Our biggest mistake

was to think of education as something that takes place in something called schools.  Imagine for example health care as something that we only did in “school-hospitals” between the ages of 5 and 18, and that afterwards the graduates, now the people, would be on their own to take care of whatever health care they might still require.

Well of course that didn’t happen, although we did make in health care what may be comparable errors, such, for example, as relying too much on the single professional person, the Medical Doctor, who wasn’t ever and could never be up to that task. For health care, like education, to be effective, just has to involve the entire community and today it doesn’t

Now this did happen with education. We relied entirely on teachers in schools. I think this confining education to school buildings during the first years of our lives was by far our very biggest mistake in the way we’ve set up our country and organized our lives together. The result is now that education has little life of its own outside of school. The word education is stuck to the schools, having little or no place outside a school and in our lives.

And worse, when we take away the schools, as we do for most people following their dropping out or graduation, education, not the word but the thing itself, comes to a much too early end when it should be just beginning. While some adults may look back fondly on their experiences in schools, and while others be glad of the end of their schooling, most of us in regard to pursuing an education on our own don’t. At best too many of us will be only half-educated, not the whole person that a real education could have helped us to become.

The result of our system which equates school and education, thereby limiting education to the schools, is that during the some 200 years since the beginning of the common or public school, we have experienced an unending series of terrible outcomes. The worst are the endless wars bringing with them millions of deaths, and then and probably no better, the even greater numbers of people who are only half alive, realizing at best only a fraction of their potential to be fully alive and to experience a good life.

One terrible outcome is our choice of presidents. To what other than an uneducated, an ignorant population might we attribute the election of bad presidents, the James Buchanons, Warren Hardings, Andrew Johnsons, Franklyn Pierces, Millard Fillmores, and others, and today when it really bites, Donald Trump?

For until education replaces schools and occupies a real place in our lives we’re going to have bad leaders leading us. Would we have had the bad leaders, would we have had the child president we have today, if the people’s education hadn’t ended at age 18?

One thought on “Our biggest mistake”

  1. You raise a really good question.
    If people were life long learners, if we really were a society in which our pursuits and education really mattered, would not only our own lives be better, but all of us together, as a country. Maybe today, we would have the good, clever, forward thinking leaders, the kind we be had in the past but need to have continuously.


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