To say that the past two weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster is a bit of an understatement as I watched and listened to a litany of people (mostly old, white men) in their heads-down rush to strangle, or at least close down democracy in this country. The rushed circus surrounding the kavanaugh nomination was a circus of the damned. People like McConnell no longer attempted to hide their contempt for the rule of law, or from their own hypocritical, Machiavellian sensibilities and actions. No matter that they run over laws meant to protect the citizens of this country, or the reputation of Dr. Blasey, a serious and honest scholar in order to place a man who is clearly not suitable for the highest court in the land.
And then there are the people who supported this circus of the damned, based on their own feelings and stories told to them by the president and his supporters, exhibiting a serious lack of critical thinking, and empathy (among other things). Sigh.
All of this brings me back to a few basic comments about good education. The first is that education is not bean counting, not one size fits all and all students learn alike. These examples are clearly not a new and radical idea, and have been around and have been observed, studied and written about by social scientists such as Howard Gardner, Seymour Papert, Sherry Turkle, and ideas such as the Reggio Emilia Approach (The Hundred Languages of Children), and others. Basically, these scholars and ideas represent an idea that strives to address the needs of learners who think and process information according to their own unique strengths. There are people who understand the world through the mind of an engineer, or mathematician, though strict, often linear logic and rationale, while others understand the world through the creative arts. One does not cancel the other in terms of critical importance and needs, as all disciplines are needed in this world, and there a polyglots of disciplines. For example Brian May of Queen is also an astrophysicist. And there are those who understand the world in visual terms, through painting, or even comics and graphic novels.
One of the most important issues challenging educators then is to develop curriculum and tools to address as many types of learners as possible (often through collaborative learning), to help individuals gain the important skills needed or contemporary society- observation, critical thinking, and empathy, so that hopefully, we can move away from the medieval thinking that celebrates people like kavanaugh, trump, devos over real thinkers who are able to address issues with knowledge, understanding and empathy,