To the uninitiated, “education de-form” refers to the current untoward emphasis on standardized testing and the privatization of our public schools by:
- Profiteers (the testing industry, hedge funds and their ilk in the gold rush to launder money through their charter schools) and,
- Politicans who haven’t done their homework. (Barry…please kick Arne off your cabinet. You can keep him on your b-ball team.)
But let’s not talk about them. Let’s talk about Heaven.
Eben Alexander, M.D., has a book out called “Proof of Heaven.” Dr. A has been an academic neurosurgeon for the last 25 years including 15 years at the Brigham & Women’s and the Children’s Hospitals and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Got it? He’s a brain surgeon from Harvard.
On November 10, 2008, he was struck with a pernicious case of meningitis. Basically, his brain was floating in pus and his neocortex, the part of our brain that makes us human, shut down. He went into a coma for 7 days and was not expected to live. But he did.
While he was in that coma, he had a near death experience (NDE). You need to read his story. I just devoured it. A scientist and skeptic, his NDE changed all that. He emerged having encountered the Divine. And…he got his neocortex back, to boot.
So what does this have to do with education deform?
Dr. A writes,
“The ascendance of the scientific method based solely in the physical realm over the past four hundred years presents a major problem: we have lost touch with the deep mystery at the center of our existence—our consciousness….Much worse, our focus on exponential progress in science and technology has left many of us relatively bereft in the realm of meaning and joy, and of knowing how our lives fit into the grand scheme of existence for all eternity.”
Does this ring a bell? It made me think about our over-tested, exhausted, uninspired students and their teachers, desperately trying to march in lock step, while the Common Core anthem plays them on.
Here’s Paul Tough, from his new book “How Children Succeed.”
“What matters most in a child’s development, they say, is not how much information we can stuff in to her brain in the first few years. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.
He refers to these as “non-cognitive” skills. (You’re gonna need your neocortex.)
IMHO, education de-form is ultimately, going to die. It has to. It’s not sustainable as a life form.
So maybe progressive education policy, the kind that allows loving learning communities to prosper…you know, the ones that wrap their arms around the whole child, the ones that empower students’ voices by empowering teachers’ voices, the ones that are creative, authentic and self correcting works-in-progress…may be going through a near death experience…
But, as the de-former agenda fails over and over again to create anything of value, it will have to be taken off life support…
…While the rest of us return from our NDE bearing Proof of Heaven.