Oh, come on Lafer, we got the good education!

So, there I went, citing Simon and Floyd and Paul and John and Ivan to take a dig at the educational system that is so often praised by those who know that they are well educated and credit the system for the education they got.  Yes, it made many job ready able to add, subtract, and divide, read the words on the page, and able to repeat some science fact and historical data.  It made people smart and the smart they achieved made them proud, proud too of their flag and their high school’s football team.  A lot to be proud of and good reason to be appreciative of the system that taught them how to be smart and what they should be smart about.  I get it.

But I really don’t get it because if so well educated as to be so smart, how could it be that TV doctors are selling health care and TV dads are selling tax dodging consultations?  How could it be that after a financial crisis caused by bank fraud, so many with educations still trust the banks involved in the fraud?  How is it that so many educated people, enough to support the big ad buy, trust Wells Fargo?  How could it be that after Vietnam and Iraq the educated still love their military and are ever willing to send their children and brothers and sisters to the front.  How is it that so many of the educated are so willing to believe that there must be good reason for all those wars, big, small, secret and not so secret, enough so that those who fight them, be it it a good cause or not, are praised for heroism when at least some of them are there because they have nowhere else to go?

How is it that in a society in which a good portion of the population is educated enough to earn the diploma that the people who are elected leaders are not qualified to be leaders?  How is it that the educated consistently vote in people who, if not crazy are qualified stupid?  Think Inhofe and the like who took those science classes and earned the right to stand up and say, in the name of the people who elected them, that science is wrong and god knows what he is doing.  Consider the educated who are educated to believe that god is very possible, who are educated to believe that religion makes at least as much sense as good reason.

Every day of my life I see raging signs of ignorance and stupidity that are not only taken in stride by the educated but taken as sensible by the educated.  I flip through the television channels and realize that some advertiser knows that Duck Dynasty is worthy of their advertising–the Duck family attracts enough members of our educated public to make the investment worthwhile.  I know that the Kardashians are important to scores of my fellow high school graduates and I cannot help but see that the films that depict the murder of tens and hundreds are considerably more popular than Frontline documentaries or books that attempt to explain the economy or war.

Indeed, there are millions of people who are very well educated, who understand the ridiculousness of what is allowed in this democracy to stand as reasonable when it is ridiculous.  There are millions of people who do have the capacity to think for themselves, to seek out the truth and figure out ways to act upon those truths to contribute to the betterment of the human race.  But those millions are stuck in a society where stupidity and ignorance are as likely to win the day as is thoughtfulness and sound reasoning.  Of those who do think, far too many are stuck in a rut that is the kind of “proper” thinking that is sponsored by others who benefit from the “proper” at the expense of those who are treated improperly, those at the wrong end of the “deal,” those for whom the benefits of the rich society do not accrue, for those for whom the law is applied unequally and against the rights that schools has told them they are promised under the law.

What prompts these tirades against the perceived good of our educational system is the reality before me, a Trump in the White House, the mass shootings, the still potent racism that exists in the nation, the election of Inhofe and the other senators and representatives who stand for nothing that should be seen as American, at least in regard to what America was supposed to be as planned by its founders.  I am driven to write of the system because every day I am astounded by the decisions that are made by the people and for the people by those the people elect to represent them in government. The fact that those millions of smart and sensible cannot sell what is smart and sensible astounds me, pushes me close to throwing up my hands and leaving it all behind, a shack somewhere where it is warm and overgrown.

I am so stupid, though, as to believe in a dream that I have every reason to believe is out of reach and out of reach because of my failure to even begin conversation that has potential for moving things toward something more sensible, better, tolerable.  Everyday I spend time–I cannot help myself–thinking about why it is that people capable of good reason and sensible results end up, if not choosing, accepting what should, for the sensible, be unacceptable.

It is a matter of education and the schools are not doing what they should be doing to build strong a democracy enabled public.  They do not and cannot do this because of who owns the schools, who makes the decisions that determine what the schools will teach and whose best interests they should serve.  Remember how you were asked to engage in honest investigation and conversation about the wars of your generation?  Remember how you were asked to seek out answers to questions like “what might be the political causes of pollution, species disappearances, and the consequences of such things?  Remember being invited to look into the lives of those who were representatives in government or who ran the banks or who owned the businesses that one was led to understand to serve the community?

Remember talking about what it really meant to be killed in action or wounded as a patriot fighting for one’s country?  Remember the discussions concerning guns and medical care and banking and air quality and blight and the behavior of the police, good and bad, or whatever that might be meaningful to understanding the real greatness of you country and what was not so great about it?








By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

Leave a Reply