Friday, November 27, 2009

The Sorry State of Education (in Hawaii and maybe a few other places too)

I guess the only thing I could add to what previous commenters have pointed out, is that teachers who CAN'T teach, should be paid twice as much and designated "administrators," which is where all the extra money is going -- to prepare the teachers to prepare to teach.

Learning should be driven by the students -- and not the teachers, who try to make this learning as long and difficult as possible to ensure their own job security -- which is what the Department of Education is solely about anymore.

It's like the health care debate they're now having: it should be driven by the consumer and not the medical, insurance or political interests -- which are lost in these discussions, because it is ONLY about the money -- which of course, they deny that's what they are talking about.

But usually they're not so brazen as to tell you they're not promoting their own self-interest but are the voice of objectivity. Do they really think the people of Hawaii are that poorly educated and stupid?

The fact of the matter is that the only thing a good teacher can teach their students is how to learn on their own -- and not, "NO worries, you just need to learn what we tell you to think. We'll always be here to do your thinking for you." That's what the Department of Education, labor unions and the Democratic Party is for.

That's not an education of any value -- even if you have a Ph.D. in it.

Rightfully, with the aid of modern technology that has transformed every arena of activity and functioning in life, what one needs to know is how to "search" for any answer, as they actually need to know -- and not just learning everything that used to be true as the conventional wisdom -- before one can simply learn what one needs (wants) to know.

In this way, one is "teaching to the test" -- which is practical information and validation, and not tested in the old way of knowing all that can be known and not being able to know the difference -- between what is relevant in any particular situation and what isn't, or learning for it's own, and the teacher's job security.

This function obviously should be done a better way, and not simply as a way to create more ignorance and incompetence in the Islands.

It is the teachers themselves who have made the education system unworkable and a failure.

If these people were smart and had anything of value to teach, the system would be the marvel of society in Hawaii -- and not the root of all its problems, which is first, that one narrow self-interest group has a right to demand that the rest of society put them first at every consideration. That's not even democracy -- let alone an enlightened education.

That's really an indoctrination and not an education -- so why should everybody else be paying for it?

That's the shame and embarrassment of Hawaii (education) and why they've all become professional beggars.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Road Back to Reality

With the latest announcements of the closures of money-losing ventures in pineapple and sugar, Hawaii has lost its connection with the productivity of the land, which once dominated economic activity.

Now the only future available, are jobs in tourism, or self-employment in real estate and development -- outside of being a bureaucrat -- creating high-paying jobs as its own reason for being. Most of those jobs, have lost their own connection to any vital service they were created to serve -- like education and social services. In fact, their members recently voted to take their furlough days on days of actual instruction, to maintain their days dedicated to their "career advancement" -- as though it was something totally unconnected to why they had those jobs in the first place.

To the bureaucrat, the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg?, they would answer, first we create high paying jobs -- and then we figure out what they can do, and not that we create jobs, to serve a function. No, first they create a job title and salary, and then they create a job description -- that sounds good on paper. But the primary function of that job, will be to lobby for their own indispensability, at increasingly higher wages -- which can usually be argued for, if the situation for which their job was created, is getting worse, and so they become even more indispensable to maintaining that dysfunctional status quo.

Jobs well done, eliminate themselves, and their reason for being. That doesn't mean that all need for jobs are eliminated, but that jobs that have been done well, create the need for different jobs, and not the same ones for bureaucrats to hang onto for life -- preferably doing nothing.

That's the famous Chinese civil service system that finally resulted in the overthrow of thousands of years of that tradition and legacy -- to be replaced by vibrant entrepreneurship in these times. The first step after eliminating those lifetime sinecures, was actually the refamiliarization of people with work (on the farms) that actually produced something tangible once again -- which seems to be a valuable experience necessary to reconnect with the realities of meaning, purpose and function -- that can be easily lost in the world of bureaucratic imaginings of self-serving self-importance.

So before one drifts too far away from these moorings of reality, what the people of Hawaii need now is their own re-familiarization with the realities of managing life at its most basic levels of contact and competence, in returning to the fundamentals involved in growing their own food (gardening), and transporting themselves with their own power (walking and bicycling), and learrning on their own, rather than simply relying on the self-designated professionals to do all their thinking for them -- as their "education."

