Talk About Education

Discussion Group

Why talk about education?

First let’s cut art, music, and gym from public schools. Good idea? Already done. Then let’s bring in money by selling exclusive access to targeted advertising. Done! Underpay teachers? Of course. Better yet, replace teachers with elaborate technology.

Universities sell job permits. The permits are of limited value at the time of graduation since entry level jobs pay considerably less than jobs later on. Universities don’t charge on the basis of salaries after graduation, but on the basis of a lifetime of earnings once students have learned what they didn’t learn in school. Students pay the high rates by incurring a lifetime of debt.

Pure research? Cut it. Applied research? Useful. Let large corporations fund research and profit from the results.

Consolidate news organizations and scale back investigative reporting. Too much information is confusing. Report the news that people want to hear.

People need to learn how to think and behave. To doubt what they learn and believe what they’re taught. To feel uncomfortable with questions and comfortable with facts. To do what’s rewarded and spurn what is not. To labor unattended and persist when bored.

Does America have a poor standard of education or, depending upon our objectives, the best in the world?

What are our objectives? How can they be achieved?

What do people need to learn?

Survival skills?

Reading, writing, and arithmetic

Managing money and staying out of debt

Martial arts, marksmanship, self defense

Cooking and cleaning

Using and understanding computers

Reading contracts, avoiding scams

Meeting people, joking around, making friends

Achievement skills?

Working long hours and performing well under stress

Following instructions and meeting or exceeding expectations

Staying motivated when it’s difficult (extrinsic rewards)

Getting people to do what you want

Taking benefits while passing on the costs

Fashion sense, looking good, building the brand

Skills to perform a specific task or pursue a career

Thinking and learning skills?

Asking questions

Finding answers to questions

Challenging assumptions, opening up ideas

Science and math to learn how the world works

History to learn about probable outcomes

Literature and philosophy to fill your head with great ideas

Multiple disciplines to learn different ways of thinking

Citizenship skills?

Giving to others, sharing, being polite

Making do with less

Taking care of the planet

Reading the news, keeping up on issues, voting

Civil disobedience

Internal skills?

Meditating, inner peace, self-awareness

Empathy, compassion for others

Love of poetry, music, and art

Handling pain, disappointment, and loss

Being happy

What next?

Everything we do is the result of having learned to do it that way. If we want to do better, we have to learn to do better. Are we learning to do better?

The purpose of Stir Center is to learn to do better.

Step 1: Conceive
Think of an idea that is truly exciting. If only it were possible.

Step 2: Refine
Figure out how the idea might be made to work in the real world. Resolve conflicts. Cross divides. Iron out the kinks.

Step 3: Practice
Develop a set of skills. Practice until natural.

Step 4: Apply
Bring about the changes you want to see.

The purpose of Talk About Education is to talk about education. How do we educate ourselves? How do we educate others? How do we pay for education? How does education make the world a better place to live?