Last year as school districts began offering online education in the wake of Covid-19, most politicians and pundits took for granted that the change would be for the best. Having been trained to evaluate everything through the lens of Enlightenment utilitarianism, numerous lawmakers (including New York governor Andrew Cuomo) declared that the Covid-19 crisis was speeding up the inevitable migration of all learning from classroom to screen. Just think how much money we can save by having children learn from machines instead of from human beings, they kept saying!
What the media is not telling you is that these lawmakers have been hushing up the research on the side-effects of digital learning. They don’t want you to know about the growing body of data showing that online learning trains students in systemic cheating and chronic distractability, in addition to eroding their ability to make connections or to engage in contextual thinking.
My friends, there is a quiet revolution going on in education right now that seeks to apply the methodology of the factory to the classroom. It this isn’t stopped, our leaders will sacrifice an entire generation of students on the altar of economic utilitarianism. Our culture will become not merely uneducated, but post-educated. This differs from simple ignorance, which can be cured through knowledge. A post-educated culture is one of ignorance with the illusion of knowledge.
Read more about this in my recent article, “School Futures: Questionable Assumptions About Virtual Education.”