RE: Debate whoppers

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From: Jim Whitehead (
Date: Fri Oct 06 2000 - 13:03:16 PDT

> (There is also a sizable home-schooling industry.
> Incidentally, is there any other case in which the homemade
> "product" is greatly superior to the professional
> product? What an indictment of the government school system.)

Um, yes, there are other cases where the homemade "product" is greatly
superior to the professional product. They typically occur when the product
is the result of a very time intensive process that is not easily
mechanized, as is the case with education, software development,
quilt-making, painting, and writing, to name a few.

> Innovative uses of computers and the Internet would offer new paths to
> learning. New methods of teaching would replace old, and costs would go
> down just as surely as quality would go up.

Can anyone name a new technology that has substantially affected the
essential difficulty and time consuming nature of teaching? TV? Nope.
Overhead projectors? Nope. The only one I can think of is the printing
press, so perhaps the Web will offer some hope, but will it be more than a
substitute for books? I think the jury is still out. New technologies are
useful tools, but I'm not holding my breath that they'll offer a dramatic
reduction in costs.

Plus, I just can't help but notice that he doesn't address the impact on
existing public schools.

It seems to me that this measure would inevitably erode the current social
contract that obliges every American to contribute towards the education of
the young. As America ages, this social contract is going to increasingly
come under fire. By having a portion of the child-rearing population that
is not vested in the Public school system, it increases the possibility that
they would join with the non-child rearing population to alter the social

- Jim

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