Last week's webinar HERE "Reform or Indocrination - Is Education K-12 Failing?" featured William Brooks as presenter, interviewed by the host, Perry Kinkaide, in a discussion of education K-12. Central to the discussion is a comparison of the impact on traditional education of "progressive education" ala John Dewey. Today, public education is committed to the development of activists to shape a future of social justice along the lines as advocated by Karl Marx: advancing the role of the state; eroding individual enterprise/ initiative in favour of personal social/ public contributions. Parenting has suffered. Free expression has suffered. Society is less resilient, more dependent. The progressive system is critical of empiricism, science, and history. Teachers are taught what to teach; responsible but not accountable. The new paradigm is critical of the west, and in teaching critical thinking and discovery learning, the teacher teaches what to be critical of in favour of learning how to investigate. The webinar concludes with a discussion of what lies ahead and whether the currently toxic atmosphere will inspire change and in what form that change might happen. We turn next to higher education. - Editor, Perry Kinkaide, KEInetwork.net
Universities Have Abandoned Their Academic Mission. Can It Be Restored? featuring an interview of Mark Mercer
4:00PM MST Thursday, November 16th, 2023
Calendarize the Webinar HERE for Outlook
Mark Mercer will be discussing with the webinar host, Perry Kinkaide, and you - the viewers, the challenges of teaching and being a teacher, learning and being a student, on campus today. Mark was a panelist in an earlier KEInetwork.net webinar discussing "Campuses Conflicted over Free Expression" HERE
Mark Mercer is a professor of philosophy at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is known for his research and teaching in the areas of ethics, philosophy of mind and theory of knowledge. He is a committed civil libertarian and a champion of liberal education and academic freedom. Dr. Mercer is Past President and a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS) - a national group of academics and others who support academic freedom and the merit principle in higher education. A collection of his articles, In Praise of Dangerous Universities and Other Essays, was published last summer. FOR MORE
The Decline of Parenting: A Call for Reflection and Action
Some years ago I was invited to address the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. The theme was the merit of expecting less from government and respecting the relevance of family and community in a healthy society. Stunned was I when hearing loudly from one in the audience that I was professing more oppression from government and that I was ignorant - the state was to supplement the expected demise of the family. Rather than argue, I turtled - until now.
The fabric of family life continues to unravel. The role of parenting stands at a crossroads. In an era where government intervention is portrayed as the ultimate solution, the cry for help from parents and families echoes louder than ever. Is the decline of parenting inevitable, or can we reshape our priorities to rebuild a foundation that fosters healthy families?
Parenting is rarely alone. The relentless demands of modern life force families to trade off parenting for productivity. Raising a family isn't recognized as a productive, taxable endeavor, that leaves parents grappling with financial pressures and societal expectations. Professions serve to supplement the family as do the traditional broader community including grandparents, neighbors, friends, and daycare, plays a vital role in support. Teachers have come to play the most significant role in parenting, an evident option given mandatory public education for several hours a day. While government aid is an option, it is usually a measure of last resort. Trust in the government's ability to address the needs of families hinges on the efficacy of its interventions and the establishment of a bond of trust with the public.
Vulnerable families. Today the vulnerability of families and parents is palpable. Changing family dynamics complicate parenting: divorce and shifting gender roles, diminished family size and ageing grandparents, increased cost-of-living, social media and addictions - cellphone and drugs, increasing mobility and workplace demand eroding community ties. Eroding trust in public services often leaves parents overwhelmed, e.g.: health - access and/or waiting, education - confusion and/or performance, and social services - lacking and/or fragmented.
Palpable Solutions. Several measures are proposed to strengthen parenting in the interest of the child, the family, and our society's future:
- Recognition and incentivization of the value of parenting and grand-parenting
- Introduce initiatives to increase birthrates and family size
- Encourage immigration of high birthrate families
- Lower tax rates for families to alleviate financial burdens
- Schools introduce tutoring vouchers as a teaching aide for students and parents
- Increase representation of parents in key areas of family support like education, healthcare, and child welfare
- Encourage parents to be more engaged in their child's learning, taking inspiration from successful, traditonal models.
The Future Landscape. The looming question remains: What is the future if the value of parenting and family continues to decline across society, corporations, and the state? The potential scenario paints a stark picture: Continued growth of the welfare state, supplementing the family until it comes unsustainable comes first to mind. Corporations with a sole focus on labour access, sidelining the family, exacerbates erosion of the family and parenting. And finally as families lose significance the society as we know it disappears, supplanted by a fully automated, homogeneous, compliant robotic society?
A Call to Action. As we grapple with these challenges of parenting, a critical message resonates: the responsibility for parents to refocus onto PARENTING their children. Friending and fat allowances are not parenting. Amidst the complexities of societal shifts, the timeless essence of parenting remains – undistracted attention and genuine connection. The answer lies in returning to the basics: dropping the cell phone, accepting responsibility, and spending time teaching your children. Alexa and ChatGPT can be your guide but not your alternative. - Editor, Perry Kinkaide, KEInetwork.net