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Education: who should have control over children's education?

When it comes to education there are different appoaches available. Just to name two your parents could be the ones who decide for you, or it could be the government, or even a combination of these two: the government sets a minimun standard and it's up to the parents to choose how to fill the gap. My question to you is: are children too young to make sound decisions about their future? If so, who should be in charge of developing their skills, knowledge and potential?
Thanks for your contributions

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    Mar 18 2012: I do not think it is fair to children to put the content of their educations in their own hands or that of their parents. The early years in children's lives are extremely valuable in terms of learning ,and small children don't even know what is out there unless someone brings them into contact with the variety of situations from which they can learn. If education is in the hands of parents, children will be exposed to what their parents know or can provide or what their parents are able to arrange for from others. This would create dramatic inequities- larger, I would expect, than any that now exist.Public education arose as a way of making sure that children could get an education, whether their parents were out working in the fields or teaching at the university. While there may be differences in opinion as to all of the content and skills children should develop, I think there is a very broad body of content, skills, and dispositions almost anyone in the field of education as well as outside of it would agree provides a foundation on which students can build a future in a flexible way. There is also substantial experience as to best pedagogies for engaging students in learning. While any educational system is flawed and none will be able to accomplish everything it tries diligently to do with the resources at hand, this does not suggest to me that putting parents or children in charge would improve outcomes for the children who now get the weakest educations. One value in schools is to expose children to a diversity of views, which also may be more likely if their education is guided by someone, or some body of people, who embrace that value.I think that many people believe that those in education have quite different and less progressive or thoughtful attitudes toward children's education than those outside of education. I think this is a misconception.
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    Mar 21 2012: Education without the participation of the student, or without centering it around the students' needs is indoctrination. If education is truly a "leading forth" as its Latin root suggests then students are led forth into something. Education that leads a student only back to him/herself or back to the educator isn't leading forth, in my view anyway. The student, no matter what age, must play an active role, and educators must seek the emergence of the student into his/her own being. To try to do that without involving the student is arrogant at best.
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      Mar 22 2012: Ah...that sounds intriguing and very true. The skills need to skills that lead them forward, but with a binocular, so they can see the distant light at the end of the tunnel. =)
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    Mar 19 2012: The elected politicians of a democratic system are a wonderful choice. However, and this is a big however, their children should be randomly assigned to public schools in their district, instead of being sheltered away in a separate private prep school system. Disband places like Choate and Andover (and all their descendants).
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    Mar 21 2012: I say it should be parents, and teachers. I feel government should fund public but not decide what the child learn. I think it needs to be between the educators and parents.
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    Mar 20 2012: Thanks all for contributions and please continue to do so, I just wanted to add some ideas to enlarge the conversation. What happens if the child's parents refuse to send him/her to school when he/she reaches age six? what if they chose a different path for their child? What if governments decide not to support anymore the present system of education? what if everything was left in the hands of the child's family?
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      Mar 21 2012: Then may the figurative "GOD" help us all. ;)
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      Mar 21 2012: I think as humans we will learn something from our experiences....also there is no one stopping one from becoming self-educated.

      For example, growing up I was never encouraged to do homework or read books. I did all this on my own doing. My parents did not really care and this continues to be the case for me now that I'm in college.

      Many cultures have done just fine without having an established governmental system. Many ancient cultures were way ahead of their time.

      speaking in terms of technology perhaps these cultures may have been slow but in other domains of education, they were proficient.
  • Mar 20 2012: I think Teacher should have the biggest responsibility in children's education. I mean we all spend most of our youth in school. We start at 8 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. If we remove the time we spend sleeping, doing our stuffs (hobbies or whatever), there's not much time spent with the parents.

    Therefore, teachers must take the biggest responsibility in the youth future. I've always believed that school isn't just all about learning how to read and do maths. It should be about building children, learning them more about how to behave in life.
  • Mar 20 2012: I dont think that children are too young to make sound decision but I want to make sure that they
    need some guidelines from the parents and people around them. They surely have their own ego and
    knows whts right and wrong. But it is the lack of self-control that leads them to make inappropriate decision i think.
    and since the government cant mind all the children and guide them individually, parents should be in charge of developing
    their skills and potential.
    well, government could engage in by giving the families subsidy
  • Mar 20 2012: I think the commonalities should be found. The common thing with which parents and government and student agree!However the education is expected to perform its own function on the basis of whole understanding of children.We human progress his or her intelligence and emotion from the early experiences of life. So the focus should be on the children;s preference and thinking. If government has complete control over the education it tends to be authoritative without concerning human's psychology, if parents, demanding without the understanding of child's need.However if childern control over the education it can have a chance to erect human's education,if not on so solid base,at least with possibly favorable , and expecting realistic result. So my theory is like this :we should consider the child's autonomism first than anything else. And lastly, the home economy needed to be solid enough to accomodate such thing. If no economy , no support.
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    Mar 20 2012: Hi Roberta,

    I think its the responsibility of both the parents and the government, until the child is old enough to understand the implication of their choices and actions...

