Educational Ironies

From First to Worst?

There is a strange disjunction in America.  The U.S. has absolutely the finest university system in the world, there is not even a serious disagreement about this judgment. But primary-secondary education in that country is a real state-by-state crap shoot.  Those with enough money insulate themselves from the vagaries of U.S. public education and their kids head on to those good post-secondaries. Perhaps it is about time we redistributed some of Harvard’s $20 Billion endowment to K-12 education.  All those Ivy Leaguers must now bow down to a man elected by people, 23% of whom don’t believe in evolution.

On a more philosophical level, the question as to whether mass democracy in large nation-states really works in an age this complex and a world this interconnected, remains open. If it is to work, the education gap between the hoi polloi and the elites can’t become a chasm. If I were America’s somewhat benevolent Fuhrer, I would pull out all the stops on this one. Back off health care, whoa social security, and before we put a man on Mars let’s ensure that every American can name the planets and knows what a solar system is. A well educated populace of three-hundred million is, of course, a pipe dream. But we can do so much better and I am talking about moral education too.. Somewhere in the Lord of the Rings, one of the young Hobbits, Merry I think, talks to Pippin about the effect being surrounded by great and noble minds has had on him. It paraphrases something like this.” I have seen the high mountain tops, they are cold and daunting and not for me. But I know they are there, it is important that I know they are there. ”  Poor education levels the mountains, they disappear from view. The world will never offer the political process  a surfeit of Aragorns and Gandalfs. Plato said this 2400 years ago. But the mountains must be in view, so we can produce more Pippins and Merrys. I am convinced Gollum dropped out of yeoman school and voted for Trump.