Demolish every school

18th February 2005 at 00:00
I read the observations in your supplements What is education for? with interest. But I prefer a different, more personalised question:"What is an educated person like?"

I start to answer this with three negative ideas. Educated people try not to do harm to other people. Then, they try not to do harm to the environment that we all have to share. Third, they try not to do harm to themselves. On a more positive note, they may try to do a little good in the world.

In order to achieve these things they have to become confident and capable researchers able to sift information, ideas and superstitions - what Postman and Weingartner in Teaching as a Subversive Activity called developing an effective "crap detector". They also need to be skilled in the democratic arts of co-operation and participation rather than morbid social and economic competition.

Mass, coercive schools, heavy with domination and with their roots in totalitarian thinking, are not designed to achieve these things, and usually achieve more or less the opposite - a long drawn-out course in practical slavery, as John Holt put it.

So schools urgently need to be dismantled and replaced by more intelligent arrangements for learning.

Roland Meighan 113 Arundel Drive Bramcote Nottingham

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