Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

Chapter 9: EDUCATION, the Tolerated Disaster

Levels of Concern

Let's use this Chapter 9 EDUCATION to apply the Evaluation and Dissociation chart analysis on very different levels. The simplest level is the common classroom. The most complex level is education in world culture.

I might have picked another culture system of comparable pathology such as prisons or military but I have a Masters Degree in the Historical and Comparative of the Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from Columbia Teacher's College. I've remembered the name, but most of it has been lost in the onslaught of information, knowledge and aged wisdom.

I hope these charts are helpful in this extreme variety of levels, from the trivial to the most comprehensive, from the easiest improvements to the most comprehensive human ecology and culture design.

Modern Schools

Good things happen at school. The classroom is a big artificial family, usually too big. This quasi extended family provides a meager substitute for real extended families, the healthiest support system for the child's social and mental health, large families that are increasingly and tragically rare.

Throughout our evolutionary history, children have needed the nurturing of tribal process. IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD. The school provides at least some quasi-tribal functions, but not enough.

Kids are heard to say, "I like to go to school to be with my friends. There's not much to do around here. I don't get to play outside much. Home is too much hassle or nothing is happening. Mom doesn't want to drive me anywhere. At school we get to play outside and do things in class. Sometimes I don't know if it's me being scolded or what for, but it's usually somebody else."

Envisage a typical classroom. The common pattern is a teacher talking at thirty children. Occasionally the teacher orders a bit of `desk work' to keep the children busy and give the teacher's voice a rest.

Pressures to manage such a large group too often obliges the teacher to demand the attention of all the pupils at once by addressing them as a group. Class instruction, a most common mode, may be helpful for a few, but is often too difficult for some and too easy for others. Since children learn in such different ways, the teacher's mode of presentation rarely reaches the majority, though it can possibly entertain or even inspire them.

Let's consider only the `good' schools and classrooms. The `bad' schools and classrooms are all too common. Like so many aspects of modern abstract culture, MAC, heroic efforts are made to keep an increasingly pathological system operating rather than deepening the efforts. Educational systems also have a life of their own, LOO. To succeed the staff and the students are obliged to make increasing efforts to maintain the sick systems.

The pupils are often thankful for what little adult attention the teacher is able to offer, even in a crowded and stressed classroom. They often `like' the teacher; that is, they may accept the teacher as quasi-kin. Of course, each age level presents different constellations of contradictions.

Computers compound the tragedy. Granted everyone should be able to use as much of the modern technology as possible. But as computer expert Cliff Stoll points out, individualized computer use can further dehumanize the classroom, moving it further from interpersonal process and group task orientation. [See Cliff Stoll's HIGH TECH HERETIC and SILICON SNAKE OIL and Jerry Mander's writings.]

In contrast to Mr. Stoll, consider MIT's Negroponte's $100 LAPTOP program for poor third world children. It forces progress because it radically changes the `school', if any. It shifts the process from instruction and rote learning and forgetting toward exploration and imitation, with much online interaction with other children of different ages. Understandably, the `establishment' fears loss of control, status, power, and money. Dr. Negroponte points out that poor children usually don't go to school, not because they are too poor or must labor, but because it's too dull.

When class lets out, the school provides a place to play without adult control, except as discipline demands. The school vicinity approximates a community center, a somewhat inadequate quasi-clan context. The children play, do sports, maybe some music, smoke cigarettes, manage gangs, and deal dope with their age mates. But they rarely venture to relate to adults or even with children of different ages, unless structured activities such as sports or gardening are designed and provided.

Notice that in recent decades, common knowledge and skills relating to our real world support systems are gradually deleted. Children are offered little education in simple budgeting, home maintenance, appliance repair, personal diet and health care, or broader topics such as where our sustenance comes from and why we are rich and the producers are poor.

Sports is a good example of this compulsion to the abstract life, CAL. Instead of learning something real, they struggle to compete and conform in essentially meaningless activity instead of learning about the supporting ecological and social support system.


In the child's mind TV culture increasingly displaces real human communication with this strange one-way machine. As one tired teacher observed, children often turn away absent mindedly while she is talking to them - as if she required no more attention than a TV. The children are often bored because the teacher is not as exciting as the more familiar television. The unfortunate teacher unconsciously competes for the child's attention, competes with skilled TV personalities. Actually, the heads pictured on TV seem closer than the teacher's and may even be experienced as more personal. TV's favorites, Big Bird, Barney and Mr. Rogers, may seem more intimate and personal than teacher.

Appropriate to the gradual decline in mental health, more children are turning to computer games to escape their woes and enliven their lonely lives. Sharing a computer games involves little social process.

There is a dearth of human interaction in modern abstract culture. The school offers some alleviation from this isolation, alienation and loneliness. But common education is a pathological development in pathological culture, as we shall see.

Culture Design in the Classroom

What can be done to alleviate the pathologies of the most common classroom, with teachers instructing children who do `desk work'.

As a first application of culture design, imagine the effect of subgrouping the children. Subgrouping is a classic but neglected method of organizing a class. For example, imagine sub-group thirty children into five groups. Each child has a different but coordinated function toward some shared project or presentation to the class. Each group has a `Leader' to help the focus and a `Recorder' to keep track of what's going on.

Beware of the RIDs (Rationalist-IDealist) tendency to see this analysis as proselytizing for a peculiar classroom style. Instead, see this discussion as a simple exercise in culture design, the application of the E and D chart analysis. Later we can apply the charts toward more comprehensive alleviations and reforms.

The figure 9-1 below represents a class on the E CHART, derived from Figures 2-4, -5 and -6, introduced in Chapter 2 REALITY AND PROCESS, a simple theory of complex systems. Notice the abstract class chart on the left has one controlling high intensity teacher and thirty rather passive low i children. (Commonly, the antsy kids need more action and require drugs to conform to this weird pattern.) The right sub-grouped chart is more `organic' with the sub-grouped functioning at a higher i of participation. Recall that the strategy of culture design is to move the system from the steep L shaped `abstract' structure to the more `organic' slanted line. This is a net gain in complexity, Ei, and can drive the teacher nuts without more support than is commonly available.

Fig. 9-1  E CHARTS OF CLASSROOM, used to derive the D Chart:

Teacher dominated:           Teacher organized:

i ³Ä¿ `Abstract' class       i ³Ä¿ `Organic' class
³ ³     high iD, low A       ³ ÀÄÄÄÄÄ¿ low iD, high A
1                30  E        1     7           30  E, pupils

Let's subgroup into 7 instead of 6 to remind ourselves that nothing ever comes out even, especially with kids, even RIDs kids. The classroom organization becomes even more `organic' with the added complication of age mixing. With older children helping younger the chart gains more steps.

