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my (hypothetical) education

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MadArchitect

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my (hypothetical) education

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I debated awhile which forum would be most appropriate for this topic. Given that the answers to the question I'm about to ask would have ramifications on the topics discussed in other forums, I finally decided that it was best thought of as a philosophical (by way of sociology) question.If you could establish a nation's ideal educational system from scratch, what would it look like?Bear in mind that your educational system does not necessarily need to bear any resemblence to any current educational system, nor need it function on the same assumptions. Strive for equality if you want, but if you don't think that's the ideal, then, by all means, reflect that difference in your system.
Ken Hemingway

Re: my (hypothetical) education

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I'm pretty sure that different educations are suitable for different children, so I wouldn't even try to think of an "ideal". I also think that, within limits, it is reasonable for parents to choose what education their children should receive.This is one of the central reasons why I think it is a mistake to have education dominated by government. You end up with a bunch of people trying to decide what the "ideal" is and settling unhappily with an ugly compromise. I'm more in favour of liberty than democracy - being ruled by the demos never sounded like something I'd like. That's the way we liberals are.
MadArchitect

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Re: my (hypothetical) education

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Fair enough. If you don't mind chasing the subject a bit farther, though, could you hypothesize what sort of social structure would allow that multiplicity of educations, and what might be the consequences of such a "system" (which is really the absence of an educational system, correct?).Incidentally, I do intend to post my own hypothetical educational system before I really start examining anyone else's. I just wanted to let a few other ideas pop up before I throw in my own suggestion.
Niall001
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OK, well I'll throw this out there, just to get the discussion going.Pre-school for ages 3-4. No real education. Just giving children the chance to play together, get used to the environment.Ages 4-10: Practical schooling. Focus on developing reading, writing and maths skills. The reading matter should cover some elements of history and geography, but rote learning should be avoided.Age 10-12: Greater role for subjects like history, geography, literature and science. Introduction of the study of foreign languages unless the area in which the study is home to various living tongues. Ages 12-16: Focus on critical thinking, philosophy, politics etc. Teach children how to examine the assumptions implicit in various tellings. Teach them how to evaluate an argument. Also, introduce 'practical' subjects though only to a limited degree.Age 16-18: Allow the student to specialise to an extent. Classes which ensure that the student has the necessary skills in language and maths should not be optional but all others should be.Age 18 : Study is an option. Open access to university education, custom degrees.
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tarav

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Re: Re

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Mad--I love this topic! As an educator, I am continuously trying to think of ways that the educational system in the US could be improved. Sadly I have not really reached any definite conclusions. I am guilty of easily pointing out the flaws without having much of a solution to remedy the situation. I look forward to reading the replies in this thread.
Ken Hemingway

Re: Re

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Yes, I agree with Tara that this topic is both extremely important and extremely difficult.First, Mad asked me to elaborate on my proposal to get government out of education. I would like to see an experiment (at least) of fully privatized education from kindergarten through high school. By experiment I mean either a decent sized city or a state. Schools would be either for-profit or not-for-profit organizations much as hospitals are now. For funding I would propose the following: Families of median income or above would pay for their own children's education (Why incur the administrative expense of recycling money from rich families back to rich families?) Families just below the median level would get some help, and the poorest families would get a voucher large enough to pay for the full cost. The size of the voucher for the poorest families would be the same as the average expenditure by families just above the median income. Issues: 1.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Do I mean literally "median income" what about large families with barely median income? Yes, need would have to be factored in as well as income.2.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Would this not result in a lot of class segregated schools - xpensive nob schools for the rich excluding middle income and poorer kids? I think that is a real worry. Of course it already happens to some degree. I also trust Americans enough to believe that there would also be schools which vigourously resisted this tendency. 3.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Why? To me the American education system looks an awful lot like an industry in the old Eastern Block. Dominated by politics, performing badly, unable to change or improve. No surprise
Ken Hemingway

Re: A good education

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For the best students, one defensible alternative is to give them a high quality liberal education. To do that, in college you expose them to the very best that has been thought and said, and help them figure out how to respond to it. In elementary and high school you prepare them to be ready to meet this challenge.Issues. 1.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp That is a liberal education. Is it obvious that that should totally replace professional training?2.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp What is the best that has been thought and said?3.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp What about the students who are not the best?
Ken Hemingway

Re: A good education

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On the pursuit of excellence. When I was doing economics in graduate school, I read some papers by a guy named Frank Hahn. I was taken aback by their quality. Most of the stuff being published in the journals did not particularly impress me. It seemed to me that I could have produced it if I had taken the trouble to address that particular issue. With Hahn's papers you had the impression of such quality and such speed of development that it left you sort of breathless. You felt that if you exerted yourself and ran at your fastest pace, you might just be able to keep up and see where he was leading. Perhaps one goal of education should be to produce some people who can do work like that.
MadArchitect

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Re: A good education

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For funding I would propose the following: Families of median income or above would pay for their own children's education (Why incur the administrative expense of recycling money from rich families back to rich families?) Families just below the median level would get some help, and the poorest families would get a voucher large enough to pay for the full cost. The size of the voucher for the poorest families would be the same as the average expenditure by families just above the median income.Even though you're proposing privatization, it looks like you're still retaining regulation by an independent body, right? Would that be a government body, or something equally privatized? Why not allow access to education to work on the principles of free market rather than demand equality through regulation?
Ken Hemingway

Re: A good education

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Mad:Recall that private education is already regulated by government. There is a legal requirement (which I support) that children have to be educated - you can't just send them off to work in the mills at the age of 5. In order to enforce that law you have to have some minimum requirement of what counts as education - 10 hrs a day of "learning" to wash windows is not going to cut it. The current level of regulation of private schools seems to me to be about what is appropriate government involvement.I would add in passing that some private schools resist voucher schemes on the grounds that if a lot more kids go to private schools, the level of government interference in private schools is going to go up. I sympathize with them but obviously don't think that is an adequate reason not to privatize.
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