This Is What I Meant
When I said we should stay calm about education, this is the kind of unnecessary panic I was warning against. (Thanks to the ever-resourceful Panama City Renaissance School for the link.) Victor Davis Hanson has had to deal with some unhelpful customer service reps, and some of his bills got sent to the wrong address in a mix up, and somebody forged his checks. Here’s his response:
A highly complex society, staffed by those who are unable to read well and compute at basic levels, can be terrifying. One mathematically inept transcriber or an American receptionist who cannot speak fluent English can do the public a lot of damage.
A highly complex society is going to entail some errors no matter how literate the customer service reps are. Besides, if you give all those receptionists the best educations possible, they’ll go off an become scientists or programmers — they won’t stick with their low-level jobs.
Every time I have to make this kind of phone call, I hear, “Your call is being recorded for quality control.” Businesses keep their customer service staff under a lot of scrutiny. Workers aren’t left to their own devices, “embedding” their mistakes into the software of our society, as Hanson claims in the op-ed.
Of course, there are compelling reasons to strive for education reform and improvement. But we shouldn’t expect those reforms to eradicate annoying customer service moments, nor should we fear a global collapse because someone wrote down the wrong address.