When education does not have the capacity to build people’s confidence
“Education should produce people who work with one another to design and build a society that minimizes suffering and maximizes the chances of survival” — Elias & Merriam.
I do not know about you, but to me, the message of this quote is clear. Education, in its truest form, should teach learners a sense of collaboration in creating and promoting a cohesive society that depends on its members for survival. This is true for all learners, young and adult. As society depends on its members for growth and sustainability, empowering all types of learners could make the difference. And the opposite is true. Failure to educate all people might, indeed, help create a divided society that minimizes its “chances of survival.
An example is the current persistent disparity in education for minorities. With all the educational philosophies and theories—both traditional and progressive—the current achievement gap confirms the relevance of this quote to education communities. According to National Center for Education Statistics, the test scores and performance levels for White and Black students in public schools maintained at the highest level since 1992. That is, with White students garnering “26 points higher than Black students in each subject.” This gap in our students is an indicative of the future ahead of us as a society. It tells us more about the extent of suffering.
When educators do not foster inclusive thinking, the end result is suffering in the greater good and maximization of society’s chances of failure. John Locke, the English philosopher, was questioning such a social gap when he wrote: “What principle of virtue do you lay in a child if you will redeem his desires of one pleasure by the proposal of another?” By helping education communities to relate with one another, societies will help grow confidence in their future.
Clearly, if education does not have the capacity to build people’s confidence to work with one another, they won’t help to lay the foundation for a common understanding and collaboration. That means the mere presence of school facilities and laws and textbooks will not help build a society with a common vision. These very resources will become the devil multiplier.