Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Teacher as Superman

The New York Times is hosting a conference on September 13, 2012, entitled Schools for Tomorrow.  The newspaper advertisement for it uses the slogan, "Building a Better Teacher."  The website for the conference says, "Today, teachers are expected to be mentors and social workers as well as educators. Sometimes even substitute parents. How do we educate teachers differently to reflect this?"

It might be a mistake to use the schools to solve social problems.  If teachers are really supposed to be substitute parents, what happens to the education of children who do not need substitute parents?  There was a movie in 2010 called "Waiting for Superman."  One person within the movie said that as a child he was waiting for Superman to come and fix the problems in his life.  Schools need a prime mission, and if that mission is substitute parenting, then education is a secondary concern.  When education is not the primary purpose of a public school system, then skills are increasingly abandoned and we eventually cross a threshold where public schools become agents in the moronization of America.  Moronization may be a new word.

Here is a definition I have created for the moronization of America:  a downward slide in the skills and mental abilities of Americans that is perpetrated by the public schools and supported by declining popular culture that is leading to a nation of morons (idiots, dolts).

Here is a more general definition: moronization:  a downward slide in the skills and mental abilities of a population that will transition that society into a population of morons (stupid people).

What characterizes a stupid person?  Stupid (adjective) 1. Tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes. 2. Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless.

Stupidity is dangerous in our complex and demanding twenty-first century society.  If we try and turn our teachers into supermen and superwomen who can fix deficiencies within a community, then education will cease to be the prime mission of schools, our society will become stupid, and our nation will be at risk of collapse.

A twenty-first century education must maintain the academic skill set of the nation, which includes grammar, composition, and mathematics.