Does being an educator–Teacher, Principal, Super, Professor–come with a magic “Get Out of Jail Free” card along with the degree? Especially those doctorates. Can educators push emotional and psychological practices in the classroom or Systems Thinking or Values Clarification or Soft Skills or Character Education or Inquiry Learning or the Student Centered Classroom or a myriad other terms that the Creators acknowledge are means to alter a Student’s Consciousness? To try to get to the Blind Spot that impels behaviors in an effort to obtain Communitarian Social Change?
A mentality that ceases to think of itself as a legitimate individual and finds its Sense of Self in doing for others. Where that altruism is not a free choice but was carefully cultivated in the classroom when the mind and personality remained malleable. If I can locate the originators of the theory or policy or practice saying what its real purpose is, and that purpose seeks to use the school to obtain social and political and economic transformation, does an education degree or title make it a permissable practice anyway? Are we Americans or Canadians or Brits or Australians or anyone else under political attack via education really without recourse?
John Dewey first developed the term “Social Reconstruction” to define the use of the school and classroom to change the student from the inside-out. It needs a mind that is not dominated by the abstract or the logical and is not full of facts that allow its own analysis. For Dewey the rational needed to be heavily infused with emotion so the mind would not be constrained from imagining the world as it might be. He recognized that a fact-filled brain will want to see possibilities from preexisting alternatives. John Dewey wanted a world as it had never been. His modern-day acolytes want that now. For all of them freedom gets redefined not as a matter of individual liberty and personal choices. No to be free in Dewey world:
“we need to imagine the possible beyond the actual, and to be moral we must distinguish those possibilities that ought to be (i.e., that are truly desirable) from those that are not.”
Most of the classroom practices track back to Dewey or someone who models their aspirations around Dewey. He is not the point of the post so let’s shorthand the essence of his vision by saying that the real website Marxists.org has numerous postings about Dewey. His biographers and his friend Sidney Hook and the Bolsheviks themselves all believed he took Karl Marx’s unfinished vision for using education as a cultural tool and made it into an effective weapon. We should take them then at their word and discuss whether it has any place in a country with aspirations of continued freedom for the individual. Otherwise the Colleges of Education and accreditation bodies and UNESCO etc have a license for insurrection. To simply use Dewey’s theories and practices but give them appealing names like Excellence or Quality Learning. Insurrection with Impunity at are Expense. Pension and Generous Health Benefits too.
In his Pedagogic Creed John Dewey said:
“Education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.”
That attack on individual consciousness these days comes in through an IB Learner Profile or a Positive School Climate/PBIS requirement or the 3 R’s. It comes in through the letter home to parents describing an Honors Lit class that mentions interpreting books through personal experiences and cultural backgrounds and written reflections. That class may say lit and they may still “read” books but the focus of the class has shifted to the students. Who They Are, Where They Come From, What They Value, and What Needs to Be Changed to Have Growth. You the parent will simply assume the Growth is academic and relates to knowledge. That’s a social interaction classroom and you will likely only know it if your child already has an Axemaker Mind and feels bored and manipulated.
Remember the post when I told you the US Government had announced its intention to use education and the social sciences to shape mindsets for Sustainability and anti-fossil fuels regardless of the actual temperatures or whether there is fraud involved in the so-called science? http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/if-reality-is-ignored-or-disregarded-when-do-we-become-a-state-against-its-people/ This week the head of Australia’s Green Party, Christine Milne, who is a vital part of that country’s governing coalition, displayed her anger over anyone still disputing Manmade Global Warming even though, as I hope you are aware, there is a lot to dispute and the 4th IPCC Report has been shown to be full of unfounded assertions or propaganda. Here’s her response with my bolding:
“Denialism has much more to do about values and world view than it has to do with actually understanding the science. So we should have been using the social sciences a lot sooner than we have been to work out ways to talking to people’s values systems rather than to their intellectual capacity.”
Young people with still malleable minds who have been entrusted to educators in the belief that school is about the transmission of knowledge and marketable skills. Not a means for fostering an insurrection with captive minds as a permanently available vehicle widely distributed among future voters.
Speaking of worldview, what worldview is it to assert that a belief that people have intrinsic abilities and talents is Social Darwinism that must be combated and rejected as a basis for education? What worldview argues that math and science are merely social constructs and gloats that the Common Core implementation will finally allow educators to target those teachers still trying to teach it as a body of knowledge and procedures? What sort of country will we be if genuine math and science can no longer be taught to any student because it is not accessible to all students? Instead all students get applications and open-ended problem-solving and human activities like projects that are a means of interaction. What kind of worldview equates oil drilling and coal mining as unacceptable forms of oppression and domination of Gaia’s resources and then equates the mindset that would do that to owning slaves?
Different educators seem to have different grievances that make them susceptible to these schemes of Social Reconstruction via education. Some may be Inadvertent Insurrectionists genuinely unaware of the background of what they are pushing. Others, quite frankly are simply not very bright, and love any theory of learning that makes them feel better about how the students with Axemakers Minds made them feel. No more Axemakers Minds though is economic suicide but how would the Less Talented with a Career on the Public Payroll at Taxpayer Expense know that crucial fact?
To close this very legitimate inquiry on “What are we going to do?”, I can tell some of what is going on in professional development for teachers in preparation to implement the Common Core by searches that end up on my blog doorstep. One of the searches that I have been getting daily for more than a week now is “education misrepresent reality: Discuss.” Clearly trying to convince teachers to move away from the transmission of knowledge. So I did a little Reverse Engineering searching myself and found a 1979 book deliberately seeking Dewey’s vision of using education to alter consciousness to eventually obtain social and political change. Stealthily.
I also though found Paulo Freire and his theory that the transmission of knowledge, what he calls Banking Education, is an “instrument of social control” because it “controls by manipulating the content of the imagination.” Instead he wants a “problem-posing education.” The lecture-based curriculum, says Freire, “is compatible with the aim of promoting the oppressive cultural forces of the dominant authority in society and with the disempowerment of students.”
When educators believe all this nonsense and it guides their policies and practices, why can’t the Hispanics and Blacks and Rich and Poor and Male and Female and Gay and whatever other groups that are being played as Victims or Targets but who know better simply say no? Could there be anything in the US or any country right now that is more unifying than a rejection of the Dewey vision of education as Social Reconstruction? The vision that disparages facts and fluent reading and sequential math because they all foster individuality and are barriers to political manipulation.
Don’t we have a winning, very diverse, coalition here that Just Says No to Social Reconstruction and using education to try to alter perceptions of reality? Some things are simply too important not to be willing to be confrontational over. Respectfully of course. At least at first.