Thursday, 3 January 2013

School Is Dead - Chapter 13

The Revolutionary Role of Education

To change the way we "do" education would mean significant changes in our society. And we cannot change society without effectively changing the was we educate.

Reimer suggests that any truly educated person would not tolerate the absurdities and contradictions of contemporary society. For this reason, education is a dangerous force. And for this reason many repressive regimes control and manipulate education so forcefully.

When people are educated they can see the "shifting sand that their society is built on." Education does not on its own solve societal problems but it is part of the process of change and revolution.

Reimer is keen that any revolution should be peaceful. Using the example of scientific revolutions in the past, he identifies some of the features needed to ensure this:

  • sharing a common rationale or set of beliefs, based on reason and logic
  • sharing a common language
  • regular communication between participants
  • an ultimate court of appeal to resolve disputes and clarify the purpose of the revolution
He also examines religious revolutions and says that one feature of these is that there is widespread disillusionment in the old vision of the truth. From a position of misery and despair, religious revolution follows a "powerful and attractive new revelation of truth." Charismatic leadership is also often involved.

"A peaceful revolution is one in which the nominal holders of power discover that they have lost their power before they begin to fight."


I'm not sure that we are headed for revolution any time soon, but I do think that change is needed if we are to have any chance of seeing a system of education that, as Reimer proposes, is based on freedom and justice.

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