~ Archive for April 8, 2003 ~

What they should teach in public schools

42

Third World dictators come and go.  Preppie U.S. presidents come and go.  The U.S. military comes and goes (from various far-away lands).  What topic is sufficiently eternal to merit inclusion as my very first blog entry?  Public education!


A friend grew up in a rich suburb of Chicago and went to a public school full of rich kids.  “In our school we read all of the great philosophers and were asked by the teachers to figure out which of these philosophies we agreed with and would like to apply to our lives and our society,” he related.  “The problem with most public schools is that they don’t teach this kind of critical thinking,” he continued, “I’d like to see every kid in America educated like this.”


I replied “that doesn’t make sense for schools in middle-class and poorer neighborhoods.   With the increasing income disparity in the United States, it is very unlikely that a middle- or lower-class kid will ever become wealthy enough to influence politics.  So it is irrelevant what he or she thinks is a fair, just, or optimum law or philosophy of life.  We should teach middle class kids to obey authority mindlessly because that’s what they’ll have to do anyway.”

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