Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"Education" v. "School"

During my academic career, writing on a computer--usually without any looming deadline--was the bane of my existence. I sent off relatively few mss, because I never finished them. Everytime I'd open up a piece to work on it, I'd change the goddamn thing. I've already done it atleast once already in this piece.

It wasn't the writing thata was so difficult. It was reading what I had previously written, which one is almost compelled to do by the arrangement of the various data files in the word-processor, was my bete noir. Which is because I am (apparently) genetically unable to read my own texts without rewriting them. So I would seldom get more than a couple of grafs into what I was writing before I was being driven, as if by some daemon, to CHANGE EVERYTHING!!!!

Because once one changes something on top, the change must be reflected throughout the body of the piece. That was a nearly impossible discipline on 'thoughtful' writing for generations. But since the advent of word-processing, wysywig, etc., change is much easier. I think the ease with which one may reconsider one's thoughts, along with the ease of adding or (for me, less often) deleting, makes doing so damn near irresistible.

This is preface to a piece I posted yesterday, which is a spontaneous rewriting of a piece I posted here about a year ago.
Education Vs. School (+)
by: konopelli
Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 11:39:58 AM PST
[edit diary]

From time to time, here and elsewhere, I have been at some pains to distinguish between what is commonly called 'education' (in which a very few people actually engage) and that process called 'schooling,' which is well nigh universal in this culture.

The purposes of 'education,' and the purposes of 'schooling' are quite different. The purpose of 'education' is emancipatory. Education is the process whereby people learn to craft and use the tools of intellectual life which they will apply to their life's problems and the issues which will occupy their attention for their entire lives.

The purpose of schooling, on the other hand, is almost entirely assimilative: to induct 'students' into the culture of obedience, acquiescence, and complicity with the interests of corporations. Schooling exists to prepare students to become willing drones in the marketplace, and unconscious consumers of mediated 'reality.'

One does not "get" an education; it is not a pair of Levis or a new video game. One MAKES an education recursively, out of the apprehension, appreciation, interpretation, and analysis of experience, the way an artisan in previous times MADE their own tools as part of their training for their professions. Education exists for the purpose of integrating the learner as a critical 'reader' into the shared texts and discourses of a common civilization.

One does, on the other hand, "get" 'schooled' in the needs of the status quo ante. Schools exist to supply, retroactively, the data which support decisions made about children, their life-prospects, and their usefulness to culture as a whole, on the basis of their parents' socio-economic status, long before the kids ever cross the school's threshold for the first time.
(Cross-posted @ MyLeftWing)

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