[Research] [Its.an.education.project] Questions for education projects. The life cycle of a great education.

Antoine van Gelder antoine at g7.org.za
Thu May 8 03:25:24 EDT 2008



> We will find that some in any community, and many in some
> communities, will have nothing to do with us and our ideas, and will
> work to undermine any good that we think we are doing, because to them
> it is ultimate evil.


> I don't know what you consider to be 'us and our ideas' here, but I  
> think that almost every community respects the notion of education  
> as a path towards practical, spiritual, and collective societal  
> improvement.  Different communities may privilege learning some  
> things and deprecate learning others.  I have never been part of a  
> community that did not have implicit ideas of what should 'always'  
> be learned and what should 'never' be learned by good people.
> It is good for us to debate what should and should not be learned.  
> Some will say that /everything/ should be learned, both how to  
> inspire and discover and create and how to manipulate and destroy.   
> Some will focus on specific things that should be learned, both  
> positively and prophylactically.
> However, we should not mistake disagreements about what should be  
> learned for disagreements about the value of education.

I think Edward may have been referring to that other property most  
human communities have of having implicit ideas about who should  
'always' be considered part of the community and benefit from their  
belief in the value of education and who should 'never' be considered  
part of the community and benefit from the value of education.

For a long time now in the USA the idea of who should 'always' be  
considered part of the community has been very broad and it has been  
one of the biggest factors responsible for the great success your  
country has enjoyed.

Unfortunately this is no longer as true as it once was.

As an example of this you, as an American 'citizen', no longer enjoy a  
pretty fundamental right which, in our western countries, goes by the  
name of habeas corpus.

This  - in practice - means that - legally - it is only at the  
sufferance of your government's security forces that you and your  
children will continue to be considered a member of the community with  
the right to benefit from the belief your government's security forces  
have in the value of education.

Under your current system - at any time -  those security forces can  
disappear any student or teacher under the pretext of national  
security and are no longer under any legal obligation to put the  
accused in front of a judge and give an account of their reasoning.

In practice this kind of environment is not so bad as in those parts  
of the world where just being a woman or being of the wrong racial/ 
ethnic/religious/etc group is enough to not be considered part of the  
community and, as such, not qualifying for the benefits of your  
society's belief in the value of education.

In fact, as long as you toe the party line in the staff room and focus  
on the good things you can do that don't require rocking the boat, I  
have it on good authority that it is even possible to achieve a  
moderately satisfying success teaching children within such an  

Moreover, it is _entirely_ possible that you can go your entire life  
without ever meeting or hearing of a single person who has been  
disappeared !

If we are passionate about education we HAVE to acknowledge the  
existence of the evil things folk have an unfortunate tendency to get  
together and do.

If we do not acknowledge this and we do not take the time to develop a  
communal understanding of it and we get to a point where we have to  
make choices in our education projects (and let's not kid ourselves -  
software development is ALL about choices) we may end up choosing the  
thing that is friendly to 'not messing with the policy conflicts of  
the stakeholders' rather than the thing which is so stupendously  
fscking awesome for the student that they don't give up on school and  
they then go on to higher education and acquire the tools that will  
allow them to invent whole new ways of generating energy, growing food  
re-organizing trading&distribution chains in a way which brings people  
closer together rather than driving them deeper into conflict, re- 
inventing education , completely revolutionizing how we deal with  
political conflict and in other ways growing up to benefit all living  
beings on this planet.

Okay, in my own country this is usually the part of the conversation  
where they used to tell me to keep quiet and tell me to get out the  
room and stop making a nuisance of myself so I'll get off my soap box  


  - antoine

"I write what I like"
  - Steve Biko

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