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What is the purpose of education?: The most important question in the education revolution

It is recently trendy to say "its time for an education revolution". So before we get these lofty ideas about all the things wrong with the system and how to fix it, lets talk about what the purpose of education is. Once decided (will it ever be truly decided?) then, and only then, can we create a proper educational system.
So lets hear some options! Whats the purpose of education???

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  • Sep 10 2013: I don't think it is up to us to decide the purpose of the education of others. That privelege belongs to those who are being educated.
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      Sep 11 2013: On a personal, individual level I agree. But how about on a public level? Don't we need curricula standardization and classroom protocol in order to educate the masses?
      • Sep 11 2013: I am against requiring education of any sort for anyone. Those who do not wish to learn will not learn no matter what anyone else does and if we are to be the free society we claim to be we have no right to force them to waste their time in a classroom. Those who wish to learn will benefit from the absence of the willfully ignorant. There were quite a few people in my grade school who learned very little and were quite proud of it. I could've done without the distractions they created.

        Even without that, if you agree that the purpose of education is up to the individual then there can be no standardized curiculum since such a curiculum can't match the educational goals of everyone.
        • Sep 14 2013: Who claims to be a free society?

          We are a functioning society with rules and requirements to keep things working. Most of us have to know the rules and follow the regulations because of reality.
          If everyone at a stop sign goes at once, no one gets anywhere but maybe a hospital, after the wreckage is cleared.
          We teach our kids the basic legal, cultural and criminal rules of the road in school, or how to read well enough to learn them for themselves. Hopefully we prepare them to be functional, surviving and contributing adults able to take care of themselves, thus not a burden on others, and capable at least of understanding what this society will not permit without serious consequences, like jail, fines or even the death penalty in some states.
          We hope they will contribute to our general well being, but expect them to at least not negatively impact others.
          If someone doesn't know what is required of them to be allowed in society, we have failed them as a culture. Normally we don't feel right about punishing those who do not know what is expected of them or cannot think or behave themselves because of mental or emotional differences that may prevent them from getting along among us. Often we discover and can then attempt to overcome limitations while they are in school.
          Schools and societies are imperfect attempts to make life workable in the times we live in for as many of us as possible.
        • Sep 14 2013: Robert, I agree that there is no one-size-fits all school system and that there should be different options to suit people with different goals and needs, and thus there should not be a standardized curriculum.
          However, to your point about not making everyone go to school, what about those kids who think they don't care about school, and just need to be guided for a while until they find their passions and interests. They might get later in life and find something they are really interested in, and not have the educational background to be able to pursue it.
          I think there would be a whole lot of kids who, if given the choice, would choose to sit home rather than do all the work required for school, because kids only focus on the here and now and dont see school's potential benefits for the future. and it is for their own best interests, as well as society's, that there are not massive amounts of uneducated clueless bums who arent capable of doing much of anything. I know what you mean about those kids who drag down the other kids who really do want to learn, but I think it would be a mistake to take them out of school all together.
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        Sep 11 2013: there is no public level
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          Sep 11 2013: Private schools are run differently than public schools. You say there are no public schools?
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        Sep 11 2013: you are using the word "public" in two different ways. your first use was something like "society level". this is nonexistent. the second use is "state operated". unfortunately, such schools exist. they should not.
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          Sep 11 2013: Only those who desire to, and can afford to, educate their children should do so?
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        Sep 11 2013: yes. that is, virtually everyone in the developed world.
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          Sep 11 2013: Isn't one of the indicators of any Developed Nation their Public Education infrastructure?
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        Sep 11 2013: also their military power. it does not make it a good thing.
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          Sep 11 2013: Perhaps. But what explains the absence of a single example from history of a Developed Nation without a public education system? Why has no nation ever achieved "Developed" status without a Public Education system?
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        Sep 11 2013: what explains the absence of a single nation without army? what explains the absence of a single nation without rape?
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          Sep 11 2013: The topic is Education, NOT Armies or rape. You advocate a national policy which excludes a K-12 public funded school system. I want to know why there is no example of such a nation in the history of developed (1st world) nations. I think it is relevant to the posted question. That's my Q. What is your A?
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        Sep 11 2013: my examples show that your logic is not good. it is called reductio ad absurdum. if the existence would validate, rape would also be valid. we have rape, because we still did not figure out a way to get rid of it. the public school system is coercive. it is just a form of aggression and oppression. sooner or later we wise up.
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          Sep 11 2013: So the only reason no developed nation has ever successfully functioned without a public education system is, "because we still did not figure out a way to get rid of it."? Regarding Logic you are shifting the burden of proof which rightly belongs with you because your premise (public school is a form of aggression and oppression) is not sufficient to support a valid conclusion, thus your argument is invalid.
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        Sep 12 2013: in this case, because we haven't figured out that we are better without it. there is no burden of proof on my part, since my recommendation is the removal of imposed systems, a negative action, or lack of action. public education is the action, a rather coercive one, that requires proof. a much stronger proof than "all others do it".

