How much education do we really need?

Thread Starter

KL7AJ

Joined Nov 4, 2008
2,225
Since a good part of my adult life has been dedicated to imparting my boundless wisdom to people.....("I taught them everything I know, and they're STILL stupid!"), I've recently pondered the question: How much education do we really need to be productive members of society?

It recently occurred to me that everything I need to know to run Timbreland North Audio (my current enterprise) I knew by the time I graduated 8th grade. Oh sure, there are some nuances of the art that benefited from some more advanced training, but for the most part, I could have started out at the ripe age of 13 and done quite well....maybe even better, from a financial aspect.

Now, I have to admit that, growing up in Silly Cone Valley, (back when it was still Vacuum Tube Valley), I went to the finest grammar schools on the planet, and taking a field trip to the Stanford Linear Accelerator in the 5th grade gave me an early kick start into science nerd-dom. But honestly, by the time I was 8, I knew I wanted to twiddle electrons for a living,and was already avidly learning how to be the next Thomas Edison. I don't think I was THAT weird in this regard.

The reason I even ask the question is that Alaska is going through a major budgetary convulsion right now, and I learned that the public education system is by FAR the largest state budget consumer. Most of this is, as one might suspect, plain bureaucratic overhead....I don't think our teachers are overpaid in the least....though our administrators certainly are.

Anyway....I wonder what the consensus is around here...do you think some of the years you spent in the classroom could have been better spent getting a business up and running...or some such?

Eric
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
12,926
You're actually lucky that education is the number one consumer. In Michigan it is prisons. Those administrators are vastly more overpaid than the ones for schools and are far more corrupt besides. I think you need enough education be be able to read and write effectively.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,254
Anyway....I wonder what the consensus is around here...do you think some of the years you spent in the classroom could have been better spent getting a business up and running...or some such?
Certainly! Education is the path to get a good job working for someone else. It's a screening and filtering system, with a side benefit that some background is learned along the way. Education is NOT the most effective path to self-employment or business development. Certain classes along the way would be valuable, and other classes might be enjoyable for the sake of the information, but you would be wasting time taking all those normal prerequisites and electives you take on the path to various degrees.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,938
If done properly, I think the K12 system is a good one. I have problems with thinks like sports overriding other classes in importance, but the physical does need taught also.
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,190
Going to college changed my world view. My grandparents were farmers, my parents were country bumpkins, and I went through k-12 with the sort of people who grew up to be bus drivers and fry cooks. I repeat myself when I say, "Throwing me into college was like throwing a fish into water." I could finally get some traction! Just seeing how far ahead of me that other people were expanded my horizons and eliminated a thousand amateur ideas which I might have spent a lifetime exploring and failing at. I barely got through a semester of calculus, but I saw people in a dozen different fields of knowledge, all of them with decades of their lives invested. That changed the way I think about limits and showed me how to focus my energy.

The things I learned in class are small compared to the change in my global view. So, do we really need the education taught in class? Probably not much of it, but the experience causes changes that seem essential to me.
 

dannyf

Joined Sep 13, 2015
2,197
I think the general trend is to specialize, which means more education. If you look at the last 40 - 50 years, the wealth gap is more and more driven by the productivity gap, the skill gap, and underneath all of that is the education gap - thus the "arms race" in education that's going on not just domestically but globally.

do you think some of the years you spent in the classroom could have been better spent getting a business up and running...or some such?
The answer to that obviously differs. It takes certain personality, certain characters and risk tolerance to be willing to plunge into a small business endeavor, and lots of hard work, mental toughness and luck to build your own business, regardless of what the president and his party are trying to tell you otherwise.

I don't think 1) all businesses can be small businesses; and 2) all small businesses can be successful. So it is only natural to conclude that 1) the fact that you don't need much to run your company now doesn't mean that you don't ever need much to run your company; and 2) others don't need much to run their business.

As to education budget, I think education is the best and most effective mechanism for upward mobility. Human capital is the most valuable of all resources we have, and investing in ourselves and in our future generations is the best investment we and our society can make.

Having said that, most of the money the US spends on education is wasted.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
12,926
The cost to incarcerate non-violent offenders is most certainly wasted. Certainly if prisons cost more than schools one has to wonder where the state's priorities are. Are they the same as the people's priorities? I don't really have an answer for that one.
 

JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,190
If done properly,
That is the problem, defining the IF.

I don't think 1) all businesses can be small businesses; and 2) all small businesses can be successful. So it is only natural to conclude that 1) the fact that you don't need much to run your company now doesn't mean that you don't ever need much to run your company; and 2) others don't need much to run their business.
So you are saying there is equality of opportunity in the business world, but not equality of success. The same can be said of education.

Some are trying to promote the equality of success and as such are tinkering and even dumbing down the education results. Well, at least there will be equality of access and success if we make the criteria less. Then it's off to college, who will tinker with the equality of access, and willfully accept the money thrown their way, whether the student is capable, by having all the pre-requisites for their "chosen" path towards a degree, or not capable.

Where are the guidance counselors?
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,254
And nursing homes cost more than schools or prisons. So what? I'm not sure I see the point. If the implication is that there's a choice, school now or prison later, I think that's a false choice. For a few kids, yes, but not enough.
 

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
Everything else?
I think I mean your question is not clear.
My question is, "If shoplifters, burglars, drug dealers, embezzlers, counterfeiters, forgers, blackmailers, and the like are not put in jail, what punishment should they get? Stockades, flogging, amputation of hands, execution, or what? No punishment at all?"
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
12,926
It's not my theory. I believe that criminals should be punished.
Then you would be willing to tax yourself to support the appropriate prison infrastructure. Never mind the schools for educating the children who can be assumed to be drawn to a life of crime because their other opportunities are limited.
 
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