Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Liberal Education vs. Conservative Education

A liberal education is about:

- Fostering critical thinking skills.
- Giving students a rational framework to distinguish fact from fiction.
- Exposing students to a wide array of information.
- Letting the students exercise their critical thinking skills by digesting the information, deciding what is fact and what is fiction, and forming their own conclusions.
- Encouraging them to constantly question authority, question the status quo and challenge "established facts" using their critical thinking skills.

A conservative education consists of:

- Establishing an Authoritative Source for All Knowledge.
- Disseminating that knowledge by rote memorization.
- Locking the doors on the knowledge. Nothing you hear after this is true. Stick with what you know.
- When faced with new information that contradicts the established Authoritative Source, close your eyes, plug your ears, recite the facts you know, and wait for the new information to go away.
- Under no circumstances should conservatives ever doubt what they "know to be true", no matter how compelling the evidence to the contrary.

I ask you. Which of these approaches to absorbing complex information, analyzing data and making decisions makes the most sense as an approach for solving societies problems?

Go!

10 comments:

m.v. said...

I am not sure how to put it correctly but there is a liberal education and there is a bunch of liberal idiots who run the system,who are responsible for things like diluting the grades to make students feel better,creative spelling,etc.my kid didn't even start getting letter grades until 6th grade.then you end up with half-educated over-praised morons,the least of whose problems is not believing in evolution.I remember when I first went to JCCC the instructor said that College Algebra was the 1st college-level Algebra course and they had to institute 3 or more prequels because kids couldn't handle it.So unless you are going to some weird non-public school the items you listed will hardly affect you.

Xavier Onassis said...

m.v. "...there is a bunch of liberal idiots who run the system,who are responsible for things like diluting the grades to make students feel better,creative spelling,etc.my kid didn't even start getting letter grades until 6th grade.then you end up with half-educated over-praised morons,the least of whose problems is not believing in evolution."

Liberal idiots? How about the conservative idiots on the Kansas School Board who insist that schools teach fantasy over fact?

How about the Texas school boards, who dominate the content of national school textbook content favoring creationism over ACTUAL SCIENCE?

How about right-wingers thinking that conservative indoctrination (sorry...meant to say Home Schooling) is equal to an actual education?

The dumbing down of education isn't the fault of liberal ideals. It's due to a conservative abhorance to actual facts.

Muddy Mo said...

Good post. I used it as an excuse to roll out one of my old saw's about the U.S. public education system. system.

Mark said...

I am not sure about this. But One definition of conservative is that it means to favor traditional views and values. And Liberal tends to mean not limited to or by established.

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Old Fart said...

Liberals are great and awesome!
Conservatives suck!

You've got the rhetoric down pat.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I'd like to know where your utopian liberal school exists. I can tell you for sure your conservative example doesn't exist in our school district even though it's in your dreaded Kansas.

Faith said...

I agree with Mark on his definitions. At least that's what those two terms meant back when I was in school.

I went to a liberal arts college...that was run by the Church of Christ. Just try to wrap your brain around THAT nugget o' info!!! :D

Srsly, though, I received a really great education that, yes, involved some study of the bible. But since I was a Lit major, I think that studying the bible really made sense and fit in with my curriculum as a whole, anyway. We were required during our freshman and sophomore years to attend something called Convocation every Monday, and while that included an opening and closing prayer, it also consisted of speaches given by the school president to ramp up our school spirit, and by guest speakers who came in to talk to us about relationships, our dedication to our education, or about specific goals for our lives once we were out of school and facing the "real world." They were like mini-motivational speaches every week, and I remember enjoying them for the most part. (Every once in a while, they invited someone who got too "preachy" IMO. I don't like yellers or preachers.)

Anyway, it was "liberal" in that we didn't just study religion, or stick to just our major's required curriculum. I was required to study a foreign language, take a science class or two, and study a SHIT TON of world history every year, too. I attended classes with agnostics, atheists, Catholics, and Jews alike. We all knew what we were getting ourselves into when we chose Pepperdine (dry campus...GAH.), and we decided to go there in spite of the religious crap involved. The religious curriculum only helped me more, actually. I'd never read the bible before then, and it was really interesting stuff, thanks to the teachers I had who helped me decipher it all!

I'm rambling, but I'm just chiming in to give my 2 cents...throwing the word "liberal" in the mix with "education" isn't necessarily an evil, horrible thing. It's normal. Same goes for "conservative", IMO. (Although I've never heard it used before.)

Midtown Miscreant said...

How about the predominatly liberal, minority, Kansas City school board? They have curriculum like African drum circles, and a drop out rate that borders around half. They are doing a real fuckin Cracker Jack of a job educating. Okay, now you pull Erik West's name like a pistol...Liberal schools also tend to produce Art School douche bags, who go on to become out of work douche bags. There have been some pretty great minds to come out of conservative and faith based schools. You want to toss every conservative under the same umbrella of moronic, god worshipping dullards and war mongers. Thats not just a broad brush, its a fuckin Wagner Power Roller. Kind of reminds me of those 3 conservative nuts you link to. You know you are swinging towards looney leftist when Im defending Conservatives.

Peggy McGilligan said...

What's happening in education, has happened before, only not in America. It's called Radical Constructivism. I imagine it'll meet the same fate as it did in Europe, but I saw it firsthand: http://theseedsof9-11.com

Brian said...

you all have it completely wrong and are pulling political opinion into the realm of education. Being a liberally-minded person politically has no relationship whatsoever to someone getting a "liberal" education. In the education sense, "Liberal" simply means that classes are taken from a broad (or liberal) range of colleges, rather than just one. This is not the same as Liberal ideology which does tend to permeate college campuses and is rebuffed by conservative ideology ( so if there really was term for it, a law school student, or a engineering student are engaged in "conservative" (one school) education)