The R(evolution) Begins Here and Now
The Education Wars Part I
I went for a walk yesterday and queued up some video clips from the Darkhorse podcast, and was pleasantly surprised to find Heather and Bret begin a conversation about education with one of my all-time favorite human beings, John Taylor Gatto.
Note the depth of conversation that springs forth from just one excellent passage from one of Gatto's books. Gatto was a pioneer, and if humanity has an excellent opportunity to pass through the great portal ahead of us and emerge from the other side of the Wars of Wars greater, the Gatto attitude may emerge as a general phenomenon. This is the psychic healing we need for the world's children---particularly here in the West and wealthy nations where the Prussian education model has dominated for so long: turning children into cogs to help the machinery function. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Things Are Breaking. Education is Breaking.
It doesn't take a genius to recognize that the world has entered a state of flux. I believe people are still entirely confused because they have mostly been working with the wrong model for so long. By that I mean that the world (or "society" at least) is not what most anyone thought it was. Parents are screaming at school boards not understanding that these are stacked with people long since committed to selling out their communities (or moved there to sell them out), and loyal to centralized authoritarians. Noblesse oblige was never an operating principle.
Whether or not my own model is exactly right (it evolves), what is clear is that it's breaking now. The kinds of betrayal of trust we are living through are not the kind a society comes back from. The long list of absurdities (here and here, not that this is more than a tiny fraction) are too hard to ignore, and those in the know are laughing about them.
Whatever happens next, the wise will take it upon themselves to be responsible for the education of their children.
Read that sentence again. And then again. If it doesn't come naturally, say it every day until it's natural. That means you've escaped, and your children can be free again.
My Vocation in Education
From an early time in childhood, I felt that much was deeply wrong with our educational system. The feeling was so strong that by the age of 12, I vowed to devote my life to doing something about it. One of the plans I formed was to rewrite mathematics curriculum, which I did help with. After deciding that online resources were well in place for those students who needed them, I decided that "Culture is the primary technology" needed a push, so I spent nine years running brick-and-mortar educational centers in Alabama and Texas, though too few adults understood what needed to be done enough to support and help the process. True complete success requires a community effort, and there wasn't a clear path toward educating the adults.
I plan to talk much more about my educational philosophy in future articles, but for the moment, I want to introduce myself as an educator by dropping this talk I gave with the 1517 Fund during the early weeks of the pandemic. I hope that some of you enjoy it. I called it Math Education: Why the Star Trek Future Isn’t What You Think.
It's essential for kids to develop autonomy, to learn to think for themselves and follow their own compass, as when Gatto says "write your own script". Scheduling every minute of every day for a child, always with an adult authority managing their activities, is not the right way to do this :-)
Mathew, you forgot to imbed your links in this sentence:
"The long list of absurdities (here and here, not that this is more than a tiny fraction) are too hard to ignore, and those in the know are laughing about them."
Another thank you for sharing your unique, sincere and real-time exploration of the forces that have been running the world for decades (or much, much longer) without most of us realizing it and how things seems to be approaching a tipping point. I am on the same journey of awakening and have learned so much from you. I hope we meet in person some day. (As an aside, our three kids never attended traditional school and my 16-year old has taken some of your AoPS classes. So we are interested in the bit of your personal life you are sharing now.)