Basal Ingredients Of Society • 3

Re: Michael Hays • How to Fix the College Debt Problem

Once we are clear about the principles, the aims of education in a democratic society, then we can begin to reason out optimal ways of providing for their realization.

Elementary and secondary education became compulsory when our society decided that they had become the minimal educational requirement of a competent citizen.  But there is a wide gap between minimal and optimal, and if the public recognizes a public interest in making something of some kind universally and freely available, then it is in the public’s interest to do so.  What exactly we make available can be diverse and is always subject to discussion, but I think it’s clear that something more for those who elect it would probably pay dividends to the public good.

We started down several such roads many, many years ago.  And then some forces pulled us back and down.  I think it’s long past time to question whether those forces are really acting in our best interest.

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Basal Ingredients Of Society • 2

Re: Michael Hays • How to Fix the College Debt Problem

The rationale for Universal Free Public Education is that a certain level of education is necessary for a person to function as a full-fledged citizen in a well-tempered and thriving democratic society, lacking which any form of democracy is bound to fail, just as many democratic experiments lacking U.F.P.E. have failed in the past.

That is the sense in which in which it makes sense to use the word “free” in this context.

In that sense the reason for U.F.P.E. is much the same reason for prohibiting poll taxes.  If being educated is part and parcel to being a citizen then there must be no obstruction to it.

U.F.P.E. becomes the right of each individual in a democratic society precisely because the society in question has come to see U.F.P.E. as necessary to its own survival and well-being.

The only question that remains has to do with the “certain level of education” that is needed for optimal functioning.

That level has shifted, mostly upward, through history.  In the late Sixties when I left home for college, there was a general recognition that the future of our nation would depend on upping the notch a bit.  California, being as forward thinking as they used to be back then, leapt ahead of the pack and inaugurated a First Year Free program for qualified high school graduates.  Well, stuff happens.  And Reagan happened.  And that was the end of that.  And the country has been going backward, education-wise, well, not so wise, ever since.

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Basal Ingredients Of Society • 1

What was it called? — spinthariscope? — it came from a science kit I got as a kid …

I might as well jump in medias res …

Re: Michael Hays • How to Fix the College Debt Problem

Better to join the First World, and make college free.

The larger problem is this —

Everyone knows that the health and smarts of any country rests on the health and smarts of its people, but there is in this country a small but powerful sector that prefers to benefit from the general health and smarts of the masses without actually paying to support it.  So they are relentless in pushing policies that socialize the costs and privatize the benefits to themselves.

It is time to put a stop to that …

While we still have the strength and wits left to do it …

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Basal Ingredients Of Society • Prologue

I chose the acronym BIOS to suggest the vital elements of life in society, a life in association with others, and not just any association but one whose flickers of life are sustainable for more than a few vicissitudes of history.  I will argue, but for the time being just assert, that sustainability requires democracy, that being a society based on a distinctive form of social compact.

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Pedagogy and Phrenology

Re: Gene V GlassWhy I Am No Longer a Measurement Specialist

When I was learning research statistics, the standard cautionary tale on construct validity featured the foibles of Phrenology, the onetime pseudoscience that sought to psych out a person’s aptitude and character by measuring the bumps on his or her head to the last decimal place.

It appears that Phrenology never dies, it just fads away in ever new fashions.

Posted in Assessment, Construct Validity, Education, Measurement, Pedagogy, Phrenology, Statistics, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quiz Biz

When I taught undergrad math, I told my students that tests were simply a means of communication between student and teacher designed to guide the instruction process, that it was a matter of some inconvenience that third parties had taken it on themselves to intrude on that two-way dialogue — but that was just the way the world was and we had to deal with it as best we could without losing sight of the main purpose of what we were about.

As things have turned out in today’s inverted world, corporations and corporate owned politicians have totally perverted the natural student-teacher relationship beyond all hope of recognition.

And it has to stop.

Or the nation will really be at risk …

Posted in Assessment, Communication, Dialogue, Education, Inquiry, Learning, Pedagogy, Teaching, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 7

Re: Peirce List Discussion

I still have in mind trying to show how the principle I dubbed the Zeroth Law Of Semiotics can help us see what is really going on with a number of old puzzles like the Liar Paradox, but the discussion that ensued ranged far more widely than I had anticipated, so give me a while to collect my thoughts and I’ll return to the subject another day.

For anyone else who may have gotten lost along the way, here are the blog posts that I used to chart the discussion in my own mind, patched together from my half of the conversation:

Posted in Denotation, Epimenides, Extension, Liar Paradox, Logic, Nominalism, Peirce, Peirce List, Pragmatics, Pragmatism, Rhetoric, Semantics, Semiositis, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Syntax, Zeroth Law Of Semiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments