Self Help

Neil Postman - The End of Education (rtf) - Michael Hart

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Matheus Puppe

· 54 min read

Here are the main points from the passage:

  1. There are two problems to solve in determining how to educate the young: an engineering problem and a metaphysical problem. The engineering problem deals with the technical question of means - how learning will happen. The metaphysical problem deals with purpose and meaning.

  2. The means of learning, while important, are often overemphasized. There are many ways to learn and no one way is absolutely the best. Learning is more than just a mechanical skill. For significant learning to happen, one needs a reason and purpose.

  3. Motivation refers to a temporary curiosity or focus, but a reason is more abstract and long-lasting. Schooling needs transcendent reasons and purposes, or “gods to serve,” to work. Without purpose, schooling has no point.

  4. “God” here does not necessarily mean a supreme deity. For centuries, God and religion provided the purpose for schooling in the West. Schools that still have a transcendent, spiritual purpose tend to not have a “school problem.” Even skeptics in these schools understand why they’re there and why they may want to leave.

  5. An example is given of a professor who left a Christian Science college because he no longer believed its tenets, even though he was happy there. The point is that the school had a clear purpose that gave meaning, even for nonbelievers.

In summary, the key arguments are that education needs purpose and meaning, not just technical means; that transcendent, spiritual ideas have served as purposes for schooling; and that without clear purpose, schooling lacks meaning and value.

The author uses the term “narrative” as a synonym for “god” - a story that gives life and learning meaning, purpose and direction. Gods, in this sense, do not have to be literally or scientifically true. Their purpose is to provide people with identity, community, morality and explanation. The author refers to religion, myth, and ideology as different types of narratives or gods.

Two of the most powerful modern narratives are science and technology. Science initially saw itself as compatible with and extending the Judeo-Christian narrative. Scientists like Galileo and Newton believed in God as the creator of an ordered, mathematical universe. Over time, science developed into its own narrative or god, exalting human reason and empirical evidence over faith and revelation. The science god is powerful, explaining the origins of the universe and life, though its explanations are accidental and unsatisfying to some. It also does not provide moral instruction.

Technology is the offspring of science but focuses on power over understanding. It offers convenience, efficiency and prosperity in this life, not just the afterlife. It demands devotion, with its primary commandment being “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Its second commandment is that we are the technological species, and its third is that our destiny is to be replaced by machines.

So in summary, the author sees science and technology as two of the most powerful modern narratives or gods that give life meaning and direction. But they also have significant shortcomings, especially around life’s deepest questions of origins, purpose, morality and human identity.

The author argues that technological progress and human progress are not one and the same. He cautions against worshipping technology as an end in itself or as the sole measure of progress. He cites thinkers like Max Frisch and Aldous Huxley who were skeptical about unrestrained technological advancement and believed technology should serve human purposes, not the other way around.

The author says all belief systems, ideologies and cultures have some value but can also be dangerous if taken to an extreme. A tolerant, open and balanced perspective that can see truth in multiple, even contradictory, viewpoints is most conducive to human well-being. People need purpose and meaning, which traditional belief systems and culture provide. In their absence, people may turn to empty distractions, violence or suicide.

The author reflects on the decline of shared cultural narratives and belief systems in the U.S., using the example of the growth of fantasy-themed amusement parks. He says schools once had a clear purpose to educate citizens in the American democratic tradition and ideals of civic participation, as well as other cultural narratives that gave immigrants a shared identity. But as belief in these narratives has declined, the purpose of schools has become less clear.

The author shares his own experience of reconciling multiple cultural narratives as the child of Jewish immigrants in the U.S. He says these narratives were largely complementary, sharing universal themes of responsibility, empathy and concern for outcasts. Schools focused on the shared American narratives, not specific ethnic traditions, and this approach worked for a multicultural student body. But cultural narratives have declined since then, leaving society with less purpose and meaning.

In summary, the author argues technological progress alone does not define human progress. Meaning, purpose and shared belief are essential for human well-being, and cultural narratives have historically provided these. But as belief in major American narratives has declined, both society and schools have lost a sense of purpose. The author advocates an open, tolerant perspective that can draw value from multiple viewpoints and belief systems.

  • The author argues that public schools depend on shared narratives and ideals to create a common public. Without these common stories and gods, public schools cannot create an inspired, cohesive public.

  • The 20th century saw the destruction of many traditional gods and stories, including those of religion, reason, childhood innocence, and science. Thinkers like Darwin, Marx, Freud, and Einstein contributed to disillusionment by challenging or complicating traditional narratives. Although they aimed to provide firmer foundations for belief, humanity struggled with the loss of old gods.

  • New gods like communism, Nazism, and fascism rose but ultimately failed in the 20th century. Their stories ended in collapse. Francis Fukuyama argued that liberal democracy triumphed, but the author argues that America’s gods of liberal democracy and civic participation have also declined.

  • The author worries that certain forms of multiculturalism that reject shared narratives and promote division threaten public schools’ ability to create a common public. Public schools depend on shared stories to inspire and give purpose. Without these, they cannot create an engaged citizenry.

  • In summary, the author argues that public schools need common gods and narratives to fulfill their purpose of creating a democratic public. But many traditional gods and stories have been challenged or lost in recent history. New gods have failed. And some forms of multiculturalism, the author fears, undermine the shared stories public schools need.

The key arguments are that public schools require common narratives, that we have lost many traditional narratives, and that some approaches to diversity can threaten the stories schools depend on. The author worries this loss of shared gods and narratives could undermine public schools’ democratic purpose.

  • There is a crisis of meaning and narrative in contemporary society. Many traditional sources of meaning and identity have declined or collapsed.

  • This is evidenced in the trivialization and commercialization of once-sacred national symbols and stories in the US. Many Americans are increasingly cynical and apathetic about civic life and institutions.

  • In education, many educators have focused narrowly on technical questions of method and effectiveness, rather than deeper questions about the purpose and meaning of education. The field is dominated by claims of miraculous solutions from various methodologies and approaches.

  • There is a lack of attention to providing students with reasons and purposes for learning. Educators have become more focused on inventing and promoting methods, rather than articulating a vision of education.

  • The metaphor of wounded or dying gods is used to represent the decline of traditional sources of meaning, identity, and narrative. The question is whether new gods and stories can emerge to provide meaning, or whether meaninglessness and a “metaphysics of meaninglessness” will dominate.

  • There is a call for a recovery of “elementary sense of justice, the ability to see things as others do, a sense of transcendental responsibility, archetypal wisdom, good taste, courage, compassion, and faith.” But there are also dangers in searches for new identities and meanings, as evidenced in the rise of extremist nationalisms.

