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Re: [xmca] Obama's Learn Act

Andy, Larry, (and others), 

So how do you make the case for "the ability to critique" to a
general public? What is the story you can tell that would
appeal to all (or at least many) sides of the debate and not
just those or us on the Left?

The commons seems a promising approach, but it feels somewhat
antiquated (and there is a "tragedy" associated with it -
notwithstanding the recent Nobel prizewinner in Economics who
showed that the tragedy of the commons is not inevitable).

I remain interested in any suggestions from old-heads of MCA
who might have a better feel for introducing language
(soundbites?) that can circulate and stay with us and that
will make the argument for developing "the ability to
criticize (one's own culture)"? 


>Message: 2
>Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 10:55:06 +1100
>From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>Subject: Re: [xmca] Obama's Learn Act and 2 challenges
>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>Message-ID: <4B2AC4DA.2000903@mira.net>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>When I was first exposed to the idea that formal schooling 
>is a machine for producing failure (via the MCA article for 
>discussion) I recoiled in disbelief, but have come to accept 
>it as an obvious truth, despite the efforts of almost 
>everyone involved in the system to make it otherwise.
>Still, could I throw another question at this idea? During 
>the 70s and 80s in Britain, there was a folk belief that the 
>school system did everything it could to ensure that a kid 
>*never* failed. If a child, for example, was doing poorly in 
>maths, they would be moved into a "stream" where the bar was 
>set so low that no-one could fail. When kids come out the 
>other end of the system (and according to legend) their 
>parents believed from school reports which have shown "pass" 
>all the way through, that their child has successfully 
>"graduated" only to discover that they can't read or do 
>basic arithmetic, and cannot get any job they would want.
>I think my interpretation of this story is that this does go 
>on, and it is just another way of producing failure, proving 
>that it happens despite teachers' efforts. Is that right?
>And Greg, I think I agree with what I took to be Jay's 
>vision of the kind of education we need: training in the 
>ability to critique one's own culture. And this is what is 
>absolutely ruled out.
>And Bourdieu shows how the dominant social classes deftly 
>move the goal posts every generation so that no amount of 
>educational efforts at upward mobility are widely successful.
Greg Thompson
Ph.D. Candidate
The Department of Comparative Human Development
The University of Chicago
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