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Shawn Warren

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Is the global state of higher education a more pressing concern than others such as the environment, energy, food, human rights,...?

This is obviously an ethical question. As I see it, these other concerns, while serious and pressing, are secondary to the crippled and decaying state of higher education (HE) - here and abroad. The reason is clear: the present and future health of the environment, supply of energy and food, adoption of human rights, or nearly any other matter of interest to us is utterly dependent on the health, supply, and adoption of the products of HE. We are wasting precious mental resources. If the products of HE are what allow us to effectively and properly manage our time time on the planet and with each other (and alone), then we need the optimal paradigm for its delivery. Education is a right because it is a necessity - and not even primarily for the individual. I hold the view, and I am not alone, that this global crisis is the one in need of our collective attention and resources. It should be the globes's number one priority. Cheers, Shawn

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    Apr 8 2012: Hello Shawn! I agree that education is the most important key to the individual and collective surivival of mankind. However, I believe more funds and attention should be focused on early, elementary, & secondary education. Anyone who has spent a week or more in a public school environment can attest to what I believe. Those "precious mental resources" that are being wasted are most pliable during a child's early development. If we are going to continue to live as a species it will take education on varying levels, e.g., financial, medical, social, environmental. The colonies of mankind that are being driven through our elementary & secondary education systems are coming out able to produce very little (mental or material). Without getting into statistics (on a global scale), let's just say that when the serious cuts in our "lower" education systems began, it was made clear how important it was for the next generation "workforce" of America to know (on all levels).
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      Apr 8 2012: Hello Maranda,

      Absolutely, the mental resources I speak of are being tapped a little late in the cultivation process - and are utterly dependent for quality on earlier stages of education.

      I also agree about the quality of student people at my end are receiving from people at your end of the process of citizenry education is less than desirable - and that this is almost exclusively a consequence of the system under which elementary and secondary education are provided, not your people.

      Have you seen this? Chomsky on education: http://www.zcommunications.org/education-for-whom-and-for-what-by-noam-chomsky

      Maranda, this is going to seem an off the wall question, but I have been entertaining it lately: Some background: I developed a proposal to convert HE to the professional paradigm - for lots of reasons (having to do with the ethical question I posed) I am promoting the professional model (e.g, law, engineering, medicine, etc.) as the preferred social institution/paradigm for the delivery of HE goods (education and research). My website explains the proposal. But I am interested in this from you: Do you think that the same paradigm could be used for elementary and secondary education?

      Forgive me, but most do not understand what I am suggesting, but I would be happy to answer any questions you have to better inform you answer. I can say that applied to the post secondary level, the changes are profound and extremely positive.

      Both levels of education suffer from nearly identical problems: lack of funding, both are crippled for change and responsiveness by a "hybrid" organizational structure (institution-government-union), unacceptable teacher(professional)/student(client) ratios, limited curricula and pedagogy, limited accessibility and questionable quality....

      The professional paradigm addresses all of these (and more) for post secondary education.

      Please give it some thought at your end, ask others, please. We need to correct this - now.

      Shawn

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