What is the purpose of public education?
So? What is the purpose of public education?
I ask this to my audiences as I travel my state and I generally get the same type of answers. Public education is here to prepare children for the society they will enter. An educated populace is a safer and happier populace. Education leads to the pursuit of happiness. All those are the standard answers to the question. Now for the last part of the exercise.
Is it working?
For me, the answer is a resounding NO!! NOT EVEN CLOSE!!
You've all experienced it, and you've all talked about it for years now. Living in 2012 means living in a global economy. Living in 2012 means smart phones and GPS and Facebook and information overload. Living in 2012 means online banking and twitter feeds that end totalitarian regimes. Do we do any of these things in schools? NO!! (Insert me jumping up and down in frustration). WE BLOCK EVERYTHING!!!
So I ask again. What is the purpose of public education?
I like the other answers. An educated populace is a good thing. Education gives a greater chance to pursue happiness. So now the question becomes:
What is education? What does it mean to be 'educated'?
Try doing a Google search for "50 Things Everyone Should Know." You'll find list after list after list that have been compiled and none of them talk about our curriculum or anything that is on it.
Try doing a search for the biggest regrets of the dying. One of the top five regrets is that people wish they hadn't worked so hard. But look at our system. It's all about working harder and harder.
WHY DO WE DO THIS? Entropy.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER? Drastic education reform.
Throw out the walls, the desks, the pencils, the tests, the textbooks. GONE! All of it. Start with a blank slate. Now start building something that will prepare people for the world they live in.
School should be renamed "Life Simulator."
Mistakes should be encouraged. Awards given to the biggest mistakes. Let's make as many mistakes as possible in the "Life Simulator" so we don't make them in the real world. Let's all have fun and learn about life and art and philosophy and the beauty of a mathematical equation. Let's encourage the retired generation to come and give back and start the cycle over again.
Goal 1: We need to build a system that students are fighting to get into, not out of.
Goal 2: We need a system that raises all as high as they can be raised, NOT standardized.
Goal 3: We teach people how to teach themselves; we don't teach them "things."
Goal 4: We need to build a system that fosters intellectual curiosity rather than squashing it. Let them learn what they want to learn!
West Virginia Department of Education
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