Thursday, November 19, 2009

Decentralizing Educational Authority

The blog manager is on vacation, so in lieu of our usual variety of postings we are going to take this week to highlight the work of Ron Miller, one of the foremost thinkers in the field of education in general and holistic education in particular. We will conclude the week with an original guest post from Mr. Miller.

Ron Miller writes in the Summer 2009 issue of Vermont Commons about the importance of alternative education and of building learning communities based on shared vision and interests.

What does the word “education” mean to us? Does it refer to the state’s power to shape the minds and attitudes of citizens to provide human capital for economic and political purposes? Or is education, instead, an intimate human encounter between caring elders and young people with their own aspirations and potentials?

If we believe that genuine education has more to do with the latter, then the hierarchical and authoritarian structure of our present system of schooling is absurdly inappropriate. All important educational decisions are made by distant, impersonal forces completely out of human scale, turning teachers into technicians, parents into consumers, and young people into products. The standardization of teaching and learning through prescribed curricula and textbooks, and the obsessive pursuit of accountability through relentless testing, reflect the concentrated power of political leaders, corporate CEOs, influential foundations and the mass media. No Child Left Behind (sic) is the educational policy of a technocratic empire.
Read the entire article here.

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