TED Conversations

Tao P
  • Tao P
  • Vancouver B.c
  • Canada


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If the state is so bad at raising children, how come we allow the state to educate our children?

It's obvious that our educational system is broken, but who is willing to take action to create a new system? Much of learning can be broken down into how much attention does a child get. In a classroom that's almost nil, as a teachers time is spread between 30 students. Studies also clearly show that grading children has a detrimental effect on them. So why do we continue this waste of resources that is also a waste of our children's potential.

What is an alternative to the current method of education. Is there a way to light the fire of children's curiosity rather than smothering it with facts.


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  • Nov 6 2012: Canada does well in international comparisons - so broken down it probably isn't. It is important to teach critical thinking, though, a weakness of very many educations systems.

    However, your main point seems to be your question: "Why do we let the state educate our children?" Well, it is not ultimately the responsibility of the state to educate your children. It's your responsibility and you should do it and not complain about the state. Send your children to school, by all means, but ensure you provide a substantial input yourself. I have a feeling you do. Good for you and your kids!

    If the state did not educate children many would suffer from lack of opportunity and there might be no route to demonstrate success in any field - I, for one, would not want to visit an unqualified doctor. As to grading children having a detrimental effect on them - try a Rudolf Steiner school. However, I have met and taught the products of these schools and not yet found a student who was pleased with the outcome.
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      Nov 7 2012: State sponsored education offers opportunities to instill ideas about evolution that can't be found in home schooling or some private schools. It offers avenues to eradicate socially established norms surrounding ideas of racism and class distinction, that don't exist in some Private University institutions as well.

      The state "is" raising our children, unless you can afford some alternative. While providing food, shelter and comfort is paramount to a child's survival, the kind of human being they become has a lot to do with education.

      It is possible, in the state sponsored, educational system for a family with old notions of racism and financial separationism, to end up with a child that thinks their family is old fashion, uneducated and odd.

      When I was a child, it was essential that a family produce the right ideas in the heads of the children. The basic ideas were: reading; writing; and arithmetic and a sense of nationalistic pride, along with belief in religion. Those ways are quickly diminishing, for the most part. We have become caretakers of our own children. The state does the rearing.

      If online education takes hold and we can find a way to supervise our kids at home, it could turn around and move the other way (do we want that?).

      We have come a long ways from our raciest roots in North America, even though we still have far to go. The average child may not know how to do arithmetic in their heads but they can get the correct answer more times than not, with their portable brain substitutes, if they understand the fundamentals of arithmetic and how to use a calculator. Most offices today don't allow their employees the opportunity to do arithmetic in their heads. There are still jobs where the ability to do math in your head is still a requirement, especially in the field where it is not usual to find a calculator handy. Most carpenter jobs require this skill.

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