  • In sum, the passage argues that education cannot avoid deeper questions of meaning, purpose and identity. Technical questions of method are not enough. Educators must articulate a vision of education that can provide students with a sense of meaning, responsibility, and purpose.

  • The author argues that teaching and learning thrive when teachers and students share a meaningful purpose for their work. Effective education depends on genuine interaction and engagement, not bureaucratic procedures or technological apparatus.

  • The author identifies several “gods” or narratives that are often seen as providing purpose for schooling. The first is the “god of Economic Utility,” which views education as job preparation and seeks to make students economically useful and productive. This narrative reduces students to economic units and does not inspire them. It also wrongly assumes that schooling leads directly to economic productivity and well-paying jobs. In reality, most jobs do not require advanced education, and a good education aims at cultivating general, not specialized, competence.

  • The author argues that the god of Economic Utility diminishes a good education and humanity itself. Leaders like Clinton who see education as primarily about gaining practical job skills promote a limited view of learning and education. Education in earlier eras aimed at lifelong learning and developing minds, not just job skills. The nineteenth century saw immense technological change, so education was not just about basic literacy then either.

  • In summary, the author believes education should aim higher than just economic utility. A meaningful, inspiring education depends on recognizing students’ humanity and cultivating broad, lifelong learning. The “god” of Economic Utility fails to provide a compelling purpose for real education.

The gods of Economic Utility and Consumership are promoted through most of our institutions, including schools. They provide a simplistic answer to the purpose of life and education, suggesting our primary aims should be getting a job and accumulating material goods. However, these gods fail to satisfy our deeper human needs and inhibit the development of wisdom.

The god of Technology also has many devoted followers. While technology is not inherently bad, believing in it as an end in itself is misguided. Technology should be used pragmatically to improve lives, not worshipped for its own sake. Schools in particular should not uncritically accept the values promoted by corporations and advertisers. By allying themselves with shallow gods like Consumership, they undermine their purpose of promoting free and meaningful lives.

Overall, these “new gods” should not be allowed to supersede deeper humanistic and spiritual values. Life has a higher purpose than simply making a living, buying products, and using technology. Schools and society as a whole must uphold more substantive values and help students develop the wisdom to question these new gods.

The key ideas are:

  1. Economic Utility, Consumership, and Technology should not be elevated to the status of supreme purposes or metaphysical imperatives.

  2. Devotion to these “gods” fails to satisfy our deepest human needs and undermines the development of wisdom.

  3. Schools should not uncritically accept the values of corporations and advertisers or align themselves with these gods.

  4. Life and education have a higher purpose than the gods of jobs, products, and technology alone. Schools must help students develop the ability to question these gods.

  5. Wisdom requires balancing pragmatic and humanistic values, not worshipping any simplistic gods.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key ideas and arguments presented in the selected passages? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

  • There is enthusiasm for technology, especially in education. Some argue that technology makes schools unnecessary.

  • Diane Ravitch envisions a future where children can learn anything they want whenever they want using technology. The author is skeptical about Ravitch’s vision. Little Eva and Young John seem unrealistic. Their sudden interests in algebra and Japanese history seem implausible.

  • Ravitch’s vision implies a kind of technological determinism. The technology exists so we must use it. We will have to change to accommodate it. The changes are inevitable.

  • Examples of technologically-enhanced learning, like designing life forms or rewriting laws of gravity in a virtual lab, seem unrealistic. Research scientists are unlikely to teleconference with many students. A student bored with the real world is unlikely to be helped by a virtual reality lab.

  • Technology should be discussed realistically, not by hyperbolic cheerleaders. Like other technologies, computers give and take away. They have both benefits and drawbacks that must be considered.

  • Schools have always been about more than just conveying information. Their priorities should not be reordered to focus on information access. Information has been widely available outside of schools for over a century. Adding more information will not solve problems like students being overwhelmed by too much information.

  • Schools can help in other ways, e.g. by teaching technology in a serious, critical way, not just teaching how to use computers to access more information. Students need to learn how to navigate and evaluate the sea of information around them. Schools can also teach concentration, judgment, and wisdom which technology threatens.

  • In short, technology does not make schools obsolete. Schools continue to serve irreplaceable purposes that technology cannot fulfill. But technology must still be integrated into schools carefully and thoughtfully.

The author argues that schools should not uncritically rush to adopt new technologies like computers without considering their effects and implications. The main points in support of this argument are:

  1. Most people can and will learn how to use new technologies on their own, as they did with automobiles and television. What is more important is learning to think critically about how these technologies shape and influence our lives, society, and culture. Schools should focus on teaching “technology as an object of inquiry” rather than just technical skills.

  2. New technologies like computers often undermine important educational goals like learning social values, responsibility, and group cohesion. Students working alone on computers do not get the benefits of social interaction and learning with others that schools provide. Schools have purposes beyond just imparting information and skills.

  3. It is unlikely that new technologies will equalize opportunities between rich and poor students. There will likely be uneven access to technology and resources. And technology cannot solve underlying issues like poverty, family problems, and inequality that strongly impact children’s learning. Schools and teachers are better able to address these kinds of problems.

  4. Enthusiasm for new technologies often reflects an unrealistic, idealized view of children as only interested in learning for its own sake. But many children face serious challenges, distractions, and problems that profoundly impact their learning and development. Technology cannot solve these human problems—only schools and teachers can help address them.

  5. Schools and teachers should not be reduced to just facilitating the use of technology. They serve irreplaceable human purposes in educating and socializing children that machines and computers cannot fulfill. New technologies should enhance and support the role of schools and teachers, not replace them.

In summary, the author argues for a more balanced, human-centered approach to technology in education that recognizes both its promises and its limitations. Schools and teachers must maintain their traditional roles in cultivating not just skills but social learning, values, and relationships. And they must help students develop a critical perspective on how technologies shape society and themselves. New technologies should support rather than supplant these essential human purposes of education.

The author argues that we should be more modest in our expectations of technology and not pin our hopes on it as a panacea. While we can be empathetic towards those searching for easy solutions, technology is not the answer. The author cites examples from history of new technologies that were thought to revolutionize education, like radio, film, and television, but did not.

The author then discusses the “false god” of multiculturalism. This ideology taken to an extreme sees white Europeans as inherently evil and nonwhites as inherently good. Proponents argue that Eurocentric knowledge and narratives must be replaced. The author distinguishes this extreme version from the more reasonable idea of cultural pluralism, which aims to incorporate diverse cultures into the broader American story.

The author says that proponents of multiculturalism understand the human need for meaning and narrative. However, the narrative they promote is flawed. They highlight the evils of white history and downplay more positive aspects. All narratives omit unsavory details, but that does not undermine their ideals or purpose. The realities of how people live up to ideals does not discredit the ideals themselves.

