Dark Omens Emerge From Hurried School Change
In eagerness to get on the latest education bandwagon people in gung-ho schools could lose all sense of correctness. The global education arms race, undoubtedly accelerating, is pushing normal boundaries!
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold . . . The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” (Yeats, The Second Coming)
If it wasn’t for one parent sensing creepy implications, a dubious school experiment would have run for 4-6 weeks with 12-13 year old students. The parent notified a national newspaper, which ran a front-page story. The project was suspended. A hush has settled in.
Here are the brief details and links will amplify. From day one of Sept school start the students were assigned numbers, told they were “followers” and involved in arbitrary discipline. This was to be an experience in critical thinking. Neither the students nor parents were informed and asked for consent. In fact, parents received an email asking them to keep this project “confidential” but “debrief” students as usual about school. Comments to the newspaper stories brought forward professional and every-day reader reservations about human subject experimentation and depersonalization.
As a grandparent of school-age children and a long-ago psychology major I as offended in many ways by the news. But the biggest disappointment and dismay was with the presumption that parents would be an easy pushover — that they would both trust and accept this project and, furthermore, agree to betray their children by allowing them to participate in an unexamined project without consent.
That one parent recognized the magnitude of this incident was remarkable! Not a pushover, this parent went beyond the local media for attention, and did not fall like a predictable domino.
The challenge is — Just how do we help parents become aware of the looming dangers inherent in this headlong shift from standard education practices and protocols toward untested 21st Century Learning schemes? How can parents reclaim an instrumental voice in the education of their children?