Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Future of Online Education

Just a few quick thoughts on The Student Becomes the Teacher:

  • “MOOCs [massive open online courses] today are primarily serving the education haves, not disadvantaged learners.”

    This is true… but this has always been true. It was the rich and successful who first got cars… got electricity… got mobile phones… got computers. Then the magic of capitalism did its work, and everyone got their hands on it – at a reasonable price.

  • “Their biggest question: How did Myanganbayar master the material in the MOOC, based on a sophomore-level MIT course on circuits and electronics, without having taken the prerequisites that cover concepts such as differential equations? There was nothing dumbed-down about the circuits course, known in MIT’s cryptic course catalog as 6.002x, but Myanganbayar was one of only 340 to ace it out of about 150,000 registered students.

    The edX staff learned that Myanganbayar spent about a quarter of the time he invested in the class scouring the Web for supplementary material, essentially using free websites to teach himself the high-level math he needed.”

    There’s a lot of free stuff out there, and you can get an excellent education, if you have the computer, a high-speed connection, the time, and the motivation.

    So, every Christian parent should – right after pulling their kids out of the public (and most Christian) schools and started their homeschooling courses – should encourage their kids to find the material they need online. Without being distracted by chat, games, porn, etc.

  • “Myanganbayar isn’t your typical online student, as I learned when I sat down with him in his dormitory common room earlier this year. He avoids activities that he considers wastes of time. “I don’t like to read literature books because they seem useless,” he says, explaining why he has avoided Harry Potter and other distractions. Wearing shorts and an “I [heart] MIT” T-shirt, he said that he took the MIT MOOC not because it was from a famous college, but because the intro video for it promised that it would teach him to understand how iPhones work. He was fascinated.”

    Myanganbayar may not be a believer, but his attitude to education is worthy of a dedicated follower of Christ. ‘Get what you need, master the concepts, and put it to work!’

  • Myanganbayar breezed through the MOOC without doing any of the readings. He skipped them in part because he was too busy, but also because the material was in English, and he describes his language skills then as “terrible.” And to save time, he says he watched two video lectures at the same time, simultaneously reading the subtitles on one of them while listening to the audio from the other. He admits that “sounds pretty strange,” which is tough to contest, though many other MOOC students admit to watching lectures at double-speed.

    […]

    “He had plenty of suggestions,” says Ilana Schoenfeld, an education content manager at the program. One point he stressed was the need for better ways for students to teach one another, like he did with his homemade lecture videos, and discuss course content. “He was very into the community piece of it,” she added.

    Not only did he get the grades without the readings, he also produced videos in Mongolian for his fellow citizens and students. I like this attitude!

This, online education, is part of the path we need to use to get to our goals – first, to fill the world with righteousness, making all nations disciples of Christ; then (my personal hope) find a way to get to the stars!

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Black America, Post-Welfare State

Gary North has an interest in the success of Black America, the failure of the Welfare State, and has a few ideals on the matter.
I throw in my comments with the italics.

(All links paywalled, so only summaries are below)

In The Restoration of Order in the Ghetto, he notes the despair that leads to the loss of hope, and the destruction of any work ethic. North also notes the importance of black grandmothers: they are the ones who are raising the young boys, and if the black ghetto ever gets better, it will start with them. Not with the black churches, who are mainly filled with out-of-area parishioners who come back just for Sunday. North also touches on a point I strongly agree with: those kids will also have to be homeschooled, as the government schools are simply worthless.

My comment: Actually, worse than worthless: they stigmatize reading and learning as “acting white”, and introduce kids to drugs and gangs.

In How the Culture Battles Were Lost. The War Continues, and Birth Rates, Illegitimacy, and Social Stability, he compares the culture of 1954 and 2013, and fingers the main culprit: bastardry. The promotion of licentiousness, contempt for family (especially the father) on the one hand, while training fathers to focus on pleasure rather than responsibility on the other hand, has wiped out black culture as a upward and ennobling movement… and is rapidly doing so to the white middle class as well. Elite culture continues to promote this, while not indulging it themselves. Charles Murray in Coming Apart – that describes the expansion of this familial failure in White America – implores the elites to change their tune: “Preach what you practice!”

My comment: Of course, they won’t. “Power and privilege first, truth and external restraints last.”

(FYI: I also recommend George Gilder’s Sexual Suicide and Men and Marriage)

In How to Improve Inner City Student Test Scores, Cheap, he recalls what makes the number one difference in student academic performance: parental support. This ties in nicely with online schools: a computer and a high-speed link are far cheaper than the buildings, teachers, and administrators of the current incompetent public schools – and having the child under the eye of the parents (or grandmother) helps with parental involvement nicely.

My comment: And… hey, look! The school-based drug culture starts to crumble to the ground too! And the thugs & gangs that actually rule the inner-city schools have a lot fewer serfs and slaves than they used to have…

North also notes that the Khan Academy was founded by an Indian: so blacks need not worry about acting white, when they can act brown instead. Quite a number of Indians do well in MIT, UCLA, Harvard… To paraphrase: “If it can work for Bangladeshi kids, it can work in Chicago.”

