School leaders, sometimes in conflict with the interest of the teachers and their unions, “overwhelmingly (73 percent) say that when (they) initiate communication, it is to help people understand and support the (interests of) the schools, not to understand the community’s concerns. Perhaps more revealing is what superintendents report about themselves: fully 62 percent say the last time they met with community residents, their main purpose was to explain – and get people to support – their initiative.”83 That is not dialogue.

Such attitudes are similar to those shared by a European professor of education who wrote the Initiative in 1999, “Those involved in school management draw a sharp boundary between the areas of education that are reserved for professionals (for example, teachers), and those in which other members of the community (such as parents or retired people) can legitimately be involved. Although many schools encourage the involvement of members of the community for certain activities, those activities are clearly separated from the ‘professional’work of teachers. It is very difficult and indeed might well be foolhardy to try and blur the distinction.”

Conclusion

It seems that many of those involved in education want to push only their own narrow agendas. Educators, whether classroom teachers or superintendents of large districts, rarely attempt to focus on how their activities can better be integrated into a larger agenda. This is unfortunate because for much of the 20th century schools helped to keep society together by bringing diverse groups together around the shared interest of children. As detailed above, there are a number of economic, social and technological forces tearing at the fabric of diverse democratic societies. We live in societies with conflicting ideas on almost everything, from the most basic truths to the element of moral behavior.

If we are to help our children deal with high levels of ambiguity and relativism, according to which no particular cultural tradition has any more rational justification than any other, we will need to figure out how to get people together to talk about common and shared interests. We need to discuss more than just the interests of our organizations and ourselves. We need to talk about more than just the economic. The challenge we now face is to revitalize education, in all its varied manifestations, so as to temper the downside of go-go capitalism.

Fortunately, there are still a number of people waiting to be asked for their support. The first step in strengthening education is to initiate an open and honest dialogue about what we as a community think a well educated child really is and what the role of schools, teachers, parents, and other adults in the community should be in raising well educated children. This is different to simply telling people what to do. If we are to put a human face on the trends discussed throughout this paper then it will require us to do what we as a species do best – collaborate around the interests of our community and children.

