Category Archives: Flaws in the Public Education System

(Comic) How Universities Work

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A satirical take on conservative talking points

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The Adventures of Monk and Punk: Journey to Entlantis

A homeless monk and an alcoholic punk team up to create a publishing house to raise money to build a floating monastery.

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Illustrated Parables
An Old Man From Jersey Explains Life

An old man sits on the steps to his apartment and explains life to an eight-year-old boy.

This Was Your Life

Loki and a friend taunt the dead at the Pearly Gates to the Underworld



A college student is standing in a classroom speaking to a professor.

Kid: Hey, bro. Can I ask you something?

Professor: First, let’s get one thing straight. I’m a professor with a doctorate degree. So you will preface my name with the word, “doctor.”

Kid: Sorry. It’s against my religion to address other people with a higher title than me.

Professor: What!? That’s not in any religion! Which religion do you think said that?

Kid: Reason. My religion is reason.

Professor: Silly boy, that’s not legally recognized as a religion.

Kid:…only because it’s based on reality.

Professor: I don’t have time to argue with a child about how you expect the world to operate. Just address me with a higher title than you, and let’s move on.

Kid: No. Not until you give me a reason why.

Professor: I didn’t go to eight years of school for nothing!

Kid: Yeah, you went to eight years of school for an education and a higher paycheck.

Professor: …and to deserve to be called doctor by people foolish enough to be born after me or poorer than me.

Kid: Will I get to be addressed with a higher title just for doing whatever benefits me for eight years?

Professor: No. It only counts if you do exactly what I did.

Kid: Don’t get me wrong. That’s cool that you went to school for so long, but I still don’t see how that obligates me to subjugate myself to you.

Professor: Oh, children are so naïve it makes my head hurt! Look, I went to school for eight years. How do you not understand that?

Kid: So who else gets to demand that other people stroke their ego by addressing them a higher title?

Professor: Military officers, politicians, clergy, and bosses in general.

Kid: So basically, anyone who controls other people deserves to be addressed with a higher title, and anyone who is controlled deserves to subjugate themselves?

Professor: Now you’re talking like a mature adult! Anyway, what did you want to talk to me about?

Kid: Well, doctor, I just wanted to know if I passed my last assignment.

Professor: Yes, you passed, but you got a C, and I know you can do better. So I just have to ask, are you on drugs?

Kid: No. It’s just that I didn’t care about the assignment. So I didn’t bother wasting too much of my precious life on it.

Professor: You have a piss poor attitude, son.

Kid: I’m not your son, and I don’t understand how I have a piss poor attitude.

Professor: It takes so much hard work to get a college degree because a college degree is a badge of maturity that proves how much hard work you’re capable of doing.

Kid: Dude, this class has nothing to do with my career path. Why does it make me a failure if I don’t do well at something I don’t want to do and will never do again?

Professor: I’m a doctor, not a dude, and it seems like the real question is why you’re wasting my time if you don’t even want to be in this class?

Kid: Your school made me take this class for no other reason that I can see other than to charge me more money!

Professor: You kids are so naïve. Colleges don’t make students take superfluous classes just to make money. We’re not here to make money. We’re here to educate young minds.

Kid: So I suppose texts books don’t cost $130 just because you can get away with charging that much.

Professor: Well, point in fact, textbook prices are a racket. Everybody knows that, but nobody will do anything about it.

Kid: Everybody also knows that the higher cost of tuition rises the higher the glass ceiling rises for the poor.

Professor: What liberal, biased news anchor did you learn that “fact” from?

Kid: …all of my social science classes. Look, if you’re going to force me to become a debt slave for the rest of my life to get a college education, can you at least make the classes relevant and useful?

Professor: But every class is relevant and useful! If you took it at college then it must be!

Kid: I learned in Logic 101 that that’s a circular argument. Qualify your statement.

Professor: Every class you take was made by a person with a doctorate degree who is smarter than you. So if you don’t understand its value then the reason why must be because you’re not smart enough to understand.

Kid: “Appeal to authority” is another form of logical fallacy. I’m going to need you to try harder.

Professor: Look, all of the work you’re doing in college is preparing you to succeed in business in ways you’ll only be able to understand after you enter the workforce.

