Should everyone have the chance to learn?

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I was asked this today and I think it’s an interesting question. I believe nobody should be denied the chance to learn, we should just adapt it to what the person is capable of. If they can’t speak, get them using non-verbal communication.

 
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As a teacher, I honestly cannot stress enough how much I feel that everyone should have the chance to learn. The only time someone should lose that right, is when they choose not to use it. There’s a huge saying that ‘Fair isn’t always Equal’, focusing on what is right and necessary for one student to have access to the same materials, isn’t going to be the same for everyone.

Even those kids who get under your skin for being little jerks, they’re the ones I try to reach the most to make sure they understand how lucky they are to have the ability to learn, and the access to a free education in which they can learn. I have a hard time having them sent to the office, because of their behavior, since it disrupts their chance to learn. However, there’s then a tricky balance between disrupting their education and them disrupting the rest of the children in the class…

Choosing to be ignorant is the one thing that will always, always get under my skin. I can handle stupidity, ignorance, and naivety, but when someone does not care to try and understand something they didn’t know before, or doesn’t even want to know, then I start having problems. (And my heart breaks a little, because honestly, who wants to be ignorant about so many cool things in the world we have to learn? :( )

 
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In a modern society it should be a crime to deny someone education (learning is actually kind of a wrong term here; you cannot prevent that someone learns in his life). That’s why I am strictly against tuition fees. All they do is promote social inequality.
The main goal of education should be to help everyone reach their full potential. This can only be achieved if everyone gets the same basic opportunities. Of course, this would also require individual treatment for every student, which is very difficult to realise. We need high quality teachers’ training and we need a lot more teachers than we have now. We would also have to change our perspective at education. Right now it is so focused on the needs of the economy that we are forgetting the ideals of education more and more. Selection and high test results no matter what should not be the main goals of education.

Short answer: everyone MUST have the chance to get a high quality education.

 
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The question is ridiculously vague, and as posted, I would have to say no.

 
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That’s why I am strictly against tuition fees. All they do is promote social inequality.

The liberal ideology that everyone is entitled to everything is really great in theory until you realize there isn’t enough money in the world to pay for the wonderful utopia they promote.

 
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Originally posted by issendorf:
That’s why I am strictly against tuition fees. All they do is promote social inequality.

The liberal ideology that everyone is entitled to everything is really great in theory until you realize there isn’t enough money in the world to pay for the wonderful utopia they promote.

So only rich families should be able to send their kids to college? That would be discrimination by income, which is against the constitution as far as I know (the German one anyway). Call it a utopia all you want, this is how it is supposed to be.


Some clarification: what I do not mean by that is that everyone gets the education needed to become a top level quantum physicist, which is what is often brought up against such arguments. what I meant was that everyone gets best education possible for them. Precisely for the indivisual, taking into account his or her interests, talents and wishes.

A bit more on that. I am against tuition fees, because people from a weaker social background literally cannot get higher education the way it is often handled now, or only by getting massive disadvantages. What I am absolutely not against is that people who have studied and are in the job they have studied for and can actually afford it pay money to the university they have studied at (or the state so that it can then use it on the education system) to give a part of what has been invested into them back. Basically that would be tuition fees, but at a time where they do not put that massive disadvantage on the people.
What is absolutely unacceptable is to have them pay for that when they are studying. This is pure social inequality. Even if they can afford it somehow they have to put much more work into activities not related to studying just to pay for college, which naturally puts them at a massive disadvantage. This is cannot be tolerated.

 
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The liberal ideology that everyone is entitled to everything is really great in theory until you realize there isn’t enough money in the world to pay for the wonderful utopia they promote.

Now, now Issendorf. It is a simple question of priorities. Many countries do fund higher education in its entirety. The US, as one of the wealthiest countries, certainly could. I am not saying that it is the best method, but it certainly is not impossible.

Basically that would be tuition fees, but at a time where they do not put that massive disadvantage on the people.

That is the general idea of student loans, which are pretty common most everywhere.

