Critique and Proposed Revision of the Educational System

Effective teaching is one part learning and one part communication. It’s a combination of learning things (so that you can teach them) and translating that knowledge to someone who doesn’t yet have it.

Most teachers teach the same thing year after year. They are bored, they are incurious, and hence are bad teachers. Instead of teaching a single pre-determined subject, the teacher himself would be a dynamic subject-producer. That is to say, the teacher would seek to learn as much as possible that was important for students to know and would then teach that. As his knowledge changed and his focus, so would the content of the instruction.

In order for schools to be organized, administrators would evaluate the content of the teachers’ instruction so as to make sure teachers were not duplicating each other excessively (so as a situation doesn’t develop where Teacher A, Teacher B, and Teacher C all teach the same thing).

A reason that schools are organized by subject is to control learning. That is to say, they make sure that students only learn what they want them to learn. By freeing teachers to become catalysts of knowledge that all goes away.

One obstacle here is that the administrators, instead of merely seeking to avoid duplication in teaching, could of course guide the instruction itself toward certain topics or away from others. If this is a problem, the teachers themselves could do that job, but they are already both learning and teaching so their job functions start piling up at some point.

Another big problem with education is it’s role as state and cultural indoctrination. While the former revision does a lot to address that as it gives teachers more control over their content it may not be enough, considering that the state funds the educational system. Probably the best situation is for the governance in the U.S. to become democratic. At that point the elite no longer controls the content of education and there is no longer a doctrinal focus.

Looking back on my educational experience, the most I ever learned was in Drivers’ Ed. I learned how to drive in just a few hours (of driving time). Driving is a lot more complicated than algebra, yet it takes the educational system multiple years to teach algebra. The difference is that driving is practical, it’s not doctrinal, hence the state actually wants to teach people how to drive, rather than control the learning so that things aren’t taught just as much as other things are.

Consider computer or video games. Some are very complicated. Yet all can be learned in a matter of hours. Even chess, a very complicated game, can have the basics taught and learned in a few hours. (Chess, just like driving, can only be mastered with vast study and practice.) Yet again, it takes multiple years to teach algebra, geometry, english?, social science, etc. Most of the time I felt was absolutely wasted. Yet, ironically, students are supposedly “hard workers” when they do english homework yet are “lazy” when they intensely learn a video game in a few hours. Orwell would be weeping. It’s funny that video games are called an escape. They are, perhaps, but they aren’t so much escaping education as actually getting one. An escape from the poverty of the state.

This knowledge has not hit the mainstream. Whether left, right, or center, the vast majority of Americans don’t have any critique at all of education. Until they do, they’ll only have ignorant solutions and we’ll only have horrible results.

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