The language used by commenters after the Jon Platt case is utterly dispiriting.
As in, people who once had freedoms, and when those freedoms were taken from them, kindly ask the people who took those freedoms to put everyone in prison, because only that circumstance would be fair.
And neither am I hearing the voices of educational thinkers on the radio or in the media. Educational thinkers who work out ideas against the word Education. Like Paulo Freire or Ivan Illich. Thinkers. People who pose challenges to a culture, to its norms and beliefs.
We need someone thinking and shouting for sure, because all I hear now is blinkered crap. Like the assumptions I hear made are God-awful-horrible: they tell me something bad happened to the national brain.
Assumptions like 'you will never catch up', 'one day off school will have an impact'.
Huh? It's now perfectly normal to think of education as something LINEAR that comes from a TEXT BOOK, so if you miss PAGE 42, you're in TROUBLE.
That's great for business. It's great for text book publishers too, and for teaching centres who need to plug in teachers quickly and easily along the conveyor belt it implies.
A linear text-book based system is also very useful for examination, especially when you can have an online testing tick-box system, so expect that soon.
And it's the style of 'education' adopted by lovely child-friendly countries like China*, who slavishly force kids to slog away at text books day and night on a punishing system driven by national and international league tables.
Fortunately, it reinforces the idea that every parent must join in with this system if their child is to succeed.
How I fondly recall the Hong Kong Kinder Interview Offer!* For $200 take your 2-year old to an intensive one-day course so they learn to sit up straight, write their name, and answer questions correctly. Then they can attend the real Nursery Interview Process, because the nursery school needs them reading and writing by age 4.
Ah, Hong Kong! How the UK Loves You! Soon, we will be like you!*
This system has nothing to do with education. The politicians and members of the public who use the word education as a handy word meaning school do so because they are ignorant and unthinking. They should use the word SCHOOL, and leave the word EDUCATION out of their language.
In my life, in my reading, education raises issues such as learner autonomy, creativity, thinking for onseself, being able to play at the age of 3 in a way which is not being directed or controlled by the teacher. Education means reading material which is not under surveillance, control, marking and testing by another. It means challenging, asking difficult questions, questioning social structures, motives, economic drivers, and the language of politics.
Education means thinking. And school means compliance.
* More sarcasm.
* A lot of *Sarcasm.