    I will not mention why I say parents due to the fact that this is common sense.

    But I will include government because I believe the main reason why the government exist is because a few individuals, came together, told everyone else that they not only know what is in the best interest of the masses is but how to best maximize and fulfill these interest....Since governmental officials take on the task of representing the people and their interest, I think this makes them responsible for, in this case, providing a decent education.
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      Mar 20 2012: Unless, the government is corrupt and shapes views towards the advantage of the governing body. =)

      That would mean, time for a check of powers or renewed government. =)
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        Mar 21 2012: Agreed!

        I think this was the case for an event such as the Gulag
  • Mar 18 2012: Children. Adults can offer information and children can follow their interests. This will cause the love of learning that current school systems seem to destroy with their authoritarian approaches.
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    Mar 18 2012: Because most of the worlds schools are modeled on the Bismark system of the 1700's and exported from Germany to England and spread throughout the empire. Prior to that Jesuit priests educated those who could pay. The system educated to meet the needs of the military and industrial complexes and we still educate to meet those needs. Since the early days when trades and crafts were also a focus of education we have concentrated on preparing the student for college. College was for the upper crust and decisions were made for them. In todays world through hard work you can get grants and scholarships. There is time for two years of college prior to selecting you major or career work. Many are predestined to follow in the family "work". Answer: Secondary schools should develop skills and basic knowledes. Many schools now conduct "practicims" to introduce students to the "real world" and apply academic or textbook knowledge to a real world application. Government intervention is dependent upon your type of leadership. Socialist countries tend to do this more that democracies and republics, but that is another story.
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    Mar 17 2012: Their parents.
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      Mar 17 2012: Thanks for your contribution Edward. BUT what if their parents do not value education? will the children be doomed to no education at all JUST because of their parents?
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        Mar 17 2012: The American public education model does not leave school attendance up to the parent. Parents cannot choose to opt out of all forms of education for their children up to age 18. Parents are free to be completely uninvolved in the state run education of their children.
        Your question is crisp and concise: Who SHOULD control children's education? I say parents.
        Another question is: What if those who should, don't? Here in the U.S. the public schools control things when parents choose to be uninvolved. That is how it is, not how it should be.
        You have two different questions Ms. Mura, both are relevant, interesting and profitable to consider. Thanks.
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        Mar 20 2012: Hi Roberta,

        I'm not sure if there are parents out there that truly do not value education...The reason I say this is because the parents that do not urge their children to become educated usually do it for economic reasons such as having to help the parents paying the bills or putting food on the table. (this is the case in many parts of China, India and Africa)

        Since humans are naturally inquisitive animals I find it really hard to believe that parents would not WANT their children to indulge in their curiosity...

        but with that being said, the answer to your question is yes....I wish I knew the name of the documentary, but with the creation of the 3 Gorges River in China, there was this one family, in which their 14 year old daughter wanted to continue onto high school and eventually go to college. The parents, being poor were unable to afford higher education for her and urged her to work and send the money she makes back to them...It was not that the parents did not value their daughters wish to get an education but they were unable to support her ambition without risking the well-being of the rest of her family.........very, very sad story..
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    Mar 16 2012: First it should be the parents, then when they get to college it should be the individuals attending them. Just like they did in italy back in the renaissance era. =)
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      Mar 16 2012: Thanks Derek, but what happens if the parents do not have the possibility, the interest, the money, etc. to educate their children? Should the government step in then?
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        Mar 17 2012: Well, first of all, teachers should be paid upon performance of students understanding the material. Then, yes public schools, I believe is a form of government aid, so yes, the government should step in to help. The government shouldn't be the ones mandating curriculm for the whole country, but it should be a state issue.

        I believe that schools should actually teach religion, but not just one, but all religions. States should come to a consensus on mandatory classes that are a necessity, but each teacher does a different job of teaching the information.

        Teachers unions are nice, but they should also think of the children, especially when the teacher is doing something obviously out of conduct, like those teachers who harass student(s) at their school and get away with such acts. Secondly, if the teacher is ineffective in their methods of teaching, they should be creative and think of new ideas, instead of trying to pound information into their students because that will never get anyone to learn anything, that just causes combative behaviour that leads to drop-outs.

        Students before college should have interest in their education, but most may or may not know enough to judge what their education should entail, though if all students were educated in a high degree and they understood, then possibly that population of students below college may make logical/rational descisions. Otherwise, back to the state and the individual teacher.

        Public schools should also not have boundaries that restrict students to zip codes or city residencies. I believe schools should work on a competitive level that would comb out bad schools from good schools. Classrooms should be small as well, because the more attention to individual students will help them learn the material, digest it, and love it. =)
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        Mar 17 2012: Btw....it is so cool you can speak and write italiano, and you know so many others its amazing! =)
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          Mar 17 2012: I am Italian, there's nothing "amazing" with my being able to write and speak my native language!... but it's true I can speak other languages, because I love them! BTW thanks! :)