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In a society where everyone receives equal education regardless of who they are, why would they all have to go to a boarding school, rather than a public school?

This is at no extra cost to the parents. They are kept in dorms separated by age, and are required to attend from ages 5-16. They are not allowed to just opt out of schooling.

In the case that it helps, the people doing this are dwarves. They are your typical Tolkien ones at this point in development. The children are taught subjects like math, language, history, science, life skills, and physical education along with whichever options they choose. This is also a very fair, equal society.

EDIT: I am judging by plausibility and cost effectiveness.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe the dwarves have a fascist society? Such an obligation can have only one reason, namely ideological indoctrination. Or maybe the dwarves are subjects of a foreign empire, which want to extirpate the dwarven tongue and dwarven culture. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 2 '18 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ You answer your own question: the state decrees that they have to receive an equal education not based on background. The state enforces by sending them to a boarding school where the state is in control, not the parents. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Oct 2 '18 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ This sounds very opinion based - can you please expand on how will you (and how should we) judge an answer? What would make one answer better than another. $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Oct 2 '18 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ "This is also a very fair, equal society." How equal is "equal"? They all have an IQ of 100? $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 2 '18 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ strong boarding school lobby. $\endgroup$ – Mr.Mindor Oct 3 '18 at 15:17

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The dwarven boarding school system is designed for the betterment of dwarven society as a whole and to place dwarves where they are most likely to succeed, with no regard for family values, pedigree, personal choice, individuality, or social status. Incompetent dwarves will not rise due to nepotism, and skilled dwarves will not be smothered by social conventions.

In short, the dwarves love Plato's Republic, or at least some of the hypothetical cities described therein.


Among other topics, Plato discusses how to properly raise children in several hypothetical 'just' societies, and describes systems that fit your scenario pretty well:

Now early life is very impressible, and children ought not to learn what they will have to unlearn when they grow up; we must therefore have a censorship of nursery tales, banishing some and keeping others.

...

The tale must be imparted, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, lastly to the people. We will inform them that their youth was a dream, and that during the time when they seemed to be undergoing their education they were really being fashioned in the earth, who sent them up when they were ready; and that they must protect and cherish her whose children they are, and regard each other as brothers and sisters.

...

These brothers and sisters have different natures, and some of them God framed to rule, whom he fashioned of gold; others he made of silver, to be auxiliaries; others again to be husbandmen and craftsmen, and these were formed by him of brass and iron. But as they are all sprung from a common stock, a golden parent may have a silver son, or a silver parent a golden son, and then there must be a change of rank; the son of the rich must descend, and the child of the artisan rise

Since all dwarves are equal then all dwarven children are equal, and they must be removed from their families to receive an equal education in order to continue the dwarven meritocracy.

If children stay with their parents, then not all children will receive the same education: children of carpenters will learn carpentry, children of bankers will learn banking, etc. Furthermore, this may prevent them from rising to their true potential, as the child of a carpenter may never realize their natural skill at banking, or vice versa.

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    $\begingroup$ Great answer - and too close to my idea for me to add another answer. In addition to being viewed as beneficial and fair for the children, a boarding school system will also make the parents free to follow their path - not everyone is qualified to raise and educate a child - more so for a long-living race (which also matures more slowly). This allows both male and female dwarves to be more productive (as miners, smiths, artisans, soldiers etc.). Finally, this communal education encourages the camaraderie between the children - strengthening the coherence and loyalty of the dwarf clan. $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Oct 2 '18 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn: Since the focus was on schooling, I interpreted it as 'equal opportunity to succeed' and not 'equal throughout all of society'. Everyone receives the same education, but those that score highest on math tests are given jobs as mathematicians or engineers and those that score highest on their physicals are given jobs as soldiers or laborers, but obviously mathematician and soldier are not equal positions. $\endgroup$ – Giter Oct 2 '18 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ "I interpreted it as 'equal opportunity to succeed". Ideologues who value equality tend to value equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity. They get highly agitated when females choose people-oriented occupations instead of STEM or the military. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 2 '18 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn That would be a valid point if the military was an equal-opportunity employer or if some science fields weren't hostile to women, or if society in general wasn't still perpetuating gender roles. I think the answer is valid, in that if all the kids are formatted by an egalitarian education, chances are they'll be judge by their merits rather than gender, income or some other factor. $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate Oct 3 '18 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ Philosophical debate is all well and good, but it's definitely strayed away from the original question/answer so you guys should probably take it over to chat. $\endgroup$ – Giter Oct 3 '18 at 15:24
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Efficiency.

