Eight hundred years ago education was controlled by the church. Groups of independent scholars, using Latin as a common language, began to congregate apart from the church to pursue a true education. By mid-12th century this grew into the university movement — Hic et ubique terrarum (here and anyplace on earth) as they said in Paris in 1163. It took a century or so, but by AD 1400 the church no longer controlled education.
In our time education is controlled by the universities and their lower level minions. Once again groups of independent scholars, using English as a common language have begun to congregate apart from the universities — internet, home-schoolers, independent researchers, and many others — to pursue a true education. The pattern is repeating, for the very same reasons. Hic et ubique terrarum indeed.The point here is not so much that the education process is decentralizing, which I agree it is, and that is a good thing, given what passes for education these days,* but that the power base of the controlling entity is shifting. One thousand years ago, it was the Church, and the development of the university pulled the center of knowledge and power away from the RCC and toward a different set of institutions. This process is happening again. What we have come to see as the traditional brick-and-mortar universities are appearing more irrelevant each day, and were it not for their role in the credentialing process, I suspect that the unis would have already shrunken considerably. Not everyone can afford a vanity degree, not even SYFs, not in this economy.
But the interesting part of this is what this shift in education away from the university system and, to a lesser extent, away from the public schooling system will mean for the government's grip on the population and for liberalism in general. For just as the RCC lost its control over government and the culture in the West when education went elsewhere, so too will the Church of Liberalism lose its grip on the government and the culture when its ability to mint new acolytes migrates away.
Given the trends in alternative education and society in general, I think the center in education will not hold. Nor will it locate elsewhere as it did in the past; no, I think it will decentralize, reflecting the diverse and independent nature of not only homeschoolers but society in general, which appears to be rejecting large, lumbering, vertically integrated institutions and moving toward individual communities made of individuals united by a trait, set of traits, or a common philosophy/creed. Each community will wish to educate its members in its own way and pass on the lessons it deems important, aided by technology that permits an unconstrained flow of information and philosophies. Thus rather than one fixed system of education inculcating a single state-serving philosophy, multiple educational cells will arise, each serving the needs and interests of the community from which it came.
The center will not hold. Interesting times await.
* What we know as education is more appropriately termed "schooling" for the vast majority of Americans. The agitprop America's youth receives under the guise of public education is meant to do one thing: train them to serve the interests and goals of the state, which for the vast majority of the population is to be loyal subjects of the government first, and productive industrial workers second. TDOM has linked to a great video on the shortcomings of the present educational system; have a look.