Kid: So after I start working at another job other than all the ones I’ve already had I’ll understand the profound value of writing essays nobody (even you) wants to read, cramming references int said essays and giving PowerPoint presentations to people who don’t care about topics that I’ve just been introduced to while my teacher zones off in the corner?

Professor: Yes, you see, for the rest of your life you’re going to work for totalitarian dictators who need you to perform personally unrewarding tasks to make your bosses rich. And they’ll need you to delegate more loathsome tasks to people younger and poorer than you. So it’s essential that you learn to put up with bullshit now.

Kid: So you’re training me to be a good house nigger?

Professor: That word is insensitive. Use the term, “house slave” instead.

Kid: I thought you were supposed to teach young people to think.

Professor: No, but that sure sounds good on paper, doesn’t it?

Kid: So what did you teach me logic for?

Professor: I was just joking. There’s no big conspiracy. This school’s faculty is just woefully incompetent because they all went to schools that prioritized profit over education.

Kid: That’s it. I’m filing a student complaint.


The End

The Glass Ceiling Of Higher Education

If you’re born into a wealthy family, you pretty much have to try to become poor. You can live off the interest and dividends of their investments indefinitely without lifting a finger. If you want to work, you can use your family’s wealth to go to a good private school and a prestigious university, all the while unhindered by the stress, shame, and fear of making ends meet. In the end, you can use your family’s affluent business connections and references to secure a fantastic, high paying job where you get to take two-hour lunches and retire with full benefits.

If you don’t have rich parents, the biggest obstacle between you and a good job that pays a living wage with full benefits is a college education. The other options are to start your own business, attend a trade school, or teach yourself a lucrative job skill on your own free time like web development, programming, singing, sports, acting or writing. But if you want to climb the corporate ladder or get a good government job, then you need a college degree. If you don’t have a college degree, then no matter how smart, qualified or responsible you are, there will always be a glass ceiling preventing you from moving above entry-level work that rarely pays a living wage or provides any benefits. You’ll also get the bare minimum amount of time off while being held to higher standards of accountability than those above you.



Even if you can get a college degree, they cost tens of thousands of dollars from even low-quality universities, and you still have to pay rent, utilities, transportation, food and medical bills while you’re going to school. If everyone could afford this, then the playing field would be level and we would have a strong case to criticize those who didn’t climb the corporate ladder. However, there are millions of people in America and billions of people in the world born into households that simply don’t have the time or money to go to college.

Some financial aid is available to some people, but even if you could get a full-paid scholarship, most people can’t afford to take 4 years off of work to study because they need to take care of their struggling family. Some people don’t even know about the options available to them or are too intimidated by the dizzying bureaucracy you have to navigate to “take advantage” of these “opportunities.” There are a million nuanced reasons why it might be impractical for someone to use financial aid and student loans to pay for college. Even if they did, the cost of education rises faster than inflation and government aid can keep up. So these options aren’t that effective anyway.



It’s a self-defeating argument to say, “You can go into a half a lifetime of debt in order to make a living wage. So you have no room to complain about not having any money.” Really? Is that the best we can offer our children and our neighbors? The situation has gotten so desperate that students at the University of California have proposed that it would be better to charge a percentage of income after graduation instead of paying upfront fees. It’s a sad day in our history where indentured servitude looks good. That doesn’t support the myth that America is a land of opportunity for everyone.

Everything I’ve said so far assumes you’re even smart enough to finish college. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people aren’t. Some of those people may have high mechanical aptitudes but are hopelessly lost in mathematics. In America, you have to pass Algebra or you’re not getting a college degree. It doesn’t matter that you’ll never use Algebra. You still have to pass it if you want to make a living wage.

Isn’t the point of a college education to prove that you’re smart enough to deserve a higher paycheck though? Theoretically, yes, but take a step back and look at the big picture. Since college education places a glass ceiling on your career opportunities in America, the effect is that if you’re not smart enough to jump through all the hoops of a college curriculum, then you don’t deserve to make a living wage. So only the smartest people in America deserve to be treated like human beings? If that’s the moral precedent we’re setting, then we’re monsters.

A college degree doesn’t even guarantee you’re smart anyway. Some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met have had college degrees because they excelled at being able to bullshit their way through papers without retaining any information or learning to think critically. If the purpose of a college education is really to weed out the smartest and most deserving workers, we wouldn’t lay out the red carpet for athletes to ride through college on scholarships and reduced academic standards.

