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Friday, June 16, 2006 


I want to hear your complaints. What annoys you about the world? What would you like changed?
Entry By The_Lex

I got tired of complaining. Please join me in doing something about it.

I just bought a year's worth of hosting and a domain where I can upload my own software to the server. What I need is a sanity check and any good ideas people have about using the web to put our complaints in the ears of the people who pay for all the shit that has been happening.

I teach -- I change the world regularly, in big ways, one mind at a time. But oh, if I could change the world wholesale...i'd resolve my complaints thusly:

1. I'd fund education properly, and then, two years later, I'd put it in the hands of teachers.

2. I'd have a lawn instead of this pile of partially-sprouted dirt that is slowly sliding down into the front acre woods.

3. I'd make people pass a test in common sense before they were allowed to graduate high school.

4. And one in basic household, financial, and life maintenance.

5. Also, I'd eradicate tics, spiders, and mosquitoes from the face of the earth. Those damn things gave me a 102 degree fever, a week of delirium, two full days in-hospital, and a nasty blown-up bite the size of my fist. And my kids look like they have chicken pox.

This is a dangerous question to ask. If I know this bunch, this'll be the longest comments thread we've ever had here. ;)

I wish there were fewer mediocre hacks in the world. I want no more than 5-10% mediocrity. And the other 90% should be made up entirely of smart, creative, interesting people.

If sounds like anything, most of us can probably agree that we have an interest in making people smarter, have more sense and more creative.

Unless more ideas pop up in the next day or so, I think that would be an interesting topic to discuss and maybe come up with ways to shake up the world by figuring out iniatives.

Feel free to keep listing ideas, though.

Initiatives? Man, I get paid to make people smarter, more sensible, and more creative.

Now you'll have to excuse me, as I've just earned two months off.

But do you get paid to fund education better, something you complained about?

Hmm. That wasn't on YOUR list (agree with have an interest to...).

But, to be fair, yes, I am paid to spearhead raising money, mostly from parents. Problem is the kind of funding I'm talking about is off-scale from the realistic means of a middle school parent pool by a factor of 20 or more.

And I fail to see how any initiative would actually correct that. Unless you're hiding several billion dollars in that sleeve, AND a magical cure for NIMBY, BYOB, and the usual impossible psychopositions that make total systemic upheaval either

a) impossible (esp. in Democracies, which get entrenhced) or

b) culturally imploding (cf every damn revolution you've ever heard about, except the ones that resulted in democracies, in which case see a)

OK, boyhowdy, you've got some experience in fundraising, and I commend you for spearheading the effort on your local level.

But why are you arguing against the idea of someone trying to start an initiative to get more funding for education?

A good question, and I wish there was a simple answer here.

As best as I can express it, in a nutshell, it's because my experience -- and my education -- lead me to genuinely believe that throwing money at a BUREAUCRACY is often dangerously unsafe.

Bureacracies with money tend to reinforce bad habits, even when the problems are obvious to all...because unless we agree on the solutions beforehand, giving cash [puts that cash in the hands of those who ended up putting forth those bad, ineffective-or-worse "solutions" in the first place.

Because of that, I believe major campaigns MUST always begin with policy and priority plans. NOT cash-raising. Else that cash merely reinforce and re-entrench the dumb stuff extant...or, in a best case scenario, merely go twords short-term solutions that, in the long run, will perpetuate the fundamental rot.

I never said lets start with the money. I said lets put together an iniative to properly fund education.

Doing such a thing could include adjusting the bureaucracy or even dismantling it.

No concrete ideas or action plans have been presented yet.

Besides. . .it seems that our experience with things like the "No Child Left Behind" program and the passing a mandatory test to graduate high school seems to bolster your argument against the educational bureaucracy.

So what can we do about it?

Hmmmm. . .would you look at that? It never became about getting more funds to education until Boyhowdy challenged the ideas of starting an iniative in the first place.

Good thing that got clarified, so we don't end up making a simple mission statement of "getting more funding for education" or something as useless as that.

Interesting take, The_lex -- loking back, I note that I never challenged the idea of an initiative...rather, my intention was to point out ("I get paid...") that it is my vocation and my avocation to make the kinds of change that would address my complains. For example, I TEACH common sense, regardless of what the school district thinks I am teaching.


My resources are finite, especially in regards to attention - I work hard, have two tiny kiddies, blog, and am writing a book that I hope will also change the world. Seems to me lending my energy to an initiative (whatever that means) would take that energy away from the good works I already do, good works which specifically target exatcly those things which I would otherwise complain about.

In other words: my life is already my initiative, as I have chosen to do it full-time. If you all want to start your own, though, feel free -- everyone should have the chance I have made for myself. Me, I'll be over here with the intitiatives I already tie my tail to, daily, and have for over a decade. I chose them carefully, and wouldn't desert them now for newness.

Oh. Were you trying to be clever?

Down here in Mississippi, particularly in the rural areas, segregation is alive and well. The public schools are populated overwhelmingly by black kids, and all the white kids go to private "academies." Every area has a white academy; white kids going to public (ie, black) schools when an academy is present is all but unheard of, even among relatively progressive families.

Many -- not all, but many -- of the parents whose children populate the academies fight increased funding for the public schools on the basis that the schools don't need more money, they just need to make better use of the money they already have.

But that doesn't explain why they feel the need to spend $10-13,000/ year extra per child to send them to the closest academy.

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