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* BFU Weekly Journal *
documenting creation of a
Visionaries Learning Center

Bastiat Free University offers internationally accessible and actionable student-directed learning to visionaries and entrepreneurs.
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BFUniv, BFU college, self-directed e-learning, Bastiat Free University

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We Need New Questions - school success

I woke with my head racing with important thoughts, I stumbled to the computer and wrote down this headline "We Need New Questions," and went back to bed. Unlike the last time I had a dream and wrote down its meanings this time I returned to bed without anything more than a headline.

Today that is all I remember.

Next time I will write more before returning to sleep; frequently my best work is done in the middle of the night. I will guess at what new question started this line of thought, perhaps you might add a new perspective or question in the comments.

At BFU we have spent time trying to understand where government sponsored education went wrong. Why are the students so poorly served, spending more than a decade in forced education and finishing with less curiosity, less spontaneity, very little actionable knowledge, and no desire to act independently.

"What's the difference between a bright, inquisitive five-year-old, and a dull, stupid nineteen-year-old? Fourteen years of the British educational system." - Bertrand Russell

  • Yes -- the educational bureaucracies were charged with creating useful citizens and participants in industry, but the results even there have been pitifully poor. Continually praising academics and giving more money to their institutions has resulted in graduates with declining functional abilities.

  • Yes -- bureaucracies were the most efficient way to handle masses of people back before information technology. Treat everyone the same, and most will receive some benefit.

Bureaucratic persistence as a system after its grievous faults became known is understandable - many institutions had a symbiotical relationship with mankind's larval endeavors and aggressively resist separation from the source of their sustenance.

But perhaps these are answers to the wrong question.

Consider all the time, money, and sophistication that have been applied to schools. Do the dropouts and inept graduates created represent success? Perhaps students we consider poorly served are an intentional byproduct of motives other than those of the citizens.

What if a uniformly dependent culture within a controlled society is the goal?

Then formal education would not be a failure that needs to be remedied, but an overwhelming success that needs to be eradicated.

"A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body." — John Stuart Mill


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