Monday, May 26, 2014

Two barriers to true education reform

There are many more, and these could be "unpacked" to delve more deeply-which I may do. 

1) The purpose of education seems most recently to be a concept imposed upon us, not conceived/created/decided by us.

Education is not a machine, it's an endeavor. The end result is intended to be a capable American citizen. Yes- enabled with the skills needed to pursue a career path they choose, but more importantly: an understanding of their civic responsibilities and how to contribute to society or "the greater good". An even more important (and related) outcome should be the ability to discern shit from shinola and join with others endowed with the expected products of a sound basic education to drive our democracy and resist the tyranny of the privileged. This is not some Socialist concept, it is in line with the thinking of one of the most respected Founding Father-thinkers! What could be more FOX-Newsy or in line with GOP/capitalist thinking?

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Wythe:

"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

Education of late has started to become money-making for entrepreneurs and policymakers unwilling to meet their own obligation to the greater good-opting instead to  protect and promote the system of inequities that serves them best.

2) Kids have, I mean really changed

It isn't just that "kids have changed". Yes, they most certainly have, but this is almost so accepted that it hasn't even entered into the school reform debate when reformers themselves begin talking about the apparent education pandemics: failing schools, under-achieving students, and overpaid/overprotected teachers. 

They aren't about their schools, students and teachers, of course. The fact that their own kids have a consistent track record of success easing into a continuation of the socio-economic stability and security they enjoyed all through childhood is all the proof they need that the schools for the struggling many must be "failure factories" that are too costly, represent another investment opportunity, and need to be reformed.

The cold, hard truth is that many of those at the front of the reform movement have no connection to the real-life struggles of a growing number of people, or their children. Nor do they have a willingness to acknowledge the consequences of social policy failures taken on by educators in a building full of children who come with much more pressing concerns and needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for responding and commenting. All comments will be reviewed, and only vulgarity and off-topic strangeness will be removed.