“A Question of Silence”: Why We Don’t Read Or Write About Education

Houman Harouni:

Nothing in the public debate on schooling suggests that education matters. Whether test scores do or don’t measure learning; whether schools should be privatized; whether Wikipedia will replace the teacher; whether we will ever escape Algebra; whether we can measure the ways in which kids of color “fail” or “succeed” on exams; whether to teach like a “champion”, a “guide”, or a “pirate”; whether the arts are a right or a privilege: all these questions owe their importance to the system of schooling that turned them into questions in the first place. The entire debate keeps folding back onto itself. It takes its own parameters for granted. The more one asks such self-referential questions (without, say, asking what on earth sets “success” apart from “failure”), the more one contributes to the education system as is—a system that has stagnated for seven generations.