Education is a personal, family, local community or market molehill. But when you hear the discussions from most politicians, regulators or companies who benefit from national regulations, you would think we have a NATIONAL MOUNTAIN to “take on” in order to provide good education. I will simply mention that federal funding and directing or engaging in education in any way is unconstitutional. I am going to proceed with the understanding that most who read this blog will understand the limitations the US Constitution places on the federal government.
So, more on why we don’t need a federal education system.
How can I say education is a local (or even a personal) molehill? Well, only individuals are “educateable”.
It’s pretty simple, really. Personal education has happened since the beginning of time without the need for a national government to direct it. Now, please don’t think me callous regarding special needs in education. I have had family experiences with difficult educational circumstances, including learning disabilities and physical limitations that could have been detrimental long-term. What our family discovered, and others who have gone before us found this as well, is that DC is incapable of meeting real personal and family needs. Those very real educational needs are better met either at home, or very close to home.
So, why do politicians, regulators and corporations pretend we have a NATIONAL MOUNTAIN regarding education? There are a number of reasons people in government believe education is a “national problem” and here are some of them.
- children need to be separated by ages for education…Industrial education requires bigger scale. (Totally false)
- teachers are defined only as those who stand in front of a classroom located inside of a building or even online indoctrination by a teacher or curriculum (Totally false…a teacher is one who teaches, wherever the teaching may occur)
- schools are defined by buildings and budgets (False again, schools can be anywhere learning happens, which is pretty much anywhere)
- graduation rates from government schools are a valuable measurement of a successful education system (Nope)
- more money determines better education quality (a justification from bleeding the citizens dry)
- college enrollment rates are good measurements of quality of education (expensive paper for some students)
- Jobs, in acceptable government categories, are measurements of a good education system. (Their categories are a waste)
I hope to address some of the above points later, but more importantly, I hope to encourage individuals to look beyond the government school model as a solution to individual education needs, or the education of the children or children in your community.
The Purposes of Education
Before we can delve into this topic of education being local, and even personal, we must understand the purposes of education. Education can have a number of purposes and we could spend hours discussing them, but I do want to highlight the main ones.
First, education develops character traits. It teaches one to be a hard worker or lazy, honest or a liar, passionate or apathetic. Government schools basically don’t teach character traits because they are NOT allowed to. Now, of course, most of this character training should happen at home, but a school should encourage these traits not undermine the teaching of them as government schools do.
Perhaps education’s most visible purpose to the outside world is to provide knowledge that is converted into skills not previously possessed by the individual. A baby learns to talk, walk and eat. A teenager learns to drive. A grandmother learns photography…mine did anyway! Simple enough, right? These skills are often used to meet personal needs, as in the case of the baby, or the needs of others, like the teen driving a friend to the airport. Some skills even just meet personal wants, like the satisfaction of capturing beauty in a picture.
Another purpose of education, not often seen, encompasses the idea of fulfillment of an individual. I’ll be very personal, I am a passionate student of biology…from the visible world of flora and fauna in a nature to the interworking of the human microbiome (fancy word for bacteria that humans have all over their bodies). I don’t feel any fulfillment or enjoyment from drawing a picture, and honestly no one else would enjoy my picture either. Most people miss this fulfillment purpose of education and focus on the obtaining of skills purpose above, because skills are easy to measure and fulfillment is more difficult even if you are close to the student, and absolutely impossible from far away.
The federal government definitely believes that skills are easier to measure because “purpose” is not easily visible. Think about the jobs numbers published monthly or quarterly. Skills are categorized and quantified. We have nearly 1 million people in the US who work in lawn maintenance, a category of employment based on a set of skills. How many of these 1 million lawn maintenance workers find fulfillment in the skill they have obtained through education? No one is counting that as far as I know, but you can be sure that each one of these workers knows if they feel fulfilled or not in that job…but I digress.
As I said before, there are a lot of purposes to education, but the ideas of character building, fulfillment and skills development are pretty foundational, and these basics allow us to clearly see why education is a personal or local molehill and NOT a national mountain.
Who is educated and how are they educated?
In order to better understand why education is NOT a National Mountain, but is a local molehill, we must understand who is being educated and how they are educated.
So, who is being educated? Only an individual is being educated, or can educate themselves. What some would have you believe is that a classroom is being educated, or it is a generation being educated. Or maybe a town, a state or a nation. But in reality, only individuals can be educated, or can educate themselves.
Now, let’s be clear: individuals can be educated inside of classrooms, but just because that same individual lives within a certain generation and happens to reside inside of a nation doesn’t mean that “we must educate this generation.” Only individuals can be educated. If a politician says we need to educate “this nation’s youth” or “the next generation,” what they are saying is that they want to indoctrinate groups as they attempt to “crowd control” the next generation. It is completely arrogant and untrue to say you can “educate” a nation. How do I know this? I know this because they assume that education can be done from a centrally planned location for an entire nation. But education requires feedback that cannot be measured in standardized tests. Furthermore, individuals are educated in such a variety of ways that DC cannot possibly address them all…I can’t even address them all here. But it’s important to ask a few more questions regarding education so that we can see that education is individual and often, self-directed.
When does education occur?
Education occurs when an individual obtains information and the information is stored in the mind or body, and used as the person needs to use it, or as the person chooses to use it. Simple enough, right?
How does an individual obtain information? Individuals obtain information through a variety of ways determined by the individual: personal make-up. Howard Gardner, an educational researcher, gives a series of intelligences that drive a person’s ability to learn something from a variety of innate capabilities. These innate capabilities give some idea of how the personal effectively learns. Here is his list:
1. Musical (rythmic and harmonic)
2. Visual (spatial)
3. Verbal (Linguistic)
4. Logical (mathematical)
5. Bodily (kinesthetic)
What is an intelligence? It’s basically an ability, or in computer terms, computational power in a particular area. Personally, I have some bodily kinesthetic intelligence combined with naturalistic (I really enjoy understanding things via nature). The way I learn best is when I get to participate with the things I am trying to learn using my stronger computational skills in the areas I just mentioned. Now, I don’t want to presume that everyone is locked into this “Multiple Intelligence” theory, but I think it gives a solid glimpse at the fact that education does not occur in the same way for every single person. Therefore any educational system that attempts a one size fits all model is dangerous to those who do not learn in the way the model requires teachers to teach.
Teachers are AMAZING! And the term “teacher” must be defined broadly!
Perhaps the single greatest infection in the minds of people causing educational disabilities is the mind-set that ALL children learn in a classroom with someone standing in front of them speaking about some subject. This mindset is most promoted via the federal government’s education system on a national scale. But as we have seen above, NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
Teachers who create environments for self-directed education or encourage questions outside of the tightly enforced curriculum are often the ones students remember.
In our communities we must begin to engage in education with a multi-faceted approach. If we don’t take care of our local molehill you can be sure that Washington D.C. will continue to make a massive National Mountain out of education.