Education for democracy and liberty

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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 14th, 2016, 5:38 pm 

Hi all,

I met a woman on the Internet (Dating site) that lived in Singapore. She was thinking about moving to the States and finding a new husband, settle here. She came here for a business trip where I met her and her teenage son. He and I talked about their home. He hated the place. Suicide is a real issue among teens there. The pressure to excel scholastically is paramount and horrible.

It is a very standard old-school method of high pressure and punishment.. the big stick method. There is no question the system works. Always has.

But in this day and age, Entertaining Academic school from home via the Internet and dropping the competition.. kids will perform better when they enjoy school.. without social distractions. They will crave Social interaction and that is where regular schools still serve a purpose, but minus Grades and Academics. A highly social place without age segregation and taking classes that may actually prove useful on completion, such as shop classes and cooking etc. Make it fun, make it social, and zero pressure to achieve and kids will love (crave) school again.

Tell the Academics where they can shove their big stick. A bit of common sense will do wonders. When kids want to learn, as opposed to being forced to learn, would make a world of difference.. IMHO.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 14th, 2016, 6:09 pm 

I have three major problems with at-home education.

- Most home-schooling now is done by religious ... types... who want to protect their children from ideas different from their own belief-system. If you leave those parents in charge, the children will never be exposed to diversity, tolerance, democracy and all that progressive liberal stuff. As for critical thinking, not a chance! Nobody will challenge their "differing opinion" on same sex marriage, abortion, suicide or who should go to hell for what sin. (Does a ten-year-old really have his own opinion on same sex marriage or is he parroting an adult who controls his mind?)

- Not all children have a secure and happy home-life. Lock them in with abusive, domineering, belittling or negligent parents and the children will never be rescued. They will have no recourse to outside help or escape or even the realizations that such things are possible.

- Not all parents have the freedom to stay home with school-aged children, or a trusted family member willing to babysit all day, every day. All single parents have to work; in most families, both parents have to work. Some youngsters under 12 over are responsible enough to be left on their own, but many over 16 are not. And what of families with several children? It's hardly fair to leave the oldest in charge of young siblings while she is also expected to do her own school-work.

Two minor considerations :

- Play-dates a couple of times a week for sports and games can't replace the experience of operating, on a mundane, unsupervised basis, with a community of their peers. Growing up in isolation doesn't prepare people for participation in a democratic society, or for social interaction of any kind, including encounters with other genders.

- They'd be lonely and bored a lot of the time.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 14th, 2016, 9:06 pm 

Hi Serpent,

Serpent wrote:Most home-schooling now is done by religious ... types... who want to protect their children from ideas different from their own belief-system. If you leave those parents in charge, the children will never be exposed to diversity, tolerance, democracy and all that progressive liberal stuff. As for critical thinking, not a chance! Nobody will challenge their "differing opinion" on same sex marriage, abortion, suicide or who should go to hell for what sin. (Does a ten-year-old really have his own opinion on same sex marriage or is he parroting an adult who controls his mind?)

Parents are going to brainwash their kids no matter what.. except where kids are removed from home for their education, as in boarding school etc.

Serpent wrote:- Not all children have a secure and happy home-life. Lock them in with abusive, domineering, belittling or negligent parents and the children will never be rescued. They will have no recourse to outside help or escape or even the realizations that such things are possible.

Already a problem.. but you did notice I said Social School gets them out of the house and amongst peers and teachers?

Serpent wrote:Not all parents have the freedom to stay home with school-aged children, or a trusted family member willing to babysit all day, every day. All single parents have to work; in most families, both parents have to work. Some youngsters under 12 over are responsible enough to be left on their own, but many over 16 are not. And what of families with several children? It's hardly fair to leave the oldest in charge of young siblings while she is also expected to do her own school-work.

This is a legitimate issue. I can imagine Libraries and perhaps some supervised classrooms can be set up for latch-key kids to learn via computer courses. Privacy Stations.. etc?

Serpent wrote:Play-dates a couple of times a week for sports and games can't replace the experience of operating, on a mundane, unsupervised basis, with a community of their peers. Growing up in isolation doesn't prepare people for participation in a democratic society, or for social interaction of any kind, including encounters with other genders.

Play-dates? Unsupervised? Isolation? Not remotely how I expressed the Social Classes.. Serpent..

Best wishes,
Dave :^)
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 14th, 2016, 10:03 pm 

Unsupervised shop and cooking classes don't sound quite right. So, yes, you are missing a component of unsupervised interaction with peers. You miss those situations in which you must adjust to people you didn't choose to be among, where disagreement or conflict must be resolved, where developing humans find their place and function in a dynamic group, try out their relative strengths and weaknesses compared to others.

Isolation, yes. Learning alone with a computer is lonely. You don't hear how the other kids struggle with a problem; you don't have those 'aha' moments when another student's question is exactly the one you should have asked but couldn't formulate; you don't get a chance to exchange insights and ideas, participate in team projects, share difficulties, ask a peer's advice... or make fun of a teacher.

There is much about school culture that can turn nasty, but it is a culture, and I believe it's important for children to have the experience of trying to fit into a society.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 15th, 2016, 4:55 pm 

Hi Serpent,

Other people are reading this. They must be noticing your deliberate attempt to twist and distort what I have already said.. as a matter of record.

