Politics We should abandon school and close them down

shionoro

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Sounds radical, but hear me out. Schools had a good run, but they are completely useless nowadays.

The reason they used to be useful but are not useful now lies in a very different world we live in,
Schools are a very industrial concept. You assume that the group you teach is rather homogenous (after all, they get the same exercises and get taught together in a group that is determined by age alone) AND you assume there is such a thing as 'basic knowledge' that enables anyone who has it to be able to study anything and start worktraining in any job that does not require studying.

Both of these things are highly problematic nowadays. Firstly, our society became less homogenous (in any western state). That leads to problems: Either you can divide the children into homogenous groups (poor with the poor is s th that happens in the US de facto) and have the problem later down the road that you nominally give them the same educational degree while they have vastly different worth as workers (and vastly different knowledge and socialization) OR you try to teach them all in randomized groups (that is more common in germany), often leading to problems in class because you cannot really give adequate lessons to groups as diverse as that.

Secondly, it seems increasingly absurd to get very particular special knowledge like learning poems or reading certain books or even learning particularly special knowledge in MINT subjects in modern society. In a world with such vast knowledge as ours, in which you can google everything in seconds, a lot of the knowledge taught in schools that has to be repeated in exams is questionable. It would seem more adequate to teach people skills like researching. Schools try that, but they fail.

To say it bluntly, i do not think any child today learns anything of value in schools. And if it happens, it is a mistake and could have been taught better in other ways.

I give math tutoring lessons since almost a decade and even in that decade, the quality of education declined. Children do not need to know anything about math to get a B. It is enough to learn a solution scheme by heart, without understanding what you are doing. I am not exaggerating when i say that i tutored tenth graders (which had C's before i tutored them) who did not know what a fraction is and just used their calculators to solve any exercise with them without knowing what it means. They worked on these things like bots. Now, you could say that this is a problem of how schools do lessons, not of schools themselves. But i disagree here. Schools cannot really change that.
Because after all: Schools understand that it is kinda nonsensical to not teach how to use calculators and to make people learn formulas by heart (and they know noone will do it nowadays). They just do not really know how to teach math in another way because all they ever did over the decades was teaching very special particular parts of math that, at that time, might have been a good basic knowledge but are not anymore. I can wholeheartedly say that I, as an A grade student and math student that studied to a master's degree, learned nothing of value for studying in school. The Uni knew that and gave pre courses that taught you everything starting from 7th grade in like 2 months.

What schools do by now is acting as if they would teach children something and desperately hoping noone will call their bluff. That is why you can get a C in math exams just for answering things you can learn by heart without knowing what they mean. That is why you get B's in english just for upholding the form of how an analysis has to be written (even if your analysis is wrong and your text is full of mistakes) or why, even if you fail in exams, the oral part of the grade can save you.
Schools know they cannot let significant parts of their students fail but also know more and more children are not willing or able to really be bothered to learn that specialized knowledge schools used to teach. And i cannot even blame these children.

I will give you an example. One kid i used to tutor struggled to get approved for the german equivalent of high school diploma. He would have to get form F to C in math for that and he was horribly bad in math (i am talking actually not knowing what 1*1 was). He was not einstein, but he was also a person that had energy to do things in life. He was very active in sports, had a certain determination for the things he wanted to do and was socially capable. Someone with chances to do well, just not academically. I was able to get him to a C and he did, with lots of sweat and tears, finish high school. But...For what?
He became a physio therapist and is happy with it. Everyone recommended him to not leave school and do his diploma (and in fact, becoming a physio therapist around here is hard without a high school diploma), but it meant 3 years of nervous breakdowns, a strained relationship with his parents for failing and being 'lazy' and less time for the things he actually wanted to do in life. He had less time to spend with his first girlfriend and more time to spend with me trying to shove math into his brain. Does he need math in his day to day life? No. Not even close. Did math lessons inspire him or make his mind more logical? I can assure you, even with modern math education, that is out of question.

There are many kids like that. Modern math education (and modern education in general) is made for them. They would fail by any reasonable margin but have to pass or at least have a chance to pass because you do not want them to be unemployed and you know that they actually will do their job just as well as if they never saw a school from the inside after primary school.

