[FoRK] Read. Think. Discuss.

Damien Morton fork at bitfurnace.com
Sun Mar 13 12:43:09 PST 2005

I seem to remember bumping into Danish young people in my travels who 
were aquiring college credits simply by staying out of the country for a 

I also seem to remember bumping into same Danish young people, miserable 
in tropical paradises all over the world as they waited out their year.

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject:     [lbo-talk] Yoshie's proposal
> Date:     Sat, 5 Mar 2005 21:27:38 -0500
> From:     Luke Weiger <lweiger at umich.edu>
> Reply-To:     lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org
> To:     <lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org>
> References:     <200503060128.j261S1fv006622 at web.thinkbank.com>
> Yoshie wrote:
>  > Sometimes, though, I think that education might actually improve if
>  > it was sold on the model of tropical cruises.  Students or parents or
>  > the government pays for degrees (paid in a lump sum or installments),
>  > depending on students' financial statuses.  The payment guarantees a
>  > degree, regardless of how many or how few courses a student takes
>  > (it's like a tourist paying for the entire cruise package regardless
>  > of how many meals she actually consumes).  And absolutely no grading.
>  > The only requirement for students is that they are NOT allowed to
>  > work for wages while in college (the government pays modest but
>  > adequate living stipends to all students who need them), for a
>  > minimum of four years, the main point being to take young people out
>  > of the labor market (which, like old age pensions that allow workers
>  > to retire, should have a happy effect of forcing real wages up) and
>  > give them completely free time to do what they want.  Naturally, only
>  > students who are truly motivated to study, for their burning love of
>  > knowledge, show up in your class.  Students are happy -- some just
>  > carouse, many date and mate, a select few study hard (because they
>  > love to!), and yet others do politics full-time.  Teachers are
>  > ecstatic -- no deadwood in a classroom!  :->
> Good idea.  (I haven't been sending out many emails to anybody of late, but
> finding an area of agreement with Yoshie demanded a response.)
> Another (perhaps not as good) idea: maybe we ought to think a bit about
> uncritical knowledge fetishism.  As I think Kantos suggests, it seems like
> we should be able to teach people to (e.g.) read at a high school level and
> do algebra without warehousing them for 13 years.  And what possible reason
> is there to ship so many people off to college for another several years to
> learn (or weakly attempt to learn or even in some cases weakly feign to
> attempt to learn) about matters they're bound to find uninteresting and
> useless?
> -- Luke
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