The Instigator
brett.winstead
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
ClassicRobert
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Most of formal education is a complete waste of time

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
ClassicRobert
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/20/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,428 times Debate No: 34927
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)

 

brett.winstead

Pro

I will not say a lot for this first round except that I hope it is obvious. I do not believe that formal education in a classroom is very effective for life, for conversation, for a job, for much of anything and I will state why after this debate is accepted. I hope to debate with someone who is involved in being an educator but that is not mandatory. I would say that roughly 80% to nearly 90% of education from grades 1-12 is completely useless and most for college too. There is way too much emphasis in this world on "education" accomplishments. I look forward to a great debate.
ClassicRobert

Con

I accept this debate, and will be arguing that most of formal education is not a waste of time. That being said, the burden of proof is on Pro to show that "roughly 80% to 90% of education from grades 1-12 is completely useless" and "most (is) for college too." I would also like it to be noted that the key word in the resolution is "complete" or "completely," meaning that if I can show that in the examples provided that the education is in any way useful, then my opponent's point is refuted. Since formal education is not the same around the world, we will qualify "formal education" as "formal education in the United States," as we both have experience with that. Good luck to my opponent, and if he has any problems with my qualification of formal education, we should sort it out in the comments section. If he just posts his next argument, then my qualification of formal education as formal education in the U.S. stands.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
brett.winstead

Pro


The reason I state that most of formal education is a waste of time is because I see the results of it.



If you have ever watched "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader", it is a quite telling show. The adults seriously struggle to answer questions from textbooks from grades 1-5. In fact, they almost always have to use the cheats (copying from the kids) on questions from grades 4-5 and I have never seen anyone go all the way being the grand winner of the game.



I do think that certain parts of formal education are valuable but they all occur in the earliest of grades. Learning to read and read well with a good vocabulary is highly important for anything you pursue in life. You also don't forget how to do basic math since this is also something you use quite often.



1. Most of formal education is not learning. It is temporary memorization. This has been proven over and over again. This is easily proven just by testing yourself. Even though you are young (you lucky bastard) and not out of the classroom atmosphere, wait a few years and go back and try to take some of those tests you aced last week or last year. Good luck. Temporary memorization is not valuable in one's life. Students who study really hard to pass that next test is going to forget most of the unimportant drivel pounded into him very soon and most, if not all of what they "learned" will be long gone from their mind in a few years.



2. Most of formal education is not useful for life. Let's take sentence diagramming for example. I could not do that now if my life depended on it thanks to #1 above nor could I name all the parts of a sentence. But assume that I, being the rare exception, still remembered how to diagram a sentence. The real question is "why would I need to?" What value does it have? Is it going to make me more money? Is it going to make me a more rounded, interesting person? Is it going to help me get a job in the first place? The answer is "no" to all (unless I just want to be an English teacher).



Along these same lines, I can remember the stupid things taught to me in 10th grade geometry class complete with logic. The entire class thought the class was stupid. No one remembers it now and no one uses it in their life except for those in very specialized fields, something no one was considering while in 10th grade.



3. Ask people with full-time jobs and careers how much of their formal education they use in their jobs. Let's start with those with jobs that only need a basic high school education. They may use the reading and writing and math stuff but that is about it. They will not be using high school chemistry to manage that meat plant nor will they be using algebra to repair computers. They don't need to diagram a sentence to run their organic strawberry farm. Most job skills are learned by experience, not by a classroom.



What about jobs that require college degrees? The one advantage of a degree is that it GETS you the job if the job requires it but that is not the point. This does not change anything I say about formal education. Think of someone who is an engineer. What classes did they take in high school that were helpful? Almost none because of the memory loss factor. The first two years in college, students (myself included) are told that they don't even have to choose a major! That is two years of college soaking up your money before you take the first class having anything to do with your chosen career! That speaks volumes. They just want you to take anything so that they can make money off of you for two solid years in tuition, books, food, etc. That itself is a scam of sorts but that is what society says to do. I can still remember the classes I took in my first college semester - English, Sociology, Figure Drawing, Psych and Bowling. Yes, bowling. Not one of these has any value to me. I don't remember much of any of it except the nude models in Figure Drawing class. That was a surprise.



