Pulling out

Today, Fred Clark blogs about a growing movement in the Southern Baptist Convention to urge parents to pull their children out of public schools. One of the motivations for this movement is to remove children from the “‘metastasizing spiritual, moral and intellectual pathologies of the government school system.'”
As usual, Fred does a very good job of covering the political, cultural and religious aspects of the issue. But his post reminded me of something from my own past. I grew up in the Texas Hill Country just north of San Antonio. We lived just beyond the fringes of suburban San Antonio at the time; you could live more or less in the country and still commute into San Antonio, though it was a long commute.
I can think of quite a few families who moved out of San Antonio to remove their kids from the perceived negative influences of the city’s schools. But by and large, these families continued to deal with the same types of problems with their kids even in the idyllic Hill Country. In my opinion, those families chose to blame the city for their kids’ problems, when in fact the problems lay with the kids and families themselves; moving to the country didn’t change things. Sounds to me like some Southern Baptists might be suffering the same delusion.

Hitting the nail on the head

This comment on MetaFilter sums up my feelings about many of my grad school professors quite well:

Respect for academic achievements is slowly eroding into extinction. Good riddance, I say. I have been working several years at a university known as one of the top in the country for its particular field, and here’s what I found out: it’s meaningless. It is an institutionalized popularity and writing contest. It’s as if these folks who probably suffered from social ineptitude at some point in their lives (or continue to suffer from it) are using their intelligence as a substitution for charisma and basic, decent human behavior. Which is fine for them inside their own circles I suppose. However, I personally have little respect for titles, authority, position and supposed academic credibility. The result of your work may be astounding and important, but that doesn’t make you a good person or a decent human being, and it damn well doesn’t mean that I have to show you any respect until you earn it. If I don’t understand how great your work is, then you get to earn your respect from me by being a good person on a general level.