[ExI] my view of education

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 06:20:02 UTC 2018

On Dec 13, 2018, at 10:10 AM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> What is taught in school?  I am more concerned with what is not being taught. Have you ever opened a book entitled something like “What they did not teach you in school?”
> If you did, you find out that schools, from grade one, teach a very sanitized version of history, especially American history. Americans are always right, our opponents are always wrong. When we go to war, atrocities are committed by them, not us. Our heroes never do anything wrong and are completely one-dimensional people.  That is change some during and after the Vietnam 'war.'
> If we had studied another country’s history books and found things like this, we would call their teaching propaganda and lies, destined to brainwash their children into believing that their country is right and others wrong.
> Having had history in college, I can say that they did not even try to overcome to one-sided images presented in high school and before. It was just more detailed.
> Now I am a loyal American who loves his country. But. I want the truth out and no lies and coverups in educating children. After all, lying to children about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and so on, are discovered to be lies, though thought to be harmless, along the way to adulthood. 
> School boards and colleges say that they are teaching critical thinking, but my question is, where? How? In what class? One-sided teaching is the farthest thing from fair it is possible to get. I think that is the worst kind of critical nonthinking, and actually immoral.
> We are all pretty smart, eh?  Did we notice these things when we went through school?  I certainly did not.
> Education or propaganda?

From reading Bryan Caplan and others on education, I suspect the problem is deeper than what children are taught in school. Caplan’s book on education seems to show that education overall is really unlikely to serve the purpose you think because it’s basically used to get credentials to move up in the world — as opposed to actually learning history or the like.

And from my talks with both Americans and non-Americans, I think he’s right: most people are deeply uninterested in most stuff taught in schools and even when they do learn, it’s mostly to pass the test and get the diploma — not to master a subject matter. That being the case, it should come as little surprise that even people who get their diploma soon forget history, civics, etc. In fact, my guess would be the nationalist/patriot taint is really less about what people learn in school than just the kind of the usual in group stuff almost all humans suffer from. In other words, it might likely be there regardless of what’s in the curriculum.


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