"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, January 16, 2012

"...education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. " Martin Luther King

On this day when we  remember the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, it is fascinating to review his speeches and writings and realizes how truly prophetic he was.  His words are as fresh and relevant today as they were when he delivered them. He was the moral compass of the country and his loss was devastating to our future - the future that is the present we live today.  Like so many prophets who called out the evils they saw in society, he was killed. But the message of the true prophet cannot be killed, and Dr. Martin Luther King's message lives on in those of us in whom his message took root and became part of who we are.

It is appropriate on this day to read and remember Dr. King's essay on education. It is amazing to realize that he was just a junior at Moorehouse College when he published this essay in the college newspaper in  1947.

Click  to read the full text of 
The Purpose Of Education
What would Dr. King have thought of  the current high stakes testing? I think his feelings are quite clear: "...education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society."

The current obsession with accountability testing is all about efficiency as the pinnacle of school reform. I believe that if Dr. King had lived, we would not be in this terrible state in education where efficiency drives education. Dr. King was right. This obsession with efficiency at the cost of education's true purpose is a menace to society.
Every year on his birthday, I listen to Dr. King deliver his “I Have a Dream Speech” I heard him deliver it on August 28, 1963. I was a child and not lucky enough to be there, but I watched the March start to finish on television. “This is history” my mother said. She certainly was right!  Take a few minutes to listen once again to this remarkable speech, which remains a manifesto for American social justice:

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. Wish you were here.

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