With conventional public schools, every locale needs to provide all of the infrastructure for a school system. That's fine for cities, but for sparsely-populated areas, either the cost per student goes up or the amount of focus goes down. An example of the latter is the one-room schoolhouse where one teacher instructs students at several grade levels because there just aren't enough students to divide them by grade level, age, or ability. Everybody still learns, but maybe not as much as they would in a larger school system.

So instead, your dwarves ship everybody off to the central school, where economies of scale can take effect. Students can be divided up into groups (classes) based on their abilities and then given focused instructions. While, back home, an exceptional student (at either end of the scale) would be expected to just cope with the median-level education, here at Dwarf U there's a whole class full of similar people.

Because your dwarven settlements aren't large, though, you can't do this within easy commuting distance of home. So everybody gets sent to the central school where they stay for the academic year (or other reasonable unit). If you're doing a Republic-style just city you just leave them there until they're "baked"; if you want more interaction between dwarven parents and their children, you send them home periodically.

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It takes a village to raise a child

This dwarves' society is highly communal. The nuclear family, a foundation block of human society, plays a much lower role, or maybe even doesn't exist at all. This is why children can't stay with the parents for a long time, and the entire community has to bear the responsibility of taking care of their youth. Over time, this process got formalized, with standard regimen, education curriculum and dormitories. "Public schools" in human sense just don't exist. Parents either have to send their children to boarding school, or raise them at home (which would be not common at all).

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Unions

Since typical Tolkienesque dwarves place a high emphasis on trades/crafts skills, it'd be likely for them to unionise. There'd be little reason for the dwarf education profession to not follow suit. With enough centralisation of the school system, boarding schools would likely become the predominant or even the only form of school; public schools would be a minority at best or totally consigned to the history books. Unions or guilds could be the predominant organisation in dwarf society whose authority is second only to that of the king.

As mentioned by Monica this would be more efficient(or at least seen as such). Boarding schools would allow the children to be totally immersed in their community and whichever craft they are studying at the time. As a (probably) unintentional side effect, being separated from the comforts of home for a long time surrounded mainly their peers would also teach the children what a prolonged labour strike is like.

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Like you said, Equality.

Even if the schools were the same, some Dwarves are rich, and some Dwarves are poor. Some have great advantages due to their home life, others none at all. By enforcing boarding school, it levels the playing field because all Dwarves have, in theory, the same schooling and 'home' life.

Another possible reason is Social Cohesion

A great contributor in social cohesion is shared experience. For example, military basic training. The boarding school requirement provides a system that all Dwarves, rich and poor, share. Leading to a tighter knit society, something that is crucial for their survival underground.

(Not sure either of those actually work in the real world, but it may for your Dwarves)

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    $\begingroup$ Re point 2: see ancient Sparta's agoge for an example of this in the real world. $\endgroup$ – Peter Taylor Oct 3 '18 at 10:14
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Mandatory boarding schools exist in the real world.

In Canada, the federal government forced all indigenous children in the Northwest Territories to attend residential schools, which were boarding schools.

In the Nordic countries, the governments sent Sami children to boarding schools.

Some of the reasons:

  • Racism: the belief that the minority “race” needs segregated education because their brains are biologically inferior. In the 1930s, the Sami schools in Sweden did not permit for further education.
  • Cultural assimilation: to assimilate the minority culture into the majority. In Canada, Norway, Sweden, and probably elsewhere, speaking the minority language in those schools was prohibited. The system thus attempted to destroy the minority culture.
  • A consequence of mandatory schooling: even today, children in Norway are forcibly removed from their parents and sent to boarding schools, because they live so remotely that there is no school in commuting distance. This disproportionally (perhaps exclusively) affects Sami children.

