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VALUES AND CULTURE

Philosophy for education is not in the business of propagating a culture, new ideology or new slate of values. Education is a mainstream activity of mankind and is effectively the transmission of values and culture to the rising generation. On the other hand the very concept of education presupposes certain values, including those which are generally perceived to be the enduring values of the society.
The arrival of managerialism after the demise of accelerationism and progressivism in the 1970s however has created a battlefield over values and culture. It ditched the previous values which might be described as humanistic and replaced them with a new taken-for-granted corporate business view (of life, employability, the object of education, etc.).
So contention about values does feature in debates about the way forward in schooling. But around 1980 the principle became established that schools must be accountable to the democratic constituency they serve. So the battlefield over values can only now be in the political arena.
Schools and teachers no longer have a divine right to teach whatever they consider appropriate. (It is no longer an axiom that they have this right.) If they want to teach A and the parental constituency of the school wants them to teach B, then B will normally end-up being taught ---if the parental constituency sticks to its guns. But the teaching body have one advantage: they can try to persuade the parental constituency that A should be taught. Since the teaching body consists of highly articulate people who know how to make a case, this is a considerable advantage.
If education is to be restored as the object of schooling the impetus will have to come from a switch of mood in the political arena. This has considerable implications. It means that philosophy for education has to be addressed to the democratic electorate. Education is no longer the fiefdom of the mandarins in Great Smith Street (UK Ministry of Education). The democratic electorate will decide if they want to switch to a new 'philosophy' of education (overall approach). It means that philosophy of education is a conversation which must be conducted in ordinary language. There is no room for jargon or angst-ridden metaphysics. Of course there will be aspects of the thinking about education which require specialised knowledge, but they should be accessible in principle in ordinary language.
Managerialist schools have become pressured learning establishments. This is a serious aberration which undermines genuine education ---regarded as the initiation of young people into the enduring classless culture of the society. 'Serious' because pressured learning actually puts students o f f education. Education differs from pressured learning as calculus differs from number theory. The former is about continuous functions, the latter about discrete functions. Education is the process of enabling students to acquire a continuous picture of the world: everything is connected to everything else, and this is why the only understanding worth having is continuous understanding. Of course there is no final state of continuous understanding: at every stage it can be enriched and expanded.
If there is to be a renewal of education it can only come about via a semi-political movement among the educated ---those who want their children to be educated. A few genuinely educative schools might be started ---as Free Schools--- after such a 'movement of the educated' had built up steam and volunteers had been trained as teacher-initiators into the historic enduring classless culture. The part of the new IT knowledge which is likely to endure needs to be incorporated into this. See Prospero 17-1.

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