Education does not make the world better. This is probably the most un-PC thing I could possibly say in this modern world. I think I would make more friends if I had admitted believing Justin Bieber is as talented as Mozart.
Education is not the Panacea to solving all the world’s ills. Or to solving most of the world’s ills. Or to solving even a couple of the world’s ills. It doesn’t even solve any of America’s problems. Don’t believe me? Let me offer a couple examples.
Imagine, for a moment, a Pony. That is not a metaphor, I mean an actual tiny horse. Then take that Pony, and put a calculus book in front of it. And then give the Pony a tutor to help teach it advanced mathematics. Education makes the world better, right? Have we made the Pony’s world better? Have we improved the Pony at all? Is the farm a better place because we put a calculus text book in front of the Pony, and spoke at the Pony for weeks on end?
Nope. The Pony isn’t better off now that we’ve tried to teach it calculus, mainly for two reasons. First is that the person / pony we are trying to educate has to be capable of learning. A Pony is an extreme example of a creature that has little ability to understand basic mathematics, much less complicated mathematics. But it applies to people as well. Not everyone is capable of learning calculus or differential equations. Secondly, the person / pony has to want to learn. You could take the world’s smartest pony and try to teach it calculus, but the pony won’t care when all it wants to do is eat grass.
So let’s take a look at another extreme example.
Let us take every single person, without exception, and educate them to be a Mechanical Engineer. Think about this spectacular idea! Think of all the things that a Mechanical Engineer needs to know in order to graduate. They’ll need to know business, management, finances, mathematics, thermodynamics, structural engineering, electrical engineering… And we won’t let a single person fail. They’ll be forced to repeat everything until passing. How much better would society be if every single person is guaranteed to know all these things?
Wait, what do you mean that there aren’t 30 million Mechanical Engineering Jobs created every year? Wait, who are we going to hire to be a Doctor after not a single person went to med school? Wait, who are we going to hire to run our nuclear power plants? Wait, what do you mean “what are we going to do with the 29,999,000 Mechanical Engineers that can’t find a Mechanical Engineering job?” Wait, what do you mean, “how are we going to pay for this?”
Again, it is extreme example to highlight the point. How about another?
Since every kid *deserves* an education, and education is a right (see previous posts), it is immoral to grade children based off of their performance. We’re giving them something that is theirs by right, so why bother judging them? So let’s take every kid, talk at them for 17 years, and hand them an embossed piece of paper that costs $100,000 without them ever having put forth an ounce of effort.
So you’re now sitting there with a stack of resumes 40 deep. And every single one of them is identical. Each kid was given an education, and not a single one was ever tested on it. Which person do you hire?
All of these are extreme examples meant to highlight the absurd, but they are all based in truth. We plop kids down in front of information, yet don’t build into them the need to seek the rewards for performing well, and to avoid the consequences of doing poorly. We think that by making everyone a college graduate that somehow the world is going to be different. That somehow a failing economy will not be failing for whatever absurd reason they can conjure just because we’ve loaded up hoards and hoards of 20 year olds with ridiculous amounts of debt.
We think that since a pie-in-the-sky ideal of an “education” is the ultimate goal that kids shouldn’t be graded and failed. We judge schools not based off of the difficulty of the program, or the quality of the graduates, but by the percent who graduate regardless of the means.
And all of it… Is to what end? I have difficulty believing that it is pure, unadulterated incompetence that is driving America and its kids off the cliff in a short bus.
Hi all! Sorry it’s been so long since I wrote anything. I really do have a pile of half-written posts that are languishing under the weight of poorly written prose. This post in specific was written sort of in response to two of my state’s candidates for governor. They treat “Education” like its a holy word that shan’t be blasphemed. They treat it as a cure all that we are fools for not having seen it earlier. See my previous post: https://dannesrepossessions.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/making-k-12-education-right/ about specific things that can be done to fix the Education system in America.