What Is The Purpose of Education?
This is the kind of philosophical question that drives people nuts. It drives me nuts.
Some say its A.
Some say its B.
Others propose C.
Then they spend the next decade arguing about which idea is right during which the education system marches along aimlessly without understanding why it exists.
This way of doing things has been good for some, not so good for some others and a downright disaster for the rest,
The realization of that last bit leads to pleas and demands that the education system be “reformed.”
Now that I have achieved middle age I can look back and see that these calls for reform are part of a self-perpetuating cycle that has a predictable pattern.
Here’s how it flows…
Every major change in technology raises fears that American children will be ‘left behind’ the children in the rest of the world. Those fears lead to calls for education reform.
New emphasis is put on math and science at the expense of social studies and the arts.
We accomplish putting a man on the moon or whatever.
We feel good for a while.
Then we notice that we’re still behind Latvia in math scores and Burkina Faso and Mongolia in science scores.
Rinse and repeat.
This is what happened when machines started to replace skilled tradesmen and women.
It happened again when airplanes started to expand travel and commercial opportunities.
The next wave of calls for reform came when the Soviet Union launched the first chimp-in-a-rocket and set off the space race.
Is it any wonder that as first computing and then communications systems became more pervasive, personal and portable, the calls for education reform have become feverish?
So here we go again, round and round into the spiral of another discussion of the purpose of education.
The one thing I’m sure about is this:
The purpose of education is NOT rising to the top according to some exam.
When did our nation become so small-minded?