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Thursday, March 31, A.D. 2016
Perverse Pedagogy

Last month, I offered several articles from Salvo Magazine that dealt with contemporary ailing academic life in “The Mod Quad.” Today, I present a selection of Salvo‘s articles about earlier education. I recommend them, especially “Daycare Denial” and “School Deform.” They both cover disturbing developments in our quite troubled times. From “Daycare Denial: Inconvenient Truths about Childcare Subvert the Very Best Intentions” by Marcia Segelstein:

When Saubier and her fellow daycare workers learned that a new child would soon be coming, “we braced ourselves for the tormented cries of a confused child who would soon be spending his or her days with us.” She stresses that crying in daycare is not limited to the child’s first few days. “Children are continually crying in daycare,” she writes, “because there is often no one available to pick them up when they fall, wipe their noses when they have a cold, kindly show them that hitting and biting is wrong, or tenderly change their diapers.”

I found one of Saubier’s stories especially poignant:

One winter, while on the playground, I passed by a group of two-year-olds. One was stumbling around in the cold, crying, and I put out my arms to him to see if he wanted to be held. Not knowing me at all, he still came to me and I stood there holding him a bit. He put his head on my shoulder and I regretted having to put him down. Soon there were three others at my feet asking to be picked up. I remember thinking that it was really pathetic that these little ones were begging to be held by someone they did not know. I held each one quickly before returning my attention back to the infants in my care.

. . . Parents, experts, and even politicians often defend and promote daycare with the claim that it helps children learn how to socialize. But based on her firsthand experiences, Saubier has a different take on the kind of socializing daycare cultivates. “Socializing in daycare fosters aggressive behavior simply because children are forced to go into survival mode once deposited among so many other children who are at a self-centered, ‘me’ stage developmentally,” she writes.

From “School Deform: How Common Core Promotes Cultural Engineering by Killing the Imagination” by Robin Phillips:

The architects of Common Core have spoken candidly about what they see as the goal of education, and it is not education at all, but training. What they want from the next generation is not better people but better workers, and Common Core offers the environmental conditioning for producing them.

This differs greatly from traditional classical education. America’s founders understood that a healthy democracy requires that citizens learn to think critically, to ask questions, and to develop well-ordered faculties of reason and imagination. Citizens who were inculcated in the ways of sound thinking would be able to preserve the riches of our cultural heritage. This was the same vision articulated by Plato, who argued in The Republic that the highest goal of all education is knowledge of the Good.

By contrast, when the architects of Common Core tried to describe the goal of education, they were unable to articulate anything higher than “college and career readiness” and “21st century literacy” for a “global economy.” To them, students are little more than units pegged for a future workforce whose productivity will keep America competitive with emerging economies like China and India. As Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins warned on the Catholic Vote website, Common Core “is a workforce-development scheme that treats the individual as human capital, to be shepherded where needed in aid of a centralized, corporatist economy. Schools are factories where children are trained, and the teachers are their supervisors.”

Please read both articles in their entirety. It disgusts me to see such complacency toward this new inhuman educational regime, especially by educators whose very vocations are compromised and degraded by efforts like Common Core. How is it that teachers, administrators, politicians, and parents, from the Left and the “Right,” have allowed this to happen? Either they actively support the killing of the mind, which I find horrific but possible, given the Zeitgeist, or they just don’t care. For one reason why they might not care, see “On Compulsory Mis-education: Teaching the Young to Despise Their Heritage” by Cameron Wybrow. How sad of a society we have become.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, March 31, Anno Domini 2016
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