College education in the form that it exists in America today doesn’t serve the lofty purpose of elevating the most deserving. It has become a tool of systematic economic oppression. It elevates the rich and it puts a very real, very firm glass ceiling over the heads of the poor and academically-disinclined who are nonetheless full of potential in their own ways and deserving of a fairer share of the profits they’ll earn for whatever company they end up sacrificing their infinitely valuable lives working for.

The measure of a man is not the degree on his wallet but the blood in his veins, the breath in his lungs, and the consciousness in his brain. Yet we treat those without a college degree like animals. This is not a civil way to run a civilized society or its economy.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


The Importance of Public Education
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It’s Time To Stop Oppressing The Academically Disinclined

In order to stay alive, you need to earn money. Unless you’re a trust fund baby, this means you need a job. In order to get a job, you need academic credentials. At the very least you need a G.E.D. or a high school diploma. Anyone over the age of 18 who doesn’t have a high school diploma will find it almost impossible to get any job other than entry-level customer service work or hard manual labor. Most of these jobs pay minimum wage with little hope for advancement, health care, or retirement plans.



If you don’t have the credentials to get a higher paying job, your dreams will never come true no matter how hard you work. You can pull yourself out of a life of poverty and thankless work by being really, really clever, but if you’re not academically inclined enough to get a high school degree, you’re probably not clever enough to start your own business or teach yourself a rare job skill.

This means if you’re not academically inclined enough to pass high school, then you’re basically doomed to waste the rest of your life working as hard and long as possible for little money as possible. You’ll never have enough money to buy a brand new car, a house, or go on lavish vacations. Some people would say, “That’s what you get for screwing up.” To that, I would reply, “You’re a heartless monster.” Failing high school doesn’t mean you deserve to suffer for one minute, let alone the rest of your life.

Even if you’re academically inclined enough to get a high school diploma, but you’re not smart enough to get a degree from an accredited university, you’re still stuck in basically the same position. You’ll pretty much be limited to entry-level work unless you can get some kind of trade certification.

When you’re faced with the prospect working as a disposable wage slave for decades, the cost/benefit analysis of turning to a life of crime starts to add up. Why suffer endlessly and fruitlessly, when you can risk it all for quick money? Not all criminals are noble savages, but a lot of them are simply academically disinclined individuals choosing the most logical path to prosperity society gave them. Our education/credentialization system is as much to blame for their crimes as them.

The punishment for failing at school is a life of destitution, servitude, malnutrition, exhaustion, and hopelessness. This is not the way an enlightened society behaves, and the more we punish the academically disinclined, the worse we make society. From a cosmic perspective, we’re also wasting the potential of infinitely valuable life forms who took 14.7 billion years to create. Furthermore, our failure to treat our fellow human beings decently puts a black stain on all of our accomplishments. As long as the oppression of the academically disinclined continues we all deserve a hard kick in the groin, especially our politicians and education administrators.


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The Importance of Public Education
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A Modest Proposal On The Moral Imperative Of Teacher Accountability

America is at the peak of its reign as the greatest nation in the world/history. Having solved all other problems America has turned its benevolent gaze towards solving the education crises that has been slowly eroding our children’s future. The fundamental problem with education in America, as anyone can see, are teachers. The solution to this problem is more standardized testing and teacher accountability.

This approach to education reform is simple to the point of being elegant. Children take tests, which prove they’ve memorized all the information necessary to survive and thrive in the open, dynamic world they’ll spend the rest of their lives in. If a child fails their tests, it must be because their teacher wasn’t good enough. So that teacher needs to have reprimands filed in their permanent record to establish a paper trail so they can ultimately be fired and blacklisted. Then a fresh teacher straight out of college can come in and give the students a proper education that will set them up to succeed at their standardized tests and thus life.

The solution to the education crisis is so blatantly clear, the only question left is, why don’t we expand this proven method to every other public service sector? If police fail to lower crime in an area, they need to be fired so we can bring in new recruits who know how to get the job done. If social workers fail to pull %88 of their clients out of poverty, then why should we pay them? Put a black mark on their permanent record so they can never work in their field again. If a state fails to meet Utopian benchmarks of quality of living, we need to hold the people accountable who were responsible for the well-being of the people. Fire the mayors, the governors, and congressmen. Give them jobs they can handle, like cleaning state parks. Then, let’s pay someone to look for trash, and if they find any, we fire the state park officials.

