wrote an essay on servant-leadership and education in which he refers to Ivan Illich
. Greenleaf argued that there are two issues in education:Issue #1: The assumption that some individuals know what another ought to learn, and are justified in imposing their judgement - backed up by sanctions.Issue #2: The fact that our whole system of education rests on coercion: first the leagl requirement for attneding schol until age 16-18; then the built-in compulsion to continue academic education by the credentialing that begins with the secondary school diploma adn continues through the Ph.D. degree-and beyond.
Greenleaf quotes Illich by suggesting that all complusory education should be abolished. Why? Illich states that
"...[the] institutionalization of values leads inevitably to physical pollution, social polarization, and psychological impotence: three dimensions in a process of global degradation and modernized misery..." This sound very Jonathan Kozol
to me. Illich also wrote the following: "Supreme Court Justice William 0. Douglas observed that 'the only way to establish an institution is to finance it.' The corollary is also true. Only by channeling dollars away from the institutions which now treat health, education, and welfare can the further impoverishment resulting from their disabling side effects be stopped." Kozol would probably disagree with this statement having written several times that it is unfair financing that is causing the inequities within our education system. Illich notes that the only way to fix the education system is to get rid of it. I don't know if I agree with that statement but I do remember a conversation with one of my college professors that the only way to fix education was to rebuilt the system. My colleagues at the time were shocked that he would suggest but this is exactly what Illich suggests doing. Jim Collins
who wrote Good to Great
, would also suggest that sometimes organizations just need to reinvent themselves so perhaps Illich is correct.
Ivan Illich also wrote on technology and is credited for the technology movement of the 70s. I feel his writing is a little disturbing because he suggests (if I am comprehending correctly) that only a few should have the tools of technology:For a hundred years we have tried to make machines work for men and to school men for life in their service. Now it turns out that machines do not "work" and that people cannot be schooled for a life at the service of machines. The hypothesis on which the experiment was built must now be discarded. The hypothesis was that machines can replace slaves. The evidence shows that, used for this purpose, machines enslave men. Neither a dictatorial proletariat nor a leisure mass can escape the dominion of constantly expanding industrial tools.
Not exactly liberating is it. Illich further states:People need not only to obtain things, they need above all the freedom to make things among which they can live, to give shape to them according to their own tastes, and to put them to use in caring for and about others. Prisoners in rich countries often have access to more things and services than members of their families, but they have no say in how things are to be made and cannot decide what to do with them. Their punishment consists in being deprived of what I shall call "conviviality." They are degraded to the status of mere consumers.
As I read Illich's works, I wonder if society's ills is that we have created a consumer based society. We have taken away the work ethic and pride and created crime and hate.