Reading and Children


First, nobody “attacked” the child.  Nobody “mocked” the child.  Nobody “mocked” the content of the books.  They are perfectly fine books—for a three-year-old.

We attacked you, Nicole.  We mock you.  You and Joe are abysmally awful parents.

But I want to play your other game.  Reading and children. That’s the subject, is it?

You quote some stats. You don’t link to any of them, so they are relatively difficult to ferret out.

However, you make some really contradictory statements in there.  First, you insist that reading scores are dropping.  Then, at the end of the next paragraph, you say that “stats haven’t changed much in the past decade.”

Which is it?  Are they dropping?  Or are they staying the same?

Well, the fact is that they are staying the same.  Or at least, that’s how it appears.  There doesn’t appear to be data to tell us what has been going on in the past decade or so, but for the decade prior to that, it held steady.

Now maybe you have data I don’t, Nicole, but you didn’t cite it. You just asserted shit without bothering to tell us where you got it beyond saying “according to the NEAP.”  I don’t care to spend my entire afternoon searching through that website to find that wee bit of info, so I will sort of ignore it.  I suspect you didn’t either.

I suspect you visited some pro-homeschooling (or more likely, pro-unschooling) site and just did a bit of copy and paste.

However, if you look at the stats, they are instructive.

For instance, you blithely quote:

Only 25% of college graduates are deemed proficient.

And then you start the hand-wringing.

But what does that mean, actually?  What is “proficient” when it comes to this data?

click image to link to source

It means really, really good at it. So that 25% figure is not what Nicole thinks it is.  She’s implying that 75% of college graduates are functionally illiterate and that is simply not the case at all.

I knew when I read what she wrote that she was totally misinterpreting the data terribly.  It’s impossible for 75% of college graduates to be unable to read adequately, especially in light of this.

click image to link to source

If 75% of college graduates couldn’t even read, why would they consistently make more money and be more employable than those who hadn’t attained those levels of education?  Why would an employer pay somebody that much more money if they couldn’t function on the job?

If 75% of college graduates couldn’t read, they also wouldn’t have been able to learn any history or much math or much of anything else. They wouldn’t be any more educated than a high school dropout. Yet they consistently earn more than twice as much.

Either employers across America are colossal dumbasses or something is wrong with Nicole’s assumption.

In addition, about 10% of college students in the US come from other countries. Now, either they are extremely stupid and come here to spend lots of money for a very sub-par education where they might not even be able to read when they get done, or something is wrong with Nicole’s assumption.

That’s why I knew that “proficient” didn’t mean what she thought it meant.

That does not mean that “proficient” means the exact same thing regardless of the testing or data you are looking at.  But it does mean that college graduates pretty much know how to read.

She laments:

. . . reading levels aren’t improving and children and even adults aren’t reading for pleasure.

I dunno about that.  I mean, I am not disputing the whole “people don’t read for pleasure” thing, except I would suggest that you need to define “read for pleasure” more specifically.

I am a reader.  A really big reader. I have been ever since the day I was taught how to sound out vowels.  I am a college graduate. I read for pleasure. I enjoy fiction, non-fiction, the phone book, recipe books, I don’t care. I read.

My husband is also a college graduate. He does not read books. We’ve been married for 46 years. I do not remember him ever reading an entire book for pleasure in that whole time.  He reads parts of books.  He looks up stuff. He’s completely literate. He graduated with honors. He reads to keep up with the news. He just can’t bear reading fiction.

“Reading for pleasure” is a great thing. I don’t know how people like Dave survive without doing so.  I just know that they can and do and they are often completely and totally literate.

One thing (reading for pleasure) does not equal the other thing (literacy).

click image to link to source

Here’s some newer figures from the ebil gubmint.  In this case, what is “proficient”?  Does this mean that only about a third of grade-school students can read or do math?


There’s the definition. You decide what that means.

And remember, factored into all this are all the students, not just a select group. So special-needs students count, those who are struggling, and they skew the percentages down.  You’re never going to see percentages in the 90’s or even in the eighties no matter what.


Just as an aside, if you find this stuff interesting, take a look at the page I’ve snipped from and scroll through it.

Then come back and try to tell me education doesn’t matter.

So the argument for stricter homeschool laws completely missed the bigger picture.

And there comes the Great Leap.

Nicole’s assertion seems to be that since most college graduates are illiterate, unschooling is therefore marvelous.

This is ridiculous, of course.

Here are the US rates of illiteracy.

click image to link to source

Note that, 14%.  This is with 91% of our population completing high school.

But here are countries that rely heavily on “unschooling.”


Going to school in one of those countries is tough. Most people can’t.  In many of them, women don’t go ever, period.

But Nicole has told us, time and again, that kids will just learn to read all by themselves. They don’t need any damn teachers.  They just learn.

Why don’t they learn in Afghanistan?  Why don’t they learn in Chad?

And if they just learn all by themselves, why is she even having the conversation at all?  What’s the point?  Just leave the kids alone, like she does, and they too will be reading books intended for three-year-olds when they are nearly ten.





