My very un-hot take: The deconstructionism dominant in the academy scoops out all kinds of meaning from texts and lives, with an ever-present focus on the (S)elf (not necessarily the individual). Many very good artists this past century have flirted with Communism/Socialism as an alternative organizing system within this existential void, or have retreated to a kind of nihilism (the idea that there is no objective reality).
Some of their art, often reaching highest levels, lives beyond them.
This intellectual milieu partly informs what is replacing the previous educational ideas we had at many levels of American society.
Teaching younger folks, especially, tends to be people-oriented and requiring of patience, sensitivity to developmental and behavioral issues, and interpersonal communication. This tends to attract a higher proportion of women (this disparity is mentioned in the video below). Many good women, in particular, and many good people (minds, characters, habits), have implicitly or explicitly supported feminism as a means of more freedom the past few generations. Much feminist doctrine has quite radical ideas about the family, the Nation, and the aims of education, which also helps produce good people.
Good teachers tend to aim at higher things with humility (like knowledge, personal growth for themselves and the students, as well as duty…to some kind of ideal). You never really know what they think personally, but they encourage you to think well. Americans have been a particularly idealistic civilization.
In my experience, many less good teachers only aim at rising through the educracy, or at a job with a pension, or maybe easy enforcement of existing ideas without having to do too much. Incentives matter.
More broadly, some people are just unstable and without identity, finding primary meaning within radical and destructive ideologies. They embody the beliefs and live through them. Some of these doctrines are finding their way into some curricula in our schools and the results will not be pretty (I think of them as the new postmodern religionists, who are incredibly hostile to all outside their ideology).
It’s be nice if we could just say these are some of the costs of change, without blaming those who reason from a position more skeptical of change. I’m not holding my breath.
George Packer (old-school liberal?) at the Atlantic: ‘The Grown-Ups Are Losing It‘
‘Students are leaving as well. Since 2020, nearly 1.5 million children have been removed from public schools to attend private or charter schools or be homeschooled. Families are deserting the public system out of frustration with unending closures and quarantines, stubborn teachers’ unions, inadequate resources, and the low standards exposed by remote learning.‘
Walter Russell Mead’s interesting piece-Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I:
‘Generally, political inertia and public worker unions combined to keep government in the Blue Age even as the rest of the economy moved on. Today, the experiences and the expectations of people in the private sector and people in the public sector are quite different. There are many results, including taxpayer revolts against public sector benefits and pay, but from an urban policy standpoint the key one is this: the government job machine is no longer an escalator to the middle class. In fact, the dependence of the Black middle class on government work is going to be one of the chief threats to the health of the Black middle class as we’ve known it’
Also On This Site:Andrew Delbanco At The NY Times Review Of Books: ‘The Two Faces Of American Education’ Diane Ravitch At Education Week: ‘Why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty Lost’…Two Links On Diane Ravitch & School Reform
Rhee stated much the same here: She didn’t connect with the people most involved…Michelle Rhee At Newsweek: “What I’ve Learned”…Repost-’Too Much “Quality Control” In Universities?’
As previously posted-A breath of fresh air from George Packer at the New Yorker: ‘Mute Button:‘