At 08:07 AM 7/2/00, Greg wrote:
>This failure of education takes place at many levels. The biggest culprits
>are the schools. For all practical purposes, there is no teaching of the
>basic terms of the social contract. If you grew up the US public school
>system and graduated from high school with any formal exposure to education
>in basic life skills like managing finances or the need for health and
>disability insurance, you are the extremely rare exception.
I agree completely with Greg. Great point about how the two sides are
talking past one another. As someone who teaches college students part
time, I can tell you from personal experience that almost *no one* is
taught basic financial planning in school. As part of my critical thinking
class, I cover critical thinking about investing and personal finance. I
always ask how many of the students have covered any of this before.
Usually not one person raises their hand. They seem to find that particular
topic the most engaging one of all. I'm always stunned to find that
financial planning, basic logic, and evolutionary theory, are almost never
taught in schools, at least based on the many hundreds of students I have
I doubt that a solution can easily be implemented within the existing state
monopoly education system. It simply is not set up for innovation or for
meeting people's real needs. If I had to pick a #1 social policy priority
it would be introducing competition into the schools, by privatizing them.
To relieve concerns about funding, I would not object to either tax-funded
vouchers and/or tax credits. (I would prefer tax credits, though to get
this approach accepted, vouchers might be needed for the poorer people who
pay little or no taxes.)
Competition in education would also help move the educational system from
its current industrial style, where students learn facts and procedures,
towards an information-age style where students learn to solve problems
through creative and critical thinking.
A final note: I'm a little bothered by Damien's sweeping generalization
about American's (or rather Extropian American's) "knee-jerk" (or similar
wording) reaction to suggestions of state control and spending programs.
Damien, I moved here from England and have experienced first hand
socialized medicine. I prefer market-based medicine from experience as well
as from theory. And America does not really have free market medicine--the
number of regulations, interventions, and restrictions makes this far from
a free market, though I would never want to give up what we have for a more
statist system. The U.S. medical system certainly could be improved. But it
needs *more* market processes, not fewer.
Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute. www.extropy.org
CEO, MoreLogic Solutions. www.maxmore.com
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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