100 thoughts on “What’s the Point of School & Education?

  • The ideas of education being Tailored for getting a job is an interesting thought. I'm currently at collage and in my course there has been many lectures and examples based around earning money, when this happens there is normally more feedback from the group as a hole. Maybe we are taught to be part of a capitalist workforce because its effective as we are brought up learning the importance of money and the teacher are just using that to make their students more receptive in class.

  • I'm a little disappointed you didn't bring up any John Dewey. Having a voting population that's capable of critical thought is very important for a healthy democracy.

  • It's worth noting that "Modern Studies" (which is essentially politics) is compulsory for the first two years of high school in Scotland.

  • Here in Sweden we read about the politics of Sweden in grade 9 (the last obligatory school year). Then in high school, depending on which programme you chose, you have different amounts of compulsory "samhällsorientering" (civics) I'm doing the natural science programme (which I believe has the least amount of civics) and last year we were taught more in-depth Swedish politics but also world-politics (different voting systems and how that leads to two party systems in the US for example) The Swedish school system takes this pretty seriously I think. I even believe that democracy is forged into the course-plan but I'm not sure.

  • Given how it seems to be so trendy to claim that we're living in a 'post-truth' world now, are there any plans for making a Guy Debord/Critical theory episode?

  • Education is very important. The current system is good, but surely can be improved. There is one goal – help people to live to their full potential. In my view, the key to achieve that is to have better teachers. Teachers, who are interested in provoking the students critical thinking, rather than subverting a discussion to push their own views. Do you not realize that using the phrase "happy functioning human beings" in such a juxtaposition means: "If you are OK with working for a wage, you are sad, dysfunctional animal"?! Do you have a more elaborate view of this society, where the (former) non-ruling class has set a prioritizing arts school system, that prepares "happy functioning human beings", none of whom works for a wage?

  • I went to a public elementary school in the U.S., and we had no political of government classes.  Later, I transferred to a Catholic high school, and I finally got a government/economics class (in my senior year).  It wasn't until college that politics was really explained in greater detail.

  • Regarding able-ist criticism: blind painters, deaf musicians (like Bach), various neural a-typical performers and industry leaders (Rain Man). Suggesting you can't 'work' if your different is also able-ist. The issue is contribution, while ability does not predict contribution level provided by an individual. Consider the 'facilitator' role, now common in industry, even without working toward the goal head-on, the facilitator contributes greatly.

  • Perhaps the purpose of education is to teach children conformity? My experiences with K-12 education here in America more or less only really seemed to teach me the expectations society had of me. I was put in a position of importance in my school due to my intelligence and "book smarts", and therefore was put under heavy restraints and high-stress situations. I was even shown the way society treats women and people with self-confidence, as I went to a school in the south and therefore was denied certain opportunities to further myself where men weren't, and was greeted with snobbery and rude dismissal when I felt as though I had accomplished something. A bit of a bleak outlook I know, but I know so many people whose desire to learn was entirely squashed by this system, and perhaps deep down that's the reason the system is set up like it is? Like, the dress code problems we as a country have been having, for example. It's an interesting metaphor for our sexual assault problem. I don't know, it was just an interesting thought. I had to find my love for learning elsewhere, and fight an uphill battle against the current that was my K-12 education system in order to not lose it fully.

  • I go to a high school in New York, and here, during your last year, you either take a class called "Participation in Government" or and AP Class called U.S. Government & Politics. Both go very much in depth in how our government works and how the public takes part in it.

  • I really appreciate your thoughts on the subject of education and about the point of it. The discussion can go quite deep, but I think we should be really careful not to lose big picture, that is we are discussing education of another human beings. I think everyone should have right to choose where his kids are going to be educated and what are they going to be learning. Although me may try to make some kind of objective evaluation of goals of education and it's composition, we shouldn't forget that we don't have any right to dictate anyone, what he or his kids have to learn. Discussion is great, but the final decision should be up to parents or individuals themselves. Does it undermine the idea of state's compulsory education system? I think it does.

  • in america at least in california government is incorporated into 8th grade history class, but I believe there should be a whole class on it.

  • So, I'm not sure exactly what the purpose of education should be. What I can say is that, even if one chooses an educational path for the sake of self-improvement or self-fulfillment, one also still needs to be able to find a job and earn money just so one can eat and clothe oneself, as well as to pay for the cost of obtaining an education. In addition, if one is passionate about some particular topic such that they want to study it primarily, it strikes me that finding a vocation in which one can put that education to work would be quite fulfilling and satisfying. If I love philosophy so much that I want to dedicate years of my life learning about it, for example, it seems like a waste to gain all that knowledge and then never get to apply it while participating in the activity that will dominate the majority of my time for the rest of my life. For these reasons, I would defend those who consider the question of what sort of career they can look forward to if they pursue a particular course of study. I think this sort of practical analysis is necessary, at least for those of us who don't have the luxury of being independently wealthy.

  • The Netherlands also has (or at least had, but I doubt that it changed) the functioning of government taught in various classes. When I was in school there was a dedicated class for "world views" (covering things like religion, some ethics, systems of government) and various other classes, such as history and Dutch, also spent time discussing the functioning of government.

    Comparing to what my colleagues tell me about the German system, I think I received a relatively nuanced view of these topics; I was surprised to learn that history classes in other countries often have a very strong separation between the "good" and the "bad" side of a military conflict, for example. However, that's the way it was when I was taught; since then there's been a strong push for a "back to basics" approach, focusing more on maths and languages and less on overall skills. That's clearly orienting more towards "getting a job" and less towards "being a good, happy citizen".

  • You could also be self-educated, it doesn't all have to come from a formal source. Most of what I know, mainly modern philosophy(Descartes-Kant), I tough myself buying old cheap editions of their classics from second hand book stores or downloading what is available online for free and watching videos. Education, particularly philosophical, shouldn't be exclusively academic in nature, otherwise we run the risk of having a passive and uncritical population.

    Have you read Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed? I haven't gotten around to it yet, but it seems right up your alley

  • It's interesting that you point out that there is a need for more engineers. Which is true. However, engineering as a subject in schools doesn't seem to be prioritised. There is this big push so that as part of the national curriculum in high schools, when students are choosing their options they have to take, I think, two ebac subjects one of which is a language. These are academic subjects such as history, geography, or a language. For smaller high schools this could be a big deal because they will struggle to be able to create a timetable that would allow students to take all the subjects they want to. This could prevent many students from taking non-ebac subjects such as engineering.
    So in short, if I'm correct, students will have to take a language and a humanities subject. Maths and English do count as ebac but they don't apply in this case as they are core subjects.
    At the high school I went to, we got to take four subjects as our options. This means that two of these options are ebac subjects. This means that students may have to choose to do subjects that they do not want to do, but have no other option. Students who aren't academic will not thrive in this environment and it also means that it may be harder for some schools to do certain non-ebac subjects such as engineering. Philosophy and ethics/religious studies doesn't count as an ebac subject despite it being a humanities subject. This is because some aspects of it are included in something called PSRE, but it's something done for one hour every other week and you don't even get a formal qualification in it.

  • In the Philippines, Politics and Government studies are integrated in Social Studies classes from Grades 2-6. Grade 2 will focus on community, Grade 3 on provinces and regions, Grade 4 focuses on national level, and Grades 5-6 will discuss government and politics in a historical perspective from Pre-Hispanic, Hispanic, American occupation, Japanese occupation, up to total independence and sovereignty. But not just politics and government, but also history, geography, culture and the arts, religion, human rights, gender equality, and some few philosophy. Philosophy will be much integrated in another subject or class called Values Education and will focus more on ethics, morality, and dimensions of self, family, friends, virtues, community, dealing with media and technology, and national issues too. Studies in Values Education will be further examined in Junior High School and will focus or on Ethics and integrated with Career Development to help students decide a career based on talents, skills, aptitudes, interests, hobbies, and some personal, family, national , industry-related, community-related, and financially or practically-concerned factors that will shape a student's choice to choose a field of interest.

    In Junior High School (Grades 7-10), Politics and Government will be discussed in much higher and wider scope. Grade 7 will focus on Asian Studies, tackling politics and government of regions of Asia; Grade 8 will focus on World History, thus tackling politics in a historical perspective of the world; Grade 9 will focus on Economics, specifically Philippine Economics; and Grade 10 will focus on Contemporary Issues, specifically of the 21st Century, discussing things from politics to education, agriculture, industrialization, human rights, gender equality, religion, and all aspects of the contemporary Philippines and the world.

    In Senior High School (Grades 11-12), students will choose a career track or pathway, but everyone will have a General Education subject on "Understanding Society, Politics, and Culture" which will discuss cultural, sociological, and anthropological domains of society and community, integrating all subjects of social sciences. But those who chooses to specialize in Humanities and Social Sciences Strand of the Academic Track will have 9 course subjects dedicated and much focused to writing, communication, politics, citizenship, and the social sciences and applied social sciences. They will study creative writing along with integration of the arts like theater appreciation for playwriting, creating short films, doing art works, role playing, etc.; creative nonfiction like writing blogs, making vlogs, anthologies, memoirs, autobiographies, etc.; world religions and beliefs focusing on Asian religions, studying their origin, similarities, key elements, and comparing them in terms of origin, issues, perspective and treatment of women, and doctrine, and finally to have a peaceful dialogue among all faiths; introduction to theories and practices in social sciences as well as job opportunities, and things from structuralism to psychoanalysis will be discussed; introduction to fields of social work, communication and journalism, and counseling applying the ideas of psychology, sociology, etc.; studying of trends, megatrends, developing critical and intuitive thinking, studying networks from levels of community, self, global, neural, etc. studying migration, globalization, democracy, information technology, etc.; last course will be allotted for a creative culminating activity where they will integrate humanities and social sciences ideas and apply them in real life situations, in a work immersion maybe, an apprenticeship or assistantship, or in a creative performance or exhibition along with seminars on career and jobs. Students graduating from this strand will have a good start for any university courses in humanities, and social sciences from language, literature, creative writing, mass communication, politics, public administration, education, criminology, psychology, sociology, political science, history, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, social work, communication arts, geography, counseling, or liberal arts.