Now, what about after those two years of needless classes? Students still take classes unrelated to their major because two more years has to be filled up. Every future doctor takes the same medical school classes for the first two years. If you want to be a brain surgeon, a foot doctor, an earn, nose and throat doctor or a chiropractor, you will all be taking the same classes. What does what a foot doctor have in common with a brain surgeon or a chiropractor...or a stomach doctor? Two more years of one's life and money wasted. College is a great money making place. The truth is that most jobs a graduate will get are less interested in your degree and more interested with how trainable you are on the job because that is where most training comes in. Ask nearly anyone with any job how much they learned about doing their job in a classroom and you will get the cold hard truth. They learned most of their skills on the job. The classroom and that piece of paper known as a degree got them the job.



4. Even formal classroom education that lead to jobs that require college degrees often miss the boat. Why would an accountant need to have serious math skills? Accountants do not sit at their desks and try to figure out compound interest. They use calculators. They have for decades but I can guarantee you that they will be forced to take all sorts of various math classes that they do not even need for the actual job.




Classes in geometry, algebra and trigonometry are taught in grades 9-12 but why? Besides the memory loss factor (See 5th Grader) no one does these things except people in highly specialized fields like architects and engineers. Architects and engineers make up a tiny minority of fields and yet schools want to shove this information into the heads of everyone for a little temporary memorization? What a waste of high school time! If schools are going to teach such random specialized things that people will forget and/or never use, there is a lot more random things they could teach but do not.



5. Numerous things could be required in schools that nearly everyone uses like cooking, car maintenance, basic home maintenance and other shop courses, things that are hands on and will be remembered and used throughout life and instead, the schools teach piles of useless, forgotten information.



6. Schools are outdated. The things that people are taught to learn or memorize in classes can easily be Googled. If my homeschooled kids have a question about something, I point them to the world's largest library - the internet. They research it because they are interested (teachable moment) and they find the answers and they often remember them. They do not need to take a class. Thousands of facts that schools try to impose on us that we will forget are right here on the internet. If we want to know, we search them out. What we are interested in, we will learn about. What we are not interested in, we will ususally forget. The greatest math classes in the world are right on youtube (Khan Academey) and it is all free.



That is it for now. In the interest of rebuttal space, you can just put which numbered paragraph you want to debate or whatever works for you since pasting all of this will take most of your own space.

ClassicRobert

Con

Thank you for your response. For the sake of brevity, I’ll generalize classes into their overall categories (science, math, social studies, language arts, etc.) Now onto my arguments.

My opponent’s claims seem to be centered around three main points.

  • Memory loss of information is an overwhelmingly common occurrence, and it means that the education was a complete waste of time.
  • If education is not useful in a job setting, it is a complete waste of time.
  • Education can be acquired online.

The main problem with his arguments is that it only looks at the explicit value of education. It fails to look at the resultant improvements to the human character. This will be explained more in my further refutations.

1. Memory loss of information is an overwhelmingly common occurrence, and it means that the education was a complete waste of time.

  • Firstly, my opponent has not proven that memory loss of information learned in schools is an overwhelmingly common occurrence. His evidence has been entirely anecdotal, relying purely on personal experience and “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” to prove his point, and this is hardly sufficient information.
  • Secondly, even if we assume memory loss to be true, the main value from education is not the information, but rather, the skills that come with the information. In language arts and social studies, you are often required to research new information and write papers on those, which not only teaches research skills, but also writing skills, and this ability can be useful in reports that will inevitably be required from an individual in a desk job, persuasive argumentation, or journalism, among other applications. The main value of math classes is not the information and the equations that are taught, but the problem-solving skills that are gained from the class. Similarly, science classes are not important for the specific information that is learned, but rather a more general understanding of the world around us, increased problem solving skills, and experimentation ability. Even if my opponent’s memory loss statement is assumed to be true, in formal education, the information learned is one of the least important factors. The skills and understanding gained from the education are the truly valuable part.

