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Monday, April 30, 2007 - 6:12amSanction this postReply
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I received two additional e-mail responses to this article as posted on my home page:

Received January 8, 2006:

Over the past summer, I attended N.C. Governor's School West.  Much the information you present in an article about this program entitled "Are Your Tax Dollars Working Against Your Values" is out of date.  From my experience at Governor's School, while students were exposed to many liberal and radical ideas, these were not used to tell the students what was correct, but merely as a basis for discussion amongst the students.  Additionally, while many of the art and music presentations were unconventional, they still were very interesting, bona fide productions unlike the radios you described.  I do not believe that Governor's School pushed views on its students more than any other school. 
 
While I certainly encountered numerous individuals at Governor's School with whom my ideals strongly differed, this did not serve to pull me toward their views but merely to support my my own.  Furthermore, a person cannot grow up in a vacuum as a scientist my say.  People are constantly influencing us as we grow no matter our environment; therefore, a person must learn to stand up for their beliefs even if others disagree with them.  Such a person would see Governor's School not as a threat to their beliefs but an opportunity to strengthen their ability to explain their veiws.
 
Secondly, the abolishment of public school at the present, would have detrimental effects.  In order for such a plan to succeed, all forms of welfare, food stamps, and unemployment benefits must first be done away with.  Otherwise millions of uneducated and illiterate people would rely on these programs and allow the government to support them.  Even then, there would a severe initial decline in education, which could detrimentally affect the work force and the economy.  The number of people qualified for basic office and service jobs, which require basic education (ie office receptionist, cashier, salesman, etc.) woud greatly decrease.
 
Received April 20, 2007:
 
you, sir, are very wrong in your theory of governors school. i attended governors school in 2000, and id like to prove your ideas flawed. you are a fascist.
i am not overly liberal because of governors school. i also did not just "get through it." governors school affected me in every way, and each for the best. the children chosen to attend are chosen because they are intelligent. they are aware beliefs are not being forced upon them, and they have every right to choose to attend or not.
your ideas only appeal to children who are football stars, or bitter A+ nitwits. the people who get anything out of governors school are the people who appreciate life for what it is.
not you sir.
 
I thought I ought to mention these.  I will invite these posters to comment here on this thread if they wish.


Post 1

Monday, April 30, 2007 - 7:38amSanction this postReply
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Luke,

"government uses tax dollars snatched from others in order to benefit the best and brightest, thus getting such top students into the government's corner. "

This certainly does happen. I worked for a start-up a few years ago. I happened to get into a conversation about government agencies and grants with one of the company founders, a very bright guy, PhD in Physics. Turns out the first few million of venture capital of the company were due to a government grant to encourage high tech. His education was also funded by government programs. He told me it would have been impossible for him to get where he was without these government programs and they "had" to exist for those that needed them, and they were a great benefit to society. I didn't see the point in arguing with him given his experience (and I worked for him). The company ultimately failed, though it did a lot of original work and produced perhaps 50 patents. (and a couple of dozen burned out scientists and engineers).


Post 2

Monday, April 30, 2007 - 5:00pmSanction this postReply
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1.  ... and yet, Luke Setzer became an Objectivist...
If programming and propagandizing worked, we'd all still be Catholic.
2.  Mike Erickson wrote: He told me it would have been impossible for him to get where he was without these government programs and they "had" to exist for those that needed them, and they were a great benefit to society. I didn't see the point in arguing with him given his experience ...
Well, if you go back through the archives here you will find that I lost just that same argument to Hong Zhang, Adam Reed, and others who said that Ayn Rand said that it is moral to accept government money for something that the government controls, but which would exist if the govrenment did not control it -- like opera or secondary education or space exploration -- but not moral to do something that no one should so -- such as working for the IRS.

So, on the basis of that, I enrolled in college, got Pell Grants and Perkins Loans and Sallie Mae money and I am on a career track for private security by majoring in criminal justice with a concentration in police administration. 

