Another school year is ending and soon the kids will be coming home from schools. Those schools are overcrowded and underfunded, with teachers under attack, and the poorest students get the worst of it. It’s no wonder that the end of school feels like a jailbreak to these kids. They’re free for a short time, at least while parents scramble to find Summer school or friends and family who can make sure the kids aren’t alone all day.
Why is education like this? Why are school budgets slashed? Imagine if every child could try every sport, play every instrument, do science experiments and art projects without limit. Growing up, children want to be astronauts, teachers, doctors, musicians, and just about everything else they can think up. A real education would provide every possible tool, instrument, piece of equipment or whatever else children need and let them see what they could do. How many arts, music, and sports programs have been cut from American public schools for lack of funding?
Why is education about cramming 40-50 young people in a room? Why not give teenagers ways to explore and use their energy rather than shutting them into classrooms? We could make education more hands on. They could learn music with musicians, sports with the athletes, and biology with marine biologists. This learning could be incorporated into doing real work out in the world – building houses and roads, cleaning up neighborhoods, assisting skilled workers on the job and learning the real applications of education. Today this society sends teenagers overseas to die in wars. Why couldn’t we instead send young people around the world to do different kinds of work, to study, and to learn? That would be a real education and a real adventure.
And why should education stop for adults? If every child were given the chance to develop all of their capacities, then by the time they were an adult, they would have many skills and still continue learning.
There’s no reason everyone couldn’t be a scientist, a doctor, an athlete, an artist, a musician, or all of these things, provided real opportunities. It is a loss for society that so many people stop learning before they’ve even begun their adult lives.
There is no reason education could not be redesigned. Why don’t we build more schools, hire more teachers, and provide education for life? Look at the wealth that is wasted in this society! One trillion dollars every year is spent by the Federal government on making war. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is $32 trillion held by financial corporations in overseas accounts. Let’s open the books and see what wealth this society really has, and then let’s decide what’s possible for education.