I’ve been struggling on how to write intelligibly about such a comprehensive subject! I do feel it is absolutely necessary to comment about this terribly important subject. Here I go. The education system in the United States is in shambles. I should be more clear. The American Public School system is in shambles. With no soul or focus, K-12 seems to be failing at job preparation; let alone College Prep. It seems absolutely unwilling to intervene in teaching life lessons that could allow a family to succeed in the 21st century. At a bare minimum it is failing to provide citizens with tools to continue learning throughout their lifetime. At the most cynical, it’s failing to provide tools for the lower & middle class to break the economic embargo imposed by information monopolies of the rich.
In the present environment of the United States, even the concept of a Department of Education is under debate. Philosophically speaking, what is the purpose of Public Education & why divert government resources to the cause? I am by no means an education expert and I am by all means biased. I make the philosophical claim that public education is meant to ensure US society can continue to support economic improvement & societal well being over the long term spectrum. It is by this assumption that I’m attempting to write.
Public Education spawned with the Industrial Revolution. It is with this understanding that most people feel that the system is geared to teach people how to be good workers; to take orders and work diligently. With the Information Age in full swing, the new focus is on training Knowledge Workers. The question I pose; how can you be a knowledge worker if you cannot think clearly. It is not good enough to be trained to be self-motivating and creative. One must have the skills on-board to allow one to think at higher levels. Philosophers of Greece were of the leisure class for a reason. They were able to focus on the mind as they did not have to toil in the fields.
Education is like a computer Operating System. You can have the best noggin in the world. The best hardware, while having an ineffective means to process and implement data. At some point, Public Education has utterly failed at cultivating the well-being of each student. This is not due to Liberal pandering; on the contrary it is due to the Conservative politicization of Public Education. The coup-de-grace of this understanding is the realization that President G.W. Bush passed No Child Left Behind via a Republican Congress. It is widely understood that No Child Left Behind is a sad euphemism at this point. All children are being left behind under a program that promotes blanket testing and punitive assumptions. It is known now that No Child Left Behind has created an environment where the student is turned even more into an automaton able to take a test. Well-being has been left out of the picture.
If well-being is to be the focus of education, Conservative intervention must come to a complete stop. This requires absolute assumptions with set measures and goals. Well-being must become the focus of Public Education. If well-being were the focus, Home Economics would not teach sewing and baking. Home Economics should teach personal economics. It sounds so simple but its not. Home Economics must teach the concepts of budgeting and debt management. Unfortunately this will come in direct conflict with Wall Street and their Capitol Hill Legislators.
Physical Education should focus on the biological necessities of good health. Nutrition should be taught in Physical Education, as well as personal health objectives. Team sports should be the absolute last thing to be understood by Physical Education. Unfortunately team sports is the first thing on Physical Education’s agenda. This has, over time, created a worshiping of the Jock Mentality. This in turn has promulgated a social order based on wealth, popularity, and physical prowess in schools. Educational Excellence is taught to be a negative attribute via the current system of Sports and Physical Education.
Government and Social Studies has been watered down to ensure that the General Public remains jaded about the current political system. In doing so, the status quo of the elite 1% can best influence elections with copious amounts of money. Not being taught to think, interact, and be proactive the 99% in Public School are not given the tools to scientifically understand a Citizen’s responsibility in this Representative Republic.
Even Science is under attack. The Scientific Method; its history and purpose must be taught as the primary directive of all Students. This is because the Scientific Method is a process of critical thinking. Unfortunately this comes under direct conflict with social and religious Conservatives that are hell bent on indoctrination of the masses. The concept that Creationism is a legitimate scientific discussion in a Secular Democracy’s Public Education is paramount to treason of the 1st amendment. In every instance, the theory of evolution is under direct assault. This is usually attacked as a form of religious atheist thinking “indoctrinating” religious folk. It is such a huge political issue for Religious Conservatives as it affects their machinations of social control. If their children are taught to think for themselves, with reason and data, it will come into direct conflict with Religious/Economic Hierarchies.
There is a special level of Shame that is institutional in Public Education. Well-being as a primary focus will inevitably make psychological evaluations of Students. This is the absolute third rail. While psychological applications could inevitably allow each student to flourish, it is a potential lever of Despotism. First in this consideration is the idea that psychological evaluations could better students and society. Unfortunately this is deemed too intrusive in a society that allows domestic violence to continue and dysfunction to run rampant in families. Secondly, it could be a lever of Despotism; in that it could become a superhighway conduit to political indoctrination.
Political Indoctrination sums up the notion that Public Education is broken. The Department of Education is under constant Conservative attack for the very reasons stated above. An independent and illuminated Department of Education will systematically debase the Conservative Socio-Economic Political System on an aggregate level. As Conservatives cry foul and preemptively strike politically against Education, American Citizens must wake up to the damage the Political Conservative Movement is doing to all of society on the short and long term. Conservatives and their bought Republicans have cried wolf all to often on Education. Slowly but surely people are waking up to the understanding that Public Education must be fixed. While Conservatives have utilized Public Education as a mechanism of social control, Communities must begin to take back their education systems. Under the past decade, before President Obama, the three branches of government were in the hands of Conservatives. In terms of leading and lagging indicators, results of political implementation does not start and end with a sophomoric notion of the Presidential Term.
It is time to wake up and see that the Conservative chance was squandered. It is a broken Philosophy that has promoted the acceleration of monopolistic economic behavior. Wealth has siphoned to the top at an absolutely enormous rate while the masses that attend Public Education have stagnated. Activism and Assertiveness against Conservative machinations in Education should wholeheartedly be promoted. Charter Schools and Private Schools should be fully investigated in light of the macro-economic political realities posed by poor Public Schools. In summation, well-being in the purest form will create very real economic and political results for the United States of America. All too often the USA is acting like a mega-corporation like Microsoft. Its become complacent in its grandeur and has grown ultimately inflexible. I’ll leave it to you to think about that in light of the summation of this blog post.