Should education be designed to change society or sustain it?
K-12; Sustain it. Higher Education: To change it. K-12 schools should have basic civics courses, maths and language courses, as well as vo-tech classes that allow someone to participate in our society. Higher Education should have a robust liberal arts curriculum that creates tomorrow’s agents for change. There is a gulf between those who graduate from college and those who don’t. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it has always been there. A civics course for a high school 16 year old should teach them how to participate in our Democratic Republic, while one for a 19 year old in college should challenge the way they think about life and to defend and extrapolate upon their positions. There is a very real and necessary difference between Joe the Plumber and Milton Friedman… between your average dues paying union member and Noam Chomsky. And there should be respect between academic workers and the labor work force, where they agree and disagree with each other.
To change it. Despite what education does, it will be easiest to enter the most stable opportunity when you hit the job market after college or high school. Society naturally sustains itself. We as a people change very slowly, and imho this is human nature in large groups. Better life can only come from improving the life we have now, and education should push this as much as possible. Of course this is all “to a point”. We have to sustain the working parts of society… so there are plenty of tricky judgement calls on what are working parts.