A Little History:
Man has been a tribal animal since he first walked erect, more than four million years ago. With the impediment of being bipedal, he could not out climb or outrun his predators. Only through tribal cooperation could he hold his predators at bay. A tribe requires social structure. All of man's social drives developed long before he developed intellectually. They are, therefore, instinctive. Intelligence (the ability to evaluate alternatives) developed as a control over instincts to provide adaptable behavior. During the last two million years man was a hunter/warrior. He still is. Only his culture, working through his intelligence, provides social stability. Since his social drives are instinctive (not intellectual), they can not be modified through education. As with all other higher order animals, he may be trained in behavior. Unlike the others, his intellect can be educated. That education can be factual. He can also be taught garbage.
For all but the last few thousand years, man lived in small groups where culture and government were personal. Compassion, cooperation, and sharing within these small groups, usually extended families, was instinctive. As nature was conquered with tools, clothing, shelter and the eating of meat, the human population began to rapidly grow. Larger tribes began to form and cultural problems began to multiply. The two million year era of nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes came to a close when man turned to agriculture. Huge, by comparison, gatherings of humans began to form. It became necessary to establish rules of behavior. The first large group cultures began to form along with the overlying governing organizations.
A human is an instinctive being. The human developed intelligence as a means of directing and controlling instincts to enhance species survival. Driven by his instincts, his behavior is controlled by his intellect. It is the intellectual control of instincts that sets the human apart from other species. Man is human to the extent that he establishes behavioral rules (morals, values, ethics) and then lives within those rules. He is less human if his rules are few, lax or often ignored. He then becomes no better than any other instinctual animal. Man is also inquisitive and energetic. He seeks knowledge and he seeks to build things. Deprive man of the opportunity to freely do these things and his quality of life suffers.
A culture consists of a set of behavioral rules, agreed to by the community, for the establishment of a predictable environment in which to live, raise a family, work and enjoy the fellowship of community. A culture is valuable to the extent that the it enhances the quality of life of its members. Man becomes primitive in a culture with no rules and/or poor enforcement. Since a culture is a learned function (though required and driven by instinct) the culture must be taught. Since objective knowledge is needed for cultural (community) progress and for individual fulfillment, teaching such knowledge is required.
With the family method of schooling, children were limited to the knowledge of their parents. As the human knowledge base grew, a means of educating all children became necessary. The first schools catered only to the children of the royalty and wealthy. When the printed word became affordable, it was time to educate all children, not just the privileged. The public school was invented.
The Purpose of Education
The purpose of an education system for our children is to:
It is not within the jurisdiction of our schools to:
The original intent of public schooling was the preservation and advancement of our culture. That intent has become perverted. We wanted all children to have progress toward an important role in our society, to become a real contribution. Our education system has instead subverted our future. It seeks not to improve our children but to retrain them so they will be willing pawns in the ideological battle ahead.
Our Current Condition:
Our education system is in shambles. Leaders from both political parties recently announced: "We have high school graduates who can't read their own diplomas." It is frightening when even opposing politicians agree that we have an education problem. The problem also exists on higher levels: A recently elected US senator, a university graduate, could not locate Bosnia on a world globe, and, in fact, refused on camera even to indicate the continent. With men like these in charge, the cause of the cultural, economic and political bedlam in our country is quite easy to understand.
The good news is that the public is becoming quite upset about the education system. The bad news is that things are far worse than they realize.
Pick up any metropolitan newspaper and read the help-wanted ads. Pages upon pages, listing job after job, cry out for capable workers. Now turn to the front page and read about high unemployment rates, reaching 25% for some young minorities, mounting costs of welfare, unemployed and by that uninsured people needing medical attention, and billions spent on food stamps and subsidized housing. There are cries for raising the minimum wage level so that families can exist, when families should not have been formed based on entry level wages. Others cry out for more jobs for the ignorant who refuse to learn. In a high tech world, the high drop out rates from schools are an indicator of something terribly wrong. The burgeoning prison population testifies to our error.
