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Josh Lee

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How can we build a better educational system?

I've been realizing more and more that our education system is pretty much designed to benefit only the corporations that run this world. I'm talking about the heavy emphasis on maths and sciences and not enough focus on helping the children find their passion by planting dreams in their capable minds.

Personally, I think it would be great if the variety of courses that we are able to take were widened, and if we get passionate teachers that know how to teach and want to teach. What I mean by knowing "how to teach" is if the person is able to get someone else up to their level of knowledge in something they are passionate about, and make it fun in the process! I think that defines a great teacher/professor, in any subject. That way, we'll be able to have a much more intelligent generation full of happy people who are doing what they want to do and are great at it! Ultimately that would benefit all of us as a species.

I know it may sound very ideal, but with time I think it is definitely possible.

Topics: education
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  • Aug 3 2012: The world we live in is a vast, wondrous, and intricate system. Every part of it is connected to and dependent upon all the other parts. For many decades, this complexity was hidden from us. We'd see the world as a collection of elements not necessarily connected to each other, and certainly not as interdependent as we are now discovering.

    Within the education systems, the perception of reality as separate elements divided into discrete topics is still the predominant paradigm. The new, integral view, relates to the world as an interconnected system. This perception is the basis of the Integral Education , and thus defines a new, integrated approach to teaching. In doing so, it ushers the students into an integrated perception of reality, aligning them with today's integrated reality. In the integral education method, the student does not learn separate topics in a "linear" fashion. Rather, each topic is presented from the "circular" perspective, illustrating its connection to all the other topics.
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      Aug 3 2012: I still believe "linear" way of teaching is useful when someone has found their passion and wants to continue down the road of knowledge. Since there has been so many discoveries, in order to make new discoveries you need to be up to date in your knowledge, which can be done efficiently with "linear" learning.
      However, to find the passion I believe "circular" learning will be effective at showing the different sides and interactions between the trees of information. By observing the full bird's eye view of the world, I think students will be able to make a more informed decision with regards to their future than just going in blind to something they might not even like by the end.
      • Aug 16 2012: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation." - Albert Einstein

        Our challenge today is not so much to acquire knowledge as it is to acquire the social skills to help ourselves and our children overcome and abundant alienation, suspicion, and mistrust we encounter today. To prepare us and our children for life in the 21st century, we need a school that teaches what makes our reality what it is, and what can we do to change it.
        This does not mean that disseminating knowledge should stop, but that these lessons should be part of a larger story that reaches students how to cope in the world they are about to enter. They should be able to leave the classroom and use this knowledge to grasp the full picture of reality and the forces that design it, and to understand how they can use it to their benefit.
        In nearly every country in the world, education systems are designed to prod students to aim for personal achievements. The higher the student 's grades, the higher his or her social status. In America, as in many countries in the West, this system not only measures how students perform, but how they perform in relation to others. This makes students not only want to excel, but inevitably makes them want their fellow students to fail.
        In a globalized world where every person is dependent on the success and well-being of every other person, this Educational system must be reformed from it's root. Instead of trying to achieve personal distinction, the objectives should be to excel in promoting the success of the collective. This is the achievement that should ideally be most recognized and revered in our schools.
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          Aug 16 2012: "Instead of trying to achieve personal distinction, the objectives should be to excel in promoting the success of the collective. "

          Thank you Karl Marx

          Can you give me an example where this has been conducive to the individual?
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          Aug 16 2012: I agree with everything you said in this comment. That Einstein quote is incredibly accurate even for today's tough times (probably because no one heeded it). I thank you for your input.

          I think the problem with the individualistic point of view in regards to academic achievement is that the real world doesn't actually work on individual success. It takes a team player to achieve anything greater than what any individual could do.
          To play in a team, you simply must have the ability to flawlessly communicate with your team members. This might include acts such as setting aside petty squabbles, staying focused on the task at hand, being organized, voicing your valid opinions with supporting arguments, listening to other opinions (just as important if not more), and to have a positive attitude or an understanding of how morale works. These are a few skills that would serve anyone incredible benefits in a team environment.

          These skills are almost implied in courses that I've taken in university. But never taught as a stand alone course. It boggles my mind because some of these skills will drastically improve the lives of many people who don't possess these skills.

          I think the best way to rebel against the current school system is to start a new one.
        • E Pines

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          Aug 17 2012: I believe that pat gilbert has made a serious misinterpretation of what appears a very obvious meaning on the part of Aviva Visoli. But best demonstrated by examples as requested.