A recent film set in such a Sami boarding school in the 1930s is Sameblod (2016), set in southern Sápmi (sometimes erroneously referred to as Lapland).

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I'm going to give this a bit of a dystopian twist.

The thing about families is that they are close ties, and mean that citizens will do things like protect family members who have disloyal opinions. Children will frequently adopt the opinions of their parents. By separating children from their families as young as possible, they minimize those ties and disloyalties, letting ties to the government be relatively strong.

The students most favored are those who are both loyal and are smart, capable leaders. They become the future teachers and leaders of the next generation, perpetuating the system. Under these top students, the kids are segregated early into career paths based on early talents, and recieve an education that best fits those talents. Future work teams basically grow up as brothers and sisters, meaning that as adults, leaving a job would mean leaving their closest social ties behind. Between that and the fact that the government likes the system as is, people generally stay in the same job for a very long time, and when they change, it's usually in a small way, like a promotion within the same company so that they aren't completely separated from their team. The government likes the predictability and stability this provides, and considers that the small loss in flexibility is worthwhile.

For individuals who don't get along with their team or dislike their assigned role, this system is problematic. Leaving your group as an adult isn't illegal, but it's got a very high social cost. Such people are considered "Abandoners", and looked down on heavily for leaving their role. Sometimes they try to form new groups with each other, but it's difficult: how do you form ties as an adult when you've always been shown that the only time to form close ties is in childhood? Additionally, Abandoners can only be hired on for limited roles because no one still in a team, and especially in a position of power, trusts them. Suicide is high in this group.

Mandatory boarding school is a tool of social control, designed to promote a loyal populace under a very strong government.

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Parents should work, not care for their children.

If you let parents host their children at home, then many people will become stay-at-home parents who contribute nothing to the economy. Even those who do decide to do both career and family won't be able to work as hard and flexible as people without children at home. They might insist to go home early when their child is sick or refuse to move to a different city if that would inconvenience their children.

But if all children are in boarding schools, these people have the time to do something more productive. Centralized boarding schools allow a small number of adults to take care of a large number of children.

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In a society where everyone receives equal education regardless of who they are, why would they all have to go to a boarding school, rather than a public school?

To train the students in ideas and social norms that many parents disagree with.

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Dwarves are made not born.

In the beginning, the god of the Dwarves crafted them from the very stone. The First Smith breathed life into them, and made them flesh.

Dwarves continue this tradition. Each Dwarf is crafted by a master craftsdwarf, either one of the parents, or one who accepts a commission from a parent.

While their craftdwarfship is great, even the finest mortal construct is not alive. So the Dwarven priest asks their god to breathe life into the new Dwarf, and the Dwarf is made flesh.

The Dwarven religion and culture then requires that this new Dwarf undergo quality control. Dwarves are born full size (for a Dwarf) but with rudimentary intelligence and knowledge; letting a full sized child wander around isn't safe for either the child nor the community. The boarding school acts as a quality control on the craft and prayers used to animate each Dwarf, and a safe spot to grow up.

This results in a society that values craftsdwarfship and service to their gods highly. In order to reproduce, you need to have the wealth to hire a craftsdwarf, the skills to construct your own dwarf, and the recognition of their priests to agree to breathe life into your offspring. Having a central boarding school is just one more part of this community-oriented race.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like this clever approach, though whether or not it gels usefully with OPs existing background material is another matter. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Oct 4 '18 at 7:57
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everyone receives equal education regardless of who they are

Equality is the sort of prime directive of this educational system. The dwarves believe that the only way this is possible is that the system controls all aspects of the child's education, which is not just limited to school hours.

In those child-neglecting foreign lands, where kids go home to their families after school every day, who knows what their parents are letting the get up to? Sure, some parents may keep a close eye on their homework, read to them, take them on educational outings, teach them to better themselves, but the majority probably don't, or don't do it enough! (And even the ones that do: who knows what kind of rubbish and misinformation they're teaching their kids?)

The end result is that there are many poor neglected children just left to watch television (or whatever the Tolkienian equivalent is...) and eat junk food all day.

The fairest possible way to ensure all children get a good education is a standardised - designed and approved by the experts of the time - syllabus which covers all aspects of their lives, during and outside school hours.

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