The province of Alberta has decided to make education optional. If there’s something in the real world that you don’t like, such as that you evolved from other apes, or that gay people exist, or perhaps that understanding the motion of bodies requires some of that difficult math stuff, students will be allowed to close their eyes and plug their ears and pretend those uncomfortable complexities don’t exist. How sweet! And then they can graduate without ever learning anything new, and go on to be ignorant voters who will no doubt continue the trend of dumbing down everything.
This is a very stupid move by stupid people that will produce more stupid people.
It neglects a fundamental property of education: that in order to learn, you have to be exposed to many new and sometimes difficult ideas. We teach about subjects that no one thinks are good, because you need to know about them to have an informed opinion. The Holocaust was horrible and painful — shall we allow children to avoid exposure to it? Fundamentalist parents may gnash their teeth in fury at the very idea of evolution — but how can they disagree with it rationally, if they don’t even know what it is?
Somehow we’ve acquired this bizarre notion that learning is about being eased along, never stressing ourselves, never facing a challenge. We’ve mistaken education for an exercise in affirmation. And now Alberta wants to enshrine that idea in their educational system.
Well, at least if the future creates a lot of demand for jobs that require smugly oblivious, incompetent people, industry will know precisely where to go for them.