2. If education is not useful in a job setting, it is a complete waste of time.

  • I have shown already that formal education is generally useful in work settings.
  • That being said, here are some uses of formal education that aren’t directly in a job setting:
    • Intelligent conversations with others
    • Critical thinking abilities
    • Aids the individual in directing personal research
    • Helps students to realize what job they want
    • Helping a person to be overall more knowledgeable.
    • P.E. classes help individuals to become healthier.
    • Keeps the mind sharp for many more years, rather than just calling it good at “the earliest of grades”

3. Education can be acquired online

  • It is true that facts can be learned or memorized through Google. However, Google is utilized best as a supplement to formal education, as not having the formal education curriculum would leave the students without direction. Though the students may find some information that they are truly passionate about, formal education helps to guide them to that information they choose to research, and without the formal education, they will have a much less rounded education. My opponent then claims, “Thousands of facts that schools try to impose on us that we will forget are right here on the internet.” While it is true that facts can often be found on the Internet, it completely ignores the skills that are learned through formal education, of which I have already outlined some. Also, this assumes that the memory loss factor is complete, which my opponent has yet to prove.

Countering Specific Examples

  • “Learning to read and read well with a good vocabulary is highly important for anything you pursue in life.”
    • This is true, so why wouldn’t it be important to continue practice through high school and college? One is hardly going to acquire a high level vocabulary from just early grade education.
  • “Temporary memorization is not valuable in one’s life.”
    • The ability to quickly study and memorize information, even if the memorization is short-lived, is still a valuable skill. Some jobs where that would be useful would be waiting, acting, working as a studio musician, being a flight attendants, and any profession where remembering names would be useful.
  • “Let’s take sentence diagramming for example…What value does it have?”
    • Sentence diagramming is an exercise in critical thinking. With sentence diagramming, the student has to critically analyze the sentence and try to decide, based on their previous knowledge on parts of the sentence, how to describe the sentence, its parts, and how it works. Like many parts of formal education, what is important is the skills that are learned from it, not the information itself.
  • “The one advantage of a degree is that it GETS you the job”
    • This is true. The college degree helps the individual to get the job, and the college degree is the show that someone got a complete formal education. Since employers value a formal education, the education has a value in the job market.
  • “Why would an accountant need to have serious math skills?”
    • An accountant needs serious math skills so he or she can do the serious math that is necessary for an accountant.
    • Another example would be an economist. Economists need to do math up to and past calculus.
    • Engineers also need math of incredibly advanced levels in order to perform their jobs properly.
  • Numerous things could be required in schools that nearly everyone uses
    • I’ve seen all of these as elective classes. However, the problem with requiring them is that they are too specific. They do not teach the skills that I’ve shown the already required classes to have.

Conclusion

My opponent has a huge burden of proof. He claims that most of formal education is a complete waste of time. For it to be a complete waste of time, he would have to show that most of it is completely without merit, use, or value. I have shown that it has all of the above, and that continued practice only improves the results. Also, he often says that some specific professions require the formal education skills. Even if there are very few, this shows that, to them, it was a valuable use of their time, and because of that, this education is not a complete waste of time. A large part of his argument is reliant on the so called "memory loss factor," but he has offered no conclusive proof that this exists to the extent that he claims. My opponent fails to look past the facts, when one of the main gains of formal education is the skills like critical thinking, researching and reporting, and problem solving skills. I look forward to my opponent's response.

Debate Round No. 2
brett.winstead

Pro

  • Firstly, my opponent has not proven that memory loss of information learned in schools is an overwhelmingly common occurrence. His evidence has been entirely anecdotal, relying purely on personal experience and “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” to prove his point, and this is hardly sufficient information.

There really is no need to prove this. All you need to do is grab a textbook and start quizzing anyone around you and see how well they do. Here are some interesting numbers about memory retention from various ways (lecture, hearing, reading, practicing, etc) and this site has links to other sites: https://notendur.hi.is...

In language arts and social studies, you are often required to research new information and write papers on those, which not only teaches research skills, but also writing skills, and this ability can be useful in reports that will inevitably be required from an individual in a desk job, persuasive argumentation, or journalism, among other applications.

But you are talking about reading and writing skills which I already agree are valuable. It is the papers that are being written about that are usually a waste of time.

  • The main value of math classes is not the information and the equations that are taught, but the problem-solving skills that are gained from the class.


How often in the real world do you have to solve "if a train is traveling from NY to New Orleans and going 60 mph and a monsoon is destroying Manila on a Thursday, which Guns N' Roses song sold the most records to people with dark skin" or some other drivel like that. In my real life, I have never had to solve these kinds of problems. In my 47 years of life, I cannot recall any math class beyond the basics teaching me anything I have ever used and I would say that is the truth for nearly everyone. Only people in highly specialized fields would ever consider problem solving skills that they learned.

