You Can’t Have it Easy and Expect to be Educated

Sir Ken Robinson and his videos/talks surrounding education reform are incredibly popular.  His persuasive TED Talk from 2006 is one of the most viewed to date.  Recently, Robinson teamed up with RSA Animate to produce another thought-provoking video which challenges current policy trends in education titled, ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ (see the video below this post).  I shared this video with Michael Hartoonian and he penned this thoughtful response:

“This is an intriguing video in various ways, not the least is its creative use of technology.  Its substantive content on education reform, however, is eclectic and somewhat disjointed, but nevertheless fascinating.  It’s also an old message – that our schools are outdated, modeled on factories, and at odds with the natural sensibilities and facilities of children.  Much of it is true, but we began hearing this tale in the 1960s.

Having noted such, schools have changed a hell of lot in the last century and even half-century. Methodology, technology, curriculum content are vastly different today. Yet, so has society changed and the culture children inherit.  It arguably is the children’s ‘First Curriculum’ with schools the ‘Second Curriculum’ and maybe even third behind technology, i.e. television, internet, Blackberry, iPod, et. al.  One gets the impression from the video that it is public schools holding kids back from their natural maturation, creativity, resourcefulness, and even intellectual development – nonsense!!!!

We have known for years that the arts (Liberal Arts – he should have said that) are the foundation of a civic and civil education and democratic society (he should have said that). We have known that the kind of mindless structures imposed on schools by some old controlling myths, standards and testing are causing students to “turn-off” and be “meaninglessly active.”  We have known, forever, that the opposite of aesthetic is anesthetic. With apologies to Norman MacLean…All good things come by grace, and grace comes by ART, and art does not come easy.  The problem with our students and our people is they want things easy.  You CAN’T have it easy and expect to be educated.  The danger with the video is that “uneducated” people will think that the knowledge of the 18th Century is irrelevant to the issues of today, and the institution of school is the same thing as education.

The video should have said…The problem is this simple and this profound…we have NOT given our children an heroic cultural script, therefore, they have nothing to live or die for.  Sorry – materialism, sexuality, or sports will not do.  They have no cultural, civic, or spiritual stories, so they are left believing that hero is the same as celebrity and sex the same as love and feeding the same as dining and money the same as wealth.  The video is simplistic and confusing in its content and dangerous in its implications; one of which is the destruction of the public schools and then the republic with them.”  (Michael Hartoonian, Scholar in Residence, Hamline University)

← Previous post

Next post →

1 Comment

  1. What i find difficult is to find a blog that can capture me for a minute but your posts are not alike. Keep it like this.

Leave a Reply