41 thoughts on “Reading and Children”

  1. Just the fact that a “blogger” would make a post like she did, with “facts” that she used to steer a conversation, without citing her sources, says all that needs to be said about the quality of education in that environment.

    That’s the thing that really pisses me off. Those kids deserve a fucking chance, and she’s to arrogant and immature to allow it.


  2. Those poor kids. I was 10 when I read Stephen Kings’ “Cujo”, my 10 year old (in 4th grade) reads Harry Potter and other rather large books. I generally dont mind if he buys a small book from schoolastic, when they come, but i won’t let him order more than one…and I certainly wouldn’t post it on FB intending to brag about his reading level….


  3. Maw’s reading comprehension and critical thinking is all connected to her dread covered brain. She is so paranoid, she takes everything as a diss on her. This time it was, but she blames those who care on dissing the kids. The child/children do not seem to have any parental involvement in their learning to read abilities. THAT is the issue. Kids do not magically learn how to read. Even posters on Maw’s bitching thread ( sorry, I guess they’re all bitching threads, but…) have mentioned reading to their kids, taking them to the library, index cards with names of objects on them, etc. None of which seems to be in the prophet and the groomer’s ‘unschooling’ curriculum.
    Any reading to her kids is probably done by a brother or sister, and if they can’t read-it’s just a vicious circle. Sounds like they don’t have time to do that, either, because of grooming and other chores that should be done by parents, or even assisted by parents.
    All in all, this is a completely dysfunction family and the sad thing is, the kids have no role models other than maw and the prophet and each other. Hopefully the father to be gets some parenting from the mother to be’s side of the family.
    Again, a completely vicious dysfunctional family
    . Someone should hook them up th the show Intervention.


  4. Very enlightening! And fact filled.

    I imagine Nicole will be appreciative of the data comprehension and analysis.

    It’s pretty sobering, in some countries, what families will do for their children’s chance at an education. Children walking for miles to get to a school. In China, school is 6 days a week. The cultural beliefs support an emphasis on education. Oh I don’t even have to travel that far away, I can listen to my own parents and grandparents tell the stories of their school days. One room school houses, getting farm chores done before dawn and making the long trek to the school house. Stoking the wood stove, so the school would be warm when the rest got there. My Dad was the first in his family to receive a high school diploma. His ticket out of coal mining country, never to return. An education really is the great equalizer. And yet some take this benefit for granted in America. Where an education, a comfortable place to learn, bus transportation, and lunches are available to all children. And free public libraries.

    And yet, there are parents like the Nauglers that intentionally handicap their children’s education. Willfully neglect.

    The earnings and employment/unemployment rates chart is enlightening. During the great recession and high unemployment, my higher education degree served me well. Thank goodness. The thing is, there was a much broader range of jobs I could apply for, across a spectrum of education requirements. From those that required a college degree, to those requiring a high school diploma. So while there were less jobs in my profession, there were still jobs I qualified for in meeting the application requirements. I would much rather be on this end, rather than the very limiting of high school diploma or less, in situations like a couple years ago. The annual income earnings variation was not at all surprising.


  5. There’s a saying that roughly goes, “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.”

    This is more of an indictment against coming to very absolute conclusions and especially doing so with cherry-picked memes and data. For me, personally, I hesitate to say very much in an absolute sense unless I have some pretty compelling data that I trust. I tend to be wary of agendas that would benefit from the conclusions of any set of data.

    This is part of the discipline associated with critical thinking. The more complex the issue, the more critical thinking becomes a vital skill and discipline in my view. It is a skill that develops in concert with varied experiences, mentoring and, yes, formal tutelage. The Naugler kids are getting a very limited experience, they have no mentors to speak of and their parents stand only as great examples of the antithesis of critical thinkers. The absurdity of unschooling, particularly as the Nauglers have been able to get away with doing, is that there is no opportunity to discover the inward strength and development that comes when you complete a task or a course that is unpleasant. I have more than one masters degree. I did not get to choose my own curricula for those degrees. I had take courses that I danced with joy when they were over. I refer to philosophy, epistemology, statistics, and accounting courses. But I learned I could succeed in them and had much to gain from them and have come to appreciate those courses. The Naugler kids are being denied a very important part of their development by their furiously self-absorbed parents. I posit that as much as Joe and Nicole keep their children from real education because the extent of their neglect would be officially known and of the consequences that would follow, they withhold education from their children to deliberately keep them ignorant and unable to function without their horrible parents.

    Remember, monarchies and monasteries exerted huge authority and influence, and often (though not always) oppressive control of the subjects of the land when the people could not read and decide for themselves what was real and what was worthy. When more and more common people began to learn and decide for themselves, very often that began the end of absolute power, authority, influence, and control. Nicole and Joe don’t want that happening in their kingdom of a few acres.