The current struggle between the dogmas of the religious, the special interest groups such as the homosexual, feminist and racial groups, and the spreading liberal, socialist, Marxist movement, rips our overall culture apart. We barred the dogmas of the religions from our schools. That was a very smart move. Yet it removed any opposition voice to counter the activity of these new cults. That tilted the playing field sharply to the left. With no voice in opposition, all of the leftist cults are now dominant in our schools. Our schools become little better than indoctrination camps. A few generations being unopposed has resulted in the domination by these movements of the educational system, the governmental bureaucracy and the news media, all by people trained in leftist camps. We were smart enough to bar the religions from our schools, and that saved us a real mess. Tilting the field back to the middle by reintroducing religions to the school would be disastrous. Still, we need a level field in the school. Let us now get a lot smarter and bar all the rest of the dogmas from the school also. We need schools that are free of social, ideological and cultural bias and bigotry.
So what is it that needs changing in our educational system? Public education today consists of five functions (1) the very barest amount of subject matter; (2) huge portions of social, political and cultural indoctrination, redress and correction; (3) some remedial and corrective teaching, (4) much student entertainment, and (5) baby-sitting services for the community.
Spend a few days in any middle school in America and come away as confused as those who run it. It is a chaotic hodgepodge. A school play is being put together. There are art and music programs. Cheerleaders are practicing on the lawn, while the basketball team practices in the gym. The athletic coach is the highest paid faculty member. Lines of buses are taking students on fun field trips. Scores of private clubs are meeting, their members scurrying from place to place. Metal detectors sort out the knives and guns. Teachers are being attacked by students. Classrooms are noisy. Students are disrespectful and destructive. Rest-rooms reek of pot. Promotions are automatic. Half the students are sexually addicted. Many girls are pregnant. Teachers are expected to be teachers, counselors, psychologists, body guards, and baby-sitters. Survival is uppermost in their minds. No one should ever be expected to handle this kind of stress. Academic excellence is the farthest thing from the minds of either teachers or students. It is no wonder that the students do not learn anything and the teachers suffer early burnout.
Are the educators bad people? Not on your life. These are dedicated and sincere people. They have the utmost compassion for their fellow human beings. They entered teaching in the hopes of making a contribution to all mankind. They strive mightily to pass on to their students that which they believe. Are they ignorant? Not on your life. These are intelligent people who have learned their lessons well. What they teach, and believe, is what they were taught. Unfortunately, all they were taught is baseless dogma, and it is destructively wrong.
How can this be? What went wrong? We have excellent and dedicated teachers. We have an extremely expensive school system. Yet an unacceptably large portion of the product of our schools become wards of our society, unable to cope with the demands of our culture. They spend their lives on welfare or in public supported prisons. An even larger portion, though able to exist, is unable to achieve happiness and is not able to contribute to our society in a positive way. Technological advances in commerce and industry have created boundless opportunity for the individual. The mismatch between the needs of our private sector and the product of our schools is growing wider daily. The result is huge unemployment among the uneducated and unskilled product of our public school system.
The history of our public school system is very short, in the terms of the history of man. The people who invented the idea and wove it into the fabric of our culture were visionary. The concept was clear: Establish public supported schools everywhere so that everyone has an opportunity for an education.
In the ancient tribes, a form of culture since man began some four million years ago, the child learned from the adult. The female learned her family and tribal duties from her mother. The male child learned from his father. As the populations grew and tribes coalesced, society became more complex. The knowledge base also grew. The carpenter's son usually became a carpenter, and the blacksmith's son followed his father. Still, it often became necessary for a child to be trained by someone outside the family. Guilds were popular for several hundred years. The child entered a working field as an apprentice and learned his trade under the direction of an artisan.
Our forefathers in America came from such an environment. They recognized the need for education but also recognized the unfairness of the system. The brother-in-law of the master of the guild always ended with the best job and the most opportunity. Apprenticeships were scarce and often held for the sons of friends or relatives. The apprentice program was also narrow, producing a skilled artisan who was ignorant of all else. Our forefathers envisioned a system that gave everyone an opportunity to learn.
The early teacher came from the ranks of the people. The teacher in a farming community came from a background of hard work, either on the family farm or in the family business. She taught basic subjects, and taught them well. There was no need to teach a skill. The students all relied on family for that, or sought trade union membership as an apprentice. It would be beyond the skills of the teacher, who often taught several grades at once, to attempt trade training.
