Our System of Education

An Examination and Taxonomy from David R. Graham



Axioms

Conclusion

The system of education evolving in the United States comprises Ten Elements:

Rishi-Kuls

Homeschools

Public Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools

Private Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools

Public Vocational Schools

Private Vocational Schools

Public College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools

Private College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools

Corporation Schools

Correspondence Schools


Return


Axioms

1- Education is the primal and primary activity of an individual, a family, a society, a nation and a government. Education is eugenics.

2- Each individual has a right to learn. This is not a civil or statutory right but a primal (human) one, a consequence of inalienable nature. Each individual has a responsibility to educate themselves, within the limits of their capacities, so that they are useful to themselves and to society. Children have a primal right to be educated by their parents.

3- Parents have a primal right and a primal responsibility to educate their children. This right is anterior to a government's statute compelling education of a certain kind, meaning philosophy, at a certain place. However, this right is posterior to a government's responsibility to ensure that all citizens capable of learning come up to a specified standard of literacy. Parents' responsibility to educate their children is primal, of inalienable nature, and exceeds in importance every other responsibility a parent has, whatsoever.

4- Primally, the constituency of our system of education is a student. Individuals and society are happy and prosperous when each individual is leading out, from within themselves, their own inner necessity. Education = ex + ducare = to lead out from.

5- The agenda of education is the destiny of a student. That destiny is primarily inner-directed and secondarily outer-directed. Primarily, educators ask, 'What can we do to facilitate this person's becoming who he or she really is?' Secondarily, educators ask, 'How can we ensure that this person labors and consumes in a manner which contributes to the general welfare?'

6- Always the issue is, What is literacy? What is an educated person? There are two aspects to this question, one absolute and one relative. The absolute aspect is the philosophical one, which is our grasp of human nature, our anthropology. The relative aspect is the societal one, which is our understanding of what the community needs at each moment of its existence. These aspects may be summarized this way: education trains the heart to be pure (absolute aspect) and the hand to be skillful (relative aspect).

7- An educated person is one who has cultured taste, who is able to discriminate between the eternal and the ephemeral.

Return


Rishi-Kuls

Rishi is a Sanskrit word meaning Sage. Kul is a Sanskrit word meaning School. English is a member of the large family of languages having descent from Sanskrit. A Rishi-Kul is a school run by a Sage. A Sage is a person who is bereft of self-interest and who is, therefore, impartial.

The constituency of a Rishi-Kul is a student. A Rishi-Kul is the only school that has a student as its sole constituency. It is the only school that does not impose on a student an agenda not native to him or her. Positively, it is the only school that exclusively fosters a student's inner necessity. A Rishi-Kul supports a student sans quid pro quo.

A Sage supports students he or she is educating. The economics of a Rishi-Kul are exactly opposite those of almost all other kinds of school. Usually, a student is required to pay for their education and, often, that of others as well.

We may note that, since, as the saying goes, 'the customer is always right,' students who pay for their education morally have the upper hand on their teachers. At Rishi-Kuls and most homeschools, the teacher, being the 'customer' (paying for the education), morally has the upper hand on the student, which is as it should be.

A Rishi-Kul is the Ur-Type (Urbild) for all other elements of our system of education. From the word we get our word, school.

There are never many Rishi-Kuls because there are never many Rishis (Sages). But there are always some, and in every country. Ordinary vision does not recognize them, but, ordinary vision is not the standard of inquiry. Rishi-Kuls are like leaven: a few are plenty, and there are always a few.

Return


Homeschools

Homeschools are not a new phenomenon but the growth of their numbers is. Today, almost all states have statutory recognition of homeschooling as schooling. Washington State has the most discerning statutes.

Homeschools operate pre-school through beyond post-graduate education. Anyone learning anything outside an incorporated entity is homeschooling.

Homeschoolers share one or both of two beliefs:

The standard of academic achievement delivered through teachers and administrators by the statutory compulsion of a government is too low. A government is failing its responsibility to ensure a literate population.