    Like in any situation, even here in the Philippines, this strand of career specialization is considered lame for some students and even parents due to practicality, easy job opportunities, stable job, etc. Many favored STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), TVL (Technical Vocational and Livelihood) which is like practical arts, technical education ranging from Home Economics, ICT, Agriculture and Fishery Arts, and Industrial Arts, and the ABM (Accounting and Business Management). For those undecided of career path may choose General Academic which is like a liberal arts education with choices of some elective courses and will study more practical applications of sciences, and business, it will also have electives in humanities and social science, a course on applied economics, and free electives from any available courses across all disciplines. Another two tracks are much specialized and are regarded only for those gifted and talented, and these are Arts and Design Track and the Sports Track. Arts and Design will tackle key principles of visual and studio arts, media and digital arts, applied arts or decorative arts, design, theater, dance, and music. Students will soon choose a specialization to master. Sports will focus on sports sciences and human kinetics, students also will choose specializations from : athlete-development, practice coaching, practice sports event and tournament management, and practice fitness, sports, or recreational leadership along with courses on first aid, psycho-socio analysis of sports and exercise, exercise and fitness programming, and fundamentals of each specializations. These last two are for development of students who will pursue fin arts, design, music, film, multimedia, animation, theater, dance, entertainment, arts and music education, music, fashion, architecture, sports, be an athlete, be a coach, be a manager of sports events, physical eduction teachers, even physical therapist, and other sports or art-related careers.
    🙂 oh oh . I almost tackled the entire Philippine General basic Education curriculum . lol There are even more curriculum types which are more specialized in sports, the arts, STEM, technical education, journalism, and foreign languages starting Junior High School already called special program schools, arts schools, technical-vocational and livelihood schools, and science high schools.

  • there are educational courses on youtube. youtube education is for ones who want to better themselfs, school education is for ones whoo want to work.

    im your viewer from south africa

  • i think education is necessary to give a general knowledge in everything. math english science and geography being the large ones. as children develop the classes change and become more selected based on personal priority. later becomes a choice after highschool. what you dont know cannot be loved. allow knowledge and you allow people to love and express themselves by learning more.

  • Don't forget that there's (almost) no attempt to teach us how to handle personal finance or even personal relationships. I honestly do see the majority of education being aimed at producing worker bees more than individuals. Not that this is the point of education but rather it's something that has seeped into the education process at all levels. In Secondary School I had only two teachers who looked to help us students grow as people as well as learn. My A-levels wasn't much better and the hands-off approach in uni doesn't do much for those who need a guiding hand beyond academics.

  • What is the point of asking "maybe I am just reading too much into it", Socrates would punch you in face (exaggerating) for that right?

    Unless you do not subscribe to living in an examined life, one is never over analyzing. Note that this is different from physically exhausting your brain and body like straining your brain, not taking a break.

  • In mexico we do have compulsory classes regarding the political history of the country along with its political organization

  • We already know how to learn, acquiring the most complex subject before we start schoolng – language.

    I think questions like "what should a educated person look like?" helps open up the question, helping tease out questions like how does education differ from training (for the workplace) and how do we determine normative issues…

  • Nice video, here's my thoughts:
    1. "Things aren't as they should be". Fair enough. Ideally, robots will do all the necessary jobs and we can pursue ballet dancing for all eternity if we wish to do so.
    2. "Schools are not teaching you how to be happy, but how to be a capitalist workforce instead." Yes and no. I think it's very fair for the government to assume that you will find most happiness by being employed (currently engineering will guarantee that) and making enough money to buy happiness.
    3. Pushing you strongly towards engineering, science and medicine is not even a bad thing. Sure, maybe you could be happier ballet dancing, but schools should also inspire you to think about others' well-being as much as yours. Those professions move all of us further. If it takes a million engineers to automate everything so that a billion could pursue ballet dancing, then pushing people to engineering is well worth it, no?

  • A tutor once said to my class in college (we were all applying to universities) – A degree is not a meal ticket, but it gives you a licence to hunt. There are a few professional qualifications that are required for certain positions (e.g. nurse/doctor, teacher, social worker… guess what field I work in), but most degree courses are designed to just give a more detailed understanding in the subject they cover and this understanding can be gained through other means (such as self directed learning through books, documentaries and certain YouTube channels).

    The issue is being able to demonstrate one's skills, knowledge and understanding to potential employers without the shiny pieces of paper presented upon graduation (or course completion for shorter courses), and in this respect I find direct contact is the most effective method. Attend job fairs, look up the names of managers and HR personnel before calling or going to a company, do everything you can to talk to an actual person who can make a decision on your employment rather than relying on a CV/covering letter or an application form to fully explain why you are the right person for the job.

