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This makes so much sense that it’s bound to never happen (at least as long as teachers’ unions, educrats and politicians are in the mix). Jerry Pournelle makes the following suggestion as part of his response to a reader who was himself responding to an earlier comment on education by Pournelle. Confused? Go read the posts. 1 2
“As a first cut I would offer first grade teachers a bonus of 100% of base salary if 100% of the pupils could read at the end of first grade; 50% bonus if 99% (or all but one) can read; 10% bonus if all but two; no bonus otherwise. It would make first grade teaching interesting…”
Well, d’oh, of course! If a first grade teacher has more than a couple of students who cannot read by year’s end, they have simply not done their job. Now, that could be because some jackass administrator has placed so many barriers in the way of the teacher doing his/her job that it was nigh onto impossible to do any real teaching, but it’d more likely be because the teacher was taught wrong by some jackass school of education. As Pournelle further noted,
“… give a teacher a class of IQ 70 and it will be very hard work getting them to learn to read, and they won’t learn much else — but they WILL learn to read if properly taught.”
Big “if” there. Any readers with young children (or grandchildren or neices/nephews) might want to explore Roberta Pournelle’s reading program before some prison for kids warden (disingenuously called “public school principal/superintendant”) gets its paws on them and passes them to a hamstrung teacher. (Did I just label pubschool administrators as “other than human”? Yep. And I’ll do it again. As a class, the dumbest things in “public education” are the critters that go into administration. Dumber than rocksâ€”with the ocassional notable exception.)
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This may seem unrelated, but it most certainly is not. “Copybook headings” were aphorisms or short truisms placed at the head of sections of a British schoolboy’s notebook (copybook). Actually, they were to be copied to the head of those sections as assigned by a teacher and then the first page (at least) filled with repetitions of those aphorisms or recognized truths copied in the students’ own hands. And so, Kipling’s
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.