Yesterday, I was knocking on doors, when I came to one where a man answered the door and we began talking. He was hospitable, but began querying me on my teaching credentials or lack of them. He kept insinuating that if I didn’t know all the minute details of what tests were, and the minutiae of the terms used in teaching, that I was unfit to be involved in education.
Yet, this is the exact strategy that keeps the parents out of the schools, when studies have shown that parents who are heavily involved in their children’s education have children who perform the best, both academically and behavior wise. When educators insist on using arcane language that no one but their coterie understands, it becomes difficult for the community or parents to be actively engaged in children’s education. One begins to wonder, is that what educators want? Do the teachers unions think the children belong to them, to educate as they see fit, parents be damned? I believe they do. What do you parents think?
The gentleman was an educator, and was quite flustered. His face was twitching, his body was continuously shifting and his discomfort was quite evident. I simply calmly listened to his continuous queries and deflected, trying to be polite, as I was at his door, and wanted to avoid antagonizing him, though the ideas I stood for, simply being stated were plenty antagonizing to him.
I tried to explain to him that experience was overrated, and that wise people learn from other’s experience, but foolish people have to learn from their own. It appeared likely that he would shoot through the roof when I said that. His face became animated, like the Fourth of July come early, and he passionately pursued the idea that only personal experience can be a teacher. Of course, the appeal to anecdote ( or one’s personal experience) is a logical fallacy, but he was completely not interested in discussing this.
When I said that Abraham Lincoln had a single year of 2nd grade formal education, and that was the extent of his formal education, he grew apoplectic, and said, “We aren’t talking about Abraham Lincoln, we are talking about you”. “Well,” says I, “what one man can do, anyone of us can do, would you agree”? He did not. I then said that students today were the least informed of any generation in American history. This brought fresh animation to his face, and I began to earnestly fear he may be in danger of heart palpitations. He was utterly outraged that today’s students should be thought of as mindless and uninformed, when the test scores, showing 70% of Vallejo’s 12th grade graduates can’t do math and English at the 12th grade level, show that the students are quite often, mindless and uninformed. There is an entire book on the topic.
His wife came to the door, and I began to feel guilty, as if I was the cause of a family disturbance, when all I had done was come to introduce myself and ask for his vote. She had a bland countenance, but like the headmistress from Roald Dahl’s Matilda, she got to business quickly. “Did you vote for Donald Trump”? says she, in a matter of fact way. Well, I knew the jig was up then, because if you say yes, the conversation comes to a screeching halt as disinformation contorts those infected with it to hate anyone who believes anything they don’t. So, I began to explain the principles that would lead one to consider voting for Donald Trump, and she hastily ended the conversation, commandeered her still gesturing husband into the home, and brought a swift termination to the conversation. I bid them a good day, thanked them for their time, and thought Vallejo would like to learn about who their neighbors are.