These two Evaluation Charts are used to derive the Diagnosis Chart below. The abstract chart on the left with the steep slope becomes the abstract side. The organic chart on the right with the slanting stepped curve represents more organic structure.

The left is called the i-Dissociated side because the teacher is farther from the children and the relationships are more abstract. We can call this situation more pathological from this theoretical view, or by simply observing the stresses inherent in such class control. We might call this high iD in education `fragmentation'.

The right, high Accord, side represents the healthier organization. The teacher is more the organizer than the dictator, the students are more responsible and participative. Such sub-grouping is represented on this D CHART OF CLASSROOM by moving from the left toward the right. Compare the two E charts above, moving from the left abstract chart to the right organic chart, with the D CHART below, moving from the left side to the right side.

According to culture design, any movement toward the right, higher Ai, is an increase in health. Any such movement to increase Ai improves all aspects of the system. Even correcting papers is better done by the students than by the teacher. Let's help out the tired teachers.


i    ^
³      abstract <-------->  organic
³       class                class
DISSOCIATION < - - - - - - - > ACCORD

Expanding this analysis, let's imagine four classroom systems represented below in Figure 9-3, D CHART OF CLASSROOM MODES. The authoritarian structure, 2,8, with one teacher talking at thirty kids can be quite intense, but is often over-stressed, antagonistic, punitive, etc. Downward toward 2,2 represents a breakdown in organization, a chaotic classroom. The relationship between pupils and teacher is diluted, the teacher has `lost control'. (Notice that the complex pupil cliques and gangs are not represented on this simple chart, but their inclusion would be crucial for holistic analyses of its human ecology.)

A sedated classroom condition is represented at 8,2, a common pattern. The students are calm, doing simple work, learning stupidity and passivity - an ideal classroom for some.

Finally, the good class, 8,8, is very busy, high i, but with highly complex group projects, in high ACCORD. Dr. Nigel Hastings, Redding University, UK, did a simple study of classroom seating patterns. The amount of time spent on individual work increased about 20% when children were seated `alone' compared to groups of 4 to 6. Easily distracted and disruptive students increased their work time 100%. Children prefer row seating for individual work. Dr. Hasting's conclusion and suggestion is simply that students do collaborative work in groups, but individual work separately, obviously.


i    i 9³
^ n 8³ authoritarian    group
³ t 7³   instruction      projects
e 6³          \     /
³ n 5³             x
s 4³          /     \
³ i 3³
t 2³ classroom        school
y 1³   chaos            sedation
0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9   A, ACCORD
Dissociation <- - - -> Organization
high iD                 low iD

Subgrouping, a rudimentary reconstruction of organic classrooms

Please don't advocate such subgrouping without considering the total context. Such change can bring tears and fears to the already stressed teachers and pupils, as well as administrators and parents. But subgrouping is a common and often effective alleviation of the common classroom chaos; not an adequate or sufficient change, but at least an alleviation.

Let's consider the advantages of sub-grouping, keeping the D-A scale in mind:

  1. It gives pupils the opportunity to take more responsibility for their behavior and learning - a maturing influence. That's a D scale increase of iI as social harmony, anti-alienation. This switch requires considerable leadership.
  2. It invites leadership and role versatility, thereby greatly enriching the relationships between the pupils, and developing social skills more complex than just sitting there and taking it. That's a D-A scale enhancement of identification with other pupils and the class, another iI.
  3. Both learning and housekeeping tasks are gradually taken over by the pupils, thus increasing their responsibility and freeing the teacher for broader attentions. That's another D-A scale increase in role versatility and complexity.
  4. The teacher becomes the `organizer of learning' rather than just the instructor, who is usually less adequate than the increasingly rich instructional materials available these days. That's a D scale move from power toward harmony as a mode of organization.
  5. Even in such an intensely social context as a classroom, it helps the pupil to operate at her own personal and interpersonal frontier. That is also an E scale enhancement of personal integration and vitality, Ei value.

The crisis of discipline and control common in so many classrooms desperately needs attention. Too often most of the teacher's time and effort is spent on `control' not on `teaching'. This sad pattern wastes time and resources and is a damaging experience for the children. Simple subgrouping alleviates this problem.

Subgrouping randomly or heterogeneously alleviates the racial and ethnic cliches. The children learn collaboration and acceptance with attention to the tasks, not the interpersonal stresses. As the culture decays, the stresses increase compelling them toward more adversarial groups, up left on the D chart.

Unfortunately, in the stressed and fragile context of most schools and classrooms, sub grouping requires more support than is commonly available. For example, the school morale is often so bad, so tense and full of rage and resentment, that `taking the lid off' results in chaos, abuse, and panic. A good brain-washing is essential for any such change so that pupils know what is happening, why, and how. Studies suggest that almost any innovation helps, because the kids thrive on the extra attention. Having helpful parents, assistants, or older students helps.

Translating this into PROCESS MODEL terms: improvement is called for in both value, Ei, and health, Ai. Ei refers to the organic process, which is gradually decaying in our increasingly abstract culture. Ai refers to the health of the system: power vs. harmony, ripoff vs. service, discrimination vs, fairness, elitism vs. equality, etc.

E and D scales are tools for analysis and design of any aspect of the educational system, from the simplest class subgrouping to the most comprehensive reforms. These E and D charts offer a context in which a `community of concern' can `develop the discourse' toward adequately dealing with school problems. That's much better than simply denying, ignoring or tolerating the disaster.

E Chart Analyses, the roots of intellectuality

In the above examples, the E chart is used for simple grouping, E being the number of students, and i the amount of interaction. However, it might be helpful to consider the E chart to analyze deeper aspects of education such as value, Ei, of mental model building processes. Educators talk about "relevance", often relying on the superficial choices expressed by pupils. But the whim of the child is a poor measure of Ei value. Rather, consider the expanding the child's world view: In terms of learning about the real world, "Where does milk and crack come from?" In terms of empathy with the ecological systems, "How does our community function or fracture?" Foundations of intellectuality begin very early in life.

Resistances, SOB: "It's not the system, it's the people."

Obviously successful intervention gives attention to both the system and the personnel. The all too common custom is to blame the teachers, the family, etc., in general the personal faults of some person or class: bad kids, bad parents, bad teachers. Culture design emphasizes the systemic approach while keeping an eye on the message and the morale.