I can’t wait for the day that not only our school systems are standardized and privatized, but the entire government as well. Let’s face it. In order to get the best police chiefs, mayors, congressmen, generals, and presidents, we need to offer them the same incentives the private sector offers. We need for-profit police departments, for-profit prisons, for-profit health and safety regulatory institutions, for-profit militaries (that’s right, plural), and a for-profit judicial, legislative, and executive branch of government. Most importantly, we need a for-profit accountability department that meticulously scrutinizes everyone’s performance to ensure maximum productivity.

In a perfect world, I’d like to see students and parents held to the same standards as teachers. If a student fails their standardized tests, then we should cut to the chase and send them, their parents, and their teachers straight past the poor house to the prison sweatshops. If they fail to make their quotas there, then we march them out to a field along with the prison warden and shoot all four of them in their heads like the lame workhorses they are.  I could be wrong, but that’s the only way I see to ensure everyone is accountable and successful… and the only way we’re ever going to build a Utopian society is if everyone is accountable and successful, right?


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


The Importance of Public Education
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The Quality Of Our Leaders Reflects The Quality Of Our Higher Education System

I was already deeply unimpressed by the Republican party, but I hadn’t realized how completely and utterly superficial America’s leadership (and the entire machine responsible for rotating those leaders) had become until I watched the 2016 Republican National Convention. It was as artificial and insincere as a fast food restaurant, and all the makeup and flashy backdrops in the world couldn’t dress up that pig. That turd was polished as well as it could be, and it was still offensive to the intellect. To be fair though, the Democratic National Convention wasn’t much better.



The entire 2016 presidential race in America has been a gigantic, flashing red warning light that America is desperately long overdue for an intervention about how fake its political machine has become, but it also points to another, possibly more important issue. Everyone who made a fool of themselves during the 2016 presidential race held a degree from an accredited university. Some of them had masters and doctorate degrees from prestigious schools known for their high academic standards.

The standardized higher education system we’re using to educate the people who are running the world doesn’t work. If you need more evidence then look at any career field in the world, but possibly the purest example of the ineffectiveness of university degrees is the American military officer caste. Every enlisted soldier has stories of woefully incompetent officers. I’m not saying every officer is incompetent. I’m saying there are enough incompetent officers to constitute a pattern, and if we trace that pattern back to its source we can fix the problem. The problem (other than the UCMJ) is the broken higher education system.

Nobody likes to admit when they’re wrong, especially people whose careers are based on the premise that they’re smarter than everyone else, but humanity can’t afford another generation of leaders as conceited and incompetent as the ones we’ve got now. We can’t even afford to endure the incompetent leaders we have now. The failures of the higher education system are felt in every career field every day. The cumulative effect is that it’s killing people. It’s lowering people’s quality of life and the potential of the entire species. I would even go as far as to say that the failures of the higher education system are pushing the Doomsday Clock in the wrong direction.

How can we fix this problem? The most fundamental change that needs to happen first is that every level of education needs to be free. As long as credentials are sold higher education will be a glass ceiling for the poor, schools will compromise their effectiveness for higher earnings and students will be set up for failure.

If you want to design a better education system then you need to talk to people who understand how the human mind works. If the American Psychological Association had been in charge of the Department of Education all along, we might not be in the place we are now.

It frightens me how blatantly broken the higher education system is, but it can’t be fixed because it can’t be changed because it’s so suffocated by bureaucracy.  Plus, there are too many people making too much money ripping off students to let anyone change the system in any way that would lower their profit margin. However, free online video schools like The Khan Academy and M.I.T.’s open courseware will make the traditional higher education model obsolete once they’ve created downloadable content for every class in every subject at every level. If America had given its entire Iraq War budget to The Khan Academy and/or M.I.T. then everyone in the world could be going to university for free to study whatever they want as long as they want at their own pace by 2020.

