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Kicking the Tires

“Most societies use education to preserve the status quo rather than to bring about change or address inequities.”

Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner,  Learning in Adulthood

This concept has been the focus of many discussions around our office conference table.  While our work is meant to be a catalyst for the change process, we often find ourselves seeking out ‘best practices’ as examples for educational clients (at their request).  As a result, we continue to wonder if following best practices is doing exactly what our authors assert – preserving the status quo.  It is surprisingly difficult to engage in meaningful discussion envisioning the future of education, the possibilities afforded by changing external conditions (most notably technology).

Educators like to kick the tires.  They feel this is proper due diligence.  But solid tires don’t always mean the car will run, let alone get you to where you really need to go.

The opposite of status quo is change.   What are the implications of societies using education to challenge the status quo?

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2 Responses to “Kicking the Tires”

  1. You asked, “What are the implications of societies using education to challenge the status quo?”

    Great question…and I struggle to find examples of where this is actually the norm. do you have examples??

    It seems like the structure of formal schooling has structures, mechanisms and processes that make altering the system counter productive in the context. In the k-12 setting you have standardized test driving curriculum, which drives teaching…stepping outside of this for individual or small groups of teachers is quite risky isn’t it?

    I continue to wonder what broad-based change would really look like…do you think abandoning the current U.S. system is really desirable / possible?

    • Desirable, yes. Possible, yes. Probable, no. There’s a great book entitled Crash Course by Chris Whittle offers some thoughts on this. There is also an upcoming documentary entitled Superman (due out nationally early October I think) that is said to do for education what An Inconvenient Truth did for the environment. I sure hope so.


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