Friday, December 9, 2016

Public Schools: Not Education, but Social Engineering

Whenever we recall Book VII of Plato's Republic, the "Allegory of the Cave" that many of us studied in college, we remember that the chained population in the cave was always looking at shadows on the wall of the cave and mistakenly believed that those shadows were reality.  Shadows of unreality are being reflected today by the policies and practices of many school systems.  Vague talk about improving our schools, becoming more competitive globally, and opening doors of opportunity becomes rubrics that express "shadows" of the reality that managers of education are in fact implementing progressive – i.e., totalitarian – social engineering. 
The implementation of this social engineering is closely tied to getting non-educators and inexperienced educators into the schools as teachers and administrators and getting older, experienced teachers and administrators out.  These younger individuals will not have the deep inculcation of educational values, those values of learning and of relationship established at the nexus of humanism and Judeo-Christian values.  They are persons who do not see and do not wish to see that curricular innovation, creativity, knowledge, teacher morale, school tone, the family of man, student character building, and caring and love of all for all (said list can be summed up as "the pursuit of happiness") are in direct opposition to and are the antidote for the social engineering agenda now sweeping the country.
The emphasis on bringing in and promoting "change agents" is supposedly to refresh the profession that has been too insulated from accountability and new ideas for too long.  For example, New York City has a "Teaching Fellows" program to recruit new teachers from other occupations.  One can find people coming into education from facilities management, the petroleum industry, pharmaceutical sales, and lobster wholesaling and delivery backgrounds.  They are "career change" types who have decided they want to make a buck in education that had eluded them in the private sector or, in some cases, follow an easier path (but education actually isn't easier).  They soon learn the realities of life in the schools, and many leave.  Many teaching fellows are also brilliant and idealistic and come into education to make a difference in the lives of individuals and society as a whole.  However, they find that they not only have to deal with incredibly complex and difficult classroom and building situations, but many times are badgered by clueless administrators who are "new breed" social engineers, not educators.

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