There is no way that the public school unions will allow this voluntarily, so it will be done the hard way, during and after the Great Default.

In Nobel Prize Economist Offers a Grim Assessment of the Future of Inner-City Blacks, North points out the obvious: manufacturing jobs and factory jobs are on the way out. And with them, the last of the (legal) high-paying hands-on jobs that high school dropouts could get.

My comment: We are assuming that the high school graduates of inner city schools were actually literate. The low-paying service and caring jobs remain: but black women are willing to accept those, not black men.

In Memory Hole: Socialist Failures, we discover that the Indian Reservations were the first instance of socialism, built and bred to tie down American Indian men, and build in dependence on the State – and so, destroy their resistance to the conquerors.

My comment: It worked, so the policy was extended to blacks: but the inner cities are both 1) far closer to white neighbourhoods and 2) more heavily populated than the reservations are. And keeping blacks on the dole is far more expensive as well: an expense that can’t be borne in the coming failures of the Western welfare state.

The reason for the inner city welfare programs – keeping urban blacks quiet – still remains, with a few changes. First: there are far less hope for blacks now than at the time of the Rodney King riots, or the Watts riots. (North notes this in one of his essays.) Second: the black family structure is far worse now than then, as is the overall family and moral tone of society in general. Third: in a decade or so, there will soon be no welfare money for urban, welfare-dependent blacks.

Two good things remain, though: First, there are lower overall crime rates now than in the 1960s – in and out of the ghettos; and second, everyone – not just criminals – can be armed if they so choose. This isn’t only good for whites: law-abiding blacks who want to progress in life are better able to lawfully defend themselves, as well.

In Women in The Labor Force: The Next Generation, we see higher white employment for women than for men: much as it has been in Black America for a while now. We also see more white women going to college than white men; just as it is for black women and black men. The high elite of business and politics and science remains almost completely male-dominated: but very few men ever reach those positions in the first place. Everywhere else, they will be outnumbered by women.

My comment: How are we going to see black men take the lead, in employment and in family formation? First, they need the desire to do so, in an era where family is despised, church is irrelevant, sex outside marriage has long been the established norm, and learning is seen as “white”. Second, they have to have the reasonable hope of success, where the schools are worthless and there are few labour-intensive, masculine jobs left (essentially, the police and the military).

In Fred Reed on White Men, Economic Output, and the Coming Decline of America, North challenges Reed’s claim that blacks and hispanics will stand together against the white man, to build an extractive welfare state grounded in white labour. This won’t happen, as blacks and hispanics are competitive: and the current welfare state is mainly grounded in old people getting the money of young people, not poor coloured people getting into the wallets of white people.

(And poor people – including blacks & hispanics – don’t vote much in the first place.)

My comment: Anyone who relies on the welfare state is going to suffer. That will be blacks first, and the banks and the major corporations last: but everyone is going to get hit.

The non-racial basis of the welfare state is expanded in The Welfare System and Its Victims. It was whites – not blacks – who created the welfare state, the surveillance society, the public school system, etc. But there is a difference: corporate welfare queens use their subsidies to get fatter and build wealth, while keeping the usual income streams open: while black welfare queens don’t use the money to build wealth: instead, they stop working. Present-oriented behaviour leads to poverty and failure, despite thousands of dollars of subsidies; future-oriented behaviour leads to success in good times, and fewer difficulties in hard times.

When the easy money stops flowing, the corporations will merely lose one of their cash flows. Welfare-dependent people will have nothing. The young ones can hustle, and try to sell their labour in a tough economy where brains are far more desirable than muscle: the old ones won’t starve (there will be free food, and abandoned housing), but be in desperate straits nevertheless.

My comment: Above all, if Black Americans plan to get up from the bottom of the social and power scales, they must focus on the future, not on what’s before their eyes today. A minority have done so, and when times get really hard, even more will make the transition: but many will not change, and suffer greatly for it.

North also mentions Why American Women Will Be the Big Losers in the Great Default – if they don’t have husbands, they are going to suffer greatly when the welfare state crumbles and dies.

My comment: Most working class and welfare-dependent women have no husbands: and a substantial percentage of both groups are black. Modern Black America is a dysfunctional matriarchy, where the kids depend on their mothers and grandmothers, not the missing fathers.

Finally: The Failure of the Welfare System in the Inner City. This is the earliest of the essays in this list (2005), but it nicely points to the basic problem: authority flows to the government that writes the cheques (and thus destroyed the black family.) Despite the fact that the welfare state can’t fix anything (and hasn’t in generations), the civil service jobs continue to be secure, and the taxes continue to flow, thus satisfying the political order.

“Only more money can solve the problem! Wait… is that what I said last time? Then obviously, even MORE money is needed!”

Summary

So, what’s going to happen when the free money shrinks to nothing?

There will be a set of massive changes, that will take at least a generation – probably three or four – to properly work out.

I hope it will be largely peaceful.

I hope that blacks in the U.S. will place a higher value on education, family, and self-discipline.

But in the end, my hopes are of little worth.

It is the the actions of Black America will determine their destiny, for good or for ill.

