Maria Montessori welded Rousseau, Nietzsche and the medieval Catholics.

I’ve been reading up on Montessori because personal reasons, and reading Maria Montessori’s own words on her methods has been truly a fascinating journey I’ve only just begun.

Her methods appear to work with very little boys who were the children of muggers and prostitutes, and they also have a robustness that worked when she was able to work with children from more ordinary backgrounds.

She took the naturalism of Rousseau and Nietzsche and interpreted them in a context of Christian liberty rather than pagan liberty. She admitted to rather desiring a world where nobody was a servant or had servants, she preferred an employee/employer model of two equals negotiating in good faith.

How all this relates to teaching 2-7yos (she had the occasional kid under 3, though she tried to work with 3-7) is that she wanted an open exploratory environment for the children so that they could learn self-mastery and to replicate correct behavior and discontinue incorrect behavior, in both the moral and physical senses. She also had a commune-style model, with the parents and the directress living in the same apartment building centered around the school, with live-in doctors as well. She talks in her pedagogy (method discussion) of essentially seeking a balance between the mother directing her own children at home and the directress reinforcing that in the Montessori school setting by consulting and talking with each mother weekly or so.

She wanted children to understand the proper form of things so that they would recognize them when they were older. She was very clear that her methods were not something that was the One True Way of Learning, but that she thought she’d gathered together the genius of men before her to find a path in which young children might be most optimally prepared for more formal education in the teen and adult years.

She felt that children discovering on their own would be better able to grasp introductory moral lessons in context. It’s a very radical and fascinating educational approach.

In America, it was literally dismissed by jealous nerdy men because it didn’t match up that well with their pen and paper test mania (although the children did get very good test performance, she wasn’t focused on maxing that particular stat). Interestingly Montessori’s methods and pedagogy were revived during the postwar era, particularly around the time the youngest Boomers were being born in the middle 1950s and early 1960s.

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The Grain of Truth theory of effective activism.

Activism is effective politically and even socially when it starts from one true thing. Even if a giant forest of lies is built up around that, one small grain of truth is what keeps people attached. This is more true of progressive activism than conservative activism, but that is fairly recent.

The reason conservatives lose so much of the time is that they prefer stories that don’t even have the grain of truth and then wonder why people reject them. A good example is the bizarre love affair conservatives have with food stamps needing to be converted into actual raw ingredients. That this was done and didn’t work and that food stamps really are better at both feeding little kids who can’t help who their dysfunctional parents are and at getting said parents to be less dysfunctional is something they appear to be utterly ignorant of. Conservatives prefer a story about how things ought to be over the historical reality.

That’s just one example. There are plenty of others. Wide open topic for discussion.

College educated women are having all the babies these days.

This is a teaser post, I hope to get the numbers up later this week. But the long and short of it is that the cognitive sort has happened. Women who have some college education and especially who are married have a majority of the kids these days (since 2007). This is kinda true even among black women, the college educated ones have a significantly lower OOW percentage and also represent a supermajority of married births since 2007. And with white women, percent married and percent college educated are identical shares of their total births since 2007, about 70% each.

By the by, nearly 600k babies were born to married PhDs since 2007. This number is pretty close to the number for women with less than an 8th grade education who are married.

The insight here is that I gotta believe my lying eyes and the CDC’s birth data tables. Men are impressed by women’s accomplishments or attempts at accomplishment if it has to do with higher education. Or they just met her there. Or both. The only ladder left is the college one and if a woman at least jumps for a rung and falls down with a busted rung of credits without the credential, she still has a better chance of getting married before the babies come than if she never tries.

So telling women in aggregate to not “do college” or complaining about them taking classes and not managing to finish enough for a degree is in effect saying that you don’t want kids, plural, in wedlock, to remain the bulk of births.

I have some preference for the world that was, where there were parallel ladders to intellectual life, but the very couples I’m reading about were already sawing up the other ladders about 70 years ago when they collectively agreed back then that college for both boys and girls was what they would sacrifice for. There is a whole section in that study about how much a couple would give up to send a girl to school and the researchers were surprised that as early as 1957, parents were already on Team College for girls in big numbers.

Related: A pew link from a few years ago, including a graph where you can see that this pattern was baked in decades ago.
http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/10/record-share-of-new-mothers-are-college-educated/

Right wing activism vs left wing activism (PIRGs)

I have more things I want to write about than time to write about them, and some of those things I posted as comments over at Steve Sailer’s blog.  So I’ll bring some of them over until I get more free time/high spoon days or run out of relevant commentary.  First up are some comments I made about the difference between right wing and left wing activism, including the PIRGs (public interest research groups) as an example.

“There’s also a professional activist culture for Republicans, it’s just not as effective [as professional left-wing activism] because it’s oriented towards milking the base. HSLDA is a case in point. Doesn’t always start that way, but the right-wing activist stuff always seems to end up there, mysteriously.”

