A challenge to psychologists, educational consultants and researchers

My challenge is that you get to bring your education ideas, techniques, materials, and research findings to any school you want.  I get to bring the six-virtue definition of “educated” to any school you choose for me.  At the end of the year, my school will be improved more than yours — and you get to choose the improvement measures.

Take this challenge, if you promote:

(1)   data-driven instruction,

(2)  instructional differentiation,

(3)  problem-based learning,

(4)  learning styles,

(5)  higher order thinking skills,

(6)  common core,

(7)  Khan Academy,

(8)  multiple intelligences,

(9)  high expectations,

(10) character education,

(11) core knowledge,

(12) benchmarking,

(13) brain-based teaching,

(14) cooperative learning,

(15) professional learning communities,

(16) heterogeneous or homogeneous grouping,

(17) standards-based instruction,

(18) 21st century learning.

I know none of you will accept this challenge because you already know that modeling and teaching the six virtues will get better results than any of these 18 proposals.

So, why do psychologists, educational consultants and social science researchers ignore the six virtues of the educated person? We have a universal, simple way to improve American public education, but it won’t be tried because:

1. It requires philosophical thinking from educators who have been brain-washed to believe in the social science improvement paradigm.

2.  Nobody can make money on it. Everybody knows we are born uneducated (ignorant, unimaginative, weak, fearful of truth, proud and selfish); and we have the potential to become educated (understanding, imaginative, strong, courageous, humble and generous). No professional development is needed.  No books or technologies need to be bought.  No consulting fees need to be paid.

We are in a Catch-22.  We could choose a philosophical paradigm for improving education, but that would require philosophical thinking from the public school teachers, administrators, and policy makers who were taught that philosophy is useless and social science is useful. That is why aphilosophical administrators and policy makers pay for “research-based” professional development, books, technologies, and consultants. It makes them feel as though they are doing something that has been “proven” to improve schools.

Yes–they are doing something that might improve schools in the shallowest way possible. How is that working in your school? How much is your school improving? How many more standardized test questions did students answer right this year? How is that improving the education of our young people?

The social science improvement paradigm is nonsense. Educators, however, have been taught to believe in it, just like Americans have been taught to believe public education must be governed politically. Neither is true.  To understand why, you have to read the book.  It explains how easy and useful it is to think philosophically.


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