I n Part II of the “Education” of an ADHDer blogchat (part of the He Said / She Said series) I finally get to speak my mind about our education system. I believe it operates on the GIGO principle: Garbage In/Garbage Out. In that chat I said that:
…we have no clue how to educate people. That’s why star teachers and star principals stand out because we don’t know how to create educators and we don’t know how to educate. The kids go into school dumb…they pick up some basic skills…they come out just as dumb but now they can read the newspaper.
Zoë disagreed with this analysis (you’ll have to read the blogchat for her counterargument). But I ask you, the reader, do you know of any children that went into school with only middling intelligence and then came out of the system a genius? a thinker? If the school system really knew how to educate people, how to make them think, we would not have a world populated with Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks, etc. Our school system currently talks a good game about differentiated curriculum, multiple intelligences and so forth. But how many schools have really implemented change based on this “new think”? The answer is: barely a handful.
P.S. Please see my other video supplement for The “Education” of an ADHDer blogchat.
American schools have been credited with building American democracy. This is a myth which has been largely responsible for the resistance of today’s schools to needed change. Exposing this myth are records of several major urban school systems which show the high rate of school failure among the urban poor since before 1900. These statistics have been ignored in the past in favor of maintaining the American dream, and they are particularly significant and relevant for today’s largely black urban poor, who are held responsible for failing to make the same good use of the schools their predecessors did. While professing to ameliorate society’s ills, the American school system has always been conservative and reflexive, serving only to maintain the status quo of American institutions under the guise of progressivism, liberalism and reformism. If the American school system is truly to help the poor and disadvantaged and act as a democratizing agent, and thus facilitate social change, it must first reexamine the historical analysis of American education with a radical rethinking of our contemporary social crisis.
For an interesting book on how education reproduces the power structure (this book is also in need of updating but its general premises are still relevant) see Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools By Peter W. Cookson and Caroline Hodges Persell. The following is from one of the summaries found on the Amazon page for this book:
…the authors visited more than 60 elite prep schools in the United States and England, interviewing administrators, faculty, students, and alumni. Attended by less than one per cent of the high school population, these schools turn out a disporportionate number of business, professional, and government leaders. The authors argue that the philosophies, programs, and lifestyles of boarding schools help transmit the power and privilege of elite families. They show how students are selected and examine the curricula, teaching styles, student underlife, and the link between prep school attendance and admission to the “right”‘ universities and the corporate boardroom.
- He Said / She Said: Examining the ADHD Life – The “Education” of an ADHDer, Part I
- He Said / She Said: Examining the ADHD Life – The “Education” of an ADHDer, Part II