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Open Society University Network: Local and global issues

I ran across this plan for education that takes on the challenges facing us in 2020. We have had…See More
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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

My thoughts on the education of children

Having read the thoughts of Lycurgus, Rousseau and Montaigne on this very important topic, I have written what I think should be the end of all of education.

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Comment was by Chris on August 12, 2015 at 1:45am

Great Blog Onyango Makagutu. The comments were thoughtful. Interesting thread. 

Comment was by Chris on August 11, 2015 at 2:49am

Religious proselytizing is damaging to children and adults. 

It will take time, I know we can get there.

We can teach and learn the poetry of old biblical books without holding them as the ultimate truth. 

Comment was by Chris on August 11, 2015 at 2:23am

There are spelling bees... What I think is more important is teaching about geography, nature and how the  planet works. 

Comment was by Chris on August 3, 2015 at 1:18am

The leap over the fence to secularism is difficult. As discussed earlier - it's better to teach  children to be kind, thoughtfull,  and understanding of others views.

If children understand other's viewpoints they will shed xenophobia.

Unfortunately some teachers hold a 'religious virtue' that poisons the curriculm. 

The curriculum is a political maneuver. That's where the difficulty lies. 

Cultural anthropology taught in early education as a part of basic studies may help students learn that others are different, and that's okay.

Comment was by Onyango Makagutu on July 6, 2015 at 7:30am

In our public education system, religion is taught, and not critically. More than 90% of the teachers profess belief in some god or other. It is unlikely they can teach children without introducing their biases.So in a way, the school system continues to reinforce the religious indoctrination that started when they were still babies. It is for this reason, among others, I oppose religious education in public schools. 

Comment was by Chris on July 6, 2015 at 6:00am

f children were taught about the diversity of religious myth it may help them reject the one they are subjected to within their home and community.  It would be a difficult curriculim to develop. It would be even harder to find teachers able to present the material while with-holding their own superstitious beliefs.  Because of that and the outrage parents would express about schools undermining their parental authority it would be easier left for Universities especially considering the limited resources available. It would be nice to  provide alternatives for children who are force fed dogma.  Ayaan Hirshi Ali said it took years to get over the fear of hell after becoming an atheist.  Parents, families, communities, and etc. that instill the fear of hell in children is child abuse. Providing relief from such abuse via the public school system may eventually happen in some areas.  As far as I know nothing like that is available in American public elementary schools.

I think it would make them better world citizens because with understanding of others it's more difficult to demonize and kill them (in war).  The American military was (is?) flush with Christian religious dogma and islomophobia. This may not have been as effective had the soldiers been taught about Islam as school children. One of the main goals of teaching school children about many different religious myths and cultures would be to drive out xenophobia.

Comment was by Onyango Makagutu on July 5, 2015 at 3:52am

Teaching religion in itself is a useless endeavour. There is nothing in it that helps to make them become better citizens. I think it should be taught as an elective in anthropology classes in universities

Comment was by Chris on July 5, 2015 at 2:57am
If comparitive world religions were taught to students they would lean about different cultures and ideas. Teaching students only one type of religion such as the different, or differences in Christian sects amounts to proselytizing and should be prohibited in public schools in my opinion.
Comment was by Chris on July 5, 2015 at 2:34am

You must mean this part Onyango

"JAY: And who's producing better engineers and computer scientists and so on?

BABONES: Well, I've had many discussions with people in the private sector about engineering skills, because I do a lot of research on China. What they tell me is that a typical Chinese engineer has about the level of competence of a U.S. engineer of one level below. So someone with a master's degree in China is equivalent to someone with a bachelor's degree in the U.S. Someone with a PhD in China is roughly equivalent to someone with a master's degree in the U.S. It's simply a myth that Chinese engineers are superior to U.S. engineers.

JAY: So if the evidence is that--. I'm sorry. Finish your point. Yeah.

BABONES: Chinese math scores on standardized tests are higher than American math scores on standardized tests. But what we want from people is not performance on standardized tests. What we want from people is to be good engineers."

That statment is basd on his studies and research. A long time ago I read that students in opprssive governments do well analytically and less well expressively and creativly. Creativity is important for design (engineering).  Perhaps that's a reason for Babones observation. His book may generally explain more about this.

Comment was by Onyango Makagutu on July 5, 2015 at 1:19am

Chris this is a great interview.

I am not sure about his claims about Chinese engineers vs American engineers

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