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COMMENTARY · 21st November 2010
David Ealing
Today I've been feeling, "To hell with everyone." As you know this is a ten times a year occurrence for me. But then I thought maybe I should write a book about this. (Yea, another one nobody reads.) There's definitely an endless list of examples to draw from. So then I wrote the following. (Unfortunately it includes both you and me my friend.)

For a long time now I have been thinking that the human race must be the most stupid of them all. In the eyes of a new born child I see an avid eagerness to learn; the genius of a flexible innocence. Some where between there and grade six our educational and advertising systems takes that flexible innocence and molds it like bread dough into loaves of stupidity focused solely on their own gratification and with not one care of who that gratification may harm. All individual thinking becomes, "Me above you all." and "My way over yours. Martin Luther King Jr. may have said it best. We have been molded to be sincere and conscientious but it is a sincerity linked to ignorance and a conscientiousness joined with stupidity.

The quotes below seem to indicate that in my thinking I've joined some very good company.
Thanks for listening. Just had to say something to somebody.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education."
-Bertrand Russell

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
-Bertrand Russell

"Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders."
-Sloan Wilson

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."
-George Bernard Shaw
Is it supidity or ignorance...
Comment by Shawn Ksisiiaks on 23rd November 2010
or does the problem lie with reading between the lines?

At no point does the author blame teachers. Instead points to educational and advertising systems. Teachers, parents, media, government, etc. all play a role in the above.

Anyone with a child or friends with children knows exactly what the author is talking about. But instead of recognizing the problem, we act like we are morally offended, we point the blame elsewhere, and try and justify why we can't be to blame.

So is it stupidity or is it ignorance?
More on 5 hours out of 24.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 23rd November 2010
I forgot to respond to the second paragraph that implies that a teacher spends 5 hours with every child in their care. Well not exactly because it may be 5 hours with about 30 students in elementary so that works out to be about 10 minutes of direct time for each. In Secondary School it might be about 2 minutes per hour for 5 different teachers.

Parents, even those with limited time, can spend more quality time with their children and have a much greater and positive influence. Teachers, while charged with conducting themselves as a kind and judicious parent, are teachers and not the parents of every child they teach.

Also not to get to off topic but teachers do not work only the 5 hours they are in direct contact with students. Join the profession and find out.
Re: 5 hours out of 24...
Comment by Greg on 23rd November 2010

You made the comment that some teachers with high seniority are paid close to six figures for 1000 hours a year. Please do tell me where this is happening. The top of the pay scale for educators (even with a Masters Degree) in this district stops WELL short of six figures.
Sorry Boris but,
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 22nd November 2010
Parents are responsible for the other 19 hours of the 24. To suggest that their influence and other outside of school influences don't or shouldn't have a major impact is an abrogation of parental responsibility.

The notion that schools (and therefore teachers) are responsible of all of societies ills, is completely unfounded.
5 Hours out of 24...
Comment by Boris Kitzenko on 22nd November 2010

5 hours per day is A LOT OF TIME!

If you work 9 to 5 every day and have small children who go to bed around 7:30 or 8:00pm, this gives you a big 2 TO 2.5 hours a day to spend with your children on work days, assuming you don't plan on feeding them or giving them a bath. I'd love to have 5 hours a day with my kids, but I would have to quit my job and go on welfare to do it!!

It also means some of the teachers with high seniority who coast along on rubber stamps, recycled curriculum from when they actually cared, and classroom videos year after year are getting paid close to six figures for about 1000 hours a year.

Relax folks
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 22nd November 2010
School amounts to 5 hours out of 24 and for about 200 days of the year. I don't think anyone who has influence for less than 5/24ths of time should be accepting all the responsibility for how they turn out. There are much greater influences in a kids life than the ones they are exposed to in school.