Police power is the only proper function of government, of course, so I nailed that requirement.


Post 3

Monday, April 30, 2007 - 5:05pmSanction this postReply
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I attended the New Jersey Governor's School in the Summer of 1985. I spent the entire time marching around in formation in a uniform of white-T-shirt and khaki pants.

The entire experience was miserable, thank God it was only two weeks long. I did meet a kid there named Bruce Lee, a Chinese immigrant whose name was suggested to his parents by a "helpful" immigration bureaucrat. He was perhaps the smartest person I've ever met. I introduced him to Rand, although he was skeptical. I later heard that his younger brother had committed suicide by ingesting cyanide stolen from his father's chem lab at Rutgers.

The strange thing is, that while I remember all these details, and even the look of the campus bookstore where I found The Ominous Parallels, I can't remember a single lecture or even one bit of subject matter that we studied!

Ted

Post 4

Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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Makes me glad my daughter declined the invitation to apply to PA's Governor's School for this summer.  Actually, her decision was based on a similar horror story with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.  She attended a summer course on Creative Writing after the 7th grade, and came back devastated.  They told her she couldn't write, and her views were out of bounds.  One of her assignments was to write a story about a journey she had taken, you know, like when your family went to Europe.  Well, seeing as we are not jet setters, she had never been to Europe, or anywhere past Virginia, in her memory (we had been to the Philippines, but she was too young to remember).  She decided to title her Essay "A Journey of the Mind" and wrote about her experience of reading Atlas Shrugged, the teacher went ballistic.  She came back convinced she couldn't write.

Last year, (9th grade), she got a third place finish in ARI's Anthem essay contest.  So, needless to say, she got over it, but I wouldn't recommend the experience to anyone.


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Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 8:04amSanction this postReply
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One of her assignments was to write a story about a journey she had taken, you know, like when your family went to Europe....She decided to title her Essay "A Journey of the Mind" and wrote about her experience of reading Atlas Shrugged...
I have to say that your daughter's choice is not acceptable for this particular assignment. Not that she can't write probably, but if she just ignore the purpose of such assignment, what would you expect her teacher to say?


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Post 6

Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 9:28amSanction this postReply
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I think it was a creative solution - after all the purpose is not actually to know about everyone's journey, but to encourage creativity.  I think it adhered to the spirit of the assignment, and that is all that matters - especially when teaching creative writing!

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Post 7

Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
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But there is difference between a travel journal and a book report!

Post 8

Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 1:00pmSanction this postReply
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 One of her assignments was to write a story about a journey she had taken, you know, like when your family went to Europe.  Well, seeing as we are not jet setters, she had never been to Europe, or anywhere past Virginia, in her memory (we had been to the Philippines, but she was too young to remember).  She decided to title her Essay "A Journey of the Mind" and wrote about her experience of reading Atlas Shrugged, the teacher went ballistic.  She came back convinced she couldn't write. 
As the designated paranoid, I'd like to voice my suspicion that, sometimes, certain assignments are given for either the conscious or subconscious reason of sifting through various sorts of people.  My gut tells me that, on some level, an ulterior purpose for this "assignment" was to, perhaps, sort out the truly "money'd gentry" from the "middle-class scholarship" students... most likely to satisfy some curiosity on the part of either the teacher or the administration.

For what ultimate purpose such info could be applied, is anyone's guess.  But my conclusion is that it succeeded quite well as a kind of "dragnet" by which to identify people such as your daughter and make her insidiously and socioeconomically uncomfortable while there.

By employing such tactics, perhaps they might even nudge her towards a general aversion to academia and trying to better herself altogether.  Thus, another "presumptuous riff-raff" stands aside and perhaps gets pregnant and drops out of school or something.  But, whatever the particulars, they will have preserved their hallowed halls for only themselves and others of only preexisting privilege.

