After 12/7/2011, this blog will no longer be updated, although content will remain. Please visit my new blog at Hidden Latitudes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Fundamental Need for Fundamental Education

   School, in teaching the mastery of skills (the three Rs) gives the child faith in his ability to master other skills—schools devoted to the debatable (social studies, multiculturalism, and other moot topics) weaken the child—for, even as they seem to endorse some inchoate sense of “social justice,” they offer the adolescent hungering for certainty a curriculum of pabulum, and reward him for regurgitating the school’s positions. 
   College, once a predictable, practicable course of study designed to fit the individual for self-support, has become, at least in the Liberal Arts, an extension of the bad high school, which is to say, of the terror of adolescence. 
   The advertisement of “choice”—in curriculum, in behavior (in the glorification of “alternative lifestyles”), while a charming idea to the conscious (pleasure-bent) eighteen-year-old mind, is, actually, to him deeply unsettling. For the eighteen-year-old knows that at some point he must abandon even graduate school, and get on in a world which, he knows, the pandering cry of “choice” is not fitting him for. Gender studies, multiculturalism, semiotics, deconstruction, video art, and other such guff, while attractive to the child, as they seem to endorse his “adulthood,” are in truth, terrifying as his clock ticks on toward the school’s relaxation of its authority, that date on which it will spew the unschooled, confused, skill-less student into a world which, he must know, is uninterested in his capacity for bushwah, and wants to know what he can contribute to the common effort.
From The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, by David Mamet.

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