Nice Bear . . . Nice Bear . . . You are Feeling Sleepy . . .

You and everyone else who jumped on this are absolutely correct. I’m stereotyping home schooling based on a minority. I shouldn’t have done that . . . but I’m glad I did because I heard some very good things. But, before I poked the home schooling bear, the common point was that the educational system is broken and more pieces have been falling off for the roughly fifty years that I have been worrying about it. My point was that I think we are even farther from an agreed upon definition of what public educational success means.

The response from the home schooling folks was how normal and successful home schooled kids turn out. And this included how well home schooled kids perform when reintroduced to public schooling and incidentally some of those kids from the religious or ideological fringe can be quite socially pleasant. That actually fits what I was trying to say . . . in the midst of all the noise and emotion about education from both inside and outside the profession kids have managed to get educated enough to make their way in society. There is a fair amount of psychological work (I would have to dig to find links for this) that seems to say that with adequate care and resources most kids raise themselves fairly well. Parents like to take credit for it but the kids are the ones who do the growing up. But is that still good enough?

Obviously I don’t think so. We are facing a related set of paradigm changes that looks different depending on the perspective that you chose to look at it. Economically we are doing away with most kinds of employable work. By that I mean the kind of work you educate yourself to do in order to make a living. On an information level most education was based on acquiring knowledge not generally available ranging from apprenticeship to “reading” a subject for higher education. Almost all information is now available to us wherever we are. This has changed the world in a way that makes most education beyond grade 9 irrelevant. Ask a person of my generation a question about something and we will either know it and tell you or say we’re going to research it and get back to you. Ask a millennial or younger and they will immediately google it on YouTube and watch the video.

Public education was built to provide workers for factories who needed to follow orders, be punctual, read enough to understand instructions, and know not to disrupt the process flow. In a society that doesn’t require that people who have been educated with that as a goal are likely to be unhappy. This is my real concern. Things have been disintegrating socially and politically for the last few years and this summer has been particularly ugly and frightening. Just to touch on a couple of the pieces: We have reality TV con man known to be an egotistical liar and who was openly identified as a joke now being presented as a serious candidate for US president and is nearly “tied” in polling against one of the most accomplished political leaders in the country. Despite the highest mass killing rate on the planet and the lowest major crime rate in history we have people who insist that they need to carry multiple military assault weapons to the supermarket. The British voted to remove themselves from the EU after being told what it would to do to their economy but the majority that voted for this did it because it would improve things for them. After winning the winners resigned admitting that they had made all the improvements up. We are told that this happens because the low information majority are angry and frightened.

Bullshit. I think there is more going on here. How does this relate to education? We need to educate publicly for a very different world than has ever existed before and we are increasingly seeing the results of not doing that. Many people recognize the need for diversity, equality, opportunity and the need for and value of immigration. The people who are being placed in the way of that, mostly the people who really need it, believe that the undeserving are getting that they, themselves, should have. Everyone should work for a living and the bad people will simply do bad things if they aren’t forced to work at subsistence levels. Bad people being the _____ people. This is the result of educating for a world that is rapidly disappearing but no one was told that this could happen. They aren’t even being told that it is happening.

Sorry, I don’t have the solution readily to hand. But I think that we need to change our focus on education and make some hard rule changes to solve the mass social idea problems that we have. I hate to be pessimistic but I don’t think we can just muddle on through this. And that is why, incidentally, I get carried away on the myth based ideologues hijacking education. They are not benign even if they are not evil as individuals. If you have ideas of how education can be redesigned, however it is delivered and by whom, please let me know . . .

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