[lbo-talk] Speaking of University Bashing...

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Fri Dec 9 12:34:02 PST 2011

shag carpet bomb

but you see, we wouldn't need school because everything else would be a place of learning.

the idea that learning is something done in a school, separated off from the rest of what you do in life, is pretty useless. never mind how useless is the idea of schooling that takes place from the ages of 5 to 21. we alreayd know this is a archaic idea now, it would surely be idiotic in the socialist future.

and why have grading? you wouldn't need to grade people would you?

if it's for fun, there'd be no grades and so much of what counts as *schooling* today is unnecessary.

if it's cultural, wouldn't our other cultural insistitutions take care of the job of teaching - our media, our public spaces, our museums, our childcare centers?

and then it becomes a question of, what the fuck would we do with those children all day long if we didn't have schools!



Marx thought, for what it's worth, that education/work should be mixed from the beginning.

Part of being a child is being grouped with other children for part of the time -- and that probably was true even pre-neolithic. There are certain mechanical skills (a keyboard, reading at an elementary level, few other things) that will probably continue to be usefully introduced in a formal group setting. (Note: Border-line recipe-dictation is useful as long as it is een as a perspective on the present, not as a statement of what "every culture must have." (Given world demographcis, western culture will be absorbed & non-existent a couple centuries after its military domination is broken.) Can one really imagine that (say) 10,000 years from now, assuming humanity misses destruction by capitalism) there will be a single book from the last 5000 years that will be absolutely _essential_. Perhaps through the torturous paths of contingency-dominated history books themselves (including electronic forms) will no longer be of interest. They've only been around for a copule thousand years out of 200+ thousand years of homo-s existence. Why can't conversation among members of the same local community be sufficient for 'culture'? We can know one thing about the future more or less for certain: we wouldn't like it. Back in the '80s I heard a presentation by a Guatemalan peasant most of whose family had been slaughtered & who had escaped to this country. (He had a translator with him.) Near the end he broke down sobbing: he wanted to be home. Tht's how any of us would feel were we suddenly plunged into a socialist future.

So what we're debating here is not whether education is an essential to human society. We are discussing what hypothesizing various futures contributes to our understanding of the present.


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