There is no reason to have schools suck all these years out of the lives of children without even teaching them anything of value.
Modern children and teens do not learn in rooms in which they are trapped together with other children that mostly even do not like each other and get forced to repeat irrelevant facts some teacher that does not know himself why he even is there spouts.
They learn with 'how to' videos that they can click on exactly WHEN they need to know something and then proceed at their own pace and in the way they think they learn best.

In the modern world, schools are just a big waste of time. They are used simply to detain children and teens because our society doesn't really know what else to do with them until they are grown up. We are just used to lock them away instead of letting them actually spend their time in valuable ways.
 

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Make schools teach necessary subjects for life and let kids choose what interests them.
 

shionoro

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Make schools teach necessary subjects for life and let kids choose what interests them.
But how to do that and how to decide what is necessary?
I agree that we need to teach children necessary skills and let them learn according to their interests.
But i think schools are not able to do that because they, as a concept, are not prepared to do that.

That is as if you wanted a drill instructor to teach meditation. He doesnt have the skillset to do that.
 

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Kids should learn to cook, sew, and other basic necessities for life, as well as how to do taxes, write checks, use computers, and do math. Schools don't want to teach all that, they'd much rather have kids wake up at 6-7 in the morning and leave at 3 even when they're too sleepy to learn properly.
 

shionoro

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Kids should learn to cook, sew, and other basic necessities for life, as well as how to do taxes, write checks, use computers, and do math. Schools don't want to teach all that, they'd much rather have kids wake up at 6-7 in the morning and leave at 3 even when they're too sleepy to learn properly.
But do you not realize that what will be taught in these courses is not necessary or outdated once they graduate?
Why would you need to teach taxes in school when there are 'how to do taxes' videos or books readily available when it actually becomes a necessity to do it? Will someone remember how to do taxes because he did it in 8th grade and found it insanely boring?
I do not think so.

Modern children do not learn anything when they are not interested by their own motivation. No matter what it is.
There is no point in trying to teach them in that case.
 

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They might be but again, it's better to have these knowledge just in case. And computers will never be unnecessary or outdated.

Because it's better to know how to do stuff like taxes where you can get a more personal help than through videos or books where you may still have to figure things out. And why would you learn to do taxes before high school, at the earliest?

As they get older, they're more likely to learn stuff.
 

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So.... what exactly would an alternative to school? I am sure its possible to write a list with literally thousands of reasons schools are obsolete but the key here is what exactly you'd replace them with that would make up for those flaws without sacrificing the good stuff about them.
 

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It's possible that I'm misunderstanding your point shionoro, but [if not] I really disagree with your proposition.

Solely due to the fact that I don't think parents can be trusted to teach their kids.
Obviously not all - but there are many, many, parents/guardians who aren't capable (or don't have the time required).

It is vital for children to have at least a basic grasp of mathematics, as well as fluency in their native language (not just speaking, they must have a firm grasp on grammar also. With both reading and writing are vital and must be taught correctly).

I am not a fan of home schooling, as I feel there are many other things gained from schools than just knowledge.

Now, I do feel that there are many critical issues with the current teaching style, which schools use.

Most of these issues stem from the desire to teach kids a series of 'facts' to fit a governmentally approved syllabus - to be tested with a national exam.

It's an antiquated, and lazy, method to separate kids into 'skill groups' - and ends up leading schools to just teach what's required to pass the exam, not necessarily what might be useful in later life/anything else outside of the small subset of information required to get as many A-C (or whatever ranking system the country uses) grades as possible.

Exams are almost always a bad method of grading a student's ability - also a very unhelpful goal to encourage true understanding of a field.

But, I'd argue that this isn't an issue with schools, per se, but rather it's an issue with the goals we set for our schools to achieve.
Something which will never change, at least so long as we rely on single-day examinations to judge ability levels.
 
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M3J

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Agreed with zimby. Another advantage to school is that it helps kids with their social skills and relationships as well, as well as build lasting relationships. Homeschooling would not offer that, and as he said, parents aren't usually the best sources of knowledge.

Tests, exams, and all that shit in any case don't test intelligence, they usually test memories. If the kid has bad memory, he could do poorly even if he knows his stuff, or if she gets anxiety during test , then good luck to her.
 

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On another note, I thoroughly disagree with the idea that people don't need all that much math, specially on account of calculators. Take a look at the issues people at the US have with math. They were lagging behind other countries largely because they are taught math as if it was a magic trick to work numbers and the result of that is a lack of understanding of what they are doing. To try and catch up to other countries the US is implementing (or trying to implement?) the common core stuff... this is something that affects the quality of professionals a country can output basically.

And even then, looking at it at a more micro level.... There is a basic level of math abilities people should just need to have. Math is pretty much a language (of science), its how we understand the universe. So sure, you don't need everyone to know college level calculus I through 11 but you still need basic math skills to just function if only to at least balance your budget. Or not fall into crippling debt because you were too stupid to understand what an interest rate is. or too stupid to understand how your mortgage payments are calculated and how long you can afford to pay them. I mean, look at how many people in the world get by month by month by merely paying the interest on their credit card balance. year, after year, after decade after decade... imagine the past financial crisis if on a macro level people understood that the debt they were taking via subprime mortgages was going to screw them over a few years down the line. Sure, they shouldn't have been scammed to begin with but financial literacy (and by extension math) could have made a difference there.

And heck... how many people do you guys know that did not pick a stem career because they were afraid of or hated math? At least back when I was starting my university I heard people saying that dozens and dozens of times.... which is not to say those people made ultimately made wrong choices but.... How they felt about math definitely had an effect on their choices. Understanding math really does open doors for you.

Also worth noting... physio therapists are actual medical professionals (unless we are talking about some pseudoscience but i am going to assume its not the case). That means that behind what they do there is a crapton of science and by extension math....
 
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Schools are a daycare and place to keep kids too. Shut them down and that % of the population needs a place.
 

shionoro

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It's possible that I'm misunderstanding your point @shionoro, but [if not] I really disagree with your proposition.

Solely due to the fact that I don't think parents can be trusted to teach their kids.
Obviously not all - but there are many, many, parents/guardians who aren't capable (or don't have the time required).
I do not want homeschooling either. I DO think it is important that children and teens spend their youth with other children and teens. I just do not think that we need schools for that and that other possibilities can do that just as good if not better.
Basically, i keep asking myself: If we would just put children in a day care center with lots of optional opportunities but only very basic and sparse mandatory lessons, would we not end up in a better situation or at least as good? And I think if that concept is pulled off well, it would be FAR superior to schools. Even if it is not pulled off well, it would still at least not be worse and it would be cheaper and less stressing for the children.
So, ya, no homeschooling, but also no lessons.

It is vital for children to have at least a basic grasp of mathematics, as well as fluency in their native language (not just speaking, they must have a firm grasp on grammar also. With both reading and writing are vital and must be taught correctly).
I agree. That is one of the things i would make mandatory, among some other things. I think learning a second language should also be mandatory. But most of these things are basically done until 7th grade and lots of things even in primary school can be omitted because they would be better if they'd be optional (I do not think, for example, music lessons make a lot of sense in primary school. Basically, they are hours in which a teacher makes the children sing. I dont think you need to force children to do that. The ones who like to sing or play instruments would come to an optional lesson for that if instruments are readily available for the children to try out whether they like them).

Certainly tho, we do not need to teach anything beyond the basic grasp in school, because these things are better learned only by those who have actual interest in them. I have successfully studied math and i can wholeheartedly say that my school education didn't really help me there. You have a pre course that covers everything since 7th grade and you start with very basic things so that, for most courses, you do not actually need any knowledge beyond fractions and ideally a basic grasp about what a function is. Still , i had to endure 13 years of math education in school that basically can be done in a 2 months pre course for those who actually are talented and interested. I don't think we should steal time from our children in their youth if it serves no purpose.
Most of these issues stem from the desire to teach kids a series of 'facts' to fit a governmentally approved syllabus - to be tested with a national exam.

