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Mawrtyr2008's picture

What about Structural Inequality?

Jessica,

Thank you for bringing up the very intesting point that education isn't limited to the classroom. The brain is capable of inductively amassing various types of complex information and applying them. An example that I know Paul cites often is that of language acquisition in little children. I think you're right to bring to our attention that somone can continue to read, experience, and learn outside of the classroom, no matter what their occupation.

While I appreciate the points you brought up, I think that your argument seriously overlooked the issue of structural violence and inequality in education. There's a wealth of sociological research available that suggests that our educational system acts as a means of replicating social inequality that's already present in society. I'd be happy to put of specific citations of books and authors if you're curious, as soon as I find my syllabus from David Karen's "Social Inequality in the US" course. Furthermore, if we're talking about a neurobiological level, there's ample evidence that as our education system currently functions, children's chances of making it to college are largely predetermined based on things as simple as how many words their parents used with them, what types of questions they were asked, and how they were spoken to. I realize that this conundrum leads right into the "enriched environment" problem surrounding neural growth, but it's a important one to consider in this context.

Therefore, the question I would pose to you in response to your post would be, is "self-selection" an accurate discription of what's happening? How can you ascribe characterisics of autonomy, consent, and intent to a minor's action of dropping out of school when that school wasn't offering a fair playing field to begin with?  Lastly, how can an education system take these differences into account such that a 16 year old's decision to leave high school is actually an autonomous one?

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