Education

A common educational background being a necessary component of direct democracy, a common set of educational standards will be defined by the Globality, with education to these standards, and any additional standards they may require, to be ensured by Localities.

The standards, and the testing used to measure progress against them, must be owned and controlled by The People. Rather than hours or days-long testing done infrequently, which because it does not provide any feedback to the students provides absolutely no value to them, testing should be done at the unit level (every week or two). Students could take a 10 minute/10 question quiz in The System, with the results presented to them immediately so that they can take any remedial action necessary. To ensure breadth of coverage and discourage “teaching to the test”, each student would receive a different set of questions, drawn randomly from a set of hundreds or thousands of examples for that unit. This allow provides an efficient means for assessing the effectiveness of a teacher or a school: You don’t need to measure each item in each student, instead you can statistically aggregate over all the students to ensure that all the material has been covered.

The questions could be prepared by curriculum developers, teachers, or even the students themselves. Statistics on each question would be maintained separately (test/retest reliability, internal correlations, etc.) so that effective questions can be retained and bad ones eliminated. Ultimately a Credential would be issued based on a larger “final exam” using these same questions that would demonstrate mastery of each unit required for that Credential.

The better the education an individual receives the better it is for that individual and for The People as a whole via better decisionmaking, higher economic growth (more and better products, better resource utilization efficiency, etc.), more taxes paid that can be used to invest in infrastructure, and greater wealth accumulated (all of which will be returned to The People in time). Education therefore shall be free to all individuals as long as Standard Progress is maintained.

Free education shall be provided from infancy through graduate school. The People shall, however, retain the right to apply social engineering to equalize the number of degrees granted in each field to the number of job openings in that field. If you really want a bachelor’s degree in architecture you’ll retain the right to get one, but if substantial numbers of architecture majors are ending up unemployed or in jobs that don’t require that degree (as it turns out there are) then The People may not be willing to pay for yours.

All schools shall be accredited by the Globality (via The People’s use of The System) based on curriculum and student performance. All schools will receive per-student compensation at a rate fixed by the Locality. Localities may retain public school systems or outsource some or all of this responsibility to private-sector schools, but may not compensate public systems differently than private-sector schools. Competition is the essential for optimum performance and continued improvement. To facilitate this, the distinction between private for-profit, private non-profit, and government-run schools should be erased to the greatest degree possible, with the same regulations, tax rates, and accreditation policies applied to all.

The Globality assessment method should assume no fixed grade-level system and students should progress based on their performance. A Standard Progress metric will be adopted that allows parents, schools, and the students themselves to assess how they are progressing toward the Credential goal(s) (e.g., as a percentage of mastery in a subject). Compensation for the schools should be tied to this progress: Payment would be contingent on Standard Progress. Payment should also be proportional to each student’s learning rate, with rapidly advancing students coming with a lower compensation than slower students. This will incentivize schools to ensure each student’s time is utilized as efficiently as possible, and ensure that adequate funds are available to pay for the more intensive help that some students require.

This proportionality in payment will also address the phenomenon of cherry-picking that currently makes it impossible to compare private and charter schools with public schools, to the detriment of anyone that can’t really afford these higher-priced and/or higher-commitment options: The fact that more competent people graduate from Harvard tells us very little about Harvard as an educational institution. Mainly what it tells us is that Harvard is able to cherry-pick the best students for admission. To really evaluate it as an educational institution one would have to compare incoming SAT scores with GRE scores at graduation. This is something no one has done, and even if they had, the results would be inconclusive because there is no mandate that requires college graduates to take the GRE. But Harvard’s 4-year graduation rate isn’t even in the top 25 of US schools and given the quality of their incoming students, one would expect that most of them should be able to earn a degree in significantly less time than that. Offsetting tuition by student ability will provide a much-needed incentive to ensure that selective schools shift their emphasis toward their ability to educate instead of relying on their ability to cherry-pick their students.