    I do not have a degree in Social Work because I could not afford to resit 1 module after tuition was raised to £9k per year, however, I was awarded a DipHE in applied Social Sciences (as the Dip in Social Work doesn't exist anymore). I was educated to degree level and have extensive experience (and many references to back up my ability), but I am legally not able to call myself a Social Worker. As a result, bypassing standard application processes and negotiation on areas such as pay (I do not have children, so can survive quite comfortably without a graduate level wage) is the only way for me to find employment in my field of expertise, but it works…. hope this is helpful to people asking about the job prospects of those considering university education (in the UK at least).

  • Education gives you access to knowledge accumulated over the years and that is pretty much the only thing I think it really does. The more you know on a subject, the more likely you will take an informed decision on the subject and, unless I am wrong, educated guesses are usually better than blind guesses. So the question really becomes: at what things do we want to be good at?

    Currently, education is managed by the elected government. They decide what is important for future citizens to learn and they, indirectly, decide at what subjects they want more citizens to get involved in. And more often than not, they'll favor basic needs. Currently in Quebec, there's a shortage of general practitioner and the government deploys a lot of programs to help with the formation of new young people to help reinforce the aging population of practitioners. So from that point of view, what are practitioners good for? Detecting anomalies that might threaten your life.

    So from that point of view, practical education and the need to get a job is to provide a service to others that might need it. If the thing you enjoy the most is to hang out with your friends, well, to do that, you need to be alive at first, that's where the whole field of jobs in medecine, agriculture, freighting and markets come in handy. You also need a way to communicate with them even if they're not there directly next to you. At a certain point, you could mail a letter and you would need posting services to send it. Now, we have access to the internet or cellphones that all require engineers, designers, project managers, programmers and a lot of other jobs to make it work.

    So from a point of view, getting a job is a way of cooperating to give everyone a possibility to access a level of comfort that allows everyone to have the time to think without the need to stress about if they are going to have access to food, a shelter or healthcare.

    So I think having a pratical view of "getting a job" is a clever way of ensuring everyone's comfort.

    The real debate should be how we make sure everyone has access to what they need and that they cooperate with everyone to give away a service for the common good.

    at least that's my 2 cents

  • In regards to public education, specifically middle and high school, the purpose of education is not to get people ready for the workforce. If it was, there would be classes that train students how to flip burgers for fast food, how to manage files as an intern, or other tasks that you would expect from an entry level job that you would expect to get when you're fresh out of high school. Public school is to ensure that you see the world a certain way, so your thoughts are made more predictable.

  • Anarchist article only available in book. Thanks anarchists :^] (but it was available on google books minus a few pages at least)

  • Education gives knowledge which is then used by the knower however they want. As such if they use it well then it always either benefits them or wasted their time
    As i see it the purpose of the higher levels of education (middle school+) currently is to certify the kind of person you are and that you're worth employing
    Before that there are classes teaching you to read and to do basic maths and a few other necessary things.
    Education is obviously not currently set up to be an efficient teaching mechanism, tests arent used to find trouble areas to help the kids in, no. It's making sure they're doing good enough for the certificate at the end to have meaning.

    I mean that was abit of hyberbole, kids still learn some things. But give them google and a good reason to know it and they can manage that much more efficiently. In the past it might have been different, but we're in the information age now.

  • so much education…  but what do we learn ?  what do we do with it ?    it's nice to be a good conversationist,  We need a new outlook on live in total,   we still live in a monotary system,   You see men sailing on their ego trips Blast off on their spaceships Million miles from reality No care for you, no care for me ,   or,    don't let them school ya or even try to fool ya we got a mind of our own, so go to hell if what you are thinking is not right….      the awnsers are there, if we look and feel with the right heart,    The Ethics of Socrates

  • "Preparing for a capitalist workforce" is a loaded term, and it suggests that somehow learning math, biology, history, et cetera is simply something that satisfies someone's ideology. You mentioned evolution, and I can't help but connect the two ideas. Childhood as a life stage seems pretty useless – you can't reproduce and you are highly dependent on others – until you realize that childhood exists to prepare us to be better adults. Similarly, school should prepare children for adulthood. Academic subjects like math are important not only because they prepare students to become academics or highly skilled workers (which many students don't), but also because they allow people to appreciate the world they live in and be informed on issues so that they can contribute positively to society. School ought to be where children learn to read and write, to be moral, to work with others, and to learn. Those are also important skills in the labour market because employers value literate, honest employees who can work with others and learn from their mistakes. The fact that students are better prepared for a "capitalist world" should not be a problem for anybody.

  • This is on point. Many people don't see the point going to university if it doesn't directly prepare you for some kind of work. You can see what society values by what programs get the most funding and enrollment. The sad truth is that programs that don't have a clear economic benefit, don't get the same degree of support.

    The best thing you can learn in school is how to learn, and it's my favourite skill that I've acquired.