In summary, the key points are:

  1. Technology should not be seen as a panacea for education’s problems.

  2. An extreme version of multiculturalism promotes a harmful narrative that labels white Europeans as inherently evil.

  3. All narratives omit negative details, but that does not undermine their purpose or ideals. Judging a narrative by how well people live up to its ideals is misguided.

  4. Cultural pluralism, in contrast, aims to celebrate diversity within the broader American story. This is a more reasonable approach.

  5. Proponents of multiculturalism understand the human need for narrative and meaning, but promote a flawed narrative.

The passage argues against promoting an Afrocentric curriculum in public schools. The author says that while the Eurocentric narrative of American history has ignored and oppressed African Americans, creating an opposing Afrocentric narrative is not the solution and will not work.

The author gives several reasons why an Afrocentric curriculum will not work:

  1. It is not practical because most of the public is of European origin and will not support a curriculum that portrays them as evil. Likewise, non-whites would not support a curriculum that assumes they are inferior.

  2. It leads to division and Balkanization rather than bringing people together. If there are Afrocentric schools for African Americans, then other ethnic groups will want their own centric schools, undermining the idea of a shared public education.

  3. It promotes a “privatizing of the mind” that makes it impossible to create a shared public consciousness. The author gives the example of some in the audience cheering a murderer just because he targeted whites, showing the division that can result.

  4. Public schools should aim to create Americans, not hyphenated Americans. They should erase or diminish ethnic and racial distinctions, not intensify them.

  5. Schools do not create narratives on their own but reflect the beliefs and values of the broader society. They can emphasize some beliefs over others but cannot invent new gods or narratives from scratch. They reflect the prevailing gods of the time, like economic utility or technology or separatism.

The author acknowledges that while Eurocentric narratives have excluded and oppressed, the solution is not an opposing Afrocentric narrative but a narrative that inspires and includes all groups, “telling the story of every group…with an emphasis on the various struggles to achieve humanity.” The public schools should promote such an inclusive narrative to create a shared American identity, not intensify racial or ethnic identities.

In summary, the passage argues against Afrocentric curricula in schools and for an inclusive narrative that can bind together a racially and ethnically diverse democratic public.

The author argues that we need new narratives to provide purpose and guidance for public schools. One such narrative is the idea of “Spaceship Earth”—that we are all crew members responsible for the well-being of our planet. This narrative:

•Binds people together by showing our interdependence and shared responsibility.

•Makes issues like racism and pollution global problems, not just local ones.

•Does not contradict traditional religions or national identities. One can embrace this narrative while still being, e.g., Christian, Muslim or American.

•Contrasts with narratives promoting national superiority, which the author sees as misguided and limiting.

The “spaceship earth” narrative gives schools a moral purpose in educating children to be stewards of the planet. It appeals especially to youth, as shown in films like E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Though not a new idea, this narrative is still developing and imperfect. But it holds promise for guiding schools and bringing people together around our shared responsibility for the earth. The author sees it as a story that can “animate” us and even provide a sense of “transcendence” for public schools.

So in summary, the key argument is that the “spaceship earth” narrative should help guide public schools by promoting global responsibility, interdependence and stewardship of the planet.

The author argues that the phrase “America, America” represents a desperate attempt to find meaning and purpose. While sympathetic to those who promote this idea, the author believes it is misguided and unlikely to provide a satisfactory narrative for most people.

The author proposes an alternative narrative based on the metaphor of the “fallen angel.” This is a religious story that acknowledges human fallibility and imperfect understanding. The key idea is that we are prone to making mistakes and errors, but we have the ability to gradually correct them and improve our knowledge and condition. Science exemplifies this narrative in its methodical process of making conjectures and then trying to falsify them. However, the author notes that even scientists can fall into the trap of believing they have found absolute truth.

The author argues that the desire for absolute or ultimate knowledge is dangerous and has led to atrocities like the Holocaust. Citing Jacob Bronowski, the author claims we must cure ourselves of the “itch for absolute knowledge.” Simply promoting critical thinking or more science education will not achieve this. Schools should help students avoid both indifference and blind nationalism.

The author proposes telling the story of America as an “experiment” and an “open question.” Rather than promoting a belief in America’s superiority, this narrative acknowledges both the virtues and mistakes of America’s history. It portrays America as unique, admirable, and still unfulfilled in its promise. This story includes both the native inhabitants of America as well as the European colonists and the ideas they brought with them. Overall, this narrative aims to give students hope and purpose while avoiding blind dogmatism.

In summary, the author argues for an approach to education that acknowledges human fallibility and avoids the quest for certainty or absolute truth. The story of America as an unfinished experiment that has both successes and failures exemplifies this approach. This narrative gives students pride in their country while still encouraging openness, humility, and progress.

  • The American experiment is based on continual argument and debate around fundamental questions of freedom, human nature, democracy, and citizenship. These debates involve all citizens and draw on wisdom from diverse sources. The key is that the arguments continue, rather than ceasing in violence.

  • E.D. Hirsch’s idea of “cultural literacy” aims to promote a common culture through teaching a shared body of knowledge. However, his list of essential facts is arbitrary and ignores meaning and narratives. A narrative-based approach is better for creating shared culture.

  • Diversity should be celebrated in schools, but not for the purpose of “revenge” or promoting narrow group interests. An excessive focus on one’s own ethnic group can lead to isolation, parochialism, and hostility.

  • Promoting diversity to raise the self-esteem of students from marginalized groups may have some merit, but risks missing the larger purpose of public education - promoting a shared civic consciousness and identity as citizens.

  • In summary, the key to American education is bringing together diverse voices and sources of wisdom through a shared process of open debate and argumentation around questions of shared political and cultural meaning. The goal is not to diminish diversity but to build a common civic bond from diverse strands.

The summary articulates some key principles: valuing diversity, promoting shared meaning and civic identity, drawing on diverse wisdom traditions, focusing on open debate rather than narrow interests, and cautions against approaches that could exacerbate divisions rather than build unity. The vision is one of argumentation and shared political meaning as an alternative to violence and parochialism. Overall it’s a vision of civic unity through diversity, debate and shared democratic values.

  • Cornel West argues that we must cultivate a shared culture and sense of purpose to combat divisive forces in society.
  • The second law of thermodynamics shows that disorder (entropy) increases over time in the universe. However, there are countervailing forces (referred to as “negentropic”) that create order and organization.
  • English, unlike Latin, has thrived by adapting words and influences from many other languages over time. This diversity has given English vitality and creativity. In contrast, Latin stagnated and died.
  • Diversity leads to excellence because it allows the expansion and enrichment of standards. Differences in culture and tradition do not make standards meaningless but instead allow them to grow over time.
  • The stories of human progress across fields demonstrate how diversity and the mixing of different ideas have enriched human activity. Learning about influential historical figures should be because of their excellence and the standards they set, not because of their gender, race, religion, or other attributes.
  • An anecdote illustrates how schools often fail to teach some of the most important events in human history, such as the invention of the printing press. Fortunately, a sixth-grade teacher’s passing remark was enough to spark Elizabeth Eisenstein’s lifelong interest in the topic.

