Rethinking ‘School’

This is my third (and last, for a while) column about education. Its purpose is to explore the widespread failure of the public school system in the U.S. to produce “educated” human beings (not just people who can read and write, but people who can reason). The solution is simple, for each of us to take our education into our own hands, and use the oldest method of learning known to humanity: conversing and sharing knowledge with each other, with our friends, family, and associates. It’s a powerful method that gave birth to classical philosophy and the Enlightenment.

Rethinking ‘School’

Column by Michael Kleen.
Exclusive to STR

Few institutions in the United States create more cognitive dissonance than its public school system. Complaints about the cost and quality of American schools fill newspaper opinion pages, and the rhetoric of “improving education” is a staple of every political campaign. Missing from this debate, however, is the role each and every person plays in his or her own education. This responsibility is much more important in determining quality of education than how much money is spent. Even the poorest among us, by embracing a return to the fundamentals of school, can take advantage of all being an educated person has to offer…

Read the entire column on STR!

About Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and freelance columnist. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, where he was the 2013 Republican candidate for mayor.

Posted on October 20, 2010, in Columns and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Nice column. I just have one nitpick.🙂 It’s about this paragraph:

    “Imagine what we could do if instead of spending $60 and several hours on buying and mastering a new Xbox360 game, we invested that time and money in learning a new skill, or in holding a discussion of Frédéric Bastiat’s The Law. I guarantee that Jay Leno would have less comedic fodder the next time he interviewed the average man on the street.”

    You are making the case that mastering a game on the xbox is not learning a skill. But it most certainly is and people can learn a lot from playing games.

    If as you say, success in education is born out of a natural desire to learn, then you must take it to its logical conclusion and let each individual decide this for him/herself. Which includes even the xbox games.

  2. I guess I agree to a certain extent. There have been studies to show that elderly people who play video games and work at puzzles have a later onset of dementia and other problems, because their brains are more stimulated. But by ‘skill’ I’m talking about something practical like learning how to fix your heater or change the oil in your car, or even something creative like knitting. I guess it’s the difference between programming a game and simply playing a game. Playing a video game is a passive activity – it doesn’t really require the level of activity that would be beneficial for the age group those games are marketed toward. I think it would be much more beneficial for kids to get out and actually learn to skateboard rather than just play a skateboarding game.

  3. I agree that playing a video game is more passive than other activities. However, we cannot predict what what it can lead to. There are thousands of “rabbit trails” one might take after learning to play a video game and automatically denying that as an option would interfere with someone’s ability to develop and maintain that natural desire for learning we are all born with.

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