 
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Originally posted by Ungeziefer:

Basically that would be tuition fees, but at a time where they do not put that massive disadvantage on the people.

That is the general idea of student loans, which are pretty common most everywhere.

I don’t know how it is in other countries, but where I live they don’t cover the tuition fees.
Well, soon they won’t have to anyway. One of the last states that still collects them is now well on its way to get rid of them too, after a public vote has shown quite clearly what the people think of it.
Good times.

 
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As I’ve said umpteen times before, giving the right education to each individual is of critical importance. There is no young brain that is not capable of learning; rather there is only the application of styles of learning not appropriate to that brain. The rest of the animal kingdom have capitalised on fun being central to the learning process, as it allows the young to learn without realising they’re learning. Yet we have taken the opposite approach. Learning should not be fun, as fun is frivolous – and this is where our education systems fall down. Or rather, it is one of the many, many places our education systems fall down.

As EPR said, we have to reach the point where we can handle the immensely difficult task of tailoring a custom curriculum and lesson plan to each individual student, drawing on their individual strengths and weaknesses. We then have to tackle the much harder problem of integrating large numbers of such students with customised curriculums, into the same learning facility.

More teachers is a potential answer, but not the only one. We also need to excise the bad teachers, and the bad administrative staff. We are going to at the same time, need to greatly increase the utilisation of technology in the classroom and in computer-mediated learning spaces.

Whilst doing this we have to drop the cost of education – which leads us back to firing the worthless staff, employing telepresence and video conferencing to negate travel distances, and VR simulations to negate the cost of physical equipment.

Tutoring costs will remain for the foreseeable future, as we have to pay for this revolution. However, if we have staff willing to teach for free, there should be no barriers preventing them from doing so, and the courses they teach for free should be as strongly accredited as those that are paid for. It is then up to them how many places they wish to allow on the free courses, and how many have to go in via the normal way.

Testing will always be a parto f education, as there is no other way to find out if there are gaps in a student’s education, but perhaps a better way than it is done now, would be a modus of an informal interview with a person of their desired profession (or an agent representative), asking questions and presenting scenarios to the student, and the student demonstrating their aplitude for dealing with the scenarios presented.

That way they are not just showing they know the answers as on a standard test, but that they know how to think dynamically, in exactly the ways the job may demand.

 
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Originally posted by EPR89:

So only rich families should be able to send their kids to college? That would be discrimination by income, which is against the constitution as far as I know (the German one anyway). Call it a utopia all you want, this is how it is supposed to be.

Is offering something for sale that not every person in Germany can afford to buy discrimination?

 
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Originally posted by NaturalReject:

Is offering something for sale that not every person in Germany can afford to buy discrimination?

If that object being offered for sale, is necessary to have in order to be able to understand modern civilisation, to be able to read and write and do math, will impart the basic critical thinking and reasoning skills you’ll need to be able to earn a living and contribute back to that society, then yes it is discrimination to willfully hold such a basic object out of reach of a portion of the population.

 
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Originally posted by vikaTae:

If that object being offered for sale, is necessary to have in order to be able to understand modern civilisation, to be able to read and write and do math, will impart the basic critical thinking and reasoning skills you’ll need to be able to earn a living and contribute back to that society, then yes it is discrimination to willfully hold such a basic object out of reach of a portion of the population.

A college level education isn’t necessary for any of that.

 
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The PISA studies have shown quite clearly that people from poorer families generally have a harder time getting into any kind of higher education.
College may be most obvious due to the massive tuition fees countries like the US have, but higher education always puts a lot of financial stress on the families.

 
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Originally posted by NaturalReject:

A college level education isn’t necessary for any of that.

Yes, but education in general is. You’re doing what I suspected you were doing, and missing the forest for the trees. This whole thread is talking about education in general.

Thus, your argument was basically, that if the person was poor enough, they should be denied the right to send their kids to school, the same way as if you are offering an object for sale, you only give it to those who can afford the asking price. Thus the poorest people can go get lost and go without any education for their kids whatsoever, being the core of your argument.

I’m simply trying to point out that is not the correct approach to take. It becomes discrimination when you are denying people any chance to allow their kids a better life than they have themselves, solely because of the parents’ income. Education is a future pay-off enterprise. It reaps the rewards after it has educated the person and they are contributing back to society. If we deny sets of the population access to education because “they are only worthless poor people” then by making access to education an exclusive-access club, you are only impoverishing the nation as a whole, because you are discriminating not on ability, but on access to cash alone. You are denying your country many great minds (law of averages) simply because you deem them too poor to bother with.

Do you understand why it would be a bad idea for a country to follow this path?

 
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@EPR:

So only rich families should be able to send their kids to college?

I graduated from college and didn’t have a ‘rich family.’ If I don’t like marketing, I’m going to law school and will pay for it myself. College is an investment. If you don’t want to foot the bill, don’t go. If you want to go and think that your English degree is going to lead to a bushel of job opportunities, it’s your own fault for being that stupid or naive. The misconception is you have to go to an elite, private school to get a good education. You don’t. I went in-state to a public school and got a damn good education from an elite university (UW-Madison).

That would be discrimination by income, which is against the constitution as far as I know (the German one anyway). Call it a utopia all you want, this is how it is supposed to be.

I guess Ferrari discriminates by income. They should instead offer their automobiles cheap enough so everyone can buy them.

A bit more on that. I am against tuition fees, because people from a weaker social background literally cannot get higher education the way it is often handled now, or only by getting massive disadvantages.

I guess you haven’t heard of scholarships?

What I am absolutely not against is that people who have studied and are in the job they have studied for and can actually afford it pay money to the university they have studied at (or the state so that it can then use it on the education system) to give a part of what has been invested into them back.

This would be discrimination of income which you just complained about.
@ Ung:

Now, now Issendorf. It is a simple question of priorities. Many countries do fund higher education in its entirety. The US, as one of the wealthiest countries, certainly could. I am not saying that it is the best method, but it certainly is not impossible.

We’re also paying for more and more people’s healthcare, we’re paying for more and more people’s food, we’re paying for more and more people’s housing, we’re paying for more and more public sector workers – sure, let’s add on the bill for 20K people who decide it’s a good idea to get a masters in art history. National debt > 100% GDP? Psh. We have Pell Grants and states support student loans. There is plenty of assistance available for lower-income families to send their kids to good schools.

 
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Originally posted by issendorf:

College is an investment.

As I said before, this is the point where I strongly disagree, which is why the Ferrari comparison doesn’t apply.

 
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In the UK at least, the concept of ‘college as an investment’ is under heavy attack. More and more high schools are integrating the colleges into themselves, so you leave high school at 18 with a college qualification as well. They use videoconferencing to connect their students with college lecturers around the country, enabling them to offer vastly more courses than they can afford to employ staff to teach.

That paradigm is slowly making its way down into the younger years as well, though cost is still a factor – they need to have several kids at each school interested in a given speciality before they will provide it through videoconference.

That can change, the reasons boil down to line bandwidth use and the professor’s time – but if line bandwidth cost is taken out of the picture, several schools can pool their students so to speak, and still pay for the professor’s time even if each school only has one student interested.

 
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Originally posted by EPR89:

The PISA studies have shown quite clearly that people from poorer families generally have a harder time getting into any kind of higher education.
College may be most obvious due to the massive tuition fees countries like the US have, but higher education always puts a lot of financial stress on the families.

Having a harder time to get into higher education does not prove any discrimination by income by the schools. Simply having a tuition fee would not be discrimination by income if they allowed anyone who could pay it to enter the school.

Originally posted by vikaTae:

Yes, but education in general is. You’re doing what I suspected you were doing, and missing the forest for the trees. This whole thread is talking about education in general.

EPR89 specifically mentioned college. Am I not allowed to comment on specific quotes?

Thus, your argument was basically, that if the person was poor enough, they should be denied the right to send their kids to school, the same way as if you are offering an object for sale, you only give it to those who can afford the asking price. Thus the poorest people can go get lost and go without any education for their kids whatsoever, being the core of your argument.