  6. That and the post could have waited. This blog isn’t going anywhere. It would still be here tomorrow. Why couldn’t she have just let her other child, whose birthday it is, have a day to shine. She couldn’t because it is always and forever about what Nicole wants, what Nicole needs, and never anyone else.

    NIcole sucks.


  7. I can’t imagine not reading. I used to wait for the mailman to deliver our Look and Life magazines when I was a kid. When I was 12, my mom’s boss at the hospital gave us a National Geographic subscription and kept it up till we moved to CA and then we got our own. Heck I used to read my moms anatomy and physiology and chem books when she was going to anesthesia school. I made the flash cards she studied with. Heck I could have taken the test and done well if I could have. Forget everything about chemistry I ever learned when I left 11th grade though.

    N & J have done their children a huge misservice and it will come back to bite them. Big Time. Huge and Bigly bites.


  8. I wish she would proofread her posts. I know, I know, grammar nazi. Yes, we all make errors. I make my fair share of grammar and spelling errors but I’m not writing a post for 44,000 people to read. Her post is on education and literacy rates and it’s full of errors. That says a lot to me but alas I am merely a humble nobody.

    Sally, I appreciate that you always cite your sources. Far more academic than tossing out a bunch of statistics without showing where they came from. It’s not difficult to cite sources, that is something that is taught in school beginning in elementary school. Sorry I have no stats for that, I am solely going on personal experience.

    Nicole, I would suggest picking up a copy of Rules for Writers. You can get it at the library, on your kindle or even buy it on Amazon. It’s a wonderful academic resource. The current additions can be a little pricey at $30+ but an older copy would still be relevant.

    And on that subject, I am curious about educational books. Yes unschoolers do have textbooks in their homes, at least all the unschoolers I know do. Once again that is not a statistic I can back up as it is based on personal experience. Does Nicole purchase academic books? Many homeschoolers regularly give books away for free or at a very low cost. Curriculum sales are common in my state. Homes should be filled with not only fiction but non-fiction books. As a homeschooler a well stocked library is essential. Do they Half Price Book stores in Kentucky? Do the libraries have regular book sales? So many questions with no answers from Nicole. Just more whining about how we are picking on her.


  9. She’s almost, but not quite, plagiarizing again. Something she does often. Very, very often. But who cares? Certainly not her leg-humpers.

    That aside, dig through this old eleven year old, 2005 ‘Inside Higher Ed’ website post.

    There is a comment at the end worth noting here:

    ‘”We don’t have a clue what they’re really learning if you don’t measure it,” he said.’


  10. I hope this kiddie is disappointed in her selections, and would have fancied much more challenging books. Hopefully her “caregivers” failed to screen her choices.

    Maybe F will enjoy playing school with the littlest of Naugs, as a novelty. Not her responsibility at all, but it would be nice.
    Fuck, if the horse could do it; I’d suggest she homeschool the kids. Horsey has to be just as qualified to unschool these kids as N and J.


  11. Despite the ongoing struggles and challenges in the industry, there are still a lot of books purchased and read.

    It doesn’t give the number of volumes sold, but maybe another reader happens to know that information.

    I wonder if one of the children would enjoy “Watership Down”. Hint to Joe and Nicole – it’s not about ships.


  12. Notice how she say’s, ” WE as a nation.”
    And….. ” WE are graduating functionally illiterate students.” (Well I would have to agree with her on that one. She and the “Sloth” are doing that themselves to their children.)

    But what is this “WE” shit?

    They do not even pay Taxes, they don’t even vote, and aren’t they supposed to be Sovereign Citizens set apart from the rest of us in this nation and our rules and laws anyway?
    As always, she just lumps shit together when it suits her or sounds good. Bla, bla, bla

    Hey Nicole, Pick a side of the fence and stay on it !!!


  13. Actually, with the invention of things like facebook, more people are reading instead of just watching TV.


  14. Nicole probably had that post ready at the time she posted about her 10 year old’s puchase of books on a beginner reading level. Her need for attention is pathological, pathetic and predictable. The entire length of my son’s childhood, there were zero times that strangers posted comments about him online. Zero. That’s because I respected his privacy and never shared info about him to strangers. Nicole might want to give that a try. But attention from strangers matters more to Nicole than being a halfway decent mother to her children.


  15. Christ! The first five years of a child’s education are the most crucial. While Nicole may think it “just fine” that her children wait ’til 7 or 9 years of age to read, it is NOT fine. The impact of such inaction is heavy.

    Critical brain growth and other developmental milestones take place during the earliest years of a child’s life.

    Further, children who learn from their child-siblings experience an extreme downgrade in the quality of their education that greatly affects their IQ. Then, when said child-taught-sibling begins to teach the next child, the quality of that education is even lower. Consequently, their IQ exponentially lessens, and so on with the next, as the cycle continues.

    This easy-to-follow guide from helps illustrate “why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.”

    And this simple article has amazing graphs and statistics that demonstrate results from learning disparities.

