Define Education: Black and White, Well-Read All Over?

17 12 2008

I like essay questions, compare and contrast, thought experiments.

Binary questions set us up for binary answers, unless we’re smart enough to just use the question as a jumping-off point for all sorts of open-ended, fuzzy logic and systems thinking.

So my definition of education depends on good questions rather than good answers. (Binary true-false, yes-no, on-off, this-that questions and answers don’t fit my definition of “good.”) Here are some good essay questions in play this week, bonus points for Thinking Parents who integrate them into one big gloriously unclear yet inspired theme!

What does it mean to be black?

Many people insist that “the first black president” is actually not black. . .Intermarriage and the decline of racism are dissolving ancient
definitions.

What does it mean to be Republican?

“You know, in all due respect to the Republican National Committee and anybody — right now, I think we should try to be working constructively together, not only on an issue such as this, but on the economy stimulus package, reforms that are necessary. . .”
McCain. . .has almost never been popular within deeply partisan Republican circles. . .

What does it mean to reform education as opposed to further defining it as school?

If we taught babies to talk as most skills are taught in school, they would memorize lists of sounds in a predetermined order and practice them alone in a closet.
— Linda Darling-Hammond
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