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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Battlestar and Education

After watching another cool episode of Battlestar* with Jason last night, we got to talking about social ills and the solutions to them. Granted, our conversation drifted everywhere from the shortcomings of extreme Libertarianism to frustration due to the modern job market. But one of the questions raised by the show was that of class distinctions in the workforce. Due to the fleet's situation, people were being forced into certain classes and job opportunities from which there was no real hope of breaking free for the next generation.

The class distinction naturally existed in this fictitious world--and, to a lesser degree, in ours as well--and so we are left with the question of what can be done about these discrepancies. Our society certainly balks at the idea of ridged social strata, but how do we keep classes open?

Why, with education, of course.

"Education," however, is a tricky thing. Learning is a profoundly individual experience and the goals, aspirations, and focus varies greatly for each organization and person. The moment you move beyond the three basics--reading, writing, and arithmetic--people get into serious disagreement.

And then there's the question of means: How do we provide adequate education for everyone? Homeschooling is not, sadly, for everyone. Every public option suffers from a class hierarchy of its own, and in many cases is far from ideal. And private, "free market" based options are not accessible to those seeking to break out of the lowest classes.

Philanthropy is certainly one very powerful tool, as demonstrated by the wonderful success of the Rice Bag project which will transform the lives of well over 7,000 women (as well as their families) in India.

I don't really have any complete answers to these issues. And that's probably why I enjoy shows like Battlestar Galactica: They create a world that allows us to explore the more foundational aspects of our lives and consider how, perhaps, we should live differently.

May your educational endeavors--no matter what they are--bring you and your children to where you should be.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

*NB: Battlestar Galactica has quite a bit of content that is not suitable for children and may be outside the bounds of propriety for your family.

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Luke Holzmann
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