Education

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Education is the process, whether in a formal setting or not, of acquiring skills and knowledge. It is most familiar in the schooling of the young, but continues throughout life. It is considered a human right, and Article 26 of The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) recognizes education along with other necessities such as food, shelter, and water as a fundamental human right, and that parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.[1] The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by 192 countries in 1989, affirms the right of all children to free, relevant and quality education.[2] As a catalyst for human development, education provides people with the tools and knowledge they need to understand and participate in today’s world. It helps to sustain the human values that contribute to individual and collective well-being. It inspires confidence and provides the skills needed to participate in public debate. It makes people more self-reliant and aware of opportunities and rights.

Academic performance correlates most closely with the amount of time kids spend on homework. The United States has a socialized education program, though there are also smaller, competing, privately-run schools within the country. While it has been the establishment for some time, many have argued against the merits of government run programs.

Contents

Quality of life

Education enhances the ability of households to manage health problems, improve nutrition and childcare, and plan for the future. In developing areas of the world particularly, basic education provides girls and women with a greater understanding of basic health and nutrition, as well as of their own potential.

  • Educated women marry later and receive better prenatal care.[3]
  • Children of mothers who have received at least a basic education are healthier, better nourished and more likely to receive education themselves than children of mothers who have never received education.[4]
  • In the Philippines, maternal primary education reduces the risk of child mortality by half and secondary education by a factor of three.[5]
  • Education helps to prevent the labour, trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, and their use as soldiers.[6]
  • It is one of the most effective weapons against disease, and raises awareness of living conditions and environmental protection.[7]
  • Life expectancy rises by as much as 2 years for every 1 per cent increase in literacy.[8]

Economic development

Education is essential for economic development and eradicating poverty. It allows people to be more productive, to play a greater role in economic life, and to earn a better living.[9]

  • An adult with a primary education earns twice as much as an adult without any education.[10]
  • In Niger, the incidence of poverty is 70% in households headed by adults with no education, compared to 56% for households headed by adults who have received basic education.[11]
  • Farming practices can be improved through basic education.[12]
  • In Uganda, four years of primary education raise a farmer’s output by 7%.[13]
  • It is the foundation for acquiring knowledge and skills necessary to participate in and benefit from globalization and technological change.[14]

However, the idea that higher education through colleges is necessary for greater productivity and higher income is challenged by many. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2008 the average college graduate made $46,000 while the average plumber made $49,200, the average electrician $44,000, the average HVAC tech $47,000 and the average carpenter $42,940. In addition, only 35 percent of students earn a diploma in four years, and just 52 percent graduate in six, with the national college-dropout rate being 65 percent.[15] "Blue collar" tradesmen are also not burdened with years of college debt, nor do they add to the national debt by going into public service in order to have their student loans "forgiven" after 10 years of employment therein (with 120 continuous payments).[16] Institutions of higher education therefore put a drain on a country's manpower and resources for which there can be no justification in difficult economic times. The previously strong US economy will be restored to its former efficiency when the staggering sums currently being diverted to higher education are put to more effective use in reducing the absurdly high deficit by cutting programs that demonstrably serve no useful purpose.

Political stability and democracy

Education makes it possible for people to be responsible and informed citizens, and to have a voice in politics and society, which is essential for sustaining democracy. It also provides people with the knowledge and awareness needed to promote tolerance and understanding among people.[17]

Ideology in modern education

In addition to purely academic teaching, education forms a part in developing a moral and political worldview. In many countries formal religious instruction is part of public education, while the United States, which holds to separation of church and state, no longer formally engages in such. However, it is argued by conservatives that the modern degree of exclusion of religious belief from the State was not the historical norm.[18][19] One example invoked in support of this contention is that an estimated 75 percent of the school systems in the South had religious services and Bible readings as late as 1962, when in Engel versus Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that school-sponsored prayer was unconstitutional.[20] It is also argued that it is impossible to completely separate an educational system from moral beliefs,[21] and that the modern divorcement of religion from education constitutes an official "establishment of a religion of secularism" - a term used by U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart in dissenting from the decision rendered on June 17, 1963 in Abington School versus Schempp, which outlawed State-sponsored Bible reading in public schools.[22] [23]

Education in America, especially as its higher level, is typically seen by conservatives as promoting liberalism and helping to promoting moral degeneration. A (disputed) study showed that 50% of American college faculty identified themselves as Democrats and only 11% as Republicans (with 33% being Independent, and 5% identifying themselves with another party). 72% described themselves as "to the left of center," including 18% who were strongly left. Only 15% described themselves as right of center, including only 3% who were "strongly right."[24][25] [26]

Research on the political leanings of their university professors by members of The George Washington University Chapter of Young America’s Foundation (GWYAF) found substantial liberal bias in the academy. The school’s faculty gave 92 percent of their political donations ($221,490) to Democratic candidates versus only 8 percent ($20,500) to Republicans in the 2008 primary election. Consistent with this, in the presidential election the ratio was 91 percent to 9 percent.

