Chartered for Shipwreck: Gilligan’s Myopic Education Reforms
“Charter schools are set to replace traditional district schools as the dominant form of public schooling if their growth rates continue for a few decades.
Given that charters slightly increase what their charges learn, at lower costs to taxpayers, that’s overall a positive thing for the kids they will reach.
But for those of us who love curricular diversity, quality, and education freedom, what does all that mean for private schools and private school choice?”
Joy Pullmann in Heartland Institute’s School Choice Weekly, September 2014 [bold emphasis mine]
With increasing frequency, the tourists are leaving the mainland of education, flocking to tropical beaches and chartering boats to remote islands in hopes of reaching educational paradise.
The latest fix for education reforms involves the expansion of school choice tours. “School Choice” jargon entails some method of redistributing taxpayer dollars or virtual dollars via: public Charter schools, Voucher Scholarships, Tax Credit Scholarships or Educational Savings Accounts. The key to remember here is that
“Choice” still means government redistribution of taxpayer moneys,
which means government “accountability” controls of any school that receives these redistributed funds.
Bureaucrats will not let go of the ropes that anchor the control to their docks…no matter how long the rope, and how many layers of administrators, infrastructure, identity theft, code, cost, and coercion this entails.
After all, it’s not their money or their minds. It’s their job.
Despite the bureaucratic obstacles, brave souls are valiantly breaking lose from the factory schools and setting out for uncharted destinations. Perhaps you are booking such a tour…or have already become shipwrecked with folks you really did not know.
If so, you have come to realize that while shipwrecked on these remote islands, the same cast of humanity remains.
You’ve come to realize that no matter the intent to teach a classical curriculum, a specialty focus in the arts, sciences, history, government, technology or the trades– there is a huge elephant in the hut. You realize that a problem with “education” on the island is the same as on the mainland.
Teacher “Mary Ann” is teaching disabled. Due to government mandated teacher certification, most educators are not knowledge content experts in any area of subject matter. These include subjects such as: mathematics, chemistry, American History, World History, biology, botany, ecosystems, physics, classical literature, Constitutional Government, economics, communication, philosophy, logic, Greek, Hebrew, etc. etc. Most do not know them, nor do they know how to teach them to develop autonomous growth minded students who will love learning and be capable of teaching themselves. Remember public schools get paid millions for labels, entitlement funding, and affirmative action embedded learning disabilities.
So, while the children are on the island, they continue to be stuck with no way off and no path to knowledge, since the Professor has died. Mary Ann does not know how to initiate or innovate without Mr. Know-it-all and his trunk of resource manuals. So, she falls back to procedural memory; vulnerable to the latest Pearson parcels or poison Apples proffered by the hungry socialist headhunters, seeking to catalyze the island to Utopia. (After they throw a few virgins into the volcano.)
In the meantime, the children sit hypnotically engaged in the caves conditioned to venerate the vegetation, while pawing at luminous devices called i-pods, i-pads, i-phones becoming i-diots. Unable to communicate in i-deas. The headhunters get violent with the mere thought of i-deas…since they know that i-deas entail consequences, like innovation…and escape from the i-land.
Caught up for decades in processes, programs, paperwork and outcomes; many nice teachers, like Mary Ann, did not recognize what they were disseminating via state, federal, and global governments, OECD, UNESCO, Globalization 101, Chamber of Commerce, and College Board, aligned Pearson, McGraw Hill etc. publisher and testing curriculums, and said humanitarian minded technology vendors. The waters are shark infested! *
These credentialed educators have long been under the pedagogy of philosopher John Dewey, who viewed the role of “educators” as freeing the child from the confines of absolutes of knowledge and their parents’ values, so as to follow their own uncharted wanderings. The role of educator was to engage the child in whatever The State provided for cut and paste accountability testing. The role of the educator was to implement the next assigned program and verify successful upload via standardized norm-referenced testing to get state and federal funding to keep all the administrators employed and pensions secured.
Each new education season spouts a name of some supposed pioneer as: Wundt, Dewey, Vygotsky, Freud, Turchenko, Pavlov, Skinner, Bloom, Greenspan, Gardner, Payne, Feuerstein, Piaget, Dweck etc… mostly overlapping and mushing behavioral science, operant conditioning, psychoanalysis, psychology, philosophy, psychometry, and socialist theories into one giant cauldron, paying little attention to the specifics of these theories, their lack of sound research, their inability to be mass mediated, their explosive tendencies and their toxic fallout.
Each episode of Gilligan’s Education Reform, like Gilligan’s Island,
offers some false hope, disfigures the landscape and results in bungling outcomes.
Via its degenerative curriculums, methods, processes and progressive intentions, public education has left the students, further displaced in time and in place from the Truths and knowledge of their ancestors.
Like the shipwrecked inhabitants of the uncharted island, vital resources are diminishing. No, not the UN environmental manipulation fantasy, but the living resources of intergenerational truth, wisdom, integrity, insight, and mentoring knowledge. These human resources are running low with the passing of the great generations of parents, grandparents, and extended family; many of whom are survivors, thrivers, statesmen, innovators, entrepreneurs, role models, mentors, and heroes.
And with the displacement of written biographies, source documents, paper published books and resources by digital technology “books”, that are easily altered, censored, purged with the nod of a head, the hack of a hacker, the whim of a bureaucrat, or the stroke of a key.
But alas, the parents have not abandoned the island or their offspring. Nor have conscionable citizens and educators. In fact Lovey and Thurston, who amazingly packed for all seasons and all occasions, have bequeathed their assets of stock, jewels, libraries and estates to equip parents, and would-be educators, to learn the knowledge base and noble statesmanship needed to truly teach a classical virtuous education; all the while, lobbying a grassroots (hut to hut) effort to overturn the rent seeking monopoly the headhunters have on teacher certification, unions, pensions, administrators, accreditation, curriculums, testing, school boards, politicians, taxpayers, and other such uncivilized barbaric cannibalisms.
Now, to cut those ropes to the docks, build some bamboo and coconut helicopters for some knowledge drops to the hearty platoons forming in the Educational Paradise Islands.
* Those cognizant teachers were thrown to the sharks or under the bleachers with threats of insubordination, relocation, or termination.