Over the years our population grew. Schools became bigger. Administrative hierarchies were required to maintain order. The universities preparing the teachers became more specialized. Students from the universities became teachers in the universities. Our society became more affluent. Few of the students at the universities had prior work experience. It became possible to be a teacher of teachers with no experience "in the real world," producing teachers in turn who taught our young, not knowing what the world would be like for them. This gap in knowledge was then filled with dogma that described, not the real world, but an imaginary and idealized one. Instead of teaching what the world is, they elected to invent a new world and teach that instead. Much of this dogma is antagonistic toward a capitalistic form of government and to the industry on which such a culture is based. This results in students being taught how not to fit. Among these students are future bureaucrats and journalists, other trades beyond education in which a worker can be antagonistic to a culture and still be able to benefit by making a pleasant living from that culture.
The tribal instincts in man were born when man first became bipedal, 4.5 million years ago. It was necessary for survival for a hominid who was neither fast enough or strong enough to survive the predators of that time. A group effort was required. Each subsequent hominid cultural advancement strengthened these tribal instincts. Tribal instincts are embedded in man. These instincts cause groups to form. Our entire culture is made up of thousands of subcultures. The local bowling team is an example. The rivalry between such teams are intense, enjoyable and have their roots in tribal instincts. Large groups coalesce from smaller ones to form extensive cultures. In a large factory, the workers consider themselves separate and different from the managers and develop speech, clothing and facial expressions to set themselves apart. The engineers have their little tribe, in which the accountant, though greeted with a smile, may find himself being a visitor from another tribe. The Latino and the black struggle to retain their identities as separate tribes. As our country grew, many cultural groups were formed. Wall Street has its tribe. The high tech Silicon Valley bunch would have a hard time understanding the Wall Street jargon and working methods, while being as obscure to the rest of us.
But the Wall Street bunch must produce. If an individual does not produce a profit, he joins the unemployment line. The Silicon Valley gurus must produce ever more complex designs which will appeal to the marketplace or they will join their fallen Wall Street brothers in that same line. One by one all of the working subcultures in our capitalistic system face a performance feedback test which they must pass. They may sound funny in their speech, look funny in their dress, wear their hair differently, etc. but they must do their jobs well. There are three notable exceptions: the government bureaucracy, the media, and the educators. As their tribes developed, there were no performance feedback loops to keep them on the right path, so they have veered in the development of their tribal customs. The media has come under criticism of late, and they are loudly claiming a centrist position. But the center they are claiming is about ten degrees to the left of Fidel Castro, one of their many such heroes. The bureaucracy is quiet about its position but insidious in its program to reform the government from the inside. There is no one to close the loop on their actions. They are free to carry out their plans. Our educational system provides the teachers and leaders for both of these groups, as well as its own. The latter in-breeding is the demon in the system.
A characteristic of any culture is the knowledge base of that culture. The aborigine in Australia, Borneo or South America is as bright as we and age for age has as much knowledge as we. It is the quality (fit) of the knowledge in the culture that counts. The engineering student in a university has more than enough provable knowledge available to fill his skull to overflowing. The student of education has only dogma, and his brain is as full.
Our education system has become a tribal culture of its own, separate and increasingly out of tune, one that, as a means of establishing its identity, has become antagonistic to our cultural roots, our form of government and the industrial mainstay of our society. It has also developed a jargon on par with a medical doctor and a series of logic developments that defy reason and are, in fact, anti-reason. A professional educator can now enjoy a fulfilling and well paying career, doing the opposite of what he is paid to do: That is preparing a student for making his own way.
We need to either return to artisans who teach (as opposed to professional teachers), or isolate our students from the current educational system. What they teach is not what we need.
The major culprit in our public schools is a destructive ideology - socialism. All of the socialistic beliefs are based on pure dogma, a text that is totally unfounded, mostly the work of one malcontent, Karl Marx, who was openly bent on destroying the western culture. He discovered an insidious tool, one that acts as a cancer in all society. Socialism is a series of beliefs about man that are dead wrong, but appeal mightily to the emotions, so mightily in fact that religious zealots pale in comparison. Taken element by element, socialism is hard to refute. Each element is an emotional one. To deny it makes one open to charges of being mean spirited, cruel, insensitive, etc. No thought is given to long term effects. Each case patches a problem rather than solving it. Taken as a whole, socialism has destroyed nation after nation. Our country is even now badly wounded and may never recover.