Someday that will happen, and then students won’t have to pay half their life’s wages to learn about their professors’ personal lives, how to bullshit their way through PowerPoint presentations or how to cram for exams on topics they’ll never use again. Once students are free to learn whatever they want and/or need without having to endure a traumatic gauntlet of unreasonably complicated, irrelevant assignments then universities like the ones our politicians graduated from will die a natural death, and the world will be a safer, more productive place. It sure would be nice if we could speed up that process, because the red button is surrounded by idiots.


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The Importance of Public Education
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6 Ways Universities Make People Dumber

Picture of Jim Belushi chugging a bottle of Jack Daniels, wearing a sweater that says, "COLLEGE."


I’m not saying that going to a university will just make you stupid and therefore you shouldn’t go. You can learn a lot of invaluable information at college, and it will help you grow into a better person. A college education is so important that everyone should go for free. However, there are some massive design flaws in America’s current higher education system that cause many students to get dumber in certain ways even as they get smarter in others:


1: Standardized essays and regurgitated facts

During your college orientation you’ll be told that college will crack open your mind like an oyster and transform you from a mindless robot into an enlightened uber man. But the two most important skills you need to succeed at college are the ability to memorize a lot of information very quickly and write good formal essays.

Most of your college career will be spent reciting information like a parakeet, and even when your professors are psychotic and obviously wrong about something, you still have to give them the answers they want to hear or you won’t pass. You’ll also have to write formulaic essays in more than half your classes. These essays will require you to regurgitate information in a standardized, mind-numbingly formal process. Your professors will demand that you back up every statement you make by citing authoritative sources. While this is a valuable skill to learn, it doesn’t train you to think for yourself and formulate new ideas. It forces you to become a professional regurgitator and to value popular knowledge over independent thought. Forcing students to think like that for four to eight years straight can seriously stifle their creative potential.

The reason colleges give students so many tests and essays isn’t because that’s the best way to learn. That’s just the way it’s always been done, and not enough people have questioned that tradition. The reason tests and essays became the collegiate standard is because they’re cut and dry ways of quantifying student activity, which schools need to be able to do in order to prove to the government that they’re doing something. That’s the primary goal of for-profit colleges: reporting student output. That’s the bottom line. Colleges need to measure that you did something, because if they can do that, they can tick the right boxes on the right bureaucratic government forms that keep their profits flowing in. So they designed their curriculum according to their needs even though it wastes your precious time that you could be spending learning.

If you stay in college long enough to base your sense of self-worth on your academic achievements, you may find yourself defending the institution and its practices blindly too. If you grow up in a bureaucratic maze, you’re going to take it for granted that the world is one giant bureaucratic maze and the best way to succeed is to just accept it, don’t question your duties and give the person above you whatever they want. These are horrible life lessons our higher education system has taught to millions of people, and since college graduates end up becoming the leaders of the world, these are the values we’re instilling in the leaders of the world. It should come as no surprise that the world is such a high-stress, unforgiving, dog-eat-dog place.


2: Awe of rank

Schools tell you that you should address professors as “sir,” “ma’am” or “doctor” out of respect for their prestigious accomplishments. However, if you choose not to address them with a superior title you’ll be verbally reprimanded. So you’re not really “saluting” them out of respect, you’re doing it out of obedience.

It’s illogical to treat another human being like you’re a second-class citizen to them even if they did something with their life. They’re not going above and beyond the call of duty. They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. At any rate, one person’s success is not another person’s failure. Spending 8 years doing something doesn’t indebt strangers to kiss your ass. Nothing does. Demanding that other people treat you differently than they would anyone else is oppression. It might not be apartheid, but it’s still oppression.

If you can teach a person that they have to place another human being above them for any reason then you’ve made that person dumber. And when you indoctrinate an entire generation of young people to believe that their elders are one rank closer to God than them, you’ve set the stage for an entire generation to be manipulated and exploited.

Another negative consequence of convincing young people to be in awe of their elder’s rank is that young people will believe their elders’ teachings without question. Even though colleges say they don’t want this to happen, they go out of their way to idealize their professors’ authority.

Not only does worshiping rank close your mind, it also distorts your sense of self-worth. Every human being is equal. Period. Everyone is deserving of equal respect and love. And in the end, everyone’s shit stinks, and we all die. That’s reality. Indoctrinating young people to be in awe of man-made ranks teaches them to see themselves as second-class citizens. This is hurtful and disrespectful to them on a personal level, and on a larger scale, if you can convince an entire generation of humans to believe that the natural way of the world is for society to be divided into social classes in which the upper classes are treated like royalty and the lower classes are treated like children then you’ve set the stage to exploit generations of poor people.

