Home > E.D.U.C.A.T.I.O.N in the U.S.A. > Education is Freedom from the Dogma of Others

Education is Freedom from the Dogma of Others

I have been teaching for awhile.  Initially, teaching was not my life’s goal.  I just wanted to compose and get my music out there.  However, in order to do that food and shelter were necessary requisites.  Out of necessity, just like Mark Thackeray in the Sydney Poitier/Lulu movie “To Sir, with Love” I began to teach.  When I was ABD for my Ph.D. (that is All But Dissertation for those not in Academia) I moved to New York City, no job, no prospects, no anything.  I had nothing better to do.  Since I was close to getting my terminal degree (I’ve always liked the term terminal associated with a doctorate), out of all the jobs I applied for; teaching positions were the ones I was being offered.  I didn’t really have any familiarity with teaching and basically was getting on-the-job experience, but I enjoyed it.  Since, I’ve become a good teacher; at least my student’s tell me so, but maybe they’re just sucking up.  One conclusion I’ve come to after twenty years of teaching is that a university is not really an education machine; it is a money tap for a certain group of people.  Those people are neither the students nor are they the professors.

I see the term educator in newspapers all the time.  Who are these people?  Certainly not me or anyone I know.  When I keep reading, it usually turns out to be an administrator.  A person who perhaps has never taught or hasn’t taught in many years.  Most administrators, when hired, get what’s called “retreat rights” this means that when they feel like leaving an administrative position or even are let go, they can “retreat” to the classroom and teach.  There’s a big problem here; most of them aren’t teachers.  These people fall into the “educators” category.  When a university (let’s also include grade and high school) educator is quoted in the newspaper, more often than not they’re these people.  Administrators who have no idea what they’re doing.  They usually have advanced degrees in fields they don’t practice anymore, if they ever did.  Nevertheless, they are now “experts” in education and are allowed to masquerade as teachers in the press.  Here’s a big, big, big reason teachers (and especially professors) are given such bad raps by the general public today.  Administrators (posing as educators) say the darnest things.  Last week in the NYTimes, an article saying “some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/fashion/17BFF.html?scp=1&sq=best%20friends&st=cse.  Read the quote carefully.  “Some educators and other professionals” nowhere does it say teachers.  The ‘educators and other professional” are administration.  The public reads such stupidity and gets angry, but they’re getting angry at the wrong people.  Teachers are taking the blame for such garbage.  They’re the only ones the public really has any contact with.  The average person has no idea that teachers are not in control.  They don’t make policy; administration, the “educators and other professionals” do.  Here’s a good reason why our schools, from elementary through university, are in such a sorry state today.  “Educators” are education theorists.  They don’t teach, but rather they come up with ideas on “how” to teach.  Anytime theory takes precedent over reality, you get a giant mess.  This is true in composing music as much as it is in everyday life.  Theory (mathematical rigorousness or whatever you want to call it) to a composer becomes more important than how a piece of music sounds.  This is how a generation of composers is created who write Papiermusik; music no one wants to listen to, but without a doubt looks good, i.e. complicated, on paper.  Take the Horatio Alger myth (a good example of a theory) and make it more important than actual quality of life, you get unfettered Capitalism.  Put the educators in charge of what goes on in a classroom, not the teachers, you get students who can’t read, write, or function in society.  Why?  Because a theory was tried out on them.  Theory as speculation, not the definition of theory as general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art, practically never works in abstract situations.

Schools and universities in particular, are suffering from a bureaucratic flood, while students and teaching faculty are taking hits.  In California, the C.S.U. Chancellor’s office uses the amount of money needed to fund a small C.S.U. campus.  Nevertheless, the faculty, this time including administrators, took furlough days, in effect-pay cuts.  Why does an administrator’s office, even if he is the chancellor, need such a large budget?  Administration is the problem!  Justinian saw this, Lenin saw this, and Reagan saw this.  If these three could agree on something, then maybe it’s true.

In many Hollywood movies, machines are seen as evil (the Matrix Trilogy, the Terminator movies, Avatar, etc.).  Unthinking machines are just that: unthinking machines.  They are neither good nor evil until used.  Bureaucracy is a machine in constant use and used blindly for its own survival.  Bureaucracy (administration) is a beast that devours everything it touches and justifies its actions.  The Byzantine Empire, the late Ottoman Empire, the late Qing Dynasty were all great practitions of large-scale bureaucracy.  Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany would never have been able to carry out the atrocities they committed without a large mindless bureaucracy.  Come to think of it, “mindless bureaucracy is redundant. The face of evil is really an Eichman, a mindless bureaucrat, especially a smiling one.

Bureaucracy is what created the BP Gulf spill.  The mindless willingness to sit in a cubicle and do a job without question is at the core of much of the world’s problems. Bureaucracies feed on the inability of the cogs in their machines to think for themselves.  Here is the big reason why education is so unbelievably important and why most right-wing politicians do not want to fund it. An educated public asks educated questions.  An educated public does not just lead the revolution, it creates it. An educated public takes no bullshit.  Let me repeat: an educated public takes no bullshit!

The U.S. founding fathers, the leaders of the French Revolution, Lincoln, Lenin, Trotsky, Liebknecht, Luxemburg, and Guevara were all educated.  They all asked questions and acted.  Some had purer motives, but they all changed the world.  The right uses Jesus as justification for much of what they say and do.  The majority of the right are Christians and, as in the case in South Carolina, now use religious tests as the basis for one’s fitness to hold public office.  Jesus was a rabbi; he was educated.  He asked questions. The Buddha was a prince; he was educated.  He asked the big question.  The people who change the world are the educated, the ones who ask the questions, not those screaming the loudest.

If you want your children to live free, psychologically healthy, inquisitive, and balanced lives, fund education.  The United States was built on FREE PUBLIC education.  This is an historical fact!

Education is freedom from the dogma of others.

Education is freedom!

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  1. courtney
    October 4, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Hi, I have been searching the internet trying to find that particular commercial you are talking about. Do you know who put the commercial out so I can narrow down my search?

  1. June 25, 2010 at 8:41 PM

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