Education

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Education
Education

Introduction

Education as One of the Philosophical Pillars

There is a reason that Education is one of the 8 Philosophical Pillars for Peace and that is because, as a Human Right, it forms the bedrock for equality, creativity, innovation, progress, peace, the ability to pursue a fulfilling life and to be able to make a difference within Humanity, as well as acting as a bastion to keep a person from being manipulated and taken advantage of. It is one of the most powerful things that we spend money and time on throughout our lives. Education spending is one of the few things that should basically NEVER be cut, and only ever increased.

The American Education System’s Losing Battle verses Conservatism and Corporations

As I have talked about in two of my personal blog posts (System Suppression Inherent in America’s Two-Party System and Religion, An Overview), the people of the United States have been losing a 50 year long battle (following the protests of Vietnam War) against 3 powerful groups which benefit from the destruction of the education systems:

  • conservative political movements
  • conservative religious movements
  • rich and affluent, as well as corporations

… and they have worked hard to gut our education system for 3 primary reasons:

  • ensure conservative religious and political ranks are full
  • ensure their coffers are full
  • ensure class inequality

If you want to understand the rationale for why gutting our education system makes sense to them then please check out the my 2 links from above for they go over the reasons in more detail. Much of this page will be trying to undo over 50 years of the destruction of our education system which also has had the US slip from a global leader in education to being in 30th or lower place in global educational quality.

Administrative and Meta

Economic

When the rich and the affluent who make their money off exploiting the work of the those less fortunate gain even more a total advantage by having a better quality education, this creates one of the most insidious and pernicious progenitors of class separation in human societies.

Where the direct economic and social differences between the rich and the poor are not bad enough, the differences in educational quality greatly amplifies their advantages and their separation not only through the mere quality of their education, but by the opportunities that it opens up for them. Just by the mere label of the educational institution they attended, such as from attending one of the prestigious “Ivy League Schools”, some businesses and social arenas are significantly easier to join or to be hired by if you have attended one of these special expensive schools because of the assumption of you work ethic, moral character, social class, and the quality of your education. Such businesses or social arenas may not actually look closely at those candidates or just accept them on the spot especially if someone there has graduated from that institution. Conversely, those who have not gone to such expensive schools would have gained significantly more scrutiny or never would have been even considered because of the label of their “lesser” educational institution.

We have the trend where alumni parents who are rich can donate to their alma mater may lobby to receive special consideration and acceptance for their children regardless of their potential, ability, or past performance which is yet another level advantage that the non-rich do not have.

Also, keep in mind that the attack on our education system in the US started following the Vietnam War protests from the 1960’s and the 1970’s and has continued to this day. Prior to that education used to be reasonable and affordable to a single person. Since then costs have skyrocketed which helps to ensure that only the rich have easy access to it and the poor may go without it entirely. We also have the fact that as part of that attack which is partly orchestrated by the military industrial complex as a way to ensure that there are plenty of people willing to die for corporate sponsored wars, and I was a victim of this too, that those who cannot afford to go to college are targets of military recruiting through the powerful carrot of being able to get into college through the GI Bill. Of course, you have to live long enough to be able to benefit from that. =( (The Military Targets Youth for Recruitment, Especially at Poor Schools, Teen Vogue Jan 2019) The expendable lives of the non-rich, especially people of color, are thrown upon the millstone of capitalism and corporate profit through wars is another horrible cost of educational inequality and corporate control of our government.

This whole section is targeted towards ending economic disparities within all forms of education through the following 3 parts:

  • equalizing the money that each and every school district gets
  • ending private schooling
  • correcting damage done

Equality cannot be obtained without all 3 steps:

  1. Equalizing Economic Distribution to Schools
    1. Universal and free access education (all levels) including other technical training such as massage therapist and apprenticeships.
    2. Funding for schools should be aggregated state-wide and then redistributed equally or proportionally to the various schools to keep rich communities from having everything and poorer communities from having nothing.
    3. At least triple the funding for all schools. Schools and teachers should never be wanting of funds.
  2. Ending Private Schools
    1. No more private schools which gives advantage to the rich and affluent which further allows the harms of income inequality and class differences.
    2. No more charter schools or voucher programs which are a fraud.
  3. Correcting Personal Inequality
    1. All student loans need to be terminated.
    2. Minimum teacher’s pay of $75,000 (which should be the minimum wage).
    3. Some of the Nordic countries do pay a stipend when people go to school to help support them while they are educating themselves. This is a good idea and will allow people who want to learn to be more easily able to do so, which can also greatly assist those who wish to pursue a different career path later on in life. I am faced with this problem currently and cannot afford the training that desire.