David is speaking in general terms.
Answer to Michael Bruce
Comment by David Ealing on 22nd November 2010
There are two groups of people who I hold as heroes over and above the police and Fire fighters. They are the dedicated people who staff our hospitals and schools. My comment was not directed at educators. It was directed at an educational system that allows the government of the day to strip necessary funds from the people who's aim it is to, as you said, "...strive to instill an inquiring mind, critical thinking and a love of learning in ALL students." I do not believe anyone enters the teaching profession without these aspirations being the result of their dedicated work. But one would be hard pressed to argue that this high ideal is being realized in, "...difficult times of cutbacks and economic restraints." Throw into this mix over crowded school rooms and both teachers and students suffer more.

Our governments of the past have had money to implement surveys that in the 1960s or 70s that found out that 80 percent of the children who drop out of school before completing grade twelve do so because of learning difficulties. And that 80% of these children will end up in prison where it will cost society hundreds of thousands of dollars for their incarceration. But we have no money to implement programs that would have assisted these children to complete not only grade 12 but have the ability and desire for higher learning. For me this is one of many stupid economic equations that just does not add up to the best use of our dollars for the benefit of our total society.

And it's not that we don't have answers. We know that children with learning difficulties just learn in a different way. Given a chance to learn in a way that fits their ability they thrive.

I have a personal awareness of this issue from two levels. Half way through grade eight, I left school after failing grade three and grade six. I was 16 years old and it was in 1959 before much was known about learning difficulties. In the 1980s my daughter was struggling in school and i recognized in her the same learning difficulties I had. I approached her teacher and the principle of her school and basically got the same answer. "She just needs to try harder." In other words, "She's lazy." One teacher came very close to using these exact words. They put the blame on her and not on the system or themselves.

It was at that time that I learned about learning difficulties and even went so far as to join the Learning Disability association of BC. It was here I learned about the survey mentioned above.

My next move was to take my daughter to a wonderful Doctor at the University of BC and have her tested. After three days of testing the results confirmed that my daughter had learning difficulties. On taking these results back to her teachers and principle I was told that they too had just completed similar tests and came to the same conclusion. They hadn't told me because the economic cutbacks of the day had made it impossible for them to offer any assistance that would benefit my daughter.

My daughter dropped out of school before she completed grade twelve. You see, the teachers never got over telling her that, "...if she just tried harder..." I cannot tell you how many times my daughter cried because she was doing her best and nobody but me believed her. Partly because what some teachers (not all) said to her in front of the whole class my daughter was teased and bullied. School eventually became a hostile environment for her and one she could no longer face. This is a stupid situation.

I have spent many years trying to change this insane system. My comments were also not a rant. There is little anger in my words. I have compassion for all students and all teachers. The system is just plain stupid.

This answer is going on much to long but some things are hard to say with a few words. I'll just leave you with two more items.

In the 1990's another survey was done. This also found that 80% of children who drop out of school do so because of learning difficulties and 80% of these children end up in prison. Who could of guessed. Our government knows these numbers. Not to remedy this problem is, in my mind, stupid.

Lastly, there is a simple fix. One I have written about for the last seven years. It's called the Public Credit Money System. Few people are aware that our economy operates on a Private Debt Money System that guarantees the economic conditions that are being experienced today. It also guarantees that things will get much worse. I will be giving a free talk on this in Terrace some time in January of 2011. Please come and we can talk about this.

If you are interested in learning the difference between these two forms of money creation you can read my blog at:
We could have an educational system were everyone's needs are met; one where money would never be the problem. We could have a hospital system where there are always beds available and no wait lines.

Thanks for commenting.

David Ealing
Your comment is ignorant and unfounded
Comment by Michael Bruce on 21st November 2010
"Some where between there and grade six our educational and advertising systems takes that flexible innocence and molds it like bread dough into loaves of stupidity"

Mr. Ealing,

This comment is an insult to all the educators in this school district who strive to instil an inquiring mind, critical thinking, and a love of learning in our ALL our students. This is done in very difficult times of cutbacks and economic restraints.

Take the time to edit your rants and proofread your comments to see if they make sense.

Michael Bruce

You're right David.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 21st November 2010
All one has to do is surf through the television channels for a few minutes and everything you have written is confirmed.