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Education

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Dissident Heart

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Education

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What is the purpose and function of Education?How should the Good Society manage its schools: classroom organization, curriculum content, grading, projects, discipline, teacher training, parent participation, community engagement, local/state/federal roles?Is there a particular literary/philosophical/cultural canon that every educated citizen should master? What does an "educated person" look like and how do they behave?
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What is the purpose and function of Education?As I see it, Education is a life-long endeavor to gain skills, increase knowledge, develop relationships, and amass experiences which improve and enrich one's quality of life. None of this is in splendid isolation, but always in community; and consistently in conflict with those personal and communal forces which desire subjugation and diminishment of self-worth. Education is a struggle to overcome those internal and external forces that oppress and tyrannize: it is the concerted intellectual and emotional effort to protect against domination and illegitimate authority. Yet, it is not simply reaction to oppression; it is often spontaneous and immediate, driven by internal passions of wonder and amazement and a genuine thrill to learn and explore. Still, there is no avoiding the hierarchies of abuse that impede self-love and care for others. Thus, Education must take a dual approach: wonder and vigilence, amazment and confrontation. Often, the greatest offender is one's self. Personal beliefs, habits, appetites can keep the intellect enslaved to poisonous notions and perverse ideas, or emotionally tied to loyalties and allegiences that demean and degrade. Education is for freedom, and only the free are educated.What does an "educated person" look like and how do they behave?An Educated Person in interested and interesting: probing an idea, examining a image, discussing a course of action, revelling in a muscial score, listening intently to the fears, ancieties, concerns of another, building a project, gathering resources, solving a problem, engaging in sport, performing on stage, mending a wound, providing a meal, touching carefully and soothingly, challenging a loud mouth and braggart, exposing the lies of the powerful, and demanding extreme self-control and sacrifice. They are delightful to watch when doing what they love most to do. They fill the beaten and oppressed with hope, while bringing fear and trepidation to the haters and abusers in life. Wherever they go, something new and unexpected happens, or an old familiar commonplace is given fresh shape and form, or surrounding minds are agitated to confront personal prejudices and inane convictions.
Keith and Company

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Quote:What is the purpose and function of Education?From the rest of your post i take it that you;re NOT talking cradle-to-grave search for enlightenment and competence. You're talking more along the lines of the Department of Education, i'd guess?The purpose of the public school system should be that a graduate is capable of entering the work force with the minimum necessary skills to support their learning of the specific skills and information required for their job.For example, i wouldn't expect every high school graduate to be able to make pizza sauce from scratch, or program a computer to incorporate a leap second adjustment into the universal time correction, but the basic ability to read applies to recipe as well as a software systems requirements sheet. Math skills sufficient to cover all forseeable uses (checkbook, figuring the surface area of the lawn to buy fertilizer, so on), enough political science to get them to the voting booths without so much they become disheartened and shoot themselves, that sort of thing.Quote:How should the Good Society manage its schools: classroom organization, curriculum content, grading, projects, discipline, teacher training, parent participation, community engagement, local/state/federal roles?Get five educational experts into a room, find eight theories on educational science. And way too many people who are opinionated, but not experts, have an input to the requirements placed on schools, the funding, the testing... Right now, the goal is on graduating the little morons. Information is made available, but testing and grading that accurately reflects their ability to prove they've learned anything is seen as punitive (using an 'F' to punish people, they say. Never mind that the little bastard only shows up one day in three, and hands in one assignment in seven, it's our FAULT that he wasn't motivated to learn Shakespeare's sonnets rhyming scheme, which shows up on the standardized testings the government requires but doesn't supply sufficient funds for to support the tutoring necessary to shove the little camels through the MCAS needle...)Ideally, anyone assessing a requirement for education (state, federal, local, parochial) should be also providing funding to make sure the burden placed on the system doesn't draw funds/people away from other areas of the school system. Quote:Is there a particular literary/philosophical/cultural canon that every educated citizen should master? Reading, writing and arithmatic. WHen you tell an employer, a recruiter, a college entrance officer, a scholarship committee, your parole board, that you have a high school graduation, there are assumptions about your abilities with respect to the educational level achieved. I don't expect any job applicant to be able to discuss the impact of the introduction of Falstaff into a Stargate: SG-1 episode, or even to know who had the crown before the current queen of England. But i would expect them to know who introduces laws in this country, and what the president's role is in legislating them, what the value of a dollar bill is, how to tote up two lines of figures and determine if our customer owes us $2000 or if we owe him ("I will tell you, it is a high priority for my post-retirement activities to look into my financial situation. I have heard my name used with the amount of seven million dollars. I should like to determine if I own it or owe it.").My dad had only one question for anyone who applied for a job at the drugstore. He'd pick three things at random from the shelf, put them on the counter, give the kid (usually a girl in high school) a $20 bill and the tax schedule for Idaho. Total the order, figure the tax, make change. No calculators, but all the pencil and paper you needed. If you couldn't do it, you didn't work there. Addition, subtraction, finding a number on a scale. Not that hard. 20% failure rate.
ADO15

