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MLA Full: "Is School Broken? (Also...ANNOUNCEMENTS OF IMPORT)." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 16 January 2015,
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In which Hank discusses what education does, what it should do, and why it doesn't do it as well as it probably could be done.

And then he announces!
The Launch of Crash Course Astronomy!

AND Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology!


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Good morning, John. You and I were lucky enough be raised in a country where we got free education for twelve years. We just didn't have to pay for it. You of course did pay for some of it, because you had to go to a fancy boarding school, though I guess that turned out okay with the book you wrote, because of that and all.   That level of free education is pretty remarkable, it's a pretty cool thing. We don't think about it but, you know, I learned a lot of good stuff. I learned how to read, how to do algebra, plate tectonics, what a mole is, how to play marimba, er... speak some Spanish.    It was a nice gift that society gave to me, and I didn't hate every minute of it, but that did not stop me from complaining about it constantly. Of course since I was not the brightest glow stick in the pack, the things that I was complaining about, were kind of terrible. But the American education system does have some problems, and I want to talk about two of the kind of interrelated ones right now.    First, for me, here's what education is: it's building a toolkit with which to solve problems, and applying that toolkit in the solving of problems. You've got to have the necessary tools and the skills to use them. Now that involves knowing lots of discrete pieces of information. But it is much more than that.   Like, we don't learn the alphabet because it's good to know some completely arbitrary letters in an order. We learn it because it helps us learn how to read and write, and reading and writing solves the problem of the impermanence of spoken words. We can write things down and then they'll last much longer than if we just say them which is... they last this long and then it's gone.   Everything taught in schools should be designed to increase our collective problem solving toolkit, and all the things that are taught do that. US History does that and long division does that. And some of the problems are solved just by having a more informed populace, like having people who all know the same things and can agree on some basic stuff. Like it would be really great, I think, it would solve a lot of problems if we had a gender studies course that was required in high school.   But what I remember is a lot of shoving facts in to my short term memory so that I could do well on a test and then forgetting them immediately, and that did not make my toolkit more robust. The only thing it really taught me was how to do well on tests which I eventually got pretty good at. That's my first problem.   Second, the toolkit that we develop in school, and out of school, is the thing that we will use for the rest of our lives to solve problems personally and professionally, and professionally solving problems is what you call a job. But if everyone gets the same toolkit in school then we have a glut, we have an oversupply of people with that toolkit, and when supply outstrips demand, well, I learned all about that in my economics class that I had to wait until college to take.   I worry about there not being a broad enough diversity of toolkits. This is why at Crash Course, which is our educational YouTube channel,, we're starting to look into topics that are a little bit more off the beaten path. We've just started anatomy and physiology two weeks ago; there's two episodes of that up now. That's basically the study of your body, how it works, why it works and when it breaks what happens. And we also just yesterday launched Crash Course: Astronomy hosted by Phil Plait who is an astronomer and science communicator that I kind of can't believe I get to work with. So, you can learn about your body and your solar system.   And speaking of things that I cannot believe, and you may have been waiting for this, President Obama who just announced that he's going to try and make two years of community college free for all students, thus broadening the toolkit of Americans, thumbs up on that one, is going to have a little conversation with me in which we are going to hopefully talk about some issues that matter to people of America.   You may not be people of America, but if you are, then please leave things that you would like me to talk about or thoughts that you have in the comments or on various social media you can use the hashtag #YOUTUBEASKSOBAMA, this one right there, there it is. It will be live streamed; you can watch it on the White House's YouTube channel on January 22nd. That's Thursday. I promise I won't puke. Fwaa, just talking about freaks me out. Leave your questions, that will help me; I'll appreciate that. I put an American flag back behind me for the occasion, and I'm wearing red, red and blue. So look at me, I'm totally pro-ing it up.   Alright John, I'll see you on Tuesday.