13 June 2017

On adapting other nations' educational policies into our system

I've had several notes in my feed lately about education in other countries. This country does this, that country does that, and they are all doing very well, and the implication seems to be that we should do this one thing or that one thing or perhaps both things, and then everything would be hunky dory.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with that: First, many of the things showing up in my feed are mutually exclusive. Second, these things are completely removed from their context. Education exists as a whole in itself and also as a part of and an expression of the society and culture that created it. What works to educate the children of one culture may not work to educate the children of another. Our schools are messed up to a large degree because we are messed up. To go back to something I have pointed out repeatedly as an example: I would love to bring back shop class and home economics, both of which have mostly disappeared from our schools. But our schools will not bring them back as long as we live in a culture where parents react to their children getting burnt or cut because they broke the safety rules by calling up their lawyer and trying to sue the school into oblivion. Shorter school days and no homework like in Finland is difficult if not impossible in a culture where both parents work and daycare is expensive. And as long as we're on the subject, parents treating schools as daycare further hamstrings our educational system.

Personally, I think what hamstrings the system most of all is the fact that it is a system in the first place, but that's something for another time

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