Friday, July 1, 2011

This is not pessimistic

I do not think that American public education will survive the current war upon it in any form like the system we knew in the past half century.

One cost will obviously be in the refusal of good students to go into teaching. The slow step by step improvement in the status of teachers, their salary improvements, their benefits, their job security via tenure, etc., are being ended in many states. Skilled teachers now employed will have their standard of living cut and their retirement benefits, the pensions and health care, scrapped.

There is more and more movement toward home schooling of children and toward private schools. With the introduction of modern technology into the educational process, I think that school classrooms as we have known them will be phased out. Parents will no longer be able to use schools as babysitting services and will need to provide other means (if they choose education for their kids at all) to educate their offspring. I think there will less effort to educate kids in a variety of skills and subjects. Instead, parents will select certain "tracks" that they want their children to follow. Many will not get training in literature or writing skills. Many others will not get math instruction. Science, so odious to so many, will be in the curriculum of many fewer.

I believe in the next 20 years we will see the abandonment of many more school buildings. There will be no need for them.


Bill said...

Any democratic nation that does not view education as the most important consideration for its foundation will eventually fail. Knowledge is freedom.

Sparty said...

Bill's comment is right on target. Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in 1816: "A nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never was and never will be."

One of the prime purposes of the public education system established beginning in the 19th century was citizenship education. That function is largely being lost as "education" is being replaced with "training."

Bud said...

The idea of collecting a community's children together in one building and training them all in the same disciplines was appropriate for the century in which education was seen as a leveler, a democratizer, a route to better living and more prosperity.

Immigrants learned to be part of American society. The children of illiterates were given basic training in the "3- Rs". The socially inept and underclasses were able to move socially upwards.

Are any of these things now appropriate for most American communities, or are we wastefully expending huge amounts to containerize kids while both parents (if there are 2) work?

Bill said...

The computerization of education is inevitable. The ability to transfer huge amounts of information in such an exact manner is an overwhelming force. Look at the quantum leap in science productivity when the hand held calculator replaced the slide rule.

However as we transfer more of the process to the digital world the social world will continue to be reduced. I know people say that the digital world allows them to connect more with their "friends" however the reality is that they become more isolated as they rely in a greater extent on texting and other digital connections.

Alice said...

Thomas Jefferson, because he thought education was so important, was prouder of founding The University of Virginia(free) than of being president. On his tombstone it says Thomas Jefferson founder of The University of Virginia. There is no mention of his being as President of the United States, at his request.