          Example 1: Mother Teresa's objectives.
          Example 2: Martin Luther King Jr.'s objectives.
          Example 3: Albert Einstein's objectives.
          Example 4: Jonas Salk's objectives.
          etc., etc., etc.

          Those not making this "Marxist" listing:

          Example 1: Tiger Woods's objectives.
          Example 2; Madonna's objectives.
          Example 3: Kim Kardashian's objectives.
          Example 4: Donald Trump's objectives.
          etc., etc., etc.
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    Jul 25 2012: Thirty years ago, the phone service was a government-mandated monopoly. then the monopoly was broken. Do you have more choices and better service than you did thirty years ago? How is any product or service made better? Competition. Once the government monopoly on education is ended, and public schools have to complete with privately and commercially-funded ones, education will improve (both in performance and efficiency) across the board.
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      Jul 25 2012: Oorah
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      Jul 25 2012: Yes! =)
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      Jul 25 2012: My current dream right now is to start my own school. We will be teaching all sorts of classes starting from maths and sciences to guitar and dance!

      Right now it is only an idea but give it 10 years, I think it might just happen
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        Jul 25 2012: I think if everyday you do something towards this dream, 10 years won't be necessary.. just apply your thoughts to the physical realm!!
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          Jul 27 2012: It's a really long term goal for me. Right now I'm attacking things from my bucket list, such as creating a band and playing a gig. Can only be done while I'm young-ish haha

          But yea, any sort of goal I have, its much easier to achieve if I break it down to smaller steps. Great advice.
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        Jul 27 2012: I need to Write my bucket list down, and I don't know how old you are but I have a saying that you should ponder:

        "You may be to Young, But your Never to Old."

        if you think of age restriction limits...it's true isn't it :D
    • Jul 26 2012: There are already private choices for education- they are just too expensive for the average family to buy in to(especially religious schools).
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        Jul 26 2012: That's why we need school vouchers, to open up real competition.
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          Jul 27 2012: Time to tear down those metaphysical walls that seperate k-12 students.
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        Jul 27 2012: Yea I'm not in it for the money, I genuinely feel that the education system can be so much better.
        If I wanted money, I'd have gone and become some CEO of some company, and spending ALL my time doing business and worrying about how I can improve our margins etc.
        There will obviously be a fee for entering your child into the school, but for quality education? I don't think you can put a price on that..
    • Jul 29 2012: i agree Lawren and I also feel that so much can be done at home as well. We have lost parenting skills and the idea of family. Parents need to re-engage with their childs education. There is power in numbers. If you can't afford the appropriate private school education for your child, fight for a better system in the public forum.
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      Aug 16 2012: Its funny cause in Australia we have a phone system dominated by a government controlled publicly listed company and we have the best phone system in the western world. I can access broadband internet on my phone in the middle of the desert. I can also call any cell phone or land line from anywhere in the country without any reception or compatability problems.
  • Aug 19 2012: Agree with the insightful and heart warming comments of Aviva. And just to address Pat Gilbert's for a moment:

    I think a distinction should be placed here separating communism and marxism from Karl Marx. The problem is that if we look at the regimes which popped up and vastly harmed the "collective," we can see that nothing which was championed was actually in line with Marx's theories for the development of collective society.

    It simply became a good way to control masses of people, to cite "Marx" as an ideological figure, and then to veer ever farther from what he actually said as soon as power was gained. For instance, Marx was not a proponent of coercion or of the rich ruling over the poor. However every marxist/communistic regime has done just that, been forced upon masses of people in order for a few to profit.

    It should be noted that Marx detached himself from all those who called themselves "Marxists" during his life and those who followed continued to veer further and further from his theories towards the ideas of violent revolution, a few "educated" controlling the masses, etc.

    The reason why Marx's writings though are important is because he actually sought to tie together man with nature through observation. He therefore came to conclusions which weren't founded on the motivations for profit or power, but which sought to take into account this system of nature which we are all a part.