I never once argued that a poor person should be denied basic education. I didn’t even argue that a poor person should be denied sending their kids to college. Don’t put words in my mouth please.

I’m simply trying to point out that is not the correct approach to take. It becomes discrimination when you are denying people any chance to allow their kids a better life than they have themselves, solely because of the parents’ income.

A tuition fee isn’t a test of the parent’s incomes. Institutes with tuition fees don’t automatically deny students who can pay it if their parents have a low income. Some might, but then it’s still not the tuition fee that is the real problem, but the attitude of the institute.

Education is a future pay-off enterprise. It reaps the rewards after it has educated the person and they are contributing back to society. If we deny sets of the population access to education because “they are only worthless poor people” then by making access to education an exclusive-access club, you are only impoverishing the nation as a whole, because you are discriminating not on ability, but on access to cash alone. You are denying your country many great minds (law of averages) simply because you deem them too poor to bother with.

I thoroughly enjoy how much you read into two short sentences.

Do you understand why it would be a bad idea for a country to follow this path?

Do you understand that being condescending looks quite ridiculous when you don’t even have a clue what I was saying?

 
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I’ve been told in my country that education is a right and I know that its illegal for you not to go to school until year 10 (two years off graduating from high school) by then your out of the basic maths, English and science and you are starting to specialise (the sciences split, more subjects such as accounting pop up). So for me I believe that education from primary through to completing high school is a necessity.

For College and other further education I think it is not a necessary mainly because not all jobs require degrees. While everyone should have the chance to (as the OP says) I don’t really think we should go as far to make it free.

 
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Originally posted by basicbasic:

I’ve been told in my country that education is a right


I don’t really think we should go as far to make it free.

I see a problem right there.

 
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We’re also paying for more and more people’s healthcare, we’re paying for more and more people’s food, we’re paying for more and more people’s housing, we’re paying for more and more public sector workers – sure, let’s add on the bill for 20K people who decide it’s a good idea to get a masters in art history. National debt > 100% GDP? Psh. We have Pell Grants and states support student loans. There is plenty of assistance available for lower-income families to send their kids to good schools.

I’ve, erm, done a fair bit of art history myself, hehe. I agree the US is casting it’s net pretty wide at the moment, especially in regards to external debts it should be concentrating on settling. Although, immediate financial straits aside, do you feel the government should be pursuing a more active role in financing higher education? Should this be limited to career-course employment?

Really, one of the things that I find balking about education, is the price. Regardless of who is footing the bill, the very price itself has become something of a joke. I know of very, very few students who ever felt they were paying for an education so much as paying to have it officially recognized. If we’re looking into education, and it’s costs, I think we have to start seriously questioning the role of our post secondary environment in that. It certainly has no monopoly on knowledge, yet remains the sole source for legitimization of such.

The current college environment is a simple pyramid scheme. Especially in regards to the liberal arts, and broader subjects that don’t send students out to the work force. Ever take the time to calc out your Tuition An Hour? Apply that to a class room? I ran afoul of my school when I was snooping around for my departments budget (never found it) but came across our Dean giving himself a 20k raise. It has become, and I feel quite openly, an education industry. A business venture with some pretty fine margins jointly funded by both the private sector, public sector, and hell even some charities. It’s not a bad gig to be in.

So! I would honestly suggest that in looking to reduce the costs of education the most beneficial avenue may be looking into new methods of legitimization, or tenable orthodox structure. Communicating information has never been more effortless, more accessible, more universal then it is now. But that has yet to have the deeper ramifications that it should.

I also think we need to seriously re examine the notion of an education versus career or field training. I would suggest that truly few people, even very able specialists, have what I would consider an education. If you see the US continuing on into a cultural vacuum as a problem, then it may be worth examining the role of education as a solution.

 
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Originally posted by NaturalReject:
Originally posted by EPR89:

The PISA studies have shown quite clearly that people from poorer families generally have a harder time getting into any kind of higher education.
College may be most obvious due to the massive tuition fees countries like the US have, but higher education always puts a lot of financial stress on the families.

