Recent History of the US Education System

Scene 1: Los Angeles, Pho, dinner with a science teacher friend
“Our Education System is designed to create the next Einstein. It doesn’t work and needs to change.”

I balked at this initially, cause knee jerk reactions are human, and I need to play the part, but he was right. Looking back at all my public and private school science and maths classes, that is exactly what was going on. Turns out, we damned near lost The Space Race to those pesky Commie Russians back before either of us were born. So the US revamped the public education system to help fill these knowledge gaps. This later became known more formally as STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And, in true American fashion, it’s Math, singular, and not Maths, plural.

Scene 0: Time travel, the line of demarcation, and the effects of politics
Science has never been apolitical. Not fucking once. And now, we’ve introduced a line of demarcation into this quagmire of fuckery. If you received your science education after the line of demarcation, then you understand science. If you received your science education before the line of demarcation, then you believe in science. The same effects hold true in the other branches of STEM. Guess which group is more likely to hold positions of power, like elected officials or Supreme Court Justices?

Scene -1: Religion and how it has perverted fucking everything
I always want to start this out with, “Fuck religion,” but let’s try something a bit nicer. In the beginning, humans didn’t have the ability to read or write, and speech as we know it today didn’t exist. Our skill set grew and grew our capabilities. Prior to written language, we lost the vast majority of our history. We saved some history through oral tradition – stories, songs, etc. And since that oral tradition also served as the primitive basis for, “How Things Work,” (aka, SCIENCE! but.. terrible), and intermingled with “I’m scared of death; hold me, Sky Daddy!”, Religion became the primary and de facto Science™ without even a 101 level understanding.

I’ve boiled the above to a single paragraph for simplicity’s sake, but most religion boils down to really shitty science, really shitty laws, and really shitty deities. Writing things down didn’t improve the quality of ANY of these religious aspects. In fact, it exacerbated all of the bad shit.

Science is a relatively new invention, and Religion indoctrinates “MY religion or death/eternal damnation” at an age prior to any reasonable critical thinking skills, so most people get Religion prior to Science.

Scene 2: Recent Timelines
My grandparents’ generation would taste urine to diagnose diabetes because the body would pass excess sugar in the urine. The urine would taste sweeter. Now we can take a drop of blood, put it on an absorbent paper, and perform science. You do/do not have diabetes. Congrats.

My parents generation hid under desks in school because Cold War Go Boom. Thankfully, the Big Red Boom turned into Economic Boom, they got to watch Human Balloons go bouncy bouncy on a giant fire pogo stick to the big cheese in the sky, and the reaped the benefits and overextended, well, everything, including nature, just like they overextended to the 2008 Housing Market crash.

I’m Gen X, so the vast majority of people think I’m a Millennial because they’re fucking idiots, can’t do math, and can’t/won’t fucking think. Yes, I killed Applebees. Before I was old enough to drive, I was old enough to be a manager and decide to cut costs and quality and switch to microwavable servings. All my fault. I’m one of the oldest Gen X. Gee, math is hard!

I’m also, finally, old enough to run for President and other government offices. And twenty+ years ago I was old enough to see how fucking stupid our politicians are. That part hasn’t changed.

Scene 3: Today, Tomorrow, and the Future Beyond
Somewhere out there is a balance between career politicians, Supreme Court Justices with life-long appointments, and some sort of on-going education system designed to give Decision Makers both a broad and in depth understanding beyond the current two minute slideshow, “summary.” I’d say vote them out, but, ya know, gerrymandering, and the Supreme Court’s aversion to Maths (plural, I will fight you on this) pretty much nuked that from orbit, which, oddly enough, is something those pesky Communist Russians never did. Huh.

Currently, the vast majority of politicians stem from an age and/or religious dogma that values religion over science. Our everyday language is indicative of that. People seem to think you “believe” in Science (Deity TBD) or science issues (Climate Change). You don’t. You understand science and the Scientific Method and what the evidence indicates. You believe in religion and whatever Sky Daddy you want.

(1) Religion fucked up everything. Religious people are in positions of power. And these people fucked up good and proper.
(2) The education system is designed to produce scientists because we needed yesterday, need them today, and will need them moving forward. By and large, the vast majority of people who go through the US Education System will not grow up to be scientists. But if we get even one Great Scientist, it will have succeeded admirably.
(3) The people in (1) are not the people in (2).


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