Serpent wrote:Unsupervised shop and cooking classes don't sound quite right.

Are you kidding? (or perhaps you are just skimming?)

Currently, Schools in America have 3 month long summer vacations. Somehow they manage to do something about their kids while both parents work? My wife was the unofficial Den Mother of all the latch-key kids in my apt complex for about 10 years. Unpaid.. but she loved kids and they loved her. Kids wanted to be around her, so discipline was never a problem.

Also, many jobs have day-care (or should have) and many jobs can be done from home, without the old-school requirement to group people together at an office. We live in the age of communications.. We need to discard the old methods and adopt/embrace the new. I was surprised to learn that many Chinese get a basket of materials delivered to their home, spend the day doing assembly work, exchange finished product for new materials each next day.

Where there is a will.. there is a way.. for the Majority anyway.

I spent the last 12 years commuting 110 miles every work day. This last 6 months, I've worked from home mostly, programming. It took awhile for my boss to come around. I'm saving over $300 per month in Gasoline alone now. Isn't that a more Green direction?

Telecommuting, Home Assembly work, Community Day Care where needed.. The solutions are available for a great many people.

Time to kick out the Old-Guard and bring in some New Blood, New Ideas and New Solutions. Can anyone really argue with that?

I already acknowledged the old method works.. the big stick method. With that, we can force workers to build Pyramids. But who is happy with that method, other than the top few percent?

You can lead a Horse to water, but can you make him swim? Of course, with a big enough stick, you can get it to do the back-stroke.. but will the Horse be happy?

Best wishes,
Dave :^)
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 15th, 2016, 7:06 pm 

Dave_Oblad » October 15th, 2016, 3:55 pm wrote:Hi Serpent,
Other people are reading this. They must be noticing your deliberate attempt to twist and distort what I have already said.. as a matter of record.
[Serpent -- Unsupervised shop and cooking classes don't sound quite right.]
Are you kidding? (or perhaps you are just skimming?)

Neither. That was a response to :
Unsupervised? Isolation? Not remotely how I expressed the Social Classes.
to the best of my ability to understand what you meant. I may have got it wrong, but I did not deliberately twist or distort anything.
I had expressed a concern that children would not get a chance to be social on their own terms, without adult supervision - and therefore be unprepared for democracy.
Currently, Schools in America have 3 month long summer vacations. Somehow they manage to do something about their kids while both parents work?

Yes, and that's difficult for many people, even though, during that time, the children are not expected to proceed with lessons or meet any milestones, so they need less parental assistance. Parents take their own vacation then, and line up relatives to help for a few weeks; there are day-camps and activities provided by the municipality and religious bodies and other sponsors - for a fee that already poses a hardship for low-income families; adding nine more months is impractical.
My wife was the unofficial Den Mother of all the latch-key kids in my apt complex for about 10 years. Unpaid.. but she loved kids and they loved her. Kids wanted to be around her, so discipline was never a problem.

Volunteerism is a wonderful thing, and I'm all for the community pitching in. I do wonder how many trustworthy minders are available in each neighbourhood; whether it can be organized reliably, on a large scale, year 'round. If so, that's one problem solved.
Also, many jobs have day-care (or should have)

That's for pre-schoolers. I wouldn't bet on most employers setting up study halls for all children from 6 to 18. No, make it 14; the big ones can go to the local Y, assuming they carry their own computers.
and many jobs can be done from home, without the old-school requirement to group people together at an office.

I'm all in favour of that, too - in theory. In practice, the presence of a couple of bored rival siblings in the house does not enhance the parent's more demanding tasks. It won't work for hospital care, janitorial duties or pizza-delivery or any of the service jobs at the low end of the pay scale.
We live in the age of communications.. We need to discard the old methods and adopt/embrace the new.

Absolutely. But not unreservedly or uncritically.
I was surprised to learn that many Chinese get a basket of materials delivered to their home, spend the day doing assembly work, exchange finished product for new materials each next day.

... and get their $1.50? Ye-aa -- Let's not do that!
Where there's a will, there's a way.

Indeed. Is there a will? Would the majority support this change?
This last 6 months, I've worked from home mostly, programming. It took awhile for my boss to come around. I'm saving over $300 per month in Gasoline alone now. Isn't that a more Green direction?

It was, for us, from 1996 to 2003. (contracts before that; 4 very long days a week, commuting Sunday and Thursday evening. The price of country living.) But a great many of those off-site jobs have gone a lot farther off site: to Italy, then India and Russia, at a third of the pay. I don't see that trend reversing.)
Time to kick out the Old-Guard and bring in some New Blood, New Ideas and New Solutions. Can anyone really argue with that?

Babies and bath-water come to mind... But on the whole, I agree that changes can be beneficial. I just want to pick the changes that really are beneficial, rather than bulldoze the current system, replace it with something that may have serious flaws, and have no fallback.
I already acknowledged the old method works.. the big stick method.

I have not witnessed any coercive or harmful teaching methods in any Canadian school between 1957 and the present. I have witnessed some ineffective ones, and some that reward a poor effort as well as a strenuous one, and some that bolstered the child's self-esteem over his competence. No sticks.
With that, we can force workers to build Pyramids. But who is happy with that method, other than the top few percent?

