Thursday, April 15, 2010

what does "more educated" mean?

After observing "more educated" folks at the ends of the conventional US political spectrum, especially anti-racists on the left and Tea Partiers on the right, I have to conclude that "more educated" means "more indoctrinated."

ETA: Inspired by the headline Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated.

20 comments:

  1. On a side note, one of the things I find interesting about the Tea Partier's political arguments is that they're very similar to the ones Andrew Kehoe was making in the 1920's... shortly before he blew up a school full of children. (Not that I think most Tea Partiers are likely to be mass murderers/terrorists. It's just interesting.)

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  2. I hadn't known about Kehoe. I just read his Wikipedia article, and, yeah, interesting.

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  3. Seems to me that it is the educated people who look at the Tea Party movement and say "Oh, it's that populist anger movemement that springs up every few decades under a different name" and regard it in a larger context, while it is the uneducated who go along with the media in seeing them getting 600 people to come hear Sarah Palin speak* or 75,000 people with "the President is a commie socialist" signs on the national mall** as some freaking big deal that has never happened before ever and should totally be the first story on the evening news.

    Similarly, it is education and critical thinking that allow one to consider anti-racism work in a larger cultural context and have a nuanced view of where certain anti-racists are correct and where certain anti-racists are wrong as opposed to either embracing anti-racism or rejecting it as a whole. (Which I don't understand given the varied nature of anti-racists, but some people sure seem to do it.)

    CC

    *One would think 600 people would show up to see Sarah Palin almost anywhere, but that was the total number of attendees at the Tea Party NATIONAL CONVENTION where she spoke. Unitarians are a pretty tiny religion, but even we manage several thousand at our conventions.

    **Last month, there was an immigrant rights rally on the National Mall that got 200,000 and got almost no media coverage because that's really not that big as DC rallies go. The last march on the mall I showed up for got nearly a million by even the Conservatives' estimates.

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  4. CC, what prompted the comment were articles based on a poll that concludes the Tea Partiers are "more educated" than the general public. I don't doubt they are more educated; I just think their education reinforced their prejudices.

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  5. It would be interesting to know where they got their education and what they studied, all right. Though as a longtime member of a certain group which attracts highly intelligent people, I have noticed that there are as many very very conservative people in it as there are very very liberal ones. And I don't mean the UU ministry!

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  6. Shrug. Maybe. The sample size on the poll was pretty small and the actual difference in percent of people with graduate degrees (four percent) was only one percent over the margin of error.

    I'd hesitate to draw much in the way of conclusions from it. Particularly since most graduate institutions get a great deal of the federal funding tea partiers argue against. If anything, it would be in the education system's best interest to indoctrinate them the other direction.

    CC

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  7. I doubt the greatest difference is in graduate degrees. More than likely a larger percentage of Tea Partiers have gotten four year degrees than the general public. They're mostly middle class after all. (I can't find the original poll, though. It appears to be a different one than the Gallup poll that was going around earlier.)

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  8. (Scratch that. I found the poll. I'm just having trouble getting it to load.)

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  9. CC, agreed that we shouldn't conclude too much about Tea Partiers from that.

    As for what the government funds, Tea Partiers are astonishingly selective. Was it Glenn Beck who didn't realize libraries are socialist institutions? And do not think of taking their Social Security from them.

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  10. (Ah, there we go. 23 percent college grad as opposed to 15 percent in the general population and 33 percent some college as opposed to 28 percent in the general population. That would be about what I'd expect given the information on income.)

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  11. Hey, I love education! One of my complaints with this country is that we do so little for public education. But I see an awful lot of very clever, very well-educated people who become enamored of ideologies that justify their own privilege.

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  12. Mostly I thought Will's comment was funny although at its most basic "education" pretty much is "indoctrination". They don't want critical thinking in your average public school. They want quiet kids who can pass tests.

    *grin* Besides, I'm a bitter, bitter, bleeding heart anarchist. Whatever we're doing right now is almost certainly the wrong thing.

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  13. serial, it's not as obvious, but it's also true at colleges and universities. Very early on, my father told me that to get good grades in any school, you should listen for teachers' favorite phrases and feed them back to them.

    To be kind to the teachers, it does mean you're paying enough attention to notice what they like to hear.

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  14. I've never seen any study on this, but I'd be interested in what type of degrees those on the left and right get. I'd think those on the right are mostly degrees very directly linked to earning a living- mechanical engineers, EE's, business, etc., while those on the left might be more likely to be some form of leberal arts or actual arts. That would explain a lot of the attitudes to me... for example, here in Indiana, Purdue grads are often to the right of schools like Butler, Franklin, etc.

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  15. If they aren't teaching critical thinking even in high school, they are screwing over their students for college. There's quite a bit of "Read this passage and choose the statement the author would most likely disagree with" and that sort of thing on the SAT. This is to say nothing of AP tests, which ask questions like "analyse the social, political, economic and cultural forces during the mid-1800s that lead to the formation of the Republican party. Please cite relevant historical evidence to defend your answer."

    Even in public high schools, there's no lack of attempts to throw the critical thinking noodle against the wall. Whether it sticks is up to the student.

    CC

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  16. Joel, someone has done the kind of study you suggest. If I didn't have to crash right now, I'd hunt it up. But I know it's out there.

    CC, I'm not as optimistic as you are about the popularity of critical thinking with school curriculum designers. Drill and kill and No Child Left Untested doesn't leave much room for that other than in wealthy suburban districts.

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  17. Then we should see the results in AP scores and SAT scores soon enough.

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  18. Not that everybody is a John Taylor Gatto fan, but:

    Against School

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  19. CC, not so sure about that. AP scores will come from those wealthy suburban districts, where crit. thinking is more likely to be encouraged. Generally the loudest voices for "high standards" from where I sit seem to be those who focus on facts memorization (even if they don't call it that) and subtly disparate "critical thinking" in education...

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