In summary, the key ideas are: 1) diversity combats divisiveness and entropy; 2) diversity expands and enriches standards of excellence; 3) we should study influential figures because of their excellence, not their attributes; and 4) schools often fail to teach some of the most crucial events in human progress. A shared culture and purpose come from recognizing our common humanity.

  • The author recalls an experience from fifth grade where his teacher, Mrs. Soybel, told the class that language is God’s greatest gift to humanity and what makes us human. However, the topic was never discussed in depth.

  • The origin of human speech is a mystery. We don’t know exactly when or why humans first began to speak. Some theorize it was for survival, but others like philosopher Susanne Langer believed it was to transform the world through symbols, for aesthetic reasons. Humans spend a lot of time talking to themselves, not just for survival.

  • Language shapes how we see and experience the world. It allows us to name things, but also determines what we pay attention to and consider things. For example, words like “time” and “yesterday/today/tomorrow” shape our perception of time as moving in a straight line. We create worlds through language.

  • Teachers often miss the opportunity to teach students about the power of language in shaping thought and morality. How we use language has moral implications. Language also has social implications, determining politics, taste, loyalty, and more. By changing language, we change ourselves.

  • Language governs how we think and what we consider knowledge. For example, Aristotle and medieval philosophers were limited by their languages in how they theorized about thought and the world. Heidegger believed only German could express philosophical ideas, showing how language shapes thought.

  • The story of human language is about how we have used it to transform the world, and in turn been transformed. Though we are “toolmakers,” language is more than just a tool. Each new form of communication, from writing to the Internet, has reshaped the world.

In summary, the key ideas are that language profoundly shapes human thought, experience, society, and morality. Though the power of language was recognized by the author’s teacher, it deserves far more attention and education. Language makes us human by allowing us to construct worlds, not just describe them.

The story is set in a futuristic New York City that is in a state of decay and disorder. The city government declares a state of emergency but is unable to come up with solutions. An aide to the mayor comes up with the idea of mobilizing the city’s students to help address various problems. He proposes removing students from classrooms and having them work on environmental repair and beautification projects around the city.

Despite initial complaints, the plan is put into action. Students are assigned tasks like neighborhood cleanups, planting trees, directing traffic, delivering mail, running daycares, tutoring younger students, and substituting for some adult jobs. The goal is to get the city back into working order through the energy and efforts of the students. By participating in these real-world tasks, the students end up learning through experience.

The key message or moral of the story seems to be that practical experience and participating in purposeful work or civic activities can be a valuable form of education for students. Rather than keeping students confined to classrooms, an alternative model of education has them directly involved in solving actual community problems and learning through that real-world experience.

So in summary, the story illustrates an alternative vision of student education where the focus is on learning through practical experience engaging with and helping to solve issues facing the local community. The students become active participants in bettering and sustaining the city rather than passive recipients of education in a classroom.

  • The passage describes a hypothetical city where college students take an active role in community service by assisting with various activities like running a transit service, giving parking tickets, organizing educational seminars, etc.

  • This leads to several benefits like reduced traffic and pollution, lower crime rates, an engaged and educated citizenry, and a renewed sense of community. However, it also leads to some problems like less focus on traditional classroom education and difficulties in grading students.

  • The author argues that while the specific activities in the fable may be unrealistic, the central idea of students taking responsibility for and serving their community is valuable. Engaging students in this way can give education more meaning and help students develop a sense of responsibility for the environment. It can also tap into youthful energy and idealism in a constructive way.

  • The author proposes an alternative, more realistic idea of restructuring education to prioritize subjects like archaeology, anthropology, and astronomy which can cultivate a “big picture” perspective. However, this proposal also faces challenges given how entrenched the current subject areas and education system are.

  • In summary, the central themes of the passage are:

  1. Students benefit greatly from taking an active role in and responsibility for their community. This helps education become more meaningful and impactful.

  2. A “big picture” perspective focused on humanity’s place in the universe and relationship with the environment should be a higher priority in education.

  3. While there are challenges to implementing new ideas in education, it is worth considering given the limitations of the current system.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key details and main themes of the passage? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

  • In the past, subjects like music, art and geography were considered “minor” subjects in schools and did not receive much focus. Today, subjects like computer science and media studies are considered important. Curricula and subjects are not static and change over time for various reasons.

  • Teachers and administrators would benefit from studying the history of subjects and how curricula have evolved. This would help them avoid rigidly adhering to certain subjects and categories. For example, “English” only became an official school subject in the U.S. in the 1920s. Subjects that were once important, like logic and rhetoric, are now minimized. Subjects vary across cultures, e.g. archery and etiquette were major subjects in ancient China.

  • The author argues that archaeology should be an important subject in schools today. Studying ancient civilizations like the Sumerians, Babylonians and Chinese helps students gain perspective on human history and connection with the Earth. These ancient peoples were remarkably advanced and invented writing, mathematics, poetry, etc. Studying them helps us see connections across time.

  • Archaeology should be taught from an early age through college in an increasingly sophisticated way. Some may object that it is not a “basic” subject, but determining what is basic is complex. Archaeology helps provide meaning and context about human existence.

  • Teaching archaeology requires both knowledge and tact. Some students may adhere to beliefs, e.g. young Earth creationism, that contradict the scientific evidence from archaeology. Educators should present archaeology as a narrative, not an absolute truth that invalidates all other beliefs. Profound ideas from different domains (e.g. science and religion) can co-exist. The intentions and purposes of these ideas are different. Science and religion can benefit from each other.

  • Anthropology also exposes students to diverse worldviews and helps combat close-mindedness. The diversity of cultures and beliefs in the Star Trek universe is a useful metaphor for what anthropology teaches.

  • The metaphor of spaceship Earth suggests that humans of diverse cultures, races, and beliefs must find ways to live harmoniously together on our planet. Different groups have different knowledge, traditions, and worldviews that can either lead to conflict or cooperation. Anthropology can help foster understanding between groups by examining both differences and commonalities.

  • Astronomy is an ideal subject to cultivate a sense of global responsibility in students. By revealing the immense scale and complexity of the universe, astronomy inspires awe and highlights our interconnectedness and shared fate on this “spaceship.” Studying astronomy’s history also shows how science progresses by overcoming mistakes and false beliefs.

