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Joined: 27 Jan 2010
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16 Sep 2022, 2:24 pm

Most people have strong opinions about schooling. In particular, why exactly should we send children to school?

Here are some of the common arguments put in simple terms:

1) We should send children to school so they can learn facts and develop strong literacy and numeracy skills. These things are intrinsically good.

2) We should send children to school so they can learn how to learn. They will pick up facts along the way, but the point is critical thinking and deep understanding rather than rote learning. This is intrinsically good.

3) We should send children to school so they can be taught how to behave and follow orders. This is intrinsically good.

4) We should send children to school so they can become more productive. Studies show that schooling dramatically improves your earning potential.

5) We should send children to school so they can learn skills that will be useful to them in adult life, like doing taxes. We shouldn't waste time with algebra or geometry or close reading, because those things aren't useful. Basic numeracy and literacy should be enough.

6) We should send children to school so that their parents can participate in the workforce.

7) We should send children to school so that we can continue to employ teachers and support staff.

8) We should send children to school so they can develop as rounded people, knowing how to interact with others, possessing a wide range of basic skills, discovering passions, and becoming confident and self-assured.

9) Individuals (either parents or the children themselves) should be able to decide for themselves whether children attend school, for whatever reasons they desire. The government should not interfere with that decision. Individuals are experts on themselves and know better about their own circumstances than some pen-pushing bureaucrat. School is something that should be freely chosen, like learning to drive, swim, or ride a bike.

I am sure there are more ideas, and more nuances that could be explored. Of course, many of these are mutually compatible - you can think that school is good for more than one thing, after all.

What do you think the point of education is? Should schooling be compulsory? Should children be taught discipline, or taught independence?


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Joined: 17 Jan 2019
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16 Sep 2022, 2:31 pm

Some form of schooling and proof of competency should be compulsory, the current system certainly has its flaws and seems to warehouse children until adulthood - but it keeps them off the streets during the day.


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16 Sep 2022, 3:27 pm

I did get a lot of socialization at school but also the trauma of bullying could have had effects that were worse than the good effects of socialization


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16 Sep 2022, 6:46 pm

There are lots of good arguments for why kids should go to school, but the question is whether schools actually do all or any of these things.

The education system i grew up in mainly did one thing: selection for specific jobs.
The final grades are only important if you aim for specific courses at university, and the schools seem to be geared at picking out the traits necessary to pursue those careers, mainly diligence and a modicum of intelligence.
You don't need to be super bright to be a doctor or a lawyer but you need to be somewhat intelligent, good at retaining information and you need to be very, very diligent.
The next geoup would be the intelligent kids, who are lazy or sloppy - they can go to university, just not become doctors or lawyers.
And the rest: maybe there's a place for them in the humanities or something, but also some vocational school might be a good choice.

The actual curriculum had very little to do with anything outside of school, and now that I'm older, I actually picked up a lot of math for work, which is something that i just didn't care for in school, where it was only theoretical without application.
Again: if I had been one of the intelligent& diligent kids, I would have put effort into it back then, but I'm definitely one of the lazy kids.

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16 Sep 2022, 10:38 pm

It's the tutorial where you learn the game's mechanics and lore, obviously.

I think it would help to have schools start offering and requiring some classes focuses on practical skills. Starting around middle school (key stage 3 in UK), kids should start learning everyday skills that help you function as an adult in society. Things like shop class, home economics, car maintenance, home maintenance, civics, accounting, media literacy, etc. Kids should still learn your usual school subjects, but there is an overemphasis on grades, standardized tests, and competing for prestigious universities. Yale doesn't care very much if you don't know how to balance a budget or change your own oil as long as you do the scholastic dance they ask you to do.
We overfixate on college admittance and the standard set of subjects we all learn. Education, as it exists now, caters to the will of the elites who can always just hire someone to fix their son's Mercedes.
School needs to focus on making functional, informed adults with ability to reason and learn for themselves.

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Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν.
Those with power do what their power permits, and the weak can only acquiesce.

- Thucydides