Similarly, science classes are not important for the specific information that is learned, but rather a more general understanding of the world around us, increased problem solving skills, and experimentation ability.

  • I don't see where science teaches any problem solving skills and the memory loss factor for science is simply enormous. My kids know more about science than I possibly remember. from watching animated videos where there are visual demonstrations making it fun. Hands on experimentation is very good but again, who disects frogs in the real world and who after several years remembers what they temporarily memorized?

  • Even if my opponent’s memory loss statement is assumed to be true, in formal education, the information learned is one of the least important factors. The skills and understanding gained from the education are the truly valuable part.

I will give you this one but without formal education, we all have the greatest research tool that blows classrooms out of the water - the internet. The skills and understanding of doing research are really quite easy. I don't see the value in sitting for hours in a classroom.

2. If education is not useful in a job setting, it is a complete waste of time.

  • I have shown already that formal education is generally useful in work settings.

  • That being said, here are some uses of formal education that aren’t directly in a job setting:

    • Intelligent conversations with others

I agree and I actually meant to mention this in the first round. However, we need to be well read to be able to have intelligent conversations. We don't need to sit in a classroom to be well read. Do you agree?

    • Critical thinking abilities

    • Aids the individual in directing personal research

    • Helps students to realize what job they want

    • Helping a person to be overall more knowledgeable.

    • P.E. classes help individuals to become healthier.

    • Keeps the mind sharp for many more years, rather than just calling it good at “the earliest of grades”


All of the above that you wrote is true so I am not disagreeing with you but any of this can be obtained outside of a formal classroom setting and outside of that setting is almost mandatory for PE. I am not implying that your job is the only thing that is important but meant to stress that for all of the above you mentioned, none of it needs a classroom. I should have made that more clear so that is my fault. I am a big believer in reading more than just what formal education requires one to memorize just to pass the next test.

3. Education can be acquired online

  • It is true that facts can be learned or memorized through Google. However, Google is utilized best as a supplement to formal education, as not having the formal education curriculum would leave the students without direction.


Now, we are going to strongly disagree on this one. I have found almost nothing in this universe that I could not learn more about on my own. There may be certain cases where you need to take a class in order to either get certified, licensed or to get some order but for 99% of the time, you can educate yourself online and get more and better information that in any classroom. Some classroom curriculum is okay in some cases but I am talking about the majority of the time for the majority of the population. Exceptions do not change the premise of this debate.

Countering Specific Examples

  • “Learning to read and read well with a good vocabulary is highly important for anything you pursue in life.”

    • This is true, so why wouldn’t it be important to continue practice through high school and college? One is hardly going to acquire a high level vocabulary from just early grade education.

No, we get advanced reading skills through reading practice, not by sitting in classrooms at any grade level.

  • “Temporary memorization is not valuable in one’s life.”

    • The ability to quickly study and memorize information, even if the memorization is short-lived, is still a valuable skill. Some jobs where that would be useful would be waiting, acting, working as a studio musician, being a flight attendants, and any profession where remembering names would be useful.

Schools do not teach us how to remember things. I am currently reading an awesome 1974 book on developing a better memory and none of this was ever taught to me before.

  • “Why would an accountant need to have serious math skills?”

    • An accountant needs serious math skills so he or she can do the serious math that is necessary for an accountant.

As I mentioned, accountants use calculators. He just needs to know how to use it.

    • Engineers also need math of incredibly advanced levels in order to perform their jobs properly.

But you are making my point. Some of this stuff is taught in high school to the 99.9% who will never become engineers. Why would schools teach something so specialized (that will almost certainly be forgotten) when the vast majority will never use it. If a person wants to become an engineer, then and only then should he need to take classes in these highly advanced math skills...in college, not high school.


Conclusion

My opponent fails to look past the facts, when one of the main gains of formal education is the skills like critical thinking, researching and reporting, and problem solving skills. I look forward to my opponent's response.



Robert, I do value critical thinking, researching and reporting and problem solving. I just do not see any evidence that we need to sit in classrooms being lectured by teachers in order to develop those skills. Homeschooled kids (like mine) are ridiculously sharp and they do not sit in classrooms with tons of useless information being pushed at them. You can develop all of these skills with a little guidance and practice. There is no need for formal education. Some of the sharpest minds in history did not sit in classrooms.


