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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Everything Old Is New Again

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Is it coming to this?

Lots of talk about freedom of speech, censorship, and educational bloggers being called to the carpet for being creators of content.  Here, here, and here.

There are a couple of things I'll toss in the conversation. 

First, let me say that I think our world is serious trouble.  Currently everyone has the right to say whatever they want to say...as long is it agrees with the general consensus or status quo.  Radical thought, no matter how benign, has never been acceptable.  Writers and educators are always the first to suffer in times of change. 

Now for my "couple of things."  Freedom of speech does not mean we can say whatever we want and expect no consequences.  This concept is also, as far as I know, only a United States right (First Amendment).  It is not necessarily a democratic right, it is a United States right.  Thus, citizens who are in democratic countries may or may not have this right.  Freedom of Speech only guarantees the right to say what you want with the knowledge that your life cannot be taken from you by the government.  This right is limited, by way of restrictions from defamation, slander, or libel and public welfare (the yelling fire in a crowded theater argument).  Freedom of speech is limited, and was meant to evoke civil debate.  One would think that the arena of academia would be open to the debate of ideas, but in historically appears to be the least interested in people who disagree with their systemically created status quo.  My question is why?  My assumption is that once an educator reaches their personal goal of education level they are finished learning.  Challenge their thesis (masters or doctorate) and they will surely let you know how wrong you are; even if they completed their work in 1985.  These people suffer from Peter Principal and their low self esteem (based on a skill set that does not work for the 21st century) hinders them from wanting to be confronted with ideas that might cause them to think, debate, and defend a long-ago invalid position.

My second (and final for now) thought is that educator bloggers have a decision to make in the next year or two.  Either we will quit web 2.0 work in our classrooms (in order to keep a job), we will quit teaching in the restrictive conditions we call public education and form a new paradigm of teaching wherein parents come directly to us for the education of their child (true freelance educators), or we will do what others have had to do in times of revolution - we will go underground, keep our identities anonymous, and really tell the truth about how screwed up education has gotten in the past generation.  The truth is, the bloggers I read are very positive about the conditions of educating the young people in our care.

I'm not sure where I will end up.  For me, the easiest order is underground, freelance, or cave-in.  There really is a reason I have become a skeptic and cynic.  I do read.  I do observe.  I do talk to students who have given up on what public education has to offer, and these are the high-level students. 

Ignorance is bliss, rose-colored glasses are comfortable, and this web 2.0 network can be depressing.  By the way, I want a group of parents somewhere, sometime soon, to sue a school district for educational malpractice because policies denied their children to opportunity to be global citizens. 

Yeah, right.
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