The compulsion of a philosophy of life or a place of schooling is incompetent for a government in or of the United States of America. A government compelling these things is abridging a parent's constitutional rights to freedom of religion, which derives from philosophy, and of expression as well as their primal and statutory responsibility to rear their children, and it is abridging their children's primal and statutory right to be raised by their parents. These are the fundamental considerations which produce homeschooling.

The constituency of homeschools is, usually, a student. Sometimes the constituency is parents. The proliferation of homeschools is inviting the attention of commercial interests, parochial and secular, and these are seeking to obtrude themselves as constituencies of homeschools.

In general, the primal reason for homeschooling is to provide safe, happy and inspiring circumstances for a child's childhood, where their nature and duty alike incline them towards learning. Homeschooling parents tend to want for children a happy childhood. They tend to grasp that learning is a child's nature, along with other activities. Homeschooling parents tend to believe that a happy child, one impelled by inner necessity and endowed with literacy, will make his or her way in the world in a way which fosters the happiness of the whole world. A happy person inspires happiness in others, is the thinking. And it is correct thinking.

This tendency of attitude of homeschooling parents means that the constituency of homeschools is, usually, a student.

Return


Public Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools

Public Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools are the focus of much disapproval and nearly as much solicitation in our country today. Whatever effect these initiatives have, these schools will continue in one way and another.

Originally and still today, these schools were intended to Americanize the children of citizens and especially the children of immigrants. An element of Americanization is socialization.

Americanization is a legitimate intention. Many, and especially immigrants, are illiterate in the nation's lingua franca and unaccustomed or even hostile to its democratic ideals and processes. They can be both a burden and a danger to themselves and to their neighbors. The public schools were established to obviate both possibilities.

Socialization means instilling those mental and physical habits that cause an individual to labor productively and consume regularly in the extant economy. Dependable labor and reliable consumption are the desired end-product of Public Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools. These are proper goals.

The traditional constituency of these schools is the business community. Recently, another constituency has obtruded itself upon them, namely, teachers and administrators. When public school teachers unionized, they lost the moral authority of the station of teaching and, with that, the public confidence. The decline of American society is inversely proportional to the rise of labor unions in the public schools. Unions have their need and place -- the writer is a union member and advocate -- but not in schools ... as is obvious by their effect.

Return


Private Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools

Private Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools are meant to instill certain physical, mental and, sometimes, spiritual habits not valued by the constituencies of public schools for the same age of child. The constituency of these private schools varies with the particular habits the school is meant to instill.

There are four kinds of Private Pre, Primary and Secondary School:

Parochial
Secular
Finishing
Military

Parochial schools are meant to instill certain mental, spiritual and, sometimes, physical habits. Their constituency is clergy, religious organizations and, sometimes, a student.

Secular schools are meant to instill certain physical and mental habits. Their constituency is social and athletic associations, those owning money or having access to large-scale borrowing and, sometimes, a student.

Finishing schools are meant to instill certain physical, mental and, sometimes, spiritual habits. Their constituency is those owning money or having access to large-scale borrowing and, sometimes, a student.

Military schools are meant to instill certain physical, mental and, sometimes, spiritual habits. Their constituency is those owning money or having access to large-scale borrowing, individuals and organizations which value military character as an element of society, domestic and foreign governments and, sometimes, a student.

Return


Public Vocational Schools

Public Vocational Schools are meant to train up persons in skills for which the job market pays low to moderate wages. Their constituency is the business community and governments.

Return


Private Vocational Schools

Private Vocational Schools are meant to train up persons in skills useful to employers paying low to high wages. There are many kinds of private vocational school. They are distinguished by the skills they offer to teach. They include but do not only comprise:

Business and Secretarial Schools
Art and Commercial Art Schools
Driving Schools
Cooking Schools
Bartending Schools
Personal Growth Schools
Seminars and Conferences

Today, seminars and conferences are the most ubiquitous and popular type of private vocational school. They offer to introduce or intensify skills in some type of activity.

The constituency of these schools is their owners and entities that stand to benefit from skills instilled in the schools' graduates.

