Thursday, March 26, 2009

Revisiting My Education Views

I wanted to clarify my education views. I think my last post was not as clear as it should have been.

First of all, I do support the eventual complete privatization of all education. I think with the proper social structures in place this is feasible. However, unless circumstance forces this to happen in the US, such as complete failure of the government, such a situation must come about gradually.

However, I mainly want to talk about realistic short term goals. One of those is moving education  to the state and local level. Another is encouraging private education.

I want each state, or better yet county to have different educational standards. I'd like for all these schools to seek accreditation, and I think that as long as the the schools intend for a portion of their students to enter a white collar professional career, that will happen.

I'd also like to encourage private education. Ranging from traditional private schools to home schooling, to everything in between. These schools should and probably will seek accreditation because they want some of their students to go to college.

Now some will not seek accreditation. They might be vocational schools, which should probably form their own accreditation agencies. They might be for students of particular religious beliefs, whose insular religious groups will provide opportunities for them be productive members of society. Some kids will be hopelessly screwed up. However, some kids are hopelessly screwed up now.

What we will get is a variety of education styles, and different emphasis on different subjects. This will prevent the a situation where the vast majority of on particular generation in this nation being handicapped in one particular way by their education. This is what I mean by all kids being screwed up differently.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Education Views: Homogenity versus Heterogeneity of screwing kids up

I'll admit, its a rather wordy and pompous title, even by my standards. However I can't think of anything catchier.

I was discussing education with a coworker, and we had a disagreement over whether the federal government should have a role in it. He was all for a nationally dictated minimal curriculum. I, of course want to abolish the federal department of education and leave it as a state issue. Long term I'd like to abolish all the public schools, but the private and charitable infrastructure is not available to deal with such a radical move at the moment.

As we talked, it became apparent that similar motives and opposite views were driving us to our opposing stances. He didn't trust the state governments of other states to provide good education. I don't trust the federal government, or any of the state governments to handle education. In both cases, the concern was not for our kids (the kids he has now, and kids I might someday have), but for other kids.

The heart of his argument is that the federal government would do a good job of not screwing up kids too much. It would prevent some states from teaching Creationism. It would set reasonable achievement levels for reading and math. Individual states could hold their students to higher standards if they wanted.

The heart of my argument is any education gets something wrong. Rather than have a nation of people all with the same incorrect views on some topic, lets take steps to ensure that everyone is wrong about different things. In other words, if everyone is screwed up differently, market forces will weed out the incorrect ideas quicker.