The Illusion of Wisdom

Many of the ills that currently plague this great nation of ours can be laid at the feet of our elite colleges. Those that support and sustain our educated elite. Most do only a mediocre job of teaching students to question and think.  They focus instead through the filter of standardized test, enrichment activities, AP classes, high priced tutors, private schools and the blind deference to authority, creating hordes of incompetent students.

It seems today that universities and public education disdain honest intellectual inquiry, which is by its nature distrustful of authority, fiercely independent, and often subversive.  They organize learning around minutely specialized disciplines, narrow answers, and a rigid structures designed to produce such answers.  Need I say PARCC, if you are not familiar with PARCC, you need to explore it. In our local system I recently learned after an harried year of preparing students and teachers for this exercise, WE HAVE SCRAPPED IT! The cheering you hear is from educators who know how to teach not proctor test.

We have bought hook, line and sinker into the idea that education is about training for “success,” defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. Our elites use a private dialect that is a barrier to communication as well as common sense.  They have set themselves as the arbiter of Truth,Wisdom and Knowledge.

They shun anything written prior to 1960.  Writers from Euripides to Russell Banks have used literature as both a mirror and a lens, to reflect back to us, and focus us on, our hypocrisy, moral corruption, and injustice.  Literature is a tool ot enlighten society about it ills.  It was Charles Dickens who directed the attention of middle class readers to the slums and workhouses of London.  It was Honre de Balzac who, through the volumes of his Human Comedy, ripped open the hardened hearts of France.  It was Upton Sinclair who took us into the stockyards and shantytown of Chicago in The Jungle.

In the hands of academics, however who rarely understand or concern themselves with the reality of the world, works of literature are eviscerated and destroyed.  They are concerned for obscure trivia and irrelevant data that can be put into a computerized test.  They have been trained only to find solutions that will maintain and support the system. NEVER asking the question, “Is it good for the student?”  Most students become so conditioned to success they become afraid to take risks.  They learn to placate and please authority, never to challenge it.  By the time the graduate, the system has forgotten to teach them, that along the way to the way that the purpose of education is to make minds, not careers!

Here is a tease!  Our school system ranks in the bottom 5% in the state according to testing data. However we have one of the most historically prestigious and respected facilities in the state…..the point…seems we are proud of our buildings and our past but not to concerned about the quality of students we are producing….