(Edited by Jeremy M. LeRay on 5/03, 1:07pm)


Post 9

Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 3:44pmSanction this postReply
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Hong,  she did not write a book report.  She wrote a brilliant essay describing the opening of a whole new world to her.  I would agree, if she had written a simple book report, it would have been wholly inappropriate.  As it was, I thought it was a brilliant solution to her conundrum of not having any actual physical journey to relate.

Post 10

Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 10:28amSanction this postReply
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I received a telephone call last night from someone who attended this program the same year at the same campus as I did.  I do not remember her but she participated in the music program there.  She now lives in Orlando and is preparing for a music retreat this summer for a thesis on "The Heroic Journey."  In preparing for this retreat, she thought of her Governor's School experience, which she enjoyed.  She did a Google search and found this article, then followed the link to my profile and found my telephone number.  We chatted for fifteen minutes or so and diverged to related subjects such as coincidences and Jung and his theory of synchronicity.  I encouraged her to post her thoughts here.  She had this to say:

Subject: a product of what he despises

Hi Luke.  I called you this evening about Governorís school.  You know, hereís my thought.  Synchronicity:  when two or more seemingly 'pure chance' events coincidence to form a connection that has a special meaning for the perceiver.  Itís not lost on me that I am researching the heroic journey.  In the car on Thursday after visiting NASA, me and my ex-husband are discussing Ann Rynd.  (I think he is an Objectivist, but hasnít realized it yet.  Iím not.  I am actually a follower of Christ.  Havenít always been though.) So! You are a product of Governorís school.  A perfect example, actually, of the type of individual the program was designed to inspire.  That you loathe the experience is interesting because a seed was planted there that brought you a point in your life where you challenged your belief system, and now embrace, not only embrace, but present yourself as a leader supporting a philosophical belief that is rather anti-culture, anti-religion.

Are you a Libertarian?  Although you despise your experience at Governorís school, I could easily put you up as a poster child for it!  :)  No insult.   The thinkers that founded Black Mountain College , the school of thought behind the Governorís school program, were doing then what you are doing now.  Itís fascinating.    On every personís journey, there is the time for self-realization.  I believe Rynd would see every person as a hero on their own personal journey toward reason.  I do not think, though, that you could fill a room with individuals who agree on their moral purpose or agree on what Reason is.  Individualism is an attractive concept, but I wonder if a growing society topples on that foundation.
So there you have it!

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 5/24, 10:32am)


Post 11

Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 11:37amSanction this postReply
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 Individualism is an attractive concept, but I wonder if a growing society topples on that foundation.

And the poison of the tribal lurks everywhere...


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Post 12

Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 11:25amSanction this postReply
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N.C. Governor's School Preparations and Alternatives



Post 13

Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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The Carolina Journal series on Governor's School makes an interesting read.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 1/25, 12:12pm)


Post 14

Monday, January 26, 2009 - 3:42pmSanction this postReply
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Corrected link:



Post 15

Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 6:41amSanction this postReply
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The North Carolina Governor's School Alumni Association (GSAA) has a discussion list in which I shared an interesting dialogue yesterday. It seems the cash strapped legislature has chosen to slash the program in half, reducing its scope from two campuses to one with a commensurate cut in students as well. This has thoroughly upset the GSAA whose members have vowed to fight tooth and nail to have the state maintain the program fully intact. When I pressed the GSAA President to produce tangible proof of the program's effectiveness, he replied with "warm fuzzies" and concluded:

So while I have no FACTS to support my claim, it is my BELIEF that Governor's School has a positive impact on the lives of the students who attend it. And I believe that the positive results of GS translate into a more effective, more active, and better integrated population of gifted adults, people who go on to achieve things, lead things, and create things that might otherwise have been invented in some other state, or not at all.

To which I replied:

Claims without facts? Beliefs without adequate justification? I wonder what the Area II and III instructors would say about that!

Visit the link to the forum to read the entire exchange for your entertainment, but know that my points swayed no one.