  • The ancient philosophers and astronomers like Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno, and others represent the human struggle for knowledge. Their stories show the ambition, curiosity, drama, and even tragedy inherent in the quest to understand the cosmos. Though we now know far more than these early thinkers, astronomy retains its profoundly human elements.

  • Some key ideas in the summary are:

  1. Difference and commonality: There are many differences between human groups, but also shared interests, like survival on our planet.

  2. Awe and interdependence: Astronomy reveals the immense scale of the universe and our shared existence within it.

  3. Overcoming mistakes: The history of astronomy shows how science progresses by correcting errors and false beliefs.

  4. Human elements of science: Astronomy represents the fundamentally human struggle to understand the world around us.

  5. Responsibility: Recognizing our “spaceship Earth” demands that we act responsibly to ensure its survival.

So in short, the key message is that studying subjects like anthropology and astronomy can cultivate a global perspective in students by fostering understanding between groups, inspiring awe in our shared world, showing how knowledge progresses, and highlighting our responsibility to the planet. A historical approach to these topics reveals their humanistic as well as scientific elements.

The author discusses three ideas to improve teaching that have been largely ignored. The first is to have teachers rotate through different subjects to gain empathy for students and a fresh perspective. The second is to eliminate textbooks, which are poorly written, present knowledge as indisputable facts, and lack a human voice. In response to a question about what would replace textbooks, the author says that eliminating them would be an improvement, just as eliminating polio was an improvement.

The third idea is to have students carefully evaluate what teachers say in order to identify errors, flawed reasoning, and opinions presented as facts. The author acknowledges this idea was proposed by a group aiming to expose left-wing bias, but says the idea itself is a good one if applied impartially. Teachers should openly invite students to scrutinize what they say and offer corrections and alternative interpretations. This helps focus students’ attention, promotes critical thinking, and counters the common message that school is a place to learn established truths, not question them.

The key points are:

  1. Having teachers rotate through different subjects could improve teaching by building empathy and new perspectives.

  2. Eliminating textbooks could improve teaching by removing poorly written, indisputable, and impersonal “truths” from the classroom.

  3. Having students systematically evaluate what teachers say, with the teachers’ invitation and encouragement, could focus attention, build critical thinking, and counter the view of school as a place for learning established truths.

  4. These ideas aim to renew a sense of the difference between teaching and learning and to promote a different narrative of school that values questioning ideas and recognizing errors.

The summary covers the three main ideas the author presents to improve teaching, the reasons and arguments given to support them, the author’s response to a possible objection, and the overall narrative the ideas push back against. The assistant extracts the essence and logically organizes the key details, arguments, and messages in the response.

The author argues that “critical thinking” should focus more on detecting and reducing errors rather than justifying one’s beliefs. The popular “cultural literacy” movement encourages students to memorize facts without questioning them or considering their sources and implications. This leads to “justification-ism,” the tendency to defend one’s beliefs without examining them.

The author argues that education should aim to produce people who are aware of their own fallibility and the fallibility of others, not “fanatics.” Teachers should see themselves not as “truth tellers” imparting knowledge but as “error detectors” helping students reduce mistakes. Like doctors identifying illness and lawyers identifying injustice, teachers should focus on relieving students of the “burdens of error.”

The study of error has a long history, including in the works of Plato, Erasmus, Swift, and others. Recognizing the abundance of error, including their own, should give teachers humility. Unlike intelligence, error is something we do, not something we have. It can be reduced. Most error is found in speech - in the sentences we say aloud or think. Teachers could become experts in identifying error-prone ways of talking.

Knowledge is really knowledge of the language used to discuss a subject. Biology, history, astronomy, and other fields are forms of discourse, not just facts. Students must learn not just definitions but how to ask meaningful questions, recognize metaphors, and understand the relationship between words and what they describe. They need a “metalanguage” to recognize and avoid error.

In summary, the author believes education should focus on developing critical thinking by detecting and reducing errors in thinking and speech. This requires understanding language and how we use it to express ideas. Teachers should aim to relieve students of mistaken beliefs and ways of thinking, not just instill knowledge.

The author criticizes a report by the New York State Curriculum and Assessment Council for its use of cliches and exhausted ideas. The report outlines recommendations based on “A New Compact for Learning” adopted in 1991. One key principle of this compact is that “all children can learn,” suggesting the previous compact did not believe this. Another is that education should “aim at mastery,” an unoriginal idea. A third is that education should reward success and remedy failure, which could be interesting to discuss.

However, the report is painful to read due to its lack of literary style and overuse of cliches. The author finds the report filled with “standard-brand stuff” and “thoroughly exhausted” cliches. The recommendations are intended to “bring to life” the key principles, but the principles themselves are not particularly original or thought-provoking. The author believes a more interesting discussion could be had around rewarding success and remedying failure, but the report does not seem to delve into such a discussion.

In summary, the author criticizes the style, originality, and depth of analysis in the report. The cliched language and restatement of unoriginal principles make it difficult to read, and it does not explore its more thought-provoking ideas in an interesting or meaningful way. The author seems unimpressed with the work of the thirty educators who contributed to the report.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key points and opinions in the passage? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

  • The report by the New York Board of Regents experts lists 41 goals for students but lacks a goal of nurturing love for one’s country. The author views this as a missed opportunity to provide students with a transcending narrative.

  • The author proposes exposing students to key documents and ideas that showcase America as an experiment in freedom and democracy, including the works of Paine, Jefferson, Madison, de Tocqueville as well as key speeches. This narrative can inspire students of all ages.

  • The author proposes four key questions/experiments that characterize American culture:

  1. Is it possible to have a coherent yet free culture that allows freedom of thought and expression? This question dates back to before the founding of America. Even young students can examine arguments around key ideas like freedom, equality, due process. Older students can explore more complex arguments.

  2. Students should know the First Amendment by heart as it embodies an answer to the question of freedom of expression. While educators frown upon rote learning, some things like the First Amendment (45 words) are worth memorizing.

  3. As students progress, the study of freedom of expression should deepen. Arguments and documents should become more complex. It should be clear that arguments are ongoing, especially around modern issues like pornography, freedom of the press, prayer in schools.

  4. Exams could have students argue a current issue around the First Amendment from the perspective of Paine, Jefferson or Madison. Or have them rewrite the First Amendment for today, explaining their changes or lack of changes.

  • In summary, the author argues for centering the teaching of American students around the story of America as an experiment in freedom and democracy. Exploring the key questions and arguments, both historical and current, around freedom of expression can inspire students and promote an affection for America.

The author discusses four great American social experiments that should be taught to students:

  1. The experiment of self-government and democracy. There are arguments over how to interpret key parts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that students should understand.

  2. The experiment of creating a coherent culture out of diversity. There have been arguments over immigration, assimilation, and racism that students should know about.