Blaming some persons subjective experience for an objective problem is a classic mistake called `subjectivizing the objective, SOB'. Recall, or imagine, some resistances to progressive changes:

  1. "They are not ready for that." They never will be at the present rate. The effort is worth it.
  2. "They are too disruptive or disturbed." They can't take responsibility if they are not allowed.
  3. "Some will mistreat others." Alas, such is the human condition - but cooperation may prevail if given a chance.
  4. "They will just play and not learn anything." They are learning what's happening. They would learn more if they get turned on by organized participation.
  5. "It gives the teacher too much to do" or "too little to do." Pity the poor teachers.
  6. "How can they `cover the material'?" What is usually learned the old way is soon forgotten, or unusable. (There are many new and old sources and researches on these issues, including SCHOOL GIRLS, by Peggy Orenstein.)

Individual Differences

The classroom setting by its very nature requires peculiar and unnatural behaviors on the part of all concerned. Many can adjust to it because of the heroic versatility of homo sapiens; but increasingly, pupils become "exceptional", one way or another. As a result of great individual differences in temperament and energy levels, the classroom is stressed. Such built-in tension usually necessitates a tense atmosphere of discipline and control - a behavioral battleground.

In our evolutionary period, hyperactive kids joined the deer chase, gentle ones stayed home and made arrowheads. In a reformed modern organic school, the hyperactives go about hustling information services while the gentle folk work on programming. But in our common over-abstracted schools, the hyperactives are scolded, punished and drugged while the gentle ones are intimidated, inhibited and depressed. Bill McKibben in his DEEP ECONOMY mentions that mental ill health was rare fifty years ago, but accepted as common now.

The so-called hyperactivity and lack of attention span, common to many young people and animals, is exacerbated by constant stimulation and interruption. As the Montessoris point out, the constant and intense interruption of the common classroom makes coherent thought and action almost impossible. No wonder children are increasingly dosed with the ego stimulant methylphenidate, a drug that enhances ego-contracted robotic behavior. The RIDs may distort this criticism as advocating permissiveness. Not so. Elaborate complex planned organization and guidance is called for.

To de-abstract the classroom is not an easy task, perhaps impossible, as we shall see. In one unfortunate experiment, the English classes were given a `choice' of several specialties. The fifty-minute class was fragmented even further as the children moved toward their chosen group. But most children chose to dawdle with their friends, or play little games and make mischief on the way, making their best of an absurd situation. So much for what is called `free choice'.

How Children Learn

Let's rough-in the modes of learning, (Ei value increases). This analysis refers only to `good' schools, since many, perhaps most, schools are so disruptive and destructive that little of the children's attention might be called learning.

First, children just grow, like topsy. Their mental hardware seems elaborately programmed by their genetic mechanisms. Magnificent internal development just happens. We study it objectively, but it still looks like magic, especially to parents.

The growing child needs protection and support. This means more than food, clothing, and shelter. It means support for the `pursuit of happiness'. Growth is a process, not a condition: growth is supported by quasi-family and tribal process, rich with real tasks and appropriate challenges. Furthermore, since the mind and skills grow from within, the child's `Growth At the Developmental Frontier, GDF', must be supported and guided in its own progress, lead in the directions of its own culture, but not inhibited or damaged by irrelevant and distracting instructions. Clever caring teachers balance this guidance and support.

In typical instruction, some students don't get it, some already know it, but only a very few can match their frontiers with the teachers line. This presumes that the class is paying attention to the teacher. Please do not infer that allowing GDF implies `permissiveness' as some RIDly conservatives might infer. Quite the contrary, organic structuring by task, role and group is crucial.

But the human mind, by the very nature of its FF and TT, tends to fixate and trivialize. Common educational process typifies this tendency. Therefore, in addition to keeping these pitfalls in mind, let's look to the broader context: the organic interplay of inner growth and outer nurturing, inner struggle and outer challenge.

Consider LANGUAGE learning. Children's linguistic machinery seems to develop according to their language environment at various developmental stages. Studies indicate the baby-talk of mothers unconsciously anticipates the next step in the child's language development. Scientists point out that early exposure to a foreign language builds a permanent phonemic flexibility, making accentless foreign language learning easier during their entire lives. Instead of taking advantage of this by beginning foreign languages very early, most language learning is postponed to a more mature and conscious age. This delay derives from our pathologically abstract educational heritage. The more abstract the culture, the more pathological the language education. Japanese students may spend six years studying English, yet be unable to speak it. [See works in the Naom Chomsky tradition by Ursula Bellugi, Steven Pinker, and many other wonderful people in this fun-filled field.]

Secondly, they learn by exploration. As any parent can testify, they try to gobble up the world. With such sensory verification, by checking out one sense with another ("It looks good, but it tastes terrible...") the child's model of the world expands. Experimental science uses the same procedure: It checks the mental model with the reality.

Third, they learn by imitation and identification. Like it or not, they tend to imitate those around them, especially those bonded as role models. They seem to learn more from what we do than what we say.

Fourth, they learn by participation, expanding into and recreating reality. In Japan, for example, the little school children do much of their class food preparation and cleanup. In the former USSR, factories and firms were obliged by law to cooperate with school programs.

Fifth, . . .. Stop! These numbered types are casually drawn from the primitive science of educology. Much more serious work has already been done, and is being done. The reader is invited to dip into the huge resource of educational material being produced. But our purpose is to use the topic of education as an application of human ecology and culture design, applying the E and D charts to this purpose. We are obliged to overextend the generalizations in order to grasp the whole. As objectivists we would do well to stay as close to the sciences as possible, yet not be discouraged by the reductionism of our scientific tradition or be intimidated by the amount of disorganized information available.

Critiques of Modern Education

Consider these notes from recent studies of education:

Teresa M. Amabile, Ph.D. Brandeis University, cites four creativity-killers (in the schools): surveillance, evaluation, reward, and competition. (These modes kills more than creativity!) Ann W. Lewin, Director, Capital Children's Museum, says, "We couldn't design a system more effective to stifle creativity: We hurry them. We do things for them. We engage them in passive rather than active activities. We schedule them. We leave little time for themselves, their own rhythm."

Howard Gardiner, Ph. D., Harvard University, lists root supports for creativity: 1. Domain skills, 2. Creative thinking skills, 3. Intrinsic motivation.

