August 22, 2009
Kurt – Point seems lost…
Is it just me, or have we complete lost the point of the system of education as we know it? Formal education, informal education… the latter is a fancy name for ‘hands-on-experience’. Since when has that been made subservient and inferior to book learning?
Personally, I blame the situation of history being taught improperly. Nowadays, when we say ‘History’, it’s always Patriotic, dates-and-names, doesn’t-really-matter-because-it-gives-us-no-understanding-of-the-evolution-of-society-due-to-the-fact-it’s-only-thinly-veiled-nationalistic-indoctrination history.
Does anyone really think about the history of ‘Formal Education’, never wondered why it’s usually priest, nuns and rich people/the social and economic elites who run and are benefited by it? Other than to complain about the unfairness of it all, that is?
If all that ranting hasn’t turned you off, here’s a small glimpse of history they don’t really bother teaching any more.
Formal education as we know it has ALWAYS been for the elite. ALWAYS. It was never designed with blue collar workers, much less those below the poverty line, in mind.
It all starts with the invention of writing and numbers. The original intent of writing was mainly legal, merchantile, and religious, while numbers was mainly for keeping track of money and, to a lesser degree, oceanic navigation. You needed writing to keep track of laws (or at the very least, legal precedents) ever since that guy Hamurabi got the great idea to write laws down. Merchants, of course, used it to keep track of their stock, while the various priests and similar folk, used it to codify their holy texts and make it easier to brand people heretics. Numbers were also used to keep track of things (like how much taxes you owe), and for not getting lost at sea.
You will notice that, even at biblical times, you had to be at least the local equivalent of middle class to do any of these things.
This continued pretty much unchanged for the next few centuries. Back in the days of kings and queens and empires, when it was perfectly all right for dirty old men of 5o to seduce 13 year old girls as a form of revenge on said girls older sisters (of 18, or so), formal education was the training method the aristocracy and elites used to make sure their kids were smart enough to know how much money they had. Poor people, of course, wouldn’t need to, since they were by definition poor, and could probably keep track of a single coin with no need for higher math, like arithmetic.
All those old religious schools lying about like so many mushrooms. There’s a very good reason for that. Up until a hundred years ago, the only ones with enough free time and money to devote to research and stuff, were priests (and bored, rich people). Many of the scientific developments of the old, old world were made by priests (either them or bored rich people, NEVER anyone in what might even vaguely be considered the working class), since they didn’t spend all their time giving mass 5 times a day (once a week was considered enough). In fact, in the olden days, priests did a lot of archaeology, recording local history, lepidoptery (butterfly studies), botany, paleontology, geology and making fireworks. Some of them did praying and so forth too, but this was considered showing off. The current slant of the education system is nothing more than a return to formal education’s roots, where only those with money and no need to work right away went to get educated.
Kurt Bada, 05-78675
B.A. Creative Writing