ClassicRobert

Con

ClassicRobert forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
brett.winstead

Pro

Robert, my friend, are you still alive?
ClassicRobert

Con


I would like to apologize for a forfeited round. I am still very much alive, I just thought I had another hour, but that is no excuse. Voters, please give the conduct point to Pro, and judge the rest of the debate as usual. Now, without further ado:



  • Memory Loss Factor

    • When your argument depends so largely on the memory loss factor and the extent to which it is shown, you do have to prove it. Also, the numbers in Pro’s source are faulty. When you click on the second link given, the first couple of sources that actually had relevance to the statistics cited stated that they were absolute hogwash, and the studies themselves are faulty, and there are way too many variables for any reliable studies to be performed (1)(2).



  • Problem-solving in Math

    • Even if problem-solving skills are learned in math, they do not only apply to math. Problem-solving skills apply to problems. In math, students learn how to identify the problem, notice the constraints, and then solve the problem. Also, that math problem example is incoherent.



  • Problem-solving in Science

    • A classic example of science classes teaching problem-solving skills would be with the egg drop experiment. With this experiment, science classes will be divided up into mini groups, and these groups will have to build a contraption to protect an egg from cracking when dropped. Here is a sample rubric (3). This is very difficult to do, but the students are told to figure it out. This is just one of the many experiments science classes will do to encourage problem-solving skills.



  • Specific Science

    • This frog example is another instance of Pro only noticing the explicit value, rather than the implicit value. Being able to have personal experience in an issue and being able to do experiments on one’s own to further understand the issue is a general positive.



  • The Internet

    • I’m glad that Pro has conceded the point that schools teach valuable life-skills. That being said, his argument against that was to cite the Internet, which do not as effectively teach the skills listed. He then says that he doesn’t see the value of sitting for hours in a classroom, but I have already shown that it is a focused time period for practicing and developing skills. For this reason, formal education is not a complete waste of time.



  • Intelligent conversations with others

    • My opponent says that we don’t need to sit in a classroom to be well read. However, students often need the extra push to be well read. Language arts classes encourage students to not only read the classics, but also to answer questions about them, discuss them, and analyze them. We don’t need to sit in a classroom to be well read, but a classroom certainly steers individuals in the right direction and helps them to comprehend their readings, and then to interpret their readings on their own.



  • Further uses of Formal Education

    • My opponent concedes all of this, but then says “any of this can be obtained outside of a formal classroom setting.” First of all, he gives no examples here of how they could be obtained. He also ignores my previous points that school is a way to have constant practice with those skills and attributes. For this reason (among others), formal education is not a complete waste of time.



  • Online Education as a Supplement

    • My opponent says he disagrees here, but his refutation completely ignores my whole point about formal education giving direction to the research so it is well rounded, and that Google does not help develop all of the skills I have demonstrated. He also doesn’t counter my claim that it would be best used as a supplement. He then tries to address my point about how if some classes only lead to specific careers, it still isn’t a waste of time by saying “I am talking about the majority of the time for the majority of the population. Exceptions do not change the premise of the debate.” If any part of education leads to any student getting a specific job, like a biochemist, or a mathematician, etc., then it is not a complete waste of time. If it is not a complete waste of time, but only a partial waste of time, my opponent isn’t fulfilling his burden of proof with those examples.



  • Advanced Reading Skills

    • See the Intelligent Conversations section, but replace all instances of the words “be well read” being used with “have advanced reading skills.” That sufficiently addresses this.



  • Temporary memorization

    • The entire point my opponent is addressing is the memory loss factor that my opponent’s entire argument relies on. That being said, my opponent even disagrees with his own rebuttal, as evidenced by the way he is constantly saying that school is just memorizing for the next test. I only showed how those memorization skills are useful.



  • Accountants

    • They still need to know how to solve the problems before using the calculator. A calculator is useless without knowledge of the processes.



  • Some of this is useless to 99.9% of students

    • I’ve already shown that the education, in the skills it provides, is not useless. I’ve also shown that if even .01% of students need it for their jobs, then, in the jobs respect, it is also not a complete waste of time, as the resolution states. At the same time though, my opponent’s 99.9% of students remark sounds like a bit of an exaggeration.



