Kirby Urner posted Jan 19, 2014 1:40 AM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9367960) - GSC's remarks interspersed: > > On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 4:01 AM, GS Chandy > <email@example.com> wrote: > > << SNIP >> > > > > *The stakeholders in the educational system are, > broadly, as follows: > > > > Teachers; students; parents; administrators in the > system; educational > > experts; politicians; others interested in > contributing to the 'reform > > process'. > > > > > I think a kind of "ghost shareholder" is the large > US-based factory, such > as reached a peak in the 1960s after WW2. US > Americans were taught to > think of themselves in terms of "blue collar" line > workers or "white > collar" management. The brick and mortar pre-college > public schools of > that era were designed to track junior, in theory > according to his talents, > in practice also according to his "race" and "gender" > and "family means", > either towards "the trades" (as in blue collar) or to > tag him as > college-bound, in which case more likely management > and/or officer material. > Actually, the 'whole of society' is part and parcel of that 'ghost stakeholder', I believe - and this is true in all nations, not only in the USA. Of course, by virtue of its 'soft' and 'hard' power, the US has a special place in the whole sorry mess that is moving us towards the 'abyss' (of which I've written sometimes)! > > A lot of this same industrialist mentality of the > mid-1900s still permeates > North America, although much of the industry has left > for sunnier climes, > per Flint, Michigan (a paradigm case, oft used to > stand for the "rust belt" > more generally). This mentality underlines > conformity and compliance as > chief virtues. One learns to identify one's > superiors and develop properly > deferential behaviors. The Japanese culture found a > lot to recognize as US > managers took over interim administration of that > economy just after the > war. > > In an idyllic USA, one that championed democracy as > the textbooks say it > does, students would receive much more training in > democratic institution > models, not just model UN or model NATO. There would > be frequent voting > and polling, with the voting and polling process > itself open to scrutiny > and postmortem analysis. The statistics of > representational versus direct > democracy, and difference between parliamentary, > bicameral and numeric > versus non-numeric criteria for delegate and vote > counting... there's much > civics to study here, much statistics, much history. > Let's agree this is > *not* the USA that materialized and just describing > it reminds us how > alienated the USA has become from philosophies of > democracy. Public school > is still far more geared to serve the "giant factory" > than "neighborhood > and regional government", in terms of the reflexes it > instills and rewards. > > However, all these pushes and pulls are in constant > tension and a perpetual > renegotiation goes on. > Alas, all of this "perpetual renegotiation" of the social contract has ONLY led us to 'more of the same'! How to break out of this vicious cycle? > > These days, with junior often having better access to > educational resources > *away* from the brick and mortar building, the > influence of "ghost > factories" is quite a bit less. Junior has more time > to survey the big > picture and "construct his own reality" should he > have propensities in that > direction. * The shape of education has changed a > lot, thanks to the > emergence of cyberspace as a kind of shared "Global > U" (U = University). > > Kirby > > * I stick with "junior" being a "he" and write in a > kind of male-dominated > / patronizing style in part in tongue-in-cheek > allusion to those more > patriarchal chapters in US history, e.g. at the > height of the so-called > "imperial presidency", raised to that level by > Kennedy and still waning in > the shadow of Nixon as a result of the "Vietnam War" > debacle, the end of an > era in many ways. > Well, my fairly strong belief is that we're reaching the 'end-game' for the entire human endeavour, world-wide.
That is, assuming we've not already passed the point where ideas of 'democracy', 'voting' and 'negotiation of the social contract' will have no relevance at all). I must confess that I do not have sufficient background and knowledge to do a "Decline and Fall of the Human Empire". (I believe various thinkers have done much of this already).