Students must remain in school until certain Credentials are acquired, including those for basic Matchish and local language, Matchism (i.e., political science, economics and finance, psychology and social engineering, and the law), and the underlying STEM fields. Schools will compete with each other not only on test scores, but also on how quickly they can bring their students up to Credential level, at which point those students will be released either into the workforce or to the next stage of their education (see Gatto’s 2006 Underground History of American Education for an elaborate description of why this is not only more efficient, but also more humane than our current systems which in this respect function more like prisons than optimal learning environments).

To facilitate high-quality decisionmaking in public policy, psychology must become a part of the core curriculum, including not only full exploration of the many types of imperfections in human thought, both experimentally (normal) and clinically derived, but also their diagnosis and treatment (including both self-diagnosis and recognition of symptoms in others). It must also include instruction in child development and parenting. Necessarily this means that subjects that will be de-emphasized include “social studies” (which inappropriately tends to concentrate on non-essential fields including sociology, history, geography, and anthropology), literature, and language study other than the language of the Locality.

Math and “hard” science curricula should shift emphasis from highly specialized and theoretical topics that few individuals will make use of in their adult life and toward topics that are more likely to be required for them to make good personal and public policy decisions. For example, rather than teaching geometry and calculus, which even few scientists and engineers ever use in their careers, the math curriculum should focus on statistics, and particularly how human judgment and decisionmaking frequently conflicts with what pure statistics would tell us to do. These skills are useful in nearly all professional fields and all aspects of personal decisionmaking. The science curriculum, instead of focusing on basic physics and chemistry should instead choose examples from the domains of technology, engineering, public health, and economics. A basic understanding of all of these things is required to make good decisions both individually and in public policy.

It would also seem a good opportunity to redesign the way history is taught. Although it’s been said that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it, this is clearly not the case because historians have been writing and teaching history for thousands of years and yet there has been little or no reduction in the incidences of SDAPs victimizing their fellow human beings. Nor unfortunately have historians even made any significant contribution to the identification of this fact. So let’s stop trying to teach names and dates throughout grade school, very little of which is apparently retained by most students nor has been demonstrated to provide much benefit even for those rare few who do retain some of it. Indeed, by heavily emphasizing the history of their own people, teaching history is actually a great way to propagate nationalism, which is exactly the opposite of what an advanced civilization should be doing. Instead history should be taught as part of the psychology curriculum, perhaps in a year-long high-school-level course on “The History of Authoritarianism”. In that course, topics such as feudalism, slavery, genocide, imperialism, and pretty much any war you pick would be covered with the goal of identifying which tools SDAPs used to get the Neurotypicals to go along with them. That means that another educational benefit of implementing Matchism now is that it will also save the kids of the future from uncounted additional hours of having to learn the history of what happened between now and then. We can either add additional wars, political intrigues, and economic disasters to their plate, or give them a long blank space filled with nothing but boring, rational, bureaucratic decisions.

Finally, there is the issue of education, and the educational environment, as a tool for behavioral engineering and conditioning. As described in Gatto 2006, there is substantial pressure on educational institutions not just to teach kids how to learn (which is really the fundamental purpose of an educational system) but rather to try to infuse them with things like moral values and social conditioning. As discussed previously, this is simply a waste of time because that is not how these things are imprinted (i.e., we must instead rely on the home environment for this, because if it isn’t done right there, there is no way to fix it anyplace else. Hence the Match-homing proposal). Nevertheless the religious right calls for religious displays and prayer in school, and the left resist “vouchers” or any other means of directing public funds to private (particularly religious) organizations in favor of the unified cultural education the public schools are supposed to provide. But these disagreements should prove very useful to the Matchish because they are iron-clad evidence that both groups are devout believers in the concept of social engineering even though they are total amateurs at it and so are simply not qualified to make the determination of when, where, and how to apply it. Any debate on these issues should therefore start with an assessment of the social engineering qualifications of the people proposing to have it.

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