worry for New Republic warriors and diplomats.rnNothing is more important in the Star Wars universe thanrnfamily and fidelity. Some, though not all, bad gu’s can be redeemedrn(e.g., Darth Vader), but redempHon includes payingrnfor your evil deeds. Even scum care for their families and recognizerndebts of honor.rnSadly, in the hands of the less-competent writers of Star Warsrnnovels, the dishnctive republican features of the New Republicrnare blurry. (I am not speaking of Timothy Zahn, who should berndrafted to write the screenplay for the next movie.) The newrnPhantom Menace movie also strikes some troubling notes—arndemocratically elected queen? With the wooden face of a marionetternand painted like a mime? Artistically speaking, everyonernagrees the new movie is loaded with eye candy, but thernclever droids-in-a-box army and other such touches cannotrnmake up for the fact that the citizens of Naboo—whose fate isrnthe centerpiece of the movie—are alarmingly absent. I low arernwe supposed to care about the sufferings of people who, as far asrnwe can see, either do not exi.st or are inisible? With all thernmoney they spent on the special effects, couldn’t they have affordedrna few extras? And what is with the wooden acting, thernrepetihon of scenes from previous Star Wars movies (the goodrnguv blowing up the bad guy’s ship from inside, the predictablernracing scene, the ending ceremony, ad nauseam), the cartoonlikernJar Jar Binks, the unlikely appearances of R2D2 and See-rnThreepio, the boring revisit of Tatooiue, Anakin’s “virgin birth,”rnand other elements that had eervone in mv family oer agernnine squirming in our seats?rnA s befits socialists, education in Star Trek consists of publicrnchooling, a few private schools, and elitist academiesrnwhere only a handful get the training the’ need to attain postsrnof importance in the Federation. The public schools of the StarrnTrek future have bells ringing to announce classes starting andrnending, homework, grades, detention, gvms with bleachers,rnschool libraries, and school bullies. Both Worf (the Klingonrnraised by humans) and Alexander (his son) are forced to endurernyears of taunhng from their classmates. The ‘Vulcans, usually sornlogical and intelligent, have public schools too, where in an earlierrngeneration Spock also had to face endless cruelh- from hisrnclassmates. Even out on the fronher, Keiko O’Brien bravely setsrnup a one-room school on Deep Space Nine rather than havernher handful of students instructed by their parents or mentors.rnhi line with much of toda’s public schooling, her classes followrnno logical, systematic plan. Instead of giving children the “toolsrnof learning”—basic instruction in reading, writing, math, science,rnand logic —her classes are full of factoids about randomlyrnchosen races and planets, and the field trips are life-threatening.rnThe sole exception I have been able to find in dozens of StarrnTrek novels and junior novels is Beverly Crusher. Her pre-rnStarfleet Academy education was a mix of apprenticesliip to herrnherbalist grandmother, tutoring from various adults, and selfstudy.rnThat book (Starfleet Academy # 10: Loyalties) was writtenrnin 1996, about three years after the homeschooling movementrnbegan garnering media attention, and so far is the only Star Trekrnbook to admit that children can be educated anywhere otherrnthan in formal classrooms.rnhi contrast, schools below the academy and univcrsitv’ levelrnare practically unknown in the Star Wars universe. Scanningrndozens of books and graphic novels, I found that, while rich kidsrnon Corellia go to school, other children learn from parents,rncomputer programs, droid tutors, mentors, and the worldrnaround them. There are no discernible compulsory attendancernor child-labor laws, so “street rats” are free to pick up spare creditsrnlegall}’ if they can do the work. Hands-on, on-the-job trainingrnappears to be the norm. Nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker,rnwho has never been to school, builds his own protocol droidrnand Podracer, and while this is precocious, it does not appearrnunusual to anybody. I am very curious about the “training” (notrn”schooling”) that 14-year-old Amidala received that enabled herrnto rule a city and then successfully run for queen. I do not havernto be curious about the training of other major Star Wars characters.rnHan Solo was self-taught, mostly via the computer onrnthe ship of the Faginesque “trader” who raised him to be a thiefrnThat self-education, plus his real-life experience, was enough tornget him through the tough entrance exams for the hnperialrnNavy Aeadeni}’. Prince.ss Leia received her diplomatic trainingrnvia apprenticeship to her foster father. Bail Organa. Wedge Antillesrnwas homeschooled by his parents. Luke Skywalker wasrnbrought up on the farm. The huge variety of lesser charactersrnmostiy follow in their parents’ footsteps, having learned theirrnparents’ skills.rnFor the kids of tomorrow to havernthe educational freedom of thernstreet scum in a Star Wars movie,rnmuch change is still needed.rnFor those who leave home, apprenticeship is still the norm.rnJedis take apprentices, not students. So do bounty hunters.rnAcademies and universities (with the notable exception of thernJedi Academy established by Luke Sk)’walker, which offers informalrnseminars, no formal classes, and a lot of individual mentoring)rnare run by the Empire. In Truce at Bakura, we are toldrnthat promising students are funneled through the centralizedrnuniversities so they can be indoctrinated in Empire propaganda.rnGraduates are then funneled into powerful positions in thernburcaneracN and regional governments. From this we may inferrnthat goernment-funded uni’ersities are not seen to be altogetherrna good thing in the Star Wars universe.rnThe military academy on Carida, which Han Solo briefly attended,rnis where promising students are turned into brainwashedrnstorm troopers. This problem is eliminated when onernof Luke’s Jedi Academy students does what ever}’ right-thinkingrnkid has imagined —he nukes the school (in this case, by blowingrnup the planefs sun). New Republic leaders feel bad aboutrnit, but hey, the kid was under the influence of the Dark Side atrnthe time, and he said he was sorry, so what more can you ask?rnAnother of the Empire’s delightful educational gambits, asrnseen in the book Jedi Search, invokes the planet Omwat. ThernEmpire selects promising preteen students and crams theirrnbrains with information at a staggering rate. They are repeatedlyrntested, and if a student fails or cracks up, his hometown is destroyed.rnIt is not hard to see the analogy between this and therncrushing pressure of the Japanese education system, where childrenrnwere once taught their greatest honor would be to die forrnthe emperor, and where even now families are shamed if arn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn