Episode-1480- What Might a Free Market Education System Look Like — 42 Comments

    • I thought it was the “perfect solution” fallacy.

      Now fallacies are something that should be taught in schools. But then people might start thinking critically and analyzing statements made by politicians. And we can’t have that now, can we?

      • While I don’t disagree that everyone could use a good dose of philosophy there is a “danger” in spending too much time thinking about fallacies (Not really your point Matt, but it’s something your statement made me think about) The issue is “doing only the things that you can’t find a fallacy for, fallacy”. (Pulling an insidious, patent pending on this one). Or another way to put it, the situation where one does not do something intentionally because the most common reasoning is a fallacy.

        One of the most cited ones I have found in philosophy classes is the “tradition” fallacy. Essentially your justification for doing something is because it’s a tradition. This often leads somebody to not do something or reject that something is a good idea because it is considered a tradition. It is (in my experiences) one of the dumbest most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever heard. Often times tradition is baked in real experiences and passed on knowledge.

        Just because a single reason, or the most common reasoning, or many reasonings would lead to a belief being a fallacy doesn’t mean its not worth while, just that your reasoning is not on a logical ground. (That’s really all a fallacy is) I might further note that over embracing of logical arguments negate the fact that people live their lives in “emotional ways” and do things without necessarily a logical foothold, and still do well.

        Probably one of the best examples of this is a business vision. Basically the requirement of believing in yourself when nobody else does, and your product doesn’t exist and its so revolutionary. It generally requires illogical and ridiculous beliefs in order for it to come to fruition.

        Loooooong reply long. Getting into epistemology will further destroy your ability to think and act logically and without fallacy. I think the one thing it has made me appreciate is how much this statement is true.

        “We are not rational beings, but we do rationalize.”

      • Both fallacies are closely related, however I think in this case, The Perfect Solution fallacy may be a bit more accurate. Good call, Matt! Definitions:

        The nirvana fallacy is a name given to the informal fallacy of comparing actual things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives.[1] It can also refer to the tendency to assume that there is a perfect solution to a particular problem. A closely related concept is the Perfect solution fallacy.

        By creating a false dichotomy that presents one option which is obviously advantageous—while at the same time being completely implausible—a person using the nirvana fallacy can attack any opposing idea because it is imperfect. Under this fallacy, the choice is not between real world solutions; it is, rather, a choice between one realistic achievable possibility and another improbable solution that could in some way be better

        The perfect solution fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented. This is an example of black and white thinking, in which a person fails to see the complex interplay between multiple component elements of a situation or problem, and as a result, reduces complex problems to a pair of binary extremes.

        It is common for arguments which commit this fallacy to omit any specifics about exactly how, or how badly, a proposed solution is claimed to fall short of acceptability, expressing the rejection in vague terms only

        Since neither case represents an “improbable solution”, that has no chance of existing, the edge may have to go to The Perfect Solution fallacy.

    • I will point out a similar fallacious comparison: It is fallacious to compare two groups of people by comparing the best of one group with the worst of another. It is more honest to compare the best of both groups to each other to show how high one can go or to compare the worst of both groups to show how low one can fall.


      • Indeed and you know what in the “test scores” thing around the world this is often done. In many modern nations by the time a child gets to what we call “high school” they have already been “sorted” some are bound for universities and others for things like we’d call “tech school”, etc. Once that is done those sorted children don’t take high level academic tests, BECAUSE THERE IS NO REASON FOR IT, they are not going to what we call a university anyway.

        That means when they present their scores to the world for high school level academic test scores they are ONLY presenting the scores of those who are already destined for a university at what we call 9th grade.

        • I always eye roll these statistics. They’ll take some specifically wealthy small geographical area in the European Union and compare it to one of the largest geographical areas and then pick places like Mississippi as their data point for the US. Not bashing on Mississippi but we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples when we pick the “clearly highest scoring” part of the EU to compare the the “lowest scoring” US.

          It doesn’t matter anyways it’s not like the use of the data is used towards anything but further political ambitions.

  1. A book I’ve been meaning to read on the subject is A Beautiful Tree. Some liberal guy wrote it and found he was wrong about government needing to fund schools and he chronicles how the poor educate their children and come out with better results than the government does.

  2. I can name at least two families in my homeschool group that moved to Texas from New York largely because they wanted freedom to teach their children what they wanted. Lower taxes and lower cost of living of course were also some good benefits.

  3. Jack,

    You may be interested in the essays of Albert Jay Nock (yes, *that* Albert Jay Nock) on the topic of education. Specifically, “The Disadvantages of Being Educated,” “American Education,” and “The Value of Useless Information.”

  4. Excellent episode Jack. I have a hard time finding an argument to any of your talking points. That doesn’t happen all the time but it did this time. Since having a 2 & 3 year old, I have been actively pursing the lifestyle which will allow me to take the wheel on their education. It is, afterall, my responsibility. Show suggestion: “How to get your spouse on board with homeschooling”. Similar to your previous episode about <a href="; getting your spouse on board with prepping.

  5. Couldn’t agree more about parent restrictions. I saw that in my own life. I decided I didn’t want to do all sorts of things just because I could see it with my own eyes. I knew numerous people who were extremely restricted in high school and they did all sorts of dumb stuff. I can think of a few who never really recovered from that.

    Yeah I was rebellious, but in the same way I’ve been my entire life. I guess I don’t really see it now as being a “rebel” it’s just doing whatever I want and learning/doing at my own pace. I didn’t really have much to “rebel against” (most of the time).

    • Small “nit pick”. Was listening and heard you say make the argument that what you get from our current system is people who obey authority. In my experiences depending on personality and probably home environment, people are more likely to adapt AROUND the system. Government and systems create barriers and people, in most cases, look to how to get around them for what they want. Whether or not they’ve been beaten down and want less as a result of the system, is what it is. I don’t deny their attempts are to create people who obey authority, but we can just clearly look at the system we have now and see that it doesn’t work quite as well as they’d hope.

      • You don’t think work arounds are considered by your masters and are part of the plan.

        I tell one person where to move his rook so I can take his king.

        The next person I move my bishop and he responds with a move by his rook and I take his king.

        If I own the game and make the rules is there really any difference between the two?

        • In general I tend not to believe everything is orchestrated. A combination of people attempting to orchestrate, useful and “benevolent” idiots, and good natured thinking people I think seems more reasonable.

          My point was that if that’s the case then you’re an obedient useful person as well. And so am I, and so was Bill Gates. We’re all product of the same schooling system yet I wouldn’t classify any of us as obedient and non-thinkers.

        • This is where you start to lose me, Jack. I believe that there is an oligarchy that are controlling a lot of our political dichotomy through financing both sides of the political aisle. I know someone(s) owns the Federal Reserve, and we’re not allowed to know who. And I believed this before I found your show. So you have a lot of liberty to convince me of a lot of orchestrated moves, that are often not seen by the masses. But if I’m reading your post correctly, I’m supposed to believe that “they” not only control the government on federal, state, and local levels all across the western world, across borders, and through generations; control just about all forms of media, and always have; control our schools, both public and private; and somehow regardless of whether we (or our children) rebel from what is taught in school, or soak up every last bit of information like a sponge, or anything in between. “They” have the game rigged in such a way where they win 100% of the time.

          What I don’t understand, and where you start to lose me, is if I bought into that way of thinking, what is the point of doing anything at all? Apparently it’s only a matter of time that they just bring more people and more guns than I could ever have to take what they want anyway.

          To expand upon Mike’s excellent point: Can you explain how this community would fit into that plan?
          (I know it’s strongly worded, but I hope you don’t take this post as being antagonistic, I am more curious than anything)

    • Just another point in a sea of reasons why not to have kids in a school system. I take this two ways.

      A. Why would I want to have my kids go to a school that NEEDS a police force? (Meaning its “so rough”)
      B. Why would I want to be a part of such overwhelming stupidity to think that a school shooting half way around the country has anything to do with the safety at my own local schools? It’s just a typical reaction. They claim sandy hook is the reason then the argument is for “non-misdemeanor” violations.

      I’m sure there is a Ben Franklin quote about security and freedom that might apply here….

  6. “Jack is in bed with the Koch Brothers.”

    That was the funniest thing I heard all day yesterday. I couldn’t stop laughing. Not only do I not think this now, in the past year of listening to this show, I have not thought this. Im not even sure how someone could even come to that conclusion by listening to your show. It defies logic and reason.

  7. My wife and I just started homeschooling and is going very well. Here in Wisconsin there is almost no oversight from the state, so it makes it very easy. Thanks for the show, totally agree with everything you said.

  8. Jack,
    Until I hear you start referencing John Taylor Gatto, I will continue to insist that you start read, or listening to him.

    That playlist It’s only 5 hours… 😛
    But its dense. It goes into the history of the compulsory state schooling. He sites the founders and predecessors of our modern day system and tells how it was not designed for education.
    Anyway Thanks for all you do!

  9. Please ignore if you think this is a nit pick, but the parachute from 1250 feet was a slip, right? I’ve jumped only twice, (10000′ and 12500′ or so I was told) so I have almost no knowledge, but 1250 sounds REALLY low, but if true I find that interesting so I thought I’d ask.

