St-Imier 2020
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Souper et Débat politique, Round Three
A regular political conversation and making-progress get-together, followed by a friendly social dinner for those that have time to stick around. This is an opportunity for you to listen to what other people are thinking and to share your ideas. Discussing problems and opportunities and establishing a flow of concrete action, making change happen and transforming society together.

English, Français, Deutsch, with translations as needed.

Wednesday, December 5th, Espace Noir, rue Francillon 29, 2610 St-Imier, Switzerland
The conversation will start at 18:00 and a dinner will be served at 20:30.

On Wednesday, December 5th we will most likely continue to talk about the education system in various different aspects. This topic emerged from our second session last week:

We started out asking ourselves how society would have to operate to address the concerns brought up by our first session on November 7th. It was suggested that the society's education system would be of central importance.

These statements were made: We need better schools. Schools are too regulated, with not enough attention to the individual. There needs to be more freedom, and more motivation on the part of kids.

The example of 'circus schools' in St-Croix was mentioned, an affordable system where kids go in the late afternoon to learn and practice circus skills.

Providing such complementary education of various types could offer a way forward that would potentially be easier to implement than changes to the public school system or attempting to offer an affordable alternative to the current public schools.

We started to investigate these various options in more detail. The option of an alternative school would be harder to accomplish, but it allows the kids to bring their whole energy to the better system. The option of changing the public school system would require a very extensive effort. It was suggested that, since the current public school system is a reflection of a consensus in society to the extent that such a consensus currently exists, making changes would require shifting that consensus. On the other hand, enhancing the education by offering complementary education in the late afternoons would be easier to accomplish, but much of the children's energy would be used up in the mainstream schools.

We noted that identifying an ideal alternative system would be a huge topic. One suggestion was that a parents' collective might be a good starting point to make an alternative affordable.

It was also mentioned that mainstream schools are too competitive, recalling experiences with grading on 'the curve' in the past, for example, which guarantees that some percentage of kids "fail".

There was also a bit of a side discussion, regarding an individual focus vs. a collective focus, as an alternative to existing hierarchical systems of decision making. And a bit of an ontological discussion, such as whether 'the market' is a meaningful concept.

We closed the session with identifying several loose ends that we would want to pursue. We said that one promising approach for a complementary education offering would be in the context of community gardening, for which there would be existing local opportunities that could be acted on. We also wanted to find out more about the circus school in St-Croix and look into the arguments that have lead to recent attempts of "free school reform" failing in several cantons.

For the next session we intend to share our research in these regards. So, it seems likely that we will continue our work along these lines on Wednesday, December 5th 2012.

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