Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Education or Credentials?

Sherry, at Semicolon, one of my regular blogreads, posted some interesting comments and questions along with a reference to Louis L'Amour's book, Education of a Wandering Man. She begins with a religion-based post from Buried Treasure Books that poses the question of whether male and female children should be trained (educated) differently to prepare for different roles. I, like Sherry, am not interested in debating that question. As far as I am concerned there isn't even a question there. I think all children should have equal opportunity to be educated. Sherry at Semicolon takes only the educational aspect of the question -- and that is the part that interests me. She has just finished reading the L'Amour book mentioned above and makes the following statements:

...I have a library of thousands of books in my home. Mr. L’Amour, during his hobo days, bought cheap paperbacks and borrowed whatever was available from his fellows or from his workplace or the library. Nevertheless, he educated himself
because he hadn’t lost the curiosity and the thirst for knowledge that is built into every child. He did it mostly without schools or teachers. He read and he lived. I really wonder sometimes whether encouraging my children to go to college is such a good idea... ...I am beginning to wonder whether most young
men and young women wouldn’t receive a better education from working, reading, and living instead of spending four years in the artificial and very expensive environment of the university... ... It seems to me that if an education is the goal, Mr. L’Amour is right: anyone in our society who pursues an education can
easily get one—and continue getting it for the remainder of his life. On the other hand, if it’s credentials you want...

What do you think? Why don't you read Sherry's entire post? Maybe you'd even like to read the Buried Treasure Books discussion she references and weigh in with your opinion. (Warning, you might be tempted to wander from the discussion of the value of school-based education versus experience-based education if you allow it.)

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