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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Trump Vision for Education in America

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Education is one of the Trump campaigns important positionsUntil November 9, 2016, I never imagined there would be any reason to consider what Donald Trump had in mind for education in the USA. I was surprised to see that “Education” was one of sixteen important “positions” on the Trump campaign web site which has now been dismantled in favour of  https://www.donaldjtrump.com (This post is updated from my original comments on November 10, 2016.)
The Trump plan has only one theme:  choice The Trump vision for education has one theme:  “choice.”  I have to admit I find “choice” to be a very appealing notion in education, in particular, because it necessarily implies variety. (Singular, silver-bullet solutions in education seem to inevitably produce more problems than solutions. See "Everything Works!") In the Trump plan “choice” means “public or private schools,” “magnet schools and charter schools.”
What does "choice" mean in practice?Each of these varieties of educat…

Does Knowledge Require Truth?

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The absolute truthI spent a career telling university students that if they encountered someone who claimed to know “The Truth,” they should run in the opposite direction because what would follow was bound to be religious dogma or a schizophrenic rant based on an encounter with God—the kind of truth that could not be checked or verified or even questioned. The notion of absolute truth disappeared after Nietzsche announced that “God is dead” in 1882 and Einstein followed up with a “theory of relativity” in 1905.  Marx’s claim that “religion was the opiate of the people” made it plain, at least for we egg heads who occupied the universities, that the Twentieth Century was going to have to get by without “The Truth.”
The tree of knowledgeThe problem I faced as a professor was that my job was to be the serpent in the garden, encouraging young people to take a bite out of the apple from the tree of knowledge (no, not that kind of Biblical, carnal knowledge, just ordinary knowing things).  …