62 Speech Challenge Explanation/Instructions



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The resolution’s understanding of the education imperative feeds children into capitalism’s industrial machine. Absent an interrogation of the social ideologies that turn children into natural resources, education will remain corrupt and ineffective.


Note* there are few links to specific things not highlighted – Educational technologists and R&D, the Free-school movement, teachers unions, behaviourists.

Illich 71 – Ivan Illich, Founder of the Center for Intercultural Documentation in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Priest in the Roman Catholic Church, Former Vicerector to the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Ph.D. in history from the University of Salzburg, Studied Theology and Philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, 1971 (Deschooling Society, Published by Harper and Row, Available Online at http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/DESCHOOLING.pdf, Accessed 4-20-17)

I believe that the contemporary crisis of education demands that we review the very idea of publicly prescribed learning, rather than the methods used in its enforcement. The dropout rate--especially of junior-high-school students and elementary-school teachers-- points to a grass-roots demand for a completely fresh look. The "classroom practitioner" who considers himself a liberal teacher is increasingly attacked from all sides. The freeschool movement, confusing discipline with indoctrination, has painted him into the role of a destructive authoritarian. The educational technologist consistently demonstrates the teacher's inferiority at measuring and modifying behavior. And the school administration for which he works forces him to bow to both Summerhill and Skinner, making it obvious that compulsory learning cannot be a liberal enterprise. No wonder that the desertion rate of teachers is overtaking that of their students.



America's commitment to the compulsory education of its young now reveals itself to be as futile as the pretended American commitment to compulsory democratization of the Vietnamese. Conventional schools obviously cannot do it. The free-school movement entices unconventional educators, but ultimately does so in support of the conventional ideology of schooling. And the promises of educational technologists, that their research and development--if adequately funded--can offer some kind of final solution to the resistance of youth to compulsory learning, sound as confident and prove as fatuous as the analogous promises made by the military technologists.

The criticism directed at the American school system by the behaviorists and that coming from the new breed of radical educators seem radically opposed. The behaviorists apply educational research to the "induction of autotelic instruction through individualized learning packages." Their style clashes with the nondirective cooption of youth into liberated communes established under the supervision of adults. Yet, in historical perspective, these two are just contemporary manifestations of the seemingly contradictory yet really complementary goals of the public school system. From the beginning of this century, the schools have been protagonists of social control on the one hand and free cooperation on the other, both placed at the service of the "good society," conceived of as a highly organized and smoothly working corporate structure. Under the impact of intense urbanization, children became a natural resource to be molded by the schools and fed into the industrial machine. Progressive politics and the cult of efficiency converged in the growth of the U.S. public school.* Vocational guidance and the junior high school were two important results of this kind of thinking. [*See Joel Spring, Education and the Rise of the Corporate State, Cuaderno No. 50. Centro Intercultural de Documentacin, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 1971.]

It appears, therefore, that the attempt to produce specified behavioral changes which can be measured and for which the processor can be held accountable is just one side of a coin, whose other side is the pacification of the new generation within specially engineered enclaves which will seduce them into the dream world of their elders. These pacified in society are well described by Dewey, who wants us to "make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society, and permeate it with the spirit of art, history and science." In this historical perspective, it would be a grave mistake to interpret the current threecornered controversy between the school establishment, the educational technologists and the free schools as the prelude to a revolution in education. This controversy reflects rather a stage of an attempt to escalate an old dream into fact, and to finally make all valuable learning the result of professional teaching. Most educational alternatives proposed converge toward goals which are immanent in the production of the cooperative man whose individual needs are met by means of his specialization in the American system: They are oriented toward the improvement of what--for lack of a better phrase--I call the schooled society. Even the seemingly radical critics of the school system are not willing to abandon the idea that they have an obligation to the young, especially to the poor, an obligation to process them, whether by love or by fear, into a society which needs disciplined specialization as much from its producers as from its consumers and also their full commitment to the ideology which puts economic growth first. Dissent veils the contradictions inherent in the very idea of school. The established teachers unions, the technological wizards, and the educational liberation movement reinforce the commitment of the entire society to the fundamental axioms of a schooled world, somewhat in the manner in which many peace and protest movements reinforce the commitments of their members--be they black, female, young, or poor--to seek justice through the growth of the gross national income.





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