I am completely stunned by some of the comments made at the post, Is The Ron Paul Curriculum Failing Its Students?
I have not cleared them for posting because they require a detailed response and I will do so here.
First of all, I want to make clear that
in the referenced post of a former student, I did not find anything disrespectful or arrogant in the way Dr. North responded.
He seemed to want to bring other students into the conversation to fix the problem---if there was any.
It seems to me that at first, he didn't see a problem and wanted to get other student opinions. Then, it seems as though he saw something and corrected it.
I really don't want to go into the exchange between Dr. North and the student. She appears to be a talented young writer and I wish her well, but let's leave her out of this.
I want to discuss the comments from adults about the post.
I find North off-putting. He's clearly intelligent, and I have occasionally found him insightful, but I've never been blown away by him. Frankly I'd rather listen to paint dry than one of his lectures. Good writer though.You would rather listen to paint dry?
I rarely have time to listen to 60 minute videos but if there is a new North video out there, I will listen to it. Indeed, I have listened to many of his videos multiple times. He is one of the most skilled communicators in the libertarian movement.
I will tell you a story. In the early 1970s, Dr. North was working for Pacific Coast Coin Exchange, touring the country and giving speeches on silver coins as an investment. I happened to see a notice of the speech in the Boston Globe. I was too young to drive so I got my father to drive me into downtown Boston to attend the speech.
This is 40 plus years later and I still remember lines from his speech. If a speaker can deliver a speech and there is anyone in the world that can remember lines from the speech 40 years later, the man giving the speech knows something about communication.
Second, I suspect that Dr. North has done very well for himself and it started by writing newsletters long before the internet. I am sure he had many thousands of paying subscribers.
Think about that. He had to send direct mail pieces out which was very expensive to do and yet he succeeded.
I am certain that there are many libertarians who would welcome for free to their blogs the number of subscribers that Dr. North got to pay for subscriptions.
The man is an extremely skilled communicator and people have paid much money to read and listen to him, and you are going to comment that you have "never been blown away by him" and that you would "rather listen to paint dry."
You have a genius in front of you and he is obviously way over your head.
There were many more comments along the lines of the one that came from Brutus. I will post the one from Brutus and our email exchange and I will consider it my response to all the other similar comments.
I used to subscribe to Mr. North's website. I found him to be disinclined to acknowledge his mistakes (who isn't?), but it's really his overall demeanor which is off-putting.
As for the RPC, my wife and I found it less than inspiring when we tried it with our three home-schooled kids. This has nothing to do with Mr. North personally, but the product he sells. We've moved on to other merchandise that we consider to be superior.Then this from Brutus:
We already tried RPC. We found it to be an inferior product. But we'll see if the censors here let anyone read my review.Then the email exchange occurred:
Censoring my honest critique of the RPC proves what a good little toadie you can be.
Owner of Fed Flunks (signed copy)
Subscriber to EPJ Alerts
And totally disappointed with your antics
No, it is a dishonest attack. You write:
"We've moved on to other merchandise that we consider to be superior."
Why don't you name the "superior" product?
I don't think there is any product better than Dr. North's but how can I evaluate and respond when you leave out the key element to evaluate your response, the so-called superior product.Brutus responds:
Dishonest?!? That is NOT dishonest. It's an OPINION based on my homeschooling experience.
Whether I mention ANY other product does not make it dishonest.
As a matter of fact, I did have another couple of sentences which I deleted out of deference - feeling that, since you seemed to favor the RPC, I would be
remiss as a commentator on your site by taking it any further and plugging other websites/curricula.
The other merchandise is not one product, but several. That's how homeschooling works for many parents. For instance, my daughter uses A Beka almost exclusively, whereas my son watches several online lectures from The Great Courses website,
does Saxon Math, and his American Lit./writing is a fantastic book by Dr. Whit Jones (Apologia). The curriculum changes every year as new, subjectively superior
products come to light. We paid for and used RPC one year and many parts of it were too dry and uninspiring - like I wrote. Rather than subscribe to the all-encompassing RPC, our money has been spent elsewhere with better satisfaction. That's one of the many beauties of homeschooling: a tailored education for each kid. When homeschooling parents get together, the conversation quickly turns to "who's using what?". Some use just one source like RPC, some download all their content from the web for free, but most use a number of venues, from books to DVDs to online lectures to co-ops.
