Consider that “progressive” activist Bill Ayers remains a guru of teacher education, despite his retirement from teaching two years ago. Throughout his long and illustrious career, he wrote and spoke to a generation of new teachers, and what he told them was that the purpose of education is the “doing of social justice.”
Not transmitting a body of knowledge and cultural competence. Not ensuring that young people are prepared with skills and abilities to earn a living for themselves and their families. Not to uphold the republic by internalizing the values and virtues upon which it was founded.
But rather, according to Mr. Ayers and most of America’s schools of education, teachers ought to be committed to cultivating “critical thinking” and preparing people to participate in a “democracy.”
I’m not sure how you can think critically about things you don’t know, or participate in a democracy when we live in a republic, but maybe that’s me being picky.
One positive outcome of the lack of confidence in public schools might be action on the part of parents and legislatures to do some critical thinking of their own about the purpose of education, and the conflicting goals of those who seek to prepare our children for the future, as opposed to those who use our schools for social engineering.
Perhaps we’d all have more confidence in our schools if the folks setting the educational agenda in America stopped using them for incubators of social change, and instead simply educated our children in a rigorous curriculum of core knowledge.
Progressive? No. But it would be progress, that’s for sure.