Contrary to the claims of fair-weather welfare-state friends, no one else is responsible for their survival, or their prosperity. This will be exceedingly obvious when the money’s gone, and (excluding a few churches & charities) everyone is looking out for themselves… period.

Aspirations

Aspiration

One of the major benefits of the Christian faith is that you know where “up” is. That is, you know that:

  • God exists – this is self-evident;
  • God created Man in His image: and so the life of Men – both male and female, young and old – matters to Him;
  • God directed Men to live in a righteous fashion – and so, we must shun evil and pursue good;
  • God defines what is good and evil – and not the power-seeking State, or it’s kept caste of intellectual/academic/religious prostitutes;
  • God’s definitions of good and evil do not change, but are only more clearly seen – especially in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ; the destruction of the Second Temple (and thus the burning of the old Bride of Christ for adultery, and her replacement with the new Bride of Christ, the Church)
  • God punishes evil, and rewards good – rather more often than you’d expect in this life, even more certainly over generations (for nations and tribes have no souls, so they MUST be judged on this world), even more so immediately after Men die, and then once and for all in the Last Judgement
  • God did not remain silent, but speaks to us – most clearly with the Holy Bible (including the Levitical Code – without which, there is no liberty, only an ever-expanding self-worshiping State), but in a more limited way by the Creation which, even though crippled and twisted with sin, still points to her Creator.

Since Christians have the irreplaceable treasure of knowing what “up” is — a standard of justice and a goal for our lives and our societies — we can aspire to draw closer to what God wishes us to be: holy and perfect before His eyes. We know that we can’t get there in this life, but we can be closer in the future than we are today, and – God willing – our children can draw even closer yet.

We have a standard – the humanists who rule do not. Only convenient beliefs of today, which will be immediately dumped for a more politically expedient belief tomorrow: and the only consistent thread in all of their actions is more centralized power, wealth, and pleasure for the Better Sort.

Torture

You can take torture for example. God simply forbids it, as only He can decide what level of pain can be justifiably applied to a man. Sending someone to hell is His prerogative: any human attempting to take the kind of power that belongs to Him alone is simply blaspheming – regardless of whether they are showing out His name as justification (and so blaspheming again), or tell tales about the newer, better gods of National Security, Racial Purity, Democratic Rule, or the Needs of the Working Class.

No true Man of Reason can tolerate Christian restrictions on the Power of the State: after all, it is the State that is the only true Source of the Law, and thus the only True Lord of modern cultures. So, God and his Law-Word must be dumped, and the State – in the name of whatever – must take its place. And just like that, you get your secret services, the torture chambers, the prison rapes, the relentless surveillance, and all the rest.

All lovingly justified by highly educated and highly placed intellectuals, who were so hostile to the commandments of God because ‘they were so cruel and unjust’. Or maybe we will mourn and mope over this ‘helplessly’ – but carefully despite the one tool that would put an end to it.

Snort.

A Wicked Generation

It would be easy to put the blame on all this solely on the Ruling Classes. But it would be unbiblical.

As North pointed out over 20 years ago – following the teachings of Isaiah, Elijah, and Samuel – the Ruling Elite only rules by the desire of the masses, and is free to do only what the masses wish it to do. If the general population simply decided – even (and preferably) non-violently – that they would not tolerate corrupt rule and lawless masters, the Elite would soon buckle.

But our ugly and evil masters come from an ugly and evil people. This is true for us today – but it was also true for the Third Reich, modern North Korea, Pharaonic Egypt, the Confederacy, and the Aztecs. Wickedness calls forth judgement from God, which is what we will receive. But we must repent, if there is to be any end of the judgements short of complete destruction.

Renewal

The current New World Order is simply a dead man walking: even a secularist could know this, due to technological , demographic and financial trends. But if there is no repentance, there will be only a more openly vicious, more loathsome, and more God-despising culture arising from the coming economic crisis – and then a shattering, and then a complete end to our culture.

For there to be change, there must be repentance. A great, widespread repentance, and a turning away of evil, and towards the good. (As defined by God, and not the State-adoring Establishment).

The modern denominations have no interest in rocking the boat: that must is obvious. It will have to be done by home churches and home schools, spreading across our nations. (More innovative, independent businesses would be a smart move as well).

Fortunately, technology and the fragmentation of society will help to push this along nicely. Centralized power and authority has been on a downturn since at least the breakup of the European empires in the second quarter of the 20th century: and has only been accelerating since the end of the Soviet Union.

Step by step, the work is done. The increasing failure of the State educational system, the increasingly tyrannical nature of the government, the failure of both the Managed Economy and the Welfare State, all joined with the inability of the government to protect anyone but the Right Sort from criminal activity: all this, mixed with the Internet, leads to the end of the Modern Establishment… just like all of the other Ruling Establishments in history.

What will replace it? God knows – and He has directed His people to get what they know out into the world.

There is a new kingdom on the move – a kingdom that isn’t about power and control, but love and justice. A people that will bear God’s love and law in their hearts – and from their hearts, bring it into the world, replacing oppression and lies with freedom and truth, collectivist poverty with liberty and wealth, and the power of the Establishment – religious, scientific, democratic, whatever the lie of the week is – with the power of God, as manifested in his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.

THIS is the future.