Having at least a minor part to play in the educative process within America, I can’t help but wonder what the process of educating our youth actually entails. Not meant to be an overtly politically charged statement this, but rather an exploration of the socio/political underpinnings of how education shapes our culture’s youth.
What happens to a youth’s mind when it enters the brick and mortar of our nation’s school? How is it that a child so quickly loses her desire to learn? The innate curiosity present in every human being can risk being suppressed in an environment that idolizes data. “These are the standards our children are to meet,” says many a public official involved in educational policy decision making. Whose children? There is a wide chasm that exists between a child and “children.” The great leveling. The mob screams for that which is mediocre and easy. Easy to measure, easy to understand.
The school system today is largely based upon models of schooling established during the industrial age. Not all schools operate this way of course, but many of the principles put in place fifty or more years ago fuel larger policy choices among numerous schools. I fear that the information age/postmodern age has promoted a culture that has become more fragmentary, meaning that the cultural unity that many think existed within nations fifty to one hundred years ago is largely non-existent. The exchange of information and ideas not only within but across nations has created access to a climate of ideas, ideologies, and personal identity constructs that the current educative model is struggling to accommodate.
I wonder what our schools will become twenty, fifty, and 100 years from now. For those who adhere to the idea that a fundamental paradigmatic shift is occurring (or has occurred), namely postmodernism, the public school systems will need to radically rethink their role(s) within the forthcoming years.