Modern Marxists deny their heritage, in public. Some even deny that they are socialists. They call themselves liberals now. But they walk like a duck, they look like a duck and they quack like a duck. All of the texts studied in education are written by ducks, and the quacks are in every sentence. The teacher then goes forth and quacks to her students.
All of the social and economic chaos of today may be traced directly to our school system.
So what is wrong? Our entire method of dealing on a people with people basis has changed drastically during the past 60 years. Was the old way good? Only by comparison with the new. The pioneer based American culture was effective, but it was also terribly harsh and often it was also just as terribly unfair. We went from a culture based on religious dogma to one based on socialist dogma. That's like saying we went from the frying pan into the fire. The new liberal socialist Marxist culture is not harsh, except in its dialog and its method of solving one victim problem by creating another, but it is not effective and it is destructive as well. Go back to the old? Not on your life. Go back to self-discipline, self-determination, and personal responsibility? You bet. Add in scrupulously enforced fair play? Require diligence, ethics and active participation? You bet, and this time we do it with a level playing field. Everybody gets a fair chance at the brass ring. Nobody gets to sit on his can and share in the rewards. Deserving people who play the game fairly and still end behind the eight ball, get a helping hand from everyone. Those who refuse to play the game, or refuse to play by the cultural rules, do not share in the rewards. How do we get these things? We stop playing the emotional game and start playing the intellectual game.
There is movement underway to reform our education system. The movements toward home education and charter schools are cases in point.
This reform, if it spreads across the country, will go a long way toward solving the economic and technical deficiencies in our current education system. Unfortunately only half of the problem is addressed in this reform. If the charter system is successful, the schools will become much more productive in teaching students that which is taught in our education departments of our universities and colleges. The dogma taught there is in error. It will be a continuation of garbage in garbage out. The garbage in remains the same. The garbage out is amplified. All we will have accomplished is becoming more efficient in teaching the students how not to fit in our capitalistic society.
Much they teach is provable knowledge. That portion is not the problem. The problem comes in the dogma, taught in the education schools, believed by the students, who then become teachers of our young. Even the provable knowledge often gets a spin, such as mathematics is an invention by the white male to subjugate the female and the minority.
We took the religious dogma out of our public schools. We failed to reject far more harmful dogmas. If we had rejected all dogmas then and never allowed any in our schools, mankind would now be far more knowledgeable and with a far deeper understanding of culture and its needs. It was a terrible mistake. We are now paying for that mistake in untold human misery. It may take many generations to undo the damage. We may never make it, since our nation may collapse before we can make it well. What is proposed in this text is a shortcut. We can bootstrap ourselves up out of the abyss and into the sunlight.
It is proposed that the public supported school system be relieved of all but the teaching of provable knowledge to students who are willing and cooperative. Everything else is handled somewhere else. The schools should also be relieved of any extraneous tasks that draw attention away from the primary function of the school, which is to educate.
In a way, the schools have usurped duties that belong to the family and to the community. There are four institutions required in any human culture for the proper rearing of the young: the family, the community, the school, and the government. The first two are emotionally based and are required by the instincts. The latter two are intellectually based and are required for cultural well-being and continuity. Each has its task to add to the well-being of the individual. The government provides protection and overall order. The community provides the basis for satisfying the tribal instincts and individual enjoyment of life with group activities. The school provides the intellectual training so that the individual can become independent and self-supporting. The family provides personal nurture, care and encouragement. Our current school system, by providing group activities, has negated the community. By providing personal training (what to believe) the family is negated.
Communities (precincts, towns, counties, etc.) should be required to furnish group activities from arts and crafts to sports and clubs. To emulate the tribe, these groups should be kept small. All citizens, old and young, should be encouraged to participate in their community activities. Special recreational training in dance, music and the study of religions and philosophies are better handled on a community level as opposed to the schools. These are nice and often valuable things for a society but they detract from the attention to education.
The social and cultural tasks formerly done by schools must be shifted to other more fitting functions. Unruly students should be handled by the experts in juvenile behavior in the juvenile system. Welfare and medical care should be transferred to other community agencies. Leave the school free with only one task: to educate.
Why do we (OneLife) insist on the teaching of only provable knowledge? Reasoning is the mental application of knowledge to obtain a solution to a problem in the environment of the individual. The more provable and therefore dependable the knowledge, the better the reasoning and the better the solution. So the proper question to ask should be: How much provable knowledge can we cram in there before we turn them loose on the world? A high school graduate at the age of 18 is at his first major decision point. He must select his role in the world and turn down that road. He should have the knowledge that will help him make that decision and then stand him in good stead as he attacks the learning required for his chosen specialty. Contrast that requirement with our current condition.
How much knowledge should each person have on graduation from high school? These are our entry level citizens. We want citizens who can reason and have enough knowledge to support their reasoning. The overall goal is a high school graduate who is literate, articulate and knowledgeable. One who knows what the universe is and where he fits in that universe. One who will question every conjecture, opinion, and dogma he comes in contact with. One who knows how to think, and has enough basic knowledge to determine his own course. One who fits comfortably and confidently in a complex high tech world.
How do we get to a rational culture based on knowledge? One approach is to borrow the LSM technique and regain control of our schools, not to return to the old ways of doing things but to gain a new culture designed for long term human satisfaction. We totally redesign our educational system. We let new generations concentrate on learning our condition and becoming productive self-motivating confident citizens, while keeping them free from being taught what to think and how to think it. Let them solve these problems. They will be better equipped than we.
The new educational system in brief - education through high school:
A national committee is formed to establish the scope of the curriculum. The members would be drafted from all forms of private employment. No educators, government employees, elected officials or attorneys would be allowed on this committee. The goal is to establish the scope of information that a high school graduate needs to gain entry level into private employment and on which to base higher education for seeking a higher level of employment.
A continuous hypertext document is prepared for 14 years of education (age 4-17) to cover the established knowledge scope. This document is prepared by contract with private parties, by artisans from the fields to be covered. All subject matter is seamlessly interwoven. Animation and sound are liberally applied. External equipment and supplies are furnished. Art, music, drama, dance, sports, literature, philosophy, religion, history, etc. will not be covered. These are all personal interests that are not universally required and/or are controversial in subject matter. They are therefore outside the scope of the public supported school system. Training in these fields may be found as needed through outside private schools.
Schools will be privately owned and under contract to perform educational services. They are not allowed any income other than by school vouchers. They will not be allowed to form alliances with other schools. Teachers will be from the fields covered and rotated with private sector jobs. No teacher will be allowed who does not have at least five years experience in the private sector. With this teaching system, schools may be of any size. Huge brick and glass structures are no longer needed. The schools may be scattered in the ghetto in store fronts or redecorated warehouses.
A central terminal administers all schools. The student obtains his lessons by computer terminal. When he completes one lesson, he may immediately start the next. The terminal monitors student progress, supplies quizzes and examinations and provides statistics. The teacher coordinates the use of external equipment and provides tutoring.
Once established, this system should be made available to everyone. Adults may obtain high school certification. Shut-ins may broaden their interests and knowledge. Immigrants can gain fluency in English while learning at home. School lessons are available to anyone at any time of the day or night, 365 days each year. Day school may be fragmented, so that children and working mothers may spend more time together.
Using mirror installations, the whole system, complete with design software, should be made available to anyone in the world, in English and free. English-speaking countries could use it directly. The citizens of third world nations can also use it directly. Learning English as a second language would be of benefit to them. If they do not want to use English, they can dub their own language. If we do a good job on it, everyone will want to use it.
Every inmate of every jail in the country should be given the choice: Learn or bread and water, take your pick.
Other web sites of interest about education:
One great hope for the future is the use of technology in the teaching of provable (factual, useful) knowledge. If we are ever able to regain our schools from the educrats, we must turn to a more efficient method of teaching and one which allows every parent to know exactly what their child is being taught and how well he is doing. Dr. Fred Bennett has written a book which is on the net and can be downloaded: "Computers as Tutors: Solving the Crisis in Education.". This book is extremely well written, well researched and well documented. A good read, and a great hope. Load your printer and print it out directly. You'll be glad you did.