I haven't heard a viable plan to dislodge the top few percent.
Again, I wholeheartedly agree that they should be dislodged; I just don't see a clear path from here to there. Having fewer children would be a step in the right direction. Community organization would be a boon. Custom lesson plans for every child would be terrific.
Thousands of unemployed teachers assembling cell-phone components at their kitchen tables... not so much.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 16th, 2016, 11:01 am 

Dave_Oblad » October 14th, 2016, 3:38 pm wrote:Hi all,

I met a woman on the Internet (Dating site) that lived in Singapore. She was thinking about moving to the States and finding a new husband, settle here. She came here for a business trip where I met her and her teenage son. He and I talked about their home. He hated the place. Suicide is a real issue among teens there. The pressure to excel scholastically is paramount and horrible.

It is a very standard old-school method of high pressure and punishment.. the big stick method. There is no question the system works. Always has.

But in this day and age, Entertaining Academic school from home via the Internet and dropping the competition.. kids will perform better when they enjoy school.. without social distractions. They will crave Social interaction and that is where regular schools still serve a purpose, but minus Grades and Academics. A highly social place without age segregation and taking classes that may actually prove useful on completion, such as shop classes and cooking etc. Make it fun, make it social, and zero pressure to achieve and kids will love (crave) school again.

Tell the Academics where they can shove their big stick. A bit of common sense will do wonders. When kids want to learn, as opposed to being forced to learn, would make a world of difference.. IMHO.

Regards,
Dave :^)


In Singapore, the competition is not just in the schools but also the business world. Asian competition is due to dense populations. Something we might want to consider when considering the importance of population control. However, you bring up an important point, winning what and at what cost? Our young committing suicide?!

We used to educate for cooperation. I know this because I have the old textbooks that stress cooperation and charity as well as avoiding needing charity. Protestant work ethic. Since 1958 the focus has been competition. Especially important is scoring high on IQ test to qualify for colleges . Dense population and high competitiveness, create what kind of society?

I want you to know Dave, the old school Athenians would be applauding you. I say old school because education in Athens changed as our education has a changed, from education for arte' and freemen, to education for technological correctness and practical purpose- you know closer to the education of slaves. Education for people who must work for a living.

In the US the Boys and Girls Clubs historically provided the education of which you speak, and Boys and Girls Scouts also. We learned all the skills appropriate for our gender. This was and still is an after school program. These are not exactly as the Athenian would direct education, so let's look at the difference.

A slave-owning society does not need to learn skills and this may explain why these people did not develop the industry they were capable of technologically. The priority of their education was physical fitness and morality. Now here is an interesting fact.. music was considered important to morality. Next to exercising for physical fitness was music and poetry. We might call this education for virtues, virtues and morality being difference aspects of the same thing.

Athens amazingly neglected an education in the art of picture making. It is well known for its statues and buildings, pictures on pottery, ect. but oddly, this kind of art work was not a focus of their education for citizenship. Of course, we want to include art in our education. Much later when Europeans began educating their children, they came to determine art is an important part of education. In the days of Athens, Athena's new temple educated the world about democracy with statues and pictures. Odd isn't it, how something can be right before our eyes, and we don't realize its meaning or importance. Can we all agree art is very important in the learning process and for civilization?
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 16th, 2016, 11:44 am 

Serpent » October 15th, 2016, 5:06 pm wrote:
Dave_Oblad » October 15th, 2016, 3:55 pm wrote:Hi Serpent,
Other people are reading this. They must be noticing your deliberate attempt to twist and distort what I have already said.. as a matter of record.
[Serpent -- Unsupervised shop and cooking classes don't sound quite right.]
Are you kidding? (or perhaps you are just skimming?)

Neither. That was a response to :
Unsupervised? Isolation? Not remotely how I expressed the Social Classes.
to the best of my ability to understand what you meant. I may have got it wrong, but I did not deliberately twist or distort anything.
I had expressed a concern that children would not get a chance to be social on their own terms, without adult supervision - and therefore be unprepared for democracy.
Currently, Schools in America have 3 month long summer vacations. Somehow they manage to do something about their kids while both parents work?

Yes, and that's difficult for many people, even though, during that time, the children are not expected to proceed with lessons or meet any milestones, so they need less parental assistance. Parents take their own vacation then, and line up relatives to help for a few weeks; there are day-camps and activities provided by the municipality and religious bodies and other sponsors - for a fee that already poses a hardship for low-income families; adding nine more months is impractical.
My wife was the unofficial Den Mother of all the latch-key kids in my apt complex for about 10 years. Unpaid.. but she loved kids and they loved her. Kids wanted to be around her, so discipline was never a problem.

Volunteerism is a wonderful thing, and I'm all for the community pitching in. I do wonder how many trustworthy minders are available in each neighbourhood; whether it can be organized reliably, on a large scale, year 'round. If so, that's one problem solved.
Also, many jobs have day-care (or should have)

That's for pre-schoolers. I wouldn't bet on most employers setting up study halls for all children from 6 to 18. No, make it 14; the big ones can go to the local Y, assuming they carry their own computers.
and many jobs can be done from home, without the old-school requirement to group people together at an office.

