Monthly Archives: marraskuu 2016

Education Is Hit and Missed


Viikko 45


Date: Dec 25th, 2015
Motion: THB that the gov. may be right in its educational budget cuts
Role: MP (gov.)

Dear Assemblage, Chair, Ladies & Gentlemen,

”This House Believes that the Government may be right in its educational budget cuts”.
How so?

When we think about the reasons for a social ill, reasons can be roughly categorized as Unique reasons and Combined reasons. What is a unique reason? Consider Mental Illness. Usually, people say that the cure for mental illness(es) is a combination of ”p-remedies”: #peergroups, #pharmaceuticals, #psychotherapy, #parentalattentionandcare and #passageoftime. However, it could be any of these reasons. People enumerate and rattle all of them off, because they want to be right.

They’re ”right” as long as one of those tricks does its job. In that case, it will redeem all the rest. The cure for a mental illness might not be a combo of cures but just one of the lot. Casting the nets wide creates an illusion of having a wise solution. This could also be thought of as Correlation vs. Causation. People seem to thrive on not knowing the ”right” answer to a particular question, for that adds to co-operation, confused consensus and a collective cohesion. Yet, those who claim that the earth revolves around the sun, and vice versa, cannot both be right at the same time and with the same cogency. The wrong answer may not directly hurt anyone, but it certainly pre-empts follow-up research.

Conversely, when people try to uphold a certain Status Quo, they champion all of it. Every detail is ”important”. When people in politics champion education, schools, academies, universities and so on, they treat everything these entities do as ”worthwhile”, ”unique”, ”trustworthy”, ”progressive”, maybe even so far as ”sacred”…. In consequence, the budgets of schools shall not be cut in any circumstances, as schools need money for salaries, assistants’ salaries, computers, accessories, machines, field trips, exercise, books, libraries, upholding contacts with other schools etc. etc. etc. Yet, nobody seems to know what part of all this frenetic activity is really necessary, or the core kernel of schoolgoing. For lack of an answer, the answer is to protect all of it, preserve the status quo and only fly upward or onward.

Schools do need money, but money is not the gist of education or schooling. I am pretty sure that the oldest universities around, those of Bologna in Italy and Oxford in Great Britain, were pretty ill off in the beginning, in the 11th century or so. What’s immortal about schools is the majors and parents’ desire to send their kids off somewhere after they’re been through their childhood and their basic curriculum. Universities thrive in all kinds of (bad) circumstances and with all kinds of financing. The good challenge amid this chaos would be to find the money-devouring loopholes in academic bookkeeping versus those things that are absolutely indispensable for creating competence for and in the world. I’m all for a truthful accounting.

”There are those who change the world, and those who just keep it running”, or so the oft-cited proverb goes. If we cannot take away from the former group, we surely can take from the latter group? May be no, as the furore would then be even bigger. Those, who can suffer in silence might have to do so to the advancement of those, who can only suffer in agony, pain & with accompanying screams. There is demand (i.e. vocal calls for this and that) and there is Demand (people’s willingness to pay for something). There has to be some kind of systemic flaw in the question of budgetary cutbacks.

Thank you.

Arvio: Puolensa 3. puheena tämä saattaa olla liian avauspuheenvuoromainen. Puheessa on aika hyvä johdatteleva alkuosuus, joka ei liity suoraan itse aiheeseen, vaikka yleensä mennään suoraan asiaan. Puolivälissä sitten otetaan teema esiin johdannon jälkeen. Minusta tämä toimii hyvin, hieman samaan tapaan, kuin jos elokuvaa ei aloiteta leikkaamalla suoraan pääosan esittäjään vaan annetaan hänen ilmaantua jossakin 20:nnen min. kohdalla. Loppu on hieman sekavan oloinen, mutta varsinainen asia on kyllä tullut jo esitettyä. ☺