A foolish article about a foolish survey about a foolish educational system captures all that is wrong with America today. The best and the brightest become hackers and self-directed pioneers (Richard Stahlman is the most righteous, Bill Gates the most obvious). The “well-behaved” are the ones that cross “the finish line” because they do not question authority and they actually believe that 18-25 years of rote education and extended childhood is good for them.
Education in the United States of America (USA) has become a prison, a factory, a fraud that dumbs down the vast majority with compulsory rote education of little value in a rapidly chaning world. Within the Cabinet of the USA, Education is a sideshow, a neglected step-child vastly overshadowed by a $1 trillion a year national security budget and the insanity of a White House that thinks theater is a substitute for thinking, sabre-rattling a substitute for production.
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had it right. Jefferson said “A Nation’s best defense is an educated citizenry” to which we would add “and armed”). James Madison, whose statement we have adopted as the foundation for this Public Intelligence Blog, is even more specific: “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
The latest campus revolutionaries are the so-called edupunks — and their mission is to break up the ivory tower so everyone can pile into the classroom. MIT was the first university to heed the edupunk call: it started posting syllabi, course notes and videotaped lectures on ocw.mit.edu back in 2001. Harvard, Berkeley, Yale, Princeton and Stanford soon followed suit, with their own schemes for posting videos of their most popular courses. Now Academic Earth aggregates all this material so you can audit classes from the comfort of your computer.
Above from TIME Magazine’s Top 50 Web Sites of 2009. Click below to see all 50 sites.