There is no denying that innovation, scientific breakthroughs, and thought-expanding literature has come from the minds of great thinkers and writers. Reading Illich, Shaw, Twain, Carlyle, Einstein, and even more contemporary thinkers like Carl Sagan, Sir Ken Robinson, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, there is another common thread among all these thinkers. They all were and are critical of schooling systems.
As good as we deem American public education’s yesteryear, could it be that they really only served a specific purpose, and it’s current landscape only an inevitable symptom of it’s faulty structure. A house poorly built eventually, even if slowly, crumbles.
From the perspective of the outgroup, this idea seems especially cogent. American schooling has predictably been an inculcation in American ideals and “virtues” to a group that in large part had no access to realize those ideals. When we look at the chaos that is happening now in public education, it leads me to think that it is simply a system that had wings to fly but no legs to land on. If the system would eventually fail the in-group, it would wreak havoc on the out-group.
It’s time to rethink public education in its fullness, which really means rethinking America, and ultimately, rethinking us. Who are we? What do we desire? And, why? I don’t know if I believe a public discussion of these last two questions is probable, but they are possible. And in that, is the hope.