Noam Chomsky: Education For Whom and For What?
Education is important, because:
NOTHING appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. ~ David Hume, Of The First Principles of Government http://www.econlib.org/library/LFBooks/Hume/hmMPL4.html
Wikipedia, Classical Liberalism Classical liberals argued for what they called a minimal state, limited to the following functions:
- A Government to protect individual rights and to provide services that cannot be provided in a free market.
- A common national defense to provide protection against foreign invaders.
- Laws to provide protection for citizens from wrongs committed against them by other citizens, which included protection of private property, enforcement of contracts, and common law.
- Building and maintaining public institutions.
- Public works that included a stable currency, standard weights and measures, and building and upkeep of roads, canals, harbors, railways, communications, and postal services.
So one approach he discusses is, in fact, the Enlightenment view– that teaching is laying out a string along which the student progresses in their own way through discovery and exploration.
Pentagon instilled fear in citizens, so they could have higher taxes. This created funding for long running projects in universities and higher education. It also lead to a huge influx of students into higher education, especially people who could not have gone before. Now, at least for america, tuition covers half of college budgets. In other universities without tuition, namely UNAM (Mexico), has/had open admissions, with compensatory options, if you could not afford it. Steadily, state funding will only fund colleges. This is the “indoctrination of the young”, since they will leave the university in debt. This debt leaves them no other choice than to start working for the “national interest” (as Lewis Powell pointed out in his Memorandum: Attack of American Free Enterprice System), aka. forcing them to work for others instead of persuing their own interests, or even contributing to the commons. Since universities don’t produce commodities for profit and the state won’t fund them, how are they going to survive? If fostering independent thought and inquiry were regarded as a public good (as in the Enlightment model), and having an intrinsic value. Haldane Principle: Politicians should have no say in, how researchers spend their research funds. The problem of less funding, is being dealt with by universities shifting to more corporate funding. This leads to more short-term, applied work as corporations want usable results now, to spur their own advantage over competitors. When state funding is involved, they are concerned with the long-term future of the advanced economy, which in turn benefits corporations as well (Internet, Computers, Scientific advances in General): socializing costs, privatizing profit. With such long term funding, researchers can work more freely and safely. This also means, that there is less secrecy on campus, since the results can be published freely and without intervention from corporate investors. Corporate funders cannot force secrecy, but they can threaten to not renew funding. Corporations focus on profit making, hence seek to convert as much of life as possible into commodities, as efficiently as possible. Efficiency is not a simple economic concept, but an idealistic concept. Example: when a business reduces presonell it becomes more efficient by standard measures, shifting burden to the public. The costs of the Public are not counted. That choice is not based on economy theory, but ideology. These short term costs are reflected in universities business models: Increasing class size, using temporary labor instead of full-time faculty (graduate-students) look good for university budgets; the incurring significant costs to the public are tranfrered to students and society, as the quality of instruction is affected. Converting schools and universities to facilities that produce commodities, cannot be measured in social and human costs. This abandons the traditional ideas of universities: encouraging creative and independent thought and inquiry, challenging perceived beliefs and exploring the horizons free of external constraints. So we destroy those parts of the educational system that enrich the lives of students and enable them to fillow the string that’s laid out for them in the enlightenment vison of education. Since it interferes with indoctrination, control, imposing passivity and obedience and subordination to the principle of caring only about oneself.
Has a strong focus on free text books, as they are expensive in the US.