How Much Is Right?

How Much Is Right?

rightoeducationThe success of childhood education is directly the result of how much tax payers will pay and how good the government is that implements it.

Backpedaling in America and proudful politics in Kenya forecasts doom for those countries. Instability and war not only inhibits but defiles education. Massive government investments have assured Asia will become the political, economic and cultural center of our earth. So says PISA.

** A heart-breaking trial in The Hague that began today will determine when a child becomes morally responsible for genocide.

** The educational rankings for 15-year olds worldwide were released this morning in Paris.

** Yesterday the Kenyan Secretary for Education blamed foreigners for the recent failures of Kenyan education.

** Politico reported yesterday that the billionaire couple of which Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education holds most of the purse strings gave tens of millions of dollars to charter schools and to organizations demanding the end of public education.

Education and intelligence are mutually inter-dependent. I’ve written about “wealth versus intelligence” before, but note that it isn’t just adversarial; it can also be collaborative. What’s critical is to understand each depends on the other.

Some of the first jobs I had were at the OECD and these brief and lowly positions were nonetheless memorable for projects like PISA: Seventy countries participate in this educational survey of thousands of fifteen-year olds.

Only two African countries participate, Tunisia and Algeria, and they’re both at the bottom of the list even though we know that relative to the continent their education system is pretty good.

America has slipped consistently in world education rankings for three decades until the last eight years when its PISA scores flattened around 20/70.

In contrast, Asia has taken over: Singapore tops the list, relatively poor Vietnam is #8, Hong Kong is #9 and China #10. Even Europe is slipping relative to Asia, although Finland, Ireland and Estonia are holding their own.

The correlation with public funds spent for education is direct and incontrovertible.

Therefore, it’s incontrovertible that Betsy Devos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, will lower America’s position even more.

Of course money thrown wildly at a problem just disappears. Kenyan teachers are among the highest paid civil servants in the country. Education is revered almost to a fault. The outstanding big screen feature, The First Grader, says it all about Kenya.

Suddenly deciding to give every primary school student in the country free education, when it had not been the case before, nearly crippled the Kenyan economy. The sudden explosion in the bureaucracy led to corruption and the malfeasance just seems to escalate.

Yesterday the Kenyan Secretary for Education threw a molotov at the many foreign teachers employed at good foreign schools like America’s International School. They will no longer be allowed into the country without bureaucratic Kenyan vetting, and their schools are now subject to some Kenyan curriculum regulations.

This is an absurd attempt by the Minister to cover his ass and to distract Kenyans from the problems within his office.

The urgency of childhood education is simple: children age. Dominic Ongwen was today charged at The Hague with unspeakable mutilation and brutality in 70 specific cases when he served as a principal officer of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).

The fact that the World Court has decided to go forward with this case is a clear indication that the judges believe an adult is culpable regardless of his upbringing as a child. Yet that is Ongwen’s defense and it’s compelling.

Like many of his peers Ongwen claims he was abducted as a very young child, drugged and ordered to kill his parents. As time passed drugs were no longer needed and Ongwen admits to continuous horrific slaughters for many years.

Ongwen’s exact age at abduction, whether he actually killed his parents or not, and whether he was actually ever drugged or not cannot be considered as evidence because the only witness to those events was Ongwen himself. But there is plenty of evidence of exactly such events in the LRA with others.

There’s no question in my mind that traumatic childhood upbringing can exculpate the grown adult of certain crimes. These crimes?

It’s better not to have to ask such questions. For example, if 50% of American children grow up sternly convinced there is no climate change then influence the most powerful country in the world to do little about it, are we then as a society culpable for the destruction of earth?

It is a crazy, crazy time. Let’s not spiral into this abyss.