will be available somewhere online, but I had to get this down before it left my head.
In a report on ABC News, Bob Woodruf is exploring the parts of North Korea that North Korea wants him to see. In the capital of Pyongyang there is a large school for young children which lavishes them with money and attention, what few fruits of Kim Jong-Il's retarded economy can be directed their way.
The kids put on a remarkable music and dance performance for visiting dignitaries, and Woodruf ends his broadcast with something along the lines of, "It's remarkable what children can learn when the state is willing to teach them."
This has some interesting implications, and they cut both ways. On the one hand, there is clear evidence that a well-funded state standardised educational system benefits children, adults, and society. If every citizen were able to read and write coherently, and were fluent in not only the language of math and science but of art and music as well, is there any doubt that all of America would be richer in ways money cannot count? On the other, only the most careful monitoring by it's populace can keep the government from teaching it's own revised history, as the abuses of the governmental monopoly on telecommunications that North Korea so adeptly demonstrates.
Fascinating bits like this are mainly found on ABC, although their coverage of Jesus is second only to the Cornerstone Network and tends to irritate me. I particularly liked the bit about hand-fishing being made legal again in rednecked bits of the nation if only for Charlie Gibson's deadpan one-word response after the peice ended: "Okay."