Bibliography

  1. Robert Reich. The Future of Success. (New York: Alfred Knopf), 2001, p. 245.
  2. John Childs. “The Educational Philosophy of John Dewey.” The Philosophy of John Dewey, Paul Arthur Schilpp and Lewis Edwin Hahn (eds.) (La Salle, IL: Open Court), 1989, p. 420.
  3. Joseph Ellis. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 2000, p. 164.
  4. Arnold Langbo. Findings presented at “The White House Conference on Early Childhood Development and Learning.” (Washington:The Office of the President), 1997.
  5. Etienne Wenger, “Communities of Practice: The social fabric of a learning organization,” Healthcare Forum Journal (July/August, 1996), p. 2.
  6. Lauren Resnick. “Learning In School and Out.” Educational Researcher (December 1987), p. 15.
  7. Susan Galletti. “School Size Counts.” The Education Digest. (May 1999).
  8. John Abbott and Terry Ryan. The Unfinished Revolution: Learning, human behavior, community, and political paradox. (Alexandria, VA: ASCD), 2001.
  9. Robert Putnam. Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. (New York: Simon & Schuster), 2000, p. 35.
  10. Diane Ravitch. “Dumbing Down the Public: Why It Matters.” The New Republic (Feb. 5, 2001).
  11. This quote comes from the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce web site <www.fccc.org>
  12. Nancy Trejos. “Teachers say they Can’t Quit Night Jobs.” The Washington Post. (March 3, 2001), p. C-1.
  13. Dan Eggen. “Feeling Pinched on $90,000.” The Washington Post. (March 12, 2001), p. A1.
  14. Dan Eggen. “Tasting the High Life.” The Washington Post. (March 11, 2001), p. A1.
  15. Dan Eggen and Victoria Benning. “Pampered and Privileged.” The Washington Post. (March 13, 2001), p. B1.
  16. Dan Eggen. “Feeling Pinched on $90,000.” The Washington Post. (March 12, 2001), p. A1.
  17. Liz Seymour. “Fairfax Fears Schools Slackening.” The Washington Post. (April 8, 2001), p. C1.
  18. Leah Friedman. “Schools, rail discussed at town meeting.” The Washington Post. (April 4, 2001), p. A9.
  19. Leah Friedman. “Reston Teachers Join Work-to-Rule Protest.” The Washington Post. (April 4, 2001), p. A1.
  20. Nancy Trejos. “Teachers say they Can’t Quit Night Jobs.” The Washington Post. (March 3, 2001), p. C-1.
  21. Bob Chase. “To Hire and to Hold.” Paid advertisement for the National Education Association. The Washington Post. (April 22, 2001), p. B5.
  22. Jonathan Rauch. “The New Old Economy: Oil, computers, and the reinvention of the Earth.” The Atlantic Monthly. (January 2001), p. 39.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Edward Luttwak, The Washington Post. (March 10, 1996).
  25. Robert Reich. The Future of Success. (New York: Alfred Knopf), 2001, p. 72.
  26. Robert S. McElvaine. Eve’s Seed: Biology, the sexes, and the course of history. (New York: McGraw-Hill), 2000.
  27. President Clinton. White House Publications. Remarks by the President and the Participants in First Session of Economic Summit. The East Room April 5, 2000. (Washington: The White House Office of the Press Secretary).
  28. Alan Greenspan. White House Publications. Remarks by the President and the Participants in First Session of Economic Summit. The East Room April 5, 2000. (Washington: The White House Office of the Press Secretary).
  29. Donald J. Johnston. “The New Economy.” Secretary-General of the OECD. (Paris: OECD), 2000.
  30. Gordon Brown. Lecture by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Royal Economic Society on Thursday 13 July 2000. www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press/2000/p90.00.html
  31. Robert Reich. The Future of Success. (New York: Alfred Knopf), 2001, p. 8.
  32. Juliet Schor. The Overspent American. (New York: Basic Books), 1998, pp. 11-12.
  33. Robert Gilpin, p. 6.
  34. Christain Lutz in Societies in Transition (Paris: OECD, 1996), p. 102.
  35. Alden M. Hayashi. “Mommy-Track Backlash.” Harvard Business Review. (March 2001).
  36. Ibid.
  37. Sarah Schafer and Jacqueline Salmon. “Childless Employees Want Equal Flextime and More.” The Washington Post. (April 21, 2001), p. A1.
  38. Statistics come from the 2000 US Census.
  39. Office of the Press Secretary. “1999 Economic Report of the President,” Council of Economic Advisors. (Washington: The White House), February 1999.
  40. “What on Earth? A weekly look at trends, people and events around the world.” The Washington Post. (September 11, 1999), p. A15.
  41. Robert Reich. The Future of Success. (New York: Alfred Knopf), 2001, p. 5.
  42. Dale Russakoff and Steven Pearlstein. “Editorial.” The Washington Post. (May 19, 1996), p. A20.
