“”An ignorant community is a blind instrument of their own destruction.
Education is the act or process of acquiring or imparting knowledge or skills, especially at a school. It can also refer to the knowledge or skills acquired by this process, as in "level of education", or to a particular kind of instruction or training, such as "physical education". "To educate" is synonymous with "to teach".
Education is the cure for ignorance. Members of an educated society are less likely to believe in myths, woo, and pseudoscience.[note 1]
Perhaps this explains why
hard-core and opinionated public-spirited bodies such as the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the Church of Scientology and Landmark Education place such a high value and spend such a high proportion of their budgets on educational activities.
Types of education
More than merely relating facts about science, good science education aims to teach students the proper way to "do" science and additionally promotes scientific literacy. Scientific literacy and critical thinking skills are essential for living and competing in a technological world.[note 2] Organizations such as the National Center for Science Education in the United States of America and the British Centre for Science Education provide resources to help teachers of science improve their instruction.
Christian fundamentalists, in an effort to advance their form of religion, have historically attempted to get their own version of "origins theory" into science classes under the guises of "creation science" and "intelligent design". Although these worldviews sound like science they are not, and pressuring teachers into presenting them as such is not conducive to students' understanding of science. Numerous position-statements from science organizations as well as court decisions confirm this conclusion.
A grounding in ancestral (but slightly different) cultures like those of ancient Greece and Rome allegedly broadens/rounds the mind and provides some points of comparison with present-day thought and society. Wannabe generals may also get to translate accounts of 18th-century military exploits into Ciceronian Latin.
Institutions of education
Education for young children begins at home, primarily from their parents. This is an important place to learn language and morals. Although parents continue to provide some aspects of their education, most children in industrialized nations subsequently enter a form of mass education outside of the home.
Similar to state schools or government schools in other places, United States public schools are compulsory and free to consumers, being funded and directed at the federal, state, and local levels. Local school boards have some latitude regarding curriculum, and they, along with state boards and legislatures, are common places for fundamentalists to present their anti-evolution case.
Public school teachers, also known as educators, are state-credentialed professionals.
In the UK the term 'public school' means an elite private school (originally called that because they were open to all religious denominations). British people use the term "State School" to refer to publicly-funded schools.
An alternative to public education or private schools, homeschooling offers parents a sizeable degree of control over what their children learn. Educating is done by tutors or by the parents themselves (or by the children following their own interests with minimal parental intervention, also called unschooling). An Internet search revealed numerous websites offering resources for parents considering this approach to education.
Higher education involves study after the high school (secondary) level. The term is usually identified with colleges, universities, institutes of technology, professional schools, and graduate schools, but can include vocational schools, teacher-training schools, community colleges, academies, and seminaries. Generally a degree, diploma, or certificate is awarded at the end of a course of study.
Colleges and universities may be state-controlled or private. The latter are often run by religious groups, and there are many fine Christian fundamentalist colleges in the United States, including Liberty University and Bob Jones University. Other types of non-state tertiary institutions include underground universities, in which students and teachers prize and carry out unofficial education despite official sanctions - examples include the Polish "Flying Universities".[note 3]
A diploma mill is a college at which one can obtain an unrecognized degree with little effort for the purposes of flaunting it. Patriot Bible University and Universal Life Church exemplify such institutions.
While mostly unnecessary for the majority of citizens in agrarian and industrial economies, higher education is vital in the specialized post-industrial economies of the developed world. Nevertheless, many on the right refuse to acknowledge this, even claiming that higher education is leebral propaganda. The necessity of an educated, critical-thinking workforce and citizenry is why many have advocated for free higher education (as generally available in, for example, the Federal Republic of Germany), because this is a necessity in the developed world's economy.
Self-education, or autodidacticism, provides a nearly limitless source of knowledge after one's official schooling has ceased. In order to self-educate, one must learn how to learn rather than how to merely be taught. It is possible to find material for self-education on television, in libraries, and on the Internet.
Autodidactism is of immense private value, but the actual societal value placed on learning becomes clear when a highly educated autodidact attempts to get a job without possession of a
magically blessed and inscribed holy piece of paper degree.
- No Child Left Behind
- School vouchers
- Texans for Better Science Education
- Creationism in public education
- Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
- Nationalism in history textbooks
- National Science Education Standards, The National Academies Press. 1996.