Thursday, December 06, 2007
Citizens of America and no child left behind...
Process weenies will ask: How are we supposed to measure mastery of the material without any form of testing? but won't ask: If we uniformly test, then how to we keep this as a minimum vs allowing it to turn into the goal?.
From its very beginnings, the purpose of public education has been very consciously conceived as indoctrination. That remains its purpose now. People who complain about illiteracy and innumeracy do so naively, without understanding that schools exist to teach obedience, self-deprecation, marginalization, subservience, acquiescence to external judgement, hierarchy and competition. And schools teach these things extremely well.
The question isn't whether schools work, they work exceedingly well as agencies of totalitarian government which pays for them and controls them. The question is why parents consent to consign their children to these prisons. Naivete about the real purpose of schools only goes so far as an explanation. The real reasons why parents consent to mass schooling is because of the free babysitting, and the expense of any real alternatives. Crushing poverty and brutal working conditions (80+ hours per week per household) has made it impossible for most parents to afford anything else. This is confirmed by the fact that drudgework (aka homework) has encroached into family time.
Once the economic basis of the problem is identified, a solution to the underlying problems can be searched for. Economic solutions are possible though extremely difficult and liable to backsliding. Meaningful reforms tend to occur only when there are no alternatives and people have become desperate. A technical solution would be better, easier to implement and less vulnerable. So we are looking for technologies that would together, or separately, provide babysitting and intellectual maturation at cheap cut-down rates. Preferably an order of magnitude more cheaply than the government subsidized classroom teacher technology. This isn't a solution, but the definition of the problem...
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