Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ideas in Education Policy and Schools

So, last time I talked about both education as a carrier of ideas and how the institution of education is shaped by ideas. Now the focus turns to answering the question that you would be reasonable to ask: "How does this process work?"

(Later I'll return to the issue of how ideas in scoial institutions affect your life. I want to repeat these sorts of posts for the other four major institution then turn to the "ground level" discussions. Just bear with me for a few weeks.)

Now, we all know that there are many elements to our (USA) educational system. The system has includes educational policy at the national and state levels, school boards, teacher training, curricula for the various subjects, books, support materials for teachers, and principals to run the schools.

All of these elements are carriers of ideas. All are potential sources of social pollution. Consider the people who make educational policy. Policy decisions may force teachers to expose our children to counterfactual, destructive, or illogical ideas.

Intelligent design is a prime example of the problem. Teaching of intelligent design is now the subject of a court case in Pennsylvania. If the intelligent design side wins, biology teachers will have to read a statement casting doubt on Darwinian evolution and suggesting that the complexity of life can only be explained by the involvement of some sort of designer. What comes next? Intelligent design teaching guidelines from state education departments? Chapters in biology textbooks? One never knows.

Next time: Religion and Ideas, Good and Bad


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