A child’s mind has been likened to a field. Whatever you plant will grow. If you plant corn next to deadly nightshade, both will grow, the earth doesn’t care but the impact of ingesting both will be dramatically different. So it is with a child’s mind and I am uncertain as to just how much we appreciate the enormity of the responsibility Society has in shaping those minds and thereby shaping our very future.
Religion recognised this powerful asset and for centuries used it to shape young minds in creating its armies of followers. The fruits of this ‘selective planting’ has been experienced in the constant religious wars that have plagued our species over those same centuries, as indoctrinated generations fought with each other over the ‘one and only true God’, costing the lives of countless millions of innocent people in the process.
With the increasing sponsorship of our educational establishments by corporations, supported by our governments, we are witnessing the preparation of a future mind-set that will continue to encourage the commercial ravaging of our Planetary resources for profit. Climate change is a reality to all but the hermit and ostrich, justified by the need for short term profit. Our children’s ‘managed’ ignorance will ensure the oceans roll over us long before we admit to our mismanagement and again countless millions of innocent lives will be lost.
Even this abusive educational process is being artificially ramped up, further closing down fertile minds, by what is being labelled as a ‘Testocracy’ and referred to by authorities as educational reform. The now limited nurturing of the critical thinking of our young is being eradicated by constant testing of narrow bands of information that have been crammed into their minds, often by computer. These tests then measure a student’s ability to recall, rather than interpret, this data and the results are promoted as intelligence and intellectual understanding, rather than the reality that is human cloning!
What is more pertinent is the ease with which this means of ‘education’ can be measured by more computers. Standardised test papers can be churned out that result in reams of statistics and league tables being regurgitated for public consumption. One recent report has shown that Testocracy creates a highly stressful environment, rather than one of nurture, with high teacher turnover and some instances of students literally wetting themselves during practice testing.
The even darker side to this production line education is the vast amount of money made by the corporations producing the standardised text books and papers sprayed across the whole educational and classroom arena. It is not in their interests to tailor text books to the needs of the schools, to maximise intellectual prowess, because it is not profitable. Worse, it could have those newly enquiring minds casting their attention upon the very corporations who have perverted the traditional education process.
Testocracy is sending education into a spiral of abuse that has the very test results manipulated like business accounts as schools, like corporations, seek to hold onto their placings in the league tables. Indeed the league tables, like a corporate Stock Market, become more important than the process, as production line education is assessed and changed, based upon the most efficient pass rates.
What has been learned in order to achieve those pass rates is almost irrelevant to the process and follows a frighteningly similar pattern to what has happened to our food. Here the quality and nutritional content, like teaching, has been compromised for the sake of price and profit, borne out by an ever growing rate of obesity and health related issues within Society.
With the direction our governments are now allowing education to pursue we are signing our own death warrant, as our youth take their corporate shaped mind-set out into the world and perpetuate the crime. What is now being sown will have horrendous repercussions globally and is not the corn I wrote in the introduction but deadly nightshade of the most toxic proportions.
When you consider the latent power of education, it is the only source of human endeavour capable of achieving lasting world peace. Surely it is incumbent upon our leadership to finish with the religious and corporate tribalism that has abused it and us for so long, lifting our species to a whole new order of being as the technological revolution is now doing.
Certainly we need a new political will that is not intent upon hurling us to our own profit induced oblivion, with the ability to create a positive ray of hope in the current financially depraved global environment. Don’t we owe it to our children . . . and ourselves?
Until the next time
Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes