Making college free without solving other issues like how we push all children into college without a thought about the degree they choose or whether they are really capable of college-level work, or how tuition and textbook costs keeps raising at incredible rates while classes are cut is not going to be feasible. Is the government supposed to keep up with the inflation of tuition? Will taxpayers be expected to subsidize a student who fails out after a year because they were ill-prepared to begin with? Will some degrees with lucrative careers and available jobs be covered while others degrees are less or unsubsidized? Will higher rated schools be treated differently than lower rated ones? Will we subsidize trade schools for mechanics and electricians the same way we subsidize colleges for lawyers and doctors? I agree completely that the student loan issue in America is out of control and will only bring our country down in the long run. Hell, between my husband and myself, we are over $200,000 in debt from college, law school, grad school, and, of course, interest. We were lucky- both of us found jobs in our fields after only about one year of unpaid internships. There is a lot of change needed in our educational system- starting in K-12- that needs to happen. It won’t all be solved by making college free. That works in other countries because they have an entirely different system of education from childhood. College, even free college, is not a panacea on an individual or societal level.
In stead of tweaking an almost unworkable formula/system we should start from scratch.
I’m increasingly of the opinion that attempts at destroying (including profiteering) an education system should be considered high treason as disarming the citizen intellectually effectively puts control of the country into foreign hands. Consider it a last line of defense.
I would also like to see it written into law that education should aim to empower the student so that she may contribute to the wellbeing of the country – in the most general sense thereof.
While might not make up a large percentage, besides from reading and listening there are many other parts of education that do require expensive tools and materials. I suggest we deal with those with an entirely seperate formula (not described on this page) as to not confuse the cheap with the very expensive.
After cursory examination, most education does seem to involve reading texts, listening to speech, asking questions and getting answers. The only expensive thing is student time. The price of student time depends on her food, housing, cloths and recreational activities.
Having an expensive building (shall we say a learning factory) was essential before the digital age. Putting it in an urban area makes both the building and the student housing much more expensive. Government has plenty of ground to provide these things at construction price if they are needed for the type of course.
Getting the students involved in growing food and in building the facilities should be considered high value education as these are the things we eat the means by which they are grown makes up valuable content just like construction is valuable to experience. I’m by no means suggesting everything should be grown and build by the student but borrowing money to have others do things for you that you can do yourself is stupid.
A very important part of education is the selection of the curriculum. This should be done out in the open and be subject to as many views as possible, specially those from companies who are expected to buy the end product.
Things that are considered important to the curriculum should be written up by the private sector, be carefully examined, corrected and brought up to standards. The text should then be frozen until it can be shown to be outdated. For most material government should pay for this. Books should be available but the student only needs a digital copy that can be provided for free. We should aim to have the copy in their possession many years in advance.
For example: On irc I see 2 types of programmers. The first started at age 9-12 and gradually learned quite a lot quite modern ways. The second only started programming when school required it. The later is bullshit, the material should have been in their hands 10 years earlier so that they can reap the fruits of that random moment of curiosity.
Think of this completely ridiculous moment where we all of a sudden ask the teen: so, uhhh, what do you want to study? Think of how easy that decision would be if they had been gazing over the materials for 10 years and accidentally managed to read some of that biology, physics, chemistry, law, engineering, etc etc etc etc Everyone would be able to find at least one thing that tickles their fancy.
Khan academy is doing great work monitoring student progress but I find the videos rather dull, lacking special effects and famous actors. They are about as low budget as a guy in a closet recording a youtube video – in the most literal sense thereof. If we aim to educate there should be no excuse making it needlessly boring. We have technology that can keep any person in constant awe. Boringness is putting serious limitations on the amount of material one can absorb. There cant be an excuse for it.
Non of this is radical in my view.
If I had it my way the expectation for people to work their whole lives would be extended to the expectation for everyone to learn new things their whole life. I would cut down the number of hours one is expected to study and cut down the number of hours one is expected to work. I’m thinking of some ratio like 5-6 hours of work and 2-3 hours of education.
Multiple teachers should be available to answer questions in a split shift and they should be required to have a regular job unrelated to their teaching. Some ratio like 2-3 hours of work outside teaching and 5-6 hours on public video chat. Each question should be carefully written down as to create a search-able archive of Q & A.
I’m all for people learning the arts but if they have to sacrifice their ability to have a career and the economy while confusing the purpose of education it ain’t worth it. In stead we should have industries inspire us about the future of labor requirements.
One obvious drawback seems to appear in tenured professors and university research but after bringing the whole population up to high standards we will be quick to fund such projects and laboratories. Forcing other people into debt so that one can be a tenured professor is senseless. If we want them to do research we should chose to pay for it with money we have not be forced to pay with money we don’t have.
But my world view gets much more radical than this….
In order to have an economy that serves humanity in stead of having humanity serve a self-serving economy we need wealth redistribution. Now there are lots of ideologies against socialism, a basic income or any other kind of something for nothing but at the end of the day we need educated workers and business should not expect something delivered to them for free. As a capitalist rule: If something is free it probably sucks but you certainly dont get to complaint about it.
Over the last 200 years we went from 100% occupation in agiculture to a tiny 3-5% had we desired it we could have build the slacker culture many many years ago.
In stead we have a huge percentage of people who are merely pretending to be bussy in order to get a pay check. Neoliberalism certainly doesn’t care what kind of economic activity one engages in. I imagine the ideal neoliberal world to be dildo factories as far as the eye can see. 17% of which can be delivered to your door in 20 minutes. While its idea of growth here is to aim for 18% and 19 minutes.
In stead we can build a much more powerful economy if education is permanent and dynamically delivers that what industry needs while the needs of industries are defined by the customer. Therefore, as a means to avoid the “horror” of something for nothing we are to pay people to accomplish this education.
This is a perfectly socialist and a perfectly capitalist idea that fits perfectly in our economic system.
For example: Soon we will need many people in the field of machine learning. If we leave this to public curiosity and existing education we will first have a 100% male nerd population do the ground work then, 20 years after the fact traditional education will pick up a wildly distorted version of it and talk of great people (read male nerds) who did the ground work while they contributed next to nothing. They might even be teaching that heavier than air flying machines are impossible while the airplanes are flying over the university. Stranger things have happened.
Look around you, this is a world dominated by senseless entertainment. That didn’t happen by acident, it is what people know. It is the type of high end media we’ve delivered while we’ve failed to inspire and teach.
It isn’t unreasonable to argue that in the post-agricultural world one could work 6 years while young then be a slacker for the rest of the life. We didn’t want that world. Why should education be any different? Why would we learn things when we are young and be an ignorant oblivious retard the rest of our lives? It does take a specific kind of training to want all these different dildo’s and it doesn’t involve math, business, history, or any formal type of training.
All the bullshit variations of arguments like overqualified employees being unstable and professional training causing civil unrest are simply the 21th century version of “educated slaves are unhappy”.
Surely the problems you see in the above is not that you object to it but that you can read it!?!?
Or…. maybe not?
Thanks for your time