  • I think education is probably less to make you a good employee, and more to make you a better productivity generator. You need a wide base of knowledge in order to think critically. A developed capitalist society relies on its citizens to always be thinking critically on how to increase productivity, not just to be obedient worker bees. It doesn't matter if the citizen is working for the bourgeois, or if they're their own boss. Their productivity gets taxed all the same anyways. Those taxes can then be distributed by the rulers of the state in a way that benefits them most. If the rulers are smart, they'll invest at least some of that treasure back into education and social services to further increase productivity.

    Not that I think anyone consciously designed modern education that way. Education certainly isn't optimized for that goal. But there are probably various pressures and feedback loops that push education in that direction.

  • I'm glad you mentioned anarchists and the Modern School Movement (pioneered by Spanish anarchist Fransisco Ferrer if I remember correctly). There are some modern day experiments in education you may appreciate if you think that the anarchists are onto something. In particular I'd recommend the Sudbury model (Framingham Massachusetts) where the children hold a lot of power over their own education. And (though to a lesser extent) the Montessori schools where the children still have more power in relation to mainstream public education.

  • We should separate out primary education, and secondary and post-secondary education ("academia"). For example, we might argue that primary school ought, in a society that expects every citizen to vote, to produce "good voters." I mean, that's maybe what I would do if I were King of All Schooling but I'm not and it very obviously isn't the case in the real world.

    Whereas academia's "point" might more be that it's one of the more widely accessible (and that's a pretty pessimistic observation) arenas where "studying" can be made the main priority rather than secondary one. Like, I love learning but my regular-workforce job and public-transit commute eat up most of the productive hours, so I comment on YouTube videos rather than digging into another math textbook. But if I had convenient access to a group of people studying the same textbook it would be much easier.

  • I always thought that education was for the society more than for the individual. Like, we educate people so that we can benefit from their accomplishments, be they artistic or academic or what have you, and the best way for an individual to share those accomplishments was by entering the workforce and applying their knowledge to their field of employment

  • I am from India and have just completed my honors degree in history which i opted for just out of curiosity of knowing stuff and now that i have done it and i know stuff; i am more confused then ever as to..where i want to go from here..

    may be i just wasted a few years of my life…i could rather have chosen some practically useful course such as an engineering or something..
    did i just waste my time? or do i have an edge in life over those engineers???
    I dont know…😐

  • Yeah we have US Goverment and Civics classes which teaches about the basics of the US goverment and the history of it. As well as American History, which teaches US history.

  • If you weren't interested in math or science it may seem like schools are really good at focusing on these subjects and giving people a disposition toward them. But as someone how is finishing a degree in engineering (so applied math and science) I can say with confidence that elementary school/high school is really terrible at teaching any important aspect of even these things. Instead of instilling the key principles needed to solve new problems like an engineer or a scientist or a programmer should be able to they force you to regurgitate preformed solutions and facts from the curriculum. And yeah clever students can still succeed in these fields but I suspect they succeed in spite of this teaching style, not because of it.

    Past reading and basic arithmetic school is pretty damn useless if you ask me.

  • You said a lot of important stuff here, I think.

    I'm always surprised when I hear about what May's govt has done and been doing with the many bricks Cameron put down re anti-migrant actions and rhetoric, I ended up dropping out of sixth form in England due to disabilities at the beginning of 2012 and already I've noticed things I noticed in my parents and older siblings where I kind of just assume how things /were/ for me is how things /are/ because I've stopped keeping up with things.

    Like now sixth form is mandatory, and I wouldn't have been actually allowed to drop out due to disability in the way I did at the age I did today like just (almost 5) 4 years ago I did. Plus all this xenophobia being baked into the classroom, teachers being legally compelled to report their own students if they hear any kind of "revolutionary" talk – all of what most of my peers could talk about was guns and bombs and blowing people up they didn't like, though 98% of them were white so I doubt they'd be reported on anyway under the current system.

    Hearing about passports being demanded made me seethe, since passports are actually quite expensive and it's just not something every citizen automatically has. Sigh.

    I don't feel like I have extra insight into school stuff but I want to engage with your video.

    Oh, well, no, I do think the forced scheduling and grouping is detrimental. When I was put with teachers I didn't get along with my grades plummeted and when I was put with teachers I did get along with I did great. Consistently. I also went all 11 years going to school on 4-6 hours' sleep due to later-diagnosed sleep disorders making me unable to sleep until past midnight, and that contributed to my dropping out when the chronic sleep deprivation caught up with me. I still have chronic fatigue almost 5 years later.

    The school uniforms were also expensive and my parents had no choice but to buy them, which I think is a big problem with the systems in the UK currently (since Scotland's education policies are devolved, they are different), that lots of families go into debt for their child to be allowed to attend secondary school, let alone later university debts which also grew huge after the 2010 election as you've talked about before. Plus the school uniforms were uncomfortable and added greatly to my gender dysphoria, as they were gendered and too expensive to re-buy for my final year with the uniform.

    I also was frequently in classes with people who would beat me up or sexually assault me which I know is not at all uncommon, and could perhaps be helped by having fewer students per teacher, but I guess I'm saying I would love to hear about the alternate mode of schools that you mentioned near the end.

