You know how it goes: the pervasive media mythology tells us that the fight over the schoolhouse is supposedly a battle between greedy self-interested teachers who don’t care about children and benevolent billionaire “reformers” whose political activism is solely focused on the welfare of kids. Epitomizing the media narrative, the Wall Street Journal casts the latter in sanitized terms, re-imagining the billionaires as philanthropic altruists “pushing for big changes they say will improve public schools.”
The first reason to scoff at this mythology should be obvious: it simply strains credulity to insist that pedagogues who get paid middling wages but nonetheless devote their lives to educating kids care less about those kids than do the Wall Street hedge funders and billionaire CEOs who finance the so-called “reform” movement.
Crash Course Literature turns to the poetry of Emily Dickinson.
Oh, I was hoping someone would notice that.
Both these comments are rhetoric and not policy, so shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but the underlying ideas here are very important to me.
When the President says that higher education is an economic necessity, he’s is absolutely correct. If you look at the industrialized economies that are struggling around the world, they line up very closely with higher education rates. (Look at Portugal, for instance.)
So, like, “the U.S. experienced a fairly large growth in population from 2000 to 2009. During the period, the population increased 8.68% — the 12th highest among OECD countries. Meanwhile, the rate at which the share of the population with a tertiary [post high school] education is growing has slowed to an annual rate of 1.4% — the lowest among the 34 OECD countries. Just 71% of funding for educational institutions in the country comes from public funds, placing the U.S. sixth-lowest in this measure.” [source]
So we already have one of the lowest rates of public investment in education in the industrialized world, and the lowest rate of growth in post-secondary education.
This is a real long-term and structural problem for the US economy, because the only future growth available to industrialized nations is in jobs that require education. If we only offer higher education to people who can afford it, we will lose to the many nations where university education is more highly subsidized, because they’ll have better educated workforces that will earn more and in turn pay more in taxes, which will allow future generations to be better educated still.
Both parties would like to take political credit or assign political blame for the unemployment rate and the pace of growth etc. But the truth is, government doesn’t have a lot of say in that stuff (unless of course they screw things up so royally that there’s a debt default or something). A lot of the government’s role in economic growth is much longer term—it’s stuff like infrastructure and long-term political stability and creating a better-educated workforce.
The Industrial Revolution turns out to be very interesting and important. On some level, you can’t really understand tumblr until you understand Europe’s rapid industrialization in the 18th century. So watch the video and grow in appreciation for tumblr!
Ideas like liberty, freedom, and self-determination were hot stuff in the late 18th century, as evidenced by our recent revolutionary videos. Although freedom was breaking out all over, many of the societies that were touting these ideas relied on slave labor. Few places in the world relied so heavily on slave labor as Saint-Domingue, France’s most profitable colony. Slaves made up nearly 90% of Saint-Domingue’s population, and in 1789 they couldn’t help but hear about the revolution underway in France. All the talk of liberty, equality, and fraternity sounds pretty good to a person in bondage, and so the slaves rebelled. This led to not one but two revolutions, and ended up with France, the rebels, Britain, and Spain all fighting in the territory. Spoiler alert: the slaves won. So how did the slaves of what would become Haiti throw off the yoke of one of the world’s great empires? John Green tells how they did it, and what it has meant in Haiti and in the rest of the world.
This week’s crash course was really fun to make, because I learned a lot. Of course my pronunciation still sucks.
John’s Open Letter to Students Returning to School
Summer is ending.
I argue that this is good news.
I made you a video about how silver ruined the world. STUPID SILVER, ALWAYS RUINING EVERYTHING.
A lot of people have been asking what other YouTube channels we recommend that have educational content, like Crash Course. While you’re waiting for today’s Crash Course Word History episode, check out Open Letter to the Universe by Minute Physics. -Meredith the Intern
Reblogging to second Meredith’s recommendation. (Also to tell you that this morning, I told her that if she didn’t start capitalizing the I in Intern, I’d fire her. And lo and behold, she did! That’s how you manage employees, people.)
Hello there, Crash Course, and welcome to tumblr!
The Crash Course tumblr was founded minutes ago by our made-of-awesome nerdfighter intern Meredith, and she is obviously doing tumblr right, as she immediately located and reblogged a picture of a cat.
So go follow Crash Course to further your eduction in the arts, the sciences, and the cats.
The traditional study of world history tells us that history is made primarily by people wearing funny hats. In today’s episode of Crash Course, I argue that history is actually made by people like us.
Thanks for watching and sharing Crash Course. I hate encouraging people to share stuff they like—I mean, obviously if you like something you will share it—but…yeah. If you like Crash Course, and you want it to continue to be a thing, sharing is the most efficient way to make that happen.
At last, an episode of crash course devoted to… wait for it… THE MONGOLS.
A new episode of Crash Course in which I discuss the (arguable) Fall of Rome.
Once again proving that tumblr is not just a place for cat pictures and homoerotic Sherlock watercolors. IT’S ALSO FOR LEARNING.
I am boarding a plane to Amsterdam, but I was all Alec Baldwiny about DON’T CLOSE THE AIRCRAFT DOOR UNTIL I CAN TUMBL ABOUT THE NEW CRASH COURSE PLZ KTHX.
Learn about the Silk Road, ancient trade, and the demographics of Crash Course viewers (mostly muggle quidditch players and grammar nazis).
The new episode of Crash Course, in which I compare Kim Kardashian to The Situation.
I want Crash Course to be a video series where we all learn interesting and important stuff about world history and how historical events and trends created the world in which we live, but I also want it to be—as I think the study of history ought to be—an opportunity to think about what matters to us, and how we might best organize our lives and our communities.
I hope you’re liking this new project, and I hope that you’ll continue to share it with your own communities, because honestly I’ve never enjoyed making something as much as I’m enjoying working with the talented people who make CC possible, and I really want to keep making them for years and years.
Kim Kardashian’s perfume really does smell like cat pee, by the way.