I'm all in favour of that, too - in theory. In practice, the presence of a couple of bored rival siblings in the house does not enhance the parent's more demanding tasks. It won't work for hospital care, janitorial duties or pizza-delivery or any of the service jobs at the low end of the pay scale.
We live in the age of communications.. We need to discard the old methods and adopt/embrace the new.

Absolutely. But not unreservedly or uncritically.
I was surprised to learn that many Chinese get a basket of materials delivered to their home, spend the day doing assembly work, exchange finished product for new materials each next day.

... and get their $1.50? Ye-aa -- Let's not do that!
Where there's a will, there's a way.

Indeed. Is there a will? Would the majority support this change?
This last 6 months, I've worked from home mostly, programming. It took awhile for my boss to come around. I'm saving over $300 per month in Gasoline alone now. Isn't that a more Green direction?

It was, for us, from 1996 to 2003. (contracts before that; 4 very long days a week, commuting Sunday and Thursday evening. The price of country living.) But a great many of those off-site jobs have gone a lot farther off site: to Italy, then India and Russia, at a third of the pay. I don't see that trend reversing.)
Time to kick out the Old-Guard and bring in some New Blood, New Ideas and New Solutions. Can anyone really argue with that?

Babies and bath-water come to mind... But on the whole, I agree that changes can be beneficial. I just want to pick the changes that really are beneficial, rather than bulldoze the current system, replace it with something that may have serious flaws, and have no fallback.
I already acknowledged the old method works.. the big stick method.

I have not witnessed any coercive or harmful teaching methods in any Canadian school between 1957 and the present. I have witnessed some ineffective ones, and some that reward a poor effort as well as a strenuous one, and some that bolstered the child's self-esteem over his competence. No sticks.
With that, we can force workers to build Pyramids. But who is happy with that method, other than the top few percent?

I haven't heard a viable plan to dislodge the top few percent.
Again, I wholeheartedly agree that they should be dislodged; I just don't see a clear path from here to there. Having fewer children would be a step in the right direction. Community organization would be a boon. Custom lesson plans for every child would be terrific.
Thousands of unemployed teachers assembling cell-phone components at their kitchen tables... not so much.


May I jump into this argument? My concern is that learning is highly impendent on human interaction and the quality of that relationship. We know this from anthropologists' study of animals. Interacting with a computer does not meet this human need. Sure plenty of us can spend hours playing games, but this is not exactly equal to learning, and perhaps this is where schools fail as well? How has not experienced the special teacher who unlike all the others was able to unlock your mind and inspire you to learn better the subject s/he was teaching?

Also learing to click fast in a game is not equal to understanding a concept. Another problem with education following the 1958 Act is replacing Conceptual thinking with Behaviorism. Behaviorism is also used for training dogs, but it does not make good voters capable of the problems and concepts. Our brains are naturally quick thinkers and are reluctant to do the work of slow thinking. Being able to click on enough right answers to pass a test, is not equal to understanding the information. Fast thinkers react to life, they run on pre-judgements and feelings, not an understanding of life and ability to understand cause and effect, and as we see today, this leads to a very serious political problem!

I just deleted about half an hour of reply, because I realized the economics of home industries is far off the topic of education. I love the subject and someone needs to start a thread for it. It can be an economic thread or one debating what kind of society do we want? What does utopia look like? But not here please.
Education is too important to derail.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 16th, 2016, 12:10 pm 

SciameriKen on October 12th, 2016, 12:51 pm

I think the country suffers from a crises of purpose. How is one to prepare children for the future if you have no plan on how you want to shape the future? Our kids are still being groomed for factory work for crying out loud!! (Did the bell ring for lunch yet??)

Our leaders lack vision end of story.



ronjanec » October 12th, 2016, 12:56 pm wrote:Amen SK. Our leaders both Republican and Democrat have lacked vision for a very long time.


Can we talk about what education has to do with that?

We began preparing everyone for the Military Industrial Complex in 1958. This does not mean every citizen is prepared for war as soldiers are prepared. However, it does mean prepared to rely on authority and follow orders. This is good for autocratic industry, where the worker like a soldier says, "Mine is not to question why. Mine is to do or die." This education goes with a bureaucratic and industrial order where everything is run by policy. Every job is narrowly defined, and therefore, everyone is as replace as a part on a car. We are all only cogs in the machine of this mechanical society. No one is special anymore, and only a few obscenely rich people have power. The masses are no longer individuals, but truly a mass to be directed by the policy makers, who are dismissed as soon the policy made, leaving no one to negotiate with if that policy is going dreadfully wrong.

You know, hail Hitler, a place and time in history, where policy went dreadfully wrong and no one could stop this machine. I am not fooling around, but dead serious. We adopted the German models for bureaucracy and education. No one. We are now what we defended our democracy against, and Trump is our Hitler, with the same mass appeal Hitler had. If these words are triggering an emotional reaction instead of a cognitive one, be aware of that, have a cigarette or go for a walk, or do whatever you do to calm yourself down, and shift to thinking mode. What has happened to the US is intentional and well meaning, but was poorly thought out, and if we are to save our democracy with liberty, every one of you is vitally important in this effort to defend that for which we stand.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 16th, 2016, 12:23 pm 

Athena » October 16th, 2016, 10:01 am wrote:We used to educate for cooperation. I know this because I have the old textbooks that stress cooperation and charity as well as avoiding needing charity. Protestant work ethic.

