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Sunday, July 2, 2017

66. A Lofty, Somewhat Inhuman Vision: The Underground HIstory of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

A Lofty, Somewhat Inhuman Vision 

Take a case reported by the Public Agenda Foundation which produced the first-ever 
survey of educational views held by teachers college professors. To their surprise, the 
authors discovered that the majority of nine hundred randomly selected professors of 
education interviewed did not regard a teacher's struggle to maintain an orderly 
classroom or to cope with disruptive students as major problems! The education faculty 
was generally unwilling to attend to these matters seriously in their work, believing that 
widespread alarm among parents stemming from worry that graduates couldn't spell, 
couldn't count accurately, couldn't sustain attention, couldn't write grammatically (or 
write at all) was only caused by views of life "outmoded and mistaken." 

While 92 percent of the public thinks basic reading, writing, and math competency is 
"absolutely essential" (according to an earlier study by Public Agenda), education 
professors did not agree. In the matter of mental arithmetic, which a large majority of 
ordinary people, including some schoolteachers, consider very important, about 60 
percent of education professors think cheap calculators make that goal obsolete. 

The word passion appears more than once in the report from which these data are drawn, 
as in the following passage: 

Education professors speak with passionate idealism about their own, sometimes lofty, 
vision of education and the mission of teacher education programs. The passion translates 
into ambitious and highly-evolved expectations for future teachers, expectations that 
often differ dramatically from those of parents and teachers now in the classroom. "The 
soul of a teacher is what should be passed on from teacher to teacher," a Boston professor 
said with some intensity. "You have to have that soul to be a good teacher." 

It's not my intention at this moment to recruit you to one or another side of this debate, 
but only to hold you by the back of the neck as Uncle Bud (who you'll meet up ahead) 
once held mine and point out that this vehicle has no brake pedal — ordinary parents and 
students have no way to escape this passion. Twist and turn as they might, they will be 
subject to any erotic curiosity inspired love arouses. In the harem of true belief, there is 
scant refuge from the sultan's lusty gaze. 

Rain Forest Algebra 

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