preserving the essence of education
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - preserving the essence of education
the Essence of Education;
Martin Tadlock and Beth Weatherby
Provosts: Bemidji State and Southwest Minnesota State
“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
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
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
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
Control – standardized and uniform
employees, replacement of human by non-human
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
• massification of knowledge delivery
• ‘training’ as education
• education as career preparation
• How do we preserve a focus on developing
people to be thoughtful, contributing
community members in the face of
technocratic pressures to ‘train’?
These notions of education seem:
This session is meant to serve as a REMINDER.
From RECALLING EDUCATION by Hugh Curtler,
SMSU Emeritus Professor of Philosophy:
“…we need to keep in mind that the purpose of liberal
education is to allow young people to achieve positive
freedom; that is, to take possession of their own minds.
This purpose centers on a need that is common to all
people at all times, because to the extent to which it is
possible for them to be so, all people everywhere need to
be free. This is the original meaning of the liberal arts: they
liberate the autonomous human agent within each of us.”
• How do we maintain balance, health,
• We strive to position our institutions to
SURVIVE and THRIVE.
• What about US? What about YOU?
• How do we recall ourselves to education?