        i don't need to prove that public education is coercive. this is self evident. i kinda hope you don't want to question it, because it would look rather odd. saying that it is not coercive would be saying it is voluntary.
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          Sep 12 2013: Claiming your premise to be "self-evident" does not render your argument valid. I know an appeal to tradition is a fallacy of logic, but that does not mean tradition is always wrong. I think you have answered my question about why no developed nation in recent history has been without a mandatory public education system. Correct me if I am wrong, but your answer is, "because they still did not figure out a way to get rid of it." Is that your position?
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        Sep 12 2013: no, first get your position clear. do you say that public education in the US is voluntary? anyone can just say, nope, thanks, i'm not paying this, and i'm not participating in this, nor i follow any guidelines they follow.
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          Sep 12 2013: Your effort to argue about my position is a red herring which I reject. The question I am asking you is: If, as you assert, mandatory public education is coercisve and undesirable why has every developed nation in recent history included such a system in their infrastructure? Again, I think I understand your answer is that everyone has it because no one can figure out how to get rid of it. Is that your belief, your position, your argument?
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          Sep 12 2013: If you are asking for clarity, people are required to pay taxes without direct control of how they are used, but people are not required to send their kids to public school. Many families send kids to private school and others homeschool.
        • Sep 14 2013: One reason for part of our public education system is to teach our history and political system to persons who want to become citizens. Since its founding, America has had many immigrants from all different cultures, and in order to keep the peace and hopefully integrate newcomers into one nation, we use education.
          A major part of the developing legislation aimed at allowing us to absorb millions of illegal immigrants is their meeting certain educational goals. We do not want to break into separate competing cultures with different languages, work rules, and no real connections. The lack of a common history, language and legal system has lead to turf wars and chaos in the past, which most of us want to avoid.
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        Sep 12 2013: part historical reasons, part psychology, but in fact this is the red herring. abolishment of slavery is good, regardless of all the reasons why it existed. rape is bad, no matter what the psychology or history or even biological aspects of it are. coercion is bad, no matter how it was formed and why it is maintained.
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          Sep 12 2013: i am convinced you will not answer the question I have repeatedly asked you. The discussion has slipped into the informal fallacy of Argument From Repetition. Bye now.
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        Sep 12 2013: having problems reading on your mother tongue?

        Q: why has every developed nation in recent history included such a system
        A: part historical reasons, part psychology
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          Sep 12 2013: Hark! Is that an answer I read? Your answer to the question, "Why has every developed nation in recent history included such a system [mandatory education]?" is, "... part historical reasons, part psychology...". Thank you for uncovering the answer which I overlooked because of my lack of fluency in American English. Dare I pose a follow-up question to you? Here goes: since you assert that all modern developed nations have perpetuated the system of mandatory education for reasons other than the merits of the system itself, what specific problem(s) do you believe result from mandatory public education? Remember, as Fritzie has pointed-out above, mandatory education can take any one of several freely chosen forms.
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        Sep 12 2013: i'm getting extremely bored, but here is your question with substituting slavery to public education. observe how well it holds up:

        "since you assert that all modern developed nations have perpetuated the system of slavery for reasons other than the merits of the system itself, what specific problem(s) do you believe result from slavery?"
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          Sep 12 2013: BUZZZZ! Non-sequitur! No progress here. Bye. Please, bye.
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        Sep 12 2013: i tried. hard to wake up someone that pretends to sleep.
    • Sep 11 2013: Hello,
      But don't we need to educate people to what they could learn? If someone doesn't know the possibilities of knowledge or life, how can they make an educated choice about what they want or need to know? How can they know what might thrill or fascinate or fulfill them, should they be in a culture and position to explore. How can you know that chemistry is your lifelong joy if no one and no organization ever introduces you to it?
      • Sep 11 2013: The entire issue to me is one of force. It is almost always immoral to force other people to do things your way. The only justifiable use of force is in self defense. It doesn't matter what good you are trying to do. If you use immoral means you will automatically fail. You can't do good by doing bad.

        People can share their passions with others without enslaving them. Would you set people down and make them learn every field of human endeavor on the off chance that they might love one or two? Is it possible that people are capable of finding their passions without being forced?
        • Sep 14 2013: Education is opportunity. I'm not saying make everyone go through graduate school, just introduce them to music, genetics, botany, mechanics, etc, and let them study what interests them.

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