Education and Society Reform


 Schools, teachers and teacher education can and should improve, but they should not bear the blame for the economic, social, moral and political problems we are currently facing and the wrong-headed fixes being put upon education by external reformers will do little to help and much to harm that process. Our educational system is part of and connected to the society’s economic, social, moral and political systems that are not working as they should. As these systems are reformed, transformed and fixed, education will be able to do the same. Even if education is made perfect, the injustices, inequities and problems of society and these systems will not be solved, partly because these evils are endemic in “the competitive life of a capitalistic state” (Covaleskie, 2010, 84).


 By focusing on teacher education, schools and teachers, we can avoid the more pressing and daunting reality that our overall system needs to be transformed; that we as a society can and need to improve. Our social-economic-political-moral order is broken. We are not doing the job we need to if we are to have a prosperous, secure and healthy nation and world and live up to the ideals framed in our founding documents. Schooling and education have been used to screen, sort and select individuals for the marketplace, but the system is rigged so that the already successful will maintain their advantages in society.


Teachers and teacher educators are just part of that system, and, as much as I believed and wanted to believe that we could save the world, I now realize the world is a much bigger and more complex place than I thought it to be as a young man. I will continue to do my part in seeing that my work and efforts contribute in whatever measure possible to the betterment of humankind, but realize there are much stronger currents, which I am powerless to alter and am being swept along with the rest of humanity. My writing this statement is but one of my many attempts to do what I think I can to make things better.


About rodclarken

Dr. Rodney H Clarken is professor emeritus, School of Education, Northern Michigan University.
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