Process

There is much about the way that we organize our schools that is just harmful and inefficient and by changing these we can greatly increase our children’s enjoyment of their schooling as well as increase their ability to learn, and therefore achieve powerful gains in educational outcomes.

We will focus on 3 areas:

  1. Decreasing Negative Processes and Outcomes
  2. Social Cohesion and Empathy
  3. After School Activities
  1. Decreasing Negative Processes and Outcomes
    • Schools should go year round. (National Association for Year Round Education) – prevents learning losses during the extended summer vacation and ensures parents and businesses have a more regular schedule to work with.
    • Schools should start later – near 10:30am – kids sleep longer as they are developing – interfering with that adversely effects their growth, their ability to learn, and their sociability
    • Elementary schools need much more recess – kids need much more play, especially outside play each day and are happier and learn better when then do
    • less or no homework – homework increases stress and anxiety and does not increase learning outcomes
    • No testing until 7th grade and then only every few years – increases stress, anxiety and does not increase learning outcomes, plus teachers are teaching the test and not teaching the students
    • School Food (Breakfast and Lunch)
      • Breakfast and lunch should be served and it should be free for all. Currently, school food costs are weaponized against the poor. For some children this may be one of the few decent meals they receive. A child cannot learn well if they are hungry – a negative biopsychosocial effect.
      • The food should be local, organic, and concentrate on meal planning such as the through the Paleo AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) Diet so that school food will not potentially create or exacerbate existing health problems.
      • Excess food could be given away to students in need as prepared meal packs or to a local food pantry.
  2. Social Cohesion and Empathy
    • Mentors – more tutors and mentors for kids struggling; older or more gifted kids could help with that as well, but also if a child knows a subject well enough to teach it then they truly understand that subject. The mere process of trying to teach something can increase ones understanding though having undergone that thought process. This also gets children on a path to working with others and into a mindset of trying to understand how another person thinks. Each child will most likely have something they are good at and will potentially force popular students to need to ask for help on something where a less popular student might be able to help them. This can help increase social cohesion and humility, and well as foster as sense of community in the school, because everyone is helping everyone. Cooperation, team work, and humility are needed skills.
    • Use Restorative Justice programs – which can help to increase social cohesion, understanding, and peace as well as foster a greater understanding of empathy and compassion for others
    • End the Pledge of Allegiance – which contributes to isolation, nationalism, exceptionalism, close mindedness, racism, bigotry, fear, bullying, and limits a child’s understanding of their their place within the entirety of Humanity.
  3. After School Activities
    • There should be plenty of after school activities to keep kids entertained, growing, and to keep kids off the street. This also effective vs alcohol, drugs, and gangs. We can even work with private organizations to sponsor such things.
      • athletics, yoga, tai chi, martial arts, dance, gymnastics, rock climbing, etc
      • liberal arts, reading groups, band, plays
      • board games, computer games, and other hobby groups
      • other activities such as programming, electronics, writing
      • even volunteering at places where they have an interest in learning more about

Teachers

Our Teachers are our most valuable national asset and we need to ensure that they are just that and that they have the opportunity to be amazing too.

  1. General
    1. Only the best should qualify to be teachers; required to have at least a masters degree to teach and be near the top of their class
    2. If a teacher is not doing well then they need to go away or need to learn to be better; perhaps a mentorship program could help
    3. Continuing education shall be required while eventually working towards a doctoral degree or other interdisciplinary learning paths.
    4. They should never ever have to purchase their own school and class room supplies.
    5. Teachers should be familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Biopsychosocial models.
    6. We need more teachers and smaller class sizes
  2. University Level
    1. There should also be a distinct separation between academics hired for research and those that are there to teach. They cannot do both. Teachers need to teach and researchers need to research.
    2. Teachers Assistants (TA’s) cannot teach a class for a teacher and get paid crap or nothing at all and no benefits for it while doing someone else’s job. TA’s need to assist and not perform someone else’s job or receive a full teaching position because that is what they are doing.

Curriculum

Meta Curriculum

  1. Fix the Broken Process
    1. Common Core needs to die. It is a corporate fraud.
    2. Shift to the interdisciplinary and inter-age education model of the Nordic countries which have the best education systems in the world.
    3. Education should be individual, non-comparative, and focused so as to maximize an individual’s potential, gifts, and fulfillment whatever those may be and to live up to whatever artificial standard we create.
  2. Digital Classrooms
    1. Classes and schools need to be made available remotely so as to widen the availability of education especially for more rural areas, or those who are sick, vacationing, or stuck due to weather, etc.
    2. We need to embrace digital technology for the advancement of education through evaluating online platforms and classes for acceptance into our curriculum in order to expand our children’s learning options, especially when we cannot offer a desired class locally. Empowering our children to learn whatever they would like feeds their desire to learn more making them to ask more questions as well as more avid learners.
  3. School Textbooks
    1. School textbooks should be made available and updated through electronic means not only to save trees, but to allow them to be more easily updated with more contemporary facts. Such books should be electronically available to students through free online accounts.
    2. Paper based textbooks should also be available, but also knowing that they may not be the most up to date. Allowing the teacher to print them out for those students who may not have access to electronic devices for for those students which learn better from paper than from a screen.
  4. Trade School Model
    1. Our children need to work not only with their minds but they need the opportunity to work with their hands too. Trades need to be available: electronics, wood working, house building, agriculture, mechanics, and so on. These are valuable skills to learn, they expand their understanding of how the world works, and it is a form of interdisciplinary learning.
    2. We can work with local businesses and trades to create programs for such classes.
    3. We may want to focus on apprenticeships as a powerful form of learning a new skill, even and non-trade skill such as computer programming and engineering, because learning on the job is effective because you are learning while doing the actual work, how to actually implement your new knowledge and not just the theory of how to do it or hot it is supposed to work.

Scientifically Correct and Brutally Honest Curriculum

  1. Our text books and curriculum for a given subject should be determined by experts in the field, and should be scientifically correct and brutally honest. Human history is bloody and brutal and our children need to understand that.
  2. I should NOT have to say this, but we should also NOT be adding that which is not actually there or that did not actually happen. We should NOT base our curriculum on subjective opinion and theological desires. If you want your children to learn religion them take them to church, Sunday School, or you can participate in other Religious Education programs.
  3. We should talk frankly about a critical analysis of the many failures of economic systems including systemic structural violence such as poverty, racism, income inequality, war, billionaires, slavery, genocide, imperialism and colonialism, etc.
  4. It is an imperative that a critical analysis of the many failures of your nation of origin, why they were failures (war, genocide, internment camps, poverty), why they happened, and what should have been the ethical response and why, and why they chose the wrong answer so that our children do not repeat them. If we do not learn from history then our children shall make the same mistakes as we have already made. Take a look at Howard Zinn’s works such as The People’s History of the United States for a great analysis of a more realistic presentation of human history warts and all.
  5. We should also not be white washing history or preventing minorities from being talked about. Believe it or not women, people of color, sexual minorities, and non-Christians have made incredible contributions to human progress and history. We need to be drawing from the entirety of human history and all who have contributed to it for better and worse.

Interconnectedness of All

  1. Classes should emphasize cooperation instead of competition – interdisciplinary project based work. Competition is part of Humanity’s Terminal Disease – The Disease of Separation.
  2. We should make apparent our interconnectedness and interdependence not only with each other globally (Butterfly Effect and 6 Degrees of Connectivity), but also with the natural world (ecology and climate change).

