Re: Deschooling Society LO2044
Tue, 11 Jul 1995 14:23:21 -0700

Replying to LO2035 --

Talk about circling the wagons....

My goodness, I didn't realize I was part of any education *industry*, in
whatever life, sustaining through whatever life-support systems were
available a wheezing, dying, corrupt cabal of demons. I opted to go into
publishing because it seemed like a reasonable place to work with some of
the things I care about: books; learning (both ways); maybe even
knowledge, tacit and otherwise; making "things" that someone else might be
interested in and find of value; having some fun; etc., etc. And lo and
behold, I discovered later, having gone into some other more or less
related areas, that publishing is/was remarkably like, oh, consulting or
politics or advocacy in general: equal parts scuzziness and glory.

Let me assert that what I find intolerable is Illich's implied blanket --
and facile -- dismissal of exactly the sort of things that this Learning
Org list is about: collaboration, conversation, co-creation, "fruits of
learning," "emergent learning," et al. Regarding education, I have my own
mental models -- or whatever we're supposed to call them these days --
based on my experiences in commingling and co-creating ideas. I prefer
going with those, rather than with Illich's commissar-like prescriptions
that turn us into wind-up dolls and use a phony language of caring.

I've seen teacher union commercials; I've listened in on elevator
conversations at academic meetings; I've participated in corporate
strategy sessions; I've had stupid fights with people I love. A lot of
crap through which to wend one's way. But as I do, I try to keep a few
things clear -- one of which has to do with maintaining at least some
modicum of curiosity mixed with skepticism (I guess I'm repeating myself)
and one of which has to do with being able to discriminate between those
phenomena and those people deserving of dismissal and those deserving of
respect. Complicated, all of it. And I think it's a helluva lot more
difficult -- and rewarding -- doing that than crafting obiter dicta from
on high.

Ron Mallis
12 Chestnut Street
Boston, MA 02108
Phone 617-723-8362
Fax: 617-720-1935