    I have no neat or nice way to finish up my comment, though I hope I was articulate and clear enough that you at least understand what I'm saying rather than being perplexed trying to decode what I'm even trying to say. Thank you for reading.

  • There is no correct answer on how society should be. Its subjective and depends on each of our views. No view is more right or wrong then the other

  • OK, Ollie keep pointing out a possible assumption that things are as they should be, and that this includes the capitalist system. This seems simplistic to me. One purpose of education is to fill the needs of society, both the individual being educated AND the collectivist whole- whose needs despite the liberal language are often defined by the elites.

    While defining the needs of society might include some "is" vs "should be" elements I don't think it assumes that what is is what should be. But it does assume that what is is. By providing education society is trying to fulfill the needs it HAS, not that it cannot consider wants or needs that it will have in the future- which I think is commensurate with the "should be"'s.

    Also, this may be redundant after Ollies self-criticism of education for education's sake being elitist, but I think you can certainly think of education as being for the student's sake still being employment-centric. Since, in modern societies we spend so much of a our time working, and so much of our quality of life depends on the stability and quality of our work both financially and emotionally, training someone up to fulfill there own needs this way makes perfect sense as a service to the person, and not just society, or that person's future employer.

    Now do people have OTHER needs, certainly. But this is a question of priorities. Which of there needs are we going to service.

    I'm not saying education is exactly how it should be. But I do think it's defensible, and not necessary assuming that what is, is what should be, or designed without the students in mind.

    Is this making sense? Am I missing something?

  • It's my understanding that in France they are very explicit about schools being around to teach children french culture, so they learn how to be french.

    It would seem some of American academic history was set up this way as well. The pledge every morning, idealized history as a naturally progressive and god directed endeavor, it was to encourage "team spirit" on the national level. This may not be philosophically defensible. But it may not be a reality one can just ignore.

  • I think your ideas are pretty close to my own, but maybe that is only because we were educated in philosophy. I personally think philosophy is the most meaningful degree, just you have to find that meaning on your own.

  • i think education is great maybe the system is kind off off and really organize i think that we do prioritize classes and careers which i definitely dont think is right, but i also think that education and knowledge should be up to the person i feel that the reasons that many complain of the school system is because os being force and that makes many not want to learn in my case i love learning and i think knowledge is acquired anywhere you go not only in school here in the U.s i got the privilege to have a mandatory economics and government class also a psychology class in high school I do think that the arts should definitely be more out there Where they actually teach you how to draw or dance

  • How would education work in an anarchist society? Would schools have volunteers teaching children or would all schools be private schools?

  • In Australia we have a 'SOSE' which is Study of Society and the Environment which kind of covers things like how tax and government work, and how we have rights… but the curriculum is messy to say the least.

    I always thought that maybe the point of school was to teach information that was rare or hard to come by, not obscure or useless but more so difficult to come across experts in or difficult to deduce yourself. Hence it gives people with talents exposure to all sorts of disciplines they may not have seen in day to day life had they not attended school.

  • Education is about learning to think and what it means to be a human being. The job stuff is important but that should be referred to as training.

  • The problem isn't as much in capitalisem as in democracy.
    What do I mean? No polotitian or political party will ( for the moust part) never try to refom schools because it won't give them any more votes (because children can't vote). So with that said it's up to us the people to change it for the better. But we only want change, not working towards change.

  • One thing that I feel is often lacking is the acknoledgement that capitalist systems often benefit through specific inclusivities. For instance some of my teachers have claimed that Australia has a socialist healthcare system. I disagree on the basis that I believe it assists the economic engine and cannot be seperated from our capitalism. Similarly, I feel it is often neglected how advantagous inclusivity (racial, sexual) can be in capitalist settings. Perhaps it benefits a ruling class to have class conflict between these fictious factions, or that it is an indicator of the limitations on the ruling class's power

  • I remember reading somewhere the argument that pubic mandatory schooling was, referring to what is the use of education, to give the population a leveled ground and equally fair start in life. While this is a noble view, especially to boost those with bad luck in opportunity in life (such as bad parents, poverty etc.), in practice it tends to also drag down those with natural or gained ability to learn faster or who just had already learned the material before "it's time". anyway, I thought this point was missing in the video and was worth mentioning. What are your opinions on that?

  • The question that strikes me most of the time I come back to the issue of education is how can the purpose of education go beyond training labor force without underpinning an elitist point of view, say if you are concerned in education as a value in itself. How much of society is actually to blame for functioning in such a way that the old question I once made myself when entering college "what profession our field of knowledge fulfills me the most?" seems kind of pointless today. I don't want to argue that it doesn't make sense to go after your personal persuits. But, you see, there has to be – at least, for me – someway out of the inevitable conclusion: if your lucky to address your own thoughts by yourself and can think outside the narrow landscape of training and test-taking, thank your supporters (family, scarse public funding, etc.) because you are imensely priveleged and wouldn't think that way if you came for the working class.

    Anyway, just some thoughts… I really like the show, congrats and hope you strive more and more!

  • Adding to your point about politics not being taught in the UK education system, personally I think this is an issue in need of addressing. As an A Level student about to go off to university and who is (almost) eligible to vote for the first time, I've come to realise how little I've been taught about the government and politics up to now. The little amount I do know has come from my history teacher, just because he cared enough to discuss it with me, and from my parents.

    I appreciate that government and politics would be a difficult subject to make obligatory in school due to various biases and the struggle for objectivity, but I do think it could be a hell of a lot better. And I certainly don't agree with the attitude 'if you care you'll educate yourself about it' especially as we're trying to encourage more 18-24 year olds to actually vote. Why should they care if they've been taught bugger all about it – the whole subject becomes too overwhelming and inaccessible for a lot of people.

    Just a few of my thoughts (sorry if it sounded like a rant).

  • I think the point of education is to teach people how to learn and how to question everything they hear so as to think about it for themselves. In the US, the privileged make it harder for everyone to get an education and discourage people from getting one because people who haven't been educated, no matter their natural intelligence, are more likely to be sway by a weak argument than those of us who have paid an arm and a leg to get educated. Our current president is a good example of the kind of bullshit people will believe if they aren't educated enough. The man says, "Believe me," and that's enough for people because they haven't been taught to ask questions about what other people say to them. The point of education is to expand the mind and to make oneself more resistant to lies around us. In the US, we seem to come at it from the perspective that an education is there to teach people how to be good, compliant workers. Since it still has the potential to do the opposite, there are a lot of people who do everything they can to keep people from getting the chance to go to college and, once you get your degree, there are a lot of jobs that you could have gotten before where they will no longer consider you for a job because you have a degree. I tried to get a job at McDonald's to save my apartment. The last time I got a job at McDonald's, I was offered the job right at the end of the interview. After my degree, the manager opened to page to where I had honestly listed my degree and threw my application in the trash right in front of me.

  • At my school we get up at 6 , 5 days a week to go to a building that we learn absolutely nothing usefull and it's a waste of our time and childhood. So when we are there we get mounds of work piled on us, we're not taught anything, and we're graded on subjects the school wants us to be good at and God forbid if I have an f in computer programing a subject I'm not even interested in I'll be treated like shit and I won't get the job I want at BNSF. And I'm sure I'll need to know freaking algebra something I don't even understand and looks like foreign alien writing to me to get by in life. So we go to school to be turned into robots that the school wants us to be. Waste of childhood and middleschool and highschool are completely pointless we learn nothing there and lose sleep over it its bull shit elementary is where I actually learned anything usefull. School these days don't even serve a purpose so is school somewhere you go just to work your ass off? It's like a god damn job! And you don't get paid! Schools are retarded I hope they know the kids going there are the ones going to be running the country someday.

  • What’s the point of doing exams if students are just going to forget most of the things, or maybe everything, after passing????

  • Running a child's/adolescent's life like a dictatorship is pretty fucked up no matter how you look at it. And yes, it is like a dictatorship. Don't fucking lie to me.

  • I'm from Denmark and in my school we had a subject called social sciences where we learned about politics, the government and discussed issues about society, and we had this as a compulsory subject from 7th grade onward. But something interesting is that my younger sister attended the same school, but at that time, they had changed it so that they got the subject from 8th grade, and I've heard similar stories from other schools. Perhaps it's a tendency to not want people to be that educated on this topic? Idk… Just thoughs 😉

  • Whew, this turned into a mammoth of a comment. Hope it's worth a read:

    I'm an American, specifically from the Bay Area in California. I also am the daughter and relative of teachers. You asked about if we're taught about politics and history. From my public education experience, we for the most part had an intersectional core of history and politics. We would read historical fiction about the Native Americans and on the same day would take a test on the sites of the battles in the (American) Revolutionary War, for example. We might be assigned a book report on historical figures and how they affected society today and if you were lucky enough to have electives or get.a spot in the class, a teacher might explain who a visual artist, musician, or athlete was and what the world was like around them. My history teacher in 11th grade was even gutsy enough to show clips from "South Park" to explain post-9/11 culture as we moved forward into the Obama presidency.

    It all culminated during 12th grade in a semester-long class called "Civics," in which we took many quizzes on the three branches of government, representatives, and the voting system… and that was it. In the wake of Donald Trump being elected, I actually went ahead and re-learned a lot of things I'd forgotten from civics class because I wanted to know which representatives I needed to contact in crisis, how much of a majority the Republicans had, what majority votes were needed to pass, say, healthcare annihilation, and other stuff. I only had to learn these things before to earn a passing test grade. It gave me some perspective on how little practical information I knew about my own government.

    I'd really like to say that I value American education, but there's so much I DIDN'T learn until college and so much that other people in my country couldn't learn. It's easy to get a school to not teach evolution or sexual education, for example. Lastly, when we were all taught to "sit down, shut up, read this and take a test on it in a week," all it really teaches you to do is survive your class day and know as much as you need to in order to get a good grade. Unfortunately, life isn't a grading system.