(The Edison Project, a venture of Whittle Communications and Time-Warner headed by a former president of Yale University, will be private vocational schools with a constituency comprising Whittle Communications, Time-Warner and other commercial and investment interests.)

Return


Public College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools

Public College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools are the primary focus of the support of education by our society -- at least, at this time. We believe that these schools, par excellence, produce the workers and consumers required to keep our society, and especially our economy, operating. These schools submit to disapproval and solicitation, but they will continue in one way and another.

The constituencies of these schools are business, entertainment, gambling and government combinations. Agri-and medical-businesses are especially strong constituencies of these schools.

Return


Private College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools

Private College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools are the secondary focus of the support of education by our society. The large ones are barely distinguishable from Public College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools because they have the same constituency these public schools have. The small ones have independent character in inverse relation to their having the same constituency their larger brethren have.

Private College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools are of four types:

Parochial
Secular
Finishing
Military

The intent of these schools is usually identical with the intent of Private Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools of the same kind. But there are two differences that require remark.

First, Finishing Schools hardly exist with that intent past the under-graduate level.

Second, from college onward, military education is conducted primarily by the Federal Government. There is at least one non-Federal military property, The Virginia Military Institute, operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, the bulk of college to beyond post-graduate military education in our country is Federal property.

Federal military education comprises five service academies plus other schools: officer candidate schools, company, field, flag and general staff officer schools, enlisted personnel schools, weapons schools, intelligence schools and many more besides, each supplying a need for military training.

Its mission and potential fields of operation require that a military service comprise a complete society. For this reason, military education is necessarily extensive, expensive and, primarily, a Federal responsibility.

Although technically the Federal Government is a public entity, its near-monopoly of military education from college onward makes its military schools de facto private.

The constituency of Private College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools is about the same as that of Private Pre, Primary and Secondary Schools of the same kind. The large ones, however, have added business, entertainment, gambling and government combinations to their constituency. A major constituency of both large and small Private College, Graduate and Post-Graduate Schools is alumni/ae who own money. The constituency of military schools is the Federal and State Governments, sometimes some businesses and, sometimes, a student.

Return


Corporation Schools

Corporation Schools have existed for many years, but interest in them is waxing. Their purpose is in-house training of employees and, sometimes, primary and secondary education of specific children, usually those of employees.

Today, owners and managers of corporations are facing a shortage of candidates for employment, candidates who are capable of conducting their corporations' businesses. In addition, owners and managers are feeling that public and private schools are unreliably and insufficiently producing such candidates. Owners and managers feel they have been let down by schools of which they are a and sometimes the primary constituency.

These facts are driving owners and managers of some corporations to consider adding pre- through post-graduate schools to such programs of education as they already operate. How far beyond pre-school these new schools will operate and what will comprise their student populations and curricula are, of course, matters of the owners' and managers' choice. Whatever choices are made, however, Corporation Schools will likely increase in number and diversity of curricula as the years roll forward.

For the most part, the constituency of Corporation Schools is and will remain the owners and managers of the corporations operating them. Some owners and managers, inspired by the ideal of selfless service, are now -- and in coming years others will be -- establishing Corporation Schools the constituency of which is, in part, a student. Usually, however, the constituency of Corporation Schools is and will remain the owners and managers of the corporations operating them.

Return


Correspondence Schools

Correspondence Schools have proliferated in recent years and will likely continue doing so because of the flexibility of electronic technologies. Training in many arts, crafts and skills is offered by Correspondence Schools. The constituency of these schools is their owners.

Return


Conclusion

When we speak of our system of education, we should mean all of these ten elements. In order for us to be realistic, our approach has to be both catholic and secular.


Adwaitha Hermitage
June 1989
Revised, June 1992

A Q U I L A «» N O N «» C A P I T «» M U S C A S


The picture at the top of this page was drawn by Mary Graham and colored by her, also. Its title is Grey Bear and it is part of Faces of the Incarnation, a coloring book from Adwaitha Hermitage.

Phenomena to Study (U.S.A.)
Phenomena to Study (Poland)
The Weblog of Adwaitha Hermitage
Request Sarva Dharma Symbol Sticker