Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Education, It’s Overrated

I have come across this review on Amazon. How? – long story.

The review is for Hillary Clinton’s book “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”. I was hoping to gather some information about the book. However, I stumbled upon more than I’d been looking for. Forget Hillary. Listen to this reviewer.

The review is on this page. There is no direct link.

It takes a child to raze a village., January 25, 2004
Reviewer: Reginleif II (Everett, MA United States) - See all my reviews

I'd agree with the reviewer who pointed out Clinton's emphasis on the word "invest." Hillary and her ilk don't really want the village to *raise* children...they want it to *subsidize* child-raising. Don't believe me? Next time you see a poorly disciplined child in a supermarket doing something remarkably obnoxious, hoist it over your knee and give it a well-deserved spanking. Or even say a sharp word to it.

“It”? “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again”? Whatever.

Think its breeder ("parent" isn't the appropriate word in most of these situations) will appreciate your trying to do its job for it, perhaps imposing the only discipline the kid has ever received? Think again.

You’ve got that right, Reginleif II. Call me a breeder, but if you try to hit my child for doing something you deem “remarkably obnoxious”, you can count on me calling the cops. Are you saying you expected the parent to thank you for it? You for real?

Now comes the best part.

'Round these parts last year, an upscale 'burb rejected a property tax increase designed to give the schools more money. Those who voted yea were overwhelmingly wealthy yuppies who'd moved into that 'burb in the last few decades, making it upscale. Those who voted nay were overwhelmingly middle-class and working-class folks who could barely afford to hang onto their houses anymore.

Now this hits close to home.

I live in a “good-school” neighborhood. Take it from me, the schools really are good.

Last year, we had a levy. You know why? Because we are a heavy commercial area, and the businesses got a tax cut, resulting in less money for the schools. So we, the residents, were asked to pick up the tab for the businesses in our area. Which I personally didn’t mind doing, because, hey, my kids attend these schools, and I’m satisfied with them. I like the teachers my kids have, and I didn’t want to see them laid off… you know? Neither did I want to see the gifted program shut down, or any of the other good stuff that was scheduled to take place if the levy had failed. It passed, but barely.

By the way, I assume the reviewer understands that the increase was going to be several times higher for the “wealthy yuppies” than for the “working-class folks”? So it’s not like the yuppies stood to profit from it.

After the tax increase was slapped down, some woman actually wrote to the local paper, "The village has failed my children!"

Ah, so it was slapped down. How many teachers lost their jobs as a result? How come the reviewer feels no sympathy for them? Were they wealthy yuppies too?

The street address she gave was in what is possibly *the* nicest neighborhood of that town. And when I drove down her street a few months later, I noticed that her house was nearly 200 years old, with a historical marker on the front, no less! Obviously someone who could have afforded to provide her three kids with tutors to make up for anything they were no longer getting in school.

Wait, wait… hold it right there… yes, she could have afforded the tutors, but what about the working-class parents that couldn’t? Does the reviewer mean to say that the working-class children can do with mediocre quality education?

But I guess the new SUV was more important, so "the village" was obligated to pick up the tab for, you know, the trivial stuff.

I must have missed the part where this rich woman got somehow exempted from paying property taxes. Wouldn’t the tax increase have affected her in the first place?

As a person who's childfree by choice,

Oh. This explains a lot. This doesn’t, however, explain one thing.

How can a person that calls himself or herself “childfree by choice” consider himself/herself enough of an expert to review a book on parenting? Let me give you an example.

I am not a cat person (please forgive me, Vicki). I don’t have cats. I am catfree by choice. Have I ever blogged about pet care? Have I ever reviewed a book on pet care? Nope. You know why? Because I don’t know squat about pet care, that’s why. I do not want to make ignorant observations on a subject I have no clue about that I will be later ashamed of. That is why.

I'm heartily sick of the emphasis on "OUR children." You'd think they were all destined from birth to grow up to be the future Mozarts, Albert Schweitzers, and Winston Churchills, rather than the next generation's Anna Nicole Smiths, Scott Petersons, or Slobodan Milosevics.

While not all of them will grow up to be Winston Churchills or Slobodan Milosevics, the overwhelming majority of them will be working, creating products and offering services, when the reviewer (and myself) are no longer able to do it; and will be paying the reviewer’s Social Security, if it (the Social Security; I’m not calling the reviewer “it”, Heaven forbid) doesn’t die a natural death by then. If SS does die, then the majority of these children will be contributing to charities that the reviewer will most likely benefit from when he or she can no longer work.

Even if you really don’t like kids, even if the little brats make you sick to the stomach, this, IMO, should be reason enough to push for quality education.

Public, not private.

Trust me, you do NOT want kids from disadvantaged families to fall out of the system. This happened in my home country, and now the crime rate is through the roof. Those kids are making their living the best way they know how – the criminal way.

And as a libertarian, I'm equally tired of the communitarian delusion that we're all one big happy family, obligated to share our money -- and, worse, our time -- with one another, regardless of whether we actually like or approve of each other. This book will go down in history for introducing a particularly noxious, and potent, distillation of those attitudes into American political discourse.

Well, well, well. I’ve read this far and I haven’t learned anything new about Hillary or her book. But I sure have learned a lot about Reginleif II.

If you enjoyed this review, you may also like Reginleif II’s review on (of all things) attachment parenting. Here’s a quick quote:

This ridiculous child-rearing philosophy can be summed up thusly: never leave the kids alone for a minute, even to go to the toilet, because separation from their parents might permanently sear their fragile little psyches….

Get a clue, attachment "parents": Rousseau was wrong. Children are not perfect little packages from God or The Goddess or what have you, but little savages who need to be civilized.

Thank you for staying with me this far. I’m off to review a book on cats.

The Goldie has spoken at 3:29 PM

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