Who decides Educn goals? LO5308

Tobin Quereau (quereau@austin.cc.tx.us)
Fri, 2 Feb 1996 14:00:57 -0600 (CST)

Replying to LO5280 --

As I read the comments on the question "A prime goal of education is to
prepare kids to work," I am confused by what was the intent of the survey.
If, as you say, Rol, the search was for "common ground," then I'm afraid
the very structure of the survey and question insured just the opposite
result. By giving people only a binary, black or white alternative on an
ambiguously stated principle, what occured is that any difference in
perception was highlighted rather than transcended. The result might be
instructive, of course, in some way, but I would think the outcome was to
further separate rather than integrate the differences that exist.

I can hear some assumptions in how the results of the question were
interpreted. First, continuing the either/or sort of perspective, you set
out only four possible explanations for the outcome. To do this you had to
assume what the "agree" and "disagree" vote meant. (i.e., that teachers
were perhaps supporting critical thinking, for example rather than
vocational training which the public was supporting.) I find myself
wondering what sort of evidence there might be to support such an
analysis. I agree that none of the "logical" outcomes sounded very healthy
for the community.

If the question had been, "A prime goal of education is to prepare people
to be capable and productive citizens," would there have been the same
sort of fragmentation in the results, do you think? And if common ground
and common action was the intention, would a more unified outcome have
been desirable?

Were there other possible goals of education which were included in the
survey? Did any of them result in more uniform responses? What was the
result which came from bringing people together to discuss and dialogue
about their hopes and dreams for the outcomes of education? In those
situations did you find the same sort of "disagreement" between teachers
and the general public?

As I reread this post, I am concerned that I may end up sounding
"judgemental" here when that is not my intent. Having gone through an
extensive series of conferences to focus on some of the same sorts of
issues here in Austin, I know the difficulties of discovering and
developing common ground in such matters.

I am interested in hearing more about the results of the process, in any
case, since I think the issues of organizational learning are founded on
the ability of all of our citizens, young and old alike, to learn
effectively from experience and to communicate successfully to others what
that learning has meant for them.

Am I communicating effectively?

Tobin Quereau
Austin Commnunity College