James Moffett writes: "A few decades from now, people will regard the schooling of today with revulsion, as astoundingly primitive, in the same way we now deplore the 18th Century treatment of the mentally ill. Our successors will not be able to understand how citizens dedicated to personal liberty and democracy could have placed learning on a compulsory basis, such that citizens had to report to certain buildings every working day of their lives in order to be bossed about by agents of the state.

"The very idea of a state compelling people to attend schools contradicts the foundations of modern democracy.... Far from creating and enlightened electorate, compulsory state-set education has resulted in a populace that is currently throwing democracy away."

Modern Abstract Education, MAE

As a part of modern abstract culture, MAC, the system is called Modern Abstract Education, MAE. Let's take a quick look at how a few of the pathologies of the system reflect and reinforce pathologies in the culture.

  1. ABSTRACT GROUPING: Schools are based on age grouping, a most abstract criterion, one likely to decrease role complexity, Ei. To the abstract mind, the child's age is the most certain quality, more certain and stable than the child's size, gender, maturity, interest, aptitude or level. This age grouping decreases the feasibility of organic grouping by making it unlikely and difficult for pupils to take quasi-parent and sibling roles.

    And how does it happen that children are grouped by age? Because the only thing the abstract-mind RIDs can be certain about is the child's age. Everything else is so subtle and complicated, so infinite and laden with implication, that the RIDly abstract mind flees frantically to this FF simplification. Age is the most simple certain thing one can know about a child, an ideal mode for an abstract institution. By some coincidence - from good intuition or correct theory perhaps - the most effective grouping for complex tasks, or any human task from a humane point of view, resembles the hierarchy of organic social life: a quasi-extended family, a quasi-tribe.

    As any personnel manager or industrial sociologist will point out, tasks such as the maintenance of an organic farm, building a house, making an automobile, or tripping to the moon requires a complex organization of group-within-group in appropriately organic patterns. [Deming] In contrast, an abstracted task, like clearing mine fields or picking cotton (the old fashioned ways) uses a large group of people each doing the same thing under the direction of one authority figure, with pistol, whip and beer-belly. In education, the Compulsion Of the abstract Mind, COM, has led to this most abstract grouping - a suitable preparation for a passive, meaningless, authoritarian work life. No wonder most kids evade it.

    Role differentiation, inherent in organic grouping, is a basic mechanism of maturation. But instead of a maturing context, the pupils are pushed into an adversarial role with the teacher. And the teacher, who must keep "control", is obliged to abstract the class patterns even further, often regressing to an immature, good-guy, bully, or robot role, rather than acting in loco parentis. The classic movie, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, portrays and analyzes these patterns of pathology.

    Maturation is seriously constrained by age grouping. Children are induced to reject the mature role modeling parent figures may offer, and adopt the role modeling of their peers. True, teachers are occasionally adult role models, but are barely adults, since they are infantilized by their administrators and by the system in general. [See INFANTILIZATION OF TEACHERS by Felix Greene, a pamphlet describing the treatment of its teachers in one San Francisco Peninsula community.] Thus, in each generation the maturation process in the culture is degraded, and the level of maturity of the entire population is retarded step by step. Gurus of advertising measure the average maturity level in current US culture at about nine years old, and gradually dropping.

    To make matters worse, most people, including educators, have survived this strange school process. The suicide rate is high. Having adjusted to it, succeeded if not excelled in it, they have accepted it and now even promote it, like the patriot praising war as the high point of his life. Notice that the pain at this disclosure is proportional to its pathology, according to the Fragility Of Contraction, FOC.

    The excellent book by Judith Harris, THE NURTURE FALLACY, points out that children identify with their peers from an early age. Imagine this as the essential tribal instinct of our species from even before we were homonotsosapiens. As tribal loyalty shifts, and as the culture becomes more abstract and adversarial, the `teen culture' emerges. It is the manifestation of tribal warfare between peers and parents, caused by the schools' age segregation, and it continues throughout life. Often children wage war with what remains of common culture. The rebellious teenager is not a necessary developmental stage as is so often asserted. RIDlys may call it just teenage rebellion, but a deeper look is needed. Ms. Harris points out that the peer culture is ingeniously guided by some of the best minds in advertising and public relations. The historical process of culture transmitted from the older to the younger is destroyed as each peer develops its own culture, guided by the imagemakers and shoe sales people. Worse yet, the human maturity mechanism is undermined and the gross level of the subsequent mass culture deteriorates. Thus, human culture on a world scale is destroyed, human values are abandoned, human life is degraded. The main mechanism of this cultural pathology is age grouping in schools.

  2. INSTRUCTION, even when it is well done, teaches the student to be instructed: to be passive, inactive, to sacrifice the integrity of her mental growth for the sake of directed, usually passive, activity. Who has not had a glimmer of this loss, then suppressed it and sold out to the system - driven by the stick of disparagement and the carrot of extrinsic rewards?

    The primitive traditionalist idea that learning is `caused' by instruction illustrates a common distortion of the role of consciousness - a confusion called "False Cause, FC", - as if the learner were a cup and the teacher had the pitcher. Actually, `instruction' may improve some test results, but countless studies have shown that what is `learned' is quickly forgotten and rarely applied. Instruction degrades the integrity, Ei, of the pupil's mind and prepares her for a life of primitive clerkdom, or worse yet, traditional teaching.

    Of course, a `good teacher' can alleviate this disaster - but not much. Generally, even when it's properly done, traditional instruction teaches stupidity and passivity: Stupidity because the basic message is "You don't know it," and passivity by the inherent and compelling submission to control and direction. No wonder children respond with rebellion at this affront to their integrity and self-esteem. The pathology of STUPIDITY AND PROGRESS, SAP, may be even deeper than MAE.

    But instruction has roots in the story-telling of old, the ancient channel of culture and knowledge. Some group instruction can draw on this ancient tradition. It can be intimate and inspiring. But instruction is a poor substitute for cooperative and individual tasking. Instruction has damaged group spirit and cooperation.

    As for transmission of information, instruction is a poor substitute for books, computers, CDROMs, internet, GOOGLE and Wikipedia.

    To make matters worse, the instructing teacher must give `desk work' a minimal of active participation to keep the children busy while she rests her vocal chords. Then, while the majority are occupied with this mostly boring, useless, destructive activity, the teacher can zero in on those recalcitrants who withdraw or pathetically demand some integrity in their lives. This intrusion is called `individual attention'. It may offer a few crumbs of quasi-parenting, but is more often intimidating, especially in an adversarial context. These children are often labeled `exceptional'. Almost a million of them are now drugged with `ego enhancers' such as Ritalin. [Cylert was taken off the market in 2005 because it causes liver damage, but amphetamines are back in vogue.]

    These descriptions of abstract education are only illustrative: for deeper concern, scan the ample work done in the field, including Alfie Kohn's article, Suffer the Restless Children. Instruction often inhibits learning, responsibility, group morale, cooperation, internal and peer behavior control, internal motivation - the growth of the model.

  3. CURRICULUM has grown from its Medieval roots into a travesty of the organization of knowledge. The curriculum `material' is usually useless and destructive on the face of it. For example, mathematics is considered the least successful of the curricula, according to much educational research: Most children learn that mathematics is unpleasant, useless, and that they are not good at it. If they are good at math, it is rarely put to real use, and even the `good' students can rarely use it and forget most of it.

    Even machines have problems learning. Yaser S. Abu-Mostafa, in his MACHINES THAT LEARN...points out the tendency of machines to `overlearn' by memorizing the training examples at the expense of generalizations. Also, it sometimes gets trapped in a poorer configuration (called local optimum) that is better than similar solutions but not the best possible. In the late 1990's one robot was programmed not to move but to learn to move. It astounded its parents and observers with human-like grace, and it took about as long as a child to acquire that skill.

    What little `material' they learn is already obsolete, or soon will be. That explains why the contracted minds often object to the children having calculators or computers at the ready: `fundamentals' they call it; submission and degradation is what it is. Perhaps it expresses a bit of nefarious revenge, a SUFF (Set Up For a Fall): "We had to go through it. Why shouldn't they?"

    The ongoing arguments about textbooks continues with what might be called "political overtones". For example, James Loewen writes: "..High school kids are right to hate history. Their textbooks are not only blatantly chauvinistic and blandly optimistic, the also "make students stupid." Similarly, a scan of science and math text books discloses mostly old fashioned notions poorly applied. Studies indicate that many who study science in high school are less prepared for college science than those who are untainted. Alas, such studies are questionable and do not reach deeply enough into the problem.

    `Free Choice' may be a welcome cliche, but it masks a pathological approach that is apt to make things even worse. What usually happens is that the children do not have a `success experience' because of the chaos of the class environment, the expectation of the system, and the competitive context. Thus the child will attempt the lesson, fail, and feel uncomfortable. Given `freedom,' the child will choose something else, PSE, then be frustrated again. Freedom flourishes best when it is planned, structured and supported. As any school teacher can explain, if you let the kids go wild, the situation deteriorates. But if you plan, organize and `subsidiarize', freedom flourishes. Without planning for freedom, intrinsic satisfactions of growth are eroded and the abstract life is enhanced.

    A group of art teachers from U. S. elementary schools went to China to see how they taught art. The Chinese children were diligent and skilled at drawing what they were told to draw. They were usually noisy and worked together. When the American art teacher persuaded them to draw what they wanted to draw, they were most imaginative, expressive and skilled. The lesson here is that skilled confident children can easily be imaginative and expressive, contrasted with undisciplined insecure American children, who are more likely to choose another activity, something less challenging, something akin to goofing off.

    In another art education experiment educologists compared implicit vs explicit motivations. The two groups were given the task of painting the best picture they could. The extrinsic group was told a reward would be given to the best painting. The intrinsic group was told a reward would be given by random selection. Then the paintings were evaluated by experienced artists and educators for artistic value, personal meaning, etc. The extrinsic group work was cliched, simplistic, and dull. The intrinsic group was imaginative, creative, and personal. The educologists generalized that student growth is inhibited by competitive explicit motivations, and enhanced when implicit motivations are allowed. Learning, working and living has implicit value. Therefore, avoid testing, ranking, grading, rewarding, even praising. Alas - a suggestion against everything our abstract culture holds dear, or so we are told.

  4. TESTING procedures teach that there are right answers. Aside from the uselessness of most of the material, the `right-answer' syndrome is the embodiment of pathology - there are no right answers, as we well know - and this is one of them. (See Kosko's FUZZY THINKING) They soon are sad to learn that `right answer' is what the teacher says it is, thus cementing the foundation for the idealist - legalist dissociation of words from reality and reinforcing the pervasive denial of how things work and `what's so'.

    The testing system is abstract enough to find some maladjustment in every child. Every child becomes `exceptional.' Great effort and expense are needed to adjust each child into this diabolically abstract system. Like the comparative and conformist nature of the classroom itself, testing promotes the dehumanized disintegration of the pupil's thought and behavior, as it adjusts him to an abstract environment and prepares him for an abstract life.

    Testing is inherently comparative, worse yet, competitive. Children are induced to compare and rank themselves on these superficial criteria, `a C+ student'. Those who do poorly are often embarrassed, often become passively resentful or actively rebellious. Even the A students suffer as outsiders, especially in the heavy conformist culture of the male peer system. Worse yet, testing turns the student's attention to the self, a narcissistic burden the interferes with attention, participation, growth and expansion in social and physical reality.

    Testing and praise and its associated grading promotes extrinsic dissociative motives and inhibits the students integrity, concentration and intrinsic motivation.

    The neocons escalated this mental fascism with their "no child left behind", taking this to an extreme pathology. Children are degraded in many ways, as any stressed teacher can explain. The pathetic curriculum is further degraded. This is an example of MAC contracted culture and politics winning out as world culture and humanity degrades.

  5. COMMUNICATION skills are learned by communicating. Most interactions in the school strongly inhibit communication between students. "Stop talking and pay attention!" is a common refrain. Nevertheless, student interactions persist in such modes as whispering, throwing spitballs, copying each other's desk work, cheating on tests, putting pig-tails in inkwells, and in more recent periods texting messages, selling dope and threatening each other with knives and guns.

    A modern educator might object to this obsolete image, citing that students now sit at tables and co-laborate. How many classrooms have these more organic patterns remains to be measured. It works well with calm kids, good school morale, small classes and teacher aides. Many teachers and schools can do it, but some at considerable risk of teacher exhaustion, classroom confusion, and trauma from disturbed and disruptive children.

    Writing skills are learned by writing. In the typical high D classroom, the teacher is stuck with `correcting' the papers. With great time and effort, teachers guide their writing skills. The grading itself is intimidating to some students, and writing for the teacher is a peculiar format. Subgrouping much of the writing lesson so that students write for each other, then cooperate with group discussion of each others writing can be a better way. It favors a more responsible less passive approach than writing to the teacher. But most important it relieves the teacher to attend more deeply into what's going on with the student's writing skills.