That's okay, as long as everyone has protestant (white) work. But the destruction of jobs destroys men's pride, and makes them failures: to be in need of charity is to be no-account, road-kill. American capitalism despises its victims - always has.
In the US the Boys and Girls Clubs historically provided the education of which you speak,

--- BGCA home page, large print: "We believe that every American teen should graduate high school on time, college or career-ready with the skills they need to succeed in today's globally competitive workforce."
and Boys and Girls Scouts also.

You know that's a quasi-military Christian body, right?
We learned all the skills appropriate for our gender.

Marching, fire-building, knot-tying for boys; service for girls; derision for anyone who doesn't perfectly fit the current national specifications of one or the other. Scouts was my closest encounter with hell (so far.)
Neither organization is my idea of teaching independent, critical thinking.
Athens amazingly neglected an education in the art of picture making.

That's probably because portable pictures are ephemeral, compared to monumental sculpture and architecture. They were very legacy-conscious. But some murals and rather nice painted jugs survive. Not as nice as the Etruscans', though; they really liked colour.
Decorative arts are lower-class work, done by artisans and slaves; not suitable for gentry.

(pesky quotation marks!)
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 16th, 2016, 12:58 pm 

Just a quick observation..

I did very poorly in High School Math. I tried to hide in the back and barely passed. I was a daydreamer.

Much later I needed Algebra and took a quick home course. Could have been delivered by internet had such existed then. I mastered High School Algebra in a fraction of the time spent sitting in classes. Still later, I taught myself Trig from the Internet when I needed it. Learning by computer is not just a simple click and move on. It requires real learning, and without the distractions, goes real fast.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 16th, 2016, 2:01 pm 

Is there any reason you can't combine regular school, with all its chaotic social interactions, and tutoring - by teacher, fellow student or machine - in problem subjects? Most schools have computer labs, which could be put to use for remedial work, or extension study, or project research, during spare periods, detentions or after school.
I wasn't any good at math, either. Turns out, I don't need more than the 56% it took to pass. Have lots of scrap paper to figure on. I recently discovered a calculator icon on my screen - never noticed it; never missed it.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Paul Anthony on October 16th, 2016, 6:31 pm 

Several of you mentioned struggling with math. Even though that was my favorite subject, I sympathize. Learning something that doesn't interest you is really hard! In HS I failed Biology, took it again the next year and failed again. I finally passed it in summer school. Biology was, for me, what math is for many. :)

After HS and a stint in the military, I signed up for a few courses at a Community College. Since I hadn't declared a major I was free to choose subjects that interested me. I would start the semester by reading the books that were assigned, then spend tediously boring hours in class waiting for the final exam and a chance to prove I'd already learned the subject matter. The next semester, I didn't enroll in any courses. I just bought the books that would be used in the courses. Thus, I became educated without a certificate to prove it. Online courses would have provided both.

For subjects that are personally interesting, learning on a computer - alone - would be ideal. But, for those subjects that aren't personally appealing, a classroom setting might be necessary.

On another aspect: My friends were kids in my neighborhood who didn't attend the same school as I did, so I had very little "socializing" at school but plenty of it after school. Of course, I grew up in the stone age when kids were free to go outside and play. Now, there can be no socialization without adult supervision.

How did we become so anal that even play has to be organized?
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 17th, 2016, 10:26 am 

BadgerJelly » October 13th, 2016, 9:41 pm wrote:I have mentioned before that the US wanted to know why Finland did so well after their change to education. They threw out standardised testing and made teaching a well paid and prestigious job. The people in the US assessing Finland didn't believe in non-competitive schooling.

Basically you have the wrong cultural attitude to have a good education system. Such an attitude is unlikely to disappear overnight.


I want to know more and the attitude of which you speak.

The US used public education to mobilize for both world wars, and I think a national attitude can change rapidly with that kind of effort. But what should that attitude be in times of peace?
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 17th, 2016, 11:11 am 

What times of peace? Name three US generations - and they don't have to be consecutive - that grew up in a time or times of peace.

note - Cold wars count as wars. Civil wars count as wars. Police actions count as wars. Covert military actions in aid of friendly dictators deposing unfriendly ones in foreign countries count as wars. Clearing natives out of areas of US expansion count as wars. Border skirmishes with Mexico count as wars. Pacification of territories and possessions count as wars. Wars on terror count as wars. And if you happen to run a bit low on shooting wars, you can always declare one on poverty, drugs or crime. They don't count as wars, but give you a taste of the American mind-set.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 17th, 2016, 12:20 pm 

Serpent » October 14th, 2016, 4:09 pm wrote:I have three major problems with at-home education.

- Most home-schooling now is done by religious ... types... who want to protect their children from ideas different from their own belief-system. If you leave those parents in charge, the children will never be exposed to diversity, tolerance, democracy and all that progressive liberal stuff. As for critical thinking, not a chance! Nobody will challenge their "differing opinion" on same sex marriage, abortion, suicide or who should go to hell for what sin. (Does a ten-year-old really have his own opinion on same sex marriage or is he parroting an adult who controls his mind?)

- Not all children have a secure and happy home-life. Lock them in with abusive, domineering, belittling or negligent parents and the children will never be rescued. They will have no recourse to outside help or escape or even the realizations that such things are possible.

- Not all parents have the freedom to stay home with school-aged children, or a trusted family member willing to babysit all day, every day. All single parents have to work; in most families, both parents have to work. Some youngsters under 12 over are responsible enough to be left on their own, but many over 16 are not. And what of families with several children? It's hardly fair to leave the oldest in charge of young siblings while she is also expected to do her own school-work.

Two minor considerations :

- Play-dates a couple of times a week for sports and games can't replace the experience of operating, on a mundane, unsupervised basis, with a community of their peers. Growing up in isolation doesn't prepare people for participation in a democratic society, or for social interaction of any kind, including encounters with other genders.

- They'd be lonely and bored a lot of the time.


I think those are all important considerations. Another serious one is not all colleges will respect homeschooling and employers might also not take it seriously. Getting through public or private schools is a rite of passage. It is not just about learning academics, but how to relate to authority and peers. And we have autocratic industry, not democratic industry. If we had democratic industry homeschooling might be more respected, because those employers are looking for self-directed people with initiative.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 17th, 2016, 12:33 pm 

Home-schooling is not necessarily self-directed. Often - or even usually - the child has no choice in either whether he is home-schooled or what he will be taught. The child is at the absolute mercy of his parents, and sometimes those parents are bigoted, oppressive and regressive.
I can't stress enough the importance of rescuing children from cults. Exposing them to other ideas and possibilities. Showing them a way out.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Paul Anthony on October 17th, 2016, 1:02 pm 

Serpent » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:33 am wrote:Home-schooling is not necessarily self-directed. Often - or even usually - the child has no choice in either whether he is home-schooled or what he will be taught. The child is at the absolute mercy of his parents, and sometimes those parents are bigoted, oppressive and regressive.
I can't stress enough the importance of rescuing children from cults. Exposing them to other ideas and possibilities. Showing them a way out.


I'd agree with you if public schools exposed kids to several other ideas instead of just one.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 17th, 2016, 1:45 pm 

Serpent » October 17th, 2016, 9:11 am wrote:What times of peace? Name three US generations - and they don't have to be consecutive - that grew up in a time or times of peace.

note - Cold wars count as wars. Civil wars count as wars. Police actions count as wars. Covert military actions in aid of friendly dictators deposing unfriendly ones in foreign countries count as wars. Clearing natives out of areas of US expansion count as wars. Border skirmishes with Mexico count as wars. Pacification of territories and possessions count as wars. Wars on terror count as wars. And if you happen to run a bit low on shooting wars, you can always declare one on poverty, drugs or crime. They don't count as wars, but give you a taste of the American mind-set.



I think you are being a little extreme about war. Most of the wars did not affect the masses as the Civil War and two world wars and Vietnam affected everyone. Our ongoing military action in the east does not disturb our morning coffee. Even on the few occasions, we are made aware that we are involved in military actions, it is no more disturbing than the starving children on the other side of the world. We are not emotionally involved with what happens on the other side of the world, as people were involved in the world wars.

I don't think the mindset manifested by a war and then a war on poverty and drugs was intended to be negative. War for us was very much about major achievements as we directed our minds, bodies, and souls (state of emotional being) to wartime production and the support of our allies. The challenge was huge, so the sense of achievement was huge. "We can do this!" That is a positive not a negative.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 17th, 2016, 2:35 pm 

Paul Anthony » October 16th, 2016, 4:31 pm wrote:Several of you mentioned struggling with math. Even though that was my favorite subject, I sympathize. Learning something that doesn't interest you is really hard! In HS I failed Biology, took it again the next year and failed again. I finally passed it in summer school. Biology was, for me, what math is for many. :)

After HS and a stint in the military, I signed up for a few courses at a Community College. Since I hadn't declared a major I was free to choose subjects that interested me. I would start the semester by reading the books that were assigned, then spend tediously boring hours in class waiting for the final exam and a chance to prove I'd already learned the subject matter. The next semester, I didn't enroll in any courses. I just bought the books that would be used in the courses. Thus, I became educated without a certificate to prove it. Online courses would have provided both.

For subjects that are personally interesting, learning on a computer - alone - would be ideal. But, for those subjects that aren't personally appealing, a classroom setting might be necessary.

On another aspect: My friends were kids in my neighborhood who didn't attend the same school as I did, so I had very little "socializing" at school but plenty of it after school. Of course, I grew up in the stone age when kids were free to go outside and play. Now, there can be no socialization without adult supervision.

How did we become so anal that even play has to be organized?


What are we not attempting to control? Unlike the family living on the prairie without indoor plumbing and electricity or any of the mechanized things we take for granted, and a police force and fire department and ambulance that can get you to an emergency room in 10 minutes, we think just about everything can be controlled. If heavens forbid someone has an accident, who is to blame? Obviously, someone was not exercising the necessary control. If a 14 year violates the law we try him as an adult in some cases, because by God, serious wrongs are not to be tolerated, and let's ignore all the science about his hormones and immature brain, and lack of life experience.

