Thursday, May 7, 2020

Michael Benton: Public Education in America

If you want good public education you need to pay for it.

We need to end the corporate textbook system that caters to reactionary Texas state board of education officials (California has more buying power, but they allow their individual districts to choose their books for high school courses), that engages in the ridiculous notion that there is only one answer or one way of thinking about history, and panders to the lowest common denominator avoiding anything potentially offensive to the dominant culture.

Just as destructive is the way that corporate interests pay school districts to allow them to design and "gift" textbooks that are then taught framing subjects so they don't contradict corporate agendas.

We need to quit teaching to the test. Teaching young people and adults to take tests makes for terrible critical thinkers (which is learned from asking/framing questions, from long open ended discussions and engaging in 'what if' scenarios).

Education at this point can't compete with the propaganda being disseminated from all corners 24/7 (it takes a lot of work and you need parents to back the fuck off when you challenge cultural myths).

Adults also need to educate themselves. Education is a lifelong process. Some of the most ignorant people I know are the most educated in this messed up system we have now and have never bothered to question what they learned. Also, a major problem is that many Americans are overworked and that they are actually punished in multiple ways for critical thinking (anti-intellectualism, its a thing - even in academia).

All public education through college/university should be considered a civil right and college/university should be free for anyone that can demonstrate their willingness/responsibility to complete courses. You want to go to a private school, have your kids go to a church school, feel special at a private university - that is on you.

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