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Education Goals

  1. Jan 18, 2005 #1
    People often complain about inequalities and inadequacies in education, and they are right. They complain about the disadvantages that children in poor and unstable areas often face, and they are right. When you hear of some wonderful teacher doing something miraculous to increase the quality of the education of some group of children, you might hear praise for how that teacher gave the students a future.

    This is an admirable feat, and it is something to strive for. But I believe that what people are focusing on, what the education allows the students to do, is too narrow. There should be more. The goals of education should not solely be to allow people high-paying jobs, but to provide tools for critical decision making so that they may not only make good decisions for themselves, but for others their decisions affect, as well. I think that this civic ethic and logic in education are very much lacking.

    Our decisions, individually and/or collectively affect ourselves, those near us, and people whom we've never met (generally, the less close the relationship, the more collective the effect is). Take, for example, representative government. The effects of governmental actions spread far and wide, and the make-up of the government is affected by average joe-schmoe. Our philosophical decisions can also have profound effects on how we live our lives, yet many people do not seem to have a natural propensity for logic and have not been adequately educated in logic--and logical abilities are paramount for philosophical inquiry.

    I desire to see a society of rational, concerned, and informed decision-makers, and I think that education should serve as more than a system of job preparation. Any opinions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2005 #2
    Teaching reason is no easy thing. Standard logic courses are not courses in reason. A course in reason might consist of many thousands of posed verbal challenges for students to solve--this would be started as early as possible and should involve practical situations.
  4. Jan 19, 2005 #3


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    I agree, however, in the areas of a higher amount of poverty, schools are not equipped with the resources to provide a better education. In areas that have a higher amount of wealth by the taxpayers, these resources are more easily available.
  5. Jan 19, 2005 #4


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    And do you see this as a problem, which might be fixed, or as a feature of the world, that we just have to live with.

    The current status of attempts to force equal distribution of tax funds per capita to all school districts in a state is that the Federal Courts (up to the Supreme Court I believe) have rejected these suits. So the attempt to equalize must rely on the voters, and this runs into kin selection.
  6. Jan 21, 2005 #5


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    Do you think it would be better to (1) add new courses (increasing the total courseload) or (2) entirely replace some existing courses with new ones or (3) work new material into appropriate, existing courses?
    I don't think (1) would get the support it needs, mainly because of the additional cost.
    (2) has already happened. At my elementary school, the students in the gifted program went to another school one day per week. Gifted covered, in more depth, all subjects taught in regular school except physical education. In middle school, gifted was a regular, daily class and replaced reading for half the year and physical education (or gym) the other half. We did lots of reading but didn't touch physical education or do any exercising. If one class did have to be replaced, I think gym would be the best choice. Kids can be given opportunities to exercise outside of school; Their city's recreation department can pick up the slack.
    I think many math teachers think the foundations of math (i.e. logic) should be taught earlier than they are (usually in college) and would be in favor of (3).
    In elementary school, math did touch on decision-making, but not to the exent you're proposing. Sorry, this isn't the most well-thought-out post. :yuck:
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