>From what I have read on this list on this topic, (and compiled below) it
seems that the points brought up about education in this thread are:
A suggestion to compiling all of this into a workable and usable education philosophy would be schools that are free at a primary level to everybody regardless of social standing. This would hopefully 'help' the poorer people to get a better life by being educated, rather than leave them absolutely no chance to get out of their situation. It would help if this primary education would be compulsory. This would definitely help in a country's literacy rate.
At this level, all children will be thought logic and thinking skills and philosophy (metaphysics). These topics are meant to introduce a higher mode of thinking and imagination that current education cannot provide. Other subjects could include Literature (the classics) and History. Another subject could be one which would teach them about the 'real' world, the world they will be growing up in. I don't know how to describe it properly, but as Mark mentioned, 'something that could be useful in everyday life'. Also included would be all the prerequisite maths and science and art (but at a rudimentary level to serve as a starting off point).
Perhaps at this lower level we can teach children how to open their minds to more extropian memes, and rather than indoctrinate them with religious ideas, we could teach them to use their own discretion to form their own conclusions from what they see around them. This would definitely be a more extropian educational philosophy!
The whole curriculum could be structured modularly, so that students could take their time to complete the modules rather than have to do a set amount every year before they can move up with their class. A modular curriculum would remove the 'class' idea in education so that your age does not figure at all in the education formula. Teachers should be encouraging to slower students and instead of scolding and pushing the student to complete his work, they can give the student the option of doing less subjects per semester, or repeating a module, or taking a longer time for the module. Without the 'class' idea, the student doesn't have the stigma of being slow and being 'behind his class'. This would also help with students who have outside commitments like important sports competitions or working to support the family....... it would enable the student to concentrate on his commitments while still completing his education, albeit at his own pace.
At a higher level, after students have passed a 'graduating' examination, he can then move on to a higher level of learning, where using what he has learnt previously, chooses what he wants to do and in whatever combination. Current education systems have the fault of being to rigid in that you can only do this if you've already done that, or you can only do this with that and not that other subject. Similiarly to the primary level, the subjects are contained in modular form, with a semester length of six months. The students could take on subjects which interest him and could also have incredible diversity, like doing an engineering subject with art or philosophy. Teachers would serve a mentoring purpose, giving the students appropriate suggestions. The whole point being that the student chooses his own direction in life.
The student would thus move on through the modules, doing what interested him most, and the modules done beforehand would open up other modules so on and so forth, so that in a short time, he would not only have selected his career, but his own field of specialization as well! Of course at this level, the modules would cost a fee to be taught, depending on the complexity and work needed. This would prevent people from studying free for their whole lives. With the option to drop a chosen course of modules, the student would have the financial burden of starting over again as a deterrent. Again this would be a test of maturity and as long as he's paying, why stop him, right?
This form of education would place no importance on age, apart from the age from which all children should be enrolled into these schools. Could be as early as four or as late as six. The social aspect of growing up would still be there, as the schools could be co-ed. Time spent in the schools would vary according to the subjects taken, although at first perhaps the parents should have some say.
A problem that could arise would be the lack of teachers, however, the only the primary level would be more teacher intensive, and at higher levels, it could be a lecture system where the lecture hall could contain a hundred or so students. This would place extra emphasis on doing personal study and consultation periods could be arranged for students to discuss and debate certain topics with their lecturers.
As an aside, teachers of higher levels could be researchers engaged in school sponsored projects and at higher levels of specialization, students could work hand in hand with the lecturer as a part of the research team, so that instead of being in a classroom teaching topics from a textbook, students could be part an actual research team, and actually learn hands on. The lecturer would then grade them on their ability in the laboratory, and provide them the option of staying on and completing the research work to earn experience.
I know the above system sounds a lot like a university, but when implemented on all levels of education, with greater choices on subjects, perhaps we could actually get somewhere. Objections, suggestions??
From: Spike Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sunday, December 06, 1998 3:49 PM
Subject: Re: The Education Function
>the u.s. must eventually face the hard truth on how damaging it is
>to our education system to hold to certain politically correct notions.
>the one i refer to in particular is refraining from teaching evolution
>in order to avoid challenging fundamentalist belief systems. nothing
>in biology makes sense without the notion of evolution. next, we
>do not teach logic, which undermines mathematical education. if
>we do not fight back, the 21st century u.s. could become as fundamentalist
>as afganistan under the taliban. spike
From: Terry Donaghe <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Monday, December 07, 1998 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: The Education Function
>How did education exist in this country before the early 1900's? It
>was pretty much all private education.
>A private education system would work pretty much the same way
>anything else "works" in a free market economy. Freed of the
>obnoxious tax burden (theft) currently required for government
>"schools," parents would be able to choose which school to send their
>children to. Private for-profit schools would be forced to compete
>with one another to provide the best possible education. Those
>schools with the best sucesses (% of graduates enrolled in college,
>scholarships given, etc...) would advertise those benifits.
>Schools would exist to service "poor" families (even "poor" people in
>this country have money to spend) and the poorest families would have
>to depend on charity. Surely the education they would receive
>couldn't be worse than what they have now (violent schools, social
>promotion, etc.) - if you even want to call it education.
>The main reason this would work is because we would have true
>competition amongst the various schools. Teachers and administrators
>could be held accountable for students progress and achievements.
>Since parents would no longer have tax money stolen from them, private
>schools would be affordable (the average spending per student is
>usually much higher in public schools than private schools because of
>the obnoxious administration).
>Remember, the free market ALWAYS provides better solutions to problems
>than the government.
> >Back on the education front, I think at least half the problem is with
> >the modern idea of "an education" that lasts a few years early in life
> >and that's that. Almost nothing I need to know on an everyday basis
> >even existed when I was at school, and almost nothing I learnt at school
> >is at all useful to me. The time I spent there was almost entirely
> >and cost the tax-payers of the time a huge amount of money. It's not just
> >education funding that we have to change, it's the entire educational
> > Mark
From: Samael <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tuesday, December 08, 1998 3:51 AM Subject: Re: The Education Function
>>too poor to get onto the circuit in the first place have too much time on
>>their hands, and consequently have too many kids, which amplifies the
>>problem in the last place.
>So educate them. Get them onto the circuit and then let them get on with
I agree that people should pay for their mistakes, but nearly everyone believes that children aren;t responsible. Forcing them to miss school because their parents don't have the money to send them there is the worst kind of stupidity and maliciousness.
The problem as I see it is that teachers are to reticent to hold poor
back, and far far too reticent to advance smart students forward ahead of schedule. As are parents. We are far too concerned about developing the social
skills of students than about what they are actually learning in classes. Kids
have no real need to know the people they are in primary and secondary school
with that well. Most of the kids I went to school with at that age I have not
seen in ten years, nor would I care to see most of them.
From: Samael <Samael@dial.pipex.com>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wednesday, December 09, 1998 12:15 AM Subject: Re: The Education Function
>As far as I can see, the whole education system is brought down by the
>ridiculous notion that people of the same age all share the same level of
>education. Splitting down the whole education system into small chunks,
>each of which could be taken repeatedly until they were learnt (and the
>in any paricular web/chain could not be taken until you had finished the
>previus ones) would seem like a far more useful and efficient method of
>teaching. People would be in the same classes as their peers. I remember
>seeing a study from here in the UK where the biggest classroom problem was
>that almost every member of the class was at a slightly different level of
>learning. You can't give classes to a group like that.
Brian Atkins writes:
> It seems like the key ingredient to sparking a real >H revolution
> in the rest of the population is not brainpower, but rather
> simple imagination. The reason that people are not turned
From: Julien, Howard (c) <Howard.Julien@mci.com> To: 'email@example.com' <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wednesday, December 09, 1998 10:55 PM Subject: RE: Imagination, more important than intelligence?
I'd have to agree, in fact most people don't even have the language to discuss/conceptualize >H memes. I've found over and over that trying to explain a foreign concept to someone meets with a great deal of resistance. People, in general, seem to feel (or at least act) as though you're either spoofing them or putting them down when you talk about things that they've never been exposed to.
From: Michael Lorrey <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> Date: Thursday, December 10, 1998 1:03 AM Subject: Re: The Education Function
>Listen, unless the kid is in the Alaskan outback, he or she is gonna have
>neighbors, siblings, and or cousins to socialize with on a regular basis.
>Schools are not meant for socialization, otherwize there would be regular
>times through the day. They have been adapted to the job, poorly, because
>many parents avoid their responsibilties to their kids and want
>nursemaids or chaperones. A kid does not need to do mundane things or just
>out to learn socialization. Socialization can just as easily happen in an
>academically challenging environment as a matter of course without having
>dedicate 'quality time' to it. The interesting thing about socialization in
>academically challenging situation is the supposed 'geeks' tend to shine,
>opposed to being dominated by the dumb jocks.
My preferred method of socialism would be to provide free Gealth Care (of a standard necessary to get people back to work) and enough of a handout to allow people to survive. This handout should _not_ be means tested (if it drops as they start earning here is less incentive to start earning). Free Education will also be provided (education leads to raised output and higher GNP's as well as lowering reproduction), but not in the current form - as has been pointed out most current education sucks.
I look forward to hearing objections.