Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More test questions from Mr. Pettit...

Trying to ignore the thousands I pay in property taxes and how 48% of that goes to schools, plus federal dollars and bond dollars and lottery money....Trying to ignore free school lunch and breakfast and bussing and after school free daughter brought home her quiz from an article they studied in 8th grade, "Tragedy of Freedom in a Commons".

1.) What, as rational human beings, do herdspersons decide to do to increase their individual welfare?
A) Herdsmen continue to buy more cows thinking this will increase their own individual welfare, when it is only hurting everyone.

2.) Each individual decision to increase individual welfare has two resulting components described in mathematical language, name both components.
A) +1 and -1.

3.) What one word describes the resulting impact on the commons that results from the individual herdspersons continuing to add more and more cattle?
A) Tragedy

So, increasing wealth is bad, and a tragedy, and comes at the expense of another. I guess the Democrat bumper stickers are right, and I really am stoopid...I just don't have the brains to understand that if I pull iron out of the ground and build a ship out of it and sell the ship, that profit came at the expense of others. I can't fathom why the overall national health, wealth, well being and life expectency have dramatically increased in the last 200 years and where that came from. I guess it came from the benevolent government?


- Rob said...

I hate to point it out, but the Democrats don't just think that you are stoopid. They think that you are evil also. Oh yeah, don't forget about insensitive.

How can you sleep at night?

Tina said...

This is a good opportunity to educate your daughter in how to play the game.

You give the answers you know are going to get you a good grade, whilst believing your instructor is an idiot.

I got really good at that game in college. I graduated with honors. And I'm still not eating bugs for protein - go figure!

ronnwaters said...

When I was in the classroom we had to do "home visits" to our student's houses. We were a 100% free lunch/breakfast school. I stopped doing them because at more than one apartment there would be a brand new Escalade in the driveway and a big screen tv in the living room. One family had 2 big screen tvs!

I agree with Tina that a big part of education has become giving the "expected" answer. No one that is correct or even thoughtful, or even one that makes sense.
I guess that's called "problem solving".
Oh, by the way, you have to than NCLB for that.

Re-Navy!! said...

wow this guy is kind of an idiot...hearing about him makes my blood boil....what is he teaching in 8th grade? i graduated and i look at this with a confused look.

flyingvan said...

So what you're saying is, in order to make it through the government schools, we have to practice doublespeak? Taxes are our biggest single expense, and the largest chunk of taxes go to education. Why am I forced to financially support a far left agenda imposed on my own kids? Now home schooling is illegal too. Time for vouchers.

shoo said...

Caveat: I did not see this actual article or the entire quiz, so I can be wrong on this. That said, I think you have the wrong take on this.

There is a well understood phenomenon in economics called "The Tragedy of the Commons". Basically it says that when something is communally owned, then each persons incentive is to use as much of it as they can. If they don't, someone else will, and they lose out. Thus, if the herder doesn't increase the size of his flock and get what he can while he can, he will simply miss out on that extra wealth, because you can be sure others will. This perverse incentive occurs whenever there is competition for a communally owned finite resource.

There are two solutions to this problem: government regulation and intervention, such as licenses and fees, or private ownership. Time and again private ownership has proven itself far superior to government in preserving resources. Want to know where the best fishing and hunting is? If you guessed on private ranches and farms, you get a gold star.

Anyway, this teacher should be applauded for bringing this important economic principle to the attention of these kids. This is a subject of which everyone should have at least a passing understanding.

ronnwaters said...

I am conflicted on vouchers. I think the government has a duty to provide an education to it's citizens. I am afraid that vouchers will allow for a balkanization of our culture as americans (more so that we have now). You would end up with people "skoold" at Rush Limbaugh Elementary or Madeline Murry Ohare high school, or Jiad U.

That being said, education is truly screwed up. Principals are mangers, not educational leaders, and too many amateurs think they can do it better.
My job as a teacher is to prepare them to be good little citizens, not to evangelize or indoctrinate.
We do need better oversight and leadership in schools, but I don't think the current program is getting us there. Things aren't getting better.
Parents need to start complaining and voting smarter.
Sorry for the rant.
Just call the school board and let them know you are not happy and are considering taking you children and their ADA dollars somewhere else.

flyingvan said...

Shoo---it was really a twisting of Garrett Hardin's article. Hardin's point is greed leads to destruction (If I raise more cattle on the limited common pasture, only I gain...) The rest of this quiz goes the route of overpopulation and how seeking anything past basic necessities is bad. He treats wealth as a finite pasture, not an exponential dynamic. I find this limited wealth outlook to be quite socialist...
Ronn---what if, as a parent, I want my child to go to 'Rush Limbaugh elementary'? Why is far left acceptable but far right not? Why can Al Gore's tripe about global warming be required viewing, but Ben Stein's intelligent design film banned? Why did the responsibility to teach kids (not found anywhere in the constitution, BTW) turn into a place for free food, marriage counselling, child care, etc?

ronnwaters said...

Neither Gore nor Rush have any place in the classroom. Or, maybe they both should be presented so students can decide.
Parents should be allowed to choose; that doesn't make the far right or the far left any more palatable. Or true.
While schooling is not a constitutional right, it is a necessity of the local government to pass on the shared moral and civil ideals of a community. The idea is that if the local government does it it will be free from undue influence. Not that that happens as much as it should.
And NO, school should not be a place for all the other free stuff. I got tired of having to teach my 4th graders how to brush their teeth. Then again, if I didn't, no one else would. Again parents choose not to buy appropriate food or clothes for kids. Just like they choose to teach their kids that dinosaurs never existed. They can, I just don't want to hear about it.
If we as a culture and as a community expect people to learn to behave in a certain way, you need a standardized way to do that. School is sometimes about economies of scale. And sometimes its about meeting the basic needs of other human being.

My motives are purely selfish: If I can train a bunch of kids to speak clearly, be conscientious and polite and to be independent thinkers, then they will be better citizens. They'll get jobs, pay taxes and not shoot out the streetlights or break into my house.

ronnwaters said...

After thinking about it, I remembered that parents have always had the choice to send their students to a faith-based or ideology-based schools. Parochial schools are always an option. This way you insure that your kids get the ideology of your choice rather than the boring average crap at the public schools. I don't feel that public funds should be spent on religious or ideology based schools. That could be seen as a violation of the separation of church and state. Also, if the state funds one flavor they would be required to fund any flavor (the ACLU would make sure of that). We would end up publicly funding a madrass (Mohamid Atta Middle School?). I don't want to see that either.

Scot Copeland said...

Well, actually this school is pretty conservative as far as its staff is concerned, and a teacher, like all of us, should be judged on the totality of their leadership. I imagine many of the things I say and teach can and are misconstrued, or I'm misjudged at least. Having been raised in a very conservative, Republican community (Rancho Santa Fe) I survived the liberal teaching establishment quite well. In fact, it did me a lot of good, and helped create debate and critical judgement. While I'm still quite conservative, I'm equipped with more than blind faith in a political ideology passed down from my forefathers. Every institution has an ideology, whether the members know it or not. Balance is what opinions and values can bring - education, like our nation, benefits from this melting-pot. Public educators surpass private educators, in general, in this ability to be individuals and not preach the word of the private school sponsor. And, Steve, thinking of the creationist issue, I know you understand what I'm saying. I love public education, and know it is better now than it was when I was a kid. At least where I live and grew up!
P.S. Hey, all this money you're spending on schools, can we work out a direct deposit?!?