  • Conclusion

    • My opponent has not fulfilled his burden of proof. Most of his rebuttals essentially come down to “You’re completely right, but you don’t need to be in school for that,” yet he doesn't show how to practice and develop those skills as effectively outside of school, and I’ve shown that school aids greatly, so it is not a complete waste of time. In order to show it is a complete waste of time, Pro needs to show that it is completely without value or usefulness. I have shown both with every example he has given, and have given many more examples.




Sources:



  1. http://www.willatworklearning.com...

  2. http://www.trainingindustry.com...

  3. http://cyfair3.schoolwires.net...

Debate Round No. 4
brett.winstead

Pro

  • Memory Loss Factor

  • When your argument depends so largely on the memory loss factor and the extent to which it is shown, you do have to prove it.



Again, without citing studies that I personally do not have time to scrutinize, you just have to talk to any adult who has been out of a classroom for a few years and ask them how confident they are in what they remember from their school years. Also watch the 5th grader tv show if you can find the reruns. It is really quite hilarious. Some of them are highly "educated" professionals and they cannot answer basic 5th grade questions.



  • Problem-solving in Science

A classic example of science classes teaching problem-solving skills would be with the egg drop experiment. With this experiment, science classes will be divided up into mini groups, and these groups will have to build a contraption to protect an egg from cracking when dropped. Here is a sample rubric (3). This is very difficult to do, but the students are told to figure it out. This is just one of the many experiments science classes will do to encourage problem-solving skills.



Problem solving is fine but why do you need formal classroom education to do that? If problem solving is so learned by students in school, why is our country just loaded with dumb people? Just keep an eye on politics and see how people vote and how they think their guy is the right guy to solve this country's problems and see how good their problem solving skills are. Winston Churchhill once said that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. You are not who I am talking about. You are not stupid and you obviously have intelligence beyond your years and kudos for that but you are giving the rest of formal education and its results waaaaaay too much credit!



  • The Internet

  • I’m glad that Pro has conceded the point that schools teach valuable life-skills.



Some of any schooling in or out of a classroom can teach valuable life skills. In the first round, I said that 80-90 percent of formal education was a waste of time. I never said all of it was.



  • That being said, his argument against that was to cite the Internet, which do not as effectively teach the skills listed. He then says that he doesn’t see the value of sitting for hours in a classroom, but I have already shown that it is a focused time period for practicing and developing skills. For this reason, formal education is not a complete waste of time.



As stated, most skills are learned by people from doing their own reading and their own research and hopefully, practicing in a hands on environment. You do not have to get that from a classroom. Case in point: In high school I took 2 years of French. That was a waste of 2 years. I learned almost nothing and could not carry on a conversation in French if my life depended on it. Why we were taught French in the US is beyond me but I digress. Fast forward a few years until I moved to Miami Beach and had some roommates who were from Argentina and one hardly spoke English. In fact, most of Miami was Hispanic so I had an incentive to learn Spanish. With my roommates, friends and neighbors helping teach me and by me daily practicing. I learned a tremendous amount of Spanish in just a few months without the help of one classroom or even a book or audiotape. I simple had an incentive and a desire, something I and my other fellow students did not have when high school French was shoved in our face. Today, I still remember all of the Spanish I learned and Hispanic people tell me that my accent is perfect. This speaks volumes about this whole debate. I am positive that no one from my high school French class knows any more French that I know and that is a sadly small amount. However, no one cares because like many other courses, French is not important for 99.9% of Americans.



  • Intelligent conversations with others

  • My opponent says that we don’t need to sit in a classroom to be well read. However, students often need the extra push to be well read. Language arts classes encourage students to not only read the classics, but also to answer questions about them, discuss them, and analyze them. We don’t need to sit in a classroom to be well read, but a classroom certainly steers individuals in the right direction and helps them to comprehend their readings, and then to interpret their readings on their own.



I don't understand why you think someone needs to be steered in a classroom for much of anything. People who are ready and able to learn can be steered by a parent, a book, an educational TV show, etc. I would love to see my kids go up in a quiz against government educated students in science and my kids science education comes mostly from a television show - The Magic School Bus. Mainly, people are steered by personal motivation at a right age at the right time. Then when their minds are teachable and wanting to learn, the learning comes so much easier and is more easily memorized. I know this because I have 47 years of experience learning and see others learn.



Online Education as a Supplement

  • My opponent says he disagrees here, but his refutation completely ignores my whole point about formal education giving direction to the research so it is well rounded, and that Google does not help develop all of the skills I have demonstrated. He also doesn’t counter my claim that it would be best used as a supplement.

  • I just don't agree and I never meant that Google was everything. It simply replaces a ton of what is taught in schools. It is not going to teach you how to repair a transmission (I don't think).

  • Some of this is useless to 99.9% of students

  • I’ve already shown that the education, in the skills it provides, is not useless. I’ve also shown that if even .01% of students need it for their jobs, then, in the jobs respect, it is also not a complete waste of time, as the resolution states.

  • I am simply saying that it is a complete waste of time for the 99.9% who could have been learning something more valuable than accountant skills.

  • Conclusion

  • My opponent has not fulfilled his burden of proof. Most of his rebuttals essentially come down to “You’re completely right, but you don’t need to be in school for that,” yet he doesn't show how to practice and develop those skills as effectively outside of school, and I’ve shown that school aids greatly, so it is not a complete waste of time. In order to show it is a complete waste of time, Pro needs to show that it is completely without value or usefulness.



You are seemingly forgetting the title of this debate with the keyword being "most" formal education is a waste and you are trying to say that I am saying that all formal education is a waste and you have spent a large part of your arguments talking up education in general - not formal classroom education. Nowhere have I said or implied that education is a waste of time. It just depends on what you are educated on - something you will use and that is valuable in your life or calculus,dividing fractions and the history of ancient Brazilian civilizations (soon to forget). I have seen the results of formal education in many, many people and they are...well...an embarrassment to the system that you champion. Thanks for the debate!

ClassicRobert

Con

Memory-loss factor

  • In regards to Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader, the sample size is far too small to have a margin of error that is in any way small enough to be reliable information. The same objection stands for talking to adults. When my opponent wrote this rebuttal and said, “without citing studies that I personally do not have time to scrutinize,” he is essentially saying, “The memory loss factor exists to the extent that I claim it exists, but I don’t have any proof for it. You just have to take my word for it.” This does not hold up in a debate.

Problem Solving

  • “Problem solving is fine but why do you need formal classroom education to do that?”
    • I’ve already explained multiple times that is a source for near daily practice in a focused environment. That being said, my opponent has not once shown a better alternative for learning these problem-solving skills.
  • “If problem solving is so learned by students in school, why is our country just loaded with dumb people?”
    • Where is the evidence for this? Pro seems to reference the voters with this statement, but this would be an equivocation fallacy, as being dumb is not equivalent with being politically ill-informed or apathetic. That being said, in a study that measured the average IQs of 113 countries, America had the ninth highest average IQ (1). This means that America is a very intelligent country relative to the rest of the world.

Life skills

  • “Some of any schooling in or out of a classroom can teach valuable life skills. In the first round, I said that 80-90 percent of formal education was a waste of time. I never said all of it was."
    • It is true that you only said that 80-90% of formal education was a complete waste of time. That being said, you have not proved this in any way. I have shown value and usefulness in every example that has been given by Pro, and I have even given some extra examples of my own showing value and usefulness in formal education. As that is the case, Pro has not proven that any formal education is a complete waste of time and has not fulfilled his burden of proof.

Pro’s Internet Refutation

  • Let it first be stated that my opponent stated that, in order to refute my point about the Internet, he spoke of learning on one’s own through reading and research, and he gave a personal account of his experience learning Spanish. He chose to ignore my statement that school “is a focused time period for practicing and developing skills.” Furthermore, he once again chose to completely ignore my argument about how the Internet would be best used as a supplement, rather than a replacement for formal education, because it does not provide the direction needed to become intellectually well rounded or many of the skills that I listed in round two. I have shown formal education to provide these things. My opponent then cites his personal experience in a French class and in learning Spanish as evidence that the language programs in school were a complete waste of time. However, whether or not Pro is able to carry on a conversation in French or not is irrelevant, as he is hardly representative of the student body of America. Also, I would like to say that once again, his statistic that “French is not important for 99.9% of Americans” seems pretty steep, and is not cited.

