Education Reform LO9822

Marion Brady (
Sun, 8 Sep 1996 07:21:41 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO9769 --

Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>, responding to my question, "How
does one create a vision to pull others toward a new paradigm, when the
stuff of which that vision is created is only visible from within the new
paradigm?" says,

". . . In the case of education, I suspect that an alternative system
needs to evolve in parallel with the older functional hierarchy . . ."

The educational establishment's fragmented approach to general
education isn't likely to change anytime soon. There will continue to be
an assumption that an acceptable general education can be cobbled together
from a random assortment of specialized courses, academic departments will
continue to compete for students and funds, and the members of those
departments will continue to have little or no interest in talking to each
other across what they perceive to be logical boundaries between their
Keith's comment makes me wonder anew if perhaps a way around the
problem might be to create in our secondary schools and universities
autonomous general education departments unabashedly committed to a
supradisciplinary approach to the task of understanding reality. The
conceptual framework for organizing study within such a department--a
framework more defensible than that which undergirds existing
discipline-based departments--already exists. I'd think their creation
would simply require . . . their creation.
Present academic departments, freed from responsibility for doing
something they're doing poorly and usually reluctantly (trying to provide
a brief taste of a discipline), could almost certainly go farther faster
if a general education department "took care of all that" and allowed them
to work primarily with interested, able students.


Marion Brady


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