Look, I’ve read hundreds of blogs, newspaper articles, and commentaries, add in dozens of books, reports, and ‘findings’ and you have a knowledge base about education and its status, goals, and history that is at least above average. Here’s the main problem: NO ONE GETS IT!
It’s not that they don’t get education, they tend to get the generalities about that, they just don’t GET what is affecting it, what is causing the problems and issues, throwing the turmoil and worse at the education system… NO ONE GETS IT!
Everything I read is about the symptoms or some related and subtle nuance, or it’s about methods, criticisms, or some agenda. IDIOCY!
Politicians and their pundits have an agenda [that has little to do with education]. People in education do [generally] what they are told so they can survive in today’s topsy-turvy world. Education authorities, even those at the bastions of supposed wisdom, the universities, are 3-5 years behind in even identifying the symptoms, so the solutions are equally antiquated and based upon premises and theories that match up in a generic sense, but include aspects of psychology and instructional strategies ground in an ancestral past and re-ground and sold in today’s market. The students, some of them get it, but they have not the depth and breadth to fully grasp all the implications.
Even the following quotes, by people of superior wisdom and foresight, do not grasp the depth or real causes of the disconnect and failure:
“We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.”
– Margaret Mead
“We cannot wait passively upon the statistical play of events to decide for us which road the world is to take tomorrow. We must positively and ardently take a hand in the game ourselves.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
They both identify aspects of the problem… Not the problem itself. Mead understood we are grasping and stumbling along trying to figure this one out [and we still are, well, some places are; others have buried their heads in the sand, thrown technology and the idiocy of “back to basics” in there, and figure that solves everything - incredible STUPID rearview mirror thinking that goes at best nowhere, at worst, backwards and destroys minds, students, and our future]. Pere Teilhard at least saw that we cannot sit or stand idly by and watch the whole mess go to hell in a handbasket and say, “See, I told you so.”
GOP stances with regards to education are beyond idiotic and reflect the “circle the wagons,” “bury your head in the sand” and “rearview mirror driving” mechanisms that lead to utter failure and disaster. I’m not sorry if that pisses someone off. It’s the truth. However, the Dems are not much better because they have done nothing to deal with it in a substantial manner until this year, and even then it is an old solution, poured into a new schema and presentation, and utilizes research that is antiquated [1-2 years old at BEST, and today, with the core of the problem, this is beyond prehistoric], so their solutions are just weak. Again, I like the Common Core, and the new things that will replace the incredible failure of NCLB [which any and all reasonably smart people in education and even outside knew would doom us, but it sounded good, like the Patriotic Act and a few others with catchy titles and cutesy phrasing], but it is not some panacea.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell: the ever-increasing speed of information [and its transfer and acquisition, utilization, and availability…]. You might think this is stupid, but the speed of information has changed the economy, the political spectrum and methods, and of course the social fabric of our very time. It has had a profound impact on education, and it continues to do so at an exponentially increasing rate.
We do not write on stone tablets anymore. When we started writing on papyrus, and later forms of paper, we changed EVERYTHING. The role of religions, governments, social strata, economies, education… All changed and continued to change. In our electronic age, we have wireless connections, vast libraries of information [and disinformation], and we have speeds of information increasing every day…
Even throwing a computer at a student doesn’t solve the problem, because we then use it like a whiteboard or chalkboard [powerpoints, prezis, questions and answers, do some research, answer some questions… design a project… all the things we do in the old formats simply transferred to the new one]. What we have not found a real function for is the teacher and the information overload itself. What we are only picking up is the waste from the social impact of this as we try and deal with drop-outs, teen disconnect, the problem of universities, and so many other issues.
Even here, sadly, I have stated the problem poorly. It is deeper than this, and the speed of its altering mechanisms expands hourly and daily. The financial crisis has gone on longer because of the speed of information and the failure of anyone in the economic areas to truly look at that issue [too busy applying outdated and likely never really true equations and formulae - ones designed to fit what they already saw, not new ones]. We live in an illusion… a dreamworld. We need to wake up and start forethinking, being proactive, and flipping the system and all its surrounding mechanisms.
* Sad note: even the present electoral process, the whole thing, shows how antiquated and stupid we are - how we know we have all this stuff, all this speed, but have no real clue what we are doing with it or what it is doing with us. The evidence abounds…
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Vision of the Past, pp. 59-60 - Perhaps the most pivotal quote that connect the ideas and research of Pere Teilhard with those of Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan was one of the people who “tries to put together the general design of human movements” and was extraordinarily adept at seeing them. This is likely why he spoke and thought the way he did and why so many people had difficulty comprehending him: his probes, his comments, his perspective was wayyyyyyyyyyyy outside their ability to separate themselves from the “absolute division” of what Teilhard speaks of and what has become more entrenched since then.