Similarly, the ratio of Yale faculty donations in the 2004 presidential election between Kerry and Bush was 150:3. The ratio at Princeton was 114:1, and at Harvard, 406:13.[27]

Law professor Richard D. Parker, after 35 years at Harvard University, noted, “On this faculty, there are around 100 professors or assistant professors, and of that 100, I think you’d have to estimate there would be maybe eight registered Republicans." “I’m a registered Independent…and there’s no one else in the 100 who would identify as a populist.”[28]/

Textbooks used in schools of all ages have also been exposed as promoting a decidedly liberal bias against the nation of Israel.[29] A landmark book called The Trouble with Textbooks, by Dr. Gary A. Tobin and Dennis R. Ybarra described results of a comprehensive study they conducted of the 28 most widely used Social Studies textbooks in the United States. The researchers found that U.S. textbooks often contain "repeated misrepresentations that cross the line into bigotry.” Examples included Jesus being called a Palestinian, Islam being "treated with a devotional tone in some textbooks, less detached and analytical than it ought to be. Muslim beliefs are described in several instances as fact, without any clear qualifier such as Muslims believe...' The Islamic empire of the Middle Ages was presented as “a time of unqualified glory without blemishes”, while various aspects of the wars of Arab states against Israel were misrepresented.

One the glossary of book, World History: Continuity and Change, the entry on the Ten Commandments skeptically describes them as "Moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew G-d Y-hweh on Mount Sinai," while the very same glossary states the Qu'ran is a "Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from G-d.” [30]

One textbook publisher, Teachers Curriculum Institute, has agreed to rewrite its unit on the Middle East after being challenged, and consulting many scholars. The San Fransisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council found that the textbooks were so filled with inaccuracies and biased that they should not be used.[31]

Professor, Larry Schweikart notes that most textbooks tend to come from New York, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia, all liberal bastions. As concerns American history, Schweikart sees the "Reagan test" as a consistent indicator of whether a book is politically slanted. The majority of books he has examined credit former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev with ending the Cold War, while marginalizing Reagan.[32]

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute conducted extensive surveys in 2006 and 2007 of 14,000 college freshmen and seniors at fifty colleges nationwide, aimed at determining the impact a college education has on civic knowledge. The study resulted in the average freshman and the average senior scoring just over 50% on a sixty-question multiple-choice exam on fundamental knowledge of America’s history and institutions. An additional survey of 2,508 American adults resulted in the average college graduate scoring 57% in a thirty-three-question basic civics test, correctly answering only four questions more than the average high school graduate.

While scores indicated a college education resulted in little advance in knowledge of American history and institutions, an often significant increase in favoring liberal ideology was seen over those who were not college graduates. In addition, those with the highest degrees were the most liberal.[33]

James Piereson, in analyzing changes in higher education in America, comments on the growth of the liberal university, and which was then displaced by the left university during the revolutionary years of the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, with its alterations becoming institutionalized in the years that followed. Some of the noted resultant changes are that,

single-sex colleges all but disappeared; college regulation of student morals disappeared as well; government regulation of employment expanded, putting pressure on institutions to hire women and minorities for faculty positions; the line between teaching a subject matter and advocating political positions was blurred or even eliminated altogether as the new campus radicalism asserted that all teaching is political in nature; the liberal underpinnings of academic culture--the freedom to teach and conduct research--were attacked and eroded in the name of political correctness; the unifying character of the humanities was subverted and discredited when they were said to represent an oppressive tradition formed by white European males; new fields, usually with ideological preconceptions, were created outside the traditional departments and areas of study, thus expanding the positions available for radical faculty; serious academic requirements, including foreign language proficiency, were softened or eliminated.

...the radicals of the 1960s went further to launch a wholesale attack on American culture and the middle-class way of life, which they condemned as repressive and, worse, boring. The cultural radicalism of the 1960s, derived from the Beats of the 1950s, was so appealing to the new campus left because it promised something beyond political reform--namely, a different way of life with a revised set of morals... [34]

Related to this, in his State of the Union address of 2010, President Obama called for providing complete "forgiveness" of student loans to students who spend 10 years (with 120 continuous payments) employed in public service. However, this would be an extension of 2007 College Cost Reduction Act, which took effect in July 2009. Public service includes government and non-profit work, but excludes employment in religious instruction or proselytization.[35] In addition to increasing the national debt, this provision may be seen as being conducive to further promoting an entitlement mentality, and populating government with those who often manifest and propagate the same.

Quotes about teaching

  • Galileo Galilei: "You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself."[36]
  • George Orwell: "the present-day attitude towards education is enormously more humane and sensible than that of the past." [3]
  • Theodore Roosevelt : "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education."
  • "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."
  • "There is not in all America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility."
  • "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad."
  • Thomas Sowell: "We pay a lot of lip service to educational excellence. But too many institutions and individuals that have produced good educational results for minority students have not only failed to get support, but have even been undermined."[37]
  • We know from rigorous research that the impact on student achievement that comes from having a good versus average teacher clearly trumps the effect of smaller class sizes.

References

  1. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) United Nations. Accessed 2 February 2008
  2. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) United Nations. Accessed 2 February 2008
  3. Why is education important? (2004) "Education For All" UNESCO. Accessed 2 February 2008
  4. Why is education important? op cit
  5. Education Now: Break the Cycle of Poverty (1999) OXFAM. Accessed 2 February 2008
  6. Child Labour Today "End Child Exploitation" (2005) UNICEF. Accessed 2 February 2008
  7. Basic education and gender equality (2007) UNICEF. Accessed 2 February 2008
  8. The right to education "Education: How can a country with limited resources provide education to all children?" Concern USA. Accessed 2 February 2008
  9. Why is education important? op cit
  10. Bartholomew, Carolyn It All Starts with Education (2006) OneWorld. Accessed 2 February 2008
  11. Dhanarajan, Gajaraj Combating Poverty through Adult Education (lecture; Dennis Irvine Lecture Series, 5 March 2001) Commonwealth of Learning. Accessed 2 February 2008
  12. Industry Provides Update on Support for Economic, Social Development and Environmental Conservation in World’s Cocoa Regions (2006) worldcocoa.org. Acessed 2 February 2008
  13. Mutangadura, G. B. and Lamb, V. L. Variations in rates of primary school access and enrolments in sub-Saharan Africa: a pooled cross-country time series analysis International Journal of Educational Development Volume 23, Issue 4, July 2003, Pages 369-380 Science Direct. Accessed 2 February 2008
  14. Forum on Technology, Employment and Poverty Alleviation "Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia/International Labour Organization (2002) UN. Accessed 2 February 2008
  15. http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2010/02/27/opinion/469171.txt
  16. [1]
  17. Why is education important? op cit
  18. Honorable Judge Robert Ulrich Chief Justice, Missouri Court Of Appeals, Western District, Were the Founding Fathers Christian?
  19. http://www.naacd.com/issues_judicial.htm
  20. Colliers 1961 Yearbook p. 224
  21. Cause and Effect: The Bible, the Educational System, and Its Influence
  22. http://www.naacd.com/issues_judicial.htm
  23. Stephen V. Monsma, J. Christopher Soper, The Challenge of Pluralism: Church and State in Five Democracies, p. 27
  24. North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) of students, faculty and administrators at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada 1999. The Berkeley Electronic Press
  25. http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol3/iss1/art2
  26. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/17963/liberal_bias_in_our_schools.html
  27. http://www.academia.org/george-washington-slanted-here/
  28. http://www.academia.org/harvard-still-hates-america
  29. [2]
  30. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/SendMail.aspx?print=print&type=0&item=127797
  31. San Francisco Jewish Community Publications, Friday, February 13, 2004
  32. Fox News, March 11, 2010
  33. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, The Shaping of the American Mind.
  34. James Piereson, The Left University, part VI, The Weekly Standard, October 3, 2005 Volume 011, Issue 03
  35. Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 206 / Thursday, October 23, 2008 / Rules and Regulations, Section 685.219—Public Service Loan, p. 15.27
  36. Quotes on Education
  37. Are We Serious About Education?

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