It's an antiquated, and lazy, method to separate kids into 'skill groups' - and ends up leading schools to just teach what's required to pass the exam, not necessarily what might be useful in later life/anything else outside of the small subset of information required to get as many A-C (or whatever ranking system the country uses) grades as possible.
Yes, exactly that. But that IS school. It is kinda hardwired into the system that there are standardized lessons that are forced into the heads of the children. But facts are not really all that useful in our modern society because there are so many of them and you can google anything.
It would make more sense to teach skills to children (reading, writing, social behaviour, frustration tolerance, discipline, stuff like that), but that can hardly be done with lessons. And school kinda is about lessons.
I do not think you can teach what is useful later in life with lessons, because our world is not very predictable on that.
In the 50s, i could roughly foresee what a child might need for later to work properly because there were many basic jobs that didnt change too much over night.
When i was in first grade, the internet just got started. My parents could definitely not foresee anything about my future career, nor could my teachers. And if i am honest, i cannot foresee what might be useful for someone who is in 7th grade now when it comes to facts i might teach him. Everything changes very quickly. Thus, I think the way we taught in schools made sense in former times, but i dont think it makes sense now.

I think this IS a school issue. The school was good for teaching people standardized knowledge and forcing them to repeat it. That was good because you could roughly foresee what these people might need later in life (and added some 'nice to haves' like poetry). And that is pretty much the only thing it was actually really good for.
Everything else people usually think they need schools for could probably be done better in a daycare center.
--- Double Post Merged, , Original Post Date: ---

On another note, I thoroughly disagree with the idea that people don't need all that much math, specially on account of calculators. Take a look at the issues people at the US have with math. They were lagging behind other countries largely because they are taught math as if it was a magic trick to work numbers and the result of that is a lack of understanding of what they are doing. To try and catch up to other countries the US is implementing (or trying to implement?) the common core stuff... this is something that affects the quality of professionals a country can output basically.
This is the same everywhere. It is true in Europe, it is also true in asia. Students do not know what they are doing. At best, they know how to solve an exercise because they learned that by heart.
Basically, schools teach you to act like you can do math even tho you really can't (unless you are one of the talented few who actually likes math, and even those are not really supported by schools aside from special programs).

And even then, looking at it at a more micro level.... There is a basic level of math abilities people should just need to have. Math is pretty much a language (of science), its how we understand the universe. So sure, you don't need everyone to know college level calculus I through 11 but you still need basic math skills to just function if only to at least balance your budget. Or not fall into crippling debt because you were too stupid to understand what an interest rate is. or too stupid to understand how your mortgage payments are calculated and how long you can afford to pay them. I mean, look at how many people in the world get by month by month by merely paying the interest on their credit card balance. year, after year, after decade after decade... imagine the past financial crisis if on a macro level people understood that the debt they were taking via subprime mortgages was going to screw them over a few years down the line. Sure, they shouldn't have been scammed to begin with but financial literacy (and by extension math) could have made a difference there.

And heck... how many people do you guys know that did not pick a stem career because they were afraid of or hated math? At least back when I was starting my university I heard people saying that dozens and dozens of times.... which is not to say those people made ultimately made wrong choices but.... How they felt about math definitely had an effect on their choices. Understanding math really does open doors for you.
But would these people hate math if schools didnt try to forcefeed a very neutered and simplified math to them? I don't think so.
I also do not know you are less likely to fall into debt just because you can do abstract math exercises in school. Yes, you should be able to add numbers and to have a basic grasp on spending and porportion. But i do not really think school helps those who are struggling with that just by making them multiply some fractions. Simply put: I do not think schools fight stupidity. They enhance it, because you are used to an environment in which you cannot really fail. You might have to repeat a grade, but really, in school, you just do nothing and still be absolutely fine, unlike later in life. The problem with the things you cite is usually that people do not do the effort to check how much what actually costs. It is not so much that they would not have the tools to do it. Even if you absolutely cannot do any math, you could ask someone else. But the problem here is more a problem of laziness than of ability.

Also worth noting... physio therapists are actual medical professionals (unless we are talking about some pseudoscience but i am going to assume its not the case). That means that behind what they do there is a crapton of science and by extension math....
You can call it that, but that guy never had to do another calculation in his life. I do not know what physiotherapists have to do in the US, but that guy had to learn massaging and facts about muscles and sports, certainly not number stuff.
 

