5/24/11

Is your school system limiting the range of the debate?

While reading through the rounds of education policy related articles for the week, I ran across a piece titled, What Parents aren't asked in school surveys, and in it was an amazing quote by Noam Chomsky that pretty much sums up the level of involvement school districts allow parents and teachers these days. It reads,

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

This week I must have filled out half a dozen surveys for my school system seeing that I am a both and a mom and an employee of this school system. While these surveys initially made me feel included and my opinions valued, I am bothered that the framework of the 'conversation' is already determined by the questioner. My input, no matter how lively, or radical or no matter how outrageous my ideas are they still essentially only exist within the continuum provided by the survey. Parents and teachers must demand more open dialogue to happen around more democratic and comprehensive set of issues and absolutely not wait to be invited, for that may never happen.

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