Saturday, November 24, 2012

Public Education and Reform by David Lentini

What David Lentini learned by studying the history of education

"…1. Americans won’t ever be happy with public education until they understand that education and job training are two different things, and that we can’t have a functional democracy and market economy—the two most intellectually demanding forms of society imaginable—without the sort of education that historically has done the most to produce sound thinking—a traditional liberal arts education that develops the whole intellect.

"2. The reformers will continue their pernicious campaigns until we abandon the childish fantasy that education can be done cheaply, painlessly, and effortlessly by some technical fix. Having earned two degrees in chemistry and a law degree, and having taught my own children as well as the children of others, I know that learning any subject is an intensely personal experience. Good teachers are more like good coaches than sales persons or entertainers. The idea that we can substitute pedagogical training for mastery of actual subject matter, or that filmstrips, radio, television, movies, or computers, or whatever whiz-bang technology comes next can be substituted for actual intellectual engagement between a teacher-master and a student is nothing but charlatanism. We—parents, school boards, and tax payers—have to start saying “no” to the self-proclaimed experts (reformers) who are nothing but shills for corporations that seek to insert their proboscis into the tax revenue stream…"


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