Simon Griffee

Ted Nelson on Education ➶

24 March 2014

You see, education is a process of ruining subjects for you and the last subject to be ruined determines your profession. Each subject is personified with the face of this local ogre, or perhaps in some cases with a wondrous person, who then represents that subject and you never find out that every subject has something in it of interest to you. Every subject can have something in it that you take into your heart. I thought I hated history, I thought I hated mathematics, because of the people I encountered and so some other way around. I would like to see a school system where you simply say to the kids at fourteen not “you have to sit here for four years and enduring and enduring and enduring and being endangered and insulted” but rather “You can get out of here as soon as you present for examination any of these any 80 of these 1000 mini-courses on this sheet. You can take more if you want and learn more before we send you out there. Have your choice.” Then I think we would see real motivation, because right now there is no way students can exercise initiative, except a) if they are male, disobeying, or b) if they are female, getting pregnant, or c) totally obeying and outdoing whatever the teacher wants, which is done by very few. Whereas if we give people a way to learn by initiative then we’d fix the problem but nobody wants to do that.

_From the closing panel at the 1995 Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium, featuring Doug Engelbart, Alan Kay, Ted Nelson, and Tim Berners-Lee._

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