Having a harder time to get into higher education does not prove any discrimination by income by the schools. Simply having a tuition fee would not be discrimination by income if they allowed anyone who could pay it to enter the school.

Alone no. But the connection is backed up with enough other evidence to show that the current systems in most countries do indeed discriminate.
Tuition fees are generally accepted to be one way in which such discrimination is institutionalized. Don´t get me wrong i am totally okay with tuition fess for private schools that don´t receive any Government founding, but in many cases its just a monetary barrier to gain access to a government founded service many times the worth of the tuition fee(and thats just the service itself discounting the later value of educational degree).

Its like having a tax-system where everyone who pays 10 million at the beginning of the year does not have to pay taxes for that year and gets his 10 million back at the end of the year.

On another question: If such education is such a great investment(as all studies seem to show), then should society not be interested in investing into those who lack the money and thus can not invest in themselves?
And instead of asking people to pay up front at a time where only the rarest among them has or can actually earn such an amount of money themselves, would it not be wiser to ask the money back latter?

 
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Originally posted by JohnnyBeGood:

But the connection is backed up with enough other evidence to show that the current systems in most countries do indeed discriminate.

Then that other evidence is what needs to be shown.

Tuition fees are generally accepted to be one way in which such discrimination is institutionalized.

Quite possible, but that still doesn’t make tuition fees discriminatory in and of itself.

Don´t get me wrong i am totally okay with tuition fess for private schools that don´t receive any Government founding, but in many cases its just a monetary barrier to gain access to a government founded service many times the worth of the tuition fee(and thats just the service itself discounting the later value of educational degree).

What about private schools that do receive government funding, but as a result can lower their tuition fees?

If the education is worth many times the tuition fees in government funded schools, then isn’t that a sign that they tried making the tuition fees as small as possible?

Its like having a tax-system where everyone who pays 10 million at the beginning of the year does not have to pay taxes for that year and gets his 10 million back at the end of the year.

I really don’t like that analogy.

On another question: If such education is such a great investment(as all studies seem to show), then should society not be interested in investing into those who lack the money and thus can not invest in themselves?

It should, and I have personally not argued against that.

And instead of asking people to pay up front at a time where only the rarest among them has or can actually earn such an amount of money themselves, would it not be wiser to ask the money back latter?

If the tuition fees are a crucial part in actually keeping the school running, paying later might not be an option. Otherwise, sure.

 
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On another question: If such education is such a great investment(as all studies seem to show), then should society not be interested in investing into those who lack the money and thus can not invest in themselves?

The government should, and it does – both federally and at the state level. There is a large difference between government assistance and government giving everyone free education.

And instead of asking people to pay up front at a time where only the rarest among them has or can actually earn such an amount of money themselves, would it not be wiser to ask the money back latter?

I get the impression you have no idea how student loans work in the US. You don’t start paying them back after you graduate, usually with several months of grace period in order to find a job.

 
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Should this be limited to career-course employment?

It shouldn’t be, but likewise, I shouldn’t be made to feel cold-hearted when the poor liberal arts major who racked up $200k in student loans by getting a history degree from Harvard can’t get a job. I think part of the problem is that universities are becoming more and more big business and they don’t really have a vested interest to tell the students that coming to our school and majoring in the liberal arts may not be your best option.

I’m a liberal arts graduate (Communications and Poli-Sci). I understood going in that had I gone in to engineering or to business school I would likely have an easier go of getting a job. But I did the poli-sci as a backup plan for law school if I couldn’t snag a PR/marketing gig. People who do liberal arts need to have backup plans in case Plan A or Plan B fails (as is often the case).

I also think there is general agreement that education is too expensive in the US. While I will confess I don’t know what reforms are needed in order to make higher education more affordable, I’m pretty confident having the government pay for everything won’t lower costs. Contrary to popular belief, just because the government pays for something doesn’t mean that we still don’t have to pay for it.