    “Five Numbers to Remember about Early Childhood Development”


  16. I keep up with each new post and always read the comments. I haven’t been commenting as much because with each post I always think the same thing..

    For the love of Pete, Nicole, PLEASE do not have any more children.


  17. amulbunny who hates her cough medicine, said, “I used to wait for the mailman to deliver our Look and Life magazines when I was a kid.”

    Boy that just gave me a flashback. Remember Highlights for Children magazine? Now that is really fun and educational magazine that surely Nicole’s 9 year old would enjoy, if she knew about it. I remember my friend had a subscription and would share her copies with me. We even did some of the activities together. Here is the wiki description. And it’s available via Amazon with free shipping!

    So exciting as a kid, to get mail delivered with your name on it. And to look forward to the hours of entertainment. Then look for the next time the mail came.

    Of course it is not a substitute for dedicated education time. Aptly categorized as pleasure reading. was quite intrigued in reading the wiki about Highlights for Children. Who the original people are, that created the magazine. Amazing too, it started in the 1940s and still in publication.


  18. Children who grow up in poverty are usually, not always, lower level readers. They are usually not read to & don’t have access to books. I started reading to my boys before they were born. Even at their advanced teen years they can quote from “Is your Mama a Llama”, Dr. Seuss ABC’s, & ” The Napping House”. I have such joy knowing all those times I was so tired & wanted to skip pages & didn’t made an impact on them. My parents read to me, I read to my boys, & someday I am sure they will read to their children. That’s a cycle that should be repeated.
    Do we think Joe reads to those little?
    I can answer, no he doesn’t.


  19. Before retirement this year, I taught English courses at an R1 University in AR. I taught Freshmen Composition I and II, Advanced Composition, Technical Composition, Essay writing, Business Writing, World Literature, American and British Literature, and on occasion, I taught creative writing. And for the last ten years of my profession, I was the director of a communication center, focusing on both academic and business communication (written and oral). I’ve been on more dissertation committees than I care to count, have been on thesis committees for both undergraduate honors and masters, and in all of these years of service, I must say that I’ve never had an undergraduate, masters, or PhD student whose reading and writing level was less than proficient. That’s not to say that every freshman that enters the university was at a reading and writing level that would have given him or her the skills needed to pass the core classes, and, for sure, those lesser than proficient students were still accepted into the university, but they had to take basic writing, basic reading, and basic math courses in order to be admitted into the college level courses. Sometimes those students had to take two or more semesters of those remedial courses to catch up. It’s been an unspoken rule that Freshmen writing courses are the gate keepers for preserving the hallowed halls of academia so even if a few students were able to cheat on their ACT/SAT tests or cheat on their college admission test, their Composition I course would reveal their incompetencies in both reading and writing just as Algebra would reveal their lack of math skills. So N’s claim that only 25% of college graduates are deemed proficient is a fallacious claim. I’m not saying that N didn’t actually read those numbers on some crappy website, but the legitimacy of that claim is what I am questioning. Even in community colleges, students must score high enough on their SAT/ACT test or placement exams to go into the freshmen writing courses or face remediation.

    Additionally, the notion of what defines literate in reading, writing, and math has historically been defined not by the education system but by the military and post Vietnam by the major industries in the USA. During WWI the very basic literacy requirements were signing one’s name and reading some simple sentence questions that didn’t require critical thinking; however, by WWII, the weapons and transportation needs had become more complicated so the literacy boundaries were increased to like an 8th grade level. It wasn’t until after the Vietnam war that the military increased the reading and writing levels up to a 12 grade education or GED. Previous to WWI, literacy was based on religion: first the churches wanted folks to know how to read so that they could read the Bible, but later, they included some writing skills so that folks could take notes on information found in the Bible. If you want to learn more about literacy, Deborah Brandt has written some excellent facts about what identifies literacies and who are the sponsors of literacy and she has some incredible studies that she has done with several different age groups and educational levels. My point in sharing this sometimes boring information is that the education systems have never been the litmus test for what is literacy, what qualifies for literate, and what focus literacies in public schools will take. For instance, if you live in a highly industrious area, chances are the public schools in that area will place a heavy emphasis on skills needed in the local factories such as computer skills, drafting skills, management, etc.; likewise, if you live in an area where there’s an abundance of health care clinics, hospitals, etc., there will be an emphasis in the course choices that lean toward the sciences.

