Saturday, April 2, 2016


Over the past days, I have not maintained the practice of reddening the initials and the "important" words in my posts, I know. I do not usually do so in verse, which accounts for the bit at the beginning of this month, but the longer post that ended March does not have that excuse. I suppose I could go back and color it, but I do not know what I would point out as particularly prominent by pixelated pigmentation. It stands out as a more focused and serious piece than most of what I push out into the world in this webspace, and the red-lettering is an affectation meant to entertain. (If it is not working, please do not tell me.) The practice is at cross-purposes with that particular post--which I needed to make, even if having it where it is has...implications about my anxieties and understandings of how such things work. I have, after all, been told that I do not understand the "real world," and I suppose it is an accurate assertion; I do not understand why a state or a nation would not invest in the education of its children and youth.

I am well aware of one of the dominant narratives about it, however, namely that education "turns" people liberal. I am also aware that the systems of formal education in place, at least in the parts of the world in which I have resided, are socio-culturally normative and tend to elide much information and understanding that argues against major talking points of conservative ideology in the United States (which I specify because "conservative" means different things in different places, and I am not discussing them in the current post, partly because I do not know enough to do so intelligently and partly because I am...motivated to focus more nearly locally). There is a prevailing idea in several US educational systems that the US is "the good guy," with the baggage of that unambiguous and overly simplistic descriptor. There is a prevailing idea that the US represents the culmination of all that is right and good in the world, and is indeed the savior of it. In effect, it can do no wrong--or if it is wrong, it is at least far less wrong than everywhere else in the world.

You know where this is going.

I will not enumerate the many things that the US has done wrongly and is still doing wrongly; to borrow from Marvell, we have not world enough or time. (Too, I have ranted about it before in this webspace.) But I will say, and as a person who has been part of several systems of formal education in the United States across more than a decade at this point, and who has seen the results of those systems both in their successors and in the general public, that what the systems teach is not the kind of thing of which they are so often accused. The opposite tends to be true; they tend to reinforce conservative principles, both for good (and there is some good in promoting common understanding, as well as working to instill a common base of knowledge from which people can work in collaboration to move forward) and for ill (and there is much ill in presenting monolithic and seldom-revised or -reconsidered curricula and master narratives about people). Looking at the matter more coldly, it seems that nations and states would have vested interests in promoting such ideas--I remain confused as to why they would not do more with them...

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