Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Live Tuesday Feb. 5 - Carol Black on "Occupy Your Brain" (and Special Screening of "Schooling the World")

Join me Tuesday, February 5th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com conversation with returning guest Carol Black on her essay: "Occupy Your Brain: On Power, Knowledge, and the Re-Occupation of Common Sense."

I previously interviewed Carol about her hugely thought-provoking film, Schooling the World, which Carol has generously agreed to make available again for free viewing between now and the 12th of February. The film is at https://vimeo.com/32012579 (password is STW2013), and looks at the often-devastating impacts of Western-style schooling in the developing world, particularly in Northern India.

In "Occupy Your Brain," Carol states, "[a]s our climate heats up, as mountaintops are removed from Orissa to West Virginia, as the oceans fill with plastic and soils become too contaminated to grow food, as the economy crumbles and children go hungry and the 0.001% grows so concentrated, so powerful, so wealthy that democracy becomes impossible, it’s time to ask ourselves; who’s educating us?  To what end?"
In “developed” societies, we are so accustomed to centralized control over learning that it has become functionally invisible to us, and most people accept it as natural, inevitable, and consistent with the principles of freedom and democracy. We assume that this central authority, because it is associated with something that seems like an unequivocal good – “education” – must itself be fundamentally good, a sort of benevolent dictatorship of the intellect. We allow remote “experts” to dictate what we must learn, when we must learn it, and how we must learn it. We grant them the right to test us, to measure the contents of our brains and the value of our skills, and then to brand us in childhood with a set of numeric rankings that have enormous power over our future opportunities to participate in the economic and political life of our society. We endorse strict legal codes which render this process compulsory, and in a truly Orwellian twist, many of us now view it as a fundamental human right to be legally compelled to learn what a higher authority tells us to learn.
I hope you'll join us for what should be a challenging discussion.

Date: Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://www.futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2013-02-05.1729.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350 and an audio mp3 recording is available at http://audio.edtechlive.com/foe/carolblack2.mp3 and at http://www.futureofeducation.com.
Mightybell:  A Mightybell space with interview resources and conversation is at https://mightybell.com/spaces/21430.

Carol Black is an Emmy-Award-winning writer/director/producer of both entertainment and documentary television and film, co-creator with her husband Neal Marlens of the television series The Wonder Years, noted for its portrayal of the American public school experience. She studied education and literature at Swarthmore College and UCLA, and after the birth of her children, withdrew from a successful career in the entertainment industry to become involved in the alternative education movement. Schooling the World was the culmination of many years of research into cross-cultural perspectives on education.

“The reality is that the modern school is no silver bullet, but an extremely problematic institution which has proven highly resistant to fundamental reform. No system that discards millions of normal, healthy kids as failures – many of them extremely smart, by the way – will ever provide a lasting or universal solution to anything.”


Top photo by Carol Black
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