What is our school system supposed to do?

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Aretae looks at human nature and education, which leads me to comment:

I’m not quite sure what our modern public school system is supposed to do.

I can understand a Prussian-style school, which instills discipline and teamwork, as a way to produce useful soldiers and factory workers — although I’d want my own child to go to the school for officers and managers.

I can understand a Sudbury Valley school, which emphasizes learning to learn, by following your own interests and becoming an expert in something — although I’d want my own child to build “character” by sometimes doing unpleasant work.

I can understand a school that’s just a glorified babysitter, which keeps kids out of trouble while their parents work productive jobs — although I wouldn’t want to waste my own child’s time and energy like that.

What I can’t understand is how our schools do nothing well. They don’t prepare kids for the work world. They don’t teach kids important abstract concepts. They don’t even entertain kids.

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