistic arguments. More deeply, however, Kant and others attacked reason’s power and objectivity. Without that as McBrayer mentions, how does one argue for moral objectivity?
Unfortunately, the Malificent of this story lurks squarely in the philosopher’s cave. This is why an education in philosophy and in reason’s power to know reality is crucial – from grade school to graduate school.
Hattip Andrew Humphries. #ResoundingBooks #CommonCore #moralrelativism #RIF_Institute
The maternalistic path dredged from rights protection, leading to thought control. http://tinyurl.com/kh7umnv #FreeSpeech