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This is the same everywhere. It is true in Europe, it is also true in asia. Students do not know what they are doing. At best, they know how to solve an exercise because they learned that by heart.
Basically, schools teach you to act like you can do math even tho you really can't (unless you are one of the talented few who actually likes math, and even those are not really supported by schools aside from special programs).

But would these people hate math if schools didnt try to forcefeed a very neutered and simplified math to them? I don't think so.
I also do not know you are less likely to fall into debt just because you can do abstract math exercises in school. Yes, you should be able to add numbers and to have a basic grasp on spending and porportion. But i do not really think school helps those who are struggling with that just by making them multiply some fractions. Simply put: I do not think schools fight stupidity. They enhance it, because you are used to an environment in which you cannot really fail. You might have to repeat a grade, but really, in school, you just do nothing and still be absolutely fine, unlike later in life. The problem with the things you cite is usually that people do not do the effort to check how much what actually costs. It is not so much that they would not have the tools to do it. Even if you absolutely cannot do any math, you could ask someone else. But the problem here is more a problem of laziness than of ability.

You can call it that, but that guy never had to do another calculation in his life. I do not know what physiotherapists have to do in the US, but that guy had to learn massaging and facts about muscles and sports, certainly not number stuff.
That sounds like you are way too pessimistic about how many people can learn math. Can't say I am as pessimistic as you though. I would still make the point that this is more of an issue about how math is taught rather than the extent to which it is taught.

Frankly, I'd say math is always going to be hated by a fair amount of people regardless of how it is taught. but I find that to be largely a non issue, it should still be taught and it is perfectly reasonable to expect a minimum level of it from people out of high school. And what you say does not sounds like a problem inherent to the concept of schools but rather how a given subject is taught. I do agree in that there is stuff that you simply don't need at schools nowadays because technology has made that knowledge all too accessible. I just don't agree with math being one of those things. Or science related classes for that matter. I'd say people don't need geography in schools for instance since its a class that is basically non stop memorizing places and it doesn't have anything to help you improve the way you think. I'd even go as far as saying humanities classes outside world history is largely not that useful in general. And even if you learn no humanities classes in high school, you can still pick that up later on. Which in turn wouldn't apply to math. i mean, if you learned no humanities in high school it will have little to no impact on your ability to become a lawyer. On the other hand if you didn't learn enough math in high school it is absolutely have a huge impact on people's ability to become, say, a mechanical engineer.

i am not sure of what to make of that last bit. Physiotherapists are literal medical professionals. They aren't alternative medicine quacks or glorified masseuses. Even googling about it in europe immediately shows a bunch of universities offering 3-4 year programs depending on the intensity. And while a physiotherapist likely won't need to solve complex calculations, in any field of science you go to you at least need basic math skills, at least for measurements and angles and stuff.

And anyways, going a bit more back to the main topic... the bulk of what you mention sounds more like an issue with how stuff is taught rather than where it is taught. It is objectively true that schools everywhere need to do better and find ways to make knowledge as accessible as possible to as many kids as possible. And still, you haven't really proposed an alternative to schools.
 

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Going to chime in here with my opinion.

I would argue that the purpose of school should be to teach someone to think; how to learn, how to problem solve, and such. All the other 'knowledge' is potentially useful information, but useless if you don't have the former. Whether schools are successful at doing that or not is a whole other question.

I'm a healthcare professional, spent seven years in postsecondary education, have a 'doctor' in front of my name. My job involves pretty much zero math in terms of what I actually do. Maybe I'll have to do some very simple stuff when I'm looking over financials to make sure the numbers are adding up right. Would I cut math out of my curriculum? Absolutely not. I can think of a whole bunch of other prerequisite courses and other things which I had to learn back in the day which I make no practical use of at all now. But the problem solving skills, different perspectives in approaching different ideas, mental flexibility are things that are invaluable, and are things that I would argue are only learned by having a wide breadth of education (assuming it's properly done). Being able to find such information on the internet does not compare with that in any way at all. Knowledge is one thing. Understanding is another.

Some people are always going to hate certain subjects. Not everyone is going to end up going as far as others in one area or another. Perhaps the compulsory requirements and mapping of prerequisites may need changing. But discounting the value of learning a subject because there is no practical application afterwards is a mistake.
 
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