What To Do About Primary Education

I have opined over the years that public education as it is available in North America is a perfect model to train people to work in factories.

The principle characteristics

  1. Obedience
  2. Punctuality
  3. Get along with others
  4. Communication skills
  5. Numeracy

At one time it included information about how we came to be where we are as a civilization, history and science, but that appears to have been replaced with more popular current topics.

Education should be a planning and execution tool

Somewhere the system has acquired a bias towards teaching facts instead of processes. Processes are about use. The answer to the question, “But, what’s it for?” has always been challenging for teachers. The factory system could get along with no answer, but no longer. Factory jobs are scarce.

Without knowledge and ability to apply the subject matter to real situations, education serves little purpose other than to provide a system to employ teachers, consultants, and administrators. You will notice that students are necessary, but only as attendees to the system. Their outcomes are poorly assessed.

To the point of purpose

Seth Godin produced a back-to-school thought on the 29th. Pivoting the Education Matrix. It deals with the points above and adds the value of leadership, creativity, mindfulness and analysis. It is worth looking at to derive your own parental or grand-parental support scheme. The end of the article points you to an older Godin piece. It is resource rich and you should follow it. Stop Stealing Dreams

The second article includes a free book and addresses his thesis. The wasteful fraud of sorting for youth meritocracy. The fraud is knowing everything and repeating it in exam ready form. That skill says little about the ability to use the material for useful things as an adult.

Application to planning

Planning involves four steps.

Observe the world around you and your place in it. That is what history, science, civics, and philosophy is about. How we came to this place.

Anticipate your future in terms of yourself and the world as a whole. The analytic and creative part.

Organize to fit. To take advantage of opportunities and avoid the traps.

Act. Make a decision and implement it. Know how to assess the decision as time passess. Know the specific reasons you made your choice, record future results, review those results against you expectation, and revise as necessary. Write down the specific reason for the revision and begin the process again.

The current system of education pays little attention to anything beyond the observe state. It may be because the metrics are so hard to use. How do you measure creativity and assign a mark?

Some of Richard Feynman’s thoughts

  • “I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way—by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!”
  • “There is a difference between the name of the thing and what goes on.”
  • “First figure out why you want the students to learn the subject and what you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense.”

Feynman had a great ability to explore and communicate. I expect he did most of it for the fun. It seems clear though that he knew knowing something in isolation of what to do with it was wrong. Facts were raw material for the creative, analytical, and discovery part of him. Raw material. Thinking is the machine that uses the material.

The direction for the future

Do you not think your children will be better off if they know about the processes of creativity, problem solving, analysis, expansion by connecting different facts, and communicating the results? I do.

You might find Scott Adams book on building skill stacks helpful. How To Fail At Nearly Everything and Still Win Big. Contrary to what they teach you at school, knowing what to do with things is important. You don’t need to be a world authority on anything, just have a world class set of skills that combine and support each other.

Effective education of children should be a highly ranked priority for all of us.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

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