    But to get to the point, N is in no position to make a judgement about home or public education because she lacks the ability to identify reliable sources. She cannot even read well enough herself to understand Sally’s post about the three books…her lack of reading comprehension skills left her with the conclusion that we were making fun of her daughter, when, in fact, we were pointing out again how full of shit she is…


  20. Nicole, not one single person mocked or attacked your wonderful little girl. Not. A. Single. One. Clear enough? So please, stop fucking lying. What people did, was criticize you and your sloth, of being shitty parents. You both are guilty of educational neglect.
    And apparently your leg-humpers are also in need of reading support. It was funny, in a sad sort of way, to see people write about how their children, the same age as your girl, are reading chapter books like Harry Potter. And yet they gushed about how wonderful it was that your child was reading these preschool books.
    It will be a good day when CPS takes your children away from you and the sloth for good. I know it will be hard for them, but in the end they will be educated and live in homes (plural because you didn’t know how to use birth control or close your legs) where they have their own beds, privacy, good food, running water and don’t have to listen to adults grunt their way through what should be an intimate act.
    P.S. Most parents don’t require the child who is celebrating their birthday help make (or more likely actually make) their favorite meal. Normal parents bend over backwards to make the meal, buy gifts and spend time with the birthday child. You run your own damn business. So pathetic that you didn’t take the day off to celebrate with your daughter. You couldn’t do that though could you, because then the attention would be on her and not you. Instead she supposedly spent the day making her own damn birthday supper with the sloth, who I imagine either wasn’t there or was busy on his phone. So sad.


  21. “For the love of Pete, Nicole, PLEASE do not have any more children.”

    I’m hoping that she goes through early menopause as she and Joe apparently utilize the same reproductive strategy as oysters. She and Joe insist that not only is never-ending fertility a God-given right, relying on donated money is also their birthright. If you don’t give, you’re a “hater”.

    It is necessary to measure what children learn but there is the flip side to that coin. If you spend a great deal of time and effort measuring, then there is less time teaching and learning. Or as I heard it on a radio program one day, “You don’t fatten a pig by weighing it.” I immediately made it into a bumper sticker and gave it to a friend who very much appreciates it.

    As for Wendy, well, that’s pretty funny. She doesn’t get the nuances either. Criticizing Joe and Nicole for being lousy educators is what was going on. They’re short-changing all of their children. Badly. It’s been written before and I’m going to do it again – there are similarities between Jeannette Walls’ upbringing and what Joe and Nicole are doing. However, Jeannette’s parents were HUGE believers in education and they made certain their kids went to school.

    Nicole, you can read all about it in, “The Glass Castle”. Or better still, I hope one of your older children reads that book. My youngest loved it when it was assigned in an English class. Made my heart jump with joy because so often the statement was, “I hate reading”. I think the kid does that to wind me up…

    Also, Nicole, you’re undercutting your own argument with your opening sentence. You failed to use an apostrophe where it was needed. Don’t you have any grammar books back at the tool shed?


  22. The claim that people do not read for pleasure as people from times past is definitely fallacious. The ways in which we claim pleasurable reading has changed and surveys that measure the types of reading have not caught up. Most folks consider reading a book with either a soft or hard back is what defines pleasurable reading; also, most folks consider pleasurable reading sitting in the comfort of their own home with book in hand with reading lamp on and a library like ambiance. People are constantly reading: texting, twitter, Facebook, blogs, online books and magazines and newspapers–all pleasurable reading. Also, bill boards and storefronts that were in times past pictures with very small text and a very large brand are now narratives that one can read from a passing car. We don’t read those signs because we are expected to read them from our employee so these are also classified as pleasurable reading. Even reading recipes and instructions for appliance or gadgets’ uses are considered pleasurable. Having said that, even the idea that we read for pleasure less than previous decades or centuries is not logical because pleasurable reading for the 18th and 19th and most of the 20th century was only done by the elite because it was considered a leisurely act and only the rich could have that type of leisure. The 19th century novels attest to the audience novelists aimed for and it wasn’t the poor…Jane Austin comes to mind with all of her writing about the privileged in high society and the decorum of her characters was modeled after the higher class of folks.

    There are those who don’t enjoy reading novels but they enjoy reading sports magazines or those magazines with glossy pictures of naked bodies. My husband doesn’t read novels but he reads entire books on creating dyes from natural sources (he used to be in the antique business but is now a hobbyists and he uses natural paints) and he also reads those horrible computer programming books but not for his job but because he enjoys reading about what’s new since he graduated.

    To say people read less for pleasure would require critiquing every thing people read to determine is this for fun or for work and I think we can all agree that we bombard ourselves with for fun reading. LOL In fact, we text and check online sites while watching some program on TV or while hanging out with family…we are so much more literate today than even a decade ago and our literacies have expanded from words on pages to a variety of literacies including computer, smart phone, tablet, etc.


  23. we are so much more literate today than even a decade ago

    We just had four teenagers visit us for Thanksgiving (they were here for a couple of days) and I was really sort of impressed. They’re normal teenagers. They aren’t geniuses or anything. And they spent a lot of their down time online, texting their friends, reading FB, reading news articles (!!!) and then talking about them. All of them type well.

    And I was thinking about this. While I am not a big fan of Twitter-speak (I find a lot of it almost incomprehensible), the fact remains that if you aren’t able to communicate in a way that other people can understand, you will not be heard/read. So kids will learn to spell properly, for example, or nobody will know what they are talking about.

    I would feel a great deal better about the Naugler kids not being educated if they were all online. But they aren’t.


  24. “If 75% of college graduates couldn’t even read, why would they consistently make more money and be more employable than those who hadn’t attained those levels of education?”

