Education: The Anarchist's overhaul

Education is a hot button issue for me. I think education is important - no - it is beyond important for any social structure. Why? Because the easiest way to control the masses is to keep them uneducated. Illiteracy is a key ingredient for the control of large groups of people. It serves two purposes - it keeps them in the dark (can't read the news, can't read books) and it prevents a person (and consequently groups of people) from making informed decisions and entering into fair contracts.

Basically, they don't know what the rules are, they don't know what the facts are, and they have no way of proving that the facts even exist if and when they change on them unexpectedly.

A lack of knowledge of history and socio-political structure is another way to keep people in line. If you have no idea that your ruling government has been part and party to atrocities, then you're likely to continue your support of said government. There is something to be said for personal experience and word of mouth rebellion...but that is a long and painful process - as history tells us. (Ironically enough).

Glazing over history with the Victor's versions of the accounts is another form of control - although less successful than the first two forms.

Last but not least, keeping people at a remedial level of education - or education geared for one or two job functions only - is the last and least effective form of control. It is control none the less.

This all may sound very alarmist. However, if one were to take a peek at our current educational curriculum, pair it up with the ranking of our schools nationally and globally, there is cause for concern. In my town alone only 17 % of high school students are graduating from the public schools that are more than functionally literate. Let me reiterate that - Eighty-three percent (83%) of our students are just barely functionally literate or illiterate altogether.

Thats a lot of kids coming out of school with only enough knowledge to sign their names or fill out checks (spend spend spend!), and fill out applications, but only for menial paying jobs. (Debt debt debt!).

The math scores are even lower. The drop out rate is phenomenally high (upwards of 43%?) and entrance into colleges is phenomenally low. This of course, is a regional experience - but the numbers around the rest of the country 'aint so hot either.

Is it coincidence that as our educational scores are dropping, our freedoms and rights are disappearing? Not in my eyes.

So what is the Anarchist, Socialist, or Communist supposed to do about this?

Rework the educational system. Thats what. First and foremost, a lesson to all parents and guardians: Take part in your child's education!!!!! They learn from the parents first, so taking an active role really helps. This of course would be made much easier in a socialistic style of government. (Pick your poison). If families had the safeguards in place such as...Oh I don't know...job security, medical care, and handy social programs to help out, free quality education.....they wouldn't have to worry so much about getting all that overtime and promotions at work and could worry about taking care of their kids a little more. (Of course taking away the capitalistic ideal would make this transition even easier without capitalism, greed has very little place in society - ideally speaking of course).

Second, make sure the teachers are educated themselves. I don't want to see another teacher misspell words in the comments section of a child's report card. Or see shoddy schoolwork coming back with A's and A+'s on them. Another issue is that teachers are now taught to teach, and not to teach a subject. That is to say, they know how to confer information (sort of) but they know little or nothing of the particular subjects they are teaching. This is a problem not easily reconciled. How can a teacher possibly confer the correct information if they don't know anything about it themselves?

We also need to shift our educational focus from memorization, to comprehension. I'm not saying we should ditch memorization, but we should be able to understand the significance of the facts we are memorizing. We should understand how it works. That is the key difference between cramming and learning. Take a look at shows such as "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" what this show highlights is the fact that we as a society, are unable to retain information we learned as children. Basic things such as arithmetic, spelling, grammar, history and so on. Our teachers are no longer teaching, but rather they are stuffing our little heads with knowledge as fast as they can so it will stay long enough to pass the national testing standards set forth by our (ever so brilliant) "No Child Left Behind" circus...I mean act. After that? No one seems to care if the kids can remember it, or use it.

Our school systems also teach the glorified historical versions of the "Victors", rather than the whole story. Its media bias at its lowest. This needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. Children (particularly in America) need to understand that all countries, all governmental systems have at one point or another participated in atrocities for political and social advancement. It is imperative that our children learn this so they can make educated decisions with regards to government, policies, contracts, social issues, humanitarian issues and so forth.

Children also need to be taught to question authority, and to never, ever, have blind faith. Or blind nationalism.

I ran into a person from abroad some time ago, and her only real surprise about America was that not everyone was in college. Education...it is the key for personal, social and cultural survival.

Then again, I suppose that if we all keep ourselves occupied with TV and shopping and other sorts of mindless activities, we won't notice when our rights slip away...we will be oh-so-contented.

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