It seems every time I read someone like Walter Lippmann, Julien Benda, Jacques Ellul, Marshall McLuhan, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Harold Innis [to name a few], I am always brought forth into our modern dilemmas, our modern era, how we got here, why we are what we are, and I think, I feel at my core, my innermost self, I know how, why, what, where, and when. Many of the issues are obvious [to me at least], and they have solutions: ones we do not have the love, patience, or intelligence to follow here in the US and in many Western nations.
However, one person keeps coming back to my brain, and he grates against my spirit, grates against everything I read from George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams [well, a lot of Adams], John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and several lesser-names in early American history. One person counters all my understanding of the New Testament, Christ and His vision, and that same person in so many statements equates himself, from a power and influence point, with the President of the United States. His name, Bill O’Reilly, FOXNews showman and spectacle showhost. I cannot call him a journalist, because Edward Bernays [media advertiser and wit], Walter Lippmann, and a few other early expounders of journalistic ideals and media, would roll in their graves if I said that, so he doesn’t get that title, but he is certainly a very clever, highly intelligent, relatively well read [narrowcast reading], and calculated showman of the modern era. He knows he needs to “up” his content all the time to keep people glued to his vitriol and to continue to make oodles of cash.
Anyway, why would I mention his name? It is because, try as I might, I have great difficulty watching him and listening to his methods, but I know he believes himself to be a parallel to the President, and he does have great influence and longevity. However, another thought as I read keeps coming to me. What is his philosophy of life? What philosophy of life is he expounding, promoting, and fixating for the American viewing public, the sheeple who watch him and follow him like idol worshippers and drones? What exactly is he teaching?
I believe it bears a closer look. Tough as it may be and as grinding as it will be to my spirit of love, universality, truth, and justice, as well as several other positive and humane visions of life that I hold dear, I have set a task for myself. I intend to start a blog that will try [this being the operative word] to probe Bill O’Reilly’s statements, the nuances, the direct meanings, and the connotations and denotations, the fallacies and more, and extricate his philosophy [or at least the ones he provides and promotes]. Equally tough though it may be, I intend to try to remove myself, become that disassociated and disinterested viewer and listener, from my own biases [which I will identify].
None of this will be easy [on the heart, spirit, brain, and sense of focused and studied Christian life], but I believe it bears doing. It is worthy of the effort.
In a few days I will post the location of this blog [it will not be here because although his work might cross paths with my work here (in some directions), overall his material has little to do with the education of our children - on its immediate level - and more to do with adult education and how that might sift down into k-12 and collegiate education].
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [our religions today are all about traditions, ceremonies, the past, and ‘cherry-picking’ passages and misinterpreting or misrepresenting religious texts to satisfy personal or political dogma and try, in vain, to turn back the hands of time, steer the people, the nation(s), and the world through the rearview mirror, not seeing the depth and truth of the words, the messages of religion, to care for and love each other, to be “together’ and find ways to build positive relationships and to grow…]
I cannot seem to get D. H. Lawrence’s Pornography and Obscenity out of my brain. Almost the entire work is whirling around in there, and fusing and evolving in my cranium with Pere Teilhard, McLuhan, Ellul, Nietzsche, and Orwell. Strange company to say the least, but I know where next I will turn… Back to my readings to see where this might lead.
Lawrence, in his day labeled a pornographer by some mass-minded fools, would laugh at us today, our repressions, double standards, and inherent lack of common sense and understanding of obvious physical realities. He would weep at our stupidity and separations from each other, although see it as part of our ongoing search for vitality and natural life, the inner calling. The others listed above would each chime in on some different element, but come back to the main: our lost individuality, sacrificed on the altar of technology and ‘progress’, and our resultant search for identity amidst this new found land [groping, probing, and grasping wherever we can, some shred, some thread of attachment to something we can call us, ourselves…].
I am optimistic we will evolve beyond this present malaise, find our way to a better socialization, communication, and humanization so that we can realize the beauty of this long strange trip, from the beginning of time to some equally distant future we will not see but can add some grain or molecule of life to as we traverse this time and space. May we find that way…
Because we live in the relative comfort of the now, the apparent present, and can conveniently obliterate and ignore the past that makes us uncomfortable of challenges our present narrow world view and can equally ignore the future [the logical, convergent, biological and social future that is quite literally staring us in the face] and replace it with irrational [and sometimes partially rational] fears and terrors instead of seeing optimism and possibility, we cannot understand these two factors:
1. Population growth [that thing that evolution and a basic and generic understanding of history, biology and math would show you]
2. Technological growth [what Ellul in part, because of its all encompassing social, industrial, economic and personal factors intertwined with media and technology, the technique]
These are the primary factors influencing the world today. Our population is steadily increasing, and must, of a biological and mathematical necessity, continue to do so. Our technology, mostly in the forms of communication and information sharing [communication - Innis is quite clear on the intricate and continuous growth of this factor and how it, and not supply and demand, not political upheaval, is the root of all economic, and therefore political and social issues, all issues for us - permitting growth] is expanding at a rate through which our economic, social, political and personal issues, to name just a few, cannot in any way keep pace or even begin to grasp the depth and breadth of the influences thereupon.
