This post from Jesse Stommel is extraordinarily good on a number of fronts that relate to my work and my way of thinking & being.
The first is a link back to a previous post about what the “casualisation” of a workforce does to the workplace:
They are oppressed by a system that calls 75% of its labor-force ‘unnecessary,’ ‘contingent,’ ‘adjunct.’
That’s pretty harrowing stuff there, but it’s true. The economic rationalism that most universities and governments are now run by extolls these exonomic virtues at the expence of the humanity it should represent.
This leads nicely into a quote from the Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram:
Each individual possesses a conscience which to a greater or lesser degree serves to restrain the unimpeded flow of impulses destructive to others. But when he merges his person into an organizational structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of individual morality, freed of humane inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of authority.
The economic system has become the authority that allows us to throw away our humanity. It’s the justification for denying people good working conditions rather than operating within our actual means. I put this back to one of my contentious ideas: that the human default is to construct systems based on hierarchy and it is this that leads us into unthinking and uncaring obedience.
If we can begin to have real discussions about these kinds of systemic problems then we are in effect throwing off the burden of the hierarcy. That to fix systemic problems it requires the relinquish of control, to hand over autonomy and begin to empower the individual. As Jesse suggests later in the post:
We have built an almost ironclad academic system — and I acknowledge myself as one of its privileged builders — a system which excludes the voices of students, which calls students ‘customers’ while monetizing their intellectual property, which denigrates the work of learning through assessment mechanisms and credentialing pyramid schemes.” This is not a system that empowers students.
I found the concept in the last paragraph particularly interesting:
There must be what Paulo Freire calls “teacher-students.” Specifically, he writes, “no one teaches another, nor is anyone self-taught.” So, “teacher” becomes a role that shifts, and learning depends upon a community of teacher-students. Any authority within the space must be aimed at fostering agency in all the members of the community. And this depends on a recognition of the power dynamics and hierarchies that this kind of learning environment must actively and continuously work against.
And I wonder what that kind of an education system might look like and can’t help but think - like nothing we have today.
Source: Dear Student
Image: Locating the Student shared BY-NC