There is a huge difference between “an education” and the learning process, just as there is a huge difference between knowledge and understanding. An education can impart plenty of knowledge, but without a hands-on learning process, with instructors, objective debate amongst one’s peers, and the opportunity for practical applications of that knowledge, then one’s understanding can be deemed questionable.
The primary purpose of educational curricula all across this country – and frankly all over the world – is simply to make people employable: not informed, not empowered, not effective communicators, problem solvers, and managers of their governmental agencies; simply employable. Which is why the three ‘Rs’ are often pitched as basic skills, not as the foundation of all future learning. They are simply taught so that workers are able to run the machines, tally the inventories, and maintain the records of industry. In other words, to be employable to – guess who – employers.
While individual schools and individual teachers often attempt to impart a deeper understanding of certain subjects, curricula everywhere do little to nothing to create students who are informed and competent managers of our democracy, or even teach them that there are various forms that democracy can take. They learn nothing about becoming effective communicators, conflict resolvers, problem solvers, and students actively involved in their own communities. Ask anyone why they should obtain some ‘higher’ education and, invariably, they will say “to get a better job”.
It is often opined that a student’s failure to learn is the fault of the teacher. Small-minded thinking, limited political agendas, misdirected priorities, badly designed curricula and poorly funded students and resources are the real failures.
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