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August 2016 • SMT Magazine 61 MOVING BEYOND PAIDEIA: LEARNING FOR EARNING eral education. (As opposed to an authoritarian education where you learned, or were reeducat- ed, to what the state wanted you to learn—pur- portedly, for the benefit of the collective—ah, Utopia!) How about the private-product sector? What is the most important weapon avail- able to consumers in the private product sector? It's one that's analogous to their vote as citizens on the government side. It's the power of their purse in a competitive free market. You've prob- ably heard the expression "I vote with my feet." In other words, as consumers we have tradition- ally addressed product discontent in the market sector by simply not buying the product. Now we can add to rejection at the cash register, sharing our view with the world through on- line product reviews. The closest we come as citizens to "not buy- ing the product" in the government sector is in the voting booth. Just look at the current U.S. election year spectacle in which we are immersed and it doesn't take long to conclude that the candi- dates are long on criticizing and short on solu- tions. Ah, politics! But what if we change the role we play from a product consumer to product developer or as- sembler. We are given the direct responsibility for designing a product, solving problems associ- ated with a product or creating and maintaining an assembly process that exceeds the consumers' expectations both in price and performance— like the role many of us play or have played in the companies we work for. Whether we work for an OPD or an EMS, we have a direct impact in the performance and cost of those products. One of the reassuring things about science and technology is its language. Unlike politics, mathematics does not prevaricate. The assump- tions and work forming the context in which mathematics is used may be faulty, but the mathematics itself is unassailable. . We have an educational system whose te- nets were formed centuries ago. Whether the problem we are confronting is sociological or technical, our educational system's goal is to produce people who can solve open-form prob- lems—those where there are more unknowns than equations. It seems that the educational system does a fairly good job in producing an entry level engineering workforce that can solve problems with closed-form solutions. But, un- fortunately most of the problems we are con- fronted with in the real world are of the open form type, requiring judgment skills to arrive at what is probably the best solution. Judgment skills are acquired in the real world not the ivo- ry tower. So, I criticize, carp and blame. However, when I criticize our post-second- ary educational system, it is incumbent on me to complement the criticism with my proposed solution(s) to the problem. Academia has not traditionally been good at the learning for earning part. They have been happy to largely leave that to the private sector. This brings us to this month's topic: Moving Beyond Paideia: Learning for Earning. The word "paideia" comes from the an- cient Greek, meaning the process of educating a youth into a citizen—a functioning citizen who becomes a productive part of the city-state, the polis. It was recognized that the student youth was best served by being exposed to the best our species has created. Teaching and observing that which is "beautiful and good" was the goal. Further, the educational process was a blend of the philosophical (the humanities) and prac- tical (science and mathematics). Mortimer Adler used this Greek idea to sug- gest the way we were educating in the 20 th cen- tury was ineffective. He suggested that the pri- mary and secondary compulsory educational years (grades 1–12) should be organized in three columns representing these goals: 1. Acquisition of Organized Knowledge 2. Development of Intellectual Skills-Skills of Learning 3. Enlarged Understanding of Ideas and Values [1] I have addressed in past SMT Magazine col- umns that post-secondary education should have as its objective providing the student with a balance of learning for learning and learning for earning. If this part of the educational pipe- line is fed with students that have a learning

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