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See, there's part of the problem. All the problems faced by the USA (and, by extension, the rest of us) stem from ignorance of three basic areas:HistoryGeographyEconomics _________________________________________________________Il Sotto Seme La Neva
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Re: Education

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ADO15: "See, there's part of the problem. All the problems faced by the USA (and, by extension, the rest of us) stem from ignorance of three basic areas. . . "Whew, glad American students have picked up Math and Science so well since I last looked.
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Re: Education

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Keith and CompanyQuote:The purpose of the public school system should be that a graduate is capable of entering the work force with the minimum necessary skills to support their learning of the specific skills and information required for their job.The original justification for the suspension of individual rights and liberties represented by mandatory education, is that it provides the tools necessary to vote intelligently; and that universal suffrage means nothing if the electorate is ignorant. I agree completely with this argument (put forth mainly by Jefferson, I'm pretty sure). I think it is nice if society chooses to teach job skills at collective expense rather than allowing businesses to find their own ways to accomplish it but I don't see any justification for coercion of parents or students for such goals. Let me add that if we stuck to the original goals, it would be essential that students learn critical thinking and statistical analysis, both of which are carefully avoided, in some cases right through college. And of course critical thinking and statistics require the reading and arithmetic that I think we all agree, perhaps for different reasons, should be in every citizen's tool kit. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
Keith and Company

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Quote:The original justification for the suspension of individual rights and liberties represented by mandatory education, is that it provides the tools necessary to vote intelligentlyNice idea. Probably true.But i never had to produce proof of education before i filled out a ballot. It's the employers that are looking for your educational history to determine where to slot you into the work structure.Responsibility and earnings are directly related to the amount (and sometimes subject) of education, and only documented education applies (the fact i have no college meaning more to most employers than any amount of self education i've done since, and only a few will equate 20 years of military service to a formal education). But for the last 25 years or so, more and more companies have been finding that high school graduates lack the basic job skills to punch keys on a register and sell someone a Happy Meal. Ideally, rational animals should use their cognitive abilities to critically examine all information made available to them. Voting, legislating, obeying laws or being civically disobedient, shopping, price comparing, and listening to the talking head tell them that he uses Bronco Brand razor strops because they're the ginchiest. Ideally. [/fantasy]
marti1900

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And here I always thought the purpose of eduction was babysitting so the adults could go out to work without distraction.Marti in Mexico
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Dissident Heart

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Re: Education

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Keith: The purpose of the public school system should be that a graduate is capable of entering the work force with the minimum necessary skills to support their learning of the specific skills and information required for their job.Granted, Public Education involves equipping students with the skills and talents to keep an economy running, but it should also involve challenging the student to envision and develop the kind of economy that reflects their values. Thus, Public Education should instruct citizens to not simply inherit an economic structure; but to modify, reshape, reform, even radically restructure an economic system where they are democratic shapers, not passive receptors.Public Education should equip its students to become active participants in the decision making processes of production, allocation, consumption, ownership relations, divisons of labor, remuneration...not merely as cogs able to perform tasks delivered on high; but as full citizens informed and equipped to offer an educated perspective as well as a well trained skill set. Keith: (responding to the kind of curricular canon needed) Reading, writing and arithmatic.Reading: what texts should teachers present? Which authors, covering what themes, addressing which issues? Are there topics better left unexamined, i.e. sexuality, family dysfuntion, religion, politics, class, race? Are these best understood by way of non-fiction or fiction, poetry or prose; and who are the "objective" sources to be trusted when presenting the non-fiction components; and where to draw the line (if at all) with cultural diversity?Arithmetic: What about story problems like this: Abdul lives in Baghdad. His home was 1500 square feet, before it was demolished by an 2 ton missile lauched from 27,000 feet in the sky by a 17 ton F16 Fighter Jet manufactured in Israel and financed by American taxpayers. Abdul's five children and one wife were killed in the explosion, which also destroyed 3/4 of an acre of his neighborhood, killing 12 more of his neighbors.....the options are endless.Jeremy: I think it is nice if society chooses to teach job skills at collective expense rather than allowing businesses to find their own ways to accomplish it but I don't see any justification for coercion of parents or students for such goals. If it is left up to businesses to provide job skills, how will citizens be able to particpate in the development of these programs? In other words, businesses are not democratic structures where all voices are heard and participatory planning is universal. The skills they instruct will reproduce un democratic workplaces: they will not entertain or explore skills that increase democracy. Should this be a goal of Public Education: the expansion of democracy in all areas of life, especially the workplace?
Keith and Company

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Quote:Reading: what texts should teachers present?100 years ago, what teaching there was used the bible because that was the one book commonly available in most households. I don't know how real they are, but i've seen news accounts of math books from various 'trouble spots' around the world that use pictures of AK47's or grenades for basic counting skills. The ideal reading text would be something the kids can identify with, that reflects the world they find around them, that can grab their interest in the plot, so they want to learn to read in order to find out what happens.A number of people don't want Mark Twain's novels in the schools at all, for their use of local color and the 'N' word. I don't mind those in upper classes, where they can make a distinction between the character's verbalizations and their own, but i wouldn't use it for basic reading skills, for teaching elementary school students to read or how people speak. Ultimately, i'd prefer to leave it to at least a school level, if not an individual class level to determine what books would best suit the class. I loved Catcher in the Rye for the way it spoke to the turmoil of teen angst, while my classmates tended to fixate on subways and taxis and other things that flat didn't exist in Rural Idaho. Simiarly, introductory reading books about the experiences on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves would have left most of them cold. But they would have ate up books on the Mormon Trail, while kids in New York or Atlanta would have had difficulty relating to people boiling Indian Tea on the prairie.Quote:Which authors, covering what themes, addressing which issues? Are there topics better left unexamined, i.e. sexuality, family dysfuntion, religion, politics, class, race?I don't think there's any topic better left completley unexamined at all levels. Knowledge is essential in avoiding problems...ignorance may be bliss, but it's also a vulnerability. Abstinence programs tell kids not to have sex, so the biggest response in the underage crowd is to spread and accept the judgment that oral sex isn't sex. If the entire issue of race relations is dealt with by saying 'you shouldn't hate because of race' then the kids are vulnerable to those that claim 'it's a noble sentiment, but it doesn't address the actual physical and social differences between us and the ______.'The history of the nation is a valid educational concern, and the context of major decisions, major policies, major legislation, should be used to help understand WHY things happened. WHy prohibition was enacted, why it failed. What REALLY sparked the revolutionary war, the civil war, Waco. Why treason is defined in the constitution. Whoops. GOtta go. Keith's Place
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