Schools are going to keep enforcing the tradition of students subjugating themselves to their superiors because it helps the teachers control the classroom, and it makes schools look more prestigious when their faculty wears an aura of holiness around them.


3: Untrained/unaccountable professors

You may learn a lot in college, but possession of a college degree doesn’t make you a higher form of life worthy of a grander title. There are actually a lot of really, really stupid people who graduated college without learning very much. Some of those people got jobs as college professors. Some of those professors have learning disabilities and mental disorders. Some of them may be brilliant on paper but are woefully unsuited to command a classroom. Most professors have less training in formal education than K-12 teachers, and it shows. Sometimes even the most well-trained, competent professors will interject bizarre personal beliefs into their lectures.

I’m not saying all professors are stupid. If you go to four years of college you’ll find at least one that will inspire you and change your life, but I guarantee you’ll also have a few nut jobs who have no business being anywhere near a classroom. These teachers will teach you irrational bullshit that will make you dumber. Some of them will just teach you their entire life story. Some just won’t teach you anything. Either way, they’ll waste a semester of your life that you could have spent learning.


4: Debt

The cost of a higher education is oppressively expensive. It’s so inflated that it constitutes a glass ceiling to professional advancement for the poor. It’s still a major financial setback for those who can afford it, and for those who take out student loans, their debt is an inescapable source of stress and an ongoing strain on their finances.

The inflated cost of tuition causes poverty. It locks the poor in poverty and drags everyone else down closer to the poverty level. There’s a positive correlation between poverty and lowered mental abilities. In other words, poverty will make you dumber. Colleges are making the world dumber by being so expensive.

If you grow up in a capitalist bureaucracy where everything costs as much as possible, and you spend half a lifetime’s wages to go buy the credentials to unlock the glass ceiling, there’s a good chance you’ll just accept that kind of behavior as the status quo and end up defending the system despite the obvious damage it’s doing to society.


5: Stress

In addition to the long-term stress of paying off student debt, colleges also submit their students to intense intellectual stress while they’re attending classes. Colleges push you so hard that many students resort to using drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to keep up with the workload, because if they can’t keep up with their unreasonable workload then they’ll lose all the money they paid for those classes, and they’ll lose their chance at getting a golden ticket through the glass ceiling.

And there’s no mercy for the weak. It’s sink or swim in college. Growing up according to those values teaches you that if you can’t endure inhumane stress for long periods of time then you don’t deserve to have a good life. You’re a failure, and your worthlessness proves you deserve to spend the rest of your life scraping the bottom of the barrel. These aren’t the values of an enlightened society. These are the values of a greedy, selfish, oppressive, cut-throat dystopia.

No professional mental health expert would ever suggest that submitting young people to intense, prolonged stress is in any way good for them. That’s a recipe for mental health disorders. Some people crack under it completely and are scarred for life. They might still graduate, get a good job and be a productive member of society, but they’ll carry avoidable scars with them that will bleed into their lives in subtle, negative ways.


6: Sports

Colleges are for-profit businesses. Even public schools, which are supposed to be non-profit still try to make as much money as possible in order to grow and pay their executives more money. Sports are big business. So universities enthusiastically host and promote their own sports teams. You can tell how important sports are to colleges by how much they pay their coaching staff, which is often considerably more than they pay their teaching staff.

There are positive things to say about sports, but sports aren’t as important (let alone more important) than academics. The more time students spend carrying a ball back and forth between two lines the less time they spend learning about the world around them and the problems facing humanity.

If the college propaganda machine succeeds at convincing you that sports are so important that you should wear body paint, scream euphorically in the middle of a crowd and/or argue with people who like other sports teams then they have succeeded at manipulating your values for their own benefit. There are more important things going on in the world than sports. We should be screaming about poverty, income inequality, corruption, pollution and civil rights. The more colleges convince people that collegiate-level sporting events are important enough to devote time and money towards they’re distracting the world from issues that actually matter.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


The Importance of Public Education
Flaws in the Public Education System
Improving Public Education


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