Friday, September 7, 2012

The aristocrats

“Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them therefore liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats or by whatever name you please, they are same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.”

“[G]ood thing I’m not elected!”

Jason Glass, Director of the Iowa Department of Education

I don’t mean to single out Jason Glass here; I think he speaks for all top-down education “reformers.” These aristocrats have realized that their reforms don’t fly in local school board elections, so they’ve pushed to have more and more educational policy decisions made at the state and federal levels, where elections are much less likely to hinge on school issues.

Jefferson also said: “We may say with truth and meaning that governments are more or less republican, as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition; and believing, as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially, that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient.” (Emphasis mine.)

So much uniquely American wisdom – Jefferson, Emerson, and Dewey leap to mind – has been rejected by our educational system. And replaced by what?

No comments: