To the editor:
All primates and many other animals learn by watching and copying. But as growing evidence indicates, only human adults actively teach and only human children know how to learn from being taught. The face-to-face teacher-pupil relationship is deep, human, biologically innate and the ultimate source of all human culture. There is no known technological substitute.
Kansans understand. It’s in the Kansas Constitution. The quality of our schools has always exceeded U.S. averages. Kansas isn’t Texas. Polls consistently show that Kansas majorities want maintained or increased taxes for supporting a strong teacher-pupil connection.
So why are Kansas right-wingers so single-minded about disrupting it? Here’s their plan so far:
• cutting back school budgets,
• budget-busting cuts to the income tax base (Since over half of state and local tax dollars go to education, much bigger budget cuts for schools must follow.),
• stacking Kansas courts that have the temerity to say underfunding of schools is unconstitutional,
• show-trial public hearings on “waste” in education, which don’t allow any actual educators to testify,
• laws gagging teachers from speaking out for education,
• defunding support systems like libraries, cafeterias, school nurses, curriculum planning,
• destroying teachers unions that oppose the right-wing agenda.
And now sadly the Feb. 2 Saturday Column joins in, excoriating Kansas University for not developing a MOOC (massive open online course) system for minimizing teacher-pupil contact. I’m all for MOOCs as a resource for people who have learned from teachers how to learn on their own, but the idea of replacing teachers is just another attack on education.