♫ West Virginia is the place for me! ♬ Folks view farm animals romantically!

♪ Entire towns with only one last name! ♪

♪ Cross-eyed, slack-jawed, we all look the same! ♪

Apologies to all our Mountaineer readers. The Gormogons actually adore the state, and have at least one secret base in the mountains there. We can’t say any more. But, as Washingtonians, we’re required by birth and Maryland state law to make at least one West Virginia joke whenever the state is mentioned.

Scripsit Cæsar Muscoviæ:

the Volgi will happily explain why the educational curriculum has moved away from core math and reading skills in favor of softer, social class subjects geared toward feelings and understanding.

Well, sure. Take a look here. And here. Plus, in what field has society gotten more rigorous and exacting since, oh, the 1960s? Racial manners? Sure. But what intellectual field? Could we send a crew to the moon with slide rules and a guidance computer less powerful than the average digital watch these days? One has one’s doubts.

Why the decline in teacher quality? There are probably a bunch of reasons, but the major one is probably an unforeseen consequence of feminism. By opening up professions to women and the ensuing social pressure women to seek out a well-compensated career, many of the highest-IQ women who in the past might have been (often to their frustration) limited to professions like nursing, teaching, and secretarial work became doctors, professors, and lawyers and MBAs instead. Which devastated, in many ways, the pool from which those older “women’s professions” drew. Not that there aren’t brilliant women in teaching, nursing, and administration. You can’t spend time around schools, hospitals, and offices without noticing that. Nevertheless, one suspects there’s probably a measurable decline in the average pool of teachers, nurses, etc., as really, really smart women have a lot more options. Overall, the tradeoff benefits society by matching up interests and market needs better, but it may well have seriously hurt certain fields.

Also, the rise of “education” as a major (and the Deweyan/Conantian process-rather-than-content ideology behind it) means a lot of teachers spend a lot of time “learning how to teach” without actually mastering a body of knowledge and the requisite skills of a discipline. Consequently, the major attracts many people (not all, obviously) looking for (or only capable of) less-challenging work.

These observations are not intended to denigrate the fine teachers we have, but to explain why, perhaps, we don’t have more.