Direction

  • Right now, there are no TV shows or books that can effectively steer a child in the right direction for a well-rounded education. While homeschooling sometimes proves effective, this is actually a point for Con, as formal education is not defined by the classroom, but rather by the curriculum, which homeschooling generally has to follow to meet state requirements. However, even if homeschooling is not considered formal education for this debate, this does not mean that formal education is a complete waste of time. It just means that there is an alternative. Having an alternative does not mean that the first option was a complete waste of time. All it means is that there are other options.

Google

  • My opponent did not argue his point. He literally said, “I just don’t agree.” As he has not argued his point or refuted mine that online education is best used as a supplement rather than a replacement, I have nothing to refute.

Specialized Jobs

  • Even if the raw information is generally useless in a job setting to most individuals, I’ve already shown that the so called “accountant skills” have other value (critical thinking, problem solving, etc.), so my opponent’s point is already moot. Also, the word “complete,” as stated in the resolution, would imply that the majority of formal education is a complete waste of time, which would imply that if anyone found the education useful, it would not be a complete waste of time.

Conclusion

  • My opponent says that I am forgetting that the resolution says that most of formal education is a complete waste of time. I’m not forgetting that. However, for every single example of formal education that Pro has provided, I’ve shown merit, value, and usefulness, so there, most of formal education is not a complete waste of time. Though I forfeited a round (and should rightly be deducted conduct points), my arguments have not suffered and Pro has not fulfilled his burden of proof. I’ve shown my opponent’s sources, which are his word, Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader, and a list of faulty numbers, to not be reliable. I would like to thank my opponent for a fun debate, and my audience for reading this debate.

Please vote Con


Sources:

  1. http://www.photius.com...

Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JeremyB796 3 years ago
JeremyB796
wow...just wow...
education is what you make of it.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Stop yelling Pro. What's with the bold print?
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
Once again, sorry about the forfeit.
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
I thought that I had a couple more hours. I apologize for the forfeit. I will post my rebuttal within the next hour or so.
Posted by brett.winstead 3 years ago
brett.winstead
budum chhhhh

Ladies and gentle, he will be here all week. Drive safely and see you tomorrow night!
Posted by brett.winstead 3 years ago
brett.winstead
LOL...I remember 17 like it was last week. Unfortunately, it was not.
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
I'm not a "lucky b@stard," I was born from a legitimate marriage... budum chhhhh
Posted by brett.winstead 3 years ago
brett.winstead
When we were questioning the New Testament, my wife spoke to a Reformed Rabbi and he told her that most Rabbis (even Orthodox) would tell us that no one knows for sure that Moses existed. That sort of blew our minds and sent us on a journey that led to agnosticism.
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
Thanks man. Much appreciated.
Posted by brett.winstead 3 years ago
brett.winstead
Well, no one can say you are not a fair person! I typed up my debate for you and will wait until tonight to post it.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by CanWeKnow 3 years ago
CanWeKnow
brett.winsteadClassicRobertTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Unfortunately Pro's word choice in the debate topic sealed his fate. Had Pro argued for the inefficiency of the current educational system his arguments would have been sufficient. Con met his BoP by proving that in each field of education Pro cited there is usefulness. Pro even conceded that the act of learning in and of itself is learning. Pro contends that we should teach them how to utilize the calculator rather than focus on mathematical theory. Why bother with the calculator at all then? It's already an outdated piece of tech. used only as a learning aide. Practical and high level math is better calculated using a more sophisticated computer. What happens when we don't teach people the HOW and WHY something works? People will revert to religion to explain how the calculator works. Even when the mathematicians say "No, you see we have this theory called math." Theists will say "NOPE how can it be so perfectly designed? The buttons look like Chiclets! It's God!". BAM end of math.
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 3 years ago
TheHitchslap
brett.winsteadClassicRobertTied
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: FF a round so conduct to pro. This debate seems to be based on a mis-communication, is all education crap or most of it? As pointed out, BOP assumed in this debate that most of it didn't or does not work (besides we have experimental cognition programs all the time)so assume most schools suck. The argument then seems to be almost like an idealism versus pragmatism, should the idea of school trump or the end results? Pro is essentially arguing for pragmatism due to the purpose of school; get a job, but points out that those skills can be learned elsewhere (true) while con seems to be endorsing the ideals of school (what it is suppose to do) which doesn't answer the question of if school is a waste of time, we already know what its suppose to do, we want results of it. Therefore I'm giving arguments to Pro as a result. I am giving sources to con though, as he actually uses them quite a bit.