  3. The experiment of providing public education. There are arguments over the role of public vs. private schools and the meaning of education itself that students should discuss.

  4. The experiment of balancing technology and tradition. There are arguments for and against technological progress that students should consider by reading works of science fiction and philosophy.

In summary, the author believes students should learn about these social experiments and arguments because they shape American society and students’ own lives. Though the arguments are complex, students are capable of grasping and participating in them. Teachers should introduce these ideas to encourage students to think critically about them.

The key arguments in the passage are:

  1. There is an ongoing debate about whether technology enhances or diminishes human well-being. This debate dates back to the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution. On the one hand, some argue that technology leads to “spiritual degradation.” On the other hand, others argue that technology has improved standards of living and expanded opportunities.

  2. In the modern era, this debate has focused on electronic media and digital technologies. There are open questions about how these technologies impact freedom of expression, culture, education, and more. While these questions are complex, they are important for young people to consider since they have grown up with these technologies.

  3. One approach to addressing these questions is to have students study the ongoing debates and arguments about technology and society. Exploring these debates can give students insight into key aspects of American culture, namely a spirit of experimentation and argument.

  4. Schools are often tasked with addressing various social problems and issues. However, teachers are not necessarily equipped or trained to take on all of these responsibilities, such as serving as “priests, psychologists, therapists, political reformers, social workers, sex advisers, or parents.” While schools may need to fill in gaps left by other institutions, they cannot replace these other institutions.

  5. One topic schools can effectively address is promoting an understanding of diversity. An understanding of diversity helps students appreciate cultural differences and how interactions between groups have shaped society. This is different from promoting “ethnic pride,” which focuses inward on one’s own group. Four ways to study diversity include through language, religion, custom, and art.

  6. The English language itself reflects the diversity of influences on English culture. English has adopted thousands of words from French, Scandinavian, and Germanic languages due to invasions and conquests of Britain over centuries. Studying the origins of English words and language can give students insight into cultural diversity.

That covers the essence of the key arguments and points in the overall passage on technology, education, diversity, and language. Please let me know if you would like me to elaborate on any part of this summary.

  • The author notes that English has borrowed words from many languages, reflecting the diversity of cultural influences on English. Studying the origins of English words and the history of the language provides insight into cultural interactions and diversity.

  • The author argues that language study, including studying the diverse origins of English words and learning foreign languages, helps promote appreciation of diversity and different worldviews. Learning another language exposes one to different ways of thinking about and describing the world.

  • The author relates an anecdote of teaching seventh graders about the diverse origins of English food words and names to spark their interest in language history and promote understanding of diversity. The author says language study and promoting diversity can start at an early age.

  • The author argues that foreign language education has failed in the U.S. for various reasons, including starting too late, poor teaching, and the dominance of English. However, learning other languages is important to expose people to different worldviews and prepare students for a globalized world. The author proposes making other languages “official” for periods of time to encourage foreign language learning.

  • The author notes the uneasy relationship between religion and public schools in the U.S. due to the separation of church and state. However, the author argues that schools should not ignore religion completely, as it remains an important part of cultures and history. Teaching about religion in an objective, academic way can promote understanding of diversity. Completely avoiding religion gives students an incomplete understanding of history and culture.

  • In summary, the author argues that education should promote diversity and cross-cultural understanding. Learning about language, religion, and culture—especially those different from one’s own—helps achieve this goal and prepares students for participation in a global society. Objective, academic study of these topics should be part of the curriculum.

• Public schools today are cautious about referencing religion, but this was not the case in the past. The author recalls singing Christian carols in elementary school, even though most students were Jewish or nonreligious. No one seemed to protest.

• However, today many argue that schools should not impose Christian practices on students of other faiths or no faith. The author agrees with this view.

• Still, the author argues that schools should not ignore religion altogether. Religion has played an important role in culture, the arts, and human questions about meaning and purpose. Students should learn about world religions to understand human diversity and shared quests for meaning.

• Teaching about religion must be done carefully and respectfully, without disparaging any faith as “mythology.” The goal should be to treat all religions with dignity and recognize they serve similar functions for different groups.

• Comparative religion courses can show how religions have influenced each other and changed over time. They can promote tolerance by showing the common human quest for meaning across faiths. However, some students and parents may believe their faith is the only truth, making such courses challenging.

• Educators must be respectful while also honest in showing how religious beliefs are dynamic and have evolved. Focusing on history and shared human purposes may help address differences over exclusive claims of truth. The law protects both religious belief and dissent.

• The Founding Fathers, like Jefferson and Paine, were deists who valued God but doubted organized religion. Their views show religion’s complex role in U.S. history and law.

• In summary, while schools must avoid imposing any religion, they should find respectful ways to teach students about religious diversity and the role of faith in human culture and meaning. Honest, inclusive education can promote understanding across differences.

The passage discusses the importance of understanding cultural diversity and promoting tolerance. The author argues that while superficial acknowledgment of cultural differences, such as ethnic food festivals, is good, true understanding requires delving into deeper aspects of culture like beliefs, customs, and values. This can be uncomfortable, but is necessary in an increasingly global world.

The author suggests introducing the study of anthropology and sociology to help students understand cultural diversity in a meaningful way. This could involve studying the native cultural groups represented in the classroom as well as very different cultures from around the world. The key is to approach these studies with an open and inquiring mind, trying to understand cultures on their own terms rather than judging them. The author gives examples like trying to understand the values and logic behind Singapore’s laws or China’s preference for male children. While cultural practices may sometimes seem unjustified or bizarre, every culture has reasons for its customs that make sense within that culture.

The author argues that this kind of open-minded study of cultural diversity should be an important part of education. Exposure to different belief systems and ways of thinking helps foster understanding and combat ignorance, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness. At the same time, the author acknowledges that some cultural practices may be problematic or unethical, so open-mindedness should not preclude all judgment. The goal is really to first understand, and then thoughtfully consider the ethics and value of cultural differences.

In summary, the central point is that education should promote deep understanding of cultural diversity through open-minded study of cultural beliefs and practices from around the world. This helps students become tolerant, insightful, and better able to navigate in an increasingly global society.

  1. The author argues that we should take arts and culture more seriously in education for the purpose of cultivating diversity. He believes the arts reveal the unity and continuity of human experience, as well as how different groups express themselves. He recommends making museums and artifacts a subject of study to understand what it means to be human.

  2. Museums provide partial answers to the question of human nature. They make assertions about humanity that can enrich or contradict each other. No museum provides the complete or right answer. More museums provide a more comprehensive portrait. Some museums are more useful than others at different times, depending on a culture’s needs.