When it's your kid, and your money, and your time, you go with what works - regardless of how much some product is hyped.
There is no higher authority. The buck stops here.
What we feel is superior is absolutely tailored to our children's needs, and totally subjective to what we feel is best for our kids.
There's nothing for you to evaluate. You're not raising them or teaching them.
Alright. I've vented. I appreciate your time.
And I really appreciate your 'EPJ Alert'. I consider that a superior product worth every penny.
I enjoy your insights and would put the 'Alert' right up there with the late great RR's 'DOW Theory Letter'.Ok, before I break this down, I want to make clear there were others that said they had found a superior product, so this break down applies for all those commenters.
First, of all, I think we need to understand the reason for homeschooling. I would think it is to introduce the student to a better education than one can get from schools.
Looking at the A Beka courses, it is clear that this is a heavily-Christian based curriculum. But is it really that hard to find a Christian school in the United States that would teach these type courses?
Maybe there is a reason for homeschooling here but it strikes me that this type of education is readily available in traditional private schools. And, as I have noted, I don't believe the Ron Paul Curriculum is religiously oriented. So rather than superior, it looks to me like we are comparing apples and oranges.
As far as the Saxon Math, it appears to me that it is traditional math teaching. Maybe there is a reason to teach this at home, depending upon your location. But I would think there are a lot of public schools and private schools where kids graduate fully understanding higher level mathematics. So I am not sure that math in many cases is a reason for homeschooling.
Now as far as The Great Courses homeschool program. It is absolutely horrific. This is certainly the kind of course you can find in any public school in the country. This does not need to be homeschooled.
There is a Great Presidents course, amongst the Great Courses, that devotes 4 lessons to LBJ as a great president, 4 to FDR, 4 to Woodrow Wilson and 4 to Abraham Lincoln.
Under a history of the United States, there is a course that explains how "minimal government intervention" caused the Great Depression.
There is an entire course on John Kenneth Galbraith's horrific the "affluent society" perspective.
The lesson on Bill Clinton informs that his "failure" was in not being able to create a national healthcare system.
I will stop here but the horrors continue.
You are correct in thinking that you will not find this nonsense in the Ron Paul Curriculum.
If trying to get your kids to understand how the world really works, the Great Courses is a disaster---and the themes are taught everywhere!
You will learn reality at RPC and I doubt anywhere else.
But beyond this, I truly believe that Dr. North is one of a kind and he should be taken advantage of.
In one of his posts, he mentioned he tells kids to start a blog reviewing books. This is a brilliant idea. I have recommended it to a couple of young people. He has mentioned that he teaches students how to create educational videos. Students working with him are learning marketing, communications and entrepreneurship from a true genius. Who knows what else he is teaching? And he is as solid as they get on Austrian economics, libertarianism, and history.
This is the stuff that is not being taught in private and public schools today or for that matter other home school programs. It is the stuff that will allow students to learn how the world really works and the communications skills and marketing skills that aren't taught at most other places---especially when it is taught by a man who has been a major league grand slam home run success at it.
So when I see people saying they are going on to a "better" program, I shake my head, I don't think they understand how unique and valuable RPC is.
Finally, the comments about Dr. North's attitude. First, I don't see a problem with them, based on what was published that he wrote online. I asked Dr, Edelstein and he wrote:
The North comments cited seem mild...Some even seemed semi-reasonable. Perhaps it was the tone rather than the words...But really parents, you sound like a bunch of snowflakes. Are you going to protect your children every time someone says "boo" to them?
Maybe what you should be teaching your kids is how to grab what you can out of a situation and ignore the rest, because that is how transactions are made in a complex world.
And what a student can get out of Dr. North (and Dr. Tom Woods) is extremely valuable and not to be found anywhere else.