Education properly understood is one of the foundations of help or helpfulness. The other foundation of help is enablement. These elements fall under the heading of ethics, the fundamental values needed to exist without lapsing into savagery. If this seems unfamiliar it is because it is not what we have been taught. It is what we must learn, and learn well if we are to make progress. The New York Times is running one of its often repeated laments about the failure of our schools. They will continue to write them until we know what a school is.

Cybercommunities are schools

The world is a school.

The unit of life in the world should be cybercommunities. These structures containing perhaps 10,000 more or less, are walkable, integral, car-free places that contain myriad spots where myriad things are taught to anyone who is curious about what is being offered. Attendance is not required. Achievement is based on benchmarks which require no particular course of study, anything that enables the attainment. The only rule is do not interrupt. Schools are free and open to all ages. The cybercommunity in the largest sense is a school as it teaches its residents democracy, tolerance, and helpfulness, the three active universal values. These values are based on the principle of non-idolatry which is the root of all values.

Changed environment

The actual staffing of such schools is usually one or two persons in a space that can seat a group of no more than twenty or so. These persons are technologically skilled enough to be able to access and display the information needed based on whatever the best resources might be anywhere in the world. On a given day a child or adult walking about the community might find access to various notions of Hamlet, a chance to learn about Charles Sanders Peirce, approaches to a particular language and so forth.

A typical cybercommunity might have one such school for each 100 persons. We would live and work in these communities. Safety would be assured. Children and everyone else could walk from area to area and essentially learn at will.

The idea that we even know what we want in a school is far-fetched

Better way

The ocean liner pictured above is merely a reminder that many people can live in close proximity and yet have a sense of spaciousness and access that is not confining but enlarging.

Education must become universal and free and help every individual on the planet achieve satisfaction from the capacity to follow any interest to resources that can lead to knowledge and growth and capacity. Today's schools are prisons largely necessary so people can live in an automobile-infested world with little sense of who they are or where they are going.