  • These things (like politics) are not taught in school deliberately. Which one is easier to dominate: a society full of working robots or a society full of politically educated people??

  • Primary school : 1+1
    Secondary school : a+b2
    College : John has 50 watermelons
    He eats 60
    Find the mass of the galaxy multiplied by the mass of the sun

  • Im in UK(iom) secondary school rn, and PSHE teachers(the only lesson where politics comes up) sorta assume that you already know how the government works. If you say you don't you just get a biased 30 second run-down. To be fair, we were like 13, but you still need to be taught it

  • Having tried to retake the matriculation exam in civic studies 2 years ago and seen the kind of content being taught under its guise…
    Maybe it's a good thing UK schools don't teach politics. You don't realize how quickly it becomes a backdoor for indoctrination, even when it teaches some good things, it teaches them in all the wrong ways..

  • Interesting conversation, certainly. I come at this from a slightly different perspective, having done all my schooling in Finland (as well as working as a teacher's assistant for half a year). We do have mandatory courses in music, visual arts, handcrafts (sewing or woodworking mainly) as well as government and politics. The school system here does still have huge problems though and I find it extremely sad when people abroad (usually leftist Americans) talk about our schools in a way that makes it sound like it is, at this time, exactly what we aspired to at the height of the last economic bubble. We have similar problems with class sizes as everywhere else, though not to the same extent, and there is disparity in the funding of schools in different parts of the country. How much free thought and critical thinking is emphasized depends a lot on who happens to be your teacher in any given discipline and some teachers even now are quite authoritarian. For me personally basic education was a positive experience. I have always wanted to acquire all knowledge and learn all skills possible and because of the way I was (or rather wasn't) raised, there was no way anyone could make me respect authority that doesn't earn that respect. I find the idea of democratic schools very interesting and an attractive idea, but at the same time the idea of that completely replacing traditional education makes me uneasy. I don't really have an opinion against it, rather I should analyze why it makes me uncomfortable and then I could form an opinion.

  • In regards to the last point: the people who are hungry and unemployed, who need education to be able to get jobs and improve their situation, are still at cross purposes to those who stand to profit by educating them in a certain way. So while it is a privileged position to say "education is good in itself," there is still a world of difference between saying "education should prepare people to make a profit for the ruling class" and saying "education should help people thrive in the job market." People ideally need education that suits their ends, not education that superficially suits their ends while actually benefiting the ruling class much more. Such honest education, of course, can never happen in a liberal capitalist or even a state socialist system.

  • I learned about the British system of parliament last week. Not in a compulsory class, but I'm in a German school after all, so… I cannot only understand the politics in my own parliament but also that in other countries. At least a bit.

  • I mean, we live in a society.

    Memes aside, if we didn't need to work to live, or at least work the severe hours many of us do, we could learn for self-betterment. As it stands, education is a value proposition. If it won't feed you, you may be wasting your time learning it.

  • There is an arguement that education was supposed to teach content, but with the advent of the internet and all of human existance, I think schools ought to exist to teach logic, the decision making matrix and how to find information. We know finding information is also a more useful job skill than just being able to do a thing. University, to me, is about learning to question ourselves. I got a STEM degree because I was convinced it would get me a high paying job (spoiler: it didnt) but I wish I would have studied law, politics, philosophy or something like that.

    I took honors classes in the US, a faster more detailed and broader reaching course then general classes. Our civic taught us about how the government works on paper, precedents and founding principles, but I was always bothered that we never did politics, government, or history more recent than the Nixon impeachment, even in my honors classes.

  • What can you do with a philosophy degree? Get a degree? Develop a marketable skill? Nope, but you can ponder what education actually like, is, man. Focusing on careers is just missing the point.

  • If I had total control to re-design the school system and the curriculum, it would be much different than it is now:
    -Starts 10:00 and ends at 14:00 so students don't have to wake up annoyingly early and also have lots of spare time to develop themselves
    -Every student gets a free license with which they can use all public transport from 8:00 to 16:00 for free, making the way to school easier and reducing individual vehicle pollution.

    -Litte to no homework. Everything with education from school is done at school. No need to
    -No animal products in the cafeteria: A plant based diet is the healtiest, cheapest, climate friendliest with no needless suffering and death to stimmulate mere taste
    -Focus is more on philosophy and science.

  • This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes. It's a long one, but John Green, in the first episode of Crash Course World History, when asked by a fictional, younger version of himself "Mr. Green, is this going to be on the test?" John gave the following, magical response:
    "The test will measure whether you are an informed, engaged, productive citizen of the world, and it will take place in schools, and bars, and hospitals, and dorm rooms, and in places of worship. You will be tested on first dates, in job interviews, while watching football, and while scrolling through your twitter feed. The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages, whether you'll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric, and whether you'll be able to place your life and your community in a broader context. The test will be comprised of the millions of decisions that when taken together make your life yours. The test will last your entire life, and everything… EVERYTHING, will be on it."
    Good stuff.

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