At Fireside, you can share what's on your mind about education.
An article that points to the difficult task of getting truth from media is one regarding Julian the wikki leaks man and the charges made against him by two women, charges many who supported the leaking wanted to dismiss because they diminished the credibility of the leaker, a man who some saw as heroic in his leaking deeds (http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/?akid=7241.18329.hT3sp4&id...) And this desire to dismiss was not just about dismissal, but also about doubt about from whence the charges were coming and what motives might have been behind the allegations, all sensible concerns considering what wikki leaks was all about and what Mr. Assage had done and the ramifications of his actions. So, some thoughtful people, it seems, may have trapped themselves into a kind of thinking that caused them to get it wrong, so wrong that they just may have been defending the indefensible, that which they themselves would, in most circumstances, condemn-- acts of violence against women. Worse, they contributed to the further victimization of the victims in wanting too badly to save the reputation of someone whose reputation was important to their cause.
It has always been possible that Julian Assange was innocent of the crimes he was accused of committing and fair to doubt the veracity of the claims made against him. On the other hand, it is fair only if, so too, the possibility of the veracity of the claims is given due consideration. And this is very difficult to do when the consequences of the various potential truths are high.
So, the issue here, and the issues raised in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn, brings to light a very interesting issue for the educator and that is the role of education in the quest for truth.
Truth be told, truth itself is a complex issue and it is this complexity that a learned person and a learning person becomes increasingly aware and increasingly able to deal with in proper and productive ways.
How educational practices work to promote effective engagement with this complexity is something with which we should be immanently concerned and something that needs to be addressed across the curriculum for it is in this complexity that the sane and sensible definition of literacy is to be found. Unless one grows in ability to deal properly with this complexity, acquires the skills, the knowledge, and the dispositions to engage this complexity in a meaningful way, he or she does not have the capacity to adequately, properly, or meaningfully read the world.
It is events, complex events, such as those cited above, events that confuse the thinking person by hiding truth from plain sight, that need to be confronted in our schools IF the benefits of real democracy are ever to be truly felt, the emancipation of the individual mind to probe deeply in a quest to discover truths that can help to settle the matters the society faces.
My concern is that the problems we probe in schools, are too often stripped down, their complexity voided or ignored so that the proper answer can be found in a textbook or on Google. We avoid complexity because, truth be told, to confront it causes discomfort and, to often, too many, are willing to buy comfort at the expense of the truth. This is why religion exists, why answers are to be found in teacher's editions to the limited range of questions that appear at the end of textbook chapters. We get answers, are given answers, accept answers and we teach kids that this is how one becomes educated. Complexity, in which the meaningful truths lie, consistently causes the questioning of answers, the answers to which raise more questions, one being where we can rest in our probe so that we can take action. This is not at all an easy question to answer.
If we open our conversations about education to complexity, admit that all answers are tentative (in the sciences we call answers theories) and work to hone the competencies essential to good probing, school would become, as James Moffett would say, much harder but a hell of a lot more fun.
So, what is the true in the Casey Anthony case? Or where is the truthiness in Colbert's superpac initiative? Who was bin laden and is it a good thing that he is dead? What is the meaning of Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov? And do my genetics imprison me or enable me?
Perhaps we might start with the question of the purpose of education?