Re: grading ourselves to death

Bob King (
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 13:48:35 -0400

On Thu, 5 Sep 1996, Steve Krause wrote:
> I've always seen teaching citizenship
> _part_ of my mission as an educator...


-- how do you, or others who see their mission similarly, in practice,
make good on the _part_ of your mission that has to do with
citizenship? *How* do you teach citizenship in your discursive
practice? A literal question, and some others. . .

-- what are the other parts of your mission and how do you make good on
those parts?

-- how does your mission relate to your institution's mission statement?

-- how do your mission, and your institution's mission, relate to an
overall concept of what education's role in society, in general, should
be, in the 21st century?

More generally (but here just writing, not in response to Steve's above
comment directly), I think it's interesting that in a society that is
founded on contrary if not contradictory ideals -- of competitive
capitalism on one hand and egalitarian democracy on the other, of freedom
on one hand and slavery on the other -- partial missions are deeply
traditional and supportive of the status quo. The real curriculum of
American schooling may be that of learning to abide contradictions. The
positive thing to be done with this is, I think, to bump up the
contradictions to the status of paradoxes, and steal some fire like the
bandita advises!

Back to Steve's message specifically:

> the "go to college simply to be a better citizen" boat sailed about 50
> years ago-- that is, it hasn't been since about World War II

Nope to this, way off in historical terms, imo. John Dewey's democratic
education movement was well before. Dewey remains one of America's really
astute thinkers, and his idea of education for citizenship had nothing to
do with gentlemen-in-college. He started young, and he started right in
with real empowerment -- elementary students making decisions that
effected their own lives in school, seeing the consequences, talking
things over, etc.!