    • Yep Richard Les has it right.

      You jumped for fun, I trained to jump into hot combat zones. One wants to be floating in the air as a descending defenseless target for as short a time as possible.

      You jumped with the type of cute I was talking about where you can break right at the end to slow down even more. You have massive control, can practically fly around. When conditions are right in some drafts you can even gain altitude with the right technique.

      In the Army you jump with a T10-C or a T12-B. You can control each differently as to lateral drift but not much. You go in one real direction, DOWN and pretty fast. You hit the DZ, police up your shit and move out fast.

      In fact that 1250 foot altitude is only for training and initial qualification. Most of the jumps I did in Panama were lower, the lowest we ever did was 800 feet. Some jumps are lower, like 400-500 feet.

      Now demo teams like the Golden Knights do jumps with civilian gear but that is just to be flashy and get young kids to join the Army. Special Operators do HALO jumps but that is another story.

      Here is some good info on it,

  10. Right on, Jack. Education is changing from a local to global scale with people finding their educational niches, starting programs, courses, learning centers, community education networks, and schools of all sorts. Let me give just a few examples from parents and families I’m working with in the Educational Design Community.

    One incredible example is a parent in Australia who is now designing and launching an experiential community education program that brings together multiple members in her community who specialize in things like the community garden, drumming and dancing, community kitchen, and outdoor (bush) exploration for both children in the local school as an after-school opportunity and for a wider homeschooling community, all stemming from a combination of following her passions and helping her children find and explore theirs. She has designed a hybrid model that takes a bit of this and bit of that educational resource within her communities (local and online) to find the best way for her children to learn. She is not a professionally-trained teacher with a university degree, but she will be a certified Educational Designer who knows that she can put together an amazing program that fits her community’s needs and wants. She can fill a gap for a variety of families who want to outsource education and she is setting herself up to become an expert in her niche.

    There is another person in our community who, like me, has departed from the formal, professional education system and has designed a program for adults that she uses in her own life and with her child. She has launched an educational program to help adults create, organize, and design their own authentic lives and educational pursuits in effective and functional ways with the goal of helping people realize their personal power to integrate into and provide value to their community. Where the aforementioned example was working with her geographically local community, this woman has designed her program as an online collaborative. Like those in the community I’m helping cultivate, these folks will connect, share, inspire, and empower one another from all around the globe, but learn to then become the seeds of change for their local community as well. What better models and role models for the children in their lives and the community in which they live?

    Just one more example because I’m just blown away by the innovation and ingenuity of people when given an environment, support structure, and community that helps them re-connect with the powerful educator within. There is yet another couple in the Educational Design Community who foresee outsourcing as the future of education. They, like the first example, have found a way to take, use, and design an educational plan that integrates a couple days a week in the local school who offers a homeschooling program with the child-driven experiential learning approach that we discuss as a community. Not only are they self-empowering themselves as parents and educators, but they have a goal of starting a local community garden to be the “classroom” from which they will offer support to local families for a modest fee. They will reach out to local families who want to learn to educate not only about things related to nature and the garden, but as a platform to integrate learning about all the traditional subject areas through the experiential education model designed not for children, but with our children.

    As you pointed out, this shift in education is already happening and I believe unavoidable. Those on the edge of the corona of the black-hole may not realize it yet, but for those of us who are already making the change we are jumping in headfirst, riding the gravity wave, and accelerating the change to the education paradigm.

  11. Actually, teachers are at fault, although not in the way one would expect. Particularly the good teachers. If those teachers simply stopped trying to work within a rotten system and quit, leaving it to the bad teachers and the bureaucrats and other parasites, the whole edifice would quickly fall and we’d be back to a superior free market in education again, just like before this country adopted socialist Prussian education starting in the 1840’s – except it would be vastly easier with the internet – anyone been on lately?

    See John Taylor Gatto’s life-changing book, “The Underground History of American Education”. See also John Holt’s “How Children Fail” and “How Children Learn”.

    As to homeschooling, the easiest thing is simply to ignore the state homeschooling statutes, “forget” to register your kids, and lean toward “unschooling” as your personal homeschooling flavor. Kids are learning machines if we just get out of their way.

    • That could be applied to almost every occupation in the public sector. It really is an unfair way to judge people who have been trained and conditioned by the very system they are part of.

  12. Interesting fact about escaped domestic pigs. It does not take a couple generations to revert to being in a wild state. An escaped pink pig will grow hair, tusks and become aggressive in a matter of months given the right environment to thrive in.

