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Re: Half true and all wrong

Posted By: Garreth Heidt on January 1, 2013
I'm not sure why Hvolbek's view excludes any type of vocational skill development. He certainly comes off as academic, but learning how "to think, to see, to read, and to write..." why should we think those are not things that we would want from students involved in vocational skill development?

I absolutely agree that thinking and doing must be reconnected. Richard Buchanan, in his article "Wicked Problems in Design Thinking" for a new, integrative view of education, one based in thinking and learning through doing. Vocational skills certainly involve doing, but to imply that those who study such skills should not also know how to think, to see, to read, to write is to buy into the author's argument that we've given over education to an entirely economic purpose.

If one can boil the goals of public education down into three main goals, they would be these: An ECONOMIC GOAL (to ensure that the engine of commerce and capital that drives the country forward continues humming along), a CIVIC GOAL (Jefferson is instructive here: "Those who expect to remain ignorant and free, expect what never was and never will be" (more or less)), and a PERSONAL GOAL (that being that all children are exposed to the liberating forces of education which, as William Cronon puts it in his essay "Only Connect: On the Goals of a Liberal Education", allows them to "explore and fulfill the promise of their own highest talents").

Hvolbek's argument, while it may sound specific to the liberal arts, ought not be seen as exclusive of the vocational arts. Public education clearly has more goals than an economic one and Hvolbek's right to point out our over emphasis towards that end, as though the sole purpose of American Public Education is to feed the economic needs of the country and the individual. Clearly it is not, and I should hope we all want children to be able to think, to write, to read, to see and most importantly, to DO something with those skills.
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 Half true and all wrong by Allen Lambert on March 27, 2012
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