Education…the Philosophy of


The following is largely stol….I mean borrowed from Wikipedia with some additions and slight revisions by Win Lose or Draw.

Main Wikipedia article:  Education (



Main article: History of education



Nalanda ancient center for higher learning.

The Academy


Plato’s academy, mosaic from Pompeii.

The history of education according to Dieter Lenzen, president of the Freie Universitat Berlin 1994, “began either millions of years ago or at the end of 1770”.

Win Lose or Draw commentary: In the broadest sense Education did start “millions of years ago. 1.9 million years ago small homonids were crawling in and out of trees, and they would have been engaging in adaptive and corrective behaviors and survival techniques. Future historians will not make as large a distinction between the pre-Enlightenment years and the post-Enlightenment years. Certainly the sciences of Astrology and Medicine took a major evolutionary step forward, because of the Telescope and the Microscope. Education made a seven league step earlier (in the 1400’s) with the invention of the printing press with movable type. The progress of Education in the 1700’s was a gradual evolution, some might say a “glacial” evolution.

Education as a science cannot be separated from the educational traditions that existed before. Adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on. The evolution of culture, and human beings as a species depended on this practice of transmitting knowledge.

Win Lose or Draw commentary: The “passing on” of knowledge is in some ways a mis-statement. Children, particularly young children voraciously “take” knowledge. Remember when learning was like breathing? It happened automatically. In later years children adopt a resistant demeanor which is the ironic response to all the years of classroom time and discussions with parent types about adolescent behavior. So education in high school takes on the appearance of a battle. The grades are the teachers’ only weapon in this mock confrontation.

In the West, Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC. Plato was the Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician and writer of philosophical dialogues who founded the Academy in Athens which was the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Inspired by the admonition of his mentor, Socrates, prior to his unjust execution that “the unexamined life is not worth living”, Plato and his student, the political scientist Aristotle, helped lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Win Lose or Draw Commentary: Dividing the round globe into distinct Zones called East and West was arbitrary and is even more confusing now than when it happened in Europe back in the middle ages. If you are even more confused about this than Win Lose or Draw, you might take Constantinople as the most Western of Eastern cities though it once belonged to the West. The “Fall” of Constantinople (mid-1400’s) was a water shed “moment” in history, and the “rescuing” of much of the ancient Western and Christian texts from the library of Constantinople is a water shed “moment in “Western” Education. Everything West of Constantinople to the farthest most Western point in the United states would be called the West. So the other imaginary dividing line is mid-way between the U.S. and Russia in the middle of the 54 mile Bering Strait. Why we allow events from the middle ages to have such an impact on our lives is a question for another Blog on another day.

The city of Alexandria in Egypt was founded in 330BCE and became the successor to Athens as the intellectual cradle of the Western World. The city hosted such leading lights as the mathematician Euclid and anatomist Herophilus; constructed the great Library of Alexandria; and translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (called the Septuagint for it was the work of 70 translators). Greek civilization was subsumed within the Roman Empire. While the Roman Empire and its new Christian religion survived in an increasingly Hellenized form in the Byzantine Empire centered at Constantinople in the East, Western civilization suffered a collapse of literacy and organization following the fall of Rome in CE 476 and again in the mid 1400’s with the “Fall” of Constantinople.

In the East, Confusius (551-479), of the State of Lu, was China’s most influential ancient philosopher, whose educational outlook continues to influence the societies of China and neighbors like Korea, Japan and Vietnam. He gathered disciples and searched in vain for a ruler who would adopt his ideals for good governance, but his Analects were written down by followers and have continued to influence education in the East into the modern era.

In Western Europe after the Fall of Rome, the Catholic Church emerged as the unifying force. Initially the sole preserver of literate scholarship in Western Europe, the church established Cathedral schools in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education. Some of these ultimately evolved into medieval universities and forebears of many of Europe’s modern universities. During the High Middle Ages, Chartes Cathedral operated the famous and influential Chartes Cathedral School. The medieval universities of Western Christendom were well-integrated across all of Western Europe, encouraged freedom of enquiry and produced a great variety of fine scholars and natural philosophers, including Thomas Aquinas of the University of Naples, Robert Grosseteste of the University of Oxford, an early expositor of a systematic method of scientific experimentation; and Saint Albert the Great, a pioneer of biological field research The University of Bologne is considered the oldest continually operating university.

Win Lose or Draw Commentary: One of the conflicts within the Catholic church at this time was the concept that a person had to live as far removes from the corrupting influences of the world as possible. This idea lead to the creation of many monasteries which, ironically, led to monastic centers of learning and education.

The Renaissance in Europe ushered in a new age of scientific and intellectual inquiry and appreciation of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg developed a printing press, which allowed works of literature to spread more quickly. The European Age of Empires saw European ideas of education in philosophy, religion, arts and sciences spread out across the globe. Missionaries and scholars also brought back new ideas from other civilizations — as with the Jesuit China missions who played a significant role in the transmission of knowledge, science, and culture between China and the West, translating Western works like Euclid’s Elements for Chinese scholars and the thoughts of Confucius for Western audiences. The Enlightenment saw the emergence of a more secular educational outlook in the West.

In most countries today, education is compulsory for all children up to a certain age. Due to this the proliferation of compulsory education, combined with population growth, UNESCO has calculated that in the next 30 years more people will receive formal education than in all of human history thus far.


Main article: Philosophy of education

Locke on Ed


John Locke’s work Some Thoughts Concerning Education was written in 1693 and still reflects traditional education priorities in the Western world.

Purpose of schools

Main article: Education theory#Normative theories of education

Individual purposes for pursuing education can vary. However, in early age, the focus is generally around developing basic Interpersonal communication and literacy skills in order to further ability to learn more complex skills and subjects.

Win Lose or Draw Commentary: In Win Lose or Draw’s 33 years of teaching the emphasis has distinctly emphasized Literacy Skills at the expense of Interpersonal Communication Skills. The desk is not a stage, though many students are adept at turning their desk into a kind of miniature stage for the benefit of their immediate neighbors only. Often these comedians hone their one liners soto voice, as the teacher is trying to lecture. When the teacher makes a seat assignment, the noise level slowly rises to a dull roar. Most people cannot concentrate enough to do book work in that environment.

After acquiring these basic abilities, education is commonly focused towards individuals gaining necessary knowledge and skills to improve ability to create value and a livelihood for themselves. Satisfying personal curiosities (Education for the sake of itself) and desire for personal development, to “better oneself” without career based reasons for doing so are also common reasons why people pursue education and use schools.

Win Lose or Draw Commentary: Notice the use of the word “use.” The implication is that the student should be able to “use” his or her schooling to benefit his or her own perceived needs, mandating more Choice in an academic curriculum. However, all students today get their schedule handed to them on the first day, and that schedule has been Pre-created by educational functionaries (AKA counselors prescribed by preordained graduation requirements). “No schedule changes” is the mantra for the first few days. Nothing very interesting will be available when schedule changes are actually considered. Student requests for schedule changes are routinely met with the following refrain; “That class is full.” If an alternative can be found, it would be a class that no-one wants, such as the mythical Underwater Basket Weaving 101.


Main article: Educational psychology

Edu Graph


A class size experiment in the United States found that attending small classes for 3 or more years in the early grades increased high school graduation rates of students eligible for free lunch.

 Win Lose or Draw Commentary: Under the current system nothing much can actually be done about class sizes. Education is a labor intensive institution in today’s “Little” Red Schoolhouse.  In Florida the Class size amendment passed 10 years ago, which mandated classes of 25 or less. Unfortunately, that is totally unfeasible from a financial point of view. Education in Florida is filled with idealistic mandates that are unfunded. As for the Class Size amendment, Principals had to immediately game the numbers to meet budgetary constraints; and since the 2008 economic turn down, this disjunction between idealism and reality has increased.

Here is a vision of schools as they should be:

  1. 1.       Inevitably, we will eliminate the word compulsory. Schools should not be places where people are forced to learn. Currently in High School students must take four years of English and Math, three or four years of science and social studies, and 2 years of a foreign language. Ridiculous! All students should choose to take from 0 to 12 years of any of these subjects through their high school careers.
  2. 2.      Turn the Truant Officers into roaming counselors. We should encourage, but not force, people to drag themselves up from the bottom of the Educational food chain.
  3. 3.       Inevitably we will eliminate the grade level designations and the age specific classrooms. People of all ages, in good standing and without criminal records, should be freely admitted.
  4. 4.      When prospective students arrive at a school, they should walk through one of three doors to “choose” one of three tracks: Door 1 would be vocational and careers requiring specific skill sets, Door 2 would be higher level history, philosophy, religious, scientific, mathematic and legal academics, and Door 3 would be Remediation and basic skills preparatory to entering either Door 1 or Door 2.
  5. 5.       Inevitably we will eliminate the teachers calling roll.  Attendance would be taken automatically and digitally when students presented their ID’s at the door, and the attendance record would be a Permanent Record for review at future Job Interviews. The attendance record would automatically calculate the amount of time spent in each class.
  6. 6.      Inevitably we will eliminate the Bells and the Tardies. Students will be able to do much of the school work from home using a bio-metric keyboard that identifies the fingerprint of the student on every keystroke. Specific key bio-metric keyboards already exist. Students will be able to come in any time during the school day for face-to-face time and guidance from the teacher. They would view the previous lectures from home or take a seat at a computer to catch up on any lectures they have missed. The teacher will have pre-recorded lectures and will act as a mentor and facilitator in the classroom.  
  7. 7.      Inevitable we will eliminate all grades. Why continue to fail smart kids who just happen to be disinterested? Instead, teachers will create a report of each students’ progress and abilities in their subject. This report will become part of the Permanent Record available for review by Prospective Employers.
  8. 8.      Teachers would be evaluated solely on the number of students who regularly attend the class. They would probably be on year to year contracts.