Connection to Self

Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Comprehensive and age appropriate sexuality and sex positive education (Nordic model) including:

  • consent, sex for pleasure, birth control
  • gender expression, variety of family models,
  • LGBTQIAP+ issues

Here are some links:

Training the Mind

  1. mindfulness, meditation, empathy, philosophy, ethics
  2. critical thinking, scientific method
  3. arts shall be required:
    1. music class (choir, band, orchestra, music theory, etc..)
    2. other creative arts (painting, writing, poetry, etc…)

Taking Care of the Body

  1. diet, eating, and cooking
  2. reading labels
  3. health and fitness

Connections to The Rest of Humanity

  1. non-violent communication, conflict resolution, relationship skills
  2. rhetoric, leadership skills, project and team management
  3. comparative religion, comparative anthropology, linguistics
  4. civics, social studies, 8 Philosophical Pillars for Peace within Humanity, Declaration of the Universal Rights of Humanity,
  5. Emphasize global history and achievements and not just national history and achievements. We also need to ensure that excluded “minorities” such as women (in our horrifically patriarchal society) and ALL people of color, as well as sexual and religious minorities are equally included because all have been attacked, exploited, abused, and even tyrannized and genocided all throughout history. Their accomplishments and historical importance should be included and are just as important as any white Christian male.
  6. Games and exercises which promote and deepen human connections especially out from an individual’s specific cultural, religious, sexual, and socioeconomic demographic.
  7. Role Playing Games (RPGs) are also great interdisciplinary method of teaching and using their imagination (logic, rules interactions, math, cooperation, mythology, sociology, history, and so much more).
  8. If there are indigenous populations found locally then indigenous topics such as history, culture, language, etc should be taught to all students, which should also including the horrors that white man has inflicted upon them.
  9. Foreign Languages:
    1. An Intro to to Foreign Language Course which should be made available in middle school and high school that includes an intro to linguistics and uses Esperanto as a teaching tool.
    2. At least 4 additional languages (see below) should be taught all throughout schooling from daycare all the way through college and beyond:
      1. Esperanto as a 1st choice and a powerful linguistic educational tool
      2. local Indigenous languages should be taught as a 2nd choice
      3. American Sign Language should be a 3rd choice
      4. Spanish (or other locally dominant language) should be a 4th choice
      5. others 5th+ choices (Chinese, Hindi, Japanese)
    3. Foreign languages classes could also form as a bridge to cultural exploration, cultural anthropology, comparative anthropology, comparative linguistics, making connections to how their cultures and languages influenced ours and how ours influenced theirs for better or worse, etc. Arrangements could also be made to contact other schools from those countries to share and to learn from them directly which makes the world a much smaller place. (This is sort of an example of interdisciplinary learning.)

Connection to Nature

  1. Origins of the universe – We are made of star stuff.
  2. Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
  3. Evolution
  4. Climate Change, Pollution
  5. Ecology and remediation
  6. Our schools should also be farms with plants and animals for our children to connect and interact with.
  7. Trips could be taken to local parks, forests, preserves, or other significant natural areas to participate in cleanup or grounds work such as planting, pruning, or clearing diseased plants, invasive species, or fire hazards, as well as investigating local plant life, animals, and ecologies.
  8. Organic permaculture and hydroponic/aquaponic/aeroponic farms onsite and for the children to work with so the children will learn about food, ecologies, interdependence, nature, and the health of our food.

Technology and Logic

  1. Programming logic, basic programming skills, internet and technology skills
  2. Online Safety – my workplace has an amazing program by KnowB4

Other concerns

  1. Athletics Competitions – The religion of high school and university athletics competitions need to end. Sure some small scale competitions are OK, but in the scheme of things, sports are not a way for a person to realize more about the world, to understand their place in it, nor to change the world or to make a difference. Our children should be looking up to people such as: Galileo, Copernicus, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Marie Curie, etc rather than to whoever can devastate someone else. Cooperative problems and projects should be emphasized instead of competition. Hell, we could even go so far as to convert the football or baseball field into an organic farm with a hydroponic farm.

Public Education Programs

Social Media Education

Many new series of educational programs and articles need to be created such as Cosmos that covers the various scientific disciplines (geology, anthropology, programming logic, scientific method, astronomy, etc) and would be played in all forms of social information dissemination such as:

  • TV (during prime time too)
  • Radio
  • Newspaper columns
  • Social Media

… to increase people’s knowledge and understanding of the world, and to pique their curiosity. These programs should be created and targeted for different age groups from educational cartoons and edutainment to intense documentary programs.

Open Public Education Programs

There also needs to be publicly available FREE education programs such as a the various participatory Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) platforms such as Udacity or more passive methods such as The Great Courses so people can freely learn and grow.