I made a brief argument in my last post about higher education, that it used to be good at three things: building a social network, access to unique knowledge and provinding certification. I went on to point out that the first two had already been relplaced with things that do or soon will do a better job and that there is something on the way that might replace the third. Today I found an article that points out, maybe it wasn’t so good at the networking side in the first place.
Jeffrey Tucker argues that there is something innate in the design of school that keeps students from being able to develop any real social captial. My personal experience was exactly as he describes: build a group of friends for 4 years, then start all over, then do it again, then try to get a job. It seems there must be a better way, and Tucker points to apprenticeship as one potential answer. I think age mixing is another important aspect. Peter Gray shows how age mixing is a key to learning for both older and younger students. Tucker seems to agree:
If you look at the social structure of homeschooling co-ops, for example, younger kids and older kids mix it up in integrated social environments, and they learn from each other. Parents of all ages are well integrated too, and it creates a complex social environment. The parents know all the kids and, together, they form a diverse microsociety of mutual interests. This is one reason that homeschooled kids can seem remarkably precocious and poised around people of all ages. They are not being artificially pegged into slots and held there against their will.
The key to wisdom is calling things by their proper name. Realizing that school has very little to do with education seems increasinlgy wise.