Today’s post borrows more of John Taylor Gatto’s ideas — in particular his summation of the profound difference between networks and community and how recognition of these differences is pretty important in the efforts at bettering our children’s education — or more broadly: in sensibly developing our community’s well-being.
The people who have come to staff schools are often fond of networking. Professional educators readily embrace the positive attributes of networks. Seemingly however, they are often unaware of the sapping of family and community vitality that such mechanization can induce.
Automations and routines can very well squelch human tendency; dehumanize by any other name.
And to the contrary, participation — as fully human — in complex human affairs — is what makes us fully human.
Data-driven networks and school systems, don’t include, don’t require, the whole person.
What’s required of a network is only that part of us that is of interest to the functioning of the network. And while the network will deliver efficiency in its limited aims, the cost is that we must split the wholeness of our humanity into fragments able to perform computational tasks.
Early childhood education, or preschool, more profoundly functions in the realm of tasks and learning dependent upon very human and holistic skills — skill sets that literally flow from our connection to one another and are utterly sense driven and sense dependent.
This is the realm of family — or in the case of another family, a friend or two — then we call it community, don’t we?
And suffice to say that:
Local context, responsibility, organization, cooperation, learning, production, healing, and participation, among others, are what sustain a community.
Right? So then, you got this opposing economic drive and persuasion that is the juice that flows globally through the whims and greed of something called global capital. And indeed we are all buying into this stuff to a greater or lesser extent.
And this stuff just seems to thrive when hooked into computer networks.
There’s just one catch.
This stuff is completely unable to care the least about community, or family, in the context of where we actually live.
Just the facts — that is, foremost, the stuff of data and global economic competition — based on stuff — commodity stuff that requires consumption. And the consumption is engineered, and of a nature, such that it inserts and displaces the non-commodity part of our lives: the human part.
“Preschoolers” (which apparently now refers to “students” aged 0-5) are bigger stakeholders in their family and community — their human development — than the technocratic adults designing these schemes to sell “early childhood education”.
Are there alternatives to this?
There are. However, greater participation of the family and the community in programs, now called early childhood education — and yet, which might go by the name: parent/child learning and resource centers, would not necessarily promote the careers of professional educators and their institutional business models. And frankly, such advocates for the current education industry are much more empowered, through the lobbying and sustenance of the status quo, than families scrambling just to get by, let alone promote alternatives, in the rigged game we call the free market.
Then again, who knows? You get enough people together — people who share similar concerns for their keiki and for their community. Who knows? You might just find a way to organize and share ideas — ideas for being responsible for 0-5 year olds as a community.
It would only flow from dialog.
In any case, networks and communities are quite different things.