A new book, “The Art of Rube Goldberg,” has just been published. Even though Goldberg died four decades ago, his name and fame are as great as ever.
His comic genius was to show simple things made immensely complicated. This image of a nuclear bomb to kill a fly, as it were, perfectly captures a lot of the evils in our modern world. Things are over-designed, over-legislated, over-regulated, over-dictated, over-everything. Except successful.
Which brings us by perfect segue to our public schools. People are always saying we don’t spend enough money. Probably we’re spending twice as much as we need to. There, I said it.
Public schools use overpriced, overdesigned, incoherent textbooks, which are then thrown away every year. Constant new gimmicks, theories and curricula fly through the schools, each requiring the expenditure of billions more dollars. Everything is done as inefficiently as possible. Remedial education is a vast industry all by itself-- an industry made possible by educational malpractice in the first place.
It seems as though the most greedy textbooks publishers are in cahoots with the most ideologically extreme professors (i.e., they're socialists). Together they make all the decisions. Naturally they will come up with only bad, expensive, unproductive ideas. In short, they will labor mightily and come up with Rube Goldberg contraptions.
For more on why Rube Goldberg seems to be the architect of this country's public schools, see:
This particular machine has the job of placing a finger on a knot.