“…the left funds professional activists opaquely, with small fees that hit thousands or millions of people, where they skim off a portion (the PIRG system is a great case in point). It tries to not directly milk its base. The right, conversely, does nothing but overtly milk its base and avoids opaque funding mechanisms, favoring direct appeals, even if they have a con-artist sheen.”

“The PIRG money for student PIRGs, the main ones Americans hear about comes from the students, not the government. They also don’t tell students they can claw it back and the few students who figure it out have a major struggle to get a few hundred bucks back out of thousands spent per year. So it’s opaque funding, but not so much that people have a strong incentive to try to eliminate it. That structure is typical of liberal activist stuff. There’s other examples like obscure state level taxes that cost a few bucks a year per person, but in a state of millions, that’s real money.

The hijacking foundations is also a liberal special. Conservatives are fairly bad at working that angle, too. The Birchers in their prime were a good conservative activist alternative approach, but they relied on historical conditions that are unlikely to be replicable by conservatives these days.”

The context was something that is currently on alt-right and other conservative-ish minds, effective activism techniques.  Some people were doing the whole “Republicans HAVE JOBS LOL” thing that is standard when this comes up, but Democrats have jobs too, and not just activist-ing.

Relevant discussion from My Posting Career (naughty words galore warning), but mostly in this discussion they dismiss the successful right wing organizing that does exist (pro-life activism) and are unaware that right-wing women were the mainstays of previous successful right-wing activism before the degeneration into base-milking in the wake of the 1960s.

I’ll come back to the right-wing women thing over and over again, because smart right wing women were the backbone of pre-1960s conservative and Republican organization.  Then that energy mostly got diverted into homeschooling and other acceptable fringes.

Hedonic substitution and the myth of poor conservatives being middle class

Hedonic substitution in economics is buying ground beef instead of steak, or the Pinto instead of the Lambourghini.  People also engage in hedonic substitution.  It’s a hallmark of the conservative worldview.

Living in low quality housing, with one car in a car-centric society, eating a meatless or low protein diet, and yet all the while asserting that you’re middle class.  Homeschooling is often another hedonic substitution.  One hour once a week “co-op” is suddenly equivalent to 15k/kid/year private classical school and will definitely give you the same results.

It’s about telling people who have to substitute cheaper versions that they aren’t substituting at all but instead getting something for nothing because they’re just so smart and middle class.  And also not distinguishing between the people who can choose something else and thus aren’t operating on such tight margins.  The oft-cited (and mostly historical rather than current) statistics of children homeschooled by mere high school graduate mothers leave out how many of their fathers were engineers and STEM types.

While the median household income for married couples with under-18 kids is about six figures and has been even adjusted for inflation for decades, it’s still a median and a bunch of married folks with kids will end up on the low half of that median.  And instead of them being respectably poor or working class, they’re instead endlessly encouraged to engage in elaborate substitutes that cannot give the same result or benefit, but which would be superior if they weren’t being used as substitutes for something more expensive in time and/or money.

This approach also lets the higher-earning households avoid awkward social obligations and relationship building that used to be present even in individualist America out of a combination of ingrained habit and necessity.

College has replaced the parish

This is more of a note than a fully hashed out idea, but I think there is something to the fact that the “tribe” of college-educated adults and especially college-educated parents is where what remains of functional parenting culture lies in America among American-born Americans.  It’s the college-educated who hook each other up with nanny shares, allowing them genuinely flexible childcare that pays a good wage to the nanny while none of them ever pay more than center-based daycare costs per family.  It’s the college educated who can still find college-educated young women willing to barter and be live-in childcare for a gap year or two.  Who make social events mixed-age, and welcoming to children and their parents.  There is a loyalty and support base there that even crosses political boundaries.  But of course, both parents have to be college-educated.

Thus, when the political rubber hits the road, conservatives are more loyal to their real tribe of college-educated types than their supposed tribe of conservatives, Christians or conservative Christians.  I’ve seen way too many non-Christian college educateds serve as enforcers of progressive stuff by assuring college educated Christians that so long as they agree with some progressive thing (obviously being frothy about how evil Trump is would be a recent example) they’re “sane, sensible Christians” and thus acceptably human and allowed to retain access to a fairly vast social network.

And why shouldn’t they scrabble for the attentions of fellow college-goers?  Completing a BA/BSc or more has a shared vocabulary and world of experiences that crosses the same kinds of political and ethnic lines that church or parish (sometimes) used to.  Being cut off from a complete culture with its own traditions and lore, and of course, support in real terms like showing up to watch your kids with ten minutes’ notice, it’s easy to see why Christians end up choosing to go along with tons of progressive cant to maintain those bonds and access to those resources.

 

 

Homeschool Enrollment Trends

http://icher.org/blog/?p=2801#more-2801

This data is caveated like whoa for obvious reasons, but it’s interesting because it gives a glimpse of where critical mass is that can lead to more options for homeschooling households than doing it alone in the woods and never meeting any other homeschool families.

Something all the men who yell “homeschool or die” never talk about, but having the choice to be part of a community and not having to be jane teacher of all subjects is a big deal when making the decision about whether to homeschool and for how long.