    In this way Marx was and still is ahead of his time as a theorist, because he sought to apply an integral approach to social and economic life. It is an approach which is still misunderstood because usually it is viewed from the perspective of those who bastardized his writings and then attributed his name to their cause(s).
  • Aug 16 2012: I am not a communist, nor I believe in communism as we know it and experienced it in the human history. This is not a madness act of a single person. The wind of change that I am talking about and would like to welcome, is a system of education that will take us to the Human level and it must begin with the individual since he is the center of everything. In this new, developing, global world; WE NEED a system that will nurture our students rather than lecture them, and that will be teaching by examples of altruistic, equitable behavior.
    The method of this education is based on the idea that Everyone is unique, and hence children/students develop through discussions that allow them to learn other children’s/student's opinions no matter how numerous these opinions are.
    In this system, each student absorbs from the others, becomes imbued with their way of being, and grows to be even more unique. The student receives from everyone else and grows on that, developing his own properties.
    This is what we want to achieve with this method of education. People unite correctly, making a contact, communicating with each other, and build a human society themselves, a society which is based on mutual inclusion of each into all and all into each. As a result, everybody’s uniqueness flourishes even more.
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    Aug 14 2012: We are treated like robots that work in factories
    You must know all the required facts to pass.
    "Quality Control" = school standards

    We are human beings.
    We are not machines.


    The best teachers are people in the industry.

    I learned allot from my Econ teacher.
    He taught more things from his business side experiences than the school text book.

    If you want to teach math, then bring engineers.
    If you want to teach English, brings speakers, entrepreneurs.
    If you want to to teach Physical education, bring athletes.

    You know who is the best entrepreneurs?
    People who think like Childrens

    Why?

    Because they ask questions like why
    "Why?"
    "Why not?"
    "What if...?"

    Curiosity and Imagination is what we need
  • Aug 16 2012: I am not a communist, nor I believe in communism as we know it and experienced it in the human history. This is not a madness act of a single person. The wind of change that I am talking about and would like to welcome, is a system of education that will take us up to the Human level and it must begin with the individual since he is the center of everything. In this new, developing, global world; we need a system that will nurture our students rather than lecture them, and that will be teaching by examples of altruistic, equitable behavior.
    The method of this education is based on the idea that Everyone is unique, and hence children/students develop through discussions that allow them to learn other children’s/student's opinions no matter how numerous these opinions are.
    In this system, each student absorbs from the others, becomes imbued with their way of being, and grows to be even more unique. The student receives from everyone else and grows on that, developing his own properties.
    This is what we want to achieve with this method of education. People unite correctly, making a contact, communicating with each other, and build a human society themselves, a society which is based on mutual inclusion of each into all and all into each. As a result, everybody’s uniqueness flourishes even more.
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    Aug 14 2012: The students' desires are key in long-term education. I feel it's a balance of education (to draw out that which is latent in someone) and training. Education is based in the moment, the unknown, because the teacher can't know for certain what is needed in the classroom until the student(s) initiate a need, a desire. It might be a subtle initiation, but it must come from the student for the information to stick.

    Training is based in the past "these are the steps, this is how it works and how it'll always work". Factual. Most schooling is really training, not education, unfortunately.

    But we, and I say we because I believe it's important to be life-long learners, need a mixture of both to explore the world and how we want to shape it. You can teach me how to cut vegetable with a knife (training) and I may or may not really remember it, even after drilling and testing, unless I originally came to you with the desire or curiosity about cooking. Then the knife skill is needed... wanted. It supports my exploration in to my curiosity about cooking.

    School can and should be like that. Math is important... to those that want to use it. The arts are important... to those that want to use it.

    There are universal skills that can be taught and/or supported to help us all recognize our interests: empathy, vulnerability, failing gloriously, ownership, awareness, self-observation, group dynamics, collective leadership, intention, commitment and play. The last skill, play, is vitally important. It's the work of children, how they original explore the world and they're place in it. So, it doesn't need to be taught, it needs to be supported and extended into every day activities. Play is curiosity. Play is creativity. Play is the key to joyful learning, which has no end-date.

    I'm excited to hear your passion to start a new school. Do it! Clear intentions addressing a solid need... we need more of that. Do it now. :)
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      Aug 16 2012: Thank you for your knowledgeable input and encouraging words! :D
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    Jul 26 2012: Oh and personally, I find conceptual things to be pretty fascinating. So conceptual physics, chemistry, math, art, philosophy, games, social studies, computer science, music theory, stories, movies, comics, new media etc. I think they're all interesting in their own respects. But what I hate and disagree with the most are $200 useless textbooks that no one really reads or learns from.

    But that's just me anyways.
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    Jul 26 2012: What needs to be done is we need to try to bring out their curiosity. And to do this, we need effective communication. Basically we need to speak their language.

    So how do we do this?
    Better Teachers: raise teacher salary. There are a lot of people who want to be teachers but they think teachers' salaries suck so they don't. Improve the education of teachers on how to teach. Universities do that.

    Better Tools: Youtube, KhanAcademy, Internet, Facebook, Google+, TED, Coursera, etc. Because the demand for better education is high, there is now a demand for making better tools for teaching too, so we'll see better tools to come...
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      Jul 27 2012: I have a very similar view on this subject. While I don't think raising their salary will do the job, I think having a course on how to teach effectively (aka communication 101) will adversely affect the effectiveness of education, depending on who's teaching it.

      Speaking of educational tools, I've always been a fan of video games (for a major part of my life) and I don't discount the fact that games are the most concentrated form of media (sound, visual, interaction, story, etc) and I think we can utilize this potential and make games fun to play and educational, perhaps even productive. It would be a stark contrast between dry and boring textbooks against fun and exciting educational games.
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        Jul 27 2012: There's a lot of research going on with game theory and trying to make it educational right now. A really cool one I found a while ago is DragonBox, which is a game that tries to teach kids algebra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6Np4Eb0Ff0

        I think raising the salary may help in the long run, not immediately. Raising the salary will increase the demand for smarter guys to teach. The smarter guys will have competition with the preexisting teachers, and usually it's the better ones that stay while the worse ones get kicked out. Once the demand is created, universities may start demanding a new course on new ways of teaching.

        Or just creating an entirely new system altogether for teaching could be it too. Like online courses perhaps.
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    Jul 26 2012: If we think about education as a tool for individuals to grow their own persona and not as manufacturing tools for productivity then isn't the purpose of education to give the individual a purpose to be educated ?
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      Jul 27 2012: YES! Education for me is a lifelong commitment. I try to learn new things everyday, be it getting some experience in something I've never tried before; meeting new people that I don't fully know how to deal with; reading an interesting book. The list can go on.

      Ultimately, you are what you know, and the word education tears down the limits of what you CAN know, which means there is no limit to your being. Hippy-istically speaking haha.

      I think if we can find a way to plant dreams, passion and the willingness to keep learning; the world can be a much much better place...
  • Aug 20 2012: Proverb 22:6 says - "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." The "when he is old" literally means when the child has hair on his face. The premise addresses a unique perspective that the inspired writer understood - each child has his own way. Not just of what they are "made" to do, but also, how they learn and assimilate knowledge. It seems there are 3 primary ways we consume new information:
    1 - kinesthetically (hands on, touch based, experiential learning)
    2 - audibly (hearing and listening)
    3 - visually (seeing)
    I have 5 sons that range between 4 and 13 - whom my wife home schools. Each is an individual with their own set of talents and weaknesses. My wife has a deep understanding of the boys (gained from time with them) - their interests, motivations, struggles - and she knows how to "train them in the way" EACH child should go. I cannot speak for everyone, but the homeschool environment works exceptionally well for our family (though it is a LOT of work, requires a great commitment of time and maturity.) Who better should have the best interest for the kid than the parent, with the greatest desire to see them succeed and grow to become the productive adult they are made to be?
    I thought it a brilliant speech. The question posed, how do we take this failing system in America to the top? It sure isn't money - we homeschool for a fraction of the cost NC declares is needed per child in the public school system. Creativity may play a role. I think the greatest role player in the mix, is more parents getting actively involved in their children's education. Not saying homeschool for everyone, but actually taking accountability for the children in the household. What are they learning? Where are their strengths and weaknesses? What are they drawn to. Ben Franklin's father took him to every business in the local community to see what Ben was inclined towards. What about your kids?
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    Aug 17 2012: I invite you to read a chapter from the book "The Best That Money Can't Buy" by Jacque Fresco about a new type of education. I think you will enjoy it immensely. Here's the link: http://www.tzmeducation.org/content/jacque-fresco-education
  • Aug 16 2012: Are we not suppose to happy enjoying life why there is so much young kids committing suicide why the whole world moving to distraction why every aspect in our life is upside down
    Something is wrong and every thing start at family and education's it time to try something else more realistic more friendly more truthfull the world is changing becoming more integral we have to learn how to live in this world connected not individual new system
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      Aug 16 2012: People tend to focus on useless things in life and disregard the most important things such as friendship and love.

      What I notice in many people these days is the completely blind lust for money. For me, I grew up in a family where money was very limited and I realized I could be happy without it. Yes there was a time when I wished I had more but those are just temporary emotions anyone can choose to not focus on.