  3. Museums are political institutions that provide answers about human nature within a historical context to address contemporary problems. The story a museum tells can serve society’s better or worse nature. The author asks what kind of museum would be created in 1930s Berlin to make a point about a museum’s political role.

  4. The author proposes making museums a high school or college subject. A project could ask students to design a museum for their community that conveys a message about human nature through artifacts and art. This interdisciplinary course would demonstrate human diversity. The study of museums can lead to the study of artifacts and art.

  5. Not all people are equally receptive to different art forms that speak in different “languages.” Students today have a high receptivity to popular contemporary arts but a limited ability to understand traditional, classical arts. Schools should expose students to classical arts and literature to cultivate a diversity of sensibilities, even as they may enjoy popular arts. The popular arts can mute traditional arts and make their excellence invisible. The author does not oppose popular arts but says schools should not let them monopolize students.

In summary, the author believes studying arts, culture, and museums can cultivate an appreciation of human diversity. Exposure to a range of art forms, from popular to traditional, helps develop sensibility. Museums make assertions about human nature, and students can analyze museums’ messages. Overall, these subjects help promote understanding across groups.

The author argues that schools do students a disservice by teaching definitions, questions, and metaphors in a superficial manner without examining them systematically. Students come to believe that definitions are fixed and metaphors are merely decorative. In reality:

  1. Definitions are human constructs created for particular purposes. There are often multiple definitions of the same term. Students should understand how and why particular definitions were created.

  2. Questions are the principal intellectual tools humans have to gain knowledge. But schools rarely teach students how to develop and ask good questions. This omission handicaps students.

  3. Metaphors are not just poetic ornaments. They are fundamental tools that we use to perceive and understand the world. Scientists, historians, and others employ metaphors to convey insights, not just poets. Metaphors enable us to see one thing in terms of another.

The author criticizes schools for failing to teach these concepts in a deep, reflective manner. Students would benefit greatly from discussing and analyzing definitions, questions, and metaphors to grasp them fully. Simply providing definitions and examples, as schools commonly do, gives students a superficial and flawed understanding of these essential tools for thinking and communicating.

The summary covers the three main points regarding definitions, questions, and metaphors that the author develops through examples and arguments. The key criticisms of schools and the benefits of a richer instruction on these topics are captured. While concise, the summary conveys the essence and significance of the author’s perspective.

The author argues that metaphor plays a central role in shaping our understanding of the world. The metaphors underlying a subject or field of study provide insight into its fundamental assumptions and ideas. However, scholars and educators often fail to examine the metaphors that structure the subjects they study and teach.

The author provides several examples of how metaphors shape thinking. The metaphors we use to describe the mind, like “a dark cavern,” “a muscle,” or “a computer,” reflect very different views of the nature of the mind. The metaphors used to describe students, like “patients,” “troops,” or “resources,” imply different relationships between students and teachers. Even simple verbs like “is” or “does” can function as powerful metaphors that convey assumptions about the way the world works.

The author criticizes the common view of intelligence as something people “have” in quantifiable amounts, as reflected in IQ tests. This metaphor implies that intelligence is a fixed property rather than something that depends on context and performance. The author argues that studying how language shapes thought should be central to education, but notes several reasons why it is often neglected. These include lack of education on the topic for teachers, the perception that the topic is too complex for students, and its interdisciplinary nature.

The author highlights the work of Alfred Korzybski, who explored the relationship between language and reality in a systematic way. Korzybski was concerned with why science led to progress while human affairs seemed to lead to catastrophe. He believed exploring the role of language in shaping thought could help address this. The author argues Korzybski’s work provides a useful framework for introducing students to how language influences thinking, though his ideas are often neglected or misunderstood in academia.

In summary, the author believes metaphor and language profoundly shape how we understand the world, and that educating students about this process is crucial for gaining “greater control of our situation.” Studying language as “world-maker” should thus be central to education.

Here is a summary of the historic forms of human degradation according to Korzybski:

  1. Humans are unique in their capacity for abstracting, which is the process of selecting, omitting, and organizing details of reality to construct a coherent experience of the world. Abstraction allows us to generalize experiences and accumulate knowledge over time. However, it also distances us from the raw reality of events.

  2. Language is the primary means by which we abstract and bind time. Words are symbols that summarize and categorize experiences. However, words do not directly correspond to reality. As Korzybski said, “Whatever we say something is, it is not.” Language shapes how we construct reality.

  3. Different languages construct reality in different ways. The concepts and categories embedded in language influence how we think. Language tells us not just what we can say but what we should say - what is meaningful to conceptualize.

  4. Scientists are more aware of the abstracting process and distortions in language. They are more flexible in revising their symbolic representations to match reality. Korzybski aimed to promote this scientific orientation toward language in everyday life.

  5. Definitions and metaphors are particularly powerful linguistic tools that shape reality. We must recognize that definitions serve particular purposes and do not represent absolute truth. Alternative definitions abound, and we should not be intellectually paralyzed by any one definition.

  6. Jokes also highlight how language constructs meaning. Determining what constitutes a “joke” and why certain utterances are legally prohibited reveals the ambiguity of language and its dependence on context. Language relies on unspoken assumptions and shared cultural knowledge. When these break down, confusion and misunderstanding result.

So in summary, Korzybski argued human degradation results from uncritical acceptance of the linguistic abstractions that shape our experience of reality. By recognizing language as a tool for constructing meaning rather than as a direct reflection of truth, we can gain more flexibility, creativity, and understanding in thought. We can perceive reality through multiple linguistic frames rather than being trapped in any one.

Based on the information provided, here is a summary of your legal status:

• Whether or not you have told a joke depends on who has the authority to define what constitutes a joke in a given situation. In most social situations, popular opinion will determine if something qualifies as a joke. In legal situations, a judge or jury will make that determination. So your legal status depends on who has the power to define and enforce definitions.

• There are no absolute or objective definitions. Definitions depend on the context and who has the power to define. Social order requires official definitions and authorities to enforce them. When those in power enforce irrational definitions, it can have absurd consequences.

• The metaphors and language we use shape how we perceive and describe the world. Different metaphors can lead to very different perceptions and descriptions of the same thing, like language. There are many ways to explore how language relates to reality, including:

› Studying how Helen Keller came to understand language and the world through language.

› Teaching students how the language and discourse of different subjects is formed, including how questions, definitions, and metaphors are created and have changed over time. This includes exploring how terms like “truth” and “theory” are used in each subject.

› Analyzing the rhetoric and style of different subjects, since each has its own way of speaking and writing. Speaking or writing in a particular subject is a kind of performance that varies across subjects.

› Exploring how different technologies have allowed humans to transcend space and time, and how those technologies have shaped culture, society, and politics. Most students know little about the history and impact of fundamental technologies like the alphabet, the clock, the printing press, and so on.