For surely, that is not the real meaning of an education -- to simply indoctrinate one into the "political/social correctness," until some future time in which one will need to be re-indoctrinated into the new "correctness" -- but never that one should find out for oneself, how to think upon these things for oneself, and come to one's own discovery of the truth.

When people don't know where food comes from, and how to produce it, they've lost an essential contact with the basic realities of life -- which is that work produces a tangible, valuable end product -- and not just a paycheck dependent on good standing with their supervisors and superiors. In those contexts, it may even be possible for the most productive and essential to the process, to actually be out of favor with their superiors because they're too busy working to have the time to cultivate the good favor and opinion, especially from the breed of people who now think that is the only thing that matters anymore.

That is the bureaucratic society that Hawaii has become that because of its geographic isolation, becomes possible to think of as the only reality that life can now be. And so to get back to healthy reality, people need to get back into gardening their own food, not so much to become totally self-sufficient in this, but to refamiliarize themselves once again, with vital life processes -- and then they will know that the soil needs to be cultivated and enriched, and not just taken for granted.

Fifty years ago, people in Hawaii were still growing fruits and vegetables in their own yards -- but most now, have long abandoned such efforts, and even the realization that they could -- in favor of the quick trip to the supermarket for everything. The people of Hawaii, now produce almost nothing for themselves, let alone surplus capacity that the world demands. The prevailing thinking in Hawaii is now that people elsewhere should be productive and make a lot of money and then come visit Hawaii and spend a lot of money as tourists doing so.

That's not a sustainable, self-sufficient culture -- but a society that has lost all sense of its meaning, purpose and productivity -- other than to "get" money. With that as its only cultural imperative, it creates a lot of problems as the highest law of the land and society.

Power is a wonderful thing to have -- when it is developed by one's own resourcefulness and productive labor -- but when it is just available magically, to anyone who can get a hold of it in the many ways possible other than creating it themselves, it can be a danger -- as we see so often in people who take joyrides at maximum speed and recklessness -- just because they can.

That is also another story of great sadness and sorrow of life in the islands when people experience that exhilaration of power without responsibility and consequences as is possible in the world of generalizations and ideas -- without their corresponding realities of producing this reality through their own efforts and abilities.

Such a regrounding experience, could also be the ultimate "tourist" experience, rather than trying to compete with the Londons, Parises, Tokyos, and New Yorks for high-priced haute couture and haute cuisine -- but returning to the roots of essential being and doing, which is the authenticity in life the world now craves, and not simply its highly mediated and manipulated images of mass popular culture -- to be the next American Idol. That should be an indication, that there is no vision of sustainable self-sufficiency and purpose beyond this momentary triumph of good favor, that surely will not last.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The New Ali'i

Why shouldn't the ignorant, uncouth, unclean commoners of the state of Hawaii not feel privileged in supporting the new alii at the University of Hawaii so they can live in the privileged style of the educated entitled. The people should gladly (with the help of their elected representatives) tax themselves so they can be proud that their self-appointed elites can boast of parity with their peers at Harvard and Yale.

Just think of the shame if our educators are not valued at least as much as the football coach and governor. And how about those "retired" educators who sacrificed their lives by teaching for pracically nothing all those years? Certainly they deserve more pay and security than those actually performing those jobs presently.

What's this world coming to if the people at the bottom will no longer be willing to make the sacrifices so that those at the top can continue to remain at the top? What kind of chaos would result if the people are allowed to think for themselves?

That dynamic of expoitation of one self-appointed class (clique) over every other, is the primary conditioning and education in the state of Hawaii, which teaches people to accept their position in the status quo -- but never to question it, as would be the rightful task of those who self-create that democratic republic. But as we've learned in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, just pronouncing a people "free," is not enough to make them so. They have to feel truly free from the habits and tradition of servitude and being bullied by the more ruthless organized among them -- who actually reinforce that intimidation as their education to obey and never question authority -- by the simply authoritarian among us.

Politics and partisanship have become the new socially-approved oppression, no matter what one calls it. In fact dictators are found of calling their states, "free" and "democratic," because it appeals to that pride and vanity, that becomes the self-deception that one is in the powerful majority that can inflict whatever pain they want on any minority that will not comply. And so they suppress such truly democratic and egalitarian impulses -- as the new political and social incorrectness, that doesn't allow the inequalities and injustices of the past to continue.