Check Out Our Latest Book: Common Ground on Common Core

Order Now!

Resounding Books Newsletter

List of Articles
Privacy Policy
Paid for by Resounding Books PAC
© Copyright 2015
|A| 619 South Main Street, Box 418 / DeForest, WI 53532
|P| 608 467 0877

August 4, 2015 - Wrecking Ball Education: An Introduction and an Invitation

In scanning through my (Kirsten's) Facebook feed recently, I ran across a blog post that education activist, author, and Common Ground on Common Core essayist Kris Nielsen had found and shared. It was entitled “3 Destructive Things School Taught You Without You Even Realizing It.” Since Resounding Books is currently focused squarely on education matters, I was immediately intrigued enough to give it a click. In reading through, the author’s insights and observations, I was quickly struck by some very familiar voices and chords.

The blog post’s author, Mark Manson, describes some important things we’ve almost certainly absorbed in school settings—stuff that likely affects us for the rest of our lives, but of which most of us remain entirely unaware. Such items simply become part of our subconscious framework, affecting how we function in the world.

To be clear, education is not just about academics. Whatever education pathway we take—whether public school or private, virtual school or home school—by the time we reach adulthood, the way we view and understand the world, as well as how we think about ourselves within it, has been largely shaped by our educational experience. Education, then, and how it unfolds, really is a big deal. It impacts individuals, and the societies comprised by individuals, in profound ways. 

What are the three things on which Manson focuses?

  1. Success comes from the approval of others.
  2. Failure is a source of shame.
  3. Direction—including answers—comes from authority.

That's devastating stuff, no question. And I'm inclined to agree that messages like these get absorbed by a lot of kids in school, because for a long time I was one of them. (More about how and when I broke free of the trap in an upcoming, related post.) 

For those that think these sorts of alarming and largely subconscious thoughts can only be transmitted through a now highly centralized and standardized public school system…? Not so fast. The factory-style model of education to which most public schools have subscribed since the early 20th century may make it more likely for children to absorb such lessons there; but alternative education pathways do not necessarily provide an inoculation against the phenomena Manson sites (or additional others that he doesn’t). Many private schools, for example, also operate on the factory model and are thus susceptible to communicating the same kinds of subconscious lessons. Again, there are others. Undoubtedly, every system, every approach, likely has its pros and cons. But are there better ways forward than others?  

Dedicated people like Marsha Familaro Enright have encouraged us to re-imagine education. If we're going to do that, hadn't we better know what we need to ensure isn't part of that reimagining? Hadn't we better know what should be?  And why? How do we fix what’s bad unless we can identify it, contemplate it, dialogue about it, and, subsequently, figure out how to eliminate or navigate away from it?

In asking myself precisely these questions, I decided recently to roll out a new series of blog posts called: “Wrecking Ball Education.” It’s a loaded title, I know. I mean it to be. And I will aim to make the entries as thought-provoking as possible...on both sides of the wrecking ball double-entendre.

FAIR WARNING: I’ve found that valuable questions and concerns are posed all along the political and ideological spectrum. Sometimes, even often, important insight or facts come from the most unexpected of places or are shared by those whom we might consider the least likely people. Valuable information or perspective required to understand something important may even derive from those we’ve branded as outcasts or undesirables. We should never be afraid to consider openly and honestly what another is saying—regardless of who or what they are. But we should also be ready to critically analyze any thoughts, ideas, perspectives , facts, or research with which we are confronted. In fact, it's imperative that we do so. It is very human to resort to the emotional response, to dismiss because something or someone is uncomfortable for us. But if we're going to go looking for truth, understanding, and solutions, our conscious intellects must be fully engaged...not just our emotional and largely subconscious response systems.

So,'re invited on this journey. For those of you who want to join me...

Let us take the good where we find it and incorporate it.

What we reject, let it be because we have evaluated it thoroughly and found it wanting on merit—not merely because it came from a source we find distasteful or because it rubbed our familiarity bias the wrong way.

Let us be what we long for our children to be: true critical thinkers, plowing forward to find answers to our education quandaries by digging into the particulars of our educational history, approaches, influences, successes, failures, and goals.

I look forward to going on this very real intellectual adventure with you.

I promise it'll be fun. 

I double-promise it'll be engaging.

And I'm truly hopeful that it'll be quietly but deeply productive.

If you have suggestions about where we should travel as we're walking this road together, let me know. I'd love to hear them. I'm not the only one with good ideas, and I'm happy to add stuff to our intellectual travel itenerary. 

Look for the first real post in the series in just a few days...

404 Not Found

" data-layout="standard" data-action="like" data-show-faces="true" data-share="true">

Print Content