Everyone recognizes there is a problem with education. It is one of the few topics actually discussed at college. There is the government (meaning how to make it a bigger welfare state), how to protect the environment, why people suck (which includes racism, prejudice, selfishness, all that stuff), and why education sucks. Unfortunately, no one really has the slightest clue why education is poor. They just point to statistics of drop out rates, graduation rates, SAT scores and say, "See, they are low; therefore, education in this country is poor." Of course, they always follow up with the statistics from Europe and Asia and say, "See, education there is great." However, these individuals do not realize that the statistics really have nothing to do with whether the education in one particular place or another is good or bad.
The real mark of good education is if it ignites the desire to learn. This means that the students must actually want to learn, voluntarily educate themselves, and are learning what they want to learn. Therefore, while others say education is poor because of lackluster statistics, I say education is poor because it is boring and supported by violence. Simply look at all education prior to college. However, do not count pre-school or kindergarten. I do not remember those periods very well, but the little parts are do remember are distinctly different from the other periods. In those two periods I remember sitting on the floor with toys or coloring. From first grade to twelfth grade, however, I remember sitting in rows with thirty other students, all facing the same way, staring at someone talk to me for about fifty minutes. After fifty minutes I and all other other students would get up, go to another room, and repeat the process roughly six times a day, five days a week.
This is utterly boring. The emotions I associate with my school years are a feeling of physical sickness (like I actually wanted to vomit all the time), incredibly tired, really freaking warm (like unbearably warm like I was cooking), anger, hatred, self-loathing. As far as I recall, first grade to twelfth grade was infinitely worse than college. The best example that captures how awful that period of education is comes from an experience in my seventh grade geography class. On an unrelated tangent my teacher stated something like, "These are the best years of your life. You are having the most fun now." I then turned to the student sitting to my left and said something to the effect of, "That is the most retarded thing I ever heard." The student then replied with something like, "Yeah, if that's true, I am just going to kill myself right now." Education is not fun, it is boring and horrible, even though it should be fun. The fact is, education, meaning learning new things , is incredibly enjoyable. When I learn something new it is like the sunlight hits me in the face. I have those incredible ah-ha moments.
However, I experienced this very rarely in my formal education. Furthermore, I actually went to a private school, which is supposed to be better than public school. If that is true, public school must be awful. I think the two biggest reasons why education is so boring is because the students do not actually get to do anything, and because students are learning about topics they do not care about. Firstly, sitting in rows for six fifty-five minute periods five days a week does not count as doing something. That is the opposite of doing something. Presently, it seems so obvious to me that this is a major problem with education; however, while I was in school I could not figure it out. I always thought I was the problem and I just needed to focus more. Yet, now, whenever I plainly describe school as sitting in rows I laugh a little. I just think to myself, "Who honestly thought this was a good idea? Who really thought people were going to learn this way?" I just think of a c omedian like Lewis Black, Jerry Seinfeld, or Eddie Izzard describing how people came to a conclusion as to how they were going to educate students. However, I only realized how utterly horrible and ridiculous the concept was until I heard Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio compare education to sitting in rows like fattening calves. At that moment it became so obvious to me.
The complete absence of stimulation in education results in not actually learning anything. It is basically like trying to teach something to someone who is sleeping. More stimulating and active methods are required. For example, one of my favorite classes was anatomy and physiology even though I have no interest in science. The reason it was one of my favorite classes was because I was actually dissecting animals. I actually saw the inside of lungs and stomachs. I saw where all the organs were. I had to look up organs I had not seen before. Today, I still remember parts of what I learned in anatomy and physiology. Whereas in environmental science, pre-calculus, geography, geometry, classes where I sat and listened and never did anything active to apply my knowledge I remember absolutely nothing. I can tell you that the semi-circular canals within the inner ear use the distribution of fluids within them to communicate to the brain how balanced the body is because I actuall y saw semicircular canals and the brain and the inner ear of an animal.
Furthermore, I discovered them myself. The teacher did not throw up a slide and say, "Here they are." However, I cannot deduce all the lengths of a polygon based on one length, I do not know the characteristics of different climates, I do not know the nitrogen cycle and how it interacts with other cycles. Why? Because I was bored out of my mind because I was not applying any of it. Secondly, if a student has absolutely no interest in a topic, there is no reason for him to learn it. Of course, there is a benefit to learning basic math and writing skills, but does every student really need to learn pre-calculus. I really dislike math. I had no interest in taking that class, but I was forced to because of some state requirements or something. However, today, I cannot remember a single thing about pre-calculus and I have not died, I have not failed out of college, and I can get a job. I fail to see the importance of learning something I have no interest in, if it has no role i n keeping me alive and allowing me to interact with the world. Forcing students to take classes they despise only compounds how boring and distressing and discouraging education is. If students are allowed to learn what they would like to learn, even unconventional topics, they will be more excited about learning. They will also do better in those classes, and will be interested in learning on there own. When a student is provided with active learning in topics he loves, he is taught that learning is enjoyable; therefore, he will seek to learn independently.
Thus, education becomes a life long activity, and individuals become smarter. However, if a student is provided with inactive boring learning in topics he hates, he is taught that learning is miserable; therefore, he will try to avoid education and never seek to learn independently. Thus, education is no longer part of his life, and he is not as intelligent as he would like to be. Of course, no one wants to hear these ideas. If these ideas are correct, then that means they have been wrong their entire lives. No. Instead, individuals believe the solution to poor education is giving schools more money. This is a horrible idea. It is like paying someone who know is a horrible mechanic to fix your car. You are basically paying for your car to get just a little better. If schools are given more money, they will spend it trying to make things more boring and more restrictive. Other problems with education include the fact that it is forced. Parents must send their children to sc hool or else they will be fined, sent to jail, or their children will be taken from them. Fantastic ways to motivate people to learn. Obviously, children do not see government agents holding guns to their parents heads saying, "Go to school or else." However, I am sure there are parents who would not send their children to school, or send their children to more active yet state un-approved schools if allowed the choice. Another problem with education is that the majority of it is public.
Therefore, the state sets the curriculum. If the state has no idea how to run a business and has no authority to run a business, the same applies to education. It is a business like anything else. Better learning environments are created, when schools can compete against one another in the free market. Furthermore, since the state controls the schools, the state puts an emphasis on math, science, and conformity. Through schools the state tries to create students who will serve the interests of the states. The goal is not to provide the best place for customers to learn. The goal is to create future leaders and future civil servants. It should not be that much of a stretch to understand, since those exact lines, "future leaders" "future community leaders" "future civil servants", are actually used. The worst problem with education, however, is how it is presented. Teachers argue that high school prepares one for college, and college prepares one for a life and a career. The refore, high school must be somewhat related to life and careers. As education stands now, this is completely false. However, this is how it is presented, and this is what students assume. Thus, students also assume that since high school is horrible, their lives and careers will also be horrible. In a previous post I explained that nonsense parties where individuals drink excessively is motivated my self-loathing. That is definitely still a part of it; however, I think this presentation of education also plays into it. Students may assume that since life is going to continue sucking, that this is the most opportune time to get in as much hedonistic joy as possible before they acquire larger responsibilities that will not allow them to behave in this way. Basically, this presentation of education may only add to their self-loathing.
They already do not like themselves, so the drink and party to cripple their reason, cripple their ability to recognize reality. Then education basically confirms this for them. Life sucks, and you suck, that is why you boring education is forced upon you. Thus, they continue to use the only method they know of to feel "good", which means to feel less because what they do feel is pain, hatred, anger, boredom, and self-loathing. Unfortunately, college essentially follows the same blue print as high school. The only differences are there are fewer classes, few assignments, more time, and more independence. Yet, classes are still forced upon individuals, and they use the same boring standard. There is only one defense for any of this. There is the defense for general education requirements. Allegedly they make someone a well rounded person, which is allegedly good. I do not buy it. If someone does not want to learn something, there is no reason for him to learn it. Well round ed individuals are no better than others, especially if they are unhappy. Furthermore, well rounded individuals know only a little about several topics.
While a skilled individual knows much about one topic. From a practical perspective the skilled individual seems more equipped then the well rounded one. The other defense I have heard for courses like geography forced upon individuals is that it helps the brain grow and develop. I do not buy this either. Of course, I could be completely wrong. Though I do pretend to be a doctor on occasion, I am certainly not a doctor. Therefore, my the brain does grow and develop in useful ways when learning topics one does not want to learn. However, I do not understand how the brain grows and develops through these courses, if after a year the individual no longer remembers what he learned in the course. For example, I do not remember anything about geometry, pre-calculus, environmental science, or geography. If my brain grew and developed while learning those topics, would I not remember them? Furthermore, even if my brain grew and developed while learning those topics even though I d o not remember them, what exactly are those grown and developed parts filled with? They are certainly not filled with geometry, pre-calculus, environmental science, or geography.
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