    You can’t be a doctor or a lawyer without a college degree.

    You can have a doctor making $500k/yr, nine people each making $12k, and the average is $60,800, even though nine of them are in poverty. Averages are easy to skew. The median income is $12k, though, which more accurately reflects how that group of ten is doing.

    Those who don’t get degrees will never, ever become doctors, lawyers, politicians, or CEOs of major companies. I want to see direct comparisons between people in the same job area. As an example, my college-degreeless husband makes more than most of his co-workers in similar positions at the same company.

    Personally, among the people I know, those struggling the most financially are the people who got degrees. It’s not just their loans making them struggle. They just plain aren’t making as much as most of the people I know without degrees but who went into trades, apprenticeships, or worked their way up.

    I wish learning to read worked like Nicole things it does, where kids just magically absorb it. I’d have a couple more hours free in the day instead of spending it working on reading with my daughter.


  25. Personally, among the people I know, those struggling the most financially are the people who got degrees.

    Kaylee, your personal anecdotes are simply that: anecdotes. They aren’t data.

    And nobody is “skewing” averages when they take people who have a college degree, add up their incomes and average them. How is that “skewed”?

    Of course there are outliers. That’s always the case with any bell curve. But the fact remains that generally speaking, in the USA today, you are not likely to earn as much over your lifetime without college as you are with it.


  26. Every graduate in my son’s graduating class in Infomatics had employment contracts for over 6 figures by January before graduation. That was four years ago right in the middle of the mini recession. My son worked a year and then decided to go to law school.

    Every one of the graduates from his law school was employed following graduation. This includes the young lady who was a valedictorian and is awaiting deportation, because we are allowing idiotic rules to override the amazing achievements of a little girl who walked across the border for an education and a future in the USA. That’s right a young girl braved the dangers of crossing the border alone. She went to public schools. She earned scholarships (thanks to the Catholic Church) and she graduated from law school with the highest honors. If you want it bad enough you will find a way to do it and you will work your ass off for it.

    That’s my personal anecdote.


  27. Sally, it’d not an anecdote to point out the fact that one high-paying doctor or lawyer position can drastically skew the average. I showed a clear example of how one doctor in a group of ten with the others making poverty wages can skew the average and make it look like all ten are making comfortable salaries. The median is a more useful tool as that would show more accurately how most of the people in a given group are doing.

    It’s also not a personal anecdote that all doctors and lawyers have degrees. That’s mandatory. The college group has countless doctors and lawyers to raise the average income. They’re the kid in class that brings up the class average with tons of extra credit. And when you leave in the baby boomers from a time when getting a degree was much harder and almost always for jobs that would pay more that were closed to non-degree-holders, and you get more skewed stats. Control for those factors, and a different story comes out.

    Find 50 McDonald’s managers, 50 cashiers, 50 customer service reps at Comcast, 50 IT help desk workers, 50 airline pilots, 50 plumbers, 50 mechanics, and 50 mail delivery people See how much the average and median incomes differ between those who have degrees and those who don’t. It’s not going to be some huge difference like you think.

    My generation was force-fed the lines about how getting a degree at all costs WOULD mean making thousands more than not having a degree. We were told that we’d finish school and walk right into a job with a higher starting pay than our classmates who didn’t have degrees would start out with. What they didn’t tell us was those classmates would have seniority after four years, and have built up rapport, and would probably be our bosses. Millennials aren’t the Boomers. The blanket belief that a degree means you WILL earn more is part of why so many Millennials are happily sinking in debt that will take a lifetime to pay off.

    I don’t think you understand life as a millennial, and how harmful it is to tell millennials to look at averages, which do skew reality and don’t factor out the entirely different era that our parents lived in, instead of to look at how our peers are doing. This isn’t like 1960, when having a degree almost guaranteed a good job. This is 2016, when having a degree can make you “too qualified” for many jobs, but the lack of job experience those four years gives you a disadvantage. I know life as a millennial because I am one, and I associate with a large circle of people, from people I was kids with to high school classmates to people I’ve never met in person but became Facebook friends with because we found some of the same jokes funny in a group or because we are polar opposites on hot button issues and enjoy provoking each other into debate. I see what they say about struggles and achievements. I’m in the thick of millennialism, and what applied when my parents were my age doesn’t apply now, yet they factor into the averages and project a false image of what my generation can expect out of a college degree, on top of it costing a lifetime of student loan payments instead of being paid for with a summer job. If a degree was such a surefire thing, then we wouldn’t have college grads struggling to get any jobs they can, and getting upset that the McDonald’s position went to someone else.


  28. Lisa, I don’t believe that for a second. Every single student in your son’s graduating class having six-figure jobs several months before graduation would mean that every single one of them was going to be paid 150% of the national average the day they graduated.,19.htm

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t even show informatics paying even that much.

    So how the hell did literally every single student in a graduating class have jobs months ahead of graduation paying drastically more than what even the federal government has as the median for informatics?