    Obviously children should learn to cooperate and help each other, coordinate efforts to achieve the task at hand. Surely this is a most basic skill, crucial in any culture. Such organic process is elemental to an organic culture, but threatening to an abstract culture. Under the present stressful atmosphere, cooperative communication skills are not only not developed, they are poisoned with the quasi-authoritarian one-way communication with the teacher. The common high D classroom produces not a cooperative responsible student, but more likely a devious and hostile one. The group moral is less likely to be cooperative and responsible - more likely competitive and authoritarian.

    Imagine this problem on the D scale. Competitive authoritarian modes would be on the left Dissociated side, and cooperative collaborative modes on the Accord side. Imagine the various familiar patterns, sketch and compare them with this D chart analysis.

  6. WORK is debased. Children are taught implicitly that work has little intrinsic value: work is done as directed and rewarded, denying the implicit satisfactions of production, creation, and service, and denying the implicit satisfaction of work as loving the world.

    Unfortunately, most work is done for extrinsic reward: the approval of a teacher and later the boss. Should personal interests interfere or displace directed work, it interrupts in the classroom and invites criticism. In that sense, abstract education is truly preparation for the real world, the sick world of the abstract culture. Studies indicates that any extrinsic reward, even grades or praise, degrades the student's involvement and achievement in the learning task. It seems likely that some of those students who claim to "like" school work are whistling in the dark.

    Following the `working for grades' schooling, graduation to employment means `working for money', not as a measure of intrinsic real value, but as an abstract value itself. This supports the job ideology that "If it doesn't pay, it shouldn't be done.", "If it's not paid, it's not work.", "The salary measures the value of the job." It anticipates a life of quiet desperation, or a mid-life crisis when one realizes that meaningful work, which is every human's inherent right, has been sacrificed.

    The children learn that work is submission, a social skill essential to avoid loss of position. The pupil has the opportunity: she can submit and perhaps move up the ladder to become a teacher-boss skilled at making other people do meaningless tasks. [Barbara Ehrenreich's NICKELS AND DIMES relates how bossy people become, if and when they rise one step above the minimum wagers.] Young people will even go to war and kill if required to do so. To keep her integrity many pupils must evade, sneak by, rebel or drop out.

    The middle-class ethic, ELBY, holds status as a primary goal. One's life ambition is to acquire money and status, and to forego productive and creative skills. As a result, educated people often can't even light their water heaters or time their VCRs, but must use the power of their money to get some lower-class person to do it for them.

    As MAE expands under pressure of CAL, the schools are increasingly vulnerable to private management, financing and advertisement. For and analysis if this trend see SELLING OUT AMERICA'S CHILDREN by David Walsh.

    Anxiety Motivation, AM, is an all too pervasive drive to get the work done. AM prepares the student for the pervasive insecurity of class and culture. Just as a supply of poor people is kept unemployed at the ready to make the message perfectly clear, so some students are flunked or dropped out to increase the AM of the others. This enforces the ethic of the victor and the vanquished.

    "Work and love" are the basics of life, according to Freud and others. The present educational systems degrade work, deprive the youngsters of meaningful skills, submit them to unwholesome power relationships, and curtail the maturation process. Schools also provide the foundation for the culture in which people get money and approval for meaningless and destructive activity. Thus the educational system underpins our culture's devastating world power system, a system that must enslave most of the world's people in order to sustain modern abstract culture.

To conclude this critique: The system we call "education" is one of the most abstract and pathological institutions in the culture, comparable to the prisons, armies, the post offices, and insurance companies. Think of the educational system as an organism with a life of its own, a cultural cancer feeding at the public trough, protected by powerful interest groups, gorging itself at the expense of the minds of unfortunate youngsters. Like a cancer on the body of culture, it proliferates by producing degenerate cells, hogging more than its share of nutrients, promoting its own ends at the expense of the whole, distorting the function of nearby organs, causing great pain to the host culture, and threatening the existence of the entire system. `Education' is one of the basic elements that function to increase the abstractness of culture and life, a dynamic driver of the compulsion to the abstract life, CAL.

The April 20, 1999 Littleton, Colorado student shootings invite elaborate and complex projections on the problems of MAE. Applying DMS and the derivative dissociations to the problem suggests: [See LOST BOYS, WHY OUR SONS TURN VIOLENT AND HOW WE CAN SAVE THEM by James Garbarino, Human Development at Cornell.] The shooters made a quasi-family with their peers. Like most age grouped youngsters, this gang had no elders, so maturation was truncated. Their mental environment was abstract and violent. The school environment, through constant testing and comparison, encourages competition, linear self ranking, and alienation, especially painful for the `loosers'. The stress of Anxiety Motivation, AM, increase their authoritarianism, up left on the D chart. You name it. The remedy is ROSL.

But given the Propensity fOr Punishment, POP, the RIDly MAE educators are more apt to indulge their SOB, COS, and COI Cult Of Individualism. Vast funds might be spent on psycho-surveys of youngsters to ferret out those prone to violence. Perhaps they may be assigned to therapeutic special education prison-preparatory classes. Such a psycho-surveillance program would fit right in by lowering the age and increasing the effectiveness of the not-so-secret US government's anti-terrorist programs.

For practice and review, make a D chart analysis of educational pathologies with arrows to indicate their alleviations.

Worldwide Education, BigMAE

This Modern Abstract Education, MAE, has spread throughout the world as the educational system of the world's OOPS conquerors, BigMAE. It has dominated all other systems and permeated all world cultures. No culture is free of the abstracting influence of MAE. The growing universal global world culture, BigMAC, is increasingly homogenized and unified by BigMAE. Only the TV and mass media compete, perhaps surpass, education in this process.

For each person MAE helps make a virtue of self interest and narrow-mindedness. In spite of wholesome efforts to the in spite of the PTA, MAE inhibits social and political participation in the raising of children. In spite of the wealth of information available, the disintegrating effects of MAE deaden the minds toward the level of TV fare. MAE increases personal vulnerability by ignoring and displacing ecological knowledge of our own natural, technological, and cultural support systems. MAE supports increasing dependance on our fragile technology - vulnerably beyond common competence.

Socially, MAE promotes alienated social life by fragmenting children and culture. MAE, with its narrow focus and extrinsic rewards, fosters denial ideology, DI. By ignoring mature knowledge of social issues MAE allows our headlong dash toward dysfunction, crime, and decay.

