academics/affairs/CAO meeting fall 2014

January 8, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Social Psychology
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A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Bemidji State University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and educator.

Preserving the Essence of Education; Preserving Ourselves as Educators Martin Tadlock and Beth Weatherby Provosts: Bemidji State and Southwest Minnesota State

October 2014

“The one continuing purpose of education, since ancient times, has been to bring people to as full a realization as possible of what it is to be a human being.

Other statements of educational purpose have also been widely accepted: to develop the intellect, to serve social needs, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective work force, to prepare students for a job or career, to promote a particular social or political system.

These purposes offered are undesirably limited in scope, and in some instances they conflict with the broad purpose I have indicated; they imply a distorted human existence. The broader humanistic purpose includes all of them, and goes beyond them, for it seeks to encompass all the dimensions of human experience.” Arthur W. Foshay, “The Curriculum Matrix: Transcendence and Mathematics,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 1991

In 1938 John Dewey said: Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. What avail is it to win prescribed amounts of information about geography and history, to win ability to read and write, if in the process the individual loses his or her soul; loses appreciation of things worthwhile, of the values to which these things are relative; loses desire to apply what has been learned and, above all, loses the ability to extract meaning from future experiences as they occur.

In 1995 Michael Apple said: “If the primary public responsibility and justification for tax-supported education is raising a generation of fellow citizens, then the classroom--of necessity--must be a place where students learn the habits of mind, work, and heart that lie at the core of such a democracy.” 1947/Eight-Year-Study.html at011498mbp#page/n0/mode/2up

Constrast that with the following:

Sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1993) highlighted four primary components of McDonaldization: Efficiency – the optimal method for accomplishing a task. In the example of McDonald's customers, it is the fastest way to get from being hungry to being full. Efficiency in McDonaldization means that every aspect of the organization is geared toward the minimization of time.

Calculability – objective should be quantifiable (e.g., sales) rather than subjective (e.g., taste). McDonaldization developed the notion that quantity equals quality, and that a large amount of product delivered to the customer in a short amount of time is the same as a high quality product. This allows people to quantify how much they're getting versus how much they’re paying. Organizations want consumers to believe that they are getting a large amount of product for not a lot of money.

Predictability – standardized and uniform services. "Predictability" means that no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time when interacting with the McDonaldized organization.

Control – standardized and uniform employees, replacement of human by nonhuman technologies.

A colleague of mine recently wrote this in a Chronicle of Higher Education opinion piece: “When did students and their parents start seeing college as a gauntlet rather than as an exciting pathway to opportunity? When did policy makers stop seeing higher education as a valuable public investment? When did a degree become a commodity to be sold and traded in the marketplace with little regard to what it means to be an educated person?

Maybe when we bought into: • knowledge delivery as education

• standardization • massification of knowledge delivery

• ‘training’ as education • education as career preparation

The question: • How do we preserve a focus on developing people to be thoughtful, contributing community members in the face of technocratic pressures to ‘train’?

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