Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Against School

Against School

How public education cripples our kids, and why

This is an extremely good essay on compulsary education.

Education is definitely high on my list of areas
to address in the philanthropy I engage in.

In India I am routinely impressed by the intelligence
and vitality of the street children. Many children well
under 14 are holding down what seem to me serious jobs
with integrity and self respect. On numerous occasions
I have found myself negotiating on equal footing with an
8 year old about the cost of a wooden chess set or pair
of sandals.

A quick and wistfull sentiment I sometimes feel is
"wow, this kid is so smart, just imagine what he could
do if he went to school"

Im coming to believe that these kids may be so bright
and self assured compared with their american counterparts
because they don't spend their days in total boredom isolated
from any real (risky) interaction with the world.

I recently visited a school set up in a rural area here in India
where some very nice buildings had been constructed to provide
education to the local village children. The classrooms
were nice, the teachers seemed as competent as my own had been,
and watching them give sample lessons to the kids reminded me of
everything I hated about school.

As I engage in this process and try to 'help'
I need to be careful that I don't propogate some of the worst aspects
of my culture and background.

People at work talk about the gurukul system that used to be popular here

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