So in summary, your legal status in telling a joke depends entirely on who has the power to define what qualifies as a joke in your particular situation. There are no absolute definitions, only those enforced by authorities. And language, including definitions and metaphors, shapes how we perceive and understand the world in a way that varies across contexts. Technology is an extension of language that has profoundly shaped society in ways most people barely comprehend.

  • The author titled the book “The End of Education” to convey ambiguity and pessimism about the future of education. However, the book itself proposes narratives that could give education more purpose and make it more intellectual and spiritual.

  • The author acknowledges, however, that he is not very confident these ideas will work. The ideas rest on assumptions that may not hold, including:

  1. The idea of “school” itself will endure. However, some argue schools are outdated 19th century inventions and too expensive.

  2. The idea of “public schools” is good. However, some argue there is too much diversity of views and grievances for a shared vision or principles.

  3. The idea of “childhood” still exists. However, signs point to childhood disappearing, e.g. many kids bring weapons to school.

  • In summary, while the book proposes ideas to improve education, the author recognizes the real possibility of “the end of education” as we know it, given the questionable endurance of schools, public schools, and even childhood itself. There are arguments that schools are obsolete, public interests too fragmented, and childhood disappearing.

  • The epilogue conveys a rather sobering and pessimistic tone about the future of education, even as the book itself tried to provide more hopeful and purposeful narratives for education. The author seems to suggest the assumptions underlying his proposals may not withstand the forces working against them.

That’s my summary and analysis of the key points and tone conveyed in the epilogue. Please let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

  • The author expresses skepticism about claims that American culture has become less supportive of childhood and that certain social indicators show negative trends. However, the author still sees value in schooling and believes it will endure.

  • The author discusses how gods, or dominant belief systems and ideals, that a society holds can fail over time. Some examples are the quest for absolute knowledge or truth, the idea that schools should primarily serve economic goals, and overreliance on technology as a panacea in education.

  • The author proposes some new gods, or ideals, that could better serve society. These include recognizing diversity, teaching cultural literacy and civic responsibility, reassessing curriculum to focus more on anthropology and comparative religion, and embracing cultural pluralism.

  • The author uses the metaphor of spaceship earth to convey the idea that we all share the planet, so we must find a way to live together in harmony while respecting diversity. The American Experiment, or democratic system of government, depends on this.

  • The author emphasizes the importance of narrative, metaphor, and language in shaping thought. Curriculum should include the study of word weaving and world making.

  • The author concludes that while some gods have failed us, new ones are still needed. Hope lies in embracing diversity, reimagining curriculum, and reviving the American Experiment. But we must avoid dogmatism and remember that any belief system or ideal can fail if taken to an extreme. Moderation and tolerance are key.

The summary touches on the author’s main points regarding the gods or ideals societies live by, their tendency to fail when taken to extremes or clung to stubbornly, the need for new gods that embrace diversity and cultural pluralism, the power of narrative and metaphor, and the importance of civic ideals like democracy. The author takes a hopeful yet cautionary perspective, encouraging open-mindedness, reexamination of assumptions, and moderation.

A summary of words correlated with gods including: faith, narrative, family, Faraday, Farrakhan, fascism, feminism, amendments, freedom of expression, Freud, Prisch, Frye, Fukuyama, Fulghum, Galbraith, Galileo, Gandhi, Gardner, Geiger, genesis, genetics, geography, geology, geometry, German, Gilgamesh, global consciousness, god(s), good and evil, Goodman, Gould, Goya, graduate school, grammar, Great Britain, Great Conversation, Greek mythology, Greeks ancient, group interaction.

H-words include: Hamilton, harmonics, Havel, Hawking, Hayakawa, Hagel, Heidegger, Heisenberg, Heller, Heraclitus, higher and lower levels, high school, Hindu, Hirsch, history, Hitler, Hobbes, Hoffer, homelessness, homosexuality, Hughes, humanism, humility, Hutchins, Huxley (2),

I-words: Ibsen, immigrant, individualism, inductive science, industrial revolution, information, IQ test, Iraq, Irish, Irvine, Italians.

J-words: James, Jefferson, Jeffries, Jehovah, Jesus, Jews, Job, John Paul II, Johnson,

K-words: Kant, Kay, Keats, Keller, Kennedy, Kepler, kindergarten, King, knowledge, Know-Nothing party, Koestler, Korzybski.

L-words: Langer, language, Lao-Tzu, Latin, Latinos, law of diversity, lawyers, Lazarus, Lee, Levi-Strauss, Lewis, Lincoln, literacy, Locke, logic, Lucretius, lunch, Luther.

M-words: Machiavelli, Madison, manners, market economy, Marquez, Marx, mastery, materialism, mathematics, May, Mcintosh, McLuhan, meaning, media, melting-pot, Melville, memorization, Mencken, metalanguage, metaphors, metaphysics, Metrodorus, Millay, Miller, Milton, Minsky, mistakes, Moliere, monolingualism, moral conduct, Morris, Moses, motivation, movies, Mozart, Muller, multiculturalism, Mumford, museums, music, Muslims, myth,

Narrative, narratives (many), National Academy of Sciences, National Center for Children in Poverty, National Education Association, nationalism, Native Americans, Nazism, negentropy, newspapers, Newton, New Mexico, New York, New York State Board of Regents, New York Times (2), Nietzsche, Nixon.

Here is a summary of the requested information:

Science fiction, 63-4,140,179,190

  • Genre of imaginative fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, parallel universes, extraterrestrials, and paranormal abilities. Examples given were books by H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001, and Star Trek.

Seattle, Chief, 111

  • Reference to Chief Seattle, a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes in the Washington Territory. His speech on the sanctity of the land and environment is famous.

Second Amendment, 135

  • Reference to the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Second Law of Thermodynamics, 77

  • Law of physics stating that the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time and approaches a maximum value. Often paraphrased as “there is no free lunch.”

self-esteem, 16,17,130

  • A person’s sense of self-worth or personal value. References given relate to student self-esteem and development.

semantics, general, 182

  • The study of meaning in language. Reference given is generic.

separatism, 50,60,70

  • The advocacy or practice of separation of a certain group of people from a larger body on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or gender. References given relate to ethnic and tribal separatism.

sex, 143,196

  • References given relate to sex education and teen sexuality.

Shahn, Ben, 13

  • Ben Shahn was an American artist best known for his works of social realism, including depictions of working-class people and critiques of injustice. Reference cites him as an example of an artist using a creative medium to shape meaning.

Shakespeare, William, 73,113,114,116,167,169

  • Famed English playwright and poet. References cite his works in discussions of language, metaphors, education, and intertextuality. Works mentioned include Hamlet, King Lear, and The Tempest.
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