Louisiana to Radically Reform Education
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  • Anthony

    “Public schools have forgotten their purpose.” And just what purpose is that? Are public schools to be fashioned for careerists, educating for jobs; does public education yet remain the sphere animated by democratic hopes of an effective educated citizenry functioning both for itself and the commonwealth?

    • Tom

      Well, it would be nice if it performed that function. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
      And most of the skills needed for a careerist also go into being a functional citizen.

      • Anthony

        For me it’s not about nice nor is it about functional ( given its indefinite meaning in this context – at least from public education standpoint). I am speaking to intent of article and its educational implication going forward – skills as used above is definitely overbroad but I will not quibble since education and importance to real democracy is salient. For me, end of thread thanks: article too short. (but see E.D. Hirsch: The Making of Americans)

  • Boritz

    I don’t understand the “moved away from”. Colleges, and especially top-notch universities have never been very big on preparing graduates for the commercial work place. Example: For years top computer science programs hyped the Pascal programming language when there was pretty close to zero demand for it in the market place. An elite CS program wouldn’t be caught dead teaching Cobol during the decades it was the most used computer language in the marketplace.

    Their reasoning? 1) We are here to teach principles that can be generalized to greater understanding, not to train people in commercially popular products used outside of the academy. 2) We are here to educate people for the work place 10 years in the future, not the work place of today.

    Employers have long understood this and consider graduates to possess practically none of the skills they actually value. The best you can hope for as a graduate is that they figure you are a trainable resource and can learn practically everything you will need to know on the job. Nothing new here.

    • Andrew Allison

      Agreed, but the subject of the article is public schools, and the real flaw is that it should be the task of public schools to prepare students to acquire the skills necessary to succeed — something which, in general, they are manifestly not doing (witness the amount of 3Rs remedial work being done as “post-secondary” education).

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