education, techology, politics, and Iraq

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For a long time I was a Newsweek subscriber. They had fair coverage, interesting articles, and likely the best religion editor of any print medium (including Christianity Today). Then they hired a new editor, essentially fired the religion editor replacing him with half baked religious commentary by said editor, and generally turned towards the then trendy left. So, I let my subscription expire, not because they said things I disagreed with, but because they spun so much it seemed senseless to read anymore. I knew what they would say on any given topic, so why pay for the privilege?

Towards the end of this subscription death cycle they had a long article on the future of education. Half of the people interviewed were educators. The other half were employed in some sort of technology field. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, I believe, were involved in the discussion. Not surprisingly technology was mentioned a lot. The writers were lauding technological advances while promoting their own products as being appropriately groundbreaking. The future of education, in their minds, was going exactly the direction which would best help their pocketbook.

Reading through those articles, and knowing a fair number of teachers whose realities differed from the article writers, solidified something in my mind. Never trust the opinion of someone who is basing their future worth on that opinion. Computer makers should not be included on the future of educational philosophy, because of course they will make sure that their computers are included. Gates isn’t a trustworthy person because it is his job to make sure that right or wrong, helpful or not, schools get dependent on technology. Classes were flooded with such stuff, billions of dollars were spent, and little has changed. Kids still need to learn how to read and do math, and write.

This week John Kerry has been attacking the reality of what is going on in Iraq. Now, I’m sure it’s not pretty, but his whole future is based on a sad reality that Iraq will fail. His political future is based on the concept that soldiers will die for no result and civil war will erupt. So, the news is filled with all that is wrong and evil and quagmirey. That this still remains the most succesful war in world history does not detract from Kerry’s imposed reality.

His opinion goes no farther than his political ambitions. What the reality is can only be told by those who are there, and to be honest, if those who are there may tend towards hope rather than despair, that’s a good thing. One such person has written a bit about all this. Kerry will say he’s living in a fantasyland. Gates will say that computers will save souls. Steve Jobs will argue that having an internet connection is all a child needs to begin reading and writing and ‘rithmatic.

Their future depends not on the real reality, but on the reality which conforms to their own limited worlds.

The moral of all this… don’t trust anyone who has a financial or political stake in a certain outcome.

This is also true of many churches as well. Ambitious pastors or other leaders will shape the Good News so as to particularly enhance their own authority. The News becomes less good for the many as it becomes better for these vain souls.

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