I believe these two factors more than ANY others will influence ALL other currents of our being, of our human interactions, and of our decisions [or lack of decisions]. They are the reasons behind 99.9% of the violence in the world [these macro and micro battles for power and position, pressing and pushing culture and ideals, attempting to gain space and position, preserve ways of life, and all basically to fight against the natural flow of the human race, the natural biology that put us here and now and beyond], and they are the reasons for the sense of angst and increased intolerance in the world [communal and personal].
What is the role of education in this? How can education play a role? How can education help to countervail some of the social, economic, political, personal, and other potentially catastrophic issues that will arise in the next 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 years [The real vision beyond balancing the budget next year or two years down the road, because, in essence, as simplistic an answer as balancing the budget is for Americans, it is idiocy, because it in no way addresses the issues stated here, the influence of them, and simply does not take them into account anywhere]?
The Earth is tightening. Spaceship Earth has limited space and resources, and we have options. We do not care to explore or discuss those options because they involve greater socialization, communal cooperation, and consideration of the whole in whom my individuality inevitably is expressed. It means more focus on our neighbors and learning to find ways to love them [a simple commandment] and work with them for a greater good [longevity of the species not some nationalist agenda]. The growth of population and communication [technology tighten the world every day, and so the abhorrent behaviors grow, the repellant actions magnify, and our ‘isms’ expand in leaps and bounds because we have not accepted these realities and as we search for a personal or communal identity in this void of leadership and understanding, we respond in a base and animal form, not in a human, humane, or intelligent loving form] are simple biological and historical FACTS [sorry, I don’t care what book you read, what radio or television host you listen to, simply look out your window, study a little history and biology, and the truth, however uncomfortable, is right there], and our failure to deal effectively and lovingly with them will be our demise.
Education has a role to play.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.”
And so there is our answer. We can continue business as usual, testing, basic facts, not promoting those deeper thoughts, those innovative, creative and critical modes, and risk the worst [although people like the lack of change, the simplicity of the good old days, and the national interests served in the obedient drone building we engender today] or we can see that we don’t know what will happen, but can surmise it will take greater minds and capacities than ours to solve them, greater tolerance and understanding, and we can teach and facilitate the processes that will build those characteristics in our young and therein lead the world, the species, to betterment and longevity [which does not involve outdated dogma and nationalist folly].
“We cannot wait passively upon the statistical play of events to decide for us which road the world is to take tomorrow. We must positively and ardently take a hand in the game ourselves.” - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Right now we are burying our heads in the sand hoping and praying all these problems will go away. Others completely deny the issues exist or substitute more fearsome issues and solutions in their wake. Still more cannot even see the issues because they are too engrosses in the hear and now, the moment or the technological toys that make us think we are loved continuously but are yet another aspect of our search for identity. What is our role then?
We have miles to go before we sleep, much to do along the way, and much that is uncomfortable to digest, accept, and work through.
Marshal McLuhan had another word of wisdom in there: “A man is not free if he cannot see where he is going, even if he has a gun to help him get there.” We cannot shoot or nuke our way out of this one. Shooting your neighbor, preparing to shoot your neighbor, thinking you might have to shoot your neighbor is not the answer. Finding ways to build up our world, to eliminate harsh differences and see we are all on the same convergent path, that is the greatest challenge. To get others to see they do not need to use a gun [it may give momentary power, but it is not freedom without knowledge and true vision - unbiased and objective] to express themselves.
Education’s role right now is one of passivity. It does nothing to address these issues and nothing in the pipes suggests this will change soon. We need to become active… Active for our species…
— Pierre Telihard de Chardin [Really? Do I need to say anything more? Simple and true. All we need do is look around us and realize for all our religious yammering, we do not speak of love, we do not speak of the 2000 years of Christian gospel, but instead pick and chose, misrepresent, and then alter in the guise of the here and now covering the past, the simplicity and truth of these ancient teachings and ways of living and treating each other.]
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [perhaps another yet more positive way of expressing de Beauvoir’s concern about our apparent disassociation with other people, their plights, sufferings and more, and our feeble excuses (budget, personal freedoms and rights, individuality… the latter ones cannot be realized except in the company of and reaction to and with others) why we do not behave with love and instead with greed and personal spite never, seemingly, seeing beyond our next paycheck, our pocketbooks or our own self-interests in the immediate days and hours].
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [1941 my friends, 1941]
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [this quote and a few others caused me to write a small novel tonight after reading Pere Teilhard and portions of the Bible - the fusion of these things, the clarity of mind, spirit, and body, the simplicity of the responses and truth, well, they seem obvious and at the forefront of my brain, easy to perceive and progress through]
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [I understand 90% or more of what he says, and the spiritual part of me, combined with the intellectual and philosophical me is thrilled and excited, but the person that walks the streets and reads the world views is mortified at where we are and wishes I did not understand Pere Teilhard as well as I do.]
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin