Re: Education

From: Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly (
Date: Tue Oct 18 2005 - 18:20:56 MDT

On Sat, 8 Oct 2005 18:47:13 -0700 (PDT), Keith Mussenden
<> wrote:

> Anyone have suggestions in how education can be brought to higher
> standards in achievment, revolutionized and more ubiquitously spread
> through society?

The first thing I would do is to repeal all compulsory schooling laws.
Education is about learning & exploring; it's bizarre (and ineffective) to
try to mandate it through government. I would then eliminate all
government run schools, and move all of the resources that supported them
(money, buildings, teachers and books but only those that are worth
anything) to a completely new system of voluntary collective education &
information resources.

One model I would emulate would be the Public Library system. Anyone is
allowed to use a library, but no one is required to. One program which
would be a high priority is free public access to the internet-- but at a
much higher level than the libraries have managed to provide so far (more
than half-hour blocks, for instance). Much more emphasis should be placed
on internet access (and training!) than on paper books (or any other
ancient technology).

For the most part, instead of the government hiring "teachers" full-time,
it would hire people from various fields to spend a small amount of time
giving free lectures and classes to the public. Education would not be
separate from the rest of society; a vital & vibrant public intellectual
discourse could be reignited.

Colleges are (unlike schools for children) at least officially voluntary
(although not all students seem to be attending completely on their own
volition). I wouldn't recommend therefore forcing any revolutionary
change on them against their will. In general though I believe that they
should become dramatically more open & responsive. They are stuck in old
ideas like the existence of a "canon" or the possibility of a particular
individual having a solid grounding in all of the major intellectual
fields; as knowledge expands they look more foolish every day.

For instance, if colleges genuinely want to serve the public good, they
should immediately make all of their materials & lectures available
online. Anything else serves only the cause of elitism, not education.


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