We live in interesting times.

Post 16

Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 9:12amSanction this postReply
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Heaven forbid they "be invented in another state!"
Outrageous, yet so commonplace.


Post 17

Friday, September 25, 2009 - 8:33amSanction this postReply
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I received this feedback last month and wanted to share it:

I have read your account of Governor's School West and I have to disagree with your assessment. I appreciate your opinion, and your right to have that opinion and express it, but I do not feel you grasp the importance of this program to the State or to the individual.

I attended GSW in 1999. I am from a poor family who lived in rural Yadkin county (just west of Winston-Salem), and I was the first person in my family to be chosen for something of this nature. To be quite blunt about it, I was the first person on track to graduate high school. I went to GS a devout Christian Democrat (in the mold of my mother and father). I would not hear anything that went against my accepted and comfortable beliefs, regardless of the logical or illogical nature of those beliefs. I knew that I was going to graduate high school and probably work at Unifi or some other textile mill. This is the way things were in my family and in my hometown.

Then I was challenged to rethink what I knew. I wasn't asked to change my point of view; rather I was asked why I believed what I did. My eyes were opened to the world around me in new and different ways. I started to understand that no one was less deserving of a good life simply because of their religion or their race. I realized that government is not the answer to our problems. I realized that I alone had the power to direct my life.

I left GS a changed person (a devout Conservative atheist), and with friendships and values that have shaped who I am today. I went to college because of Governor's School. I married the girl I met there and we are happier than we've ever been.

I have taken that experience and used it as inspiration for my current career - college counselor for high school students. I pass my passion for education to every student with whom I come in contact. I am living proof that there is value in GS and it's mission. Far from being an indoctrination factory, GS forces students to question themselves, their world, their government and everything around them. If the student changes their opinion it is simply because the discussions at GS helped them discover who they really are.

I appreciate your political stance, and as a Conservative I hold the same views on many of the issues your organization advocates for. But I believe that in a society such as ours, where not everyone has the means to take care of themselves, we have a responsibility to help out - in health care, education, child welfare etc. If we turn a blind eye to suffering and ignorance because every individual SHOULD practice self reliance, we neglect those whose caretakers are neither able nor willing to care. This goes as much for education as it does for any thing else.

I wish you the best of luck, and a long and happy life. I hope that one day you will come to realize that GS has shaped you as well.


Post 18

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 9:55amSanction this postReply
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I found this link while doing a Google search on my own full name (Luther Setzer) and wanted to share a passage:

I'm having trouble with my letter, because it should be consise, but compelling at the same time. Normally I don't have issues with that, but this time... I feel so stongly about this that I can't say what it is that I need to say.

Luther Setzer is making it worse. This guy went to GS in the '80s and evidently he didn't like it. He's going on ad nauseum about how a Dual Enrollment course could be more useful to a potential student because it gives you college credit hours in whatever, and blah blah blah. Granted, the facts behind the points he makes are correct. However, he's an anti-social person. He said so himself. Of COURSE being on a campus with 400 people who you're kind of supposed to interact with for six weeks is going to be unpleasant if you don't like being around people... it just... ah.

I can't even say it. He's so unbelievably irritating. And what makes it worse is the fact that he's not only presenting his opinion in an intelligent, consice, and respectful way, and that makes it so difficult for me to dislike him and dismiss what he has to say.

I just don't understand, even if you didn't like it, the vast majority of the people who attended DID like it. Why would you argue with the people who are trying to save it when it's not going to affect you in the slightest?
It's just so irritating.


I love it when I make an impact!

Post 19

Monday, July 18, 2011 - 12:36pmSanction this postReply
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Good news!

Legislators cut state money to Governor's School of North Carolina

Perhaps a private entity like the BB&T Program on Capitalism, Markets, and Morality at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) can do this program the right way with a rigorous exploration of philosophy and specialized disciplines using Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism as the proper groundwork.

One can only hope.

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