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Re: [xmca] Obama's Learn Act


Here's a sound bite. Bit large. If it tastes good I can identify the chef.

" static societies assign to young people a definite place within the social order as it is: young people are given the status of adults and inherit their forms of behaviour. This act of taking over may be brief or slightly longer, but the result is clear.Young people are being fitted into the existing system of values and orders and thus become indistinguishable from adults. On the other hand, it is the distinguishing mark of our highly civilized and individualized society that nothing is simply handed on and accepted - it must be understood and affirmed. Within our civilization every young man or woman is systematically encouraged to enter more or less profoundly into a debate about the moral values and intellectual  assets that determine our order of life. The young woman or man ought to comprehend this form of life, affirm or deny its value, and thus work out his [or her] own position in the world. The psychological crisis of adolescence is essentially the outcome of this debate."


On Dec 18, 2009, at 3:41 PM, Gregory Allan Thompson wrote:

> 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)"? 
> -greg
>> 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.
>> Andy
> ---------------------------------------
> Greg Thompson
> Ph.D. Candidate
> The Department of Comparative Human Development
> The University of Chicago
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