Reading for 3/25/08 (We don’t need no . . .)

March 24th, 2008

Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools.

All right, I realize that this is in the beginning of the introduction, but it’s the statement that really stuck with me. Because if it’s not feasible, does this mean that all schools in all of history have been going about it wrong? If so, and if we’ve managed to develop rather well as a society anyway, does this mean that we’re dependent on those break-the-mold individuals to carry society forward? And I realize that this is kind of starting to delve into the irrelevant and hypothetical, but it was something I was thinking about after this pair of sentences stuck into my mind. As for the second sentence, the idea of new education modeled after old methods triggered a huge train of thought more or less powered by the fact that I’m currently re-reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. (Admittedly mostly to see if I’ll hate the character of Ellsworth Toohey less this time around. Thus far, it doesn’t seem likely.) Anyway, the novel, in its discussion of architecture, talks about how a building shouldn’t have to steal/adapt from previous styles but should instead be its own thing. Is education supposed to be like that, then? In order to make the best thing ever, are we supposed to ignore every similar thing that came before? I guess that when it comes to education, we aren’t trying to build a better mousetrap but an entirely new mousetrap that has nothing to do with the less-better mousetraps that came before.

Even if they attend equal schools and begin at the same age, poor children lack most of the educational opportunities which are casually available to the middle-class child. These advantages range from conversation and books in the home to vacation travel and a different sense of oneself, and apply, for the child who enjoys them, both in and out of school.

Essentially, then, education is not only the school system, but school in combination with every other aspect of the student’s life. So it’s not just school that needs to be revamped, but all of society . . . So do we have to fix society before we fix education? And, really, when he writes of all the different systems of education in different countries–where three years is basic in Mexico, and school can depend on socioeconomic class, et cetera–it makes me wonder if there really is superior way of handling education or if the whole world is ostensibly muddling it, albeit in different ways.

In a totally unrelated note, I remembered the password to the Twitter page I started about a year ago and promptly abandoned. Maybe I’ll actually start using it again:

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    Dessine-moi un mouton!
    Quand on veut un mouton, c'est la preuve qu'on existe.