Politically, MAE denies that the essence of American power and wealth depends on overseas investments, as described in PPMs. MAE ignores, tolerates, even supports absurd military policies. MAE denies our policy of economic and military suppression of much of humanity and the persisting threat of omnicidal war. In spite of recent emphasis on ecology, MAE contributes little to avoid impending ecological disasters.

All these concerns could add richness and meaning to the students personal, intellectual, social, political life. Yet they have only a small place in common school life.

A Brief History of Education

Throughout the world education is amazingly the same: A large group of children grouped by age being instructed by a teacher to do meaningless and useless tasks with pencil on paper. How did this strange sick scene develop?

First, a look at the metasociology of groups: The more complicated the task, the more complex the grouping. In contrast, the more simple the task, the more abstract the grouping. The origins of such abstract grouping goes way back. Surely it has happened occasionally throughout history, but any culture that widely practiced such simple-minded authoritarian direction would degenerate, until such groupings were replaced, or overthrown.

Of course, the pyramids did get built, Rome was fed by the slave plantations of Sicily and Carthage, and we flourish on fossil fuel. But historical anthropologists have difficulty measuring just how abstract these working groups were.

In medieval Europe, most people learned considerable skills as part of their life in the productive sector of society, occasionally formalized as a quasi-family apprenticeship system. While the farmers, craftsmen and traders were operating in organic work groups (not quasi-family, just plain family) the Roman Church, recovering from the trauma of its loss in the sacking of Rome was busy false-focusing on the written word. Unfortunately, there was a terrible shortage of xerox and audio visual equipment. Those profound tales that form the heart and core of any culture were written out tediously by hand in the monasteries. Thousands of elite men were relieved of peasant labor and recruited to the monastery where the great lessons were being fixated. Scribes were ripped from an organic culture, probably at an early age, taught to read en masse, ingrained with the newly abstracted doctrines, and put to work copying manuscripts. Thus modern education, with its rows of age-grouped youngsters writing with pencil on paper, has a surrealist similarity to the monks of old who endlessly copied manuscripts.

This weird classroom system is often thought of as the basis of education. It is abstract education, not organic education. During the middle ages, real organic education was everywhere: the complex tasks of raising, storing, distributing, preserving and preparing plants and animals; the newly emerging crafts; and the technologies of war, all required great skill and knowledge. Nor was the mass culture primitive: farmers paid to see Shakespeare's plays. All this real education went on in the most efficient way, a way we call Real Organic Education, ROE. What went on in the monasteries might be called "abstract education" or simply "stupidification". Even literacy itself was barely useful until the productive classes began to make use of it. We might thank the Arabs for preserving so much of earlier writings during these dark ages.

The written word is thin information, vaguely connoting aspects of the mental model, but far removed from reality. By the nature of consciousness, the word takes on a life of its own, and, when written, fixates further this schizophrenic Dissociation. Ancient culture and knowledge was passed on during the millennia of oral tradition, but its communication was in an organic cultural context, rich in content and meaning made possible by the face to face process of real people. During the recent few centuries of literacy, the word has been fixated and emasculated by being written. Blessed are the poets and writers who alleviate this abstraction, also the artists, designers and early scientists who use graphic and mathematical images, all helping to enliven this technologically abstract mode of the written word.[ See Ecclesiastes, 12:11-13: Solomon, "Many books....vanity...".]

Recently, the written word has been transcended by modern technology with its audio-visual information. Multi-media recapitulates the rich information transmission of earlier periods, interrupted by this brief history of domination by the written word. Multi media communication is richer and more connotative, less vulnerable to contraction, richer in the picture. Unfortunately, the few centuries of simple literacy left a legacy of abstract communication, but the written word is quickly being replaced by the more organic modern media. This can be both good and healthy, unless the managers of MAC continue to use the media to abstract the culture even further. Modern media technology can enable, perhaps compel, a terrible depersonalization, loneliness and alienation. In fairness, we must give careful attention to dear and famous Luddite, Jerry Mander, for his illumination these issues regarding TV and computers. And Marshall McLuhan, whose refreshing theories in THE MEDIA IS THE MESSAGE, of `hot' and `cold' media contradict and surpass this tall TOL thesis, the TRAGEDY OF LITERACY, TOL.

Science is said to have begun when the literate aristocracy communicated with the skilled craftspeople. Perhaps it was the softening of class barriers between the educated alchemists and the dirty metallurgists that began our modern science. Class bias is still visible as good-humored jesting and administrative allocation between pure vs applied science, and between scientists and engineers. For further concern on these issues tune in to the vigorous and prolific work being done these days on the anthropology of science, such as May Migly's book, SCIENCE AND SOCIETY and many others by James Burke, etc.

Unfortunately for the future of mankind, abstract education was embraced by the new bourgeois classes. They developed `classroom' schools to prepare for the unreal work of writing on paper, a prelude to employment in the Mercenary Army of Occupation, MAO, the clerks who manage the world. [essay CGMs, Clerks Gone Mad] The culture of clerks is still mostly parasitic, as were the clerics of old. They manage MAC. The real work is still mostly learned on the job, and perhaps also in those few organic enclaves that sneak barely noticed into the school system such as technical higher education and corporate on-the-job training. All this is enabled by the unbelievable efficiency of the modern technology, enabling ten percent of the population to support the vast array of parasitic classes, those humans who are condemned to shuffle paper and sell themselves to each other.

Voucher and Charter Alternatives

One move toward radical reform is the voucher system. In Charley Rose's conversation with Peggy Noonan, 7/4/94, she commented that parents spend great time and effort protecting children from the culture. Transfer from the public (socialist?) system to private (capitalist?) voucher system might help, provided the government can refrain its compulsion to constrain and control with regulations and restrictions. Vouchers might well allow more organic systems by loosening the straight jacket of the public school system.

Each child is given a voucher of perhaps twenty dollars per day to spend on any school chosen with the parents. Of course, it's crucial that the school licensing system be very loose, to allow the growth of more organic schools. Otherwise the changes would be minimal, the main difference being that a portion of the costs would go to the stockholders.

Caroline Hoxby of Harvard U. concludes that increasing choice in education improves public schools, decreases the demand for private school subsidies, and generally improves teaching and learning. See the section, COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM, CC.

Vouchers my not be a net improvement because few states or communities are willing to dismantle the legal framework to allow such a frightening variety of schools. In spite of the excellent work of many thoughtful educators, there is no developed image of organic education. The controlling light-weight legislators seem neither to listen or to hear much of what the best of the educators are trying to tell them. The public is panicked by their own educational trauma and the muddle minded information available to them. People also fear that some schools might promote religious or political causes, threatening their denial ideology. Imagining scenarios of what might happen to public schools makes for lively group discussion.

