Why questioning has become necessary, and how this will transform education
Over the past several decades…within the education sector, and American society as a whole, the question of why, (the critical, analyzing, specifically engaging question) of “why,” has not only diminished but has basically vanished, not only from conversation but from everyday action in citizens life.
A certain level of comfort and safety, along with miscellaneous distractions and numbness sensations had replaced what before used to be the idea that we question, not only our government and business sectors, but also ourselves. This critical engagement, of asking the question “why?” had no longer become relevant to our everyday lives. Yes, it is true that we saw war, plague, famine, starvation, injustice and inequality. It is true that some individuals did see these terrible and awful things and felt empathy and questioned their existence, but there was still a disconnect, or invisible wall if you will, that separated them from us.
In September of 2008, this wall came crashing down, with the financial collapse of Wall Street and several large banks. As we stood among the rubble, we were but dazed and confused for a great amount of time, in a paralysis if you will, unable to shake off what had just happened to millions of people, of no fault of their own. As the dust has begun to clear, our minds have done so as well. In this moment, whether it be with the Tea Party protests or the Occupy Wall Street Movement, or just the conversations we have with one another, our friends and family, we are beginning to identify with the questions of why?, how? and oppression? No longer was this a war fought on some remote desert or images of starving children in a villages thousands of miles away, but now, this directly affected us or someone exactly like us. No longer was this fair, or equal. No longer was it OK to be a pawn in the larger game of billionaires chess board, but now, was the time to critically engage and now is the time that we are critically engaging in.
It was the decade that followed the Great Depression collapse of 1929 in which the populism of Progressive Education and John Dewey’s education philosophical movement sky rocketed. It was during the time of great upheaval, uncertainty and survival, in which individuals began to think of ideas, of schooling, of life differently. It is with great certainty that I believe that with the economic recession and life as it currently stands in the United States, that a new narrative of transformative questioning and transforming education is on the cusp of reality, and taking hold, firmly rooted into the democratic soil of the traditional notion of American Rebellion-ism.
Once individuals within a society have uncertainty of their basic needs, they become open towards a more drastic change. While I do not believe, that on its own, education ushers in this awakening, I do believe it rides on the tidal wave that is this economic inequality. While I sit here, typing this entry, I am out of work, with no children to educate, and no lives to dramatically change. Strangely, however, I feel hope, hope in this moment of uncertainty, hope in the belief of this cataclysmic shift that is currently taking place in educational paradigms, and a realization…that out of the dust of a collapse, rises a new generation, ready to fight for what is right, and bring about transformations of learning out of the disparages necessity to survive.