  43. Peter Cappelli. New Deal at Work: Managing the Market-Driven Workforce. (Boston: Harvard Business School Press), 1999, p. 14.
  44. Jeff Gates. Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street from Wall Street. (Cambridge: Perseus Publishing), 2000, p. XIV.
  45. The World Bank Institute. “The Global Divide in Health, Education and Technology.” Special Report. (Washington: World Bank Institute), Spring 2000.
  46. Paul Krugman. “Death and Taxes.” The New York Times. (June 14, 2000).
  47. Steve Farkas, Patrick Foley and Ann Duffett, with Tony Foleno and Jean Johnson. “Just Waiting to be Asked?” (New York: Public Agenda), 2001.
  48. James S. Coleman. “Families and Schools.” Educational Researcher (August-September 1987), p. 50.
  49. Kirstin Downey Grimsley and Jacqueline L. Salmon. “For Working Parents, Mixed News as Home.” The Washington Post. (September 27, 1999), p. A8.
  50. Alison Maitland. “The painful dilemma of kids and career.” Financial Times. (April 9, 2001).
  51. Barbara Vobejda. “Mother’s Employment Works for Children: Study finds no long-term damage.” The Washington Post. (March 1, 1999).
  52. Alison Maitland. “The painful dilemma of kids and career.” Financial Times. (April 9, 2001).
  53. Sheryl Gay Stolberg. “Researchers Find a Link Between Behavioral Problems and Times in Child Care.” The New York Times. (April 19, 2001).
  54. Dr. Donald Cohen at the White House Conference on Early Childhood Development and Learning: What new research on the brain tells us about our youngest children (April 17, 1997).
  55. Patricia Hersch. A Tribe Apart: A journey into the heart of American adolescence. (New York: Fawcett Columbine), 1998, p. 19.
  56. Public Agenda. “Kids these Days,” at <www.publicagenda.org/specials/Kids/kids7.htm>
  57. “Better Together.” The report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic engagement in America.
  58. Robert Putnam. Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. (New York: Simon & Schuster), 2000, pp. 261-262.
  59. Steve Farkas, Ann Duffett and Jean Johnson. “Necessary Compromises: How Parents, Employers and Children’s Advocates View Child Care Today.” (New York: Public Agenda), August 2000.
  60. “Better Together.” The report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic engagement in America.
  61. Dan Eggen and Victoria Benning. “Pampered and Privileged.” The Washington Post. (March 13, 2001), p. B1.
  62. Robert Reich. The Future of Success. (New York: Alfred Knopf), 2001, p. 129.
  63. Ibid.
  64. Michael J. Sandel. Democracy’s Discontent. (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press), 1996, pp. 205-206.
  65. Jerome Kagan. Three Seductive Ideas. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 1998, pp. 91-92.
  66. Howard Gardner. “Paroxysms of Choice.” The New York Review. (October 19, 2000).
  67. William J. Bennett, Chester E. Finn, Jr., and John T.E. Cribb, Jr. The Educated Child. (New York: The Free Press), 1999, p. 416.
  68. Deborah Roffman. “Dangerous Games.” The Washington Post. (April 15, 2001), p. B1.
  69. Robert Putnam. Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. (New York: Simon & Schuster), 2000, p. 19.
  70. For a web site that looks extensively at social capital and what it is refer to <www.bowlingalone.com/socialcapital.php3>
  71. Alan Ryan. “My Way.” The New York Review of Books. (August 10, 2000), p. 47.
  72. OECD. “Cities and Regions in the New Learning Economy.” (Paris: OECD), 2001, p. 119.
  73. Robert Putnam. Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. (New York: Simon & Schuster), 2000, pp. 297-298.
  74. Robert Putnam. White House Publications. Remarks by the President and the Participants in First Session of Economic Summit. The East Room April 5, 2000. (Washington: The White House Office of the Press Secretary).
  75. James S. Coleman and Thomas Hoffer. Public and Private Schools: The impact of communities. (New York: Basic Books), 1987, p. 94.
  76. Robert Putnam. White House Publications. Remarks by the President and the Participants in First Session of Economic Summit. The East Room April 5, 2000. (Washington: The White House Office of the Press Secretary).
  77. Robert Putnam. Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. (New York: Simon & Schuster), 2000, p. 405.
  78. Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee. The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. (New York: Hyperion), 2000, p. 296.
  79. Steve Farkas, Patrick Foley and Ann Duffett, with Tony Foleno and Jean Johnson. “Just Waiting to be Asked?” (New York: Public Agenda), 2001.
  80. Ibid.
  81. Ibid.
  82. Ibid.
  83. Ibid.