Now this thread is back on track. The subject is education for democracy and liberty. Since 1958 we have educated for a technology society with unknown values, and there are social, economic and political ramifications to this change in education. It is no longer "there but for the grace of God go I", but how severe should the punishment be, and there is no forgiveness, but our misdeeds are in the files and open to everyone, possibly for the rest of our lives, and in case anyone missed the news story of our bad, it is probably on the internet, and our passion for having people sign privacy policies is a sick joke, because we socially agreed to violate people's privacy.

Mother's who made the terrible mistake of letting a child walk alone two blocks to play in a park, have been arrested and charge with child neglect. Little boys who kiss a girl on the playgrounds have been arrested and charged. We have gone off the deep end, and have zero understanding of what morals have to do with liberty.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 17th, 2016, 3:13 pm 

Paul Anthony » October 17th, 2016, 12:02 pm wrote:I'd agree with you if public schools exposed kids to several other ideas instead of just one.

If it's the one about having a constitution, due process, equality and opportunity, it's a damn good start. But there are more ideas in public education. Somewhere along the line, students are introduced to Copernicus, Salk and Darwin. Public schools also have libraries that may have been censored by boards of education, but not young earth creationists.
I know, i know, they're too effin liberal. But this is too effin important to slide under a flippancy.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Serpent on October 17th, 2016, 3:25 pm 

Athena » October 17th, 2016, 12:45 pm wrote:I think you are being a little extreme about war. Most of the wars did not affect the masses

Ah, but they do! You pay for the hardware. You pay for the immense standing army. You pay for the security and intelligence agencies. You pay for the 'contractors', the lease on 40-odd bases on foreign soil, the structures, the internment camps, the fuel to keep it all circling the globe, the wars to secure the fuel, the supporting personnel, foreign operatives, flunkies and installed heads of state. All that money is not building bridges, hospitals and schools.
Your leaders suspend your civil rights, vote themselves the right to spy on you, detain people on suspicion of unAmericanism. They incite you to hate and suspicion against one another and encourage you to stay armed and paranoid at all times. They dump back into civilian society many thousands of war-damaged men and women who no longer fit. They alienate young people of despised minorities and turn them into domestic enemies, while creating far more numerous and powerful enemies everywhere else.
The entertainment industry cashes in by glorifying uniforms, patriotism, spies, obedience, horrendously wasteful military vehicles and explosions. They desensitize the young to violence, keep them adrenaline-charged and anxious, make them ready to go fight somebody - anybody - each other.
You don't need the schools to mobilize children for war - the whole culture is doing it.
Our ongoing military action in the east does not disturb our morning coffee.

And there is the tragedy.
It's so pervasive; like smog, you don't even know it's there. And as long as it is there, you cannot gear up education or administration or anything else for peace.

War [on poverty, crime and drugs] for us was very much about major achievements as we directed our minds, bodies, and souls (state of emotional being) to wartime production and the support of our allies. The challenge was huge, so the sense of achievement was huge.

The mind-set is there: appropriations, weapons, suspension of legal rights.... The achievement is missing... and nobody seems to have noticed.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 19th, 2016, 12:13 pm 

Dave_Oblad » October 15th, 2016, 2:55 pm wrote:Hi Serpent,

Other people are reading this. They must be noticing your deliberate attempt to twist and distort what I have already said.. as a matter of record.

Serpent wrote:Unsupervised shop and cooking classes don't sound quite right.

Are you kidding? (or perhaps you are just skimming?)

Currently, Schools in America have 3 month long summer vacations. Somehow they manage to do something about their kids while both parents work? My wife was the unofficial Den Mother of all the latch-key kids in my apt complex for about 10 years. Unpaid.. but she loved kids and they loved her. Kids wanted to be around her, so discipline was never a problem.

Also, many jobs have day-care (or should have) and many jobs can be done from home, without the old-school requirement to group people together at an office. We live in the age of communications.. We need to discard the old methods and adopt/embrace the new. I was surprised to learn that many Chinese get a basket of materials delivered to their home, spend the day doing assembly work, exchange finished product for new materials each next day.

Where there is a will.. there is a way.. for the Majority anyway.

I spent the last 12 years commuting 110 miles every work day. This last 6 months, I've worked from home mostly, programming. It took awhile for my boss to come around. I'm saving over $300 per month in Gasoline alone now. Isn't that a more Green direction?

Telecommuting, Home Assembly work, Community Day Care where needed.. The solutions are available for a great many people.

Time to kick out the Old-Guard and bring in some New Blood, New Ideas and New Solutions. Can anyone really argue with that?

I already acknowledged the old method works.. the big stick method. With that, we can force workers to build Pyramids. But who is happy with that method, other than the top few percent?

You can lead a Horse to water, but can you make him swim? Of course, with a big enough stick, you can get it to do the back-stroke.. but will the Horse be happy?

Best wishes,
Dave :^)


The solutions are not available for all people, and I think this is a cultural problem. As a culture, we have been neglectful of children. The industrial age especially has had a very negative impact on the family and being human. It is like despite giving lip service to human rights, in the US we have no problem with assuming the rich "deserve" more rights than the poor, and heaven knows our industry has had no compulsion against treating laborers like mules.

In general, might we agree children have a place in society, and society as a whole has some responsibility for their well beginning? This basically is behind laws that require children to attend school. We tax all the people to educate all the children because this is good for civilizing them and manifesting a good civilization.

