Friday, January 30, 2015
Are we educating consumer or informed voters?
Stanley Aronowitz (2008) has suggested that increasing commercialism is a threat to original American values of education and its relationship to community, public good and democracy. Aronoiwtz wrote that the trend of standardization, vocationalism, and privatization might result in a weakened democracy, because a democracy requires citizens who are actively involved and informed. In his view, education is no longer viewed as a social, public good, but a private, individual endeavor. In other words the democratic ideals of education are transformed in favor of the pragmatic interests of capitalists. This tension is an example of education’s reflection of overall cultural and political trends, and perhaps a reflection of America’s ongoing conflict between idealism and pragmatism. There is concern that a focus on discrete set of vocational skills overlooks the importance of critical thinking skills in a fast changing world.
Our democracy may be at peril, if each new generation has less depth of education, less knowledge and practice in participative democracy, less faith in the process and an increased focus on what they are sold or in their own personal advancement, over the advancement of community and society as a whole.
-From my dissertation..Art Lynch 2012