Public Education is Like the Roman Empire

Cities work because they are never finished. I don’t know if I made that up or if I heard it, or something like it, from someone else. But it’s true. Cities, especially great cities, are always becoming. The regenerate themselves. Cities outlive kings and queens and empires: Rome is still here, the Roman Empire is not. Remarkably, Hiroshima is still here. Cities work because they create conditions, rather than outputs, and because civic governments largely stay out of the way of the people they govern. Oh sure there are taxes and by-laws, but these go to building and maintaining the infrastructure that people need to get on with their own business.

Structurally, the public education model is much more like the Roman Empire than the city of Rome: pretty great, glorious even (it’s a wildly successful social endeavor that dropped illiteracy rates in North America to near zero), but monolithic and programmatic. It tries to be self-perpetuating rather then self-regenerating. Alas, nothing lasts forever.

One Comment

  1. Reply
    Mark Yeates March 30, 2013

    I agree totally, people like ants must have a future goal if they don’t see and work towards it, then there is no point to doing!

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