Education is a Process: It has a Beginning but no End. It Continues throughout Life.

Dear Commons Community,

Russell Hvolbek, a retired professor from the University of California, San Diego, has an opinion piece in the Teachers College Record, with the pessimistic title, The End of Education.  He argues:

“that as we absorb the socio-economic values of our age, an age ruled by business, we have drifted away from what we in the educational community should be doing: teaching students to think, to see, to read, and to write.

Education as a dwelling in the human experience of reality is ending. As with the Roman Empire, it is ending with a whimper, not a bang.

The root of the problem is that we have absorbed the socio-economic and intellectual values of our age, an age ruled by business and science. The pragmatic values of business and science have become the values of our educational practices. Within these two orientations there is little understanding of and no place for the life enhancing studies of philosophy, history, literature, and the arts. Today we train students. A practical utility determines our thinking.

Pragmatic and useful things, of course, are easy to evaluate and quantify, but when the useful is quantified it precipitates a judgment: 5,500 square foot houses are superior to 1,500 square foot houses. An “A” is superior to a “B” and an “A” student is superior to a “B” student. Measurements. Judgments. The accountant’s truths are what are now deemed important.”

His conclusion;

“the fact that students are not getting educated is not their fault. They were weaned into these socio-cultural values. Students are not participating in their education. Students are being trained to live for goals and new electronic devices. Goals have become a narcotic that society accepts as education, which they are not.

Education is not chasing a grade. It is not chasing a college or a job. If you do that you may get what you want, an “A” or a “B,” but you will never be educated. An education is a process. It has a beginning but no end. It continues throughout life. It is learning to see and think.

Ultimately an education is a deep unfolding involvement with life here on earth. The deeper the involvement in seeing and thinking, the more complex is the dance in which you participate.”

Food for thought!



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