However, you will be glad to know, liberal education is about well rounded individual development, centered on the uniqueness and best interest of each child, not the demands of industry. Such education is about being human, not materialism.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 19th, 2016, 12:49 pm 

Serpent » October 16th, 2016, 10:23 am wrote:
Athena » October 16th, 2016, 10:01 am wrote:We used to educate for cooperation. I know this because I have the old textbooks that stress cooperation and charity as well as avoiding needing charity. Protestant work ethic.

That's okay, as long as everyone has protestant (white) work. But the destruction of jobs destroys men's pride, and makes them failures: to be in need of charity is to be no-account, road-kill. American capitalism despises its victims - always has.
In the US the Boys and Girls Clubs historically provided the education of which you speak,

--- BGCA home page, large print: "We believe that every American teen should graduate high school on time, college or career-ready with the skills they need to succeed in today's globally competitive workforce."
and Boys and Girls Scouts also.

You know that's a quasi-military Christian body, right?
We learned all the skills appropriate for our gender.

Marching, fire-building, knot-tying for boys; service for girls; derision for anyone who doesn't perfectly fit the current national specifications of one or the other. Scouts was my closest encounter with hell (so far.)
Neither organization is my idea of teaching independent, critical thinking.
Athens amazingly neglected an education in the art of picture making.

That's probably because portable pictures are ephemeral, compared to monumental sculpture and architecture. They were very legacy-conscious. But some murals and rather nice painted jugs survive. Not as nice as the Etruscans', though; they really liked colour.
Decorative arts are lower-class work, done by artisans and slaves; not suitable for gentry.

(pesky quotation marks!)


Serpent, some people can argue the cup is half empty while others argue the cup is half full and both will be right. I assure you, I had no military intent when I was a Girl Scout leader. I think it is safe to say the vast majority involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs and Scouting, are totally concerned with benefiting the children, by helping them learn what will benefit them in life.

I like your explanation in the different importance put on art. However, today we can adjust that with science, as nature is the master creator and when we understand her forms, we understand how the universe is made manifest. Through art, we can internalize the knowledge of science and math, and it saddens me that all schools are not doing this.

A society that does not value its elders is making a very foolish mistake, because wisdom comes years. True some can stay foolish for a lifetime, but these folks must have gotten off to a bad start in the first place. I am thrilled by want I am learning at this time in life as a great grandparent. It is almost like being on a different planet because I see things so differently.

If a child is not taught to appreciate nature, art and music at a young age, the child can grow up to be completely insensitive to these pleasures in life. It is like their ability to enjoy life diminishes like a shrinking gene pool. The neurons atrophy and die, leaving the individual incapable of perceiving the pleasures. I think this later manifest in many social evils from just being unimaginative and insensitive to criminal behaviors. We are taking too much for granted assuming everyone can enjoy life as we do. This is not true. Our experience of life is highly dependent on how we are conditioned to experience life.
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 19th, 2016, 3:21 pm 

Hi Athena,

Sometimes it feels like we are being groomed to be the Ants in a colony. While it may have long-term survival value, it doesn't promote personal happiness. If I'm not happy, I have no reason to continue my existence. I don't want to be an Ant. Authority may be needed in many cases, but it is too easily corrupted. If every Ant had an equal voice then we may be more happy, but getting all the Ants to agree on one thing is near impossible.

It's quite a conundrum.. :)

Best Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Education for democracy and liberty

Postby Athena on October 20th, 2016, 12:52 pm 

Dave, You will be glad to know Athenian education was about being the best person possible. It was about developing arete', physical strength and beauty, and personal charm, and excellent communication and reasoning skills. Music education was considered moral education. This is different from the education of slaves or the lowly working class, all people who have no property for an income, but only their skill and labor to exchange for the essentials of life. These hard-working people did not have the luxury of higher education.

Might I say this labor and education thing was common, and even in Buddhism it was accepted the laboring class could not achieve the higher levels of spiritual development because they did not have the luxury of time for studies. As Athens commerce developed and the economy improved and the demand for educated people increased along with the money to pay for that education, Athens slips more and more toward democracy. They begin to get the world is not divided by superior and inferior people, but by advanced and disadvantaged people.

So for your ant colony, it appears war lead to us this mentality of the ant colony. The military organization of authority is a hierarchy of authority and decisions can be made very quickly, and what can be achieved by the mass under this hierarchy of authority is awesome!

For awhile Islam that blend of religion and government was the most advanced bureaucratic organization and this powerful organization spread Islam and put a large region of the world under its control. This forced stronger Christian organization and so to the Mongols who invaded Christian territory. However, it was the Prussians, not the Christians, who were next to develop the strongest bureaucratic organization. When they took control of Germany they centralized German education and focused it on education for technology for military and industrial purpose, and they applied military bureaucracy to citizens. Your ant colony.

For military reasons, the US adopted this bureaucracy and education.

Go back to first paragraph. Education for this ant colony is not modeled after Athens education for arete. I have a strong preference for education for arete, which is all the liberal arts. Education for humanity.

What do we want to stand for? Liberty and justice for all, or an ant colony- an ant colony is not exactly liberty and it is a very different purpose of being.
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