Unfortunately, the voucher system might well lead to the same orgy of market rip-off that we see in the medical and legal systems, as explained in Anna White's COLA-IZED CLASSROOM. Some free enterprise training schools may be profitable, but some may be inefficient and corrupt. Educational reform is unlikely to improve without basic Ei development in its own community. [WARD PROGRAM]

Organic Education

Let's consider broader and deeper reforms based on the whole culture. Reconstruction of organic social life, ROSL, is a crucial foundation for Modern Organic Education, MOE. If the community is developing Ei in a healthy Ai direction, schools as they are will wither away. Education might then be analyzed like any other social process, but it will not be a fragmented system.

We need an image of good and healthy education, high Ei and high Ai. Organic education is an aspect of organic culture. To correct for our rationalist, RIDs, tradition it's important to keep in mind two issues: 1. Most educational process is subconscious - awareness is a small part of life and learning. 2. Most of our RIDs ideas of education and the social structures to implement them, such as schools, are compulsively and compellingly abstract and contractive. Deep images from human ecology and broad responsibilities of culture design are necessary to alleviate the narrow images of modern abstract education. Schools are sick: Let education grow and gradually replace them with the reconstruction of organic culture.

Organic Curriculum

There is no better preparation for life than to learn to handle what's in front of you. Children could learn what's in front of them: food preparing, using tools, gardening, taking care of other people, doing things together, repairing appliances, communicating clearly, keeping agreements and promises, joining ceremonies, surfing the net, perhaps even reading books and other archaic but historically interesting activities. Organic curriculum is no curriculum, replaced with more complex and less fixated task organization. Education becomes task oriented, not subject oriented.

Avoid self conscious attention to individual shortcomings or differences, since they lead the child away from participation in the task and toward narcissistic tyranny of the self, TS. Remedial work is implicit in everything the child does, and the child is best prepared to deal with so-called deficits in the most efficient and least damaging way, usually without awareness or conscious assistance.

Imagine what an organic curriculum might include: Skill and familiarity with food preparation and serving, then shopping for and growing food. This activity, aside from being part of the richness of organic life, will inherently include mathematical, chemical, ecological and ethnic details. The repair and maintenance of whatever tools and equipment are involved would not be "taught", but would be learned. Certainly these items will continue to change with time. The basic lesson here is the courageous approach and the mastery of any and all tools and machines. Child care and geriatric care would also be learned, not in specifics, but with the implicit attitude that one takes care of whoever is there. Pets might well be replaced by people, who have much more to offer and are in great supply. Thorstein Veblen suggested pets are a poor man's substitute for a subordinate household servant class.

Creating a context for the Ei evolution and Ai health of organic education might be aided by a few fantasies such as BBJ SCHOOL. We need not and cannot predict how education will grow, but we can us human ecology as a tool for this culture design.

Reconstruction of Organic Education, ROED

Just as modern abstract education is part of an abstract culture, so organic education is a subsystem of organic culture. What would it look like? The details are unpredictable, and any image of the future seduces the mind toward the rigidities of idealism and authoritarianism. Keeping this constraint in mind, let's paint a picture anyway, looking to the ROED ahead.

Let's switch our attention from alleviating the present tolerated disaster of modern abstract education toward imaging the reconstruction of organic culture, ROC, with organic education as a subsystem.

As the ROC proceeds, more people will choose to live in ECOVILLAGES. The newly reconstructed quasi-extended families may not be genetically related, but people will gradually reconstruct complex role-differentiated lives similar to those of the evolutionary period, but with the luxury of contemporary technology. In recent examples of COHOUSING, most popular among the cool Danes, people develop a combination of private and shared facilities, illustrating how even rich people can rebuild extended family and tribal life. The poor people have an easier time - if they can avoid degradation and wage enslavement. At whatever economic level, these sustainable systems are a bargain.

Resistance to this change represents not a reluctance to sacrifice or an economic deprivation, but anxiety increasing from the fragility of contraction as the present system disintegrates. The babies can be born at home in the SNAP ??? neighborhood medical facility or birthing room. Perhaps, like some in Britain, they will have a "welcome wagon" of high-tech medical support nearby just in case. In California it may be accompanied by a guitar as in Ernest Callenbach's book ECOTOPIA, but such cultural details need not be predicted. Of course, decisions are made by the mother, family, and `doctor', since the community is strong enough to protect itself from the lawyers and bureaucrats. The young women will surely have seen birth before, and there is enough extended family support that the endless details of birthing, as well as child-raising, are communicated implicitly. There may well be prenatal and postnatal support groups, but they are too close to the culture to be called education. No one would call this "sex education".

The new mothers and babies spend much of their time with the other families. The heroic undertaking of raising an infant gets support and assistance every step of the way, from other mothers, children, old people and even fathers. No one need call this "child care". In the inevitable decline of world birth rate, babies are passed around to alleviate their scarcity.

The abstraction `toy' may disappear. The entire universe will be `toy'. Only abstract culture's MOM (Magic Of the Marketplace) is able to make the playthings of children separate from life itself, and expensive. From the child's point of view, it is difficult to improve upon a leaf, a mud pie, and a bug. With plenty of people around, the timeless problem of safety is alleviated. No one will call this "nursery school".

Children may gather by age, but they need not be grouped by age. Rather, they spend time in the groups they are with, involved in the tasks of their local culture, learning implicitly by raising radishes, making cookies, tending animals, assembling gears, sorting microchips, scanning CNN videos, logging on. No one would bother to call this "primary school".

The information resource available with the new technology is expanding rapidly. Children will see the information terminal used regularly by almost everyone, and, being children, will very soon become computer experts. Every book, every picture, every repair manual, every work of art, every videotape, every language is immediately accessed by this infinite library. No one would call this "elementary school".

Functions which are now so badly served by the education system will be served by a advanced forms of apprenticeship, much of it indistinguishable from organic life itself. Jobs will be replaced by WORK. No one need call this "high school" or "college".

Poisons exist, but in an organic community it is easier to protect the children from such items as drain cleaners and advertising media. People have always been ornery OOPS, but an organic context alleviates the problem.

Role differentiation along with role versatility enhances the development of each person. Everyone may or may not be able to prepare food, repair machinery, and play the violin. All will enjoy the path of their own life in the fabric of their own culture.

We need not proscribe and cannot predict. As the culture reconstructs, and education evolves, schools will wither away.

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