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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Experience and Education

John Dewey, "The history of educational theory is marked by opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without; that it is based upon natural endowments and that education is a process of overcoming natural inclination and substituting in its place habits acquired under external pressure."

China 2006:

Thousands of students in central China rioted this week because they were duped by university officials. The protests were the most prolonged student protests since Tiananmen Square. Classrooms were ransacked, windows smashed and there were even clashes with police. It is important to note that the government did not roll the tanks in this time. Why the riot? According to the NYT News Service:

Students at Shengda, a privately run college with 13,000 students outside Zhengzhou, say they were assured on admission, and repeatedly afterwards, that they would get graduation certificates that would appear identical to those issued by Zhengzhou, the top university in the province.

When this year's graduating seniors picked up their diplomas on Friday and saw the revised language, the reaction was instantaneous and incendiary. "We bought a Mercedes-Benz and they delivered a Santana," said one angry graduate, referring to a low-priced Volkswagen sedan made in China.

I like the car metaphor.

Imagine if we applied cars to diplomas in this country? Ah, the possibilities…Yale? Tufts? Illinois State? SUNY Purchase?

And what about John Dewey? After all he visited China once.

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