If you don’t subscribe to Brain Pickings then you are m issing out on some wonderful snapshots of wisdom and conjecture from its author, archivist and text trawler, Maria Popova.
She has a real knack for uncovering some lucid gems from the pop cultural soup. Here’s another one:
“Our whole theory of education,” Henry Miller famously lamented, “is based on the absurd notion that we must learn to swim on land before tackling the water.” With its factory schooling model, its biologically unsound schedules, and its failure to account for different types of intelligence, the modern education system leaves much to be desired in terms of encouraging creativity, critical thinking, and hands-on learning.”
Popova goes on to then cite a radical but quite perceptive rethink on the hard worn structure of western education from Susan Sontag’s diaries in an entry from 1974:
“Why not eliminate schooling between age 12-16? It’s biologically + psychologically too turbulent a time to be cooped up inside, made to sit all the time. During these years, kids would live communally — doing some work, anyway being physically active, in the countryside; learning about sex — free of their parents. Those four ‘missing’ years of school could be added on, at a much later age. At, say, age 50-54 everyone would have to go back to school. (One could get a deferment for a few years, in special cases, if one was in a special work or creative project that couldn’t be broken off.) In this 50-54 schooling, have strong pressure to learn a new job or profession — plus liberal arts stuff, general science (ecology, biology), and language skills.
This simple change in the age specificity of schooling would a) reduce adolescent discontent, anomie, boredom, neurosis; b) radically modify the almost inevitable process by which people at 50 are psychologically and intellectually ossified — have become increasingly conservative, politically — and retrograde in their tastes (Neil Simon plays, etc.)
There would no longer be one huge generation gap (war), between the young and the not young — but 5 or 6 generation gaps, each much less severe.
After all, since most people from now on are going to live to be 70, 75, 80, why should all their schooling be bunched together in the first 1/3 or 1/4 of their lives — so that it’s downhill all the way
Early schooling — age 6-12 — would be intensive language skills, basic science, civics, the arts.
Back to school at 16: liberal arts for two years
Age 18-21: job training through apprenticeship, not schooling”
via brain picker