      The human mind is a powerful computer, if not the most powerful in this universe (so far). The fastest man made computer cannot see the underlying tone of a conversation, it cannot feel the emotions that we feel and does not know how to be aware of different social situations. All it knows how to do is chug a bunch of 0's and 1's really really fast. This is why we all need to take control of our minds, and learn to focus on the good, the positive and be thankful that we are even breathing.

      Taking things for granted is infinitely easier than being thankful for what you already have.
  • Aug 16 2012: I agree completely...I hope it will come about soon before it will be to late for the next generation
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    Aug 2 2012: I am confused as to whether you are advocating more standardization or more differentiation to meet the different needs of different students.
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      Aug 3 2012: Current system is definitely not working and has seen enough standardization. I'm suggesting that we make an effort to try different things because no student is identical to another.
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        Aug 3 2012: Everyone everywhere agrees with you pretty much on that position.
  • Aug 2 2012: You build a better educational system from the ground up and with the realistic standards for everyone. You can only renovate an old building so many times before the ole construction/technology gives way and you have to build anew. However keep the main idea (a space for learning with 1 teacher who taught the SAME things to ALL of the children). Where we have gone wrong Is three-fold 1.) We have allowed too much VARIATION on WHAT Is being taught 2.) No Clear PLANs were given on HOW to TEACH it 3.)Yet we then expect for ALL recipients to know the SAME information. How jacked up is that!? This Is exactly why NCLB was doomed from the start it followed the same main idea as our failing federal-state edu. system. Fed. = Teacher & State = Student. Imagine a teacher tells a mixed ability class "Learn U.S. History", gives ea. a textbook "this is what you need to know", & expects them all to earn straight A's on the test. We Need natinal standards a nationwide plan for all states to follow ( parent's & kids should be required review this ea. Yr. , Mandatory bi-weekly parental involvement (if they don't want others to tell them how to raise their child then lend a hand ) , options for those who may not want to go to college, more of a early greek/montessouri tale on letting the child led from interest or strength with guidance (teacher-coach), incorporate real life practice on all levels out of the classroom, let them fail (it's called trial&error), & last but not least require all students all ages to be involved in local gov. they should be able to understand WHY & not just WHAT so they have a purpose.
  • Aug 2 2012: Yes to many of the previous posts, with a nod to both Lawren (elimination of gov. monopoly) and Tanka ( scientific method of understanding the root cause), however I must disagree w/ Tanka's reason/purpose of education. Life as each person lives it Is driven (whether they choose to acknowledge it or not) by survival. Survival of self, offspring, or idea. Survival Is then dictated by ONE thing only, NECESSITY. Necessity does not mean 'wants' , but those gained along the road of necessity are welcomed. Despite outcries on all fronts education has lost it's place as a necessity. Our society has become so overconfident in its success it's thrown it's roots to the wayside, like the teen who gets their drivers license/car & leave w/out thanking the parents that taught them... Oops! Only they forgot gas money! Now they must figure out how to apologize, humble themselves to ask for money, get back on the parents good side to ensure a continued flow, while managing to retain dignity inspite of an elementary mistake. Now multly that by all adults in gov. & citizens & we have our TRUE ROOT problem who have by necessity been successful and passed on the fruits of that success in the raising of their children all the while ignoring the fact that by perfecting life for said children they have eliminated the necessity for the same education realizing in hindsight the need to educate/fuel their success. To solve this does not mean drill the same "you need a good edu. to get a good job" because for many kids it's not a necessity with rich parents = pay 4 erything or poor ones = teach welfare by example & both demand protection for their child fom personal accountability). The beginning to a solution Is for society to agree that edu. IS a NECESSITY to prolonged SURVIVAL and treat it as such & not an inconvenience between birth & adulthood. Then you must admit mistakes & rebuild from scratch. New clients = new needs = new product. CocaCola did not make Clear Coke it made Sprite.
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    Jul 27 2012: As scooby always says, Rrrhutt??
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    Jul 25 2012: By asking kids what they want to learn..
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      Jul 25 2012: I'd probably say "what candy can I eat" in my younger years.....=P
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        Jul 25 2012: I would want to know 'How to become a Power Ranger!'
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          Jul 27 2012: They hold conventions for adults for that type of stuff now! XP
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    Jul 25 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    We need to understand the purpose of doing thing before we do it. By tagging something good or bad we acknowledge and show our own weakness cause we were the one who did that action in the first place. Finding out right reason / purpose to do an action will always give out best of results. So the first question will be "What do we expect and can expect from an educational system?", rest will be the steps necessary to make it happen.