DSM: RE: Recommended reading

Joseph Moore (joseph@ivorycc.com)
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 16:24:44 -0700

Been reading a book Scott recommended - David Nasaw's Schooled to Order.

I'm struck by how ancient the institutional rejection of what any
non-"educator" would call learning is - nobody from Horace Mann and Fichte
on even pretends that reading, writing, math, history in any critical sense,
or any other subject are or ever have been the point of state-model schools.
Yet, when it comes time for the inevitable funding increase demands, we are
encouraged to think in terms of education.

What is important is that we commoners be made to serve our betters, be it
Mann's Calvinist factory owners, Fichte's German empire, or the factories
and workshops of the robber barons and their modern descendents. Learning,
since it is often accompanied by actual thinking, is not something to be

Anyway, even now, a careful reading of what "educators" are proposing will
reveal that their primary concern is not now and never was teaching or
learning in any sense that any non-educator might define the terms. Instead,
we're tackling 'socialization' or 'aculturation' or 'sensitivity' or - the
big one - preparing kids for the jobs of the future (which will evidently
involve a lot of sitting at desks, obeying capricious orders, and enduring
mind-numbing boredom - hmmm, sounds like the insurance industry job I had
years ago...).

Academics boils down to preparing kids for tests that measure their ability
to spew back stray bits of trivia on demand.

Of course, some teachers are trying to do a good job. They are swimming
against the tide, at the very least, attempting to teach within a framework
designed to actively hinder learning.

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