  29. I showed a clear example of how one doctor in a group of ten with the others making poverty wages can skew the average and make it look like all ten are making comfortable salaries.

    But nobody does those averages using ten people. They use thousands and thousands of them.

    BTW, I totally get the whole hype of “go into massive debt to get that degree and it will all pay off.” I know that is horseshit and nobody should do it. I also know that my husband and I both obtained college degrees from good accredited colleges without a dime of debt and we did it relatively recently (I graduated in 2005). We didn’t do it rapidly, but we did it without borrowing a cent.


  30. Nicole. Nicole, Nicole, Nicole. Let me spell this out for you using small words.

    People. Like. You. Make. Life. Harder. For. People. Like. Me.

    Sure, some people know that homeschooled kid down the street who won the spelling bee, started a community garden for the poor in her spare time, and is now top of her class in college, all while tutoring disadvantaged kids for free. But plenty of people DON’T have someone like that in their neighborhoods.

    In fact, people like you and fundies like the Duggars are what MOST people in my circle know of homeschooling. Your insistence upon holding yourself up as a paragon of unschooling is the rough equivalent of trademark infringement. People sue mightily for trademark infringement because it’s about protecting the good name of their brand if someone abuses it. I can’t make sugar pills and claim they’re Advil because the folks who make Advil will rightly point out I duped people and harmed the reputation of their brand name. But we legit home/unschoolers cannot sue you to protect our good names.

    Instead, we have to brace ourselves for family parties over the holidays in which we and sometimes our kids are grilled by suspicious loved ones about “socialization” and radicalization and white supremacist groups and sovereign nation groups and whatever topics that person thinks should be at the kid’s grade level (usually, they’re quite a bit off).

    So yes, Nicole, we have a right to jump on your case over your educational neglect of your children and your appalling abuse of the terms homeschooling and unschooling. You’re not just harming your reputation or your kids’. You are harming mine, too.


  31. “The 19th century novels attest to the audience novelists aimed for and it wasn’t the poor…Jane Austin comes to mind with all of her writing about the privileged in high society and the decorum of her characters was modeled after the higher class of folks.”

    Quick point – she was born in and wrote about people in the 18th century. She died in 1816 and was very much writing about her social class and caste.

    Kaylee, you’re also overlooking that unless you break it down by how many years someone has been in their profession that of course there are going to be fairly wide income ranges. A resident doesn’t earn as much as a physician who is head of a department and has been for a number of years.

    Also, as a millennial, you happened to graduate in the midst of the biggest financial swoon the country had seen in generations. So no, a college degree isn’t necessarily a ticket to financial freedom but it generally opens up more doors to you than someone without a degree. After all, if a job announcement states that you have to have a bachelor’s then a person with a degree has a shot at getting it.

    Data is also skewed by those who participate in reporting it. Glassdoor gives some indications but you don’t actually know that the real salaries are being reported.

    Anyway, here’s an article reporting on the average starting salaries for 2015 college graduates:


  32. Kaylee,

    The job offers and salary probably had a lot to do with the extremely small size of the class, the degree being considered a “hot” one, and that it was from an Ivy League school.


  33. What’s sad is Nicole probably told her daughter that people “mocked” her for her reading choices. I think Nicole would like nothing more than to make her kids feel ostracized from society. Nicole and Joe don’t prepare their children t o become successful adults. Nicole would be giving away her power over her children by doing so. As with the oldest child, her kids would be relegated to living life in a shack with no running water, or electricity and no prospect of living a better life. Shame on you Nicole!!


  34. @Essie: PREACH IT. I’m having to constantly throttle my urge to rant about purity homeschooling while I post my Mother Necessity’s Homeschooling Kit articles.

    The other homeschool book fair is wall to wall purity and corporal punishment, with guest lectures by people who like to tell stories about oppression as they drive around with Jesus fish and Confederate flags on their cars. (I go to the one sponsored by the school district, which is robots and children’s classics.) There’s a homeschool co-op in town, but its organizational meeting was a tea party at a church, during which all of the “ladies” were supposed to create collages showing their “vision (dream)” for homeschooling. I gave it a pass. I teach Sunday school but I am 99 percent certain that as far as those “ladies” are concerned, I am part of the Great Unsaved. Doubly so since I didn’t vote for the winner.

    To Hell with purity. I’m focusing on competence and the ability to reason.


  35. Tekla I think Jane Austin’s placement in either the late 18th or early 19th century is complicated. In response to “Quick point – she was born in and wrote about people in the 18th century. She died in 1816 and was very much writing about her social class and caste.” I sort of disagree with you because of the time period in which her novels were published; although, she is considered an 18th century novelists by so many. Actually, the 18th century is taught a little differently; in fact, it’s the only literary century described in terms of being the very long 18th century because so many of those born in the late 18th century wrote and were published in the early 19th century and by the end of the 18th century, many novelists were writing more progressively and with more sophistication than those writers of the early and mid 18th century. Austin was one of those writers who could be considered a late 18th or early 19th century writer. I believe out of 6 novels, 4 were published after her death.

    And there wasn’t a caste system in England but there was a class system and Austin’s father was of the Gentry, ranking him in the higher class because of his connection to the church as a clergy and his education. I didn’t know it or if I knew it I forgot but Her father received two BAs (one in arts and one in divinity), and an MA, and he was a rector in charge of several parishes. Additionally, all of his children were literate and sent off to college, even the girls. Many middle and certainly low class folks were illiterate and those few who could read and maybe write didn’t have the leisure to read for pleasure, so even if it seemed as if Austin was writing for an audience that included middle and low class audience members, it is very doubtful that she even considered them during the creation and writing of her novels.

    Austin has been described by many academics as having created the modern novel; however, others argue that she was the creator of not the modern novel but the modern romance novel. I would classify her as a transition from the very late 18th to the beginning 19th century. She certainly ushered the 19th century in with not only her novels being less puritanical than what the sensibilities and social decorum had been in the middle and early 18th century but also with her political writings moving closer to a more humanistic and less religious orientation. Hell, just the fact that a woman was published using her name that identified her gender was something out of the ordinary.

    But, you are right, she is considered an 18th century writer by many but her own social class and that of her characters’ was not that of the lower class of people and she certainly didn’t write for the lower class because, to be frank, very few men or women outside of the upper class of folks could read or write. Also, her novels were often satirical making fun at the upper class folks and the lower class characters were often portrayed as being a little immature and a little ignorant.

    Nevertheless, Austin has always been one of my most favorite female writers, and even though her writing was very predictable, her ability to create characters that were more than one dimensional, her ability to master time and space realistically, her impact on literacy in the late 18th and the 19th century, and her pushing the boundaries that often kept women subjugated to men keeps her as one of the most influential writers of all times.


  36. Tekla, she’s talking about people getting jobs paying FAR above what even the feds list as the high end, all before graduating. I don’t believe for a second that literally every person in her son’s class got jobs so incredibly far above the average before graduating. Years in the field doesn’t even factor in this situation.

    I’m also in the real world living among millennials as a millennial. I’m at ground zero, not just observing it from up on high, thinking my older age makes me know things about things I’m not experiencing. What I’m observing is that yes, some jobs list a bachelor’s (my best-paying job ever listed a bachelor’s, but I applied without one and got the job and $90k/yr since my experience otherwise counted, and my husband’s current employer also lists degrees, but really look at experience, which is why he has his job, which he won over two of his friends who have degrees and both interviewed for the same position when he did), but there are also a lot of jobs where a degree overqualifies you. When you’re swimming in debt and have no job but the payment’s due, you stop caring about what kind of job, and will take whatever pays. This is why we have people with degrees who are flipping burgers (the irony of a degree making you overqualified for a lot of jobs, yet a lot of them working the grill at McD’s) or making even less than that working under the table. A degree’s usefulness is hit and miss. It can sometimes help you. It can sometimes hurt you. It almost always leaves you in debt for what may be most of the rest of your life. In the real world, even if you manage to bag a few more grand a year because of the almighty piece of paper, twice that’s going to pay the loans. Who’s really coming out ahead? Not everyone wants to be an almighty doctor or lawyer. They’re an extreme end. Take your average college student and compare them to your average, non-degree-holding worker, instead of comparing CNAs who took a training program to a doctor.


  37. I am a millenial as well. I luckily have not had as many difficulties. I went to a fairly expensive college but I had two scholarships. One covered tuition and the other covered books. I only paid room and board. I was also lucky to have a very supportive spouse and when I graduated we were able to budget in a way that debt was paid off in six months. Had everything not lined up that way, I probably would have gone to community college and transfered to a less expensive school. After graduating I worked outside my field in a job I didn’t enjoy for low pay. Then I found a job in my field at pay that my friends without degrees had been working 5 years to obtain. I’m not wealthy, but I’m comfortable and i hope with more experience, my salary grows. I don’t know if I am just lucky or if a lot of other millenials have unrealistic expectations. I do have to say, my husband and brother make more money with high school degrees, but they work dangerous, labor intense jobs that I do not wish to have! Baby boomers had advised me to not work during college and I regret doing that. My advice to incoming students would be to intern as much as you can to gain experience and to test out the different areas in your field that you would be interested in. I had two short internships and I believe I would have gotten a job in my field quicker if I had more experience.


  38. my husband and brother make more money with high school degrees

    There is still a serious gender gap in wages.


  39. As a serious Janeite, I have to point out that Austen had very little formal education. She was sent off to boarding school on two occasions, I believe: once almost dying from an infection she caught.

    Austen’s parents were the ultimate homeschoolers, allowing their daughters access to any book they wanted to read, and “masters” to teach them things their parents couldn’t.

    If you ever have the chance, read Austen’s juvenilia…the stuff she wrote as a young teen beats most of the YA fiction out there today…..


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