Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts on Education

I doubt that education is a universal panacea to society's woes.

Education is often held to be a solution to the problems that ail society; the moral degeneration of our youth, the stagnation of our economy, the increase in incivility, the demise of the family, all these and more. While education may indeed prove helpful to these issues, I don't think it's wise to consider it a silver bullet to each and every problem.

At the very least, pushing everything to schools and teachers isn't going to work.

Every problem that affects us on a national level isn't a simple one that can be traced to a single root cause, much less a cause stemming from an inadequate or flawed education. If we fail to recognise problems for what they are, and address the entire basket of root causes, not only will we fail to resolve the initial problems, we will also end with a compromised education for an entire generation of students.

My belief is that most issues are socioeconomic in nature, and can be better addressed by dispensing funds to social programs, or to needy receipients. While increasing funds alloted to education isn't a bad idea per se, I believe that funds can be spent more intelligently. Improving school facilities, raising teacher wages, or increasing teaching staff aren't bad ideas, and will indeed help resolve problems stemming from inadequate infrastructure or low quality of teachers. However, simple initatives like school lunches have been shown to have as great an impact on educational outcomes. Thus, we should make proper assessments as to whether our spending is directed to obtain the greatest effect.

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