Education's Ecology

This page explores three elements of our schooling system for education that are now so embedded that thinking about educational alternatives is seriously impaired. Almost all of what follows could be labeled "The Education Industry" because each element—textbooks, testing, technology—makes up a huge sector of the economy. While these sectors may be economically secondary to the economy of the education workforce and tightly mixed with property assets in the form of buildings and land, vehicles and equipment, these elements exist as much or more for their commercial value as for any educational value. As will be emphasized throughout this page or pages, the drivers of these elements are profit, pure and simple. Of course, beyond all of that is the combination of contribution and detraction the elements have for educational values. It will be argued that none of these elements are enough for education even as they stand in as icons for education.


Textbooks are teachers between covers. They are the result of flesh and blood teachers being inadequate, among other things. Criticism of teachers and textbooks are inevitably linked.  It is the intent of this section to explore how textbooks both contribute and detract from education and what could be done differently. We will stipulate at the outset that our efforts are daunting because the publication of textbooks is a huge industry. This industry has grown for its origins with Gutenberg and the invention of moveable type. Now here comes the Big So What!


The contemporary spectacle of testing in education has spawned another industry and specialization among the ranks of educators. The so-called cost of education has acquired political leaning toward business principles,l management practices, and marketing measures. "You can't manage what you don't measure" emerged from the business guru Peter Drucker and a knee-jerk caused a tsunami of management and measurement for schools. The result has been a disaster for education.


Education is abuzz with expectations for technology and the myriad ways that it holds transformative potential. We will argue that the contemporary forms, while occasionally exciting, are merely a placeholder in the implements of expectation for making education better and different.

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