  13. I find it ironic that the most prestigious institutions of ‘higher learning’.. are private companies. Yet, only a ‘public’ institution can be entrusted with the task of teaching our child to color?

    For those late to the party.. education is available, for free, right now. To any level you care to pursue. Internet + Local Libraries, for the win.

    Not sure how to put together a ‘curriculum’ for yourself? Take a look at Harvard, Yale or MITs degree requirements (or any ‘elite’ institution).. which are laid out as they’re to be taken.

    For close watchers of ‘Insidious Industries’.. there are two ‘so obvious’ wins in education, that I can’t believe no one is using them all the way to the preschool level..

    First, the ‘forgetting curve’.. if we actually intended to educate children, it would be in use in every classroom.. NOW. Not integrated as its a ‘new discovery’? Nope, Ebbinghaus published the research in 1885. Want to remember anything with ease? Here ya go:

    (see ‘Supermemo’ and similiar for products that integrate this

    Second, use Kahneman’s research into pupil dilation as a measure of Type 2 brain use (forebrain). Computer watches your pupil.. and knows when your attention has wandered due to tiredness or overwhelm.. stops the lesson, tells you to getup and move around.. or quit for the day. Or simply adjusts the material or tries a different approach to reengage the student.

    Coders.. start your engines.. (there are already apps that integrate forgetting curve.. but there are tons of things to do to make it better)

    We should give parents signs that say ‘we demand mediocracy!’ to wave at their town council meetings while they demand their taxes be raised ‘for the good of the children’.

    The Video Jack mentioned on children teaching themselves.. what he didn’t mention is that the computers were in ENGLISH and none of the children spoke English, so before they could use them, they had to teach themselves English:

    • @Insidious, perhaps there is some use of this forgetting curve in schools. The magic number for writing your spelling words has always been “5 times each”. LOL

        • That would work.. if they had you write the word..

          3 Days from Now
          A week from now
          A month from now
          Six months from now

          (roughly, it varies slightly based on the individual)

          So.. even the current system could intentionally use this understanding of human memory to ensure you remembered whatever it is they believe you should remember.

          This should be applied to EVERY field of learning.. so rather than only progressing from concept in math.. you can create a curriculum that includes this periodicity within it, to ensure that, for instance, you actually remember all of the math concepts you learn.. or all of the bits of science.. or whatever.

          =) – yes, I know its a joke..

          but the WASTE of human time/life makes me crazy.. (‘learning’ things you are actually not learning.. as there is no memory of the knowledge.

          Of course, people have spent 8,936,379,407 minutes watching ‘Gangham Style’ (310,290 MAN YEARS)..

          So maybe its not the worst waste going on.. 😉

  14. The comment on the government ‘making sure you spend the entire budget’ made me think about the importance of goals.

    Government Goal: Spend x to achieve y. x must be spent or it will be reduced.
    Outcome: Guaranteed increase in x.

    Dept A: 100% spent
    Dept B: 100% spent
    Dept C: 110% spent

    Next years budget must be increased! Based on the goal, budgets will ALWAYS need to be increased.

    Contrast this with a regular company..
    Goal: spend AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE to achieve y. if y is achieved for LESS THAN x, you will be rewarded (raise, bonus, dividend).
    Outcome: Ever decreasing x

    Now, you could say ‘apply the same goal to government..’ with this years budget being an average of the past five years (to smooth out anomalies).

    The only issue.. does your cost cutting decrease the value of your product? In the case of a private company.. the market determines if the less expensive product is still ‘viable’.. in the case of government.. how the heck do you know if they’re ‘doing their job’?

    Of course.. we have this problem NOW.. so there wouldn’t be any difference between a department NOT doing their job now and spending a crap load of money, and NOT doing its job in the future and spending less. 😉

  15. I home school my kids. My oldest was in public school for 2 years. Now every time we drive by her old school. She chants never again! I also work in the school system. Thing have changed a lot since I was in school. Kids aren’t afraid to admit they don’t want to be there. And I do not want my kids hanging around 2nd graders who look up porn(and bypass the firewall to do it). Searched all the words. I will not send my children into a place that needs police there at all hours of operation.

  16. Great show! Home schoolers have been saying these things for years, and it’s good to hear these truths getting out to more people. I’ve been homeschooling for about 25 years now, with only my 18yo “baby” to finish up. It’s been quite an adventure. It takes persistence & periodic appraisal of your progress. Unschooling is just one approach. We take a Classical/Eclectic approach (Latin is an important part of brain training, as is using an omnibus plan). Of course, some things are better unschooled since it’s just stupid to have a worksheet for everything! Flexibility is key (I can’t overemphasize that)! It’s important to do some research & not just “do school at home.”